Tuesday, March 31, 2009

An anniversary of sorts

One year ago today, I was back in the hospital after having been released for the weekend. Four days earlier, I had surgery for a partial thyroidectomy and biopsy for possible thyroid cancer. The hospital visit one year ago was to remove a tumor which was found only because I was a bitch and kept insisting that there was something more wrong with me. It turned out to be ovarian cancer (and uterine cancer, unrelated, too).

Today my sister is in the hospital for a biopsy for possible uterine cancer.

I am a bit over whelmed. Everyone thinks I'm OK, won't have a recurrence, but it is something that always hangs over your head.

I have had no great insights, no great epiphanies. Life is short; life is a bitch; life is a mystery; life is a gift. The world is a beautiful place. Things I've always known.

In the midst of the run up to Holy Week, take time to just be and enjoy the fact that you are alive.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I feel like I should post something, but I don't have much to say.

I am trying so hard not to be consumed with self interest in this closing of the church. I selfishly want it to stay open until I can retire. In 2.5 years, or perhaps 3.5 years. One elder thinks we should keep on keeping on until we financially can't. He says if we make changes like turning over much of our huge and unused space to another organization, people will get upset. He doesn't know if they will get used to it or leave. He also doesn't think we will get enough funds from the "deal" for it to make sense for us. Assuming his number are correct, he is right. But, as I was writing this, I realize I have been asking the wrong questions. I have viewed this as a business deal, but the question is, does it further our mission? And I think it does.

Hmmm, so posting is important, if only to help me hear a different voice in my heart.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Celebrating Spring

I didn't do the Friday Five on Spring, but I celebrated spring anyway: a three mile hike in a state park. My goal had been to take some pictures of redbuds in the woods. Unfortunately the redbuds don't seem to be in the woods. I could only find them at the edge of the road, either under wires or situated so that I would be shooting into the sun. Nonethieless. . .

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Clergy Gender Gap

Interesting article from the Washington Post on differences between male and female mainline clergy

I have been sick. Battling my annual fight with my sinuses. I think it is now over. I was so sick on Saturday, that I slept for about 15 hours (with a one hour interval of wakefulness to eat breakfast). I started taking antibiotics. I am always reluctant because I'm never convinced they help. I'm still not convinced, but I do feel better. I had thought about starting on Thursday when I began feeling really sick. But I didn't. Maybe next year, I will start them earlier. I wonder if I started them when my sinuses first begin to bother me (mid February) I could cut through the yucky feeling completely. One of my parishioners said that Memphis is the cause of sinus infections. Everywhere I have lived people have blamed the environment for their sinus ills: Ohio, Michigan, California, Memphis. I have a feeling it's age, not the environment.

I am finally beginning to lose a little weight. I am at the lowest I have been in several year. But I weigh 20 pounds more than I did when I graduated from seminary almost 6 years ago. That gives you some idea of what pastoring dying churches does to one (not to mention the cancer). I'm eating about 1200 calories a day and (except when I'm sick) either swimming or running everyday but Sunday. I think I should be losing more weight given the calorie intake (or rather the lack thereof) and the exercise. I'm having my thyroid tested next week. I'm going to press for an increase in my synthroid. Otherwise, I feel pretty good.

I'm fairly depressed with the Bible study I'm leading for Lent. It's on discipleship. And I'm not getting much reaction. I don't think folks like it very much. The church is definitely dying. We "celebrate" our 100th anniversary next year. That is definitely depressing me. I have now reached the point where I am assured of health coverage until I qualify for medicare (2.5 years hence). So, my major concern is taken care of. I'm not sure I want another call, but I have sent my PIF off for two EP positions. In my mind at least, I would commit to working another 5 years and I'm not sure I want to work that long. I would like to work 3.5 more years, but only if I were doing something I really liked. On the other hand, I'm a bit afraid of retirement: who would I be?

My contract ends on September 18. I have told session that after that date, I won't be around. The clerk moved that the PNC that called me be reconvened to consider calling me to an installed position. I can't imagine that they wouldn't call me, but still, I'd sure like to know whether I'll have a job. In the meantime, I am perusing the opportunity list. I'd like to do a couple of interims, except that they would cut into my travel schedule and they are hard to come by.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Am I still in de nile?

