Hi. Hello. It’s been awhile.

I can’t believe it’s been over six months. I think that’s the longest I’ve ever gone without updating. I have partial drafts of posts that I started writing back before COVID hit and the world turned upside down, but… then COVID hit and the world turned upside down.

I thought I’d write a little coffee date post to get caught up, but… well, COVID hit so we’re not really doing coffee dates anymore, are we? So let’s have a little virtual chat instead. Although I guess that’s what a blog is in general.

The idea sounded cooler in my head. Oh well. Let’s get into it.

CONFERENCE

Other than “apocalypse” the word I’d use to describe 2020 is “work.” For me, 2020 in a nutshell has been a year of work. And I’m not complaining. I’m so grateful to be doing the work that I do and that I’ve been able to do it this year.

In February I spoke at a conference. I pitched a few sessions last fall and one of mine was chosen. It wasn’t the one I would have picked to give, but in the end I’m so glad it’s the one others said they wanted. I spent January and February getting ready for the conference.

I was relieved when I saw that I was speaking on Saturday morning. Saturday was a half-day and the last day of the conference. Since it’s a conference for people who work at churches I had also heard that people start leaving in the morning so I thought it would be a light group and a great way to ease into public speaking.

And then I saw my room assignment and it didn’t look like one of the smaller classrooms. On Friday I felt like I was ready to look at the room I’d be in. I was right… it wasn’t small.

I had a decent-sized group, but the presentation went well and I received some good feedback after. Someone who attended even saw me in the airport later that day and thanked me for giving the presentation.

I’ve actually given that presentation one more time since the conference. You know, back when we used to out into the world.

While I was there I also did some sightseeing. More on both of these places soon.

I got to see my horses and do some horse chores.

And I made some new friends.

COVID & WORK

I started vlogging at the beginning of COVID and the first vlog was literally 15 minutes of me giving updates and ending each with, “This is so crazy.”

Because it was. Life changed so fast. At first, it was weekly, and then it was daily, and one day it felt like it was hourly.

During one of the busiest seasons of the church year, everything moved online. As the person who manages online spaces for churches, I knew exactly how I felt we should proceed and the churches agreed so we were able to move fast. At one church, I met with the pastor on a Monday, filmed two worship services on Wednesday, and had one of them edited and posted Wednesday night. It went up only 10 minutes after the scheduled time due to some wifi issues.

At the same time, I worked with my dad to bring to life a prayer guide I had been thinking about for a year or so for a local non-profit. (This was all planned out pre-COVID, I just had to film short videos and release it during this time.)

I pretty much worked around the clock until Easter. It was incredibly busy, but also the most fulfilling work period I’ve ever had.

MINA, PLANTS, ADVENTURES

I’d say the things keeping me going in 2020 have been Mina and my plants. I don’t know if I’ve talked about it on the blog very much, but over the last few years I’ve developed a love for houseplants. My collection definitely grew during the stay-at-home order thanks to curbside pickup at local nurseries and the push to support local businesses.

And then there’s sweet little Mina, who has loved 2020 and the extra attention she has received now that I only go into an office twice a week.

Summer has been rough. COVID continues and presents so many unknowns for the months ahead. There were riots in Minneapolis and, even though I don’t think it’s in the news outside of Minnesota anymore, there’s still a lot happening in the city.

And, for me personally, there’s a lull in work and I have no more space for plants so… my two biggest distractions aren’t doing the trick. (Although some space might be opening up. I had a plant that I ignored for two days so it decided to shrivel up and I have another one that’s looking a little yellow…I like the moody plants.) During the last few weeks I decided I should probably stop hiding out in my room, so I’ve been more intentional about putting the computer away and getting out into nature.

FILL ME IN!

It looks like the worship video I’ve been uploading has processed and the premiere announcement has posted, so that means I have been writing about myself for far too long. I have some travel posts I’m excited to share, as well as some more practical posts on things like speaking at a conference and building wooden storage boxes in case you, too, are in need of a place to store books and plants. And speaking of books, I have some book reviews to share, too.

But first, I want to know what’s been happening in your life! Fill me in on how your year has been.