Thursday, December 31, 2009

FYI: Depression hasn't a "why"

Some of you may not know this, so I'm telling you: if someone in your life is depressed, there probably isn't a real reason.  They're not doing it on purpose, and they aren't focusing on the wrong things.  Well, maybe they are- it can suck you in- but that's not my point. The point is that, at least for me, the depression is in me.  It always is.  I'm pretty sure it always has been. 

Yes, circumstances in life can kick it up a notch, but I can tell when it's chemically induced more than just overwhelming sadness because the circumstances in life really aren't that bad.  My life is fine.  My life is great.  I'm very happy.  I just happen to be super depressed right now.  And I know that there's no real reason for it other than my stupid brain.  So- don't worry.  Don't try too much cheer me up, don't point out all the good things I have, don't tell me this or that will make me feel better. 

Is it good for me to have some distraction? Yes, it is.  Tonight is New Year's Eve, and what I really want to do is sit in this chair and alternate staring into space with playing Bubble Town.  Preferably drunk.  But what I will do is go out with my friends, and laugh and have fun.  I don't need to wallow any more than I already do.

At least in my case, I have dealt with this long enough that I have a pretty good handle on how to deal.  I know that, though I can't just buck up and be done with this, I also need a swift kick in the rear to keep living and not get overly despondent or melodramatic.  I know that my life is great and that I'm being lame. 

A few of you can try to kick me in the butt, but be prepared for me to fight back a little.  It'll all be okay.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009- Man, am I glad it's over

I gotta tell ya, I don't feel like writing right now. (Gee! Thanks, Robin! I'm sure this will be GREAT!)  I know that I should write, though.  I can't believe I've only written once this month, when I know I have thoughts rolling around in my head.

Nutshell? I'm pretty depressed.  It's not like I'm crying and in the depths of despair, but more a conclusion I've come to or something I finally saw.  I have zero motivation to do anything other than play Bubble Town or be on FB & Twitter all day.  And I'm tired of it.

I don't like the way I live my life.  God & my husband don't allow me to not work so that I can get fatter and fatter and also get carpal tunnel.  I'm supposed to be doing things.  I'm supposed to take better care of my husband and house, I'm supposed to be volunteering more, I'm supposed to be reading and studying and hanging out with people I care about and exercising and playing real instruments, not just plastic ones.

Usually I'm not a big fan of shoulding on myself, but this is more than a guilt trip: it's a not quite rock bottom that I would like to be a turning point.  I'm clear about these things.

The year started oddly: my sister, who I probably love more than anyone in the world besides Seth, was in the hospital.  After about a month, I just couldn't stand it anymore and, after dropping my classes, went to Michigan to be with her.  I woke up one night just crying and freaking out because I couldn't stand the thought of her being alone in the hospital when my mom couldn't be there (and her husband was deployed).

The doctors were really being pessimistic and all but assuring her that her daughter would die, but we didn't believe them.  There are plenty of stories online about women in similar situations whose babies lived.  I, for one, expected Adi to be born premature and puny, but that she'd live.  Sure, complications were to be expected, but they'd be gotten past.  But she did die.

My sister had a horrible, terrifying c-section while my brother-in-law watched their daughter get yanked out of her, and then he watched her die after an hour.  My sister never saw her or held her alive.

The same day that my niece died, my friend's brother was accidentally shot and killed.  Let's cancel January 23rd from now on, okay?

I was in MI for a month, mourning and comforting as best I could, but I also had a good time with my friends and family.  A few days after my sister got out of the hospital, we went to Costco and my brother-in-law and I cracked up watching her try to run people down in the scooter/cart.  I got to see lots of my friends multiple times, I got drunker than ever before with one of my best friends and some guys from high school, I got together with some online friends, saw a Red Wings game, and got sick of winter.

After I was home for a few weeks, I went to stay with my sister for 2 weeks in North Carolina.  We had a great time, and we also got to visit our cousin and her family in Richmond, which was fabulous.

A lot of the year was good: I went to CHIC with the youth group, Seth and I had a great 10th anniversary vacation in the NW, and I had a fabulous class this fall.

This was also an expensive year, and my car currently sits dead in the driveway.  All told, I was out of my bed & away from home for almost 4 months this year.

I've been worried a lot this year.  About my sister, brother-in-law, parents, another sister who has been depressed and confused, the messed-up sister who lost both her kids but is pregnant with a third, about everything that could be worried about for my husband, about money, the marriages of multiple friends-- you name it.  I know I don't need to worry, and I sometimes do a good job of casting stuff on God.  But not enough, apparently. 

I stopped working with two ministries and added another one, which is still finding its rhythm.

I didn't really like our Christmas.

I want a house.

I want a best friend in California.

I've stayed on medicine, which I want to double, but I don't want to do that arbitrarily.  I can't ask my doctor do up my prescription, because I still haven't seen anyone about my depression.  I didn't think I needed to before, but maybe I do.  Maybe if I talked to someone about my stupid lack of motivation and what appears to be self-sabotage, I'd get somewhere.  I know that Jesus is helping me and I don't have to do all this on my own.

I'm just tired.  And I'm excited about this year being over.  I know it has been weird, and I want it to go.  I want to start over- start fresh.  Though some may call that naïve, I know that I can start fresh. I can start over right now, if I wanted to.  I've been trying for about 2 weeks now to change; to think in a new way.

I just keep sitting back down.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Swell Season


Verily, I say unto you, I have never been to a better concert than The Swell Season, November 20th, Paramount Theatre, Oakland, CA.  I hadn't listened to the new CD, Strict Joy, so had worried a bit that the show may be slightly boring, based on their single, "In These Arms," which is quite mellow and quiet.  I wanted to go, though, since I love the music from Once so very, very much.  I warned Seth that it may just be a concert where we are a little snoozy, but we hear beautiful music, so it's "nice."

Oh, I was so wrong. As soon as Glen & Mar came on stage, I was ridiculously happy.  There is something magical (yes, I said, "magical") about hearing in person music that you love so much, especially when it's from a movie.  It feels extra-special or strange to see the people & hear the songs.  So I was grinning like an idiot and felt, well, buoyant when they started singing.  "In These Arms" was touching and lovely, and was already a little teary during, "If You Want Me," which was the 2nd song.

They sang the first few songs sitting on the ground together, then she went over to the piano, and he eventually brought out his band, The Frames, who I also love.  As you may know, but I had forgotten, things are always a little more loud and rowdy in person, so even the slower songs were more powerful live, and they were definitely rocking sometimes.

For a small set, the guys from The Frames and Marketa left the stage, and Glen stood there with his holey guitar you saw in the movie and sang an acoustic set for us. Oy.  That's all I can really say.  Oy.  He started singing "Say It To Me Now," behind the mic, but quickly stepped out and just belted it from the front of the stage, and I seriously wept the whole time. (It's a short song.)  The man is amazing. 

Aside from being rollicking and emotional and powerful, it was also a really fun and intimate concert.  The theater seats about 3000 people, so it wasn't too big.  Glen interacted a ton with us in the audience, telling funny stories, encouraging us to sing along ever louder, and even taking a few questions and requests.  They did "Falling Slowly" during their encore, which ended up being 4 songs, I believe, including an old blues/folk song that we all had to sing.

