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Archive for October, 2008

1) Your work day is done and the brain is fried, what do you do?

Veg out in front of the TV with a good movie or TV show.
2) Your work week is done and the brain is fried (for some Friday, others Sunday afternoon), what do you do?
On Sunday afternoons I nap!
3) Like most of us, I often keep myself busy even while programs are on the tv. I stop to watch The Office and 30 Rock on Thursday nights. Do you have ‘stop everything’ tv programming or books or events or projects that are totally ‘for you’ moments?

I try to stop everything for True Blood and Grey’s Anatomy, it doesn’t always work but I try.
4) When was the last time you laughed, really laughed? What was so funny?
With my good friends Trouble & Mandy, I don’t remember what it was about but whenever we are together there is always that good hearty laughter that renews the soul.
5) What is a fairly common item that some people are willing to go cheap on, but you are not.
Saline solution?  I don’t know, I’m sure there is something else but I can’t think of anything more exciting right now.
Bonus: It’s become trite but is also true that we often benefit the most when we give. Go ahead, toot your own horn. When was the last time you gave until it felt good?  I don’t know about giving monetarily but in the past month or so I have given much of myself to a person who needed specialized support that I can’t mention here and it felt AMAZING.  I think we will forever share a special bond regardless of what transpires next.

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Goodbye Wishbone

Our Wishbone has been declining in health for a long time now.  We finally said good-bye yesterday.  We miss him already. 

A few friends of ours have sent a poem called Rainbow Bridge about a place where our beloved furry friends go and wait for us.  The girls have taken a lot of comfort in this and I have taken a lot of comfort in believing that all of God’s creation is sacred and Wishbone is now whole and healthy once more and in a magnificent place.  This morning, Valerie said, “Wishbone is with Jesus now, right?”  It did my heart good as I told her yes. 

We love and miss you Wishbone!

In honor of Wishbone and the girls I leave you with the poem, Rainbow Bridge (sometimes cheesey things speak to us when we simply need a little comfort and assurance):

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

Author unknown…

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Enough already!

Unfortunately I can’t nab the comic and share it here.  However go and visit Matt Bors for a good reminder that all of the canidates are simply human beings, just like the rest of us.  Whatever side you find yourself, it’s important to remember that they are simply people like us.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the rhetoric and demonizing but that is what continues to split and tear our country apart. 

I realize that there are vast differences in our policies and priorities.  The lifestyles politicians engage in are vastly different from the rest of us.  However, they are only other human beings–not one of them is the anti-Christ, an angel, or a demon.  We’ve got to remember that while our priorities and policies are different we are still members of the human race, we are all children of God.  We’ve got to move past these divisive politics and remember our common ground–remember that there is common ground.

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How cool is this?

This is an artilce from Faith in Action, News & Views from the United Methodist Board of Church and Society.  At first I was skeptical but as I read the article and Rev. Fowler said, “Nothing is scarier than a life out on the streets without a family, a church or a support system.” she had me convinced that this is a very good thing.  Her point about missing out on the youth of today was also a valid point.  We’ve got to reach people where they are and go from there.  Too often church is seen as an “old stick in the mud” or a place where folks are caught up putting on airs of perfection–I hope you enjoy the article. 

The Rev. Faith Fowler, dressed as a ghoul, welcomes thrill-seekers to the haunted house at Cass Community United Methodist Church in Detroit. (UMNS photo by Jamey Tucker)

DETROIT (UMNS) — The Rev. Faith Fowler leans a wooden staff against the wall as she straightens her robe. More than 100 people soon will walk through the doors of CASS Community United Methodist Church in downtown, and she wants to be ready.

Fowler’s job on this cool October night is to welcome the young people, families and others who will visit the church as Halloween approaches.

Fowler’s welcome to them, however, will not be what you typically expect from a pastor. Just before the doors open, she picks up a latex mask of a wild snarling animal and pulls it over her head. For the fifth year in a row, the pastor will try to scare the daylights out of everybody who enters.

For the fifth year in a row, the pastor will try to scare the daylights out of everybody who enters.

Since 2003, CASS has operated a haunted house during the Halloween season to raise funds for the church’s extensive neighborhood ministries. The efforts generate up to $15,000 annually that go toward caring for the homeless, mentally challenged and mentally ill, as well as at-risk youths and senior adults.

The spook house is an effective fundraiser in the CASS community, according to Fowler, who described it as one of the most urban areas of the United States.

“Most of the traditional fundraisers wouldn’t work [here],” Fowler says. “A church supper? Homeless aren’t going to pay to eat here. A rummage sale? They just didn’t fit this neighborhood.”

