Sunday, June 25, 2006

What Now?

My mind unprepared yet my heart prepared, I feel a crushing blow. I sit facing my friend - shocked but not shocked. Somehow I knew but didn't know the unhappiness was so deep inside. I was reflecting into the people and places who didn't deserve mistreatment. Sadness affects more than just me.

My stunned mind ran in circles wondering where it all went wrong. I closed my eyes hoping a picture would come to explain it all away, a way for the problem to be solved.

A year?

Could it be that bad?

"Yes" the Holy Spirit whispered to me. I was suddenly aware of all I'd done. Not in a way that made sense to me, for I still have no explanation. None of it was intended the way it was took. So in the midst of a life I've tried to create order and peace in, I must now make everyone else happy too? Does that seem fair? I asked myself.

As my friend continued to talk my disbelief grew, but my acquiescence did not go ignored. What she was saying was true, from their perspective (my brain slipped that in - how did that happen?) yet I couldn't understand how it's gone undetected by me all this time. Must I be everything to everyone?

The shock too fresh, the tears were unable to come. I knew they were inevitable. I did not expect them to come at 8:30pm tonight on I-80 while listening to David Crowder's And He set me on fire, and I am burning alive. With His breath in my lungs I am coming undone. And I cannot hold it in and remain composed. Love's taken over me and so I propose the letting myself go.

I am letting myself go.

You are my joy.


What is it about David's music that gets to me?

As I learn to accept truth while sitting in a construction zone, I wonder how to change who I am. Of course a song comes...


So we had a talk last night
About the heavy blow that you dealt in fight
Your back against the wall
It was a puzzle peice
important to the whole that I may not find
You placed within the hole
I never seem to put them in the gaps I see
like a puzzle where the pieces lost you and me

So I'm changing who I am
'cause what I am's not good


How do you change who you are?

Friday, June 23, 2006

Songs about the Holy Spirit

Blech.

What is it about this topic that every song written about it makes me want to plug my ears? This is the thrid time in three pastors I've had to deal with this topic in worship. And all the songs out there are terrible. Yuck.
Maybe I'm not looking in the right place, but I feel as though I keep up with all the newest stuff and doing this job for the last 5 years has made me very familiar with the older stuff. Still... nothing.

Is it the songwriters' inability to understanding the HS properly? Is it that most have a hard time understanding the HS's role so everyone is afaid to even try to write a song about it? Or is it that all songs written about it musically seem cheesy? It's so frustrating.

I'm just whining. It comes quite naturally to me.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

What If It All Means Something

I've been pondering a little about why I write here.

Never too great at the handwritten journal, I was skeptical when I decided to start on online journal. That was three years ago (on zorpia.com) and true to form, I didn't keep up with it. I wrote enough, I guess, but I just wasn't consistent. Blogger.com made the process exponentially easier, so yea for them.

As I peruse other blogs, most seem to have a theme and purpose. The writers have a specific reason for writing in the first place. Is it weird that I don’t have that?

I’ve looked back at my history as a writer and there is no identity. I’ve not taken writing seriously. Sometimes I enjoy it, most of the time I loathe it. Often times I only wrote because there was massive amounts of junk inside me I had to get out. I don’t write for any other reason that to sort that junk out. It doesn’t do any good inside me, so I feel as though spewing it all over is better than it taking space up in my heart and mind.

Now, I’ve turned into "blog girl". In random parts of my day - driving, reading, talking with friends, watching TV - I’ll catch myself thinking about what I will write about next. What is that? Isn’t that weird? I think it’s weird.

My identity is something I feel I’m always searching for. Which I also think is weird. Why must I have a definition in the first place? Does it make me feel as though I belong to something and that, in turn, makes me feel whole? Like it’s okay for me to be here, my existence is acceptable if I know what my "job" is?

That is the great pursuit, isn’t it? The search for reason, purpose, the "one thing" Jack Palance speaks of in City Slickers. The great pursuit of happiness, something we think we can only find outside of ourselves. That sucks, because I want to be an island. I’m sick of looking for happiness in other people and other things. I’m never gonna find it there because that's not where it is.