Their U.S. tour is almost over, but I highly encourage you to watch Once if you haven't, buy all their music, check out The Frames and buy their music, and see The Swell Season next time they're near you.

Monday, November 16, 2009

You know that old saying, "When you assume..."

you make an ass out of yourself and just make God more godly and clear.

I've been working on a novel for NaNoWriMo, and I've written over 15,000 words so far.  I really like it a lot.  The purpose of NaNoWriMo is just to get those words out of you.  They don't have to be good, and you shouldn't edit. Just WRITE.  The goal is 50,000 words by midnight on November 30th.  I was nervous to start, but the book has just been pouring out of me and I'm really having fun and mostly like what I've written.

Here's the rub: it's not necessarily a Christian novel.  (GASP!) And I, dear reader, am planning on being some sort of pastor. It's not like that alone is a problem.  Sheesh, I'm not a complete shut-in and don't cater to those who would get their panties in a knot about that.  The thing is, there's s-e-x in the book.  Um, not "within the bounds of marriage" s-e-x.  The aforementioned activity is considered a mistake and is dealt with- it's sort of the premise of the book- but when it happens, it's also kind of fun.  I think I'm being real in the book by not pretending that all sin absolutely sucks when you're engaging in it, but there are consequences.

To recap: Adultery: it's fun! Oh, wait, it sucks.  There are consequences, repentance, and God is mentioned, but I'm not shooting for a Christian novel vibe. I really don't know if there would be any sort of audience at all for this book with the mix of sassy & Christian I'm working. There's no salvation prayer uttered, OH, and there's swearing.  Just a little.  I'm trying to portray real people that are also Christians trying to live their lives. 

I've asked a couple people what they think of the general concept & whether it's okay for me to be writing this book.  The stupidity of me? I never asked God about it until yesterday.  Here's the assuming part: I got the idea at the beginning of this year and actually started writing it back then.  And this month, I've been cranking on it and really enjoying it.  So, I assumed that because I had the inspiration and it was flowing, that God was okay with it. 

But yesterday, 6 of us were walking (limping) back to the car after our half marathon, and suddenly decided to go to church.  The worship was rocking, so we went a-knocking.  It was great and beautiful, and our stinky butts decided to stay for the whole service.  (Seriously- we were still in our nasty race clothes, numbers on our shirts, medals around our necks.)  The pastor was talking about hearing from God and told us all that God would be telling us something during service.  He spoke of different things you could hear: Stop, Pause, Rewind, or Fast Forward.  These corresponded to (duh) stopping something you may be doing, pausing and seeing if maybe you're doing something for the wrong reasons or rushing headlong into your own plans, the need to completely repent and get on a different path, or the word to go ahead and jump. 

What I think was my word from God was an exact sentence that the pastor said: Press the pause button and bring it into the light.  And, really, I wanted to kick myself.  How was it that I was talking to other people about it and not God? Duh, Robin.  Duh. 

So, I've put it before God.  I haven't gotten an answer yet, and I'm going to wait a bit and see if I get a yes or a no.  It may be that it's fine, but I needed to stop and think and bring God into it more, or I may need to stop.  We'll see. 

Friday, November 13, 2009

God is funny when he gives you the smackdown

Well, I guess I didn't get an actual smackdown today, but more along the lines of God whistling a bit, sidling up and sliding something into my view.

So, I'm minding my own business this morning, fixing to read James (favorite!) both for a paper and to spend some time in The Word™, and I see 2 Thessalonians.  "Hmmmm," I think.  "I need to find a passage for my exegetical paper, and I don't really spend much time in 2 Thess (I can call them that) and don't really know what it's about, so I'll read that today.  Good idea, Robin!"

The title for this blog entry should be a link to 2 Thessalonians online.  Go ahead, read it.  But only if you read my angry, quite sure of itself post on Revelation.  I'll wait.

Didja read it?  Did you laugh? *sigh*  So, I think I'm going to pick something out of there to write my paper on, just so I can try to figure it out.  For those of you who didn't read it and would like me to just go ahead and tell you what I'm talking about: it's all about what we would call the Anti-Christ, End Times freakishness, and Jesus punishing people.

Of course, I didn't read about 1 Thess. for class when I was supposed to because I was being lazy.  You can bet your bottom dollar, though, that I'm going to get my textbook next time I feel like getting out of this chair and I am going to expect Achtemeier, Green, and Thompson to explain the stuffing out of this book.

It really does feel like what I've learned about Apocalyptic literature: Paul says that he's encouraging a church going through trials and tribulations, so it makes sense that the drama would be amped up about God's saving power and how good will triumph.  But being that it doesn't have the imagery and clear craziness of Revelation, it makes it even more confusing when he talks about the man of lawlessness, etc.  Especially since I can't easily read it as referring to a historic situation.

*sigh*  It doesn't really surprise me at all anymore when I think that I finally have something figured out about God and then find out I'm wrong.  It should surprise me even less when things about the Bible confuse me, but I guess that since it is a physical thing that can be studied and examined somewhat, I keep thinking we'll be able to wrestle it down.  Even though I also know that it isn't possible, my insane human brain keeps trying.  Oh well.

Monday, November 09, 2009

I'm writing about Revelation now...

...because i told you I would. So I am, but I'm not completely in the mood. Of course, I often start posts thinking that I'm not going to write much, but then they end up flowing right out of me. So here goes.
I'm talking about the book of the Bible, folks. The End Times. Mark of the Beat and all that rot. And, no, I'm not using "all that rot" in a twee sort of lazy way, I mean it. It's rot. Garbage. A load of crap that I've been sold most of my life, and I'm angry.

I was raised to take Revelation very literally, or at least to take what certain preachers, authors, and movie makers said about it very literally. I was told that things were very clear: the world was going to get worse and worse. There would be pressure on Christians to get the Mark of the Beast, and the government or corporations were going to be very sneaky about it- it could simply be your debit card that you used in the future cashless society, but it would most likely end up being a barcode or something- always including 666- that was tattooed or somehow implanted in your arm or forehead.

Debit cards weren't around back in the '80s, so the idea seemed much more sinister. Of course, we were also told that it will all make sense- the one world government, the cashless society. It would all be logical and seem to be for the best of society, but we faithful few must remain vigilant! We would have to refuse to get the mark or else we weren't going to heaven. I mean, you could possibly repent at some point, and as long as you chopped your arm off or otherwise maimed yourself to get off the offending mark, you could go to heaven a proud sufferer.

So I was always questioning whether or not I was Ready. Ready to not deny Jesus, even if someone held a gun to my head. Ready to run- across rooftops, over water, wherever we needed to hide from the Anti-Christ and his minions who wanted to get us for not getting the Mark. Ready to scavenge for food and shelter because we couldn't buy anything anymore without the Mark.

And what if I wasn't taken in the Rapture? You see, there is variety on when, exactly, the Rapture will happen. Before the Tribulation? In the middle of it? After? Who knows? Well, some people really think they do. But just in case, I needed to be ready for some rough times ahead. Get my game face on. Don't be afraid of torture and guillotines. (Yes. Guillotines.)

