Friday, December 29, 2006
I am so proud of who he was.
The Streator Fire Department and our minister from CCC did an amazing job honoring my Dad in a service that would have made him cry...and he was not a crier. It was so perfectly fitting (tying in every aspect of his life...including his love for Texas Hold 'Em in such a creative way...) It was the most honorable thing I have ever been a part of or experienced, and it has been unbelievable to see and experience the outpouring of love we have felt from friends, family, the community, the church, and even complete strangers. Shelly did an incredible job honoring Dad with her voice, and he wouldn't have wanted it any other way. I'm just sad he couldn't sing the duet to "Chances Are" along with her like he always wanted to.
The morning my dad died, it was really foggy outside. It doesn't seem the fog has cleared, and things still seem like a blur. There are a lot of things that I still don't understand and none of us may ever understand. I've never clung to the "peace that passes all understanding" more than I have this week. My family and I have gone through so many emotions...thankfully including a lot of laughter at old pictures and memories and stories about my Dad.
I have about a million things I want to write and journal about, but the one thing I want the world to know is simply that I am proud of who my Dad was. If you knew him, I hope you are too.
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Friday, December 15, 2006
So the saying goes, "Good things come to those who wait..." I certainly hope that's true. In more ways than one.
I'm reminded of these words from Shane & Shane's song Waiting Room:
I will run when I cannot walk
I will sing when there is no song
I will pray when there is no prayer
I will listen when I cannot hear
Sitting in the waiting room of silence
waiting for that still soft voice I know
Offering my words up to the rooftop to Your heart
Trusting that this closet's where You are
Lord I know if I change my mind
You will change my heart in time
Sovereign Lord this time's from You
so I sit in the waiting room of silence
cause its all about You
I will fight when I cannot feel
I will trust when You dont seem real
I will tell when I cannot speak
I will step when I cannot see
I needed to be reminded of that just now. I feel like I'm waiting in a lot of ways in life right now, but it's good to be reminded that it's not about me. This time's from Him, 'cause it's all about Him. I may not be able to learn patience, but I can certainly hope to be better at waiting.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Can I please have Jude Law for Christmas?
Well, not him in real life...but his character on The Holiday. That would be grand.
Or, perhaps, if you know of someone who looks like him, could speak with a British accent, looks hot in glasses like he does, has an amazing personality, and loves Jesus...could you send him my way?
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
i'll keep you posted. However, instead of me putting everything on here, feel free to email me if you want to know more!
Monday, December 04, 2006
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Why couldn't the ice just be replaced with enchanting white flakes of snow so I can sit in my windowsill with hot tea in hand and a contented smile upon my face?
Thursday, November 23, 2006
- my funny family...as cheesy and dorky as we can all be, and as many times as many of my relatives say "so i says to him i says..." I still love them.
- turkey, mashed potatoes & corn (of course mixed together), my mom's black cherry jello salad, sweet potatoes (which I didn't think I liked until today), green olives, rolls, and so on...
- the fact that i have TONS of wonderful friends all over this country, and i probably don't deserve to have such great friends or as many as I do. I'm truly blessed.
- that I get to work with one of my best friends, and some days that is the only reason I can make it through the day. But I'm thankful that I have a job, and most of the time, one that I really do like.
- that my dad got a new liver this year and we can help him down the road to recovery now with a lot less worry about when it could happen...so thankful for him, and in a weird way, thankful for the donor and his/her death so that my dad could have new life.
- that I'm not the same person as I was in high school...i'm thankful I went out in Streator last night w/ Amanda and got to see some old acquaintances, but it makes me see so clearly how different I am now than I used to be.
- the sweet, simple prayer my cousin Shelby prayed today thanking God for the food and for our family and that God loves to hear us pray just like that sometimes.
- having none of the lights on in the house except the Christmas tree lights and just the candles in the windowsills...as my mom said last night, "the Christmas tree just makes the room warmer..."
- the smells at this time of year...cinnamon, pine, pumpkin spice, berries, and yes--even the smell outside when you know snow is on the way...I may hate the cold, but I do love the smell when snow is coming.
- and on that note, i'm thankful for the first snow every year
- good sales the day after Thanksgiving and the bittersweet excitement of waking up at 4:00 a.m. to go shopping w/ my mom. We know. We are crazy. And we're only contributing to the madness.
- all of the good movies that come out right around the holidays...can't wait to see the new Will Smith movie, The Pursuit of Happyness, and The Holiday (with Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, hottie Jude Law, and Jack Black), and i'm curious to see how good or accurate The Nativity Story will be.
- my apartment. Sometimes I don't like being there all the time, but when I'm not there I realize how great it really is and how cozy it really can be. I am thankful for my kitchen and my bed and my shower and my closets...just the simple things, i tell you...
- decorating the Christmas tree...from putting on the ornaments, to listening to my favorite Christmas music while doing so, to the memories in the back of my mind from decorating when we were little, to the old ornaments we find each year that i made in like 1988...
- just the feeling you get at this time of year...nostalgia, tradition, warmth, peace, comfort, even the longing that comes when I wish I had someone to cuddle with on the couch, but the excitement about starting new traditions someday, and the childlike spirit this season brings, and the wonder of it all...
- experiences of the past year...friendships made, lessons learned, risks taken, growth that happened, places traveled, dreams planted...
- dark chocolate, peppermint hot tea, a glass of wine, a hot bath, a good book, a good laugh, seeing old friends, good conversation, new music, weddings, warm weather and sunshine, sunsets, comfy sweatpants and a hoodie, flip flops, chocolate covered strawberries, beautiful photography, piano music...
