Friday, March 30, 2007

Nic & Val


My sister's kids...gotta love 'em.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Join me in being an April Fool for Christ!

So those of you in Pasadena can join me at a fun event this Sunday - especially great for the little ones (those of you in other towns, maybe pick up the idea!):

The fifth annual ecumenical Pasadena Palm Sunday Peace Parade will start at 3 PM this Sunday at the Messiah Lutheran Church (Orange Grove and Madison, just north of the 210).

This will be a very fun, family-friendly Christian celebration and public witness. We start with 20 minutes or so of worship at the Lutheran Church (singing, praying, liturgy), then have a nice, celebrative walk down Los Robles to the Paseo Colorado, where we reassemble for public worship in the "mall" zone!

Being as it is April Fool's Day, the theme this year is being "fools for Christ" (the wisdom of God is foolishness to the world, as the Apostle Paul proclaimed, and this is certainly true of God's way of making peace as versus the world's!) The flip side of God's wisdom is the folly of war, which we see manifest on a daily basis in the deeply misguided and immoral war policy of our government over the last 6 years, a sad sign of our collective national sin. Bring signs, noisemakers, and lots of energy and smiles!

And one more Big Thing: I have a new nephew! Nicolas Craig, born this morning, 6 lbs 10 oz, 19 inches long. Mom (my sis) is doing fine, although says this time it was a lot harder (I hope that wasn't b/c I convinced her to drink coconut water instead of Gatorade!). Praise God!

Monday, March 26, 2007

One more NoLa need

hey, if anybody knows a good quote from a Christian source about justice that would be very relevant to New Orleans - something that students could keep in their pocket during their work - please post in the comments! Here is the one from my Jewish colleague (it's so perfect I could die):

If you wish to raise a person from poverty and trouble, do not think that it is enough to stand above and reach a helping hand down to him and her. It is NOT enough. You must go down to where the person is, down in the mud and the filth. Then take hold of him or her with strong hands and pull until both of you rise up into the light.

--Shlomo Ben Meir HaLevi of Karlin, late 1700s.

Need NoLa Churches!

So, I am definitely going with the student group from CSUN to New Orleans over Holy Week to do cleanup and building. Sooooo excited!!

While, there I would love to take them to an Easter Vigil (something traditional) and a nice Easter morning service (preferably more "gospel southern").

So help me out, national readers!! If anyone has any suggestions for a good parish to contact about this, let me know. We're not a huge group - 24 students, 5 leaders - but I want to go someplace not too small or too big (don't want to dominate yet don't want to be lost). Many of the students are not Christians and this will be their first exposure to these services.

Just email me at stasigrace at gmail dot com with suggestions. Also, I'm going to ask the parishes about this, but if you know of any materials already out there on justice and racial reconciliation particularly pertaining to New Orleans, that would be lovely. We want to have a session on that. Even a guest speaker from the local community would be great!

Many thanks!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Help out a fellow student

Hi everyone!

An avid Feminary reader has asked our community to participate in this survey for his dissertation research. Let's help him out!

Exploring the Role of Internet Advertising in American Politics

This survey is designed to help us understand what Americans like you think about internet advertising, modern campaigns, and politics. We are very interested in your thoughts on this matter and greatly appreciate your participation.

Click here to take the survey.
(http://www.ic.sunysb.edu/stu/crweber/TAKE%20SURVEY/internet_advertising.htm)

Change

Here are my "feverish rantings," aka my sermon written during my bedrest and given this am (my dear husband gave it that description - upon learning when I wrote it, not after hearing it). I went off script a lot in the delivery but this gives the general idea. It would help a lot for you to read the texts real quick so I'm providing links (hopefully they work).

Lectionary Texts: Psalm 126, Isaiah 43:16-21, Philippians 3:8-14, Luke 20:9-19

As many of you know I was back at my parents’ house in Iowa last week, and I spent as much time as I could with my niece. Vallarie is 21 months old, and she’s walking and talking and turning into an adorable little person. I learned something from Vallarie that I think we all know deep down inside: it’s no fun to change! While I was there, she got all off her schedule and was cranky most of the time. Since we ate out a lot, she had to sit in boring restaurants instead of her own house. And when it came time to changing her – that is, her pants – whoa, nelly. This child was not in favor of that! She’d scream and kick her little feet and wiggle all around. But when it was over, she was always happier.

