Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Post We Hope is Cohesive, but Will Probably End Up Just Rambling On

Holy Cow. It has been way too long since I've updated this blog. Yikes. I guess being a married woman with a "job" makes me a bit more busy than when I'm simply an unemployed student.

Well, J and I have been married for about seven months now. Time flies when you're having fun. He really is a wonderful man and I love him like mad, even if I don't always seem like I do.

Internship...Well, I still am really enjoying it. I usually preach twice a month, consecutive Sundays. I have two churches, so I preach once at each. We have a retired Presbyterian pastor and his wife who attend the big church, and they are so nice. After every time I preach there, on the way out when he shakes my hand he says something so encouraging. One time he said, "You really have a gift, friend!" Today, he said, "You really write a mean sermon!" (Not mean in the "hellfire and brimstone" way, but "mean" like, "Woah, dude" type of way). That means a lot to me coming from someone who's been ordained for 56 years.

Also on internship, I am enjoying leading a monthly Bible study, leading services at an assisted living facility as well as two nursing homes, and getting to know the people more. I'm not such a fan of being a confirmation small group leader. Teenagers have never been my strong suit. When I WAS a teenager, I didn't even really feel like I fit with most of them. But, we laugh and I am still a dork, and if they don't like it, oh well. The problem more lies with I have a hard time being "the heavy" on kids who really don't show an interest in religion. I try to help them see God's relevance in their lives, but at this age, I just don't think my group "gets it." We'll see.

Anyway, it's cold here in North Dakota. We had a bitter cold snap last week with temperatures (without wind chill) being in the negative teens. It was very frigid. So, when it warmed up to 34 degrees, I went around without a coat. It's funny how we get acclimated to this sort of thing. We don't have very much snow yet, but it's supposed to snow pretty much all week, I think. Hopefully it doesn't make my commute too hairy. If all else, many many people have offered me a place to stay in my internship town in case it ever gets gross outside and leaves me unable to travel. I serve with really great people.

Christmas is right around the corner. Today was the last week of Advent. I really like Advent. I think it appeals to my "dark" side, not that Advent is "dark." Advent, though, has a much different flavor than Christmas, and I appreciate the contemplative nature I think Advent embodies. This is my first Christmas away from Illinois. I'm trying to roll with the changes, but sometimes it's hard. I'm not going to lie about that one. It's not that I've never spent Christmas more alone than how I'm going to spend it this year, or anything. When my mom was still relatively healthy, she dated this really awesome guy and would go to his family gatherings on the holidays. My siblings, at that point, were all going to their significant others' family gatherings. So, I was often left at home alone on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. I wasn't thrilled about it, but hey, I'm not the type to invite myself places.

So, the deal this year is that I'm roughly 800 miles from all my family, and I miss them. After about a year or two of being left alone on the holidays, Sis decided to throw "combined" family parties, so no one would have to be alone. And now, I'm in NoDak, all my family is in Illinois, J's family is in Minnesota, and I am missing the "familiar." J got us a Christmas tree this year, and I realized I left all my ornaments at home in Illinois. So, the Christmas tree is full of his (very cute) ornaments, but I still find myself a little sad that this tree seems to be "his" and not "ours." Maybe that's weird of me to say, but I can't help feeling that way. I think the "firsts" in our lives, cause grief, even if they're "happy" firsts. My "first" married Christmas is also my first Christmas completely away from everything I've ever known.

I am looking forward to our first married Christmas. I was driving home from church today and I realized that we have pretty much "been together" for two years now. Our first date was in December '07. I blogged about it, but at the time didn't realize it was a date. Looking back on it, I just smack my head and say, "DUH!" Ha. So, married Christmas will be neat. I came to visit the week after Christmas last year, and that was fun, and I really am looking forward to this year.

Finally, I suppose a part of my ambivalence about Christmas this year comes from Mom's continuing illness. Sis and YS went to the Supermax on December 1st because the home puts on a Christmas dinner every year. They went and sat with Ma and they had dinner and I think some games and things. Mom, although still pretty much completely ambulatory, has lost the ability to speak in any sort of coherence. Sis and YS said that most of the words she uses are actually "non-words," which is common for people with dementia. On the plus side, she did call YS by name at one point, and she was reading some words off a napkin or something, although some of the time, she was able to read them, and some of the time, she was putting the emPHASis on the wrong sylABle, and sometimes she was saying the completely wrong words. But sometimes it's there, so that's neat. I just am finding myself really missing her right now, which is weird to say considering she's still alive. But, although some of the essence of her personality is still there, the majority of how she once related to people is not. I haven't talked to her or seen her in almost seven months because the phone really is not something she can handle anymore, and I've not been "home" since early June. I feel like a huge whiner with this paragraph, but sometimes it helps to just put it out there.

Anyway, so that is what is going on in the life and times of Trish. I have said it before and I will probably always say it, but there are things we consider "good" and "bad" in every day, and I'm trying to live more "good" than "bad." I hope you all have a blessed end of the Advent season, a very merry Christmas, and a wonderful and hope-filled start to the new year. It's hard to believe that 10 years ago, people were freaking out about the Y2K bug. Lol. May this next year be one of little anxiety and much joy. Peace.