Monday, December 28, 2009

Marathon Training Day #1

To date I have ran three half marathons, and in June I have plans to run a full marathon. Tomorrow is day one of my training. I haven't gone running in over a month, and I have a feeling this is going to be the most painful 3 mile run of my life! But, I found that little ear warmer thing that keeps my ears from getting frost bite and for Christmas I got an iPod holder to wear around my arm when I go running. My running shoes have about two more months in them, and my iPod is fully charged, so there is really NO excuse to keep me from going.

I should probably get to bed, so I don't use the excuse of not having enough sleep.

My practices of health and well being (reading my Bible, running, eating well, journaling, etc.) were thrown out of the window while I was in Vancouver this last week and when I went to my weigh-in on Saturday I definitely found I had suffered the consequences. Eeek! What is it about being there that makes me lose motivation to take care of myself? Just a couple months ago I wrote that I thought I was living a half life here in Seattle, and I wondered if Seattle would ever feel like home. Well, it's my third year living here since graduating from college, and it's finally starting to. That's also how much time it took for me to feel at home at SPU. Up until that point I thought for sure I was going to transfer to a different college after my sophomore year.

Maybe there's something about the third year...maybe it's magic.

p.s. Christmas pics soon!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dr. Seuss Christmas Party

On Wednesday night our youth group had a Dr. Seuss themed Christmas party. Here are a few of my favorite memories:

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish!
From left to right: Jon, Marika, Maggie and Myself


From left to right: Marika, Maggie, Josh, and Tim
I created a long and elaborate story about what is going on in this picture, but all that really needs to be said is that it is hilarious.



From left to right (starting with the boy): Evan, Bella, Kylea, Sage, and Natalia

I absolutely adore the above photo, and it means even more when I look and realize that 4 out of the 5 of these students only began attending youth group this year! Pretty amazing that they have come, gotten connected, and started to build a place for them here.

And every good youth group party can only end one way: the hokey pokey.

I found a church on Capitol Hill that is hiring for a part time youth director. I have discovered that youth ministry jobs are pretty hard to come by here in Seattle, so I feel like I need to respond quickly, and I know I'll apply. It's within a good, strong denomination (Covenant) that is very supportive of women in ministry and would be a great opportunity to spread my wings and see how far God can carry me. But, to go there, would mean to leave everything above. And everything above is just so great.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Dress up

I had a job interview today for an account manager position at a hotel. I have realized that the non profit jobs I am seeking are not calling me back because I don't have non profit experience. I have passion, and desire, but no experience. My plan was (is?) to get a regular 9-5pm job that would free up my evenings and weekends to get the experiences I need by volunteering with New Horizons or Street Youth Ministries.

My interviewer was 15 minutes late, so I went to the restroom to freshen up. I looked in the mirror and saw me, wearing a pair of freshly dry cleaned grey slacks, a long sleeved black shirt, black blazer, makeup, with my hair neatly kept and I was struck by my reflection. I felt like I looked like a kid playing dress up. The thought came across my mind like a flash and it scared me a little bit.

I shook it off long enough to engage in the two hour interview. At the end of today's interview with the Director of Sales and then the General Manager, I knew I'd be sending my interviewers an email withdrawing from consideration for the position. The primary reason is that the position would require I purchase a car, which I cannot do with a clear conscience because of the financial burden. As I was riding the bus home (1 1/2 hours long ride) I asked myself, "what am I doing?" Looking at my reflection at the hotel I knew: this isn't me.

I can't work as an account manager at a hotel. It's not what I'm wired to do. I feel like I am back at square one. Scratch that, I'm at square zero. I asked God to make it clear to me what I should do. I just didn't think his response would knock me down on my butt.

Dear God, it's a good thing I trust you, otherwise I'd be pissed off right now. Amen.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

My Puffy Vest

Two years ago a guest at the hotel I work at gave me a puffy vest for Christmas. I wear this vest rarely, and actually had it in a Goodwill bag until the freezing temperatures in Seattle encouraged me to take it out of the Goodwill bag this morning. The reason I don't wear the puffy vest is because it makes me feel like a marshmallow. Not one of those cute little mini marshmallows, but one of those large jumbo marshmallows. But, today my puffy vest made me feel beautiful, and it's because the geniuses at Old Navy had written this on the label:

"She couldn't decide. She loved the magic of a city skyline on a snowy night, but a country meadow under a blanket of snow made her heart beat faster. The truth is everything looks beautiful in winter, including you."

Thanks Old Navy, for the self esteem boost!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thanksgiving

My Favorite Thanksgiving Moments

1. Watching my little brother put together an amazing feast completely by himself, including a wonderfully moist turkey, homemade stuffing, and sauteed brussel sprouts.

2. Getting to be Cameron's sous chef the night before and helping him cut homemade ravioli.

3. Watching Cameron and Trystan (he's nine years old now, oh my gosh) play a ridiculous role playing game and being very intent as they played together.

4. Playing the board game "Infection" with Cameron and Jason and having the following conversation - Cameron: If Jason comes back and wins this game, I am going to be so done playing. Me: Well, yes you will be done playing, because Jason would have won the game.

