Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Recap

It's hard to believe 2009 is drawing to a close.  It seems like just yesterday that I was eagerly anticipating 2009 (especially a certain day in June!!).  One of my favorite parts of the end of the year is looking at the "year recaps" that the media puts together.  I love looking at them for real news, sports news, celebrity news and all of my favorite blogs.  To me, it is like listening to James Taylor's Greatest Hits - you get all the realllly good stuff (I mean, let's face it, with James Taylor it's all good) in one succinct album.

I thought I would do the same for myself - walk through some of the big happenings that went on in my life in 2009.  I hope you enjoy!!


Bruce and I rang in 2009 in Pennsylvania at my cousin's wedding.  They were married on New Year's Eve at 6 p.m. and the reception followed.  We actually snuck out about 45 minutes before the countdown to midnight and rung in the New Year with my mom's sister and her family.

We drove back to Georgia on New Year's day and jumped right back into things.  Bruce went back to work and I - having signed up for a January term class - went back to school for a course in NonProfit Leadership.  I was coming off of a very difficult Fall '08 semester, so easing back in with one class was definitely good for me.  Plus - I learned SO much.  I now know how to file the paperwork to become a nonprofit, build a Board of Trustees/Directors and start to grow a staff.  I can run a capitol campaign, develop a fundraising strategy and balance a budget.

(Do I want to do any of those things?  Absolutely not.  But I feel confident knowing that I will be competent if anyone ever asks me to serve on a Board of Trustees/Directors at a nonprofit.)


I turned 24 and - despite being in the middle of midterms - Bruce made it SO special, complete with chocolate cake, balloons, a dinner party with friends and presents.  I am so lucky (and in complete denial that in two short months I will be hitting the quarter-century mark, ha!!).

I kicked off the Lenten season by presiding over my first Ash Wednesday service.  It was such an incredible experience and I was amazed at the connection that I made to my parishioners through the ash that I rubbed on their foreheads.  It was such a cool reminder that - broken down - we are all made up of the same particles.

From dust you came and to dust you will return.


I am pretty sure that I spent half of March in the airport!!  I spent part of my spring break in Connecticut where I had a meeting with the Church & Ministry Committee of the Litchfield North Association (they are the ones who are bringing me through the ordination process) and had a wonderful bridal shower hosted for me by my sister.

After the shower I experienced my first pedicure ... I know, how had I lived into my early twenties and not had a pedicure?  It's a mystery to me.  Thanks Courtney!!

I flew back to Georgia only to essentially turn around and fly back to Connecticut - this time with Bruce - for the All School Musical that my dad directs every year.  The trip started off hysterically because we ran into my aunt - who lives in Florida - IN the airport.  We had no idea she was even in Atlanta and she had no idea we were making a trip north!!  Anyway, the trip was wonderful, the show was fabulous, I cried when the Beast transformed (the musical was Beauty and the Beast) and we found ourselves back in Atlanta again.


You know, it's kind of funny.  I was looking back on my blog posts in April and pretty much all I did was scramble to finish up school work.  You would have thought I would have done something fabulous on Easter morning to celebrate the resurrection, but - alas - Bruce was visiting his parents and I was working on a 25 page final project for my nonprofit class.


I closed the door on Year #2 of seminary (everyone says the second year is the hardest, so I was definitely not sad to close the door on that one).  I gained back some of the confidence that I lost the previous semester (which had, to put it nicely, kicked my butt) and I started to resurrect my GPA.

A week or two after school let out, I had the opportunity to attend the Lillian Carter Award Ceremony at the Carter Center.  Lillian Carter - President Carter's late mother - joined the Peace Corps after her husband died.  She was 68 years old when she applied - 68!!  She served in Mumbai for almost two years.  The Peace Corps established this biennial award to honor Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCV) who joined the Peace Corps after the age of 50.  The ceremony was awesome.  President Carter presented the award (he got choked up when he started talking about his mom and then - you know me - I started crying as well) and Jason Carter - President Carter's grandson and another RPCV - introduced his grandfather.

Side note - Jason Carter is now running for Georgia State Senate!!  Those of you Georgians out there - keep that in mind.  Also - he published a book about his time in the Peace Corps.  He was serving in post-apartheid South Africa and has some amazing insight into what is going on in that country.  The book is called Power Lines:  Two Years on SOUTH AFRICA'S Borders.  Click here to view it on amazon.

