Walking the Sea

Walking the Sea: October 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Update and I'M CERTIFIED!

Here is an update on a few things I mentioned
- I am LOVING the ipod. It's come in so handy! I got to use it at the talk I gave at Willamette. Is that God's good timing or what? My next step is to put some pictures on it. That will be fun.
-The pumpkin is now sitting on my kitchen counter. I think I'm going to paint it this year instead of carving. Time to get those acrylics out...
-The pink wig lives again this Halloween. Pictures will be posted...
-The talk at Willamette went well. It was rather strange. I used to listen to the speakers when I was in Intervarsity at OSU and want to one day be in their place. Life has come full circle now. It's so strange to find myself living the dreams I've held for so long. Audiences seem to connect really well with story which is great because I enjoy telling them. Each time, I think I get better. Next week I'm speaking to junior highers at a Foursquare church.

Yesterday I went by my PO Box and picked up my mail. Among the items was a package and as soon as I realized what it was, I ripped it open. Inside was my certificate saying I am now a Certified Spiritual Director. I have completed all my supervision hours and went to Portland for my final interview with MaryKate two weeks ago. It feels so gratifying to have the certificate in hand. I am choosing not to have any directees right now as I work through some of my own stuff, but I think I'll have to go get new business cards just the same. I can't put in words how much this means to me, what I feel when I look at it. I want to give a huge thank you to Kathy who first told me of spiritual directors, to "the other Sarah" for suggesting I become one, to MaryKate and Carole for their undying support and encouragement, to Gayle for my class training, to Katie Skurja for her mentoring and encouragement, and most of all, to Adria who was my director for several years and supervised me later on. Much of what I've learned about direction, I learned from her. Thank you all so much for your belief in me. I can't tell you how much it has meant to my life and my heart. I hope I can pass a bit of that on to the lives I touch in turn.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Will of God Part 3

Do you ever wonder what the goals of our lives God really has in mind? Somehow, I don't think it's the same ones we have. This is just a brainstorm, but I think it's more along the lines of who we are inside, the way we love the people around us, respect the earth and the relationship we have with God/Him/Her. I don't think it's success as we see it and I think this will surprise a lot of people. I also think he wants us to have lives of freedom but freedom in a different way than what the culture and politics tells us. I don't believe God discredits the stuff like a job or how we will take care of ourselves, he knows they are important but he also knows something we tend to forget. Those aren't the goals in and of themselves, they are the trappings of our lives, not our lives itself.

I have this idea we get so caught up in "finding the will of God", we forget what God has already told us He wants. "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8. It really is that simple. I think sometimes we come to Him asking what He wants us to do and I imagine He smiles fondly at us and replies, "I don't know. What do you think? What would you like to do?" I think he likes us to voice our ideas and opinions with him and I also think our outside actions can both be good, his plan is the same with either one and we have a choice. I was walking down the street one afternoon thinking about a decision I was making wanting to just give it over to God like a child would give a broken toy to her daddy. I didn't want to make the choice. I do believe God likes us to just give Him our problems so trustingly but there are other times he tells us something like what he told me that day. "Sarah, I brought you through that dark night for a reason. Look at you. You are not a child. You are a strong woman, a powerful woman. Use it." There was no condemnation in his voice. Quite the contrary, there was pride.

God did not save us to follow Him like robots. He gave us minds, he gave us hearts and he wants to us to use them. If He really is inside of us, living within us, shining out of us, shouldn't we trust that? Once in a while I will be talking with God and I seem to hear an answer that comes from inside me, something I know deep down. Concerned, I ask Him about it, if I am just making it up, and He asks me if it is something I think He would say. I usually answer I believe it is and He just looks at me knowingly and rather flippantly, asks, "Well?" as if to say, "What's the problem?" His voice is outside and within me, I need to trust that. We tend to never look for "his will" inside our own hearts where we know He is. Why could He not express His wishes through our own? Why can we not look at the passions we were born with to find out how we are created to live? Our deepest desires can express His own.

I also think we can hear his desires through the voices of others. When I was in spiritual direction, a trusted friend commented to me I would make a great spiritual director myself. Her words resounded within me, as if she was calling something out that was already hidden inside. I thought about it a great deal, asked two other trusted friends and mentors what they thought of the idea, and then made my choice to enroll in the program. I probably did ask God at one point his opinion, but I knew in my deepest self that was my heart's desire and other people I deeply trust confirmed my gifting for it. Why can that not also be a way to hear from God?

God's will is not some pot of gold we chase after. It is the coins already in our pockets. He respects us, who we are, our opinions, our choices. He wants to hear what we think, what our dreams are. We create our life together with him, not follow a plan already written. We can share with him our desires. We can make choices for ourselves. He has raised us to be good decision makers and he believes in us. And when he wants to talk to us, we can hear him through ourselves, friends, and God directly. And I mean, come on, He's God! If He really wants something in our lives He'll make sure it gets there, in His time, but it will get there. In the end, His will for us is to LIVE life fully, not waiting to live until we are sure of the life we think He wants us to have.


Getting the Life Drained Out of Me at Comedy Central

The tea kettle is on for hot chocolate, I'm wrapped up in my quilt and the house is quiet except for my music on this autumn eve.

After work I went down to the blood donation to let them drain the life at of me, well, a pint of it anyway. Hey, it's one way to loose weight. When I walked in, Carol took one look at me and said, "You've really changed!" I smiled back at her and confirmed the fact. I have. Carol has actully known me since I was about 22 as she and I worked together at a nursing home at one time. Now she is one of the Tuesday vollunteers and we say hi every eight weeks. But I think she was referring to the blond hair and the nose ring, both somewhat recent aquisitions. Then when I was laying down getting ready to have a needle stuck up my arm, Gene came over and gave me a hard time as I can always count on him to do. Truly, if you don't give blood, at least go hang out there on a Tuesday afternoon, it's comedy central and yours truly, Ms. Sassy, does nothing to aleviate the situation. We banter back and forth with the other staff, volunteers, and donators like smart-ass comments were going out of style. I love that gang and because I do, I always donate on a Tuesday just so I can see them. Gene and I were talking while my bag of blood filled up and he said I've blossomed. I replied that yes, even two, three years ago, I've really changed, night and day. And he interupted and said no, even in the last six months he can see it. It was meaningful feedback to get. I also asked him about the will of God material and he said I was spot on. (He keeps up with my blog regularly.) So tonight, I'm finishing that up. God, help me.

(The picture is Gene and I. I had my camera with me and threatened to post the photo of us on my blog. Ha-ha!)

