It Has, Indeed, Been An Interesting Week…

“The greatest gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy, we can all sense a mysterious connection to each other.”

Meryl Streep


“Doing nothing because you can’t get up off your butt and do something makes you complicit in whatever things are going on and you don’t agree with. If you don’t speak your opinion, if you don’t act up and fight for your point of view – the other guy is going to walk away with your power.”

–Jody Williams


Bringing about connections has been a theme of mine for 2012.  This week has been seemingly a test of that in some form or fashion.


Sunday – November 11th

Transitions was the theme of Sundays’ worship services, although the focus of the sermon was entitled “Provoking and Encouraging One Another to Love” (in the midst of changing in our word, with families’ schedules and values, do we still  show compassion to those met?).    Were they hospitable?  Did they serve those that they met? Can we be hospitable while in transition?

For the Church, it seemed to be a one of encouragement as we had lost the primary pastor nearly two years ago, maybe more, and it has been frustrating to still be without the primary pastor, although an interim pastor has stepped in who has began preaching recently, as was preaching this sermon to the congregation on this Sunday.

While he was preaching, I couldn’t help but think how that applied to my advocacy role for the past decade or two, as well as the transition to the role as a delegate at the United Nations.  To me, it seemed to say to me that I needed to honor my past advocacy roles and take with me all that I learned forward in my new role.  It also brought to mind that, while up there, I may also be finding myself  having to apply my compassion and empathy skills (as learned through my advocacy roles) and apply them to those recovering too from the Hurricane Sandy while there; after all, by the time we get up there in March 2013, they will still be in the recovery mode and close to the areas that were flooded by the storms.  It will, therefore, not only be a time for me to transition to a newer level of advocacy, but also a time to apply my skills I have been learning (especially during the past few months) from Austin Disaster Relief Network and American Red Cross, as well as all the advocacy skills that I have learned throughout the past decades to help New Yorkers transition themselves  from survivors to thrivers after the storm of the century for them.  I’m sure I’ll be able to learn more from them, as well, as much as I am giving back to their community.

I was also thinking about my late husband’s death that was 11 years ago on this day, and the time it has taken me to transition from the marriage that we had to be empowered by the work that I do, as part of my healing journey process.  He was, after all, instrumental in showing me that I was worthy and that not all men were violent and controlling.  He was such a doting man and one that I will always remain grateful in knowing him, albeit it wasn’t all that long.  Sometimes, it isn’t the length of the lesson, but the depth of the lesson learned that can be one of the most important lessons learned in one’s life.

Highlights from the service also included:

Words to Hymn “There Are Many Ways of Sharing” by Nettleton

1.  There are many ways of sharing, but God’s Spirit gives each one.  There are different ways for caring; it’s one Lord whose work is done.  God, whose gifts are overflowing, may we hear you when you call; Keep us serving, keep us growing for the common good of all.

2.  We’ve been baptized in the waters!  We’ve been given work to do.   When you call your son’s and daughters, you give gifts for serving you.  God, we join in celebration of the talents you impart.  Bless each baptized one’s vocation; give each one a servant’s heart.

3.  All are blest by gifts you give us; some are set apart to lead.  Give us Jesus’ love within us as we care for those in need.  Give us faith to make decisions; give us joy to share your Word.  Give us unity and vision as we serve your church and world.

Old Testament Lesson:  Isaiah 58:  6-12,


Epistle Lesson:  Hebrews 10:23-25,


Anthem:  “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” by J.S. Bach

Jesu, joy of man’s desiring, holy wisdom, love most bright, Drawn by thee, our souls aspiring, soar to uncreated light,.  Word of God, our flesh that fashioned, with the fire of Life impassioned, Striving still to truth unknown, soaring, dying round the throne.


New Testament Lesson:  Matthew 25:34-40,


Response:  “The Servant Song” (vs 1) by Richard Gillard

Brother, sister let me serve you, let me be as Christ to you; Pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant too.


After Church, we had a “Sector” meeting with some Sector DRC’s (Disaster Relief Coordinators in this particular sector) to formerly meet one another and do some planning and call to actions for our area, with a new sector meeting planned in February (an all City DRC is planned for January).  Because ADRN isn’t having any training in December an is basically taking off December to be around family and friends, and to gear up for plans in January and the new year of 2013, there wasn’t going to be any meetings in December for this group of DRCs as well.  While I was at the meeting, I couldn’t help but feel the correlation like it was a very small snap of a meeting, perhaps, at the United Nations group and trying to come up with some very creative resolves from very complex scenarios.


