Thursday, June 26, 2008

One Last Post

Friends, as this seminary season ends I think that the time has come for my blog to end. It has been an incredible last 3 years. I had no clue all the change, growth, and good things that would find me at Fuller. I think it's appropriate (and slightly cheesy, but I am kind of cheesy) to leave you words from the song that inspired the title of this blog.

"I'll spread my wings and I'll learn how to fly
I'll do what it takes to 'till I touch the sky"

Well I'm still learning, but it's been quite a ride so far. I"ll leave you all with two pictures from graduation.

Thanks to all those who are sharing this journey with me.

Much love,

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Mischievous Birds

In the past month 2 birds have decided to make a new home on my apartment welcome mat. I didn't mind at first, it's outside, why shouldn't the birds have a new spot to live? But soon, they began playing tricks on my roommate and I. As I walk up the stairs to my apartment door I can't see my welcome mat. Just when I don't expect it, the birds have a habit of flapping their wings loudly and then flying at me while I'm mid stair. They swoop low right above my head before landing on the edge of the a/c unit. While I have come to expect it now, there is still something unsettling at suddenly having 2 birds flapping and flying directly at you narrowly missing your head.

But, the birds have crossed a line. As Amy (my roommate) was walking up the stairs she heard the birds cooing (or whatever you call the sounds the birds make). She stopped hoping they would fly to their perch on the a/c unit and she could walk up in peace. Sure enough, at the sound of her feet they came flapping and flying and landing on the a/c unit. She watched the birds a second when she noticed that one of them had turned around, with it's butt directly over her head. Amy quickly noticed that the bird looked like it was about to relieve itself and hurriedly rushed up the stairs. Her instincts were right and she barely missed the bird poop falling from the a/c unit.

Now that's just plain mean birds! Maybe they are telling us we need bird feeders...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Rocking My World

If any of you all have been around me these past 8 weeks, you have heard me complain about my Hebrew Exegesis of Psalms class. The professor requires more work than i have ever had in a class--6 mini exegetical papers (each using 6ish sources) and 1 15-18 exegetical paper (requiring 20 sources)--all in 10 weeks, plus a midterm and several translations. I have spent more time in the library this quarter than I think I have spent there the rest of my Fuller career combined. And I am hardly seen without a Psalm commentary or the Hebrew Lexicon dictionary in hand. One classmate told me today that he was sure that I'd be carrying my Hebrew BDB with me whenever I moved to next, because of the deep habit I have formed this quarter. All this for a class I'm taking pass/fail...

But, as I have been immersed in the book of Psalms, digging more deeply into Scripture than I have ever dug before...slowly my world is being rocked. I love this book! The sheer, raw emotions expressed by the Psalmists are incredible. Anger. Doubt. Devastating Sadness. Huge questions. Confusion. It is in these deep emotions that the Psalmists meet God.

My new favorite psalm is 106, a historical psalm. It retells the stories of the Torah (first 5 books of the Bible) and confesses the common theme of the sin of forgetfulness by the Israelites. Each time things got hard or confusing the Israelites forgot God--but in the end God saved them despite their sin. As I think about the future and all the many questions that lie in front of me--I confess that I, too, forget God. I forget God's faithfulness and look other places for guidance. I see myself in this psalm. All I can do right now is agree with the confession of this psalm and cling to the praise offered up at the end in verse 48, "Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting...Praise the Lord."

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Brief Update

My friends have been constantly reminding me that my blog hasn't been updated in quite some time, so here's an overview.

First, I am now a quarter of a century old. We waited until the weekend after my birthday to have the big party - we went to the beach for a bonfire/cookout. You'll have to wait and see pictures though, because I don't have them on my computer yet. Or if you don't want to wait you can check out Sophie's blog ( because she already has a few pictures up (it's the post titled "Happy Birthday Pocket").

On my actual birthday though, I went with my girls to Bodega (a wonderful wine bar in Pasadena) for drinks and dinner. Here are a few pictures from that evening you might enjoy.

And I have also been reminded by my friends that I promised to post more pictures from the weekend Robin and her daughter Alyssa were here, so here are a few more pictures for your enjoyment.

The main reason I haven't been diligent about posting on my blog is the sheer amount of school work I have - I have 11 assignments left and then I'm done. I can't wait to graduate.

