Thursday, December 29, 2005


YES!! Saw Annie at the FOX theatre. It was ANNE-TASTIC. Boo.

I was exctatic when my roomate got me tickets for my birthday this year. Annie is one of the first movies I could recite backwards and forwards. I totally know all the songs by heart. Tonight, as we approached the theatre, I could tell by the sparkly headbands of the little girls piling out of mini-vans, that we were going to be the oldest people there by our own will.

I was right. No matter.

The movie that I love so much is pretty true to the original broadway showing, except for Punjab, the whole ending, the different songs, the omitted songs, the excellency of Carol Burnett as Miss Hannigan, IODENT instead of OXYDENT toothpaste, and the DANCING.

Other than that it was exactly the same...

Oh well. It was still very good, and I was very impressed by the character that played Sandy the dog.

(Little known fact. Sarah Jessica Parker played one of the Annie's in the original Broadway cast. )
(Additional Side note: Amy just said it was a whole lot more entertaining (her words) watching me sing the songs in the living room. )

Oh. I just love it! Schmabby, sing it with me now!!

Hey, hobo man, hey Dapper Dan
You both got your style, but brother
You're never fully dressed without a smile

You're clothes may be
"Beau Brumelly"
They stand out a mile, but brother
You're never fully
dressed without a smile

Who cares what they're wearing On Main Street or
Saville Row
It's what you wear from ear to ear (to ear)
And not from
head to toe that matters

So, Senator, so, janitor
So long for
awhile, remember
You're never fully dressed
Though you may wear the best
You're never fully dressed without a smile!!

Monday, December 26, 2005

I'm "All In"

Psalm 51 says: Create in me a clean heart... O God. The hebrew word for "create" used in that verse--"bara" is the word that means "to make something from nothing". Interesting that that word was NOT the hebrew word for "made" ("asah"). Not the word that means fashioning something that is already there, as to work in silver, gold or some other medium... it suggests that we must ask God to give us a whole new one. That the slate must be wiped, and we must completely start over, that the one we started with is just not salvagable. That.. to me... is good news.

The ones we start with are so defensive. When anyone gets too close to something that we cling to, we react, sometimes poorly, mostly in defense of whatever it is that we identify ourselves by. In Shakespeares words from Hamlet: "Methinks he doth protest too much."

Our hearts guard something about us. Every person was made to worship (and to fear) something. We just were. I've never met a single person who didn't manage their lives around something. The object of that worship can be anything, but it's most likely the thing you react to when someone attacks it. Maybe it's your kids, maybe your looks, maybe your income, sports ability. Whatever is most sensitive, whatever causes you to say "Man, where did that come from, why did I say that? Why did I react like such an idiot when someone poked that button?" Very raw, very human thing I've been interested to observe lately. The interesting thing is that I tend to like the people more that don't react to anything in a defensive personal way. (And I don't mean people who just kill the natural reaction) People who just smile, like my Great Aunt Norma, who once said, "I suppose I got the knees that God meant me to have." (She really is Great). People that just don't feel the need to defend, or else, the center of their being is so far into Christ that they know that the attack isn't directed at them personally, but at God himself, and God, in their eyes doesn't really need a defense. At least not a puny human one.

In a nutshell, I guess I don't know what I'm saying really. It's just interesting to me to watch what stokes people's fires sometimes. There were these two guys playing poker on TV the other day, and they were just mouthing each other all tournament long. They almost came to blows a few times, but it just was so obvious to me that they were both just scared to death to be beaten by the other, and they both felt this animal need to conquer the other and to tout themselves over the other. Literally, when the one guy finally won and sent the other packing, he stood up and hoisted his arms up over his head and walked around still jawing at the other guy (he wasn't even the last guy at the table)... the commentator says: "Some people win graciously, and then some people...."

I just got the book "Word Freaks" for Christmas. It is a book about the terribly interesting world of competitive Scrabble. My pastor used one of the lines in a sermon before, but I think it's so good I'm going to quote it again. This guy who won the national tournament one year was quoted as saying.."Basically this validates my entire existance...I'm not kidding." Ha. What is my scrabble? Or worse, what have I NOT achieved to date that I think WOULD validate my entire existance?

Competition. What is it? Why do we think that winning someting, just having some sort of relative (key word is most certainly 'relative', because I think there is something to be said for excellence just for the sake of excellence) superiority over someone else vindicates us, validates us?

Diana Barry: "Myra Gillis had 37 doilies when she got married, and I'm determined to have AT LEAST as many as she had."
Anne Shirley: "I suppose it would be impossible to keep house with only 36 doilies.

You know what? I'm tired. I think I'm officially giving up the rat race. I don't think there IS anything out there that would validate my existance. Not this superb blogthing, not my mark left on society, or comedy, or hairstyling, or good friendship, or the environment, or my lack of marital bliss, mastery of culinary arts. Nothing. There really IS no golden goose. I'm already as validated in Christ as I will EVER be. So.. with that, I think I officially am putting away my claws, re-sheathing my sword, putting the bitch to bed. I am putting her to bed. She is tired. She will choose joy because if someone does attack her, (and 99% of the time it's not really a direct attack anyway, but a ploy of the enemy) they obviously don't know who she is. They just don't realize that she is a blood-bought daughter of the creator of the universe, who has no time to get her feathers ruffled, there is simply too much joy to be had, to much encouragement to be given, to much life to be lived, to much freedom to be enjoyed.

