Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I was just going to post one of my sermons, but some tag in the html is preventing this from happening and I'm too tired/lazy at the moment to sort it out. Boo. Hopefully I'll get that worked out some time soon. Oh well.

In other news, I'm still super excited about the PhD news. I've heard from a few more places since then-I was accepted to another program (although news on funding is forthcoming-it's not a great fit, but it was nice to know they want me!), wait-listed at a place I expected to be totally rejected from, and rejected from another which really wasn't a great fit but was in the area. That puts me at 2 acceptances, 1 wait-list, and 2 rejections. Not too shabby, considering last year I didn't get in anywhere (including the place that wait-listed me!). I don't know where I'm at on the one wait-list, but I decided to stay on it for now and see if anyone kicks back their offer thereby opening me a spot. Of the places I'm still waiting to hear from, only 2 would be good fits-and one of those places doesn't necessarily guarantee funding and the other is a super long shot that I'm not expecting to get into anyway, so there you go. One of the four I seriously have no idea about, and the other is the worst fit of them all so I'm not too concerned about that application at this point.

So...yeah. Once I've made it official, I'll write some post about it. I did get an email from a professor I'd be working closely with at the good fit acceptance school, asking me if I had any questions and congratulating me on admission. That made me happy : ) She was great in person and we hit it off really well, so it was nice to see that continuing. I wrote her back with a couple of questions, and will likely go for a visit just to get a sense of things from the other side of the admissions process. And I've started looking at courses for the fall, which is fun. I'm still trying to figure out the major/minor set up of this particular school's program (you have a general major, a specific major, and a minor) so I have some idea about what sorts of classes I'm looking for. I'll probably start working on the reading list pretty early too, but then again I feel like I have a pretty decent idea of the stuff I'd want on that list for the early modern English church history list-at least part of it, anyway.

Exciting! That's the best word for this. I'm so blessed that I will get to pursue this vocation-it's creative, it's dynamic, and I feel that it's really really important for the church.

Oh and after a wonderful 5 or so days of 40 something degree weather, which allowed for a great hike and a run outside yesterday (and by the way I shaved 1 min. 20 seconds off my time from last year's average!!!), the snow is back. Boo.

Friday, February 19, 2010


AHHHHH!!!!!! I just had to do that. This afternoon I got a phone call from a graduate program director telling me that I had been accepted into their program, with 5 years of full funding and a yearly stipend! Furthermore, he said that they really liked my application (although I'm guessing he said that to everyone he called as they wouldn't accept you if they didn't like the application).

I am...beside myself with excitement. Just last night I was talking to R about my doubts, and he in his calm way just reminded me that this could indeed happen. That's the great thing about my husband-he believes in me when my confidence falters. So when I called him today and told him, he said "what did I tell you yesterday?" Needless to say, I was more than happy to reply "you told me so." :D

So. I jumped up and down in the house and squealed after I got off the phone (I wish I had a video of it for you, Mom, as you're always complaining that my reactions are excited enough). I had a tough time keeping my cool on the phone with the graduate director as he was telling me the news-this program is on of my top choices-in fact, it might be my very top choice (given the other programs I applied to, how I fit into this program and their faculty, how my conversations with their faculty went, and the schools I've yet to hear from-I got rejected from Yale by the way). I'll post specifics once I've made it official-but for now, I'm just so happy. This is something I've felt called to very strongly, and I'm so blessed that I will be able to pursue this vocation.

ROCK ON!!!!!!!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Remembering Alan

Yesterday I got some heartbreaking news. A close friend of mine from college, Alan, committed suicide last Friday. We hadn't spoken in some years-he was always kind of bohemian and hard to get a hold of-but the news hit me really, really hard. I thought I would take a moment here to remember this wonderful person.

Alan was...different. Different than anyone I've ever known. I think the best way to describe him is as a living poem-beautiful, deep, yet only truly understood by the author. There always seemed to be some part of him that I just couldn't tap in to, no matter how much time we spent together (which was a fair amount). I'm not one who talks about "figuring people out," as I find that ridiculous, but there was an air of the enigmatic about Alan. He lived in a small apartment on College St. near the top of the hill. His bedroom was also his kitchen, and his computer room had one recliner, a desk, a computer, and a desk chair. He was the picture of simple living.

