Wednesday, December 26, 2007

a little about me

For those of you who don't know me or for those of you who have made the understandable mistake of thinking you know me (how could you know me when I barely know myself?) here's a little bit of an orientation:
  1. I am a beginner.
  2. I make a LOT of mistakes, and my greatest strength may be that I know how to say I'm sorry. (As a matter of fact, I have been known to take responsibility for things that were clearly not my fault such as natural disasters. If I'm too apologetic I'm really sorry about that.)
  3. I have a really great husband who drives for UPS (that's right ladies...I have my own UPS guy!) He is my best friend and even though he's a student in my class (that's right, I'm sleeping with one of my students) he's my greatest teacher.
  4. I have two AMAZING kids who I wish I knew how to duplicate for others. They were the kind of babies that loved to cuddle on the rocking chair and who never ever stopped publicly demonstrating affection for me...even as teenagers. Seriously. They have hearts bigger than anybody I know.
  5. I'm lucky enough to have a daughter-in-law who I actually love and appreciate. She's really good for my kid.
  6. I have an unofficially adopted daughter who is amazing and brilliant and brave.
  7. I am a counselor, a teacher and a pastor. How I became a pastor (associate pastor...I don't preach) is a complete mystery to me. I'm still flabbergasted at that title.
  8. I like to completely upset people's idea of what it means to be a Christian. (I even hesitate to use that term...I don't think I mean what I think you think I mean by that word.) If you can figure out that parenthetical comment we're off to a great relationship.
  9. I love to play with words. (See previous parenthetical comment.)
  10. I love to play with clay and paint, but I haven't actually done much of that lately. (Note to myself: find time to do more of that.)
  11. I do life with some of the most brilliant and loving people on the planet who sometimes irritate the heck out of me. (This is mostly because they insist that I show up when I would rather be in a hole.)
  12. The reason I am even remotely sane is because of the people I'm telling you about.
  13. I love yoga, but haven't done much lately. (Note to myself: find time for yoga.)
  14. If you're tweaked by the concept of a Christian loving yoga and you'd like to keep reading this blog, you're really going to have to chill...and keep an open mind.
  15. My history is in process...I'm making it up as I go along.
  16. I'm trying really hard to make good choices for myself. I really wish someone would have clued me in to this concept some time before I was 30.
  17. I get a huge kick out of my 85-year-old mother-in-law who lives with us and who occasionally walks into my bedroom at inappropriate moments. (Maybe I should install locks?) She's got more of a social life than I do and is still driving in crazy Minnesota road conditions. And she loves Sudoku because "oh yah, it's good for yer brain."
  18. Jobs I have had in my life: nurse, bridal shop salesperson, claims examiner for a class action lawsuit, cell phone salesperson, personal attendant, graphic designer for business forms (before computers did this), and job coach for handicapped adults.
  19. I am on the board of a really cool ministry called Providence Ministries. You can read our blog here. Here's a post I wrote while visiting in October. I was working with a good friend of mine who's staying in Haiti for the year to volunteer her services as a pediatrician. Providence is a little ministry that's something like a foster home in Haiti and we do some education work too. What I love about it is that it's all Haitian-run on the Haiti side of things. No Americans in there mucking it up. (Not that there aren't some really great American missionaries...but there are a few out there mucking it up.)
  20. I have two Cocker Spaniels who make my life really interesting (one of them loves chewing on underwear) and I lost my old friend Feather this past summer. I thought her death would kill me but it turns out you really can survive the death of a dear pet.
That seems like an awful lot for one sitting. Anyway, it will have to do because this much self-disclosure is highly uncharacteristic for me. I'll excuse myself now to go rock back and forth and eat chocolate to calm myself.


  1. Mmmm, so much good stuff here. It was great to get a preview of some important things about you and your life!

    I could say so much in response (like, "Hey, me too!" or "That's really interesting; here's what it made me think about..."), but what I will merely say is that I appreciated the line about your history being in process and that you're making it up as you go. I read an essay by Annie Dillard once about the act of writing memoir essays, and she said that one thing it's important to know in advance is that by writing in the memoir style (and I think she meant seriously, like for publication), you are deciding your history and will be pretty much unable to think of your life any other way.

    I have historically experienced that as true . . . the more I have talked or written about my life, the more I have solidified what "is" about it . . . except now I find myself in a place where I'm starting to rethink some things and question some interpretations that I've made or that were given to me.

    So, I'm not really sure what I'm getting at when I write all this, except to say that the "history in process" perspective helped me today. Thank you, new friend.

