jennywren: (writing)
( Tuesday, January 27th, 2009 11:34 am)
Since I haven't posted here in so long (Sorry :( -- I wish I would), I thought I'd post this list of 25 random things I wrote over on Facebook.

Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.

1. I’ve been reading these “Random Things” postings with interest. I’ve been both eagerly anticipating and dreading getting tagged. I can be very random :)

2. I have two middle names: Kirsten Lael. The story is that I was going to be an only child, so my parents wanted to use lots of names. I do have two younger siblings now. If I had been a boy, they would have named me James Christopher Ian and called me Jamie.

3. Names and words and language and languages are among the things that fascinate me most. I grew up playing word games and talking about words in my family. I majored in languages and linguistics in college. I have a Master’s in linguistics and a Master's from seminary where I focused on biblical languages (Hebrew and Greek). I want to go on to do a doctoral degree that focuses on language in some way :)

4. I live in a great townhouse apartment right by the Olentangy River. The windows in the bedroom and the living room look out on the river, so I have lots of opportunity to watch the wildlife and the seasons change. Across the river is a steep wooded embankment, so the view is fairly perfect. We have some bird feeders on our patio which help to bring the wildlife to us.

5. I am a double PK (preacher’s/pastor’s kid), even though my parents weren’t clergy at the same time. The fact that my parents were in the ministry is part of how I ended up in seminary, but it is also why I would have never considered ministry except for God’s calling me and pushing me.

6. I was extremely shy and quiet in school. It has taken me a long time to be less shy with people and less inhibited. I still like to think things out before I say anything serious, but I also can be quite wacky and uninhibited with people who know me well. I can speak with strangers, esp. since it is part of my job, but I do still have a quiet voice.

7. Because my parents were in the ministry (and itinerant United Methodists), we moved around a bit while I was growing up. I was born in Washington state, but we lived on the other side of the Columbia River in Ranier, OR. We also lived in Sutherlin, OR; Webster and Black Earth, WI; Evanston, IL; Burt, Pleasantville, Rockford, and Osceola, IA. I went to college in Mt. Vernon, IA, and grad school in Iowa City, IA, before I moved to Delaware, OH, for seminary.

8. My parents divorced when I was 12 (the divorce was finalized on my 12th birthday). Growing up I never thought divorce would happen to my family, but it has been a reality for almost 22 years now.

9. My mom and I have enjoyed a very close relationship for a long time. I do wish I had a closer relationship with my dad. I don’t want to regret all these things I’m missing out on.

10. In high school I had over 100 pen pals from around the world. When I went to college, I no longer had enough time to keep up with them, so I lost contact with them all. It still makes me sad :( (If I could find my address book, I’d try to find some of them again.)

11. I’ve always wanted to grow up to be a writer, but I seem to lack the discipline to do the writing I need to do. When I was in elementary school, I received an award for being the best writer, and the principal, Mr. Plath, said he hoped he’d read one of my books someday.

12. I seem to have a good memory for some details of my past.

13. My two favorite applications on Facebook are Live Gifts and Hatchlings. And, yes, I do spend way too much time on Facebook!

14. In high school I had a teacher who said I was too idealistic. That has really stuck with me. I’ve thought that idealism is a very positive thing, and I have come to terms with what it means to be too idealistic. Thanks, Mr. Garman.

15. My high school English teacher taught us mostly grammar (as opposed to writing and literature). It may have been dull at times (esp. spending a month on adverbs one year), but it has helped me to be a better writer and has been a great foundation for learning languages other than English. Thanks, Mr. Hansen!

16. I’ve studied French, Spanish, German, Latin, classical Greek, Hebrew, biblical Greek, a smattering of other Greek dialects, and a tiny bit of Japanese. I am only fluent in English.

17. For a while, my goal was to work with endangered languages, like Native American/First Nations languages. Endangered languages are those that are in danger of being lost because fewer and fewer people use them anymore. For many of these languages a few elders might speak the language but the children aren’t learning or using the language at all. I studied linguistics with this in mind. Unfortunately I got burned out in grad school, but I am still excited by languages and linguistics.

