Friday, May 30, 2008

Tornadoes in Kearney

Tornadoes in My City

Video of One of the Tornadoes (Storm chasers are crazy!)

Video Footage of the Damage

I'm alive. Maybe a little worse for the wear. Yes, train cars did get derailed and cars did land on top of one another.

Here's a video of the photos I've taken so far.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Pop Culture Quote Monday

Hint #1: Won 5 Oscars in 1979.
Hint #2: The character who said this was played by Dustin Hoffman.

"Daddy, you've really lost a lot of weight", he looks up at me and he says "And it's all gone to your nose."

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Living Life Without Expectations

Photo courtesy of Lola Rodriguez over at

For my new series on expectations, click here

My cousin over at in progress recently posted some questions about expectations... living with them, living without them, and all the frustrations that go along with a disappointment because of an unmet expectation. This issue occasionally pops up in my life in various forms, and I've never taken the time to really work out my feelings on the subject. So here I go. We'll see what comes out.

I googled "Living Life Without Expectations" and found the following quotes worth repeating here:

I settled for living life without expectations and often without fulfillment.
Then this...

Through the weekend, a friend of mine reminded me to cherish every moment that I spent with Kyla. I just wish I had more time. That same friend reminded me of the importance of living life without expectations... and I agree. The greatest thing about life is that none of us can predict where it will take us... that's the best part of the journey, isn't it?

And then I found this...

Also, while I believe living life without expectations has merit, I have always had doubts about how possible it really is. But I do know that living in the present moment, is both possible and fruitful. And as I think about it, don’t expectations get born when we are dreaming of some not yet realized future that takes us out of the present moment?
All good and valid points. While they don't all agree with each other, I think there is a way to marry them into one complete, fleshed-out philosophy.

On paper, avoiding disappointment because you expect nothing sounds really good. On paper. But what about the consequences of this?
We would become concerned only with what's right in front us, in the here and now. And I believe that's a selfish way to live. One of the greatest joys in life is possibility. Not in a "the grass is greener" kind of way, but in a "just think what it could really be" kind of way. Imagine a life without possibility... it's not a life.

In reference to having expectations of others:

I think it's important to adjust our expectations to the person or situation. Is it reasonable to expect your husband to know that you need a back rub? Not if you don't tell him. But yet we don't want to have to tell him, do we? We have this deep desire for another human being to know us so well that no words are necessarily. We don't want to have to tell them our shoulder blades hurt, that we had a hard day and want some TLC. But is that fair? (Maybe for some husbands it is.) I believe the words of Sara Groves put it best:
Sometimes things change / sometimes we're waiting / We need grace either way / Hold on to me / I'll hold on to you. We often forget we're in this whole thing together, and if we would communicate with each other effectively we might be able to eliminate disappointments on a larger scale.In reference to having expectations of ourselves:

One of the greatest things about expectations, whether it comes from me or another person, is that it forces me to become a better version of myself.
I fail plenty of times and I hate failure. I grew up with the attitude that failure just wasn't an option. As I've grown into myself, I've learned to remember this: at least I tried. (That's something in my book... it's important in my book.) But don't look at another person's expectation of you as an obligation; I think it's important to look at it as an opportunity. Each day is an opportunity to do something better than what you did the day before. I need someone pushing me to be better because it doesn't come naturally to me.

In reference to when others have expectations of you:
When I was a kid, I used to HATE that my mom expected me to set the table, when the reality was if she had just asked me nicely, I would have done it. This young girl I've been mentoring for the last two years finds herself doing to opposite of what's expected of her all the time, and when she asked why I thought she behaved that way I told her it was she didn't want anyone if pigeon-hole her. If she was at a construction site with her dad, she would dance around and do "girly" things. When she teaches at the dance studio, she lugs around heavy props and builds set pieces. There are some situations were we just don't want an expectations placed on us, and we need to remember that when we place an expectation on another.

