Wednesday, November 15, 2006


I am working on a project (well really I'm stalling) for class on gratitude. I'm watching reruns of The Amazing Race. I am facinated by the interaction of the teams. The bickering vs. the blessing. The griping vs. the gratitude. The class, the show, the sermon for Sunday are all swirling around in my head, kinda like stew, flavoring one another while retaining their own distinctiveness.

Amazingly, this Sunday, that has lost her sermon, is Committment Sunday, all church Thanksgiving Luncheon, and Charge Conference. We'll have all of that in less than four hours. Now that I 've been reading the academic stuff about gratitude, I feel a sermon coming on. I just need a scripture to back up my preconceived notions ...

To be honest the whole prep thing for charge conference does not really lend itself toward gratitude. I have scheduled the Lay Leadership (nominations) committee and had only ONE out of NINE show up. twice.

And there's this whole mess with utilities for the parsonage.

I've got all the understanding I need of Bowen Family Systems and/or Heifetz's adaptive change to put the utility thing into perspective. However, in the face of personalized attacks couched in language that does not take ownership for the damage, gratitude is most assuredly a choice.

And I choose gratitude. There are so many things for which I am grateful at this church.

  • I have had so many folks who express support on a regular basis.
  • We have visitors in worship 3 out of 4 Sundays a month.
  • Sunday when I did not feel well at all, church members took my girls home with them, fed them, took one to a birthday party, and brought the other home about 2:30. Another church member delivered party girl after the party was over.
  • While we are not rolling in money, we are SO much better than we were last year at this time. Last year we needed about $40,000 to pay back savings and pay out our apportionments. We didn't pay apportionments. This year, we are on track to pay out apportionments. Our pledges recieved are within $1000 of the pledged amount.
  • We sold some land and paid off the debt for the Family Life Center. That reduced next year's budget significantly. And our apportionments went down, by a bunch, due to cuts in 2005. So the proposed 2007 budget is about $18,000 less than 2006 without cutting programs or staff.
  • In a span of less than three weeks, I had three different (not even related) people tell me a specific thing about a sermon that made a difference in their week.
  • Sunday, when I preached about committment, and felt horrid, God knocked it out of the park! I have a church member who regularly crosses paths with "big deal" preachers and told me how great the sermon was.
  • We will deliver thousands of shoeboxes for Operation Christmas child after the Thanksgiving Luncheon. The girls and I bought the items for our boxes today.
  • Enough people responded so we are having "A Christmas Carol" Bible study.
And not related to church
  • my sister is really cool. She is significantly younger than I am so we didn't really grow up together. She has grown up to be someone I want to be around. We don't agree on lots of things and it doesn't matter.
  • my kids have their own talents and I cherish them. The Entertainer was switched to another part (solo instead of trio) for the class musical program because she could hit the notes and had the right rhythm. The SportsQueen was such a go getter that the ref who was parked next to us said, "Hey, I remember you. You're a good hustler. You keep at it." High praise for both of them. And I get to be their mom!
  • I am weeks from having only 3 classes left for the PhD, of course there's this gratitude project in my way
  • I have a wireless laptop so I can sit on the couch working (or not) and watch tv with my kids right here
  • we have a smart dog with a big bark (and big body to go with the bark)
  • we have food in the freezer and in the kitchen and diet Mt Dew in the frig
  • Out of 3 fantasy football teams, one is in first place, one is in second place, the other one ... well there's always one to make you grateful for the others
  • the Seahawks won, even without Alexander and Hasselbeck. Go Josh Brown! and how about that return by Nate Burleson. Wish I was there, but I got to see it on NFL replay.
  • I've got health insurance to cover the really expensive meds that keep me moving so well that most people can't tell there's anything wrong
I am quite sure there's more, but there's the project that I need to quit writing about and start writing.


net said...

And gratitude for YOU! Thanks, Vicar, I needed that!

Lorna said...

wonderful wonderful thankfulness. I so enjoyed reading this - and your spirit lifted me

on a separate note - over at ATM - you mentioned blurred boundaries.
Here in Finland at least boundaries is becoming an in-word - but I have to say that in my own life, I'm really struggling with working out what boundaries really are - and what healthy ones would look like- and was wondering if there are any books or sites that you could recommend?


mid-life rookie said...

What an awesome idea - a Christmas Carol Bible Study! Is there curriculum or are you writing it yourself? Ooh, ooh, ooh I want to do this!

The Vicar of Hogsmeade said...

Lorna, for blurred boundaries I'd recommend Melodie Beattie's Codependent No More and Beyond Codependency. Amazon has several used copies pretty cheap.

The Vicar of Hogsmeade said...

Mid-life rookie, It's from Creative Communications for the Parish I use their stuff all the time.

The official title is: Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol: with a four-week bible study for advent by Travis J. Scholl Here's the link to it

The Vicar of Hogsmeade said...

Mid-life rookie, the first link doesn't work. It's The good news is the second link does work.

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