Friday, February 29, 2008

Values

I am trying to clarify something for myself and would like some help.

Please respond with your thoughts on either/both of these questions if you get a chance. Your answer can be a simple one word answer, or a longer explanation (specific examples would be nice :)

1) What do you think our culture values? By this I mean, the US culture, maybe even our local Raleigh area culture. What are the things that we orient our lives around?

2) What do you think are kingdom values? By this I mean, God's kingdom, the one that Jesus talks about in the scriptures.

Thanks so much for your help.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Yoga





One of the new things I have gotten into is Yoga.

I have "practiced" on and off by myself over the past couple years, but since we joined the YMCA I have started taking a couple of classes. I still like doing it by myself better, but classes are good to find out some innovative techniques.



Yesterday I took one where we did some new fun upside down poses. If you know me, I love to go upside down! So, I was having a ball.


I have included a couple of pics to help you visualize our inversions :)



The final pose is called "happy baby". Every time I see videos of my baby friends I think about this pose.
Truly it follows its name.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Talking on the Phone

I'm not sure why, but I'm not a phone talker. I get anxious and often go through my phone list several times and call people who I talk to on a regular basis before calling someone new.

I attribute this to several things... one is my compulsiveness with email. Its easier and not as anxiety provoking to email someone. Another is that I don't like talking for very long and I always want to have an exit strategy. (For example, I'll call someone while I'm on my way somewhere so that I can get off easily when my car ride is over. )

I am confessing this for several reasons...

I think this apprehension may inhibit me from being as effective as I would like with my job.
Sometimes I am disconnected or rude when talking with people on the phone.
Its helpful for me to just get my anxieties out there, they some how loose power.

So, there you have it, I am working on my phone skills.
Please forgive me if I ever fail to call you or am rude or short when in phone conversations.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Love 146

I am a part of a group called Jubilee. We are... Inspired by Jesus's radical commitment to peace and justice, we seek to build a movement that will embrace people of all faiths in a common purpose: revealing the presence of slavery in our own society and around the world, creating places of refuge for slavery's victims, and offering support and healing for all who seek freedom and hope.

This morning I received an email from one of the members of this group who offered an article from the group Love146 . If you have some time take a look around their website, its very well done and they have a ton of resources.

One of the things that I was intrigued by is their campaign to boycott Craig's List. The reasoning behind this is that they put forth an offer for the Craig's list heads to commit to take steps towards placing more protections on the ability for people to buy and sell individuals on their website. Basically, as it stands you can find out how to connect with women and children who are being prostituted against their will via an easy search on Criag's List.

This is not okay.

I have to admit, I haven't done much research to find out the legitimacy of these claims and apologize if they are incorrect. But, it seems legit to me, and its worth thinking about how we as individuals fuel these types of resources.

Politics

Any thoughts on the debate from last night?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

who is jesus?




















Several recent events lead me to search google images for jesus pictures:

1) I recently went to a conference that was excellent. One of the speakers, Alan Hirsh, made the point that, trying to understand Jesus and who He is is the most important thing we can do for the church at this time. This point came after a long rendition of all the various ways Jesus has been depicted and described over the years.

2) I have been doing a devotional book that asked me to draw or describe what closeness with the Lord looks like. To me, this speaks a bit to Jesus.

3) I had a conversation this morning with one of the men in my Yoga class about "gentle Jesus". He mentioned to me that he was going to lead a yoga type new testament bible study. I looked at him a bit perplexed and said, "how are you going to do that?". He responded by talking about how yoga is gentle. I asked him what that has to do with New Testament, to which he replied by contrasting God in the Old Testament, with Jesus in the New Testament. He talked about how God wiped out nations in the Old testament and how Jesus had compassion on nations in the new testament.

I think he has a point, but I also think that Jesus brought about a revolution...

Who is Jesus to you?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Lessons from the Noke






One of my favorite habits that I got from my mom is to write notes, quotes, scripture, encouraging words, etc. in places that I will see them on a regular basis.



When I was in college I had a doorway that I covered with note cards. Each card had a bible verse for the week on it. It quickly filled up.



After college, I decorated the perimeter of my room with 8 x11 bubble letter verses.


Surrounding myself with this type of encouragement has been one of the best things that I have learned how to do.


The pictures here are of my parents' kitchen.

The front is covered written words, and the side is filled with family photos.

It flows out even from there to the inside of the cabinets and pantry doors. They are all covered with wonderful letters, poems, pictures, and truths from God.

