Monday, December 21, 2009

Yuletide Blessings

"Butter my butt & call me a biscuit!"

Last Friday, while hanging with a friend, we found this calendar that had funny "country" sayings on them. This made us laugh as neither of us are from the country. Although I'm a bit more of a country bumpkin than he is I think.

The semester went by fast, not much of a surprise really. It was a great adventure with the constant twists & turns of life. It'll be good to know that I passed everything in a few weeks when the papers are graded. I'm looking forward to the bit of traveling I'm able to do now that break has started and clear through the end of January. It is such a blessing to have all of my things in one place with the few select things that are still stored at my parents' home. My highs for the semester are making new friends and getting to know them. As well as feeling the passion of the Spirit within my life and knowing that I'm in the right place. My lows would be the constant transitioning that is life & how tiring that is. I've seen the Spirit working through my friends and professors and have a better means of verbalizing my theological thoughts because of seminary life. I do miss being able to be relational as much with friends and strangers and not feel like I should be doing something else. I also miss traveling a little bit, but at the same time I don't miss all the driving (it was nice to not be a driver last year). I'm sure I've changed in a few other ways, but one way I've changed since the end of YE life and the moving so far from home is I've become domestic. Whoda thunk the day would ever come? I suppose being hospitable comes only natural as it is a gift of my mother's and was for sure a gift of my mammaw's. The lesson I learned, I need to learn how to say "no." That silly word that most 2 year olds love, I need to remember & not get in over my head.

Yesterday I traveled with two friends back to IN for the holiday. Once we hit the Chicago area it was like being back in the home area. The hills of WI are beautiful to drive through, but the slight rolling hills of much of northern IL and northern IN are home. It's not flat, although some friends would disagree, but states such as KS are flat. The crazy thing is we even saw some farmers still harvesting their corn despite the fact that it's the middle of December and there's snow on the ground. The cold in MN is so dry, but the cold here is damp & chills you down to the bone. Today was baking day & fun, but tiring after at least 5 different Christmas treats. Once again, that domestic side of me taking toll!

I get to travel to C-bus for New Years! I haven't been there in going on 2 years, it'll be great to go back & see friends & meet one's little boy. Then I'm off to the east coast for the first time since early August of 2007. It'll be great to be back out that way & see friends there while doing a bit more discernment about the diaconal program. Apparently nobody @ home really understands what my program is at the seminary, ha! For a little clarification I am a Master of Divinity non-ordination student, a candidate for the ELCA's diaconal program, with an emphasis in the Children, Youth, & Family program at Luther Seminary. What this all means is I will be doing the program to be a pastor, but do not feel called to parish ministry so I am not currently planning on getting ordained. Through the diaconal program, which is focused in word & service, I will be consecrated and rostered through the ELCA. My emphasis is because I feel called to work within children's hospital chaplaincy, but also am passionate about service work and non-profit missions. God only knows where I'll actually end up!

That's my hit the ground running sorta life that God's got me livin' right now. 2010 is nearing & who knows exactly what's around the bend other than J-term & another exciting semester of seminary. Despite the car troubles I've had since moving to MN, and they've been significant, I look forward to experiencing all 4 seasons in MN. I think the catch is to go someplace different for J-term each year & at least miss that one cold month :-)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Laundry Day

One more day of classes till a week off, 2 days for some. Then a few days with people around till everybody heads home or somewhere to meet with family for Thanksgiving.

Last week I celebrated 18 years since I was diagnosed with cancer. It was a lovely day of working the info desk. and then meeting up with friends to go for ice cream (which I do every year) and after that Chinese food and a showing of Princess Bride in the apartment. It's always a bit of a weird time of reflection for me, but knowing that I'm still kicking & breathing and through the grace of God I'm forgiven of all my daily inequities that I must keep going forward as best as I know how. It's also a blessing that I always have friends, new and old, that celebrate with me.

Some days it doesn't seem like I know how to keep kicking and breathing, but let's admit it, I'm a feisty person who even when I'm in a super funk or feelin' low I find something to laugh about or be cheerful about. A lot of the time it's at myself for being ridiculous, for not treating every day like it's a new start. Moving the furthest away from home has proved to be a great challenge as I can't just go home on a weekend. I could clearly get in my car, drive 9-10 hours on a Friday, spend Saturday in IN and drive back on Sunday, but that would not be relaxing in any way. I miss my Bert and Alissa and my cousins and a lot of other people too & the cornfields. I miss the adventure that my life held a year ago, I miss the people I've lived with in the last couple of years. Here I go focusing on all the things that I can't change, except for they are the things and the people that have changed me.

