Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye and Good Riddance

Goodbye, oh nine. I will not miss you.

I suppose it is appropriate that I should feel so glum on the last day of the year. Needless to say, oh nine will not go down as one of my favorite years of my life.

I haven't made any resolutions yet for the incoming year. I haven't had enough time to think. Or maybe I have had too much time to think and my wound-up thoughts haven't slowed down long enough for me to organize them. Either way, no resolutions.

But if I had to come up with three off the top of my head, I think they would be the following:

1) Figure out how to get rid of the tired ache that has been behind my eyes for the past ten months.
2) Learn how to exhale in such a way that the fog in my mind leaves my body with my breath.
3) Lose 10 pounds from my heart so it stops feeling so heavy in my chest.


I'm tired.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go put on my good mood and get ready for a party.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Lyric(s) of the Week

He will give to all the faithful His own self for heavenly food.
-Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence

Come Thou long-expected Jesus born to set Thy people free.
From our fears and sins release us; let us find our rest in Thee.
-Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus

The hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight.
-O Little Town of Bethlehem

Pleased as man with man to dwell, Jesus, our Emmanuel
-Hark the Herald Angels Sing

O come Thou Rod of Jesse, free Thine own from Satan's tyranny.
From depths of hell Thy people save and give them victory o'er the grave.
-O Come, O Come Emmanuel

His law is love and His gospel is peace.
-O Holy Night

He comes to make his blessings flow far as the curse is found.
-Joy to the World

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


I love these guys.

I love her voice. I love their creativity. I love their freaky good musicality. I love their innovative instrument choices and combinations. I love their videos. I love how much they seem to enjoy what they do. I love their sound.

And I love that they occasionally whip out the accordion.


What are you doing for the holidays? Coby and I will be braving our way through a blizzard in an effort to get me to the hospital so that I can care for those who are too sick to be home with their families for Christmas (and Christmas Eve). As much as I reeeeeeeeeeeeeally want to be home with my own family, I won't mind too much as long as I avoid thinking about what my family members are doing at any given moment. I'll make the trek home on Saturday morning and spend the rest of the weekend with them. I wrapped presents tonight and I got really, really excited to give them all away!!!!!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Lyric of the Week

I never took the time

to stop and realize
that death takes many forms
even while alive.

-Goodbye by Plankeye

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Proposal

My non-demented, 92-year-old patient: Are you married?
Me: Nope.
Pt: Do you want to be married?
Me: Yeah, I do.
Pt: Well....will you marry me?
Me (chuckling): I don't know, John*. You might be a little old for me.
Pt: Well, I thought that might be a problem, but it never hurts to ask. It's just such a shame for a girl as nice and as pretty as you to not be married.
Me: Thank you, John. That's very sweet, but we really need to get back to these admission questions. Have you had any unplanned weight loss in the last 6 months, any loss of appetite over the last week, any difficulty swallowing....
(Completes admission questions and proceeds to walk over to the bedside to program the IV pump. John reaches for my wrist with both of his hands and gives a gentle pull).
Me: John, whaddya doin'?
Pt: Whaddya think I'm doin'?!? Gettin' you in bed with me!!
Me (pulls hand away firmly and states matter-of-factly): Well that is not going to happen. And that is NOT very sweet.
(John proceeds to give my arm a weak-yet-persistent tug any time I come within arm's length for the rest of my shift.)

Note to self: Beware of the proposers. They may be sweet, but they may also be creepy.

Sometimes I forget that most people don't have conversations like this during a typical workday.

*Name has been changed.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


A smattering of thoughts in response to yesterday's lyrical question. Please forgive the lack of organization. I have been pondering these things more than anything else as of late and this is merely an honest representation of how randomly my brain has been firing.


I John 3:20: "For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything."

Our hearts may condemn us, but our hearts do not hold final judgment over us. Our hearts are still subject to self-deception and doubt. God is greater than our hearts. He gets the final say, not us.


John 6:44-45: "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets, 'And they will all be taught by God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me"

How does he teach us? 1) Sends his Son, 2) Through the Word
Objection: But not everyone who sees/reads these things, comes.
Answer: Learning is not merely hearing. We need to be God-taught. "They will all be taught by God." God writes these things on the heart. Jer 31:33: "But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people."


John 6:37: "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out."

God's drawing is infallibly effective. Those who are drawn are omnipotently secure.


Conclusion from John 6:37 and 44-45:
Those who are drawn are taught by God. Those who are taught, come. Those who come are never cast out.

I have come. I came because I was God-taught.
He saved me.
My coming is the evidence that I have been drawn and, therefore, I will never be cast out.


The ups-and-downs of your faith and/or emotional state are not ins-and-outs of Jesus. Those who are drawn, come. Those who come are kept.


"No mere creature has direct access to God's eternal counsel, so to seek assurance through knowledge of election is to be dashed against the rocks like a shipwrecked mariner. How does the doctrine of election contribute to assurance? Calvin preached: 'How do we know that God has elected us before the creation of the world? By believing in Jesus Christ....Whosoever then believes is thereby assured that God has worked in him, and faith is, as it were, the duplicate copy that God gives us of the original of our adoption. God has his eternal counsel, and he always reserves to himself the chief and original record of which he gives us a copy by faith.' Election is always 'in Christ' (Eph 1:4), so the distinguishing mark of the elect is their union with Christ in faith....On this basis, true believers can and should look to the future without anxiety, knowing that their faith in Christ testifies to their eternal election." -John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine & Doxology, edited by Burk Parsons

Exercising faith leads to assurance. Feeling assured is not a prerequisite for faith.
You don't "figure out" if you are elect and then make a faith decision based on that. The very act of faith is the evidence that you were elected before the foundation of the world.
Faith = Horse.
Assurance = Cart.


The feeling of assurance improves the quality of life for the believer.
The mere feeling of assurance has no effect on final judgment.
Maintaining your assurance (accurately or falsely) doesn't change the final outcome but does effect your day-to-day approach to life.
An ever-present sense of your assurance is nice, but not necessary.


When the saved walk in sin, they feel unassured (and rightly so).

"That some Christians fall into doubt regarding the state of their souls is not always a bad thing. Their failure to believe and trust in the certainty of their salvation is not a failure of faith on their part but a merciful gift from God. 'For so hath God contrived and constituted things, in his dispensations towards his own people, that when their love decays, and the exercises of it fail, or become weak, fear should arise; for then they need it to restrain them from sin, and to excite 'em to care for the good of their souls, and so to stir them up to watchfulness and diligence in religion. But God hath so ordered that when love rises, and is in vigorous exercise, then fear should vanish, and be driven away.'" -Signs of the Spirit: An Interpretation of Jonathan Edwards' Religious Affections by Sam Storms (emphasis mine)

A false lack of assurance may be a gift from God to the believer walking in sin.

