Friday, December 20, 2013

a long quiet...

I am feeling all quiet today. 
Not lost, but meandering through 
the interior hollows and curves of my being.

There are those bustling 'round
busy with whatever busy-ness there is, 
and yet, 
I am not.

I am all quiet today. 
No questions on my heart, 
no burdens I bear,
really, to speak of. 

I am all quiet today.
I am thinking of people
whom I know are very ill, 
                                            very stressed, 
               very sad, 
                                       very joyful, 
I hold them in the 
Light of Life and Love.

I am all quiet today, 
my flame flickers gently, 
in my quiet, 
I will wait. 


Saturday, November 30, 2013

just a quiet morning...

It's the Saturday after Thanksgiving....Nov. 30, 2013.
We are in Vermont,
and it is all snowy and wintery and sunny and cold
and perfect.

I write (o.k. SURF the inter webs) while my beloved sleeps.

In a while, we will exercise,
pack up,
go to lunch,
drive home.

at this point, I really ought to be further along in my preparations for Sunday, First Sunday in Advent.
But I am not.
I believe I am overthinking my sermon,
wanting to be succinct, and smart, and brilliant, and educated and erudite
in the words
that are waiting to be written, expressed...
I want to be more honed, more clever,
more...probably more of what I think I SHOULD be, rather than who I am.

Help me rest in that thought God...
I do want to be more faithful in my preparation,
more in tune with your Spirit.
Not what I think I should be, or what I think others want,
but rather,
what you want....the Word that best reflects your Message to this particular time and place and people that I am serving on behalf of you these days.

Help me,
let go of my insecurities (yes, I have those, and I need to admit this)
Help me,
be completely enveloped
in your Spirit...
Help me just simply be,
and to trust in You,
and to trust in me,
and to trust this process
of listening and writing and meditating.

Take me over with your Love, dear God.
I am working on being wide open to You.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Ms. or Mrs.?

This fall,  I had the opportunity to substitute teach.
For six weeks I wandered into middle school science and social studies classrooms,
kindergarten wonderlands,
first grade intensity,
and everything in between.

Always, in each new assignment, I was asked,
are you Ms. Miller, or Mrs. Miller.

At first, I just said, it doesn't matter.

But it does, I know.

When I was teaching in the late 80's and 90's, I was emphatically MS. Miller.
Not Miss Miller.  Not Mrs. Miller.
I didn't feel like I should have to have my marital status be a part of how my students and their parents perceived me.  Men only have one choice--Mr. -------.   I know that most people at that time and place thought that I ought to just give in to the sexist paradigm.  They all knew that Ms.  was just a feminist who was single.

Apparently, here, in another part of the country, and a new millennium, the Miss has been dropped.  And it wasn't clear whether Ms.  was just non-sexist, but I felt like when I was asked, that Ms. meant single and Mrs. mean married.  OR--actually, Mrs. meant you were married, but Ms. was more neutral.

Here is the thing--this fall, I started off as being Ms.   You know, the whole neutral, non-sexist word.

But then, the children, especially the little ones, would call me Mrs., and hey, it wasn't worth correcting a six year old, especially as a temporary teacher for the day.  And--I found I liked being Mrs. Miller!   I  *am* married, for goodness sake.  To a wonderful woman.

So, for a few weeks, I just went with being Mrs. Miller.  The first time in my 50 years of life, and I liked the public addition to my identity.

Here is another thing--I now am at the age I don't mind it if I am called "Miss".  This happens ONLY at Starbucks, so I think it must be a customer service rule--call all the women "Miss" unless obviously she looks older than your mother.  Oh my goodness, I would have been ruffled to pieces if this happened to me when I was 33.

It's funny, though, how the title in front of our names means something.  Or not.  For example, I am proud that I am Rev. Karla, or Pastor Karla.  I worked HARD for that!   Those who have earned a post-graduate degree, whether Ph.D. or D. Min or Ed.D.   have earned that DR. in front of their name.

When I was a college chaplain, my name was always listed formally as The Reverend Karla Miller.   The students started calling me "The Rev."    I must admit, I loved that, because it was a term of endearment.

But in congregational polity, we hold close to the priesthood of all believers, and since I don't call my parishioners Ms. Polly, or Mr. Mark,  why should they call me Pastor Karla?   I know this is common in many Christian traditions.  I know that in the denomination of my cradle, Pastor is like a first name.  You just don't refer to the minister by her first name alone.  Or--you don't very often.

