Sunday, July 30, 2006

Sunday Strikeout

Today we made our first attempt to find a church. There are 20 United Methodist churches to choose from in our zip code alone, so we figure we have a good chance at finding one that we like. We haven't church-shopped in a long time, so we were a little wary of the experience this morning.

We chose today's selection because of proximity to our home and worship time. There's a church that's closer, but the worship service is at 10:00 a.m., right in the middle of naptime. We were still a little late to this service, but such is life with an infant.

Although I had a good feeling about this church from the website, we probably won't be going back.

There were some good points. The people were quite friendly, though it probably helps that we were carting around the world's cutest kid. The nursery was passable. We noticed when we picked Joshua up after the service that he had been crying, but it was too crazy to get the story from the attendant (we're guessing he was just tired and fussy). It is a multigenerational church that appears to make a concerted effort to be relevant to the community.

But the pastor. Yikes. He is not the one advertised on their website, so I'm assuming he was just appointed at the beginning of July, although he looks to be at or past the age of retirement, meaning that he may just be there temporarily His sermon was weak, to put it mildly, with either no point or too many, I still can't decide. But the worst was that after the service, as he stood at the door to greet people, he didn't even make eye contact with either Jay or me. He was talking to someone behind us, shook my hand as I stuck it out, and didn't look at me or say a word to me. How welcoming!

We have two more that we're seriously considering, so hopefully next week will be better.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Domestic Engineering

I've decided to hone my domestic skills before Jay goes to work and I'm forced to use them day in and day out. Since I'm the one who'll be using them most, I got to pick out our new appliances. I'm in love with all of them. One of my favorite parts is that the laundry room is right next to the bedroom. No more running up and down stairs to change loads!

And tonight I even cooked dinner. Really. I've recently become enamored with George Stella, a Food Network low-carb chef. I have slowly packed on the pounds since Joshua was born, and am now faced with the choice to start a new wardrobe or start eating better. I lost a good amount of weight using the Atkins diet a few years ago and have decided to go that route again. Stella is an Atkins advocate as well, and has two great cookbooks full of low-carb yummies. Tonight it was turkey stroganoff and those faux mashed potatoes made with cauliflower and cream cheese.

I didn't make any horrible errors, although Jay and Josh sat in the kitchen with me in case I found myself in need of help right away. I don't know that I'll make either recipe again, but at least I know I can manage in a pinch. I have a few more weeks to perfect my new craft.

We'll see how it goes.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Made Our Move

Here's a question for you.

What's more stressful than moving across the country with an 8-month-old?

Give up?

Moving across the country with an 8-month-old and waking up at 2:00 a.m. on move-in day wih the stomach flu. Both ends, baby.

My mom, God love her, had come on Tuesday morning to help me clean the house. We started at 9:00 a.m. and worked until 10:00 p.m. All was quite well until I woke up knowing that I was in trouble. Somehow I made it until 5:30 a.m. alternating visitingthe restroom with nursing Joshua, whose sleep patterns have taken a turn for the worse during the last week. At 5:30 I called my mom, who was staying in the same hotel, different room.

"Hello," she whispered. Although she claimed that she might be up that early, it was obvious that she wasn't.

"I've been vomiting since 2:30."

"What do I need to do?" Not in the tone that really means "What do you want me to do about it," but a sincere inquiry into what I needed her to do.

"Well, you could come to our room whenever you happen to get up and get ready."

She was there in ten minutes. She watched Joshua while Jay showered, and then helped me shower and pack. At 6:00 a.m. I made the executive decision that I would not puke any more, and I made it. Joshua, who had been up since 5:00, was already exhausted and ready for a nap, so while Jay went to the house to wait for the movers, mom loaded Joshua and I into the car and drove us halfway to Memphis and back so that we could sleep.

