Day to Day and On the Way

Last week in my post IN THE WAITING, I said that I was waiting to hear back from the loan company about what they needed for paperwork from us beyond the application.

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I had most of the usual things put together in a packet just waiting for the right e-mail to send it all to. The info came on Friday night and I sent it off on Monday.

More waiting….

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But it’s not like there has been nothing to do in the mean time. This new job is very different from my other work in ministry as an assistant.

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There’s a lot more praying needed (and that’s saying something).

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There’s a lot more strategic planning.

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There are a lot more meetings (and that is saying something again).

Yesterday I started the day with a few hours of prayer

Then a voice lesson

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Then I had a meeting about elder care.

I began planning the next month worth of worship services.

I met with a couple to help them fill out conservatorship paperwork for a disabled parent.

Spent some time on the porch talking with Brenda before making supper

Then I finished up the night with a meeting on strategic staffing for the next 3-5 years.

And then…..

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I am loving this new work. It fits in a way I never expected it would.

In the middle of all that, a message came that an appraiser will be at our house on Monday to take pictures and walk the property.

The next step has arrived. And so now I must clean!

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In the Waiting

I called the bank today because we were supposed to get an e-mail confirming the submission of our HELOC application. We did not. Our banker, Deb, is checking on things, and I am in the waiting space.

Not that there is nothing to do in the waiting. Life doesn’t wait for the waiting spaces and even in them there are deadlines to be met as we continue to walk by faith toward our upcoming renovation. Besides the day to day stuff, we have a lot of projects to do before the renovation itself begins. I still have to chop out the rest of the bushes around the stone porch. I am leaving the hundred year old antique hydrangea though. It’s so beautiful and if we can help it I really don’t want to lose it.

Our forest garden is so beautiful this year….and the fragrance! I wish I could bottle it and save it for winter.

I mowed this morning and pulled some more of the gardens away from the house. The yard is full of herbs in the afternoon heat.

For the rest of the day I will work on the gardens to prepare them for the stone porch renovation. I am taking this slight delay as God’s way of blessing me to give me time to get all the work done by schedule.

My Interdependence Day

Today, July 4th, our church launched its new DLT (doing life together) initiative. We turned Independence Day into Interdependence Day.

We are learning by steps to share our lives intentionally.

Look who came to dinner after.

Lella and Mom spent some time playing together

Then we went picking flowers in our forest garden

Notes From the Vicarage: The Face Lift

It has been a looooong time since I posted on Notes.

Originally this blog was created to highlight the lifestyle of our little Vicarage family. My other blog was going to be reserved for arts and Christian thought.

There has been so much water under the bridge since Notes began I haven’t really known how to find an on ramp back onto this highway……But now an on ramp has been provided in our new project here at the Vicarage.

Since last I wrote here, I have become the lead Pastor of Cornerstone Church. Amanda has become the youth and children’s pastor at Cornerstone. Brenda has changed missions sending agencies and is now moving forward with an artist’s/ missions group (more on that later).Mom has had a major fall, lost the ability to walk and has recovered and all the animals have gotten older and…….The Vicarage has begun talks about some major plastic surgery.

The Vicarage was built in 1901. It has aged into a stately old home surrounded by a lush forest garden.

SOME NE STONE WORK IS IN ORDER. DO YOU THINK I SHOULD LET THE FOREST GARDEN LIVE ON THE STONE PORCH?
GUTTER WORK GREATLY NEEDED!

But 50 years of neglect has left the old place in great need of repair. My new job is an answer to some financial prayers I have been praying for a few years. SO TODAY BRENDA AND I MET WITH OUR HOME REMODELERS TO DISCUSS THE SCOPE OF WORK AND THE COST. NEXT WEEK WE MEET WITH THE BANK FOR FINANCING AND SO NOW YOU SEE THE ON RAMP BACK TO NOTES FROM THE VICARAGE.

I will be using “Notes” to blog about our property overhaul and how all of that fits into our new-ish lifestyle.

This broken gutter hangs over my prayer porch…..DO YOU THINK I SHOULD KEEP THE OLD ROW BOAT SHAPED RAISED BED IN THE REMODEL?
THE BACK PORCH NEEDS TO BE STAINED
NEW WINDOWS AND SHAKES?

This Day At The Vicarage 11-12-20

I had one of those writer’s horrors happen yesterday. I was saving my “Bits Folder”, the folder where I keep all the work I have deleted from my novel but which I think is good enough to use elsewhere. I did something wrong and suddenly the “Bits Folder” was nowhere on my thumb drive. As near as I can figure I hit the wrong save and saved the form as a template which converted it from English to computer code.

For a moment I panicked. Then I remembered that I had built in redundancies just for this occasion. The Folder was saved to my hard drive and should that fail I also have a private cloud filter containing the work in raw form ( Should I need to resort to that it would be a lot of work to do over but at least it is there). So crisis averted. Still, the thought of losing all those words made me so emotional I had to step away from the writing world for the rest of the day.

This morning as I return to the editing process (which involves removing the word “suddenly” which I have used entirely too much in this book), I am thinking about the many people throughout our world who have watched their world’s go up in smoke over the last year. My little glitch sent me reeling and it wasn’t even really a problem. What is it like to be a that person who has lost their life’s dream to the year 2020?

It really hits home the fact that this is a season requiring massive amounts of grace. What are you going to do today to show the people around you grace?

