Sunday, December 20, 2009

Tough Decisions

My life has been a roller coaster the past couple of weeks, more so than usual. I decided to not take the Boston job, but have since interviewed for a job that i would LOVE to get. this would be one of my dream jobs. I think there would be several dream jobs for me...this is certainly on the top 5 list. I've heard through the grapevine that my interviewer liked me, so now i wait. and wait. (interviewing during the holiday season=not good for impatient types).

so for now...i attempt to be content with what is happening currently, do my best to not have everything figured out, and seek to enjoy this Christmas.

may God's blessings rest on all who enter here,

Saturday, December 12, 2009

blog slacker

Dear sweet blog,

I'm sorry I have neglected you for so many months. you've done nothing to deserve it, yet i've been terrible to you. please accept my heartfelt apologies for ignoring you. i didn't mean to be a bad parent; it just sort of happened.

and, little blog, if you'd like an update on my life, here it is:

since march: finished up working at CAP. i like researching grants, but not great at writing them. perhaps i just need more experience. loved finding out about appalachian culture and the needs there. started work at an early learning center. i have an enormous affinity for several of my coworkers and families that i see, but have still been searching for a ministry or nonprofit job. been hanging out with the AMAZING people at St. Pat's, and trying my best to coordinate service stuff with LRM. best. church. ever. those summer months became fall, fall rolled into thanksgiving, and somehow, we are now 2 weeks away from Christmas. i'm still not sure how this happened. Did someone press a fast forward button?

but the biggest news is this: i've been offered a job at a church in Boston. i have some reservations about it, but sort of feeling like taking it. "the sort of feeling" changes from hour to hour. it's risky to take it, but risky to not take it at the same time. i hate the thought of leaving st. pat's... but i need to move on vocationally. i've visited the church, but still can't really tell if this church is a good fit for me.

Thanksgiving and Advent have snuck up on me so fast this fast that i haven't taken the time to think about what it means to wait for the Savior.

with apologies for my slackerness,

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Job and Other Happenings

It's been a busy couple of weeks...not a lot to say, with everything to say at the same time. First things first...

I have a job (for at least five weeks)! I am hoping that this position will extend past the five weeks, but i'm deciding to just take things one day at a time for now. I'll be working with CAP (Christian Appalachian Project), assisting with grant writing, research, things of that nature. This will be completely new for me, so I'm terrified and excited at the same time. Since my first mission trips several years back with Sonservants, I've actually thought about the possibility of going into "rural ministry," but didn't like the thought of being isolated. So I'm excited about the potential to serve those living in these types of communities, and finding creative ways to help them. PLUS, I am learning a new skill and i will be challenged in my daily work. I haven't really been challenged in my day to day "work" since I graduated from Asbury, so I am looking forward to this. I am really hoping for the chance to be creative in empowering and serving the needs of those that CAP works for. For the past couple of months I have been working a couple of part-time jobs (babysitting and working with an assisted living facility). I've enjoyed those relationships, but thankful to have something slightly more engaging. If you think about it, please pray for this-I would really like for this to extend past this initial five week contract.

In other news, my small group (we call ourselves a "priory") has decided to grow a garden together. I know next to nothing about gardening, but it always seems like a good idea to me... I've just never had the time, motivation, or know-how to tackle such a thing. Luckily other people are taking this on, and i'll be there to help... I'm excited about the thought of growing vegetables together, and having a shared project. I think that's how people grow together best, and I'm glad to get to be a part of this.

