Thursday, September 30, 2010

an end to another 30 days

I can't believe phase two of 30 Days of Biking is over.  Without it, I would not have ridden 50 (49.5) miles today.  I don't think I ever imagined riding that distance and next week I'll be participating in the two day Hilly Hundred ride in Ellettsville.  I'm nervous with a side of  excitement.  We'll see how I'm feeling tomorrow as to what tomorrow's ride will be. I did thoroughly enjoy the plateful of kung po chicken & rice that I devoured post ride.  I love the post ride refueling.

Tomorrow begins another 30 days.  Thanks to so many suggestions, I've decided it'll be 30 days of bringing back writing.  For some reason I'm on this letter b kick, but I really like the idea of writing letters and cards and bringing back snail mail for at least the next 30 days.

Part of my inspiration came from, well, a facebook message, the medium isn't what's important here.  Anyway, last month I received a friend request from a former student from an 8th grade English class.  As we have caught up on life after teaching & the 8th grade, he sent a great message about life for him and also impressions that I left with him just after one year of English.  So the upcoming 30 days will include greetings and letters to friends or notes/letters thanking folks for the ways they have been an influence in my life. 

I think the blogging will continue to some extent, although it may not be every day.  Thanks for following & reading.

Until tomorrow...or whenever...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

being aware of what's really going on...

One more day in the month...and I still do not know what my next 30 days will be. If you have any suggestions, I'm open. 

Had a nice & easy 6 mile ride today.  It was a beautiful afternoon, fall has finally come to Indiana. 

I enjoyed a lovely walk after the ride with someone from church.  Of course our conversation led to stewardship & finances and wondering how to let people know what's going on in our congregation. 
I think we need to be more of a presence in the community, but wonder how to jump on board on things already going on...a conversation that will continue, but in the meantime we realized that the community is aware of our presence.

As I sat in my office today, two folks were trimming shrubs & adding mulch around the church and parsonage.  The local florist owner drove by and said, "Wow! It looks great! I can tell that you all love your church because of all that you do!"  The folks said, "Yes, we do.  Thanks!

This past Saturday we had a clean up day and a woman who has been a return visitor on Sunday mornings came to help out.  We kept thanking her profusely for giving her time and talents that day and she said, "Well, I like a church that does more stuff than just Sundays."

I guess people are noticing what God's doing with us and through us in our community.  Maybe it just takes time to see these things happen and help point them out to those around us.  Baby steps.

Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Great 17 mile ride this afternoon with a few hills that my quads helpfully assisted me with.  They did remind me, however, about yesterday's hills. 

All hills aside, I was passed super closely by two different vehicles today.  One while going around a turn.  I mean, I could have reached out and hit the back of the SUV mid turn. I tried not to tap on the the SUV as I passed it while it was waiting to turn a block later.
The other close call was when the vehicle behind me felt it was necessary to pass even with a car coming upon us from the other direction.  Luckily the road was wide enough. 

Here's the thing though...both of those passes happened in town, on local tiny-ish roads....what's the rush drivers?  Hello?  Really, you need to pass right there and then?  Because when I'm riding on State Highway 50 or 231, the big trucks pass by in the opposite lane...they give so much space, or yield until they can...yet small town, folks who probably have seen me in the grocery store...they're the one's that nearly sideswipe me.  Geesh.  And that's why I wear my helmet...and remain even more alert on the smaller roads. 

Okay, bikermosity rant over. 

I'll save my "Hey, runner...I ride with the traffic and you're supposed to run against it" rant for another day. 

Until tomorrow...

Monday, September 27, 2010

don't go back to rockville

Waste another year...

Today's ride was from Turkey Run State Park to good ol' Rockville.  (Rockville, Indiana, that is...not Rockville, home of the Marching Ram Band, Connecticut.)  It was a good ride.  Some nice straightaways with some nice hills in between.  The ride to Rockville, even with the hills seemed pretty smooth, and when I turned around I realized why.  The return trip the wind was no longer at my back.  Geesh....the straightaways were no longer as nice.  I had forgotten how challenging the wind could be.  Today was a good reminder. 

It was fun riding through Rockville.  I smiled as I passed Rockville Lanes.  I wonder if Rockville, Maryland has a bowling alley with the same name, too. 

I was singing the REM song the whole way through town, to myself of course, because I was already getting interesting looks from the townies.  You think REM has got it right?  I mean, going back?  To me, it's going back to my hometown, which no doubt, helped me shape me into who I am today, but I'm not so sure about going back.  Each time I visit, it is just that.  I love spending time with my family, but I don't have a sense that it is my home any longer.  (That will probably put my parent's at ease, that I'm not moving back in.)  But it's an interesting feeling.  I'm a hoosier now. (wierd, but true.) 
I'm thankful for the friends I've made, for the life transitions I've been through and for those who continue to surround and love me. 

Until tomorrow...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

time's short.

A quick ride in the basement today...I have a lovely loop down there around the drying laundry and the ever growing pile of recyclables.  It was an inside ride due to weather and time restraints with needing to get to a conference this evening.

Looking less forward to the drive in the rain than I am to the conference.

Until tomorrow...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

what's in the bag?

After a morning of church landscaping & clean up, I had a great 17 mile ride, despite the wind.  And again, when in the midst of the cornfields, I am fine talking to myself.  When I hit town, however, people look at me funny when I seem to be in the midst of a conversation.  (Must work on that.)

I did enjoy the Hog Roast this evening.  To recap, I went with two older couples from church. 

