Showing posts from 2011

Being the One Waited For

I stepped off the airplane and moved down the ramp with my luggage. I flew into Grand Island, NE this time, a small town with an even smaller airport. As I walked toward the single gate, I see my dad right in front, looking and waiting for me to get there. He hugs me, grabs my luggage away from me and we head out to the car.

After we're buckled in and on the road, his cell rings. He answers and I hear my brother's voice say "Has she landed yet?" I laugh at the tone of his voice. Our plane was 30 minutes late, but I knew Randy was impatient for my arrival. He's always been that way.

After a few minutes, my dad hangs up the phone and tells me that Randy has prepared a vehicle for me to drive for the week if I need it; being from a family of farmers we rarely have a shortage of extra pick ups and SUVs around. He asked if I wanted to pick it up on the way or if Randy should take it up to the house. I told him we could simply stop by the shop to pick it up to save hi…

The Hush of Advent

I'm teaching a two-part series on Advent on the 11 and 18th of this month, so I've been studying, writing, and researching about the history of advent, the scriptures associated with advent, and how the church practices (or often, doesn't) it. I write a lot of curriculum. It’s part of my job; it’s what I love and a big part of what I am called to do. But this one has been tough. I’ve had a hard time motivating myself to get it organized. I’m put it off in lieu of other things. I have not been able to sit down and write this one easily. And it took me a while to understand why.On the Meyer’s Briggs personality test, I am an INFJ. When I first tested for this in seminary, I was borderline N/S and F/T. Then when I had to do my family genogram ( for my Marriage and Family Counseling class, I discovered something very interesting. I had my immediate family all take the Meyers Briggs and the rest of my family all tested as S’s and as T’s. My co…

Birds and Bees from Kaldis... A little slice of St. Louis in the desert. Thanks Carmen!!!!



I found myself caught off-guard tonight as I looked at a photo my friend Jim posted on facebook of his new baby boy. The next photo was one of him, his wife and he now oldest son, sweet, smiling and happy. I began to tear up.

Three people my second year in St. Louis changed me, and he was one of them. Not because of anything in particular he did, but because of a shared experience we had. These three people mean the world to me, and yet our shared experience was just that: a shared experience. We haven't really been in touch since I moved to Arizona... just a few emails and some ichating, and the occasion twitter convo.

I long to be back in that experience with them.

I recognized the feeling. The feeling of homesickness. The feeling of love, protection and support you get from being around those who understand you. I know that's rare for many people, and perhaps even a bit more so for me. I've lived a somewhat transient lifestyle. From Nebraska to Kansas to Colorado back…

I ask for a vision statement for adult Ed and this is what I got...


Top 10 Best Characters in Bad TV Shows

It's been a while since I've posted anything pop culture related, and if you've been a reader for a while, you know it used to be a very common staple around here. But my pop culture tendencies have been satisfied at work in the last year, as I've had the chance to work pop culture into two classes I've taught and two curriculums I wrote.
But here I am getting that itch again and had an idea today as I was watching a bad TV show. Often bad TV shows have at least one character that is somewhat likable, and sometimes even very likable. I have my own guilty-pleasure TV shows I watch from time to time and was trying to figure out why... and voila! I realized the show is usually somewhat redeemed by one great chracater that I either love or love to hate. Either way, love is involved. So here we go:
10.) Bruce Van Exel on "Judging Amy"
I was a regular watcher of Judging Amy for a couple of seasons back in the day, before A Brenneman began to annoy me and her c…

Immersing myself in Deuteronomy 5-6 this afternoon


Monday a.m. coffee & commentary (Micah)


Understanding Ezekiel 18:24

Because I mentioned Eziekel 18:23 on Sunday evening in the wake of Bin Laden death, I managed to stir things a bit. I've had more time to process what I was feeling and experiencing (and yes, I cried again earlier this evening, as I read Jim Wallis' response to this issue ( No, I haven't changed my mind. I don't anticipate that I will. But watching several people on twitter and facebook throw out scripture to support whatever opinion they had was interesting and sometimes painful for me.

I do believe that all people, with good guidance, can come to understand scripture better, and certainly "as a whole"... knowing that while it's hard to understand, it does not contradict itself. Just because I have been to seminary and perhaps have an understanding of proper exegesis a bit more than the person who hasn't doesn't mean I am smart or better or that everyone can't …

Justice and Mercy

A twitter post led me to turn on CNN at around 8:15 tonight. And unless you live under a rock, you know why.

I sat there stunned, not sure I should believe what was being said until I heard it from Obama's mouth. I watch the CNN coverage as they showed people starting to gather outside the White House at Lafayette Park. I did a google search. I watched twitter, searching for #binladen hash tag (man... I'm in the digital age).  I was stunned.

Then I cried as Obama said "The images of 9/11 are seared into our memory." I listened as Obama as he said these eloquent words: "The American people did not choose this fights. It came to our shores. It started withe the senseless murder of thousands of our citizens. After nearly 10 years of service, struggle and sacrifice we know well the cost of war." Yeah, I was in full-blown tears by then.
As the crowd got bigger outside the white house lawn, I simply couldn't join in with their cheers and chants. My heart was…

Easter weekend reading


Who's House Am I Serving?

