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Archive for March, 2012

Easter Anticipation

I can’t wait for Easter! It seems like an eternity still before I’ll be able to return home and visit with friends and family, go to church at St. John’s, scratch the dog, walk the streets of De Pere and who knows what else! Hopefully Wednesday morning (which, since I’m working the previous night, probably means around 10 am) I’ll be hitting the road to come back home.Yet even though it’s less than a week from now (four days and counting) I have so much to get done between then and now:

Psalmody/Hymnody assignment for Foundations of Christian Worship

read several chapters for Ages of Faith and Reformation

Read Luther’s Treatise “On Christian Liberty”

write a paper concerning “OCL”

Check out books for Systematic Theology (and hopefully read them as well)

water the plants, maybe find someone to water them while I’m gone as well

pack my clothes and essentials

Work the closing shift at the Library Tuesday

Clean my room…

 

The list keeps going and going, and all the while I keep counting down the days and wonder how I’m ever going to get everything done in time. I am excited to leave, and I’m sure once the time comes I’ll be ready, but until then I can’t help but worry that I’m missing something.

In a strange way, it makes me wonder how the disciples must’ve felt going along with Jesus on the way to Jerusalem nearly 2000 years ago. I’m sure they had things on their minds, and there’s little doubt in my mind that they had no clue what was coming. Still, they followed Jesus and trusted in him. Every once in a while Jesus had to chastise them, or nudge them back on the right track, but even though they didn’t understand, they followed. I guess that’s what this journey will be like for me. Both the journey through seminary and the shorter one of just these next few days.

I have no clue how things are going to happen, or what each new day will bring, but I have to give up those worries and focus on just following Jesus.I don’t have to have all the answers, and when I don’t get it, it’s okay to ask for help, for guidance, for a helping hand. When the worries of the days darken the horizon, I have to remember to seek out the Light of the World.

Blessings on your Lenten Journey!

 

On another note, I was hoping you could help me out by answering a quick poll below. I’m just wondering how often you’d like to hear updates from me, and I figured this would be the easiest way to do so. Whether you’ve read every post I’ve written, or this is the first time tuning in, please take a moment and vote. Thanks, and God Bless!

Surprise, surprise!

Good afternoon all you fine people (or night, or day, depending on when you read this)!

I just wanted to share some amazing things from yesterday with you all! First off, the better eating habits are still paying off! I’m nearing a new goal, and I couldn’t be happier. Yesterday I thought I had really *ahem* sabotaged myself. I kept snacking because I felt hungry. I was sure I’d step on the scale today and see that I had gained an extra five or ten pounds. Turns out I lost two instead! How, you might ask, was this possible? Well, I had changed the type of foods I keep around me.

So while I may have been “snacking” all day, it was by eating a small(ish) slice of carrot cake with a scoop of ice cream (it was at a birthday party, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NICHOLAS!!!) a can of tuna (make that two), a banana (and then another) a bowl of brown rice, a spinach salad with mandarin orange slices, an orange, half a cup of cottage cheese, a bowl of cheerios, and finally a goldfish cracker (yes, just one). Well when I tallied up all the calories this morning, I saw that I was indeed under my caloric goal. So even though I was “snacking” all day, it was on good foods. (minus the delicious cake and ice cream)

Another positive is that I had an amazing chat with mom last night, and was informed that she is planning on visiting me at the seminary within the next couple of months. We still need to schedule a definitive date, (looks like April’s pretty busy for me) but I’m excited to have a visitor again! And, since Molly in admissions tweaked the housing rules, she can stay with me instead of having to rent a hotel room or Mendota room (on campus housing).

Finally, I have an update on my little seedlings! As of last night, over half of the seeds have now sprouted, with the strawberry and mint seeds being the last to show. I know they take longer, so I’m not worried about them. I now have four more tomato seedlings ready to be transferred to new containers. It was definitely a good idea to start them in egg cartons and move up to the bigger cups (and finally to big pots or garden homes) instead of planting all the seeds in the cups and just hoping for the best. I’m still shooting for 100 % success, but even if I don’t get any more plants I’ll be happy. There’s something exciting about seeing something grow from just a seed to a fully mature plant!

Keep coming back for more updates and pleasant surprises!

Update on Goals!

Hello all! If you’re new to the blog, thanks for joining! If you’ve been reading for a while, you may remember that I posted 17 goals at the beginning of February and promised to post an update. Just a reminder, the goals were:

1. Lose Weight

2. Take a close look at finances and spending

3. EXERCISE!!!

4. Study my brains out

5. Build up my self-confidence

6. Sing. Loudly.

7. Sleep ;-)

8. Grow more plants

9. Write a hand-written letter and mail it

10. Honor the Sabbath

11. Get outside more!

12. Pray more often

13. Make a stranger a friend

14. take my bike out for a ride

15. Tell them I love them

16. Thank others

17. Get (and stay) organized!

I must definitely say it has been an amazing experience, and I’m proud to say I accomplished many of my goals.  I’m very proud to say with #1 that, since the start of the year I have lost over thirty pounds. Unfortunately the last week and a half haven’t been very productive, since I not only didn’t lose any more weight an even gained a pound or two back. Still, I’m hopeful that I’ll soon be going in the right direction again. I can’t even remember the last time I’ve been this weight. I’m sure it was probably well before College,probably some time in high school. It was extremely embarassing for me when I had to buy a 4x shirt for a wedding, so it makes me so happy that I now fit into 2x shirts and have already lost 4 inches from my waist since coming to seminary. I’ll definitely need continued support, and thank all who have been doing so. It really means a lot to me. How exciting when people see you and go “Paul, are you losing weight? It really shows!”