It’s kind of a silly example, but it shows that we’re creatures of habit, aren’t we? Sometimes we’d rather stick with something bad – even a dirty diaper! – than go through the discomfort of change.

In our Psalm today we read about a change in the fortunes of Israel. The psalmist asks God to restore the fortunes of Zion, so they can laugh and shout for joy again. The psalmist longs for the good old days, when even the other nations could tell how good they had it, as God’s people. We know from the book of Exodus that the people of Israel could be a little bit…whiney. Not unlike a two year old. They even asked to go back to slavery in Egypt when things got tough! God had changed their fortunes, but it didn’t suit their expectations, so they weren’t satisfied. I wonder if this psalm is falling into that old pattern a bit, the habit of not being happy with the present and instead wishing for better days, either behind or before us. The time of change was uncomfortable – it’s no fun to change.

Our reading from Isaiah mentions that time of the Exodus as well: “the Lord makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters, brings out chariot and horse, army and warrior; they lie down, they cannot rise, they are extinguished, quenched like a wick.” Yeah, that sounds pretty good, huh? The Lord took care of Israel’s enemies. The good old days.

But Isaiah goes on to say, “Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old.” Sure, that was great what God did, but don’t dwell on it. Why not? Because “I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The wild animals will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches; for I will give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.” Whew! That’s a pretty amazing promise! What God has in store is so powerful that it’s going to literally alter the natural course of the earth.

Which brings us to another truth about change: it can take a long time. Sure, God could put rivers in the desert with a snap of the fingers, but let’s say he’d choose to work with the natural environment he created. It would take centuries for a river to form in a desert – maybe longer! It would mean changing rainfall patterns, currents, even habitats (hence the wonder of the animals – they usually notice before we do when things are changing in the environment). God tends to let this incredible ecosystem that he’s set up work things out naturally, so if he’s promising a river in a desert, he’s not necessarily promising quick change. The end result will be refreshing and wonderful, but the time it takes could be enormous.

So if it takes, say, five years to put in a prayer and meditation room – that’s not so bad compared to a river in the desert, right! Could be about as difficult, though.

Isaiah’s prophecy that God was doing a new thing was fullfilled by the coming of the Messiah. After all, when Jesus came, God turned the world upside down. It was definitely a new thing. In our gospel text, Jesus’ parable also speaks of the coming of the Messiah (himself).

So what happens in our gospel story? The owner wanted his produce. But the tenants on his land had gotten pretty comfortable there, thinking they owned the place. After they’d beat up several of his servants, the owner of the land switches it up, makes a change, because nothing had worked so far. He sends his son to collect. He thinks they will respect him. But the tenants were only confused. They actually thought that killing the owner’s son would make them receive his inheritance! How crazy is that? They were so thrown by the change that they were not thinking straight.

This often happens when things change. Maybe a change is for the better, but we don’t see it. We may misunderstand what God is doing, and we may respond inappropriately. Thinking about these tenants, I remembered probably the biggest change in my lifetime: 9/11. Our country was thrown into a state of fear (rightly so) and we let a lot of changes happen that maybe weren’t so good for us. We were so thrown by the change that we couldn’t think straight. And now there’s a lot of mess to clean up. But to fix the mistakes, to change back or go forward, is also frightening. Change can be disorienting and downright scary.

Our epistle also talks about change. Paul has seen an incredible change in his life – and he realizes how good it is. It’s so good that his own past is like rubbish. Here he’s not saying that Judaism is bad, he’s just saying Christ is so much better that it makes that good look like garbage. What a new perspective!

Paul had been an awesome Pharisee. In the verses just before our reading today he says, he was “blameless” as to righteousness – he says he did everything right! And he did it out of love for God – he followed the best route he knew to God’s pleasure.