We began with a few Budlights straight from the keg...while they are far from my favorite, they did help wash down the bbq pork bits, sliced bbq pork, marinated turkey, beans, mac & cheese, slaw, potato salad & deviled egg.  Not to mention the pudding dessert, cherry delight & an itallian wedding cookie. 

As we were eating a fellow joined us at the table.  He had a small brown paper bag with him.  Everyone at the table was curious.  I just figured it was moonshine.  So we asked, what's in the bag? 
He pointed at his budlight and said something to make this drinkable. 
Still perplexed, we waited for him to open the bag...and when he did, it contained a bottle of Guinness.  I've never really thought about adding it to Budlight from a keg, but apparently it ups the drinkability. 

Later on, sitting around the bonfire, the same fellow, returned to share a fancy schmany tequilla.  He said it was $100 a bottle.  He offered sips to the folks I was with, and they asked if I could try it.  He said, sure.  It was darn good tequilla, very smooth.  I introduced myself & said I liked tequilla, he handed me the cup and said, here.  It was a red beer pong/flip cup filled about 1/4 full.  It made for a relaxing evening.  And then the jello shots arrived... For the record, I was not the one swearing in the truck on the way home, nor did I try to open the truck door with the window switch. 

A good night's sleep awaits. 

Until tomorrow...

Friday, September 24, 2010

$40 a Day

With 6 dollars in my pocket I return home from an interesting adventure to Bloomington. 

The original plan was to head there for a doctor's appointment, a bike ride, lunch and some errands.  That was slightly changed when I realized that my credit card was still at home...where I put it after coming home last night from a night of German food and Polka dancing.  A wonderful evening brought to you by the Rathskeller in Indy and the soothing(?) better yet, rocking, sounds of Brave Combo.  You knew it was going to be a great show when on stage before the show you saw a drum set, guitar, bass guitar, saxophone, clarinet, trumpet & coronet, washboard and two accordions (one being a sparkly blue, bought on sale.)  Jen and I danced a bit and realized we could waltz as an older gentleman danced with each of us during the night.  (For the record, I feel the dancing in my abs today each time I sneeze.)

Needless to say, about halfway to Bloomington today I realized I was without the credit I guess I'll get new sheets next weekend :( 

I had $40 cash and a 1/2 tank of gas...let the adventure begin.
Bonus that I do not have a co-pay at the doctor.

I did remember to take my bike, but not my sneakers...needless to say, I only rode on the paved part of the bike trail.  I think that a dirt trail in flip flops would have been an accident waiting to happen, and I would have missed lunch with my good buds.  

Lunch was at Scholars Inn Bakehouse with Jen & Eric...I love the lox bagel is my favorite.  I know I should try new things...but today was a comfort food day.  Now down $11, needed to figure out how the rest of the day would work.  I had planned on getting ingredients for the chicken gnocchi soup I had last week, but nixed that idea and got Aver's take and bake pizza for supper tonight, instead.  (The house smells awesome right now.) Another $14 spent. (& $1 that I put in the local food pantry donation box.)

$14 left in hand...thinking I should save $10 for gas, just in case...

But I got distracted on the way home by the thrift shop.  I spent $3 on albums by Simon & Garfunkel, Queen, Three Dog Night, and a compilation 2 album collection of rock hits. 

I stopped at the gas station and realized that the light was not on, and just $5 would get me back home safe & sound. Which it did, so now I'm going to go put my credit card back in my wallet & have some pizza for supper...and maybe walk to DQ and splurge on a medium size blizzard!  We'll see.

Until tomorrow...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

to vest or not to vest

At least today's ride was outside.  It was running errands around town before the temp reached 95.  It was tough, because sleep has been my friend lately.  The best sleep being just before the alarm goes off as well as the 9 minutes I get between each slam of the snooze button.  So, when you get up at 8 and have some coffee and surf the interwebs for a bit, by 9am it's already 80 degrees and rising.  I guess that's fall in southern Indiana.  It's going to be another straight from summer to winter years...ugh.  Oh how I miss fall in New England, the cooler days, the crisp nights and the beautiful leaves. 

I did get my sermon written this morning a bonus, since tomorrow is my day off and Saturday we have a Work/Clean-up Day at church.  My Sunday morning specials are often a hit, but I panic when the alarm goes of at 5am on Sunday and think oh crap...need to finish that sermon. 

On my nursing home visit today I chatted with the community choir director.  The group is called the Marco Singers.  (Not an ethnic group at all...just the singers in Martin County.) Rehearsals have begun for our Christmas Cantata.  I have a solo, but can't remember the name of the program.  Usually, we dress in red tops and black pants to look all Christmasy.   Since we'll be singing lots of carols, the director thought it would be fun & cute to dress as carolers.  She found and nearly ordered the following vests:

She was on the phone with the order person and said, I don't know how to ask you this...but does that have .... umm.... cleavage?  And the clerk said, you bet it does!  And the director replied...we sing in churches!!!!

Needless to say, we are still working on our outfits.  Have I told you how much I love small town America? I think we'd get a good crowd if we did wear the vests, I'm just sayin...

Until tomorrow...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

a good sign or a mess?

So first an admission...riding your bike in the house may cause injury.  I wasn't feeling too well today, even after a solid night's sleep (which isn't a good sign) so I thought, instead of another ride in the 95 degree heat with a permeating smell of fresh manure on the fields, I took a spin in the house.  I, um, bumped my fingers on the kitchen first injury in 30 Days of Biking.  Oops.  I hope I feel better tomorrow, because I'm itchin for a longer ride. 