5. Sitting at the kitchen table and reading my mom journal entries that I wrote when I was 12 and 13 years old. Oh, the angst.

6. Being requested moment by moment by my niece Willow (now five years old!) to sit by her at dinner, while playing games, and just relaxing in the living room.

Sometimes I think about giving up on family holidays. They bring such anxiety, and tension, and hurt feelings. But I just listed out 6 reasons my Thanksgiving was worth it, and I know that with a little more thought I could have come up with 6 more. So, maybe a few moments of anxiety is worth the 12 that I'll probably remember longer.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Conversation and confections

I got into Vancouver last night only to find my mom gone for the night which meant I needed to break into my own home. I had flashbacks of high school when I'd lock my key inside the house. Last night I had ice cream at Ice Cream Renaissance with Brenna (sorry, Seattle, but you can't do ice cream like ICR) and today I had gelato with Megan in Portland on NW 23rd. Two nights of frozen confections and two nights of conversation with incredible women who love God.

Dear Jesus, thank you for these moments. Thank you for giving me a foundation of relationship and community to see me through the greatest trials and storms. Thank you that these relationships have stood the test of time and space. Thank you for helping us to have grace with one another as we grow together and closer to you. Thank you for these sacraments and by your power making the ordinary extraordinary.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Postal Service

Over the past few months I have gone from being someone who doesn't 'get' The Postal Service (as in, the band) into someone who thoroughly enjoys their music. I think this change has something to do with the fact that we've spent many moments together walking in the rain. That experience always bonds people. It has also bonded me to Rilo Kiley and Sigur Ros. Granted, I have bonded with these artists about 5 years after it was 'cool' to bond with them. However, I think this suits me as I am not a trendsetter.

I am more of a re-Trendsetter.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The perfect house...found!

Last week Kelly, Karen and I signed our lease, got our keys and now we are slowly moving into our new place! It is absolutely beautiful and a definite upgrade from our previous location. It feels like a real grown up place to live. I'll be packing my belongings on Monday and then hopefully moving almost everything on Tuesday, which is my day off.

It's a three story townhouse and this is what I like most about it:
1. It's near a lot of bus lines and two blocks away from Safeway.
2. My room has a small patio off of it.
3. There is hardwood floors in the kichen/living room.
4. FIREPLACE!
5. Gas stove!

Hopefully I'll post pictures soon.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Holidays

I get to visit my family in Vancouver on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

:)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The search for the perfect house

When Karen and I moved in together last year, there was a conversation we had where I explained that I was applying for a job in Germany and I could be leaving as early as June, six months early from the end of our lease. And now, it's November, I am not in Germany and it's time to find a new place.

I got pretty anxious yesterday when Karen and I were talking about it. In part, that is because we have a third roommate we're adding into the mix which means we now have the opinions and needs of an entire new person to consider.

But from more than just a logistical perspective, signing a lease just feels so definite. It roots me in this time and this place for at least a year. And while I have no plans to leave, I don't feel the need to stay. I'm trying to look for things that anchor me a little more to my life here in Seattle. I applied for a job working with youth in Seattle that I think would be utterly amazing. I'm trying to reconnect with my church, which is hard, after going on involvement overload during my two year internship.

It can sometimes feel like a half life here in Seattle. I have my friends, and intentionally seek to expand that circle to include people at church and work. It just feels different, though. Last week, Karen's mom asked me about my job search and invited me over to her house for Thanksgiving and I realized how strange it was for me to have an adult in Seattle express motherly care to me.

I wonder if my Vancouver life and my Seattle life will ever feel like one life. And if I move somewhere else, how will I remember my Seattle life? Who would have thunk that searching for the perfect house would lead to such questions?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Step Six

"Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character."

I am taking a class at my church called "The Twelve Steps: A Spiritual Journey." It takes the 12 steps of recovery and applies them to emotional healing. I haven't done my homework for step six yet, and I feel like I am in college again procrastinating the assignment until the last possible minute. I don't know why the homework for this class makes me so uncomfortable. Maybe it's that once you write something down, and say it aloud, you have to deal with the reality of the words that have been spoken. When those words are spoken, I cease to have control over it. I can't control how my group hears those words, or how they will respond, or their thoughts surrounding them. For a control freak like me, that's a pretty large leap to have to make.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pretty in Pink

A couple months ago I bought two new DVDs: Pretty in Pink and Ferris Bueller's Day Off. I remembered how much I absolutely LOVED Pretty in Pink and have watched it about 4 times since then. In tribute to John Hughes, I am going to be Duckie Dale for Halloween (on the left), my roommate will be Iona (middle), and our friend Elizabeth is going to be Andie (on the right). I am so excited! I even asked for the night off work, although as of yet we don't have any plans. I will figure something out, though. Even if it's stealing a child to go trick or treating. :)

***UPDATE*** Our Molly Ringwald is going to be in Portland for Halloween, so instead Karen, Katja and I are going to go see Where the Wild Things Are at the imax. Just as good!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I think about it over and over again

I have found that there are certain lessons that you can try to teach yourself, and that others can try to teach you, all without success. It takes something to finally *click* for that lesson to be learned. I feel like it's finally all *clicking* in terms of what I am wanting out of the next couple years of my life in terms of a career. I'll try to be concise.