(By the by, I don't know this much about the Peace Corps because I am a RPCV or I am planning on applying any time soon.  I work with an RPCV and she keeps me in the loop.  It's a phenomenal program and if you have an inkling to know more, you should definitely look into it.)


One thing sticks out pretty significantly as happening in June ...

... Bruce and I got married!!  In front of 250 people (in a church built for 200) Bruce and I said "I do."  The day could not have been more perfect.


Bruce and I were back in Atlanta and starting to settle in as newlyweds.  I had lots and lots of cooking disasters and we cheered on the Braves at an afternoon game.


Do you see this?

This is the face of a boy who's wife said they could use the Target gift cards they got for the wedding on a new flat screen TV.  (Do you see the one we replaced in the background?  I think it looks sad.)

At the end of the month we drove up to Huntingdon, PA for my cousin's wedding.  The wedding was outside, on the top of a hill and surrounded by trees and flowers.  It was simply beautiful.


I headed back to school for my third and final year of seminary(!!).  In the midst of it, Atlanta had severe, severe flooding and I had a new appreciation for people who are affected by hurricanes every year.

I also took one more step closer to "adulthood" when my mom wrote over the title to my car and I registered it in Georgia.  It felt weird to no longer have Connecticut license plates - it was like admitting I was really living in Georgia.  But then I realized.  I'm living in Georgia.  With my husband.  With a new last name.  Seriously - life felt amazing.


We were back in Pennsylvania for the weekend of the 175th anniversary of my parent's home church.  This was our 7th trip north of the year!!

Sarah and I spent the day speed shopping.  We literally ran allll over King of Prussia Mall looking for the best deals and the most perfect outfit and accessories.  I hate the fact that Sarah and I live so far from one another.  Although - I suppose my bank account is saved by that fact, ha!!

The anniversary service was incredible and it was great to see all of my family.


Bruce and I attended our first SEC football game!!  We wanted to see what all the fuss was all about.  I had a fantastic time getting all dolled up and we had a fantastic time at the game.  The Dawgs lost, but I'm glad we got to go anyway.

The month ended with a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with some of my friends from seminary.  We are so blessed that - even so far away from our families - we still have amazing people to spend holidays with.


I finished a fantastic semester at school (one more to go!!) and Bruce and I celebrated 6 months of marriage.

We celebrated our third Christmas in Atlanta, our first as a married couple.

All in all, 2009 was a pretty fantastic year!!  Bring it on, 2010!!

Happy New Year!!!!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Did you know ...

... that if Bruce walks into a bank with a check made out to "Bruce and Sarah Weaver" and signs it, he cannot deposit it into his account because it does not have my signature on it?  He can, however, with his signature, deposit it into my account.

Banks make zero sense to me.

(Note to self:  Make time to go to the bank with Bruce after the new year and finally combine our checking accounts.)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I know, I know.  How cliche.  The new year is fast approaching and I am blogging about resolutions.  But before you close this tab on account of my lack of originality, hear me out.

People have a tendency to get a little cynical when they talk about resolutions:  "I'm resolving to never make another resolution again;" "No one ever keeps those things" and "Oh, yeah - my diet starts on the 1st ... again."

I used to feel the same way about resolutions.  Every year I would write them down, hide them somewhere in my room and then open them the following year to see how I did.  And you know what?  I always did pretty terribly.  Actually - that's putting it nicely.  I failed miserably.  But how could I possibly measure up to the bucket list of resolutions that I had given myself?  Get straight A+'s in school, lose 25 pounds, get back on the piano bench (but not sacrifice playing my saxophone), wake up early every day and run, go horseback riding every week, learn how to snowboard, keep my room clean (ha), etc. etc. etc.  I really should have started with "develop a machine that slows down time" because I was going to need at least 52 hours in a day to acheive all of those things.

I haven't made a new year's resolution in several years - mostly because I was tired of being disappointed year after year that I was getting nowhere.  But for the past couple of weeks I started thinking about them differently.  And that is where this post comes from.

I don't think that new year's resolutions are cliche.  In fact - I think they are healthy and full of possibilites.

I work with a girl who absolutely loves Mondays.  LOVES them.  She says they give her a fresh start.  Mondays that start a new month are even better.  We were both at work yesterday and were thinking about coming into work next week.  Not only will we be coming in on a Monday, but it will be Monday, January 4, 2010.  We will be starting a new WEEK, MONTH, YEAR and DECADE.  I think this is the perfect opportunity to start fresh; to make one attainable resolution (read:  ONE and ATTAINABLE) and to focus on how that one resolution can feed into the other parts of your life.