I wasn't the only one who was a little tired a Bible Study this evening, but we had some good conversation at the end.

When I arrived at church, the sun hit the glass doors down at just the right angle.  Just below the handles, the long bars across the middle of the door are a series of little hand prints.  Clearly the handles are a little high for the younger ones in our congregation...but that doesn't stop them from pushing the doors open and bringing the gospel into the community.  I guess, though, it's all a matter of perspective.  Because you can also look at the doors and wonder when the windows are going to be clean...I guess you can you decide what you see...

Last night at dinner I heard an interesting comment. "Oh...a screaming kid...that's my least favorite sound, especially when it's a blood curdling scream and that usually comes out of a baby, so I guess I don't really like babies either." 
Not that the sound of babies crying is my favorite noise, but wow, after visiting with Jillian at Riley...hearing her cry was a sign that she had the lungs and voice to cry out when she was uncomfortable.   Perhaps this is a sign that my baby-phobia is fading.  Perhaps I am just thankful for all the kiddos in the world who are healthy enough to cry and who are allowed to just be kids.  I continue to pray for those who are not fully healthy, like Jillian & Kenley, for their families and for those who love them.

Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

last day of summer...

It was a late night, so I slept in this morning....unfortunately I missed the coolest part of the day for the ride.  So I enjoyed an easy 5 miles in 95 degrees this afternoon.  You know it's hot when the ice in your water bottle melts in less than 15 minutes....  I will ride first thing tomorrow.  Apparently we're having a heatwave.  Just a few more days in the 90s, then it may cool down.  I bought a new pump for the tires today...the brand is Joe Blow. (You can't make this stuff up.) Needless to say it was a smooth ride as the tires were perfectly full. 

I always enjoy a good lunch followed by text study with my colleagues.  One of our topics of discussion was about the upcoming Hilly Hundred Ride.  There is a costume contest as part of the ride.  So, I'm accepting suggestions for a bike friendly costume for the ride. 
Things to keep in mind:
I'm riding a road bike for 2 days.
I will be wearing a helmet. 
Beware the chain and gears.

Here are some suggestions from lunch:
Mrs. Gulch (from the Wizard of Oz)
Any Harry Potter character on a broom playing Quidditch. 
Elliot - from ET - all I need is a red hoodie, and an ET to put in a basket on the front of my bike. (I think there is one at my parent's house, ET that is...I've already got the red hoodie)
A I could have dry ice giving off spray :)
Wearing a sympathy belly and a shirt that says 'Have you seen my daddy?'

I have not decided on an outfit yet...all suggestions are welcome. 

In other news, this season of Glee is already rockin.  and Sons of Anarchy...kicked butt with a cameo by Stephen King...who 'took care of the body'.  :)

Until tomorrow...

Monday, September 20, 2010

them's fightin words!

Today's verse in my Sojourner's Verse & Voice was this one:

[Jesus] called a child, whom he put among them, and said, "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me." - Matthew 18:2-5

I visited Kenley and her family today and Kenley had this to say, "I am a cancer fighter!" 
Seeing kids that are sick just tears at my heart and my sister's too.  She's running her first marathon next Saturday with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Team in Training.  She'll be running in honor of Kenley.  (Thanks, LK!)
To support her team and more research click here: Laura's Team in Training Page 

Until tomorrow...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

bears and prayers

It was a last minute ride this evening...around the church parking lot.  My only company was the feral cats.  They were cute, and I'm glad none of the black ones crossed my path. 

I always get worried when the phone rings on a Sunday morning...rarely is it someone who cannot come to church ;) This morning's call was from a woman whose 3 year-old granddaughter was just diagnosed with leukemia this morning.  Ugh.  The little girl was admitted to Riley Children's Hospital early this morning, has already had a blood transfusion and awaits bone marrow work tomorrow.  Our congregation makes teddy bears to give to children at Riley...and once a year we get the completed bears and bless them before sending them up.  This morning, as part of the children's message, I invited the kids to the middle of the sanctuary and they held the bear and the rest of the congregation laid hands on us as we all blessed the bear sending our prayers for Kenley, her family, and all who love her.  So many times in worship we speak, pray, or sing in unison...and the voices are all together.  But as we blessed the bear (in true children's message fashion) I said a line, and everyone repeated after me.  The voices were so in sync and so strong.  There was some sense of urgency and concern coming from the congregation that at this moment, today...all that we could do for Kenley was pray for her.  I'm sure there will be times in the future that will allow more hands on ways to show our love and support for the family, but today it was prayer.  An amazingly, powerful experience. 

We are not at a point where we celebrate communion weekly, but today was a communion service...which was the physical reminder of all that God has done for us, with all that we've been through. 

After a wonderfully busy weekend with very little sleep, in combination with an emotional morning, I took a solid 2 hour nap this afternoon.  I remember dreaming, that's how out I was. 

Here's hoping I'm ready for the rest of the week.  While I would love to see who is the better 'Manning'...I may just have an early night. 

Until tomorrow...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

2000 words...or so...

On 4 1/2 hours sleep....I have managed to make it through a pretty amazing day. 
It began with a fun wake up call/morning conversation. 
Followed by a quick morning ride:

It did not cure the hangover...but it did make me forget about it momentarily :)

Then there was lots and lots of time in the car.  From Indianapolis....through Loogootee and Stendal with the final destination being Bowling Green, Kentucky.  Where a good time was had by all watching IU beat Western Kentucky!  Go IU!

