Halfway point transition — less than a month before we move!

It’s less than a month before we move — and that makes reaching this halfway point in our seminary journey seem very very real. I wish I had a nice photo of us to go with this post, but I’m not home (or I would likely be packing instead of writing), and didn’t think to take one as I started to pack boxes. I’ll wait and post one of us by the house in Harmony, MN … and other places there.

After we move I will have almost exactly a month to settle in at the new house, and enjoy some summer time with my daughters prior to their return to school and my starting my chaplaincy residency. I am confident the time will fly by considering how fast the first half of the summer escaped us.

I am starting to get inpatient to be back in a chaplaincy program though, so I think the timing will be perfect. I’m looking forward not only to again be doing actual pastoral care ministry in the hospital setting, but also to having a regular schedule with scheduled on-call times. I’m learning that another reason chaplaincy is a good fit is because even though I don’t always like to admit it, I do better with a predictable routine (with not much being predictable actually while working but at least my work/home routine is predictable).

I’m also very excited for Shawn. We visited all three of the internship churches last Sunday (talk about a whirlwind morning), and it is so clear that this is going to be a great experience for him. It will also be nice for him to preach on a predictable schedule and to a congregation he knows even though all of the pulpit supply preaching he has been doing has been wonderful as well.

Things I’m spending my time doing these days:

  • relaxing for bits of time with family and friends (fewer deadlines!)
  • packing and preparing for packing (purging!)
  • interviewing and writing (just a little work for WTS communications dept.)
  • baking — testing gluten free communion bread recipes … and trying to carve out time to write about it!
  • Connecting with friends when traveling (La Crosse, Dubuque, Winona, Rochester … well, I’m trying anyway … if you haven’t heard from me, give me a shout out)
  • Attempting to get back to a good exercise habit (yoga!!! and some running again in addition to daily walks) and other good self care habits … including daily meditation and prayer time now that I can no longer attend daily chapel
  • And about a million “little” to do items that seem to make it on the daily and weekly list

And a quick top 3 thankful at this moment list:

  1. Parents / Grandparents!! (Nessa is getting lots of time with her grandparents this summer and it is awesome!)
  2. My wonderful husband — Shawn is working hard this summer so well, so we can afford to live this summer as we transition from primarily students to hands-on learning (with stipends) … but our positions of course start at odd times leaving gaps that were hard to fill with paid work, but Shawn did awesome filling it with a pretty much full-time maintenance job, summer sacristan position, and many weeks of pulpit supply (his favorite I’m guessing) and for this I am very very thankful!
  3. That our cars are still running reasonably well … seems minor but with no money for major repair work right now every noise scares me … thankfully we were told the noise in the car isn’t an emergency (whew!) and can be put off to fall … praying we will be told the same for the van next week. Thankfully, we have had no auto related drama with all of our driving back and forth from Dubuque area to “home” this year!

Love and belief,
Tami

Productive Procrastination, or Seminarian Struggles and Joys

Really, my main objective, besides avoiding writing my Hebrew Bible paper (or one of ten other assignments), is to let my few readers know that I am still here — and better yet, I am feeling at least reasonably well these days (after being ill with multiple viruses for much of Spring semester up through Easter). So, this is primarily a general update on what is going on as I keep on keeping on through my 2nd semester of my 2nd year of seminary.

I also have big news — my husband Shawn (http://leavingmyselfbehind.wordpress.com/) and I can now officially announce where we will be next year. Next year is Shawn’s internship year during his “pastor prep” studies and I will be doing field work as well via a year-long hospital chaplaincy. I was offered (and accepted) a chaplain residency at Mayo School of Health in Rochester, MN (starting September 2013) and we recently found out that Shawn’s internship churches will be in Harmony, MN (about 40 minutes south of Rochester on Hwy 52). We went to visit the Harmony area this past Saturday as we were going to be in Rochester anyway, and we were quite taken with the town and are very much looking forward to the year there in spite of my original reluctance to be in a small town for the year.

As background info our education “schedule” works like this.

