Friday, June 29, 2007

Don't worry

I'm not all depressed or anything. To prove it, I'll tell you a short story.

I have been out walking lately. I like to do it for various reasons such as trying to be more intentional about fitness, trying to just squeeze in Trish time to think, and also because with all the things going on, one might have a tendency to slip into a depression, and I've heard that exercise can help ward that off. So, I've been walking most evenings for an hour or two.

On my walks, I stop and smell flowers. Just one of God's great gifts to us. Thanks (especially for the orange ones)!


So, Wednesday, obviously, was not a good day in the life and times of Trish. It all started when Oldest Brother (OB from here on out) called my cell at 6:11 a.m. to ask me if I could please come home (home home, not Sis and Bil's home) and stay with Ma. He said that she was getting really argumentative and combative and that she kept trying to "go home." Home to Ma is no longer her real home. She doesn't even know where she is. He also said that she put her coat on, grabbed her purse, and was about ready to leave. So, OB grabbed her and took her coat off of her because he'd been trying to reason with her for a good long while. But, since she take about 80 millions types of drugs, including blood thinners, she bruises like crazy. So, Ma got big bruises where OB took a hold of her to take her coat off. Let me get one thing straight here. OB is not abusing Ma. She will bruise if you hug her hard. I'm serious. But, he saw the bruises and freaked out, worrying that he had hurt her. So, he called me the next morning and asked me to come home so that I could sit with her because I "am good at calming her down." So, I rolled outta bed, put some clothes on, and went over. She was okay with me pretty much all morning, but around 3:00 or so, she started losing it. She kept asking me to take her home. She thought home was the next town over, though she's never lived in that town. She also says that that town is named the same thing our town is named, but it's different. And no matter how much I tried to tell her that she was home, she would not believe me. I had to walk with her a couple of blocks because she was walking "home." After OB got back, we had a conversation and he said he can't do this anymore. We decided it's time for Ma to enter a home, for good. Then, when I was getting ready to leave Ma's house to come back to Sis and BiL's house, I said goodbye to her through the bathroom door. She said, "Trisha, wait a minute!" and then came out and asked me if I'd be willing to take her home. She had calmed down a little bit prior to that, so I thought it'd be safe to tell her bye. But, I said, "Ma, you ARE home." She started crying and trying to guilt trip me into taking her home, but what could I do? I gave her a hug and said, "I love you." and she said in her mean/sarcastic/guilt trip voice, "Yeah, I'm sure you do." So, I had to leave then. She can't be reasoned with anymore. She's been like this for pretty much 4 or 5 days.

As much as I complain about OB and his sometimes very self-centered ways, I still love him. Even as much as his soon to be ex-wife can irritate the crap out of me, I still love him. And he's hurting about this. He feels like a failure because he's the oldest child and he can't keep her in the home. But you know what? He's done a great thing with taking care of her. He kept her in her own home for 3 1/2 extra months. And now, she doesn't know where home is, so it's definitely time. I told him all this too, because we respect him for what he did. We never EVER expected him to take care of her like he did, and I'm glad he's realized that he can't do it anymore. I'm also thankful that he doesn't seem to be blaming us for not helping more, or for the breakup of his marriage. His wife is moving to another state on Saturday. On Wednesday, she was over at the house, and she played nice with me. I tried to remember that grace is very important. In my CPE evaluation, Supa said, "Trish is a very grace-centered person." I lose sight of that sometimes, and I'm grateful that I had that in my mind when dealing with her this week. She even apologized for being so hateful the other day. I accepted her apology and I was rational and gracious (I think) the whole day toward her.

But, this whole situation is just so emotionally exhausting. I just feel too young to have to be dealing with my mother's quick cognitive decline. I'm just grateful that it seems we siblings have turned a corner and will be able to work together now. We've been talking to nursing homes and trying to figure out where would be a good place to have her live. The one she was in before is a definite no, and the one in another neighboring town is also a definite no, but there are several really good nursing homes around that specialize in dementia. I'm trying to keep this process kicked up because OB is at the end of his rope, and I want him to know relief. As selfish as it may sound, when I moved to Seminary, I was SO relieved to not have to be the caretaker anymore. So, I understand where OB is coming from, and I empathize.

