Saturday, December 29, 2007
I really love to travel. I love flying. There's something about being in airports and the idea that everyone is going somewhere. While I sometimes standoffishly sit in my own little world and people watch, I'm always wondering where people are going and what their stories are. It's intriguing to me. And for some reason I love to fly alone. I love the anonymity of traveling alone. I like finding my own way, figuring things out, and making each little part of the trip an adventure.
I'm looking forward to being in the big city but mostly to spend time w/ 2 of my most favorite people in the world--my friends Faith & Becka. The 3 of us vowed to spend every New Years together a few years ago, and we hope to do it for as long as possible! It's a great tradition and it's fun to reflect upon the year past and make plans for the new year. We always have a theme for each new year, but this year's theme title is still TBD.
Well, I'm boarding...I better go! I do plan to document our adventures in the city whenever I have down time and the girls are at work. Talk to you soon!
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
I threw up.
No, really. This is a breakthrough for me.
I know you're laughing now, but I'm actually being serious, and I apologize for the disgusting topic of conversation. I'm just being real here.
For probably the last 15 years of my life, I had not thrown up. And because I had gone so long without doing so, it had become my greatest fear in life...and I'm not kidding. My fear of puking has caused me a great deal of anxiety and panic over the years, and I knew someday I'd have to face it. Aside from the reality that I do want to adopt kids someday, for some time I considered adoption solely for the reason that I would avoid morning sickness.
(you're laughing again, I'm sure...or rolling your eyes at my ridiculousness)
I spent this weekend at my sister and brother-in-law's house, and my niece & nephew were sick last Thursday and Friday but recovering in time for me to babysit on Friday night. Sure enough, they weren't fully recovered. I didn't have a problem with being puked on by them or cleaning them up, but I was more scared I'd get it myself.
And Sunday night when I got home, it hit me. From 8:30 that night till about midnight or 12:30, I laid on my bathroom floor in complete misery. No wonder I had feared it for so many years! The good news is, I survived. And that's what I had to tell myself after each time. I had to keep cheering myself on like I was doing a good job between the sweating and chills and pure panic in me.
Thankfully, it didn't last long. Monday and Tuesday I was still pretty weak and achy, but today I feel about 95% recovered and am back to work. Nevertheless, I had to share that I had a pretty big breakthrough this week.
Who would've thought that throwing up would be so monumental?
And in other news, I'm now afraid to do my laundry. In my apt. building there are 6 apartments, and we share a laundry room with 2 washers and 2 dryers. I went in last week to do some laundry, and both washers were in use. So, as usual, I set my basket w/ said laundry, detergent, and dryer sheets on the table in the laundry room and decided to come back in 20 minutes or so to see if the washers were free. They were! But to my surprise, my laundry detergent had been removed from laying atop my clothes in the laundry basket.
So...washers were open, but my detergent was MIA.
Who steals laundry detergent? Now, I've lived there for almost 4 years now, and I've never had a problem with neighbors other than the few random events in which my former neighbor (a young 20 year old or so who happened to have his boyfriends over...) would have raves (yes, literally...I wouldn't have been surprised if there were glow sticks in motion on the other side of my bedroom wall) at 3:30 a.m. That's the only problem I have ever had.
Until now. Now I have thieves for neighbors. There are new people in that same apartment (where said raves were held...) who just moved in not long ago. And they have little kids. Who run up and down the hallway in their apt. during their leisure time I'm pretty sure. That's what it sounds like. I'm not blaming the new neighbors, but I've never before been afraid to leave anything in the laundry room.
So what did I do? I made a note that said "Could whoever took my laundry detergent please return it to the table in the laundry room?" and taped it to the laundry room door, and shut the door so it would be visible. I checked the laundry room 3 times that night (and the door had been opened, so they had seen it) and several times since then. Still no laundry detergent. And they had thrown my note on the floor. ugh! That pushed me right over the edge!
I've never been so mad about something so silly before! It's not even about the detergent. I already bought more. Now I'm afraid I have to sit in the laundry room to keep an eye on my things to make sure they aren't stolen from the washers & dryers!
Somehow I'm trying to figure out what Jesus would do in this situation. I know I'm supposed to love my neighbors as myself...but I don't steal laundry detergent! And did he mean that literally? Do I really have to love my actual neighbors? Even if they're stealing from me? I might have some lessons to learn...
until then, I'm pretty sure I'll be getting laundry detergent for Christmas from my mom and sister who have been laughing at me about my super dramatic apartment life.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Yesterday I watched on the news as CNN and Fox News covered the 2 stories of the shootings in Colorado. One was at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs (which seems to be getting the most coverage, and sadly some reporters can't seem to get over the issue of their former pastor Ted Haggard who was arrested for being with a male prostitute...but this is not the issue at hand, and I'd like to send that in a memo to the reporters), and the other shooting was at a YWAM (Youth With A Mission) center in Arvada, CO. The YWAM thing struck me simply because, while I was in Romania last spring, we were there along with a BDTS team from YWAM Denver. Immediately I thought of them. I remember a few of the staff people from their group who most likely lost some dear friends this weekend and will be needing lots of prayer for grief and healing from that traumatic tragedy. I can't imagine being there and seeing that with my own eyes.