Take my brother for example. He is pretty darn cool, and a big deal TV-star, he is a good deal funnier, knows his engineering stuff, and is much better looking than I, but I am not the least bit intimidated or competitive (save the friendly jeopardy game). Because I know that my folks don't love him more than they love me. It's just not the case. Maybe THAT is why some Christian people choose to call their fellow members "Brother Blank". Maybe it's to remind them (in an incredibly cheesy, really hard to believe sorta way) that we all have the same daddy, and he loves us the same, so there is no need to compete, no need to strive against one another. My Daddy does have enough love for all.

Thursday, December 22, 2005


I recieved a Honeybaked Ham gift certificate for Christmas from my company and promptly mis-placed it, after telling my mom that I would bring home a ham for Christmas dinner.

I lament to my mom, after explaining the situation on the phone, "I'm such a loser" she replies "Aw... but your MY loser".

It was just what I needed to hear.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

They will know we are Christians by our T-shirts.

"It is easy for Christians to say today, "Well, yes, this is true. We've got to teach the truth, obey the truth, and believe the truth about Christ. And of course, we've got to stop doing the things the world is doing." That is as far as they go. Have you heard Christians get up and testify along this line? They say, "I used to smoke and drink and dance and go to the movies and play cards and gamble and all these terrible things. But I don't do any of them any more. I believe in the Lord. I've stopped all these things." They leave the impression that it ought to make everyone become a Christian, to see such a tremendous change.

But what you discover, soon enough, is that people are not a bit impressed by what you have stopped doing. Not the least bit. Why, worldlings can stop doing these things if they have a good reason. And they do it. If that is the basis of your Christian testimony, you have got nothing more to say than they do. No, the world is not a bit impressed by stopping something.

What does impress them is seeing you do something they cannot do. That is love. That is why John says that the third mark of a genuine Christian is that he begins to love---not those that love him (anybody can do that, is Jesus' remark)---but beginning to love those who do not love you; to treat kindly those who mistreat you; to return good for evil and to pray for those who spitefully use you; to welcome and treat kindly those who are against you and are trying to hurt you. This is the mark, isn't it? You no longer treat those who have needs around you with callous indifference, but you respond to them and do not shut them out of your life."

Ray Stedman on 1 John

Friday, December 16, 2005

Of Note...

Today I witnessed an event firsthand that I once though was only a myth. I was stuck in the line at the Walgreens pharmacy behind a guy who was actually ASKING THE PHARMACIST QUESTIONS. I should have taken a picture and sold it to a tabloid.

Today I also witnessed one of the funniest things I've ever seen at a hockey game. Between the 2nd and 3rd periods, the audience entertainment contest was a race between four people. These people were in exotic bird costumes: a Chicken, a Flamingo, a Parrot, and some other gray bird. The costumes were made to look like they were riding on the backs of the birds, with fake human legs dangling around the birds necks. Much like this:

They were to race around four barrels placed at the corners of the ice. They start out and much like a dizzy bat race, they are all over the place trying to run on ice, but eventually the chicken gets the hang of it and pulls ahead. By the time he reaches the home strech he gets cocky and starts hot dogging by putting his hand up to his ear to egg the crowd on. We oblige. Then just as he reaches the finish well ahead of the other birds, he BITES IT. Falls down literally three feet from the finish tape. The flamingo gains on him, the chicken struggles and tries to army crawl his way over the line. It was painful and heartwrenching. Then when he realizes he will get passed up, and gives up trying to lug himself and the awkward chicken garb across the line, he turns to sabotage and tries to trip the flamingo. This may be one of those examples in life that just can't be captured by words, but it was just priceless. Even now, thinking about that stupid cocky chicken, I laugh out loud. Ha.

Also of note, an update on my situations, the oil got changed, the washer is fixed by some resourceful ingenuity by my father and I, the headlight is fixed, the garage door part is in my possesion, I have a new phone that only cost me 65 bucks and it's better than my old one, my bedspread came clean, and my brother is a college graduate. Hooray! Praise-ja Vu. (Like that one Ange?)

Not of note at all, I'm reading Memoirs of a Geisha. It's rather good. I tend to have the bad habit of not savoring anything, I've ravenously devoured it since buying it Friday morning. It's one of those things I just think about constantly and just need to get through it, I'll even skim pages I deem uninteresting to finish a book faster, to get to the meat of the story. I'm fascinated by the idea of a gray eyed Geisha. I didn't even know it was possible. I can't wait to see the movie.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Early Lang Syne

This year comes to a close. Soon it will be my first blog-iversary. We've laughed we've cried, we've been anonymously spammed. It's been a good year. I've needed this outlet very much.

