Happy Holidays!

This isn’t exactly a traditional “Christmas letter,” but with such a long silence on our family blog I thought it time to share an update and wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

This has been a tumultuous year for the Carnes family.  We have moved to a new city and both have new jobs.  We sold our beloved home and left our former churches in the capable hands of other United Methodist pastors.  Whew.  Hard…but also exciting!


We were fortunate that in a difficult economy our home sold quickly (despite the water main breaking right in front of the house) and we still consider ourselves incredibly lucky to have had some really great neighbors in that neighborhood!

I did a lot of the packing, of course, but the actual move and the initial unpacking and setting up of our new home was on Carrie.  You can see that she had her work cut out for her when the movers left that day.  I was off in Chicago working on my final summer residency for my Doctor of Ministry.

My doctor of ministry is in preaching so my preaching each Sunday is part of my education and my education is affecting my preaching in very real ways.  I’m loving it!  When I got back from school I was in my first Sunday in my new congregation, Collinsville First United Methodist Church.  Carrie had already started the previous Sunday in her congregation at “Journey” a church start of Belleville Union UMC.  Carrie is appointed by the bishop to be the associate at Belleville Union, but she seldom works in Belleville.  Her primary work is in Freeburg, IL at Journey.

The Collinsville Church provides a parsonage in which we live.  We appreciate their hospitality and we are constantly working to make it ‘our own’ and when that involves painting…we thank the trustees for being so accommodating! 🙂

One way that the church showed hospitality and generosity, both, was partnering with us to put in a fence for our dogs.  As you can see from the picture of Jack, above, the dogs are loving it.  While we miss our former communities, friends, and congregations, we have found new places of love and support.  Also, being in the Saint Louis area allows us to be near to Carrie’s family.  We’ve been able to participate in family events and be with our nephew.

It was also fun to be near the total eclipse and we were fortunate to be able to go down to the lake and go out in the boat for the eclipse with other family and friends.  One of the highlights for Carrie was our purchase of half a hog.  Not only did we get the traditional cuts of meat, but she got some of the organs and she is excited to experiment with the hog head.  I have to say…I don’t know.

Lastly, we both had the opportunity to go to a preaching event at Garrett-Evangelical in Evanston in November.  We enjoyed an evening in Chicago before it began and immensely enjoyed it.  I think that is just about all that is fit for print.  We are preparing for the holidays and look forward to our time with both sides of the family over the next few weeks!

Three Weeks in Chicago

The past few weeks have been fun, challenging and rewarding.

In case you don’t already know, I traveled to Chicago for three weeks of classes as I work on my Doctor of Ministry in Preaching degree.  This program is a joint program of several seminaries in the Chicago area and brings together some of the best known preachers and professors for a unique program.

This marks the beginning of my second year and, so I have friends and colleagues who greeted me (and I, them).  It is a homecoming, in a way, and I feel blessed by the people who surrounded me over the past few weeks.

It’s funny, I’ve spent a few weeks with these other preachers and, yet, I feel very close to some of these new friends of mine.  I feel as though they know my life and yet they have only known me, in-person, for the length of six weeks, collectively.

Perhaps knowing a person is not about the length of time we have known them, but the depths we have gone with them?  Is it possible for two people who have been friends for just a few months to be closer than a brother and sister who have known one another for forty years?  Yes, I think it is possible that as human beings the best relationships we will experience are about depth, not length.

I hope to find opportunities to pursue deep and meaningful relationships and I hope you will join me in this journey.

Remembering Home.

Due to a housing shortage at the seminary where my Doctoral program meets (it is an ecumenical program with several schools including Garrett-Evangelical), I couldn’t stay in Hyde Park the first week of classes. I got a room at my seminary, Garrett-Evangelical (G-ETS), and I’ve been commuting to-and-from class this first week.

I was not looking forward to the commute. Something happened, though, the moment I stepped on campus: I felt as though I was home. It is not just a building. It is not just a landmark or even a person that I know.  It is the experiences that form my memories which make G-ETS feel like home and those memories are triggered when I see the sights, smell the smells, sit in the space.

When strong memories are triggered they can transport us.  Sometimes they transport us across time, sometimes across space, and sometimes both.  Each night this week I have gone walking by the lake.  When I go for these walks I am not walking down a physical path: I am walking in a different time.

What triggers your favorite memories?

Perhaps this week you can find some of these triggers that transport you to a different time and place.