Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Nice Girls Don't Change the World

As I was cleaning off my coffee table on Saturday I unearthed a book that I had purchased last summer, intending to read it right away. Somehow it got away from me and became buried in the busy-ness of life.

And there it was on Saturday looking me in the face. And so I cracked it open and started reading. And didn't put it down until I finished. Granted, it wasn't a long or difficult book. But it grabbed my attention and held me in it's grip.

It was my story. Really. And here I thought I was alone in the way I felt..... or I did until recently when I realized others had undergone the same experience I had. And here, Lynne Hybels, wife of Willow Creek Senior pastor, Bill Hybels, was writing the very things I had gone through.

I don't want to give away the entire book - since it is so short, but in essence she speaks to the women we have been raised to be, the God we think we know, and the faith we have been raised to follow.....

If you get a chance, pick up this little gem and give it a read. Let me know if you relate, and what you think.....

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Isn't she cute???

Carissa as Sally Brown from You're A Good Man Charlie Brown. She performed "My New Philosophy" at the Musical Review last weekend at Gordon College. I wish I could have been there!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Jesus Messiah

This song is a wonderful prayer. It pretty much stops me in my tracks whenever I hear it (which can be pretty darn dangerous if I'm driving....)
It stills my heart. It quiets my mind. It humbles me.
Awe, reverence, worship, thanks, joy, peace.
I lift my hands.

Jesus, Messiah.

Jesus Messiah

He became sin
Who knew no sin
That we might become His Righteousness
He humbled himself and carried the cross

Love so amazing
Love so amazing

Jesus Messiah
Name above all names
Blessed Redeemer
The rescue for sinners
The ransom from Heaven
Jesus Messiah
Lord of all

His body the bread
His blood the wine
Broken and poured out all for love
The whole earth trembled
And the veil was torn

Jesus Messiah
Name above all names
Blessed Redeemer
The rescue for sinners
The ransom from Heaven
Jesus Messiah
Lord of all

All I hope is in You
All I hope is in You
All the glory to You, God
The light of the world

Jesus Messiah
Name above all names
Blessed Redeemer
The rescue for sinners
The ransom from Heaven
Jesus Messiah
Lord of all

Monday, November 17, 2008


Vanessa shared a link for yet another personality test, and out of curiosity - just to see if I've moved or changed I took the test. Apparently there is NOTHING new under the sun. I am still INFP and here is a description of the HEALER.

Healers are found in only 1 percent of the general population, although, at times, their idealism leaves them feeling even more isolated from the rest of humanity.

Idealist Portrait of the Healer (INFP)

Healers present a calm and serene face to the world, and can seem shy, even distant around others. But inside they're anything but serene, having a capacity for personal caring rarely found in the other types. Healers care deeply about the inner life of a few special persons, or about a favorite cause in the world at large. And their great passion is to heal the conflicts that trouble individuals, or that divide groups, and thus to bring wholeness, or health, to themselves, their loved ones, and their community.

Healers have a profound sense of idealism that comes from a strong personal sense of right and wrong. They conceive of the world as an ethical, honorable place, full of wondrous possibilities and potential goods. In fact, to understand Healers, we must understand that their deep commitment to the positive and the good is almost boundless and selfless, inspiring them to make extraordinary sacrifices for someone or something they believe in. Set off from the rest of humanity by their privacy and scarcity (around one percent of the population), Healers can feel even more isolated in the purity of their idealism.

Also, Healers might well feel a sense of separation because of their often misunderstood childhood. Healers live a fantasy-filled childhood-they are the prince or princess of fairy tales-an attitude which, sadly, is frowned upon, or even punished, by many parents. With parents who want them to get their head out of the clouds, Healers begin to believe they are bad to be so fanciful, so dreamy, and can come to see themselves as ugly ducklings. In truth, they are quite OK just as they are, only different from most others-swans reared in a family of ducks.