I was lucky in college, especially, to get good feedback from my professors and peers about what they thought I was capable of. However, these high expectations bring with it an undue amount of pressure. For the past two years I have just felt entirely unspectacular. It's like I'm waiting for my life to begin. For something to jumpstart things, but I wouldn't be able to recognize the "it" even if it bit me in the face. Which is unfortunate, because it would probably hurt.

My internship ended at the end of August, and I turned down an opportunity to work at the church in a part time capacity. I was afraid I would be settling for what's easy instead of going out of my comfort zone and trying something completely new. Now, I'm trying to trust and have faith that the something I am waiting for will reveal itself to me. In the meantime, though, I am trying to heed the advice of a dear friend and of myself (in my better moments) and spend a lot less time worrying about the future and a lot more time being the person that God desires for me to be. This doesn't mean I've decided to stay at the hotel forever, but that I have found contentment in the time of transition. It's a good place to be. It's a good place...

Friday, September 25, 2009

My book list, again

I've been doing quite a bit of reading over the past month or so, all fiction. Here's what's been on my list.

Daniel Deronda: I read this book mostly because it was a BBC series that I tried to make myself like. So, I tried to do the same with the book. George Eliot is a phenomenal writer, and she paints very vivid word pictures. Unfortunately the main character didn't end up with who I wanted him to, and some parts of this book were way too smart for me. But, I absolutely LOVE the character of Gwendolen.

One Mississippi: So sad. Not even going to get into it. Really funny in parts, but incredibly tragic.

The Knitting Circle: In that new genre of "women get together and bond over a craft and heal together without even realizing that's what they need." Some of the stories were incredibly believable but the device the author used to tell the stories got a little old.

Housekeeping: Marilyn Robinson writes prose like she's writing poetry. I'd reread this book in a book group as I think my tendency to read too fast cause me to miss some of the juiciest language and descriptions.

Where the Heart Is: Amazing! Read it in one day. Love the movie, love the book, love that they are very different form one another. Love it all.

The Passion of Mary-Margaret: I thought I would hate this book, but really liked it actually. I thought it was going to do the Redeeming Love thing and retell the story of Hosea, but that wasn't the case at all. I like that the main character was a modern day Christian mystic, but also an incredibly likeable woman. If I ever have kids, I might name my son Jude, as a form of tribute.

Right now I am reading a Salman Rushdie book and think I need to read it with a dictionary at hand because his vocabulary is far more vast than mine. I requested Northanger Abbey on CD from the library (I've read it once before) and want to load chapters onto my iPod so I can listen to it as I go running. So, that's what we have thus far. I need to read some more nonfiction. It takes me longer, but it's worth it.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Half dreaming half sleeping

The other night, in a half asleep state, I stumbled out of bed to open my window. In the process, I stepped on a picture frame that I had so carelessly left on the floor of my bedroom and heard the glass crack. As I lay in my bed, I wished that when I awoke I'd find I had only broken the picture frame in my dreams and that it would be whole when daylight came.

Half dreaming and half sleeping never work in my favor. The picture frame was still broken. And all those shadows of longing that I experience in my dreams, from cars, to clothing, to relationships, remain in the purgatory of cognition.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Living the life of a Seattle stereotype

Today on my way to the church to prep for youth group I was blown away by the realization that I am a Seattle stereotype, but hopefully in the best possible way, and I think only in that moment. I was wearing my Adidas flip flops (my official shoe of summer), listening to my iPod, drinking an iced latte, and wearing obnoxiously large black sunglasses. And this realization made me laugh really hard, even out loud a little bit. The only thing missing from this Seattle image was a copy of The Stranger tucked under my arm and a large Golden Retriever.


But, then, the ice melts in my latte, the sunglasses cause unseemly nose sweat, I get scared walking with an iPod because I can't hear people coming up behind me, and a summer of wearing the same shoes incessantly has led to large patches of dry skin. Behind the veneer of THIS Seattle stereotype is a sweaty, dog hating, watered down latte, iPod has run out of batteries, girl laughing hard at herself and all those just like her.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A once in a lifetime opportunity

I got pooped on by a bird today as I was walking to church.
I didn't notice until I got to church and my friend Nick said "What's on your sweater."
I've never been pooped on by a bird before, and I'm a little bummed that the first time it happens I didn't realize it actually happened. I am thankful, however, that the bird just pooped on the hem of my cardigan and not on my head. Because having a bird poop on your head and not realizing it is much more problematic.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Mid Summer Thoughts

Haven't updated this in a WHILE. In case you're wondering, my summer time checklist is not progressing well. I've only applied for one job, because I have only found one that I am actually excited and energized to apply for. I can't zip up my green dress yet, but I have 3 1/2 more weeks until Chrissie's wedding. Little Si might not happen, but I'll be supplementing Snoqualmie Falls. And my to-do list for Summer Camp feels like it is getting longer, and I'm starting to stress out.