Yep, that’s right. I know where it is. And I chase after it every day. Sometimes I have to grab a cup out of someone’s hand and toss the cold water on my face. Sometimes I have to make a pit stop to refuel and change my tires. Sometimes I get pulled over because I was going too fast. But it’s chasing nonetheless. That is my definition - chasing. Come what may, I will chase after what I should; I will chase after what I want.

I need to stop blogging. It makes me think way too much about things.

What I'm listening to: The sound of my TV in the other room.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Fight or Flight?

If you’ve read this blog for a while you know I’m a worship leader. In a "happy with the status quo" "family-reunion" type-of church that I grew up in, love, am not afraid to be disillusioned with, and a church that is trying to work it’s way out of a hole we’ve dug.

Believe me, I’ve thought about leaving my church. Anyone who is passionately devoted to Christ and works/volunteers in a church most likely has. I’ve thought about leaving lots and lots of times. Why don’t I? Why should I? I can fill notebooks and notebooks with reasons for both.

About a year ago it felt like do or die time. I was trying to push something forward and to me, it was D-day. Either we go forward or I leave. I never threatened anyone with that, but the thoughts were in my head. I would never issue an ultimatum like that. It’s just not in me. When a tiny glimmer of hope appeared - that we as a church could go forward with the blessing of church leadership (minus a pastor) I stayed and I fought. But some didn’t. Some left and if affected me in a way I truly didn’t expect. I actually got angry. And I don’t get angry.

I’m fairly flexible, (I admit I like things done a certain way.) But it takes a lot to anger me. There was only one other time I got angry at someone from our church and that’s just because their display of selfishness was so grand I couldn’t take it anymore. But when certain people choose to leave the church, that’s not ultimately what I was angry at. I was angry at their lack of determination.

There are many valid reasons for leaving a church, just as there are invalid reasons. In one case, the reason a person left our church was (he said) because we didn’t have vision, which is a good and solid reason to leave. But I believe it’s just as good a reason to stay.

I had a vision; so did the other members of church leadership. (And actually, so did the person who left. It was the same as ours.) We failed to communicate it well to the church body, which lead to a poor (and little to no) execution. But we didn't give up. We brushed ourselves off and tried again. I stuck it out - not just because God wanted me to, but because I believed God would use me to change things. I stayed to fight for what God’s plan was for our church. I stayed because I didn’t want to be a quitter.

Yes, that was harder to do than leaving. Leaving’s easy. Leaving means you get to find the church you want, the church that does the kinds of thing you enjoy, the church that makes you happy. Notice how many times the word “you” was written in the last paragraph.

Is it fight or flight reflex in some people? Maybe I’m just hard-wired to fight and others are wired to flee. But here’s what I asked myself: how can you affect change without staying and trying to make that change? Especially when the lack of desired change is the reason you want to leave?

The answer is: You can’t.

We shouldn’t be afraid of change, but we are. That why it’s tough and takes a while. I guess I’d rather say that I tired and failed than to say I never even tried in the first place.

What I'm listening to:
Butterfly Boucher's Flutterby

Friday, June 16, 2006

Lists

I'm obsessed with lists.

100 Most Shocking Moments in TV, Top 10 Videos of All Time, 100 Best Movie Quotes... I love them. I love sitting uselessly to click off my own personal choices and yelling "HA!" when mine makes the list. I love being right.

The latest list? AFI's 100 years, 100 cheers . Cute, yes, but now they are just searching for shows to fill the summer time slots. With my house guest at some company dinner she was required to attend, I could watch without guilt of being considered a geek and yell at the TV all I want.

So here's the list

I have no trouble admitting I haven't seen all the movies on this list (Seriously, who's seen Breaking Away?) and not even all that are in the top ten. There are now several more movies I want to see, but that's normal for me. But here's what really chaps my hide: There is NO WAY The Color Purple should only be number 51. Forest Gump, The Sound of Music, The Wizard of Oz were all higher on the list. Are you kidding me? I'm not knocking those movies (although I really do hate Forest Gump) - there are inspiring in their own way, but seriously? How can you compare those stories to a story of a woman in the early 1900s who, after enduring years of abuse from her husband, dares to leave him? At that time, in that place, under those conditions, nothing made me cheer harder that Celie never lost the spirit inside her. I can't even say that number ten on the list Saving Private Ryan was more inspiring than The Color Purple . And Whoopi Goldberg? Genius.