Being a people pleaser leads to heartache 100% of the time.This is an aspect of my life that I hate. There is this 18 inch space between my head, which know I cannot please everyone, and my heart, that wants to make everyone comfortable and happy. I fully realize I can't give everyone what they want, but I do believe in the power of compromise in order to help people feel comfortable and happy. This is often where I get into trouble.Last night was the finale for our Wednesday night ministries until we start back in the Fall. The last night is always pizza night, which people love. I'd planned a simple night for everything else - the kids would sing some of the songs they learned, the bell choir kids performed some of their songs. They would do this during sinner, and then they would get to eat. Then we brought in a local reptile guy who has crazy creepy crawly things like scorpions, snakes, lizards and spiders. It was such a fun night for the kids. The adults and the youth gro…


Aside from giving up coffee and soda for Lent, I also gave up going to Starbucks. I love their tea, their smoothies, their lemon loaf... so I would have had many other reasons to go there aside from the "no coffee" rule. I live in a town that has Starbucks in three different grocery stores. I was at one of those stores yesterday, and as I walked through the Bakery section, Starbucks was on the left and the smell hit me. Mmmmmmmm. I love the smell of coffee, especially the smell of Starbucks coffee. It immediately transports me back to seminary, because there was a Starbucks on every corner and it was a great place to study. You could usually find me at one of their locations on Thursday and Sunday nights, as well as Saturday mornings. (I lived in a house with 5 other girls so the house was not the best place to get some work done.)Does anyone else feel their heart hurt when they long for something? I was exploring a Doctorate program at a seminary a few days ago and I go…

An Early Lenten Lesson

So, my first 5 days of Lent started out wonderful.... with me being sicker than a dog.I woke up Wednesday morning without a voice and by the afternoon I was so weak I could do little more than lay on the sofa and feel sorry for myself. I was scheduled to speak at a women's conference on Saturday, as well as lead worship at th e start of the day. So I did whatever I could not to talk in order to save my voice.Saturday morning came and I made it through, though not sounding great at least I had some voice. But after leading worship for 30 minutes, then giving a 45 minutes workshop twice I promptly went home and crashed. When I woke up I was starving (as well as feeling a bit sorry for myself that I wasn’t at my peak that morning in front of over 100 local women). I heated up some leftovers and made a decision: to open and drink that Diet Dr. Pepper I had on the door in my fridge.Let me back up:I gave up coffee and soda for Lent this year. Soda is a common thing for me to give up - I…


When most people think of the book of Joshua, they don't think of the word hope. After all, there are some kings that get hung from trees, a man named Achan and his family stoned to death because of their sin.... death, destruction, war. These are not exactly cheerful buzz words.But I find many of the words in Joshua comforting. I guess because there is no logical reason that blowing trumpets would bring some walls down. It doesn't make any sense those spies survived the trip to Jericho without getting caught, or that a bunch of stones could part a river to allow the Israelites to cross. It was crazy to think that all those men who were circumcised just before going to battle would actually be able to fight at all. Ouch.All the odds were against God’s people. But there is one great truth that lies over the whole book: “The Lord fought for Israel.” (10:25)Over and over you read impossible story upon impossible story… and God is always faithful to his people. He fulfills promise…

Memory Lane

Today a classmate of mine was buried. After a long battle with cancer, preceded by a brain aneurysm in 2004, the Valedictorian of my class died early Tuesday morning. I found out via facebook.

He and I were not close, though there were only 20 kids in my graduating class (I'm a farm kid from the rural mid-west. My town had 370 people in it.) J.P. was always kind of an awkward guy, very interested in classical music, science and learning in general. He seemed kind-hearted to me, and one thing that always sticks in my mind was his unwillingness to compromise. You see, he was what a rural mid-west town would call "nerdy". He wore the same grey corduroy pants every each, and olo shirts of various colors. He had big thick glasses and very pale skin. He was too uncoordinated to play sports and could barely manage to march to the right beat in band. Yet he was light years away from the rest of us on his understanding of math and science. He was proud of that, and didn’t care …

Being the Better Person

I had a friend back in college who blew up at me once - and it was for something pretty silly. He was mad that the costume designer in the play we were both in wouldn't sew a button on his shirt. I was the messenger (I don't remember how or why) so I was the one who felt the brunt of her message. He yelled, threw the shirt back at me, and caused a big scene in the green room. This guy was a good friend, and how he treated me was inexcusable. I let him know that. And he stomped away.