Right now I am finding solace from the 95 degree heat (in Seattle!) in a coffee shop near my apartment and preparing a talk on Philippians 3 for youth group tomorrow. As I've been checking my email, updating Facebook, etc., I stumbled upon this article: http://www.comcast.net/articles/sports-general/20090726/Worlds/.

Michael Phelps was beat out at the world champions in the 200 meter race by an unknown German swimmer who also broke the world record. Michael Phelps responded with a complete lack of graciousness and threw an adult sized fit. He blamed the sleek suit his competitor wore. He blamed not having trained much the past 6 months. His coach did the same. He was barely able to pose for photographs with Paul Biederman, the man who won the race, and stripped himself of his own silver medal as soon as he stepped off the podium. As I read this article I couldn't help by think: where did gracious competition go? Does being used to winning give anyone an excuse to be a sore loser? So, the suit did give Biederman a two second advantage, but that's swimming in a life of technical advances. So, he hasn't been training for six months, but not doing well is a consequence of that. I know that the world sees Michael Phelps as a role model for setting a goal, meeting it, and being an all around bad ass. But, come on man. You're an adult. Shake the gold medal winner's hand, and stop being a baby.

p.s. The pictures are from a photo scavenger hunt the youth group did last week. I love my job.

Monday, July 13, 2009

My Green Dress

Every time I use my computer, I sit in my big huge bedroom chair, and directly across from me is my favorite item of clothing hanging up on my wall. This beautiful green dress, which I purchased from a store called "Wish" here in Seattle has never really fit me, but I'd like to wear it for my friend Chrissie's wedding in August. Please, oh please, health and fitness gods, have my hard work pay off by allowing me to wear this dress.
40 days more to go, and then hopefully it'll finally get a well deserved night on the town.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The internet: more than I bargained for

I've been sitting in my room for the past hour and a half wasting time on the internet. Sometimes I'm embarassed to admit that I do that, but I'm hoping I'm not alone. For the past 15-20 minutes I have been reading people's blogs. I love the "next blog" feature at the top of the page because I never know what I'm going to stumble on. More often than not the blogs are not written in English, and if they are they're usually about paper doll collecting or random family pictures. Still, it's an incredible reminder to me of how many people actually exist in this world. And while I'm reading about strangers' adventures in Germany, or card making, or which youtube videos Danish people find to be the funniest, I start to think that these random snapshots are the reality most people experience.

But then I stumble on a blog like this: http://iraqideadbodys12.blogspot.com/. (Viewer discretion advised).

You can see it in the name of the blog. It's photos of dead Iraqis. People I have never heard the names of. People that maybe we in America don't know exist. And my head starts spinning, and I feel like I want to cry even though no tears come. Then I'm angry with myself for not crying. Why can I cry when my friend and I get into a fight, but not when I am slapped in the face by the brokenness of this world?

And it's time like these I lift up a quick prayer: Lord Jesus, come back soon, because we are destroying ourselves.

I know I'm supposed to be someone who is sowing hope and loving well. Someone who tries to restore hope and whisper peace in the name of Christ to others. Somedays it just feels much harder than other days.

I am reminded of Pride and Prejudice when Mr. Bennett is speaking to Lizzy and blaming himself for his daughter Lydia's foolish actions. Elizabeth tries to console him and he responds by saying, "I am heartily ashamed of myself, Lizzy. But don't despair; it'll pass, and no doubt more quickly than it should."

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The cure for the summertime blues...

...is making lists! I considered for a second changing the name of my blog to "Lists", much in the vein of 11points.com (hilarious website), but didn't want to pigeon hole myself too much. My road trip to San Francisco and running the half marathon with Heather were two big summer time moments for me, and now I'm thinking about what else I want to accomplish this summer. Here's what I have so far. As I accomplish each one this summer, I'll write a new blog entry about it, which will hopefully take me through the summer with blog entries.

1. Have sleepover/hang out time with my small group
2. Hike either Mt. Si or Little Si
3. Wear my green dress
4. Find a new job
5. See any combination of my nieces and nephews
6. Summer camp
7. Go to Discovery Park, maybe trail run
8. WICKED! (The musical. My brother is going to buy me a ticket as my birthday present!)
9. Chrissie's wedding

That's all I have for now. I know it's summer, for the calendar tells me so, but I don't quite believe it yet. This weekend is 4th of July. My past two 4th of Julys have been AWESOME, but this year I'll be working and dealing with people who feel they're entitled to everything and drunk guests returning from watching fireworks explode. It'll be great!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Things that make me feel like me

I love lists. I always have. And I started thinking about the half marathon I ran today (taking 21 minutes off of my previous half marathon time. Heck yes!) and visiting with Scott and Becky. Which led to my needing to make a list. These are all things that help me feel more like me.

1. Making people laugh.
2. Talking with friends for 3 hours straight.
3. Setting a goal, and then exceeding my own expectations.
4. Giving and receiving really good hugs.
5. Wearing the color green.
6. Drinking the perfect cup of tea.
7. Running
8. Wordless conversations
9. Sitting in the sun
10. Finishing a good book.

