Sunday, December 30, 2007

neighbor, silence and craic

-My neighbor on the plane helping me put on my coat. There's something so endearing about someone guiding the sleeve to your arm.

-Passing under bridges and hearing the heavy rain be suddenly silenced, only to come back into heavy rain a second later. It feels like travelling between two worlds: one wet, drippy and pounding, and another, silent, dry and dark.

-Getting a voicemail from my friend Ian letting me know he's in town, and knowing the next couple of days will be a fun mini-Belfast-crew reunion.

Friday, December 28, 2007

hello again

-Hours of catching up in my old college coffee shop with some old college friends.

-Taking a really long time to wake up by watching t.v. and hanging out with my sister.

-Being greeted by my sister's dog Hayden when we got home. He was so cute, happy and affectionate.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

rise and dine

-A great night's sleep where I didn't even move at all.

-Breakfast with my sister at an adorable old-fashioned diner.

-Finding exactly what I needed.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas day

-That feeling of waking up and knowing that the day's a bit more special...because it's Christmas.

-Sitting outside reading in the warm sunlight and feeling completely relaxed.

-Hanging out with family: sharing gifts, cooking & eating, watching movies and telling corny jokes.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

it's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas

-The familiar clinking of coffee cups letting me know it's social hour at my house (i.e. time to get up and drink coffee and enjoy bleary-eyed conversation).

-Waking up to cold, finally Christmas-like, weather.

-Watching the full moonlight reflect off the railroad tracks, like a beacon leading us home.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

under the Texan sun

Sorry it's been so long! With work, getting ready for Christmas, traveling, funerals**, phone calls and more, blogging's fallen by the wayside. I'll be better about posting now, I promise! (Although posting pictures at home is proving a bit tricky.)

**This post is dedicated to my Aunt Louise, who read my blog every day, and who will be very missed by us all.**

-Sitting outside in the warm Texas sunlight, reading a book and petting my parents' dog, Fritz.

-Finally getting a really great night's sleep.

-The perfect turkey avocado sandwich for lunch.

-Catching up with family.

-Getting an email that confirms my first "conversation" about being a mission worker with P.C. (U.S.A.) staff.

Monday, December 17, 2007

cooking, confirmation and chorus

-Clay emailing me great pictures of the family, including one where my Mamacita and I are cooking. I can't wait to be home and cooking for Christmas.

-An elderly man in church coming up to me after Lessons and Carols. I had done one of the readings, and he gave me a huge hug and said, "I'm so glad you're in my life. God has great things in your future! I'm so glad I know you." It was just what I needed to hear, and confirmed for me why God has me here instead of home already.

-A smile from someone just when the song we were singing in church mentioned smiling.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

courageous acts

Emily and me.
-Being given an awesome coffee mug by Emily, my good friend who is done with seminary (sad). It says: "Peace also takes courage." A good thing to remind myself every morning as I drink my coffee, knowing that wherever I go next year as a peacemaker, I'll need to take courage with me.

-Helping one of the youth lead worship, and having a ton of people come up afterwards to tell him what a great job he did.

-The older woman in church who, once she heard I was in seminary, said "We need more women leadership in the church." I agree.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

bittersweet snickers

(I actually made a video of how laid-back and silly we are.)

-Having friends come over again for Sex & the City Tuesdays at my place. We always laugh, drink wine, watch Sex & the City and eat ridiculous amounts of chocolate and cheese. It was Claudia and Emily's last night, so it was really bittersweet, but so fun to all hang out. This has been a tradition for 2 1/2 years, and I always love it.

-Hanging out with the youth as we cleaned up from Wednesday night dinner and played games and realized that this is the part of my job I love.

-Going over to Karen's to hang out and being greeted by Snickers the dog. Karen was dog sitting and it was so fun to have a dog to play with. Snickers is awesome.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

merry christmas, charlie brown!

-Eating lunch outside in the 75-degree December. It was really nice to not have to bundle up.

