Archive | January, 2009

Anxieties

28 Jan

When I was a sophomore in college, I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder.  It kind of blew my world – I had to make decisions about medicine, therapy, whether I was going to finish the semester I was mid-way through at Ursinus, and then whether I was going to go back after I took the second half of my second semester off (I was able to finish out two of my classes through e-mails and occasional meetings).  Things were going really well for awhile.  After a summer of therapy and a new outlook concerning my eating habits (less coffee – more vegetables) and exercise, I went back to school for two more years at Ursinus.  I felt amazing.  I planned and executed a cross-country road trip, my grades went up, I applied and got into to amazing graduate schools, I worked too many hours and slept too little hours, I went to some of the most incredible conferences and met and fell in love with the most perfect person for me.  All that being said.  Since then – with the move to Atlanta, moving in with Bruce, the two of us trying to figure out life on our own, dealing with distance, a new school, new demands, engagement, traveling, merging families, etc. etc. etc. – transitions took over and life has gotten a little bit more difficult.  Last semester my anxiety started to come back.  This semester, I’m DETERMINED to not let it bring me down.  But sometimes it’s hard.  There is just a lot going on in my life right now and sometimes it all just seems like too much.

That being said – I thought I would just list out of the anxieties that scratch the surface of my life every day.  I figure – maybe if I put them out there in cyberspace, perhaps they would either get lost (along with some undelivered e-mails) or possibly spread out and disintegrate – far away from me.  I also thought that perhaps if these anxieties were out there, those of you reading who are the praying type could keep me in your prayers as I work through this phase in my life.
So – here they.  It’s time for me to release these anxieties!!
– Wedding planning … I put this first not because it’s the most important but because it’s an umbrella for so many other things.  And it doesn’t matter how many people tell me that they’re willing to help or do what I want – the fact is, planning is stressful.  I’m thinking about too many things, trying to please too many people, trying to keep track of the details and worrying about what this is going to cost.
– School … LTJ has made me terrified of New Testament.  I’m not even in his class anymore!!  But I NEED to make up for last semester, and that thought absolutely terrifies me.
– In Care guidelines / Ordination … Can’t I just jump ahead to the summer/fall of 2010 and be ordained and called into a church (God willing!!)?  I’m trying to stay on top of the process but it’s a complicated one and I’m far away from my church and my C&M committee.
– Life Post-Atlanta … This sort of goes along with ordination.  Bruce and I aren’t interested in staying in Atlanta after I graduate.  There just aren’t the opportunities for either one of us.  Bruce is just making things work for the time being, but it’s not ideal.  But – then what?  We can’t move until I find a job.  What if the process takes a long time?  Should I look for something part-time until I get called somewhere?  What if there is a hold-up in my ordination?  When will my Ecclesiastical Council be?  And moving costs money – a savings account would be nice.
– Speaking of Money – MONEY!! … With everything else that is going on, my budgeting skills have plummeted.  This is not a good thing to let slide when you’re in school and Bruce is the only one working full time.  I don’t know how people live on one salary.  It’s impossible.  Not impossible – but frustrating.
– Bills … Can’t they just pay themselves?  It’s not that the money isn’t there (one way or another) I just hate doing it.  And then I start thinking about money.
– Relationships … They’re just hard.  I’m not pointing at one over another.  They’re all hard.  Close – distance – in between.  They’re hard.  And with everything else going on, communication is often difficult.
– Families … This sort of goes under the category of relationships.  But Bruce and I aren’t close to our either of our families (Jen lives 6-7 hours away in Ormond Beach, FL.) and that is really hard.  We’re getting married soon and merging families and this is really hard to get ready for when we’re so far away.
– Church … I can’t see the beginning and I can’t see the end.  I’m not a parishioner but I’m not a pastor.  Seminary has me wobbling somewhere in the middle.  I can’t be an official member at Pilgrimage but I can’t be an affective member in Kent.  I can’t make a long-term commitment to either church.
– My Apartment … It’s not as clean as I would like it to be.  And yet I blog rather than clean.  Sigh … 
– Neal’s Deployment … I know, I know, Neal – You told me not to worry.  But how can I not?
God take these anxieties and watch with me as they dissipate.  Hold and comfort me.  Strengthen me and walk with me as I regain my strength.  Amen.

CHANGE!!

21 Jan

Barack Obama was sworn in today as the 44th President of the United States of America.

