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Waiting for the Dust to Settle

For basic safety reasons, we had to replace our hard-surface floors.  The expert we called in thought the original laminate must have been improperly installed.  He was right.  But it was worse than that: there were ridges at every join of the plywood sub-floor that had to be sanded down.  There was fine dust EVERYWHERE before they were done.

The good news:  the floors are finished, the furniture is back in place, and over half the books are back in bookcases.

But I’m still waiting for all the dust to settle.

It’s made me think about disruption and displacement in a larger sense.  Even when the worst of it is over, there’s still dust to deal with.  For good or for ill, there are little reminders of what has happened.

Dealing with actual, physical dust is one thing.

Metaphorical dust is another matter.

Floating in the air
haze of uncertainty
cloud of confusion
concealment of potential.

Settling on surfaces
sweet reminders of blessing
pointed memories of pain
unveiling of opportunities.


 

As whatever dust settles in your life, may you discover the opportunities.

Do Not Worry

John (my husband) and I were co-liturgists today at our home church, Urbandale United Church of Christ.  I did the Greeting and lead the Call to Worship.  He read scripture.  Pretty typical liturgist tasks in the United Church of Christ.

But Urbandale UCC has a custom I’ve not seen anywhere else.  Led by the liturgist, it’s called “Presentation of Our Gifts.”  It’s often a time when a particular program or outreach effort of the congregation is highlighted:  Vacation Bible School (with a plea for volunteers) or the Youth Mission Trip (with a list of ways to support them) or the latest project of the Green Boat Crew (solar panels for the church).  Sometimes it’s about an organization in the wider Des Moines area that serves people in need.  Much less frequently it’s a personal testimony.

We decided to focus on one of our favorite scriptures – one that John has been teaching me how to live for 25 years.  I read the verses from Matthew; John wrote and presented the rest.  With his permission to share, here is the script we used this morning.

 

“Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life.”

  – Matthew 6:25 NRSV

It was the third of June 2011.  Eight years ago next week.
The doctor came into the room with his hair on fire.
“You have metastatic prostate cancer. Stage IV.  Spread to your bones.”

And I thought, “so this is the way it ends.”

I remembered Bobby Gentry’s “Ode to Billie Joe.”

It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty Delta day…
…Billie Joe MacAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge.

The song is a downer.  It’s not happy.  The people are hurting.  Relationships are failing.  It’s not good.

After my cancer diagnosis, I had to decide how to live with it – an unwelcome companion. That thing was going to be with me for the rest of my life.

“Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?  And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?”

– Matthew 6:26-27 NRSV

Another song came to mind.  By Bobby McFerrin.

Here’s a little song I wrote
You might want to sing it note for note
Don’t worry, be happy
In every life we have some trouble
But when you worry you make it double
Don’t worry, be happy
Don’t worry, be happy now.

Bobby McFerrin, “Don’t Worry Be Happy”

“And why do you worry about clothing.  Consider the lilies of the field how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.”

– Matthew 6:28-29 NRSV

One more song.  From Monty Python.  By Eric Idle.

Some things in life are bad
They can really make you mad
Other things just make you swear and curse
When you’re chewing on life’s gristle
Don’t grumble, give a whistle
And this’ll help things turn out for the best
And

Always look on the bright side of life
Always look on the light side of life

If life seems jolly rotten
There’s something you’ve forgotten
And that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing.

Eric Idle, “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”

“Therefore do not worry, saying ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink? Or ‘What will we wear? … But strive first for the kingdom of God and its righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own.  Today’s trouble is enough for today.”

– Matthew 6:31-34 NRSV

One day at a time.
Don’t borrow trouble.
Don’t worry. Be happy.
Look on the bright side of life.

And keep a song in your heart.

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Selfie with John after Worship!

 

Wind Turbine Blade on the Road

We often see wind turbine blades being transported down Iowa highways.  But they’re usually going the other direction.  Last weekend, we were passed by one.

The photos aren’t great – after all they’re through the windshield – but it’s fun to see just how long the blades are.  We both thought it looked like a fish out of water from behind!

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The Divine Formula

As the wind blows the fresh fallen snow covering the ice on streets and sidewalks, we’re skipping Sunday morning worship for the third week in a row. Grateful for this sermon from Mitch Teemley.

