Friday, December 12, 2008

I am sorry, but I have a good excuse.

So oftentimes, when I go on a fun trip or have a lot going on at once, I don't get a chance to journal. The night after said period, I have so much to write and think and pray about that my arm gets tired and I quit temporarily. Hopefully that won't happen now, as I try to update this neglected blog.

Life is crazy. This is a theme being enforced every day. I went to NYC on December 3 for some meetings. I cleaned out my desk before I left, having heard the rumors of the impending layoff. My mom and I had a splendid time with my cousin Brendan, his new bride Liz nee Persing, Liz's parents, and their friends Maddie, Joel, and Rachael. We ate dinner, drank wine and got all rosy, and chatted about everything, including SNL skits and Haitians.

The next morning I woke up to a voicemail from my ex-manager saying the typical, "company is moving in another direction and the changes directly affect you so please come to my office at 8am on Monday." Great way to start a big day of meetings.

At 11:30am, I met with a high ranking official in IMG, a sports/entertainment group. It went well enough; he didn't have any jobs available but said he'd let me know if he did hear of anything.

At 2pm, I met with the president of CBS Sports and CBS News (who also happens to be an ex-boyfriend of my mother). Sidenote: I got these meetings because my parents have an influential friend. Again that went well; I would say better than the IMG meeting because he knew Mom and they chatted for 30 minutes about their old friends, not having seen one another in 32 years.

At 5pm, I met with two senior vice presidents at ESPN. This meeting was fantastic. They brainstormed about who they could arrange for me to meet with at ESPN Americas, ESPN Deportes, and ESPN The Magazine. We talked for an hour and 15 minutes about Plaxico Burress, the new Yankees Stadium, the 08 Final Four, and of course what I want to do with my life.

The next day, Mom, Liz, and I had fun in Times Square, 30 Rock, Anthropologie, and at "The Little Mermaid" on Broadway, and we left on Saturday afternoonish.

So, everybody has been asking me, "What now? What are you going to do with yourself?" Henceforth, I may simply direct them to this blog to avoid having to verbally admit the fact that I haven't the faintest. I don't know what kind of job to look for; I don't know where to look for a job; I don't know how long it will take or with what I should busy myself in the meantime.

I'm off to Costa Rica on Tuesday through Sunday. I am looking forward to it tremendously, and when I get back, I will only have a few days until Christmas. After Christmas, I will begin my job search in earnest.

Right now I wish I were in a relationship. I would have more clarity about where I wanted to live... but on the other hand, I'd be more restricted. (Maybe not: I still hesitate to leave my family, surprisingly.) I would have somebody to physically go through this with, to support me spiritually, and to offer advice and input. Maybe if we were far enough along in our relationship, we could get married. It's cheaper for two people to live together and share finances than for one to live alone. Also, I wouldn't have to move home with my parents.

Not that that's the end of the world. Jean, Ellen, and I are all about to start living with the rents again. I am not alone in this situation. I can't count on being able to afford rent, plus I can't commit to a lease. So living at home is ideal, except for the fact that I have furniture and STUFF that will have a hard time fitting back into that house.

This is the most boring post I've written in a long time, and for that, I apologize. So, to compensate, I've added some photos. These are not exclusive; I have uploaded them to facebook, but it will spice up this post.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My Yesterday

Doesn't that title sound like an emo 90s rock song?

Anyway, my Monday was very uninteresting compared to my weekend -- I went to the State Fair on Sunday after my DC trip, which was complete with visits to Adams Morgan & the Smithsonian, two must-sees which should always go hand-in-hand -- but a monumental event occurred.

I left work at 4pm because I started feeling shitty. As I took a left onto the street unto which my apartment complex abuts, I was waved to a stop -- in the middle of my lane -- by a cop whose car (and that of his partner) was parked in the median. What?! I'm obviously still going slow enough that he could walk in front of me and get me to stop. He asks if I know the speed limit; I said 35 (I had been going MAYBE 33 at that point), and he asks for my license. He said it's a school zone and the flashing lights earlier on the street should have informed me the limit was 25. (Again-- MAYBE 33.) He then proceeded to direct me to make a u-turn, go back to the traffic light, make another u-turn, and tell him if I see any flashing lights this time.

Talk about a power trip. As I drove along my prescribed route of punishment, I wondered if it were a trick. Maybe he was going to get me for driving without a license since he was running mine through the system at that moment.

Nothing came up on my license of course, and he gave me a warning. I was going home because I was sick and had barely been driving up to the limit anyway.

Funny how I can speed around DC or Chapel Hill for the last seven years going 10-12 mph over the limit and never get caught, but then I slowly trudge home from work when I'm feeling sickly and I get waved down by a power tripping cop ON FOOT. Wtf.

So I came home and went to sleep at 6pm. I woke up to wash my face at 11:30, but besides that, I slept soundly til 6am.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Odds of Peanut Butter M&Ms

Yesterday, something phenomenal happened.

Nina and I go to CVS every day almost to have a short 15 minute break from CP craziness. On this most recent trip, I bought a small pack of peanut butter M&Ms. (You know, the ones in the red/orange bag.) I ate them at my computer, and when I neared the end, I poured the remaining candies into my hand. Lo and behold-- there were six M&Ms left-- one of each color.

Now, if you are good at math, please correct me here if I am wrong. I believe the odds of that happening are 1 in 720.

Some may call this luck. Some may call it chance. Some may call it happenstance. Some may call it destiny (to what point, I ask?). I choose "luck," because I don't consider myself lucky and I don't believe in luck. So why not call it that? I don't win anything in random drawings, but maybe that's because I always win in competitions. (Just kidding; I wish!) Two point five years ago I won 2 tickets to see Live8 in London. (Concert tickets, not plane + concert tickets-- I was already there.)

1 in 720 is not impossible (obviously), and is better than a lot of lottery odds. But I just thought it was kinda cool. One red, one orange, one yellow, one green, one blue, and one brown. It was a very aesthetically, mathematically, and taste-ily satisfying event.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

To be... or to be more?

Maybe eventually I'll get to the age when I don't have this constant, pulling urge to go Where I'm Not. Everywhere where I currently "am not" sounds amazing. Occasionally I'll have a day or night where I feel perfectly at ease, comfortable with who I'm becoming, happy with where I am, content with the thought of not knowing what's around the bend. But more often, I am wondering what it would be like to lead another life.

This perpetual grass-is-always-greener phenomenon gets old after a while, and presents to others a sort of problematic instability.

A homeowner today said if she were me, she'd "go [live in Europe] in a heartbeat." I would have said the same thing to anybody who was in my position, but I can't just go in a heartbeat. I have student loans; I owe my parents money; I need money to live. I would need a job before I moved to Europe.

I don't want to constantly be changing with the seasons, but I think I'm addicted to change. I haven't stayed in one place for a full year since 2000, and I've liked that. There's no real need to settle down now, and I want to take advantage of my youth and energy. I so enjoy being close to my best friends and my family... But will I look back in ten years and wish I had done something crazy and rash and just been an adventurous twentysomething?

Probably. After all, the grass is always greener. And if I throw caution to the wind and end up financially insecure, I'll probably regret the "stability" I could have reached.

Funny, that. The economy is so awful at the moment that even stability is only an illusion.