History was made today – and it goes beyond just electing our first black president.  People are excited about politics, people are READY for Barack Obama.  Older generations are seeing something they never thought they would see.  Formerly apathetic youth and young adults are advocating, are educating themselves and are speaking out.  We’re broken and ready to be put back together.  We’re broken and ready to do whatever we can to help put us back together.  We’re broken but know that we are strong.
It almost doesn’t feel real.  But tomorrow – I will wake up and it will be real.
I have a sense of hope.  My depleted spirit is slowly filling back up.  It’s not going to be easy – but we’re a strong nation and we’re ready to take on the challenge.
Perhaps I will have something more cohesive to say tomorrow.  For right now I’ll leave you with the words of a brilliant man:
“Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.”
-President Obama

What would I do in my life without music?

19 Jan

If you haven’t heard Martina McBride’s new song “Ride” I would STRONGLY encourage you to find it on youtube or iTunes.  I saw her perform it at the CMA’s and absolutely loved it.  I’ve been having one of those “eh” days – mostly wedding planning related, a lot related to Neal leaving, some related to my inability to communicate in a productive, yet positive, way sometimes so I just started listening to it on repeat and the words (combined with Martina McBride’s ability to wail) just seems to know how to fill a depleted spirit.

Here’s the chorus:
Life is a roller coaster ride

Time Turns a Wheel and Love Collides
Faith is believing you can close your eyes and touch the sky.
so Shine while you have the chance to shine
Laugh even when you want to cry
Hold on tight to what you feel inside and ride…

INVITATIONS!!

16 Jan

My wedding invitations arrived at my parents house today!!!!!

Whoops … I mean OUR invitations.  I’ve got to stop doing that!!
My mom just called to tell me – I think she was in awe.  I mean – we all knew that Bruce and I were getting married (the Bruce asking my parents, giving me the ring, me screaming into the phone afterwards, the arguing and anxiety over wedding planning) but now it just seems real.  SO real.
Today was the first day of the semester – although I don’t have class on Thursday so I didn’t venture over to campus (too cold for me to take a ride on the scooter for no reason) and it seemed kind of anti-climactic.  I think I’m just ready for this semester to be over so the wedding can become even more real to me.
On another note – Lilly has been stalking this red-backed woodpecker that keeps eating at our bird feeder.  She makes this adorable squawking noise.  It looked like she was going to do it again today so I brought my camera out, but she got distracted.  I thought the video was worth posting, though.  She is adorable after all!!

http://www.youtube.com/get_player

Monday’s Headlines

12 Jan

Thanks to everyone who has shared flower advice with me.  Just as I suspected – it was about 50/50.  I think it might be time to flip a coin!!

I don’t have much time to blog today because I’m supposed to be studying for an exam, but I thought I would take a break from studying and give the headlines.
Last week was the bulk of my January-Term class, Nonprofit Management & Leadership.  It’s been a really awesome class (I say this even before taking the final or receiving my final grade!!) and I know I’ve learned a lot in the short time we’ve met.  We’ll take our final tomorrow morning and then spend the afternoon tying up loose ends.  Wednesday is reserved for meeting with our groups about our final project.  After that it’s all about time management (something I’m SO good at) to finish up the project.
I finally did get around to switching myself out of LTJ’s New Testament class.  Of course (as fate would have it) today was the one day during J-term that I ran into him in the hallway and he greeted me with a big smile.  Of course.  But it’s not about that.  I didn’t mesh well with his teaching style and in the world of academics, sometimes it doesn’t matter how much you learn – a final grade shows up on your transcript.  A letter, no more than 1/4 inch tall.  But that small ink spot holds a lot of meaning.  Our culture of academia has given it a lot of meaning.  So while I learned more with LTJ than I’ve ever learned I need to start thinking about that ink spot.  I’m sure I will have mixed feelings about this for a long time to come.  But for the time being I’m happy with my decision.  This also means that I won’t have class on Thursday.  I’m going to try hard to make that my day – which will mean NOT agreeing to work.  It will be a time to relax, get caught up and go into the end of the week with a strong finish (I almost said it would be a sabbath, but then I realized that doing homework shouldn’t be something you do on a sabbath day).
Kim shared some wonderful feedback with me yesterday that she has been getting from various church members.  She’s been hearing more than “oh, she’s doing a nice job.”  I hesitate to use the word “praise,” but I almost think I have to without specifically quoting what she’s said.  Sometimes I’m not sure if I deserve the praise, but hearing it fills my spirit and renews my strength.  I really appreciated not only the feedback itself, but her sharing it with me.  It gives me confidence going into the academic side of things.
Bruce and I had a somewhat traumatic, but very successful trip to IKEA this weekend (if you’re wondering – noon on a Saturday during a sale is generally not the best time to go to IKEA).  We got a lot of things to make the apartment a little bit “homey-er” and are slowly putting our apartment back together.  I got a huge frame for some of the scenery shots from my trip cross country, but now I still need to print the pictures.  I had everything set with Target but then realized that you couldn’t order more than 4×6 through Shutterfly on Target’s website.  So I quit for the day and will go back to it this weekend perhaps.
Our wedding invitations have been ordered!!  One more thing to cross off the list (thanks to my incredibly organized sister, of course!!) so that I can focus on the next thing.  I’m currently working on flowers (obviously) and music.  We’re setting up our own sound system so Bruce and I have kind of taken it on ourselves to put together the music selection.  It’s actually been kind of fun to listen to music with that frame of mind – to put iTunes on shuffle and see how music can speak to you in a new and different way.  It’s kind of fun (though not as much fun as registering for gifts was).
I’m EXTREMELY jealous of all of the snow my northern friends and family have been buried in lately.  I recently heard Atlanta weather described as a menopausal woman (in the way that the temperature goes up and down).  I wish it would be cold, stay cold and snow!!  But I think I need to wait until I move back north for that.
We had a great meeting with the youth yesterday at church.  Some new kids came and Bruce brought them all together for an hour-long game of Apples to Apples.  I then introduced them to a very different type of worship:  Extremely meditative, using secular music but asking theological questions about it, etc.  I think they were a little taken back – church has always had a similar format and this was completely different – but they liked it.  I’m looking forward to planning for next month.
Bruce and I got asked to help out with an Inquirers Class at church next month.  I’m really honored and touched that they trust us enough to help out!!
Lots of stuff going on right now.  I’m trying to stay focused and centered but still remain enthusiastic about all the possibilities!!
All my love,
Sarah 🙂

