Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Good to know!

Maybe my Hebrew Bible professor will read this and give me an A.
You know the Bible 100%!
 

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes

Monday, January 29, 2007

The old title is back

So, I couldn't come up with anything better for my blog title. Plus my good friend Jim tells me that Ohio is definitely the midwest. I changed the tag line however, because that's really what I want to see this blog become. There will be a large spattering of daily life, but my daily life is being more and more focused on environmentalism.

New project: Brought to you through the ideas of Dr. Linda Mercadante. Hopefully available soon will be paper recycling bins for each regular garbage can in individual offices on campus. This might take a few weeks, but it will be happening.

I have a meeting with President Jay Rundell on Thursday, we will be discussing the environment and it's implications for MTSO.

Classes started today. My first class will be tonight at 6:30. It is World Religions and it is taking place over at the Catholic seminary. Should be a good time, there are several MTSOers that will be there, including some of my favorites like Michele and Tim.

I haven't really talked much about my weekend. I went to a Christian concert on Friday. While I'm not really interested in contemporary Christian music, I had a pretty enjoyable time. The message that the speaker gave was very appropriate and moving. Steven Curtis Chapman was my favorite. And I had the opportunity to sign up to sponsor an orphan through Holt International, who I've referenced in the previous post.

Saturday was a completely lazy day. Ryan and I spent time together, I did some dishes, and then I made potato pancakes, which were awesome.

Sunday Ryan and I attended a new church here in Delaware, it's called Terra Nova "New Ground for your spiritual journey." Ryan said it reminded him of the Kind Cafe in Selinsgrove, which he said wasn't a bad thing. They had coffee, and everyone wore jeans, and they read from their Bibles. I enjoyed it. There was a lack of gender inclusive language, but I feel that it wasn't intentional. We will return this week to get use to the setting and see how we feel about it.

I suppose that's all for now.
PEACE

Sunday, January 28, 2007

I've been tagged for a MEME

So, I'm not exactly sure what a MEME is, but according to Matt's blog it's five random things about me. So here it goes.

1. I haven't cut or colored my hair for almost a year now (after I buzzed it.)
2. I am sponsoring a little girl names Yao Dan in China until she gets adopted through Holt International.
3. I dislike almost all vegetables but want to work on an organic farm.
4. A life goal is to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, and I'm afraid of wild animals.
5. I have two professional goals of not dressing up everyday and not working in an office everyday.

I'm not sure who I'm going to tag, I might have to get back to you. Peace.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Spiritual Growth

In the last couple of weeks I've had a growth spurt. After hitting 18 or 19 people stop growing taller, but they never stop growing spiritually.

I've learned what it means to be a faith-based environmentalist, which has implications for my time here at MTSO as well as my future.

I've spent more time in prayer, than probably the last year combined. And I've learned where a lot of my priorities are spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.

I've learned that I can do things, even when my self confidence tells me that I can't.

And I've learned that working in the secular world can be just as rewarding and spiritual as working in the church, and that the two don't have to be separated.

Moving on with 2007 should be pretty amazing, rewarding, and nourishing. Peace.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I'm SOOOOOO bored

So not really that bored, I just had a busy day where I got out of bed at 8am and didn't stop. Now I'm sitting, waiting for my bread to rise. If you know me, I'm not a waiter. But, there's no getting around it.

I'll have another busy day tomorrow, looking forward to meeting with some pretty neat people on the worship committee, which is what I'm making bread for.

I had an interview for an internship today, but I don't really want to talk about it much until I hear more news. It went really well and it's out of my hands now, keep your fingers crossed.


I did hear from the Central Ohio Sierra Club this morning, who will be participating in Step It Up MTSO! Woot for being productive.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Step It Up MTSO

I suppose I should mention a project I am working on here at school and the blog I have started to fuel the fire. You can check it out here. Thanks.

