Sunday, July 31, 2011

What if...

...I blogged an average of once a day in August?  I know that it would mean blogging twice in a day for some of the days.  And that sometimes the content could get fluffy.

....but it could be a good practice.

Here are some topics that I will probably (maybe) talk about:
Healthier eating
Books I'm reading
Fears and Pet Peeves
Social Media

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Top 5 Reasons why Niagara Falls is like Heaven

5. You can't really imagine how magnificent it is until you get there.
4. Glory of God is on display.
3. People from every tribe, language, etc are walking around marveling at the main attraction.
2. Both are wonderful places that don't get talked about as much as they should
1. Something about a giant chasm.  I don't know, this list seemed like a good idea at the time, and I really only was thinking about #3, and then had to fill in the rest.  This blog needs a facelift!

We shall see what August brings.

Taken over Easter, hence all the snow and ice.  We brought a camera with us yesterday when we were at Niagara Falls, but it was a waterproof, disposable one (so we could take pictures on the Maid of the Mist).  So, there may be 27 more recent pictures of the Falls, but we don't know if they turned out, and the film won't be developed until Tuesday after 4pm.  If there's anything I've learned from this, it is that digital cameras have made me impatient.  This caption may or may not be more interesting than the actual blogpost it accompanies.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Posty post. (or, conference notes)

Ages ago, I went to a conference.  I took some notes.  This week, I need to write a paper, and I think maybe some of the notes might be helpful.  Plus, it's just good to go over notes, and I haven't yet.  Please note that these notes only reflect that they are my notes and nothing more.  If I have misinterpreted what the speaker was saying, or taken it out of context I'm sorry.  For some of the notes it is difficult to distinguish what are the speakers thoughts and what my response/thoughts were.  Also, some of the notes don't necessarily reflect my own personal views, but the view of the presenter.

Mark Galli (Christianity Today)
(doodle of flower) "...a lack of knowledge and a lack of Christian living among evangelicals..."
(squiggle) What we do is aligned with what we feel and experience....but we shouldn't base everything on how we one "feels gifted" or "called" to take out the garbage.  It still needs to get done.
But of course, the Christian is to enjoy an experience of God.
(doodle of a circle with a cross in it)
"When we receive the Holy Spirit, it is more than idea, it is a living reality."
(doodle of a long skirt) Packer and Parrett quote about ongoing learning in the church. (doodle of a face)
Low church: "those people" need to be catechized. (those people!)
(doodle of a shield)
My thought: So do high church and no church!!
The gospel is good news.
Martin Luther...exhortations and encouragement for preachers and teachers.


Phil Harrold led Q&A time w/Mark
Christianity more than just something you do and feel.
In an internet era...who is our neighbor?
Though Rob Bell brings up good points for discussion, he doesn't explain it well...& in his attempt to paint a picture of heaven...he fails to mention God as often as he should.  Shouldn't God be the best part about heaven?
Rob Bell is a Christian trying to love Jesus the best he can.
Catechesis in sermons....majority of sermons start with "when I..." and a long story that is entertaining and memorable to the audience....and they slip in the gospel at the end....that's great, but we learn more about the pastor than we do about the gospel....we love the pastor more than we love the gospel!
People will remember what you spend the bulk of your time on.

From Phil:
4 dimensions of catechesis:
Call to...
1. call to identity and unity
2. faithful witness
3. holiness and stewardship
4. ministry and mission

Google "Anglican Catechism and Outline"
2 aspects...(Of Anglican catechism)
1. catechetical
2. liturgical

Martha Giltinan
Catechesis is for both seekers and non-seekers.
The idea of the front porch....the home & family...the front porch and beyond!
Human beings were made for worship...for eternity.
                                        (Below "for worship")--->give people a glimpse of what they were made for
Simplicity and repetition - St. Benedict
"Liturgical marination process"
Everything is for the glory of God.
Remember who you are.
Scripture is our life, our story....our family book.
Becoming the gospel in corporate worship.

