Wednesday, May 28, 2008

27 Dresses

So i finally saw 27 Dresses this morning! I know, I'm behind the times. It was worth the wait, though. I thought it was a really good movie - unpredictable in a predictable kind of way, you know? In watching the commentary, the director said that they wanted to do a character driven movie, as opposed to the standard love triangle, what obstacles can the over come usual bit. I did think the story line was good. Of course, it's cliche - the always a bridesmaid never a bride who's in love with the man who she can't tell and watches him fall in love and get married to none other than her sister. But there was a lot of reality in there. Though i did get married young, I do understand the feeling of being the one left out - I think all girls are born with it.

Unpredictable - like I didn't see things coming, but then when they happened, I thought, well, of course that's how it was going to happen. Like when Jane and Kevin finally get together, and the next day she sees the article he wrote about her. Of course that's how it was going to happen. But I wasn't waiting for it to happen, you know?

There were a lot of really good one-liners, too, ones that you've never heard before, which was refreshing. I mean, most one liners are good, but almost staged, kind of. They seem too forced. But the good ones in this movie were just right. I think my favorite was the one Jane told her sister in the bridal shop - yesterday you were my sister, but today you're just another bitch who broke my heart and cut up my mother's wedding dress. It's one of those lines that just doesn't fit in any situation, but applies to everything.

And I thought it was perfect that at her wedding, she had all 27 former brides lined up in the dresses she'd worn to their weddings next to her! Classic! I thought it was hilarious. My sis got teary-eyed, and I can understand that, it was very sweet. She'd always known they'd be there for her one day, just as she'd been there for them, and they were. But it was also poetic justice, and a perfect way to end the movie. And, by the way, did anyone catch in the "credits," which were newspaper stories about their wedding, the ad for 27 dresses for sale, only worn twice?!

Overall, cute movie. And, I'm excited about my second chic flic of the week coming up on Friday - Sex and the City! Saw my first episode of the show on Saturday, and within a week, I'll know the whole story! I sure do love my sister. :-)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Recovering went well yesterday. I had to wait a really long time, which was a bummer because the longer I waited, the more nervous I got. They wanted me there 2 hours early, and it took 45 minutes to get ready - so I had an hour and fifteen minutes to lay in the bed, waiting. They thought I might go early, but that didn't pan out.

But, once they actually did take me, everything went well. I had some sort of reaction to something - I turned pink and splotchy, and I don't what I reacted to, maybe some medicine or the sheets or something. It wasn't a big deal...I don't think! :-)

And now I'm home, resting, for one whole blissful week! I'm very excited about my time of rest. My mom's taking care of me this weekend. (She's such a good nurse!) Then next week it'll be back to me and the boys (the hubby and the dog, that is).

Just wanted to update you all. Thanks for the love and care everyone's sent my way!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Why I Do What I Do.

I had a conversation with some friends yesterday about our UMC conferences. There were a couple of people there who were saying they would never want to go to General or Jurisdictional conference because of all the politics, that the didn't think they could deal with it, that kind of stuff just wasn't what they'd want to do with their time, and that Annual Conference was bad enough. One person said, specifically, "there's a reason I don't go" and my response was "there's a reason I do." That prompted one of my pastors to ask me, why do you go?

Hmm...why do I go?

I'm invested in this church thing, more so than really anything else in my life, with the exception of my marriage/family. One of my strengths is Connectedness. So a connectional church is right up my alley. But I don't like the way we do things in the church right now. I think we are WAY too political, and like the culture around us, we have ceased to listen, collectively, for the voice of God. We all have our agendas - even me, as I discovered that about myself at this year's GC. But there's got to be a greater good we are all seeking.

I talked in a previous post about that experience I had, where I made the choice to stick with the church, to involve myself so deeply into it to work to change it for the better. When I attended my first Jurisdictional Conference, the way I explained it to people when I got back home was that it was a democratic convention where we prayed. And our prayers during the worship services were generally the only time we collectively asked God to be present, and sought God's guidance. We didn't pray during the business sessions. We usually didn't pray before taking a vote, unless someone from the floor asked us to, which usually only happened when things were getting heated.

