Showing posts from 2005

Christmas is Nuts

What I'm listening to: James Taylor Live, Disc 2

So, to only have three family Christmas events to attend isn't so bad. I'm fortunate to have any family at all to spend the holidays with. On my dad's side, I have lots of cousins about the same age and they all had babies in the last 3-4 years. So, this year (in which the most recent 4 were born) that Christmas was a little nutty. Not everyone could come, but there were still 6 children under the age of three in one house. 7 more children (under the age of 8) are part of our family.

That. is. nuts. If my grandparents were still alive, they would boast 13 great-grandchildren. All under the age of 8. Nuts.

As one of the three cousins who don't have kids yet, it's great practice in case I ever do.

And once again, we did not have a white Christmas. I'm was really holding out for one this year. It's snowed quite a bit, but we've also had 40-50 degree weather. So all the snow is melted. For at least the 5th y…

Boys vs. Girls

What I'm listening to:Happy Christmas Vol. 2 (Which was the best version of You're A Mean One Mr Grinch on it I've ever heard.)

I never much enjoyed hanging out with girls when I was younger. Too much drama. The backstabbing, petty, mean-girl behavior never appealed to me. I don't like hurting people's feelings, and even when it happens unintentionally I'm upset for days after discovering it. Those girls who make fun of the kid who only has 1 pair of shoes to wear to school and an out-of-date haricut are MEAN. And I never understood how behaving that way made you feel superior. I always felt worse after I did.

Boys? Way less drama. If bad things happened, they dealt with it and moved on. End of story. No heavy emotional baggage gets lugged around with them, so months later it doesn't sneak up and take it out on you again.

However, I am very happy my preference for men friends is no longer with me.

What would I do without my girlfriends? The kind of friends you …

The Bleak Mid-Winter

What I'm listening to: First Call's Beyond December

In the bleak mid-winter, the frosty wind did moan
The earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone

Snow had fallen softly, snow on snow on snow
In the bleak mid-winter, oh so long ago
Our God, heaven cannot hold Him nor the earth sustain
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign

In the bleak mid-winter a stable place sufficed
For the Lord almighty, Jesus Christ

Oh what can I give Him, woeful as I am
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb
If I were a wiseman, oh I would do my part
Yet, what can I give Him -- I will give my heart
Oh what can I give Him -- I will give my heart

It does feel a little like the bleak mid-winter here. Snow has fallen, the sun has shone a little and melted some, but the cold has set in. Now as the earth remains too cold to melt the remaining, ice has formed on the roads. The leaves are all gone from the trees - there is nothing green left nor any more vibrant colors of autumn anywher…

I Called It

Well, not exactly. But still, did I not say? Did I not claim that Matt Dillon's performance was incredible?

His Gloden Globe nomination is well deserved. Perhaps this will redeem this previous missteps of tasteless comedy and raunchy teen flicks. (However, I always liked "The Outsiders".)

The Silence of Adam

What I'm listening to:
Harry Connick's Harry for the Holidays

I have not read the book that bears the same title as my post. But the book and it's topic recently came up in a conversation with some friends. However, the basic premise of it is extraordinary enough for me to want to explore here.

Here's a basic overview of the book (from Amazon):

Taken from a customer review:

Instead of depicting Eve as being deceived and then subsequently deceiving Adam, the book describes that Adam was there the whole time, yet said and did nothing.

Taken from the editorial review:
They trace the problem with men to the silence with which Adam became complicit in the first fall from God's grace.Adam failed to trust in God's word and example, and modern men do the same when, instead of following God's example in dealing with uncertainties, they retreat into self-righteousness and toughness that mask anger and fear.

Do I think all men do this? Of course not. To believe that is unfai…

Of College and Painful Memories

What I'm listening to:City on a Hill

I'll be the first to admit - I'm lousy at keeping in touch with people.

The electronic age has certainly helped in this endeavor. It's easy to shoot a quick email to an old roommate just to check in and say hi. In fact, it's because of email I got back in touch with an old college friend and ended up being a bridesmaid in her wedding.

But some old memories and emotions surfaced in me recently that make me wonder if not keeping in touch with those old friends is intentional.

College is an abberation. You're in this place for a definitive matter of time, you are secluded from the real world and trying to decide what future you want. College usually happens at an age where a huge part of who you are is developed - you're finally away from home, on your own and you're thrust into an environment with a bunch of strangers that all of a sudden become your substitute family.