This morning, in a meeting, I found out that a friend, Jessica, has a brain aneurysm and is in the hospital. Jessica is a year younger than me and was one of the sweetest, greatest girls at LCC while we were both students. Jessica gives the best hugs in the world...other than Shawn Hunt. Anyhow, I felt pain for her to imagine her in so much intense pain from headaches and fear of what's going to happen. Unfortunately, her aneurysm isn't operable. The good news, though, is that Jess is doing much better tonight and somehow may be released to go home tomorrow! She will be starting a gamma ray treatment in February that will hopefully reduce the size of the aneurysm over the next 3 years. Please be in prayer for her and her husband Jon.
Not much later, at lunch, Lynn Laughlin informed me that he had just found out that one of our students' fathers had 2 brain aneurysms and was in surgery in Milwaukee. I asked who, and found out that it was one of the girls in my spiritual formation group (SFG) that I lead w/ Lindsey. She hadn't been told yet, so we hurried back to campus to find her and talk to her, and we drove her to meet someone from her church in Joliet so she could be there. It was hard to see her hurting and in fear for her dad, because I've been there several times myself. Please pray for Amanda and her dad.
And on top of all of this, it is constantly on my mind that in just 12 short days will mark one year since my dad passed away from an aneurysm in his intestine. Needless to say, I hate aneurysms. I just don't understand them. And I'm not sure they're meant to be understood.
Either way, it has been a dull day, and in the midst of most of America's joyous Christmas celebrations, I find it hard to believe that all the world is celebrating. I think more people than we realize are hurting and in need of prayer. I don't say that to de-value the celebration. In fact, I think the coming of our Savior should be even more anticipated and celebrated! And in these times, I can't help but to think of how all of Israel must have felt 2000 years ago in the midst of turmoil and without hope...but they had been promised a Savior. They were told He would come. And He did. And He will again.
O Come, O Come Emmanuel
and ransom captive Israel
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.
O Come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer
Our Spirit's by thine advent here.
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
and death's dark shadows put to flight.
Friday, December 07, 2007
the first snow
have you seen it?
no, really, have you seen it?
little flakes of white...
oh, the snow
and fireplaces aglow
makes you not want to go
like magic dust
for a little while
until it piles up
and we sled
and we slide
and we ski
and we slip
and we build snowmen
but until then
it's just the first snow.
have you seen it?
have you felt it?
are like little pieces of grace
i love the first snow.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
*singing christmas carols in full voice in good company in a car where people can watch you look ridiculous. Including instrumental parts, and all other sound affects.
Lindsey reminded me that it was missing this morning. That, of course, is one of my most favorite things...especially w/ Lindsey & Chels.
And 2 additions to my "So Cool It's Freezing Winter Mix":
1. Here It Is (Over the Rhine)
2. All I Ever Get For Christmas Is Blue (Over the Rhine)
as soon as I update my version of iTunes, I'll be adding them to the playlist.
Monday, November 26, 2007
This season is a joyful, but now difficult season for my family and me. Last year, my dad passed away 3 days before Christmas, so it makes this year a difficult one of "firsts" without him, except this will be our 2nd Christmas without him. Last Monday, the 19th, would have been my parents' 30th wedding anniversary, and this Wednesday, the 28th would have been his 52nd birthday. With those in mind and the anniversary of his death and Christmas on its way, it's a good time to be reminded of the things that make me smile. So these are just a few...
*watching the first snowfall at night sitting in my windowsill
*decorating my Christmas tree and listening to my favorite classic Christmas songs
*Christmas in the Chapel at LCC--it's not Christmas until I see it
*watching White Christmas and singing along, wishing I could dance like Vera Ellen
*getting Christmas cards from friends
*the book Cold Tangerines
*New York City on New Years Eve
*thinking about all of the BCG's (for those who don't know what that is, it's my dear "Bible College Girls" from our summer @ Christ in Youth Conferences 4 years ago)
*getting dressed up in fancy dresses for weddings
*adorable babies, like my nephew Evan...
*hilarious kids, like my niece Maddy
*popcorn with parmesan cheese on it
*the sound of beautiful piano music
*finding great bargains when I'm shopping
*giving people notes & gifts
*laughing with friends and my family
*playing board games
*being in airports & flying places by myself
*discovering new music that I love
*driving around and looking at Christmas lights, wondering what peoples lives are like inside the windows
*good concerts...and not the kind where you stand the whole time...smaller ones that are more intimate
*the smell of men's cologne
*taking a relaxing bath by candlelight with a glass of Moscato
*doing puzzles on snow days
*hoodies & sweatpants
*my cutout cookies...only my mom's/grandma's recipe
*the feeling of anonymity in a big city
*things that are new
*hearing Christy Nockels sing
*reading the thoughts of good writers on their blogs
*making a good homemade meal
*hearing encouraging words or getting a note or package from someone
*photography that isn't posed and captures a moment in time...someone in mid-laughter, people hugging, poster-like scenery, abstract things
*homemade vanilla ice cream
*seeing old people holding hands
*weddings of people that truly get what marriage is about
*the sweet faces of the kids in Oradea, Romania that I'll get to see again in March
*listening to someone who can really preach...my faves are probably Jon Weece (Southland Christian Church in Lexington, KY), Mike Breaux (Willow Creek), and JK Jones (right here at LCC).
