Posts Tagged ‘Ohio’

Home Sweet Ohio & Flying On

HeartDish

This heart-shaped dish is part of the beautifully eclectic decor at my mom’s house in Ohio.

 

My husband, David (aka “Tink”), and I made it safely back to my home state of Ohio. I was born and raised here, Tink and I met in this state, and before moving to Texas we spent a few wonderful years in ministry up here. Ohio is home for me and it is great to be back visiting family & friends up here.

If you’re wondering how everything went with my son and his trip–it went great! He flew up here to visit with my mom & step-dad for a week before Tink and I arrived by car. Tink and I drove up because we’re combining my family reunion here in Ohio this weekend and my Deaconess conference in Wisconsin next weekend all into one big trip. Our son’s early arrival was a bonus for him and his grandparents.

It’s interesting when I look back on how emotional I was about my son’s departure last week because I ended up enjoying the extra “me time” and really, really enjoying extra time with Tink. And my son had a great time with my mom & step-dad here in Ohio.

What’s also interesting about my whole break-down last week over my son leaving is the whole last-minute passing on of my stuffed bear named Arty. It was this big deal to me to have sent my beloved bear with my son, but I acknowledged in last week’s post that it probably mattered more to me than to him.

Well, I was right.

When we got to Ohio I asked my son how Arty was.

“Oh,” he said, “he’s still in my suitcase.”

And I laughed out loud that he didn’t need Arty despite how much I needed him to take Arty. And I was okay with that. Really, really okay with that.

It turns out this whole travel plan has worked out beautifully. I’m glad that the three of us are reunited, but we all did fine while my son was up here without us.

And what is most interesting of all is here I am back home in Ohio for a brief time visiting my family up here, but my own dear mother has been letting me go over and over for decades now. And my mom will have to let me go once again when we leave here on Sunday to continue our trip and eventually return to our far-away land of Texas.

I draw strength from my mother’s courage in releasing me and entrusting me to God’s call in my life. And I draw strength from this chance I have to perch at her sweet home in Ohio for a time before flying on.

The Blessing of People Who Show Up

November has been a busy month for me and mine. And by that I mean, ridiculously crazy-busy. But I wouldn’t trade any of it–especially the people that have shown up–for all the world.

Here are just a few things about the month so far:

  • I started posting on the blog more often. (Did you notice?) I’ve already been writing everyday, but taking on the task of posting to the blog more often does add to my work load. But I found that once a week was so infrequent that I missed the blog when I was posting so little. Also, I’m trying out some different styles of posts and would love your feedback about that.
  • I did another author interview with my friend and muse Sarah Bessey about her new book Jesus Feminist. This one was tricky because it was over the phone, not in-person like my first author interview. Plus, due to some insane technical difficulties, it took a lot extra editing to make it presentable–which of course added to the busy. (Again, wouldn’t trade it for the world because, well, Sarah Bessey.)
  • I helped plan and lead a women’s retreat for my synod (a regional grouping of churches in my denomination). The retreat was called Soul Sisters and we emphasized the importance of faith and community in our lives as women.
  • We had our final day of homeschool co-op for the season–for which I planned an extra special craft for the arts & crafts class I teach. And we also had our homeschool co-op Christmas pageant & end-of-semester potluck.
  • And, last, but certainly not least, and right on top of all the other busy, we had lots of company this month–all from Ohio, actually. (See photos below.) My dad and brother were the first to come down–driving all the way from the Columbus area just to see us. Then we had double company for part of the time when friends from Ohio made our place a stop on their driving tour of the south. Finally, my mom flew down for the homeschool co-op Christmas program and today is her last full day with us.

I’ve mentioned before that being a pastor’s wife has meant more moving around the country than I ever, ever expected. I’ve also written about how it was hard to leave Ohio to move to Texas last year because of all the family and friends I have up there.

I have been surprised and pleased by the way that my in-laws, who live here in Texas, have really been here for me. And I love staying connected with far-away friends and family by phone and online.

Still, there is something extra special about my peeps coming all this way to show up in-the-flesh at our home. I am deeply, deeply grateful for my lovely Ohioans who have made their way all the way down here to see us.

