Archive for January, 2009

Every Town Needs a Trail

Every town needs a place where someone can have a special connection and camaraderie with their city and with others.  Where, in a city of over a million people, can a person escape and find nature, peace, joy, determination and courage?  For the last eight years, that place for me has been the Lady Bird Lake hike and bike trail in Austin.

As I ran on the trail last weekend during my brief visit back to Austin, memories flooded back of the first time I ran seven miles and thought that was the furthest I would ever run, of friendships that developed over miles of running along that dusty trail together, and of the personal challenges I met or contemplated while on that trail.  I love that while on the trail I feel immersed in nature yet in the heart of downtown.  I love that I always see someone I know, either by name or just a familiar face of a fellow-trail runner.  I love that I know some parts so well I could run it with my eyes closed, yet it always offers surprises at every corner…a sudden notice of the calm water or seeing the season’s first wildflower bloom.

I don’t think I have found my “trail” in Sacramento yet, literally or figuratively.  In the literal sense, I have found 1 mile of trail surface where my joints get a break from the pounding and I feel safe to run solo, but I realized this trip that the trail in Austin meant more to me than just logging miles.   It was a place where many of my relationships were started and nurtured, where I processed life, where I set goals and challenged myself, where worlds crossed boundaries and I had a shared connection with folks whom I might not otherwise meet. 

I am on the lookout for my Sacramento “trail”, in whatever form(s) it may present itself!

January 26, 2009 at 2:22 pm 2 comments

Got Hope?

My step-grandfather loaned me his copy of Still the Trumpet Sounds, a compilation of sermons from J. Wallace Hamilton, who according to Grandpa is the “all-time greatest Methodist preacher”.  (Grandpa is retired clergy and will be 100yrs old this April, I trust his opinion regarding great preachers but I must note he hasn’t heard some of my Methodist clergy friends preach!)  In one of his sermons Rev. Hamilton argued that we must have hope…”where there is no faith in the future, there is no power in the present.”

Today, I continue to be hopeful.  I am hopeful that our new President can continue to inspire and bring people together from different ideological backgrounds to find common ground and work to improve the lives of those around us.  I am hopeful that through these difficult and challenging economic times, good will come out of it.  We will be transformed as individuals and as a nation.  I will continue to pray for our leaders as we begin this next chapter together. 

On a lighter note, below are updated phrases with our “politician magnetic poetry kit”!

Magnetic Poetry2

Magnetic Poetry1

January 20, 2009 at 11:25 am 3 comments

Seven Years and Itchin’ for More!

Seven years ago today Eric and I were married in Naples, FL.  What a fun time!  I uploaded the below picture, one of my favorites.  Funny to think that at our wedding no one had digital cameras, very few had cell phones, and our friends gave us our first DVD player.  Now I’m wishing my husband Happy Anniversary via Facebook.

Balloon drop at our wedding reception

Balloon drop at our wedding reception

To celebrate our anniversary, we did a quick little trip to Napa this weekend!  It was our first time to Napa and we lucked out with a gorgeous day, sunny and in the 60’s!  We know we will be back again, so we skipped the big wineries and stopped by a few small places.  We really liked the Black Stallion Winery, which is a new winery in the region located on the grounds of a historic equestrian center.  This photo is at the James Cole Winery, we originally thought their logo was of a longhorn (it’s burnt orange on the tasting sheets), but then Eric realized it’s actually this piece of art.  Very cool. 

James Cole Art

Other stops included the Frank Family Vineyards where enjoyed the wine and the views, and Clos Pegase, although we could only enjoy the art on the grounds as the tasting room was hosting a wine club event.  This place has a really interesting history and we plan to take the tour of their winery on another trip.  We stayed the night in Calistoga, a cute little town that is known for it’s natural hot springs and mud baths.   

We ended the day watching the moon rise over the mountain, and of course, with a bottle of Napa wine at dinner. 

Moon Rise

Fun times!  I’m so thankful our marriage is in a good place, I’m looking forward to many more exciting years!

January 13, 2009 at 10:36 am 3 comments

So Long 2008, Hello 2009!

When we were growing up, every year we would measure ourselves on a door at my Grandparent’s house to quantify how many inches the children in our family had grown.  I’m pretty sure I no longer grow taller each year, so instead I try to “measure” my growth in other ways.   2008, wow, what a year it has been.  Sure, I met my resolution to eliminate my use of plastic grocery bags, but I think I have grown in so many other ways.  I think 2008 was the year of change, and with change comes growth. 

Over Thanksgiving I was playing a game with my niece when I was asked the question “The Pilgrims changed a lot the year of the first Thanksgiving, how have you changed in the last year?”  I think my initial answer of “I had to process losing my identity” was not the answer my 10 year old niece was looking for, so instead I went with “I eat more fresh locally-grown vegetables.”  The question made me realize I have changed quite a bit this year!  Here is a sampling:

  • I have a deeper understanding and appreciation of the United Methodist Church, including all the complexities and the joys, after my experience at General Conference. 
  • I am more confident in myself and abilities to lead in the midst of pressure and conflict.
  • My faith has deepened, for which I am deeply grateful since I’m depending on it more these days
  • I realized (as I was giving my two-week notice), that I tied much of my personal identity to my career.  As I look for my next employment opportunity, I am striving to re-define my identity, independent of my employer. 
  • The way I look at the world is changing. 
  • My appreciation of food, how it is grown, and the true cost has changed.
  • I am more appreciative of technology which has eased communication with my friends and family.  I think of others in my family history who moved thousands of miles away from their home.  Long-distance wasn’t affordable, so all communication was through snail mail.  I have email, facebook, blog, web-cam in addition to phone conversations to keep me connected and part of a community.
  • I changed time zones.  🙂

I am excited about 2009!  I don’t know exactly what it will bring, but I think that is a theme in my life these days, that I just need to go with the flow.  So for my 2009 resolutions, I will make one measureable goal and one general guideline to constantly work towards:

  1. Host one dinner party a month.  This resolution is recycled from 2007 but seems appropriate again.  The idea is we have many new people in our life who Eric and I would like to get to know better, and what better way than sharing a meal?
  2. Find a balance in my life with family/friends, my spiritual life, fighting an injustice and my career.  As part of my search for my next steps I completed the process outlined in Cathy Bonner’s book What I Want Next.  For now, finding balance in these items is what is most important to me, so why not make it a resolution!

Welcome 2009, Happy New Year!

January 2, 2009 at 5:18 pm 3 comments