In no particular order…

  • I have another new job… well a seventeen month old new job
  • My sister and I went on a road trip
  • and we went to Epcot Food and Wine
  • and I went to visit her again at her new house
  • I barely did any theater
  • I took a seminary class
  • I preached one of the last nights of our departed Evening Vespers service
  • I had minor surgery
  • that let me gain back most of the weight
  • Ryan Bradley won the US Championship
  • Many hours of “So You Think You Can Dance” were watched
  • More youth got confirmed
  • I agreed to help with Youth Sunday School
  • so I am going regularly to the contemporary service at church
  • I cut my hair short
  • I cried my eyes out too many times
  • I took a 12 week Biblical Greek class
  • I put up a half done online dating profile… then took it down
  • I applied for about 20 jobs… got one phone interview and no jobs
  • I finally turned some acquaintances into real friends
  • Visited Lakeland to go to FTC see old friends, waive at FSC, and see my beloved drama teacher get a distinguished career award
  • I got lots of books
  • I nominated myself to be a delegate to General Conference and did not win the vote
  • I saw the first national tour of the Hair revival
  • I spent holidays at home
  • I picked up a bad YouTube watching habit
  • I got asked to speak at next year’s Women’s Retreat
  • I rode lots of roller coasters
  • I went to the PCC reunion
  • I went to my ten year HS reunion
  • I help organize an emergency cold weather shelter for homeless people
  • I got a new car
  • I had a Seder meal at my house
  • and more… can’t decide if that’s a lot or a little
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Luke 11:1-13 NRSV

He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. And do not bring us to the time of trial.” And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.’ And he answers from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.” So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

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Audio MP3: saintpaulsumc.org

My dad worked as a manager at Kmart until I was in middle school.  There is a sweet story that my family tells about a time when my mom took me to see him at the store.  They were having a family festival and were giving out balloons.  My favorite color was brown when I was in preschool, so I’m sure that I had to settle for a red one.  Well sometime after leaving the store and saying goodbye to my dad, my balloon popped.  I’m sure the tears flowed.  Well my mom called my dad at work and asked him to bring home a new balloon for me.  When my dad came home, I saw the balloon in his hand (a red one of course).  I ran up to him and exclaimed, “Daddy, you fixed it!”  To me, he just knew what I needed and he took care of it without me even asking.  I think that God does that for use more times than we can count.  But today’s lesson is about how we ask our heavenly father.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jacksonville Adventure

October 11, 2009

Today I’m at work, and it’s been very quiet (a fact that we will pay for tomorrow), but last weekend I went on a road trip to Jacksonville.  I had been planning to renew my lay speaking certification by taking the required 10 hour class that was offered in Crawfordville about a month ago, but it conflicted with my work schedule.  Most of the classes are offered on two consecutive Saturdays, which does not work with the way my work works :).  So they were offering one more class this year in Jacksonville on Friday night and Saturday all day.  I could go to that and only have to take a few hours off from work instead of a whole day.  They had a spot left in the advanced “You Can Lead Worship Class.”

I left work at 3 on Friday to get there in time for the 6:30 start time.  And I was able to spent my down time that day planning what I could do with my extra time while I was there.   I even considered getting the hotel room for 2 nights so that I could visit the young adult ministry at one of the Big Churches and go to the Fort Caroline National Memorial, but my cheapness won out and I decided that would have to wait until next time.

But here’s what I did get to do.

1.  I went to the class.  It was mediocre to bad, I am sad to say.  And I guess that’s mainly because I did not learn very much.  The content level was only slightly higher than confirmation class.  And the tone was so pessimistic, whining about how no one wants to got to worship service and no one ever listens to what the pastor says.  And things like spending at least a half hour talking about acrostics that have to do with prayer (PUSH= Pray until something happens…groan.)  On the positive side I am encouraged by the number of people seeking leadership development, and how course there are the people in general who are just the best part of the operation: the leaders and the participants, kind and generous and with great stories and testimonies.

