Called to Dance

Alaska Pride

If you have to walk on thin ice, you may as well dance

Grandma Elve Halvor loved to dance. After high school, in the early 1930s, she moved from the farm to the big city of Seattle and her passion was going out dancing. A child of Swede-Finn immigrants, music and dancing were a way her family transmitted culture, and that’s how she met my grandfather.

Seventy-five years later, that passion for dancing runs in my blood. My introduction to dancing came in the fourth grade when my parents began sending me to the Runeberg folk dancing group. Every Monday night we would meet in the Blossom Gulch Elementary School Gym, where Leola Baumgartner and Olga Hosking steadfastly worked to pass on their love of dancing and the art of the polka and schottische to a group of distracted 11-year-olds. We girls quickly learned to dance the lead parts, as…

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The Bible, Homosexuality and Why I Keep Coming Back

Alaska Pride

Photo by User:Adam Carr, May 2006

I love stories.

It’s the best part of being a chaplain, getting to hear people’s stories every day. And it’s what I love most about the Bible – it’s an amazing collection of stories, poetry, letters, and more. That’s how I was introduced to the Bible as a child … the “Good Samaritan” who rescued a man beaten by robbers when the priests wouldn’t help. Zaccheus, the vertically challenged tax collector, who climbed a tree in order to see Jesus and ended up having dinner with him. Little David defeating the giant Goliath with his slingshot. The servant girl whose advice leads a military officer with leprosy to be healed.

Unfortunately, many of us have experienced the Bible primarily as a weapon. It’s been used to tell us that our loving is sinful, that we ourselves are “an abomination.” And yet, I would bet that many of us really don’t…

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Called to Meet the Unexpected

Alaska Pride

I’ve been meaning to write about change

But the thing is, I hate change. Hate it.

I grew up in a family that was pretty much totally opposed to change … our motto could’ve been, “if it’s not broken, don’t mess with it!” I grew up learning to be prepared for anything (which is why I’m usually the one with the duct tape, the band-aid, the snacks, the extra water, the book, the journal, etc.). And apparently it’s not just in my ancestral genes, but also my religious tradition. When asked how many Lutherans it takes to change a lightbulb, we respond, “CHANGE?!?!?” Lutherans don’t believe in change! (Which is rather ironic, in light of our history, Martin Luther starting the Reformation and all, but that may be a topic for another blog post).

“Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we…

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Piece of my heart

Alaska Pride

With my mom at the Glen Alps Viewpoint

I love my mom. She’s awesome. I remember growing up that there were a group of little old ladies in the church for whom she regularly did acts of kindness. She’d bake several loaves of sweet breads, wrap them up in plastic wrap and ribbon, load my brother and I into the car and we’d drive around town visiting and making deliveries. We’d deliver homemade woven paper heart baskets of flowers on May Day. My mom’s not perfect – who is? But I’ve always known she loved and supported me, and that didn’t change when I came out.

If that was all Mother’s Day meant to me, honoring and celebrating my wonderful mom, and the other great mothers in my life, this holiday wouldn’t be so hard.

Instead, walking into Costco this week seeing men buying flowers, listening to the radio…

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A Runner’s Heart

Alaska Pride

Like most teenage girls, I think, I read all those cheesy romance novels. I wanted (still want) romance, bliss and happily ever after. The embarrassing part is that if I’m honest, my earliest inspiration to be a runner came from a teen romance novel. I don’t remember the title or much of the plot, other than girl fell for boy, boy didn’t know she was alive, girl started running and transformed herself, felt good about herself, they fell in love and lived happily ever after. In particular, I remember the description of her first return to running. It was raining lightly, and she hated running in the rain. But then she talks about finding a rhythm, getting into her zone, and everything falling together , and that is what I wanted. To lace up my running shoes, find my pace and feel like I could run forever, all my troubles…

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Called to Rest

Alaska Pride

No question, one of the best things about living in Alaska is the outdoors.

Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer.  Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen.

Leonardo Da Vinci

Eklutna Lake by Susan Halvor

Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take
between two deep breaths, or the turning inwards in prayer for five short minutes.

–Etty Hillesum

Eagle River Nature Center by Susan Halvor

Rest well, play hard, and pay attention to the beauty that surrounds you. That’s what I’m doing. And get ready, because Pride Week is almost here.

Be Seen, Be Heard, Be Pride!

About the author: Susan is a Lutheran (ELCA) pastor, serving as a hospital…

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