Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tomorrow is All Saint's Day.

I know I just posted an obnoxiously happy post, but now I'm going to do a little bit of reflecting.

Tomorrow is All Saint's Day; a day in which the Church celebrates the lives of the saints triumphant. I believe All Saint's Day is a good day. However, it invites reflection. This past year, a few people I loved dearly died. There was Dick in April, as well as "Dorothy," and there was Karen in May. Other people I knew died this year, but those three were the saddest for me. The other people have exceeding worth as well; I don't want to understate their worth. But sometimes in life, we bond with people more cohesively or quickly.

Like "Dorothy." I only knew her for about a month or two, tops. But there was just something special about her. I met her when she was a patient where I did CPE. She reminded me of Ma. They were so similar that I think I projected some things on to her. But she liked me, and I liked her, and when she died, the family was very gracious to me in letting me know when the services were and where. I still speak with her sister sometimes. "Dorothy" is just one example of how we are graced with wonderful people, even if only for a short time.

Karen died in May. She was a good friend of Ma's. Karen used to ask me to come help her get decorations out of her attic. It was tiresome work, but I enjoyed helping her. Doing physical things to help people makes me happy. Plus, the ladder into the attic was somewhat precarious, so I was glad to go up there instead of her. She also had me house and dog sit sometimes, and I enjoyed that. Being trusted, even as a young adult meant a lot to me. Karen also was so proud and supportive of me in my discernment to ministry. She even came to hear me preach one Sunday, despite the fact she was devoutly Catholic. I felt bad for not getting to see her like I said I would (car troubles occurred the weekend I was home and planned to visit), but I am confident she would be gracious to me about that.

And Dick died in April. Dick was such an awesome guy. He was the man Ma dated for a few years. I met him at church one Sunday because his daughters started attending my church after their mother died. I was the lay leader and one of his daughters came up to me and said, "You did a nice job reading, Trisha!" And Dick walked by like a schoolboy, almost because Ma was standing by me. It was cute. Finally, he asked her out, and they spent a few years together. Dick didn't just "put up" with me; he was a strong supporter of me, but he treated me like an adult. He helped me figure things out around the house, and he was always willing to help me. Dick was just a special, special man. I wasn't resentful toward him when he stopped coming around, because I believe it was too hurtful for him to see my mom's decline. He was fantastic to his wife when she was ill, and it would have been selfish of us to expect him to do the same for Ma. His death, despite the fact he had moved on, was so incredibly painful. Dick had been like a dad to me, and I really loved that man. But, I'm confident in God's mercy toward him, and toward the other two as well.

This post really doesn't need to be posted public, but I am so grateful for their lives, that I figured I would share a bit about them on this All Saint's Eve. And so I say, "For all the Saints who now rest from their labors-Thanks be to God!"

Happy Halloween!

Today is Halloween! AND I'M NOT AT WORK!!!!!

This is one of the only times in the past SEVERAL years where I have not had to work on Halloween. I'm thrilled. And what's better is that Seminary has invited the children on campus to come trick-or-treating, EVEN to the dorm rooms! We all received paper pumpkins in our mailboxes to put on our doors if we have goodies for the children. You had BETTER believe I posted mine up. I really like seeing the fun that the kids have dressing up. Heck, I like seeing the fun that the parents have. Some of them have even dressed up along with their kids. It's fun.

My first trick-or-treater was a 2 1/2 year old daughter of a classmate. She and Mama were both ladybugs. It was adorable.

I hear some more coming as I type this. I think I'm more excited than the kids!

Today is ALSO REFORMATION DAY! Yeehaw! It's an all around good day. So, Happy Reforming and Happy Eating Lots of Candy! Wee!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

History Test #1 is done!

Today, we had our Foundations of the Church midterm evaluation. This test has been a great source of stress and anxiety for most of the students, including me. When I was an undergraduate, I did not have to study hardly at all. I would glance over my notes the night before a test and most likely, get an A on the test.

