When Dogs Are Like Teenagers

Usually my dogs are my alarm clock. This morning they did not wanna get up they were like teenagers. So we got a late start. This is my 14 1/2 year old dog Mercedes. After the morning walk, and after I had made the bed. She climbed back under the comforter, and would not move.

Destrangling the Vicarage Pt. 2 Memorial Day

Today was Memorial Day here in the States. That means it was a big weekend. Pastor Amanda and I had a going away party for a service man being deployed and then a pastor/ staff/ board celebration dinner on Saturday. Sunday of course was Memorial Day and Pentecost Sunday and then the church celebration for Pastor Amanda’s ordination. We were EXHAUSTED by Sunday afternoon.

I find I need most of a day to recuperate from a busy weekend and most of a week to gear up for another one.

So today I spent resting in prayer and moving very slowly as Worked around the Vicarage property.

Today I was working on a stand of sumac that has gotten out of control and become infested with bittersweet vine. It went from this:

To this.

More to do tomorrow.

Destrangling the Vicarage Part 1

Those who have followed “Notes From The Vicarage” will remember that last year at this time our family was living away from the Vicarage as it got much needed surgery for survival into the future.

We had the pipes torn out and replaced; The shingles torn off, new insulation put up and siding put on; The bathrooms were gutted to the studs and remodeled; The floors downstairs were refinished; Eight windows were replaced; The sills were replaced and the trim painted; And the stone porch which was falling down was removed.

As an afterthought we ended up having to replace all the pipes from the house to the street, and then the town had to come in and replace the pipes from the edge of my property to the center of the street..

As it was all happening I kept reminding myself, it had to get worse before and got better. And it did get better. We love the Vicarage and the work that was done inside.

This year we will be working on the outside.

It turns out tearing down a three-quarter- of- a -century old stone porch and digging up your yard not once but twice is not good for the landscaping.

Parts of the Vicarage are barren moonscape and others are…. well….. Strangled.

So as we get ready for upcoming fencing and masonry work to get done. I am starting to destrangle the Vicarage.

This might not look like much yet, but at least now the mason will be able to get to the disintegrating pillar.

Today’s Decision With Noom

Every morning I get up, walk the dogs, make my bed, listen to my morning Bible chapters for Prime prayers and then do a brief lesson in my Room weight loss app.

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This morning’s lesson was “Defining Your New Reality”.

In it I was asked to name three emotions, mindsets or conditions I wanted to experience along with three behavior shifts I would make to obtain those conditions.


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I have been stuck on my first weight loss plateau for about a month (20 pounds down). It is time to settle in to the deeper behavior change that is restful and sustainable.


I haven’t been able to write much over the last few weeks. Oh, I have had the time. I haven’t had the energy.

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When I came on as lead Pastor of Cornerstone Church there was a lot to do. My task from God has been to renovate. The people of Cornerstone have been walking through a renovation of the spirit, a renovation of relationship and a renovation of our physical appearance.

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WHAT HAS BEEN CONSUMING SO MUCH OF MY ENERGY LATELY HAS BEEN THE PHYSICAL RENOVATION OF THE BUILDING. I told the congregation that I had three initial goals for our physical building. I wanted to deal with the PINK (the dilapidated rug in the sanctuary), the STINK (the plumbing issue in our men’s bathroom that has long escaped diagnosis and makes the church smell bad when there are heavy rains) and the SINK (the parking lot we affectionately call the Cornerstone Himalayas).

We handled the PINK last summer. Our sanctuary went FROM THIS


This year we are dealing with the next two projects, starting withe largest. The SINK.

Our board has been planning for the last couple of months for the special business meeting of the congregation where we would have the vote to move forward with this project.

Sunday was the day.

We presented.

The church voted.

We are getting a new parking lot!!!

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Now the real work begins: the signing of documents, the planning for ministry during construction, the work of communicating all that is going on to the Cornerstone community.

There is a temptation to just keep plowing ahead.

But I think it is important for all of us who are about to embark on this next great congregational adventure to take a moment and celebrate what we have already accomplished!

