Holy Shenanigans

Star Words for 2024 with writer Rev. Katy Stenta

January 08, 2024 Tara Lamont Eastman Season 5 Episode 5
Star Words for 2024 with writer Rev. Katy Stenta
Holy Shenanigans
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Holy Shenanigans
Star Words for 2024 with writer Rev. Katy Stenta
Jan 08, 2024 Season 5 Episode 5
Tara Lamont Eastman

Welcome to a brand new year of sacred (non-stuffy) Holy Shenanigans! This season is exciting, with opportunities for fresh starts, but can be a time of overwhelming pressure to persue perfection. Well meaning resolutions can go sideways - fueled by sales efforts of the “wellness industry” in service to capitalism.

There is another way to engage in new beginnings in ways that feed out hearts, minds and souls. 2024 can be a time to attend to and offer yourself spiritual practices that are supportive, compassionate AND sane!

Join Rev. Tara Eastman, as she shares the spiritual practice of choosing an annual “Star Word” and gentle options for spiritual renewal with special guest, author: Rev. Katy Stenza.

Katy Stenta is a PCUSA pastor, writer, workshop leader and community builder. She is currently vice moderator for Albany Presbytery, regular contributor to Sermonsuite and leads workshops on writing, particularly prayer and liturgy. Her conversational prayers and psalms are used by people and churches all over the world from KatyandtheWord.com and she is all but dissertation for completing her Doctorate in Ministry in Creative Writing as a public theologian at Mr Roger' alma mater Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

Send Tara a Text Message

Support the Show.

Pastor Tara Lamont Eastman is an Ordained Minister of Word & Sacrament in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She has pastored ELCA and PCUSA churches throughout New York State. She was a contributing writer to the Collaborate Lutheran Student Bible and the Connect Sunday School curriculum, published by Sparkhouse.

Show Notes Transcript

Welcome to a brand new year of sacred (non-stuffy) Holy Shenanigans! This season is exciting, with opportunities for fresh starts, but can be a time of overwhelming pressure to persue perfection. Well meaning resolutions can go sideways - fueled by sales efforts of the “wellness industry” in service to capitalism.

There is another way to engage in new beginnings in ways that feed out hearts, minds and souls. 2024 can be a time to attend to and offer yourself spiritual practices that are supportive, compassionate AND sane!

Join Rev. Tara Eastman, as she shares the spiritual practice of choosing an annual “Star Word” and gentle options for spiritual renewal with special guest, author: Rev. Katy Stenza.

Katy Stenta is a PCUSA pastor, writer, workshop leader and community builder. She is currently vice moderator for Albany Presbytery, regular contributor to Sermonsuite and leads workshops on writing, particularly prayer and liturgy. Her conversational prayers and psalms are used by people and churches all over the world from KatyandtheWord.com and she is all but dissertation for completing her Doctorate in Ministry in Creative Writing as a public theologian at Mr Roger' alma mater Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

Send Tara a Text Message

Support the Show.

Pastor Tara Lamont Eastman is an Ordained Minister of Word & Sacrament in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She has pastored ELCA and PCUSA churches throughout New York State. She was a contributing writer to the Collaborate Lutheran Student Bible and the Connect Sunday School curriculum, published by Sparkhouse.

Tara: [00:00:00] Hi there friends of Holy Shenanigans podcast. This is Pastor Tara Lamont Eastman and happy, happy new year to you. 2024 to you all. Here at Holy Shenanigans, we lean into the sacred and everyday life. How love shows up and invites us to lean in. Lean into all that life is and what we hope it to be. This new year, I've been thinking a lot about spiritual practices that are gentle, that are sane.

Tara: Things that help buoy our lives instead of make us feel like we have more rocks in our shoes. And [00:01:00] so I am so excited today to have my new friend, Reverend Katy here with me. Hi, Katy.

Katy: Hey, glad to be here.

Tara: So Katy, could you share a little bit about who you are in the world?