Monday, October 27, 2008

More on the Will of God

Pumpkin obtained. (See below post.) Now I'll have something to drum on during our Halloween party at tap dancing class tomorrow.

I'm not going to write much more tonight, more tomorrow, but I did want to tell you a bit about the truths I learnd. I think the biggest thing I learned is God respects who we are, our thoughts, feelings, and choices. He respects what we've been through and he values who we are as a person. For someone who didn't have good boundaries, this was huge for me. So many songs I hear on the Christian radio stations talks about "More of you and less of me." I don't think this kind of sacrificial faith is what God wants. He created us, he doesn't want us to throw that away! He wants us to live out the person he created us to be. One of my favorite quotes, I've seen it several places, goes something along the lines of, "God is not going to meet me in Heaven and ask me, 'Sarah, why we're you not more like Mary?' He is going to instead ask, 'Sarah, why were you not more like Sarah?'" If he respects us and who we are, do you think he is going to decide on a plan for our life and not tell us, to make us seek after it like a needle in a haystack, not sure if we will ever actually find it?

I do believe God knows everything that ever has and ever will happen. He is outside of time and knows it all. However, knowing it doesn't mean he is the only one that writes it. I believe he enjoys writing our lives with us, that we make choices too on what we want and what we do. I believe sometimes when we come to him asking his will, he turns the question back on us, "I don't know, what would you like to do?" He wants to hear our desires. He wants to know us and I think even more than that, he wants us to want him to know us. Having a relationship with us is God's priority. And that can be a screaming, yelling, temper tantrum relationship and that's okay. That doesn't seem to bother him. Believe, I know. He doesn't want a bunch of pupets around him, God wants people.

I make choices that influence my life and God makes choices that influence my life. And here is something, our choices in no way affect God's ability to work in the world. If God wants something done, it's going to get done. Our choices are not going to stop it. We must not neglect the choices we know are right, helping our neighbor, loving those around us, but at the same time, we cannot berate ourselves forever for a missed "opportunity."

Having said that, God makes choices for our life too. But the things I look back and say, "Yes, this was definately of God," either happened in one of two ways. Neither of those ways is me praying and "searching for his will." The first is when I fall into something before I even know it began. Sometimes God brings something into our lives quietly, gently, without our knowing how important it's going to be later on. The other is when his choice for me came through like a mack truck on a hiking trail. Couldn't have missed it if I tried. Even when I've said, "No, I don't want to," he comes back with it again and again until I say yes. I eventually do follow along and later, can see how unbelievably much his choice affected me as a person and the way life has unfolded.

It's like having the best of both worlds. If he knows something is going to be really important, he'll keep bringing it up or slide it in before I know it is there. But he also enjoys my choices and I learn respect for myself through his belief in me. I am learning the give and take of this relationship, the one at the core of myself. I have to admit, sometimes I ask God, is this what you wanted for my life or is there something else I've missed? But when I ask that, it is usually because I am looking for some big career with prestige. I realize this and remember that is not what God is about. I think of the life I live, what I get to do, the people's lives I am lucky enough to touch and I think, "Ah yes, this is where the good stuff is. This is where I belong."

More thoughts tomorrow, and hopefully some organization :o), for now, I need to get to bed and hope I get up on time in the morning for work. ;o)


The Will of God

Okay, before I write what I need to, let me just tell you my roommate has been going through the mail and she is laughing her head off with each piece. As you all know, it's election time, and I got about 20 pieces of political mail. I saw the pile, it's not an exageration. The reason she was laughing so hard is I am an indipendent, she is not. Katie did not get ONE piece of political mail, not one, I got 20. I think they are trying to win me over...

The real reason I am writing besides avoiding emptying out the month old green soup Katie just took out of the fridge and asked me to throw away because she still needs to eat dinner, is because I am speaking to the the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship group at Willamette University on Wednesday. The man who asked me gave me a short list of suggested topics I had requested. It was a list of what the students wanted to hear about and knowing they are college students, what was on the list made sense to me.

-how to deal with my own spiritual life when school is hard and time is short
-how do we know Godʼs will for us/how do we listen to God?
-what to do when your spiritual life feels stagnant?, What is the next step, how do we move out of that?
-Anything on prayer
-Anything on evangelism

Initially, I read the one about the will of God and laughed to myself as I know I have a different idea about the will of God than the classic evangelical view I grew up with and I am sure many of them share. (I too, spent time in Intervarsity but at OSU.) So I skipped over it initially and looked at the others. However, I was so intrigued with the chance of getting to speak on how we and God make choices together and the images of God this engenders, that I realized, because it is different, perhaps that is the very reason I SHOULD speak about it. So that is what I am doing. My coworker says I won't be asked back but I'm doing it anyway because at one time, this was something I needed to hear and someone was willing to share it with me. Now, I want to share it with another. To get my thoughts out, I thought I would write to you about the topic and perhaps even use it as my November newsletter on my website. That way, I get to work through what I want to say and a blog post out of it at the same time!

So I am going to start by asking them what they have learned about following the will of God. What are their ideas about it? How do you "find the will of God?" I am guessing many of their answers are going to be close to what I was brought up with, that God has a plan for you and it is your job to pray and seek after what that is. The problem I see with that is how do you know you've found it? How do you live your life and not keep second guessing yourself that God wants you somewhere else? Or what if you are passionate about music but you think God is going to send you as a missionary somewhere else? Does your opinion count at all? Or what if you think you found it and then fail miserably? What then? Have you fallen out of favor with God?

When I came face to face with these questions, I was in my mid-twenties. I had already thought I had found "the will of God" and then failed miserably at it when I was 21. I was heartbroken and for two years after that, I felt like whatever I touched just came apart around me. Had I been wrong? What had happened? I thought I had stepped out in faith and I stepped into depression instead. Three years later found me at seminary where I felt God wanted me to be, still stubbornly holding to what I thought God wanted and his "plan for my life". Firmly entrenched in doing what was right and wrong and what I should and shouldn't do, I met a woman who looked me in the eye and asked, "Why?" She helped me ask is there really a right and wrong plan? It became a humorous point between us taking out the words "right," "wrong," and "should" out of my conversation. I felt like I had to follow a thin line of God's approval and all hell would break loose if I fell off, which I did-often. In the end, I felt terrible about myself. I had failed God, again. I felt so ashamed of myself, I was trash and I just wanted to throw myself away. But this woman wouldn't let me, not to mention God. Through months, actually years, of conversation, she helped me see some startling truths that changed my life and the way I interact with God. (More about that when I get back from buying a pumpkin from the grocery store for tomorrow's tap dancing class.)

