Friday, January 30, 2009

(some of) my favorite words

I once saw a book that I really wish I had just bought.  It was essentially a journal, but each page had a different prompt for a list to write.  I have made it my mission to find that book again, and to list to my heart's content.  I don't know what it is, but there is just something so endearing to me about enumerating my favorite songs, or movies or foods or places....

Tonight, however, I will turn to listing a smattering of my favorite words.  Some are favorites due to their meaning, others because of the way they look or sound.  I have to confess that I did spend more than a few moments drafting this list at work.  I also have to confess that all these wonderful words made me miss the days of studying with flash cards for the SAT...oh to be young again!

Originally, I had hoped to make an A-Z list, but inspiration didn't lead that way after all...enjoy!

cumbersome, opulent, zealot, obtuse, cacophony, soiree, shindig, bludgeon, effervescent, bask, ogle, winsome, squeamish, tourniquet, traverse, grandeur, guts, smorgasbord, incredulous, exacerbate, gregarious, magnanimous, holistic, gander, clad, livid, languish, lackadaisical, perfunctory, pragmatism, dank, doodle, happenstance, jumble, jocular, kindred, coagulate, poppycock, sordid, wrangle, congregate, usurp, malign, benign, serendipitous, squalor, decimate, esoteric, stoic, peon, minion, marzipan, contemplative, sycophant, wasps, colonel, idiosyncrasies, squirrel, swindle, disjointed, impediment, austere, brackish.

Until next time,

Sunday, January 25, 2009

music and memories

I love that particular songs can bring you right back to a place in time.  A song can stir a particular emotion each and every time you hear it's melody dance into your ears.  Tonight as I was revamping my sleepy time playlist I threw on some Sufjan Stevens and instantly my mind was flooded with memories of the summer of 2004 living in a dinky little hotel room at the El Caribe in Daytona Beach, Florida.  I was on summer project and I had just finished my sophomore year at Cal Poly.  To this day it's still somewhat baffling that I signed up for a summer project because I scarcely knew what they were about or what I'd be doing but I am so glad that something did stir in my heart to lead me on that journey there.

 During my first couple of weeks there, I celebrated my 20th birthday there and I recieved a care package with a couple of burned Sufjan cds. I instantly fell in love with his music and it wasn't long after that I was sharing this discovery with my new dear friends, Emily, Hannah, Renee and Katie.  Emily and I were roommates in what was affectionately known as "The Cave."  The room wasn't much, just the one queen sized bed that we shared all summer, a tiny kitchen and a bathroom.  Every night Emily and I would crank up the AC and play the Seven Swans album as we drifted off to sleep.  The cd was not only beautiful music, but was helpful to drown out the sounds  of the busy A1A highway outside of our window and the steady hum of the air conditioner.   The songs from that cd, along with many other songs, have created a soundtrack to my life that summer.  It was a summer where I made some incredible friendships built on Christ, and laughter and sisterly love.  It was a summer where I fell in love with Jesus and the Word in a fresh and life changing way.  Summer 2004 was life-changing for me.  Just sitting here writing about it now makes my eyes well up with tears to think about what an impact that made on my life.  Some of my fondest memories and most beloved friends were made that summer.  
Years later I heard the song "The Dress Looks Nice on You" by Sufjan Stevens played as my dear friend Emily walked down the aisle to be married to a really wonderful man.  It had then, as it does tonight, an emotional effect as I remember and thank the Lord for my life and the cherished memories I have from Daytona Beach.

I feel so blessed to have had that chance to sit and reflect on that summer and those sweet times tonight...and it was all thanks to a song I threw on my sleep playlist!  

So what song or cd does that for you?  I'd love to hear.

Until next time,

Saturday, January 17, 2009

thoughts on the bachelor

Last night, for the very first time, I watched an entire episode of The Bachelor, on ABC.  While this show has been on for years, it has never really caught my attention, and now I know why: watching that show made my heart ache!  And this wasn't a fun, "He's so dreamy, I want that kind of romance!" kind of heart ache. It was pure sadness and compassion for these girls!  I really can't imagine how to create a show where emotions are so jacked with...I mean these girls ship off away from their friends, family, communities and work leaving all of their spheres of life where they are receiving esteem and value to go compete for the affection of one man.  So then they try and make friends with the other girls / contestants, but it's not too long before the jealousy and catty-ness begins.  I seriously just wanted to meet and talk for hours with each of the girls on that show to try to figure out why they were there...these women are beautiful and successful...but they are still so desperately seeking approval and value.  All of it just made me so thankful for Jesus in my life and how He has freed me up from those bonds.

Now let's talk about the Bachelor, Jason.  He is super smooth, tells all the girls they are amazing and beautiful and special and yadda yadda yadda...but at the end of the day how does he show them that he values them?  He kisses and romances nearly ALL of the other girls.  Nice.  Way to be a gentleman, guy.  

Overall, I would give the show two thumbs down.  If I wanted to watch something on TV that makes me feel sad I'll just watch the news...or that Britney Spears documentary.

Until next time,

Sunday, January 11, 2009

the trial run has fun

Yesterday I packed up my car with the essentials for the week and headed Southwest to Dana Point for the trial run living with Sarah.  The only reason it's a trial run and not an official move at this point is due to the fact that I am not so sure about this whole commuting business.  I hope it's manageable because I would really love for it to work out to live with Sarah, she's so much fun and such an encouragement to my soul.

