My mind is not fully there for writing right now for some reason. Well, writing full sentences. I’ll jot down just kind of some quick thoughts in my frame right now. Maybe a poem?
Winter is fully here.
It’s a time where eventually I'll dream of warmer days.
Dream of sun.
Time to really make it a point to remember why I am happy because it’s easy in this gloom to sometimes feel gloomy.
Last year was the first time I experienced it.
Vitamin D vitamins have been recommended.
I don’t expect to feel as low this year.
I wasn’t happy at work and it wasn’t hard to go in for the day only in the winter.
Winter it just got worse.
There were weeks without sun.
I love the sun.
Did she leave us?
She always comes back.
And so quickly everything can feel different.
Everything can change.
Just like when she left.
To be in a place where the air changes.
Warm, hot, cold.
Everything around the air changes with it.
Trees, grass. Ecosystem.
4 seasons. 4 times of life.
Life is different in each.
Feelings are different 4 times. At least.
I haven’t lived another way.
By the time one season comes to an end, I am ready for new air.
This Midwest pattern is all I’ve known.
I think I like it.
But how would I know?
Some people really love winter. I certainly am seeing people at the church who most definitely don’t prefer it. Wherever you stand, I hope you are warm. If you have pets, I hope they are warm. I mean it so deeply that it’s all I am going to wish for you this week.
September 10, 1935- January 17, 2019
Sometimes new things can be challenging. When you’ve been part of something, an institution maybe, for a long time or even your whole life and then developments happen it can cause a lot of different emotions. I really do believe that change isn’t a bad thing. When something is evolving, it shows it’s alive. If this something means a lot to you and has been a part of your life, that could be very exciting for you. I think it should. But I understand change isn’t always easy.
I’ll get to the point. What I’m talking about is the idea of a church being a community neighbor and opening its doors to people other than its members. I just had a conversation, and it surely was not the first and won't be the last, about all of this. A long-time member wondering why do we have to do this? Our members support this church and have since its existence. Are we not enough? To that I said bringing more people in is not a factor of something lacking within. Bringing new people in is part of what we are all about. It’s our call to be Godly people and lead a path the way Jesus wants and expects us to. Almost perfectly centered in downtown, we have immediate access to this adventure. I’m not an expert but I imagine Jesus as someone who would open his doors to anyone and everyone. While still loving and appreciating his closest allies, he would be willing to accept those who live beyond his doors. Shouldn’t we be doing the same?
I hear and understand the opinions of a change like this. However, overall, this is not a new idea. Larger cities have been working at this for more than a decade (check out this article.) I believe churches all over our community also now know their existence has to include their neighbors. I am not a member here at Trinity and that was known when I was hired. My bosses wanted someone with an "outside” point of view because those are the people they want here with our members. I have already since September grown to appreciate and care for Trinity and am forming relationships within. I am already proud to talk about what goes on here and how we can be a place for you, no matter what your circumstances are. While I am doing that, the focus is in no way going away from the beloved members that call Trinity home. We just want to show more people how great your home is and hope that here they can form, at the least, pieces of their home.
What if anything do you know about Trinity? Are you a member here? Have you ever been here? What do you think a downtown church should encompass? How can we be a better neighbor for you? Please, I want to hear it all.
It’s January 4th and I am outside writing on my laptop. I’m just next to our garden which is really gorgeous when in full bloom. (I like it now, too.) How crazy is it that I’m sitting here in the sun sweating in my winter coat and boots! Maybe this weird warmth means winter will last longer or it comes at the hand of global warming…I don’t know…I’m not going to think about it that much and get into all of that. I’m just going to enjoy this.
The holidays have come and gone for another year. I cherish the time with family, but it seems to get a little different every year. I guess I just care more about our time together than the traditional excitement that comes with the season, I think. I hope you felt joy and love, too.
Now there is a lot of focus on a new year and resolutions. I’m not one who focuses hard on New Year resolutions. I never could figure out why limiting my potato chip intake would make me a better person. SO, I strived for more personal goals. Listening more, getting impatient less, etc. But, even then, these are things I work at all the time so I don’t really stress too much on 2019 resolutions but just keep trying to be better. Do you have any resolutions?