A New Name

So I had to change the name of this blog. It just didn't fit. At the time I was making it, maybe it did. I was on a recruiting trip and somewhere between Grand Rapids, MI and Columbus, OH I got to see the sunset. It was pretty amazing. However I've moved on to bigger and better things.

So, the name is to be determined. Let me know if you have any suggestions. I'm toying with Green Spirit, but it's sounds hokey....What do you think?

Because I have poor sleeping habits

I don't always sleep during night time hours. So every once and awhile (especially since winter has set in) I like to get up and look out the front door to see what is going on outside.

I just did this, and flipped on the porch light momentarily and flipped back off. Realizing I could see better with it off, I gazed out into the filed in front of our apartment. If you've never been to our place, it's actually quite lovely with a lot of nature around.

I could see in silhouette against the maintenance barn light 4 deer walking along the road. It was really quite spectacular. They just walked single file about 5 feet away from each other, every once and awhile bending their heads down to the ground as if they were looking for food. I'm sure when I turned on the porch light I must have disturbed them, so I didn't get to see what they had been doing just before I intruded on their evening stroll. But I felt lucky, that at that particular moment in time I was able to glimpse into God's Creation without interruption of the daylight and the people that are always around.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Silly me!

I forgot to write about the snow we got here today! Ryan and I got up for church and got dressed and as we were getting ready to leave, we looked outside and there was SNOW. How crazy? We got a few inches and decided that we didn't really need to leave the house and didn't attend church. Why drive when you don't have to?
Anyways, it was nice to see some white stuff, the first we've gotten in any kind of volume since we moved to Ohio.

keeping the practice

I really don't have much to write about today, but I wanted to stay in the practice of blogging every couple of days.

One more week till school starts and I'm mostly looking forward to it. I've read a lot since being on break, and I'm hoping I can keep reading even when it's required.

I've also started a project here at MTSO. I'm organizing a rally on April 14th for Climate Change action. I hopefully will be bringing in some people to do some environmental education, and I most definitely will be showing An Inconvenient Truth. If you want to check out my blog for this project go here.

Otherwise, I'm going to eat tortilla chips and cheese.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

I've got gas

Not that kind you sickos!

Gas was 1.95 at the Kroger today, which means I only had to pay 1.92 and it cost 26 dollars to fill up the truck. What a great day.

Then I went to Trader Joe's in Dublin and picked up some really good food at some really low prices. I got 100% recycled toilet paper for about half the price we pay at the Giant Eagle. And some ground turkey breast for 3.99 a pound. I also bought some Trader Joe's brand beer, just to try it out.

That's about all that's going on here, just enjoying and over all good day.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

OBAMA

So, Barack Obama announced today on his webiste that he will be starting an exploratory committee for the presidency. From what I understand it means he can raise funds and hire staff. He said he will make his formal announcement on February 10th. I don't know if I can wait that long. I'm pretty much behind him all the way, but I'll wait to get my bumper sticker till he makes his formal announcement.

http://www.barackobama.com/-- check him out here

Monday, January 15, 2007

Middle Church

Middle Church: Reclaiming the Moral Values of the Faithful Majority from the Religious Right by Bob Edgar


So I just picked up a new book, on recommendation by my District Superintendant, and like my friend Jim says, it's always good to take their suggestions. I'm so glad I did.

I'm only to chapter 3 so I won't go into too much detail about the book itself. I pretty much have agreed with everything I've read so far, which has addressed stewardship of the earth and the war in Iraq. Perhaps after I read the book in it's entirety I can write some more about it.

The book comes highly suggested from me and Greg Myers (as well as Jimmy Carter) so you should check it out!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

My Cheeseburger Dilema

There was some sad news in my family today. My parents beloved dog Buddy passed away after being ill. While not the specific reason for this post, it did contribute to the problem.

Ryan and I have decided to start living more ecologically friendly and one of the steps we have taken is to stop buying red meat. When we can aquire beef from our families (grown in our own backyards) we will take advantage of that, but otherwise we really wanted to cut down.

