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Location: San Antonio, Texas, United States

Jill of all trades, mistress of none.

Monday, July 31, 2006

My First Post

In 2002, my husband’s blog began with a catchy little header heralding his notion of a freak-show barker shouting, “Come see a Real Live Preacher.”

I guess mine begins with a simple, “Here I am.” I am married, a mother, a minister, and now a merchant as well. Hmmm…

Some of you have wondered about me. “What does Mrs. RLP think about such and such.?” Or “What is she like?” Some of you couldn't care less. Regardless, this blog adventure really isn’t so much about me in connection to RLP as it is about me. While that is true, I think it might be helpful to set the record straight on a few things about who I am not.

I am not brave.
RLP anonymously approached blogging with a frankness that some found disturbing. (Including me, at times.) Anonymity allowed for bravery to be exercised to the point, that as anonymity faded, bravery was fierce enough to remain in the light of day. I have feelings and people to protect, including myself.

I am not a writer, nor do I play one on TV.
Occasionally, on a whim, I write something, usually when I’m working through feelings that are difficult to articulate. I do find value in looking back at what I have written as a window to the workings of my soul. Blogging feels like a motivator to keep me writing and learning about myself.

I am not a preacher.
I am a minister and I do have the qualifications to preach, but the work I do as a hospital chaplain doesn’t ordinarily require sermon preparation. Sometimes I preach funerals; sometimes I perform weddings; I lead devotional services; I mentor students. Mostly, however, I am a listener and serve as midwife to the birthing of spiritual things. I walk with people who are hospitalized and with those who work tirelessly to care for them.

I am not a father.
…Although our children called us “mommy” and “daddy” interchangeably when they were younger. I am a mother. I am a mother who works outside of her home and in it. Frankly, I find that to be both great joy and enormous challenge. Often I feel I make a mess of both jobs.

I am not a philosopher.
Belief has always come easier for me than for my husband. Doubt was not really a part of my theological vocabulary until I began my internship in the hospital nearly 20 years ago. I do love Frederich Buechner and his gift of re-defining doubt as “the ants in the pants of faith.” I have seen a tremendous amount of human suffering. Making some sense of that has been challenging. Those of us who work in healthcare eat, sleep, and breathe in the suffering of others. We must continually remind ourselves that we live in a microcosm… in a quadrant of sickness that exists surrounded by a larger whole of health.

I am not the person in the spotlight.
While Gordon rarely breaks a sweat in public, I prefer my work to be with individuals or small groups. I’ve spoken to crowds before, but I can become amazingly self-conscious.

Speaking of that, I’m feeling pretty self-conscious right NOW.

So, let me just say this, and we’ll call it a night…

It is important to me for Gordon to write. We have made some difficult decisions during the last couple of years. While I have at times fretted over the changes RLP has brought to our family, I believe that there is significance in what happens in RLP’s world. I do believe in the voice that pushes, and challenges, and is driven to speak of a unique experience of God in the world.

My belief in the person behind that voice convinces me to do what it takes to make it possible for my husband to write. So, now we have a website selling natural soap. How about that? My missions are many… and now there’s another…

I’m out to clean up the world, one body at a time.

J

64 Comments:

Anonymous Pascale Soleil said...

Lovely to hear your voice, Jeanene. I hope one day we'll meet as well...

10:31 AM  
Blogger Africakid said...

I like that phrase, "midwife to the birthing of spiritual things." Guess you get a front row seat for some of the chaos and wonder inherent in any birth, spiritual or otherwise. Looking forward to reading your blog!

10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bought several of the handmade soaps for my Wife's birthday. They were shipped on time and she was delighted with the soap. They are really something out of the ordinary. As a gift (I'm imagining mostly for women) they can't be beat because they are unique. Count me as a satisfied soap customer.

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Kirby said...

Thanks for sharing your husband, and indeed at times your whole family with us. God has worked and continues to work through Gordon's RLP website.
Thanks further for opening up and sharing yourself in this blog.
Good to see a fellow Baylor bear online!
Will be heading over to look at the soap line now. (I can always use a little cleansing!)

10:46 AM  
Blogger Karin said...

Hello Jeanene,

Nice first post. Good to find out a little more about you. :0)

Best wishes with the blog and the soap.


K

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Amber said...

Welcome, Mrs. RLP. Can't wait to see what the future brings here!

