Today is my second (official) day of work as the interim Chaplain at Otterbein University. I’ve met a bajillion staff members (in round numbers), and have been introduced to about 12 students so far. I only remember one name. Oops. Some of my encounters have been easy, comfortable; with others, I‘ve felt a little like the aunt you only see every other summer (unfamiliar, but someone you’re supposed to be happy to see). So, for this first blog post, I will tell you a bit about me. I may still be a stranger, but at least you’ll know something about me while I am learning about you.
I grew up in Bowling Green, Ohio. My dad was on the faculty at BGSU (Industrial Organizational Psychology), and my mom was a perpetual motion volunteer for nearly every organization. I have two older brothers, and two older sisters, with a big gap between them and me. My mom was 43 when I was born. I frequently have nightmares in which I am the mother of a six year old, and then I call my mom and thank her.
I am married. My husband, Eric is a musician, and my Very Best Friend. We have three kids who are Practically Perfect. Heather is a graduate of BGSU and is a theatre educator in Rhode Island. She is married to Josh, who is a tech theatre director at a private school. Emily is a junior at BGSU in nursing. Wesley is in eighth grade. My kids have been a huge influence. Because of them, I became a fan of Firefly, Doctor Who, and Marvel Comics movies (Iron Man is my favorite), and listen to Ben Folds, Ingrid Michaelson, Mumford & Sons and other various and lesser known artists. I also like Irish music, jazz, classical, and other various friends and mutants.
I am an ordained United Methodist minister. I went to Boston University and graduated in 1993 with a Masters in Divinity with a focus on campus ministry. I was ordained a deacon in 1993 and an elder in 1995. I served as a youth pastor, a co-pastor, an associate pastor and as a solo pastor. Somewhere around 2005, I realized that I had been appointed farther and farther away from the college campus, so I began to explore the possibility of going back to school. This past May I graduated from Ohio State with a PhD in Higher Education, which means I have a license to be pretentious about a couple of things, and am very passionate about others.
I like color, and silliness, and whimsy. My spirituality reflects this, and I connect with God through stories, music, art, and community. I am a Christian, but i really want to be everyone’s chaplain. I believe the goal of the chaplain is to give you the tools you need to be a better whatever you are. So if you're Muslim, Jewish, Agnostic, or None, I will do everything I can to help you find what you need. If you’ve the need to talk, to be still, to be heard, to blow bubbles or play with silly putty, my office is open. I will always have meatloaf and salad available (and the stories to explain that)!!
One of my jobs this year is to find out what the Otterbein University community wants in a chaplain, so I hope to talk with lots of people in the first few months. Don’t be surprised if I show up to practice, or rehearsal, or class or the cafeteria to get to know you and get a sense of the place. I've heard wonderful things about the students here. One administrator came to work for a couple of years but stayed decades because of Otterbein students. That's pretty impressive!
This blog will be for whatever seems to be in my mind in any given week. Some of it will be serious, some will be fairly silly. I really do hope for your feedback, and am looking forward to meeting you in person. Peace to you!