cairns me home

being still in God's big world

Category: 2009

Woooo PIG SOOIE!

No, I’m not actually calling the Hogs (love ya Razerbacks, but for serious) I am actually on quarantine until Sunday with the much advertised swine flu. Monday and Tuesday are primarily a blur. My fever was very high and I spent most of my days sleeping. But now that I am starting to feel better I am struggling to remind myself to rest. I haven’t cracked a book in almost a week due to diomass convention followed by getting sick. It will be key to balance my recovery and my work so I don’t get more sick.

Diocese convention was actually pretty fun! (Who would have thunk it, right!?!?) It was nice to see the camaraderie amongst the clergy and lay leaders of the church and the respect in dealing with difficult issues. Bishop Bud wrote a song to commemorate Bishop Tom’s 15th anniversary as bishop of Massachusetts… ‘Sweet Bishop Tom’ to the tune of Sweet Caroline. It was very cute and Bishop Tom was clearly moved. There are some awesome people in my diocese and I am proud to be sponsored by the Diocese of Massachusetts. I was so happy to get to see some of my St. Paul’s and Crossing people. We were very busy so there wasn’t a lot of time, but it was good nonetheless. I also got to see my family for a few hours. My dad came to stay at my grandparents house with me for the night. My sister stopped by with my nieces on Sunday before I headed to the airport. It was a whirlwind, but it was nice to┬ábe home.

I am preparing to register for sping semester classes and it is pointing out how close we are getting to December! It is time to put my head down and plow forward!

Holy Church History, Batman!

Hooray for finals! Well, maybe not, but if you stay positive it all comes out in the wash. I have Church History 0-800CE final on Monday and Greek on Wednesday. I will be spending these next 4 days doing a lot of flash cards. But I was good today. I still went to the gym for an hour and a half and I stopped studying by 9PM because I knew nothing more could get absorbed.

It is hard to believe it is almost November! This month has flown by! I have been playing on our school softball team. We have a season ending record of 1:9. Yes, that is right, we are terrible. But I got 3 RBIs in our one winning game so I am going to sing about that for the rest of my life.

I have started working in the Dean’s Office to supplement my 3 hrs/wk in the gym. So now I am “gainfully” employed 7 hours a week. I must admit, it is humbling to go back to dormitory living and work-study wages. If this doesn’t help me in young adult ministries, I don’t know what will!

Our convocation lectures were a couple of weeks ago and they were stellar. Dr. Lisa Kimball spoke about raising and forming Christian children in a pluralistic society. She was amazing. I am so passionate about youth faith formation and her talk really lit the fire again. While I am so proud that the Episcopal Church is working so hard to welcome all people, we are doing a poor job -as a body- forming our children and youth in the faith. If we do not raise children with a language for their faith then we cannot expect them to continue with it once they are out on their own. This is why we see so few young adults in our churches. We must do a better job of teaching our children about God and faith and that means we need to educate ourselves. In many instances, young parents return to church because they want to carry on the tradition in which they were raised, but they still do not have the language to support their own faith decisions. I really feel like this is the area where I feel called, and I hope God is able to help make clear how to best employ my gifts to help our church.

(steps off of soap box *wink* )

Anyway, I am doing well. Adjusting has been a challenge, but as my lovely sister pointed out, I always have a hard time adjusting to new situations. Patience is the name of the game. Positive steps: I have re-established my workout routine and because of this am making better decisions in the cafeteria, I am forcing myself to mix fun in with the work, I have plans to get away during our fall break, and I am starting to try on spiritual disciplines that are feeding my soul.

Prayers: If I could ask for one prayer it would be that the Spirit will guide me towards finding parishes at which I see potential for doing field placements next year. Thus far I have not felt called to any of the parishes I have visited. I have seen how my gifts could help them, but I have not found someplace that will address my specific learning needs.

Much Love,
Audrey

Be Still and Know

We had a quiet day last week and was it ever needed. I went into quiet day fully intending to use the day as a chance to quietly catch up on all of the reading I was behind on. I intended to use the time to decrease my stress level so that I would be able to take sabbath sometime in the near future. I intended a lot of things, but what actually happened was all God.
I went to the morning Eucharist followed by an opening meditation on finding calm in an age of anxiety. For the life of me I cannot tell you what Dr. Grieb preached that morning… my notes are buried somewhere on the pile of work on my desk -or floor, or bookshelf- what I can tell you is that in that moment the Spirit ruffled Her wings inside of me in such a way that I knew no school work was going to get done…. soul work was to get done.