This is the downside of being list-obsessed. How irritated I get when they are wrong.

Interesting fact: Sydney Poitier is in a whopping five movies on the list. That's impressive. Not that Don Cheadle didn't do an amazing job, but imagine a younger Poitier in Hotel Rwanda (#90) ... tears...

What I'm listening to: Soundtrack to The Secret Garden (Original Broadway Cast) Now this should be on the list!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Me + Sparks = Bad

Yeah, so the electricity in my house almost killed me last night.

My good friend Suzie is staying with me for the next several days. She got in last night and after we'd talked for a while, I decided to be a good hostess and make lemon-poppy seed muffins for us to enjoy for breakfast this morning. And you know when you're dumping the batter into the muffin cups and the batter can splash a little and not end up in the cup? Well, I tried to wipe most of it up but apparently didn't succeed because after 10 minutes in the oven, you could smell a little burning. It wasn't anything serious, just a smell. No smoke anywhere in the house, but then I heard this very loud beep. One I am unfamiliar with and hadn't heard since I moved in here. But it doesn’t take long for me to realize it was the smoke alarm. It only beeped once, and as there was no smoke in the house, I thought maybe it was the battery warning me it was getting low. No big deal, right? I am a self sufficient woman who can take care of herself.

So I drag out the step ladder, twist and pop off the alarm from it's holder and begin to look for the battery. (Why I did this instead of hitting this test button I'll never know.) Mind you, Suzie is simply watching me up on the ladder, curious to know if her friend might burn the house down with her lemon poppy seed muffins. Then I notice the alarm has two wires attached to it. At the same time I notice this, they come off.

Hm. Logic, at this point, has failed me because I am still searching for the battery not even really wondering why there are TWO COPPER WIRES HANGING OUT OF MY CEILING. But it gets worse. I then notice the test button and realize the stupidity of what I've just done. I read the instructions on the under side of the alarm that tell me where to put the WIRES THAT ARE HANGING OUT OF MY CEILING. So I pull the wires down so I have more slack to attach them to the alarm.

See, this is where it got bad. Sparks flew into my hair, all over and in front of me, landing on crocheted round thingy (a gift from my mother years ago) that's on top of the cabinet that sits just below the alarm. And all the ceiling lights go off. It all happens in slow motion as I see the sparks land on the cloth and my heart stops. Just for a little bit. And all I can think is Isn't it ironic that my smoke alarm is what's going to cause this fire?

There was no fire. The alarm could hardly be blamed if there was. My goodness, I work for a lighting company. I'm not an electrician but I know enough to switch a breaker off whenever wires are being touched by stupid humans.

Because the ceiling lights in the vicinity went out, I check the breaker box and it thankfully flipped (knowing someone like me would someday move in). Ceiling lights restored, I decide to take the alarm to work and talk to one of our electricians to make sure I was reading the instructions correctly. I didn't trust anything I was capable of at this point. I tuck my tail between my legs, grateful I didn't kill myself or Suzie (who at this point isn't remotely concerned because she was looking for her contact case, only to realize she'd left it at home.) I am happy she is as laid back as I am, and had something to distract her. Or she may never come stay with me again.

What really sucks? The muffins weren’t even that good.

What I'm listening to: Shawn Colvin's A Few Small Repairs (And no, I'm not kidding. The irony is not lost on me.)

Law of Love

The article I linked to below is of the kind I'm seeing a lot of in the last year or so. Maybe they've been out there longer, I just never noitced. I don't know. Here's is something I feel compelled to point out:

“I don’t have a problem with Christianity or with Jesus. Those are good things. But people who act uncaring and intolerant? That’s what I can’t stand. People who talk about love and then act with hate.”


I attended a church in college that when the pastor spoke about God's love, he didn't see it as being all roses and chocolates (that's the girl version of love I've just inserted, not his, btw.) Love isn't just about being nice, he would say, sometimes being nice is showing truth. Sometimes God's love is tough. Sometimes his truth makes us feel unloved or condemned, but it's never that way. God's love is there when we see our sin, it's spilled all over the floor, and he and only he is able to mop it up.

