Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's been a long while

Here's alot that's happened since my arrival at seminary, and my first semester is very nearly completed. I've had some positive experiences, but there's been one looming negative experience that has yet to resolve itself; so until then, I'll leave the "big bad" unspoken.

I've met some wonderful people. I've learned alot, but not nearly as much as I had hoped for; I'm hoping next semester will be different. I've realized that at least for my first year of seminary, I'm very well-formed. I'm looking forward to CPE in the summer where I'll be stretched and stretched since I'll be at a Level I trauma hospital. I'm looking forward to the elective I signed up for because I think I finally get the academic challenge I had hoped for.

I hope y'all had a blessed Thanksgiving, and that Advent brings light and hope to you.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

In town and settling in

We had a really nice visit with my wife's family. It was really hard to leave; even our dogs thought that we were home. It was hard to leave the love and safety of my in-laws home.

We've been at our new home a week now, and are as unpacked as we're going to get for now. All that's left are a few boxes of books and the games need to be put away. A friend of ours from New England asked if the house felt like our last home. It doesn't, at least not yet. It's this cross between our first home in New England and our 2nd hell house. Maybe because the house needs alot of love and it took about 12 hours of cleaning the first two days here for us to all feel comfortable. Our pictures have covered most of the ugh spots on the walls, but the whole house needs a good painting. However, the neighborhood is really quiet, and I've come to love hearing the nighttime freight train go by just before the kiddos bedtime; they seem to enjoy it too.

I think of us all my wife is the happiest to be back. I'm still not convinced all shall be well. I applied at two places yesterday, but will start the job search in earnest in the evenings the week my orientation begins. Maybe I'll feel more hopeful after the Financial Aid orientation session.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Leaving Soon

I and my family leave very soon for seminary. I had thought the "hard part" was the long discernment process. I had thought this part would be easier...hmmm, lessons all around us.

My vision of seminary did not include 25-30 hours of part-time work, and a work study. And there's still a chance this won't be my future, that the vision of 2 work studies or 15 hours PT work and 1 work study will be my future.

I've grappled with my anger and my guilt; I've reminded myself that no matter which future comes to pass it's how I walk it that matters, how I let it shape me that matters. I keep reminding myself to believe that it's all going to be okay. Give miracles a chance to happen.

I keep praying that my wife is able to get a job by August - mid-August, and that it has health benefits and meets or exceeds our "magic" budget needs number.

I'm glad I've been able to pray; I'd started shutting down; as always, I'm ever grateful for the Psalms those laments that voice hopelessness and end with light cracking through.

11 days...and new chapters begin.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Piaggio MP3 400

Can we say - way cool!! One day maybe I'll own a super cool scooter like this one! I almost bought a Harley Davidson when I was stationed in Korea. They had this deal were you could pick out your bike and then when your tour was over, and you arrived at your next duty station so too would your bike. But, I chickened out - because I found out where my next duty station would be and because I don't know how to ride one (which was/is easily remedied). I still kinda regret not getting the Roadster.

My wife is pretty anti-motorcycle mostly because she worried I'd get hit by a texting teenager driving too fast. But, perhaps Scooter doesn't create the same images of me as road-meat that Motorcycle does. And maybe in 5-6 years we'd financially be in a place where I could get a way cool Piaggio three-wheeled scooter.

Check it out if you're curious: http://www.piaggiousa.com/scooters.html#!s=overview/mp3-400.

Friday, June 03, 2011


I watched "Enlighten Up!" today; it's a documentary about a young man who is a yoga newbie and a woman documentary maker who is not a yoga newbie - it is a story about seeking. I don't remember which guru the young man was talking with, but he asked about how does one obtain happiness. The reply was, Be yourself. Be your true self. Try to get rid of what you are not, get rid of the things that unnecessarily wearing on yourself. Happiness is not outside. Happiness within ourselves. And  later the guru said to the young man, you will have to question yourself; where is, where can we get that happiness.

Later in the morning I opened up my book, and Chapter 7 begins with "...the Hebrew phrase translated "straight paths" actually says something more complex and more interesting then the translation would convey. It literally means "roundabout ways that end up in the right direction."

