Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Today happens to be my birthday.  My fiance surprised me with a weekend away in Salt Lake City and Park City for some skiing, snowshoeing, and Utah fun.  What a wonderful break from the day to day.

It's back to the grindstone today.  I am paging my way through the current Lutheran magazine, something I hope to read more regularly as I continue on this path to someday be a Lutheran pastor.  The whole March mag seems to be about vocation, calling, vocational identity (pastoral identity in my case).  Peter Marty wrote the opening article.  One paragraph caught my eye - I love how he defines what it's like to have a calling.  I had to share:

"If you are ever wondering what it is really like to experience a true calling, just be ready for the next time you find yourself totally absorbed in something.  Your energy is high.  Your have lost all sense of time.  Your passion is unmistakable.  A great sense of satisfaction has overtaken you.  This is typically when we experience one of the greatest possible luxuries in life - the inability to know for sure whether we are working or doing something else altogether."  (Peter Marty, The Lutheran Magazine, March 2011)

We all have a calling.  Sometimes we are lucky enough to have our calling be the same as our vocation.  As I think about graduates across the spectrum, I hope this quote can inspire someone like me - who just wanted to be told what would be best for me to do.  Unfortunately, that doesn't exactly happen - there might be voices who tell you what to do, but I don't think anyone can know as well as God what it is you would be best at.  It really is a process of discernment, one that lasts a lifetime.  

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

It's a new year.  And this year will be significant because I am getting married.  I guess every year is significant in its own right, but this is one that I know about ahead of time.  I'm not the resolution type - seems like a waste of time to me because by February all that one has hoped to do is long gone.  But I realized last night I could make a resolution this year - in 2011 I'm going to get married.  Ha. :)

I made an expensive, big-deal purchase yesterday.  I bought a wedding dress!  While Tom and I have reserved and put deposits on a number of things (ceremony and reception locations, catering, and now a photographer!), buying the dress felt like a huge step - one that means this is really going to happen.  Crazy.  I'm a little nervous because there were no stores that carried the dress I wanted so I am ordering blind and won't see it and try it on until the end of May.  And I'm still a little disappointed that I had to give into the system of wedding dresses...  I had wanted so badly to buy one on consignment - God knows I don't need someone to make a brand new dress for me to wear for a day - better for the environment, and hopefully easier on the wallet.  Unfortunately that is not an easy route to go.  As it should be, every girl has their dress tailored to them which means it fits their body.  And the chances of someone else's body being the same as mine...very slim.  Needless to say I did check out two bridal consignment shops in Denver (Altar Bridal and Eco-Bridal) and they had some great stuff, but nothing that fit me well enough to buy (and pay about the price I was looking to pay for a new dress anyway) and then have altered.  I was so bummed.  But I am so excited with what I ended up with.  I can't wait to see it in May and finally try it on!

Tom and I leave for vacation in five days.  Both of us are ready for some time off!  And I'm a little nervous about the time off part because we'll be visiting friends and family and that doesn't usually lend itself to much time off.  But we will fit it in.  We need it.  And then our parents are going to meet for the first time...

Internship...it's still going.  I will say this Christmas I didn't feel very merry...six worship services in three days is a bit much for me and didn't feel much like Christmas.  But that's the road Tom and I get to figure out now - how to create new traditions to make Christmas merry for us.  Because the church part was mostly hectic, and honestly I kinda felt like McDonald's.  People came to fill their order for the year and that's it.  Where's the authentic side of it?  I know not all people fall into that category on Christmas Eve or Day, but that's what it felt like for my first experience in a pastor role.  I felt used and abused.

One new practice we are doing this year is to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas.  Christmas Day is day one and on from there.  (The secular counting down to Christmas as the 12th day has no ground.)  We made a list before Christmas of things we wanted to do to celebrate Christmas every day.  Our list included things like going to the movies (we saw Tron in 3D), watching Christmas movies at home (we watched White Christmas), going out to eat (we had a coupon to use at Joe's Crab Shack :)), going shopping (exchanges!), going ice skating (soon to happen with our new friends JC and KM and IMC), walking or driving to appreciate Christmas lights, etc.  It's been fun to have something every day that we are consciously choosing to do to celebrate Christmas.

That's enough for today.  May you experience God Incarnate - God in your world and the world around you - on this 8th day of Christmas and the rest of the year.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Wedding Planning

So I got engaged almost 2 months ago to the most wonderful man (TH in past postings).  We have picked a date for our wedding (July 4! 2011), which means we have a ceremony and reception site.  I always knew planning a wedding was a gigantic task, but never realized how huge until I started planning my own.  I've learned that the wedding industry is just that...an industry that is out to make money.  I've had this feeling with some vendors over others, but it's good to keep in mind.  

