Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Lots of videos

Back to the blogosphere, with hopes of writing more. For now - caught up on some videos that are running around the Internet. It is my opinion that there is a lot of really good important testimony and truths in them. 

Thanks to everyone who originally shared these that I stole them from. I'm so excited.

The Oberlin Project

Stop and Frisk in NYC, and how it hurts everybody

Sex, Gender, Sexuality, Sexual Orientation
featuring infinite continuums

and, just straight happy dance party
"This Train is Bound for Glory"
Mumford and Sons/Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros/OCMS
New Orleans, LA

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

hey everyone -

Due to technical difficulties, rest-of-life blog is now at annainthe10s.blogspot.com, as opposed to Wordpress.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Vacation and transition.

Well. There are these big moments in your life which the 21st century has now made reduce-able to first sentences of blog posts, ie., my favorite current Russian's "I'm going to Russia tomorrow."

Mine? Mom and Dad are leaving for New York tomorrow.

It's not going to be them standing on the driveway waving goodbye this time.

And so begins a stretch of time back in the DC area. A few more weeks of hot hot days and beautiful summer nights (like tonight!), then a fall of East Coast colors, a winter with who-knows-how-much-snow-this-year, and some cherry blossoms and azaleas hang in my future.

Before I came back to this, though, my time in Omaha ended, and I took a vacation. There is much I could write about my time in Omaha ending. It is still very strange that I do not have staff meeting at 9:00 am tomorrow, and that when I went to church today, I wasn't "on-the-clock."

Perhaps a little more reflection will come later. I just wanted to write a little bit about my vacation.

I really, really struggle with the idea of taking a vacation sometimes. I just think about how much work there is to do in the world and how lucky I am, and why should I take a vacation? I get to sleep in a bed in a safe place with food in my tummy...that's luckier than so much of the world.

But, I hear and tell myself...vacations are like soul treatment. They make us happier, and therefore easier to live and work with.

Just like friends.

The three people here are three of five very special people who have been with me through thick and thin over the past five years. They mean the world to me, and it was so wonderful and affirming to spend a week with them!

It was good to see other very special people as well, to hang out in AT&T park, to spend a day at the beach and boardwalk in Santa Cruz, to enjoy music, food, beverages and Golden Gate Park at Outside Lands, and to walk around Berkeley and San Francisco!

So with that, the transition finishes as Mom and Dad start their adventure and I finish unpacking and figure out an employment situation. I'm moving back to annainthe10s.wordpress.com. Thank you so much for being with me this year, dear readers, and if you care to switch your following to the new-old blog, I will do my best to keep you entertained and thought-provoked as I move to another chapter and the 10s continue. Enjoy the dog days!


Sunday, July 24, 2011



I haven't blogged as much as I theoretically would have liked to this year. Once a week would have been sweet, I guess, just so I could give you, dear readers, a better idea about what my day-to-day life is like, little ups and downs, ups and downs that felt like a much bigger deal, etc. (Those of you that I talk to on the phone semi-regularly know about the majority of that last one, I think, and maybe it's better that I not write about them in this blog...)

But this morning is Sunday morning of our end-of-year retreat. I got to sleep in the latest I've slept in in a while - by 10:30 I am either still at St. Luke's or just getting to Grace - and feel wonderful about it. And I think part of the reason I feel so good about the general state of things is because of how wonderful this retreat has been.

Two weeks from now will be my last Sunday at work and 1/3 of my community will have left. My community. Now I've struggled saying those words sometimes because of the struggles I've had this year with my community. But this retreat, something is happening that I don't think has happened all year and, honestly, could have happened earlier than this retreat, and not because of any one person - and that something is that I can feel a strong sense of intentional community.

Let me tell you what we've been doing because otherwise this is going to go on making no sense:

-Thursday (being forced to take 2 days off of work as a requirement of my year of service program is something I bet I will miss about LVC) we spent at our City Coordinator-now with a mid-year position name change Regional Director Janelle's house, along with our spiritual growth facilitator Mike. Janelle lives close to Midtown and I like her house a lot - it's beautifully decorated and just the right size for her and her twin boys, who are some pretty mischievously cute redheads. We did a lot of reflecting on our year through guided visualization and solo written reflection questions, ate lunch at a pretty yummy but a little snooty restaurant (I could write a whole blog post about different neighborhoods in Omaha), had some group discussion and watched a movie for our spirituality time called "The Man Who Planted Trees." Then after Austin made a really yummy dinner (all of our food has been great this retreat) I led spirituality time.