JD was talking about freedom on Sunday, and how serving Christ is freedom even though there are restrictions. Freedom is not lack of constraints; freedom is living as we were meant to, within our constraints, like a fish being "free" to live in the constraints of water. If the fish were to escape to freedom on land, it would die. We all serve something, whether it's the Lord or a fear. JD said to ask ourselves to think about the future and find out what would scare us the most if it were absent in our future. My DC friends that came to visit this weekend said the idea of a relationship came to mind; for me, it was financial stability. A telling answer, no?

I pretend that I trust God with my finances, but how much risk have I ever put myself under? None, to be honest. I am not supposed to be foolish, but I am supposed to be brave. Where is the Wizard of Oz when you need him anyway? I could go for some knowledge of my decisions, courage to make those decisions, heart to love blindly and blissfully each step of the way, and a home to bring with me, to make me feel comforted no matter where I go.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Worshipping at the Altar of the Fun God, or What Would Neferheehee Do?

As I was driving home one night, the car in front of me had a 'vanity' plate that said "LV4FUN." That is a worldview statement, whether the person driving the car realized it or not.

We all are seeking what we think will make us happiest. And not just immediate gratification-- we all plan our individual pursuits of happiness. When we're young, we don't understand the concept of delayed gratification very well. We search for the next piece of candy or the next toy, with no plan as to how to approach that desire and then fulfill it. When we're older, we sacrifice a third of our lives for weeks and months and years to make money to fulfill our desires. It's the same pursuit as the child seeking a lollipop-- gratification-- but we understand the cost of reaching that goal. Hedonism is our life.

Now, what if we come to realize that the greatest, highest good, the "summum bonum," isn't sex or money or power or even fun (!!!), but instead is fulfilling our purpose and enjoying the most wonderful, beautiful experience in the universe? That's what is meant by Christian hedonism. Discovering that Jesus Christ is the consummation of every desire of our hearts and that the "delay" of gratification may be longer than a lifetime will explain the change in lifestyle. It's not that Christians are better people... it's that they have discovered what truly will satisfy and what is Truth.

To multiply your enjoyment of a beautiful sunset or a breathtaking mountain view, you want to share it with somebody. It's not nearly as good to go to an art museum or to a fun movie or to anything you enjoy by yourself. It's the sharing of joy that magnifies and multiplies it and propels us to spread the gospel. The gospel is that everything awful will one day be made beautiful; that Jesus has brought the answers our hearts' desire; that there's more to our lives than this often-ugly mortality.

There will be another life, another earth, and another body. We weren't made to be bodyless spirits; we were made to be a trinity of flesh, spirit, and soul. When Christ comes back, redeems the earth, and reigns here as King, we will again be that trinity. We'll have tangible bodies again that will look like us now, but 10000x better.

With that in mind, the Christian can live with a "finish line" just beyond the moment of death. Most people go through their lives trying to survive and trying to enjoy what they have until death inevitably ends their fruitless, pointless struggling. But we know the truth-- that there is a purpose, that there is a meaning, that there is a loving God who hasn't yet put everything right (He cares more about justice than any of us do!) but who one day will do just that-- He will be the perfectly just Judge who determines how things are to be, just as they were at the beginning, and now even better.

"Behold, I make all things new," said (and will say) Jesus.

So, now I can live not for immediate fun (although I still want to experience God's love and beauty and humor and community in fun activities, appreciating the blessings he has given me), but for getting to know Him better. He is the summum bonum, the highest good, the most fun thing in (and outside of) our ever-expanding universe.

"Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you." I want to get to know God like you'd get to know a new crush. Like you'd get to know your parents when you're finally old enough to appreciate them as humans. Like you'd get to know a generous mentor who has determined to treat you like a daughter and help you with whatever you need. But even better-- this is the Creator of the universe that created me and wants me to get to know him and love him as he has loved me since the beginning of time.

That is huge.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

This Dream Was NOT a Wish My Heart Made

Last night I woke up at 3:45am and thought that what I had been dreaming would be a wonderful premise for a movie or short story. So, I jotted down a few notes. When I got up this morning, this is what I could decipher of my sleepy handwriting:

Has anyone seen my m&ms?
Your daughter has them
But how she's not considerate; she's not like me
She's not your daughter
Psh- but I was pregnant and I remember her as a kid

I'm not lying. That's what I wrote/remember.

Moral of the story: Janel is NOT very smart when asleep.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

For the Love of Lists and Comfort

Lists give me the illusion of control. If I can see everything I have to do in one place, I feel like it's manageable.

So, to continue my illusion of control and for your reading pleasure, a few lists...

books that I own and need to read:
the audacity of hope (one chapter to go)
united states of europe (1/3 finished)
something rising
a reason for God
putin's russia
surprised by hope (1/3 finished)
the Jesus i never knew
faithful women & their extraordinary God
discipline, the glad surrender
walk on: U2's journey of faith
the papa prayer (1/3 finished)
Jesus among other gods
a christian manifesto
oliver twist
i know why the caged bird sings
silas marner
the mill on the floss

favorite things about fall:
football season!!!!
it's almost basketball season
less humidity/beautiful weather
school supplies (unfortunately I can't enjoy this again until grad school or until my first child goes to kindergarten which may be a few years)
camping or kayaking or biking trips
end of wedding season

things i feel i need to control but that in reality i have no control over:
finances & employment
life plan: husband, kids
health & safety (i work out and wear my seatbelt-- i do my part but really that promises me nothing)

things i do have control over:
how often i pray relationally
my contentment with my circumstances
my attachment to this world
how i treat my family and friends
how i spend my time and money
how i see my God

Do I see God as a divine vending machine or a person to fall in love with? How do you fall in love with somebody? You get to know them. You don't ask them for things, see how much they give you, and then, based on that, decide how you will love them.

When Jason died, (I've said this before) I realized that I always thought God was good because my life was good. Since then, in the pain and heartbreak, I've gotten to know Him better. He is good whether or not my life is good. I know He's good because of what He's done in the past. He never changes, but my life will change. My comfortable years may be over; maybe before I turn 24, I'll have such tragedy and pain that I will have experienced all the 'good' I'm to see on this earth.

But that's all right, because there comes a brighter day, a day when He will finish making all things new. A new earth, a new king, a new life for all of us who believe Him and are trying to see Him as He is.

The hardest thing that I foresee about the future is responsibility for others. Right now, if I don't have control, it's not that bad because it'd only be I that suffers. But the greatest fear of marriage, for me, is loss. I've already lost one that I loved and I could lose another. The risk of loss makes loving a dangerous choice. And then, my greatest fear of being a mother is losing my child. Every day is a day I could lose my child. I have no control on their survival in utero, or while at home, or at school, or when they are grown. I don't ever want to go through what the Rays experienced.

I thank God for Jesus Christ, whose life and death and resurrection promise to me that this life is passing away, and a new and brighter dawn is on the horizon. He is the bright and morning star, in whose light everything else fades away.

"turn your eyes upon Jesus/look full in His wonderful face
and the things of earth will grow strangely dim/in the light of his glory and grace"

Perhaps the first step in surrendering control is realizing who really is in control, and that all my feeble and pathetic efforts to direct my situation is simply "chasing after the wind."

