This Bird Does It

Librarian ramblings

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Sunday night, quiet night

Life is so busy! Two middle schoolers and an elementary kid, the different scout groups, two full time jobs. BUSY! But just a minute this Sunday night, it’s calm. There are chores that still need done, and plans that need made, but for just a minute…

Saying a prayer. So many prayers really. Peace be with you.


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The Unexpected Cherry Doughnut


20180412_110122This morning after chapel, I joined our Trinity community for coffee and doughnuts and “community time.” I love when I can sneak out of the library for a little while and participate in these times on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. This week is especially sweet as the interns who are serving two full years away from campus are visiting for a week of intensive classwork. I grabbed the biggest mug I have and headed downstairs. I looked over the doughnut options and chose what I thought was just a glazed cake (or maybe sour cream) doughnut and set to chatting. When I got around to biting into the treat, I found that it was actually a cherry cake doughnut. That was TOTALLY not what I was expecting. I thought about throwing it away, looked to give it away, maybe break it in half to put half back? Then I noticed that it wasn’t half bad. I mean, it wasn’t something I’d have ever chosen, and it completely shocked me that I didn’t hate it. I took another bite and it began to grow on me. It took a few more bites for me to completely kick the shock of cherry with each mouthful.

On Monday the Columbus Dispatch ran an article about us. If you’d like to read it, fine, but the upshot is that Trinity is merging with Capital and we had to in order to survive. It goes on about how theological education enrollment is down because church attendance is down, and really seminaries just can’t survive on their own anywhere.

This is not the article we thought they were going to write. It’s not that there’s anything factually incorrect included. It’s just that, well, our lived experience of this merger is so much more. SO much more. Often painful, sometimes funny, occasionally tragic, but rarely hopeless, this merger is SO much more than a financial necessity. So, I just wanted to share some of that.

When Trinity’s “reunion” with Capital University was announced in October of 2016, it was a bit like biting into that cherry doughnut. It was NOT what I’d expected when I took the job just a few months before. Then there was the a much longer than expected adjustment period. There were some painful moments during that time, and for some of our community, that’s where the story ends. Whether they decided to throw out the doughnut, or someone just came and took it away, they are not employed by Capital University at this point and that is tragic.

But for those of us still here, this moment is hopeful. There are still many hiccups in this process. Yesterday, for example, I learned that all the computers in the library will be obsolete when the new network gets turned on next month. Didn’t know we were supposed to be working on getting new computers, but now I do, and we’re working on it. We’ll get the problem solved. Some student workers are still figuring out how to get paid because they work jobs that literally didn’t exist for Capital before they acquired a seminary. That too is getting solved. Today we’re trying to figure out the best way to order paper because the seminary no longer just orders a big bunch and we all take what we need. Instead it has to be ordered under the correct budget center. We’ll figure it out.

29570947_1677205795704082_538887565932537462_nThe big news, the big BIG news, though, has nothing to do with computers, or paychecks, or paper. The BIG news is that we are still here forming leaders for Christ’s church at work in the world. We have a new dean, Trinity’s first dean. She’s the first dean, but she comes as the next leader in a long procession of leaders who have worked to guide this institution. And she’s the first woman to do that here. That’s BIG! Want to know more about Dean Kleinhans and her thoughts on theological education? Watch her address after the installation last Tuesday night.

The installation was really lovely. It was more moving than I’d expected, and wonderful to have the family all together. We missed those lost members of the community who did not come back to celebrate this moment, though we understood their absence. But for today’s Trinity, we got one great shot of us together. This is Trinity at THIS moment, for good of for ill, HERE WE ARE!

Students who come to Trinity next year will have a certainty to their experience that the last several classes did not experience. With the constant effort of the faculty and staff working at it, we will level out the highs and lows, the unknowns, and the turbulence of transition. There will be more hiccups because that’s how it goes with institutions made up of humans. There will be more hurts, and more stumbles, and we will, none of us, do our job perfectly each step of the way. But we are hopeful! We know we can do this new thing God is pushing us to do, and we are actively and constantly looking for ways we’re being called to do it! We will form more leaders for Christ’s church at work in the world!