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Honesty and my iPod

By the way, I am LOVING my iPod. It's fantastic and I even figured out how to use it. My roommate is still mad at me for getting one. Though, I should tell you she was a little better when I told her I would share. I brought it with me to work, yes, that's allowed, and listened to it all day. One of my favorite songs that came up was one my friend Alivia Biko sings. She is a great singer and guitarist. My favorite of her two cd's is filled with original music. As I recall she wrote some and other people wrote others. Either way, they're beautiful and one I listened to a few times was "Ask Me Anything". I don't know what the inspiration for the song is but it intrigues me. One of the repeating lines is, "Ask me anything, I'll be honest with you. We talked into morning and once again, I discover, I like spending time with you." As a writer, I know what I write means one thing to me and can mean something completely different to someone else. This song speaks of friendship to me, of real relationships, of love from one friend to another. I think we all long for that connection of honesty with another soul. Listening to these words today reminded me of a talk I had with my pastor, Peggy, when we hadn't known each other for very long and she said those words to me almost verbatim, "Ask me anything, I'll be honest with you." Honestly, I was a bit frightened during that conversation and intrigued at the same time. Her honesty didn't frighten me, mine did. It was scary for me to trust her and be real. There is still that piece inside of me that just wants to protect herself from rejection. And although I'm getting more comfortable with that every day, it can still be a battle. I'm glad there are artists like Alivia to show us how beautiful life can be. If you are interested in her music, go to: http://www.aliviabiko.com/

(I'll add that Alivia's CD has become a favorite at our house, particularly when we're cleaning. If we're cleaning house, you can bet Alivia's voice is singing. It's just become a fun tradition.)

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Dreaming About the Holocaust Again

Last night I had another dream from World War II. If I believed in past lives, I'd swear I was killed in the holocaust. Which would also explain why I'm a Jew now, I must have felt if I was murdered for being one, it was worth hanging on to. This time I was the mother in a family and we had to split up. We went into hiding but then had to come back to the house a month later for something. I remember trying to grab things I wanted to keep for my younger sister like baby clothes or a beloved stuffed animal because I knew the house would be ransacked later. There I found all my other children, they'd had to come back because they had no where else to go. So we decided to just stay there and celebrate Christmas together (don't ask me why Jews were celebrating Christmas.) But we decorated the tree and found an orange in a stocking. I remember realizing how precious the orange was because we were in Europe and they weren't importing oranges. At the same time, there was some acknowledged fear as we knew the soilders could come and take us away to kill us at any moment but we were going to make the moment we had special.

I honestly have not been studying the holocaust lately. I don't think I had these dreams growing up when I was reading anything about it I could get my hands on, alright, that has never changed. I did read a book a little while ago that talked about saving the Yiddish books so perhaps that is it. Still, these dreams are emerging like figures in the smoke. Things that were always like silent sentinals in my life standing guard over me, reminding me of who I was when I didn't even know who I was. Only as an adult did I find out I was a Jew with family murdered in the holocaust. I think it was something I always knew way down deep inside beyond explanation. When I told my older sister about this, it made sense to both of us. She, not being a reader, would watch whatever shows she could on the holocaust. We never knew that about each other. Kind of weird huh? Actually, it's a little creepy but also is one of the things I love best about myself. I am proud to be a Jew.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!!!

Okay, my birthday actually isn't for a few more weeks but today I went down to the silent auction they were holding in the breakroom at work for the American Cancer Society and there on the table, was a blank bid for an ipod. It started at $150. Now, I do have a stashed away account for Christmas and dancing lessons I could pull the money from. Hmm... I asked one of the women running the auction about it and she said it was a brand new ipod classic 120GB. They had recieved it at a fundraiser for bringing in over $6,000 and their team had donated it to the auction. I checked out the ipod online, apparently 120GB is quite large, the biggest one apple is currently selling to tell you the truth. (They stopped selling the 160GB). And it sells for $249. When I went back, someone had outbid me by two dollars so I upped it two more and got it. What was really funny was the other bidder was also named Sarah which caused a bit of a stir I understand as they were not sure "Sarah" understood how the silent auction worked. For years I have wanted an ipod but the laptop came first and the camera came second. I had just started poking around in the adds to start my research. (I save up for something, research it, and then buy it.) I was SO EXCITED when I got it for $154. I told myself it could be an early birthday present to myself. I still can't believe I actually own one. It's so weird. I am hoping it will motivate me to go excercise so I can loose the extra fat that has built up over the last year. I have really wanted something to listen to while I go in our excercise room to work out. And now I can download the podcasts from LiveWire! and listen to them and laugh any time I want. I understand that by the end of the day, many of the people in my agency at work knew I had got the ipod. Now if I could just figure out how to use it... Maybe I'll ask the Willamette students I'm speaking to next week.

So here is my wish list for my birthday.
-A red case the ipod goes into to protect it.
-A gift certificate to itunes to buy music.
-Someone to show me how to use the blasted thing.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Riding in the Dark

I had a dream last night that has been in the back of my mind all day. I was riding a bike at Riverfront Park in the town where I live around the sidewalks. It was bright and sunny, but up ahead, I could see the line where darkness began, like a line between day and night. I was happy in the light, I had some music on, probably through an ipod through I don't actually own one, and I was enjoying myself. The song I heard was about life and living, really living. When the words about living were sung, I held out my arms and lifted my head in exultation. I was still riding my bike, riding with no hands including turns is a little-known talent of mine so this was normal for me. I didn't think about turning back away from the darkness, I simply rode straight into it and continued enjoying the song and lifting up my arms. But when I looked back, everything was dark, there was no light. I was a little disturbed by this as there was light before, but I wasn't panicked. I just kept riding.

I'm not sure what the dream meant. The dark is comforting to me, like being wrapped up in a blanket or hidden away and protected. I like the dark, most of the time. But still, there was something different between the dark and the light and I can't figure it out. Tonight as I was getting into my car after tap dancing class, I looked over at that park and remembered it all over again. Most dreams leave me in the morning with mere whisps of memory. Some dreams haunt me, this is one of them.


