Wednesday, March 05, 2014

ash wednesday

The other day on Facebook, Glennon from Momastery posted this quote:

Okay friends! My March Motto is as follows: Everything worth doing is not worth doing well. Perfect is the enemy of done. Good enough is the friend of done. In sum: perfect is our enemy and good enough is our friend. 
We need to do it and be done with it. 

So, here I am. Going to try to say something every day, good, perfect, or otherwise!

Ash Wednesday is today, and it's one of my favorite church observances.

Earlier today I had a funeral, and on the casket, when I poured sand in the form of a cross, I said, "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust."

Tonight, I will form the shape of the cross on living people's foreheads and remind them that they are dust, and to dust they shall return.

I value the humility of Ash Wednesday, the perspective that it gives.

We are mortal; we are dust; we can do amazing and special things, but we still can die. And that is okay.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Some days, out of nowhere, I feel fragile.

I don't know why...sometimes I want to say, "There's a disturbance in the force."  Is my dad around somewhere, poking through the veil between heaven and earth with a finger, a hand, an arm?  What causes this sense of being so fragile I might cry at any thought?  I did cry on the way to drop the children off at daycare this morning, crying along to songs from Lemonade Mouth, to "We Will Rock You," songs that do not elicit tears.

But when I feel fragile, I also feel more in touch.  More in touch with the delicate nature of life, of existence, of nature and movement and the atmosphere.  I feel more connected to the members of the congregation I serve, like I have a more expansive place now to hold their sadness, their anxiety, their trepidation.

I can count about 5 people right now I know who are making the slow decline into dementia.  It breaks my heart.  For some reason, when I thought about ministry, I didn't think about the encounter with the loss of minds, the loss of reason.  There have been times in the past week where I haven't been sure what is true and what is an apparition.  I try to just be with people, not to constantly tick off in my mind if what they're saying is accurate to reality or not.  Try to keep them safe, from wandering off down the hospital corridor to speak to "those people on the bench; I should go talk to them."  There is no bench, there are no people. Why does this happen to the mind later in life?  Is the mind worn out?  Parts gone missing?

God draw near, be with us, help us all.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

what's new

I was listening to the Balanced Bites podcast  (more about why momentarily) this morning, and the idea came up that people should blog daily...huh! Daily! It got the juices flowing again about whether or not I could keep up with this blog.  And I decided I would try it.  Why not?

I will try to blog as much as I can, let's put it that way.  Daily is highly unlikely to happen, although maybe I'll surprise myself.

I don't always know what I'll write about.  Right now, these are the things that I am thinking about, in no particular order:

1) What makes a "good" (or healthy might be a more appropriate word) church member?
2) Paleo -- this is why I was listening to Balanced Bites!
3) Carb back-loading
4) Lifting heavier weights
5) Training (running) for my marathon
6) Fundraising (money) for my marathon (see the nifty little thingy on the can give me some money if you want!)
7) Reading the book The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
8) Thanking God and Jesus and the saint of lost things that my iPad was in my church office and hadn't been lifted from my van yesterday
9) Worrying about money and still trying to stick to a budget
10) Managing time and getting all the ducks in a row for the kids for this fall: Jack is playing Smurf (seriously, Smurf) football; Irene and Maggie will likely start gymnastics in a few weeks; Jack begins 1st grade next Thursday; Irene will move from Pre-School to Pre-K, Maggie will move from the Toddler Room to the 3-year-old room at daycare (although she just turns 2 on the 28th...but maybe that means she will potty train ASAP, yippee!!!)

I guess that is enough for now. Perhaps if my "Top 10 Ways You Can Make Pastor Sarah Happy as a Church Member" type sermon comes out well, I'll post the notes here next week...we shall see.  I want it to be helpful so that people can grasp my philosophy and understanding of what members can do at church (otherwise why join?) but not be too preachy (haha) or judgey.

Thanks for reading! Hopefully I'll be writing more and actually cultivate a blog audience.

Here's a question for ya: if you were a pastor, what would you tell members about their participation at church?  Also, what's the best book you've read lately?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Dear Daddy

I was reading over some writing I had done last year when my dad got sick to see if I want to share it as part of my sermon tomorrow on Father's Day. I think I will -- hopefully with minimal tears, please!