I could probably go on and on with some of my favorite things, but I'll save it for another time, and maybe next time I'll put it into a song. So while you celebrate this season, what are a few of your favorite things?
Tonight as I put up my tree, I'll be enjoying some of my favorite tunes, and as of today, this is my official playlist of favorites for the season. I think I'm going to name it the "So Cool It's Freezing Winter Mix." Here it is (in no particular order):
- Merry Christmas Darling (The Carpenters)
- O Come Emmanuel (The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir)
- O Come All Ye Faithful (Eliot Morris)
- Tennessee Christmas (Amy Grant)
- I'll Be Home For Christmas (Michael Buble)
- Mistletoe (Colbie Caillat)
- I Celebrate the Day (Relient K)
- Step Into Christmas (Elton John)
- Joy to the World (Jim Brickman)
- One Child/O Come All Ye Faithful (Natalie Grant)
- The Angels Medley (Avalon)
- Baby It's Cold Outside (Steve Tyrell)
- Lights On the Tree (Sufjan Stevens)
- Oh Christmas Tree (Jim Brickman)
- River (Rachel Yamagata)
- O Come, O Come Emmanuel (Bethany Dillon)
- This Christmas (Elliott Yamin)
- Christmastime (Michael W. Smith)
- Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (Gavin DeGraw)
- Jesus Oh What A Wonderful Child (Mariah Carey)
And that's that.
I'm off to trim the tree...whatever that means!
Monday, November 05, 2007
On certain days I let the cold weather of fall and winter get the best of me. Because it lasts so long and dreadfully feels like an eternity until the sun shines again in May, I always feel so stagnant and gray. I do enjoy the evenings where I can sit in my apartment, burn my Autumn Walk candles, cover up with a fleece-y blanket, drink my Chocolate Mint tea, and try my best to cover my dad's recipe for the best chili ever.
What I'm finding is that my life really isn't all that stagnant and gray. It's full of vibrant colors that I just happen to notice every once in awhile, but not on a regular basis. I just finished a book called Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist, and I HIGHLY recommend it to you. It's all about celebrating life and living it out even when it feels like all we do is pay bills and check our email and eat peanut butter & jelly sandwiches for lunch and follow the routine of our everyday life.
She wrote one chapter about a red tree that she saw in the fall, and I happened to read it just while the leaves on the trees were changing here. I couldn't help but realize how in past years I had seemingly missed the beautiful colors of the fall in the midst of my hatred for the cold weather's arrival. And suddenly this year, I've begun to notice the colors. And I hope I can continue to notice the colors...not only of the changing leaves on the trees, but in the life around me...the lives around me.
What often seems dead and dull is really full of life and color.
What seems cold and gray can be warm and vibrant.
What seems boring and mundane can remind you of purpose and simplicity.
On my way back from lunch I drove down one of the brick roads in Lincoln and noticed the yellow and orange trees above were starting to lose their leaves. They were gathering in the streets, and all I could think about was jumping in them. That's what I want to do.
Jump in the leaves.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
I really can't figure out how single mothers, well, single parents, I should say, of multiple children survive. I think one child would be manageable, but two is an entirely different story. Thankfully, Mimi (my mom) came to visit yesterday and help out all day. Without her I might have lost my sanity within the first 24 hours. The kids are behaving really well, so it's not necessarily that or my impatience. In the first day, though, we already had to take Evan to PromptCare because he had a fever from an ear infection and an upper respiratory infection. By the time we got to their regular pharmacy, it was closed for the day...so we journeyed to a different one to attempt filling his prescription there, which turned into my mom being in Wal-Mart for what seemed like hours while I entertained the kids in the car. And today, Evan and I dropped Maddy off at daycare, but I had to stay home w/ him due to him having a fever. Hopefully tomorrow he can go, so I can go back to work.
While doing this is quite challenging, I kind of enjoy the challenge. I like seeing if I can do it to know if I'll be prepared one day when I have kids of my own. And I've never learned to appreciate the peace and quiet at the end of the day quite like this before. There's nothing like the end of the day when two precioius faces are finally asleep and you get a few moments to yourself. I know that will be the biggest adjustment when I become a parent someday, because I'm used to spending my time however I want. I now realize the sacrifices that parents make...and only to a small extent, because I'm only doing this for one week!
It's bound to be an adventurous week...with a sick, but extremely happy 5-month-old, and a chatterbox, imaginative storyteller, 4-year-old who is going on 20. Actually, she told me the other night that she's 28 and she was going to go hang out with boys. (Cory and David, look out!) And if I can manage to change the darn crib sheet every day, it will be a miracle...that's the only thing I have managed to get upset about, because fitted sheets seem to be in a constant, waging war against me...along with Saran Wrap. I hate those 2 things.
Well, I hear a little boy waking up in his swing...Aunt Mandy to the rescue!
