In the Constant…I Am Full

I have to say, this has been an amazing summer! So much has begun! So much is happening! Life is a constant! And that means much is changing….because…..

Constant Change | Change quotes, Words quotes, Life quotes

We heard back from the bank. Brenda and I have more signing to do, but we are closer to the beginning of The Great Vicarage Project!

Meanwhile the gardens continue to mark the passing of this summer season.

As I sat to pray on the front porch this afternoon I heard the crickets for the first time, the sure sign that we are moving from Midsummer to late summer.

Midsummer brings a certain little girl’s birthday.

It is so nice having the kids living near us now. The birthday party this weekend will be at their new apartment which is five minutes away. One big change their nearness has brought is Sunday Dinners after church.

I haven’t tried anything fancy yet, but I am really enjoying the opportunity to do a traditional family dinner every week.

Meanwhile things at the church are moving forward as our DLT philosophy (Doing Life Together) becomes a DLT experience. People are joining groups and we are beginning to grow together in relationship.

As I said, a lot going on…that said, I am no longer using the word busy….busy means stress to me. I am not stressed. I am full…full of life!

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What does the word busy mean to you?

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.

Pathways At the Vicarage

Today was mowing day at the Vicarage. I love the smell of the forest garden when it is freshly mowed. There is one place where the mix of Bishops weed, wild carrot and goldenrod mixes to smell like cilantro. In one corner of the yard, the mown clover smells a little bit like what I imagine Heaven must smell like. When I mow the catywhompus garden the chives and oregano start to smell a little bit like the North End in Boston. Fragrance in a garden is probably more important to me than the look of it.

If I am being authentic, transparent and vulnerable, I have to admit that I enjoy sitting and gazing out at the forest garden almost more than anything else in the world. I love to breathe in the fragrance and listen to the animals chirp and twitter. I especially love in that symphony of nature, to listen for the deeper and quieter voice of God.

One of my side dreams is that the Vicarage would become a destination for people desiring to seek the voice of God for their lives. I can envision holding small prayer and meditation retreats or even hosting individuals who just desire to sit in the gardens to pray.

The Vicarage is not a very big piece of property but pieces of the forest garden are thick enough that a person can go into it and be completely sealed away from the sight of others.

Right now. I have two prayer spots on the property and a bunch of paths that go nowhere. But this renovation has me thinking that

these paths could be cultivated to twist and turn deep into the forest garden, leading listeners to sacred spaces that could open the very heart of God to them. I think that beginning this renovation process has awakened some dreams in me that must become part of the purpose and vision for the Vicarage.

The Pruning Begins

Everyone who knows me knows I love my little forest garden in the center of town. I love the wild look and as we do this renovation to house and property I want to keep it. But even I realize the yard has gotten severely out of control. Our prospective contractors, some of my congregants and even a few of my dear blogging friends have encouraged me to get the forest away from the house.

Most of the work that has to be done at the Vicarage I can’t do….but this I can. So the pruning begins here.

And here

And here.

And here.

had to do this pruning in three stages. The bush honey suckle was easy enough to tackle but the heat of the afternoon sun chased me indoors.

Once the sun was a little lower on the horizon I got back at it. This Barbary thorn bush was mixed in with a bridal wreath and a tiny juniper bush.

The Barbary thorn bush was so thorny I couldn’t drag it like I did the honey suckle. A tarp and a garden rake made the job doable.

Evidently I have some burning to do.

I have some roots to dig, but at least I can get at them now.

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

Moving In

So much is changing in Vicarage life.There’s: my new role as lead pastor, Amanda’s new role as youth and next generation pastor, Brenda’s work with this new missions sending agency A.C.T., The vicarage facelift….and my son-in-law, daughter and granddaughters are moving back to WInchendon!

Melanie and Abigail in the new apartment.

Yesterday a team of us braved the July 4th traffic to pack up the apartment in Lynn and drive all their furniture back to WInchendon. We finished up about 10 P.M. last night…..

Map from Lynn, Massachusetts to Winchendon, Massachusetts

And restarted at about 9 A.M. this morning.

Breakfast and a move
Jody
The moving crew

Thank you to everyone from our Cornerstone family who made this move happen! Amanda, Art, Kaden, Ray, Christian,Dan, Jim, Toni (James’ parents from CT) Juan James, Melanie (so nice to have you and the girls in Winchendon). Curt, Tyler, Ken, Betty, Brenda, Jody,Ezra and Josh (our visiting missionaries from Rotterdam) and Pastor David and Emily (pastors from East Coast International who helped us in Lynn.

This is what doing life together means!

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