Monday, March 31, 2008

It's about that time...

I almost forgot about April Fool's day (we've had our fun in years past), until I saw this link on Relevant's slices section. For some tech-savvy April Fool's jokes, check these out. My personal favorite is changing someone's Google language prefs to Elmer Fudd. In fact, I may just keep mine on that for kicks.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A Potent Reminder



Put together by the talented staff of Buckhead Church for their Good Friday service last week.

[HT: Los]

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Words of Old [ish]

From time to time, I like to revisit my blog entries from a year ago. As I read over my late March and early April entries from 2007, something struck me. I am in a similar season now, although my future seems to be a little more predictable. But I am not foolish enough to believe that anything is to be expected anymore. All I know to do is follow where He leads.

For the sake of context, a year ago at this time I was on the verge of completing my Bachelor's degree and rather uncertain of where I was going, along with a few other things. It was not the easiest season of my life, but I count it as one of the best so far.

Without further adieu, here is an excerpt of an entry from last April:

***

...for the first time in a very long time, I'm completely content with the unknown. Not because I am denying that there comes a time when I need a plan...but because I'm not the one making the plan. I'm just following in the well-worn path my Father has made for me. I'm doing my part. I'm pulling my weight. I'm making the decisions He wants me to and using my head. But in the end, He is the one who opens doors. It's a humbling place to be, when all you've done is all you can do.

If there is one thing I have learned, it's this: Genuine humility begins with a willingness to be broken. And brokenness, in the context of God's love and security, is full of beauty, power, vulnerability and emotion.

So I challenge you, regardless of where you are or what your state of being is, to rest in the unknown, because ultimately You rest in the arms of a Father who knows all. He hears the cry of your heart. He hasn't forgotten. His everlasting arms will hold you up in the fire of trial and the midst of battle.

Recite with me these simple words: I don't know, and that's okay.

***

What were you blogging about a year ago?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Summer and Starlight

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I cannot resist any longer...my dear friend Justin has been adding quite a many songs to his repertoire of legendary tunes lately. He is currently residing with some pretty hip kids out at the Contemporary Music Center on Martha's Vineyard, and I think it has given him some fuel for recording more. He is almost done with his latest EP, entitled "Hey, Rube." Justin and I worked at the same camp for a few summers. He has been a good friend that I have seen almost every time I go home to Michigan (sadly not this last time, considering his current east-coast-dwellingness/general radness). Here are a few photos I snapped of him on one of those visits. Yes, he is that cool.

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So if you feel like hearing some good natured, thought-provoking indie goodness...check him out here.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Open Road

The contrast between the the last two weeks of my life is rather startling. Undoubtedly, cause for examination. I was caught up in a flurry of activities, trying to take care of several things and see people before I left for a trip north with one of my best friends. Once we finally made it to the open road, something in my heart took flight. Both our faces lit up with the possibilities that lay ahead.

We braved the concrete jungle of Chicago on Monday, ducking in and out of trains and buses all day, staring up at the mammoth structures built by the hands of men and women just like us. We took in the many sides of the city, as much as we could in the limited time we had between the morning and evening train, and walked quite a bit. My legs are still sore, but worthily so. Fully exhausted, we returned to the quiet confines of my parents' house after a forever long, many-times-delayed train ride. I know she is a true friend when she leaned over and handed me an iPod earbud and turned up one of my favorite songs to drown out the noise of the complaining and chattering passengers around us. We also pulled out our crayons and coloring books and passed the time with more (ahem) artistic endeavors.

The past few days, we have woken up slowly and drifted around my hometown...collecting a pile of books at a bookstore and settling in with a cup of coffee. Making pancakes and watching movies that make us laugh, cry and evaluate our own lives. Visiting with my next of kin and hoping the sun comes out through the drearily overcast northern skies. Watching the stubborn, hard packed snow melt away with the drizzling March rain that is always present in northern springtime. Visiting the lakeshore, complete with its numbing winds and massive sand laden icebergs that formed along the coastline and over the breakwater and its lighthouses. It reminds us that, while many of our friends have chosen to go south to some tropical tourist trap, we have chosen a quite different journey. One that warrants just as much meaning, nonetheless.

