Sunday, August 28, 2011


I recently got a haircut. I really love when "haircut day" rolls around, which is usually about every 4-5 weeks, since I wear my hair short. The time before this haircut, I tried a different style, but I couldn't style it the way the cosmetician did, and so gave up on trying that one. So, this haircut was a smidge overdue.

The thing was, I am really cheap. I wanted to wait at least a month to get my new haircut. Then I ended up waiting a little bit longer because I had a doctor's appointment.

What? Why should that matter?

I have been having headaches every morning on the top left of my head. They're not horrible, but they're bothersome, especially considering they've been going on for 2 months. So, I finally went to the doctor. After listening to me describe the headaches, the doctor wanted me to have an MRI to make sure it wasn't a brain tumor. This was the second time in about 9 months that the words "brain tumor" have been spoken to me, so I was a little nervous about it all. And, still cheap.

Cheap, because I didn't want to get a haircut BEFORE the MRI in case I DID have a brain tumor and would need surgery. After all, they would have just shaved my head anyway. Why spend twenty bucks if the hospital would just shave my head in a few days, anyway?

So, last Tuesday, I had my MRI. I have had MRIs before, so I knew what to expect. I just tried to chill out in the tube, and then waited anxiously for the results. Finally, on Thursday, the doctor's office called and said it was clear. What a relief! How thankful am I that these persistent, nagging headaches are not something malevolent growing inside my brain.

So, the day I got my results, I got a haircut. Even though it seems that I'm thankful for the simple thing of getting a new haircut, I think it's something more profound; a gratitude that I could GET a haircut and not have to worry about getting my head shaved. It's a gratitude that I am still pretty healthy, even though I have no answers as to why I have these headaches. But, it's not a tumor. And so, I am thankful-for health and for haircuts.

Sunday, August 07, 2011


I was just reading some older posts and realized I missed some more stuff...

First off: The awesome family related news I alluded to in February...YS got ENGAGED on Valentine's Day! She and her man decided to get married on April 30th at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas! All my siblings except for OB went. It was SO awesome, and I'm very glad that they took the leap. YS's husband is a very awesome guy, and I am excited that he's officially my brother in law. He treats her well, and they seem genuinely happy together.

The other big thing: I broke my wrist in March. Some friends and I went roller skating in SeminaryTown, and within 15 minutes, I had fallen. A roller rink employee was right there when I went down and she said, "Are you ok?" I was afraid of getting into trouble, (odd, I know) and so I just said, "Yeah, I'm fine!" Then I got up and started skating around again, thinking that I had just bumped it a bit. But then, the roller rink announcer said that there were no shoes or coats or sweatshirts allowed in the skate-putting-on-area, and so my friends and I all went to move our stuff to the cubby holes. I sat down and my wrist was still really hurting, and I felt like I was going to pass out. I mentioned that I was really in pain and one of my friends asked if I could move it. I could, though it was sore. So, as I got more and more light-headed, they told me to lie down. I asked, "Do they have free water here?" (I have a penchant for asking stupid water-related questions), and then one of my friends came back with a bottle. Another employee came over with a bag of ice, and looked at my wrist a little. Then, my friends said, "It's time to take Molita to the hospital!" So, we got up and were walking out when the guy who took our money came up and said, "You hardly got to skate, so here is your money back." So, we took our money, loaded into the car, and made the drive across town...

AND BOY, WHAT A DRIVE! Every bump hurt like you would not believe. It didn't really, REALLY start hurting until we got into the car, but man...Yikes. I was saying words that are not befitting for a seminary student to say. Oh, and I was laughing hysterically because I am not very good at crying. So, there I was, laughing and swearing profusely, amusing all my friends on the trip.

When we got to the Emergency Room, I was still laughing, and when I went to the window, I told them my name and that I fell down and hurt my arm. I took a seat by all my friends and we waited. When we got to the hospital, I stopped swearing, but I was still laughing and saying fake swear words (Fudgesicles, shoot, frick, and the like) because there were little ears around. Finally they called my name and my friend Sarah walked with me back there. I was having a hard time breathing well because it hurt so bad and the lady told me I needed to breathe better or my face would get numb. So, they got me a wheelchair to sit in because every time I moved, my wrist would hurt more. Sarah pushed me back to the waiting room after the receptionist took some of my info. Then, some dude came and Sarah took me back to talk insurance. At that point, I was mentally cursing whomever chose to put square tiles down in the hallways because each groove caused me serious pain.

When I was done giving insurance information to that guy, Sarah pushed me back out to the waiting room to wait with Meganne and Matt. Some other guy was waiting for his wife, too, and I think he was thoroughly amused by me. All the laughing, I think, was odd for people to see. While we were waiting, one of the seminary employees came out of the ER with stitches in her face. She'd been at a hockey game and had gotten smashed in the head with a puck! So, we are ER buddies now.