At work, Healers are adaptable, welcome new ideas and new information, are patient with complicated situations, but impatient with routine details. Healers are keenly aware of people and their feelings, and relate well with most others. Because of their deep-seated reserve, however, they can work quite happily alone. When making decisions, Healers follow their heart not their head, which means they can make errors of fact, but seldom of feeling. They have a natural interest in scholarly activities and demonstrate, like the other Idealists, a remarkable facility with language. They have a gift for interpreting stories, as well as for creating them, and thus often write in lyric, poetic fashion. Frequently they hear a call to go forth into the world and help others, a call they seem ready to answer, even if they must sacrifice their own comfort.

INFPs generally have the following traits:

* Strong value systems
* Warmly interested in people
* Service-oriented, usually putting the needs of others above their own
* Loyal and devoted to people and causes
* Future-oriented
* Growth-oriented; always want to be growing in a positive direction
* Creative and inspirational
* Flexible and laid-back, unless a ruling principle is violated
* Sensitive and complex
* Dislike dealing with details and routine work
* Original and individualistic - “out of the mainstream”
* Excellent written communication skills
* Prefer to work alone, and may have problems working on teams
* Value deep and authentic relationships
* Want to be seen and appreciated for who they are

INFPs are withdrawn and are sometimes hard to get to know. Some may view them as shy. But those that take the time to get to know them will find them warm and gentle, with a surprising sense of humor. They care deeply for those they consider special friends. Putting forth-unusual sacrifices to help such individuals. They often have a subtle, tragic motif running through their lives — inner pain and unease which others seldom detect.

INFPs have a gift with language and usually will express this by means of writing. Their intuitive preference supplies the imagination and their feeling preference giving them the need to communicate. They are gifted at interpreting symbols - being drawn to metaphors and similes. Because of these gifts they often write in lyric fashion

They strive for harmony and dislike conflict.

INFPs treasure their privacy and may keep a lot to themselves. They need time and space for reflection.

What do you think? Me?

I am in good company.....
William Shakespeare, bard of Avon
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Evangeline)
A. A. Milne (Winnie the Pooh)
Laura Ingalls Wilder (Little House on the Prairie)
Helen Keller, deaf and blind author
Carl Rogers, reflective psychologist, counselor
Fred Rogers (Mister Rogers' Neighborhood)
Jacqueline Kennedy Onasis
Neil Diamond, vocalist
Tom Brokaw, news anchor
James Herriot (All Creatures Great and Small)
Annie Dillard (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)
James Taylor, vocalist
Julia Roberts, actor (Conspiracy Theory, Pretty Woman)
John F. Kennedy, Jr.
Princess Diana
Audrey Hepburn
George Orwell

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Happy Sunday!

So, last week was a bad week. Truly. It was grey and rainy (and cold) all week. I accidentally washed my cell phone with the laundry. The van chose this week to need a new water pump. One of the kid's bank accounts got all messed up resulting in fees, fees and more fees. A friend was in a bit of a crisis, and too far away to help. Some kind of animal is dancing either on the roof or in the attic all night, every night. And that's just the big things. Add insomnia, inability to concentrate, and stress and it was a pretty crappy week.

I feel better today.... the van is fixed, my cell has a new battery and is apparently operational, the bank account problem is straightened out, I talked to my friend, I was able to sleep last night and the SUN IS OUT!

I think I'll go get a cup of something hot and curl up on the couch with a book....

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Can We Talk?

I was reading Jon's blog today and in the reading it jogged a memory of something that happened a couple years ago. I was going through a particularly rough time and during that time had quite a few "fights" with God. Basically temper tantrums if I am honest.

About what?

Glad you asked, sorta! I can't believe I'm gonna even say this, but if it can help just one person - it's ok. I'm sure most of you are familiar with the story of the prodigal son. Hmmm... but just what is it you remember about this story? You remember that the father forgave the son who blew it, came back, repented, he even threw a big party! Right? End of story. At least that's usually as far as the sermon or Sunday School lesson went. But did you ever consider how the brother of the prodigal son felt, the one that just got a mention in the passage?

A couple years ago I was feeling incredibly sorry for myself. Pouting. Sulking. Whatever. Life just didn't seem fair. I had friends who always talked about all the cool things they did growing up. And all the not so cool, but in all honesty, fun learning experiences. The partying, the drinking, all the things you try, and revel in and move on from as you mature. But you still had the experience, enjoyed it, learned from it. And had great stories to tell.

