Friday, December 29, 2006

Giving from the heart of Jesus

I am excited for Passion this year, maybe a little more than the last 2 years just due to Passion Conferences stated purpose of promoting social justice this year. They've taken offerings before, but never did they ask us all to donate towels and socks to the homeless community of Atlanta, and never did they show us up front all they ways we can give and serve our world. This link goes to a pdf file on the Passion07 site telling about those opportunities to give. If you're interested in those ministries, please contribute. But everyone, pray for the nearly 30,000 college students, ministry leaders, and volunteers who will be swarming Atlanta from January 1-4. Ask Go to open all our hearts to be the hands and feet of Christ with the resources and blessings we have been given.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

On Turning 30

In 30 minutes I will officially embark on a milestone, known as turning 30. This year, my birthday will include a trip to the Mass RMV to renew my driver's license. I could have done this via mail or online, but I want a new picture to replace the somewhat bad one from 5 years ago...and I also waited to the last minute, as usual. I guess my excuse is my parent's visit and my birthday's proximity to Christmas, but it really was just poor planning!

This birthday also has me remembering the last one, which included an uneventful dinner at a Japanese hibachi restaurant with a good friend and a not-so-close one. Then a surprise the next day as two great friends arrived in a car full of balloons, birthday cake, and presents at 8am when I just thought we were driving to Nashville for Passion06. One of those friends went to worship God full-time this year, so remembering her on this birthday is special. Passion07 will be full of her memories too as that was the last time we saw each other on this earth.

I'm not afraid of 30. I've done my fair share in this life--travelled to Europe 4 times, played first chair clarinet in my high school band, finished a master's degree, had my nose broken, sang karaoke on a cruise ship, lived in the country, lived in the city, and loved. My life is full of beautiful friends, a loving family, and a mosaic of ministry that I couldn't have imagined. God has plans for my life that are larger than I can comprehend. I'm glad that this year included some great highs and painful lows. My character has been shaped and formed by all of it. I am a better person for it.

To the God who formed me and knows me by name, thank you for this past year of breath. May I walk worthy of every moment of the next.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Space, Peace, and My Aching Back

I rediscovered this week that it's hard to think with people around. I've gotten really used to being alone, controlling my time, and thinking a lot. That's probably why I blog quite a bit--I just need to let out all those things I'm thinking. Anyway, my parents visited for 8 days and I dropped them off at the airport to go back to Pensacola tonight. I'm happy to be able to control my space, time, and tv again. I enjoy having it off more than on, but my mother is a tv addict. I'm also really happy to sleep in my own bed again. My nearly 30 year-old back is starting to react to 8 days on my overly-cushy sofa. I'm going to enjoy my bed for the 3 days before I run off to Atlanta and not really sleep for 5 days. I'm ready to rest up.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Can't Sleep Again

I'm in my cycle of staying up really late and sleeping really late again. I gave myself a pass this week because I was sick, but I think discipline is going to have to reign again. Mom and Dad arrive on Tuesday night, so I know they will be up and around bright and early every morning. That doesn't allow for much late sleeping when you're occupying the same 625 square feet as 2 other people.

I just finished watching Talladega Nights, which was really hilarious to me in its deadpan fashion of horrible redneck humor. I think it is funnier to me after having enjoyed 3 fabulous years on the Redneck Riviera. It was slightly off-color (of course) at times, but the special features on the DVD took the cake. I haven't laughed that hard in a while.

When I was busy not sleeping late last night, I finished up the book Dear Church, which is absolutely fantastic. I read it in 2 days. It's penned by a 20something woman who explores some of our generations questions/frustrations about today's institutional church. The book is well-grounded in research and in touch with thoughts and conversations I've had with a number of people. I passed it off right away to a friend in my church, but I think I'm going to spend more time digging in it and working on each chapter's discussion questions. I highly recommend it.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Pursuit of Happiness

I was a movie maven this week--I caught 2 flicks and didn't work much at all. Weird, but that's my life now...on to the review!

The first film of the week was The Holiday--an overly-complicated amuse bouche (I've been watching Top Chef too much) that could have really done it for me. Despite Jude Law's obvious eye-candy factor, I was pretty much sick of his and Cameron Diaz' story line after the first 30 minutes. I do not really care about the hot people getting together, especially when it's just SO manufactured. Don't let me get started on Diaz' acting (or lack thereof)...I left this film feeling like I really wanted to see more of the Kate Winslet-Jack Black storyline. There was a unique sub-plot with their characters that I wished Nancy Meyers had spent more time on. Argh. At least I only paid $5 for the ticket...

Compelled by Thursday's Oprah appearance, I went to see The Pursuit of Happyness on Friday afternoon. The film was well-acted, gritty, and heart-felt. It gave me an even greater appreciation for the effects of poverty and desire to serve the urban poor. I would have loved it more if I hadn't been so off-put by the ending. Of course it's a happy one, but the message rang hollow. It seemed very much like the final message of the film was that happiness is found in money. I find that a sorely depressing thought and one that its utterly false. I wish they could have continued the inner monologue of the main character, Chris, and his musings about what Thomas Jefferson meant in the Declaration of Independence concerning the film's title concept. I think that pursuit is never-ending in this earthly body. I think it's what keeps us longing for home.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Vid of the Day

This is a gem of a video--a nice little spoof on the Mac vs PC ads.

ICA, Illness, and Victory

On Sunday, Rosana and I got to enjoy opening day at Boston's first new museum in 100 years-the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA). They hosted a 12 hour free open house and it seemed like the whole city showed up. We arrived less than 2 hours after the opening and had to wait 2 hours after that to get in. But the place was worth it. Outside of the art, the building itself is an amazing addition to a somewhat forgotten waterfront in Southie. Check it out.

The rest of the week (so far), I've been sick. It's my first cold in a long time, possibly since last winter. It made me cancel my client yesterday and lose out on a babysitting job. Argh. I spent most of the day laying around yesterday, watching movies and intermittently sleeping. Today I forced myself to be more active, cleaning my apartment, sitting up and walking around more. It helped, but I still have a runny nose and I'm sneezing quite a bit. Much better than yesterday's loopiness.

Despite my poor physical condition yesterday, the capper of the day was a thick envelope that arrived from Boston. It was addressed to Jennifer A. Johnston, Esquire (hehe, who's that?). I opened it expectantly and was pleasantly surprised to discover that my little team was on the winning end of a legal trouncing. The unemployment hearing examiner sided with us on nearly every point of the law. Wow. Very cool.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


I was beginning to think that my leap into an uncertain financial future was bunk. I've spent way too long not really doing much and starting to have to THINK about money again. I really hate that stuff--it makes my head hurt and starting thinking about what I need to DO to make it better. The mind races...

Well, I turned the corner as of a couple weeks ago. The money stuff wasn't really happening, but I committed to take that fear captive because I trust that God is my provider. I've had to speak my faith out loud about that over and over again, but the peace is creeping in. I can feel that warmth surrounding me. When my monthly paycheck from the main job was less than expected, I praised God for it and spoke my trust out loud. I can do nothing but trust and move on with His mission for my life, which includes volunteering at Passion07.

This is my 3rd year in a row as a volunteer and that week in January is always huge for me. This is the first time money's been an issue and the first time I had to fly there and the first time I don't have 2 friends to help foot the hotel bill. Of all the years for it to be expensive, it had to be this one. I booked the flight last month when the prices dipped a bit. I did it as an act of commitment. But I've been waiting on the hotel reservation until this week.

I've spent an inordinate amount of time on choosing the right combination of price and location. I'm priced out (and in most cases sold out) of downtown Atlanta, so I researched other areas in walking distance from MARTA. The area most reasonably priced and meeting the MARTA criteria is Perimeter--about a 25 minute subway ride from downtown. (I figure this is OK since that's about how long it takes commuters to get to Boston from here in Quincy and they do it in droves!) I found a fantastic rate at a Hilton Suites--$59/night if prepaid. I waited on the rate until I got my paycheck and...the rate was GONE. I was a little bit freaked. After several more hours of searching, I found a Hyatt Place in the same area for $69/night without prepayment. Perfect. But still that bill for 5 nights left a lump in my throat. How the heck am I going to float that financially without getting into debt again??


In October, I signed up with a babysitting temp service that pays very well. I hadn't yet gotten a job, but signed up for a weekly Friday morning gig that starts in January and runs through May. Then, I got a call at 10am Thursday for a 9 hour job that afternoon/evening. The kids were great and I worked for 10.5 hours. Then last night I SWEAR I dreamt about the name Alexa and I got a call this afternoon to babysit tonight for a family with 2 kids, one named Alexa. Weird. These kids were great too.

These 2 unexpected jobs netted me over $250 for playing and putting kids to bed. All I can say is that is such a blessing! I've never been so happy to work in my life. I've never been so grateful to know that God will provide a way to make the money I need to buy Christmas presents, eat, have a place to live, and volunteer at Passion. I'm understanding sacrifice in a fuller way and it makes all of those experiences that much sweeter. God is building up some kind of character of dependence, faith, and humility in me that I don't really understand, but I know it's for His glory. Lord, just make me look like You.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The World According to Moxie

In lieu of a proper blog, I decided to opine about a new-old beverage I tried tonight. This curiousity is the soda Moxie. Apparently it was the first soda ever patented in the US and it is the origin of the general usage of the word 'moxie' in the English lexicon. It still survives in spotty distribution--one of those places being New England. I've seen this soda on the shelf since I moved back here, but never tried it out. It came up in conversation last week so I bought a 1L bottle of Diet Moxie at Hannaford's tonight.

