Thursday, October 30, 2008

All Dogs Go To Heaven

Got this in an e-mail. According to the forward, these two churches are across the street from one another. I have a feeling it's generated, but still, it brings a smile to my face. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Searching For God Knows What

In my effort to occupy my time, I've checked out a bunch of books from the library and borrowed several from a friend. The first one I'm reading is Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller. It's been on my to-read list for awhile. I read Blue Like Jazz, also by Miller, several years ago, and liked it. I also saw a video a few weeks ago of Donald Miller preaching, and it was really good. He has a great sense of humor, and a realistic approach to, well, reality. I'm two chapters in, though, and while I think a lot of what he's saying is good, I'm struggling with some of it, which, I guess, is probably a good thing. I mean, I'm sure Donald Miller wouldn't want anyone to read his book and agree with everything he says.

So... one bone to pick with him. In the first chapter, he's talking about formulas, and how many people approach God with a formula in mind: do this, and this will happen. Pray for this, and this will happen. Give money to the church and this will happen. I'm with him 100% that this is the case, and that this is not the way to approach God. God is relational, and that's his whole point, that we have to be in relationship with God. God is not a snack machine, being one of my favorite parallels. We don't just put in our money, type in A2 and get our goods.

But one of the examples Miller uses is Harry Potter. In a brief example, he talks about a CSPAN show he was watching, where a literary critic was talking about Harry Potter, and wondering why it's so popular. The critic says it's "wish fulfillment." "He said the lead character in the book could wave a wand and make things happen, and this is one of the primary fantasies of the human heart." Miller agrees.

Okay, so he's making a bigger point here than why people like Harry Potter. But I feel I must make a point as to why people like Harry Potter, with the help of this article. Rather than using Harry Potter as an example of what people are wishing for that they shouldn't be wishing for, Harry Potter is an example of what we should be working toward: relationships. I believe that, within the backdrop of a magical world, JK Rowling has created a parallel universe in which people fight for what's right and wrong, and struggle to create and sustain deep, meaningful relationships that alter your existence. Sure, Harry's got a wand, and all he has to do is point it at the light and say "lumos" and there's light. But does that make everything easy? No one, and I repeat no one, could have created seven books about getting what you want that easy. 

No, I think Harry Potter is the perfect example of what Donald Miller is striving to share in the first chapter of this book. Relationships are the key. Sure, in Harry's world, just as in ours, there are formulas to get some of the things you want. Think back to tenth grade Chemistry. Or just walk in your kitchen and look at a recipe. But when it comes to the truly important things in life, those that shape us as human beings, there's no formula to create that. And throughout the Harry Potter series, this is exactly what Harry learns. He continually tries to go it alone, even to the last fight, only to discover time and again that not only can he not do it alone, he doesn't really want to. He needs his friends. We need God. And our friends, too, of course. 

A New Norm

So, a new norm is being formed in my life. Mark started his new job yesterday! I think it went well, but it was very hectic. He was very tired when he got home. Hopefully, though, he'll settle into this new routine and won't be as tired.

We're getting up at the same time, which is nice. What's especially nice for me is that now Mark gets in the shower first! I love this. It's the little things. I like being able to wake up and know that life is going on around me before actually getting out of bed. I had intentions to stay in bed until he was out of the shower this morning, but I decided to go ahead and get up and eat breakfast. I like not being the first one up. I feel so lonely getting up first... like I'm missing out on something. (Sleep! I feel like I'm missing out on sleep!)

So my new norm: driving to work alone, listening to my I-Pod on the way. (I feel like Bella Swan! haha...) I'm driving our "other" car, because our "best" car gets better gas mileage, so the weary traveler gets that one. The "other" car only has one CD holder (travesty!) and changing CDs while driving down the road isn't the safest thing. Okay, really, choosing which CD to put in next is what's not safe. I'm in a "fed up with the media" phase, and it seems every time I turn on the radio all I hear is commercials. And NPR is doing their fall campaign this week, and I quickly get sick of them asking for money.

My other new norm: lunch conundrum. For the past year, Mark and I have eaten lunch together every day. So, I miss him. Yesterday I got to eat lunch with Nikki, a friend from college (Martin, actually) who recently started working at the same place I work. That was really fun, getting to catch up and do some serious girl-talk. I'm considering trying to work out over lunch, like I used to do before Mark was close enough to eat lunch with. I need to desperately, as well as reign back in my appetite.

My evenings are quieter, as Mark doesn't get home until late now that he's commuting. Last night I had dinner ready. I was planning to just read for the few hours between me getting home and him getting home, but I ended up downloading a bunch of music from I-Tunes and playing it while I made dinner. Reading is on my schedule for tonight, though, as I have four books from the library, and four other books from a friend, and 3 DVDs traveling to my local library just for me! Hey, we packed all of our books, so I'm having to be creative in acquiring reading material. It is kinda sad that I'm really just now getting the hang of the library thing, just to leave.

We are putting our house on the market sometime this week, probably tomorrow or Thursday, depending on when the realtor gets the paperwork together, I guess. I have to say, it's in really good shape. We did a lot of work getting it ready, and so when I do get home, I can relax, and not feel stressed about having to do this or that, and can have no guilt in playing on I-Tunes or reading for hours on end.