Recently I've been asked to tell my call story a few times or with my anniversary last week, to share a part of my past that has helped shape who I am in a great way. When I tell about how I got to where I am today I know that I'm where God wants me and all I can remember is the peace that I felt when I made the decision to be here a year and a half ago. It's not just that I felt that peace when I decided to go on New Dawn last year, but my teammates did as well when they made their decision. When you're living in intentional community you think you're crazy and you long to have your own agenda. Now that I'm not living in intentional community I miss the things that drove my teammates and I crazy, like check-ins and the atmosphere where you had to know how people were doing beyond saying "I'm fine or good or great" and knowing why. Don't get me wrong, I have friends to check in with both here and those friends that I had to do that with for a year.

The other day in chapel we sang "Seek Ye First." Simple words, with not always a simple action, but something that I strive for everyday and hope to exemplify in my actions and words. Remembering that peace is a safe place. So when I don't feel like I can keep kicking I remember God's peace and the push of the Holy Spirit and know that I have to keep going to serve Jesus as he served us.

Laundry's done

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Happy Thursday

Today, although dreary & rainy, has been a GREAT day.

I was able to talk with a friend in Hong Kong this morning for the first time in at least two months. May I just say that SKYPE is an incredible invention. Praise Jesus for the person(s) who conjured it up along with the the other things that make it all work. I went off to school, got some reading in, heard my favorite Psalm (43) be read in chapel, had good discussion in class, & then a good lunch with other diaconal candidates & ministers. I then went to meet with my financial coach & when I was on my way to go grocery shopping (I haven't been in at least 3 weeks) I got a phone call from some friends I hadn't seen in over a month saying they were coming into the city & wanted to meet up.

I am a person who loves to be around others and definitely feel fed when I have quality time with people. A day filled with good discussions, quiet purposeful God time, & surprises ranks high in my list of good times. I didn't get any grocery shopping done, but I came home & ate 4 potatoes :-D (they were really small).

I have been over the top busy with school work & life lately. I always have papers to be writing & of course reading to be done so that I can write the papers. In at least three of my classes one of the main focuses is noticing where God is and through that knowing who God is within the text & that then leads us to who humans are within the text & who God is calling us to be. I've recently read about a very commanding God, but God is so confident in His commands that humans follow what He says. Through human's fear God gets respect & obedience. Although, much like my own life, it seems that the humans do not always know why they're doing what they are. However, they continue on, with questions, but they continue on, just as I do with life. I'm sure I'm not alone in this especially after my conversations today.

Just some thoughts to ponder: Who is God in your life & who is God calling you to be?

Off to work on another paper! Praise Jesus for education :-)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Minnesota Chill

The warmth of September has gone & the cold has begun, but I know that it will get much colder within just a few weeks.

This is the start of week 5 of seminary. It's crazy how fast it all goes by when you're in classes & working & attempting to have a social life too.

I have made some great friends at the seminary and have been blessed to run into a few other friends that are in the cities. The first day of class was a little intimidating, overwhelming, & invigorating. Since then I have attempted to keep up with all the reading, but like all my peers have said, it's nearly impossible.

The first few weeks were filled with fun outtings to the como zoo & conservatory, had a campfire in the park, many dinners at my place with friends, & just this weekend was girls night. So I can't say that my social life has really been lacking as God has more than provided a wonderful network of friends that when we're not eating together or whatever else we're studying together. This next weekends outting is for sushi!

Some days I wonder what I'm doing back in school, but I know that I am here for God. God called me here & I am learning so much that will help me in whatever future ministry I am called to.

Friday, August 28, 2009

5 AM theives, towels, & a u-haul

A week ago I was all packed up in the house ready to pack the u-haul in the morning. Our good friends came & helped us pack everything up & then we had the day to do last minute errands & go to a wedding of a life long friend.

