1. On a personal note, this will be my first "full year" as a campus pastor. Since we're now on the academic calendar for our ministry schedule, I'm in the thick of emailing incoming students, nailing down our first few worship services of the fall semester, and preparing for the onslaught of students which will start next week. It's VERY exciting and something I've anticipated with glee since I first interviewed here last October.
Here in my neck of the woods, rain is falling...a little uncharacteristic for August, but most welcome! It'll be hot and humid later, but a break in the heat is most welcome.Also falling (especially into my driveway) are the fruits of the bois d'arc tree (also known as the Osage Orange). We call them "bowdarks" and enjoy bowling them down the driveway to the empty lot across the street. (Yes, I may be a redneck...)Bois d'arc fruits are used only for: 1) making more trees and 2) eating by squirrels (if you have another use, please let me know!)The wood of the bois d'arc tree, however, is very hard and very beautiful, and makes gorgeous items like the vase above. Such a lovely thing, from such an odd-looking source!
For this Friday's Five, share with us five transformations that the coming fall will bring your way.
Bonus: Give us your favorite activity that is made possible by the arrival of fall.
2. Family transformations are also huge for us this year. In a few short days Alanna, Ainsley, Kristin and I will be on our own: MIL, who has been a wonderful help to us since Alanna was born on the 21st, will be heading home with FIL after the baptism on Sunday morning. I'm so grateful MIL could be here with us, and at the same time I'm ready to start trying to figure out how we're going to make this family thing work. Not least of all will be the simple matter of scheduling everything and making sure we're all on the same page: a hefty task for the three of us, exponentially more complicated now that we are four.
3. Seeing autumn in a new state is going to be different, too. Ames is a lovely community, with lots and lots of trees, parks and other spots where nature invades this town of 55,000, but it's certainly not northern Minnesota, whose beauty from August to the first of November is simply beyond compare. Right now would be the season for groundfog over Barrett Lake as I head out for my morning run, and I'm surprised to note how much I miss it, and the smell and sound of the lake as the days tend toward cooler temps.
4. There is an aspect of this move to campus ministry that I never considered until just now. In addition to the calendar changing, my position within the community has changed as well. In congregational ministry, which I left in January at the age of 33, I was still a kid when compared to most of the members of our church. I felt that way, too, and sometimes it was a huge problem (how is a kid supposed to provide advice for living to folks twice his age and more?). Here in Ames, I'm 34 and OLD to most of my students. No one in our student community remembers the Challenger explosion. Heck, most of them don't remember when Kurt Cobain was alive and making music. I'm sure I'll receive the list from the faculty at that one school that tells us all what this year's freshman class takes for granted as their world view, and like the last few years, I'll feel the passing of time and the shock of realizing I'm now approaching an age that encompasses my earliest memories of my parents (gulp).
5. Finally, the transformation of our house into our home continues. Bushes have been removed from the backyard and replaced with smaller, more sensible plants. The next few weekends will be spent getting stuff out of the garage and putting in new steps into the kitchen so we can get the minivan in there before the snow flies. Next spring I'll start tearing down the humongous shed in the backyard so I can move it and reassemble it in a smaller fashion in the corner and reclaim some of that space for my garden. This home-ownership thing is fun - of course, it would be a lot MORE fun if the mortgage payment took care of itself. :-)
Bonus: Hmmm, favorite activity made possible by the coming of fall. What could that be, said the young farm boy from Nebraska who played football for years and wound up playing trombone at three NCAA National Championship bowl games? Oh, yeah:
I think the whole state and all of us in diaspora are breathless with anticipation for this fall. Coach Bo Pelini sounds like the real deal and, we hope, an ascension back to the upper echelons of NCAA football will soon follow. Please, at least tell me we're going to hit people in the mouth again! That by itself would be a major transformation from the former regime in Lincoln. Go Big Red!