And I've been thinking lately about the phrase "fake it until you make it" and practice praying, pray the confusion, the hurt, the fear, the worries, the thankfulness, the love, pray even when you doubt, maybe especially when in doubt.

I don't know if I'll ever become the priest I hope to be; I don't know what my future will bring; I know what my hopes are for my children, my wife, myself, my world. I don't know the end results of these hopes, but I do know that if I don't live into them then the possibilities for amazing will pass me by.

Many of the guru's spoke of practice and time, the northern Indian guru's spoke of loving God, you don't need to become a pretzel to find what you seek, but you need to love in order to find.

The young man needed tangible proof, tangible results in order to believe in transformation through yoga, he needed this perhaps faster then yoga could provide, the woman needed the young man to believe that yoga would lead to enlightenment, looking vicariously through the lens of another to find her own seeking heart.

I often feel guilty for wanting God to provide tangible proof, for needing this...then I get torn by Jesus' words to ask and you shall receive. It is my hope that my "roundabout ways" end me up in the right direction.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Scared but hopeful

It's been a couple of really emotional weeks. I was so distracted at the Sunday service, my body was there but not much else. I had hoped for solace, but instead left feeling like I was failing, have failed. I've taken big leaps in my life, but they've been planned and well organized. This leap, oh this leap has so much faith wrapped up into it. Because as of right now, all I know is that I'll be leaving with my family mid-July. I know where we'll be during our 3-nights/4-days of driving. I know where we'll be for a week after that. I know when school starts.

I've never not known where I would be working or where I would be living. But there's been glimmers of hope. And then there's myself and how I respond to all of this. So, I'm going to quit beating myself up for being scared, and for the tears. But I'm also going to allow myself to feel hopeful and faithful and not let the darker negative feelings have my ear all day making me feel like an idiot.

I'm going to read a book given to me as a Christmas present, "The Lord is My Sheppard" by Harold S. Kushner; I'm going to keep reading Martin Luther King; I'm going to keep praying even when I feel like I'm faking it. I will let light back into my heart. I will continue to believe until I'm proven wrong.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

This is gonna hurt like...

Well, I found out how much aid I can get from the seminary...not much. If the wife is able to find a job, and I can get part-time work, and we have a little leftover from the move, and we take out a very small personal loan, and we get food stamps, and rent is less then $1100, and we are able to get some outside help...then we can eek by our first year.

Not at all certain how to make the 2nd and 3rd year work out, but shoot that's definitely putting the cart before the dying horse.

"School Certified" are magical words, cause if they're not then no private student loans for you -- you are denied. FASFA bah, who needs fasfa. We want to force you to get creative. I have discovered the cliff of my financial creativity.

So we head out soon into a very scary world of unknowing and ambiguity, hoping and praying to God that I'm not and have not brought my family to the edge of a well (reference to story about monks and brother monks).

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sermon and Such

Sigh, sigh, sigh...I'll start with the things that make me sigh first. There's nothing like thinking a thing is resolved one way to find out somewhere along the way things changed on you. So that's creating an immense amount of stress at my house right now. The Wife is still looking for a job, she's a trooper; she's put alot applications out there so far...one nibble would've most likely been a hire you except she couldn't start in two weeks. She's an interview for sometime in early July (they'll get back in touch with her as it gets closer). The Realtor still hasn't found us a place to rent yet. I'm starting to realize I'm not one of those people for whom things go easy, more like it's always uphill slogging through 3 feet of mud.

I preached today, for the first time, and my sermon was really well received. It touched people, it got inside, and they laughed at the appropriate places. I couldn't keep the shakes out of my hands and knees, good thing for robes and lecterns :) But I was able to keep my voice clear and strong, you would not have known from my voice, face, or posture that I was nervous.

So for the next few days I'll try to let the well-done, the powerful, the moving, the wonderful witness within me, allow myself to cherish this moment. To cherish the affirmation that indeed there is a powerful voice inside me.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

EFM and Preaching

It's hard to believe I'll be completing EFM in another month...4 years of once a week classes from Sept-June. I've truly enjoyed it, I've learned alot about my own personal theology, I've had my beliefs stretched, and I've gotten to know an amazing bunch of folks.

