Photos of us at Good Shepherd

I just want to share a few photos from last weekend at Good Shepherd before we move on to tomorrow when Shawn is preaching for pulpit supply at a classmate’s church nearby in Iowa while I assist him in worship.

After uploading these folders (on my old laptop) I remember why I usually stick to no photos and my iPad 🙂

Today I am thankful for sunshine and family.

May the peace that passes all understanding keep you in light and love today.


Tami in pulpit at Good Shepherd

Shawn Pulpit Good Shepherd


Diaconal Voice of Proclaimation

I’m not sure how to reblog from a Blogspot blog, so I will just post the link below. As I recover from multiple/ongoing viral winter illnesses, I have been reading more than writing, and I am thankful today to be able to read on my classmate and colleague’s blog as she reflects on her Diaconal Ministry fieldwork experience as well as what proclamation of the the Word means as a Word and Service minister.


I find this especially interesting considering everything I
have been learning about domestic violence in my Jterm class
(including rape and human trafficking as well).

… Added later
Concerned about violence? Read this for an example of how it has permeated our children’s culture in such a way that a part of our population finds this behavior to just be boys being boys … Seems so impossible for many of us and yet it’s there … Doesn’t have to be a large part of the population to make a large impact on the population though.

I find myself wondering what I /we (Shawn Brooks) would have done as parents in this situation. Not that I needed more to think about tonight as I am processing all of the intense Jterm domestic violence info!

Thankful at this very moment!

Ten first things that come to my mind this evening:

1. My wonderful husband that is always there for me in so many ways
2. That Shawn (that wonderful husband) is making supper tonight so I can study
3. That Nessa is behind me reading a book she just snatched off the bookshelf (secret to her reading most of the time I think is a house filled with books lining walls on all levels of our home!)
4. The wonderful community here at Wartburg — classmates, neighbors and more!
5. That I still remember a bit of my HTML editing skills so I can put it to work on a project here (more on that soon)
6. That we are not competitive as classmates but rather support and lift each other up as much as possible (although it’s still really really hard sometimes when I fall behind to realize that this is normal here considering the workload and everything else we are called to do)
7. Nessa making me laugh as she pretends she is a kitty 🙂
8. The mild fall weather we have been having!
9. That Nessa is also thankful for family, friends, food, and a home!
10. For being in this place at this time (even when it is really really hard and overwhelming, which it has been many times, there is still no place I would rather be)

What are you thankful for?

Now, for a prayer request — that my health, and related to that, my energy levels will sustain me at the level needed to accomplish my study goals through the end of the semester.

What are your prayer requests?

Wholeness Wheel: Life In Process

Last Thursday we had a convocation after Chapel here at Wartburg Seminary. Our focus included looking at the Wholeness Wheel, and discussing how we personally as well as the larger community can work on balancing all aspects of wellness.

The discussion was interesting, and I have been thinking about how to do this without becoming obsessed with “balance” which I have found to be a bit dangerous to my overall health in the past. The following Martin Luther quote shared at the event is something I have been meditating on. I invite you to read and ponder the quote as well, and let me know some of your thoughts.

Martin Luther said:
“This life, therefore, is not godliness but the process of becoming godly, not health but getting well, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way. The process is not yet finished, but it is actively going on. This is not the goal but it is the right road. At present, everything does not gleam and sparkle, but everything is being cleansed.”

Today, I am using my free hour to ponder, walk, pray, and meditate while I move my body. I am also focussing this week on sleep as a spiritual practice, and will reflect on that here later in the week. I am evolving my thoughts from “what do I need to get done” to “what is the best use of my time” … this time stewardship within the practice of life is very much an evolving practice for me —

How do you steward your time?

What spiritual practices help connect the various parts of your life?

Prolog week: Theology in Context

The blog post is to let those of you NOT a part of the Wartburg community know a little bit of what is going on here this week.