Katy: Sure. I'm Katy Stenta. I'm a pastor and a writer. I do community building kind of stuff. I'm, making my way, I'm in a big shift in my life. So I'm trying to, , figure out what that means. And I'm like, okay, God where am I and what am I doing? And kind of exciting. And Kind of scary.

Katy: And, you know, I'll figure out the next pieces, but it means I get to kind of explore and figure out the new pieces of my life. So, yeah, it's exciting.

Tara: Walking in faith in times of uncertainty. I think that that's more common a human experience than sometimes we talk about. So appreciate you taking the time to, talk with me and to [00:02:00] talk with our fellow holy shenanigators as they're probably wrestling with some of these questions as well.

Katy: Yeah. All the questions.

Tara: This theme for January is to, have gentle spiritual practices for this new year or sane, non maddening practices. Sometimes in my tradition growing up in church often was about perfection or pursuing perfection. And the last, I think, 20 years of my life has been a deconstruction of that perfection and spiritual practices and encouraging other people to live into messiness and uncertainty to be playful , and open to how the spirit is leading.

Tara: Which leads to this whole shenanigan idea. It's just the beginning of January, and I know a lot of folks have probably [00:03:00] still wrestling with the pressure of resolutions or a pressure from external sources and internal sources to, , be everything simultaneously.

Katy: The holiday is all like, treat yourself, get all the things , do whatever you want, eat all the things you want, do all the things you want, pleasure yourself, and then January it's like, what?

Katy: No, be structured and disciplined, don't do anything, be perfect, and it's such a flip, and they're both created to buy stuff, right? Like one's buy everything to indulge and one's buy everything to not indulge. December 31st, it's one.

Katy: And then January 1st, it's the other. And it's amazing how we're just supposed to. Swing the pendulum like that. And that's not even like in one day. That's not even how it works. I I'm, I'm both people all day. Yeah,

Tara: and the coffee.

Katy: exactly. I need, I [00:04:00] need, I need the moments to indulge and I need the moments of discipline.

Katy: Right. Like, and I swing back and forth all throughout the day. So I'm like, no, that's not real.

Tara: And I think if we're honest you know, real life is these incremental things. Right. The messy middle and that's where we're called to live and to love and to learn and grow. But again, I think that gentle spiritual practices can be helpful. Years ago when I was first learning about.

Tara: The lectionary or liturgical practices of church, I learned about epiphany and I remember sitting in a church office as a youth director and everybody was gone because it was that week between and I was the person there to hold down the fort because the senior pastors were away on vacation and I was reading a book called Sacred Space.

Tara: A devotional book by the [00:05:00] Irish Jesuits, and it was so informative in so many ways. And so formative for me in that I started reading about epiphany and star words and looking at scripture in a more contemplative manner that it just blew my mind. I was like, this is so cool. And I also had the gift in reading this that.

Tara: My birthday is January So I have this very strong personal connection to epiphany that experience and how that. liturgical calendar really was life giving for me. And so I was like, all about the star words and all about those things. And even this year, as I was seeking my star word, I didn't even realize that I was starting to get perfectionistic. I must have the perfect word. Where is it? Where is it?

Katy: It's discipline. [00:06:00] It's not just like you lost the mystical part.

Tara: here I am. The holy shenanigator host.

Katy: Oops.

Tara: Leaning too hard into that starkness, right? Instead of walking and meandering with the magi into this season of epiphany. Originally I kept thinking about the word create this year. And I love to make things. I love to lean into the creative part of who I am, but it felt a little heavy. Oh, but what if I don't create what I'm supposed to create?

Katy: Yeah, 

Tara: she talked about community and creating. And then another friend came to me and, and offered help to me in something that I thought was impossible to pursue in a very short timeline and I went, Oh, all of this creating is [00:07:00] always co creating God and with others. And so. Finally, when I let go of perfection, a little, I discovered that at this point today, I feel like my star word for 2024 is co create, feels gentler and more practical. And part of me coming to that conclusion was your liturgy about this. I was looking online for the perfect word and your words came to me about star words and new beginnings. And I wonder if you would honor us with reading those words today.

