here I am



It’s really, really quiet around here without Kaylin. I knew I was going to miss her, but I didn’t realize how much a part of my life she’d become. I got used to having her around.

I’d forgotten how old David and I are, and how boring. =)

We’re also starting to think about moving, and that’s put [slight] a damper on my spirits (and so my exuberance). I’m not moping about, but I have started thinking of things in a Last Time Bell light.

The Last Time Bell – I read a long time ago in some silly book about a character whose childhood was ripped away from her when her parents were both killed in an accident. She was the oldest and had to grow up quickly as she raised her siblings. She felt the loss of her childhood and regretted not making the most of it (what child would know to do that?)… so she invented the Last Time Bell. She’d mentally ring it when she might be experiencing something for the last time. The bell helped her consciously absorb everything she could about the experience.

Nothing else from that book stuck with me (like I said, it was some silly book), but I think of this bell when I approach the end of a personal era.

Anyway, it’s quiet around here. David’s playing Kingdom of Loathing and I’m left alone with my thoughts, without a teenager to shake me out of the doldrums.

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I’ve been thinking a lot about our upcoming move.

My recent musings have turned in the direction of ease. Specifically, what we as Christians are called to – is it a life of ease, or a different kind of life? A life of toil, sacrifice, challenge, hard work, cross-bearing?

David accepted a senior pastor position at a small, rural church.

We’ll be moving from our city home in a poor urban neighborhood to a relatively wealthy small town. Objectively speaking, this town is probably just solidly middle-class and comfortable – but compared to what we are accustomed to (and to what I really have loved), it’s picturesque and affluent.

We will be moving from a small and struggling inner-city church, where every day brings new crises and fresh loss, where every small victory is celebrated fiercely because we so often see failure, to a regular small church – like the small churches I’ve been in and out of all my life, wonderful groups of people who have regular, comfortable lives.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with this. I know that inner-city ministry isn’t for everyone, and that’s not where I’m going.

Where I am going is this: I don’t believe that we’re called to live comfortable lives. I don’t believe that being a Christian should be easy. I do believe that it should be fulfilling and exciting, but I also believe that we should be living our ministry in a way that interferes with our “daily” lives.

I worry that our new church will be comfortable for me. Too easy.

Where I am now, I’m constantly busy, often exhausted. There is too much work for too few workers. It’s hard. And heartbreaking. And I love it – there’s something very fulfilling about being useful. In one sense, any sane human can contribute as well as any other – just be being there and being willing to work;  in another sense, I am important. We each have gifts that make a real difference – something that makes us uniquely useful. This is how I have come to understand what Paul talks about when he talks about how the church should be.

We will go to a church that has survived and even grown a bit in the absence of a pastor. They are ready for a fresh vision, and a strong teacher – but the congregation has what they need. There are well-established ministries, and they’ve established a good rhythm.

I worry that, because I won’t see immediate in-my-face need and won’t feel the urgency of  too few hands, I’ll drift back into just being a nice Christian girl who goes to church on Sunday and Wednesday and can separate her walk from her life.

That’s what’s on my mind this week.

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NeatWorks and 64-bit Vista


I just bought Neat’s NeatReceipt scanner. I travel for work and my husband will soon be a pastor who needs to keep every receipt. There’s no WAY we’re going to have boxes and drawers and files full of paper receipts – I’m all about the UNcluttering, not the stockpiling of worthless paper.

Anyway, this scanner is fantastic – it scans then reads receipts, business cards, and documents, then stores the data and allows you to export into various useful formats – while keeping the files readable instead of just images.

I got the software up and running on my XP machine pretty quickly (after a few restarts I didn’t expect). But when I tried to install it on my Vista machine, I had some drama.

The installation took several restarts and I had to download a couple of different versions. The only problem I was having, I had consistently. And it blocked me from using the program. Finally, I broke down and emailed customer service (forums and the interwebs weren’t much help).

So: If you’ve installed NeatWorks on a 64-bit Vista , and QuickScan won’t work for you – specifically if it crashes during Calibration, here’s something to try. My oh-so-quick fix: download and install http://files2.neatreceipts.com/tools/CalibrateTool.exe.

