Saturday, May 30, 2009

Congratulations ...

... to Lance and Paige, who got married today in Troy, Alabama!!

May God shower your marriage with many many blessings!!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Oy With the Poodles, Already

First an update on some of the prayer requests I've posted:

-Scotty is recovering well from surgery. I saw his parents at a get-together last weekend and they said the worst part is trying to keep him still!! Everyone seems in good spirits.

-I talked to Miguel briefly about how the Mission held up in the earthquake yesterday morning. He said that they felt the quake but everyone is well and there wasn't a whole lot of damage.

Two praises!!

Second - Kelly's Korner blog is hosting "Show Us Where You Live Friday" again - this week it's nurserys and children's rooms. Some of the posts are so adorable I can almost hear my maternal clock ticking.



Okay, maybe not. Moving on.

Wedding plans just about hit the fan last night. Literally. Picture the result of me opening my wedding binder and tossing it towards my ceiling fan on high and you'll start to have an idea about what happened.

- We found out that Jason wasn't granted an extension and won't be able to come to the wedding.

- After searching and searching through flight possibilities and train schedules, I finally came to the conclusion that my friend Jon can't sing at the wedding. He needs to be back at his church job on Sunday, June 14th and I couldn't find a flight / way to get him to the airport to get on said flight that would ensure he would be back to work on time. Seriously - my parents live out in the middle of nowhere. It makes bringing in large groups of people difficult.

- The ceremony itself still isn't finished. I think we care too much about it and don't want to just settle. But that's making it difficult for me to send Max an e-mail with an attachment and subject line, "What do you think?"

- I don't have enough music for the playlists for the reception.

- Even if I did have enough said music, there still is no DJ/MC to announce the bridal party, dinner, dances, cake cutting, etc. I have all equiptment, the music is dummy-proof (all you have to do is hit play), I just need a person!!

- I was starting to get weepy about leaving Lilly for two weeks. Sure - people can come in and feed her. But what about giving her the proper amount of love and affection and play time? She'll be lonely!!

So what are a bride and groom to do when their wedding hits the fan and they're both stressed to the max?

Fight of course. (I know, productive, right?)

Oy, with the poodles, already. (Name that quote ... need help? Gilmore Girls)

That pretty much sums up how I felt when I woke up this morning.

Slowly, but surely, I'm starting to put all of the pieces back together.

- Bruce has been calling his groomsmen to see if they would be interested in doing a little MCing and so far they all seem enthusiastic and willing to help in whatever way they can.

- The weekend is coming up and I can work on the playlists thing. If I still don't have enough, I can wait until I get to CT. My dad has a CD collection that could fill a medium-sized music store. So I'm going to try not to harp on that one. Because then I'll just put random music into the different lists and it won't be what I wanted.

- Sarah Weddle (with the help of her mother) has been working with me on the ceremony music thing - and she will be awesome ...

- ... and once the ceremony music thing is worked out, I can resume my scripture-picking and language changing (you would not believe how many times the UCC Book of Worship says man and woman and husband and wife - hellooooooo UCC, we're supposed to be ONA and inclusive).

- My friends Kristi and Angie have agreed to take Lilly the ENTIRE TIME WE'RE GONE!! That is a HUUUUUGE praise because Lilly will have people around to play with and to meow at and it won't just be her in an apartment alone for two weeks. (Picture me doing a little dance)

- Bruce and I are going to Jason's graduation. It's going to be a surprise, his mom didn't want to tell him in case it didn't happen, but I think it'll be a nice surprise anyway. I don't worry about posting on here about it, because he's at basic and can only write letters. I think he's been allowed one (maybe two) very short phone call to his parents. Doubtful he'll be checking blogs!! I spent lots of time on google maps today and figured out our route (now that we're going to Cape May, NJ), found a hotel for us to stay in the night before the graduation and printed out all of the directions and information off of the website for Jason's training center. Now I just need to pray that Bruce's manager shows grace and gives him the extra day and a half off so we can leave early. This is too important. And Kristi had no problem taking Lilly a day early.

Oy with the poodles, already.

It's been a crazy couple of days, but the wedding is two weeks from tomorrow. After that Bruce and I will be married and all of these crazy plans, heightened anxiety and pointless fights won't make one bit of difference.

Deep breath.

Oy with the poodles, already.

With love & grace,

(and if you wanted to see the clip)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Earthquake in Honduras

A 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit northern Honduras early this morning.

