Monday, December 27, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Last week I left for a continuing education event in Chicago. I know that continuing education is not a spiritual retreat, and perhaps the epicenter of one of America’s largest cities is an unusual place to find solace, but somehow, the trip was a real time of re-centering for me.
I left with a brain absolutely reeling on a million levels. Both my Senior Pastor and I would be out of town, and I would be the only one reachable by phone for the week. Baby J decided, on the day I flew out, to try out biting at daycare, resulting in a concerned phone call from his teacher. PreacherDad and I are both still adjusting to our decision to move… in November… to a place half the size of our current home. It’s all enough to make one nauseous.
But in Chicago… I had time.
I haven’t had time in ages. I had planned to work some while I was there, but shifty internet service meant there wasn’t much I could accomplish.
So I walked.
I walked along Michigan Avenue and around the Ohio Street Beach.
I shopped our beloved Trader Joe’s and rode the public transportation system. (I even rode the 147 right past my old neighborhood and sighed with nostalgia)
I stayed up late drinking decaf and catching up on life with friends, and my soul was deeply renewed.
My parent friends soothed my anxieties with their own tales from the trenches. My preacher friends rejoiced with me in the blessing of an appointment where I feel like a respected team member. Friends who hosted me on my last night reminded me that a warm, inviting home doesn’t have to be a 3-bedroom house with a yard and a fence.
I was hugged.
I told dear friends I loved them and heard it back.
I cried with a woman I consider more a sister than a friend over the difficult task of discerning God’s call… still.
When I got on the plane to come back, it was not my head but my heart that was full.
I am giving thanks for that time and for each and every person who contributed to it, and I pray that it will sustain me until May.
Monday, September 27, 2010
The last few weeks have been crazy busy. PreacherDad and I are actually pretty proud of ourselves that we've not yet actually forgotten J at daycare or left him in a car or something, because the back and forth of our work schedules is insanity.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Since Preacher Dad started his chaplain residency in late August, that's also when J started daycare. It was a surreal thing to take a school supply list to the store and buy him crayons and scissors and watercolors already. I was veryanxious about how he would do the first day. I knew that even if he cried it wouldn't last long, but you just hate to leave them wailing.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Monday, August 30, 2010
Monday, August 2, 2010
I already feel like I'm in a near-perfect placement as the associate pastor in a large, thriving church. I'm fortunate that with a large staff, I've been able to spend the last month "getting a feel for things" asking questions and watching the daily, weekly and now monthly rhythms of ministry in my particular setting. I'm keenly aware that if I were the sole pastor somewhere, I'd have to dive in a bit faster.
As I have been trying to figure out where I fit into the rhythm of work here at church, PreacherDad and I have been trying to figure out what the rhythms of our home life will look like. His schedule as a chaplain resident is a set 8-5 M-F plus at least one 12 hour on call shift each week. (this should be the same night most weeks, but may move from time to time.)
Being a preacher means that Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings baby J will be in the church nursery. So, we're trying to work my schedule so that including those times, James is in childcare less than 40 hours a week. (30 hours/week would be my ideal situation)
Since PreacherDad's schedule is set by someone else, I'm really feeling the weight of finding a schedule that puts me at work enough to be available, useful and productive but that also allows me to spend some time with J during some of his waking hours. I still believe it is possible and necessary to set healthy family life patterns as a pastor, but I am beginning to grasp just how tough it is going to be.
In the meantime,right on the heels of this article, PreacherDad and I are sending baby J off to his grandma's for a week and heading to Sunny Southern California for a much needed vacation this week.
We are celebrating 5 years of marriage, survival of a major medical event, two seminary degrees and a beautiful little boy, and doing our part to reduce clergy burnout one sunny california day at a time!
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Friday, May 7, 2010
There is a beautiful tradition at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary of wearing red shoes at graduation. In the past, this has primarily been a tradition of the women of G-ETS, but I hear rumors we may see some red shoes on our male colleagues. Fabulous, I say!
The tradition, though, fails to be beautiful if no one knows the story behind the shoes.
Why do we wear red shoes?
