Archive | March, 2009

"Tale as old as time … "

31 Mar

What a whirlwind of a weekend!!

After both of us getting soaked in the rain on Friday morning, Bruce and I headed to the airport in the afternoon.  We both took our shoes off in the car and cranked the air vents in an effort to have dry feet for the plane.  We were somewhat successful.  We got to the airport and our flight was 45 minutes delayed.  Then an hour and a half.  And the terminal was FULL of people who were stranded because of the monsoon-like storms that had flooded Atlanta throughout the day.  We decided to go and get something to eat and look at who we ran into!!  I was looking at something on my phone and telling Bruce a story and all of a sudden he tapped me and said “Sarah look who it is?!”  I didn’t respond so he tapped me harder and said “SARAH LOOK WHO IT IS?!”  My Aunt Jennifer!!  She was in Atlanta from Daytona Beach for a bunch of business meetings for Merck and was stranded with a delayed flight because of rain as well.  I guess she had been there for five days but literally had been in a conference room that entire time.  Bruce and I thought it was good that we ran into her at the airport, because even if she had the time during her week to see us, we probably wouldn’t have!!  So our delayed flight and her delayed flight ended up being a wonderful blessing in disguise.  We actually ended up being some of the lucky ones – both of our flights managed to take off only about two hours after they were supposed to (that was actually good considering some of the stories we were hearing) and the flight was fairly smooth, all things considered.
We landed, got our luggage and met my mom outside of HPN.  She took us straight to the high school so we could see the end of the show.  Bethany was texting me on the way saying that she thought we would make it for the transformation of the beast.  We got to the high school and the doors were locked!!  I texted Bethany and told her the doors were locked and three seconds later saw her running to the doors.  She slammed them open and yelled:  “Hurry up, the beast is transforming!!”  So she and I took off, leaving my mom and Bruce to explain to the security guards what was going on.  The simple explanation of “I’m Bob Keck’s wife” was apparently enough for the security guards and Bruce and my mom weren’t far behind us.  We got into the theater just as the smoke started and the roses lit up – and the beast was transformed into the prince!!  It’s magic.
After the show, we went to the choreographer’s house for an adult cast party.  It was fun for me to be able to relax and not be in Connecticut for meetings and to feel like I had to be on top of my game.  We got home around 3 in the morning and went to sleep.
The next morning we got up and got ready for a day at the high school.  Because my dad knew Disney would attract families and girl scout troops alike, he added another matinee this year – the second Saturday.  The first show was at 2 p.m. and it was WONDERFUL.  I started crying during the song “Beauty & The Beast.”  During the second show I started crying before intermission!!  The show was really THAT good (and there’s also something about Disney).
Sunday morning we went to church and I’m happy to say that I got to talk to most of the people who I had missed when I was there two weeks ago.  Lynn was back in church and overwhelmed by the support she received when Natasha died.  I told her that I finally had to stop watching the news because it was making me so upset to see a family trying to grieve with cameras in their face and she looked like the paparazzi had been as bad as they seemed.  She also told me that a group from the Westboro Baptist Church had flown in to protest Natasha’s funeral because she supported AIDS research (for more information click HERE).  This was the same group that tried to protest Heath Ledger’s funeral for his role in “Brokeback Mountain.”  I was absolutely horrified when I heard this.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion about homosexuality and even to its link to the spread of AIDS (even if I think they’re wrong, to put it nicely) but every family allows to grieve the loss of a loved one and no one has the right to take that away from them.  Plain and simple.  I will not disagree with someone’s opinion on homosexuality, but I’m horrified that this church puts this kind of distress on God’s children in the name of the Christian Church and Salvation through Jesus Christ.  It’s pathetic.