I keep saying that I’m on this train and it’s leaving the station. Really, I’m just settling in to eat a cherry doughnut. It’s the doughnut I picked up and it’s tasty, and let’s do this. I am all in with Trinity Lutheran Seminary at Capital University. I don’t see any value for our students in a librarian who holds back. I will keep doing my very best to provide the resources they need from the library to be formed into leaders for Christ’s church. I will use all the tools at my disposal as a branch of the Capital University library system. I know that the staff who make up Trinity today will keep doing the same.

Then maybe next week I’ll blog about something else for a change. ūüėČ

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I’ve been writing about these MOMENTS, these snapshots of life in stokes that try to capture a piece of actual life, but seem light on details.

Well, today was ALL about the details! Such A DAY! Nothing traumatic. Everyone is still healthy and happy, and generally just okay. But SHEESH.

It started when I broke my shoe within five minutes of arriving at work. I guess I’d fallen into a bit of a routine, or a lull, with mornings. Most mornings the middle kid gets himself up and out the door before the other two get up. Then those two get up, get themselves breakfast and Chad and I each get one to school. It’s low stress and fairly calm. I have a half hour drive to work, but I listen to talk radio and catch up on the world. I get to work and make another cup of coffee before I hunker down to get some projects done. Fridays, especially, are great because I’ve got full student coverage on the Circ Desk all day. I can just hide in my office and get things done. Breaking my shoe was NOT in the plan.


I kicked both sandals off, but going barefoot at work was just not going to work for me. Students often walk around there barefoot, but it’s my workplace. I just couldn’t pull it off. AmazonNow to the rescue! I ordered a pair of Teva flip flops and a frozen Amy’s Kitchen dish for lunch and had them within an hour. I guess I’m pretty blessed to be able to do that. The sandals arrived and they were a bit tight, but they got me through most of the day and they’ll be the girl’s pool shoes next summer.

At midmorning I got a notification on my phone that my Pending Fuel Purchase would finalize in 1-3 days. Well, since I was reasonably sure I was sitting at my desk and not standing at a gas pump, I shot a message to my bank’s support staff. When they got back to me, they said there had been an attempted gas purchase in Pompano Beach, Florida. If I was sure it wasn’t me (yup, still pretty sure), they’d put a hold on my account and issue a new account. Done. But I can’t use my card now until the new one arrives. Thankfully I have other ways to access cash until the it’s sorted out. What if I’d been a single parent with crappy credit and no access to any other account or credit?

When the too-tight flip flops started really bugging me, I emailed my boss and let her know I was bugging out of there to go find some better shoes. She told me to be gone and complimented my resourcefulness for ordering from AmazonNow. Well, she said she was impressed I thought of it. Same thing, right? So, I headed out and went straight to TJMaxx to see if I could score a pair to replace the broken pair. I bought a completely different pair, but got out of the pinching sandals. Yeah, but I locked my keys in the car in the process.

No sweat. I’ve got a phone, a smart phone even. And AAA. Opened the app and summoned help. Yeah, I had to shop a little more and then head over to Wendy’s for a snack. Found a great pair of pants, a couple cute tops to get through this transition to fall, and that pair of loafers I mentioned. It was annoying, but it wasn’t raining, snowing, windy, too hot, too cold. I relished a little alone time. My kids were all safe.

Picked up the youngest kid from Matt and Ray’s and headed home to feed the gang. We were down a kid since the middle kid went to the high school football game with the family of his buddy. Friday night means pizza, right? Of course. Tied to order from Papa John’s but apparently our regular store has decided not to deliver to this area. I’ll spare you the whole story, but 30 minutes, two online attempts, and four different phone calls later and I still didn’t have any pizzas on the way. Finally jumped in the car and picked up Little Caesar’s. Done.

There were a dozen other little mishaps, none of which amount to any real hardship, all of which are simply new twists on First World Problems. It’s so easy to forget that, though. My freaking shoe broke. How spoiled are we that these things seem like annoyances? I didn’t even have to go an hour without a shoe. The worst part was walking on the bathroom floor minutes after it had been cleaned. It was cold and damp, BECAUSE IT WAS CLEAN! What kind of whiner complains about THAT? And I locked my keys in my car. My working, reliable (knock wood) car that was unlocked in an hour and a half by the nice man from AAA.

And I couldn’t get the pizza delivered. I had to get in my (working reliable) car and drive two miles to the store and buy pizza for the family.

