Monday, May 28, 2007

Gone to Kansas City

The last three weeks have been a marathon of house projects, packing, finding a nanny, and I don't know what else ...

I'm in Kansas City with my mom, taking a wee break from the above, and attending a cousin's (2nd cousin?) wedding. This branch of the family tree is so interesting! We all go back to my great grandparents on my mom's side. It's so amazing to look a perfect stranger in the face and see clearly that we are related, just by the shape of a nose, or a particular way of smiling. And what a marvel this Molton family is --- so literate and creative and brilliant, really. Patriarch Warren is a poet, minister, counselor (still practicing at 80!). Mom's cousin, Mary Dian (the matriarch) is equally impressive, also a practicing counselor, writer, and all-around delightful woman. You can imagine what their children grandchildren and great-grands are like! All of the children sang, played instruments and spoke eloquently at the reception. I hope this tenuous connection holds ... I'd like to see these folks again.

And now for something completely different ... the House Update!

The 'Done' List
- retaining wall -gone! beautiful grassy slope in its place
- old crumbling sidewalk - replaced
- floors refinished
- stucco refinished
- dining room, kids' room painted
- chandelier replaced
- 13 totes of kids' clothes organized
- yard sale done - tons of stuff carted away.
- many cabinets, drawers, closets purged & organized

The 'To Do' list
- lots more purging to do
- paint: kitchen, bath, hall & stairs, kids' other room, outside trim
- demo the old play house (Micah already kicked a wall out! Way to get us started, buddy!)
- hang new blinds and valances
- spruce up the landscaping

There's more, but for now, that's all I can handle thinking about. This is a very day-to-day, babysteps sort of process. We're having a project day on Saturday ... anyone who wants to show up and help out is welcome! Free lunch, dinner and drinks provided all day long!

The goal is to get on the market by June 15 or so. We went with our fantastic realtor (Joel Mugge, Coldwell Banker Burnet) to look at homes last week. We were flabbergasted at what's available in our price range! Even as we mourn the move away from our sweet city neighborhood, we look forward to an amazing, unimagined (before all this fell into place) future.

One more day here in KC with extended family, then it's back home to my very own family tomorrow, one more full day of house stuff, then on Thursday, my first day at Shepherd of the Valley! But I'm getting ahead of myself ... one step at a time baby, one step at a time.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

... Still Soaking!

And I'm pretty sure we're past the soft hands stage. We've moved right past wrinkly fingers to mush.

Yesterday I went to Westwood to pack up my office. I predicted 2-3 hours for this job. Hah! I was so wrong! I'm pretty sure I disposed of at least a small forest as I made trip after trip to the recycling dumpster. In fact on the last one, well after dark, I headed out the back door, and there, hopping out of the dumpster, was the biggest racoon I ever saw ... with her family of kits peeking out over the edge! Ay yay yay! I ran back in and slammed the door hard, leaving that last load for my friend Brian on the morning custodial shift.

Working in this office for the last six years, I'd forgotten how many stories and memories were tucked away in my files, bookshelves and drawers. Now I realize that all along, I was surrounded by them, and pulling them out felt sort of like pulling out a prayer shawl and wrapping it around myself. For all the stresses that come along with the work of pastor-ing, the deep connections with people, the opportunity to be a vessel for God's love ... it is so humbling, and it is such an amazing vocation. Aw geez. Now I'm crying again ...

For most of the hours I was packing, I had my iPod on shuffle. What a fantastic invention!!! Even after using this thing for over a year, I'm thrilled with the ability to pick any one of a thousand songs at the press of a button. So, I heard from all my girls: Shawn Colvin, Patti Griffin, Annie Lennox, Sam Phillips, Aimee Mann, the Indigos, Nelly Fertado, Corrine Bailey Rae, Ella Fitzgerald, Sheryl Crow, Nanci Griffith, Natalie Merchant, Suzanne Vega and on and on ... plus a few boys - John Hiatt, U2, Bruce Cockburn, Mark Knopfler, Van Morrison, Louis Armstrong and on and on again ... Surprisingly, today, the one song I can't shake from those many hours of listening? "Goin' to Carolina in My Mind" by James Taylor. It's the little tag at the end I can't get out of my head:
I'm gone ... say nice things about me ... I'm gone ... carry on without me ...

Tonight the congregation celebrated with us at a potluck (of course!) and I'm still floating from all of the sweet words of affirmation that were spoken, written in zillions of cards, and whispered into my ears as we hugged.

What a gift the church is. What a gift this church has been.

Thanks be to God.