Those who feel falsely assured through self-deception may go on believing they are saved despite there being no evidence that they have encountered Jesus. "[Hypocrites], (at least some of them), will maintain their boldness in their hope, [despite] the most corrupt frames and wicked ways, which is a sure evidence of their delusion." Signs of the Spirit by Sam Storms.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Lyric of the Week

Am I lost or just less found?

-C.S. Lewis Song by Brooke Fraser

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Advent Summons

Come forth from the holy place,

Sweet Child,
Come from the quiet dark
Where virginal heartbeats
Tick your moments.

Come away from the red music
Of Mary's veins.
Come out from the Tower of David
Sweet Child,
From the House of Gold.

Leave your lily-cloister,
Leave your holy mansion,
Quit your covenant ark.
O Child, be born!

Be born, sweet Child,
In our unholy hearts.

Come to our trembling,
Helpless Child.
Come to our littleness,
Little Child,
Be born unto us
Who have kept the faltering vigil.
Be given, be born,
Be ours again.

Come forth from your holy haven,
Come away from your perfect shrine,
Come to our wind-racked souls
From the flawless tent,
Sweet Child.

Be born, little Child,
In our unholy hearts.

-Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C.

Friday, December 4, 2009

It's Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas

I love my Christmas tree!!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Lyric of the Week

To see the law by Christ fulfilled

And hear his pardoning voice

Changes the slave into a child

And duty into choice.

-Love Constraining to Obedience by William Cowper

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Too Good To Be True Interesting

I have a confession to make: I might be a fair weather fan.

My entire life, I have been proud of the fact that I am not, most certainly not, a fair weather Vikings fan. Even in the most disappointing, heart-breaking moments, I continue to bleed purple.

But I am starting to wonder if it is possible for a team to be too good to be true interesting.

For instance, last week, I got in my car after church, tuned into the game and we were up 14-0 and had just recovered a fumble. My only thought was, "Of course." With almost no emotional reaction whatsoever, I turned down the volume, called my friend Stacey to see what she wanted me to pick up for her at Chipotle and listened to the rest of the quarter on my drive over. Halftime. 21-0. NBD.

Now, I know that some of my feelings of detachment come from my agreement with Matt Chandler's argument that we should not be more emotionally affected by whether or not a 20-year-old boy catches a ball than we are by the grace of God. I still love sports. I specifically love the Vikings. I am just learning to love them in a manner that does not rob me of my affections for Christ and it affects how I watch the game (or, on a few occasions, what I choose to do instead of watching part of the game).

But, I also feel some detachment stemming from the lack of anticipation within me. I no longer wonder if we will rise to the challenge of our foes. I do not sit on the edge of my figurative seat. I no longer feel the compulsion to watch every second of the game just in case there is a "must-see" moment. I already know what it looks like for Favre to nail a pass to any one of his talented receivers. Game summary: Our offense marches down the field and scores; our defense stops them or forces a turnover; repeat.

Don't get me wrong: I LOVE seeing the purple win. And I LOVE watching players display amazing feats of athleticism. I have still watched and/or listened to at least half of every game. But I have also found that I can miss a decent chunk of the first half and never wonder how myVikes are doing. I'll get around to watching the game whenever I get around to watching it because I already know how they're doing.

They're doing good. Too good to be true interesting.

I suppose it's just one more reason I am looking forward to the playoffs. I am ready to see those boys fight for the win.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Beautiful Saturday

I just had the most beautiful lazy Saturday.

It all started when my roommate made us the most delicious scrambled eggs for breakfast. I seriously can't remember the last time I made myself anything more than toast for breakfast. Can't. even. tell you. how much I love having a roommate that cooks.

And it only got better from there.

The rest of the day consisted of:
-assembling our Christmas tree while listening to Shane & Shane's glorious rendition of O Holy Night (along with several of my other favorite Christmas CDs)
-listening to my roommate read John's prologue out of her Igbo Bible
-looking through my roommate's childhood pictures
-learning to play a familiar game according to my roommate's childhood rules
-eating my roommate's spicy chicken soup for dinner with cheesecake-topped brownies for dessert (have I mentioned how much I love having a roommate that cooks???)
-spending some snugly time on the couch with a dear friend who will be leaving me shortly.

And to top it all off, I didn't change out of my pajamas for one single second of it.

By far the best lazy Saturday I have had in a long time.

Snifty Snakes

You have no idea how badly I want to play this game.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanks Given....

...for the family that I love and enjoy so much that I feel mopey when I don't get to spend the holidays with them.

...for a family that treats me as one of their own when I can't make it home to be with my real family.
...for my dad's one-year anniversary of being in remission.
...for a job I enjoy with an employer I respect and a schedule that suits my life quite well.
...for the delightful taste of Pumpkin Spice Cappuccino.
...for the beauty of two bald eagles soaring over the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River.
...for the tiny hands on my shoulders, the warm breath in my ear and the precious feeling of weight on my back as I carried the most darling little girl up the bluff to the farmhouse.
...for the provision of a small group and the good it does for my soul.
...for girls who desire to get into the Word together and the good that it, too, does for my soul.
...for a roommate who makes me laugh so hard that I get headaches because I forget to breathe.
...for friendships that are strong enough to span oceans.
...for life-long friends who gave me a chance even after they found me cross-stitching in my cabin by myself during free-time at winter camp.
...for Christmas music that I can finally listen to now that Thanksgiving is over.
...for the atoning work of Jesus Christ who covers me in his righteousness, reconciles me to God, strengthens me by his Spirit and fills me with all the fullness of God.
...for God's ability to "keep" me and the loving way he has used his Church to do so.
...for the hope that is born out of knowing God's love for us.

...for the warm, comfortable bed I am about to crawl into...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Lyric of the Week

But I'm thinking of what Sarah said, that 'Love is watching someone die.'

So who's going to watch you die?

-What Sarah Said by Death Cab for Cutie

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Blackbird Wonder

I don't know that much about Bobby McFerrin, but the more I hear his work, the more I think I really like the guy.

They danced to one of his songs tonight on So You Think You Can Dance. It was ridiculously cool.

It probably doesn't hurt that I already loved this song. But even if it was a song I didn't like, hearing McFerrin perform something like this would almost certainly win me over.

He even makes his own echo.


Just listen.

Lyric of the Week

Finding my way back to sanity again

Though I don't really know what I am gonna do when I get there.

-Breathing by Lifehouse

Friday, November 13, 2009

Netflix: Epic Fail

I recently participated in a free, one-month Netflix trial. And guess what?

I failed.

That's right. I failed the trial.

At least that's what I am telling myself.