But when he found Christ, his world was so rocked that he says all the wonderful stuff before had been trash compared to the new thing. Paul recognizes that the new and the old can’t go together – he had to lose the old, and regard it “as rubbish” in order to “gain Christ.” Jesus said new wine can’t be poured into old wineskins, or they will burst. Paul is saying the same thing – when the new comes, the old becomes doesn’t work anymore. Isaiah says it too: “Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old.”

So what do we do after we’ve forgotten the old? Paul answers, “Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.”

What is our heavenly calling? What new thing could God be doing among us, right now? Our bishops have been in the paper a lot recently, claiming that God is doing a new thing in our church. Is he? Or closer to home, just look around you: this congregation is changing. We have not one but two babies. There are more young people. There is a lot of diversity.
I mentioned our new prayer room. Building it means we had to let go of our ideas about what that space was for and release it to be a place for meditation and silence. We talked in our first Thursday night Lenten series about singing a new lyric in the Lord’s Prayer: “Who art in heaven” instead of “Which art in heaven.” That means we have to let go of our comfortable, habitual language, and instead really think about what it is we’re singing, and whether that matches what we believe. Last week, the vestry decided to begin ordering fair trade coffee, and that meant deciding as a congregation to support hardworking farmers instead of only looking for the cheapest price. That means letting go of our thriftiness, and instead seeing ourselves as part of a kingdom in which we take care of our brothers and sisters around the world.

Wow! You guys are doing pretty great with all these changes. Maybe you didn’t even know they were happening. What I am wondering is if these little changes are all some kind of preparation. Do you think God might be planning a very big new thing for St. Barnabas? I don’t know. But what I do know is that if God wants change, it will come, whether we are ready or not. All we can control is how we will react. Our hearts’ softness, our minds’ preparedness, our bodies’ willingness to get to work.

So if God wants us to move forward, forgetting what lies behind, how will we react? Will we, with the psalmist, long for the good old days? Will we misunderstand and reject the change that’s really good for us, like the tenants in our gospel parable?

Or will we seek out what God is doing? “Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” Isaiah said the change would be so great that the animals and the earth would be amazed! Paul says that what he had before was really good – but he took the leap and now what was before just looks like refuse, because the new thing is so much better.

I don’t know what changes God is calling our church, or our city, or our denomination, or our country to. I don’t know what changes are going on in your life. But my prayer is that we will be open to letting God change us. That we will discern together as a community how, and where, God wants us to change. That we will not ignore what is before our eyes when change starts coming, but “press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.”

And I pray that what comes will be so surpassing great, that everyone – even the jackals and the ostriches – will honor our amazing God.

Friday, March 23, 2007

weirdness

so my body completely gave out today. i've been running on adrenaline a few weeks I guess. There was the last week of class when I had to finish everything because there was my trip during finals week. and then I came back to a to-do list a mile long. Honestly the last three days have been the worst. I had to rewrite my essay for the growing up evangelical book, i had to grade 25 papers, I had to prep for last night's teaching series at church. That's what I got done. Plus I met with the people I'm going to New Orleans with and picked up a ton of assignments from that, due next Friday. I have two assignments for the worship video that are also due next week (and since they paid me in advance I better do 'em!). That's been driving me nuts b/c part of it is scanning a bunch of stuff and wouldn't you know, my scanner decided to break, so I've been stressing trying to fix it. Oh, and I am preaching in 2 days.

I'm not quite sure how this happened - it's just a perfect storm. Everything is good and stuff I want to do - a lot is stuff I'm being paid to do - but somehow it all hit at once. And then there are things I've had to release, like a scholarship application that I just haven't time to do. I don't even know if I'll submit to our literary mag this year and I always do!

I have baby showers tomorrow and the next day. Fortunately I shopped for them in Iowa. But it takes time to go. And I have publishers sending me notes about why haven't I reviewed the books they sent me, which is only fair and I do feel bad about it. I'm not going to take anymore unless I really think I'll read it.

