Monday, December 22, 2008

There is a Huge Difference


"I am willing to go"


"I am going."

Friday, December 19, 2008

May It Be So!

"For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all." -Ephesians 1:15-23

Praying for a spirit of wisdom and revelation - that my heart may be enlightened to the hope to which I have been called and the value of my inheritance in Christ so that by the power of the Holy Spirit (the same power that raised Christ from the dead!) my weak faith may be transformed into that of a strong believer who is willing to sacrifice everything for the God who loves me and who believes he will care for me in the process. May it be so!

"For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith - that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be gory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and eve,r. Amen." -Ephesians 3:14-21

Oh, how badly I needed that "Bible break!" Now back to working on the paperwork for my house.....

I Wonder if Someone Will Get Fired

Matthew Broderick was just on Conan. He was promoting his new animated film Tale of Despereaux.

They showed a clip of the film, which M. Broderick set up by saying, "I'm the mouse with the really big ears." So the little tv popped up, the clip started and....THE MOUSE NEVER TALKED.

Not one. single. word.

There weren't really any other characters talking, either. The poor little mouse was standing in a gladiator-type ring and the crowd was cheering while this big cat came out to fight. The mouse stood there looking scared, there was a big production of the cat coming out of its barrel, and the clip was over.

The clip was followed by this awkward moment where MB kind of raised his hand up toward the monitor with a confused look on his face and said, "Wow. Didn't you love my vocal performance?" To which Conan gave an awkward chuckle and covered by saying, "Why yes, you were making great facial expressions the entire time."

I mean, really. Who picks those clips? And can they get fired for making a mistake like that?

It was awkward.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

On Fathers and Husbands

"He's going to have to be willing to do....stuff...."

This is the conclusion I came to last week as certain events, combined with some thoughts from my sister, caused me to reflect on the necessary characteristics of my future bf/husband.

Let me walk you through my day.

The date was Wednesday, December 10th. I began the morning by taking my car in for an oil change. I was particularly excited for this oil change because it was the first one since I acquired Coby and I was looking forward to having the guys at the shop take his window guards off. I can't stand them. The guys at the shop told me that I could do it myself at home, and I believed them, so Coby left the shop with his window guards still attached.

On my way home, I stopped by Home Depot to buy light bulbs for the fourth time this month. The light over my landing had three bulbs burn out in early November and they were still in need of being replaced. I bought the wrong bulbs three times (don't ask) and, consequently, I spent over four weeks with naked, burnt-out bulbs hanging gloomily over a landing that was obnoxiously cluttered with the step-stool that I refused to put away because it was protecting the outside of the light fixture which was lying on the floor underneath it's belly.

So, in review, my tasks for the day were:
1) Get the oil changed (check).
2) Get the window guards off of Coby.
3) Change the light bulbs/reassemble the light fixture/put away the step-stool.

When I got home, I decided to tackle the window guards project first. About 20 minutes later, as I stood in my garage with one plastic guard (out of four) broken into over a dozen pieces and two cuts on my hand, looking at patches of black sticky goo that refused to come off of my dear, sweet Coby, I decided to quit. My fingers were sore and hot from trying to scrape the junk off with my fingernail while simultaneously blasting it with a blow dryer on high (the process that had been recommended to me) and it simply wasn't worth it. So I gave up. I decided Coby could deal with the trashy look of one missing window guard and my dad could clean up after me when I go home for Christmas.

On to the light bulbs.

I actually bought the right bulbs this time, so that was nice, considering I had already spent over $12 on bulbs that I have no use for.. Before long, I was standing on my step-stool trying to hold the heavy glass part of the fixture with one hand while screwing on the base with the other. I became increasingly frustrated as the entire hanging lamp simply turned along with the base instead of threading the ball onto the fixture. It became apparent that I needed: a) another set of hands or, b) somebody smarter than me. Unfortunately, I live alone so I had neither. I just kept turning and turning while my other post-workout arm began shaking from the weight of the fixture being held over my head. Eventually, the ball threaded onto the pole and, after only four short weeks, I had a light in my stairwell again.

Exhausted, frustrated and annoyed, I threw the old light bulbs away in my overflowing kitchen garbage and headed upstairs where I logged on to my computer and read this post by my sister, relating her experience of not wanting to put her license plates on her car because it was a man's job.