Katy: love to. So this is kind of where I was with star words. And the title is , P E F E C T

Katy: God, this is the time of year to reflect. [00:08:00] To think about all that has been accomplished, or not. We humans really like progress, but really hate change. How did you do that, God? Make us this way. We want to be prefect, pefect, perfect, whatever that means. I am, as you know too well, God, a recovering perfectionist. So full of goals, give me a minute and I can give you plans and dreams and ideas to fill a jar. But this year, when I got the star word intention, I politely declined. I am trying to fall into God this time. I am trying to wait. [00:09:00] I am trying to Sabbath. I am trying to do this thing. Perhaps you have heard of it. Trust in God. It is not easy. I am more of the goal setting, work hard and be rewarded, early bird gets the worm, plan your way out of person. But I am not a catastrophe or a trophy. I am beautifully and fiercely made and perhaps unfinished. And that thought should not be scary but comforting. God has more to do for you.

Katy: With us, there is peace to be made, hunger for righteousness [00:10:00] to be fed. Help that needs to be given and perhaps more scarily asked for. So here I go into a new year, reaching up and out full of prayer and letting go of intentions. Amen.

Tara: So, so be it thank you so much for reading that so beautifully and sharing your heart with us. The line, but I am not a catastrophe

Tara: Or a trophy resonates with me , as a person who is a enneagram for leaning three pretty hard. And for those who aren't familiar, it's a creative person who is also perfectionist.

Katy: Yeah, [00:11:00] I'm a helper, but when I'm unhealthy, I lean towards being perfect, right? I'm like, well, if I just do it more perfectly, somehow that will fix Which doesn't make any sense, but and I am the person who's like, I have nothing to do. Okay, I'll set a goal. I will set a goal and that will somehow fix it. It's so funny cause I, asked for a pastor friend to pull a word and she pulled intention and I was like, Oh no, no, no, no, no, no, no.

Katy: Give me five minutes. I'll have like so many goals , which is great. Like for some people setting goals is hard. Right. And so I'm blessed in that way. Right. But everyone's blessing is also their curse, the thing you're good at is also the thing that gets in your way.

Katy: And right now it's not helpful because, I'm between jobs, I'm working on a degree that's not done yet, right? I'm between and I'm like, I have all these goals, but I'm kind [00:12:00] of listless and I need to embrace that I'm between and be like, okay, God, I'm between and I've got to kind of be okay with that.

Katy: I'm between, because of choices I made that I think were right, you know, I think they were the correct places to be, which in some ways is great, and in some ways is harder, right? I'm like, okay, God, I'm following your star, right?

Katy: Sometimes that makes it easier. And some days I'm like that really, really God,

Tara: Following you. Are you sure this is

Katy: where's my reward. Okay. I didn't do it for reward, but I kind of did it in my, for a reward and my heart of hearts, like I thought I'd be like set now and like, you know what I like. And I'm not getting what I like out of this. So, you know, it's, it's this following God stuff. It's hard.

Tara: my dang gold star? 

Katy: I Did a parenting group for a long time and one of the women who came she's like, I prayed for patience and then my two year old started acting up and she's like, that is not what [00:13:00] I meant. I did not mean teach me patience. And she's like, I think that's what I meant.

Katy: And she's like, no. No, no, no, no. Can I take it back? Can I, like, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. That's not the prayer. I was not praying the prayer I thought I meant. So yeah, I'm like, God, lead me. And I'm like, but I didn't mean for it to be led this way. Is this the way I want it to be? Like, okay, fine, fine, fine. 

Katy: For me, the picture is throwing my hands up, right? Like opening my hands up and letting things come to me, which is really hard. Right. I'm like, I would much rather be doing something.