That is NOT the case with seminary church history! I studied and studied, oh, and then I studied some more. I read and crammed so much information in my head this weekend that I am feeling a little zapped. We had the test today, and I didn't do really well, but I'm fairly confident that I will at least get credit. I really HOPE I passed. The test was only 25 questions, with two of those being essay questions. I think I answered them adequately enough to pass. We'll just have to see. Hopefully, they will be graded by Thursday.

Anyway, after the test today, I had some lunch, and a good laugh to do the whole "internal reset" thing. And then I realized I needed to go pick something up at a store. I asked a friend if she wanted to ride along, and she said she'd be willing to go with me.

When I walked to her room to let her know I was ready to go, she asked if we could go to a local Adult Beverage shop so she could take in her empty cans and bottles to recycle and get store credit. (Shout out to another good seminary pal for telling me about that program, so I could in turn tell this friend about it). So, we went down to my car and she put her bag of recyclables in there. However, the bag tipped over and all the bottles and cans came out. So, when we got to the store, we had to pick the things up and put them back in the bag. As we were doing that, a seminary professor pulled up. This Adult Beverage Store is NOT in a place where it could be confused where he was going. I was slightly embarrassed, but realized, "Hey, we're all adults here." He said, "Funny seeing you all here!" It was funny. I thought blogworthy, at least.

That is what happened today. It's been a good day for the most part. My main concern is the history test. On the way out of the building at Seminary where the chapel is, I saw the History professor (before class) and said, "Is there grace on Tuesdays?" And he shot back really quickly, "No!" Haha. I don't know if I should be laughing and crying... Yikes..

I'm off to do some more work now. Have a good day.

Friday, October 26, 2007


Today, October 26, 2007, is the 10 year anniversary of my baptism! My younger sister and I were baptized on Reformation Sunday, but it was done "privately." If I'd known then what I know now, I would have totally done it in front of the congregation. Ah well, can't change the past. Anyway, I'm going to call YS to remind her. Too bad we can't have candles here at the Mothership, or I'd be burning my baptismal candle to commemorate. Have a good day.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Just chillin'

Today has been a pretty good day.

I woke up pretty refreshed this morning. I got to bed AND TO SLEEP before midnight last night, and so I got about 8 1/2 hours of sleep. It was GLORIOUS! Yeehaw. This morning, my first class was pretty interesting. I don't know if it's because I'd already done the reading and because I was well-rested, or what. It was nice, though.

Chapel was cool, too. I really like Wednesdays because we do a global setting. I really REALLY like the Gospel acclamation hymn. It's happy and bouncy. Also, one of the new faculty members was "on" for this week. It was funny because on Monday, he read the lesson very animatedly, and it's like he was telling a story. Because the lessons for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were from the same story, I was captivated. I almost slept in on Tuesday, but I thought, "No! I need to find out what happens!" Then, today, Dr. F. finished that story. It was really neat the way he did it. He's a good preacher. He also seems very approachable, and so I've decided to be less intimidated by him.

The teachers here intimidate the crap out of me! I know they shouldn't, but I am very intimidated by about 99% of them. My psych profile says I have "a mild distrust of authority," and so I'm thinking maybe that's my issue. Who knows? I realize I shouldn't feel this way, and so I'm making an intentional effort to not be intimidated by these people.

The rest of the classes went pretty well today. In my Exegetical Class, the teacher and I had a kind of "bonding" moment. I have a bizarre sense of humor and if something is even remotely funny, or if the person is trying, I generally at least give a little smirk. Dr. L. was making these little jokes and I giggled a little at the first one, and then he made another one a minute or two later and I got a smile on my face. He looked my way and said, "I know I can always look at Trish because she gets it." Haha. Too bad I can't get the subject matter! Ooh, snap!

Tonight, we had "Seminarians Gone Wild" night out. Some pals and I went to Applebee's. Last time we went, we got this thing on our receipts where if we called and took the survey, each receipt could get 3 dollars off their next purchase. No one else wanted to do it, so I took their receipts and did them all. I gave them back to the people who gave them to me, but with the validation codes. Except the guy friend who went with me. He didn't want his back. It was fun.