I hope taking a picture of the cabinets open in not to invasive... Danielle did a great job organizing the bowls and glasses :)

Thank you Mom for teaching me how to wrap God's truth around me.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Valentines Day














Our church community has several home groups where we live life together and work out our place in this epic story that God is writing.



Our group typically get together on Thursday nights and this week, that was Valentines day.




The guys in our group came up with a plan. It was fantastic!


Jonathan Gould watches Dinner Impossible for fun and used his culinary skills to provide the ladies in our group with the meal of a life time.




We walked in to the house to a beautiful white table cloth setting...




Jason and Ben used their waiter skills to provide impeccable service. Each dish was explained down to the drizzles and we enjoyed each morsel of it.




The meal started off with a mock california roll. Grilled shrimp with avocado and chili sauce in a scooped out french baguette served with wasabi mayo.



Round 2: Chilled cucumber soup.



Round 3: Angel hair pasta with proscuitto (I don't know how to spell this word) in a parmesan cream sauce.




Round 4: Grilled Pork Loin with a port wine reduction served over baked sweet potato rounds.




Finally, the chefs brought out the dessert. I am a chocolate fan, and felt like I was tasting just a bit of heaven when I put my fork into the layered cheese cake. Layer 1: a chocolate cookie, 2: chocolate moose cheese cake, 3: white chocolate cheesecake, 4: chocolate ganashe.




My favorites were the appetizer and the dessert, but these are my typical pics.




So, the food was delicious and Jon rightfully earned a relaxing couch trip; but even more than the food, the conversation between the women coupled by the servant hood and thoughtfulness of the guys made the night one none of us will ever forget.





Thank you so much to my husband for watching the kids, Jon, Ben, Jason, and Jon for cooking, serving, and cleaning up and to Amy, Amare, Meg, Lori, & Christy for sharing your lives with me.

Tears

I cried last night.

For some people this may not be a big deal, but for me its tough.

I don't like to cry and my husband doesn't have tear ducts. Its hard for him to know what to do. But, he held me. That was what I needed.

The tears came from a lot of places, but I think my journey group praying for me had something to do with it. Thanks A lot :)

I don't like to get in touch with difficult places in my life and for a long time have had a list of emotions that were not okay to feel. I still struggle with this, and am continually trying to break this cycle.

Yesterday was a good day.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

We made it!





Last evening was very challenging. We left Roanoke about 1:30PM and didn't arrive at our conference center (D.C) until 8:30... this is largely do to the fact that the last 30 miles of our trip took us 3 hours.

While trying not to go crazy in the car we talked, banged against windows, laughed, reorganized our cell phone contacts, called numerous people, texted people, listened to music, had some snacks, complained ALOT, tried to figure out why anyone would live in a city that was like this, and were genuinely just frustrated.

I think the pictures show the emotional progression that I felt from being stuck in the car.

I only went through 4 pieces of gum, which is a huge accomplishment. And, I was driving. I only freaked out a couple of times, but other than that held my own. My husband would be proud of me.

We finally arrived at the 4H center and then went to find some food and beverage to calm down our nerves.

Roanoke, VA

Jeff, Jason, and I are on our way to a conference in Washington DC.


But, first we stopped through Roanoke. As you may know, this is where I grew up. It is beautiful. I always forget how flat Raleigh is until I come here. I love the mountains (no, I'm not saying I want to move back, just that its one of the most beautiful places I've ever been).

It has me reflecting on a lot. I have been taking some pictures that I will share in a later blog post (I don't have the cord to load the pictures with me). Look forward to posts coming up.

thankfulness
influence
beauty
materialism
generational patterns
love
redemption

Church as a Hospital

I was talking with one of my friends last night and she said something profound. It wasn't the first time I've heard this, but it struck a new cord:

What if we looked at the church more as a hospital for sinners in need of healing and redemption...

Would this change how we deal with:

materialism
sexual sins
pride
fear
anger
family problems
gluttony


the list could go on and on...

but, seriously, when we are asking ourselves and others to change ingrained patterns in our lives, messy stuff comes out. As a community with the love of the Christ and power of the Holy Sprit, change can and will happen, but it won't be easy and it will take work

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Shrimp and Grits

Last night I made shrimp and grits for Matt and I to enjoy with our bottle of wine.

We hadn't had a chance to hang out and talk recently and it was a great time. Its totally worth it to spend special time with my husband.

Sometimes when I cook I am looking for a WOW! This is awesome! response from him and am disappointed when I don't get it. But, last night I was able to make something that I even said "Wow!" to. If you are looking for a new recipe, this one is great and not too difficult to make.

