Saturday, January 24, 2009

That Was Fun....

I had a sweet trip home from Green Bay on my Seadoo. There were some awesome waves, a jump over a concrete barrier and a mini-waterfall on the entrance ramp to I-94. I only wiped out once during the entire trip and it was only because I hesitated and let up on the throttle when I was approaching the biggest waves I have ever seen in my life. It. Was. Awesome.

Too bad it was just a dream.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


My mother's best friend believes an old wives tale that says you can tell the gender of an unborn child based on the rate of the fetal heartbeat. Apparently girls have a faster heartbeat in the womb and boy babies have a slower heartbeat, relatively speaking.

That being said, when my mother was pregnant with me it seems that some people (like Sally) were hoping that after having two girls my mother would finally have a boy. Clouded by her hopeful expectations and taking into consideration the fact that my fetal heart rate was on the lower end of the spectrum, Sally made the infamous statement that will forever live in my family's history: "You either have a boy or a really slow girl."

Thanks, Sally.

So, being the slow girl that I am, I will finally share a list of things I intend/hope to accomplish in the upcoming year. They are as follows (in no particular order):

1) Write 127 blog posts.
2) (Re)memorize James with my sister.
3) Become a member of Bethlehem Baptist.
4) Join a small group.
5) Start the Nurture Program.
6) Clean out my closet. Recruit Lindsay to help.
7) Finish at least 6 seminary classes. (I should finish all 8 but I am leaving myself some wiggle room in case life happens).
8) Go on a spiritual retreat once every three months.
9) Run 5 triathlons (get a t-shirt).
10) Win The Biggest Loser: Brandes Style.
11) Go to Hawaii.
12) Be in a wedding.
13) Get a roommate.
14) Go to an opera.
15) Spend at least 3 full weekends at the cabin.
16) Throw out all milk when it is 14 days past the date on the bottle.
17) Save enough money to pay for my plane ticket to Lithuania.
18) Write notes to my sisters.
19) Ski down blue squares with confidence.
20) Learn about a people group.
21) Figure out and be able to defend what I believe about women in ministry.
22) Run a 5K with my dad.
23) Memorize the fighter verses.
24) Go to Chicago.
25) Learn the Thriller dance.
26) Pray more. (I know this is a bad goal because it is "immeasurable," but I think I will have a sense of whether or not I accomplish it).
27) Expand the horizons of "things I cook for myself at home" which right now mostly consists of grilled cheese, grilled veggie sandwiches, mac & cheese, pizza burgers and LOTS of canned veggies.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Lost and Found

I lost my credit card last week. Or it was stolen. I am not sure which. The good thing is that there were no additional charges on the card before I had a chance to place a hold on the account (partly why I think it was lost vs. stolen). The other good news is that I decided to give up the search and close the account early enough to receive my new card before my vacation at the end of the month. The only bad thing is that these two weeks without my card (it will be two weeks total by the time I receive the new one) are screwing up my system of how I track my spending. Annoying.

I also lost a few pounds last week, but I found those over the weekend. They were in my mother's oven in Green Bay.

Friday, January 16, 2009

It's a Praise Thing

Maybe I can be the Biggest Loser AND the best Christian.

I Like Reading People's Comments

The problem is, I have to click into each blog to see if anyone left any comments. And that seems to defeat the ease and convenience of having a blog reader.

So, dear blogging friends (ahem...Ashley, Emily, Guy, Hannah, Laura, Laurel, Lindsay, Toni, Warren and anyone else that I'm forgetting...ahem) (Rachel E, I have no idea how to do it in wordpress), I would like to ask you to do one of two things:

1) Tell me how to subscribe to someone's comments through my Google reader account,


2) Add the "subscribe to comments" tab on your blogspot page so I can just click on that and add it to my roll.