Why, do you ask, have I chosen to shed my hopes for this triumphant future? My answer is eleventy-fold, but I'll just share a couple with you:

  • People who promote these beliefs talk as this sequence of events is all quite clear in Scripture. NOTHING IS CLEARLY LITERAL IN REVELATION. John's language even shows us that he's not providing us with a snapshot. Most of his descriptions are really just comparisons where he's trying his best to paint a picture of things he couldn't really describe. "A loud voice like a trumpet," or "the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald..."
  • This is the same sort of language found a)throughout the OT and b)in Apocalyptic literature. Yes, there is a genre of Apocalyptic that existed centuries before Tim LaHaye got in the game. This genre was usually written in a time of persecution or crisis and was meant to encourage whatever group was targeted to stand up and be strong. It stirs up hope and belief that God sees and is truly in control. Look back at Isaiah and Jeremiah, for example. Do you take what they say to be literal, word for word truth? Did the stars fall from the sky at the fall of Tyre?
  • Revelation is also prophecy, which does NOT always mean that it is predicting the future. Prophets have the role of speaking God's words, calling the people back to obedience, and explaining God's point of view on matters. Revelation could very likely be showing God's point of view on the persecution under the Roman Empire that was taking place at the time it was written.
  • Rome. Much of what is in Revelation can quite easily, with very little decoder-ring action, apply to Rome. The woman sitting on 7 hills is clearly Rome, the number 666 would have very clearly referred to Nero to the recipients of this letter. Hmm, I wonder if Roman money had a picture of the Emperor on it?
  • Revelation is a letter. A letter written by someone who knew the situations in these churches and was writing to chastise some and encourage others. If the entire thing was meant as a riddle that only we geniuses in the 21st century could figure out, how would that have helped the early Christians being killed for not worshiping the Emperor?
  • In the parts that are clearly addressing the 7 churches, many of the things that some take to be code are really just inside jokes. Laodicea had their water brought downhill via pipes from the hot springs of Heirapolis. It was lukewarm by the time it got to them and got stinky, sulfury, and sick-making when it was stored in their cisterns. "Satan's throne" in Pergamum refers to a gigantic, frigging altar built to Zeus on a hill above town. It's in a museum in Berlin. It would be like referring to the Sonoma Aroma when writing to us here.

It was in my Systematic Theology class a couple years ago that I realized that many, many Christians don't take Revelation literally. And I was floored. I couldn't believe that there were other ways to look at The End Times and, for the first time in my life, I felt like I had permission to be optimistic. Like it's not naïve of me to want things to change for the better, or to work for peace, or to not be afraid of a charming world leader.

Does this mean that Revelation has nothing to offer modern readers? Not at all. The lessons for the 7 churches are still valid for us today, and it is important to remember that God has a different perspective on life in the world than we do. We get caught up in our daily problems or blessings, not always realizing that there are strong spiritual ramificatons to our actions or that things are very different for people down the road or across the globe. Revelation reminds us that God will wipe away every tear and that we will overcome not through violence and fighting but through the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.

eta: Of course, since it is so ingrained in me, I reserve the right to keep one eye open and freak the hell out if things start lining up as predicted by Kirk Cameron. I rail against manipulation, fear-mongering, and much authority, but I'm not completely stupid.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Baby, it's dark outside.

I'm a little torn about this daylight savings time stuff. First of all, I'm not up in the morning to enjoy that misplaced hour, so it saves me diddly-squat. Secondly, it cramps the running style, being that my neighborhood isn't all that hot in the safety arena.

On the other hand, it does feel a little cozy to be home and snuggle up with my man when it's dark out. And going out at night feels a little more special, like we're actually doing something, even if it's just going to the grocery store. The problem is that I'm much less likely to want to leave the house once I'm cozy and snuggly at home in the dark.

When we first moved here, I was so disappointed to find that it got dark early here in the winter. I thought, "No! It's sunny California!" Hopes were dashed and all that. I'm used to it now, and I'm ready for winter. Maybe it won't be 80 degrees soon.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Self-Righteous Thought You Have to Deal With

I'm very glad that my faith isn't based on who I'm against.

I don't want Christianity to be about Us vs. Them, even though it's so very easy to get caught up in that. I find myself creeping (or running full-tilt) into Us vs Them with other Christians, and I have to constantly repent and correct my course.

But our command is to love God with everything in us and to love other people as much as we love ourselves. That means that we care about their feelings and opinions and that we want to protect people as much as is possible. Our needs aren't supposed to come first at all. We are supposed to be respectful and get along with people. Why are so many Christians not doing this? It really hurts my heart. A lot.

Could I be missing the boat sometimes or "soft on sin"? I'm certain that I am, but I also know that other than the moments when my head wants to explode from the hard-headed things I see Christians do (read: post on facebook), I don't live my life afraid and angry like many of them do, and I'm going to take that as a sign from the Holy Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-23 (New International Version)

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Again, I'm really afraid of being smug or self-righteous. I'm just trying to express myself and in that expression, check myself and clarify my thoughts. I want to believe what's right. It's kind of like I'm talking it out with you. Feel free to correct me in love, as long as you're willing to listen, too, and possibly be changed.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Funny Animal Things from the Weekend

These are some cute things I saw this weekend:

A deer looking both ways before crossing part of a parking lot.

An apparently polite bear that opened our car doors, gently took what it wanted, then left. (Saw the muddy evidence, not the bear.)

Another dog standing at the screen door wanting my dog to go out and play.

Those dogs acting just like two little boys- egging one another on, racing one another & cutting each other off, jumping in the river, knocking things over, and generally not listening.

A raven sneaking up on a deer & scaring it, then following it and continuing to hector it.

My little dog trying to stealthily get into the house with a big bone without the big dog seeing it, even though she can barely get the correct leverage working for her so she can walk with it.

Various deer seeming to pose for pictures for us tourists.

A squirrel got into one of the dining halls, and some foreigners who apparently don't have squirrels in their country tried to feed and pet it. "What did you do on your vacation?" "Got rabies!"

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A friendly reminder about Labels

or Tags. Since I'm not a fan a labels, hardy-har-har. My tagging is far from complete. I haven't tagged all my older posts, and sometimes I'll come up with a new label for one post that probably applies to old ones, but I'm not motivated enough yet to go through them all.

As you were, & I'm as I am- looking for a good, short, streaming yoga workout to do right now. Then bed. Then YOSEMITE!! Fall colors, rushing waterfalls, granite cliffs, bears- it's great!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

An Angry Article that I Didn't Write

But that I really, really like. It's on health care, it's very one-sided, opinionated, & strong.
You don't have to read it. I'm just putting the link here.
Evan Handler on Health Care.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Student Video from CHIC!!!

I mentioned in my CHIC post from August that some of our students made the winning video for the short film contest. It's very funny, and I hope you like it. The guy who plays the coach is Nunan, who helps lead youth, leads the college group that I work with, and Seth & I are in a small group with him & his wife. The other guys are Mark (the creator- tall w/red hair, interviewer), Agazy (the runner), JJ (foreign thumbs-up guy at end), and Zech (wearing a hat; runner's friend).

Friday, October 16, 2009

#vocabularyfail

I have been misusing "chagrin." Now is the proper time for its use.

–noun
1. a feeling of vexation, marked by disappointment or humiliation.


