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T-Minus…Not sure June 27, 2009

Posted by amberpeace in family, living as a 20-something, relationships.
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I’m excited for my vacation, don’t get me wrong. Sleep hasn’t been coming as easy as it should, and everyone needs to hope that I can drive to Bushnell, IL in one straight shot. I hate pulling over to sleep.

Katie (teenage sister 2) has been staying with me since Thursday evening and helping me keep the house in general order. There has little time for anything though, besides cleaning. That means no bags are packed for Cstone, or wedding invitations have stamps on them.

By the way, our post office had no wedding stamps. So everyone is getting liberty bells. Oh, and the postcard stamps nowadays? Polar bears. That’s right, polar bears. Who’s coming up with this?

Work until 11am tomorrow. Some sleep. Some driving to Knoxville. Some more sleep. Then – it’s time to head to Bushnell. 1 week of glorious music, vendor food, little sleep, and running amuck. I don’t even know how often I’ll see my siblings on the festival grounds. Mary and Katie are working 10 – 2 on the beach, I’m working 5pm – 2am on the Gallery Stage, and Joseph will be wherever.

There will be twitter updates.

Cornerstone is almost here!

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Body as Community April 18, 2009

Posted by amberpeace in εκκλησία, Living, relationships.
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At 5’11” and 102lbs, she looks monstrous. Her hair is stringy, her eyes are hollow, and her nails are broken and yellow. She has arms covered in little bruises and burns, and her knees and enveloped in scars. She has fallen so often one wonders if she ever thought of staying down and indeed she has. Stumbling, she is shoved one more time and finds herself face down in pine mulch on a Smokey Mountain trail.
So this is where she ends, face down in mulch. Let’s not think about the components of mulch. But strong hands grab her and she is staring into the faces of loving Christs wearing tee-shirts and Chacos. The girl is led by the hand to the Table. There, the Christs wash her feet and hands. They brush her hair and bandage her wounds, and anoint her head and face with oil.
They sit to the left and to the right, all around the table. A bowl of soup is placed before her. In the center, a loaf of bread and a bottle of wine command the scene. A chunk of the bread is handed to her.
“This is for you.”
A glass of wine is poured and placed before her.
“This is for you.”
She eats; she drinks; she is nourished.
A Christ asks her a question.
“What is your name?”
“My name is Soul.”
The Christs nod, as if they expected that to be her answer.
She stays the night, and the next night. Soul feels no need to leave her sanctuary. Soul works hard, plays hard, and prays hard with these Christs. They constantly wash her feet and cover her head with oil. Soul, in turn, learns how to do these things to the others. She is there in eager anticipation when a new one arrives, there to care for them as she was cared for on that first night. Health returns to her frame. She suspects that the simple meals of soup, bread, and wine nourish her more than calories might suggest. Her nails grow, her eyes are no longer hollow. Soul has found body.

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An Epiphany April 11, 2009

Posted by amberpeace in family, Living, relationships.
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We have left on our own pilgrimage. Behind us is everything we hate – chaos, lies, discord, and alcohol. In front lays everything we love – Jesus and music, but mostly music. We’ve hated each other for the past 15 years out of necessity, but this one week is most sacred to us. Hate is impossible. Even when we argue we are aware that we’re wasting time. Arguing is for back there, in the hills. Excitement and awe are for out here.
This is Mary’s first time away from the mountains. She fell asleep some time back, but has now awoke to corn and soybeans. She can’t comprehend it. There is nothing but flat, and to us this is just as exotic as seeing a lion in the wild. We’re snaking our way across the farmlands and Google Map has told us wrong. We’re passing through small places with names like St. Augustine’s Hamlet.
A sign tells us that we’re in Avon. The only Avon I know provides me with great moisture benefits. As we drive through, Mary and I silently take in what we see. Clean little houses with clean little yards flying their clean little American flags. The sidewalks look swept and the trees look like something Martha’s Vineyard would be proud of. We pass in on one road a primary school, a middle school, and a high school. Mary speaks, “Is this really here?” The whole town takes about seven minutes and as we pass two horses and a camel beside the “Leaving Avon” sign, I have an epiphany. I look at Mary and say, “I’m suppose to be a Midwestern housewife.”

