Recovering and watching

I had knee surgery last Monday – arthoscopic. I had a torn cartilage that really reared it’s ugly head on the Appalachian Trail hike last April with my son’s class. I couldn’t put it off any more.
Recovery has been fine so far. I did the crutch thing for a day and a half and have hobbled without them since. My LW has taken WONDERFUL care of me. Spoiled me, actually. Sweet to have a nurse at home!
I have mostly finished my sermon and now watching the Weather Channel as Hurricane Katrina moves into the Gulf. Looks bad, again, for the Florida Panhandle. Those folks need a break. You wouldn’t believe the number of roofs still with tarps on them from Ivan last September. Then Dennis hit very near where Ivan did.
It’s almost September and my beloved Cubs are out of it, again. You can see why some of us (ahem) still harbor much anger to the foolish fan that got in the way of a possibe out vs. the Marlins in 2003. We knew these chances just don’t come up very often.
The Diocese of Mississippi had a Tent Meeting Revival last weekend. It was AMAZING. Largest gathering of Episcopalians in our history, over 2000 braved the August heat (the tent was air conditioned, of course) to be inspired by our Bishop’s vision for the next 10 years. We will plant 3 churches in 3 years, increase attendance, reach out to children and serve our communities in better ways. The diocese has been restructured and the Bishop plans to be our Chief Apostle, instead of CEO – and he was right on target Saturday. It’s very exciting.

One of those bittersweet days….

A little something while I ponder what it means to have a blog nobody reads….
This morning, bright and early, we head north about 4 hours to deposit middle child at college. She will be going through rush this week, so she is a tad nervous. Beyond that, her mother and I are basket cases. Isn’t this supposed to get easier? NO!!
My oldest has moved back home to work full time a while and save some $$ before venturing back into college mode. So the family home dynamics are interesting to say the least as we have prepared middle child for her big adventure. She chose her in-state college so she can reunite with her friends from the Delta, my Curacy two years were good for her. She is rooming with her best friend, we are very happy for that. Ole Dad has mixed feelings about the sorority stuff, but I think she will handle it well.
Tears will be shed for sure. I will miss her terribly. She is a very sweet kid, and as prepared as any can be, I suppose. Still, I look at this incredibly cute picture of her on the beach at 3 years old and wonder what happened. Today, she is amazingly beautiful and strong….and I DON’T WANT HER TO GO. There. I said it.
But go she must, as we all do. Prayers are appreciated.

I actually liked this one…..

Preaching – it’s an interesting life.
When I was a Curate, preaching basically every other Sunday, with much less stress and pressure vs. that of a Rector, the sermon writing process came much easier to me.
Now almost 18 months into my Rector-ship, the sermon process continues to evolve for me. I put a LOT of time into my sermons. I usually read the lessons early in the week, then as the late hours and the pastoral needs, etc. roll in, I look for those moments where I can actually begin putting things down on paper. Often I find the entire sermon just comes out, on a roll, like I can barely type fast enough to get it all. Other times I may be doing something totally (it seems) unrelated, and an idea comes that I jot down in my now-ever-present-notebook. Sometimes the “hook” comes first, that opening piece, often humorous (hopefully) that still sets up the rest. Othertimes that part is the last thing I do.
Since I dearly love teaching, the Bible study and other classes I do often help me position the sermon. I am finding more and more that I need to teach a LOT when I preach. Doing that with any continuity is difficult.
This summer I decided to preach on Romans just about every week. It’s good, foundational stuff and I think important as we grow in our faith, learn our story, become better disciples. I did a theme-based series last Advent and both Holy Weeks since I have been here, trying to weave a common thread throughout those sermons. It helps me, I wonder if it helps those who are hearing them.
Anyway, the sermon I gave Sunday was one that I struggled with all week. I finally wrote it on Friday, came home and tore it up. I started all over. On Saturday I went over it several more times and finally took out a bunch of stuff from the Gospel and just focused on Jonah. I went into the pulpit wondering if there was anything worthwhile at all in this sermon, and as I preached, the Spirit helped me tremendously. I ended up with one of those rare sermons – one that I actually liked. It’s so weird how that happens…..and how you never really know until you preach if you’ve got anything that anyone will be inspired by or edified by or even like!
Preaching is a strange business….
If you want to hear it, click here….warning it’s over 15 minutes long!

While the cat’s away….

Awww….returning from vacation is always SUCH a joy! NOT.
But the time off was excellent (a new thing for me). I found myself the last couple of days thinking about work stuff – I even wrote half of this Sunday’s sermon while in a motel room (don’t tell my LW). That is a sign to me that I have had a good time off and ready to return.
Of course, returning means a pile of work and an extraordinary amount of pastoral care. Some very critical life things going on for some parishioners made for a full week. Still, it is in those moments that God’s grace abounds and blessings unlooked for can occur.
Which leaves me, here late on a Friday afternoon, with the other half of the sermon to write. We have company coming in so I gotta get going!
Next week we ramp up the program year preparation. Things are coming together nicely. Anybody out there want to be a stewardship chair???

btw, our new webmaster is ROCKING on our church website. Check it out here – and don’t forget to listen to ALL the sermons!


One thing that I struggle with in this vocation is vacation. (Wow, how similar those words are!). I have followed the advice of those wiser and more experienced than I to try and take at least 2 weeks consecutive, but so far, 3 years in, I have always had something come up or some crisis arise that kept that from happening.
And this year, as noted in the previous post, a dadgum HURRICANE has messed with my plans!
But, thanks be to God, Dennis did not land with the punch it had for so long, and it was a non-event, weather wise, on my side of the coast. I pray for those who were impacted, but I know most folks are breathing a sigh of relief.
I delayed the vacation until today. And tomorrow VERY early, we will head to the sunny beaches, help the in-laws get the vacation house in order after all the storm prep, and then CHILL OUT until Sunday or so! I am VERY excited about that.
Here’s to a lot of NOTHIN to do, sun, sand, and no nasty storms! See ya when we get back!

Itinerant: noun. a person who alternates between working and wandering.