Monday, October 20, 2008

One Word Answers

My big sister, Beth, filled this out and sent it to me so I thought I would give it a whirl...
1. Where is your cell phone? pocket?
2. Your significant other? God
3. Your hair? ... Blonde/Red
4. Your mother? Hmm...
5. Your father?.... fun
6. Your favorite thing? friends
7. Your dream last night? … people
8. Your favorite drink? ... Cranberry
9. Your dream/goal? Living
10. The room you're in? Living room
11. Your fear? shell
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Speaking
13. Where were you last night? Movie
14. What you're not?... shy
15. Muffins? … bannana
16 . One of your wish list items? Ipod
17. Where you grew up? ... Salem
18. The last thing you did?... laughed
19. What are you wearing? ... pajamas
20. What is the weather where you are at? ... cloudy
21. Your pet? .. house sitting pets
22. Your computer? ... Laptop
23. Your life? . Satiated
24. Your mood?.... Delighted
25. Missing someone? ... yes
26. Your car? ... Nissan
27. Something you're not wearing? ... boa
28. Favorite Store? ... craft fairs
29. Your summer? ...fun!
30. Your favorite color? ... Red
31. When is the last time you laughed? Tonight
32. Last time you cried? .... Yesterday (See #13)
33. FOUR PLACES I GO OVER AND OVER:.. Tattoo parlor, dance studio, park, home
34. FOUR PEOPLE WHO E-MAIL ME:... Emily, Stacey, Peggy, Angelina
35. FOUR OF MY FAVORITE FOODS:.. Mo's Clam Chowder, Hamburger Pie, Pumpkin Pie, cheese
36. FOUR PLACES I WOULD RATHER BE RIGHT NOW: Ireland, England, Africa, Mountain lake

Hold Onto Your Dreams

(This is being cross-posted from my publishing website, http://www.spiritwaterpublications.com/. It goes out with a big thank you to all those who have encouraged me as I've dreamed.)

He said he would never put me in front of a congregation, I was not a speaker. It didn't matter he had never bothered to let me try it or that the one time I was standing in front of his church, he had instructed me not to say anything, that I was merely up there to be seen. I was furious he would place such a verdict on me without ever getting to know me or helping me be a better speaker if indeed his dim prognosis was true. But it wasn't and I knew it. When the final interview for my internship was done, my professor and I rose from our chairs, thanked him, and walked down the hall. As we walked, she quietly whispered we would talk outside.
This pastor's opinion wasn't the first of its type I had heard. When I was in college, I talked to one of the female staff of a Christian organization I was involved with that I wanted to go into the ministry. She was discouraging of this avenue and didn't think I could do it. After college, I spoke with our assistant pastor, a female, about going into the ministry. She too, did nothing to encourage me in my hope. Then, one day I was having lunch with a trusted friend and she told me she could not see me in ministry. That one was heartbreaking as I held a deep respect for this woman and this was something I really wanted. Ever since I was in junior high, I wanted to be a speaker. I would sit and listen to the motivational speakers that came to our school and dream about being one myself someday. I held to this dream with every speaker I heard. I knew I didn't speak well, like Moses, I wasn't sure of myself and had speech therapy every week. But that is what I wanted to do. I had point A, I saw point C, but I had no idea how I would get from one to the other. But I believed in myself and that one day, I would get there.
Then George Fox Evangelical Seminary came into my life and I didn't look back. This is what I wanted, this was the path before my feet and I walked it with love, joy, and a thirst for learning. I nearly cried the first time my professor, Carole, told me I had a gift for speaking and teaching. Then MaryKate told me I had the gift of leadership. For the first time in my life, I had people encouraging me in my dream. (There were two exceptions in my youth group in high school.) For the first time, people really believed in my ability to be in front of a group and do well.
When Dr. Laura and I got out to the parking lot that day, she turned to me and laid her foot down- hard. She looked me straight in the eye and said, "Don't you listen to him. Don't you believe any of it. If this is what you want to do, if this is what is in your heart, you do it and don't listen to anybody who tells you otherwise." As she had worked with me on my speaking skills and taught me a lot through our classes, this meant a great deal to me. She was one of those people who tell you exactly like it is, no holding back. So her encouragement was quite uplifting for my soul.
Since that afternoon, I have gone on to speak at several different retreats, conferences, groups, and even a congregation. A few memorable times, I felt like I had fallen flat on my face but as time has gone by, I have grown more confident and comfortable. Now it is something I enjoy doing and I am getting good at it.
It's strange now, looking back from point C. It's like looking at a mirror for a long time, and then suddenly find yourself staring back. How did it happen? Though I couldn't tell you exactly, I think it was because I stuck to what I knew in my innermost heart. It wasn't always easy to believe in my dream, sometimes I agreed with the naysayers around me, I wasn't a good speaker. But like Dr. Laura told me that afternoon, people can learn and they grow and they can become a great speaker. I believed her.
Yesterday I was asked to speak to a youth group in my area. This meant a great deal to me for it is my first opportunity to go back and tell a girl or boy what I wish someone had told me when I was their age. Believe in yourself, hold to your dreams, work toward them, and they will enter your life and fill your hands and heart with joy.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

On the Road to Reedwood

I have an uncanny knack for visiting churches when there is food involved. I never plan it that way but it often happens. I believe the first time I visited Freedom Friends, it was potluck Sunday. The time I visited Multnomah? You guessed it, potluck Sunday. I've heard one meeting calls potlucks, "meetings for eating". How fun is that? The spirituality of food.

Today I hit the jack pot. No, not Thanksgiving quite yet, but a great second - a desert auction! Reedwood Friends Church is in Portland and is the church I credit for bringing me into the Quaker world. I told them they sucked me in and they liked hearing that. I thought it poetic to visit them first for the Quaker Youth Book Project as they are very special to me. The service was really nice with a great message on simplicity. We even got to sing two songs I grew up with and that was comforting. My friend, Cara, said the few minutes I spoke to the congregation about the book project was refreshing, that was really nice to hear. I learned something important in the process too, most of the young adults are happy to have the submission guidelines if you seek them out, few will actually come to you. This practice will come in handy in the future.

After the service, we went downstairs to get a sandwhich and sit down for the auction which was really fun. Imagine three long tables weighed down with deserts of all types and sizes. One by one they brought them before the group, and the group? They were generous. The eppel taking the money think they raised over $6,000.00 for scholarships for the kids to go to camps. It will be fun to see what the final total is. Many people bought the deserts then shared them with everyone else. It did nothing to help my resolve to eat better and exercise more in an effort to lose the extra pounds I've gained in the last year. Temptation is so hard to resist when it comes to food. "After this, I'll eat better." Time and time again.