- good words either written or spoken
- my Grandma Shirlye and her patience with her own immobility. I am thankful for her persistence in all she's gone through and for her faithfulness even when she just wants to give up. I'm praying God will just bless her with some more strength...
- a God who is more creative than we could ever imagine, and that He gives us eyes that can sometimes see it, ears that hear it, lips that can taste it, fingers to touch it, noses to smell it, and hearts to feel it all... I'm just thankful.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
and frustrated with a lot of things. And it is more than I can put into words and related to so many areas of life. But it's the fact that so many things remain unresolved that makes my frustrations even more frustrating. I'm not sure if that makes any sense to anyone, but it does to me. I need solutions. I need peace. And I need to be closer to the One who knows me best.
Tonight as I was driving home for Thanksgiving I realized how much I love the song "Apron Full of Stains" by The Normals from years ago. It gave me just a little glimpse of peace...of giving when I feel like I have nothing of my own to give. It certainly has to come from somewhere else these days. Anyway, listen to that song if you get a chance. Here are the lyrics:
She walks to the table with an apron full of stains and asks,
"Hey sir, what can I get for you today?"
Should I be polite and make nice conversation but the foods no good,
she doesn't seem to even notice me here.
Her shoulder slump to see her tear stained eyes and back
through the double swinging doors serving pies was not her goal in life.
I leave a tip like I think Jesus would and smile, "
Thanks alot, have a nice day" and I am on my way.
Jesus what would you do? Can you teach me how to love like you?
I wanna give you everything, but I have nothing of my own at all.
And if I give what I have not got will you fill me up and make me whole?
I see him sitting by the side of the building near the street side.
He's got a sign saying I will work for food.
He looks up with his glazed over eyes and says,
"How about a dollar for a Veteran, a fellow American?"
Empty stomach, empty mind, empty soul.
Have I got the time to feed him a little broken bread?
Do I toss up a prayer as I walk on by?
Give him a tract and a weak faked smile or do I take the time to show him a little love?
Don't feel like I got anything to give, so I guess I got nothing to lose.
I wanna give you everything, but I have nothing of my own at all.
And if I give what I have not got will you fill me up and make me whole?
I come back a couple weeks later and see
the same apron, same stains, same split-end hair pulled back.
She comes near and says, "Hey mister your smile picked me up the other day
just thought I would say thanks."
And I dont know why it takes all of my effort to try.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
It's bigger than Lincoln, Illinois, and it's bigger than the United States of America.
And these statistics rock my world:
- In 2005, more than 2.8 million people died from AIDS in Africa. That's equal to the entire population of Chicago.
- In Africa, 15 million children have lost one or more parents to AIDS. That's the same as the total number of high school students in America. Every 14 seconds a child loses a parent to AIDS.
- Universal primary education could prevent 700,000 HIV cases per year.
- Every 60 seconds, 5 people in Africa die of AIDS and 10 more are infected with HIV.
- Education is critical...some cases of HIV are spread because some tribes believe they will be cured by having sex with someone else which only further spreads the disease. Young girls will drop out of school to try and support their families by exchanging sex for money or favors, and thus they are likely to contract HIV if they haven't already. This is why it's an epidemic.
- More than half of all Zambian children are chronically malnourished, and 3/4 of them live below the poverty line. Nearly 1/4 of them are orphans.
- It would cost $7 billion a year over the next decade to obtain access to clean water and basic sanitation for the world's poor. Sound like a lot of $$? Guess how much Americans spend on elective cosmetic surgery in a year? $8 billion.
- $4 billion is needed to finance basic health interventions that could prevent the deaths of 3 million infants a year. Between the U.S. and Europe, we spend $17 billion a year on pet food.
- Americans spend $20 billion/year on ice cream.
- $1 = clean water for 1 person for 1 year in Africa. Check out either Blood:Water Mission to join their 1000 Wells project or The Mocha Club to find out how you can give up $7/month (2 mochas/month) to go toward a number of causes. (you can join my team if you'd like!)
- 35,000 people die every day from preventable water diseases. Many die by dehydration, set on by diarrhea from unclean water.
Need I provide more facts concerning poverty in Africa and around the world? This is enough for me. I am sick to my stomach and brought to tears when I see statistics on how much money Americans spend on things like bottled water, cosmetic surgery, iPods, and eating out daily compared to how 1 billion people in the world live on less than $1/day.
In writing these things myself, it's wrecking me. And I hope it's wrecking you too. The obvious result from reading or hearing statistics like these is the feeling of overwhelming guilt, but guilt is not the end product. It seems these days it takes guilt to make us move and act. And if we have to be shocked by staggering statistics in order for us to begin to take action, then okay. But what we're striving for here is to see the world as Christ sees it.
I find myself becoming numb to some statistics after reading them so many times. A year ago I walked through the One Life Revolution Experience at a Youth Specialties convention in California, and I was torn up about it. But it has taken a year for God to plant little seeds in my heart with that experience, watching the Invisible Children film, taking part in the Global Night Commute, seeing the Hope in the Dark book, being a part of the Mocha Club, and other little things that have shaken me from my little selfish world. These little seeds have been planted, and lately God has been watering them. I can't sit here numb any longer, and I can't just keep taking in facts. I have to do something. If you've ever seen the One Life Revolution videos, you hear the little boy at the end yelling "You only have ONE LIFE!!! Do something..." It's ringing in my ears.