And to burn off all the calories, the gals and I went for a walk this evening. It was wonderful. I haven't been on a walk in too long. I enjoy walking, and too soon, it's going to be perilous with snow and ice and I won't be ABLE to go. I'm glad I got to go tonight. It was fun.

And now, I need to quit blogging so I can go study more for my history test on Tuesday. I'm proud of myself; I'm doing a lot of the reading, and I'm writing answers out already. I want to do well! Pray for me!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Overall, a good weekend

This weekend was pretty busy. I went home to preach at a church that is in a neighboring town to my home church. I led worship/preached there this summer, and the pastor asked me back. That's the main reason I went home. But, my weekend started long before this morning.

I said a short grace at the meal at my cousin's wedding reception a few weekends ago in the suburbs of Chicago. I was honored to be asked by my aunt and uncle. They are fantastic people, and I was glad to be of service. My aunt and uncle had wanted to get a hotel room for me and pay for my car expenses for getting there, but I told them that wasn't necessary because I was planning on going to the wedding anyway, and I was leading worship on Sunday, so I couldn't stay overnight. So, this past week, they emailed me telling their plans to come to SeminaryTown for some R&R after having spent much of the last year planning/organizing for the wedding, and my aunt made the wedding dress and bridesmaid dress. (She's VERY talented). Anyway, they were going to stay in a quaint little town about 20 miles away, but they couldn't because everyplace was booked or way too expensive. So, anyway, I digress. They ended up staying in SeminaryTown. They emailed and asked if they could take me to dinner on Friday. I laughed a little because I had heard they were coming my way, and I was going to invite them to a concert the seminary was having on Friday, but they emailed me first. So, we made plans to go eat and then come see the concert.

When they got here Friday, we didn't know where to eat, so we talked with some friends who were around, but nothing was really sticking out. Aunt and Uncle are kinda fancy people, and the only places around here I've been haven't been very fancy. But, Aunt remembered a place in nearby Quaint town that is good. So, we went there. We made it back in time for the concert, which was PHENOMENAL! Oh MY GOSH, was it great! There are good singers, and there are great singers. These people were GREAT singers. I myself cannot carry a tune in a bucket with a mule helping me, but I appreciate those who can sing because Ma was a fantabulous singer. She has sung at numerous weddings, funerals, community celebrations and dedications, has won community wide karaoke contests, and has done a gazillion solos at church. When she sang, boy, people listened. The soprano of the group reminded me of Ma, and it was rather nice to hear.

After the concert, the relatives left, and some pals and I went to the winery. I had a good time. I like being sociable.

Saturday morning, I woke up super early so I could get ready and go home (About 3 hours from the seminary is where my "home" is). Sis and BiL's neighbors who are moving (next week) invited us to go with them to the Wildlife Prairie Park in Peoria. So, I went and we took the boys and it was a good time. I love parks and this was a nice outing.

Then Sunday, I led two worship services at neighboring church. Things went well, except I made a bunch of mistakes in the first service. But, to my credit, they were not all my fault. There were several errors in the worship bulletin and I rolled with the punches as best I could. I got good comments, and I hope that the people were able to hear a good word today.

YS (Younger Sister) came to the late service today, which was nice because she doesn't come to church very often. But, she came today and it was good to see a smiling, familiar face out there. I love YS dearly. She's a wonderful sister and a great friend. After worship, we went to visit Ma. She knew who we were today, before we could say anything. I was a little afraid at first because she just looked at us like we were random people. But, that could be because she was walking around without her glasses on. She said someone "stole" them right away from her. I went to the nurse's station and they had a bunch of glasses there. I saw a pair that looked like hers, so I took them to her, and they were hers. A nurse came and wrote Ma's last name on the inside of the earpiece so that there would be no question next time.

Ma was still pretty quiet, but she talked a wee bit more this time. She also looked less like Grandma looked. The doctor came and looked at her the other day, and he thinks she has arthritis in her back and hip. IT sucks because she's in a lot of pain all the time. Yikes. They are going to try some things to get her feeling better. I hope it works.