So, on Sunday, during the children's time, my colleague in ministry was introducing me to the children, and asked me what I would like for them to call me.  I sort of flustered in the moment, because I hadn't thought about it--in my last parish I was a mix of Rev, Pastor Karla, and Karla to all ages.    That just evolved.

Without thinking, I said, "Karla is great!"

After musing about this,  it was the perfect thing to say.

I wonder, if part of my thrill of being called Mrs. was in part because it gave me a little sense of identity that fed into my ego.  I was a Teacher!  A Wife!

Part of the landscape of the past few months of sabbatical and time off  involved a stripping off the outer ways in which I identified with the world--and gained a sense of worthiness from those identities.  Not always a good thing to do.

So I am really grateful for having that time in not being a pastor in a congregation (it can be quite heady, you know, at times....).   It gave me pause to consider my calling.  Was I continued to be called to parish ministry?  Should I start a dog walking business?  Get my teaching certificate?

It also gave me space to be myself,  reconnect with my deep self, my knowing self.   This wasn't always easy, mind you--I did a couple of temp jobs where I wanted to SHOUT OUT "do you KNOW what I AM?? A freakin' professional that doesn't give a flip about counting ceiling tiles!!!"  Humbling, at its best.  Its very best.

And I had to remember, over and over, that the most important part of me is that I am Beloved.  And that I am called to be Love, as best I can, in this world.   Whether or not I am Ms., Miss, Pastor, or Mrs.  

Thanks be to God.

Saturday, November 9, 2013


That's is kind of how I am feeling right now.

I am trying not very hard to not to be focused,
which in regular words is:
I am not focused.
I am not trying.
I am procrastinating.


maybe it's my mind emptying itself in a weird way.

I have exhausted all the possibilities of clicks to check on facebook,
shoe sites, groupons, twitters, email, facebook, email, ummm...
landing finally to write here to get some words out of my body,
some thoughts, scattered though they may be, pushed out of my mind,
sifting through the raffles of my mind,
neurons spinning, misfiring, jumping....

moving towards the illusive quiet, still space...
a point of tiny light,
a breath,
a prayer,

help me God.
help me  to listen your Spirit,
your heartbeat,
in spite of me,
tune me to your Word, and your Silence in between.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Way

it was the Living Bible. illustrated.
it was paperback, and had tons of photos.
a paraphrase,
it was a smooth read.
probably the 70's version of The Message.

mine was tattered, and I underlined and highlighted passages, because I read it A. Lot.
I went to bible studies and luther league, and we would furiously underline the words we were learning about...I would add exclamation points (!!!!!)  and smiley faces, and little prayers like "help me remember this".

this was my favorite passage, from Ephesians 3:

17 And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts, living within you as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love; 18-19 and may you be able to feel and understand, as all God’s children should, how long, how wide, how deep, and how high his love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves, though it is so great that you will never see the end of it or fully know or understand it. And so at last you will be filled up with God himself.

it's still a favorite passage, albeit I now change the language to be gender neutral.

we went to bible camp every summer. and we took our bibles.  this was when I was in 6-7-8 grade. 

high school kids were our counselors, and it was a good time.  lots of laughing, pranking, worship with guitars and guest pastors, stuff like that.  the big thing was the bonfire on the last night, where we would sit around and sing songs like "Pass It On" and a very slow rendition of "Kum Ba Yah". 

the last day, 

we would get people to sign our bibles.  (kind of like signing yearbooks, as I think about it now.)
except we would share bible verses in our notes,
or prayers, 
or write things like "God's light shines through you"
and those blessings
were as holy writ
as the paraphrase of Ephesians 3:17, 
those friend blessings
carried me through 
the ups and downs and craziness
of adolescence...