But my fears here are twofold: 1) I fear that anyone's action in this epidemic is just brought upon by guilt, and I pray it's not. I hope we act because we see a need and because Christ's love compels us to act. 2) I fear that some take action to jump on the bandwagon of Bono's fame with the ONE campaign and his and Oprah's RED Campaign. I'm thankful for what they do, but I fear that Americans might become more obsessed with the people than the action, need, or cause.
Scripture compels us to move. Christ calls us to act. Bono noted at the 2006 National Prayer Breakfast that "It's not a coincidence that in the Scriptures poverty is mentioned more than 2100 times. It's not an accident. That's a lot of air time, 2100 mentions." Clearly, we need to do something.
Right now I'm trying to figure out what it is I can do with the little money I have. Fortunately, money isn't all that helps. It's time. It's energy and passion. It's influence. It's impact. Prayer. I'd like to find a way that my passions and my gifts intersect with all of this and with God's heart for the world. I'm still searching.
Meanwhile, I'll start by doing what I can and by remembering that the world is huge. I just found an old document I wrote exactly 3 months ago today that I called "Telescope Eyes" after finding several tragedies on MSN that were unfortunately not headlines. There had been a flood in India, a flood in Ethiopia, and a typhoon in China within a matter of days that left hundreds dead and millions homeless. I journaled my frustration that night that MSN failed to leave us with important headlines and that we're left instead with news of Keith Urban's recent drug addictions and Britney & K-Fed's upcoming divorce.
It's unfortunate that we too often look through the wrong set of eyes. I'm just as guilty as the next person, but it's time our perspectives change. When we look through God's eyes at the rest of the world we find that people and places are closer than we once thought. India is just around the corner. China is next door. Africa is across the street. These people are our neighbors.
Until we begin to see through different eyes, we will go about life like John Mayer. As he and his friends are "Waiting on the World to Change" I don't really want to sit around and do the same. Part of that song says "It's hard to beat the system when we're standin at a distance..." and it's true. (Don't get me wrong, I love the song, just not the idea.) So get rid of the distance. Don't wait. If we change our perspective and begin to see these people as real humans with real needs, maybe...just maybe we might begin to change the world.
(*If you or anyone else you know may want to do a study on this with high school students, there is a great curriculum available at Fuller Theological Seminary's Center for Youth and Family Ministry online for free. It looks like a really great study.)
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Anyway, because I had a pretty rough week with extreme busyness (which is fine under normal circumstances) combined with some not-so-convenient-or-inexpensive-or-normal circumstances.... I've decided to post some highlights of the week instead of the low points. Way to be an optimist, right?
#1: at least when my car had to be towed last Sunday night Ford's Roadside Assistance paid for it instead of me. Thanks Ford. you did one good thing...and it wasn't the part where you made my Focus. But today we shall focus on what you did right.
#2: Dave Barnes played at Lincoln on Monday, so I got to see lots of friends who were there from random places.
#3: I did not get in a wreck while driving 2.5 hours back from a college fair in thick fog on Tuesday night.
#4: When I got a speeding ticket on Wednesday, at least the state cop was nice...but still no warning.
#5: Thursday I got to see great old friends in Cincinnati--met up with Abbra and her 1-year-old Owen at the Gap Outlet in KY. Then Linds, Chels, and I had lunch w/ Brandt and Jessica--that equals a great day, no matter what else!
#6: Friday our big youth leaders' reception at ICTC went well. I hope? At least we think it did!
#7: Today--I got to see Missy and Jake! And I got to spend a few hours in my own apartment this evening doing nothing.
#8: Lindsey and I shared some fun jam sessions to both Amy Grant and Mariah Carey Christmas songs this week. When nothing else is going right, you can't go wrong with some cheesy Christmas music.
#9: I'm working out some thoughts (which I'll post at a later date) from some things I'm wrestling with about serving and Africa and life. There are a lot of things that are just wrecking my heart and my mind all of the sudden.
#10: I'm reminded of these conclusions that Oswald Chambers wrote in My Utmost for His Highest in some of this past week's devos: "I find that faith is as natural as breathing. And I am staggered when I think how foolish I have been in not trusting Him earlier.....God is using me from His great personal perspective, and all He asks of me is that I trust Him."
I am sure there were more highlights in my week, but I'll leave you w/ those. Sometime soon I'll get out what is really going through my head.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Much like an old lady would show off her grandbaby, I also must show off my cutie niece in her Tinkerbell costume. Is she not adorable? Especially with her silly face...
It was fun to take her trick-or-treating the other night and it kind of reminded me of going when I was a kid. You know there were certain houses that everyone knew had the best things...like the old couple across the street ALWAYS gave out popcorn balls. And then there was the house across from there where you couldn't walk on the old man's sidewalk or he yelled at you (or so I was told...). And then there was the Emm's house on Elm Street (surprisingly so) that just about caused me to have nightmares every year. Let's just say that they really get into decorating for Halloween and I always made my parents drive by slowly to see if I had the guts to get out of the car and actually go up to the door. I chickened out several times.
I'm quite sad that I don't have a picture to share of my best-ever Hershey's Kiss costume.
In other news, now that Halloween is over, I should also let you know it is officially time to begin Christmas music. This actually began a few weeks ago for me. And as all wise Christmas music lovers should, I started with the classic Amy Grant Tennessee Christmas. Someday I shall live there and make that song my own.
