Monday, October 8, 2012

Getting started and asking questions

So, now I'm several weeks into the new semester, my second to last just for the record, and I'm already blown away by how fast time is moving. You'd think by now that I'd have figured that out or at least have gotten used to it. All I can think now is that December is going to be here before I know it. Then it'll be a race 'till May. I sure wish someone had warned me that life was gonna move this fast when I first started this journey. I've been catching myself becoming more and more sentimental and regardless of what happens, I simply tell myself, "just embrace it." This time next year I'll look back on this experience and wish I were back here deep in it all. So I am choosing to embrace every single lovely or not so lovely moment.

This leads me to question how and why it is that we become so lovingly attached to places. I knew going to China that I'd only be there for 1 year. That's not very long at all. But now I have such a love and respect for the place I lived and after arriving here in Austin, I wasn't sure if that feeling, that deep love for a place, could ever be duplicated. I can safely say that Austin and I have had this love affair going on for quite some time now and my love for her has grown. If only I could pick Austin up and move her just a tad closer to family, all my problems would be solved. Just when I think I've got it all figured out, life throws me a curve ball.

I think I may stick to the plan that works best for me, which is having NO plan at all. I had about 6-7 weeks to prepare to move to China and also about 6 weeks to prepare to move to Austin. I'm guessing that through this God is teaching me to live my life more fully and to not concern myself so much with the future, focusing more on the now. Actually, I was just reminded of this wonderful quote, "Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them." Sometimes I wonder if instead that'd be a little bit different for me and instead read, "because the answers would scare you to death." I am quietly reminded that I am still being prepared for my "what's next." Don't rush things, it'll all happen just as it's supposed to. Perhaps sometime in mid-April it will all be much clearer and then I'll know that my next step should be. of the areas I've grown so much in over the last 3 years.

Questions and answers...

Thank you all for all your love and prayers.

Peace and love,


Monday, September 3, 2012

Getting ready for what's next

In many ways I've spent my summer doing just what this post's title says. Yes I know there is still much preparation ahead of me in my last two semesters. It hardly seems like just two years ago I arrived in Austin. Sometimes it seems like only yesterday and sometimes it seems like that was twenty years ago. So much has happened  in such a short period of time. So much growth has taken place in me and I know without a doubt I am slowly evolving into the woman God is calling me to be.

Two years ago, I wasn't sure I could accept this challenge. I was scared to death and had no idea of what to expect. It had only been a matter of weeks since I had returned from a year in China. And oh how I missed the people there, and still do. And as much as I never set out to make Austin, TX my home, it slowly has become just that. This leads me to mention one of the questions I've pondered this summer, which is: what makes a home a home? says  this of home "the place in which one's domestic affections are centered." Hmmm, domestic affections. Austin's not perfect and it'll never be Birmingham or Auburn, both places I previously considered home. But our time here on Earth isn't meant to be perfect. God reminds me often to not get too comfortable here because this isn't my final stop. But it's definitely a place where my "domestic affections" are centered. And it'll always have a very special place in my heart.

So what's next for me? I'll just have to wait and see. I've got a pretty good idea and as soon as I know for certain, I'll share my plans with those of you who are following my journey. I can definitely tell you that I am excited and scared. all at the same time. I'm also reminded that God's plans for me are sooo much better than I could have ever imagined, so I try to refrain from planning too far in advance. I can see just how true that is when I look back to where I was just two years ago.

I remember just after I moved here and was waiting at the bus stop one afternoon, running in to this young woman who's about my same age. We got to talking and she explained that she was homeless. She had asked for money for bus fare. I hardly had much of my own money, but knew that I had to share what I had. After the bus arrived we both went our own ways and I've not seen her since, but then I couldn't help but question, "what makes her any different from me?" And I know I've asked God that very question. Two years later, I'm still not sure. But meeting her made me so very grateful for this opportunity to be here in Austin and in seminary. And I know that it is my responsibility to use everything I've been taught here and over the course of my 35 years to do my part to help make this world a better place. I will not take any of it for granted.