4:30 Sunday morning came around after a few hours asleep & I got up. As I'm taking my last few belongings out to the car I hear that the newspaper person (not sure if it's a man or woman) caught some guys trying to break into the neighbor's house. Thus while all my possessions were sitting in the drive way (or car park, whichever you choose) & thankfully nothing was taken. I have so much I may not have noticed, ha. Anyway, a little bit later we were pulling out to get on the road & have to stop because there are 2 girls walking down the street in possibly nothing other than towels. They may have had swim suits on, but it wasn't much. This was a funny start for a 11 hour drive ahead of us. THEN 15 minutes later when we were driving through one of the many small towns in northern Indiana there was a man sitting in the middle of the side walk on a computer. It's true how the world never sleeps.

The drive went by with a few stops here & there. My co-pilot had a burst of excitement as she woke up from her nap & burst out with what a certain billboard read. Oh the joys of long road trips!

I had some great help move everything into my apartment & have spent the week learning my way abouts both the apartment & the area. I bought my books for the semester, made a casserole (it is NOT a hot dish), & have enjoyed randomly happening into friends at places like Target & the MOA. I also got to help serve dinner to the new YE teamers. Sorry if this is a bit disjointed, but I'm rather tired. God is good ALL the time.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


I've been done with my Youth Encounter commitment for a week now. It's strange after signing up for an intentional community & all of a sudden being done. When you live & work that closely to others you know how things work. For instance, for the most part for the last 2 years I haven't had to make a decision on when or what I was going to eat for dinner. That's absurd when you really think about it. Now I can eat whatever I want, when ever I want & I actually find myself not having an appetite. Monday morning I woke up & my first thought was "I have to empty out my closet & dresser today." I knew I wanted to do this, but honestly who wakes up after going non-stop for 2 years & thinks that? It was good though, I got it all out, tried lots of things on & parted with many articles of clothing. I think I might still have a yaffa cube of shoes I haven't gone through yet though. It was a challenge using the rule that if I hadn't worn in the last year to get rid of it because I haven't had a good majority of my clothes with me since college. I have learned how little I can truly live off of being on a traveling team, living out of a bag or van, however one views it.

The week went by fast with a bump removal from my jaw, a hair operation (it's heaps shorter now), & a decent amount of resting. I also got to visit with some good friends I don't see all that often. I learned a new fun way to display my earrings too! My dear friend & I were hanging out & I saw this picture frame with netting behind it/attached to it & wondered where she got the idea. She had gotten the idea from another friend & promptly offered to make me one. We went to Michael's picked out a frame which was nicely on sale & then went home & cut the netting to the right size & then stapled it down. I now have a fun new display for my earrings.

After visiting her I went to visit my cousins. I had planned on going to church because I enjoy church & this might be my last weekend for a while choosing where I go to church, plus I really enjoy the community of people at their church. Well we ended up staying up quite late & I didn't think anybody was going to go. However my father woke me up with just the right amount of time to get ready & go. He kinda came & nudged me & said "Hey, are you awake? What are you doing?" I clearly wasn't awake & was sleeping, but he was awake & knew I had said I wanted to go to church.

In the midst of getting ready my cousin woke up & decided to join us, so the 3 of us trekked off to church. Today the church was finishing a series of reading from the book of Ephesians. Both of the theme verses for Youth Encounter over the last 2 years, at least for the ministries I was involved with, were based from Ephesians so I'm pretty familiar with this book. It talks about how the Christian body is meant to work together and live together. A retired pastor spoke, he preaches about once a month there, & it was great to hear how on fire & passionate he was for the message of Jesus Christ. It made me excited to know I'm going to be soon studying more about the Bible & the Christian church. It also got me thinking about how many people around the world are unaware of this message or of who Jesus is. It made me think of all the wonderful people we met this year & how we are called to live for Christ, but their ways of doing so are limited because of many things like government & family situations.

It's easy to come up with an excuse not to go to church, such as not getting enough rest, but why shouldn't we go, especially if we believe & belong to a church? God has done everything for us that we could ever need, even that which hasn't happened yet, God has already done! I can't wrap my mind around that really. I feel indebted to my family around the world that doesn't have the freedoms I do here to go to church, to learn more about the stories I've heard time & time again so that I can do what I believe we are all here to do & live for God knowing His word & His wants.

Monday, August 10, 2009

so what now?

SO I'm done. Yep, my life as it's been for the last 2 years is now done. It's really wierd!

