October redemption… November apprehension

Here’s a quick follow-up post.

Not everything in October sucked. Meghan and I had our first experience hosting a life (small) group in our home with a majority of people we had never met or hung out with before. We have greatly enjoyed getting to know each member of our group (which has already grown to 15 people!) and sharing in a time of connecting and growing through a six-week “starter” study on how we are to love and serve others/each other. It’s been great to hear people’s stories and how God is truly working in their lives right now. After the six weeks, all the new group leaders in our church had the option of going back to the life groups they came from, however, Meghan and I felt compelled to continue leading our group indefinitely. We’re trying to figure out what our next study will be, but we are excited for what God is going to do with the group and in our own lives moving forward!

There’s at least one thing about November that I’m not so happy about, and that’s my jury duty summons. I have to call each night this entire week to see if I have to make an appearance downtown at the city/county building the following day. A co-worker of mine just recently received a summons herself, but her group was never called to come in, so I’m hoping for a similar result this week. My group number is 30 and today they called for groups 1-6 and 91 to show up tomorrow morning. Not sure what to make of that randomness. I’m praying that this responsibility will pass over me this time around.

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Why October sucked and why November won’t

Okay, that title is a little harsh, but sometimes reality is harsh. Here are some reasons why October was not so fun…

  1. Feeling single again. My single friends will probably hate me for complaining about this, but once you’ve found the person you love and want to spend the rest of your life with, well… that’s precisely what you want to do all the time. October is usually the month when group activities begin to gear up… fun stuff like our annual trip to the orchard to pick out our pumpkins, our annual Halloween costume party, and the Trunk or Treat event at our church. This month, because of Meghan’s work schedule, I attended all of these events without her. I’d say my fun level at these really fun events was cut by at least 40%. Now, before my friends all yell at me for not appreciating their company at these events, I must say that my friends are great, and if it weren’t for them, their encouragment, and shared laughs, I wouldn’t have been able to get through this month as well as I did. So thanks to all of you who put up with my mopiness at these events and in between!
  2. Challenges at work. You all know I work at a church, and you’re all probably thinking, “How bad could that possibly be?” Well, it’s not bad. It’s actually quite great, but challenges still arise from time to time. Yes, we are in a period again of staff transition which can always feel a little hectic, but most of the challenges I am talking about are internal ones related to my being a designer. I’ve struggled with creativity, feelings of inadequacy, personal frustrations, future goals/direction, and attitude this past month. These things are nothing new… I’ve struggled with all of them before, but for some reason, I felt the strain of all of them lately. Yet, I keep pushing through…
  3. Mom’s surgery. My mom had a second total knee-replacement surgery this past Monday. That leaves no old knees left to replace. 🙂 She got through the surgery just fine, but Tuesday when I visited was in a lot of pain. An answer to prayer, she was able to go home from the hospital as planned a few days later on Thursday. There is still pain and difficulty getting around, and physical therapy will take months. Please lift her up in prayer for the pain, the therapy, and for Dad as he takes care of her.
  4. A week of nights. This last one is me venting on Meghan’s behalf. Her schedule on Internal Medicine switched to nights this last week of October. We’ve been through this before, and it is never fun, but this one especially seemed taxing on her and I both. Her normal schedule this week has been to go in at 5:45 pm and finish by either 7 or 8 am the following morning. If you do the math, then you can figure out that that only leaves about 8 hours of “home” time each day minus the commute. And can you guess what one might do with those 8 hours? Yes, sleep… as best you can with the sunlight peeking through the cracks in the blinds. She has also worked every night this week (7 in a row) with tonight being her last night shift, transitioning seamlessly into her first shift of her next rotation of Outpatient Pediatrics tomorrow morning through to tomorrow evening. Added up, a work week in excess of 90 hours. First of all, I’ve never done that in my life and probably neither have you. She has been an amazing trooper through it all, and would never complain in conversation or on here about it, which is why I’m doing it for her in order to applaud her efforts and give her the respect that she is due. Meg, you rock!

And now, reasons why I’m confident that November will be a desperately needed breath of fresh air:

  1. Meg’s new schedule. A more manageable day shift, 8 to 5ish, with weekends off. Hooray!

  2. Here’s where we’re headed from Nov 18 through 22. The trip is booked and the reservations made. This will be our first real vacation (meaning, not staying with family or friends or road-tripping it to a nearby state park/campsite) since our honeymoon. We’re both looking forward to the R&R and a chance to spend time together after all this time apart.

films that you really want to see, but don’t want to watch

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This is the beginning of an article in the most recent Relevant magazine.  The article is good, but the intro is what particularly struck me.  The line about the movies on your shelf that you’ve always intended to watch but are never in the mood for is so true.  There are so many movies that I’m sure are fabulous, but you just aren’t in the mood to feel bad about how good we have it or how bad others have it when it’s Sunday afternoon and the reason you wanted to watch the movie is to feel nothing.  They just never quite make it in the DVD player.  I’m not sure what that says about me, but I was glad to read the editor of Relevant magazine does the same thing.

I also thought the line about “writing a check to assuage my suburban guilt” was very poignant.  Many of you (thankfully for us!) even wrote checks for us so we could go to Africa.  Maybe many of you are also Africa-ed out after reading our blog, but I hope it doesn’t move you to apathy.  I don’t know exactly what I do hope for from sharing our stories in Africa; maybe just awareness, maybe more.

We struggle ourselves with what to do with “Africa”.  What do the stories mean here and now?  What are we meant to do with all that?  It seems that it is about entering a conversation.  So, I guess now we are in it… but with who else?  What are we talking about?  Where are we going?

Check out the rest of the article.

Irish blessing

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A little Irish blessing (and awesome rainbow brite st. pat’s day photo) for you all, sorry it’s a day late…

Above my all in all,
May you stand amazed in Christ alone,
May you shout to the lord & our Awesome God,
& may you know that you are a friend of God.

May you feel God’s amazing grace & know His grace is enough.
May He leadeth you and be thy thoust vision,
& may you know that you are a friend of God.

May your life be taken, sweetly broken, your heart be given, & may you be made glad.
May you let all creation know that it is well,
& may you know that you are a friend of God.

May he walk with you step by step through His big house.
May you find that better is one ancient of days, when Jesus paid it all.
May you sing of how deep the father’s love is forever,
& may you know that allelulia holy holy holy, you are a friend of God.