Thursday, February 25, 2010

100th Post

100 seems like an important number.  I guess I should have something really meaningful to say.  Wisdom to share.  Earthquaking enlightenment to shower.  hmmm....not so much really.

Music, however, is worth discussing.  Jason Mraz in particular.  He is kind of the perfect combination of humor and sweetness.  Like his style, his swagga, and his songwriting.  Everything is better when related to food, and his music seems like comfort food.  (Specifically anything Italian and pasta for me.)  My favorite song and video is You and I Both.  The dancing policemen are a little weird, but overall adore it. My baby sister is also a big fan and we need to plan a trip to see him live soon.  Very soon.  Unfortunately his next live show is in the Netherlands somewhere, not really road trip friendly.

It's probably for the best.  Poor J doesn't need to be accosted by two super fans. (=

Other songwriters I've been digging this week.  Ingrid Michelson, Jewel, Colbie Caillat, and perennial favorite Tyrone Wells.  Amos Lee is pretty great and so is Maxwell. 

So I leave you with You and I Both.  Kind of fitting, maybe after all, for an online conversation hitting 100. (=

Jason Mraz - You & I Both with Subtitles English Spanish Turkish from Claudio ThatsAll on Vimeo.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Rob Bell

I know lots of people have problems with his theology.  But I have to say that he has a way of communicating ideas that I say, yes, yes to as it resonates in my heart.

"Because with every action, comment, conversation, we have the choice to invite Heaven or Hell to Earth."
— Rob Bell

Monday, February 22, 2010

Gooey Heart

That's what happens when I watch this.  Adam Barnes, a friend and colleague, shared this today.

APRICOT, short film by Ben Briand (sponsored by his incredible actors and crew) from Moonwalk Films on Vimeo.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Highway

All week I was praying about what to talk about on Sunday night.  I had a pretty big event on Saturday and my week was consumed with getting ready for it, working it, and then taking care of a bunch of family obligations on Sunday afternoon.  So no lie, it was 6 pm before I looked at something to talk about in small group at 7.

Ruby said I seemed more nervous this time around. Ha. True, since I really didn't know what was going on.

We are reading through a few chapters of the Calvary Road, and today's chapter dealt with the Highway of Holiness.  Which is an actual passage of scripture.  Who knew?  It's pretty rad.  Check it out.

Isaiah 35: 8-10
And a highway will be there;
       it will be called the Way of Holiness.
       The unclean will not journey on it;
       it will be for those who walk in that Way;
       wicked fools will not go about on it. 
 9 No lion will be there,
       nor will any ferocious beast get up on it;
       they will not be found there.
       But only the redeemed will walk there,
 10 and the ransomed of the LORD will return.
       They will enter Zion with singing;
       everlasting joy will crown their heads.
       Gladness and joy will overtake them,
       and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

Roy talks about the door to the Highway being the cross.  "The only way on to the Highway is up a small dark, forbidding hill - the Hill of Calvary. It is the sort of hill we have to climb on our hands and knees - especially our knees. If we are content with our present Christian life, if we do not desire with a desperate hunger to get on to the Highway, we shall never get to our knees and thus never climb the hill. But if we are dissatisfied, if we are hungry, then we will find ourselves ascending. Don't hurry. Let God make you really hungry for the Highway; let Him really drive you to your knees in longing prayer."

And the girls really responded to the passage.  We had some great discussion about brokenness.  What is it?  Where does it come from?  Is it different for each person?  The identity that God gives us in Jesus and how that applies to the Narrow Rd.  I definitely had the Pilgrim's Progress picture in my head of the narrow road being kind of forbidding and hard.  This is a completely different scriptural picture of that road.

I love that God worked in spite of me tonight in the girls.  I love that God has a plan and a heart for each of them.  I love that they love Him and are seeking him.  I love that in Christ we are loved and called members of His family and partakers of His divine nature.  Walking with him on the Way.

