Rainy Day Sun

It’s been raining forever.

Okay, maybe not forever. But it’s been raining, or rainy, or about to rain, for what feels like forever. The world is soggy and humid and grey.

But not the whole world. Because we finally made it to the farmer’s market this week, and look: Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Taste and See, Thankful Hearts

Shape of My Heart

Sometimes, in the face of grief and loss, we don’t know what to say.

This is part of what makes me grateful for the liturgy–for the shape of worship that holds and carries us when we are too tired or too sad to walk alone. I have leaned into the Sunday morning liturgy in times of uncertainty and worry. The funeral liturgy provides this beautiful comfort and strength, too. Last week, we prayed and we sang and we commended a beloved saint into the arms of Jesus. We were sad, but we were comforted and held by those prayers and songs and words.

But liturgy isn’t the only tool in our toolbox. The day before the funeral, I walked into the church kitchen. This is what I found:

jello.jpg

Isn’t it beautiful? There is comfort and strength here, too. We know that there will be orange and strawberry and cherry jello at our funeral lunches. We know that we will be fed.

And, we know that this dark cherry jello with actual cherries in it is the very best. (Pro Tip: If you are the pastor, you might even snag a bowl of this stuff from an empty table. No one at your table will complain about it, because they know you have secured the best jello for them, too.)

best-jello


What’s your comfort food?

1 Comment

Filed under Ministry Matters, Taste and See

Minnesota Nice: Let’s Go Fly a Kite!

kite-flyers

You know how, when you anticipate sharing an experience with your children, you build it up in your mind? You picture the joy on their faces. You imagine the wonder and delight. You think, “This is the stuff memories are made of.”

And then, you actually do that memory-making thing. And most of the time, it doesn’t quite match up with beautiful picture you created in your mind. For example, you definitely did not picture this much weeping and whining and wailing, or this many dollars flying out of your wallet. I have been there, fellow memory-makers. It can be rough.

The upside is, when the vision and the reality do match up, it is even sweeter. Such was the case last weekend, when the Cumings family attended The Fourteenth Annual Prairie Winds Kite Fly!

It sounded whimsical. It sounded magical. It sounded like a fun, inexpensive family outing on a beautiful (and windy) fall day. And guess what? It was. It really was! Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Minnesota Nice

Parenting in Public

 

Corn Valentine

It’s a vegetable Valentine. It is punny. The corn is crushing it, fashion-wise. This Valentine made my day.

 

I vividly remember Zoe’s first day care Valentine’s Day. When I picked her up, there were three or four Valentines in her cubby, with notes from her day care friends. As I looked at each one, I thought, “Holy cow. There are so many ways to fail as a parent.”

It had not occurred to me to make or buy Valentines for Zoe’s friends. This is probably because, on that first day care Valentine’s Day, Zoe was seven and a half months old. I’m sure that the other parents did not think I had failed (and probably had older kids who actually understood the concept and had a Valentine exchange in their own classroom). I know Zoe and the other babies were not at all concerned.

Last year, Sister Claire wanted to be prepared. She got some very cute Valentines for her daughter’s two-year-old class. And then, before she delivered them, she got a note from the school with the news that they don’t do Valentines for that age group. Wait till your kids are older, they said.

These are the hazards of parenting in public. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under All in the Family

O world, I cannot hold thee close enough!

Fall is in the air! We are just on the cusp of this wonderful season, but I wanted to share one of my favorite fallish poems today.

Turns out: I shared it five years ago. So, let’s just turn back the clock and enjoy that post (and some vintage Zoe photos) again, shall we?

Never Done It That Way Before

Today, let’s let Edna St. Vincent Millay (Vincent, to her friends) do the talking.  Zoe, of course, will do the rest.
O world, I cannot hold thee close enough!
   Thy winds, thy wide grey skies!
   Thy mists, that roll and rise!
Thy woods, this autumn day, that ache and sag
And all but cry with colour!   That gaunt crag
To crush!   To lift the lean of that black bluff!
World, World, I cannot get thee close enough!
Long have I known a glory in it all,
         But never knew I this;
         Here such a passion is
As stretcheth me apart,—Lord, I do fear
Thou’st made the world too beautiful this year;
My soul is all but out of me,—let fall
No burning leaf; prithee, let no bird call.
–Edna St. Vincent Millay, “God’s World”
What do you want to hold close this fall?

View original post

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Report, Your Moment of Zoe

Room at the Table

Interior of the Mayfair Ballroom

Do you ever wonder if what you do matters?

It’s such a cliche it’s practically too boring to write about. But we do wonder, don’t we? For me, this is especially true when I preach a sermon at the nursing home. Some people are not interested in listening. Some people are not able to listen and understand. Some people are asleep or on the verge of drifting off. (Pro Tip: At least two out of three of those things are also true on Sunday morning.)

As I preached in Madelia one day last week, it felt almost self-indulgent. Was anyone but me really getting anything out of this sermon? Impossible to tell.

As always, I treasured the parts of the worship service that invited more obvious participation from those gathered. We sang the good old songs –“This is My Father’s World”, “The Old Rugged Cross”–and we prayed the Lord’s Prayer together.

And then, we shared the meal of Holy Communion. Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Ministry Matters

Known and Unknown

Seed packet for Paradise Evergreens

“I can’t do this again,” I said to Mike as I lay on the exam table. “It’s too much responsibility.”

I was 25 weeks pregnant with Leo. We had traveled halfway across the country for a friend’s wedding, and I had a little spotting. I couldn’t remember when I’d last felt the baby move, or at least I thought the baby ought to be moving more. I called the clinic back in Minnesota and they said, as they would say to any pregnant woman halfway across the country, “You should go in.”

So the day after we danced at our friend’s wedding, we took a cab to an unfamiliar hospital. They admitted me, asked me lots of alarming questions about what to do in case we delivered the baby then and there, and did an exam. I was fine and the baby was fine. We were released. We took the bus back to our rental apartment, thankful and relieved.

I loved being pregnant. It was such a blessing and such a gift. But it was also a huge and terrifying responsibility. If something felt weird or seemed off, I was the one who had to decide if it merited a visit to the doctor. I was the one who knew best, and much of the time, I simply didn’t know.

'Mother and Child'

Tuesday night, three-year-old Leo woke up screaming. We noticed he was clutching his stomach. Of course, we thought appendicitis. We called the nurse line, who sent us to the emergency room in Saint James, who sent us to the emergency room in Rochester. It was a long, anxious, exhausting night. Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under All in the Family, Thankful Hearts, Your Moment of Leo