Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Very Merry Christmastern

After recounting all of this semesters extraordinary events, it was hard to prepare to leave the home I made over the last three months. There were details to be arranged, gifts to be delivered, laundry to be done, rooms to be cleaned, and flights to be caught. So, naturally, there was no time for sleep to be had.

But returning to Oklahoma for a short visit has been wonderfully refreshing and encouraging. I was able to spend about five days in Norman/OKC with my college friends and cronies. As I mentioned to several people, "I've never been to Oklahoma for a visit - I've always come home to stay." Feeling as though a time limit had been set on all my conversations because of this made me spend the first day feeling rather disjointed (this may have also been due to delirium caused by lack of sleep). But after the first 24 hours were finished I fell right back into the swing of things - being in Norman just feels so natural! It was great to see faces I've missed and to laugh and cry with some of my dearest friends in the world - I, of course, extended about 100 invitations for people to come visit me in Seattle and sweetened the deal by offering my sofabed at no extra charge. :)

Being home in Tulsa has been great. It's great to spend time with my family, and some of our oldest and dearest friends still live in this city. I loved celebrating Christmas with my church home at Redeemer. I'm thankful for sweet friends who have been praying for me and loving me even from afar. I even got to spend time with a few former interns who helped pave the way for my own internship - all three of which are now at seminary with their spouses. Seminary in my future? Feeling more possible every day.

However, being home has also given me time to process this semester and to be thankful for the ways the Lord has blessed me this past year. It has made me anxious and excited to go back to Seattle and to continue the work that the Lord is preparing for me to do there! I am grateful to be feeling rejuvenated but also grateful that I have a job that I love and a God who loves me. Being an intern is unlike anything I've ever done before and the Lord is teaching me and demonstrating his love to me in ways I could have never imagined before now.

Mild, He lays His glory by - born that man no more may die.

The beauty of Christmas is Christ! He is life and light for us.

Monday, December 12, 2011

3 Monthaversary

Today is the three month anniversary of my Seattle 2011 arrival. The time has very literally flown by, and I depart for OK for the holidays on Friday! A recap of my first three months seemed to be in order.

In September
  • I drove 2094 miles across the country with my mother in a Honda Civic full of all of my earthly possessions. This took 2.5 days and we crossed 7 states along our route.
  • I moved into a house with five awesome roommates, only one of which I knew at all.
  • We spent the first week of classes on campus meeting students and prepping for an unpredictable quarter of campus ministry with RUF.
  • We had our first RUF of the quarter and my first RUF with the UW students and our campus minister, Ryan.
  • We had our first social event, a bonfire on the beach at Golden Gardens.
  • I attended my first Husky football game - they won!
In October
  • I came to know and love the OU Sooners Club of Puget Sound - the alumni association chapter of my dear university where I was able to watch the football games all season.
  • Our RUF small groups started meeting
  • I had my first one-on-ones with the women in RUF as I started to form relationships with students
  • Our house received a name - The Burrow - and had a housewarming party.
  • Our house found a free upright piano on craigslist and moved it into our home - where it will stay until the end of its life because it ways no less than 1000 lbs.
  • I attended the quarterly Presbytery meeting of our denominations pastors in our region - met many local pastors and met the new campus minister for the only other RUF in our region - Boise State.
  • I found a church home at Grace Seattle in Capitol Hill.
  • I joined a community group at Grace and began babysitting for the Mom's Bible study group once a week.
  • We launched our second year of RUF Bible Study at Bellevue College on the east side of the lake and I got to know the students in that group as we wrestled with the book of Galatians.
  • I started having students over every Tuesday to help me make cookies for a local homeless ministry.
  • I hosted a Hymn Sing at my house and enjoyed an evening of worship with students in my living room.
  • We had a dinner at Ryan & Amy's house for some of our new students to meet some of our returning students.
  • We had game nights, played frisbee, played soccer, and grew to know one another better through fun activities throughout the week.
  • I travelled to Atlanta for intern training and got to be encouraged in my work and in my heart by the fellow interns and other RUF staff.
  • Saw Bill Gates speak on campus.
  • We took 15 students to a local corn maze for some Halloween Fun!
  • Ryan and I got to see four of our students perform with the UW Gospel Choir at halftime of the Husky football game with the University marching band!
In November
  • I started my most successful endeavor to date, "Thank Goodness It's Thursday(s)" - affectionately referred to as "Donut Day" - which has become a weekly breakfast fellowship on campus and my favorite morning of the week.
  • We played football in the pouring rain on Veterans Day with about 17 hardcore students.
  • We took 16 students to volunteer with a ministry to hand out meals to one of the low-income neighborhoods in Seattle.
  • We had 17 students sign up to be part of our student leadership team.
  • My campus minister and his wife had a beautiful baby girl - Jane Elizabeth, born 11/9/11.
  • I spent my first major holiday away from my family and travelled to Oregon to spend the holiday with a few friends from OK.
  • Relationships with my students continued to grow and we began to delve deeper into the issues of sin, community, grace, and the church as we talked more and more regularly.
  • I was able to attend an evangelism seminar with Jerram Barrs here in Seattle and brought some students along.
  • I ran in the Seattle 5k to raise money for one of my favorite local non-profits, Street Youth Ministries and beat my personal best time!
In December
  • We had three days on campus where students met to sing Christmas carols and hand out hot chocolate to students in Red Square.
  • We had a very successful RUF Christmas party.
  • I went to see three of our students perform with the UW Gospel Choir!
  • We had a beautiful lessons and carols service as our last RUF of the quarter.
  • Two of my dear friends from Oklahoma came to visit me.
  • I hosted a girls night at my house where about 12 of us made DIY Christmas gifts, watched Christmas movies, and drank hot apple cider.
Before I leave I'll be at one more small group, Christmas caroling once more, and hosting all of RUF to my house for Brinner (Breakfast for Dinner) on Wednesday night! I am so very joyful to be in Seattle and to be serving with RUF here at the UW and I am so thankful for the prayers and provisions that the Lord has provided for me through all of YOU! Excited to be home for the holidays but I'm already looking forward to being back in Seattle in January!