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A Big Random Weekend

I intended o write sometime during the weekend, but it was a big random weekend and the moments for writing did not coalesce as I wished them to.

On Friday I had a load of washed stone brought for the patio and the end of my drive. Yay! No more two foot drop off the end of the gravel!

Also on Friday I decided to go up to see the progress on The Ingleside property, now the Winchendon Community Park. I was a part of the committee that spearheaded the purchase of this land by the town. It is amazing to see what it is becoming.

Saturday morning I started with another tour around the yard to get my bearings of what needs to be done…. a lot of work lies ahead.

Then I met my friends Ray and Deb and Paul and Dawn to help set up for the “Taste of Winchendon Fair”. This is a multicultural fair that is in its third year in Winchendon.

Once set up was done I headed home to do a few chores.

I went back later in the day to help with breakdown. I caught the end of one of the bands that was playing. Big Random is a band that does a lot of charity work for the town. The drummer is a local lawyer who actually helped me a lot with the decisions concerning Grace’s estate work.

I met my daughter an son-in-law and grandchildren at the fair and we hung out for a while talking with other congregational members who were helping out at the various booths. Then Ray and I helped break the fair down. The dessert table had a left over cake so I brought that home as a Mother’s Day treat for mom.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. The flowers are from my sister Brenda. I got Mom chocolates. We got Wendy’s for lunch and then had naps. Naps are a Sunday necessity after church.

As I said a big random weekend at The Vicarage. Now I wonder if we will have a big random week.

Between Bunnies and Ordination

It has been a very busy couple of weeks. This new series we are doing as a church has been taking a lot of prep time and prayer time

I am also finding myself emotionally spent from the preaching and teaching of it. It is really good stuff, but it is also very emotional stuff.

We are also coming up on a very important meeting with the congregation about our parking lot.

And we are in the midst of a relaunch in our town of the council of churches.

Sooo… yeah it’s a lot.

In the midst of it here are two really high points from the last couple of weeks

My daughter Amanda got ordained. Here she is with her mother, Tina, and younger sister, Melanie. She loves the photo ops, can’t you tell?

Here is Amanda at her ordination banquet with friend and missionary Rev. Kim Ferguson.

And then of course the bunnies in the back yard are always a welcome distraction.

Between the ordination and the bunnies my heart is full.

OK folks, it is time for me to go pray. Big meeting tonight to plan for a bigger meeting next week.


Last weekend was a busy, wonderful, productive meeting.

Friday night was the culmination of our One Book One Community Project.

Murdock Junior Senior High School site of the One Book One Community Chat

Jarret Krasozcka, the author of our One Book One Community read came to address the town.

Library staff and trustees with Jarret Krasozka (middle)

He spoke to us about his process, the power and the pain of writing this personal memoir.

My favorite quote from the night was, “In real life, there are no heroes or villains, just people who live on a sliding scale of complicated.”

That was Friday. Saturday about twenty of us attended a training at Cornerstone Church. We are working through a study entitled “Coach the Person Not the Problem”

Finally on Sunday, I got to preach my third sermon on the Bait of Satan. It was a powerful service followed by powerful board meeting in which we discussed the repairs to our church parking lot

Things are getting busier, but I feel like work is getting done….a lot of work. That makes me feel productive.



Studying is a big part of my job. Weekly I prepare for three services and five videos.

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I am almost always just keeping up with the reading my life requires. I have always liked study and so to have a job that requires me to discipline myself to that work is such a blessing.

Currently I am leading two studies dealing with life’s offenses and a study for young men through the Book of Acts. This morning I sat down in front of the computer and went item by item through all the material for my Sunday sermon, my Monday class and then my Tuesday class. After that I finished off video number five for my on line devotional.

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I try to spend a bit of time each day on each class I have to teach each week. That way the material stays fresh in my mind and has time to deepen. Each exposure to the material drives me further into understanding. Cramming causes me to forget and leave out so much when it comes to the actual teaching.

I don’t usually get to go over the material everyday, but the goal is a good one to shoot for. and it keeps driving me to grow in this discipline of study.