Tuesday, October 26, 2010

No, I'm not dead.

I am surprised that I've gone 23 days without blogging, but I don't feel guilty.

Yes, I wanted to embrace the everyday blogging thing, but I have so much going on right now that I doing my best to prune and say "no" to as much as possible.  Apparently, feeling like I need to blog regularly is one of the things that was pruned.

Life is interesting, which is some kind of Chinese curse, right?  I kid.  We're just busy packing a bit at a time, looking for houses, and generally trying to stay calm.  Last week, we were both so blue & frustrated with the house search thing that we just had to take a couple days off from it. 

The reason all of this is happening right now is because of kids.  We want to get a place ASAP so that we can get licensed for foster care & adoption and get a kid within the first couple months of 2011.  That's the goal. 

We're working on trusting God completely with that one.  Sometimes it feels like a faith tug-of-war.  Go this way.  No! Wait!  This way.  Do this.  Now wait.  Go do this now!

This very moment, I'm having a "what's the point?" kind of moment.  I'm breathing and praying and asking God to keep talking to me and changing me in the amazing ways he's been doing this past month or two.  I don't want to confuse stepping out in faith with freaking out and trying to make things happen.  I don't want to confuse trusting God with the details with giving up and being lazy. 

I know that amazing things are happening.  I know that God is working things out in ways we cannot see.  I just have to keep reminding myself.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Smut.

What?  Oh, nothing.  I've just been lying around due to some pulled/inflamed rib muscles, and I've mostly been watching TV or movies.  Today I watched Babies and The Back-Up Plan, which I didn't realize was also about babies, I swear.  Babies was interesting, & JLo's movie was meh, as expected.  I also watched Date Night last night, which was double meh. 

I did end up staying up late last night, but I wasn't reading the book I should have been.  I may have been reading trashy romance stuff.  I'm sorry, but I was just in the mood for brain-rotting stuff with kissing.  There is no kissing in the other books I have on deck.  I had to choose. 

Friday, October 01, 2010

Cross-Cultural Ethics

Sheesh!  I read a LOT today because I had to do pretty much all of my reading for this week's class & write a small response for tonight.  Everything has been fascinating, though.

The class I'm working on right now is cross-cultural ethics and it is just mind-blowing.  Most of the case studies and examples have to do with being in a foreign culture, but we can run into those here, too.  And it's good to have a broader focus and be aware of issues that could arise.

One of the main things the books were talking about was being aware of the entire context of any proposal or anything.  For example, a people group who believes that spirits are responsible for good or bad crops won't buy into your agricultural technology just because you say it will give them a higher yield.  You have to understand their values and the narrative they have written for themselves in order to create change. 

Another example:  we had to write about whether or not we would donate money to prostitutes at a hotel who weren't making any money that week because a Christian organization had bought all the rooms in the hotel (in the context of a country with a lot of sex trafficking).  Our professor challenged us to think of the corrupt structures and sins, not just focus on these women.  They are likely trapped.  He also referred us to Luke 20, when the Pharisees tried to get Jesus to say that they shouldn't pay taxes, thereby, in the case of Israel's Roman occupation, amounting to supporting a corrupt, oppressive regime. 

It's all very interesting to think about.  No actions are performed or rise out of a vacuum and none are value-free.  There isn't really such a thing as complete neutrality.  Lots to chew on, and this is just week 1. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I guess I needed that.

I've been working so hard to mostly keep it all together lately, but I'm sitting here sobbing and it just feels great.  I needed it. 

Today has been a little heavy.  Just difficult with my rib pain, so I couldn't work out- but I did go to the chiropractor & I'll go back tomorrow.  And something could have happened today with the baby situation, but it has been put off for a month, which just stretches life thinner, in a way.  And we had our foster care class, where we talked about problem behaviors, including those related to fetal alcohol syndrome.  Just argh.  I was just thinking of my sisters the whole time and just broken for them. 

I bought a ticket to go to Michigan for three weeks in November/December, which I'm not exactly jumping up and down about, because it's just going to be really hard. 

I really want our new life to start.  So many things have to change for it to happen, and I know that God is doing his thing.  I KNOW THIS.  It's just that all this longing is so new, and as I try to move out in these directions of my own power, I keep being thwarted.  I am really having a difficult time finding a place for us to move.  We just can't afford the things we want, and so many people don't want dogs.  I believe that God has a place for us, but it is still disappointing when everywhere I turn thinking, "maybe" turns out to be a "NO."  Thinning the herd.  Narrowing the field.  It's okay. 

I got a great message on FB tonight, though.  One of my amazing high school students wrote to ask me about the court date so she could pray for me.  I'm going to miss being with them every Wednesday so much. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

info for noobs

Today is the first day of the fall quarter, so I spent a decent amount of time reading introductory messages from classmates, reading about my professor, and looking over the syllabus.  What's (possibly) neat is that we don't have lectures to watch/listen to for this class.  We're just supposed to read a bunch of stuff and write about it.  It could be good.  I didn't end up having time to start reading officially for class, but I *did* print up the list of things I'm supposed to read, so I'm halfway there, right? 

I also read a sign that I hadn't noticed my previous 2 times at yoga.  It was just a few guidelines for new attenders, and thankfully I hadn't broken any rules.  Phew!

As a noob teacher, I also read e-mails from people telling me how I should be doing everything differently.  Awesome.  I know that this is a part of life, and it gives me a lot more compassion for preachers. 

The best part of today, though, was that I had the inaugural session of my Bible study with college girls.  Tonight it was just me & one student, but we got to have a really good conversation.  I really don't care how many show up.  I'm going to make myself available & be there consistently, and they can show or not show.  Tonight we started reading Ephesians, and being that predestination is mentioned, we got to go off on a great tangent on things we find difficult & how to look at them.  It was a good night.

Other than that, I looked at insurance listings to see if a certain chiropractor I want to go to is covered.  I actually had 3 in mind: one that I found doing a search for "sports chiropractor" and 2 recommended by the local running store.  The one I found searching is covered, so I'm going to try to get into him tomorrow.  In addition to my usual back issues, my knee has really been acting up, and now I pulled a muscle in my ribs or something.  Yesterday I checked to make sure it wasn't breast cancer, today I checked symptoms of a cracked rib.  It's not cancer, fear not, and even if it is a cracked rib, there's nothing to be done about it.  I sure as heck ain't resting for long.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Magazines in the bathroom

We went to a wedding today, so I read the wedding program, but not as attentively as I have others, and I read the order of events at the reception.  After noticing that the reception was behind schedule, I was exhausted, and the dogs had been alone for 6 hours already, we ducked out of there. 

It was almost a 2 hour drive, and I wanted to drive so as to not be bored, but I needed coffee, I tell you.  The city of Ukiah was my nemesis tonight.  I got off at one exit, where there was an alleged "Coffee Critic," but I did not find it.  Have I mentioned to you that strip malls without coffee places in them should be illegal?  Also taquerías.  Anyway, no coffee at that exit, so we got back on & went down farther.  Get off there- all sorts of stores- no coffee.  I finally was able to get a passable latte from the grocery store, but it was just not the same.  GAH. 

Now I sit here, not really feeling ready for teaching tomorrow night, but being scheduled to teach tomorrow morning, then church, then an event, then a meeting, then the group at which I'm teaching.  And I'm skipping a good friends bachelorette party right now and tomorrow. 

Perhaps a bubble bath will solve anything.  Calgon makes it seem true.

Friday, September 24, 2010

My apologies

Friends, I am sorry I have been remiss in my blogging duties.  I mean, I know that you really don't care, well, other than Sommer, but I care.  I really want to have the exercise of writing every day, but I'm just so scatterbrained lately.  And tired.  And did I mention distracted? 

Some days are good, like the one I mentioned in an earlier post.  The domestic days are good.  And I've started doing some intense yoga, and that's good.  But nothing is catching my attention with reading.  I can't concentrate on the studying I'm supposed to be doing for my teaching, and I start school next week!  ACK!! 

Dear Jesus, help me to FOCUS. 

So, I'm going to ditch the vampyre book because I just don't care, and I gave it way longer than I should have.  I'm not going to read World Without End right now because it's just too big to even look at.  I did plow through an issue of Entertainment Weekly yesterday, though.  Oh, and I read the adoption information that we got in the mail and sobbed.  About the pressure, about how almost everything about our life has to change, about wanting it NOW, about all the things that need to happen beforehand, about the kids we can't adopt.  It's a lot. 

So, keep praying for us.  We really need a different place to live.  That's the first priority.  Then a different job for Seth &/or a job for me, 2 new cars.  *sigh*

Jeremiah 29:11. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

numb....limbs....and....tongue...can't barely type

I have indulged in the drink tonight & therefore cannot blog tonight.  But I really did have stuff to talk about last night.

But, alas, I'm too silly. Hasta luego.

Monday, September 20, 2010

I told you I'd be back today.

Today has been a fantabulous day, I tell you.  After getting the book from my friend, I decided to have a quiet day of cleaning and reading.  It was great.  I've read both the new book and the vampyre book, and I packed a few boxes, cleaned the kitchen & bathroom AND mopped.  AND went running with a friend AND made dinner- including a side salad.  Look at me go! 

This book, bittersweet, is really good.  It's very small chapters describing tiny pieces of her year/year and a half of brokenness.  She sees the times when she focused on the wrong thing and, like Lewis's house of cards, she realizes that her faith was never really there.  All she ever wanted was to get what she wanted, not to be molded by God. 