To kick off the week, we got dressed up and went out last night to an incredible little Italian restaurant.  After our delicious meal we went out dancing...which was pretty stinking hilarious.  We were almost instantly befriended by a fairly drunk guy named Sean, who took it upon himself to escort us around, meet everyone he knew, and to protect us from potentially skeezy people.  We had a blast dancing!  This morning we made some chocolate chip pancakes, took a walk to the beach in 75 degree sunny weather, then spent the remainder of the day being lazy on the couch, partly napping and partly watching the Chargers game.  I would say I was mostly napping...Sunday is the day of rest, after all =)  The soundtrack to my lazy day has been Ray La Montagne's new album, "Gossip in the Grain"...check it out it's great songwriting/music.  My favorite is You are the Best Thing, it's a great track.

We are about to head off to check out a new contemporary contemplative service at Sarah's church.  I'm interested to see what the means.

So life is pretty good.  I'm excited to settle into a routine here and really check things out.  It's looking like a short term thing here in DP, but I am definitely welcoming the new scenery and the companionship.  

Until next time, 

Friday, January 9, 2009

This week I have carved out a  little routine for myself, which I've really been enjoying.  After work, I have been doing my quiet times at home in my room.  This is pretty out of the norm for me for a couple of reasons, one being that I am typically a morning QT person, and another reason being that I typically like to do my quiet times away from home, even if it's in my car before work, otherwise I get pretty distracted. Part of these quiet times have been going through a sermon series on Tuning Into the Voice of God, which I was initially really drawn to because of my circumstances as of late.  Now, as I think about it more, I am realizing how silly it is to think that because of my present situation and it's hardships I am finding it more appropriate to learn how to tune into the voice of the Lord.  As a person who wants to follow Christ with my life, that question of how I discern God's truth and direction should be constant.  Anyways, I've been learning a lot through this series and thinking through some good, although tough, questions.

The series is primarily taught out of Jeremiah 7:23-26 and the pastor, Chuck Bomar has been focusing the sermons on some of the key phrases out of the text.  Here is the basic gist of what I've been learning.

The overarching truth of this whole series is that as Christians, we have a personal relationship with God, and so it follows that if we have a relationship with a loving God, then he certainly desires to communicate with us and lead us into a life that is honoring and pleasing to Him.  Unfortunately there are so many things in our hearts and in our lives that distract, dilute and distort our ability to hear God's voice.

As I mentioned, the bulk of the series has been spent investigating those things that hinder our ability to hear and follow God's voice.  

1. the first point was that we can't obey when we lack the disciplines in our life to even know what God's ways are.  This was a super good reminder for me about the wealth that we possess in the Word.  So often I am hoping for the Lord to spell out my life's direction in an audible voice or a burning bush, all the while overlooking that fact that I have God's trustworthy written words at my disposal.  Some other points that were made that brought me encouragement and challenge were that as believers, we've been given sound minds by which we can understand God's word; in order to be disciplined we have to work really and literally push every distracting thing aside for the sake of striving to be Christlike in our obedience; and finally we have the responsibility to organize our lives to build in these spiritual disciplines.  Good stuff.  I need to really mull over these truths, especially the point about how the Lord has given us sound minds.  As I am stepping into adulthood more all the time I am recognizing how much of my early life was based on the decisions of others.  Now that's not case anymore, but I honestly miss that sometimes, and want to revert back to a time where it was someone else's decision making process that propelled my life forward.  I really want to be able to be stoked about responsibility to seek and follow the Lord's leading in my life, trusting that He has given me the capability to make wise, God-honoring decisions.  Right now I am certainly in a position to put this into practice as I'm praying about where God is taking me next.

2. The second part of the series looked into the meaning of what it is to walk in our "own counsels".   Chuck explained that these counsels often break down into the wisdom of the world, the advise of the spiritually unwise or immature and our circumstances.  The one that really kicked my butt was circumstances, because I am so prone to look at what is going on in my life and then to attempt to infer God's leading.  I do this all the time questioning if this or that is a sign from God.  And it very well could be, but I again I am realizing that it is far more reliable to seek the Lord in the Word and in prayer rather than to analyze the details of my circumstances to try to discern how the Lord is leading.

Hmmm...well that's a lot of writing already and that is only part one and two of a five part series.  I think for now, I will conclude, hopefully to return at a later date to write some more of my thoughts.  Writing is really good for me because I'm what they call an external processor and I often don't know what I know until I have to communicate it.  

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

this blog is pretty obscure and few people read it, so i decided that in an effort to make you, the few readers, feel quite trusted and welcome here I would divulge a few unknown nuggets about myself:

1. I seldom sing the melody of a song, and almost always sing the harmony.  I do this alone in the car as I sing along with the radio.

2. I find a strange pleasure in being taller than people and being able to see the tops of their heads.

3. I really love perforated paper.

4. I really hate Styrofoam.  It gives me the heebie jeebies.

5. I have a very active imagination life.  If left alone to my thoughts I might be imagining anything from choreographing a dance number, visualizing the opening shot of a film or something more mundane like having a conversation with someone.  I keep myself fairly entertained this way.

6. I love it when things work out perfectly numerically.  For example, I grab a random handful of forks to set the table and voila!  that is the exact number of place settings.  I have a mental celebration on these occurrences.

That's it for now...