The rest of the day is a blur. The movers didn't show up until 11:00 a.m. and when they arrived said that they'd have to rent a U-Haul to shuttle stuff up the driveway since their truck wouldn't make it. But they had it all unloaded by 3:30. Somewhere in there mom got Joshua to take a nap by strolling him around the yard and helping him identify the various trees on the property. Jay got the bug, too, and he and I alternated lying down on the bedroom floor (because our bed was just about the last thing to come off the truck), hanging with Joshua, and directing the movers.

When all was unloaded, mom and Jay assembled our bed and Joshua's crib. She left at 5:30 and we all went to bed shortly after. I after a stint in my fabulous whirlpool, which made a world of difference.

We're here.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Aim Low

When we moved from California to Chicago in 2001 we had the brilliant idea to move ourselves. So on moving day, at the crack of dawn, we went to pick up the Penske and commenced to loading up three bedrooms, two and a half baths, one den, one living room, one kitchen, and one garage worth of stuff. We took a break in the middle of the day to go to a farewell lunch given by my colleagues at work and to stop by the realtor's office for last minute paperwork. After all, we were making great progress and it wouldn't take too much longer after lunch before we had everything packed up. And our master plan was to finish loading the truck, put the car on the carrier, and drive the four hours to Vegas where we would spend the night.

We didn't take into account that the last half of the truck goes much more slowly than the first half, since you have to be much more conscious of space constraints. By the time everything was loaded it was 9:00 p.m. and we wanted to just die. So we made one last trip to In-n-Out and drove a whole thirty miles up the road to beautiful Mojave where we promptly found a Motel 6 and crashed. Hard.

This time around we decided to be a little more reasonable. We would wait until the movers had loaded the truck, clean up the house, and drive an hour to Merrillville, IN where we would spend the night. Not too ambitious, but enough to get us a little further down the road. By 4:30, after all tasks were complete, we realized that we would be battling Monday afternoon rush hour in order to make it to our destination. So, we headed to the Holiday Inn Express. At the mall. Less than a mile from home.

We have to start aiming lower.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


On Friday morning I made my final pastoral visit. It was to an older member of the congregation who is in a rehabiltation center after falling and sustaining an injury. No sooner did she go to the rehab center than her husband's health took a turn for the worse. It doesn't look good for him, and she's facing the possibility of being separated from him in his last days. I haven't been very available for pastoral visits since Joshua's birth as I have been tethered to either him or a pump, so I had almost forgotten what a humbling experience it is to sit with someone who is facing the loss of their partner for life. A busy rehab center, with therapists and nurses darting in and out, is transformed into a sacred space. The few minutes we have to cry together become holy time, kairos time. I feel so small in the face of loss so enormous, and realize that only a fool would put themselves in a position to try to bring the word of comfort to someone in such agony. But it isn't about me. It's about her and her husband and God, and I am called only to be fully present to her and her pain, to try to communicate to her somehow that her hurt may be too big for her, and it may be too big for me, but it is not too big for God. If she feels any comfort, any relief, it is only because God is present there with us, creating an opening, so small that we may not even be aware of it, where healing can begin. To say that it is an honor to be there with her is too trite. It is holy. It is sitting in the very presence of God, and there simply are no words.

This morning I preached my final sermon to this congregation. I ditched the lectionary (because when I rebel, I really rebel) and I preached on my hopes for the congregation. Afterwards we had brunch together. There were some things that I wanted to share as people were eating, but it seemed that the time for tears had passed. It seemed that everyone was just too emotionally drained to be dragged into more heart-wrenching moments, so I refrained. Instead I said goodbye to people as they left. Along with brunch was a card shower. I have a huge stack of cards sitting in my backpack. I decided not to open them yet because I am too emotionally drained. I will wait, probably until we get to my grandmother's house on Tuesday, when I can actually sit down and read them carefully.

I have about a million other thoughts running through my head, but I can't seem to articulate them. I'm going to go to bed, but I know I won't sleep. The movers come bright and early tomorrow morning.

And so does a new beginning.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Oh, Dear

My kid can climb stairs.

I'm glad there aren't any in our new place.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Movers and Shakers

In what could have potentially been a close call, we were finally able to hire a mover.