As I go through this tumultuous time in my life, I'm pleased to see that I'm not quite in the same place she was.  I do trust God and want to float on his waves more than I want to fight them.  This book is speaking to my heart, but it's also helping me to stand up and claim that vibrant faith I've been praying about.  I know that everything in my life right now is very good, so I need to stop moping. 

One of the most powerful chapters so far is one in which she addresses the poisonous command she once gave herself:  DO EVERYTHING BETTER.  She took each word apart and realized how she was (and many of us do) beating herself down with them.  I was happy when I realized that this was my own book and I could write in it.  I starred this section:
There is work that is only mine to do:  a child that is ours to raise, stories that are mine to tell, friends that are mine to walk with.  The grandest seduction of all is the myth that DOING EVERYTHING BETTER gets us where we want to be.  It gets us somewhere, certainly, but not anywhere worth being.
 I really love what she says are her jobs.  I love it.  I love the idea of fully inhabiting your life and seeing all parts of it as a unique vocation- not comparing yourself to others because they cannot do what you are supposed to do.  

A non-reading weekend

That's really what I had.  I just haven't been reading a lot lately, which is kind of sad.  That one vampire, pardon me, vampyre, book I'm reading has been sitting on my dresser and I hardly even read it before bed.  I've been busy and exhausted- partially from eating like crap. 

Today, though, I'm going to read.  I got a book in the mail today from a friend and I'm going to make time for it.  The book is Bittersweet by Shana Niequist, and I heard her speak briefly at the leadership summit last month.  I've been meaning to read this book, and my sweet friend knew after reading it that she was supposed to give it to someone, and she thought I could use it right now.  She's probably right.

So I'll start reading that in a few, and I'll report back later!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Verily.

I didn't get any reading done again today.  Today just flew by in a blur of tears, stress, ups and downs. 

I'm pleased that I did read my Bible, though.  That was good. 
I also read a recipe.  We made gluten-free peanut butter cookies to take to dinner at a friend's house, and they were delicious. 
As usual, I also read ads for houses & apartments on craigslist.  We're going to look at a possibility on Saturday, but other than that, nothing to fantastic yet. 

That, my friends, is Thursday's exciting blog post.  It's an exercise, y'all.  It's just stinkier sometimes than other times.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Gah! I got nuthin'!

I almost forgot to blog, but here I am, and boy-o, are you glad!

Let me think if I read anything today other than twitter & facebook....hmmm...well...no...mmm...OOOH!  I did!  I actually read a little devotional book.  I was feeling down & like I needed some good, old-fashioned, health & wealth kind of faith talk, so read my devotional book by Kenneth & Gloria Copeland.  It's in Spanish, so I also get to work my skills while spending time with God.  Double-duty.

Anyway, it was really good!  It was about the parable of the sower, specifically the soil that is fertile but the rocks & weeds & the cares of this world come up and choke out the word.  This immediately gave me a new energy and a better attitude. 
a) I need to read my Bible or have intentional time with God much more often than I have been.  It's just ridiculous.
b) I need to figure out if the weeds & rocks are just my thoughts and I need to remember the word, or if I have too much stuff crowding in on me, which makes it hard to remember the word. 

It reminded me of the idea of having defensible space around your house if you live in a fire-prone area.  I need a defensible space around my life, my health, and my relationship with God. 

I may have just made a decision.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

You know, we've talked about trashy books in the past

So I don't have to justify myself to you.

I'm reading Mr. Darcy, Vampyre.  Yes.  It's "vampyre" with a 'y.'  About Mr. Darcy & Elizabeth.  I know. 

Hey, I got it at the used bookstore  yesterday (see?  you already knew about it.) and started it today while I was donating blood.  HAHAHAHAHAHAHA  I didn't even realize that I was reading a vampyre book while donating blood.  I'm certain it's not the first time.

So far it's okay.  He hasn't told Elizabeth yet, and in a strange way, it goes along with how weird he was being & all that Lady Catherine DeBurgh nonsense.  Since our society doesn't really get the whole class thing, him hiding being undead plays better. 

I'll keep reading this tonight, and try to do some more serious reading tomorrow. 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sucked in!!!

I've been sucked in, friends.  I know there is no bottom to this pit.  I know that I will get more stress than answers.  I know that I could spend bazillions of dollars, but I've taken the first step down that dark road.  I bought 2 parenting books today. 

At least it was at the used bookstore.  What did I get?  I got What to Expect the Toddler Years and The Girlfriend's Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood.
I'm not going to start reading them yet, mostly because I have other things to read.  And why stress myself out so early?  Once I know more about when/if (more like "when") we'll be adopting, I'll look into them a bit more. 

Who am I kidding?  You and me both know that I'll be up late, thinking about everything, and I'll start looking through the Girlfriend one. 

In other reading news, I believe I am done with C.S. Lewis for a while.  I had to stop in the middle of That Hideous Strength because I just didn't care one whit and couldn't handle reading one more page.  What I'll likely read is one of the trashier books I bought today when I got the parenting books.

And you know what else?  This whole teaching/working/ministry thing is a little unfair.  I'm supposed to be on break from school & able to read whatever I want, but I feel like I have homework & need to read things for my teaching series coming up.  And I already have it planned!  But noooooooo, I want it to be good and helpful and..and robust.  Gah.  I should just return these highly overdue books to the library at school & then I won't be able to stress myself about it. 

Napping more than reading

I had intended to read this afternoon, but I napped instead.  As you know, I've been napping as escape from stress, and today was no exception, though I will add that I often doze on Sunday afternoons. 

I did read a bit, though.  I'm working on That Hideous Strength and I'm not engrossed yet.  There is a building menace that draws my attention, but at the same time, I'm pretty sure I'm going to be rolling my eyes a bit. 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Apartment ads

Today I've done a little bit of what I'm calling "homework," which is fleshing out my project so that I can actually teach it in a couple weeks.  So I'm skimming through real sex by Lauren Winner & making my 1st powerpoint.  I got my grade back on the project, and I got an A-, which is good.  I didn't know if I had enough detail in it.  My professor gave me a few notes, and I've integrated some of them into the outline already. 

Other than that, Seth & I looked at ads for apartments and houses and drove around a bit.  We talked to people at 2 different complexes, neither of which will work for us.  We looked again at the apartment our landlord has, and we still don't think it will work.  We did write to one person who had a very nice-looking ad on craigslist, so we'll see if we hear from them. 

It's hard for me not to get frustrated & just want to quit life & take a long nap to avoid everything.  I know we've just started looking, and I can't expect everything to fall into place already. 

It's mustard seed time!

Vague is how I roll. Feel free to not read this entry.

Apparently, being up past my bedtime makes me a bit maudlin.  Perhaps I should finish the wine in the fridge to truly make it a banner evening.

Big changes are afoot, but what is difficult is that the catalyst for the afoot-ing isn't definite.  But we still need to invest in it quite seriously.  One day, I decide that life can go on, at least semi-normally, for the time being, then the next I get information leading me to believe that all must be turned upside-down ASAP.  And I feel like God is sending mixed messages.  Like he's thrown open a bunch of doors at once, and I'm supposed to go through all of them.  Or I've gotten a fair way down a certain path that I believe he's directing, and then there's this fork.  It's an important fork.  Maybe I need to go that way.  But leave all the other stuff? 

Maybe they'll meet up again.  Maybe I don't have to give up anything. 

I don't want to let go.  But I can only handle so many pressures.  I'm not real good at it.  Were I to let go of one commitment, it would both break my heart and not make a lot of sense to me.  But I don't see what else I can change. 

2011 is going to be the most different year ever. 

See? It happened again.

I start reading one of the ministry books, and I get about 1 page in before my mind starts whirring.  I stop to ponder; I create scenarios in my mind; I come up with ideas. 
So, as I tried to read more of College Ministry 101, I had to stop after a couple pages.  Too many ideas.  Too many thoughts about specific people. 

I love them too much.  And I know one of them is reading this- Hi, girly.  I love you and I want your faith to be strong and I want to encourage you to fight through the hard times and figure out what you should hold on to and what you need to let go of. 

I want others to figure out who the heck they are and stop wandering sooner than later.  I don't want to force anyone.  I don't want to guilt.  I want to walk with people.  I want to be an example.  Sometimes I just don't know what to do.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

A different brand of book funk than the usual

I realize I've been a bit of a reading spaz lately, but it's not the usual book funk where nothing appeals to me.  I actually have a lot of books I want to read and I'm working on them, but none of them are completely engrossing me. 

I think the real issue is that a few of them are spiritual/theological/ministry-related, and I don't want to just read them quickly.  I want to digest, think, integrate.  So I'll read a chapter or so, then I have to put it down for a while, because I don't want to just pile a lot of other thoughts on top of those ones. 

I do wish I had some fiction I was really dying to read, though.  I have some things that are meh, but nothing that really excites me.  I do think I'll give That Hideous Strength a go, though, even though Perelandra was a bit heavy-handed, and I think that THS is even more in that vein. 

I think I'm in a bit of a medieval mood, so I have World Without End on hold for me at the library, which is the sequel to Pillars of the Earth, which was right up my alley.  We'll see how that goes.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

I am much older today than I was last Sunday.

Sorry for the short, melodramatic post earlier, friends.  I was going to post a real post, but I was just feeling overwhelmed & had a headache, and I just wanted to tell/ask someone to pray for me. 

So today, I finished up Perelandra and started on College Ministry 101.  Both hurt my head a little bit.  