Wednesday also brought tragedy. Howard's babysitter's son committed suicide in his parents' garage. The sitter and her husband came home and found him. The man was around 30 years old. I can't imagine what they must be feeling. I have seen people die; even people very close to me, but that was their son. And my loved ones didn't kill themselves. I'm just praying that the family is shown grace and love instead of being judged and talked about around town. These people are wonderful. The babysitter even came to the church I preached at last Sunday so she could hear what I had to say. She encouraged me and said I did a great job that day. And I have known her for months and have found her to be a wonderful person. I just feel so bad for her and her husband. If you remember, would you say a prayer for them? You may not know their names, but God does. I may be saying a prayer at his funeral service. Babysitter mentioned it to the family and to the minister, but they've not called me yet. I'd be willing to do whatever I can for them. It's their time of grief, and if they want me to speak a word of grace and peace to them, I just pray that God would give me the words.

This is just a tumultuous time. I know that everyone has problems; even big problems, but right now I just feel really bad. I know that God is with me, and I would never give up my faith because it is when I am with God that I know peace, but I just don't feel good about all this. The words of comfort and solace I find in hymns and Scripture are what I cling to in times like these. That is where I find God most clearly. May you also find peace in the promises of God through Christ today, and in all your struggles. Go in peace.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


Alright already!


When is it enough?

*sings Happy Shining People Holding Hands*

Today was rough.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

I led worship today

and this is the message that I preached. Oh, and the worship I led was not at "my" church, but at a neighboring church. Pastor let his pastoral friends/colleagues know that I was willing to do supply preaching, and I have had several biters. Today was my first time preaching away from my home church. It was exciting. So, I preached last Sunday at my church and Pastor's "other" church, this week at a neighboring church, and I'm doing next week at yet another church. Woohoo! Anyway, in an effort to become less of a wuss, I'm putting this out here. I'm also trying to remember grace. Just because there is drama and stress in my life, doesn't mean that I should lose sight of grace, both for myself and for other people. So, here's the message:

Church Message 23
June 24, 2007

God is good-all the time. This phrase is very true. Unfortunately, in the midst of all the things in our lives that can go wrong: untimely death, tragedies, divorce, illness, pain, etc, sometimes, we can forget that God is indeed good. This morning’s Gospel lesson features two people who many would see as people who had been slighted by God. After all, they were getting on in years and they had not had any children. Elizabeth was thought of to be unable to have children, and so she and her husband had pretty much given up on the idea of hearing the pitter-patter of little feet running around the house. As we heard at the beginning of today’s Gospel lesson, though, it became time for Elizabeth to give birth. This couple who had thought they would go to their graves without having children, was blessed in a special way. I wonder, if after finding that Elizabeth was pregnant, the neighbors had a good talk amongst themselves about what was going on. This child could have been considered to be long overdue, considering Zechariah and Elizabeth’s ages. What did the neighbors think about the whole situation? Did they think that God pitied the couple? Did they think some sin in their lives had finally been resolved, thus “allowing” God to bless them? Or did they just think, “Good for them!”? I wonder. But, instead of blaming God for their misfortune up until then, and instead of saying, “What’s changed?” Elizabeth and Zechariah rejoiced in the new baby. This couple didn’t seem to really care if the neighbors had been talking about them, but instead, they rejoiced. Thankfully, instead of seeing Zechariah and Elizabeth as weird, the neighbors joined with them in the celebration of the new life that was brought forth. How easy is it sometimes to forget the goodness that we have been given and instead focus on how we’re perceived by others? I imagine that Zechariah and Elizabeth’s enthusiasm for their brand new baby boy was contagious. They showed great gratitude, and the neighbors joined in. Perhaps it was contagious? Perhaps it was leading by example? The point is that the blessing of God in their lives was not overlooked because the couple didn’t downplay their excitement because of how they might be perceived. They saw their blessing, and they gave thanks.
And we come back to the neighbors. I can imagine that many of you are parents. A couple of my siblings have small children, and so I speak only from the experience of being a part of the lives of my nephews. When my brother had his son, and when my sister had her son, I remember how each of them got a lot of advice. Parents who had been there before were offering tips on what worked for them. A great deal of that advice was very helpful to them. However, it became somewhat of a balancing act as they tried to sort through the advice, and all the while try to figure out their own parenting styles in the midst of it. Sometimes that was a hard task because we don’t like to alienate those we trust and love. So, can you imagine how Elizabeth and Zechariah must have felt when the neighbors came to be a part of the circumcision and naming ritual? The neighbors, we are told, pushed for Zechariah to name his child after him. But, in an earlier part of Luke’s Gospel, an angel told Zechariah about his future son, and what that son should be named. But here, all these people came, EXPECTING Zechariah to name the baby after him. They came to give their advice and to offer their opinions. Elizabeth said no when they pushed for the name Zechariah, and then Zechariah said no by fulfilling the angel’s command when he went against the cultural norm and named his son John. This behavior might also have been seen as odd, but these two faithful people realized that they had God with them. They did what God said, and not what the neighbors said.
Thankfully, as these “bizarre” events unfolded, the example put forth by Elizabeth and Zechariah was enough to show the friends and neighbors that God indeed was among them. But, this “God among them” bit struck a bit of fear into their hearts. What would that mean for them? Would they have to look into their own lives to see what was happening if God was among them? If God was among them, did that mean that things would have to change? And the million dollar question that was widely talked about in the region was, “What will this child become?” That question was one that was not easily answered. Even into John’s adult life, people questioned who he was. Some thought he was Elijah, while others thought he was the Messiah. Some thought he was just a weird guy, and some didn’t think of him at all. But, the neighbors at John’s birth wondered, “What will he be?” A common question, I think, when a child is born. I imagine parents often wonder what their children will become. The same could have been true for these parents, considering the unusual circumstances under which John was conceived. An angel told of John’s birth, so what would that mean for the rest of his life? God was with this child, so what would that mean for him? What does it mean for the children of today? God is with the children born today, and especially at their baptism. It means that love will always be a part of their lives. Love is a part of all of our lives as baptized children of God. An angel may have told Zechariah that he would become a father, and that God was with them, but we can know that God is with us, too. This may seem weird to people who do not have faith in their hearts and lives, but we can go forth in our lives knowing the love of God in Christ.
In response to the knowledge of God’s presence in the life of his new baby, Zechariah’s mouth was opened as he spilled forth adoration and praise to the God who made it all possible. This praise was Zechariah’s way of saying thank you to God who came through on God’s promise. God is always faithful, and God is always merciful. God had shown mercy to Elizabeth when she became pregnant, and by making John a messenger and preparer of the way of Jesus. God showed mercy to THE WORLD by coming in Christ in order to grant us forgiveness. Things may start small, but when God is at work, they don’t have to stay small. This is true for our entire lives today. God changes the world with the seeds we sow. By doing even the “little” things for those we meet, such as a smile or a kind word, we can show the love and the mercy we have been so freely given. Perhaps these actions can be our own way of saying “Thank you” to God. When John was named in this morning’s lesson, Zechariah was claiming him as his own. Zechariah claimed this gift from God, and by doing so, I believe he was saying, “Thank you God. I receive and acknowledge that this gift is from You.” In a society where we “get what we earn,” how easy is it to remember that God gives abundantly what we can never earn: unconditional love and mercy? Do we risk being seen by the neighbors as naive people for our love? Do we risk being seen as Christians with all of the stereotypes that surround us? Do we RISK going forth as people who are called, gathered and sent, knowing that Christ calls us to lives of thanksgiving, prayer, and love? I can think of worse things to be known by.
So, the question is, do we go forth as people who have received grace; as people touched by God in our baptism to make Christ known to a broken and hurting world? Do we go forth with the knowledge that Christ is our king and deserves all praise and honor, and yet with the understanding that He seeks relationship with us, as people who are unworthy to untie the thong of his sandals through our own merit? The very same John from today’s Gospel lesson would grow up to become one who preached for people to repent from their sins. He knew he was not the one to forgive these sins, but he knew he had a place in God’s plan that required him to herald the coming Messiah. Christ came as that messiah. He came to offer forgiveness for those who turned from their sin and turned to Him. Jesus came to save us, not only FROM sin, but FOR lives of praise. May we take our words and deeds of love to our neighbors so that they too, may experience this grace. Amen.

