Wednesday, December 29, 2010

If I die in 2011

2010 comes to a close. The life of Valeria Weaver, Creighton's grandmother (age 92) is celebrated and remembered. My friend Rhonda has just lost her husband to cancer. New adventures await the Alexander family...

Sitting here in a quiet room, watching my children sleep. Dogs curled up at the side of the bed.

I am reminded of one small group experience led by Lori Cousino a few :) years back. She called it Epitaph. "If you died this year", she queried, "what would you envision for your funeral?"

As of tonight, here are a few of my thoughts (to which I reserve the right to add)...

1. Clergy: Please contact Stephanie Hudson Caldwell to officiate. If she's not available, have Greg Taylor do it. Or JD Walt. This has to be someone creative and clever, who appreciates my uniqueness, mildly pastoral, and knows how to BRING IT.

2. Songs: These must make people cry. They may think they are crying for me, but really they are crying in thankfulness for their own lives and choosing to be a better person - more generous, more attentive, more loving. Here are the songs: "my beloved wife" and "these are days" and "where I go" by Natalie Merchant. If Natalie can't make it, these must be sung by Leanne Donaldson. She alone will understand how I want these songs to be communicated.

3. Scripture, excerpts and poetry: My husband, DJ Strong and Kate Pocklington will choose scripture and poetry. Creighton will fly Kate here to read, from wherever she is, whether it be India, or Austrailia or Detroit. Not just because she has a sexy austrailian voice - - but because of her passion and her authenticity. She is an artist and translates the love and sacrifice of Jesus every single day of her life.

*The only excerpt I choose myself is chapter 12 of C.S.Lewis' THE GREAT DIVORCE.

In this chapter the main character sees a procession honoring a woman. Boys and girls prance around her left and right. Our man is told that these are not her biological children, but that she opened her heart to all the children that came across her path. These children received her love and loved their own parents more as a result. Because of her example, men loved their own wives more as well. There were cats and dogs also, because she was kind to every animal that came her way. She shines and she abides in joy and love. She is truly happy in this place. The book says of her:

"The abundance of life she has in Christ from the Father flows over into them (the animals that were dancing around). It is like when you throw a stone into a pool, and the concentric waves spread out further and further. Who knows where it will end? Redeemed humanity is still young, it has hardly come to its full strength. But already there is joy enough in the little finger of a great saint such as yonder lady to waken all the dead things of the universe into life." Wow.

4. Pall Bearers. Ladies... They don't actually have to lift the casket anyway - - so this one needs to be done by my besties (not listed in any particular order).

(I think the maximum is 6 but whatev)

Overall plan for the day: My sister is the queen mother in charge. Do as she says. Anne Baker and Sandy Ball will make sure she thinks through all the details of hospitality.

The funeral will be held at Church of the Resurrection because they know how to throw a funeral.

Finally, everyone must go to the after party for lots of Mexican food and margaritas. Creighton will be the last one there, because the Alexanders always outlast everyone.

What if you died in 2011? What are three things you would want at your funeral?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Refresh 2010

Since 2005, Refresh was held at The Woodlands United Methodist church, Houston area. It was a fantastic facility with a great staff. Because my husband and I are two of 5 people on the design team, and we live in Kansas City, we suggested a move to the midwest. Refresh was hosted by Church of the Resurrection this year.

Obviously, this proved convenient for me, as I am the tech producer for events at the church. I had the luxury of deploying staff and volunteers to run the production for the event.

Refresh drew over 200 United Methodist campus ministry leaders (up from 159 last year). Laura Story was our worship leader. The keynote speakers were: Olu Brown, Alan Hirsch, Adam Hamilton and Pete Grieg. Here are a few of the photos from the conference (courtesy of Philip Hernandez and Joseph Mcbrayer).