I have carried that bible with me from college to my first job to my second job to seminary to my first parish, second call, third call...fourth call....for 39 years.

this summer, 

I had a fit of downsizing
my library....
and I gave that bible away, in a moment of non-attachment. 
to the object.

but I am still attached by my heart,

to the blessings and prayers,
smiley faces and exclamation points,
markers of the faith of my youth,
tiny seedlings with fragile roots
that grew deep
deep down
into the soil of God's love. 
and I still really don't understand it
and it's true you can't really fully know it, 
but still,
you have moments
of being filled up with God...
rooted firmly,
ready to fly. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


for the past six years, except for this one, 
the weekend after labor day
has been incredibly, wackily crazy. 
regathering WEEKEND. 
it would begin with a community ice cream social on friday evening, on the front corner of the lawn of the church. 
sort of a community outreach, welcoming back to school in the community, the pre-school housed in our church, the dance school, our people back from summer time..
just a fun thing 
that was a lot of work, 
but fun. 
after cleaning up late on Friday night, 
I would be back early Saturday morning
for teacher orientation for Sunday School, 
another regathering
of coffee and juice and cheese grits and fruit and laughter and catching up, 
and looking over the curriculum for the year. 
after getting through with that event, 
then home
to think about worship the next day, 
write my sermon if I was preaching, 
making sure everything ready to welcome children to Sunday School, 
write prayers and make lists for announcements,
and the like.
Sunday would be a big day, 
singing "Gather Us In",
and blessing backpacks and bibles and teachers and students, 
scooping left over ice cream during coffee hour...
by Sunday afternoon, 
I couldn't be more tired, and full, and feeling like we were off to the races for another year. 

this year was different, IS different. 
I am serving a church, just on Sundays, in a very limited capacity. 
not a lot of planning.  I am not the pastor. 
I love this church, and what I am doing. 

but I am just saying this new year, this new school year
is rolling along without my gifts and skills and what I love doing, what I know doing.  I missed getting do the "regathering" weekend, but this was my choice.  

it's o.k.
it's quiet. 
I get to be home more with my family. 

it's just a different kind of new. 
I am fearful and hopeful of what kind of new this whole year will bring.   
(Oh, and I just had a big birthday, which has always been a part of my inner regathering in my heart in the fall--oh, and yes my birthday is also the anniversary day of my ordination.  13 years, thank you!)
Will my vocational path follow a different trail than full-time congregational ministry?
I have applied for some meaningful work that would use a whole lot of what I bring to the table, what I love to do, what I enjoy....

I just don't know. 
And I suppose that is part of a new year, a fresh regathering of any kind--
Any thing can happen. 
Thank goodness my backpack is blessed. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

on the hunt....

I am at the point where I need to be doing something.

I temped in an office for two weeks.  As much as I want to rant and rave about
the experience, I won't.  Let's just say, it doesn't look like temping is the avenue
right now for me.

there is the luxury of time for me to settle in and think outside of the box.  for goodness' sake...
I have earned it.

I've spent some time on Craig's List, exploring job opportunities.  There are jobs for professional bead stringers (who knew), grill cooks, printers, and pretty much a whole lotta stuff.  Today I applied to be a part-time dog walker.


I hope they take my application seriously, because I am.  Think of it.  Exercise, furry beings that wag their tails when they see you, the pleasure of companionship beyond my own little pack.

There are people I know that are getting beat up in the church.  Not physically, but I am sure it is affecting them physically.  Some of the meanies are known church folk, some are anonymous, and beyond.  I know the church is a human place.  And people behave badly.  I've experienced that, in very, very small doses.  I am lucky.

I do want to serve a congregation again, I do want to be in ministry, and I do want to listen closely to the Spirit that Leads.

My mother is part of a lovely congregation in the north-mid-west.   I love them.  She loves them. It's a special happy place.  They don't have enough money to pay a minister full time.  But they do have a building, at least, that is small and not desperately in need of repair, like a lot of buildings here in New England.  They are blessed enough to have an amazing minister, in spite of.  They are kind, good, people.   I dream of serving in a place like this--fewer politics, ordinary people cleaning up food banks on service Sunday, bible studies on Friday mornings, and where children are celebrated.

But until that call comes,
I really, really, really would love walking dogs.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013


it's just been such
basket of turns these days...

really, since spring...
and the turnings,
the transitions...

have been enough
to feel like at times
I've been cosmically
thrown under the bus,
at times,
like it's all o.k., and I've got peace like a river in my soul....

but at other times,
sucking my breath in
and wanting to throw dishes at the wall
and break things...

and then the blissful denial times of,
curling up into a ball
and getting lost
in Candy Crush.
(yes, I have succumbed to that this summer.)

my eyes have been hot with tears of rage,
softly filled with sadness and grief,
overflowing with laughter and love.

and trying to find You in all this
has been virtually impossible.
each turning brings a glimpse,
and then abruptly disappearing
around the next unexpected turn.