While we were sitting in Ma's room, a lady came in and sat on the bed next to me. Because the place Ma is happens to be a locked dementia unit, that gives you an idea that all the people there are fairly bad off. This lady launched into this story about how she was SO mad at her husband because he didn't wait to eat dinner til we were there. I talked with her a while and went along with her story. I figured her husband was probably dead and she was living in the past. I said a couple of things about how I hoped she could forgive him, and how we had eaten before we got there, so everything would be alright. And near the end of our conversation she said, "I feel better now. You helped me think through these things better. I can see how our lines could have gotten crossed. Jack probably thought he was doing it the way I wanted. Thank you, dear." Our conversation probably lasted about 15-20 minutes. Ma and YS just sat there looking at me like, "What are you talking about, Trish?" Because I didn't want to dismiss her as whatever, because if the woman were cognizant of what was going on, she'd probably feel bad for "interrupting" and then being angry at her probably dead husband for nothing. Then an aid came and took her back to her room. YS told me later in the car that she was totally impressed with my mad skills at calming the lady down and helping her be less angry at her probably dead husband. Because this lady was MAD. CPE skills in real life, folks. Learn 'em, love 'em, live 'em. :) Ha.

Anyway, so then YS and I went to my childhood home (which is not the same as "home") and we cleaned out the freezer and took the trash to the curb for pickup. We also did some home repair and YS took some of her things to her house. Then, I got a massage! (YS was going to school to become a massage therapist). It felt awesome, but I need to make sure to drink plenty of fluid so I don't have a "healing crisis" tomorrow. After the massage, YS took me on my first 4-wheeler ride around town. That was fun.

I stayed "home" a little longer than I'd planned today. I chased my nephew around and we played for a while. He was getting crabby cuz Sis wouldn't let him play in the bathroom, because he wanted a bath. Sis and BiL do league bowling on Sunday nights, and BiL's niece comes and watches the boys. But, she doesn't have enough hands to watch Sunscreen AND give Howard a bath. So, I gave him a bath and we played and had a lot of fun. The only thing is, it is REALLY hard to get him out of the tub because he loves it so much. And, he's been doing this screaming thing lately, where he'll get mad and just start screaming at whomever is making him angry. So, there was an instance yesterday and one today where after he started screaming, I got down at his level and let out a semi-loud yell. He did not like it either time, but I thought it was funny. I'm mean like that.

When it was time for me to go, I gave Sunscreen a hug and a kiss bye-bye, and then I gave Howard a hug and a kiss goodbye, but he started crying because he knew I was leaving. I felt really bad and I had to turn around and leave the house even though he was bawling his eyes out. Then I felt AWFUL because I had to go back in because I left my tennis shoes in there. He was still crying when I went back in, so I picked him up and held him, and he dive bombed my face with a big, wet baby kiss. I went and sat down with him for a minute on the couch and he got down and pulled me toward the floor to play with his toys with him. I did that for a little while, and then slipped out without him seeing. I had told him bye-bye a million times, but I still feel bad for going without saying goodbye the last time. But, it probably kept him from crying again. I love those boys (and my first born nephew, too!) so much I could puke. They are such special little people. I am anxious to see what they will be like when they get older. But, I am happy with them being wee ones right now.

Anyway, this has been a really long, rambling post, that probably means nothing to any of you, but whatever. I enjoyed my weekend for the most part. I am loved.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


I've noticed a pattern in my blogging life. I tend to blog far more frequently when things are going well and I'm feeling happy and self-affirmed. But, when I'm less happy, I tend to blog less, which makes me feel almost kind of guilty.

I was talking with my advisor today because she likes to see her advisees at least once a month. We talked a bit about how seminary is going, and then we got onto the subject of my mom. She has an idea of what's going on because she was my advisor last semester when things really started going downhill with her. As we talked, she told me that she hopes I don't feel guilty for being here and not in Illinois with my family, and that I don't feel guilty for feeling sad about the situation. Pretty much, she said she hopes I'm not feeling guilty about any of this. She also said, "I hope you are able to talk with some of your friends about this stuff." I do sometimes, but then I feel like I'm being a huge bummer and dampening everyone's day. And, how do I feel about that...? Guilty. I don't want to be THAT friend that has to always be upset about something and have people all feeling sorry for me all the time.