1. Vittore Carpaccio's Augustine in his Study (painting) (completely inaccurate picture)
We think of Augustine as a great writer...but in reality, he was a great talker, & had much (including the Bible) memorized.  We need to listen to the voice of Augustine.
"Christians are made, not born."
2. Augustine the North African
-pictures of churches, cathedrals, basilicas, etc
-order of worship
    @Augustine's church
3. Augustine the preacher...
--editing as he speaks
--a live performance (have to account for audience reactions)
-collections of Augustine's sermons
-we must both look at Augustine's preaching and his theory of it
-preparing to preach (see handout)
-some of his sermons were essentially raps
--"people like spicy food....they like spicy speaking."
--sometimes spoke like an auctioneer
--had a noisy audience
4. The catechumenate (see handout!)
-preacher as tour guide
-periods and rites
--1st p: evangelisation
--Rite: cross on forehead
--2nd p: catechumenate
--Rite: rite of election (in Africa?)
3rd p: lent
We should never romanticize the ancient catechumenate.
Lent at the time was a lot like didn't eat during the daylight hours. You abstained from meat, alcohol, and sex.
Prayed a lot.
-learned (handed down) the Creed and the Lord's Prayer (also on handout)
Christ is our advocate (!)..& pleads on our behalf.
We have to demonize our enemies in order to want to kill them.  Augustine de-demonized the people's enemies via his interpretations of the Lord's Prayer, and its centrality on forgiveness.
-An Easter in Hippo & Mystogogical Catechesis
-What does it mean for us today.
Augustine had a special wing off of his church.
You can get the idea of various methods of baptism from artwork of the time.
Easter is the time for baptism. (actually, a lot of this is in his book)
Baptism at that time almost sounds to me like an initiation...or a hazing! (triple immersion and interrogation)
1st act of being baptized: recite Lord's Prayer
Catechumens compared to making bread.
"Be what you see, receive what you are." (Bread...body of Christ)
"We've ritualized catechesis & de-catechized liturgy."
Catechumenates are the visible sign of conversion.
Symbols need to be big: bread that looks and tastes like bread, for example.
Catechesis of silence...entices...does not spoil it (the ending) a movie-critic - explain it, but don't explain it away.
Don't lose mystery!
*Scriptural stories
*Natural images
*Cultural images
*Types or antitypes
Symbols can have more than one meaning
Catechesis as a performing art.
The well tempered word:
-epigrams (one liners)
-metaphors (be careful, they can mean more than one thing)
(arrow down from "the well tempered word)---->helps us to remember....oral vs read
                                                                                   (arrow down from oral)--->can be more memorable.
(large doodle of the whole stage, with speaker and podium in center)
*importance of Scripture
-the "what" of catechesis
-Scripture as bread
-exegesis (--->what it meant/what it has meant (the tradition)/what it means)
-catechism vs Scripture
Local and timely truths (vs universal truths)
(large doodle of the letters: A.W.A.F)
-Christ as melodic core
-method: how does such-&-such a point relate to the mystery of Christ?
Every class should be on Christ
-Love of God and love of neighbor
-God & kingdom as end (not baptism)

Workshop: Basics of Christian Formation in the Family
-What we do to spiritually form our children
--includes but not limited to Sunday AM
--typically we hand over our children to others
History of Sunday School
-100 years old
-designed to teach literacy outside of the church
-formation was responsibility of family until (can't read my writing here....s?s or 5?5...the question mark could either be an o, p, or r...or something else)
-Deut 6:4-7 (what we are called to has to be real for you, before it can be real for your kids) (can be in the car from home to school & at night before bed)
Parents have way more impact on a child than a sunday school teacher.
-Dumbing down vs translating & giving kids words to articulate their faith.
-no such age as too young to teach faith. Kids are great at memorization (on the same note, you're never too old)
Life together...
What am I trying to accomplish at home?
-how do you see your child's faith in 20 years? in 50? What are you doing to make this happen? (big picture)
-De-compartmentalize and create a God-filled normal life.
-Fathers take up role as spiritual leaders (step up)--->Corrie ten Boom's father
-Mothers understand your place in home formation
-commit to family worship at home (got to put the big things in first)
Scriptures to look at:
Deut 6:4-7
Ex 20:5-6
Joel 1:3
Psalm 78:4
Acts 2:38-39
1. You
2. Your children
3. The world
We can't evangelize to the world if we have this order wrong.
-not all at once
-expect to crash and burn
-know that the devil attacks your good works, so you're on the right track
-get caught spending time with God (authentically)
-use little, mundane moments
-be intentional about family time
-try different things to see what works
Demonstrate the bigger need for prayer...for things in their life, and for things that are outside of them (ambulances, etc) in both good and bad situations. Mundane moments.
Have lessons at home that prepare the kids for Sunday school each week.
Can work together with other families
(plus many more on the handout)
My thought: Like on an airplane, you need to help yourself before you assist others...same with formation (you, family, the world)