While I talked with people, I spied Carrie's family two tables away with little Issaac. Carrie is in our Multwood group and at our last meeting, Issaac, only a few weeks old, was getting passed around. Seeing no competition from fellow Multwood members this afternoon, Cara was interested in other things, I went over and stole the baby. For quite some time, I happily sat with Issaac in my arms and I was in heaven. There is just something about holding such a trusting soul that can lift you up to the Divine. I'll be seeing him again soon. Our next Multwood meeting is at the beginning of November.

While we were getting our sandwhiches, my friend, June, walked up to me and held out a small container in her hands. I immediately jumped up and down clapping my hands in joy. Years ago, I studied Count Nicolas Von Zinzendorf and the Moravians for a Christian history paper. My professor, Carole, and I agreed it was a timely study for me and I have had a soft spot for the Moravians ever since. Meanwhile, I have also fell into collecting different necklaces from different faiths. I have the classic crosses for Christianity, a Star of David for Judiaism, and an emblem of Mary for Catholicism. I don't collect them just to collect them though, each necklace means something to me, each faith has touched me and become a part of me in a special way. June and I were talking about this one Sunday morning at Reedwood when I mentioned I had been searching the internet for a necklace with the Moravian seal and was having no luck at all. Her eyes lit up as she told me she owned such a necklace and would like to give it to me. However, I never contacted her when I was coming up so she started carrying it in her purse. Last time I saw her, she had just taken it out. So when she walked up to me this morning with that little container in her hands I knew, after years of waiting, exactly what was in that box. I put in on immediately and gave her a big hug. I am sure they sell them somewhere but it means even more to me coming from her. She grew up in the Moravian church and had been given the necklace herself in 1964 from a friend who had also grown up in the church. She said she liked giving it to me as she knew I would love a piece of that history as well. I do, I do, I do! Someday, I would like to attend a Moravian service. There aren't any in the northwest, I've already checked in years past, but someday, I want to go. At least now, I have a reminder of what I've learned from them close to my heart. Thank you June!

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

GIft of Old Friends

Tonight I went to Corvallis to watch a reading theatre piece my friend, Lee, was performing in. I’d seen her in theatre before so I knew this was not to be missed. Many of my most cherished memories from my senior year at Oregon State University have her in them.

When I first saw her, I hardly noticed, she was performing in “A Comedy of Errors”, what turned out to be my favorite Shakespeare play. My first clear memory of seeing her perform was in another play about the holocaust, one of my obsessions growing up. For her role, she had to go back and forth between two sides of the stage. On one side, she was a young woman, on the other, she was old. She was spectacular in the role and I remember her talking about the performance in the discussion afterwards. However, we were not to actually meet until my senior of college when we were both in the same troupe for a reading theatre production on the last week of Jesus’ life. (It took me a day or two to realize she was the same person.) That play changed my faith forever but that is another story. In it, I was cast as the blind man, a soldier, Pharisee, and disciple. Lee was cast as Jesus. Throughout rehearsals, I noticed she had a light about her, she actually reminded me of Jesus. I think it was because she was personable, kind, she laughed, and she was very down to earth. I liked her so I made a point of asking for a ride to one of our rehearsals so I could get to know her better. During that time, she asked me if I would be interested in an internship helping her with the youth group she led at St. Mary’s in Albany. I said yes. Every Wednesday, I would walk over to the Catholic Community Student Center right off campus where she worked and she would treat me to dinner and I often gave her a new piece of pottery I made before going to the church. I enjoyed that time so much, that I started hanging out a lot at the Catholic Center, talking with friends and just enjoying the events and the people. I even took a class on what Catholics believe and why. Not because I wanted to convert, but I just wanted to learn. Later at seminary, I developed a deep appreciation for Catholicism and I still have a huge Catholic streak. Lee taught me to laugh at myself, a precious lesson. Since then, Lee and I have kept in touch with each other and continued our friendship. I cannot even describe to you what a character she is and how much I enjoy being with her.

In tonight’s reading theatre piece, she played the part of an 11 year old, extremely well I might add. It was memorable, especially when she was upset and mad. After the show when we said goodbye and I was driving home, I started thinking about some of the relationships in my life with people who have known me in years past and how precious those relationships are. I am in a place now, where I am particularly enjoying them for they remind me of who I am, who I’ve been, and that I was loved through it all. I think I need to revisit my foundations, I have been feeling foundationless lately and it is through many of my long standing relationships, I come to terms with remembering the person I’ve been and standing on those qualities instead of standing away. Friends like Lee remind me of the core person I am, remind me of parts of myself I need to remember, revisit, and re-enjoy. I think this holds immense good for me, it already has.

By the way, I’m blaming Lee for the nose ring. It was her suggestion on my internship evaluation form that first got me thinking about it all those years ago… I told you she was a character.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sarah Goes to the Dentist

When I was in my early 20's, I felt like such an adult when I went grocery shopping. There I was, pushing my own cart, making my own food decisions, and paying with my own money. Now, there is still a hint of that, but now grocery shopping has become become a pretty normal thing to do. Then today, I had a new experience of being a grownup and it surprised me. I went to the dentist. Though I grew up going to see my dentist every six months along with my mother and sisters, most of my 20's has been dentist free. It is not for fear of the dentist I have not seen him, he was always friendly and kind. It was simply because I could not afford to go. Every few years I might scrounge up the money for some kind of examination. I can clearly remember two appointments but there might have been some more in my early college years. The last one was three years ago, a realization that surprised me most of all. But now, I have a permanent job with great health insurance, including dental. So, I made the appointment with my childhood dentist who is still in practice, and went down there today for my exam and cleaning. I think it was that it was the first time I went there as an adult without my family. General memories came back everywhere I went in that office. I remember how I used to feel, the things I saw, feelings, pictures, it was like seeing through a window of time. Many of the staff were still there and remembered me. I told them how I was doing, found out my mother still goes there. The things they put in my mouth for the x-ray still hurt as I sat in that same chair under that leaden cover. There are no more rubics cubes or little water games like there were in the 80's but they did like my nose ring and streaks of blond hair. When I was finished, (cavity-free folks!), I asked if they still had the "treasure chest". Deborah, the hygenist, assured me they did and asked me if I would like to go pick something out since I was good and didn't cry. I picked the hot pink pencil. Sometimes, being grown up just needs to be put aside, to take up being a kid again for long enough to get to that treasure chest.