So many news, and so many of them, I'm sure, won't be lasting. In my ever-changing world right now, I don't even really know where I'll be living from one day to the next. Okay, probably not that volatile. But still, changing. And the norms I establish today will be changed and re-formed tomorrow! What's going to be weird, I feel, is not going to church on Wednesday night... it's been years since I haven't done that! Times, they are a changin'!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Change the Conversation: Blog Action Day

I'm so far behind the times, that it's already 3:45 my time and I'm just getting clued into this. Fairly appropriate for my discussion...

It's Blog Action Day. Don't know much about it, other than that it's an organization that chooses a topic and encourages bloggers around the world to blog about it on one specific day. For 2008, that day is today, and the topic is poverty. 

I went to the website and saw the video. Very intriguing, and moving. It is amazing to think about the power that bloggers have. I often remove myself from that group, because I'm sure I have a small following, if any at all, and I never really say anything of much interest, mostly just ramblings about my affluent life. I'm not an activist. I'm not looking to change the world. I read other's blogs and think, man it would be cool for me to say something that really affected others, but mostly I'm just trying to say something that will affect myself. 

And so, as I'm watching this video, I'm thinking, wow, this is really cool, people blogging about poverty. I should blog about poverty. But what in the world do I know about poverty? I don't advocate change anywhere. I don't volunteer or serve in missions anywhere. I don't do much of anything.

But I know there are others out there who are like me. (Please? Pretty please tell me I'm not alone!) I "dabble" in advocacy, sending an e-mail to a senator for a random cause that catches my eye, sending some money to a cause, usually around Christmas, but I'm by no means passionate about it. I'm much more passionate about what we can learn from Harry Potter, or being obsessed with the latest Twilight news, or having my head stuck in a book.

So, I'm blogging for those of us who haven't thrown ourselves into changing the world, because we're too busy trying to change ourselves, or figure out who we are so we can know if it needs to be changed. I admire others who so passionately devote themselves to a cause and support it whole-heartedly with everything they have. I want to be one of those people when I grow up, and I struggle to not remind myself that I'm already grown up, and I need to get a move-on. 

And I'm blogging because I have to remind myself that I can do what I can do. I can give money, even if it's just at Christmas. I can e-mail a Senator when I think about it, even if it's not once a day, or once a week, or even once a year. I can blog about poverty, and maybe someone who stumbles across my blog will think twice in the next few months before buying a random present for a distant friend, and instead will give the gift of food to a family in that friend's name. I'm blogging to help change the conversation, because that IS something I can do, even if not the most, and even if not the best.

And however small my offering, I can only trust that God will accept it and be pleased. 

Monday, October 6, 2008

Moving On...

Okay, so it's time. The news. 

Most of you who read this probably know it by now. And those who don't are readers I've picked up somewhere along the way, and so this "big" news probably won't affect you very much, b/c I'll still be blogging...

This is an adaptation of the letter we sent to family and friends...

As many of you know, our life for the last few years has been bitter-sweet. While our lives outside of work have been wonderfully filled with family, friends, and church activities, our work careers have lacked a certain amount of satisfaction. So, when we learned of a wonderful job opportunity for Mark, we knew we had to pursue it. 

Mark has been offered and has accepted the position of Assistant Choir Director and Instructor of Music at our alma matter! He will begin work there on Monday, October 20. 

I'll continue in my work for the time being. We're putting our house on the market, and when it sells, we'll be looking for a more permanent place in our new/old home!

We hate to leave, but this is a wonderful opportunity for Mark, as he will be able to use his gifts and talents doing what he has worked toward doing his entire adult life in a location that we know we will enjoy. We hope that you can share our joy at this exciting change in our lives!

So...that's it! We're moving! I am so excited! Yes, very sad to be leaving our church family, not to mention our real family. It's going to be very hard. But we both feel this is where we need to be. Here's to the future...a future with real hope!


I don't get much into politics. I watch a little...I watched most of the VP debate at my 'rents house last week. I listen to NPR. I kinda keep up with what's going on. But I don't spend hours researching and discussing. I vote, most of the time, but that's about as involved as I get.

So everything going on in the world over the past few weeks has kinda been in the back of my mind, not in the front. I'm paying attention, but not obsessing. That's why I haven't really said anything in my blog about it. But I came across this in my google reader this morning, and it's just too classic to not mention. I ran across this guy's blog through a friend of mine, Gavin. He does religious cartoons about the life and adventures of Jesus. Read more about him here. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. 

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A Week In the Life Of...Part 2

Okay, so I really have been taking pictures. But my husband took my computer with him on a work trip, so no posting them. And I can't post my notes, because I haven't been taking any...

So, instead of posting my thoughts and pictures through the week, I think I'll just post the finished products. However, it'll probably be awhile before I get to scrapbooking because I have to pack up all my scrapbooking stuff. And I have to pack up all my scrapbooking stuff because...well, that's a post for another time. Maybe this afternoon. Maybe tomorrow. But I want to do it justice. 

Just suffice it to say I am doing the project. Really. And you shall one day see the fruits of my labor. But, by that point, I'll probably need to do it again, because everything will have changed...