Ashley Null -- Preaching as Catechesis
Medieval: heart
Protestant: head
Head and heart need to work together
Love for our neighbor only comes when we realize/know what we are loved by God.
Don't confuse the reformation with 19th century revivalism.
(doodle of two gears right next to each other, with arrows to show motion. the left one is moving clockwise, so the right one is moving counter-clockwise)
ongoing conversion vs instant conversion
We love, because he first loved us...and we don't have to earn God's love.  Fear needs to be taken away.
Grace>(produces)gratitude>love>repentance>good works>a better society
Scripture is the ultimate authority for faith and doctrine
Sola scriptura originators did not read the Bible outside of the early church fathers.
Scripture, tradition, and reason make up the 3 legs of the 3-legged stool (of how we interpret Scripture)
What does sola scripture look like in differing interps of Scripture?  Tradition helps.
(my first name in cursive)
Reason: not my own reason, but theological reasoning.
The power of the Bible and God in action.
Read the Bible in both the morning and the evening.
(doodle of clouds, one lightning bolt coming out)
(doodle of a shield with a checkerboard pattern...or, four large checkers - 2 shaded in, 2 left blank)
Church and responsibility: Be faithful stewards and communicators of the church's ancient wisdom.
When you read the Bible...what do you read it for?  What does it say about your relationship with God?
(several doodles: a scarecrow, an upside down heart shaded in, a framed picture of a flower growing out of a corn husk, and a ferris wheel)
What the heart loves, the will chooses, and the mind justifies.
Commitment, for better or for worse, changes everything. (the difference between getting married and living together)
Start with Scripture....everything flows from there.
Thomas Cranmer & the Living Word II, Liturgy as Catechesis
You ring bells in an AngloCath church service to tell those who don't speak Latin that something important is coming.
Holy communion is the centerpiece where God's holy people [begin to understand what God has in store for them]. (brackets= not sure if this is what he said)
Ashley Null: when he speaks....I don't necessarily follow every word he says, but I am inspired by the way he says it, with such conviction.

Another workshop: The Catechumenate and the Parish
Knowing the story of the Bible vs knowing the content
-the family is both the prime agent of mission and catechesis. Therefore it can't be replaced.
--evangelism feeds the catechumenate
--not everyone who has been confirmed has been catechized
--catechesis is not Bible study. Catechesis is the inclusive of all the practices which form disciples, including instruction in prayer, doctrine, history, liturgy, etc (though, Bible study is good....must be paired with catechesis).
--adult baptism is the theological norm. Infant baptism is a dispensation given by the church out of economy
--Christian initiation is explicitly tied to catechesis
--Aidan Kavanagh: "Conversion therapy" <----What he calls need someone to come alongside your and walk you through it.
Simple Church findings
-"Simple Church" by Eric Geiger and Thom Rainer
**Highly recommended
-Simple churches are growing, making a bottom line impact in the Kingdom of God
-more programs, less growth.  Fewer programs, more growth.
What is a simple church?
-a simple church is a congregation designed around a straightforward and strategic process that moves people through the stages of spiritual growth
-simply: catechesis
-process marked by: clarity, movement, alignment, and focus
-the ministry blueprint for both the process and the kind of disciples the process will make
-we think in terms of front porch and font. catechumenate, and mystagogy
-all the features of the process are in place.  Everyone in the parish fits into the scheme (youth, children, adults, etc)<------All together.  Multigenerational setting
-Everything possible is done to remove congestion
-people see stagnancy as the enemy
-spiritual formation becomes the norm, not the exception
-newcomer's class, catechesis necessary for initiation, next steps
(Better to become really good at one thing than mediocre at a lot of things)
-All parish constituencies play for the same team.  Everyone has bought into the same process.
-All new initiatives fulfill a place within the catechumenate, ie youth ministry, missions, children's ministry
-Staffing is critical.  Staff must share the same philosophy of ministry
-The ability to say NO!
-If an idea doesn't fit within the catechumenate, it is rejected or molded to fit
-Unnecessary programming is cut
-energy is maximized (need a destiny)
Alpha happens before catechesis.  Read Soul Church(?) by Christian Smith.
Youth Ministry and the Catechumenate
-90% of youth follow the religious patterns of their parents
-need to set up and model the life you want them to live