The first week of the fall semester at Wartburg consists of something called Prolog week. Prolog week is the four days after Labor Day, so 4 days of classes and assignments that constitute a 1-credit class. All first-year students (referred to as Juniors as part of the M.Div track) take IN100W: Theology in Context. This means that Shawn and I are both in this class together. We are, thankfully, in different small groups (and will be for other classes we share this year, which is most of them).

While I find this week to be a very intense one I am finding the lectures, field exercises and experiences very interesting.

Tuesday after both a large group plenary session focussed on defining religion and a small group focussed on religious reflection, as well as sharing about ourselves and how we ended up at Seminary, we went out into the Dubuque community on a “walkabout” to get to know the culuture that surrounds us. We also were able to practice being an active observer. Later we combined our observations with reflections on our assigned readings and the morning lectures to write our first seminary paper (only 2 pages).

Tuesday night was interesting in our home because it was our first experience balancing everyone’s needs. In addition to Shawn and I both needing time to write our respective papers and complete our readings for the next day, we of course still had to oversee Nessa’s homework, fix supper (kind of) clean-up and hopefully get Nessa peacefully asleep. I think it was actually harder than it will often be simply because we could not really plan ahead with this assignement, but instead we both had to complete it pretty much at the same time. It was interesting.

This week has also reminded me (and Shawn) of how fragile my health still is at times. Because of circumstance I’m going longer than I would like between acupuncture apointments, and between that and simply the way my body can react to stress (good or bad), and the fact that something I am eating or otherwise exposed to seems to have bothered me this week (I haven’t figured out what yet), made me feel sick and exhausted by Tuesday afternoon (both with acute sore throat, etc. and my pain reaction in my leg and knee). I used the tools at my disposal to help with it, but could not simply rest like I would have otherwise. I ask anyone reading this to send prayers for me to maintain my health as much as possible! (As of Thursday I’m feeling much better, but not 100%.)

Wednesday was similiar, but our field activity took us out into Dubuque area churches. We split up into three different groups and each visited an assigned downtown church to interview them in order to observe and hopefully identify their congregational identity. My small group went to St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Dubuque, and spent two hours there with thier passionate pastor. Afterwards we met briefly to organize our report on the experience that each group had to present the next day.

Wednesday night there was no homework, but there was our Convocation on Life Together. I find it interesting that during this event, which reviewed and reflected on how we live together as a community, was when I was so thankful for this community. A new friend and neighbor (a middler spouse so not required to attend the convocation) watched Nessa for us while Shawn and I both attended the event. She’ll tell you that it was the easiest thing she’s done since Nessa just played at the community playground the entire time, but it was HUGE for us to be able to comfortably leave Nessa for the hour without disturbing her schedule really at all since what Nessa wanted to do was play outside on the gorgeous evening. We also have huge shout-outs of thanks to those that have been taking Nessa to and from school this week!!! (No bussing here!) Our fall schedule starting next week will allow us to take Nessa to and from school most days ourselves as needed (or to drive a car pool), but not this week! So, while this post isn’t written for the Wartburg community, any of them reading this anyway should know how much we appreciate them. And the rest of you should send of prayers of thanks for these wonderful people that make the community so special!

Today we continued the pattern of lectures and activities by interviewing one of our classmates concerning their theological experiences. And then we write a paper on the interview (and readings of course). I can’t quite put that in the past tense yet, because my paper is still waiting for a final edit before sending it off to the professor.

Tomorrow includes a similiar pattern of small group and lecture time for the first half of the day. However, the afternoon is filled with other activities. Shawn and I both plan on trying a ropes course for the first time! Later we have the Wartburg community picnic to attend, and I am sure there will be lots of informal fellowship throughout the weekend.

That’s probably more than anybody except our mothers want to know about what we did this week! 🙂

Next week I’ll give an overview of my courses in general, and then throughout the semester share more in-depth as I am able to. So far I have appreciated the sharing, the dialouge, and the welcoming of theology as questions because the questions keep coming!

Love and belief,