Perelandra, the 2nd in Lewis's space trilogy, is not as engrossing a story as Out of the Silent Planet is, but, at least for me, had many more spiritual ideas to think about.  As in OOTSP, Lewis's descriptions can be a bit heavy-handed and long-winded, so much so that I ended up skipping most of the last 12 pages or so.  The book is very short, and I think that it would have been better served to not put the ending at the front of it.  It isn't really all that dramatic, and then, at the end, it just is kind of over. 

One of the things I'm trying to embrace is the Lady's view of going with the flow of what God brings to you, and not holding on to the idea of the Good you wanted or had, but enjoying the Good he's brought to you.  I'm going to try to look at most things I have and most situations I'm in as Good things that I can be thankful for and embrace, not longing for the past or a concept I had of what I thought I wanted. 

The college ministry book stresses me out.  It has lots of amazing concepts, but I feel like I'm just learning all the things we (as a church) have done wrong and that it all needs to change.  *sigh*  At least I'm not alone at all in this task.  I'm just afraid that we're going to have to do a major gear change or dismantle the scaffolding we've put up.  But maybe not.  We'll see.  I'm just trying to assimilate all of these ideas and figure out how to filter them down in a way that can be passed on to my teammates. 

Other than that, I'm still on an emotional roller coaster, which I'll tell you more about tomorrow, perhaps.  In the meantime, I'm excited about being home from the relatives and being out of school.   Tomorrow I plan on a run and CLEANING!  It will be quite, quite, very, mucho exciting.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Kickin' back, reading for fun, yo.

Hi, friends.  This is the first I've blogged since Thursday since I haven't been in a house with an internet connection.  So sorry.

I'm still adjusting to being out of school, so I'm still doing that thing where I feel a twinge of guilt & think that there must be something I should be doing, and then I remember FREEDOM and I sit back down.  Aaaaaahhhhhh.   It's lovely. 

Right now, I'd say I'm in the midst of 2 books, kind of 3, ignoring a 4th that is the one I meant to read this weekend.  Hmmmm....I should pick that one up. 
I'm currently focusing on Perelandra, which is a short read and I may finish tomorrow.  I haven't had a lot of reading time this weekend before this evening, though.  What I need to get on is College Ministry 101.  I tell you, friends, I'm hoping for some real gems there.  Knowledge.  Downloaded into my brain.  Revelations.  But my expectations aren't too high or anything. 

Tomorrow is Labor Day, and we will grill a tri-tip somewhere, preferably with a few family members.  Sleeping in is also on the agenda, and I want to go for a run at the high school track. 

What else have I been reading?  Ads for apartments and lots of websites about family law.  It's a glorious time.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

I know, I missed 2 days.

I know.  Friends, you have no idea...well, some of you have some idea.  Anyway, big stuff is going on in my family and I just have been too stressed, distracted, and nervous that I haven't been able to concentrate.

I have my sexuality project due tomorrow and I've barely been able to work on it with much thought.  Thankfully, I have most of it done, with a few spaces where it says things like, "And then I'll be talking about THIS REALLY GREAT THING FROM THAT AUTHOR" or "And then I'll go through THE BIBLE VERSES THAT ARE RELEVANT TO THIS POINT."  So, you know, I just have to flesh it out a bit.  And I only checked out, oh, 10 books or so from the library.  I will be skimming, I say.  But I really do plan on teaching this series, so I need to actually do the work.

On top of the family stuff, I've been really flustered by the college students this week, so, on Tuesday, I freaked out & ordered 4 books on college ministry from Amazon.  They came today, and I went up to church to show them to one of my co-leaders &  we're splitting them up to read, for now.  One of them, Ask Me Anything, I started reading for my project, and I'm really loving it.  It's one of those ones that I want to either be able to download right into my brain or hand out to every student and sit them down & make them read it immediately, quizzing them for comprehension.  So, um, it's useful.

I hope to get my project done & turned in on time, though I've let my professors know that I may be a couple days late.  Pray for me, Seth, & my family, will you?  Thanks.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My own words- they both delight and annoy me

Clearly, I'm fond of my own voice, be it verbal or written, being that I blog, post a lot online, talk a lot, and speak in public.  But I tell you, I was so sick of reading my paper.  I always do this: I work and work and cram and stay up, and the day the paper is due, I am so disgusted by the whole thing and tired that I don't want to read it one more time, even though I know that I should.  In a better-ordered world, I would get done ahead of time and give myself a few days of distance before going back to read.

Today was okay, though.  I stayed up all night, which went surprisingly smoothly, though the big dog was confused and annoyed.  Every time I got up to go to the bathroom or anything, he stood, walked towards the bedroom, and looked at me.  When I returned to the living room, he'd just give me the stink eye & plop back down on the floor with a sigh.  (Yes, my dog sighs.  He's like his mother.  Actually, both of my dogs sigh.  I wonder if I influence them too much.   Or maybe we need some more oxygen in this joint.)

Anywhoodle, I finished finished with my paper around 11am, but I was still up until noon:thirty.  I was only able to doze for a couple hours, but I eventually read the paper out loud, which was new, and it helped.  I changed a few things here and there and, overall, I think it's a good paper.  My introductory paragraph blows, but I wasn't in the mood to work on it anymore.  See?  My process isn't that great. 

What is good about my process is that it integrates a high-pressure situation and laziness in one (or two) caffeine-fueled all-nighters.  The reason it takes me so long is partially because I torture myself and it takes me too long to just freaking start typing the actual document.  Once I get going, though, it isn't a difficult process, it's just like pulling teeth to get me to focus & do it.  Especially as I get closer to the end and feel like I've accomplished something, I start going online to check FB or twitter after half a page- after a paragraph- after a good sentence- Oh!  I wrote "In the words of!" time for a break!  I annoy myself sometimes.

I have seen some improvement in my school habits over the past year, and I hope to do a better job in the fall.  Part of the problem was the quickness with which my professor wanted these papers, not giving us the expected month & a half after the end of class. 

So I am freeeeeee!!!  Kind of.  For a while.  I have my sexuality project due on Friday, but I'm excited about that & like it.  I don't think it will be very difficult.  (Famous last words?  I hope not.)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Oh, my itchy ears

Update: they're still itchy on & off, but I've been putting lavender oil in them, which really helps.  I could use olive oil, too, but the lavender oil needs to be used.  I guess that, when using q-tips to get the water out of your ears, you end up getting rid of a lot of wax, and wax lubricates your ears.  So, if you don't have any moisture in your ears, the skins dries out and it's like torture.  Now I know!

I have a suggestion

At our young adults group tonight, we were having a brainstorming session to see what subjects and issues the members of our group have on their hearts.  When we planned this, I think that we were a little afraid that people wouldn't really respond, and we also didn't want it to only be a list-making session.  We wanted some teaching content, too.  Reluctantly (I think), my fellow teacher offered to lead this session and try to come up with an introductory session and biblical basis for our as-yet-undefined series of talks.

She did an amazing job.  The whole night was powerful and awesome.  I love our group!  She had us look at Acts 15 and the Jerusalem Council, showing that circumcision was a HUGE deal to the early church, something which was a crucial, cultural issue about the direction of the faith.  Our discussion, then, was about how all the issues we face should be formed and informed by our faith.  Nothing should be compartmentalized, and we need to, as a group, contend with different topics and discern how to apply biblical principles to  our culture.  It was a fabulous, powerful segue into our brainstorming.

And the brainstorming really wasn't that:  it wasn't people thinking and pausing and tapping their pens trying to come up with any old thing to say.  It was really a sharing session.  People talked about what was on their hearts and what they're struggling with right now, and everything had to do with our Christian life.  I expected controversial things to come up or even political things, but everyone wants to talk about how to live out our faith, how to stay strong in the face of temptation, how to surrender to God more.  It was awesome. 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Song lyrics!

I'm really tired, so this shall be a bullet-pointed post to sum up today.

  • Training for youth group volunteers this morning, which was at the home of a family from church which was LOVELY.  They have a great yard, vines of their own & their yard backs up to a bigger vineyard, with a mountain behind.  Awesome.
  • I'm going to have two other adult leaders for my small group this year, and our two student leaders are going to be a lot of fun.  All of the student leaders are really excited about leading and I think they're going to be really strong this year.
  • My ears are really, really itchy.
  • We had tacos for lunch at the training, and they were fabulous, I tell you. 
  • I've started writing my final C.S. Lewis paper, and I'm going to finish it tomorrow, I say!  I'm going to go to bed early tonight, skip church tomorrow, and work on it all day. 
  • Our college event was really good.  We had 7 college students show up for dinner, which was good, so about 14 of us total had pizza and talked, then we went to the church to play Rock Band.  Some more people joined us there, and it was lots of fun, of course.  The beauty was that it was an early night-- we started with dinner at 4 and the last of us taking down the xbox & putting the church back in order left church around 10pm.  We're all feeling old & tired tonight.
  • I love playing Rock Band with the church friends, because everyone gets into it, especially a lot of the guys.  They're jumping up and down, screaming and singing, and acting like lunatics.  It makes me smile a lot.  
  • I have the paper due Monday and my sexuality project due Friday.  Then I am freeeeeeeeeee!  Until the 30th of September, at least,  I'm going to see some family, read a ton, and clean a ton.  I'll have to restrain myself from blatantly throwing away half of our possessions, since I'm so sick of the mess.  I do hope to at least put a good amount of stuff in storage.  It will be grand.
Goodnight!  Oh, and my ears are still really itchy. 

