Tell me about your volunteer work.
I have been volunteering at the Escondido Human Society (since 2009). We just merged with San Diego Human Society and SPCA. I had been working once per week with stray dogs. I really like strays because they come in the most frightened. I do what the dogs need whether it’s taking it to the activity pen, or letting it lay in your lap, or you can read to them. I went through the Harry Potter series with the dogs. If the dog is very, very fearful you might just work at the door of the kennel or sit with your back at the door of the kennel just so they can smell you without being a threat. A lot of people my age actually start by reading to the dogs. It’s a bizarre thing that you can come in and the dogs are all bouncing around the kennel and barking and then you start reading and they lay down and sigh, or they’ll put they nose up to the door and listen.
Now I am back to doing morning walks with the smaller dogs. I do that from 8am – 11am three days per week. Every dog gets a 20 minute walk. You walk half a mile down and back and then you go get the next dog, walk down and back, and then you get the next dog. It’s good for me and it’s good for them. Three of my favorites just got adopted which is bittersweet because I don’t get to see them anymore but I’m so happy for them.
I know that you haven’t always lived in California. Would you tell me about your journey?
I was born in Missouri. Two months later we moved to Arkansas. Right after I turned 14 my parents moved us to Orange County, CA. I was there for 35 years. In 1988, I began to sense that God was beckoning me to full time church work. As a matter of fact, my job was cutting into my church life. It took a whole year of questioning and praying until I went back to school to become a Director of Christian Education. I graduated in 1993 but my advisor had forgotten to line up an internship for me so I waited 3 years for an internship. My senior year and the year afterwards I was working in the music department. Since I didn’t have an internship, the professors I was working with recommended that I continue to I get my masters. So, I got my masters in religious education for adults.
I was still waiting for an internship, so I finally called Concordia Saint Paul and asked if they’d take me on. A few months later I received a call from Pastor Brown at Family of Christ in Andover, MN. I moved there for the internship and the following year they issued a call to me. I loved MN. I even enjoyed the winters.
I resigned that position in 2003 and I worked at the Minneapolis Community and Technical college in academic affairs. I enjoyed that job as well. All of a sudden I began making horrendous errors. I looked at my work and thought “I couldn’t have done that” but it was in my handwriting. For a little bit there I thought I was getting Alzheimer’s. It was creating quite a bit of difficultly in my job. I talked to my boss and agreed that I would quit because I could no longer do my job. At that time I didn’t think of fibromyalgia in terms of a disability. I learned that with fibro fog you lose any and all ability to multitask. You have difficulty concentrating, a short attention span, short term memory issues, and you are easily distracted. I planned to work until I was 70, but this was a change in my plan. It took me a solid year to cope with losing not one but two jobs that I dearly loved. But, I’m glad to be back in California and to be at Community.
I have a daughter Kari and a son-in-law, Scot, with one T. I have a really nice blessing from God in that Scot’s parents and I are friends. We are not just in-laws.
How did you come to find Community?
I had attended Community back in 1989 during my first year at Christ College. One of my professors recommended that I check out Community’s service. I noticed immediately that I was welcomed and people were friendly and happy. There were no grumpy faces. In 2005, when I was living in MN and I could no longer work Scot and Kari moved me back to live with them in CA. Moving back to California I thought “Oh, Escondido, that’s were Community is.”
What ministries are you involved in at Community?
I am on the board of outreach, Stephen ministries, and I knit dishcloths for the new member bags. I play the flute at the Escondido campus and once a month at Redwood Terrace. I’ve been in the choir. I have played hand bells.
When did you learn to play the flute?
Sixth grade. I went to a parent and student event to meet the band director. My sister was already a percussionist. I didn’t want to be in the band but then he holds up this flute and it was kind of love at first sight. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I have played pretty much straight through since there.
What is one influential moment in your life?
Of course having Kari; that really does change your world a lot. And also graduating from college; I was 41 when I went back. There were a lot of obstacles to succeeding there. My first day of college I got a jury summons and they said school was no excuse. I also go a letter from the school saying that I couldn’t move on campus because I had a teenage daughter. So we had a few hurdles to go through, but Satan does that. He tries to discourage.
WHAT IS THE COMMUNITY TREE PROJECT?
Community Lutheran Church is a growing congregation worshiping 550 people between two campuses each week. As we continue grow, it is important that our relationships with one another continue to grow as well. Over the coming months, our church website and Facebook page will be introducing you to a member of Community that you may or may not know yet. You’ll have the opportunity to learn a little about each member and delight in the different personalities and lifestyles that come together each week to worship our Savior.
When you join us for worship on Sunday mornings or events throughout the week, we encourage you to reach out and connect with someone you don’t normally talk to. As Pastor Vogelsang so eloquently reminds us, we are all “dear Christian friends.” We just don’t know each other yet! I’d like to change that one photo at a time.
"So that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it." - 1 Corinthians 12:25-27