Since it was free, I signed up for the 3-DVDs-at-a-time version and spent a considerable amount of time filling out my queue with more movies than I could watch in a year, much less a month (when all was said and done, I ended up with 54 movies in my queue). I moved the three movies I was most anxious to see to the top of my list and received them in the mail just two days later. And then, and then, I set those three movies down excitedly on my coffee table....

.....where they remained unopened for 28 days until it was time for me to send them back and cancel my trial before I got charged.

I had Netflix for a month and didn't watch a single movie.

Well, that's not entirely true. I did watch one instant-play movie the day I signed up.

But still.

I think the point of offering free trials is to get you hooked and make you wonder how you ever lived without such-and-such a service so that you'll sign up for it. Unfortunately for Netflix, it just showed me how impractical their service would be for me right now.

My biggest gripe is that I still really want to see Lars and the Real Girl (which was in my house, on my coffee table for 28 days....but we're not going to talk about that....) and now I am going to have to pay for it.



Dear Boxelder Bugs,

Get out of my house or you will die.

Consider yourself warned.

All my love,
Eva Joy

Roommate Ramblings

I actually started this post almost a month ago, but then life got busy and I never finished it. Oh well. Here it is with some verb-tense changes and the addition of a few post-move observations.

News flash: I am getting got a roommate!!!!

She moves moved in on Oct 28th; I could not be more excited about this new development.

And what do I do when I am excited (and when I am missing evernorth)?

I make lists.

T7 Reasons I am Excited for My Roommate to Move In:
1) She loves Jesus. And she likes to have conversations about Jesus. And I have things I can learn from her.
2) The girl is friggin' hilarious. Seriously.
3) She has one of the best music collections in all of Rochester. I have high hopes that our time together will play a significant role in saving me from my limited musical experience.
4) I have found that the longer I live by myself the more protective I get of my space and my time and my convenience. I am looking forward to having to be mindful of somebody else again and to have those little opportunities for service that arise more frequently when two (or more) people do life together.
5) Rent money.
6) It is going to be way more convenient to coordinate our viewing of So You Think You Can Dance.
7) It just might be all the motivation I need to get some of my stuff cleaned up and organized. (Post-move observation: This came true in some ways but not in others. For example, the effect on my desk and bed-mess was minimal, however, the effect on my closet was downright astonishing.)
Post-move addendum:
8) That girl can cook! I now come home to the delicious fragrance of homemade goodness and I have been generously invited to partake of said goodness on frequent occasions. I think I have officially decided that she makes the best (and hottest) chili I have ever had and I have a new-found hope that someday I might be the fortunate recipient of a fabulous plate of jollof rice.
9) She has made all kinds of fabulous contributions to the house including, but not limited to: non-slipcovered furniture, beautiful artwork to adorn the walls, an upright vacuum cleaner, a blender, TiVo, Netflix, a whole bookshelf full of books that I have not yet read, Nigerian peanuts and a fabulous laugh.
10) Her presence significantly decreases the amount of time I spend talking to myself and/or singing out loud and I, in turn, feel just a little less crazy.

T1 Reason I am NOT Looking Forward to My Roommate Moving In:
1) I am not sure I am in good enough shape for it. You see, nearly every time I hang out with my dear friend, I leave with a sore stomach and a headache from laughing so hard for so long. Therefore, until my body gets in better laughing shape, I am mildly concerned that the first few weeks (months?) could potentially be so fun that they become mildly miserable.

Meh. The pros WAY outweigh the cons.

Can't wait for her to move in!!!!

So glad she's here!!!!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Ephesians 1:1-14

A prayer of response.

Blessed be! Blessed be! Blessed be!

My heart yearns to see you receive the glory you deserve. How unspeakable that I should be a recipient of your glorious grace. I am humbled by my inability to obtain righteousness on my own. I depend wholly on the sacrifice of Christ on my behalf. I rest in his righteousness alone.

I am overwhelmed by the realities of what I have received - every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, adoption as a child of God, forgiveness of my trespasses, and an inheritance guaranteed by the Holy Spirit.

Unworthy! Unworthy am I!

Yet it is I whom you have chosen that you might be praised for your glorious grace.

Why do I struggle so to live in the reality of what I have received? Is it a matter of belief? My mind assents to the truths contained in this passage. But the belief alone does not stir me. God, by your grace, stir my affections! Grace and more grace!! I am ever falling upon it.

I commit myself to the study of your Word. As I look, reveal yourself to me that I may see and, in seeing, may I be transformed in such a way that you receive praise for your ever-present glorious grace in my life.

You have freely given so much. May my life be a testament to the riches I have received.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Faith Story

There is no denying it: I am a storyteller.

But there is one story that I don't care to share very often - the story of God's redemptive work in my life.

I joined a small group recently and we spent our first night of Quaker fellowship (split guys and gals) sharing our faith stories. It was a burdensome night for me and I left feeling conflicted and frustrated. I don't like the script I've been given. I want to play a different role in God's story line.

I want a different story to tell.

I shared those thoughts with a dear friend of mine and she graciously reminded me that ultimately, mine is a story of REDEMPTION and, therefore, is beautiful in its recounting despite its occasionally jagged plot line.

A friend of a friend recently wrote out his testimony for a seminary class and posted it on his blog. It reminded me that I was given a similar assignment in my evangelism class this past spring, so I tracked down my paper. As I read my own story, I found myself focusing less on what I have been saved from and more on what I have been saved to. That shift in focus filled me with peace and my understanding of God's grace in my life fell upon me in a fresh way.

So, dear friends, please allow me to tell you my story.

It is one of my new favorites.


I grew up in a strong Baptist household and like every good Baptist, I have a conversion story.

I must have been 4 or 5 years old because I remember the sea of blue that surrounded me as I learned about heaven and hell in my AWANA Cubbies group. I snuggled in close to my sister that night as our parents tucked us in to our queen-sized bed. I asked her if she thought I was going to heaven and in true sisterly honesty she told me no. With fear gripping my heart, I asked if she was going to heaven and she confidently stated that she was. The thought of eternity apart from Hannah left me panic-stricken so I asked her what I could do to go to heaven with her. After leading me in a 7-year-old’s version of the sinner’s prayer, she informed me that I needed to sing Jesus Loves Me and then calmly reassured me that I would be with her forever. Oh yeah, by the way, Jesus would be there, too.

I had no idea what I had gotten myself into.

I was a very well-behaved, moral child which made it difficult to be a Christian. It is hard to be saved when there is nothing you feel you need to be saved from. I lived comfortably in the church’s culture and felt well-settled into my life of safety and security. One day in 5th grade, I got in trouble for using my entire allowance to buy a shoe-box full of candy, but other than that I made it through my childhood with a pretty clean record. Or so I thought.