THIS DAY AT THE VICARAGE 11-11-20

As the holidays approach this year our state, Massachusetts, is preparing to face what may be its greatest days of challenge since the pandemic began.We received new protocols last week which include mask wearing in all public spaces including outdoors and even when you can socially distance, a 9:30 P.M. curfew, and a suggestion that families should not unite over the holidays and that no gathering over 10 people may be had in private homes. The buzz today is that governor is getting ready to reactivate the field hospitals in MA as our hospitals in the state are reaching capacity.

The gathering thing is not a hardship for us at the Vicarage our whole family together is 7 people, but I know many families for whom the gathering rule is going to be massively difficult come the holidays. I have now been wearing a mask so long in public the idea of not wearing one is almost uncomfortable…and please the idea of having to be in by 9:30 is a super-blessing for our family.

That said a pall has been laid over the holidays and everyone is feeling it. Everything is changing, including the way we are used to celebrating. We have to find new ways, new methods, new opportunities and we have to try them.

We were at Hobby Lobby the other day and my sister bought this urn. Now all four of us are dropping in a note about something we are thankful for every day. We will empty it and read our thanksgivings on Nov. 26th. As we eat our turkey pot pie…. I think the idea is that we have to figure out how to be thankful even when we cannot be traditional.

What creative thing are you doing to face the challenge of this year’s holiday season?

PJ

This Day At the Vicarage 11-10-20

As usual the dogs and I were up at 4 and out for a walk by 5. Even with the turn back of the clocks it is still pitch black at that hour…and quiet, which I really love.

I find myself slipping easily into the prayer cave at this hour of the morning and these are moments of deep revelation. I feel sad for people who cannot make the connection with the Divine. God’s Spirit is so marvelous and mysterious to me I want to weep for anyone who cannot touch it. I find it even sadder that so many of my brothers and sisters have no desire for this place of prayer and communion. I do not know what I would do without it.

Today is hair cut day. 8 A.M. I really need it.

This rhythm of this day is already well established and so I am hoping it will continue on at its even easy pace so that I can have more time in the Preseence, more time to write, more time to read and more time to clean my office…..Oh yeah Mercedes is also in bad need of a bath.

Well on to the next thing!

PJ

This Day At the Vicarage 11-8-20

The sky has been really stunning the last few days. Sunrises and sunsets come seemingly to remind me that there is a large part of life that simply transcends the everyday trials of this world.

No matter how crazy things get there is always the sky to look to.

And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;

26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.

27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. Luke 21:25-28

Today was church day. So I had to make sure most of my extra work was done before I left the house for the morning. Sundays can end up being mostly a wash once church time comes so I try to make sure I have a jump on things before I head out for the day. To that end I spent an hour this morning writing. I exercised. I got a little housework done and then it was off to the races.

Pastor Dan and Pastor Jen preached a great message today on celebrating in every season of life. And then we practiced celebrating as a church at the end (socially distanced of course and with masks). This is a lesson then church needs to take to heart. It is a message I need to take to heart. We are the people of God. Of all people on the planet we have a reason to celebrate which trumps every difficulty.

If nothing else there is always the sky to look to…so let’s celebrate!

PJ

This Day At the Vicarage 11-7-20

The dogs woke me up at four A.M. The morning coffee was brewing by 5 and I was already deeply engrossed in my morning reading and writing by 6 A.M.

I like the early mornings. Once I get that first cuppa in me I feel like I can take on the world….at least for a few hours.

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I had coffee with a friends and mentor at 8 and then I was back home by 9:30 and back into the prayer space.

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There is so much to pray about just now not the least of which prayers is just about me keeping my nose out of places it doesn’t belong. Have you noticed the world is full of opinions? Have you noticed that the world is constantly trying to prod you into giving your opinion just so it has something to disagree with?

One of my biggest requests is an echo of the prayer of St. Francis.

The world needs channels through which God can flow, and to my mind that is the church’s job. We have such a high calling and one of my greatest fears is that by my opinion of things in the world I will somehow be distracted by those very opinions and thereby disqualify myself from that true calling. Even worse I am afraid that by inserting my opinion where it does not belong I will distract someone else and they will miss out on the flow of God they could have otherwise brought into the world.

I know we say everyone is entitled to their opinion I am just really struggling with whether that is true or not.

Anyway, thanks for listening….

PJ

This Day At the Vicarage 11-6-20

The fall birds have come to the feeders. The juncos are back from their northern summer retreat and the sparrows have gathered enmasse. The cardinals are always about and the bluejays are prolific this year.

I have been working around the yard this week getting it ready for a long winter’s nap. The other day as I was working out by the crab apple tree I noticed one lone starling sitting on a branch there.

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As the bird sat there staring back at me, I realized I had missed the flocking of these little birds which happens in the fall. I never miss the flocking of the starlings. Truth be told, it is kind of hard to miss. Usually hundreds gather in flocks all over the neighborhood. They hang from the tops of the trees and make a terrible amount of noise. They land in large groups and jump from the ground into the sky all together, great clouds of birds moving across the neighborhood.

Why (And How) Starlings Fly In Huge Flocks

I don’t think it happened this year. The crows have gone missing too. We usually have a small murder that sits in the maple trees across the street. They squawk so loudly being outside can be really annoying during their performances.

Thousands of crows have descended on Hartford for a spooky, noisy and  mysterious 'winter roost;' here's why - Hartford Courant

We have a few crows over at the Catholic church but the murder is conspicuously absent.

These are only small happenings which indicate that the world knows something is changing. We know something is changing. Our hearts are beating in synchronicity with the change even as we are desperately trying to keep it from coming. I think of a poem by Yeats as I think about our world right now and I wonder if somehow his words were not just a bit prophetic.

The days ahead are important days. What we do in them is equally important. I am preparing my heart for the battle of love that must be fought. Are you?

PJ