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!