Archive | February, 2009

Real.

27 Feb

Lots of things in my life are starting to become more real to me right now!!

For starters – this whole ministry thing. Real. Very, very real. It’s not like I’ve never been in a position of ministry before, but yesterday it really seemed to hit home. Heidi and I were given the task of putting on the Ash Wednesday service. I had planned most of it and she and I were going to co-preside. It went better than I ever could have imagined it. We’re both perfectionist and highly liturgical (highly for the UCC that is) so it took us awhile to get the sanctuary ready for the service, but it was absolutely worth it in the end!! We spent a lot of time with the altar preparation, discerning if both of us should anoint with ashes, and splitting up the liturgy. I know we could have done all of this in under an hour, but it took us two and half hours to set everything up, and that doesn’t include going over the service one last time before it started. But – like I said – it was well worth it. During the anointing with the ashes, it seemed like I was frozen in time, but the motions of the service were going on around me. Heidi and I had started behind the altar table during the invitation to come forward and receive the ashes. One I gave the invitation, we both went around the table (her to the left and me to the right) and David (the accompanist) started playing the Taize song, “Come and Fill” (I’ll put the lyrics in at the bottom). I think the combination of him playing, hearing the lyrics, watching people come to me for this powerful moment in their lives and hearing Heidi say the same words I was saying (“Remember from dust you came and to dust you shall return”) was just incredibly moving for me. It’s like time stopped and I had a quick 360 camera shot of what was going on around me. So much was real. Christ was real. My call was real. My confidence – something that has become very shaky this year – was real. It was awesome. I’m so grateful for the chance to know and to serve with pastors like Kim, Heidi and Allen that enable experiences like this to happen.
The wedding (and the marriage of course!!) is also starting to become very real for me. When Bruce and I got home last night there was a note from UPS that they had tried to deliver a package and had left it in the leasing office. We had NO idea what it was. I went over to the office this morning and retrieved a very large box from Target. When I got home I called Bruce and told him that I thought it was a wedding present (Target is one of the places that we are registered at) – and I was right!! My sister is hosting a bridal shower for me when I’m in CT in a couple of weeks and a friend of our family isn’t able to make it, so she decided to just have a gift shipped to our apartment. And it got here today!! Bruce knew I was excited so he let me open it even though he wasn’t home (how awesome is my fiance?!). It was a really nice set of steak knives that we had put on our registry. What’s nice about them is that they come in a case that you can fold up and stack away nicely. I was SO excited. Not because I eat steak all the time, but because it’s the first present!! And not because I’m so materialistic that I need presents to be happy (although who doesn’t like presents?) but because it just means that the wedding (and the marriage of course) is that much closer!!!!! It’s real. My life, my future with Bruce. It’s real. On our way home last night (isn’t it amazing how I can link my first wedding present to faith and Ash Wednesday) we were having a conversation about our parents and their spirituality. We talked about some of the things that we liked about the ways our parents expressed their spirituality and some of the things that we do that are unique to us. This conversation lasted throughout the ride home and started up again before we went to bed. At that point the conversation moved to how we would raise our children in the church and how we would express our beliefs in front of them. Children. Scary. But cool. That conversation moved to raising kids in general, and we both agreed that what we were doing at that moment (laying in bed, eating junk food, playing video games and watching TV until we fell asleep) we would never let our own children do. So – needless to say – we’re not ready to have children yet!! But I think it’s good to think about all of this stuff now so we know the things that we need to work on before we make that decision.
Anyway, it’s Thursday which means one more day until the weekend. I’ve got a lot going on right now (it’s coming in on midterms, after all!!) but I’m trying to take things one day at a time. For Lent, I’m trying to pull together all of the disciplines of my life – spiritual, mental, emotional and physical. And I know they all bleed into one another, so I’m hoping that when I work on little things in one, the others will start to improve as well.
Blessings to you all as we enter in on this 40 day Lenten journey. May you find peace in both your sufferings and your joys.
Peace & Grace,
Sarah
Come and Fill
Come and fill our hearts with your peace
You alone O Lord are holy
Come and fill our hearts with you peace
Alleluia

The Saga of the iPod Continues … Live from an iTouch

22 Feb

Here I am … Blogging from Bruce’s iTouch. I still haven’t made my decision about whether or not I’m going to replace my (old but still perfectly good) iPod. I’m using safari which is making it difficult to see the whole screen. There are blogging applicatins but they’re not free and I would love to try them out before I actually get one of these things.

Does anyone use a blogger application on an iTouch or iPhone? I need some weigh in!! Bruce just told me there are reviews on it … I should look at those.