But I still like lists.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Is this Cheating?

I wrote the following as a guest blogger for a friend back in early April. I'm feeling lazy (and may be getting sick) so I'm just going to copy and paste it.


I'm an A-type, firstborn female, and sometimes I overreact. I've always had a tend to dress up my bad situations with a little dramatic flair. Throughout my few years of life, I have started to realize I shouldn't react quite so violently... things could always get worse.

When I was four years old, I was in acrobatics class. The only thing I remember from this portion of my pre-elementary days is standing in line to do a somersault. I pushed the other little kids as we stood in line at acrobatics class; my mom told me if I continued to push them, even when provoked (which I was, sorely!), I couldn't go to acrobatics anymore. Needless to say, they shoved me and I pushed them back.

My mother kept her word and delivered the punishment for breaking the ultimatum: my days as a four-year old prodigy acrobatic star were done. Irrevocably. I responded in turn: "This is the worst day of my life!"

This was a very true statement. I had lived less than 1,500 days. In those 1,500 days, the only similarly negative event had been the birth of Shaun, the younger rival for my parents' attention. And being expelled from acrobatics was MUCH worse than getting a new playmate slash competition in the form of a brother.

In the following years, there have been successive "worst days." High school breakups, Carolina's 8-20 basketball season, a horribly painful college breakup, 2 friends' deaths... all rank way above seeing the last day of my acrobatics career, and each in turn were the "worst day of my life."

Today I got back from San Antonio after seeing my beloved Tar Heels collapse under the pressure of the Final Four and just hand the win to Kansas. It felt like a "worst day." But after Jason's death only a year ago and Eve's death just a month ago, I'm able to see a little bit more clearly why this wasn't the worst day of my life (so far).

The Heels will take the court again. They'll lose again. I will feel dead inside for a short period; Roy will tear up again; the team may embarrass themselves again. But we'll cut down other nets; Adam Lucas will write an article that pretty much sums up the whole Tar Heel Nation's ecstasy; Carolina will be #1 again. And to think-- I got to go to the Final Four! I stayed in the team hotel, met Alex Stepheson's father, ate lunch across from Mr Hansbrough, and rode the elevator with Coach Williams's wife.

The ending of "Spamalot" features the whole company singing, "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life." During the first rendition of the song, Patsy and King Arthur are lost in a dark and very expensive forest. After my few years of experience and watching my basketball team lose miserably and inexplicably, I agree with their summation of things: "Life's a piece of shit, when you look at it/Life's a laugh and death's a joke it's true/You'll see it's all a show-- keep 'em laughing as you go/Just remember that the last laugh is on you."

So... that is my charge to you. It may sound negative, but try to remember-- it could always be worse! (... And beginning to pay more attention to those around you and less attention to yourself is a great way to help put things in perspective. And for better or worse, nothing helps you forget your own pain than busying yourself helping somebody else...)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

That Most Elusive of Simple Pleasures

No, I'm not going to talk about sex (don't know much about that anyway) or a new episode of The Office or the best piece of chocolate, or even seeing a really good live show in intimate venue where you know all the songs and then you get to chat with the band and buy a new t-shirt. I'm referring to sleep.

It seems like the times you need it most, you can't get it. When I get a good sleep, I may still be tired the next day. Other times, I barely sleep 6 hrs and I'm fine. WHY?!?

Last night I went to bed at about 11 and didn't set my alarm. I figured I'd wake up around 6:30am like on a usual work day. But my body clock is so well tuned that it knows when I have a weekend. So I didn't even wake up until the sound of bass thumping below me at 10:30am filtered through my earplugs. Wonderful! But now I'm awake after midnight for the first time in like three weeks. Kinda ridiculous how "grown-up" I am now. I go to bed early and get up early. Absurd.

This is so boring and pointless; I'm sorry for writing this and clogging the Internet. A few months ago, I read that the Internet will be completely stuffed full by 2012. Maybe it was earlier, like 2010. Idk. Needless to say, our governments need to invest in some infrastructure to keep this baby ticking. Or get rid of all the porn that's taking up like 80% of the space, not to mention destroying our families and the idea of the sacredness of sex. What a waste.

If you're not planning on voting for Barack Obama in the fall, please read "The Audacity of Hope." I only have two chapters left. I wish people would listen to his own words in their context rather than listening to the media (those who hate him and those who worship him) or the ridiculously untrue emails and rumors circulated about him ( I have not been given one convincing reason not to vote for him, and in my reading of the news, his speeches, and his writings, I haven't found anything compelling that would justify me backing John McCain for president.

This is bad. Obviously, I need to go to sleep if I'm starting to write about politics. But I'm really not that tired. I will be when my alarm goes off at 7:00 am though.

Tuesday morning, my family is going to Alaska on a 10day cruise and then to northern California to see my cousin Brendan get married. Yay, I can't wait! But work will be absolutely insane when I get back. That's okay, I guess. I like being busy.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

If Life is Always Spent Preparing, What Does That Mean About Death?

Okay, so maybe that title is a wee melodramatic. Maybe that's because I'M pretty melodramatic.

I was just contemplating how in every stage of life, I look ahead. What does this job mean for my resume? If I sign this lease, what am I committing myself to?

I know there are times of preparation. Almost everyone goes through 13 years of schooling and a lucky few of us get to study for longer. You pay your dues in internships and cubicles, earning next to nothing (and literally nothing, in some cases). Moses spent 40 years in the wilderness. Jacob ran away from home and worked for his father-in-law for 14 years.

So I think the time of preparation varies based on person and circumstance, but I'm impatient, and I do not want to prepare for 40 years before I get into "really living."

When Summit was at the old building, I remember JD talking about 'times in the wilderness,' like Moses's or Daniel's. Those are the times that life is quiet and rather dull and we are learning to "be faithful in the little things."

But maybe I'm completely wrong. Maybe even the times in the wilderness are part of "really living." Just because it ain't exciting doesn't mean it ain't good. (That's a big statement for me-- I hate being bored, or even just being quiet.)

So as I try to plan my weekend and see if there's anything I can do to fill up the empty hours, I need to remember my best memories from childhood are playing on the stairs with Shaun, building with the lincoln logs and setting up the plastic dinosaurs or playing Monopoly every day for weeks, watching "Muppet Treasure Island" over and over again ("the feast of saint lulu!" "Sweetums! Big fat baby eating O'Brien!"), and lying on the carpet reading "A Little Princess" and "The Secret Garden." The simple things, the 'boring' times, the mundanity and banality of life. Growing up will never be finished, I daresay.

If I stop thinking about how I should be preparing, I bet the preparation will just happen, and whenever something monumental comes along, I'll be ready. I won't even believe how it happened-- just so smoothly, as if Someone planned it-- but I'll be able to do whatever it is that comes along. Because, right now, I don't even know what I should be preparing for! Should I prepare to be a wife or prepare to live as an old maid? Should I prepare for a professional career or for raising four children? Should I prepare to live abroad or settle down in my home state, where I've already lived for almost 20 of my 23.5 years?

So, obviously, God's going to call the shots today that will make me into who I'm supposed to be tomorrow. I think that idea goes along with the whole "don't worry about tomorrow" bit; that if I just sit back and relax, work on the Spiritual Disciplines and grow in contentment, peace, and security in my identity and my God, then everything will fall into place.