Anyway, some friends of mine were also in church and they had very exciting news – they’re expecting a baby!!  She’s about eight weeks pregnant so she has a long way to go, but that gives me plenty of time to knit a blanket.  This is the second person who has told me they’re pregnant in the last couple of weeks and I can think of at least four friends to have welcomed babies so far this year – is there something in the water?!  I’m really happy for all of these wonderful parents – and happy to be the one spoiling their children and handing them back when they start crying!!
We had a fairly lazy afternoon at my parent’s house.  We had a birthday lunch for Bruce and then started slowly packing.  There were a couple more bridal shower gifts that Bruce and I wanted to bring back so we borrowed a suitcase from my parents and got ready to head to the airport.  When I checked us in, the flight was showing that it was on time.  Not for long.  By the time Bruce and I got to the airport, the sheriff standing outside told my mom to wait because a lot of flights were being cancelled.  Our flight wasn’t cancelled, but the plane we were supposed to be getting on was currently in Orlando and not expected to leave for another hour and a half.  We asked if we could get on the 7:30 flight the next morning, got new tickets and headed back to my parent’s house.  We ended up having a really nice night; we ordered pizza and watched March Madness and I worked on my exegesis for my Friday colloquy sermon.
The next morning was something of a fiasco.  The airport was packed, we were still standing in the ticket line as our flight started to board, Bruce got stopped going through security because of the guacamole stone we were bringing back and we got stuck in a traffic jam of people trying to get to the gate.  We raced through the tunnel and on the plane.  At this point I hadn’t had coffee and was very cranky.
We actually landed earlier than anticipated and our luggage came right out.  We took MARTA back to our car and I was starting to feel worn and cranky.  This eventually led to me crying in our parking lot because one of my bags had fallen over and everything had fallen out.  Not worth crying over for sure and at that point Bruce told me I needed to take a nap.
I did take him up on the suggestion to take a nap, although I first tried to outline a paper that I had due for Dr. Lartey’s pastoral care today.  I normally don’t outline papers, but I’ve been going through a phase lately and it actually has been helping me out a lot!!  So I sketched a rough outline, took a nap and wrote the paper.  And I’m actually fairly happy with it, too.  I was nervous about that paper and my sermon exegesis that was due today so I was relieved the paper wrote easily and I was able to wake up and focus on my sermon exegesis (which I finished this morning, e-mailed to my colloquy group leader and she returned it with an A on it!!).  So even though I got ZERO work done this weekend, it ended up working out for the best because I got to see the show and my papers were turned in on time!!
Anyway, I’m slowly getting back into the week.  I’m trying to get things accomplished, but having more luck in certain places than in other places.  I’m just trying to keep myself focused for the rest of the week.  Tomorrow’s Wednesday – halfway there!!  No matter how tired I am this week, the weekend was AMAZING.  People kept asking me if I was excited to see my dad’s show and I didn’t want to say yes because I didn’t want to jinx it (what if the flight got cancelled, etc.) but now that I’ve seen it I will say that I was jittering and rambling with excitement all of last week and I am SO HAPPY I was able to be there.  I will never be able to thank my parents enough for making it possible for Bruce and me to be there – for my dad for offering his own money and pushing the issue and for my mom for making multiple airport trips and rearranging her own schedule.  The phrase “thank you” just doesn’t seem like enough to express my total gratitude.  But for now – Thank You.
Until next time y’all,
Sarah

