Wednesday, July 25, 2007

This morning

I woke up with a refreshed sense of love & inspiration for this here blog; my first thought: "I must post today!" I don't think it had anything to do with the ridiculous amount of guilt I had placed upon me last night by E. Holthaus (my pet name for Eric).

Ah, always good intentions, but my thoughts have not quite made it here lately. My passport now has Hindi writing and the word "Uganda" on it; my room has made its way into 12 medium sized boxes and 3 suitcases (or so I've told, and I'm leaving the country in about 20 days. Holy crap. The past few weeks have been really overwhelming, with lots of amazing things interspersed in there (read: Mary & Ryan's wedding was one of the most beautiful life events I've ever been a part of; I want to rent those nieces & nephews out for our wedding! :)). Sunday at church was one of those messages where I felt like it was totally directed at me. Fr. Duffell (no, we don't really call him the "Duffster," just "Duffell" (I don't know where the "Fr." part escaped to)), referring to the reading about Martha being busy as a good host for Jesus and Mary sitting & talking with him, asked if we make time to be quiet & at peace when we're so busy in life, "even if it means for five minutes on the subway." PERFECT timing...after getting mostly packed up this past weekend, I'm feeling MUCH more at ease, but I'm also still a little nervous because lots has to happen within the next few weeks! I need to remember to make time to just be. Please send your thoughts & positive energy our way!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Potter-mania strikes Miss Massett (and about everyone else in New York)

After the utter hysteria that was the release of HP7 (as those of us in the 'know' call it...) which included over 8 million copies sold worldwide in the first 24hours (the fastest selling book of all time), and motivated fans to travel far and wide to be the first in line, we figured we'd hold off, cause you know, we're saving money for our trip and stuff. We were passing through Penn Station at 1:15am, just after the release and saw all the bright, shiny stacks of books sitting out, but restrained ourselves until yesterday... when we both broke down at almost the exact same time! (I'm returning the copy I bought at Bank Street Books tonight... If you've never been there, I highly recommend it! It's an amazing children's bookstore in Morningside Heights... like something out of a movie itself) I guess seeing literally 2 or 3 people on every subway car on every train reading the same book over the last couple of days was enough for us! Also, we HAVE to know what happens... like my friend Asher (who is also reading the book) was saying, it has brought countless teenagers added self-confidence, hope, and joy to watch an outcast orphan save the world... he can't just die! So good luck, Megan, with your reading!

Simplicity: thought for the day

How to make $1 million by turning off your TV

Who is our neighbor?

Last week, Fr. Duffell's homily at Ascension struck us both very deeply, especially as we prepare for our few months of service in Uganda.

In general "The Duffster" (as we lovingly call him) is focused very much on unity, acceptance, and love (the unqualified, agape, trusting, brotherly (and sisterly) kind). So when the reading was about the good Samaritan, naturally you could expect him to be on the top of his game.

The main thrust of his homily was that, in the parable Jesus tells to his disciple, those who pass by the beaten, robbed man on the other side of the road (including a priest!) were ignoring his call to be "neighbor". While his disciple correctly quotes that the greatest commandment is "to love your neighbor as you love yourself" - he then asks a follow-up question: "Who, exactly, is my neighbor?" Jesus (and Duffell) respond to this by saying, anyone who calls out to you in need is your neighbor. One of Duffell's favorite sayings is that "we are called not to judge one another, but to love one another". We shouldn't be stingy with our love. We are challenged to love EVERYONE, not just those for whom it is easy for us to love.

We're so excited that he's agreed to do our wedding!

Monday, July 23, 2007

A prayer for Africa

Meg found this prayer today... what do you think?

A Prayer for Africa

O Lord, Creator of the entire world,
O Loving God,
This prayer is for Africa.

Bless the plains, rivers, trees
And all the African lands.
Bless the birds, fish and animals
That bring beauty and abundance to Africa.

