Saturday, December 5, 2009

Stamp of Approval

I have officially been approved for ordained ministry
in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Praise God!

Monday, October 12, 2009


I must admit that the arrival of fall brings a tiny bit of disappointment for me, because oh, how I do love summer! So I briefly mourn the drop in temperatures and end of beach-going weather, and try to move on to the things I appreciate about fall... changing leaves, football season, sweaters and hoodies, hot apple cider, pumpkins, and cuddling up in a warm quilt. These are all things I've enjoyed recently and plan to continue to notice and take comfort in for the next few weeks. I have a break from classes next week and, in addition to seeing my family and friends back home, I am looking forward to the drive through the hills of central and western PA and what I'm sure will be an array of color. When my life gets stressful (as it has a tendency to do amidst seminary classes and candidacy), I try to take a moment to find comfort in these little things that bring me joy. Today, it came in a bowl of broccoli cheddar soup from Panera. This past weekend it came in a trip to an orchard with my roommate where we picked apples and a pumpkin and got some other delicious homemade goodies. As I write this in the middle of working on a sermon to preach in the seminary chapel later this week, I am also reminded of the comfort that I find in God's love for all of us and all of creation.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Life in transition

I have been a total slacker with my blog lately. I think its because I'm still reflecting on where I am in my life right now. My internship has ended. I left with mixed emotions... ready to get back to the city I have come to love and the people I am sharing my seminary journey with, but sad to leave the congregation I had become so invested in. The transition from full-time ministry back to full-time classes (and reading, and writing, and reading, and lectures, and reading...) has been difficult. I admit that I am somewhat of a dork and love school and learning, but my heart is yearning to be engaged in congregational ministry once again. (Now this brings up another discussion, because I do realize that "ministry" is done in many different situations and not just inside a church building. I really do try to live my life conscious of this fact. But it has helped me realize that my call is to ministry in a parish, at least for a little while anyway. And more specifically, I still have a strong passion and calling to youth ministry.) I think thats about all I can say right now. My life encompasses this tension between joy and yearning. But, in light of the sermon I heard yesterday, I focus on being grateful for now and giving thanks to God in all things.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Busy but refreshed

I've had a busy last few weeks. The most interesting things to tell about are an ecological retreat and confirmation camp. I was blessed to be part of a young adult fellowship through the National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Program which was an all-expenses paid retreat on an island in the Chesapeake Bay. There were about 20 of us from all over the country and from several different denominations. It was great to meet people and hear about their experiences and learn from each other. We had some interesting discussions about God and the environment and climate change and poverty. We also spent plenty of time playing outside in the marsh and the bay. We learned a lot from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. And we visited and learned about the community on Tangier Island. We worshipped together and experienced a beautiful sunrise and sunset. It was an awesome three days. Last week I got to go to the NJ Synod confirmation camp at Crossroads Outdoor Ministries. My supervising Pastor and I went along with four youth from our church. I love going to church camps and camping so I was excited to be part of the week, along with youth and other church leaders from around the state. I had a ton of fun and felt blessed to spend time with and learn from other leaders in ministry. And also to play outside and be goofy. :) Today I preached my last internship sermon, and began my last week of internship. Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

How does your garden grow?

I thought I'd give an update on my foray into gardening this year. I did have one small setback; I wasn't quite sure when to pick the spinach and it looked to me like it still had growing to do, but it turns out that it was ready to go and since I didn't pick it, it went to seed. And at that point, it was too warm to plant more. I still have half the packet of seeds left though, so I think they can be planted when it starts to cool down again. Despite the spinach screw-up, the lettuce and green beans have been going very well. I picked my SECOND batch of lettuce today, and my first batch of green beans. Because of all the rain we had in June, the tomatoes are a little slow going, but they should come eventually. I took what I thought I would use from the beans and lettuce and then shared the rest with people at the church. Here are some pictures of my crops.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Mother-Daughter Time

I haven't posted in quite a while, but there's not too much to update you on. I did get to go home for a week of vacation at the end of May, which was wonderful. I was able to relax and spend time with my family and friends. I actually enjoyed spending a few days in my hometown (though it's not a place I would want to move back to), and I got to spend some time at camp (Lutherlyn) with Mandy, and had my first kayaking experience (on a lake, nothing too intense). After that it was back to the grind at my internship. June was spent doing most of the regular stuff I've been doing, in addition to some activities at the church wrapping up for the summer. And now we're in the middle of Vacation Bible School, which is both a lot of work and fun. Luckily for me, my part is more fun than work. :) Now that July is here, I only have a month and a half left of my internship, so I'm working on doing all the writing that comes with the end of the year (evaluation, project report, candidacy approval essay).