I gave up on the window guards because I knew that my dad would gladly take them off for me when I went home. And as I stood on my step-stool watching my light fixture spin 'round and 'round, I couldn't help but think that if my dad lived here, the day those lights blew he would have gone to the store, bought the right bulbs (the first time), fixed the light in a manner of minutes and been done with it. And the kitchen garbage! You would never find a garbage that full in my dad's house. He sees the problem of the nearly-full garbage can and he takes action because...that's what men do.

So, needless to say, Wednesday found me desperately missing my dad and/or wishing I had a man of my own around.

Not to cure loneliness because I am not lonely.
Not to battle discontentment because I am content.
Not to pacify a sense of being incomplete, because I feel whole.

I just wanted someone around to do a few things for me. Things that I am perfectly capable of doing for myself but, at the end of the day, they are men's jobs and I simply don't want to do them.

So, my future bf/husband is going to have to be willing to do...stuff. My father set the bar pretty high. His love language is definitely acts of service and he seems to find some of his greatest joy in serving his four women. He loves with his time, energy, knowledge and skill. I called him to ask if he would remove my window guards over the Christmas weekend and he actually sounded excited about it. And I can guarantee when he is done he will walk in the house with a proud smile on his face and tell me every detail about how he did it. In return, all he will ask for is a kiss on the cheek which I will gladly give him while feeling sad that this dear man lives so far away from me and being slightly disappointed that I haven't yet found one of my own.

So, in summary, I don't feel like I need a significant other. I just miss the sense of love that comes from being taken care of.

Also, I think my dad is pretty great.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Chrsitmas Memories, #2

I remember the first Christmas in our new house. I hated the Christmas tree because: 1) it was artificial and, 2) we weren't allowed to hang any of our old ornaments on it. I was upset that we had been moved out of our childhood home and the new tree was just one more change that I decided to be mad about.

And I remember walking up the stairs on Thanksgiving day this year and seeing the tree for the first time this season; I remember admiring the beautiful work of art that is our family's Christmas tree. And I remember feeling relieved that something in Long Prairie still felt like home.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Memories, #1

Every year, my extended family on my mom's side does a progressive dinner. We go to all of the houses of the aunts and uncles that live in Long Prairie, eat whatever course that house has been assigned and then open the gifts from the host family before moving to the next house. So, obviously, each child is most excited to open presents at their house since they typically have the most gifts from their parents (vs. the aunts and uncles).

There is one particular year where the range of my Christmas emotions stands out distinctly in my memory. I was in high school at the time, but I had not lost the great anticipatory excitement generated by the prolonged celebration that we call "progressive dinner." Our house is always the main meal (after appetizers, soup, and church), so my sisters and I basically waited the whole day to open our gifts.

So there we were, with the extended family gathered around the Christmas tree, and I could barely stand to wait any longer. All of the little kids were bustling about handing out gifts as quickly as their little feet could take them knowing that the sooner the gifts were passed the sooner the gift-opening frenzy could begin.

The gifts were disappearing from under the tree as separate piles began forming around the room. Each child beamed as they walked past their growing tower of gifts. The adults each held their 1-2 gifts on their lap, smiling contentedly as they watched the flurry of activity. My sisters, who had started with presents on their laps, were now stacking their gifts in neat piles around their feet in order to keep their view unobstructed. Before I knew it, the space under the tree which once held scores of gifts was now completely empty.

Unfortunately, so was my lap.

That's right. Not one. single. gift.

My eyes frantically searched my mother's face for any sign of an explanation. Is it possible that she could have forgotten to buy me one single gift? Me? Her sweet baby girl? Her very own flesh? Offspring of her womb? Could she possibly have removed me from all thought while on her Christmas-present-buying extravaganza?

As the children settled in beside their respective red and green towers and the busy bustling began to die down, it became more apparent that there was one extremely present-less individual in the room.

As everyone sat there enjoying the awkward tension of a forlorn, gift-less child, my sister calmly rose, walked over to the front closet, opened the door and exclaimed, "Oh look, Eva, there is a gift for you in here!"

In the front closet???

With my curiosity piqued, I joined my sister in front of the closet and, with a great deal of confusion, removed the wrapped gift from the top shelf.

