The Dichotomy of Country Music By far my most popular post of the year. The Tick Song was huge on country radio this year (I think it even won a CMA) and rarely does a day goes by where I don't get a hit on this post. Google "tick song country" and I come up third. Unbelievable.
Wounds Not an easy post for me to write. But I'm glad I did.
Small Victories The best moment of 2007 for me (except for when I found out the si…
My cousin over at confession of a slacker mom made her decision a while back to support Huckabee in the coming election, and I had the chance to hear her reasons why over drinks at Christmas time. (The only time I stand to talk politics. The drinks part, not the Christmas part.) I still haven't made my choice yet, but I found this turn of events rather interesting.
Brilliant play or strategic political savvy? I'm leaning towards the latter - maybe I'm just too cynical to believe he really had a change of heart.
What's your theological worldview? created with QuizFarm.com You scored as Emergent/PostmodernYou are Emergent/Postmodern in your theology. You feel alienated from older forms of church, you don't think they connect to modern culture very well. No one knows the whole truth about God, and we have much to learn from each other, and so learning takes place in dialogue. Evangelism should take place in relationships rather than through crusades and altar-calls. People are interested in spirituality and want to ask questions, so the church should help them to do this.
The only thing I disagree with here is where is says I don't think older churches connect with modern churches very well. While I do feel alienated from the older generation at times, I believe in the older church's importance i…
Doctors without Borders listed their top 10 underreported humanitarian stories of 2007. (Below is a picture in Somalia, where the civil war there has left many without food, water and medical treatment.)
I was baking Christmas cookies at a friends house and he had a mixed CD of Josh Groban Christmas songs playing. "O Holy Night", the best traditional Christmas song ever written in my opinion, was on the CD.
And it made me cry. I'm such a geek. I actually like a Josh Groban song. I just can't blame it on hormones or sugar or anything else in that realm. I just liked it.
Let the heckling commence.
(I will put "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" right up there on my list of best traditional Christmas songs. I am a sucker for Longfellow.)
If I live to be 100, I'll never forget that big snow storm a couple of years ago. The weather closed in and, well you might not believe it, but the world almost missed Christmas. Oh, excuse me, call me Sam. What's the matter? Haven't you ever seen a talking snowman before?
What movie is it from and who plays Sam the Snowman?
This is the first year I put up my Christmas tree since my grandmother died. Every year for 10 or so years, she gave each grandkid an ornament for Christmas. They were never my style, but I kept them, for a tradition like that is to be cherished. So when I put my tree up last week a mix of sentiment and sadness came over me as I carefully unwrapped each shiny glass ornament she gave me, that clash with all my other ornaments. But I don't care. I love Christmas trees... I love the memories attached to ornaments... I love what it all represents. I'm a total sap, I'm a total romantic. I make no apologies.
Growing up is a funny thing. I remember my mom lecturing me as a teenager when I would complain "life is hard". "Compared to what?" she'd ask. Then there was "your brother will grow out of this need to torture you" or my personal favorite, "you'll understand when you're older".
(My brothers and I are close now, but we hated each other when we were kids. "Hate" is a pretty strong word, I guess, but it is an accurate description of my feelings at the time, though God knows I didn't really mean it.)
Growing up into adulthood isn't all that different from growing spiritually. You go into it all giddy, thinking you are prepared for it. (i.e. ooo! my first credit card!) Then when when it "growing" and "stretching" happens, you start squirm a little, wishing things were the way they used to be. (you mean I have to pay this bill?) And ultimately, we can look back and see the lesson learned, why it happene…
Me and the trees, losing our leaves Falling like blood on the ground I want to be evergreen Everything dies, I know last night Part of me wasn't around I want to be evergreen Yeah, evergreen...