We had great seats, in the shade for the whole game! (bonus)  Good times!

And a blog post just before midnight.

Until tomorrow...

Friday, September 17, 2010

old friends...

Just finished a beautiful 13 mile ride with my friend Connie.  She introduced me to sprints on a bike...yup, I've done them running before, but not on wheels.  Interesting....still debating how much I *love* them.

Other adventures from today include a wonderful visit with my friend Heather and her beautiful daughter Jillian.  Jillian is currently at Riley Children's Hospital and we eagerly await for her to be home with mom and dad.  But it was ever so wonderful to sit and reconnect with Heather.  It's been over a year since we've sat and talked, but it was like no time had passed at all.  She is a dear friend and wonderful mother.  Hopefully our next visit will be sooner than next year!  (ps...It was great to see her hubby Wade on Saturday, which was the reminder that I needed to come up and see her & Jillian.)

So my deep insight for embrace and continue to kindle relationships of all sorts.  For the case of me, today it's is worth it to drive and see them, or call them to talk...but take the time to do so.  I didn't want the time in the hospital room to end...just as I didn't want the ride to end...but luckily time with Connie will continue as we go out on the town. :)

Until tomorrow...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

feeling yesterday's ride

I woke up and the weight of my legs said, hey, remember riding 20 miles, yesterday?  We do! 
It was a good feeling...even though I was pretty tired.  So my morning outside was a brisk walk around town.  Not a bad way to start the day, especially with the wind gusts. 

The fun part of the day was choosing my new hair length and color. :)  A shorter cut, with sass, and red color.  I love it! 

The ride today was to show of the new do.  It was well received by the folks who saw it.  I did stop in and see some folks and the combination of the walk, the short ride and then a set of stairs and *that's* when my legs really had something to say.  Looking forward to a ride with a friend tomorrow.

I had an excellent dinner with a dear friend this evening.  It is always a blessing to connect with friends, share worries, anxieties, joys and celebrations...and with tasty pizza at Bobe's no less.

And the day ended with the season premiere of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  It was definitely obvious that Coors Light is the official beer of Sunny, but that has not tamed the show one bit.  :)

Until tomorrow...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

a new friend

"Guess what?" Is something I always ask one of my which she met someone!!!!  (She is always eager for me to be dating someone. I think deep down there is a hope that I will get married and stay in Loogootee forever...)
But seriously, I should have asked that parishioner that question today, because, yes I did meet someone.  Not a dating prospect, but someone who likes to ride.  On part of my 20 mile ride this morning, a motorcycle passed and the rider gave a wave.  I thought, oh, that's nice.  Later in my ride, I hear a vehicle slowing up behind me, which when I do not see any oncoming traffic, I get nervous...I turn and it's the guy on the motorcycle.

We chat for a while about riding and the Hilly Hundred (he and his girlfriend are riding this year).  I tell him I know I'll be ready for it, but I'm not going to race it.  He shares his experience from the first year, that he took off racing through the first day and most of the second.  He got to the final SAG stop and had some chicken and started listening to the live music and he realized, man, I've done this all wrong...Since then, he's done the course at a more relaxed pace.  Nice guy...he passed me one more time...asked how  far I was going and seemed impressed at my distance.  Now I'm thinking, small town...I've definitely been on rides where I've seen the same vehicle several times...but woah, I wish I had the job (retirement?) where I could just ride my motorcycle in and around town for a few hours on a beautiful Wednesday morning.

So yesterday I was thinking about patience....and today I visited a woman in the hospital who fell off a ladder last week.  She shattered one heel, broke the other and has one broken wrist.  She won't be walking until at least one heel heals.  She said, maybe this is to teach me patience...huh, I said, something I need to learn too. I can't imagine

Thanks God, for examples today of where you are in the presence of people's lives.  Thanks, too, for the reminder that life is a long journey....with ups and downs, just like today's ride, where some days I'll be the one wearing or eating the bugs...and other days I'll be the bug.  Where sometimes I just completely feel and share God's grace with others...and days I think I know who should and shouldn't get it.  Well, that's me - simultaneously sinner & saint. 

Oh...I finished a crazy psychological thriller today, The Doctor's Wife by Elizabeth Brundage. fact, I didn't ride this morning until after I finished it.  I forgot how much I loved to read....I guess I'll be hitting the stacks of books I've owned but just haven't read.  Next up, a read and pass on copy of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  If you want it next, let me know.

Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

pastor watches sons of anarchy, news at 11.

And the rides are getting better.  14 miles this morning, granted I have many more miles to add, I pushed harder today and it felt great!  While the days this week have been in the upper 80s the mornings have been perfect for riding.  It gives me hope for the next few weeks and longer rides...

So, I'm sitting here, watching Sons of Anarchy, checking my email...and now blogging...and I get the following in an email.  "I'm looking to meet someone a little less devoted to, I hope that doesn't sound as bad as it appears." 
Well, it doesn't sound that bad.  Perhaps I am a little devoted to church.  Well, it is my job...and my faith...and a big part of my life.  I just think that there is more to me than just my role as pastor.  I am called to ordained ministry, even though it took me a while to hear that call and respond to it.  I just think that that is part of who I am in the real world, too...but not all of who I am.  I mean I'm not out there bashing people over the head with a Bible...but my faith life is who I am.  Last week at the bar someone said, "You're a pastor and you watch (It's Always)'re well rounded."  I know I'm well rounded...and am one sassy preacher...I just wish people could take the time to get to know that about me. 