Bruce and I are going to look more seriously at how we spend our money.  My friends and I all joke about being poor seminary students, but - let's face it - we have plenty (and a lot more than most of the world).  And even the loans we take out aren't going to have us staring in the commercials anytime soon - student debt is considered "responsible" and is paid back in small amounts over a long period of time.

So what's the problem?  Well - as I look back on my credit card statements I see a lot of charges from restaurants, fast food, pizza places, chinese takeout, Jazzman's coffee shop and Emory dining.  Going out to eat once or twice a week isn't going to break the bank, but I think (scratch that, I KNOW) we are stretching that once or twice to ... well, a lot more than that.  We are spending so much of our money on eating out and we would ideally like to be either putting more of it away or giving it to some of our favorite organizations that are being hurt most by the recession.  (I hate having to say, "I wish I could give.")

The first place that Bruce and I are going to be more careful in budgeting is what we are spending on food, mostly what we spend eating out.  This week alone we are resolving to cook every single night - and to make enough for leftovers that we have lunch to bring to work the next day.  And I think once school starts back up again I am going to try to cook a lot on the weekends and freeze what I make into one-portion-sized containers so we can just grab and go in the mornign.

I am really looking forward to see how much we can save by resolving NOT to eat out.  I am also hoping that - by cooking ourselves - we will be able to spend more time together and we will be eating much more healthy because we will be in control of the ingredients.

So - in all reality our resolution is more about food than it is about money.  Bruce did do a little hocus pocus on our comcast package and brought our bill down a significant amount (at the expense of soapnet, no more Breakfast in Bed on Saturday mornings, sigh ... ).  But part of re-budgeting is looking at where your money is going and that is what I noticed.  And look at how one thing can seep into so many facets of our lives.  By focusing on food and preparing our meals, we can cut what we are spending (our finances), eat more healthy (our bodies), spend time together (our relationship/marriage) and learn more about being in the kitchen/cooking (our creativity).

There you have it - my New Year's Resolution.  How about you all?  Did I lose anyone?  Inspire anyone?  Has anyone ever had a resolution like this in the past?  Do you have any pointers?

If you decide to blog about resolutions, link back in the comments section of this post.  I'd love to read them!!


Monday, December 28, 2009

Post-Holiday Cheer

I got in my car today and the radio stations were back to their regular old non-holiday music.  Sad day!!  Resist the urge to take down your Christmas decorations, my friends!!  The Wise Men haven't even gotten to the manger yet!!

Keep the cheer - we certainly are doing our best to!!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Biblical Treasure Hunt

So apparently "Sun" is NOT a typo.  I have spent a better part of this morning (I'm almost embarrassed to admit just how much time I spent on this) trying to figure it all out.  

My college academic advisor told me to look at Malachi 4:2.  I looked it up and saw that, indeed, the prophet said, "But for you who revere my name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings.  You shall go out leaping like calves from stall." (1)

Reading on, the notes in my Harper Collins say, "Sun of righteousness.  See Ps 84.11.  One of the most familiar symbols of deity in Egyptian and Mesopotamian religions is the winged solar disk.  Although God is not directly described here as a winged disk, the implication is that God will rise on the 'day of the LORD' to effect healing for the righteousness (see also Job 38:12-15; Ps 46:5)" (2)

Since it told me to refer to Psalm 84:11, I flipped back and saw that it says, "For the LORD God is a sun and shield; he bestows favor and honor.  No good thing does the LORD withhold from those who walk uprightly." (3)

If I understand this all correctly, the "Sun of Righteousness" is not talking about the Son of God at all - rather, it is referring back to this symbol of the deity.  It is not about the "baby Jesus" at all - it is about the fact that the Word will be made flesh and that God is coming.  

I still do not completely understand why the "S" is capitalized in "Sun" - maybe because it is a symbol so it is being treated like proper noun? Does anybody have any thoughts on that?

There you have it - you (well at least I) learn something new every day.

(1) NRSV
(2) The Harper Collins Study Bible, pg. 1288
(3) NRSV

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Eve Typo

While we were singing Hark! The Herald Angels Sing on Christmas Eve, something caught my eye ...

Apparently the editors of the New Century Hymnal think that the light of the world should come from the light of the sun and not from the Son of God.


Friday, December 25, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

It's hard to believe that this is my third Christmas in Atlanta.  The first one was really exciting.  It was Bruce and my first Christmas together.  A few days after Thanksgiving we drove to a tree farm south of the city and cut down a tree.

