Friday, October 31, 2008

Disability Ministry

Now that I'm done with my commitment to the ADA walk planning committee, I'm excited to be diving head-long into our church's new Disability Ministry. Denis and I are both on the leadership team and we're just starting the process of getting it off the ground.

This is how it started - our pastor's wife and daughter have attended the Northern California Joni and Friends family camp as helpers for the last few years. Their participation has been a particular passion of the daughter. This summer, our pastor attended for the first time and he came back home fired up. What he learned at Joni and Friends camp is about the sad statistics of families who have a member with a disability. The divorce rate is high, church attendance is low - it is a very isolating situation for families. It is difficult to even get out the door to church, and when families do make it, they might not feel welcomed by the church once they get there.

Our goal with a Joni and Friends affiliated ministry is to be "Fully Accessible" not just in our building having wide enough doors, but also in our congregation to have wide enough hearts. The goal is not just to welcome people with disabilities to attend, but to participate in ministry. This is NO SMALL TASK and we are just getting started.

I'm so excited to be a part of a purposeful ministry that will take me out of my comfort zone and allow me to see God at work. In the past, I've participated in short term missions, but I have come to the realization that I'm not likely to be able to do that any more. If you happen to think of praying for our ministry, current requests would be a solution to a sticky problem of not having a wheelchair accessible bathroom, an upcoming training day for ushers, greeters and volunteers and planning our kick-off event in February.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Alright, Nixter!

Here is my "yearbook" self.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Digging myself out

I'm slowly digging myself out of the hole that I've been buried in since we got back from Sydney. I knew before we left for vacation that I'd be coming home to a very busy week. October is a month when several different BIG projects for work and my life are coming together.
1. the ADA walk, one week after we returned. I was on the planning committee so there were lots of emails and tasks to muddle through in that last week. It was this past Saturday, so that's behind me now.
2. an extensive education project for the OB department of my hospital. My boss and I are doing multiple talks and meetings this month. Some of it I had prepared before hand and some I left until I returned to plan. This is about half-way done now, so I'm feeling more in control
3. I'm taking my Diabetes Educator's certification exam on the 25th of this month and I haven't actually started to study for it yet... I have two weeks, so now's the time to start.

So with all this on my plate - the unpacking and household chores have taken a back seat for the last week and a half. I worked extra hours and came home and just didn't do anything productive.

This week, I've got the walk behind me. I'm just working my normal week. I don't feel as overwhelmed. And so I'm slowly digging out of the hole. I balanced our checkbook on Sat. afternoon. Started laundry and cleaned the kitchen yesterday. Today I've gotten some errands run already. I need to buy us some real food so we can stop subsisting on cereal and potatoes. :o)

The list is still long, but I'm feeling more hopeful about getting to the bottom.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Everything you need to know about owning a cat

This is a bit long, but believe me, it's worth it. Really clever and funny in a quirky way. :o)

Sunday, October 05, 2008


First a note about my pictures - It took me over 3 hours to upload all my photos to Facebook and organize them into albums, put them in chronological order and label them all with the related stories. It was a frustrating, painstakingly long process and I just can't stomach the thought of making a separate slide show just for the blog. SOOOO, for those of you who are NOT on Facebook, I discovered that I can give a link to those albums that you can access directly. You do NOT have to be a member of Facebook to view them (as I understand it). So, please see the photos, in order, here, here and here. I had to split them into three albums due to the number. It doesn't take that long to view them all though, I promise...

Here are the souveniers that we brought home from our trip. From the top left, clockwise:
1. wooden coasters made from 4 different woods that are typical to Tasmania
2. a novel, the cover of which was designed by our friend Nick (graphic designer) and written by their friend who we met at the Salamanca market and autographed it for us. It is about a musician who moves back home to Hobart (Tas) from NYC after a nervous breakdown. In my opinion, this is the BEST kind of souvenier!
3. wine from the Hunter Valley trip. We managed to bring two bottles home with us. It would have been a shame (and a bit embarrassing not to purchase at a tasting) not to bring some home to share with friends.
4. a commemorative Sydeny spoon for T
5. scenic calendars of Australia (one is actually full of aboriginal artwork for a friend who was particularly interested in knowing more about their history)
6. a sweater bought at the mall on sale since they are going into summer weather there. :o)
7. multiple postcards we intended to mail home but didn't manage to do so.
8. money (see below)
9. dishtowels with cute drawings of animals unique to Australia.

I've realized with chagrin that we didn't buy enough gifts... Oh well, hopefully people will understand. There's only so much room in a suitcase.

Here's a close up of Australian money. I collect money from any country that I travel to. I especially like the coins, but I try to get a few small bills as well. I'm very sad that I didn't make it to Europe before the Euro went in. You probably can't tell, but if you look closely at the pink bill, you might be able to tell that there is an emblem that is see-through. The bills have a plastic core to them. The small gold coin is a $2 coin. There is no $1 bill. Also, there are no pennies. All prices are rounded up to the nearest 5 cents. I think our money is so boring compared to other countries!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

There's no place like home

Especially when your mother snuck over and cleaned the whole house while you were gone... :o) THANKS MOM!

We flew into LA 3 hours earlier than we left Sydney, then through customs and a quick 2 hour flight back to Portland. We started driving south and stopped for the night at about the half-way point. Drove into our driveway about noon today, unpacked, started the laundry, visited mom to show her our pictures, plowed through the email, checked everyone's Facebook status and here we are 7 hours later. I'm too tired to fiddle with my pictures tonight. I work tomorrow, so it will likely be the weekend before I'm organized enough to get them in a post-able state.

So sorry to keep you waiting... We had a lovely time. I'm really looking forward to showing them.