As I made my next appointment for six months from today, something my mother usually did while I impatiently waited or fought with my sisters, the woman at the desk, who also remembers me well, pulled an old picture of me out of my file. They used to take your picture with a poloroid camera to display on their wall if you had no cavities. She gave it to me as she thought I might like to have it. She said I was so shy and I laughed and said, "Not annymore!" Thinking about it though, I think the shyness was mostly fear. Once I realized I had nothing to fear, the shyness just melted away and revealed someone who is, well, me. The picture was taken the summer right before I started high school and I look so sad. There is a hint of a smile but it is not a happy smile. I told the woman I wish I could go back and talk to that girl to encourage her and perhaps give her a glimpse of the light to come, that all is not dark. I wish could tell her that joy comes in the morning and to hold on for it. Apparently though, someone did tell her to hold on. I don't know who it was, probably several people but I think God told her that most of all. I'm so glad He did for I would have never gotten that really cool hot pink pencil out of the treasure chest and gotten to know what it feels like to be an adult all over again.

On the drive back to work, I felt like I had turned around at last and was at the beginning of the rest of my life. It feels so good to finally be looking fully into the future without trying to glance back at my past. I will be thinking about this change in the days to come I am sure, as I brush my teeth, floss every day, and play with my new hot pink pencil. I am so grown up.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Expect the Unexpected Tap Dancing Show!

It was quite an evening. Any time I get to perform at the Elsinore Theatre is quite an evening. I now know the backstage area better than I do the rest of the theatre, and that ladies and gentlemen, is just the way I like it.

The evening started out with our troupe gathering at our studio to run through our dance a few more times and to make sure everyone had their costume together. While the girls in turn got pincurls to hide their long lengths of hair under their wigs, we jammed and practiced the parts giving us the most trouble.

Stacey, our teacher, had just arrived that day from Israel after weeks of being away. We were so excited not only for the show, but to see her. Walking through downtown to the theatre, we walked to the box office to deliver tickets to Stacey. It was my favorite moment of the whole evening. Walking together along the sidewalk, Stacey spotted us, grinned, and almost immediately bent over she was laughing so hard. I think if I could have chosen a look on her face, that would have been it – pure joy. Of course, all the parparazi stationed outside on the red carpet, interviewed us as a group, flashing pictures and video cameras, and hyping it up. Being the extrovert of the group, I was thrilled with and secretly, I think the others were too!
Stacey gave us all hugs, admired the pink wigs and then went inside to go warm up as we walked around the block to the stage door. Downstairs in the dressing rooms, underneath the stage, we put on the last touches to our makeup. In the halls, we got to talk to the other performers, some we knew, some we didn’t. I then grabbed my coat to cover my costume including the hair and crept upstairs to find out where Stacey was sitting. She’s never to hard to spot with her curly ringlets. Ah! 3rd row, she would to the left of our view when we were on stage. (Not that you can see anything but lights swimming in the blackness.) I went downstairs to tell the rest of the troupe, and then at different times, we slid up to the stage wings to watch the other performers until it was our turn to go on. The Latte Boy was particularly funny and the woman who sang the first half was a kind person. It is really fun to see the “show” and then the SHOW, the show most people don’t get to see. That show takes place in the wings and I find it absolutely fascinating. For example, that song? It ended in heartbreak with Cinda lying on the floor. What the audience didn’t see was Cinda getting up immediately after the curtain went down and running to her friend who had sang it with her for a hug. That was priceless? And us? Well, we quietly walked to our places so when the curtain came back up, we were ready to go. The dance went really well, we smiled and had fun! (That was my Stacey version of a pep talk given on our way to the theatre.) After Stacey left, we rechoreographed the dance together, moving out of an inward facing circle to the audience and then to a chorus line at the end. We hadn’t told Stacey and she loved it just as we thought she would. It also really added to the performance. I can only imagine what she thought of her tappers as she saw us go into new formations, it’s something she had wanted us to do in different pieces for quite some time.

What the audience didn’t see as soon as that curtain went down was us rushing off the stage for a big group hug in the wings. We had worked really hard for that moment and it was worth it.
During intermission, all six of us came out together to find Stacey who held pink roses in her arms for each of us. Mine is displayed in a vase in my bedroom, it is so pretty.

The good news is, no more three rehearsals a week. The bad news is she wants us to perform it again- for her, so I guess it’s not that bad. I think we can oblige. All in all, I do indeed LOVE the stage!

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Public Notice Update

Sarah and her laptop are now home and recovering from their ordeal. Dr. Abe from Batteries Plus Hospitle confirmed the diagnosis with a bit of a discount on the needed medication. The laptop is now up and running better than it has in some time. However, recovery will take a few days, not that Sarah is a wonderful timely correspondent as is, but give her some time to catch up, (and to get her nose out of an EXTREMELY good book she's reading. You know how she is, it would be easier to get a treasured hoard away from a dragon than to remove a good book from her sticky tentacles.) Thank you for your prayers, if you could just transfer them to her car which has developed a rather distressing and persistent cough these last few weeks, Sarah would be much obliged. Is there a doctor in the house?

We now return you to your regularly scheduled progamming...

Public Notice of Unavailability

Public Notice: Sarah and her laptop will be unavailable for comment for an unspecified period of time. Even at this moment, Sarah is sitting in the hospitle with her laptop which is not recieving blood flow to it's little electrical brain. Sarah is fine, just very concerned. The laptop may be another story. The doctor is confirming a previous diagnosis this evening and if all goes well, all that will be needed is an expensive medication or two obtained at the local pharmacy. If you are having trouble with Sarah responding in a timely manner to your kind notes of condolences, please understand she will return your e-mail as soon as she and her laptop are feeling up to it. Your prayers during this difficult time are appreicated.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Willamette Quarterly Meeting

As many of you know from reading my blog, I was invited to be one of the speakers on a panel at Willamette Quarterly Meeting, a part of North Pacific Yearly Meeting, October 3rd-5th. It's strange to have a dream for much of my life not knowing how I would reach it but holding to it stubbornly nonetheless then watching it come to fruition before me eyes. Though I have now spoken to many different gatherings, this has to be one of my favorites.

The event took place over a weekend out at the Kiwanas camp near Government Camp in the Mt. Hood wildnerness area. It rained the WHOLE time. But instead of seeing this as a negative, I loved it for each night, right outside the window by my bunk, was a tin roof and I fell asleep to the sound of raindrops echoing in my ears.