So far only two deaths are being reported - but natural disasters to a developing country are difficult to bounce back from. Most communities haven't recovered from Hurricane Mitch that hit in the 90s.

Most of you know my church in Connecticut support the Children's Rescue Mission, a Christian Connecticut-based Educational Mission [501(c)3] that supports the Honduran community Teupasenti. My mom talked to Miguel Giron, the Executive Director of CRM, this morning who said that they felt the earthquake in Teupasenti, but the mission buildings themselves are okay. Right now his communication to the mission is difficult because the phones and internet seem to have been cut off (which makes sense - it's all satelite). He doesn't know the damage to the village itself - I have a feeling (having walked through the streets and seen the materials used to put build homes) that the homes in the village didn't hold up as well as the mission buildings.

Please pray for the people of Teupasenti, for Miguel and his staff and for all those recovering today.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Prop 8

Proposition 8 - a November 2008 CA general election ballot proposition that eliminated same-sex couples' right to marry in the state of California - was upheld today.

I try not to take a stand on controversial politics on this blog.  I don't want to upset/hurt/offend/annoy anyone and make them not want to read it anymore.  But I need to say this ... 

When it comes to marriage, the line between church and state is dangerously gray.  I worry when state ballot propositions start to enlist the support of churches and other religious organizations in their campaigns.  The Roman Catholic Church was one of the biggest supporters of Prop 8 - for reasons of biblical authority.  The state shouldn't rest its understanding of marriage on biblical authority.  The state should rest its understanding of marriage on basic civil rights.  From there the church can decide whether or not it wants to sanction said marriage.  And individual churches can rest their understanding of marriage on their own understandings of biblical authority.  I'm not going to ostracize or judge a church or Christian for refusing to religiously sanction a legal marriage.  That is their choice and I will respect their biblical understanding even if I don't necessarily agree with it.

We need to take a step back from the "gay marriage" debate and start picking apart what, exactly, "marriage" is.  What it means to talk about marriage on a state level and what it means for it to be sanctioned by the church.  Why clergy are ordained but the church, but can act as an officiant of the state when it comes to legal marriage.  It's murky and gray and marginalizing a group of people who are just trying to live their lives in love and learning.

Perez Hilton posted this video on his blog today.  It breaks my heart and gives me hope all at the same time.

With hope,

New Weaver House Rule:

No sharp knives in the dishwasher.  Butter knives ONLY.

My left index finger had an unfortunate encounter with our big chopping knife last night while I was loading the dishwasher.  I tried to handle it by myself, but I got myself worked up and finally called Bruce - who was out fishing - slightly hysterical.  He came right home to take care of me (I know, how sweet!!) - he told me that it was a relatively clean cut, but that I had definitely done a good job with it.  It's too close to the nail for stitches so we didn't really consider going to the ER.  ICK!!

I'm now terrified of knives and the dishwasher and trying to learn how to type without using my bandaged up index finger.  Hopefully it will heal quickly!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day!!

This post is a salute to all of our wonderful groomsmen who are serving the military.  I feel so blessed to know these people.  We are not living in a generation of drafts - each of these men have chosen to answer a call to serve.  Even at the risk of sounding like a cliché, I have to say that I'm proud to be an American knowing that the United States Military is filled with people like this:

Specialist Neal Cooper, Army.  Neal is an Army combat medic, embedded with A Troop 2-104th CAV, part of the PA National Guard Stryker Unit.  He has been in Iraq since January, 2009.

Gib Coyle, Army.  Gib is a rising senior at West Point (I borrowed this picture from one of his albums on Facebook - it was taken at the 2009 graduation).

Jason Weaver, Coast Guard.  Jason is currently at basic training in Cape May, NJ.  I won't have any pictures of him in uniform until after graduation, so I thought I would use this picture of him playing with one of my parents dogs last November - how adorable!!

Neal, Gib & Jason - thank you from the bottom of my heart.  May God bless you in your service.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Calling all Cooks!!

Our latest wedding present is (drumroll please) ... 

A 16" Electric Skillet!!

Now ... I have two questions:
1.  What exactly do you cook in an electric skillet?
2.  How do you cook said food in an electric skillet?

Does anyone have any good recipes?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Three Day Weekends

I think the best kind of three day weekends are the ones you forget about until Thursday at 5 p.m. when you're leaving work and everyone reminds you that the next day is only a half day because of Memorial Day weekend.


I thought so.