After putting away the groceries, I made myself a small glass to try it out. The aroma was not promising, but I powered on, trying to conjure up memories of my first Dr Pepper (at a Long John Silvers in Williamsville, NY circa 1986--good times, good times), straining to remember if I was ever hesitant about drinking that sweet nectar. Recalling nothing, I took my first sip. It was all root beer, club soda, and medicine, then WHAM a bitter aftertaste that rivals some porters and most cough syrups. According to wikipedia, the aftertaste is less strong in the diet version--I am VERY glad I didn't buy the regular. This stuff is disgusting. How in the world is it still in business?? Good ol' wiki said it's becoming more popular again because of its mixability with alcohol. I'd rather just go for the straight shot if my only mixer was this stuff. Take my word for it. I think I've ruined my taste buds.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

For all you city dwellers, this is hilarious!

I've been sadly blogless lately, but I found this priceless piece of cyberspace. Check it out.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


I woke up yesterday morning, thanking God for all that I have. Despite everything I've struggled through lately, I'm incredibly blessed. I just wish I could be more consistent in that posture of thanksgiving. Maybe it needs to become one of the cornerstones of my daily prayer. I've forgotten that far too often.
I broke my day-after-Thanksgiving tradition today--I didn't go shopping. Over the years today's been the only day I look forward to waking up pre-9am (more like 5ish). But I decided to do something different this year. I became one of the many who participated in Buy Nothing Day--an international protest against consumerism. Every time I came back to the States from 2.5 weeks in Poland, the consumerism was something that frustrated me. But I still am a part of my culture and I love to shop. So, I seized upon my cashpoor status this year to honor Adbuster's unofficial protest and didn't leave my house. There was plenty of internet time today, but none of it utilized the plastic. I know my statement is small, but it's valuable to me.
As a part of my non-shopping day I watched Al Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth. For those of you who know me, you know I'm not a crunch-granola environmentalist by any means. I've always recycled, but not to the point of nuttiness. I keep my energy consumption down and use public transportation, but mostly for economic reasons. I'm sure there's more I can do to reduce my global impact.

At any rate, rent the film. It's very well done and directed toward all of us science nerds who like to see the data. Let's use that information to push us toward being better stewards of our planet. We all need to be more aware of the climatic changes that have happened over the last 100 years. It's no accident that fossil fuel combustion increased exponentially in that time period.
K, I'm officially off my social justice soap box. Go forth and leftoverize.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Love-Hate Relationships

Sometimes I hate my city. Boston has atrocious traffic that I am often at zen peace with...but this is not the case when I'm running late and driving in places I don't know well. This happened to me 2 days in a row and I wanted to scream. I was hating the rain, hating the dark, hating the pedestrian whom I didn't stop for that later knocked on my window and told me off about not stopping. ARGH! Needless to say, I didn't get where I needed to go today. I'm SO taking the T to my appointment tomorrow. I don't care if it takes an hour...I just can't stand driving in the city any more this week.

But sometimes the love of my city is so strong I'm afraid my heart might burst out of my chest. I had one of those weekends, playing tourguide to my brother and his girlfriend, sharing this place I adore. I felt like Carrie Bradshaw in the S&TC episode "I Heart NY." Saturday night we met up at Park Street and hung out there for a few minutes. An atypical street preacher was there, not so far from us, yelling with all his might. He wasn't condemning anyone, but rather reading parables of Jesus. Once I finally got a handle on what he was saying, I recognized the words of the prodigal son:
"The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son." (Luke 15:21, NIV)

The breath was sucked out of my chest. I have long seen Boston as one of the prodigals to whom I am called to preach. I remembered the call again, sitting on that brick wall, listening to a wild-eyed man scream out words of redemption rather than damnation.

No matter how I feel on any given day, I'm here for a purpose.

8But you, Israel, my servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
the offspring of Abraham, my friend;
9you whom I took from the ends of the earth,
and called from its farthest corners,
saying to you, "You are my servant,
I have chosen you and not cast you off";
10fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:8-10, ESV)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Life is Stranger than Fiction

I spent a lovely afternoon at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, enjoying what may be our last glorious weekend before winter sets in. My brother and his girlfriend are in town and we've had a string of dinners out. Bertucci's, Silvertone, and Chau Chow City. Tonight was my first Chinatown experience. It was good but not anything better than I've had elsewhere. Anyway...

Since being a tourist is tiring, I urged our little gang to take a load off and see Stranger than Fiction. The film intrigued me and I hoped it would be good. It was. We all crammed into a crowded theater, ready to laugh. I have to admit I was expecting to laugh more, but there was an elegant wittiness about the entire film. It was gossamer, fine chocolate, and wine. Good stuff.

When Will Ferrell's Harold Crick gets past determining that he's not a schizophrenic, the film hits its stride. Crick seeks out a literary scholar (Dustin Hoffman) to find out who his life's narrator could be. The scenes between Ferrell and Hoffman are brilliant, deadpan comedy.

I don't want to give away too much of the plot, but I must comment on a theme that Angela brought up. Once Crick determines that he is not in control of the course of the narration, he finds unkempt, chain-smoking recluse author Karen Eiffel (Emma Thompson). Overwhelmed by the fact that her character is real, she admits to Crick she is trying to kill him in the novel and has fashioned the ending. She gives him the entire work which he then passes off to Dustin Hoffman. He reads it and tells Crick that the book is Eiffel's master work and it must not be changed--even if it means Crick's imminent death. The conversation between these two men is the pinnacle of the film and the crossroads for Crick is reminiscent of Christ. What was it like to read the book, knowing that this end was coming? Was the conversation between Ferrell and Hoffman anything like the one between Christ and God in Gethsemane? Something to think about in a new way.

The Notebooks

This blog is not about the overly-sentimental film of a similar title--it's about the chronicle of sermons and thoughts about life in Florida from 2002 to 2005. I'm dealing with an issue currently that I remember hearing about in a sermon from those days, so I set about to find my notes on it. I never found the sermon, but I embarked on an hour-long reliving of those 3 years. Sometimes I was good at journaling, sometimes not. I was alternately rejoicing in seeing my spiritual growth since then and becoming nauseous with the frequency of writing about certain topics.

My life has changed exponentially since then--I guess that's part of the reason why going back there is stranger every time. I've changed and I think I expect people and insitutions in Florida to change, but most haven't. That ought to be comforting, but it's not at all. I'm not trying to say that change is always the right thing and we should just change for the sake of it, but rather it's a part of who we are as believers. We should be constantly refined by Christ to become more like Him. Maybe that's why my last visit there was so sad (excepting 3 people). But maybe my expectation about change is too big.

Friday, November 10, 2006

oh crap

It's back again...that loss of control. I've got $100 in the bank. I just lost my major client. I'm sitting on 3 billable hours of work per week. I'm battling with anger over the position I've been placed in by others. My current place has very little to do with decisions that I made. I am choking to deal with that. I thought I was in control of my own life (lol). I need and want fellowship with believers to help deal with all this loss, but even that's been compromised lately. I am out to sea and it's scary as hell.

Then I found 1 Peter 4:1-2: "Since Jesus went through everything you're going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you'll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want." (The Message)

Oh crap.

And apparently worrying is not loving myself:

My dear children, let's not just talk about love; let's practice real love. This is the only way we'll know we're living truly, living in God's reality. It's also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves. And friends, once that's taken care of and we're no longer accusing or condemning ourselves, we're bold and free before God! We're able to stretch our hands out and receive what we asked for because we're doing what he said, doing what pleases him. Again, this is God's command: to believe in his personally named Son, Jesus Christ. He told us to love each other, in line with the original command. As we keep his commands, we live deeply and surely in him, and he lives in us. And this is how we experience his deep and abiding presence in us: by the Spirit he gave us. (1 John 3:18-24, The Message, italics mine)

My head in some ways knows God is infinitely bigger than my circumstances, but I am still a rationalist. No matter that I've seen God perform miracles, I don't see them for me. I feel defeated, directionless, and alone. For the first time in my life I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm completely stripped of ambition. I am not depressed anymore, but I need a rescue so bad it hurts.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

zen and the art of voting in massachusetts

so, i arrived back in the commonwealth this morning on a flight that was about 30 minutes early. bonus. then i was all bold and got on the t with a suitcase...during morning rush hour. i had to stand on the blue line, but there was a riverside green line train empty and waiting for me when i got to government center. i scored a single seat with plenty of room to store my green atlantic rolley bag. bonus number two. ang picked me up at waban so i could retrieve ye olde civic, which was not broken into (there have been some car break-ins recently in that wealthy neighborhood). bonus number three. we chilled with baby johnny for a while and then i drove home. i decided sleep was more important than eating so i napped and laid around until about 3pm. then came the inner debate. to vote or not to vote.

