Monday, November 14, 2011

Almost There...

At this moment Thanksgiving break can't quite come fast enough, though if it were already here I'd be in trouble! It is that time of the semester when I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by the papers and tests and general information that has been coming my way and am ready to run away for a while.

Yesterday we went down to Moffett Field Chapel again, participating in their monthly fellowship potluck after the service. It was a great chance to start to settle into that community as members and friends instead of strangers. I really feel that there is a sense of belonging developing for me that I hadn't expected to find. Perhaps I am finally settling into my life as a military spouse and realizing that there really are things that my peers outside of the military just don't quite understand. I know that sounds dramatic, and that in all reality my spouse is in the Reserves and not deployed somewhere overseas. But there really are things that set us apart from the people around me both at school and in Berkeley in general.

The afternoon yesterday was spent dawdling over to Hwy 1 and driving up the coast through Half-Moon Bay and up into the City. It was a great way to get away for a little bit, though my papers were never too far from my mind. There is something refreshing about the ruggedness of the coast here that gives me perspective and space when I begin to get claustrophobic about my schoolwork and reminds me that God is the one in charge of everything - even those pesky papers and Greek verbs that I wrestle so mightily with.

Perhaps the reason I struggle so much with my papers is that in my writing of them I am allowing myself to be written as well. I know that my first paper for History of Christianity deeply affected how I have looked at the tools we gain through learning about historical theology and struggles and how that information can affect current ministry and theology. It isn't just that there are words on a page, those words are a part of my life and affect my current and future ministry deeply. They teach me about myself as much as they are my expression of my encounter with the subject being written about and the sources I am writing from.

It is off to class and then more paper wrestling for me...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Reading Week Pictures

As I mentioned last post, I wanted to share some pictures from our visit to Oregon. We spent one day traveling along the North Fork of the Umpqua River:

I was utterly fascinated by the color of the water and how clear it is when you are standing on the banks looking into the riverbed itself.

Our first goal was to explore Tokettee Falls. We pulled in and parked near the huge redwood-stave pipe that carries water for some of the many hydro-electric generators along the river and began to hike the trail. I don't remember the actual numbers on the trail head sign but it was close to 124 stairs up and 150 stairs down to get to the viewing platform. Just thinking about the return trip had me a little nervous, but I enjoyed the trail along the river and the quarter to half a mile didn't seem so long. Especially when we stood on the viewing platform and watched this:

A beautiful 40-foot drop that thundered in our ears. I was quite impressed, but Roger said that he remembered a bigger falls and was determined to find it.

The next turn off revealed Watson Falls. 272 feet of falling water.

We climbed up along the river and rested on a wooden bridge before clambering over mossy rocks the rest of the way to the very base of the falls. Because the drop is so far the water is mostly mist by the time it reaches the bottom and the pressure is so light that a person could stand underneath and use the falls for a shower. The sound was more of a whisper than a thundering roar, and I found myself quite mesmerised watching the water slip over the edge and fall to the ground below.

We stopped at Diamond Lake next, shrouded in a cool mist as the cloud ceiling was quite low.

We walked a bit along the shore and decided that since we were around 20 miles from Crater Lake and I had never seen it we would chance the clouds and finish our tour there.

The drive was quite foggy and cold at that elevation - I am sure some of those little misty droplets were frozen. We pulled on our jackets anyway and walked over to the lodge and the viewpoints beyond. Just as I was lamenting that perhaps the clouds were going to make this a pointless extension to our trip we noticed that even as we were being pelted by wind-driven mist there was a place where the sun was trying to come through.

To our left, we saw this:

A rainbow in the mist as the clouds parted briefly. We were able to see the lake and the far shore, though the mist did continue to obscure Wizard Island. We stayed and watched the clearing as it widened enough to see most of the lake and the startling blue of the water before closing in again and encasing us in more freezing cold mist.

We retraced our steps to return to Roger's Parents feeling blessed and refreshed. I certainly appreciated our time in God's creation as a reminder that God did put all of this beauty in the world to show us God's generosity, glory, and love. So often I forget to appreciate the divinity displayed in beauty. This trip plunged me deeply into the "Book of Nature" and I returned to my classes refreshed and reminded of the totality of God.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Back in the Saddle

Reading Week proved to be a much needed break, as I was able not only to accomplish a whole lot in the first part of the week for school but also to spend the later part of the week getting completely away from the stress and work of school.

We traveled to Southern Coastal Oregon on Thursday to spend a couple of days visiting with my in-laws and exploring some of the places that Roger tells me stories about. As soon as I get the pictures edited I'll do a post to show you some of the places we visited. Driving home Sunday we stopped several times to immerse ourselves in the beautiful misty coastal day and be refreshed by God's creation. It really made me think of the Celtic tradition that holds nature as another Gospel.

Sunday night after we arrived home I dove right back in to the world of papers, readings, classes (this semester Mondays are long days), and preparing applications and their companion essays for Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), Fellowships, The Chaplain Candidate Program, and the US Army. Not to mention preparing to register for the Spring semester and Intersession in January.

Busy? Seminary? Nah!

The weather is changing rapidly and we are expecting a cold storm to move through this weekend - my teapot is ready!