Hmmm...missing from this list is something that was really helping me make sense of me: reading my Bible and journaling. I've been out of this discipline for the past month or so. And I miss it. Yet, somehow I forgot I missed it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Last Chance Harvey

Yesterday, as I was running random errands, I happened to stop at Hollywood video. Lo and behold, their movies were buy two get two free. I was kind of raised to be a movie nut, and so despite my commitments to live simply, cheap movies are hard to resist. I purchased Penelope, Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist, The Visitor, and Last Chance Harvey. Last night my roommate and I broke in my movies by watching Last Chance Harvey.

It was a sweet, simple, and uncomplicated story about two people who fall in love. Uncomplicated, however, doesn't mean superficial or easy. It was simple in that both of the main characters were not tempted to create needless problems in their relationship. There was oppeness and true vulnerability. This vulnerability and oppeness led to difficulties, as opening one's self up to anyone often leads to. But, they weren't the kind of difficulties that resulted from someone sabotaging a relationship, or deceiving someone intentionally, or hiding their true self. It was refreshing to watch a movie that swam against the message that the more foibles and miscommunications in the beginning of a relationship, the more likely it's meant to be.

It's a tale as old as time. Two people meet. Two people fall in love. But unlike many movies, when I imagined the life of the characters post "The End" I didn't see them separating for some inevitably silly reason. I could see these two characters actually making it, and that was, for lack of a better word, nice.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Decisions

Spent the whole afternoon in San Francisco. 

Belly is full with chicken pesto fettucini. 

Should I stay up an hour and finish prepping the last chapter of Habakkuk so that tomorrow I can put together an outline?

Or do I sleep now?

Sleep. Or study.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Just breathe...

On June 28th I will be preaching at my church on the Book of Habakkuk. That's right...in big church. I was a little disappointed to find out I'd be preaching at the 8:30am service since that is a service I have never attended, it's super early, and I am scared of that group for a number of reasons (namely, some of them don't feel women should be preaching). However, I'm working on getting over it and feeling blessed by the opportunity. I'm almost there, but I'm still scared. Here's why...

1. I am afraid of misrepresenting the text. This fear will pass as I will be writing my outline alongside three pastors who will also be preaching that Sunday.
2. I'm afraid my pastor will conclude I'm not a gifted teacher. This would be a little devastating since it brings me great joy to teach and I also highly value my pastor's opinion.
3. I'm flat out scared I'm going to do a bad job. Get nervous. Forget my notes. Throw up. Insert devastating public speaking outcome here.

I have a month to prepare. I'm going to study chapter one tomorrow and take it from there. Please God, help me to remember that knowledge puffs up but love builds up. Please help me to turn aside from the wisdom of the world and remember that your wisdom looks like foolishness to the world. Help me God to prepare well and rejoice in being made to look a fool.

Amen.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning for me doesn't really exist. It's more like my bedroom descends into a state of madness until I have a day off and can clean it. Today is that day and I have made several discoveries so far.

1) After a year of searching, I still can not find my passport. Goodbye England, Spain, Dublin, and Dominican Republic stamps. It's the most bizarre thing, however I noticed my social security card is also missing, which leads me to believe that in a genius move I put them together somewhere to keep them safe, and have now lost them.

2) After several weeks of searching, I cannot find my O2 book that Richard wrote. Farewell Rule of Life.

3) I reread a couple of my essays from my study abroad term and looked at my curriculum project and got reminiscent about how much I loved being in school and how much fun it was, and how (not to be vain) I was REALLY good at being a student. I think I miss it, but I don't know if I'll go back.

4) I need to buy more picture frames and hang the ones I have up on the wall which will require I rearrange my bedroom or else there will be nowhere to hang them. Harumph.

Today is the day things will be accomplished.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Who says you can't go home?

I arrived in Vancouver today via train. I stepped off the platform and my brother said "Hi, you slut." I said, "shut up you bastard." He put me in a head lock, gave me a noogie, and to get out of his grip I bit his side. Then later in the afternoon we got into a slap and kicking fight on the couch, he locked me outside, stole my shoes, I stole his shoes and threw them into the bushes, he sprayed me with the hose until I gave him back his shoes, but before I did I spit in one of them. Then he got me into another headlock, gave me another noogie, and I pinched his side until he let me go. Then while we were cooking dinner he put gravy on my cheak, I put it on his sweater, I punched him in the stomach, and he gave me a dead leg. Rinse, and repeat, and you have our evening.
I told Cameron tonight that if I ever meet a guy who isn't totally creeped out by the fact that we still beat each other up, I know I have a keeper. I need to get in shape though, because it's completely unacceptable that he can beat me up without even trying.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Literary Corner

I made many resolutions this year, but haven't done a very good job of keeping most of them. I have kept one, which was to read one book a month that I had been intending to read, but just never got around to. This is what I have read so far and a couple brief thoughts on each:

Pre-New Year's Eve:
Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller: It took me a while, but this book was actually pretty impactful. Miller uses an analogy of a lifeboat, and who would be valuable to keep on such a boat. I realized I spend much of my life trying to be someone worthy of keeping on the boat when Jesus spent his time with people who no one would keep on a lifeboat.
Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott: A good reminder to pay attention to the beauty of the world around me.
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen: What can I say? I'm a sucker for Jane Austen.