We watched the Polar Express and went to the 11:00 service at church.

On Christmas day we drove north and stayed at a Bed & Breakfast in north Georgia.  (Bruce went fishing and I accidentally locked us out)

Last year I think we were both a little bit exhausted by the time Christmas came.  That semester had taken its toll on me and I think we both really NEEDED Christmas.  We needed to look at the Christ light shining in the middle of the Advent wreath.

Kari came down for a few days after finals and we spent an entire day baking cookies.  And then an entire night taking pictures of them.  It was such a relief to not be thinking about school - but there was definitely a part of me that was still worrying about grades, about making it through the next semester, about planning the wedding and about preaching my first Christmas Eve sermon.

This Christmas - our third Christmas in Atlanta - has been different.  Finals were certainly stressful, but I didn't feel as drained coming out of them as I did last year.  My grades were much better and I feel much more confident going into my last semester.  The wedding is over and Bruce and I are enjoying starting new traditions with one another - without the thought of centerpieces and invitations hanging over our heads.  Bruce worked this morning (and I did some last minute shopping) and we are heading up to church soon.  It's not the big family dinner and party, but - in our own little way - it's quite perfect.  We definitely miss our families, but we are enjoying this time together, just the two of us.  We know that with me going into the ministry Christmas is going to be absolutely crazy for the rest of our lives - so we will take the quiet for now!!

For those of you out traveling tonight, please be safe!!

with hope, peace, joy & love,
(p.s. is it just me or has our Christmas tree gotten bigger each year?)

Luke 1:26-38
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.’ But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.’ Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy 101

What makes you happy?

One of the things that makes me happy is my wonderful blog friend, Veronica.  She is incredibly talented (check out her crochet business), is a stay at home mom to two beautiful girls and is pregnant with another girl!!  She and her family live in California and - when it is rainy and gross here - I live vicariously through their trips to the beach, ha!!  I came across her blog early on in the year when the blogging community was praying hard for Kelly & Harper.  I clicked on her blog and the tag line said something about "never having a short version to any story."

Never having a short version to any story?  Talk about a girl after my own heart!!  (Side note - one of the clinicians at my psych eval actually told me that I was a good storyteller, but that sometimes she got caught up in what I was saying and lost her own train of thought, ha!!)

Anyway (talk about not having a short version to any story) - I was reading Veronica's blog last week and was tickled pink when she awarded me the Happy 101 award!!  Thank you, Veronica!!  The rules to this award are fun.  I am supposed to list 10 things that make me happy - and then try to do one of them today.

1. Sitting on my couch and staring at my Christmas Tree.

2. Listening to Christmas music at work.
(Consider that done for the day!!)

3. Successfully cooking a delicious dinner.
(I'll get back to you on that one, ha!!)

4. Playing with my cat.

5. Going to the gym.

6. Traveling.

My favorite part of this picture is the woman trying to take the "holding up the leaning tower of Pisa" picture.

7. Wearing earrings.

Earrings always fit and they never make you look fat.  And for $4 at Charlotte Russe, these Teardop Dangle Earrings would add sparkle and shine to any otherwise blah day.  (That's right - I said $4!! It doesn't take much with me.  I can trade in a cup of coffee and a muffin one morning and I have myself a new pair of earrings.)

8. Being part of the United Church of Christ.

Every time I think about ordination - and about how the laying on of hands will connect me to generations of Christian leaders that believed in Jesus' prayer, "that they may all be one" (John 17:21) - I get chills.

9. Playing my saxophone.

10. Spending time with my husband.

Last weekend Bruce and I were at a party discussing my name change with friends and Bruce looked at me and said, "You will always be Sarah Keck to me."

I thought that was the sweetest thing he could have said to me.

Anyway, talk about not having a short version to any story - a simple list of 10 things turned into a morning of me looking nostalgically at pictures and window shopping online (browser shopping? safari shopping?).

I hope you all have a wonderful Tuesday!!  Christmas Eve is in two days!!


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Shop Smart

Okay - since apparently cooking may be a lost cause, I think I should focus my attention on something I do really well - SHOPPING.  I am definitely a last minute shopper, mostly because I love daydreaming of the perfect gift - sometimes it pops into my mind and I am done in November and sometimes I'm braving the crowds on Christmas Eve.  Honestly - I know parking lots and register lines get crazy - but I really enjoy Christmas shopping.  I love thinking about who I am buying for and why they are important in my life and what are some of the things they would enjoy and why I would be the right person to get it for them.  Maybe I'm weird, but I find the whole process kind of magical.