Tomorrow night will begin my first night of work study on campus and my first class is on Wednesday  night. And again, I am excited and scared. It is my prayer that God will continue teaching, equipping, and preparing me for my next chapter. I'll keep you posted of what continues to be next for me.

With much love and gratitude,


Friday, July 6, 2012

GC-Day 2

Yesterday (Thursday) was the first official day of General Convention. I began my day with Community Eucharist where I had the wonderful opportunity to help serve communion. This is probably one of the coolest things I've ever done. I served to priests, bishops, and many others from all over the world. I really enjoyed getting to be a part of that.

After eucharist it was time to head back to the Seminary of the Southwest booth and begin to set up for the day. After lunch and much frustration, I was finally able to get internet and better able to keep up with what is going on during convention via the internet.

Later in the afternoon, I sat in on the meeting of the House of Deputies and had the opportunity to see how the legislature of the church works. During the discussion of one amendment, which was regarding requiring all churches to have a website by 2015, one woman stated "We don't exist unless we can be Googled." That definately has become true.

Today I am headed back to the convention center and will be hanging out at the SSW booth some and also will be sitting in a World Missions Committee meeting. I also hope to sit in on another House of Deputies meeting . I'll keep you posted on all that I see!



Wednesday, July 4, 2012

GC-Day 1

So, today was my first full day of General Convention here in Indianapolis. Already it has been a great learning experience. This morning I visited the House of Deputies and found the Diocese of Alabama. I was saddened to see that the tables were decorated with UA (University of Alabama) megaphones and shakers. My sadness was quickly turned around when I found out that the tables would later be decorated with equal amounts of AU (Auburn University) and UA paraphernalia. From there I left and headed over to the consecration of Bishops and the opportunity to see Diocese of Pittsburgh Bishop-elect Dorsey McDonnell be consecrated. This has to be my favorite moment of the day. I know very little about the history of this particular diocese but after hearing the passion and devotion that Bishop-elect Dorsey spoke with about his love of the Church and Christ, I completely understood why he was elected and for one brief moment, I wanted to move to Pittsburgh so that he could be my Bishop. I believe great things are going to happen for this diocese.

After leaving the consecrations of Bishops it was time to head back to the our booth in Exhibit Hall B, where I had the opportunity to meet and greet SSW alums. I always enjoy a good story about what things were like in years past. Then we were off to lunch and ran into Dean Travis.

After lunch, I had the opportunity to check out other booths in the exhibit hall and had the wonderful opportunity to meet and speak with the ladies of the Order of St. Helena, which is located in Georgia. They were a great group of ladies, full of love for what they do and also very talented. Each sister has a particular talent. Many of them are rather artistic. They have a writer, a jewelry maker, an artist. All of their work was beautiful.

Later in the day, I had the opportunity to sit in on my first committee meeting for World Missions. I found the governmental process to be very interesting. This is another group of very passionate people. It is great to see first hand a lot of the behind-the-scenes action that I normally don't get to see.

Tomorrow's sure to be as exciting, if not more than today. I have to remind myself to pace myself. It's still early and I don't want to be completely exhausted by Friday, since I still have many more days to go. Tomorrow I will attend my first Community Eucharist and then head back to the SSW booth and off to committee meetings. I'll fill you in tomorrow night on the goings-on of the day. Till then Happy Fourth of July! Blessings!



Sunday, July 1, 2012

Being Blessed

Two weeks ago today I met my nephew for the first time and got to spend really good quality time with friends and family I hadn't seen in over a year. I had such a wonderful week at home with everyone that I began to re-think my plans for the future. Before leaving Austin two weeks, I was fairly certain that I would be leaving the U.S. once again in about a year. There's something about going home, being with family, being a part of the life of a brand new person, another of God's wonderful, beautiful creations, that really puts a new perspective on my own life and how absolutely precious it is.