11:29 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Welcome to the blogosphere, Jeanene!

11:51 AM  
Anonymous cpugh said...

Excellent. Keep up the good work. I admire you very much.

I'll be back!
Chris in VA

11:56 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

And now you have a comment!

Which means you'll soon start checking for comments...become slightly obsessed when no one comments...etc.

The upside? You and Gordon are growing closer together :)

The downside...you may be going in his direction..hehe.


love,
Michael

12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I looked at the site for the Anglican prayer beads, and they're beautiful - but I cant find prices listed anywhere.

12:12 PM  
Anonymous Eric said...

Welcome to the blogging world! I've been quietly following (and learning) from Gordon for the past year or so. I wish you well with this new endaevor in your life. I, too, started the blogging thing to force me into the world or words on a more consistent basis. It can be a great motivitor if it's kept on a tight rein (it can easily become an addiction).

I look forward to hearing about your chaplaincy work. I've great memories when working as a student pastor years ago when I would spend hours on end visiting and ministering in hospital settings.

May God's grace allow you to use this new vehicle to minister to a whole new group of people.

Blessings to you and yours...

12:48 PM  
Blogger Mark Goodyear said...

Mrs. RLP you must be a good woman. I love your comment about working outside the home and in it. And worrying that you make a mess of both.

That's me completely.

(And the link to natural soap in the side bar isn't working.)

12:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Neenee--Love your posting. You need to add to your list of jobs that you are the absolute BEST SISTER-N-LAW--more like a real SISTER--in the world!!!! You continuously bring such joy and love to our entire family!! We--especially Gordon--are very fortunate to have you in our lives.

Love you-Janan

1:12 PM  
Anonymous Chuck said...

Oh, so there's ONE writer in the family? I disagree. My wife leads somewhat of the same life as you, mentoring and comforting, with the occasional service, so I felt immediately comfortable. Please keep it up, and tell us about Gordon's bald spot from time to time. Keep him humble...

1:16 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Welcome to the blog world, my dear friend. I'm sure you'll be much more diligent than I. However, I'm thinking of taking it back up since I've got a new business of my own (RLP's old one... and I know you fretted about that, too!). I'll need as much exposure as I can get, and blogging is a great way to do that.

I'll put a link up on my site for your soaps (blogamy.amymain.com or www.amymain.com/blogamy). Heck, I might even order some!

You underestimate yourself, J. You are much braver than you think. You're brave to stand beside your husband during this change of seasons. You're brave enough to take on all that you do without letting us see you sweat. You are a hero to your children. You show courage while dealing with the very stressful goings on in your life and the lives of your loved ones. You're brave enough to be my friend... that's a tough job in itself :-)

I pray for you every day. I pray that these new ventures - blogging and lathering - will be successful and fulfilling. Nobody deserves it more than you.

Amy

1:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A wonderful post!

---a RLP reader

1:50 PM  
Blogger TheEdge said...

Well done. You speak volumes with such little effort. Can there really be two good writers under the same roof? It sickens me in a very jealous-type way.

Thanks for the window into some of your life. I plan to take a peek fairly often.

1:56 PM  
Blogger Karin said...

The title of your blog set me thinking of a song by Martyn Joseph - he wrote it when visiting Canada - so I just looked up the lyrics:


All This Time


Snow on cedar, silence falls

Biggest beauty, we are small

Sun filled crevice, hump backed bear

Been looking for something, already there


It’s taken all this time

It’s taken all this time

To turn around and see

The sum of all these parts are we


Stripped back layers, to touch the core

So many clues lie, on the floor

And all these things and more are true

But none alone would see me through


It’s taken all this time . . . .


Snow on cedar, silence falls

Biggest beauty, we are small

Life is complex, so we are

Searching trash cans, traveling far


It’s taken all this time

It’s taken all this time

To turn around and see

The sum of all these parts are we

2:22 PM  
Blogger Rev. Sean said...

Hey J,
Great first post. I especially love that last line...

hope you find blogging fun.

Sparks

2:59 PM  
Anonymous renee altson said...

welcome.
so nice to hear your voice and read your words.

3:11 PM  
Anonymous FluffyN said...

Welcome to the blogosphere, Jeanene! Looking forward to reading you!

3:37 PM  
Anonymous BarBarA said...