Something about seeing the place where a person grew up, meeting the people who invested into her and encountering the nuances of daily life in her hometown is so revealing to her character. And something about playing the piano where I wrote so many of my deepest digging songs, walking the creaking wooden floors where I had many-a conversation with loved ones, making food in the kitchen where I seemed to have the most meaningful of talks with my mother...reminds me of who I am. Although I have changed immensely in the past few years, my roots remain deep, strong and telling.

And for that, I am humbly grateful.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

It's time.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

First inspired by Los over at Ragamuffin Soul, I find it good to occasionally host a "Blog Lurker Come Out of the Closet Day." So, if you're a recent reader, a regular or just stopping in for the first time and have never commented...let me know. I'd love to hear who's reading.

Spreadin' the love.

For the love of palindromes...

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After logging into my dashboard today, I realized that this marks post number 101 for me. That may seem like a small number to some bloggers more savvy than I, but I am proud of my little achievement. =)

In honor of this monumental post (and the number 101 itself, since it is a lovely palindrome)...I have some fun palindromes to share. And yes, I am fully aware that putting the words "fun" and "palindrome" in the same sentence qualifies me as a nerd. What can I say? I love words and language.

Some popular ones:
-Madam, I'm Adam.
-Poor Dan is in a droop.

Some lesser known ones:
-Draw, O coward!

-Live not on evil.
-Rise to vote, sir.


And my some of my personal favorites:
-Do geese see God?
-Won't lovers revolt now?
-Yo, banana boy!

***
Well now, wasn't that fun? I thought so, at least.

Anything to add?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

On Listening, Humility and Brokennes

The words of a friend stopped me dead in my tracks this morning. Recounting a humbling and painful experience she finds herself in, she wrote, "Why do I wait to listen until the truth hurts like hell?"

Wow.

I realized how perfectly (and imperfectly) that captures my disposition lately. Although many areas of my life are lived in surrender to God, there are many that I cling to and try to control. In a discussion last night at my church, we talked about why we hesitate to fully let go of what we have and trust God to do what He said He will, to be who He says He is, to be everything we need today and ever will need in our lives. And when we come crawling back to Him in our brokenness from the stubborn mistakes we have made, realizing a truth that hurts all too potently, He never once denies us. But He does not hesitate to discipline us, as well...because He is a loving Father. His grace is overwhelming in this.

Even the disciples, the men who had walked with Jesus, wrapped their arms around Him, seen Him heal multitudes of people, watched Him die then resurrect...had serious issues with doubt. John 14 reveals such uneasiness in their questions. "How will we know the way home?" Thomas asked. "Show us the Father, and we will be satisfied." Philip said. But Jesus answers, "Philip, don't you even know who I am, even after all the time I have been with you? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father! Don't you believe that I am the Father and the Father is in Me? The words I say are not My own, but My Father who lives in Me does His work through Me. Just believe that I am the Father and the Father is in Me. Or at least believe because of what you have seen Me do." (John 14:9-11, TNLT)

As shattering as these words are...I can relate to their doubt in more ways than I would like to admit. Maybe seeing Him die a gruesome death on the cross was still something they weren't past, even though He was standing, flesh and blood, in front of them. Maybe all the times He was there with them and they saw His character lived out were somehow not enough for their mortal minds to believe, even though their hearts burned within them. Maybe they were just as human as I am today...even with the Divine staring them in the face and breathing the same air they did.

He has been here, undoubtedly, in my life. His arms around me have come in the form of so many family members, friends, strangers and fellow believers who have cared for me, even in the darkest times of my life. His faithfulness has revealed itself through every circumstance, even when I try to hold on to my life and make it work out.

Something I have learned in the past year is that true humility begins with a willingness to be broken. It is just a matter of how we arrive at that brokenness--by allowing God to break us or by allowing our own fall to break us. I have felt the urgent need in my life lately to allow margin, space, Sabbath...to hear God speak, to experience that divine brokenness, just so I can know Him better. Not to get an answer or direction, even if those are desperately needed. I just know that I need to be whole-hearted about something, and if I seek Him first, the rest will follow in His due time.

Complacency has reared its head in all the wrong places of my life, even if the people around me think I am making progress and accomplishing things. It was never about those things or those perceptions, though. It is foolishness without Him. It is hollow and meaningless without Jesus as the center of my life and God's Kingdom at the forefront of all that I do. I cannot get around it, because there is no other way than this straight and increasingly narrow path He has set before me. So here I find myself...and here I wait.

I will not go another step without Him.