Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Vocation

It has been a long day. I was in meetings all day, first staff and then a guided meeting in response to the conference that kept me at church all weekend two weeks ago. The crux of the conference is that the home must be and is church as well. It is encouraging congregations to move away from the congregation as church model but identify that the home and the congregation must work in tandem to grow in faith, and particularly to help children and youth grow in faith.

The language of the conference has also been making me think a lot about vocation, particularly the vocation of parenting. Many (maybe most?) jobs are no longer expressions of vocation, instead they are means to an end. A job is something that allows you to pay the bills and live the life that you truly care about. And even those who are lucky to have a job to which they feel called are often bogged down by the mire of day to day work to fully identify the sense of vocation that a job can bring. (This may be some personal experience talking here too!).

But in thinking about how parents serve children in their faith development and thinking about vocation, in the sense of living with a higher calling and purpose even in everyday life, I have been thinking about parenting. As we speak I have pregnant friends who struggled mightily to become pregnant. In fact one is currently on bed rest from an embryo transfer and we are currently sending lots of prayers her way (Good Luck Carrie!!) Becoming a parent is something that becomes sought out, and in many ways fought for in today's society. There is a call that so many families feel to have children. That call then translate to the care and growth of the children in their care.

But at the same time, I see parents routinely become stuck in the day to day struggle of having children - childcare, hockey games, colds, picky eaters, time (where oh where did the time go?). I think sometimes parents (and all of us) blink and realize that the opportunities to live our vocation are rapidly passing us by in the day to day work we do. I love the idea of promoting home as church in my families, but I see the stress of the day to day in their eyes. I see the worry that it is another thing to do to be a professionally adequate parent, along with tummy time and organic food and Montessori advanced placement preschool and Suzuki, and hockey, and gymnastics and who knows what else. There is a cultural stress to create perfect little children, prepping them to be well rounded when it comes time to college applications, even if they are only 3.

I can relate to the pressure but it also leads me to figure out what it means to have a vocation to parenting. In my job I regularly interview my families to get a sense of what their priorities are, what are their stresses, and what are their hopes and where the church fits into that. But the questions that I ask that I pay the most attention to is what they love best about each of their children and what they hope for in the future for their children. And the answers are surprising, in a way.

It is rarely hoped that the children will be successful (comfortable yes, rich not so much), but rather that they are happy, loved, secure, doing something they love, faithful, etc. And the things they love best are not their talents or gifts but their sense of wonder, their joy, their openness, etc. Parents know what they think is important but they often fall in the trap of stuff and activities to create the well rounded child. And it makes me wonder, what does a vocation of parenting look like? Is it nurturing a child to be strong in faith? Is it guiding a child through life and preparing them to take a role guiding their own life? Is it about setting them up for success? Or love? Or joy? Or all of the above?

I don't know if I've found the answer to this, or if there is one answer but I want to ask you - parents and parents-to-be - what does a vocation of parenting look like to you? What do you feel you are called to be for your kids? What do you feel the need to model in your homes? What do you love best about your kids? And what do you hope for them in the future? Even if you don't have kids yet I think these are important questions to think about. Maybe by thinking about them now I'll have some clue about how to proceed when I do in fact become a mother. So blogland, please share your thoughts with me. I'm very curious.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Denial

I may have to face facts and start to wear a coat and socks again. As much as I love fall, I'm always slow to jump on the socks/real shoes bandwagon once the weather gets cold. But try as I could, my toes (and short-sleeved arms) were just too cold today. Darn it. I guess the cold weather really is coming.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Funny "Ha-Ha" or Funny "Oh Shit"?

Plagiarized from a comment that i read on another blog, but it was too good not to share...

While suturing a cut on the hand of a 75-year old Texas rancher whose hand was caught in a gate while working cattle, the doctor struck up a conversation with the old man. Eventually the topic got around to Sarah Palin and her bid to be a heartbeat away from being President. The old rancher said, 'Well, ya know, Palin is a post turtle.'

Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a post turtle was.

The old rancher said, 'When you're driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that's a post turtle.'

The old rancher saw a puzzled look on the doctor's face, so he continued to explain. 'You know she didn't get up there by herself, she doesn't belong up there, she doesn't know what to do while she is up there, and you just wonder what kind of dumb ass put her up there to begin with.'

Saturday, September 20, 2008

8:00 AM on a Saturday...

...And where are you? I'm at work. Thus continuing the streak of one day off since Labor Day. By my math, that makes one day off out of 24 days if I count ahead to Friday of next week when the streak will end. Next Friday begins three (THREE!) whole days off in a row for my friend Katie's wedding! No wonder I haven't had much blogging time this month. Hopefully it is just going to be September and the rest of the fall won't be so painfully busy, but I guess only time will tell. Oh well.

And for something completely unrelated...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BARB!!!!

Barb turns 40 today and looks great for it. I know I would never have guessed it. Stop by and wish her a happy birthday!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Public Service Announcement:

If you get a flu shot in the morning, work all day and then go to the gym you are liable to go to bed early, sleep through your alarm and not wake up for approx. 10+ hours thus making you late for work. That is all.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Still Here.

Hey blogland. It has been a while. And yet, I find I have very little to say. I've been struck with stress induced writer's block. It isn't that I don't want to post, but the energy that goes into writing something meaningful, or funny, or really anything that isn't some anxiety-fulled post about "OMG JOBS! MONEY! CONFIDENCE! EXHAUSTION! etc" is really more than I have in me. I do want to post and keep this up to date. I don't want it to waste away slowly until I disappear and google analytics tells me that no one even visits anymore. But mostly I have been caught up in the stress of getting the fall programming launched, being professional and responsible in my job issues, and support Mr. Goat in his search for a job. Seriously, boring shit fueled by anxiety and economic rescession.

But I do want to highlight some of the good stuff too. Because there are fun moments and it is important to me to remember them and not live in a place of worry as often as I do.

* My dear sister and her hubby were in town for a wedding a weekend ago and we got to go to a Twins game (they lost because me now-MI-living sister cheered for the Tigers) and have an evening of several rounds of the board game Ticket to Ride. Yes, we are geeky. And we love it. The thing I always find amazing about my sister is how alike we can be and yet be totally and completely different people. It is awesome. I wish I saw her more.

* The Packers are 2-0 with Aaron Rodgers at the helm. The Jets, with Mr. Favre, are 1-1. The Vikings are 0-2. "It is a beautiful day in the neighborhood..."

* I actually had my first day off since Labor Day on Saturday. Despite the rain, I went to my SIL's swim meet and went to Target, and played some wii. It was really nice to have a day off.

* I meet with a nutritionist on Thursday. Hopefully I'll get some good guidance on eating better for me.

* Tonight I'm going to go home and not worry about work. I will watch Mon Night Football and read a book and rest. And I'm not going to the gym either. So there. And I will enjoy it. (Oh I will probably do my much belated thank you notes though).

And I'm sure there are more but I can't remember right now. Oh well. Perhaps those I'll save for another day so I can keep this blogging thing back up. I should also post some pictures soon too. I have some to share but keep neglecting to upload them.

I hope that things are all going well with you. I will try to keep up with the blogging more. I do enjoy it and hope to be in a better state of mind soon. There is just so much going on that it is hard to find the things to say. Really, I'd rather be napping. But I do like blogging and I'm sure this lull will pass, along with all the current stuff on my plate. I hope both pass sooner rather than later.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Thursday Thirteen - Edition 5



Thirteen Things I Love about September!


1. School is starting! Even though I am no longer in school myself, I still love the start of the new school year. My job still runs on the school year and I look forward to the renewed energy and excitement that the fall brings.

