Friday, April 27, 2012

A chapter ends. Another begins.

I have only four more days of class and a handful of final assignments standing between me and graduation. It's amazing how quickly three years go by and how much I have learned and grown during my time here at Columbia.

I visited my cousin and her family yesterday in Columbus, GA. Her husband is a pastor at CrossPointe Church and they have two sweet girls Claire (almost 4!) and Julie (18 months). I treasure the time I got to spend with them, particularly the time talking with Beth and Wayne about what ministry has been like for them. Ministry is sweet and sour. In my own anticipation of stepping into the ministry, Beth really encouraged me to keep in close contact with my friends from seminary as they will be the ones that can be sounding boards and listening ears in the future.

My colleagues and friends at Columbia will be the hardest to leave. Tim and I know we're going to have to search long and hard for great neighbors like we have here. It is a bitter sweet season for me as I say goodbye to this place that has been my home for the past three years and supported me through the life transitions of marriage, career preparation, and independence. It's helpful for me to remember that through great technology and intentional time set apart, I can continue to strengthen and appreciate those friendships. I was also reminded through my time with Beth and Wayne, that God has blessed me with a family that serves in Ministry and understands where I am going. I'm grateful for them.
Tim and I are so excited about following where God will lead us next! But, in these last few days, I'm really trying to soak in the good moments and be so grateful for the friends I've had here.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Earth Day!

Earth Day is this Sunday and as a Christian, I think it only appropriate that we give thanks to God for creation on that day!

I want to tell you about my dad -

My dad is an environmentalist. Since I was young I remember him knocking on the bathroom door 1 minute into my shower yelling that I was taking too much time. Too much precious clean water. My dad, Jack, teaches sustainability, appropriate technology, and alternative energy courses at ACC and Appalachian State University. He even taught us kids a few things growing up. We were the middle schoolers that built solar panels and converted bikes and canoes into solar powered motor machines. We won several awards at the Science Fairs and were those kids with the cool toys.

On Earth Day, I am so grateful for my dad and how he has inspired a passion in me to care for God's creation. He has taught me that there are lots of good reasons to recycle and conserve energy, but that the MOST IMPORTANT reason is that creation is a gift from God and thus we are called to care for it. Just like God gave me a loving father and mother, brother and sister, and I am called to love them in return. So too God gave me responsibility over this Earth to receive it's benefits and to give back.

On campus today we are practicing an Energy Sabbath. So, my lights are off and I'm walking or carpooling wherever I go. I encourage you to also do your part! Think of ways that you can be green today and every day. Here are some more of my suggestions:

- turn of your lights in your house/apartment/schoolroom/workplace
- turn off your computer and iphone and all other electronics when you're not using them
- take public transportation or carpool, bike or walk instead of driving your car alone
- pick up trash you find while you're out
- recycle EVERYTHING (seriously, look online to see what you can'll be surprised)
- compost your fruits, vegetables, coffee grounds, and egg shells. If you live near CTS - drop your compost off at our community garden
- buy locally and organically

And at some point today, tell God "THANKS" for this beautiful world that we live in.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Were not our hearts burning within us?

It's 20/20 in hindsight.

Ralph Watkins preached a sermon that fed my soul on Tuesday. He preached about Timothy's entrance into the ministry and how he was reminded of all those that had gone before him and that were praying for him.

"I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure lives in you. For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands, for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline." II Timothy 1:4-5

His sermon was profound to me because I realized in that moment how many people have been walking this journey with me, praying for and with me even when I did not know it. I was instantly reminded of the faith of my grandparents- Elwood, Bill, and Pou - that have shaped the faith of my parents, my aunts and uncles, my cousins, my siblings, and me. There is something incredible about remembering who we are and where we came from and then giving thanks for the faith of those that have gone before us. Those that we can lift up by name and remember the ways in which they've shared their faith with us.

I read scripture at my grandfather Bill's funeral this past November. I read from my grandfather's New Testament the words that he had underlined and starred as important from Romans. He was such an incredible man of faith and it is amazing to see now how those same words from Romans affect all of us who knew and loved him.

As I reflect on this past year and how stressful my life has been with life transitions. I see now that my heart was indeed burning within me. God's hand was at work in my wedding and bringing all those I love together. God was hard at work during my time interning at Grady Memorial Hospital in teaching me about death and allowing me time to wrestle with death before I lost my own grandfather Bill (my mentor in the faith) to death in November. My heart burns within me still as I remember applying to jobs, receiving "no's," receiving "yes's," and being led to the to the place where God would have me be. My heart continues to burn as I am continually reminded of the people surrounding me (both near and far) who remind me that they have been walking this journey with me, praying for me.

Today, I am grateful for the faith of those who have gone before me and for this moment of realization how God has been present right beside me, though I did not know it at the time.

Thanks be to God!

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Spring Break was soooo neeeded!

I didn't realize how tired I was until I let myself sleep in without an alarm and slept for over 12 hours. This week I finally let go of the stress I've been carrying and reminded myself of the benefits of sabbath. Sleeping long hours, eating good food, reading fiction, and laughing with amazing friends. AND the dark circles under my eyes have finally gone away!!!

Anna, Leslie, and I went to Murrel's Inlet this past week and stayed at Anna's family house. The house was great! We each had our own queen-sized bed. The screened in porch overlooked the water and had a swing bench and a hammock - perfect for reading and relaxing! The weather was better than we could have imagined for the first of April - sunny with a small breeze. It was a sweet little paradise.

This trip was a good reminder to me of how important these breaks are from our busy schedules. No wonder God took the seventh day of creation to relax and enjoy what was made! No wonder Jesus took off for a bit to the mountains to rest and pray! Sabbath is so important.

My grandmother (the wife of a Presbyterian pastor) told me that she never finished one vacation without having a plan for the next. I'm thinking this is a smart idea that I want to adopt. I know that as a pastor there will appear to be a never-ending need for my presence at the church and that if I let this perceived need take over, the effects will be detrimental to my own health and my marriage. I know most ministers don't use all of their vacation - but I'm determined to do my best to take a break! I'm reminded how a little refreshment makes the world of difference in my energy and imagination for ministry.

That's all for now - I'm going back to enjoying my Sabbath before classes pick back up on Monday :0

Hope you've had a good Sabbath this week, too.