However, everytime I get down and out I really enjoy getting a cheeseburger from Wendy's just down the road. I wrestled with this decision for quite awhile today and even consulted my friend Holly on my moral dilema. Holly says she is not much help on the moral front, but stating the issue helped me decide to eat some scrambled eggs instead. Now I do no know what the difference in impact of eating a fast food cheeseburger to eating eggs is, but I hope at least it is slightly better.

So while I was reading my daily collection of news stories, commentary, and blogs, I came across some information on the impact of the cheeseburger. I hope you all will take some time to look at it. It doesn't include driving to the establishment, the paper products used at the resturant and having "fries with that," but it is at the least interesting. It is written by a guy named Jamais Cascio who I never heard of until coming across this post. He comes to the conclusion that the consumption of cheeseburgers in America in one year is equal to the greenhouse output of 100,000 SUVs.

http://www.openthefuture.com/2006/12/the_footprint_of_a_cheeseburge.html

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The iPhone and Apple TV


So I don't normally post about techie stuff, but these two things are too good to pass up. I'm excited about them even if it's something I can't afford.

Apple has introduced the iPhone as well as Apple TV.

The Apple TV will allow you to view your iTunes movies and TV shows on your regular TV. This is great because I have not bought any movies on iTunes yet, simply because I did not want to sit at my laptop to watch them. It will sinc with your iTunes wirelessly everytime you make a change to your iTunes library. Pretty spiftacular if you ask me.

Below is a news article from the BBC, which is my preferred news website.


Apple boss Steve Jobs showed the phone to a crowd of 2,000
iPhone launch
US firm Apple has confirmed its move into the telecoms industry, unveiling the long-awaited iPhone.
Users will be able to download music and videos with the phone, demonstrated by Apple boss Steve Jobs at the annual Macworld Expo in San Francisco.

Mr Jobs praised the phone's design and told the audience the "magical device" would "revolutionise the industry".
The phone, which will cost from $499 (£257) to $599, will be launched in the US in June and Europe later this year.
Apple is not yet saying how much the iPhone will cost in the UK, but using the comparison of a Mac mini computer the 4 gigabyte (GB) model would be about £335.

Also revealed at the Macworld Expo was Apple TV, a device to stream music and movies from a computer to the living room.

'Super-smart'

The announcement ended months of speculation about the iPhone, which has no conventional buttons but instead uses a large touch-screen.
The firm has patented keyboard technology on the 11.6mm thick phone, calling it "multi-touch".
It is essentially a computer with a blank screen that users configure so they can operate the monitor with their fingers.

"We are all born with the ultimate pointing device - our fingers - and iPhone uses them to create the most revolutionary user interface since the mouse," said Mr Jobs.

A full touch keyboard is available for text messaging and there is a built-in two megapixel camera.
Mr Jobs said the iPhone was a "revolutionary and magical product that is literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone".
"It works like magic... It's far more accurate than any touch display ever shipped. It ignores unintended touches. It's super-smart."

iPod impact

He demonstrated the phone by playing the Beatles' Lovely Rita, Meter Maid.
He added: "The iPod changed everything in 2001. We're going to do it again with the iPhone in 2007."
The phone will use the network of AT&T's mobile unit, Cingular and will run Apple's OS X operating system.
It will come in two versions - one with 4GB of storage space, the other with 8GB.
Apple shares closed around 8% up after the announcement.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/technology/6246063.stm

There is snow on the ground.

It's 4am here in Delaware Ohio and we have a nice soft layer of snow covering the grass and cars. The sidewalks and roads do not have any accumulation and the snow will most likely be gone by morning. I should be sleeping, but because of my poor living habits I am awake, tired, but awake. Of course I wouldn't be able to enjoy this special time if I was sleeping.

Since moving to Ohio I have not seen much snow. It mostly rains here, which sucks when the temp is almost freezing. I don't have much to say it being so early in the morning and all, just wanted to share with you the info about the snow.