Tara: Well, in fancy pastor liturgical language, that's Orans, right?

Katy: The empty handed prayer is almost the hardest prayer to pray. I'm not good at those, and I think in America, we're not comfortable with silence. We're not [00:14:00] comfortable with emptiness. We're not comfortable with waiting.

Katy: But I mean, there's so much richness in darkness in the Bible, in emptiness in the Bible, in silence in the Bible. Look what God did with an empty tomb, an empty cross, an empty building, an empty, lake, an empty shore, and, you know. No bed, no cups, no, and so, you know, I'm like, all right, how many empty handed prayers can I do?

Katy: How many silent prayers can I do? Because I talk, talk, talk, right? Like, this is who I am. And I'm cultivating a different way and trying to do it. 

Tara: Yeah. Yeah. I was involved in visual art throughout the pandemic and I use it as a spiritual practice, a prayer practice because it quiets my mind. It engages my hands and mind and heart in a way that everything [00:15:00] just becomes much more still and that's not my normal frequency.

Tara: I shouldn't say normal. It's not my regular like temperament, right? But having that space was really sacred for me. And even in a practical term of working on. Artwork especially when I was working on community art projects with groups of people was setting perimeters that people could say, Oh, okay, this isn't overwhelming.

Tara: Oh, okay. Thank you for helping me realize I could, you know, work on this small portion of a mural or, you know, I could help pull the tape or I could, you know, setting those perimeters perimeters is really important in an art project. But in my own spiritual practice around art, I learned that if I it may sound funny.

Tara: I went and got a can of sardines, this beautiful oval shape. And I [00:16:00] used that to trace on my watercolor paper. So I had to limit my parameters. 

Tara: That small oval when I was working on a particular series of paintings, because I was like, if I set this little space, It helps me to like, quiet the external noise

Katy: Mm-Hmm.

Tara: to be like, okay, I'm just working on this little oval

Katy: Yeah. Mm-Hmm.

Tara: Or playing in this little oval, not so much working, but playing great in that space, that allow these little pockets of prayer in beauty to, to really, to see it and to play with the paintbrush.

Tara: Yeah.

Katy: I like the idea of pockets too, right? There's something very meaningful cause it's a pocket of space and a pocket of time and a pocket of beauty [00:17:00] and a pocket of, right? There's something there, I feel like very meaningful as you're talking about how can I create a pocket for myself in the midst of all this. Right, because pockets kind of like this, secret space, but it's also like, you put your hand in and then you take it back out and right. And

Tara: And you can choose what to do with that pocket, right? I think a lot of times in our vocation and ministry, a lot of our work is shared work. You know, you write a sermon or you write a liturgy and that's something that you share. I think it's important. To realize that sometimes those are just for us, between us and God or the divine. And we can choose. It's like, you have something in your pocket and do you choose to like take it out or just keep it in your pocket?

Katy: And it's something you carry with [00:18:00] you , mean, that's kind of beautiful on its own way too, right? Like, oh, I'm carrying it with me. It's my emergency stash, right? Like,

Tara: It's the emergency chocolate in the freezer.

Katy: right? And you, might find it when you need it, or you might , remember it when you need it, or right? Where are your pockets of creativity as you kind of try to create this space and figure out And so think you're picking up on where other people are feeding your creativity so that lets you have this kind of rubber band effect where it's less kind of stringent, but also keeping it in your pocket, like both at the same time.

Katy: And I think that's the whole idea of star words. They feel like they're a little different and a little more flexible than like a goal, right? which is why I think it's ironic. I got intention, right? Because I'm like, intention is more flexible than goal, but it's a little too stringent for what I want.

Katy: But it's supposed to be just something to light your way, it's not supposed to be this is a discipline and this is a [00:19:00] thing and this, right? It's supposed to be, again, something you put right beside you to hold you and guide your way and like, put in your pocket, right? 