i debated this for about 4 hours, whence i discovered the turnout was higher than expected. this didn't bode well for my candidates/issues, so i made my way to the polling place the governmental website said was mine. it seemed kinda far away, but massachusetts is weird, so i went with it. i entered the hub of quincy old folk life--the senior center on southern artery--at about 7:20, expecting to connect my arrows with a magic marker and make my exit quickly. unfortunately, it was not that easy. i was in the wrong place. after having to say "willow street" about 5 times (not exaggerating) to the old ladies at the check-in table, they said i had to go somewhere else. they weren't quick to say where that somewhere else was. eventually, someone looked up the cryptic numbering of wards and precincts, and i was on my way to a school closer to my house. i entered, waited again, repeated "williow street" to the old ladies 3 times, and was AGAIN told i was in the wrong place. they said i needed to go to some elementary school even closer to my house. this had to be the right place. by this time it was about 7:45 and i was beginning to feel disenfranchised--the girl who wasn't even going to vote an hour before was screaming in her head about her democratic right to piss on the local majority party. i finally got to the school and said "willow street" 2 times to the old ladies, said 146 once, and my name once. (they never ID'd me and i had a clear view of the about easy to defraud this election!) AND THEY GAVE ME A BALLOT! yea! i trotted over to the mini jeopardy-partitioned desk and connected my arrows with the black magic marker. boo on you ted kennedy (neither he nor the republican even campaigned for this seat--i didn't know he was up for reelection until i checked the online ballot). boo on you deval "i defend malicious rapists and write to them in prison but i'm a hot black man" patrick. yea for wine in grocery stores (the liquor store lobby was the one against this proposition...hmmm...). i think the only one i might win on is the last. i'm sure i'll pay more in taxes the next few years and illegal aliens will have voting rights and driver licenses, but at least i get the wine at the grocery store--maybe i'll be able to afford it.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Simple Pleasures

After the CCPC meeting yesterday, I braved the Cambridge traffic (the choice was that traffic or the tunnel traffic) and stopped by my favorite grocery store (yes, I have a favorite grocery store) for fabulous cheap wine (Charles Shaw--3 Buck Chuck), perfect fresh bread, and other fantastic odds and ends. This wonderful store is Trader Joe's and I love it. Unfortunately there are always so many people in there that it's hard to browse. I would probably spend hundreds of dollars there if I actually had the chance to comb every square inch of the store.

The bonus of yesterday's trip was finding my holy grail of beer--Magic Hat Circus Boy. I've heard tell of this beer all summer. I couldn't find it anywhere. And there it sat at Trader Joe's across the aisle from my favorite 3 Buck Chuck shiraz. I waited until tonight to try one so it would be suitably chilled. It's a nice hefeweizen, hoppier than Harpoon's UFO (erstwhile my favorite beer). I'm not sure if Circus Boy has replaced UFO, but it's in the running. I'll have to do some more tasting...

Saturday, October 28, 2006

up late for no apparent reason...

...again. it's not that i've become an insomniac, but i've so irreparably tweaked my sleep schedule that i'm up to 1am just about every night. i faithfully set the alarm for 8:30am each morning, but i just snooze through it and get up at 11am unless i have something important to do in the morning. 10 hours of sleep. i always thought that was the amount i needed and now i know for sure. that's a whole lotta sleep. for what? to sit on the sofa and at my computer table? totally lame. maybe i'll sleep less if i work out more. hmmm....that's another experiment....

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Tears of the Saints

Check out this band Leeland. The lyrics to their song Tears of the Saints has been getting to me for the last week.

There are many prodigal sons
On our city streets they run
Searching for shelter
There are homes broken down
People's hopes have fallen to the ground
From failures

This is an emergency!

There are tears from the saints
For the lost and unsaved
We're crying for them come back home
We're crying for them come back home
And all your children will stretch out their hands
And pick up the crippled man
Father, we will lead them home
Father, we will lead them home

There are schools full of hatred
Even churches have forsaken
Love and mercy
May we see this generation
In it's state of desperation
For Your glory

This is an emergency!

Sinner, reach out your hands!
Children in Christ you stand!
Sinner, reach out your hands!
Children in Christ you stand!

And all Your children will stretch out their hands
And pick up the crippled man
Father, we will lead them home
Father, we will lead them home

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Raison D'Etre, Confirmation, and The Monastery

Since my career shift I've struggled more with my tendencies to be a doer and dismiss resting in God's presence. I just plain struggle with silence, rest, and waiting for the moving of the Holy Spirit. I'm nearly being forced to do just that. I can watch only so much TV and sleep late so many days before my appetite for those things ebbs. I have come to the end of myself making ministry here happen. I've come to the end of my plans for the vision God has for my life.

A couple weeks ago a friend prayed over me. Last weekend I retreated to nature. This week I had opportunities to share the love of God with people both with words and actions. If I didn't have this time on my hands, I don't think those opportunities would have arisen. They did not come from me, nor did the words. Sitting at the Justin McRoberts concert the other night, I had the profound recognition that this season is the Spirit being poured out over me. This is my time to soak in His Presence.

I went to church tonight and spent a great evening with Rob, Carissa, & Michelle. It flowed naturally and wasn't forced into a certain mold. A beautiful thing. I drove Michelle home and on the way she said how thankful she was for me being a part of our church. I wasn't expecting that at all and feel unworthy of it. It seems that I really am worshipping in the right place.

The capper of the evening was seeing the premiere of a new TLC series call the Monastery. It follows several men who join a cloister in the New Mexico desert for 40 days and nights. They are not just visitors here--they complete the same routine as the monks living in the monastery. The men run the gamut of spiritual and personal backgrounds. The common element between them in the episode was the struggle to practice silence as the monks do. Over and over the monks encouraged them in this practice, assuring them that it is necessary to hear God. I agree with them...I want to see more of this show.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Blog #100 OR Clear Dark Night

I spent my evening as a babysitter last night for the first time since our church hosted the 40 Days of Purpose small groups. I watched 7 kids myself then--2 of whom were huge handfuls on their own. I was so happy when those 2 hours were over each week. No wonder why I quit babysitting...

So I kept the 4 boys my dear friend Angela nannies (can this be a verb?) the rest of the week. Their parents jaunted off to Paris for a long weekend and Angela had sitters covering a lot of the time that she doesn't usually work. I knew she had a big catering event for the Boston Faith and Justice Network, and needing a few bucks of my own, I offered my services. First of all, their schedules are maddening: play dates here, cross country there, soccer practice even though it's raining, baseball pizza parties...and this was only one night! (At least the baby was uncomplicated--he doesn't really talk and I was generally able to determine what he wanted. He responded when I said no and laughed when we were playing. Good times.) The boys are all between the ages of 12 and 1. There were 2 physical altercations during our time together, which doesn't surprise me since I've been around them enough, plus they are boys. They sorted those things out pretty well on their own. The last 3 hours together were actually nice and violence-free. We chatted politely over dinner, played some computer games, and read books. I enjoyed putting the 2 youngest ones to bed (although I do believe the 6 year old [Andrew] could talk the bark off a tree--I should get him in a room with one of my clients and see who would talk more). After I tucked him in, Andrew told me that I earned a reward. Being the behavior analyst that I am, I really wanted to know more about that reward. I earned a sticker for "being so nice." That was pretty cool.

Ang came home around 10. We chatted and watched some TV while eating leftover apple crisp. About midnight I walked out into the chilly autumn night to embark on my 30 minute ride home. The air felt really cold last night, reminding me that it's fall for real. As I rolled out onto the wide, nearly empty expanse of expressway, I saw a glittering black sky. Orion hung where I always used to see him when I didn't live in a region full of light polution. It was so clear and cold that those stars pressed in through the light. I breathed in the chill and rising heat of the radiator, remembering times laying on blankets in my childhood backyard, looking up at Orion, wondering about life. That hunter was there then and he's here now. He will probably still be there when I breathe my last. Comforting consistency in a world that moves so fast it trips on its own feet.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Grace Must Wound Before It Heals

The title of my blog is the same as Justin McRoberts' latest album. I want to chew on that phrase for a while. It comes from a quote by the author Flannery O'Connor, whom I want to add to my growing reading list....

Tonight I had the opportunity to attend my first house show. I felt like I had happened on some buried treasure upon discovering Justin McRoberts was coming to Marblehead. Totally random finding it, but that's how my life is right now. So I knew it was perfect.

A music-loving friend from my church couldn't make it, so I wavered between not going and begging Rosana to come. Rosana caved. Added to our happy band was her buddy Rebecca who lives in Marblehead. We were headed to a personal concert, conversation, and food. A killer combination.

I don't know if I can do the night justice. First of all, Marblehead is iconic New England. When you think of this area, this is what comes to mind. The architecture is truly amazing. Rosana and I enjoyed our drive in, continually remarking how we need to come back in the daytime to browse all the shops (and for me to take about 1000 pictures). We collected Rebecca and walked to the show from her house. Creeping along the quiet, seaside street, we glimpsed a lone sign pointing the way. We had arrived. The home was part of a duplex right on the water; a perfect combination of old New England, Martha Stewart, and Pottery Barn. (Rosana even remarked that she could see me living there...that was an incredible compliment.)

We were greeted immediately by the host, who ushered us in and introduced us to the few others who had already arrived. Hot mulled cider and fresh corn chowder awaited us in the perfect kitchen. We quickly met a few people and enjoyed chatting for a while. I spent most of my time talking with a Gordon College student named Maggie who came to the show on her own. I gave her props for that. My other buddy was Robin, a transplanted midwesterner from Minnesota who was recently married. The connection with both these women was immediate and we exchanged email addresses. I am looking forward to getting to know them better.

For those who don't know Justin's music, he's not blatantly "Christian" in his style or message. He is active in a myriad of social causes including the One Campaign and Compassion International. He isn't signed to a label so he can say and do what he wants. I have to admit that I admire that individualism. He does it in the right way--he's not an individualist just to be one, it has a purpose.