Welcome to the world of blogging! I can already tell that I am going to enjoy reading your blog! It's been a great source of "therapy" for me personally bust mostly it's introduced me to a wonderful community of people.

(I am the Barbara that bought some soap from you the other day! Can't wait to get it)

3:44 PM  
Blogger Dustin said...

I am an avid reader of your husband's blog and will look forward to the opportunity of reading your's as well. God bless your journey into the blogosphere.

3:49 PM  
Blogger Bene Diction said...

Welcome to this medium, nice to meet you!

And bravo for adding your voice.
Blog on!

3:54 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

It's a pleasure to meet you, Jeanene. I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts.

4:17 PM  
Blogger Cynthia said...

I love you.

4:28 PM  
Blogger Cynthia said...

Ok, now that I've said all I really needed to say, I will start again...

I love you a space lot.

Now I am really starting...I love the way you say what you are not. I know you to be very clear about that. Faithfully yours, OldPoet

4:39 PM  
Blogger Little Green Friend said...

Welcome to the blogging world. If your first entry is even remotely indicative of the entries to come, you'll be a welcome addition to my online reading material.

4:47 PM  
Anonymous DDW said...

Jeanine, I enjoyed your first post. I've enjoyed following RLP and I get a lot from Gordon's writing. Based on what you've written, I can imagine folks will get a lot from yours.

5:25 PM  
Blogger Becky said...

Thanks for sharing who you are. The meaning in suffering....I am studying to become a counselor. I am in my internship at a homeless shelter and a place for those who struggle with substance abuse. The abuse all areas physical, sexual, emotional... understanding meaning in suffering.... who can make sense of it?


becky

5:57 PM  
Blogger Questing Parson said...

Welcome to our world -- although through your support of Gordon you've been here for a while.

6:11 PM  
Blogger Real Live Preacher said...

Just testing to see if these work.

6:20 PM  
Anonymous slither dude said...

Hey ma'am, good to see you here. If you find yourself curbing what you write because of the comments, you could always ignore us ÜÜÜ

6:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is going to be a wonderful site. I loved the prayer beads? Are you a merchant for them too?

7:02 PM  
Anonymous JL Quinton said...

Welcome to the Blogosphere! I look forward to getting to know you better!

7:27 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Thanks for sharing yourself and Gordon and the three sisters with the rest of us, Jeanene. Look forward to meeting you someday.

7:28 PM  
Anonymous Janet McKinney said...

Hello Jeanene

Just to make you feel good about a reader from Australia. Good to hear your voice

Blessings

Janet McKinney

7:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oops....I found the rosaries...and bought 2. Because they are too nice to only buy one.
lissa

8:26 PM  
Blogger Jeanene said...

Thanks friends and strangers for the lovely welcome!

Loved the lyrics of "All This Time". Then I went and accidentally trashed them... waHHHHH!

Yes, the prayer beads link is on the right column. I need to add the prices under the items, but you can see them if you add an item to your cart.

8:39 PM  
Blogger Jeanene said...

BTW, I love my set of prayer beads. I am a person easily distracted in prayer. I find them helpful for focus. When there are no words, just the act of holding them feels like an acknowledgement my desire to be at prayer.

8:46 PM  
Blogger Mary Jo said...

Welcome to blogging. I have been reading RLP for a few years now, and I am looking forward to reading your writing. I think I need to look into those prayer beads, I also get distracted easily. Welcome again!

9:29 PM  
Blogger Karin said...

Loved the lyrics of "All This Time". Then I went and accidentally trashed them... waHHHHH!

The comment with them in is still there.

12:30 AM  
Blogger Scog Blog said...

Hi and welcome to the gently weird world of blogging.

If you want to know more about Martyn Joseph pop over to www.martynjoseph.com he is marvellous!

I will add a link to your sop site to my blogs - every little helps!

Thank you for supporting RLP in his ministry to the blog world and beyond. He thinks he's just writing but he's not he is a full time minister to a world wide congregation and we love him though most of us have never met him.

Love to you both - don't get to obsessed about blogging!

1:02 AM  
Blogger Jeanene said...

Karin, you must be a magician! Now I don't see the lyrics, now I do! Tired mind, I guess...

ScogBlog, I appreciate the link to Martyn Joseph, your kind words about "the G Man", and your offer to link to the soap site.

