Thursday, November 22, 2007

Our First Anniversary as Dog Parents

This Thanksgiving week we celebrated our one-year anniversary with Burlington Philippe Evans (call sign: Tornado), the World’s Best Dog. We reflected on how nervous we were at first (all the book reading in the world does not compare to reality…) to how grateful we are for him (he’s everyone in the neighborhood’s favorite dog) and for all that he’s taught us about ourselves… We cannot imagine life without him. He’s one of the best gifts in our lives and we love him, enjoy some photos of him.

Thanks (for) Giving

One of the things I love about our church is how generous everyone is. I was pretty devastated last month, when the numerous wildfires destroyed portions of southern California. A church we’re connected to, (Los’ fraternity brother is the college pastor) Malibu Presbyterian Church, was burned to the ground, and a Young Life camp east of San Diego was also harmed. Many people had to evacuate their homes, and some lost all of their possessions. Hearing their accounts and seeing photos in the LA Times was so sad.

So I was really touched when, on the Sunday following the start of the fires, our Seattle church took up an offering for victims of the fire. Essentially, every one of the 4,500 members gave $10, as $45,000 was raised that day. I know that’s not much in the grand scheme of things, but I know it will be added to other gifts and hopefully it will go a long way to bless some people who are hurting temporarily. I was so proud and grateful to everyone for their generosity, especially when later that week I heard that a local tv station had raised money for CA as well, and of the 3 million+ audience, they only raised $40,000. It was pretty eye-opening to realize what a small portion of people can accomplish when they have a like-minded vision. Hoo-Rah for generosity, thanks for giving.

Sweet Peas (and the ministry of multiplication)

My wonderful friend Kirsty’s favorite flowers are Sweet Peas. They are delicate and so fragrant, and while I was at Lowe’s this spring I thought I might try my hand at them this summer. I threw 50 cents worth of seeds (25 seeds) in the ground, and was amazed by the proliferation of flowers we had for 6 months!! All my neighbors who wanted them, and I, cut them from May-November, and they kept producing… It was awesome.

When I am a pastor, I know I’ll have a million gardening analogies, and I will spare you the sermon now, but I will preach about this some day, because this is the gospel, friends. I planted 25 seeds, and when I took the (annual) flowers out for the winter, I opened up the pods and got over 1000 seeds! 1000+ from 25!!! Amazing. That is what we happens when we give ourselves to others, the ministry of multiplication occurs… and the world is better for it.

Frequent Flyers in Florida

One of the highlights of fall was the trip we just took to Florida. Los became an Instructor Pilot (very cool), and I got to play with people my heart loves in Jacksonville. I don’t know if we’ll ever live there again, but walking on the warm beach in November, eating at our favorite places, and spending great time with beloved friends was such a gift.

Blessed Chaos and Counseling

I feel like my brain might explode, there’s so much going on in life right now. I don’t think I realized it since it’s just this season of my life, and when you’re in that state, you’re going day by day, and don’t get the bigger perspective; but a pastor I met with last week said that Los and I have so many active components and ambiguities that it is really stressful. With all of Los’ traveling, my school, ordination exams, moving (somewhere?) next summer, contemplating selling our house and pregnancy, and me working at the hospital now (on top of our other investments, friends and family) there’s just so much happening. In a really good way, it’s painful, all of this learning that is happening; but it’s to the point where I’m having a hard time fitting everything new in my brain.
I love being at the hospital, which is stretching me and challenging me. Something that’s very important to me is that my life has integrity, so practicing awareness of ‘resistance’ takes so much work, for introspection and healing. We cannot change other people, we can only change ourselves, so whenever we get upset about something, looking at why that issue pushed our buttons is a hard task!
So Los and I might start doing some counseling, to be set up for success. We have started talking about starting a family, but we’d like to feel as healthy as possible before that, since everyone counsels us that when your family expands, issues can be exacerbated. We don’t really have problems, but we certainly experience ‘resistance’ toward some things the other does or says; I don’t know if it’s possible to ‘fix’ that or not; but we could stand to grow in awareness of the deeper issues which trigger little explosions from time to time. Starting to practice this discipline has taken me off (and others off) any high horse. Now I am noticing flaws, or ‘growing areas,’ all the time! So we’ll see where we go from here? Growth is always good, and even if it’s painful, I am glad for it. It’s certainly not boring!