Monday, December 31, 2007
Thank you God for 2007. A year so full of ups and downs, but one where You were clearly present. People I love came in and out of my life in dramatic fashion. Vision birthed years ago was confirmed and cemented. Great broad hope for the future arrived even today. Thank you Lord for all of these past 365 days!
Can I take this serious moment to give a shout out to New Year's Day marathons? Holy crap! Classic Twilight Zone marathon on SciFi!!! The BEST show ever.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Monday, December 03, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Here's a taste from page 97 to challenge you:
"Conversion isn't, after all, a moment: It's a process, and it keeps happening, with cycles of acceptace and resistance, epiphany and doubt. As I struggled with bread and wine and belief over the following year at St Gregory's, it stayed hard. I began to understand why so many people chose to be 'born again' and follow strict rules that would tell them what to do, once and for all. It was tempting to rely on a formula--'accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior,' for example--that became itself a form of idolatry and kept you from experiencing God in your flesh, in the complicated flesh of others. It was tempting to proclain yourself 'saved' and go back to sleep.
The faith I was finding was jagged and more difficult. It wasn't about abstract theological debates: Does God exist? Are sin and salvation predestined? Or even about political/ideological ones: Is capital punishment a sin? Is there a scriptural foundation for accepting homosexuality?
It was about action. Taste and see, the Bible said, and I did. I was tasting a connection between communion and food--between my burgeoning religion and my real life. My first, questioning year at church ended with a question whose urgency would propel me into work I'd never imagined: Now that you've taken the bread, what are you going to do?"
These beautiful and honest thoughts speak to the heart of how I'm beginning to envision Chrisitanity. We are not just a group of people who gather in a building once a week, listening, singing, and talking to one another. We cannot just walk out of that building thinking that time is the end of our spiritual work. That and striving to meet rule requirements is an adventure in mission the point.
My desire is to know Scripture more, teach it well, but never forget the passion of the often stumbling adventure as I journey alongside of Christ. There is wonderment here and a whole lot of uncertainty. Maybe all the time I've spent maligning my swings in faith from complete trust to barely hanging on was pointless because it's all a learning experience. Maybe remembering it's not about perfection is the biggest lesson so that I can truly be humble.
Woah God. You're blowing my mind.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Last week's trip back the hometown was rough on a lot of levels. I really don't have family there anymore, so I stayed with my best friend from high school. She's going through a huge life transition, as she just discovered her pregnancy (about 6 months in), is dealing with this alongside a boyfriend who is pretty supportive, but having to navigate sharing their house with her boyfriend's brother. Let's just say he's more than a little tough to get along with. My vacation wasn't much of a break after all--I think my working/ministry/school/friend juggling is more peaceful than staying in that unsettled household for a week. I loved on and prayed for them all the while, but it was still a struggle. BUT, it made me so, so thankful for all that exists for me here in Boston: work that pays way more than I need, a true fellowship of believers in community, a living situation that is pleasant to come home to, etc, etc. Flying in last Friday night was so very sweet. Everytime I see the skyline again my heart gets so full. Sometimes being here is difficult, but I have a passionate love for this city. Boston to me is like New York to Carrie Bradshaw, but for reasons much broader and deeper than hers.
One of my gracious readers made note that I never directly blogged about what happened at Cafe Rossini a few weeks back, so here's the scoop:
Stacey stayed over Saturday night and we decided to head over to Rossini for some good coffee and muffins before we had community cleanup Sunday afternoon. I'd been in the place a couple times before since it's just on the other side of the yoga place, about a block from my apartment. Stacey brought her bible & journal while I had most of the Sunday Globe with me.
The owner at Rossini is a soup nazi-type who barks orders at her help. She's been in there every time I've stopped in. We've chatted briefly before, but nothing more than pleasantries and to complement her baked goods. She seems to enjoy talking to all her customers and sometimes butting in on interesting conversations.
That's exactly what happened when Stacey and I were there. We both didn't pay much attention to our reading, but talked about the chapter in Acts I was going to teach that night, along with other issues of life as a believer, including how to deal with the sexual sin of those around us. We were starting to wind up our time and began reading an article about the misspending scandal at Oral Roberts University. I mentioned it to Stacey and the cafe owner jumped right in. She talked about the tragedy of all these preachers getting caught doing so many wrong things, her own experience with ministers that live a double life, her admiration for Billy Graham (her mom took her to some Crusades when she was a kid that she said deeply impacted her), how her brother who claims to be a believer hasn't spoken to her in 20 years, how she used to study the Bible, how her longtime friend ended their friendship due to her acceptance of her friend's gay son. It went on and on. A fountain of years of hurt and frustration with the church, both Catholic and Protestant, spouted from this woman in the span of 10 minutes. I was pretty dumbfounded, as was Stacey. We just let her keep talking. The vulnerability of such a hard-headed stranger was bizarre to me. Unfortuately, we had to go, but were able to end the conversation on a good note.
I vowed to become more of a regular, but I haven't. I can blame schedule chaos and vacation, but something else is in play. Knowing her would be hard. She's not on her knees begging for Christ. She's angry. She's hurt. I represent the church that has betrayed her. I doubt myself--how can I possibly be the light that shows her the truth of the Gospel beyond all the muddying created by human hands? That's a huge responsibility. But I know that's what He's calling me to do.
Just writing this out has reminded me about those moments and granted me clarity about Christ's mission for my week in Buffalo--He was teaching me about loving those with His love that I find are hard to love. Wow. Talk about a shift in perspective.
Susan, thanks for reminding me to write about this. You are the accountability I didn't even know I needed.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
There was so much more I wanted to say to her, to ask her and to pray over her. My heart burned with compassion. But for some reason, it was left unsaid. In retrospect, I think God purposely caused me to leave things unsaid. Outreach, in its truest form, should leave many things undone in our hearts. It should leave us burning to give more, to say more, to pray more readily and more fervently. It should leave us desiring to be there every weekend or every day, not just once a month. It should leave us wanting to venture beyond the fences we have constructed and realizing that the only place for us is in the center of God's will.
I serve a God who breaks the rules every day, who invades our universe and pulls us close to Him, dancing on the wrong side of the fence. He's beckoning us to join in a wonderfully undignified, epic story, to add our culture and our stories to one another, and to join in the beautiful diversity of humanity.
All this simultaneously scares me and stirs me. I love it.
Monday, November 12, 2007
For lauding myself as an observer and chronicler of life, I've been doing a pretty poor job of it lately. I was in a meeting today talking about sharing our God-stories. It reminded me that that is what I created this blog to be--a place where I can come and narrate the beautiful tapestry that God is weaving of my life. But I forget. A lot. I get too busy. I don't see His hand moving.
These last 2 weeks have been ridiculously tremendous. I've seen God pour blessing upon blessing over me through multiple opportunities to serve and minister. I've known what it really feels like to work inside your gifting. I've had a little taste of this before in Poland, volunteering at Passion, and sometimes with work. But this has been like pure adrenaline injected in my veins. In the midst of feeling unsure of how to proceed in a situation, I literally feel the presence of the Spirit within me, filling me with power, wisdom, and peace. This is an experience without words to truly match it. Taste and see...