And soon enough, I'll start writing about my favorite Christmas memories I'm sure. I loooove Christmas time, and in my mind it's pretty much officially here. It's already cold enough for it, which I am not enjoying. But on a more positive note, I already have my Christmas in the Chapel tickets, and I'm definitely looking forward to that! If you don't have yours or have no idea what I'm talking about, you need to go.
so if you've made it this far through my pointless blog, my advice is twofold:
1) Begin your Christmas season by listening to Tennessee Christmas. Just get the whole darn album, cleverly titled "The Christmas Album" from Amy Grant's pre-Vince Gill days.
2) Get tickets for Christmas in the Chapel.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Sunday, October 29, 2006
listening to "Gravity" on John Mayer's Continuum album. I can't pull my ears away from this album right now. I think I've listened to it at least 15 times in 3 days.
deciding whether or not to go to Fuel tonight. I think I'll go.
also deciding if I am going to eat more chili for supper. I made it today and will probably be eating it every day for the rest of the week, b/c there's so much of it!
avoiding laundry, putting away clean clothes in my room, cleaning off my kitchen table, dishes
enjoying my candles burning...currently 2 Pumpkin Pie candles. Makes me feel cozy even if I don't always completely feel at home in my own place.
not enjoying how it gets dark so early now b/c of the time change.
still confused about several things in life right now. i won't get into it here.
considering if i were to move someday...where would i move? what do i even want to do with my life?
wanting like a million CD's...still don't have the new Wertz Everything in Between, Adie's Don't Wait, Ray Lamontagne's Till the Sun Turns Black, Sarah McLachlan's Wintersong, some more of Jim Brickman's Christmas albums, Rob Blackledge's new one, Eliot Morris's What's Mine is Yours, Griffin House's Homecoming, MuteMath, Madeleine Peyroux, Chris Botti's December, and probably more i can't think of right now...
thinking i should drink some water and take something for this headache i have...
remembering that yesterday morning on I-55 I passed a black Prevost tour bus, wondered who it was, and then realized it had to be Dierks Bentley b/c he was playing w/ Miranda Lambert at the Coliseum in Bloomington last night. I was right. How do I know? I've seen his bus before in Champaign, and also I later drove by the Coliseum just to give my curiosity an answer, and sure enough it was there. weird.
torn...when i get home tonight shall i enjoy some Creamy Hazelnut Cocoa or some yummy Raspberry Lambic Framboise? i'm craving both.
thinking of a million more things to write about that: a) you don't care to read, b) are too personal to put on here, and c) are silly.
Enjoy this dark fall night. I want to bundle up and go play in the leaves...anyone wanna come play with me?
Monday, October 23, 2006
I came home today, distraught and somewhat depressed, and I started flipping through an issue of CCM Magazine that for some reason arrived in my mailbox. (I don't subscribe to it, and most likely won't be in the future, but I thought I'd at least read a few things since they sent me a free copy.) At the very end of the magazine, Nichole Nordeman has a small article called "Loose Ends...Confessions of an Unfinished Faith" that comforted me today. She wrote about some of her "colleagues," I guess you could say, in the Christian music industry and their songs about wanting to go to heaven. Her struggle is this: instead of wanting to be at home in heaven, she has been wanting to find home here...on earth. She articulates the truth that we all know--there are things we want to do here on earth before we go to heaven (i.e. get married, have kids, find a cure for cancer, find purpose, find a job we love, win an award, perfect some skill, or so on...) I won't lie. I'd sort of like to get married before Jesus comes back. I'm just being honest.
And so she was writing about wanting to want heaven. So do I. I'm glad I'm not alone in this.
And then I went to Bible Study tonight, where Beth Moore is taking us through the book of Daniel and we're beginning the second half that correlates with the book of Revelation. Again, just being honest, I've never given much thought to the prophecies in the book of Daniel or John's visions of beasts and strange images in Revelation. But tonight, I started to see it all tie together.
We studied Daniel 7 tonight, and what we seemed to linger on for awhile was the title God is given as "Ancient of Days." I've sung those words before, but I didn't really understand what it meant until now. It means He has been in the judgement seat from the very beginning, and He always will be. Nothing gets by Him. There may be wrong in the world that we don't see made right, but He will eventually make it right.
In Daniel 7 his throne is a chariot of fire, but in Revelation 22:1-2, there is different imagery. It says this:
"Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing 12 crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations."
We went from the fires of judgment to healing waters of life. This is what heaven is.
And it is hitting me hard today, as I came home from work and wallowed in what few, minute worries I have in my life. Too often I let my circumstances overrule my life, and then I realize that there are bigger problems in the world. Children are dying of AIDS in Africa, there are orphans without a home or people to love them in Romania and even here in the United States, there are people battling physical and emotional problems around the world, humans go without meals every day, and there are people who are lonely, truly depressed, and without hope.
There is hope. I have hope. My sins and my problems are before me, but they are not blocking the way to heaven. Nor can I let them steal my joy or my hope. There are bigger issues in the world, and there are people who don't have hope with whom I should be sharing it. I just thought of the words to an old camp song that I've just now found meaning to: "I've got a river of life flowing out of me, makes the lame to walk and the blind to see...opens prison doors, sets the captives free. I've got a river of life flowing out of me."
Why didn't I realize it till now?
Saturday, October 21, 2006
I hate waiting at red lights, and I'm one of those people who will go to whichever lane has the fewest cars in it. I check to see which cars look like they'll move the fastest (i.e. soccer mom van vs. a Mustang? Clearly, the Mustang will win.)
I get frustrated with every single driver in this town that does not use a blinker when turning or pulling into a parking spot. I missed the memo on not using your blinker whenever in the downtown square of Lincoln, IL. I guess I should join the rest of the community on this one.