  • 2 Academic years (we are both seminarians at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, IA)
  • 1 field work year / internship (actually my degree program doesn’t require me to follow this exact schedule for fieldwork, but Shawn’s does so it simply works best for our family if I do some of my field work at the same time … and it gives me great experience!)
  • A final year (3rd academic year; 4th year total) back at Wartburg in Dubuque. Shawn will have a strictly academic year while I finish up classes, including classes focusing on my research project, and complete my congregational field work hours (all previous field work will have been done doing chaplaincy in a hospital and I need congregational hours as well).
  • During that final year at Wartburg, Shawn and I will also be going through the final phase of candidacy with the ELCA — Approval. Then, we will go through the assignment process and be assigned a region of the country and then a synod within that geographic region … and then receive calls to ministry.
  • Our expected graduation is May 2015 and really that final point of the last bullet can happen before or after graduation (we do not accept/start the call position until after graduation of course.
  • Shawn will graduate with an Master of Divinity degree and feels called to congregational ministry as a pastor.
  • I will graduate with a Master of Arts in Diaconal Ministry and feel called to working in pastoral care ministries — ideally bridging both church ministry and other “institutional” ministries (like hospital chaplaincy). At some point, not necessarily as part of my first call to ministry, I am likely to seek certification as a chaplain as well (another lengthy process).

OK, Whew. Hope that was helpful for a few. I have had numerous questions and thought it might be helpful. Please comment with any additional questions and I will answer there or do a Q&A post.

Now a few quick thankful shout-outs to highlight just a few of the many many joys in my life:

  • A husband that really really understands my call to diaconal ministry!
  • A brilliant 8-year-old daughter (8 for a week now!) who tells us that the reason we can’t stand in the kitchen hugging and dancing is because we wouldn’t be able to give her a kiss goodnight that way. 🙂
  • Lots of extended family to love and care for our girls (especially fun with birthdays)
  • A Mom and daughter that want to spend time quilting together (it’s so nice when all three of us can get together and kind of just “be” in that way … just wish I was healthier when we did that over Spring Break)
  • Classmates / colleagues that look forwarding to working with me and appreciate my voice and presence.

For the above — and SO MUCH MORE — each day I give God thanks and praise!

I did mention struggles though too, right? See as my colleague and I were just talking about I want to be authentic as well. It can be really challenging to be authentic without coming across as complaining at times though — especially to those that have not experienced the intensity of such a formative seminary experience. Seminary is challenging and formative even in the best of circumstances. When juggling family responsibilities with two full-time seminarian students as family is the reality, well I don’t think I can describe it while still in the process of living through it. I can’t be objective about this experience. I just can’t, and I think that is why I have had an especially hard time blogging this year. It’s not just the challenge of making time to do it. In some ways I am more relaxed about time this year even though I have less of it than ever before.

At the same time there are only mere seconds that I doubt at all that I am not exactly where I should be. I would not have imagined this journey a decade ago, and yet now I can not imagine any other journey. I often wonder if I am more different now than I am the same person of a decade ago. (In many ways it is not simply a nice reference to say “a decade” because it was indeed about a decade ago that my life changed drastically.)

I believe I have said it before, if not here then elsewhere, but talking about life here reminds me of some of the old military ad campaigns, or the peace corps motto of “the toughest job you’ll ever love.” Nearly ever single day I think about how hard this is in so many ways, and yet I LOVE it at the same time. I love the challenge; I love the way I will struggle and struggle through a paper and when done really feel like I can articulate a theological viewpoint that I could not previously do; I love the way new ideas are part of so many conversations here both in and out of class; I love how we take each other and our questions seriously; Oh, and I love listening to Shawn practice his sermons and being able to be taken seriously as his “first hearer” … and I love collaborating in so many ways with him; and I love that there is much more to this than I could possibly say at the moment.

At the same time most days I think the school’s admissions office is likely keeping any couple who both want to go to school at the same time far away from us because I will tell them — do NOT DO IT — try to do anything else first! (In reality I am much much more encouraging … most days). In reality I do not spend enough time on school work; I do not spend enough time with my daughters; I do not spend enough time with my husband; I do not spend enough time with my family (parents, siblings, in-laws, etc.); I do not spend enough time with my dear friends (here or elsewhere!) and I do not always steward my own personal resources well either (spending sufficient time resting, praying, exercising and so on).

