Friday, February 29, 2008

Revgalblogpal Friday Five: Look Before You Leap Edition

Look Before You Leap, It's the Friday Five!

Hello from your Fifth Friday Five team, will smama and Songbird~

It's Leap Day!! Whether you're one of the special few who have a birthday only once every four years, or simply confused by the extra day on the calendar, everyone is welcome to join in and play our Leap Year Friday Five.

Tell us about a time you:

1. Leapt before looked
Well, this is more my m.o. than doing research and then making a decision based on discernment, thought and wisdom. I kind of glance before I leap, rather than look and that would apply to a variety of purchases that sorta work, but not as well as they should.

2. Leapt to a conclusion
Okay, a bit embarrassing how often I do this but the most recent one was when I was assuming that Songbird for some reason did not feel herself worthy of putting up her own Friday Five because she kept asking me for input on this whole Leap Year thing. I could not figure that out since her sweat equity basically IS the revgals when she finally enlightened me that we do these things together on the Fifth Friday, we had talked about the Leap Year theme a couple of weeks ago AND she had the 'chat' archives to prove it!

3. Took a Leap of Faith
Well shoot, isn't every major decision a leap of faith? Coming to this church. Attempting to have another child after the heartbreak of losing the first. Seminary. Deciding to go ahead and give my heart to the cute and slightly quirky Youth Director across the state, etc...

4. Took a literal Leap
This just reminds me of the stuff we would do in gym once a year: flex-arm hang, 40 yard dash and the long jump was one too.

5. And finally, what might you be faced with leaping in the coming year?
Big changes, but I don't consider them hurdles as much as launching pads.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Some Thoughts

Here are some things I never thought I would know...

a) You get a certificate for divorce. It does not, however, come with a frame or with nice calligraphied handwriting.

b) There must have been a bulk rate on ugly paper because it is printed on some seriously ugly, light brown paper with...

c) Purple ink. Purple ink? Who made that call? I gotta tell you, I would have been the conservative one suggesting that they just go with 'black' during the what-ink-should-we-use-on-the-divorce-decree discussion.

You all have been so kind with your support and reminders that I am not alone. I am quite sure that this is yet another situation why Hallmark stopped using the tag line, "We have a card for everything," because they just really don't have a 'Sorry, but not really because we have known this was coming and now at least you can move on but still sorry because even just a year ago NONE of us saw this coming' card.

I have come up with yet another one of my detailed analogies for what this feels like:
It is like finally ripping the band-aid all the way off and realizing that although the wound is healing nicely and will continue to get better there is always going to be a scar there.

This concludes my report.
Peace, friends.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Just Checking In

There is still no letter giving me the official date of divorce.

I am of course paralleling where I am now as opposed to a year ago quite a bit as this is when I started to note a major shift in TDH's personality just one year ago. Also this time last year I was checking the mailbox waiting for a yea or nay on a DMin program. Oh what a difference a year makes.

A lot of things around pregnancies going on around here. A parishioner is in the process of a miscarriage that no one knows about but me. Another friend is doing the same but under different circumstances. A dear friend had to deliver and her 2 lb son was only at 25 weeks gestation. He is alive and breathing well at this point.

I am watching another friend's 21 month old because she goes in for a c-section first thing in the morning. The most fun part about that will be dropping him off at TOW1's tomorrow evening. How many people will just happen to drive by when that exchange happens? Small towns...

I have a few members in the hospital and a couple of funerals to attend out of respect for the families. At least I am not doing them.

I found out the tape machine at church has not been working for awhile without anyone knowing it. If you can read between the lines, you can figure out why that is so important. Quickly we are trying to figure out another way to record sermons and I am trying to at least come off as being casual about it. I am hoping this Sunday to have a mp3 recording system in place so we can put the audio of the services online and make cd's... for the shut-ins of course.

TDH's Dad has given up on life and will most likely end his hold on this earthly kingdom within the week. His service will be in the same southern state that his wife's was and I will not be attending this one either. Unlike the m-i-l if it were up here I would probably actually go. He was at least outwardly supportive. And The Boy remembers him and mentions him occasionally.

What a legacy these two people have left - 5 boys. The eldest I have never met because he wanted nothing to do with them. Next one down escaped from them as soon as he could, married at 20 - 9 children. Next one down self-medicated bi-polar has left 5 children in his wake. Next one, fairly normal as far as I can tell.

And then the youngest, TDH. Undermined his entire life, never told how important he was or what he could do with his life; only was taught that when the going gets tough... the tough move.

And there was nothing my family, our friends, or I could do to change that.


Waffles Anyone?

No need to get into the details of the conversation, but suffice to say it was enough for me to earn a medium-sized jar of syrup.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

As If I Had Nothing Else to Worry About

I realize it is all about the nanny's in Hollywood, but shouldn't Brad and Angelina be forced to take in Britney's kids before they can have
another one of their own.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Today, I Quit

That's right from a little bit past 3pm until a few minutes from now (probably around 5pm est), I quit.
I took a bath.
I listened to the snow fall.
I laid on my bed with something dark over my eyes.
I attempted to turn the brain off.