I know this shouldn’t be this complicated.

The Battle of the iPods

21 Feb


Bruce thinks I need an iPod Touch.   I keep telling him that I have a perfectly good iPod, but he seems to think I need an upgrade.  Granted – my iPod is an iPod Mini, part of the first generation that Apple put out.  I bought it over four years ago.  But it still works!!  Why replace something that still works?  part of me knows that even an 8G iTouch can do SO much more than my scratched up 4G iPod mini.  I could watch movies, connect to the internet, check my e-mail, instant message friends and family, download apps and more.  And I could do this ALL while listening to music, which is pretty much all I can do with my current iPod.  I could probably even download an app that’s a tuner – which would mean I would no longer need to buy a new tuner for my saxophone (because I lost mine sometime in the move to Atlanta).  So technically – I would be saving myself money elsewhere, right?

But let me got back to my original point – why replace something that still works?  I hate the consumerist attitude that is instilled in Americans that we have to have the latest this and that.  I hate the fact that I feel like I need to keep up with the Joneses.  Are the Joneses really that much better off than I am?  I have an amazing fiance, wonderful family, fabulous friends, a church and denomination that I usually agree with and am getting a top notch education.  The Joneses have NOTHING on me!!!!!
Okay, perhaps you’re thinking – Sarah, it’s just an iPod.  But today it’s just an iPod.  Tomorrow it may be a house or a private school for my children.  I don’t know.  My iPod has been so good to me!!  I don’t think I’m quite ready to replace it yet.
Life is extremely busy right now – though I’m trying to steal away enough time for myself, for Bruce and for meditation and prayer.  I’ve been thinking lately about the long runs I used to go on in college.  Running used to be a really good release for me – now that my knees aren’t as put together as they used to be, I’m not sure what is a good replacement.  I’ve got a lot of other releases but none that give me an equivalent to a runner’s high.  So for right now I’m just going to try to focus on everything else and pray that something will come to me.
On a happy-wedding-related note (I know I’ve been focusing so much on the negative so I’m LOVING the fact that I have something happy to report!!) I found out today that Melanie, a really wonderful friend of my family (she lived with us for a year and visited several other times through an exchange program from Germany when I was in middle school) is going to fly to the states for my wedding!!!!!  I am absolutely thrilled and honored!!  It’s such a long trip and I’m elated that she thinks my wedding is worth it.
I suppose in the meantime I should get back to homework.  That’s what Saturdays are for, after all!!  I took trip back in time this morning and watched “The Babysitter’s Club” movie – it was free on demand.  It definitely brought me back to the days when I had read the entire series several times over!!  But break’s over – time to be a seminary student!!
Grace and Peace,
Sarah 🙂

Tornados in February?

19 Feb

Seriously?!?!  Tornados in February?  It’s 61 degrees and humid right now.  We are under a tornado warning/watch.  People are calling the news and reporting tennis ball – sized hail storms.

I’m confused.  Isn’t it February?  Isn’t it supposed to be cold with perhaps a snow storm thrown in once or twice?  Shouldn’t I be cursing my front-wheel drive car right about now as my tires squeal and get me only partway up the driveway, leaving me to slide back in neutral, park at the bottom and walk up the hill in heals, which are not necessarily conducive to icy conditions? (Do you get the feeling this was a common occurrence?)
And yet … tornados!!  Creepy warm weather!!  Humidity that is causing my hair to frizz!!
A friend of mine from college was in Atlanta presenting a paper at a philosophy conference (I like to think she came down because it was my birthday and she wanted to see me!!) and we had coffee on Saturday night.  One of the first things she said to me was that it’s only been a year and a half and she can already hear some southern twang when I talk.  I have a feeling that the accent may be the only thing I’ll pick up while I’m down here.  Love of this weather most likely will NOT be!!
Craziness.

Remembering What’s Important

16 Feb

After a somewhat stressful weekend dealing with the wedding plans, I’ve spent part of the day trying to remember what this is all about.  When I close my eyes and take a deep breath I see Bruce’s face – not the rest of the drama that is stressing me out.  I started to think about this Faith Hill song today, “Lost.”  It just seems to sum up what I need to keep reminding myself.

Lost

Is it obvious to you
When you walk into a room
Your face is all I see
And my heart races so fast
I never knew a rush to feel like that
Everytime you’re touching me

I never did believe in anything
I couldn’t hold between my fingers
But the way you make me feel
It’s just so real the way it lingers

I get lost inside your stare
Lost when you’re not there
And everything I have
Doesn’t mean a thing if it’s without you
If it’s a dream
Don’t wake me up
I’ll scream if this isn’t love
If bein’ lost means never knowin’ how it feels without you
I wanna stay lost forever
I wanna stay lost forever.. with you.

