Archive | December, 2008

Ohh, we’re halfway there …

17 Dec

done Done DONE!!!!!  Finals are over and I couldn’t be happier about it.

I didn’t realize how long it would take me to finish my Ethics final – but I wrote for two and a half hours!!  My hand hurt SO bad when I finally handed in my blue booklet.  Now it’s just a matter of waiting for my grades to come in.  I’m trying not to think about it but every now and then thoughts kind of sneak into my head wondering what the final outcome is.  I try to chase those thoughts away.
Now it’s a matter of tying up some loose ends.  The youth have been collecting toys for the MUST toy shop so I really need to get some kids together to go shopping and then bring the toys over to MUST.  I haven’t even attempted to clean in weeks, so there is tons of laundry and organizing that needs to be done.  I still don’t have a guest list for my wedding and I have a two week class starting on Jan. 5th!!  But I’m just going to take things one day at a time.  I haven’t been very productive today.  I brought Bruce to work and hung out there for an hour, came home and watched a little bit of TV and did some work (there are certain things I can do from home – or anywhere basically as long as I can get online) and then took a nice long walk.  It felt good to just walk and not have to worry about getting back to study.  I could just daydream, it was SO nice.
Now I’m going to try to keep myself moving.  It’s very tempting to just lay around all day but I’m going to try SO hard not to do that!!  Bruce has choir tonight so I’ve got time but I have a feeling it’s going to take awhile for me to get this place as clean as I would like it!!  I’m also going to try to go through some of my clothes and general stuff – I feel like I’ve managed to clutter up the apartment a little bit and I am willing to bet that there is a lot of stuff that I could get rid of.
Wish me luck!!

What happens when you exam is as thick as your bible?

15 Dec

Don’t panic.

Literally – that was the conversation I had with myself when I got my Christian Thought exam today.  It was huge!!  But luckily before I panicked I listened to Dr. Strom talking and realized that there were two sections where he had given us more options than we had to actually answer.  That made me feel a little bit better.
I’m not really sure how the test itself went.  It was really tough.  There was material on there from the first semester that I wasn’t expecting at all and hadn’t even looked at.  But I went through it once, left a lot blank, wrote one essay, went through it again, filled in some of my gaps, wrote my second essay and went through it the last time.  It seemed to work fairly well – at least I could more calmly try to put pieces together in my head knowing that I had more of the exam completed.
After I finished my exam I went and got my paper back.  I ended up getting a 90 on the paper which made me REALLY happy.  I’ve done solid enough in that class now that I’m not putting as much on the final.  Besides, I had one of those moments after I handed in the paper where I really wasn’t sure if it made sense.
As I was walking home (Bruce dropped me off at school so I didn’t have to worry about the scooter in case we got the rain they were predicting that hasn’t come yet) I realized that I am now completely done with my Christian Thought cycle.  The only history classes I will take from here on out will be by choice!!  Strange – I’m one step closer to graduation, which I really just cannot believe.
So now I’ve moved on to ethics, a final that I REALLY need to do well on.  I’m going through the material and I’m happy to report that I actually know a little bit more than I thought I did.  But I still have a long way to go.  Luckily the test isn’t until 2 p.m. tomorrow so I’m going to continue to study tonight and then get back to it again tomorrow.
And then I’m done.
Deep breath.  I can do this.

Anything but studying!!

15 Dec

Okay, so I’m at the point in my studying for Christian Thought that I no longer care, but I still can’t match theories and movements to people.  I’m pretty sure this is not a good place to be in.  And I haven’t started looking at ethics yet.  I KNOW this isn’t a good place to be in.  But I can do this.  Two more days.  I was just talking to Paige on learnlink and I said that at this point it was like running up a hill at the end of a marathon.  It’s important to focus and breathe.  Everything else will follow.

In the meantime I have a really strong desire to anything and everything that is not related to school right now.  I’m talking about everything from playing my saxophone to cleaning the apartment to scrapbooking for the wedding.  I’m starting to think I should just hang it up for the night and get up early tomorrow to look over my notes again.  And maybe say a long prayer before I got to bed.
Bruce is watching something on the Discovery Channel right now about scientifically proving the existence of the 10 plagues.  Actually, they’re talking about Exodus in general.  Apparently, scientists are coming to the conclusion that if certain conditions were in place, these miraculous events really could have happened.  I think the whole study is fascinating – history in general is fascinating to me (although I never did well in it) because we’re talking about things that we really have no concept of through our current lens) – but it’s hard to think about that in relation to spirituality.  How can I bridge the gap between faith in God and science that proves the existence of X, Y, & Z in the bible?
Anyway, I shouldn’t be thinking about this right now.  I should be thinking about Christian history (hey, my thoughts are MAKING Christian history, right?!).
Love ‘n stuff,
Sarah

