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. 

Friday, July 16, 2010

Oh, I do that.

Oftentimes, when people watch musicals they think, "Who does that?  Who bursts into song for no good reason?"  I think this all the time, too.  I'm really not a very big fan of musicals because I find them quite painful.

But I do burst into song for no good reason.  I sing about dinner, I sing to my husband (yes, he sings back), and today I sang about brushing my teeth.  I am one of those people. 

The difference is that I don't have serious conversations in song.  No marital spats, theological debates, or really anything that would take stomping, furrowing the brow, or pointing a finger while doing either of those things.  I am not Jean Valjean (24601).  I don't comfort my friends with heartfelt ballads about the pain they're going through.  (Okay, maybe I'd do this, but only to get a laugh out of them at the right time.) 

Perhaps I'm in a light-hearted musical about daily, domestic life.  I'll watch out for my dogs secretly practicing synchronized moves to complement my twirls and flourishes. 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Do I or don't I?

I started reading Conservatize Me by John Moe, and I'm a little mixed about whether or not I should keep reading it. 
It's not that it isn't good- he's hilarious.  If you ever look at my twitter feed over there on the right, you will quite often see tweets of his that I have "re-tweeted."  I feel like I just want to print off his twitter feed and give it to people to read because he is just that funny.
But this is a book about politics, which I have mostly sworn off.  The premise is that he, Seattle born and raised, pinko, commie, liberal, spends 30 days immersing himself in all things conservative (and stereotypically conservative) in an effort to understand "the other side" and to see if he could be converted.  
So he downloads lots of country music and even some Michael W. Smith, buys a power suit and some preppy clothes, only reads conservative newspapers and magazines, and travels to meet with some conservative heavy-hitters to see if they can convince him. 
So far, he is being surprised by what he finds, as am I.  He understands more of the points being made, and sees sense in much of the arguments.  In this way, this book is good for me, because it's like I'm on this journey with him, even though I was raised conservative and have a slightly different view than he does. 
The problem I ran into is when he finally met with some Christians.  I know there will be more, and it's not like he's trying to make anyone look stupid at all.  He is not being unfair.  But when he went to the Family Research Council, that's where he finally ran into a wall of irrational (and I would say, un-American) beliefs.  And I started to get angry. 
I don't want to be angry.  It's why I stopped watching The Daily Show and The Colbert Report and don't read articles that people post anymore.  I want to love people on all sides and get along and not think that people are lunatics.  Even the ones that are. (Believe me: I live in California.  There are loonies that subscribe to any ideology you can think of here.)
I'll read it for a few more chapters, and if I find myself getting angry again and can't pray through my know-it-all-ness, I'll stop.  Or I'll skip those parts and go to a funny part.  I'll let you know how it goes. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I have nothing more positive to add about reading

I really want to be done with C.S. Lewis Remembered so that I can move on.  I have finally started skimming, and I am skimming with glee.  What are my fabulous plans?  Well, when I finish this, I think that I may have to split my time between Inside Out (Maria V. Snyder) and ChiRunning.  Of course, that will only last for a while, as my eagerness to not have to cram next week will have me either starting Mere Christianity, doing next week's homework for human sexuality, or both.  I do have to write my midterm for that class next week, so I'd like to get that done ASAP so that I can enjoy the C.S. Lewis class without stress.

What have I not been reading much of lately?  Oh, postings from my classmates.  It really grates on my nerves that this class is so fascinating and deals with truly practical, if thorny, issues, but barely any conversation is taking place.  We have weekly postings and are required to respond with some substance to at least two, but that is all anyone is doing.  They may ask a question or bring up something interesting in a comment, but no one seems to go back and read the 3rd level postings, so no real conversation is taking place.  It's really frustrating to me because I don't feel like I'm learning much from anyone or making any traction on figuring things out anymore.  I'm just getting a little bit of push on my boundaries by the readings & lectures (which aren't all that different).  I'm kind of sad. 

Sunshine, hearts, flowers, teddy bears

I feel like my internet presence has been a bit negative today, so I figured I'd blog a happy blog.  At least slightly happy.  Not pissy.

This most likely is only functioning as yesterday's blog, and we'll talk more later tonight when I'm done with today's reading.
All I really read yesterday was the assigned chapters in Authentic Human Sexuality or whatever the name of it is.  This week we're talking about singleness and sexuality, which is something near to my heart.  I do believe I'll be doing my final project on this subject, so you can expect to hear more about it, and I hope that some good conversations will happen both from this week's class discussion and if I end up putting a survey I'm designing up here.

