Tag Archives: crafting

The Glover Christmas Letter 2015

Dear Friends,

This year comes to an end with a lot of changes, and has brought the Glover family to a place of excitement to see what our new year holds.  What kind of year was 2015?  Well, it’s been a year, to quote my ever-eloquent husband.

To put the best stuff up front, before you get tired of reading, Allen and I can sum up our year with a few short bullet points, lessons we’ve learned.  Perhaps these lessons are not so profound, and truth be told, we could learn them over again every year, yet for us right now here’s what life boils down to:

  • Health is an incredible gift that must be worked at, treasured and never taken for granted.
  • True community where you can be yourself is a rare find.
  • Kids and parents, hug them tight and keep them close while you have them.
This year's tree has a bird theme-- with a wise owl on top and about 50 handmade ornaments by yours truly!
This year’s tree has a bird theme– with a wise owl on top and about 50 handmade ornaments by yours truly!

2015 ended six years of service at St. John’s UCC in Catonsville, Maryland.  We’ve settled the family in Howard County in a little townhouse, and moved the boys into the local elementary school.  They both were having some trouble in Baltimore County schools, but in the new system they are both experiencing much-improved academic and social success!

Aaron’s talking more, not always a good thing (ha!), and his reading and writing have dramatically improved in 3rd grade.  He still loves Music Therapy, enjoying his second year with the talented Ms. Kerry.  Mark loves his 2nd grade class, and is making friends, doing great things in math, and enjoying a new-found love of graphic novels.

Last winter seemed too long in many ways:  I worried for my dad’s health, and Allen lost his father.  The experience did draw Allen and his sister Katina into a closer relationship, for which he’s very grateful.

I got inspired to start researching family genealogy again.  So far, we got Jenn’s family back to Irish, French, Swiss and German roots, and took Allen’s dad’s side back to John’s Island, South Carolina.  Now we just need a trip to Jamaica to research Allen’s mom’s side.

This summer, I took the boys, my parents and two cousins on a trip to Branson, MO.  We enjoyed a great stopover at my grandmother’s house in Tennessee.  In Springfield, we enjoyed a mini family reunion, and got to see about 40 of our Sowell-side family.  Given how much worry we’ve suffered about Dad’s health (he’s in remission now, but we worry always), it was good for everyone to get to spend some time with Granny and Pappaw.

I spent the summer interviewing with new churches, and announced in November that I will be the new pastor at Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Wheaton, Maryland.  Pilgrim is progressive, Open and Affirming (our UCC lingo for LGBT-welcoming churches), and had women pastors back in the 80’s—I think that’s so great!  All of us can’t wait until January when my service officially begins!

On a personal note of triumph for me, I’ve lost 60 pounds since the beginning of the summer.  It’s been a TON of hard work, and there’s still more work to do.  I haven’t felt this kind of personal achievement in a long time—it’s changed my way of thinking and acting and my energy is so much greater.  I feel proud that health is the goal far more than appearance.  Although looking thinner and wearing smaller clothing sure is nice.

Allen’s getting fitter, too, and both of us are enjoying Saturdays spent at the gym with the boys.  Mark and Aaron are taking jujitsu and swim lessons, and both are making progress, getting stronger and more coordinated.

Allen’s still in real estate in New York, working out of a small office in Brooklyn a few days a week, then telecommuting on days he’s in Maryland.  The commute is tough, but we both love living in Maryland and plan to build our home here.  We both look forward to settling down in our own home, and pray that day will come in the next year or two.

Our family hopes this letter finds you all healthy and happy.  If this year wasn’t what you’d hoped, next year holds the promise of something better.  We wish all our friends a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, and a Blessed and Peaceful New Year!

Love from our family to yours!

The Glovers

Making Ministry

As I’m clicking through all the things I’ve chosen to include in building this site, all the images and items that, to my mind have everything to do with ministry, I can see why someone might be asking, what do felt finger puppets have to do with faith?  (Hmmm… Jesus and the Disciples finger puppets– that’s a great idea!).  Here’s the best answer I can give you:

I believe that “making” connects us to God.  When we write, paint, craft, sew, cook, knit, crochet, make finger puppets, we are creating, we are using a part of ourselves that is given to us– GIFTED to us–by the Great Artist whose name is Love.  When we use the gift of our creativity, we connect with the God who made us, the Potter, the Baker, the Weaver, the Crafter of Mountains and Sculptor of Canyons and Painter of Spotted Owl Feathers.  How can we look at our world and NOT consider God an Artist?  And, by extension, it is the beauty of our world and the passions within us that inspire human beings to do the work we do– to make art in whatever way we feel moved.

Now, I’m not much of a sketch artist, and because I always wished I could draw, I never had much confidence in my skills as an artist.  Yet more and more as I came to know myself, I felt the need to “make”– to cook, to do crafts, to take photos, to write, and even to use chalk pastels and water colors.  As I grew into myself, I realized that some kind of “making” was essential to my mental, emotional, and– most importantly– my spiritual wellness and wholeness.  Sometimes I need the sound of metal knitting needles scraping softly to help me pray.  Sometimes I need to see my sons squeal with delight as they play Superheroes with finger puppets in order to feel joy and laughter in my soul.  Sometimes welcoming folks around a table of food I cooked reminds me of those who welcomed Jesus, and challenges me to expand my sense of hospitality to include more of God’s people.

As a pastor, over and over again I see God’s glorious gifted people stammer and hesitate when called to share their gifts.  Any kind of gift, not just artistic– “oh no, I could never pray out loud,” “I’m terrified of public speaking, I could never preach,” “I make a joyful noise, but choir’s not for me…”  I’m sure you’ve heard a few excuses or said a few yourself.  And when I try to add anything “crafty” or “artistic” in there, I get the same kind of hesitation.  To be such fabulous creations of the Divine, we human beings are so painfully insecure.  Yet we are so gifted.  So talented.  If only we had the courage to share what we’ve been given.

Imagine using art to change the world…

Imagine knitters and crocheters and fiber artists making hats, scarves and gloves for the homeless, donating blankets and hats to the oncology department of local hospitals, bringing lap quilts to the local retirement center…

Imagine quilters making blankets for the newly baptized, for confirmed youth, to commemorate loved ones lost to cancer or AIDS/HIV…

Imagine young people using painting, sculpture, multi-media collage– color, texture, form– to celebrate their beloved, created selves…

Imagine those who are grieving finding comfort, companionship, and consolation while creating something artistic and beautiful…

Imagine the broken finding healing as they co-create with God a vision of wholeness for themselves.

Jesus told us that the Kingdom of God was in our hands to build, a kingdom celebrating justice, equality and diversity. So often we feel helpless in making a difference, yet the Great Artist and Architect of our world “gifts” each beloved child with everything we need to tear down the walls of injustice that divide us and build a better world.