Friday, August 27, 2010

Oh, that's why I'm so busy

Whenever I feel overrun by life and have to explain to someone why I didn't return their call or something similar, I feel like a bit of a baby.  I think, "C'mon, what do you really do all week that you're that busy?" 

Well, I'm in ministry.  I just realized that this week.  I'm not paid, and I have friends on my team helping me, but I'm the main voice for the college students right now, so I'm sort of a college pastor.  I've known (lightly) for a while that I was a pastor because a)we all are, kinda and b)I'm actually involved in ministry.  But as I fret about events, about meeting with and connecting with students both high school and college, as I search the web looking for articles to read and things to study and resources for drawing college students to church, I realize that I'm already doing it.

For the past couple years, I've thought of myself as an unemployed, part-time student who volunteers with a couple things at church, so I always try to justify my sense of pressure or overwhelmed-ness.  But I'm in my career already.  It's on.  Even though I'm still in school.  Even though I don't get paid.  I'm one of the teachers for young adults, I'm taking on some teaching (really more like facilitating/leading) roles for high school, I love all of these teenagers and twenty-somethings to bits and pieces, and there is a weight on my heart for them.  I'm in. 

So, yeah.  I'm busy.  Part of me can't wait for school to be over (only 1.5 more years!) so I can concentrate on ministry & possibly be paid to worry & read books and articles and listen to podcasts and fret and plan & meet, etc.  Another part of me knows, though, that it (ministry) will grow to fill whatever time I can give it.  It will suck my brain power and my heart and my time, and having more time will just mean more work and more heartache. 

I'm tempted to have a cheesy closing line like, "But it will all be worth it," or something like that for closure, but I'm more blank right now.  It is what it is.  It is worth it, as long as I keep it in perspective, because this is where I'm called.  God is making a way for me and I walk in it with faith and a nervous stomach.  I know that there will be exciting times and worn down times.  I know that I have no idea what God has in store. 

As I move into this new space, I'll need to realign some things.  Shift my baggage around a bit to get comfortable for the journey.  Learn to look at myself and my life in a new way.  Me & God can do this. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Deep breathing, venting, talking to friends. Oh, and alcoholic beverages and loud music.




I was angry today.  Nutshell: I got one of my papers back and, though I didn't get a bad grade, my professor's comments and demeanor (is there such thing as a written demeanor?  I say yes.) just pissed me off.  I almost threw a tantrum, I tell you.  I yelled "I hate you!" and I do believe that a plastic cup was thrown into the sink with much force.  Gah.  I just had to get out of the house. So I went up to church where I knew I'd be able to vent at some people who have been in similar situations.  I listened the Deftones quite loudly on the way there, which was quite calming, and the venting helped.  I talked to my friends for about an hour, then got some alcohol & potato chips on the way home.  Yes, I felt like a lush stopping at the corner store to buy 2 cans of hard lemonade & a small bag of chips (a last-minute addition) at 2pm.  But it was lovely.

The paper that is due on Monday should be more pleasing to him, and I will be glad to be done with it.  I release all expectations.  I have always been fine with not getting As in seminary.  All will be well.  I should not have been surprised, yet I am flabbergasted.  That is all.

haunted

I may have mentioned this before, but we really want kids now.  Maybe I should take out the "really," because it comes and goes.  Today is a pro-kids day.  I see the assorted "First Day of School" pics on facebook, and while some don't do anything to me, others tug at me.  I looked at a family picture of a friend from high school, and in it, one of her three kids is kind of giving her a goofy look, and he's so cute and her husband is holding a baby and her older daughter is laughing and I just want that.  I wish I would have wanted it before or knew I'd want it now.

And then there are the days, like today, where I wake up from a baby/kid dream, and she (it's almost always a "she") haunts me all day.  One time it was a baby girl, but she was kind of big, and I was blowing on her cheeks and she was laughing and we were having such a good time.  I missed her all day.

Today, it was a little girl, probably 2, I think Hispanic, but maybe Arabic.  She is short and brown, with curly, dark hair.  In my dream, she was in a car with her dad, and he was waiting for someone to come watch her.  I looked at her for a bit, walked away, then walked back.  I sort of reached for her and said, "I'll watch her."  It wasn't much, but it was powerful.  I didn't think about her a lot throughout the day- just a time here or there, but then tonight, on the way home from the gym, I just really wanted her.  And I cried on my way home, and I'm crying now.  But it's late, and maybe I'm just tired.  But I don't like these days when I want kids so much and I can't do anything about it.  I just have to trust God and his timing.  And tomorrow, I may feel totally different and think that we'd be great continuing to not have kids.  I will admit, though, that the pro-kid days are multiplying.


It feels a little like this.

Not so bad

Today I read A Severe Mercy and it was nowhere near as bad as I thought.  See, based upon what I had heard about it and then after reading The Problem of Pain, I was starting to be afraid that Seth and I have been entirely too happy, so God is going to kill one of us or throw some horrendous hardship into our lives in order to strengthen our faith.  I don't know.  I realize that these aren't entirely new thoughts.  Sometimes, when I think about how great my life is, I get nervous, so I think about the list of things that have been hard or wrong or trying in my life, just to make sure they're there and I am not too happy.  It's messed up, I know. 

I thought it was done, but I guess that trusting God truly and knowing that he doesn't play mind games takes time.  As I'm writing this, I realize that this "too happy" nonsense had taken the place of the previous ingrained fear of "don't tell God what  you don't want to do, or he'll be sure to set you right on that course!"  You know, the old stories you'd hear about a man saying, "God, I'll do anything for you, just don't send me to Africa!"  And, of course, after kicking and screaming, the man finally goes to Africa, like God wanted him to, and all is great.  The is the kind of spiritual manipulation I grew up with!  I know I'm not the only one. 

So, the book wasn't all that bad.  I guess in my mind-games land, I saw that the couple in the book were actually quite obsessed with one another and worshiped their love.  We don't do that.  I don't know.  There are still things floating around in my head.  Once again, I'll let you know if I come up with anything concrete.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Problem of Pain

Friends, I didn't write last night because I was tired & also because I was troubled.  I finished up The Problem of Pain, and one of Lewis's main ideas is that God gives/allows pain for our own good.  We get too comfy and think we're secure in our cozy lives, and we don't look to him at all.  He knows that what is best for us is to be surrendered to him, so he shakes us up a little.  Lewis also believes that we have to live by natural laws in order to have a stable universe, therefore miracles must be rare.  So, some things just happen, and some things (all things?) are allowed or sent by God to cause us to turn to him. 


This is all something I have to chew on a bit & work my head around.  It mostly makes sense, but then I get stuck again.  It's not as if the question of evil & pain is going to be completely solved, but I still want more.  One of the things I really like, though, is that he doesn't buy into that rubbish about it all being for God's glory.  When people offer that as comfort to someone hurting, it makes you think, "Well, bully for you, God!  I'm glad you're getting a kick out of this."  He points out that God is goodness and we are the objects of his love.  It is all for our good. 

Perhaps later, after my paper is written, I'll give you some of the gems I've come up with or the really great quotes from his books.  Later.

For now, I'm thinking I'm not going to meet all of my homework goals for the day again, and I think it's due to dairy.  Gah.  Yes, I'm getting over being sick, but it should be gone by now, and I think that gluten & dairy don't help. 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Movie thoughts & complaints

Being sick this past week, I watched a lot of movies.  Seven, to be exact, and I cannot remember the first one I watched no matter how hard I try, and I've been trying for a few days. 

But one of the movies I watched was The Bounty Hunter, and if you know me at all, you're surprised.  I really don't like romantic comedies (for the most part.  It's just easier to say that, like short stories & poetry, I don't like them.) and have very little tolerance for Gerard Butler.  But I realized that I also can hardly stand Jennifer Aniston anymore. 

I was trying to figure out what it is that irks me about her when I decided that it was the fact that she just keeps playing the same, just a step above Rachel Greene character in every freaking movie she's been in for the past 5 years or so.  And even her "real life" conversations and appearances just feel fake and forced.  I don't know.  So today, I happened upon this article on ew.com, in which Owen Glieberman talks about Jen and Michael Cera as the actors that most people harp on about always doing the same thing.  He calls the complainers on the carpet a bit because, if we think back to great actors of the past, such as my beloved Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn, we will find that they were always the same.  He says that before "range" was such a big deal, that is exactly what people went to the movies to see-- their favorite actors being the characters they like. 

Being that he called out 2 of my all-time faves, I had to think about his argument a bit.  I do believe that one of the big differences is that at least for myself, and I would wager a good number of the movie viewing public of today, we did not see those actors's movies when they came out.  We weren't going to see 5 Cary Grant movies in a row and thinking, "Sheesh!  They're all the same!"  We pick old movies out of a hat and watch what tickles our fancy whenever we like.  And, yes, the movie-going public has changed, I'd wager. 

His reasoning isn't wrong, though.  He does fault the mind-numbing (he says "teeth-grinding") crappy writing of Jen's chosen genre, romantic comedy.  Meaning that if the writing of the movies were better, we would be happier to watch the sunny, perfect Jen character.  Possibly.  I think that, just possibly, she's been doing it for entirely too long, though.  She's still trying to do the cutesy, innocent but wild young thang, and it doesn't work anymore.

Michael Cera?  Love love love him in Arrested Development.  He's great.  But, seriously, none of his characters have been any different than George Michael.  At all.  At least Aniston isn't playing exactly Rachel.  And I do think that, were I to sit down and watch a bunch of Cary Grant movies in a row, I would tire of his fast-talking, suavely handsome shtick, and I would need a break.  I know I can't handle too much Kate in a row.  The woman grates!  That is likely, Mr. Glieberman, why she was considered box office poison for a good portion of her career. 

