marianne's musings

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

tears and cheers...originally posted July 31 on facebook

usually a title jumps out in my head and the words soon follow, but today i find myself struggling to write a brief update on all that's gone on in life for the last several months. a friend noted that i have not written on my blog since i sprained my ankle...i believe that was in february.this winter was fairly isolating and a wee bit dark, topped off by my brilliant ability to be clumsy. but out of the funk i came and into the light of spring and all things good. back to healthy habits and loving the outdoors, particulary walking in the rather large park so near my apartment, where coming across deer just off the path is frequent and peaceful.and then came summer. june, in particular, brought with it a hault to all that is rational or right. in one night my cousin's world was dumped upside down, her husband and two very young sons killed in a train/car accident. this was my closest cousin growing up, just one year apart. whenever our families were together on our annual trek down to miami she and i were always together. i have such great memories, and such love for my cousin, and such regret that the closeness we once shared we let slip away as adults. and the one moment she needed family the most, i felt like such a stranger and helpless to give her any comfort. funny thing, it's not about me and my desire to comfort my about self-absorbed. so rather than mourn the loss of my cousin along with her husband and two young sons, i am now choosing to affirm her life. as broken as it may be, it's still life. i think about and pray for my cousin daily and look forward to the day when we can once again share great memories and new stories.this summer i also said a final goodbye to my grandmother margaret, my last living grandparent. my dad asked if i would like to speak at her memorial, and i happily said yes. it was my desire to honor my grandmother and remember her with joy and a bit of laughter. so i spoke of the grandmother that was so opposite, so foreign to me as i was growing up. the one who became so special as i came to realize how much we shared.this summer hasn't all been filled with tears. the summer has also been filled with cheers...on seeing reese's first time in the lake, watching marshall play at a beach volleyball tournament, spending time with my parents, visiting and catching up with old friends, seeing some of my old students, getting to know the community i work and live in, meeting new friends, listening to the excitment in emma and sarah's voices when i invited them to go to king's island on monday (can't wait, haven't been since college)...i am thankful for life, thankful for family and friends. this is the day the lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. a song my mom sang so often in my childhood, which brings a smile to my face for more than one reason (my mom's lack of singing skills always made it interesting). i hope you too can find reasons to rejoice!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

tornadoes and peas

last week was interesting to say the least. it started with sirens and ended with a thud and the middle was no laughing matter. we had to finish up a youth volunteer dinner/meeting in the women's restroom of the church due to the tornado sirens going off, high winds whipping, hail pelting, and general craziness of the weather so far this year. it was a bit close quarters with about 20 or so kids and adults in the restroom, but we managed to spend the time praying out loud the names of each youth.
a few more things didn't go as planned or as desired. though i did have such a laugh with some of the people in my bible study on wednesday night. it was that kind of laughter that just keeps you smiling and makes your stomach hurt. i haven't done that in quite some time.
then the thud...thursday night, as the snow storm (that never really was) was approaching, i gracefully fell in my apartment. i heard a snap and i was on the floor. then came a trip to the emergency room with my friend from work, julie. yes, i sprained my ankle...those are frozen peas and my lovely little splint. so much for my first training walk for the mini-marathon. hopefully, i will be healed in time to go on the next training walk at the end of this month. in the meantime...well...i guess i would just like to not hurt myself and have any more tornadoes to take cover from...since my apartment is on the second floor, so taking cover in my bathroom is really quite pointless. i hope the sounds in your life are a little less menacing.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

new year

where to's been a few months...ok, we are in a whole new year, and i have not written in quite a while. sometimes there's just too much to say or not enough motivation to say it or maybe just not enough words to express my thoughts.

fall came and i did enjoy the rustling of leaves, running and laughing hysterically through a haunted corn maize with the youth, the birth of my niece reese, spending time with my nieces emma and family in general, thanksgiving with reese's baptism, and then christmas.

now winter...with it's freakishly warm days this week. part of me loves watching the snow fall on a dark, cold night...the flakes drifting down in silence. another part of me longs for sunshine and warm days. mostly, right now, i want to put on paper some of the many ideas i have for films, to read for days on end, to talk with know, the ones who really understand me, challenge me, pour into me, and allow me to do all of the same things for them...i want to put in to action so many of the crazy thoughts i have...i want to live

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

band days and laps

marching, haven't been to a band contest since...well, probably my junior year of high school. one thing i have the privilege of doing with my position as youth minister is going to the young people's activities. last weekend i went to the avon band invitational. can i just say wow again! being there brought back so many memories. i truly enjoyed watching the young people from my church perform (and win their class) and walking down memory lane.

ok, so i am back in a pool. on monday i went to the iupui natatorium, bought a 40-visit pass, and started swimming. i'm loving it. not quite the same as the outdoor pool in leichhardt, but definitely cool to swim in a pool that so many amazing swimmers have swam and broken records in.

a gaze

just five miles down the road...and there i was, face to face with two deer. ok, so not literally face to face, but close enough for one of the deer and me to look into each others eyes. deer are very common in this part of the united states, but there was just something about that moment that made me breath a little deeper and feel the presence of god. as i settle into my new community, i am exploring places i have never visited. one place i had always heard of, but had never been to was eagle creek park. once i discovered it was just down the road my apartment complex is on, i decided to go for a walk/jog on the trails on my first monday off. beautiful, and what a blessing to come along the two deer on the path. i am so excited to be in indiana for fall, and to have great trails near my home.