Anyway, a couple of years ago, my family decided that we weren't really going to exchange gifts anymore, we were just going to support some of our favorite charities.  To some extent we still do this and I absolutely love it.  I know Bruce and I are tightly budgeted because I am in school full time, but we really are blessed and have so much.  Alternative giving is a great way to honor someone you love and to live out the Good News, being part of a powerful outreach and ministry.

This is one of my favorite ways to give:

Heifer Project International works with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the earth.  They work in developing countries all around the world.
1 - Honeybees ($30) help struggling families earn income through the sale of honey, beeswax and pollen.
2 - Trees ($60) can be planted to help families learn how to keep their small plots of land healthy and renew the soil for future generations.
3 - A Flock of Chicks ($20) can help families add nourishing, life-sustaining eggs to their diets.
4 - Sheep ($120), besides being ADORABLE, provide wool and meat for entire communities.  Sheep also give birth twins or trips and they can graze hilly and rocky pastures that other livestock cannot.
5 - A Trio of Rabbits ($60) can provide multiple families with protein.  Rabbits multiply quickly and therefore your gift goes a long way beyond the initial family that you're helping.
6 - Ducks ($20) add protein to a family's menu, as well as provide help in the fields, removing weeds and bugs and adding fertilizer.

What I love about Heifer is that so many of the opportunities are affordable for people who only have a few extra dollars to spare.  There are some more expensive options (Heifers and Water Buffalo and Pigs, OH MY) but - for the most part anybody can take part!!  Click here for more ways to donate.

I know there are people out there (ahem, me) that like to actually GIVE someone something - but still support a good cause.  Here are two of my favorite ways to do that ...

Chances are, you have heard of fair trade coffee.  The proceeds from the coffee go directly back to the bean farmers.  But what about chocolate and tea?  Nuts and berries?  Yes!!  You can buy them all fair trade!!  Here's how:

My favorite fair trade organization is Equal Exchange - I was connected to them through my church (the United Church of Christ works in partnership with Equal Exchange as they encourage their churches to eat and drink fair trade.

(This is ALL organic!!)

1 - Tea ($4-$5/box) - try Earl Grew, English Breakfast, Green Magic, Green, Irish Breakfast and Rooibos.
2 - Cocoa ($7.75/12 oz. canister) - take your pick of either hot cocoa or spicy hot cocoa.
3 - Coffee ($8-$9/bag) - I can taste the difference between good and bad coffee and this is definitely GOOD coffee - try Love Buzz, Breakfast Blend, French Roast, Colombian, French Vanilla, Hazelnut Creme and more!! (Decaf options available as well)
4 - Nuts & Berries ($5-$7/bag) - Cranberries, Almonds and Pecans
5 - Chocolate ($4/bar) - trust me when I say, "YUM."  Lots of different kinds, sizes and packaging.

Okay ... and now for one of my FAVORITE places to shop online - The Hunger Site.  I absolutely adore this site - the price is right, the products are unique, they are artisan made and the money goes back to the communities that produce the products.  If you aren't interested in buying anything, just check out the main page - there is a button to click and for every click their sponsors will donate food to communities in developing countries.  There are also additional tabs for Breast Cancer awareness, Child Health advocacy, Literacy development, Rainforest restoration and Animal Rescue programs.

Here are some of my favorites from the store:

1 - Nepali Sterling & Lapis Mandala Earrings ($21.95)
2 - Silvery Circles Bracelet ($16.95)
3 - Handmade Recycled Kimono Ring ($16.95)
4 - Square Spiral Sodalite Earrings ($18.95)
5 - Recycled Cotton Patchwork Clutch ($14.95)
6 - Open-Square Roman Glass & Sterling Necklace ($32.95)
7 - South African Handwoven Mohair Scarf ($24.00)

The cool thing about shopping at the Hunger Site is that every time you buy something the sponsors of the site will donate food to communities throughout the world.

I love that "alternative gift giving" doesn't just mean picking a charity and sending a check.  There are ways to give within your circle while still giving in a powerful way to those outside.

Let me know if you all have any traditions or ways of giving alternatively around the holidays.  I know several people (in real life and in the blog world) who work with local Ronald McDonald Houses.  My church also supports the Children's Rescue Mission (this is a Christian-based educational mission in Honduras - I have been blessed to be able to visit there twice so far) and the Fuller Center for Housing (similar to Habitat).  A few years ago my sister donated in our honor to St. Jude Children's Hospital.