Exorcism is simply a prayer for/of freedom from evil. Inoculation, in ancient times. (from William Harmless)

Catechetical Evangelism in the Wesleyan Tradition, A Historical Perspective by Tory Baucum (author of Evangelical Hospitality)
-Christian formation
Educational Formation
Vocational formation
Adult catechist
(trainer of Alpha ministers)
"Dig a deep well"
"There is a river in the river
Apostolic Evangelization (1 John 1:3)
Dominical Precedent:
-Matt 10:40
-Luke 10:16
-John 13:20
The messenger and the message are intertwined.  Message is embodied and performed by messenger.
Catechetical  Evangelism: helping people become Christians in the context of instructional fellowship.
How do we learn this?
How do we teach others?
-A community of practices
-Reflective practitioners
Practice #1
-community of faith is the primary unit of evangelism---->applaud soteriology
Augustine's insight....a personal, relational form of instruction that is:
-narrative based
-audience oriented
-dialogical (even in a monologue)
(doodle of someone in the winter, someone in spring, and someone in summer)
Wesley's recovery
-oxford phase (sought satisfaction in "Holy Club"...not sure if it says "club" or "cheb")
-Georgia-moravian phase (need for theological/relational zone of "welcome")
-awaking phase (acceptance by God is a soteriological and social reality)
-learn to participate with progressive grace of God in people's lives:
--prevenient grace (open-air preaching)
--justifying grace (class meeting)
--sanctifying grace (bands)
--perfect love (select societies)
Wesley saw all his ducks as swans
Practice #2
-preaching/teaching is an event, not an essay
-Luke 15 
-- receptor oriented
--narrative based and dialogical (Gen 32-33)
Communication is for communion (Augustine)
Wesley's rhetoric
Live-streaming vs down-loading
Audience-oriented vs text-oriented
Practice #3
Recovering the Lord's "first" supper prepares people for the "last" supper.
(Luke 15)
A 1st supper with seekers
Acts 15 (or is that 13?)
Eating with sinners...cleanliness can be caught too!
Needed: A full recovery of sharing a meal together with believers (new/old, etc) (Alpha now does this)
Justice is important, but supper is essential.
Practice #4
Practicing the priesthood of all believers
(everyone gets to play)
(are you sure this guy isn't Baptist)
Catechetical roles:
Largely a lay ministry
Roles in class meetings -- preacher, assistent, leader
Wesley's 3 General Rules
-do no harm
-do good
-practice the ordinances (sacraments)
Belonging precedes belief
Behaving precedes belonging
(Act your way into a new way of thinking rather than think your way into a new way of acting)
Flannery O'Conner's advice to a young doubter: "Give alms"
Goal of class: detox and resocialize
(like alcoholics anonymous)
Friendship with God, in the context of other seekers' friendship with God is ultimate value. (?)
Catechetical evangelism is a pedagogy.....implied anthropology--->what kind?
Wesleyan Catechesis Applied, Tory Baucum, Part 2 (Handout)
"We know the catholics are famous for their kitsch....we evangelicals do everything we can to keep up." -Phil Harrold (in ref to picture of several bobble head dolls of various religious figures)
Where everybody knows your name....& they're always glad you came....(in my head)
Catechesis through song...(another workshop)
...charmed by what we hear, we pluck the fruit of the words without realizing it." -Basil
"Divine and moral songs, attempted in easy languages for the use of children." -by I.Watts, D.D
The hymns we have, have stood the test of time.  There were a lot of bad hymns, too.
A lot of old hymns were written as take-away versions of the sermon.  We are in a different time (today, people have books and information coming out of our ears).
(arrow down from "a lot of old hymns...")---->songs to the tune of existing songs of the time, so people didn't have to learn lyrics & a tune.
The difference between hymns and praise songs :) Cows in the corn.
"It never was the way it used to be. People just don't like change." -Andy Piercy
How can we get the benefits of using music without actually enjoying it? (ha, ha)
*Book rec: "Unchristian"
England is a secular society....States are not far behind.
3 Different kinds of songs we sing in church:
1. Songs we sing to each other about God.
2. Songs we sing to others about God.
3. Songs we sing to God.
Nowadays, young people don't want to be sung at (or even talked at) anymore.
Being provocative vs being formative
(doodle of a leaf)
What about singing liturgy?