And the language used! Who's going to "win" the "episcopal race"? Our "candidate" is better than theirs. Our "campaign" is going well. Our "publicity" is the best we've seen.

What about this? "We have open hearts, open minds, and are listening to the voice of God to lead us to the person God has called to this office. It may be this person who comes from our Conference, or it may be that person who comes from that other conference, but we are going to listen with faithful ears and pray for God's guidance in this process."

So...why do I do this? So that i can at least be one voice and mind who is saying that statement above. And because I truly believe God has called me to do it. God has given me a connectedness strength, which gives me a desire to understand this crazy political system we have created. God has given me an intuitive mind to see beyond the pomp and circumstance to what the process could actually be. So I go, and I serve, and I do what it is that God has called me to do at this point. And I look for those opportunities to share God's spirit in the process, to remind others why we are really there. And I learn from others who have much more experience so that I may be knowledgable. And it makes a difference. Even when i don't see it, even when I get so upset because I think nothing will ever change, I know that God speaks through me. I do believe my one vote and my one voice makes a difference.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Random Thoughts

Gavin posted on the methoblog ( that he liked what I did during GC. That's encouraging! I really am going to try to keep this up...I promise! Here's the problem - access to blogger at work doesn't always work that well, for instance, right now I don't have access to set up weblinks (hence the pasted address above as opposed to the natural link it usually is...), and spell check doesn't work (sorry for the many mispellings to come...) so trying to blog during breaks and in between switching gears isn't always that easy. I miss the wonderful wireless from the convention center in Fort Worth...ahh, the good old days.

Anywho. In an effort to keep going, I'll simply share what's on my mind right now: surgery. We'll get there.

I find it so interesting that I'm able to segment my life. A characteristic of my generation is that we DON'T segment our lives, as many of our elders have done for generations. I really segment it into two: work and everything else. Maybe it comes from not particularly enjoying what I'm doing right now, but I've drawn a line and I work, usually subconsciously, to keep the two separate. I rarely take work home, and I don't talk about it much outside of work unless someone asks. I'm in a different mind at work, I guess, focused on what I'm doing there, focused on the problems I encounter, focused on just keeping afloat in our dreaded schedule. And maybe it comes from my sincere desire to not be negative about my job to "outsiders" - those outside the people I work with, who understand, and immediate family, who may not understand but are at least sympathetic. I swore I would not bad-mouth my job in a public forum, lest it come back to haunt me when/as I search for a new job. I struggle for the balance among constructive criticism, anguish, and down-right vilification.

And so, when I'm at work, I don't think about "the outside world" much. And when I'm in the bless-ed outside world, I don't think about work.

Until this past week.

I have gallstones. (Yea! from the peanut gallery) And next Friday, I will be having my gallbladder removed. And all of a sudden, personal life and work life are coliding. I have to fill out short-term disability forms (affectionately called STD forms...isn't that lovely). I have to talk to my boss about personal matters, working schedules around my personal schedule. It's just a little strange. And, with gallstones, I've got this ever-present nagging annoyance (I wouldn't even call it pain) in my gut, bringing the two worlds together. It's a very interesting place to be.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Response to Brokenness #1

There is so much more to say regarding my previous post. Please don't see it as an all-encompassing description of my feelings on the matter. It's just the words I can muster at this moment.

Continuing the brokenness, and working to mend, I recalled this poem I'd seen a few weeks back - it's present and linked to on several blogs, but this is the one I could find. It's not one of the most well written poems I've ever read. But I'm beginning to understand that I'm not the only one who can't always find the best or most eloquent words to describe my relationship with the church.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


For all you readers who may not know me, just be forewarned, this post is a little personal. Okay, a lot personal. I had another bad experience today, and I'm broken. I've yelled, and screamed, and cried, and cussed, as you'll discover if you continue. And now, as a good little millennial, I blog.

I've never confessed this to anyone.

When I was in the sixth grade, I said my first cuss word. I remember it very clearly. It was "damn." There was no reason for me to say it, other than that I was angry. I didn't know it at the time, but I was just simply angry at the church.