They all seemed like annoying things, frustrating things, obnoxious things when they were happening. Right now, though, all I can think is that none of that is a big deal. So what? It’s a pretty sweet deal I’ve got going on. I guess the thing to do is go make another donation to Hurricane Relief. Might as well spread the blessings, no?

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Another moment

img_0878.pngHere we are, another moment I don’t want to forget. As usual, it’s way busier than I imagined, and I don’t know how I’ll slow down enough to imprint the whole thing on my heart and remember the details. Maybe writing a few things down will help. Yeah, I’ve been having that thought for the last two weeks and there’s never been a second to stop and write. This is how I find myself standing at the kitchen counter cooking dinner waiting for the washer to ding, shouting directions to the oldest child who is gathering her school supplies, and wondering how I came to have three children in three schools.

That’s the current situation. I’ve got three in three schools. I knew the day would come, but I thought it would just be one year, it will be two. That’s okay because the opportunity for the middle kid is amazing. He’s not only going to be attending a smaller school with a different pedagogical concept that his teachers are wildly excited about, but he’s going to be going to a school that his sister has NEVER attended. He’s been one step behind her his entire life. This is his first opportunity to do something different. Besides Scouts, and even that she has been involved with, he’s never had this chance.

But three kids in three schools! I knew there would be three schedules to juggle, three school lists to deal with, three locations to manage rides to. What I didn’t count on was the managing of three sets of personalities. Three administrations. Three sets of fellow parents. Three PTAs. Well, two PTAs and one PTSA. Yeah, and I lost my mind and volunteered to be Vice President of the PTSA. Vice President means next year I have to be President. I can do this. Sure, I can. But MAN, that’s another ball to juggle.

And elementary school!? I’m kinda over it. I know I shouldn’t be, but I am. The good friends I made when the big kids started, are all moving on to middle school, and I am, too, but there’s one foot still in elementary school because of the littlest Cucksey. He’s got FIVE years to go in elementary school. He deserves the same involvement and emotional commitment the other kids got. It’s just hard to maintain that level of excitement for fourteen years straight.

And this full time job thing? It’s great! It’s amazing! I LOVE what I’m doing, where I work, warts and all. But it is definitely complicating family life. The kids have mostly been troopers. The big kids have spent a lot of time unsupervised and the little guy goes to work with me. The grandparents have taken one or more on many occasions, and we’ve generally just limped along this summer without having to pay for any child care. That’s a blessing for sure. And now that school is starting, I’ve actually secured after-school care for the little guy from one of my very favorite families in the world. It’s gonna be fabulous. Thanks, Ray!

Yeah, this is a moment. I’ve been working full time since July, and things are going fairly well, but it’s controlled chaos. Tomorrow we add school back into the mix. Not just a dash, or a pinch of school. THREE DIFFERENT schools. I don’t know how things are going to turn out. I don’t know if we made the right choice to send the middle kid to Phoenix Middle. I don’t know if I can even keep up with it all. But we’re going to give it a go because that’s what you do, right? Plowing forward with confidence and prayers. That’s all I can do.

I’ve been writing as the kids ate dinner. I put a few more lines in after I tucked in the littlest guy. I cleaned up the kitchen and edited another paragraph. I’ve been working on this while going about the night before back-to-school things all evening. Now it’s nearly midnight and the kids are all quiet. The news is over and the late night comedians are going strong. I will turn out the light shortly and blink before it’s three or four o’clock in the morning, then suddenly the alarm will be going off at six.

This moment is passing before I can even record it. Tomorrow I will have an eighth grader, a seventh grader, and a second grader. Tomorrow will be a busy day at work, and then rushing around gathering children and feeding them, finding out how the first day went. I hope I’ll be able to take a second and breathe it in. If not, at least I’ve got this moment.

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This Liminal Moment

Before I go any further, let me just tell you that I spent nearly an hour writing this blog post on Friday, only to have it sucked into the ether because the page had never loaded properly and therefore wasn’t auto saving. My mistake, for sure, but the great frustration of it all made me put away the Chromebook and bag it for a few days.

I can’t just let it go, though. This is a moment that I really want to note. Thursday was a work day unlike any I’m ever likely to experience again. Today, these five days of holiday before the new thing, is a liminal moment if ever there was one, for me, for Trinity Lutheran Seminary, and for Hamma Library. “Liminal” is such a great word, isn’t it? The second definition in the OED says “occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold.” It’s spacial, but also metaphorical. It’s the word for “almost, but not yet” or “what was is no more, but what will be is not yet.”

