Tag Archives: Pepper

New not-yet Norms

Apparently I have a subconscious desire for making several major life changes all at once. Three years ago I got married, became Mrs., moved to New York (which also meant moving in with my husband), and started seminary all in the same week. And now, over the span of 6 weeks, I graduated seminary, was ordained a Deacon in the Episcopal Church, became the Rev., moved from Chelsea to West Harlem and started my first clergy call at Trinity Wall Street.

The new norms are numerous, and not quite normal yet. Here are the top three:

1. Groceries. One of the selling points (or in our case, renting points) to our new place is that it’s across the street from a grocery store. Awesome! And said grocery happens to have the best craft beer selection in all of NYC. Even awesomer (you heard me). But we are Trader Joe junkies. We love TJ products, and we love that they cost the same in NYC that they cost in CLT.  And now the closest TJ’s is 50 blocks away… so we’re torn about whether we should somehow schedule weekly/bi-monthly trips to TJ’s, or just cut it out of our routine all together and accept the reality of expensive groceries in The City. Booo. Also, the Harlem Fairway does not deliver for free like it does in Chelsea. Double boo. Gluten-free Jay will have to adjust his shopping habits twice over.


Panoramic View of Thunderstorms from our Patio

2. Pepper. People in our building know who Pepper is whether they have met her or not. Why? Because we made the mistake of leaving her alone for 3hrs on her very first day in a new space to attend a great birthday party in Brooklyn. Going to the party was not a mistake… underestimating Pepper’s shock to the system was. We came home to the sound of Pepper barking at the elevator door. Note that we heard her barking on the 1st floor, but we live on the 8th. Noise carries down those elevator shafts! So we left an apology note in the elevator, “Hello new neighbors! Sorry for the three hours of barking you may have put up with today… Pepper is normally quiet, promise!” And then I left Jay’s number for complaints (hehe). Instead we got a nice “Thanks for being so courteous, and welcome!” note on our note. WIN! But any time we meet new neighbors, they say, “This must be Pepper…” Yep. She’s doing much better now, though the fireworks and thunder aren’t helping much.


First day of work (but also: YAY real refrigerator!)

3. Clergy Collar. It appears I am allergic to my collar–or the collar studs at least. I’ve always had a metal allergy, but I can’t remember the last time I had to mess with it. Today I ordered new collar studs and less-tight collars in hopes that this new clergy getup won’t feel like an itchy noose around my neck. It’s hard enough to come up with professional-not-frumpy-female clergy outfits… and it’s hard enough to get used to the implications of wearing a collar in a world where it can signify a range of things for an even broader range of people. It may sound silly, but I try to be sure I never have a scowl on my face. I mean, really! It’s a serious adjustment, though “lauren laughs” isn’t much of a scowler.

There are a gazillion other little things like… Do I keep my personal cell phone and carry two around or migrate everything to my work phone? Relearning Microsoft and all it’s hangups. Not being able to crowd source my peers for wisdom and insight on church dorkdom. Not knowing everyone in my building or neighborhood. Commuting. But figuring out how to navigate “our daily bread,” caring for our fur baby, and acclimating to my new uniform (with snazzy accents on a good day) and all it represents… those are every-day adjustments that will def take some time to normalize.

Lord help us, and thank you Jesus.

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open valentine to bloggers and fb

after getting muchos bouncebacks to this emailed valentine yesterday, i thought i better share the same on blog and facebook for all those i missed! love.

It is my custom to mail valentines to friends and family, near and far. But as the list of places I’ve lived grows longer, and my relationships multiply, well… it gets expensive! So please accept this electronic valentine and update as a token of my continued affection. I’ll even throw some pictures in (just click on any highlighted words).