January/February:
A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn: And this is where my cyncism with the American and world political system began. A huge reminder to do as Jesus says and give to God what is God's and unto Caesar what is Caesar's.
Persuasion by Jane Austen: Two young people fall in love, her family disapproves and separates them. Years later they are reunited and she is very much in love with him, but he is trying to persuade himself that he is no longer in love with her. COME ON! This is the stuff today's romantic comedies try to capture, but they will always fall short.

March:
SexGod by Rob Bell: This was supposed to be Mere Christianity but I couldn't find a copy of the book. Who would have thunk? This one will need to be reread, preferably with a friend who's also reading it so we can discuss as we go along. I did find great comfort in Bell's discussion of singleness as the first choice option and not as a fall back plan.
Irresistable Revolution by Shane Claiborne: I realize I jumped on this bandwagon a little late, but at least I got on board. In truth, I've always been on board with the kind of vision that Claiborne casts and am constantly struggling with how to change my life to more accurately reflect God's kingdom. I don't think I'm ever going to figure it out, but I'm ready for the fight. And I gave away about 5 winter hats and scarves still leaving me with a hat and three scarves, all of which were gifts that I didn't feel I could give away. It's a small step, but hopefully one in the right direction.

April:
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens: I thought I would hate it, but once I got past the first two or three chapters, I got sucked in. I will also forever be wary of my friends when they knit around me.
The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey: Not finished with this one yet, but it has been very encouraging to read a book that's sole purpose is to lead you to know Christ as he truly is. It has been hard, however, to see Jesus' preferential treatment for the poor, and then to see how uncomfortable church now makes the poor. What happened there?

So far, so good. I haven't been dazzled by any, but I have enjoyed them all. Up next month is a light classic, Crime and Punishment. Yeah, we'll see how that goes.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I love to laugh!

My internship is wrapping up, but I'm looking forward to still being a youth ministry volunteer next year and maybe through the summer. One thing I'm going to miss, though, is the laughing chemistry I have with my fellow youth interns this year. I rarely ever laugh as hard as I do as when I'm with Liz and Callie especially. Whether it be because of too many pancakes, or Jon Bon Jovi, or Saturday Night Live skits, or singing Limp Bizkit songs there's always plenty to keep us entertained and laughing until my projectile tears start flowing and our stomachs start hurting. I don't think I anticipated enjoying working with them as much as I do, and I feel so blessed.
It makes me think, too, of all the incredible people that I've met over the past 23 years, and how relationships come and go. How, despite all the great people I've met, they're are many more I'll never meet, or great people I've met but never had the opportunity to build friendships with. And sometimes I think about what would have happened if I hadn't gone to SPU and met Liz, or started working at the hotel and met Katja, or began attending Bethany and met Maggie. There's no rhyme or reasons to these thoughts. Just musings about how great some people are, and how lucky I feel to have met a few.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Here's to the future

I applied for two jobs tonight. One is working at Group Health as a receptionist and the other one is working with Americorps as part of their "Sports4Kids" program which basically would allow me to teach kids how to play kickball and other recess games as part of an initative to teach our kids how to be kids. As I was looking for jobs on craigslist, nwjobs, and idealist, I discovered that I am way underqualified for many of the jobs I wanted to apply for. Which is one of the reasons I want to start working with New Horizons here in Seattle as soon as I get my new job (hopefully M-F 8am-5pm). New Horizons is a great ministry that works with homeless teens in the Seattle area. It would be incredibly stretching for me, but it's something I've wanted to do for a very long time, and it would provide me with much needed experience.

Which led to some other thoughts about the future...like maybe going to grad school to get my masters in social work. I'd like to stay in Seattle for that, but that would mean going to UW next fall since neither SU or SPU offer a MSW. Still, I'd be working with youth, still hopefully in a Christian context, but in a different way. I never saw myself as being THE youth pastor in a church, and I somehow forgot that. I don't feel anxiety about the future, which is nice. And I attribute much of that to the fact that I've still been reading my Bible consistently through this time of lent.

Tonight was Psalm 37 where David is offering encouragement to those people frustrated that the wicked are prevailing. What God seems to be saying the whole time is: "Don't worry about the wicked people. They'll be held accountable for their actions, but that's not your battle to fight. What I want you to focus on is TRUSTING me, being GENEROUS to others, COMMITTING your life to my will, REMINDING yourself of my goodness, and above all chilling out and NOT FRETTING." Which serves as a reminder to me that I need to be busy with trusting God, being generous, etc. rather than stressing about the potential unknowns up ahead.

So, with that, I raise my glass of hypothetical sparkling cider and say "Here's to the future...wherever it shall lead."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

March Madness

Today, for the first time ever, I filled out a March Madness bracket. A guy I work with handed me one, and not having heard of half of the schools, or being certain if what I was filling out was for pro teams or college teams, I did what any sensible person did...I alphabetized my list. It was a very scientific process: I took the first bracket and selected the team closest to the beginning of the alphabet (Lousiville) and then took the next bracket and selected the team that closest followed the previous team (Utah). When I got to the end of the alphabet I started over again.