Waiting, and listening Hoping and missing all of our time left alone I'm the one cutting the rope Frostbite in winter, 'cause like a splinter you come and follow me down I'm the one cutting the rope
Holiday end, I'm here once again, and I'm left alone on the bus with my head on the ground, in hopes that I'm found by you this time around
The sun will rise soon and tackle the moon Chasing it still in the sky All that I've got is tonight Excuses and reasons, and now tis the season For all that I never got right All that I've got is tonight
Holiday end, I'm here once again, and I'm left alone on the bus with my head on the ground, in hopes that I'm found by you this time around
The night is a crow, saying come hold me All that I know is that I've been lonely for thee All…
I'm sad no one got either of these... The first one is from the movie Elf. If you haven't seen it, drop what you are doing and rent it. Now. Or call me and I'll mail you my copy. Yes, it's that good. It has Zooey Deschanel, and almost everything she's in is awesome. Plus, it's directed by Jon Favreau. Really? How can you go wrong?
And the second is an absolute CLASSIC. John Cusack to Jeremy Piven in Say Anything. ______________________________________________________________
"I'm sorry I ruined your lives, and crammed eleven cookies into the VCR."
Intrigued by his questions, I thought I'd make a post of it and see what came out.
The questions I have for you seasoned and experienced (or fresh out of the box)church workers are:
what am I getting myself into? what makes ministry worth it? should I EXPECT junk or take it as it comes?
I've been a church worker for nine years, seven 1/2 as a [paid] part-time employee. There's are some things in the inner workings of the church I'm not privy to because I'm only a part-timer, but I know more than many because of my working relationship with the senior pastor. I'm sure he says things to me he wouldn't say to others, because he trusts me - and the same goes for me trusting him. I'm lucky to have the relationship with him I do. So many church workers don't and I realize what a huge blessing that is…
Tonight was my first foray into Christmas shopping for the season. My friend Angie and I made plans to have a girls night out and braved the mall scene.
I rarely go to to mall here in town. Not because it doesn't have a lot of options, but because I prefer to shop at local places or smaller specialty stores. Much to my surprise and delight, Grow Nebraska is now renting space at the mall. Their mission "is to maximize the state’s entrepreneurial and small business spirit. " I have a few friends who are part of Grow Nebraska, and have nothing but the highest of compliments about how it's helped them in their business.
Angie was looking for a couple of things - a $10 gender-neutral grab bag gift (They are celebrating at Thanksgiving this year, so she's starting early) and a gift for her grandmother, a woman she describes as "having everything". I struggle with gifts like these, so I wasn't much help to her. A $10 gender neutral gift isn't easy to f…
Tonight I got a small glimpse into my life if am able to go into full-time ministry. And it was good.
Wednesday has been church night for me for as long as I can remember. AWANA, youth group, praise team rehearsals, you name it I've done it. Tonight I was there for three reasons: the typical - praise team rehearsal. We meet at 8:15 once youth group is over because our drummer is still in high school. I was also there because the AWANA commander asked if I would lead "counsel time" tonight, which is a short 10 minutes lesson for the kids. Then I was working with some high school students on a sketch they are doing (see the bottom video on my side bar - we are re-creating that).
Counsel time was fun. I did a simple lesson about God's word being a lamp unto our feet and a light until our path by cutting stones out of paper and making a pathway. I talked about how we don't always know which stones to step on because they can be wet and slippery. Then we turned the lig…
I was talking with a co-worker today regarding the writer's strike. I asked her if she knew what it was about, and she said, "They just want a bigger salary, right?"
No, actually, that's not right.
If any of you download an episode of The Office, Grey's Anatomy, Weeds, etc. - either from iTunes (where you pay for it) or from nbc.com, where it's free - the writer's don't get a dime. The studios call this "promotional material" and are getting away with not offering residuals for the people that created the product. Promotional? I don't think so. It's estimated that digital downloads create over a billion dollars worth of revenue per year. And the writers of those shows DON'T SEE A DIME.
Join the writer's strike by not downloading anything until the get what is due them. It will be there when the strike is over... you just might have to wait a while to see it. And the short videos I've included below give great explanations.…
Eric over at the merge posted this today. Thought you would all enjoy it. Sometimes it's good to have a reminder like this now and then. (And sometimes I wish I could get the people in my congregation who don't like the new OR old music I lead to understand this.)
Today I had an admissions interview with Covenant Seminary.