Friday, June 22, 2007

5 Things I Dig About Jesus

Mark tagged me, and I am usually a good sport, so here goes...

Here are the rules:

Those tagged will share 5 Things They Dig About Jesus.
Those tagged will tag 5 people.
Those tagged will leave a link to their meme in the comments section of this post so everyone can keep track of what's being posted.

Five Things I Dig About Jesus

1. Jesus did things that were different, and that turned heads.

2. Jesus is relateable because He didn't hold Himself up to be this hugely lofty guy. Nope, Jesus was a worker, a friend, and a teacher, and I believe Jesus tried to do this in a way that He knew we could emulate.

3. Jesus didn't (doesn't) run when situations get hairy. Jesus sticks around for the whole show.

4. Jesus addressed issues of His own time, but that still are important today. My favorite quote of Jesus' is found in Matthew 6:34. It talks about worry.

5. Jesus loves me even when I don't. :) That's pretty cool.

I tag Jacki, Jae, Faith Love and Bandaids, Inheritor of Heaven, and I think everyone else I know has been tagged already! If not, consider yerself tagged.

Monday, June 18, 2007


Okay, so a while ago, I said I was going to write a post on how nature makes me feel. I've been lax, but here it is, as promised.

My dear good friend and I went to one of the state parks a few weeks ago. It's tradition for us to go hike for a while, and then go to Applebee's for margaritas and lunch or dinner. "Dan" picked me up about 7:00 a.m. the morning we went out, and we drove to the park. We figured out which trails we wanted to hike and we set out. It was a beautiful day. The sky was blue, there was just enough of a breeze, and we were the only ones there when we first arrived. While we were walking, we got to be the ones to break down the spiderwebs the arachnids had sewn during the night across the paths. We took the canyon trails mostly this day, instead of the bluff trails, and we got to see some waterfalls. Granted, they weren't large waterfalls, due to the fact that it hasn't been really wet around here, but they were waterfalls, nonetheless, and beautiful even in their fragility. Dan and I traversed through some shallow pools of water and walked through the falls to get to the other side where we could get a better view. The water was cold because the ground wasn't yet warmed completely from the winter.

Dan and I see so much beauty when we go there. We also have some good conversation and catch up on each others' lives. He even asks me about this ministry stuff that I'm getting into, which means a lot to me because he is unchurched. We talk about our dreams and aspirations, what we've been about and how that has changed us. It's like the simplicity of the woods takes away any and all pretenses we have in conversation with each other. But, Dan and I have been friends for several years, and so maybe the woods have nothing to do with it. The fact is that we connect with each other, and we connect with Creation. I connect in thanksgiving for what we've been privileged to share in, and he connects in his own way, which I will not speculate on, considering it is not my place.

Being out there, walking through forests and canyons, looking out from bluffs onto the river, and seeing everything makes me so amazingly grateful for life. I'm so glad for the pause I experience when I'm there. I don't live in a big city, but my town is still quite different from being separated by forest and river. Walking through the crisp morning air, breathing in the freshness of it all, and feeling the water and leaves all remind me that God is here among us. God created this, and this park has been home to many different people through the years. It reminds me of Communion. During the Supper, we are connected by Christ's body and blood. While sharing in the wonder of nature, we are sharing in God's goodness through the gift of respite and relaxation. Genesis 1:31-God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Thanks be to God for all the ways we are connected, and may we always remember our bonds.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Racking my brain...

Wee. Mark tagged me for a meme, and because I'm disgusting from some exercise I just did, I figured I'd stink it up here in the dining room and do it! Here is the 8 random facts theme!

1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
3.At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

My Random 8 Facts!

1. I was the "short kid" in school until I was probably 17 years old. I was SO short that I had to sit on two Christmas Edition JC Penney catalogs when I was learning how to drive. Thankfully, I was down to one when I got my license, and soon thereafter, graduated to none! Thanks to the wonder of modern medicine, I grew 16 inches in 4 years.

2. At one point in my life, I wanted to become a doctor. To be specific, I wanted to be an endocrinologist (one who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of glandular disorders). However, my contempt for math and science led me away from that field.