I'll even make this easy for you. Here are my directions:
1) Log into your blog (duh).
2) Click on "Customize" in the upper right hand corner.
3) Click on "Add a Gadget."
4) Click on "Subscription Links."
5) Click on "Save."
6) Take a break if your clicking finger is getting sore.
7) Move the gadget box to whatever location pleases you.
8) Click on "Save."
9) View your blog and make sure that
a) Both boxes came up (should say Subscribe to: Posts AND All Comments)
b) The boxes are in a location that pleases you.

I will then check your blogs over the course of the next week and subscribe to your comments.

Athankyou very much.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I May Have Just Entered a Christian Lottery

Except I didn't have to pay for a chance to win, so I think it's okay.

I'm trying to win a Logo's Scholar Library.

You should sign up, too. Then, if you win, you can give me the software as a 'thank you' for directing you to the site.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Fire Insurance

Last night in class we briefly discussed the idea that much of evangelical Christianity views salvation as a type of divine fire insurance: If you attest to your belief in a certain set of propositional truths, you will not go to hell.

This is the understanding of Christianity that I grew up with.

The concept of divine fire insurance has a profound impact on evangelism and missions. The main ramification that we discussed is that you end up with a "split-level Christianity." People attest to the propositional statements because they know that is what the missionary wants, but they continue to live by their folk religion.

The concept also has a profound impact on the Church. Basically, it relieves us of any responsibility and allows us to feel good even if we aren't doing our job.

The statement was then made that "true conversion happens at the worldview level."

I have not spent adequate time processing the statement yet, but my preliminary thought is that I like it. It may even become one of my new favorite ways of clarifying for myself what salvation "looks like" from an earthly perspective.

But that may be getting ahead of myself. I still have questions to process:
1) Is that a biblical idea? Or is it adding something to a biblical concept of salvation?
2) What would it look like to have conversion without a worldview change? What does "split-level Christianity" look like in my own culture?
3) What is "the" worldview? How do you respond to disagreements over what that worldview looks like? I would define it as a "biblical" worldview, but there are many disagreements on what this means or looks like due to different biblical interpretations. How do you wrestle with the tension of two "saved" people who have non-complimentary (at best) or opposing (at worst) worldviews? What variations can be taken and what are the absolutes?

And a self-critique:
1) What does my worldview say about the authenticity of my salvation?


I didn't really make New Year's resolutions, but I decided today that I am going to add a new boundary to my life:

I will discard all milk on the 14th day past the date listed on the carton. Even if it still looks good. Even if it still smells good. Even if it still tastes good.

Well, maybe not if it still tastes good.

But, really....what milk tastes good when it is two weeks past its prime?

I have already broken my boundary once this year (and innumerable times last year). But, hey, it doesn't have to be Jan 1st to start over, right?

I really do think this is a step in the right direction for me.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

55 Things

10 Things You Wish You Could Say to 10 Different People:
1) You are the most faithful friend I have ever had.
2) I'm afraid that you mean a lot more to me than I mean to you.
3) I find your stubborn bitterness painfully disappointing.
4) Although I've tried to express myself time and time again, I still don't think you have any clue how much you mean to me. I often wonder what I would have become without your influence in my life. You loved me when the world told me I was unlovable. I would do anything for you and your family.
5) I am tired of calling and I have come to terms with the realization that it means I may not get to talk to you anymore. I will miss our conversations.
6) I never realized I had the ability to hurt you. I am sorry.
7) I trust men because of what I see in you.
8) I will always wonder if I could have saved you.
9) You know that picture you drew for me and gave to me during our algebra class? It hung in my bedroom until I graduated from college. I'm sorry I only talked to you out of Christian duty. I don't do that anymore. I like to think you would be happy to hear that my love is more genuine now.
10) 5 years later, your words still haunt me. They make me wish I had never met you.

