Celebrating with “The Nine”

Oh I am so pumped for Saturday!  Bummed that we are leaving my in-laws house and bummed about another day that involves so much driving, but pumped because tomorrow afternoon and evening I get to hang out with my girls.  Not everyone will be there in person, but if I know anything about gatherings with “The Nine” I’m sure everyone will be there in spirit and we’ll try to phone anyone in that is available.  [smile]

It is amazing to think that I’ve been celebrating the milestones of life for the last 11 years!  That’s over a third of my life that I’ve been journeying along with them.  Over the next 14 months we will all be celebrating the big 30!  It seems so impossible to finally be turning the age that we all thought was so far away when we met each other as 18 year olds.  [smile]  Blair our resident craft-loving theologian has us all picking out photos of us from college, our childhood, and the last year for a project she’s compiling to celebrate.  I’m sure that whatever it is it will be excellent.  She is so creative.

So a bit of our time on tomorrow will be given over to celebrating our 30th birthdays, but the majority of our time will be spent celebrating our Megs who will be marrying her firefighter fiance in October.  Celebrations for weddings began before we had even graduated from college.  Katie was married the summer after our junior year and sometime during the spring semester we had our first bachelorette/bridal lingerie shower.  We laugh about that first shower now because we really had no idea what we were doing picking out lingerie for her.  The gifts ranged from cute pajama pants and t-shirts to that crazy fruit roll up-esque edible underwear.  [smile]

Oh 11 years together means we share so many wonderful memories!  We gather now on the pretense that we are celebrating someone, but really I think what binds us together is that at every gathering we celebrate us.  I love us.  About a month ago, Jane Marie forwarded to the group email address we share an email she had received from her mother which included a meditation written by Kimberly Broerman, a spiritual director in Atlanta.  The meditation sums up so well how we all feel about our circle of friends.  She writes:

It started in college. At first, we called it a Bible study, because we wanted to be together in an intentionally spiritual way. But as the seven of us met together, week after week, and shared our real flesh-and-blood hopes and hungers and hurts, the real text became the stories of our lives. We read and learned each other with great affection and interest, and with increasing care and compassion. We renamed our group “Group” (I know, clever, right?) and we met together faithfully every week until we graduated. No matter what was going on in my life, I knew there were six girlfriends who had my back, and I could come bare my soul and be held in their care without judgment. And I became as invested in their wholeness and well-being, bearing their joys and sorrows as if they were my own.

It was delightful and transforming to know and be known, to love and be loved in such an intimate and complete way. I expressed my affection frequently and enthusiastically, exclaiming “I love us!” I didn’t just love them, or love the me I was with them; I loved us all together.

Hope you have as much to celebrate this weekend and have a great circle of friends to celebrate with.

-Margaret

 

 

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“The Church”

Our new church in Kingsport, TN!

Our new church in Kingsport, TN!

So excited to share our weekend activities with you!  On Saturday we met with the PPR (Pastor-Parish Relations) Committee at our new church in [drum roll… please] KINGSPORT TN!  The announcement of our appointment is finally officially!  I am so excited I finally get a chance to share, but I guess you could probably tell from my overuse of the exclamation point in the sentences preceding.

After our official visit, we are both feeling even more excited about the possibility for ministry in this area than after of first “unofficial” visit to peek around.  We felt so incredibly welcomed by the District Superintendent who has a great vision for ministry in our area as well as the members of the church who seem to be as enthusiastic and excited as we are.

Our visit also included a tour of the parsonage and I really couldn’t be more pleased!  I did take a few photos but as it’s not really my house yet I’ll wait to share those.  One of our favorite features of our tiny apartment was a big window/door in our living room and we were so excited to find that this house has a big window/door in the living room too!  I love windows and natural light!  I am already beginning to plan how we might arrange the furniture to fit our lifestyle.  I’ve thought of a couple of possibilities so Caleb might be moving furniture around in a few combinations. [smile]

I’m now beginning to anticipate our move even more!  It feels at bit like Advent waiting for move day to come, but instead of decorating for the holiday we’re packing everything up in boxes.  Praying with the hopefulness of a child awaiting Christmas morn that move day will hurry here!

