Sunday, January 29, 2006

I preached tonight at Mosaic. It was sort of on short notice (not that if it'd been on long notice, i'd of had time to write something new), but i didn't have time to get to the sermon until today... at around 4pm.

So I chose to recycle. Only the second time in my life I've done this. Last night (in attempted preparation) I got out the red binder full of old sermons...and it was a trip down memory lane.

Oh, this was the first sermon I ever preached at UBC! This is from when I was dating Jeremy. This one came after Jo-Bob and I broke up (some names have been changed). And baby Amari! Oh God, do you remember this one? (Only God was around.) Some obviously couldn't be used without some serious editing. I didn't realize how much of my personal life is reflected in my sermons...but it is.

It was like reading my journal.




At the funeral, Jen Alexander came and hugged me. I hugged her back cause I felt like she knew him better than I did or something. She'd been around longer. I needed to comfort her. "He told me once that he was very proud of you," she whispered in my ear and I burst into tears.

It was the second sermon I ever preached at UBC. The second one. April of 2001. I remember it distinctly. He gave me two sermons in a row: spring break.

But, I did better the second time, Kyle. You told me that if you preached as well as I preached when you first started, no telling where you'd be now.

No telling.

But I can take a guess...

Thursday, January 26, 2006

So I didn't get the house.


I mean, I could of, but when a professional inspector looks at you apologetically and confesses, "I wouldn't buy it..." you know you're in trouble.


I should have known. Apparently my dream house is not my dream house. It had siding that is sketchy and has been covered over with a "big band aid" and a foundation that is unstable and unaccessible (and thus illegal). So my "maybe house" is now my "no-way-in-hell" and "damn-i-just-lost-$415-but-its-better-than-losing-more-later-house."


Not only that, but the real estate person lied to me and my real estate agent. They told us the gas was turned on. The inspector said there isn't even a gas meter.


So, that's the scoop. Don't worry though. I didn't cry. I'm not even sad. I just sort of shook my head and wrote the check. So I guess I'm off to househunt again. Hmm. If that was the nicest house I looked at, are they all going to come up this shoddy? How can a $110,000 house not pass inspection?

Because in Austin buying a house for 110 is like buying a house for $20,000 anywhere else in the world. Okay, maybe not in LA. What if house buying isn't for me? How can I afford anything more expensive? How can I afford anything sketchier? Maybe I should wait for that rich man that I'm going to marry before I buy.

Maybe I shouldn't get my hopes up.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Happy Birthday Emily! 21. Oh Lord have mercy on her liver. Happy Birthday Michelle! 25 years old on the 25th. It's a golden birthday for the Gold Johnson girl. Happy Birthday Kevin, my colleague and co-worker. Happy Birthday Greyson, my pastor's son. Happy Birthday everyone today. Be good. Celebrate you. Call the people you love... and we'll call you!

Monday, January 23, 2006

So I might be buying a house.

I perused the houses in my price range. Cringed. Sighed. Said, "maybe..." Gasped in horror. And finally squeeled, "this one I like!"

It's technically a 1970s home, but there was a fire and the owner tore the whole thing down and rebuilt it. So it's all new: new floors, new walls, new electrical stuff, new plumbing. So what's the layout? It's a three bedroom, two bath (i can take boarders!) with two living rooms, one kitchen/dining area, a washer/dryer closet and a garage (unusual for Austin). And the clencher? French doors in the back living room. Now I admit, it's not perfect. There's no closet in the master bath and little counter space in the kitchen, but other than that, it's fabulous.

And location? It's on the Eastside. Now, if you are not from Austin, feel free to visit my blogs from a year ago when I worked at Johnston High, and you will understand better the meaning of that sentence. But I'm a pretty missionally minded person and I believe in reconciliation and I am poor. So I'm going to live on the Eastside.

The neighbors look nice. The family next door has their names etched into a wooden wall hanging. The neighbor across the street has a pimped out ride complete with astroturf seats and a one foot tall horse mounted on the hood. I can't wait to meet them.

The house is 3.5 miles from Chris and Michelle.
3.0 miles from Don and Emily, KC, Seth, Adam and Jay.
4.1 miles from FBC if you take 7th and Springdale, 5.3 miles if you take Airport and Springdale.
And it is still a two day drive from my family in Missouri in case anyone's counting.

This week the Inspector comes, and tells me what's not wrong with the house;) and then I guess I call and ask how much insurance will be. Other than that, we're just waiting for papers from the city and from the loan people saying whatever it is I need them to say and then...the house is mine.



