god's purpose on the job

(I will now break all cardinal rules for the internet by talking about work. I have never done this before.) I' m having a hard time at work. It's a damned if you do, damned if you don't environment. I strive to rise above the annoyances, abuse and negativity. Last week I failed utterly. Failure is tough when you take being an example seriously. I don't know how my work struggles will end. Sometimes I think I should get out while I still have sanity or while I can still get a good reference. On the other hand, when things are going well - which they are more than they aren't - I love my job, really love it. But it's a volatile environment governed by values I abhor. Last week was horrible. I felt antagonized and abused and a co-worker is driving me absolutely bonkers. I snapped. I said... Read more →


a gordon quip

We, as a family, have a tendency to sit right up next to each other in church. I don't know why, nor had I really noticed it until a friend pointed it out. We bunch right up. Every so often when we sit after singing, Gordon will practically be left with nothing but half a chair. The first time this happened, he leaned over and whispered for us to shuffle down. I was surprised thinking he was saying, "give me some space". I looked quizzically at him. He whispered, "I just want to get my other butt cheek on the chair too." Read more →


church visit

Recently I heard an ad on the radio for a church that sounded fascinating. I wanted to know more. I can't say what I had in mind because it was way on the southside of Edmonton. The ad said - Gordon and I both heard it - that church was at 12:00 - 2:00. Off we went. We started to enter the service when a black man blocked the entrance and said, "What do you want?" My first thought was from one of my favorite movies, The Out-of-Towners, where Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn go into a church thinking it was "church" and then learn it is a sex addicts' meeting. The group facilitator asked Steve about himself and he said, "We just came here to worship, but this is the wroooooong denomination." When Mr. Welcoming Committee greeted us with "What do you want?", my first thought was, "We just... Read more →


yesterday when she was young

To be truthful I don't feel like writing today. I don't feel like doing much. But as we all know it's good for character to do something even when we don't feel like it. After all, contrary to my most popular feeling, it's not really just about me. I pondered what to write and couldn't think of a blinkin' thing. So I asked myself what are some things that made me smile recently. Awwhh. Now I can think of a few things to say. Several years ago when we got a new pastor someone came up with a brainy idea of having a bulletin board in the foyer at church with every family or person represented. An organized gentleman was the bulletin board overseer and he regularly brought his camera to church to capture some Kodak moments. Right after he took my family's picture he went over to an elderly... Read more →


churchy chuckle

Several years ago during the singing portion of church a lady near the back started wailing. Wailing loudly. Her sorrowful moans and groans permeated the sanctuary. The young music minister had a deer-in-the-headlight stare. Clearly, he didn't know what to do with the emotional outburst that interrupted the music. After a few awkward moments of this lady's bellowing dominating the air, the minister spoke. "Let's take a few minutes to pray. I sense in my spirit that there is someone here in pain." As per usual I nearly lost composure. I whispered to Gordon, "You reckon?". He never appreciates my comments at moments like these. Labels: church, funnies Read more →


sometimes sin feels good

In church yesterday Pastor was talking about finding yourself in the middle of sinful situations and thinking, "This isn't so bad..." His theme reminded me of an incident back when I was a pastor's wife. Gordon had just preached a sermon similar to the one I heard yesterday. In his sermon Gordon said something to the effect of "When sin feels good . . ." An honest person will admit that sin feels good for a season even if that season is only a few seconds long. If sin never felt good, we'd never sin. Gordon was not promoting sin, he was promoting the higher "feel good" of doing right and following God. When church was over Gordon and I stood at the back greeting folks as they left. A notoriously hoity-toity parishioner made her way toward us. I could tell before she opened her mouth that her nose was... Read more →


churchy chuckle

My aunt tells the story of a minister (who was also a relative) preaching on how bad habits become like a ball and chain. During the altar call he said, "Why not come and bring your balls to the altar?" You can imagine what that did to the invitation. That comment beat him to town. He stopped at a convenience store immediately after church and heard all about it from guys who hadn't been in church. I love churchy chuckles. Read more →


