Tuesday, April 27, 2010

spring retreat

A couple of weeks ago we went on our YAV spring retreat. We packed up the mini-van and ventured out into the middle of nowhere Mississippi for a weekend of discerning, relaxing, playing, and of course eating.

I had a blast hanging out with my fellow YAVs--boating, hiking, biking, swimming, pool, and lots of laughing!

The discernment part of the weekend was really helpful. I didn't have any huge revelations about life and I certainly didn't come to any clear conclusions about what to do next. I did learn a lot about my work preferences and skills and how those correlate with my personality type.

Janet, a career counselor/spiritual director from Nashville joined us for our weekend. She offered a lot of valuable resources to us. On of the tests we took was the Strong Interest Inventory. My top five interests (according to the test) are: education, helping and counseling, religion and spirituality, politics and public speaking, and medicine. I would say it was pretty much spot on! According to the test I am not called to be an accountant. I already knew that.

It was a great weekend and I was reminded, once again, how great our God is!

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Back in March, I was visiting a teenage boy in the hospital and I asked him if he had been watching the basketball tournament on tv. He responded, "Next time someone asks me that question, I am going to shove a basketball in their face." Apparently he is not a basketball fan. I laughed (on the inside) and changed the subject.

These days I can relate to my teenage friend. The question everyone asks is, "what is next for you?" The problem with this question is that I don't know the answer and thinking about it stresses me out!

Psalm 119 says "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." Earlier this year I -prayed that this light would be a little brighter--that my path would be illumined and I would be able to discern God's will for my life. What was I thinking?!? God has certainly illumined my path--with a flood light.

I have a lot of exciting possibilities for next year. They all include seminary in some capacity and they all have pros and cons. I am certain that no matter what I choose I will be following God's call. I suppose having too many options is better than having no options...but I still feel overwhelmed when I think about "what is next?"

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sorry to my devoted readers (aka my mom) for my leave of absence. I have not been too busy to blog--just unmotivated. To make up for it I am going to blog about my feelings...a rare occurrence =)

The past few weeks have been full of things worthy of a blog: lent, holy week, Easter, a trip to the beach, acceptance letters to schools, job interviews, food adventures, running woes, a visit from from my parents, work! So many wonderful, joyful things in my life--but I have not felt very joyful. I have been feeling tired. Tired of being broke, tired of discerning, tired of living in community, tired of everything! I know God was present, even in this time, but I wasn't feeling or experiencing God.

Yesterday afternoon I went for a run. After the run I felt energized. Today I still feel that energy and I am confident it will be with me in the morning (after my coffee). I am feeling God's presence and experiencing joy in God.

We all have storms and deserts in our lives. We often look back on them, learn from them and can see how God was working in our lives. But sometimes there seems to be no explanations, no lessons to be learned.

At the end of a Maundy Thursday service the Christ candle is often extinguished and then lit again because we know that the Crucifixion is not the end of the story. We know that Easter is coming. It is this same story, this same hope that allows us to get through these difficult times! We know our stories don't end in those storms and deserts because we have faith and hope in Christ.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Story of Bottled Water

I few months ago I came across a Local Food Sunday School Curriculum published by a website called The Thoughtful Christian.

At the time I was struggling to make any commitment to changing my lifestyle because it felt overwhelming and in some ways hypocritical. The beginning of the curriculum addressed this issue and was very meaningful to me so I thought I would share.

"The complexity of these issues often feels overwhelming, and sometimes we are tempted to throw up our hands in despair and defeat. The problems are so big, so many so multifaceted. What is one person or one family to do in the face of such a massive and often opaque system?

Thanks be to God, there are many practical things we can do to attend to the sources of our food...it is important to acknowledge the sense of being overwhelmed. For the truth is we are enmeshed within the current system of food production, and we will almost inevitably be complicit in that system, no matter how much we want not to be. As Christians, then, it seems to me our first response, before we do anything, should be one of repentance, an acknowledgement that we have erred, that we will continue to err, and that we desperately need God's mercy. Only after confessing out complicity in the destructive systems by which we procure our food and receiving the assurance of pardon God offers us can we take action that flows not from debilitating guilt but from liberating grace."

I am not sure why the website I posted yesterday isn't linking. Here is the video:

The Story of Bottled Water

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Monday, March 22, 2010

One down, three to go

Week one of the 100 mile diet is complete! I can't say it has been easy and I can't say that I have done a great job of sticking to it. Just ask the boys that I live with--they have been watching me like a hawk! Overall I did well but sometimes I just needed a snack and I certainly am not about to turn down free food--even if it isn't local! So yes, I cheated. But being strict about the diet or depriving myself of food that I have a craving for is not what this is about. It is about being intentional about the food I buy and consume. It is about being aware of where my food comes from and how it tastes. It is about connecting with the local community and land.

The worst part of the diet is the cost. It is sad for two reasons. The first is that I ripped a hole in my favorite jeans and I can't afford to replace them this month because I am buying fresh fish. The second (and more important) reason is that fresh, sustainable, high quality food should not be a luxury. We need a food system that provides fresh, sustainable, high quality food to everyone--rich or poor.

In other news...

Today is World Water Day. An article in the Huffington Post states that "Nearly a billion people -- one-sixth of the world's population -- have no access to safe drinking water, 2.6 billion people lack adequate sanitation, and more than 3 million people die from water-related diseases each year. Forty-six percent of people on Earth do not have water piped to their homes, and much of the burden of collecting water falls to women -- women in developing countries walk an average of 3.7 miles to get water."

A billion people with no access to safe drinking water!?! I know I use more than my share of water and I admit that I am guilty of having bought a plastic bottle of water. Something else I suppose I should add to my list of things to be aware of and intentional about...ugh. A new article and video by Annie Leonard explores the ridiculous industry of bottled water. It is here if you are interested:


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

trying to be a good steward

Last week I decided that I needed a new hobby. Running was fun but my body (my foot in particular) needs some time to recover. After much deliberation I choose eating to be my new hobby. More specifically I decided to try (for one month) a 100 mile diet. I figure I can replace the time I spent running with grocery shopping, cooking, and eating!

I went o the farmers market this weekend and officially started the diet on Monday. I had Louisiana strawberries for breakfast and for dinner made egg salad (with local spicy mayo). For lunch I went out to eat. Obviously going out for lunch does not fit into the diet but I had previously decided on two "cheats." One is coffee. I am simply not ready to give up my caffeine addiction. The second "cheat" is shared meals. I often meet with my mentor or a colleague over a meal and every Sunday my house has family dinner. This community element is too important to me to give up for even a month. Many "locavore" blogs talk about a 100 mile diet by the percentage of local foods consumed. I would guess about 80 to 90 percent of my diet the next month will be local.

Not only does this give me something to put time and energy into while my foot heals, it supports local economy and reduces my carbon foot print on the earth. The following animation is the best things I have found to explain the problems with out current food system. It is a little long and the animation is not stellar but the information is clear and concise. If you don't know much about the dangers of our food system I would recommend it!
(I deleted the video because I got tired of hearing the music every time I visit my blog...google "true cost of food" and you will find it)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Thanks to everyone who has supported me in my marathon endeavor the past several months. A special thanks to those in New Orleans that came out and cheered for me on the course--it made a huge difference! At the end of this long (and painful) journey, I have raised $2144 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and finished 26.2 miles in 5:27:39. Hopefully I will be able to walk again soon =)