Bruce and I had a really quiet night last night.  We watched M*A*S*H, played a few games of Mancala and I worked on the list of pictures we're going to want taken at the wedding.  We got up this morning and went to Dunkin Donuts - we had NO REGULAR COFFEE IN OUR APARTMENT.  I'm not quite sure how we let that happen.  Anyway, we went to Dunkin Donuts and then over to ATL Cycling so Bruce could get some work done on his bike.  We looked around the shop and talked to some of the guys over there for awhile - the people there are SO nice, if you're in the market for a bike I would recommend ATL Cycling over and beyond any other bike shop in Atlanta - and then headed home.  I took a shower while Bruce cleaned and then we headed out to Target in Buckhead.  There is a Target much closer, but going to the one in Buckhead allowed us to get out a little bit (and also gave us the opportunity to check out some of the other shops around).

While we were at Target we got toiletries items to put together baskets to go in the bathrooms at the wedding reception.  Because we're just renting the building and bringing in all outside vendors, we need to remember small little details like bathroom toiletries that would be taken care of for us had we used a hotel or clubhouse.  I don't mind though - Bruce and I had fun going through the "travel-sized" section.  Does anyone else get a kick out of those little bottles?  I'm not sure why I do.  Here is the final product (the baskets are from IKEA):

Then we went over to Dick's Sporting Goods so I could look at my sneakers.  My current running sneakers are two and a half years old - they are WAY past their prime and I'm starting to have knee pain (the kind of knee pain that required MRIs and cortisone shots three summers ago).  Hopefully the new sneakers will give my knees more support.  I ended up buying the ASICS Gel-1140:

On our way to the sneaker section, I came across a couple of sale racks - this is always dangerous for me.  I tried not to look too closely but ended up finding a great adidas white running jacket for 50% off!!  I'm not really planning on using it as a running jacket, I'm planning on using it more when I'm riding the scooter during the summer.  It's lightweight, but wind resistant and bright so I think it will be great not only to protect me on the scooter but also in the mornings when it's a little brisk.  Here's me modeling my jacket when we got home:

What is everyone doing for Memorial Day?  Any weekend get-aways?  Picnics?  TV marathons?  Parades?  Shopping?  Whatever it is, I hope all of you can find time to relax and regenerate.

Many many blessings,
Sarah :) 

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Updates, Gratitude & Congratulations

Thanks to everyone for the kind phone calls, texts, e-mails and facebook messages in response to the latest bump in the wedding road. I've been overwhelmed by the support - I'll try to get back to everyone individually in some way, but for right now know that I feel so blessed to have each of you in my life.

Bruce and I are doing a lot better. This isn't over - Bruce and his parents have been on the phone with friends and family who are in the military to understand why exactly Jason's orders were changed and if there is anything that can be done to move his report date back three days. A friend of Bruce's is a rising senior at West Point and he suggested talking to the chaplain, so I think that's where they are now. None of us have given up hope yet - and it's not as if Jason is going to be "replaced" if he can't be in the wedding. He's Bruce's best man and will be if he's in Connecticut or Wisconsin for the actual wedding.

In other news - the weather has been absolutely BEAUTIFUL in Atlanta the past couple of days!! I'm pretty sure it doesn't get much better than this. High fifties and low sixties in the morning, low-mid seventies during the day, sunny with blue skies and white puffy clouds, and just enough wind to make long walks perfect. I've been walking to and from work all week. It's about 2 1/2 miles one way, mostly up and down hills - it's felt great, but I think I'm starting to get shin splints!! I haven't been walking in sneakers because I feel the need to look cute while walking and I don't think sneakers with my work clothes is at all cute - It's not like I've been walking in my grandiose spike heels, but I'm certainly not lacing up my asics, either. Ah, the price to pay when you desire cuteness in your life.

I also need to give a quick shout out and big CONGRATULATIONS to my sister, Bethany - she graduated from the Columbia School of Social Work today with an MSW (Masters of Social Work)!! And if graduating from the Ivy Leagues isn't enough - she has a full-time job secured for next year!! YAY!!!!! Bethany - I wish I could have been there to see you cross the stage and hold tight to that diploma, but I'll see you soon!! I love you!!

Grace & Peace,

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sad & Somber

Bruce's brother and best man, Jason, has been at basic training for the U.S. Coast Guard for the past couple of weeks - he left the Monday after Easter.  When he was figuring out his timeline, he set it up so he would have two weeks between basic and when he would report.  Our wedding would be in the middle of those two weeks.  We found out today that Jason got his orders and is reporting to a training facility in Wisconsin three day before the wedding.

