Monday, March 31, 2008

I just want to say that I think that crossing yourself when you pray can be a great reminder of how holy prayer is.
I also think lighting a candle in prayer can be very grounding.
Reading prayers that others have written in an expression of worship can be very liberating. 
Reading those prayers knowing that others all over the world are praying the same prayer is empowering.
I am really enjoying hanging out with the Orthodox. I am not planning to convert, but I am going to incorporate as much tradition as I reasonably can.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

smiles are beautiful

Standing in line at Philz the cashier looks at me and tells me I have a beautiful smile. He says so every time I go in and he is working. He sometimes even says it as I walk past the store. Yesterday morning he asked if he had told me before, because it was important that I know, that i have a beautiful smile. 

It is funny the things that others see when they look at you. For the longest time I have been insecure about my smile. 

So a few weeks back I wrote that i was not going to wear make up or jewelry for a while (till Orthodox Easter) to help curb my self obsession and continual personal critique of my appearance. 

It is liberating. 

My appearance does not define me. My fashion sense does not determine my worth in the world. 

Women who wear makeup do supposedly make more money (10% more) and get promoted more often. 'What not to Wear' has taught me a great deal about the importance of caring about my appearance. Women who are attractive and well maintained make it farther in the work force and 'life'. BUT is that where my worth lies? In making more money? or being promoted? I don't even function in that world. If I did should I let those things be so important? 

It seems petty to even have these issues on my radar. But it is the little things in life that can be the most distracting and damaging if they go ignored. In light of not wearing makeup or jewelry my overall focus on appearance has shifted. It has been easier to not read fashion magazines thus reducing the overwhelming urge to shop (plus i have been thinking more about how environmentally unsustainable it is for people to purchase as much clothing as Americans do). So it is effecting other areas of my life. 

I have also been pondering beauty more holistically. People are more beautiful when they smile. So instead of thinking about the fact that my eyes stand out more with eye liner, I am focusing on smiling more. Hey the guy at Philz thinks I have a great smile, I might as well flaunt it!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

for all the gluten free peeps out there
has a bunch of really yummy looking gluten free recipes!

in the past week I have spoken to 4 people who have friends with celiac. 
I am not alone!!

Monday, March 24, 2008

evangelicals and their habitats

I just found a field guide to understanding evangelicals. I laughed so hard! It covered all the things about being an evangelical that I have mocked for so long yet it was odd to hear my life described as satire. 
I am still not sure how I feel about the fact that I am basically an evangelical, sort of. I think there are some messed up things going on in the evangelical church. The requirement that all Christians vote republican is dumb. I am not a republican. Objecting to body piercing but not ear piercing or plastic surgery is dumb. My nose is pierced and I have tattoos; I like all my body art. So I am not your typical evangelical. I don't read Left Behind books; I think they have really bad theology. I don't live in a suburb, and I don't want to. I did go to an evangelical college. I kissed dating good-bye in high school and my dating life seems to imply that I held onto that view of dating. I want to serve the poor and live like Jesus, some would say that is not evangelical, I feel like that is too harsh a judgment on the evangelical community. I do want others to know the joy of grace and love offered in Christ's life. I also want people to have all the opportunities they need to have a full life; in short I support government programing, and community development. 
I am fully aware that a great many Christians suck at following Christ, but is that because they are evangelical or because they are human? I don't want to let people off the hook. I want the world to change and I think that the Christians that are doing nothing need to rethink their view of the Scripture, but is being evangelical the same thing as being a Cultural Christian? I guess I am just curious as to what the term really means. Yesterday I was discussing the missional church vs the evangelical church. What does all this mean? I feel like too many people think they know the answer to that question but most don't actually know they have just decided that they do. 
Anyway if you ever see the book "A Field Guide to Evangelicals and their Habitats" pick it up. It is so funny! If you grew up evangelical you will relate too much and it will mess with your head.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday

as I run about my day, trying to read and promising myself that I will get stuff done, I pause to remember the price paid for humanity. 

So I read the account in Luke.

As I read the account in Luke I thought of how rejection feels. Like any other person I have tasted rejection, but unlike Christ I have never loved others selflessly. My heart aches to think of the man who was God, that chose to feel the emotions of a man and yet was capable of love beyond His humanity. I thought of how must it have felt to love the people who were calling for His death, and how must it have felt to know that we would take this gift for granted. It must have been pure pain to see his friends standing at a distance knowing that it hurt them to watch Him, but also knowing that they were not strong enough to be by His side. I am sure that in the history of all time no one has ever felt so alone. The nails must have hurt, but I am more awed that my Christ chose to be heart broken for us. 