18. I was so clueless in high school. I was an academic nerd who was into reading. I was the newspaper editor, but I didn’t really know what was going on with my classmates. I wasn’t too strongly connected with them. Part of it was probably that I was a PK and I didn’t drive or really care about going out, but mostly I was just naive. I didn’t hang out with people very much and I wasn’t invited to “those” parties, so I didn’t know what was really going on. But I had a happy, innocent childhood ;)

19. I had one boyfriend in high school, if you can call going to the Homecoming Dance together and talking some on the phone having a boyfriend. He was someone new to school who was made fun of by the other kids (he had curly hair, so they called him Cornelius). I have often tried to connect to people who are outside the action or who are quieter than me, so we started talking and getting to know each other. He moved away about two weeks after he had moved in, so that was the end of that.

20. I have synesthesia. It is a condition in which input to one sense is perceived by additional senses as well. For example, freezer burn smells green to me, while sour milk smells pink. Some sounds have taste and color to me. (See for more information on synesthesia). Some people see synesthesia as a liability, but I see it as an advantage, esp. creatively. I didn’t realize that the letters and numbers didn’t have colors and personalities for everyone. I didn’t know that time (weeks, months, years) didn’t have shapes for everyone. One of my best friends in the world Dannye was studying synesthesia as part of her doctoral program in neuroscience. She was the one who made me aware that not everyone perceived things the way I did and that there was a name for what I experienced. I think synesthesia is cool!

21. My house is filled with books. A place just doesn’t feel homelike without walls lined with overflowing shelves. My parents are both readers and instilled a love of reading in us very early on. I grew up surrounded with books, so I feel comforted by their presence. I haven’t by any stretch read all the books I have, but it is good to know that they are here when I do want to read them. When we drove to Iowa this past summer, we filled the car up with another load of books that I had been storing in Iowa City, but we haven’t found a place for them all yet in the apartment. I almost always have more books than reasonably fit in my living space :) I love having books at home, but I also love libraries!

22. I’ve been out of the United States twice, both times to Canada. When I was studying in Grand Forks, ND, one summer with the Summer Institute of Linguistics, my friend April took a few of us to her home on Lake of the Woods, Ontario for the 4th of July weekend. In October 2007, Molly and I took a camping trip around Lake Erie, through Niagara Falls, around in Ontario (with trips to the African Lion Safari, Lake Ontario, and Lake Huron), and back down through Detroit. I’d love to travel more and see so many parts of the world, but I am also a huge homebody and miss my cats terribly when I am not home.

23. We currently have three cats, Sparky, Michela, and Zephyr. We had a gerbil, Rosie, up until a few days before Christmas. I almost always had cats growing up, though we also had one dog, a lhasa apso named Olie, as well as a few hamsters and gerbils and fish. Some of the cats we had (as well as some influential neighborhood cats) include Nicky and Tasha (Nicholi and Natasha), Orange Julius, Pooky, Mariah, Jenny Baldren, Annie Katrina, Lady Sassafras (Sassy), Fridley, Avagadro Phogg, Ghengis Khat (my brother’s Scottish Fold), Maya Sarahcat (my sister’s first cat), Sara Lee (her second cat), Emma, Lady Jane Grey and her kittens, Madd Maxx (and I’m sure I’ve forgotten some). When I lived in Iowa City, my apartment didn’t allow pets, but my neighbor had a cat named Scout, who would come visit from time to time.

24. I also love tigers and other big cats. One of the nicknames my parents gave me as a child was Lael Lion.

25. I can be terribly longwinded in writing (and I do talk a lot to some people). This surprises the people who know me as a quiet and not very talkative person. However, this list has shown me rambling on and on about random things :)

Also, it was really hard to choose just 25 of you that I want to know more about, so feel free to try it out, even if I didn't tag you :) And you don't have to go on and on like I did either, unless you want to :)
jennywren: (Default)
( Friday, November 23rd, 2007 12:38 pm)

"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." Anna Karenina, Chapter 1, first line, by Leo Tolstoy

Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude. ~E.P. Powell

Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then discover once a year is way too often. ~Johnny Carson

Thou hast given so much to me,
Give one thing more, - a grateful heart;
Not thankful when it pleaseth me,
As if Thy blessings had spare days,
But such a heart whose pulse may be Thy praise.
~George Herbert