Catechetical Theology at the heart of the church, Dr Graham Tomlin
Paul was responding to a particular issue...occasional theology vs systematic theology
Age of expansion:
1st-5th century...bishops were responsible for teaching (among other things) (local teachers and catechetical schools)
The age of settlement:
5th-12th century....monasteries and schools
The age of confidence (or of crisis!):
12th-17th centuries...Christian universities
The age of reason:
18th-19th centuries...theology faculties in secular universities
The age of revival and doubt
19th century....Theological seminaries
Age of mission...
Theological learning and sustaining church renewal
Early church---->catechetical schools
Medieval renaissance---->christian universities
Reformation---->universities and academics
18c revivals----->class system and seminaries
21st century---->???
Forces shaping change
-secularist atheism
-church planting----->showing to be much more effective that existing churches in attracting non-churched people.
----->so then, how do we train people to plant churches? Do church plants also attract "churched" people? (Asking as one who prefers to join an established church)
***Never assume everyone knows your acronyms
An example:
St Paul's theological center, London
-St Mellitus College
-A theological resource for HTB(?) and Alpha
-lay training in theology
-full-time, church-based ordination training
What have we learned?
-facing the challenges
-the church needs all three models (universities, etc)
-"Doing" ---> being missional not just missiological
-drawing on the energy of local church life
-the hunger of churches for theology
(what happened? Certainly other seminarians in the past have wanted to change or improve another 50-100 years, will there be seminars talking about improving the things we've set out to improve??)
(several doodles of pinwheels/ferris wheels/trivial pursuit pie piece holders)
Teaching Virtue at the heart of the church by Graham Tomlin
How do you teach Christian character?
"catechesis, character formation & discipleship in the local church"
Factors in contemporary culture:
-the irrelevance of religion
-the pervasiveness of consumerism
-the crisis of character
our focus:
The most interesting thing is what kind of people shall we be? Not, what type of technology we shall be using. (Brian Appleyard)
Factors in contemporary culture:
-social mobility (people change careers etc so much more now---->less faithfulness and loyalty to place)
-liberal pluralism
(three doodles: a leaf that says tired, an oval that says alpha, a rectangle that says laura)
Gilbert Meilander -- importance of teaching virtue to the young
More factors of cont. culture:
-moral reluctance
An ascetic culture?
"If the world has a future, it has an ascetic future." - Bruce Chatwin
The perfect body...
Body and soul...
1 Timothy 4:7-8
Train yourself to be godly
1 Cor. 9:24-27
Run to get the prize
*Allan Bloom...*
"Students have powerful images of what a perfect body is and pursue it incessantly...but...they no longer have any image of a perfect soul, and hence do not long to have one."
Gyms are places where you can try to get the "perfect" body....should not churches be where one can pursue the "perfect" soul?----> 1 Tim 6:11, Col 3:12-13
Church as a school of character
-transformed by Christ's words into something divine. Gregory of Nyssa
-Josef Pieper....real perfect virtue...(a generous act vs a generous person)
Putting it into practice:
-inspiration (what is yours?)
--The difference between spiritual and physical fitness is that spiritual fitness starts with inspiration, not activity.
--a changing of out desires....transformation
Dallas Willard, The Christian Disciplines