I did have a nice little break this past weekend, because my mom came to visit. My dad hasn't been doing great health-wise lately, so he didn't fe
el up to coming. So we had some nice mother-daughter time, just the two of us. She got here Friday afternoon, and left Tuesday morning. I did have to do some work while she was here (Sunday and Monday, naturally), but I was holding down the fort last week while my supervisor was on vacation, so he let me go a little light on the work while she was here. We mostly relaxed, went out to eat a couple times, and went to the beach. June was a rather rainy month here at the shore, so over the weekend was actually the first time the weather was consistently nice and I could actually go to the beach. It was pretty nice almost the whole time she was here (and now today the rain is back). I'm glad we got some good beach time in, and I'm sure my mom was too. And I'm glad she made the long drive out here so we could spend some time together.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Gettin' Dirty

I apologize that I haven't posted in a while. I honestly haven't had much to write about that I thought would be interesting to read.

This is a picture of the raised garden beds that are now part of my internship church's property. It's very exciting. :) Church members can use the beds for growing vegetables, and whatever is leftover or not wanted will be given out with other items from our food pantry.

I have never gardened before. We had ample yard space where I grew up, but apparently my parents weren't into it. I was always kind of fascinated by gardening, and thought people who did it were cool, but never really had a desire to try it myself... until this year. I think my Better Homes and Gardens and Martha Stewart Living magazines pushed me over the edge with their articles on gardening in your back yard. So I decided to try it, and with the raised beds there for use, I finally got my hands dirty last weekend and planted some green beans, lettuce, and spinach. I was going to plant some tomatoes also, but someone else already planted several, so I didn't think it was necessary to plant more. And now I just wait and see if anything actually grows!

(Sadie enjoying the sun while I was planting.)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

Philly Phun

I had a refreshing weekend visiting friends in Philly. After a heavy Holy Week, I decided I needed a mini-break, since I'm not going home for a long vacation until the end of May. So I took a few days and headed "home" to the beautiful area of Philly that the seminary is located in. I stayed at a friend's house, slept in and relaxed, wandered around the shops in the area (including Ten Thousand Villages and a local yarn store), ran on my favorite trail, got some fabulous deals at the seminary bookstore, played bocce ball (for the first time ever, and discovered I'm pretty good), and went to a Phillies game. The weather was gorgeous and was the icing on the cake of a lot of fun with friends.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

He is risen!

Happy Easter (and spring) to all! Christ is risen! Alleluia!

This was my first time really experiencing Holy Week as someone in pastoral ministry. When I worked as a youth director I didn't really have any extra responsibilities during Holy Week so I was still able to reflect and worship as I had every other year. This year was a little different. But I was determined to still be able to observe Holy Week and worship as I usually would as much as possible. It was a little difficult, because I did have to preach on Maundy Thursday and had many other responsibilities for worship leadership. I knew I would likely be putting in more than 40 hours, so I made sure to take time for myself, and worked a little less during time slots I normally would, because of all the extra time at church toward the end of the week. I think I was pretty successful at performing my leadership tasks and still being able to reflect on the meaning of the days and worship. I hope, whether you had tasks to do or not, that you were able to do the same!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Domestic Diva

This is totally who I've been lately. I've recently baked a banana bread and brownies, and also made a veggie lasagna when I had friends over for dinner the other day. It was my first lasagna, and turned out well. I'm proud of myself. :) My knitting has been going well too, I've made two more hats for little ones and my first set of mittens. I've also made some more dishcloths, including a round one, which I think looks pretty cool (thanks Katy)! I finally made something for myself too. I crocheted a hat from a video I found online, and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Some suggestions

I apologize, I haven't been posting as often as I would like lately. Things have gotten quite busy with the internship (not necessarily a bad thing), and I've been knitting up a storm, as well as starting some spring cleaning. That basically sums up my life over the past few weeks. I would like to share some things with you that have I experienced recently and/or just want to tell people about.

Slumdog Millionaire -- everyone should see this movie. I actually saw it about a week or two before the Oscars, and was thrilled to see it win so many awards. It was definitely deserving. I can't totally relate to you the way the movie touched me, as someone who has been to India. It's intense, don't let the commercials fool you. Yes, there is a beautiful love story that flows through the movie, but it's a lot more than that.

Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin -- I'm actually a little behind on this one as the book was published in 2006, and it has been on the NY Times Bestseller list since then. It's nonfiction and tells the story of Greg Mortenson, a former mountain climber, and his mission to build schools (and access to water and medicine) in Pakistan and Afghanistan. It's fascinating, gives an important perspective on war-torn parts of the world, and renewed my hope that people can make a difference in the world.

Getting tips for living "green" -- most people who know me, know that caring for creation is something I'm passionate about, and something I believe God has given us responsibility for. Though I *may* know more than the average person about being "green", I definitely still have a lot to learn. I have been signed up for several email newsletters for a while now that I'll share with you all in case you'd like to get some tips too.
Green America and Sierra Club are organizations you can join, but you don't have to join to sign up for their e-newsletters, which come about once a week and include tips, info on green companies, action alerts, interviews, editorials, etc. Ideal Bite sends you a daily email with tips for green living.
(These are just a few sites/organizations I know about. Feel free to ask if you want some more... my list of "green" links is the longest of all the sites that I have bookmarked!)

Monday, March 2, 2009


Ok, now I totally regret any teasing or smug thoughts I may have sent in the direction of my family and friends in more snow-laden areas of the country. Because I know there is currently NO snow on the ground in my hometown in western PA, but there is somewhere around TEN inches of snow on the ground here at the Jersey shore. RIDICULOUS! It seems like the whole state of New Jersey is pretty much shut down today. Schools and such are closed, and there is nobody in at the church, so theoretically that means I should be able to play and enjoy the snow day. However, I have a lot of work that needs to be done, and much of it is stuff that can be done at home. I'm not going to let it ruin my chance for fun though. I've had a fairly productive morning, so if I keep it up for a while longer, I think I will venture outside to play in the snow with Sadie this afternoon. As you can see from the picture, she's already been romping around in it a little. It took some coaxing to get her out the door, considering the snow is literally piled up to the door, but after she took her first few tentative steps she realized it wasn't going to hurt her and she seemed to enjoy it. Or at least I enjoyed watching her!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

My first hat

Yesterday I finished knitting my first hat! I did a very basic pattern, and one that didn't require my using any special double pointed or circular needles... someday I'll graduate to those! ;) Even though it was fairly simple, I'm pretty proud of myself. I can finally make more than just scarves and dishcloths! I made the hat for my little cousin, to match the scarf I just made her, and both are pink. And I actually just learned some basic crochet stitches the other day, so I found a video online that shows you how to crochet flowers, and after some trial and error, I made a cute little pink flower and attached it to the hat. I think it adds a nice little touch.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Who am I?

This is a picture of my newly purchased sewing machine! I've been thinking about getting one for a little while, and I went searching on craigslist the other day, and found a great deal! I haven't tried using it yet, because I don't really have any patterns to use or even any fabric to practice on, but I have all kinds of ideas for future projects buzzing around in my brain. I have to admit that I am a little intimidated because I don't think I've used a sewing machine since home ec class in 8th grade, which was a LONG time ago! But I'm definitely excited to try. And my title for this post was chosen because all these crafty things I've been jumping into lately have made me question who I am anymore. I've been scrapbooking for about 5 years now, but until recently that was really the only crafty or creative thing I did (besides music). And now I'm knitting, and have been baking a little, and soon plan to learn crocheting (I've been told its easier than knitting), and will hopefully be sewing! It's crazy... but it makes me happy.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Word to MY mother... and father

The title of this post is in recognition of the fact that I am a child of the 80's (and can still remember almost all the words to "Ice Ice Baby") and I wanted to give a shout out (respect) to my parents. (According to "word to your mother" as a phrase can mean both "I agree with you" or "I give respect to your mother/motherland".) Anyway, my parents pretty much rock. In the past few weeks I have received three packages from them containing various Steelers-related items (a new Terrible Towel, a copy of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from the day after the Super Bowl and a Super Bowl Champions t-shirt). I also received two Valentines Day cards from them (one from both, one just from my mom... it's a mother-daughter thing, we always try to make each other cry, haha). Generally I avoid recognition of Valentines Day (or as I like to call it: Single Awareness Day), but it's ALWAYS nice to be reminded that my parents love me. Now don't get me wrong, I don't just appreciate when they send me stuff. I just wanted to acknowledge my appreciation because I know they're not rollin' in the dough. I know that I would not be who I am and where I am today without the love and support of my parents. My relationship with them isn't without its flaws and arguments, but I am blessed to have them in my life. My mom is probably the most selfless person I know and my dad has taught me the value of hard work. (I know you'll read this mom, so thank you - and dad too - for always being there for me and for everything you've done for me. I love you!) Ok, now on to other stuff, before I start to cry!