Matthew 6:33...Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. -- the Living Translation. First pursue God and everything closest to his heart, and then all your other concerns will resolve themselves -- my paraphrase.

Basically, I need to stop worrying about what I'm doing with my life. To know God is the greatest thing.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Dreams, Time Seams, and Adult Sports Teams

Last night, I dreamed that one of my homeowners' kitchen ceiling was going to cave in due to an attic HVAC leak that I didn't catch. I'm working out again; maybe that will help me de-stress. I'm also reading "Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety." So if those two things don't help, I'm pretty much screwed.

I went to bed late because I went to Chapel Hill to say goodbye to Rob. (Goodbye, Rob; have a good life!) It was fun, but I'm okay with my friends leaving. Amy is in DC, Deb is in Montana, Rob is in Colorado, Chad's in the mountains, Lauren's in India and then Concord, Erik and Nick are almost gone, Kate's in Boston. There are periods to life. "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven," Ecclesiastes 3:1. The writer expands, and then goes on an interesting rant.

"I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. (What does that even mean?) He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil--this is the gift of God...
"Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account."

I think he's saying that we have time, and we have action, and when we choose to do our actions has a lot to do with our judgement. God will judge the time in which we honor him. If that makes sense.

Right now, I have more time than I used to have. I'm not studying for anything; I'm getting paychecks for my 45 hrs/week at work; I'm paying off my loans and living comfortably. (Bad news on that front: $900 of dental work is coming up...)

But I can use the rest of my time. If I sleep no more than nine hours a night on weekends, I will have more free time. I'm going to try to volunteer with MATCH, get back into our small group, and play lacrosse again! I'm really excited for that. It'll be expensive to get started... I think I'm going to buy a new stick, and I need goggles, insurance, a mouth guard, and team t-shirts. But it'll be worth it. After I quit UNC Club, I thought I'd never play again. It won't be the same as high school, and that's fine with me. But it'll be a team sport, one I really enjoy, and it'll be exercise that is not in our blah apartment gym.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Cynicism, Rebellion, and Why UNC Really Is the Southern Part of Heaven

That is quite a blog title to live up to. So here goes.

The people who are closest to me often ask how I am doing, and I know they mean more than the usual, casual inquiry.  There is something to their tone, or their punctuation (via the internet), or their look, that signifies a deeper questioning.  I've been pretty open with my struggles lately... with anger at my God and frustration with my spiritual funk, my impatience and heartache and just plain old-fashioned pain.  It started with Jason's death (not the breakup) and has been complicated with my emotional roller coaster (over the breakup + his death) and my job switching and then Eve's death. A year and three months later, I'm sick of feeling like this.

Yesterday, Mom said I seem subdued. I am. I'm 'sweetly broken;' I'm tired of the rebellion and the cynicism. I'm tired of giving God the silent treatment/cold shoulder; tired of looking at him as if he's out to get me or as if there is just one tragedy after another waiting for me. I'm rebellious in nature, but always a rather half-hearted rebel. I forget to be mad at my friends and family, and I get tired of rebelling against my good, kind God. The writer of Lamentations in chapter three talks about how he's been pushed around and hurt... he says God "has driven me away and made me walk in darkness rather than light." Talk about pointing fingers. He knows who to blame, just like I do. (Nichole's words on it... "Funny how the fog rolls/funnier that I'd know who to blame/never thought I'd have to own this pain... If all that's good and true/comes from heaven/then what's a girl to do/when it rains?")

Chapter three goes on and on, the writer blaming God for his pain... "he dragged me from the path and mangled me and left me without help. He pierced my heart with arrows from his quiver."  Pretty violent, eh?

But then there's a transition.

"I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, 'The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.'"

Some translations end the verse, "I will hope in him."  Funny how they go together... like the Spanish verb esperar means to wait and to hope. Waiting and hoping go hand-in-hand. We don't sit and wait on God despondently.  But that's what I've been doing. I've been somewhat obedient... going where he wants, not giving up on the fellowship of the saints or my faith in general. But as far as specifics go, I've been pretty despairing.

And it's really easy for me to slip into cynicism.  That's why, as a kid, I would try to convince myself that UNC would lose whatever game we were playing, so that if we did lose, I would be 'protected' from disappointment.  That's what Jason used to try to pound into me-- that if I had no expectations, I would never be disappointed. (He didn't want me to expect anything of him.)

So, my circumstances were messy, and I rebelled. I was angry and sullen. And then my rebellion started to turn into a bitterness, and that bitterness has shown up in cynicism. I question God's goodness and his love towards me. I don't feel his love so I decide he doesn't love me after all. Isn't he in control of everything?! I believe that. But that doesn't mean he enjoys hurting me, just like parents don't enjoy their kids' intense unhappiness at getting immunizations.

The chapter goes on to say, "Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men."

Jesus put it well. "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (That's John 16:33.)

That's enough for now. Suffice it to say, my understanding of God is a heckuva lot greater than it was fifteen months ago.  I'll write about UNC being like heaven later.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

This is Rather Pathetic

So, no post because I've been busy.  It's a busyness of the self-inflicted kind.  And I haven't thought of much to write.  Actually, that's not true... I've thought of some things but I haven't taken the time to expound.

I had to tell Janell Wright I couldn't hang out with her tonight because I'm getting sick.  I had my first migraine on Thursday (due to some Wednesday events, I think), travelled to Florida that evening, spent a rather stressful long weekend with relatives, went to a beautiful wedding and reception for Emily and Perry, and then back to a busy week at work. (Wow, I just wrote 'school' instead of 'work.' Ironic.)

I'm watching "Ice Age 2" and I think a baby mammoth is pretty much the cutest animated thing I've ever seen.

I'm looking forward to my new project-- getting some of my friends who've been through a one or a couple crazy years to write about this time of transition.  We're twentysomethings; we're privileged, educated, intelligent, and motivated but hard to please. I want us all to look at where we are at this moment, in this in-betweeny stage, and take stock. We spend so much time reflecting on the past and learning from our experiences, which is good-- don't get me wrong.  But I want to do more than look behind, and I want to do more than look ahead at what's next.  That's probably even more tempting: to always be dwelling on the future and never appreciating the Now.

CS Lewis said that's where eternity meets us-- in the present.  We are impotent to change the past and we are wasting what Time we have by anticipating what's next. So, I want us all to look at our Now. Where are we, and why?  What are we headed towards and are we doing what we need to do to get there?

I feel like I'm in a pathetic state at the moment only because I'm sick, overtired, and haven't been able to work out since Sunday. My last free night was May 2 and I won't have another until June 7, most likely. I'm not doing a good job of balancing my life, but I just hate being bored. And life is crazy and things have happened and are happening which stress me out.

But... I'm excited for this project.  I'm excited to see what everyone has to say.

If I haven't talked to you about it yet (I'm trying to talk to everybody individually) and you'd be willing to write me something, please let me know.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

...One Year Later...

A serendipitous discovery this afternoon-- I started my blog one year ago today. Obviously, I haven't written very often in said year, but I think I can see a distinct evolution over the 366 (leap year!) days since April 23, 2007. I'm also getting more regular in my public self-discovery.

