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Archive for October, 2006

My inspiration

I’m pretty tired and it’s just Monday. I’m sad because I had to make the adult-like decision to not go to London. And I just found out that not actually studying for my Greek test did not produce as successful as a result as I had hoped it would.

You might be asking, how will she make it through the week? What’s going to keep her moving? Mountain Dew? Patty Griffin? Ball games? Philippians 4:13?
No, my friends. None of the above. I’ll tell you what keeps me a goin’ when the goin’ get tough. It’s called opening my laptop, and seeing this beauty’s face smiling back at me.

James Blake

Oh, how he makes me wish I had cable so I could see his cuteness scamper about the courts in Europe. In one of the James Blake pictures I have set as my background, he is pointing in a very confident, yet mischievous way. I think he’s pointing at me, telling me I can do it. Yes, yes. James Blake is cheering me on.

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This guy’s kids are going to have issues…

The dude that wrote this op-ed for the NY Times is a looney-tune in my opinion. He is making a state case about the kids having snacks after ball games. Umm…hello…every team at every level from pee-wee’s to NCAA DI has parents who bring treats for the kids. It’s part of athletics in America. It’s not bad. It’s nice. Eating a rice krispie treat and drinking a Capri Sun is not going to kill your child or make him fat. Hello, he just played a soccer game. Duh.

Unless his kid is really bad and never plays. Then maybe it’s a problem. But even then, the least this dad could do is let the poor kid enjoy the brownies they get afterwards.

My guess is that this dad is skinny, super-smart, arrogant, in-secure and wealthy. In addition to bitching about the treats, I bet he’s one of those helicopter parents that tells the coach how to coach and never thinks his kid is playing enough. I bet the coach and all the other parents hate him.

It makes me really love my parents. They never complained about anything to my coaches and they let me eat all the after-game treats I wanted. They even supplied the Gatorade for the whole volleyball team during high school. I wonder if Mr. Undies-in-a-Bundle is okay with Gatorade. That stuff is loaded with calories. Hmm…

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If Your Life was a Movie, What Would Your Soundtrack Be?

Christin had this meme up and it looked like a good way to spend my time during my wonderfully dull shift in the library today. I’ve been known to make life soundtracks for myself and others, however I’ve somewhat shied away from that practice since being informed that making other people CD’s is a sign of emotional dependency. Whatever. Anyway, I thought it would be fun (and possibly embarrassing) to see what my soundtrack would be if I let iTunes come up with it.

If anyone wants to follow suit, here’s the rules:

1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that’s playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
6. Don’t lie and try to pretend you’re cool…

Here we goes nothing!

  • Opening Credits: Zombie – The Cranberries
  • Waking Up: Rusty Old American Dream – David Wilcox
  • First Day At School: Trade My Love – Sandra McCracken
  • Falling In Love: These Days – Rascal Flatts
  • Breaking Up: Dischotheque – U2
  • Prom: Come to Jesus – Mindy Smith
  • Life’s OK: I’ll Cover You– Rent
  • Mental Breakdown: Johnny 99 – Bruce Springsteen
  • Driving: Love of a Jealous Kind– Jars of Clay
  • Flashback: Live 4 Today – Natalie Grant
  • Getting Back Together: Fumbling Towards Ecstasy – Sarah McLachlan
  • Wedding: Split Screen Sadness – John Mayer
  • Birth of Child: Days – Train
  • Final Battle: Wiggley Fingers – Patty Griffin
  • Death Scene: Judas Kiss – Sandra McCracken
  • Funeral Song: Winter – Eastmountainsouth
  • End Credits: Enemy Fire – Ryan Adams

Well that definitely causes me to raise an eyebrow!

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I’ve been trying to plan my Thanksgiving break, but have had zero luck.

Here’s your escape route if you’d prefer to skip my verbal processing and get on to my more or less pointless conclusion.

What I’d really like to do is go to my friend’s wedding in London. However, I just can’t justify spending so much on a ticket to more or less go to London for the weekend.

I also can’t justify driving 10 hours to spend two days with my family. (I’ve recently discovered I have a whole week off, but everyone involved knows I don’t need to be spending a week at my parents’ house.)

I’ve looked for plane tickets to go home, but to be affordable I’d have to drive to Chicago at some ungodly hour and I am very much against driving very far to go to the airport.

Once I realized I had an entire week off, I thought maybe I would go to London after all. So I’ve been wasting my evening away looking for plane tickets. At one point, though I decided it would still look pretty bad to the family and to everyone else to whom I say I am poor if I were to fly to London.

My brilliant plan was then to figure out a way to go to Seattle to see one of my best pals for part of the week and then fly to Minneapolis to be with fam and then back to the big mitten. That brilliant plan was going to run me around $850.

Then I gave up being social and decided to just look for a way to afford-ably and sanely get home. Amtrak would cost not quite as much as a plane ticket from Chicago, would leave and depart minutes from my door and take about the same amount of time as driving. A lovely alternative – if you like Hell – would have been Greyhound. But the 23 hours on a bus from the mitten to Minnesota did not sound like a good time. And it wasn’t any cheaper than anything else. Seriously, how does it take that long? The buses in Bosnia moved faster than that.

I just want to tell you that it only costs $80 more to take a 7ish hour flight to London than it takes to spend 23 hours riding a nasty bus from Michigan to Minnesota.

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Here’s what I said: I love you both but if you are struggling with something to the point of impairment, I can’t deal with it. It’s not that I don’t want to deal with it. It’s just that I can’t. I’m not equipped. And besides, I’ve got enough of my own stuff to deal with, plus school and other responsibilities.