From the moment I got there to the moment I left, the people I met were warm and welcoming. And they were FUN!!! We played cards, stuck stickers on our name tags, had to get in birthday order without talking, and close our eyes and find our partner only shouting our pre-chosen words. Oh yes, and my favorite. We had to stand in a circle confessing our undying love to each other in an effort to get the other person to smile. "Honey, I LOVE you, but I just can't smile." As you may guess, I didn't do very well at keeping a straight face. That's okay though, I took advantage of the fact my fellow panelist, Kathy Hyzy, couldn't either.
Later in the morning after breakfast, we gathered in the main hall for the panel. I don't know about the others, but I had little preparation, I don't think they did either. This didn't worry me. Jane, our moderated for the four person panel, dressed in a rather comical copy of Sarah Palin, a likeness the audience was quick to realize, sat in the center asking questions. (No matter that woman's politcs, Sarah has a beautiful name.) Down the row she talked to each of us, asking us questions about our particular fields of expertise. Two of the panel conducted mission type work and the third, Kathy Hyzy, is the editor of Western Friend. (Also a friend of mine.) Then there was me. I got to cover the Editorial Board for the Quaker Youth Book Project, writing and publishing, blogging (both Kathy and I), Freedom Friends Church, and young adults in general. Feeling very comfortable with a microphone in my hands, I enjoyed the panel, both getting to hear the other panelists, speaking myself, and answering Jane's questions. I sure have come a long ways from wanting to crawl into a dark hole after speaking to now, when I thrive in doing it.
My favorite part though was after lunch. On the wall were four sign-up sheets for interest groups, one for each panelist. The idea was to pick the panelist you wanted to talk to and hear more from and then sit with them for an hour and a half. Having a larger group, we were assigned to the living area of Cy Hall, where I was rooming with other young women upstairs. People soon settled themselves in the chairs and couches around the room with me sitting on the hearth of the large stone fireplace. I started by having them go around the room introducing themselves and telling me what they wanted to hear more about. Among the wide array of answers were some general themes. They wanted to hear more about me, my experiences of writing and publishing, my views as a young adult, the book project, blogging, Freedom Friends Church including the music, and my opinion of the political effigy at George Fox University. Realizing a visual would come in very handy, I invited them to have a minute of open/silent worship while they looked at the Call for Submissions I'd handed out, while I dashed upstairs to get the four copies of my second book I had brought. While those were passed through the group, I started by telling a bit of my story and how I had started publishing in my early twenties. I then opened the floor to questions and as I answered them, I kept a mental list in my head to make sure we covered all the topics they wanted to hear about. The one that surprised me the most were the questions about what young adults were like, what is important to them, what is their culture like? Though those questions annoy a fellow young adult who was there, I don't mind them at all, I am glad older adults are interested in hearing from the younger Friends. I think the Quaker world is hungry for it, a realization that makes me realize how much this book the editorial bord is overseeing can impact the Quaker world. In one volume, people will be able to hear a whole range of views and experiences, not just my own, but the views of those from around the world. One of the things that pleased me most was getting to speak on what I'm passionate about and having them want to listen. Throughout that hour and a half, we had a fantastc dialogue between us and around us. At the end, they asked me if I would read a few selections from my book. It was one of the moments when I just knew, this is what I was born to do. Thank you to everyone who was there, at the panel and the group who listened, asked questions and enthusiastically walked in dialogue with me. It was an experience I will never forget and always treasure.

The afternoon was also fun as I had one-on-one conversations with people and heard amazing personal stories in small groups and at dinner. You never know what a person has experienced in their lives by talking to them. The more I live, the more I learn EVERYONE has a story and some stories will keep you on the edge of your seat.

It seems talent shows are "a thing" in North Pacific Yearly Meeting. I was roped, though I was gladly and enthusiastically said yes, into taking part in a skit about "A Thousand Cranes". The actress and actor I played with were amazing and hillariously funny and they also got me into my tap shoes to perform the piece our troupe has been rehearsing. After the show, a lot of people gathered around the great fireplace to sing. There, my stereotype of the meeting was blown to bits after they sang many songs with Jesus in it. Apparently, there isn't as much division as I thought between the two yearly meetings. Both groups have a wide variety of theolgical viewpoints and many in the unprogrammed churches like to sing once in a while and many in the programmed ones, like to experiene greater lengths of silence. I am glad of this. There are less division lines when that happens and when people can keep talking to each other, enjoying our differences instead of letting them seperate us.

Another highlight for me was getting to hear Leaf read my poetry. Originally, a woman who bought one of the books wanted to hear some of my favorites. Gradually, we were joined by others who were interested in hearing more of my work and it tuned into such a gift for me. Leaf, a young man from Portland, wanted to try reading one and when he did, I couldn't help but grin as I'd never heard my poetry read like that before. I wrote the poems, I knew what was in them, but I was a spellbound listener along with the rest. He is an extrememly good reader and enjoying hearing it from him so much, we started handing the book back and forth between us reading different selections. I told him I was going to have to start bringing him around to different readings and book signings. I think I would sell more books.

At business meeting Sunday morning, the clerk read aloud my traveling minute from my home meeting of Freedom Friends Church and left it on a table for people to sign. One woman who has visited the church, gave an impassioned speech to the whole meeting urging them to go and see it for themselves. One man in particular commented on how he'd had an idea of what the church was like and now has come away with quite a different view after hearing me talk. Freedom Friends Church came up a lot. The church is a small and eclectic but growing gathering of introverted folk, most of them new to Quakerism. I believe I am the only extrovert in the church and one of a minority with a background in Quakerism before joining the meeting. Because of this, because I am very comfortable, perhaps even more so, with the larger Quaker world and am one of very few who regularly venture into it, I'm quickly becoming the public ambassador, other than Peggy and Alivia of course, representing our meeting to other Quakers. I honestly don't quite know what God was doing to them to place such an extrovert smack dab in the middle of their silence. Sometimes, I feel a little sorry for them having to work with it.

But even our church can be bubbly compared to how much silence there can be in the Quaker world. When I read of this in seminary, I was being mentored by those in the "other yearly meeting" and long periods of open worship to me was as foriegn as hearing a language I didn't really understand. I had to read about it, but I had never experienced it. Though, I'll tell you, when we had to have an experiential piece to our presentation for History of Spirituality, our Quaker group, (I wasn't Quaker yet), thought we got off easy as all we had to do was tell the class to sit quietly and listen. How easy is that? HAH! You have obviously never been an extrovert with lots of get up and go having to sit still and be quiet. That's tough.