Workshop: Christian Catechesis and Formation -- Lutheran and Anglican parish perspectives
-need to keep a discipline of keeping up theologically
-Lutheran catechism came out of a need for correcting ignorance
(the rest was on handouts)

An African Perspective, Grant LeMarquand
The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.
But...good things are possible...they are not living up to all the white man stereotypes. (huh?)
"Let your memories be your books." -Augustine
...hear a sermon, and then write a song about the sermon...then repeat the song/sermon over and over to others...
Why do Africans convert? Because they are joining a world that is bigger than themselves....a world that is bigger than the world they were in.
(Doodle of a strand of DNA)
Alpha - the importance of eating together
"Inviting someone to dinner is an American thing.  If you went to an African's house at dinner time and knocked on their door, then you would be invited to dinner...and you would likely be greatly welcomed in."
(doodle of a cornucopia with Africa written in the opening)
Africans already knew about God...hearing about Jesus completed the story.
African traditional religion sets up perfectly for the story (account) of Jesus.
African culture is good soul for the gospel.
(Doodle of the sun, a desk lamp, and a flower)
Battle between Islam and Africa...some wonder if Africa needs(?) a secular society to balance(?) it all out.
Africans pray A LOT.
What does it mean to be the church in Africa today? What does it mean to teach the gospel?
The question asked at the end of the African presentation was what I thought or expected would be answered in the presentation!!
Any good and practical help has to come out of deep friendship.

Ashley Null, Part 3
The Notebook as an illustration of a lady within her own story but how quickly she forgets...points to the human condition.
Transforming worship.
(doodle of a flower)....I don't get Anglican jokes
Literal vs Figurative understanding/interpretation of Scripture, especially when Jesus says "this is my body.."
(doodle of a silhouette of a girl running on stilts, and several other scribbles...including what is either a fashionable boot/Italy and an Ugg boot/Morrison County)
Where does one turn when they don't know how to interpret Scripture?  You go to the (early church) fathers.
The writings of any man must be ready for discrimination.
Me: (not sure why I am thinking of this) What is your favorite noun to photograph?
Person, Place, Thing. (place is circled)
(several doodles, lots of shading....a cube, a hand, two diamonds, what appears to be a rolling pin in a triangle..or a candle in a triangle?, and an empty boat in the water)
What does it all mean? What do we do with this information?
Cranmer wanted to use Scripture and doctrine and liturgy to change lives.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

New Year's Resolutions Revisited.

I have not thought of these for a long time.  Perhaps I am doing some of these without even knowing?

1. Learn to sew well.
I have learned how to thread and rethread my sewing machine, and put together the first part of a small quilt.  I would not say that I know how to sew well yet, but know that I do enjoy it.  Though, it could possibly be more of a winter hobby for me.  I have also started to learn how to crochet recently.  
2. Take frugality to new, creative levels.
Just today I went out and bought a coupon holder.  Really though, not sure if we've really been more frugal than we already are.
3. Make one new photo a week.
Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail.  I shall try harder not to fail in the future.
4. Travel to a country I've never visited.
I went to Canada for Easter.  This only counts if I do two other things on the list for number 9.  Otherwise I need to go to another country that I've never visited.  I'm not too broken up about this, but also not sure how or when I will possibly visit a new country in the next 5 months.
5. Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy (or should this be number 4?).
Have been trying to do this.  It is less meaningful when my life is less busy....though I could count this as an extended Sabbath.
6. Regularly attend a Bible study.
Not so much over the summer, but last semester I did, and really enjoyed it.  When the school year starts, I hope to be in a couple of Bible studies.
7. Expand our family.
Nothing to report here.
8. Sell something I make.
If this happens, it might have to be something I make in the next couple of months.  We shall see. 
9. Accomplish at least 2 of the unbolded goals for 2008, particularly the ones that refer to the fact that I once again live in Pennsylvania.
1. Go to Boston - Not yet.
5. Go to Washington DC - Not yet.
9. Go to Niagara Falls - YES!
13. Go Colonial Williamsburg - Not yet.
17. Go to a Boston Red Sox Game - See above.
21. Go to The Poconos - Not yet.
23. See the Statue of Liberty - Not yet.
24. Go to New Hampshire - Not yet.
27. Go to Vermont - Not yet.
31. Go to Connecticut - Not yet.
35. Go to Maryland - Not yet.
39. Go to Delaware - Not yet.
43. Go to New Jersey - Not yet.
179. Go to Canada -
Here we are on a bench in Canada.
So, basically, I either have to do more on this list, or I need to visit another country.  My top three that I want to do on this list are: Boston, Maryland, and DC.
10. Visit the capital of the country on my passport.
DC.  Haven't been there yet.  Good thing it's on the list twice.
11. Exercise more.
Have been trying.  Actually, out of every other thing on the list, this is the one I've been the most successful with.  Surprise surprise!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Obligatory summer post

