To Learn

Life doesn’t always go as we’ve expected, or as we’ve planned. There’s that saying “God looks at your plans and then laughs”. I’m not so sure how I feel about that, but pieces of it ring true. I’ve been on a journey this year, really since facilitating the “Dare to Lead” class at church. I’ve tried to be open to God’s continued call for my life, and have looked for the subtle clues He places before me.

Back in March I had the opportunity to attend a Counselor breakfast hosted by my alma mater for high school counselors in the metro Indy area. I love those events, partially because I love talking about OWU and getting to know new people. I sat next to a very friendly counselor from Brebeuf and we talked a long time about his OWU questions and about how I ended up at Tapestry and in youth ministry. Something in this conversation just clicked for me.

So I started researching school counseling masters programs. What was out there, could I do that and still keep my job, and could I make it work for Fall 2019??? Butler had the best program for me, but their application deadline had already passed. On a whim, I asked if their cohort still had space and it did. So I applied a week or so later, pulled together some recommendations from parents, former Admissions colleagues, and one of my youth ministry peers. It could work. I played the waiting game and was asked to interview, which went really well, and then I waited some more.

But I got my admittance letter and was over the moon. This was where I felt my passion was meeting the needs of the world, where I could give back and use my talents in a field where all too often we pigeon-hole young people into college as their only option. My time at Tapestry has taught me a lot about vocation and calling and the variety of “right fit” for individual youth. It’s not one size fits all. And I think we need to do a better job of helping our young people see that.

So this Fall I will start a 3 year program while continuing to work at Tapestry. I can’t say what the future holds for sure or where exactly this journey will take me. But I’m excited to be back in a learning environment. And I’m thankful to feel like I have a new sense of direction. Here’s to figuring it all out, one day at a time.


The phone rang. I knew the number, I knew what the conversation would be about. And instead of instantly sending it to voicemail I merely silenced it this time. And then a switch flipped in my brain and I said, “what the hell, I’ll answer it”. And I did. “Hello, this is ___________ from Ohio Wesleyan, how are you this evening?” And so it began.

I have a love/hate relationship with my alma mater. Okay, really it’s love-80/hate-20 relationship. I met some of my best friends there, learned a lot about who I am, and cultivated my outlook on life. I have wonderful (memorable) stories, and memorable (not so wonderful) stories. But OWU holds more than just my college days, it holds a part of my career start. My first full time gig, even though I knew it was temporary. And those memories and lessons are priceless in their own way.

But back to this phone call. I knew it would be about money. I can identify the call source by the phone number. The first 6 digits denote an OWU number. The last four numbers show the specific office. -2024. That’s the call center. I used to work the call center as a student, on the Admissions/Recruiting side. But, as I am not currently a prospective student (nor am I supporting a prospective student) I knew it would be the annual giving side.

I have an agreement with myself that I won’t give to my alma mater. Nothing against the institution, I have made it a point that until I pay off my student loans (really, it’s paying off the cost of attending The ‘Wu) I won’t give financially to them. I’ve given back to the community in other ways: helped with Admissions events in Indy, called families of prospective students, sent supplies to my sorority for recruitment. But money won’t happen until my student loans are at zero.

That was until this college sophomore started talking to me. He was a quick speaker, so I didn’t catch his name. But I can tell you they trained him well. He connected with me on our interest in religion and passion for Youth Ministry. “This won’t work,” I thought. “He won’t rope me in”. And then he had the nerve to say, “I’m actually in a religion class right now, I wonder if you ever had this professor…” I doubt it. There can’t be many of the same professors. “It’s a class on Ethics with..” <beat> “…Dr. Twesigye.” Dammit. How did this kid know that would seal the deal?

Dr. Emmanuel Twesigye is one of the most unique (that’s putting it lightly) professors I have ever had. Short in stature, big in social and moral compass. Forced to flee Uganda during the reign of Idi Amin, he is one of the most inspirational people I have ever met, though you may just write him off as a crazed evangelist from first glance.

What I learned in his classes had little to do with reference material or scholarly works. But it had everything to do with digging deeper, questioning, debating, and looking at different points of view. Sometimes, there were cultural barriers in the way he taught. Often times he made me laugh without meaning to be funny. But he made me think in ways that were counter to my everyday thought processes. And that is something that is priceless.

Some of my favorite Twesigye memories include the following:

“Why do you think Babe thought about commuting suicide?” Definitely not something I had ever thought about when watching Babe. But now it’s something I’ll never forget.

“Oh, you are drinking Passion Tea! Does it give you passion.” I have never seen Sam Chesser and Greylyn Hydinger laugh as hard as I did in this moment.

“Oh, PG-18..” well, you see there is PG-13 and NC-17 but…well never mind.

His love for Tillich will always be the source of my connection to Tillich.

When we impersonated our Religion Professors for the Religion Department t-shirts I knew there was only one person I could be. I make a pretty good white, female Twesigye. I have the shirt to prove it.

Long story short, I told that sophomore student to send me a link so I could make a donation online. I am breaking my rule, but Twesigye is worth it.

In the nick of time…

About two and a half years ago, my sisters and I were spit-balling ideas for our parents for Christmas.  They are often difficult to buy for, especially since they didn’t need more “stuff”.  And then I got an idea: pictures.  We hadn’t done any kind of family portraits with all five of us since…our Olan Mills days?  And we for sure hadn’t had Josh in any with us.  Good photography can beis expensive.  It’s one of those things that I think you really do need to splurge for, if you want a good end result.

I wracked my brain, how were we going to pay for photos?  Even with all four of us kids pitching in, I wasn’t sure we’d get the effect we wanted.  Until I thought of Chelsea.

Chelsea and I attended OWU at the same time I did, she was a freshman when I was a senior.  The funny thing, I think, is that I actually met her mother and brother before I actually met her.  See, I was working as an intern in the Admissions Office at the time, and I helped at an event in Indy that OWU was hosting.  And her brother was there as a “prospective student”.  To be candid, he wasn’t ever seriously considering our school, but it was free food and it helped the event to have a current student’s parent present for questions.  Chelsea’s mother was quick to learn that I had a car on campus and set up our first meeting–carpooling home for…Thanksgiving break (right, Chels?)

We were quick friends based on our love of Starbucks, good music, and unbelievable abilities to hold an endless conversation with a seemingly complete stranger.  What more could you want?  That year I gave Chelsea many rides home, and the following year as well as I returned to OWU to fill a temporary position in the Admissions Office.

She has been one of my closest friends here in Indy. Someone close geographically that understands my longing for HamboInn and Amato’s. And at Christmas time two years ago she was a Godsend. Chelsea has her BFA and is a professional Art Therapist, and she is super talented in many of the arts. But one of my favorites is her photography. So she agreed and trekked with us to Nashville, IN and took photo after photo of the 6 of us. I will forever be grateful for this kindness and the resulting memories in my mind, my heart, and captured in print.

They offer me of tiny glimpses of silliness, joy, togetherness, and love. And those moments are so dear.