I haven't thought about college in a very long time…


What I'm listening to: My Restoration mix

Five Qualities of an Effective Worship Leader (by Lamar Boschman)
1.) Knowledge of God (Have a large view of God)
2.) A Heart Shaped by Worship (Be a worshiper in private)
3.) Intuitiveness (Sensitivity to the Holy Spirit is essential)
4.) Pastoral Heart (Be a leader of people before you are a leader of songs)
5.) Musicality (Play skillfully before the Lord)

As a worship leader, I've always felt more like the quarterback than the coach. Meaning I'm in there, with the congregation -worshipping - just as the quarterback is in there with the team. A leader, but in no way like the coach, who is just shouting instruction from the sidelines. I'm leading them, but we are working together to get down the field to the goal - authentic worship of God.

I struggle with accepting that's really all I can do. Our worship band is comprised of an amazing group of worshippers. They love playing music and much as I do, but above that, they l…

Repair or Replace?

What I'm listening to: Fleming and John's Delusions of Grandeur

I'm running errands over my lunch break today and I've got the radio tuned to New Life Live by default - I'm usually listening to The Bridge, a local christian radio station, when I'm driving. Anyway, there was a caller asking about her marriage. Her husband had cheated on her, moved away and wanted nothing more to do with her and her question to them was "When do I give up on this marriage?" At one point, Steven Arterburn said "There comes a time when our hearts must be either repaired or replaced." So, my mind went back to the theme of restortation I've been exploring the last month. And I found this question very profound. Repair or replace?

It's certainly not my place to answer this question. God knows and understands the depth my hurt, and thus can best decide what I need: A new heart or one that's patched up. I recall a moment back during my days of insomnia and …

Snow Makes Me A Loner

What I'm listening to: Gretel's Unreturnable Dirt _____________________________________________________________
I've discovered something about myself this last weekend. When push comes to shove, I'm more of a loner than a people person.

I've been snowed-in since yesterday afternoon. I love snow. I love it's beauty, the way it symbolizes Christmas is here. Snow blankets the Nebraska plains, and blankets the trees that have lost their leaves from the windy autumn. I love to pick it up in my gloved hand and smoosh it together (yes that's a real word. To me anyway). And I especially love it when it falls from my fingers and lands on my shoes. I love it way it feels in my hair during a snowball fight, I love how it makes a warm house seem so much warmer when I come inside.

What I don't love is what it does to the roads and how it makes my trips to work scary. But it's such a small amount of suffering for the peace it brings my soul. It's my "mann…

I'm Addicted

What I'm listening to: John Mayer's Any Given Thursday

I can't help it. I'm addicted to TV shows on DVD.

I don't have cable. I've always seen it as an unnecessary expense, I never had it growing up, so I don't really know what I'm missing. But I kept hearing about all these great shows on the WB or UPN that I should see.

So this weekend I had Friday off, and needed to paint the Christmas decorations for the women's Christmas banquet at church. I knew I'd be inside all day (which is not a bad idea the day after Thanksgiving. I get crabby when I shop this time of year. And I love to shop.) Anyway, so rented the first couple of discs of Veronica Mars

I've noticed that since TV shows are released on DVDs now, it's getting harder and harder for me to get into the show I currect make a point to watch during the week. There aren't many - The Amazing Race, Grey's Anatomy and Alias. I used to be faithful Joan of Arcadia to until the idiot kno…


What I'm listening to: Caedmon's Call's Share the Well

Completely fascinating. Intensely shocking. Progressively moving. And I couldn't take my eyes off the screen. (That hasn't happened to me since American Beauty) Crash is not what I expected. But I go into most movies with very little because most of what I've seen in the last few years has lowered said expectation level. However, I'd heard the film was powerful. I loved Million Dollar Baby - which earned every award it won - and Crash was also written by Paul Haggis, so I picked it up after work tonight expecting to see a good movie, but not like this.

I was taken on a journey through a day in the lives of 15 or so different characters. Some I hated, some I loved. All I ended up caring about. So much so I found myself tracing the reason a person behaved a certain way back to the character that first encoutered them. It's Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia without the quirky sense of humor. And it ha…

Playing Pitch and Laughing

What I'm listening to: Norah Jones' Feels Like Home

My sides hurt. From laughing.