So, for now I'm going to list the things I've been doing (and I would promise to give more details later, but it make be awhile before that happens)
- I'm learning a lot at my church internship at San Marino Community Church
- we've been having lots of parties!!! My birthday party, an engagement party for Steve and Christina. And upcoming parties includes Christina's bachelorette party, a going away party for Sophie, Megan's 30th birthday party (May has literally been filled with parties!)
- I am officially going to become a California resident once I navigate my way through all the DMV paperwork
- did I mention the school work? I'm taking Exegesis with Psalms with one of the hardest professors ever (and one of the best), two preaching practicums with Dr. Shuster, and a church history IDL (distance learning class).
- I watched Season 3 of Grey's Anatomy in it's entirety when I was so tired from doing school work that I just needed a break

That's the brief update so I could get my friends to stop pestering me about not having an update.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


I was doing so well at keep my blog updated, and then well, didn't do so well. But here's the last couple weeks in a very quick summary.

--Winter Quarter ended, with my passing of my Intensive Hebrew class--now that is a feeling SHALOM.
--Easter was a day of mixed emotions as we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ the same morning that one of our church custodians tragically died.
--On the first day of Spring Break I was super excited to get the news that I passed all of my ordination exams. I was shocked and very, very relieved to never have to deal with those tests again.
--Robin and Alyssa Sturgis came into town for four days during Spring Break to visit and see me preach. I had a wonderful time with them!
--I preached for the first time on March 30th at San Marino. Despite feeling like a nervous wreck, in the actual preaching time I felt immense peace and really enjoyed the experience. What a gift to preach to my church family.
--The next day began my second to last quarter ever at Fuller. And it didn't take me very long to discover, it is my hardest academic quarter at Fuller. Which brings me to this point... It is already week 4, time is flying by. This quarter is intensely filled with schoolwork, lots of internship stuff at church, and lots of social events.

It has been an eventful couple of weeks as you can tell, with some really happy moments and some tragic moments. But nonetheless, life is certainly moving quickly... I'll try and do a better job of keeping you guys posted on all that's going on. For now here's a picture of Robin, Alyssa, and I and a picture of me with the marquee when I preached. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Shalom: Winter 2008 in a Nutshell

My catch phrase this quarter was "Shalom," partly because it continues to be one of the few Hebrew words I know, and partly because this quarter was so full, busy, and stressful at times, that saying Shalom helped. All in all, it was a very productive quarter, but I am thankful to be at the end of it. I thought that this was a fun way to reflect and summarize my quarter...

1 fun visitor, yay for a Spider reunion with Kristen who came in from Wisconsin
3 long, but helpful ordination exam study session; plus countless more hours studying the Book of Order, Book of Confessions, and making flashcards
64 hours sitting in Hebrew class...
2 Children's Sermon's given- always an interesting experience, particularly when there aren't any children in church
1 new dog friend Shadow, an old, yet very sweet black lab that I have dog sit a few times this quarter
5 Committee meetings, maybe more--I could have lost count, but nonetheless, an essential part of the church I've learned
2 Chinese American church groups visited. For my Ethnicity and the Church class I was assigned to visit 2 Chinese American churches. Both times were super interesting.
3 Bodega trips, a wonderful wine bar that is great for relaxing after a long week
10 Hebrew study sessions, which is how I survived Hebrew--both emotionally and academically, I think we became a support group for each other.
1 Chik Fil A trip--such a luxury to go to in SoCal
3 drives to Azusa to meet with my Presbytery liason to prepare for Candidacy
1 Session, CPM, and Presbytery meeting all in which I officially became a Candidate (hooray!)
12 hours in ordination exam testing, and many many more writing my exegesis ordination exam on Revelation
3 visits to Arcadia Methodist to dine with my chaplain friends still working there
4 coffee shops: Beantown, Zephry, Starbucks, Vromans, that gave me a place to study besides the Fuller library. Favorite: Beantown
1 swanky alumni cocktail reception with the UR President
2 calls to Triple A; silly ignition that broke
1 visit to Hrant--my trust auto mechanic, he keeps the Focus going
1 lovely Valentine's dinner/show with my girls. The Color Purple is wonderful
2 Hebrew tutoring sessions, the other way that I made it through Hebrew
5 CPK meals, it's just so good, and a good place for meetings...
4 good movies seen in the theatre: Juno, Definitely Maybe, 27 Dresses, The Other Bolyn Girl
2 books enjoyed for classes: Divided by Faith by Michael Emerson; The Wolf Shall Dwell with the Lamb by Eric Law
1 crazy case of Senioritis, without Christina and I babysitting each other, I may not have done any homework this quarter.

And I'm sure there's more, but for now... Shalom!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

"It's not enough, but it's something..."

