Week 2 of this journey has been a learning experience. I am pleased, but also frustrated. I am enjoying my learning, but also having difficulty keeping up with the reading. I seem to be fine reading the texts, but everyone’s post and comments on the blogs, even, are overwhelming to me. I read so slowly, especially on the monitor!

I have learned so much about learners this week. I think that the information on learner styles and learner behaviors will not only help me to learn in this class, but also help me in teaching others through Sunday school and even while preaching. Incorporating all kinds of learning should help my congregants to retain more information. I can also encourage them to learn how they learn and how they can make the most of every learning situation. I am looking forward to seeing what we come up with as a group for a final list of factors effecting success in online learning.

I also really enjoy our live session with Quentin Schultze. I really like how he turned Eat, Pray Love into Listen, Laugh, Love. I wish I were able to take the course, but I wanted to take COM605 even more, so I will not get to hear all of his thoughts on this subject. Even the texts sound wonderful. I may have to read Truth to Tell by Newbigin anyway (1991). Schultze’s ideas are stimulating and I am looking forward to attending Forum 4:15.

I took a look at the article on blogs titled, “Blogs: A Disruptive Technology Coming of Age?” I think that every technology has a life span. I can understand questioning if blogs are near the end of their life span. According to the 2007 State of the Blogosphere done by Technorati, there were 70 million blogs (Sifry, 2007). According to BlogPulse, there are over 155 million as I write this. We have to assume that of these numbers, many of them are splogs (spam blogs) and inactive blogs. Even, so, we can see that the numbers are increasing. The downfall of anything can come very swiftly, but I do not think that blogs are in any immediate danger.

Rather, I think that they have matured to an age where they are not just a fad to be part of, but a way to convey a person’s thoughts and opinions to the world or even just those with like interests. Kling states, “I sketched a model of blogs in which blogging serves as a filtering mechanism in the dissemination of information. The model is built on assumptions that make blogging very efficient. To the extent that those assumptions mirror reality, then blogging is not a fad. On the contrary, it could have a lot more potential for growth.” (2002) I believe that there is still plenty of room to grow.

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BlogPulse Stats. (n.d.). In BlogPulse. Retrieved February 4, 2011, from http://blogpulse.com/

David, S. (2007, April). The State of the Live Web. In Sifry’s alerts: David Sifry’s musings. Retrieved February 4, 2011, from http://www.sifry.com/alerts/archives/000493.html

Kling, A. (2002, June 21). Is blogging a fad?. In Corante: Tech news. filtered daily. Retrieved February 4, 2011, from http://www.corante.com/bottomline/articles/20020621-875.shtml

Long, P. D. (2002, November 26). Blogs: A distruptive technology coming of age?. In Campus Technology. Retrieved February 4, 2011, from http://campustechnology.com/Articles/2002/09/Blogs-A-Disruptive-Technology-Coming-of-Age.aspx

Newbigin, L. (1991). Truth to tell: The gospel as public truth. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdman’s.

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In response to my last post, I had a friend ask me some questions about where I am and want to be. She asked some great questions and some of the last ones, I can’t answer yet. I really appreciated her thought-provoking question and the time she spent in typing them all out. Here is the e-mail conversation that we had:

(Friend’s questions in dark orange): I read your blog and also your sermon from Jan. 4th. It was good….a lot of good points and thoughts! I enjoyed reading it. (My answers in green) Thank you!

I read your blog from yesterday….you raised several questions for me. You said you and Chris are very competitive …So, I have several questions for you. Why did you get your ministerial license?I did it because while I didn’t plan to, I felt God leading me that way at the time. I guess I always felt called to be a pastor’s wife, but it seems that God is transforming me slowly into more than that. I could never have done it if I didn’t feel it was right. I am too lazy to go to all that work if I’m not sure I have to. I really don’t enjoy preaching at ALL! But, I know that is where I ‘m supposed to be right now. I hope I will grow to love it. I do love being in ministry and doing more than the average wife. I enjoy voting and having a say in what happens in the AG, too. Also, I have filled in for my mom’s church which is something that I consider my own ministry. I mean I wouldn’t have done it if I was riding on the heels of my husband.

Do you have your own call from God to preach or did you do it because Chris did?I guess I skipped ahead and answered that already, huh? :)Would you be in ministry even if you weren’t married to a preacher? 3 years ago, I would have said… “I don’t know”. Now, if Chris died, I would continue at this church as their pastor if they let me (and I believe they would). So, yes, I would. Absolutely.