2. I decided to skip the provided lunch so that I could go to “Cozy Tea.”  Which was a bit pricey and caused me to be late back to class, but was totally worth it. Best Scone EVER!!!

cozyteajacksonville

3. After class I went to the bank, because they have Compasses in Jacksonville so I was able to make a night deposit. Then I went to the Cupcakery. Read the rest of this entry »

John 6:51-58 NRSV

I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.’

The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ So Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live for ever.’
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I love to cook. I don’t even really remember when I started. It just seems like something that I always did. From mixing up kool-aid to cutting boiled eggs with a safety knife. In middle school I had this signature dish that I got from watching an Italian cooking show on PBS on Saturday mornings. It was called black olive pasta, and was basically black olives tomatoes and garlic sautéed together and served over bowtie pasta. It got rave reviews from my family. And we ate it enough, until we all eventually got sick of it. But you can still find the recipe in the back of one of my mom’s cookbooks, even though I can’t remember the last time we ate it. Read the rest of this entry »

Check out my friend Tyler on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

jimmyfallon

Love the Lion King T-shirt.  I think that this was his senior trip.  Not bad, huh?

So I had this great idea that I’d blog about all the cool/ interesting things that happen to me on Sundays. But I didn’t really follow through and now things are a bit fuzzy as they tend to get over time. I’m going to catch us all up in the next few days and see where we go from there.

The week after Easter was Confirmation Sunday. Did I tell you what I great trip the Confirmation Retreat was? We did the labyrinth and we got to hang out with the girls from Gray Memorial UMC that we car pooled with. And I got to pray for Lydia. Maybe I did tell you. I didn’t go back to look. This was a great class. I did my standard cards for confirmation Sunday and I got to announce their names and to walk them up the aisle after the service. We did not have the regular reception; we had the fundraising lunch for the Nicaragua mission trip. I was not going to go because I was feeling poor and fundraisers are expensive and they were having roasted chicken with bell peppers, yellow rice and coconut cake. But I got an invite from one of the families of the confirmands. So I took them up on the free lunch and a chance to hang out.

After the service we all took pictures in the sanctuary and then we went to over to lunch. By the time we got there, being last, nearly the whole place was filled up and they had not saved enough seats in the reserved section. Joyce found a spare chair all the families sat together but one who had to be moved to some opens spots at a far table. Just because it’s my kind of luck they ended up with one whole empty table and the rest full. They offered me a place there. This was a bit (well a lot) upsetting to me because it just throw me into seventh grade flash backs and feeling stupid because I didn’t even want their pepper chicken anyway. So I went over to find Joyce and see if there was going to be any programming and stay for that then hit the road to Quincy for Tech Week of Sound of Music.

She of course said, “Aren’t you going to eat something? Oh there’s no place to sit.” Well that was it. There, in front of God and my whole church family, I lost it. I’m so private with my feelings, maybe even to an unhealthy level, in fact it’s bugging me a little to write this. But there I was bawling right in the middle of the fellowship hall. Jill (our children’s ministry director) grabbed my hand and we walked over to her office where I could gain some control. I think it was just a wave of overwhelmed-ness and stress and happiness and loneliness and a stupid circumstance. They ended up fitting me in at a table and the chicken was not all that bad. And Joyce told me not to feel bad because she was crying during the benediction and when we where all walking out.

Read Part 1: Easter Sunday

Like I told the Facebook world, I spent most of the day crying on Easter. It was obviously a very emotional day. First think I was up at 6:00 to sing at the sunrise service and that’s enough to make anyone cry (well me.) It was bit chilly but not like it was last year. Singing went fine, we did this kind of old fashioned-y “Easter Anthem.” No, that’s really what it was called, creative right? Joyce preached the sermon for the morning service, and it was great. I think she’s getting to be a really great preacher. I love that she always uses personal stories, it’s really brave and vulnerable, and it really makes the message seem sincere.  She was discribing a scene from a movie to illustrate a point. 

There was little boy in a consentration camp that got assinged to cleaning the commander’s bathroom. One day he stole a used bar of soap and brought it back to his teenaged friend to show it off.   The theft was soon discovered and everyone was called together to be questioned.  Just as the boy was holding his hand out with the soap, his friend snachted it away and yelled out that he had the soap.  He was shot on the spot.