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Since I just got out of the car and came in my office to drop off my college fair things, I thought I'd also let you know something about me. Often I get asked what I do while I'm driving to and fro in the midst of college fair season and other road trips. While my dear friend Becka strongly encourages me to listen to NPR, I continue to choose music. It is, after all, one of my most favorite things. And in case you didn't know, I'm quite the singer when I'm in the car by myself. And you wouldn't know that unless you happened to place a hidden camera in my vehicle, because it's just not the same when people are in the car. I jam, folks. And while I'm quite the karaoke superstar in the car, I've yet to get up on a stage somewhere in public and do it.
And just for fun, here are some of my recent faves to jam to in the car:
- that new song, Paralyzed, by Finger Eleven. There's just something about it that seems brilliant to me...I'm not sure what. It's not the lyrics, though, b/c I still can't figure out what it really means.
- Miranda Lambert's songs Kerosene and Famous in a Small Town--that girl can sing her heart out.
- anything by the Steve Miller Band or The Doobie Brothers...they take me back to the old days of listening to them on actual records...on a record player...with a needle...and they remind me of my dad.
- Foreigner's Love Isn't Always On Time. (quite possibly the story of my life? j/k...) seriously...just recently I keep finding this on the radio and rocking out to it. but i keep turning the electric guitar parts into drums in the air and on my steering wheel instead.
- Elton John...Tiny Dancer. Except you have to sing it the way Phoebe does on Friends..."Hold me closer, Tony Daaanzaaaa...." I heard it 3 times today in the car, and it never gets old.
- Billy Joel...Piano Man. It's just classic. Reminds me of last call at a bar, or a swaying circle of friends at a wedding reception, and it makes me want to raise a glass and say "cheers" :)
- sadly, I'll admit that I actually jammed to My Humps by the Blackeyed Peas tonight.
- Dierks Bentley's song Free and Easy Down the Road I Go...just makes me slap my leg and singalong every time.
So these are just the ones I remember singing to today...what are your favorite jams in the car?
We'll see how today goes...
(if you have no idea what i'm talking about...scroll down to read my previous blog entitled "um...really?")
Friday, October 19, 2007
However, I'll admit that this weekend fall is growing on me...it sort of feels like it's wrapping me up in a big cozy blanket to welcome me in. And while I'd like to run backwards into summer, I have no other choice but to make myself comfortable and try to enjoy this season. (I think this might not only apply to seasons of weather but also these changing seasons of life...)
While summer will always remain my love, and this short-lived crush I'm having on fall surely won't last long, I'm enjoying a few of its characteristics:
-the colors of the leaves and how they remind me of puzzles
-the smells of bonfires in the distance at night
-the warmth of my big, cozy, comfy hooded sweatshirts
-the taste of all things apple, cinnamon, or pumpkin--apple cider, my mom's pumpkin bars, pumpkin spice lattes/frappuccinos, caramel apples, apple pie...
-my Gold Canyon candles from mom that smell like I'm at home...particularly Autumn Walk, because it reminds me of a man's cologne, but of course those that smell like apple, cinnamon, and pumpkin to remind me of baking
-the feeling that it's ok to lay around and do nothing all day on a saturday in the fall
-the urge that I feel to do some baking
-just the feeling of being in my apartment with the lights off, candles burning, and either reading, watching a movie or TV, or laying in a warm bath and relaxing
So I'm pretty sure I'm going to do all of these things this weekend. It's truly a fall weekend. After a long and difficult week of grieving my grandma, yet celebrating her life, and after being gone so much for work lately, I'm looking forward to enjoying a fall weekend. And I plan to bake a pie simply in honor of my Grandma Shirlye...with the candles burning...with a hoodie on...after taking some pictures of the pretty trees.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
i said..."i'm not pregnant."
i've gotta stop wearing those babydoll dresses & shirts that make skinny people look pregnant.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Shirlye A. Keen, 73, of Streator, died Sunday afternoon, Oct. 14, at Heritage Manor Nursing Home in Streator. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at Central Church of Christ with the Rev. Mark Upchurch officiating. Burial will be in Phillips Cemetery in Streator. Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Solon, Baker & Telford Funeral Home in Streator and one hour prior to services Thursday at the church.
Mrs. Keen was born May 17, 1934, in Grundy County, to Newt and Agnes (Garvin) Mathison. She married Robert L. Keen on Aug. 19, 1963, in Streator. She attended Dwight High School. She was a selector for Owens-Illinois Glass Company for many years and was a cook at Woodland School. She was a member of Central Church of Christ, where she was involved with funeral luncheons and vacation Bible school.
She is survived by her husband; a daughter, Leann Liptak of Streator; a son, Robert L. (Tina) Jr. of Streator; a stepdaughter, Irene Cripe of Streator; four grandchildren, Shelby and Taylee Keen, Cory Kreitzer and Mandy Liptak; two stepgrandchildren, Rick Cripe and Jennifer (Jim) Pottala; two great-grandchildren; two stepgreat-grandchildren; and two sisters, Ramona Oelschlager of Streator and Mardell Carter of Dwight.
Pallbearers will be Dave Vickers, David Kreitzer, Keith Girard, Rick Cripe, Glenn Miller and Jerry Martin.
Memorials may be directed to Central Church of Christ.
