Wednesday, August 31, 2005

My to-do list.

As of 5:46 pm:

*Get gas
*Stop at grocery store to pick up Suz and Barrett's final piece for present and to get cash back for laundromat.
*Run home and put first load in washer.
*Finish handmade gift for Suz.
*Clean up papers/cutters/clean clothes/rafting gear which are scattered across living room.
*Begin packing
*Double check that I have everything I need to wear in the wedding
*Find camera and charge batteries.
*Take wet loads of laundry to laundromat to dry them.
*Pray that St. Louis layover is not affected by thunderstorms.
*Quit stressing about everything that has to happen after I arrive home on Monday.
*Quit stressing about travel details.
*Be sociable with friend Tina who is spending the night and driving me to airport in morning.
*Pay rent.
*Pay phone bill
*Pay credit card bill.
*Pay car insurance bill.
*Write blog entry about awesome Golf Marathon.

Okay. five hours. heather, you can do it.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

A Date with Derek and Sandra

Sandra McCracken and Derek Webb thinking about how great it will be to meet Heather Michelle Baker in October... Posted by Picasa

Circa August 1999, future roommates Beth Byers (DeLong) and Heather Michelle begin listening to a little album called 40 Acres by Caedmon's Call. Heather, in particular, develops a particular affinity for the songs on the album written and performed by one of the band's members--Derek Webb. She remembers playing the songs over and over, especially "Table for Two."

Circa August 2001, Heather leaves for four months in Africa, and before she goes, she sings "Faith My Eyes," to herself, knowing that it perfectly fits the idea of leaving home and relying on the grace of God to get her through the next four months. While in Africa, a series of events triggers a new infatuation with all things Derek Webb, in particular, a track off Long Line of Leavers titled, "Love is Different Than You Think." She returns from Africa to condense all of Derek Webb's songs off all three Caedmon's Call albums into one Derek Webb volume, titled "Heather's Official Derek Webb Mix CD."

Circa August 2004, Heather picks up a solo album by Derek Webb titled She Must and Shall Go Free, which she listens to continually for three very lonely weeks. The album inspires a written journal about solitude and cultivates a strong desire within Heather to become a songwriter herself. At this point, she becomes a self-proclaimed fan of all things Derek Webb.

Circa November 2004, Heather receives her pre-ordered copy of Derek's newest solo release, I See Things Upside Down via USPS. She immediately falls in love with the songs "Reputation" and "I Repent."

Circa August 2005, Heather receives word that Derek Webb (along with his wife, songwriter Sandra McCracken) will be in Marysville, Washington (a mere 10 minutes from Arlington) on October 15, 2005. Heather immediately picks up the phone to call the youth pastor at Marysville First Baptist, where she knows Pastor Chip. She says, "You are on my list! Did you know that I am, in fact, the biggest Derek Webb fan in the world?" He says, "No, I didn't, but if you want to help out and promote the concert, I will ensure that you can have dinner with Derek and Sandra."

Egads. So, I will bring every unchurched kid in the state of Washington that I can find to the concert, and in return, I get to have dinner with one of my favorite contemporary songwriters.

Not a bad deal, I say. (Heather retreats into glassy-eyed stupor and sighs).

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Chicago. Bridesmaid. Beatles.

Blaaah! Summer craziness. These two weeks in August are going to make me simply insane.

i.e. Last Wednesday, I left for a five-day stint to Chicago. All the normal things applied -- bribing friends to drive me to the airport, cramming bridesmaid dresses and wedding gifts into carry-on luggage, and bearing five whole days in a city that has NO Tully's or Fidalgo Bay Coffee.

But. It was great. Simply great. I got to don a beautiful peridot green dress and 4-inch silver heels, and I got to stand up in front of a bunch of strangers and proclaim with my presence, "I affirm that the marriage of Hannah to Jon is a great idea. And, I'm going to be here to support them in this marriage."

We partied hearty, there was lots of laughing and a few teary moments, and we waved goodbye. If you remember--Jon flew me to Chicago in April as a surprise for Hannah, so the bridesmaids all knew each other already, and we just had a great, fun time.

After the wedding, I hitched a ride to the Hyatt O'Hare, where I greeted Mom, Dad, and Sean. They had just arrived (conveniently) for 3 days in Chicago for "The Fest for Beatle Fans," (formerly known as Beatlefest, but forced to change to a much dumber name by Sony).

Anyways--it was three days of catching up and hanging out and listening to lots of old rockers and friends of the Beatles jam in tribute to the best band of all time.