Katy: and I think that's why people do like, when you hand out paper star, you can just carry with you or put in your wallet or your pocket or whatever. And, Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It's a funny practice because it's a little bit mystical. It's a little bit kind of nebulous, but it's hopeful, right?

Katy: We're going to put our hope in something. And so I'm very optimistic. So it's funny for me to be like, No, I'm not doing that. Like, that doesn't work for me, right? I was like, this is too stringent. Like, I can't do it. And so that was an interesting place where I was like, dang, I hate my Star Wars. 

Tara: Yep. 

Katy: is supposed to be like an affirming thing. I'm like, I'm feeling very unaffirmed.

Tara: As I prepare for sharing this with folks on Epiphany Sunday I have two words on either side [00:20:00] and I have blanks. So that gives people Space parameters for their star word.

Tara: That should be more graceful and life-giving, I hope.

Katy: yeah, yeah, give some room. Yeah. And whenever I do, I'm like, if you hate it, you could throw it out, but it's good to recognize. This is not a perfect practice, right?

Katy: Like that's not what it's supposed to be about. It's supposed to be grounding, I think that's funny when it's that too, when it's like, Oh yeah, I, I am that person, right? This is perfect. This is exactly who I am. I have someone who is just full of humor, an artist, she's just all this stuff, and she got playful, and you're just like, well, of course you did, right, like, I mean, when you heard it, you were like,, okay, not a stretch at all.

Katy: It's funny how it can function differently for different people, too, right? Sometimes it's more like an aspiration. And sometimes it's more like, no, this is who I am. And I needed that too. Okay.

Tara: Yeah. And so in all spiritual [00:21:00] practices, there is diversity, right? And some things fit for a season and some things don't fit for that season. And I'm hoping as people listen to our conversation, they can realize, oh, this is adaptable. 

Tara: And I think that's part of what as I was reading your liturgies and I believe you also recently did the rebel in Bethlehem.

Katy: A lot of my liturgies are about being immediate to what's going on and just trying to name. Real life situations in the moment which means they're complicated because life is complicated, right? 

Katy: So I'm just trying to give permission for people to, to communicate about where they're at and how they're feeling because I think when you identify where you're at, it helps you feel more human. And I feel like that's so important about what's going on. 

Katy: And probably you as an artist get that too, right? Like, I think that's part of how art works in general. [00:22:00] There's actually some blowback about the Christ and the rebel thing and it's just because I think everyone's so sad and scared about the war that's going on in Israel. And, you know, I, I think it actually had very little to do with what I wrote or for the picture itself. I think people are just. Feel overwhelmed and don't know how to talk about it, but the liturgy in the picture gave people permission to have those kinds of conversations that they had been trying to figure out how to have and couldn't do it.

Katy: So the blowback of mine was like. You know, Jesus probably wasn't born in a cave or he was, I mean, people started arguing historical facts and I was like, this is poetry. It has nothing to do with facts, just so you know, and I put all the options out there. I was like, it could be X, it could be Y, it could be Z.

Katy: And I've just been pondering about all the options. And so like, historically, it's Y, just so you know, [00:23:00] and I was like, it's a poem. And then someone else said, historically, it's Z, just so you know, and I'm like, Okay, and then they finally got down to some of the actual conflict and war, but, , you couldn't get there until you talked about it because Things are intense.

Katy: I think that's how liturgical practices are too, right? You have to some liturgical practices, maybe to get to the deeper issues. Like you have to start having a spiritual practice because it's hard being human and you're worn out. And sometimes you just have to do artwork or sing songs or take care of your body, which is probably exhausted from getting through the day before you can even get to the deeper issues.

Tara: Yeah. Yeah. We're doing renovations in very old house

Tara: And it's going room by room and it's been put off for a long time, but it does remind me of what you've just said, is that, you know, you got to clear the space, right, and then the expert [00:24:00] needs to come in and assess really what needs to be done.

Katy: Yes.

Tara: And then, and then you take down , the problem and then you realize there might be other problems behind the problem,

Katy: Yes. Yes.