It's that continual struggle...knowing that I do not *need* someone to be with me or to make me 'complete'. I just believe that God calls us to be in relationships.   But as my dear friend asked me this evening, why are these relationships so difficult?!?!  Well, good question.  I know I need to learn patience...and apparently these things happen when you're not looking, or when you least expect it. 

Ah...another part of my life is out of my hands.  That's nothing new, I just need to remember to let go.  Give it up to God and not try to achieve or reach for things that I think will complete me according to my plan.  Much easier said than done.  For those of you in a similar struggle, know that you're not alone. 

Until tomorrow...

Monday, September 13, 2010

oh deer.

Best ride in weeks! I'm sure it helped a little that I slept in and that there was still a chill in the air even though the sun had been up for a while, but there was something different about today's ride.  Even with the Hilly Hundred less than a month away, I have had a hard time getting jazzed for longer, tougher rides.  I was lacking the oomph, the desire, the drive... and today I realized why. 

From distance running to distance riding I have always enjoyed exercising on my own.  I have a chance to pray, think, reflect, yell, cry, scream and just let the mind wander.  The past few weeks I have spent that time alone thinking about recent losses.  I spent my rides hashing and re-hashing conversations that happened and conversations that I wish had happened.  My mind would take over and try to change the past and I would just get frustrated.  With the frustration I would lack the energy to even bike around town.  It seemed like more of a chore than a joy.  Luckily, my pact with 30 Days of Biking helped me at least get on the bike every day. 

I let my mind go in new directions today...instead of what if...I thought what comes next?  I changed my thoughts/ideas/fantasies (can I write that? anyone else fantasize on the bike? nothing that isn't PG or anything, you know, just let your mind go...i digress) to think about the think about what God had in store for me for the day, let alone the weeks and years ahead.  What new doors has God opened up for me, just waiting for me to walk in...I've not been ready to move forward because I've been looking, longingly backwards. 

I'm so thankful that God is much more patient than I am.  God has been waiting, and will wait, calling, encouraging and eventually pushing me to go in a new direction. 

One of the other surprises on today's ride was the company.  As I made it up a gentle hill, one I've been up many times before I heard some noise to my right.  To my surprise there were three deer having breakfast at a few apple trees.  Two of them stood still but the other ran up the yard along the road, albeit faster than me, and it ran across the road several feet ahead of me.  I've never heard them clop across the road before.  Fun.  

Until tomorrow...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Surprises around every corner...

It was my first protein ride of the season.  The sunglasses kept the bugs out of my eyes but I should ride with my mouth closed because I dislike bugs in my teeth.  I did get some enthusiastic waves from people I did not know.  But it's a small town, so they're all friendly, right?  Maybe they read last month's article in the paper about the pastor who rides her bike around town and that's how they know me.  Oh, and I saw a sweet sun dog. :)

Rally Day went well this morning.  Teachers were installed and the kiddos had fun searching the sanctuary for the lost pez dispenser.  Good times.  Heard a wonderful Temple Talk about stewardship from one of our high school youth.  She shared how the church had given to her through different experiences through the generosity of members of the congregation.  It was a wonderful talk: heartfelt and well-spoken.  I love the little blessings that God graces us with.

This afternoon was too much fun.  Attending the demolition derby at the local Turkey Trot Festival in Montgomery.  I'm a bit sunburnt...but had a blast playing Redneck Bingo with my friend. 
I think you need to get 5 in a row.  These are the spaces we covered:

1) Mullet: This was like a rat tail gone awry.
2) Mother of the Year: She had the stroller next to the fence at the derby, smoking a cigarette, and changing his diaper on the lawn in front of the bleachers.
3) Physical Contact: We got hit with chunks of dirt from the derby.
4) Physical Contact Part 2: My friend was kissed on the cheek by a drunk guy at 3 in the afternoon. (His beer was in a koozy...does that count for 2 spaces?)
5) I guess we could go with a free space, BUT, I think the final space goes to knowing some of the derby drivers...the car was 9 Toe...driven by a man with, you guessed it, 9 Toes.  (Lawnmower accident, true story...I heard it while looking at the 9 remaining toes one day....)


That win, mind you, does not include the Jumbo Corn Dogs that we each got at the end of the day.  Covering the mandatory 'fat food' eating.  It was a dog and a half, hand dipped!

I don't think this picture does it justice.  It was huge. 

I'm not excited about the sunburn...but it's just one more way to remember this stellar day.

Until tomorrow...

Saturday, September 11, 2010


"GO now, what are you waiting seriously, GO!" 
That was the message from Bishop Mark Hanson today as he preached the gospel during the installation service for I-K Synod Bishop Bill Gafkjen.  He actually said that...and then sat down.  Leaving us to look awkwardly at one another...debating actually leaving...then he got up and continued to preach. 
The two questions that stuck with me were:
What's keeping you from going?  and Why do you go? 

What keeps me from going out there?  Why, knowing that I'm completely equipped for I afraid to go!  I think that's a question that underlies my ongoing discernment in both vocation and in life.  Where is God calling me to serve?  When do I know that I'm being called someplace different?  Is it my own feelings & struggles or is it the Holy Spirit stirring within..calling...pulling...tugging? 
In life, or more specifically in relationships, where and how am I being called?  I guess I'm strong enough to live and love and lose...but sometimes it hurts...I know God is present, but I still wonder what God is teaching me through these experiences.  (I know, be patient....) What keeps me from going out there?  I'm afraid of being hurt, not being loved, not being ready for changes, new responsibilities...or am I still trying to figure out if it's me that wants the change, or is it God calling for change?  Anybody else have these questions? 

