My Favorite Things
Sedalia Area Farmers’ Market
It’s no exaggeration that the market and its people saved my life when I first moved to Sedalia from seminary. I was on my own in my first call as a pastor and 10 hours from family, friends, and my fiance. I started shopping locally and couldn’t resist the warmness and love of vendors and volunteers. Five years later I’m on the board and continue to shop and volunteer there on Tuesdays and Fridays. There’s nothing like fresh, locally grown, and sustainable food from farm to table. There’s nothing like the Sedalia Area Farmers’ Market family.
Cole Camp, Missouri
Our delightful town of 1,000 in the heart of Central Missouri. Full of heart, culture, and life, Cole Camp keeps to its German roots. There’s generally something going on during the weekends - whether a German singing festival, zucchini races, or a car and tractor show, plus local shops and restaurants with character. Our local library is also top notch and story time mesmerizes Charlotte each week. Our daughter also believes that the park across from our home is her personal playground.
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)
I’m a lifelong Lutheran. I’ve been singing hymns, going to youth activities, eating at potlucks, and breathing the liturgy from before I can remember. This is the place that I call home theologically, the place where I wrestle with God and faith, and the place that helps me make sense of God and faith. This is the place that introduced me to a bold and active and mighty faith.
Frederick Buechner writes: “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” I can’t imagine my life without those two years of service in The Gambia, West Africa, where my tears mixed with ultimate joy and deep hunger to bring about peace and wholeness. When I applied to be a Peace Corps volunteer during my senior year in college, the tag line said: The hardest job you’ll ever love. I didn’t have running water or electricity, stomach ailments were common, the heat oppressive, transportation sketchy, but what made the work hard wasn’t any of those things, but rather the constant battle of my privilege.
My two years working in the schools of The Gambia showed me that there are so many barriers to education across the world. Lack of funding, lack of teachers, lack of buildings and resources. Not to mention the need for girls to remain at home to help with the work. Gambia Rising aims to support education by providing scholarship money for students, especially girls. Gambia Rising works with local communities on the ground to build schools, and make sure all have access to education and books. If you’re looking for a non-profit where 100% of your donation goes to making a difference in the lives of youth and in the lives of communities, look no further.
Hands Free Life
Rachel Macy Stafford’s books (Hands Free Life and Hands Free Mama) came to me at the opportune time when I needed a wake-up call. I needed to be reminded of what’s important in life. I needed encouragement for making sure I’m present, savoring the day-to-day, and living hands free not connected to technology. Everything she writes touches my heart. Her books are guides for making the most of this one life we’ve been given. Like Rachel, I want “to make memories not to-do lists. I want to feel the squeeze of my child’s arms, not the pressure of over-commitment.” I, too, am hoping to grab a hold of life and live it to the fullest.