Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Aim High, Shoot Low

We are in the midst of the beginning of lots of change in our Archdiocese. I have no idea where I'll be, or what our parish will look like, five years from now. But at least, we're trying to be proactive and do some planning, be transparent and honest, and think big about the possibilities. I'm reading up on pastoral planning and trying to fill my toolbox. In all the leadership books I read, they talk about successful organizations being willing to try new things, to think "outside the box," to be willing to fail and learn and change courses when things aren't working.
I'm cool with that. I want to try new things at the parish, and I'm pretty comfortable with re-do's. I think it's a matter of attitudes, a matter of looking differently at same-old situations. Maybe it's because I'm the youngest kid in my family that I quickly get annoyed at hearing that my ideas won't work, couldn't work, before we get to even give things a try. I've been hearing it since I was little. But hey, maybe that's the life of an innovator.
A couple of years back I started urging the staff at our parish to stop assuming the worst of our parishioners. I wanted us all to stop saying things like "they won't understand" or "no one will come to that" or "that's too serious/deep/traditional/etc. for our people." I wanted us to start saying things like "let's try it, and see who comes" and assuming that our people were faith-filled, wanted to know God and grow in their faith. It was a HARD habit to break, and lately we've begun to fall back into old habits of assuming our people are shallow and half-hearted.
But I'm starting to realize I'm as guilty as my co-workers. As a youth minister, my default position with teenagers was that they didn't know much about the faith, that they were doubters- seekers, but doubters- and that they needed convincing. It's a much more comfortable position to be in as a teacher, where you know more and are more secure than your students. Working with adults, I'm afraid I've kept starting from that default position, assuming the groups I work with are illiterate about the faith. But the fact is, most of the parents in my GOF group are very faithful people, with a real dedication to the Church and to their family's faith. I'm just starting to realize that I need to teach to those people in my groups, rather than shooting for the lowest levels and trying to convince. What does that kind of teaching look like? I'm not so sure... but it's something I want to think about more.
As we begin this scary pastoral planning process, I want us all to go in assuming the best of our people- not to say "this won't work" or "they won't want to do this" but instead, thinking about how this church of people can become better evangelizers, more faithful, grow stronger and go deeper.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

And Now, Something Deliciously Different

You should make this tonight. You know why? Because... because Lent is over and Easter's here. Alleluia! Because life is short, and precious, and one day you won't be able to eat anymore. Not even steamed broccoli! It's going to happen, sooner or later. Plus, this is so easy and gratifying and impressive-looking, despite it's simplicity. It's win-win-win. Do it, and eat it lustfully, gratefully, in your favorite, happiest place.

PS: Sorry about the blurry pic, I was quivering.
PSS: Mine came out even more puddingy than the picture at the recipe's page. So. There's that to look forward to.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

time to waste is wasted on me

I can't get out of my own way today. It's not that I don't want to do anything, I do. I want to do everything. I'm battling contrary urges to go to work, to stay home, to do some writing, to read that book I bought about writing, to cook something, to clean the kitchen- I do want to clean the kitchen, it looks like we're having an estate sale in there...
I want to plant my garden, which would involve trucking four big bags of soil across the lawn in the wheelbarrow, which is full of lawn clippings, which I'd have to empty, but don't have any of those yard waste bags. I want to rebuild the mesh frame over the garden bed, which will be like wrestling with spider webs. I should be picking the thousands of maple seedlings that are covering my side hill like grass. It hurts my back to think about it all (and yet I want it done so bad and want to be doing it) that I think I ought to do some yoga. I should make massage appointments for us, and one for a perm for me, so I'll have cute curls poking out from under my graduation cap next month, but it's Sunday and tomorrow's a holiday, so I'll have to wait, and when Tuesday comes around I'll be too distracted to make any appointments.
I wish I could do that thing that Samantha did on Bewitched. Not wiggle my nose- I mean, that would be cool, but in reality (?) she couldn't do it either- she mostly just wiggled her pursed lips, and we just went with it, because we knew what she meant to do. I mean the fast-forwarding, the instant-doing. I want to go to work but the picking out the clothes and the showering and the drying and the dealing with my hair and face pre-exhaust me.
So here I am, using my time up until I have to go, have to do something, and the running-out time will direct me to pick what has to be done and ignore what can't be, yet. Okay, here I go.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Standing Room is the FenWay To Go

