Thursday, July 31, 2014

My Part-Time Sabbatical

My first post in quite awhile is a recent article I wrote for my church's might explain why I'm back again...

What Does Half a Sabbatical Equal?
Hopefully a Happier, Healthier, (Maybe Even) Holier Pastor/Wife/Mama/Friend 

I’d like to say this decision took a whole lot of time and a whole lot of prayer…but, really it was 
one of those split second eureka moments. And I haven’t changed my mind yet, so it might even be the 
right decision! So, here’s the plan: I am going to be working half-time until the end of the year 
(between 15-20 hours/week). Steve (I am so lucky to have such an accommodating spouse!) will now be working full-time. Most of you won’t even notice a change—I’ll still be preaching and in worship on Sundays, but my time in the office, on-call, and teaching will be limited for awhile. I am still available by text and e-mail (preferably text!), but know that I will be able to meet less often than I am now—not because I don’t like you, but because I need to divide my time a little more equitably with myself and with my family. 
 So here is where the vulnerability part comes in (Brene Brown would be proud!): I simply cannot 
do everything and do everything well. Since we moved here 18 months ago, we have spent so much 
time getting acclimated to our life in Eugene and at Bethesda, that I kind of forgot that being a pastor is 
not my only calling. As a result, I’ve neglected myself, gaining 30 pounds; my Rheumatoid Arthritis 
(partly because of the extra adipose) has become quite angry, making me bedridden for 2-3 days every 
four weeks or so and my children don’t even know what a home-cooked meal at the dinner table even 
looks like! I know that so many of you manage to pull it together every day; I know that I am truly lucky to have a vocation that is so very flexible; I know that this is something almost all of you wish that you could do. I also know, however, that it is something that I have to do, and in the end will be a much more faithful pastor/wife/mama. 
I write this partly so you can help hold me accountable; so that you can hold me in prayer, as I do 
for each one of you. I’m not going to set forth any lofty goals, but I am going to promise that I will not 
take this gift of time for granted. If you’d like to follow my ramblings about this part-time sabbatical, 
I’m restarting my blog at, where hopefully you can challenge and 
support me, as I once again seek to be a good steward of this precious life God has given me. 
With tremendous gratitude,

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Day Two

A no good, terrible, really bad day.  Yep, there it is.  I'm not even going to try and salvage it.  I'm going to bed and beginning anew tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Day One

So, for three hours today, it went really well...I got out of the house this morning without yelling.  I was calm and composed; the kids got to school on time; and I went to work and all was well.  Then I went to a meeting, which started out fine, but as it continued, Steve started to annoy me, and I could literally feel crankiness welling up inside me (kind of like the blue outer-space alien his "bad-o-meter" red level started rising when he got cranky...").  Anyway, on other days, I would start to pout, or yell or hit him (actually I did hit him...but not in a totally cranky way), and today I breathed.  Seriously, that's all I did, I took a deep breath, told myself this was not going to turn into a cranky spiral, and my red level started to go down.  And actually I used that technique a few times today..actually more than a few.  Red level starts to rise...I breathe and feel a little bit better.  Not bad for the first day.  

However, tomorrow, I've decided for the 12th time, that I'm going to stop drinking diet coke.  I'm not sure if it's for Lent, or for me, but whatever it's for, I will definitely need to do some praying to get through the day.  And, I'm pretty sure, my crankiness level might get a little high.  So, wish me luck...or my family luck....

And tomorrow maybe I'll write without watching ridiculous shows on Disney Channel (what in the world is Kick Buttowski anyway, and why do I let Elijah watch it?!?!?), and my posts will make sense.  

Until tomorrow, I'll leave you with my new mantra/verse/motto given to me by a dear pastor friend of mine (Thanks Kurt!)  Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). 

Monday, February 11, 2013

I'm back...

