A Week in the Life – Saturday

I feel like my/our life is either very ordinary or very extraordinary. It feels like two extremes: working on the computer all day or playing at the beach. I’m not sure what the middle-land even is. But as I get to the close to the end of this week, I am very aware of what a privilege it is to have these pictures to post.

Here’s Saturday. If you were reading Friday’s post, you saw that we are at a backpackers near Port Shepstone, South Africa. I’ve been looking for a beach-location for a YAGM retreat. This place has potential. Here’s our day of play, rest, and family time.

Much time was spent in the waves

Much time was spent in the waves

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Afternoon snack on the beach.

Afternoon snack on the beach.

Isaac assembled the fire for a braii - and even cooked the meat.

Isaac assembled the fire for a braii – and even cooked the meat.

Here he enjoys the fruits of his labor.

Here he enjoys the fruits of his labor.

Sophia has some reading with her vegetables.

Sophia has some reading with her vegetables.

And the day closes with some good games of pingpong

And the day closes with some good games of pingpong

Week in the Life – Friday

The kids had a 4-day weekend, starting with this day of Friday. Wanting to make good use of this school break, we traveled to a “backpackers” (hostel) for a couple of days of  beach fun and retreat site research.

Sophia shows off her packing skills:

Sophia shows her packing skills

A lunch stop at a place Jon found online. A charming cafe and a bookstore. I was in heaven.

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The place we stayed at. The beach was right below and the place had everything we needed – beds, a kitchen to cook in, and good hospitality. The kids loved the pool and pingpong tables, too. If we bring a group here, it will be a little tight for accommodation but I think it could work. It is only two hours from our house so it is a nice location.

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Our first night dinner was crackers, cheese, and vegetables. All prepared by Isaac. A good beginning!

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Week in the Life – Thursday

Thursday – a workday with a mission. Two in fact. 1) Secure some important paperwork. 2) Start working on a budget. Here’s some of the day:

First task: call hosts. I am always enjoy the phonecalss once I reach the people I am calling. But I am an introvert and am not fond of phone calls.

It's a phone call kind of day. I returned to this phone many times throughout the day.

Throughout the morning, Jon and I worked on a budget for next year and I returned to phone calls as needed. Check out my fancy spreadsheets below:

My sister makes beautiful spreadsheets for her work on Excel. I make these.

I really didn’t want to stop for lunch so I threw together a salami sandwich:

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The kids were home early from school. And, they have a 4-day weekend. Isaac was quite excited to get some computer time:

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I made myself a mid-afternoon cup of coffee. Usually I reserve these fancy coffee powders for when I am traveling but once in a while, when I want a quick afternoon cup of coffee, I will use one.

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With the kids’ 4-day weekend, we were feeling in a holiday mood and I went off for pizza. We love to get take-away pizza from this place just up the road. And it’s a nice little shopping center. I ordered my pizza and went to get a few groceries. On my way, I saw that the place where we get haircuts was still open and I made an appointment.

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And here’s our pizza. Not a great photo but I must show off the flavor combo: avocados, bacon, and feta cheese. There’s also spinach on my side to make me think I am being healthy. The kids eat the plainer side with just bacon and feta cheese. It is soooo good. I order this pizza every single time.

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Here’s the kids enjoying this treat:

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And that’s the day!

Week In the Life – Wednesday

Wednesday was quite a day and doesn’t have a lot of pictures. I’ll tell and illustrate as best as possible:

In the morning, I went to physiotherapy to treat my ankle which was injured a couple of months ago. The Jacaranda tree in the parking lot was gorgeous. The flowers have just popped open in the last few days. I’m glad this picture captures at least a little bit of the beauty.

Jacaranda tree

Jacaranda tree

I then went over to the university to pick up Jon, who was sitting in on a class. But he got to the car and in it before I could snap his photo. Once we were home, the rest of our day was spent working (mostly on the computers). Here’s a photo of Jon at his computer:

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Late in the afternoon, my eye was reminded again of the flower in bloom outside the living room window. I set out with my camera. Here’s what I got:

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And since I was outside and didn’t have many pictures for the day, I took a couple more. Here’s our backyard:

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As I came around the other side of our house, I noticed that the door to the flat (connected to our garage) was still open. Jon had been out there earlier. He has created an office space there, especially as he completes his degree at Luther Seminary and his rostering for Diaconal Ministry:

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And for dinner, it was good old American hamburgers (on the stove):

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One of the interesting things about my job is that I am 7 hours ahead of colleagues in Chicago. And it happened on this day that we needed to email back and forth – a lot. And I needed to do some things related to what they needed there. So I jumped into that project, even though it was a very different time of day in South Africa.