I've been part of a small group bible study for almost a year now. I love it. Every Monday, we meet and go through the study we are currently on. It's all women about my age, and we have an amazing time together. I prayed for the right small group to come into my life and God brought it. I am blessed.

Tonight there wasn't a study. It's the leader's birthday so we all brought junk food and played pitch. We had two tables going and it was loud. Lots of laughing, so much fun. My sides hurt and my voice is actually a little scratchy. Yes, we laughed that much.

I don't deserve this. I don't deserve such a fun night with some great people. I really don't. But there it was, kind of out of nowhere. Life's been hectic lately, with my church celebrating it's 125th anniversary this last weekend, my two jobs, the holidays coming, and tons of other personal stuff. So much I…

The Model A

I love this picture of the Model A. My uncle (who the car belongs to -
passed on to him from my grandpa) and my grandma are inside.

What I'm listening to: Caedmon's Call's Back Home

What it Means to Be Held

Well, technically it snowed, but there was no accumulation, so my excitement was preliminary. Boo! The result? It's just really, really cold and extra windy. Boo!

There's this song by Natalie Grant I'm blaring on my stereo right now called "Held". The song is about the promise that after the fall of man, we have the promise of God holding us. And I know the following interpretation of the song is probably not what was intended by writer, however I've never been one for conformity.

This is what it means to be held - How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life and you survive

This is what it is to be loved - and to know that the promise was when everything fell we'd be held

And it occured to me the reason we hurt,the reason we have an ache inside us, is from being held. From that promise of things better, the promise of home. It we didn't know just how amazing home will be when we get there, we wouldn't hurt this way.

God holding you kind of hu…

Restoration (Part 2)

What I'm listening to: "Restoration" mix of the following songs:

Time-Chantal Kreviazuk
Beautiful-Bethany Dillon
The Space In Between Us -Building 429
Find Me In The River-Delirious?
Much Afraid-Jars Of Clay
Do You Dream Of Me?-Across The Sky
Close of Autumn-Caedmon's Call
Cry A River-Amy Grant
Stars-(From Les Miserables)
This Road- Ginny Owens
Who Am I-Casting Crowns
My Father's Crown-Charlie Peacock
Pour Me Out-PFR
Still The Cross -FFH
Be Still, My Soul- Ginny Owens
I Wait For The Sun-PFR
Waterdeep-Don & Lori Chaffer & Hey Ruth
Tea And Sympathy- Jars Of Clay
The Worst Is My Being Alone-Don Chaffer
Refine Me-Jennifer Knapp
Wait For Your Rain- Todd Agnew
She Stumbles Through The Door-Sarah Masen
Save Me- Kevin Max
I'm Afraid That I'm Not Supposed To Be Like This- Waterdeep
Rain All Day-Flemming & John
Love's As Strong As Death (from "Canticle of the Plains)- lead vocal by Kevin Smith
Constant-Out Of The Grey
Missing Love-PFR
Damaged -Plumb

The Creepiest Light I've Ever Seen

I work at a lighting company and a new product we've introduced is one-of-a-kind glass art pendants. He hand-blows them, signs each one so it really is like getting your own piece of art. And I really like the artist. A lot of his work is beautiful and he's one of the nicest guys I've ever talked to on the phone, but this pendant? Creeps me out.

Restoration (Part 1)

What I'm listening to:Tenth Hour Calling

I've been broken and beaten down. In many ways, over many years. By many people.

Mostly, I've just never dealt with the brokeness. Time has done well to heal some wounds, but never have I taken time to confront the hurt head on, to open it and exposed the wound so it could heal. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it was out of unconscious need to squelch that hurt, perhaps it was I didn't think it was necessary.

But I have a feeling it was because of my fear of what might be exposed.

To have our pain exposed - to one person or the whole world - is nothing anyone seeks out. Our culture has taught us vulnerability = weakness and those who feel pain simply don't know how to handle the real world.

Was I afraid of being weak? I think so. But I was more concerned to acquiesce the status quo, accepting pain wasn't an option,and in doing so, I wouldn't be weak. That somehow ignoring it would make me stronger.

