Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tuesday Rambles: Career Thoughts

I continue to consider my future, completing my degree, and work as a Chaplain. I completed two online career assessment tools, which provided similar results.  I am best suited for a helping profession such as Social Service, ie counseling, religious support, or a teaching career.  I found it interesting I scored high on administration, high on persuasive skills, high on intuitiveness amongst others. It has helped to know I am a track that is good for me. Just have to find the right fit in job and education. I am not second guessing my call, or gifting, but I am questioning the direction for my future.  I may do an online spiritual gift test as well and see if that has changed any, also how it compares with the career assessment.  I am looking at other types of work in  counseling, aftercare in a funeral home setting, or even some type of teaching position.

I have done a little online research into schools and their degrees.  I am looking at more moderate to liberal seminaries including a few in my state. One thing is clear, whichever I choose, it will be at a significantly higher cost.  I will consider it the financial cost of being true to myself and the one I believe in. Specific degrees I am considering are...

Master of Theological Studies, two programs I like, one is 52 credit hours, the other is 60 credit hours.  Both require one Biblical language (2 courses), which I am not crazy about, I would rather take a pastoral counseling or pastoral  theology course with those hours.

There is an Master of Christian Leadership at one of the schools, which is 52 credit hours that might meet my need. Another school has a Master of Religious Education (60 credit hours) it can be done on a Friday/Saturday format.  Each of these would give me the credits I need for Certification on the Associate level with the Association of Professional Chaplains. As well as say I hold a Master degree.  Which is a good place to start.

I am not considering a 90 some credit Master of Divinity, since I am already ordained. Also under consideration is some type of counseling degree that would give me a credential toward pastoral as well as bereavement counseling. Originally I was thinking of just adding on courses as continuing education. Or toward the additional credits I need for full Board Certification. This is quite a process.

Looking back I do so wish I had the strength and self awareness to come out when I was young.  I would have had more time making these career decisions! However, I have to believe things come about in life on God's time not my time.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday Medley: Take You There

Happy Monday!  Its now the start of the Advent Season, already here.  I have seen quite a few houses decorated with lights, and I noticed in my complex a number of apartments with lights up already.  As for me, I am not ready to decorate for Advent and Christmas yet this year. Not sure I will decorate much this year, maybe outside...Maybe if I get in the mood. No Christmas music yet either.

Today I am recovering from an on call night with not much sleep, the particular Hospital I worked yesterday was very busy in the ED some extremely sick folks. Kept me down there most of the day and part of the night.  Stayed tuned  to the blog for a continued discussion of education and career choices. 

Today I'm posting a song by Sean Kingston, "Take You There"



Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Wrong Question to Ask!

Several days ago I made mentions of a problem with my planned application for graduate study.  Well here are the details...I found an online degree program that had everything I was looking for. it was affordable too. I even discovered my employer provides $2500 a year in tuition reimbursement for my job classification! So I was all set to apply, reading through the online application, I discovered a problem.  There are a series of questions, petty standard like have you been convicted of a felony, are you a citizen, then the question I just do not like or want to answer.  In fact I will not answer, and will not be applying to this school or other schools that ask this question.

The question;  Have you EVER engaged in Heterosexual misconduct or Homosexual behavior? i.e. engage in sex, going to gay clubs, gay chat rooms, talked about gay issues, basically are you a homosexual?  Say what??  Let that one sink in a minute....  and I thought don't ask don't tell was alive and well in the church.  Not the SBC.

Now it crossed my mind to answer the question with a NO.  However, that would be putting myself back in the closet, it would be a lie and counter productive.  Now I also thought about saying yes, but this also would be counter productive.  I am certain it would disqualify my admission and could get back to my home church.  I do not want to confirm any one's suspicions.  Then also I don't think its any one's business what my sexual preference is.

Not only do they basically ask about one's sexuality, to out oneself, they couple it with a misconduct question!  That's the SBC for you. They firmly believe people like me are hell bound, regardless!  Not gonna move them on that one either.  I checked another SBC seminary and it had the same series of questions.  I am disappointed at this, but not going to let it stop me.  I will find a school where its not important. 

A friend sent me a link to United Church of Christ seminaries, since they are open and affirming. I'm looking at them, along with a couple of more liberal seminaries here in my state. Two offer a combination of online and on campus options. The Online option is important to me.

Anyone have any suggestions?  I will continue this discussion in future posts. 


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving 2012  Today has been a very good day, I have cooked most of it, when I say cook,  I baked bread, a cake, made stuffing, and roasted a turkey breast to have as leftovers.  Oh and I made gravy.   Tonight its off to a friends for Thanksgiving celebration! I'm taking the stuffing, gravy, and baked goods with me. It should be a great meal. 