It definitely doesn't take much to make a big difference!!

Happy (Smart) Shopping!!


Friday, December 18, 2009

Would You Like Paper With That?

When I got home last night I decided I would make grilled cheese and heat up some soup for dinner.  Dummy proof, right?  Bread, cheese, butter, frying pan.  Soup courtesy of the good folks at Campbells.

I went to cut the grilled cheese and something seemed weird.  It wasn't cutting.  Upon further inspection, I realized why ...

Yes, that's right - I forgot to remove the paper from the cheese.

Sigh ...

It's official.  I'm hopeless.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Piles of Files

I am not one of those people that goes to the mailbox every day, immediately gets rid of the junk, pays the bills the day they come in and then files everything appropriately.  I wish I was.  But - alas - I am not perfect.  I don't check the mail every day because - to be quite honest - it's pretty much junk and bills.  And I know when bills are due every month and I pay them online - so I don't really see the need to actual look at the paper copy.  And I check our bank accounts several times a week online - so I don't really see the need to look carefully at our monthly statements either.

This - by itself - would not be an issue.  But the fact that I am not one of those "open the mail and immediately file it" kind of people becomes an issue when my nights are consumed by schoolwork and I just kind of put things in piles and ignore them.  And those piles have a way of multiplying when I am in class and at the library.

How?  It's a mystery.

A mystery that takes over my desk.

(Oh and this picture was taken 15 minutes into the process and at that point I had moved two piles - at least four inches high each off of the empty spot next to me desk.)

Anyhow - I decided I would take a stab at some of these piles today ... I'm almost embarrassed to show you all these pictures (Mom, maybe you shouldn't look at these).

That green file in my lap was a "to be filed" file that I started ... in September.  When it got too full to put anything else in I just started the piles.  Oy.

I found my checking account statements from an account I closed in college!!  Why do I think I need this stuff?

Ideally, I would have gone through the files and tried to make sure they were in chronological order - but I've decided to play on this newfound "I'm not perfect" revelation and just get things and the right files and be done with it.

The good news is that I once again have a floor next to my desk.  There are still some miscellaneous files that I need to deal with, but they can wait until tomorrow ... or the day after.

I'm smiling because I found the title to my car.  And my health insurance card.  And Bruce's.  (Seriously, Mom, I hope you stopped reading.)

Does anybody else out there have a hard time keeping up with the mail and all of the filing (or shredding) that needs to happen as a result of the mail?  Any good tips?

Also - how long are you supposed to keep things?  I have every bank statement since I opened my checking account four years ago.  I feel like that is unnecessary.  What about utility bills?  In theory - everything is online so why do I need the hard copies of my Georgia Power bills from when I moved to Atlanta in August of 2007.

My birthday is in February.  I think I am going to ask for a heavy duty paper shredder.

Monday, December 14, 2009

I'm Not Perfect.

Last Sunday, I drove up to Charlotte, North Carolina for the two-day psychological assessment that is required before I can proceed with ordination. (If you remember from here, I had to fill out 40+ pages of questionnaires and three online inventories in preparation.)

I was nervous about this assessment.  Not because I am crazy or anything, but because I know that my mind has been in a million different places the past couple of weeks - and I did not want to seem distracted.  Granted, I know the ministry is full of distractions and the clinicians are really looking at my coping techniques - but it is hard to not feel like I am under the microscope right now.  Students In Care (in my denomination that is what they call persons who are actively seeking ordination) are very vulnerable.  It is hard to feel so strongly a personal Call towards ministry and yet still need to walk carefully through a path that has been laid down for you by the institutional structure of a mainline denomination.

Before I left, I ran into a UCC pastor who is serving a church not to far from where Bruce and I live.  She told me that most likely I wouldn't be surprised by what the clinicians told me.  And she was right.  The things that the two women (yes, mom - my clinicians were both women!!) told me were things that people have told me for years.  I am a perfectionist and people pleaser.  I shy away from conflict. (I'm tempted to say the two are connected.) I'm a story teller.  I have strong interests in a wide variety of things.  And I do not think that I would have it any other way ...

... but I am seeking to find a balance.

Seminary - along with the biblical studies, Christian history, systematic theology, ethics, world religions, church leadership and worship development - has taught me how to find that balance.