I have nothing but great memories of Alan. We met in a seminar in college, Buddhism in America I believe. I remember being fascinated by him (he sat on the other side of the seminar table from me), and slowly we got to know one another. We were TA's in the intro to Asian Religions class together. What was great is that our conversations and friendship went way beyond class (in fact I don't think we spent tons of time talking about class topics). We went to see My Morning Jacket together in Nashville. He gave me an aloe plant that survived for years even when I didn't water it. I still have the fan he brought me from Myanmar (I think that's where he went...maybe Cambodia) that hung on my walls in graduate school. I remember eating purple rice with coconut milk with him in his apartment. Or ordering pizza and drinking hard cider, and then both of us having horrible stomach aches afterwards. He's the reason I drink hot tea-it was a jasmine tea that he got me to try that helped me realize hot tea could actually be good. I remember him telling me about how he went hiking at Mammoth Cave and night came on sooner than he expected, so he slept on the side of the trail with the map as his blanket. We went to Barnes and Noble one night, came out to the parking lot, and his truck had popped out of gear and rolled into the door of the person parked next to him. Before that he had this great Jeep Cherokee that I was jealous of. He is the only person I've known who I thought would be a good monk. He gave me a copy of an Appalachian music cd that he called "Hilary's Reel" and continues to be one of my all time favorite albums. I listen to it constantly, and now it will have more meaning.

As I said before, Alan and I hadn't spoken for many years. Once I graduated from WKU and headed to graduate school, we fell out of touch-which I'll admit is partially my fault. Though as I said in my defense he's always been really hard to get a hold of (I remember just having to walk to his apartment sometimes because he wouldn't answer his phone-or he'd lost it). I learned yesterday that he'd been working with the homeless in Virginia and was suffering from depression and had some questions he wanted to ask God directly. Even though we hadn't spoken in a while, I thought (and still think) of Alan often. There was some part of me that felt...safe? warm? I don't know the word....knowing he was somewhere in the world doing good work. He was one of the most compassionate people I have ever had the honor of knowing, and the world has lost a truly good and beautiful person.

Alan-I hope you've found some peace. You were a wonderful human being, very much loved, and we'll miss you. May light perpetual shine upon you, my friend.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Team in Training

Anyone who has been following this blog may have noticed something new along the right hand side of this blog...any guesses? That's right-there's a new Team in Training widget as well as a link to my personal Team in Training fundraising website.

What's this all about? Well, Team in Training is a group/event/fundraising thingy put together by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). People train for endurance events-be they marathons, half marathons, century bike rides, triathlons, or hiking adventures-and raise money to support the research and other projects of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. It's a really really great organization.

If you remember, my brother was diagnosed with Berkitt's lymphoma in November 2008. Thankfully, he has now been cancer-free for about 9 months now! LLS not only supported us through the treatments developed by their researchers, but in real, on the ground ways that probably aren't apparent to those who have not been treated for a blood cancer (or who haven't been with a family member being treated for one).

Anyway I decided while Nathan was being treated that I would do a Team in Training event-I mean, he endured chemo, the least I could do was endure some physical training to raise money that will help find a cure for blood cancers. So in May, I will be traveling with a group of people from MA to join other from around the country to hike part of the Grand Canyon. I'll be keeping a blog of my training experiences, etc. on my fundraising webpage.

Now here's where you come in. I need to raise $4,350 to participate in this program. EVERY LITTLE BIT HELPS!!!!! Anything you can give will be helpful. Just think-if 440 people gave 10 bucks, then this goal could be easily met. So PLEASE, help in any way you can. The fundraising widget will take you to a donation page, while the link above it will take you to my personal fundraising page, where you can see my updates on how the training is going as well as donate. And the widget also shows how close I'm getting to my goal.

Can you help?

Saturday, February 06, 2010

3 cubed

I would have put a superscript in that title, but I'm not sure what the html for it is, and I'm not really feeling in the mood to look it up. So there we go.

Anyway I'm 3 cubed now! 9 is my favorite number, so one could also say I'm 9+9+9 which is nice and trinitarian in a way. Which I like for obvious reasons. I had a good birthday-R and I had lunch together, then met some friends for dinner and bowling. We were supposed to go bowling for my birthday two years ago and it snowed so that never happened. I've been telling him he owes me bowling for the past two years and now he's made good on that one. Woohoo! I didn't win, but I did come in second (losing only by 1 point on the 2nd game). It was great.

This morning I headed to the kick off for Team in Training. I'll post more on that this week, but it's a big thing I'm doing this spring and I'll be putting up a link for you all to follow for my TNT website (it is in support of the Leukemia and Lymphoma society, but like I said more on that later).