Highlights of the week:
-Getting SO much work done in so little time
-Helping families recognize progress in their children and finding joy in that
-Praying with my church family
-Giving a presentation to parents
-Having my plans spoiled a bit; missing an opportunity, but being able to recognize it was missed
-Rocking out and worshiping with The Myriad, Phil Wickham, and Crowder with LOTS of others
-Meeting Stacey's friend from Starbucks who was also, in fact, my cyber-friend
-Picking out new glasses!
-Progressive dinner: meeting new friends and having 30 people at our apartment--crazy!
-Seeing in living color a local business-owner's desperate need for the healing love of Christ and my part in sharing that love
-Cleaning up trash on a blustery day with some awesome friends
-Getting to meet a guy with special needs who asked me a billion questions but wouldn't tell me his name
-Teaching the truth of the Word to a family room full of people
-Making Jon laugh
-giving Rob a hug after everything
I could seriously go on and on. This was just last Monday to Sunday. I need to keep doing this.
God is just so immeasurably good. Praise His Name!
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
But then I moved to Boston for the second time. Somehow I caught the Red Sox bug, despite the fact that they seem to find a way to lose every time I step into Fenway (including Jacoby Ellsbury's major league debut against the Texas Rangers). I actually watched a few games this year and got into it during the playoffs. It helps having 2 roommates that are rabid fans.
So, here I sit on the day of the 2007 World Series victory parade watching Fever Pitch.
I love this town.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
More came tonight at church. It was the first time we gathered all together after the weekend at Baxter and Passion. The words of hope, confirmation, and mission spoken in that room tonight were thickly evident with the Holy Spirit's work. To just sit in there and hear all of those thoughts and stories was really humbling. My heart resonated so much with all of them that I was in tears most of the time. So, so beautiful.
I love this city and the students here so much. Today was clear evidence that we're all on-board with God's movement here. God, keep pressing us forward into becoming the people that You use to revolutionize this city. Keep us on our knees. Reveal Yourself in new ways through Your Word. Make us humble servants. Show us the hard decisions that must be made to live lives of those who passionately run after You.
There is none like You.
From where I sit right now, my body is completely exhausted after 2-15 & 16 hour days of standing, running, talking, laughing, and crying at Passion:Boston. I've volunteered before, but this experience was nothing like I've experienced in the past. I'm still dumbfounded by and in awe of what very little I've begun to process through.
God showed up in my city. I don't think I ever doubted that He is here, but the last 2 days of seeing students from here lifting praise after praise....well, that just busted open my paradigm (again). Maybe I too have fallen into the lie that Boston is such a "hard" place--insinuating that it is outside the reach of God's hand. Maybe I'm more stuck on numbers and results that I knew. Maybe I need to really, truly, let go of my ideas about what God is doing here among students and just be a part of leading them out into it.
Things are much clearer today than they've been in SUCH a long time. I am absolutely, overwhelming grateful for the presence of God. He is the KING over this map of little green and red pins that represent the campuses of Boston & Cambridge. He's got a divine purpose for each one of those pins and all those students they represent.
This city on a hill is primed for a revolution through which millions of lives will be changed forever.
Save us now, for we need a rescue that isn't temporary, but the only cure for endlessly seeking souls.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
In the stillness
I know, that you are God
In the secret
Of your presence
There I am restored
When you call I won't refuse
Each new day again I’ll choose
There is no one else for me
None but Jesus
Crucified to set me free
Now I live to bring him praise
In the chaos
In confusion, I know
You’re sovereign still
In the moment
Of my weakness
You give, me grace to do your will
So when you call I won’t delay
This my song, through all my days
There is no one else for me
None but Jesus
Crucified to set me free
Now I live to bring him praise
All my delight is in you Lord
All of my hope, all of my strength
All my delight is in you Lord
There is no one else for me
None but Jesus
Crucified to set me free
Now I live to bring him praise
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Let God arise.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Now I must ignore the neighbors being loud on their back porch (a downside of attempting to sleep on a city summer weekend night) and go to bed. I am completely freaking exhausted.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
I never recognized this fact until today. I was on the tail end of a 2-day collegiate fall planning meeting and we were talking about a recent study concerning the reasons why people 18-22 drop out of church. In the middle of that data fest (that I truly enjoyed, I might add), I discovered that I once met the criteria to be defined as a church dropout. And here I am, now ministering through an institution I once eschewed. Is that ironic?
Once I got over the initial shock of it all, I began to press into processing the richness of what God might want to teach me in this. Some big questions rose to the surface: what differentiates the church from on-campus/parachurch ministries; do college students really desire to seek community from the church (is that a motivating factor for them to attend); and, essentially, what is church?
These are questions that will not be answered in a matter of minutes or days. There's a lot of prayer and reading that will be put into these first things. But seriously, isn't this something that must be done before moving forward? This is the beginnings of a philosophy of ministry.
Dang. That's scary.
Friday, July 27, 2007
Some moments at work, dealing with a difficult parent and child, just tore me up emotionally. But sitting back on the other side of my week-ending, perfect raspberry mojito, I can see how God just screamed His glory through that situation, community caring for a member in need, my parent's visit, persistent prayers of a community, time with a friend, and a glimpse deeper into who He desires someone to be.
God, You are just SO big. I beg that You would allow me to see with Your eyes all those things that I disregard or wrongfully place in the column of negative experiences. Deepen my love for You and Your people.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
My roommate and I sat and thought about the profundity of sacrifice that we perceive that to be. In America, where freedom is prized above all else, what has that freedom afforded us where Christianity is concerned? Has it made the gospel spread or has it lent itself to idleness, debauchery, and pressing farther away from God as a nation? Has the American Church become so diluted because of freedom? What does freedom mean in light of Philippians 2:1-11 for us and those Korean believers?
I know these are dangerous questions and ones to be pondered much longer than a day. Know that I'm coming from a perspective of a person who went to a very politically conservative Christian college, listens to talk radio, and usually votes Republican. Also know that I'm not quick to draw causation from isolated information.
All I know is I want to be more like Christ and who He sees me as. If that means rending all that I understand about what it means to be an American, then I must do it. I'm seeing more and more that viewing ourselves as a chosen nation is simply pompous.
Saturday, July 07, 2007
I just enjoyed a really good Saturday, full of a random trip to Nantasket beach and yummy dinner with girlfriends. It was a really good day of taking the scenic drive to Hull, giving a tour of the South Shore to a native of Martha's Vineyard. It was pretty sweet seeing the tide roll in to completely swallow up the beach we were once laying on. We had some fantastic ice cream which we ate while watching crazy people play in the chilly breaking waves. Then it was off to a homemade dinner in Mission Hill with some lovely ladies. We shared books, conversation, music, a few beers, and God made Himself known.
Friday, July 06, 2007
Anyway, I had a weak moment at Shaw's tonight while picking up some yummy Dove ice cream (chocolate ganache!!) to nosh on while I listen to Joey's late night radio show. I just had the one thing, so you know, the self-service deal would be faster, right?
