Friday, February 29, 2008

The Day of Leaping

As I sit here on this Friday morning with Leap Year on the brain (thanks, Jayme), I'm pondering the fact that it is also a year of leaps for me. I have decided to join three of my closest friends from church in a church planting endeavor this fall. We started staff meetings about six weeks ago with just the four of us, discussing the vision and values for Franklin Hill Foursquare and building community with each other. No sooner had we started than the travel season kicked in for me and I was off to Portland for Boomerang, then home a week, then gone a week, then home a week, then -- you guessed it -- gone again.

Last Thursday, before this last cycle of gone again which landed me in Missouri (I didn't take any pictures because unlike all the other places, The Elms in Excelsior Springs just ain't that grand), Cesar and I sat down for lunch and chatting. (I'm still learning how to converse with Cesar when it is one-on-one. Normally I'm with him and his wife and family or other people. It's an intriguing process.) At any rate, I was challenged to assess the patterns in how I spend my time and the internal consequences thereof.

I realized that, outside of worship and teaching teams (which have taken a backseat to Boomerang and family stuff these past years), my time is spent on me. I may have sporadic times of service to other people, but there is no one place where I have been proactive in turning my heart away from meeting my own needs. And while the work I do is good work in the world, I am still compensated for it either monetarily or relationally.

Furthermore, I started thinking about the cost of being gone so much. When I travel for a Boomerang conference, I usually miss church, small group, and FHF Staff. If that weren't enough, I also just miss being in people's lives here. When I got back from MO, Cesar and Lisa had shifted around all their furniture AND decided to home school their kids next year. HELLO!!!! I didn't even know that was in the crock pot.

There is more to this, but one of the decisions that I've made as a result of all this pondering is to back out of the Boomerang Conferences I was scheduled to work in April. I'm going this week to Colorado, but after that, I won't be BoomBooming until the last conference of the season in Mid-May. While typing that makes me sad and makes me want to say "well, maybe I can work the Washington conference", I recognize that as me not wanting to leap with both feet into the next season of life. Part of my reluctance stems from my lack of knowledge about the next season, most specifically where I'll work, but I do know where I'll be as far as community, and I want to be here.

The other leap that happens today is applying for the YVCC Dean of Students job. It closes today and I'm squeaking in at the last second. I'll keep y'all posted on that one.

much love -- marah jean

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Interesting title here....

Okay -- I officially extend myself blogging grace. I didn't realize it has been almost a month since my last blog, and a part of me wants to lock myself in the closet and give myself a flogging for the lack of blogging. But since I'm not a character in a Hawthorne novel nor a member of some Puritan colony, I just say "GRACE!!!" And since I am subbing today at an elementary school, I have lots of time this morning to get my dedicated readers (Colin, Heidi, and Jayme!) and anybody else out there caught up on my life!

Boomerang: I'm officially in travel season now and have worked at two conferences thus far: Skamania (near Portland, OR) and Lakeway (near Austin, TX). At both conferences, I worked in the WEB room, which means that I taught the middle school curriculum to middle school teachers. Let me just say that, as a crew, middle school teachers are hilarious! I suppose they have to be considering what they do every day, but I never understood how "serious" we high school teachers are. After all, we have CONTENT people! :-)
In keeping with one of my new year's resolutions, I did take some more pictures. The Portland pictures actually aren't from the conference, but from my trip to Goonie Rock with Colin and Mary. What an exquisite joy to have the opportunity to spend extra time with these life surprises. My second trip to Austin was just last week, and the weather was definitely a perk. It was hovering around 70 when I got off the plane. Oh yeah baby! And the scenery was just breathtaking, which was a complete surprise. I thought Texas was entirely FLAT, but I was wrong! Apparently, there's a huge lake in
Austin... and HILLS!!!! This picture was the view from my hotel room.
I was in the WEB room again and had a fantastic group of teachers. I always feel that way, but it was particularly true this time around. What is funny to me is that, other than my six week stint as a 6th grade reading teacher, I haven't worked in a middle school, but this season is shaping up to be the middle school season. I found out yesterday that I'm scheduled to be the one and only WEB coach next week in Missouri. That should be interesting, but I'm up for it! I know from experience, though, that Excelsior Springs isn't as picturesque as Austin. But I'll take pictures anyway!

Family: How glorious is it to have my family here. The kids are adjusting SO WELL! Bennett really enjoys his preschool and no longer wigs out about going to class at church. It still boggles my mind at times that they are HERE. Last week, I had a day off in the middle of the week and went to Costco and just ran into Rachel and Erin. And last night I went to Wapato for my Chubby Lady Support Group, and Rachel and the kids were at mom and dad's with dinner waiting! Seriously! It's just too great. Something I didn't expect, though, was the shift in my involvement with my dear sister when we go to conferences and whatnot. After I got back from Austin, Rachel and I went to a ladies' retreat with the gals from Living Faith in Philomath. It was fun, but the weird thing was that I didn't really have anybody to hang with. Normally at these things, I'm focused on getting as much Rachel-time as possible since it would be months before I saw her again, but now... well, that is how she is with her Philomath friends. So I took naps, read a book, went jogging. All good things, but just different. One of the most amusing parts of the weekend, though, was the lip sync/dance show. My group got a bag of hats, ties, jean shorts, and a CD with a little New Kids on the Block action. Great glory. It was good times.

Other stuff: I guess the biggest thing to keep y'all up-to-date on is work. I'm applying for the Dean of Student Services job at Yakima Valley Community College. This is by far the LONGEST SHOT I've ever attempted since, on paper, I am quite unqualified. I mean, hello! I have NO collegiate administrative experience! But I do play a MEAN people, tigers, and traps, and can create very positive work and learning environments. So I'll write my letter of interest this week, get letters from a few of my important people, and see what happens. I'm trying not to think too much about it, but I do pray that, if THAT is where I'm supposed to be, the doors would swing WIDE OPEN and confirmation would flow from on high! :-)

And that is it from this corner of the globe. love and sunshine -- marah jean