I look forward to showing up at my in-laws’ home next week for Thanksgiving and being in-the-flesh with them too. These are special times when we get to gather with loved ones.

Showing up for each other truly is a blessing.

20131122-104524.jpg

My dad & brother made the drive all the way from Columbus, Ohio just to see us! Who’s who from left to right–Back Row: Dad, Eric (my brother). Front row: Me, my son, David (my husband).

20131122-104459.jpg

These friends made us a special stop on their driving tour of the south. Who’s who from left to right–Back row: David (my husband), Kyle; Middle: Me, my 9 yo son, their 10 yo son, Jackie. Front: their 4 yo daughter, their 3 yo daughter.

20131122-093838.jpg

My mom flew down from Ohio to be at my son’s homeschool co-op Christmas program. Who’s who from left to right–Back row: Me, Mom; Front: my son.

How I Became a Deaconess

20130319-043432.jpgBeginning in my ‘tweens, once a month members of my Lutheran congregation on the hill would lovingly cook a big meal and drive from our little suburb to the big city of Columbus, Ohio. We served the patrons of Faith Mission, a homeless shelter in the inner city. The cooking part was fun, but I especially loved interacting with the patrons and seeing “the hungry” as real people.

During my Junior year of high school that same Lutheran congregation gave me the opportunity to teach a 3rd & 4th grade Sunday school class. I loved opening up God’s Word with them and talking together about it in ways that made it come alive. I particularly remember teaching about Noah and the big flood shortly after our suburb had some major flooding.

I cherished these experiences in my church growing up and as early as middle school, I knew I wanted to be in ministry somehow. I knew I was dearly loved by God and my church family and I wanted to spread that love to others. I wanted to be always a part of what God was doing in and through the church.

I felt called by the Holy Spirit into a life of ministry.

There was only one problem, the only ministry role I knew of was that of pastor. I didn’t want to be a pastor and I didn’t feel that was my calling exactly.

My vision was to study Lutheran theology and church-work on an undergraduate level. Then I would go serve in a congregation.

I wanted to partner with people to reach out beyond the church walls (like I had done at Faith Mission). I wanted to share God’s word with people in Bible classes and informal conversations, encouraging them in their faith.

When it came time to choose a college I looked for something like a theology major or a non-pastor, church-worker study program. The Lutheran colleges I looked at during that time had nothing of the sort.

I drifted for a while, starting college with no clear plan for a major or career path. After my first year of college in Kentucky, I married a pastor and moved to Indiana where he was pastoring his first church.

It was early in our marriage that I found out about the Deaconess program at Valparaiso University, a Lutheran university in Indiana.

In a pamphlet from the Lutheran Deaconess Association I learned that through:

  • theological study,
  • hands-on ministry experiences,
  • and being in community with other Deaconesses and Deaconess students,

I could become a trained church-worker!

The pamphlet also talked about a variety of settings (churches, social service agencies, hospitals, etc) in which a Deaconess could serve. I read that regardless of the setting, the common bond among Deaconesses is a “servant’s heart,” the willingness to love and serve others as Jesus loves and serves us.

The more I read about the Deaconess program, the more I knew this was a fit for me.

Becoming a Deaconess was the perfect blending of everything I felt called to do:

  • Serving God in and through the church,
  • Making a difference even beyond the local congregation,
  • Studying and teaching theology and God’s Word,
  • Not being required to be a pastor to do the above!

There were some logistics involved with being able to enter the Deaconess program, but eventually I got in! Then I got my Lutheran theology major, did my required practical ministry experiences, and lived into the “sisterhood” of Deaconesses and Deaconess students around me.

Finally, on August 19, 2001, at our second church in Indiana, I was officially consecrated as a Lutheran Deaconess. Between the beautiful worship service, the hog roast, and the family and friends who came from out of state, it was a grand celebration. It was both the end of a long-awaited goal and the beginning of a whole new journey.

What about you? Have you ever had a vision for something you wanted to do but you didn’t see a way to do it? What obstacles have you overcome to do or be what you felt was meant for you?