For as cunning as Satan can be, he sure does screw up sometimes. If he would have left me alone, I would have been perfectly content leaving Jesus on the flannel graph and measuring people’s level of Christian maturity by the quality of their tater tot hotdish. Instead, I found myself entangled in a life of secret sin that left me desperate for a savior. I headed off to a Christian college (because that is what Christians do, of course) hoping to find freedom, but instead I threw myself even deeper into the masquerade of Christian perfection and found myself paralyzed by fear in a sub-culture that appeared to offer even less grace than the world, much less Christ.

The summer after my sophomore year, I headed to the East Coast to live with my aunt and uncle while I worked at a hospital in Pennsylvania. Jesus was there, waiting for me beside a backyard pool in Downingtown. I was concerned with getting a tan; he was concerned with transforming my heart. So I met him there every morning, searching the Scriptures while soaking up the sun. He taught me about himself, and I learned about myself in the process. He taught me about my identity in him, about freedom and victory and joy and grace. He taught me to pray - not just to be ritualistically thankful for my food - but to actually commune with him, to pour out my heart and then listen to his response. I came to him bitter, angry, defeated, ashamed, hopeless and insecure. I left grounded, softened, humbled, broken, complete and satisfied.

We spent that entire summer together there in Downingtown and I fell deeply in love with my Savior who was quickly becoming my Lord. I begged him to come back to school with me and he did, although I found it more difficult to hear his voice when it wasn’t being carried on the summer breeze. I went back to Downingtown the following summer, ready for an emotional pool-side reunion only to discover that he was no longer waiting for me there. He had relocated to a place much deeper within me, waiting to be discovered through spiritual disciplines and to be drawn out in community.

He has been there with me ever since, patient in my wanderings, faithful in my failures, and responsible for my victories. I have an ever-increasing burden for spreading the glory of his name among the nations and it seems that he has been preparing me to take part in his work by helping to meet the physical and spiritual needs of a broken world through medical ministry.

There is still a lot of work to be done in my heart and mind. My flesh rears its ugly head more often than I care to admit and my spiritual heels get sore as I dig them in and demand my own way. But God (two of the sweetest words I know) remains faithful and continues to show me the all-surpassing wisdom of his ways.

I am learning to love the Church again, not with a cynical, self-righteous love (yes, I did actually act like there was such a thing at one point in time), but with a humble, sacrificial love that longs to see the Bride of Christ pursuing him with an undivided heart. I am learning to repent of the religion that I so often choose to value over my relationship with my Savior. I am learning to obey because I am accepted, not to feel accepted because I obey. And I am learning to rest daily in his atoning work on the cross which covers me in his righteousness – a very beautiful truth considering that I still can’t make a tater tot hotdish that’s fit to feed a dog.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Eagle Inside

Disclaimer: This story is better told in person.

However, I keep finding myself trying to reference it on my blog only to remember that it's not on my blog.

But now it will be.

Backstory #1: I talk to myself. A lot. I always have and the habit has grown exponentially worse in the three years that I have been living alone. As a matter of fact, my social awareness of when I am talking out loud has grown so numb that at times I have proclaimed my thoughts to no one in particular in a new habit that I like to call Twitter: Live!

Backstory #2: This past spring, I went to an event sponsored by New Life Family Services called "Laugh for Life." The comedian put on a good show but the real kicker came toward the end of the night when the monologue took a serious turn. Mr. Williams picked up his guitar and played some prayer-background-type-music while explaining that in the midst of all of the humor in his life, he has managed to write two serious songs and he wanted to sing one of them for us. He told us the powerful background story while strumming quietly on his guitar. And it truly was a powerful story.....

He had been hiking on a mountain somewhere and had seen an eagle soaring in the sky. (As someone who has a "thing" for birds of prey, I was instantly drawn in). His son loves eagles, so he wanted to take a picture for him. Unfortunately, he had no camera, so he made his way down the mountain until he came across a gift shop where he bought a disposable camera for $32. As he reascended the mountain, a storm rolled in bringing rain and disappointment as he realized he missed his opportunity to capture the eagle on film (and he was out $32).

However, as he rounded the corner of the walking trail, instead of an empty sky, he saw the eagle using the winds of the storm to soar even higher (make sure you don't miss the sermon illustration there). He wrapped up the song intro with the statement, "In that moment, this is what I heard the eagle saying to me...."

(Music picks up; audience eagerly awaits the powerful song)


I didn't even see it coming. Judging by the crowd's reaction, I would say about 85% of us took it hook, line and sinker. And it. was. hilarious.

The perfect storm: The following afternoon, I went to my local Dunn Bros. for a cup of coffee. The place was packed and I literally sat down at the last open table in the entire joint. I was thinking about how hard I had laughed the night before; I was also getting ready to see my sister the following Monday. With both of those thoughts rolling around in my head, I began to practice the eagle story which I was so very excited to share with her.

Yes, I practice telling stories. And having conversations. I am my father's daughter, after all.

And of course, I was practicing the joke out loud. How else was I supposed to know what my eagle caw sounded like?!?! You have to practice jokes like that out loud. It would be quite presumptuous to walk into that joke blindly when the entire punch line depends on your ability to pull off a convincing eagle caw.

By the time I got to the end of the joke intro, I was completely in my own world. When I got to the part where I was cawing like an eagle, sitting at a table all by myself in the middle of Dunn Bros., the only thing that brought me back to reality was the stare I received from one of the ladies at the next table over.

There is absolutely no way to recover from that.

So what did I do?

I pulled out my book and pretended to read while meanwhile, under my breath, I practiced telling the story about "that one time when I was sitting in a crowded Dunn Bros., drawing the attention of the patrons around me as I talked out loud to myself."

Except this time I left before I got to the part where I had to caw like an eagle.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Putting Rochester on the Map

Imagine my surprise when I opened this week's edition of WORLD magazine and found the following picture:

Ok, so it wasn't that exact picture. I mean, Chinwe and I were not in it.

But it was a picture of that exact goose.

The story underneath:

"Rochester, Minn., police arrested an out-of-town man on Sept. 27 after an officer discovered the man kicking and punching one of the city's goose sculptures. The 28-year-old from Salt Lake City, whom police did not identify, had been in town for a wedding and told officers the goose statue angered him. Authorities say alcohol was involved." -WORLD Magazine, Oct 24, 2009

Kicking and punching.

I don't get it.

He was such a nice goose.

I laughed outloud on the shuttle when I read the story. I mean, I laughed outLOUD. It was embarassing. Not quite as embarassing as cawing like an eagle while sitting alone in the middle of a coffee shop, but disruptive nonetheless.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Thank you, Jesus

My dad had another clear PET scan last week.