Mitch Teemley

the-periodic-table-wallpaper

Do you remember the Periodic table of Elements from chemistry class? Pretty cool, but it missed the two most important elements:

N1

“They were together N1(in one) accord,

continually devoting themselves to prayer.”

~Acts 1:14

N2

“Then He said to them, ‘Go N2 (into) all the world

and share the Good News with everyone.’”

~Mark 16:15

Dwelling together in God’s loving presence (N1) and sharing that love with others (N2) — I can’t think of a more divine formula, can you? After all, it’s what we were created for (John 17:23), so it is possible. In fact, you might even say our ability to accomplish it is N8 (innate ;>).

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Blog School Days 4-7

Day 4:  Identify Your Audience

Help, please!

Day 5:  Love Your Theme

The “theme” is the basic look of the blog/website.  WordPress has hundreds to choose from – different fonts for text, different layouts for pictures, more different options than I can wrap my head around.  I’ve spent time trying out different themes.  And have settled back on the one I chose when I started.  Maybe I’m just boring.

Day 6:  Make an irresistible “About” Page

Somewhere along the way of playing with themes, I managed to lose my “About” page.  While poking around for this assignment I found it, restored it, and edited it.  It’s still not irresistible.  Maybe I’ll come back to it sooner rather than later.

Day 7:  Add a Custom Header Image

I changed my header image just a few hours before getting the assignment!  I think it’s set up to randomly display a series of photos I took at Missouri Botanical Gardens five or more years ago.  But I have no idea how often the image will change – assuming it does change.  At any rate you’ll see a portion of a flower!

Third Assignment

The assignment on day 3 of Blogging University is to “Visit the Neighbors.”  In other words, I am supposed to go snooping around the blogosphere to find a blogger (or five) to follow.

Finding a new – at least new to you – blog is a simple search.  Simple, that it, if you can figure out what keyword to use.  There are more possibilities than the day is long: faith, Christianity, religion, mathematics, clergywomen, quilting.  More entries show up than you can imagine.  And before you know it you’ve wasted an hour or found a new source of inspiration.

Blog School Day 2: Title and Tagline

The second assignment at Blogging University is to “update your title and tagline.”

Seriously?  I worked really hard four years* ago to come up with the title Another LQQK.  What I know now that I didn’t know then is that the Title of the blog does not have to be the same as the blog’s web address.  It might have been better to use my name for the web address.  In the spirit of the doing the assignment I changed the title to Another LQQK by Rev. TLC.

The QQ instead of an OO in the title is because someone else had already claimed the “another look” website with “look” spelled properly.  And two capital q’s sort of look like eyes.  It doesn’t look as neat in lower case:  another lqqk.  But I like it.  If you want to know something about the meaning of the title, go to my Home (previously About) page.

The tagline used to be “Taking time to look again.”  I’ve changed it (see the words below the Title at the top of the page) per the assignment.  Clearly taglines are not my forte.  What would you suggest?

*Yes, it was four years ago that I first thought about blogging.  But I got distracted.  First by a very part time pastor gig to go with the very part time tutoring I had been doing.  Then I became an Interim Pastor.  

Back to School: Day 1

I’ve signed up for Blogging University.  It’s online.  It’s free.  And it’s got daily assignments for 14 days.  First up:  a “who I am and why I’m here” post, with questions to get me started.

  • Why are you blogging publicly instead of keeping a diary?
    • Accountability.  My husband has been encouraging me to write for years.  My dad thinks I should be writing stories about my work.  A friend/mentor has encouraged me to write daily.  If I don’t do it publicly I probably won’t get around to doing it regularly.
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
    • Faith.  I am a Christian striving to live faithfully with kindness and compassion in the 21st century.  I am glad to learn from people of other faith traditions and trust there is more than one way to the Divine.
    • Bible.  I am an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ with a strong commitment to reading scripture seriously but not literally.
    • Nature.  Observations from my (nearly) daily walk.
    • Quilting.  Thoughts on cutting up fabric to create something new.
    • Books?  Maybe.  I’ve been an avid reader since childhood.
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
    • Wonderers and wanderers, seekers and doubters, creators and questioners, and everyday nature watchers.
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what do you hope to accomplish?
    • Hmmmm….I’ll have to think about that.

My parents, siblings, extended family and all who knew me before I married call me Teri.  My nephews and nieces call me Aunt Teri.  Since 1994 colleagues, classmates, and new friends call me Teressa.   Parishioners have called me all kinds of things but children tend to call me Pastor T.