The end result? I put Butler and Chattanooga, two teams that according to my research have not been in the final four EVER since March Madness began in 1939, battling for the National Championship. And both of my teams were eliminated tonight. In devastating losses.

Oh well, it was the first year I've ever made a bracket. Maybe next year I'll make it further than the first round.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I love stories

Having just watched the movie Miracle for the second time in three days, I have been reminded once more of how much I delight in stories. But not just any stories... I love the stories that I feel could happen to me or that I could be a part of. I love the stories with characters that are like people I know or stories that I imagine jumping into. Which is why I love The Chronicles of Narnia: I'm constantly looking for the wardrobe that will lead me somewhere. Which is why as a middle school student I loved The Baby-Sitters' Club Movie: Because I wanted friends like those girls had. Which is why now I love Pride and Prejudice and Miracle and Stardust: Because I can imagine myself in the story.

And this cool thing is beginning to happen: I'm starting to see myself in scripture's story. It hasn't happened as quickly as when I'm watching a movie, but it is starting to happen. Today I read Psalm 20 and could hear the words being spoken, but I couldn't hear them being spoken by David. I came to the conclusion that in this case "Psalm of David" referred to this being a Psalm for David and that one of his friends was praying for God to bless and pour out his grace upon David. Now, whether or not this is correct or not is open to debate (I haven't read commentaries or anything like that) but I loved finally feeling that I knew the voice and the character of someone in scripture. I loved being able to hear the voice of someone and knowing where they were coming from and feeling like I too could have spoken those words.

And let's just throw it out there that I also love Miracle because I have a mad crush on about six of the hockey players in the movie. But that's besides the point...

Friday, February 27, 2009

Glue

As part of my Lenten commitment I am reading a Psalm each day and then journaling about what that changes about who I am in Christ. Today I read Psalm 3 and meditated on verse 5: "I lie down and sleep; I wake again, for the Lord sustains me." While many of my days feel the same, I enjoy waking up each morning to encounter the little things that make each day different. Like grapes, or lunch with a friend, or solitary shopping trips at Northgate, or clean laundry. I started thinking about what would happen if I stopped enjoying the idea of waking up. What if I ever woke up and the day seemed to be a burden rather than a promise of something great? Would I wake up again knowing that the Lord sustains me?

This also made me think of the movie "In Her Shoes" when Simon asks Rose, "What holds you together?" Essentially asking, what sustains you? What is your glue? And I started thinking about that for myself. This is what I know so far:

Deep laughter: the kind of laughter that moves your heart it feels so sacred
Intimate worship: intimate meaning you can tell the leader has had an intimate encounter with God and now they are leading you with the hopes that you will as well
Quiet: Those few moments in a day where your sould breathes and you feel at peace

And to the few people that I know have read this in the past, what holds you together? What is your glue? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lent

I haven't finely tuned my Lenten commitments for this year, but these are thoughts I am having:

1. I have an unhealthy relationship with food, so I'm thinking about eliminating something that will allow me to eat for sustenance and enjoyment rather than the millions of other reasons I eat. I think this means I'll be eliminating all sweets and also only eating when I'm hungry. In high school, I kind of just ate when I was hungry, and stopped eating when I was full, and I think that's a skill I'm needing to relearn. The reason I think this should be a Lenten practice is b/c I think it would go a long way to having a healthier frame of mind.

2. I need to see myself the way God sees me. I'd like to add in reading some scripture (even just a verse) daily and then journal (even if just for two minutes) daily about what that scripture says about who I am in Christ.

3. Give up putting myself down. More difficult, since it's an internal process, but it's definitely connected to the second one. I already have a host of friends willing to chime in if they catch me doing this. After all, that's what friends are for!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Joy

One of the girls in my small group is turning 16 in two weeks, and she's very excited about that. One of the other girls in my small group emailed me and asked her if we could throw her a birthday party because some of the girls wanted to bake her a cake. Neither myself nor my co-leader initiated this. They had decided on their own this would be a tremendous blessing for her, and their willingness to make an effort to bless her brings me great joy.

My friend Maggie has a brilliant vision for a new ministry to the girls in our high school group that combines small group with Bible study with practical service with discussions of 'real life' issues that impact them on a daily basis. It's thoughtful, practical, and has the real chance of being a very powerful experience for both leaders and students.

Two of the high school girls were brought to tears during winter camp when our youth pastor told them that he saw in them the ability to be a tremendous leader and change the world.

A group of 15 of us laughed until tears ran down our faces because our high school girls were quoting verbatim various YouTube videos and then reenacting them for us. The best, by far, was their performance of the Harry Potter puppet pals.

My friend Brandon and I wrote ridiculously funny scripts for winter camp where I sat in a pie, dated Zac Efron, taped Brandon to his bed, watched him have a fake heart attack, choked on alka seltzer tablets, broke up with Zac Efron, and had a sleepover.

This is my job? Joy.