The next few weeks look like they're going to be pretty crazy-lots of evening stuff at work coming up, which can be hard because when a meeting at work ends at 8:30, I don't get home until 10. And then I have to be up and ready to be back at work by 9 the next day, which involves leaving home between 7-7:30 am. The lack of sleep won't be the hardest part, I think. The challenge will be getting my workouts in and actually getting to see my husband. We don't get enough hang out time during the week as it is, since we both get home around 7 and then go to the gym and don't sit down for dinner until 9:30. But Ash Wednesday is almost upon us, which brings with it Shrove Tuesday. And this week is a meeting week. And then the week after all of that I'm going to KY for diocesan convention and hang out time with the fam.

The bright side of this is that hopefully it will keep me busy enough to focus less on waiting for PhD admissions decisions. There are days when I feel like I put in a great application, and other days when I feel that despite of that application there were lots of others who probably put in better applications. And then I start freaking out about what I'm going to do if I don't get in, in terms of finding another part time job. Bleh. It's really really stressful, but I should start hearing something in the next few weeks.

In the meantime I've been reading some good stuff-right now I'm working on Eamon Duffy's The Fires of Faith, and will post a review of that soon as well as two books by Helen Fielding I've been reading. So keep your eyes open for those.

We brewed a couple of weeks ago (A sweet stout, or chocolate stout depending on who you talk to) which means bottling day is fast approaching. We got some tips from a friend that should make it less messy AND I found a piece of the kit that I thought we didn't get that should make the siphon work waaaaaaaaaay better. Bottling last time was very wet and sticky (there's lots of sugar involved) but hopefully this time it won't be. I like beer but sitting covered in it for an hour and a half was kind of not that great. And then the beer should be ready to go in a month! I think our next brew is going to be a wheat beer we've got-just in time for spring! One (or both) of the yeasts we have left are starting to age a bit so we may have to buy more. Luckily they're not stupid expensive.

That's about all I've got. Hopefully my blog posts this week will be a little more planned. This was more of a stream of consciousness thing-albeit more organized as my real stream of consciousness is never this cohesive-at least it wouldn't be to anyone who's not me.

Hope you're staying warm and dry!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Milestone and Resolution FAIL

Two things. Well, three really.

1. I didn't post last week-so much for that "resolution." But the great thing is that I can just write it off as a bad job and try to do better this week. Hopefully.

2. You may have noticed a blog layout change. I do this every now and then, mostly because I just get bored with the way the blog looks. This time it was largely due to the fact that I wanted to include a picture in the header, and my old format wasn't the best for such a thing. This picture is bigger than I want it, but my edited picture keeps coming up as corrupt for some reason so whatever. For those who are interested, this picture was taken in Istria in May, 2008 on the way to this tiny church with really great murals on the inside. The countryside was beautiful, and this is one of my favorite pictures from that day.

3. Now, for the real meat of the post. I reached a running milestone this weekend! I posted a while back about how I'm a pretty slow runner, but then I realized I run about the speed a butterfly flies so that was a nice discovery. I've still been trying to get my speed up, though, and this weekend I reached a new level. Usually on the treadmill I run between 5.4 and 5.6 mph, with elevation varying depending on the run setting I'm using (when I do a 5K a couple of times a week there are some hills, and then on "easy" days I just run on 0 elevation). R and I have been upping our cardio times to 45-60 minutes/day. This weekend I got on the treadmill expecting to do my usual 5.4-5.6 speed, but after about 15 minutes I decided to see what would happen if I bumped it up to 6.0 mph. I did so, planning to do 10 minutes on that if I could (I'd only ever run about 2 minutes at 6.0 before). At the ten minute mark I decided to see if I could make 15. Then if I could make 20. Then...25. Then I felt like my legs were going to fall off, so I walked for 5 minutes and THEN finished is up with another 5 bringing it to 30 whole minutes at 6.0! I then ran another 15 at 5.4. I think I ended up running about 5.3 miles on Saturday, which is the most I've ever run and the fastest I've ever run. Wahoo!

Yesterday my legs were definitely sore, but it was so cool to know that I could go that speed for that amount of time. Hopefully I'll be able to build up the endurance so it doesn't feel quite so out of control at the end of the 30 minutes, and then 6.0 can be my normal pace and I can stay there for a while. Sweet.

As R said, it's crazy to think about how far we've come in terms of running since we started in the winter of 2007 by running 1 minute and walking 1 minute for 30 minutes. But the method from the book R got for Christmas from his brother worked, and here we are running for more extended periods of time. Awesome.

In other big news, I'm doing Team in Training with the Leukemia and Lymphoma society. I'll have another post forthcoming on that and how YOU can help out. : )