Friday, May 30, 2014

Friday Favorites!

I love celebrations! Life has been a glorious 30 years so far & I hope for another glorious 60+ years. 

The past month has been greatly over stimulating for this extrovert. It has been nicely balanced with pieces of quiet & reflection though too.

Here's to the winner of SO many photos from this week! I couldn't figure out how to attach a video of birthday wishes from my phone so a random picture it is. 

Love & thanks to all of my friends & family that helped celebrate all week long from around the world. And to my friends in the photo, God knows what we need to keep being who we were made to be & a large piece of that is each other.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tuesday Tea Time!

Another Tuesday on the go, but never without my tea time!

Everybody celebrates a little differently. No matter the occasion though, celebration is done out of joy.

This month has been full of celebrations. We have had safe travels, reunions with friends from all over the country, met family members for the first time face to face, watched GCN graduate from med school, celebrated birthdays, & a wedding.

My heart & head & stomach are FULL! May this fullness overflow into your lives this week & be shared with your circles of livelihood.

Happy Tuesday Tea Time!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sunday Snippits: good, bad, & awesome

GOOD: This past week led to a lot more fun. We first got to see good friends we hadn't seen in 3 years. They treated us with homemade pizza & home brewed beer! The next day we got to see Z's side of the family & meet our youngest niece for the first time in person. The next day was graduation celebrations for brother G. We enjoyed a great family feast at the Washington Park Grille. Then we joined my side of the family for adventures around Denver. We all now own a pair of Keen sandals thanks to REI's anniversary sale. The picture featured today is Z, E, & me walking the foot bridge of the Platte River. Lots of good family time continued with aunts, uncles, & cousins & will continue through at least tomorrow. See, I said a lot more fun?!

BAD: I'm a bit out of touch outside my bubble. Another lovely person who I knew joined God in heaven. Her & her husband where the other couple I knew who got engaged in their car just like Z & me.

AWESOME: Seeing good friends & family for joyous occasions is great. Today I worshipped with 27 family members on my dad's side of the family! And there's roughly 16 others who couldn't make it.

WORD: Hebrews is where we're at.

coming up: Wedding, travel, birthday celebrations, more travel, & adventure.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Friday Favorites!

This Friday Favorites highlights the joy of a good & mighty full week. Early in the week I found what might be 2 morel mushrooms without trying. Tuesday was monopoly day with 2 young ladies from church & Wednesday Z & I took off for another adventure to see friends, celebrate birthdays, a sibling's graduation, & a cousin's wedding!
Meet little Miss C. Our bubbly niece.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tuesday Tea Time!!!

This Tuesday Tea Time leaves me thinking about graduation season. Just one year ago Z & I graduated with our Master of Divinity degrees from Luther Seminary. Here's an action shot of me receiving my diploma & hood right after my dear friend JMC & right before Z received his diploma & hood. I am grateful for our friend STH who captured this amongst other great moments from the day.

A little bit about the day, it was rainy - just like today - & therefore humid & the air conditioning unit in Central Lutheran Church - where the ceremony is held each year - had decided to take a rest that morning. There was a thick layer of discomfort because of the humidity & a thick level of mixed emotions. It is most often a sense of relief to be to this point in a degree program, but many people did not know what the future held for simple things like housing, health insurance, & work. Not to mention the dynamics of everybody's closest family members & friends being present as an added piece to the day.

One year later we have all figured out some form of housing, most likely health insurance of some sort, & some pieces of work. Is it what we'd hoped for, what we imagined? Yes & no. However, at nearly 30 years old, I learned at a young age, very few things in life happen/exist/turn out exactly as one hopes or imagines. We don't have this sort of control over each other or the world. We do have control over what we do & how we act with the fact that we don't have control though!

