It’s been a long time since I’ve done a personal blog post, so here are the Top Ten Things I’ve Been Up To:

1. Blogging: I have been blogging regularly on [D]mergent for a couple of years now, but I have recently also blogged on Edge Pieces (the blog of Open Gathering Church) and on Fidelia’s Sisters, the blog of The Young Clergy Women’s Project.

2. Fiction writing: I have been writing fiction for a long time, including a young adult fantasy series that I started in high school. I have recently begun rewriting this series and hoping to complete the rewrites and edits by the end of the year. In the meantime, back in June I wrote an entire novel on one month. I completed the second draft of this novel with my edits, and it is now in the hands of twenty readers who are giving me feedback and further edits. I am excited about the possibilities of publication! Note the new page for Fiction and Creative Writing above!

3. Nonfiction writing: I wrote a chapter two years ago in The Modern Magnificat: Women Responding to the Call of God. This year, I contributed to the new RevGalBlogPals book that will be coming out next spring! In addition, I am working on a book proposal with a co-author friend about autism and the church.

4. Social media: I have been active on social media for some time but now am working with churches in my region to develop social media policies and strategies for their church. I also am working on a social media strategy for our Evergreen Association to help share our story and connect with others!

5. Ministry: two years ago I accepted the call to become the pastor of Burien Community Church. A year ago, I began a quarter time position at Open Gathering, our new Disciples of Christ church plant in Bellevue where my husband, JC Mitchell is the founding pastor. Our primary ministry is reaching out to families of children with disabilities, but we are open to everyone and have a great eclectic group joining us during the week for support groups and other activities, and for our “living-room style” worship services on the first and third Sundays. Burien Community Church also partnered with University Baptist Church to begin a Pub Theology ministry for young adults that is still going strong, and currently I facilitate and lead it.

6. PTA: I became the co-president of our Special Needs PTA this year. We are a district-wide PTA that serves students with disabilities, their families and educators. Besides the large level of advocacy in this organization, there is also the day-to-day tasks of running a parent-teacher organization.

7. Family: AJ is in first grade! He is doing really well and we have noticed major gains. He can read a little and is becoming more vocal. He repeats words and phrases from television shows and songs for the most part, but is using some of those words in context. He also uses an assistive communication device (an iPad with speech software) to show us his desires and also to comment on what he likes. Currently, he likes dinosaurs!

8. Music: I have been playing my guitar more regularly these days, both in worship and for fun, but also in AJ’s classroom: I volunteer every other week to teach music in his class. I bring in children’s instruments such as bells, xylophone, maracas and cymbals, but also a snare drum and my guitar. I am teaching the children tempo, rhythm and sound, and these children with a variety of disabilities are learning music and loving it!

9. Running: I had been an avid jogger, off and on over the years. I did track in middle school, but wasn’t very good at it. I ran because I had to for basketball and soccer in high school but I hated it. I didn’t run again until I was almost thirty and then ran my first 5K. I loved it. Then I was pregnant and had AJ and it took me until AJ was two to run a 5K again. While in Oklahoma, I got into great shape and was running at least three times a week if not more. Then, with AJ’s diagnosis, depression, stress, and moving to Washington, I got out of the habit. Recently, I have gotten back in. I ran my first 5K in a couple of years on October 5th and loved it. I hope to get back into shape and continue running.

10. Sleep, or lack thereof: one of the hardest things is that AJ’s sleep pattern is off, and we’re not sure why. He has had trouble transitioning after school vacations in the past and will wake up somewhere between 2-4 a.m. and not go back to sleep. Usually this pattern happens for 3-4 days for two weeks, and then it’s done for a while. Since starting first grade six weeks ago, this pattern has not stopped. AJ often gets up in the middle of the night or has trouble going down. And yes, we’ve tried Melatonin. If we are able to get him to take it (he fights taking anything that resembles medication, in liquid or pill form or crushed up—he can sense it coming) he will fall asleep quickly, but wake up seven hours later on the dot. We have tried different dosage and it works the same. He is just incredibly excited about school and life in general these days!

So that is what is going on in the life of Mindi! Thank you for continuing to read, use, and share my blog!

Blessings, Mindi

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