And that was my day!

Week in the Life: Tuesday

This morning, I was oblivious to the reality that the kids had to be at school early for a choir rehearsal and then a videotaping. Luckily Jon was on his game and taking care of all morning things. But when I awoke and realized the kids were soon gone for the day, I quickly grabbed my camera before they were out the door with Jon. And that’s how my day started! Here’s some visual highlights:

All ready for the choir to be videotaped. A very handsome schoolboy, I must say!

All ready for the choir to be videotaped. A very handsome schoolboy, I must say!

 

Oops. Forgot to put away the bathroom cleaning liquid last night. I want to remember daily life products from this time of our life so I quickly snapped a picture.

Oops. Forgot to put away the bathroom cleaning liquid last night. I want to remember daily life products from this time of our life so I quickly snapped a picture.

 

My breakfast of oatmeal and coffee, lovingly prepared by my husband.

My breakfast of oatmeal and coffee, lovingly prepared by my husband.

 

I'm trying to figure out this whole "take a picture of yourself with a mirror" trick.

I’m trying to figure out this whole “take a picture of yourself with a mirror” trick.

 

Off to the cell phone store. My contract was up and I needed to finish the process of a new phone. Nice to have it all sorted out before the new group gets here.

Off to the cell phone store. My contract was up and I needed to finish the process of a new phone. Nice to have it all sorted out before the new group gets here.

 

A grocery store was a few shops away so I stopped in for some basics.

A grocery store was a few shops away so I stopped in for some basics.

Most importantly, I needed laundry detergent as I was completely out. Our machine takes liquid but I love all of the "washing up powders" and couldn't resist taking a picture. The powder is by far the most common type in the store.

Most importantly, I needed laundry detergent as I was completely out. Our machine takes liquid but I love all of the “washing up powders” and couldn’t resist taking a picture. The powder is by far the most common type in the store.

 

The car park guard was curious why I was taking a picture of the parking lot. I told him I was taking pictures of my life. I was too introverted to ask if I could take his picture but I think he would have loved it. I tipped him, as is custom here, and was on my way back home.

The car park guard was curious why I was taking a picture of the parking lot. I told him I was taking pictures of my life. I was too introverted to ask if I could take his picture but I think he would have loved it. I tipped him, as is custom here, and was on my way back home.

 

Jon's late afternoon yoga. It is such a beautiful time of day this time of year.

Jon’s late afternoon yoga. It is such a beautiful time of day this time of year.

 

Beautiful greens we are growing on our balcony.

Beautiful greens we are growing on our balcony.

The family dinner.

The family dinner.

Time for a Skype meeting.

Time for a Skype meeting.

And that’s the day! See you tomorrow!

Week In the Life 2015: Monday

I did this project two years ago. It was in September. This year it is in August (it always changes). You take pictures and record details of your daily life. I have especially appreciated doing this as a way of recording little details I might otherwise skip by. If you want to see last year’s posts, just click on the “weekinthelife” theme to the right of this post, in the theme cloud.

Here’s what Monday looked like for me. It was a very typical work-at-home day. Not a lot of action. But still good things to photograph.

The breakfast table

The breakfast table

Some things waiting to be taken to school

Some things waiting to be taken to school

The kids pack their own lunches. After they stared into the fridge a bit to see what else to bring, I thought I'd take a picture of the inside of our fridge. Here is one shelf.

The kids pack their own lunches. After they stared into the fridge a bit to see what else to bring, I thought I’d take a picture of the inside of our fridge. Here is one shelf.

Sophia prepared ingredients for tea to take to school, in case it was her turn to give an "oral" in isiZulu. She has prepared tea-making instructions in isiZulu.

Sophia has packed her lunch and is finishing by packing the ingredients for making tea. She will be doing an isiZulu “oral” today or tomorrow where she explains how to make tea – in isiZulu!

She checks the tea before packing it to make sure it is her favorite - rooibos tea. She can identify it by its smell.

She checks the tea before packing it to make sure it is her favorite – rooibos tea. She can identify it by its smell.

From our Minnesota life, this would be like a screen door. But there isn't a screen. I am never sure what to call it. It locks with a padlock. I have unlocked and opened everything as the kids get ready for school.

From our Minnesota life, this would be like a screen door. But there isn’t a screen. I am never sure what to call it. It locks with a padlock. I have unlocked and opened everything as the kids get ready for school.

My morning coffee. Today, our friends from Fargo (yes, truly!) are picking up the kids to share a ride. I wait outside for their arrival.