I went back to my room and I slept for 3 hours… I haven’t slept well since I arrived here. I awoke refreshed and went down to the cemetery with my sketch book and spent the rest of the afternoon drawing. We closed quiet day with a meditation focusing on finding calm in an age of chaos. I spent the rest of the day organizing my space and breathing deeply.

I have found that it is really easy to get caught up in the cyclone and that forcing myself to take sabbath will be huge. Living on campus means that I literally live at work. I am taking steps to make delineations between work and play and to make space for both. These are important lessons for the ministry.

I started with my new spiritual director yesterday and I can tell that she is going to kick my butt in a good and helpful way. And tomorrow I was going to do work, but I have since been invited on a hike… so I guess my paper will have to wait.

In Him,
Audrey

PS the picture above is from the national cathedral. I took my dad there when he drove down to visit a couple of weeks ago.

Theology and congegating verbs and field ed, oh my!

It has been a while since I posted so I think I need to get better at this. My goal going forward will be to post at least twice a month. I hope y’all will follow along, and keep me honest if I slack!

August term went by in a blur. We had 3 hours of language a day, followed by 1-2 hours of “Reading the Word” (a class about reading the Bible aloud in a worship setting), and that was sandwiched by numerous orientation activities. It was exhausting and exciting. The reality that I am a student again sank in with a crash and I have had to relearn study skills and find ways to structure my time when I have more things to do than any one person can hope to accomplish. I balanced all of the work with the opportunity to connect with friends -new and old. One of my closest college friends lives in the district so we have gotten together and the people who have started at VTS this year are a stellar group! There are musicians and medical workers and missionaries and mothers and all other imaginable groups. I have met people from around the country and around the globe. (My second week on campus Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu was a guest in DC and stayed on campus in the building next to mine. I met his daughter and grand-daughter.)

One very cool DC thing I got to do was welcome Teddy Kennedy’s funeral procession to Arlington National Cemetery when it arrived. I live only a few minutes from there and it seemed fitting. it was an incredible experience! I have also visited some very neat parishes so far as I start to dream about doing my field work next year.

Additionally, I have gotten to see my family and friends. During Labor Day weekend I had the opportunity to drive down to Sewanee to surprise my boyfriend. The 10 hour drive is much more manageable than the 20 hour drive it was from Boston! Then, last weekend, my father came down to VTS from Maine to bring me some things that didn’t fit in my car and to see the campus. We got to visit the National Cathedral together and go on a tour. It was his first trip to the cathedral and I feel so privileged that I got to be there with him.

Classes officially started for fall term last week. I am taking Church History, Re-Visioning Parish Ministry, Systematic Theology: Faith in the Triune God, Greek, New Testament, and The Practice of Forgiveness and Reconciliation. If that sounds like a lot… it is:-) I am a week into classes, yet I already feel as though I am a month behind in my homework! This weekend the Red Sox are in town and I was supposed to go to two games in Baltimore, but I think I am only going to go to one because homework must rule the day. It is a sad truth when homework beats out the boys of summer!

I am very homesick, but I am resting sure in the knowledge that I am exactly where God wants me to be. God called me to ministry and in order to become the priest God is calling me to be I must learn the lessons of those who have come before. I am so grateful for my supportive families: my church families, my youth group family, my chosen family, and my biological family for helping me to march forward, into the light of Christ, so that I may grown into the women God created me to be.

Peace and grace be with you this day and keep you safe as a new school year begins.

Love,
Audrey

It’s all greek to me…

So, as many of you know, I left my job on May 15th seemingly to sit on the beach sipping lemonade and popping bonbons. Alas, that rosy picture is not what life has looked like for me! Since May, I have moved back home to Maine spent a week in DC at a conference, a week in Louisiana on mission, and a week in Seattle. I am now home for 3 weeks before embarking on 3 years of training and preparation. My goal is to finish unpacking and sorting through my things by next week so that I can truly relax for a few days!

Classes start on August 13th with a 3 week language intensive and a class on reading the word prayerfully and aloud. I have chosen Greek for my language this year. Thus far I can recite the alphabet (thanks to several of my youth groupers helping me on the mission trip!) but I still must learn the symbols and sounds. I consider this a beach task for the next few weeks.

I will be moving to Virginia on August 9th to live in the dorms. (Hence all of the unpacking and sorting that I am doing now!) I am excited about the opportunity to live in community with my peers. I appreciate any prayers you can send in my direction in these next few weeks. Learning how to live simply and as a student again are challenges I am striving to meet.

I will update this blog during the next 3 years in seminary. I invite you to keep in touch and to journey along with me.

Peace,
Audrey

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