light bulbs

How many Pentecostals does it take to change a light bulb? One, since his/her hands are in the air anyway. How many Calvinists does it take to change a light bulb? None. God has predestined when the lights will be on. How many Brethren does it take to change a light bulb? CHANGE?!!! How many Charismatics does it take to change a light bulb? 10, one to change it and 9 others to pray against the spirit of darkness. How many TV evangelists does it take to change a light bulb? One. But for the message of hope to continue to go forth, send in your donation today. How many Roman Catholics does it take to change a light bulb? None: Candles only. How many Amish does it take to change a light bulb? What's a light bulb? How many Polygamous Mormons does it take to change a light bulb?... Read more →


gordon sings joyfully

Today was the first Sunday of Advent and the first Sunday to sing Christmas carols. Gordon loves Christmas carols and always belts them out louder and more fervently than every one else. Our opening hymn was Joy to the World, a personal favorite of Gordon's. As usual, his powerful baritone voice rose above all the others. Between vers es one and two, the musicians played an instrumental interlude. Gordon of course was caught up in singing his heart out. The whole church waited for the usual direction as to when to begin singing. Everyone but Gordon. As the interlude began and all voices hushed, Gordon belted out, "Joy to," before realizing it was an instrumental moment. Chuckles abounded around us, the girls and me chuckling the most. Not easily embarrassed, Gordon smiled and shrugged his shoulders. By this time, the interlude was finished, or so Gordon thought. Once again when... Read more →


benevolence

Today was Communion Sunday. After communion there is always a benevolent offering taken to help people in the community who are in need. An elderly woman and her upper middle-aged son were sitting behind me. As the offering plate made its way towards us, I heard the lady scrambling in her purse for her offering. Then I heard the son say, "Don't put that $20 in there. Give it to my benevolent fund." Read more →


church

Regarding "church," we've been through a rough year. There were lots of lies, deception, manipulation, and God only knows what else. We, along with many dear friends, have been burned. Gordon particularly has grown skeptical and cynical about church. He is a godly man, but is struggling to come to terms with all we've experienced the past year. You know the expression, once bitten, twice shy. Well Gordon won't be jumping into any churchy relationships anytime soon. I'm really enjoying our new church and am ready start anew. The kids are loving it. Gordon is non-committal. During our evening cup of tea, I asked him how he was feeling about church. With a heavy sigh he said, "Oh who knows? Who the hell trusts church anyway?" Wanting some kind of assurance we were "on the same page," I asked what happens next. I was expecting a time line, a line... Read more →


church

My dear sweet Rachael went to youth group for the first time on Friday. She was so excited, yet innocently apprehensive. When I picked her up, I could tell she was happy and at ease. As soon as she got in the van she announced, "Guess what? There's a girls' Bible study on Wednesday night." Then on Saturday night I walked into her room as she laid out her clothes for church. She confirmed once again why I think we've found our new church home when she said, "I can't wait till tomorrow." Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Read more →


another gordon moment

Last night Gordon and I were discussing the recent near-demise of our church. A segment of the people in our church, mostly women, want to have a "closure meeting" where we all air our feelings about the recent abuse from, and subsequent dismissal of, the pastor. As these folks have persisted in requesting this type of meeting, the chairman of the board has been equally dismissive of the idea. He is a retired businessman and quite professional. As Gordon and I hashed out the different ideas, Gordon concluded, "Yeah, to a business man, I guess the idea of a 'closure meeting' is pretty demented." Then he conducted his own mini-version of a 'closure meeting' in the business world: "We fired Joe. Anyone else here have a problem with Joe? Let's talk about how we feel about Joe." Read more →


bedroom update and turn signals

I've had a busy weekend. Hannah and Rachael went to Winter Camp. We had to fight the weather to get there, but we went and returned today safely. (Hannah and Frodo, 2005) While they were gone, I gave Hannah's room an update. A friend had remarked that Hannah's room was babyish, and that didn't set well with me, so I made it more 9-year-oldish. The whole makeover cost $4. Isn't that amazing? I left the initial yellow paint but painted glow-in-the-dark pink, orange, lime green dots in varying sizes. Now one wall is polka dots. It's so cute and Hannah loves it. We need that bratty little friend to come over again. This time she will be green with envy. That project dominated my weekend. Church was painful this morning. 36 people were there. 18 months ago we had at least 100, and it was vibrant. It's anything but vibrant... Read more →