3. When I was in junior high school, and even a little into high school, friends used to come to me for medical advice because of the previous fact. I correctly "diagnosed" a few medical maladies. I think I could do this because when I was sick from school, I oftentimes would read the medical encyclopedias we had in the foyer of our house. I was a complete dork. (and still am).

4. I hate being told what to do when I'm not asking for advice. I can get somewhat spiteful, which is one of my major flaws, when I believe people are stepping on me. I'm trying to stop this behavior because most of the time, people are just looking out for me.

5. I like working with my hands and getting dirty and sweaty. It's gross, I know, but something is contented within me when I have fixed something, or made something look nice. I will even take risks if I think I have a way out if my plan doesn't work. One example is my plumbing project when I installed the new kitchen faucet at my house a few years ago. I was thrilled when it worked. I also like weedwacking abandoned yards and I find it quite therapeutic.

6. I have never been on a plane to go somewhere (except in the air in order to jump out). When I tell people that I jumped out of the first airplane I was ever in, most people balk some. I laugh. But, one of these days, I'll take a trip requiring a flight.

7. I have an extremely bizarre laugh that makes other people start laughing with me. To go along with this laugh is a bizarre sense of humor. I laugh at weird stuff all the time, and I don't care. Even when I was a kid, I used to have "laugh attacks" and my "special" (I was smart) class had to take time out so I could compose myself. It's cool though.

8. The person I am today is not a thing like I was 6 years ago, and that's totally okay by me. I am glad for the change, even the trying times that have shaped me. Growth and change is a remarkable thing, especially when we can see it in our own lives.

So,I am going to tag Deb, Inheritor, Faith Love & Bandaids, and I need to get more blogging friends! Haha. If you read this and feel inclined to play along, just let me know, and I'll totally be all about reading your post.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Catharsis, or TMI?

Ok, so there is some family drama going on here. My oldest brother's wife keeps saying that she's leaving. She "can't handle" taking care of my mother. She says, "I'm doing this all alone. I need to move" blah blah blah. "Those girls asked me to take care of their mom, and they don't help me at all." Yak yak yak..

Well, let me say one damn thing. Where has she been for the past 3 1/2 years when it was fricking ME doing it all alone? When I saw my other brother and his wife FAR MORE than I saw my oldest brother and his wife. Oldest brother lives 6 blocks away and other brother lives 2 1/2 hours away. Mmmhmm. I guess the part that really irks my bubbles is that she's playing this huge martyr role like "boohoo, no one helps me." Guess what? I already played that game and I didn't moan and groan about it! And I'm STILL doing what I can to help, but I think I've earned a bit of a break. Sorry for valuing my mental health.

And I guess I'm also annoyed and angered that she is just so stupid to us about this. She called me the other day to ask me if I could come over and watch my mom. She called about 15 minutes before she wanted to leave. I couldn't get out of Sis' house, because I was helping her with Howard. (This was when she wasn't able to lift, yet). And I said, "Sorry, I can't come right now. If you want, I can make it in a few hours." And she said, "No." and then hung up on me. I called back to talk to my brother and she answered and was nasty to me. I've never treated her with anything but support and kindness, and I am just not appreciative at all that she's being so mean about it all. It's not our fault that her marriage is breaking up. We NEVER asked her to take care of our mother.

She's just so bitter and martyr-ish and it just drives me nuts. Ma's mental decline is tough for all of us, and she has NOT been doing all this stuff by herself. She's bitter, and I wasn't bitter, but now it's starting to creep in. So, hopefully, this isn't too much information, but I am just so angry.

I don't know if I should calm down some and calmly go talk to her, or if I should just let it slide since "she's leaving" in about two weeks. She's not a very rational person. Other brother's wife says she isn't "evolved" enough to have an adult conversation. Who knows? All I know is that the drama she brings is not appreciated or needed.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

It's ALIVE!!

Ok, so I've been kinda flaky on the updating thing for a little while. My bad. I've been busy-blah blah blah. I'm really tired right now, but I went to a wedding this weekend and I'll tell you all about it, because I'm sure you're just dying to know! :) haha.

Oh, and it looks like I'll be skydiving "alone" (meaning w/o my pals) sometime very soon. I'm cool with it though. I'll just be able to pick up and go whenever I want.

Oh, and leading worship... I'll have to tell you of some possibilities. Exciting.