Thursday was the last working day for many at Trinity Lutheran Seminary. Every single person who worked their last day was a good and faithful servant to Trinity and it’s mission. Every one of them had stayed to the end, even with plenty of notice that their jobs were ending. A few had small bonuses coming to them, for years of service, but others didn’t. Still they had stayed. That says something about these people, I think. I am not leaving. In case you haven’t seen my other social media posts, my job is secure for another six months, and even full time. I am now Interim Assistant Director – Hamma Library. I’d been so busy convincing them to let me stay, I hadn’t expected what it would feel like to watch the others leave.

There was to be a gathering at someone’s home on Thursday evening, beginning at 6:00 p.m. Though I was scheduled to work just until 5:00 p.m. I figured I’d just hang around and then go to the gathering. What I hadn’t counted on was that that put me at the library, as each person finished cleaning out their office and left.

I spent most of the week accepting hand-offs. My office is littered with little piles of things handed to me with words like, “Hang on to this you’ll need it when…” or “Better file this somewhere. It’s important for…” Each hand-off carrying the weight of making this library run by myself, or at least “in collaboration with and under the direction of” Capital’s new library director. I CAN do this, of course, but it’s a pretty big bite for this new librarian to chew. I’m not ALL by myself, though. Late in the week we found out that one long time staff member, one who knows all sorts of important things about how things are done, one who can only be described as “the guts of the place,” will be staying part time. We’re both only contracted until December, but maybe by then we’ll be so efficient, and so smooth that the new director will see no reason to change anything but to keep us both as full time.

In early 2014 I showed up at Hamma as an enthusiastic library student. I’d completed just one year of my three years of course work. I was so welcomed, so nurtured by the wonderful people I found there. I cannot imagine that I’d be as prepared to take this on had I not had those very people around me, teaching me, encouraging me as I volunteered, then interred, and finally found employment there. I can’t ever thank them enough.

So, Thursday. Yeah, that was surreal. I watched as people left carrying boxes by the library doors and out into the parking lot, or stopped by to borrow a library cart to carry things to their car, cleaning out offices that had accumulated personal items for years. I helped the rest of the library staff finish clearing off computer drives, and sorting through file drawers. Then I walked each one out. When the last library staff person was leaving I met a regular patron at the door, though we’d been closed almost half an hour. He handed me a couple books he wanted to return and asked about the jobs. I told him I was staying, accepted his congratulations, and then turned back to the dark library. Thanks to our conscientious student who’d worked Thursday, the lights had all been turned out, the doors locked, things put to rights for closing. It was just quiet, still, and startlingly lonely.

20170629_174521.jpgThe late afternoon sun in June is plenty to see by, but it didn’t take away from the strange, eerie feel of the place. They were all gone. Only myself and one more would be back. My first inclination was to get to work. To set about cleaning out my office to prepare to move it, to get the files straight, to begin the work. No, it was time to go to that gathering, to feel the community that had been built around this place, and to share it again with these wonderful people. So, that’s what I did. I walked back to my office, which seemed garishly lit with the fluorescent bulbs, shut down my computer, turned out the lights and locked the door. I walked out of the library knowing there would be these five days of standing in the threshold before I can really get to work.

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Midsummer pause

There’s no real break in the action, and technically, it’s nowhere close to “mid” summer. Actually, we don’t even hit REAL summer for another week or so. But it feels like school has been out forever and this is the first moment there has been to sit down and reflect.

I still can’t give you much about my job. With 10 days to go, I’ve been invited to apply for the job I already hold (though on a part time basis now), with a description I practically wrote, and that literally NOBODY else given the posting will be interested in. I’m rather hopeful about my chances.

Besides the insanely long and drawn out process of figuring out what will happen with Hamma Library and my job, other things are going on in the world. So many other things. My little corner of chaos is so insignificant. I am so saddened by the continued deep divisions in our world. Our country continues to dig deeper into our polarized habits. We constantly discount the experiences and opinions of anyone we disagree with, often without even thinking about what the person is actually saying. You voted for Trump? You must be a racist, rich, conservative with no empathy for your fellow man. What? You’re upset by what Trump’s tweets? You have GOT to be some kind of bleeding heart liberal snowflake. End of conversation.