I do like the idea of a new beginning with a new year, however. I think it’s nice to look back on what the last year brought- obstacles, triumphs- then look ahead to a fresh start. I experienced a lot of new challenges and emotions last year and am happy with what I gained in the process. It certainly wasn’t all challenging! But, during all good and not so good emotions, I prayed for patience and trust. Patience is definitely my weakest virtue, so I pray a lot for guidance in that realm. I prayed for patience when I felt like I wasn't sure where I was going. I’m glad I ended up where I did. Now, a whole new set of patience comes in the picture. Patience with a change in a career, a change in tasks, a differently-paced job, and more. It’s all exciting though and I’m very much looking forward to what’s ahead.
The last couple weeks I’ve dipped my toes into some new finance lessons, too! Learning ways to handle my credit card, looking into options for a reliable vehicle. First week of 2019 I think I’m learning a lot! But, today, my head hurts from the new “adult” information a 27 year old learns. Patience is definitely needed here ;)
It’s so comforting to know that no matter where we are- reflecting on the past year, easing into a new year, learning life strategies- God is right there with us. We may not end up learning the way we want to but I am going to try my best to use patience in knowing that it’s learning the way he planned me to. Happy 2019 to you.
Being sick is no fun! I know, no news there, Sara. But, wow, did I get a reminder this week. Monday was a great day. We had just spent a long weekend in Florida enjoying each other’s company before weekend schedules fill up until the spring. It was lovely. Then on Monday, I woke up in the late evening hours, possibly already morning, very ill. It came quick! I feel like I haven’t had a fever since I was a child.
Florida Doggo livin' the good life
It’s crazy how quickly it can happen. I mean it was just like “boom!” And, man, no turning back for more than 24 hours. But, hey, it happens. It comes and goes. I cannot imagine those who are struck and stuck with illness. Also, I have so much help if I need it. My family was there, my partner, my friends, my coworkers who have turned friends. The real ones in need are those who do not have access to medical or personal help.
I am confident, after only working here almost four months, that Trinity can step in with those situations. I know there is the option of at home communion for those who can’t make it here. Plus, if someone just walked in the doors needing help they would not be turned away. It is such a great thing for our community to have that right here in the center of downtown. Somedays I want to just shout from our rooftop “you’ve got to see what this place does!” Part of that is because I’m still newer here and it’s exciting to learn. But I don’t think that impact will wear off over time.
I hope none of you get sick this holiday season! I joke that it’s almost like we just want to hide inside to avoid it. That would get lonely. Already after two days I was feeling like “okay, I’m bored.” There is only so much Netflix and Hulu. Or is there? ;)
As the weekend approaches, I’m reflecting on thankfulness for my health and praying for those who are down. Physically and mentally. I woke up feeling back to myself yesterday and thankful for all of those people I mentioned who have my back and who I’m blessed to call friends. Then I came into work to holidays cards and gifts on my desk. I couldn’t be more grateful. As we approach Christmas, I wish you health and so, so much love. If the flu does find you, I hope you have someone at your side. Not that I think you aren’t tough enough on your own, but a little support is pretty great in these moments. If you don’t, call your neighbors at Trinity or call me.
P.S. I’m a big music fan. Music makes me feel good. Well, not every song of course. Today it’s happy music! I want to start sharing what I’m listening to sometimes. Here are a couple. Share any in the comments, please!
P.S.S Caboodle always knows when I don’t feel myself. He slept on my pillow with me while I was sick. (this photo was before, clearly.) I just love him and wanted to share.
Everyone is in full swing of the holiday spirit and busy schedules. It’s kind of weird but the holidays feel different to me than when I was younger. Not that it’s less exciting, but just not as much anticipation I guess. It’s almost as if it’s calmer. It gives me more time to remember what this is really all about.
We all know having faith can be hard sometimes. You wonder why bad things happen. And how people can deal with things they go through. I don’t want to be a person who pushes God on people. But I can’t imagine getting through it without some belief there’s a plan, even if it’s far off in the distance and we may never understand.