Finally, they called me to come back. And so, Matt, Meganne, Sarah, and I went back to a room. Matt and Sarah were classmates of mine, and Meganne is a music therapist, so I said they were my "Spiritual Care Team." We waited and waited and waited, and Sarah took photos of me on her phone and uploaded them to FaceBook. Before long, people were commenting and the like. Another couple of friends saw the pictures and Sarah's status update and asked if we needed anything. So, about half an hour later, they showed up, Matt went and got them out of the waiting room, and they brought bottles of water, some cookies, and a never-been-chewed doggie toy to replace the decimated water bottle I'd been squeezing for the pain. It.was.EPIC!

By that time, I'd had X-rays, and the nurse practitioner (I guess broken bones don't require a doctor) had talked to me. Medical people who were around would occasionally glance in to see what all the laughter was for, and I think that my laughing made them under appreciate the immense pain I was in (really, you wouldn't think a broken wrist would hurt that bad, but it DOES. It REALLY does)! Finally, about ten minutes before it was time to go, they came in and gave me a splint, and asked if I wanted something for the pain. I said, "YES!" The nurse asked if I wanted a pill or a shot. Meganne chimed in and said, "She wants a shot! It'll work faster and she's in A LOT of pain." It was funny, but Meganne does know about these things since she was a music therapist for Hospice (We even started to write a song about my pain and the experience of it all...She says it helps). So, the nurse came in and I got a lovely pain killing shot, and then was discharged with instructions to go to the bone doctor later that week for a cast. Matt and Meganne and Sarah and I went directly to the WalGreens and got my Vicodin, and when we got back to Seminary, Sarah put me to bed.

Having a broken wrist is not pleasant, but the experience was helped by friends who helped me when I couldn't do things for myself. I am very blessed to have such considerate people in my life. I had people to take me to the bone doctor since I wasn't allowed to drive my own drugged-up self (Thanks, Jealaine and Sarah!). I had people to do my dishes so I didn't have to stack them up for a month. I had a neighbor who would open things I couldn't, and another friend who bought me some bath supplies that would help me be able to bathe more easily.

But, I think one of the other highlights of having an awesome orange cast, was the fact that I got so many awesome people to sign it! The day I got it on, my new bishop was at the seminary to meet me and the other WND assignee and his family. So, in addition to many friends who signed it, Bishop Mark Narum also signed my cast. And then, the president of the seminary and his wife ALSO signed it (He's an ex bishop and his wife is just freaking amazing anyway). AND THEN!!!! Because the president was new, he had to be inaugurated in early April. And WHO does the inauguration of a new seminary president? THE CHURCHWIDE BISHOP!!! So, when that day rolled around, I walked up to Bishop Hanson and I lifted up my arm and I said, "Will you sign my cast?" He said, "Sure!" And I handed him my Sharpie and he signed it right in the palm, where I had conveniently left him a space. It was so funny and awesome for me. I mean, how many people can say that Bishop Mark Hanson has signed their cast? I almost wish I'd saved the thing when they took it off...Almost.

So, that is what has been happening in my life. I hope things have been good for you all, and that none of you have broken any bones lately. And if you have, my sincere sympathies are with you.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Wayyyyy too long...

Sincerely, my apologies for not updating with any sort of regularity. I have thought often about the need for updating, but simply have not gotten around to it.

Much has happened in the months since my last post. I graduated from seminary in May with my Master of Divinity degree. I had interviews with two different parishes and because both issued me a call, I had to discern to which one I was called. The Holy Spirit absolutely led me on the decision, and I am happy and excited about where I find myself.

I was ordained at my home church in Illinois on July 30th. My old pastor came back to be the preacher at the service. I thought it was a great sermon, and I am SO glad he was willing and able to be there for such an important day. Two ladies from my new congregation made the trip from North Dakota to Illinois to be present with me on my ordination day. I thought THAT was so awesome! That's a really long drive. I also had several family friends there, old friends from grade school and high school, and of course, many fantastic and supportive people from my home parish. I experienced a lot of love and affirmation that day, and I give thanks to God for their presence in my life and in the world.

I start my new call tomorrow morning. I'm so excited that I get to start on a communion Sunday. This is a humbling calling, and it is my hope and prayer that I be a good pastor for these people and their community. They seem so amazing, and I hope that we have a good time together.

Something really neat about my new congregation (one of many, many things that makes them flippin' sweet) is that when we were interviewing, they told me that they were the only church left in the town. This being the case, they said they wanted their pastor to be a "COMMUNITY PASTOR." They wanted to make sure the pastor would not sit holed up in the office all day every day, but instead to get to know not just the members of the church, but also of the village. I thought that was incredibly mission minded, and amazing.

Anyway, I already feel very welcomed at the congregation, even with my limited exposure to them. J and I went to the Finn Hall Annual Steak Fry tonight, and that was a good time. It's a very Finnish area, and they take pride in that. The church has deep Finnish roots, so this old German is going to have to learn about the Finns. One thing I learned is that the Finns can be very "sisu," which means, "stubborn or determined." Ha ha. Thanks to the congregation council president for telling me that one.

Seriously though, I am considering myself very blessed by all of this. I am excited, and a little scared (as I always am with anything new), and I hope that I am a good pastor. I hope I don't make any huge mistakes, and that I can be an effective and engaging preacher and teacher. I have many hopes, worries, and ideas, and I am hopeful that the Christ who walks on water will beckon me also onto the surface, and will catch me when I begin to sink.