Like, really, END OF CONVERSATION. Anything said afterwards is just platitudes if we’re lucky, and more likely vitriol. We are so ruled by social media. I heard someone describe how we get information today as “through a fire hose.” So very true. It’s so much faster and with way more force than we could ever actually absorb. Then, because we cannot accept the input in that form, we pick and choose what to accept according to the dreaded “confirmation bias.” It’s a real thing. A real, really powerful thing. Anyone who tells you they have NO bias should terrify you.

I don’t know what the answer is. I keep researching more about how our brains work, how we are unable to avoid bias etc. I’m unable to find a way to gather news myself that doesn’t leave me even more terrified about our future. Yeah, there’s no doubt that I land on the liberal side of the spectrum, but I’m nowhere near the most liberal person you know. I know some folks who are about as far from center on the conservative side and they seem so very rational. So ready to get things done. Why is it then, that the only thing we hear from politicians is the extreme? Nothing is ever going to get done this way. EVER. If you listen to the Republicans, then the Democrats are just blocking progress. If you listen to the Democrats, than the Republicans are turning back the clock. In the meanwhile the “forgotten folks” is becoming a larger and larger class. I’m feeling pretty damn forgotten today. I hope we can rally the troops like those “forgotten folks” of 2016.

Nothing I’ve said can’t be found on the Internet in a million other places. There are hundreds of thousands of other Americans who feel this way. Why are we only whispering on the Internet? Probably because we’re the folks who don’t want to argue with our neighbors on Facebook. We aren’t willing to be labeled in anyway for our social media usage. (Okay, if you actually follow me, you probably would label me, and I can live with that.) We’re going to have to speak up, or the polarization is going to get worse, not better.

My children know. They know that there are these incredibly split sides. They obviously parrot a lot of what they hear their dad and I say, but they do think on their own. They ask questions that make me proud. I pray every single night that they never lose that! When did the rest of us lose that? When did we pick a side and just go with it? These aren’t sports teams, folks. Undying loyalty is extremely dangerous.

So, that’s what I’ve been thinking about. Not exactly earth shattering, as I’m sure there are thousands of us thinking the same things these days. We are all dealing with it in different ways. Some have become unexpected activists, making phone calls and rallying their friends. Some have completely tuned out, just ignoring the news and avoiding any Facebook post with a political bent. But there are some of us who are listening, but doing very little. I feel a bit like a watched pot. I’ll still boil, and the boil IS coming, but it’s just gonna seem like forever before the bubbles roll.

PhotoGrid_1497659563228Meanwhile, summer rolls on. I take a child to work most days, the other two stay home and do chores and watch many hours of TV. I sit outside until dusk, then hurry everyone to bed before it’s obscenely late. I worry about school supply lists and summer bridge homework. We grill. Man, I love to grill. I’m a privileged member of a privileged society. So, there’s that, too. It’s a good life full of blessings, but I want to find more, not less, ways to spread those blessings around.

And any free time I find, I read about Lutheran theologians. You know, because who isn’t fascinated by these old, dead, white guys?¬Į\_(„ÉĄ)_/¬Į


And lastly, I don’t want to close without acknowledging my friends in the LGBTQ+ community. I stand with you, friends. It’s Pride Week and I hope you feel celebrated! I’m still sad that such a celebration is even necessary and I look forward when being LGBTQ+ is just shrugged off like being a redhead, or a left hander. Different, but not so much. Just a different spot on the spectrum of human, of Child of God! My siblings in Christ, I love you, I see you, and I’m proud to be your ally.


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Baseball, cookouts, and parades!

I could keep writing about my job, but you don’t really want to hear any of that, do you? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Nothing new. Nothing to report. I’ll update when there’s something to share.

Instead, let me tell you how awesome our weekend was. Someday when I’m old and my children don’t bring my grandchildren around often enough, when I complain about the poor quality of music on the radio, when I’m just crotchety, THIS will be the weekend I’ll look back on and smile. Memorial Day Weekend 2017 was definitely a high point for this whole family adventure.

Friday was an unexpected day off for me, and a planned vacation day for my husband, so we ran some errands and generally tried to prepare for the weekend. We ended the day with the most delicious steaks on the grill, and gin and tonics on the patio.