Wedding Poll

9 Jan
I’m sure this will be the first of many. Today’s topic …

FLOWERS!!
Silk vs. Real

So I guess my first question is exactly what I said – if you had the choice between real or silk flowers at your wedding, which would you choose? And perhaps – why? Right now I’m seeing both sides of the floral story and I’m about ready to flip a coin!!

I found this website called The Brides Bouquet which seems to have reasonable prices for silk flower bouquets and boutonnieres, but I’m not sure if it really makes a difference. I do like the thought of not having to cut fresh flowers for the wedding, but silk is a completely different kind of production.

We’re not having flower centerpieces on the tables at the receptions – all candles/mirrors – so I have a little bit of “wiggle room” financially. But that doesn’t mean I want to go out of control.

My mom thinks I would want the keepsake. Bruce’s mom had silk flowers at her wedding and they’re gathering dust somewhere in the attic. But maybe someone would like to use my bouquet after me? I hate to think of it as a prop, but I would like to cherish the marriage more than the wedding flowers.

Does anyone have any brilliant insight? If you would prefer not to post, feel free to e-mail me: sarahelizabethkeck@yahoo.com.

Love to all!!
Sarah 🙂

It Feels Like Home …

8 Jan

I’m trying to come up with ways to make our apartment feel a little bit more “homey.”  I love our apartment:  It’s got such a great layout and is new and has such wonderful potential, but there’s something missing.  I’m just not sure what it is.  Right now it just feels like an apartment.  Here are some of my thoughts so far … 

1. Put more decorative pillows around – right now we just have our four pillows on our bed and it looks really flat.  I think if I added a couple more to the bed it would give the room more depth.  I also want to get some more for the couch and “ralph” – the oversized chair we got from Leslie.  Right now we only have two and they’ve kind of flattened themselves out.
***
2. Hang more pictures.  We have pictures everywhere, but we have a lot of wall space and I would like to hang more.  I want to print some of my favorites from our recent travels – maybe some from Experience the Journey, the cross-country trip Kari and I took, my family’s cruise of the eastern Mediterranean, Bruce’s trip to Africa and my trips to Honduras.  I wish frames were a little bit cheaper, but I think I can get some good deals at IKEA.
***
3.  Possibly rearrange the living room – but that gets tricky because of the cable box.
***
4. Continue to get rid of the clutter that seems to have taken over our lives.
Does anyone have any more suggestions?  I’m not feeling particularly inexpensively creative at the moment so I need some space and money saving ideas.  I wish I could paint, but it seems counterproductive to paint now only to have to paint it back before we move in a year and a half.  Though maybe it could be a fun project … 
I’m halfway through my J-term class, Non Profit Management and Leadership.  It’s been a really good class so far.  There is a lot of reading, but it’s all really relevant.  We’ve gone through a lot of material, but I think everyone in the class seems to be following along.
Okay – so please give me suggestions about “homey-ness.”