She was the sweetest lady anyone might have ever known. She probably couldn't have hurt a fly. One of the most selfless, compassionate, generous, giving hearts, my grandma always put other people before herself--even if it was just by worrying about them! We will remember plenty of funny things she said--before AND during Alzheimer's. I surely will carry on her delicious pie-making and baking skills, but I'm sure mine will not compare. She endured so many struggles in her life but overcame, and I know that she clung to Jesus all the while. I'm thankful that she and my mom used to WALK to church as my mom grew up, and my mom continued in her faith...which leads to where I am today. I know that heaven threw a party on Sunday, because they just welcomed home a lady whose heart has been there for years. Praise God!
Monday, October 08, 2007
Brothers & Sisters on ABC...Sunday nights @ 10/9c. I have no idea why I didn't watch this all last season, but I'm catching myself up by renting Season 1. Last week after I watched this season's premiere episode, I woke up the next morning actually worried about the Walker family. You know you're too into a TV show when you're worried about a fictional family.
The Office. Come on folks, if you're not watching this, you're missing out. And if you don't think it's funny, then you haven't watched long enough...OR you have a strange sense of humor. Thankfully every week is filled with new quotable lines. Otherwise, I'd worry that it would become the next Napoleon Dynamite of comedy...so overused that it's not really that funny anymore.The Hills on MTV. I can't figure out why I just love to watch the lives of real people in southern California, but I do. I just like Lauren. I think we'd be friends.
Tori & Dean: Inn Love on Oxygen. I'm about 3 weeks behind on this show, but I am hoping for a marathon sometime soon. Tori Spelling & her husband Dean are pretty hilarious. They're actually really charming and funny people to watch! If you haven't seen it, check it out. As if we all need another show to be addicted to...
OK...now that i'm really tired from posting those, i'm going to bed. tomorrow if i'm bored between things i'll make my list of music faves these days. i'm sure you can't wait!
(and i realized that by the end of this post i did actually use capital letters...sometimes i just can't escape good grammar even when i try.)
Friday, September 28, 2007
Aunt Irene, Mom, and me in front of the Bellagio (which you can't see). The fountains there are pretty much my favorite thing ever in Vegas. I think I could sit there all night and watch them. Thankfully, my friend Adam drove us around that night so we wouldn't have to walk so much. We had lots of fun!
My view of the Luxor from the pool. Unfortunately, we weren't staying in the pyramid part of it, but we were in the East Tower on the side.
My view at the pool every single day. That is vacation, my friends...except for the Europeans walking around in their speedos...3 of which were right next to me on the last afternoon at the pool. I hope someday the world will be rid of speedos.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
2. I'm going to Vegas w/ my mom and aunt for a birthday present & vacation.
3. I have the coolest mom ever for taking me to Vegas for my birthday.
4. I'm one year wiser, or at least I'd like to think so.
5. MTV is playing reruns this weekend of So You Think You Can Dance...all weekend. I'd like to think it's in honor of my birthday.
6. I have tons of amazing friends, and I seem to recognize it more and more each year.
7. I can now rent a car.
8. I think my car insurance will go down this year...correct?
9. Maybe this year is the year of the man? I declare here and now that it shall be...
10. I'm okay with the fact that I laid on my living room floor and watched You've Got Mail for my birthday. In fact, I was happy to do just that. I think that's contentment.
11. 25 sounds more adultlike than 24.
12. It's just a new start...and I'm always thankful for one of those.
13. I'm hoping I don't have to learn too many difficult life lessons this year like I did the past year.
14. I'm still not quite on the downhill slope to thirty.
15. I have 4 years left of being a "twentysomething." Most days, that's a good thing, but sometimes I'm not sure.
16. So much in life is yet to be just around the corner. I love that mystery...
17. 25 is just a better number than 24...and it does not have a TV show w/ the same name (as if that matters...? i have no idea why i said that...)
18. I'm legal to drink. (Oh wait, I have been for 4 years now.)
19. I feel like I'm finally beginning to understand myself.
20. I'm still young.
21. I still have a lot to learn, but I'm looking forward to it.
22. I'm learning that the things we gain on earth don't really matter...what we do for the Kingdom is what lasts. I can only hope I'll make more of an impact in years to come than I have in the past 24.
23. I can let go of the past and move on from it. That's freeing.
24. I'll miss my dad a ton in years to come, but I'm thankful that he still lives on in me in ways I'll probably notice more and more as I get older...like the way I seem to say the wrong thing at the wrong time or the way I see his face in mine in the mirror sometimes or the way I can make people laugh.
25. I have had a great life so far, despite the difficult things I've gone through. I'm blessed. And I can't wait to see what the future holds.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
do not be mistaken...this is not even ice cream. it's Ce Fiore. it's "Italian Frozen Delight" that is somehow a Japanese concept that started in California...not sure how that works, but that's what they said. if you've seen LC and her girls eating @ Pinkberry in L.A., it's kind of like that. all I have to say is, oddly, there is one on Bardstown Rd. in Louisville, KY and you NEED to go there. it's wayyyy better than ice cream and wayyyy healthier! it's all organic and fresh w/ really really fresh fruit, no preservatives or additives or anything. there's absolutely no fat in it (as is w/ even most soft serve ice creams, but most people don't know that...), only 25 calories and 4 g sugar per serving. it's unbelievable.
i'm just sayin'...
i will probably not shut up about it for weeks. it was that good.
and all of this from me, the "ice cream snob" (as i have been so kindly called by friends).
