February and most of March 2012

26 March, 2012

So, I haven’t really written an actual update on my life since Lent started, and next week will be Palm Sunday! I’ve been super busy trying to keep up with everything (work, homework, community life). Lent is going good, though, and I’m enjoying the busted halo calendar (check it out if you haven’t already).

February went by fast, and March has gone by even faster.

A couple weeks ago, I was blessed with the opportunity to take four of my students (plus Patrick, one of my community mates) with me to Nazareth Farm—the sister farm of Bethlehem Farm, which some of you might remember was one of my hopeful plans after I graduated (God, in His infinite wisdom, had other ideas that led me here to Echo, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world). I was excited but nervous, as I had never been the leader of a service trip before and was also nervous about how I would do after being turned down by the other farm when I applied to be a caretaker. That had really hurt me, but looking back now I see the hand of grace in it (using that context strength!).

Being at Nazareth Farm was the most wonderful thing that could have happened. It was the rest I needed. I love the feeling of being physically tired when I crawl into bed at the end of the day instead of just emotionally exhausted. The physical work we did was wonderful and a pleasure. I worked on many things, from helping to shovel out the creek (which was full of rocks and dirt that had washed down from the mountain in a recent flood) to building spindles and railings for stairs to helping cut wood for a roof (I’m afraid of heights and thus got nowhere near the actual roof, unlike the rest of my crew). I also loved the community and simplicity, my two favorite parts of the farm. The four cornerstones are community, simplicity, prayer and service and I feel like I want the cornerstones of my life to be the same! I’m in love with that life and I can’t wait until Molly and I have our retreat center so we can start living it.

Speaking of, we’ve agreed that our goal is to put a down payment on the center by 2023, although I’m thinking we’ll beat that by a long shot. The idea is to give ourselves ten years after grad school to start, but we’re both ready for it now. I really feel that this is where God is calling me to be, and from our conversations, I think so does Molly.

Also, Naz Farm is starting a new farm in Kansas City, MO called Jerusalem Farm. Check it out!

After Nazareth Farm, I came home and took a day to myself, doing a self-led retreat all day Monday until I went to a real retreat at the Fatima Retreat House that night. It was a wine and art retreat led by Katie Sohm, and it was wonderful. She led us in prayer and led us in painting a picture of a dogwood tree, which I loved since it’s the MO state tree. It was a great night and exactly what I needed after the exhausting drive back from the farm (and the emotional exhaustion of moving back into a fast paced life that I really wasn’t designed for). It was SOOOO GOOD!

Since then, things have continued to be busy. Last week, I threw a surprise wedding shower/sleepover for a student and our women’s group. I have spent a lot of time processing my experience at Naz Farm and will continue to do so. I have also gotten back into my normal routine, but am far behind in my class work (so much so that I’m nervous about catching up). This is the life of a campus minister.

I am also fighting homesickness for Dallas and my dear friends (I really just want to curl up on the Ponikiewski/Parent’s couch and watch tv and pet Radar…) and also homesickness for Rolla and the country after being in West Virginia.

I have also been in a domestic mood (also courtesy of Naz Farm) and made homemade peanut butter, baked some gluten free bread, and made cookies with Amy and Joe tonight (Joe also helped with the bread) while Patrick laughed at us. It was a great community night that we were blessed to share with Natalie from Lalanne (the others are on spring break) and I had a lot of fun. I’m not as content and at peace as I was a week ago, sitting and looking at the mountains of West Virginia, but I’m happy to be here. I wouldn’t trade my life for the world.

As I near the end of my first year in Echo, I’m growing nervous and excited about the future while still trying to suck every experience I can out of the present. Please pray for my future that I can find where God is calling me to go!

As part of that, I am applying to be a Providence Associate with the Sisters of Providence of St. Mary of the Woods in Terre Haute. It's not like being a sister, there are no vows, I am just entering into a deeper relationship with the sisters and trying to have a deeper relationship with Providence, dedicated to love, justice, and peace. Please pray for me as I discern this new relationship with the sisters!

Happy Lent and continue to pray for me. I am praying for all of you!