Thursday, September 29, 2011

Week 38

The past several weeks have been a whirlwind of stuff with Jeff starting his new job and finishing up CPE and all the stuff that goes along with both of those major changes colliding! Anywho, I'm sort of back on track and happy to have a report about my 101 things list!

16 - COMPLETED - I got to go the Auburn game last Saturday to celebrate my baby brother's birthday! I love gameday! We left at halftime because our seats weren't great and the game wasn't very exciting, but I got to participate in all the fun I love about Auburn football - the band, the eagle, and the sea of orange and blue. The only thing missing was rolling the trees at Toomer's Corner, but I would have been too tired to enjoy it this time anyway!

17 - COMPLETED - My friend Tyler and her mom invited me to go see Les Miserables with them last week. It was great fun. I'd never seen that one before but I really enjoyed it. It's not the kind of thing I would normally just decide I want to see, but I'm glad I saw it and would probably enjoy seeing it again, especially now that I'm a little more familiar with the story!

41 - COMPLETED - I have FINALLY gotten around to getting prints made of all these pictures so they can go in our album. In getting some pictures printed for a totally unrelated project, I (re)discovered the fact that you can do photo orders for Walgreens online and just go pick them up. I knew this existed and was kind of skeptical of it at first, but it wasn't until I was about to walk out the door with a stack of 8 photo CDs that I decided there had to be a better way, and decided to give it a shot. I have all the pictures and I'm getting them into the book, but I count this as a win! I'm hoping this will keep us from getting several years behind on our pictures again!

94 - In Process - As previously stated, we're taking a little trip next week. It was booked within about two weeks of leaving, which is frankly as much spontaneity as I can manage. I still count this one as a win because it was very needed and kind of fun to not anticipate for months!

So that's where things stand right now. I'm pretty happy with the progress I'm making. In the weeks to come I think the priorities are going to be getting rid of some stuff and getting the room cleaned out in the basement. That'll take care of probably 5 items on the list, so that'll be nice. From there I can tackle the tasks of walking, sleeping, knitting, cooking, and reading (although not necessarily in that order!)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New Beginnings

Today was officially my first day post-residency. Yesterday was our "graduation" which was a bittersweet day to say the least. I've been working toward this transition for a couple of weeks now, taking time for other things and enjoying a few days off here and there for various activities. Still, the vast expanse of available time is a new one for me. I'm not gonna lie, it's a little bit overwhelming!

Today was planned as a day of rest. I need some time to really get myself back to "normal" or as close to normal as I can get! This week will probably be spent being domestic, particularly cleaning and doing laundry. I am looking forward to having a few days away next week of doing nothing but reading for fun, sitting in a comfy chair, and probably eating too many sweets! You can hear all about it after I return. I'm pretty much keeping this one under my hat for now. I'm not good with keeping secrets or surprises, especially when it's something I'm really excited about, so I figured I'd try to give it a shot. Sorry if it bugs you like it does me!

Starting when we get home, I will be working hot and heavy on getting all my materials finished up for board of ordained ministry stuff. It's due the middle of November, but I'd love to get it done sooner! I've got a really good start on everything, so I hope I can keep my motivation going! I'll be very relieved when everything is out of my hands for a while!

Last week I did start a new ongoing project - The Pastor as Shepherd program. Yes, I'm a little bit nuts for jumping straight from one program to the next without any real recovery time. But this is only once a month for nine months and I believe is going to be invaluably helpful to me. I am excited about the people who are in the program with me and I'm really loving the way our facilitator, Bart, teaches. I think we're going to have a great year together! Next month I will be one of the case presenters. Normally I'm really nervous about having to present stuff, especially to a new group for the first time, but I'm actually looking forward to the feedback I'll get from this one. Plus, I already have three ideas for cases to present which takes off a little of the pressure. Plus the reading is interesting. It's concepts I'm generally familiar with, but in a different context which makes it really neat. Stay tuned for more on all that!

One thing that I would like to make a part of my routine, if not every day then at least three times a week, is a walk in the park. Jeff and I finally went to explore Veteran's Park the other day and it was really nice. The walking trails are neat and it'll be good for me to get out on a regular basis. The weather right now is perfect, especially if I can get up and out early in the morning. My long-term goal is to work myself up to running, but we'll start with walks in the park for now!

I am going to get back to cooking and meal planning and would like to also incorporate some sort of cleaning schedule into my life. We'll see what that looks like for real in a few weeks when my "real" routine has kicked in.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Facebook Reflections

*Disclaimer* These are strictly my opinions. I'm being brutally honest today. If you are feeling especially sensitive right now, you can stop reading here. Have a nice day!