I moved to Atlanta with great expectations.  This was my first stab at adulthood and I knew I was going to get it right.  My apartment would always be clean and decorated.  I would always have dinner on the table and I would never let laundry pile up.  I would be able to flawlessly balance work and school.  I would have a 4.0.  I would know how to budget and manage our money in a way that - even with my in school - our savings account would always be growing.  I would have all of my ordination papers and forms submitted long before I was supposed to.  People would be impressed with just how well I had it together.

Well, guess what?  I'm not perfect.

Not even close.

My apartment - not for lack of trying - usually has a dish or two in the sink, a coat unhung and shoes strewn around (to put it lightly).  I rarely have time to cook and have had my fair share of disasters in the kitchen.  Laundry tends to pile up until one of my dresser drawers is empty.  I do NOT have a 4.0.  My desk is always piled high with papers and books.  Sometimes I run back and forth between school and work and realize midway that I am not being productive at either place.  Certain things that I need to complete for ordination took a backseat to last summer's wedding festivities.  I am terrible about returning phone calls in a timely manner.

There are days when Bruce picks me up from school and I am so exhausted; I just lay my head back and say nothing.

I'm not perfect.

But when I think about my life ... my wonderful husband, supportive family and awesome friends, the incredible seminary and inspiring congregation I attend, a fabulous network of bloggers that I have been able to connect to over the past year, my nixy little cat and an apartment that - even when it's cluttered - is MINE (well, mine and Bruce's) ... I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

Seminary has been one of the most challenging times in my life.  But I have so much to be thankful for.  SO much.  I have grown so much - as a person, as a Christian and as a leader.  I have learned how precious life is and how important it is to have perspective and to find balance.  Should I be watching Monday Night Football with my husband while my sink is full of dishes?  Probably not - but I'm currently doing it anyway.  The dishes will be there in the morning.  This moment - Bruce laughing at me screaming "c'mon man!!" as the Cardinals throw the ball away for the 19th time - won't.

Balance.  It's a beautiful thing.

Yes, I am a perfectionist.

No, I will never achieve perfection.

But for the first time in my life - I think I'm okay with that.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

If 1 year = paper, then 6 months = shongololos

I was cooking dinner tonight when I looked down and saw something creepy, crawly and wiggly scurry past my feet.

(Insert the sound of me shrieking a little bit, calling for Bruce and scrambling to pour the water out of my glass so I could turn it over and trap said creepy, crawly and wiggly thing.)

If I have not mentioned it on here before - I do NOT do bugs.  Ask my parents and my college roommates.

Anyway, so Bruce comes into the kitchen and we have the following conversation:
Me:  I trapped it under that glass for you.
Bruce:  Aww, it's a millipede!! (As though I should have expected a millipede to be crawling around my kitchen)
Me:  What is it doing in my kitchen?
Bruce:  They crawl up through the pipes.

Am I the only one who is horrified by this tidbit of information?

6 months ago I said "I do."  

Thanks for always being there to get rid of creepy, crawly and wiggly things for me!!
I love you!!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Stick a Fork In Me

I'm done!!

As of 2:15 yesterday afternoon, I am officially DONE with the Fall 2009 semester!!  My Nonviolent Strategies for Social Change class had presentations from 2:00 to 5:00 and I asked my professor if I could go first - I figured if I got mine out of the way I would be able to pay better attention to everyone else's presentations.  They all ended up going long, but I didn't care ... I'M DONE!!!!! (Now it's just waiting [im]patiently for my grades to post, ha!!)

Bruce and I celebrated by having a sophisticated and oh-so-adult night out ... at Dave & Busters, haha.  Bruce had never been to one!!  I couldn't believe that.  So we had dinner and then played in the arcade for close to two hours.  Some times you just need to be a kid again.

Today has been a whole lot of NOTHING.  I had a rehearsal at the church at 11 and I stopped by Target on my way home to browse their selection of Christmas movies.  I ended up buying the Polar Express, but did not realize until I got home that I had bought the 3D version!!  Luckily there are two discs, so after we tried on the glasses and watched five minutes of the 3D version just to see what it was like, we put in the widescreen and while we watched Bruce made dinner and I made some changes on my blog!!  What do you think?  I wanted a warmer, winter feel.  I  chose purple because it's the liturgical color for Advent and oh myyyy I love Advent!!

