Saturday, December 11, 2010

Catching up...

Well I have pretty much sucked at blogging lately :) so here is a glimpse of my life over the past month or so...

Work, work and more work...back in October, provincial government departments were asked to come up with scenarios on how they could reduce spending by 5% and 10%.  At the moment, I am acting budget manager for my department, so my director and I have been working with the senior executive team to gather, review and compile the divisional submissions into various spreadsheet and power point templates provided by Treasury Board.  Super tight deadlines meant lots of extra hours.  Which was fine, I really don't mind spikes in workload (in fact I thrive more under pressure than in the midst of routine.)  Except in this case it impacted my ability to do my best on...

The provincial United Way campaign...a few months ago, I agreed to be the Account Executive for my department during the annual fundraising campaign for the United Way (NS government's charity of choice.)  Of course that was before the aforementioned budget reduction scene arose, and in the end I wasn't able to put as much time and energy into the campaign as I would have liked.  But I am delighted to report that we reached 90% of our goal anyway - $28,000 - woohoo!!  Several of us also participated in the United Way's Day of Caring - we painted Our Thyme Cafe, a social enterprise initiative of the Elizabeth Frye Society.  I am grateful for all the wonderful people who gave of their time, talent and treasure to make our campaign a success!

(Photo from last July..didn't get one in Nov)
Flashback to last spring...many moons ago Valerie had asked if I wanted to lead worship on Nov 21 because she was going to be away guest preaching at another church's anniversary service.  Both terrified and excited by the idea, I agreed.  I subsequently agreed to lead worship in July as well, as some of you may remember.  But this was all still very new to me, plus was the first time I was doing two services back to back, so I had many moments of feeling overwhelmed through the planning stages, and felt rather stressed during the week leading up to the 21st.  I had lots of fragments in mind, but didn't write my sermon down until the Friday beforehand (partly because I excel at procrastination and my creative juices flow best with a deadline looming, and partly because I knew if I wrote it too far in advance, I would second guess myself and waste a lot of time and energy on endless unnecessary rewrites!)  Sunday came and I headed out the door with a few butterflies in my stomach.  I arrived at Wellington (the first of the two services), got myself organized, chatted with the organist and other choir members until close to 9:30...then I took a deep breath, opened myself to the Spirit and away I went.  The service was wonderful (if I do say so myself), but I didn't have much chance to reflect on it right away since I had to zip right along to St. John's for the second service at 11:00.  I offered a silent heartfelt prayer and again put my trust in the Spirit as I preached and prayed and sang with joy.  I was also uplifted by the presence of family and friends who came to share this with me.  What an awesome experience!  I feel more strongly than ever that ordained ministry is the path on which I can truly be all that God is calling me to be.

I got to revel in the glow of that deeply spiritual and profoundly uplifting experience for one day...the very next evening, we were in a multi-vehicle car accident on the highway.  The roads were icy, a car in front of us lost control and spun out.  We couldn't quite get stopped on the ice and struck it lightly (no real damage to either vehicle at this point).  But we before we could move off to the shoulder, a minivan hit the front passenger side of our car, and then a light truck slammed into the rear passenger side of our car...which collisions drove us down into the ditch, where we came to a halt, shaken but not broken.  Well at least WE were not broken...the car was damaged to the extent that the insurance company wrote it off.  (Hard to tell in the photo, but the front wheel is bent in, the door is buckled so much it won't open, etc.)  But, although we all have whiplash and assorted aches, pains, bruises and nightmares, we are all essentially ok and for that I am very thankful!  It took our insurance company two days to return our phone calls (good service there, eh?) but eventually the ball was rolling, and we got a rental car.

The Friday night after the accident, Valerie and I went out for dinner and then to see Mamma Mia - great show, especially since we had free tickets.  The performance was a little lacking in energy, but there were some powerhouse vocals...and hey, it was Mamma Mia so it was lots of fun!!  I stayed at Val's for the night...which seemed like a good idea at the time.  Until the next morning when we were sitting in her living room having coffee and the woman across the street backed into the rental car which was parked in front of Val's house.  Ugh.  I took the car back to the rental company, who switched me to another car and said they would take care of everything, including follow up with the third party.  However, today we got a repair bill in the mail from them with no mention of having followed up with the third party.  Double ugh.  So we still have that to sort out, fortunately I kept a copy of the woman's info when I gave it to the rental company.