Tara: or the hope you had for that space is different than what the reality is going to be.

Katy: Yes. And then I think of all the kinds of tired you can be too, right? You can be physically tired. You can be mentally tired. You can be emotionally tired. And then I always add, you can be spiritually tired, right?

Katy: Like you can just. be spiritually completely worn out. I know people who are very spiritually in touch, but they're just spiritually worn out, which is a different thing from being like done with church or done with God. They just are spiritually worn out. And so, there's all these levels of exhaustion that are going on and you have to be like, okay, where do I refuel?

Katy: And what feeds me in all those levels? That's a lot. To kind of take [00:25:00] care of. And can we be holistic about how we deal with all that?

Tara: I Would encourage folks, you know, what is gonna fill your cup or your pockets? Or what is a grace you can just Allow to lift you and carry you.

Katy: Yeah. And find all the connections. I mean, not just social, right? Like your pets or your sunshine or your nature or, you know, or your creativity or There's so many different lovely ways to find things to connect to so that you can, hopefully not so you can do more work. Like, right. I hope that's not the goal, but so that you can be your most full self. And that's kind of the goal. So yeah, that's part of the writing, right? I'm like, okay, the goal is not to be perfect, hopefully, or to get everything done, because those are the messages of society, right? , Jesus did not say, well, go, [00:26:00] follow me so that you can get more work done and be more perfect, right?

Katy: The goal is to be human and know that you're loved. That's the goal. I mean, if I want that for my children and for my friends and for my parents, I'm very good at helping everyone else. Like maybe that's what I should want for me. Maybe that's the goal I should do.

Katy: So that's, you know, what I'm struggling towards.

Tara: And then in that co creation with divine is to learn that, , the yoke is easy

Katy: Mm hmm.

Tara: and the burden is light.

Katy: Yeah, that's, that's a big piece, right? Not that it's not hard sometimes, but if you're working really hard all the time, like, It shouldn't shave all the time, right? Like something's off. So, right,

Tara: there's, there's rhythms. Even in physical exercise, you can't just do one movement over and over and over again, every single day, or [00:27:00] you're going to damage. your body, there needs to be variation. There needs to be rest days.

Tara: There needs to be rest days.

Katy: Food is the same way too, right? Like if you had your favorite meal every day, you would actually grow to hate it, which is really sad and tragic. I always think about this. I'm like, if humans invented food, we would make one thing that took care of everything tasted the same and was adequate.

Katy: And we'd be like, here you go, we've invented this. And I'm like, humans are not good at this kind of thing. Because we'd be like, here's your thing. It's sufficient. Have a good day. , that is not how God created food. God was like, look at all the combinations and all the taste buds and different foods are actually good for different bodies.

Katy: If you want to know that we are beloved, I just would look at food and not even just that, there's one kind , for everyone, but that there's this whole manifest. I have my own food things. And so I'm trying to be like, That's actually beautiful, that God has made a diet that works for me that's different from other people, [00:28:00] and that that's beautiful too.

Katy: And that I'm a extreme, you know, wordy person, and words work beautiful for me, and they transmit everything I ever need, and all I need to do is read and write books all day. But my husband is a visual person, right? And he needs, , beautiful. Movies to tell stories all day and visuals and all that, and that's how he works and processes.

Katy: But we can tell each other things that we would not catch , if it was just us in the world. Isn't that amazing? I'm like, again. God did that. I would not have invented the world that way. I would have been like, words are the best. Everyone should just understand words and we're done.

Tara: So you have a pocket in your life called a doctor of ministry program through Pittsburgh theological seminary. 

Katy: YEah, so it's really interesting because it's public theology and so we're trying to engage with the greater world . So a big piece of it is to try to say, how do you engage with the general world [00:29:00] more with theology in kind of an appropriate way? 

Katy: Because I write these conversational prayers, , I have lots of people who are very loosely engaged with spirituality who still read them because they're like, well, that makes sense.