I did go to the library yesterday, which was delightful, if overly tempting.  I got ChiRunning, which I'm pretty excited about in a "gee, I hope the first chapter is magical and fixes everything and I'm never in pain again and have a 9 minute mile" sort of way.  You know, realistic expectations and all.  I also got a Maria V. Snyder book, which I'm not certain I'll like, but I do like her; John Moe's Conservatize Me (I think he is freaking hilarious on twitter); and one of the C.S. Lewis books I need for class.  Oh, The Great Divorce, which I'm surprised I don't own, being that I love it. 

The problem with this lovely pile of books is that I want to read all of them.  Today.  And I shouldn't.  I need to read the C.S. Lewis books for next week first, y'know.  It makes sense. 

So, I'm off to read more of C.S. Lewis Remembered, which isn't a bad read, at all.  It's just going slowly because I actually want to read every word, which takes so much time.  I'm trying to get myself to skim.  C'mon, Robin.  Do it.  Skim the book and get it over with.

Go go go go go!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Skimming C.S. Lewis just feels wrong

But I'm doing it anyway.  Today I have been flying through Surprised by Joy, and I had wanted to wait to blog until I was done, I'm getting tired & just wanted to write already.

I'm skimming it because it's the autobiography of his faith life, he's really big on description and things that, for the purposes of my class, don't matter all that much, and I want it done and some other books of his done before class starts next Monday.

As always, it's a pleasant read, with only a few references to classics and things about which I know little to nothing.  He has spurred in me an interest in reading more classics, though.  Maybe I'll give The Faerie Queen a try one of these days.  I also like that he appreciates the Bröntes and Jane Austen; not segregating them into "feminine" literature as is done nowadays. 

Though his lengthy descriptions can sometimes be a bit tedious if you just want to get on with the action, in one chapter he takes the time to describe in some detail the view from one of his favorite walks overlooking Belfast, and it is just beautiful.  He purposely describes it for the benefit of those who have never seen it, in the context of his growing love of the beauty of nature.  Perhaps, just as an exercise, I'll set about writing a detailed description of something, just to stretch that aspect of my writing.  Don't worry, I won't post it here.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Power Point!!

No, I did not blog yesterday.  What are you going to do about it?  Nothing, that's right. 

I have had a crazy weekend, but it has been mostly good.  Yesterday, I read a scoreboard, and it was great.  Nineteen of us went to an Oakland A's game, which I was feeling pretty meh about, but it ended up being, to quote Napoleon Dynamite, "Flipping sweet!"  First 2 innings: boring, quick, no score, out out out, etc.  Third inning?  A's get 8 runs.  EIGHT.  Two innings later? 5.  We thought it would be a shut-out, but the Angels woke up for a little while and got one run, for a final score of 15-1.  Wow.  Best baseball game ever.  But there's more!  We then got to go down on the field (I sat in a seat instead, though) and there was an amazing fireworks display.  Seriously, it was awesome.  A little late night stop with friends at In 'n Out on the way home, and we were fat and happy.

I taught tonight at Core (the young adult group), so I read and studied for that a bit.  We talked about Leviticus 22, Hebrews 4, and Mark 5.  Cleanliness laws in the OT versus our freedom to approach God under Christ and his humanity, and how the woman with the issue of blood demonstrates this new order that Jesus kicked off.  It was pretty great, with lots of good conversation. 

And my movie clip?  Oh, I showed a clip from Elf, with the thin thread of relevance being the phrase from Hebrews "throne of grace" and Buddy the Elf accusing the fake Santa of sitting on a throne of lies.  It rocked. 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Tweets, man

I don't believe that I read at all today.  I'm a little sad about finishing Harry Potter, so nothing is really calling to me.  Once again, I did no homework today.

But I did catch up on my twitter feed!  I hadn't done that since Wednesday night, so I had a lot of crap interesting links and thoughts to read.  Now I sit here, not going to bed, and not doing homework, yet trolling through my twitter favorite posts, looking at posts and reading articles.  Motivation is not at an all-time high. 

I did work on this Sunday's Bible study, though, and that's something.  I'm switching from Hosea for now, since I felt such a crushing load of failure last time.  I know, I know- it wasn't that bad.  But I still wanted to step away from it.  I'm staying very simple this week.  Maybe it's better to say focused.  Not at all simple, being that I'm going into Leviticus, but I'm taking a small chunk and focusing on it.  As I did a little research to see if anyone could dazzle me with their academic prowess, I was able to rein myself in from straying from that focus.

Tomorrow?  A baseball game.  Not super excited about the game itself, but I'll have fun with my friends. 

Friday, July 09, 2010

Lupin and Tonks!!