Rad, indeed.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Songs and Surprises

So speaking of relationships and friends, a long lost one from college surprised me on facebook today!  Sara is a talented, funny and introspective musician friend.  She and her husband and little guy live in Germany and she continues to sing and write music.  I loved and luv Sara for a lot of reasons.  Her oversized personality and her tender heart.  But today she surprised me with a little song that I wrote a long long time ago.  She still plays it!  It's on her website.  I listened to it again and got a little teary.  Mostly for the places God has brought from to where I am now.  And mostly because some of the things I went through then, I see family members and friends struggling with now.  And it's still a relevant song in my life.   Anyway, it's called The Stand, and if you want to check it out here is her website:  Click through the bar at the bottom to find it. (=

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Come on, Come on Let's Play

Today was an interesting exploration of the world of Paramore.  For the record, their crushcrushcrush has been a favorite of mine for a while, but I never really explored the rest of their music.  At least three of the band members profess to be Christians on their website.  True or not true, who knows?   All I know is it does take some guts to put it in their bios.  They didn't have to.  I'm a big fan of the new song, The Only Exception.  Hayley has great hair.(jealous)  Red hair has always been a dream that I've never pulled off quite right.  I tried a couple times.  The first time was my freshman year of college and it started out banging, but faded into a rather unfortunate pink shade.  I tried again last year with a pretty fab auburn, but all of the feed back was kind of blond I am, and blond I shall be.  Two of my dear friends are fabulously natural redheads so I guess I can live vicariously through association with them. (=

In the midst of my Paramore explorations today there were lots of interesting thoughts and conversations.  First of all, why the heck am I such a procrastinator?  I tell you the truth, I can have something urgent on my desk, and I will put it off until the last possible minute.  As in the. last. minute. As in the 59th second of the last minute.   This translates itself into lots of unattractive things in my life like the state of my car and state of my desk, and the state of the financial receipts in my accounting pile.  All of which are things on the list to change this year, but of course they've been put off till later.    There are important things like facebook and twitter and blogging to do.

Also, the interesting conflicts of the human heart have been stumbling around my brain.  As in why, WHY, do I have information about a dear friend's boyfriend that maybe she should be aware of.  But maybe not.  And mostly why can't we just shake some sense into some men.  As in love the one you're with, idjit.  Take her on a date.  Buy her a flower.  Or three.  Spend an hour just kissing her and telling her how beautiful she is.  Women are not hard.  We are easy.  We are suckers for affection.  And also, since I am ranting tonight, why don't men ask women on dates anymore?  Why do I have a large abundance of fabulous single girlfriends?  In their late 20s and 30s?  I mean fabulous women.  Beautiful, amazing, funny, godly, successful women!  Where the heck are all the men at?  Did all the Christian men take vows of celibacy lately?   Should we be checking for collars instead of rings? (=

Walked the LU mtn tonight with a lovely pink and blue sunset at my back, the snow and the trees and the hills all around and Jen to share the moment with.  Pretty great.  God has blessed my life more than I could ask or imagine with friendships.  The great thing is relationships, really.  There is always room for one more point of view, one more person to share your heart with and let become a soul friend.  And there is nothing more satisfying or joyful than walking through life with another person.  It refreshes my heart to sip from another person's soul.  Just to hear another perspective, be inspired by a different point of view, be drawn to thoughtfulness or prayer by encouragement or honesty, or laugh until our guts and cheeks and sides hurt.  Wow, God is good to give us the gift of relationship. 

So, to quote Paramore:
I got a lot to say to you
Yeah, I got a lot to say

haha...good night! 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Woohoo! First Small Group

So everyone survived the first single girls small group without injury.  To them or to me. LOL.  I was pretty terrified, but the girls participated and talked and prayed and shared and I think it went really well!  Yay!  I really want to say something like God is good, but it might sound trite.  Except it's true.  It feels good to be obedient even when it's scary.  Mostly, I hope this group becomes a place where the girls can really grow spiritually and be challenged to live life fully for God. 