Advent is a good reminder of being patient and having faith during those times when faith is hard to obtain. As we wait for the coming of Jesus, there are #Advent words we can reflect on during the season. I wrote about mine being “wild” and “smooth.” I think one of my favorites though was “grow.” I like that word because we think so much about being patient and waiting and having faith but we don’t really think about how that’s making us grow as a person and grow on our journey. It’s a part of our religious journey during the season to wait and grow and with busy schedules we can forget that.
I like that the holiday season has become a little different for me. I have more time to think about growing and having faith. And I hope those who are going through horrible things can step back from their schedules and take time for this themselves.
Oops! I didn’t write a blog last week. That happens during the holidays I guess! It’s back to work now.
I went through this weird period where after a vacation, I’d be so anxious the day before going back to work. It got really bad at one point. I have my reasons for why I think this happened but all I’ll say now is it was so nice not to have the “Sunday Blues” this go around. You may think “how could it be hard to go back to work at a church? Isn’t it so peaceful?” Well, yes! But it’s still a job and a place of employment. Yeah, the staff here enjoys time off. Who doesn’t, right? But it was very exciting to feel like my normal self as I went back to my office and tackling the week head on.
I’m still reflecting on how thankful I am. Especially as I type this in the comfort of my own home. Sometimes I can write in coffee shops or other areas, and I will do that as it’s part of my job to be working in the community, but there really is nothing like home. I can think the best here, really. Having a job that allows that is really incredible. I think more employers should offer opportunities to do work from home to their employees. Yes, there is always the thought that people will take advantage of that. However, I think, if people are going to take advantage of their time then they’ll do it however they can, whether at the office or at home. When I’ve done my community work for the day and it’s time to do something like this, I actually do it better here (I just have to tell my cat, Caboodle, we’ll catch up later.)
I am thankful for the obvious reasons of having a beautiful, healthy family as well as friends. I have the resources and money I need and I don’t go hungry. There are thousands and thousands of people who are wishing for more. When I say my prayers, I thank God for all that I have and pray for those who wish they could say the same. I wrote about this in my last post but in this season of giving, it’s another reminder of how many people are in need.
Trinity never stops trying to help those people. On Giving Tuesday this week, we raised money for blankets at Wellspring Interfaith Social Services. We raised about $900 which means 90 blankets!
I’ve talked about all the great things Wellspring does. During this time of year, they offer coats to their shoppers. Last time I was there, a family was doing some shopping. They were a family of four and, because not everyone in a family can possibly get a coat, the guideline is a family that size can get two coats. I literally watched a brother and sister decide who could get the coat after they both picked one and their mother already had one. The brother graciously let his sister keep hers. I feel guilty about all the times I argued with my big brother about silly things.
Being thankful in your personal life is one thing. Being thankful in your professional life is another. I feel as if both of those come together as an employee at Trinity. I am able to enjoy the job I do as well as share a love and faith in God with my coworkers. So, Thanksgiving was a wonderful time and coming back to work with no anxiety was pretty much the icing on the cake.
What are you extra thankful for this time of year? What do you think I could do to help those who aren’t feeling like they have much to be gracious about? As happy as I am, we are truly whole together and it’s my job to have stronger connections to our neighbors. Let me know what you think.
During Advent, we are participating in a hashtag word of the day project called #AdventWord2018. Employees were randomly assigned a word from the list and invited to reflect on what it means to them specifically during the Advent season. Then we record a quick video explaining that and share it with our social media followers.
I was given two words (not everyone wanted to participate so that’s how I ended up with an extra one.) “Smooth” and “wild.” At first, I had to think about it a bit. Smooth and wild? Hmm. Really, the first thing that came to mind was “smooth sailing.” So, how to apply that to Advent? Well, Advent can be defined as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas as well as the return of Jesus at the second coming. “A time of preparation” sticks with me. Sounds like it could end up being a bit of a journey- waiting. And certainly, we are all on different paths of faith and have our own ways of arriving at some type of conclusion. Maybe we never actually arrive there.
In my case, I think “smooth” and “wild” could definitely be words to describe my faith journey. Some days the path feels smooth and I’m like 'yeah, this is how I feel.' Other days it can be wild and I’m flooded with questions and wonder all while not exactly knowing how I feel.
