Tuesday, February 06, 2007

It's winter. Crisp, cold February. And the northern bays of the lake are covered in a foot of ice; enough to drive on, more than enough for ice skating.

I haven't been ice skating in years. I used to, in another life, actually take lessons. But then, in keeping with Holub tradition, we moved. I think I may have been once or twice in the last twelve years, but skating circles in a rink with countless other people is not what I call skating. It's lemmings on ice. Needless to say I was thrilled to be out on the lake this past weekend. I was even more thrilled that I had enough balance left to stay standing.

If I had been keeping things updated this past year (I'm surprised at my recent blog deficiency) you (my collective reader) would have known that I was scheduled to be headed to Mali on a summer mission trip as part of my time on EDGE Corps. It has come about that I am no longer able to go.

There are a long lists of reasons. Official: Insufficient Funding. Rational: I'll be able to spend more time fund raising this summer; it takes a great deal of pressure off me and my limited contact list; and on and on...

But in typical Erika form, I don't like using any of these. My response doesn't seem to make much sense at all really. It makes me think of how beautiful God is. I have said I will trust God in all things, which means trusting where he leads, and where he doesn't. I trust him now as ever. How great his love, how much his care, for God provides even in saying no. And really, when I recognize God's hand in my life, how can I fail to praise him?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Where's my decoder ring?

There comes a point when it is just cheaper to buy a new computer rather than investing in bandages for the old....I don't know where it is, but I'm not that far from hitting it.

Now that my laptop has a new hard-drive and I got a new wireless card and I'm looking for new batteries and a new power cord.....I mean, I can get online now.

Isn't that great?

It's the start of semester 2 here at UVM. I'm not back "on campus" yet, I've got 3% left on my funding before I get to go back, but it is good just to be back in Vermont. Vermont certainly is beautiful this time of year, all that snow.

I've been thinking about a lot of things recently (another distraction to actually posting anything). What I really need to do is write more things down. I've got so many different lines running through my head that I frequently forget what I was thinking on any one of them and have to start over. And once I've thought something through I manage to forget what I concluded.

How's that for rambling and jumbled?

One of the things I have been noticing a lot, especially in my Bible study, is how many words I use without knowing what they mean. Words that are common, particularly in Christian conversation, that I use all the time...like grace, and glory, or even talking about the Spirit. I mean I understand the context and the general definitions, but I've been chewing over their full meanings...

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

From the writer's side:

I don't know his name. I'd love to sit down and talk with him, buy him a beer, listen to his life history. Instead I watch over him from my usual third floor corner table, chai tea in hand, debating on the appropriateness of an introduction. If this is his living, I wouldn't want to intrude on his business hours...

He adjusts his capo, takes a long drag from his cigarette, and re-tunes. I can't even hear him today. Inside, any of his words are drowned by this smooth rock/easy listening mix, the soundtrack as I think about his story, which I am certain is a good one. His is one of the great literary classics: a few savory memories slightly bitter, seasoned by hardship, a dash or two of irony, all flavored with humor...or courage...I'll have to see how he tells it. I know his tale well, except for the details.

As he starts a new song the questions pick and play at my curiosity. Is he from here, or is this the latest stop in his many travels? Did he lose everything, or is he the one that's lost? What is he still looking for? I fill in the blanks to choose my own adventure and notice the plant at his feet. Where did he get that from? And is it the symbol of hope I imagine it to be? A bit of green splashed into my charcoal world of his?

I'd love to see how my copy compares to the original, to spend the afternoon in the corner of some bar venturing with him down the byways of his journey. Hopeless romantic that I am, I can already imagine the intimate conversation bound to follow my open invitation but my reason keeps me seated. Besides, I don't even know if he likes beer.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Home in Burlington

I've been in Vermont for a month now. Yeah, really. It's been pretty much amazing. I'll have pictures soon. And I'm working on putting some of the thoughts on what I've been learning today in words. But just so that you know a bit of what I've been up to, here is the latest of the updates I've sent to people:

When is the last time you climbed a mountain? Or jumped off a cliff? What would it take for you to spend your day asking everyone you met what they thought about Jesus?

I still can't believe the cliff one myself. When did I become the type of person to jump off of 40 ft of perfectly good rock? (Which I totally did, and it was awesome.) But then, when did I become the type of person who was excited to walk into a strange building, knock on a strange door, and ask the person standing there if they wanted to hang out and talk about Jesus? A month ago, I would have said both were equally frightening. Now, I'm not so sure. Neither seems that bad at all. Perspectives change when we start talking about the long term. What is my temporary uneasiness compared to eternity?

So here I am in Vermont (finally) with my whole team and we are spending every possible moment on campus at the University of Vermont. We've been getting to know the campus, the culture, and the students. It has been challenging. I've learned just how hard it is for me to be the spontaneous hang-out type and I've been learning how to listen; to go beyond what people are saying to what they are really trying to express.

I've also learned that there is a difference between meeting people and knowing them. I've been meeting a lot of students and, miraculously, have even been managing to remember most of their names. But I've been having to work hard at actually connecting. Not that I really hope to make a deep connection with everyone I encounter, but I am hoping to have one or two people that I can really start an investing in. Actually, that is what everybody on my team is looking for. Real impact is seen one person at a time....

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

It's official

I'm at 85% of my funding and I have the OK for going up to campus. I leave tomorrow and should be in Vermont Friday. Once I figure out how my internet access is going to work up there, I'll be posting again on a more regular basis (sure, I say that now).

First priorities in Burlington: scoping out the thrift shops, hitting up Ben and Jerry's, and learning the campus well enough to pass for a student (preferably not a first year).

And now I get to figure out how to act like a Yankee again after living down South for the past decade...tests say I'm only like 55% Southern so I should be able to find an easy balance.