Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My new gig

I started my new job today, working at the crisis pregnancy center in my area. Truly, I believe we are doing God's work there. Truly, I believe God has called me to that work. I feel proud that we are able to support women in a very real way.

The kids started school today too, so all around it is a time of change. My boys were so beautiful on their first day... new clothes and shoes. Noah was relaxed and excited to see his friends. Emmett hung back, standing by himself, looking very nervous. But by the time I picked him up at 3:00, he was all smiles, dragging his new rolling backpack behind him. We had a fun time going to the grocery store afterwards and picking out stuff for their lunches. Fruits, dried and fresh, cheese, even a can of slim jims, which seemed to be a slightly better choice than, say, oreos. Maybe I am kidding myself. The boys are paper bag guys, at this point, which I may have to rethink from an environmental perspective... but for today, that is what we have.

That wonderful fresh breeze that carries the promise of fall blew through our hearts today.

I praise you, Lord, for the beauty of your creation. For the changes of season and the rhythms of the year.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

End of Summer

I am convinced I suffer from reverse seasonal affective disorder.

For me, Summer is a big challenge, and has been since I was a kid. I think it has something to do with the complete lack of structure. I am a person that is most creative within structure, and I am not terribly good at creating it for myself. This may explain my deep attraction to the liturgical and sacramental nature of the Episcopal Church.

So, while other folks are wistfully thinking about the end of beach days and travel, I am getting energized for the fall. I start looking forward to cool weather, the rhythm of the days and weeks falling into a pattern, the time alone, which this year I am trying to fill with at least one or two part time jobs. I have started planning my trip to Africa in January and am actually feeling optimistic that I will be able to do it.

I am excited for my brother and husband, too. I just have a gut feeling that things are shifting, not just for me, but for all the people I love. Last night I told my drumming teacher that I believe things are going to get better for him, too.

I don't know why I feel such optimism today. Is it the cool breeze that heralds the change in season? Is it that tomorrow is the first day of my new job? (I got a part time job at the crisis pregnancy center at which I have been volunteering. I am now the volunteer coordinator!) Is it that the kids go back to school tomorrow?

Or could it be that sometimes I remember that God is in charge of everything and because of that, we are always going to be ok in the end.

Welcome, Fall. I am happy to see you again.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The United Church of Canada

How could I have missed this church?

On the way to the cottage in Nova Scotia, I was keeping an eye out for an Anglican Church.

We passed a Mennonite, Roman Catholic, United, Presbyterian... and finally, in a little village just before the cottage, a lovely white Anglican church with big gothic doors. I made a mental note of it so I could visit it the next morning for the service at 11:00.

The next day, after an early breakfast and walk on the beach, I got in the car and headed off to church. As is my custom, I left far too early. I was worried about how far away it was and couldn't remember clearly, so I allowed myself 45 minutes to get there.

Strange. Within ten minutes, I passed the Presbyterian and the United church and kept driving. Did I forget where the Anglican was? Then I drove past the Catholic church. I took a side road, thinking I might have forgotten where we had turned. Nope. Finally, I got to the Mennonite church and knew for sure that I had overshot because that was the first church we had seen after leaving the highway. By this point it was nearly 10:45, so after having allowed myself tons of extra time, it looked like I was going to be late. I turned around and headed back to the village. I backtracked until I reached the United Church of Canada and pulled into the parking lot at exactly 11:00 to the sound of the first hymn in progress through the open windows.

I snuck into the church and quietly looked for a bulletin. None to be found. One of the parishioners noticed me and came out, handing me his bulletin. He walked me to a pew and I sat down.

The United Church of Canada was formed in 1925 and was comprised of Methodists, Congregationalists and about 75% of the Presbyterian churches in Canada. I believe that today it is the largest Protestant denomination in the country. On the day I was visiting the Salem United Church in River John, they were celebrating their 200th anniversary as a congregation. They had a supply minister in the pulpit. In rural Canada, it isn't unusual for clergy to be in charge of several churches and rotate around in the summer. I think this minister on Sunday may have actually been retired.

The service was about the same length as what we have at Grace, but the lack of a Eucharist was made up for in sermon length. At one point, an older gentleman in the back of the church started snoring. I smiled to myself.

After the service, several people approached me and invited me to sign the guest book. I had a nice chat with a woman who just got back from driving across the Unites States. The minister introduced himself and invited me to come back next time I was in town.

I got in the car and headed back towards the cottage. I passed the Presbyterian church. And then, on my left, was astonished to see the Anglican church was just letting out.

How very strange that I had missed it! I can only wonder if God had some reason for me to be in the Salem United Church last Sunday.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Nova Scotia Rocks

We got back from the Northumberland Strait today and I can't tell you what a lovely week we had. My parents rented a little cottage on the water and we had a whole week of great views, lovely walks, beach time, homemade wine and delicious food, and NAPS! Oh the naps were heavenly.

There were 6 of us in a tiny two bedroom cottage, with lots of rain, and still we managed to not kill each other.

Nova Scotia is a fantastic place. The people are quiet, and even a little reserved, but very very kind.

Re-entry was a bummer when we had to stop in Bangor ME for the night last night and ate horrible Chinese food and slept in an Econolodge with a view of a parking lot. There was a bit of redemption today, though, when we stopped in Dorchester, MA for some real Vietnamese noodles and I got to shock the crap out of the check out lady when I spoke Vietnamese to her. HA!

PS: In a rest stop on the highway, a guy from Massachusetts parked his Lexus right by the entry doors and purposely took up TWO parking spaces so his precious car wouldn't get dinged. Why not park on the far side of lot, buddy? Then no one will ding the car.

Don't you just want to key those guys' cars when they do that? Not very Christian of me, harrumph.

Thursday, August 07, 2008


We are off to Nova Scotia tomorrow. I would be grateful for any traveling prayers you can send our way. We'll be spending a week on the beautiful (so I've heard) Northumberland strait.

Probably won't be able to access the computer while I am gone. I admit, it always feels a little like a vacation when I am away from the machine. Though I will miss all my online friends.


Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Feast of the Blessed Sacrament

It is all about communion this weekend.

My friend Amy is the interim minister at a church in Pawcatuck and she is doing communion for the first time tomorrow. I have been thinking about that all week.

Tonight, I went to see my friend Sam in his band 'Entrain'. They were the headline act at the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament in New Bedford. Nguyen and the kids and I ate Portuguese food and drank the Madeira wine that the church uses for the Eucharist for the rest of the year. I am sorry I missed the big parade. I suspect they put some of the consecrated host into a monstrance and walk through the streets of New Bedford with it. I am sure it is a wonderful spectacle. Maybe I'll go next year!

While we were waiting for the band to start, we wandered around the side streets towards the church. It had all kinds of wonderfully gaudy decorations, a big plaster statue of the Virgin under a plexiglass cover. She was sporting a crown of blue Christmas lights and plastic flowers. At the entrance to the church, there were oak wine casks flanking the doors, to symbolize the Madeira wine that is made just for this feast.

We peeked in the door and realized that a mass was in progress, so we quietly backed away and wandered back towards the feast grounds.

Dinner was terrible, but wonderful, nonetheless. The food was pretty dreary. Overcooked and over salted. We had goat stew, baccalau, broiled chicken, caldo verde soup and fine Portuguese bread. The folks behind the buffet line offered to cook burgers for the boys and gave them an order of french fries to go with them. We sat at a table with a man who told us he had flown in from Seattle to attend the feast.

After dinner, which sat like a rock in the bottom of my stomach, I danced off all the calories while watching Sam and his band play. They were absolutely fantastic. I have to add music to the list of things that bring us together.