Saturday was Youth Encounter's annual homecoming celebration for the end of the 2008-2009 team year. It was a long, but fun day. I woke up at 6:20am central time only because most everybody else was already up & moving since we needed to be out of the church by around 7. We then had a long fun day of celebrations. It had been raining in the morning, but cleared up for lunch & the afternoon concerts outside & then started raining again after dinner break.

The biggest transition for now is realizing that I don't have to report to anybody & I can choose where I go, when I go, & what I eat. That may seem like life was really strict over the last 2 years, but it wasn't. It was just an intentional community living situation where you check in with everybody else for most everything, or are supposed to. I know it all sounds crazy, but it's been some of the best times of my life. God never fails for fun & adventure. I'll miss all the people & of course I don't like not knowing when I'm going to see many or any of them again, but if nothing else we will all reunite in the kingdom of God some day.

"So what now?"

This was the big question everybody was asking each other on Friday & Saturday & probably all last week while the traveling teams were in debriefing. A good chunk of people are serving a second year with YE, many are starting college, many are going home to rest, & some of us are starting jobs &/or grad school. I belong to the latter part. I'm home at my parents for 2 weeks organizing my life as much as possible before moving to MN for grad school. I'm a bit anxious about all the changes, but glad for a new beginning. It is also a big comfort having so many friends in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.

We had a fun & God filled summer working at Camp Wapo. We worked mostly with the TIM Teamers (Teens in Mission). TIM Team is a high school leadership ministry program. The campers would come on Friday evening & stay till the following Friday afternoon only to be followed by a new group that evening. We lead low & high rope adventures, workshops, & numerous other silly camp activities.

Today the sorting begins, I'm off to dig into my closet, pull it all out, & sort through what I don't want anymore.

Thank you God for extending your family & for giving me the health to partake in the last 2 years!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

summer 2009

I know it's been months since I've posted anything. Silly me didn't think to check my password info & such before leaving my computer at home while traveling around. I was able to figure out out to get in a few times, but most if not all blogs were posted at SO if you'd like to hear about all the amazing things God did for our team while in Asia please go there & enjoy.

We have been back in the states now for 2.5 weeks & are spending our summer at a church camp in WI. Training starts today & I know the next 3 months will be wonderful & busy & fly by. After that I'll be moving to MN for grad school. I promise a few more updates now that I have my computer back & am back in the country. Peace

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Happy Year of the Ox

Heya friends! I am finally writing what will hopefully prove to be a more substantial blog post. We have been in Asia now for nearly 3 weeks and the time is going pretty quickly. We have kept busy traveling between Hong Kong, Macau, & Jiangmen. We spent our first few days in Hong Kong with the ELCHK (Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hong Kong) and the people we met helped us to get acclimated and showed us around a bit. Then we left for Macau for another 3 or so days and worked with an english center helping with the different lessons and outreach. We spent a week in main land where the weather heated up a bit, it's been chilly, and we got to eat lots of good food and meet great people.

Over all it has been a great experience and each day continues to prove to be a new adventure. It's always a bit of an adventure removing one self from their usual environment to one half way around the world that they've never experienced before. God's love and beauty is everywhere though and we are never alone through that. One moment that I truly felt the holy spirit working within us was within our first week here in Macau when we got to share our music in many different occassions. The people we have met are at all different places in their faith, some have believed for many years and others still aren't sure about any of the ideas dealing with christianity, so sharing with them and seeing their enthusiasm no matter what is very encouraging. Also, when we have done programs we have not always been the main event. This has been very humbling and also a blessing as people have been able to minister to us even if we don't always speak the same language.

God is good and I know this, but some times question what is going on in life and in the world. However, I have been praying about the changes that have come with being here and know that I am exactly where I'm supposed to be. We often are in life, but don't always realize it or worry to much, at least I do. If we just let God be the center then it makes it all so much easier.

I appologize for the delay in writing this, but know that all is well and we are being well taken care of. We'll be in Macau till next week and then back to Hong Kong for a week before heading to Malaysia (where it's warmer!).

*BONUS* We got free tickets to go to Cirque du Soleil tomorrow AND being in part of China for the Lunar New Year is pretty fabulous!!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I think most of you that read this know that I'm in Asia now. It's great & a LOT warmer than home. I promise I will update more later, but know that all is well & God is GREAT