Unless you were raised in a Christian home - and were not the rebellious sort. Overtly rebellious anyway. No, no, I followed the rules, stayed on the correct side of the line, went to youth group, did all the expected Christian things, went to Bible college, and was proud of it. I was God's good girl. I got acceptance and praise. I was doing something right, unlike those sinful friends....

And expecting to be rewarded for my sacrifice! I'm better than you and God loves me more..... well, at least that's the attitude I had.

Until years later when I started hearing (and really listening to) the stories. The fun. The experiences. The rites of passage. From the kids who did whatever they wanted and had a blast. And then repented and God loved them just as much as he did me. And forgave them, and welcomed them to His family. Unconditionally. What? What the heck was I doing denying myself all this stuff for then anyway? It's not fair. There must be some kind of special reward for purity and following the rules! How dare these people even think they are accepted and loved just like me? And so a few fights with God ensued. IT'S NOT FAIR! I was basically stomping my feet and acting like a child with a sense of entitlement. And stunted growth.....

In the middle of this a good friend gave me a book. It was Christmas time, and it was a gift. He had no reason for picking that certain book, it was just a good book, and one that he thought I would enjoy. (Trust me, I asked him later) The book was Return of the Prodigal Son by Henry Nouwen. I settled in to read, and suddenly I stopped. Shocked. This book was about me! Was my friend inside my head? WHY did he give me this book? I never in my life really saw the words in Luke 15: 25-31 about the brother. This wasn't his story, right? And now the brother's story was hitting me over the head. I was the selfish, ungrateful, entitled brother who was angry that the father had thrown the lavish party and accepted the prodigal back with open arms! He had had his cake and eaten it too! He had sinned, sown wild oats, spent tons of money - and then when it all came crashing down came crawling back to daddy. Who threw a party for him! Instead of telling him he had gotten what he deserved. And he hoped he had learned a lesson. And yes, he could live there again, but he'd better shape up and get his act together - he'd better take lessons from his brother!! No! He threw a party!

No judgment. No punishment. No recrimination. No conditions. And the brother sat on the side lines and sulked. Why did I deny myself this life of fun if it made no difference to our father?

See where I'm going here? God is God. He can choose to forgive anyone and restore them and reconcile them to himself for no other reason than that he wants to. It's who He is! And it IS fair. It's His call! I can sit and whine all I want - like Jonah did with regards to Ninevah. Who threw such a temper tantrum that God had to use a fish and a fast growing and equally fast dying shady plant to teach him the important lesson that EVERYONE is important to God. And loved. And forgiven. And no less accepted than anyone else no matter what they have done! And that God can do whatever HE wants. Ninevah didn't deserve God's salvation? The prodigal son didn't deserve unconditional love and welcome?

Oooooh - how convicting. How stupid and selfish I was being......

Tho it hurt, I was so grateful for the gift of the book. And the lessons I learned. Some days it isn't any easier and I have to remind myself I'm acting like a pharisee. Or a spoiled child.

God is God. And can do whatever he pleases. Really.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I love The New Christians and Sylar too!

I have two competing thoughts to blog about this morning. Apparently I will do justice to neither.

I've just finished reading the book The New Christians by Tony Jones. If you haven't read it, it is an excellent, well written book explaining the emergent church. And since Tony has been there since the beginning his insider's view is invaluable. I appreciated the humility and grace with which he presented his position, as well as how responded to his critics. He approached them and their criticisms with a kind spirit and took the opportunity to educate and correct mis-assumptions without ridicule or anger. The book shored up my beliefs and helped me remember why I am where I am. If you have questions about the emergent church, and want to read something to help you understand the whys and the hows and the reasons behind it, I highly recommend this book. And at the same time it makes me sad for what we have lost - we in the larger sense of Christianity and the church, as well as we meaning our family having just lost our small community gathering.