So, after lunch, the clerk came by the table I was sitting at to return my traveling minute. The sheet of paper I saw first had four signatures and I was honestly, a little dissapointed. She had laid the paper out late that morning and had requested people sign it several times. I was surprised so few had. But then, I turned the paper around in my hands and was stunned to see the other side COVERED in people's notes of encouragment. That was a humbling moment for me. For someone still at the beginning of her ministry who has not always been so encouraged, this meant the world to me. Some of the notes included:

-"Sarah is a delightful and energetic young woman who brings joy and enthusiasm to her ministry. We have been grateful for her presence this weekend."
-"It has been a boon and a boast to have Sarah with us. Her panel presentaiton was inspiring."
-"A wonderful ambassador and example of what Friends can be when we let our light shine!"

Can you see what I mean by humbling? (See "Self-Confidence Through Transformation: My Story", a previous post for more.) Life is truly like planting a seed. You can plant one little seed and get back a harvest of a hundred fold. I was honored to be with you all and I enjoyed you all SO MUCH. Playing, getting to hear your stories, talking with you, just being together was a gift. Thank you.

Before I left, an older gentleman gave me a compliment and told me what a nice job I had done. Then he looked at me and said, "But don't go getting a big head about it." I smiled and told him not to worry, I would be returning to my local meeting soon and that would take care of that.

All in all, this was a fantastic time for me. I got to hone my skills as a speaker and writer, as a spokesperson for the book project, and I got to continue building friendships with the people of North Pacific Yearly Meeting. The woman who gave me a second perspective on my ministry told me I was unapologetically authentic. I hope to always be so.

(By the way, all those posters behind the panel? They all say at what age people were at when they started their public ministry, it spanned from about age 16 to 35. To say this was encouraging to me would be a vast understatement.)

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Monday, October 6, 2008

We're All a Box of Crayons

Do you ever wonder why we meet the people we do? Why our lives come to intertwine with another's? I was pondering this and I have come to think we are each like a box of crayons. Instead of a variety of colors though, our box is full of one color, just one. When we walk in life and we form relationships, we hold out our hands and trade our color with another. Some may be yellow, or red, or purple, some even black or blue. One by one, the crayons in our box are replaced by the crayons of those we've known. In the end, we hold a rainbow of crayons to color our lives with.

We are meant to know the people we do, we are meant to spend time with those we find around us. Their lives have something beautiful to teach us, that will shape us and give us the wisdom we need to learn. Their hearts will be a light to us. After all, light is made up of all the colors together, each one blending together, each one visible and lovely. Do you think that is why God made us so different, each unique? Do you think that is why God gave us different preferences, likes and dislikes? Yes, we have things in common, but we have gifts to give each other as well, things we don't have without knowing our friends.

You see, our differences are beautiful things, we do need each other, we need the pieces of life one another has. We are complete in ourselves, yet we are also complete when in relationships with others. It's one of those great paradoxes where truth is held in the tension between two contradictory things, being complete in ourselves and complete in a whole other way with each other. In my own life, I have come to see this time and time again, how this person in my life has brought something I've needed, that color I needed to make the eyes brown, the flowers pink, or the sky blue, my life brighter. Not all of the colors are pleasant, sometimes they are hard to take, but even those, bring the contrast we need, even those bring the lessons we need to learn. I've colored with these crayons in my hands, danced even, and each time I am amazed how God has brought just the person into my life I needed at that moment.

My prayer for you is that you will find the gifts in those around you, that you can see the color they have brought into your life, and perhaps even tell them so. May your lives be filled with color. I'm really glad you've colored into mine.

(Originally posted on my website, http://www.spiritwaterpublications.com/)


My Response to the News

The last few weeks I have been watching the news, the politics, the stock market, and the financial mess oozing out of the corporate offices and into people's lives. To some, I am sure, it feels like the world is cascading into darkness. And it is tempting to look at what is going on and give up an optimistic outlook. So though I am realistic and know there are tough times ahead, that is not all I see. This is a moment in time, a speck of sand on a vast seashore. There is far more to this world than the newspaper headlines, far more than what we can see. So to the gloom and doom, this is my response:

My Father’s World

The trees may sway,
The ground may shake
But this is still
My Father’s world.
Pain may come
And health may go,
Nevertheless, this is still
My Father’s world.
Stocks may crash
And wars may rage,
Yet this is still
My Father’s world.
I see this
Land around me,
How darkness
Seemingly has control.
I look at Him,
Find hope within,
For this is still
My Father’s world.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

On Tap Troup Learns Some Lessons...

Sheri and I have both learned a lot as we have team taught our tap dancing troupe these last few weeks. We have each added so much to the group and this time together has bonded us all I think. Among the lessons we've learned as a group are:

-Brenda Buffalo is the epitome of what should and should not be done in tap. Apparently if she says it's okay, then she must be right.
-Doing it agains and agains really does help.
-That turn is HARD!
-You really can get it.
-Sheri and I make a good team.
-Sheri and I are a lot harder teachers than Stacey ever is.
-We need to listen to the music AND each other.
-What is said and done at the tap studio, STAYS at the tap studio!

We have also learned it is important to have fun and laugh as we learn the dance ever better. Here are some photos from rehearsal this week we had a lot of fun taking. (Wendy and Stacey will also be in the show. Wendy had to leave by this point and Stacey is saying a few prayers for us in Israel which are much appreciated considering. Enjoy the pictures!

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One Heck of a Week...

This has been quite a week, let me tell you. I have felt like crawling underneath a table and staying there for much of it. In short, work has been VERY busy between board meetings and rule changes going into effect yesterday. I never knew before how much work it takes to run a government. It's HUGE!! And you go through a lot of paper. Stupid printer. I am finally done house sitting for a little while, it will be nice to sleep in my own room tonight. Though I housesit to so much for Sue, she has invited me to bring some decorations over there for "my room". Katie, my roommate, actually called me after a few days just to make sure I was okay. It's so nice to have someone worried about me like that, just wanting to know how I am.

This weekend I am headed out to the woods near Mt. Hood, nearby Government Camp. The Northwest Pacific Yearly Meeting is holding their Willamette Quarterly meeting there and have asked me to speak on the panel. It will be fun.

I'll have to write more in here next week. It seems like the last few weeks I have just been checking in which I'm not particularly fond of but my energy is being put into other things right now. I'm hoping it will smooth out a bit after this tap show is done on the 11th. I have a whole new appreciation for how much work it takes to organize the performance of just one dance. Hats off to Stacey for doing it so often. She's in Israel right now so left Sheri and I to team teach for a few weeks. I'm glad we are, between the two of us, we cover all the bases.

Last Sunday I left the tap class in Sheri's hands so I could escape to the beach for a much needed breather. I can tell when I'm due for a beach trip and a walk along the shore, I feel suffocated. I am glad I went. Here are some of my favorite photos...

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