Sometimes I go...because I feel daring, full of life & adventure and I'm ready for anything...and I feel God's presence and support, knowing God's got my back.  I know I shouldn't have doubts...but sometimes I'm unaware (not unaware, just so full of myself, my own worries and anxieties) of the strength that comes from God, promised to me through baptism....that will never ever leave me. 

So funny in hindsight, to think about listening to the song Should I stay or should I go" on the way to the installation service.  I asked a pastor once, is discernment something that is constantly a part of your life? He smiled and said....well....
I guess for me it is a constant thing...that I just need to continue listening to. 

Speaking of going...I had the hardest time getting on my bike today.  I just didn't have the oomph to get going.  (FYI... oomph is the correct spelling - no red misspelling line underneath) After a long drive to and from the installation, with a woman from church, I just wanted to kick back this evening.  I thought...I don't have the drive to seriously ride today...and if I can't get a strong ride in for the Hilly Hundred, then why even ride?  So I'm thankful yet again for the pact of 30 Days of Biking.  I would not have pulled the bike out, even for a ride around town, without that promise that I would ride every day this month.  So, phew, thanks for that.  Now I really need to get focused on training for the Hilly.  Because it's less than a month away and I'm getting nervous.  

Other loves from today's ride: 
The smell of people grilling out. 
The conversations on the porches as I ride by. 
The sound of children laughing.
The waves I get from the kiddos playing outside. 

And if you needed some music to go along with this post:
Indigo Girls: Go

Until tomorrow...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Butt Drugs

I need to wear my I heart Butt Drugs shirt more often.  It was perfect with a pair of jeans for this afternoon's ride.  I was a little tuckered out today...late night, early morning and a funeral to attend. 

After that I stomped around the local thrift shops and now have a new set of dishes :) 

 And then it was an impromptu visit to my friend G's house...which included a new set of clothes, a pile of records...and yes...a record player.  (score)  Now I need a shirt that says, I heart vinyl.  I told three people about thought it was great and the other two just kind of gave me silly looks...apparently vinyl isn't the latest thing...but it's one of the greats.  Now I need a place to store my albums.  I am enjoying the crackle that goes along with American in Paris. 

Looking forward to a tasty supper of pizza with a side of Oliver Shiraz & a movie.  I don't think the picture does it justice.  A homemade crust with homemade sauce, sauteed onions, peppers & mushrooms.  Topped as it came out of the oven with basil from the garden. 

Oh, I suppose I should give credit where credit is due for the whole Butt Drugs thing.  It is a locally owned and operated drug store in Historic Corydon, Indiana.  Here's a link to a video that they made...I guess they are truly claiming the name. 

You Tube Butt Drug Commercial

If you're ever in the area, you should totally stop in.  Free parking, in the rear.

Until tomorrow...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

wrestling & sushi

Another day, another ride.  Did the same loop this morning as I did yesterday and today it was much better! Phew.  I'm working on finding that riding groove, which I love so dearly.  I can say, too, that I had a wonderful interaction at a green light.  I signaled to go right (and had the right of way) and the car across from me was signaling to go left.  I always look all directions when I come to a green traffic light, and the car across the way say me and waved me on.  A good moment.

I wrestled with sermon texts today...caught between the theme of stewardship this month and the possible burning of copies of the Qur'an this Saturday....puts one in an interesting position.  While there are some ideas put to paper and it seems to flow...who knows what the next few days will bring.  On Saturday, I'm looking forward to attending the installation service of the new Bishop of our synod, so I'll be blessed to worship with colleagues with Bishop Mark Hanson preaching and presiding.  Should be a wonderful service. 

I'm looking forward to dinner with a good friend tonight.  I am looking forward to having sushi :)  And then I will continue my quest to eat/drink locally this week, as all Hoosiers have been encouraged to do, by having a brew at Upland.  Last night's tasty supper included potatoes from the co-op in Bloomington, so they were local.  The rest of my week I have been supporting local breweries or wineries, surprise, surprise. 

If there is any breaking news in B-town tonight, I'll post again later. 

Until tomorrow...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

cycling for curry

This morning's ride was ROUGH. I did a different, longer loop with more hills. With the Hilly Hundred in a month, I need to increase my inclines in my rides. And today I felt it. After the first of what I had planned on being 3 loops, I was BEAT. I realized there was something missing. For the first time in a while, I haven't had the emotional fuel behind my ride. Whereas other recent rides have been fueled by grief and loss I experienced over the past few weeks, this ride was different. The frustration and anger I have been feeling were not as strong as they have been. It was nice, emotionally, but physically I need more training for my ride next month.
When I have a goal, it's easier for me to work toward it, so that will fuel tomorrow's ride...and the training for the rest of the month.

With the limbo in my life mellowing out, I also had time to tackle some more rooms in the house. My friend G paused when she walked into the house today, stunned by the different tone she felt due to the fact that my home is much more organized than it was last week. I feel a sense of peace and quiet in my home, which also has toned down the more fiery emotions.

Another joy I have reclaimed time and space for cooking. Tonight's dinner was coconut chicken curry.