In conclusion, I finally looked up the movies I rented because it was bugging me.  They are as follows:
Death at a Funeral  Meh. 
The Book of Eli Meh that was boring to look at.
The Ghost Writer Stupid with pretty faces in it.
Leap Year  Not any worse or better than most romcoms.  I am slightly embarrassed for the actors, though.
The Bounty Hunter Gah.  Not as painful as I thought it would be, but bad.
Invictus kind of boring, but I was quite moved at the end & may have shed a tear.
The Proposal I had already seen it & it was kind of a back-up.  Hey- Ryan Reynolds is pretty.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Huh? Oh, yes.

I'm blogging early tonight, friends, as I actually feel plucky & writerly right now, so I thought I'd get to it.

My mind is fairly clear, so I'm slowly working on The Problem of Pain, and as with much C.S. Lewis non-fiction, I'm alternating head-scratching with vigorous highlighting.  There are times when I just want to shake him (if shaking a dead man would produce any desirable results) and say, "What does this mean?!  I think that you're just using a lot of words and not actually saying anything!"  He's the pinnacle of academic mumbo-jumbo somtimes, I tell you.  Quite often, though, the very next paragraph makes me get out the pen and the highlighter, and I underline and star and copy into my notes and read out loud to Seth.  "Aha!" I think.  "This is the answer to everything!" 

Life with C.S. Lewis.  What I'm doing for my paper is taking The Problem of Pain and A Grief Observed and comparing them, trying to get a picture of his theodicy over time.  I've read AGO a few times, and I love it.  It is what you read in the depths of despair because it comforts you to know that someone who seemed to have it all figured out felt many of the same things.  Screamed and cried and wanted to tear God apart out of their pain.  This is my first time reading TPOP, and I'm learning a lot from it.  It seems that maybe this is to read more distanced from the grief, either before or after.  Things to remember and hold onto when it's time to move on.  Time to get back into life and re-engage with God and his goodness. 

Friday, August 20, 2010

I won't read about politics. I won't read about politics. I won't read...

Oh, friends, but is it ever hard.  This mosque near Ground Zero thing has everyone's panties in a knot and I have been thisclose to posting things on facebook and getting snotty and generally breaking my new rule. 

I have given in and read a few articles that people have posted on the non-panty-twisted side, one of which was basically a map of the area, what is already there, and a big "shut up" to the freak-out crowd. 

I find it difficult because it is one of the cases where I see people betraying much of what they claim to hold dear and just being racist, xenophobic.....people.  (Almost swore there.) 

So I'm going to keep away from the articles, even the ones I'm sure I'll agree with, because I just. cannot. handle. reading one word that comes out of Sarah Palin's mouth.  Among others. 

And I'm already angry and snotty and going against what I really think is important.  But it's my blog and I just wanted to vent a little bit. 

Now I'll go do something productive, like reading The Problem of Pain and work on explaining this whole theodicy thing once and for all.  You're welcome. 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

sicky is crabby

Friends, I didn't blog yesterday and almost didn't blog today because I'm sick.  Yesterday I was able to make myself do some homework, but I haven't yet today.  I've watched 6 movies & have one more on deck.  I haven't liked any of them, even though I can't really remember what I watched yesterday.  Sinus Crab, I say.

So what did I read today and yesterday?  I finished The Necromancer yesterday, and of course it isn't the last book in the series.  Sheesh.  Today I have only read a tiny bit of some corny chick lit book I have, I've squinted at the redbox trying to read movie titles in the sunlight, and I spun around in circles reading aisle directories because my Target has been redone. 

Yes, I left the house today, and it was kind of meh.  Hot out.  Felt gross.  Now I'm sitting here, having bleached my hair, trying to decide if I'm going to listen to some lectures or not.  I'm thinking about doing next week's homework now so I can concentrate on the next C.S. Lewis paper when my brain allows me to concentrate. 

Fascinating entry, I know!!  I just didn't want to let another day go by without blogging.  There will be more coherent thoughts and interesting thoughts tomorrow, I promise.  Thank you for putting up with this.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Two! Two! Two for the price of one!

Oh, my dear friends, if you haven't visited Yosemite National Park, you need to do so.  I was there for 4 days and it was dreamy. 

This year, instead of having the big hike on the day before we left, we did it our second day out, and I think that worked well.  Everyone but one injured person wanted to do Cloud's Rest, so we all set out at the crack of dawn to climb 10,000 feet.  (Injured friend rode her bike around the valley all day.) 

My dear, sweet, 14 year old goddaughter could barely stand to be so pokey with me on the stairs & steep climbs, so we were hardly together.  In a nice turn of events, though, the groups did not all tear off into the mountains and leave each other in the dust, but everyone waited for the others at a few different meeting spots.  Also lovely was the fact that I wasn't in the back!!  For most of the time, there were 4 or 5 people behind me.  Awesome.  I could really tell the difference in being in better shape and being better prepared.

Nevertheless, I did not go all the way to the top of Cloud's Rest.  Around 2.5 or 3 miles from the top (according to the signs that LIE all along the trail), I was starting to get blisters on the backs of my feet, it was freaking hot, and all I saw before me was unrelenting steepness.  I turned to my friend, Tim, who was the only one around for miles & said, "You know, Tim.  I am totally over this and fine with turning around!"  This being his first gigantic hike up a mountain, he concurred and suggested that we find a shady spot to eat our lunch before heading down the mountain.  Splendid. 

The Cloud's Rest hike, once it splits off from the trail to Half Dome, is nowhere near as popular, so it was nice to have absolutely no one around sometimes. We ate our lunch, I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders, and refused to be guilted by those behind us who said, "We've made it this far, we might as well go on."  Go on, then!  Have at you!

Full of optimism and naivete, Tim and I slowly wandered our way down the mountain, stopping often to rest, drink, and enjoy.  I stuck my feet in the water at Nevada Falls, and we proclaimed the excellence of the John Muir Trail and chided Thomas for not having us go up that trail more often.  It was a happy time when we were more innocent.  In the end, the trail was still quite hard.  Not as painful as the Mist Trail would have been on the knees, but not the Dream Trail we had initially dubbed it.  And it ended up on the same, dreaded, hateful asphalt steepness that we had on the way up.  (See Yosemite post from 2 yrs ago for a pic.)

Due to our turning back, Tim & I had about 3 hours to kill before everyone else was done, especially because the Lunatic Thomas took our friend Andrew and my goddaughter up both Cloud's Rest and to the top of Half Dome.  Better him than me.  So Tim & I sat, staring into space, with our feet in the freezing river for about an hour.  I spent about 8 hours with Tim that day, and we had both good conversation and good silence.  I liked it.

We finally headed over to the parking lot (putting our shoes back on!  Ugh.) with the hopes that our 2 other friends who weren't on the mountain would be around.  (Tim's sister had turned back fairly early on in the hike, so she was wandering the valley with a walkie talkie, as well.)  We sat in the back of a friend's truck, and I made a little pillow out of my backpack and elevated my feet on her tool box.  It was lovely.  Eventually the bike riding friend came back to us, and we all chatted and looked at the pictures of the bears that she saw on her travels.

The three of us heard from Tim's sister, Valarie, and headed over to the pizza place to save tables for everyone for dinner.  It was a fabulous day, I tell you, and I loved the fact that I wasn't completely beat down because I took at least 5 miles off my hike.  What I missed, though, was the proposal on top of Cloud's Rest.  I really wish I would have been there, but I'm so happy for my friends. 

The next day we limped our way around the valley, looking at waterfalls and the Ahwahnee Hotel.  Some people biked, which I would really love to do, but I wasn't in the mood that day and let a friend use my bike.  I was quite proud of us for getting in at least 4 miles or so on our sore legs.  Of course, I walked in the river again for a bit when we all stopped for lunch, which was heaven for my calves. 

Oh, and we saw 2 bears, no big whoop.  There was a large male in a meadow, and I almost had to resort to bodily violence to stop my girl from getting as close as possible to get a good picture.  Then there was a tiny cub across the road in a picnic area.   Yes, he was very cute and huggable, were one to go in for that "maimed by momma bear" sort of thing.  Which, apparently, many tourists do!  Two different women were inching their ways closer and closer to the cub in order to...I don't know.  Hold it?  Eventually, the baby bear was surrounded by idiots.  The mom must have abandoned it, though, because The Darwin Awards got no new nominees and a ranger eventually came out with a small cage and was working on wrangling the cub when we left.  I tell you- you see many stupid people at the park.  "Let's Get Rabies!" seems to be a close second to the game of "Maiming is the Best!" only to be followed by "I Don't Need Water for this Hike, Do I?" 

That evening, we swam in the hotel pool next to our campground and had a lovely dinner together.  Different circles of conversation formed, and I had a great theology discussion with 2-5 people until the wee hours, when our neighbors started shushing us. 

Thanks to days of little sleep and lots of activity, there was also plenty of laughter, wheezing, and near-pants-peeing.  Laughing until tears is so rare and so wonderful when it happens.  Thanks to exhaustion, it happened a few times last weekend, and I almost felt like I had an ab workout.  Good times.  I love my friends and I love California.

I'm back! You can un-knot your panties now.

Oh, friends, I am so tired.  I'm sure that I've learned this lesson before, but I need to stop running myself into the ground.  I am not one who enjoys having something planned every day, yet I do it to myself all the time. 

