Thursday, July 31, 2008


I just received an email saying that my application has been approved and my visa has been issued! Thank you all so much for your prayers and support. On top of that, I spoke with Chris, who I'll be working with in Belfast, on the phone this morning, and am absolutely thrilled about this position. Thanks be to God!!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

say a little prayer for me

Hey everybody,

I got a call from Patricia at the British Consulate today saying she needed more documentation from me, and I've faxed it to her and she decides on whether or not to approve my visa for Northern Ireland tomorrow. Please say a little prayer for me if you get a chance (and pray that Patricia will see the light and let me go!).



talk, listen, look

-While walking by the refrigerated biscuit section, a man asked me, "do you ever make chicken n' dumplin's?" I said that sometimes I did. He said, "Well, get you some of these crow-sants and tear 'em up and put them in. Oooh, it's good!" I thanked him for the advice, and walked away smiling at his openness in sharing his recipe with me.

-Wild sunflower-lined railroad tracks and trains with slow, forlorn whistles.

-Peering through a kaleidoscope and shaking it to change the colors and light completely.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


-Passing my examination! It was a very challenging hour-and-a-half, but knowing that Marie was behind me (literally and figuratively) praying the whole time made all the difference. Marie is one of the pastors at my church and chair of the CPM, and she has been overwhelmingly supportive of me during this whole journey to ordination. She later told me that when they would throw me a really tough question or not really hear what I was trying to say, she would just pray harder. It worked, and I'm now cleared to preach before Presbytery and (hopefully) get approved there and then get ordained as a Mission Worker August 31.
-As soon as my exam was over in Houston, I drove to Mo Ranch to meet up with my family. We always get together at the end of July and enjoy a few days of soaking in the river, eating entirely too much food (much of it being the grilled variety), sharing stories of past experiences together and shuffling in one by one in the morning and getting a cup of delicious coffee. This time, when I arrived, I was pretty exhausted from a long drive and a grueling examination and it was all made better when I said hello to Natalie and she beamed at me with a smile of recognition.
-Moss-covered trees, looking like hairy monsters or underwater creatures. I know that the moss isn't great for the trees, but I like how it looks anyway.

-Light coming through the skylight in the living room. Where we stay at Mo has a wonderful common meeting room with incredibly high ceilings and comfy sofas.

-Sitting out on the dogrun and enjoying the evening breeze and talking with my cousins all about our future dreams of travel and adventure.

Friday, July 25, 2008

the sweet life

-Glimpsing a blue jay outside of the window.

-Playing a favorite CD and dancing along (curious? it's Sawdust by the Killers).

-Baking to reduce my anxiety about tomorrow's meeting with the Committee on Ministry. (Prayers, please! They're essentially deciding on whether or not to ordain me.) I made tasty nutella dark chocolate brownies. Cooking always relaxes me--I'm very grateful for this. I don't know how theologically sound it is (and I don't care)...chocolate has great powers to soothe and relax.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

broken in, basil, best days and brogues

-Drinking coffee from my great-grandfather's favorite coffee cup. It is well-loved, and has apparently been with him on many a ranching adventure.
-Bright green tender leaves of basil from the garden ready to be chopped and added to my roasted vegetable couscous. They added such a sweet freshness to every bite.

-Overhearing a little boy tell his Mother, "this is the best day EVER!"

-Reading a book about women during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, and suddenly realizing that I was reading with a Northern Irish accent.

Friday, July 18, 2008

grace and peace to you

-Being given lots of encouraging letters and a lovely bracelet (with the words from "Amazing Grace" on it) by the kids from my small group. I had to leave early because my Grandfather passed away yesterday, and so they wanted to be sure and let me know that they cared for me. It was so kind. Teenagers have this great capacity to shock you with kindness in unexpected moments.

-Erin sending me off with a teary hug and the lovely little pocket piece we had admired in the bookstore. What a wonderful friend.

-The man who drove me to the airport in the shuttle from Montreat was so kind and gracious. I loved his soothing accent and constant smile. As we drove along, I thought of how often it is that a taxi/shuttle driver makes an impact on me.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

preordained meetings

-The session of my home church approving the decision to call me as a mission worker (technically a "supply pastor") for my work in Northern Ireland. This means that, pending a couple of examinations, I will be able to be ordained before I leave in September! Wow! The way it all happened was also very much a "God thing": I was leading worship at Mo Ranch for their Youth Celebration a couple of weeks ago, and a member of my Presbytery's Committee on Ministry was there and heard me preach. We got to talking about my call situation and my position in Belfast, and he took it upon himself to contact all of the necessary parties at Presbytery to figure out how I might be ordained into this ministry. They even held a special meeting just to discuss my call process, and now it's all happening. I can't believe how it's all seemed to fall into place.

-Hearing my Nana describe seeing her great-granddaughter for the first time: "Her hair is so soft, it's like silk. And she's sooo good. Her eyes are blue, just like your Grandmother's, and your Mother's and Aubrey's. She's starting to get chubby too!"

-Finding a perfect stole for my niece's baptism (and most likely also for my ordination service).

Friday, July 04, 2008

mo(ntreat) grace

I'm in Montreat, North Carolina for two weeks helping with Youth Conferences and catching up with great seminary friends.

-The view from my window. The mountains, lake, trees and hills are gorgeous. I also love the windows open, letting cool-from-a-fresh-rain-air inside.

-Lovely pink zinnias adding spashes of color to our walk as Erin and I explore Black Mountain, NC.
-An old weathered wall with shadows from trees dancing on it.

-Seeing mountains in the distance. It just adds an outdoorsy and natural feel to the scenery.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

open road

-A really great meeting that made me very excited about the future and grateful for God's call.

-Driving with my sister's dog, Hayden, next to me. It was so relaxing to drive on an open road with a bright blue sky overhead with a cute dog by my side.

-Hanging out with Ash and cooking her dinner and then watching a movie. It's so nice to spend some time together.