No this feelin’ doesn’t end
It’s with me everywhere I am
Hope it never goes away
It’s like defying gravity
I’m losing all control in bein’ free
And I always wanna stay

I never thought that I’d let go long enough
To fall for someone deeply
Who had the power to erase my fears
And find me so completely

I get lost inside your stare
Lost when you’re not there
And everything I have
Doesn’t mean a thing if it’s without you
If it’s a dream
Don’t wake me up
I’ll scream if this isn’t love
If bein’ lost means never knowin’ how it feels without you
I wanna stay lost..

Don’t tell me where we’re goin’
I don’t wanna know
I like the mystery
I can’t believe we’ve come this far
So far away from where we started off
You found me when I wasn’t lookin’
You found me..

And now I’m lost inside your stare
Lost when you’re not there
And everything I have
Doesn’t mean a thing if it’s without you
Without you..
If it’s a dream
Don’t wake me up
I’ll scream if this isn’t love
If bein’ lost means never knowin’ how it feels without you
Yeah..
If bein’ lost means never knowin’ how it feels without you
Oh..
If bein’ lost means that I’m never gonna be without you..
I wanna stay lost forever..
I wanna stay lost forever
..With you.


Bruce and I have come so far since we first met – both scarred from past relationships, both not interested in meeting anyone, both trying to put our individuality first.  I don’t think we said two words to each other that day.  Then we met again … and we were both in better places.  We happened to strike up a conversation – one that continues to this day.  This is just another part of the journey.  I can’t imagine walking it with anyone else.

Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad …

14 Feb

One of the worst parts of the beginning of the semester is that you really have no idea where you stand, grade wise.  I know, I know – grades aren’t supposed to be what matter, especially when there are so many other things that I need to be learning in preparation for ordination.  But let’s face it – that bottom line is important.  So – for the first month / month and a half of the semester you have no idea where you stand.  Yesterday I got my first glimpse into where I stand.  I picked up my final exam for my Nonprofit Leadership class (the class I took in January) and I got an A- on it!!  Whew.  One of the reasons that last semester kicked my butt was because of the exams – getting an A- restored some of my confidence in my academic skills.