Too much of this semester has been spent in a “triage” mode. I look only to what is the next most urgent thing on my list and that is it. I frequently have dozens of things on my list that simply never get done at all because of this (birthday cards and phone calls are just the tip of the iceberg). I didn’t think this year would be this hard. Then, I thought second semester would be better. I am now realizing I need to be able to find a way through even when this constant urgency continues.

We are told in many ways by many mentors that in some ways seminary is preparing us for ministry. Likely one of those ways is that there will always be way more for me/us to do than we can possibly do, and I will need to be able to triage in a way that does not seem like an Emergency room that admits only extremely urgent items to my attention and keeps me operating on adrenaline (not good for someone with chronic auto-immune illness anyway). To be fair, there are days that I get much closer to that and in many ways I am much more relaxed this year than last year. However, there is much more to do.

I wondered if naming this reality a bit here would encourage me as I need it. I pray that it does.

How do you manage yourself through time?

How do you express your joys and struggles? remain honest and authentic while maintaining an attitude of grace and gratitude?

Until next time, which I hope will be soon, may peace and joy be yours.

Love and belief,

Tami

Sometimes there is something comforting about working at my kitchen table

It’s Ash Wednesday. I have barely over a half an hour before chapel starts, and there is other work scheduled in my time slot for this precious time, and yet I feel an irresistible pull to simply acknowledge this space and time.

The busyness of the semester has begun. I have not yet finished entering all of my assignments and deadlines into my calendar and already I realize that is not going to be the “light” semester I had hoped for. Instead we continue to muddle through each day moment by moment while rarely feeling as if each item is receiving my full attention. I have also drastically cut back on some commitments or extra activities. Meanwhile I offset that balance by being very intentional about family and self care time, including exercise.

And lent begins today. How do I honor that part of the journey. How do we observe lent as a family?

I am so thankful that I am making this seminary journey with my family. I cannot imagine it any other way and yet it does change the journey.

I am also thankful for my Wartburg seminary community. We are a community centered around worship, and I have become more and more appreciative of this during this second year livin gin this community.

In a short while I will leave my warm sunny kitchen and trek up to “the castle” and worship with others in this community. Each Wednesday we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, and today there will also be the imposition of ashes … dust, we are dust.

Here in my kitchen I feel a connection to all of it. I do work at my office desk at times (I can see it from where I am sitting in the kitchen; it’s not a big house) and in the library as well, but sometimes with the sun streaming in the window in the morning, uplifting music playing in the background, photos of my family on the wall, and the food given to sustain our bodies surrounding me … the kitchen is what pulls me. Cooking and baking have become a surprise blessing to me in recent years, and now I often look forward to spending time in the kitchen during my sabbath time. The fact that I can work on a sermon or other work here feel like an integration of my identity in ways I cannot fully articulate yet.

Today I give thanks for all of it.

Now, one more cup of tea with the next productive 20 minutes.

Love and belief,
Tami

quick update & thankful at this moment update list

First my apologies for anyone I owe an email, call or visit! This summer was even more intense and exhausting than I imagined, and my only non-CPE priority was my family (as in my daughters and my husband), and in that regard I think we did OK. However, my dream of connecting with other La Crosse area friends or extended family was dashed by the first week of CPE. 🙂

So, both Shawn and I not only survived CPE but did indeed also pass the CPE unit. Our CPE experiences were very different and yet we each learned what we needed to (although we are both still processing as well). It was even kind of hard to leave the hospital and those I had let myself be called to serve (my “favorite” was the in-patient psychiatric unit and I am looking for additional training in this area), when we had to say goodbye the week of August 10th. As good as it is to be back to Wartburg I am already thinking about a Chaplain residency (3 or 4 more CPE units) for next year (while Shawn is on his Internship year). I am also in the midst of trying to figure out my Diaconal MInistry fieldwork, but that is a another post …

I hope to have time to reflect on CPE more here, but right now I am in the midst of trying to conquer my Endorsement essay as part of the ELCA candidacy process. Shawn and I both have to have this important essay written by Sept. 1st. In the meantime we also got our daughter, Nessa, off to her first couple of days of 2nd grade here in Dubuque (Megan has her high school registration next Wed. as she starts high school in La Crescent, MN after Labor Day).