Bless O Lord,
Your children in Africa.
Dry their tears,
Bring hope into their hearts,
Health and safety to their lives,
Food and water for their nourishment.
Bring peace to their countries
And still the guns of war.

Bless us, O Lord,
And heal your continent of Africa.
Renew the land, renew the spirit
Of all those who are wounded in any way.
May justice roll down like water
On the parched ground of your beloved
Africa. Amen.

We love it. And we love sharing these moments in our journey and "changing spiritual landscape" (as a good friend recently put it) with you!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Holy mother!

We leave for Uganda (by way of Moscow, Delhi, and Mumbai) exactly one month from today!

Check out the Lonely Planet guide to Uganda to get a flavor for what our life might be like over the next few months!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Four months ago today...

I asked Megan to marry me, on the beach in Montauk NY... probably by far the most memorable day of my life so far. It happened the moment before this photo was taken. We rode our bikes out to the lighthouse at the end of the road (it was a little chilly and overcast all morning) and then went for a walk along the rocky beach, holding each other's mitten-ed hands. I was pretty nervous (and Meg wasn't - obviously). After I asked her, the butterflies just kept increasing when she didn't even believe me at first! And then we were hugging and dancing on the beach, and the sun came out!! It was a perfect day.

Now, we've entered the tumultuous, hopeful, stressful, life-giving, exciting time of planning our wedding together. Since my family is in Kansas, and Meg's is in Louisiana, but we've spent our entire relationship together in New York, we were at a bit of a dilemma on deciding where we should have the big day. So much has happened here, but we can't bear the thought of not having as much family participate in such a happy day as possible. So, things became a bit more definite when we learned very recently that our parish priest here (Fr. Duffell at Ascension Parish, who we value as a big part of our faith formation together) would be able to travel with us. So, right now, we're thinking May 24th, 2008 in New Orleans... which we're very excited about. Much more (I promise) about this day coming soon!

For now, we're just enjoying each other, and our time together, and preparing for first big adventure together... living in Uganda this fall!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Yesterday, around the world...Live Earth!

Although, yes, we DID have floor seats for Live Earth:NY (read... Live Earth: suburban New Jersey sprawl), we graciously chose to give them up to some fellow climate-and-societians to defray part of the $175/ea ticket cost. Where I really would have liked to been was Wembley Stadium in London. That show rocked the house, in every sense of the word. Madonna, RHCP, Beastie Boys, and Spinal Tap... all on the same stage? You gotta be kiddin' me. Madonna was simply inspirational... and I especially enjoyed her new song "Hey, You", written especially for the day (..."if you love someone can change someone else...but you must first love yourself")

(<-- Madonna in London)

I ended up watching most of the London show at Lincoln Center, which was streaming a Canadian Network (CTV?) on one of their huge theater screens with digital surround sound audio (decidedly not too climate friendly, but at least they did have the lights inside turned down).

Overall, I think the day had somewhat mixed reviews... (in the words of Chris Rock, "It's my hope that this day solves the problem of global warming just like Live Aid solved the problem of global hunger"), but you know, at least it put climate change in the headlines for a few days. Maybe it even helped inspire some normally not so climate/environment friendly people in the music industry to think twice about things. And, my friend working the NY show got to meet Jane Goodall, so what's not to like about that.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Summer in the City!

I'm so excited to join Megan in starting our blog together! It's gonna be so rad!!

So last night we were watching TV and saw an ad for Norah Jones playing a free concert on Good Morning America this morning..... so, spur of the moment us, we decided to wake up early and head down. It's one of those things you always talk about but never do... we're both inspired by her music, and it was a great way to start our day! (btw, that little speck you see playing the piano is Norah.)

More substantive stuff coming this weekend... I'll try to explain our thinking for making the blog, and a brief rundown of the latest on wedding plans, Africa, and everything in between.

Blog Entry Numba One!!

Wow, I am so excited to have our blog up & running...this trip just keeps getting more & more real, like it's really going to happen or something. This will be a great way to keep in touch with family & friends while we're adventuring in the fall!