Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Sweet Sunday...

Today, Susan and I decided we would try out a new church in our very diverse and vibrant neighborhood of Seattle. We headed out to the local Lutheran church, only to find a wonderful congregation of roughly 70 people who meet together every week. The gospel choir made me cry, as I saw the face of Unity staring back at me. These people just got it. Their choir was made up of about 8-9 people of several cultural backgrounds: African American, Filipino, Caucasian, etc. They sang "Just as I am" with such raw belief and the knowledge that all of them, just as they are, are loved by God radically, no matter race, culture, language, etc. After working so hard to promote the message of unity and peace in the world-wide church over the past year on New Dawn, this was like a sweet gift of a morning to see it personified by a small church body in a very diverse neighborhood.

After church got out (2 hours later - they didn't exactly follow the 1 hour rule most Lutheran churches abide by so strictly), and we'd participated in social hour at the specific request of the pastor, we went for a run through the neighborhood. The leaves are SO pretty, and we took a new route that looped us through some beautiful park before depositing us at the bottom of a classic HUGE Seattle hill (which we conquered, thank you very much!)

The rest of the afternoon was spent wandering the Fremont market (I bought some recycled yarn to knit with once I finish the scarf I'm currently working on. Projected completion date: October 2011. Clearly I have a lot of vision without a lot of skills in this new hobby), and then we shopped at the Asian market in our neighborhood to pick up a few key things. I found Jackfruit and SkyFlakes - two favorites from the Philippines and was in heaven! Susan indulged my excitement and even purchased my SkyFlakes for me as my treat. :)

We made dinner and listened to music, I got to catch up on the phone with an old friend, and I realized I can get used to this "living in the moment" thing. Today was pretty amazing if I think over all the cool moments we had.

Friday, October 17, 2008


So, I've been reading Brennan Manning's Ruthless Trust and very much experiencing growing pains while I do. He writes such using simple concepts my mind can easily wrap itself around, yet my actions and my heart are not too good at following his oh so amazing logic. I am currently attempting more avidly than I may ever have before to be present in the moment I am in, and not look ahead at what is to come or back at what was. This is especially difficult coming off a year that was more amazing than any before it. How can I trust that things will get even better? I simply must. And part of that is living today, not yesterday. So, here is one of my favorite quotes from the book...

"There is only now. Thus Jesus counsels, 'Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink or what you will wear.' Instead, Jesus says, 'Look at the birds'. After instructing us not to have a hissy fit about what may or may not happen tomorrow, he adds a bit of dark humor: 'Today's trouble is enough for today.'

"One of the fringe benefits of being Now/here is freedom from concern about our spiritual condition. Being in the now removes us from endless and fruitless self-analysis. Moreover, in the absence of self-observation, guilt and shame mysteriously disappear. Removed from the sphere of our feelings, thoughts, and analyses, we are free to hear the music of what is happening. Lost in Now/here, we are found in the infinity of the eternal Now."

I love this thought, and have discovered how important it is. He goes on to say that this does not preclude ever planning or reflecting on life, which is responsible behavior, but never at the expense of escaping from Now/here. Whenever I catch myself gripped with fear of what the future may or may not hold, or with regret of what I wish had happened in the past, I have begun to focus on whatever is in front of me. Maybe it is the beautiful fall leaves, maybe it is a delicious bite of food I'm blessed to have, maybe it is a very dear friend who will cry my tears with me, maybe it is the symphony of rain and wind playing through the trees on Seattle's streets, and maybe it is simply my Father trying to tell me again and again that no matter what I might be going through, I am loved. I AM loved. Now.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Oregon Coast Weekend

So, I spent the weekend at the Oregon coast with 17 high school kids and a few great friends on retreat! We tootled around Seaside, played with the sand, sang and played guitar under the stars with the moonlit waves before us, and spent lots of small group time talking through the hurt and pain each of us carries hidden beneath the surface. It was a great weekend, some great ministry happened, and by the end I was wondering why our theme had to be "Life hurts, God heals" and not something lighter, because the burdens these teenagers face are much heavier than anything I've ever personally experienced. But, in all honesty, I was so glad God had me there this weekend.

Here are some fun pix. Seven or so of us did our best to disguise ourselves Sunday afternoon and hid around downtown Seaside while the rest of the group scavenged for us! It was pretty hilarious!

In other news, your friend Jenny now has a job! I'm employed, even if its only an internship and currently only a one month commitment on the company's part - I did say I wanted temporary, so there's no complaining, especially given the state of the economy today. Also, I'm starting to fill our seminary applications. Whoa. That's intense. My dear friend Chris Lyons was a great mentor to me yesterday, though, and really gave me some good things to think about regarding seminaries and denominations. I am so thankful to have such dear people in my life helping me find the right direction, when I feel there are so many possible directions to take.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Moving slowly

So, life is moving along rather slowly as I still don't have a job, and spend most of my days in an easy but not-too-difficult routine of waking up and reading the news online in front of a bowl of Special K, and then usually play (and win) a few rounds of Word Twist before bringing up the Colbert Report from the previous night to watch online while cleaning up the kitchen.

I often go for a walk, find a coffee shop, or make a cup of Americano and then read the Bible, some books on pastoring and seminary, or continue my knitting until Sus gets home and we go for a run around our neighborhood. The evenings are more fun and we either meet up with people, have people over, or spend them cooking and talking and drinking wine. While I am more than ready to be employed and not have to fill my days so lazily, this time of rest has been incredibly blessed. God is teaching me and moving me to dream big about the future, not to hold back by what seems like a safe or secure idea, but to trust Him no matter what and think about what He might desire for me.

Don't worry, a job IS in the works, I've been also researching seminaries, catching up with old friends, and doing various other important things with my time, but learning how to rest, not to find worth in doing but in simply loving, being loved and living, how to trust... that is a valuable and priceless lesson I have the great opportunity to learn during these weeks. I'm reading Brennan Manning's Ruthless Trust right now, and his first chapter on how to trust says we need to live gratefully. Being thankful for anything and everything we have, knowing there is a loving God watching over us, who has numbered the hairs on our head and who knows what we need before we ask - this is part of trusting Him to provide good things, even if they don't seem good at the time.

So I am intent on being grateful, even when the unemployed single life seems burdensome, because I know God is good and I trust Him even today.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Its Fall!

I love this time of year. The wind is up today and the leaves are beginning to turn, its chilly and I'm wearing a coat that is probably a little overly warm for the weather just because I'm excited to need one at all. After spending much of the last year in summery weather, I am so excited to get to spend the fall in Seattle. This is bad, but I'm already looking forward to holiday drinks at Starbucks and wearing scarfs.

In honor of the change in weather, I even picked up a new habit: knitting! Ok, I'm SUPER slow, and concentrating so hard on such small things as needles kind of makes me nauseous, so don't be too impressed yet. I think I've knitted about 9 rows of a scarf that is all fall colors, though, and feeling pretty smug about my new "skill".

These are a few pics of the beauty of the season (from Camp Timberlee in Michigan when we were there last fall). Make sure you breathe it in and enjoy!