-Margaret

Saturday Morning: In 3 acts

Act 1:  “ANI” for the win!

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At least one of our weekend mornings each week involves a game of Scrabble.  We received the board game for Christmas from Lisa and Raymond, my wonderful in-laws, and began incorporating it into our weekend routine in the new year.  I love playing Scrabble for a couple of reasons:

  1. I’m super competitive and its a game at which I excel.  Caleb has come within a hair of beating me a couple of times, but somehow I always seem to come out on top.  This morning the competition was intense going into my final turn I was down by 5 and narrowly squeezed out a win by catching Caleb with 2 tiles left in his hand.  The final score was 285 to 284.   I will admit though its funny how now that I’m winning against this person that I love so much and who I really want to see succeed, the victory doesn’t taste near as sweet as when I won Clue or Monopoly against my little sisters.  [smile]  Sorry Sarah and Rachel.
  2. Playing Scrabble together also reminds me of Mom and Pop, my grandparents.  Mom is in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s now and can’t play like she once could, but for years my grandparents would end each day with a game of Scrabble or Rummikub together.  It helped keep their minds sharp and was a point of connection with each other.  Whenever I visited, they would invite me to join in the nightly game.   I always enjoyed it because a different side of their relationship was on display.  My own competitiveness is just like my Mom’s.  Oh how she hated to loose!  She would even playfully accuse Pop of cheating.  It was so cute and like looking through a window into their days of “courting.”  I hope Caleb and I will keep playing until we’re old and gray and until my mind goes.

Act 2:  Pancakes a la Margaret

Pancakes w/ Lemon Curd and RaspberriesOh I just have to share my new favorite way to eat pancakes.  So I felt like something sweet for breakfast this morning and found a couple of pancakes from a couple of weeks ago hiding out in my freezer.  So I popped them in the over… we don’t have a microwave, but that’s for another post at another time. [smile]  Then the only question was what to top them with.

I’m really trying to cut back on processed sugars and added calories and pancakes are already sweet so I’ve been trying to discover ways of eating them without honey or syrup.  I checkout the fridge for what I had on hand and of course the raspberries were sitting there just calling out to me.  Then I perused the door and spied the jar of lemon curd I’d bought last week to make a pie for some new parents in our church.  The two were begging to be put together.  So I spread a thin layer of lemon curd on each pancake and filled it with raspberries.  Eating it “taco-style,” it was one of those “I can’t believe I’ve never tried this before and I will never forget how awesome this tastes” moments.  So yummy!

Act 3:  Blogging in the library to the soundtrack of my high school years

So that catches me up to the present where I reveling in the joy of reflecting on the simple pleasure of a simple morning while sitting in my favorite spot in our seminary’s library with Caleb at the computer behind me writing a paper and listening to 90’s pop on Pandora.  To say I am happy being me and being where I am now doesn’t quite express how completely content I feel.

Each moment of contentment or happiness now though brings up a feeling on nostalgia.  We are officially a month from graduation and a month and 1 day away from moving from DC and a little over 2 months from the move into our new parsonage.  I am so excited but will also miss so much about DC.  Last night Caleb and I went out to one of places in the city, We the Pizza on Capitol Hill, and then took a walk around the special places in the city for us.  We walked around the Library of Congress complexes where he told me he loved me the first time and then visited Dupont Circle where we met for our first date and where he proposed.

It will be odd leaving all of these special spaces behind, but I like the thought of making more places special.  Somewhere in Tennessee is the special restaurant where we’ll go to celebrate our first anniversary.  In some hospital in some new place, we’ll check into the labor and delivery unit to have our first baby.   Not anytime in the near future mind you.  We’re not there yet, but someday we’ll create that memory.  [smile]  And someday in the future when our kids are old enough to enjoy it we’ll take them on vacation to DC where we met and fell in love.

Reflecting on the past and the future is fun, but right now I’m going to try to practice the sacrament of the present moment and focus on being happy being right here, right now.  Will you join me?

-Margaret