After the disappointing financial aid package I received from Bethel Seminary, I went through a sort of "grieving process". My heart was set on Bethel for a number of reasons, and when I received a total of $600 in financial aid for a school that would cost $60,000, there was no way I could go. My five stages:
Denial: They are kidding, right? There is no way this package is "need-based". I'm just getting so little because I applied late. A phone call to the financial aid office set me straight. That was all the planned to offer me.
Anger: You've got to be kidding! This is ridiculous. Who can afford to take out that many loans? Is this because I'm a woman? Because of my age? Because I'm from Nebraska? No one said grief was a rational process. (I didn't really think that last one, but right now it feel appropriate to be a martyr in this state. Sorry little Huskers.)
As I "prepare" to enter my third year of blogging, I decided to reflect back on the past two years of writing. With life's typical ups and downs, I'm so glad I stared this experience so I have those defining moments to look back on. Reading some of my old posts was a little shocking, because I can't believe I was that honest with myself. And I realized just how much writing about these ups and downs brought insight and clarity to my heart and my head.
I read this book a long time ago and I've noticed the world seems to be catching on. Lots of people I know are talking about it... and that's an interesting thing to me.
What do I love about this book? It's honesty. It's relatability. (Okay.. that's not a word. But you know what I mean.) Miller wasn't trying to break any new ground with this book, but what he did do is make it okay to talk about Christianity again, and helped make it easy to talk about Jesus with people who've been burned by Christians. That's a big deal in our culture today.
There are some questionable things (theology-wise) in this book, and every book I've ever read has that. It's a very quick read, but it's a book you want to absorb. This is not a airplane-ride book. This is a "read it before you go to bed and pick it up the next day over your lunch hour" kind of book. You want to read more, but you want to savor it at the same time. It's like a good Riesli…
Those of you who know me know how much I hate Wal-Mart. The hate began as nothing more than a disgust for a dirty store that always had too many people in it, until the abhorrent foreign labor practices and destruction of small-town America began. So I haven't shopped there for years.
That said, I must give credit where it is due. And what I'm about to tell you in no way erases what they've done.
One of the guitarists I lead worship with recently fell from some scaffolding at his job. It caused major damage to his scalp, a crushed ankle and a broken leg. His injuries are significant and required more than one surgery. He is in very rough shape. His wife is a shift supervisor at the Wal-Mart in my town. Due to his accident, Wal-Mart gave her a year off to take care of him. With pay.
While I know that a year's salary for someone in her position is a drop in the bucket for a corporation like Wal-Mart, that made me happy.
I will still never shop there. But... I must give cr…
The guys at work have this thing with me - they are always quoting something, usually movies, to get me to guess where the quote is from. Today the quote was from The Jerk, which I didn't know and it killed me.
And all day I had Elton John's Tiny Dancer in my head. All day. (I really love that song.) Then I sang it the wrong way...
Hold me close young Tony Danza
Thus was born a new idea: Pop Culture Quote Monday.
So, readers, what are the wrong lyrics from and who said it?
Regular readers may remember what a fan I am of Iron Chef America. I love the over-the-top attitude the show relishes in. I laugh out loud, am fascinated and weirded-out every time I watch it. Never having seen the original Iron Chef I don't know if the American version stands up, but that doesn't matter to me - for now I am in American reality show heaven.
As a lover of competitive reality shows like Project Runway, Top Chef and The Amazing Race (which I haven't seen in two years since my CBS strike. *tiny sniffle*) I was giddy with anticipation last week with the premiere of what? You guessed it. The Next Iron Chef.
Last week they sent home Traci Des Jardin, not only one of the few women ever on ICA but actually a winner against Mario Batali, who has am impressive 15-4 record. I felt she was sent home too soon. This week, there was fun with chemicals and the awesome Wylie Dufresne. Giddy again.
So far my favorites are Aaron Sanchez and John Besh, probably because I've s…
Last night on my way to rehearsal I heard a remake of an old classic on the radio.