That will never get old.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

To Coby, On Our First Anniversary

Happy first anniversary, Coby Vergilius Balto!!

It is hard to believe that you entered my life just one year ago today. And what a year it has been! You became so quickly acquainted with my good friends I-90, Hwy 52 and Hwy 169. You guys all seem to get along so well. I don't know if I ever told you how much I appreciated your seamless transition into my world.

I, however, did not transition quite as seamlessly. You endured frequent moments of mistrust throughout the winter as I endlessly compared you to Luie. I was so consciously aware of your smaller size and I know I didn't trust you to navigate life's icy roads and snowy driveways. Thank you for your quiet patience with me as you proved yourself faithful time and time again.

You were good to me this spring, too, as you faced deafening decibels of sound in my attempt to drown out every thought in my head. I realize now that I was merely using you to escape from the realities of life and I apologize for that.

But this summer....oh, this summer....we sure did enjoy ourselves, didn't we? So many long weekends at the cabin with not a single demand put on you except to sit there and look pretty. And so many lazy evening rides with the windows down, the summer breeze kissing our cheeks as we drove and thought sweet thoughts together. Those were such blessed times.

And now here we are again in the brisk fall days, the trees once again joining you in your radiant red beauty. I feel like we have made a lot of progress since last year and I feel wholly different in regards to the upcoming winter. I promise to trust you more as the snow and ice come our way. I'm not promising I won't still get uptight at times, but I want you to know that it is myself I don't trust, not you.

I think my dad really likes you. You know how important that is to me. He really trusts you and he believes you will take good care of me. You have no idea how much that means to me. Thank you for being the kind of car that can win my dad's heart. I heard he might even be getting you some fancy windshield wiper blades for Christmas. I think that means you are officially considered a part of the family!!

Sometimes I feel like I don't deserve you and that is probably because I don't. Your presence in my life is such a blessing - one that remains unknown to a majority of the world. I forget that the comfort and ease you bring to my life is a privilege more uncommon than I think. I want to be more consciously grateful for you.

I apologize for those months this summer when I got so upset with you for not rolling your window down. I thought you were just being stubborn and it really frustrated me. I felt terrible when I realized it was my neglect that prompted your stubbornness in the first place. Isn't it interesting how we can be so quick to blame without looking for our own contribution to the problem? Thank you for your quick forgiveness. I want to make a commitment to being less accusing in my words and actions this year. I will also try to keep your windows cleaner.

I am glad we have one year under our belt and I look forward to many more together!! You have been SO good to me and I wanted to take the opportunity on this, our first anniversary, to tell you how thankful I am for your presence in my life.

Eva Joy :-)

p.s. I would also like to say Happy Birthday to my cousin Eric. I don't think he even reads this, but just in case he does....I love you, Cuz. You will always be one of my favorites. Someday, when you become president, I hope you remember the little people. And the medium-sized people. Because I probably fall more into the latter category.

I Think I Just Peed a Little

Maybe I just think this is laugh-out-loud funny because I am in that state of post-adrenaline-rush-exhaustion from my night at work.

Or maybe it really is just that funny.

I can't decide which I enjoy more:
1) Watching his eyebrows,
2) The time when he actually goes down a little bit instead of up, or
3) The power of the last note.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Breathe, Baby, Breathe... a phrase I must have said in my head at least 120 times tonight.

Because breathing is something my patient was definitely NOT doing.


She was my new admit from the ED and she was on the floor for a grand total of 14 minutes before things started going downhill.

It probably didn't help that her blood alcohol content was 0.44% - 6 times the legal limit (FYI: 0.4% is the "median lethal dose" - the dose that is lethal for 50% of adults - although I think that number might be higher in Wisconsin...).

She had two major anxiety attacks right off the bat and I was able to calm her down, but when she revved up for the third, every single trick in the book failed to get her to take a deep breath. I kept telling her that I needed her to slow her breathing until suddenly she just stopped altogether.

That wasn't exactly what I was going for.

Pupils dilated, stiff as a board and unresponsive to my most urgent of sternal rubs.

Like I said: Boo.

She cycled back and forth between hyperventilation and apnea 5 times with periods of unresponsive apnea that lasted several minutes. The code team came, I had all of the help I needed exactly when I needed it, we transferred her to the ICU and she is going to be fine (as long as she goes to rehab whenever she is discharged).

Needless to say, I expect the outcome to be better than my first patient code.

Not only is the outcome going to be better, but I feel better, too. I was pretty shook up last time. But I don't think I feel better just because the outcome was different.

I think I feel better because I handled the entire situation differently.

Even when I was scared and felt the adrenaline kick in as I literally held her breathless body in my arms (hard to explain how it happened, but the second time she stopped breathing she was kneeling in bed and I was holding her upper body in my arms while she leaned against me) I was still calm. I was still thinking.

I was still a nurse.

I wasn't panicking. I was actually responding. I made my assessments and when all was said and done, every single one of them was right-on. I responded appropriately and had good judgment on when to call the code. And when all 16 people arrived (we actually ended up calling the Rapid Response Team AND the Code team), I was able to give a solid report and answer every single question they asked me despite the fact that she had been my patient for a mere 15 minutes prior.

All in all, the experience left me feeling like a very good nurse. There isn't one single thing I would change about the way I handled the situation (except maybe for the one time I swore....I may have been cool-headed, but she gave me a pretty good scare....).

Now I am home, everyone was alive when I left and I can finally relax.

Breathe, baby, breathe.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

No, Really. I Love My Job.

Last night I smelled like the yeast-infested folds of my morbidly obese patient who had terrible personal hygiene, mixed with a touch of her classically foul/musty urinary tract infection on the side. It clung to my hair. It soaked into my skin. It made me feel sick.

Tonight I smell like the sweet softness of the freshly-bathed foster baby that I held for two hours because her parents weren't around and she wouldn't nap unless I somebody was holding her. I watched Jeopardy and Cash Cab while I rocked in the glider and enjoyed the weight of an infant in my arms.

I guess smelling like my patients isn't always a bad thing....

Friday, October 2, 2009

I Love My Job....

....but there are no words to adequately express how much I HATE the nights when I come home smelling like my patients.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

*soediV looC

I had a Mute Math CD playing in my car this weekend. My music-loving friend informed me that they had an interesting video where they sang one of their songs backwards so that when they played the video in reverse, they were moving backwards but the music sounded right. They played their instruments backwards and the lead guy sang the words in reverse. I can't even say the alphabet backwards. So, naturally, I found the video mesmerizing and crazy.

And just in case it doesn't quite make sense, you can watch them perform it live on Jimmy Kimmel (i.e. their bodies are moving forward but the music and words sound all messed up).