The answer is: No. First off, I waited for about 3-4 minutes for these women who were chatty Cathies to get through with their dueling purchases so another woman and I could use the adjacent machines. That was just a poor choice of venue on my part. Then it was my turn at checkout #14. I swipe my "rewards" card (aka you better use this or your groceries will cost twice the GDP of Nicaragua) and get some error about an 'unknown' item. I swipe it again. Same error. I figure I can ignore this and swipe the ice cream. Ice cream rings up ok. I press the button to finish. Swipe rewards card. It miraculously works this time. I get my debit card ready to go to make it all legal. THEN... You need assistance due to the 'unknown' item. Are there any employees manning the 6 self-service deals? No. Of course not. So I stand there, with red light blinking above said kiosk, frozen with debit card in hand, wondering if the ganache is worth this technological glitch. I stick it out, looking in vain for assistance. Finally a kindly elderly stocker sees some combination of my helpless expression and the blinking crimson orb and gets the attention of the "big shots" (his term). I fork over the funds (electronically, of course) and leave the store about 10 minutes later than I'd wanted to.
Moral: avoid the self-service line. Stop being an American for once and let someone else whom you already pay and who might know what they're doing take care of it for you.
Now, time for that Caramel Pecan Perfection....
Thursday, July 05, 2007
I am so lame. Just by the mere fact that I'm complaining about this stuff shows just how lame I am. Millions of people around the world never get a day of not working (aka weekend), let alone national holidays, or even jobs that can support them without working 12 hours (or more) a day. Those people struggle to feed themselves while my friends and I sat noshing next to a river for most of yesterday without even a second thought.
Life is just not a bed of roses today, but sometimes I've just got to fight for joy--to see the glimmer of hope, redemption, and resurrection that's told in every story, in every moment. That's my mission in life as an ambassador for Christ. Maybe missions is just about being that watcher who translates moments of pain, or exhaustion, or darkness, into hope.
Today I need to translate for myself.
Monday, July 02, 2007
There's so many bits of this weekend that were God's hand at work, from the perfectly sunny nearly humidity-free 70s temperatures, to a 24-hr flight delay, to humbling mistakes, to missed Sox game shuttles, to late night conversations. I am thankful He was present here in every moment, even the ones that weren't "perfect" or holy. Those things were all knit together for our good and His glory.
God, thank you for people that love and surround me that respond to Your urging and voice. Thank you for opening a heart. Thank you for words You gave me to speak. Thank you for the humility You brought at the beginning to make those words possible. God, You are so good.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Friday, June 15, 2007
In this organizational quest, I ran across something that I wrote nearly 2 years ago. Scribbled on a half sheet of paper, one half once carrying a Diet Coke coupon and the other side a printed out listing of Delta flights to Boston via Fort Walton Beach. This is old stuff. I clearly remember writing this poem as I sat on the steps of Park Street Church, at the crossroads of this pedestrian city. I remember the sounds, the people, and that I looked at Beacon Hill apartments that day. I wrote as I waited to be picked up by Stacey to have dinner with her, Anne, Doug, Shelley, Emily (and Pete) at Doug's place in Somerville.
About 3 lifetimes have passed since that day. I moved to Quincy. I was a big boss at the May Institute--then quit. Rebekah died. Brian and Kim moved to Tennessee, then Texas, then Alabama. Jess quit being friends with me. I moved to Somerville. My car's air conditioner quit working.
Through it all, the amazing and beautiful part is that what I wrote on this jagged scrap paper still remains true for me. So, for feng shui's sake, this poem is written here for myself and posterity. My prayer is that this is still my heartbeat in 2, 10, 25, 50 more years.
Asian girls stare
Church on Park St corner
Parents teach children about the
red Brick way of history amid honks,
bums, and a dancing Metallica reject
My city who needs Jesus, loves the Sox
more than Him
Holy one of Israel made famous
across the way one fall--
preached boldly everywhere 200 years ago
Lord, take it over
True believers long after you rather than
The Barbarian Way
Abandon for worldly things replaces faith
Come Lord Jesus,
take over this place
Hear the bells and know the tune in your
Monday, June 04, 2007
All was well and pressing forward until yesterday afternoon when I was putting a storage unit into my closet. I'd put it together and was pushing it into place when I cut the side of my left hand on something embedded in the carpet. I immediately clasped the cut with my right hand...then I surveyed the damage. There was blood pooling all over my palm and I knew it was bad enough for an ER visit. Fortunately, I quickly located a cast off towel to apply pressure and absorb the blood. Two of my roommates were home and helped me to locate my purse so we could drive to the hospital that was around the corner. One hour and three sutures later, I was back home. So much for any more unpacking of heavy things...
Needless to say, it was an interesting weekend. I'm really liking living here so far. We did some roomie bonding Saturday night with a nice stroll to Davis Square to grab some ice cream at JP Licks. Also, there's a lot of people in this neighborhood that go to Hope Fellowship, so it's been cool to meet new friends already. This is a really good decision on so many fronts. My prayer continues to be that this move will open up new doors to ministry and freedom to serve that I didn't have before.
I'd like to write more, but my hand is killing me. ;)
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
So I'm here, feeling bad that I'm taking up this space, but typing away nonetheless. I need to chill and sit here for a little while--I've still got over 2.5 hours to my home visit. Breathe. Relax. Let those shoulder muscles unwind. That's really hard to do in here with the frenetic pace, hyper Kenny G music, and business meetings occupying the neighboring tables. I think I had too much caffeine this morning.
The sun is finally out. We were promised 80 degrees today and before I walked in here, it probably hadn't hit 65. It was rainy and dreary for longer than those sage weathermen promised. We'll see if that 80 thing happens.
We had our last CCPC Monday event for the semester last night. We had a cookout with steak (yummy--thanks Pine Lake!) and potluck stuff at the Jones' to celebrate Karin's 7 years in ministry in Boston. She is ending her time as a campus minister at Northeastern to stay home with Baby Eric (he's due on June 10). It's a really exciting time for her, but bittersweet of course. I enjoyed hearing the stories of people who have known her far longer than I have.
I've been getting mad at myself lately. I'm frustrated that the just God and me thing hasn't been "doing it" for me for a while. It now has to be: God, me, some dynamic speaker; God, me, good music; God, me, and a community of people in prayer. I know those aren't bad things, but I also know that my public worship shouldn't exceed my private worship. Maybe I need to carve out more space for Him. I'm so guilty of letting everything else crowd our time together, even in my thoughts. I truly have a divided mind that never stops running, figuring, and working. That can be an advantage, but not when God calls you to rest in Him. Gotta breathe.
Friday, May 04, 2007
Coming back home tonight made me realize I was on overload in Atlanta. It was good overload, but the engine was revving high without shifting.
The engine got in gear as we circled over the Harbor Islands as the plane approached its landing at Logan. Seeing the city gets me every time.
Rosana picked me up at the airport and it was great to talk to her. I finally was able to process things that I didn't even realize God was working out. I have a real feeling of moving forward in what I'm supposed to be doing in Boston. So here, for posterity (and my own accountability) is a list of what God is calling me to do until He tells me otherwise:
- Take over planning community action/social justice projects in Mission Hill for Shawmut Springs
- Work with the CCPC team in facilitating those types of projects all over Boston--with multiple church and parachurch ministry involvement
- Work hard at my 'real' job this summer to make money to pay off the debt that's accrued from the last few months of low income
- Cut hours a my 'real' job in the fall to accomodate seminary, Passion Boston prep work, & Shawmut/students
- Raise monthly support for any financial shortfall
- Become the guru of demographics for Boston colleges
- Study REALLY hard
Wow...it's been so long since I've made a list like that or been so definitive. This is forward progress.
