Friday, January 27, 2012


I spent Monday-Thursday of this week at a retreat center in PA for a continuing education event that's required for our first three years for all first-call pastors and rostered leaders in the ELCA. Though it's not a totally accurate name, many of us involved affectionately refer to the event as "baby pastor school". It includes worship, large group lectures and small group discussions, and time for informal conversation with other pastors/leaders. As these events are organized by region, and a majority of my seminary graduating class are in the same region I am, it also becomes a sort of seminary reunion. While I really appreciate opportunities for learning, the two things I appreciated most about baby pastor school were the times of worship and reconnecting with seminary friends. Of course, it's always fun to spend time with friends, but discussing our challenges and experiences in ministry was a good way to adjust my perspective. Sometimes I need to be reminded that I am not alone in ministry... that others have challenges as well, and that there are people I can go to for support. And I'm not alone especially because God is with me, and has called me and given me gifts for ministry. Yes, even pastors need to be reminded of God's presence!

Friday, January 20, 2012


I can check off my first item on my 12 in 2012 list! I have successfully completed item #10: I purchased a new laptop computer! I did a bit of online research and made a couple visits to Best Buy and today I was able to leave the store with an HP laptop all set up and ready to go. It's nice and light and on the smaller side (size-wise) without sacrificing storage and capabilities. I'll learn more about it as I use it, but I've enjoyed playing around with it this evening and it seems to have what I need without being too fancy or too cheap. YAY!! It even has a built-in webcam. I thought about taking a picture with it, but what I really want to show you a picture of is the computer, and I can't take a picture of the computer with the camera on the computer. And I don't feel like messing with my digital camera and cords and downloading. So you'll just have to deal, unless I decide to upload a picture later. I'm glad to FINALLY have a new computer, and I hope it works out and lasts long enough to make it worth it! I have made some progress on a few other items, but the only one to really note at this point is that I finished my first book of the year: The Postmistress by Sarah Blake. It was a recommendation based on another book I liked, and I ended up really liking it as well. I've been surprised to discover that I like historical fiction more than I thought I did.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

2011 Year in Review

I like the idea of an annual look back and documentation of the previous year. I did this on my blog last year for the first time, and thought I should continue it this year. Looking back over 2011, the highlights can be summed up with friends, travel, more "pastor firsts" and running.
Winter (Jan/Feb/Mar):
Baby Pastor School, made new friends, had visits from friends, hosted a Super Bowl party, spoke at a convocation at LTSP, and attended a quilting retreat at Lutherlyn
Spring (April/May/June): 1st place in my age group in a local 5k, visited family & friends and attended friends' wedding in MD, celebrated Dana's ordination, parents visited, first Holy Week as a pastor, SJAWE concert, attended LTSP graduation, first Confirmation as a pastor, took youth to Six Flags, bought a brand NEW CAR and FIRST TIME ON THE WEST COAST- vacation to Seattle and Holden with Mandy!
Summer (July/August/Sept): attended friends' wedding in PA, visits from parents and family, VBS, Confirmation Camp, presided over my first wedding, first Blessing of the Fleet as a pastor and "drove" the Coast Guard boat, ran the River to Sea Relay, went to a Phillies game, Hurricane evacuation, 1st ordination anniversary, ran the Akron Marathon, and celebrated my 30th BIRTHDAY with two parties!
Fall (Oct/Nov/Dec): visited family in MD, Ethics of Eating Hunger Leader training retreat, presided over my second wedding, visited friends in Philly, distributed food to the hungry in Camden, attended LBI Christmas parade, SJAWE concert, went home for the holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas)!
All in all, not a bad year. :)

Monday, January 2, 2012

12 for '12

Happy New Year!
Thanks to a little inspiration from some friends (especially, and my desire to make goals (not resolutions) for the year, I have created the following list (in no particular order)...

12 (mostly) new things for 2012:
1. Take swimming lessons.
2. Try a tri(athlon)
3. Go someplace in NJ I've never been.
4. Go somewhere outside of NJ I've never been.
5. Read (at least) 12 new books.
6. Try (at least) 12 new recipes.
7. Finish my "mystery quilt".
8. Finish painting and updating my bathrooms.
9. Play the piano regularly enough to re-learn Fur Elise.
10. Buy a new laptop computer.
11. Go on a date.
12. Find a spiritual practice that works for me.

1. I am an embarassingly poor swimmer. In order to do #2, I need to do #1 first.
2. Now that I've run a few half and full marathons, I think a triathlon would be a new fun challenge. I'm not starting with anything crazy, probably just a sprint distance.
3. Even though I've lived here a total of 2 1/2 years, and it's not a huge state, there's still a lot of New Jersey I haven't seen, and there are definitely places in my "1,000 places to see in the USA before you die" book that I haven't seen.
4. This could be just about anywhere, but might be my vacation destination. More to come later.
5. I've made it through a decent number of books lately and I'd like to keep it up. I picked 12 for the number theme I have going, and because it's means 1 book a month, which seems reasonable. AND I need to use my new Kindle!
6. See the explanation for #5.

7. I started my third quilt last spring at the Mystery Quilt Retreat at Lutherlyn. I didn't get much farther than where I was at the end of the retreat. Probably because I don't do much quilting or sewing when the weather is nice. But now it's winter again, so I'm busting out the sewing machine!
8. There have already been several improvements made to my bathrooms, including painting them this past summer. I need to do some touch-ups in both, and paint the medicine cabinet and sink cabinet in my master bathroom. This also seems like a good winter project.
9. I never wanted to be one of those people with a piano that just sits in their house as a piece of unused furniture, and I'm in danger of becoming just that. Just "play the piano regularly" didn't seem specific enough, so Mandy suggested I have the goal of playing a certain piece. When I took piano lessons in high school one of the first real pieces I learned, and soon memorized, was Beethoven's Fur Elise. I have slacked off in my piano playing so much that not only do I no longer have it memorized but I don't think I can even play it anymore (at least not well).
10. I've needed a new computer since seminary, but haven't really had the finances for it. I was able to borrow a refurbished laptop, but it isn't going to last much longer.
11. I have a pathetically non-existent love life. It's not like I'm swimming in eligible men, but I could probably make more of an effort. This is the goal I feel the most skeptical about. Any help?
12. Prayer is a regular part of my every day life. And I've practiced devotional reading off and on over the years, but I've never been very consistent with it. I think prayer is important, but I think I need to do something more on a regular basis to work on my spiritual health.