Words don't describe how sad we are right now.

I don't know what else to say.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

It Will Be Me

I was browsing through facebook this afternoon and I came across the profile of a girl I went to college with.  She's getting married this weekend and - in the box underneath her profile picture - she had written on her profile:  I do not care about what kind of chairs, place cards, linens, napkins, lighting, flowers, favors, or program wording ... I just want to marry him.

I thought that was the most beautiful thing I've read in a long time.

Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of our engagement.  It's amazing how far we've come since then.  Bruce proposed to me at our church after a Taize-style worship service that was part of the 30 Hour Famine the youth were taking part in.  Last year we showed up for bits and pieces of the famine and helped where we could - it was the first time we had worked with the youth, so we were pretty much getting to know them and the program.  We weren't engaged; I was only one year into my program at Candler; much of our future was uncertain.  This year - after nine months of biweekly youth group meetings - we were there for the entire famine.  We fasted with kids we've grown close with this year.  We were much more active in the planning process, taking care to build on the lessons we had worked so hard on from Sunday School and Youth Group this year.  As I sat at the piano during the Taize service and listened to the sounds of an exhausted and hungry youth group, I looked down at my hands that were accompanying those sounds - the diamonds in my engagement ring sparkled.  I realized in that moment - I'm not the same girl I was last year at this time.

What a year this has been.  I've learned a lot - in school, at church and in life.  I've made new friends, made up with old friends and worked hard to strengthen my relationship with God.  I'm not where I want to be - but I'm getting closer.  And I've cherished every moment of the learning process.  The future is still uncertain.  But one thing is certain ... 

In less than a month, I'm marrying my best friend.  I don't think anything could make me happier.

The title of this post is "It Will Be Me" ... Kristin Chenoweth has an incredible rendition of this song, one that has helped me center myself amidst the wedding craziness.  Here's a video of her performing it on the Today Show a couple of years ago.  There's an interview first, skip to the one minute - ish mark to get to the song.

May the peace of Christ be with you,

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Fancy Start to Married Life ...

I got a text from my mom last night that said, as a wedding present, she booked Bruce and me this cottage for the night of our wedding and the next night!! How amazing is that?! We had originally planned to stay at a hotel in town - it's beautiful, don't get me wrong, but it's not as tucked away with all the amenities that this cottage has. And - of course - Bruce loves that it's part of the Orvis shop and across the street from the river.

Kelly's Korner blog is hosting a fun series called "Show Us Where You Live FRIDAY" - if you're interested in some cute ideas for your house/apartment, people from all over the world read Kelly's blog and post links to their room of the week. This week is guest bedrooms (if you look back the past two weeks have been kitchens and living rooms).

Scotty's surgery is at 11:20 a.m. today. Please keep him and the Detrick's in your prayers.

Sarah :)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Praying for Scotty!!

Hi Everyone,

Please take a minute to read the note from my friend and church member, Merry. Her nine-year-old son is having surgery tomorrow, Friday May 15. Please keep Scotty and the entire Detrick family in your prayers.


My two boys are 12 months and 8 days apart. Jackson was born on December 11, 1998 and Scotty joined us on December 19, 1999. Those of you that know Doug and I at all know we're really not big planners!:) Anyhoo, from the start, Scott was a completely different child from Jackson. He cried all the time, wouldn't sleep lying on his back, and was sick so often with respiratory viruses and ear infections. Through it all, though, he remained a pretty happy baby and his big brother became very protective of him. Jackson is most definitely the unsung hero in all of this. (Well, him and mom, sister, sister-in-law, Demetra Lilly, the list goes on and on...)

After years of ear infections, more antibiotics than we ever felt comfortable giving our son, and still dealing with the fact that he couldn't sleep through the night at 6 years old, we finally had our "aha" moment. Scott was blessed to have the most wonderful 1st grade teacher, Rena Morgan, who believed me when I said I thought he couldn't hear. (His pediatrician at the time just thought he needed another set of tubes) She encouraged me to fight for a hearing test from a specialist even though his initial screening was fine. It was then that we learned that our child suffers from a recurring condition called Cholesteatoma. You can google it, but I'll give you the brief explaination: Scotty was born with collapsed eustacian tubes (those are the tubes that drain your sinuses) and they never "un-collapsed". Therefor, he has constant drainage forming behind his eardrums. This drainage eventually becomes hardened, benign tumors that eat away at everything in his ears. When we finally had him diagnosed, he had ZERO hearing in his left ear, as well as no eardrum and only fragments of hearing bones, and only 50% hearing in his right ear. The kid was still playing sports, making good grades and basically handling himself just fine. Scott had just compensated for his lack of hearing - and for how long we have no idea.

