Christmas (socks) in July

Today for Jeff’s birthday we went down to Bertie Lou’s for breakfast.  Well first we walked to Ada’s, but it’s been closed so we wandered down 17th to Bertie Lou’s.  As we were hanging out waiting for a table the smartest little thing walked up to Paige to show off her new dolly.  All of two years old the little miss wanted to talk to the big girl about Georgia who she had just gotten for her birthday the week before.  Paige was great and handled the situation with poise.  We were then seated right next to the family at an outdoor table.  As Paige walked to our table the mom of little miss commented on her outstanding socks.  P, all dressed in purple (shoes, t, and shorts) was wearing black and red sparkly rudolph socks.  I mentioned that Paige certainly had her own fabulous sense of style, pointing out her neon orange earrings and the mom told me she could tell and that she was a professional stylist who did catalogues.  Well then we really got to chatting.  It turns out it was her birthday too, although she is not nearly as ancient as Jeff.  They had tried to go to Ada’s as well, and lived in the neighborhood.  By the end of breakfast we’d been invited to their house for a birthday party that night, the little one was sitting at our table finishing her breakfast and playing with her playmobil people with Paige, and the grandpa of the family was confessing to me that despite the cast he was planning to get back on his dirt...

Hello, are you there?

Our new church start is all about connecting with new people.  I’m amazed at some of the responses I get from people who are already part of the church when I talk about connecting with others.  It seems like what we are doing is such an odd concept to many.  To go about intentionally connecting with people for the sake of a faith conversation is not something most people ever think about.  I think however that it’s something that everyone can do.  Here’s how:Step one strike up a conversation.  It might be the cashier at the grocery store or an acquaintance at work.  Begin with “Hi, how are you today?”.  Listen and then say, “Do you have any plans for this weekend?”  Listen again and then talk about your weekend.  Mention your faith community or faith practice.  Repeat this over weeks and weeks and weeks.  If the person shows any interest invite them to join you.  Tell them you will pick them up or take them out to lunch afterwards.  Evangelism can be a scary word and the idea that we have to go convince people of some truth that we’ve memorized does seem daunting.  Rather the idea of really seeing people, finding out where God has touched their lives, and sharing a piece of our own journey seems easier while at the same time requiring a much deeper commitment and connection than the lecture format ever did.  It also leaves room for us to be transformed and changed by another’s story.  If I’m not coming in with all the answers that creates space for me to learn from the...

A Soft Place to Land

I am tired. I wake up tired. I go to bed tired. I feel like a new parent struggling with insufficient sleep while undertaking a task that is both hugely important and somewhat mundane. Life is full of setting up the house, setting up the ministry, hosting visitors, coordinating play dates, supporting Jeff’s service learning ministry L.A.S.T., hanging at the hospital, and getting lost in Portland. My life has changed radically. I live in a new city in a new style of house (so many steps!) and am doing a new job in a new ministry while supporting my family with a new diagnosis. This is exhilarating on paper and exhausting in practice.Weariness is my normal setting these days. I know this is not sustainable, so I am on the lookout for what one friend called watering stations. What I need is an oasis, a place of cool green and blue in the midst of seemingly endless hot sand. My favorite singer, Kathleen Edwards, has a song that goes: “I’m looking for a soft place to land/ the forest floor/ the palm of your hand” This has become my prayer. I love the idea of taking a nap on God’s giant hand, mostly because I love napping and it seems like a safe and protected space.Now don’t worry too much because I’m finding these spaces of refreshment.  Each day brings oases and soft places, in a coloring book of art deco birds, while my cousin David works out Friday I’m In Love With You on the piano, in the refreshing breeze coming through our open window, in a breakfast out alone,...

Bursts of Light

I have been a new church start pastor now for 6 days.  Oddly I think I was better at it before I officially began.  I’m going to say that moving and sorting out our house are important reasons why I have not been out making connections much this week. The only exception was on fourth of July when many of my neighbors and I bonded as we watched the fireworks at Oaks Park and then dodged the local rockets on the way home.  But that was more of a “Jeez can you believe how close that was!” sort of engagement rather than any sort of connection that would allow for recognition in day light hours not involving patriotic peril. This of course is normal.  It’s not like I was expecting we’d move here and day 2 the new community would be up and running.  This is a time of patience,  we’ve lit the fuse and now we’re waiting.  We’re watching to see if this firework takes off, if it creates a beautiful display that attracts people to come see, or if it’s a dud and only sputters.  We won’t know for a while. I see glimmers that lead me to believe that God is going to put on quite the show here, one that takes a long time not like last year’s fireworks debacle in San Diego where all the fireworks went off at once!  We’re supposed to see bright light after gorgeous colors, after surprising boom.  The first sparkle for me involves our goal to raise $13,000 by June 30, 2014.  Thus far we have pledges (including ours)...