The past year has been a doozy, in a good way. Here are the highlights…

I continue to love my job as a youth minister. The kids and the church are awesome. Last year I took two ski trips, a beach trip, mission trips to Costa Rica and West Virginia, and I led a Pilgrimage to Ireland. It was a lot of travel (10 days in Ireland feels like 100 when you’re taking care of 37 teenagers!) but I got by with a little (or a lot of) help from my friends. And the best part: countless Moments of Grace. Nothing like a lack of control to help you see God right in front of your nose.

I love life in Charlotte. Though the city is lacking in diversity, it is over the top in hospitality and activity. My friends here introduced me to a number of new hobbies, including my first two triathlons, first two 10k races, and first two half-marathons. My family thinks it’s hilarious that I, the nonathletic child, have become a runner. Who knew? Chalk it up to peer pressure, in a good way. I’ve got an awesome Monday night girls’ group–we read books and pray together. I’ve got an awesome Thursday night girls’ group–we drink wine together. Got to love balance. I don’t just hang out with girls, though… there are boys too. One, in particular. And he’s a yankee (gasp)!!

The two most exciting and daunting pieces of news are Pepper and the Priesthood. Pepper is my dear sweet dog. A 2-yr old German Shepherd Lab mix I rescued her last March; she is the love of my life. She cannot get enough love, nor does she ever run out of love to give. She barks at boys and likes sweaty shoes. I didn’t think I could handle the responsibility of a dog, considering all my travels, but my friends have made it all possible. It takes a village. As for the Priesthood, I entered the discernment process to be an Episcopal Priest last fall. It’s a long process, complicated, exhausting, rich and life-giving. Depending on how things go, I may start seminary in Fall of 2011. Maybe I’ll know by next Valentine’s Day… in the mean time, I appreciate your prayers!

No matter where you are this Valentine’s Day, I pray that you know Love. Uncontrollable, no strings attached, unconditional, radical, unstoppable, mindbending… God LOVE.

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pepper: an update on awesomeness

i just want to say that i love my dog.

she usually sleeps on her bed, down by the foot of my bed (so i won’t step on her in the morning)… but last night she dragged her bed to be right up next to me. little girl warms my heart!

most nights she gets up very quietly, puts her wet nose up to mine, just to make sure i’m still there and breathing, and then goes back to lay down.

life with a dog is the best.


pepper bear beware

i have entered into a long term relationship, which i’m quite clueless about, but i’m learning every day. pepper, or pepper bear, as i like to call her, is 60+ pounds of fur, love, play and affection. here’s a lovely picture of her, taken by my photographer friend lain.pepper is a 17 month old shepherd/lab mix, pretty much perfect in every way. except when she barks. she’s scared of men after being rescued from a not-very-nice one. i guess it’s good, in that NO man would ever try to cross me with pep by my side… they’d never guess that she’s actually a big sissy, and she would hide behind me cowering if pursued. i love her.

pep had an unfortunate run-in at the dog park last week. she was off her leash, chasing after squirrels, turning her head and smiling at me every time she treed one… when one blue healer dog came up and started humping her. now, pep and i had actually met this dog the day before at the vet… and the dog had humped her then too… but the dog’s owner (an old man) apologized and said he was getting his dog fixed soon. at the dog park, however, the old man was 30 yards away, talking to some young lady on a bench, completely ignoring his uncontrollable pup. i didn’t know what to do. i felt helpless! i said, “no!” but i was afraid to yell at someone else’s dog, so it wasn’t very convincing. after a bit, the humping dog ran away, and i noticed a little something on pepper’s back. slobber? nnnno. sticky goo? yes. gross.

i felt violated. i’m not sure how pepper felt, but she was a little weird when i tried to put her collar back on to go home. so we walked around the block before jumping in the car, going home, and getting hosed down outside. my first try at bathing pepper.

dogs like that (uncontrollable, non-fixed humpers) should not be allowed in dog parks. luckily pepper has a great support group, and all her people and puppy friends have made a point to give her extra love and encouragement this past week. especially her auntie sloan and uncle dan. i think she’s moved on.