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The Body of Christ, Eucharist April 9, 2009

Posted by amberpeace in εκκλησία, living as a seminary student.
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Mutt. Mix. Melting. Those are the words that describe my spiritual and ecclesiological background. The Baptist piety of my soul yearned for the mystical connection of the Catholic Eucharist. Milligan College, in it’s well-intentioned attempt to show me the path of good congregationalism and “being like the early Church,” convinced me of the need for liturgy and high church. Something beautiful and redeeming happened when I chose to kneel in my pew. When I graduated from Milligan College, I left assuming I would never return to this community. I finally joined an Episcopal church and was confirmed into the Anglican Communion. I was going to live life as an Episcopalian. I was going to marry an Episcopalian. I would have small Episcopalians running around in topsiders and seersucker. Maybe they would play lacrosse.

God’s cosmic plan is never my plan. Less than a year and a half later, I returned to the Milligan and Emmanuel community. Now, a problem has arisen. I have labeled myself as Anglican. I hold Anglican beliefs, but I am not the 39 Articles personified. I am not attending the Episcopal Church in Johnson City. I’m not even fellowshipping at any time with the church. Instead, I am back at the church that I know and love, Grandview.

Is this wrong? I have spent many, many conversation on this topic. I surprise attack people. We might be discussing composting and suddenly I ask, “Is it okay for me to have communion presided over by someone who isn’t a priest?” For some reason, I can accept that Eucharist presided over by an Orthodox, or Roman Catholic, or Anglican priest is legitimate. Have the smells and bells indoctrinated me, or have they taught me a truth?

In my heart, in my gut, I cannot believe that it is a truth. Baptist piety is a fire that refines every thought that enters me. I am too troubled by the idea of denying the priesthood of all believers. I know many can tell me how that is different than the ordained minister I see at the alter. I cannot accept that. There is something wrong with the idea that I, as a layperson, cannot walk up the bread and wine and then ask the Holy Ghost to change the elements into the Body and Blood of Christ. This makes my prayers less effective. That belief means I am less than a person ordained. “No,” I am told, “it makes you different.” No, it makes me less.

But still, I struggle. In a few months, I will have a wedding. There will be communion, and I am terrified. What if I am not supposed to have communion? What if my beliefs about Eucharist, the Church, and the Body of Christ are wrong? The problem with Baptist piety, that runs so deep, is that your fear of punishment never quite goes away. I am a sinner, dangling like a spider on a thread, hanging over the fire.

In the end, my heart says that I will champion the layperson. I have been called clueless. I have been called ignorant. I’m pretty sure I took a grade cut because of my position. The fact is astounding that the Body of Christ can be so divided over the Body of Christ.

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Summer March 31, 2009

Posted by amberpeace in living as a 20-something, living as a seminary student, living as a student.
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Last week was Spring Break (which really is not suppose to be a break for grad students), and next Friday is Good Friday. We have five weeks of classes left, research week, and finals. That may seem far off for other people, but I am itching to be done! This semester has been stupidly hard, which means that I’ll have to cut back on school hours next semester to 9. The hope is that when Matt graduates, he will have a chaplaincy position somewhere.

You know, a real job with 40 hours and benefits. Benefits = the only reason I’m working 40 hours and not 30.

So I’m excited about summer where I’ll *only* be working full time. I won’t know what to do with myself on my three days off.

What would you suggest I do with my free time?

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Bracelet March 30, 2009

Posted by amberpeace in Living.
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Is there a bracelet out there? Maybe? I have midget hands, and skinny wrists. So when I wear bracelets they bang against my hand
bang bang bang
Which, of course, does no good for the incredibly awesome bangles that you can find

See, it would bruise me

See, it would bruise me

I think I need cloth braclets. Where can you find amazing cloth braclets? Do I need to start a company for cloth bangle bracelets?

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Shampoo March 27, 2009

Posted by amberpeace in Living.
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There are three million shampoos in this world, and I’m a sucker for all of them. Maybe not all of them. VO5 needs to be burned. White Rain, too. If you haven’t heard of those, it’s because you can buy decent shampoo. You should feel pleased with your financial position in life; go feed an African child.

Meanwhile, I’ve entered into a world where I can choose my shampoo now. It’s bizarre. Instead of being required to marinate my hair in olive oil to keep it from being crazy frizzy, I can choose something that smells yummy from the body care aisle. Better yet, I can go to stores that are entirely dedicated to making my hair and skin look good. Fantastic! I want to know, what do you use on your hair?