Wow… that got me.  There is just something about sacrificial love.  Someone else taking the blame.  It’s real easy to say “Jesus died for our sin.”  But it’s good to feel it sometimes.

We had bruch of Sam’s pastries and frozen fruit, not quite the Easter spread we get in Pensacola.  But when Cynthia sat on one of the said pastries that almost made up for it.  That kind of made me cry too, with laughter.

For 8:30 service we were in the sactuary.  The theme for Clarke’s sermon was transformation, and we used butterflies to decorate the window sills and we brought in potted plants to the narthex.  During the service we added butterfly garden stakes to the plants… you know like the tranformation had just taken place.  It was very pretty and colorful, but a little less impactful than it could have been because our narthex is a bit cluttered (my hospitality workshop told me that’s not a very welcoming thing.)    That work great for 8:30 but the service was so long that the 9:45 people were already waiting and saw them before the other service let out.

The thing during 8:30 that made me cry was the lady that was sitting next to me in the pew.  We had a bunch of kids, of course, and they were all being cute during the children’s sermon.  But the whole time the lady who was maybe in her late fourties was holding her husband’s hand and weeping.  I don’t know anything more than that, what happened, if she had a loss.  She was just sitting there in pain.  Besides my empathy for her, I just thought about all the other people who feel pain and regret during happy times.

Then I had to teach Sunday School, which was maybe a little too creative.  I took the kids to the 9:45 service to remove the butterflies from the plants, and to watch my friends play in the pickup band that was playing that day.  Then we had our lesson outside, which was a bit challenging and distracting for my little people.  Then we went back to play Easter symbol memory, which is always the biggest hit ever.  They love it.  Cokesbury must be up on their developmentally appropriate materials (I think I want that job) because they always include at least three memory card sets for each unit.

Then I had my Easter Whataburger meal and had a laundry and movie day.  That night was the Tallahassee episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.  Which was just sad in the classic, human interest story way.  You can watch it for yourself.  But that was so sad.

I told my Sunday Schoolers that Easter is the happiest day of the year.  For me it was little crazy too.

The saga continues…

So besides speaking at the rally, I got word at our Wednesday morning research meeting that the choir that was supposed to sing had dropped out. Gloria said that someone had volunteered to contact my choir (Selah) to see if they could do the opening music. I said I’d email around and see, but I didn’t feel too confident as we have trouble finding Sunday mornings in advance that we can all get together, let alone the Monday night coming up in five days none of which was a practice day. To everyone’s delight, Gary responded to my email that very night and agreed to lead some hymns. Over the next two days I got six people to agree, and a few nos (including our director.) So I gave the go ahead, with the proviso that we would need an accompanist as I had not heard from ours yet. Gloria said no problem they had someone lined up to play who could do our pieces, I just needed to get the music to her.

So I made plans to bring the music to her house.  And when I got there things were not ok.  She said that she could not play the music and she seemed a little annoyed to be asked.  “I knew I should have said no.” So at that point I have a commitment to the gig, my members coming and no one to play for us.  And Gloria still thinks that music is something that just happens. “Can you sing accapella, or don’t you all know some songs she knows?”  Well, I guess we have some hymns. So I called the grumpy lady back and we land on Let There be Peace on Earth, This is the Day, and Here, I am Lord. I’ll print the sheet music to If I Had a Hammer and she’d pick up a Methodist hymnal after the 11:00 service.

At pickup rehearsal on Sunday, we found out that our pianist could come, and most all of the members that I had not heard from agreed to come.  Now we are getting somewhere. I had a busy day on Sunday and after doing a skit singing with Selah twice, teaching Sunday School and trying to look for a friend I invited (who didn’t show) I just was hanging out in the sanctuary chatting, and waiting for her to coming.  Well my friend left and I decided to change locations.  Then I saw her sitting up front, apparently since before the end of the service ten minutes ago.  She crabbed at me some more and told me how the arrangement of the song I had printed was not right.  Good night, lady!