Saturday morning I used the leftover ribeyes to make steak and eggs for everyone. Nothing like a massive dose of protein to fuel the troops for the day, right? The middle kid headed off to work on the parade float with his scout troop. We leisurely prepared for the afternoon and evening festivities. The littlest kid had a baseball game to kick off the season, complete with team pictures. Then we spent the evening at a neighbor’s cookout and then sipping beers around their fire pit while the kids from the neighborhood ran around and acted like a pack of kids loose on a summer night.

Sunday we took the dog for her first boarding adventure, then headed up to Cleveland to see the Indians play. We could not have had a better time. The kids were all well behaved, thoroughly enjoyed the game, and even the weather cooperated. At the end, Daddy took the littlest kid for a run around the bases! It’s hard to know which of them was most excited about that. The Indians won, 10-1! GO TRIBE!

Monday the weather was, again, PERFECT, and it’s time for the big Worthington Memorial Day Parade! This is truly one of my very favorite events of the year. Besides just being a wonderful way to remember the fallen heroes who make our cookouts and ballgames possible, I get to enjoy it on my own. Silly? Maybe, but I love it. All three kids and their dad march with scouts, so I get to wander the parade route looking for friends, taking pictures, and enjoying the scene. I love my town, and I love seeing so many different friends come out for the community event. I’m not scared to talk to strangers, either, so I did strike a few of those conversations, too. When it’s over, we meet at the Dairy Queen for ice cream. Can’t beat it!

After the parade, we headed to another favorite neighborhood family’s backyard for yet another cookout.

PhotoGrid_1496176226265Today, I’m back at work. Back to wondering how we’ll figure out the details of the summer. Back to wondering if I’ll have a job past June 30th. Today I’m harassing kids to do chores, thinking about dinner, looking for moments to throw in another load of laundry or empty the dishwasher. This weekend was glorious and I hope I can keep it’s feeling of family connectedness, community belonging, and pride in remembering why our nation is a wonderful place to live. I wish I could just wrap the whole thing up in a box to take out and hold when life gets too crazy. Maybe that’s a little of what I’m doing here.


Edited, Friday, May 12

Capital University announced yesterday that  Dr. Rachel Rubin, current director of Bexley Public Library, will be the new Director of Libraries and Information Services. She is supremely qualified and I’m sure will do great things for Capital’s Libraries!

Limbo. Merriam Webster says “a place or state of restraint or confinement,” or “a place or state of neglect or oblivion,” and “an intermediate or transitional place or state, a state of uncertainty.” We are definitely in that place. Several times since Easter, references have been made to that prolonged Holy Saturday. There is grief, uncertainty, restraint, but there WILL be rebirth, renewal, growth. Just not yet. Not knowing things is hard. We are in a place of almost, but not yet.


Every day I think about posting here, and every day I find a reason to keep my thoughts to myself. Turns out, most of my thoughts center around the future, in particular the future of Trinity Lutheran Seminary, it’s library, and how I may or may not fit into that future. I wouldn’t want to share too much of what runs around in my head, mostly because most of it is based on incomplete information gathered from rumors that don’t need to be passed on, or assumptions that may just be incorrect. We’ve been given precious few facts and I’ve got thoughts that shouldn’t be shared about THAT, too.

Every day someone asks me what’s going on with my job, so here’s what I can share. All current positions in Hamma Library will be eliminated June 30th. Our director has secured employment elsewhere (Congrats, Evan!) and so his last day is May 26th. A new Director of Libraries will be hired by Capital University and Hamma will fall under that person’s direction. We expect an announcement concerning that hire any minute. Hamma Library will become a branch of Capital’s Blackmore Library and the new director will then have to decide what to do to keep Hamma running. There will be positions here to do that, but we have no real details on those positions. I will, of course, apply for one of those positions, but without details, I don’t even know for sure that I’m qualified. The other staff whose jobs are being eliminated are examining their possible paths. Some have decided to retire, others are looking for other opportunities, and at least one more is still unsure. We anxiously await the hiring of the new director.

In the meanwhile I’ve spent countless hours examining what I really WANT to happen. I have all sorts of crazy plans with minutia figured out, but none of them are really that important. I have concluded that I’m less concerned with the minutia than the big picture. Here are my wish priorities, with regard to my career future, in this order:

  • To secure employment as a professional librarian utilizing my MLIS
  • To find full-time employment, with benefits to include paid time off, retirement savings, and health insurance that includes vision at a minimum, and possibly tuition benefits for myself and dependents
  • To remain in an academic library setting
  • To remain at Capital/Trinity as a professional librarian with responsibilities including theology reference and research instruction work
  • To pursue an appropriate Master’s degree as a theology subject specialist

I don’t think there is yet any reason to scratch anything from this list. I am still hopeful, maybe even confident, that these are all still completely reasonable expectations.