I hate waiting for people to e-mail me back, call me back, or text me back. I prefer instant communication, even though there's a little bit of fun in the anticipation.
I don't like worrying, because it seems to go hand in hand with impatience. They both contribute to each other. When I'm worried, I become stressed. When I become stressed, I become impatient. When I am all of these things, as of late, in combination with being cold, I clench my jaw. I woke up in the middle of the night 2 nights ago with sore teeth and a painful jaw, which I am now calling "stress jaw" (thanks to Chels).
But all of these things lead me elsewhere. Impatience does not show love. Just the other day at our SFG (small group, for those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about), Lindsey and I were reading with our girls from a Max Lucado book and the chapter just happened to be about God's love in the form of patience. (Mind you, this is directly following my driving us to the coffeeshop behind a slow old lady driver...at which I complained the entire time.)
It turns out, it's not a coincidence that Paul lists patience as the first description of love in his long list of what love is and is not in I Cor. 13. Before love is kind, it is patient. Before it trusts, hopes, or perseveres, it is patient. Before it is not easily angered, it is patient. Before the fact that it never fails, love is patient.
It seems as though I fail at loving people when I become impatient. Well, it doesn't seem that way, it IS that way. I need more patience. I need to love more.
But before I can extend it, I need to acknowledge the source. God is love. God is patient. I'm thankful that He is. Otherwise, He'd have given up on me by now. I've thrown enough red lights in His path saying "wait, I'm not ready to give this up yet" or "I can do it on my own" or "I'll just go ahead and stick with my plans or do this my way." Instead of getting frustrated and honking His horn, He just sits and waits for me to give Him the green light. I have turned my own way without giving Him a blinker of warning, and He remains patient. I'm glad I'm not Him. But I'm glad He is who He is. He is love. He is patient.
I'm thankful that He is "slow to anger and quick to love." My human nature leans toward the opposite. His grace can only be administered because He is patient. And that just reminded me of Romans 5:8--"while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." He didn't wait for us to change. He just took action while we were still sinners. He didn't get mad. Instead he chose love. He still does today.
So why am I impatient? It's silly, really. Just because someone in front of me didn't use a blinker? Just because I haven't heard from someone in awhile? Just because I have to wait 30 seconds at a red light? Just because I'm already cold and I can't make it until warm weather comes back? I have a feeling the cold is going to get worse, and that all stoplights are not going to turn green when I approach, and that not everyone in Lincoln is going to start properly using their blinkers.
Why am I in such a hurry? After all, grace comes in the form of love, which comes disguised as patience. Waiting is not always fun. But it can change you. It's working on me.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
first and foremost, my dad has a new liver! praise God! he had a transplant on wednesday and all went well. i've been somewhat m.i.a. or practically living in chicago for 3 days, and will continue to be there quite often for that and other reasons.
i am extremely tired. and i'm not sure why i'm doing this right now instead of sleeping.
i'm pretty sure i'm leading a Week of E trip to Romania in the spring, and i'm pretty darn excited about that!
my sister's having another baby! (just in case you didn't already know that!) yay!
there are a few days in the near future that i'm quite excited about due to a certain someone who might be coming to visit...
it's cold outside, and it snowed yesterday. snowed.
also yesterday, Oprah and Bono were "painting the town red" for the new Red Campaign for the AIDS crisis in Africa. they were shopping on Michigan Avenue about a block from where I was, probably whilst I was also en route to Jamba Juice on Michigan Ave. myself. Can you believe it? And they didn't invite me?
dave barnes is coming to lincoln on 11/6. you should be there.
i'm eating frozen cherries and my eyes are closing, so i should go to bed.
thanks to anyone who's praying for my dad and keep it up!
Thursday, October 12, 2006
currently in Chicago it is 33 degrees (and according to the Weather Channel it feels like 23 degrees) and snowing.
this is ridiculous.
it's a darn good thing it's pretty.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Jamie Cullum - Frontin (live at Blenheim Palace u.k.)
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
People, there are hours of fun to be had with The Office. First of all, the show is insanely funny. If you don't like it, then I don't like you. Ok, that may not be true, but you should seriously consider expanding your sense of humor. The website for the show has loads of funny videos that I'm sure I'll reward myself with by watching every now and then. The fake PSA videos ("...the More You Know") are great. (By the way, the world needs more of these...CIY did a great job with those this summer as well by making their own "More than You Know" version...check those out on iTunes through their podcast.) Anyway, I just thought I'd shed some light onto the website for The Office. It will provide hours of fun on end, if need be.
Have a lovely day.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
There’s something about a guy who can play the keys like he does, sing with a voice like his, and speak with a sexy British accent. Let’s just be honest. His youthfulness is so evident, but he sings like he’s been around for about 70 years. He came out in his British getup, just as I pictured… suit jacket, tie, button-up shirt, and finally he shed down to just his very European jeans and a White Castle t-shirt that he proudly wore in honor of his first White Castle visit last spring in St. Louis. In between his swigs of Guinness he crooned all of my favorite songs (Frontin’, I Could Have Danced All Night, What a Diff’rence A Day Made, All At Sea, Mind Trick) and much more. Taking a break from the actual keys, he’d start tapping out percussion beats on the piano itself and singing acapella. He even broke out from this into a brief rendition of “SexyBack” (which I LOVED!) and “Don’tcha wish your girlfriend was hot like me…”
His band members are insanely talented and he gives them all the credit they deserve, which was quite an impressive amount. Because they just returned from Brasil, the entire band showed off their percussion skills which were quite remarkable. A good 20 minutes, at least, of the show were spent jamming out to a sweet samba beat. I was lovin’ it. I’m also pretty surprised that my shins and calves aren’t sore today from all of my foot tapping. I don’t think my foot stopped the entire night.