This is so much like every other area of our lives, especially the spiritual ones. It must be in moderation. But that's is not a cop out. It's simply a bit of truth. When you are disappointed ask yourself, "Was that expectation fair?" If it was, then communicate the expectation to the other person. Have a dialog about it. (I really believe that so many of our relationship problems could be prevented with just a little honesty and communication.) Communicate an expectation and listen to the other's response with an open heart. And when someone places an unfair expectation on you, don't be afraid to tell them it's unfair.If we tried to live our lives without expecting anything from others, than we shouldn't fulfill the expectations of others (in order to really live the philosophy out). Expectations are simply another form of hope. And no one should give up hope. I cannot imagine a life more full of sorrow.

In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. Psalm 5:3

We usually get what we anticipate. -
Claude M. Bristol

Monday, May 19, 2008

Pop Culture Quote Monday

I'm a little bit country
And I'm a little bit rock 'n roll

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


A good friend of mine from college started a vlog a while back and introduced "Dramatic Reading Wednesday", where he recites lyrics from ridiculous songs in a very earnest and sincere way. Only Craig can make it as funny as it is.

I requested Milkshake for this week. (And steph!!! is the only one who reads this blog who knows just how much this song cracks me up.) So I give to you a dramatic reading of My Milkshake Brings All the Boys to the Yard.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Pop Culture Quote Monday

Come on, you guys. That one isn't that hard!!!!! You can do it!

: You can never go too far. B: If I'm gonna get busted, it is *not* gonna be by a guy like that.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Types of Growth - the Apples

My pastor and I had a heart to heart last night after rehearsal. I talked to him about my recent questions about residue, and he reminded me of something very, very important.

We're used to setting a goal, running the race, and crossing the finish line. We're used to projects that have deadlines, due dates that must be met, to do lists that we check off. In a nutshell, we're used to completing what we started.

But our spiritual life isn't like that. To quote Nietzsche, recently quoted by Eugene Peterson, our spiritual life is a "long obedience in the same direction". Being reminded of that seems like I should be feeling bogged down, but instead I felt relieved. The words "long" and "obedience" are typically have negative connotations. We like things done fast, and done our way. But I'm just glad to know that I'm never gonna be done with all this. And unless you've run the race like this, you probably have no idea why I'm glad about it.

We finished a fruit of the spirit series in January and one of the key points our pastor laced through each sermon was this idea of how we are constantly trying to glue the fruit on our tree instead of letting the fruit come from within us. Putting the fruit on might work for a while, but eventually the fruit will fall off the tree. We tend to concentrate so hard on being the person we think we should be, and work on attaining all those fruits of the spirit. When instead we need to focus on the only one who gets that fruit to grow.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some apples to knock off my tree.

Top Ten Romantic Song Lines

10.) I look to the time with you to keep me awake and alive

9.) So we build/We build/We clear away what was and make room for what will be/If you hold the nails, I'll take the hammer/I'll hold it still, if you'll climb the ladder/If you will, then I will, build

8.) I will take a heart whose nature is to beat for me alone/And fill it up with you - make all your joy and pain my own/No matter how deep a valley you go through/I will go there with you

7.) How could I know I would have to leave you?/How could I know I would hurt you so?
You were the one I was born to love!/Oh, how could I ever know?/How could I ever know?

6.) How could you be so careless with her heart? (I understand this doesn't sound romantic, but any man who even thinks about the importance of handling a woman's heart with care is a rare one, and therefore a man I find very romantic.)

5.) All that I am/All that I ever was/ Is here in your perfect eyes/they're all I can see/I don't know when/Confused about how as well/just know that these things will never change for us at all

4.) 'Cause what I really want to say/Is what the sun would say to the sky/For giving it a place to come alive

3.) The smile on your face lets me know that you need me/There’s a truth in your eyes sayin’ you’ll never leave me/The touch of your hand says you’ll catch me if ever I fall/You say it best when you say nothing at all

2.) I give you my life and all I am/But what I have to give/So I hand you a candid photograph of this little boy/'Cause I have nothing to my name/But I can give you that

1.) Love's as strong as death my love /Unyielding as the grave/Relentless as the desert sun/And rivers cannot wash my love away ~ away/I won't let it wash away/And many waters ~ it cannot quench love (Technically, this is scripture, but it's also a great song)

How many do you know?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Mad World

Years ago my friend Russ drug me to the movie theater to see the movie The Beach. It was not a good movie, nor one I enjoyed.