9 Things About Yourself:
1) One of my favorite memories of my entire life is whitewater rafting in the Andes mountains. Except for the part where I fell out and went under the raft while it was going over the rapids. That hurt.
2) I LOOOOOOOOVE green olives.
3) Horses are my favorite animal.
4) If I could add any one talent to my life it would be the ability to draw.
5) I eat the exact same meal every day before work.
6) I can never spell "definitely" right on the first try.
7) I tried to ask a man how old he was in Spanish and, due to my inability to speak the language, I ended up asking him how many anuses he had instead.
8) I spent my childhood summers (up through 5th grade) riding around the country with my extended family organizing and running beauty pageants for the Miss T.E.E.N. program.
9) I have never seen any of the Indian Jones movies. Or Rocky. Or James Bond. And I just saw Star Wars for the first time last year.

8 Ways to Win My Heart:
1) Have a passionate love for Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Make it your life's work to glorify God in everything you do.
2) Make me laugh. Understand my humor.
3) Love my family. Enjoy doing things with them.
4) Have a love for art, theater and music. If you can't love them, at least respect them. Also, take me to shows. :-)
5) Be able to articulate your thoughts. Have something to say.
6) Appreciate the small-town girl me without forgetting that I can hold my own in the city.
7) Ask good, intentional questions.
8) Initiate. Follow up.

7 Things That Cross my Mind A lot:
1) That was funny.
2) I'm tired/I have so much to do.
3) I hope I'm in a quiet 1:1 tonight.
4) I love my family.
5) I wish I could stop.
6) This is such a waste of time. (usually when I am on facebook or reading blogs)
7) That sounds like a good book.

6 Things I Want to do Before I Die:
1) Run an Olympic triathlon (1mi swim, 25mi bike, 6mi run).
2) Finish seminary.
3) Go to Australia.
4) Get married and raise a family.
5) Get Lasik eye surgery.
6) Go on an African safari.

5 People Who Mean A Lot to You at The Moment:
1) My sisters.
2) My parents.
3) Emily Lundberg.
4) Julie Stoner.
5) Rachel and Lindsay.

4 Things You Can See Right Now:
1) Pictures of the kids from Torogo, Cote d'Ivoire.
2) The flip-a-day calendar that I made for my family.
3) Pictures of the Libbon kids.
4) An important document that is wrinkled and stained with coffee. Oops.

3 Musicians You Listen to Often:
1) Caedmon's Call
2) Shane & Shane
3) ??? Random songs from a whole slew of artists.

2 Things You do Before Bed:
1) Check my email.
2) Put on chapstick.

1 Confession:
1) I have a Word document that contains a list of questions that I like to ask people at some point in our friendship.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Deductive Logic

I love math.

I am that person who would spend time solving algebra problems just because I think they are fun. My love for mathematics partially stems from the part of me that loves rules and routine. Follow the rules and you get the objective answer. No need to explain yourself. No one can tell you you're wrong. No one does better or worse. It's simply the answer.

My love also stems from math's practical use. Being able to do math simply makes life easier. And I'm not just talking about being able to add and subtract. It's more than that. Understanding mathematical concepts can help life make sense.

Mathematical concepts are everywhere.

Take, for example, deductive logic. If-then statements. "If A equals B and B equals C, then A equals C." My day was FULL of them.*

-If you plan to get up early and you don't go to bed until very, very late, then you will oversleep.

-If you don't particularly care to be seen in your workout swimsuit and you breathe a sigh of relief when you don't see anyone you know at the gym, then the KTTC News team may show and start filming you while you are swimming. Ugh.

-If you live in the 21st century and you take two minutes to download Skype on your computer, then you can talk to your friends who are living in (and visiting) a country on the other side of the world. Totally. Sweet.

-If you have homework to do and you spend your time talking on Skype instead, then your homework will not get done.

-If you go to Target to buy paper towels (bulky), toilet paper (bulky), laundry detergent (heavy), Listerine (heavy), oranges (heavy), shampoo, conditioner, and butter and you don't think you need a cart (or even one of those little basket thingies), then you will end up looking like a fool and you will have to walk all the way back to the front of the store to get a cart anyway.

-If you have a hotmail account that you use for all of your online purchases (to avoid getting junk mail in your "real" inbox) and you only check it about once every six months, then you may discover that you got an email two weeks ago informing you that the book you need for school got lost in the mail so you may want to consider getting it from another source.

