Wednesday, September 24, 2014

what if you fly



Ice Cream Print A4 - kitchen print - ice cream art - ice cream poster - without ice cream quote - darkness and chaos
Maiori, Italy (by Vesuviano - Nicola De Pisapia)

This Must Be A Sign Wood Art | Collections Typographic | ReinSign | Scoutmob Shoppe | Product Detail

1) from here 2) from here 3) from here 4) from here 5) from here
 6) from here 7) from here 8) from here 9) from here 10) from here

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

keep careful watch of my brother's souls

I'm assuming that everyone at this point has heard the terrible news that Robin Williams was found dead in his home yesterday. A million people will write about this tragedy in similar fashions I am sure, but for whatever reason this particular celebrity death has really struck me and I just need to write about it.

After the news broke yesterday it seemed everybody on on Facebook and Twitter posted something expressing shock and grief, which I think is totally appropriate. Robin Williams was an icon who crossed so many genres that nearly everyone can recall seeing (and for the most part, loving) him in some particular role. From Aladdin's genie to Mrs. Doubtfire to Peter Pan to "O Captain, my captain," the references and recollections are endless.

While it's easy to remember his fun and funny roles, Williams' resume also included characters who dealt with very real and difficult circumstances. As hard as it is for me to process that a man who (in the public eye, of course) seemed so funny and easy-going could be suffering so much that he chose to end his own life, it is even harder for me to understand that action from the man in Dead Poet's Society, Good Will Hunting, and What Dreams May Come, a man whose characters dealt with the despair and tragedy of mental illness, abuse and the effects of suicide.

I recognize how that comes off as a very unfair statement. Robin Williams was not his characters, and we as the general public obviously did not know him or his personal life and what he was dealing with. The point of this post is not to judge Robin Williams for what he did. Rather, it is to express an incredible sadness that a man who was beloved around the world and across generations, a man who touched the lives of millions in portraying characters who dealt with this very situation, would feel so lost that he saw no other way but death. That, though he had not only money and fame, but a family who loved him and, one would assume, some level of awareness of the impact his vocation had on the world, would choose to die by his own hand.

Depression and mental illness is a messy, confusing and controversial topic and, again, I am under no illusions that I am saying anything that won't be said by a hundred other people. But I just can't stop thinking about this. Because part of the reason that depression/mental illness is such a messy, confusing and controversial topic is that it is so varied. Everyone's experience is different. It is not something we can quantify. Diagnosis and treatment is more objective than other illnesses.  And because of that, it's incredibly hard for the general public to form consistent opinions on what is "right" or "good" in talking about and dealing with the problem.

I have some close friends who have struggled with depression of varying levels, including such depression that leads to self-harm. In those experiences, I have wrestled with empathy. As much as I can sympathize with those friends, for their situations, for their pain, I cannot empathize with them. I cannot put myself in their shoes. Even at my darkest, dealing with my pain by harming myself has never seemed a viable option. Just as those of us who are not addicts will never be able to understand the compulsion of addiction, those of us who do not suffer from mental illnesses such as depression cannot comprehend the struggle of those afflicted. We just can't.

The point to all this? There is one, I think. For me it's a reminder that I need. I need to remember that depression is an incredible foe and a reality for many people, whether it is obvious or not, whether it "makes sense" or not, whether I understand it or not. And I need to be a part of the solution to the stigma surrounding depression and mental illness, by being an approachable, safe and informed resource should I encounter someone who is suffering in that way. The battle that our peers wage within their own minds and bodies is terrible enough without the additional weight of judgment from the world around them.

I can't find a sense of closure for this post. No way to end it neatly.
Perhaps that's fitting.

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline number is 1-800-273-8255.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

where we've been, where we're going.

 It's been almost two years since I started this blog. I will be the very first to say that it hasn't been very consistent in regards to time between updates or content or... anything. I started it mostly as a way to update friends and family about our whereabouts/plans without resorting to obnoxiously long Facebook posts.

I hope I'll continue to blog [and get better at it, too] in the future, as I enjoy writing and sharing things on this kind of platform. But today as I'm enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon and writing my first real post since March [oops], I'm thinking about the past. More specifically, about the journey of the last two years of our lives and Drew's ordination process, and the end that is in sight for this particular time in our lives.

