Archive for the 'life as i know it' Category

the 3 c’s necessary for divinity school

it was just about a year ago, that a colleague and i were having lunch and talking about what i might do after my job came to end just a few months later. i shared that i’d always wanted to go back to school. and she challenged, almost dared me, to consider studying theology and to start by checking out the divinity school at vanderbilt.  i’ll always be grateful to lesleigh for that conversation. it was the beginning of what has been an incredible journey.

Vanderbilt Divinity Schoolnow, one year later, i’ve just completed my first year of divinity school and working towards a masters of theology. i’d like to share the 3 things that have helped me survive, and even thrive, in div school. and actually they aren’t ‘things’–they’re three categories of people: a chaplain, coaches, and cheerleaders.

it didn’t take me long to realize that in a university-based divinity school, one’s faith is going to be stretched and challenged.  divinity school is not for the faint of heart, nor faint of faith. to navigate this, i needed a solid sounding board as my faith has been challenged and has grown.  jim is my amazing senior pastor.  long before i started school, i respected his leadership and his theology.  and as he is a former youth pastor and military chaplain, he is also very direct which i also appreciate.  jim has been my chaplain. he has patiently listened and been a sounding board and helped me process things that have been challenging and sometimes confusing. and he’s also been direct about making sure i have stayed focus on the things that really matter in the midst of all this learning.

going back to school after many years away is a bit intimidating.  academia is certainly a distinct subculture and the transition brought a little bit of culture shock.  but i’ve had two friends in particular, amy jacober and andrew zirschky, who have helped me understand the culture and learn to navigate. and they’ve both been great about being resources as i’ve had questions about research or best practices or study skills.  and andrew especially has been an excellent sounding board for papers and projects. andrew and amy have been my academic coaches.

finally, there have been my cheerleaders who have been numerous! these are the friends who’ve encouraged me, supported me, reminded me that i’m capable and that i’m more than just a gpa.  they’ve let me vent and occasionally whine.  they’ve commiserated and celebrated with me.  i’m so grateful for the love and encouragement of so many who’ve cheered me on!

to my chaplain, my coaches, and my cheerleaders: thank you! you have made this first year of school so much richer because of your presence!


happy 4th of july?

i’m finding myself facing this particular 4th of july with some mixed emotions about our democracy.

first let me say i love the US and am grateful to live here. i’m especially grateful for the men & women of our military who serve selflessly. i’m in awe of their willingness to sacrifice for us all. i have family members who’ve served and i have huge respect for the families of military members who are just as brave and selfless as our service members.

but i have some significant concerns about our government. our country was founded by some folks with lofty ideals and i think for many years, as a society, we’ve improved on that, but i’m not sure that’s true any longer and it concerns me.

i’ve gotten a bit involved in some local government issues since i’ve moved to tennessee and i’ve noticed a few things which leave me concerned:

  • we have too many politicians and too few statesmen (statespeople). politicians revolve around making sure they’re re-elected and end up being so busy trying to gather the power and money necessary to stay in office, they get little governing done. and all too often their votes reflect the interests of the people who paid to get them elected rather than the populace that actually elected them. statespeople actually do the work of governing, which is hard and messy and requires the ability to compromise.
  • we have too few people in government willing to compromise. it’s all about being right and getting one’s own way which goes back to the point above of politicians working to stay in power rather than do the work of governing. our country has big problems that flag-waving and fireworks simply won’t fix. it’s going to take some statespeople who are willing to look at the big picture and find the best solutions for the most people. it’s going to take them standing by their convictions, truly representing the interests of all the people in their districts–not just the ones with money–, a willingness to compromise and not just be ‘right’ to start fixing any of our problems.
  • we’re too apathetic when it comes to government and way too into the rhetoric of politics. we have to elect people with enough sense and backbone to be statespeople. we have to elect people who can enact sensible laws that are in the best interest of the majority of all citizens. and we have to stay involved. we need to show up at city hall and learn what is going on. we need to insist the officials we elect to washington hold town halls and explain to us first-hand what is going on in a format that allows us to ask questions and understand issues.

so i celebrate this 4th a july with a mix of emotions: gratitude for a democracy and those who protect it; concern and a bit of grief that as a people we’re failing to do our best; and hope that we can improve on our current government record and create a better reality for the now and a better future for those who come next.

wrangling the messies

as a kid, messy was never an option for me. everything had to be in its place–at least on the surface. drawers, cabinets and closets could be messy, but anything visible had to be immaculate. there was never a speck of dust and every bit of tchotchke had its exact spot. a very exact spot. when i was a teen and was acting out at my mom, i’d go around the house & just barely nudge all her little figurines and tchotchke. there was never a dust circle to disturb so i never knew how mom knew, but she knew they weren’t in their proper spots and she’d spend how ever long it took to nudge everything into just the spot they were in previously. (i’d later learn that mom has obsessive-compulsive disorder and that was one of the manifestations).