I suppose that I do use it in the disappointment way, but not really. I thought it was more like wistful sadness or something.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I love friends!

Uh-oh. This was going to be about specific friends and bonding, but it might turn into a long-winded treatise on why I love facebook and twitter. You've been duly warned. Oh, and I just thought of another friend-themed rant. Woah. Focus, robeena. Pick one and move on.

Okay, today's topic is: we need more words in English for "friend." Alternatively, I need to grow up. The issue is that I am a fairly affectionate person who also happens to need a decent amount of affirmation herself. (It is quite natural that these things go hand-in-hand. My #2 love language is "words of affirmation," so I give that easily.) So I find myself calling this person or that "my best friend" or "one of my best friends." Then I also have to qualify that with "in California" or "in the whole, wide UNIVERSE," or some such 3rd grade nonsense.

Why do I do this? I think part of it is that, especially when introducing someone to "one of my best friends," I want to emphasize how special this person is to me. I'm trying to express that I love this person a whole lot and I'm excited for you to meet them. I just with there was a less childish way of doing it.

People mean things to me in different ways. Obviously, Seth is my best friend, period. I suppose that my sister would be next. But from there it starts to get confusing. There are long-time friends who have known me forever. There are friends who have been there through thick and thin. There are the people that I can rely on in any situation. There are the handful of people that I could talk to for days on end with no break and we'd still be having a great conversation. There are the friends that know me and I can just be near them and be completely myself with no walls. There are the few people out here in CA who I feel I have a lot in common with and with whom I can be sarcastic and watch TV. Obviously, some of these categories overlap, but all of these people are precious to me, and I want everyone to know it.

Maybe I should start collecting foreign words for "friend." There have to be words for some of these things out there. Of course, I would still have to explain the word to someone if I used it in public, but I think it would make my heart smile to have a word for just what someone means to me.

Monthly Check-In

Good golly, I haven't written here at all this month! Happy October, friends. It's my birthday month.

The month has been a bit odd. Not bad, but just off slightly. It started with Seth out of town. He went to Houston to be with his family and to see Metallica without me. sigh. At least his brother loved the concert enough that he bought tickets for the show in December out here, and I get to go!

The whole time Seth was gone, and up until today, too, I've been sick. Not any sort of horrible, flu, oh-I'm-going-to-die sick, but, possibly, one of the most annoying illnesses I've had. For over two weeks now, I've had headaches and nausea that ebb and flow. Quite frustrating. So, while I can pretty much carry on with life as usual, I'm not myself. I'm tired, and I'm in pain. I did go to the doctor to make sure I don't have a tumor or anything, and the nurse said it's some sort of viral syndrome. She also mentioned that I should go back if it kept going for 14 days, but I haven't done that. It's not quite as constant as it was before, so I figure it's slowly leaving. I'm done catering to it.

So, Seth was gone, and I lazed about and didn't eat a full meal once while he was gone. I had an excellent walk/run with some friends over two weeks ago, then my legs got very angry with me and I decided to see a massage therapist to work on them. I've seen her three times now, and I really think she's making a big difference in my shins. I'm going to give running a try today at the gym, so I'll let you know.

Seth got home the morning of Stephanie & Ken's wedding, but we thought we had plenty of time. For months now, I was certain that the wedding was at 3pm. So I picked Seth up, we stopped at a couple stores on the way home, and happily dealt with San Francisco traffic. Once home, we were very much looking forward to a quick nap before the wedding, especially because Seth had been up all night. Before said nap, I decided to look at the invitation again just to make sure I had the time right. The time was 12:52, and the wedding was at 1:30. Oof.
Thankfully, we were both able to look adorable in a timely manner. That's how we roll.

The wedding was lovely. It was much more formal than I'm used to in a high church sort of way. Though it didn't feel very personalized, it did feel holy and special in a way that most weddings do not. There was a lot of scripture and reading of things together; lots of mention of Jesus. It really presented the marriage as something sacred and serious, and that was great.

The reception was beautiful, but cold. It was a cool, windy day, and we were outside. By the time dinner was being served, I had jeans on under my dress, Katie had temporarily borrowed a coat from one of Steph's lovely co-workers, and I had also doled out sweatshirts for Sara and Jenny to put over their arms. With both Seth and I being so tired, and I wasn't feeling good anyway, we left during the groom-mom dance. Asleep o'clock was 10:30. It was fabulous.

On my birthday, we started our new small group Bible study, and it was great. Our new-ish friends made fajitas for dinner, got me a gift card to Outback (in a Twilight card with an Edward bookmark!), and an ice cream cake. They really went too far, but I felt so loved. They are really great and I look forward to getting closer with them and knowing them in the Bible study context.

And as if that wasn't enough, I had a spur of the moment girls' weekend with the friend who introduced me & Seth! She's got quite the full plate in her life right now, and needed a getaway, so she flew out from TX and requested WINE!! We had a lovely time in SF and Sonoma, and it was good to spend time together.

Other than that? Hurt my knee driving around. I'm currently babying that. Taught at the college group for the first time, and that was great. I ended up connecting with someone that I never thought I would, so that was a God thing. High school group going great, class is awesome, and we're going to Yosemite for 4 days next weekend!

Next post won't be so diary-like, I swear.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My dogs are so cute.

I really need to take my camera next time I take the dogs to the soccer/baseball fields. For one, Tootsie is ridiculously happy when we're there. It's so cute to see her fat little butt prancing and running through the grass. Her tail is constantly wagging and she wanders here and there.

Underwood, of course, loves it. Let me tell you, ChuckIt is the best invention for big dog owners. I love launching that ball and Underwood loves getting it. He's usually quite good at noticing which way I'm facing with it and knows where it's going, but sometimes he misses it. Then, I have to start trekking out to the general area, barraging him with, "Look! Nope! Look! Go look! Almost! That's it!" until he finds it. Sometimes, he's very good at it, and I think, "Wow, if we just worked a bit, we could do those outdoor trials where he goes and finds a duck or something." Other days, he wanders back and forth and I think, "Wow. You're kind of dumb sometimes."

Today, he was very funny. You see, he can drink out of a human drinking fountain, and has done so at this park a couple times. I was trying to get him to get in the car, but he just stood there by the fountain staring at me, until I finally went over and let him get some water. I just thought it was funny that he remembered what the fountain was and was telling me what he wanted.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Who goes there?

Hey- person from church who has visited my blog. Identify yourself!


spyhole Pictures, Images and Photos

Oh, and hi!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Acts 2 & Communal Living- A Rule for Us?

Here is the text for the mini-sermon that I gave in class last week. I've tried to tweak it a bit to make it more true to what I said in class, because I didn't just read it, but I still want it to make sense & flow here. And yes, the fonts are a little wacky.

One of the topics which comes up whenever people talk about the early church is the matter of communal living. Acts 2 ends with this :

All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

What strikes me in reading this is the joy that radiates from the words. The picture is one of a happy, joyful group of people who enjoy being together and love one another. We also see this in chapter 4:

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.

Right after this, when Barnabas is singled out as an example of one who sold land and gave the money to the apostles, Luke seems to be giving a glowing recommendation of that behavior.