One down …

12 Dec
… two to go.  Finals that is.  I took my New Testament exam this morning and will spend the weekend getting ready for Christian Thought and Ethics.  And then I will take a big deep breath and say a not-so-fond farewell to this semester.
In the meantime, there are so many things that I am grateful for.  I think it’s about time I start talking about that for a change.
For one, I am grateful for the beautiful red Poinsettia plant and card Bruce brought me last night.  It was beautiful and just the thing that I needed.
Despite the fact that we went down to the car for about five 

minutes to bring up some groceries and in the short time we were gone, Lilly had jumped up onto the counter and devoured on of the leaves on my Poinsettia, I am still grateful for her.  She came into my life during a very stressful finals season and she always knows when she needs to be especially affectionate.  (Although I don’t know if it’s her being affectionate or just demanding attention seeing as she continues to do this – jump up on my desk and lay down on whatever I happen to be studying at the moment.  This time it was a pile of notes, she had done it on my bible earlier.)

I’m grateful for my father who immediately kicked into “Daddy” gear when I sent him an e-mail telling him how stressed I was.  He told me that it was going to be okay and that it wouldn’t matter if I finished last that I just needed to finish and then I could move on to the next stage of my life.
I’m grateful for Max who responds to my e-mails with questions ranging from ordination to exegesis to wedding plans and never tells me to shut and leave him alone.
I’m grateful to my mom who gives me hope tat I can make it through Seminary – hey, if three generations before me did it, so can I, right?
I’m grateful for friends who have picked up the fact that this hasn’t been the easiest time for Bruce and me and have taken the time to ask how I have been, gone to coffee, sat and talked when I know they had others things going on, all of the above and etc.  That being said, I’m also grateful for the friends who live thousands of miles away who don’t hate me when I get stressed and essentially fall off the face of the earth.
I’m grateful for rainy days with Christmas lights.  No explanation necessary.
I’m grateful for the wonderful church family Bruce and I have found at Pilgrimage.  They’ve been shepherding me as I’ve stressed throughout this semester and continued to encourage me week after week.
I’m grateful for lucky bamboo.  Bruce and I bought a plant for my office over the summer and Catherine gave me hers (it was a promotional gift that she didn’t want) so now I have two in my office.  I love all of the symbolism and ancient traditions behind them.  I’ve started to scheme about where I can put lucky bamboo at my wedding and reception – three plants, of course, to represent happiness, wealth and longevity.
I’m grateful for Christmas music.  I’m pretty sure I would have gone crazy by now if I hadn’t been listening to Christmas music around the clock.
Words do not describe how grateful I am for Bruce.  Not only did he bring me flowers last night but he also did grocery shopping for at least two weeks (we had no food!!) he stayed up with me (fell asleep on the couch but the effort was there) while I studied for New Testament, has outright told me not to cook, clean or do laundry until finals are over (he’s taken care of most of it, too – the laundry remains unfolded but there are some things that just need to wait for me!!), and continues to tell me that I’m strong.  He has been my strength throughout this process and I don’t think words can ever describe how lucky I am.
Okay, so I have so many things to be grateful for.  Two stupid finals are not going to get in the way of the happy things that are going on in my life.  I won’t let them!!

Finally!!

8 Dec

My car is fixed!!  The guy from the shop called and left a message for me at noon to say that they FINALLY fixed my baby Yaris from the unfortunate encounter with an evil ’95 corvette back in July.  All I need to do is get Bruce home so he can go with me to pick it up!!