I have lots of stuff going on in my head and I will most likely write about it soon, specifically about how my science friends don't all get religion and how my religion friends don't really understand me when I talk about environmental stewardship. I think I'm going schizo. But that is all for now.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

My birthday!

As promised I will now write about turning 25.
My birthday was December 18th, and now feels like it's been months since I celebrated. It was fairly uneventful and I received some useful things from my family.

Ryan and I left Ohio at about 11:30 pm on the 17th and drove over night. My mom knew I would be arriving about the time that she was leaving for water aerobics, so she waited a few extra minutes and as she was driving up the hill, we were coming down. So she knew we were home safe and sound and was able to exercise without worry.

Ryan and I had something to eat and slept till about noon, when my mom was back from aerobics and showered and all. Then I got to open PRESENTS! I love presents, I love giving and receiving. It's the anticipation of what is wrapped in the box in front of you. If you are giving, you are hoping that the receiver will like and appreciate the thought that went into it. If you are receiving you are hoping that it's something that you will really use. Needless to say I did get something I could use. I got a ice cream mixer attachment for my Kitchen Aid, which I have wanted since the wedding. And I got a new Adidas duffle, it's red with white lettering. Go Bucks! My old bag was bright orange and I wrote Schoonover and Tunkhannock on one end of it and it's very beat up. I guess Mom uses it from time to time, but I'm so glad to have a new one.

My Mom didn't bake me a cake for a whole week after my birthday. I was kind of hurt, but she finally did it. I told her it wasn't that I was upset I didn't get a birthday cake, it as just that I really wanted a chocolate cake with peanut butter icing. It's one of the only times of year that I eat cake.

But that was about it for my birthday. Worked on a paper a bit and rested.

Now I need to go sort coupons so I can go grocery shopping later...Look out Giant Eagle, here I come!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Sermon December 31, 2006

I filled the pulpit of the Center Moreland Charge this past week and survived three services. I preached on Colossians 3:12-17 from The Message.

Below is the text of my sermon:

Today we are standing on the edge of 2007.

I’ve started coining the phrase “Not my favorite year” for the year of the 2006. I’m sure some of you will agree. We have all encountered some “touch stuff” and we have shared grief over deaths and illnesses.

For me 2006 was the first full year that I lived away from home; from my family, friends, and all that I was comfortable with. In Ohio, I’ve had to find new friends, and in a way new family. I spent the entire year trying to find new comfort zones, those places where I could go to feel the safest. I haven’t quite accomplished the level of comfort that I feel when I’m here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, with the people I’ve known my whole life, but I’m adjusting.

What I have taken away from 2006 is the new way in which I have learned to converse with God. I have always been a child of nature. Walking through the woods, counting the days until I would get to go to camp, or even staring out the window as the car drives down the road. This year, I’ve learned that my love of nature and my love of God are very similar, and I’ve developed a relationship with God in the outdoors in the glory of all that God has created.

So 2006 wasn’t all bad.

There have been joys of recoveries and births to accompany the sorrow that we felt from deaths and illnesses. In January I began seminary and started to learn what it means to be called by God into a life of ministry. My Aunt Til Weaver turned 100 years old in June, that’s surely something to celebrate!

So, what do we do with all the emotions we have felt over the last 12 months? You’ve all had different experiences, some better and some far worse than mine. What do people normally do on New Year’s Eve?

They make resolutions: This year I will lose weights. I want to get a better job, or work towards a promotion. This year I will spend more time with my family. I will stay in touch with friends and write more letters.

These are all good resolutions, but what happens to them? By Valentine’s Day they are usually broken and forgotten. This year I propose that we make RESOLUTIONS TO KEEP!

This means several things: making realistic resolutions that are not outside of our capabilities, holding each other accountable, and asking God for help.

I think the words of Colossians are an excellent place to start!

This letter was written to the Colossians as a kind of a pep talk. They were already practicing Christians, so they are being commended for their efforts thus far and are given further instructions as Christians.