How would going back to school effect your ministry and those who you are currently serving? Good question, I guess I think the biggest help would be long term in that even though it’s a small church, we would have a better chance of staying here if I had alternative income as well as what we both make preaching. As far as the effect of the extra time, I am truly unsure. But, if it’s what God wants, that will work out.

As far as a greater Theological Degree, do you really need that for God to use you in the capacity that he has chosen to use you in? You can always read and study yourself to improve in your Theological studies. Now if you felt lead to teach in a college setting etc., then yes you would need the further studies and degrees. Very true, I am just trying to reconcile my two halves I guess.

Other questions to ask yourself as far as returning to school for your Graphics Degree are…How would you use your degree and what jobs are available in your area to use your degree? I believe that I would be able to find something. When I first moved here was when I applied for the job that I wrote about. I could always work at a paper and they are everywhere. I would use my degree to pay off our huge loans that we already have from Bible college that we haven’t been able to even touch with our current salary. But I really feel called to do graphic design for church plants or other small churches that can’t afford to pay a graphic designer. Churches that could greatly benefit from a face-lift to the community so to speak. I want to be able to this for them at cost or on a sliding scale fee system. Very cheaply at least.

If your interests are really in photography, why waste money on a design graphics degree. Wouldn’t it be better to put that money towards something you really love, photography classes and equipment? That is what I am considering at the moment, but I think your questions have made me realize the answer. The photography would be loads of fun, but it wouldn’t get me the rest of the training I need in order to do what I really want – cheap design for small churches.

Can you afford to return to school without it putting to much financial strain on your marriage? Um…I can’t afford it without more loans, but we have so many already that getting the training to actually get a real job would actually be putting us ahead. If I start in the fall, it would defer my undergrad loans till I’m done and could get a job and hopefully finally make some progress on all our loans. I know it’s not the best plan, but I don’t see any other way of getting out of where we are. We just don’t get paid enough. I pray our church will grow, but I must be patient. All things in God’s time. Maybe this waiting time is the right time to take the action needed for me to be comfortable and confident with my skills.

Also write out the pros and cons of how going back to school would effect your family time and time spent with your children, church time, personal time. When would you do your classes, projects and work outside the home? Would the greater stress be more harmful to you emotionally right now with the depression? or would it be your escape? Yes, very good things to do. I think that it would be helpful to be going somewhere. It would be added stress as well, though. I have to figure out which would be better. These last questions are great ones to pray over.

Just some things to really think about and talk out with your hubby. I know I have raised more questions than I have given any answers for, but they are things that you need to figure out before you make any decisions that effect your whole family.

I appreciate your thoughtful and thorough response more than you can know. Thank you.

It was so funny to read your post today as I just finished praying for you gals struggling with depression and low self esteem. Praying that God would make Himself very real to you, that you can see yourself as Christ sees you and that you would be encouraged in some way today by Him. My heart feels for you all as you struggle with these issues on a daily basis. You all have giftings and callings that God has placed within each of you and I know Satan is out to destroy what God has placed within you. Don’t let him! If you have never taken a Spiritual Inventory Test I encourage you to take one. If you don’t know where to go email me and I can point you to a good one. It is a place to start to see where your strengths are at and also what areas you can work on strengthening. If you are doing things outside of your giftings it will be a constant struggle for you. If you have the gift of helps but find you are constantly stuck in a teaching position within the church body it will be a struggle for you or visa-versa. Find your niche, where your strengths are and let God use you there first. Then let him help you grow in these other areas. Great advice! I have taken several of those tests, but I bet now would be a great time to retake one and go over the results again.

I pray that some how this posting encourages you. God does want you to walk in victory….that doesn’t mean you won’t have days that you struggle, but He will help you overcome!

Thanks again to my friend and her encouraging and thoughtful words, challenging questions and above all the prayers!

My January has been full and bumpy. I think I have the winter blahs and I think I always get them in January. I’m going to have to pay attention next year and see if it happens again. I remember last January was like this. Anyways, I’ve kinda let everything slide, including the blog, of course. I haven;t even been keeping up with all the blogs I normally read. I haven’t even been online like I usually am. I’ve been online, but not really doing anything, I guess. I kinda surf the internet with glazed eyes. I feel like I’m walking around with glazed eyes this month, too. I hope that February gets better.