When God became man, walke…

I Will Not Live For Anyone Else

What I'm listening to: Sara Groves' Conversations (In particular, This Journey is My Own, which is such a great song)

So, I talked to an old friend tonight. Someone I haven't really seen or talked to in well over a year. We still live in the same town, he's just not my neighbor anymore. When he was, I saw him 3-4 times a week usually and as a result, we become (what I thought was) very close friends. And after almost 5 years of friendship, he disappeared from my life. When he moved, that was it. No more neighbor who came knocking at my door at 11:30 at night just to talk. No guy to walk to TCBY with on a warm summer night, no more...well, no more friend.

Which, obviously, hurt me. He mentioned many times in the last few months of our friendship about how close we were and how he didn't know what he'd do without me. If not for that, I simply would chock it up to a season of friendship that passed it's time. That's common in my life, because hurting people …

Never Underestimate God

What I'm listening to: Rich Mullin's A Liturgy, A Legacy & A Ragamuffin Band

I was so nervous this morning. And I never get nervous. Not when it comes to leading worship, anyway. When I first started to lead with my guitar, I was a little nervous, but not like today.

Actually, it was more worry that nervousness.

They installed part of our new sound system this week. The mixer's still on back order, but everything else is pretty much done. So that was simply an added question mark on what worship was going to be like this morning. Because this was the first Sunday morning service I lead worship with an entire band behind me - three guitar, four vocalists, a keyboardist and a drummer. But that's not what made me worry. What I was worried about was what the congregation response was going to be.

They knew it was coming. We'd been rehearsing for the last couple of months, and we led worship for the youth programs' fall kickoff last month. But having all those peo…

Answering the Call

What I'm listening to: Tait's Empty

My friend Shannon is in Budapest - she left last month to join the YWAM mission group there and I'm thrilled for her. She sent me these great pictures this week of her new apartment and roommate. She just had a birthday and as I looked through her photos of how she spent that day, her birthday, in a strange country with a person she barely knows, I was simply in awe of her.

Back in 1996, I dedicated my life to the ministry. At the time, I thought I knew what that would involve. When that didn't work, I accepted what God's plan was and that was for me to be here. Years later, I'm enjoying my simple life. My life filled with love and friends, music and bible study, graphic design and the guitar... just simple things. Lovely things I've settled into, an environment I love and that make my life the abundant life God has promised.

But am I settling?

Let me back up a bit.

Several months ago, I was feeling directionless in my role as…

What Peace? and What Heart?

...when you least expect it...

I learned a very valuable lesson. I learned what it means to strive for excellence, not perfection. And I finally know and have experienced the raw power of God’s peace.

A friend of mine once said, “I make the little decisions with my head and the big decisions with my heart. After all, that’s where Jesus is.” I’ve often pondered that statement - wondering if this was just a way to make decisions based solely on feelings or if there is a great truth in her words. I fear our society is one that often relies on feelings only - the mentality “If it feels good, do it.” This mantra is all around us - it has damaged us emotionally, physically, deep down. And Satan has so deceived us we don’t see and realize it’s happened.

But Christ does live in our hearts. He does in mine. I struggle with making it a home for him - because my heart is hard at times, it’s been let down my friends, family, co-workers, professors, bosses. And I’ve let my own heart down with my sinf…
At home with the huskers

Never Underestimate My Ability to Doubt Myself

What I'm listening to: Chris Tomlin's Arriving

I've been hearing a theme in my everyday life lately - fear.

"Fear not" is the most frequent instruction God gives us in the Bible. Probably not a coincidence. Fear can sink fast - without you even realizing it. Bad fear is when trust isn't there. Good fear is when it keeps you from driving like an idiot.
Is my fear a lack of trust in God? I'm not sure. I know my fear most certainly is for lack of trust in myself. I've screwed up enough that I'm too scared to do something - because I'm just sure I'll screw it up. I know myself well enough. I'm really good and ignoring all the warning signs God provides - all the instruction he give me and just messing things up.

Just another lovely side effect of low self esteem.

It's happening slowly - I can feel it. I have since last spring. God knows me well enough to not hit me in the face with it all at once. He does it in pieces - so I can get used t…

may i wear black?

What I'm listening to: Don Chaffer's You Were at the Time for Love

coffee and daylight obscure my senses as the sun goes down
my eyes travel across pages with words i do not want to face
i want to be put away
where no one is bothered by me
where the corner of a room is my haven
and the color black is not of death, but of hiding

is there a difference?

my ears hear the low rumble of trains in the distance and traffic in midtown
the smell of expresso beans and paper reach through
all at once i want to be everywhere and nowhere

to know more life
to be more who i am (or who i should be)
am i enough?

but my shame overtakes my heart
i wear the black sweater of fear
the back of the room welcomes me

the whispers in my ear...

you are meant for more than this

i have no faith in me

but i do

the walls of self-protection weaken

but may i still wear black?