There are things to do, a week still very much full ahead, a 3 year old to raise, a church to lead, etc, etc, etc...

But for just under 2 blissful hours... I quit.

I cannot wait until a long weekend after Easter when I get to quit on a boat.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Who Could Argue?

Yes, Lord. I agree the perfect foil in my life right now of survival, rowing and 'to-do' lists is none other than a talkative, gassy, methodical (read: sloooooow), copy machine repairman.

Thank you for adding one more character into my sitcom life... or is it a Lifetime Television movie? Sometimes, I just can't tell!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Friday, February 15, 2008

Revgalblogpal Friday Five: The Water and the Word Edition

In this Sunday's gospel Nicodemus asks Jesus, "How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother's womb and be born?" Poor old Nicodemus! He was so confused about the whole "water and Spirit" business of baptism.
For today's five, tell us about your baptismal experiences.
When and where were you baptized? Do you remember it? Know any interesting tidbits?
In my home church. I don't remember mine, but I remember my sister's. I remember feeling her wet head on the way back to the car (I am five years older).

What's the most unexpected thing you've ever witnessed at a baptism?
A baby sleeping right through it. Usually they rouse even just a little bit. I had one that slept like a ROCK.

Does your congregation have any special traditions surrounding baptisms?
Well, I walk whoever was baptized around and if it is a baby and they are in a good place I hand them off to a few congregation members to help illustrated the point that this baby is all of ours now. I also do what my congregation calls, "the Lion King" - where at the end I hold the baby up at the front, over my head and say, "John Adam Smith, beloved child of God."

Are you a godparent or baptismal sponsor? Have a story to tell?
Nope. Nope.

Do you have a favorite baptismal song or hymn?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

2008 Highlights

* My son turning 3.

* My transmission going BEFORE the extended warranty ran out.

* The GIANTS improbable Super Bowl run and stunning victory.

* In my hair.

Really. Me. The self-proclaimed low-maintenance jock had the gray along the hair line taken out and some subtle "warm" highlights put in.

Of course, have I SEEN anyone who knows me since I did this? No. The next person who sees me will be my son. The one presumbly right after him will be TD(almost)x.

Think he'll notice?

Think I care? And friends, the fact that I don't is yet another highlight.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Dear weather gods...

I am for the snow. Really. LOVE the snow.

I am not a fan of the freezing rain, especially on top of said snow when a certain 3 year old is trapped in my house and yet thinks that there is perfectly good snow outside that I am keeping him away from due to my inherent evil nature.

Please be advised...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Ya Think?

We just found out that our tape recording system has not been recording since late May. Nice. If you are looking for a tape of white noise that is nicely labeled with the date and title of the sermon from June 2007 through January 2008 please send me a stamped, self-addressed envelope.

Last Sunday I had my friend video-tape the service ostensibly to see if this is a viable option for posting the services on the internet and making dvd copies for anyone who might want one.

Apparantly this has led to some buzz about whether or not I might be leaving. Really. When you invite the woman who had an affair with my husband to dinner in my professional and personal space do you really get to be surprised that I might be leaving?

I don't think so.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Grace by Works

Is it just a rural thing or does every congregation have someone who makes sure that every penny, ounce of flesh and/or food item is accounted for?

I call her Betty. I have spoken of her before in a post entitled benefit of the doubt. With her and her husband and their daughter (who serves as our treasurer) there is no benefit of the doubt, there is no giving unless it is 'earned'. For instance now that we have an intern and she preaches once a month they asked our Chair of Stewardship & Finance if I should be docked pay on the Sundays I don't preach.
Umm, no.

They are not evil they are just... capitalist republicans in the truest sense of the phrase. I'm not trying to pick a political fight, they just are. They disagree that Head Start is here because it uses up our resources when people should be creating their own resources and yet they have stock in oil companies and have no problem with that.

Usually I just take it for what it's worth... meaning, not personally. I had to work on that. Believe me.

One of the things that we have noted is that they use food as payment for what they consider to be good deeds. For instance, Betty makes homemade maple syrup. It is so incredibly good it will spoil you from having any other syrup again ever. When we first arrived here, we received a baby jar of it. I had not received any of it since, even though I had RAVED about it. I won it at silent auctions a couple of times and watched as she doled it out to others who had done good in her sight but nothing for me.

But this year I received a huge jar of it. Why? Because they are big TOW1 fans and Betty was at me week after week about forgiving her. To which I would either ignore or respond with, 'give me time.' Once the forgiveness happened, I received the syrup (and no, that's not why I did it).

Last night at our annual fundraiser Betty and her family showed up with TOW1 and her family. I was taken aback at first. These sightings in the midst of the church setting especially make me feel like I am on the hot seat. But eventually I purposefully went over, made some small talk and then left.