Well, sometimes my life Just don't make sense at all When the mountains look so big And my faith just seems so small
So hold me Jesus, 'cause I'm shaking like a leaf You have been King of my glory Won't You be my Prince of Peace
And I wake up in the night and feel the dark It's so hot inside my soul I swear there must be blisters on my heart
So hold me Jesus, 'cause I'm shaking like a leaf You have been King of my glory Won't You be my Prince of Peace
Surrender don't come natural to me I'd rather fight You for something I don't really want Than to take what You give that I need And I've beat my head against so many walls Now I'm falling down, I'm falling on my knees
And this Salvation Army band Is playing this hymn And Your grace rings out so deep It makes my resistance seem so thin
So hold me Jesus, 'cause I'm shaking like a leaf You have been King of my glory Won&…
I have one grandparent still living, my maternal grandmother. Her husband died when I was a sophomore in high school and since his death, she has lived alone.
She'll be 92 in December. And she still lives on her own. Wow.
I have occasion to worry about her. She's had some serious health problems, especially in the last 6-8 years, mainly with bleeding ulcers. She had a scare yesterday. My mom took her to the doctor and she doing fairly well after the medication they put her on. My parents will be in Branson for the rest of the week, so I called my grandmother tonight to check on her.
"Well, hi." She said. "What are you up to?"
"Just calling to make sure you have my work and cell numbers in case you need me this week."
My aunt was there helping her pick the last of the sour gherkins she had on the vines trailing up her chain link fence. She sounded a little out of breath, but excited. "Do you want to come over for dinner? I've got a peach pie …
It's premiere week for the alphabet networks, and so far I'm not sure what to think.
I discovered Heroes at the end of last year, and the season premiere last night, while action-less, promised an interesting season to come. I was very disappointed to not get some hint of what happened after the Petrelli brothers went shooting off into the air to blow up, but I guess I was asking for too much. The addition of David Anders to the cast, while maybe only for a short time, made me quite happy. I've also heard rumors of Kristen Bell joining the cast as well. That also will ensure I keep watching. The show is not without it's flaws - the end of last season felt very repetitive, so I hope that won't happen again. We'll see.
Tonight I turned to House, another late discovery for me, and loved every second of what I watched. (I did miss a little, since I'm trying to pack for a short work trip I'm leaving for tomorrow). With all the cottages gone, it was interesti…
I spend a lot of time during my day thinking about God.
In fact, most of the time that's all I do. Think. And I think I've managed to substitute thinking about God for communicating with God.
I read books about God, blog posts about God, sometimes I even write about God. I pray for my friends overseas, I work in ministry, I talk about God with people. But lately I've had no intimate connection with him, no conversation back and forth. I feel like I know a lot about God, but I don't know God. The green pastures I once relished and relaxed in have become desert lands, dry and hot on my bare feet and weary on my soul. It's as though I've walked past the watering hole numerous times but ignored it in favor of the mirage up ahead.
So I've trudged along, missing the watering hole of intimacy only to find that shiny promise in the distance disappear.
Years ago while in a similar place in my relationship with Christ, a good friend said to me "You know what to do.…
You scored as Karl Barth, The daddy of 20th Century theology. You perceive liberal theology to be a disaster and so you insist that the revelation of Christ, not human experience, should be the starting point for all theology.
Karl Barth73%Paul Tillich67%John Calvin67%Martin Luther67%Charles Finney33%Augustine33%Friedrich Schleiermacher33%Jürgen Moltmann33%Anselm33%Jonathan Edwards13% Which theologian are you? created with QuizFarm.com
Liberal religious leaders will begin a 40-day fast this week (Sept. 6) to advocate for legislation that would cancel the debts of the world's 67 poorest countries. Church Groups Push for Debt Relief
Good for them. Notice the religious leaders taking part in this project aren't labeled as conservative. Somehow social activist = liberal Christian nowadays. I'm working on a post about this subject that I will post at a later date, so I won't elaborate just yet.
Last week I went through extremely patchy internet service, with most nights not being able to connect at all. It wasn't my modem, Charter said, and it took them a week to get someone here to fix it. I'm really glad I can go to the office after hours and get done what I need to get done online, because I don't know what I would've done without that option.
So, it looks like I'm back to a somewhat stable internet connection tonight. After the Charter technician was here for an hour and a half this morning, he swore he fixed it. Time will tell. I've never been a fan of Charter Communications, but they are the only non dial-up choice in town.
