Archive | March, 2011

the things I dream about.

31 Mar
Last week, I had this really wacky dream.  I was somehow cast to be the substitute on a hockey team.  [Note: I can’t skate even the tiniest bit.]  The game was in overtime [Is it even called overtime in hockey?  Hint at how little I know about this sport I play in my dreams.] and time is going in super slow motion.  As people skate about the rink, I think to myself, “Which goal is ours?  Did it switch?  I don’t remember …” as I search wildly for any kind of clues.  Suddenly – or as suddenly as things go in slow motion – the puck is in my possession.  *insert naughty word*  WHICH GOAL IS MY TEAM’S?  *insert naughty word*  I still don’t know so I take my best guess.  Naturally, I guessed wrong.  The team lost on my account.  I woke up feeling absolutely terrible and being reminded why I cannot bear to play competitive team sports; I fear I will let people down.  [Hello, Enneagram #2.]
While that is apparently what I dream of while wrapped in my warm quilts at night, not quite where I intend this blog post to dawdle.  [Unless you want to hear about my dream of yellow shoes made of jell-o.  That’s a classic.]  Here are the other things I dream of, while my eyes are still open –
A hammock between two trees.  Wherever I end up once my time is seminary is spent, may there be two trees close enough together to match the length of my Mexico hammock.  Please, God, please.  [I may need to invest in these to hang it more securely.  Right now, it’s always a guessing game of how quickly the hammock with drape to the-butt-touching-ground height with slippery rope.]
Time to get lost in a book.  [A friend posted this on facebook.  It is wonderfully written, and captures my childhood love affair with books; a love affair I hope to rekindle once not a full-time student.  If you’re a reader – or if you date one/are married to one, certainly click on over.]
That my thesis would write itself OR at least give me the time and energy to do so.
My future craft room.  Seriously.  


29 Mar
I’m a wordy person.  I associate a lot of meaning with words and am cautious that I use the right word in conversation and writing.  I love etymology and a good thesaurus.  If we’re talking about the written word, I love a good type too.  Fonts and typography get me excited.
The newest word I’m in love with?

passion |ˈpa sh ən|nounstrong and barely controllable emotion a man of impetuous passionSee note at emotion .• state or outburst of such emotion oratory in which he gradually works himself up into a passion.• an intense desire or enthusiasm for something the Englishhave a passion for gardens.• a thing arousing enthusiasm modern furniture is a particularpassion of Bill’s.

There is something about a strong and barely controllable emotion.  Something that makes me so excited I’ll risk lack of sleep to do it.  That thing that unleashes a vigor, a fervor, a mania.  (Thank you, thesaurus.)  Something that leads to eagerness and intense energy.
Passion is crucial.  
So important that a lack of it could kill you.  
Not in the literal sense but in real seriousness – what is life without passion?  
[You could probably say that Pinterest feeds many of my passions, and fed the formative push for this blog post by unveiling the following to me on a board I follow – ]
What about life makes you barely able control your excitement and enthusiasm?  
If you can’t even contain it [Please!  Tell me you can’t!], what do you do with it?  
How do you share it?  
What happens?  
Tell me!
If you’ll allow me to consider this a passion, here’s my example: Vacation Bible School.  VBS is like the perfect combination of all things I love and a week in the summer where my energy is high despite incredible lack of sleep and long hours of work.  Love it.  L-O-V-E love it.  
Crafts?  Check.  
Crazy games?  Check.  
Loving on kids?  Check.  
Teaching?  Check.  
Community?  Check.  
Watching kids discover the love of Jesus?  Check.
[I’m getting super giddy just thinking about it!]
Passion is on the brain for Pinterest reasons and for ministry reasons.  Many know my secret but if you don’t, here you go [even after I swore off revealing secrets on this blog as of, oh, yesterday] – I interview with a potential church this weekend.  Stress levels are high as I anticipate the questions and the nerves that I hope won’t show.  If it’s a good fit, it’s a good fit.  If not, other options will come.  But I wonder how I wear my passion; how will they see my passion for ministry?  I hope I can share who I am – who I’m created to be – and wear the enthusiasm I have for ministry in the church.  I’ll most certainly keep you posted.
[It’s still March and this is my 33rd blog post of the month.  Safe to say that writing/sharing/being in this media relationship with you via blog land is a passion of mine?  Perhaps.]

It’s Monday.

28 Mar
My 8am class doesn’t exactly make me too thrilled about the start of a new week.  Still, there are things that  excite me.  Happy Monday; let’s find the joy in this jolted end to the weekend.
An embroidery foot for my sewing machine added to an online cart.  My next creative dream is a circle quilt, quilted in the meandering style.  [Two new feats to tackle.]  I kinda just want to copy this quilt exactly – I love the colors and the gray binding.