anyhow, as an adult, with my own place. i enjoy a certain amount of messy. i don’t mind my most frequently worn shoes being in a pile by the front door along with a stack of my currently rotating purses. i don’t mind a few dirty dishes left overnite in the sink. or a pile of clothes that needs to be put away for several days. but there’s a limit. and actually, messy cabinets, drawers, etc. can drive me a little nuts after a certain point.

i have reached that limit and hit that point. this long weekend, i’m on a declutter mission: clean out the closets & drawers. put the winter shoes back in their boxes, purge the old clothes, toss out or donate stuff that isn’t being worn depending on its condition… a clean sweep. i’m looking forward to it… all the fun begins saturday morning ;). i should get some rest.

random sunday morning musings

  • so i took a 48 hour computer sabbatical–i haven’t been online from Friday @ 9am PST until Sunday 10am PST.
  • that makes my random saturday musings random sunday musings
  • being unplugged was nice. returning to being plugged in i feel very behind
  • chocolate chip cookies from paradise bakery are a good thing in the denver airport
  • talking theology with a southern baptist who became an atheist who became a transcendentalist who’s currently exploring channeling makes my head hurt
  • on the other hand, i’m glad the person i had the aforementioned theology conversation with sees enough of something he finds real in my faith to have the conversation with me
  • why women should rule the world should be on everyone’s reading list–i’ll do a separate post on this
  • i’m on vacation through the 25th-number one vacation goal: no alarm clock except easter sunday
  • i’m visiting fam and friends in OK which will be fun
  • i hate being exhausted and having insomnia
  • two desserts in one night is fun especially when you’re sharing them with a friend
  • a cool thing about good friends–you’re never too old to stay up half the night talking and giggling
  • i’m going to hobby lobby this week…my favorite craft/art/project store ever that sadly we don’t have in san diego
  • tulsa and grand rapids might actually be the same city only one is snowier

random saturday musings 2

since i have a habit of reviewing my week and noting things that stuck with me, i’ve decided to also try and make a habit out of sharing a few of those here every saturday night.

  • i just might be a quirkyalone meaning i’d rather be on my own than in a lame relationship or settle just to be in a couple (note to self: order book)
  • i’m looking forward to my trip to ok for easter
  • i’m not looking forward to packing (i wish there was a service that would do my laundry and pack for me)
  • it’s always a good idea to keep popcorn & cake mix on hand when you host small group at your house
  • i still wonder if i’m being selfish when i’m happy for a friend who’s beginning a new adventure but sad for how it will change our relationship
  • i’ve finished 3 of the 4 books i set out to read this weekend–not sure if i can finish the 4th by monday
  • i’m excited that we’ll have an extra hour of daylight in the evening but i really hate losing an hour of sleep

random saturday musings

  • cars are good; car maintenance is a pain
  • i like orange vegetables–butternut squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, yams
  • haricot verts are just french style green beans
  • i like cooking for friends and having them over
  • i don’t like cleaning before and after i have friends over, but it’s a necessary evil
  • dublin dr. pepper is available just 2.7 miles from my house and i just found out this afternoon
  • our country needs accessible, affordable health care for everyone
  • easter candy is better than valentine’s candy
  • prices are really going up at the grocery store
  • what does it say that my 3 fave celebs at the moment are all food network hosts: guy fieri, robert irvine, and duff goldman
  • i love being a volunteer in youth ministry more than being a youth pastor
  • meeting our parent company’s new ceo was good–i’m really excited we have a woman ceo
  • i’m looking forward to going to oklahoma for easter
  • if barack obama really is going to be the democratic nominee and the next president, i sure hope he figures out a way to come even 1/2 close to the hype he’s created for himself
  • if barack obama is the president and can’t live up to the hype, i think bush’s current approval ratings will look really high
  • i still think if the democratic party genuinely wanted to fix things and not play politics as usual, they’d figure out a way to run a clinton/obama ticket; clinton focusing on foreign issues; obama on domestic and after a 4-8 year run, then obama could run and the dems could potentially have 16 uninterrupted presidential years

and i’m home from grand rapids

what do you get when you add snow + pizza + the skit guys? you get an event for youth groups in grand rapids that is a whole lot of fun.

we (ys) along with the skit guys and compassion hosted a free event for youth groups. free pizza and lots of laughs with the skit guys. it was sort of a “launch party” for their new dvd series called you teach. volumes 1 & 2 have just released and volume 3 will be out in august.

there were a few hundred people there, lots of pizza and mostly a lot of laughs. seriously, the skit guys are a hoot. “have you ever heard how dodgeball started? it started as dodge rock. you knew when you were out.” and then there’s the need harmony video (i’d link to it, but it’s not available yet). i’m still laughing when i think about it. as someone who’s dabbled in online dating, it is just painfully funny.

oh, and the snow. it snowed–a lot–while we were there. it was snowing when we got off the plane monday afternoon and didn’t stop until mid-day wednesday. much to the chagrin of the michigan residents who are completely sick of the stuff, i really love the snow. it’s so pretty and i love how everything is so clean and sparkly and still in the midst of a snowstorm. of course, it’s much easier to love snow when you’re only visiting and you don’t have to shovel any of it.

and finally, in case you’re unfamiliar with the skit guys, here’s a video of them i found on youtube.

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