I got to know a lot more about him tonight through his stories. He's wickedly funny with a dry wit--totally my style. He has a passion for Christ that breaks the American Christian mold. He loves people. He can preach. He can rescue me from the bathroom when the door gets stuck (ask me about that one later).

Sitting there in that gorgeous old leather club chair, I let the music roll over me, hearing the crash of the waves behind me. Tonight was one of those much-cherished moments that God provides so graciously. I'm just happy to be here.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Crunchy Granola

Well, I stayed up in NH at the condo until yesterday afternoon. It was pretty great to be where it's so quiet--you feel like you can actually breathe a little bit. I love the city, but it's nice to be able to drive a couple hours to the middle of nowhere (read: no Sprint service; ok, so that doesn't have to be the middle of nowhere). I'm not your regular crunchy granola girl and I don't enjoy camping out under the stars, but I have to say I've experienced God in the most profound ways through nature. It's just so much bigger than we are and we didn't do a thing to create it.

One of my favorite memories of the outdoors happened when I was in college. A friend dragged me out in the freezing cold one late November night to the middle of nowhere (this took about 10 minutes' drive from my campus). He somehow coaxed me onto this abandoned railroad bridge over a gorge. I'm just glad I couldn't fathom how high up we were when he told me because I couldn't see it. (You better believe I would have NEVER walked out there in the daytime.) It was a sacrifice I had to make for the view of the Leonid meteor shower. It was a really an amazing viewing year for that. I think we were out there for at least a couple hours, just watching and talking in the weighty quiet of the Pennsylvania forest.

Moments like that don't happen every time I'm in the midst of trees, but I'm happy to have them to remember and to have the hope of more in the future.

Being outdoors is like yoga for me. Just you, quiet, and your breath. Everything else that doesn't matter just falls away. So I have to ask myself, why don't I get in nature or do yoga more??

Sunday, October 15, 2006

New Hampshire

I've been in New Hampshire since yesterday afternoon and it's been interesting. Angela and her friend Jackie were here with me until about 4pm today. We wandered all over the area, taking scenic routes (which made me surprisingly carsick) up to the White Mountains. We checked out the remaining foliage, some amazing natural rock formations and historic covered bridges. I took a ton of pics, the best of which are posted here.

Sitting in this condo on Newfound Lake is balm to my soul. Being here makes me calm. I could be hanging out alone at my apartment just as well as I am here. But there's just something about getting away from your typical setting. I'm having the same old struggles with TV, internet, and phone as distractions, but I'm separating from that for the rest of tonight and tomorrow. I need to meditate on the Word, His creation, some things a friend said the other night, and just listen to God. I don't need to leave here until about 1pm tomorrow and I'm going to cherish this time. This is my fall retreat.

Monday, October 09, 2006

jesus camp

as a result of my newfound spontaneity, i spent the afternoon in the city, meeting with the women of the ccpc and then to an unplanned dinner-and-a-movie with an equally unplanned little group. having read about a new documentary entitled 'jesus camp,' i wanted to go. i knew it was going to be one of those naked depictions of a form of christianity that doesn't meld with what i know about the gospel, but i needed to go. i needed to sit in that theatre in the middle of cambridge and be uncomfortable. i needed to hear the reactions of the people in there. i needed to look at this representation of christianity from the outside.

what i learned was that you can edit anyone's comments to make them say anything, but you can't deny a lot of what was in the film. at points i was ashamed to also be called a christian. at points i felt mocked. at points i cheered in agreement with the film's commentary. it was a really important that i saw the film--it's always good to get pushed out of the cocoon and hear what our jargon sounds like to the world. i left the theatre wide-awake aware of the need to live out micah 6:8 and to cling closely to Christ and the way He related to the world.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

my existential crisis

i'm giving myself a lot of credit for calling my desert place an existential crisis, but it feels that way for now. in a few months (or years) when i'm well on the other side of the valley and can clearly see how God used this time, maybe i'll refer to it as something else. for now, it's still an existential crisis. it's hard for it not to be when one is buried under grieving over so much loss of various kinds. it's been a struggle to find my place and a vision. i've found it increasingly difficult to dream. that's not something that works out well when you are in boston to sew ministry with college students. i've been wrestling with God for the better part of the last month or so. it was happening before then too, but it's more obvious now.

i've been reading a lot, listening to sermons, getting back into the fabric of worship music i love, trying to pray, staying connected to the community that i have here. it's been a rough work this wrestling. i want so much to hear God's voice again.

tonight i pulled out louie giglio's sermon series lost in translation. the talk entitled 'left turns, detours, and the sovereign will of God' has always been one to speak to my heart. in it, louie leads us through the story of joseph from genesis and his personal story about how God led he and his wife from texas to atlanta. louie thought he was going to atlanta to help his mother care for his dying father, but his father passed on after the moving plans were made, but before they arrived. needless to say, louie and joseph can relate. despite that i've heard this talk at least 5 times, i knew i needed to hear it again: God's story is larger and different than what i perceive as my story right now; the right answer at any time is to do the right thing. what louie said at the very end of the talk is sticking with me. it's not profound, but something i need to hear every moment right now:
"I don’t have a roadmap to get you out of your hole. I don’t ever know how to get out of the holes I’m in. I just know that if I wait long enough, God reveals something and I go, 'I wouldn’t have chosen that, but thanks for letting me a part of the story.' He’s accomplishing something good when even to me it was meant to be evil. That’s a great and a sovereign God."

it's taking everything in me to praise Him as that great and sovereign God.

Friday, October 06, 2006


as many of you know, i've delved into the world of internet dating via eharmony. i've been a member since january '06 and had one date. it was a bomb. when my 6 month membership lapsed i decided not to renew. then i was convinced to extend 3 more months by a good deal they offered. so i continued. as of a few weeks ago i lost any enthusiasm for internet dating. i gave up on eharmony. but then i got a fantastic match a few days ago. this guy had all the credentials and wrote a witty profile. i was waiting to get a communication back and i decided to check my profile tonight. he closed the match, citing the reason "other." i am SO done with this. is being in a relationship worth this work and aggravation?

Monday, October 02, 2006


i can't believe it's october already. i've been wearing a coat most of the weekend. fall is here. i've been living in this apartment for over a year now. wow. time flies. a friend turned 30 yesterday. i turn 30 in less than 3 months. crap. where has my life gone? have i done as much as i should have by now? have i loved people as much as i should have? have i loved God as much as He wants me to? are these really the questions that have been furtively haunting my brain for the past few months? i still can't shake them off.

Micah 6:8 (The Message)
But he's already made it plain how to live, what to do,
what God is looking for in men and women.
It's quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor,
be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don't take yourself too seriously—
take God seriously.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

the science of sleep

i saw "the science of sleep" today. being one of those lucky people that lives in a 'top 15 market,' i relished my weird day off limited release matinee with 10 other just as lucky people. this showing was my first foray into the arty, harvard square cinema 5. (other films playing in this theater included "confetti," "the illusionist," "the black dahlia," and "hollywoodland." the good bit is that their matinee is $7.25...ok, that's not that good, but it's on the cheaper end of things in boston.) the film was in a large theater that swallowed up our lucky souls. i loved the fact that the theater is old, complete with MCMXXV emblazoned below the clocks mirroring each side of the screen. very cool, but on to the film...

if i tried to explain the plot, i wouldn't do it justice. one has to view 'the eternal sunshine of the spotless mind" to understand director michel gondry's style and vision. it is not a linear plot, but that's ok. my life has been anything but linear lately, and i felt at home in the film. the jokes are generally clever plays on words in 3 languages (the film is primarily in english, with a large portion of french, and a bit of spanish thrown in. pay attention to the subtitles--you will laugh heartily if you've ever been a part of the comedy involved in a multiligual conversation). if you want to see this film, be willing to go for a ride. there isn't an overarching message or political statement, but rather creativity on display. if i had to glean a meaning from the film, it is that we often don't need the things we seemingly want, and to the greatest value is found in relationships with people who understand us. gondry didn't force those messages at all, and viewers have the freedom to draw their own conclusions.

it was a pleasant way to spend the afternoon, especially since i was able to sit in the waning sunlight, just feet away from the harvard square chess master. tuesdays off aren't that weird after all.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Despite my best efforts, I am experiencing my life as bland right now. Nothing stays too exciting for long, in spite of being a part of some cool things lately. I'm learning the life of a believer who is not affected by emotionalism. I've never been here before. I don't know what to make of it and I'm not sure if I should fight it. Why is it so hard to feel?

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Random Day

I was off yesterday and ended up doing random things that one can only do when living near Boston. I met up with a friend and enjoyed browsing a great open-air farmer's market in Copley Square, then we lingered over delicious tea and yummie snacks at Tealuxe on Newbury St. It was an amazingly sunny and perfect autumn day, so I walked through the Public Garden, people-watching and remembering how beautiful fall in New England can be.

After that, I caught up with Angela (who tried to scare the ever-living crap out of me on Tremont Ave--it didn't work) and we took the T up to Davis Square. After meeting up with 2 other people, we wandered to nearly every restaurant in the Square (there are lots), trying to decide on something to eat. I think we chose one of the worst...I had the most heinous fettucine alfredo there. But at least it was pretty cheap!