The church’s “Detroit Urban Legends Haunted House,” however, draws mostly students from nearby colleges who gladly pay $10 for a 20-minute walk or run through the spooky maze. “We’ll get a couple thousand kids through and we’ll raise 10- to 15-thousand dollars,” Fowler says.

Following its calling

Similar church-sponsored Halloween events tend to be evangelical in nature, leading patrons through “judgment houses” that attempt to depict heaven and hell. But Fowler says those wouldn’t fit her neighborhood’s demographic.

Young people in our city know what hell is like.

“Young people in our city know what hell is like,” Fowler says. “Last week, seven were shot dead in high school. Homeless kids know what hell is like.”

Using classrooms and the basement in its 127-year-old church building, CASS’s haunted house opens with Fowler whacking a heavy chain against the walls. Once inside, patrons wind through a dark maze, where monsters, ghosts and other scary creatures jump out of the darkness and scream.

“We sometimes say our slogan is ‘CASS church will scare the hell out of you,'” Fowler jokes. “That’s as religious as this event is. It is simply meant to scare people.

“There’s nothing real, there’s no devil here. Nobody’s going to get hurt, nobody’s going to be touched. We simply want to raise money and have some good old-fashioned fun and build community through the event. We’ve been successful with that.”

CASS Community, with about 100 church members, has had the same mission for more than 60 years, according to Fowler.

“Once the Great Depression hit, two out of three people in Detroit lost their homes,” Fowler explains. “This congregation exhausted its endowment to begin a soup kitchen that’s never stopped. We do three meals a day, seven days a week, 20,000 meals a week.”

The church has eight buildings for ministries and missions designed to care for vulnerable people. There are two free medical clinics, a shelter for homeless women and children, and transitional housing for people who are one step from leaving homelessness behind.

Success stories

Those familiar with the church say its Halloween fundraiser is a testament to its ministries and the people it serves. Nothing is scarier, they note, than a life out on the streets without a family, a church or a support system.

Nothing is scarier than a life out on the streets without a family, a church or a support system.

Linda MacNeill was a $500-a-day heroin addict who supported her drug habit through prostitution. With the help of CASS Community Social Services, she kicked her addiction, got married, started a business and now worships and volunteers at the church.

“All of those proceeds go to keeping women and children together who are homeless, and to give them a sense of family and a sense of belonging,” MacNeill says.

With the help of CASS, Michael Mason kicked his own drug addiction and left a life on the street. He volunteers at the haunted house every year.

“Tonight, I’m serving as security and I enjoy that because I like watching them run out,” a grinning Mason says.

Many teenagers do run out. A teen boy bursts through the exit doors and barely hits the ground before he’s 30 yards down the street. Ten minutes later, a young girl bolts out with tears in her eyes. “No way,” she says. “I can’t do it, no way.”

Fowler believes opening the church doors to the neighborhood, even with the intention of scaring people, is perfectly appropriate for a church serving the community. She thinks it may be a good introduction to CASS Community for young people who might come to a haunted house but would never darken the church’s doors for a worship service.

“I wrestle with the church not relating to young people,” Fowler says, “and the fact that we might suffer some level of extinction within my lifetime if we don’t find ways to talk to people about what’s really relevant and how they can live out their faith.”

But first is to care for people in need. “I was hungry, I was thirsty, I was naked, I was sick, I was in prison, and what did you do?” Fowler quotes from

“You need to do something,” Fowler emphasizes, “and that’s what this is about.”

 


Editor’s note: This article was written for United Methodist News Service by JameyTucker, a freelance producer in Nashville.

Date: 10/26/2008
©2005-2008

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Singing Owl writes:

My daughter, her husband, and their toddler, Trinity Ann, are moving from Minneapolis, Minnesota to our place. It’s a long story, but the short version is that they will be loading a Ryder truck on Saturday, and on Sunday afternoon we will unload it into a storage unit in our town. They will move themselves, their two cats and their BIG dog into our place. Yes, there will be issues, but this Friday Five isn’t really about that. (Prayers for jobs for them and patience for all of us are most welcome, however. yes, we will keep all of you in prayer ) This post is about locations. My husband has lived at 64 addresses in his life so far (16 with me) and he suggested the topic since we have moving trucks on our minds.

Therefore, tell us about the five favorite places you have lived in your lifetime. What did you like? What kind of place was it? Anything special happen there?

If you have lived in less than five places, you can tell us a about fantasy location.

