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Oh boy… February 26, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in work.
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You know that icky feeling you get when you know you said something kind of dumb to your boss? Yep, I’m good buddies with that feeling right about now.

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Today I found out… February 21, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in Boy-o, life.
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…what will make life in this town worth living. The weather was gorgeous and I had a little time to kill before Ash Wednesday services, so I called up my friend Ally, a native of this place, who is always happy to tell me where things in the city are when I’m not near a computer or able to look them up myself. She directed me to a really neat park, and my son and I went on a half hour walk around the pond. People were fishing and there were a ton of joggers and walkers out, as well as people tossing frisbees and playing on the playground. We walked around the pond and the fountain, and the boy exclaimed over the ducks and all the “big kids” he wanted to chase after. The park reminds me a lot of my favorite park back home, where I always used to go when I needed some down time, and I can’t even begin to explain how happy I am that this town has a place just as beautiful.

Saturday night, we went to see the movie “Bridge to Terabithia”. I have a really foul habit of falling sound asleep at late movies and acting very cranky when awakened by my darling dearest who just wants me to get my money’ s worth. This movie, though, took me straight back to 1986 when I read the book it was based on, a time when I was about the same age as the main characters Jess and Leslie, an age that I firmly believe is the last time boys and girls can truly be friends with no strings or other hormonal stuff attached – at least until they hit their mid-20’s or so. The story took me back to a time in my life when I was able to let my imagination have free reign, when I genuinely believed that I could will magical creatures or anything else I wanted into being if I just believed hard enough. In the movie, just as in the book, Leslie’s death comes out of nowhere, and it hit me like a punch to the stomach, even though nothing was shown. Jess’s ensuing grief and struggle with what Leslie meant to him and what lessons he will take away from their friendship made me scrunch my head down into the collar of my coat and cry. It was a bit upsetting that I could hear the people behind me laughing and saying “how cheesy!”, but then I remembered I’m NOT 11 years old anymore.

Well, my first vestry meeting yesterday was… February 19, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in ministry.
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…enlightening. I know a parish is a business and has financial concerns, but for some reason, probably naivete, I thought that people would be, I don’t know…nicer? For example, there was discussion about raising the rent for one of the support groups that meets there, and I agreed with this because the amount that they are being charged is completely out of step with what it costs our sexton to set up and break down for their meetings and the church supplies they use. So yeah, raise the rent. But the motion passed that the rent will go up AND that they will set up and break down for their own meetings…in other words, a “we’re tired and we ain’t gonna do it anymore” caveat. When I suggested raising the rent to one figure if they want to do their own setup and another, higher figure if they want us to continue to set up, I was met with extreme resistance. One person even said something to the effect of, if they don’t want to do their own setup, then too bad, they can go somewhere else. At which point most of the blood drained out of the rector’s face at the thought of losing any more money from our already cash-strapped little church.

However, on a brighter note, I offered to help put together the job description for the youth minister that everyone (in theory) wants to hire. I’m looking forward to this, because I think they have a very different idea of what constitutes effective youth ministry than I do (going for pizza once a month doesn’t cut it, in my book), and I’m kind of wanting to challenge everyone when I mention some of my thoughts. See, I happen to believe that effective youth ministry requires a commitment of both money AND time from the adults of the parish, and the time factor is probably going to be more disturbing to them. When I mentioned that I was interested in helping this way, some of the older members chuckled and said something to the effect of “she’s got energy – don’t let her get away!”, and the rector said he would be calling me “very soon.”

Can you blame me for my skepticism?

Some of what I brainstormed this morning at 5:45 when the alarm went off because I forgot I had off work for the President’s Day holiday:

What do YOU think this person’s job is? Director of Youth Ministry, or coordinator of youth activities? Does their job include the young children, below junior high?

What educational/professional qualifications do you want them to have? (Degree, experience, proven track record at another parish) What character qualifications do you want them to have? (Enthusiasm, drive, ideas that can be articulated, ability to speak to large groups)

How much are you willing to pay this person, and what kind of budget will they have, and what are they expected to pay for out of this budget? What benefits will you offer? Insurance for self/family? Pension/retirement plan? Vacation?

Will the adults of this parish support the youth of this parish – will they act as mentors to the ones that are already here and the ones that may come? How do you sell this new direction to old members?

How many junior high/high school age people are actually registered members of this parish? (4, if Sunday morning is any indication)

How can we get more? What are appropriate methods/venues to recruit new ADULT members who have KIDS? Example: slightly larger town southwest of us is getting new members because the hospital is expanding and recruiting new physicians and medical support personnel who are seeking a church. This town’s direction needs to be exploring the growth of the University.

Programs must be in place, regardless of limited involvement, because you only have one chance to make a first impression to visitors – if you don’t have what they want for their kids, they’ll likely go somewhere else.

Website for youth – this is how this generation gets their information

When do they meet, and what do they do? (Sunday school, service projects, social activities)

IMPORTANT for their formation to be separated by age – no adults in the youth classes, just because they like the teacher (we have several adults who attend the “high school” class now, and just guess who does all the talking?).

Things I have thought about blogging about this week… February 10, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in life, tattoos, work.
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…followed by short comments on each subject since I was, in fact, too lazy to write a real blog post:

1) Why, since I have to work, I am a fan of day care centers as opposed to in-home childcare.

For several reasons. They are licensed, and therefore accountable in a way that in-home child cares are not. My son has learned how to function in a group and has developed good social skills from simple things like having to wait his turn, and he knows he’s not the center of attention in any given room. I remember being painfully, painfully shy when I went to preschool for the first time at age 4 because I hadn’t had much association with other kids, and fortunately, this is not a character trait that appears to afflict my son. He’s learning from a young age that other kids come from families different from his own, and that that is fine for them, but it doesn’t mean that we are going to be like them. And the IRS’s Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit ain’t bad, either.

2) Why Japanese Cherry Blossom Body Cream is the best…product…ever from Bath and Body Works.

Because my husband likes the smell of it, and is thus willing (in fact, he often asks if he can) to apply to my shoulders, elbows, and feet on a semi-routine basis.

3) Taxes, and WHY DO I ALWAYS END UP OWING THIS FREAKING STATE MORE MONEY, and then, and THEN, on top of that they assess you an UNDERPAYMENT penalty if you owe! arrrrgggghhhhh!

Why does half of my federal refund inevitably end up going to the state? I never knew how good I had it in the state I grew up in where there is no state income tax, and no sales tax on groceries.

4) My next tattoo

It’s going to be a claddagh, the Irish wedding ring design made up of hands holding a heart with a crown on top, which symbolizes friendship, loyalty, and love. Except, instead of hands holding a heart, I think I’m going to have the hands creating the shape of a heart – kinda like this:

I think I’m going to have the Irish words for “earth” (talamh) and “angel” (aingeal) tattooed around it, since these words represent my children’s names.

5) Why I love the Cold War Kids.

For the title of the song “Red Wine, Success!”

reading February 1, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in reading, thoughtful.
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“It was a long season of mourning, and there were times when I wondered if I should mourn all my life and never again be free of it; but at last I could remember without weeping, and recall the days of love without unending sorrow welling up like tears from the depth of my very being. There is no sorrow like the memory of love and the knowledge that it is gone forever; even in dreams I never saw again his face, and though I longed for it, I came at last to see that it was just as well, lest I live all the rest of my life in dreams…but at last there came a day when I could look back and know that the time for mourning was ended; my lover and my child were on the other shore, and even if I should somehow meet them beyond the gates of death, none of us would ever know…but I lived, and I was in Avalon, and it was my task now to be Lady there.”

The Mists of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley