Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday Five - Good Things

Today's Friday Five comes with simple instructions - list five things that are good. This task is not at all simple. It is important and profound and something that is incredibly necessary and really and truly should be done more often. This is not my reflections on life in general. This is my life at this very moment.

1. Hope and excitement about things to come - While I know the fears and challenges will make their way in, right now I'm thrilled to be moving forward.

2. Celebration - About two weeks ago my husband, brother, and I pulled off an awesome surprise birthday party for my step-mom's 60th birthday. I was honestly surprised that SHE was surprised, but the whole thing was wonderful and I had a blast planning it! On Monday, my sweet husband will turn 30 so we get to spend this weekend celebrating again. I'm a lucky girl to have so much love and celebration going right now!

3. Cuddles with my dogs - Because it's cold and rainy today, neither of the dogs want to be out, and I don't blame them. Instead, they are happy to sit with me. The little dog (a chihuahua) is happy to wedge herself between my leg and the armrest of the couch. The big dog (a lab mix) is on the floor next to my feet, occasionally popping up to place his paw on my leg or to put his head in my lap for a scratch behind the ears. I love these moments with these examples to me of unconditional love!

4. Rest - It's been a busy and challenging week, but today is my day of rest. It's much needed and even more appreciated!

5. Chocolate - I'm about to finish off the last of my Valentine's Day candy and it has been fabulous!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Moving Forward

This week has been a busy one for me, particularly in the professional realm.

First, I was on call at Children's on Sunday. It was a long, busy day and it really took a toll on me. I know it's part of the job, but it's still tough.

On Monday, I had a meeting in Atlanta with some folks at McAfee to talk about D.Min stuff. Although it wasn't exactly what I was expecting and I wasn't as on top of my game as I would have liked, it was generally a good experience and I came away very excited about the whole prospect.

After that, I had the chance to talk to the pastoral care department director at UAB. I'd already talked to my former CPE supervisor about the possibility of doing a senior (research) residency as a part of the D.Min and she was very supportive so it was nice to talk to him about it as well. He was also very supportive and it's nice to have good people in my corner who are willing to do whatever it takes to make this a good experience for everyone involved!

After that conversation, I came to the realization that it was time to make some contact with the folks at the conference office and inquire about my current status and my options going forward. After a very positive meeting, I now know what is needed for me to get back into the process of things. Although there are some mixed emotions, for the most part I think that I am ready to start taking those steps.

I really have needed these past several months of rest, peace, and reflection to get to this place. I'm more excited about the prospects for the future than I am intimidated by them. I don't necessarily have a timeline for what I want and when I want it, but I can tell that is a huge sign of growth for me! For the first time, I feel like I'm finally doing something I'm really excited about doing because it's completely for me, not because someone or some group is telling me that I have to do it.

I know it will be a lot of hard work, but I also know that it is work that will all make a difference, both to others and to me!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Academy 34 - Session 3

Another session of the Academy for Spiritual Formation has come and gone. This time I had a new experience of arriving very late on the first day because of our GPS class. I don't like being late. Ever. For anything. I didn't like missing out on the excitement of arrival time. I really didn't like missing our first worship service and my covenant group's first meeting. I got there Monday night around 10:15pm and went straight to bed, but it definitely took me a little while to get my bearings the next day.

As always, the week was wonderful. It was full of lots of laughter and tears. Our lecturers were great and I learned a lot and thought about a lot of things I might not have otherwise. I even wrote a psalm! I may get brave and share it here at some point. Although the week was filled with lots of intense emotions, thankfully my nudgings from the Holy Spirit (and there were plenty of them) were quite gentle. I don't know if it's because God knew that I could only absorb so much or that I'm simply paying closer attention so I don't need to be beaten over the head quite as much.

I did have the chance to share with my entire Academy community about our adoption stuff and I was just absolutely overwhelmed with all the love and support I got from everyone. I truly cannot put into words how much it has meant and continues to mean to have this community in my life, especially right now. I keep trying to express how much it meant to me to have so many people share their own experiences and to get so excited with and for me and to know that Jeff, I, and our future child (or children) are all being wrapped and held in prayer by so many people!

I've also been doing a lot of reflecting on where I stand professionally. Being with this community and in an environment where I get to learn again reminds me of how much I really did love school. I didn't love all the stress and the tests and the classes I had to take because they were required, but I did love the learning and growing. I still love learning and growing. I will probably always love it. I really and truly would be a career student if I thought I could get away with it. At the same time, I've been really hesitant to pursue more education because I'm not sure how it would benefit me in terms of getting a job. It's not necessarily something I "need." Still, the more I think about it the more benefit I think it would be to me to go back to school and perhaps pursue a doctor of ministry. It may or may not directly benefit me in terms of getting me a job, but I feel as though I would be a better person because of it, and that is my goal. I'm not going to do anything immediately, but it's kind of liberating to think about the possibilities. It also helps having support in that vein.

There are lots of changes happening in lots of different areas of my life and I'm so blessed to have this community as a support system. Knowing that this is a time-limited experience and that we're now almost to the halfway point, I'm already starting to grieve for the loss of this community. Maybe it's just grieving the end of this last session, but I also can't help but do a little bit of anticipatory grieving for the time that I know we will be leaving and not all coming back together in another 3 months. But for now, I will choose instead to celebrate this amazing blessing in my life!