So I didn't really realize how bad I was stressing, I just was trying to put my head down and get through this "break" so I can start class next week (when somehow I'll magically have time again, right?) and then go to NoLa the following week. Yes a week from Tuesday we leave.

But a funny thing happened: I woke up at 5 this morning and was very stomach-sick (you can fill in the details). Then I got in bed and slept a while, and when I tried to get up, I couldn't. I mean, I really could not move. Every effort - even opening my eyes - was exhausting. And I got up to get the computer and then fell into bed and slept two hours from the exertion. I tried to work (I did sketch out the sermon, thank God), but I couldn't type b/c I couldn't sit up (I'm reclining at the moment). So I tried to watch TV, and it was too tiring. I was too tired to even watch TV! When J got home he brought me juice and I spilled it everywhere and slept again. Now I'm awake again but still not able to sit up without feeling tired. I'm running about 100 degree fever but that's probably from being under blankets (I'm cold too).

It's just so weird. I've never had my body give up this completely. This is really the first thing I've done today and I know it's gonna put me asleep again. I'm sore from being in bed all day but our couch isn't comfortable and besides, getting up is too much.

I am assuming this is a one-day thing. Probably just exhaustion and some dehydration. I plan to be up and about tomorrow. I can give up one day, but if I give up more, there will be trouble. I simply have more things to do than I have hours in the day at this point. So I gotta rev up.

But I'm totally letting myself do nothing today, in the hopes that my body will reset and be fine in the morning. It helps that the body has essentially taken over control and won't let me move.

OK, I am worn out from this typing, so off I go to dreamland again. Take care....

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Urgent action for farmers, environment!

I got this email today from Bread for the World. It's for California people, but the legislation it refers to affects everyone (so insert your own senators' names):

Message: Please call Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer by 9 am California time on Wednesday, March 21, 2007, at 1-800-826-3688. Urge them to vote yes on the Grassley-Dorgan Amendment to save $1.1 billion by limiting farm commodity program payments.
[Note: This toll-free number will connect you to the Capitol switchboard, where you will ask to be connected to your senator’s office in order to leave your message.]

Background: This week the full Senate will debate the budget resolution that passed out of the Budget Committee last Thursday, March 15. Senators Grassley (R-IA) and Dorgan (D-ND) will introduce an amendment to the resolution to save $1.1 billion by limiting commodity program payments. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that limiting payments to $250,000 per farm per year would save $1.1 billion over 10 years. The amendment will commit these savings to other USDA accounts, with roughly one-third allotted to energy and rural development, one-third to conservation programs, and one-third to nutrition programs. So this amendment should help protect God's Creation and improve nutrition for hungry people here in California.

Key points: Current commodity policies are often said to be necessary to protect U.S. farm and other rural interests but in reality do little to help the most vulnerable people in rural communities. Most commodity payments go to large landholders, doing little to help small and mid-sized family farms or struggling rural families.

From 1995 to 2005, the top 2 percent of recipients of farm payments received 35 percent of all payments. The average payment for that group totaled $903,324. The bottom 80 percent of payment recipients received 12 percent of all payments, with an average payment of $7,749. By placing tighter limits on commodity payments to farmers, this amendment would reduce the advantage that the biggest farms now enjoy.

Twelve percent of the rural population is employed in manufacturing and 56 percent is employed in services. The farm bill devotes only a tiny fraction of its resources to meeting the needs of the vast majority of rural Americans.

The money saved from capping payments to the largest producers and landowners should be redirected into conservation, rural development, and nutrition programs. These additional resources will help to build strong and sustainable rural communities and improve nutrition program like the Food Stamp Program, our nation’s first line of defense against hunger.

Please call Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer today (Tuesday) or early tomorrow (Wednesday).

And so here's the email I sent (yes, I fear the phone, it's a phobia and I'm sorry) to my senators - feel free to plagiarize me!

