Sunday, October 25, 2009

Baylor Homecoming

This weekend was Baylor University Homecoming in Waco. This is my 2nd homecoming to go to since I graduated in May '08. It's always great to be home and see family and friends, but it can be overwhelming when there are so many people in town for just a day and a half.

Friday night, I had an early dinner with family at Ninfa's and then joined friends for a later dinner at Ninfa's as well (its important to load up on good Mexican food when in Texas)! My friend Emily drove in from Little Rock and spent the night with me - that was a special treat since I haven't seend her since homecoming last year. Saturday morning, we woke up early and went to Baylor campus for the parade. Hannah made her way to the front of the crowd, waved at every single person in the parade, and loaded up her purse with lots of candy. We all went to part of the football game, but the girls snuck out early to do a little shopping. Yesterday was Sarah's 27th birthday so we all hung out and had birthday dinner at her house. Later, all of my friends and I rondevoused at Crickets where practically all of Baylor was. It was a whirl wind weekend, but it was so much fun!

Granddaddy's Wedding

Sunday was a big day for the fam... Granddaddy got married to Barbara Boone! The ceremony was in the Columbus chapel and was followed by a reception with cake and punch. Congratulations Granddaddy and welcome to the family Barbara!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mount St. Helens

Monday was quite an adventurous day as I climbed my first mountain here in the Northwest. My friend Drew is an avid mountain climber and his equally adventurous friends Ross and Brandon flew up from Waco to experience the northwest climbing scene.

We left early Monday morning and drove an hour north to Skamania County, WA.  St. Helens is a 8,900 foot active volcano that last errupted on May 18th, 1980. Much of the mountain is covered in ash which feels like hiking in white sand. The weather wasn't the best - we got some rain, a little sleet and a whole lot of fog and clouds.  After about 4 hours of climbing, we ascended about 4,600 feet and reached the summit.  On a clear day, you can see Mount Hood and Mount Adams from the summit.  Unfortunately, the clouds kept us from seeing that incredible view.  Reaching the summit was an incredible experience and with it came a feeling of great accomplishment.

At times the climb was difficult, but I loved being out in nature with no distractions.  I couldn't have asked for a more peaceful day with any better company.  Being on a mountain really makes you think about things that I guess you just don't have time to think about when you're busy and surrounded by other people.  While on the mountain I felt completely content.  I can't believe that these mountains are right here in my back yard.  This climbing thing is kind of addicting... I think I've found a new adventure sport for myself!

The Glory of Nature
I think it ticks God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it.... People think pleasing God is all God cares about.  But any fool living in the world can see its always trying to please us back.  
~Alice Walker, The Color Purple

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Women in Leadership

A few days ago, I attended a Women in Leadership conference held by Murdock. I wasn't too excited to go at first; after all, I'm not a woman in leadership, I'm a girl looking trying to figure out my place in this world. I was pleasantly suprised by how much I enjoyed the two-day event. The main speaker, Gail, is a 55-year-old woman who was just laid off from being a Young Life director for over 20 years. I met many other women who are in a similar situation having been in leadership positions for years and are now facing a blurry future. After hearing their stories, I truly felt for these women, but knowing that other (older) women are in the same boat as me somehow gives me a new perspective.

The theme of the conference was "Emerging Leaders", so the women talked a lot about the younger generation (aka me). The first night, Gail threw out the question "What do you wish someone had told you when you were starting off as a leader?" I quickly pulled out my pen and paper and started taking notes of these valuable pieces of advice. Here are some things they said:

- you don't have to be great at everything
- there are a lot of different ways to do the same job
- it is really important to have a mentor
- being a leader is lonely
- nothing is more important than your spiritual life
- take time to recognize that each of us has different strengths
- know yourself and understand what makes you unique
- don't feel that its selfish to take care of yourself
- focus on people and relationships
- be courageous as a young leader, speak the truth
- don't feel that you have to have a plan, just be available and faithful

Gail also spoke about what makes a good leader (in her experience):

- listen and be teachable
- work really hard at knowing people's names (and know something about their life)
- say "thank you"
- be real and vulnerable with people
- be a team builder and realize that there is a place for everyone
- get feedback from others
- don't clutch power for yourself, empower others
- know your non-negotiables, the principles that you want to live/lead by
- know that you are God's beloved - no matter what
- obedience means more than performance
- serve for God, not others
- partake in spiritual rhythms

One lady reminded me that God doesn't call the equipped, he equips the called. Sometimes we feel like we are a mailbox in the desert. We keep waiting for God to answer us, but he doesn't seem to deliver. But God will not forsake us. All the little things along the way (however difficult they may be) are leading to something great. God is still working in our lives. And he is simultaneously working in the lives of others. We are all collaborating to create a story that God began writing ages ago.