-If you drive up to your townhouse association's mailboxes because you are too cold (and lazy) to get out of your car and you don't pay attention to what you are doing, then you will hit the tower of mailboxes, rip a couple of bolts up out of the ground and leave them leaning at a precarious angle, reminiscent of a certain tower in Pisa.

-If you need to drive a very short distance and you don't want to take your ski boot off, then you will realize that you have absolutely no ankle extension whatsoever and you cannot even feel if your foot is on the correct pedal (or if it is on any pedal at all). (Don't worry, I got back out of the car, took of my right boot and drove in my sock).

-If your legs hurt when you walk up the stairs and your arms hurt when you move them in any direction whatsoever, then your whole body will hurt when you go skiing.

-If your sister is having a rough week and she asks you to go skiing, then you go skiing anyway.

See? It's SO practical.

Math. It's for the cool kids.

*I realize these statements do not actually represent the concept of deductive logic. Work with me, people.

This is Funny

I ran across this sarcastic blog post about Christian video games. I think it's hilarious. The mental image I got when reading the description of "Hungry Peter" made me laugh out loud.

Winter Folly

I started lifting again this week. I haven't lifted in any sort of regular fashion since my senior year of college. That was 2.5 years ago. I am partially motivated by my family's "Biggest Loser" competition; I am even more motivated by the thought of doing triathlons with my sister again this summer.

So I started lifting. I did arms on Tues, legs on Wed, and I am paying the price today.

Everything. Hurts.

But that's okay. I have enough history as an athlete to know what a "good" hurt is, and this is definitely a good hurt. I can't quite walk up my stairs or even dress myself for that matter, but I CAN envision myself gliding through the water with grace and ease, flying by the competition as they choke on my bicycle dust and passing that one last runner as I pull in strong at the finish line.

The only problem is that I never stopped to think about the folly of starting a lifting regimen in the dead of winter.

It hurts to shiver.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Off the Fence

Remember my wishy-washy "maybe I'm ready for school to start and maybe I'm not" post?

Well, it's over.

After just one hour of being back in the classroom (and only because it took that long to get past intros and the syllabus and get into the Word and other course content) my joy in seminary was fully restored. Exceedingly so. I am incredibly excited about what the next ten weeks hold (classes: Intro to World Missions and Acts & the Pauline Letters....SWEET!!!).

No more fence-riding for me.

Gone. Over. Done.

Not only am I off the fence, but I am once again running full-steam-ahead in pure seminary excitement powered by my passion for the Lord, my love for learning and my deep conviction that I am in the right place.

In other news, one of my classmates quite literally gave me the shirt off his back tonight. Well, it was a coat, not a shirt, but same difference. In my rush to leave my house this morning, as I tried to keep twelve important thoughts at the forefront of my mind, I forgot to take my coat. I didn't realize I wasn't wearing a coat as I climbed into my warm-ish car that was sitting in my attached garage. As a matter of fact, I didn't realize it until I got OUT of my car 90 minutes later. Then I was cold. Thankfully, it wasn't a bitterly cold winter day, so it wasn't that miserable.

At class tonight, I was publicizing my stupidity by telling the person next to me that I had forgotten to wear a coat and that I was slightly concerned about the drive home. A fellow classmate overheard our conversation and proceeded to give me the coat off his back complete with stocking cap and gloves in the pockets which made me incredibly more comfortable with the thought of driving 90 miles home on a cold Minnesotan winter night.

And that is just one more reason that I am off the fence. Not only because I learn intellectual truths that have a deep impact on my life, but because my classmates teach me how to live.

I love it.

Back to School

School starts again tomorrow. Normally I am unbearably excited, but I have slightly mixed feelings tonight as I prepare to return. I am ready to return eventually, but I am not sure I have had quite the break that I needed. I did have time to "play" and enjoyed myself immensely, especially over the holidays, but I am just now recovered enough to start the "work" that I wanted to get done which I must now find time to do on top of class. While still continuing to play a little, of course.

