Theological ThinkTank

June is Here!

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June is my favorite month-for a multitude of reasons. And so I am glad today starts the beginning of a wild and crazy month.

The number one reason I like June is, well, its my birthday month.  June 26th. 6-2-6 (yes-I did flip out when I found out Stitch’s experiment number was this and I almost bought a car solely based on its name like my birthday.) For most people-they only like the day, but I love the month. And who knows why-maybe its because I was born a month early and if I had been born on time, I might have shared a birthday with both my grandma & grandpa (yes, they were born the same day.) I did not need that. Though I don’t want to promote self-centeredness, everyone needs their time and their space and why not pick a day that marks the day you came into this world? It’s also along these same lines is the reason why I do not believe anyone should have to work on their birthday.  It should be a day of enjoyment (and I guess if you can work while doing that its okay, but when you work in customer service sometimes you have to hear bad with good so working on your birthday might present some unpleasantness.)

second-I love June because typically it has symbolized the beginning of summer and the end of school. As an adult this has not been the case too much but as a kid, its a powerful thing. Right now–classes will end I I will enjoy not having to study for a major final.  pleasant thoughts really. Especially since I will be graduating–another reason to celebrate June.

third– june usually implies a lot of celebrating. I have several friends with June birthdays, there’s flag day & father’s day.  There’s also the longest day of the year-first day of summer.

Sooo… let’s get ready for another exiting year in June! Hope your month will be as exiting as you hope it to be!

 

Crossroads

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On June 14th, 2014 not only will be it one of my best friend’s birthday and Flag Day, but also I will be graduating from Fuller Theological Seminary with a Masters of Arts in Theology, Biblical Studies emphasis. I am very excited to reach this point in my eduction — something more than the expected bachelors (expected in reference to what society expects in education) and something in a subject I truly love.  Again–if I could have told myself in high school that you could major in theology and learning more about God–I would have thought you were crazy.  Yet here I am — 4 last classes away from my Masters degree.

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But as all graduates know–graduation is not only a time of celebration but also of deep thought.  You spend years learning tons of new material, techniques, perspectives and names that are valuable to your field of study.  And so people ask–“What are you going to do next?” And just as in undergrad–I can truly say I do not know what I am to do.  I know God called me to Fuller.  To study and learn more about Him, his Word, thoughts and perspectives about who He is.  To a place that was flexible to my schedule and yet still challenging to my mind. And I am thankful that He did so–or else I would be still sitting moping about going to seminary.

And that is what has held me together through my masters career.  God knows what He’s doing–whatever your theology is on God’s pre-knowledge–and all I could say is that He had called me to school.  Until tonight…

Tonight after class I got to speak with one of my professors.  We had reviewed something in class related to his doctoral studies and as a result, it got me thinking again about getting a Ph.D.  I always tell myself-“Sara, you’ll just have to wait” which sometimes is a cop out for I don’t think I can do it–just to be satisfied with the Masters. Of course-that only pushes me more to find a way to make a Ph.D work.  And why a PhD?? I don’t know-ask God.  I feel my passion for everything theology and biblical stems from a passion to study & know more about him. In different ways, different languages, in understanding the original points, concepts and ideas that He is trying to communicate through Scripture (which I have found are more plentiful than you expect.)

Over the past year I have been thinking about what to do about my master degree.  I have seriously considered that PhD. route–but it would have to be by the grace of God alone to find a program that not only fits into my passions but also my schedule.  And still allows for flexibility in my studies as I want to reach into linguistics and theology–something I’m not even sure you can relate yet two subjects I deeply love.  And of course this is not even considering the idea of Shawn and I starting a family.  And his masters in screenwriting.  What I consider the perfect scenario: that Shawn makes enough money in a job related to his degree so that I can become a full-time PhD student to earn my degree and still manage to stay in the Southern California area–while beginning to have kids.  One can only pray & hope, right? 🙂

Yet on a more realistic note–I do pray that God will show me what to do with all of this.  And maybe more importantly the how to do it and the confidence to do it with.  Or maybe the how and what he will provide and it is my confidence in Him that will gain strength.  When I was in undergrad–I purposely told myself I would need to take a year off school to work so I would 1) know what it feels like to actually have a job & 2)because I did not feel I was ready for a masters/seminary program. I had no idea where God was leading me (mostly because where I thought I was going was not where I ended up.)  Now- I already have a job, my husband, two dogs and the love & support just as I had before.