Cranky

26 Mar
I would seriously like to apologize to anyone who may have come into my wrath this week. Perhaps not even wrath – quiet and seclusion is more like it. I don’t think I’ve been a good friend to anyone in Atlanta since I got back from spring break.

I’ve been in a funk – and I couldn’t figure out what it was all about. I might even go as far to say that I have had an underlying crankiness ever since I landed in Atlanta.  Yesterday I was driving up to Marietta to pick up Bruce and then go to church and I was extremely cranky. I pulled my iPod out, thinking that music would put me in a better mood. Nothing seemed to be working. Faith Hill wasn’t working, Tim McGraw wasn’t working … even James Taylor wasn’t working!! Shocking, I know … So then I thought perhaps showtunes were the cure. I tried Fiddler, Guys and Dolls and Thoroughly Modern Millie – nothing worked. The thought suddenly crossed my mind that I should listen to Beauty & the Beast. It’s amazing how quickly my mood lifted when I heard the orchestra start the overture.

I should be in Connecticut right now – plain and simple. The New Milford High School All School Musical is something that defines much of who the Keck Family is and I’m not there to take part in it right now. That sucks. There’s no nicer way for me to say it. It sucks.

I love Atlanta – and I need to be here right now.  I need to be at Emory.  The education that I’m getting is invaluable.  Bruce and I needed to get out on our own and really learn about each other and about ourselves.  I needed to live in a different part of the country, particularly a part where racial tension is still high – I needed to understand the realities that some people are still living in.  And most importantly – I needed to meet y’all you I love, adore and cherish.  And I know I’ve been distant.  And I know it’s hard for me sometimes.  But I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
In the meantime I’m supposed to be packing for our trip to Connecticut, but I’m currently doing laundry and getting nowhere.  I went to do the laundry yesterday and found extremely potent damp sheets in the washing machine – I’m pretty sure they were from almost a week before.  Eww.  So needless to say I put those sheets through two cycles last night and then they dried overnight.  So that set me back on laundry.  Oh well.  I THINK I know what I want to pack – so hopefully it shouldn’t be TOO bad.  Hopefully.  It’s only a weekend, why do I always make this so complicated?!?!?!
In other news – you all should read this article.  For everything there is a season.  This is just another reminder that for every one of God’s children that cries out, another one rejoices.  Sometimes all we can do is pray and thank God for the blessings in our lives.
Peace & Grace,
Sarah

My Reflections: MIA

25 Mar

Over the weekend I told Kari that I felt like my blog posts were getting mundane – more of a recap of my life without any kind of reflection on it.  As soon as I said that to her the thought crossed my mind that maybe this in and of itself is a reflection on the way my life has been lately.  I’ve been so busy and trying to keep all of the pieces of my life organized that I really haven’t had a lot of time to reflect on anything lately.

I decided to press the pause button on my life this morning and go to the spa.  Bruce surprised me with a gift certificate for a massage on my birthday and I hadn’t had a chance to cash in on it – and after a face-numbing headache wiped out my entire day last Wednesday, I started to think that I needed to force myself to cash in on it – otherwise I may never do it.  I called and made an appointment yesterday and showed up at the spa promptly at 10 a.m. this morning.
I don’t know how many of you have had massages, but they’re pretty incredible.  Not only what they do for your body, but also what they do for your mind.  You’re pretty much forced to sit still for a certain period of time and breath as someone grinds out the knots that have been growing in your muscles.  But all of this happens in such a relaxing way.
At first you’re not really sure what to do, what to think about.  Should you talk to your massage therapist?  What do you think they’re thinking about?  Should you keep your eyes open or closed?  These were all the thoughts that were going through my head.  By then my massage therapist hit a nerve – literally.  She cracked a knot in a muscle in my shoulder that sent tingling movement down my arms.  Then I felt it in my head, then down my legs.  It’s amazing how connected our bodies are.  What happens in one part of your body really does affect what happens in another.
As I laid on the massage table feeling the affects of my spine down my fingers, I started to think about the Body of Christ.  I’ve been using that metaphor a lot lately in talking not only about ecumenism, but also in talking about church hierarchy and pastoral authority.  In talking about church hierarchy and pastoral authority, I remind people that all parts of the Body of Christ are crucial for a thriving Christian church – if you think about your body even something as seemingly small as a hangnail can make it difficult for a person to complete simple tasks.  But let’s think about the Body of Christ in terms of my massage – I could literally FEEL the effects of a knot being broken up in my upper back down my arms and legs.  That’s incredible.  Such is the case in the Body of Christ – you can feel the effects of one part in another.  When one hurts, we all hurt.  When one rejoices, we all rejoice.  We are all connected to one another throughout our beliefs and convictions.
The music that they played in this spa was incredible.  At first it was kind of celtic and eventually became the sounds of an ocean.  But I honestly couldn’t tell you when the change happened.  I was really overcome by the power that exists in me – through others.
All this AND my muscles are loosened up.  Incredible.
It’s a shame that I had to go to work afterwards.  But I walked in with a new attitude – and any time I started to get frustrated, I thought about my state of relaxation.  And something must have worked – after work I got home and managed to get through next week’s Con. Ed. assignment.
Today I learned the importance of hitting the pause button on life in order to reflect on what’s going on around you.  Otherwise – where’s the meaning in life?

First Day of Spring

20 Mar
I’ve often said that while fall is my favorite season, spring is the season I always need the most. And never has it been more true than this year.