“I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual. It is surprising how contented one can be with nothing definite — only a sense of existence. My breath is sweet to me. O how I laugh when I think of my vague indefinite riches. No run on my bank can drain it, for my wealth is not possession but enjoyment.
If the day and the night are such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance, like flowers and sweet-scented herbs — is more elastic, starry, and immortal — that is your success.” H. D. Thoreau

Love is life. And if you miss love, you miss life.” –Leo Buscaglia

Saying a prayer before meals quietly or with others acknowledges that my life depends on God's bounty and on a host of people who grew, processed, distributed, prepared, and served the food that gives me nourishment and delight. Saying a prayer by a hospital bed admits that my health rests in God's love as well as the skills of scientists and physicians and nurses and a host of people who maintain these places of care. And, yes, even sending a thank-you note, as mothers perhaps instinctively knew, is far more than social convention, but an awareness that the best gifts and thus much of the joy of life are not things we can give ourselves but come from beyond us as an alluring expression of love, even an invitation to love. Each thank you becomes a way to practice gratitude so that more and more our lives are weaned away from the myth of entitlement and the arrogance and isolation of independence. Each thank you becomes a way to practice gratitude so that more and more our lives are shaped by the truth of our belonging to others, even to Christ. Rev. John Thomas,

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

So we spent our Thanksgiving Day with our good friends Kim and Gale in Marion. They are like family to us already, and, since we've spent the last couple Thanksgivings with them, their families are familiar as well. Since they aren't technically our family, Molly and I can sit around and laugh at their family foibles. What fun! This year it was Kim's family: sister and family from Kentucky, brother from Indiana, and father. Such an interesting mix of people and personalities :) We enjoyed their family, since ours are both so far away.

Dinner was delicious, and we got to bring leftovers home :) Turkey and ham, stuffing and mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and vegetable casserole, peacan pie and pumpkin pie, cherry rum cake and coconut cake -- yum!

I called my family when I got home. They are doing okay. My mom will be having cataract surgery next Wednesday and then two weeks after that for the other eye. They had Thanksgiving dinner at the church. It is a really nice tradition of the Osceola Christian (Disciples of Christ) Church. Each year they hold a Thanksgiving dinner with all the usual foods (somewhat potluck style) for whomever would like to share in the meal and fellowship. It makes more sense than making a huge dinner for
just a few people. They also deliver meals to shut-ins. I fondly remember helping my grandpa deliver meals to shut-ins on those Thanksgiving we spent with my grandparents. After he passed on, I helped my grandma deliver the meals. She still does delivery. My brother never wants to just do the church meal. He wants the whole thing at home, but he doesn't help my mom clean or cook or clean again, so he gets overruled on that :)

Wednesday Molly and I went up to her job in Cleveland. She was able to spend the afternoon working on her Sunday School stuff, the bulletin, and the upcoming Christmas pageant. I got a little work done on papers. We went to dinner at a great restaurant called Chedders/Snickers, where I had some excellent macaroni and cheese and Molly had some lovely warm Numi Tea with her dinner, since the weather was turning cooler and rainy (had been up near 70, but there was some snow/ice pellets yesterday)!

Then we went to the ecumenical Thanksgiving service, in which Molly did the call to worship. It was a nice eclectic gathering, held at Franklin Circle Christian Church. The theme was celebrating the gifts of the city. I had forgotten the things I do like about cities, despite my discomfort with the size, crowds, and perception of danger. I do like the neighborhoods, the cultural activities, public transportation, community, etc. I enjoyed learning about that neighborhood of Cleveland -- Ohio City, esp. how it had been Mansion Row and how those mansions had been transformed into the social services for the community (orphanages, hospitals, YMCAs, undgerground railroad stops, etc.). I enjoy learning the history of the places I live. I really learned a lot about Iowa City when I lived there.

The pastor of Franklin Circle shared this poem during the meditation:

Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

This poem made me think about people I knew who have had their dreams deferred: a woman who waited more than 20 years (raising a family while married to a pastor) to get to seminary and become a pastor, even though she had been called at age 12; a friend who wanted to be a pediatrician and how worn down she looked doing something else, etc. I wonder if I am deferring my dreams and what my dreams really are. What are your dreams? Are you pursuing them or are they on hold? What other dreams have you discovered in the meantime?