No promises, but it worked for me – like a charm. =)

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  • after a tough-but-positive meeting, got to spend the evening having major fun with her husband and teenager: homemade applesauce and DDR! #
    The childcare is closing, and its director asked me to meet her to talk about finances and moving-forward plans. What a difficult thing to do! We talked about the closing of a business that couldn’t support itself in our neighborhood – about the ending of a ministry. Well, about the moving and morphing of a ministry. She will continue the childcare on her own with whichever families will stay, and will try to build a career on it. What didn’t work for an organization may work for an individual. It’s exciting to be in on the planning – and wrenching to be involved in the ending.
  • is chilling at the new(ish) Indy library. loves this place – today, because its internet works when hers doesn’t. also, it’s relaxing. #
    What a pain! I’ve been having a lot of trouble with my work computer and home internet. For some reason, it drops its connection several times a day – which means I have to reestablish all my security several times a day. It takes forever, and sure does interrupt the flow of my work…  Ugh.
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  • is electing benefits and signing HR paperwork – fun times. =) #

    Trying to meet a deadline of having everything done 31 days after hire – that’s April 1, coming up pretty quickly. It’s tough trying to decide exactly what I’ll need in the future – pay less in premiums and get slammed if something bad happens, or pay more in premiums and nothing happens at all?
  • just returned from lunch with an ex-colleague friend – she’s newly married, radiant, and as witty and fun as ever. had a wonderful time! #

    Robyn is such a hoot! I had such a good time chatting with her. She loves being married (which I loved to hear), and has three new stepdaughters. We talked about that, and how similar in some ways it is to what we’re doing with Kaylin. I have it much easier, I think, but she *does* have dad around to pull the parent card when the kids get ornery… =)
  • is wrestling with a pretty big decision. rhetorical: how do we discern the will of God (find the “best” instead of just choosing an “okay”)? #

    It’s tough trying to figure out what to do about this church. We very much like the congregation – they’re wonderful! But to say with any certainty that this is where God is calling us? That’s a much more difficult thing. Thank you for your prayers – we continue to pray as well.
  • has to prove that she’s married – again. why won’t the benefits providers just take my word for it? it’d be so much less hassle… =) #
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  • is prepping to go to a downer of a meeting. but, as depressing as facts are, it’s good to see stark details instead of muddled half-truth. #

    Our church has had a Childcare ministry for the last 7 or 8 years. At the end of last year, Bethany and I took over the finances and have been very careful to dot all our Is and cross all our Ts. We met our church’s treasurer for lunch to talk over the Childcare’s financial situation. Basically, it’s not bringing in enough in fees to cover payroll expenses. It’s a dire enough situation that we, in order to be good stewards of our resources, need to consider options and determine if the business is viable.
  • is settling back into her work day. it’s jarring jumping from church/childcare business back into “real” life… #

    It really is challenging to jump back and forth between my “lives” – church, work, and personal. I have what feels like three separate identities, and they all intrude upon one another. I’m the same person, but my responsibilities are so very different from life to life, as are people’s views of me. I have so much to do in each that I never can simply switch from one to another… It’s hard to manage.
  • really enjoyed today’s bright warmth – such a welcome change from dreary winter, and just what was needed on a tough day. #

    It really was rough. After the meeting with the church treasurer, I went to a Childcare Board meeting. We will come back together next week after digesting, thinking, praying… but we have mostly come to a consensus that the Childcare will close. It is the end of an era, and will drastically change lives of church members. It’s difficult to conduct a meeting such as the one we had with sensitivity, grace, and kindness – and to still be true to facts and figures. I am not a soft person, but I hurt for the staff who will lose jobs – more than jobs, ministries and livelihoods.
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  • is loving the new music – thanks, Leah! what fun! #
    Leah visited over the weekend (happy dance!) and, as always, I had a stinkin’ great time having her. Even when she comes and all we do is what I normally would do, my life is just… happier. This time, she shared some of her new music – she loves soundtracks/movies scores, for example – and has me hooked!
  • *really* wants to see “!HERO: The Rock Opera” – does anyone know where she can buy/rent/dl a copy of this show?#
    This is one of the albums Leah’s letting me listen to – she can’t find a video of this for less than $60 online, but she really wants to see it. If y’all know anyone who has it, let me know!
  • is enjoying Peppermint Bark (thanks Claudia!) and watching Godspell. =) #
    This is fantastic: I posted, a long time ago, that I was craving Peppermint Bark. My friend Claudia remembered that and this Sunday, she brought me a POUND of it! It’s fancy, and sooooo good. Much better, even, because it’s out of season, and was a gift from a thoughtful friend.
  • is no longer watching Godspell. It’s ridiculous. Finding something else. #
    Wow, was Godspell terrible (well, the first 20 minutes, anyway). Seriously – I like these kinds of things (modern adaptations of old/ancient stories), but the Jesus mime/clown character was just… creepy. I ended up watching two forgettable (but not disturbing, at least) comedies. It was nice to have an evening “off.”
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Spent the evening with the Gardners – we get together every so often to play games and eat together. We had a ton of glass-bottled beverages between the two families… and Jason couldn’t help himself. We were slap-happy by the time he got to writing out sheet music for us, so we had a blast.

