Well, here I sit, at my desk in my dorm room, realizing that this is the last semester I will ever "get" to live in a dorm. I have, for the most part, enjoyed my dorm dwelling days, though I do find it frustrating sometimes. Such is life.
I realized the other day that I haven't posted on here in a very long time. I think I only had something like fourteen posts in 2010. Woops. My bad; I had other stuff going on.
Since my last post, some things have happened. My hard drive had massive failure in mid-December. I was not able to recover anything from it. However, I did find several of my assignments from last semester still hanging around in my "sent items" folder from school. Victory #1. Also, I found my flash drive and realized that I had EVERY SINGLE FILE from my internship on there. When I was finishing internship, I took my flash drive to my office, put all my office files on there to move them to my laptop, and then never deleted them from the flash. Awesome. Victory #2! Really, there's nothing too horrible that I lost... I did lose three year's worth of Prayers of Intercession, all of my college files, and many of my seminary files. I lost a lot of pictures, music, and a letter I wrote to my mom when she was sick, but that I never gave her. I'm grateful for Facebook because many of my pictures are in albums on my FB page. Since then, I had a new hard drive put in my computer, and have that all squared away. Now I just need to wait for external hard drives to be on sale (or for my husband to let me put my stuff on his), and backup my files.
During the month of January, J and I took an 11-day vacation. We had Christmas with his family in Minnesota, went to Illinois for my approval interview (the last official step with the Candidacy Committee), had Christmas with my family, went back to Minnesota to see J's grandma, then headed home. Good news-I was approved for ordained ministry in the ELCA. I'm pleased about this affirmation, and am pleased that they see the call that I have for this ministry. It is good to be "done" with that.
During January, I also worked diligently on my January Interim (J-term) project. I worked it out with my advisor and school for me to do an independent study. I worked hard, read a lot, thought a lot, and wrote a lot. The final project ended up being 23 pages (including 2 pages of resource information in an annotated bibliography style). The title is, "With Sighs Too Deep: A Pastoral Resource Regarding Dementia." The project was my effort at creating a biblical, theological, and pastoral resource for people to use. My advisor told me that she wanted me to also make it personal, because that would bring it alive for people. So, I wrote and wrote and wrote, trying to integrate the Bible, theology, pastoral care, and my own experience with dementia together in a cohesive, engaging, and helpful way. I was slightly worried when I handed it in when I came back to school because I'd never done an independent study before, and I wasn't sure that what I did was exactly what my advisor was expecting.
I found the paper in my campus mailbox the first week of class. I was on my way to a "clergy tax seminar" on campus. When I got there, I opened the binder (I wanted it to look professional!), and flipped through the pages looking for comments and the like. I like comments because they give me a better idea of what works vs. just seeing a letter or the wonderful words, "CR." Anyway, there weren't too many comments, but when I got to the last page of text (before the resources), I saw that she had written at the bottom of the page. Apparently, I did a good job because the comments she gave me were really humbling. She even mentioned that she would like to see me find a way to distribute my work to a larger audience. She and I are exploring a possibility or two, and in the meantime, I have offered it to people who indicate an interest. I hope that it is helpful in some fashion or another for all who read it. I am passionate about the subject of dementia and of helping people to know God's comforting, redeeming, and loving presence in the midst of such catastrophic forgetting. I'm also excited that it was so well received by my advisor/grader and that she is helping me find a way to distribute it more widely.
Apart from these things, school is back in session. Four years has really flown by. When I was an underclasswoman, all the seniors used to say, "Seminary time really flies!" I always thought, "Yeah right!" But as I sit here in MY last semester, I can't help but agree. It's amazing. I'm excited to serve the Church professionally, and I am excited at what might happen in the future. I realized the other day that people must already see me as "pastor-like." I knew this was the case for SOME people, such as those who I served while on internship, but the realization has deepened. I have been asked many theological and practical church questions in the past few weeks, and I have been involved in several pastoral care and theological conversations with people from back home, as well. About half the time, the people have prefaced the question or conversation with, "I've been thinking about xyz, and I thought, 'Who better to talk/ask than Trisha!'" It's slightly daunting, but even more exciting at the same time. I enjoy it, and am continuing to live into the knowledge that God gifts people for ministry in many ways; one of which is by gifting the Church with teachers and leaders who help shape us.
Anyway, that is what has been going on in my life lately. I hope you and yours are well.