On an unrelated note: my friend Katy is having a giveaway on her blog of some dishcloths she knitted. All you have to do is comment on the post to have a chance to win. She loves reading comments. :) And while we're at it, I would love it if people would comment on my posts too! It doesn't have to necessarily be related to what I wrote, it would just be nice to see who is stopping by. Thank you to those of you who already do leave comments, and especially to all the wonderful welcomes from the RevGalBlogPals ladies!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I heart youth ministry

Each week I am more convinced that my call involves ministry to youth in some way. I definitely still feel called to ordained ministry, and have had some meaningful experiences lately with older adults. But many of these everyday parish ministry experiences don't quite fill me the way working with youth does. I also realize that ministry is a lot about serving and giving of oneself, but if you're not also filling/energizing yourself with something you love, eventually there will be nothing left to give.
Youth are full of energy and I can't help but let it affect me when I'm around them. I can be my goofy self around youth and they might think I'm a little weird, but its ok, because they will still accept me and not be concerned about whether a pastor-in-training should be acting silly. Plus I think sometimes if they see an adult acting silly it gives them permission to do so as well and to let their guard down. Adolescence is hard (I definitely remember my own and I would NOT want to go through that again!) and I believe that youth need to hear that God loves them and we love them just the way they are. I also think its important to advocate for them. I've found myself in a few conversations among adults lately that were making disparaging comments about youth and I lovingly suggested that maybe they didn't have all their facts straight. Even when I get frustrated with them (like last night at Confirmation class when they were especially ornery), its hard to stay that way, because I absolutely love the youth of my internship congregation. And I LOVE youth ministry.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

From snow to sun, and back again!

Following the cold, gray days of last week, we finally had some great weather on Sunday and Monday. Here at the shore it was sunny and in the 50's! I took advantage of the unusual warmth and spent some time outside taking Sadie for a walk and playing catch with her, and breaking out my shorts to go for a run. I think the weather had both of us a little amped up. I'm looking forward to consistently warmer days so I can get back to a regular running schedule (I don't typically run when its in the 30's or less... not a fan of the cold). In the meantime, I've been doing a workout video three days a week. Its by the trainer Jillian from the tv show The Biggest Loser. She's scary on that show and I figured it would motivate me to have her yelling at me. It's going ok so far. I lost a few pounds pretty quickly at the beginning but haven't lost any more since then (I've been using it for about a month now), but I'm hoping that's at least partly because it doesn't just do cardio but also strength training so I'm building muscle. It has three levels of workouts and I'm on level 2. It's hard enough that I'm afraid to see what level 3 will be like, but curiosity may get the better of me one of these days soon.
I knew that warm weather wouldn't last, and today I woke up to snow flurries. There's just a light dusting on the ground right now, but its supposed to snow most of the day so they're predicting up to 4 inches. We'll see what happens. Luckily, I don't have anything scheduled that requires me to drive anywhere today (living next to the church is convenient at times like this). Now those in ministry will know that doesn't meant something can't come up, but at this point I should be able to spend most of the day planning, etc. and working on my mid-year evaluation. We're also d
oing a baptism today (yay!) for an adult who works on weekends and therefore can't attend Sunday worship.
Other than work today, I'll probably continue working on my two current knitting projects. I'm almost done with a dishcloth, and I'm also working on a scarf for my little cousin. I rece
ntly finished the scarf for my mom, so I plan to send that to her this week. (Do you notice a pattern here? At this point in my knitting, I only know how to make scarves and dishcloths!) I also did end up making those cookies last week. It was a mix that came with everything layered in one jar and all I had to add was butter and an egg. They're pretty crazy cookies, cause they have just about everything in them (mini M&Ms, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and chopped walnuts), but they're delicious! I also did some scrapbooking with my outside-of-the-church group last night. I'm working on some Christmas layouts, I'll post pictures of them when I've done more later.
Here are pic
tures of the scarf for my mom, and the crazy cookies!