Katy: Like, I am worried about school shootings or, you know, ecosystems. Or whatever. And they're like, wow, I read your prayer. And I was feeling the anguish too. And it really spoke to me about what was going on. I read a lot of prayers about means cause if there's a really popular name going around, I feel like.

Katy: It's touching people, right? And sometimes I'm like, yeah, that is a really profound thing that's going on the internet. Like, I'm going to write a prayer about that. And then it's cool. Cause you've got that cross engagement on. I think a lot of memes are prayers, right? Like people are calling out to the universe and being like, all right, universe, what the hell?

Tara: Yep.

Katy: Like, hello, could you fix this for me, please? And I'm like, this is a prayer. And so then I just like expound [00:30:00] on it because I'm like, this is really good. We should be expounding on this one. Which is really fun. I started being stuck during COVID and having no one to talk to and started writing more and more and more and more and more.

Katy: And then I engaged with the program. It's so successful. All 35 students are still in the program who were in the inaugural class. So we have 100 percent retention right now with the inaugural class.

Tara: Wow.

Katy: We all love it. It's not perfect because it's the inaugural year, right?

Katy: There's some things that were wrinkled. But, it's an amazing idea. It's completely different from other DMIN programs because it has this experiential piece where you go talk to writers and then you, try to write stuff yourself. The theology is more about engagement than about, I sat in a room and like read theology all day long which is magnificent because this is what the church should be doing.

Katy: It's just been really meaningful for me. I'm all but dissertation, you know, I've written. six million poems, which hopefully maybe someday will be a book. And I've [00:31:00] started teaching workshops to people about how to write their own prayers. 

Tara: Beautiful.

Katy: personal prayers or liturgy, but even if you're not clergy

Katy: If you want to like figure out, cause I write a lot of prayers when I'm like in the car waiting to pick up my kids and be like, I'm feeling a lot of stuff rattling around in my brain and I really need to get it out somewhere. Kind of stuff on the notes app in my phone. So just kind of talking to people about you have permission to write stuff down and to talk to God and writing it down just makes it a little more real, which I think is great and I'm working on that.

Katy: So those are the kinds of things I've been doing and that's why I'm like, okay, God, it's time for something new. My church did really well through COVID and then kind of burned themselves out, but also had a great opportunity to turn the building into a community center.

Katy: One of the things standing in the way was my salary. And so I was like, well, I guess it's time for me to do something else then. So I took a leap of faith and Remove myself from the equation for my church that I've been at for 13 years [00:32:00] and left the church so that the building could become a community center.

Katy: And the congregation is going to decide what to do next, if they're going to merge or just end. But we had really good years together. You know, it wasn't this, terrible, horrible thing. It was more like, we don't know if we want to do this anymore. And I'm like, so you should have permission to stop.

Katy: It shouldn't be, you have to be a church for all time. It's been a really good run. What if we blessed that and did something different. 

Tara: It's something connective to the community

Katy: yeah, we were so successful as a, as a church connecting the community that. The hope is, last I knew, I, you know, I'm not in charge anymore, that the, building which was housing 40 different organizations besides the church would become a community building. So I took a leap of faith and was like, all right I'm going to go find a job somewhere else.

Katy: I started somewhere and it didn't really work out. Someone was taking a run at having a nonprofit arm. And then they were like, nevermind, we don't have to pay someone to do this. So that didn't work. [00:33:00] But you know, I'm, I'm like, God has taken good care of us so far. This is a shenanigan story, right?

Katy: We moved up to Albany for my job, for this church. And I was like, okay, I'm here for this job. My middle child got diagnosed with autism. We're in one of the central, amazing places for autism care. In the United States you know, from doctoral care to support systems, New York is top in the United States for monetary support for autism.

Katy: Who knew? I mean, I didn't know that. We were just like, we're moving up to Albany for God. Ha ha ha. My child was literally a newborn when we moved here. Six months old. He had no signs of autism. And it turns out we're in a. Very huge support system for him for autism.

