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Archive for November, 2009

Advent

RevGalBlogPals is hosting an advent retreat today. I’m looking forward to participating on here and in my own personal quiet spaces today through meditation and journaling.

Yesterday, in church I shared about my love for Advent. In college, I worked two years in retail at this popular store. The second Christmas season there was my last because I was moving to another town to finish college. I had asked the manager for an increase in hours so I could save up more money. My one request was to be off in time to get to the Christmas Eve service with my family. It was a family tradition to attend it together. At work, we all worked hard to get out of there on time. We even ended up closing the doors in front of customers who were begging (and sometimes cursing) us to let them in for one more present.

I was late in getting to the Christmas Eve service and they had already turned off the lights in the sanctuary so I couldn’t find my family. I sat alone in the back of the room wearing my TRU Geoffrey shirt. I listened to the Christmas carols, the story being read, and watched as the deacons got ready to pass around the candles. The pastor said something about getting ready for the arrival of the Christ child. I remember thinking, wait… I’m not ready. It can’t be happening now. I’m not ready. I’ve just been dealing with people at some of their most ugliest times this season and I’m suppose to usher in this gift of love. My heart isn’t quite ready.

Fast forward a couple of years to the first time I worked on a church staff. Our worship pastor announced the first Sunday of Advent would be after Thanksgiving. I had learned about Advent and its significance that year. I loved it. I love the waiting, intentional preparation, and expectation of the season.

I love Advent.

Yesterday, we lit the candle of hope as we begin this season of preparation.

I feel like there is so much that I am preparing for in my life right now. Barry and I probably only have a few more months left in the Bay Area. We are preparing for another move and yet, don’t know exactly where the move will take us. I’m preparing myself to begin to think about another move professionally. There are many other things for which we are preparing. So, this season seems appropriate yet again. In times of preparation, it is important to remember to stop, reflect, enjoy, and listen to the lessons that surround you. I pray this season of Advent will be that kind of journey for me this year.

The church where I was on staff as Associate Pastor has produced an Advent devotional written by church members and it can be found here. Also, one of my favorite organizations, PASSPORT has an online devotional that can be found here.

Where are you on your journey this season?

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Last Saturday Barry went to the Stanford vs. CAL game with another friend of ours. I had two meetings to attend with work. I would not have scheduled the meetings, however, they did not announce the game at the beginning of the season. Boo. I had already scheduled the meetings before I realized what had happened.

The guys had a great time even though Stanford lost to CAL. It’s called the BIG game around here and everyone talks about it all week long. Barry’s parents were here the weekend prior to the game and I took them over to tour the CAL campus. There were banners everywhere talking about it. The same thing happened at Stanford. The Stanford fountain was even red (well, sort of pink).


Barry took my camera to the game and got some great pictures! Tiger Woods was inducted to the Stanford Hall of Fame. Yes, Tiger went to Stanford (he didn’t graduate but who needs a degree when you are Tiger Woods, right?)

 

You probably heard tonight that early this morning, Tiger was involved in a car accident. Rumors are flying about what happened but we’re praying for a quick and full recovery. Tiger is a very talented Golf player and we’re glad to hear he’s out of the hospital. Tiger, send you some get well love!

In addition to the talented football team, we have enjoyed watching the Stanford band during half-time. They are no ordinary college football band. Let’s just say, they are unique. You NEVER know what they will perform or what they will be wearing as they perform. Example:


Darth Vader, Storm Troopers, R2D2,

It’s been a great season packed with great memories. We have one game left tomorrow as Stanford takes on Notre Dame. Go Stanford Cardinal.

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This blog has been a great way for me to keep track of life over the past year. Often, I find myself reading back through old posts and old comments. I find myself wishing that I had posted more. The blog has helped me to write about this experience of living across the country. I have shared more through this blog than I probably would have… ever.

Today has been a wonderful day. I got up this morning and grabbed my last minute grocery items from the store. I came home and switched between cooking and reading. Reading? Yes, reading and working on my sermon for this Sunday. The candle was lit and there was something cooking in my stove/oven all day long. The house smells wonderful! I wish I could say there was that much progress on my sermon 😉

I sat down a few minutes ago and read back through some of my blog postings. I found this one. I had forgotten about the post and how much I love the quote from that book. I think what amazed me most is that I had no idea one year later I would have the opportunity to pastor such a great group of folks. I’m truly blessed and thankful for this opportunity.

What else am I thankful for this year?