The tough part about accepting all this is that God's truth - and revealed in his Word - is subjective. It's open to interpretation - not because he is (he is the same "yesterday, today and forever" - but because our minds don't work that way. God made us to question things, to search. There are pros and cons to that. It's hard for a person to wrap their minds about a loving God who hates the things that destory our hearts. He cherishes our hearts and knows what is best for us. And when that includes a big "no-no" we turn into children who've just had our blankie taken away. We like it, so we don't want it taken away, but mom and dad knew it was better that we don't suck our thumbs curled up in said blanket when we are 15 years old. We don't want hate in our lives. Ever. It seems wrong somehow. Without hate, is there love? And who am I to hate what isn't mine?

But the thing that gets me about the article is what it says about listening. How many times have we tried to share our faith with someone and not listened to their point of view? How many times have we turned someone away angry because of this? How many times have we (and when I say we I'm talking about any heartful and passionate child of God who loves all that God created and just like him, doesn't want anyone to live a life less abudant than he intended) fulfilled the stereotype we have for being fire-and-brimstone hate-mongers? I know it's too many.

Everyone wants to be heard - it's part of human nature. I've learned unless I know where I person is coming from, I will never understand their heart, and I can only get there by listening. When I am blessed enough to catch a glimpse of their heart, I can see what God sees. I can share from my own heart, not about what's right or wrong but about how I've been changed from inside out. Over and over again, each day. That's more true to most people that any law in Leviticus.

What I'm listening to: Passion's Everything Glorious

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Everyone Should Read This

If you thought Christians would listen

I had to share it now. It's too good. More thoughts on it later.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Post-Apocalyptic Macbeth

I went to see a production of Macbeth a while back. (A line of which this blogger takes her blog name - this isn't a reflection that I 'm obessed with the play. I do think it's a masterpiece of literature, but the quote is much more about where I was at in my life when I started this thing than about the play)

It was in this really great old building that used to be a church. They converted it into a community theatre back in the 80s, put amazing stadium seating in and it made the whole place feel a little like the beautiful Orpheum Theater in Omaha (but on a much smaller scale).

What was so interesting to me was that they set the play in post-apocalyptic times. Whenever is comes up in conversation I get this strange look from people who cannot believe someone would dare to do Shakespeare in anything other than Elizabethan times. Which is crazy... the themes in his work are timeless so why bind them to a particaular time in history just because that's when they claimed to have been
written? And why people would think that Macbeth is an odd choice to do that with obviously hasn't read the play.

The main theme in Macbeth is how destruction occurs when power and ambition isn't accountable to any moral absolute. Hello - what do people think it's going to be like after the apocalypse (and before Christ's reign, obviously)?

Power is a strange thing, isn't it? It's living and breathing, can take on life and take over a life. Every day we all try to exhibit power over one person or another in ways so small we might not even notice. But why do we do it? In the end, what does it really get us? Do we gain happiness? High self-esteem? Love? Riches? Or any other thing that the American culture might deem fighting tooth and nail for?

Or we simply let it take control until everything and everyone in our path is demolished and we have gone quietly insane?

Just some food for thought.

What I'm listening to: Chris Tomlin's Live from Austin Music Hall

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Sticking it to the Man

I've got this friend who grew up in South Carolina. She's hilarious. Probably one of the funniest people I've ever known; my sides ache when she tells her stories, they are so funny. Maybe it's the accent, maybe it's her laugh, I don't know, but I enjoy it nevertheless.

Her landlord (which used to also be my landlord before I moved out in February) raised the rent $110 and only gave us 27 days notice. I had already planned to move out for other reasons; I also had a strong feeling he would raise the rent because I knew what my old landlord was asking for the building. I began looking for new places in January and just in time for the rent increase he planned for March. I was no longer under a lease, so it was not a problem when I moved out, but my friend still was. The landlord agreed to her moving out a month early because May is an easier month to rent out. College kids are usually moving after classes are over and he had another apartment open at the same time, so it saved him putting two separate ads in the newspaper. Seemed like a good thing, right?

Well, he didn't rent the place in time for June. So he's threatening to sue.