Dear Senator,

I am a California resident (Pasadena) who is deeply concerned about issues surrounding farming, subsidies, and commodity payments. I am not content with the current system, which (according to my research) keeps most farmers in a cycle of poverty, drives down prices of food so that other countries can't compete, and fattens the wallets of major corporations (who make seed and fertilizer) with my tax dollars. You will be receiving many letters this year from my friends whom I plan to corral around the upcoming farm bill renewal. We are asking that you make decisions that will improve life for hungry people and farmers (not corporations!), both here in California and around the country and world. We will do our part by supporting farmer's markets, CSA's, and coops, but the world-wide situation will not change without government leadership.

My understanding is that if you vote yes on the Grassley-Dorgan Amendment it will save $1.1 billion by limiting farm commodity program payments and putting funds into arenas that will help the environment and smaller family farms. The amendment should help protect God's creation and improve nutrition for hungry people here in California. Plus, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that limiting payments to $250,000 per farm per year would save $1.1 billion over 10 years. Sounds like a big win for everyone!

The money saved from capping payments to the largest producers and landowners should be redirected into conservation, rural development, and nutrition programs. These additional resources will help to build strong and sustainable rural communities and improve nutrition program like the Food Stamp Program, our nation's first line of defense against hunger.

Thank you for your fine work and your strong example for women like me who are your partners in changing the world!

Anastasia McAteer
My address
Master of Divinity Student, Fuller Theological Seminary

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

All done

Well, the world is sort of ending. Check this out. Also I finished the quarter yesterday at 4:00, which is a new record (Monday of finals week). Way to go, me.

Wow, a totally wonderful opportunity has presented itself. By the grace of God I was recommended for a gig as a "scholar-in-residence" for an alternative spring break trip from Cal State Northridge. It's the Hillel group there (that's a Jewish student org), and because the trip entails working with Catholics and Baptists they wanted a Christian divinity student along with their rabbinical student who is going, to help with interfaith cooperation and whatnot. I don't know everything about it yet but it is so perfect for me. Not only is it interfaith and college students, but they are going on a service trip to the Gulf Coast, which has been something I've wanted to do ever since Katrina. And, here comes the icing on the cake, it's completely paid for - the travel, hotel, meals, etc., AND an honorarium. Wa-wa-wee-wa.

Only trouble is that it is during Holy Week, so I have to get my internship to let me off during like the biggest week of the year. But that should be possible since it's a pretty laid-back church. And I think they'll get how this is a great thing for me. I'm so excited!!

As far as the living situation goes, we're still on hold. We'd pretty much decided to go with the "sure thing" next door, but then on Sunday I was telling our deacon my story and she said we should get the house, without my even mentioning it, and she thought it was God's provision for us too. So then I went back into wait-wait mode. Yesterday our manager tried to corner us but we deftly avoided giving an answer. I don't know how long we can hold him off. But if we can wait until Sunday's vestry meeting, we should know at least whether the idea of the house is completely shot down or not. If there's any glimmer of hope, I'll hold out. But if they're totally against it, then we'll move next door and I will have a happy big kitchen and a gorgeous mountain view. So that would be lovely.

Ahhhhhh...I'm finally exhaling. I'm pretty shocked to be looking at my to-do list for the last 5 days and realize it's all crossed off. I don't know how all this gets done. I will say that my final yesterday morning was really fair and since I'd studied, I know I did really well. And I think my paper for Galatians just may turn out to be one of the better things I've ever written. I'm kind of shocked at how much I learned in that class. I'm more shocked that I can pick up the Greek NT and actually sort of read some of it again. I don't want to lose it again...but then, there will be Hebrew...

Well darlings, I'm about to be off to Iowa, going from 90 degrees to 30, which I actually think will be nice b/c it's too damn hot here. I get to be in a friend's wedding on Saturday, a dear friend from jr. high and high school. One of the only people - actually the only one, regularly - I've kept in touch with over the years. I'm trying to get over myself, because I know there will be people from high school there and it will be almost like a reunion. And I'm fat. But I've got to just suck it up and deal with it. But did she really have to put me in a strapless dress?? Damn. Well my pushups have paid off and my shoulders look pretty good. After that, it's all about the girdle, right? :)

OK, love to all, I'm going to do the post-quarter clean-up now and then pack myself up. Have a great week!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Update on housing situation

Hi, friends,

Well what an interesting day I had yesterday! It was quite a roller coaster, and it's not completely over yet.