Humbled. Crushed.
Hope-sick, searching,
Knowing and unknowing,
I wait for You.

it's really all I know what to do.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Mom's house

it doesn't matter
which house it is.

the corner house across from the park with the outdoor swimming pool,
two blocks from Rickard Elementary
three blocks to Jr. High (and lunches of french fries at Service Drug)
a block and half to High School (to which we drove, back and forth, because, duh, who WALKS to school in High School?)

or this garden-town home
on the opposite side of the state...
not a STEP to worry about in this wide open,
lovely open-concep two bedroom, two bath, complete with a garage the size of the first floor of my own house in Boston....
HEATED garage, people.

it's Mom's house.  (and my step-dad's,  yes, of course....)

always flowers at mom's house

and the first day I visit,
it's always the same.
I check things out.
I look for the familiar library desk...filled with notes.
Her bedroom furniture, brand new and beautiful
(can I have this when you go, Mom?)
still holds her essence.
I snoop in her jewelry to look for the cross I gave her the first time I went to Israel,
and I look for her favorite photo of my twin and I
(one squalling bald baby, and one terrified moppy haired baby staring at her crying sister)
and I seek the picture of my grandfather that my uncle captured,
many years ago,
Grandpa Lee is looking over the lake, not focused on the camera, but probably thinking about fishing.

my twin and me

Oh, there are so many more photos...
of my nephews, and me and my sisters' baby pictures hung in a cluster in her bedroom,
and the antique photos
of female ancestors
that hung in the basement near my room
that creeped me out
when I would come home late in high school,
because I SWORE their eyes followed me...
only to continue to haunt me
in the guest bedroom where I sleep, today
watching over me like serious angels.
Do they know my heart?
(kinda scary, right?)

it's Mom's house.

I make sure she has all the familiar stuff in the fridge, and cupboards
yogurt, cheese,
lots of condiments (some probably expired, but you just don't throw this stuff away, you know?)
bread, Life cereal, and a LOT of tupperware (how did this happen?  I tossed out so much three summers ago when I helped her and my step-dad move.  I guess having tupperware is security, or what makes a kitchen functional. )

The little things that have been gifted to her over the years--
the blue and white pottery my sister in california gave her,
the little plaques and decorative pictures,
whether they match or not, they are around,
because that is how a mother rolls, right?
what is more precious than a watercolor painted by a 7th grader?
or a letter from a preschool grandson?

it's Mom's house.
and so, so much more.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

vast and rolling

I am in the window seat of the small plane
that is in descent
to the eastern part of the state
I still call  home.
As I peer through the
smudgy clouded scratched glass,
I marvel
at how my body
tunes in
with the
of this place.

so much room
to breathe.
so much land
measured in quartered fields
and tiny rivers
forming oxbows
and straight roads
that roll out forever...
a patchwork from the sky.

I know this rolling blue sky.
I know this green grass and yellow-bright fields of canola
resting next to green fields of potatoes or sugar beets or
some kind of grain, it doesn't matter.
I know this wind, hot and dryly humid.

But the best thing is,
this vast and rolling place
knows me.
We connect....
my ancient childhood
is renewed in good and solid ways.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Carnival! Week 2

At RevGalBlogPals, Teri asks us:

What's the most surprising connection you've made through RevGalBlogPals? Or the most surprising or helpful thing you've learned/experienced through this galship of friends?

I didn't get around to playing last week, but, so this post is a mishmash of...what galship is to me, and the surprise of RGBP. 

I was probably about a month or so into a new call.   My love and I had moved from North Carolina to Boston.  I left a position in a newish church start, which I loved...I LOVED...the people, my colleague, travel to the awesome state of Massachusetts, which was liberal, gay-friendly, and completely foreign to both of us.   My beloved fell right into her new position in higher ed, at the place most perfect for her. An amazing fit.  

For me, I was lost.   So lost.   After the first couple of months, I started doing temporary work (which was a total joke, because I didn't even know how to run a copy machine) and I bluffed my way through MIT, FAS-Harvard, Radcliffe, and finally landing at Harvard Divinity School, being a temporary faculty assistant.   In December of 2006, I landed my first church pastoral interview, at the only opening in my association, for an associate position.   By February, I was offered the position, on the same day I was offered a position in the Women's Studies in Religion at HDS, to be the coordinator of the program.   In spite of being enticed to take the position at HDS (which in hindsight....well, o.k. maybe, maybe not) I answered the pastoral call.  At heart, I am a pastor.  I wasn't exactly sure about the associate part, because I really wanted to be a lead pastor.   But pastor vs. coordinator, it seemed clear. 