“So, chosen by God for this new life of love dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you.” This is kind of like the “What not to Wear” of the New Testament. If you aren’t familiar with the popular TV show on the Learning Channel, the two hosts approach an unsuspecting victim who has been identified by their friends as a bad dresser. The basis of the show is not to make fun of the person or belittle the way they dress, but to help them dress in a more attractive way and feel better about themselves. The hosts lay out outfits and set ground rules before a two day shopping trip.

This Colossians are instructed to dress in: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, and discipline.

Can this “wardrobe” as it’s called be our New Year’s Resolutions? Can we dress this way every day in our New Life of 2007? What would it mean to dress in the wardrobe that God has laid out for us?

First we should look at compassion: Compassion can be described as a feeling of deep sympathy for another one who is stricken by misfortune, followed by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering. Mercy and tenderness are also words that are associated with compassion. Compassion as defined by this way is something that most of us posses, we feel sympathy for others and almost always have a desire to alleviate their suffering.

I want to take this instruction one step further, to wear compassion in your wardrobe you must also take actions on your feelings. While all suffering cannot be alleviated, as we wear compassion, we must evaluate our situations and take action in the best ways that are possible. This may include going into paces that are undesirable such as a strangers home or a hospital, but it is what God has laid out for us and we must wear it.

The next act of Kindness goes hand in hand with Compassion.

Kindness is something that has struck me as I have spent time in the city of Columbus over the past year. It is a fairly large city, the 15th largest in the country and while working in retail at the beginning of the year I came across many people who I would call grumpy and unpleasant. The traffic in the city isn’t always tolerable and often grocery stores and the malls are crowded. But, amongst the hubbub of city life, and the negative words of others, there is an extreme amount of kindness that takes place. There are countless numbers of programs for the homeless, including soup kitchens and free stores. And for every unfortunate event on the evening news there is always a report of outreach taking place in the community.

Outside of city life, here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, I feel that compassion and kindness is something that we do very well. But we can always be doing better. Push beyond your comfort zones for 2007 and begin new journeys of kindness, I promise that your wardrobe will look richer than any that you could buy in the city.

This semester in my early church history class I became familiar with a group of people called the desert elders. They existed mostly in Egypt in the 4th century when Christianity was becoming accepted and the Church leaders were being placed into a public form of leadership. They mostly objected to the way of life Christians were forming in the city and retreated to the desert for solitude and communion with God. This movement contributed to what we now call monasticism.

The desert elders lived an ascetic life and had several practices that they thought necessary for Salvation and an authentic life with God. Humility was one of them.

Practicing true humility is not easy. For the desert elders it was a life long experience and not something that could be mastered. Humility begins by letting go of the agendas we have set for our lives and allowing God to work through us. We should not take anything as a status symbol that would set us higher than others. Every act and ever words is a new opportunity to embody humility. Humility is a way of seeing that includes the horizon of the needs of others and the community that surrounds us.

Along with humility the desert elders also believed in a discipline, one which consists of patience. In our fast moving society we hardly encounter those who have patience. In my daily life I surely don’t have patience, I am always looking for the next thing and can hardly concentrate on the task at hand. Waiting to open presents from loved ones this week was excruciating. However, through the desert elders I am learning to practice patience in my faith life. Patience is no simply just the passing of time, but is an understanding of time itself, in God’s time is when the work of faith is taking place.

One of the things that the desert elders are famous for are their sayings, which were most likely preserved in writing after on of the elders spoke wisdom for a pilgrim on a particular subject. The sayings usually begin with someone asking for a word from a certain elder and what follows is the desert wisdom of the elder. One of the sayings is as follows. “Abba Ammonas once went to cross the river and found the ferry untended and seated himself nearby it. Just then another boat arrived at the place and embarked the people waiting there in order to take them across. And they said to him, ‘You come too, Abba, and cross over with us.’ But he said, ‘I will only board the public ferry.’ He had a bundle of palm leaves and sat plaiting a rope and then undoing it until the ferry was made ready. And he went across. Then the brothers bowed low before him and said, ‘Why do you do this?’ And the elder said to them, “That I may not always be dwelling on my thought.’”