Scott has had multiple major surgeries on both of his ears. These surgeries (skip ahead if you're squeamish) always involve cutting the back of the ear and folding it to repair damage and remove tumors. He has had 4 such surgeries and is preparing for his 5th on Friday. He has received new eardrums from skin grafts and all of his hearing bones are prosthetics. The good news (Yes, there is some!) about this surgery is that his specialist, the ever-steady Dr. Herrmann, doesn't see any new tumors on the CT scans. He is simply going back into the left ear to replace a prosthetic bone that has dislodged with a titanium one.
I have friends who have chronically ill children, and they'll tell you we all have one thing in common: it never gets easy watching them wheel your baby away from you into a cold operating room. We're blessed that Scott is old enough to understand his condition and what has to be done...even though he still doesn't like it. His least favorite part? After each surgery, he must remain as still as possible for up to 3 weeks. That means no running, karate, jumping, dog walking, dancing, bouncing....and the kid is constant motion, people!

Some of you will ask what you can do to help. We always take prayers, Scott loves having his friends come over and visit after his surgeries, and Doug takes beer donations, as well!
I'm sorry for the long post, but there really isn't an easy way to explain all this. Just know that we are a stronger family for having this challenge, and please, please consider making a donation to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. Who knows? Maybe we'll start getting a discount.....:)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

One Month to Go & The Lillian Carter Award

One month until the wedding - eek!!  But boy did I have a busy day to distract me from the anxiety & excitement that comes with knowing we're one month away!!

I started off my morning a little late.  I had to bring Marissa to the airport at 11 a.m. and it didn't make sense for me to go to work for an hour and then leave.

Here is Marissa outside of the airport.  I told her as I was pulling up to the drop-off place that I needed to take a picture of her with all her luggage, and her response was:  "You're like my mom!!"  Ironically enough, I'm going to make sure her mom gets the picture :) ... Marissa is spending two months abroad this summer, first in Costa Rica to do some traveling and then in Panama for a program through the school of public health.  We were joking about how my wedding marks her halfway point - she leaves on May 13th and gets back on July 13th.

Traveling Mercies Marissa!!

I got to work and left soon after to go to the Carter Center for the presentation of the Lillian Carter Award.  Lillian Carter was President Carter's mother; following the death of her husband she decided to join and serve in the Peace Corps.  In honor of her service, the Carter Center biennially awards someone who began their service after the age of 50.  This year Dr. Catherine Taylor Foster was the recipient of the award.  Dr. Foster began her service in the Peace Corps at the age of 59 (and climbed Mount Everest at the age of 61!!) and continues to serve her community in Illinois at 72 years old.

Kristin Unzicker, Associate Director for International Affairs and Special Programs at Rollins, served in the Peace Corps for two years in Botswana.  I love hearing her stories and she's taught me a lot about the Peace Corps and its mission.  I went to the ceremony with her and three students from Rollins - two that just got back and one that is getting ready to leave in the fall.  What I love about the Peace Corps is that it exemplifies what it means to help ordinary people do extraordinary things.  After we getting married (and after I finish school) Bruce and I could apply as a couple if we wanted to.  The thought has crossed our minds ... 

Here are some pictures from the event ... 

Polynesian dancers ... I'm pretty sure my hips don't move the way this woman's did.

Jason Carter, President Carter's grandson.  Jason served two years in Africa (forgive me for not remembering which country!!).  Jason introduced his grandfather.

President Carter presenting the award to Dr. Foster.

From left to right ...
Juli Powers, President, Atlanta Area Returned Peace Corps Volunteers
President Jimmy Carter
Dr. Catherine Taylor Foster, Lillian Carter Award Recipient

The Polynesian dancers singing "Aloha"

Now Bruce and I are watching some disappointing sports.  The Phillies are getting destroyed by the Dodgers (7-1 in the 8th inning) and the hockey series Bruce has been following isn't ending the way he wanted it to (clearly I'm not paying close attention to the hockey, but I do know he doesn't want Pittsburgh to win - if that helps anyone).  I think now may be a good time to curl up in bed and watch Gilmore Girls on DVD!!