During CPE we adopted our motto from the above quote from John Goldingay, a Fuller professor. As we reflected on our interactions with patients and families in group time we were frequently struck by the enormous task that we were doing as chaplains. We were entering in people's lives in their darkest and most stressful moments. In group time we would evaluate how past patient visits had gone, critiquing ourselves and each other, identifying times that went really well and other times that well, really bombed. In feeling the anxiety and pressure surrounding our job, we kept coming back to, "it's not enough, but it's something." For me, I found much comfort in knowing that I was not alone in ministering to patient's but that God was right their with me, was there before I was there, and continued to be there once I was long away from the hospital room. The pressure and anxiety was relieved, that in my human mind that what I did was the "end all be all" really was not. No matter how great of a chaplain I was, I could not make the pain and suffering go away from that person's life, what I did was "not enough but it was something..." I was a tiny little part of the magnificantly huge plan that God had in that person's life.

Somehow over the last quarter I had forgotten about that quote, that lesson that I learned last quarter. Each worship leadership task I was given this quarter caused me worries and nervousness. Performance anxiety some might call it... And now as I'm preparing my sermon to preach in two weeks that anxiety has reached it's peak. But as I sat in the library this morning that phrase came back into my head... "it's not enough, but it's something." Preaching God's word is an awe inspiring and terrifying task but I was reminded today that whatever I say on the 30th... it won't be enough, but it will be something, and that's all I can do.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

An LA Moment

Today as I sat in my last day of Hebrew class (Wahooooo!) my professor shared with us that we should all watch his wife as she acts on a prime time TV show in the next few weeks. With a little search on my classmates and I were able to discover a number of television shows and movies that his wife has had roles in. The real surprise was when a classmate found my professor on He has been married to 1 celebrity for 5.8 years--which he confirmed for us as true.

We asked my professor more of what it's like to be in the industry scene. He said one of the most memorable moments they had was an evening that they spent with Barbara Streisand and her husband James Brolin. Barbara was intrigued by his studying of Judaism since he is a Gentile. They had a long discussion about it in which Barbara concluded, "I really like that Jesus guy."

I realize that I've been in LA for 2 1/2 years now, but there are some moments that still do shock me a bit. I'm definitely not in Richmond, VA anymore.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

New Year's Resolution

I realized earlier this week that I had not set a New Year's Resolution. Actually, it hadn't even crossed my mind because I never, ever come close to keeping new year's resolutions. I don't even remember over the past few years what I have attempted to do... This Tuesday morning I was watching Rachel Ray as I got ready for the day and saw an inspiring story of a woman who tackled a different new year's resolution each month--so she had done 12 things once the year was done. That was a bit too ambitious for me, but I was inspired at her success. One of her things she did, was to try and learn to cook (fitting with the show). I realized that ever since I began seminary that I have been telling myself I want to learn to cook. And truthfully I am leaps and yards better than I was when I moved here. However, I still rely an awful lot on Trader Joe's frozen foods to get me through the week. I realized with my busy lifestyle, and lack of skills, that I will still have to do that sometimes. But I have decided, my 2008 New Year's Resolution is to try and cook a new recipe each week. This week it was Lemon-Basil Chicken Pasta--inspired by Rachel Ray, of course. I find that if I post things on public on my blog that they tend to get done, so here's to learning to cook! Any recipe suggestions, send them my way. :)

Monday, March 03, 2008

Hebrew and Politics?

So during my Hebrew study group last night a fellow classmate pointed out a way that he remembers two vocabulary words and while it may have a pretty strong political slant, I thought it was too funny not to share.
The Hebrew word for "to bless" = "Barack"
The Hebrew word for "ashamed" = "Bush"
Hmm.... :)

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Never again!

I wanted to take a quick moment and celebrate that I finally PASSED the Bible Content Exam! They say "third times the charm" and in my case it was true. 3 different times of taking the test, $210 spent on testing fees, and countless hours spent online memorizing useless Bible trivia...finally! You see, the Bible Content Exam doesn't measure knowledge of the contents of the Bible. No, it measures ability to remember tiny little details like, what is the first line of Psalm 1? Thankfully, there is a wonderful man who created a website with old Bible Content Exams, because the trick to passing the BCE is memorizing old questions (at least 1/3 of the test comes directly from old tests). If you'd like to try your hand at it, go to: You need a 70 to pass. And I am going to celebrate that never again will I take this test!