And oh yeah...

Six-time Super Bowl Champs! :)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snow business

Well, whaddya know, it actually does snow at the Jersey shore! This picture was actually taken about a week or two ago, during some flurries. We got about a whopping two whole inches! Now, please excuse my snarkyness, because I have to admit, that until the point when we got those few inches, I was a little sad that I was living in a winter with absolutely NO snow whatsoever. I have become less and less a fan of snow each year that I get older, so I was surprised to realize that I was actually missing it a little. So, I was both happy to see a little snow and thankful that we have not had near the amounts of snow that other parts of the country do, including my home of western PA.

Now this picture is representative of what I'm currently looking at outside my window. Gross. After a warm spell last week all the snow had melted. For the past few days though, we've been back to freezing cold. (Again, thankful that its not as cold as other places!) This has been compounded by my heater not working as properly as it should. And then last night we apparently got another inch or two of snow, which then switched to freezing rain, and has now made the transition to rain, so we have a lovely covering of icy snowy slush. I repeat: gross. All this cold, grey weather for the past few days has made me want to stay inside and snuggle up in blankets and watch tv and sleep. Of course, I do have to work, so its not possible to do this all day (which is probably a good thing), but my evenings have been rather unproductive and consistent with these feelings. I'm determined to not let it get the better of me all week though! So today, as I'm working, I'm also getting other things accomplished like laundry, AND if I can get the few ingredients I need, I might actually bake some cookies! Stay tuned...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Here we go Steelers, here we go!

Pittsburgh's going to the Super Bowl!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ministry Musings

Life has been rather busy in 2009 so far. I'm leading a small group study in the congregation this month on caring for creation, called "Awakening to God's Call to Earthkeeping". As far as I can remember, this is the first Bible study or class I have ever led with adults. All my previous leading/teaching experience has been with children and youth. It's going pretty well so far. We've had a lot of good discussion and I've been excited to learn how many people in the congregation do believe that caring for creation is important and part of our responsibility as people of faith. I also included this idea in my sermon this past Sunday, because the first reading was from the beginning of Genesis. I got good responses on this too (at least from those who did sermon response forms). I hope this open-mindedness carries through the rest of my time here and my efforts to help the congregation assimilate creation care into its every day life.
I also had another "first" last week. I presided at my first funeral alone. I've helped my supervising Pastor with four other funerals since I've started my internship, but I had to do this one all by myself. And it was for a family that I had not previously met, though they were "members" of the church. They requested a simple ceremony. I did what I could. It was humbling.
I had a random moment of "epiphany" last month. I had a sudden moment when I realized I was finally feeling comfortable in my internship congregation. It was a good moment. I was worried that it took too long, but other people "in ministry" that I talked to about it said that it was normal, so that made me feel better. Now don't get me wrong, there are still times when I struggle and feel uncomfortable, and I probably always will, I think that comes with the "call". But I'm feeling more like myself.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year, New York and (K)nitting

Happy New Year! May God bless you in 2009!

I've been enjoying some time off from my internship. After helping with three Christmas Eve services, I drove from NJ to western PA early Christmas morning. I've spent a week at home at my parents, mostly relaxing, hanging out with family and friends, reading, knitting, and eating more goodies than I should (but, hey, it's the holidays).

This is a picture of one of the dishcloths I knitted my mom for Christmas (thanks, Katy, for the pattern). I decided to make her two of these, since I knew I wouldn't be getting a scarf done for her by Christmas. I am currently working on her scarf though, and hoping to finish up within the next week or two (I don't get all that much time during the day to knit) and then I'll mail it to her. I also bought yarn to make a Steelers-colored scarf for my dad.

is the first knitting project I ever finished. It's a scarf that I made for my friend Mandy. I worked on it frantically in order to finish it before she came to visit me in Jersey the weekend before Christmas.

Mandy had to make quite the trek out from western PA so I was really grateful for her visit. We had a great time, even though most of the time we just hung around. On Saturday though, we did head up to New York City! Even though it was really cold that day we enjoyed walking around and seeing the sites like the Empire State Building, Macy's, Saks, Radio City Music Hall, St Patrick's Cathedral, Rockefeller Center, and Times Square. We also got reduced-price tickets to see the musical Spring Awakening!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! I know my vacation has gone by way too fast. I will soon be heading back to Jersey and back to the busy intern life. Amongst the busy-ness of ministry, I will try to update my blog as often as I can.