Last Wednesday I met with a local pastor I'd met briefly a year ago through the Midwest District of E-Free Churches. With a paid staff of 23 and an insurmountable number of volunteers, they may not be a mega-church but they are close. As much as I dislike the idea of mega-churches, if I've heard my call from God correct…
Today I did two important things... I called the housing director at Bethel Seminary and told her I would not be moving into the apartment they had reserved for me. Then I signed my financial aid package form, checked "No, I will not be attending Bethel Seminary and I reject all aids and grants", then mailed it.
I've been sad for the last couple of weeks with the startling realization that as a single woman, I have no idea how I can afford to go to seminary. The grants Bethel offered me were quite paltry and in their words, "It's based on your 2006 income." Which makes no sense to me, because I wouldn't have that same income as a student. So I'd be forced, as Bethel's MA program is three years, to take out about $50,000 in loans just to pay tuition and student fees. I'm starting to understand why it's best to go seminary right after undergraduate school, because most likely the grants offered would be a lot more because my income was nex…
The one who promises Jesus over and over again that I won’t do it. That I could never… that the sin tastes so bitter I’ll never want it again.
But then the rooster crows and I do it. More than three times, even. (Not like once isn't enough.)
I could blame it on all the temptations of this world. I could try to justify it by remembering that I’m not such a bad person compared to the next guy. I could remind myself that God forgives it anyway, and I’m not hurting anyone, so what’s the big deal?
I am hurting myself, though. And more importantly, I’m hurting Him.
Sometimes I think it’s the hardest thing in the world to fight what comes naturally over doing what Jesus desires me to do. I know that He fights on my behalf (see the top video to your right), but I let myself get dragged down. And I have to say it – most of the time, I don’t try to fight back.
“Sin is fun,” my friend Angie once said. But I have to ask myself if this fun is better than what Jesus offers me. Common…
A plethora of great music is emerging from the world as of late, and I cannot help but wonder if it's a direct result of the death of the CD. We live in a world of down-loadable singles, and unless each and every song on an album is good, we won't buy it. That works for me, because I hate wasting $15 on a CD that only has two good songs on it. I am thankful those days are gone. Aside from my favorite artists still producing quality stuff, there are some new (to me) artist I've discovered that are also keeping up with the big dogs.
Jason Gray's All the Lovely Losers .While this is straight-up power pop, which is not usually my thing, the thoughtfulness of the lyrics grabbed me from the beginning. From the song This Far:
It’s hard for me to walk by faith in the face of all that I can see Sometimes I fear I’m just a fool for my belief But then I feel You come and move in me And I hear You whisper in my ear and for a moment I can see This is how You brought me here
My first family member joined the blogging world back in May and I've been neglectful to promote it. Meredith is a lovely writer, an even lovelier person and I know you'll appreciate what she has to say.
I had lunch Friday with an old friend I haven't been in touch with for about three years. He's one of the first friends I made in this town after I moved here, and we lived in the same building for 5 years. Far more than just neighbors, we spent 3-4 nights a week together and developed what I thought was a good, solid friendship. Back then, he was going through a lot - the death of his mother, a major move, a career change and above all else, a breakdown in his faith in Christ. Once he learned about my relationship with Christ, the questions came. He grew up in the church, called himself a Christian, but didn't have a relationship with Christ. A good amount of his questions were just factual, and many of them required me to stretch my apologetics. (I quickly learned that defending my faith is not always something to be learned from a book.) So our bond was strong - he at one point called me his "spiritual adviser". (Typing that now makes it sound in the vein of …
As a once self-proclaimed pop-culture junkie, I've stopped keeping up with a lot of it in my old age. There really is too much to do, and there are much betters ways to spend my time than trying to feign interest in E!'s Daily Top Ten. (I do occasionally enjoy The Soup, though, probably because they make fun of everything.) I did, however, happen to catch Best Week Ever last week, and wow... what a week for diva meltdowns.
The second video I have in my sidebar has been there for a while. Craig Ferguson is eloquent and honest in his concern for the stars who clearly need intervention, and he wonders why the friends of these stars don't say anything. As someone who's never had a close friend or family member with a major addiction or obvious meltdown like those mentioned above, I really don't know how I would act in a situation as this.