That’s not what I think I’m going crazy about, though. My hubby started his masters this past September and since then I have been loudly objecting to his suggestions that I do the same. In fact, I think I was objecting more to the voice inside my head than him. He didn’t actually mention it very many times. Well, now I’ve decided that I can do it. If he can do it, I can. And why shouldn’t I? Actually there are lots of reasons I should. His degree will be useless monetarily, while mine would actually get me a decent job so I could pay off all of our student loans (undergrad and grad). At least, hopefully. I am terribly competitive and I guess I have to see that someone else can handle it before I believe I could handle it, too. I did that when we got licensed. I had no plans to do it, but then it just kinda happened! I’m a follower that way I guess.

Another good reason to do it would be that I’m online so much, I may as well have a good reason because that is the only way that I would be willing to go school at this point. Also, I would be getting my degree at just about the perfect time for me to go back to full-time work. It’s a three year degree and I would finish as my youngest completes kindergarten.

I am a little torn as to what my major should be, though. I’d like to complete my graphic design degree. My undergrad was in Christian studies. It was like two half degrees in church planting and graphic design. I transferred a bunch of design classes into my Bible college degree. So, the graphic design side has been pretty useless because I only have some of the knowledge I need and I lack the confidence to try to get a job. I had one interview and I felt so completely lacking, that I never tried again. And it was only at a company that does telephone directories. I need more classes mostly to boost my confidence. However, I would love to do photography. I love photography, but I lack decent equipment. I would have to get the equipment with that degree, though. And it would be loads of fun! I have less chance of a good paying job in my area, though, I think. My last quandry is how to make an art degree fit with my pastoral self. I feel led to do both. I have since I was at Bible college and finally decided on my major there. But, making it fit together and be something that unites my inner self has been difficult. I am passionate about both. Preaching will always be first because I feel a stronger call to that, but design isn’t far behind. I know God wants me to use both for his purposes. I just wish it were all a little clearer.

I’m looking at the Academy of Art University’s online classes. They are located in San Francisco.

Any thoughts?

The last couple of days I’ve been kind of in a fog. I’m not sure why. Today I am just really in a funk. I think that is because the weather is just blah. It’s rainy and dark. I like the sun! I need the sun! I feed off of the sun! (Literally – I need that vitamin D!) Today I also had to pay a huge bill that we couldn’t really afford to pay, but we did anyway. And we didn’t even really pay it. I mean we paid it with extra school loan money, so doesn’t that just make really paying it delayed? Our finances can be frustrating. I always try to remind myself that if we had more money, we would spend more money, so we would still have issues. It’s true. That does make me feel a little better somehow.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I feel like I should think on happy things. So, I will turn this bill paying around and look at the happy side. The bill now has a way lower percentage rate! It is also not looming over us because we won’t have to pay it back until 6 months after Chris graduates with his masters degree. That’s at least 3 years from now. That is very good news! I guess it’s all about the details. The overall picture may look bleak, but I can’t go borrowing tomorrow’s troubles, can I? For today, we have one less bill to worry about. Yippee!

Tomorrow we will be going to my mom’s house for Thanksgiving and to celebrate all the December birthdays in my family. Hubby, Princess and my brother are all turning a year older next month. We decided to celebrate early so that it’s more of a birthday celebration. Of course, originally it was supposed to be separate from all holiday celebrations, but that didn’t work out. It should be fun, though. I’m looking forward to a relaxing day stuffing myself with turkey. I really hope we have leftover turkey, too. I love cold turkey sandwiches. Yum! Well, I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!

I am so tired! This past week has been crazy! (Which is why I haven’t been posting anything.) I was cleaning my house like crazy because my in-laws came on Thursday. I had to preach this Sunday and we had Little Man’s 3rd birthday party today after church. My hubby is napping right now, but I decided not to because when I took a nap on Thursday, I slept for 5 hours! I would like to sleep tonight. But I am exhausted. I will be glad when everything settles into the normal fall routine. Well, it won’t actually be normal. Little Man starts Head Start this year. He and Princess will be in the same class. Princess is 16 days too young to go to Kindergarten this year. It will be good for Little Man to have his sister the first year. They will have 4 half days of school per week.

I’ll miss them both, but I plan on making good use of that time! I plan on dropping them off at the bus and then doing devotions. I’ve been doing them at night, but I think the morning would be better. Usually, I would get on the computer, but Chris has started his Masters and he’ll be up and doing that online in the mornings. Which will be good because it will make me do other, more productive things with my free time.

Oh! In other news, both Chris and I passed our ordination exams. In November, we will have interviews. That is the last step. Hopefully, all will go well. I look forward to that being over, too. The test was probably the worst part, so it was a great relief to find out last week that we passed.

So, all in all, I’m glad the summer is over. It’s been so hectic!