Admittedly, with some of my down time I have been spending far too much time online doing absolutely nothing of substance. This has included spending a little time on Facebook.

Now, I love facebook as much as the next person. I remember when it was brand new and just for college students. I have enjoyed being able to keep up with friends from all over the place. It has made communicating with friends and family members a little easier at times. It is an excellent way to waste some time. But it's just a website.

Now, I'm not a person who likes a whole lot of change. I like stability and predictability, probably more than an average person. But a few changes on a website will not throw my world into chaos. And to be perfectly honest, were it not for the extreme reactions of so many people, I don't know that I would have noticed or cared. Because guess what people? Stuff changes! Websites get updated! It's part of life.

I'm not normally one to post just for the sake of posting, but I decided that my status needed to be updated today, and so I posted:
"Seriously folks? It's a website. If you don't like the way it is set up, you don't have to spend all day staring at it!"

Most of the folks who responded responded positively, which I kind of expected. I really wasn't seeking responses, but I was glad to have them. I didn't respond to every comment I got, but I did notice a few themes in the posts of many people today (not just in response to my status update) and I'd like to respond to a few of those.

Privacy Concerns: I noticed several people complaining about privacy stuff, that they didn't want everyone knowing what they were doing.
Umm, if you don't want the world to be able to see it, maybe you shouldn't be posting it on the internet! If you don't want people to know you are visiting a particular website, maybe you shouldn't be there! If you're worried about who might see something, maybe you shouldn't be throwing it out there in the first place!

Extra Buttons: I noticed some people complaining that the "quick response" boxes weren't as available anymore and you had to actually click an extra button to get a box.
I say this not to be mean, but if you're so lazy that one extra click is a strain or a burden for you, it might be time to turn off the computer and go for a walk outside or even just read a real book!

News Feed: There were lots and lots of complaints about the way the new news feed is done, especially because not everything pops up exactly in the order that it might have happened.
Again, I'm not trying to be hateful or judgmental, but if you have nothing better to do than sit and watch a second by second update of what's going on with people you probably haven't had a real conversation with in at least six months, it might be time to make some new friends or get some new hobbies. If you need something to do with your day, I know of lots of great organizations that are always looking for volunteers to help out and would love to help you come up with something to occupy your time!

If you have any other complaints that I did not respond to, I will be happy to address them. And in case you feel like yelling at me for my opinions here, go ahead, but I would like to issue a friendly remind that this is MY blog. I'm not writing this because I am seeking anyone's approval. I'm doing it because it is a way of expressing myself. If you don't like what I have to say just click away. Nobody is forcing this on you. Just like nobody is forcing you to spend hours on Facebook or any other website full of fluff.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Five - Seeking

It's been a little while since I was able to actually participate in a Friday Five. I always read and occasionally comment on the offerings of others, but I just can't seem to get it together lately to participate. Thankfully, I am hoping this is changing with my changing schedule.

Today's Friday Five invites us to consider what we are seeking. I love the idea of seeking, especially in the context of theology, but I'm not sure I think of it in the same way. I always think about the game of Hide and Seek, which was ultimately the inspiration for my M.Div thesis on the theology of play. A friend and mentor told me, "Hide and seek is ultimately a game of theology that we all play." Of course he was right. Deep down, we all want to be found. We may want it to be in our time and on our terms, but we still want to be found! With that in mind, what am I seeking these days?

Routine - My world is being turned upside down with the end of CPE and Jeff going back to work and trying to get my comissioning papers finished up and everything else that is changing right now. So I'm seeking a routine to help me make sense of it all.

Motivation - I'm trying to take on a new challenge of getting back into shape and starting to train for some road races again. I'm seeking some serious motivation to get going and keep going!

A Living Room Rug - yup, this one is relatively silly and superficial, but I am on a quest for a nice rug for our living room. The one we have now is kind of sad.

Time with Friends - I'm so thankful that I'm finally building some meaningful connections with friends locally, but it's hard to spend time with them. It's also hard to spend time with my not-so-local friends and I miss them, too!

Inspiration - I seem to have unlocked a creative piece of soul that has been locked away for far too long. I'm constantly seeking inspiration for new ways of expressing myself!

So there you have it, five things that I am seeking right now. Let me know what you're looking for. And if you've seen any of these things hanging around, let me know!

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I have been somewhat resistant to all the media attention surrounding remembering September 11, 2001. I understand that it's important, but it's been really hard. For one thing, I remember this every single year, often multiple times each year. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my experiences that came as a result of all of that have helped make me the person I am today. In case you missed it last year, you can read an article I wrote about my experiences in New York in March 2002 called "Fear is Not the Only Force at Work in the World Today".