Which brings us to the night.  It turned into a comedy of errors.  There were no escape steps from the choir loft that didn’t go right up front, parking was a bear, one of the songs I decide we should sing I forgot had this wordy fast bit and not everyone had their music,  at three minutes till we were going to start the accompanist had not shown up, the projector was shining into the face of the top row, the keyboard that was set up was not full size, the piano was not mic-ed.  We were accosted by cranky pants again, because she apparently had not whined to me enough, asking for our player to stay and to do the closing, I reminded her that I already told her that Lori had to go back to class.  Then we were ready to go.  We could not hear the piano at all from the loft.  So we had to run down so that we could stand by it, and it is wildly out off tune anyway and you can still barely hear that she’s playing.  They through up some mics which I don’t think were even meant to pick up group singing.  By the time we started we only had time for 2 songs instead of the three we had planned for.  No one introduced us we just go.  And it takes a few minutes for the people up front to pick up that something was happening and people in the back never got it and continued with their conversations.

After the singing nine of the people left, and three of us stayed.  Thus ruining the grand plan my SPUMC TEAM fellow leaders had of recruiting people from the choir to start coming to our event.  Well that and the fact that one of the members said it was “the worst singing experience I have ever had.”

Gloria asked us to sing again at the Action in April.  Think I can convince them?

Rally, if you can

March 25, 2009

It’s Rally and Action time again for TEAM. Which means Erin is living outside of her comfort zone. Monday’s Rally brought a whole new set of challenges because now besides just worrying about bringing a bunch of folks, I was all of the sudden part of the program. First I got delegated to speak for my research committee. I am one of three who’s been active with them for the last few months and of the other two one is the chair who’s been giving the talks every time for two years and one of our clergy who happens to work for the City of Tallahassee in the planning department, so he always bows out. So I got to be the one.

I did have the advantage that Gloria (the lead organizer) pretty much wrote my speech. I did tweak it a bit, including rewriting an entire section that I did not think was saying what I wanted it to say. I also had a problem about what our issue actually was, since I was at all those meetings I know that it was thrown together really just to have something to present. The purpose of the rally is to get everyone excited about the issue, and our issue is just frankly not that exciting. I really pushed my committee to work on asking the city to fund a housing advocate, but it just didn’t get off the ground fast enough. And all the stuff that I was working on did not make the cut anyway. So are you ready… it might just be too thrilling for you to handle. We want the city to put out an RFP in order for a CDC to run the Rental Rehabilitation Loan Program. And if you don’t already know what those acronyms are, well it’s too boring to care.

Let me just say that no one was thrilled. It was fine, and I think I did the best that I could but I don’t know how you can really fire people up about grant procedures and contract writing. It’s long been a criticism of our organization that we don’t work on things that are exciting enough, that actually meet our own criteria for what makes a good issue. There’s work to be done there for sure.

We did have the Marching 100 (or 30 of them at least) play some music for us that included a drum roll before I got up to speak. But I think it may have had the opposite effect that they were intending, well on me. The opening speaker was talked about Les Mis, and I know what happens after drum rolls during the French Revolution. Gulp.

I learned about Purim 2 years ago when I was getting ready for Confirmation. Who knew that Esther has her own holiday? (Well Jewish people probably.) I was hoping that the number 200 had some symbolism, but alas. There’s only triangle cookies for Haman’s three cornered hat. Who knew he had a three cornered hat?purim

I made these at home once.  Remember, family?  But they involved too much rolling pin to do again.

I went to Temple with this years confirmands on Friday and it was interesting of course. I think that the last time I went to a Jewish service was for Molly’s confirmation.  It was really a good object lesson for what I’ve learned lately about hospitality.  Feeling welcome takes more than a warm hello.  (Though that’s always a good place to start.)  You have to think about what the whole experience will be like.  And it made me remember what it’s like to be a visitor and particularly one who doesn’t know what’s going on.  I did really enjoy the rabbi’s sermon, which was from a Torah selection in Exodus about what sort of clothes a priest should wear.  I bet you rarely hear a church sermon on that.  Plus he did this whole Project Runway bit.  I think sermons need more bits.