Writing a blog this year has been a way to compose my thoughts and questions, to formalize some part of what I journal every few days. (I have 14 journals to date, which hopefully no one other than myself will ever read.) Growing up is such a monumental pain in the ass that maybe documenting it will be somewhat enlightening/entertaining/educational.

I'm still trying to figure myself out, as well as whatever this "adult" life is about. I have started two new jobs in two new cities with two new roommates, one rather white-collar and one rather blue-collar (the jobs, not the roommates). I do feel more daily joy than I did 12 months ago and I think about Jason every hour or so rather than every 10 minutes. But I've lost another dear friend and dealing with death is a more common occupation than I had ever imagined it would be at this age. My customers think of me as a kid... Probably because I still look like one. And this uniform get-up doesn't help much either.

I went to Jason's grave in Kentucky last weekend with Tiffany, Becca, and his parents. It was a strange combination of frustrating and satisfying. Satisfying because I finally got to see where he went at least twice a year with his parents, and where his parents grew up, and where he stayed over Christmases when we'd talk on the phone. I now understand a lot that I didn't. Frustrating because I went to a beautiful cemetery on top of a green hill with a blue sky & puffy clouds above in the charming countryside and farmland of Kentucky... and Jason wasn't there. I'm glad his body is there; when Jesus comes to establish his rule on this earth, that's the first thing Jason will see when he's resurrected... unless he comes in the clouds with Jesus, and I'm not 100% sure what it will really look like. But anyway. I think he'd be glad to be buried there. There are all these stones at the cemetery that say, "If tears could build a stairway and memories a lane, I'd go right up to heaven and bring you back again." I wouldn't. I'd stay there with him. If I died and somebody came up and said, "I'm taking you back to earth, let's go." I'd say, "Piss off. I'm having a great time right here; thanks. Ain't no way I want to go back there, you kidding me?"

I do like that they have "Decoration" on Memorial Day weekend. The families of the people buried there all come with picnics and decorate all the gravestones of their loved ones and their long-gone family. It's a Southern dia de los muertos... the remnant of the small-town Americana community. Mrs Ray said that if anybody has family left, their grave is decorated. I think that's awesome.

Enough about that. For now.

Happy birthday (yesterday), Tiffany ~ Hi, Jeremy ~ Welcome, little Levi Daniel ~ I miss you, Lauren ~ Can't wait to see you, Amy

Over and out.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Weird Sleep Hypothetical Question That I Just Thought Of

Ok, so a wizard comes to you and says, "You can choose how long you will be in this magical sleep.  When you wake up, you will not have to sleep for those hours that you slept magically until you use them all up. For example, if you sleep for four hours, those four hours will count towards your need for four hours' worth of sleep at another point in the future.  You can choose when to use those hours. If you slept for twenty years, you'd have twenty years of sleep stored up. But, when you awake, time will have passed normally, and you will miss whatever happened while you were sleeping. Also, your life will be the same number of years including your magical sleep. (If you were to sleep from 23 to 25 and you were going to die at 73, you still will-- you won't live to 75.)"

How long would you sleep?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

I'm not where I should be, in more ways than one

sometimes somebody else has already said what i want to...

oh for a heart that doesn't heartache

and for a backbone that won't break

for some steady feet and sturdy ground

a road that isn't going to let me turn around and around

for a thousand tongues to sing

to wear wisdom like Solomon's robe

for the patience and perspective of a man like Job

just to soar on wings of eagles for no other reason

than the bird's eye view or a flight or two

and the list gets longer: who i wish i was and was no longer

i never could be good enough to measure up

but you want to take me as i come

you're the only that can

take me as i am

oh to feel hope in hopeless times

never mind the silver lining cause the clouds are fine

to breathe prayers that move the heavens or save hundreds from the flames

to know my place, to know my name

but the gap grows wider between who i am and all i aspire to be

i never could be good enough to measure up

but you want to take me as i come

you're the only one that can

take me as i am

at the end of myself at the end of the day

i can find little else but the courage to say

i need you, that's all

i need you

-nichole nordeman

i.e. best songwriter since david

Friday, April 11, 2008

Mars, Venus, birds, bees, etc.

I don't agree with many of Kurt Vonnegut's sentiments expressed in the introduction to God Bless You, Mr. Kevorkian, but I found the following segment of said introduction very interesting/amusing, and actually profound in its simplicity. I hope you do as well.

"OK, now let's have some fun. Let's talk about sex. Let's talk about women. Freud said he didn't know what women wanted. I know what women want.  They want a whole lot of people to talk to. What do they want to talk about? They want to talk about everything.

"What do men want? They want a lot of pals, and they wish people wouldn't get so mad at them.

"Why are so many people getting divorced today? It's because most of us don't have extended families anymore. It used to be that when a man and a woman got married, the bride got a lot more people to talk to about everything. The groom got a lot more pals to tell dumb jokes to.

"A few Americans, but very few, still have extended families. The Navahos. The Kennedys.

"But most of us, if we get married nowadays, are just one more person for the other person. The groom gets one more pal, but it's a woman. The woman gets one more person to talk to about everything, but it's a man.

"When a couple has an argument, they may think it's about money or power or sex, or how to raise the kids, or whatever. What they're really saying to each other, though, without realizing it, is this:  'You are not enough people!'

"I met a man in Nigeria one time, an Ibo who had six hundred relatives he knew quite well.  His wife had just had a baby, the best possible news in any extended family.

"They were going to take it to meet all its relatives, Ibos of all ages and sizes and shapes. It would even meet other babies, cousins not much older than it was. Everybody who was big enough and steady enough was going to get to hold it, cuddle it, gurgle to it, and say how pretty it was, or handsome.

"Wouldn't you have loved to be that baby?"

We throw around the word and concept of "community" constantly. It's a pretty common need for humanity. That's all. I liked the passage.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Commercialization of Entertainment and the Entertainment Value of Commercials.

I haven't blogged for a few weeks because I've been thinking; sorry.

It's hard to imagine a culture without commercials or an advertising industry. It would be so unlike our own... And our economy would certainly be even weaker than it is currently without the industry. Advertising is technically a form of communication and a source of information regarding products and services, but its effectiveness and viability has (thankfully!) become dependent on the entertainment value of the marketing piece.

I'm watching a commercial with a piece of toast.  Bud Light has created a hilarious commercial utilizing the f word. ( There are serious commercials with a twist (Allstate insurance), annoyingly loud commercials that stick in your head (car dealerships... except the President's Day sale commercial that honored Millard Fillmore... that was funny), and funny commercials that spin out of control (Quizno's spongemonkeys, the Geico cavemen and gecko).

Noticed how commercials' soundtracks can jumpstart an artist's career?  Sara Bareilles is definitely the most recent, but even the Colbie Caillat song and Feist's "1234" were at the same time. Maroon 5 got their start on a commercial. And I know I love any commercial with a Beatles or Simon & Garfunkel song. I really believe that British commercials are WAY funnier than ours.

Anyway, all I'm saying here is that our commercials are effective based on their entertainment value. I have no real opinion about this state of affairs; I'm just commenting on the fact that our ability to succeed in sales is often dependent on our ability to make somebody laugh.

