Wednesday, August 30, 2006

a blogging affair

i'm dedicated to, i am. it's just that i've found another. and i've started spending more time there. if you lived in madison, you'd understand.

actually, if you do live in madison, you should check it out:


Friday, August 25, 2006

i wonder what it will look like when it's done.

i love a good thunderstorm. and the past few days in madison have been full of them. both yesterday morning and this morning i've sat in my cozy little family room drinking coffee and picking at my cinnamon-raisin bagel while watching the skies darken and lighting bolts shoot across the sky. my lamps are flickering a bit now, and my mind is searching its recesess to remember where i unpacked and put all my matches.

ben harper is good company on my itunes for this, but i'm tempted to retreat to the beach boys again. maybe it's just the stark contrast of happy beach boy music to this all-encompassing grayness, i don't know. regardless, i like the memories that "god only knows" conjure up.

it's hard to believe that it was over two years ago that i flew into miami and drove down to key largo for my friend liebe's wedding. there were only about 30 of us who spent 4 days together laying on the beach, sipping cocktails at the pool, and taking boat rides at sunset - all to the soundtrack of the beach boys' sounds of summer album. it was unforgettable.

on the day of their wedding, chris stood up at the edge of the water, squinting as he looked up at liebe descending the stairs to the rhythm of a steel drum. my feet dug into the sand and out again as i joyfully wiggled my toes in excitement for the two of them.

that night, we danced on the beach to caribbean-styled music, all of us with shoes off and drinks in hand - grandparents, aunts and uncles, moms and dads, all of us.

i loved those four days.


i haven't seen liebe in months. she moved out of chicago, too, and up to a suburb of milwaukee about a year after they were married. so we're both here in wisconsin now, both missing the windy city a little, i'm sure. it's incredible to me how quickly things can change. one day you're lounging at the pool with your boyfriend, and the next day you're married. one minute it's thunderstorming, and the next the skies are clearing and the humidity is retreating. one moment leads into the next into the next into the next. a chain of events - some things that you control, some things that are fully beyond you.

it's a marvel really.

i've always loved watching other people's lives play out, enjoying the small and big changes they celebrate or endure. it seems incredibly beautiful. i imagine what it looks like from god's perspective. what is he making of their lives? and what will it look like when they finish their run here? what story will it tell? i love dreaming of other people's stories.

i'm not so good with my own. but i'm making it my goal to try and be. i've limited my own freedom - moreover, i've limited God's freedom in my life. so here, you can help keep me accountable.

here are the things i want:
i want a job where i get to be with people, where i get to encourage them and help them discover their passions and help put them in a place where they're doing something that gives them energy.
i want to live financially responsibly, so i spend mula on things that make god smile.
i want to invest in the lives of young people, checking in on them, helping them make decisions, and provide a listening ear.
i want to let god have the first and best of me.
i want to be married and have children and invest myself in family life.
i want to be a good learner.
i want to be in agreement with the things god wants for my life.

okay. there they are. and i'm giving them back to god. i will make a mess of it if i go after those things on my own strength. i know i will. i have so far. so, okay, here on august 25th, i am breathing some freedom into my own life. i guess we'll just see where things go next.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

stealing quotes

via sojo's e-mailed quote of the week:

"I love my church, and I'm a Catholic who was raised by intellectuals who were very devout. I was raised to believe that you could question the church and still be a Catholic. What is worthy of satire is the misuse of religion for destructive or political gains. That's totally different from the Word, the blood, the body, and the Christ. His kingdom is not of this earth."

- Stephen Colbert, of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report

Sunday, August 20, 2006

i am not veruca salt.

it is a remarkable thing how little patience i possess.

really, it's remarkable.

my pastor spoke today on james 3, focusing particularly on being cautious with our words - taming our tongues, if you will.

i should probably listen to this sermon every day, for i am quite apt at speaking my mind whensoever i please with little concern to how it may damage those especially close to me. i often mistakenly call this "honesty" but really, it's my lack of patience, my unwillingness to pause and consider what effect my words will have before i let them out.

like my pastor said, we're often most cruel to those closest to us, giving our best to strangers and guests instead.

i am so guilty.

i felt a litle like Veruca Salt there in church, like i had been caught twirling about in my little red dress with black buttons and a white collar folded outward, light-colored tights, and black, heeled shoes, and screaming "I want it now!" if this last month and a half of instability could be translated to the screen, i'll bet there could be a nice duet about laziness and greed sung by two carolers in the background (remember the singing guys in "there's something about mary"? that's what i'm thinking of ...).

fortunately, i didn't leave service feeling like i'd been tattooed as guilty and then discharged. i guess i felt like laughing. i'm 26 years old, and i behave like Veruca Salt. that is not okay. seriously, i haven't wanted to work for anything. i've just wanted it to be all figured out FOR me. and yet, God is so gracious in all this. i've not known to how to pray, except for "please, God, put it all together for me now ... " with a not-so-subtle mumbling under my breath "... my way. please do it my way. in my time. Amen."