You did not hear from me for the past week or so because I was in Yosemite for 4 days with my lovely young adults group from church and my lovely goddaughter #1.  It was magnificent and lovely, but also the tail end of a month solid of activities.  So, I came home from Yosemite with a flu/cold that I am currently working through. 

So today I worked on last week's homework which didn't get turned in on time, and read about rape, pornography, and eroticism.  Not a heartening group of topics, I say, but it all still urges me forward in my quest for transparency in the church regarding sexual subjects. 

My brain is too tired to think more, so instead of doing more homework, I shall read for fun.  Huzzah!  I'm reading The Necromancer, which may be the last book in a YA/kids series I'm reading.  I kind of hope it isn't, but also wouldn't mind if things were wrapped up here.  You know what I mean:  the cliffhanger can be sooooo annoying in a book.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

over and over and over

It has been a "duh!" and "dangit!" kind of day, at least partially.  Multiple trips back and forth between houses because of keys left behind, going back out to the car because wallet is inside, realizing you're hungry when you're in the car about 2 minutes after leaving the house.  You know how it is. 

The final frustration was my paper.  Word is messing with my mind, I tell you, because I am just 2 lines or so over my page limit and NO MATTER WHAT I DO it's not getting any shorter.  I took out 3 full lines of a block quote.  I have taken out extraneous adjectives and adverbs (I'm bad about those).  I've put on my Hat of Succinctness.  Nothing.  When I look at the print preview, NOTHING HAS CHANGED. 

So I give up for now.  I will look at it again on Monday, when it is due.  I will let it rest.  If I can't figure it out then?  Oh, well. 

Monday, August 09, 2010

How many times does "moon" appear?

Today has been a busy day, but it's lovely.  After staying up most of the night and working a little today, I can be done with my first paper if I want to be.  I'll go over it a bit over the next few days, tweaking & maybe adding enough to make it a solid 10 pages. 

Three hours of sleep is all I got, and I drowsily donated blood and read some C.S. Lewis essays on fiction (now unnecessary) before heading down to SFO to get one of my goddaughters.  My head about exploded due to only one security line being open, but I finally obtained the girl and made it out of the city. 

In an effort to get my page length, I flipped through the Chronicles looking for another example of the things I already pointed out, but eventually realized I had a shiny, new point to make!  That was fun.  So I pulled up the trusty Amazon search and looked for "moon" in all of the books (well, the one, big copy of them all).  No, I haven't resorted to listing objects and the frequency of their appearance, but I had an idea that the Moon was sometimes more than just a moon, so I wanted to see all the uses.  Turns out I'm kind of right.  That's always  nice. 

Fun with fonts!

Oh, I do love messing around with fonts.  You're just lucky that there are only eight to choose from here on blogger and they're all kind of boring, or I'd be changing it up every time, sometimes within one post.

I taught tonight at the young adults group, and I think it went well.  I was just piling Bible verse on top of Bible verse illustrating that what God wants from us is all-out love for him and for our neighbors, who just happen to be everyone, oh, on the planet.  We are clearly charged to take care of one another, and our love for God is supposed to take up all of our being.  As one guy said tonight, it's a little scary because there are no loopholes out of this.  All of you.  Everyone. 

So, I decided to do a power point presentation because I had about 11 Bible passages, some long, and I didn't want people to have to flip all over the place and not really be able to look at the text and concentrate.  Naturally, every slide was in a different font.  In fact, most slides had 2 different fonts: one for the title and one for the text.  All the titles were the same, "What does God want from us?" but I started changing it up even beyond the font by putting it in different language.  Thank you, Google translator!  For the most part, I was able to double-check and figure out if the translations were right/close, except for with Welsh.  I was just going to have to trust that one.  I had Spanish, Welsh, French, Swedish, and German.  It was great fun, I tell you.

Here, you can look at it to see how crazy I went.  I even have 1 piece of clip art. I was into this. Core PPT
*note that one the slide with the link to the movie study, we just skipped through the preview & watched the short clip from lesson 4. 

Saturday, August 07, 2010

I'm not a theologian

I mean, sure, I'll have a master's degree in Theology in about a year and a half, but that doesn't make me a theologian, and I'm fine with that. 

I really appreciate all that I'm learning, and the opportunity to read great thinkers and write about the stuff of God that people have pondered and prayed on for thousands of years, but over and over again I just keep thinking that it's all just trying to nail jello to the wall. 

The Bible isn't clear on many, many things.  If God wanted to spell some things out, he would have done so.  Am I saying that it is of no use at all to wrestle with questions and concepts?  Not at all.  But when complex, multi-layered arguments are constructed with very little biblical basis or evidence, it may be a waste of time.  At least, I feel like it's a waste of time for me to have to read them.  There are few things I hate more than wading through a confusing section of a book, hurting my brain trying to figure out what the author is proposing, finally coming to see their point a little bit, only to get to the end and realize that they were actually illustrating a view with which they disagree or that there is little to no biblical support for the muck and mire I just went through. 

Believe me, I get it.  With the Bible's annoying lack of clarity on so many things, we have to thoughtfully discuss and extrapolate and expand our beliefs into fully-fledged organisms.  The problem is that we then try to hold on to them so tightly and will fight people on them, and we construct miles of scaffolding to support them, when all we're really holding up is our own opinions, or those we've adopted from those who came before us.

Stop trying to nail jello to the wall.  Eat it.  Get it in you.  Digest it and let the sweetness become a part of you.  Put it in your mouth & swish it around and make kool aid out of it.  Just stop holding it and showing it off and getting everyone's hands all sticky. 

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Feverishly scribbled notes

Today has been a long, great day.  I woke up naturally at 5am, thinking I would just pee & go right back to sleep.  Nay.  So, I finished The Last Battle (it always makes me so sad, though it shouldn't), then tried again.  Nope.  So I decided to embrace it and enjoy being up.  We had day one of the Willow Creek Association Global Leadership Summit (WCAGLS- wickagles) today, and I was afraid I would crash at some point, but it was just to awesome. 

The friend I came out here with has never been to the summit before, so I told her to expect that we'd learn a lot, but also end up rolling our eyes a bit.  Ah, not today.  Opening video- we both teared up a bit.  Worship?  Great.  And almost all of today's sessions were about change, crisis, dysfunctional teams, and various other things that hit home so much that we often found ourselves looking at each other with an "oh, really!  I wonder who that could apply to!" look on our faces.  There was also one high-five when Jim Collins threw out, as if it were completely obvious, "Oh, and double your outreach to young people by changing your practices, but not your core values." 

The other two times I've gone to the summit, I've gone alone, so with four of us from church there, it is really great to have others go over this stuff with, to also share the inspiration you're receiving, and take it back to church.  During the first session, I realized that I kept wishing that some of our pastors were there, but we are here.  We four women, only two on staff, none of us in real positions of power right now:  God put us in that room to receive this vision and inspiration, and he wants us; he wants me to take it back and help make it grow.  I thought of it as a holy pressure.  I'm scared and excited. 

Tomorrow- day 2.  I looked at the books of a couple of tomorrow's speakers, and I'm excited by what I see.  And the four of us are going to get together and pray for God's vision and for strength and wisdom for our role in whatever God is doing.  Pray for us, please.  Our church- God's church- needs a lot of help. 

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Voyage of the Dawn Treader, etc.

I may have read Prince Caspian today, too, but I was more interested in Voyage.  I found it quite difficult to skim because I haven't read it in some years (7 or 8) and, with the movie coming out soon, I wanted to read the details.  I did skim a bit, but found myself slowing down and wanting to savor.  I just about clapped when Lucy, Edmund, & Eustace got to the field with the feast laid out by the Lamb.  I love the imagery!!  And Reepicheep??!!!  He is seriously awesome.  Love him.

I just started on The Silver Chair, which I remember not liking.  It may be because I don't like villains & so I'm not real fond of the time spent with the giants and worrying about being eaten.  We'll see how I feel.  I'll likely skim a lot, because I'm really just looking for things about Aslan. 

My sister will be here in less than an hour, and I've been cleaning off & on today while trying to focus on reading.  I've had mixed results.  Sure, I read 2 books, but I wanted to finish all 7 by tonight. 

So, I'm going to read a few chapters, wait for Seth to call me from In-N-Out in Rohnert Park, I will place my order with him, then do some last-minute cleaning just so my sister isn't completely disgusted by our house.  I swear, if I didn't ever have company, my house would never be cleaned. 

Monday, August 02, 2010

Chronic(what?)cles of Narnia

As you may have seen coming from my previous posts, today was a breakdown day.  Not long after I woke up, I started thinking of all the things I needed to do today, and I was only able to talk myself out of crying for so long.  Thankfully, my dear husband was home, so he was able to hug me and knew I was going to cry before it started. 

After a run and getting most of the errands done, I was able to lighten up a bit and get a little homework done.  I finished The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and skimmed through The Horse and His Boy.  It makes me happy when the story obviously mirrors biblical actions and themes.  I love it when people are anointed with the Holy Spirit, and I really liked Narnia's Pentecost in The Magician's Nephew

I also love Lewis's writing style, especially when he talks to the readers.  You see a side of him that I would call silly, even though you don't often read about that aspect of his personality in biographies or letters.  The only glimpses of that you get are in a few letters or remembrances by students of his who write of him good-naturedly making fun of other professors and acting more like the students than an authority figure.  If you only ever read his theological writings and most biographies, you would have to read between the lines to figure out that he had quite the sense of humor. 