I've now been back in Austin for a week. Austin's been good to me. I've learned so much about my self and grown in ways I could only imagine. But I know where my heart is...home. Nope, I'm not homesick. I know that I've been called to do something in this world, my part to help make this world a better place. I'll continue to embrace "being the change." However, I've realized that I'm still on my journey, my path of discovery of what's next.

Seminary has been one of the best things that's ever happened to to, one of the best experiences of my life. It's strange to think that one year from now, I will be finished and on to the next big thing in my life, whatever and wherever that may be. But I trust. I came to Austin with a two suitcases and not much else (the same belongings I had with me during the year I spent in China). I came to Austin with less money than I took to China and didn't have an earned salary to expect. That was quite scary. But God saw me through every single second of it. Every single need I had was met, often with abundance. I trusted God then and I know God will continue to provide for me and will reveal to me what I need to know when I need to know it.

In just two days, on Tuesday at 12:40 pm to be exact, I will head to Indianapolis for the 77th National Convention of The Episcopal Church. I couldn't be more excited! I am excited to have been chosen by my seminary, to the have the opportunity to represent a place that is so dear to heart and to have the opportunity to meet some amazing people who are involved in the church. While I am there, I will be following a great passion of mine, in that I have the opportunity to follow the World Missions committee of the church and what they are doing. I can't wait to hear and learn more about what they are doing and what their plans are for the future. I'm hoping for the opportunity to get more involved in their work.

Yes, I have been blessed and continue to be so with every breath. Sometimes it's hard to believe that my life is my own. Have I chosen this life or has it chosen me?

You'll be hearing lots from me while I am in Indianapolis. I'll let you all know once I land safely in Indy! I'm getting very excited!

Thank you for coming on this journey that is my life with me!

God's peace and love,


Sunday, June 3, 2012

So, here goes...

I begin this blog very apprehensively. After much encouragement, here is my attempt to share my thoughts with those of you who read this.

Here goes...

I arrived here in Austin a little less than two years ago. If you told me two years ago (while I was sitting somewhere in Beijing, China) that I'd leave China to begin seminary and 2/3 of the way into it I would have grown into the woman I am today and accomplished all that has taken place, I am pretty sure I would have laughed right in your beautiful face. I continue to be mind blown by all that God has asked me to do and all that we are able to accomplish together.

I have been thinking about the fact that I only have 1 year left of my 3-year seminary program. I have thought about how terrified I was of all the unknowns before arriving here in Austin, site unseen. I have thought about the countless leaps of faith I have taken and how God has caught me with each leap and lifted me higher so that I might be able to serve Him better. And quite honestly, I can't think of any other place I would have rather been for this seminary experience. It has been more than I could have dreamt of. Just like my time in China, it has been difficult. There have been many sleepless nights and many tears shed.

While I think that I only have one more year left in this experience, I begin to think beyond that the thought that I STILL have one more year left. A very wise fellow seminarian told me one day that each semester brings its own lessons to be learned. And it certainly does and I've still got quite a but to learn. But I am realizing that I don't have to have all the answers and I don't have to do it all perfectly. I can  stumble and fall down and skin my knees, only to be brought back up again by the most loving God.

Sometimes I'm in awe that I get to live this life, that I have the pleasure of living into a calling that I am still in process of trying to figure out. Sometimes I am scared to death of what my future may hold; the knowing and not knowing are both equally scary. But I find peace in knowing that whatever it is, wherever it is, that's the place God has called me to be. It won't be a mistake or unanswered call. There will be lessons learned and knowledge gained. It's exciting and terrifying.

In exactly two weeks, I will leave this lovely city to visiting, "the loveliest village on the plains." I've not been back to my sweet home Alabama in over a year. And how dearly I've missed it and the wonderful people who love and support me there. While there, I will have the honor of getting to meet my new nephew Payton, who I already love more than he could ever know. I will also have the great honor of giving a homily at my wonderful home church in Auburn, St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church on Tuesday night, June 19th. If you're in town please stop by and say "hello."

Yep, this is my life. I hope that you are just crazy enough, like me, and will follow me on this journey that is my life, with all of its up and downs.

Much love and peace to you all.