But then when I think about the friends I haven't seen, the books I have yet to read, the discussions waiting to be had, the thoughts waiting to be fleshed out, and the formation waiting to take place, I realize that I really, truly, am ready.

I had 30 days. I feel like I used them well. I am satisfied with what I accomplished from my list:

1) Buy skis. Looked and intentionally decided not to buy. Bought a season rental at Welch instead and will probably buy skis at the end of the season when I am more certain of what I am looking for.
2) Read the 17 books in my "to read" pile. Or at least make a dent. I read 6 and a few of those required a good deal of journaling, so I am satisfied. It’s a dent.
3) Sleep for 8 hours straight at least once a week. I’m pretty sure I did this. I know one night I slept for 13 hours without waking up. It felt good.
4) Clean the house/set a price/do the paperwork/de-clutter and move some stuff to storage in LP/get ready to sell. Grr. Not as far along as I was hoping. Paperwork is done. De-cluttering is in process Acquiring a storage space is on the agenda for this week. Price has not been set.
5) Turn in the paperwork from my car accident in KY. 99% done. I am waiting for the billing statement from my corporate card to be sent. Then the whole packet will be in the mail and off my plate.
6) Continue to work 36 hours a week. Done and done.
7) Start making good use of my ski pass. Ski once a week? I made it three times. Almost once a week.
8) Celebrate Christmas. Done, and it was absolutely wonderful.
9) Post Cote d'Ivoire and KY pictures on facebook. Check.
10) Play Rockband. Check. Twice.
11) See Triple Espresso. Couldn’t….stop….laughing….
12) Do all of my Christmas shopping. Check.
13) Figure out training schedule for the GB 5K. Hit up the Healthy Dan 4-5x/wk. I was faithful at the Healthy Dan. Still don’t have a schedule laid out for the 5K/Biggest Loser: Brandes Style.
14) Take the towels out of my dryer that have been in there for 15 days. I did this, eventually.
15) Do some (all?) of the prep work for my internship. Didn’t touch it.
16) Make progress on the 21 page questionnaire for the Nurture Program. Didn’t touch this, either.
17) Make cinnamon tortilla chips. At least once a week.
I don’t know if I actually made them once a week, but I had a constant supply. I made so many at a time, one batch would often last me more than a week. I am finishing off my last few chips as I type and I will not be making any more as they will not help me win the pot of money for Biggest Loser: Brandes Style.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

My Year in Numbers

Got the idea from my sister.

0: dates.
1: of my patients died.
2: moments of frustration when Luie (RIP) went "out of commission."
3: of the top 5 worst moments of my life.
4: seminary classes withdrawn from or not started.
5: seminary classes completed.
6: chemo treatments for Dad.
7: days of skiing.
10: days spent at a cabin with people I love.
14: weeks with a roommate. It was wonderful and I miss her.
15: page papers. Quite a few of them.. Enjoyed each one immensely.
16: days spent in a foreign country, resulting in a dramatic change in my life.
23: books read for school.
24: th birthday.
35: trips to the cities for class.
52: cities/towns/villages visited with my sisters on our "Weird MN" roadtrip.
61: blogs that I follow (after deleting 18 earlier this week).
103: blogposts.
150: (approximate) number of times I ate my "pre-work" meal. I make the same thing every. single. time.
14,000: miles on Coby when he entered my life.
192.917: miles on Luie when I laid him to rest.
525,600: minutes. Or seasons of love.

Several of my friends have been posting lists of goals for the coming year on their blogs. I am not going to do that, not because I am opposed to the idea (I have really enjoyed reading the lists) but because I haven't taken the time to create a list of my own. I really only have one goal for the upcoming year: By the end of 2009, I would like to be living in the cities, working a C shift at Mayo, attending seminary and participating in the Nurture Program as a member of Bethlehem Baptist. Also, I would not mind if I was dating a boy. Minor detail.

Happy New Year!