Monday – November 12th

At 5pm, I headed to the “Women Vote” event where they had Evan Smith speak before them from the Texas Tribune about the recent 2012 elections and the directions that we are seeming to be heading towards, including more of a wrap up about the Castro family in San Antonio in the political arena.  I have read about him in the past and followed the Texas Tribune for a long time; but, I never realized how great of a speak he is, nor how funny he can be.  I thoroughly enjoy being engaged into his presentation, as well as the talks the ladies had following the meeting.  If you are a woman in Austin, you should definitely be heading to Chez Zee around the second Monday each month (excepting December) and hear some fabulous speakers, as well as have a healthy conversation about politics (and other things) afterwards.


Tuesday – November 13th

We were supposed to have gone to the Austin Disaster Relief Training on “Disaster Relief Coordinator” and “Database Training” on this day, but it was rescheduled at the last moment for Thursday, November 15th.  Instead, we would focus upon preparing for Wednesday’s “Preparedness Peace” class.


Wednesday – November 14th

We had a guest with us Wednesday to meet with us and get to know us better, and to encourage us to get married.  George and I have been together for four – almost 5 years (in May 2013) – and it is our intention to get married someday; but right now doesn’t seem to be the best time to do so.  Neither of us are in our 20’s and I have been married 3 times (twice to abusive man and to one other that died from a heart attack).  He, himself, is a bit young (in comparison to ourselves).  I am not too sure though, he didn’t go away learning something new on a new level of his well intended intentions.

That being said, we graduated from our “Preparedness Peace” class. afterwards.  It has been a class of amazing growth and practice in preparing for planning for disasters.  We have become a great group of folks with many talents and have resolved to meet once a month in the future.  What a great connection we have met with common goals to plan for our future, and be prepared for any potential disasters that could throttle our plans, which would definitely provide some great tools as I am certainly that there might be changes made to even the agenda’s that they have in plan at this time.


Thursday – November 15th

Realization kicks in about the vast role that we will have as a liaison, in essence, between our Church’s own disaster plans, as well as working with the plans and trainings offered through ADRN.  A great test of negotiations between Church practices and abilities and the desire that the ADRN network would like to see all the Churches at (by relativity to their congregation size).   The training was intense and a lot of common sense, but a lot to take in during the nearly 4 hours of training on Thursday night.  Good thing that there was a handbook passed out and plenty of check lists to work through and make sure that you are on top of your scheduled work plan (as they have seen that works throughout the past 3 years that they have been developing it.  We’re lucky because we’re stepping into the role as some other people have been paving the way at our Church in the DRC roles and we’ll just be added armor (so -to-speak) wherein we are backups and assistants to the lead DRC.  Get enough folks interested in becoming DRCs as well, we’ll have our own group to help be the liaisons of planning and preparing for potential disaster plans in accordance with stipulations suggested by ADRN and the abilities of our Church.


Friday – November 16th

Most of this day was focused upon the Open House we were having on Saturday and having the theme based upon the “K.I.S.S.” principle.  We were moving around the last few things in our house to make room for guests, went to the store to get some cheese/meat/crackers and grapes snacks for potential guests.  We also sent off paperwork to the Church finalizing the preparation and training for the DRC role with the signature from one of our pastors.  That being finalized on Friday, we only have some ongoing requirements to do within the next 12 months, 24 months, and 36 months.

I also worked on posting more information about the goods I’m selling as a fundraiser to “Get me to the United Nations on time!”  Sold an item or two as they were posted; so I am encouraged, but I have to figure out some other ways to step it up more.  Between the selling of the goods and sending out proposals, the funds aren’t seemingly coming in fast enough, but I am putting a lot of faith into that everything WILL absolutely come to play and fruition soon.

It was on this day, too, that I learned that I will be one of 72 folks heading to the United Nations – what I have come to refer to them as collectively, “the power of 72”.  I feel that it is a great group of folks that I will be teaming up with to get to our voices shared.  On Friday, I worked on trying to connect with as many as possible through the social media avenues to try to get to know my teammate delegates a little better before heading up to NYC in March 2013.


Saturday – November 17th

This was our Open House day and we were amazed by those that came over.  Through the things that we do, we found more ideas and suggestions to continue to fuel our efforts.  Had we not invited those folks, we might not have had new ideas.  I guest that is part of my quest for new ideas all the time.  I have been researching since I was in 2nd grade.  My parents had to buy me a Children’s Encyclopedia at that age just to aid in the research (pre-computer days).  In third or forth grade the Children’s Encyclopedia was upgraded to the World Encyclopedia wherein I found myself constantly digging through more knowledge.  I may have never been a trivia expert, I have though found that I am able to hold conversations with the PhD folks, etc. at many times — depending upon the subject matter.  When The computer came along, there was less of a need to refer to the encyclopedia and it’s updates as the information became more and more available over time.