We wear red shoes to remind us of our place as courageous, outrageous women, and to celebrate the rich tradition of female scholarship at GETS.
What does wearing red shoes have to do with female scholarship?
It begins with a story that Georgia Harkness used to tell of her great-grandmother Abigail.
As Georgia told the story, "Abigail was not only not a quaker, but was known as a 'worldly woman,' who affronted neighbors by 'appearing out of plainness' and was referred to scornfully as ' the woman in the red coat.'
Whether because of the red coat or more abiding charms, she won the heart of Daniel Harkness and they were married in November, 1802."
In response, the Society of Friends presented Daniel Harkness with a letter of dismissal for marrying out of the meeting. To 'make satisfaction t o the meeting' he would only have had to say he was sorry he married her. But he was not sorry, and he would not say it!" Georgia stated flatly-and proudly.(Keller, 33)
Wait... Who was Georgia Harkness?
Georgia Harkness has become one of the legendary personalities of Garrett-Evangelical. She was the first professional female theologian in the United States. She served as the first ever Professor of Applied Theology at Garrett Biblical Institute from 1939-1950 before moving to California to teach at the Pacific School of Religion until 1961. In addition to her teaching she was a prolific author and hymn-writer. Most telling of her character, though, is a story she told of her struggle to be accepted the Ph.D. program of her choice.
Edgar Brightman, the distinguished professor of philosophy at Boston University and Georgia’s mentor in her doctoral program in the 1920s initially questioned whether she was that exceptional and whether he should take her as a Ph.D. candidate. He judged that “I had the preparation, probably the brains, but that I lacked the stick-to-itiveness.” Clear in her own mind, Georgia “told him that if that was all, I would see to that.” And she did. (Keller, 35)
Click here for a link to a much more in-depth look at Georgia’s life http://theologytoday.ptsem.edu/oct1996/v53-3-article3.htm
So who decided we should wear red shoes?
The story of the woman in the red coat was recorded in a biography of Georgia Harkness’s life, For Such A Time As This written by Rosemary Skinner Keller. She feared that Georgia’s story, and with it, the history of women’s entry into professional theology in the US, might be lost. Keller was on faculty at Garrett-Evangelical from 1978-1996, and she served from 1993-1996 as the seminary’s first female Academic Dean. During her time on the G-ETS faculty she took to wearing red shoes to honor the legacy of Georgia Harkness and her great-grandmother Abigail Cochran. The tradition spread to other female faculty members, and has in recent years become a tradition of the student body.
Read more about Rosemary Skinner Keller here: http://www.utsnyc.edu/Page.aspx?pid=1075&srcid=256
Our red shoes are not a privilege we earn, but a history we claim. We honor Georgia Harkness, Rosemary Radford Reuther, Rosemary Skinner Keller, and so many others with our red shoes. We claim our place in their legacy, and with it we accept the responsibility to continue to move the world forward, to maintain their history, and to advance theological thinking. We proclaim our willingness to be bold, to be ourselves, and to show the world how much stick-to-itiveness we have!
*I have pulled biographical information about Georgia and Rosemary from both of the links embedded in the post. In addition both quotes above, as well as addition biographical information about Georgia are from Rosemary Skinner Keller's biography of Georgia Harkness For Such a Time as This, Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1992
Special Thanks go to Dr. Lallene Rector, Dr. Gennifer Brooks, and Dr. Ruth Duck for pointing me to the origins of our red shoes.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Monday, March 15, 2010
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Grandpa B died on February 27th 2010. Since the night I learned of his death, I have been thinking about the blog post I would write about him. The trouble is, he wasn't the sort of guy you could sum up in a paragraph or two. The best way I can even begin to tell you about him, is to begin to tell you about the many things he taught me, or at least those he tried to teach me.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Friday, January 29, 2010
Today is the one year anniversary of my big surgery. For 365 days I have been without a colon. It has been a long, strange year in my life, and it has taken me through some of the hardest, darkest, scariest moments I have ever experienced. However, there was never a single day when my family and I couldn't find a something to laugh about. Think about it, if you're going to lose an organ, at least losing a colon gives you material for a lot of great jokes.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
A year ago today was one of the most bizarre days in our family history.