After dinner, we walked the Square again and came across a hilarious hot dog eating contest at Spike's. This guy needed to eat 9 dogs to get on the 'wall of fame.' When we came upon the scene, he had consumed 8 and had 10 minutes left to complete the task. I was engrossed, staring through the window at the man, his stack of hot dogs, and the huge group of friends he brought to cheer him on. Our little band of girls was outside, chatting with some of his buddies, and cheering randomly when we were called upon. The guy made the worst facial expressions, reminding me of contestants on Fear Factor who ate disgusting items for relatively little money. He was ready to puke at any moment. And I was glued. The entire situation was better than any reality TV show since we were active participants in it. He was half-way through his 9th dog when time ran out. Dang. No puking, no wall of fame. I'm glad I wasn't there the whole 90 minutes...

Then we proceded to have an OK time chatting with a person I don't enjoy very much. Ang and I left around 10 to grab the T back to my place...where she fell asleep watching Annapolis. I, of course, was awake the whole time. My night owl tendencies are in high gear. :)

Monday, September 18, 2006

bipolar disorder? or is it a spiritual thing?

i ran smack into the downside of my new job--i can no longer mask a poor spiritual walk with excessive busyness. i'm not busy anymore. *boom* the bomb of my crappy walk with God dropped about thursday afternoon. all those ugly 'little' sins that i'm so prone to just oozed out of my pores. i had (and have had for at least a couple months) no taste for prayer. i slept ALL the time. i was completely sick of myself by saturday and by sunday night i needed to do something. i was rotting inside but too numb to be affected by anything. that feeling was so familiar and i didn't want it to stay.

so i called jess. truly, she means more to me than my family. she's been right there being used by God through the majority of my spiritual growth in the last several years. i needed to fess up and get beaten up. we talked for a while about a lot of things but got down to the core issues pretty quickly. i am sorely lacking in community. i am ashamed of my loss of passion for Christ. i just want to hear Him again.

writing that out makes me think there somehow are easy solutions: get community, get passionate, & pray. but those aren't so easy to come by.

this morning i listened to tim hughes music. nothing. later i was driving to meet with my boss and i listened to the first sermon from the alabanza summer retreat. nothing. after the meeting i listened to part of the second sermon. a little something. i walked into my first ccpc meeting. a little something more. i was asked point-blank in front of everyone how i was doing. deluge. flood. waterfall.

i lost it in front of the people who are really my community now. i hadn't forgotten about them, but i needed to be reminded of them. they listened through my blubbering, incoherent thoughts. i was naked. i was loved. and i can hear again.

so my life is going to stay on the quieter side of things. i'm going to 'fast' from things that tend to get in the way of my walk: too much entertainment of the secular variety, alcohol, excessive sleep. i'm reading the Word a lot more than just a chapter when i wake up. prayer is brief but frequent. these things are not going to be my salvation from this pit--God is.

tonight i've done some things for work, talked to a friend on the phone, ate some fantastic pf chang's leftovers with chopsticks and listened to A Collision a few times through. simplicity is good.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

My New Life

I never imagined that opting out of the 8-4 existence would mean this much freedom. I feel like I'm awash with time, overwhelmed with many possibilities. I'm not not working, but it somewhat feels like that. I've already been able to go to an unplanned Flaming Lips show last night (for FREE!), which I might have turned down had I been working today. And today is for laundry, errands, and time with a friend. It's like living a chocolate existence. Why didn't I figure this out before? I know that this fairy tale will most likely have its downside at some point, but from where I sit right now, it's beautiful. I can't wait to enjoy all the things one can do when a job isn't the primary focus. Praise God.

David Crowder's Tidbit (or 850 Words) of the Day

A Costly Faith: Lessons from a Pawnshop Van
by David Crowder

I grew up in east Texas—Texarkana, Texas, to be precise. The town's name nods to its fantastic geographic mergers, as half the town sits in the great state of my birth, while the other half hangs over into Arkansas. I guess the idea of a dualistic geographic state seems fantastic enough to warrant this pictorial monument, as I have in fact personally observed a number of pictures taken in front of the sign. And I'd add that those participating seemed genuinely excited. But I've stood there myself, and I couldn't feel a thing.

If I were to sum up my experience growing up there for those who are unfamiliar to its culture and its people, I would tell them about Gary Mills. Gary worked for my dad. Sort of. That is, when he wasn't in jail.
Gary owned a van he bought at a pawnshop. Only in the piney woods of eastern Texas and portions of rural West Virginia can vehicles be acquired from pawnshops, for like $2. It seems vans acquired from pawnshops can be surprisingly prone to failures of varying types. One day Gary's accelerator cable broke. Gary, being almost genius, rigged up a cheap solution. The large intrusion of plastic in a van, bulging out into the forward-inhabited space between the driver's right knee and the passenger's left knee, is often crowned with faux-wooden beverage holders and covers what mechanics like to call "the engine." Being almost genius, Gary drilled a hole through the plastic cover. He then ran a rope through the newly drilled hole and attached the rope to the engine's accelerator arm. Thus, the rope then became the accelerator pedal! Now to move the vehicle in a forward direction, Gary needed only to reach over to his right and pull on the rope hanging from the freshly drilled hole in the plastic engine cover. Astounding! Almost genius! But his mastermind genius did not end there! No! He then took a saw and cut a slit down from the freshly drilled hole, effectively forming the shape of an antique keyhole. He then tied knots in the rope at different speed increments. Cruise control! Almost genius I say!

This strikes me as too closely metaphorical of my faith—being born in the American South, Christianity costs me nothing. It often feels to me cheap and rigged. Like things keep breaking along the way, and now I'm pulling on this ridiculously intricate array of ropes spreading to so many levers and pulleys, and my hand is getting rope burn from all this tugging, and the knots are starting to fray, and I think duct tape is involved. Not to say I haven't occasionally made attempts toward a costly faith. Once, I gave up R-rated movies (being more concerned with a movie's rating than the real-life societal issues the film may have been a reflection of). Or perhaps we relinquish the use of certain words, or cease the consumption of certain beverages or the inhalation of certain burned materials. And we applaud ourselves while bemoaning the costliness of the Gospel. And the irony is that all these efforts often serve to only cheapen our faith. They become but more ropes through more holes, and I have but only so many hands.

Lately I've been thinking about the soul. And death. Our mortal state, situated here as humans. It seems like we don't do that much anymore—think about death and the nature of the soul and the body. And maybe this is understandable, seeing as it used to be our primary point of conversation when discussing our faith with others—the turn-or-burn evangelism of our not-too-distant past. The logic was that if the present were just transitory, if we're just passing through, then it followed that there was no need to feel any affinity toward this place or spend much time trying to tidy up, which is almost brilliant. But we've now moved on, I think. The present has taken center stage. But my fear is that in hopes of becoming more palatable and less divisive, we forget the eternal unfolding in our words and deeds.

I think we live in a space divided. I think Jesus insisted that the kingdom of heaven was not just a space we would later inhabit, but also one that He was bringing here and now. We exist with one foot here in the earthly and one in the eternal. Yet we rarely feel it. We rarely live with a sense that someone should take a picture. That what is happening right now bears documentation. That we're in two places at once.

I want to live a faith that is a reflection of the cost of its eternal origin, not merely a reflection of my transient one. I want to feel the reality of where we sit. That the things we decide here are eternal ones. That our conversations mean something. I want to live in a manner that feels heroic, that turns the invisible into the visible, that is a solid intrusion of the eternal into the divided streets of humanity.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil

I love the feedback log feature on Xanga. I am addicted. I don't know if it's curiosity or vanity that compels me to determine who is reading my rarely sage words, but I check the listing daily. Seriously...I told you I was an addict. The problem comes when I find something out in the log--either the fact that someone I'd rather not read the blog is reading it, or that people I really want to check it out aren't. It must be in some fashion like when Adam and Eve ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The drive to know is often overwhelming, but sometimes the knowing itself brings you more unanswered questions.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Back in the Land of Warm Weather and Afternoon Thunderstorms...

So I'm in the good ol FL for a few days, seeing my parents and assorted friends. I probably won't go to the beach at all unless someone drags me down there some night. It's pretty, but you just BAKE out there in the summer. I kind of love it at night, all mysterious and dark. It becomes dangerous to walk in up to your ankles. You never know what kind of creature will come up and get you (AKA croc hunter).

All that aside, I'm glad to be here and just relax. I've got some long stretches of time planned with people I love. It's time to be me and let go in a place that knows who I am. Boston knows who I am and wants to change me. Pittsburgh knows who I was in college. Florida, for me, is like a city of refuge from the Bible, although I have to be honest and say that I'm not the same person I was when I left here a year ago.

Coming back always brings knowledge and growing through God. He uses people here in FL in strategic ways to strengthen my faith. I know this trip isn't any different. I need to be challenged in my walk. It's been far too easy to get soft in my daily disciplines in a place where none of it is valued. I battle every moment to see truth and deny lies in Boston. Being missional is very, very hard work. It requires the discipline of Christ and I know I don't have that. The way of the truth truly is a very narrow, rocky, dangerous path. That is not the way of those in Boston--they want easy, well-tred, beautiful, and entertaining paths. Christ is not that path. At least I have eyes open enough to see the obviousness of the lie because it's not couched in religiousity. At least many people in Boston clearly reject the truth and make it known where they stand. At least we have a starting point. It's much harder to minister to someone who already believes the 'easy' percentage of what you have to say.

So I'm here, ready to soak up the truth that God has laid for me. May I be humble enough to hear it all.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The 'Burgh

Side note before I get to the blog...I had completely forgotten that I blogged this AM before work. Long day...

