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.