My morning coffee. Today, our friends from Fargo (yes, truly!) are picking up the kids to share a ride. I wait outside for their arrival.

Our favorite kind of peanut butter has been on sale so we are well-stocked. And we have a kid-favorite of Ranch Dressing from the U.S. in our cupboard as well.

Our favorite kind of peanut butter has been on sale so we are well-stocked. And we have a kid-favorite of Ranch Dressing from the U.S. in our cupboard as well.

Nearly every day, this is my breakfast.

Nearly every day, this is my breakfast.

Getting ready to do some planning together for the new YAGM (Young Adults in Global Mission) volunteers who are soon to arrive.

Getting ready to do some planning together for the new YAGM (Young Adults in Global Mission) volunteers who are soon to arrive.

Hanging out a load of laundry.

Taking a break from our planning meeting and hanging out a load of laundry.

Nearly every day in the winter (avocado season), Jon says to me at about 10am, "half an avo for you." That means that he has made himself some food with one half and left the other half for me. Many days, I mash it up, add some salt, and use some tortilla chips with it. I did that today as well.

Nearly every day in the winter (avocado season), Jon says to me at about 10am, “half an avo for you.” That means that he has made himself some food with one half and left the other half for me. Many days, I mash it up, add some salt, and use some tortilla chips with it. I did that today as well.

The rest of the day was computer work. Not very exciting. But necessary! Lots of planning, arranging, and communicating happens through that laptop!

The rest of the day was computer work. Not very exciting. But necessary! Lots of planning, arranging, and communicating happens through that laptop!

Home From School!

Home From School!

Homework book

Homework book

I was struck by the beauty of my red onion. I roasted some roots tonight - one of my favorite things to do.

I was struck by the beauty of my red onion. I roasted some roots tonight – one of my favorite things to do.

One of Jon's favorite spots (kitchen).

One of Jon’s favorite spots (kitchen).

Family Reading Time

Family Reading Time

Family reading time - my book of the evening

Family reading time – my book of the evening

And that’s the end of our Monday. See you tomorrow!

Healing the Body (Discerning a Call to Diaconal Ministry, pt. 3)

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I haven’t yet shared about my own journey to discerning a call to diaconal ministry. I’ll get to that in my next post; what I want to share here is a discussion of my latest project.

In order to become rostered as a diaconal minister—if you’ve read my first and second posts  you’ll actually know what those words ‘rostered’ and ‘diaconal’ mean!—individuals are required to have ‘field experience’. Within the 700 hours of required field experience is to be a ministry project of a minimum of 200 hours. The project is to be within the candidate’s area of specialization.

Seeing as how I am currently working in global service through the ELCA, I will have no problem logging 700 hours between my teaching English at the regional Lutheran seminary, The Lutheran Theological Institute (LTI) and my working with the Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) program of the ELCA. But for my project I need to work in my specialization, which I currently understand as living at the intersection of healing, the arts and creativity, storytelling and community. I’ll share more about this in my next post, but one way I think about my call to diaconal ministry is feeding people, feeding people’s hungers for food, for beauty, for community and for wholeness. My project, “Healing the Body” will be both an initial foray into my specialization while also being simply another step in a creative journey I’ve been on for years.

My intention is to work with a group of 5-10 performing artists who will create a (roughly) 30 minute dance theatre piece exploring multiple aspects of healing: intrapersonal (within one person), interpersonal/relational, communal, global; physical, psychological, social, emotional, spiritual, etc. So when I write, ‘healing the body’ I mean a person’s body, the body of a community, the body of creation. We will be inspired by our own lives, by the lives of others and by our imaginations. We will use various methods and techniques including mind-body practices, interviews and improvisation (including Viewpoints, my own personal favorite technique for both performer training and ensemble creation of original performance). Once we have a performance we’ll take it into the community where it will be performed but not in traditional performance venues. Each performance will be followed by a (roughly) 30 minute community conversation facilitated by my project supervisor.

Part of what I enjoy about a creative project is diving into the world of the material and for this project that means multidisciplinary research. Right now I’m reading The Body Remembers: the Psychophysiology of Trauma and Trauma Treatment by Babette Rothschild, The Frantic Assembly Book of Devising Theatre by Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett, Still by Lauren Winner, and Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor. A book which has made a great impact already is Serene Jones’ Trauma and Grace and another for which I’m waiting eagerly to start is We Make the Road by Walking: Conversations on Education and Social Change by Myles Horton and Paulo Friere.

In my next post I’ll share a bit about how my own journey has led here. Peace.