Don't Shoot Me Because I'm A Mac Person

What I'm listening to: Aimee Mann

Man, do I catch a lot of crap for being a Mac person.

In this sad little PC world, I actually find myself seeking out Mac people. And when we find each other, it's like there's this weird little unspoken connection between us. We don't have to say it, or talk about it, we just know. It's like we've got this little secret the rest of the world doesn't know about.

We just know. We know it's better to use a Mac for many, many things. We know it easier to use, we know the logic of the operating system makes so much more sense than a PC, and that the answer to every solution isn't "ctl + alt + del". Mac users rarely have to reboot - and when they do, it's not because of the hardware, it's because of the user. My PC? I'm rebooting every other day.

And what's with never being able to find anything on my PC? It's like when I'm working on something - where it gets saved off in neverland. I never…

When did I become an adult?

What I'm listening to: Soundtrack to O Brother Where Art Thou

I still remember sitting in my AP English classroom in high school, filling out my applications to college, repearting my S.S. # over and over again, wondering where I'd end up next. I was so sure I'd be in New York City or somewhere exciting - just because I thought I deserved it.

I have a cousin who believes, more or less, in socialism. That the poor and less fortunate deserve help from the government simply because they are poor and less fortunate. Then there are all those crazy people who believe the bible says, "God helps those who help themselves." Believe me - that's no where in the bible. But my unskewed vision of the world I had back at the age of 17 trusted in that ideal - that if I worked hard, I would get ahead in life. I would deserve the success that comes with an honest day's work.

The reality of paying bills, shopping for cars, houses, and health insurance has turned me into an adu…

Misplaced Obsessiveness

What I'm listening to: Plumb's Beautiful Lumps of Coal

So I'm innocently shopping at my hometown Hobby Lobby - a little against protest, not because I hate the store, but because the last 7 days of my life were overtaken by a scrapbook my mother I insisted I make for my grandmother. (Don't get me wrong - I'm happy to do it for my grandmother, it's the "in 10 days" part I have trouble with, as her surprise 90th b-day party is this Sunday.) Anyway, I'm innocently looking for the paper I need, I turn with my cart around the corner and I see her. This annoying girl I used to be friends with awhile back. She studiously ignores me, as I equally studiously ignore her. But what happens? Tons and tons of stupid thoughts run through my head - thoughts that remind me of how good women are at obsessing about the relationships in their lives.

This girl was truly annoying. Looking back, I have no idea why I was friends with her. She had the most negative attitude…

Hunger and Thirst

What I'm listening to: Jennifer Knapp's Wishing Well

Our physical bodies need things to survive - the air we breath, the food we eat, the water we drink. Without these things, our bodies deteriorate.

And what does our soul need to survive? Some say fellowship with other people, some say love. The soul can deteriorate like the body, but may take longer or may not be evident to the outside world as much.

I believe the God-shaped hole we are born is why our soul deteriorates - when it’s not filled the his nourishment, our soul can wither away.

O God, you are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you,
my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.
-Psalm 63:1

Our bodies and souls long for our Creator, partially because he is our Creator, but also because this world is not our home. We are aliens is this world and are called to glorify him.

Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have recei…

Fuzzy Slippers and Shakespeare

You know what I've decided? That purple fuzzy terry cloth slippers are a girl's best friend.

Yes, they cost me $2, and yes they are weird off-shade color of lavender, and no, they aren't very warm, but what is it about these slippers that has me so enamored? I mean, they probably won't last 6 months, they have no way of providing warmth for my chilly toes on this breezy fall evening, and yet, I'm oddly in love with these babies.

I made my way up to the storage area of my building about an hour ago, simply to see if I could find an empty box, and all the while thinking... Ilovetheseslippers.

Not that it's at all abnormal for me to form unnatural attachments to the inatimate objects in my life. It's really not. For example, I have this box in my kitchen cabinet (for lack of a better place to put it) with tons of bizarre things...but each one of them has a memory attached to it. And in this box is a mini-sized LifeSaver Candy pack. My friend Russ gave it to me on…