How that transitions to Heroes, I don't know. But last night I found myself becoming a Sylar fan. I find Sylar fascinating. I used to hate Sylar. Now I feel like he's a lost, confused little boy in the shell of man. So confused that anger and violence is the result. All his attempts to make things better, to fuse all the disconnect within him have made him a monster. At the beginning of the season, in a conversation with his mother she helps him realize the error of his ways and put him on the path of redemption. Last nights episode showed a younger, very confused Sylar who was obviously frightened by his power, by his desires, his inability to control impulse - and willing to kill himself to prevent more incidents. I think he was shocked when he killed his "father".... and horrified. It reminds me of the look (granted, on a much smaller and quite different scale) that an ADD child gives when they do something unacceptable because they just can't control that impulse. You know better, and you watch yourself doing something you know is not appropriate, but you can't stop from doing it. And the look of horror and embarrassment that crosses that child's face is quite telling.

So, now does the blame for Sylar's actions in the future shift, or get shared with HRG or the company? After all, they kept him alive. To their benefit of course, but at what cost? And what happened to Elle that she had a conscience when she first met Sylar, and a year from this point is the person she is?

So, now I hate the people that did this to SYlar. I just wanna take him and fix it......I feel empathy for the Sylar he becomes, with a child himself, trying to erase his past by doing good - loving and raising a child the correct way. But the company can't leave him alone no matter how hard he tries to put it behind him. And it makes me hurt for him when they come after him and force him to be the Sylar he wants to forget. It's so sad that no one can even begin to see the good in him...

And where did Arthur Petrelli get his power? How does he control minds the way he does, and so efficiently. He obviously wasn't part of the group of children that the company experimented on. Apparently his hold over other people lessens when he is not present or Linderman could not have gotten through to Angela the way he did, changing her "blind obedience" into seeing the truth. Wow. I loved what Linderman asked Angela last night - "do you want to live in blind obedience? Or do you want to know the truth?" Seems like a path I have been on quite recently.....

I want to see more back-story with Flint and Claire's mom. Don't know why - I guess I just wanna know what makes them tick. Her protectiveness towards her brother despite compromising her own safety intrigued me too. There seem to be as many redeeming qualities in these people as there is darkness. What prods them to do what they do?

I really, really want to see how this all started. What the experiment was, how they procured their test subjects, what the original intent was - was it always evil, or good gone evil?

But still, the thing that intrigued me most was Sylar. Hmmmmm.

Dancin' with my Father God in fields of grace.


Friday, November 07, 2008

Day Off

Hot tea.
Good book.
Bright sunshine.
Good music.
Scented candles.
Snuggly dog.
Dancing while nobody's watching.
Thinking time.
Lunch with a friend.
Taking a nap.
Just sitting.
Homemade soup.

I could get used to this! :)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Did I mention I love fall?

Today is an absolutely gorgeous day! And because our local elementary schools are used as polling places we teachers/staff/students have the day off! How perfect.

So I grabbed the iPod and Cairo and headed out the door for a walk. Cai was in heaven. It's been awhile since I've taken him out - I'm usually just too tired when I get home from work.

We headed out of the subdivision, cut through the local church parking lot - where there is a polling place, crossed a busy road, and ended up on the Prairie Path. It was beautiful! It's about 70 degrees and the sky is a brilliant blue and clear. There is a light breeze blowing - just kind of caressing the leaves. A faint smell of wood smoke is drifting on the breeze. All around me I was surrounded by beauty. The leaves were every color you can imagine from bright goldenrod yellow, to a spicy orange to a deep crimson. And of course many are still green.

Birds were chirping, bugs buzzing and leaves crunching under our feet - but we were alone in that busy silence. No one shared the path with us. So Cairo could run a bit and not freak out when he felt threatened by others. (Which he always does, silly dog!)

How peaceful and relaxing - a true multi-sensory experience. Now Cairo is stretched out on the kitchen floor fast asleep. I think I might join him. On the couch, not the kitchen floor......

International Annointed First Starbucks of the Northern Valley

I found this at MPT's blog and it made me laugh. So, I thought I'd share....

disclaimer: It may step on some toes, or be a bit disturbing.