Here's an attempt to turn the creation into a recipe:

1 lb chicken breasts sliced into thin strips
A handful of new potatoes, cut into bite size pieces
1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 can bamboo shoots, drained
2 cans coconut milk
cayenne pepper
salt & pepper to taste
sugar to taste
fresh basil, shredded
extra virgin olive oil
jasmine rice

1) In large saute pan, heat evoo over medium high heat & cook chicken strips. (I cooked them without browning them to imitate chicken I've had in curries before.)

2) When chicken is no longer pink, add peppers, potatoes, spices, and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover & simmer for 10 minutes.

3) This is a great time to start your rice. (Mine boiled over many times...still working on that rice cooking skill before I apply for Top Chef.)

4) After 10 minutes of simmering, add the bamboo shoots, stir & taste. At this point I added a some sugar, to sweeten the coconut, and a few splashes of hot sauce. (Note to self, add more cayenne earlier.) Cook for another 5 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Stir in basil & remove from heat.

5) Serve with jasmine rice. Enjoy. :)

Additional notes: I could really smell the coconut, but wanted to enhance the flavor. My friend G recommended adding some tamari to enhance the flavor. I may need to practice seasoning different elements while cooking.

Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

sing it out

So thankful for rides first thing in the morning.
The weather was perfect, albeit a bit windy, but a great way to start the day. It made the burger and jalpeno poppers I had for lunch totally worth it. 15 miles sure makes you hungry. Tomorrow the goal is 20+.

The following was in my verse and voice email from Sojourners today:
"The blues are like spirituals, almost sacred. When we sing blues, we’re singing out our hearts, we’re singing out our feelings. Maybe we’re hurt and just can’t answer back, then we sing or maybe even hum the blues. When I sing ... what I’m doing is letting my soul out." - Alberta Hunter, American blues singer

I wonder what it means for me singing aloud in my truck everyday. Because my song of choice this week is "Gives you hell". I guess there are still some emotions from last week's multiple losses that I am still trying to work out. Hopefully folks in town are okay with the local preacher having a sore throat due to my lovely rendition of the Glee version of this song. (Just imagine my karaoke debut!) Well, whatever feelings I'm singing out, better out than in. Perhaps I should start listening to the blues...

Until tomorrow...

Monday, September 6, 2010


I did lots of riding today, only a tiny bit on the bike, though.

Most of the riding was at Holiday World with my good friend, Jen. We always enjoy checking out the body piercings and body art...We rode a boatload of water rides. The best part was Pilgrim's Plunge, as we went down the 131 foot drop at a 45 degree angle...I did it with my arms in the air. A first for me. I often talk about the movement of the Holy Spirit and I use roller coaster imagery. How we don't know where the Spirit is going to take us, and it may take us places we do not want to go, but we shouldn't fight it. We should just let go and enjoy the ride. I suppose I've been using that image unfairly, as I normally hang on tight during the drops and turns. Well, not today. I just let go. And normally, I hold my breath on the drops. Well, not today...the arms were up with a scream of was freeing, energizing. I was able to let go on so many levels.

Many of the rest of the rides we were actually required to hold on...but that's okay too, since we were in the dark for some and backwards for others. So a great big thanks to Jen who helped me 'let go' of emotional stuff, trying to change the past, and concerns about the future. (Well, at least for a day)

My bike ride was a short one. I rode to the post office. Yes, I know it is around the corner from my house. I did ride around the block once before getting there. And yes, I'm aware it is a holiday, but I had to check the church box.

The day at the theme park for someone who fears steep drops, enclosed areas, and isn't the biggest fan of big crowds, was exhausting. But it was truly a sabbath break from work - for body, mind and soul :)

Ready for a cold beverage and adventuring (in my recliner) with No Reservations.

Until tomorrow...

Sunday, September 5, 2010


What an interesting day.

First of all, I'm two for two for sleeping through the night. You'd think I was a newborn...With the AC off and the windows open, it was almost too chilly to get out from under the covers.

The chill in the air also meant riding in leggings and a fleece - I love fall! The sun was up while I was on my second 6 mile loop before church. I love how the landscape changes as the sun comes up. And in the early morning the cows just watch you pass by, while they chew their breakfast or their cud.

While I wasn't too ecstatic about my sermon for today, I went off script at the end and that seemed to bring it together for me. I was able to talk about the abundance of God's gifts in our lives with the example of all the people who had supported a family this past week as they lost a loved one. I sometimes forget that we need to point out and name God in the actions we see everyday. God has been and continues to be present in our everyday lives, it just takes an extra effort to name it.

The reclaiming of the house continued today as the kitchen was tackled.

I also have taken to playing Ambush with my cat, Marley.
She runs at me and lunges at my leg....and I chase her. Then I sneak around the house to surprise her. I got her to do the scary cat thing (hunched back & puffy tail) once and she made me scream once.
The score at the end of this round: Jen 1, Marley 1.

And speaking of cats: This made me laugh out loud and sing:

Until tomorrow...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

reclaiming house & nails

Today's ride was not so long. It seems that I spent much of the day cleaning the house and hanging laundry on the line. It was a beautiful day for it. Multiple loads dried in the wind and sun.

It was a day to reclaim the house from dust, piles of laundry and stuff from vacation two weeks ago!

Not to mention a scrumptious brunch of homemade whole wheat blueberry pancakes with locally made male syrup! Super yum! I did not have any champagne in the house, so I had a mockmosa (ginger ale & oj) still just as fun in a fancy wine glass.