I've decided maybe half a dozen times not to move, but I always stop and go wait, this is what I've wanted, why am I not taking it? So then I get all in a tizzy again. So yesterday I met with my church supervisor, and told him about the situation. The first thing he did was say he'd write the bishop to see about maybe getting me a little stipend as their seminarian. I thought that was so generous! I mean, it may not happen, but it's a nice offer.

Then he asked what our price range is, and when I told him, he said, "Oh, that wouldn't work." I said, "What?" And he said that they have the rectory that they rent out, and they haven't been thrilled with the tenant because they don't pay rent on time, etc. And he's been wanting to get a Fuller person in there for a long time. Plus, BIG bonus, if they move me in, since I count as clergy (being in formation), they can take the house off the tax rolls. So it's a win-win for everybody.

OH! I've wanted this to happen ever since I heard they had such a house! I've been praying for this! And I could have a HOUSE!! And a garden. How wonderful.

The rent is more than we can afford, but we'd already been talking about living in community with a friend and getting a house together. It would be good practice for our future student house. And we'd all save tons on rent. Plus, hello, house. Also I noted that if they save a lot in taxes, perhaps they could lower the rent a bit.

Anyway, I was walking on air after that. So happy. Then I went to class and went to meet with a prof. And wouldn't you know, he told me he has a grant project next year and if it goes forward, they will need someone to run the show. He didn't think I'd be available but I said I would SO make myself available! What an awesome opportunity. And a chance to actually do something with my knowledge rather than another admin assistant job. Plus, it would be part-time, so I could finish school as I plan (I was thinking I needed a job next year anyway).

So then my feet really weren't touching the ground. I called everybody - mom, sis, j, even talked to my homeless friend Keith. I was sure that God was arranging the house and the job so we could pay for the house. What a wonderful answer to prayers and hopes! Mom had even prayed just this week that God would somehow provide us a house. Wild!

Then I got a call from our apartment owner, telling me they would meet our requested price for the apartment next door. I said thanks, but I was thinking there's no reason to go there now! Still, I didn't give any sure answer.

When J got home he was all negative about the house. How will we get internet? What's the point of moving into a house now, when we might be leaving town in a year (for jobs/further study elsewhere)? And these sorts of downer questions. I got really sad and upset. Here I'd been thinking God was answering all my prayers and dreams, and J threw cold water on the whole thing.

So then we went to church last night, and told my supe everything that had happened. When I told him about the owner meeting our price, he said, "Congratulations!!" And I said that we were probably going to pass, though, because I wanted to be available for the house (moving next door means signing a new 1 year lease). And he got really stammery and said that he shouldn't probably have said anything, that it's currently rented by a friend of someone in the church, that they may not go for the idea - he's tried many times - and so on. He said, "Don't count on that!"

So then I was really confused and upset. I mean, I had told myself I was going to make sure the house was a go before saying no to the bigger apartment. And then I get to church and I hear the house is by no means a sure thing. But then why dangle the carrot? I mean that to God, not to my supervisor. J said maybe it was a test to see if I could really be happy with what I have, and I failed because I immediately jumped at the house. What a nice guy he can be.

I hated being back in the swirl of unknowing instead of feeling secure in God's provision. Which is stupid, now that I write that, because it's all God's provision, isn't it? Even the roof over my closet-like apartment right now. I am not on the street. God is good.

Anyway, so we talked last night and said maybe we should just stay here in the tiny place. Best case scenario is we get the house at the end of our lease. Worst case is we don't and we stay here until I graduate a year from now and we leave town (if we're staying in town, we'd definitely get a bigger place). Seemed reasonable enough. Went to bed on it.

Woke up this morning thinking I am crazy. Why am I not going for this place next door, when it's much better than what we have? Why hope for something (the house) that is so unlikely to happen? I wanted a certain price for next door and I got it. Why am I rejecting it for a pipe dream? Why not take the sure thing, that's going to be more comfortable?