All that said, I’m looking for other work. Part-time work has been a good fit for our household this far. There are logical reasons not to add too much too quickly as we look at next school year. We’ll have two middle schoolers in two different schools, and one more still in elementary. It could very well be the busiest we’ve ever been! My husband has health insurance through his employer and we’re all covered. We’re making ends meet on what he makes and what I contribute now. In fact, we’ve made up some lost ground by just adding my part-time income. Maybe I shouldn’t be in such a hurry to go full-time.

But I love this place, and I love this work, and I love these students. These particular individual students, but also this kind of student. These people who have chosen to pursue ministry, or theological education, in this modern age. They’re an incredibly diverse bunch of folks, and yet so much alike. I feel called to be here with them, to help them, to be part of the mission of Trinity.

It is not for me to determine the details of this “reunion” between Capital and Trinity. I have no say in the shaping of these institutions. I can only work hard and pray that those making those choices will see my value and hold a place for me.



Been a while…

I haven’t really posted since right after the election. I have plenty to say, as usual, but I don’t feel like I have anything unique to add to the conversation, so I’ll keep letting it play out without me for the time being. I’ll just say that the current political climate is making life hard for a lot people I love. If you think that makes me, or those people I love, “special snowflakes” than I don’t want to talk to you about politics at all, as we’re just going to fight right now. And if you understand why things are painful, than we don’t really need to talk, either. We can just nod and smile and know we’re on the same page. I’ll be up to chatting about opinion things someday. Today is too hard.

So, what do I want to write about? Gosh, life is full of interesting stuff, huh? We’re just humming along here at our house. Child #1 has crossed the threshold into the teen years, complete with hormonal changes and orthodontics. She’s a joy and a challenge and that’s just how it is. Child #2 is fully enveloped in Boy Scouts and it keeps him and his friends, not to mention his father, busy all month long, especially the weekend each month that they camp. Year round. Yeah, it was cold last weekend! Child #3 is fully into the elementary years, with big new front teeth, all sorts of newly acquired independence, and a confidence and sweetness that amaze me.

201701301271380793.jpgWe added a family member in December. Hazel McBean Cucksey is a beagle mutt, likely with some terrier in there. She’s a rescue, but she comes to us fully house broken and crate trained. She’s a bit anxious and definitely needs to work on her social skills with other dogs, but she loves all the people and is gentle with kids. She’s loving and submissive, and really is just the right dog for our family.

Me? What’s going on with me? Well, today marks one year since I started working (for pay) in the library at Trinity Lutheran Seminary. In that time, the Seminary and Capital University have decided to “reunite” and what that means for any of us has yet to be established. We’re told now that a staffing model has been established and we’ll be told individually what role we might have after the reunion by the end of March. So, we wait. I would love nothing more than to stay at Trinity, or even Capital or a combination of the two, but it’s time for me to start looking for full-time work. I’ll stick around long enough to find out what role (if any) they envision me playing, but if it isn’t full time, it’s time to start looking elsewhere. My heart would break to leave Trinity. I feel called to be here, to be part of the mission of this institution, to be part of it’s survival and growth into the future, but I can’t make it work without full time wages and some benefits. Despite the tensions created among the staff created by being in the dark about our futures, this is still a wonderful place to come to work everyday. I love seeing the students go from tentative first-years to graduating and moving out into ministry. I love being part of the mission: to form leaders for Christ’s church at work in the world!

But what if I have to leave? Well, there’s a full time job out there for me, I’m sure. Now I have a solid year’s experience as Public Services Librarian on my r√©sum√©, and a bunch of folks who would like to be references. That can’t be bad, right?

I hate waiting. Stay tuned.

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A letter to the other Trump supporters

Let me just tell you a few things I’m NOT¬†saying. I’m NOT saying that everyone who voted for Trump is a racist, sexist, xenophobe, homophobe, or any other kind of phobe/ist (though, many of you are saying you aren’t and just saying it doesn’t make it so). I’m NOT saying that everyone who voted for Trump is a threat to the safety of any American. I’m NOT saying that Hillary was my first choice for president. If you continue reading and you come away believing I’ve said any of that, you are simply wrong and you have not really listened.

