I have a hug (the official term for a collection) of about fifty teddy bears
I have visited 46 of the 50 US states and all five Great Lakes
I have completed three marathons, gobs of shorter distances, and several sprint triathlons
2023 will be the first year since 1998 that I won’t have an Annual Pass for Disneyworld
I was born in Arkansas and raised in Texas, but felt like I had traveled the world before heading to college, thanks to a love of reading. If the weather didn’t allow for whatever sport was in season, you’d likely find me surrounded by the encyclopedia volumes I’d pulled off the shelf to chase a rabbit trail that would make a Wikipedia geek proud (and tired).
The Disciples of Christ church of my youth was like a second home. We gathered to play and sing and enjoy great food. People who loved me told stories of how Jesus loved people everywhere, including right there in Central Texas. Church was where we shared bread and juice and lit candles. It was also where I learned to articulate my faith, including the understanding that God had work for me to do.
I don’t remember anyone being surprised to hear that, as a senior in high school, I was sensing a call to pastoral ministry. But I told God to “Hold that thought.” Some 20 years and a lot of life later, I found myself in Central Florida seeking grace and fellowship among the Presbyterians. God reminded me through congregational life that I'd always been loved and claimed and that there was work for me to do.
It soon became clear that God had indeed “held that thought.” God and I had long chats, mostly about my being willing but needing the next steps to be really obvious. After five years of juggling full time work, seminary classes, and internships - I graduated in 2012 from the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary.
I was ordained in 2015. Three transitional ministry calls and a pandemic later, God and I still have those long chats, mostly about my being willing but needing the next step to be really obvious. In every facet of life. The most delightful of those conversations led me to First and Central, a new kind of call and a whole new state.
Church still feels like home, too; only now, it is where I get to wrestle with scriptures, put on my preaching shoes and do the work God made me to do. We gather to pray and sing and share covered dishes. We tell our stories of God’s provision. We light the advent candles and put out the tenebrae candles. We text and stream; we march and advocate. We open the church doors whenever and wherever we embody and proclaim Jesus’ deep, fierce love for all people.