How is it that January always feels a year long and February flies by in a blink of an eye? This year, February was full of adjusting back to life in Atlanta and turning toward a busy spring ahead. In January I was unpacking and settling but in February I had time to fully adjust to Seminary life. I savored my Saturday mornings in my sunny little apartment and it reminded me how much I have loved the space I get to call home.
February has also been a time of vocational discernment (seminary speak for OMG I NEED A JOB) but it’s a season I’m not ready to share publicly yet. I say this just to ask for your prayers. It’s a challenging and sometimes murky time and I’d love all of your prayers.
A huge moment in this month came right at the end— my paternal grandfather, Jim Nile, passed away on February 26th. Jim had been suffering from dementia for the last few years and his health had been declining in the past few months in a care facility. He was moved into a beautiful hospice house on Sunday night, but with bad weather in Oregon and California, and my family had a difficult time getting to him. It was hard to be so far away from everyone. To my relief, my grandmother, uncle, and dad all got to be with him when he died. I, along with all my family, am mourning his death and yet relieved to know he is no longer in pain. I’ll be with all my family for his memorial service in March.
What I'm Learning
Fittingly, I’ve been learning about Family Systems Theory in my pastoral care class and it’s been relatively revolutionary for me. The theory is all about the way that our experiences in our families impact our relationships and ways of being far beyond our family. I’ve just scratched the surface of this topic and I would love to continue learning about it.
What I'm Reading
I put lots of books on hold at the public library while I was in Europe and some of them are still slowly becoming available which meant that I’ve still been reading for fun during the school year. It’s been great to keep up my habit of reading for fun. Along with the book above, this past month I read How to Stop Time and One of Us is Lying. I enjoyed both works of fiction and because I’m a sucker for a good YA book, I particularly enjoyed the latter.
I’m not sure where I got the recommendation for A Place for Us, but when it downloaded on my kindle, I was hesitant to read it at first. It was slow going at first and I wasn’t fully sure what the story was about. Fatima Harheen Mirza’s debut novel is a story about a family through three generations. It’s a story of inherited trauma and pain, of love and commitment, and of faith and culture. With all my new knowledge of family system theory swirling in my mind, this book made me weep harder than a book has in a very long time. The full story is worth sticking around for and is so beautifully written, giving readers new depths of compassion and hope.
What I'm Eating
Ever since I had afternoon tea with my family in London, I’ve been craving clotted cream. When a friend from home randomly posted about it on facebook, I got inspired to try to make it from scratch. It turns out it’s pretty easy to make if you’re willing to take the time. Of course, once I made it I had to make vanilla cardamom scones to put it on. And once I made scones, I had to do a full morning tea in the middle of the week and invite all my friends over. My whole life is If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. The cream and scones were delicious (although I’d double the cardamom next time) and I’ll definitely be making them again sometime soon.
What I'm Drinking
As usual, I’m far behind the trends on what to wear/ eat/ drink/ and listen to, so it was only at the end of last summer that I started drinking kombucha. I immediately loved it, but knew it was going to be a prohibitively expensive pleasure in my life. I’d heard it was relatively simple to make and when I visited my friend Courtney in Berlin, I got to see how she makes it at home. When I got back to Atlanta, I asked my local Buy Nothing group if anyone had a SCOBY I could have and a random neighbor said yes! I’m now on my third batch of kombucha and I’m getting better at it each time. I’m really enjoying the results and even several of my highly skeptical friends have given it a seal of approval. Current favorite flavors: ginger & lemon and apple & cinnamon.
What I'm Listening To
My enjoyment of The Anthropocene Reviewed led to me finally trying the long-running podcast of two brothers- Hank and John Green where they answer letters from listeners. It’s fun and quippy and a great break from all the political podcasts I usually listen to.
What I'm Enjoying
My brother and sister-in-law moved to New Orleans in late May, but I’ve been living out of the South most of that time. They had something to take care of in Atlanta and it was fun for us to realize that we only live a 6 hour drive apart! Ian and Ashley drove up for a quick visit and I had a great time showing them around Decatur. When we were young, we never could have imagined these lives that we’re living!
What I Attended
At the beginning of February, Columbia hosted a conference on “Migration and Border Crossings” that was timely and powerful. It was a wonderful conference and I was grateful to be at a seminary that is deeply committed to pursuing peace and justice in the world today.