Mother’s Day At the Vicarage: The New Normal

Here in America, we are celebrating Mother’s Day. We have two Moms to celebrate today.

Great Grandma
New Momma

This is Melanie’s first Mother’s Day. Since she lives an hour away and since church and lunch for Mom will keep my day pretty busy through day’s end, I will not get a chance to see her until my day off tomorrow (weekends are not weekends for pastor’s they are more like Thursdays and Fridays). I am looking forward to spending time with Melanie, her husband James and my granddaughter Dani.

Mom does not go out anymore. I don’t mean by that, she is a happy homebody. I mean she doesn’t like to go out on the front porch for more than a few minutes. Getting her to sit on the lawn for a midsummer’s picnic is major event and going to the doctor is something we have to begin talking her into two weeks in advance. So for us Mother’s Day is going to be low key.

I remember my grandmother (Mom’s mom) went through this as her mind weakened in her later years. I am watching as my aunts go through this same thing and as my cousins fight to keep their moms from becoming total recluses. It is one of the many facets of this disease that is very hard to watch…the disconnection from the world.

Part of working through this process of slow loss is in embracing what is in the moment and making that special. We may not be able to take Mom out for dinner or to the beach or on any other family outing but that doesn’t mean we cannot celebrate. Brenda, Amanda and I have decided, we will bring in Chinese food and then later go pick up Sundaes from the local ice cream stand she loves so much and bring them home. If it stops raining I may even get outside and get some more of the yard done so that even if she will not go out and sit in it she can view it from the window.

Our family is one of the many coming to terms with dementia or Alzheimer’s. It is not the easiest of walks but we are blessed to have Mom with us for this year long experiment of complicated living.

What are you doing for Mother’s Day?


The First Leg Of the Gauntlet

Brenda’s first week of the May Gauntlet is finished! She preached last Sunday and then traveled to West Virginia for the Appalachian District Council

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Brenda’s hotel in West Virginia
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A Room With A View
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The Council Venue
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Brenda’s Table at the Conference
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The Council Lobby before set up
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The Sanctuary

Her stopping place on her way down and the way back from West Virginia was Bethlehem PA, a fitting place for a missionary to stop, don’t you think?

They upgraded her to a suite on her way home.

Now Brenda is home for the weekend and Mother’s Day and then she hits the road for the New York District Council.

Every trip she takes gets her one step closer to her goal of planting The Bridge Artist’s Ministry. If you would like to help her reach her goal you can partner with her at

J: Speaks More About Being A Minister

When I introduced the question “What is a minister?” I mentioned that being a minister is about more than what we do. I said ministry is about answering a call to a lifestyle. It is about who we are not just what we do.

My job is to be the assistant pastor of Cornerstone at the moment, but if tomorrow I left Cornerstone and went to work for McDonald’s I would not because of the job I held cease to be a minister. A Minister is every bit as much of my identity as my gender or my name. It is a call from God I chose to answer when I was 13. It was a mantle I took up way back then and it can no more be put down than my skin. As Paul the Apostle said….

” God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.” Romans 11:29


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The truth is no matter what hat I am wearing, I am a minister. I can fight and resist the call, but that is just a denial of myself and ends only in misery. So what is a minister? It is not someone who just does ministry. A Minister is a person who because of God’s calling embodies ministry and who in obedience imparts that ministry onto others.

In Closing for now Paul said it this way, “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. ” Ephesians 4:11-13

So do you think you are a minister?

Flirken and the Night the Lights Went Out At the Vicarage

Cue stirring music:

I, the mighty Flirken, have been off world for the last several weeks fighting the loathsome Kree.

It was the night of May 6th, 2019 of the Gregorian calendar ( I knew Gregory . Actually it was I who suggested that the Julian calendar was wrong because it miscalculated the length of the solar year, but that is another story).

At any rate, I sensed that there was trouble back on Earth. So after I had dispatched the Kree war ship that was threatening those poor refugees from Stellus VII, I folded myself into my pocket dimension and quick like a kitty made my way back to Earth

It was a good thing I did too because as I returned to my room I realized all the power was out in the house. As I extended mt Flirken senses into the realm of Winchendon I noted that the power was out all over.

The Three White Wickednesses were making a terrible ruckus…. TheGuardians of EIEIO are such sissies.

Matriarch of the Ages was in a terrible tizzy because humans cannot see much without light. I of course have my cat senses and so am perfectly comfortable with the dark, but Matriarch of the ages was rushing about the house pulling the fire sticks out of drawers and shoving them into coffee cups because she could not find her holders.

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I thought surely she would burn down the house and so I was just about to swallow her into my pocket dimension when The She…

started going behind her and putting the candles into candle holders.

Then He Who Wears Stupid Hats…

Came Home and found some more holders and the world was saved. Once again I did not have to eat one human! My humans are true warriors!

What Is a Minister: Brenda’s Thoughts

A few days ago I asked the question “What is a minister.” Here are some of Brenda’s thoughts which have come in the middle of our conversation at the Vicarage.

So what is a minister?