Somehow, watching Mute Math's video led me to find this video by OK Go. You may be one of the 48 million people who has already viewed this video, but even so, it is probably worth watching again. I want to be friends with these guys. Not only because one of them owns a pair of pink jeans (although that certainly is a reason) but also because people who think like this make life just a little more interesting.

These are the only two videos I watched tonight and I found them both to be satisfyingly amusing.

*Three times I failed to type this title before I finally wrote it down correctly on a piece of paper so I could just copy it backwards. I seriously can't figure out how those guys ever made that video. Or performed it live. Totally. Unreal.

Monday, September 21, 2009

One of Those Days....

....when I start the day with hugs from my parents and am reminded of how much I love them.

....when my dad tells me I look nice and it makes me feel beautiful.
....when I get to sit by my parents in church and thank God for their faith-nurturing influence in my life.
....when the orchestra plays in church and my soul responds.
....when I am reminded that there's still hope for me today because the God of heaven loves me.
....when I am worried I won't be able to find a small group that meets on Sunday afternoons and then find out I have over 20 options.
....when Papa Stoner calls me his favorite Minnesota girl and I can't help but beam.
....when I get to enjoy roast, potatoes and carrots for lunch. One of my favorites.
....when the Vikings win.
....when I unexpectedly take a two-hour nap on the couch in my friends' apartment because I feel so at home there I apparently don't feel the need to stay awake.
....when I am torn between hanging out with the people I love in the cities and the people I love in Rochester and I realize that I am abundantly blessed as far as friendships are concerned.
....when a dear friend joyfully offers his time and energy for an inconvenient project and I feel served and well-loved.
....when I get told I am being too loud because I am laughing so much.

Yep, it was one of those days.

One of those really, really good days.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

PA Recap

I know, I'm a little behind. Deal.

Number 1 place to spend a week with my family every year:

Top 2 CDs we listened to:
1) Carol King
2) Donny Osmond love songs.

Top 3 meals:
1) Hamburgers and corn on the cob. Classic and summery!
2) Steak. I don't even remember what we had with it. Man, that steak was good!!
3) Marinated pork tenderloin with mashed potatoes and fresh green beans.

Top 4 treats:
1) RITAS!!!!!!!!!!!
2) Club cracker bars.
3) Fresh, warm, and ever-so-slightly-underbaked chocolate chip cookies.
4) Cracked Pepper and Sea Salt kettle chips.

Top 5 books that I read:
1) Life of Pi by Yann Martel, recommended by Hannah and Laura. I would recommend it. I thought it was an average/slightly above average book until I discussed it with my sister afterward and she got me thinking about the twist at the end and then suddenly, post-reading, I enjoyed it even more.
2) The Glorious Pursuit: Embracing the Virtues of Christ by Gary Thomas, recommended by Lindsay. I would recommend it as well. It is a fresh take on the virtues of Christ and some of the disciplines needed to cultivate those virtues with quite a few thoughts to ponder.
3) Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold by C.S. Lewis, recommended by Josh. For me, it was one of those "perfect timing" books that was full of the exact themes that I needed to ponder as I processed certain aspects of life right now.
4) Living Sacrifice by Helen Roseveare. I have now read 2/4 of her "Living..." series. I resonate with a lot of what she says about her view of self and her view of faith which means a lot of what she says is very challenging to me because she calls me out on patterns of thinking that I don't even realize I have.
5) Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. Can't remember if someone recommended this to me or not. I didn't finish it in PA, but I started it there and finished after I got home. It was alright. It didn't end how I wanted it to end. Annie says it wasn't heart-wrenching enough for me. I just wanted it to make me wrestle through certain emotions more. It ended exactly how I expected it to end and, therefore, it will not be a memorable book in my mind.

Top 6 movies that I watched:
1) Gran Torino. I'm not a Clint Eastwood fan, but I liked this movie. If you can get over his annoying and unrealistic growling, there is some great character transformation that leads to a powerful moment at the end of the movie.
2) Crossing Over. Reminded me of Crash, just not as good. Not a total waste....provided an interesting look into the "human" side of illegal immigration....but overall, probably not worth your time.
3) The Hangover. Highly inappropriate. Ridiculously funny.
4) I Am Legend. I only saw about half of this. My uncle came across it on TV and stopped to watch the rest of it. I have no desire to see the first part. Those no-longer-human creatures were disturbing. Not a fan of that kind of stuff.
5) Backdraft. Old fireman movie that we found on TV. It was decent. Whatev.
6) National Treasure. Watched this with Elizabeth in the backseat of the van on our way home from the cabin. I often forget how entertaining this movie is.

Top 7 Worst Moments:
1) Wearing a slanket.
2) Finding out in the eleventh hour that Dad had to stay home.
3) Discovering that Rita's will no longer be carrying Cappuccino Cream water ice.
4) Playing hymns on MB's grand piano and missing my Dad terribly because he would usually come and sing with me.
5) Waking up to Hannah crying and saying, "I can't move! I can't move!" because her neck was causing her so much pain.
6) Spending one afternoon facing the reality of changing relationships.
7) Crying while I said goodbye to MB at the airport.

Top 8 quotes:
1) "I want to be a gmail ninja." -Hannah
2) MB: Our church just got a new drama director.
Ang: Hannah is our drama director.
3) "If you're going to fall off the bandwagon you might as well roll around a while." -Me, to Eric after he ate 7 cookies and 4 pieces of chocolate.
4) "Harrison Ford lost his mojo in the '70s." -Cory, when asked if he wanted to watch a Harrison Ford movie with us.
5) "Novels and movies are crafted in the minds of creative people." -Me, in a defense to Hannah as to how stories can appear to be feasible (or, in certain cases, not-feasible-yet-strangely-realistic) while not actually being true.
6) "These chips are so HOT! I can feel the pepper burning my tongue!!" My Scandinavian mother, trying Cracked Pepper and Sea Salt chips for the first time.
7) "They don't need to know my real plans, it just needs to sound good." -Ryan, sharing his campaign strategy for his 8th grade class officer elections.
8) "I automatically fall asleep at midnight or when anyone starts a movie, whichever comes first." -Hannah

Top 9 Best Moments:
1) Having long, extended times in the Word each morning as I drank my coffee on the floating dock and feeling my desire for the Word be restored after months and months of wanting to want it.
2) Cuddling with my mom while watching Law & Order.
3) Watching Ang get carded at the movie theater (and almost not allowed to enter because she didn't have any ID with her).
4) Playing hymns and duets on MB's grand piano.
5) Beating Eric in Speed Scrabble. Several times.
6) Talking to Linds while enjoying the cool breeze on the shaded deck overlooking the lake.
7) Watching Mom try to get the jetski off the dock.
8) Any moment when I was playing Rook.
9) Not changing out of my pajamas for an entire day.