In the last year I have had 9 job titles of some kind. That is a LOT! You can imagine the joys & frustrations of such constant change & lack of stability I have experienced. Currently I hold 5 of these jobs. A colleague recently said to me, "Wow, you graduated over a year ago & you don't have a call yet? That can create a lot of anxiety!" I countered that comment with, "Yes, it can dwell up some anxiety, but it also provides a lot of time to dwell in scripture which happens to be good treatment for unsettling anxiety."

I have always found excitement in the unknown. I am a bit of a dreamer & love feeding my imagination. I find comfort knowing that the Spirit is breathing each breath in & out of me & leading me into whatever comes today. I control to be joy filled & aware of my opportunities to continue living a life worthy of the calling to which I am called (see Ephesians 4).

Graduates, recent or past, life will be new, changing, hard, exciting, & challenging. Take your joy from this great accomplishment & share it in the day-to-day adventures. Hold on to that joy & remember the hard work that got you to where you are today. This stamina & perseverance will do you good through the rest of life in all of your calls & titles.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sunday Snippits: good, bad, & awesome!

GOOD: This last week was FULL with good! It started out with a lovely mother's day & getting to chat with both Ma P & Ma N. A few days of work at home & catch up with a good seminary friend. Plus a brief & surprising quick video chat with Z's & my friend (yes, I'm learning to share) AJO & a phone convo with my "soul mate" JMDT. We finished our week by sending our furbaby to "camp" for a few days while we took another trip, this time work related. At the assembly we got to catch up with many colleagues & friends & meet many more. It was a busy & full few days that still has my my mind moving rather quickly. We completed our trip to the Detroit area with a quick trip to Ikea for a few small things & of course came away with more than what was on our list. And of course came away with picture frames that are too small for what we wanted to use them for. I fully accept the challenge to be creative with these frames!

BAD: Living too far away to make it to everything celebratory for those you love. In the midst of many long time planned travels it's next to impossible to make to all the other things that pop up.

AWESOME: Knowing & acknowledging the wonderful people in life that are doing really great things in the world. Just yesterday Patricia Lull was elected the new ELCA St. Paul Area Synod bishop. You can read more about it here. Patricia was the Dean of Students when I started my seminary career & while our time at Luther Seminary only overlapped by a few months, she has continued to be a role model of a woman in ministry for my life in ministry leadership. I wish her all the best in this new call & may God grant her many blessings & grace as she learns her way as a bishop.

WORD: SO much scripture & I'm working on a Bible study. One of these days I will finish the two fun books I'm reading. I've got a few news people I want to look into too. Oh the options!

coming up: Another trip! Yep, that's right, we're on the go. This coming week we will celebrate with both of our families for two great occassions & then we will celebrate my birthday with some of my closest friends from Capital University!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Tuesday Tea Time!

Credit given to SuperStock
It's Tuesday Tea Time & I hope you're still going strong from the the rejuvenation of the weekend. Ok, let's be real, not all of us had a rejuvenating weekend or even much of a weekend, but none the less, I hope there's time for Tea on Tuesday!

So far today I drug myself out of a groggy state that a rainy night & morning seems to always leave me in & have started laundry & made a mental list of the things that I absolutely do not want to skip over today. Obviously one of those things is Tuesday Tea Time!

In the midst of that I spent easily a half hour, if not more, waiting for my tea to cool down so I could drink it. I don't know how coffee drinkers do it! It seems that they always drink their coffee before tea drinkers. Part of this cool down process has to do with the mug I'm using. It is very well insulated, but it also has to do with the fact that I almost always drink black tea in the morning. According to my electric tea kettle, the temperature for black tea water is 212 degrees Fahrenheit.

The struggle is when you need that zing of a bit of caffeine to pull you fully out of the state of grog, but have to be to work or class or whatever before you're able to put the jolt into your system. Yes, I realize this is a mental thing & maybe a touch of addiction. There are other things we can do to help with this state of grog. In fact I often do a bit of yoga each morning.

