Welcome

To the Seminary, and Beyond!
Follow us as we embark on our journey through the seminary and into ministry to which God has called us!

Don't forget to subscribe to get all the latest updates!

March 25, 2015

Today is one of those days where I just want to go back to bed and start the day over. Being mom to a rambunctious toddler always has its moments, but today my thoughts are elsewhere. Over the weekend, my aunt died as a result of injuries sustained when her horse spooked. My uncle has had a really rough time accepting that his wife is indeed gone. My family is having a difficult time processing everything too. I'm not really sure how to feel.

My aunt's death comes about two weeks before the third anniversary of my grandmother's passing. In her true form, she went on in glory on Easter morning. We had watched her death creep closer through an extended illness. There was none of that preparation with my aunt. She was here, and now she's not. The grieving is different.

I wasn't close with my aunt. In truth, I haven't seen her since Grandma's funeral three years ago. I've probably only been in the same city as her a handful of times in my life. Still, a member of my family is gone, even if we didn't talk every day or even every year.

Please keep my family in your prayers. There will be two funerals: on Saturday and on Tuesday.

March 23, 2015

Stressed and Overwhelmed

March has been a busy month. To be truthful, busy doesn't even begin to describe it. Timothy has had extra responsibilities during Lent. We hosted guests for the first two weekends of the month. (And we loved having them here!) Timothy attended Confirmation Camp the following weekend. And now the Cantata will be this week, meaning we have an extra rehearsal on Tuesday evening.

In addition to normal life, I set my goal at the end of February to start my promotion period to team leader with Usborne Books and More. I won't be meeting that goal. I overfilled my schedule in March to try to meet the sales goal. That won't be happening. It's difficult for me to admit that I won't meet my goal. This Type A person doesn't like failure. However, it's best for my sanity and for my family if this isn't my goal right now. I still will try to promote to team leader this year. I will mostly likely try again after we move this summer.

I have set a new goal for my business, which hopefully, will be more manageable. I will earn my trip to national convention in June for free. This is a much easier (but still a stretch) goal. The sales goal is lower and I also don't need to be pushing to build my team through recruiting new consultants. It will be a stretch because, although I've met the goal for February and I will meet it for March, I still need to meet the sales goal for April and May. In April, our family will be on vacation at the end of the month for a week. In May, Timothy and I will be on a mission trip in Kenya for 10 days. The shortened months for me will make meeting the goal extra difficult.

The reason I knew that promoting to team leader in March/April was going to be too much for me was that I started to lose joy in the business. I was unmotivated to work my business. I experienced depression in college and could feel myself slipping back into that state. My mental health is worth more than business goals. My son deserves a mom that can be present with him and delight in him. That's not what I was becoming. Before getting into really deep trouble, I changed course. I would like to thank my counselor for helping me realize when stress in my life has started to manage me. I could be living a much different story today otherwise.

March 17, 2015

Warning: This Might be Too Much for You to Handle

Culture has this way of saying that things can be too personal to share. TMI... too much information, if you will. TMI leads me to where I am now. When it is "appropriate" to keep experiences private to meet cultural expectations, we tell others that their feelings, their experiences, their pain can't be shared. It's no wonder our society includes so many individuals suffering from depression. Holding everything inside is painful and extremely lonely.

This post won't conform to those standards.

If you don't want to confront the dark and ugly parts of life, stop reading now. I mean it. This is about to get really personal.

I have been struggling emotionally regarding a medical situation that happened in December and our journey of trying to conceive another child. Timothy and I began trying for Baby #2 a while ago (details not important). I went to the doctor in November to seek advice and to get medicine to help jump start my menstrual cycle, which was still was absent since Levi's birth. I was given a three-month supply of progesterone to help regulate it. In December, I had a really nasty period. (Again, details aren't important). One week before this period, I had a questionable pregnancy test. Ironically, the signs of a miscarriage and the first postpartum period are identical. When I mentioned my concerns to my doctor, I was dismissed.

So, Baby #2 could have already been part of our family, even if only briefly. But I will never know. The only way to medically distinguish what happened in December would have been to test the hormone levels in my blood or to test some of the tissue. Since my doctor didn't think that it was a concern, it wasn't done. So I will never know. And that was (and is) still really hard for me to accept. I don't know how to process what happened, to make sense of it, to know how to feel.

Since December, I have read several negative pregnancy tests. Timothy and I have become discouraged. Levi was our happy accident. Proof that once is all it takes. We weren't expecting this journey while trying for Baby #2. It's gotten harder as we've celebrated with friends who are expecting new babies in their families.

While I am walking this journey of infertility, I have fielded several questions of when will we be welcoming the next child to our family. I never know how to respond. These questions, which are asked from the kindest intentions, cut my soul to pieces. Usually I say "We'll see" or stumble for an answer. It would be TMI for me to say "I don't know. We have been trying for a while." Infertility is not a culturally acceptable topic, especially to those kind people who are just trying to make conversation. It's an issue to look past.

And it's not like you could know what is going on with me. When you see me, I smile. I chit-chat about random things. I don't let on that anything is wrong. I don't look sick. I simply look like a young mom of a toddler. Maybe I'm a little tired and a little sticky. Maybe there's jelly in my hair and dirt on my shirt. That way you know it's been one of "those days" at home. Nothing appears out of the ordinary.

I don't blame anyone for what has happened. I don't hold grudges. I haven't sunk into a depression because of my circumstances. But my heart is heavy. I am grieving for the unknowns in my life. I rejoice with you when you are happy, even though I hurt. But the next time you see me, I would appreciate a hug. I wish it was a little more culturally acceptable for women to say: "I am dealing with infertility and it sucks."