#2 has been going well for me as well. I’m spending within my means and was even able to turn down a portion of government loans for this semester. Most of this is due to the amazing support of my congregation back home, and I can’t thank them (you) enough for all that you have done! I have definitely been wowed. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!

#3 Exercise is still in the works. I can’t say I’ve figured out a routine yet, but I’m going on a lot more walks and even started asking others if they wanted to go on walks instead of the other way around. I am so confused and surprised by this weather lately and hope that it stays nice. I can’t believe I’ve been wearing shorts for the last week! It’s not even April yet! I am also proud to say that I’m able to do more crunches and pushups than before (which is still woefully inadequate) and hope to get even better at them. This is definitely going on the “continued goals” list.

#4 I am proud to say that this semester seems to be going really well. I am up to date on all the reading for all but one class (which is…interesting) and definitely feel like I’m gaining a lot of information and knowledge that will be great for the future.

#5 Whew, this on still needs a lot of work. It’s getting better with the whole weight loss bit, but I still have a ways to go. These days I seem to be in a constant struggle with wanting a significant other in my life and feeling like I’m not good enough for one. It’s also still hard for me to take a compliment in academics. Part of me wants to hear more, and part of me feels like they’re “just saying that”. Another one for the “continued goals” list.

#6 Wow. I may not have a very beautiful singing voice, but I’m definitely getting better at singing. I’ve even caught myself singing in my room and not even realize it. It’s definitely easier when the other people around me are singing, but even at church services where others aren’t singing, I’ve been doing my best to still sing. Is it perfect? No. But then again they never said you had to have a good singing voice to be a pastor.

#7 Hmm. Sleep has been…interesting. I’m getting better at going to bed at a more decent time (which I’m sure makes my neighbor Tammy happy) but I’m still feeling a bit sleepy during classes. I may have to start pouring the coffee on a more regular basis.

#8 I have been rocking this one! I have some spider plants in water that are about ready to be planted. I also have some tomato, lettuce, spinach, strawberry, mint and zucchini seeds started. I have two lettuce plants that are already getting big (mmm, homegrown lettuce) and plan on sharing a majority of the plants with the parents for their garden this year. I just feel better having things that are green and growing around me. I guess I have a bit of a green thumb. Who knew?

#9 I’ve written the letter, I’ve even put in an envelope, but I haven’t sent it yet. Gotta work on that. It’s just that I’m usually in such a rush that I forget. Hopefully I’ll remember after writing this update to go mail it. But hopefully it won’t be too long!

#10 Boom! If you’ve been reading my posts, you’ll know that I started fasting for the Sabbath and am loving it. I feel that it definitely helps me feel closer to God than I have in the past. Last Saturday (a day and a week ago, not yesterday) I forgot and I think it threw my whole week off. It’s definitely a bit more interesting now with the longer days and the springing ahead in time, but I’d say it’s still going well. I’m sure there will be more to come.

#11 Bingo! I am rocking this one! I’m loving the weather outside, and can’t wait to get out there! I think I may have to take a stroll outside after this post (and mail the letter of course). I can’t wait until the thunderstorms start rolling again though, the snow storms was, though pretty, too peaceful and quiet. There needs to be Thunderbolts and Lightening (very very frightening) to light up the sky and drench the grounds. I love a good thunder storm, so I say bring them on! I’m definitely looking forward to running out in the rain(NOT when there’s lightning) and jumping in puddles! (Mom would be so proud!)

#12 This has been going along (as Dr. Persaud would say) quite smartly! Connecting with God over the last month and a half has been really important and helpful with all the questions and problems. For one, I’ve gotten a lot better at praying before meals. I’m hoping this is another thing that will continue to grow over time.

#13 and #14 definitely need work. While I’ve met some lovely people and had nice chats, I don’t know that I would call any of them a “friend” yet. As for the bike, I need to get out there with it again and feel the wind! Someday soon. Maybe Wednesday. I’m thinking that sounds good. Unless it’s thundering and lightning. I don’t really want to be riding a big piece of metal in that kind of weather.

#15 and #16 I think are going along well. In fact, after calling up my Grandmother and telling her I loved her, she made sure on Valentine’s Day to call me bright and early (6:39 in the morning, Early) an wish me a Happy Valentine’s Day and tell me that she loves me! It was so great to hear, and I’m told it made her day to tell me. I know it always makes me feel better to say it to others, or even just to thank them. Despite how good it feels to hear the words, I think it’s an even better feeling to say them!

Finally, #17 is halfway there! I did update and fill in my huge binder of cards and letters (It’s a monstrous 3″ binder) but I found a new problem. It’s Full! I love that the binder didn’t even make it a full year! I love looking through it and seeing all the thoughtful words and notes of encouragement. As far as the rest of being organized, I’m still in the process. I have my books organized (in a very OCD fashion from big to small, with books of the same size ranging from older to newer) but my desk in my room still needs a bit of attention. My room is clean (woo!) and my laundry is up to date, but my papers and desk drawers still need some TLC. Maybe after sending the letter and taking a stroll outside, I’ll be able to tackle that job. Then again, maybe not.

WOW! That was a LOT of writing. Thanks for sticking it out to the end. I am so thankful for all the people who are supporting me through this journey, and I want to make sure I do right by that. I really do appreciate each and every person who sends me letters, calls me, reads my blog posts, posts on my facebook, prays for me, encourages me, and everything else! Thanks for all that you do, and thanks for reading!

God Bless!