With that said though, I do need to talk about the crap sometimes. This is an unbelievably hard time right now for me, as I'm confident it is for my siblings, my mom's siblings, and really, anyone who has ever loved my mom. This is probably the hardest thing I've ever had to go through, although I'm not 100% sure, because really, how do you qualify/quantify grief, because grief is cumulative?

I guess blogging is a good outlet for me. It's a way that I can think through some of my feelings, and in a small way, let people in on what's going on, since I'm not always good at letting people know what's up.

I was going to do some reflection on other types of patterns, but I'm tired and I think I might be getting sick, so I don't want to right now.

But, before I go, a really quick story about the end of the meeting with my advisor: We stood up and she wanted to give me a hug. But, I am NOT AT ALL a touchy-feely type person. Several seminary pals have seen my "You're-Invading-My-Personal-Bubble" posture before. But, I hate shutting people down, so she gave me a hug and then she said, "I made you blush!" And then I left and she was laughing. But, it's okay. If I hadn't been so weirded out, I would have been laughing too. Even though I'm still slightly weirded out, I can chuckle a bit. I'm a dork, and that's okay.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Lutheran Guilt

I haven't blogged in a week. My Lutheran guilt is coming out. I beg your forgiveness.

Not much has been going on. We had R&R days (That's Reading and Research; NOT rest and relaxation) on Monday and Tuesday. I tried to do some catching up. For the most part, I am caught up. Except in history. Because I'm a slacker.

I'm not going home this weekend, and I'm happy about this. I love my sisters and their significant others and the children, but I feel guilty when I don't go visit Ma, and I feel craptastic when I do. It's easier to stay here and focus on school and things. I guess I'm a little selfish that way.

Anyway, it's gotten cool outside, and it's definitely sweatshirt weather. Some of us went down to the another friend's apartment last night for "seminarian night out" and we had pizza delivered and we watched "EVAN ALMIGHTY." On the walk back, I was freezing. I'm a wuss.

I have decided that I care too much about some things. Sometimes that is good, and sometimes not so good. This week, it's not so good. I'm talking about the guy who died last year at Restaurant. It will be one year later this week. I didn't even know the guy. Why is it still bothering me?

Don't answer that. I have some insight about it already.

I need to go read some history now so that I will not be buried in the books all weekend long. I have Spiritual Practices small group later today, so I'll be going now. Have a delightful day.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

I know what you're doing this weekend!

Actually, that's a lie. But I do know what I am doing this weekend.

Tomorrow, a group of us is going to a church near here in order to meet with the pastor so he can pair us up with people from the congregation. The point of this is for us to practice listening skills. It's for a class. I'm fairly excited. I like listening to people a lot.

Saturday, I have to leave Seminary at the crack of DAWN to go to my cousin's wedding. The wedding is at 10:30 a.m. and it's about a three hour drive. But, I always give myself extra time, so I'll probably leave about 7:00 a.m. at the latest.
I'm praying at the wedding reception before the meal. I actually wrote out a prayer that is short and sweet; what was requested of me. I'm excited to have been asked. I'm also excited that my cousin is getting married. I met her soon to be husband a time or two, and he seems pretty cool, although slightly introverted. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with introverts. I have some good friends who are introverts.

Anyway, I'll not be heading back to the Castle after the wedding festivities. Instead, I'm going to go "home" because I'm leading worship/preaching on Sunday, both at my church and Pastor's "other" church. I say "home" because I no longer stay at my childhood home. No one is there, and I am a social creature who needs people around me. Plus, it is really weird to go there knowing that I am all alone. There's a whole new vibe to the place.

So, I don't really plan on staying "home" long after worship because I want to get back here. We have "reading days" on Monday and Tuesday, and I want to be able to take advantage of those. Reading Days are days set aside with no class for us to "get caught up on our reading." From what I hear, most people don't do that though. However, I'm behind, so I will be doing my best at getting caught up.