The way many people ask about this is with the question “Is itprescriptive or descriptive?" Last week, Shawn actually mentioned the Beatitudes, and asked whether those are descriptive or prescriptive, which is something I’ve struggled with a lot in the past.

Maybe I’m just slow, but I always read them and thought they were a prescriptive list of how I’m supposed to be if I want to be a good Christian. Some made perfect sense- when I mourn, I’ll be comforted. Easy. More perplexing were the ones like, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” What does that even mean? Am I supposed to be unhappy or I won’t get heaven? How much is enough hungering and thirsting for righteousness? The one that stressed me out the most was always, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Meek is not a word that many would use to describe me, and I was worried that God wanted me to change my whole personality to make him more happy; to serve him better.

What I finally realized is that the Beatitudes- heck, the Bible- they aren't about ME. It's all about God. The Beatitudes are Jesus describing what God is like; what he does. God does comfort those who mourn, he lets the meek inherit big, he fills those who hunger for him, and he shows mercy to the merciful.

Is this an exhaustive list of those who are blessed? No, but it does show us what God is like. Do I need to get to pry all boldness out of my personality so that I can inherit the earth? No, but I can be open to times when my boldness may not be the Lord’s boldness and I should try being meek. Am I feeling empty and alone? I’m probably hungering and thirsting for the wrong things. If I want mercy shown to me, I need to be merciful. It’s how God works.

Which brings us back to the early church. Was their selling of property and living together prescriptive? No, because we see in Acts 5 and the story of Ananias & Sapphira that they had a choice in the matter. In Verse 4, Peter tells Ananais this about the land and the money: Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? They were not required to sell their land. After selling, they still could have changed their minds and kept the money, even then. They could have decided that they were going to keep half and give half to the church, and that would have been fine, too.

So, if it’s not a rule, then we’re being told what the church was like. It’s descriptive- we don’t have to do it.

But looking at the church in Acts, we can’t separate out the verses about their views on life from the ones that talk about what God was doing in their midst. They’re embedded right in there, like 4:33, where the Apostles were testifying and “much grace was upon them all.” In chapter 2, they were gaining favor with the people and people were coming to know Jesus every day.

God has frequently been bringing these concepts up to me lately- poverty, possessions, “my” money, community. I recently heard Dave Gibbons, pastor of NewSong in Irvine, speak, and he said that one of the steps to take if you want a revolution is communal living. Consider sharing a home, or at least living in the same neighborhood or on the same street with other believers. Have open doors to your neighbors. Do life together. Our faith is not lived out alone- we all know that we are made for community – most of the New Testament talks about how we are to interact and live out our faith with one another. Are we so attached to what is ours that we’re not providing where we could and that we’re not being sacrificial or community-oriented at all?

Ananias and Sapphira wanted to look pious while not actually being generous, and they thought they could fool God. I think that, sadly, that is how many of our churches can be described in America.

My desire is that you think, pray and remain open to what God might want to change and be more supportive of in our ways and our churches. If the awesome things we see in Acts are simply a description of what the early church was doing, fine. But how would Luke or someone in your neighborhood describe you and your church?

I’d like to take the middle line here and say that it’s both. For our times, let’s think of it like a doctor prescribing medicine so that we can get well. Are you helping to affect lives? Is your church changing your city? Maybe it is- great. Are you obsessed with your possessions, your house, the money that you earn? Perhaps some aspect of communal living is the prescription you need to look into, to move outside of your comfort zone, so that you can be described more like what we see in Acts.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Mmmmmmmassage!

As I often do after a big, physical challenge, I got a massage today. I went to the Calistoga Massage School, which I've visited a few times in the past. ($49 for an hour, baby!) I was planning on getting a deep tissue massage, but the person I was scheduled with isn't trained in that. I asked her about it, though, and it seems that the deep tissue is where they pry your muscle from your bones and hurt you. Not what I want the day after a 1/2 marathon, but someday.
Last time I got a post-race massage, the woman who did it was not firm enough at all. It was more like a frou-frou relaxing massage, when I needed elbows dug into the muscles. Today, the wonderful Victoria (I think. Colbert made me lose my concentration just now) gave me the best massage I've ever had, with the perfect amount of pressure. I actually had to tell her to ease up on one of my arms, but it was otherwise perfect. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Yum!

I made a grown-up and innovative (for us) dinner tonight! Pasta salad (easy basic recipe to dress up). Some crazy kind of frilly macaroni, chicken, marinated bean salad from TJ's (italian), little tomatoes, basil (which I don't like in larger doses, I realize), some pecorino cheese, and a little caesar dressing. Yum yum yum. I want more now, but I want to take some tomorrow for lunch.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I Quit!

I'm done trying to quantify, categorize, and define God. Lately, almost every time I try to make a definitive statement about "God does X" or "God isn't Y" or even "I believe that God..." I realize that I also believe a contradictory statement. And the beauty is that, as a good post-modern, I can live with that. I hate labels and boxes, but they're so hard to resist.

But ever since I watched Rob Bell's Everything Is Spiritual (I highly recommend it), I've been wrestling with the Both/And aspects of God. I've been focusing on balance for a long time now- almost 7 years- and that helps with a lot of things, but that was primarily about personal behavior and what God wants from us. This Both/And thing is about Who God Is.

I often find myself arguing in my head with Christians that I disagree with. I think, "But God is love and you're trying to make him hateful!" Or I get mad at people who focus too much on following rules or acting a specific way to please God. I think that I have it all figured out and that the way that I see God is the better way, the truer way. But maybe God is Both. And. He wants us to love one another silly and be forgiving and trusting and generous, but he also wants us to obey him and stop sinning and focus on fearing him once in a while. Or at the same time.

"I don't believe" that everything that happens is God's will. I believe that we have free will and that Satan is in charge of a lot down here, or we are. "I believe" that God's kingdom breaks in from time to time either through our actions- it's what we're supposed to be doing- or through his deciding to act in a clearly visible way. But I also believe that God is in charge of my life, if I let him do so. I believe that God is bigger than the economy and I don't have to worry because I'll always be taken care of, even if it's not in the way that I expect.

So, am I a hopelessly confused hypocrite? I don't think so. I think that God can be both of these things. I believe more and more in the mysterious nature of God and that he is fully capable of being two apparently (to humans) contradictory things at the same time. I believe that he acts in our lives and cares about everything we do and also that some things just happen because that's the way the world works. Which is which and why? I don't know. Maybe that's a cop-out.

No matter the doubts and questions I have, I do believe that I know God, or a part of him. So my human self has to try to make sense of things, even while attempting to let go of making sense of everything.


From Ch. 5 of Alice in Wonderland

`I ca'n't believe that!' said Alice.

`Ca'n't you?' the Queen said in a pitying tone. `Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.'

Alice laughed. `There's no use trying,' she said `one ca'n't believe impossible things.'

`I daresay you haven't had much practice,' said the Queen. `When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

Friday, August 14, 2009

They Did It!!


Friends, I'm too tired to compose a thoughtful post, but I wanted to write a little about The Time Traveler's Wife.