Here I sit, at 2:15am, finishing up The Deathly Hallows, crying my eyes out. 

This time around, I'm noticing different people.  Lupin and Tonks break my heart, and I do believe that Neville Longbottom is my new hero.  It's just all so real and terrible and wonderful.  J.K. Rowling is truly an amazing writer.  By this book, it is not at all a children's book, and young kids surely should stay away from the movies when they come out.

What's extra heart-breaking is how we've seen these characters on screen for almost 10 years, so it's as if we really know them.  With Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint in my mind, I think back on Harry & Ron's first year and how little they were and just want to...I don't know.  It's almost as if they are really kids I know and in my care and I don't want them to go through all of this. 

Hopefully this braiding of fiction and reality will settle down again before November, or the movies are going to be very difficult to watch.  I'm definitely going into the last one with a box of kleenex, though. 

Thursday, July 08, 2010

A strange day

I really don't know why it has been a strange day, but it had been.  I slept later than I wanted, and I went to the gym pretty early, but it was all a bit off.  My plans for the gym were changed in the middle being that I wore the wrong shoes, and I just got in a semi-foul mood. 

Reading:  I read a bit of Remembering C.S. Lewis at the gym, but my frustrating day made me just want to escape into Harry Potter. 
I also read a lot of food labels, as I went to Costco to stock up on more things we could eat.  While they don't really have a lot of alternative foods for a gluten-free diet, I bought a metric ton of fruit, which is lovely. 

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Mel's Diner and the Deathly Hallows

Wait.  That's not right. 
Well, I didn't do any homework today, and that's fine.  All I wanted to do was read Harry Potter, so I did that as much as I could, even though I was quite busy most of the day.

What did I not read?  I did NOT carefully read the e-mail I received with my free pass to see Despicable Me tonight.  I did not read that the start time was at 6:30, so I got there and had friends drive into the city and meet me there around 7:30.  Boo.

So we had dinner.  Remember, this is only day 3 of our new diet, so I was a bit hesitant to go out to eat.  We went to Mel's diner and while our 3 friends were happily choosing which cheeseburgers they were going to get, Seth and I pored over the menu for quite a while, trying to find anything without gluten or dairy.  I really did want a burger, but nothing clearly stated that I could get it without a bun, and I realized that a patty with no cheese and no bun would be sad, indeed.

We ended up splitting a hot dog w/sauerkraut and a cobb salad w/o cheese and with Italian dressing.  When my friends got their side salads with blue cheese dressing, I looked at them longingly, completely expecting our salad to be disappointing when it came.  I mean, Italian dressing?? C'mon. 

But?  It was delightful.  Delicious.  We inhaled it.  I wanted another one.  Huzzah!  That was such a victory, due to both being out and the fact that I woke up this morning wanting nothing more than a baked good and a Coke. 

Now we shall share a mango for dessert, and it will be awesome. 

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Busy Day

I slept in later than I wanted to, and I may have taken a nap on the sunny couch this afternoon. 

Those factors, together with the 3 hours of homework I did today (go, me!) means that I'm just now about to get to work on some reading for today.  Sure, I snatched a page here and there in Harry Potter, but I mostly was watching lectures, then I wrote my essays for the week and started on my next paper due next week.  It was a productive afternoon.  I also cleaned, made dinner, then Seth & I watched Remember Me.

So, it is 10:45, I'm a little bit tired, but Harry is tracking down Regulus' locket and the Death Eaters are amassing outside of No 12 Grimmauld Place.  How about this:  I solemnly swear I am up...no later than 1am.  Deal?  Okay.  Deal. 

Monday, July 05, 2010

Food labels

Today is day 1 of the no gluten, no dairy, no sugar diet.  After looking through the book a bit more and trying to figure out what to do, we went to the grocery store to stock up.  While the author wants us to stay away from all processed foods and sugar, we have to be realistic.  We will be eating very differently, but we know that going completely without snacks of any kind is crazy talk.  We have been looking at labels for years, so that wasn't any hardship, but we had to be a little more careful when spotting gluten.  Did you know that soy sauce has wheat in it?  What the heck?  We found some gluten-free soy sauce, though.

Also, as far as crackers and cereal goes, rice options don't seem to be all that healthy, so we had to do some more comparisons of nutritional info.  I mean, I'm pretty sure that rice krispies have very little nutritional value.  Also, some things do have a little sugar in them, or molasses or other fruit-based sweeteners, but we have to be honest with what we'll eat.  We're already changing a lot at once, and I'm still a little bit obsessed with food, so I have to have stuff around that I'm going to like.

