Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Big Island VA

On Sunday afternoon Matt and I got to venture out to the country to visit my Aunt Martha, Uncle Melvin, and cousins Sara, Teresa and Kim. Sara just graduated from college so lots of family were out there.

This was only my second venture out to the country side and it was lots of fun. One of Melvin's multiple 'jobs' is raising cows. Matt and I got to to help feed them.

We were give the opportunity to ride his 4 wheeler around their 80 acre plot of land. It was beautiful, fun and little scary at times. I think my husband looks hot on that sweet ride!!

We rode right up into the middle of a herd of cattle. Seeing the 2-3 ton bull about 5 feet away was a bit disconcerting, but I feel like I did a pretty good job hanging in there. I even got to drop the feed bucket in and have the cows quickly surround me. You better believe I dropped the feed and ran like a little girl!

Matt got right into character though. It was neat to see him be into it. There were a few cows that escaped from a hole in the fence and they had to chase them back in. Pretty sweet!

I'm glad I have all different sorts of family members. Fun times!

John 17/ Lectionary/ FOJs

I am thankful to be included in a group of people who call ourselves "Friends of Jesus". Its a group full of pastors and those pursuing the "kingdom of God" in tangible ways. It got started when Shane Claiborne came to Raleigh about a year ago. We meet once a month to encourage and pray for one another and to meditate in community using the lectionary reading for the week. Here is the first example that popped up on google for lectionary readings 2009.

*Side Note* I come from a Presbyterian tradition that used a lectionary, but when I was growing up I didn't know that was the case. Now I am part of church community that has gotten away from this tradition. I'm not quite sure how it got started or much about why people use it (I have some guesses though). Anyways, this past weekend (just after meeting with the FOJs) I attended a worship gathering of my parents church community. They too use this system for teaching and worship. So I got to think about the same things again. Is the link I found a credible one? Anyone want to offer insight into why and where this came about?

I feel humbled to be a part of this group of folks. Its weird to me that I get counted as equal with them. In my world, these folks are some of those I consider to be a "big deal." I am pretty sure I am the youngest one attending and am one of only 2 women, the other of whom is ordained. But, there is something about the way they listen to me and encourage me that empowers my spiritual journey and leadership in ways that I haven't quite felt before. To any of those folks who are reading this... Thank you!

The passage I have been thinking about since then is John 17. Its Jesus prayer for his disciples and then those who will believe through those who walked with Jesus while he was around 2000 years ago. If Jesus had a desire for us... those believing now... this would be it! Wow! A window into the heart of the one I follow.

Things I am learning? Jesus desires for me to be one with the Father just as he is one with the father. Jesus says that his glory will be revealed in US! Jesus asks for our protection and our unity. Unity with one another in community and unity with God, Jesus himself, and the Holy Spirit. To believe that we have his Spirit. To believe and feel and act on the Love of God. Just as Jesus did!

What does this mean to me?

Complete surrender
Complete assurance of purpose
Complete awe of God's power at work in me, at work in you!

Do you ever consider yourself one with God? With Jesus? With the Spirit? Why? Why Not? What is Holding you back? The freedom, passion, grace and assurance of living up to what Jesus has already given us is amazing. I am in that spot for the moment and hope to hold onto it for just a little while longer until again I ask for help with my unbelief.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Joys of Spring Time

Now that we are attempting to grow a garden I regularly walk through the yard to check on my plants, water and try to get things to grow. On Tuesday, Matt and I went out together...

One of the things we noticed is how there are several branches in our big oak tree that are either already disconnected and ready to impale our cars during the next storm or are dead and need to be cut off. In order to get one of them down I sat on Matt's shoulders and grasped onto the limb, then pulled it down far enough for us to reach. Then for the next 20 minutes Matt worked on breaking it down... we got it!