It’s been one of those weeks. I literally hit the ground running when my plane landed on Sunday night and I have no idea where the past couple of days have gone.  Part of it has been Natasha – I’ve been so sad for Lynn and her family that I haven’t even looked at the news.  I don’t want the media’s commentary on her death.  I just want to be sad and pray and let life be still.  So – needless to say – I’m out of touch with what’s going on in the rest of the world.
I’m ready for school to be over.  I feel like I’m at a point where Candler has laid a solid foundation for pastoral ministry and the rest can be filled in through experience.  I’m frustrated with a lot of my classes this semester and just all-in-all am ready for the year to be over.  There’s a good chance I will have a renewed sense of excitement for school after the wedding – with the plans consuming a lot of my life, it’s hard to even want to focus on anything else.  I really just need to put some blinders on when I’m working on school stuff, get it done and get on with it!!

Daddy’s show opens tonight.  I HATE the fact that I’m not there for opening night, but next week just made so much more sense.  And I’ll be happy to be there.  But it’s still hard to be away right now.  It’s just a reminder of how ready I am to fly back to (or closer to, anyway) the coup.  I spread my wings in a big way by moving to Atlanta and it’s been so wonderful for us.  But I will be happier when Bruce and I are closer to our families so we can be around for the big things (without having to think far ahead and deal with flying).  This picture was one that I took last week when I was watching them run through Act 1.  Half of the cast is in costume because the press showed up so the costume and prop ladies scrambled so there would be so good shots in the paper.  This was taken during “Be Our Guest” (about 45 seconds before the confetti canons went off!!)
… and now for something that doesn’t involve me complaining (because there are lots of good things going on right now!!) … 
My cousin Jodi is in Atlanta on business and her business actually took her to Emory today!!  She and I had coffee after her meeting and it was really nice to be able to catch up with her.  I didn’t see her much at her wedding (she was making the rounds) so it was fun to see how married life is, how life in D.C. is and also get her perspective on some of my own wedding glitches.  Having the whole planning process fresh in her mind, she had a lot of really good tips for me.  The funny thing is – her mom is actually at my parent’s house right now with some of my other family for my dad’s show!!  It’s like a multi-state reunion!!  It’s strange how you take extended family for granted, grow up, semi-enter the real world and miss getting to see them all the time.
I’ve heard from Neal a few times this week!!  It’s so great to just know that he’s a click of a button away and is the same Neal who used to live two houses down from me in college.  He’s part of a wonderful ministry over there right now – he’s sent several pictures treating Iraqi children for minor infections, etc.  I love seeing him do what I know he’s called to do.
I managed to send out all of my Thank You notes from my bridal shower on Tuesday, which was a big relief.  I never got a chance to post pictures of the shower – so I thought I would give you all a window into some of the fun!!

FiestaWare!!  I love it and can’t wait to complete the set and host wonderfully bright dinner parties!!
A beautiful photo album.  People brought tons of albums and frames which is going to be SO wonderful after the wedding when I have lots of pictures that need organizing and hung.  I can’t wait!!
Me and my “bouquet” – no one explained to me that I wasn’t supposed to break any ribbons and I broke three!!  AHH!!!!!  If anyone wants my breaks, I’ll be happy to let you have them. 🙂
Three Hungarian Women.  Intense.
With Peace, Hope & Love,
Sarah

Rest in Peace Natasha Richardson

19 Mar

With sorrow, Natasha’s family released a statement this evening that she has passed on. My heart breaks for their family.

*For everything there is a season*

Update

18 Mar

Natasha has been flown to NYC.  The family hasn’t released an update on her condition yet – and while the press is predicting the worst, that is no reason to stop praying.  Prayer works, miracles happen and God’s children are blessed every day.

With all of you in prayer,
Sarah

Prayer Request

17 Mar

Please keep Natasha Richardson in your prayers.  She is in critical condition following a skiing accident yesterday.

Natasha is the niece of Lynn Redgrave (daughter of Vanessa).  Lynn is a member of my church in Connecticut and has become a wonderful friend of my family over the past several years.  Our thoughts and prayers are with her and her entire family during this difficult time.
MSNBC has been updating as reports have come in.
Thanks for your prayers,
Sarah

Overwhelmed with Gratitude

16 Mar

That’s how I’m feeling right now. It was really an incredible week in Connecticut. I’ve barely had time to stop and think, much less blog, so I’m taking this opportunity – 30,000 feet in the air with no desire to pull out my Nonprofit Leadership final – to catch everybody up (I obviously won’t post until I actually get home). Bear with me – I know this is long, but I had some extremely touching, memorable and some surreal experiences this week that I think you’d be curious to hear about.