Then came preaching.  We handed in an exegesis last week in preparation for our first sermon.  The assignment was EXTREMELY vague on the syllabus and not very well explained in class.  I was concerned when I turned it in that I hadn’t really done what I was supposed to have done.  I was pleasantly surprised, however, when the paper was returned to me today and I had gotten an A-.
That brings me to New Testament.  How can such a beautiful collection of books be quickly becoming the bane of my existence?  Anyway, last semester I had to turn in a text critical analysis of the Lord’s Prayer (anyone remember my “It’s all Greek to me” post?) and I knew as soon as the conversation got going in colloquy that day that I should have gone a completely different direction with the paper.  I ended up with a B- on that paper.  So – two out of three in terms of grades that I’m happy with this week.  I’ll take that for right now.
If I look past the inevitable letter-shaped ink blots that seem to cause entirely too much stress, there really have been wonderful things going on in my life.  My birthday was yesterday and it was WONDERFUL!!  Bruce had surprised me with an early present last week at Jon’s house but had been keeping very quiet about my other present.  He said it was something that I hadn’t asked for so I was extremely perplexed.  Since my birthday fell on a Thursday and I don’t have class on Thursday’s I slept in and then relaxed in bed with the remote in my hand.  I got moving around 10:30 and took the scooter to Emory to meet Stacey for lunch.  The weather has been so incredibly gorgeous lately and it is so much to ride the scooter!!  Stacey and I had lunch, met up with her boyfriend and then I had a meeting with my preaching group.  I didn’t mean being at school because it wasn’t really a stressful day and sometimes you just need to walk down a hall an run into all sorts of people who you adore!!  If you think about it – it’s the perfect way to spend a birthday.  I got home and waited for Bruce who told me that I wasn’t supposed to do work on my birthday – while I waited I scrapbooked and bargained with Lilly to try to keep her from sitting on the scrapbook that I was working on.  Bruce walked in with flowers and balloons (Lilly wasn’t sure what to do with the balloons) and then surprised me with a gift certificate for an hour-long massage at a downtown spa!!  How incredible is he!!  I can’t wait to make my appointment.  We went out to dinner and then came home for cake.  I got to talk to my parents and my sister and got a bunch of other messages that made me smile (to those of you whose calls I missed I WILL return them, I promise!!) and got lots of love on facebook.  We lounged around for the rest of the night watching Treasure Quest and some BBC show about cars (it’s funnier than it sounds).  It really was a great day.  My 24th birthday was SUCH a wonderful way to start off the next year of my life.  TABULA RASA!!
On another note, I started thinking about seminary today.  Jon and I were talking during our preaching class about how tough this year has been for us.  I’ve heard people say that Candler does everything that they can to break us down and then try to build us back up using their mold.  It actually offends a lot of people who liked the person they were when they came to seminary.  I had never really bought into this particular theory.  I don’t really like the thought that an institution is trying to mold and shape who I am as a Christian.  It’s a strange concept.  But I started thinking about it in another way.  Rather than being broken down to be formed according to a mold, I think there is some truth to the fact that we are being broken down to be more humble.  So many of us come to seminary sure of our call.  Even if we really don’t know what we want to do or where we want to end up, many of us feel fairly confident in our knowledge of what we’re getting into.  But we really don’t.  We’ll never know everything that we need to know.  We’ll never even come close.  And honestly I think we need to be kicked down – well, I can’t speak for everyone, but I think I needed to be kicked down.  It’s not that I didn’t understand humility before I got here, I just think I needed my confidence to be shaken a little bit.  Because if I can make it through this I can make it through some of the challenges that I will face in the ministry.  At least now I’m facing challenges in the confines and comforts of seminary.
I think this revelation has been building lately.  And while it’s been building something else clicked in me and I’ve managed to get back in touch with some of my friends that I’ve lost touch with since Bruce and I moved down to Atlanta.  It’s really been amazing and it feels great to talk to people on a more regular basis that I used to see every day.
So now it’s the weekend.  After a couple of mishaps this week, organizational-wise, I’ve decided to make sure I go into next week on top of my game.  Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, but it’s never been a really big holiday for Bruce and me so I think he is going to go fishing and I’m going to hopefully make myself a game plan.
I’ll try to get some good pictures of my beautiful flowers and balloons later on in the weekend!!  I want to show them off!!
Love to all,
Sarah 🙂

The Wood Shop

12 Feb

There’s something so magical about something that is handmade.  Not only is there a sense of uniqueness, but there is also a sense of intimacy, a sense that the person who made what you have poured so much of who they are into something that you now hold in your hands.  I’m always honored when someone is willing to share something they’ve made with me.

A good friend of mine, Jon Chapman, told me about his father’s website a couple of weeks ago.  His father is a retired engineer and has been spending a lot of time in his wood shop.  He’s decided to share his wonderful gifts and talents and by selling some of his projects.  I would STRONGLY encourage everyone to check out his site!!  You can access it by clicking on the picture in the top left corner of my blog.
I would also encourage everyone to check out Mr. Chapman’s blog:  AS THE WOOD TURNS.  There he talks about each of his pieces in depth – their stories, their meanings and their development.
Check it out!!

On Being Selfish:

10 Feb

(concerning the time I spend with Bruce)

“We’re girls, in love … it happens”

Wonderful words of advice from my friend Alex.

No Wonder I Have A Headache

7 Feb

The temperature went from below freezing with a windchill close to zero to this in three days.  Have I mentioned how much I don’t like Georgia winters?

It’s All Greek to Me

6 Feb

Literally.

Πάτερ ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς·
ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου·
ἐλθέτω ἡ βασιλεία σου·
γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου, ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς·
τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸν ἐπιούσιον δὸς ἡμῖν σήμερον·
καὶ ἄφες ἡμῖν τὰ ὀφειλήματα ἡμῶν,
ὡς καὶ ἡμεῖς ἀφίεμεν τοῖς ὀφειλέταις ἡμῶν·
καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν,
ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ.
[Ὅτι σοῦ ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία καὶ ἡ δύναμις καὶ ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας. ἀμήν.]

I’m supposed to be doing a text critical analysis of the Lord’s Prayer (as found in Matthew and Luke) and I am completely at a loss for what to say.  How am I supposed to do a text critical analysis without being able to read the text in its original Greek?  Even though there are English resources that we’ve been given it still references the Greek and my eyes are just accustomed to glancing over character-like ink blots.  I realize Greek is an ancient and beautiful language, but to me it’s just a series of character-like ink blots.
And I’m staring at my own version of a character-like ink blot.  It’s called a blinking cursor.