Sunday, January 31, 2010

Deer Pants

The house is so quiet. All the kids are gone. Church went fine. We had visitors for 2nd week in a row. Choir sang great-- I conducted great. Mopped the floors. Made terrific dinner featuring homemade hash browns. MG had to talk to Thing one for about 60 seconds. Found out she had lawyerd up too. Vince got a terrific video of today's Sermon.
So I'm a wreck.
Nothing really to say about the church thing. I worked with the choir as a professional. We sang As the Deer Pants --and I told them it was a "witness." When you sing this make your witness to your faith.
June asked me what happened at last weeks meeting. I told her. She was especially shocked that the council president challenged my right to vote.
I think little by little people are going to ask. June knew immediately that part time was not an option for us.
MG wrote a piece last night for the March Newsletter Called Why a Pastor is different from a Bank Teller.
Turning into a pumpkin now.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tuesday done--phew-- need a job on Mars

  • Meeting from Hell on Sunday-can't believe it.
  • Feeling Isolated and Rejected-and nauseaus
  • Pins and Needles as Thing One and Thing Two go to court Monday to find out that we've lawyered up
  • Tuesday --Today practing piano in what feels like enemy territory--aka the choir room while MG keeps office hours. TonightTrying to avoid confrontation with Thing One and Thing Two as we watch L and J be inducted into the NHS.
We need a new job-- maybe on Mars. We could be the like the Jetsons.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Being Shanghai'd by the angry mob

Must admit it was better than I thought it would be. Todays choir rehearsal was great. I was a comsummate pro. Service at 9:30 was great. I was being watched by the the council pres. So I sang joyfully (and well) and lead the limping congregation through Shine Jesus Shine. The meeting was a different kettle of fish.

Council president (CP) acts like she is a scorned woman. She acts like MG is her X husband or something and I am in the way. I've told MG that its as if you jilted her or something. She acting like Thing One. (That ordeal is tomorrow) During the voting she actually came up to us and said that I couldn't vote because I wasn't a member. That is ridiculous.
The meeting started with the tedious reading of the budget saving the Pastoral Staff (MG) for last.
When it got to the part where they described cutting him to part time there was a lot of questions.
There were more people at the meeting than were in church. There were people there, that MG and I had never laid eyes on. The poor @nd service of them was almost in tears, and asked-- If you knew that there was a deficit when you hired him, why wasn't there a more concerted effort to raise money during the year. CP was upset that MG described the Nov. 1 meeting as a Free-for-all-- then one of the more prominent members coached us on the finer points of Roberts Rules of Order--In order to avoid the Melee that was the Nov. 1 meeting. In your face CP.
Lots of gory details. But the congregation voted to keep him full time until June. During that time they would meet with the congregation to decide just what part time would look like.

KL our conference minister, said some very important things. Like this has never to her knowledge been done to a "sitting" pastor. In doing this they are making it a referendum on him!
How can y ou expect a 48 year old man to accept a position that will only pay him 22,000 per year with a family?
So we have until June.
There were some visitors in church-- two couples that left quickly after the service was over. I believe they were from the church Mg did a phone interview with last week. They weren't supposed to do that....

She called and left a message on our home phone---she said "run-- away-- spend all your time trying to find a call.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Negative Experiences are really poisonous.

MG Went to to council meeting-- OMG EEk and EEK again. The council president was unspeakablely rude and disrespectful to him. Luckily our association pastor was there to witness the travesty. The were just going to cut him off as of Feb.-- down to part time pay. She reminded them that his letter of call said 90 days-- and recommended that they give him what ever time he needed to find another call.