I flew out on Tuesday afternoon. I took the train to the airport since Bruce was working. Everything was really smooth with the exception of the fact that I over packed (as usual) so I was carting around a lot of stuff. The funniest thing I had to carry with me was one of my heavy winter coats – it was 80 degrees when I left Atlanta but I knew I would need it in Connecticut (and I was right!!). The flight into White Plains, NY (HPN) was smooth. I had actually landed, got to baggage claim, grabbed my suitcase and was out on the curb waiting for my mom to pull around before I was supposed to have landed!! My mom was still on I-684 when I landed so I had to wait which made me laugh considering how often I’ve waited close to hours for people coming into Hartsfield Jackson in Atlanta (ATL). My mom was so sweet when I landed – she took me straight to the high school so I could see my dad and the state of his musical. I know this is always a really hard time for my mom – my dad and Bethany are so busy with musical stuff and rarely home and I appreciated her bringing me there. I miss not being a part of my dad’s shows. It was such a part of my life for SO long and now there’s just not much I can do from Atlanta.

We went home and by then Bethany’s train from the city had come in so we went out to dinner at Kent Pizza Garden. I secretly wanted to go out because I had a 75% chance of running into someone that I knew – and I was right!! That night Barbara and I went down to Bulls Bridge to sit by the fire, drink and eat chocolate cake. Perfect, right?

Wednesday morning my mom and I were off and running. We went to the First Congregational Church of Washington for a discussion on our regional minister’s dissertation. The chapter that we were discussing was on clergy authority and it was something that I hadn’t really thought about theologically before, only systematically and logistically. Mike Ciba (the regional minister) was really great at leading the discussion and I felt like I could speak up (and we joked about how I could tell them “what they were teaching in Seminary these days”). The one strange part about the discussion was the fact that the church in Washington was the first church I remember going to. When I was born, my mom was serving a church in Monroe, Connecticut, but moved to Washington to be the Director of Christian Education. We never lived in Washington, so we played a strange role in the church as pastor’s children (and husband) and I remember little about the church. But what I do remember? My memories were dead on. It’s so strange – I remembered things like the stairs leading up to the offices, the wall of clergy portraits, the island in the kitchen and the front lawn. It was strange and surreal. But it felt good to be back.

The discussion went until 2:30 and my mom and I raced back up to Kent for a meeting with my florist, a local woman in Kent. We met her at her house and looked through books and magazines and settled on some ideas for her to run with. I told her that honestly she was the expert and I trusted her judgment. I showed her a picture of my dress, the girls’ dresses, the tuxes and I’m confident she will do a beautiful job. From there we ran back to my parents’ house to take the dogs for a walk and then down to the liquor store to talk to Ira, the owner, about our alcohol options for the wedding. He gave us WONDERFUL suggestions, cost cutting and cost effectiveness suggestions, food for thought (drinks for thought?) and said we could plan the rest by e-mail!! I love when I can do things by e-mail. So then we went back to my parents house, took the dogs out (noticing a trend with the dogs?) and then met Bethany and the caterers at the community house. We talked through the menu one more time (we had actually settled on that a couple of months ago) and then looked at setup. We actually took tables out and set up half of the room so we know how where the buffet and appetizer trays are going to go and how the seating chart will look. We hauled all the tables back, the caterers left and then my cake bakers showed up. I adore both of them. Wendy goes to my church and I’m friends with her three daughters. I used to work for Caralee when she owned (what is now) The Villager. She gave me full reign over the restaurant over the summers and I loved it!! I was in such great shape the summers I waitressed. She’s also a big Packers fan, so Bruce liked her right away. Anyway, I digress – the cake is going to be FIVE TIERS. How incredible is that. I tried to draw a sketch of what I would like and what would work with what they were used to doing and I think we landed on a happy medium.