2. FOOTBALL! Finally the sport that defines my Sunday afternoons from Sept - Jan begins. It is an exciting time to see who among your favorites will stand out this year and whether your team will succeed in making to the Big Game. Hope springs eternal if only for a few weeks!

3. Fantasy Football! Albeit a new love, Fantasy Football has increased my joy in the football season by adding that lovely competition factor between friends and family. I love my husband, but I want my fantasy team to CRUSH his! Although, the key to bets in Fantasy football is to bet for things that ensure you both win!

4. Perfect Weather! Not to hot, nor too cold. Typically sunny except for some much needed rain. Cool enough for sleeping with the windows open but lovely and warm most days.

5. New School Supplies! Is there anything as heavenly as a fresh notebook or new pens/pencils. Sigh. It makes me wish I were back in school again.

6. Labor Day! One final summer day off to glory in the grilling and laziness that defines the summer. It is a bittersweet holiday as you kiss the summer as you knew it behind, but you revel in all the day has to offer as well.

7. Baseball! Sure you say, baseball goes on all summer long, but as we all know that it really gets down to the wire as September comes. The playoffs are looming and it becomes a race to make it or to thwart another team (ahem, Yankees! Red Sox! White Sox!) from making the playoffs at all. And soon enough, October comes and then there is the pennant race!

8. Platform 9 3/4! Lest the sports above lead you to think that I'm far cooler than I actually am, I love that on September 1st in a fictional world that I love there are young witches and wizards going to Hogwarts for the first time. Makes me want to go on that scarlet steam engine myself.

9. The Fall Leaves! It always depends on the year, but with September comes the simmering golds and reds of the leaves as they change. Always beautiful and it makes the seemingly endless months of bare trees more bare-able :)

10. Sweaters! I hate having to wear coats in the rain or the winter and I love the perfect fall weather that lets you be perfectly comfy in a sweater. And when you get to break them out after a hot summer it is even better, although I'm glad to put them away in the spring too.

11. Fall TV premiers! Ugly Betty, Survivor, America's Next Top Model, Amazing Race, and many many more all come back. So much good/bad TV so little space on the Tivo!

12. Music Ensembles Start! While this isn't as true for me this year since I'm not participating in my normal church music things it is true for Mr. Goat as his choir begins. And I see how much he's missed it. I have fond memories of going back to the band room after a long summer and making music again. There is something beautiful about reuniting with friends and making music.

13.
Train Chasing! Our favorite local steam engine always goes out on runs to look at the fall leaves and we can chase it and get great pictures of the leaves and the train.



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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Busy doin' nutin'

I had a lovely birthday last week, lovely in its uneventfulness. I worked. I went out to dinner with my hubby. There was grocery shopping too I believe, nothing fancy but a nice simple day.

Wednesday was spent in a haze of family, food and fun - yup we were at the fair. There were Sweet Martha's Cookies, Porkchops on a stick and numerous other diet crashing foods. I have pictures but I'm too lazy to get up right now and find the camera. Besides the food though, it was wonderful to see my BIL and SIL who were up from Virgina. I haven't seen them since a funeral last Dec so it was nice to have a happy occasion to hang out.

After a day at work on Thursday, we also spent Friday with BIL and SIL. We played some Wii, had some pizza and then went to Mystic to see the Last Comic Standing Finalists. It was another fun day.

And then my parents came to visit for the rest of the weekend. We played bridge and I did some shopping with my mom while Mr. Goat and Dad golfed, and we just spent some time together. It was great to see them too.

Amazingly enough, my Sister and BIL are in town this weekend for a wedding so I'll get to see my whole immediate family in the course of two weeks. It is pretty wonderful.

Naturally work is back today and kicking my butt. There is lots to do before Sunday School can start on Sunday but we are moving in the right track. If I survive the next two weeks life may destress and I can figure out what to do long term at this church. But either way it was a good time last week and I'll try to keep that in mind during this weeks stress.