Funny too how commercialized our entertainment is... Not just the Hollywood or Disney machines that crank out blockbusters and pop stars, but also the NBA that saps up our young talent and the WWF and NFL and other professional sports leagues. We have ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPNU, and others. Now, I'm not knocking those channels and media conglomerations-- I adore SportsCenter. But independent thought is rarely found in today's entertainment, save the occasional low-budget hit or creative cult classic.

I do have an opinion about this -- I think it's sad, but I don't really see any other way.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Only the good die young...

Early Wednesday morning, March 5, 2008, my friend Eve, a UNC senior, was shot to death in a quiet Chapel Hill neighborhood.

On March 23rd, 2007, my ex-boyfriend, Jason Ray, a UNC senior, was hit by a car being driven by a driver with a suspended license, and died three days later.

It's a lot to take in; a lot to digest.  Jason and I were friends since August 2003 and spent three years in a relationship.  Eve and I and 12 other UNC students spent four months living in El Costillar de Rocinante residencia in La Habana, Cuba.  Their lives and deaths had many similarities... Both were larger-than-life, gregarious personalities; both were late a LOT. =) I loved them both, and I know they loved me.  Their deaths captured the nation's attention and was covered by major media networks. Both loved life and milked every last second of joy out of it.

The tragedy is in the loss of life, but it's even more stark because of how much we as humans have lost in those two souls.  Eve would have changed the world; I'm convinced of it. She was amazing.  So friendly, passionate, sympathetic, beautiful, intelligent, and fun. She cared for others and loved the student body.  She was a wonderful UNC Student Body president, even though it was such a hard, tiring job.

Even though I didn't see her as often after we left Cuba, she periodically wrote on my wall that she was thinking of me. She cried with me when Jason died and gave me letters that had been sent to her (as SBP) from strangers. Eve had more friends than anybody I've ever known, because she loved people so incredibly much and made you feel that your problems were her problems and your joys were hers. She knew what it was to "rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep." And she didn't waste a second of the short time she had.

Makes you wonder if people like Jason and Eve, who cram so much life into 21 or 22 years, kind of know that they don't have much time. They definitely acted at times like it was their last day on earth. I'm glad for that, even though I told them both they needed to slow down!

I don't question that God knows what he's doing, but I wish I knew what it was. I miss Jason so much, and now I miss Eve too. I saw her last month; we had a fun dinner with three other Cuba kids... I am so glad we got together as much as possible.

It does put my life in perspective. I might be next. The thought that my friends are going to continue to die at this rate is a fear I don't need to entertain, but it does creep up from time to time. Life is not certain... I may have to see my future husband and kids die. My parents will die, my brothers will die; we'll all die eventually.

I thank God for the life and death of Jesus Christ, through whom we can approach the throne of grace with confidence in the time of need.  I can think of no other need than when I stand, in my moral filthiness (who among us really understands how awful of a person we are?), in front of God when I die! And at that moment, my only plea will be the name and person of Jesus Christ. He died so I can have eternal life.

I know my God made a way for me/Salvation is here!
I see the King of glory/coming on the clouds with fire/the whole earth shakes!
I see His love and mercy/washing over all our sin/the people sing!
Hosanna in the highest!
I see a generation/rising up to take their place/with selfless faith
I see a near revival/stirring as we pray and seek/we're on our knees
Hosanna in the highest!!
may we be a generation that seeks your face, oh God of Jacob.

We are not immortal, however much we feel as such.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


I'm used to being in new situations; I think I'm pretty good at adapting to a new environment. I've even been accused of being addicted to change. Even though I don't love having my world constantly turned upside down, it's true that I am slightly ADD... just to the point of being very easily bored. (My poor mother had to tell me to stop calling her every time I was bored at my last job... that was the final straw-- I quit and found a better fit.)

My first run-in with being the 'new girl' was in 4th grade. I had been homeschooled and my primary playmates were my younger brother, his friends, and Meagan. I began school in November or December, I believe; right about the time Gabe was born. Sixth grade, I was homeschooled; seventh-- Charter school for the fall and home for the spring. Eighth grade was split between Woodlawn and Wayzata Central. Ninth was The Blake School, tenth was Wayzata High, eleventh and twelfth were East Chapel Hill High. Needless to say, by the time I went to UNC, attending one school for four years was beyond my wildest dream! And I loved it.... I met my best friends and my 'college boyfriend' more or less immediately. A few people came and went but the core of my experience was constant for those four challenging, fun years.

After Jason died and graduation, I shipped out... I was the 'new girl' for a few weeks at TPT, but with turnover the way it is there, that didn't last long. But after only seven months, I left again... and I've been at Pulte just over a month, but I'm the 'new girl.' I still don't know everyone's names; I haven't been out on my own; I feel like I have very little to contribute. But I know the expectations for me are high, and I know I can exceed them. I have the work ethic and the skills to succeed here as long as I choose.

I get tired of being the new girl, but it's always stretching, and everything that stretches me prepares me for the challenges that lie ahead. A gymnast stretches for months to be flexible enough to perform their crazy stunts. I may have some crazy ass stunts ahead, and I want to be flexible, experienced, and confident enough to take them on with the boldness of a strong woman of God who has been blessed with a unique and privileged calling.

I'm just noticing it more right now because I'm on a work retreat where many have been working together for several years. But how am I going to become friends with these people unless I attend these kinds of outings? =)

I wish we could have gone bowling though! I've gotten addicted after going Super Bowling and for Chad's birthday.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

True Identity

JD talked about Jesus's trial and death this morning.  He talked about how Christians chose an odd symbol (an object of torture, no less!) to be the rallying point of our faith, and why.  He said many use the cross to induce guilt, or they feel guilt when they think of the cross.  The other side of the coin is that we often think the cross was simply an example of God's love for us. (JD counters: why would you allow yourself to be killed to show somebody you loved them?)

(Aside: last week's talk was amazing. Stop-what-you're-doing-and-listen-now amazing. Never again will I read the Garden of Gethsemene story in the same way.)

In reality, the cross shows the gruesomeness, the true horror of our sin.  That's what we deserved; that's how disgusting our sin is to God. We don't like thinking of that.  But Jesus had to die exactly in that way to work salvation for all people, and his death was totally sufficient! Nothing more is needed from us.

Louie Giglio spoke at Passion 05 about our identity as Saved Ex-Sinners.  He said we often sit in this "woe is me, wretched sinner that I am!" I was astounded when he charged us to think of ourselves as saints already, rather than sinners... "you big bunch of saints!! stop sinning, and believing the lie that anything is better than Jesus."  For crying out loud, the "same power is in us that raised Christ Jesus from the grave." The power of the Creator of All Things!

And then at Passion 07, John Piper spoke about committing sin, repenting, and then denying the evil one's lies that we are useless to God because of our failure. Our failure changes nothing about who God is and who we are and it certainly does not mean that we are useless.

Second aside: I find it fascinating how God chooses to use our starkest failings or shortcomings as the canvas for His most glorious artworks. (Isaiah's unclean lips, Moses's stutter, Jacob's faithlessness & dishonesty, Abraham's age, Mary's virginity, Hannah's barrenness...)