Josh Ritter opened, and I honestly didn’t know what I was going to think about him or his music. As soon as he and his cowboy hat-wearing, poker mustached, vintage Western-attired bandmates came out onto the stage, I was pretty sure they’d be entertaining. They were every bit of it, and their sound was so good. Dustin Bagby, you’ll be proud to know I’m now a fan. I was a little disappointed he didn’t come out for an encore WITH Jamie, but I’ll get over it.
The entire night I couldn’t help but think of how amazing it must be to be so good at something like playing piano. It kept running through my mind that “the piano is his home…those keys are like home to Jamie…” It is obvious that when he sits down in front of a piano, he can do just about anything. He can create, he can recreate, he can change, he can beatbox, he can write, he can hear, he can relax, he can unravel himself, and he can entertain while doing so. I’m jealous. While he was playing, singing, smashing his seat onto the keys, beating a big red drum, or running around the stage, I was never disappointed. I think the only disappointment of the night was my Thai food beforehand (I ordered some Tom Yum Shrimp Fried Rice…cooked w/ lime juice and lime leaves and cilantro…and very much tasting like cleaning solution. never again, Tom Yum, never again.).
If Jamie’s coming to a city near you, go see him. I promise you it’s well worth it.
Friday, September 22, 2006
"Neeley, let's go up on the roof," said Francie impulsively, "and see how the whole world looks at the beginning of a year."
"Okay," he agreed.
"Put your shoes on first," ordered Mama, "and your coats."
They climbed the shaky wooden ladder, Neeley pushed the opening aside and they were on the roof.
The night was heady and frosty. There was no wind and the air was cold and still. The stars were brilliant and hung low in the sky. There were so many stars that their light made the sky a deep cobalt blue. There wasn't a moon but the starlight served better than moonlight.
Francie stood on tiptoe and stretched her arms wide. "Oh, how I want to hold it all!" she cried. "I want to hold the way the night is--cold without wind. And the way the stars are so near and shiny. I want to hold all of it tight until it hollers out, 'Let me go! Let me go!"
..."I need someone," thought Francie desperately. "I need someone. I need to hold somebody close. And I need more than this holding. I need someone to understand how I feel at a time like now. And the understanding must be part of the holding...I love Mama and Neeley and Laurie. But I need someone to love in a different way from the way I love them...I'm young, maybe, in just being fifteen. But I'm older than those years in some things. But there is no one for me to hold and no one to understand. Maybe someday...someday..."
"Neeley, if you had to die, wouldn't it be wonderful to die now--while you believed that everything was perfect, the way this night is perfect?"
"You know what?" asked Neeley. "You're drunk from that milk punch. That's what....I was drunk myself, once."
..."What did it feel like?"
"Well, first the whole world turned upside down. Then everything was like--you know those cardboard toots you buy for a penny, and you look in the small end and turn the big end, and pieces of colored paper keep falling around and they never fall around the same way twice? Mostly though, I was very dizzy. Afterwards I vomited."
"Then I've been drunk, too," admitted Francie. "Last spring, In McCarren's Park, I saw a tulip for the first time in my life."
"How'd you know it was a tulip if you'd never seen one?"
"I'd seen pictures. Well, when I looked at it, the way it was growing, and how the leaves were, and how purely red the petals were, with yellow inside, the world turned upside down and everything went around like the colors in a kaleidoscope--like you said. I was so dizzy I had to sit on a park bench....And I've got that same feeling here on this roof tonight, and i know it's not the milk punch....I don't need to drink to get drunk. I can get drunk on things like the tulip--and this night."
"I guess it is a swell night," agreed Neeley.
I love these characters. They are so vivid and colorful and full of life and humanity and rawness. I love how they're unfolding.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
"My name is Zoom and I live on the moon, but I came down to earth just to sing you this tune. 'Cause Mandy (or insert your name here) it's your birthday TODAY!!!"
We used to laugh and laugh at that song and I definitely wish I still had the tape. It's pretty much the best song ever.
You can listen to a clip of it (with the name Jason inserted) here.
The memory of that song, and my Grandma Mary, just made me smile.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
I'm going to see this tomorrow (Friday). I'm excited.
And just in case you don't know, Jacinda Barrett is in this movie...she's the Jacinda from the Real World: London years ago. Just an added piece of info. for you. I liked her! And I liked that season...it's too bad MTV never plays marathons of the older seasons.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
I told a friend earlier I'm about to go into Jessie Spano mode..."I'VE GOTTA WASH MY HAIR......THERE'S NEVER ANY TIME!!!! I'LL NEVER GET INTO STANFORD...I'LL LET EVERYONE DOWN!!! THERE'S NEVER ANY TIME!!!!"
That's kinda how works feels lately. But I won't lie--I like being busy....just busyness where I can see something getting accomplished. This isn't that kind of busyness. I feel like I never get anything done.
But at least this video provides some viewing pleasure. Enjoy it. :)
Sunday, September 10, 2006
i think i'll go eat some ceweal too.
Friday, September 08, 2006
I hate that I can never seem to clear my mind, no matter what I do. I try everything, but my imagination still soars and thoughts still swirl around inside my head and keep me from falling asleep. And it seems like noises at this apartment keep becoming more and more annoying. Half the time that's a large contribution to my insomnia. Tonight I was awakened by the reversing-beeping of a tow truck towing someone's car illegally parked on the street. Sometimes I wake up to the sound of rustling cords on the hardwood floors in my neighbor's apartment...I can't figure that one out. 2 nights ago I woke up because I had nightmares about the possum attacking me.