Katy: He's doing really, really well. And so I'm like, well, we're not leaving. Also, the day I got let go from the other job, my husband got promoted, which is beautiful and great affirmation that we're doing the right thing.

 As you know, full time [00:34:00] ministry jobs are not easy to find at this moment. So even though there's a pastor shortage, there's a pastor shortage because people can't support full time ministers So I'm like, I don't know what I'm doing. I'm writing prayers.

Tara: You're writing beautiful prayers that connect community that help. other people out there like myself that was like, where's my Star Wars? Darn it.

Katy: So I'm being a public theologian, whatever that means. And we'll figure it out because God has not led me wrong thus far. I have 60 goals I could have, but I, I think God has a different one for me and I'm just going to have to wait.

Katy: And see what God wants for me. So I'm excited to see what it is because I'm not a patient person, but I'm, I'm practicing.

 I wasn't planning on doing this, but I have a pile of Star Wars on my desk.

Katy: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Tara: Can I pull one for you and just see what happens?

Katy: [00:35:00] intention. We'll see.

Tara: Oh goodness. Let's see. Ooh,

Katy: we get, what we get.

Tara: you got 

Tara: enlightenment 

Katy: Ooh, that sounds good.

Tara: and empowering,

Katy: Okay. Those sound much more like a fit than intentioned.

Tara: enlightenment and empowering.

Katy: All right.

Tara: Just in our conversation today, I feel enlightened and empowered by what you've shared with me. 

Katy: Thanks for letting me share.

Tara: oh, you're welcome. You're welcome. So where can folks find you, Katy?

Katy: I'm at Katy and the word.com, so it's like KATY. I have like the Irish spelling KTY and the word like the word of God, or like words because I like words. That's. All my liturgy, all my, , thoughts. And then sometimes I [00:36:00] put up, Hey, I'm doing a workshop there.

Katy: If people want to sign up for a workshop they're small, they're like 10 people on zoom, so just email me and I send you out like, here's some warmup questions to think about.

Katy: I do like a donate if you support thing because some people, you know, have money and some people don't, and some churches have money. So some churches donate and some churches don't, right?

Katy: I mean, they really don't. And so I have prayers that are used kind of all over the United States and a little bit of world. And it's nice, right, if there's a big thing, people are like, oh yeah, let me look and see and they'll use my stuff.

Katy: And I always say you can adapt it too, or share it or whatever you need to do. But yeah, it's fun. 

Tara: I have a. Blessing to offer for you in this time of empowerment and enlightenment. And until I have a prayer resource that I use for my own devotions all the time, it's the Celtic daily prayer book.

Tara: And this is [00:37:00] part of a poem liturgy from Francis J Roberts. And it's just this very little portion that was meaningful for me as I was thinking about my star word of co create for this year. It says this move on steadily and know that the waters that carry you are the waters of my love. And kindness and I will keep you on the right course. I hope that that is encouraging for you, Katy,

Katy: Thank you.

Tara: you're welcome. I invite folks, if they would like a star word and they didn't like the one they got or whatever, I have a pile of them sitting here in front of me.

Tara: And [00:38:00] if you want, you can email me at the podcast email holy shenanigans, podcast at gmail. com. And I will mail you a star word. 

Tara: Like it or not, or if you want a blank one, you say, I want a blank one, I want to write my own. I can send that to you too. But I, I hope that this season of Epiphany and this new year allows us all pockets of spiritual practices that really do give us life. That the holy shenanigans of the Holy Spirit will guide us and lead us in all that is to come. And that as we think about holy shenanigans that are always sacred and never stuffy, that they lead us to love and connection and compassion in the year ahead. Thank you, Katy, for joining us. Thank you, fellow holy shenanigans listeners.

Tara: May [00:39:00] you be well, may you be at peace, and know that you are always loved. 

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