I write to you as Julian is napping and Ian is working in the office. This has become the norm for me - doing focused sprints of work while my little one naps or Ian is with him. We refer to it as the pandemic parenting shuffle. Working fulltime and taking care of Julian fulltime has been a nonstop source of learning how to work as efficiently as possible, prioritizing tasks by what can be interrupted and what cannot so I can stack the non-interruptible tasks on Tuesdays or Thursday afternoons when Ian is point parent with Julian or after Julian goes down for the night. Read More…
On Wednesday night of this week 64 of us gathered for a different worship experience. We gathered in the north parking lot at the church, socially distanced apart, while wearing masks, and we worshiped God in person, together. Worshiping in person is an experience Calvary has not been able to offer since March of this year. I knew I had missed worshiping with all of you in person but what I could not have really appreciated until we worshiped together again, is how the Spirit moves among us to spark in the moment words while leading worship. I felt this during both parts of the service I led. Read More…
Dear Calvary family & friends,
One of the ways that I like to decompress on a day off is by working jigsaw puzzles. I get “in the zone” and will finish a 1,000 piece puzzle in a day because I keep thinking “just one more piece and then I’ll take a break” but of course that break never comes. For me, preparation is key in working a puzzle. I study the picture on the box for a few minutes to get the image in my mind, lay all the pieces out face up (sometimes grouping them by color or design), and then pull out the straight edges. It’s tedious, but when I do this prep work it makes the puzzle a bit less puzzling. There’s nothing like getting down to those last 25 pieces and filling in the image quickly until that last ‘snap’ of the final puzzle piece. So gratifying! Read More…
Hi Calvary readers!
It's my privilege to write to you this week in our pastoral letter. Recently I embarked on the great journey of owning a delicate orchid plant, a peacock calathea, and a rattlesnake calathea. I haven't had much luck with plants in the past, but experience is the best teacher, and I'm hoping to get better.
There are several lessons that I've learned in caring for plants. In Florida, I planted a bunch of things in the dirt patch outside our apartment. The first things I planted were herb seedlings- and I was so excited. I went out the next morning to check on them and they were completely eaten by slugs (slugs in Florida are on a totally different level)! My poor little seedlings never recovered. First lesson: there will be forces that want to steal your life energy from you, and you have to protect yourself from them.
When we moved to Denver, I didn't have a dirt patch any longer, just a 3x6 feet deck. But the former tenant had left window boxes and a wooden lattice, reducing the deck's space by half, and so I planted little flower babies in them. I picked the wrong kind of flowers because they immediately dried up in the Colorado sun. I tried to resurrect them but they never recovered. Second lesson: know your limits!
Next I tried to grow vegetables. I dreamed of walking out to my deck and plucking tomatoes for dinner. I got the seeds and the right dirt and fertilizer, and soon had little tomato, pepper, and squash plants growing. But eventually I noticed there weren't any little fruits forming. I looked it up and apparently I was missing pollination from the bees. Our deck is right on Hampden Avenue and we don't have any bees who visit. Even after trying to pollinate with a paintbrush, no fruit formed. And the season ended with fruitless plants. Lesson three: you can't do everything, and you need to ask for help!
Finally, I resigned to my fate that I needed low-maintenance houseplants. Of course I decided to buy an orchid (very high maintenance plant!). I have somewhat learned my lesson and asked for help early from a friend who is an orchid fiend. She told me early on to get some fertilizing spray, and that eventually my orchid would start to drop its blooms and its branches would dry up- but it wasn't dead! It was entering a resting phase. It might be a whole year before it shoots up another stem. "It's the long game with orchids," she said. Sure enough, its branches dried and browned, and now I just have a plant with thick leaves. But despite its appearance, it is very much alive! I've learned several lessons with my orchid: take the time to rest, and you don't have to produce something to be valuable. Beautiful things take time; don't be discouraged if you don't have results right away. Sometimes it's nice to let go of what once was, and take a little nap.
I think God made the world because creating and watching things grow is a delight, and that delightful feeling is often stronger than the disappointment when your creation fails in one way or another. Creation can teach us so many things. What life lessons have your plants taught you? I'd love to hear them!
Take care of yourselves. I miss you all!
Calvary family & friends,
This week is brought to you by the letter P (thank you Sesame Street!):
• Protests & Petitions
• Personal Issues & Personalities
• P_________ (what word would you add here?) Read More…
Hello Calvary Family -
While we are still under “Safer at Home” safety measures and folks begin to explore what social distanced gatherings look like it can be a bit unsettling. What do we feel comfortable with? How do we know what to do? It would be nice to see people but how do we navigate awkward boundary conversations if someone encroaches on mine? These, and I imagine many others, are questions you might be tossing around as you wish to see those you love from Calvary. Read More…
Dear Calvary, my beloved church family,
How difficult it is to be apart during times where the ache in our souls is like a gravitational pull to be together. Through your social media posts, emails, calls, and cards, I have heard your pain, your questions, and your prayers as you express emotions of outrage, sadness, and grief over the murder of George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement. I, like you, have been moved to see so many people in the streets day after day unrelenting in their calls for justice, and it has been a hopeful sign in some cities to see police officers kneeling and joining arms with organizing leaders. I have lamented with friends of color about the outside groups that have coopted peaceful protests with looting and violence. I join you in feeling a complex range of emotions. But emotions are not the headline here; injustice is. While our grief and lament and passion and worry is warranted, action is what is needed. Read More…