You maybe have realized by now that I am not a good blogger in the summer.  From 2007-2010, I blogged 15 times in July. 8 of those were in 2008.  This is the first time in 2011 that I've blogged in July.  

Anyway.  Statistics aside, I have been trying to work on some goals (not necessarily ones that have to do with New Year's resolutions...but maybe I will have to do a separate blog post for those), and thought maybe I would process for a while, as a means of procrastination, but also to see it in writing.

Basically,  I have a couple of months before school starts up again.  There are some things I need to do, and some things I want to do in that time.  If left to my own devices, I will probably never change out of sweatpants, and just read and sleep all day every day.  Nothing wrong with reading and sleeping, but the laundry and dishes and general house clutter just keeps piling up (it does, even if I'm not changing clothes, eating, or doing anything but reading, miraculously).  Plus, it's not often I am presented with ample amounts of time to do whatever it is I need to do.

So.  The things that I hope to accomplish in the next couple of months (in addition to reading for fun). In the order that I think of them.  And then some thoughts below each point.

1.  Become a morning person.
I've blogged about this before.  But what better time to try to become a morning person when there is no pressure?  I figure, it can't be that much different than overcoming jet lag.  While it isn't all that fun to be jet lagged, it is totally doable to overcome.  And, since I am not trying to get up 8 hours earlier than I normally do, it should be easier than moving to say, Eastern Europe.  So far, since being back from vacation, I have been trying to get up a little earlier each day, earlier than I did the day before.  Today I was up by 8:30/8:45 or so.  My goal is to eventually get up by 7am every day.  Even days off.  There has to be some benefit to getting up at the same time every day, and I want to be in on it.  7am happens to be when I need to get up on the days I have that's how I picked that time.  Another thing I am going to try to do to accomplish this is to start going to bed earlier.  This might be just as difficult as getting up early, but if I'm getting up at 7am, I will eventually be more tired by...11pm.  Another way that I will attempt this is to try to be regular about when I eat meals.  If I am hungry for breakfast at 7am, I will be more likely to wake up then.  When I have been jet lagged in the past, I have had a difficult time falling asleep not only because my internal clock was all messed up, but because I was hungry at all the wrong times.

2.  Finish my summer school homework.
Oh man.  I have just 3 more things to do to accomplish this, and they are things that I want to do, and am excited to do...but having such a difficult time getting started.  All assignments are due 2 weeks from today.  Basically I need to write a lesson plan, a paper explaining how I would like to revitalize the Christian education program of a church, and a reflection paper.  I think I will try to do a bit every day until it is done.  Then, with regards to school, I will probably need to eventually buy some textbooks for the 4 classes I am taking in the fall, and maybe get a start on reading them.  I also will need to do a final capstone in the Spring, and probably should start thinking about that as well.  Since this it has been a long time since I've posted, and since I just registered for classes the other night, I will share what classes I'm taking in the Fall:  Modern Church (Church History class, continued), God the Holy Spirit, The Redeemer (Systematic Theology class, part 3...part 1 and 2 were God the Father and God the Son), Anglican Way of Theology (Another Systematics class....required, but will probably be interesting and informative as well), and The Prophets (Old Testament class).

