Friday, September 23, 2011

In the midst

This has been a week.  
This has been a week of happenings. 
Some of the happenings I've lived through before.
Some of the happenings I have not lived through before.
And, as the title of this entry states, I am still in the midst of the week, so I choose not to write about the happenings now.  No doubt, someday I probably will.  Maybe next Wednesday.

As for today, I will choose to be joyful and hopeful.  
Joyful because why not be joyful?  Joyfulness is not over-rated.   
Hopeful in the notion that tomorrow is a new day, a new beginning.
I will try to be joyful.  And despite how difficult it can be, I'll strive to be patient.

One day earlier this week, my word of the day was faithfulness.  So I focused on the above verse {Romans 12:12}.  And that very day one of my friends sent out a tweet saying, "today I will. . . " and proceeded to list out the verse.  The Amplified Bible version says, "Rejoice and exult in hope; be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation; be constant in prayer."  I like that: be constant in prayer.  

Since I've been [in the midst], it's been good to be constant in prayer.  I don't stop everything, sit down in my closet, focusing for hours on praying.  But I do, throughout the day, think thoughts to God.  It's not an entering in, exiting, then coming back.  It's more of an all the time, always present kind of thing.  

As I await news regarding jobs and finances and school choices and a few other things, I am trying to be "cheerfully expectant" (The Message).  

Cheerfully expectant beats grumpily anxious all to heck.   

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Decisions {part 3}

I've finally gotten around to {part 3} of our saga, aka The Story of Us, aka Chip.&.Deb, aka not so exciting people who sometimes do exciting things. . . . 

Anyway, I'm taking it back to 1990-91, which I remember fondly as our first year of wedlock.  During that school year, my husband Chip finished up college.  I had already graduated.  Because I'm older and therefore wiser.  Actually, I'm only 7 months older, and ended up one grade ahead.  

We had known all along that Chip was not stopping with a mere Bachelor's degree, but would move on through graduate school, and/or seminary, in preparation for vocational ministry.  Conveniently, the school at which we did our undergraduate work offered a Masters in [I can't remember what. . . . religion? ministry? it definitely wasn't forestry] and it seemed like the perfect plan for Chip's next step in academia.  We lived in married student housing, I had a full time job on campus, and most importantly, we were living in San Diego!!!  

But alas, sometime during that school year, we decided this wasn't the plan.  Forgive me for not remembering all the details, but it's been 20+ years ago.  We began looking into other schools, in other places.  Some of which were [gasp for me!] on the other side of the country.  We researched Trinity in the midwest.  We looked into our [then] denominational school in Kansas City.  We considered Fuller in California.  But, we finally decided upon Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky.  

And that was our first big decision as a married couple.  I don't know if I realized at the time how life changing of a decision it was.  We would never again live in the "west".  We would eventually have children and raise them, for the most part, in the "south".  We had charted our course, with plans to move across the country and begin a new life of sorts.  Far, far away from everything and everyone I knew and loved.  Except my husband.

This week I noticed something in a picture hanging by my work desk.  

Starry Night Over the Rhone
Vincent van Gogh
I had never really paid any attention to the couple walking by the water [they're hard to see in the above copy].  It's night, it's so dark, yet they're out together, holding onto each other as they walk.  They don't strike me as especially happy, yet not distressed either.  I see them as people who know each other well, and they're not scared to walk through the dark.   There's a little light and that's all they need.  

We have made countless decisions over the years.  Moves, health issues, job changes, home purchases, kids' school choices, on and on.  Some of those decisions have left us physically alone, with no one else to cling to but each other.  Sometimes no one else in the world understands completely and sometimes we don't understand each other completely.  Yet, despite the darkness that is often surrounding, we are together.  

Stay tuned for {part 4}, which will involve the move, culture shock, life in Japanese corporate America, an intro to basketball mania, hello to tobacco farms, and a good-bye to authentic Mexican food for many years.  

Monday, September 5, 2011


Last Friday I had the opportunity to participate in something for the first time:  my workplace has organized prayer walks each Friday of September.  While I've been a part of prayer walks in the past, I wasn't quite sure what to expect at this one.  
  • a big crowd of people marching around (think Joshua and the walls of Jericho)?
  • people shouting, calling on God to do something BIG (think Elijah and the fire)?
  • people chanting bible verses for an hour, while my mind wanders aimlessly (sorry, but sometimes I have a hard time focusing)?
But, none the less, I was excited because the location was less than one mile from my house.  We met at the old Johnson Elementary School.  I say old, because the building is no longer utilized as a school.  I don't think it's utilized for much, and it's my understanding that it will soon be auctioned by the school district.  This location was chosen as a prayer walk site because of its proximity to many of the families we minister to through my workplace.  

I am pleased to share that none of the three bulleted points listed above happened.  A small group of people gathered.  Two that I work with, the former principal of the school, a gentleman from a local church, and a lady who lives in the general area.  The former principal, Pat Michaux, was kind enough to give each of us a copy of a book she wrote:  Memoirs of an Inner City Elementary School Principal.   

I am not so pleased to share that one of my colleagues, actually my supervisor, was solicited by a prostitute.  While one could find some humor in a lady approaching a ministry director in a parking lot at 7:30 in the morning, asking for payment for her services, further analyzation has left me feeling sad about this.  It's disheartening that a woman's life has come to that.  

After meeting for a short prayer together at the front of the school, we separated into smaller groups.  As we walked the neighborhood surrounding the old school, I realized how much I want to be a part of the difference that can be made in this neighborhood.  Technically, I suppose, it's part of my neighborhood, beings it's less than a mile from my home.  I pass down the streets we walked every school day, as I drive my daughter to middle school.  We passed homes of her classmates, homes where hope didn't seem to exist any longer, and homes that were fixed up and cared for.  We passed a market whose story was recently in the news.  We passed near where a police officer was ran over and killed last year.  We saw two churches while we walked, and lots of people out in front of their houses.  

I pulled away from the ex-school on Friday morning, needing to head for my office.  While doing so, I had the overwhelming feeling of hope that one day, the place I'd just left could be my workplace.  When you get out of your car, and take off on foot, you see places up close.  You see  people face to face.  You actually get to say, "Good morning," instead of driving on by.  I felt like I'd once again received a nudging from God, letting me know this is where I belong.  

It's been a while since I've felt that prompt related to my job.  While I'd really like to personally come up with whatever dollar amount Fayette County Public Schools wants for this building, that's probably not going to happen.  While I'd like to arrive there tomorrow and claim a room there as my work space, that's not realistic.  Yet more than before, I desire to not only live where our family lives, but be fully immersed in this part of town.  Maybe I need to go back and take another walk around.  Several times.