30 August 2008

Hurrah for Sarah Palin!!

Brilliant choice. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.
(Why, yes... that IS a baby that governor is wearing).
photo HT: Molly's place

28 August 2008

She's just so cool!

I logged onto facebook tonight and saw this as my sister's new profile pic.

Isn't she hilarious!?! Her expression is the best part of it.
(I don't have permission to repost this here, but luckily, I've got practice begging for forgiveness from her...)

26 August 2008

Big triumph! (And some advice solicited)

I drove down to Eureka tonight. I wasn't sure why I felt it necessary to come down, except that the Rock Falls house is unkempt and overwhelming and I seem to have connected the feeling of morning sickness with it, so whenever I walk in the house, I feel nauseous. (For the record, there are some They Might Be Giants songs that I can't hear without feeling sick because Annalivia listened to them all the time when I was prego with Daniel).
Anyway, it turns out that being down here afforded me the opportunity to sit beside Dennis and watch as he paid off all of our credit cards, one by one. I won't embarrass us by mentioning what that number equals, but suffice to say, it was a lot. And now we are free.
The only debt we now have is my student loans in the amount of about $40,000. We are wondering whether we should just pay those off, or... not. They are financed at an interest rate of about 4.6%. Our current investments have been paying, on average, about 14%, I think.
What would YOU do? And I mean, YOU, not Dave Ramsey. I'd like to hear your opinions.
In the meantime, I think tonight, we may rest a little easier. I know Dennis sure will.

24 August 2008

Stuck under boxes... send help...

I thought I should update my cyberfriends as to our actual continued existence on this planet. We ARE alive, after all. Just busy.

We've been packing. Church went well today and I have my sermon and bulletin finished for next week. That just leaves a newsletter and the big-goodbye-service to finish. Not too bad. After church, I threw away lots of stuff in my office. I actually threw away all of my sermons from the last 7 years. I didn't throw away my newsletter articles, a few prayers, bible studies, and special services. Everything else -- gone. Now if I could just magically have the books I want to keep packed up and all the rest meted out to others who would enjoy them, I'd feel ok about the office.

Our house is torn apart and messy and it is wreaking havoc on the kiddos. Moving stinks. Moving with kids is a unique stench all to itself. They are all out of sorts, especially Annalivia. Tonight she had a hard time going to bed that culminated in waking her brother up and having a really, really frustrated mommy. As I told her to get in bed and stay there, she dissolved into tears, sobbing and saying, "You've broken all my life!" to me. I can't wait til she's a teenager. We fixed it a few seconds later but I think we are all just ready for them to just be able to BE somewhere already with toys in their spots and mess contained. I know I am. I can't imagine what their little brains are feeling like.

I have until this Friday to get things together -- that is our big loading day. Folks from church are coming in the evening to load the UHaul. We're moving everything we can on Saturday, though we have til the end of September to be officially out of the parsonage. We have a dumpster in the driveway and, thanks to the multitude of local urchins, about 80% less stuff in our garage after we dragged it out to the curb yesterday. I'm amazed what those kids decided to take, but it was all gone and that's what we were hoping for.

And tomorrow I have what will be, presumably, the last appointment with my OB before I find someone new in central IL. This is difficult for me. I adore this woman. She birthed Annalivia and Daniel and held my hand through difficult, complicated situations in both pregnancies. Her sister in law is a pastor and she has been so understanding, honest, trusting, and trustworthy. I have seriously considered paying the out-of-network premiums on the insurance and just driving back and forth to see her. But given that the baby is due in March amidst ice and snow and I end up being at the doctor twice or three times a week from week 30+ and she will be 119 miles from my house (yes, I checked), that would just be stupid. But it may still be on the table of possibilities.

So -- that pretty much sums up the week behind and the week ahead. I won't be around, but that probably goes without saying. Perhaps on the flip side, I'll post some pictures of us in "the big house" in Eureka. But I may not get around to that, either. :)
Be well!

18 August 2008


Little Daniel is in cuteness overdrive lately. He constantly narrates his actions in this flow of baby-talk that I don't understand at all. He is loving to play with trains and trucks and uses lots of sound effects in that little boy way. He imitates Annalivia incessantly and when he makes us laugh, he likes to perform the trick many, many times. He's also operating independently from Annalivia a lot more often. He initiates the wrestling and the tickling and the playing with her and has accepted the mantle of worthy adversary with gusto.
He's also recently had a haircut, so he looks like a little grown-up kid in a toddler's body.
So sweet. And just uber-cute!

17 August 2008


This week, Dennis and I received the check from our accident back in 2006. We deposited it and began the 10 day waiting period while the bank makes sure we are not terrorists. When the check clears, we'll pay off all of our debts, set aside a six-month emergency fund and invest a whole bunch. We might also go out to dinner. Maybe.
Back when we realized that someday we would receive a settlement check, we immediately decided the first 10% would go to God. Since it is our belief that it is because of God's miraculous intervention that we are alive in the first place, this makes complete and total sense to us. I know many of you out there would agree.
Today, I told our board chair that we are giving a portion of the money to the church. We want this money to be used, but we don't want to tell them how to use it. We'd like them to pray about that and figure it out on their own. It's kind of an odd thing to communicate -- take this, use it, but we aren't going to tell you how. Just be as faithful as you can. No pressure.
We also decided that I am done being paid by the congregation. Technically, I have two more paychecks left here, but I'm requesting that they keep the money. Convincing the treasurer that she should not write them out to me anyway and then have me give back the money, will take a little doing. I don't want to be taxed for it, and pay my 15.3% social security on it, after all. We'll see how that discussion goes.
It is nice to be able to give something to this congregation on the way out, when they will not be beholden to us in how they choose to use the money. It is nice to be able to communicate through what I have come to believe is their love language -- the budget-- that they are important to us. I hope these gifts convey the gratitude and appreciation I have for these last seven years.