So much of life it seems we wait. We wait as little kids to be older kids. We wait at doctors' offices & stop lights. We wait for the end of the school year & warmer weather. We wait for our dream job. We wait for that e-mail or possibly even that letter in the mail from that special someone that simply warms your heart & makes your day because they're thinking about you. We wait for birth & we wait for death. We wait.

Today as you wait, for your tea, the end of the work or school day, the sun to come out, the voice of God to scream clarity into your life, the love of your life to notice you, your motivation to show it's face again, that still small voice to be heard, for somebody else to sort your laundry, or that phone call that you can't miss, know that you're never waiting alone. EVER! We all wait together even when it's for different pieces of life.

Together we wait. Remember to use sunscreen, drink lots of water (& tea), breath deep, & smile.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sunday Snippits: Good, Bad, & Awesome!

GOOD: This past week started out with a trip to hoosierland where Z caught up with colleagues also in their first call of full time rostered ministry & I spent a few days visiting my parents & by chance a few other family members as well. I got to meet my cousin's wife & daughter for the first time ever & see my cousin himself for the first time in something like 11 years. It was also a true blessing to be able to spend some time with my Gma Dixie that wasn't totally occupied by a family wedding. We made our way back to the great North mid-week to throw ourselves into attempts to do some more work & get back to our regular grind. However, the nice weather is a bit of a welcomed distraction, so we're pacing ourselves. This mother's day I contribute my love for Disney & travel to my mom & give her a virtual boat that she can take any time she wants (you had to be with us to understand, sorry).

BAD: Knowing the prayers that are being said for the girls in  Nigeria that have been kidnapped to be rescued & not knowing what, if anything, exactly is being done to rescue those girls is bad. Also, knowing that stories like Captain Phillips is not the only one & that people feel the necessity to kidnap & yell incessantly & use extreme violence for power is bad & ugly. Love wins, even if it is tough love.

AWESOME: Having a table & chairs for our deck that once belonged to my Mammaw & Pappaw. On their cement patio it was painted white & if I remember right (this is going back quite a few years like to my single digits) the cushions were clad in beautiful green & orange & yellow flowers. Now the table & chairs are black & my mom & dad had the cushions redone to be blue. I have thought about painting the chairs some fun brighter colors, but as my brother pointed it out, it would be hard to paint over the black without more steps than just painting them black again. Many great memories have been made sitting around this table, even from my pre-teen & teen years on my childhood front porch & now no doubt many more will be made in MI.

WORD: The scripture that I hung onto this week in my inbox was 1st Peter 2:13-17 & Z & I just read 1st Tim in the last two days only to most likely move on to 2nd Tim tomorrow. And naturally I'm still reading my leisure books as well.

coming up: Lots of prep for Summer jobs & another conference, this time not that far away or for that long.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Friday Favorites!

This little furball is my favorite. She is full of p&v & keeps our hearts growing & our feet moving.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Tuesday Tea Time!!!

Tuesday Tea Time is here! So crazy to know a week ago Z & I were finishing our trip in Paris with a visit to the Eiffel Tower, rickshaw music taxi to Arc de Triomphe, & a walk down Champs-Élysées to see all the fancy Parisian stores & glance in a few like the Disney Store & Kusmi Tea. May I just say that Kusmi Detox tea is delightfully fruity. However I did not purchase any because we also stopped at the river vendors for a few different gifts for ourselves & others on our way back to the hotel.

There are pieces of our lives that just fit our very beings. For me one of those pieces is travel. Traveling, especially outside of my home country, awakens my curiosity & pure love for the human race. About five years ago I had just returned from four months in SE Asia & was processing my love for my home town & country as well as my new joy of life in SE Asia. This recent trip to Paris was the first international trip I had taken in a while that was for pure pleasure & not work related. No matter the reason for the trip though travel is travel for me.

This has me dreaming about what sorta of call to ministry leadership I may have in the future. This may be something that develops in the next year or maybe in the next several years. One thing I know is that travel is so much a piece of my being that brings joy, adventure, & growth into my world that as life morphs I don't want anything to stop me from embracing travel in all its varieties. It's even more of a sparkle in my being when I find good tea to enjoy.