My mom, sister, and aunt were in town this weekend to do some wedding stuff with me!  We had the best time, and I am so glad they came.  Mostly we were looking for a wedding dress...what a tough job!  We stopped at two boutiques on Friday and again on Monday, went to two bridal shows on Saturday, and took Sunday off mostly.  My sister-in-law joined us for some things - a bridal shop owner-to-be someday?  I found a few designers I liked and finally found a couple dresses I really liked - a possible 'the one'!  

One of the goals for my fiance and I in this wedding planning is to be as locally sustainable as possible.  This will show up in our choices for food, flowers, maybe even getting a wedding dress on consignment, and whatever else we can come up with.  I'm very excited to be marrying someone that has these values with me so we can figure it out together!  

We're in the process of reserving a caterer - what a process!  We still have more tastings to do, but right now I'm in love with the first one we met.  Next on the list somewhere is photography, flowers, wedding dress, bridesmaid dresses, and the groom's/men's suits or tuxes.  

Internship is chugging along...there are ups and downs...I'm still trying to figure out what my role is as an intern, besides just being a student.  This is such a different experience than when I was in a church before with a job description and everything.  It's like I have to figure out my role, my duties, my place here.  I hope I feel differently as the year progresses.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Could I be someone's Pastor?

I started internship eight days ago, on August 1.  I'll be hanging out in Longmont, Colorado for the year, attempting to figure out how to be me and be in ministry, specifically as a pastor.  The congregation is wonderful - warm with hospitality and generosity.  I've collected so many gift cards since being here...for the grocery store and Target - the necessities.

I'm so excited for this year.  And nervous.  I'm waiting to find my pastoral identity...something I've heard seminary peers talk about.  I wonder if it really exists.  Will I always be trying to find this balance (if it's a balance...maybe more of a marriage?) between the real me and the pastor me?  It is a humbling thing and such an honor to be welcomed immediately into people's lives in the role of their pastor.  How could it be that I would ever assume such a role?  I don't think it's something I assume on my own by any means; I believe it is something given/received.  But why would someone choose to call me pastor?  I'm just me...I'm no one special.  I don't feel like I am any more special or any different to have this title placed upon me.  So what do I do as someone who doesn't feel like as pastor and is supposed to be one?  Granted I'm an intern, but the congregation has been trained (via previous interns) to call the intern simply "pastor". I think it's a good thing for me to experience that...especially if that's what people will call me someday should I have the privilege of being ordained to serve people through the word and sacraments...but it feels daunting when I think about it, and when I think about how much I don't feel like a pastor.

I ordered my first round of clergy shirts this morning.  I am hopeful that seeing the collar on my frame might help my self-perception.  It's always fun to order new things, but I wonder how it will be to try them on for the first time and see myself in a collar.  And then wear one around people in my congregation.  And then in public.  I'm sure it will be an adjustment.

I hope to have some sense of being a pastor after this year of internship...seems like that should be the point of this year away from academia.  I am so thankful for that separation, and it is so good to be back in Colorado.  Mostly I'm excited for what lies ahead.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Women Bishops

Today is the first day of my spring break.  I'm planning to go camping with the bf on the Central Coast of Cali later next week, but today I found myself thinking about the lack of women bishops in the ELCA.  This conversation came up with some classmates a couple weeks ago, I think b/c of the honoring our foremothers event at PTLS last week.

As a church that ordains women and invites women as part of leadership, when will our beliefs about equality reach the level of bishop?  From my own count (which could be wrong), there are only 6 women bishops out of the 65 synodical bishops of the ELCA.  Why might this be?  Are we as a people still ingrained to think that it is men who should hold the 'higher-up' positions?  Are women simply told implicitly that being bishop is a job that a man should do?  Are women simply not interested in holding the office of bishop?  Why might that be?  Are we as women ingrained to think that holding the office of bishop is something we can't do, and so we don't consider it?  Are there not enough men encouraging women to run for the office of bishop?  Are there not enough men even considering women who might be good for the job?  (B/c let's be real...though we women want to fight for our rights of equality, we need help from the men to make it happen.  We cannot do it alone.)  I think there could be many reasons for this disparity.  I realize that holding the office of bishop is a challenge, but I do not think it is one reserved for only men.  I think women bishops could bring a different perspective to the position, and one that could reflect the majority of our active church members.  (If we take a look at the percentage of women vs. men active in our congregations, it's likely that we see a higher percentage of women.  This is obviously not reflected at the level of bishop.  I think it's important for us to be aware of these differences.)

Thank you to these women for braving the way:

Bishop Jessica R. Crist, Montana Synod
Bishop Elizabeth Eaten, Northeastern Ohio Synod
Bishop Margaret Payne, New England Synod
Bishop Marie Jerge, Upstate NY Synod
Bishop Claire Burkat, Southeastern Penn. Synod
Bishop Wilma Kucharek, Slovak Zion Synod