Finally by 4pm I realized I should get out of the house. It was a shorter ride just out of town and back so I could get home in time and cleaned up and make it to 5:30 worship.

I'm glad I opted for the shorter ride, because I needed to sing, pray and share bread & wine. This past week I have been surrounded by God through family and friends. It was wonderful to hear the gospel proclaimed by a dear friend and colleague. It is truly a blessing to be surrounded by sisters and brothers in Christ and to hear that community in Christ strengthens us and supports us in our life and faith journey.

With the sermon done for tomorrow...I'm planning on a ride before church.

In other news, my fortune from dinner told me to be spontaneous, so my fingernails now match my 'beautiful berry' toenails.

Until tomorrow...

Friday, September 3, 2010

writing and riding

This is my monthly submission for the weekly paper in town:

You Are Never Alone

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

Sometimes I just need to be reminded that it’s just not all up to me. Do you ever need that gentle reminder? You know, you’re going through life, day to day, just trying to get through the day. I tend to think that I can tackle everything on my own. That is definitely not the case.

This past week my life has been a roller coaster ride. I have lifted my arms up and screamed with joy as I hit the high peaks and have felt the lowest lows, which seem like hitting rock bottom. I think the roller coaster feeling was more intense this past week for me because of the loss of a loved one. We have all faced death and loss at different times in our lives, but when the grief hits us, it just takes over. A good friend of mine put it this way, “Grief amplifies everything. Good feels great and hard feels horrid.” The highs seem so much higher and the lows feel absolutely terrible.

Grief seems to knock us off our foundation. It swoops in, whenever it feels like it, like an unwanted houseguest. It pays no mind to you, or your day, or your schedule. It comes in and just takes over. I think grief reminds us of our humanity. As we think about the loss of a loved one, or the loss in a broken relationship, we realize how truly humble we are. There are things in this world, in this life that we just cannot handle on our own. When that is the case we turn to someone, something bigger and stronger than we are.

We turn and lean on the strength and hope found in the Lord. Only God truly knows what is in our hearts and the struggles and hardships we face. God is acting in our lives and shines through us when we are at our lowest low. The ability we have to get out of bed on those rough days is given to us by God, God wakes us, lifts us up, and gives us the strength to make it through the day.

Yet sometimes when we are so wrapped up in grief and loss it is hard to see that foundation. It is those times that we give thanks for the sister and brothers in Christ who surround us. When we are too weak to get up, they lift us. When we need a shoulder to cry on, they are there. And when things can’t seem to get any worse, when we begin to wonder about God or question our faith, those around us hold the faith for us. God surrounds us in the presence of friends, family, neighbors and strangers. When we feel weak and even question our faith, because we cannot see the bigger picture, these people believe for us.

No matter how alone you feel, God continues to walk with you and gently carries your heart in his hands. Know that whatever life changes you face, God is with you.


This afternoon I rode on paved and unpaved trails around Bloomington for over an hour & a half. The weather was beautiful and the leaves were some points I could only hear the wind whipping by my ears and the leaves crunching under the tires. It was a great ride.

I think my face is windburnt.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

New Biking Outfit

Day 2: 30 Days of Biking

With a late night, and not much sleep, I did not get a ride in before my meeting today.  But afterward I figured I would just take a quick ride to the store to get a loaf of bread, a container of milk, and a stick of buttah.  (Actually just a loaf of bread, cream cheese & the weekly paper)

I thought to myself, huh, getting more looks today on the bike than I normally do.  Maybe it was my sweet muscular legs. 
Or maybe, just maybe, it was the combination of my sassy scarf and my sweet muscular legs peddling our from my short jeans skirt....yeah, the latter must have been it. 

I tell ya, there was some amazing joy that come up from my soul as I slowly peddled the back roads to the store.  I found myself laughing.  I couldn't help it.  There was some natural, truly happy energy that came from that ride.  Awesome.  I needed that.  

Still grieving and bouncing between really high, highs and bottoming out lows...I hope that prayer, time, and love continue to help me heal.  That and the joy of riding my bike everyday.  :)

Until tomorrow...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Biking & Blogging

August has come and gone...and all except for day 31 did I have a beer.  A pat on the back for me...and for everyone who helped along the know who you are! 

So, on to September.  It is officially 30 Days of Biking Part 2.  So, I'll be biking everyday. 
I don't want people to think this is a cop out, so I'll also blog everyday.  (Geesh, haven't you always wanted to know what was on my mind every, single day?)

I can't guarantee amazing insights each day, but hopefully something remotely interesting will come about. 

Happy Reading!

Day 1
Just got back from a beautiful ride to the back of Boggs Lake.  It's been a while since I've been riding on a regular basis and in combination with the 90 degree heat, it was a hot ride today.  But it was great to get out.

I've been going through alot lately and am truly thankful for the oomph to get on my bike everyday as a chance to clear my head.

Since I returned from vacation I had to hit the ground running for work...which is always an emotional ride as a pastor.  One of my parishioners, my local dad, has been sick for a long time and passed away last week.  I was unaware of how much the loss of his life would impact mine.  I have been challenged to take the time to grieve for myself whilst caring for the family and the congregation as they mourn.  Time will help, but still...

On the flip side,  my personal life is wonderful!  Good things happening here, which seem to counter the grief and loss...but the two extremes have been a challenge for me to balance. 

Thanks to those who listen, read, love, and support me in all of this...

Until tomorrow.