I am now sitting in my brother's 3rd bedroom-turned-office in a suburb of good ol' Pittsburgh. His GIGANTIC black cat (properly named Monster) is laying on the desk next to me. This is the first time I've met the infamous cat. At any rate, my flight was about 30 minutes delayed out of Boston, but I was fine with that. I navigated the 'no liquids' mess just fine. There was a marked decrease in the carried-on baggage since when I last flew in July. And I just need to add that JetBlue rocks. This airline definitely needs to fly into Pensacola or Ft Walton...great service, great seats, DirecTV...

The last day at work was quite odd as last days go. I worked. I summed some data, helped out in a few crises. The only thing that would have made it more normal would've been a meeting. We had a cake party in one of the classrooms--it was really sweet. I cried a little bit, but I know I'm going to be able to see who I want to see. I'm not moving anywhere this time. I'm looking forward to expanding relationships with people that were limited by the bounds of 'professionalism.' I'm praying that God will blow those doors wide open with opportunity.

So, I'm ready to rest and see what God brings on. It's been an intense summer--a crucible perhaps. I wonder what's going to come of this next week?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Breathing in and out. In and out. Seeing clearly. Moving forward. Breathing in and out. In and out.

That feels so good I can't even express it. Pure joy.

Friday, August 25, 2006


By some literal miracle of God, I am DONE with writing my final exam and preparing my last lecture. Done done. This summer of constant work for class and therefore no tan is done. YEAAAAA! I'm shouting. Seriously. Now it's time to clean like a bandit and await Kasia's arrival. I. AM. SO. EXCITED.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

To cast a long, lingering look behind

I absolutely should be either writing my final exam or my final lecture right now, but I just can't get down to the business of doing that until I can get this blog out of my system.

Today was the first time since I tendered my resignation that I feel uneasy about it. I had my last visit to one of the group homes tonight and the staff there didn't know I was leaving. I had no idea they didn't know. I tried to explain to the verbal student that I wasn't going to be coming back to the residence again. She told me I should come back and visit again even after I stop coming to the school. Then she asked if she could move into my office and take over my desk. (Which is more than a little hilarious since she's 9 and earns to come and visit my office when she follows her rules.) Anyway, it was just a weird conversation to have. I really love the kids and the staff members that are dedicated to their success. Unfortunately other forces have outweighed those benefits. It's time to make my week-long goodbye.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Possibility in Hopefulness

For the first time in a while I feel like I have energy. I attribute this to quite a few things: teaching my 2nd-to-last class that will contain instruction, I can see the end of the tunnel at work, I finished being on-call for the last time, I got a new dining room table that was a fabulous deal, and I had an iced coffee at 3:30pm. Who knows if I'll sleep tonight...In all seriousness, I feel like I'm more fight-worthy than I've been in a long time. Maybe I'll actually have the energy to do all that needs to happen before Kasia gets here Saturday afternoon. It's not impossible.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Potential & Fear, or is it Potential of Fear?

This little tidbit was posted on the blog of a friend, who got it from a Bible study. No matter where it came from, it's applicable and I wanted to share it. Seems like a whole lot of my audience (including myself) needs to take it in deep.
Too often we conform to the culture or our own little world and don't even think to challenge the roles were seemingly dropped into. Embedded deep in the heart of each person is a passion to discover what they were made for and what they are truly capable of. As touchable as dreams can sometimes seem, the problem occurs when something comes up and you fear you wont have what it takes. You start to believe that you don't have what your dream will demand, and thats where you can potentially lose hold.

What needs to be understood is that desire wasn't yours to begin with but has been wired into you by your Creator God and the fullness of the life He calls you to. When we allow the fear of failure to sever our dreams, we fall short of that fullness. Failure is inevitable to a point, but who ever said it was a bad thing? Failure always comes across as negative because most often when we experience it, (especially with an audience), we feel exposed and jump up so fast to save face that we miss what we could have learned from the fall.

Begin to learn what causes your mistakes so that next time you hit the floor you can get up with an understanding of why you're down there. Gods given you a dream, so trust Him as you pursue it. As Philippians 4:13 says, I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Somebody post SOMETHING!

There's been a recent dearth in good blogging in my world as of late. I can't shoulder this alone people! Unless you want to hear me spout Cooper, Heron, & Heward (1987) about punishment procedures, you're not going to get much out of me today...

So, someone blog something I can sink my mental teeth into. Please.

Friday, August 11, 2006

A Quote That's Been Following Me Around

I never read the following poem until a few days ago when a friend emailed it to me. Just tonight I ran across it in a book I was finishing. So I must tack it to the blog for posterity's sake....

Disturb Us, Lord
- Attributed to Sir Francis Drake

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.

We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.

"A life of risk will be intimidating/demanding/difficult/lonely/overwhelming/troublesome/uncomfortable. But serving God is worth the risk, because God is enough [italics mine]. It's better for us to risk something for which we are passionate about and fail than to never risk at all, because more important than safety is the pleasure of God." --JR Briggs, When God Says Jump

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Making It Count

It's been an up and down week for me at work. One day I'm having an amicable meeting with the boss about me leaving, the next day I'm being treated like a persona non grata. Then I tell one of my staff about resigning and she started crying. Hard.

Today I stayed in my office most of the day, keeping to myself, and beginning the long task of organizing everything I do so that some other people can figure it out. I think I deleted half the files on my computer today since so much of it was redundant. Anyway, I only really talked to my staff today, and told a few more people that I'm leaving. All of them asked me if I was joking. That was the universal first response. I guess I don't seem the type to make such a big decision so quickly. And they're right....

Now it's time to leverage the days.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Heart of Ministry

Admittedly I read a lot. Most of it is on the web, which is a great place to find the pulse of the culture and those in ministry that are connected to the culture. I guess I do all that reading because I'm searching for my niche. Being a woman called to ministry is not easy. I'm trying to find a place where my gifts, talents, and calling collide. Maybe that's too much to ask. But maybe it's not.

I'm still here in Boston, committed to church planting, despite the fact that my team is gone. I don't know where God wants me to go with this vision. All I know is that He's ordered my steps to get into a position where beginning seminary is more than possible. I took the step and it feels really good. I'm remembering that Indiana Jones feeling I had last year--walking out onto that invisible platform, trusting God all the way. I will not look down.

The original intent for this post was to comment on a quote I read in the Relevant Leader newsletter: "Personally, the issues that most motivate my life in ministry are discipleship and a desire for authentic community in the Church." Did this person read my mind? Or is this the heart of what Christ has called us to in this generation?

Friday, July 28, 2006

Teaching is Hard

I'm heading into class 5 and 6 of my class this week and I'm realizing I have to be more prepared than I really have time to be. I've spent at least 6 hours prepping for this week's upcoming classes and there's more to go. I realized I left half the readings at the office, so I'm going to have to go in early Monday to incorporate the ones for that class' lecture. Argh.

I determined that I give too much graded classwork (completely heightens the busy-work grading factor). So, this week I'm trying to lecture more through the readings. In other words, I'm actually going to teach rather than basically lead them to self-teach, which is mostly what this class is built to be. I had a few complaints about the study guides that came with the course and I feel stupid just sitting there grading busy-work while the class basically rewrites the chapters they read for homework that I then grade. I was bummed on Wednesday because I knew that's what the class was and I didn't have time to get anything else together. It's a work in progress and I hope this week is better.

I can't wait til we get to ethics to do the exercises and debates I'm planning. The classes are extra long (4.5 hours), but I'm going to order us food and we'll have extra time to do the special activities. The cool part is they will be able to work on the debates and deliver them in the same class night. Less homework makes the class happy.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Lump in My Throat

As I get older I see that one of life's great challenges for us is to be affected and changed by circumstances and not overwhelmed by them. Those that walk through joy and tragedy unaffected and those who become stuck in the mud of those circumstances are in the same boat. They've missed the point. There is a time to cry and a time to rejoice. Sometimes those come close in succession. And other times wide apart. But we must feel, contemplate, learn, and grow. That is essential to knowing our mission and essential to knowing God. It seems to me that so many false philosophies, worldviews, and religions are built out of either being disaffected or bogged down by one's path in life.

I feel like I've lived the experiences of 20 people in the past 18 months. I haven't been given the time I want to contemplate those circumstances, but maybe that has prevented the mud problem. The things that have happened are also so close to my core that I couldn't have ignored them if I tried. God is pressing me toward a challenging life that's destined to know Him more. I'm truly being propelled toward Him and desparately separated from my own flesh. I don't think I could even hold on to who I was an hour ago if I tried. It's not that I feel out of control, but rather I feel like I'm being drawn to God by the strongest magnet you could ever imagine. I have to admit that this is more than a frightening experience in the sense of the sheer awesomeness of it all. Why is He gracing me with such an honor to know Him? That is so unfathomable. But deeper and deeper I go into His depths, racing through all the refining tragedy and joy I could ever imagine, recognizing it's a shaping force. I am not who I was an hour ago. He is reforming my mind. He is setting my feet upon a rock and lighting my path. He is calling me for a vision that's requiring such refining. The training must equal the weight of the task.

I'm glad I'm sitting down because in a moment I will be face-down.

Stealing from Drew Moser's Blog...Again...

Drew Moser really makes me want to read this book:

I just finished Ray Oldenburg's intriguing book, The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons and other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community. It's a sociologist's look into the places that foster community. What makes them tick? How are they structured? Oldenburg calls these effective community gathering spots: "third places". They are informal, distinct locales that fosters community. Your home is your first place, and your work is your second place. Americans, by and large, have no third place, no informal gathering space to hang out, converse, and build relationships.