Saturday, September 08, 2007
So, last night I adopted a little girl. Her name is Jaquelin Sinai Maldonado Martinez, and she lives in Mexico. I’ve always wanted to adopt, and I consider this the closest thing I can do at this point in life as a single, 25-year-old girl. (We share the same birthday even...and it's less than 2 weeks away!) She won’t be living with me, and I won’t be “parenting” her on a daily basis. In fact, she has her own set of parents and 2 siblings. The thing is, they don’t have many resources to provide for their physical, educational, and spiritual needs. But I do. I might not think I have much when I see my credit card bill, my cable bill, my electric bill, my car payment, my student loan payment, and my hefty rent check come out of my measly bi-weekly paycheck. There isn’t much left. But that’s the problem...She is supposed to come first. The kingdom comes first.
I have wanted to sponsor a Compassion International child for quite some time, but for some reason I have always selfishly hesitated after considering my own payments that need to be made. Even now, in all honesty, I wonder how sometimes I will do it. I am willing to make the sacrifice. Why? Because her life matters much more than my cable does. And for what it costs me to fill my car once with a tank of gas, I can provide so much more for her.
So why did I decide now is the time? We hosted Shaun Groves at LCC last night as a part of his partnership with Compassion International, and I have to say I was extremely impressed with his authenticity. I have heard musicians speak from the stage about various missions opportunities and ways to sponsor children, but last night it wasn’t just a 5 minute plug for Compassion. Shaun’s impact had hardly anything to do with himself and his guitar or piano. The words that he spoke even before the concert made me realize I needed to do something. I was talking to him about how he has partnered with Compassion to offer his second tour of FREE concerts (free to the promoter or venue, that is...we paid him zero dollars to play). His response was this: “It’s for the kingdom. I don’t like music enough to wake up every day. It’s Compassion and the kingdom that makes me wake up every day.”
He said the same thing during the concert in his “Compassion talk” that some people probably expected and possibly avoided altogether by leaving early. I found out then the sacrifices he and his family have made to offer shows for free. And the only reason he is doing this is to raise child sponsorships. It’s that simple. There is no catch. He is just singing the refrain of the kingdom work God has called us to do. There is no other reason why we are here on earth.
James 1:27 gives us the mission of the church: “to care for widows and orphans.” And shortly thereafter, James reminds us in 2:14-17 that our faith is dead if it is not accompanied by action. I sit and wonder how in the world I’m acting on that scripture when I’m doing nothing but looking at the need and not responding to it in a tangible way. I talk about it, but am I really doing anything?
Giving is difficult for those of us cynical people who doubt that our money will be spent wisely. I confess that I have trust issues with giving my money to the church where I’m a member. I recognize that there is a call in Scripture for me to tithe my 10%. It’s Biblical. And I know that the typical American congregational Christian church does address and target major needs that are essential to ministry in that environment and toward missions around the world. However, I have a problem when a building project that will simply accommodate more bodies in one room for a service is given priority over finding more ways to extend outward to meet people where they’re at. There are times when a building project is vision-casted and completed very well, so don’t get me wrong. I just want my dollars to be spent in a way that might never be known if the church continues to only look inward.
Instead of going off on a tangent about the church versus the Church (please notice the difference between the little ‘c’ and the big ‘C’), which I am tempted to do, I’ll revert back to my original purpose in writing this. There are hundreds of thousands of kids who might not have a church, but they have a Church. Does that make sense? It’s you and me. Some of them are blessed to have both. Though they may have a church, or congregation, where they live, the resources often aren’t there to provide for the needs of the people within that church. That is why Compassion is asking the Church (I hope you are noticing the difference between a church and the Church...one congregation versus the Body of Christ around the world) to help provide.
Our arms can extend further than you think, and so can our wallets. Thankfully there are great organizations like Compassion International, World Vision, African Leadership/The Mocha Club, and many others that are properly distributing resources from one church to another church and being The Church. That’s the kingdom coming to earth. That’s the Lord’s will being done...on earth as it is in heaven.
I’m not writing this to ask for you to go sponsor a child, necessarily, and I’m not asking you to sell your house and your car and all of your clothes. But then again, maybe I should be. Jesus did say “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” He isn’t asking us to hate everyone; He’s simply asking to be #1. He comes first. And sometimes He exists in the form of a little child in mismatched clothes, wild hair, and a terrified look on his or her face in the picture inside a little 7” x 9” packet.
So consider your life and how you’re making a difference. Is your faith simply lying dormant, or are you putting it into action? If you’re not, then I sincerely pray that God will move somehow to show you what to do next. What actions are you taking to accompany your faith? God’s not looking for a list of good deeds and the times you donated clothes to Goodwill or gave a homeless man $5 or your leftover Chinese food (that’s me speaking to myself right now...), or even how you sponsored a child through Compassion. He wants our lives to be a complete sacrifice to what He is trying to do through them. I’m willing to give $32/month as a first step in a long process of learning self-sacrifice. As Shaun said last night, it’s like “sticking a toenail into the kingdom” and beginning to understand what we’re here for.
