Thursday, March 29, 2012

Staying on Track and a Lenten Puzzle Prayer

Hi All!

I'm not much for blogging this week because I'm *truly* getting some work done on my thesis.  My goal was to work three hours a day this week, and so far I missed Monday (the first day) but otherwise have done really well.  Things are going smoothly, and when I get the words on the page I can't believe how much I know about Judith.  I feel like we're buds now, and whenever I read an article that says something bad about her I get really defensive.  She's not perfect, but she is really awesome.  It's due April 18th, by the way. 

A depiction of the Song of Miriam, but I like to look at it
and think about Judith's celebration too. 

Anyway, I wanted to stop in and drop off this Lenten word search from  You know, I've been posting prayers from there periodically.  I love the commitment to reach so many different spiritual practices.  I'm really loving the website and am planning to print them all out and put them in a booklet for Lents-to-come.  

Here's what you're looking for: Purple, Fast, Lent, Ash Wednesday
Maundy Thursday, Shrove Tuesday, Forty Days, Paschal Lamb, and Holy Week.

In Evelyn news, she's teething and it is really, truly a test in patience.  Maic and I are both exhausted from waking up throughout the night and we are begging those little teeth to just pop through.   Just trying to remember: "Weeping may linger for the night, but Joy comes in the morning." Psalm 30:5.  Now I just wish that time frame was literal.  

Since we have a webcam attached to our new laptop, I like to turn on the camera and she watches herself in the computer and talks.  It's really quite adorable.  Here are a few photos.  

Just woke up.

Who's that?  (By the way, see that bruise on my arm?
Would you believe this sweet little 7 month old gave me a hickey!
It's been there for a week now!) 

"Oh hi, other baby.  Aren't you cute." 

Daddy set up this cheer squad for her because he wants her to crawl.
She just scoots backwards for now...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Chaos, Balance, Self-Care

I'm really really really trying to find a place for self-care in my life.  I hate that there are days that taking care of Evelyn is a chore... and that there are days that I dread writing my thesis... and that I see the "job" search as an insurmountable obstacle.

Really, Evelyn is the most amazing baby-- so patient and loving and really hilarious.  It's a treat to be with her.  I am extraordinarily passionate about my thesis and so excited to tell people what's going on in my head.  And if I am looking at ministry as a job rather than a calling, I need to reassess.

It's just hard because there's so much going on right now that I feel like I don't have time for self-care.  At the same time, I realize that when I don't stop for a while and take a break, I'm totally unproductive.  Yesterday I took a two hour long nap, and immediately after I wrote seven pages of my thesis.  How great is that?

So now, since I noticed myself being unproductive, I'm writing a blog entry.  Evelyn is with her godmother, Stacy, for the morning and I'm home by myself.  We are housesitting this week, which I'm loving.  I'm considering locking the family out on Saturday when they return because, frankly, I like their house better than our apartment.  Also, there are chickens.  

They follow Maic around like they're his fan club.  

I took half of the kitchen table and claimed it as my work space.  Nothing that doesn't have to do with my thesis or classes is allowed on this half of the table, except for these flowers that Maic bought me in celebration of my ordination interview (actually, I handed them to him while we were grocery shopping...but you know, romance is in the eye of the beholder.)

I made this card to keep on my workspace too, as an idea from Rabbi Dr. Ryan Dulkin  who is
a candidate for the  Biblical Studies position at Eden.  It's apparently a Jewish tradition...

On one side...

...and on the other.  A reminder to live in the balance of self-love and humility.
A practice I need desperately.  

 Meanwhile, not on the work half of the table... 

Sock bunnies!  

So much of my life right now is about balance.  I know it seems that when I write entries like this, they are full of chaos.  Thesis, Jewish practices, and sock bunnies?  Joanna, what are you doing?  The fact is, for the next two months before graduation, my life is full of chaos.  But don't we have a God who lives and works in the chaos?  The world was created out of chaos.  The covenant with Noah was built upon the chaos of a land ruined by water.  The new covenant in Jesus Christ was made in the midst of anger and murder, blood and splinters and then continued into the morning in the confusion of the mysterious and absurd incident of the resurrection.  I believe that God is living and working with me now, becoming known to me through my scattered mind-- showing up as I feed the chickens rice out of the palm of my hand (did you know chickens eat rice?), as I nurse my teething baby throughout the night as she tosses and turns in pain, and as I write about this woman, and try to tell people that she is more than a murderer.

Judith, Pallaiuolo, 1470. 

This is a time to love the fact that being pastor and being mom, being crafter and being student, being wife and being self, being created in the image of God and being but dust and earth, are all both chaos and balance.  

I'm just trying to figure that out.  

Friday, March 16, 2012

Approved! And an overview of the trip home

I did pass my ordination interview, which  makes me "approved for ordination pending a recognized call and graduation from Eden Seminary."  I'm quite thrilled.  The sermon and interview both went so well.  I felt very articulate and like I said the things I wanted to say.  I have no regrets, even though I cried when another young female pastor asked me how I planned to balance motherhood and ministry.  The question was bound to be asked, and my emotions were bound to get out of my control at some point.  I still responded well, though.  I'll have to rehearse the question before I go on any job interviews, because crying at an ordination interview is one thing.  Crying at a job interview is another. 

Their primary recommendation to me was to work on self-care because I am doing so much right now.  As a result, we decided to go out to B-Spot for dinner to celebrate instead of going to the potluck at the church.  It was sooo delicious.  I want to go there every night now.  