Who knows, I might even end up learning something. (=

Thursday, February 11, 2010

In Honor of Love

30 Rock defined it nicely tonight when a character said that Vday is the day that everyone wants to know that someone cares a little bit about them.  Love is the most painful and the most fulfilling of emotions.  Often at the same time, with the same person.  You can't truly love unless you open up the deep part of your heart to be seen and understood.  Scarily open.  Vulnerable.  Able to be cut and broken if that person you open up to chooses to break you. 

But to be seen and loved in return.  It's like feeling the sun warm your face on a cold morning in spring.  It's like the biggest bear hug in the strongest arms that have ever held you.  It is the thought that makes you smile crossing the street.  It feels like coming home after a long long journey away.  

Etta James said it best...."At last, my love has come along, My lonely days are over and life is like a song." 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


I have had the worst sinus infection this weekend.  It feels a little like a jackhammer hitting my head.  Headache, toothache, throatache, earache, all over my face ache.  Yes, I am whining.  Yes I would like some cheese with my whine.  Thank you.  (=

Ryan has been gone to a conference all weekend.  I have been home alone a lot.  I don't like being alone.  Usually a dog sleeps on the floor in my room when Ryan is gone, but they were restless and I wasn't feeling good so they've stayed downstairs this weekend.  And I've been lonely. 

But tonight my little sister Ruby, my sister in law Em and my adopted sister/cousin/friend Sheila came over and brought pizza and a movie.  They stayed for 4 hours and we chatted and caught up on life and boys.  It was really fun and I felt loved tonight. 

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Jared Lost his Bet

Aw...Jared made a bet with me on the Super Bowl and now his profile looks like this.  Isn't he cute? (=

Wrestling with Grace

Who hasn't been at a point in life where it's just discouraging?  The failure has happened.  The mistake keeps reoccurring.  The problem is overwhelming and maybe even undeserved.  It's just ourselves and the blackness of night. The kosher Christian viewpoint is that He comes to comfort and to give us rest and peace.  And He does.  And sometimes that tap on the shoulder in the night is an invitation to wrestle.  Kind of an oxymoron.  The Prince of Peace shakes our shoulder in our darkest times and says "hey, push back against me."  

Have you ever felt that struggle?  In the dark.  In the night.  In the middle of the hardest thing you've faced.  Have you ever looked at God and said, "I'm pushing back".  I'm praying till you answer me.  Have you fallen and gotten up and fallen and gotten up again until you said God, is this it? Is this all?  

I have.

And sometimes God initiates the struggle.  Like now.  A little sin.  A hidden thing that I could justify and that I could even talk about without it seeming like a sin or an issue to other people.  But it's a little fox, and it would have eaten the fruit in my life.  The good things that God has done.  It would eventually cause devastation.  So God has been shaking my shoulder and saying get up.

I have been arguing.  I have been looking for ways to make it ok.  Grace is saying I love you too much to leave here with this.  This ruin that you want. 

"So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak."Genesis 32:24.

Today in worship we sang the Desert Song and Came to my Rescue.  God is beautiful.  In the strength of His love for us.  In the passion and fury of His pursuit.  In the dirt and the grit and the sweat of His wrestle with my wayward heart. 

This is my prayer in the desert
And all that's within me feels dry
This is my prayer in the hunger in me
My God is a God who provides

And this is my prayer in the fire
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved
Of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flames ~ Desert Song, Hillside 

"Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome."Genesis 32.28.

Overcoming is kind of the point, isn't it?  Struggling with God to be beaten into the dust by a divine hand is not the way the story ends.  And it is not the character of God to desire us to be beaten and failed individuals.  That gives me hope.  In the end my frailties and struggles will be overcome.  The story has a happy ending.  That in the end, we may not walk out of a situation unscathed, but we will walk out.  As overcomers.  As conquerors.  As the winners.