These people are brutal/cruel. Not all of them-- the nice ones are quiet. The bullies run the show here.
North woods-- please call us. I need to get out of this area. We will take our youngest with us-- the 3 hs's will stay with our x's for their senior year. We only see 2 of them occasionally as it is now. If we come down 3 times a month--and stay over night--we will stay in touch with them. It's not like they are toddlers. They are all going to be 18 this summer.
Need to practice the piano

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Shell shocked on Fantasy Island

Yesterday was quite a day.
  • Meeting with lawyer about Thing One and her Fantasy Island child support demands-They are truly a fantasy. She made up everything. Even the documents that min Geselle received on Sunday night were not anything legal or official. Our lawyer said that she would look into the said appointment-- and appear on his behalf if anything official happens. She can't get retro-active child support. She can't go back and demand more money for past years. #1 son is already 20-- so he's out. The twins are 18 in August. There is a chance that she can nail us for about $6oo per month until then-- but not if she screws up the filing. She has not gotten a lawyer (yet). I think she did this to scare us in to talking to her. I fully expect her to call and try to do a deal. No dice-- we retained a lawyer. We are going to court.
  • Found out that the 14-year old-- has lied about a school project. She did it over christmas break. I saw it. She simply didn't turn it in. As a reward for getting it done-- we took her to see her friend in Indianapolis-- an expense that we just didn't need. I've gotten her to apologize and I'm going to see what I can do about getting the project turned in. I am going to exact my pound of flesh with house work. She is sorry-- and embarrassed that I'm so hurt.
  • Very strange and uncomfortable meeting with the Fantasy Island 2nd workshipservice committee--yes, they had the meeting. The most amazing and stupid question of the night was "Can't we just hire a keyboard player and say they have to bring their own instrument-- after all a trumpet player brings his own trumpet?" EEk Several people were there as obvious spies for the council. MG even said "This is all pointless-- if on Sunday you vote to go down to part time ministry." There was about 3 beats of silence and then they just went on. I believe they want to pick our brains-- so they know how to build a 2nd service so they can get rid of us and do it themselves... But what they don't realize is that MG and I ARE the talent. We have the equipment. We are the professionals. Without us-- I mean these are people that consider shoe tying a resume item....
  • Impossibley innane and stupid phone interview with a prospective church--this church was very upset that Mg and I were professional musicians. They were concerned that we would want to be involved with their very established music program.. What? 45% retired. New Pipe Organ. Sitting on lots of money. What change, but not too fast. Want an enthusiastic Pastor but not one that is forceful What? They want someone that will just sit there. If they offer enough money-- that might be worth it. I could work on my masters-- Dan could write more on his book.

This has been morning of phone calls to turn the screws in other call prospects. Me-- piano practice-- and then HouseWork.

I wonder what will happen tomorrow?????

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tuesday --The Plan---

What to do after practicing this morning:

Stress is stressful.
State the obvious.
Then brush your teeth.

People can be
and bitchy
State the obvious
Take a shower

The future is unknown,
good, and
state the obvious
Do the laundry

The Buick has gas,
the fiddles are packed,
your boss is bitchy
the parents are paranoid
State the obvious
Go make musicians

Here I come Hanon exercises

Monday, January 18, 2010

Flash back Monday

Jan 18 2 years ago-- my Dad died. Last year it wasn't so bad. This year it is sort of bad. One of the Oldies from the church had her funeral today--so there I was listening to min Geselle do the funeral-- the granddaughter tearfully do the Eulolgy--Went to the funeral lunch with all the ladies from the church.
It is really odd to have both of your parents gone.

I keep thinking about the Walt Whitman quote I put up a few posts ago.

The congregation votes Sunday after church to decide to keep min Geselle full time Pastor. If they cut us to part time-- we will have to invoke the lawyer from the Conference (scary) to make sure they treat us fairly. We cannot live on part time--It was hard to sit with those woman at the funeral lunch and make small talk. They know what they are doing to us.

Another firestorm is also upon us. The X wife--known as IT or thing one (her very wealthy present husband known as thing two) is taking us to court for more child support. We can barely make ends meet here--she takes European vacations at least twice a year. My step children are very privileged. So we'll see what we can do.

We just received a congregational profile from a place we could relocate to- a church in our denomination that is looking for a pastor. These people are extremely dysfunctional. I hope the North Woods church gets in contact with us soon. I just have to keep hoping that they are decent and they would want us.