At around 3PM, My sister and I were both in hospitals a few miles away from one another. I was just waking up from a colonoscopy, and she was delivering her son, D. I knew she was at the hospital and in labor, and it gave me something positive to think about all day as I sat starving and waiting for my tests. I couldn't know going in how much I would need that source of joy when I woke up. I awoke, just as in that awful commercial, to a doctor leaning over me. "Preacher Mom," he said in a very quiet, very serious tone, "We found a mass, it's pretty big, it's probably cancer, we took biopsies. I'm going to go tell your husband." and then he left the room. I was still REALLY loopy from the sedative, so I just muttered "ok" and closed my eyes. A few moments later, I awoke again, with a vague memory of what he had said. I asked the nurse to repeat the news, hoping I had only dreamed the previous conversation. A tear ran down her cheek, and my heart sank. "Not Today" I thought... even then, groggy and sedated, or perhaps, because I was too groggy to comprehend its repercussions on my reality, I kept thinking about the fact that I wished D didn't have to share his birth story with my cancer diagnosis. I just knew I was ruining everything for my little sister, and somehow THAT was what devastated me first.
Soon after, as the medicine began to wear off, the reality of the word CANCER hit, and I became much, much more self-centered than that. My sister has never held that against me, and I will always be grateful to her for that grace, love and understanding. I will also always owe a debt to D for deciding to come into the world on that day. Stories of his birth were a welcome distraction when thoughts of my own situation swirled into a meaningless void. Pictures of his sweet little face and that adorable little mouth of his gave me a reason to smile when I felt I had none.
I am pleased to say, once again, that the doctors who told me I had cancer were wrong, but I am still grateful that memories of his birth are there to redeem the memory of that horrifying fear. Beyond the blessing he was just by choosing January 21st to be born, he has continued to be a blessing for every day of his little life. He and his mommy were some of my most faithful visitors and companions as I recovered from my proctocolectomy, and watching him grow and learn and play together with my son James has been an absolute delight. I also have to thank him for bringing me even closer to my sister, whom I love so very much. I can't wait to see what the next year holds for us all, Happy Birthday D.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
I am a lot of things. I am a wife to one of the nicest human beings on the planet...and I mean that. Seriously, he is so nice that it is almost irritating to me at times, except that I am the number one recipient of his kindness and patience. Plus, I need it in my life to balance out my personality. I'm more of a no-nonsense, let me tell you what I think, type. I love people, and I love sharing God's love with them, but sometimes I need Preacher Dad's guidance in being a bit gentler with God's sheep.
As you can (I hope) deduce from the title, I'm also a pastor. Actually, I'm currently a pastoral intern, but I've been a pastor, and I'll return to being a pastor within the coming year. (God and the bishop willing) I am in my final months of seminary coursework, And I'm getting antzy to see where God takes us after I finish school. I serve at the same church where my husband is currently the associate pastor in charge of youth, which is a blast. We have served together before as co-pastors, and because we are polar opposites, I totally love it. I get such a kick out of seeing how we counter-balance one another, and how people respond to us.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly at this stage in my life, I am a Mommy. My son J is one year old, and is pretty much the center of our universe. Our lives revolve around him. My favorite hobby right now is giving him table food. He is learning to eat so many things right now, and it is so much fun to see him discover new tastes. He already eats things I didn't eat until I was a teenager, like hummus and falafel, or stir-fry, or cream of celery soup. He is as clever as can be, which means that a good portion of my day is spent trying to keep him from self-destruction as he happily discovers all sorts of thing that would make my friends with very childproofed homes shudder to think about.
The greatest blessing in my life is that Preacher Dad views all these things, our marriage, our ministries, and our child as cooperative undertakings; things we are called to do together. The reality of how we make that all work is the insanity I refer to in my title. We are a long way from having any idea how to juggle all the pieces. My hope is that this blog will be a way for you to come along with us on the journey, as we try to figure out what does, and what doesn't work for us.