If this doesn’t dismantle your entire worldview, then I don’t know what does:
“What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it isn’t accompanied by action, is dead.”
So join me in not just saying “good luck” and “I hope you find some food and clothes in a dumpster somewhere” or “I hope you find a friend in someone else, but not me” or “I wish you well, take care” to those around you...start living it. Start loving. And if you already are, keep stepping it up. There’s a whole world out there that’s crying out for it.
Friday, August 31, 2007
For at least 18 years, my dad played in a National Christian Softball Tournament hosted by Bright Christian Church. For days leading up to that weekend and during, my dad was giddier than a kid on Christmas morning. He loved going to Bright. Each year as we left, he'd reserve the hotel rooms for the next year. Months prior, he'd be putting together his team and practicing by playing city & church league games. About two weeks before, he began watching the Weather Channel and praying for no rain. And when the day came to leave, my sister and I would get a day out of school and we'd caravan to the Quality Inn in Harrison with several other families.
I remember so many things about this weekend as if it were foundational in my growing up. I can recall the smell of the early Ohio/Indiana mornings when we'd get up to walk to the Waffle House for a hearty breakfast before the 8 or 9:00 a.m. games. I remember when I was younger, all I cared about was playing in the dirt with the kids and getting treats from the concession stand. As I got older, I actually started watching the games and cheered on the team like a good daughter and fan should. The cooler of snacks and Gatorade, the bleachers at the complex, the smell of dirt and sweat, the jaunting yells of countless Christian wives losing their cool over bad calls from the ump, the excitement of a team who won...these are all images still etched in my mind.
It wasn't often that our team from good ol' Central Church of Christ in Streator did very well. In fact, many years I had to see my dad become disappointed after losing 2 games immediately in a double elimination tournament. As kids, we rejoiced, because this meant no more games and we could go to a waterpark or do something fun the next day. But I knew as we got older, it meant so much more to my dad and the guys playing. I can picture them, mostly all middle-aged men, sitting on their coolers after playing hard, worn out and dripping with sweat and disappointment evident in their faces. They made the best of it and still came back every year.
The best year, in my mind, was one when I was in college. My dad knew it was probably one of the last years he would play, because his back wasn't going to allow it for many more years to come. They ended up winning in their bracket after losing only their very first game, and it was one of the most exciting weekends we spent there. I still remember the team pictures with the trophy and, right after, I remember hearing my dad lead the team in a quick prayer to thank God for their victory. I have always remembered him praying that prayer. That's a memory I want to keep.
We have so many stories from Bright that we'll forever remember. One of the best stories involved how my dad and a lady named Nancy Galey met by accident...2 years in a row, Nancy went to throw a cup of water on the minister from Bright, and as someone ducked, she hit my dad. TWO YEARS IN A ROW! They remembered it the second year, and so she invited us out to her house for a Labor Day cookout. We went, and this began an endless tradition of spending time at their house and my dad and Nancy sneaking up on each other each year with a cup of water. The Galey family are now some of our closest friends.
It's amazing what memories one simple weekend can hold, and just this morning I breathed in the cool, crisp, end-of-summer-air and remembered...there's just a nostalgic feeling about Labor Day weekend. It's different this year, of course, because we won't be in Bright. I haven't been for a few years now, but my Mom and Dad went last year just to watch games and surprise the Galey family. My dad kept saying he wanted to go for "one last time," but no one really believed it would be. Somehow, he knew... But they had one of the best weekends with each other and friends.
While this is just one of the many "firsts" without my dad, and it's merely the first Labor Day weekend, it still brings back so many great memories of him and growing up. This year they chose to honor him somehow through the tournament, and we were so appreciative and grateful to hear it. I sent some words of thanks for them to share, and I pray that the teams playing this year would play with a heart like my dad's...one that will never give up. He always returned to that tournament, win or lose, for the love of the game.
I love remembering him that way, and I know this year is a win for him.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
1. I love to eat banana baby food.
2. I am terribly afraid of puking and haven't done it in like 15 years, so the slightest bit of nausea sends me into a panic.
3. As of late, I am addicted to the Grammar Girl podcast...I'm a nerd.
4. I secretly (or not-so-secretly) want to marry Matt Wertz. and then travel with him and sometimes sing b/g vocals.
5. I type words in my head and group words, sentences, and phrases into numbers of letters. I'm a freak.
6. I can eat massive amounts of popcorn...especially if it has parmesan cheese on it.
7. I give my opinion about stuff way too much and sometimes just need to hold back.
8. I want to live in Indy someday.
so now I have to tag 3 people apparently, so I tag Becka, Chantell, and Shannon.
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Jerusalem is the one doing the binging. She keeps taking in more and more of the world, and her rebellion is taking over. "She obeys no one, she accepts no correction, she does not trust in the Lord, she does not draw near to her God." She reminds me of me sometimes. When I'm stuck in my own ways, I don't want to accept correction, and I don't want to believe that someone else's way may be better than my own. It reminds me of little kids who are stubborn and know they're in trouble. Instead of coming near to mommy or daddy, they go into hiding. The last thing they want is to see mommy or daddy and receive punishment. That's what Jerusalem was doing. She wanted nothing to do with her God. Neither did her leaders, who were expected to be held at a higher standard. They failed.