-Friday, we had our photo shoot, the results of which you can see on Facebook. We have many many prints of some of those pictures and we're not quite sure what we're going to do with all of them. (Mom, one is for you.) I led a conversation after lunch about this year's and future work for social justice, an emotionally draining topic that is a very important one to me. We went to dinner at a Mexican restaurant in South O that I suggested, and then did two things we had never done before - play the penny slots at Harrah's casino in Council Bluffs, IA (we won't be going back there any time soon) and indulged in "das Boot" at the one and only Crescent Moon, also in Midtown. the results of that you may not see on Facebook...we'll see...but it was really fun.

Then we built a fort in the Chapel and fell asleep in it.

-Saturday is what I really wanted to write about, I think. Sarah made a deliciously big breakfast and than Jackie led a quiet spirituality time that involved silent meditation and tea and bowing to each other, which I think was very good for our souls.

We had some down time while Sarah and Jackie went and grabbed a few things from the Farmers' Market, during which I decided to check Facebook for the first time since Wednesday, and was rewarded with learning that Patrick has a new job as a Chapter Coordinator (I'm pretty sure?) at Active Minds' national office in DC. (http://www.activeminds.org) And here is where the gratitude really starts. Patrick credits me a lot with bringing Active Minds to Oberlin, but the thing is, babe, you did SO MUCH WORK last year to keep the organization going and the mental health conversation open at our school last year, and I just cannot be more thrilled that you got the job. Like, I get more and more thrilled every time I think about it. Not only am I so happy for you and know how great this will be for your professional development (ooh big grown up words)...it just means so much to me because of how much I care about the mission of Active Minds and how closely we worked together on it and how much you care about it, too.

So that was a nice outside-community-life thing. After lunch, we doodled during Austin's simplicity presentation because he told us to, did some deep cleaning, and had 2 sessions of one-on-one time, which we're going to do 3 more of today. I'm really, really glad we're doing that. This is almost certainly stating the obvious, but I have a unique relationship with each of my housemates, and I am grateful for the time to focus on each relationship with them.

After dinner Sarah led spirituality time, and the first thing we did was check-ins. We do check-ins before many of our conversations, and you'd think we'd get sick of listening to each other talk about how we're feeling - but in intentional community it's important to know how each person is feeling and interesting/good/reaffirming to hear the similarities in how we're feeling.

We're all having a good time basically spending 4 days straight together. We're all anticipating a lot in the next two weeks. And I think we have all grown a lot this year, and are still growing, and I was the not the only one to say something along the lines of  "this has been such a wonderful year".

That's the last time I'll be able to use the word "wonderful" in this post, cause it's time for me to get dressed.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I am reading a wonderful book...

The title pretty much sums it up.

I am so grateful for everyone who has donated for the causes I have asked for money for this year. But if there are just a few more things you all could do for me, they would be to read this book and watch Food, Inc.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Grace July newsletter article.

I dunno...I guess I just feel pretty good about both of them this month.

I 've learned something very important this summer so far. Teamwork, while sometimes frustrating, complicated and hard, leads to results that are much more rewarding than what I can accomplish on my own. You'd think that I would have learned that already, but the examples of teamwork that I have been a part of recently have resulted in exceptional rewards.

With about 15 other Habitat for Humanity volunteers, I lifted up the frame for a wall on a home. With three other youth and Christian education directors, I planned a weeklong summer program that brought together 30 kids (ages 6 – 18) and about seven adult volunteers from three churches that allowed them to make new friends, have fun playing games and singing together, and got them out into the city of Omaha by serving in a different site every morning. By the time we ended the week with a pizza lunch at Table Grace, I was rewarded with an offering of more than $200 to present to Head Chef Matt Weber and many smiles from both kids who had made new friends or grown closer with old ones and had fun, and adults (parents and grandparents) who were so happy with the week their kids had had.