I realized that I quite like some of the writing that I did after he passed away, and why didn't I keep up with it? But anyway, maybe I'll try to revive some of that.

For now, here is last year's first writing that I did after he was diagnosed, which I shared with him on the day he was admitted to the hospital for his first round of chemo.

March 22, 2012

Dear Daddy,
I’ve decided to do some writing to you while you’re battling this latest fight that life has set before you. I worry that perhaps the chemo will sap your energy to the point where you’ll be mostly drowsy all the time, and even that at some point we might not be able to come see you if your immunity is too low. And I find that there are so many things that I want to say to you, lessons I want to thank you for teaching me, moments that I remember both from childhood and from recent years, and I don’t want to miss my chance to tell you about them. Not because I feel that you won’t make it through this, but because, as you said about Mom’s 63rd birthday party, why not celebrate the people that you love while they are here to enjoy it? I don’t want to be sharing these memories with other people after you’ve died (in hopefully 40 years), I want to share them with you now.

Hopefully this will be the first of a series of letters, though sometimes I know I have lofty ambitions for series-types of things and I don’t follow through. But at least I will set down some memories now:

One that I think is so important is the memory of eating pizza with you at Angelina’s Pizza in Lancaster back when I was first entertaining the notion of going to seminary. If I remember correctly, I hadn’t yet applied, but we stopped by the seminary to look around and go to the book store. I think this was the time when you tried to buy all the books that were reserved for students enrolled in classes. The conversation with Matt (who was working at the bookstore, now is pastoring to the west of us) went something like this:

Brad: “Oh, I know this author” [picking up book as if to purchase]
Matt: “No, sir, you can’t buy that book, that’s reserved for class?”
Brad: “What about this one?”
Matt: “No”
Brad: “What about this one?”
Matt: “No”
Brad: “What about this one?”
Matt: “No” and so forth...

But all kidding aside, I remember sitting with you, eating pizza, and feeling as though just talking to you and sharing a meal, listening to stories probably about people you knew, or Trinity, or something to do with Grandma and Grandpa or growing up, I felt connected to the world in a deeper way than I’d felt in a long time. Deeper than working at Performance Personnel, deeper than studying English Literature at York College, deeper than thinking only about Friday and the weekend as I had grown accustomed to doing. I wanted to have a life that ran deep like yours. I wanted to do something with my life that would connect me to people in a way beyond what I was experiencing then. I wanted to be able to have people talk to me and feel as though there was a depth there, that I could hear anything that had to tell me, that I could really listen and remember, that I could reframe their ideas into stories, the way that you do.

I hope and pray that people feel that way about me now, and if they do, it is because you inspired me to develop that depth within myself, to seek to understand and learn more about people, to ask questions and be curious about people and their backgrounds and their stories, instead of filling up space in the conversation just yammering about myself.

I don’t long for a deeper life anymore. I realized that the other day. I know I can continually go deeper, and that life is a cycle and so I may have periods of shallowness, or times when I lose my way, or times when I don’t prioritize the right stuff. But I do feel at this time that there is a depth to my life and my interactions that I am very grateful for. I truly do not believe that I would have sought this amount of depth and authenticity and truth in my life if I had not had you for an example.

Thank you.

With the love of a thousand loves (I say this to the kids all the time),

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Chicago 2013, Baby!

Why am I posting this video?? (Besides the fact that it's pretty darn cool!)

Because I just signed up to run the 2013 Chicago Marathon with Team in Training!

AHHHHHHHHH! (That's a scared scream, but also an exhilarated one!) Both for the training and the fundraising.

But I know I can do it, and I WANT to do it! Yes!!!!!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

you have to think this is funny

Oh my gosh...soooooo funny. There is a reason this has been all over the Interwebs.

Monday, January 28, 2013

the fighter

For many reasons, this song seems to define my life right now.  Plus I wanted to write a new post so that anyone who comes to my page would see something new at the top of it!

This is a great motivational song for a dragging workout, by the way!