Two years ago I wrote about a significant change in our plans that included moving to South Carolina and bringing ordination a year closer.  I wrote about my thankfulness for our community, even as I wrote about home and missing my family. We finished our time in Durham, saying goodbye to that place and those fabulous people as we said hello to a new state, new school and a new community.

Our first five months in Columbia included me working in 4 different offices and Drew being approved for ordination. February brought snow, but more importantly, regional and synodical assignment, and thus finding out where God and the Church was calling us to serve.

And now, it's August again, and that "inevitably sweltering summer day" of packing a truck that seemed so far away in February is on the immediate horizon, because the whole first-call thing that we've been talking about for so long is no longer a thing of the future, but a thing of the present.

So, we are packing for our third move in three years and are incredibly excited about the new place and people we have been called to. And though we're reaching one finish line, there are many new adventures beginning as we become first time home owners [yikes!] in addition to starting full-time ministry at a new church and on a new college campus. You know. Nbd.

Attitude + Adventure

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Monday, March 10, 2014


I've been doing a photo challenge for Lent, and the word for today is wilderness. As I thought about what picture to take, I ended up with a whole bunch of thoughts about the word and its use in Scripture and the way we talk about our spiritual lives. My journal entry for the day is a hot mess of all of those thoughts, and I thought perhaps blogging about it would help me make more sense of it. As I've written and rewritten sentences and paragraphs several times over, I'm not sure about it making more sense. But let's give it a go anyway.

When we talk about being "in the wilderness" in our spiritual lives, I think we're often thinking about that last definition: "a position of disfavor." There are times we feel lost, wandering aimlessly, out of favor with the world or even with God. We call it the wilderness. If we are self aware enough, we know that there are lessons to be learned and growth that needs to happen. But, let's be honest, our prayer in those times is to be led to the other side of the wilderness, to reach a land that is safe, fruitful, and familiar. Being in the wilderness is something we look to be delivered from, not to dwell in.

In the sermons/teachings about wilderness that I can recall, most have made use of the story in the New Testament about Jesus' time in the wilderness, as told in Matthew 4. After Jesus was baptized by John, Jesus goes into the wilderness, where He fasted and was tempted. We seek to relate to this story about Jesus when we're feeling "in the wilderness" ourselves. We look for comfort it in, whether it's in holding onto the idea that our Lord knows what we're feeling, or trusting that our time in the wilderness will come to an end, as His did. And that's good and fine, I think. But in my own self-reflection, I'm feeling that this isn't the best wilderness story to which we can relate.

In the Old Testament, we read that the Israelites were made to wander in the wilderness for 40 years before entering the promised land. In fact, while the English name for the book of Numbers comes from the censuses that are recorded within the story, the Hebrew name for the book is translated "In the Wilderness," because it documents the peoples wanderings. To make a long story short, after being freed from Egypt and seeing many miraculous signs from God, the people still doubted and sinned against God. And so, the people were punished to wander in the desert until an entire generation had passed away before they could go to the place which God had prepared for them.

There are things about my wrestling with this word and these scriptures today that are complicated, and some things that are very simple. The truth of the matter is, I would like to believe my time in the wilderness is akin to the New Testament story, when, in fact, it is much more like the Old Testament one.

Let me back up. See, the difficulty I've always had with Jesus' story is the part about the Spirit. "Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil," Matthew says. Jesus goes from hearing the Father speak over Him and the Spirit descending on Him, to being utterly alone in a desolate place, physically weakened and encountering the enemy. The Spirit actually led Him into that place of struggle. My problem has always been in hating that Jesus had done nothing wrong, and still had to wander in that way. It is probably [read: most definitely] ridiculous to dwell on that when, you know, that is true of His entire time on this planet. But it still always gives me pause.

On the other hand, the Israelites made their own bed. They complained and argued and did, like, exactly the opposite of what God told them to do. They were freed from their bondage, delivered from their enemy, literally fed from the heavens, and still they broke every promise they made. And so, they wandered. And, you know, that makes more sense to me.