That said, there are a few things I want to say that I’m not seeing in the social media conversation. First, I want to validate the fear of my LGBTQ+ friends, parents raising LGBTQ+ kids, minority friends, parents of minorities, and anyone else who feels afraid today. We aren’t afraid of all the Trump supporters. That’s ridiculous. If you aren’t a threat, you don’t need to say it every time someone posts their fear. If you feel the need to show that you aren’t a threat, GREAT. One simple thing you can do to show it is to wear a safety pin. If you don’t know what I’m talking about with the safety pin, here’s some resources from Huffington Post¬†and The New York Daily News.

So what are we afraid of? That tiny percentage of Americans who are simply horrible. We’re afraid of a¬†tiny percentage who think that Donald Trump’s words (and words ARE important) about Muslims, gays, special needs people, women, and immigrants were not just okay, but great. There are Americans who think it’s not just okay to beat up that effeminate middle schooler, but needs to be done. There are Americans who think that those who have less¬†muscular control of their arms or legs should be made fun of. There are Americans who have long wanted to be able to openly call out those with different ethnic backgrounds in their neighborhoods and schools, to harass them until they feel unsafe and leave, to run them off. If my description of these Americans disgusts you, than you might not be one of them. Chances are NONE of you reading this is one of them. But that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Not only do they exist, but they have been empowered, emboldened, and ENDORSED. It may not have been your intention when you voted for him, but it is the result nonetheless.

So all those people who feel fear are absolutely justified in feeling that fear. If you still disagree with me about that one fact, you are probably one of the few still denying that white privilege exists, and frankly, I’m not sure that our discussion can go much further. We’re speaking different languages and since that is such a basic tenet of my beliefs about this country, ¬†I’m hard pressed to find common ground. We can certainly disagree about how much of a problem it is, how to fix it, even how it came about, but surely you can agree that it exists.

There are dozens of reports today, and over the last few days, about why that fear is justified. There are middle schoolers chanting hateful things at ethnic minorities, graffiti with obvious hate messages, people beat up for appearing to belong to the LGBTQ+ community, women harassed on public transportation. Is there an actual increase in these incidents, or is it just being reported on more often? I don’t know, and really it doesn’t matter. It’s happening. The fear IS justified.

I’m not going to hash out the issues that made me choose to vote for Clinton over Trump. It doesn’t matter. I’m going to assume that most¬†of you who voted for Trump made your decision carefully, perhaps prayerfully, and simply chose different legitimate priorities. Clearly we disagree, but Trump has won the election fair and square, so we have to move from there. I consider America’s endorsement of Trump to be a challenge, and I am up to it. I have the beginnings of a plan. Would you like to know what it is? I ¬†bet we can find common ground there.

wp-1478965011446.jpgFirst, I’m going to show all the love I can. On Wednesday morning, when my children were sad and disappointed, I instructed each one of them to dig deep within themselves and find all the extra kindness and love they could muster and show it to everyone they came across. I want us all to double our efforts in that area every single day. If hate and fear have been endorsed and even ONE person feels more comfortable spreading that, than I want to be part of those who will smother that hate everywhere it springs up. The news will cover the hate faster than the love, so we’ll have to patient and steady and back each other up with that love, but I want to be part of that movement. I’ll wear a safety pin every day as an outward sign. I will continue to teach my children that this is the most important thing they can do, and that God demands it of us.


Second, I will try to hear the rest of you. You Trump supporters who are angry at the liberal reaction to this election, if you can express your feelings without anger, I want to hear why you chose him. I will try to squash my own confirmation bias and read even-handed pieces from reliable, authoritative, non-biased sources about the issues you find most important. I have several articles in the queue already, and Hillbilly Elegy is already ordered and on its way to me. I will engage in rational discussion with anyone who is willing about which issues should be most important, how they should be handled, and what the consequences might be of those solutions.

Lastly, I will not endorse or be part of¬†protests that involve shouting “Not my president.” I will not threaten to move to Canada. I will not feed the hatred of “the other side.” I will give Trump the respect of the office he was legitimately elected to. I will likely disagree with MANY of the decisions he will make as president, but I will find productive ways to express that. I will maintain my faith in the democratic system, and work harder within it to effect the change I believe in.