– wonderful neighbors from another country to share a meal with
– loving husband who works very hard at helping other people & supports my dreams
– great parents who always make sure I know how much I’m missed at the holidays (and every day!)
– a fantastic brother-in-law who loves my sister and puts up with his sister-in-law
– my creative and talented sister who continues to amaze me.
– my best friends, Joe & Brittany, who are already the best parents ever!
– Kitt and Garet’s safe arrival and that they are growing so fast!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

 

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One More Day

 

Sending good thoughts to Stanford Football team as they play CAL tomorrow!

I’ve just started reading the blog “Simple Mom” and she’s having a giveaway over at her blog. You have to go and enter because the gift is amazing! Okay, maybe you shouldn’t go and enter because then my chances will go down. Either way, check out her blog very, very soon!

 

Have an amazing weekend! Be back soon!

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Last year on Veteran’s Day I wrote this post about remembering the veterans in my life. Today was a strange reminder on how much has changed in my life in a year. Last year, I was waking up each day to sit beside and stand with our men and women veterans in various settings throughout the hospital system called the VA. It was work I had never pictured myself doing but that is the way blessings often come our way. They surprise us. The love I had in working with our veterans did that for me. It surprised me.

There are so many things I can say about my time at the VA and the various things I learned. I miss the men and women from various experiences, family backgrounds, etc. and for many different reasons served our country in the armed forces. I miss the discussions we had of life, love, war, God, humanity, just to name a few. I wonder where they are tonight. Are some of them still living at Little Orchard (homeless shelter)? Is she nestled in the hospital bed (again) for another test? Has he graduated from his program?

Veterans, wherever you are, may God’s presence bring comfort to you tonight. I want you to know that I still remember and thank you for your service.

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Being Nostalgic

It’s a beautiful fall morning here in CA. Today is game day in the Johns household. We’re cheering on Stanford today as they play Oregon. It’s a really important game because Oregon is ranked in the top 10. It would be a HUGE upset for Stanford to beat them. Later today, FSU plays Clemson. Who knows what team will show up to play today for the Noles. I’m watching because I’m a faithful fan.

I woke up this morning craving an egg sandwich. Do you just have those days where you want something particular to eat? Today was one of those days. Barry had gone for a run so I decided I’d scramble up a couple of eggs. As I was standing over the stove it hit me. This is one of my favorite memories of my grandmother. Gran loved egg sandwiches and very often, it was the meal we’d eat together in the evening time.

It was the best egg sandwich I’ve eaten in a long time. I wish I had been enjoying it with her. I miss her so much. There was just something about our relationship that worked. I know she was not an easy person to get along with and many in my family did not have fun memories of her. I loved every minute of time I had with her.

I miss smelling her perfume, White Shoulders which she wore religiously. I think sometimes that I got my love of church from her. She loved church and the friends she always made through her church. I miss her nagging. I think about how she would be so aggravated that I moved to California, even though she loved this coast so much.

I am so very thankful for my wonderful grandparents- all of them! I love my Gran, Pawpaw, Pa and I’m so grateful I still have time with Ma. But today, on a beautiful Saturday morning over an egg sandwich, I miss my Gran in particular.

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Over at RevGalBlogPals, the Friday Five challenge is to share things we love especially when they are new…

1. Trying out a new recipe- I’ve been a little more adventurous lately in trying out new recipes. I love the excitement of whether it’s going to turn out or not. I don’t cook fancy recipes but love finding something that really tastes good. One of the websites I love lately is Eat Better America. They take common recipes and give healthy alternatives. Of course, you can never go wrong at www.foodnetwork.com

2. Flavored Coffee Creamer- Right now it’s Pumpkin Spice but I can’t wait to buy the Peppermint kind. Seriously, popping the top and smelling the yummy flavor. What a great way to start the morning!photo courtesy of tandygrandstaff.wordpress.com

3. Candles- Love the excitement of lighting a scented candle for the first time. I don’t know if this have ever happened to you, but I have thought candles smell so great in the store only to get them home and not like the scent. I love lighting a candle and finding that it’s lovely aroma is a great addition to my home.

4. Music- Who doesn’t love finding a new song? or music group? One of my new favorites is Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. Love them. Go look them up on itunes now!

5. New Running Shoes- I can’t say this about all shoes because some require that you “break them in” and manage to hurt your feet in the process. However, new running shoes= awesome!! I love that feeling. I’m currently running with Saucony shoes. Love Them.

Happy Friday to all! I’m working on my sermon and lighting a candle for the men and women at Ft. Hood today. What a terrible loss and tragedy.

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