My mom and I got home after a LONG day and collapsed. I talked to Bruce on Skype (thank you to whoever created webcams!!) and I fell sound asleep. I woke up groggy but needed to get moving quickly because I had an 11:30 meeting with my Church & Ministry Committee and was meeting Micki (my mentor or “Yoda” as I’ve been calling her) at 10:45 for coffee. My mom went to work for an hour, I took the dogs out and she and I headed to Goshen, Connecticut. She met with C&M first to talk about how the church is while Micki and I had coffee and then I took the hot seat. I thought the meeting went well – I was honestly in a little bit of a fog because of the day before, but I got good responses and felt like I answered the questions they posed as prayerfully as possible. Mike Ciba (the regional minister whose dissertation I was discussing the day before) was there and asked what I wanted to do post-graduation. I was completely thrown off by the question because I wasn’t expecting it!! But I was so grateful that he asked because now I know that they are thinking about it and really want me to do so as well so I have something to do come next June. I have such a great committee!! After the meeting was the clergy luncheon and then the executive council met – I’m obviously not on the executive council but my mom is so I had and tried to do homework. We raced home afterwards to take the dogs out and grab my bridal gown and everything that goes with it. Then it was down to Danbury for my fitting. The fitting was another surreal experience for me – I’m going to be a bride!!

Bethany met us at David’s Bridal for the fitting and then she and I went to the high school so I could see my dad’s students rehearse Act One. For those of you who don’t know, my dad is a high school choral director and directs the All School Musical every year and has for close to 30 years. I literally grew up in the theater – on nights when my dad would have rehearsal and my mom had meetings at the church, Daddy took Bethany and me to rehearsal and we got passed around the cast and stage managers. His shows have become quite the production and are extremely professionally done. And I’m not just saying that because he’s my dad. They really are something to be seen. My dad was awarded Teacher of the Year at the beginning of the year and my mom and sister and I were (and continue to be) SO proud of him. This year they are putting on Beauty and the Beast and everything is bigger and better than I have ever seen. Complete with smoke machines, animated roses, confetti canons and a rain curtain. Right before the rehearsal started, two things happened. I was sitting in my dad’s office with Jonathan Grauer, the band director, and one of Jon’s students walked in. Jon introduced me to him as “Mr. Keck’s daughter.” I realized at that moment that I no longer have an identity at New Milford High School – my real connection is through my father, I am that far removed. SO strange. So then Jon showed me the video of his marching band’s show from that fall. The band has come so far from where they were when I was drum major. I’m so proud of the music program!! So I sat through rehearsal and got home in time for the ER reunion. I haven’t watched the show in years, but the reunion was well worth it to see.

Exhausted again, I told my mom that we were NOT going to drive to New Haven the next day to go to IKEA. I was too tired. She protested a little, but I think she was grateful for a day off. She met with her accountant in the morning (tax season) and then we literally laid around for much of the early afternoon. Then she and I went to the AT&T store to replace our phones, home to walk and bath the dogs and then had dinner with Courtney. Wow – bathing two little dogs is an experience, that’s for sure!! I’m so happy Lilly cleans herself. We met Courtney at Pizza Garden (again) and ran into even more people. We almost closed the place down, came home and collapsed.

This brings me to Saturday morning (have you noticed I’ve been doing a lot but not a whole lot of homework?) – my bridal shower!! And talk about being SHOWERED. I was showered with gifts, affection and love. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect party. I’m touched that people are so excited about my wedding. As frustrating as the process can be at times, times like my shower make it all worth it. I wish I had gotten a chance to talk to everyone a little bit longer, but hopefully I made enough of an effort with everyone. I don’t think I will ever be able to thank Bethany enough for all she did for the shower – THANK YOU BETHANY!!!!! It was perfect and beautiful!! Courtney and I decided we needed to be pampered after the shower. We went and got mani/pedis in New Milford. I know it probably wasn’t the most productive use of my time, but I thought I needed the escape. The woman who owns the spa took great care of me because Courtney told her I was a bride to be and I didn’t get home until after 9. At that point I felt the need to get Bruce on Skype and pull out all my presents so he could see them. That took about two hours (I was also imputing CDs at the time). I went to bed late and was up and running on Sunday morning for church.