We’re taught that no matter the journey, smooth or wild, Jesus still accepts me. He still saves us then comes back to us again. That’s pretty cool. Gives you comfort that he’ll be there for you even on those days you feel like you just don’t know what’s what anymore!
As you enter the Advent season, I wish you neither a smooth or wild journey. I simply wish you strength on your journey, however it goes. That’s because I think that even when things aren’t smooth, they’re feeling a little rough, there’s still some good in there somewhere. May be hard to find but I do believe something good comes of tough situations. Whether you grow as a person or learn something about yourself. Either way, you aren’t the same and I think change is not a bad thing.
But, if you do feel like you are never are on a wild path- right on. Good for you. Send me some tips!;)
Photo 1: thelilypadcottage.com
Photo 2: www.dioceseoflaredo.org
As the temps drop, I realize ‘okay, here we go, winter is coming.’ Eek. It’s time. Snow is in the forecast and soon all the pretty leaves will make their exit for now. I think this will be a very different season for me. For the first time, I won’t be working in a field that requires me to be out in the elements for most of the day. Of course, I spend a lot of time walking around downtown and talking. But I can plan that around specific times of the day while not on a deadline- say maybe when it isn’t pouring rain or dumping snow for hours on end. Actually, I think it may be kind of nice to be out in the snow for a little while talking with our neighbors. This is something I would not have said a year ago!
BUT full-blown winter is not here yet. I am big on not bypassing Thanksgiving! I love Thanksgiving. I’ll be honest, of course the family time and food is very nice (and wine.) But, I do enjoy the time to reflect on what we are thankful for. I think it’s also a reminder we all benefit from time to think about what other people need. Working in a church this year will definitely be an example of that. It already happens almost daily here. So many people need so much. It can be overwhelming and saddening. I just have to ask myself what could I do, how could I help? Wouldn’t it be nice if we did this more than just at Thanksgiving time? Why does it have to be that the holidays are the big reminder of people in need? They likely aren’t less in need the rest of the year. Sure, the weather is different and certainly more trying, but their basic needs are probably constant. The holidays are not happy for everyone. I am so blessed and so happy with my friends, family and our health and I will celebrate that. But I am really challenging myself to focus on others as well and not just during the holiday season.
This isn’t a new thing. It’s often on my mind how fortunate I am and how I need to help others. I keep trying. I think maybe we all try at this for life? There will always be needy people and we can always try to be better in how we aim to help. But I do have to say, it’s really nice to be in a place where we all have similar hopes. Being surrounded by people who just seem so selfless is refreshing and inspiring. Trinity really is making a difference in our community and it shows especially during this time of year but really throughout the entire year.
For example, today we packed Dignity Bags.
I wondered where that name came from. Dignity means self-respect, in a state of or being worthy of honor or respect. That made sense when I thought about what we were packing- hygiene products, mostly. I hope that the people who receive these bags feel better taken care of personally and can worry less about finding money to care for themselves. Maybe their bag is one thing they can be thankful for. Even one thing can mean a lot. I hope that you can find at least one thing to be thankful for this season, too.
Photo 1: etsy.com
Photo 2: briantracy.com
I meet new people in this job regularly. If I’m doing it well, I meet them daily. This week I made a good connection with someone across the street at the University of Saint Francis’ downtown campus. Being that they are so close, you would hope for a relationship. But, to no one’s fault, there’s definitely room to grow in that aspect and I’m determined to explore how.
This a reminder that connections can be so easily made or ignored. I’m sure we often pass by people, sometimes maybe even the same people, on a regular basis without even extending a ‘hello.’ It’s strange that as someone in the communications field, I sometimes do this. We get so wrapped up in our heads and what we’re doing that we extend a friendly smile as a greeting rather than a verbal expression. I think I am half extroverted and half introverted. I went to a dinner where we talked about extroversion and introversion and it was interesting yet reassuring to realize this is okay. Yet, those moments of not saying hello are few and far between for me these days. Maybe it’s because I love my job? (and Trinity. Yes, I am biased here.)
It wouldn’t be hard to go about your schedule day in and day out in your own bubble. For whatever reason that may be. I imagine it would get rather lonely. Communicating with people is essential to human function, I think. I watched a show about surviving on an island and that came to be one of the reoccurring themes the contestants brought up. At the beginning, they were dropped off alone and could decide to stay that way or go find people. They had different approaches. Some decided to stay alone and try to survive and others went to look for a partner in the mission. All of them eventually said that human contact and relation is crucial to survival.