I think it’s going to be good for me not to have a visible reminder of the accident anymore.  It’s also something else to check off my list.  This has been something pending for almost half of a year and adding to my anxiety.  It’s proof that I can finish things and hope that I will be successful in finishing this semester.  I will be so happy when my car is back and I can once again try to protect it from the craziness that is Atlanta traffic.
My goal for today is to finish my stewardship paper for Leadership & Administration.  I’ve got everything that I need to finish it, I just need to finish it!!  I’m having a very difficult time getting through it, but I need to remember that once I finish this I will only have three finals to get through and the semester will be over and I can look forward to lots of other things!!
Even though it’s final and I know I should be focusing on school, I happened upon a book at the Cokesbury sale this weekend called “Sometimes I Wake Up Grumpy … and Sometimes I Let Him Sleep.”  It’s by Karen Scalf Linamen and what I’ve read so far is brilliant.  I think ALL women need to read this book.  Here’s a little excerpt from it:
I don’t know about you, but I for one had all these amazing ideas growing up.
I thought that my life was going to be simple and perfect, just one Kodak moment after another.
I figured I would keep house like Donna Reed, raise my kids like Harriet Nelson, and wear the same dress size as Jane Wyatt.
I used to think life was going to be a bed of roses … a piece of cake … a walk in the park.  Of course, what I didn’t figure on, way back then, was that roses have thorns, cakes have calories, and a walk in the park increases your odds of stepping in doggie doo-doo.
Now wouldn’t it be nice if I were the only woman on the face of the earth who had been surprised by the fact that life has turned out differently than she expected?  Wouldn’t it be great if I were the only woman since Eve who had been experienced a gap, a rift, a chasm between happily-ever-after dreams and desires … and reality?
But my guess is that you know what it feels like to have life fall short of your expectations and end up filled with more stress or crisis or pain than you had originally planned!
It’s enough to make you grumpy, isn’t it?
It’s really been a wonderful reminder that life isn’t the perfect image that I have in my head.  It’s an even better reminder that seminary isn’t the perfect image that I have in my head.  I had this strange idea when I got to seminary that because God called me into the ministry that I would therefore coast through the program, be the envy of everyone who didn’t have as strong of a call as me and stand strong during my ordination (as strong as a person can stand when 30 ordained pastors are laying their hands on you).
But that’s not reality.  And it’s not a bad thing, it just is.  Andy Peabody (my supervisor for Con Ed I, Director of Programs for MUST Ministries) always says:  “It is what it is.”  And that’s so true!!  I can’t change the fact that sometimes seminary sucks.  But I also shouldn’t get frustrated by this fact either.  I just need to take things one day at a time.
And I think for the moment that means finishing up this blog and getting back to work!!
Peace & Blessings,
Sarah 🙂

Christmas Images

7 Dec
This is my favorite Christmas image … Lilly at two months old, confused by what the tall green thing was.  By Christmas Eve she had mastered the art of climbing up the middle and balancing her way out to the end of the branches.

Photo credit goes to my father.
December, 2006

Resurrection of Ursinus Sarah

4 Dec

So I texted Kari the other day and asked her how med school was.  I think I was looking for some affirmation that life beyond Ursinus was much more difficult than life at Ursinus.  It’s not that I was never challenged at Ursinus, it’s just that I always seemed to feel like I had things under control.  I don’t quite feel that way at Candler.  And this doesn’t make any sense to me – because I’m finally in an environment where I’m taking big steps towards ordination, something I’ve felt called to in one way or another since I was landed in Honduras in June 2003.  So I’m trying to figure out what’s changed in the year and a half since I graduate from college that’s making it more difficult for me to get anything accomplished well in school.

Well … when I put it like that.  A lot’s changed.
I’m living with Bruce now.  Even when bruce and I were dating the last semester at Ursinus, I didn’t see him everyday, usually about twice a week.  When I was with him I never did any work, but I had gotten really good at being productive when I wasn’t with him.
Bruce and I are living on our own now.  We have real responsibilities.  I went from having one credit card and Bruce went from paying his cell phone to us having rent, utilities, credit cards (including food and essential items).  This doesn’t leave a lot of room for fun.  That’s been a really hard adjustment.  We haven’t been able to unwind the way we used to because we just don’t have the money to go out a lot.  And going along with that – I work more.  The money that I make isn’t just my fun money anymore, it’s my pay my bills money.  And so that entices me to work me.  And I do.  I work twice as many hours now that I did in college.  And I work.  I don’t sit at the museum and be able to get work, e-mails, etc. done.  And that definitely takes its toll on me and my school work.
I don’t live across the street anymore.  It’s not that I have this gravely long commute, but it makes a difference that I’m not just rolling out of bed and walking across the street.  I have to think about my day more, carry more around, leave earlier and get home later.
No big band.  I think it makes a difference that I haven’t been playing my sax as much as I did in college.  There was something so fun about opening up a solo section and just jamming.  I miss that.  There’s no place for me to do that right now.
I don’t get as much exercise.  I miss having the fitness center right there.  For all of you who are still at Ursinus, you are spoiled!!  Most college campuses don’t have gyms as nice as Ursinus does that are so accessible.  I need to get those endorphins flowing again!!
Okay, so how am I going to resurrect the Ursinus Sarah again?  Good question.  Here’s my solution.  First of all, I’m not going to take myself so seriously.  When I don’t take myself so seriously then I won’t get so stressed out.  Second of all, I’m going to try to summon the “get to the point” person in me and not try to be so good about getting work done ahead of time.  Sometimes it just needs to be put off in order for it to get done quickly and efficiently (I’m already there, actually I have to put together an ethics paper for my group by tomorrow and I haven’t started yet!!).  I’m going to eat more peanut m&ms (this was Kari’s suggestions) and lastly I’m going to try to get more exercise.  Totally contradictory, but we’ll see how it works.
Come on, Ursinus Sarah.  Come back!!