     Looks like I haven't posted since the end of May.  Imagine starting something and fizzling out!  I've decided, however, that I like writing...I like at least attempting to do something longer than two days, and since I can't keep anything to myself, I'm going to blog my efforts.  So, my new endeavor has nothing to do with weight loss, or church, or my children (but you know will probably end up including all three).
    So, here's my new mission--I'm going to stop being cranky.  I know--if you actually are my friend or really even acquaintance, you know how hard this will be.  I'm not exactly sure how to do it...I come from kind of a cranky, complaining family (sorry mom!)...and I'm a pessimistic, look at the dirty, empty glass kind of girl.  But, lately I'm annoying even myself with my negativity, so I'm giving it up.  Right now.  At this very moment, I'm going to look on the bright side of life (cue--Monty Python) and think only positive things, and surround myself with positive people, and realize that I have a beautiful life...
    How exactly will this happen?  I'm not sure.  How will I measure my progress?  Again, not sure...but my guess is my children and spouse might have something to say about it.  In fact, I just told Evelyn that my new blog posts were going to be about not being cranky and she said (and I quote) "that will be a miracle..."  Obviously I have some work to do.
    So, maybe for the next few hours, I will find a few things to be grateful for....and when my eyes start to roll or an accusatory tone wants to be spoken, I will pause, take a deep breath and remember my new motto:  I am now a cranky-free girl.  Wish me luck!

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Same Me...

I considered posting the very first picture I ever posted on this blog.  Because it's exactly what I look like now.  Yep, lost 50 pounds, and gained back 45 of it.  I figured nothing's changed, I might as well collect my $200 and circle the board again.  Except, these past ten months, I've changed a whole lot...and not just the expanding of my ass...So, here's what I learned:

1.  Sometimes you just have to say no.  I've never really been a martyr kind of girl...I don't complain about how busy I am, or how much I have to do.  There are 24 hours in a day and I choose to spend them wisely, or not...more often than not...not.  But, this past year I failed miserably.  I took on second job that taxed my family, that taxed my body, that make me literally explode from the inside.  I've learned doing more does not make me a better person; that having a long to-do list does not send me to the front of the line in heaven.  Sometimes you have to say no...

2.  So that, you sometimes can say yes.  Because there are things that give me life--and are you ready to hear this...exercising makes me feel better--and getting a gym membership that lets me go sweat with the rest of Rochelle pushed me out of my comfort zone, got me off the couch, and although hasn't yet helped me lose weight, has made me feel much, much better.  And doing this gives me life--writing and thinking and reading...I absolutely hate being outside, and I'm going to quit thinking that good people go camping and hiking and biking...instead I'll put in my life-giving time on the ellipitical and then crawl into bed read a book, and start writing the book that is churning inside me.

3.  Sometimes falling on your ass is the best thing that could happen.  About six years ago, I slipped on a patch of ice and fractured my coccyx (or broke my ass); it still hurts sometimes; healing happens very slowly on something you sit on everyday...but I also have become much more careful when walking on snow and ice and any uneven surface that might send me downwards.  Falling has taught me how to walk carefully.  And falling this year has taught me that the world does not end if I don't succeed--that life will continue, and that before it, during it, after it, I am still the same girl looking at herself in the mirror (even if her face is a little (or a lot) fuller). 

4.  Sometimes it takes a village to  This year I have learned I simply cannot do it alone.  So, I surround myself with people who pick me up when #3 happens, and who push me forward when I'm treading too carefully.   There's my doctor who sees me sometimes three times in a month because the depression is too deep and I need med re-adjustment.  And there's my therapist who teaches me to breathe and to love...myself.  There's my Health Clinic Coach--a wonderful girl who calls me every three or four weeks just to make sure that I have goals in front of me and helps me remember my successes.  There's my pastor friends who let me sit in morose silence when I need to, and who affirm my gifts even when I think they're non-existent.  And then there's my...

5.  Spouse, Partner, Lover, Man-I-Adore, Daddy to my children, who has taught me that love indeed can be blind (I really didn't know I was gaining weight for awhile, because his eyes shown with nothing but love--cheezy, I know).  I've learned that my struggles affect our whole family and that he will always...always pick up the pieces that fall shattering to the floor (and often puts them back together with krazy glue).  I have fallen more in love with this man than ever; we celebrate our 15th anniversary this year, and there is no one I would rather have journey with me through these peaks and valleys; skinny shirts and tent dresses.