Since I'm exhausted, tomorrow I'm going to attack the action list for how I'm going to accomplish the above tasks.
I'm going to bed tonight with more satisfaction than I've had in a long time, remembering that I have a creative God who is all about restoration and His glory.
Man, Rebekah, I'm so jealous that you're getting to party it up in heaven right now. One day. And I'm hoping to bring a lot of good friends with me.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
We are Virginia Tech
We are sad today
And we will be sad for quite a while
We are NOT moving on
We are embracing our mourning
We are Virginia Tech
We are strong enough to stand tall tearlessly
We are brave enough to bend to cry, and sad enough to know
We must laugh again
We are Virginia Tech
We do not understand this tragedy
We know we did nothing to deserve it
But neither does the child in Africa, dying of AIDS
Neither do the Invisible Children, walking the night away to avoid being captured by a rogue army
Neither does the baby elephant, watching his community be devastated for ivory
Neither does the Mexican child looking for fresh water
Neither does the Appalachian infant, killed in the middle of the night in his crib, in the home his father built with his own hands, being run over by a boulder because the land was destabilized
No one deserves a tragedy
We are Virginia Tech
The Hokie Nation embraces our own and reaches out with open heart and hand to those who offer their hearts and minds
We are strong and brave and innocent and unafraid
We are better than we think and not quite what we want to be
We are alive to the imagination and the possibility we will continue to invent the future
Through our blood and tears
Through all this sadness
We are the Hokies
We will prevail
We will prevail
We will prevail
WE ARE VIRGINIA TECH
Saturday, April 14, 2007
After Ang and I finally met up in Kenmore Square, we fought Red Sox Nation to get a bite to eat at McDonald's. This VERY late lunch helped to rescue my mood a bit. I'm glad we took the time to sit since we were about to stand up for the next 5 hours.
We followed the throngs in the general direction of Fenway, but we were not counting ourselves among those who were about to watch the Sox thrash the Angels 10-1. Instead, we got in line at Avalon (one of the big clubs on Lansdowne St next to Fenway), showed our IDs, got a lovely orange bracelet, and walked inside. I haven't been to Avalon since I last lived in Boston, during grad school. I recall that the last time I was there involved some post-party drinking with 2 guys my roommate and I met at said party. I was surprised I remembered so much about the interior of the place. Hilariously enough, the bathroom was perfectly familiar, but I could swear the place was much bigger than it appeared to me last night. Ahh, perceptions over time, and how they vary depending on the ingestion of substances...
Needless to say, I had mixed emotions about being back there. That place has directed connections to who I used to be. It was a long time ago, but not long enough that I've forgotten or that it couldn't happen again. But this time was about redeeming that place in my heart and solidifying who I am in Boston now.
Ang and I were there to see Mat Kearney, the headliner for the VH1 You Outta Know Tour (I know, cheesy). Mat is a Christian who doesn't sing songs that are overtly Christian. He's gotten pretty famous over the last year by virtue of several of his songs being featured on Grey's Anatomy. I got his CD in a Relevant Network kit last spring and immediately loved it--it's a mix of guitar pop, piano, and spoken word/rap. Good, creative stuff. He came to Boston last fall and I missed the show due to my own poor pre-planning. I jumped at the chance to see him this time.
The show was a triple bill headed off by Rocco deLuca and the Burden. They are more rock influenced than Mat Kearney, but I could dig the neo-steel guitar sound. I enjoyed their set, other than the guitar solo that hearkened to something memorialized in There's Something About Mary. Let's just say he was REALLY into that solo.
Next up was The Feeling, a band from the UK that I would best describe as Euro, emo-pants pop. I give them credit for the fantastic harmonizing, but the lead singer's posturing and dancing on stage was SOOO annoying. I gulped down my Sam Adams while those guys were on stage--I was hoping it would make it end. But the pain was only amplified by the addition of two female college students with voices that I can only describe as East Coast Valley Girl. Their conversations during the show were frequently hilarious due to their lack of content beyond:
- Relative hotness of band members
- Rating the current song ("awesome" and "so great" were used frequently)
- Recent hookups and their fallout
- Maligning the fact that Tom Petty was not playing there after one of his songs was played as walk-in music between sets. Um, you won't be getting Tom Petty tickets for $17, or seeing him in a small venue like that, but I digress...
- "He looked at me! I know he was singing right to me!"
Unfortunately, the East Valley Girls stuck around even after The Feeling's set was over. Later on I felt guilty about being so annoyed by them since these are exactly the people I'm sent to show God's love. Chalk that up to learning experience #1 for the night.
Another random concert-goer that made Angela and I crack up numerous times was Drunk Zebra Lady. This poor woman apparently forgot that the 80's were best left there the first time around. That outfit would have looked disastrous on a 17 year old, let alone someone of her age. It's a shame I wasn't able to capture her dancing. Please enjoy her picture here:
With all that said, I was happy for Mat Kearney to step on stage. My feet and lower back were starting to show their age. Needless to say, his set was very well done, with a great mix of his guitar- and piano-based songs. He sang every song from his latest album, as well as two older songs, and a new one called "Black and White." As he explained, the latter song was written while he was in Istanbul.
I enjoyed the show, but wished he talked more about the songs and their origins. Before taking to the piano to play one of my favorites, "All I Need," he explained that it was written for some friends who lived through Katrina in New Orleans. I attempted to record the song, but my camera's memory card ran out of room. It was a beautiful rendition of the song, but it will just have to live in my memory rather than in my memory card.
Mat came out to sing the obligatory encore to the adoring Boston crowd. We were really into his music and he seemed to honestly appreciate it. He told us that this show was the largest they'd done on the tour so far. The final two songs were the most spiritual of the night. The first song of the encore included "hallelujah" in the lyrics and allusions to the crucifixion. I was worshiping in that moment, knowing that this place was as good as any to praise my King. The final song was one that is on Mat's album, but he added an extended freestyle rap. From the moment he started the flow, I could feel my chest tighten and my eyes tear. As he began to describe a T ride down Comm Ave on the green line, talking about all the colleges, and the students, I heard God speak through that. Mat kept repeating words about love, grace, and redemption, recalling Boston's spiritual and cultural history. He was speaking about those students to whom I'm called to be a minister. After the song was over, I just stood there attempting to take a moment to process this in the middle of the cheering crowd. It seems like God always shows up to encourage me at the instant I least expect Him.
Saturday, April 07, 2007
Today I got to spend more time with the prospective roommates and got a full tour of the place. It's huge. Large open spaces for entertaining. There's tons of storage space (big closets are a rarity here). The bedrooms somehow feel really private. And the rent is priced right.
Despite my best-laid plans, this may be my new home as of June 1. If the roommates stay as they are I will be the 'middle child' where age is concerned--2 older and 2 younger than me. It could be a powerful learning experience to live in that age spectrum.
I'm praying about this move and need discernment, but this feels like a wide open door.
Friday, April 06, 2007
"Easter says that love is more powerful than the dark, bigger than cancer, bigger than airport security" (p. 268).
