26 September 2007

Don't Mess with Texas!

Big trucks, big hats, big buildings, and lots of food. I'm still not sure how I feel about Texas. I'll tell you one thing though I did like the first visitors station that I stopped at.

They had a great memorial to WWII soldiers. I drove and drove through Texas...first Dallas/Fort Worth and I stopped for the night in Waco, TX. I didn't do much in terms of sight seeing I think at that point I was just too tired. I drove the next day through Austin where I saw a restaurant called Baby Acapulco also known as Baby A's. I really need to eat there. I have a feeling that Texas may just be able to handle my love of Mexican food, BBQ, and beer. It's also a great place if you love country music and rodeos.

So I drove through Austin and made my way to San Antonio. I got lost once but other wise found my apartment complex without too many problems. I had a nightmare in the first apartment they gave me. I don't think I can describe it but I found out that they hadn't cleaned it yet. So they set me up in another apartment that seems to be more to my liking and is clean. It's no where near as nice as my 1000 sq ft two bedroom with a balcony in Saint Cloud but it's cute and cosy for here in Texas. I have some pictures of it empty...I'll take some more once I get my furniture all set up.

A long time no blogging

I've not been blogging in some time. I want to use the excuse that I've been busy but you know what even I can find 20 minutes to spend talking to all of you, who I know just wait for my latest entry. I promise to catch up over the next few days. It will mean some blogging about the past but I know that you will forgive me.


19 September 2007

A great big shout out to Nancy!

On my three day journey from Saint Cloud, MN to San Antonio, TX I had numerous adventures. It's really hard not to have some adventures when driving alone for 1300 miles over three days. Some of my favorite stops/adventures/experiences are worthy of sharing them with all of you.

Iowa. I'll have to admit it. I really like Iowa. I know that it is braking some law because I'm from Minnesota but I really like Iowa. I made my first stop in Manly, Iowa. With a name like that I just had to stop. It wasn't very manly but it was fun to see the sign. I continued driving until I had to stop again....Woolstock, Iowa. I just needed to see it. I was laughing to myself thinking "so this is where knitters go to party."

If you take 35 down through Iowa you also drive right into Madison County, as in The Bridges of. I had stopped there last year when I took a road trip to Kansas City but I had to stop again. There is something about covered bridges that make me stand in awe. I stopped and brought some flowers to the Imes Covered Bridge which is right off of 35. It was my own way of remembering the 35W Bridge Collapse in Minneapolis. I really don't think I'll ever look at bridges the same again.

I drove right through Missouri and Kansas without much thought. Actually I remember thinking in Kansas that it doesn't look this big on a map and will I ever get out of here. I made my overnight stop in Guthrie, Oklahoma. I wanted to sight see the next day in Oklahoma City so I wanted to be close by.

I stopped at the Oklahoma City National Memorial. It is a tribute to all the lives lost in the Murray Building bombing on April 19, 1995. 168 chairs representing a perpetual memory of each of the deceased. It is a powerful memorial.

After I went to the Memorial I had to made a stop at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. It houses the most comprehensive collection of Dale Chihuly glass in the world. So I took a few hours and wandered the museum. I'm in love with a piece called Autumn Gold Persian Wall.

This piece made me cry it was so beautiful to look at. There was something so comforting about the colors and the movement of it. I think it was what I needed after having just been at the memorial. I also loved Neodymium Spears and Jerusalem Cylinders. I loved Chihuly's work before I went to see this exhibit but I'm even more in love with it now. After that I left Oklahoma City and continued on to Texas.
I made one more stop in Oklahoma. I stopped to see Nancy at "Original Fried Pies" at Exit 51 on I-35. There were two experiences that happened during this stop. The first is that I had my very first fried pie. Nancy makes the fillings fresh and the pie crust is amazing. You can almost feel your arteries being clogged but it is a small price to pay to for the heavenly taste of one of her fried pies. I had an peach and a sugar free apple but they have pecan, cherry, pineapple, blackberry, apricot, and a few cream like lemon and chocolate.
After I had my fried pies or at least half of each because even I can't eat two whole fried pies. I stopped in to use the ladies room. OHG! I have never in my life wished I had my camera in a bathroom before. This used to be a two person bathroom with divided stalls but they have taken out the stall doors and to add to that. Someone cut a large square hole in between the stalls. They cut it in the right spot so that you can see the face of the person who is sitting next to you when you talk to them. If you use this bathroom make sure you really like the person who is using it with your or do as I did and lock the door behind you.
I still have to say that if you are ever in Oklahoma near Exit 51 you have to to stop in! But remember to be careful in the bathroom!
I drove into Texas not long after that but I think that Texas needs its own post.

02 September 2007

The First of the Lasts....

Last Sunday I began my journey into what I am calling the first of the lasts. I've been serving Peace United Church of Christ as their summer pastor for the last three months and last Sunday was my last Sunday with them. It was really bitter sweet for me. On one hand I am beyond exhausted. I work full time (about 50 hours a week) as a chaplain for the VAMC - Saint Cloud and then I spent the summer adding an extra 20 hours a week being part time pastor. I think that is the bitter part. I've had no down time all summer. The sweet is that I loved pastoring this church. It was an amazing experience for me.

So during announcements the church gave me a gift and told me how much they have enjoyed having me there. I preached my final sermon and at Peace we always end by saying "Shalom" and right after I said it the church gave me a standing ovation. I stood in the pulpit and cried but it was my first...well the first of all the lasts that I will be doing over the next 10 days.

I preached my final sermon at the VA here today and did my final Sunday service on the dementia unit. I've been walking around and lots of people have been saying goodbye and giving me hugs. I've heard dozens of "You can't go." and "I'm not letting you leave." It's harder than I thought it would be. I've only been here for a year and for me that is barely enough time to really get settled but somehow I did it. I got nice and comfy here in Saint Cloud, MN.

I have several friends here now who ask me daily to stay and why would I, why would anyone, want to move to Texas? They are going through the same process that I am and doing some grieving. My parents have become almost clingy in the last few weeks as I've been getting ready to go.

I really did think that it would be easier than this. That leaving wouldn't be so hard or sad but it is. I am excited to be going to San Antonio and looking forward to all the challenges that being there will bring, the new places and people, new ideas and ways of processing, a different landscape to paint this next part of my spiritual/physical/emotional journey on and I'll admit it I'm also looking forward to another 4 units of CPE.

As I go through this time of the lasts...I am also going through a time of firsts. It's true that a door doesn't close unless there is a window open.