I know I don’t have a sick family member or a major tragedy to overcome–but I do ask as a friend and follower of Christ that those who know me pray for me–to have God show me the way.  Whatever that is, to not belittle what he has helped me through and to open my eyes for the great things that are to come.

in the words of an old camp song…

“Here I am, LORD. It is I, LORD. I have heard you calling in the night…I will go LORD, if you lead me… I will hold your people in my heart…” {{sigh}}

Confirmation

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Today we experienced the confirmation of a family member.  In the Lutheran Church, children around the age of thirteen go through 2 years of study in order to be confirmed and become a “official” member of our congregation.  And though you may have your own thoughts on baptism/confirmation systematically speaking : I have always enjoyed this moment. This is because I grew up in the church and since I did not have a “conversation” experience, confirmation is my personal “conversation” experience.  I know this sounds shocking for some–but when people ask me “knowing Jesus for the first time”, I look at them with this crazy face … because honestly I cannot think of a time when Christ and God were not a part of my life (which is the real truth, right?)

And though this is a decision a young teenager makes in most churches–I believe that everyone person should take this decision seriously. Mostly because they are standing before God. I know as a kid, I thought “oh my gosh I am committing my life to this and I don’t even know all of my life but okay, here is goes–better not lie to God.” I’m sure there are other ways to think of this–especially because lying to God is a mute point anyways–He’s God, right?–but whatever moment is the distinguishing moment you committed life to Christ (confirmation, baptism, a small prayer), it should be a distinguishable moment.  And maybe that’s why I hang onto confirmation.

I also think it is a point to make sure if you have been attending one specific church all your life that you know what you are committing to.  Now–I do believe you can commit to God and not commit to the congregation you are going. Please make sure if you are part of a congregation this is something they are okay with (meaning if you switch from “x” church to “y” church their not going to drop you off the face of the earth.) But i also believe as you get older, know where you are.  For example–I grew up Methodist. And though I love my methodist heritage, I choose to follow another tradition – Lutheranism.  And it is different in both practice and faith.  I have friends who are Presbyterian, Baptist, Catholic and non-denominational… and they have come from presbyterian, baptist, catholic and non-denominational backgrounds. And they have taken whole-heartedly the decision to follow a tradition different from their own. Or embrace in full their childhood tradition.

 

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Come Along little Doggie

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Every once and a while–I get the urge to share some of the dog training facts to help those out in the world who (like me) think that the rates they charge for dog training are ridiculous considering EVERYONE can benefit from a little advice here and there.

So I thought I would share some advice on training dogs for a dog door.

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1) Make sure your dog is house-trained.  A dog door doesn’t really make sense unless your dog is trained to go outside when he or she needs to do their business.  I could write a whole other post on house training but I’ll keep it simple.

2) never force your dog through the door. They will associate your anger or frustration and have trouble going through the door (which they already have trouble with naturally.)

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3) take your dog out and shut the door so they can’t come back in except through the door. Stick your hand through and use a treat or toy to lure them through. Be encouraging and let them know it’s safe. When they make it through the door, reward them with the treat.

Simple?!, well, let’s just day you have to practice a couple times. But eventually they figure it out and after 2 years even through switching houses it only took 2 times and April mastered the door. Scout once….

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Running Around …like a chicken with its head cut off

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My last blog was all about how to get through moving/buying a house.  Soooo… It is only fitting that the my next blog be about how to deal with home improvements.  My husband and I were blessed to be able to update some of the things in our house.  Consider this a part 2 of how to buy a home as well as how to deal with upgrades.

Some tips to remember:

1) Do your own research: I know its hard and sometimes practically impossible, but it is helpful.  Anyone (female or male) can look up information. And it helps with your budget as well as Knowing how much things realistically cost is extremely helpful for not getting scammed.  Finally–getting quotes isn’t always the best solution.  You have to look at who is doing the work vs costs vs will you have to repair it again and again in the future [this is VERY important–you’re not getting a bargain if you have to pay $200 every years vs $1k up front to get it done right.

2) Make an order of what you want done and then prioritize. For us-this was important.  We had items that were a safety issue (electrical, fence) as well as upgrades (painting) as well as other items to consider (update bathroom.) I know money is a question for everyone so think about what MUST be done vs could be done vs let’s think about what we want & need . [This is helpful for house-buying: if you do not have time to worry about upgrading/updates then think about this when you are buying a house.

3) When you decide on who is going to do what–get a timeline and then through it out the window.  This is from personal experience.  Things happen to contractors every day… and their work is based off what they’re doing, what the weather is like, whether they can get supplies or workers or whatever.  And honestly–take as much as you can but be patient. Being nit-picky only makes the contractors harder to work with and might add to the costs in the long run for the little things a kind heart might bring about cost-free.

4) this is a personal preference but always be appreciative of “The Help.” Today–my painter talked about how many clients do not want to talk to the people doing the work.  That shocked me.  I believe that everyone should show appreciation towards people helping me because they do not have to help me or be nice to me or even do a good job.  They can always leave the site, charge more, etc. So, in conclusion–thank people for helping them make your life easier.

I hope these things make upgrading and cleaning up a little easier. Good luck with your homes!

 

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