Goodbyes, Hellos, and New Projects… What a Strange Summer it Has Been.

Where to start, where to start? I’ve been way far away from this site this summer, and many of the things that I planned to write this summer have been postponed or put on hold. Slowly, very slowly, I feel like I’m coming out of a sort of hibernation. For the past six weeks or so, I’ve been able to do the necessities of job and home, but nothing extra. No extra writing, no hobbies, just work and family and sleep. It feels good to be able to start to add some of those things. I actually cleaned out a drawer the other day. Progress! I feel a bit like a butterfly coming out of a cocoon or a bear coming out of a cave!  This site isn’t usually a personal diary of sorts, but I felt like there was just so much going on that a little “here’s the news” would be great before diving in to lots of new articles and such (and boy are there a lot in my ‘drafts’ folder! Lots to look for!)  So here goes…
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Saying Goodbye
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Priceless selfie! Traci & Kelly

This Summer I said goodbye to Kelly who was a dear friend, mentor, and colleague. The last post that I put on this blog over a month ago was a copy of the remarks I said at her memorial service. Her sudden death, at just 50 years old, has been a life challenge I’m still working through. The only way to describe it has been to say that it feels like getting booted out of orbit and flung in to outer space. I count Kelly among life’s greatest friends, and she was also a mentor to me in ministry. Some day I will post about the common sense lessons she taught me, because she was an incredibly gifted minister and her wisdom helps me on a near daily basis. Kelly and I were presenting together at a conference the week that she had her sudden stroke, and we had spent a lot of time together that week, walking the labyrinth, talking about life, sharing plans for the coming year, years, and decades. It was a privilege to be with her through those dark moments of illness and confusion, though it was obviously unimaginably difficult. I am grateful for that time and for every single moment I was able to spend with her. I continue to miss her terribly, and will for a long time, I suspect. I continue to pray for her family and those closest to her. See you soon, Kelly.
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Waving Hello 
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Hello, little baby!

Just twelve days after I said goodbye to Kelly and in the very same hospital, Elias and I heard the heartbeat of a new baby boy or girl that we are expecting to welcome some time at the end of January(ish). (After two babies who took their own sweet time to arrive, I think I will hold off on predicting actual dates.) Elias and I have gone back and forth wondering and dreaming about how many children we would parent, and we are beyond excited to be expecting this new little one. Clayton (5) and Samuel (4) are thrilled as well and can’t wait for a new brother or sister. Point of clarification: we are not “hoping for a girl this time.” We are praying for a happy, healthy baby. This new life, while an amazing joy, is also a big part of the reason I’ve been “off the grid” recently. In both of my first two pregnancies, the first trimester was the most challenging. This time, though, the challenge has risen to a whole new level. Lots of nausea, vomiting, and going to bed at 8 pm (or earlier!). I’ve finally gotten the medication that seems to work well, and the baby is growing big enough that I feel much better. Excited to feel more like myself again. Much more to come, I’m sure!
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New Adventures for Seamless Faith 
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Getting ready for a new edition!

Finally, this summer Chalice Press and I agreed to re-release Seamless Faith with new activities, a new  (super exciting!) forward, bonus materials and more. I have been working on it a teeny bit so far, but am planning to do the bulk of the re-writing in August while I’m on vacation from church. Y’all, I can’t wait! Not only do I think the re-release will be just as awesome for churches and individuals who want to practice faith at home, it’s going to be even better. Much more on this to come, but I wanted to throw it out there for a couple of reasons: 1. If you really are attached to this version time to buy it now because it will be going away. (New version won’t be out until March or April, so if you need ’em for baptisms or whatever, I’d suggest getting the current version). 2. I really want to know what fun ideas you have or activities and faith practices you’ve wanted to see included. Please comment on this post or drop by Facebook, and let me know what you’d like to see in the new version! Now’s your chance to influence the new version. Stay tuned for all sorts of fun info about the re-release. Yippee!
In sum, the following image is me, about to wake up. Look out world.
Nap time for Yogi