So tomorrow I shall press on with Prince Caspian get through the rest of the books.  Once I have all my data, it shouldn't be a difficult paper to write. 

Sunday, August 01, 2010

I shan't blog tonight.

Entirely too tired.  Perhaps tomorrow I'll write a little bit about today, but I'm just brain dead. 

Saturday, July 31, 2010

I've been lax in my writing exercises

But not in my physical exercises, I can assure you.
Nor in my homework duties.
You see, I've just been burnt out these past 2 weeks from class.  30 hours of class in two weeks + 1200 pages of reading + my other class reading & homework + figuring out paper topics + searching/buying/checking out books for said papers.

Thus?  My brain is mush when I get home and I haven't felt like turning the computer on and blogging at night.  I'm sorry.  I don't apologize to you, because I know you're cool with it, but I apologize to my future self and its writing abilities.

To celebrate diminished brain powers and lack of writing finesse, I shall pretend that this blog is my twitter feed and just blurt out some of my thoughts.  Enjoy!

  • I'm reading Chi Running and worked on my form a little bit yesterday.  Well, a lot.  A planned 30 minute, light run to work on form turned into an hour and a half or so of being lost, being hot, having to poop, worrying about the dog, backtracking, resting in a park, and finally asking for directions.  My time was still pretty good, though, and I'm not very sore today, so I think the form worked.
  • I think I'm going to do my first paper on Manifestations/Representation/? of the Trinity in The Chronicles of Narnia. So, I'm kind of skimming my way through them right now.  
  • My right butt cheek hurts.
  • I'm glad to be back in Sonoma County after being away for all of this week and most of last week.
  • We didn't have the DVR set to keep more than one episode of So You Think You Can Dance, so we have to watch Wednesday's ep online, but I already know who went home on Thursday.
  • You know what my 4 bookcases look like, yes?  Well, I currently also have 7 books on the back of the couch, one on the end table behind me, one pile of 13 on the kitchen table, another pile of 5 on the table, 6 on top of the bookcase in the kitchen, and I returned 8 to the library earlier.  Almost all of the books mentioned were/are for school.  
  • I'm really really in the mood to go to Southern California.  Hmmm...one more...
  • I love my life:  being in school, being in ministry, being in California, being in love, being in shape.  It's all good.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Unreachable

I'm staying at the house of some friends while I'm in class these two weeks, and the house must be lined with lead or something, because I get no cell reception (even outside, sometimes) and the internet doesn't work everywhere, like in the living room.  Well, it's temperamental and moody.

It's kind of a beautiful thing.  Sure, I wasn't able to get online last night and write this entry, but I also can't get any phone calls and spend less time online.  Fabulous.  Maybe I should climb on my roof at home with a roll of tinfoil.

I'm reading!  A lot!  Well, I'm also watching a lot of Angel, but that's really okay since I'm getting other things done, too.  Not that my phone rings much at home, but it does from time to time.  I get e-mails or facebook postings from people asking me to do things, and I should do laundry or clean the house or something.  Here?  It isn't messy, there's plenty of room to put the things away that need to be put away, and I can't do anything with anyone.  It's gorgeous. 

Perhaps I need to learn to block out my time better when I'm working on class.  The only problem with that is that I'm almost always working on class, and I do have a life, relationships, and ministry to consider.  But maybe I should block of certain days- maybe 2 per week, at least- where I never make plans and I don't answer the phone.  I also won't feel guilty about housework.  This is something to think about. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I make lists & check them many times

Today I continued my quest for books for school.  Trusty list in hand, I headed north on El Camino Real, certain that I had seen a Borders somewhere.  After a fair amount of traffic and much self-doubt, I found it.   Now, I could have looked online to see if they had the books I wanted, and there I also would have seen the price.  But I didn't do that.  I just wanted to go.  Therefore, I found books that I wanted at much higher prices than I wanted to pay.  I mean, I'm not going to pay $13 or so for a 50 year old book that I should be able to find in a used bookstore, if I just had the desire to go from used bookstore to used bookstore looking. 
In the end, I used my trusty coupon and bought A Severe Mercy, which I told Sandra I would never read.  Oh, well.  I'm writing a paper on C.S. Lewis's views on theodicy (pain & suffering, why bad things happen to good people) and this book deals with that. 
I also stopped in at Barnes & Noble to see if they had any of the harder to find books, but they did not.  It was really difficult being in those stores without a) feeling like I could really relax and browse, b) buying a coffee, and c) having money to spend however I wanted.  Oh, bookstores.  How you torture me.
So, after yesterday's & today's quests, I have 2 books I want/need for papers, I've ordered 2 more online, I'll go to the library at school tomorrow to get a few more (even though I prefer having my own so I can write in them), and I may order one more if the library doesn't have it. 
And let's not even talk about my final project for sexuality, okay?  I'm pretending that's going to be easy.

Tuesday's blog is full of late

I didn't get home from last night until about 11:30, which is why I didn't write.  After class, I drove about 25 minutes away to go to Half Priced Books (LOVE!), where I expected to find all of the books I needed for my C.S. Lewis papers.  Alas, I was not so lucky.

This store is much smaller than the ones I'm used to, and I circled and circled in vain.  I almost made myself dizzy with my head turned to the side while I quickly scanned the shelves in any section I could think of that might possibly be holding what I needed.  (I may have also been looking a bit for something fun to read.  No luck.)

What shocked me the most was that they didn't have the main thing I was looking for:  The Chronicles of Narnia all in one book.  You've seen it:  giant paperback, Aslan on the front.  I swear, it used to be at Costco all the time (not anymore, though.  I looked.).  I almost asked the people sorting the used books if they had seen a copy anywhere.  I just couldn't believe that it wasn't there. 

With 15 minutes left until the store closed, I went back to the young adult section to creep over each shelf, bit by bit.  It may have been misshelved, you know.  As I crept past the shelves, I spied 3 books piled on one another on the floor.  The bottom one looked quite large, but, dangit, it had a white cover.  But I was desperate, so I moved the other ones out of the way anyway.  As I did, the font showed itself, and the letters took the form of the word "Narnia."  GET! OUT! 

I didn't actually believe it at first, because I had already given up hope, but there it was.  The complete Chronicles, but with Jadis (Tilda Swinton) on the cover instead of Aslan.  (That's an interesting decision, I must say.)  My heart nearly leapt, I tell you, and I cradled the book to my chest as I went towards the registers. 

In the end, I paid $9.95+tax, drove an hour out of my way, plus one $4 toll.  I could have gotten it at the Borders down the street for $14+tax (with my coupon), but where would the story be in that? 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Fallen

  The topic for my sexuality class this week is sexual abuse, and if that's not a pick me up, I don't know what is.  (Please, oh please, get the sarcasm there.)
I only had to read one chapter today, and it mostly talked about the effects of abuse and the characteristics of the perpetrators. 
We're going to have to watch a video about abusers, and I saw that one of our essays this week needs to be talking about our response when we hear about abuse. 

I usually immediately pray and say to God, "Forgive us."  It's a prayer I use from time to time when I'm struck by our corruption and what we will stoop to do to one another and/or all that God has given us.  It's my response to the oil spill.  Forgive us.  When people are cruel and unthinking and rash.  Forgive us. 

In those moments, I don't know if I want Jesus to come back soon or not yet.  Sure, it would be a relief to be done with all this mess, but there are too many people who aren't ready.  I want everyone to have a chance to know him.  So many people have been shown a really crappy image of Christianity and have never actually been shown or told Good News.  Forgive us.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

La Biblia

I only had my Spanish New Testament with me at church this morning, which made it a little hard for me to follow along when we were reading aloud.  Not that I can't read it, but I opened my Bible in the middle of the reading, and we were going over part of the Sermon on the Mount where everything sort of sounds the same.  So I was looking and thinking, "Oh, this must be where we are.  But I don't totally get it.  Why is it translated that way?"  Then I realized I was on the wrong verse, which really cleared that whole thing up. 

I led the high school group at church this morning, and it went fairly well.  I didn't know a lot of the kids, so I was a little worried at first that they wouldn't listen to me at all or wouldn't discuss, but everything was great.  We read a few verses of the passage at a time, with the kids discussing some questions I threw out to them at their tables. 

Some of them even got pretty deep!  One of the questions they were discussing was "What the heck did Jesus mean by "don't let your left hand know what the right is doing?"  The quietest table of all boys said that maybe Jesus was talking in terms of the church as the body of Christ, so the hands would refer to other Christians, etc.  Holy cow! I had never thought of that.  I had just thought it was another example of Jesus being oblique and confusing on purpose or just to make a point. 

Seriously?  I love teenagers.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Blerg

It's entirely likely that I've used the title "Blerg" before, but it's how my brain is feeling today.

As my sister says, today was entirely too Saturday for class, yet there I was from 8am-3pm.  Ugh.  Rather than bore you with details about class, I'll let you know that it was long, though it did not drag too much, a smidge tedious at times, and now I'm home.

I read a bit for fun, I quickly looked over the notes for tomorrow morning's h.s. study, and now I'm off to bed after catching up on TV shows. That is all.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Random Swedish Words

Or are they made-up Swedish words?  We wandered Ikea for a couple hours tonight, which, as always, started out lots of fun and ended up kind of like a death march.  Or at least an exhausted, "Oh, I don't care anymore, can't we just go?" march.  Your pick.

As always, I get lots of ideas at Ikea, very few of which we can actually implement, being that we don't own our home.  We did get a couple CD/DVD storage boxes and racks, so that should make life a little neater.  Not necessarily space-saving (at least the boxes), but nicer-looking.