What's convicting me? I am the Israelites. Much of my wanderings are consequences of my actions, my sin. I have no doubt that the Spirit leads me, that there is testing, growth and refinement in the midst of struggle. But I am not blameless. I cannot pretend that the wilderness is something I've been unfairly led into. As much as I'd prefer to shirk responsibility, the truth is that every time I choose my anger, pride, or selfish desires over the love, humility and compassion that Christ asks of me, I create the uninhabitable place through which I must then walk.

This could end quite depressingly, but it won't. Because in 40 years of wandering in the desert, but the Israelites were never alone. On the contrary, God continued to struggle with them, providing for them, fighting for them, and eventually bringing them to the place God had promised them.

Because despite how fantastically I make mistakes, Jesus is quite fantastic at forgiving them.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

And so, we pray.

This time last week we were counting down the hours until we would receive our regional assignment. Drew was in Texas when he got the call, and I was at work, so this is how I found out:

So that's it, folks. Looks like the Tuckers are gonna be southerners for a few more years :)

And with that question answered, there are a million more to ask. But last night we gathered with Drew's fellow seniors and worshipped and prayed together as we marked this important step in a process which, though at times has seemed never-ending, is in fact drawing to a close. And it was another beautiful reminder of this fantastic community that we have found ourselves so graciously welcomed into this year.  I can so vividly remember the anxiety that plagued me when our plans suddenly changed to include a year here in Columbia, but I am so grateful for the time we've had here.

And so, with that unnecessary but at the same time very necessary reminder that God is in fact taking care of us in every way, it's incredibly exciting to pray for Drew and his classmates, and to dream about the months to come and everything they will bring.

So, go ahead of us, Lord, as winter turns into spring, as midterms turn into finals, as the to-do lists are marked off and syllabi are completed. Because despite how much is still left to be done, this semester will end and a new adventure awaits.

Give us patience, Spirit, when we would rather wish away the days and weeks, ready to be done with everything that comes with being a student. Because education, let alone an advanced degree, is a privilege denied to many, and there will not often be the opportunity to learn at this level once this time is over.

Watch over us, Father, in conversations with Bishops and Synod Offices, in phone calls with call committees, in the nerves that come with interviews and the uncertainty in decision making. Because the process can be stressful, the responsibility daunting, and on our own we can't possibly hope to know what to do.

Thank you, God, for synod staff who look out for us, for families and friends praying for us, for peers who can celebrate and commiserate with us. Because it is within the Body of Christ that we see, hear and know You in new and exciting ways.

Be with us always, Jesus, and especially now. As we close this chapter and begin a new one. In the final all-nighters of studying and days in the classroom. In shared meals and time with friends that have become dear. As paperwork is distributed and calls are extended. As boxes are packed and moving trucks rented. As we say goodbye to this place, and hello to something new.

For peace when there is anxiety, focus when things just need to get done, wisdom in conversation, discernment in the process, joy in the moment, love in community, and a cool breeze on the inevitably sweltering summer day when we once again pack our life into a truck trailer and drive away, we pray.

And You hear our prayer.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Coming to the end of my second snow day of 2014.
And I have another one tomorrow.
Yep. Snow day. From work. In South Carolina.

The world is a crazy place.

The blog has once again been forsaken the past month due to life happening outside of the world wide web. But two snow days in a row means I have some free time! So, since I'm sure you're wondering what's been on my mind for the past month, it's mostly been this:

Regional Assignment is in 7 days. 7 DAYS PEOPLE!

The beginning of the end. It seems like we've been waiting forever for this ordination process to come to completion, but now that the end is upon us, it's almost startling.  Regional assignment first, then we'll get a synod placement, and then (Lord willing) at some point this summer, we'll find a call and Drew will be ordained.
Ok, probably [hopefully] not, but it's still funny :P

In light of this impending [life-altering yet completely out of our control] decision, we've been thinking a lot about where we'll be in 6 months. It seems that our two most likely options are either back in Ohio, or in the Carolinas. In general, we've been pretty back and forth about where we would like to end up. Ohio would mean being closer to both our families. But, we have fallen in love with the Carolinas. Plus, the temperatures in Ohio the past month have been consistently in the negatives. Which is gross. So this is definitely not a time of the year that I want to think about being back up there. But alas, it is not up to us. And we are excited for whatever comes wherever we end up being assigned.

So, yeah. 7 days.

Not freaking out. Not freaking out. Maybe freaking out a little.