6.  My children want me--not perfect mom...not skinny mom...not cookie baking mom...but me.  And hearing my youngest say at my lightest and at my heaviest..."You look beautiful mommy..." says that maybe I'm doing something right.  

7.  And finally I've learned that I am Me...that sometimes I carry a few more layers...layers my body adds to tell me it's had enough.  But, underneath it all, is Me...and I am loved by this gracious, amazing group of villagers.  And most importantly...most deeply...more assuredly I am loved by Jesus, who couldn't care less the size of my ass, who made me inside and out, and who wants nothing more than for me to love myself as deeply as I love my neighbors.

I'm kind of excited to start this journey...or continue this slowly uncover the Me that's been there this whole time. 

Monday, April 30, 2012

Things I wouldn't say...

Steve just posted, so I decided it's time to begin this process again.  I think when you're going in a mostly positive direction, it's much easier to let the world know.  But, when you're really struggling...probably when you need to share it the most, even people like me (who keep virtually nothing hidden) tend to stop the typing and turn to paper journals instead...

So, here it goes again, sharing with the world...I have a tape in my head, that is always playing, and honestly it says things I wouldn't say to my worst enemy.  "You're stupid, fat, ugly, and lazy."  I've heard it for so long, so many times; it's waiting for a mistake to be made, or a pound to be gained, or a failure to pounce on; sometimes it's deafening, other times I'm able to drown out the noise with distractions; but it's always there.  Don't worry, I'm in therapy...I'm trying to override it, to speak the truth to what I'm told is lies; But, often it wins--as it has been for the last six months or so.  So, there you go, sometimes simply to name it, takes it power away (at least that's what I'm hoping); maybe tomorrow we'll talk more about quieting it, but today, no neat little bow, just naming where I've been.   Today, just softly tip-toeing into the typed word...

Monday, January 16, 2012

My Unbound Heart

    Staying true to the name of my blog, I'm known to be quite the unholy one.  I tend to swear during my sermons (it's those times I'm so happy the little old ladies can't hear); I got drunk at a parishioner's wedding and had to be driven home; yesterday, we played cards during Sunday School instead of opening the bible; and on more than one Sunday, I too wish I could stay in bed like the majority of the people in my congregation.  That all said, however, I love Jesus!  And it is absolutely amazing how often he keeps popping up in the world, showing me that the the Spirit roams free--if only I would get my substantial ass out of the way.
    So, you know what I've started doing?  I've started praying.  Yep, that's it; good old fashioned, sit down, stand up, fold your hands, raise your arms, opening my heart to the Spirit, praying.  It started with a book (which I'll probably talk about a lot in the near future) called Unbinding the Gospel; my congregation did a test group (10 of us gathered together for about 10 weeks), and we simply prayed together, shared together, cried together, and laughed together.  Now, like I said, i'm the unholy one, who would much rather keep Jesus in my head, and interpret scripture, and talk about things...and praying is not something that us unholy people really like doing.  But, I swear to you--once you let those scales fall away (actually once you let Jesus tear them down), you start to see things in a whole new way.  You actually start to see Jesus.  And people who were scared, start to take a few steps, and the fear you used to have about making mistakes, starts to lessen and you screw up a whole lot more.  And the way you thought God was meant for an hour on Sunday starts to look quite foolish, and you see her in the grocery store and when you tuck your children in at night and even in your mother-in-law.  And you even start to sound a little Jesus-freaky, and for the first time in your life, you really don't care, because that man changed the world and conquered the darkness and made death obsolete and you kind of want everyone you know to hear the story too.
    So, here I am, a stoic Lutheran, who's had a change of heart, who will not become Baptist, but who just might raise her hands in the air.  And who knows prayer changes things and who doesn't care how cliche that sounds.  So, there's the ramblings of the unholy one for today...I'm going to go for now, because the Spirit is moving, and I gotta go find her.