Grace & Peace,

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Wedding Bell Blues ...

Can someone tell me when the timing of a candy buffet and the placement of a wedding cake became worth fighting over in my life?

As I drifted off to sleep last night, I rolled over to Bruce and said "I'm sad." I opened my eyes and he was looking at me and said "I know." Though what I'm sad about is still up in the air. Is it really over candy buffets and cake tables? Or is it over the fact that millions of children around the world don't have access to food, clean water and health care and - rather than focusing on that - I'm arguing over the timing of a candy buffet and the placement of a wedding cake?

To make matters worse - following said argument I felt bad for myself and bought a new dress at Target. I have to say - it did help my mood a little bit. Target has some cute stuff right now!! But still - probably not the most productive reaction to have.

Sigh ...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!!

Happy Mother's Day Mom!!  I've read several posts today that have said their mom trumps all others, but I have to say - after managing to survive (and not kill me) during my teen years - my mom deserves an award!!

This is mom & me in Palermo, Sicily when we cruised the Mediterranean two summers ago ... 

... and this was a couple of days later at the Vatican.  What a fun vacation!!

I'm sorry we can't be in Kent to celebrate with you today!!  I love you!!  See you in JUNE!!

Bruce and I had what we thought was our last youth group meeting of the year today.  We thought it was a simple cook-out at Rachel's.  Turns out - they were planning a surprise wedding shower for us!!  How amazing are they?!  They've been planning it for weeks!!  Heidi - the Associate Pastor of Christian Ed. & Youth - was shocked that we had no idea anything was going on, but I seriously think I have been off in my own world of wedding planning.  I really had NO idea.  I didn't have my camera with me, which I'm bummed about, but one of the youth did so I hope I'll be able to get some pictures from her.  They got a yummy cake, cake toppers, a HUGE card and they collected money and donated it to the capital campaign at Pilgrimage in our name.  Bruce and I were so honored - we had been talking about how we wished we had extra money to pledge to the campaign, and now there has been money donated in our honor!!
They were so thoughtful in all that they did.  They also decorated with "30's" everywhere - Bruce proposed to me at the 30 Hour Famine last year, and I thought it was such a creative idea to decorate in honor of that!!  I snapped some pictures when I got home of the things they got for us.  Rachel - the co-chair of Christian Ed, middle school Sunday School teacher and all around amazing person - brought out the cake-cutting knife & server that she and her husband Brad used on their wedding ten years ago!!  All of this I wish I had pictures of - from now on I'm bringing my camera with me everywhere I go!!

I did snap some pictures when I got home ... 

The adorable cake toppers from Rachel - LOVE THEM!!  Perhaps our honeymoon hotel will have a jacuzzi?! :)

Our beautiful flowers.

To all the youth, parents and others who made this day possible - thank you Thank You THANK YOU for such a wonderful party.  We are truly blessed to know all of you.

Happy Mother's Day to all those mother's out there!!  I hope your day was full of blessings and joy (and breakfast in bed, of course)

All my love,
Sarah :)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Relief & Prayer


Do y'all remember this post? I knew I had to go above an beyond this semester in New Testament in order to get out alive and my stress level was sky-high about it. But I tried to be rational about it. I switched out of LTJ's class and into Carl Holladay's class. I put this class on high priority - over and beyond my other classes. Yet I still struggled on the weekly colloquy paper assignments. I wasn't doing badly, but I just wasn't seeing the consistently high grades that I would have liked to have seen week after week. I wasn't gaining confidence as I geared up for my final exegesis paper, worth nearly half of my final grade.

Just after Spring Break, I decided to take a new approach for my exegesis. I didn't cut corners. I penned pages of notes, created a outline with estimated page numbers and gave myself a timeline. I forced myself to finish a week before the due date so my TA could look at my working draft. I went back to my bible and concordance after I got my draft back with comments and tightened up my research.

And I got an A- on the paper!!!!!

I can breath a little bit easier - I'm getting out of New Testament alive!!

Today is the National Day of Prayer. I know there are people who may not necessarily agree with the theology behind the sponsoring organization, but who can disagree with the opportunity to put aside religious, denominational and political differences for a day and meet in prayer with their brothers and sisters all across the country?

It's been a difficult year for a lot of people - but I believe in the power of prayer. I said in my post yesterday - when you're faced with something you cannot understand, what you can do is pray. May you all find strength in knowing your prayers are not alone.

