Tuesday, August 12, 2008

So ... how's that list coming?

Today is the day Sean and I depart for Slovakia; our flight leaves from O'Hare at 10 pm and will arrive in Vienna at 5:30 pm tomorrow. Today is also our two-year wedding anniversary. It seems fitting and auspicious to begin our adventure together this way, this day!

But, you may ask, what ever happened to that To-Do list you made back in June? It was completed, and quickly replaced by other lists. But it's worth taking another look, just to give me a small sense of accomplishment on a morning when we aren't ... quite ... packed (one of our brand new suitcases had a defective zipper. Eh, could be worse. We're going back to exchange it today. Plenty of time! =))

Done in June, July and August as preparation for pastoral internship and mission volunteering in Slovakia:

1. Sold most of our earthly possessions. This went really well, as previously reported. We are free of excess stuff and it's great. Very liberating. We hope to never own a car again. But before you make us saints of simple-living, know that we have probably over-packed for our trip. Neither of us is really sure how to pack for going abroad for a whole year--what clothes to bring or to leave--and we've both leaned toward "bring" since we have this neat allowance from the ELCA to go over our bag and weight limit. This is probably a mistake, but we won't know what was right to bring and what was wrong until we get there. If we do another short term mission assignment, we'll be better prepared for this part. Still, I'm going to take another look in the bags today and pull out what I can.

2. Went to the Jersey Shore, soaked it up. Sean is really hoping my first call will be to shore town. As long as there's a boardwalk with rides, soft serve, fried oreos and mini-golf, I'm there!

3. Prayed. For my family, missing Jason, and for my future students, the third years: at the end of this past year one of their classmates committed suicide. For my cousin L and my sister M who are sick. For safe travels and preparations for all the missionaries I met at orientation--and for all of us in that group, for support and love as we navigate transitional times. This is one that can't be checked off the list! Please keep us in your prayers, especially as we travel today and tomorrow.

4. Got trained. I'm still processing everything I learned at the Bread for the World Hunger Justice Leader training. The days were densely packed and each workshop was full of useful, engaging and meaningful material. If I'd been good, I would have blogged every night. Sleeping is for the weak. =)

This picture is from the training, and it's on the Bread for the World page promoting a really exciting campaign that all of you voter-types living in the US should consider taking part in: BEAT Hunger 2008. You sign up, Bread sends you emails when there are political events/townhall meetings in your area, you go and ask the candidates a question relating to domestic or world hunger, and maybe someone goes with you and records it and puts the whole exchange up on YouTube. Candidates start to realize that hunger is a real and relevant campaign issue, and should be a priority for them when elected as well. This will be tricky to do from Slovakia, but my dad signed up last night; you can join him by signing up here, and reading more about it here.

5. Wrote prayers for Sundays and Seasons. Look for my intercessory prayers in 2010: the First and Second Sundays of Christmas, Epiphany Sunday, Vigil of Easter and Easter Sunday. The Easter Vigil prayers were the most fun to write: if you haven't been to an Easter Vigil service, I highly recommend it!

6. Enjoyed New Jersey. We did! And we miss it. We've also enjoyed Park Ridge, my hometown. It's been very, very good to have this time with my folks, but I bet they'll be glad to have their condo, and they're regular routine, back! We're looking forward to getting into a regular routine of our own.

7. Enjoyed our family. This is also not something that gets crossed off the list. We will continue to do this, if from afar, over Skype, through emails and letters, and with the pictures y'all post. As we told our niece and nephew, "It'll still be good, just different."

We very much enjoyed time with our friends and family at the sermon/sending/anniversary party my folks hosted August 3. It reminded me of my high school graduation party, and our wedding reception, too ... so many good people coming together from different parts of our lives, interacting with each other in neat and unexpected ways, the room filled with warm, good feeling. Laurel said: "This is a good group, this is a safe place." It's true! We are blessed to have such a strong, loving support network. (And prayer shawls, from the St. Luke's Prayer Shawl Ministry--we also have one Mim made us for our wedding--we were advised to bring 'em all, as it can be cold indoors and outdoors in the winter!)
So, what's left to do? Replace that suitcase, finish packing, take it all apart and pack again, get on the plane. Do these things that are ongoing ... Enjoy our family! Pray! Wistfully remember New Jersey! Depart for a new place, knowing that we are loved unconditionally, glad for grace.

1 comment:

bennyandthejets said...

best wishes for the trip...i can't wait to see pictures.

and may God's love be with you always.