All three of those speakers have given me something.  From JD, I am again convinced that my identity is Redeemed, "not of my own striving" but only of His doing.  From Louie, I can see myself as already considered Holy, thanks to the imputation of Jesus's life and death to my account. God sees me as He sees Jesus. That in and of itself is beyond comprehension. (I like to comprehend things; I don't like this unfamiliar Impossible.) And from Pastor John, I am empowered to serve the God whom I have offended countless times but who has continued to love and bless me.

Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise.
Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.
Because I have sinned against him, I will bear the Lord's wrath,
until He pleads my case and establishes my right.
He will bring me out into the light; I will see His righteousness.
-Micah 7:8-9

Friday, February 22, 2008

My next car

My next car will hopefully be new, because I will drive the one I have in all of its 1997 beige glory for about 5 more years until they produce...

(drum roll please)... the hybrid convertible!!! I really want a convertible, and I want it to be a hybrid because I love the planet.

Five years from now will be 2013. I will be 28 years old and hopefully own a home and have paid off all my loans. I will be semi-grown-up.

What has been happening in my life? I hurt my back but I feel better. I'm going to start working out again on Monday because I am FAT!! And because I miss working out... I feel kinda lackadaisical.

I had an interesting thought two days ago and then talked to Ellen about it. See, I know myself pretty well, and I realized that I am not the kind of person that would ever care about spiritual things. It's not "me." I'm not into churchy stuff, or rules, or thinking about anybody other than myself. I'm self-centered, prideful, and snobby. I'm generally not a very nice person.

So why then do I care? Why do I pray and read and journal and sing praises and go to church when I'm by myself? It's so God. I'm not like my brother; I'm really not a religious person. I wouldn't care what God thinks; I remember back when I didn't. I remember that rebellion and hard-heartedness and conscience-ignoring that was my inner spirit when I was 14. When God changes somebody, he does so from the inside. And so more and more, over the past nine years, that inside change is (hopefully) showing up on the outside.

It's so cliche, but it really is being born again. Being changed beyond recognition. Being so different that when I look back on my natural tendencies, I can't even believe he's brought me so far. And the funny thing is that it moves so slowly, I sometimes think this is who I naturally am, and that leads to more pride, when in reality it's such a reason for gratefulness!

Monday, February 4, 2008

I really am happy...

...but it's just hard sometimes when the tables are turned. 

anyway, enough self-pity.  i love my friends and i have them nearer than ever (at least geographically, if not otherwise) in the past eight months. and that's a blessing unlike any other.

i'm 23; i have a great apartment with an even greater roommate. i'm in a new place with plenty to discover, with my home just 30 minutes down the road, and with most of my best friends very close by as well. i miss those that are gone (Austin, Boston, India!!) like crazy though. sucks. weird too that my high school friends are all gone (except Ellen, of course). but i've made new friends, even recently.  eventually i should meet people around here, rather than just in Chapel Hill, though.  that'll probably have to be through church.

even better though-- this is where i'm supposed to be. i'm taking it a day at a time, because eternity meets me here, in this moment. i'm anxious to see what's next. i wish i could say "eager" or "excited," but it feels more like anxiety. that's not godly or God-honoring, i know. i wish i could automatically put into action what i know i want to be/do. kinda like paul... "that which i want to do, i don't do... but what i hate, i do! what is this contradiction in myself!" not to mention that this whole figuring-out-who-i-am is a bitch.

all that to say, i'm overtired from a very social but very fun weekend, and i'm feelings sulky and overdramatic and i'm going to bed way early tonight and tomorrow i'm going to work out b/c i need some freaking endorphins.

oh, and i'm old.  my mom was my age (+8 months) when she got married.  her mom had been married for 6 years when she was my age.  not to say i wish i were married (i don't-- first things first-- get a boyfriend), but it just makes me feel a wee aged.

kelly dalton (sweetheart that she is!) got me the sara bareilles cd for my birthday. "love on the rocks" is a jam. just a little fyi. (haha- just read that iTunes Store agrees with me... "Perhaps the best and most original track is the ultra-peppy (think "Benny and the Jets") "Love on the Rocks...") i also like "vegas" and "morningside" and "city."  it's a great cd.  thanks, kelly!! (although "between the lines" hits a little too close to the chest...)

tomorrow is tuesday. ICK!!!!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Welcome Home to Me! and notes on believing

Driving home on Friday night, back to NC from DC after my last day of work, I knew this was the right decision.  There's definitely something nice about knowing you're doing the right thing. =) I'm so glad to be home!

I've been pretty overwhelmed... almost had a heart attack on Fri night when I stopped for dinner and couldn't find my wallet anywhere. (I only had 1/4 tank left and was 1 1/2 hrs down the road.) Turns out, it was under my suitcase in the trunk. AND I thought I'd lost my cell phone but it was in my pocket. Ha. But everything got finished eventually; I have cable and a beautiful tv and all my bedroom furniture and I didn't sleep much last night but I'll be in bed early and my first day of work doesn't start til 9am.

My 7 months in DC was so good for me. Kinda like a hospital for my soul... the ICU, more like. I should spend more time thinking about it, but I have been able to realize a few things.  Talking to Becca about it was key, as always... I had a great learning period about how I need to learn to be quiet because I fill my life so much with people and fun and community, but I need to be still, especially when going through healing.  God took me to a big city to teach me to be quiet. How important it is for me to learn to believe (I believe with my head but not with my heart-- "Lord, help my unbelief!") that the only thing that matters is knowing God as revealed in Jesus, the Messiah. If I really understood that truth, it'd be phenomenal.

Summit was really, really good today. JD talked about abiding, about praying according to his will, about really believing God when he said he'll give us anything we ask if we are looking to him for our desires.  God, how I want you to fulfill me through your sufficiency! He asked us to write down two or three areas where we want to see God's power. I couldn't believe how easy it was to pin down those areas, and how emotional I got when I realized that God does want to display that HE is the true God, in my life and through those areas.  What a powerful truth.  It's all been about how he wants to be acknowledged as the only true God, to the end of our happiness and his supremacy!

"Spreading a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples..."  May that be my life mission and all my success.  What a far way I have to go-- but that's where God's glory shines brightest.

Monday, January 21, 2008

"Embracing Accusation" by Shane and Shane

Their new cd isn't the best ever... there are a few songs I just skip over, but this song is amazing. In classic S&S style, the music and harmonies are soaring and the crescendo lifts you up and the profound lyrics get to the core of the miracle that is grace... how often do I lose the wonder of this simple Truth...

the father of lies coming to steal, kill and destroy
all my hopes of being good enough/i hear him saying, "cursed are the ones who can't abide"
he's right, hallelujah, he's right!
the devil is preaching the song of the redeemed
that I am cursed and gone astray/i cannot gain salvation
...embracing accusation

could the father of lies be telling the truth of God to me tonight?
that if the penalty of sin is death, then death is mine?
i hear him saying, "cursed are the ones who can't abide."
he's right, hallelujah, he's right!
the devil is preaching the song of the redeemed.

the devil's singing over me an age old song
that I am cursed and gone astray/that i cannot gain salvation

singing the first verse so conveniently over me
he's forgotten the refrain
Jesus saves

(he's redeemed us from the curse of the law)

So, go download it on iTunes. Other good songs are, from church, "Sweetly Broken" by Jeremy Riddle and "Song of Hope (Heaven Come Down)" by Robbie Seay Band.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

On second thought, let's not go to Camelot. It is a silly place.