Way back in time, long before the season opener, I got an email announcing that the Fenway ticket sales had started. I took a wild leap and bought two Standing Room tickets for today, for a birthday present for Scotty. We went in today and it was perfect, start to finish. A gorgeous day, free parking (thanks to a friend with connections!), and a great lunch beforehand at a new place right down the street from the park. Lots of yum!!

We found our standing room area, which has spaces for leaning and such, but that space was taken by the time we got there. Scott eagle-eyed some seats on the third base line, and we headed down. We ended up being able to sit in that (awesome!) section for the entire game, which we WON, with the help of lots of great home runs and heroic plays. Great stuff. It was warm, people were SO cool with us sitting in their 100-dollar-a-seat section with them, and we had a blast. Happy Spring everyone!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

To Life!

I am feeling super celebratory. I can feel the Easter spirit, and the fact that Holy Week is over and Easter is here and my feet are just starting to stop hurting and I have almost no meetings this week... I'm gleeful. I'm also feeling like I want to live my life to the fullest this week, mindful of how fleeting life can be. At Hospice training last night our lovely volunteer coordinator reminded us that we should do the things we love, and I know that's true. So tonight we had onion rings and blueberry beer with dinner, and we're about to polish off the pudding cake I made for Easter.
On a completely different note, although I hate, loathe, despise and abominate litter, someone dumped a videotape near the on-ramp I take to get to work every day. It has spread along the side of the road and the other side too, and is stuck to the weeds and bridge rails. It sparkles and shines, waves in the wind, and every day when I drive through it, I pretend it's a ticker-tape parade for me. Sometimes I take it as encouragement for what I'm to face that day, sometimes as congratulations for making it to another day, sometimes just cheering me for being me. I wave at it, smile winningly, and head on to work. Everyone should get a ticker-tape parade on their way to work every morning. I don't condone litter, but thanks, VHS litterer, whoever you are!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Holy Week!

I am freaking out. In a good way. It's Holy Week! I can't believe it's actually here, Lent went on for. ever. this year and I failed in almost every way, except actual spiritual growth (thank you silent retreat and spiritual director). In that way, I kicked Lent's butt!! But I failed pretty spectacularly and consistently at everything I attempted to sacrifice. Ah well, we'll get 'em next year.
Soon begins the marathon that is Holy Week at the parish. It's constant movement for three or four days, lots of details to cover and pictures to take and prayers to pray and people to see. Last night we presented a reading of the entire Gospel of Mark, my favorite, to a small but appreciative crowd. It was really cool to hear it all at one sitting, in different voices (one lector per chapter). And it was especially fun to listen to it after having studied it this Lent. I wanted to trade knowing smiles with my fellow BS-ers at the fig tree story, when Peter heard that first cock crow... just a little bit of background on this Gospel gives a much deeper, more nuanced understanding of the story, the writer, and Jesus Himself. Very cool.
I'm not directly in charge of much this year, and with our pastor away, I think there will be lots of indian chiefs on duty, so I will be happy to do the behind-the-scenes work; making sure the Magnifikids are out and the lilies that get delivered to the rectory are all brought over to the church, and to be present to the people in ways that our priests can't be, while they're busy getting ready to try not to get the new translation wrong.
It's supposed to be pretty gloomy at church this week, but it's hard to focus on the bad news while behind the sanctuary, the flowers are being gathered, the decorations are being readied, the preparations for our Easter baptism are being made, and I'm planning the Easter Sunday menu for our day of rest and recovery. We'll be ready to collapse by Saturday night at 10, after having worked all day but hanging in there to clean the church one more time after the Vigil.
I love this week- Scott says it's the Super Bowl of the Church. But this week, we know how the story ends, we know the Good News, and we can't help but get ready to celebrate.