The First Congregational Church of Kent. It’s my sanctuary, it really is. I pull into the driveway and I feel like I’m home (I actually think the fact that the wedding is there will help with nerves before the ceremony). Since they were renewing their covenant with their liaison and social worker and the service was going to be a little bit different, my mom asked me to give an update on Seminary. It’s funny because for those of us who have gone through it or are going through it, the motions seem natural. But from the outside looking in it seems really unnatural, strange and confusing. I updated as best as I good, gave an overview of what’s going to happen next and then thanked everyone for their continued monetary support through the seminary scholarship fund. I was a little bit frustrated after church because I didn’t get a chance to talk to everyone, but I wanted to get into my conversations (more than a simple “how are you / good, how are you” type of thing). But I felt truly blessed to be part of a congregation where I’m overwhelmed by love every time I go back. It’s a gift, it really is. There is no other way to describe it.

After church I started the difficult task of packing. I knew I wasn’t going to bring anything breakable home with me, but I did want to try to get some of the non-breakables home. This wasn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be, but I did manage to squeeze some stuff into an extra carry on. Bethany brought me to the airport and we talked about our crazy heritage and she dropped me curbside, telling me to call if there were problems and she would turn around. But she really needed to get to the high school and work the box office for the musical. When I checked in the woman at the counter told me that the flight had been delayed until 8. We were supposed to leave at 6:30 and it was only 5. Oi. But it wasn’t worth Bethany turning around. So I tried to do some homework, but really needed to get online. My thank you notes were checked in my luggage, so I couldn’t do that so I flooded people’s inboxes with texts until they started to board. They boarded at 7:30, we all got settled, they pulled away from the gate, the engines were fired up, we got to the runway and the engines turned off. We were delayed into Atlanta so it wasn’t even worth taking off. I don’t remember what time we finally took off, but it’s 9:40 and we’re still in the air. Here’s something strange – I’m sitting next to two 20-somethings. One is a student at Emory and one went to Kent School and visited my mom’s church on certain weekends!! Strange. AirTran coincidence, I suppose. So that’s where I currently am. I do have a couple of things that kind of wrap up the whole week.

I will be back in Connecticut in two weeks to see my dad’s show closing weekend. I know this seems ridiculous, but it’s not. Bruce and I had been going back and forth on this – it was a time thing as well as a money thing. My mom told me before I left that she would split it if Bruce and I both wanted to go and my dad called me while I was boarding and said he would give me $200 out of his own money (he and my mom have set up their money so they each have “play” money) towards the ticket so I could be there and hopefully we could make up the difference with Bruce’s ticket. I almost cried. When I called my mom and told her I think she almost cried too. It’s not just a musical to us, it really is a family masterpiece and I am SO unbelievably touched, happy, thrilled, etc. that I will get to be there when the curtain goes up. My mom will book my flight as soon as I land and can call her with dates and times.

On a final note, when I turned in my Ursinus computer and transferred everything over to my new one, somehow I lost my Wicked soundtrack on iTunes. I’m not sure where it went. I burned Bethany’s copy onto my computer last night and was listening to it in the airport and stopped what I was doing when I heard the following line:

And this gift of this curse I have inside

Maybe at last I’ll know why

Elphaba (the “Wicked Witch”) sings this when her teacher tells her she has a gift and she thinks the Wizard will want to work with her. Elphaba had been struggling with her “quirk” and suddenly realized she needed to embrace it as something that is truly a gift. When I was in college, this line was inspiration to me as I made my journey to seminary. Most of my friends were getting science or education degrees and the concept of seminary was strange to most of them – me too, actually. I really didn’t know why. What good could I possibly do in the world with a “preacher voice” – did I really have substance to back it up? I thought/hoped/prayed seminary would help me find that out. Honestly – since I came to seminary, lost the soundtrack and stopped listening to the song, I hadn’t thought about searching for what Elphaba was.

And the truth is – because of everything I’ve reported on in this blog post – I’m starting to know why.

What an incredible week.

Give Me Back My Hour!!

9 Mar

Daylight savings time took an ENTIRE HOUR out of my Spring Break. Seriously? I don’t think that’s right!!

For some reason I just can’t get myself into this “spring forward” this time around. And I don’t just think it’s me – I’ve talked to a lot of people who are still back an hour in their head (and in their sleep schedule). Here’s my question – why do we have to do this on Sunday morning? Some of us have to get up for church!! It would be more helpful if we sprung forward on Friday night so Saturday morning and day could be spent getting into the groove of things so by Sunday I’m ready for church in the morning and not exhausted all day.