4:44 AM  
Blogger James said...

Came via Gordon's site, like most others.

Let me say, I love the design of your blog - esp the "head". Good choices of colors space, and so on.

Good writing as well.

Seriously tempted by the prayer beads. I seem to be getting a collection (~4 traditional RC beads, 1 self-made Anglican set).

5:57 AM  
Anonymous MMM said...

Welcome to the blogosphere, Jeanene. Drop on by the Desert of the Real at your convenience. Living in a sand based environment I think soap's a good thing. :)

6:59 AM  
Anonymous Keith said...

Just another RLP clickthrough. We haven't met, but I think I saw the back of your head in a chapel in Ithaca. (It seemed very nice.)

I sent my wife the soap link, her being a girl and all. Being quite manly myself, I usually just use a blowtorch.

Welcome to the blogosphere.

7:42 AM  
Blogger Mojo said...

Fab blog...will be calling again soon!

mojo - FROM N. IRELAND

7:52 AM  
Anonymous Mark Rushing said...

Hey Jeanene...loved hearing your thoughts.

12:05 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

Welcome to the blogosphere!

12:43 PM  
Blogger Broken Messenger said...

Jeanene,

Welcome to blogging.

Brad

12:57 PM  
Blogger revabi said...

Welcome to the world of blogging. i think some of the persons who are more introvert write better on the blogs than those who are more extrovert. A well written post. Look forward to more.

You may not preach with words, but words are not always needed, presence and midwifing to the birthing of spriitual things is a great way to preach. And being a preacher is not every thing. Being who God graced us to be is more important.

Thanks for blogging, keep it up.
P.S. I am one of the revgalblogpals. come look us up.

2:13 PM  
Blogger revabi said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Way to go Sis! You TOO have the gift! Your papa will be proud...:)

Too bad we didn't have your soap when the boys were growing up - they'd have felt better knowing the soap in their mouths was handmade!

Love to you - Write on!

Uncle Al, the kiddie's pal...

3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nene~
like speaking in public...your writing is as eloquent as the speech you gave at papa's retirement! Write on....white bread make you dead!

4:09 PM  
Blogger the reverend mommy said...

Wow! so many comments!
Welcome to the blogging world.
And you are officially invited to join the
RevGalBlogPals. We are a circle of blogging women clergy and I think you would fit right in!

5:10 PM  
Blogger Wandering Willow said...

I'm glad to see your blog starting, and I disagree that you're not a writer. This is a great start for you! See ya around. I'll see if I can manage to link to your soap store over at Wandering Willow. Love, Bonnie

6:07 PM  
Blogger beth said...

Welcome...instantaneous family you have here, and a good bunch they are. God bless you as you make your messes and clean up what you can; treasure your girls and your man, and write more - we will read it!

Beautiful blog layout, too!

8:35 PM  
Blogger Marita Paige said...

Hello Jeanene. So happy to see you here. Lovely to make your acquaintance.

4:53 AM  
Blogger Don & Val said...

It's nice to "meet" you! We have often wondered what Mrs. RLP was like, or what you thought about certain topics... thanks for coming out to play! :) Looking forward to hearing more from you.

10:03 AM  
Blogger soulpadre said...

wow

5:21 PM  
Anonymous Leslie said...

I am thrilled to find your blog! I found RLP doing a search for "chaplain" after my first unit of CPE. I so wanted to write him and ask "does your wife have a blog?" But I have preferred to stay safely on the reader side of the blogosphere. You inspired me to cross the line today, and that was only because I couldn't find an email address for you.

Next month I start my second unit of CPE. Although I so wanted to do residency, I fear making "a mess of both jobs," so I have settled for working as a chaplain PRN and doing one unit of CPE at a time. I hope I am being faithful to my two callings as mother and chaplain and not just living in fear, but I trust I will learn as I go.

You and your husband have been an encouragement to me just knowing you existed - people with the same denominational roots as me, the wife a chaplain, the husband putting on record all the questions I have asked (but rarely outside the walls of my home).

Thanks.

9:16 PM  
Blogger Jeanene said...

Leslie-
send your email... we'll chat. I'll offer my survival tips for CPE. :)

2:21 PM  
Anonymous Leslie said...

Jeanene, I sent my email address to your rare things email address - I would love to chat.

Leslie

7:51 PM  

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