That's basically it.  Eventually I will start to be productive, go through some stuff, clean out my desk, get to work on my ordination papers, etc.  But for the time being am content to sit by a roaring fire and revel in my lack of school work!!


p.s. My finger is starting to heal from my scooter accident!!  Last night I looked down and started to see my knuckle for the first time in two days and it's starting to bend more freely.  So while a huuuuuuge bruise has emerged on my left leg, I think I am on the mend.  Thanks for all the kind thoughts!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Southern Winters

My father e-mailed me a couple of pictures of their house earlier in the week ... I have to admit, I was a little (okay, a lot) jealous at what I saw ...

Snow covered house + Bare mountains in the background = Perfect New England winter view


For some reason I have a feeling they won't be swimming in the pool anytime soon ...

Needless to say, I just can't get used to these southern winters!!  I am ready for snow, snow days, warm clothes to bundle up in and the view of the moonlight bouncing off of the snow covered ground.

In the meantime I will live vicariously through the photos my parents (and any of my other northern friends and family, hint, hint) send me!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


I am going to start off this post by saying that I am FINE.

However ...

(I know, 'uh-oh', right?)

... as I was pulling into my apartment complex this afternoon, I notice that there were a couple of piles of gravel on my side of the entrance.  I remember thinking to myself, "you need to steer the scooter around them," but before I could finish that thought, my front wheel hit the gravel, the scooter slid out from under me, I hit the ground and then the scooter landed on me.

Let me reiterate.  I am FINE. :)

My pride is pretty wounded.  I've been zipping around on that scooter for over a year and have always been really REALLY safe.  I know how to keep an eye out for metal grates in the ground, potholes and other such potentially bad-for-a-two-wheeled-vehicle obstructions.

But apparently the pile of gravel was bigger than I thought it was.  Argh.  I landed on my hip/shoulder, so I'm definitely going to be bruised tomorrow, have cuts on my right hand and right knee (and yes, in order to get a very large cut on your knee, your FAVORITE OLD NAVY JEANS need to rip in the process, I'm in mourning) and I believe I jam/sprained/hoping-I-didn't-break my right pinky finger.  It's swelling and bruising, but I can still sort of bend it - so that's why I'm guessing it's not broken.

I am SO grateful there was no one behind me.  I can't imagine what would have happened if I had hit the ground and someone behind me couldn't have stopped.

The scooter is currently not drivable.  Bruce is going to take it to the shop later this week to have the steering checked and something else that he thinks busted.  I'm not really sure I want to ride in for awhile, actually - so he can take his sweet time to get it fixed.

I really just want to curl up on a heating pad but I have a 10-12 page paper due tomorrow that I'm trying to push through at the moment.  Typing without all ten fingers is a lot more complicated than I thought it would be!!  Luckily my research is almost done (I might need to tweak some stuff at the end) so it's really just a matter of organizing it into the paper.  AND it's not due until 5 p.m. tomorrow so I have all day and I will probably use most of it!!

So - bottom line.  I currently don't like gravel, currently DO like vehicles with four wheels and am mourning the loss of a pair of jeans that fit like a glove and cost $5 on clearance.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Blind Side and More Pictures!!

I have two things that I need to tell you guys tonight ... 

First of all, if you have yet to see The Blind Side, you NEED to go see it.  But bring tissues, because you will most certainly need them.

Second ... Seriously - Y'all are so sweet!!  Thanks for all of the wonderful comments about my tree.  I LOVE it - and for all of you who have a small apartment, you can ABSOLUTELY haul in a big 'ole tree and admire it for all it is worth.  At the end of a long day, you can pour a glass of wine, turn on some calming music, lay on the couch and just let yourself be drawn in to the sheer beauty that is a perfectly-for-you decorated tree.  Here are some more pictures ...

If you need a mental yardstick, our TV is 32" - yes, that is a BIG tree.

Our windows/fireplace - Bruce did that, didn't he do a good job?

The gold stockings actually match the tree skirt ... and the stocking in the middle is Lilly's!! (her stocking is usually the most full)

Bruce took the bottom branches of the tree that he had to cut off of the bottom in order to get the tree stand on and strung it together to make garland.

Our little "village" - we got these pieces (church on the left and train station on the right) 2 for $3 at CVS on Thanksgiving day - you would never know!!

Bruce hung this garland over the window next to my desk.  It looks nicer when he uses a hammer and nails to hang it than when I try to use thumbtacks ...

(Also - the pictures that are hanging are of my undergrad!!  Isn't it beautiful?)

The door to our apartment.  We actually leave the "Peace" sign up year round - our eternal hope that one day there will be shalom in the world.

Thanks for visiting!!  I wish I could have everyone over for a Christmas party!!
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