And yes, it was the right path. 

But I was lonely.  

I had virtually no colleagues in ministry. 

But I had a blog.  Earthensoul.  It was mostly about connections between being a potter and pastor, but so much more. 

Somehow, I stumbled upon RevGals.   Grace of God, really, because I don't remember how I found this sisterhood. 

I think I might have played a Friday Five, first.  I remember it was something about "what are you having for lunch"  and "what are you wearing to work if you do on Friday......"   And then, people responded to my post.  My spinach salad with gorgonzola and pears was a hit.   I was so touched that people took time to read my post, let alone comment.  

So, I asked to be a member. And was accepted! 

I had people.  I had sisters.  I had galship,  I had colleagues.  Instantly.  Let me tell you, being a new pastor in Boston isn't the easiest, after only serving in southern churches. Everything is different.  My colleague's wife was supportive, but she was technically my boss's wife.  The other women I knew were a crusty ready to retire kind of grumpy clergy association colleague, and a practicing nun in the same association.  I was starved. 

So, reading Songbird, and Terrapin Station, Wills Mama, and St. Casserole, and Vicar and Authentic Voice and so many other blogs was a balm to my desert soul.  I found community, I found church, a galship....

I missed BE1.   I went to BE2 with fear and trepidation.  It was in Arizona.  But I knew that Songbird, Terrapin, St. Casserole, Vicar, and Authentic Voice would be there.  They were my virtual friends, and I was hopeful they would be my life friends.  

And that is the surprise.  That the interwebs don't lie, when you are faithfully trying to be authentically you.  I was so welcomed.  I was known.  I was beloved by sisters in faith, in spite of non-physical introductions.  

I am sad that there are some that feel there are cliques in RGBP, or feel dismissed because they are older....but my experience as an almost 50 something lesbian clergy woman has never been negative.  I have ALWAYS had supportive women colleagues....but I have had to search for them and trust.  

With RGBPs,  I have tried to be as openly welcoming as I was welcomed.  

And I am grateful.  

The most amazing surprise?  

Two of the RGBP wanted, TRUSTED me to their pastor for their wedding.    Crazy. 

Of course we planned it together, but they trusted me with the liturgy to make their public vows of  commitment (in spite of one bride Having A Very Famous Cousin Who Could Have Totally Been The Officiant).  

And I am blessed with their courage.  So, so, so many obstacles.  So, so, so many ways they came out to their congregations.  Their risks blow out my mind.  

Since BE2, I have gone on others.  ON CRUISES, people.  CRUISES.  Where you can eat whenever you need,  your bed is made, chocolates on the pillows....and beautiful friends.  

I can't go this year.  OH!   I  am bereft.  But I am in transition, and if someone drops out at last minute, and I am in a new congo, I am first on the waiting list.  

But it doesn't matter. Because GalShip thrives, whether on a cruise, in AZ, in the blogsphere, or facebook....

I know you are there. 

Written, with so much love in my heart. 


Saturday, June 15, 2013

the end of an era....

Callie, 16 plus years, Jewelry Queen

Daisy, 15 1/2 years, Drama Dog

So, what a sad day at our house....
We had made an appointment with our vet to have her come and humanely euthanize Callie cat, as she was experiencing neurological stuff, plus doing circles all the time, and basically not eating.   She had shrunk to less than 5 pounds, and wore a perpetual knitted brow as if in pain.   

Daisy dog, although still eating and doing all those things, was also in decline, and the past few days more so than ever, culminating in last night and this morning, just wandering and staring into the distance, not settling down and whining.  A lot.  

Callie went quickly, and died in Beloved's arms.   

Then we exchanged looks.  Talked to the vet.  She looked at Daisy, and said "I agree."  

So I held Daisy in my arms, and let her go.  

These two were quite the divas in our household.   