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Night On the Town

Becca, Sophie, Sarah, and I continued our tradition of Secret Valentine's this year. We exchanged names, surprised each other with gifts, enjoyed a fancy dinner out together, and saw The Color Purple at the Disney Concert Hall. It truly was a night of dressing up fun and celebrating our friendship with one another. Here's my favorite picture of the night...

Hooray for friendship!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

More Fun in February!

Well I truly am overdue for a post--thanks for pointing that out Sarah. First of all, THANK YOU to all of you who have been praying and encouraging me over the last month. It was the most study filled month I think I have ever had. Between ordination exams, Hebrew, and candidacy stuff there truly wasn't much time for fun. Hence my new motto--more fun in February! The ordination exams are over and I won't find out how I did until March 24th. Based on my initial feelings, I could have passed them all or failed them all...I was strong on certain questions and weak on others. Now it's up to how gracious the readers are feeling. I do know that I finally passed the Bible Content Exam. I looked up every answer once I had turned the test in and know that I got enough Bible trivia questions right to pass. So yay for that!

My candidacy stuff is going well. Both Session and CPM have passed me on to become a candidate. On March 11th I'll go before Presbytery. The process has been so encouraging as so many people have affirmed the call on my life to be a Minister of Word and Sacrament. I still don't have a clear picture of what exactly the road looks like, but it's pretty clear that the ordination path is part of it for me. It's hard to believe that as early as this fall that I'll be looking for a job. That is so exciting and yet a bit scary all at the same time.

And Hebrew, well, let's just say it's really not the best experience I've had at Fuller. Between frustration with the textbook and teaching style, I'm really ready for this quarter to be done. 10 more Hebrew classes left!! That means I am more than halfway done with the class and sadly still don't know a whole lot more than "Shalom." But I am praising God over and over for Bible translation software--those resources are amazing!

Other things going on my life last month... getting our grant report for SLP out--we'll soon start planning the next conference. And I began my church internship. I am getting used to ministry in the environment of a church--definitely different than a hospital context. It's not better or worse--just really different. So far I've been able to participate in various aspects of worship leading, make some pastoral phone calls, and help out with the New Member's Class. On March 30th I am preaching for both services--that should be interesting, for sure!

And MORE FUN IN FEBRUARY. I realized after last month was over that I was longing for more balance in my life. So for Lent, I am committing a full 24 hour period each week to have a Sabbath. I'm still praying through and researching what exactly that means for me, but for now I'm understanding it as a time for rest and renewal. A time with friends, a time in solitude, and a time intentionally spent with God. We'll see how it goes! I hope it can be a spiritual discipline that remains part of my life long after Lent is over. Other fun things that happened, my friend Kristen E. from college came to visit me in CA which was a blast, I met the new UR president at a swanky alumni cocktail reception, weekly potluck dinners have been reinstated, some trips to Chik Fil A have been made (a rarity in LA), some fun tea dates with friends, I'm getting back into the gym routine, and I even saw the ocean a few times. I'm looking forward to celebrating Valentine's Day with my girls as we continue our tradition of "Secret Valentines" and will end the week by seeing The Color Purple at the Disney Concert Hall. I'm also excited to have Robin and her daughter Alyssa (friends from Houston Cursillo) visit during part of my Spring Break when I preach. So there's my life in the last month in a quick nutshell. I'm hoping to be way better at updating this thing soon! Hope each one of you is well. And thank you again for your kind words and prayers last month--they really made a difference!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Lots Going On

Well there is nothing like drinking English Breakfast tea too close to bedtime to bring on insomnia and there's nothing like insomnia to promote writing a blog update... I am a day away from finishing my first week of classes back at Fuller and I am tired. It's been an interesting week. Interesting to be a Fuller student again, interesting to start my part time church internship, and interesting to balance this with upcoming ordination exams and candidacy paperwork. I've realized that this next month will be pretty intense. Despite the intensity, it is packed with some exciting things. My chaplaincy internship was such a great experience--and was so valuable in confirming my call to ministry. This month's timing worked out perfectly to take on some very practical steps in the ordination process in following my call to ministry.

I would love you all's prayers for the next month or so. If you think of it, please do pray for me as I study for and take the ords (January 25th, 26th, a writing portion due on the 31st, and another exam on February 2nd). And I'd love some prayers as I take intensive Hebrew--I was very proud of myself for learning and writing the alphabet by Wednesday but judging by our quiz I think that pace is too slow for the intensive Hebrew track. And prayers for my candidacy process would be much appreciate too--I meet with my church session on January 23 and with CPM in early February.

So definitely lots going on here!