Encouragement for Today

I am reading a book for Lent that is helping me to reflect each morning. Today the verses are from Psalm 32...

For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory. The Lord says, "I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control." Many sorrows come to the wicked, but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord.

Initially, I got a few creepy craw-lies inside because I thought I might get the impression that if I just believe and trust in God that my life will be "happy" or "good" and free from trouble... but, that isn't what the author pointed out. It was in the midst of deep struggle that he read this verse and was comforted, called more to see how during the midst of strife there were songs of victory and unfailing love. Sometimes it takes longer to see/appreciate/understand/ etc. these things. But, I do believe they are there in ways that may be a bit different that how we envisioned them.

Trust, faith, hope...

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Conflict

I was talking with a couple of friends this morning and we started really struggling with how to deal with conflict in our lives.

Specifically, conflict with people whom are in authority roles over us. What do we do?

I began pointing to passages in scripture that talk about how Christ humbled himself, to the point of death on a cross, taking on the nature of a servant; but, was countered with passages where Jesus confronted the Pharisees and called them a "brood of vipers".

One of my friends pointed out that Jesus' conflict and humility had a purpose. Both his death and his confrontation were for the sake of the gospel.

My question now is: How does this help me practically in my day to day situations?

I think it does, I'm just trying to figure out how.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A story from a friend

I have a close friend who is an author. She may be a bit shy of me calling her that, but I just finished reading her 155 page book. It isn't published yet, but should be in the near future. I think I enjoyed parts of it more than I would have if I hadn't known who wrote it, it was like I could hear her speaking the parts of several characters. 
She gave me permission to post a snip-it here. This is the conclusion, basically an adolescent girls take on life after attempting to learn from others.  Enjoy...




“What do you get when you try and tell other people’s stories before ever acknowledging your own? A whole lot of fluff. Sure, the facts and figures, people and places sound good and noteworthy, but they’re all full of air. There’s no juice or momentum behind the words, and although people may find your writing glamorous or informational, it’s unlikely they’ll be touched by a story that was so untouched by you.

I grew up writing, and while I did so, I remained untouched by the events I covered, the people I talked to, and the places I visited. I thought it would be my livlihood to continue to report news to people. Now I know I’m more impressed with telling a story in its fullness. I’ve learned to let go of some of the facts and show opinions. I’ve found it’s better to allow a character to feel something now and then.

My own story is long and was not my intention for this piece at all. It seems unjust if I focus on myself instead of the two lives I decided to highlight in the beginning. However, I believe there will be a time and a place for me to tell their stories, for they have wrapped their lives around mine in a way I cannot fully describe. For now, I will try to sum up what I’ve learned.

Each person owns his or her story, but some need a little help telling it. Some people are born artists and others intellectuals. I was born a storyteller.

My story is painfully complex and completely simple at the same time. I was born to good, hard working parents. I’ve been loved and appreciated. I haven’t lived long, but sometimes I feel like I’ve had to take on enough for two lives. I’ve had a lot of friends, but never been close to any of them until I met three special people, two that I now know well, and one that I feel I’ll never really know. I don’t even know if her name is her real name. I don’t think I’ll ever ask her, either, because if it’s a pen name or a made up name, it’s a pretty good one. Her name is an oxymoron for who she is. There’s not a bit of sourness in this person at all. She allowed me, and all of us who met her this year, to view life in the clearest way. It’s another oxymoron actually, that life is understood most clearly when muddling through dirty water. What is true and good, but sometimes a little messy is found in the gray space, not in the black and white.”

Monday, February 4, 2008

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Ground Zero

Century 21 is in the heart of the financial district of NYC. Its the last stop on the subway (E), in case anyone else wants to go. 

Across the street from the shopping frenzy is Ground Zero. 

My mom and I took some time to look at the pictures and reflect on the occurrences. Its pretty sobering to be in the midst of life and then just stop and think about the impact that one day has had on our nation (both profound and none at all). 

I remember coming back from cheerleading practice and watching the news while stretching. I actually saw the second plane fly into the tower. It was so surreal. The first thing I did was call my dad. I thought he would be able to tell me exactly what was going on and what to do about it. He was comforting, but probably just as confused as I was. 

What do you think we have learned from this? 
What did you take away from it? 
Where do you think we are now? 

Friday, February 1, 2008

Perspective

Its not about me...
Its not about you...


So, what is "it" about? 

Trusting our Creator... Seeking truth... Extending compassion... Embracing freedom... Accepting and offering redemption...