church according to little house on the prairie

William Faulkner said something to the effect that he couldn't know his own thoughts clearly until he had written them. I can identify with that thought. Therefore I shall try to work through some of my thoughts, in writing. My church is going through a difficult time. Our pastor (and good friend) resigned under less-than-ideal circumstances. Over the past couple years a number of wonderful people have left. What I use to consider a vibrant, alive church now seems dry, and even lonely.The spirit of love and concern for each other is very strong. I love these people. We are like a family. However, my own excitement for going to church is gone. When I was in Arkansas, I saw little churches dotting the countryside. They were simple, white, old church buildings. They reminded me of my grandmother's church when I was growing up. I was impressed by their simplicity... Read more →


a good day

It's been a wonderful day. Our church service was uplifting. There was a spirit of unity, peace and anticipation. I have a really great church. As I sat there this morning, I looked at the faces of those around me. They seemed interested, involved, engaged. What a blessing. I read 1 Peter 2:9, "... you are a chosen people....This is so you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light." I saw in my faith community a chosen people who show the goodness of God. From my pastor I received this snippet of truth: "What you believe will be reflected in the things you do." Yesterday there was a large fire in Edmonton that took out three businesses. I could tell it was pretty close by, so the kids, Lucy and I started walking to see it. Those kinds... Read more →


church bloopers

My Uncle Paul played the role of Sunday School Superintendent for a number of years. He always gave a small devotional at the beginning of his Superintendent ritual. One particular morning he said something that he has yet to live down. His family continues to pass the story on. As he spoke briefly of the Apostle Paul, he asked the congregation, "Does anyone here know the meaning of the name Paul?" He waited patiently for a reply, but no one did. With a kind smile that defines him, he said, "Well I didn't either, but my wife told me." Slowly, precisely, and with his hallmark kind face, he continued, "Paul means 'small'. My wife says I'm small." My aunt gasped in shock at his faux pas and quickly looked around to see if others heard what she'd just heard. She saw a sea of teeth. Yes, everyone had just heard... Read more →


in remembrance of me

I've never really understood "The Lord's Supper". I grew up with it being such a sober experience that I always got the nervous giggles. The silence was deafening. I was amused by the production of folding the tablecloth that was atop the elements. The deacons removed the cloth and together folded it in the most sacred way as if it was the burial shroud itself. It seemed a contest of who could look the most pious; who could work up the greatest feeling of "Poor Jesus". Everything about it tickled me to the point of giggling (and snorting, no less) at the most inappropriate time. I recall how quiet the sanctuary would be as the pastor told us to eat the bread (no yeast of course). Crunch, crunch, crunch. It was too much. Inevitably, I'd start to snort and giggle. I couldn't understand how everyone kept such a straight and... Read more →


good friday service

Our Good Friday service wasn't as somber as it's been in the past. Pastor Shaun is very gifted with the ability to set a worshipful tone and today was no different. Before the service the power point projected a picture of three crosses. The sky behind them looked like a phenomenal sunset of oranges, pinks and purples. I was reminded that even in death, "The heavens declare the glory of God." (Ps. 19) A homemade rough wooden cross stood predominantly on the stage. On it was a lit candle, a draping of purple cloth and a barbed wire wreath (crown). In front of the cross, the same purple cloth weaved among twelve candles symbolizing the twelve disciples. As the scriptures were read of his followers betrayal, the candles were extinguished one by one. Finally all that was left was the candle on the cross. A powerful reminder of Jesus' aloneness... Read more →


good friday

It's 6:30 on Good Friday. Before I moved to Canada I had never observed Good Friday in any way. It was just another day of the year. Since moving here, I've much appreciated that Christians and churches honor the day. We will go to our church service later in the morning. Pastor Shaun is extraordinarily gifted in the way he prepares for these things. I have never known a pastor who "prepares" the sanctuary for worship. But our pastor does. He sets the tone for worship and it truly makes a difference for me. Our Good Friday service is of an incredibly somber tone. Whereas there is usually music playing when we enter the sanctuary, today, most likely, we will enter a dark quiet sanctuary with candles lit near the front. The purple cloth that has been on the cross through Lent (another season I never observed before moving here)... Read more →