Crazy Days of Summer

Oh, where to begin.

I know it's been a while. Several months. The spring and summer have been so full of both goodness and difficult things, though the goodness definitely outweighs the shadows.

From the day school ended for my kids in May, our summer was full speed ahead. We left the day after school ended to head out to South Carolina to visit family—we got to celebrate my niece Fiona's End of Chemo party! That was a huge and ridiculously beautiful celebration, let me tell you. We cheered her on as Make-A-Wish made her wish come true of being a cowgirl on a dude ranch out in Wyoming, complete with all the adorable cowgirl gear.

We had fun with VBS this summer. The kids got to do two different VBS's, and we parents got to assist with one. (I also had severe vertigo during the week of VBS that I helped with, so that was super fun. I won't go into details but things were a little...shifty that week. Har har.)

We spent a week in Pennsylvania visiting my grandma and aunts in July. That trip was, for me at least, very much a pilgrimage. I could write an entire post just on that trip (in fact, I did last month, but my power went out in the middle of writing in and I foolishly hadn't saved my post, so down the internet drain it went. I just took it to mean that perhaps it was such a deeply moving experience for me that it was meant for me, so I decided to leave it that way). But here are a few photos (all images in gallery © Amy Lutes, 2018) from the places where I grew up that hold deep spiritual meaning for me from my formative years, and some lyrics that were sticking in my brain the entire time I was up there:

I have returned to that part of the country
That I knew as a child
Here I’ve spent time on top of
a rugged high mountain
Overlooking the southwest wild

Now the season of prayer is finished
Now the season of fasting is done
Now the season of waiting is over
My journey has begun
— Iona, "Brendan's Voyage (Navigatio)"

Upon our return home, we had to deal with a dead HVAC unit in our house and the grueling temps of high summer that pervaded the inside of the house. Often, it was cooler outside than inside, until we finally got the unit replaced. No a/c during the summer in the south? NO THANK YOU. But hopefully all shall be well now that we have a brand new unit to take us through the heat of summer and the cold of winter.

Through all of the ups and downs and heres and theres of this summer, though, I've been steadily working on making sure all of my paperwork is done and everything is set up for me to begin seminary later this month. So all my enrollment fees, online registration for classes, emailing professors for syllabi, and attending the on-campus new student orientation last weekend have been steps in my journey toward, well, beginning the journey, I suppose. But I now have almost all of my required texts, and I'm eager to get started. I'm planning to keep a journal of sorts, here on my blog, for my journey through seminary. Right now I'm just in the certificate program for Theopoetics and the Theological Imagination at Bethany Theological Seminary. But I feel confident that this will eventually lead to my getting an MDiv. I'm still not entirely sure exactly what shape the ministry God is calling me to will take. But I do know that poetry will play a large part of it, and I'm really looking forward to eventually digging into the Hebrew language and studying ancient prophetic and poetic structure.

Stay tuned here, and I promise to try to update at least once a week as I go through classes and learn all the new things. And if you're still on summer break, I hope your summer ends spectacularly and your transition into the new school year is smooth and unmessy.