I stumbled upon this free (nook) ebook the other day: Spiritual Practices for Happiness and it reminded me about the practice of being grateful, and then that I hadn’t been following through as much as I planned to publicly share my gratitude with all of you!

So, here goes my current, very quick, top ten thankful list!

1. Shawn took Nessa to her chiropractor apt. today (yes, little and yet oh so big)

2. That we are HOME!!! (really my home is wherever my family is so home is multiple places right now, but this house here at Wartburg is my home where my heart can thrive and oh how I missed it and this community this summer!)

3. for this community! It’s so good to see not only my classmates but also the professors and others.

4. for our parents in helping Nessa to survive this summer. IF there is one person the summer was hardest on, it was her. Hopefully she will recover soon so that we can fully recover.

5. for my fabulous teenager, Megan! She not only helped with Nessa and guided her with doing chores this summer, she was ready to hang out for mom & Megan time when my scheduled allowed and I rarely had to stress about her behavior, etc. … if having a teen is like this, I LOVE it!

6. for my health … when it’s always “on the edge” so to speak (auto-immune disease can be like that) I remember to be grateful for what I have & the ability to make it better with my behavior … leading us to

7. YOGA … and specifically the hot yoga I did this summer as my scheduled allowed … now to find a place in Dubuque that I can practice yoga to help maintain my health and wellness

8. my kitchen … and a family to cook for!

9. my church … both of them 🙂 (it was good to be able to have a little time to reconnect with Good Shepherd this summer and I am blessed to have a wonderful church home here as well).

10. my husband! … not only did he survive the summer with me, we are reconnecting for a blessed fall and school year.

Thankful at this very moment

1 a sleep room with wifi (1st 24 hour on call)
2 that my family came to my evening worship at the hospital!
3 all the people that smiled at me today!
4 that I am somehow keeping up with assignments and essentials in spite of frequent momenys of overwhelm
5 music that restores my spirit
6 my peers here
7 yoga and walking
8 seeing my girls happy together
9 my haircut!
10 you!

Prayer requests: sustained energy and that I can be the pastoral presence needed in this place and time … For our Wartburg community during another summer of transition (I miss the community and yet still feel its presence)

Love and belief~

Thankful at this very moment

I just finished my first week of CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education), and will share more about that experience later. However, it became clear to me that in order to give and minister this summer, I need to be very intentional in my spiritual practices. One practice I am going to intentionally bring back is my daily practice of listing what I am most thankful for *at this moment* … I will do this at least once a day and at least once a week share here. I encourage others to do this for yourself, and please share here and elsewhere your thankful list as well. It’s a wonderful practice.

1. breath
2. children
3. my children 🙂
4. my husband
5. my parents
6. my husband’s parents
7. all who are supporting us through this summer from keeping us in prayer to keeping our daughter for a times (or many times) while we are at our CPE assignments
8. my wonderful CPE group — classmates, current chaplain residents, staff chaplains and the rest of the Pastoral Care staff
9. a place to sleep at night (and man do I sleep sound when I get to now!)
10. The strength to be up at 5 a.m. each day this week!

Peace be with you!

Love and belief,
Tami

Thankful at this moment … and contemplating my research project during Holy week

I’m currently preparing for my last class before our Easter break. This means that I am studying research methods and preparing to talk about what I want to write about in my research project. In some ways this seems a bit premature to me since I don’t plan to graduate with my Masters until Spring 2015 (taking a year before my final year to do a chaplain residency). Yet, in addition to this being a requirement for all MA students, I realize that if I want to tie this capstone project into my seminary education as completely as possible I really should begin forming my questions and begin researching. More to tumble around in my mind. There are so many topics I could write about, and yet a classmate helped me realize there is one that I am passionate about that I have been hiding from every chance I get, so there it is and that is what I will start formulating a research question around (stay tuned). More to tumble around in my mind as if Systematic theology didn’t cause my head to explode enough this morning (did I mention that it is at 7:30 a.m.?)