The main reason I don't want to is because it locks us into a lease for another year from now. But all that means is that we're in this apartment complex until I graduate, which is likely anyway. It also means that it's not such a big deal to leave town if a post-doc or phd for me comes calling. And there's really not any major reason we couldn't get the house later. As J has pointed out, it might take them a year to get the person in it out of it.

And the main thing, for J (and me probably when I think of it), is that it's not much more difficult to move next door than moving around our furniture would be. It's not a big deal at all - the hardest part will be the cleanup. But it's by no means as expensive or time-consuming as moving out to a house would be.

So after all of that, now it seems we're leaning toward the next-door apartment. And I'm sad, because I see my little garden disappearing, and my dream of a house where I could actually entertain and feel like an adult. Have people over again - have my family visit again! It's something I've wanted for soooo long. Such a deep desire of my heart. And we could have a baby there!! We'd have room!

I'm sure the apartment guys want to know asap about our decision - although we're going to put them off as long as we can. Because we can't find out about the house until the vestry meets, and that's not until a week from Sunday. Plus I'm out of town, so I have to send J with our appeal, and he's got to gauge the reactions to see how possible it seems. Even though they haven't bought it in the past, I feel like since they know me and really like us they might be willing.

So hopefully we can hem and haw on the apartment another week (but it's unlikely - we'll probably have to say yes). Then if the vestry meeting goes well, we would, I guess, have to change our minds on the apartment (which really shouldn't upset them all that much - it's going to take at least another week to clean it, and then they'll get the original rent they wanted anyway, and they don't have to fix up our place to re-rent).

I am so unsure what is going on. I've been praying like crazy, you all have been praying, my family has, even my apartment manager has prayed with me over this!! It's so weird. I just don't know how it's going to turn out. So please keep me in your thoughts and prayers, and if you have any advice based on reading this from outside the situation, I am ALL EARS!

THANKS!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Quickie

Just a quick prayer request today. Those of you who've read this fall know that I've been struggling with claustrophobia in our new apartment, and we've had more catfights (I won't specify between whom!) than usual, since the available territory has shrunk considerably.

Well, our neighbors just moved out. Their place is bigger than ours, and the manager said we can move over there. The issue is that, of course, they want more money for it. $200 more a month, which is an increase of 20% for us. That's pretty significant when your budget only allows about $20 leeway each month.

So I've left a message for the owner asking if he'll negotiate the price. I think we could swing a little more, but not much. I just laid it out there and am waiting to hear if he'll go for it.

The place isn't so much better that I'd sacrifice heavily for it (for instance, the main large window overlooks a parking lot - ours overlooks a nice courtyard with palms and a pool). But it has a real-size kitchen (that you don't have to turn sideways to scoot into), and there's room for two people to stand in the same room without bumping into furniture, and you probably wouldn't have to move chairs to walk through the living room. But gee, what's the fun in that?!

Thanks for your prayers. I'm really fine however this works out. I've been praying for something to come along, and it would be so much easier if it were next door. The one downside is that I really want to start gardening in earnest (and worm composting!), but as long as we're here I don't know how we can. Not even a spot for a porch garden, really.

OK, that's it, back to Galatians!!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Too busy

I really wish I could write but I have other things that I can't justify not working on at the moment. It's the last week of the quarter, and since all my finals stuff is due by Tuesday at noon, this week has become the week I work on final papers and studying for my final. Not to mention I have a bunch of stuff to do this week as well. So in case you were feeling ignored, or like I've been a bad blogger, grace is requested. I will be back sometime around spring break, hopefully (the amount of catching up I have to do over spring break has led me to pretty much decide not to go on retreat - it's fine, I'm going away the week before, so that's my time off, and also I'm doing this spiritual direction thing all spring, so I'll get my retreat on there. And I'll go next break - this one is just too short).

Peace all, and I'll pray for extra grace and patience for all of us facing the end of another academic season.