Things looked bleak for awhile. Several companies that Jay called said that they were booked for the days that we wanted to move. Some chucklehead called to follow up on a request for a quote that Jay had submitted online and was not at all interested in providing the service to us. I actually had to finally say, "Then what you're telling me is that I should find another mover." A woman who came to the house to survey the damage so that she could give us a quote finally faxed it to us five days after she said we should expect it.

And then there was Greg. Sweet, sweet Greg. He was from the company that moved us out here last year, a company that does a lot of clergy moves. He was a little confused at first that I wasn't moving to a different parsonage, but he finally clued in. He gave me a quote while he was still here and booked us as soon as he got back to the office so that we could lock in on a cheaper rate, even though we weren't positive we were going to use them yet.

So, we're on. I won't breathe easily until they actually show up next Monday morning with a truck. But at least I'll sleep a little bit better tonight.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

It's Your Birthday, and Not Just Any Day

My husband is old.

Yesterday we celebrated by doing what we can only imagine is what old people with infants do. We went to the outlet mall so that Jay could pick out his birthday present. Then we went to dinner at the restaurant of his choice. Yum.

It was a crazy night. Joshua didn't get to bed until 8:00 p.m.

Happy Birthday, Jay!

Thursday, July 06, 2006


Just a note to say that I'm glad we're not living any closer than we already plan to, to this.

Thanks to Kelly, who will be living closer than we are, God bless her, for the heads up.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

More New Blogging Friends

They just keep popping up everywhere!

Sara over at the Stump In House Report is a good friend from seminary. She has a Joshua, too.

Martha is a former co-worker and now good friend. I got to help her and her husband celebrate their wedding a few weeks ago.

Check 'em out!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Take Me To Another Place

As promised, highlights (and lowlights) from our househunting trip to Tennessee:

First plane ride--We survived our first plane ride with infant in tow. On the way there, he wasn' t the quietest baby on the plane, but he wasn't the loudest. On the way back he was one crashed-out monkey from takeoff to landing. It was a steep learning curve but we seemed to have climbed it.

Lots of barbeque--Mom met us at the airport with Bar-B-Cutie and while in Jackson we dined at Backyard Barbecue and Brooksie's Barn (whose motto should be, "We Can Fry That").

New house--We bought an amazing house with lots of beautiful land.

Will you go out with me?--Jay and I had our first date in 7 months. We went to the Watermark in Nashville, thanks to expert babysitting provided by Gran. We were afraid that we wouldn't know how to have a real conversation with each other, but it came back to us easily enough.

Grandparent love--Joshua got to see both his Pop and his Gran, hopefully for long enough to tide them over until we're there permanently.

The La Quinta Inn--I reserved a two-room suite about a month in advance. We do that whenever possible so that Jay and I can stay up and work while Joshua sleeps (He crashes at about 7:00 p.m.) When we arrived, the gal at the desk looked up our reservation and said, "I see that you've reserved our Ambassador Suite, but that's not available. The party that stayed there last night didn't check out. " She offered a regular room, but heck if they were going to get my money after not honoring a reservation.

No Room in the Inn--After leaving the La Quinta and trying several more places, we were informed that we were there during the Miss Tennessee pageant and there simply were no rooms to be had. We finally got a room at Union at 10:00 p.m. that night.

Face Plant--While waiting at Union to see if they had any rooms available, Joshua was power crawling across the tile floor. It was past his bedtime and his little arms just couldn't take anymore, so he went facedown. Then came the blood. Turns out it was only a little cut on his upper lip, but it bled like stink. He had a fat lip for about a day and then he was fine. I don't like seeing my kid bleed.

Close Call--Twelve hours after we submitted our offer on our new house, another potential buyer also submitted an offer. According to our realtor, the seller had the right to see the new offer before making a final decision to accept ours. Both Jay and I were sick to our stomachs for that hour that we waited to hear back, but the news was good.

Flat Tire--On the way back to Nashville, ten miles from mom's house, we got a flat tire. Oh joy.


Our mission was accomplished, but not without some drama.