Monday, April 26, 2010


Sometimes, seminary feels a whole lot like war... a war with words (written, spoken, private and sometimes achingly public) instead of weapons.

Late nights, frayed emotions, thousands of pages of reading, mountains of written work and trasnlations, social networking...

A sometimes too-small community, public ministry and full-time enrollment, every detail of life scrutinized by committees and professors who rarely take the time to know "candidates" personally...

A church laden with labels of conservative, liberal...heretic...

By the time we get through the barrage of assaults that compile the end of the semester, seminarians wander around with glazed eyes, incapable of effectively communicating with one another let alone non-students; still sore from the wounds inflicted, bracing for what is inevitably around the corner...and there's always something around the corner

I have to wonder how we can move from this realm into healthy public ministry. I have to wonder why it seems like a strange phenomenon that so many people in ministry struggle with mental illness. Mostly, I guess, I wonder if seminaries don't take care of their students, how do the leaders of the church learn to be cared for?

Who holds this realm of God's people? Who reminds them how to love and be loved? Can a war-torn, weary survivor really be a healthy leader?

Disclaimer: There are many places for students to turn for help. I am neither desperate nor in an unhealthy place, BUT I do see a ton of ache which is exacerbated with the pace required of students. I also feel like I am currently without pastor, opening up a new awareness of the desperate need for seminary students to have a "neutral" spiritual leader-- one who is not connected to grades, evaluations or candidacy.

Monday, April 12, 2010

On Moving & the regal beagle

Today, he sleeps.

Yesterday, he dug a million little holes in my parents' backyard, tore a six inch strip of wall paper off the dining room wall and made an(other) attempt at my black leather shoes. He's tucked into a tiny little ball of puppy cuddling in the breeze on the edge of my bed now, but if you happen to wander by between classes, he's perched at the window atop my wooden step-stool, busily wagging his tale and wishing he could lick your bald spot. Granted, you don't actually have to have a bald spot for Regal Beagle to desire an enthusiastic hunt in your masses of hair to double check... I am *so* not the one who taught him this bad habit.

As I begin the adventure of collecting cardboard boxes for packing and marking things with post-its as "storage" or "move," I wonder what our lives will be like next year... missing our boy with the bald spot and lots of big changes looming overhead-- some surrounded by eager anticipation and others with a tight knot in my stomach.

I know it is important not to wish one's life away. I understand the importance of living in the moment and learning from everything. But sometimes seminary makes me long for the life that was meaningful and lived for the other. So many of my days are spent planted in books trying to grow new roots to strengthen my future in ministry while my personal experience hearkens back to a life of tending to the aches and hurts of the world. I am here because I wanted more education to prep for a life of ministry. I am here because the church recognizes the importance and significance of an education. I am here... and that is what matters.

Because of this, I am grateful for the ever-looming presence of internship... an opportunity to actively serve God's people and be fully immersed back in the broken and beautiful world to which I feel so called.

And yet. I (we) will miss him. Our year will be filled with too-short visits and too-few hugs and meals shared... too-few funny kisses to that soft little bald spot. But, oh, the joy of our reunion-- as a real family.

Yes. I'll keep telling myself this: We'll come back... with belly laughs and new friends; with great stories and new scars. Until then, I'll enjoy the days I get wrapped in my green prayer shawl with a sleeping (still-a-puppy) 32 pound dog... can't believe he's nine months already. Never thought there would be such simultaneous comfort and pain in the swiftness of time.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Kitchen Essentials

I have somehow convinced myself that the availability of my favorite groceries will be different in my future abode. I have these minor meltdowns before every big trip and have even developed a mantra for packing for Europe: people live t/here, too. I repeat it over and over as I roll up my pants and tuck them neatly into my suitcase.

And, yet, moving to a new and somewhat foreign, highly remote, place feels completely different. Although this place is near great hiking and serious outdoor adventures, I've convinced myself that my favorite (healthy) ethnic ingredients might just not be available at my future remote home...

And, so...I present a running list of essential kitchen ingredients... of things I use often or will miss in my own overly-dramatic nature if it's not available! I'm open to rational advice, which assures me that, yes, Virginia, there is a healthfood store. Until then, here's the working list of things I'm stocking up on and researching how to freeze/save!

  • fish sauce
  • red curry paste
  • bamboo shoots
  • kale
  • whole chiles
  • whole wheat tortillas (...can I make these?!)
  • whole ginger root
  • tahini
  • hummus
  • herbs for growing: rosemary, cilantro, thyme, dill
  • whole wheat pitas (this have to exist everywhere, right?)
  • low fat coconut milk
  • mango

Breakfast Club

Winter is done. Summer, that temptress, made a brief appearance with her 80 degree temps and tank tops, but is once more on hiatus. Spring, however, has made her regal entrance: tight pink and white buds have exploded into papery blossoms; birds spiral through the air with their fertile pursuits; windows fling wide with blinds pulled high and curtains blowing in a cool breeze... the productivity level of students everywhere dwindles and the eager anticipation of distraction emerges once more.

That was my morning. Four women, one husband and one complacent baby. While sipping mimosas, we spent nearly two hours preparing Pioneer Woman's guarantee to maintaining birthing hips. As we planned to serve these beasts with eggs and strong coffee, we chose bacon instead of ham. And, my, how the savory smell of bacon splattered and hung in the air as we fussed over the other ingredients and gabbed.

Now, I've always had close friends with whom I could speak for hours, but never before seminary had I appreciated the gift of gabbing. We poured over Ree Drummond's cookbook, fantasized about what her life must be like, discussed our own hopes and laughed-- oh did we laugh. Even now I smile recalling this morning as though it occurred years ago...with friends I've known for many ages.

As I sit down to focus on grad school and pretend it is gloomy and gray outside, I find a renewed vigor for life. Papers, projects and exams loom overhead while I calmly plot how to fit more time for good people in my cluttered life. (And, oh, how I look forward to more adventures in cooking with the many beautiful women in my life!) For now, though, I think I'll sip my praline coffee and contemplate kicking my productivity back up a notch... we'll see how that goes.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Money for School...

School moneys are tight. I'd like to be selfish and keep this little ditty to myself, but I know we all feel this pinch and how much cooler if someone we know wins?

Monster Jobs $5000 College Money Giveaway

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Not wanting to lose some of the great things I've stumbled upon this week, I'm throwing these up here for future reference!

A DIY Cupcake Tier

And while I'm at it, this whole website is pretty fabulous. Check this out!

And as we race to plan a wedding before the two of us bolt to live in separate states for a year, I'm super excited to find inspiration from places like this!

I made these for lunch. I didn't measure anything and instead of brushing the chips, I sprayed them with Olive Oil PAM. Went great with hot pepper hummus!

J & I have been talking about how we should do a better, more intentional, job of planning our meals and groceries. I've become quite the coupon queen and have even learned how to price shop from the internet to see who has the best "bonus buys" on products for which I have a coupon! That said, I love, love, love the design and layout of these. There are a few options toward the bottom of this page-- while I suspect I'll settle for the blank list, I appreciate the pre-fab list for its outside-of-my-box vegetable and grains suggestions!