Monday, April 02, 2007
Sunday, April 01, 2007
This past Tuesday I felt something shift. I'm not sure what it was, but the weight was gone. The sun was out and I spent time outside with some lovely kids I was babysitting. We dug in the black earth, read about a million books, and soaked up the weak spring sun. It was heaven and just the balm my soul needed. I needed to experience the reality of springtime to finally let my heart listen to what my head's been saying.
The last two days have been close to perfection. I wore myself completely out doing cleanup at a Boston community center with some great friends from church alongside Northeastern students. We had so much fun and it didn't hurt that it was perfect weather to haul rocks and dirt, prune bushes, and bag leaves. After that, Joey came over and we concocted a delicious pizza creation for dinner. We were so tired that we didn't have the energy to watch the movie we planned on.
Today was a lazy day, topped off by a dinner of childhood favorites and decorating eggs. The food was great and dinner conversation centered on hilarious childhood experiences. It was so great. Then we all got creative with the egg dying...it was a blast from the past dipping those eggs. I can't remember the last time I did that.
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
I'm glad I decided to park here tonight after getting home from work. The 50 minute drive that turned into a 100 minute traffic disaster on the way to work was what did me in. Right now I'm trying to ignore the explosion of blankets, clothes, and other stuff that is taking over my living room while having a glass of red wine and catching a new episode of my latest favorite tv design show. My lower back is slowly uncoiling. That's a really good thing but it doesn't solve any of the underlying problems.
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Sunday, March 04, 2007
She came home late last night from another disappointing attempt to connect with a group of women her age. She began talking just about the problems of that evening, but it turned into much more--a revealing of her deepest fears and truth of her current place in life. Sitting on those hard chairs in my dining room as she sobbed out her life's disappointments, I was close to being a deer in headlights. I'm not a stranger to hearing others' pain, but I've been able to speak Christ's hope freely over them because they knew Him. She doesn't know Him and I knew this wasn't a conversion moment.
I didn't speak very much until she started talking about working so hard to build a good life that includes a husband and a family. WORKING. It resounded in my head. I know that one...that was me, that IS me when I forget that God works on my behalf and for my best. Then she mentioned praying and how she can't set foot in a church without losing it emotionally. I poked around a bit about root causes. Somehow I said something about letting down pride and that maybe her reaction is to a palpable sense of God's love for her while she's in a church building. I cringed for the rebuttal, but received nothing. I knew He was speaking now. I was praying all while she spoke for God to show Himself. I told her that she didn't need to work to gain God. I think her jaw almost fell to the floor. I didn't have another statement or a qualifier--I was still perched in my uncomfortable chair at 2am, clinging to Christ for what to say or do.
A few minutes after that, the intensity was over and we were on safer, more mundane ground again. She gave me a fierce hug before going upstairs and asked me to say that part again about God. At the moment, I didn't remember what I had said, but she prompted me through it. I was still racing with the Father on every response.
It was difficult to be in front of someone so broken who doesn't know Christ. All those platitudes ingrained in me fell woefully short. I feel her pain but fear that I'm not empathetic enough to her situation. I cannot make things better for her. I cannot save her. I must remain desperate enough in this friendship to hang on to the Spirit for discernment and guidance for my every word.
Father, guard this house so that nothing but your love and truth reign here.
Saturday, March 03, 2007
Tonight I watched a documentary called Why We Fight. It centers around Dwight D. Eisenhower's farewell address at the end of his presidency. He used that speech to warn the nation about the dangers of something called the military-industrial complex. This struck me because Eisenhower was a GENERAL. At any rate, the film took a more balanced and professional tack than Fahrenheit 9/11, but the final message was similar. It was very well done.
I struggle with this information frequently. Commercialism disgusts me more and more. War for any reason becomes increasingly disgusting. Isn't His Kingdom about peace? Shouldn't we support leaders who actually live out Christ's Kingdom rather than just pay Him lipservice?What does all this mean for me as a follower of Christ? How can I be a part of the solution?
Monday, February 26, 2007
Wake Up Dead Man by U2
Jesus, Jesus help me I'm alone in this world
And a fucked up world it is too
Tell me, tell me the story
The one about eternity
And the way it's all gonna be
WAKE UP DEAD MAN
WAKE UP DEAD MAN
Jesus, I'm waiting here boss I know you're looking out for us
But maybe your hands aren't free
Your Father, He made the world in seven
He's in charge of Heaven
Will you put in a word for me
WAKE UP DEAD MAN
WAKE UP DEAD MAN
Listen to your words they'll tell you what to do
Listen over the rhythm that's confusing you
Listen to the reed in the saxophone
Listen over the hum in the radio
Listen over sounds of blades in rotation
Listen through the traffic and circulation
Listen as hope and peace try to rhyme
Listen over marching bands playing out their time
WAKE UP DEAD MAN
WAKE UP DEAD MAN
Jesus, were you just around the corner?
Did you think to try and warn her?
Or are you working on something new?
If there's an order in all of this disorder
Is it like a tape recorder?
Can we rewind it just once more?
WAKE UP DEAD MAN
WAKE UP DEAD MAN
Saturday, February 24, 2007
I think I'm taking my first baby steps into the fullness of this calling. Whoa nelly...
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
The day looks really good so far--I did Pilates this morning for the first time in months and then had the lovely afternoon with Beth. I'm off to install the new memory in my laptop, then head into the city with Rosana to enjoy music, pizza, and bowling with Shawmut Springs. I'm so glad I'm skipping AI tonight.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Today I discovered a cozy hometown coffee place hidden away but within walking distance of my place. A friend from the Family met me there and we sipped our beverages over sharing God's work in our lives. It was a great couple of hours. I'm so glad to get to know her more. He is the architect.
Here's something I want my local Family and the global Family to remember:
"But there is another side to it, a side which shows all the signs of the wind and fire, of the bird brooding over the waters and bringing it to new life. For many, 'church' means just the opposite of that negative image. It's a place of welcome and laughter, of healing and hope, of friends and family and justice and new life. It's where the homeless drop in for a bowl of soup and the elderly stop by for a chat. It's where one group is working to help drug addicts and another is campaigning for global justice. It's where you'll find people learning to pray, coming to faith, struggling with temptation, finding new purpose, and getting in touch with a new power to carry that purpose out. It's where people bring their own small faith and discover, in getting together with others to worship the one true God, that the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. No church is like this all the time. But a remarkable number of churches are partly like that for quite a lot of the time." (NT Wright, Simply Christian, p 123).
Sunday, February 18, 2007
I was thinking about that fortune the last couple of days. I began today reading up a storm and figured this ordinary day would work out like this: Bible, book, newspaper, church, bed. That was just about right, but such a list doesn't contain an iota of the richness of each of those 'tasks.' I rounded up 1 Corinthians this morning, pondering how the resurrection flows into the believer working for Christ.
Then I finished off the book I started last night. I couldn't stop reading it. I didn't know what I was getting into when I opened it up last night at 10pm--I just knew I wanted to read it. This book affirmed everything that the Spirit has spoken to my heart in the last few months, complete with some of the same terminology and wording. I've been focusing (even perseverating) on the idea of good vs great (or best). Good things are the stuff we settle for when the great things seems too huge or impossible, but the great things are exactly the stuff God personally calls us to do. They are different for everyone, but those decisions require a great deal of faith. Batterson spoke directly to this issue on pg 106, "Good is often the enemy of great...Sometimes taking a calculated risk means giving up something that is good so you can experience something that is great. In a sense, sin is short-changing ourselves and short-changing God. It is settling for anything less than God's best. Faith is the exact opposite. Faith is renouncing lesser goods for something greater. And it always involves a calculated risk." Whoa. Settling is sin. Um, God, I think I'm getting the hint here...