Then we checked out our garden. Our tomato plant is producing fruit already. Its so cool to see them out there. I am going to try my own hand at fried green tomatoes in the not too distant future :)

And, I think we may be seeing the beginning of some basil. I have never been able to get anything from a seed to grow before. So if this is basil I will be ecstatic. If you want to know how... Round 1 of planting basil (no success)... follow the directions, poke holes and put one seed in at a time... Round 2 of planting basil (possibly success)... dump the entire baggy of seeds into the pot and then stir the dirt around until it is all mixed together. The bag said it could produce up to 120 plants, so I am thinking if I get one I am doing pretty good :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

PSA wins Award

This PSA done by the Not For Sale Campaign just won a Clio Award. Hopefully it will help spread even more awareness.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Atalnta Adventures

My trip to Atalanta last weekend was a blast. I think I post similar thoughts every time I go to visit Charlotte, but its like a breath of fresh air. When I am with Charlotte all my true colors come out without me having to try. Its fun, deep, unique, vibrant, and full of present moment soaking in fun.

We started out by going to dinner at South City Kitchen on Thursday night. This Midtown hot spot was a good find. Its located across the street from a club called "The Opera". We didn't go inside this time but reminissed from Charlotte's 21st birthday party. That was the place where I chipped my tooth on an Amstel Light bottle.

After leaving South City we walked a few bars down to meet up with one my high school friends and her husband. I'm so glad that Michelle and Charlotte have become running and 80s dance party buds.

Then onto bed at the Geletka B&B! We slept in and then took a much needed walk to the french bakery down the street. If I lived in Atlanta Alon's would break my bank account. Its delicious and the choices are amazing.

We got to spend some quality girl time while Matt went to his conference and Rob onto work. Then that evening Charlotte & I went out Sex in the City style to One Midtown Kitchen. We were greeted by valet parking and then on into the massive metal doors. Our short white haired host welcomed us with true midtown Atlanta charm.

Do we go out or not? Well, the consensus was, more quality conversation on Charlotte's front porch enjoying the delicious Chateau Motelleana wine. If you have seen the move 'Bottle Shock' this wine was from that winery. Good wine goes great with friends :)

Then more sleeping, walking, coffee and a yoga session. (I was the instructor). It was much needed as my IT band is still in recovery mode from the 60 miles and beach work out weekends preceding this one.

After waiting out a rain storm we headed out to a true Louisiana style Craw fish boil. We got up close and personal with some little crustations. It was a charity benefit for the Make a Wish Foundation. But, it seemed like a frat party. Its amazing how many different types of people there are there. I also got to get a first hand run in with Charlotte's doggie obsession. I hope its a phase!

All in All a great trip!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Rowe Garden

Thanks to the help of our friends Jaylen and Smith, we were able to clear out a place to begin growing a few veggies. The tomatoes are already doing great. If the flowers actually become fruit I think we will get at least 11 tomatoes.

Then we planted arugula, cucumbers, peppers & zucchini. I am hopeful for these little sprouts. We shall see how it goes.

Anyone have any tips for us?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Planting a Garden...

I'm on p. 111 of Enough: Contentment in an Age of Excess by Will Samson. Today I got into the part of the book that starts talking about specifics, what 'our' problems are and some suggestions to begin solving them.

*When I say 'our', I am talking about American's in general... and more specifically American Christians. You may or may not identify with the generalities and statistics, but this is how the book defines it and how I am reading it.

One of the chapters discusses how our bodies (physically, emotionally, mentally & spiritually) are being affected by our over-consumption. One of the stats that stuck out to me was that the United Nations said in 2000 that the amount of people suffering from 'over nutrition' had officially surpassed the amount of people suffering from malnutrition. This has to speak to how we in the country with the highest child obesity rate live our lives as massive consumers.

I could go on with more depressing stats and thoughts about where we are as a culture, but you can read the book if you want more of that... anyways, Samson does a great job of offering suggestions for those of us who want to combat this in ways that connect us with how Jesus may have wanted us to live....

One of his suggestions was to plant a garden. Planting a garden has the possibility to connect us with all of our senses to the process of gaining our resources, we will appreciate them more and consider how much time and effort it takes to actually get the food from the seed to our plate... maybe?