Now that that is out of the way — my top ten list of gratitude is in order for today

  1. being held accountable not only by classmates as well as professors
  2. having a classmate interested and attuned enough to inspire a direction in my theological research
  3. living in a community that celebrates life milestones and every day moments
  4. being (and feeling) in synch with my husband throughout the chaos that is this semester
  5. not having an unmanageable headache for days now (long-time readers should have predicted this would turn very practical)
  6. that I do not have to drive by myself on Easter Sunday (Shawn will do much of the driving; this is the only way we go up and back in one day and spend more time in the car than with family … although by next year we can let me teen daughter do some of the driving too!)
  7. that Easter beak = catch up on reading, research, writing, housework … and hopefully with a few other things on the growing to-do list like taxes, online training for CPE, communicating with friends…
  8. that (last we heard) my father-in-law is recovering well and should be released from the hospital well before Easter (although I wish we could see them on Easter)
  9. that my daughter Nessa, now 7!, was blessed with a wonderful party of friends and caring adults celebrating with us and I didn’t have to enter a loud bouncy or kids games place to make her dream of a great party come true — just a handmade sign decorated by the kids, balloons (lots), cake, and a #7 candle
  10. That we have come together as a family nightly throughout lent to read the New Testament scriptures, and by doing this I have observed just how much children to hear and understand! Blessed be!

 

It has been different being here at Seminary during Lent this year. We have not been able to participate in the weekly church lenten services on Wednesday night (or at noon) that we always participated in and held sacred in recent previous years. At time being here and not in our home church during Lent was harder than it was earlier in the year, as Lent Bible studies and fellowship were always ver special to many of us at Good Shepherd in La Crosse. I tried to take that sacred space with me as I existed here in a different type of reality and observance this year.

I am thankful that we will be worshiping Easter morning with our Good Shepherd family (10:30 service) and then celebrating at my family’s farm. I am thankful for all of you accompanying me on this journey.

Love and belief~

Mid-March Update, or “where have you been?”

First, let me add a few public thank you bullet points as at some point each day I am truly overwhelmed with gratitude.

  1. for my husband and the way he goes to refill our water jugs with reverse osmosis water without my ever having to ask (or even hint)!
  2. for daughters (even the teenager) that sometimes just want to hang out together
  3. for a community of caring neighbors, classmates, professors and more
  4. for the call God has given me to serve at the borders of the church and the world, and for how that call is nourished here at Wartburg Seminary

When we met, Shawn had a mug that says “So many books, so little time” and it’s still one of my favorite mugs. It’s still true, but in a different way now that most of the books are listed on a syllabus with deadlines. I also have many blog posts and other items I want to get done … and yet I have to somehow do it all and prioritize within the time given in a day, week, semester. This remains my biggest challenge. I keep thinking I am getting better at it, and then something else is added to the mix and I have set backs.

The something else in this case is extreme headaches. I am used to a host of symptoms related to my auto-immune illness, including, at times, chronic pain; however, I had learned good ways to control the symptoms both through alternative therapies and eliminating certain foods form my diet. I won’t go into the whole history of my health nor of how food relates to that right now, I will say that although I thought I was still avoiding trigger foods appropriately, my diet changed a bit when we moved here and started seminary. I started having more muscle tension and some headaches last semester, but thought they were simply due to sitting in auditoriums and classrooms, as well as spending many hours in less than ideal positions reading and working at the computer. I continued to find some relief by treating them that way (including chiropractic and massage care). But instead of getting better the muscle tension was worse and the headaches became much much worse. Even now that the muscle tension has eased due to some wonderful alternative chiropractic care and massage, I am still dealing with headaches more days than I am not.

To make a long story short, this has gotten in the way of doing much “extra” beyond my family time and study time. Additionally everything seems to be pointing to some type of connection between food and the headaches (and some other symptoms but I can function through everything but the headaches which are only helped marginally, if at all, by traditional pain relievers). So, I now am trying to become educated, and yet not obsessive, about how to properly do an elimination diet so that we can find the groups of foods that trigger them while praying there are not too many groups of foods (or that I can properly heal and then include those foods in limited amounts again) — likely it is natural food chemicals (I already was avoiding added chemicals and preservatives due to known sensitivities) — such as salicylates (think aspirin, and sadly many fruits and veggies), amines (and other phenols), glutamates, sulfates, and oxylates. I am using the Failsafe diet as a guide (Sue Dengate‘s term for the diet formulated by allergists at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Australia). Unless I try to get in somewhere sooner, I see my doctor “back home” in a few weeks. My decision will likely be based on how I can manage between now and then anyway. I have been trying to do the elimination diet for over a week now but it is a learning process, so I have made a few mistakes, and hope that this week to be fully on it — and to not have to wait long for full relief! On the few days where I could tell things were changing in the last week it was wonderful not not merely have no headache but a truly clear head, so I am looking forward to the change and the chance to once again put an auto-immune flare-up behind me and live (and exercise!) fully.