Holy cow.

I will not panic. I will be excited. I will not have any furniture to put in the house (or any money to buy any), but I will have a house. And two cats. And my sanity. And my life. My really adult life.

Now if I could just believe that...

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Pittman and Potter
My sisters gave me a cat for Christmas. Most expensive gift I've ever received.

After four weeks in my maternal care, baby Potter has been to the vet four times. $375 later, the vetranarian is my new B/F and I talk to him more than my parents.

Potter started off with an upper respitory infection and stinky diarhea (Emmers calls him "Potty"). Then on New Year's eve, he got a strawberry of sorts on his head which spread to his tummy and then bubbled into an ugly growth. Five medications and one biopsy later, he remains undiagnosed, but is healing despite our fruitless efforts.

On the other hand, last night I went to a birthday party with $30 wine gift in hand and by the end of the evening had eaten a $25 meal for free and been left $30 by appreciative drunks that I drove home at 2:30 in the morning. How did I go to a birthday party and come home with more money than I left with? It's beyond me.

So I guess what goes around comes around. We give and we receive. We complain not, we want not.

All I want is love. But I have that. I have that in a fuzzy purr-monster who sleeps beneith my chin and poots stinky aromas all night long. I have that in new friends who dance and sing with me till the wee hours of the morning. And I have that in life-long sisters who want to help me be happy.

Congratulaions, you've succeeded. And the happiness of my life I give back to you.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

So in addition to being introduced to the Reverend Jesse Jackson, I've also been introduced to football.

That may be a bit of an overstatement, but not by much. My parents watched football, so I grew up with the Chiefs. But I've never been to a game (other than my high school and college games - both of which enrolled less than 1200 students, so you can imagine the games). Now baseball, I've been to. My dad played in a softball league most of my childhood (my first picture with my dad, he's in uniform) and I've often been to Royal's game. I remember the 1988 World Series. I loved George Brett. I collected Baseball cards even.

But football? I tend to generalize football as the epitomy of the male existance: scantily clad women and men tackling each other. Weird. Add the competition element and it just gets dirty.

So, I tolerate it. But in my job, I have learned to "love" it.

I use that word loosely. Very loosely. Let's just say that I've watched two full football games since I took this job, the first two I've watched since college. And the last one was fun. I admit it. I jumped, and wrung my hangs, and closed my eyes, and yelled and celebrated. And then I went to the campus.

It was crazy. Keep in mind I came from a college with a whopping 1100 student enrollment. But UT students were everywhere, taking pictures, screaming chants, high-fiving strangers, hugging strangers, kissing strangers. There were lines of people waiting to buy tee-shirts with the Rose Bowl logo on them wrapped around city blocks at 2am.

All in all in was an interesting study in culture. If I'd have been an alien (although I sort of felt like one) taking notes on human life, I'd have filled a notebook. People are still celebrating.

So here's a pic of the tower they lit up orange. It only glazes the surface of the orange pride right now. But get it while you can, cause I doubt "we'll" be in-Vince-able next year...

Monday, January 09, 2006

So I admit, Bill wasn't there. But the Reverend was. And that man can preach. Say what you will about his personal life, that man can deliver a sermon. I'm sure I would have appreciated it much more if I could have understood him a little better, but oh well. I was sitting against the wall at the standing room only funeral in the sanctuary of my church. Jesse spoke well, proposed healthy theology, and thoroughly involved his audience...those mourning the late Mrs. Obey. Like Volma, she was another civil rights leader living in Austin. God bless these brave leaders. May we all show such courage.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

One week has passed since my new year began. Please, God. Please don't let it fade...

I've never experienced the symbolism of New Year's before. You know, the new beginning, new resolutions, new life, a new leaf. Whatever you want to call it, it's never meant much more to me than an excuse for a party, champagne, and a kiss at midnight.

But this year was different. I felt the symbolism. I craved it.

And January 1, 2006 was one of the best days of my life.

Nope. Not engaged. Not pregnant. Didn't win the lottery. Didn't get a raise. Didn't even have a date the night before. But New Year's day was the best day of my life.

I suppose the new day began at 12:01 in my house where everyone had received a handful of confetti and a glass of champagne. 3...2...1 Happy New Year's! The white confetti went skybound and the house for a brief second was a winter wonderland with snow covering us all. People hugged and kissed and screamed and threw more confetti, all with smiles on their faces. The evening didn't stop there of course, for friends are not easily separated at such happy times, and I retired to bed at 3:30 leaving them to their cigarettes, vodka and early morning discussion on the front porch.