But the Lord wasn't giving up. Not on the righteous, and not on the unrighteous. He wasn't conquered. He wasn't finished. He was still among the people. Working. Moving. I love the strength in the words that say "He does no wrong" and "He does not fail." And those who lived in sin had no shame, because they didn't know anything different. But they didn't care. Aren't we like that sometimes? I sure am. And yet "morning by morning He dispenses His justice..." I find it funny that the NIV uses the word "dispenses" because it makes me think of a soap dispenser...maybe one that you can't turn off. Whether you need more soap or not, you're going to get it. You can take God's justice or you can let it fall on the floor. Either way, it's going to come out, and it's going to be messy. It's better just to accept it.
The chapter continues in verse 6 with how God "cuts off nations" and "pours out his wrath" upon them. They were a people who "were still eager to act corruptly." They weren't just acting corruptly on ignorance, they were EAGER to sin. They chose it. And because God is a jealous God, and His glory didn't seem to be enough to attract their attention and distract them from their selfish lives, He acted. He purged Jerusalem of her rebellious leaders and disobedient followers. "The whole world [was] consumed by the fire of [his] jealous anger." That is a really dark world.
So what about the few who were obedient?
It's a breath of fresh air...a sigh of relief...to know that YHWH set aside a remnant of people who wouldn't be cut off from Him. A people whose lips would be purified and whom would serve "shoulder to shoulder" in community. Verses 9 & 10 are like a preview of the Acts 2 church...not perfect, but purified. Not selfish, but serving. Not independently, but in unity. Near and far, people who were scattered around the world were allowed to bring offerings of worship. We were never meant to be alone, but we also weren't meant to be in only one place while here on earth.
So why did God choose these few? They were meek, they were humble, and they trusted in the name of the Lord. It's that simple. All because of those 3 things, the Lord set them apart. They had reason to sing and shout, because they, too, could have been punished with the rest of Jerusalem! But praise God, they had no reason to lose hope. Verse 17 is one of my favorite verses, partially because it reminds me of a peaceful song I learned my freshman year at LCC, but it says these words: "The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing."
And again, I ask, WHY? Why would He take delight in me? a sinner? Why would he want to rejoice over me with singing? It reminds me of a strong father and a little girl, and maybe that's why I love this verse so much. The words "he will quiet you with His love" make me think of a parent putting his or her little girl to sleep by singing to her in a soft whisper. I'm not sure if my mom or dad actually ever put me to sleep that way, but I know we sang silly songs a lot. Either way, it's a beautiful picture of peace...quiet...even if the little girl--Jerusalem, me, you--has been rebellious and disobedient all day...it's covered over with love. Why? Because she was meek, humble, and trusted in her Father.
In the end, He restores. He acts in His justice. He rights wrongs. He removes evil, and He restores good. Verse 20 says "At that time, I will gather you. At that time, I will bring you home." It's good to know that even though the remnant may be scattered around the world, someday we'll be brought home. I love going home.
And I love the pictures that this chapter paints. It shows the extremes of God's characteristics...His wrath and His love. But both were deserved. I'm thankful that we serve a God who is jealous for our love and won't purge the world of every soul who ever sins and turns away. I'm glad He purifies and comforts and gives us time to trust Him, even when we mistakenly think the world has more to offer.
Friday, August 03, 2007
I visited CIY in Carbondale again last night for the last night of Robin Sigars being a director there. It is sad to me, because ever since I started going to CIY in 1996, Robin has been my director. I've had the privilege of working alongside him since then as I traveled for LCC several years and will miss seeing him every summer in Carbondale! However, I'm excited that his ministry is going to continue in Carterville, MO and can't wait to see how God uses him there to do big things!
As for now, I'm off to Kentucky, ya'll...
Friday, July 27, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
She said if anyone drives by thinking "ah, there's not much there..." she'll chase them down. There is bound to be something for everyone in that garage...
and considering it's midnight and i'm tired from an evening of retail arrangements in the garage and a glass of wine and the fact that i'm getting up even EARLIER on a Friday off than I would on a day of work to sell our wares...I should publish this most pointless blog ever and go to bed.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
-i am somewhat seriously considering going on the show Don't Forget the Lyrics, as remembering many songs' lyrics is one of my specialties. i've already printed out the application but haven't a clue what i'd do on my video...any ideas of what I should do to show my personality?
-as per my previous statement, i'm also taking willing and knowledgeable volunteers who may be good candidates for my 2 people to have as support in case i do not know a certain lyric or genre. anyone wanna be my "backup singers?" should i win some big money and you actually provide me with lyrical assistance, you will obviously get something out of it.
-continuing on with TV shows, I'm missing last year's cast of SYTYCD (So You Think You Can Dance) like we were BFF. I watched 4 episodes on videotape from last year 2 nights in a row last week just to rekindle our friendship. So far this year I think I'm going to like Dominic & Sabra the best...who do you like?
-If you didn't watch The Next Food Network Star, it's too late. This Sunday they'll reveal who wins, and I strongly hope it's Amy and not Rory. And the drama with JAG was quite interesting and overdramatic, in my opinion. Thoughts, anyone?
and p.s. I do have a life outside of TV...i think.