In preparation for the 9 hours or so of driving I'll be doing this weekend, I had the oil changed in my car today, and I bought windshield washer fluid. I think I also need some anti-freeze, but I'm not sure. The tank isn't as visible as the one I had on the Heep. I'll ask BiL to maybe look at it. He's a smart guy; he'll be able to tell me.

So, I'm sure you all wanted to know exactly what I was doing this weekend, and now you do. You can rest soundly tonight. If you all find yourselves traveling, be safe. There're lots of nuts out there.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A Reflection

I'm reading the book, "When God is Silent," by Barbara Brown Taylor for my Spiritual Practices class. This is a very interesting book. It's got a poetic quality to it. I'd like to share a reflection I've had while reading.

On page 53, Taylor paraphrases Richard Elliott Friedman and his book, "The Disappearance of God." Together they are talking about how God seems silent to us for a variety of reasons. Friedman, being a Hebrew scholar talks about "the divine recession in the Hebrew Bible...Divine features that were distinct at the beginning of the story grow blurry as God withdraws, stepping back from human beings so that they have room to step forward."

What this has me thinking about is family. In the early days, God was among God's people, talking to them, telling them about what they should do and about God's love for them. God made promises and gave commandments, and was pretty much loud and clear. It's kind of like when parents have young children. When I was young, I listened to my parents a lot. I was and still am a serious rule follower. I was always afraid of the repercussions, should I break the rules.

So, with this thought of God moving away, I'm thinking, "Is this the adolescence of history?" Seriously, though. Many teenagers rebel against their parents. Some rebellions are large, and some are not. But, many teens rebel. But, at the same time as this rebellion, many parents also take a step (however small) back in order to try to let their son or daughter test out some bit of independence. I would imagine that most parents appreciate when their child does well, but I also think that parents yearn for their child to take a step toward them. Unfortunately, a lot of adolescents turn from their parents to try to find their own way.

So, what is next? Are we ever going to become adults? Are we going to realize that Dad knew what he was talking about? Are we going to take that step toward our loving Parent, after finally realizing the reason we weren't allowed to stay out all night, or get a sports car on our 16th birthday, or just run amok? Are we going to turn back to God and truly ask God for advice on how to live our lives? Or when we do, is it going to be too late? Will God be so sick of our rebellion that we are disregarded? I don't think so. Actually, I'm pretty confident that God is never going to totally disregard us. There may be some silence now, but I don't think that God will leave us alone. God loves us. Through all the stages of our lives, God loves us. I believe it is that love that speaks volumes.

Barbara Brown Taylor, When God is Silent, Cowley Publications, Cambridge, MA, 1998.

Internal Reset

I feel better. I had some good laughs yesterday. Sometimes, a good laugh is what it takes to reset me back to optimism and happiness. Even when I'm sad, if I were pressed, I'd have to say that I still have joy underneath sadness. I have great friends here (and everywhere) who are wonderful at helping me realize that life is good. The great thing is, most of these people don't even know they're helping me. They're just themselves, and that is wonderful. I'm not dependent on others for my happiness, but I thrive in community, and being in community and conversation with others energizes me and helps me gain perspective. I also appreciate Jae's comment to me (thanks, G!). Despite everything, life is good. It really is. I'm not even lyin'.

On a happier, not even remotely related note, I did a bunch of changes this weekend. I blogged a little about how one of my pals cut my hair in my room on Thursday night. I like it a lot. It's so low maintenance, but I think it looks cute. Then, on Saturday night, Sis dyed it red for me. I've been dying my hair for almost 6 years. It's always pretty much the same color. It's burgundy, but the burgundy fades quickly to a more natural looking red. I'm excited. On Monday morning, I had all sorts of people giving me compliments on the hair! Totally not used to that! Ha. But, it's cool. I guess that's not a bunch of changes, but it is change.

Sometimes we just need a change. Change of scenery, a change in ourselves, a change in our perspective, or a change in another area of our lives. Skydiving is my exercise in giving up control, and dying my hair is kind of like an exercise in embracing change (Even on a small scale). So, I think I'm going to work more on accepting and even embracing change.