First, the official band photo (yes, that’s a crown on my head – Autumn insisted I wear it, even after she took off her princess duds):

Woodruff Place Baptist Church Jug Band

Woodruff Place Baptist Church Jug Band

Then, watch the video on Facebook. (You’ll probably need to be my friend.)

related topics: photos, video | 1 Comment »



Desmond Turner has been convicted.


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Today we went to Kilkenny.

We were just families – no TU students, because today they had class and a paper to finish. We three (Mom, Dad, and I) stayed with the family I mentioned yesterday – the parents are great company, and the teen daughter was a lot of fun. It was a full day – we left early for the long drive, and got home late.

The first thing we all did was to tour Kilkenny Castle together as a group. I expected armor lining hallways, antique furniture, tapestries, and fur rugs – too much TV, I guess. The inside of the building was just… a building. The restorers did an outstanding job, especially considering that the whole place had been run down and all but demolished by time and misuse, but it lacked the movie-set details I expected. =)

What it DID have that I didn’t expect was modern art exhibits. It was really haphazard – the installations (and they were video and built models, not painting and sculpture like you’d expect) were just scattered in some of the more formal first floor rooms, as if someone had just tossed them together. Didn’t look planned – just… messy.

There was no photography allowed in the castle (only on and around the grounds), else I’d have taken and posted photos of the most interesting rooms. There were replica bedrooms with interesting wallpapers and furniture, and there was a long portrait gallery containing paintings of generations of the family who owned the castle and lands.

Kilkenny Castle
Kilkenny Castle

When we’d finished with the castle, our group went up the street to a bookstore cafe. We had a fabulous lunch (and wonderful coffee) before heading off to St. Canice’s Cathedral.

St. Canice's Cathedral
St. Canice’s Cathedral

This church, unlike some of the other cathedrals we’ve visited here, is still in use and NOT completely commercialized. The woman taking tickets said they’d rather not have charged admission, but that the state didn’t subsidize that church, so they had to do their own upkeep. It was an enormous building that housed a very obviously active body, so I didn’t mind paying the entrance fee. =)

There was the same kind of memorial plaques and tombs and iconography as in the other churches, but somehow here it wasn’t distracting. Maybe I felt that way because I could also see evidence of the congregation’s use of the building as well – information about reaching the neighborhood, beanbag chairs for a weekly kids’ group meeting, choir stalls that were obviously used…

There weren’t extensive grounds like we found at the Dublin cathedrals – this church was surrounded (completely) by a graveyard. The headstones were so interesting – and so beautiful!

St. Canice's Cathedral
St. Canice’s Cathedral

Once we left the cathedral (but not before Rachel, the teen daughter, climbed the 100ft-high round tower), we headed back toward the castle part of town. We wanted to see the Dominican Black Abbey and do a little shopping before our scheduled dinner.

The Abbey was completely deserted when we entered – no one was there to charge admission (it was much smaller, and an actual church) or to take money for the few pieces of literature it offered (and had prices on) – you simply dropped your money into boxes in the wall.

It was a strange mix of very old and very modern – the building and court were obviously historic, but some of the stained glass was new (make sure you click the link to my pictures, above) and not at all what you expect to see in a building like that. This window, however, more true to period – but look at this detail (and check out the colored light coming in)! You’ll have to click and view it larger:

Black Abbey
Black Abbey – the more traditional stained glass

Black Abbey
Black Abbey – the striking modern stained glass

After the Black Abbey, we stopped for coffee and shopping in the Market Cross Shopping Centre, then went on to the Design Craft Centre. Lots of local artists have shops and studios in this set of buildings just across from the castle. We went into several shops, and ended up picking up souvenirs and gifts at a pottery shop and an all-kinds-of-handmade-art shop. I was SO tempted to buy one of Anna Neilsen‘s prints… (her website is a mess, but I didn’t take pictures)… her work is WONDERFUL.

We left the shop and went to dinner at the Hibernian Hotel with the rest of the folks on the tour. We ate an amazingly fantastic three-course dinner, then headed home.

Check out the rest of today’s pictures if you have the time. I only posted a few of the best ones – be grateful. I took 250. =)

related topics: photos, trips | 1 Comment »
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