In that vein, I am going to be spending money and living it up on grapes and sugar snap peas. I also bought yummy Frontera salsa, and it will be a chips and salsa kind of life.

We could have spent even more money and gotten bread made from rice flour and fake cheese, then just pretended that hardly anything had changed and had sandwiches every day, but we resisted.  I may buy some alternative flours or bread mixes in the future and get out the bread maker, but I want our habits to change into eating more salads & small snacks like fruit and nuts. 

Right now, we're not stretching that much, and it's great:  chicken in the oven, brown rice cooking in the rice cooker, and we're having tacos!  Huzzzah for corn tortillas! 

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Oh, I'm stuffed

I completely forgot to write yesterday, but that's really okay, because I'm not sure I read one, single thing. 

Today was a terrific day, and I've read a variety of things. I woke up at 8am, which was not as many hours of sleep as I may have wanted, but I was pretty happy to be awake early.  After breakfast and a bit of World Cup watching, Seth and I went for a run, which was awesome. 

Most of the remainder of the afternoon was spent reading.  Among other things, I started working on C.S. Lewis Remembered, and it is quite lovely so far.  This book focuses on the recollections of people who knew him in a professional setting, especially his students.  Even though I know he was a caring man and took time to write to people, I guess that I still had the stereotypical image of the cranky, English genius, but it seems that was far from the truth.  He was generous both with his money and with his time, helping students and colleagues alike with encouragement and his great knowledge. 

He would always take your little ideas seriously and help make the into something, with the result that young people often felt they had been in amazing form after sitting next to him of an evening.
This sentence struck me, and I realized that I want to be known for being like this.  Especially as I come alongside (sorry, hate that phrase, but it fits) young people and encourage them in their faith and now that I'm moving into teaching more, I want to help people to blossom and make them feel smart instead of just trying to show how smart I am.  This will take some heart adjustments, but I trust God with the tinkering. 

Friday, July 02, 2010

One more thing.

IsawEclipseagaintoday.  

I swear, I'm not a freak or obsessed (anymore).  But I liked the movie a lot and a friend hadn't seen it yet, so I said we should go.  I liked it again, but did take a bathroom break during Bella's attempted seduction of Edward.  The actors just aren't all that adept at the intimate scenes. 
I'll have you know that on our way out, I ran into 3 friends who were seeing it again already, too.  Sure, they are 15, 16, & 17, but that really shouldn't make any difference or reflect at all upon my maturity.  Hey- I connect with teenagers.  It's what I do.  I'm staying plugged in.  Yeah, that's it. 

Um, spoiler alert?

Not sure that I have to warn people about a 3 year old book, but if you haven't read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and plan on it or plan on seeing the movies, you may want to skip this post.

Are they gone? 
As I told you before, the excitement of the preview being released finally got me to pick up the book and read it again.  I have previously only read it once, the day it came out, which was more devouring than reading.  Details did not stick to my brain parts.
I'm still pretty early on, just where all the pretend-Harrys are slowly showing up at the Weasley's house.  One thing I noticed is that the action starts with no holding back right from the beginning.  I had forgotten about Hedwig and what a blow that was and how I didn't believe it at first.  "Oh, she's fine." 
George has lost his ear and is making jokes with Fred, and I'm crying a little bit and wondering if I'll skip some pages later on in the book.  I love me some Weasley twins. 
I have a pretty busy weekend ahead of me, so I'm not certain that I will, well, should get much reading done.  If I do get a lot read in HP, it will be because I stayed up way past my bedtime or I didn't do as much homework as I'd like. 

Decisions, decisions.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Today's Blog!

It contains nothing!  I didn't really read anything! 
I mostly surfed the net while at work today, because it was too busy to get homework done.  So I guess I read twitter & facebook. 

I had a meeting at church, so I read brainstormed ideas from a white board & chose not to pooh pooh as many as I could have, being that I really have little idea what it takes to get a new service/worship night off the ground.  But I am quite opinionated, you know. 

Here's what I read today:  a transcription I was writing of a 12 minute video for I Am Second.  It wasn't really harder than I expected, but it did take longer, mostly because timestamps had to be noted every minute or so.

I also read...hmmmm...one page of HP & TDH, which I will work on more tomorrow, maybe.  After I have a meeting at church (different topic), work out, finish watching my lectures for this week, and write my essays for this week.  It is a cross-training day tomorrow, though, so I could read on the elliptical or bike.  I'll do that.

I hope you've found something fun to dive into this summer.  Let me know if you find something amazing that I'll like and I'll throw it on the TBR pile.  (meaning: kids or fantasy or, best of all, kids' fantasy)