The next day in the cafeteria a mutal friend of ours came up to me and said "I think you should say something to him." So my reply was, "Why? I didn't do anything wrong. He should come to me if anything." Our friend's reply was "Sometimes it's best to be the bigger person, no matter who's right or wrong."
I knew our friend was right, so of course I had no reply. But I was still my stubborn self and did nothing. That evening, I was apologized to for the …


The 6th post for January Reflections...Wise: Who is someone currently involved your life that is wise? How do you think they got this way? Send them an email with an attachment to this post to tell them how much you admire them.The wise of heart is called discerning,
   and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness. - Proverbs 16: 21I have a lot of wise people in my life. But I am only going to tell you about one. Her name is Jennifer and I had the privilege of living and knowing her during the most difficult times of her life. She may not be considered by some as "wise" in the traditional sense. But she is wise where I need her to be wise when it comes to our friendship. When most people think of what a wise person is, they think of someone who is great at giving advice, who is gifted at discerning God's word, someone who has great life experience behind them, and/or someone who makes good decisions. I think that up until I met this person, I would have narrowly defin…


I'm a couple of days behind on January Reflections. Here is the fourth post from Jan 17-19th.Reading: It is said that we are what we eat. Likewise, we are what we read. What are you reading to feed your mind and soul currently?I love, love, love to read. I love the sappy chick book (that eventually becomes a chick flick) I love a great mystery. But I also rarely read fiction. Non-fiction is more my style, and it's usually something really nerdy like "Love in Hard Places" by D.A. Carson, Pia Desideria by Spener or Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation by James A. Smith. One of my greatest vices is any book about culture. On my "favorites" list of this genre are "Catching Light: Finding God in the Movies" by Roy Anker,  Eyes Wide Open by Romanowski, Culture Making by Andy Crouch, and A Matrix of Meanings (this one will change your perspective permanently!). I got hooked on these when I did an independent study on Twilight …

Sleep... Rest... Comfort... Safety

The 4th of January Reflections '11Sleep: What can you do to improve your quality of sleep? Take a short glance around the Bible to see what it has to say about sleep and then share it with us.I'm weirdly feng shui about my bedroom. I'm a firm believers in the feng shui of arranging your bedroom. Don't  place the bed in front of the door because you will be thinking about what's outside the door: i.e., the many things there are to do, which will not help you rest. It's also important to remove all the work from the room, for the same reason. It's bad to have a computer or desk in your room... it's bad to have unfolded laundry in your room (which I currently do, lying on the chest at the foot of my bed.  Work and rest are the opposite of each other - to have conflicting messages (albeit subconsciously) can contribute to unrest. It's also best to not place the bed under a window.According to feng shui, the bedroom is to be a place of sanctuary. This is…

The 'Stuff' of My Stuff

The 3rd of January Reflection '11Stuff: Do you like stuff? What stuff do you have that you could do without? Is your stuff well used? Organized? Burdensome?I like stuff entirely too much. What I hate is the stuff I can put into a spot, so it lays around until I can figure out where it "belongs". This is usually office 'stuff.' I have a ridiculous weakness for beautiful journals and have far too many empty ones. I love all things paper related, including notepads, notebooks, folder, pretty binders, magazine files and such.The stuff I could do without is a bizarre compilation of dishes I've acquired over the years. I like too many different kinds, so I had the worst time settling on one type. I resorted to collecting bowls so that I ended up with several that didn't match but that were fun to have around. Alas, they took up too much space in my new kitchen, and I have limited cabinet space in my new home. So most of these bowls and dishes were recently dona…


So.. the second set of choices went up for the January '11 Reflections 'challenge'. Homemade: Tell us why you like store-bought or homemade things more? Share with us anything that was homemade by you this year?Singleness: Everyone has periods of singleness in his or her lifetime. Did you enjoy those days? Who do you have involved in your life who is single?Disappointment: What things were left undone this year? What were you too afraid or indifferent to do? What are you going to plan differently for 2011?Fashion: What is one current fashion you love and one you hate? Share a photo of a fashion blunder you have made. 
Scripture: What is the last Scripture verse you heard or read? What was God saying to you?
I read this and went "oof-dah". Then I ignored it. Then I went back and decided to do Disappointment. (Then cried just at the thought of delving down that road...) Then I decided to do Homemade, 'cause that's an easy one for me. But anyone who knows me k…

A 2010 Moment

As I walked into Foundation Grounds coffee house in in Maplewood, MO, I would be lying if I said my heart was beating fast with nervous anticipation. I stood just inside the door, coming out of the cold February wind, and scanned to room for him.

My eyes settled on Christopher, whose head was buried in his Macbook. I braced myself, said a silent prayer, and sat down across from him. He looked up, smiled, shut his laptop screen and said "Thanks for coming."

He got up to get me a cup of coffee and as he returned to his seat, I saw him sigh. It was a big sigh... and I knew some big stuff was coming.

Christopher and I met three months previous through some friends of mine from church. I went to his booth at the John Burroughs School Unique Boutique art show and was in awe of his textiles. His scarves were beautiful and 100% green. I loved them and loved his philosophy of reusing things such as tires to make thread to weave stunning patterns. We talked about the Food Network and…

The Meaning of Emptiness

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,  
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
For you shall go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall break forth into singing,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
-Isaiah 55: 10-12 (ESV)

Emptiness takes on many forms for me. I remember being asked by the search committee that called me to Arizona "How do you think you will handle moving to a place where you don't know anyone and leave many family and friends behind?" I also remember thinking "They have no idea how much of an introvert I really am."

Being alone is not much of a problem for me. I've often wondered if there was something wrong…