John, Robert, Bill, no it's Shirley right?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014
January 29th and late in the days as I write.

We are coming off the busy time of the year for a pastor who lives in a field. Late November till late January is my seasonal, harvest, busy time of the year. And I'm feeling it tonight.

What does it end up looking like?
Well it looks like impatience. It looks like tiredness, but sleep starts to come again. It looks like people and their names in your mind start blurring and you have to work to remember the names.

Usually this week I'm away at pastors meetings and classes in Chicago, so people don't know when I forget their names, to their faces. :) But this year I've made different choices so I'm at home for now.

As I remind the farmers around here it takes a bit of time to get your orientation back after a couple of months of harvest and work work work. So I'm trying to be patient with myself too.

As I am learning, the hard way, it doesn't bounce back as quickly when you're 50, as when you're 35.

But enough distraction for now.  I'm working on a piece for a devotional being published for Lent, and it isn't going to write itself.

Night from the field.
Even if I momentarily forget your name.


Just a church in a field on the day of our annual meeting

Saturday, January 25, 2014
Today the place that I work gathered together to share the stories of the past year and to plan a bit and look forward to the year to come. We talked ministry and money, caring and praying, buildings and direction. It was our Annual Meeting at Malmo Mission Covenant Church.

These things always take so much out of me. Tons of prep work and thought and direction. Hours of reports and writing. It's all just a part of the thing.

And I tend to serve churches that have a long and sometimes difficult story so I've seen AGM's become battle zones. Blood baths where Roberts Rules of Order is the book we can all agree on when we don't trust each other.

But that was not our story today thankfully. By the way, when Roberts rules of Order get pulled out at a meeting, you know it's usually too late for good communication to happen.

When Lauralea and I were making plans to move to Malmo and take up the pastoral responsibilities here, I remember in my conversations with God how I asked him for clarity and direction. His response was that my work here was to simply take people by the hands and to start walking towards Christ and the Cross. I was not to fix people or relationships or try to set my own direction. My only course was to be in movement towards Him, with others in tow.

And so this has been my goal with each passing year, to be moving towards Christ, bringing others with me.  This comes out in my meetings with boards and committees and individuals. It comes out in my preaching and talking up front. It comes out in my one on one conversations, my counseling situations, my service opportunities, my life of example.

And I can do that. I can point others to Him and walk with them.
I can do that.

So today good day here and the support we have for our work here is very encouraging.
But now I am tired and ready for supper and sleep.


Born, January 25, 1942

Dad's Grave

Dad's birthday today.


Some thoughts on a lazy Monday in a field

Monday, January 20, 2014
Today is a day of sleeping in late, and soft scrambled eggs. Of watching BBC Comedies on Netflix and  waiting for the UPS guy to try and find me, again, here in this field.

After a week of warm temperatures outside it feels like spring in here, and though we all know somewhere in our hearts that it will soon return to utter cold and snow, we'll take these days for now as promissory notes of warmer times to come.

It's been a day of txting help with a daughter in her workplace, a church, and talking with a son through  his spiritual growth. There was also a lovely facetime conversation with daughter and granddaughters, who are coming to understand what missing papa and nana means in whole new difficult ways.

It's been a catch up day here too. Last week was prayer week and final reports week and special services at the care homes week and on and on. It was alright, but busy. So today we are catching up with each other and our souls. 
A quiet day of reading and writing and the stillness.

Herself has just realized that we haven't thought through supper, but that's ok too. We'll sort it out when we get hungry.

All in all a good day in the field.
Now if that UPS guy could just find me.


Play. It's in our DNA.

Friday, January 10, 2014
When King David's wife berates him for making a fool of himself by leaping and dancing before the ark of the Lord, he protests by saying that it seemed exactly the right thing to do, considering all the Lord had done for him. "Therefore will I play before the Lord," he tells her (2 Samuel 6:14-21)...

The king, the boys and girls, the whale-they are none of them accomplishing anything. They are none of them providing anything. There's nothing edifying or educational or particularly help-ful in what they are doing, nothing that you'd be likely to think of as religious. They haven't a thought in their heads. They are just playing, that's all. They are letting themselves go and having a marvelous time at it… 
"Be fruitful and multiply!" God calls, and creator and creature both all but lose track of which is which in the wonder of their playing.

Rev. Frederick Buechner.
An ordained Presbyterian minister and author of numerous bestselling books and novels.


Stopping Time

Thursday, January 09, 2014
Here in The Field we are in week four of having visitors. That has meant many trips to the city and back to collect or deposit our family that has been on a coming and going rota for these weeks.  For the most part it has been fun. I've enjoyed some of the one on one time I've had with the kids and they are doing quite well, considering having me as a parent.

Playing with Norah
But its been a distraction too. Christmas? Who cares. We've got family to be with. That sort of has been the feeling.

But now the only ones left are Johanna and her two little girls, Norah and Eva. So Lauralea and I are having fun letting them get to know us and be comfortable with us, and getting to know them and their little quirks. Holding Norah in my lap with her delicate long frame reminds me of what it was like holding her mother. And Eva sees a smiling face and is all smiles herself, especially after she's filled a diaper.

Cards with Eva
So you try hard and yet not too hard to get to know these little people. They are here for a time only and next week will be so quiet.

So that's where I have been. Well that and struggling with the flu and end of the year reports and committee work etc. etc.

Life keeps on going and people come and go. For now we are just trying to stop time a little bit.

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