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  3. christianne: i firmly believe everyone should get at least several dozen editorial revisions to what they've been calling their history. but i hear what you're saying about things becoming more and more solidified by saying them out loud or especially writing them down. that's part of what i'm referring to when i talk about "materializing". i wonder if we can have it both ways. can we choose the words of our stories with enough humility and playfulness to keep our options open?

    marcia: you can illustrate my history better than anybody i know. (for those of you who don't know her, marcia is a really amazing photographer...she took every photo on this site so far.) thanks girl!

  4. Oooh, I like the way you put it: choosing the words of our stories with enough humility and playfulness to keep our options open. I like the way you think, girl! :)

  5. I love what you share here; it's great to get to see the real woman behind the blogger. Like Christianne, I had many "Ha! Me too" moments (for instance, I am also a Christian who loves yoga) and lines that spurred or inspired thoughts about my own path.

    Mostly I am struck by the fact that there is humility, honesty, and gratitude here, not to mention a profound awe for what our box-breaking, category-defying God does in, through, and for you.

    And editorial revisions on our histories ... WOW. I like that, because it's true and we need to. Who know what we may miss otherwise?

    There is more I could say here, but it is waaaay past the time my brain normally melts into a pile of mush, so I will spare you the agony of reading what comes from said mush.

    Good night, & thank you. :o)

  6. Terri, this is SO what you needed. I am amazed that you are actually doing this. It has got to be part masochism (from your point of view) and part divine intervention(from my point of view. So let's call it "Maso-Godistic".
    Whatever it is, I love that you are sharing (finally) one of the most amazing gifts you have. I have a feeling this is going to take you down a road you had never imagined possible...remember that I said that!
    I am proud to be one of the people that gets to make you come out of your hole! And if I am not annoying you, am I really your friend? :)
    Love you!

  7. Thanks for filling in some of the gaps about yourself, Terri; alway nice to find others who make mistakes too. :)

    I come from a "counseling family;" my parents are good friends with Larry Crabb. What kind of counseling do you do (or you could save that for another post)? :)

    I hadn't heard of Providence Ministries... very cool work they're - you're - doing.

    Yoga? Well I never! Next you'll be telling us you watch tv, play cards and go to movies.

  8. Thanks for commenting on my blog so I could come find you here.
    And what a perfect first post for me to read.
    You sound like a delightful mix of things, and not one to fit the mold. I enjoy that in a woman.
    I hope to hear more about your art, yoga and being a pastor. You rock!

  9. kirsten: i have a feeling you and i are going to be saying "me too!" a lot. i'm glad all that came through.

    julie: maso-godistic...i love that word! you know me better than i know myself most of the time. thanks for all the times you irritated me and coaxed me back from the edge of the cliff. i love you.

    tom: you poor thing! coming from a counseling family must be some special brand of psychological torture. and those "sins" you listed: guilty!

    bella: i've been reading you for a little while now, and it was you and tom and chloe that finally inspired me to start this blog. thanks for your beautiful and brave writing.

  10. Wow.
    I don't even know where to start. Everyone out there needs to know a few more "things" about T. I don't know too many things that I have taught her but I humbly accept her teacher thing(It feels weird putting that out there). But she has definitely taught me tons. Readers Digest version: I once lived in a place that Terri and all our friends affectionatly (usually) called "Daves World". You know, sun always shinning, no clouds in the sky, everyone's nice and nobody got hurt.

    Yeah right.

    Terri lovingly brought me into reality and helped me deal with it. Still teaching me by the way, sometimes kicking and screaming (me, not her). I've learned more from her than anything or anyone else.
    Was that too mushy?

  11. hmmm, Very Interesting. I will read on. :) So far so good.

  12. aw honey...not too mushy at all! but i think you got the raw end of the deal. i introduced you to the concept of "the world is FUBAR" and you introduced me to the concept of "hey, everybody's doing the best they can and they might even surprise you with their goodness." i love you.

    greg: glad you're still listening.

  13. Hmmm... FUBAR... My guess on that one is "F-d up beyond arguable repair." Close? I'm pretty sure the "A" word is wrong. :)

  14. F'ed Up Beyond All Recognition. It's actually a term that I think originated during WWI. The other one is SNAFU: Situation Normal All F'ed Up. You've probably used that word before with no idea what it really meant. "Well that was a nasty little snafu!"

  15. Teri- I loved getting a little peak into your life. Yoga, art, pastoring, dog loving, parenting…you’re quite a woman! I also appreciate your humility and open-mind.

  16. Thanks Chloe. I like you too.