Some of the symptoms that reveal the need to establishing 'great good (third) places':

Our houses are no longer designed with the front porch as the focal point. We pull our car in our garage, enter the house from the garage, and never interact with our neighbors.

Even our coffee shops are more concerned with profitable efficiency. Hence, chains like Starbucks hiring speed/efficiency gurus to get your coffee order filled in under 3 minutes (or something like that)
Restaurants...even sit-down restaurants, adhere to the same goals. Get you in, get your food, and get out. It's interesting: on my most recent trip to Italy, we made a reservation for dinner at a local restaurant. The reservation reserved the table for us for the entire evening. . .

Statistically, American stress levels are extremely high, in proportion to our 'affluence'. We have no place to go, relax, and unwind with good company.
To put it another way...cultures that have 3rd places live on a healthy tripod of home, work, and 3rd place (cofee shop, pub, etc.) In America, we're walking through life on stilts (home and work), and we're burning out...

If we were to bring back the third place, consider the impact. In Oldenburg's words: "the stranger feels at home--nay, is at home..." (xxviii)

Being a pastor, Oldenburg's findings have profound insight on how we, as a faith community, design and create the spaces we occupy. Can't there be more to a worship space than pews and/or chairs, and a stage with a screen on the back wall? I hope so...

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Sunday in the City

Working on class stuff yesterday was a great decision because it afforded the opportunity to play today. A great AM yoga practice, brunch at Fire & Ice, a movie, and then church at Park St. Good times in Cambridge and Boston. I totally tired myself out, which is a good thing.

The best part of the day was church. I'd never been to one of the contemporary evening services at Park St Church and I really enjoyed it. We sang How Great is Out God and I remembered how amazing it is to sing that song with a lot of other people. I didn't realize how much I missed worshipping like that. I don't know if Park St is where God is going to place me for ministry, but I think it's where I'm going to be for the next season.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Rocket Fuel

A portion of this passage, translated in the Message, just about knocked me breathless last night.

Galatians 5:16-26:

My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God's Spirit. Then you won't feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. [so true freedom is the absence of selfish motives] These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day.[selfishness is governed by feelings rather than truth] Why don't you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence? [freedom is calm whereas law promotes compulsion to selfishness]

It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time [selfishness]: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on.[whoa, our entire culture has been described by this passage]

This isn't the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God's kingdom. [the freedom God provides us to choose or reject Him can be used to dwell in selfish pursuits that flesh out into the behaviors described in earlier verses; God's making it clear that behaving selfishly is a choice to reject Him]

But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. [this is why we measure salvation by fruit of lives] We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. [we find holiness in the everyday] We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. [wisdom comes from freedom in Christ]

Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified.

Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives.[this is an active process that takes work] That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse.[besides, comparison is rooted in selfishness] We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.


What I see is this: since our default humanity is selfish (that, in essence, is the sin that Eve committed), we want what we think will make us happy, even at the expense of others (or, in the long run, ourselves). But Christ came and erased that equation. He made it possible for us to live in freedom. He made the final blood sacrifice for us so that we don't have to make them anymore. That focus and need is satisfied. He has paved the way for freedom, but our old selves love structure, rules, and self-promotion. So we act out of the old system and everything goes awry. It's putting leaded fuel into an unleaded engine. The engine will eventually stop working after continuing along feebly for a little while. That's Satan's tool--the woe is me game. That is what divides rather than unites. That's what bogs us down in mud rather than letting us run free.

I'm ready for the rocket fuel.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

It's 9pm and 89 degrees

I have to say I'm completely bored and unmotivated, despite the fact that I should be prepping for my class tomorrow night. Could be due to the fact that it's 10 million degrees in here and I enjoyed a nice re-creation of a drink from Pat O'Brien's. No wonder why people in the tropics party and don't do anything else...

Monday, July 17, 2006

A Case of the Mondays

I am bowled over by how hard today was. I woke up too late to have time for devotions. I was running from the moment my feet left my bed, with demands on me left and right. My contacts were bothering me so much that I came home at lunchtime to get my glasses. On the drive home to get the glasses I got rear-ended. There was no significant damage (praise God!), but it was an inconvenience. I sped back to work because I was late for a meeting (that went on without me and could have skipped altogether). I was literally crying out to God on the drive back to work. Today was so far out of my hands. I don't recall the last time I was so desperate for His peace.

I know I'm under attack. The enemy knows what was released in me last week. I can only say that he hates freedom from lies, bondage, and hurt. He especially hates when that freedom leads to a greater understanding of God. God is powerful beyond comprehension, and the knowledge of Him is catastrophic to the forces of darkness. Let me rest in the fray, covered by the protection of Christ. He is my rear guard and His Word is my covering.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

A Date

I just got home from my first date with Peter. We met through eHarmony and he's the first guy I've met in person. The date was pretty good--good meal, good conversation (though far too focused on me)....but, I don't feel that spark. He's a really nice guy, but I wasn't hanging on his every word. I talked to my mom and she recommended a second date if he asks for it. She's my mom and that sounds like good advice. Apparently Dad didn't knock my mom's socks off at first either.

I'll keep you all posted.

Hope in Redemption

Prayers for myself--
prayers I didn't even
know how to pray

With words that are
so sweet
That have no words

A place of ending is
a place of beginning



I don't even know
where one begins
and one ends


God in this place--
this beautiful place

Heart that's mended

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A Collision

I don't think I can possibly condense the last 4 days in a blog post. I don't even know if I can wrap words around them. But over and over, I've seen the redemption story played out for myself and people I love. It's amazing to step back and glimpse (only for a moment) a sliver of what God sees of creation. That fleeting moment, a small fraction, was enough to dumbfound me.

God is a God of completion
He desires redemption
That redemption comes in ways we often don't expect
God wants good things for us
God ordains seasons in our lives

The fact that God has come to Earth and desires to be known by marginal beings such as ourselves blows me away. The fact that He has intimate knowledge of the details of our lives, knows what we need, and actually cares, is astonishing. The way He works our sin, poor choices, and indecision for His glory puts me on my face.

What a holy God!
What a victorious warrior!
What a redeemer!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Dad Update

Hi everyone! Sorry I haven't given you an update on my dad yet, but I am now in Florida (for about 2 seconds) before continuing on my way.

At any rate, he's doing much better. Turns out that there were multiple blockages in all 3 arteries, which is odd since he doesn't have high cholesterol or blood pressure. So, the doctors placed a stint in one artery and did angioplasty on another. He was in the hospital overnight for observation and was released Saturday afternoon.

Thanks again for your continued prayers over his condition. I really do appreciate your caring for my family!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Prayer Request

Due to arterial blockage discovered by doctors today, my father is having an angiogram tomorrow at 9am ET. During this procedure the doctors hope to insert a stint into 1 or more arteries. If this is not successful, they will do bypass surgery. Please remember my dad in your prayers!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Love Affair (Not the Regular Kind)

The last 2 weekends have cemented in my mind how much I love this city. Last weekend involved a drive through several neighborhoods and this weekend was time spent enjoying all that it has to offer. Where else can I enjoy tasting chowder from 15 restaurants, sitting in a park, and watching a clipper ship come to dock--all in one afternoon. And on the 4th we've got the best fireworks in the country, complete with Aerosmith and the Boston Pops. Perfection.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Too much

The title of my blog is a reflection of the DMB song of the same name. The band never draws any conclusions about all the things that are "too much," but I can feel it. Too many meetings, too much talking, too much to do. I'm hungering for a little space again. Some time where I don't have to make a decision. Some rest.

It's been an overwhelmingly busy week, and it's been compounded by getting in trouble at work, discovering someone broke into my car, being on-call, making plans for a short trip to FL, discovering some people I love may be moving away from Boston, and trying to negotiate my life to include someone who wants to date me. It's just too much.

Everything inside of me wants to stay home tonight, but it's Bible study. I need to go more than anything. But I wish I didn't have to drive to Boston to get there. Lord, BE MY STRENGTH!!!

Saturday, June 24, 2006


So I'm sitting here in my darkish living room avoiding taking my car to get the tire repaired. I'm thinking of all the ways I can prolong this repair. I've been driving around with a nail in there for a couple weeks now. Things are going ok, but I've had to put air in a couple times.

I'm afraid that one of the main reasons I want a husband is so he can take care of things like this. I love the fact that my car reliably gets me where I need to go, but the maintenance (little that there is) drives me crazy. Oil changes, washing, small repairs. Time I'd rather spend blogging on the internet, reading, sleeping, or shopping. Argh...I'll have to bring it to Sears tomorrow since that's the only place open on Sundays. I love/hate my car.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Me? Dating? What?????????????

Is a day off from work the key to blogging all the time? This is my second entry today and I think there might be even more...;)

I joined eHarmony in February with a 6 month trial run on the service. More than anything I think I was trying to scare myself out of the routine (see this post). To date I have only reached 'open communication' with 2 men. The first one left the service and the second one is new this week. I think he really likes me. He is pursuing me--I didn't even make the first communication. I gave him my phone number today and I feel like a teenager again. I'm not the most experienced person at relationships so the little things are still exciting. I think I might throw up if we actually meet each other. I'll keep everyone posted on the blog about any progress.


