Friday Five: Transformations

Mary Beth writes:

I’m looking forward to a good summer…I am taking on some new challenges, I have a new church home, and overall I feel like I am moving in some new directions. When I saw this picture, I felt a kinship with this woman (though I cannot to a lotus pose like that…not yet, anyway).

Sculpture is called “Expansion” by Paige Bradley.
You can read more about it and its creation here.
For today’s Friday Five, share five occasions or events in your life that have been turning points…when you have felt like a new thing was being born. You can refer to the birth of children, career, your kitchen garden, or whatever moves you. 
1. Summer at Hume Lake, 1998
I spent the summer of 1998 as part of the worship band for the high school camps at Hume Lake, up in the Sierras north of Fresno. I had graduated college, was working, but not really in a career, feeling like I was at a dead end in most aspects of my life and then I got a call on a Monday asking me to drop everything and spend the summer at camp. I left that Saturday. That summer I learned more about worship than I did during my entire undergraduate degree program – BA, Creative Arts in Worship. This summer job also led to my move to San Franciso and eventually contributed to my decision to go to seminary and study Worship Leadership.
2. Trip to Kenya, 2001
When Dr. McCoy announced that there would be a trip to Kenya for worship leadership students from the seminary, I knew I was supposed to go. (I knew the way you know about a good melon. Because I can always find a reason to quote When Harry Met Sally). This was my first trip overseas and I don’t do anything halfway. Hop over to Mexico or Canada just to warm up the passport? Nope – I’m goin’ to KENYA. I raised funds, went to meetings, bought travel necessities and a conservative wardrobe, and learned some Swahili. I went with no expectation other than to take in the experience and make it part of me and that’s what happens. There’s something about Africa that is warm and vast and comforting, lulling you into feeling like part of the landscape as if you’d always lived there. Atl least that was my experience. I saw the poorest people be the people with the most joy. I saw generosity, beauty, talent and love. The food was great too. I was officially bitten by the travel bug, as they say, and am determined to return to other parts of Kenya one day.
3. Living in San Francisco, 1998-2012
I lived half my 20s and all of my 30s in San Francisco. My first time there was on a high school choir trip when I was 14 or 15 and I swore I would live there one day and I’m so glad I did. During this time I went to seminary, had several jobs, started what could be called a “career”, explored my ministry calling, developed great friendships, and essentially became myself.
4. Employed by Large Retail Company, 2007
In March of 2007 I began working for a retailer who is based in San Francisco. I started in the corporate office as an admin because at that time in my life, I felt that I could have a generic job and live out my calling in my off time. It was during this time with this company that I came to understand that I need to have a more integrated approach to job and calling and that there are many aspects of my God-given identity that can be translated into a “secular” job. Other than a stint teaching in a public school, this was my first job outside a church or Christian company. At this point I was, let’s be honest, really sick of Christians. I wanted to be around “normal” people. Turns out my company has a lot of Christians in it, which was disappointing at first. I’ve made friends and been given opportunities that I would never have otherwise. I love working here and look forward to what’s next.
5. Trip to Egypt, 2013
In April of 2013 I had the ridiculous opportunity to travel to Egypt. Like the trip to Kenya, when the opportunity presented itself, I just knew I would go. There was no question. It was so amazing to see things I’d studied in seminary, to see what is happening there socially, politically, and economically and to meet people who are trying to do good there. I met some people that I know will be friends for a long time. There are some aspects of this trip that I am still figuring out and learning from. The experiences I had on and because of this trip will continue to reverberate for me for a while.