Top 10 pictures:

1) Relaxing on the "party barge" with my two favorite sisters.
2) All the cousins. I love this family!!

3) Elizabeth and I.

4) Wearing a slanket in what may turn out to be one of the more embarrassing moments of my life.

5) Quite possibly one of my favorite pics of Angela and myself.

6) Playing around with Photo Booth.

7) More playing. More laughing.

8) Champ is a special dog. A very, very special dog.

8b) Proof that Champ is special and wasn't just having a bad day.

9) Ang and Elizabeth rocking out to Carol King on the raft (while the rest of us danced on the pontoon).

10) Mom (and then Mom and Hannah, and then Mom, Hannah and Cory, and then Mom, Hannah, Cory and Ryan) trying to get the jetski into the water.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


In 48 short hours I will be IN Pennsylvania with my family for 9 days of vacay at my aunt and uncle's lake home. Ooooooooooooooooh boy, I'm excited.

T7 Reasons I am Excited for 9 Days in PN:

7) This was my first week off of restrictions. I worked 12 hour shifts 4 out of 5 days and it was overwhelming., "overwhelming" is too strong of a word, but it was tiring , for sure. I am already looking forward to a break. My schedule after I return (i.e. the months of Sept and Oct) looks much more worker-friendly than this week did. Yay.

6) I am excited to have a FULL week with my family. We have been going to PN for as many years as I can remember and for the last two years they have flown out on Sat and I have joined them on Tues afternoon because of school. SOOOOOOOO excited to get a full week this year.

5) I am taking good books that I am excited to read. My goal is to finish at least 2 novels and 1 non-fiction. I think that is a nice, attainable, low-bar goal.

4) I. Love. My. Extended. Family. This is the family that I lived with for two summers and they are very, very dear to me. I get to see my cousin Eric. He is one of my favorites (if we were allowed to have favorites). We bonded over Usher concerts, trips to Six Flags and late-night talks on the deck many summers ago and I enjoy our annual catch-up time. My aunt is one of my favorite people in the entire world. My uncle makes me choke up when I see how humbly he serves his family. My "little" cousins are growing up and becoming conversant and fun. Love, love, love every single one of them.

3) I. Love. My. Family. I have been blessed to live in close communion with 4 of the greatest people in the world. We laugh. A lot. And I get to see them face-to-face every day for 9 days straight. And that makes me very, very happy.

2) ROOK! Sitting around a table playing Rook with my family (or anyone else, for that matter) is one of my "happy places" in life. Chances are good that I will play more Rook in the next 9 days than in the rest of the year combined (with the possible exception of 4th of July weekend). I LOVE ROOK. I am also looking forward to teaching my mother a lesson. Again.

1) RITA'S WATER ICE!!!!!!!!!! 'Nuff said.

I would make a list of things I am NOT excited about, but I can only think of one (how hard I cry every year when I leave) so that won't make for a very good list.

Hurry up, Saturday!

Don't Worry, Be Pentatonic

This video reminds me how much I love music. And science. And psychology.

I am particularly fond of the "scientific question" posed at the end of the video. Welcome to life in the medical field.

Bobby McFerrin is one of a kind. In the first part of the video he sings an interesting song that probably was improvised. There is a 10 sec pause and then we get to see him demonstrate how we all, for some odd reason, collectively know the pentatonic scale. It's interesting to watch his demonstration.

World Science Festival 2009: Bobby McFerrin Demonstrates the Power of the Pentatonic Scale from World Science Festival on Vimeo.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


“Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-ordained passions. Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention....Stop playing it safe and start taking risks....Enjoy the journey. Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can....Don’t let what’s wrong with you keep you from worshipping what’s right with God. Burn sinful bridges....Laugh at yourself. Quit holding out. Quit holding back. Quit running away. Chase a lion.”

-“In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day: How to Survive and Thrive When Opportunity Roars” by Mark Batterson

I have not read this book. I simply saw this quote on another blog and edited out a few statements. I think the book/quote is based (loosely?) on 2 Samuel 23:20: “Benaiah chased a lion down into a pit. Then, despite the snow and slippery ground, he caught the lion and killed it.”

This quote (and verse) have been hiding in a lengthy blog that has remained unread in my reader for quite some time now. I had a few extra minutes this morning, so I tackled the long(ish) post and found these words to be the perfect encouragement at the perfect time.

I have picked up my Nurture Program application three times in the last two days only to read it, put it back down and walk away. Every time I look at it I feel overwhelmed. Plagued by doubts and uncertainties. Stubbornly clinging to dreams and desires that I don't want to forsake. Unwilling to enter into the kind of soul-searching life assessment required by the length and depth of the application.

And yet I also feel a nagging dissatisfaction with the thought of my life looking the same in 30 years as it does now. Or in 5 years, for that matter. Who am I now? Who am I becoming? And what needs to be done to get me from here to there? What lion am I chasing despite the snow and slippery ground?

God, grant me the grace to follow you obediently, for left to my own devices I will choose comfort and convenience every time. Open my eyes to bigger dreams - ones that will fail without divine intervention. Grant me a faith that takes risks, a mind that conceives of God-sized goals, a heart that worships you exclusively and a will that refuses to arrive safely at death's door. And when the lion lays dead on the snowy, slippery ground, may you receive all the glory. Accomplish these things by the work of your Spirit, through the powerful name of Jesus so that you may be glorified.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Puppets, Boots and Harmonicas

I've already shared about my love for all-things beatboxing. So now my question is.....where are all of these musical-instrument-playing beatboxers and why am I not friends with any of them?!?!?

A dear friend attempted to teach me how to beatbox shortly after my original post. I was not a success in the biz, to say the least. All I remember is rambling on and on about marionettes wearing shoes. Thankfully, that humbling, spit-filled moment of my life has been left behind on a crowded Chicago freeway never to be revisited again.

In other news, I can play Frere Jacques on the harmonica which is still not as cool as this guy even if he wasn't throwing a beat at the same time.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The One Where I Talk About Books

July was a good book month for me.

My long-standing favorite book (the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime by Mark Haddon) moved to third on my list in a matter of weeks.

The new #2: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
My experience in conversations about this book is that people either love it or hate it. I fall into the former group. The book is a beautiful reflection on life, family, history, the power of story, grace, assuming the best (or failing to do so), the pastorate, forgiveness, and dying well. It is not a fast-paced plot, so if you're in the mood for a thriller, it's probably not the best book for that moment. The author writes with very circular story-telling. I couldn't even estimate how many times I stopped reading just so I could take some time to ponder one of the many profound thoughts found throughout the book. There were two parts that struck me as particularly profound, but I don't have a copy of the book and I returned the one I borrowed, so I can't share them with you at this time. Maybe I will write a post about them after I buy my own copy and reread it. It would have been my new favorite book if I hadn't just read....