With you all in prayer,

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Take a Minute ...

... to look at the blog I posted on my sidebar - "The Pifer Family."  I came across this blog a couple of weeks ago and have really been touched by Tiffany's story and journey through infertility.  

It may seem strange that I've been so touched by someone who is going through fertility treatments.  I've said before that Bruce and I aren't even sure if we want to have to children and if we decide we do we might look into adoption.  But infertility is something that is not talked about and completely misunderstood.  Most of us take for granted that - if we want to - we can have children when we're ready.  Some women yearn to have a baby, to be a mother, and not being able to conceive easily is heartbreaking.  This is something the ordinary person cannot understand.

When you're faced with something you cannot understand - what you can do is pray.

Last week was National Infertility Awareness Week and Tiffany posted everyday about the different faces of Infertility.  I invite you to look back at some of those posts and continue to keep Tiffany and all those who are on this journey in your prayers.

With you all in prayer,
Sarah :)

Wait ... Work ... Worship.

I wait ...

... for my grades. I know about the A in Preaching (though it hasn't been posted yet), I know I've passed Con Ed (though it hasn't been posted yet) and my Non Profit Leadership grade was posted - I got an A-. Now I wait for Polity, Global Perspectives in Pastoral Care and New Testament.

I work ...

... on processing I20 forms for the incoming International Students at Rollins. You would not believe how complicated it is for someone who is not a U.S. citizen to come to the U.S. to go to school. I think a lot of us who were born and raised in the states take our education for granted. We apply, we get accepted, we go, we figure out the money stuff as we go along. If you're an international student, you have to apply through your embassy for a student visa and you're basically at the mercy of your embassy. Even if you go through all the steps, your request can still be denied. I can't imagine how stressful this must be for our students applying, so I do my best to expedite the process on my end. I love this part of my job - even though it's tedious and meticulous and has zero room for errors - the students show so much appreciation. I love getting to meet them in the fall and know that I took part in bringing them here.

I worship ...

Everyone at Candler talks about how school gets in the way of our time in worship and with God. Well ... school is out for the summer, what's my excuse now? I've been trying to spend a lot of time in prayer - even throughout my everyday tasks. When I think I need to talk to God or lift something up to God - even if I'm driving, trying to fall asleep, reading, working - I've been trying to force myself to stop and pray. It's easy for me to say "oh, I'll pray later." But what's wrong with right now? I don't have much time left before people look to me for spiritual leadership and guidance full time - it's time I focus on my own spiritual and prayer life.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Clean Apartment!!

Bruce and I literally spent THE ENTIRE weekend cleaning.  Not just light cleaning - SERIOUS CLEANING.  We threw away at least four garbage bags full of stuff, have two garbage bags full of clothing that need to go to MUST and took trips to Target and IKEA to get some tools/materials to fix some stuff that was falling apart and decorative stuff to make the place a little bit more home-y.  We haven't quite finished the deck (I think that's going to be a work in progress all summer) but I think we're both happy to have made progress.  It felt good to be able to just clean and do laundry (I think I did seven loads, oh my!!) and not feel like I had school work to do.  Ahh, summer bliss.

Oh - on a side note - I'm anxiously awaiting my grades to be posted on O.P.U.S.  None of them have officially posted yet, but our preaching grade totals were posted on Blackboard (Emory has a lot of computer systems) and my totals indicate that I got an A in preaching.  So - one down.  I'm grateful for the A because the structure of the class was confusing, the syllabus made no sense and I was definitely putting more effort in some of my other classes.  Okay - one down (technically two - I know I passed Con. Ed.), four to go.  Please pray for peace - I know it's all in God's hands - all of this.  Seminary, ordination - I'm following God's call.  I just need to remember to follow him and shush.

Back to my apartment!!!!!  Enjoy ... 

My bedroom - notice the bed is made, there is no laundry hanging over the bed post or piled high on the floor and no DVDs piled on the TV.  Progress.  Oh - and this picture gave me the opportunity to show off my new down comforter!!  We've been getting a few early wedding presents and this was the latest.  It is WONDERFUL!!  So soft and fluffy!!  Hellloooo Down Comforter, where have you been all my life?!  Do any of you all have a down comforter?  Do you have the same love that I do for it?

My closet - it's hard to tell from the picture but you can now walk to the end of it, which you couldn't do before ... that is progress for me.  Oh and everything on the shelves is neatly stacked.  Finally!!