When I awoke a few hours later, I was off to FBC. Early. Too early (this was the only downer to the day). But in an attempt to relieve Roger from writing a sermon and coming home early from a hunting trip with his son, I wrote a short vignette for the pastors to read in lieu of a sermon at church. Of course, not everyone liked the short piece which functioned as a sort of reader's theatre work, but after some tweaking and editing, everyone was pleased and we showed up early to practice.

Now, as every smart young minister may have done, I had cancelled my Young Adults Sunday School for New Year's Day for obvious reasons. Even if everyone was back in town for the holidays, no one was going to make it in at 9:30 the morning after New Year's to study Ecclesiastes. I'm not stupid. So when the ministers agreed that 8:30 am was the only time to practice, I had to roll my eyes. Leave it to me to plan ahead, give myself an extra two hours of sleep, and then have to go to work an hour early with nothing to do. But, I sucked it up, put on sweats, grabbed my outfit and a yogurt and headed to church. After rehearsal, I napped in Roger's office, then dressed and headed to worship.

The service was nice. Refreshing. One of my college students joined the church. And the reader's theatre piece seemed to go over well.

For lunch I returned home and helped Mel clean up our apartment. We wiped countertops, washed dishes, vacuumed the floor and even the tile in an attempt to get up the confetti (i confess, it still remains).

Then it was time for a nap with a young kitten snuggled underneith my chin. Amy and Emily gave me a small, black and white kitten for Christmas with a motor that runs a mile a minute. His tiny body sought warmth from mine and when he found it, he purred us both to sleep.

A few hours later, I awoke and headed back to church for Mosaic. I had been asked to do the communion "speech" for lack of a better word, and needed to show up early to set up for the unique service.

At the door, everyone was given a program for the funeral of 2005. On the communion table lay a casket (a wooden trough painted black) full of dirt. The chairs we sat in couched dead leaves. After a song, eulogy and testimonies about 2005, we wrote on the leaves all we were leaving behind in 2005 and put them in the casket. I scribbled furiously the names, deaths and bad habits I hoped to bury with the year and crushed my leaves deep into the dirt. Good-bye 2005. Never had a funeral felt so good.

We then processed with the pall bearers carrying the casket in front, all the way down four floors and outside to the courtyard. As we left the Mosaic room, we began singing "soon ah will be done wid the troubles of da world" and our tune rang throughout the building.

Once outside, we received a new program for the christening of 2006. We sang joyous songs welcoming 2006 into the world and played banged along on the instuments we were given at the door. A large screen showed a jumble of fast moving colors that entertained the children and set the tone for the new year. The casket was painted white and after we took communion, we planted seeds that we'd also been given at the door into the dirt, fertilized with our dead leaves of 2005, but ready to birth the new life of 2006.

Afterwards, I ate dinner at Taco C with Mosaic folk and then headed to the movies with some students from FBC to see the long awaited Narnia.

I was nervous. I hoped the producers didn't screw up this amazing film. Then as my eyes welled up with tears as Aslan the lion died, I hoped my brain wouldn't let Radley's death shadow this film. But as quickly as they entered my eyes, the left and I breathed a sigh of relief. I can do this. I can handle this new year. It will be good. And even if it has horrible things in store, I am ready. Humble and quiet, but bold and ready.

As I left the theatre and drove home, I smiled at the day. I love my life. I love my two churches. I love my friends. I love my God. I love art. And I love new beginnings.

May each day be one...

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

OMG!! Bill Clinton. I repeat, Bill Clinton may be at my church on Friday. OMG. Do you know how significant this is?

There's a major civil right's leader who passed away and they're having the funeral at my church. And there's a chance that Jesse Jackson will be giving the eulogy and that Bill Clinton will be here.

Holy cow. I am losing my cool. I am seriously not coherant. I am smitten.

I voted for him. I loved him. I forgave him. My president.

What will I wear?

Of course everyone on staff is making jokes about introducing me, the new intern, to the former president, but I don't care about what they say. I'm so excited.

More to come... eeeeee!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, January 02, 2006


Two Thousand Six, I am ready for you! 2005 is no more, and I am ready for what this next year holds.

I drove back from Missouri Friday and Saturday and arrived in Austin just in time to party with my roommate and some friends at our place New Year's Eve.

Pictured is my roomie, Mel, our friend Brandon, his roommate Leigh and of course me.

Missouri, we had too much fun and I'll write more later. Austin, it's good to be home and I'm ready for fresh new times to come. Peace out 2005. It's been real.