18 July 2006

summer to remember

this summer has gone relatively undocumented, even in my own written journal, because of its whirlwind-adventure-like qualities. weddings, funerals, family celebrations. I was there when my nephew turned 5 and our trip to Chuck E Cheese was a hit for sure. You should have seen his face as he ran from ride to ride with his entourage of uncles and aunts bearing endless tokens and keeping count of his tickets for him. My uncle through all his nieces a martini-Casablanca party that ruled. We set off fireworks over Spirit Lake with my nephew - Katie got shrapnel twice from a Black Cat. I did a lot of hammock-ing with Katie and late-night talking. I got to meet a new friend of my sister's who is amazing and with whom I enjoyed great discussions, though I hope for more. I was lucky enough to stumble into a lunch with two friends whom I rarely ever get to see. Hearing about their lives in person rather than from others was such a gift -- and our waiter was an old high school friend as well! I went to a birthday party of a high school friend and found myself surrounded by the full gang of friends from my senior year - one of them I hadn't seen for five years. Hearing my friends play their music, talk about their jobs and their schools, and watching some of them get married was intense but I wouldn't trade being present for all that for quite a lot. I am so happy I made this long journey back to experience the daily lives of so many of my friends of old. Staying with our friends in Columbia now and being with them and their children has become one of my very favorite things to do. We moved shortly after becoming good friends with them and surprisingly have made time to be with them three times since we moved last year. Last night their oldest daughter, my friend and I made an Italian dinner complete with Chianti (sparking juice for the girls) and Italian Ice for dessert. We read through one of those thought-provoking question books through the night and even played sorry around 1 am. They have become so special to me.

A huge highlight of the summer was doing my first wedding, having the privilege of helping with the ceremony for my friends. It was such a learning experience for me to plan a ceremony and talk with them about their wishes for their special day. Incorporating their own faith traditions, their families, their heritage, the talents of their friends -- it was one of the best weddings ever in terms of familiarity, comfort, and love in the air. A very emotional wedding at beautiful Powell Gardens, south of Kansas City. When it came to the blessing of the rings, I turned to the glass wall of the chapel and held them up to the setting sun and I knew - this is where I'm called to be. With people at crucial times of life - times of joy and sadness and change. What an honor to be with them that day, so intimately. Baking the 150 cupcakes for the cupcake cake (with the generous help of a friend and my husband) was also a great learning experience - I can really tell you how to make good cupcakes now! :)

I haven't read as much as I usually do over the summer and I will regret that come September when my brain opens to be crammed full of theological jargon. I have been getting life education, though, which always happens when I come back to the midwest. my sisters always have so much to teach me and I try to listen and learn. I had some good deep conversations with many family members that I am already treasuring.

07 July 2006

Wedding Fever

Going to the Chapel, and I'm
gonna give a ser -er -ermon
going to the chapel, and I'm
gonna give a ser -er -ermon
going to the chapel, of my sponsoring parish.

one of my bestest friends is getting married this Saturday and the beautiful couple has asked me to give the sermon. so, i've been stewing, meditating on their commitment, the congregation, their readings, their relationships and families - and so many things are swirling around in my head right now that I wanted to take a moment and relish the ripe fields of my sermon-writing. I know after giving several hundred sermons I may not be as delighted as I am in this moment to take in all the information and try to communicate God's participation in their love and in the world, but right now I am totally affirmed in my place in life. There is nothing, not even getting a pedicure, that I'd rather be doing that ruminate on this day and this couple and the Gospel and marriage and everyone who comes to wedding fresh from a fight or a divorce or any confusing thing in their own life and those who step foot in churches only for weddings. It is just making my day right now to sit and pray and compose. To my seasoned sermon-writing colleagues, allow me this moment of pure joy!