As some of you may know, The Time Traveler's Wife is my #2 favorite book of all time, after Jane Eyre. When I first heard that they were making a movie, I was pleased, of course, but also worried. I mean, how many adaptations of books that you love really end up working how you want them to? Plus, the lead actors didn't strike me as the best picks- too pretty or something on both counts, even if I do adore Rachel McAdams. Eventually, though, my hope grew and grew, which is often dangerous- expectations can be nasty. I was downright excited to see it today when it opened.

Well, it was awesome. Wonderful. Heart-breaking. The best book adaptation I've ever seen. It's true that I haven't read the book in a couple years, but I didn't feel like anything was missing or changed too much. Yes, they changed the ending a little bit, but I can see why. What they did made a little more sense than what happened in the book, and they actually made it somewhat happier (as far as that is possible) at the very end. They basically made it tighter, while still showing what was necessary, and they also cut out a bit of plot that always made me mad, anyway.

I did have a bit of a problem getting past the brand-name actors, but eventually they became Henry & Clare. As soon as I saw Ron Livingston as Gomez, I thought he inhabited him well, though his character is much less active in the movie than in the book. That's fine, though, because Gomez is a bit of an ass who I often want off the page.

Overall: see it. I'll see it again, but I'll take kleenex this time. I'll buy it; torture my husband into watching it (but he has read the book so knows what he's in for). Thank you, Audrey Niffenegger for a beautiful book, and thank you, New Line, for not ruining it!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Monday, August 03, 2009

Here, let's make this easier:

I don't like live music.
I don't like poetry.
I don't like short stories.


There. Are these 3 things absolutely true 100% of the time? No. There are plenty of bands I want to see- but almost never in an "intimate" setting (I detest live music in restaurants, bars, or coffee shops); there are plenty of poems I find beautiful, but I don't really want to read that many that other people find or like; and short stories, well, there are actually very few of those that I enjoy that weren't written by Neil Gaiman.

In conclusion: These are good rules of thumb for interacting with me. Know them, love them, good friends, of course, can test me on them from time to time with little negative repercussions.

Friday, July 31, 2009

A few things I forgot about CHIC

One is that we packaged food for the organization Feed My Starving Children, and it was wonderful. I sat at a table and labeled food bags, which I'm thankful for. I am glad that I didn't bag the food itself, because I would have cried, I'm sure. The small bags we were making contained 6 meals, and will probably be the only things the recipients will eat. Every day. All the time. I wouldn't have wanted to eat it! I know that it was designed to be nutritionally balanced, but it smelled like dried soup for camping (it basically is that, with rice) and I realize that I actually have the choice to not eat that. I'm overweight because I can eat whatever I want. Watch the video on their site to see pictures of kids before and after receiving this food. In the two hours that we were packing food, we packaged something like 15,000 meals. It was amazing. Why don't you donate or buy a shirt?

The other thing that was great was the rain. We Californians don't get summer rain, and we mostly don't get thunderstorms at all, so it was wonderful to have thunder and lightening and lots of rain. I got caught in our biggest storm, and it was fine with me. I was on the other side of campus, trying to get a free massage for the adult leaders, when I had to head back to meet with my girls before dinner. It was raining very hard, and at first that wasn't great because it wasn't too hot out, for once. Thankfully, I was wearing my Tevas, so I was fine to run in the rain. I ran, with occasional stops at bus shelters or awnings to wipe my face off a bit. I've never run in a thunderstorm before, and it was quite fun. I was soaked to the bone, though- bra, underwear, everything. The only dry parts were two little spots on the back of my shorts that were protected by the overhang of my bodacious booty. LOL!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

CHIC

This is the first of 2 posts about my 2 weeks of mayhem. Both were great, but there's a lot to tell. The next post will cover our vacation.

Week 1: CHIC (Covenant High In Christ)- the triennial youth conference for our denomination. This was my first time attending, and it did not disappoint. Well, I would have liked to bond a little bit more with my girls, but oh well.

We all had our fabulous matching t-shirts at the airport bright & early on Saturday morning, so that we could more easily keep track of our group of 42. (This picture was taken on our last day, waiting for the flight home. Thanks, Susie.) The CHIC logo is the weird yellow thing, so our staff designed PacMan themed shirts because of the resemblance.

After hanging out at the airport for quite a while, we boarded our plane to Nashville, with all of us taking up the rear of the plane. I was in the very back row with a girl who had never flown before and one of my sweet girls who brings nothing on flights with her because she wants to talk. (And I complain about not bonding!) We tease each other about that.

We rented minivans in Nashville & spend the night in town, taking over a local restaurant for dinner, followed by the swarming of the hotel pool. The next day, we drove to Knoxville, which was a beautiful drive to a cute town.

We stayed in dorms, which were fine. All the kids roomed together, and adults roomed together. That was nice. The campus is HUGE and Tennessee is HOT, so there was weight loss, for sure. Lots of sweating and walking. Even at 8 in the morning, we were sweaty. I love the South, but I'm glad I live in CA where there's dry heat.

Each day consisted of breakfast in a nearby dorm, followed by 2 group sessions somewhere else on campus dealing with the topics of relating to yourself, to God, to the World, and to Others. Most of them were very good. One dealt with faking it and putting on masks, another was a great worship session that felt very real & jam-like. Another had an exercise about judging people that was good, and there was also a day educating us on human trafficking (there is a LOT of it. Seriously).

The afternoons were filled with free time for the kids to do anything they wanted, including a number of excursions. There were sports tournaments of all kinds, chess, crafts, swimming, water slides, bowling, bands playing outside. It was great. I mostly wandered with Susie (blue tank top on the left above), and sometimes tried to take a nap. One day, though, I did run into town (really, I ran. It was hot.) to buy Harry Potter tickets, as it opened the Wednesday we were there. That afternoon, 20 of us walked/ran into downtown Knoxville to watch the movie, which was a lot of fun. Another afternoon, I went white water rafting with Susie & 3 of the girls, which was great. I had never done it before, and we had a lot of fun, especially laughing at one of our girls falling out of the raft.
The evenings were dinner in the dorm, then Main Stage, which was at the arena. About 8000 people gathered for concerts, worship, and speakers. All the speakers were very good, but I believe that Shane Claiborne was the best, and the kids loved him, too. After you look at his site, you'll say, "Of course you loved the commune-living hippie, Robin!"

We also saw the David Crowder Band, which was more fun than I expected; Flyleaf, which was very loud and I took too long to start dancing and get into it; Israel Houghton & New Breed, which I loved due to nostalgia for his leading worship at Lakewood; and Third Day, who I liked and respected much more than I thought I would do. Also, on the first night, the daughter of our speaker, Erwin McManus, played with her band, Glare of Rockets, which is my new favorite band. (When you listen on myspace, know that live her voice didn't feel so sweet & they were much more dark & wall-of-sound feeling. She's like a mixture of Paramore & Mazzy Starr.)

Some of our students won the short film contest, and the video doesn't appear to be his youtube page, so I'll post it later. It was pretty funny. People learned, cried, bonded, grew. It was good. We were at Main Stage until at least 11pm every night, and ate pizza every night after. Got about 6 hours of sleep or less, sweated, trekked, had a good time. I got a foot massage in the airport before our departing flight, which was lovely. I'll definitely go again, but hopefully, a bunch of us won't get sick next time.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Politics: Okay, the gloves are off! (you've been warned)

This post is not going to be super well-thought out, balanced, or probably even grammatical. This is an unloading of things I've mostly kept in for the past 10 months or so.