I have to find energy for students today... somehow--mabye I won't....I think I might just crawl into the couch with my knitting.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Raining Pouring, dogs, cats falling from the sky....

When you come to the end of all the light you know,
and it's time to step into the darkness of the unknown,
faith is
knowing that one of two things shall happen:
  • either you will be given something solid to stand on
  • or you will be taught to fly. - Edward Teller

Okay-- this was a rough day-- I think I have a fever-- and we've had to get a lawyer--not for the problems with the church, but because of the X-wife being a B.

We will never be truly rid of her. She is really a toxic person. The twins will be 18 in August and she is demanding money. She lives in a posh subdivision in Aurora-- regularly takes European vacations. Her kids compared to mine are like Upstairs Downstairs.
However--we have been more "present" in the community since we've stopped working 2-3 jobs a piece and that is driving her crazy. My daughter has attracted a lot of attention to herself with her academic and artistic accomplishments, in comparison to my step daughters unremarkable academic lives. So she has to stir it up again-- we just can't be happy. If we are happy she descends on us like a plague. I think we will never be truly rid of her. She demanded payments for medical costs -- she want $5000!!! We asked her to produce receipts-- and she went and got a court date. So here we go....
I really feel sick--I hope somebody takes care of me tonight. I need a cup of tea and some tlc...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tricky Tuesday or what do you do with leftover grapefruit?

In and out of Dekalb this morning--20 minutes in the sunny cafeteria at the Hospital. Lunch at home and then off to the Studio. Great Lessons-- Praneeth has returned. Daphne fetched from Homework Club.

Dishes washed. Breakfast ready for morning. Ss Dd. Will do some knitting, then go to bed.

Budget meeting tomorrow. Can't seem to talk to the lawyer. Thing one hassling min Geselle, will we ever be free of her tyranny?

The silence surrounding us is inhumane and crippling.
The grapefruit is cut and sectioned for breakfast--
it's all I can do....

Friday, January 8, 2010

Northwoods calling

Ah Eagle River, Chewamagon, and Nicolet National Forest.
It has been our dream to live up there instead of just vacation there. "Make no small plans..." Louis Sullivan-chicago architect. No we are not going to build a skyscraper. There are two openings!!! I am trying not to hyperventilate.

Sooner than we thought
But our dream may come to pass sooner than we thought. Are we ready? I think we are. Can we really do this? God likes Irony--min Geselle's sermon title last week. -- and this opportunity drops in our lap. EEEK. This is exciting and scary. Do we have courage enough to "see the hill, take the hill?" As my military parents used to say.

Dare we?
Dare we leave while the girls do their senior year? We only see them on weekends now because they are soooo busy-- and quite a few weekends they are also busy. We could come down out of the Great North and visit about 2-3 times a month--it is a 5 hour drive door to door. If not now-when? While we are still young enough to enjoy it? Is this an opportunity we should seize? Our youngest could start HS there-she is failing at school down here-- what is there to loose-- and everything to gain!!!

Leaving the Abyss of the Corn
Stay tuned as we wrestle with this. We just found out about this opening yesterday.
In the mean time-- we stay here in the Abyss of the Corn and try to live our faith in the midst of meanness..
Zena would love the North....

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Sparrow on a bungee cord

Disappointed in the human race-- ah well-- who isnt'. "God does not let this sparrow fall-- just attaches a bungee cord for a more interesting experience."--quote from ME

I must quote Walt Whitman-- so seat belts on-- lock and load-- whatever...

"Now understand me well--
it is provided in the essence of
things that from any fruition of success,
no matter what, shall come forth something to make
a greater struggle necessary."

So I am not surprised that we have to leave this place. I would like the "leaving" to be as orderly as possible. In my older years I'm not happy with too much chaos-- just the right amount.