And now I can't even fall asleep because thoughts of everything are filling my head and I am frustrated even with myself for not being able to clear them away or pray them away. I can't seem to get any clarity on the world, on myself, on my relationships with God and people and work and life in general. i think I'm overwhelmed. It's not really rest for my body that I need, but my mind needs to sleep for a day. I just need a vacation. But not one of doing nothing and being bored...I need a vacation of fun.
mmk, and now I will continue to be awake due to the hollering I can hear by the yahoos in the street coming from the bar down the block. maybe they'll soothe me to sleep.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
However, I'm not liking the messages inside the wrapper as much as I used to. Yesterday I got this message: "Hey, why not?" What kind of message is that? I'm just going to start responding to everything with that phrase, I guess.
Today I got this: "Follow your instincts." Well, I do, usually, and I have been lately, and it doesn't always prove to be right. I guess I'm still wondering.
And then I got this: "Buy yourself flowers." Well, I'd rather get them from someone, but some days I am okay with buying myself some pretty daisies. Just not today.
I just thought I'd share these as I take a mini chocolate break to gather my thoughts.
After all, "Hey, why not?"
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Today I'm home for lunch, and as usual per Wednesday @ noon, the Lincoln Rotary Club was meeting in Einsteins (the coffeeshop) downstairs. Now I've witnessed their meetings from afar before today, and they normally consist of these elements: a meal, a song, some speakers, and probably the pledge of allegiance or something like that.
Today I'd like to highlight the song element. First of all I have to point out that whenever any singing or loud events happen downstairs you can hear it pretty clearly in my apartment--especially in the bathroom. I happened to be in the bathroom today when they began singing loudly and clearly, "I've Been Workin' on the Railroad."
Mind you, this is a large group of older women and gentlemen, and they are singing a song that takes me back to 2nd grade Chorus class. Immediately I started laughing. And I guess I didn't even realize that this was the same song until they got to the part of:
"Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah...someone's in the kitchen I know-oh-oh-oh..."
You get the picture. And just when I thought it was over, they continued on to even the "fe-fi-fiddly-i-oh...fe-fi-fiddly-i-oh-oh-oh-oh..."
Was this just a dream? Or did I really hear this coming from an actual organized club of grown adults?
Sunday, September 03, 2006
Every evening sky an invitation
to chase the patterned stars
And early in July, a celebration
For freedom that is ours
And I notice you in children's games
And those who watch them from the shade
Every drop of sun is full of fun and wonder
You are summer.
And even when the trees have just surrendered
to the harvest time
Forfeiting their leaves in late-September
And sending us inside
Still I notice you when change begins
And I am braced for colder winds
I will offer thanks for what has been and what's to come.
You are autumn.
And everything in time and under heaven
Finally falls asleep
Wrapped in blankets white,
all creation shivers underneath
And still I notice you when branches crack
And in my breath on frosted glass
And even now in death you open doors for life to enter.
You are winter.
And everything that's new has bravely surfaced
Teaching us to breathe
and what was frozen through is newly purposed
Turning all things green
So it is with you and how you make me new
With every season's change.
And so it will be as you are recreating me
Summer, autumn, winter, spring.
--Every Season, Nichole Nordeman
She couldn't have chosen better words or a more descriptive way to describe transformation, in my opinion. The changing of seasons isn't something I generally like, unless it's the part where it's becoming spring or summer. I'm not a big fan of cold weather, and not surprisingly cold seems to represent a season of frozen souls and the inability to breathe. It's so long. Other than the joy of Christmas and a few peaceful, fresh snowfalls, there seems to be no good found in it. But as much as I hate it, I realize it's necessary to bring about the re-creation that begins again in spring. And so it is with transformation. I'm realizing that those times that are cold, dark, lonely, depressing, and frozen are all a part of the process. They're inevitable.
But the winter isn't constant. That's the good news. (unless you live in Antarctica...) A new season always follows, and it's a season of newness in everything.
So as I try my hardest to say goodbye to summer, I will also try to embrace the fall as it breezily whisks away the heat. Though I'll hold on long and dear to my flip-flops, I'll slowly accept the newness of fall that awaits. With the changing of temperatures and colors of the leaves, there are other beautiful things to come. It's a part of life. Every season is critical in transformation.
Friday, September 01, 2006
And it's the start of a long Labor Day weekend, during which I have very few plans, but those I do have will prove to be exciting ones I'm sure...including a fun wedding where fun friends will be!
And here's my thought...well, 2 thoughts.
1) I just think it's weird that on Labor Day no one works. Does that make sense to anyone?
and, 2) Did anyone see the VMA's? I didn't see them all, but I can't help but comment on Shakira. I'll admit she is quite pretty, but her voice is just awful. Is that really singing? Just a thought.
but on that note, please have a fantastic Labor Day weekend. And use the word 'fantastic' more often...it's not used often enough.
Monday, August 28, 2006
Anyone in for some good laughs?
Thankfully, some people were outside the coffee shop and informed me that this animal had been lingering around our back door area all night, so I was forewarned. I approached the back patio (on which there is an upstairs and a downstairs door) and proceeded to head to the upstairs door. I was on the lookout, and as soon as I got to the turn to the second little flight of stairs, this exact scary face was staring at me. I picked this picture b/c that's exactly what I saw. Needless to say, I turned around and went in the downstairs back door...shaking and trying to hurry in w/ all of my Meijer bags of groceries.