I went to a roller derby on Saturday night.  It was ca-ray-zee.  Girls on roller skates fighting, jammers, pivots, and people in costumes.  It’s like these people asked themselves, “Hmm.  Where can I wear that Chewbaca suit I have in my closet?  Oh, the roller derby.  Of course.”  Duh.

I put a quilt in the mail to a friend and with perfect timing – I heard this morning that baby came early and both mom and baby are healthy and well.  Unfortunate that this new family lives in Seattle; hopefully a visit will happen this summer.

It’s my pal, Adam’s, birthday today and I’ll be attending birthday dinner tonight at his aunt-in-law’s home.  Rumor has it there will be ice cream cake.  I bought him pretzel m&ms.  His favorite.  [Added as of 10:30pm : Adam’s birthday dinner was a success.  Rumors were true.  I also discovered that he reads this blog.  And thus knew of his gift before I arrived.  Note to self: Quit revealing secrets on blog, as I know not who all reads this nonsense … ]

M. and I

26 Mar
I spent a lot of time with M. this past week.  She was on spring break and her family is busy in the midst of move preparation.  I went over to her house for two days and the third she came over to my “grown-up apartment.”  We had a lot of fun crafting, baking, and watching Ariel.

M. arrived and walked into my apartment for the first time.  She sized up the room, paused in the middle of the living area, and said convincingly, “This is nice.”  Thanks, M.  She took off her boots and made herself at home.  We sewed and stuffed a pillow [It was her idea and she clung to that pillow for the rest of the afternoon!], and I sewed together a few book signatures for her to take home and continue to create.  We baked cookies, and she cuddled up on my bed to watch Ariel [The Little Mermaid].  
It was just a lot of fun.  It’s been really cool to babysit for her over these last years and watch her grow since I’ve been in St.Paul.  I’ll miss her bunches when I’m off somewhere abouts in the southern portion of the state next year.

Visit me!

25 Mar
I’m blogging over at Steeples and Stilettos today.  Jump on over to that collaborative blog and all of your questions about this photo will be answered —

eHoly Harmony

24 Mar
If you’ve followed me along this far, you know that I graduate from seminary in May and have been assigned to serve my first call in the Southeastern Minnesota synod of Region 3.  As Margie, a resident at the care center where I completed Clinical Pastoral Education, always said in her rough, gravel tone, “Now what?”
Navigating the church and call world can be foreign to many people.  I’ll be the first to admit that it was extremely new and unclear to me until I was in seminary.  [Even now, I don’t know all the inner and outer workings of the process.]  I’m assigned.  [Like homework?]  I have a call.  [Call?  Like the person who holds up their ringing cell and say, “I’m going to take this call”?  Nope.  Not really.]  I serve and am strongly advised – barring any unforeseen tragedy – that I stay for at least three years.  The process is unlike most professions.  
I’ll translate.
I filled out my [dating] profile in early December.  This paperwork contained my likes and dislikes, and what I’m looking for in a church [partner].  I submitted this information to the greater church, ie the matchmakers.  [I wish I could add sound effects here.  Create your own; along the lines of foreboding or magical is your choice.  I suppose that depends if you trust the process or not.]
Likewise, churches – when they are [hopefully] emotionally stable and ready to move on from their last relationship [their last pastor and typically after a period of interim] – create their own [dating] profile.  In this paperwork, they provide their hopes and dreams for the future, and whether or not children are in the plans.  [Aging congregation or vital new families?  More baptisms or funerals?]
The matchmakers at the synod office see who is available and play around with the couples that they think will work together well.  They take into account age, gender, and whether or not one half of the couple is willing to relocate [typically the pastor].  Does the potential couple complement each other?  If the church cooks, will the pastor do the dishes?  Who is expected to be responsible for taking the garbage out?  How will the children be bathed – by water and the spirit?
Using their special formula and taking into account the 7×7 degrees of holy compatibility, the synod [matchmakers] couple pastors and churches together.  The courting begins.
In our day and age, the church makes the first move.  Usually by phone call, they ask the potential pastor for an interview [a date].  From here, the lines blur.  Both parties are extremely nervous about the first meeting and sweaty palms are shook.  Each learns more about the other, asking questions and using their gut to decide if this pastor/church “is the one.”  The Holy Spirit plays his role, as always, like the cupid always around the corner; leading, guiding, and shooting arrows working God’s will in the world.