There is no greater Love.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


I got one and i am so excited about it.
especially after my day. I had a realization regarding my money situation changing and decided that my simple living plan wasn't simple enough so I was pouting (in my head) and realizing that there are some luxuries that I just can't afford right now (like a nice hair cut). then one of the leaders of the amazing group I had this week is a stylist so she cut my hair FOR FREE!! JOY!! 
in case you are nervous it is still as long as it was I just trimmed it and redid my bangs and layers, but still I am so excited about it!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

so i sound like a sqeeky toy when i talk, that is always fun.

we have had a jr high student group here this week, they are really amazing.

the combination of these two things is pure joy.

praise God of lessons in humility and patience.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

observation of a writer

He hits his fist
rocks back and forth
moves his hand in rhythm with his thoughts
looks away, looks back
he writes on scraps, in spaces without lines
finding the right words
the right thoughts
presses his hands to his lips
he is gone
not here but still more present then most 
his leg bounces
bum, bum, bum, bum, bum
his eyes shift
left, right, left, up, down, back
he is at work
creating, thinking, searching
thoughts are racing
searching deeply
by his look you would never know
clean cut, shaven
clear eyes
college track jacket
the tension is in his slouched posture: pushing, sinking into his thoughts
his twitching fingers moving as if they could find the words
even the nerves in his skin are searching for the words
he leans in, he almost has it
the next phrase, the next word, the next thought- they allude him
looking away
at the carpet, out the window
he is lost again searching
it is as if the words are all around him- if he could find the rhythm again- then he can write
a deep breath in
clenched jaw
shuffling, leaning into his thoughts, pushing into the words
eye brows lift and drop
finally the words come
furious and fast
he is writing as if afraid the words might flee again
scribbling in every corner, ever space of the page
shaking his head
hand pressed to his mouth
lost in his own mind, but more present than most

this is what i saw on the BART the other day. This is a beautiful city.


Tears almost surfaced as I read the intro to the essay. I was standing in the UC Berkley book store. I had picked the book up at random. Writing the Range is a collection of essays dealing with women in western history. The article I was reading discussed the impact of a particularly significant missionary's wife on the Native American people her husband worked with. She had civilized them. 
My eyes watered as I read, not because it was poignantly written, the portion of the article I read was academic and direct. I held back tears in a public bookstore because my heart was breaking for a people who had had their identity stolen from them in the name of Christ. My heart was stirred with frustration and pain as I lamented how civilized Christianity has become, and how destructive it is in the civilization process. 
I am fully aware that I was reading history, but I fear that it is a history that we have failed to learn from. My heart breaks for the history that missionaries have created, and the story that many are still writing. In many ways it is still the story of outsiders robbing people of their culture in order to make them 'Christian'. Someone tell me where Jesus says that you must be dressed in western attire to be a follower? Where does Jesus condemn tribal life? Where does Christ call us to be civilized? Indeed on many levels I feel that God calls us to be less civilized than we are, to follow the teachings we have been given with reckless abandon toward the rules of order in this world. 'give all that you have to the poor' Who would call that a civilized way to live?
I didn't have time to finish the article. I made it far enough to read that the arthur intended to show that despite efforts to civilize them the people had found ways to maintain something of their heritage. There was also the assertion that it was possible that the missionaries were helpful in easing the process of change that would eventually come as the west was settled. Still I wonder what would have happened to the Native American's of this country if the missionaries had chosen an alternative approach. What if instead of helping Native people become more like us, missionaries had sided with the Native people? How would the story have changed if we saw the gospel as a fulfillment of the stories that people are already in? 
I believe in the power of truth to change the way we live, even to the point of changing cultures. With that understanding I feel that we must be even more careful of what it is we are trying to change. 
I was surprised by my reaction to the essay. I was in a book store on the verge of tears. 

Monday, March 10, 2008

i have a friend visiting me. i sometimes forget how great it is to be with someone who knows me already. someone who was there for all of the craziness of the past three years. mine is an amazing life. 

Thursday, March 6, 2008

I really was meant to teach

So I am a tutor and sometimes I get to teach lessons (our program is a little more intense than most tutoring programs out there). I love it when I get to teach. 

I am an intern for ReIMAGINE and this week I am hosting a student group. Through the week I get to do some formal teaching, but mostly just life style teaching. As we are hanging out, serving together and seeing the city we get to have real teaching moments. I love them. 

So just for a moment I am laughing at all the years I said I would never be a teacher. My mom is a teacher, my older sister is a teacher, I was never going to be a teacher, but I am one. 

It is such a huge responsibility. Their trusting eyes look up to me and expect that what I say and do will be truth. My seventh graders do this with math and the college kids are trusting me with directing their lives. Being in this position I feel so alive. I feel like I am doing all that I am supposed to, but it is scary. 

So dear Lord, help me teach well: in every choice and every action let my life teach. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

the worship thing

So I was chatting about leading worship with a friend (she leads not me) and she was talking about a disconnect with the way she is involved. It occurred to me through this conversation that I am not really involved in leading worship at all. I went to Seminary to learn how to be a minister and I am not that connected with the traditional evangelical style of church. When I do attend a worship service it is Greek Orthodox liturgy on Sundays. 