My father is a minister, an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. That means he's itinerate - he's under the appointment of the bishop, at the bishop's will as to where to move him from church to church within a conference, or across conference lines if the bishop sees fit.

I'd lived with this. We'd moved every few years my entire life. It was a part of life. It's helped shape me into the person I am today. But so long ago, I just didn't quite understand it.

We had been living at one place for two years. Not a very long time, but I had actually made some very good friends. Those kind of friends that when you graduate high school together you reminisce about your entire lives together. It didn't matter that we'd only known one another for two years, we'd become close. Sure, we fought, and I'm sure I romanticize it all now. But for the first time that I can remember, I had good friends.

And I really liked the church. Turns out, I didn't know a whole lot of the goings on and they didn't particularly care for my father very much, at least a small portion of them didn't. But I felt at home. I looked up to my sister and all of her friends in the youth group and looked forward to the day I'd be there. I was friends with some of the kids, and even had a crush on a particular boy. Life was as it should be for any fifth grader.

Then my father was moved. I remember telling one friend who's grandmother lived across the street from me - we were in a homemade tent in my room, and I said, you know we're moving, and she said, I know, and that was about the end of it.

Anywho, to make a long story not quite so long, after we moved, we were invited back to a picnic. There was this park in the town, and they had just worked to build this wonderful playground, and we'd had many picnics there with friends. So, they invited us back, as friends, and we went.

I was playing on the playground, and I don't know there was just something in me that was angry. This wasn't my playground anymore, these weren't my friends anymore. And as we were playing tag, running around the playground, I started cussing when someone would get away from me. I did it over and over and over again, just like it was natural. I'd moved away, i'd changed, I wasn't the person they used to know. They weren't my friends anymore. I didn't belong there. I felt so out of place, so...

A boy finally stopped me, the older brother of the guy I kind of had a crush on. He told me that I couldn't say words like that because there were little kids around. I told him I didn't care. I wanted him to think I was cool, better off for having moved. Or having been moved.

I cussed again today because of the church, a particularly bad one, much worse than that first one. Oh, I've said many cuss words between then and now, but today after it came out of my mouth I remembered that anger at something I felt I had no control over. Basically, I work for the church, and I was let down, once again, and made to feel worthless, less than, unworthy. Like I don't matter. Left angry...furious.

So it leaves me up at 11:54 at night, wondering the question that's been rolling around in my head all day. How long do I stand it? How many times do I let the church walk over me, drive me into the ground, deeper and deeper before I finally say, enough. Can I let myself be hung on a cross with Jesus? Can I pick up my cross? Because I want to change things. I want to make a difference. And I don't know how. God, if Jesus felt this helpless, this hopeless. I don't even want this cup to be taken from me, I just want to know that my cup is doing the right thing. I want some affirmation that I'm doing the right thing. Just a small piece of proof.

I remember another time, returning from a youth event. I was getting my stuff out of my car, and as I walked down the driveway, I don't even remember what prompted this, but I remember thinking, I have a choice, and I have to make it now. I can give up on this church thing. I can say enough, I've had it, and walk away. Or I can throw myself into it and do everything I can to change it for the better. I chose to stay. To devote myself to it, to learn its ways so that I may become knowledgeable and wise, and understanding, and the work to mold it to look more like the church Jesus had in mind. I felt it was my calling, to change things from the inside. Truly.

There have been several times since that point that I have wanted to remake that choice, today being top on the list. I just feel like I can't do anything. I feel powerless, as I watch others much more powerful than me make decisions and actions that are so wrong and hurtful, often without even realizing it. And I feel like my efforts at change are futile. I understand the change process is slow, and that we don't always get to see the fruits of our labor, more often not than so. But when I don't even know where to begin to change something...

My friend told me to begin with Jesus. Crawl into his arms and start there. But I've never encountered God in that way, as a comforter like that. I encounter God in an intellectual manner, a conversational manner, God I don't understand this, help me to understand. Because what I know of the church, who has taught me about God, is that its rational, its cognitive. Decisions are made not in the heart but in the head. But it's become so emotional, so heart centered. It always has been, I guess, as evidenced - anger like that comes from the heart, from being heart sick and broken.