And speaking of my priory... I'm so thankful for the folks I've found at St. Patrick's. I am living with a family from the church, and have been incredredibly blessed by the friendships there. I've longed for ways to figure out intentional community for a long time, and I feel like I'm starting to see some of this played out. It's far from perfect, but I am so glad to be around like-minded people who possess both passion and boundaries. This is a good time in life-still healing from a somewhat tumultuous summer and fall, and feeling held by God and the people around me.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Happy Lent

As of yesterday, we entered into the season of Lent, the 40 days that lead up to Easter Sunday. There have been some years where I've been really conscientious about observing Lent, and others where it has slipped by me. Since I'm now at an Anglican church, I think that it would be near impossible for this to slip by me, and I see that as a good thing. Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, and was also the first day I prayed this prayer out of the prayer book:

Almighty and everlasting God,
you hate nothing that you have made
and forgive the sins of all those who are penitent:
create and make in us new and contrite hearts
that we, worthily lamenting our sins
and acknowledging our wretchedness,
may receive from you, the God of all mercy,
perfect remission and forgiveness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

I have now prayed this prayer a few times, and I find it moving, beautiful and piercing. I think Lent can be scary- we are called to remember that we are "but dust, and to dust we shall return." We're also called to take an inventory of our lives, to be penitent, contrite, repentent. We're called to remember our frailty as humans...hmm. Not always an upper. Understanding what it means to have a "contrite heart" is sometimes confusing, and it can easily be mistaken with self-loathing. However, I'm reminded through the words of this prayer that "God hates nothing He has made." We are called to be penitent and repentent not because God wants us to be sad, but in order to be closer to God and to become more like Him. We are called to let go of our sins so that we can more easily understand the fullness of God's love. When we hold on to sins, vices, and idols, we are blinded and kept from understanding the full, majestic, all-encompassing nature of God's love for us. As a parent keeps a child from making bad decisions and ushering the child into healthy behaviors, how much more does God do that for us? As we embrace lenten practices, may we understand how giving the things of this world up draw us closer to the Father's heart.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ice and Hospitality

What a crazy week this has been!  Here in the bluegrass we've been hit with an icestorm and the majority of folks I know are without power (yours truly included).  So for the past two days my friend Jeana has been gracious to let me hang out with her.  When I take a look outside, it's absolutely beautiful...the way the white light catches on the bare trees-it's peaceful, serene.  but with that peace comes headaches... no power, no heat, the hour it took me to scrape off my car, the multiple times i've gotten stuck.  hmm.  but it is really quite beautiful.  

Yesterday, while a bit frustrating, was a really great day.  I had two different people call me to see if I was OK within about 10 minutes of each other.  At first I was determined to stay in my house...i thought for sure it wouldn't be that bad.   However, after a little coercing I realized I should take these folks up on their offers.  It was beautiful to me yesterday to see these folks from my church community all calling to check on one another.  Such a simple act.  But I felt loved.  Cared for.  And yesterday and last night turned out to be a really fun night... Jeana cooked lunch AND dinner for me, we watched a chic flick, Hannah brought us dessert, Raven and Donnie stopped in to say hi, and then we played bananagrams.  Definitely not a bad way to spend a cold night!

Ironically, as I have found myself on the receiving end of some very loving hospitality this week, I have been reading a book on the very subject.  It is written from the benedictine view of what Christian hospitality is meant to look like, and it is a very, very good read.  

A quote from the introduction: "By accepting someone, we do what seems to be a small, ordinary thing.  A single act would seem to be small anyway, but little acts of giving, one upon another, pile up to create a huge force capable of repelling darkness and transforming the world.  A friendly conversation with a stranger at a bus stop can be the embodiment of hospitality.  When we accept a human being, we are fostering the kind of hospitality that will change everything.  When we build a life of acceptance, we build a new kind of kingdom among us."  (-Radical Hospitality, Daniel Homan and Lonni Collins Pratt)

Being genuinely kind to others and making space for them is what hospitality is about.  Seeking to see the presence of God in those who interact in our lives is the essence of this word.  When we find ways to reach out, we offer hope.  By engaging in true, Christian, Spirit-filled hospitality, we remind each other what Jesus looks like.  As Homan and Pratt shared, when we seek to make space for others in our lives, we aren't just being nice, but we are seeking to repel the darkness of this world.