And--Mom, Sean, and I even squeezed in an afternoon at The Art Institute of Chicago, where we enjoyed much exciting art... Among other things, I saw my favorite painting by Marc Chagall, Picasso's The Old Guitarist, and A Sunday on La Grande Jatte by Seurat. I have been very much inspired that when Corrie moves out next week, since I have no roommate as of yet, I will transform the extra bedroom into an art/writing studio. This will hopefully help me move forward in my goal to make writing and artistry more of a disciplined priority in my life.

Now, this trip to Chicago is amplified and made all-the-more interesting by the fact that next Thursday, eight days from now, I get back on an airplane and go back to Chicago for the wedding of Suzanne Page to Barrett Thomas. Ack!

And in between now and then, I will caddy one-hundred holes of golf for our Annual YD Fundraiser--Golf Marathon! Blah! What a crazy week.

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Junior Orientation.

This morning, I spent four hours helping the Juniors get oriented for a brand-new school year. It was thrilling--actually it was. It was fun to see lots of kids I know pop their head around the corner and cry out "Heather!" and wave. I think I know 30-40 Juniors, and it was crazy to see them all and get excited that school starts again soon. Three more weeks!

My job this morning was to make sure that they checked their Emergency Contact Info and made any necessary corrections. It is amazing the number of 17-year-olds who don't know their parents' phone numbers.

One of the moms I was working with said, "Do you have a child who is a junior this year." "Um, no. I am twenty-four." But I was thrilled that she didn't think I WAS a junior. So, that's improvement.

I will be in Chicago for the next six days for the wedding of Hannah to Jon. I will also be visiting with my parents and brother at the Hyatt O'Hare for Beatlefest. A double-woohoo to that!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Scavenging Seattle

On Friday, Bronco and I took 14 kids to Seattle for the day. Fun times were to be had--an I-Max movie, a Pink Floyd Lasar Light Show (whoo!!), and a photo scavenger hunt all over downtown.

Now, I admit--the scavenger hunt was my idea, but I was certain that the kids would think it was stupid and rebel. I thought it would be fun, but I'm not that far removed from college, and it seemed more like something college students would enjoy than high school students.

But, I was pleasantly surprised. We had three groups of students, and they turned out to be rather competetive, once it was announced that they were in the running for McDonald's Ice Cream. My group of three girls was so good about talking to strangers and asking for permission to take photos . . . and they were bold too -- asking random Seattlites to do headstands on the sidewalk, lend us bicycles, and pose for our Kung Fu photos.

At the end of it all, our group was not victorious, but we did get to play fake instruments with a Bagpiper Street Musician, and we got to hold some dead fish at Pike Place Market.

That, in and of itself, was worth more than all of the McDonald's Ice Cream Cones in the world.

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

PNW, My Home.

This morning, after waking up and feeling fully recovered from the horrible sore throat that plagued me for four days, I decided I was ready for a quick morning run. It looked a little grey outside, so I pulled on my long-sleeved running jacket and some shorts, and took off.

I ran a good tenth of a mile before I even realized it was raining.

I grinned thinking, "I must be an official resident of the northwest if I wake up and take off, not even noticing that the rain is misting down and that it's only 57 degrees in August."

Yesterday afternoon, I sat in a coffeeshop with two of my girls, talking about the same things I always talk about with girls in coffee shops--boys, parents, and God. We were laughing and having a great time, and even though I felt like I was still teaching them and asking them intentionally hard questions--it didn't feel like I was working. It just felt fluid, like that's how conversations in coffee shops should go. Does that mean I'm officially a youth minister at heart?

There's still a good month until school starts, and between now and then are two trips to Chicago, Golf Marathon, and lots of logistics to set up some plans for the school year.

And even with big stuff going on in my life--like significant changes in significant relationships, like my roommate moving, like two best friends getting married, like lots of life uncertainties--I feel grounded, I feel at peace, and I feel excited.

New years bring good things.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

plan. meeting. plan.

My brain feels like a congealed vegetable. Bronco and I have been spending about 15 hours so far this week in Annual Planning mode. We are talking about things like Strategic Outcomes, Core Competencies and figuring out numbers for things such as "Percentage of volunteers who feel equipped to train students to evangelize to their peers."

I have fixed my blog. I think. If it's still not loading right on your browser, please pop me an email at heathermbaker at yahoo dot com ...

I am 721...

in the Holds List for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. There are 248 Holdable copies. Thank you for using Sno-Isle Regional Library Systems.