August 13, 2014

Welcoming transition with open hands

On Friday, I am moving to Indiana to start seminary. My little white car is already packed with the remnants of my BVS time--way too many Brethren t-shirts, mugs I made in pottery class, used & loved books from mentors I've met here, my BVS frisbee, a pair of pink overalls, and an NYC conference booklet (or two!). I'm taking easy bread recipes, a deeper understanding of my personality and myself, the knowledge of what grace can do, the love found within the people of this suburb town, and an energetic spirit about what is yet to come. I'm kissing BVS a sweet, sincere, heartfelt goodbye (or maybe a "see you later!) and saying an excited, full of potential hello to Bethany Theological Seminary.

I blame the labyrinth for this next adventure in my life. Well, I thank the labyrinth. It was into the labyrinth that I wandered--barefoot, terrified, and uncertain. I walked with my hands open--ready to receive some glimpse of infinite wisdom, some affirmation of my next step. I walked in fearful. I was holding onto fear that would protect me from entering the uncertain waters of ministry. My financial stability would be uncertain, the future of pastoral ministry in the church is uncertain, and my own success at seminary or ministry is uncertain. I was afraid. As I took step after step on the cool grass in the labyrinth, I heard a voice asking me to let go of my fear and to trust as I had been taught. I just wept in the labyrinth--slowly understanding what God was asking me to do. It was out of the labyrinth that I walked--barefoot, hands open, terrified, but more certain. Not cocksure, but finally fully open to the nudges and the voices that had been speaking to me for years and years.

Backyard Labyrinth 
I have an apartment (and amazing housemates!), a work study job or two, first semester's tuition paid, and a calm certainty that this next step is right. I'm not fearful anymore. I am anxious to see the ways that Bethany will stretch me and hold me in times of growth. I approach Bethany with open hands ready to give and to receive.

The best way to honor the past and welcome the future is an NYC Coordinator selfie with the Most Reverend Doctor President Jeffrey W. Carter, right? 

March 29, 2014

This Moment // March

ANXIOUS for warm weather and the chance to run outside again. (Go away chest cold!) 

APPRECIATIVE of my so great a cloud of witnesses. I have felt SO BLESSED by all the people who have called me, sent me hilarious books, sent me cards, popped in, sent a text, hugged me, walked with me - especially the past two weeks. You people are incredible. I have never felt so loved. 

CONTEMPLATING the weirdness of World Vision and conservatives last week. 

DRINKING tea with honey - I'm trying to get over a cold. Also, coffee makes my heart feel like it's 
going to explode.

EATING all the cheese and bread I can get my hands on. Also Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies.

LAUGHING over the impeccable books my college roommate mailed me this week: Hot Guys and Baby Animals and Feminist Ryan Gosling. 
Feminist Ryan Gosling Tumblr
LISTENING to Joshua Radin, Brett Dennen, The Weepies, and Matt Nathanson. Thank you, "Brett Dennen" Pandora Station for speaking to my soul right now.

PUMPED that I have almost two normal work weeks back to back. It's been too long. Bring on the mundane routine!

READING Evolving in Monkey Town by Rachel Held Evans. I just finished Pastrix by Nadia Bolz-Weber.

REALIZING that NYC is in four months! OH. EM. GEE. There's so much to do and I'm so excited!

WISHING that all the people I loved were near me all the time. Why is the world so big? 

March 25, 2014

March is Madness

In January, when I was looking ahead at my upcoming calendar, March was a month for which I was both anxious and excited. March has an odd way of filling itself up in the blink of an eye. On my March horizon lay a girl's weekend with my bestfriend, a week with NYC Leadership (youth and those planning worship), board meetings, a weekend with a dear friend, BVS retreat, and Roundtable in Virginia. Now with the best, hardest, and most full parts of March behind me - I hope to slip out of the madness that has gripped me for several weeks.

This isn't the only year that March has been maddening. Last year, I was in the office for five days in March, workcamp travel added up fast! For a couple years in College, what made March so maddening was the pivotal weekend of Roundtable. The weeks leading up to Roundtable were nothing short of prolonged chaos, since I was an integral member of running the conference. Those weeks were full of hour long meetings, some studying, meetings that started at midnight, and final details, final details, final details. Even in the midst of the enduring craziness, it was my favorite weekend every March. Fellowship, worship, games, talent, joy, people, #brethrenthings - I love all of it.