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Now January 10, 2009

Posted by amberpeace in Living, living as a 20-something.
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I didn’t plan or mean to, but I’m using the new civil year to clean up and hold on to practices I begain last year. Groceries are in the cupboards and fridge so that eating out is almost obsolete.  I’ve cut up carrots and celery for snack, because the vegetable were going bad. I’m so easily tempted and when Matt says, “let’s get subway,” who am I to pass that up. Now, Matt has seen all the groceries, and all my budgeted money is separated into a neat pocket, accordion file.

I cover during Adoration and morning Eucharist. I’m in the process of moving towards covering everyday. I have accomplished this by wearing scarves at work. When classes come around, I hope I can wear them to class without too much anxiety. This really leaves just time at home when I’m not. I don’t particularly feel like explaining why I’m doing this. Maybe another post. I actually admire Quaker clothing, but I don’t see myself switching to that anytime soon.

Idle hands are the tool of the devil December 31, 2008

Posted by amberpeace in Living.
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I would really like a sewing machine of my own. My favorite clothing to wear is plain long sleeved or short sleeved tees and long circle skirts. Both of these could easily be made on a sewing machine to my personal measurements instead of me spending 3 hours in Ross’s because no one carries long, plain skirts unless I want a long denim skirt. I would prefer not to be confused as being a Church of God member, thank you. I dress simply. I have a few formal dresses from college occasions and I have two dresses that I feel are pretty over the top for the Martini Room and a wedding that requires black cocktail attire. I have one set of glitzy jewelry that was bought as a Christmas present for me for the wedding and the Martini Room use, but these are not pieces that I would wear on a daily basis. 

I feel like I could spend my money on other things like food or household items. So, a sewing machine is in order. You can get a Singer for $100. I would say I can use the sewing machine for other household projects, but really it’s just so I can make myself clothing that I like.

Breathing December 28, 2008

Posted by amberpeace in Emmanuel, friends, Living, living as a 20-something, living as a seminary student, living as a student, relationships, school.
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That’s *almost* what I’m doing now, breathing. My classes and finals are finished. I’m no longer learning to balance a full time job and a full time student load. I hope that by February, when classes restart, I’ll have the balancing more under control. The two biggest chunks that had to be cut from my life were attending church on Sundays and having sporadic hanging out time with friends. 

Not getting to attend on Sundays is a bit of a downer, because there are people I want to see at Grandview, but I have the opportunity to go to Evensong on Saturday nights and Adoration on Tuesday nights – both offer Eucharist, which is vitally important. The other, the hanging out, is more difficult and I believe has caused some people to assume I’m blowing them off. Frustrating is a bit of an understandment on that one. Sure, some people understand. The ones who have children, and spouses seem to get it. The other friends I have though, the ones who go to school and work part time, I get questions. “Where have you been?” “Why aren’t you hanging out anymore?” I’ve had a few cold shoulders in the recent days because, I think, a few people assume that I just don’t care about them.
Let’s see. A week  has 168 hours. 40 of those are spent at work. It takes me about 35 minutes to get to work. That’s an hour tacked on to the four days I work. 2 hours. I sleep 7 hours a night. That’s 49. I had 8 hours of in class work this semester. That’s in class. That’s not the studying and group work I need to do. So that leaves me 69 hours left to cook, clean, study, meet with groups, and generally get done what needs to get done. That seems like a lot, but when it’s broke up into All day Wednesday and Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday mornings – It really isn’t. 

But like I said, the classes are over. I worked two 8 hour shifts and two 12 hour shifts early this week so I had Thursday, Friday, AND Saturday night off. My sisters are visiting. It’s been nice. This coming week I’ll do a bit of overtime, but that means I get Saturday night off again, so I can go to a wedding. I’ve been able to actually cook mine and matt’s meals, so we don’t have to eat out because I’m too worn out to make anything. Things are getting clean, laundry is getting done and, God willing, when February comes I will have Matt on a routine of how to do things so we can both work, study, and not go insane. 

It’s Christmastide now. While most people are taking down their decorations, the Traditionals have just put theirs up and will leave them up until Epiphany. Next year I hope to have a rosymary topiary in place of a faux christmas tree and see if I can find somewhere to give me enough holly to decorate the entire downstairs so I can have more Church traditional decorations.

Whatever you’re doing to end or begin your Christmas celebration, celebrate Christ.