14 August 2008

Where's the volume control on this kid?

One of Annalivia's new favorite questions is now, "Is that a boy or a girl, Mommy?"

It's often a legitimate question. I just wish it was not a legitimate question asked in the checkout lane at the grocery store.

12 August 2008

Proper gymnastics gear

We watched the Olympics tonight for the first time (we don't have tv down in Eureka). Annalivia had taken a long nap at about 5 p.m. and so I let her stay up to watch the show. She was captivated, of course. And almost immediately, she started doing gymnastics off of the ottoman. After a short while, she came up to me and said,
"Can we get a beam and some bars like for those girls? And some white stuff for my hands? And a red ponytail holder?"
I think a red ponytail holder is counted among that which is necessary for gymnastic performances, don't you?

10 August 2008

Life happens offline

We have started our move. It is an incremental undertaking -- a van-load or so at a time. It is slow and laborous, but it is actually happening!
At the new house, we do not have the internet hooked up. I've not missed it. I know I need email to communicate with one of my ongoing extra-familial commitments, but truthfully, I'm debating getting rid of the internet all together. Turns out that a lot more gets done and, more importantly, more gets enjoyed when I'm not online.
I'm headed back to Eureka today. Dennis and the kids stayed at the new house overnight and I came home to do church and get a decent sleep. It was nice, but not as nice as being with my kids and husband. I'm eager for this month to be finished so we can all be together again.
Soon enough, I suppose... soon enough.

05 August 2008

My sabbatical

This weekend I saw a good friend of mine who is in the midst of a sabbatical from church. She has had an amazing experience in Italy, has been able to visit friends and family, and still has a few weeks left in her leave. She seemed to sort of glow as she interacted with everyone at our reunion. It was cool to see. But I was jealous.
This weekend, I also saw a couple of folks from my home church in Eureka. This is the church I attended from birth, or whenever it was that my parents first took me there. It is their church and my grandparents' church. The church nurtured me through school and then paid me to be a college intern and then sent support as I was in seminary. They ordained me and allowed me to hang around after ordination and before my call here. And they've been welcoming and interested whenever I've returned in the interim. And now, in about a month, I will return to this congregation to just be a member -- not a Timothy (or Priscilla, or whatever you want to call us) not a visiting pastor, not a student visiting during break, not a person passing through. This time, I'll be back to stay.
It will be an interesting position to occupy. And I think it will involve adjustment on all parts. When I've seen folks from my home church, they've asked first if I will be attending church there. When I say yes, they ask if I'll be singing in the choir? Teaching Sunday School? Working with the youth? On the worship team? Mowing the lawn? (not really)
My answer -- nope. I have been at my church for 7 years without a break. And, I haven't actually had a vacation since Daniel was born and I used my vacation for my maternity leave. (Does that technically even count as vacation?) So I've decided that with the move, I am taking a sabbatical -- a total sabbath and rest from church responsibilities. Basically, until a good while after the baby is born, perhaps until next summer, I am just going to be a consumer. I am ready to rest.
So, though I owe my home church a heck of a lot, they will have to wait a bit to be repaid. I hope that doesn't disappoint too many people. My reserves are low. And I'd like to sparkle and glow like my friend when I think of church again. Right now that seems sort of fanciful.
But who knows...I am only a month away from sabbatical.

02 August 2008

Halfway through a GREAT weekend

This weekend we went down to Eureka for my 15-year high school reunion. I was on the committee that organized it, and I must say, it was GREAT! We had a really nice time last night at our formal dinner, a wonderful tour of the high school from the "new" principal (he's been there 13 years!) and a great, casual, family picnic today with PERFECT weather! I just absolutely thoroughly enjoyed myself.
And I wish we could have enjoyed the picnic longer. I stupidly, moronically scheduled a wedding at church and let them set it for 3 p.m., so we had to leave the picnic before folks even finished getting food on plates! I would have liked to stay and chat more.
At the reunion, I found out that one of my high school friends checks in here sometimes (hi, Michelle!) and when I got home, one of my college friends who is related to high school friends had commented here and found me on Facebook and now we get to be in touch again! Sometimes I get tired of my attachment to these electronic forms of communication, but on the other hand the connections made possible by the Internet can be so wonderful, inspiring and life-affirming!
And talk about life-affirming -- tomorrow we are headed back down to Eureka to celebrate Gramps' 85th!!! birthday with most all of the family! I'm very excited to see the McSouths from Arkansas and the McGoods from Chicago and all of my sisters and spouses and kids... I may even be able to muster enthusiasm for Kali's dogs. Maybe. It is guaranteed to be a great time. God is good.
Pictures will come forth soon!