March was unbelievably busy month. I was in a different state each weekend and the weeks were filled with huge assignments, projects, and presentations. It’s hard to believe I actually made it through! I’ve been traveling for job interviews (details forthcoming, I promise!), conferences, and to be with family. It made the month of March fly by and even after 3 years in Georgia, I’m still amazed at how swiftly (and fiercely) spring arrives down here, pollen and all. It’s a warm welcome after many cold months in Europe and at home.
It’s been a hard season here at Columbia for a lot of reasons that are probably too complicated to get into here. It’s meant that planning my Senior Chapel week (see below) was even more intense than it already was destined to be. I’m glad March is over and am ready to push through the next two months to graduation!
What I'm Leading
In the last week of March, I was part of a Senior Chapel Team responsible for leading three chapel services at Columbia. This is a graduation requirement at CTS and I’ve been looking forward to it since I arrived, as chapel is an important part of my life here at Columbia. I worked with Jocelyn, and Z, and our advisor Martha to plan a week of services centered around the magnitude of God’s love for us. We focused on Psalm 139 and Ephesians 3, which turned out to be beautiful compliments to one another. It was a great honor to lead our community in worship and to get to preach to the community that has been so formative for me.
What I'm Reading
Kristen Hannah’s novel The Great Alone took a little while to “hook” me but once it did, I could not put it down! It’s a beautiful story of family, of mental health, of growing up, of young love, of tragedy, and of Alaska. I absolutely loved it and can’t wait to read more of her books.
What I'm Buying
I’ve been using reusable grocery bags for years, but I’ve still used plastic bags for produce. I knew I wanted to make the switch to reusable produce bags, but hadn’t fully committed yet. When I was in Seattle, I stopped by Eco Collective, a small business in Seattle started by one of my SPU classmates! I’m pretty amazed that Genevive has started her one business and it’s pretty cool to not only be supporting a local business, but a woman-owned, Earth friendly one at that! I’m loving my reusable bags and it feels so good to not have to grab for plastic at the produce aisle.
What I'm Preaching
I was asked to preach at a local church in March, which I throughly enjoyed. I’ve never preached in Lent before and I absolutely loved the scripture passages for the day. I love when the Lectionary texts fit the occasion, not only in the church but also in my own life. I’ve been passionate about Lenten practices for several years now and it was a great privilege to get to share with a congregation. I’ve posted my sermon text and hopefully the audio should be up soon.
What I'm Listening To
When I was preparing a sermon and getting ready for a job interview in the midst of a very busy week this month, I got so stressed that my chest physically hurt. I can’t remember feeling that stressed in a very long time. For some reason, that morning the song Super Trouper by ABBA got stuck in my head and I couldn’t get it unstuck so eventually I just started listening to the whole album. It became the most cathartic thing I could have ever imagined and it was a perfect remedy to my stress (along with several other, genuine coping mechanism like a well-timed counseling appointment). It’s been more or less on repeat ever since and I’m loving it.
Who I’m Remembering
My Grandpa Nile died last month at age 92. We were able to schedule his memorial service for the weekend I was already going to be on the West Coast, which was a huge blessing to me. Everyone in our family, except for my sister-in-law, was able to attend and we haven’t all been together in years (mostly because I’ve been gone). My grandpa was the only son of an only son. For a moment in our family’s history, it was a genuine fear that the name Nile would could die out all together. Wouldn’t you know it- look how many Niles there are today! I’m so grateful for my grandpa and his life and legacy. I’m proud to be a Nile!
Where I've Been
The biggest trip of the month was spending 9 days on the West Coast. I went to Seattle for the NEXT Church conference, which is a Presbyterian conference about the future of the church. It’s a great conference and I went to it 2 years ago when it was in Kansas City and loved it. When I found out it would be in Seattle, I knew I had to go. My best friend from Seminary, Alexandra, got to come and it was so fun to introduce her to my city and my people. I got to spend time with many of my friends, students, and congregation members, which was a huge blessing. I also was on the move with people from sun up to sundown every day, which was exhausting. After being in Seattle, I took a bus down to Oregon and had a few days at home before we went down to California to my grandparents’ farm for the funeral. It was a busy week and I was so grateful to be home with all the people that I love.