Your caveats: I am not a political junkie. I never have kept close tabs on what's going on. This past presidential election was the first time I really paid a lot of attention, though I always do research and have voted since I was 18. I don't subscribe to one party or another's entire philosophy; in fact, I avoid labels whenever possible. I go to fact checking websites from time to time if a particularly whacked-out statement is made and whether it is true would affect me. I get my news primarily from The Colbert Report, The Daily Show, msnbc.com, and NPR. Not a lot of range there.

You know why I don't watch Fox News? Because, from what I see, they're freaking ignorant nutjobs. Sure, I mostly see clips that are being made fun of, but I've watched enough reality tv to know that you can't paint a picture that isn't there. When I consistently see you making dumb statements, I'm going to go ahead and believe that you're dumb.

I'm a Christian (there's my label). And I voted for Obama enthusiastically and in good conscience. I am not AT ALL the only Christian who voted for Obama. I am one of the many who saw that our country was being trashed by Bush/Cheney. I voted for Bush once. He is a Christian, and since I was raised to think Republican, I always thought of him as part of the family. Though I didn't agree with him on many things, for a long time my knee-jerk reaction would be to support him because...well, it's kind of like how you can make fun of your family or complain, but your friends or husband aren't allowed to. So, for a long time, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Over the last year or so, though, I just couldn't do it anymore. War. Torture. Environment. Business. Ugh. I seriously have to not think about it too much or I'll start crying.

Do I like Senator Obama's record on abortion? Not at all. There are some things that bug me there. President Obama hasn't done much to worry me, though. What's that? You mention the repealing of the gag order on overseas NGOs so that they can talk about abortion now? Or were you going to phrase it, "organizations that promote abortion" or "force" or something? It's a rule that has been going back and forth between presidents since Reagan. You know what REALLY ticks me off? That many Christians got all up in arms about that and posted that all over the place, but didn't even care that what really was his first act was stopping torture. That makes me a little sick. And, do tell, what did Bush do about abortion in his 8 years in office? Hmmm?

I believe that many Christians have been sold on the idea that all Republican issues=Christian issues. It's just not true. Why do you think that Jesus has an opinion on Big Business or wants to be sure you can carry a gun? Why do you think that it's okay to torture someone for the possibility of information? If we don't have to follow any rules, then there really needn't be any. We cannot talk tough on people cutting off the heads of Americans when we also think we can do whatever we want.

Someone tried to tell me that God cares about what is fair and people getting what they deserve. No. He does not. The entire premise of the Gospel is that we do NOT get what we deserve, hallelujah! We deserve death and misery, but we get freedom & heaven. Spiritual freedom. The affairs of this world don't have to enslave us or dictate our attitudes and actions. We have a different purpose, one that is not served by being divisive, screeching, self-righteous harpies.

Look at the parable of the vineyard owner (Matthew 20). He hired people in the morning at an agreed upon wage. Later that day, he hired some more people at the same wage. In the end, the people hired in the morning were ticked off that the later people got the same pay, even though they had agreed upon that as a fair wage to begin with. Yes, God takes care of us and loves us, is a great father, and gives us good things, but his definitions of "fair" and "good" are not the same as ours.

What else is clear in the Bible is that we are supposed to take care of the poor, the widows, the orphans, the aliens in our land. We are supposed to care for people at all stages of their life, not just the inception stage. Yes, churches do a GREAT job at this, much better than the government does, something that many in the media need to recognize more. But the Republican POV is very self-righteous and seems hateful. They do not appear to want to take care of anyone but themselves.

I need to wrap this up. Is President Obama a socialist. OMG. No. But you know what? I don't really care. Would I write and speak up about things that really bug me? Yes. But the system we're under or who owns GM or whatever does not affect my life as much as some people seem to think. I have other things to think about and worry about and get upset about. Calm down. Please. And stop looking down on and trying to figure out people who voted for the President. He won. You lost. Deal with it.

I will now say something good about President Bush: he did great things for Africa and combatting AIDS there and almost NOBODY noticed.

coming up soon: I tackle Prop 8. (no, really. I'm going to.)

ETA: Yes, Bush signed the partial-birth abortion ban in 2003. Thank you, Mel. I had something else more calm to say. Oh- I'm not normally like this. I agree to disagree & try to stay civil. This is just something that has been bubbling and burning for a while, and it was set off this morning by someone from H.S. making a judgmental statement about Obama supporters on facebook. I also add that any kinship or agreement I may have with some conservatives is driven away by their attitudes.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Star Trek

It does seem a bit odd to have a post about Star Trek right after/before I write about faith & death, but I'm here, at the dashboard, in a semi-writerly mood.

I had no interest at all in seeing this movie, I tell you. I am NOT a Trekkie, have a dislike bordering on loathing for Zachary Quinto due to Heroes, and was certain I would hate it. But everyone that saw it went on and on about how wonderful it is and vowed that they were not Trekkies, either. Fine.

A friend of mine with whom I see movies clearly wanted to see this. I tried to steer towards other things, but it came back to ST. Fine. I was in that precarious position where I was starting to believe the hype, which could lead to a disastrous movie-going experience. But my skepticism tempered the hype enough that I still fully expected to hate the film.

Well? I loved it. LOVED. IT. Pretty much from the very beginning, I was smiling and thinking, "I love this movie! Let's see how soon they ruin it." They never ruined it. I smiled all the way through, even liked Zachary Quinto, and cannot wait for the next one to come out. I saw it without Seth, and I asked him if he wanted to go that night and see it. We still haven't been, and it's starting to bug me.

This is how much it changed my opinion of Zachary Quinto- I actually want him to be in more movies. I would love to see him not being serious, not whispering or scowling. I want him to smile and be cute and be in a romantic comedy. I know! Sylar! It's a crazy world, I tell you.

Still not a fan

Hooray! More death to talk about!

I found out today that a girl from high school (one year ahead of me) died from breast cancer. She leaves her 5 children behind.

I don't know her anymore, but I used to. I knew her when she was young, and that's all I can picture. And now she's gone. I can see her senior picture in my mind, and I just want to cry my eyes out. She was one of the popular girls, but was always very kind, too. Smart, pretty, etc. I'm just so sad and find it hard to wrap my mind around it.

I also hear rumors of a skewed vision of faith and lack of trust in reality. I don't know if they're true, but I still pray for the hearts of her family and friends. I want them to be comforted in this crappy time that makes little sense. I don't want people who don't know Jesus to think that any time a Christian hoping for healing dies, that means God isn't there or doesn't listen.

Faith doesn't mean we always get what we want. True faith trusts that God knows what is happening and that he can use anything to his glory. Crap will happen. I seldom get it. But I know that God is real and I experience him, which outweighs my questions and doubts. I won't always get things that God allows, but I know that I certainly don't have a handle on what is best and I don't want to make God in my image of what he should and shouldn't be.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Blerg

This isn't really the post. This is more of a draft, but I'm actually publishing it so that I will be forced to write. The topics are 5-fold:

1) Star Trek
2) Dog walks & their mishaps
3) Classes
4) Loving fb & twitter
5) don't remember-but let's just say Twilight, because I promised that I would talk about it after the heavy last post I did.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Long time, no see

Hello, bloggity-blog and the readers out there. Of course, the majority of you that come here are looking for a poster of "A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste." Of course, you fine folks won't even see this post, because you'll be taken to an older one where I had a link to said poster. Others of you are looking for Bible verses about sleep. Hopefully, you were taken directly to that post, too. If not, hi! Welcome.