In a couple of weeks I'll preach my first sermon as a Postulant. It was hinted that I should share my story, so I will. I've now got 5 possible endings 3 of which I don't really like now. I've tweaked it through a 4th revision, and I think after I read it aloud tonight to my wife I'm going to leave it alone for a few days. Then I'll add the visual queues for pauses and emphasis. I really hope it doesn't stink and that it's better then okay. My wife thinks it's really good, but she loves me, though she would tell me if it was a stinker.

I was thinking of having my wife video record it, but that may make me to nervous for my first sermon. But, I have asked that she be ready to let me know how the delivery goes :)

Peace and Blessings

Friday, April 22, 2011

Moving Along

I let my workplace know I'd be leaving a couple weeks ago, and that went really well; It was a relief to tell them. We're still looking for rental housing, but I'm not too worried at least not yet ;)

I figure come the end of May is when my highly organized self will kick into high gear with my lists of utilities to contact here and there. Find new doctors, getting Cobra in place and finding a moving company and all other sorts of fun stuff that comes with moving.

Dare I say in some ways it hasn't sunk in yet, that in alittle over two months everything changes. But, I'm ready and I know my wife is ready, the kiddos are getting there and I think once Summer kicks in will be ready too.

Continued prayers for my wife finding a job. Job and house, and all the rest falls into place.

Easter Blessings!

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Some Songs Will Always Rock

I was reading one of the blogs I frequently visit and she was talking about the negative comments that come her way and how she had an epiphany about a perhaps Lenten way of dealing with these comments. So she posted new rules of dialog - and those who disagree with her points of view responded as usual, of which she shared two of these comments.

And it must made my head sink and that internal ugh to take place, that moment of why, why, why, and then this song popped into my head. It's by Kansas and it's called "Carry On My Wayword Son".

Carry on my wayward son
There'll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don't you cry no more

Once I rose above the noise and confusion
Just to get a glimpse beyond this illusion
I was soaring ever higher
But I flew too high

Though my eyes could see I still was a blind man
Though my mind could think I still was a mad man
I hear the voices when I'm dreaming
I can hear them say


Masquerading as a man with a reason
My charade is the event of the season
And if I claim to be a wise man, well
It surely means that I don't know

On a stormy sea of moving emotion
Tossed about I'm like a ship on the ocean
I set a course for winds of fortune
But I hear the voices say


Carry on, you will always remember
Carry on, nothing equals the splendor
The center lights around your vanity
But surely heaven waits for you

Carry on my wayward son
There'll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don't you cry (don't you cry no more)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Visitor's Weekend

I had a good visitor's weekend at the seminary I've decided will be the place I want to be formed for my vocation.

I had thought I had worked through all the hurts, and I mostly have, but I realized I haven't completely owned my own story, that I was shy about it. That in some ways my heart had gotten all confused and worried about betrayal to places.

And as the weekend came to an end I realized how much I truly love and appreciate my Diocese and my Bishop. I realized that being at this particular seminary was going to require me to constantly out myself, that I would be one of a handful of seminarians openly gay (I was told currently there are 3; which left me wondering how many were closeted). And I had forgotten how exhausting that can be, I had forgotten what it was like to self-disclose and wonder at the reaction. I realized I'd go through another round of culture shock.

I know this is where I need to be, but I'm thankful for the realizations now and the time to sit with them.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Walking in the Snow

This Friday when we all got home from either school or work we all went (to include the dogs) on a beautiful walk. It was sunny and exceptionally warm, so we donned light layers and mud boots to traverse the deep ravines of melted snow. When we got to the bike path we hit deep snow that hasn't melted much, so we sank in, but we all had fun and our little dog showed no signs of quitting or distress. We came home tired but happy.