Friday, February 20, 2009

What teaching teaches

This coming week I'll be teaching at our Wednesday night youth group. I love teaching for this group whenever I get the chance...in fact, I love teaching whenever I can. However, it's always one of the most humbling experiences for me to prepare a time of teaching, and here's why: vulnerability. When I teach I feel like I'm cracking my heart open and allowing people to see into who I truly am. Personal stories are shared, but that's not where the true vulnerability occurs. I'm truly vulnerable because I'm opening up to people about who I think Jesus is, how knowing him has changed my life, and why I think that makes a difference. I'm revealing my worldview, theology, and faith with others and allowing them the space to respond to that. Which explains why sometimes after I teach I have a difficult time speaking to people. And why when I feel a lesson has gone bad I take it very personally sometimes to the point of tears. And when someone dear to me doesn't seem to care for what I have taught, I feel not as worthwhile. I feel all of that deeply b/c it is one of the only times when I am being completely honest without pretense or expectation. Despite how scary that vulnerability is, I admit that nothing feels better than baring your soul and having that be received. To hear that I taught effectively is also to hear that people understand how I feel about Jesus, why he's important to me, and can get on board with who he is. And that means more to me than I can possible say.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Howard Zinn's History of the United States

I feel like this year I made all sorts of commitments for the New Year. Some I have been able to keep faithfully, and others it's been a little bit of a struggle. One that has been going pretty well is working through a list of books Brenna and I created. We each selected 12 books we had been meaning to read but had never gotten around to. We actually started our lists a couple months early, which is when I read Northanger Abbey (loved it), Traveling Mercies (liked it a lot), and Searching for God Knows What (surprisingly timely). Right now I'm reading A People's History of the United States and it's been one of the most challenging books I've ever had to read, in terms of content.
This book tells the history of the United States, beginning in 1492, but from the perspective of the different oppressed people groups: Native Americans, African Americans, women, the Vietnamese, the Filipino's, etc. I read a significant portion of the book the eve before President Obama's inauguration and became disheartened with the American political system. It seems no president, no matter how great they are in our memory, really only did that which served the economic interests of the country. What that means is that the people of lower classes, who do not necessarily benefit the economic structure of the country, are pacified so as not to cause too many problems, but not really listened to. I sat in my apartment and shouted out "What's the use! If every president ends up doing the same thing, what's the point?!?" But then I remembered the 'reason for our hope within', and that does not come down to a political candidate. It's a message I've probably heard a million times, but I'm needing to remind myself that my hope CAN NOT be in a political system, whether I voted for the president or not. In the words of that popular hymn: "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus and his righteousness."
So, as I continue to read this book about the atrocities that good American men were forced to perform, the low wages that women worked for in the 1960's, and the continued disenfranchisement of those of different races, I have to have hope that one day all things will be made right. I have this image in my head of standing in heaven and being able to see the Vietnam villager standing next to the American soldier and see reconciliation occur before my eyes. And I'll be standing there as well, next to those that I have wronged. And Christ will wipe the tears from both of our eyes, and this class that used to be known as the 'disenfranchised' will no longer exist. I do have that hope.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Musings in the New Year

I still do not have internet in my apartment, but I do have a working and operating computer, after having spent an hour on the phone with Dell (which is a story for a different time).

A lot has been going on in my head and my heart over the past few months, and for my own sake I’ll have to spread my musings out into a couple different entries. This is also for the sake of the one person who might occasionally stumble upon my blog.

My big questions right now concern intimacy in relationship. I’m wondering 1) how you know when you and someone are ‘intimate’, 2) what that intimacy allows one to say, and 3) what my responsibility is in building that intimacy.

I don’t feel like I have many people around me that know me completely. I have great friends; truly I do, but none that I share my entire life with. My non-Christian friends provide me with great perspective and I truly value their passion for life, but there’s a gap between what I express as core values and what they express as core values. My Christian friends share many of those values, but I don’t share my life with them because I feel like I’m complaining, or I feel that my view of how a Christian ought to live is skewed, and therefore not worthy of being expressed. Which leads me to…

Not share my life with anyone. I share my struggles ONLY once the difficulty has passed, but never in the midst. Because, compared to what others endure, I don’t really feel my daily happenings are worth the time or thought of those around me. There are questions I want to ask my friends about why they make the choices they do, but I seem to be the only one with those questions. Since I am the only one with those questions, I automatically assume that I am the one who is wrong. This means those questions are never asked. Which leads me to…

Withdraw and isolate myself, even in the midst of being with people. What, then, do I do? Do I force myself to share aspects of my life with people, even when I don’t feel we are actually close? I know that I need to do that, to a certain degree, in my relationship with Christ. I know that even when I don’t ‘feel’ Christ’s presence that I need to share bits of my heart with him, and in my sharing, I will be drawn closer to him. Intimacy is built. The feelings return. I also know, as Rob Bell would say, God is always present and we’re the ones who show up. So, maybe my friends are there, and I’m the one who needs to show up.

Do I ask them difficult questions about their faith, their paradigms, their limits and their boundaries? Do I risk sounding like a fool and just share, whatever comes to mind? Do I stop doubting I have close friends and start trusting those who consider me a friend? And how do I do all of that without simply adding it onto the list of “things Suzanne needs to fix about herself in order to be a productive member of society”? No answers. Just musings.