And so I return to my question. How many times can I be broken before I can't be put back together again? Before I won't let myself be put back together? I guess my friend was right. Begin with Jesus. If I could just find him in this mess.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

PC vs. Mac

This is becoming a big issue for me. Bigger by the moment.

Let me give you just a little background. I was always pretty adverse to macs once reaching high school, when pcs became the norm used in public education. I had used macs in middle school, but not that commonly, and once we had a pc in our home, that was my computer of choice.

My college roommate even had a mac - a macbook. She LOVED it! And I just rolled my eyes and settled down at my little HP laptop and continued my work. Then I rolled my eyes at her as I had to ship my little HP laptop off to the manufacturer to be repaired.

Then I graduated from college. And I came to work at the place I affectionately call my job. And I was informed on my first day that I was to work on a mac - everyone does it. (Bandwagon theory?) I expressed my concerns to my fellow co-workers, and they all said, do not worry, you'll pick it up in no time, and you'll love it.

Boy, were they right! Can I say this...once you go mac you never go back! (I've been dying to say that for weeks now...)

So, today, I open Gavin's blog, and he's got a post about this meeting with a guy, Jim Palmer, and he mentions some of the shifting vocabulary, one being PC - Mac. I just nodded my head and continued on my merry way, agreeing with him just to the point of nodding my head, but not eliciting any sort of response. After all, I've experienced that shift, PC-Mac, along with many of the other shifts he mentioned.

Then in my searching, I came across another blog who was responding to Gavin's post. Read it here.

This post inspired me to respond. You can read my comment at the bottom of his blog, or read it below. This is what I said:

The key to me is the focus on customers, not profits. The way this translates into the church for me is a focus on quality, not quantity. We have to focus on ensuring that the people who are already in our churches are connecting with God on a weekly, if not daily, basis. Then the numbers will come, because if you are in a place that you are invigorated and encouraged and energized, you can't help but tell others about it. Growth, as you suggested, is definitely a by product, rather than a goal. If firmly feel that our goal has to be creating disciples for Jesus Christ - and that doesn't mean just getting more and more people to the front of the church to be baptized and take the membership vows. That means once one person comes to the front and is baptized and takes the membership vows, they are then integrated into the life of the church, and continually challenged and inspired to grow in their discipleship. It isn't a "join the church, then you're done" mindset, which is what I think we too often have. Joining the church is just the beginning.

Like Craig, I feel I am blessed with a church that is beginning to focus on the aftermath of joining a church, not just on getting people to the front of the sanctuary. Whatever its faults, in a 3 month period, we had over 100 people join our church. Growth as a by-product of an emphasis on quality.

[So ends my comment on his blog, but anyone who knows me knows I always have more to say.]

I keep returning to this generational theory stuff, but does it apply here, too? Is it, in general, a generational thing to focus on results in numeric value? Our profit margin, bottom line, numbers, membership, whatever it is, I see so many "establishments" in our society (the company I work for, churches, even the recent ongoings in the TN Conference) focus on things that can be measured numerically, on paper, "see?? We are a success!! Here's proof!" Maybe it's not necessarily a generational thing, but a shifting paradigm. Because I don't want to say everyone over 40 thinks in numbers and everyone under numbers thinks in undefinable quality. Because I know that not to be true - I know people on both sides of the "age line" who think the opposite.

There's a shift occurring in our world, eluded to by Gavin. Maybe it happens in every generation, and I'm just noticing it because this is the first shift I'm really old enough to be aware of. But I think there may be something larger going on here. I've heard of a commentator saying that what is occurring in our world right now is comparable to the Industrial Revolution, and it could be hundreds of years before we really see the movement going on for what it truly is and the impact it would have on our world. I kind of like thinking I could be a part of something to change the world. I guess I'm still young enough to hold on to that idealist part of my innocence. Or maybe that's a generational thing, too.