Due to recent events I've just heard about, I've begun to think about the mind and the nature of psychosis. What is it about trauma that can cause a biologically-sound brain to believe false things? Is trauma like an electric shock to the system that causes it to go haywire? Where are the paddles so I can shock my friend's mental arrhythmia back to the typical sinus rhythm?

Unfortunately, the brain doesn't work quite so simply as the heart. Isn't that ironic? My friend's problems are a result of a heart unchecked by logic. Now we have a problem. I'm too far away to do anything other than pray and make a few phone calls for counselor recommendations.

So, I'm sitting here on a stormy day off, still in my pjs and nearly helpless to make anything better.

Life is hard.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


I was thinking about what to blog tonight and I ran across a thought-provoking post on one of my favorite blogs I was motivated enough to comment on the post. Listed below are the blog and my response.

On Manhood...

Where is manhood headed? It's a thought that's been in my head for a few days. My Dad pointed out this trend to me, and I think it's worth exploring. Consider the history of TV 'men'.
First you have a Ward Cleaver...Clean, wholesome, boring as a watching a brick move (they don't move). He had no personality whatsoever, but was portrayed as a good father to his boys. A father who wore nothing but suits, but a good father. He was well respected.

Moving on, we have Bill Cosby, of the Cosby Show. Bill (or 'Cliff' on the show) was infinitely more real and complex than his predecessor Ward. He was a good, and had some weaknesses (hoagie subs, primarily), but was still a cornerstone of the family. He was a man who, in spite of being a minority, became a doctor who worked, hard, help provide for his family, and was loved and respected by his children. And every prominent jazz musician somehow found his/her way to his house...which made him even cooler.

On to Ray Barone, of Everybody Love's Raymond. Ray's a guy who doesn't help around the house, gets yelled at by his wife, pushed around by his mother, and ridiculed by his brother. He is good at his job, which brings in a paycheck...but other than that, he's portrayed as the Butt (with a capital 'b') of the entire joke of the show: 'ray's an idiot, but everybody love's raymond anyway'.

The formula worked, so every network starting ripping it off. Hence, Jim Belushi of According to Jim. Another family provider who's an idiot. Sure, he loves his wife, but hates 'feelings', 'girly stuff' and loves sports. Oh yeah, and the difference between Ray and Jim: Jim is a 'fat' idiot. He too can't do anything right, is always making mistakes, and always seems to get himself into hot water with the wife.

Take the kids out of the equation, and add a few more pounds, and you've got Kevin James in King of Queens. Working man dork, forced to live with his father-in-law, and always subject to the wrath of his wife.

All of this leads to a progression of TV Dads being portrayed as the man in THE prophetic comedy, The Simpsons. Homer Simpson is the epitomy of dumb, fat, lazy, men.

Now, don't misunderstand...all of the characters above (with the exception of Ward Cleaver) are friggin' hilarious. But it begs the question: Will the real men please stand up? And don't get me wrong...I'm not talking about men who boss their wives around and command authority out of fear. Rather, I'm talking about Biblical Men...Davids, Solomons, Pauls, Timothys, Peters, Johns (not that kind of 'johns') who made mistakes, but owned up to them. Men who loved people passionately. Men who weren't afraid to cry. Men who worked hard. Men who didn't exist simply to bring home a paycheck.

Can it get worse than Homer Simpson? Absolutely...and there's a term for the frightening new future of the man: HIMBO. A himbo is a male version of a 'bimbo' (a disgustingly derogatory term). HIMBOs are attractive, young men who exist simply to be arm candy for the new, young, hip, power women of Hollywood's elite (Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Nicole Richie, etc.)

While I applaud the fact that women are being empowered (though I'm not really sure if the women listed above are truly 'empowered'), I lament the destruction of manhood. Can't we have both? Can't we have powerful, gracious, loving, smart, intelligent, women and men? Why does our culture always have to exalt one at the expense of the other?

What can the church do to equip, encourage, and empower both genders? I find it interesting that, though men hold the keys to the power of most churches, women are the backbone...serving, teaching, leading. A few men may make the decisions in church polity, but by and large, most men are simply bored in church...not investing themselves, and thus, somewhat warranting their TV stereotypical portrayal.

My comment:

I've had more than a few conversations with friends about the trend in the media to portray family men (and men in general) as idiots. I know that's generally not a reflection of men I've had the pleasure to know. My father, and a great many other men I know, do not fit this stereotype, but rather the opposite. Having been born an observer of people and trained as a social scientist and behavior analyst, I wonder about the effect of media on our behavior and thinking. Is media setting our expectations for the performance of men in strategic areas of social behavior, church, and family life? Or is media a reflection of what we've become as a society? Why is this stereotype so acceptable and viewed as funny? Are married/family men one of the few "safe" things we have left to joke about?

This begs the following questions:
How can followers of Christ teach truth against such a pervasive viewpoint? How can we model the Bible's teachings about masculinity in a relevant way?

The Promise Keepers movement along with John Eldrege's work have encouraged me as a step in the right direction to answer these questions. Unfortunately, in many churches men are not leading other than by proxy. This is a vital matter of prayer for those of us who wish to see Christ's church celebrate its Creator.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Who knew that 24 hours away from my regular life would be exactly what I needed?

Angela and I headed up to the middle of nowhere in NH to a condo by a crystal-clear lake. (The condo is owned by Angela's employers, for whom she works as a nanny.) We arrived on Friday night, ready to watch movies and soak up the sun on Saturday. That's just what we did.

I enjoyed so much the fact that my phone didn't work and I had no internet access. I actually relaxed, got a little sun (too much on my back), and got to know Angela better. I feel like I got out of my own way a little and can hear God more. My regular life if so full of noise--much of it self-imposed--that hearing God is often a challenge. Now I need to discover how to re-create the space I found in NH to hear God in my daily life. For hearing Him is essential to knowing Him is essential to following Him. And that's my life's mission.

Sunday, June 11, 2006


Driving home tonight from Boston, I was struck by the site of an amazing, huge yellow moon shining right on me while I was sitting in traffic. It was surprising and almost jarring as I was in the midst of being annoyed at the long wait for green lights. The sight brought me back to something Louie Giglio said: the moon is a big ball of dirt that gets all the props, but it just reflects the sun. In the same way, our ball of dirt lives must just reflect the light of Christ. That glorious moon tonight was giving glory to God. It was praising Him with all that it had, especially so with the optical illusion that happens once in a while. Glory, glory, glory! May my life be one-tenth as glorious as that moon tonight!

Take these hands
And lift them up
For I have not the strength to praise You near enough
See, I have nothing
I have nothing without You

And take my voice and pour it out
Let it sing the songs of mercy I have found
For I have nothing
I have nothing without You

And all my soul needs is all Your love
To cover me, so all the world will see
That I have nothing without You

Take my body and build it up
May it be broken as an offering of love
For I have nothing
I have nothing without You

And all my soul needs is all Your love
To cover me so all the world will see
That I have nothing
That I love You, yeah
With all my heart
With all my soul
With all my mind
And all the strength I can find

Take my time here on this earth
And let it glorify all that You are worth
For I am nothing
I am nothing without You

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


So as a lot of my blog entries show, I read articles from all over the web. One might say I'm addicted. More and more as I read and press into issues far more grey than black and white, my heart and my head are full. Maybe this is part of being in Boston and more aware of deep thinking and social justice. But maybe it's just a part of my formation process through the Holy Spirit.

I read an article by Kay Warren (Rick Warren's wife) about AIDS that was posted on CNN's site. Please read it, the responses, and Kay's rebuttal of some of those responses. It's worth your time.

Love justice
Do mercy
Walk in humility

Monday, June 05, 2006

Everything Old is New Again

In my quest to post links from everywhere on the web, I continue with one from the Washington Post about the explosion in home churches. Interesting read. Is this what the Church Public will remain?

Sunday, June 04, 2006


I want to memorialize Rebekah. I want to honor her life in some way and I'm not really sure how to do that. I haven't been as quick to tears in the last few days when I bring up a story about her, but I've talked about her a lot. Several people at work are also dealing with deaths and speaking of those passed loved ones has been therapeutic. Through Rebekah's death I've been able to join those conversations more ably. God is being glorified in her death, just by the sheer fact that it gives me the opportunity to show Christ's love to those people also mourning.

I've been sitting in Ecclesiastes while working through all my emotions about her death. Chapter 7:2-4 brought truth that I don't quite understand, but have found to be true:

It is better to go to the house of mourning
than to go to the house of feasting,
for this is the end of all mankind,
and the living will lay it to heart.
Sorrow is better than laughter,
for by sadness of face the heart is made glad.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.

In some ways I need to be somber about her life--I need to mourn her loss. I'm so thankful that God has given me the ability to remember the moments that were completely silly and ones that were all about Him. Pictures are just a small part of how I remember Rebekah (check out the best on my Xanga). I'm surprised I didn't have more, but it was fun looking through all my digital albums to capture the best ones. I even found a goofy video with Bek and JLinn doing a Rockette's-style kick line on a retaining wall at Destin Commons, late one November night right after they opened for business. Ahh...when the Commons was fresh and new...It was the beginning of a long line of many evenings spent wandering, drinking Starbucks, and watching movies at the Rave. Rebekah always hosted great dinner parties too--she certainly had the gift of hospitality. There's so much more that I can't even begin to write here. Despite having our differences at times, both of us being stubborn as mules, God used her to teach me so much about Himself. She was a nurse, servant, missionary, musician, teacher, and friend to lost souls. I am grateful to have counted Rebekah Carter as a friend.