I don't have lots of terribly deep things to say, but it's a downright crime that I haven't written in so long. So, as I sit here, avoiding reading for class and suffering the effects of eating ENTIRELY too many apple chips, I shall recap a bit of life.

As you my know, my sister and brother-in-law lost their daughter in January. That really sucked. I have realized that I haven't really gone through the mourning process before, because this hit me differently than I expected. I suppose that when my grandma died, she had been sick, and she was old-ish, so it wasn't as horrible. I was mighty sad, but there wasn't a lot of confusion or back and forth about it. Just the knowledge that death sucks.

But with Adi's death, it was different. It has hit me in ways that I still don't even realize-just this past Sunday, I was telling someone about what happened and I cried again. I'm sad that this little girl died and that she was sick, but I'm mostly sad for my sister & bro-i-l. I hate the pain that my sister went through, the fear that my bro-i-l had to face, the sadness that they feel in their souls and bodies.

I want it all to make sense. To work out. To be clear. I wanted to find the magic bullet answer in the Bible so I could tell her that THIS, James 17:8 (no such verse) or the theological construct of God's providence and blah-blah is what will make it align, make life (and God) look fair, and will make the sun shine. I actually was pretty desperate for that for a while. I read, I asked pastors and friends, and I prayed and cried. And this was all more than a month after she died.

I knew that grief was a roller-coaster, but I didn't think I was going to be on it. But mine is definitely a kiddie ride compared to my sister's. I've had to learn to step back and let them ride theirs, and that I can't control it. Every up or down isn't their final landing place. They'll get wherever "there" is, and God is with them, whether or not they always see him or hear him.

But we're all doing better now. Well, most of us. They're going to be okay. I'm not worried, at least not today. Pharmaceuticals and C.S. Lewis have helped a lot.

This is from A Grief Observed, and it blew me away:
God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t. In this trial He makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. He only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down.



So, I guess I got deep after all. I'll write about Twilight next time.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Like I Said

I went to the gym today and saw THREE people from church. I love where I live. It's not too small, like a tiny town where everyone knows your business, but it's also not so big that there are lots of any one kind of business, so you're likely to run into people you know when running errands, etc.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

People on the Street

I'm revisiting an old topic here: seeing people I know out and about. Why it pops up again today is because I'm back in California after being in Michigan for almost a month. What I realized in MI is that, even though I'm from there, I currently know more people here and live in a smaller town, so my chances of seeing someone I know out in public are actually smaller in MI than here.

It was almost sad for me to be at the mall or something in MI, see a group of teenagers, and have there be no chance that I knew them. That's weird now. It was lonely and surprising to go to Costco and not run into anyone I knew. (Disclaimer: I did see someone I knew at Costco one time in MI. I'm speaking in generalities, people!)

I'm back home now, and the flipside of this occurs to me, as it did a couple years ago: I'm not going to see anyone from my past here. I'm not going to squint at someone who walks into a restaurant and suddenly realize that it's an old friend or some random guy I had a crush on in college. Here, if I see someone I know, I am currently friends with them and there's no real surprise to see them. We'll talk. It will be normal. That's both a relief and a little bit boring.

Friday, February 13, 2009

A new conviction

I am pretty. Despite the fact that I don't take the best pictures, I'm pretty. I know this. I don't need to constantly second-guess and compare myself to other people.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Have I mentioned that I don't want kids?

I thought I may have done so.

I'm in MI for about a month visiting family. Circumstances are kind of grim: my sister was in the hospital, 6mos pregnant w/her first baby, complications ensued. I came to be w/her, she had an emergency c-section and the baby died after an hour. But I'm not talking about all that right now.

It's cold here, really cold, and this house is quite full. Me, mom, dad, sister, brother-in-law, grandma, and 3 year old nephew. Another sister flits in and out, while another, the mother of the kid, calls and calls. This is a small house. I hang out in the basement, and every step taken upstairs sounds like elephants stampeding.

My life? My cozy life w/husband and dogs in California? My life is only loud when and if I choose. Yes, my husband ticks very loudly from time to time, but that's a 1-5 second thing. Yes, I hang out with high schoolers at church, but that's once a week, and they can be made to hush if necessary.

What am I saying? I'm saying that I've been here a week and a half, and it's high time I spent the night elsewhere. I have 17 more days. Days I'm grateful for, even if I miss my husband terribly. I'm glad to have a relaxing time with my family and friends; to not have to schedule multiple appointments on each day to try to see everyone. I think it's all God's doing that I'm even here-- I used a free ticket that we got as a result from being bumped from another free flight. I got here about 36 hours before my sister's baby died, being able to see sis in the hospital happy before that happened. My sister and brother-in-law have a house on base that will be ready for them soon, so we'll be leaving on the same day. I'm supposed to be here, and I'm supposed to be here for the time frame I have planned.

But it's still hard sometimes.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Routine Maintenance

I've started adding tags/labels to my posts, so I'm going back over them all (oh, ALL of them! the millions of posts!) and slowly adding them. So, if you start clicking on things, you're not going to find everything yet. This is a process.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Ignoring The Boss to start post 2

I'm trying to keep going. Oy, I can't go on looking at Mickey Rourke.

I believe that I doubt my commitment to these awards. If I can barely keep my finger from the skip button while watching, why would anyone, especially ones not watching, want to read my commentary? Alas, it was worth a try. I am throwing in the towel at the 16 minute mark, enjoying Simon Baker but confused by his trying to keep his accent down.

Arianna Huffington, I tried. I tried to just blog. To not edit, to just write, to put it out there. I can't do it. Thank you for your support.

Ze Golden Globe Awards

So, what I' m going to try to do here is a live commentary whilst watching the awards. Well, I'm going to start them a bit late, and I shall skip through some parts, because, c'mon, I'm not getting paid for this, I am probably bad at it, and it's for my own lulz. I'm going to try to make sense at the time. This is really an exercise in fun.

Commence!

Ooh, too much fake tanner and Greek goddess extensions on that Acess Hollywood chick.
Could the theme song be more annoying? Doubtful. Drew Barrymore's hair doubts it, too. It is large with disapproval.

J.Lo, do you have a different style of dress? I don't think you do. Good thing this one is golden.

Does Penelope Cruz have a deal with the devil? That Viola Davis is pretty.

Yay for Kate Winslet! I love her so much. And she's sitting with Leo- lovely.
Okay, now shut up.

Gah! Can I have the title of "Social Activist," or can only rich, famous, beardy people like Sting have it. I mean, I am active on social networking sites, and I also could be called a social butterfuly sometimes. I'm taking it.

Less than 8 minutes in, I want 2 follicular interventions to be done: Sting and, someone, for the love of Pete, tell Billy Ray Cyrus that his hair is unacceptable!

This isn't a very interesting post so far. May abort, abort!