The other section of the book that struck me was the chapter on the importance of looking foolish. Beth Moore spoke on that exact topic at Passion and it smacked this perfectionist between the eyes. In the beginning, we suck at stuff that requires practice. And sometimes God will call us to follow Him despite what logic and people will tell us (aka Noah and his big ol' boat in the desert). Here's what Batterson says about this: "The greatest breakthroughs, miracles, and turning points in Scripture can be traced back to someone who was willing to look foolish." There's something about conformity to 'proper' behavior that civilizes the little, creative, foolish child out of us. I was once the little girl who lifted up her dress during the children's sermon and danced around with all the Christmas bows flopping on her head--I don't do that stuff anymore. Christ was really on to something when He spoke about becoming like little children--there's the innocent, whole-hearted belief and also the part that is creatively nonconformist. Christ doesn't want us to sit in rows, dress just right, liking the same music, and saying all the right words. That's not who He was. That's not who He wants us to be. The beauty part is that He didn't just come to free us from sin, but He also came to free us from being those whitewashed identical tombs too. Conformity stifles living out our potential in Christ. We are already whole in Him, so why are we so focused on the gospel of sin management?
This is the most inspirational book I've read in a really long time. It was like a Passion conference packed into less than 200 pages. It was a warrior's treatise. It was exactly what I (and so many others I know) needed to hear right now. This is a pivotal moment of decision to continue on the path of doing something great. Not great like the world sees it or great in my own strength, but God doing something great in and through me. He's the author of this thing and I'm just here, straining to listen and respond with proper honor.
Oh the glory of it all...we will never be the same.
Friday, February 16, 2007
Today's 2nd job started off rough. I arrived early to affix the car seats to my back seat (something I've never done before) and was quickly successful with that (not rocket science). Then off I went to pick the 5 year old up from school. The directions the mom gave me were wrong at the very first turn, but I didn't realize this right away. (Note: I was not in a town of which I am very familiar.) So, thanks to my trusty atlas, I found my way to where I was supposed to be. I risked life and limb walking on the glazed, rutted sidewalks to the school. Then I couldn't find the girl. She wasn't anywhere. I called the mom to make sure I was at the right school. I was. And she started to freak out. Almost all the kids were gone and the girl was no where outside. I started for the school doors (which are locked, of course), hoping she was inside hiding from the stinging cold wind. No dice. Then finally a nice teacher let me in and knew where the child was. She came walking down the stairs with another teacher just as we were on our way up. The other teacher chastised me for being late (which I think was a pretty BS thing to do...she just wanted to get out of there to start her vacation at 2:30pm). Then the girl and I walked back to my car, again risking injury on the icy sidewalks.
We only had a short time to eat a snack before picking up her younger brother. The girl (she's 5 remember) kept giving me a hard time about being late. She told me I should be late to pick up her brother because I didn't get her on time. Lovely. We got on the road on time for the crazy, circuitous drive required by the odd urban planning here. We made it almost to the last turn when a huge piece of ice smashed into my windshield. I think it flew off a passing car. It was so loud that the sound reverberated in my ears and the adrenaline was pumping. I thought it smashed the windshield before I was able to inspect it. Not even a mark. I replaced that windshield several weeks ago--the old one with cracks probably would have shattered. I'm really glad now that I replaced it. Anyway, the odd part of it all was that the girl hardly reacted to the situation...but heck, if I asked her 2 times to do something, she would totally go off...
With both kids in hand, we finally arrived back at the ranch for fun, games, frozen pizza, nice and mean t-rex, and a stuffed monkey named Mogo. I'm ready for bed.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
It didn't help that there was all this excitement about the 'blizzard.' It began snowing pretty hard before before I went to bed--lovely large flakes that caused a beautiful hush. I woke up for no reason around 7am, wanting to see what was happening outside, so I turned on the TV. Over 300 schools are closed but there's really no snow. Most of those are north and west of Boston, which means my evening client appointment is cancelled. That's fine with me as long as we make it up by the end of the month...Even though we don't have much snow, it's going to vacillate between snow, sleet, freezing rain, and rain all day long. Then it's going to get REALLY cold. Let's just say that I'm not going anywhere tonight or maybe tomorrow. Ice isn't fun to drive on.
My neighbors and I are going to see the new Drew Barrymore movie at lunchtime. I'm glad we decided to see it early in the day. Woo hoo, Valentine's Day. Snow, ice, stupid holiday. I'm out of chocolate, can you tell?
That simple, basic, life-defining process seems so much bigger when we pay attention to it. When we think about breathing it seems like it will stop if we cease ushering it into being. Then we get distracted by life and it somehow continues without a thought. But in that moment between awake and sleeping, we are all body and breath. Inhale exhale. Inhale exhale.
Breathing is the beginning of life.
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
When the bible talks about “the Law” it is talking about the book of Leviticus. It is the book that the priests and the Jewish nation used as their sounding board to align themselves with God’s will. The words that the priests took literally…come from Leviticus.
When a woman has her regular flow of blood, the impurity of her monthly period will last seven days, and anyone who touches her will be unclean till evening. Anything she lies on during her period will be unclean, and anything she sits on will be unclean…When a woman has a discharge of blood for many days at a time other than her monthly period or has a discharge that continues beyond her period, she will be unclean as long as she has the discharge, just as in the days of her period.
So anything that comes in contact with her becomes unclean just as she is, she is almost contagious in a way.
If a man has sexual relations with a woman during her monthly period, he has exposed the source of her flow, and she has also uncovered it. Both of them are to be cut off from their people.
So she can have no physical contact, if someone touches her – they are unclean also.
1 A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period. 3 On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised. 4 Then the woman must wait thirty-three days to be purified from her bleeding. She must not touch anything sacred or go to the sanctuary until the days of her purification are over
So Jewish law says that whether a woman has just given birth, or who is having her period she is unclean – she can’t go to church, she cant have sex, she can’t even be approached!
What happens to laws like this when people begin to take the bible/the law to its extreme literal sense? How does your husband treat you? Your family? Your church? Your community?
18 A synagogue leader came and knelt before Jesus and said, "My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live." 19 Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples.
A Jewish priest is asking a Jewish teacher to touch a dead body, why? Because the rumors and the talk around town says Jesus is different. The cost of disobeying the Law is willing to be cast aside for the belief that he could have his daughter back.
20 Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. 21 She said to herself, "If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed."
22 Jesus turned and saw her. "Take heart, daughter," he said, "your faith has healed you." And the woman was healed from that moment.
I read this story, and I think to myself that it probably took as long for this to happen as it did for me to read it. I don’t picture this event taking place for very long. It’s a brief encounter, it’s a story within a second story – the story goes on….
23 When Jesus entered the synagogue leader's house and saw the noisy crowd and people playing pipes, 24 he said, "Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep." But they laughed at him. 25 After the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up. 26 News of this spread through that entire region.
And I am sure that all this day, people were talking about the fact that Jesus raised a little girl back to life. What a story! What an event! But I want to go back to the woman who was bleeding. What about her?