This is the first Thanksgiving without my mother, so its different. Still there is much to be thankful for!  Health, work, employment, a roof over one's head, food, clothing, medications, a car to get from place to place.  Then there are my friend's and family I am thankful for those close to me God has brought into my life.  A lot has changed in my life since last Thanksgiving, but that is life right?

Oh I will NOT be out shopping tonight or tomorrow for that matter.  I avoid Black Friday! Hope you enjoy it if you go, just be safe!

A Scripture for today is...
Psalm 136:1-3: 136:1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,for his steadfast love endures forever. 2 Give thanks to the God of gods,for his steadfast love endures forever. 3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords,for his steadfast love endures forever. . . .


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Transgender Rembrance Day 2012

In honor of Transgender Remembrance Day.  Let us all think of those who have been killed or injured  simply for being Transgender.  For daring to be in public as they view themselves.   For seeking recognition and love as they are for who they are.
Let our community continue to stand against this kind of  discrimination, and hate.  Please take a moment and pray for those who seek to be true to who they are.
Anti gay hate crimes and discrimination need to be included in all non discriminatory laws.

Lets stop the hate!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday Medley: Work Hard

Another Monday! Thanksgiving week at that.  Wow how things have changed in my life since last Thanksgiving week!  Well That's life I guess. Enjoy today's selection. I like the tune and movement of this song. Stay tuned for the next post about an issue that has come up with my application for the Master degree. 


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Cancer Warrior

There are two definitions of a cancer survivor in use today.  The most common and relevant is the cancer patient fighting and living with a cancer diagnosis.  There is another definition used by the “I Can Cope Cancer Education program,” which states a Cancer Survivor is one whose life has been touched by cancer.  This could be a patient, a family member, or friend, even a health care professional anyone who has a tie to the patient. This is in recognition of the fact cancer impacts not only the life of the one with its diagnosis, but those who are related to the patient in some way. Cancer changes everything for these folks.  Personally, by the second definition, I am a cancer survivor. Cancer has touched my life profoundly as a Chaplain. 
Here I would like to talk about a term used by a friend of mine, which I think speaks volumes about the individual patient’s fight with this insidious disease. Cancer Warrior,  I would define a cancer warrior as the person with the diagnosis who is determined not to be defeated by cancer.  Not to allow it to steal his or her life, joy, or fun. Rather this warrior fights and fights on.  The warrior does not lose hope or the will to live, even in the face of what may look like defeat the fight changes but continues.  
As I mentioned above, I am a cancer survivor by the fact it touches my life through my patients, and those I know. I look back at people I have known in my youth, whom I looked up to, who dealt with this diagnosis.  I think of the patients whom I have known over the years. For Some I was there soon after they heard their diagnosis, and was with them through their battle to remission.  Others I was with them when the battle changed from curative to symptom management.   I am a survivor because I carry something of each of these people and their families with me that impacted me.  As I learned to be present with them, they taught me about living. I received more from them, than what I might have provided. I carry with me the knowledge of their journey as they shared their narrative with me. What I learned from each of them is often used in my work today.  There is more…
I have in my life a close friend who is a Cancer Warrior, the same friend who introduced this term to me. He is one who has impacted my life in many ways over the years.  His approach to life and many of the issues surrounding being gay is teaching me not to take things too seriously and encourages me to live who I am and do what brings me fulfillment.  He is an example to me of moving forward in that he is not allowing his diagnosis to keep him from reaching toward his goals. In fact it may be pushing him forward.  You see cancer is touching my life through him, but in a more personal way than I have ever experienced.  For the first time, someone close to me who I love has it.  It’s different, I find myself thinking about the side effects of the treatments, thinking about how he is handling it all. I know it gets to him, the fatigue, the routine of treatments, going for tests.  There is the hope of remission and ultimately living life cancer free which is a driving force. I want to do all I can to support him through this and celebrate with him in his victory.

My prayer for him is that the treatments will do all for him it can possibly do. That all cancer cells will be eliminated and even washed from his body. For him to live a long and healthy life, free of the thought of cancer.  I pray for him to be enabled to live his dreams of earning his degrees, teaching, writing and being a published author. My hope for his life is healing, and one day the novel he is working on would be on the New York Times best seller list.  Do you have a cancer warrior in your life?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Veterans Day 2012

My father was a Navy Veteran of World War One. We always flew our Stars and Stripes on appropriate Holidays. I always "helped" put up and take our flag down, so I learned at an early age about flying the flag. I always remember on November 11 that it was the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour that the treaty of Versailles was signed ending the "Great War".  Today Veterans Day holds an expanded meaning far beyond the recognition for Veterans of one war.  Today we should think of and pray for all those who currently serve our country all over the world.  We should think of those Veterans who live with their battle scars, be it physical, or some invisible scar they carry with them. Those Veterans who struggle adjusting to civilian life, finding a job, getting an education, living their dreams, coping with injuries.

