Archive | September, 2008

Overhauling the Bungalow

29 Sep

Yesterday was a long day, but it was VERY productive.  Bruce and I got up early to go to the 8:30 service at church.  I’m preaching in two weeks and Kim told me that the early service is very different from the late service that I’ve always attended.  She suggested me attending a service just so I have an idea as to what it’s going to be like when I head in to preach.  I’m really glad we did that.  One of the regular attendees of the early service is Jewish and so he brought some of the traditions of the Passover and of the High Holy Days (which are this week) into our communion service.  It was REALLY moving.  I think all too often we forget that Jesus was a Jew and that it’s okay to celebrate Jewish traditions and customs.  I’m hoping to be able to explore this a little bit more in seminary and possibly bring it into my first church.

The early service backed right up into the late service.  I was scheduled to do the children’s sermon, which was absolutely terrifying to me.  For some reason, children’s sermons just do not come naturally to me.  I would much prefer to get up and preach for adults than I would for children.  Children have a much shorter attention span than adults do and you need to have a gimmick.  Also – as you’re doing the children’s sermon the adults are watching you too and that’s equally terrifying!!  It sounds irrational, but that’s just how I’ve always viewed them.  All things considered, however, it went really well.  I first asked the kids if they knew who I was – I had met some of them at VBS but have pretty much been focused on the youth so I wanted them to know that I wasn’t some random person up there with them.  This helped me not only get to know some of the kids, but it also made me more approachable for the adults too.  A lot of people came up to me afterwards that I had never talked to before and that made me happy.
After church and sunday school we had our first youth group of the semester.  We were in the first stage of our youth trailer “bungalow” overhaul.  I thought it went really well – we got a lot accomplished on the trailer and the kids were building a really strong foundation for community.  It was still a long day, though.  Bruce and Heidi and I didn’t leave the church until 6 p.m. and went straight to O’Charley’s for a beer.  We didn’t get home until close to 9.
I feel like I didn’t get a whole lot accomplished this weekend but it was still a good weekend nonetheless.  My Con Ed II experience is off to a great start and I’m looking forward to the rest of the year!!
With Content Exhaustion,
Sarah 🙂

Bad Cop

26 Sep

No one likes to be the bad cop. And yes, here I am, feeling like I have to be the bad cop.

Bruce and I went looking at scooters last weekend. We’re really thinking that it would be a smart investment because we’re going to hit a point in the winter where it’s simply too cold for Bruce to be on his bike as a commuting option. He would need to get to work and shower and there’s no way he can do that. We need to make the investment. But I’m scared to right now. We’re transitioning again and I want to wait until our finances settle in. So I had to be the bad cop today and say no.

No. I hate that word. I had to use it on Thursday and back out of a dinner engagement that I was signed up for. I had to say No.

Bruce is trying to work with me on saying No. I need to say it more, not stretch myself so thin.

Does God ever say No?

I don’t know the answer …

Time to Call in the Experts

25 Sep

I’ve been telling people who’ve asked that I feel like I’ve been running a marathon in a hurricane without my contacts in.  When school started the shot fired, the gates flew open and I’ve been struggling to keep up ever since.  But I still have faith.

This is going to be a short post – I’ve been putting off an Ethics paper all week – but I thought I would say this.  There is an old saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words.”  My mom took this picture of Bruce and me jumping into their pool when we were up visiting at the beginning of the month.  I usually don’t jump in pools – I’m terrified of the cold shock –  but there was something about holding tight to Bruce’s hand that helped me get my feet off the ground.  I cropped and zoomed the picture so you can see the look on my face – shrieking with both terror and delight about what would happen when we hit the water.  Life has been hard since school started.  I have a lot of work to do and I’ve assumed responsibilities that I want to carry out to the best of my abilities.  But if I hold tight to the support of my family and friends, the unknown will seem a little less terrifying and a little more delightful.
Anne Lamott used these words to help her get her feet off the ground:
“I was still lying in bed when I remembered an anonymous poem I’ve seen several times over the years.  It says that after we jump into the darkness of the unknown, faith lets us believe that we will either land on solid ground, or we will be taught how to fly.
With Grace and Peace,
Sarah

You Do the Hokey Pokey and You Turn Yourself About …

12 Sep

Okay, so let me set you up.  I had to be in Marietta for a Church Council meeting at 7 p.m. this afternoon / evening.  Since I didn’t particularly want to sit in traffic during rush hour I managed to get home by 3:45 so I could leave by 4 p.m., hopefully catching the very top end of rush hour traffic.

I was totally exhausted.  To be quite honest, I didn’t even want to go to class and work today, let alone leave the perimeter to sit through a meeting at the church.  It was the end of a long week.  I hadn’t caught up on sleep from the wedding weekend in Maine.  The traveling through different climate had done a number on my sinuses and put me in a fog.  When I woke up this morning I contemplated staying in bed.
But nevertheless, there I was.  In my car, getting ready to drive north by way of spaghetti junction – a merge I hadn’t taken since my accident in July.  There I was, trying desperately to stay awake.  There I was, planning to get to Marietta and study at Starbucks until the meeting knowing that while it’s “fall flavors” at Starbucks (Caramel Apple Spice Latte – Kari made sure to tell me as soon as she found out), my burning sinuses and throat would probably only let me drink tea with honey.
I was not in the greatest of moods.
Until …
All of a sudden I saw that little bit of hope.  It’s like the Christ Candle that remains lit on the altar on Maundy Thursday.
As I turned to get on I-85 I pulled up behind an old Chrysler with a bumper sticker on the back of it.  As we both stopped and waited for traffic to pass, I got a look at the bumper sticker:  It said:  “What if the hokey pokey is what it’s all about?”
I burst out laughing as we both pulled onto the highway.
So what is it all about?
Today seemed to be about me surviving through the day.  Get to the end of this class, work for three hours, get to the end of this class, walk home, beat the traffic up to Marietta, stay awake through Council and then hopefully forget about homework and go to bed.  Seems like a bleak outlook on life.
There’s nothing wrong with the occasional bleak outlook on life.  Some days it’s all we can do to just survive.  But every now and then we get a reminder – we receive a Christ Candle – that God is with us and that we are blessed with so many of God’s mercies and graces.  And those reminders help us see what is really important – our family; our friends; our strength; our lives!!
So what is it all about?
My Christ Candle – my hokey pokey bumper sticker – gave me hope today.  It reminded me that I have so much to be thankful for.  The reason I am tired and exhausted is because I had the opportunity to visit with friends and family over the past weekend – rather than focusing on the symptoms I should focus on the beauty of northeaster U.S. and of the joy I experience while traveling with Bruce.  The reason I’m behind on my schoolwork is that I am studying at a wonderful school that is often times demanding.  I should focus on the opportunity I’ve been given to study what I love working towards a vocation I feel called to do.  And yes – perhaps I would rather be curled up in bed with a cup of tea and Season Three of Friends, but what a wonderful church I’ve found in Pilgrimage United Church of Christ, inspired by phenomenal leadership.
That’s what it’s all about.