The scriptures say that she was subject to bleeding for 12 years. (She could have had uterine cancer or a Cyst) And we don’t even know how old she is, she could have been as young as 25. And for someone who is not allowed to be around other people – she could have spent half of her life... alone.
Either way, she has spent 12 years away from people, she has spent 12 years of her life without the touch of another person, and she has spent 12 years not going to church. She has been in prison inside of herself. And then in an act of desperation – she pushes through a crowd – touches Jesus and is immediately freed. SHE RISKS also, if this does not work, she is an unclean person who has touched a Jewish teacher.
And now her whole life has changed. Her life today is completely different than her life was yesterday. The woman she has been for 12 years is gone and she has been resurrected from her own personal death. In fact, this story is a resurrection story within a resurrection story. Both of these women have been set free and been given new life by the encounter they have had with Jesus.
I love this story.
I love this story because it’s my story.
I wonder if it’s your story.
I am an outcast within my own mind. I look around at people who seem to have their lives together and I think to myself, ‘if they only knew what kind of a sinner I am.’
‘If they only knew the kinds of things that I have done, and thought and said…’
Or even more close to home, just knowing what it is like to be an outsider. Someone who has never been considered ‘cool.’ I am someone who always compares myself to other people wondering…
Well maybe I should dress like that
Maybe I should do my hair like that
Maybe more people would like me if I were more serious, or more funny….
I know what its like to not be invited in.
I know how it feels to be left outside.
And for 12 years of her life, this woman is cast away; living on the fringes of society, figuring out how to get by and how to live and how to make money. Until one day she can not stand it anymore and she reaches out in desperation to Jesus.
And then in an instant - she is born again…she is given a second chance; a new life…from this day on everything would be different.
For someone like me who has been a Christian for a long time, what is it going to take for me to reach out to Christ again? What is going to create that desperate feeling within me that brings me back to God?
How is this story of the woman relevant to me?
Have you ever taken a foreign language class?
When I was in Greek class, I did ok, but I only came to class and read the book, the teacher told us that if we were having trouble, we should talk to the T.A. I never did, and I did ok, but I never had that “a-ha” moment, that I probably could have got if I had allowed someone to sit down with me one on one.
Greek was ‘greek’ in class – but once I left the class I was just back to being myself. And now it has been a year since I had the class and Greek is getting harder and harder to read. I never made Greek a part of my life, so now I feel further from it.
But let’ say you took Spanish or French in High School and then one day you take a vacation to a foreign country and you find yourself unable to communicate, you can’t get around, you can’t find anything and you beating yourself up because that language has lost its relevance for you, but now…now you need it.
And this happens because you did not keep that language a part of your life, it has become a memory and now when you need it, it is harder to find.
And I wonder if the bible or church becomes a foreign language class to us. The lessons and the readings never really penetrate us until we need them. The words of Jesus never transform us until we in desperation reach out for them.
Maybe it’s the difference between your favorite song and the song on the radio. Maybe you know the words to “How to save a life” by the Fray, but it’s not because you love the Fray, or because you love that song, it’s just because it’s on the radio so much.
And once that song is gone and its replaced by the latest Justin Timberlake song you’ll have forgotten it and it will not have any further relevance to you.
But at the same time you have a favorite song, that every time you hear it, you stop and sing it, or it brings up memories or feelings, the song to you is more than a tune – it’s part of who you are.
Maybe that’s what I am asking….Is Christ part of who you are?
Is it how you define yourself? Or is he just the song on the radio…?
Is church just the repeating noise that you end up memorizing because its there.
Or do you need this place? Or do you reach out for this time?
How do we make Christ our favorite song?
How does our faith become the answer that heals us and makes us whole again?
I don’t know.
The woman doesn’t come to Jesus until she needs him.
I don’t feel the need to learn Spanish until I go to Mexico.
Maybe I need more times of crisis in my life.
Maybe I make my life so loud and so ‘perfect’ that I think that I don't need Jesus.
I’m hungry, I buy Taco Bell
I’m lonely, I go to a party
I’m bored, I go drinking
I am so good at making my own environment, my own entertainment; I can take care of all of my own needs.
This woman reaches out to Jesus because she comes to the point in her life where she realizes…there is no one else. There is no place else. This is it. I can’t do it on my own.
The world would have you believe that you can pull yourself up by your bootstraps and make yourself anything that you want to be.
If you have to ask for help – then you’re a failure.
The world says that it does not need a savior.
12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved."
I don’t want it to take a crisis in my life for me to realize I need Jesus.
I want Christ to be relevant in my life
Because I need healing and wholeness
I need to be raised from the dead
I need saving
Saturday, February 10, 2007
I read in lieu of cleaning of my apartment this morning. This book is a beautiful and awful and compelling work of fiction. After two hours in the Manhattan world of Oskar Schnell, I had to get out of bed. I don't think I would've put it down save for the constant dripping of my broken toilet approaching the critical mass of Chinese water torture.
Well, I'm off to wrangle massive amounts of recycling, shop for milk, and train some therapists. The whole time I'll just be wishing I was listening to The Shins and reading. I'll save that for tomorrow morning.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
At least I'm being productive today. I worked for about 5 hours on client stuff, which is the most I've worked at one time in months. Now tomorrow the plan is to clean, do laundry, and run errands if I don't get a babysitting job. So auspicious, I know, but it's my life.
I will blog eventually about the emerging vision for Boston, but for now it feels too new and too early. I don't know if I'm ready for this to be under broad public scrutiny. It's just way too vague right to make any kind of sense in written form. But, for you praying people out there, pray for clarity and discernment for me during this time. I'm thankful for every time you remember me in that way.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
In other neighborhood news...we tattled. We, the fed up tenants, told on the landlord. Last night, Beth and I re-read over some MA housing codes and determined how much she is out of line. So, today she called the Quincy housing inspection department and the inspector was here in less than half an hour. He found 9 violations with just the common areas and Beth's place. There's more if you add in my broken windows, leaky toilet, and a few others we thought of later. If she doesn't fix everything within 14 days the city will take her to court to force her to fix it all. It's nice to have the government on your side once in a while--I guess it's why I pay all those taxes.
Monday, January 29, 2007
My dreams have been quite vivid and odd lately. I pay attention when they're like that. I know God speaks through dreams--I just need the discernment to know what part is my crackheaded imagination, what part is my overanalysis, and what's Him. It makes me perk up when I've had several in a week that are so clearly remembered when they usually don't make it past those first few waking moments. Especially when they concern things God's spoken to me over the last several years. I need more than a clear memory of these things--I need the ability to separate the wheat from chaff.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
Friday, January 26, 2007
My new boiler has a nifty digital thermostat that came with it. I programmed every day of the week on it already. So, why does 68 degrees on the digital feel like 64 on the old analog version? I guess I wasn't really as hardy as I thought I was...
I spent money on clothes for the first time today since the beginning of November. That's really a record for me. Look at what a little financial strife and fear of credit card debt can do to a shopaholic! I spent less than $100 and got some good deals on several items. The cache included 2 pairs of jeans, which are needed since jeans are now my uniform. They get a lot of wear and more jeans means more time between the quarter-fest called laundry.