"To: Eva
From: Mom & Dad"

While I was busy reading the label, Hannah was making her way to the music room where she called out, "Oh look, here's another one behind the piano."

Are you confused?

So was I.

Turns out my dear, sweet, loving "brother" Mark had been to our house the night before and had taken it upon himself to sort through the mass of presents under our tree, pick out all of my gifts and hide them around the house.

My sister returned to her seat and thus began the Great Christmas Present Hunt which will forever be remembered as one of my family's favorite Christmas memories.

By far the best joke that has ever been played on me.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Reflections on the First Ski of the Season

1) I. Love. My. Sister.
2) Favorite thing I said today: "Do you have a stocking cap I can borrow? I used mine to make a human pinata costume."
3) Favorite thing Hannah said today:
H: "Do you know the guy's name from the Matrix?"
E: "Neo."
H: (with slumped shoulders and a look of disappointment) "Oh. I thought it was Larry Matrix."

Spiritual Chemotherapy

"Practicing a vice means being ruled by the power of self. A vice-ruled life is prone to chaotic outbursts of anger, selfishness, and destruction - the opposite of the orderly and disciplined life that God calls us to. Vice enthrones the self - 'I'll act however I want to act, making myself in my own image.' This life, as we'll see, is a self-defeating life. While the virtues bring spiritual health, the vices are a spiritual cancer, destroying us from within." - Gary Thomas, The Glorious Pursuit

An interesting thought after having watched my dad go through cancer treatment these last six months.

I am becoming more and more convinced that one of the biggest barriers I face in the process of spiritual formation is my own laziness. How easy it is to waste away the hours preoccupied by lesser things!

It is easy to not pursue the virtues of Christ.

Chemotherapy is not easy. As a matter of fact, it pretty much always sucks. Not only is the treatment designed to break down all of your body's defenses putting you in a state of complete vulnerability (there are all kinds of analgoies here!), but the side effects are miserable, too. There is not one single sane person in this world who would look forward to a chemo treatment.

It's. not. easy.

Yet I see patient after patient continuing to commit their time, money and attention to pursuing the self-inflicted torture with the hope that the temporary suffering will lead to a renewed level of health. An individual with a good prognosis who refuses the recommended treatment based solely on the fact that it might not feel good or that they don't have time will suffer a premature death and, in the end, may discover that their road was not exactly "easier" afterall.

Very few patients, after their initial diagnosis, choose to forego the treatment recommended by their doctors. (I realize there are some exceptions to this....all analogies break down at some point). Yes, chemo sucks, but their life depends on it.

Why, then, do I fight so hard against the disciplines recommended to treat my vices? Yes, it's not always easy, but my spiritual life depends on it.

What type of "spiritual chemotherapy" are you willing to endure to avoid succumbing to your vices?

Monday, December 8, 2008

30 days

I am officially done with fall quarter and I have 30 days until school starts again. I am looking forward to the time off, yet have a fairly overwhelming list of things to do during that time. Here are a few of the high points:

1) Buy skis.
2) Read the 17 books in my "to read" pile. Or at least make a dent.
3) Sleep for 8 hours straight at least once a week.
4) Clean the house/set a price/do the paperwork/de-clutter and move some stuff to storage in LP/get ready to sell.
5) Turn in the paperwork from my car accident in KY.
6) Continue to work 36 hours a week.
7) Start making good use of my ski pass. Ski once a week?
8) Celebrate Christmas.
9) Post Cote d'Ivoire and KY pictures on facebook.
10) Play Rockband.
11) See Triple Espresso.
12) Do all of my Christmas shopping.
13) Figure out training schedule for the GB 5K. Hit up the Healthy Dan 4-5x/wk.
14) Take the towels out of my dryer that have been in there for 15 days.
15) Do some (all?) of the prep work for my internship.
16) Make progress on the 21 page questionnaire for the Nurture Program.
17) Make cinnamon tortilla chips. At least once a week.

Although I have a lot of "tasks" to accomplish, I DO plan on playing hard.

But I think I will start tomorrow morning by sleeping in.....

Monday, December 1, 2008

Big Mistake

I love green olives.

I love them so much that I pile them onto my sandwiches in large quantities.

But those weren't green olives.

They were jalapenos.

.....feel the burn........