I hope all of you are having a good week and weekend. We are looking forward to trying out our new couch tomorrow :) (Fingers crossed that it arrives.) Anyway, here is more of my collection to share: Sharing Quotes and Poetry )
jennywren: (Default)
( Thursday, May 31st, 2007 10:07 pm)
Our Holy Union was Saturday, May 26, 2007, and everything went well. The photo here is of our family members who were in attendance: my mom Marge, brother Jeff, and sister Chris; Molly's mom Betty and dad Bob, her sister Cindy, and sister Michelle and her husband Tom. One of Molly's friends from college, Perry, took this photo for us. This photo was taken after the ceremony (the paraments had already been changed for Pentecost the next day). I have some pictures posted on flickr, but I hope to get more from the other people who attended (Hint, hint).

We had a nice number of people able to attend, given the distance and the holiday weekend. The semester ended May 18th. I actually finished the semester with no incompletes or extensions! We attended graduation on the 19th to support our friends and went out to Buca di Beppo's with Cathy to celebrate. Then we started cleaning house and finishing up all those other "details" like ordering the cake and the flowers and putting together a liturgy. Big thanks to Cathy who helped us clean one afternoon and took some boxes and bubble wrap off of our hands! Family started to arrive on Thursday. We took family to decorate the fellowship hall for our reception on Friday afternoon.

Saturday went well. One ring rolled away during the rehearsal, but it was quickly retrieved. The ceremony was quite lovely. Kim and Gale processed with us, one carrying the banner Molly and I had made, while the other brought in the Communion elements. Molly and I held hands. We lit candles on the altar. I read Ruth 1:16-19, and Molly read from 1 Corinthians 13:1-13. Chris played a beautiful flute solo. Kim gave a great homily and led our families, our community, and us through our vows. Gale led us in Communion, which Molly and I served. It was beautiful.

The reception was fun. The potluck style seemed to work with enough food for those who stayed. Our cake was delicious! We ordered it from Nanak Sweet Shoppe, a Persian bakery. We were, of course, exhausted after all of this. We enjoyed the time with our families, the last of whom left on the 30th. I had a very stiff neck and painful left shoulder during the ceremony and until Monday or Tuesday. Thankfully it feels better now. Stress, I'm guessing! Molly, her parents, Cindy, and Perry went to the zoo on Sunday afternoon -- I wasn't feeling up to it, but I am looking forward to seeing what new exhibits are up. Molly's parents took us to COSI on Tuesday. I'd never been, and it was an awesome experience.

Thank you to everyone who has sent cards or gifts and helped out in any way. We have been so overwhelmed by the blessings of your support. That's all I can think of to post right now. Thank you!
jennywren: (spinning earth)
( Friday, January 6th, 2006 12:00 am)
Yup, I haven't updated in a long time.

In December there was the end of the semester. Which is now done. And I'm mostly satisfied with that.

Then came recuperating from the semester and preparing for Christmas.

Molly and I spent our first Christmas on our own -- it was different but good. I've posted some pictures (the developed ones) of us decorating the tree here plus some pictures of my family's Christmas at home. Right after Christmas, my sister came to stay with us a few days. We enjoyed the visit and took her to Wild Lights at the Columbus Zoo, to paint pottery at the The Bare Bowl twice, and to some other fun spots around the area (campus, downtown, etc.). We did puzzles on New Year's Eve and then got up at 5:30 a.m. to take her to the airport for her trip home. While here, my sister got us hooked on Neopets. I suppose it is only fair since we hooked her on Pogo.

Zephyr has learned to fetch and is enjoying this sport quite a bit. He especially likes to retrieve milk rings that we throw up or down the stairs. At least he is getting some exercise that he enjoys.

Molly is taking a J-term class on Ernest Troeltsch which meets Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I am working at the library and studying for second semester Greek. This is the first week of all this, so we've both been very tired.

At any rate, life goes on, and we're still chugging along. Happy New Year!


jennywren: (Default)


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