I read several blogs by people with cancer. Some are terminal; some are "cured". They almost all talk about cancer as changing their lives. I'm not sure my cancer has changed my life. Am I just hard headed? Too Aspbergery? Out of Touch? In denial?

I'd much rather talk about how visiting Nicaragua has transformed my life. About how much more I need transformation. And I still don't want to be defined by being a "cancer survivor."

Friday, March 6, 2009

Fireproof: Run, don't walk AWAY

Awful, truly awful. This is an evangelical movie with all the swarmy moments intact including how we are so bad that God could never be satisfied and thus Jesus had to be crucified so that we could live (aka substitutionary atonement). It is slow, slow. The characters don't generate any warmth. And at 2 hours, 2 minutes it is about 2 hours too long.

We showed it at movie night tonight. I had heard that it was one of the highest grossing movies of last year and so I was hopeful. (Not my choice.)

There are some redeeming moments. The daily challenges are good: show your spouse respect, listen today, do something unexpected, etc. I'm afraid that gets lost in the slow swarminess.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Good can come from cancer

I have been very resistant to admitting that anything good can come from cancer. But, I can report that my hair is much, much thicker than it was before. I am even loving the curls. (Think Richard Simmons). But, it is now long enough to frame my face. And I am beginning to look somewhat "pretty" again, after almost 10 months. At least I don't go "who is that?" when I look in the mirror. The curls are not supposed to last, but mine seem to be. At least it has been more than six months since my last chemo. My hair was curly, but not like this, before, so it may remain curly. I'll keep it short if it stays curly. I'm going to my beautician on Thursday to get some shape into it (I haven't done anything to it since it was shaved in May). And to get color. I used to have my hair highlighted. It was the mousy brown that blondes often become. So, the highlights worked nicely. I liked them because they could grow out without it looking like I was dying my roots dark. It's now a steely gray, so I don't know what color or process will work on it. Just as long as there is no red in it. I hate it when women dye their hair and it gets red. It looks so well, dyed. One woman in my congregation has soft blonde hair (I know it's naturally gray). Her complexion is much fairer than mine, so I don't know if that shade will work with my skin. Actually, it's about the same tone, it's just that my skin is more, as my mother would say, sallow.

I'm beginning a series on modern saints for Lent. A parishioner who thought she might have had ovarian cancer (but thankfully didn't) said to me, "well, I saw you come through it and I knew if you could, then I could." That's a common thought. But, why is it when we look at "saints": Teresa, Dorothy Day, Romero, Bonhoeffer, we think of them as exceptional people and not as models for what we can do?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

trying to fix pictures

Hmmm, uploading from my computer rather than photobucket seems to work. And medium seems to work.

Picture Help

For reasons I don't understand, when I post pictures on my blog, the right half is always cut off. While this could be an attempt to accomodate my political preferences, I doubt it. Does anyone know what I am doing wrong and what I should do. I click on the image icon and then copy the url. I click center as the position for the pictures.


Snow Day!

Snow Day! Snow Day!

Pictures to follow. Downloading right now.

Something to think about

This morning, I was listening to the BBC. They had a piece on the economic melt down in the new EU countries. It is astounding to me that greedy voracious lending on Wall Street has led to the break down of economies around the world. Even more amazing is that the dollar in general has strengthen against both the euro and the pound which means that investors think the dollar is a safer haven than euro or pound.

One of the rectors at Calvary said that they would post the Borg/Crossan lectures on iTunes. Borg's sermons there on Thursday and Friday are now posted. I haven't listened to them. I would highly recommend listening to the lectures. Each one is 90 minutes: thirty each by Borg and Crossan and then half an hour for questions. At the beginning of three of Crossan's lectures, he had a slide show which was fascinating. It protrayed the archelogical evidence for Crossan's point with only a few words written on the screen, some projected several times. At first I thought it was going to be awful, but I grew to really like it. I've never seen a "powerpoint" presentation quite like that one. By the way, Crossan went out of his way to say that it wasn't powerpoint, it was Apple's Keynote. He said that when he decided to buy a computer he went to the scriptures. He couldn't find PC there, but he found Apple several times. (If you go to iTunes, search for Calvary Episcopal. There is one podcast you can subscribe to without a date and one with 2008. The current one is the undated one. Calvary does a special preaching series everyweek day during Lent with some great speaker coming. Sara Miles (Take This Bread) for one. I can't remember the others off the top of my head. Some are local; some national.