So there is a bit of an update for those that have just caught things on the edges (facebook, etc.) or have been wondering if the semester just swallowed me up with the intense reading load.

I am thankful that in spite of the headaches, I have been able to do well in my classes — which have all been interesting and inspiring!

I have always said that I feel closest to God when I am feeling my physical best (think marathon training and running) and ALSO when I am feeling at my physical worst (too many examples here). The headaches continue to be an interesting part of this journey and reflection.

I am also thankful for this gorgeous weather (70s and 80s in March in Iowa! … with a nice breeze so not too hot) that is encouraging me to get out there and walk even though I cannot run yet (chiropractor will hopefully clear me on that in the next week or two if things stay going in the right direction).

One of my goals, not related to this blog or school, is to get back to doing weekly yoga this month. I will also plan to prioritize several blog posts by making them short and quick (please let me know if there is anything in particular that you would like to know about my Seminary education, life here at Wartburg, or Diaconal Ministry and I will do my best; otherwise, it’s whatever I find interesting 🙂

I always appreciate hearing what your goals and challenges are as well. I think that when we share our challenges as well as our accomplishments with others we can better share each others burdens — and we can better pray for and with each other. Please, let me know how I can pray for you.

My prayer request — for accompaniment and guidance through this journey to better health and less pain.

Love and belief,
Tami

Thankful at this very moment

I am way overdue for posting a thankful post … if you follow me on Twitter, I hope you picked up on my bursting heart at times this week — so much gratitude at being in this place and time — gratitude and Praise to God in this life and journey we are on. Thankful to be leading a significant faithful life with others here in the Wartburg community and beyond!

So here is my top ten list this afternoon:

  1. That my ipad allows me to carry and access all four Bible translations I need for my Pauline Letters class (and many more) without actually lugging around the physical books or planning ahead for when I need them.
  2. That my husband is truly walking with me on this journey. You can read his blog here: Leaving Myself Behind
  3. For the many caring and simply brilliant professors here at Wartburg and throughout our ELCA seminaries (I had the privilege of hearing others at my Jterm event in Gettysburg)
  4. That the Dubuque YMCA is holding a daddy-daughter dance tonight, so many girls can have a “date” with a significant guy in their life! (My 6-year-old is so excited to dress up and go out with Daddy tonight … well OK, she is even more excited about her first sleep over (happening after the dance) but it’s still sweet … and I might even get a little time to hang out with some of the other moms while the dads and girls are out on the town! 🙂
  5. Our wonderful neighbors here! With both of us being students it gets a little crazy at times and it is so reassuring to know that they “have our backs” so to speak … of course learning to ask and accept is still a learning process. In case anyone wonders, we always receive more than we give even when we manage to be the ones making a meal or something for another family!
  6. That Nessa can read! Every time I see her pick up a big and get comfortable my heart sings. She still loves it when we read to her too, but hey even I enjoy being read to once in awhile! 🙂
  7. That before this crazy semester ends my teenager will confirm her faith at Good Shepherd Lutheran in La Crosse, WI! I wanted it to be Megan’s decision if she continued there after we left or went elsewhere. Now I have to admit that while an event that falls right before our finals here is not exactly convenient, I don’t care, my heart sings and I give God praise — in this all glory goes to God! (and to the wonderful pastors and staff at Good Shepherd that minister to Megan at this time!)
  8. My classmates — from deep theological discussions to crying on your shoulders, I can’t imagine a better group to be here with!
  9. That I am slowly figuring out what foods are triggering my chronic pain auto-immune response and how to best deal with it…having more good days than challenging days is such a gift!
  10. Our families! From a place to call home away from home when we are back in the La Crosse area to care packages that truly help us make it through to the end of the month, our families rock!

What blessings found you today? What are you thankful for?

And, as always, how can I pray for you today?

Love and belief~

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?