Alone time is also huge for me. I can talk all day, be in meetings all day, bounce from event to event. Then at the end of the day, I need to unwind and unplug. Finding this balance can be a challenge too.
I’m looking forward to working with my new connection at USF and hope it leads to important relationships. I love this community and want to be as connected as possible. But, afterwards I’ll still then go retreat to my cozy house, put my electronics away, and hang with my cat.
Second photo: Lonerwolf.com
Connecting with our downtown neighbors the goal of my job. Finding out what people want from church, what do they want it to look like? Two of the main questions we’ve come to are 1. If you aren’t going to church- why? 2. If you would go to church, what would that look like? Neither of those questions come with judgement. A lot of people simply aren’t going to church anymore. I admit, I definitely am not removed from that category. This is a topic I’ll get into later, right now I want to talk about another part of my job – communication.
My studies have been in communication and I’ve started my career in this field. This week I had two special days of communicating. Both left me with a head full of thoughts and a heart full of emotions. Some of those include sadness, motivation, happiness and guilt. I spent the day at Wellspring Monday. Their mission is people of faith working together to support and enrich the lives of Fort Wayne’s central city residents.
I spent the morning accompanying the seniors in their activities. First, exercise. The music choice for the morning was Aretha Franklin and some of the women there took advantage of that as a time to get their groove on. Then we watched a cool (and scary) slideshow about haunted places in Fort Wayne. I had no idea how many there are said to be! Eek. All of this was topped off with a nice lunch over conversation. Once they put two and two together and realized I used to work at WANE, that became a big topic of discussion. I don’t like talking about myself, but they were now wearing the reporter shoes for sure! It was a fun way to start the day. The less positive feelings came after.
Most people know there are a lot of hungry people in Fort Wayne. I think I realized this week I probably wouldn’t be too great at social work. I’m sure you get used to the understanding that you can’t personally get too involved or give too much away because it just can’t work that way. But I couldn’t stop thinking about all of the excess clothes and food I have and wanted to give it to everyone I meant during the food bank and boutique hours. Seriously, my car is embarrassingly full of clothes. I will donate them ASAP.
It was sad to see people desperate for food. But also uplifting to see that there are places like Wellspring to help. Even more uplifting, the people there getting the food? They didn’t seem sad or desperate. They were thankful for Wellspring and just happy to get something to eat.
Over at the boutique, which is incredible by the way, people were busy shopping. I’m truly impressed with this shop. They’ve worked hard to make it look and feel like any other shopping experience. But, when a family of four can only have two coats, you remember that’s not the case. It makes sense and I understand. They can’t give everyone in the family a coat or there wouldn’t be any left to give at all. Still, it wasn’t easy to see. But again, the family didn’t complain. They were happy to have even one coat.
Trinity refers a lot of people to Wellspring. Whether they are looking for some food or clothes or something else, the church connects them with Wellspring. I saw first-hand the incredible work they do. I knew of the organization before but not like this. Being there in it all day proved Wellspring is truly a gem for our city.
Wednesday I spent some time at Redemption House, a transition home for women who want to redeem their lives from past destructive behavior
I wanted to see if there’s a way we can connect there and form a relationship. There most definitely is. I prayed with the women, listened to what they were thankful for, and heard their devotions. It was inspiring to see someone who has been through tough times, things I’ve never experienced, still be positive and kind of say “Hey, I don’t know exactly how I am going to do this, but I have faith, and I’m willing to give it a try.” I think we can all benefit from that mindset.
Communicating, meeting new people, and listening will be most of what I do in this first year at Trinity. Trying to get ideas of what people want from the church. How we can be most beneficial in their lives. I have a pretty strong feeling there is a lot to learn.
Welcome to my blog. I am so happy I get to do this. Please know that I will be open, honest, and personal. I never wish to offend you or your opinions but rather use this forum as a way of expression. Blogs give people that freedom and I hope with each post, even when we disagree, we have mutual respect for each other as well as appreciation and gratefulness for this type of medium.