The new #1: Godric by Fredrick Buechner
Godric is written in a similar style as Gilead, but it beat it out in ranking because the language used is absolutely beautiful. It is much more poetic in its style (although Gilead is mildly poetic in its own way) and I found myself constantly enraptured by the sheer beauty of the language. This work is also filled with thought-provoking profundity. Again, there were at least two scenes that I was impacted by that I can think of off the top of my head, but cannot do them justice without the book as an aid. They, too, may be entitled to their own post after I buy my own copy and reread it. It was difficult for me to get my head into the language at first, but after a chapter or two, it began to feel much easier to read. So if you take this recommendation and find it difficult to comprehend what is going on in the first 20 pages or so (as I did), DON'T GIVE UP! It is totally. worth it.

One favorite book for three years standing being replaced by two new favorites in a matter of 4 short weeks certainly makes for a good book month.

July, I shall remember you fondly.

Monday, August 3, 2009


...that it's not about me. Even when I want it to be. And it's okay that it's not about me. In fact, it's good that it's not about me. But sometimes I still wish that it was. easy it is for me to listen to sermons without actually hearing anything.
...that I enjoy riding a real-life road bike infinitely more than riding a stationary one.
...that my sadness is often masked as crabbiness if I'm not careful and that I need to continue to find ways to guard against that.
...that even when my heart condemns me, God is greater than my heart. He knows everything and he pronounces me holy and blameless. much I love full-body massages.

...all the things I love(d) doing with her. much I hate receiving official documents in the mail that I don't understand.
...that I have a goal that I ought to be working toward.
...that the events of today are no less covered by His blood than the events of any other day.
...that I have a blog that I used to post on more than twice a month.
...that there is grace for people like me.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

No More Tootsie Rolls

I visited my dear friend Emily today and I may have created one of my top five favorite memories with her.

I got to her house while she was still getting ready, so I sat on the potty-training chair in the bathroom so that I could visit with her while she straightened her hair.

Disclaimer: I actually didn't realize I was sitting on the potty-training chair until she informed me that it was her niece's potty chair, NOT a step stool as I had previously thought. But I digress.

Em told me that her niece gets a piece of candy every time she uses the little potty and I became instantly convinced that I deserved a piece of candy for sitting on the little potty for as long as I did.

After her hair looked straight and beautiful, we moved our party into her bedroom. At this point I was still fixated on getting my piece of candy.

I took a seat on her bed, casually mentioning the fact that I still had not been rewarded for my time on the "special" seat.

Emily walked over to the candy stash on her dresser, asking, "Do you want a tootsie roll?" at which point, with perfect Subway-commercial timing, the bed collapsed underneath me.

No lie.

I found out later that the bed has been broken for several days and was only feebly propped up to look like it was a normal bed, but I did not know that in the moment.

We immediately collapsed into fits of giggles. And by "giggles," I mean "face-scrunching belly laughter." Somehow, between the bouts of laughter and the gasps for air, I managed to squeak out a response to her candy offer - "Not any more!"

After I caught my breath, I asked her bed if that had been a fat joke.

It didn't answer. Jerk.

I laughed so hard, I had to go to the bathroom.

Except this time I sat on the big potty.

And I didn't ask for any more tootsie rolls.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The One Where I Talk About My Church

Last Saturday, a friend of mine asked me why I drive all the way up to the cities to go to church.

Her question caught me slightly off guard and I fumbled for words to express the reasons that I feel so clearly in my soul.

I typically meet some form of friend or family for whatever service I am attending, but last week no one else was there, so I attended alone. I have noticed over the last two years that I desire to go to church with people more than I used to, but there is still a part of me that really enjoys going to church alone.

The solitary peace gave me a chance to ponder why exactly I drive an hour and a half to attend church at Bethlehem only to turn around and drive another hour and a half back home, and I came up with a few more words than I had for my friend last week:

  • 91% of the time, I feel like I leave Bethlehem more in love with Jesus than I was when I walked in.
  • Every week I am reminded of how desperately depraved I am and every week I am reminded to find hope and rest in the beauty of God's saving and sustaining grace.
  • They sing sings about God, not about me.
  • They are a Bible-believing, Bible-memorizing, Bible-loving church. One example of this is the congregational prayers from last week. They took a few moments to let members of the congregation shout out prayers of praise and petition and all but two of them were straight up Scripture breathed on behalf of the church, the city, the nation, and the world.
  • They preach more about who God is and less about how I ought to live. They do give practical application for Scripture (indeed, they apply the Word often and well), but their primary focus is a clearer vision of God since seeing God for who he is serves as the first (and often overlooked) step toward a proper response.
  • They commission missionaries well and often.
  • I often feel blessed even before the announcements are done. Every. single. thing they do is covered in the hope that it would make God look beautiful and glorious.
  • The benediction always leaves me feeling blessed and commissioned.

Those are the reasons I thought of as I sat in church last week. I am sure there are other reasons that did not cross my mind that morning and I am sure there are reasons far beyond my ability to comprehend.

I love my church.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

My Seinfeld Life, Episode 2

A few days after the exit ramp incident, this same friend and I were going camping with a group of friends from town. She offered to come pick me up and I gladly accepted.

As she opened her trunk to receive my pillow, bag, guitar and luxurious camping chair, I was stunned by the way her bike rack clung to her open trunk. It appeared to be the same style of bike rack that I used to stick on Luie's rear, and I distinctly remember not EVER using my trunk in the summer because it was SUCH a pain to have to re-adjust my bike rack every. single. time.

As a matter of fact, I was SO mesmerized by the aptly placed bike rack, I even commented on it.

I determined to try this new method of attachment on Coby after I returned from the camping weekend and I proceeded to load my luggage.

When all things were in their place, I closed the trunk. At some point between my comment and the lowering of my hand, I managed to forget the bike rack was attached to the trunk. I also managed to be standing exactly where the the bike rack wanted to be. Consequently, it mauled me on it's way down.

Not. Cool.

The resulting damage consisted of a raspberry on the top of my forehead, a raspberry on the bridge of my nose and a faint-yet-perceptible red streak joining the two. It was like connect the dots. On my face. I also walked away with a bruise on my sternum and a mild headache that stuck around for about 2.5 days.

In the moment, the humor was lost on me amidst the feelings of surprise and mild pain. In retrospect, I have not been able to get over the humorous irony of hitting myself with a bike rack that I had commented on just moments earlier. Even Hollywood could not have foreshadowed that moment with such pristine clarity.

Tune in tomorrow for Episode 3: The Whimsical Asthmatic