My Favorite Things

imageFarewell parties; amazing foods, tears of appreciation; deep feelings; that sense of loss and joy simultaneously; departures and arrivals; the gift of the most amazing people ever to pastor and enjoy and know and experience; significant conversations; meals with friends; crazy text messages that communicate love and joy– these are a few of my favorite things.

Rolling on floor and laughing with my grandchildren, Josie, Theo and Antonia; hearing 3.5 year old Antonia say “Aunt Gabri, would you help me find Poppou?  I want him to read me a story;” reading aloud from Stuart Little — that illustrious and most unique of children to be born to a human couple(!), and from Winnie the Pooh– with AA Milne’s long, wonderfully cumbersome sentences, to Antonia; Long, late-night conversations; playing long, joyful, competitive rounds of Euchre, telephone charades, and Articulate; Amazing meals; Hugs; Space; the sea air; Breathing; Hiking from Seaside to Indian Beach; walks along the beach; Holding little hands; The gift of conversations with my children, my brothers, Roger and John, and their wonderful wives, Dorothy and Marijo, my niece and nephew, Katie and Neal; running and jumping into the wonderfully, cold surf with Neal, Collin, and Roger; these are a few of my favorite things.

image imageA fire on the beach; roasting hot dogs and eating them with just that hint of crunch from the sand; telling stories; singing together; Broiled, delicate salmon with maple-Dijon mustard sauce; many big, green salads; Prayer; quiet moments; the gift of family;  these are a few of my favorite things.

Spiritual conversations; the gift of reading the Scriptures; hot, melted, dark chocolate fondue with fresh fruit, frozen bananas and cake to dip;  smoked sweet potatoes; overhearing Anna and her sisters sharing their life stories; laughter; tears; authenticity; praying together; the sound of rain on the roof;  these are a few of my favorite things.

Day after day after day with my family; laughing so hard tears fell; talking with Antonia as we walked the promenade to visit the seaside aquarium; feeding the harbor seals raw fish– she was on my shoulders so I handed her the headless fish, she’d joyfully toss it to the happy, barking seal, and then wipe her hand in my hair(!); Gabrielle’s famous Zucchini Lasagne; these are a few of my favorite things.

Rare, beautiful life moments punctuated by prayer, tears and laughter. Moments relished.  Lived.  Experienced.  They all are my favorite things, for they are all a part of this life.


My sister-in-law Dorothy told me more than once, “Brian, you are looking great.”  There is something about the gift of sabbatical to the soul, even the first week. The planning has been concluded, and now, I can just enjoy the journey.



About Camino Way 2016 Shimer

On August 22, 1981 I married this wonderful woman, Karen, who has consistently blessed and changed my life and days. We are still in love, all the more with the years. We have four daughters, two sons by marriage, and three delightful, wonderful grandchildren. So, that makes me a husband, father, and grandfather all in those sentences. But mostly just a guy who loves my family. Today Karen and I planted beautiful plants in numerous pots. She had come home with the plants and that experience reminded me how much I enjoy simple things and simple pleasures -- like digging in dirt to plant a flower, like sunlight through glass on a spring day, like clean windows -- just washed ours today -- like a melody that won't escape from my heart. I've been a local church pastor for 30 years as of this June, a number that staggers me for I feel about that age on the inside, but clearly that's not the case. Back in 1988 I graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary with an Mdiv-- a time of schooling that has been a foundation for years of ministry. But it is mostly in the building upon that foundation, that has most changed my life. I love people, love seeing Jesus work in people's lives. One of my favorite joys is to pray with someone through some horrible place of memory and see Jesus walk right into their memory world, and turn on the lights in a way that sets their soul free and brings healing. There's nothing like this privilege and I have been there to watch it happen more times than I can count. Between 4 and 7 the associate pastor of my family's congregation sexually abused me, first grooming me, then repeatedly violating my young self. This marked my life. It changed my bearings. It ripped at my faith. It wounded my image of what it meant to be a little boy, and later a man. It has been a point from which I have been in the process of healing for many years now. I'm a survivor, but more than that, I am one who lives beyond what was done. For in the middle of all that stuff, Jesus was calling me, speaking to me, bidding me to follow him to bring change to people's lives within the realm of the very office that was used to harm me. Only Jesus can make light from darkness, hope from despair, and healing from brokenness. I love Jesus. He really is alive, no matter what others may believe. And his life, his presence, his words into my world, his healing power have continued to be the foundation point of what it means to experience life to the fullest. I love writing. I don't really know why on that score for really writing has never been a central tool in my world, nor has it come easily. But I love seeing how words released heal. And I love the way words can connect me to other people's worlds. So, that's why I started blogging. It began because I was planning to blog on a weekly basis when I went to walk the Camino de Santiago last fall. And in order to be able to blog while walking, I knew I had to begin to practice blogging before I was in another country. A friend told me that. Friends are good to help us find ways to live more authentically into our daily lives! So, I started. But what I have discovered is there is something powerful about sharing the story of life with others. So, I have continued. And I love the connections being built through those words. In 2011 I experienced my first seminar in Simply the Story, a bible story telling method that involves those listening in discussion and I decided then -- "this is what I plan to do when I retire." But really-- "why wait until then?" -- so I use this method while I continue pastoring. It sets people free and allows the Word to take root in ways that preaching never has. So again and again I am practicing asking questions and that is good practice for me, because I am frequently better at "telling" than "asking." This has been such a freeing gift. I love training others in this skill. So, a storyteller would certainly be true of me too. Years ago I discovered my mission in life is "the joyful transformation of people's lives through the person of Jesus Christ." And that continues to be where I find my home base, in joy. Where there is joy, I find, there is Jesus, and there is the possibility of transformation. Of course Jesus is in places where there is no joy as well, and once He is there, the place kind of changes because of Him. I love that.
This entry was posted in family, favorite things, Joy, Thanksgiving. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to My Favorite Things

  1. Brian, I felt like I was reading Buechner as I was reading this. And that is the highest compliment I can give. Thanks for sharing this part of your life with the rest of us.


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