I did, however, appreciate the extremely formidable question it posed to my heart. How far would I go to get what I want? How far would any of us go to keep what we have?

Are we willing to go as far as Kiwi (see above video) - hours, days of work, all to create a false reality just to taste a glimpse of what we dream to attain? Are we willing to step on others, like Tilda's Swinson's character in The Beach, and even let them die to keep the power and paradise she craved?

Something about the Kiwi video breaks my heart. I used to think it was because he died for just a taste of a dream. I used to think it was because he didn't have wings, would never have wings, but wanted to fly so badly he created an environment that gave him the feeling of flying.

But now I think my heart breaks because I'm too afraid to take risks like that. I'm not willing to go all the way. Sometimes the tiniest sliver of doubt makes the wall around my heart go right back up, and a voice inside my head tells me that settling isn't so bad, and the alternative is just too hard. And most certainly not worth it.

Which camp do you fall into? Do you go too far? (Like Tilda.) Do you go just enough? (Like Kiwi) Or do you not go at all? (Like me.)

Monday, May 05, 2008

Pop Culture Quote Monday

Good morning, Mr. M. Looks like you could use a CUPCAKE!

Saturday, May 03, 2008


Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” - Revelation 21:5
There is this moment in The Passion of the Christ, that if I've held it together thus far, I will absolutely loose it then. Jesus is making his way through the streets with the cross, falls, and Mary helps him up. He looks at her and says "Behold, I make all things new." I burst at that point, and if I delve too deeply into why I burst at that line I know some pretty intense stuff will come out.

A couple of years ago I went through an intense season of restoration. I knew that God forgave me for my sin. I knew that he was continually shaping me to be more like him. What I didn't realize was the ugliness my sin left behind in my heart... and that sin left a big mess that wasn't automatically cleaned up by his forgiveness.

Wounds had left scars that didn't heal.

There was residue. In the form of doubt, wanting to be perfect, worrying about not being good enough, and all the rest of the junk that goes along with just being human. And when I realized that this residue was something God was going to clean up... I just kind of stood back in awe and watched him do his thing. Change occurred in ways I never imaged possible. I saw him work in ways completely unexpected. I am so grateful much of it is recorded here so I can go back and read, from the very beginning of this blog, and be reminded of how it started and how far he's taken me.

He's restored me. He's fulfilled his end of the bargain. He's makes all things new.

I have been on the mend. I'm pretty sure I'll be frayed around the edges until I die. I think the part about hearing "I make all things new" that makes me cry is the reality behind it. He will make our hearts new, and I rejoice in that. But it bothers me that he has to over and over again. Why can't I just overcome all this junk? He's given me the tools and the strength. Just when I feel it's been done, more junk comes out. (Or the same old junk comes back.) My tears at that beautiful moment of love as Jesus looks at his mother are tears of both relief and frustration. Hope and hurt.

This is something I've been chasing for a long time. Perhaps I will chase it for the rest of my life. The residue sin leaves behind is not something I feel guilty about, nor is it something meant to drag me down. Sometimes I think that residue is there to remind us of God's goodness and to remind us of how far we've come. In fact, the more I think about the residue the more I realize I'm OK with it. It's the junk that creates more residue with which I take issue.

I want to be new and stay new.


I am slowly realizing as I write this post that being new and staying new maybe aren't what this journey is meant to be.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Best Thing

I think I might start a new category called "The Best Thing" I saw/read/experienced/heard about all week. It's only Thursday, but nothing will top this. Seriously. Nothing will.

Smith Family Story from Matthew Singleton on Vimeo.