Both parties must agree that a relationship is possible and dream that – dare I say? – there could be love in the future.  [Or, if not love, a promise to work with and for the best of the other.]  A second date may be requested before any decision can be made.  Meanwhile, each party does their best to show their prime side and foremost qualities to the other.  To seal the deal – if the courting has gone well thus far – a kiss contract is signed, vows given and rings exchanged.  
Just because the matchmakers have put this pair together doesn’t mean it always works out.  It’s important that honesty and faith are shared and shown, but if these don’t match up, one side or the other may offer a rejection.  [I’m uncertain if this hurts more or less than other guy rejection; here’s hoping it may not reach a case study comparison.]  But, all in all, the matchmakers typically do a pretty great job matching the couple.  Let the courting begin.  I’m ready for a relationship of commitment with a congregation of three hundred people and a large building.  Here we go.
[Here’s hoping I’m actually better at this kind of dating than the kind with boyfriends.  I’m terribly awkward on first dates and to move past that point is strange and unusual. I pray that’s not my fate in courting a congregation. I look forward to finding one to dream with and to accompany each other in knowing and sharing God’s love and grace. I know they’re out there, somewhere in southeastern Minnesota. Somewhere.] *cue cheesy music*

Caution: God at work.

23 Mar

He probably wasn’t wearing a bright orange construction vest,
 but where did you see God today?

The human missionary task is to give visibility to the Divine work in the midst of our daily existence.

[Henri Nouwen]

Midterms.  Five to seven pages on my missional theology of faith formation.

Did mission trips and service projects shape your faith?
[If you comment and let me know, that would be fun.
Fun for the sake of fun and not to be used in my paper.  I promise.]

Buckets of concrete to roof houses; Jackson is hard at work. [Mexico Mission ’08]

work in progress.

22 Mar
I sat in a theater, with every seat filled, next to my bestest, Sara, tonight and watched a work in progress.  I’d tell you the name of the film, but I had to sign an agreement that I would not use facebook, blogs, twitter, etc. [or any social media site that had not yet been created before the printing of the agreement.  seriously.  it said that.] to share what I saw.  They threaten legal actions to be taken if that was proven to be the case.  I mention not the title of the film and, hey.  Try searching for my blog on google.  It doesn’t exist.  It hides from the man.  [or at least then men for whom I signed the agreement.]
I woke up to an email this past weekend – an invitation to the screening of a motion picture that’s due for release in July.  The email came from a site on which I’ve bought movie tickets before and, heck yes, I’ll drive to Eden Prairie, wait in a line, sign a legal agreement, and surrender my cell phone to security for a free movie.  Not to mention a free movie starring – 
just kidding.  I can’t say.
It was just a really funny process.  I signed up online and the confirmation I received said we must report to the theater an hour before the movie was scheduled to start.  We arrived and found there was already a line.  We stood and filled out our legal paperwork.  We waited some more and then were subjected to a purse search and were ‘wanded’ by a security guard.  [Legs shoulder width, arms up and the wand.  You know.  The wand.]  We also had to check our cell phones at the door.  [Boy, did we feel naked for three hours.]  All the while, seemingly important people talked on walkie talkies and paced the corridors.
This was apparently the first showing of the movie, announced the guy who was big and important and wore his clothes a bit too tight and told us they’d just flown in from LA to do the screening.  [the audience clapped at this.  lame.]  He stood in the front of the theater to address us, right next to the guy with the video camera that I’m pretty sure filmed us through the whole movie, recording our reactions.  It was our job to sit back, enjoy, and then remain in our seats for ten to fifteen minutes following the film to fill out forms regarding what we thought of the movie.  Everything from the music, the scenes we liked the most and the least, and the websites we visit most often.  [I nearly put down  so kidding.  but not.]
Again, for a free film that was pretty flippin’ hilarious with some romance thrown in, I’ll fill out an evaluation form.  Please and thank you.  It was a great night to end the dreary weather day – shopping the housewares at Kohl’s, eating Punch Pizza [thanks to Lauren for sharing this coupon on fbook earlier; click over and use it through thursday!], and seeing a free movie, all with Sara.  An adventurous friend, a better-than-I-expected [did I mention free?] movie, and too much laughing at a Bath and Bodyworks store equals a fabulous evening.  Thank you and good night.

the starbucks drive-thru.

21 Mar
Cassie and I went to the bank [she needed quarters], to DSW [she needed shoes], and then to Starbucks [we both needed wanted coffee].  [Can you tell I was the tag-alonger on Cassie’s errands?]