Life Song
Another great question which was asked was "What makes your heart sing?" I think it is important to step back from your life every now and then to evaluate how you are living. What do you spend most of your time doing? Who do you spend most of your time with? What are you trying to accomplish? Are you really happy? When is it that you are most happy? What makes your heart sing?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Baylor Alum Gathering

We may be 2,000 miles away from Bear Country, but there is a great Baylor family here in the Pacific Northwest. A few weeks ago, I checked the Baylor Network website and searched for alum living in the Portland area... and there were over 200 of us! So I contacted the Baylor Network office in Waco and started working on connecting with the Portland alum. We threw together a quick email to invite anyone in the Baylor family to a social gathering last night.

The Moores were gracious enough to open up their home (even though they were out of town). I got about a dozen rsvps for people who would attend. Well, we ended up with 5 people (and 1 2 month old baby) at the event last night - welcome to the casual, go-with-the-flow Portland culture. It was fun to meet new people and talk about the one thing we all have in common: our alma mater. Margaret and I were obviously the most recent grads, so we updated the older folk on all the ways Baylor has changed in the past 10 years. They told us about the "good 'ol days" and we all laughed about those legendary professors who have taught at Baylor for decades. We tried to steer clear of Baylor football, but inevitably it came up. At the end of the night, we all gathered around the piano and sang The Baylor Line. Okay, that's not true. Wouldn't that have been wierd?!

It may have been a small group, but it was a good start in connecting with other Baylor alum. We hope to begin making more connections and continue having events. Sic 'em!

Baylor sent me a box of decorations

a table full of goodies

homemade Ninfa's green sauce - we all miss Mexican food!

delicious green and gold Baylor sugar cookies

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Our Daily Gluten

Every week at church we take communion. Every week we have a choice to make when we approach the communion table... dip your bread in the grape juice or the wine. This week, there is a new choice... regular bread or gluten-free bread.

Gluten-free diets seem to be all the rage here in Portland. Just to clarify, gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Can you image life without bread, granola, cookies? I love me some gluten! But many people are shunning products containing gluten - mostly so that they don't eat as much processed foods, but more fresh food such as fruits and vegetables. I always say, "All things in moderation." And Matthew (6:11) says, "Give us this day our daily gluten..." or "Give us this day our gluten-free bread..." or something along those lines.

I don't think this book was written during Jesus' time - otherwise Jesus would have offered the disciples more communion options.

For all of you who love having some gluten in your diet, here is a glutenicious recipe for you...

Old-fashion Potato Bread
from the kitchen of Grandmother Moore
1 & 1/2 cups water
1 medium potato, peeled and cubed
1 cup buttermilk or sour milk
3 T. sugar
2 T. margarine or butter
2 t. salt
6 to 6&1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 pkgs. active dry yeast
All-purpose flour

In a saucepan combine the water and potato. Bring to boiling. Cook, uncovered, about 12 minutes, or til very tender. Do not drain. Mash potato in the water. Measure the potato-water mixture. If necessary, add additional water to make 1 & 3/4 cups total. Return mixture to saucepan. Add buttermilk, sugar, margarine, and salt. Heat or cool as necessary to 120 or 130 degrees. In a large bowl combine 2 cups of the flour and yeast. Add the potato mixture. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a spoon, stir in as much of the remaining 6-plus cups of flour as you can.

On a lightly floured surface, knead in enough of the remaining 6-plus cups of flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (6 to 8 minutes total). Shape into a ball. Place in a greased bowl; turn once to grease surface. Cover and let rise in a warm place til double (45 to 60 minutes).

Punch dough down. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide in half. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Lightly grease two 8x4x2-inch loaf pans. Shape each half of dough into a loaf. Lightly dip tops of loaves in the additional flour. Place in prepared loaf pans, flour side up. Cover and let rise til nearly double (about 30 minutes).

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes or til done (if necessary, cover with foil the last 15 minutes of baking to prevent overbrowning). Remove bread from pans and cool on a wire rack. Makes 2 loaves.