March 11, 2015

Moving

This past weekend we were blessed to have friends from the seminary visit us in Texas. It was wonderful to see their familiar faces again. We picked up right where we left off when we parted ways last July. Even Levi took straight to them again. I was amazed by this! He has been overly cautious of new faces while we've been in Texas. But 8 months after we last saw our friends, he had no problems playing with them and giving them big bear hugs. It was wonderful to see. 

Having friends in town has made me see how much I hate leaving friends behind when I move. Moving hasn't been a new thing to me. I have moved 11 times in my 27 years. 9 of those times I moved to a different state, leaving behind everything that was familiar to me. We only have a short 4 months left in Texas. Moving is on the horizon again. 

February 4, 2015

Logos Bible Software

I just finished my final distance training session on how to use Logos Bible Software.  You had to commit to three sessions of training with the seminary in order to receive the academic discount, which was the only way we were going to be able to afford to products that I need to really help me in the ministry.  At first, I thought Logos was primarily going to help me in working with the original languages a lot faster and more efficiently.  It does that for sure, but it also does so much more!

It opens up a whole new world with everything it offers.  You can search almost anything in the Bible and it will have some information on it.  For example, if you search for Jesus, it will have a ton of information on Him including painting of Him, family trees, graphics on how He relates to others in different Bible passages, Scripture verses He is referenced in (and what those references are as in if he is the subject or object or indirect object and so on) and all kinds of other stuff.  There are also atlases and all kinds of Bible dictionaries and everything else that you could think of.  There is so much on there I am sure I could go through my whole ministry without even knowing about some of it.

In addition to that though is how you can customize things and create things in Logos.  For example, through the "Personal Book Builder" tool I could compose a "book" of lecture notes, and then through some simple coding I could built it as a book in Logos and it will link to all the scripture references or references in Luther's works or what not.  It is so much customization that you can set it up however you want to make it work exactly how you need/want it to.  I am so excited to really be able to start building off what I have and making great tools to use for my future ministries, including things like Bible Studies and Confirmation and such things.  So much to do and it will be so much fun!

Usborne Books: A Summary

I'm nearing the end of my first 30 days as an independent consultant with Usborne Books and More. Usborne is a direct sales company that strives to end the literacy crisis through book ownership. Unfortunately, in 2012, 67% of US fourth graders were reading at a level that was under their grade level. Usborne books enrich the mind through engaging non-fiction books and enrich the heart through heartwarming stories from countries all over the world.

Training with Usborne has been really busy. Usborne has a 12 week training and incentive period for new consultants. I'm a third of the way through this period and about half way through all the material. I've learned a lot about hosting home and Facebook parties, holding preschool book fairs, recruiting new consultants and running special programs Usborne offers, like fundraisers and literacy grants. I'm swept away by all the information, but I'm also blown away by the company. Usborne has amazing books and yes, does a lot of sales through parties. But the mission of the company is not profit, but literacy. Usborne is truly working to get engaging books into kids hands through multiple programs. This aspect makes the job more fulfilling for me. 

Getting my business started has been stressful, but I am so thankful for my supporting husband and team leader. By the end of my first 30 days, I will have hosted 5 Facebook parties. That was a stretch for me. Booking parties did not come easy to me. I took some time to learn the online ordering system that consultants use. It also took several troubleshooting messages to my team leader. Everything is getting easier as the days pass. 

Moving forward, I'm getting ready to contact area preschools about having a book fair. I'm following up with a local church and a local homeschool group about using our Cards for a Cause fundraiser. I'm getting ideas for a book drive. I'm ready to start branching out into the special programs Usborne offers. 

I'm glad I took this risk and signed up to own my own business. I couldn't be happier working for a company that does more than sell books. (And the books are amazing!) As with any new endeavor I've struggled, but I've learned a lot through those struggles. I've set my goals for February. And planning to meet those goals. Here we go!

January 22, 2015

Six Months are Not Enough!

Last Thursday Pastor Snyder kindly filled when our babysitter had to excuse herself (due to sick children at home and not wanting to spread the illnesses to Levi, which we HIGHLY appreciate!) so that Marie and I could go celebrate our anniversary.  We had a great time!  We went to a new-to-us restaurant in town, called Pelican's, and then went on to see 'Into the Woods' at the movies.  When we got home, Pastor had successfully put Levi to sleep and so we sat around talking for a little bit.  Finally, it was time for Pastor to head home, and as he closed the door behind him he said, "Happy Six Month-iversary!"

With those words my heart was struck.  It was indeed, exactly six months into my vicarage.  That meant that I had only six months left.  This thought has slowly crept into not only mine and pastors thoughts, but into the minds of others as well.  As we got to know each other the thought never entered our minds that this would come to and end.  It seemed that vicarage would go on forever.  It seemed that Wichita Falls was now my permanent place of residence.  In many, many ways Wichita Falls and Our Redeemer has become our home and the realization that it's already more than half over strikes hard.

Jokes have been made about vicar just not going back to school and staying.  After all, they are looking for someone to fill their youth director position.  The confirmation kids keep asking for reassurance that I will be here to see them confirmed.  A conversation the other day had to be halted between me and out Director of Christian Growth and Music because the reality was striking hard.  There will be a lot of tears shed on that day, when Marie and I finally have to pick up our bags and move on.  We only have six months left, and six months are not enough.

Heavenly Father, please bless my remaining time here at Our Redeemer.  Let me continue to form and deepen relationships with Pastor Snyder, the staff, and the members and live as though my departure will never come.  When that time comes, however, comfort us in the peace knowing that friends in Christ are friends forever, and if we do not see one another here in time, we will all see each other there in eternity.  Thank you for this amazing opportunity to learn and grow and experience being a servant of your Word and Church.  All this I pray in the name of the One who has reconciled us to Yourself, Jesus Christ, Your only Son, Our Lord.  Amen.