after getting muchos bouncebacks to this emailed valentine yesterday, i thought i better share the same on blog and facebook for all those i missed! love.
It is my custom to mail valentines to friends and family, near and far. But as the list of places I've lived grows longer, and my relationships multiply, well... it gets expensive! So please accept this electronic valentine and update as a token of my continued affection. I'll even throw some pictures in (just click on any highlighted words).
The past year has been a doozy, in a good way. Here are the highlights...
I continue to love my job as a youth minister. The kids and the church are awesome. Last year I took two ski trips, a beach trip, mission trips to Costa Rica and West Virginia, and I led a Pilgrimage to Ireland. It was a lot of travel (10 days in Ireland feels like 100 when you're taking care of 37 teenagers!) but I got by with a little (or a lot of) help from my friends. And the best part: countless Moments of Grace. Nothing like a lack of control to help you see God right in front of your nose.
I love life in Charlotte. Though the city is lacking in diversity, it is over the top in hospitality and activity. My friends here introduced me to a number of new hobbies, including my first two triathlons, first two 10k races, and first two half-marathons. My family thinks it's hilarious that I, the nonathletic child, have become a runner. Who knew? Chalk it up to peer pressure, in a good way. I've got an awesome Monday night girls' group--we read books and pray together. I've got an awesome Thursday night girls' group--we drink wine together. Got to love balance. I don't just hang out with girls, though... there are boys too. One, in particular. And he's a yankee (gasp)!!
The two most exciting and daunting pieces of news are Pepper and the Priesthood. Pepper is my dear sweet dog. A 2-yr old German Shepherd Lab mix I rescued her last March; she is the love of my life. She cannot get enough love, nor does she ever run out of love to give. She barks at boys and likes sweaty shoes. I didn't think I could handle the responsibility of a dog, considering all my travels, but my friends have made it all possible. It takes a village. As for the Priesthood, I entered the discernment process to be an Episcopal Priest last fall. It's a long process, complicated, exhausting, rich and life-giving. Depending on how things go, I may start seminary in Fall of 2011. Maybe I'll know by next Valentine's Day... in the mean time, I appreciate your prayers!
No matter where you are this Valentine's Day, I pray that you know Love. Uncontrollable, no strings attached, unconditional, radical, unstoppable, mindbending... God LOVE.