This has been a great year!
Our family has been in 6 years of chaos. We love this house and have had a really quiet year of me teaching and both of us trying to energize this congregation. We have done good work here. Going back into ministry was the right choice for him and us-- but it will be the life of a vagabond. The employment practices of churches are very capricious. We definitely must have a "movable feast."
They needed to hear his message
This congregation needed to hear what min Geselle (what I call my husband) told them. He was the bringer/discoverer of their fiscal chaos and extreme membership attrition. The congregation is made up of mostly octogenarians!!! They are dying, and not willing to change the church to attract the new generation--to tell them about Jesus.

Shoot the Messenger
He made them look at the hard figures of how many we loose every year-- and how many we need to gain to be viable. So they shoot the messenger.They have decided (without telling him)-- that they are going to cut him to part time -- announced publicly in the monthly newsletter! Imagine our suprise to read about this! They expect him to do all the same work. They just don't think there is enough work for full time. We cannot survive.

"Call" Process
So we are in the call process. According to his letter of call-- he should have 3 months notice. But this group has violated his letter of call in many ways all year.
There are people that have Jesus in their hearts here. I think they are terrific but very meek and controlled by a core group of "bullies" that run everything. We will have legal representation as this all develops. I believe our denomination provides this. The meeting at the end of January should be interesting.....

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tuesday with Teeth

I have a cold/flu but am coping. What a volatile conversation in the morning. Shake rattle and roll. I don't like my life to change so fast.

How do we find a call. If we go to Wisconsin--Then we miss senior year with the girls.
Daphne would come with us.

Studio News--
The place is still weird-- but it's home. Praneeth mabye coming back-- didn't show up today-- have lost Ian to Bass lessons.....
Daphne sick at school--

I'm a pumpkin......

Monday, January 4, 2010

Getting ideas about the future-Nyquill time

Ok--I'm 50. But I'm not dead yet. I actually think I'm going to pursue a Masters degree in Music Therapy. I'm just confused about how to do it. It seems like min Geselle is going to make us into vagabonds for the next few years....
But it might be fun doing the degree on line.
Its strange to think out leaving as early as March or April....I would not be able to do a recital.
I have such a headache and I feel like the flu is coming. Turning into a pumpkin...

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Waiting for the Enola Gay

Who reads my blogs? Probably no one. We are in a pickle. I write this as a voice to void--just to purge this from my gray matter....

At the end of the month-- there will be a congregational meeting. It will be about the budget for next year. It will about cutting my husband the Pastor down to part-time. That is going to spell disaster for us. We have had a very nice year. The 6 years before that were unbelievabley bad. I don't want those back. He has a contract with the church-- but this mean little place just does whatever they want regardless. He should be given 3 months notice and 3 months Severance pay. But at the end of the month they could just vote and we would be busted to part time. We live in the Parsonage next door. It is valued as a rental property of $1500 per month.If they cut him 50% and then charge us for the rent and the utilities-- we won't have any income at all. Geez.
When I was a union musician--our contracts were ironclad. You couldn't mess with a union musician-- and you didn't want to make the musicians union angry. These congregations seem to chew up Pastors and spit them out.
The last meeting we had on Nov. 1 almost turned into a fistfight!!!! This one could be the same or worse. Maybe I should alert the media....
this is an excerpt of what I just sent to the Conference Minister--higher up the line.

On an emotional level-- I'm really worried that one of us is going to have a heart attack or stroke. I feel like we are about to have our head chopped off and the executioner is trying to calm us down and explain how it will be-- how to make it easier to be be-headed. Things have been very quiet on the "western front" (read ex wifex) but now it seems there is going to be trouble there too (just imagine.) I don't know if we will have to hire two types of lawyers at the same time. How would anyone survive this? We live next to this place. They watch us. We are so alone here. I feel like a bug in a jar. Jesus has left St. Pauls.

I know this has been a rant. I have no one to talk to. Waiting for the Enola Gay.