Could you imagine in today’s world waiting for one form of transportation when there was another readily waiting? Can we change how we act when faced with impatience and how would that affect those around us who see our patience in both everyday life as well as with our faith?

It is the 5th aspect of our wardrobe- quiet strength, that we can face impatience. While at my parents’ house over vacation I checked a book out of the Tunkhannock Public Library. It is the story of a woman who in the face of addiction and almost certain death from her unhealthy living habits changed her life around at the age of 40 and began climbing mountains. She didn’t climb the little piddly mountains that we find around here, she went for the big guns, starting with Mount Kilimanjaro and eventually ending up on Everest.

While not raised in a Christian home, she met God in a facility for people with eating disorders. She was asked to turn her disorder over to God but she was not sure what to do. So perhaps in the only ways she knew how she took a bubble bath, lit some candles, and turned her life over to God.

What can be taken away from this story is not the amazing physical feats that she accomplished on the mountains, or her ability to overcome such obstacles in her addiction ruled life, but in the way that she did it. When she was on the mountain she would enter what she called her “Go Mode” and she would recite what became her prayer. “God’s love, God’s strength, God’s will, I can.”

The instructions do not end with these 5 new pieces of wardrobe. Everyone has an “all purpose” piece in the closet that they wear all the time. For me it is my Keen sandals. I wear them with everything, jeans, skirts, dress and shorts. I even wear them in the winter, sometimes with wool socks. We are instructed to wear LOVE as our all-purpose garment.

Now that we are dressed in our new wardrobe, where do we go and what do we do? We form a community…allowing the “Peace of Christ to keep us in tune with each other.” We are not to go off and do our own thing, this is where our humility hat comes in. And we must cultivate thankfulness. This can be our community garden, where we wear our compassion overalls, and our kindness gloves, along with our quiet strength for a jacket, and LOVE can be our garden clogs.

Let the word of Christ have the run of the house! Give it plenty of room. I know in some houses other things have the run: pets can often run a house, my husband and my schedule often reflects that of the TV Guide, and sometimes it can feel like your children are running your house. Make more room for the message of Christ and perhaps those other things will not seem overwhelming.

AND SING! Sing your hearts out to God. My friend Beth in Ohio can write a song at the drop of a hat, she of the uses my name in silly rhymes to sing about what I am doing at a particular moment. But truly her gift and her passion is singing for God. Most of us don’t sing nearly as well as she does, but God doesn’t’ care what we sound like, as long as we are singing!

Every detail of our lives should be done in the name of Christ, our words and our actions. And we must always remember to be thankful to God every step of the way.
This might be a longer list of resolutions than you would have liked and you are probably asking me how you are suppose to have time to make sure they are all being accomplished, but let’s review.

Resolutions number one: Combine Kindness, Compassion, and Humility and it all comes down to Loving Others.

Resolution number two: Patience and gentle strength are about LOVING GOD and allowing God to work in your life.

Resolution number three: Always be thankful and sing to God, the actions of your whole life should be in the name of Christ.

Three things are not that difficult. We must ask for each other’s help, as well as God’s. And in 2007 when we are faced with illnesses and deaths and obstacles that seem uncontrollable, we must have the patience to know we are in God’s hands. Saying every step of the way;

“God’s Love, God’s Strength, God’s will, I can.”

I'm back!

Just spent the last two weeks back in Northeastern PA and am back in Ohio now. Lots to blog about, since I posted last I finished my 2nd semester of seminary, turned 25, celebrated Christmas, preached at 3 services, celebrated New Years and got to see all of my family. There should be posts on many of these activities in the near future, but for now I have a cold and would like to go to bed. I'll write soon, I promise!