Callie, the last Kentucky cat.  Ferocious hunter.   Brought home the Easter Bunny two years in a row, dead.  She was incredibly curious, and we had to make sure we knew where she was before any workpersons left our house who had an open van out front of the house.   She loved to play in the jewelry box.   She gave one last pop on the head to our youngest cat, Sophie, this morning, whom she felt she needed to discipline.  

And Daisy was my baby.   I got her my first year in seminary, and I would have NEVER made it through Hebrew with out her, and Yeong Mee, the tutor.   She loved peanut butter, hated being left alone.  Right from the start, she snuggled up to me in bed.   Other people loved her too, and often my friends would "borrow" her for the day.   Always serious, she was incredibly easy to tease.  Up to the last day, in fact.   She was just all that.  

She went home with me on breaks--to North Dakota and Florida.  She was welcomed along with me to my first call in North Carolina.   She hated the snow if it got caked up in her paw pads.  She had a best buddy, Tikky, in seminary, who later came to live with us when Yeong Mee moved back to Korea.  

She was smart.   Silly.  Earnest.   Dear.  

What a great friend you were, dear Daisy Dog.   
Thank you for the gift of your life, and for sharing the journey with me. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday Five: DOG OR CATS?

Over at REVGALS, Jan writes:
In my experience in the United States, people are either "Dog People" or "Cat People." As the graph above illustrates, not everyone is limited to those types of animals. So I am wondering about pets and experiences with them.

1. Are you a DOG or a CAT person? Or OTHER?
I love them all. 
2. Who were the pets of your childhood and what were they like?
I had a dog named Benji who was a border collie.  We got him when I was in sixth grade, and he lived until after I graduated from college. 

3. What pets do you have now?
The current tally in the household is 3 dogs, 7 cats.  One of our cats died a couple of weeks ago.  However, we have had as many as 5 dogs and 9 cats.   It's quite the zoo. 
4. Have you ever had any unusual pets in your household or visit your home?
We have a lot of fosters that pass through our doors. 

5. What have you learned from your pets? Give one recent example, if possible.
Resilience.  Animals are so amazingly resilient.  
BONUS: Pictures or anything else related to animals you love.

Well, you asked for this:
Cooper and Fenway, two of our three dogs

Feeding Time.

Venus, best dog ever. She died a few years ago. 

Little Tikky.  She died two years ago.  She lost an eye to glaucoma, but it didn't slow her down. 

Wherever we go, the animals find us.   This was a bunch of baby chickens on the beach in Kauai.

Sweet, feral Sadie.  She died two weeks ago. 

Some of the animals make it onto my pottery!

Foster mama and her babies.  We ended up keeping  mama, and her name is Sophie. 

Literally, I picked this dog up on my way to church one Sunday.  He was running along the street as happy as he could be.  He just had a collar, and an outdated rabies tag.  So, I took him to church with me, and he hung out in my office during worship.   After worship, we did a little sleuthing work, and found his family.  Then, two days later, he got loose again! Silly bird.  My neighbor found him.  So, I took him back to his house AGAIN.  I think they fixed the fence then.  ;-)
Cat painting on the iPad.  It's the best app ever...a little mouse runs across the screen, and the cat tried to pounce it.  What a lovely painting, by Lucy. 

Scout, a very brief foster boy. He was a handful. NO manners.  But he got a great home. 

Titan, a long foster.  He was such a goofball.  His head was HUGE. Anyway, I loved him so much and we almost kept him, but then he ended up in the lap of luxury, adopted by a lawyer and a doctor. 
Lucky guy, he goes kayaking and swimming all of the time. 

Hennessy. Big smile, huh?  One of my unsuccessful fosters.  He was such a sweet boy with me, but he bit one of my dogs out of the blue.  He then ended up in a bad foster situation (no Alpha in the house) After a couple of bad biting experiences, he had to be put to sleep.  There are no bad dogs, just people who don't care for them properly. 
Rest in peace, dear one. 

Daisy.  Our oldest dog.  She is now 15.5, blind, deaf, and wears a diaper for incontinence. But it doesn't stop her one bit.  She prances around,shrieks for treats, and is a ball of spunk. 

This is Charley, our Hawaiian cat.  He lives in the condo complex we stay at when we go to the Big Island.  He shows up at every sunset in the quad area, because he knows people will feed him.  Sometimes he comes up to our condo and visits for awhile.  Especially if we have turkey to share. 

This is Callie.   She is 16 plus years.  She has kitty dementia, and walks in circles alot, meaowing. 
She is our princess, and we love her so, so much. 