Well, I have tried to plant a few things and I'm terrible at it. A month ago my cousin and her fiance were in town and helped us plant rosemary, thyme, basil, mint, and tomatoes. The only one of those that is still growing is one of the tomato plants. This is a huge success, but the rest are gone or non existent. I am frustrated!

Then I went to Amanda's tonight and she has the beginnings of a raised garden and I know that she has a desire to live simply and be a part of the growing process. I hope to learn from her a bit, but if I'm completely honest, this having to take my time to garden is not instantly gratifying enough for me. I think that might be part of Samson's point and its hard to take. I want the instant!

So, I had another thought, maybe I could go half-way and join a co-op of some sort. The Chewies are part of one and I could learn from them. Its hard to change, even the little things.

AIDS Walk & Ride

Yesterday was an eventful day for many in the Visio Dei community! For the third year in a row we participated in the Alliance of AIDS Services, NC Walk & Ride. The first 2 years I did the 30 mile bike ride, the first year I cried, the second year I cursed, and then this year I had the bright idea of doing 60 miles to add to the pain... seriously? Yep!

Well, it was awesome. I had my iPod with me this year which helped a ton. I actually didn't listen to it until about mile 20. But I loved listening to my skitzo music collection, a little Amy Grant, a little Beyonce, a little Phil Whickam, a little Colbie Cailat, and the some Ludakris... anyways It helped the time pass. I also was inspired because our team was the top in donations and participants. Go Team Visio Dei! Thank you to all who contributed!

Our team was awesome. We had some mountain bikers out there, some folks who hadn't ridden their bikes in over a year and then some who smoked everyone, plus those of us in between.

These pictures kind of show a play by play of the experience, Pre-Race, Half Way--- Mile 45 or so, and then the end. I really think that was the best burrito I have ever had!

I think one of the things that made it most enjoyable for me this year was that I let go of a little bit of my competitiveness. I was competitive with myself in that I did the 60 miles, but not with other people. I wasn't able to keep up with Shannon, Scott & Amy except the first mile or so after each rest stop, but I was okay with that. I have to admit that one of the reasons I cried the first year is because I thought I was going to finish last. Its a slow learning process for me. I'm not going to be the best at everything...

Well, it was fun and I'm glad I did it. So far I'm not too sore, we'll see how I feel in the morning.

Friday, May 1, 2009


I have a friend, Mike, who is big into internet communication and helping people find info about books and helpful resources for life following Jesus. He asked me to participate in an exercise where I get to review books. This means that I get to pick from a selection of books and then review them on my blog and also on the ooze.

My first book to review is 'enough: Contentment in an Age of Excess' by Will Samson. I received the book last week and started reading it two days ago. It is 161 pages long, so my plan is to write 3 separate posts that will help me to actually say something about my process through reading the book. I'm currently on page 65.

Here are my current thoughts:

The forward and introduction to the book were very helpful because the first several chapters are a bit of repeat of ideas that I have learned and thought about recently... a biblical, Christ follower perspective on stuff, not much new so far. I'm looking forward to the later parts of the book where he offers some practical suggestions. I think that is the piece that many of us are searching for.

The most compelling part of his writing at this point has been the way that he introduces each chapter. He basically gives an excerpt from Jesus' interaction with the rich young ruler and alters Jesus response to model how we (many Christians in America) have heard Jesus respond. Here is one clip...

One day Jesus was walking down Main Street on his way out of town, and rich and influential young lawyer came up to him and asked him: "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" And Jesus replied, "Great question! I've never thought of that before. Give me some time to get back to you on that one." And the man went away pleased, because he really wasn't ready for any big changes at this point in his life. p. 53

This one caught my attention because I agree that often I ask for Jesus to tell me something and already know the answer, but I act as if he still hasn't told me yet.

For me it all goes back to understanding the sacrifice that Jesus made and the hope that he has given us, and how that propels us into radical life changing action. I'm not saying I'm there at all, just on my journey and hoping not to stop at comfort with 'eternal security' but to take part in the call to live as Jesus did here and now.

So, be looking for more to come from my reflecting on this book and others I receive from the ooze.