Despite all the swirling madness before, after, and during, Roundtable there are moments where God comes down and touches my heart. I feel God most tenderly in the midst of the blessing on the Sunday morning of Roundtable. I've come to anticipate and cherish this anointed blessing for my journey each spring. My heart becomes warm as the slick oil touches my forehead - marking me, reminding me to whom I belong, that I am enough. March is mad, this reminder is needed.

March is a month that's sometimes spring, sometimes winter. Teasing our sandles out of the closet for a day, before switching back to snow boots with a surprise storm the next day. The inconsistency of the weather is maddening. Our bodies have been bundled up for months enduring the harshness of winter temperatures and dangerous snow or ice. My body anxious for light jackets or even sandles, doesn't know how to feel as I wrap a scarf around my head. Weather whiplash slaps me so strongly my body doesn't know what to think. March is mad.

In the vitriol climate of March, where my body doesn't know what the weather is doing and my head is exhausted from the season of planning, travel, and little sleep - my heart starts feeling "some type of way". Oh, March, you bittersweet month of change. This Roundtable the speaker, Eric, talked about Seasonal Affective Disorder, which I would say after living in Chiberia for a full, long, awful season, has chipped away at my positive demeanor this winter. He talked about "winter blues", "summertime sadness", and he mentioned one less common seasonal ailment "spring sadness".

I thought it was a little ridiculous at first, the world is waking up again - what is there to fear about spring?! Yet, I thought about it. Spring is another season of change, like fall, but instead of the world falling asleep, it's waking back up again. Baby animals, flower buds, and all that. For me, it's been a season of unknowns from year to year...what will my life be like after I'm not on IYC, after graduation, after track, after BVS, after NYC, after relationships end...

Lent is a hard season. I find that the intentional things I add or take away to my daily routine during Lent slowly and surely point me on a closer walk with God, that I had been missing before. This routine that forms helps me when the ground changes beneath my feet during the maddening spring. What were Jesus' disciples thinking as the ground trembled beneath their feet as Jesus spent his final moments on the cross? What will life be like after this? What will happen to me? Why is this happening? Will life ever be normal again? 

Spring is the end of things. Spring is the beginning of things. The long darkness slowly rumbles into the light. We awake. The ground stirs beneath our feet. In the midst of chaos, anxiety, and disbelief, we meet God on a dusty road and we touch.

March has been madness. Who knows what life will be like after this? 

February 1, 2014

Love Languages

How do you communicate to the people around you that you love them? When do you feel loved by others?

One of my favorite things in existence is the survey on Love Languages. A Love Language just like any other language is a form of communication, with others. Love Languages aren't just expressed through significant other kind of love - they apply to friends, kids, housemates, etc. The five different Love Languages, developed by Gary Chapman, show the different ways that people express Love to each other. They are: Quality Time, Acts of Service, Physical Touch, Receiving Gifts, and Words of Affirmation. You can find more information about all of them on his website:
My two strongest Love Languages that I like to receive are: Quality Time and Acts of Service. Love Languages can change over time, but mine are usually quite strong on the Quality Time and Acts of Service range.

QT means that I really feel loved when others set aside time to really be with me. I feel loved spending one-on-one time with people that I really care about. This also means that distractions, interrupting or not listening to me, and post-poned dates/activites can hurt my feelings. I received a 10 on QT and the highest score is a 12. AoS means that when someone serves me (kindly washes my dishes for me out of the blue or helps me carry the groceries in) it means the world to me! Creating more work for me or breaking commitments might make me feel unappreciated.

My best friend Marian is coming to visit me at the end of February. I am so excited because I have never had a chance to host her in my own space. I've often mad the trip to Pennsylvania to see her and her husband Jesse. We are planning to have a girls weekend full of adventures, intentional talks, and good (healthy!) food! This girl knows that I feel SO, SO LOVED by Quality Time and I can't wait for our quality weekend together! We don't have set in stone plans, apart from breathing the same air for a weekend!

PS - This picture reminds me how much I miss Chaco weather and shorts. 

January 29, 2014

finish each day and be done with it.