The response was: Well, then I will never tell you I am struggling again. I won’t even concern you with it.

What I meant: I love you and want to help you. I will try to help you, encourage you and hold you accountable. But when things get to a point where nothing I say or do helps and your struggles just get worse, the only thing I will have left to do is to ask you to step away and get help.

I felt horrible. What I meant didn’t really come out the way I wanted it to. And besides, we were talking hypothetically about what it means to be broken and in ministry. There’s a point where the broken person has to get help. They can’t ask their partners in ministry, friends or spouses to be their sole outlet and method of coping. Yes, we’re all broken and struggling in some way, but we just can’t say oh well, we’re all broken and do nothing about it.

People need to be healthy to be engage in healthy ministry. I don’t think broken means unhealthy. I think broken means honest. And honest means getting help and stepping away from ministry when you need to. You can’t use your ministry as a coping mechanism. It will suffer. Your partners in ministry will suffer.

If that little reflection didn’t sound like a wiser (or colder) version of the kinds of things I was saying a year or so ago, I don’t know what would. Interesting, huh? Does it sound like someone learned the hard way about some of this stuff?

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This is important…

The latest post on the CBE Scroll articulated something I’ve been thinking about, but hadn’t been able to make ‘sharable’ sense out of. The article questions what our focus has been in the aftermath of the recent school shootings.

It really bothered me that all the victims were women and girls. And clearly the perpetrators intentionally chose the gender of their victims. I could go on and on about what I think it all ‘means’. But I don’t think I know anymore than anyone else. I just know that it’s scary and wrong and most everyone chooses to ignore it.

Violence against women is being perpetuated on a grand and horrific scale in multiple regions of Africa; some Americans are vaguely aware of that. But violence against women is perpetuated on as grand of, although different, scale right here in America. Sexual abuse, when not turned into to a media circus, is typically handled as either a he-said-she-said or a let’s pretend-this-didn’t-happen.

That’s sick. It’s wrong. And it doesn’t help anyone.

And the thing is, it makes no difference whether we’re examining this issue in secular or Christian circles. Sexual and physical abuse against spouses and children happens equally in both circles. What makes me sick though, is that as the CBE also suggests, some of the attitudes so endeared by patriarchal and even complementarian Christians only serve to perpetuate the cycle. One of Bobbi’s recent posts kind of fueled my fire on this.

I don’t necessarily think that all families and couples operating under a headship principle are wrong. I know multiple couples who do. They have thought out, prayed and genuinely pursued such a theology, and it works well for them. However, I don’t think the majority of people making up the church think a whole lot about what it is they believe, especially in terms of male-female relationships. They just do what’s always been done and relate out of habit rather than intention. While these families and institutions, operating under an uninformed and unintentional headship model, may not directly abuse the women and girls in their lives, I do believe they help create victims and perpetrators.

Victims and perpetrators are created in these environments because the definitions of beauty, responsibility, love and conflict-resolution are somehow skewed. Sometimes the communicator is at fault, sometimes the receiver of the message is at fault. Regardless, something big gets ignored.

I don’t know. I guess I am babbled out. I just know that any form of violence against girls and women makes me physically sick. I know that the church is a broken vessel and that no Christian is perfect. But it doesn’t add up when something is so desperately screwed up and wrong and God’s people in general so rarely raise their voices to protest, let alone lift a finger to help change this.

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Obviously when your life abruptly and dramatically changes, you change too.  I knew that.  But the extent to which that would happen to me over the past nine months has been a surprise.  I’ve known inside for a while now that I was different, but couldn’t put a finger on what “different” really meant.

At last, though, I am seeing the tangible fruits of those changes.  Actually, it’s the new people in my new environment, getting to me for the first time, who are calling my attention to these changes.  They’ve never known me, so the me that they see is the only me that has ever existed as far as they know.

It’s weird.  They’re surprised if I have a drink or swear.  Someone at a birthday party tonight called me the “mellow one”.  I can hardly believe it when I hear people say these things and think to myself, “oh, my friends would crack up if they heard you say that.”  But I guess that’s the reality of who I am now.

The thing is, surprisingly, I’m fine with that.  I don’t feel lonely, unpopular, depressed or in need of attention.  I feel  fine.  I feel more contently, confidently me than I probably ever have.  It’s just bizarre that it’s coming out looking more introverted than I’ve ever considered myself to be.

Probably the most random part of it all is that my sense of humor and knack for saying random/silly/inappropriate/cynical things has not ceased.  It’s quite interesting to see what some of my “keepers” are as I work with God through this process of sifting and change.

While I don’t quite understand who God is shaping me to be or even why or how he’s doing it, I do know that I can feel him working.  I think that’s why I am so okay with how different I am turning out.  I really do feel like he is shaping me into who I am meant to be.  I think that I used to feel like everything about me was going to have to change for that to happen.  What I am seeing now is that he’s keeping the core of my personality and just changing the way I am most comfortable expressing it.  I know that for years I will be asking God to make me the woman he created me to be, but I know now, that I will no longer have fear and reluctance dangling in the back of my mind as I pray for such things. He has shown me that the change is good.  That the becoming part itself may be painful, but resting in the place of arrival, closer to the woman I’m meant to be is more comforting and life-giving than anything in the past.

So for right now, I think the woman I am becoming is a little more mellow, a little bit quieter, but just as humorous as ever.

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