So here's the confusing thing to me: It was okay for her to move out if he had the place rented but if he didn't it wasn't okay? Legally, he could sue her for June's rent and her deposit because she broke the lease, but he wouldn't be threatening this if he had it rented. So I don't understand where this guy is coming from. Raising the rent that much is something he had to do, but not giving proper notice is completely illegal. No one in the building fought him on it (it affected five of the six people living there because our leases all ran out years ago) because we all just chose to move out. My friend is the last one remaining and she is, I believe, just catching him at the worst time possible. He's stressed out over having that many empty apartments all at once and I have no doubt it's strapped him financially. But I cannot feel sympathy for a guy who lied to us (in writing) about the average rent in this town, a guy who took a week to fix my neighbor's heater in the month of December , a guy who enters the apartments without notice and looks around enough to notice mail you have on your desk, a guy who rents a two bedroom to four college girls in a building that doesn't have enough parking spaces for their cars, doesn't tell them that so their neighbors continually come home and have no place to park (Man, I'm glad I moved out when I did, just writing about it is making me mad and I fortunally didn't have to endure any of it.)

I just won't feel sorry for this guy. I believe you reap what you sow. This guy had six responsible renters - all but one of whom had lived there no less than three years - who took care of their apartment, paid their rent on time, and didn't cause trouble. We were almost all all career professional and now he gets to rent to college kids (the apartment is close to the University) and have them move out every year or so. He is getting what comes to him. I'm sooooo glad we all moved out.

What I'm listening to: Grant Lee Phillips's Mobilize

Monday, June 05, 2006

My New Favorite Blog

Pamie: Pop Culture Princess

It's absolutely hilarious. I can't stop reading.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Family Night Out

I used to be a Jaycee. That’s right. I was a card-carrying member of the Jr. Chamber of Commerce.

I joined when I first moved here, thinking it would be a nice way to meet some like-minded people, learn more about the community, and hey, it looks good on a resume, so what the heck. I had the opportunity to meet and work with lots of different kinds of people – through the Kid’s CARE ID program, the park and rec Easter Egg Hunt, the local camp that work exclusively with handicapped kids to rehabilitate, etc, etc. I help run athletic competitions for kids – Super Shooters, Pitch, Hit and Run – I helped paint parking spaces lines – you name it, I probably did it.

One of the fascinating events we did was when we told the local hockey arena we would sell programs for them. It was a fundraiser for us, so we could continue to send local kids off to state competitions – so we committed to have 4-5 people sell programs at every hockey game for the season. We had to wear dorky school bus yellow t-shirts, stand in these weird podiums on wheels and take money from people. It wasn’t so bad. After all, I got into the game for free, and those I knew would always come up and make fun of my outfit, and the excitement in the air was good. If you’ve ever been to a hockey game, you know what I mean. It was a pleasant experience all around. But there was one thing that I just couldn’t wrap my head around.

Stationed near the concession stand, I would watch family after family order candy, pop, runzas, hotdogs, pizza, beer and drop $30-$40 per trip on stuff for everyone. Then I would see the same kids come back an hour or so later, give the guy behind the counter a twenty-dollar bill and get more candy. It was amazing to me. Then I would watch the men go back for beer after beer. They weren’t allowed to sell more than 2 beers at a time to a person, but I would continually see men come back time and time again, and spend $3 a cup on a Bud Light. Amazing.

Now, I am no one to judge materialism. We are all guilty of some form of it. I admit to owning way too many CDs, too much scrapbooking stuff, having bookcases full of books, and entirely too many extra sheets for my beds and dishes for my table. But I do wonder: where is the so-called "quality family time" in this? Where is the education in this? Somehow parents consider a night out with the kids such as this a great alternative to sitting in front of the TV, and ha-zah to those who even consider too much TV a problem, but it seems like a lateral move to me. You’re still watching something, being entertained by something. You aren’t talking to each other; you aren’t learning anything except maybe a few new colorful words from the irritable fan behind you, but all in all? I don’t see this as quality family time, especially at that price. Buying a ticket to this place is not to attend a hockey game; it’s a $15 cover charge to go to a club. In fact, I was shocked at how many people around me didn’t even know what cross-checking was or how many times I was asked "When is 4th inning going to start?" Gah.

But it was easy to get caught up in these games. Hockey is not a sport I love, but it was fun to watch nevertheless. Then again I actually knew the rules. So I didn’t have to keep going back to the concession stand to pass the time.

What I’m listening to: Paul Baloche’s A Greater Song
What I’m reading: Ted Dekker's White