Life is often silly, and that's how I like it. That's why I loved to read about Anne Shirley and Nancy Drew and Kitty & Lydia Bennet and Betsy/Tacy and so many other girls when I was wee.

Boys are silly too. I love this story not because I was being hit on (although that is never bad for the Ego), but because it just shows how silly some people are.

Beth Allen, her roommate, and I were closing our tabs at TopO on Saturday night. Beth was being the heroine and getting our cards, and I could tell the group of about eight thirty-somethings were talking about me. The closest leans over and, indicating a young man near us, says, "So is that the new style here?" "What?" "You know, the three-piece suit." I look over at the guy, look back at him, and say, "He's going to a dress for success party." "What's that?" "I don't know." "But you just said that's where he's going." "He told me." "Oh, so he was hitting on you already?" (Mistake 1-- admitting he's hitting on me and he's prolly not the first one tonight.) "No, he's my friend." (Mistake 2-- trying to hit on me by making fun of a friend.)

He valiently tries to recover, as his friend joins the conversation. "So, are you not going? You look dressed for success." Friend: "Yeah, you look successful!" Janel: "I don't think jeans would cut it." Friend: "The only thing you'd be successful at is being a model." (Mistake 3: Pretty obvious. Who says that?)

This is perfect. The lamest thing to say to somebody. I wasn't interested to begin with, and this sealed all their fates, but it did pique my wit.

Janel: "Oh, really? That's ALL I'd be successful at, is it? Just a model. That's all I could do."
Lame Friend of First Guy: "I mean, I've never talked to you before... I don't know if you're smart or not..."
Janel: "Well, I just now spoke to you and I can already tell you're not qualified to judge me on how intelligent I am."
LFoFG: "Well, now that I've spoken to you I know you could be a rocket scientist or a nuclear physicist."
(Props to him for correctly pronouncing physicist.)
Janel: "Right." And I turned back to the bar.

First Guy tried to talk a little more ("What's your major?" ... already graduated... "International studies? You must be a good translator!") but Beth's roommate saved me, and they continued to make fools of themselves. ("She's tough-- are you that tough?" "I don't know; I just met her." "Oh, did she pick you up at the bar or did you pick her up?")

Gotta love it. What on earth possessed them to continue?! Thankfully, this is not a nightly occurrence for me.

Mr Bennet: "And what of your cousin, Mr Collins? As a connoisseur of human folly, I would have thought you eager to be savoring such delights."
Elizabeth: "Of such delights, sir, I believe a little goes a long way."

Tomorrow I'm moving to Morrisville and Ellen and I are signing our new lease! (The aforementioned "big things to come." =) )

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Janel's Guide to...

...Dealing with difficult people or situations.

Step 1. Listen to your mother.
Step 2. Humble yourself.

In so doing, you will heap fiery coals on their heads. And you will clear the air so you can sleep peacefully. He gives his beloved rest.

I have a lot to learn in this life. I just pray that God lets me keep my parents for as long as possible because he knows I would make an even further f-up of my life than I already am doing if they were not here.

Why do I confuse my honor or my dignity with my pride? How do I keep the first and lose the second? Maybe it has something to do with letting God defend me, trusting him for my vindication, and putting down my sword. When it comes to dealing with eternal souls, I cannot be too careful. My actions have supernatural repercussions.

Jesus said in Luke that we are to give to whomever asks us. I assumed that was referring to homeless people; how narrow-minded I can be! And to think that he can provide for everybody-- he told me that only so that I would benefit, not the one who asks me. We are to give because, in God's economy, we are blessed through our giving. Are you asking for blessing? Do your part and give, and God will fulfill his end of the bargain.

My parents gave a huge percentage of their income this year. And Dad's job-on-the-side with the Kansas City Royals replenished that exact percentage back into the family income. What better testimony do you need? He is faithful.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Happy Birthday, Kim!

Happy birthday to my one loyal blog reader!!! =) Kim Davidson, I love you! Thanks for the food, the fun, the love, the Bible studies, the advice, the listening ear, the phone calls, the book /movies/music recommendations, the prayer, the camaraderie, and the sympathy. You are the salt of the earth, the virtuous woman, the woman after God's heart, the kind of person I want to be.

Have a great time in North Carolina and I really hope I can see you soon. Miss you tons.

P.S. if I happen to have any OTHER readers (doubt it!), check her out at

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Time: not the magazine, the cereal, or the boardgame (although I like all 3)

So, I've been thinking about living inside Time.  We're on this straight line (a timeline if you will), and we can't see the Future but we obsess over it, and we can't change the Past but we obsess over it, and we never care what we're doing with our Present.  CS Lewis said something along the lines of "The Present is where Eternity touches us."  In essence, we really control only what is happening now, in this very moment.  There’s no power except in this second. I think it was in the Screwtape Letters; the devils tried to get people to focus only on the past (futile) or the future (equally futile, plus distressing and worrisome).


Now is when we establish patterns, when we practice consistency or, to use a Christian word, faithfulness.  Why is consistency and reliability such an emphasis in society?  Because we live in time. Something has to be done over and over to be established, permanent, or trustworthy.  We’ll be known by our fruit, not that one time we did one good thing.


One day is just that—only one day.  January 1 begins a year; December 31 ends it; those are just dates. But we view our lives as within hours within days within weeks… you get the picture.  It’s the only way we can handle it.  We compartmentalize our worlds and our lives into digestible units.  And so, I think that a new year allows me to draw a new mental breath and (at least psychologically) start afresh.


And I, for one, know that I need that.  We all need a chance to wipe the slate clean and begin again… a new day.  God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, but we are barely the same on Tuesday as on Monday. (I am especially unreliable on Tuesdays.)


Now, I’m not good at “summing up” these blogs that are (not quite at all) as rambling as my thoughts… but I have yet another observation about our humanity.  We are horrible at realizing the most fundamental truths of our Selves’ settings.  We are in Time; we have only this Moment in which to act; we must not lose another second.


In 2007, I lost the person who changed me more than any other, except perhaps my parents.  I don’t know whom I will lose next. Death is a part of life, and only now am I realizing what the Fall means.  I talked to Becca about that yesterday… losing innocence was one of the tragedies suffered by Adam and Eve, and it’s a tragedy I suffered last year.  On January 9, my heart was broken; on March 23, my world (temporarily, but no less powerfully) shattered.


Father, thank You for not deserting me when I felt like deserting You.  God is not good because life is good; God is good whether or not life is good.  Sometimes life is good (thank You); sometimes life is not good (thank You).


How am I going to live this one life?  For myself or for others?  With regard for the brevity and fragility of human life, or with disdain for the children of God that are perishing around me?  (Why does my heart bleed for the poor but I am spiteful towards those around me? Why do we all hate hypocrisy and yet harbor it in our hearts?)


It may be miles and miles/before the journey’s clear/there may be rivers, may be oceans of tears

And the very hand that shields your eyes from understanding/is the hand that will be holding you for miles…

And one moment someone whispers “thank You”/just then, another voice cries “how could You?”/when Jesus, who sees us/he says I hear you/and I’m near you


More on time later; it fascinates me.