Whatever your sparkle pieces of your being may be, may they be for the good of your neighbors & yourself & may they regularly fill your soul with fresh air & pure joy.

**apologies for the funky alignment of this post! Technology.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Sunday Snippits: good, bad, & awesome!

 GOOD: This past week started with a day trip to the beaches of Normandy, France. Yes, that's right where D-Day happened. Nothing like throwing in a piece of somber reality with all the joy that comes with traveling. Our travels were great & we've thoroughly caught up on sleep & recovered from any jet-lag we may have been experiencing. It was unique to take a trip that was mid-week to mid-week because it seemed like the number of tourists greatly increased at the beginning of the end of our trip. We waited in a moving line to get into Notre Dame & then opted out of climbing the 400 & some stairs up the towers due to the fact that we had already climbed 300 & some stairs to the dome at Sacre Cœur that morning & there was quite a long wait at Notre Dame. In between Sacre Cœur & Notre Dame we visited the Center Pompidou where we saw a non-moving really really long line that we never did figure out what it was for because we walked around the other side of the building & walked right in. It helped that we had already bought our tickets for here before leaving the states. The thing we realized is that at many of the iconic sites you can go up in either a tower or a dome. Yes, the city is magnificent, but it's the same views from slightly different heights & different points in the city. The good that I think this trip did for both Z & I is that it awakened our spirits of adventure & travel & thinking outside our comfort zones of only speaking one language & knowing exactly what we were ordering for food or drink. Here in the picture you see Zack's café crème which he ordered at some point almost every day. Too bad I don't really like coffee because the tea options were limited. I did enjoy a nice chocolat chaud at least once though & daily enjoyed a glass or two of vin rouge or rosé. 

BAD: A dear friend passed away while we were gone. His death was not unexpected, but after living with colon cancer since 2009 one begins to think that he would just live that way for many years to come. Mikey was charismatic & vulnerably truthful about life which made him openly true friends with people he maybe never even really considered more than acquaintances. My prayers for God's peace are said often to fill the lives of his wife K, son N, sister C (all my friends as well) & their families. Upon returning we realized we needed to check in with one or two ailing people in our lives & I listened to Z essentially say g'bye to a good friend, colleague & mentor of his on the phone. 

AWESOME: The promise that I believe in that Easter brings. Plus, let's be real, I spent most of this past week exploring Paris, France. I got to go up the Eiffel Tower & enjoy champagne with my best friend. AND we came home to a very wet MI, but there is no snow left!

WORD: 1 Peter 1:13-16. Breathing this in a little bit each day. Plus still working on 'The Help' & started reading 'The Color of Tea.'

coming up: A trip to hoosierland & a visit with Gma Dixie! Some work & prep for the Summer & being reunited with my Horton (my big gray Mazda).

Friday, May 2, 2014

Friday Favorites x2!

Just in case you aren't aware of the wonderfulness of the Lusty Month of May sung by the one & ony Julie Andrews.

Friday Favorites!

It's Friday & I think it's Monday! Nothing like a little jet lag to thoroughly throw off your days.

There's so many great memories from this past week that it's too much to share. Naturally there's some sad with the happy & glum with the glam.

BUT my FAVORITE thing of this week is.....


Yesterday while in total recovery from jet lag & sorting out small pieces of life I had a most joyous moment - you know the ones where you realize something so exciting that you gasp for air - that it is in fact the month of May.

May has always been a good month & over the years it has built in reason. It's always celebratory. Spring is here, snow may still appear, but it melts almost as quick as it comes. School years are ending around the country & Summer time is nearby. Graduations are happening & new adventures are starting. And yes, it's my birthday month. Plus it means I can sing "It's May! It's May! The Lusty Month of May" from Camelot while dancing around my house & it's true!