3.  Do a little bit of regular cleaning every day.
As in: laundry, dishes, and the like.  Basically picking-up-after-ourselves type of cleaning.  But instead of doing 9 loads of laundry in one day, perhaps I will spread it out a little more over the course of a week.

4.  Do a little bit of deep cleaning every day.
Any cleaning that does not fall into the category of regular cleaning.  So, getting-your-life-organized type of cleaning.  Giving and throwing things away.  Utilizing shelves and files cabinets.  Scrubbing.  Like waking up early each day, I will try to do a little more of this each day, rather than becoming overwhelmed with numerous projects.

5.  Develop a system of coupons for groceries, and become a regular at both Aldi and Giant Eagle (both are nearby grocery stores) while you are fending for yourself food-wise in these next two months.
During the school year, our meals are taken care of.  We usually will fend for ourselves for weekends and breakfasts, but all of our other meals are provided for us by Geneva or Trinity.  For the summer, our income is the same, but our food is not provided.  So we will have to be extra frugal/wise in our spending on food.  We usually shop at Giant Eagle for the fuel perks (10 cents off a gallon of gas for every 20 dollars spent = big savings), but since we aren't using the car as much in the summer (I don't need to drive 15 miles to school, for example), we aren't getting as much gas.  There is an Aldi nearby, which usually has most necessary things, and for way less cost.  So, my goal will be to shop there first, and then head over to Giant Eagle to get whatever I couldn't get at Aldi.  Plus in summer, like blogging, I generally eat less.  Also, since I will be up so early, I can walk over to the gas station and be one of those people who likes to get the Sunday paper.  I hear those things are loaded with coupons.  Plus Giant Eagle matches coupons that are under a dollar.

6.  Become better at crocheting.
As you may remember, toward the end of the school year I taught myself to crochet.  I am reminded that I need to post a picture of the hat I made.  It is too small for a human head and too big for a doll, so I am using it as a yarn cosy.  Being at the cabin, I got some practice in, and some tutorials from my mom.  I crochet TOO TIGHTLY and need to learn to relax.  She says that I make crochet look like work.  This might be typical of other aspects of my life as well.  We're looking into it :)  Anyway, work or not, I still enjoy myself when I crochet, and will try to work on loosening up a bit.

7.  Continue to practice sewing.
When I said I was going to learn to crochet, Steve said, "Don't forget you have a sewing machine."  I think it will be good to switch off.  When I am tired of crocheting, I can work on a sewing project, and when I need a break from sewing, I can pick up the crocheting again.  Either way, it is nice to have options with hobbies.  And, each day, I will have to make a point to do one of the two, lest I forget that they are enjoyable, and preferable to wasting time on the internets.

8.  Start learning Italian.
What.  Can't a girl learn a language when she wants to?!  Well, without getting to far into it, we have been dreaming about what it would be like to be back in Europe again, and learning a new language will prove to be helpful, should that dream ever come true.

9.  Exercise daily (even if it isn't much), and add more healthy foods to your as to build up habits for when the school year starts.
Girl's gotta stay fit.  Or get fit.  Anyway, I've been trying to do at least a little intentional exercise activity on a daily basis.  Did you know that hula hooping is a legitimate form of exercise?  It is!  Also, I have been trying to incorporate superfoods into the old eating habits.  My favorites are Tomatoes and Spinach...and Avocados (are they super?  they should be).  I have also been adding blueberries into smoothies.  I've come a long way, as three of the four foods mentioned are fruits!

10.  Limit internet time.
And anything else that is a potential time waster.  Our TV broke months ago, so that isn't a problem. I think I will count blogging in a different category, since that can be productive in some ways.  But perhaps I will confine my social media time to a certain time of the day, rather than any time (and multiple times) of the well as maybe giving myself only a certain amount of time to work on such things.  This will give me more time for exercising, cleaning, and crocheting...and homework.  And getting up early.

What have you been doing this summer?

This blog is not living up to its name.  Here is a picture I took at the cabin in Northern MN last week.
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