That's pretty great.

I called You answered
And You came to my rescue and I
I wanna be where You are ~ Came to My Rescue, Hillsong. 

Friday, February 5, 2010

Singing in the Shower

When I was a little girl I wanted to be a singer.  Also, an artist, a nurse, a gymnast and a vet, but the singer thing stuck with me almost as long as the artist.  My mom tells me that as a baby I would turn my head toward wherever the music was playing in the room.  I used to get by myself and just really belt it out.  Mariah, Whitney, hymns, whatever came to mind.  The getting by myself was also usually in the shower or in the car.  The acoustics are really good in enclosed spaces. (; 

It's been a long time since I've sung a song.  Really sung.  Like from the gut - let it out - who cares - at the top of my lungs.  Today I've been snowed in all day.  Ryan is in Utah, and it's just me and the house.  So today in the shower me and Amazing Grace got reacquainted.  At first it was just fun, riffing the notes, getting louder and louder because I can.  But somewhere in the middle of "my chains are gone, I've been set free," it hit me that hey, my chains ARE gone.  I have been set free.  And His grace is amazing toward me. 

It sounds simple.  It sounds cliche.  But today in the shower I started out having fun, and ended up having communion with the Lover of my soul.  I need to sing praise more often, more loudly, proclaiming Grace at the top of my lungs. 

Thursday, February 4, 2010


This song is just incredible. 

How He Loves (Kim Walker) from Bryan on Vimeo.

The Snowpocalypse

Lynchvegas gets about an inch of snow a year.  Roughly.  We usually have mild, pretty chilly, but not too wet Decembers, Januarys and Februarys.  In fact, if there is a hint of a flurry in the air, you can usually hear the schools in every county shouting for joy as they are canceled for the next day. 

This year, we are past our second storm, that brought a FOOT a FOOT of snow to us, and the weather people are all over the map with what is coming...dum dum dum dum.......THE SNOWPOCALYPSE. 

We are supposed to get anywhere between 8 and 60 inches of snow this weekend depending on who you listen to.  The grocery stores are having the best 2 days of their last ten years.  Everyone is in a mad scramble to get food, water, toilet paper and whatever else one may need to survive a long weekend. 

I was at Walmart yesterday afternoon and the first sign of trouble was the really long line of people trying to leave the parking lot.  The next sign of trouble was the lack of any carts to be seen anywhere.  Not being able to get a cart at Walmart is kind of a crisis.  What does one do?  Do you stand there sheepishly with puppy dog eyes hoping that some kind stranger will offer to share?  Do you wander the aisles with stuff heaped in your arms and pray to every kind guardian angel not to drop a trail of soup and paper towels behind you?  Luckily for me I saw a cart abandoned by the side of a check out counter.  As I started toward it, two large Asian student boys also saw the cart and started toward it.  We locked eyes.  No. Friggin. Way. were they getting my cart.  (If the real world was my playground we would have had gunslinger stand off music playing in the background.)  Step by step we went closer and closer and BAM! my hands landed on the cart and snatched it from underneath their noses.  That's right boys.  Foiled by a blond.  They wandered off looking annoyed.

Now that I am esconced at home with my soups and paper products, the puppies and I are ready.  Bring it on snowpocalypse!    The Office reruns sound like a great way to spend the weekend. (=

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


After a conversation with my dear friend Andy yesterday, I was struck again with the goodness of God in giving me the right man to walk through life with.  Sometimes I take him for granted, I admit it.  Most of all he's absolutely right for me in every way and I lurv him. (=

After reflecting on our conversation I put this up on my facebook (Interesting how we all live in a virtual world now.)  It's so easy to fall and forget and make choices that hurt each other in a marriage.  That conversation was a good reminder to put my stake in the ground and say this to Ryan:

Love is a choice that wakes up every morning and says no matter who else walks by, no matter what happens today, I choose you.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Today I had a moment.  Ok, actually several.  It started with the stress of this being my slow season, and not having much in the bank, to being really stressed when I found out a shady company took all my money without my knowledge or permission off of a closed account debit.  Then it progressed to me sharing my feelings on facebook like so: 



My very nice, very sweet church friend A- than got on to ask me what was wrong.  I messaged her, and we had this conversation:

This company took 950 out of my account without my authorization after supposedly closing my account with them. I'm sure they are going to claim it's some kind of early termination fee or something, but there wasn't one that I recall being in the contract. SO MAD. I am trying to get my money back today. Just frustrated. (= Hope you are having a much better afternoon!

I totally understand. That sounds ridiculous. Just be careful posting a bleep. As believers we've got people watching us at all times - Looking to us to see Jesus. For some of them we may be the only Jesus they ever meet. And there are a lot of baby Christians on Facebook too.

P-said something recently to me when I said "the woman was bitching" in front of her. She told me "A- the words that come out of our mouths as believers need to be holy. They need to lift up and edify. Our words and actions need to point people to God." It wasn't what I wanted to hear at the time but what I needed to hear. She was right. It's one of the things I now pray for daily. If we are really truly to be salt and light to a dying world, we have to consider the perspective of others. Will my words/actions help people around me move closer to God? That's a tough question for me to ask myself at times, especially in the moment.

So I say this in love, not at all meaning to sound legalistic or harsh but from someone who struggles with this myself. (Trust me my natural default is the mouth of a sailor. But a mouth like a sailor will never reflect Christ to others).

I hope everything gets worked out. I'm sure it will. I'd still like to get lunch/coffee with you anytime.

Love ya,


I appreciate your heart of concern. Thank you for telling me how you're feeling.

Have a great day and of course I would love to hang out with you anytime. (=

Crystal I still process your message...

It did work out. God was gracious to me and I got a check unexpectedly today that will cover all of my needs in the interim.

I know that you mean very well. And I know that for the most part you are right.

Let me just say this, there is also something to be said for being real in the moment. I've been a Christian for a very long time. It doesn't make me perfect or good or better than anyone else. And that is kind of the point. I've been around every flavor of Christianity including the kind that gives us a lot of rules and is obsessed with image - to make us look holy. Experience has taught me that people respond more to a sincere apology, or a listening ear, or honesty even when it's painful than they do to an image of "goodness".

Could I have processed that better? Yes, definitely. It was a real emotion in my heart in the moment. I am sorry that it did not reflect Christ to you on my part. That is my bad, and I apologize to you.

In other news, it did start a conversation again with a girl I used to work with and we have been messaging back and forth as I write this to you. She is not a Christian, and I have been given the opportunity to reach out to her about Christ often. They have been to Blue Ridge several times and I hadn't talked to her in a while. She swears a blue streak. One of the ways that I interacted with her when I worked with her daily was to not make it an issue. Because when it comes down to life and her real spiritual condition it's not an issue. I was myself around her, and my real self says s*** on occasion. I kind of fall on the side of it's not a big deal. We talked a lot about whether God is love, forgiveness and coming as you are to him.

I don't know A-. I know on the one hand you and P- are correct in saying we should limit things like language. It's very true. Wisdom should always be used, and I was not being wise. On the other hand I have heard those same arguments often from people who also say we should not drink or dance or go to movies or wear black nail polish or the hundreds of other things there are to pick each other apart about.

I don't know P- that well at all, my friend. But I would say this. Follow scripture, and be your real self and the rest will be ok. Jesus loves you and will work his will in you because you have a sincere heart that desires him.

Part of the growing pains is figuring out all of these small issues and learning how to deal with people who have different opinions. I guess my final thought and something that is very applicable is what Woody said on Sunday.

"In the essentials there is unity, in the non essentials there is liberty, in all things there is love."

Love ya back girl. 

So, whaddya think Internet?  It was definitely a teachable moment. 

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