Does anyone else have trouble finding marshmallows at the grocery store? I wandered all over and eventually had to ask a clerk. I hate asking stupid questions to get junk food to make junk food. They live on a low shelf near the nuts in the baking aisle. They died in Rice Krispy Treats. Rice Krispy Treats that are somehow WAY too crispy. How did I mess that up??
I went to a comedy club for the first time last Saturday night. It was an improv place that's very small and the audience sits all around the stage. I had a great time and really want to go back. I'd like to say it's just for the comedy, but there's a hot guy in the show (hot + funny + smart = perfectly crushworthy) that I wouldn't mind seeing again. The place has a Myspace site that links to the comedians. He likes the stuff I like when it comes to movies, music, & some books. I stopped short of being a stalker by not friending him. At least I have some restraint.
The new boiler has made the radiators in my apartment loud. They made noise before, but not like this. Now I get full-on BANG knocking. It actually woke me up from at deep sleep at 3am. That is some feat. And yeah, it's really cold here. Like monumentally cold. So the loud radiators are here to stay. But at least I have heat!
Things I'm thankful for today:
-A free Amazon Prime trial
-Being done with stuff for my new client
-Kids at the temple
-Bread & Nutella
-Quarters from customer service at the grocery store
-Old Navy jeans that are long enough
-Random phone conversations
-Hanging out with Joey & Courtney tommorrow (I know that's cheating)
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
To begin with, my landlord and I don't have a great relationship, due to the fact that she has some slightly altered mental status (aka accusing me of weird stuff and drawing bizarre conclusions about situations), but this status doesn't touch me when I don't have to call her. Therefore, I only call her when I REALLY have to. Like when I have no heat and it's 20 degrees outside (before factoring in the windchill). The first call about heat was last year in February. What that blog didn't reveal was the landlord accusing me of causing the short in the safety by moving a radiator (that was supposedly leaking onto this 'safety' mechanism) so I could paint my kitchen without permission. Unfortunately said radiator is at least 15 feet from the spot above which the boiler resides and I also didn't move it while painting without permission. That repair reportedly cost $800 and included the installation of a self-filling mechanism, which meant I didn't have to bust around in the basement at least once a week with a flashlight, attempting to add water to a hunk of metal, acquiring the 'perfect' water level in a test tube-like vial. It worked fine. Until Saturday--just when I was about to get in the shower to head out for a fun evening.
I hadn't had to add water to the unit for months. Granted it's been a pretty mild winter so far, and I have the thermostat set to a very conservative 64 degrees, but it has been working fine. (I had it working warmer while my parents were here for Christmas since they are so thin-skinned now.) Over that time, I've occasionally been suspicious of the water deal, so I've checked it. It was ALWAYS just right. Until I smelled 'the smell' that last February drove me to call 911 and the gas company. It was not as obviously nauseating this time, but faintly wafting from the basement, through my back door as I walked past it. So, down to the bowels I went, flashlight in hand, to rescue some other poor tenant whose boiler was meeting the same fate as mine a year ago. But ah no, it was mine again. The metal on the unit was orange-hot in some places and I ran upstairs to turn the heat off. Crap. What the heck happened?? So I had to get ready--the birthday girl needed to get to her surprise party and she was in my possession. My plan was to let the unit cool off overnight, add water in the AM, start her up and see what happened. Then call the landlord.
That plan worked all day Sunday. It was lovely and warm while I poured over the Boston Globe and worked the crossword. Then I came home from church about 11pm. It was 58 degrees in the apartment. A trip to the dungeon showed no conclusive evidence--water was in there, unit was on, but nothing was happening. What the hay? So I had to call, but not until the next day.
A neighbor (Beth) and I go walking frequently and she called me Monday AM to go. It was cold so we trotted off to a local mall (yes, we ARE getting old) to windowshop and powerwalk. That's when I realized I didn't have the landlord's number in my new phone. I guess it was some sort of Freudian omission when I transferred numbers. So I had to ask Beth for it. We both REALLY hate calling her, but she agreed the heat thing was a big deal.
I finally took the plunge at 12:30, freezing at my laptop, praying she would be pleasant. Surprisingly, she was. She thought it was just the pilot that went out (that being an easy fix) and I hoped that it was. I begrudgingly also told her about my toilet that had been leaking (omitting that I noticed the leak about 2 weeks before Christmas). Better to do this all at once to limit contact.
So, the heating repair guys were called and they arrived after I left for a meeting in Boston. My spy (Beth) talked to the repairman (before the landlord arrived) while he examined the cold medusa and got the inside scoop--the unit was over 20 years old, had needed repair for a while, and now needed to be replaced. $5000-$6000 replacement cost. Dang. I hadn't heard any update from the landlord at all, so I wondered if there would be heat on my arrival home.
And there was. Some minor fixing at least got the aging beast going, but it was belching out steam that should be going into the pipes and into my radiators. (I don't even want to think about my gas bill this month.) No word of update still, until 6:57 yesterday morning. Yes, you read that right--the landlord called ME before 7am and woke me up to say the whole unit needed replacing and I needed to check the water level on it and call her back. I turn down the temp to 60 (or less) overnight since I have a heating fan in the bedroom that is lovely. So, I didn't think the water level would be a problem. But, no again, the thing was glowing orange with no water. I turned off the thermostat again, and called the landlord on the way to my AM appointment. She was in her crazy mode. I tried to explain that adding water to superhot metal like that could make it explode and by turning down the thermostat all the way that it would quit heating. But no, she didn't understand this and kept going on about how I was going to burn her house down and that the boiler is like an empty kettle on the stove...(despite the fact that I turned off the 'stove') So she was coming over to keep harm from coming to the house.
Well, Beth the spy said she was only around for maybe 20 minutes, cleaned the snow off the sidewalk, and left. When I finally got back home at 7:30pm, it was 55 degrees in the house. Near my back door lay an opened box that contained a ceramic radiator (something expressly forbidden in the lease) with no explanation. And my back door was left unlocked. Argh. (She technically never asked permission to come into my apartment, so technically she was breaking and entering.) The radiator doesn't really work at all, by the way, unless you have it on high and sit within 4 feet of it. I huddled in the living room with it for a few hours and gave up about 10:30 for my much better $15 heating fan in the bedroom.
So, faithfully, she called at 7:30am this morning. I didn't take the call. She called again and left a message. She texted me. I finally listened to the message after she banged on my back door at 9am, waking me up. She and the heating crew were there for the installation. She asked about the car in the driveway (Beth's) and said that it needed to move. She went upstairs and banged on Beth's door. She didn't answer. Then Beth called me.
Part of our heating issue is the tragic thinness of walls (and floors) that were constructed in 1930. We are all trading convenience for character here. Therefore, I heard the entire content of the landlord's droning phone conversation to someone (her husband?) that wasn't very nice in referring to me or Beth. She cast aspersions every which way about us. So, Beth and I whispered (literally) a plan for me to retrieve her keys via the front stairs and then move her car. This is what we did to allow for the heating company truck to get closer to the house.
So, 2 relatively attractive men are in the basement sawing, drilling, dragging, banging, and shaking my house. The new boiler will be installed by the end of today, which will be wonderful. But that doesn't fix the leaking toilet...Or the fact that all her tenants desire to avoid this woman to the extent that we will feign sleep or lie. Man, that is so not who I want to be.