Sunday, July 18, 2010

My bags are packed. I'm ready to go.

... I'm leaving on a jet plane.

I am taking a minute before Garrett drives me to the airport to explain what I'm doing.

First and foremost, I am visiting friends. My dear friend, Vici, and her (then) fiancé, Hauke, came to the U.S. for our wedding. It was great to see them and catch up, but I could not go to their wedding because I was on my cross-cultural trip for MTSO. Well, since they came two years ago, they have gotten married and had a baby! I am so excited to see Vici and Hauke again and to meet Mathilda! I am taking her some great books. I hope that Vici and Hauke read to her all throughout her childhood.

I will then be headed to Berlin for the Global Youth and Young Adults Convocation and Legislative Assembly. I am excited for this second gathering to see the people I met in Jo-burg and to meet even more wonderful and committed United Methodists.

After convo, the Division on Ministries with Young People will hold their yearly division meeting in Woltersdorf. That will close out my trip before I return to the U.S. on July 30.

I will (hopefully... barring any unforeseen circumstances) be blogging throughout my trip. I will be doing this not only to chronicle my travels, but also to keep folks in the U.S. posted, as stipulated in my Student Enrichment Grant from MTSO. I would also like to thank that Capitol Area North District and The Revs. Phillip and Gloria Brooks for the funding for this wonderful opportunity. I am still not 100% funded for the trip, but I am praying that it all works out.

I should also thank my husband, who stays behind to work, tend the house, and care for the Lola-dog while I'm away. I am so blessed to have a husband who supports me this and all of my other journeys. I can't wait for the day when he and I actually get to board a plane together, as that has not happened since our honeymoon.

So, it is off to Hamburg I go (by way of Philadelphia and Dublin). I should arrive around 9am Monday, Ohio time.

Friday, July 9, 2010

100 Words or Less

I have really enjoyed the class I am currently taking on Narrative Preaching. My professor is Sondra Willobee, and she has thoughtfully and prayerfully led me and my classmates through the first two weeks of class. Our assignment last night was to write our "testimonies" (that word makes me shudder) in 100 words or less.

Here is mine...

At all times in my life I felt completely surrounded by love and upheld by faith in Jesus Christ… all but one. My faith had never been tested more than the typical tough question, until the day when I felt that capability to love taken from me. I never denied God’s presence, but certainly did not trust in the promises which, until then, I had staked my life upon. Steadily lead by a human who taught me how to trust again, I heard the voice of God say, “Regardless of the circumstance, always do the loving thing.”

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Childhood Story

I have gotten some good feedback from my last story... here is a lighter one. It was written for the same class, but this story prompt was simply, "Share a 1-2 minute story from your childhood."

It was an afternoon like many before it. I ran around the back yard, chasing my older brother. I was determined to keep up with him and his friends, 3 years my senior. As the grass stuck to my bare feet, I ran laps around the house, turning corners quickly, only narrowly avoiding the peonies. Like many times before, I found myself drenched by the iron saturated water of the family garden hose as my brother or one of his friends tried to deter my need for attention. Giggling like the schoolgirl I was, I took my brother’s torture in stride. As I continued to gasp for breath and run, I turned the same corner I had turned time and time again. As my feet crossed the narrow sidewalk, I heard my brother calling out to me.

I skidded to a halt.

My brother was calling out to me? His little, gap toothed, four eyed sister? I felt myself swell with importance. He said to me, “Anna, something is wrong with the hose. I can’t get it to work!” Oh how the tides had turned! My brother needed me to help him with the hose! Feeling like the queen of South Sandusky, I took the cool end of the hose in my hand. As my brother ran for the spigot, I hollered at him, “Turn it off and then turn it on again! I’ll look to see what’s wrong.” As the sun beat down on my already sunburned shoulders, I heard my brother yell back, “Ok! It’s off! I’m gonna turn it back on.”

As I stood there in the backyard, the cold end of the hose pressed against my right eye, I peered down the dark tunnel of the hose and drew in a breath.


Suddenly, I felt a stinging in my right eye, and as I crumbed down into the grass, I heard the laughter of three young boys that stung me more than the water in my eye. My brother had kinked the hose, but he never expected his gullible little sister to press the hose directly to her eye.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Oh Dear Blog

Oh my dear blog... I have fallen into the life of "people who are too busy to post." I hope to break that mold through the rest of the summer.

For now, please enjoy a post that comes from the class I am currently taking... the assignment was "
Write a 2-3 minute true story about something that happened to someone else. Be sure to include people, place, objects, and actions."

Our professor has taught us that if we are going to preach from personal experience, we need to be detached enough from our own life experiences that we can tell the story without fear that the congregation will want care for you. That disturbed me a little bit, but this is my attempt at a personal story with a bit of detachment.


She never thought a love like this would find her. She didn’t even want a dog, but after her unexpected hospitalization caused her to miss chaperoning her son’s much anticipated first grade trip to the zoo, the guilt that tow-headed child inadvertently made her feel caused her to utter the infamous words, “I guess we can go to the humane society and look around.”

They both fell in love that day; he with the white tip of Lee’s black tail, and she with the look on his face. In the beginning, he and Lee were inseparable. Lee followed him around the backyard and cuddled with him in his bed. As time went on, his legs grew longer, carrying him away and Lee’s grew more gray. She found herself caring for Lee. It was she who stood on the blustery back porch waiting for Lee to do her business. It was she who filled the stainless steel water dish.

The caring was not one sided, however. Lee listened for her car to roll up the driveway. It was only when she walked through the door that Lee’s tail beat against the bars of the cage. It was her bed which was covered in short black and gray hair. Lee grew older with her. As her disease began to slow her down, it was Lee who would lay next to her for hours, finding a way to keep the cold, wet, dog nose behind her knees or under her hand… anything to let her know that she was not alone.

Though she had many friends, Lee was the best. It was Lee who spent the long and tired nights with her when her husband was gone increasingly more for work. It was Lee who patrolled the empty rooms of her children who had grown and left the house. And it was Lee who was left alone in the house as her disease sent her to the hospital one final time.

As her family returned to the house, it was as though Lee needed no explanation. Lee guarded her spot on the tattered brown couch, wimpering as if to say, “I know she’s not coming back.” As he pet the head of the dog he knew had not been his, he felt as though Lee’s heart was breaking as much as his. The woman he had truly loved, his mother, was gone.

As he moved his hand off of Lee's head, Lee nudged the cold, wet, dog nose under his hand, and he no longer felt alone. He felt the love of his mother through the warmth of the dog that was now his once again.