We need to show them the respect they have earned and deserve. Today remember those who serve our country, who protect the cause of freedom.  Thank a Veteran!



Thursday, November 8, 2012

Post Election 2012

Voting on the day. Well its all over! No more political ads!  Several things I want to sound off on about the election, first the long lines.  Knowing this is such an important election, plans should have been made to have more help at the polls, especially with checking voters in. Second, more voter machines would have helped as well. 

Now for the results.  I am very pleased that President Obama has been re-elected.  He most closely represents what I am looking for on tax and social issues especially.  I am pleased our state elected a democrat to Senate.  However, I am not pleased with the outcome of the House race, oh well I guess.  I had hoped for at least a closer split in the House, that the far right wing tea party people would have their wings clipped.  I feel they have contributed to the worsening gridlock we have in Congress. not sure how things will be in the near future, but time will tell.

It appears Virginia is now a 'Blue" state for the most part at least.

Gay Marriage:  Now the really big results for the Gay community!  Same Sex Marriage has been approved by popular vote referendum in two states!  I hope and think this represents changing in views of the general population. My roommate told me about an article he read where in the 90's many did not know a gay person, (reality check, they did not admit knowing a gay person)  In 2012 a large portion of the population says they have a gay friend or relative.  How times are changing, as Martha would say "Its a good thing" 

Lets keep our country, President, Congress and economy in our thoughts and prayers as they seek to lead and deal with issues we all face.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day 2012 Please Vote

This morning I went to go vote before going to work.  I wanted to be there when the doors opened, well half of my precinct had the same idea!  The line was down the street! a very good thing too, but not enough time for me to stand in line and be at work ontime as well.  I will leave work early to vote.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Monday Medley: National Anthem Go VOTE

Tomorrow is a very important day in the life of every citizen of the United States.  It's the day we have the opportunity, privilege and responsibility to get out and vote for the candidates of our choice.  I encourage every reader who is a registered voter in this great country of ours to get out and vote! I intend to be there when the polls open. Know the issues which are important to you, understand the party platforms and where the candidates stand on those issues important to you. May I suggest you pray on your decision and vote accordingly. If your a U.S. Citizen and not registered to vote, I encourage you to register for the next election and vote!

Today in honor of our country and Decision 2012, I am posting the National Anthem sung by the military chorus. 


Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Morning After Halloween

My Halloween was uneventful, nothing exciting happened about it at all. I was not home during the trick or treating hours, nor was my roommate, so I don't know if anyone attempted to knock on our door. No lights should have indicated not to, but you never know.  Today and tomorrow are known as All Saints and All Souls day in the Christian calendar.  Observed primarily by Catholic and Anglican churches, these days have grown to be observed by many in Protestant churches as well. 

These two days All Saints is known as a feast to remember those who attained "Sainthood" though many protestant churches recognize any Baptized believer as a saint.  All Souls is to remember anyone who died.  Now this is not meant to be an authoritative definition but just my understanding, and serves to help make my point today. These two days are set aside as a special time to remember those we love who have died.  Some churches do this at different times during the year, some have blue Christmas service to help folk cope with grief through the Holidays. My individual  church does this as part of the annual Memorial day service where a rose is placed on the alter by a family member of a deceased member. In addition to giving tribute to those who died serving our country. 

This year it seems, has been one loss after another for me and my family. I don't recall a time in my life when I have experienced loss in scope or frequency as I have this year. Each loss seems to magnify the other. One part of grief is the recognition that love does not end when the person loved is gone.  The Bible confirms this in I Corinthians 13:13, "Now faith, hope, love abide, but the greatest of these is love" some translations have is as love abides forever. Love changes over time I think, for instance I have a friend for whom I had romantic feelings in the past that he did not have for me.  There was a grief but I still wanted him in my life as my friend, I still love him but differently.  The love I have for him now is returned by him. 

In the same way, my love for my mother is still there but different now.  There is a sadness attached a bitter sweetness. I wonder how that will change as time passes? I look forward to the days ahead, as my grief heals and changes to the new normal I have read about and share with others who grieve.

Thanks for reading.