…It is interesting that word…”Minister”…to minister…the verb is to take care of the needs of another. You can minister as a health professional, as a pastor, a teacher, as a musician. The list goes on. Everyone can do this.

In fact in some form I believe everyone SHOULD DO THIS…. But being called a minister, or being CALLED to be a minister, that is a bit different.

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Ministers do in daily life take care of life needs just like everyone else (groceries, help with bills, babysitting, holiday gifts and baskets etc). The other half is spent encouraging people helping them to become who God intends them to be. We each have our specific way of doing this. My mom was a minister to people as a nurse. Nursing them back to health, and we her children and her Grandchildren are ministers to peoples souls and spirits. I use art, singing, theater to do my work, and other ministers use their specific gifts to do their work.. I guess that is the beauty of it. There is no one way to be a minister or to do ministry.

God has gifted each one of in our own way, so that we can do what He would have us do, in our own special way. So to me…being a minister is being the best artist, director, teacher, actor, designer, singer I can possibly be, using those gifts to draw others toward the God of all creation who loves them and wants to know them better and wants them to know him better.

The Gauntlet Begins

The gauntlet began yesterday for Brenda. She preached at Living Word Assembly of God in Worcester MA. Her original plan was to preach, have lunch and then hit the road to get as far South as she could by 8 P.M. She was heading to the Appalachian District Council in West Virginia.

When she got to Worcester though she realized she had forgotten an essential bag of supplies for the council. So after lunch she traveled the hour back to the Vicarage for the bag.

She finally hit the road about 4:30 P.M. last night and made it as far as Bethlehem PA before stopping for the night.

She got a fresh start this morning and was to her venue sometime around 5 P.M. She has a suite!

It looks like a nice place to rest her head for the next few days. Be praying that she is able to make some connections with new supporters for the ministry.

If you would like to help Brenda with the building The Bridge Artist’s Ministry you can contact her at

Clean Up Begins At the Vicarage

As I have said before, I am way behind on yard work at the Vicarage…about five years behind. I had hoped to have more time in the yard this Spring. Between ministry schedules and rain those hopes have been mostly dashed. Still I did manage to get out yesterday and do a bit of cutting between raindrops and dog walks.

As you can see there is plenty to do.

Amanda: What It Means To Be a Minister

What is a minister?
I am probably the least qualified of the 3 of us to answer this question as I am still learning exactly what it means to be a minister, but Daddy asked for my answer so I’ll take a stab at it.
A minister is someone whose lifestyle shows God and instills in those around them the need to get closer to God and do what God has called them to do.

What does that mean? It means that we are always looking for opportunities to help encourage people in what God has called them to do.

Dad does this thing that drives me nuts because I think it is absolutely bizarre, but as I’ve looked into the motive behind it I understand it more. He always asks people “What is God telling you today?”

I hate when he asks me this question because God does not talk to me like he talks to Dad so I always feel like I’m going to answer this question wrong. However, since I’ve started working at the church and with Dad I understand more the motive behind this question. He is not doing it to make interesting conversation. He is doing it so I can see what God is calling me to so that I can do it. Without him asking me that question, I may sit on what God is telling me for days, weeks, or months.

This is one of Dad’s way of ministering to me and others.
I’m still working out “My thing” as it were but this is what I feel we are as ministers are called to do.

Snug and “The Dentist”.

My Momma broke one of her steak chompers last night while she was out at this thing the humans call “Dinner & a Movie with Babs.”

I don’t know what “Dinner & a Movies is” I especially don’t know what “&” is, but “Babs” is a lady who lives in the little black box Momma hits with her fingers and talks to everyday. Well, at least she’s the face of a lady in the black box. Actually, the box has lots of faces and one of those faces that sometimes talks back is this lady “Babs”.

So after “Dinner & a Movie With Babs” Momma had to go to something she called “The Dentist”. All day this is what she looked like whenever anybody said those words “The Dentist”.

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I don’t like it when Momma looks like that. It makes me worried. When I am worried I can get a little barky, but today I tried to be really good, and I was really good until I got nervous and pooped on the floor in “First Smell’s” room. “First Smell” is the one Flirken calls “He Who Wears Stupid Hats.”

It’s true he does wear a lot of stupid hats, but I call him “First Smell” because he was the first thing I smelled when I came out of my dog Momma’s belly.

Every dog has a “First Smell”. My dog Momma’s and dog Papa’s First Smell is the one Flirken calls “The She”.

Now that you mention it, I haven’t seen Flirken around in a while. Maybe he is off world fighting the loathsome Kree. Or maybe he went to help Momma with “The Dentist”. Maybe “The Dentist” is like the Kree because it seems that when his name is spoken everyone gets a look on their faces.

I hope Flirken did go to help Momma because when she got back from ‘The Dentist” she looked like she’d been in a pretty big fight. Now she is laying on the couch with one of those blue cold things on her face like the one she put on her knee when the sheep knocked her over.

“First Smell” fed me and took me out for a walk. Now I am going to try to sit quietly in his room with dog Momma and dog Papa. I hope Momma feels better. Maybe tonight I’ll let her sleep with my green dragon or even my special spit covered snow ball. I think she’ll like that.