We repeated this walk Sunday afternoon, only now with heavier layers and snow boots, because the cold winds had returned. We'd walked to the pinnacle, enjoyed the view, and then started to head back. We decided to go down this steep trail, which for the kiddos and even the adults was the best part of the walk since it required sliding down on our butts. The trail was a glaze of ice, and none too friendly to the bum, but we all laughed and ouched our way down. And we came home tired but happy.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Breathing and Praying Through All the Unknowns

To say that my wife and I are a little stressed would be a very accurate statement. My wife has started her research and organizing what she finding so she can track where she can apply, when, and what all. But as a teacher most places don't start posting positions until May/June, and even into July. And then there's the whole need to worry about sexual orientation since it's the South we're planning to return to.

I really don't know what we'll do if she doesn't have a job. It scares the crap out of me, and her too. We're trying not to let the worry show around the kids and to only talk job search stuff in positive tones around them.
We're both having weird dreams fueled I imagine by internalized stress.

I try to remind myself that I've had this sense of God calling me to the priesthood, and I've always had a sense of the very big picture: Leave-be-come back, listen and follow and it'll all be okay. Not much of a road map, not much in the reassurance department; kinda like the company founded on the back of a napkin type of road map.
But, I'm scared and I really want my wife to find a good job, and to find one soon.

I'm worried too that we've gotten used to our sexual orientation not being an issue, but that's only been partly true of our time spent in the land of civil unions and civil marriage. We've also encountered out right homophobia amongst our neighbors, blatant actually whereas in the South it was shall we say more discreet.

I'm worried that my wife might bare the brunt of the homophobia amongst other seminarians or their spouses. I hold onto the time when we visited, and knew that there were those not so inclined to want my kind/our kind of being around, but that there were also those who were glad I/we wanted to be there. That both of us felt like this was where we belonged.

Just writing this post, I can feel the anxiety building, the deep breathes needed for calm, and keeping lunch down :)

Part of me feels guilty for doubting, part of me isn't sure how I'll respond if things aren't "and all shall be well." So, I'm praying and breathing and listening (or at least trying to listen through my anxiety). Yesterday, I was thinking about the sermon I'll be writing in mid-March and the tension began to leave my body and this sense of rightness began to fill me, and I sat with those emotions.

And all shall be well, and all shall be well.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Death, Hate, and a Response

I'm glad to see the Bishops of the Episcopal Church are beginning to respond to David Kato's death.

Statement on the murder of David Kato
The Right Reverend Thomas Clark Ely
February 1, 2011

           On January 26, David Kato, a leader in a support group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) Ugandans was brutally murdered in his home in Mukono, Uganda. While police are treating the murder as the result of a robbery, Kato’s friends and associates, as well as supporters outside Uganda, believe the fatal beating was an act of hate likely inspired by the current anti-gay climate in Uganda. Kato, an Anglican, had received death threats, particularly since October 2010, when his picture appeared on the front page of a newspaper with the headline "100 Pictures of Uganda’s Top Homos Leak," and a banner reading "Hang Them."

           Vermont Episcopalians are fortunate to live in a state where our baptismal call to “respect the dignity of every human being” is reflected in our laws and, for the most part, in our social environment. In Uganda, on the other hand, one can be put in prison for life for being LGBT, and even more draconian legislation that would impose the death penalty has been proposed.

           Our good fortune could easily lead to complacency, but I believe it is instead a charge—almost a command—to stand in solidarity with those in Uganda and all parts of the world whose lives are endangered and diminished for who they are as LGBT human beings. It is a charge to speak out and call upon our political and religious leaders to do all in their power to bring an end to the climate of hate and fear that affects so many of our sisters and brothers around the world.

           Unfortunately, church leaders, including some in the Anglican Communion, have been complicit in creating that climate of hate and fear. I am grateful that others have spoken out in opposition. I join with them in an emphatic call for both church and society to respect the dignity of all God’s children. And, as Archbishop Desmond Tutu would say, ALL, ALL, ALL are God’s beloved.

           President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton, and many of the world’s political leaders have condemned Kato’s murder and the anti-gay climate in which it took place. Many have encouraged them to be sensitive to LGBT asylum seekers who attempt to enter the US. I support that effort.
           Responding to Kato’s murder, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said, "No one should have to live in such fear because of the bigotry of others…. This is a moment to take very serious stock and to address those attitudes of mind which endanger the lives of men and women belonging to sexual minorities."    

           Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said Kato's murder "deprives his people of a significant and effective voice, and we pray that the world may learn from his gentle and quiet witness, and begin to receive a heart of flesh in place of a heart of stone. May he rest in peace, and may his work continue to bring justice and dignity for all God's children."

           Please join Bishop Katharine and me in praying for David Kato, for those living in fear because of who they are, and for a heart of flesh to take hold in those who would persecute their fellow children of God because of who they are drawn to love.

Vesting for Services

A couple Sundays ago my Pastor told me that I'll now need to vest for all of the services; we have 3 of them. So, this past Sunday I did. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. So I made sure to be in bed at a decent time; I had a light breakfast with a cup of coffee; and gave myself plenty of time to relax into my morning before needing to head off to church.

I vested as usual only now I sit in a different place then from when I was an EM, but I still chalice bare. I noticed that the sermon held me at all the same places each time, and how depending on which service it was there were slight changes. I found myself reminding myself of something I'll need to remember for myself, which was/is - this is the first time they're hearing this. Be available as though this isn't the second, third time around.

I enjoyed each coffee hour especially the "middle one" since I was able to eat some yogurt and have some juice, and I got to visit with those who stayed, then it was time to re-vest. The last coffee hour was nice since I got to see people I don't normally get to on Sundays.

I wondered how my energy would be, and it was good. I didn't feel exhausted or tired or cranky. I was a little hungry and thirsty so I'll have to figure that one out better. But, I did feel as though I was fully present and actually energized.

I'll meet soon with my Pastor to talk about when and how many sermons I'll give. This has me nervous :) because I want to give a really good sermon(s), and who wouldn't. I'm still trying to figure out how much of me goes in, how much commentary goes in, how much of a call to action/re-action goes in...and will it be good enough to stick for longer then it takes to get to the car door.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Feeling a little scared

The last 4 or so years have been about discernment and becoming a Postulant. And now that this phase of discernment is complete, and I begin to plan for seminary, I've gotten a bit scared. I don't doubt my call, I doubt my pocketbook. I'm scared that my wife won't be able to find a good paying job, I'm scared about the gap we'll have in finances even if (nope, positive intentions, faith, trust) even with her good paying job there'll be a gap.

My wife is and continues to be awesome and reassuring that everything will work out. She reminds me that we were scared to leave before and a bit scared when we got here. But it's all worked out, we'll be okay.

It's hard to believe that in 6 months I won't be here; a here that's been a struggle but is home. A here that I may return to in 3 years; I think I keep learning that my life will never be full of certainties, not like before, no that's not completely correct. My life has many beautiful certainties: my wife and her love and my love for her, my children and their love and the love I have for them, my friends and the love we have for each other, my God and the love we have for each other. I am certain I have love in my life, it's all the other stuff that's less so.

Friday, January 14, 2011

And the results are positive

I am officially a Postulant! Time to get the applications to seminary ready :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

One more day

My kiddos heard my pastor ask how I was holding up with the waiting. Later that evening the kiddos told me not to worry Mama, you'll get to be a priest. I wasn't sure what to say other then to thank them for their love and support.

Is it tomorrow yet :)

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

She's going to the COM

I'll be going to the COM this weekend! I'll get the results late the following week possibly early of the week after that one.

I am so very excited :)

Monday, January 03, 2011

Falling into place

My report arrived late last week - woohoo! So, I get to keep my appointment with the Bishop this week, and I'll know if (a) the COM is still meeting in January and (b) if 'a' is yes, if I get to go to the COM, which at this point I'm assuming will be a yes, cause there's nothing to indicate otherwise.

I've managed to stick to 4-5 walking workouts a week, and I'll bump up from 2 miles to 2.5 next Monday. The kiddos and I have done yoga together 3 nights a week so far, and that seems like it'll be doable. The real test will be this week since we return to our typical schedules. But, I was thinking the kiddos could do yoga without me and then after walking and before bed the Wife and I could do yoga together. We shall see.

I've set some goals for myself, but I'm going to need to watch fewer movies :) The Wife and I love movies, and we've been watching quite a few over the holidays but it's starting to get in the way of other things, like reading, Spanish (Greek again soon), and crocheting :)