1) Manitou Springs, Colorado.  I had my very first apartment in Manitou.  It was a cute 3 room section of an old victorian style house right off of main street.  I didn’t even have a phone but there was a pay phone across the street at Tubby’s Turnaround.  No phone, no car–much simpler times.  Thank goodness I had a wonderful boyfriend (Joel) who’d drive me to the grocery store and laundry mat. 

One night after work several of us gathered at the house, goofing around on the front porch and we noticed that next door there was a red light on in the window–we all burst out singing “Roxanne, you don’t have to turn on your red light.  Roxanne!”  Then we burst in laughter.  Lots of wonderful times were had in that cute apartment in one of Colorado’s most interesting small towns.

2) Denver, Colorado.  I LOVED living in Denver!  I lived near the corner of Federal and Evans.  It was a great location–easy to get anywhere in the city.  It was a diverse area, even if it was a bit rough.  One night at the laundrymat we (all of the customers) pointed out all the people that we recognized as we watched Cops since it had been taped in our area. 

At one of the apartment complexes (it was a “California style–pool in the center and all the doors faced in towards the pool–think Karate Kid) I lived, Saturday mornings were shining examples of real community–a big group of us would always end up at one of our apartments eating breakfast.  It wasn’t planned but someone would have their door open and the smell of eggs and chile verde, pancakes, or sausage would be wafting out their door–this was the invitation to come on in. 

It’s easy to romanticize our lives there but they weren’t very romantic.  My next door neighbor was a drug dealer and very nice man who made sure that I was protected and kept away from any drugs, several of the tenets had some major drug issues that had or were in the process of ruining their lives, those of us who had jobs weren’t making much money at all but we shared what we had and formed a tight-knit group of friends who took care of each other.

3) Manhattan, Kansas.  I spent 2 years in Manhattan, my sophomore and junior years of high school.  I worked as a waitress at Country Kitchen, spent my weekend evening cruising Aggieville with my friends.  I caused my mother a lot of worry and frustration those years but I think she’s forgiven me by now. (Hi Mom!  I love you!)

4) Kansas City, Missouri.  When we first moved to Kansas City we lived in an “interesting” area.  During our first week we called for pizza one night and was informed that no one delivered to that area after dark.  Lots of interesting characters and experiences there.

5) Americus, Kansas.  In many ways, Americus feels like the place I grew up.  I lived there with my mom from 3rd to 8th grade–very pivotal years.  Now a friend of mine from seminary is the pastor of the church I attended there.  I look forward to visiting one Sunday and listening to her preach.  My grandparents owned the cafe there and I waited tables on my roller skates.

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Grant Proposal

I’m behind (as usual) but am looking forward to writing my first grant proposal to bring our church into the 21st Century with our technology and worship possibilities.  It’s been fun dreaming about what to ask for in the proposal.  Explaining why isn’t so bad but coming up with a measurable something or other to demonstrate that we have done what we set out to do is slightly more difficult.  Part of it would be to increase attendance,  do I suggest a number or percentage of growth we think we could meet?  I’d love and appreciate any suggestions.

So what, if any, church management software do you use?  Do you like it?  Are you satisfied with it?

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Songbird writes, “Well, Gals and Pals, this weekend we’ll be rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and that has me thinking about coinage.”1) When was the last time you flipped a coin or even saw one flipped in person?
Probably a month ago, considering that we have 3 girls who fight often, sometimes coin flips work to end absurd arguments.
2) Do you have any foreign coins in your house? If so, where are they from?
We have LOTS!  Joel is an avid (which really means obsessed) coin collector, or rather a Numismatist.  There is an entire language for these sorts of people, as well as a national group and muesum!  People bring them back from trips for him, and he soemetimes buys bags of coins off ebay just to sort through them!  It’s quite nutty. 
3) A penny saved is a penny earned, they say. But let’s get serious. Is there a special place in heaven for pennies, or do you think they’ll find a special place in, well, the other place?
Hmmm…I never considered the eternal rest for pennies, I don’t even try to guess those sorts of things.
4) How much did you get from the tooth fairy when you were a child? and if you have children of your own, do they get coins, or paper money? (I hear there may be some inflation.)
I don’t remember, probably 50 cents or something.  The tooth fairy leaves our girls a Sacajawea dollar.
5) Did anyone in your household collect the state quarters? And did anyone in your household manage to sustain the interest required to stick with it?      See the other question about coin obsessed husband!  Yes and yes!

Bonus Answer:  I find it highly amusing that the Bible Joel was given in gradeschool has a Bible verse inscribed to him warning against the love of money! 

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