Evelyn and I fly out of Cleveland this evening, and are giddy to be reunited with Daddy.  He's the absolute best.  We're housesitting for the next week for a friend just around the corner, and we're excited to have a washer and dryer, a TV, and three chickens!  

How timely is this Words Matter prayer, with its airplane and traveling home imagery?

Well, would you like to see some photos from our trip home?  

Evelyn on her first flight!  They didn't give her a flight wing pin, though.   

Nana and Papa bought her these awesome Minnetonka Moccasins.  

She LOVED Timmy!  
And she HATED the new puppy, Crispin's Crispian. 

Still loves Nos!  We can't wait to live with him again!

We went to Baldwin-Wallace with Great Gramma
to see my Aunt Jill working in the book store

We had the awesome coincidence of running into Titi Midori.
She was in our wedding! 

She loves Nos! 

We visited an old friend who just had her baby, Julianna, six weeks ago. 

There are many, many more, but I'm avoiding too much of a photobomb here.  

Another thing that's awesome is that we were absolutely delighted to find out that our good friend's, Emma and Rob, had their little pipsqueak yesterday!  Her name is Ellery.  We love her so much and can't wait to meet her!!  

Welp, off for some ice cream with Gramma and Grampa, Nana, and possibly Great Gramma.  

See you in St. Louis!  

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

It's All Happening: My Ordination Interview is Tomorrow!

Hi readers and viewers!  

I am home in Ohio and have been since Thursday.  Originally, we were home for the weekend for a wedding which was called off a couple of months ago, and then Maic went home on Sunday night and Evelyn and I are here until Friday evening because tomorrow afternoon is my ordination interview. 

What does that mean? 
It starts out with a half hour worship service, which I put together and preach for.  I am using the "Samaritan Woman at the Well" passage from John 4, and preaching on the topic of being in awe of God.  

Then it continues into an hour long interview with the full department of the Western Reserve Association.  They have all received and read my ordination paper and ordination exam, and can ask me anything they want.  The department consists of about 20 people.  Anyone is invited to the interview, and I think that anyone is allowed to ask me questions.  

After the interview, I step out into the hall, the department reaches a decision about whether or not I can be ordained, and they call me back in and let me know. 

YOU are invited to the worship service and/or interview tomorrow which begins at 1:00.  Because in the United Church of Christ, ordination is an act of the church and therefore an act of the community, everyone is invited to be a part of the process.  Come hear me preach, and if you feel like staying for the interview,  which begins at 1:30, that's fine.  

It's located at 1375 West Clifton Blvd. Lakewood, OH.  Their website is here, for more directions on how to get there. 

Then what?
If I am approved for ordination, it will be with two conditions: pending my graduation from Eden, and pending a call (a.k.a. a hired pastoral position).  

I have to finish up my ministerial profile, which is basically a portfolio, and then I send it to be circulated to the churches that are seeking pastors.  I can do that as soon as tomorrow is over, but I have a bit more work to do before it's prepared to go out.  The association minister helps me out by recommending me to churches and encouraging them to interview me. 

Where am I looking for a call?
First, in the Western Reserve and Eastern Ohio Associations.  We want to be close to family.  If nothing bites in the area, I'll expand to the rest of Ohio and parts of Michigan, PA, and Indiana.  Stage three: Milwaukee, Washington D.C., and St. Louis-- places where people we love live.  Stage four: everywhere. 

What can you do to help? 
Pray for my discernment and the discernment of the churches and other pastors in the search and call process.  

Thanks for staying tuned-in.  Sending my love to you all, and holding you close to me tomorrow, as your encouragement means the world to me.  

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Who is Joseph Kony? : Using Social Networking for Good

Never thought I'd watch the whole video, but I did and I'm glad.  C'mon guys, we are powerful, and we should care.

Edited to Add: 
Thought I'd keep this post brief, but I just can't stop thinking about the fact that he does this in the name of the Lord, yet I don't have time to elaborate or come up with something even semi-profound to say about the whole thing.  I'm just disgusted, and I wish there was some way I could tell people that religion is not always like that and that is NOT our God.  Because of my lack of time, I'll just include some links,

like to the United Church of Christ, the denomination I'm a part of, who knowing us will be on the Kony 2012 train really soon.

And to the website to which the maker of the video refers, where you can go to send letters and learn more about Kony 2012.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Studying, not out of a sense of duty

I'm finding myself more often seated in a study carrel at Webster University reading and writing about Judith (about to make the switch to less reading and more writing).  My thesis is due to my first and second readers by April 18th-- less than two months from now.  It's going pretty well, because I'm more excited about the topic every day.  

A couple entries ago, I mentioned that one of my Lenten commitments is to read this blog of expansive language prayers each day.   Many of them are digging up very deep new ways of looking at God for me.  I read this one today from March 3rd (admitting that I'm a few days behind) and was deeply struck by the line, "Let us go to prayer and study not out of a sense of duty, but because we long to be alone with you." 

Is this, kind of, what I preached about two Sundays ago?  Wish I'd read the prayer back then.  

Needed to share.

In other news, headed to Ohio on Thursday evening for my ordination interview!  

And, wanted to share these photos from the other night when we had our South Korean and Japanese friends over for black bean burgers.  Yunseon wants everything he eats to be very American, so he smothered his in ketchup.  ;-) 

Yunseon, Grace, Catherine, Evelyn, Me, Reina

Evelyn and Catherine, who is 11 months old.
She's riding the horse my dad painted for Evelyn for Christmas

Thanks for reading!  Time to get studying! 

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