My bathroom counter - cleaned off and organized!!  I know it seems like there is a lot, but when you're living with a girl who has high maintenance hair and skin, you can't get away with having an empty counter.  There's too much you need on a daily basis!!  The light blue rug is also new from IKEA - I decided the bathroom was long enough that I needed two and - as it turned out - the rug I picked matched perfectly with the blue & brown toothbrush holder & cup set I have!!

Onto my desk ... For awhile I forgot what color it was!!  The remaining pile is wedding stuff - it doesn't make sense to put any of it away at this point, I look at it too much right now.

Notice the floor behind my desk - empty backpack and my knitting basket.  That's it!!  No books scattered ... (p.s. does anyone need a scarf or blanket?  I'm looking for a new knitting project - but that's pretty much all I know how to do)

... all of my books from this semester are put away where they belong!!  I'm not sure what I'm going to do next semester ... at this point, I think I'm max'd out on shelf space - and we've purchased three additional bookshelves since the initial two when we moved to Atlanta!!  Now I understand why all the pastors I know have such immense libraries - a product of seminary!!

Oh - and notice one other thing on this picture.  One - below my magazine holders is space designated for scooter helmets.  They've been scattered since we got them - wherever we throw them when we come in - and it was driving me crazy.  I finally cleared a space for them!!

I made this picture big so that you all could see my beautiful curtains!!!!!  We got them at IKEA - if anyone is looking for curtains and doesn't want to spend a ton of money, I would definitely recommend going to IKEA.  They have great deals!!

Where's Waldo for the Day - Can anyone find Lilly in this picture?

A smaller picture of the living room ... can you tell Lilly loves the carpet?!  She spends a lot of time in that position when we're watching TV.  Bruce thinks she started after watching me do pilates.

Some little details in my living room ... our mantle - to the left of my Aunt Leslie's painting is another wedding present.  My nursery school teacher (I'm 24 years old and still call her Mrs. Kraft!! ... hehe sometimes I still think I'm a child) framed our wedding invitation.  She didn't know what my colors were, so just went off of the invitation.  She was so excited when my mom told her those were my actual wedding colors and I was thrilled at how well it fit into my living room scheme!!  I LOVE IT!!

A close up of the invitation - I don't think I ever showed them to you on here.  You can't really tell, but there are raised roses on the paper - so simple and pretty!!

Now moving into the kitchen ... I love the pillows on my couch!!  And the blanket is from Lesotho, Southern Africa.  Bruce brought it back for me when he lived there the summer before we moved to Atlanta.  It's PERFECT for the room!!

My kitchen is finally organized!!  I have counter space to cook!!

Clean counter and sink that's not full of dishes ... bliss.

Our spice rack - updated with our new spice jars from IKEA!!  Love them - Bruce wants to get more to put all of our spices in them ... 

Our breakfast buffet and microwave cart ... notice the wedding presents:  Guacamole Stone on the breakfast buffet (great for making yummy salsa) and a touch screen coffee maker!!  Yay!!!!!

One of my last purchases from IKEA - a new mat and dishes for Lilly.  How cute are the crowns in the bottom of the dishes?!  I Love it.  Bruce thinks Lilly is indifferent.

What I see when I'm cooking - my beautiful living room!!!!!

I can't believe how long it's taken for me to post pictures of our current apartment.  It's taken almost a year, but it's finally feeling like HOME.  I'm looking forward to being able to spend a year as newlyweds in a place that I love with the person that I love.

May your week be full of grace & peace,

Friday, May 1, 2009


Do you hear that sound?  That's the sound of me having NOTHING LEFT TO DO!!!!!  Farewell, Second Year of Seminary - I will try to only remember the good times!!!!!

Thanks, everyone for all of the prayers, patience and kind thoughts throughout the semester.  BY FAR - this has been the most difficult academic year of my entire life.  Nothing could have prepared me for what I would be facing with school.  Add a 20 hour a week job, at least 15 hours at the church, planning a wedding and trying to spend time with Bruce and it's no wonder I started to go crazy.  I know I haven't always been the easiest to get along with or to be around, but your friendship has helped me to remain strong and confident that I could get through it.

Bruce - I couldn't ask for a more wonderful fiance.  You have been my rock and I don't think I can ever put into words the ways in which you've made me a better person.  Thanks for not throwing me off the balcony this year :) ... let's enjoy these last six weeks before the wedding.  The best is yet to come!!!!!

Love & Peace to all,
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