Monday, January 30, 2012

Semester Two Begins

Today is the beginning of the Spring semester, and I started out by joining the community at worship at our midday Eucharist. Today Rev. Flora Keshgegian, who is teaching my Introduction to Pastoral Theology class, was celebrant and preacher in honor of the 35th anniversary of her ordination to the priesthood. I sometimes forget that I am surrounded by people like her who have lived and formed the history of the Episcopal church and the opportunities I enjoy today to serve in whatever ways God is calling me.

My schedule is full of goodness this semester. Along with Intro to Pastoral Theology, I will be taking Intro to Worship with the Rev. Ruth Meyers, Intro to New Testament at the Franciscan School, Church History: Modern to Contemporary at the Dominican School, and Women's Spiritual Quest taught by a woman from the Jesuit School.

While there is so much to come this semester, I also filled my January Intersession with good classes that challenged and stretched me. First, I spent a week in a class called Addiction, 12-Steps, and The Church. We examined the spiritual aspect and effects of addiction as well as experiencing recovery meetings, learning the physical and psychological effects of addiction, and discussing the various manifestations of addiction in every walk of life.

The second week I spent my afternoons in Art, Darkness, and Womb of God with China Galland, learning about the variety of expressions of the Black or Dark Madonna. I truly loved this class as we had a wide variety of backgrounds all coming together to contribute to the discussion about Mary, the Mother of God, Theotokos, or whatever honorific title you prefer. I must say that I truly enjoyed this class, and feel that it nourished me in this path in ways that classes taken purely for academic requirements may not.

The last thing I did during Intersession was to complete a quartet of certifications in preparation for Field Ed next year. Safeguarding God's People, Safeguarding God's Children, Canon Law, and Multicultural Training are all accomplished.

With Christmas and Intersession behind me I am prepared to dive into this new semester with energy and determination. Soon I will be in San Diego for the Diocesan Convention, looking forward to seeing friends and mentors while I am there. I pray that this semester nourishes, challenges, and forms me as I move forward in this journey.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Epiphany Blessings

It really has been a while since I updated here... classes were just wrapping up for the semester and papers were writing me. Advent was still in full swing. Now it is past Christmas and we are celebrating the Feast of the Epiphany.

Advent ended with a celebratory collapse as the last of my papers were turned in and I looked ahead to the visit of my parents over Christmas. I spent the first couple of days sitting in a chair doing a whole lot of not much as I accustomed myself to not be staring into the computer screen for the majority of my day. Then there was the whirlwind of catching up on little things around the house that I had let go over the final couple of weeks of the semester and the arrival of my parents and their cat Juniper for a much anticipated visit. We spent our time exploring the great outdoors and then curling up to be cozy indoors, which was Juniper's favorite part. It was quite pleasant to be together for Christmas; and just those several days of quiet family time were restorative.

Once we were on our own again we let our routines fly out the window and quite simply relaxed. No big New Year's Eve party, no big New Year's anything really. A movie and a puzzle on New Year's Eve, some clam chowder on the stove, and time spent snuggled in our cozy cottage. It has taken me a few days to ease in to the new year, I am finally accepting that it really is 2012 and looking ahead to what this year might have in store for me.

Instead of resolutions, I pray about a word or phrase for the year... sort of a guiding star that is a touchstone throughout the seasons to come. This year the word Nurture has been tugging at my sleeve, gently but persistently telling me that it is here to journey with me through 2012. The hardest part about Nurture is that it includes taking care of myself; I am extremely good at nurturing others but that usually comes at the price of self-neglect. Nurture is telling me to find the balance between the two poles. It promises to be an interesting journey.

Intersession classes are beginning; my first one starts Monday. I am leaping into a week long class on Addiction, 12-Steps, and the Church, which promises to be interesting. The following week I am taking a class that is focusing on the Black Madonna; I am interested to find out what this class has to teach me that I am not yet aware of.

I hope that your new year has begun pleasantly for you, and that your Epiphany Star guides you truly.