This quote hangs on a clothesline of photographs and artwork in my room. I first heard it at BVS Orientation (maybe retreat?). Yesterday, I just felt awful, horrible, low, and depressed. There was a horrible miscommunication for which I put the blame on myself, I am so over the snow and the cold (BIG TIME), and I'm just feeling homesick for people (that I get to see in a 3 weeks to a month). It just ALL weighed me down yesterday. This morning, I woke up feeling better and pulled this quote down from my clothesline to read it again.
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”
TODAY is a new day. I can't do much about yesterday, but I am at the helm of today and everyday. But sometimes I forget that...and bad days just happen. And that's okay. Thank goodness for grace, and bright mornings, and waking from sleep.

I started reading some of Ralph Waldo Emerson's quotes on Pinterest and just fell in love with all of them. Then I proceeded to put his book, "The complete writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson: containing all of his inspiring essays, lectures, poems, addresses, studies, biographical sketches and miscellaneous works." I'm looking forward to reading that soon!

What are you trying to leave behind today? 

January 26, 2014

Prank Wars

the most wasted of all days is one without laughter. e.e. cummings

I would add to that e.e. cummings' quote that the most wasted of all communities is one without laughter. I am blessed to live in a space where my housemates are constantly laughing together - with each other or at each other in good fun. It's a joy to share crinkled eyes, heads rolled back, lines growing joyfully deeper around our mouths as we guffaw, chuckle, chortle, and giggle together. 

Recently, Tim, my housemate, has been playing little pranks on me. His most recent prank happened while I was washing dishes from my meal. He was roaming around the kitchen visiting with me and getting ready to go get Despicable Me 2 at the Redbox. I tried to tell him that there are codes online...but he couldn't find them. So, I dried off my hands and turned around to this: 
I am notorious for opening cabinets...and leaving them open. Tim is hilarious. I CRACKED UP. Seriously, I couldn't breathe. I am so thankful for crazy housemates who sneakily pull pranks right under my nose. 
I felt like that Mom in the Sixth Sense. You know the scene where Cole and his Mom are eating breakfast? She leaves for a second and comes back to find every cabinet OPEN and Cole in his chair.  
Speaking of ghosts, can we talk about how there's a ghost in the top left of this picture!? 

I am so blessed to live with others who love to laugh and help others laugh on a daily basis. I hope that your days are FULL of laughter and shared joy!

January 10, 2014

Knitting | Cable Knit Infinity Scarf Pattern

My sister had a very specific request for a Cabled Knit Infinity Scarf...Post-Christmas. I found the cable I wanted to create then made a simple pattern around it. I'm really please with how it turned out!
Size 11 needles
Two balls of yarn - Vanna's Choice Mustard 170 yds each
*You'll knit using both balls of yarn at the same time.
Tapestry Needle

Cast on 22 sitches using two strands of yarn.
Rows 1,3: Knit across.
Rows 2, 4: Knit 5, Purl 12, Knit 5.
Row 5: Knit 5, Slip 3 st to Cable Needle & hold back, knit 3, knit 3 cbl st, Slip 3 st to Cable Needle & hold to front, knit 3, knit 3 cbl st, knit 5.
Rows 6: Knit 5, Purl 12, Knit 5.
Rows 7, 9: Knit across.
Rows 8, 10: Knit 5, Purl 12, Knit 5.
Knit until desired length. I knit until I only had a yard or two left.
Bind off.

Sew ends together with invisible stitch and weave in the ends.

January 1, 2014

Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014!

Miles by Car: 12,232 miles
Miles by Train: ~642 miles
Train Trips: 1
Miles by Plane: 19,037 miles
Plane trips: 27 (including layovers)
Total Miles Traveled: 31,911 miles

I've traveled around the circumference of the Earth 1.2 times with those miles. I've listened to Shane Claiborne, rewore an Easter dress, attended rainy graduations, learned the bachata, grocery shopped, hiked to the tops of mountains, baked bread, learned how to play Contact, eaten plenty of Subway, said goodbye to our family dogs, ran 6 miles straight, been stopped by strangers, danced, sang & laughed in the kitchen, written skits, talked to crowds, discovered I'm an extrovert, driven a lot, traveled 642 miles to see a boy in a play, washed my hair with baking soda & apple cider vinegar, and played Awkward Family Photo every chance I got. 

Here's to 2014 - a year of even bigger adventures with fewer miles in between!