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21 Jun
I’d like yours.

When I first started working at Trinity in Stillwater, I took the Clifton Strengths Finder strengths inventory.  I loved the focus that this congregation placed on peoples’ unique designs and each person’s given strengths; it has formed and shaped me and my theology since.  This inventory gives you the top five themes that come out as you answer questions.  One of mine, in addition to developer and learner and two more I can’t recall at this specific moment, is input.  I’ve never quite known what to do with this signature theme.  What does it even mean?

According to the Strengths Finder book –

So I’m a pack rat and that’s okay.  It’s part of my created being.  Can this be my excuse to keep these?

My dad collected matchbooks.  Not like actively [he belonged to no club and subscribed to no magazines] but as he went about, he’d grab a matchbook and keep them all together.  My mom wants to put them on the auction.  I told her I want them.  Her response?  “And what would you do with those?”  
I don’t know.  But I want them.  I think they’re interesting.  Who knows when they might become useful?  I feel like the possibilities could – quite possibly – be endless.  I have a few projects tucked away, but any ideas for me?  How do I convince my mom that I want a rubbermaid bin filled with old  matchbooks and that it’s a good idea?

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 … ]

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*


7 Mar
I can laugh at myself.  Here is the perfect example.  You can laugh too.  It’s ridiculous.
It was a balmy 25 degrees on Saturday when I – along with Kim, Krissy, and Lynn [meet them in the previous video post] – boarded a shuttle bus that took us to Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis.  Then I jumped into the frozen lake with gal pal, Rachel Green Sara, and her mom, Jenny.  We were team ‘Just Add Water,’ wearing aprons with ugly frill, oven mitts, and carrying kitchen utensils [a whisk for me].  There were also swim caps.  I’m not sure anyone looks good in such a weird stretchy thing, but I certainly looked horrid.  I will, however, thank the swim cap for keeping my head dry.  I am certain that not having a head of wet hair helped a lot when enduring the cold water and air.
But really, besides looking ridiculous [which was the goal to begin with], it wasn’t bad.  It was actually a lot of fun.  After the count of “1 … 2 … 3 … PLUNGE!” we jumped and then got ourselves out of the water as quickly as we could to run to the hot tubs.  Honestly, I’d do it again.  It was fun.  And just enjoyable to watch people’s reactions when I told them what I did this weekend.
In total, there were 2900 plungers at this specific plunge, raising over $600,000 for Special Olympics!
Thanks to those who pledged for my plunge! 

video post.

6 Mar

All your questions will be answered by clicking play.

[Further posts regarding my weekend of visitors and pictures of the polar plunge will follow.  For now, this is all you get.  Make as much sense of it as you can …]

Project Etsy.

28 Jan
Jennifer Parker: It’s like Doc’s always saying –
Marty McFly: I know, I know.  If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.
Jennifer Parker: That’s good advice, Marty.
I want to put my mind to something.  There’s something I want to accomplish.
But I’m fearful.  I’m fearful of failure.  And let’s face it – no one wants to fail.

I especially don’t want to end up riding in this boat.  No Regretsy, please.  (Thanks to jD for the link to that one.  Chicken poncho?  Really?  There’s a Regretsy blog too – go at your own risk and prepare to be thoroughly disturbed.)

By writing it here, by telling you what’s up, I feel like it’s real and there is no way to go but forward.  And maybe I need that push.
Next week – the week after J-term has ended but before second semester begins – will be the launching of Project: Etsy.  [What’s Etsy?  A homemade marketplace online.  Everything from wonderful to creepy.]  I’ll need a name, some sort of product, a dream of what is to come.  Ideas have been floating around in my head for the last couple weeks; it’s time to bring them to fruition. 
So I’m putting my mind to it and jumping [into a frozen lake, yes – see previous post – and into what will now be referred to as Project Etsy].  To land flat on my face?  Maybe.  But here’s hoping not.


26 Jan
I made the jump to commit myself to a plunge.  
Today I registered for the Polar Bear Plunge.
I am volunteering to jump into a frigid Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis on March 5 while wearing some absurd outfit (which is tbd).  I’m joining my friend, Sara’s, team and I think it’s going to be fun.  She’s the seasoned expert, taking the plunge last year too.  Sara and I do a lot of crazy stuff together, so really, this is just par for the course.

Crazy stuff.  Exhibit A.

The plunge is a fundraiser for the Special Olympics in Minnesota so it’s all for a good cause.  Feeling moved to support me with my jump into a frozen lake in the middle of winter in Minnesota?  You can click here to find information about donating to the organization!

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