Life is Grace

Seeking the Blessings in the Chaos

I am changing my blog’s name to fit the direction I want to take it, and my writing. There will still be plenty of photography, and if anyone should be interested in making a purchase, just click on “Gingerfancy Photography” above the blog header. To read more about why I am changing the name, and how …

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Graduation Dinner Reflection

May 29, 2015


At our graduation dinner last night the other four Master’s in Theology graduates and I were asked to submit short reflection related to our time as students and now graduates of the Theology Master’s Program at St, Catherine University. I wound up writing mine straight from the heart, so I’m afraid it was less about my favorite class or my most uplifting experience, but at least it had the virtue of being honest.

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I must admit that last week’s graduation was bittersweet. I was thrilled to be graduating, oh my goodness, yes, especially with my family there, and with my friend Sherri (who was absolutely glowing and stunningly beautiful); but at the same time I was fighting a migraine and on some fairly heavy-duty painkillers (!) and my fibromyalgia had me so sore that we went straight home afterwards instead of going out—where I sat around in my brand-new academic robes and hood and gorged myself on takeout pizza and watched bad WWII movies on Netflix with my husband George. Okay, so that part was fun, actually, and I wish we had thought to take photos of me stuffing mushroom pizza in my face wearing my graduation regalia!
The bittersweet part is that people keep asking me what is next, and I stumble around, trying to come up with something funny to say, and I’m at a loss. The dream that has kept me going, through the myriad of chronic pain conditions that has required me to drop classes and seek numerous extensions and medical leaves of absence (thanks Bill! (our super-understanding theology department head)) has been pastoral ministry, especially the idea of chaplaincy. That’s the whole reason I entered this program. And now these chronic pain conditions are making it impossible for me to hold down even a part-time job. Or be a reliable volunteer, much less work full-time as a hospice chaplain. So there is triumph in the degree, but grief and uncertainty when i contemplate my immediate future.
Still, there are several treasures  I will take away from this outstanding program to help guide me in my coming journey. I have met so many amazing, compassionate, loving people here at St. Kate’s, both faculty and students, who I am honored to count as role models, mentors, and friends. I know that your prayers go with me, just as mine go with you, and that our journeys together do not end here, but in many ways have only just begun. I am excited to continue growing as both a scholar of theology and as a pastoral minister. My studies here have opened so many doors! I feel I have only dunked my toe in the water. And, too, I will take all of your stories with me. I have had a rough time, yes. But I am not the only one. So many of you have done battle with your own pain, and done it with immense grace and courage, and I cannot tell you how much I admire you and will continue to do so for the rest of my life. Finally, I take with me the knowledge that I need to trust in the process, as Deb (my mentor and pastoral ministry prof.) told me recently. This is very difficult for me, (trust is not my strong point) but I know she is right—I need to learn to take better care of myself, and learn to trust that the Holy Spirit will lead me in the right direction, even if I don’t know where in the heck I am going now, beyond more physical therapy. After all, Someone helped me through comps!

When people ask me why I’m studying theology, I usually just explain, “Well, I want to work as a chaplain, preferably in hospice.” Sometimes I just get a strange look, more often I get the look along with an “…oh, okay…” Occasionally a brave person will speak up and ask me what a chaplain actually …

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My favorite poet is Mary Oliver. Consider this: “When it’s all over, I want to say: All my life I’ve been a bride married to amazement”–Mary Oliver Question: In your life thus far, how have YOU been married to amazement? Related articles Quote for Today: Mary Oliver (synkroniciti.com) Poem: “Spring,” by Mary Oliver (thedoggerel.wordpress.com)

My dad’s funeral was 17 years ago today. It’s amazing to think so much time has passed, when I thought I could never live without him. But I discovered that I can, because he is now a part of me and I am never alone, never without him, and I know that he will never …

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This is a short post, just an update on our baby situation. To make a long story short, we are no longer trying to get pregnant. As it turned out, I simply couldn’t handle being off of my fibromyalgia medications. My muscle relaxers, Advil, Excedrin, and trazedone (a sleeping medication commonly used to treat fibromyalgia) …

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I found out last week that I have been accepted into the Master’s of Theology Program at St. Kate’s! Talk about a boost! I was so terrified–convinced, actually–that I’d be rejected that getting that phone call (the director of the program notified me by phone) felt like I’d suddenly come out into light after walking …

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Oops! I made out my resolution list several weeks ago and then completely forgot to post it. I’ve never made birthday resolutions before, but hitting a milestone birthday has inspired me to take stock of where I am and where I want to go. So here goes! Keep up with gratitude journal somedays Complete adoption …

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