Preparations

Book cover

I’m blessed to be in a writing group with some other clergywomen, and also blessed that we don’t have to write about church things in order to share them with each other. They had some great basic advice about things I should consider as I am plotting and planning my novel for NaNoWriMo.

  1. Structure – I have an outline and a length goal for each section.
  2. Characters – Admittedly I have a few sketched out faintly, but it would be smart to get more specific.
  3. Point of view – I wrote a short sample (about 1000 words) to share with the group, and they helped me see where the point of view seemed to shift from the 1st person narrator to a more omniscient voice.
  4. Audience – Is it Neil Gaiman fans, middle-aged adoptees, or UCC church ladies? On the NaNoWriMo site, I chose the category “literary novel,” because I would hope anything I write would fall into the literary category. :-)

One of the things they recommend at NaNoWriMo is creating a book cover. I sort of love mine, pictured here. The other thing they recommend is making a contribution, which I also did.

Some NaNoWriMo participants stay up late on October 31 and start writing at midnight, but I am far more likely to get up early-ish on Saturday instead. The 1000 words I have are a running start, but I can already see that one detail is simply a placeholder and will likely not make it to the second draft.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo? If so, I hope you’ll leave a comment. When are you planning to start?

Things we hesitate to say out loud (NaNoWriMo)

NaNoWriMo participantI never know whether it’s better to say these things out loud, because if I fail to complete the task I’m describing, what then? (See many long ago blog posts about life-changing commitments to diet and exercise, for instance.) But since I decided to put the button in my sidebar, here goes. This year I’m participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I’ve never done it before. I’m actually going to work on a novel. It will either be amazing or disheartening, spectacular or a squib. We’ll see.

For the Ministry Team (a prayer for pastors)

Loving God,

There are a lot of people who make all this possible.
They listen to me talk about my sermon when I don’t know what to say.
They find me the phone number of the person I need to talk to about the thing that really matters today.
They meet me for coffee when they really don’t have the time.
They call and let me know what they need when I was at risk of forgetting.
They stop by with a pumpkin when I was never going to have time to get to the Farmer’s Market, and my children really want to carve one.

How did they know?
IMG_0548.JPG

They stop by at exactly the right moment.
They offer the desperately-needed encouraging word.
They wait patiently after church when the meeting lasts longer than scheduled.
They curl up in my lap and insist on being petted.
They know how to make manifest the worship center or art project or special botanical arrangement I can see in my mind but have no idea how to construct without their help.

Bless them.

They may not know it, but they are part of the ministry team.
They are lay leaders who hold no elective office, people who patiently follow the calendar and change the paraments without reminding, questioners who like to be in the conversation, colleagues who are busy themselves, lifelong churchgoers who never get tired of it all, people who grasp that new doesn’t have to mean threatening, and people who live with me and love me even when I don’t have time to pick up the pumpkin myself, or we are eating pizza for dinner, again.

Thank you, Gracious and Giving God, for all the members of the ministry team.

May we continue to serve you together, to your glory, in Christ’s name. Amen.

While Waiting (a prayer for pastors)

Lord,

It’s Saturday morning, and I have a thousand things to do, but I am sitting without a book waiting to see a Physician’s Assistant who is at least 45 minutes behind.

At least.

I wonder how my congregation would like hearing that church will start late tomorrow because my schedule was thrown off?

  • I could be at the Fall Ball game (only a tenth of a mile down the road, but it started at 10, and this appointment was for 10:30, and now it’s 11:07). May The Boy forgive me.
  • I could be baking for the Stewardship reception tomorrow at my spouse’s church. I am already dressed for a funeral there this afternoon.
  • I could be writing an email to the two charming men whose wedding I will officiate at a museum on Tuesday morning, confirming the final decisions we made yesterday.
  • I could be pulling together a service for later that same day, when I will accompany a dear widow of 94 to the interment of her late husband at a far-off cemetery.

(11:24, my blood pressure is recorded. Progress!)

Lifesavers

Among this weekend’s lifesavers.

In five days, between us, there are two funerals, two interments, two weddings, Sunday worship in two churches, various responsibilities unnamed here but well known to You, and we need clean clothes and meals and sleep and downtime to be a family.

  • We thank You for the Presbyterian pancake breakfast.
  • We thank You for the Eagle Scout who cuts the grass and cleans up the leaves at the manse.
  • We thank You for health insurance and a doctor with Saturday hours.
  • We thank You for Netflix and Chinese carry-out.
  • We thank You for the lives of those we give back to You in body and spirit and ask Your blessings on the ones who will join in marriage.
  • We thank You for all the wonderful places we could be and the places where we are, the blessed vitality of a life spent serving You, and the deep privilege of being present for others.
  • We -

Wait, here comes the P.A. (11:38.)

Thanks for listening, O Great Physician. I feel better. Amen.

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