My spiritual walk is not lessened by my lack of attendance in music based worship services. My worship is not lessened by the fact that I am constantly trying to keep up and read along at the Orthodox service. For a very long time in my life I have been compelled to believe that worship really has very little to do with singing. I love singing, but I painted a wall today at a center that helps the homeless. I worshipped today. I have not attended a protestant service in months. I am still baptist somewhere in my heart of hearts, but I don't think that I have worshiped in a baptist church through the norms of a worship service in years, even as I have maintained attendance and participation. 

I loved my church in Waco. We went through allot together. The leadership is amazing. Ben, Josh, John Mark all bring joy to my soul. Dave is a wonderful worship leader. The music was always well done, but that was not the part of it that made me come back each week. I went for the community there. My church was not the building were we gathered, this was proven for the year we couldn't even go inside. My church was all around me everyday in the relationships I had. Worship was the life I lived to connect with God.

I don't really attend church much anymore. I am experimenting with going to the Orthodox church, and I love it. But that does not create warm feelings inside me. In fact there is really nothing about following Christ right now that creates emotional highs for me these days and it has been this way for years. I follow Christ because He loves me and has invited me into a way of life that is powerful beyond my own understanding. I am living out Church right now in my life in amazing ways. 

It is scary to me at times. I remember growing up how much we all looked down on people that didn't attend church. I want to lead others in following Christ and I am not attending church. I don't sing worship songs (when I do they are Crowder songs and I sing them more because I miss waco than anything else). But this is an exciting time. I am in community with others who are seeking to follow Christ and we don't have the crutch of a Sunday gathering, we have to push into community and make it happen. I don't have the pep talk of a Sunday service and I don't have the rush of good music set to get me through the week. Once upon a time I would have looked at someone like me and worried about their soul. I would have been sad for them that they have turned from God. 

My soul is more alert to God than it has been in a while. I am more fully obedient than I have been in my memory. I am a living part of the body of Christ that is the Church, I just don't spend much time in the building anymore. It is a crazy thing to step out of the building and try to figure out Church without the walls, and the classes. I miss working the nursery. I miss teaching Hannah in Sunday school. I miss the hugs during the obligatory baptist greeting time. But Is that what we were called to when we were called to be the Church? Is that worship? What does any of that have to do with singing?  

I love the Church. I think she is broken and hurting but she is also loving and life giving. I am not on break form the Church, I am just living it out in a different way. I hope that this is pleasing to the Lord above all else. I am seeking to live out religion that God loves. Maybe someday I will take my MDiv and work on a Church staff. But for right now I have to say that it is very liberating to not have to be anywhere on Sunday morning.


Well I don't have time to write all that I want. I just read Adam's blog about worship and it is crazy cause I was just thinking/talking about worship last night with a new friend and I really want to think through that here, but first I want to share a moment of JOY!

A dear dear friend has blessed my soul!! So a few posts back I mentioned this project I want to create. I am really excited about it but I am trying to be more careful with how I spend money. I totally didn't know that anyone would really read the blog because I had just started it and wasn't connected to anyone so that she would know to read it. But she did. (I really want to say her name but I am not sure that she wants me to make a big deal about her doing this.) Anyway she sent me some money to buy the supplies I need to make the art I want to!! 

This experiment in trusting God to give me whatever I need is crazy. 

So later on I want to get back to the worship discussion, cause seriously that one is huge. But for now i am just in awe of how God moves when we are obedient and willing to attempt to live simply. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


my heart is saddened by my dear states inability to vote well. 

Clinton? Really? I want the Audacity of Hope! I want a leader that believes in the people that he is leading (and if the leader were a she then awesome, but I will not vote for a woman based solely on her gender.)

Seriously Obama believes in the power of the American people to create change. So, for real, look into what he is saying. Stop listening to people who tell you that he is not a Christian, listen to his words, his speeches, and please Texas learn how to vote!! 
Please Texas: VOTE OBAMA!!

Monday, March 3, 2008

So i just read what i wrote yesterday. It sounds so cheesy. This is why i have no words to express how I feel about God. Cause anytime I say something good I go back and read it, it sounds fake, or really just foolish. I don't understand why it is so hard to express joy in reaction to God. Maybe I am just sleepy. this whole write something everyday plan might be a bad idea.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

city walks and not shopping

We walked the city to see the Kingdom that is here, to see where God is already active, to learn how to use our eyes differently. It was a beautiful day. Creation glowed with the beauty of The Creator. The walk was amazing. This group is fun and eager. I have the most amazing internship ever.
I am so grateful to be allowed the joy of teaching as I learn. I was tempted to buy so much as we wondered the streets, but I know that my provision comes in faith. Faith that God will give me all that I need. As the lilies of the field were more beautifully clothed than Solomon, God has the power to clothe me with all I could ever need or desire. With new eyes I see that I have been blessed with abundance in every area of my life, and I am overjoyed. 

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Student Group #1

The first student group is here. I almost forgot how much I love, love, love to lead groups. They are fresh, excited, wide eyed, ready to learn, ready to serve, ready to be away from school, ready to see a new place. There is such a great energy with them. Needless to say today was a good day. I am really excited about this week. 

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