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.


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.