Now I shall go to bed and read a little bit of Mere Christianity, which I guess I should have had read by Thursday, but oh well.  It'll happen.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Midterm

I did my midterm today, and I was pleased by the questions I got.  We were given three cases and were supposed to tell how we would react or counsel the people involved.  Here were mine:

#1 was about a woman who recently read books about egalitarianism and accuses her husband of male oppression while he tells her she should be cooking and taking care of the kids like the Bible says. 
In a nutshell, I said I'd get them to both calm down and explain their positions rationally, and what they thought the other person was saying.  Without ever making it seem like the husband is being corrected, talked down to, or chided, I would guide them through the Bible to see what it has to say on their issue.  I think I'd start with Proverbs 31 and the picture of domestic life drawn there: woman works, makes her own money, has her own reputation and freedom, and her reputation and happiness bless her husband and his reputation. 
Then I'd look at the creation account and make sure they see that there is no hierarchy involved other than God over Adam and Eve and their dominion over creation.  From there, household codes in Colossians and Ephesians, if necessary, and a talk on mutual submission.  Get them on the same team.  I wrote for about 20 minutes on it, so I'm just recapping here.

#2 was perfect for me, because I was supposed to be talking with a young couple who live together and want to become members of the church.  They claim that they're already married in God's eyes.  It's perfect because this was me & Seth, but we were planning on getting married all along and never would have expected a church to let us become members. 
In this case, I was both good cop and bad cop, in that I identify with their situation and I understand where they're coming from, but they also can't pretend to not expect that what they're doing is frowned upon.  I'm sure that my professors expected me to use all the doom and gloom statistics about cohabitation that we learned, but being that they weren't/aren't true for me and Seth, they don't hold a lot of sway in my mind.  But I did say that I'd bring them up and point out that not everyone can be "the lucky ones." 

#3 was also good because it dealt with pastoral sexual harassment.  The situation was that I had been in an internship for 10 months with a pastor bugging me, and what would I do now that I'm almost done?  The first thing I said was that I'm surprised that I put up with it for 10 months!  I basically said I would tell him to knock that s@*% out, and I'd go to the elder board and then the denomination, if I had to.  I expressed the importance of protecting people, their souls, the church, etc etc. 

Hopefully, they'll like my answers and I'll get good feedback on my decisions.  As the time when I will actually be having more of these conversations draws nearer, I crave guidance. 

Yesterday blew by

First, a housekeeping bit:  almost always, my posts say one day, but they really count for the day before.  I just keep writing after midnight.  So, the blog claims that I posted 2 posts yesterday, but those were really Monday's.  Yesterday, I completely forgot and really didn't have time to write.  I got home from class around 11:30 and didn't even look at my computer.

Of course, I didn't really need to catch up on much because I had been online all through class.  Ah, the internet.  Don't worry, I'm still paying attention in class, it's just nice to be able to let my mind wander for a minute.  I mostly did stuff online when my professor was repeating himself or on a tangent.

Today I've been reading over my notes, handouts, and powerpoint presentations from human sexuality since I have to do my midterm this week.  I'm thinking that I'll do it tomorrow.  We have all the questions that will be on it, but I just don't have it in me to write out all the answers ahead of time and then simply regurgitate them onto the test.  We have 8 case studies to respond to and the site will randomly give us 3 of those.  I'm not completely slacking, because I have been thinking about the cases a lot, and they only serve to illustrate my frustration with this class so far.  We have to say how we would react as a pastor to these certain situations, and I feel like I don't know much more about that than I did 5 weeks ago, and that was what I was hoping would happen in this class.  Oh, well.

I'll let you know which questions I get and if I was able to come up with something intelligent and loving.  That's what my default will be:  reacting in love and mercy, without throwing out all biblical guidelines. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I know you're reading this

I'm sad because two of my best friends, Ben and Sandra, are moving to Arizona tomorrow.  As they set sail for that land of sand and racism, I figured I'd take the opportunity to send out a love letter in the form of a blog to them.

I met Ben at church a few years ago, and I wanted to like him because I had heard good things about him and my friend, Tracee, liked him, but I just didn't get it.  The night I first talked to him, I thought he was a little bit bratty.  As I got to know him a little better, I realized that it was just that he doesn't always have the gift of making it clear when he's being sarcastic or joking. 
We really became friends on my last trip to Mexico, in 2008, where the gift of sarcasm brought us together.  As the only ones with that gift on the trip, we often sought each other out to make snotty comments or jokes that no one else truly got or appreciated.  Also, we were often the last ones awake, and we chatted by the campfire, with the only topic I really remember being movies.  It impressed me that he had seen Once and loved it. 
I may have also claimed him as my new best friend, which he took in stride (at least on the outside). 

In the beginning of 2009, Sandra came on the scene.  The news of this fairly serious relationship came as a bit of a surprise to most of us, but I think it surprised the two of them, as well, because it happened so swiftly.  Ben had been out of town (out of the country!) for about two months, and during that time he realized just how much he cared for her.  One night, when I dragged him with me to Barnes & Noble to buy a couple of the Twilight books (see! He's a good friend to a girl.), he told me about her and the conversations they'd had and his feelings.  I was pretty geeked. 
At the same time, I was nervous.  It's always a little bit iffy when your friends start going out with someone you don't know, because I think we've all had the experience of one of our friends going out with someone we don't like, or at least someone who we just don't mesh with. 
I can still see her face when I walked into church the first time I met her.  I hadn't seen Ben in a long time and I came up and hugged him from behind while he sat (which is really the only way to hug him, being that he's 12 feet tall & about as cuddly as a piece of plywood).  She didn't look at me strangely or in any sort of possessive way.  She turned with her huge-normous smile that she has and said, "Robin!" 

I got to spend time with her alone a couple times, and was impressed with how smart she is, how widely read, her heart for God, and her loving spirit.  It sounds like she'd be a boring sap, but that's the best part!  She's not!  She's awesome and funny and sometimes sarcastic and everything that Ben is and is not.  They are wonderful.  Once she moved here and they got married, it was like I had a 2-for-1 best friend package. 

So, I got that for almost a year, minus their excessive traveling.  It makes it a little easier that they traveled so much, because sometimes it felt like they were already gone.  But now they won't be back next Tuesday or in a couple of weeks, and I don't know who I'll have theological conversations with.  They just seem to be the only ones that it ended up happening with. 

I guess I'll just have to get a bunch of Obama stickers and some Che Guevara shirts and go visit them in Arizona. 

Oh, yay

Today I am tired, crampy, tired, kinda headachey, sad, and tired. 
I had my first class tonight, and it was fair.  The professor says that tonight and tomorrow will be a lot of loading on of information as background and context for C.S. Lewis' thought and writing, so Thursday on will be better. 
The good news is that a) we only have to read 1200 pages of material, and once we hit that point, we can stop.  b) The books don't necessarily have to be read in the order he has put on the syllabus, so I don't have to try to get through Mere Christianity before Thursday.  I could read it later and just fly through a couple short things first, if I wanted to.  c) All the reading doesn't have to be done within these two weeks. 
In sum, that is fabulous.  Now I just have to think of 2 different topics for research papers related to C.S. Lewis.  I have a few vague ideas floating around in my head, and I hope that they'll solidify (or clarify) themselves within a few days, because the papers are due sooner than I thought.  (Not by next week, but we don't have until the end of the semester, either.)

I'm also pleased because I finally finished the reading for this week's lesson in Human Sexuality.  I'm not quite sure why it was taking me so long, but I'm done now, so I can watch the lectures tomorrow, write my essays for the week, and maybe do my midterm on Wednesday when I don't have class. 

Now?  I'm off to lie in bed & finish Conservatize Me guilt-free, since a lot of schoolwork was done today. 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

What are you trying to say, God?

You know how sometimes a topic comes up from a few different places and eventually you start to notice?  That happened to me today, but it was all within the space of less than two hours. 

I spent the night at a friend's house last night, and on my way home this morning, I was talking to God about my guilt about food and budgeting.   With the way we're trying to eat right now, I'm finding that we just can't afford to eat organic, local anything.  It's all just too expensive, and I feel tremendous guilt about that, especially the meat.  We have spent a great deal of money this month on food, and we're not done yet. 

This naturally led into feeling bad because we haven't been completely sticking to our budget.  Even though we are doing things very differently than we did before, and there is money set aside for things and we're mostly being wise, I get all tense about the times we do spend something that hasn't been planned for and I think that we're sucking at the budgeting and we're going to slip back into our old ways and God is completely disappointed in us. 

So that was the car.  Then I came home and read my Bible.  I'm going through a study bible/devotional thingy, so I was reading from Numbers 35 about the asylum cities that God had the Israelites set up.  In pondering what that shows about the personality of God, I thought of fairness, justice, loving, etc.  I saw that I don't have to feel guilty and horrible- he's not disappointed in me.  He is fair and loving.

Then, at church, Pastor Doug was talking about freedom from guilt.  Cool.
Then, at Core tonight, Christy was talking about the sacrifices and offerings set up in Leviticus & other parts of the OT, and in looking at Cain & Abel, phrased the lesson as "he doesn't want your blood, just your best." 

So I haven't completely wrapped my mind and heart about the application for this.  Yes, I obviously have the food & money guilt that I was mentioning, but it feels like this is about something more than that.  I need to sit with it for a while and pray about it.  It appears that I'm more infected & affected by guilt than I realize.  It's also possible that I expect too much of other people and place guilt on them instead of giving them grace and fairness.