I'm pretty sure that now I'm terrified of these animals...and of my back doors. From now on I may have to walk around to the front of the building for fear that these teeth might bite me in the ankles. Ugh. yuck. I can't even handle that image in my mind, but I'm pretty sure it's gonna stay there for awhile. I saw online that garlic cloves can serve as a deterrent. I'm gonna have to go get me some of those and just line the stairs with them or something.
I just thought you'd all enjoy this story of my latest fear in life. Tell me you aren't going to have nightmares about this too! Laugh if you want. But if you do, I hope you run into a possum in the dark and it bites your ankles. ;-) (just kidding...i wouldn't wish that on ANYONE!)
Sunday, August 27, 2006
1) the cutest mom just walked in carrying an even cuter little asian girl who was peacefully sleeping over her shoulder. adorable. this makes me want to adopt even more than i already do. it just makes me smile. too many kids need homes. i will adopt them. not all of them, but some. ;-) and not anytime soon.
2) my lips are dry.
3) college kids are certainly back in Bloomington/Normal. they are everywhere.
4) i had to shop for a wedding gift today and i got sick of target. i don't know that that's ever happened before. i just scrapped the list and decided to give them money instead.
5) i'm currently trying to decide whether or not to take a vacation day tomorrow and take Aubs up on her offer to go to Six Flags for free. I'm considering it. However, I think the forecast is showing rain, so I'm not sure. And it's a 3 hour drive.
6) There are a few people in Panera right now that I think went to Lincoln. Well some of them I know for sure did, but there are some others who look familiar to me. I think everyone looks familiar to me.
7) I still can't believe Missy & Jake are having a baby! I won't announce what they're having on here and I'll let her do that, but Steph and I guessed correctly!!! Sorry Alli & Heidi. We should have bet something.
8) There is a leak in my apartment from the rain, and there is a small spot of mold on the ceiling near the leak, which is located directly next to my smoke detector (which probably will not work now). I'm beginning to think the mold may be what's causing my allergies.
9) I just lost the soft earpiece cover to my hands-free headphones.
10) man, my final one was going to be a picture i took on my phone yesterday in lincoln, but blogger won't post my picture. oh well. you can see it another time.
Friday, August 25, 2006
already out - the Step Up Soundtrack. I'm pretty sure I need to get it, based alone on the dancing in the movie.
8.25.06 (today) - Ray Lamontagne's Till the Sun Turns Black. Just this year I fell in love w/ his smooth voice. It was all because the song Shelter was on the movie Prime and right then and there I got hooked. I can fall in love with or hate a song within 10 seconds I'm pretty sure.
8.29.06 - Rob Blackledge's A Song Like This. OK I just updated this post today (Saturday) to add this one in b/c I just found out today about it. And I'm not sure how many times myspace is going to let me listen to his new track "Worth Taking" but I can't stop! It is smooooooth.
9.8.06 - Justin Timberlake's Future Sex/Love Sounds. I'm not sure about this one yet. I might or might not want it. I still haven't decided. Kind of like I still haven't decided if I like SexyBack yet or not. I didn't think I liked it but yet I listen to it. I think it's growing on me.
9.19.06 - Matt Wertz's Everything in Between. I don't think I need to mention again how much I love his stuff. It's like there's an audio drug in his music that I'm addicted to. I can never seem to get enough of him. You can listen to some of the new tunes at his website; and from what the lyrics and feel of the songs seem to be (i love it) it seems like Matty might have a new love... there goes my secret dream of marrying him. i guess it's not so much a secret. if it ever was, it's out now.
9.23.06 - Shane & Shane in concert @ First Christian Church in Greenville, IL. It's on my calendar. Anyone wanna join me? Can't get enough of these guys either.
9.26.06 - Adie Camp's Don't Wait. If you don't know, now ya know. First of all, Adie is short for Adrienne. She's married to Jeremy Camp. She's the former lead singer of The Benjamin Gate. Listen to some clips on her website...if you like Frou Frou / Imogen Heap, you'll like Adie. I'm glad a friend told me she was doing this solo album b/c now I can inform you.
9.26.06 - Jamie Cullum w/ Josh Rouse in St. Louis. I'm soooo pumped to go to this. My friend Sarah and I already have tickets and I cannot wait. I've been dying to see Jamie Cullum tickle the ivories and sing me into ecstasy. OK that word was a little strong. But I can't think of anything else. All I gotta say is he better sing 'Frontin.'
9.29.06 - Jon McLaughlin at Illinois Wesleyan University. Since I still have never seen Jon perform, you better believe I'll be there when he's 30 min. away from here. Plus, it's obvious I'm trying to see as many concerts in one week (from 9-23 through 10-1) as possible.
10.1.06 - Christy Nockels is at Westbrook Christian Church in Bolingbrook. Her voice might be one of the best ever. EVER. Can't wait to worship with her.
10.17.06 - Sarah McLachlan's Wintersongs. The title alone sells it for me. Winter is certainly a season that can claim its own songs...Christmas or not. And ya'll know I love my Christmas music, beginning in October. Good timing, Sarah, good timing.
10.27.06 - Derek Webb is at North Central College in Naperville. Hm...I have a college fair in Grayslake the night before....might just have to stick around.
And that's probably not all of them that will pop up along the way. And hopefully we'll have some good ones in the works here on campus as well...
What other concerts/releases do I need to know about? I'm sure I'm missing some good ones so fill me in!