There are more photos of the the others, but I have to get going!  Thanks for the play, Jan!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

writing my way through

in being gentle with myself,
I can err on the side of being lazy and non-reflective.
Well, maybe lazy, but the non-reflective isn't true.  I reflect, I muddle, I persiverate, I lose myself inside my unformed thoughts and forget to be present to my spouse, the moment, in my body...
you get it, right?

I am a big giant F on the Meyers Briggs (if you buy into that. I know that it has been debunked, kicked to the curb in some academic circles.)  The F seems to be pretty accurate for me, because I know that I simply feel, feel, feel before any words come to explain whatever the feeling is.

And in transition, I am a big giant F.  Feelings, no words.

It seems like a good idea to try to write a little, every day, even if I don't say anything.  Because, the feelings make me float.  The words, even if they don't make sense, ground me.  

I need the balance.


Honestly, I no idea in heaven or earth how I am being called.   I've been a pastor for the last 13 years, and a pretty good one.   I put my heart and soul into ministry, internally it feels right and good; and the external feedback is overwhelmingly positive.  

However...finding a call here has been confusing, to say the least.   It's sort of like a Goldilocks thing--I am too experienced, not enough experience, too old, too young, too gay, too creative...I don't know.
Enough about that--a rabbit hole I don't need to follow.

I need the balance.
Help me find Balance.  and Grace.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Losing the Love

I think I can process a little of my transition here, now, as I can tell my own story.

My congregation has been in transition the past two years--our SP resigned then.   In the scrambling of embracing the news, many people said, "Can't Karla just be our pastor?".   As flattering and affirming as that was,  I felt that it was important for me to support having an interim come in, as the SP had been with the congregation for 17 years.   I believe in intentional transition....although, in congregational polity, the congregation COULD do whatever it wanted.   Several congregations in my area have simply made the AP the SP, without the process, and the transitions have been fine.   However, for me, personally, I just felt that I needed to respect the work and possibility that emerges from interim ministry.  Especially the process of building a church profile.

There are myriad ways in which a search committee can choose to interview, when it is ready, an AP.  In some cases, it can use the Connecticut Conference model, which interviews the AP first, without receiving profiles of other candidates.  If the AP is not called, then, well, that person has already agreed to resign within six months (or before a new SP is called)--whatever is agreed upon.  This makes sense to me--it wouldn't be healthy to have an AP continue in an AP position when that person had been NOT selected to be SP.  Talk about possible opportunities for triangulation! undermining!--for ALL involved.

Another way to proceed is to open the search, and throw in the AP profiles in with all of the others.   This is what my congregation's search committee decided to do.   I wrestled a long time before I submitted my profile, because I had questions as to whether I could be a pastor and a candidate at the same time.  But, at the same time, I felt a call to this congregation.   So, with a bit of trepidation, I submitted my profile for consideration.   That was the first of October, 2012.  

I learned at the beginning of March, I was one of final three candidates.   On Wednesday, in Holy Week, I learned I was not the candidate of choice, and that the candidating weekend for the chosen candidate was the last weekend of April.   A month away--and yet the congregation wouldn't be notified until after Easter of the candidate.  So, three weeks.  

Immediately, with consult from colleagues, I crafted an exit plan, and wrote a letter of resignation.  Once I was a candidate for SP did I ever think I would stay as an AP, because of what I said earlier.  I wanted to make a way for the congregation to celebrate the new candidate. hasn't been easy, these past three weeks.  Some folk have expressed distress at my leaving, some have been surprised that I was NOT the SP candidate of choice, some folk truly bewildered that I would resign after learning that I wasn't the SP candidate.  Working out the details of leaving have been a little stressful, and disappointing.  I have moving with my own grief and sadness, along with wondering what the heck is next in ministry for me.  

It's been six years with this congregation.   I have loved them deeply.  We have done really great ministry.   I think what I am going to miss the most is the Love we have shared and built.   I know I won't lose love, but in a way, there is loss in leaving.   So it feels like it.

And so, I am sad.
I covet your prayers for this time of leaving.
Thank you.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Monday lazy

I had a slow start today...but then I realized, perhaps instead of thinking of it as a slow start, maybe I could think of it as a zen start.