what's awesome is that i don't feel like god looks at me as though i actually AM veruca salt. or that i am actually a 10-year-old little whiny girl. i know He knows all of this. i know that none of this is new. and did I find an apartment? yep. did i find a car that worked? yep. do i have enough money to survive for awhile yet? for sure.

so chris' message sticks with me. that i should be careful with my words. careful to thank god with my words, instead of checking off one thing and going to him immediately to complain about the next. God knows i'm not a little girl, and he doesn't treat me like one. Which I appreciate. he made me with a great brain and some pretty good talents, and with His spirit inside me, I'm not helpless.

and so despite all the similarities, i am not veruca salt. i'm an adult. i'm forgiven. i'm beloved. i can learn to be patient.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

this blog is too long. and boring. you should wait till i write something lighter later.

i've had nothing to say.

i'll be too dramatic if i start to talk about my brand new 2006 toyota having a bizarre malfunction that left me driving two rental minivans while it was being repaired. and i'll probably start crying if i talk about the four suitcases i've been living out of for the past 6 weeks, and how my living situation fell apart after weeks of visiting madison's most expensive slum-lord owned apartments. i don't really want to talk about my credit card being MIA because that means i'll actually have to make another call to another company to fix another problem. and i don't want to even touch the fact that i've got bills to pay and no cent of income.

and yet ....

to be honest, i don't know how to pray about all this. i'm tired. i want someone else to find me a home for cheap, want someone else to recommend me for a job, want someone else to pack up my sofas and my bed and all my stuff in chicago and move it into a cute apartment with hardwood floors and windows that let sunlight in to settle on my family room. i want a home. i want to be settled.

i want to make dinner in my kitchen. i want to cry in my room and journal there for hours without freaking anybody out and asking me if i'm okay with that look in their eyes that suggests they think i might actually be a little bit crazy. i want to have friends over for a glass of wine or a cup of coffee or a brownie with ice cream.

i struggle with god these days a lot. i wonder what i'm doing wrong and if all this is punishment for sin. i wonder if i've made a huge mistake in moving out of chicago. i wonder if i shouldn't sell all my stuff and move to canada.

as i've been typing, three of my junior highers from this past week's missions trip in madison have instant messaged me. they don't know that they're preventing me from despair.

daniel, the oldest of our group of 7, has been online with me for over an hour already. we've talked about high school and camps and friends and how we can create a new IM abbreviation (i suggested "migsmhtdt" which means simply "man, i've got so much homework to do tonight" but all daniel responded with was "lol ... saves lots of time." oh well. i guess internet abbreviations are not my part of my innate gift set). i told him i was househunting. he said he'd pray for me.

i haven't talked about it yet because the week's been so busy, but madison missions might have been the highlight of my summer so far.

65 of us - junior highers and adult leaders - spent a week camped out at the church over night and traveled around madison during the day serving at NPOs like the boys' and girls' club and st. mary's senior care center and the CAC (the only free clothing store in all of dane county). my group was pretty tough the first night to a point where i broke down in jon's office and told him i suck at being with junior highers and i should probably just go home (wherever that might be).

and then the rest of the week happened.

man! i can't tell you how much i love being with kids. i love having them under my care for a week. i love traveling with them. i even fell in love with the toyota sienna minivan i got to drive for the week because it meant i got to cart a bunch of pre-teens around in my car and listen to their young conversations and hear them sing "my girl" at the top of their lungs.

i love camp. i love schedules. i love team-building. i love getting to spend time learning junior highers' senses of humor. i love praying for and with them.

that really doesn't leave me anywhere. these kids can't offer me a place to stay or send my resume along to anyone. and i don't think i'm any good at being in ministry professionally, so that's out. and i don't really want to be a teacher. i don't know what to be. or where to live. or what to do.

there's so summary on this one. i have no way to pull this all together. i'd pull out my favorite ecclesiastes verses, but i'm trying to really be positive - not just pessamistic with an attempt at positivity.

all i have left is "help me." but even that i don't know how to direct.

okay, i'm being dramatic. i know to whom i should direct it, but my level of expectation is so low, i don't know why i should even bother uttering the words, you know?

ugh, really, there is SO MUCH GOOD in my life right now. i got so many birthday greetings last week, and i love spending time with my sisters, and i love how i got to take a week out for madison missions, and i love that sara and joanna made me a paper mache peanut, and i love that jon took me to six flags for my birthday and i overcame my fear of the front row, and i love that laura and fermin took the day off to join us, and i loved seeing katherine sunday night, and i love that i feel like i've got a church family developing.

seriously. i guess the long and short is, tell me a story that gives me hope. or if you don't have one, give me a prettier prayer to pray than the one i've been using below. this one is starting to feel old ....