We had quite a time finding a replacement car for a reasonable price.  Especially since I had to use part of the insurance money to payout the balance of the loan on the smashed up Vibe and we don't want car payments when I go back to school next September (assuming my discernment process doesn't lead me off in another unexpected direction, that is.)  But after searching and viewing and searching some more...I came across an ad for a 2009 Suzuki with about 43000 kms on it for price that was in our ball park.  We took it for a test drive, the salesman dropped the price without our even having to haggle, so we signed the papers and are now the proud owners of a shiny new (to us) Suzuki SX4!!

And one more item to bring things up to date - last Tuesday I had my third meeting with my Discernment Committee.  Outline from the Handbook:

Meeting 3: Ministry and Call

The focus of this meeting is understanding what ministry means to each person and how each person is called to use his or her God-given gifts to fulfill God’s mission for the world. Refer to "Considering Call and Vocation" on pages 6–7. Some topics and questions to guide the meeting are:
• Discuss your understanding of the call to ministry for the whole people of God.
• Discuss what you understand God is calling you to be and do.
• Discuss how you know and discern God’s call.
• What is the difference between each person’s call to discipleship and service and a call to be ministry personnel in the church?
• What are the challenges of fulfilling God’s call to a specific leadership role in the church?
The section on Considering Call and Vocation refers to Four Elements of Call:
• The call to be a Christian
• The call from God to a specific leadership role
• The outward or provincial call
• The call of gifts:
- Deep spiritual life
- Integrity of self
- Understanding of human behaviour
- Scholarship
- Commitment to and longing for justice
- Capacity for critical reflection
- Capacity to be a lifelong learner
- Appreciation of administration
In addition to the above gifts, the potential to develop certain skills is important. Leadership in ministry requires the ability to develop skills in preaching, counselling, outreach, education, leadership, administration, and group dynamics.
I can't really talk about the discussion itself, since it is meant to be kept confidential, but I can say it was a bit grueling because I was drained from the accident and therefore struggled to articulate my thoughts.  Not to mention that I feel very self conscious in these kinds of under the magnifying glass type situations at the best of times!  But I think it went fairly well nonetheless.  Next meeting is in early January.

And I believe that about covers all my news to date.  Lots of choir practicing lately, since I am singing with both church choirs on Christmas Eve, including one song in which I am singing the solo part.  It's a song called Light of the Stable. Here's a version I found on youtube with a montage of paintings. I notice the image at the 0:13 point in the video is The Adoration of the Shepherds by Ghirlandaio, which is in the Sassetti Chapel of Santa I want to go see it again in person...sighs of longing to be in Florence! :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Singing thanks for my sister!

Inspired by Barb's recent post celebrating her is a celebration of my sister!

"Sweet, crazy conversations full of half sentences, daydreams and misunderstandings more thrilling than understanding could ever be."
- Toni Morrison, Beloved

My sister Lynn knows me inside and out...she has seen me at my best, at my worst, and everything in between!  She is one of the rocks of my foundation and I know - with absolute certainty - that she loves me no matter what.  We are very different and don't always fully 'get' each other's passions.  She is fact and science and I am faith and religion.  But we also have much in common, including a lifetime of shared memories and experience, and a history of being there for each other through thick and thin.  I often find myself thinking "I must share this with Lynn", and without hesitation I pick up the phone to relay a silly experience I know will tickle her funnybone the same way it did mine, or when something has ruffled my feathers and I am in need of her ear to listen to me vent.  Yes, of course sometimes we fight, as do all sisters, but it doesn't pull us apart or have a lasting effect on our relationship.  So I sing thanks for my amazing sister, for her strengthening, uplifting, challenging, comforting and oh-so-familiar blessed presence in my life...

"There were once two sisters
who were not afraid of the dark
because the dark was full of the other's voice
across the room,
because even when the night was thick
and starless
they walked home together from the river
seeing who could last the longest
without turning on her flashlight,
not afraid
because sometimes in the pitch of night
they'd lie on their backs
in the middle of the path
and look up until the stars came back
and when they did,
they'd reach their arms up to touch them
and did."
- Jandy Nelson, The Sky is Everywhere

I end with The End from the Beatles' Abbey Road album...growing up, Lynn and I spent many an hour with this album...singing at the top of our lungs with glee and gusto to the medley of songs like Polythene Pam, Mean Mr. Mustard and She Came in Through the Bathroom Window...and trying (always unsuccessfully) to predict the jarringly abrupt ending to I Want You.

"and in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make"

I love you, my sister.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...