Similarly, it is great to see the Kids at Work kids getting to know each other better and have a good time together as they work. They are doing a super job at the organizations where they have worked; their help has been very much appreciated and their positive attitudes are really great as well. As I write, Vacation Bible School is just a few days away, too, and I know it takes a lot of teamwork to make that happen.

Even though I have always felt wonderfully supported by both congregations this year, at times I have also felt very alone. I know that God is always with me, but when I have to make a tough decision or think about a tough situation and I'm on my own, I get scared. That is why it has been so great for me to see the results of teamwork recently...I've seen God working through other people and am reminded that other people want to work with me through those tough decisions and situations, too. I don't have to do it all on my own.

I think that's a good point to keep in mind for the future of the church – Grace, the Nebraska Synod, the ELCA, everybody. When it comes to being active in ministry, our individual motivation is important, but we do not have to do it all on our own, and we really CAN'T. We need God with us – in our individual spiritual time, and in work with each other. We need to work together to show God in ourselves to each other. Teamwork is sometimes frustrating, complicated and hard – showing up to meetings, figuring out how to deal with discomforts and disagreements, etc. – but being saved by grace is also about doing good works; even good works that aren't always fun. I can't say it enough or more emphatically – the rewards of doing good works together make life meaningful.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Another newsletter article.

This one is for St. Luke's July newsletter.

From Your Community Outreach Associate

I have the word “service” on my brain. Our well-loved sign, which as I write is advertising the garage sale, previously read “9:30 AM SUMMER SERVICE.” I just finished a week of service with Justice, Minna, Sarah and Caleb as part of a summer program called “Lutheran Youth Serve Omaha.” And in about seven weeks, my year of service with the Lutheran Volunteer Corps will be over.

I'm going to go out of order and talk about “Lutheran Youth Serve Omaha” first, because it was so much fun, and I am proud of our youth for their good work and positive attitudes. Whether it was Caleb having a ton of fun digging up rocks in Kountze Memorial Lutheran's community garden with new friends from Kountze and St. Matthew, Sarah's good people skills shown through her conversations with senior citizen residents at deFreese Manor and care for babies at Precious Memories daycare, Minna carefully bagging diapers for young moms at the building where Youth Emergency Services' street outreach program is hosted, or Justice, the one-handed shoveling queen, filling sandbags even though her right arm was in a cast – we can all be extremely proud and pleased with their enthusiasm for service and representation of St. Luke's in the community and with our partner churches.

Check out the banner next to Pastor Patti's office that the kids filled out with their reflections on service each day. (All 30 kids answered three questions on three banners, one of which was sent to each church - “What did you do today?” “How did it make you feel?” and “How will your service affect the lives of others?”) Also, ask our participants about their experience when you see them around church this summer. I am pretty sure they will tell you that they made new friends, learned some things they didn't know about ways to serve, worked pretty hard, and had a good, fun week.

So, what about that first usage of the word “service” that I mentioned? 9:30 AM SUMMER SERVICE means get to church sometime between 8:30 and 9:30 for coffee, donuts and fellowship, then go to worship, sing, hear the Bible and a sermon, pray, say some stuff, sometimes get communion, sing again, then go home. Right?

Hmmm. I love coffee, donuts, and especially fellowship time, and worship does do a body good. (Just ask Pastor Patti.) But there's something more there, I think. At Synod Assembly in Fremont, keynote speaker David Lose said that church has the potential to be like an airport. We can come to church ready to go somewhere, ready to connect to something. Where we will go? Out in our communities to serve, in whatever way we can, to show God's love to everyone. A Sunday service can help us make that connection...to travel to wonderful, exciting new places...no matter where we are on our faith and life journeys.

So, turns out “service” is not just a regular occurrence in a church building, or even one special week out of the summer, but a really exciting, life-giving word. I bet Dick Webb didn't know that, when he suggested I put “Summer Service” on the sign since we didn't have enough W's to write “Summer Worship”, he was helping me write my newsletter article.

Anyway, as for that year of service coming to an end thing – I think I'm out of space for this month, so I'll wait until August to tell you about that.