Friday, July 13, 2007

indiana summer

the sun is bright, the sky is blue, the corn is high, the blueberries are ripe, the county fair is on...i'm definitely back in indiana. it's good to be's even better to be with family and friends.

it was a long six months in australia. i like australia, but it's good to be back in the states.

i'm just about to leave on a church camping trip with my mom, dad, and my nieces...can't wait.

so more to come...

Friday, March 09, 2007

grieving death, celebrating life

today is saturday, march 10. in a couple of hours my boss, kimberly, will be picking melanie (the intern) and I up to drive up the coast and meet oomera. she teaches the indigenous portion of our program. oomera is aboriginal. i am looking forward to meeting her. we will be going on a bit of a hike with her too.

just over a week ago i was on a bus, heading 7 hours west to a remote farm. we were taking a trip with the students to the "outback." it actually was nowhere near the outback, and "outback" is actually a fairly american term. australians really don't use it. about halfway to the farm i received a call from my sister kelly. there had been a death in my family. my uncle dick (my mom's brother in miami), had died that night. it was very unexpected and very tragic. needless to say, i really couldn't engage in the weekend the way i should have, and i was glad to get back and be able to call my mom.

it's never easy saying goodbye to a loved one, and very strange to be so removed from the family grieving process. all my family (immediate and extended) are all down in florida now. there will be a memorial service tomorrow. please pray for my aunt linda; my cousins jen, amy, and david; my mom and my aunt dg; and the rest of us.

god is amazing. this week, as our family is grieving a death, we are also celebrating life, with two birthdays. i have definitely been thinking about how each day is a blessing that we must not take for granted. we never know when life might end, when we will not have a chance to do all the things we have dreamed of, or be the person we desire to be, or make ammends for the stupid things we do...

we just finished reading "can you drink the cup" by henri nouwen. i say we because whatever we assign the students to read melanie, kimberly, and i must also read it. anyway, he talks about drinking our cup to the fullest...the very last drop...including all the joys and the sorrows. so i ask myself, "can i drink the cup?" can i breath in each breath that god has given me and live life to the fullest?

thank you all for being a part of my life. i enjoy all the emails and questions about life in australia, and i especially enjoy hearing how things are going in your lives! know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Monday, February 19, 2007

life in sydney

Ok, so it's been a little while and so much as happened since the last time i blogged. I'm still learning my way around the greater Sydney area and about life in Australia, but I am getting my head around a bit of it. So far, I am enjoying life here. Work has been fairly consuming, the students arriving last week, on Wednesday, and the three day orientation that followed. The students are great, and I truly enjoy having them here. My job has an entirely different feel when they are here...i love it. We have 25 students from all over the United States, their schools being a part of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, except for one student from Notre Dame. Oh, and there is one student from Kokomo. She graduated from Northwestern High school. I look forward to the semester ahead and the transformation and growth I know I will have a chance to see within students!

Back to life in Australia. You might wonder what I would have to adjust to...they speak english least, some form or it...and they have a history of British colonization (like we once did)... and i don't know, there are other things I think most of us assume would be the same. Actually, there are many similarities, but there are also many differences and many of them subtle, which can make learning them even more difficult. All this to say, I am enjoying learning all the differences and similarities, and I hope to grow and change in new and positive ways.

One difference...indoors and outdoors...what's indoors is outdoors and what's outdoors is indoors. yes, some places have screens, but way use them when you can just leave everything wide open. when there is a large lizard living under your long as it's not bothering's all good, no worries.

One similarity...commercially speaking, they have quite a few american businesses and, kmart, mcdonalds (of course), kfc, etc. and they have many american tv shows. yes, i can feed my heroes, grey's anatomy, and ugly betty addictions!

One misconception made by people when it comes to the make up of Australia's population, in particular, Sydney's population is that apart from aboriginal peoples, all australians are caucasian. Australia has one of the highest (maybe the highest) rates of immigration. Sydney is an exceptionally diverse city, including all sorts of nationalities and ethnic backgrounds...i love it!

Ok, so some of you know that one of my major tasks upon arrival (not including figuring out my new job, dynamics with my boss, and general life in australia) was to find a place to live. my first attempt was disasterous...i moved in with a woman into witchcraft and wica. i moved in in the morning and moved out later in the evening...oops. so my second attempt at trying to find a share...that's what they call finding a roommate...was begun with a bit of apprehension and even more prayer. i am happy to say, last weekend i moved into a place. i share a house with erich and his dog wolf. wolf is a german shepherd...very well behaved, but very protective. erich, is first generation australian, his parents were from germany. he works for himself, in building/construction, and is very nice. he is into cycling and healthy very good influence. the house is situated on a little bay of the parramatta river...the river that flows from and is connected with sydney harbor and the ocean (check out your maps). the main floor ends with a balcony overlooking the water, which faces east (great sunrises). my room is on the main floor, along with the kitchen, den/study, family room, and bathroom. Erich's room is in the basement, which is a walkout. The area is nice and quite... about 30 minutes from the city by bus or by ferry, and about 15 minute walk from my house to work. part of the walk is along a path around the water that everyone goes on for exercise.

Outside of work and students, I have made one friend through Royal Benjamin at YFC (thank you!), and one friend through my housing search. i have also begun to look for a church. we'll see where i end up. I am excited to get to know people and explore my new home. Of course, there are definitely times when i miss you all and rough spots in the transition, but I know God has brought me here for a reason(s) and I am excited to learn what those are.