-A cute little Charlie Brown looking Christmas tree outside a house.

-Having an amazing spark of productivity, and getting all of my final papers done early!

Monday, December 10, 2007

unexpected productivity

-Working in a coffee shop and having a ray of sunshine come through the window and land on me.

-Unexpectedly running into my friend Sara who I worked with this summer. I haven't seen her in forever, and it was so great to catch up.

-A really productive afternoon where I actually got more done than was on my to-do list.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

soup, special & shampoo

-Being invited to stay for lunch at church, and having the most delicious soup, sandwich and cake. I noticed how completely at ease I was, and realized how much this church has cared for me.

-We had our youth Christmas party tonight, and I was really tired beforehand. But the party turned out really fun: I caught a second wind, we had more youth come than I expected, we sang "opera-style" Christmas carols while I played guitar, and during the mystery gift exchange, one of the youth gave me the dark chocolate bar he got because he knew I liked it. All in all, a great time, and well worth the energy it required.

-Treating myself to some new shampoo because I had to go grocery shopping after the party and a session meeting. It smells really nice, and will be sure to wake me up in the morning (something I really need these busy days!).

Saturday, December 08, 2007

driving and dancing

-Doing work in a coffee shop and having a couple of seminary friends stop by randomly. It's so fun to see people you don't expect to see.

-Driving to hear one of the youth play in her band concert and realizing it was much further away than I had anticipated. This meant that I had extra time driving with my windows down, singing along to the radio and seeing the Georgia countryside. It was a perfect Saturday drive.

-Being in a room full of people at the CTS Christmas banquet who I really enjoy being around. It was so fun to see everyone all dressed up and dancing.

Friday, December 07, 2007

holiness actually is all around

-Going into Richards Center and hearing drumming and clapping. The Black Seminarians Association was in the middle of a Kwanzaa celebration, and they let me join in with clapping, dancing and shaking this neat drum thing. It was really fun.

-Attending a Buddhist prayer service for class, and discovering that it was only two monks (one male, one female) who lived in the ashram and prayed every morning and night. They had turned what was once a crack house in Atlanta into their dojo. I meditated with them (with some distraction as my legs went numb) as they drummed and chanted and was moved by their sincere devotion. Then, they invited me to have a simple dinner with them, as they broke their week-long fast for peace. It was so comfortable and relaxed to be eating dinner with two Buddhist monks I had never met and learn their philosophy of simplicity, pacifism and enlightenment. It was a holy experience.

-Watching a familiar movie and knowing my favorite lines before they were spoken.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

savoring sweetness

-The satisfying crunch and minty taste of a candy cane.

-Falling asleep with a feeling of savoring these next few months here in seminary, while they last.

-Being in the dark chapel with my entire class and sitting in complete contemplative silence. I could actually feel God there...a sort of warm heaviness around, above and within me. I knew that God equally held every soul there and I was overwhelmed by the silent prayers swirling around me.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

conversations, clothes closet and chestnuts

-Catching up with good friends on the phone.

-Karen knocking on my door and presenting me with a pair of vintage leather shoes tied up in a lovely scarf that she got at the Clothes Closet (our free seminary resale shop). It was so thoughtful.

-Deciding today that it is officially close enough to Christmas to listen to Christmas music. Nat will be serenading me (via my record player) for weeks now about chestnuts roasting on an open fire.

Monday, December 03, 2007

God in stars, music, heights, water and trees

-Seeing two shooting stars in three days. They were both shockingly bright, like meteors.

-Pain in my fingertips and hands brought on by a weekend full of guitar playing and djembe drumming.

-Being outdoors and re-discovering my "outdoorsy" self. I rock climbed for the first time in a really long time, and even got to kayak on the lake. Watching the water reflect the sky and trees in a moment of complete stillness was idyllic and inspiring.

-Hiking through unknown forests and catching a glimpse of the sun through trees.