Our weekend was spent doing very little. On Friday night Tim and Elisabeth came over for dinner. I was eager to use my wedding presents so we grilled steaks (to use the steak knives) and I made cocktails for Elisabeth and me (using my martini glasses and the cocktail shaker I got in the mail that day). It was a fun night – it was nice to just be able to hang out and not have to think about school (except for how grateful we were to be on Spring Break). Bruce and I slept in on Saturday morning (much to Lilly’s dismay – she was begging for food by the time we finally got out of bed) and had a very slow start to our day. Since it was 75 degrees and sunny we went out to lunch, ate on the patio of the restaurant and then went to Emory and layed on the quad for a couple of hours. It was so nice to bask in the sunlight and read something that wasn’t assigned to me. When the sun started to go down we left Emory and went to Buckhead to deal with tuxes for the wedding. We got Bruce fitted and picked out the colors/fabrics/patterns that we wanted everyone in. It took a LOT longer than I thought it would but I’m happy that I have one more thing to check off the list. On Saturday night I found West Side Story (the one with Natalie Wood) free On Demand so we watched that and I sang along. We’ve been on a showtunes kick lately. I think it’s because my dad’s rehearsing his show.

I did Little Lambs again during church on Sunday (i.e. a Children’s Church – type – of – thing). I’m not sure if I’m getting any better, but the experience in children’s ministry has been invaluable. The only time I had ever been involved in children’s ministry was in Kent and that was with children that I knew extremely well (most of them since they were babies) and was working in a system that was fairly set in stone. It’s been good for me to be working from the ground up, getting to know the kids and what their needs are. I think it’s safe to say that I wouldn’t be good at this full time and for the rest of my life – but for now I’m getting better and I am grateful for that.

I fly up to Connecticut tomorrow for six days. It’s funny – that seems like a long time, but I feel like the trip is already over!! I’ve got a lot to do for the wedding and I’ve got a meeting with my Church & Ministry Committee, as well as a coffee date with Micki (my In Care mentor) to check in on school stuff. With all the meetings, I’m having a hard time squeezing in fun stuff!! Wedding and ordination are big things in my life so I’m hoping I can just enjoy everything while it’s happening and not stress too much. Oh – and get some school work done. That would be nice, too.

Say a prayer for safe travels!!

Peace & Grace,
Sarah 🙂

Traveling Mercies –
Love the journey
God is with you
Come home safe and sound.

100 …

5 Mar
… days until our wedding!!  You all will be very surprised to hear that I wasn’t the one who actually realized that – Bruce was!!  He told me that he was going to go out and get me chocolates because we hit a milestone and I had NO idea what he was talking about.  When he told me, I shrieked a little bit.  It’s so close!!!!!  I told Bruce that I didn’t mind not getting chocolate and this was for three reasons.  The first is that I’m still eating my Valentine’s Day heart chocolate!!  The second is that we were able to celebrate by opening these:

Bubble Glass Martini Glasses!!!!!  They’re REALLY cool and Bruce was excited to add to his glass collection (it’s actually a set of four – you can get them here).

And of course Bruce had to test them out tonight!!  Vodka Martini, Dirty.
The third reason Bruce was totally off the hook for not getting me chocolate tonight is this … 

The BEAUTIFUL flowers he bought me at the beginning of the week to have something nice to look at and think about while I finish up with my midterms.  Do I have the sweetest fiance or what?!
And finally – I’ve gotten some good pictures of Lilly lately and I hadn’t posted any in awhile (I have to spread them out so no one thinks I’m a crazy cat lady!!).  I thought I would share some of the latest of my baby!!
She likes to lay on her back like this ALL the time – Bruce thinks it’s because she’s watched me do Pilates … 

This is her “skittish, I’m about to run away from you” face …  
This was me trying to write my sermon last Saturday … I was laying in bed because I was distracted by all of the clutter on my desk.  As you can see – Lilly was being extremely helpful by sitting on my bible and commentaries … 
Apparently the commentary tastes good?
Other than that, I’ve just been trying to get myself organized and all of my work finished so I can FINALLY get to Spring Break!!  The first half of the semester has absolutely flown by, I honestly feel as if classes just started.  Does anyone else feel that way? 
Anyway, enjoy the pictures – when I look at them I realize just how I blessed I am in my life.  
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!
All my love,
Sarah