As I listened to my beloved get up, feed the farmily, get ready for work, a parade of animals jumped on the bed for love. It was quite nice. First Lucy, then Eliot...and little snuggle with Cooper, and then Fenway needed some scritches behind the ears.

The eternal Nowness of the cats and dogs slowed and deepened my breathing. I rested in their funny sweet souls, and I was just content.

and ready for whatever will come my way.

I am grateful for these animal creatures who offer healing, and balm for my spirit.

Friday, April 19, 2013

A Healing Space Friday Five

Over at RevGals, Deb shares the following Friday Five, for which I am grateful especially this morning as  my family and I are in lock-down because of the search for  Suspect #2 in the Boston Marathon bombings.  It's surreal...and so to focus on healing and comfort will be good. 

I am an enthusiastic newspaper reader. Lately, however, world events have made it hard to read and process the pain in the world around me. Perhaps you have struggled with this, too.

So, with the events of the violence and tragedy from the Boston Marathon fresh in our memories, I thought it would be good for us to focus on where as RevGalBlogPals, we find healing, peace and strengthening. As a chaplain, there are days where I never seem to catch my breath, and invariably, those are the days that I need it the most! So with all this in mind, share with us these healing things

1. A piece of music

2. A place
This would be Hawaii.

3. A favorite food (they call it "comfort food" for a reason)
Just kidding. But I am pretty sure an adult beverage will be comforting at the end of this day.  Right now, my comfort food is a lovely cup of coffee; and breakfast when my beloved gets finished with all of her conference calls (she is on the emergency management team at a Big University that never closes but it closed today).....

4. A recreational pastime (that you watch or participate in)
I love to hike.  This is a picture of the Fells, which is a huge wonderful green space really, really, really close to where we live. 

I also like to garden. In spite of not being hugely successful, I still enjoy harvesting a cucumber. Whoops. That's a zucchini.   There is a reason I might not be successful if I can't identify the vegetables I try to grow. 

5. A poem, Scripture passage or other literature that speaks to comfort you.
Also, Psalm 46. 
BONUS: People, animals, friends, family - share a picture of one or many of these who warm your heart.

I can get carried away here with the animal pictures. So I will stop now. 
Thanks for this Deb, again!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A prayer...

...this morning, I think, 
will be somewhat complicated,
and awkward.....
and I pray for grace.
Grace to open the way, 
grace to care for myself 
in the midst of this. 

sometimes I can 
accommodate to the point
where I might ignore myself
in order to 
to please others. 

balance, God, 
keep me in balance. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

wow. Friday Five Randomness!

Today, over at RevGals,  I wrote...
Can you believe it is April 12????  Have you finished your taxes?  Here in Boston, the city is abuzz with Boston Marathon anticipation.  We are finally hearing birds chirp in the morning, and even though it was in the low thirties last night, many of us are bravely sporting open-toed sandals.   None of this has anything to do Friday Five, except randomness.   So, in that spirit.......

1.  How are you doing?  What's going on in your life?
Well, the big thing is that I resigned from my position as associate pastor at a church I have served for the last six years.  I did this for a multiplicity of reasons, but I don't have a position to go to.  So, there is risk involved. 

2.  Have you ever resigned from a position?  What was the good-bye like?
Yes, all of them!  All of the good-byes, though, have been amazing, and deep and lasting.  And HARD. 

3. So, we are still resurrecting...still getting used to New Life!!  What is a source of new life for you?
I sound like a broken record, but the pottery studio on Fridays is like Sabbath to me. It renews my heart and soul and mind.  My hilarious animals.  
4.  My friend is running the marathon on Friday, because it is on her bucket list.  What is something on your bucket list? 
Truly, I want to live in Hawaii.  We have it on our life plan.  I love it there.  Other than that, I still haven't seen the  musicals Wicked or The Lion King. I was just thinking about that today. 

5.  Tell us the story of something precious you carry around with you, rests on your desk or altar. 
This could be a book.  But I will just name three.  First, I have my mother's High School ring.  I never wear it, but I love it.  Second, My stepfather's bowling team picture when they went to the American Bowling Congress Championships in St. Paul, MN in 1965!   Three, a tiny pinch pot that I made from clay from Jordan Lake in North Carolina, and fired in a wood firing in a metal trash can.  

On a final note, I am embarrassed I haven't blogged since December.   I think I have had a lot of unbloggable stuff that found its way into my journals.    I shall do better. I shall!