As I look back, I remember that day. I was a junior in high school. I even remember what I was wearing - a pale blue corduroy skirt, a burgundy and blue argyle sweater, and my knee high black boots. In the middle of my English class I was bored out of my mind, and heard someone walking down the hallway saying that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center in New York. My first reaction was "someone made a MAJOR miscalculation on that one!" By the time class got out, there was lots of talk about what had happened and was happening. I had just applied to go to New York on the citizenship trip the North Alabama Conference took every year. I had been looking forward to this trip since I was in about 8th grade and this was supposed to be my year to get to go, so I just kept asking in my head over and over "What about the trip?"

We had a break between classes, and lots of people went running for classrooms with TVs, but I went outside with my friends just like normal. It was a nice, sunny day with beautiful weather. I laughed at the jokes people were making, knowing deep in my gut that I wouldn't be laughing again for quite a while. I was right. By the end of the day, I was exhausted and numb. I had been through so many different emotions and I couldn't think about anything else.

Even now, when I think about all that happened in the days and weeks following, I remember my trip above everything else. Because that is what made it real for me. The eerie silence as we neared the hole in the ground that was once the sight of two enormous buildings. The sight of the Burger King that was all boarded up. The make-shift memorials all over the place. It was and continues to be overwhelming.

This year, I was introduced to a new book with a different perspective on some of the aftermath. So if you're looking for a good read, I highly recommend The Faith Club. It WILL make you think, but it's great. As we continue to look back, let's not forget to also look forward at the days of hope to come!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Week 35

There really isn't a whole lot to update on in terms of what I have actually accomplished in the past few weeks.

The only thing I can cross off my list is going away on retreat (29). I really didn't expect that our CPE "end of year" retreat would fulfill this requirement in my own mind, but it really has. It's been wonderful to simply get away and talk and laugh and have a good time and eat good food and decompress. I expected it to be more "work" but I guess since I sort of inherited the job of planning I got to make it what I needed it to be. I could get used to doing this more often!

We're making progress on other projects. We went shopping for a new rug for the living room (76) but didn't find anything we like.

Jeff is determined to get the basement done (10) in time for the Iron Bowl this year. We'll see if that actually happens!

I have a ticket to go see Les Miserables (17) with my friend Tyler and her mom, but it's the same week I may be going to the beach. I'll have to double check an see what I'm going to do. If not this one, there's always Wicked!

I'm looking forward to being able to go to bed before midnight (30) once I'm not having to be on call anymore.

Now that the weather is nice and I've not got big plans for this weekend, I may see if Jeff wants to go to the zoo (72).

I have lots of plans for what I want to do once CPE is officially over. I may give myself a few days of grace and throw myself head-first into my new endeavors starting in October. Either way, I'm excited about the possibilities!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Escape Day Spa

I know this isn't my "normal" thing (or as close to "normal" as I usually get) but I couldn't resist the temptation to share this little jewel that has become a part of my life.

I didn't even know this place existed. In my google searches for day spas, it just never popped up, or if it did it never registered on my radar. It's relatively new (only been open about 10 months). Thankfully, my darling baby brother discovered it for me and got me a gift certificate for my birthday. He warned me that it was a small place and was easy to miss. It really wasn't hard to find at all, and it had a really peaceful charm to it.

I decided to supplement the gift certificate a bit and treat myself to a 90 minute hot stone massage. This might be the single greatest treat I can give to myself, I love it so. It was a tough call, especially in reviewing their menu of services and finding out I could get a private yoga session. Still, the massage won out for this one. I mean, do you blame me? I made my appointment about two weeks in advance, but about three days before my scheduled appointment, I discovered I had scheduled it post-call and I wanted to be able to enjoy it so I re-scheduled for later in the week.

Well, somewhere along the way in the process of re-scheduling, there was a little glitch. I had it down as 3pm, but they had it in their computer as 5. I had a meeting at 6:15 so obviously that wasn't going to work and I was afraid I'd have to flake out on my evening commitment or at least be charged a fee to re-schedule so late. Thankfully, they were SO sweet about it and bent over backwards to not only get me another appointment, but to make sure I didn't have to wait a week and a half for that other appointment. There are not words for how much I appreciated this level of customer service and how excited I was to go back. I mean seriously, if they pay this much attention to the "front of house", I could only imagine the care that goes into the treatments!

So the much-anticipated appointment arrived and OH. MY. WORD. I got absolutely, without a doubt, the best massage I have ever gotten in my life. So stinking awesome. There just plain aren't words to describe the bliss that was that hour and a half of my life.

I will absolutely be returning, there's no question about that! The only hard decision I have to make is what service I want next! So yeah, I highly recommend them. Give them a call or even book an appointment online. You'll be so glad you did!