[enter drive-thru]
Guy: Welcome to Starbucks.  How are you today?
Cassie: Good.  How are you?
Guy: [kinda giggles, almost surprised that someone returned the question] Oh, pretty good.  What can I get for you today?
[Cassie places order.]
Guy: Can I interest you in a rocky road cakepop today?
Cassie:  No!  We don’t like your cakepops!
Guy: Oh, well … [kinda giggles again] how about another treat?
Cassie:  No thanks.
[Guy gives total; asks us to pull forward.  He opens window.]
Guy: Bon jour!
[Cassie and I giggle.  Exchange of money happens.  Guy runs away from the window, and then returns.]
Guy: Sorry.  I had to shut the dishwasher off.  Didn’t want it to overflow!
[He leaves the window to grab out drinks.]
Cassie: [turns to me]  He’s a redhead!  [my favorite.  along with Matt Damon.]
[He returns.  Hands us our drinks and leans down, his arms resting on the ledge of the window.]
Guy: So where are you guys off to?
Cassie: We’re heading back to school.
Guy: Where do you go to school?
Cassie: Luther Seminary.  [gives directions as to where the school is]
Guy: Oh, yeah.  I know where that is.  It’s really beautiful over there.
[We giggle.  We’re a little smitten by the redhead.  And because, yeah, it’s nice but it’s not that nice.]
Guy: Well you ladies have a good day.

[Oh.  We will, Mr. Sing-song-lean-down-onto-the-window-to-have-a-chat-with-us.  We will.  Because of you.]

adult relationships.

20 Mar
My younger-by-a-year-and-a-half brother stopped over tonight.   With his girlfriend.  [Yes.  You heard that right – he has a girlfriend.  Here’s hoping I don’t jinx it … but he seemed really happy about it too.  Exciting.]  It’s funny.  Really, it’s just humorous to me to think about how my siblings and I have grown up and now have these adult brother-sister relationships.
I grew up on the farm, having mudball fights, shooting bb guns with my younger and older [a year and a half on either side of me – they have the same birthday] brothers, and playing baseball with lots of ghost runners.  I always got along with Ben; never with Matt.  [Sometimes that remains the truth.  But there are times when it’s not; we’re growing up slowly.]
Then there is Emma, nine years younger than I.  I was the live-in babysitter; I loved watching her and dressing her up.  I remember carrying her around in clothesbaskets and being angry that one time she got a hold of a box of kleenex and spread them ALL over the living room floor.  Now she’s 18, preparing to graduate from high school and go off to college.  We exchange scarves and books, and we’re planning a sister trip to Seattle in the month of June [hoping it works out to celebrate both of our graduations].
So my brother stops over.  This is a week after he called me to see if I wanted to have coffee.  I never thought such an invitation would pass through the lips of my bike-riding, lettuce-with-mustard eating brother.  He was in the Cities, visiting formerly mentioned girlfriend, and wondered if we could get together for coffee before they took off for a camping trip to Arkansas for her spring break from school.  [Because everyone thinks of Arkansas when they think of spring break, right?]
I think tonight, as Ben stopped over to my apartment, I got a glimpse of what it might be like someday when we visit one another in each other’s homes for holiday, birthdays, or whatnots.  This is how it went – Ben walked in.  He walked nearly immediately to the stove, on which sat the tuna noodle/green bean/broccoli concoction I had thrown together for dinner.  [Mind you, it’s after 8pm at this point.  Late dinner.]  “Oh, yeah, what’s this?”  I explain.  “Well that sounds good.”  [pause]  I asked if he wanted some.  “Oh, sure, that’d be good.”  Ben helps himself to the hotdish.  Then to something to drink.  Then to the candy in the canisters on the counter.
I simply acknowledge and not complain this comfort level.  I think it’s humorous … and good.  [It reminds me of cousins, Brent and Mike, who would walk into our farmhouse and straight to the fridge.  They lived in our house as much as we did.]  Perhaps it won’t ever really matter that it’s not the farmhouse we grew up in, or the house on the hill our family built and in which we currently reside.  A family member’s house is a home for each of us.  
It’s hard to tell where those homes might eventually settle.  Matt’s in Colorado and Ben has upcoming plane tickets to Alaska to search the possible job market outside of the continental forty-eight.  Emma’s future is yet unknown, knowing only that next year Carroll University will be the place she resides.  I’ll be somewheres in southeastern Minnesota.  I think it’s kinda fun to dream about where life will take us all, and where we’ll settle down to open our homes to each other in the future.  Now I know to have a hotdish of some odd kind waiting when Ben stops by.  And old Starburst for him to chew.  [He’s pretty easy to please.]
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