I am a follower of Jesus. Ghandi said that he likes our Jesus just not our Christians. There you are. Jesus is real and I know we will find a way. My husband is a talented and inspired preacher. Jesus's message is hope. All are welcome--all have Grace. It is not What Would Jesus Do but what is Jesus doing in your life right now? We have done a great job with this church. We will leave behind the love of Jesus-- maybe some seeds planted will soften the hard hearts.
We now have to find another "call." I hope we can be fore we are thrown out of the street. I will start packing tomorrow

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Saturday night and I'm ready to falll into the couch and knit

We are back from our travels. We left for GreenBay Wisconsin on Dec. 26 to see a Packers game at Lambeau Field. BRRRRR. We stayed at the TravelLodge and really enjoyed relaxing. We walked about 1 mile to get to the Stadium with a crowd of Green and Gold bundled up people. The parking lot at the stadium was filled with Tailgate Parties and makeshift bars serving booze. We were in section 119 -right at the 50 yard line!!!!!! Great seats. I became grateful being packed in like sardines, when it started getting really cold. The fans were really nice-- not like the cutthroats at Bears games in Chicago. It was fun--of course everyone was happy/silly that the Packers ate the Seattle Seahawks for lunch and then mopped the floor with them. For my first NFL game (Dan's too) it was a blast.
We had some sardines to fry when we returned--let me tell you. On our way up to Green Bay, Vince (#1 son) calls and the first thing he says is "Don't worry, I'm not hurt and the car is ok." EEK What am I supposed to say? On his way to our house in Hinckley driving our white Mazda to take Zena out, so her bladder doesn't burst, he skidded off the road on Route 30. So I'm an hour from GreenBay-- and he's asking me what to do. EEK -- I told him to wait for a squad car-- and the cop will get a tow truck. So the car was put back on the road. Everything is ok. But that Tuesday we had to get the Mazda looked at, and try to figure out the rest of the week. Omitting many details-- Wednesday AM we left for Indianapolis to drop Daphne off with her friend- and us to spend the New Years at the Hilton Double tree. Vince and Jocelyn minded the Zena beast and then Vince took our Buick down to Jerseyville to visit his friends on New years day.
We had a great time in Indy. We ate lunch Wednesday at the Bodacious Barbeque down town and then walked around the "Circle." This city has an obsession with circles. It is is city of Roundy things and Circly things like my daughters used to say. The circle is centered around this very tall monument built to commemorate the Civil War. The artwork on this thing makes you feel like you're in a movie. Any minute you expect to see Andy McDowelll start an argument with Hugh Grant--and you know there's going to be a car chase around the "Circle!"-I sense "made-for-tv-movie." The buildings along the circle-- many of which were very old were curved to match the contour of the circle. It was elegant-- but a little bit like Dr. Suess. I kept looking for Thing one and Thing two. There is a statue of Lady Victory at the top-- but it's so high I can't imagine how one would see it. One of the older buildings, I read actually had a miniature Golf course on its roof. Maybe you could see the top stature from there....
We went back to our Hotel-- I really lucked out. That you AARP. We had a King Suite at a Hilton Doubletree-- very luxurious-- and it cost us less than the Travelodge in Green Bay!!!! Tv and game console in the tiny "living room" and in the bedroom. We spent the evening being plied with Manhattans by the overly friendly but sweet bartender on the couch inf ront of the fire place in the bar, reading, doing crosswords and surfing the net on the netbook. We had a late dinner in the bar.
Thursday afternoon we went exploring Downtown again. We tried to take the Elevator to the top of the monument- but it was down for the day. The prospect of 400 steps up had a great effect on me and I abandoned those plans. The Civil War museum in the basement of the Monument was really well done. I learned that Eli Lilly (The Pharmaceutical company) was originally a Civil War commander from Indianapolis. I hadn't the fainest idea about that.
He was great altruist-- and his whole family has endowed Indianapolis with all sorts of museums.
Then I was whisked away in a carriage drawn by a very nice horse named "Colonel." Dan bought us a short ride around the downtown in style. It was very fun and relaxing! After the ride was over I got to talk to "Colonel." He was very happy to let me scratch his nose-- and he seemed to like me talking to him. I will always remember Dan and I clomping around Indy on a snowy afternoon.