Sue, one of George’s sisters, brought over some very creatively made necklaces with beads made from paper and the crosses on them.  It was our hope to be able to sell the colorful necklaces at the Emmaus gathering that we went to after our open house, but the opportunity really didn’t present itself to do so.  However, we heard a testimony at the Emmaus gathering that was moving and spirited from someone who had recently reached her 4th day experience, and is still learning from it.  Amazing story and an amazing time among friends.


Sunday – November 18th

Today, we came full circle from last Sunday, talking about transitions, to focusing about in the midst of the storm.  But before that could occur there was a series of faux paux events…..  George stepping on acorns while walking up to the Church (every acorn possible just like a young child), a choir member arriving late and lept over pews to get the row she would need to be on before they started walking up to the choir stage that they would be at for the remainder of the service, and my dropping my hymnal completely out of my grips of my fingers (thankfully not at a silent moment of the service).   I had been up last night until 4 or 5 am, because I had taken such a long break from my computer on Saturday.

I have been continuing to play catch up to prepare this coming week to send out more proposals to fund raise to “Get me to the United Nations on Time!”  Hopefully, I can get those out before I head out to visit my family on Thanksgiving.

Some highlights from today’s service:


Hymn 210:  Our God, Our Help in Ages Past by St. Anne


Prayer of Confession:

Long have we sought You, O Lord,for with You, we find rest, in You is our peace.  When fear overtakes us, You stand by us; when chaos engulfs us, You hold us close; when conflict tears at us, You strengthen us.  Indeed, in whatever we must bear You are there — our help in ages past.

Yet we confess that often we think we will not make it.  We doubt Your wisdom, and cry out for other gods.  We doubt Your power and cry out for other saviors.  We doubt Your love and cry out to each other.

Our faith weakens, our trust wavers, our reasoning stumbles, our confidence melts, our vision clouds, our lives unravel.

Forgive us for searching elsewhere when we know that in You is our peace.  Calm us in these times, O God, and put us back together again.  Hear now our prayer not yet spoken.  

(Silent Prayers of Personal Confession)


Psalter Lesson:  Psalm 107: 1-3; 23-32,,


Epistle Lesson:  2 Corinthians 6:1-13,  (Paul’s Hardships)


Gospel Lesson:  Mark 4:35-41, (Jesus Calms the Storm)


Sermon:  “Finding Peace in the Midst of the Storm” by Rev. Kent Miller  (Difficult events where God tames all storms in the midst of the storm).  An interesting part of the sermon, too, was when he mentioned about the Church’s ancient symbol was the ship, coming from the latin word “nave”, which is also where our “Navy” (protectors by boat) is also derived, as well as so many other examples.  I would love to get his sermon in written form to re-read what he said today.  (Having studied Latin in my past, that always perks my ears up.)  I’m wondering if I should, then, refer to the “Power of 72” to some form of the word “nave” as well?  Hmmm…

Affirmation of Faith from A Brief Statement of Faith:

In sovereign love God created the world good and makes everyone equally in God’s image, male and female, of every race and people, to live as one community.

God makes us heirs with Christ of the covenant .  Like a mother who will not forsake her nursing child, like a father  who runs to welcome the prodigal home, God is faithful still.



I feel that this week has provided a great example of preparing myself in mind, body and spirit to go on this adventure of a lifetime, an opportunity of a lifetime, where we could have an impact on resolves that could, conceivably affect the global world in the way it perceives violence against women and children on a global basis; at least, it would be our goal to do so.


Although there will be some continued training through ADRN on “Psalm 91:1 – The Protection of the Lord” which should be very interesting, I want to focus a little more on the proposals, connecting with my “Power of 72” folks, connecting with family, and working a bit more a strategies to prepare the body as well since it is anticipated that this 3 week trip in March will be tasking in a lot of meetings and traveling between to many different meetings from time to time.

More about Psalm 91:1 course:  “Psalm 91:1 (911) – The Protection of the Lord in Times of Disaster: (Course Time: 3 hours) ADRN highly recommends this course for every volunteer who desires to understand and walk in the protection of the Lord in times of disaster. This course will cover the topics of Psalm 91, spiritual authority, intimacy with the Lord, covenant relationships and the relationship with the Body of Christ. ADRN believes spiritual training is equally as important as some of our best physical disaster relief courses”

SOME ADDITIONAL SITES THAT I HAVE ALSO BEEN READING UP ON – to further understand the surrounding issues (a continual learning process always) of global issues of violence against women and children…. (16 Days of Activisim Against Gender Violence Campaign) (Will be speaking in Austin, Texas in February 2013″


Kathryn Krastin
Get me to the United Nations on Time! or  1-800-WATKINS put Consultant ID#397826 in Associate box



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