Betty came up to me, thanked me for being the "facilitator that I am" (whatever the hell that means) and told me that for today's Lenten church event she was making the soup - potato, an absolute favorite of mine. Would I like her to bring some over to me since I was hosting the youth right after church for a different event.

I am not good at playing social games, especially when I am the pawn and so I responded to her, "I can always tell when you are happy with me because you send yummy food my way."
No reaction from her.

Thankfully, I still got the soup.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Today's Scheduled Events

8:45 - Drop off The Boy at a friend's.
9:00 - SIGN PAPERS!!!
11:30 - Lunch with a friend (her husband told her he wanted a divorce while she was planning their 25th anniversary cruise... BY EMAIL!)
1:00 - Massage
Dinner - Eat at the new chik-fil-a!

Lord, hear my selfish prayer...

9:54AM update - The papers are signed. Now we wait for a week or two for the court to make it all official. Any takers on a bet that it will be 2/14?
Thank you for your prayers.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

And Now for Something Completely Different

Our annual food fundraiser featuring a slippery dutch treat that would make those not from the area potentially gag is this Saturday. It is worth going just to see the people who come to this thing... teeth optional. We have been fielding calls about it all week but 99% are not concerned with price or variety or directions to the church. They have only one question:

"Is it all-you-can-eat this year?"

Yes it is.

Consider it our contribution to the obesity of America.

Ash Wednesday

I started the Ash Wednesday service here in our rural, Protestant church five or six years ago. It is an intimate setting with the first year bringing around ten and this year bringing 30.

I can barrel through my emotions from the pulpit on a Sunday morning 99% of the time, but there is something about the intimacy of Ash Wednesday - the touching, the looking into each person's eyes - that makes it hard to keep those emotions focused and bottled.

For these reasons and others Ash Wednesday seems to be a heavy emotion service for me. I remember them.

In 2004 I was grateful for Lent. I felt like at least the liturgical world was giving me room to grieve our child who never took a breath in this earthly kingdom. I trembled as I said the words, "Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return."

In 2005 I was one of the lucky ones who was able to preach from the other side of the darkness. In the 'typical' Ash Wednesday meditation I was able to give creedance to the hope at the other side - it is there - having myself gone from a delivery room filled with the gasps and sobs of nurses and myself to one where the loudest cry was one of a newborn with supplemental tears of joy from all of those around him that day.

Yesterday I struggled.

I was haunted by the image of just a year before placing the ashes on TDH's head and in that moment praying for him because I knew something was wrong. I had labeled it 'depression' and thought I knew the catalysts. I remember coming home and sitting across from him at the kitchen table and begging him to tell me what was wrong, what I could do to help, and for the first time mentioning outside help.

I had no idea how bad it was or how bad it was going to be.

Last night I knew I could not trust myself to speak and so as the meditation we silently read Scripture and a litany and then I invited the congregation to share their thoughts... then prayer, then the ashes.

Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return....

I never thought those words would relate to my marriage.
I never thought those words would relate to the committment I made to him.
I never thought Ash Wednesday would be this hard again.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Finally... a break.

A few years ago now TDH and I stood in a dealership and discussed AT LENGTH the pros and cons of purchasing an extended warranty on the pre-owned van we were about to purchase. I was very much for it and eventually this is what we did.

Fast forward to today when I was alternately moping and fuming about the house because my admin kicked me out of the office and I had no car and I received a phone call from the dealership where said car was being evaluated:

Her: Ms. Smama, the reason why your check engine light was on is because it needs a new transmission.
Me: (stunned silence as I drop to my knees and try to comprehend the math)
Her: You are covered under the extended warranty so there is no cost.

Not sure where I would have ended up, but an added transmission bill for a light that came on LITERALLY the day I mailed the last payment in, just might have pushed me over a cliff somewhere.

Phew... that was a close one.

memory countdown......

2/1/1996 - A knee is bent. A ring is slipped onto a finger. A promise is made.

2/1/2008 - A paper is signed. The ring is long gone. A promise is legally broken.

It's done.

Thanks for putting up with me this week. Lord knows it hasn't been pretty, but for ten years it was. It really was. My hope is that all of that memory-letting will allow me to more freely turn the corner... and find the next rainbow.


Above was the post I originally planned to put up today. But in what I now recognize as classic TDH fashion, he has asked that we postpone signing the papers. His family's particular strand of passive-aggressive virus is to let other people do the work on any kind of decision and at the last second weigh in and shift plans. It is the ultimate Pussy Power Play.

To say I am infuriated and frustrated is the understatement of the year. Those ten years were relatively great and the memories are usually good but to have them forever tainted by this past 8+ months of public pain, humiliation, nausea and frustration is something I just might not be able to forgive.

Prayers that this might soon be over, for my son whose birthday is Monday, for diligence in the process...

And prayers of Thanksgiving that as TDH makes his way over here this morning that there are no weapons in the house.