I picture December as an old tired man, limping wearily along the calendar, taunting the children about the promise of Christmas break, and dragging down the rest of us with his lack of innocence and the cold brittle temperatures of his bones. He goes to sleep earlier and earlier everyday, depriving us of Vitamin D, and sending us into a reflective, depressive wintery state. He's had a full life, twelve months of joy and of sorrow. But Twenty Oh Five is tired and wants to call it quits. We all feel it.

Hang in there everybody, you only get one crack at the rest of December, Twenty Oh Five. And the '06 baby, while virginal and pure, he too, is just another old man in the making. Don't let this '05 old man get crotchity on you.

Or as I would say to Willie! Corchity.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Thinking about Thanks

I know it's well past T-givin. But I got to thinking about saying Grace before meals. Actually, I just got to thinking about the train made of cans. And I was just thinking about how much work got put into that silly thing. And how honestly glad I am that people got food. People who maybe wouldn't have gotten some that day if the train hadn't come together like it did. If we had dropped out, 2000 cans of pork and beans would still be sitting in a Schnucks warehouse somewhere. I wondered if those peeps were thankful (you know for all 'my' hard work). Bleck. Then in a millisecond, as light often comes, I was repulsed by the thought. I thought of how few times I bend my head, or still my heart to thank God for the meals I eat. I mean sure my paycheck feels like I earn it and buy things with it out of my very own strength, but when thirteen hurricanes hit the US, try to use that paycheck to buy a good tomato? Yeah good luck with that. It is an illusion, how independent we think we are of the good grace of God. I mean have you savored the little cherry tomatoes that you can get at Sams? Oh my word! They are like candy. Little oblong spheres of joy. I eat them by the handful, in a salad, or just, yeah by the handful. It's too good for words. In a season, a whole crop is gone. Or, in the blink of an eye, gas is 5 dollars an ounce. In an instant, the 401K you spent your whole life pouring into, gets shot to smithereens. For what? Investing in the security that you thought you had. Failing to praise the maker for what you had while you had it.

I say that not to sound self-righteous. I realize that I can get preachy sometimes, but know that I'm only speaking to myself in this venue. I do not trust Him a good deal of the time, and I certainly don't thank Him. Like the women at the shelter the other night, when the lasangna took a half hour more to cook, thereby postponing their regularly scheduled dinner. From some it was taps on the counter. "What is going on here?" "When will it be ready?" "What's the hold up?" We got untrusting prideful stares from women who had been out in the cold all day long, starving. Some where so hard, and indignant toward the good-intentioned hands that wanted to feed them. But some ladies were sweet. "Oh boy that food sure does look good over there...y'all are gooood cooks! Thank you so much." So weird to see such an obvious example of how God must see us as he tries to bless us. So crushing. I am so demanding, so impatient, yet I feel so entitled sometimes.

I laugh as I picture myself tapping on God's counter going.. "Isn't he ready yet?" "Where is my husband?" "Everyone else has eaten already" God (who I picture as Luke from Gilmore Girls in this analogy) says "We'll he's still frozen, and your still prideful, indignant and hard. Trust me, you don't want him now. You'll get salmonella. I am the cook here. You gonna trust me? Are you? And don't use cell phones in my diner!"

"Umm yeah. I guess. Those tomatoes you made....those are looking pretty good over there... Lordy, you are a good slow cook, a giant spiritual Crock Pot."

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Rains, Pours Yadda Yadda Yadda.....

Just when you think you have your spiritual life sort of in a place where it is going to stay for awhile, your practical life (for lack of a better word) goes to pot.
Number one, my sewer backed up on me. Pipes are supposed to slope to the street. Mine don't.
Number two, my garage door opener gears are stripped.
Number three, my furnace sounds like an old man.
Number four, I need my oil changed and literally haven't had time to get it done in the last three weeks.
Number Five, My check engine light is on, washer fluid is filled, and my headlight is out. (I count those all as one, I suppose).
Number six, I stuck a can of diet cherry coke in my purse this morning on my way out the door to church. I forgot about it, and came back to the house and set it on my bed. It sprung a leak, soaked my densely-written-in-purple-ink 'to do' list, stained my bedspread purple and ruined my phone.
Number Seven, I can't wash my bedspread or any of my monster mountain of clothes because my washing machine is broken. Thats makes two broken washers in the last year.
(And my roomie gets to add a minor car accident to her list of annoyances, as the house related ones affect her too.)

So to recap....
I can't wash anything, call anyone, drive anywhere, park in my garage, or spend any money because I haven't got the roto-rooter bill yet. I don't even know where to start.

In spite of all this, I'm in very good spirits, as I said, I am spiritually feeling pretty good. Presents are all wrapped, baking is done. Work is good. Listened to a ton of Beth Moore this week, got my shipment of her cd's in the mail, and they are as ever, so great! I had the pleasure of dinner and a chick flick (Pride and Predjudice) with a very good friend of mine Friday night. It was the perfect girl nite. Very encouraging discussion, and good times.

I'm also in good spirits because I got to work at the Grace and Peace women's homeless shelter last nite, and it was very humbling. I feel so overwhelmed sometimes with the amount of hard stories there are. I have a roof over my head, a family that loves me, a great job and food on my table. Life is ridiculously good. The trick is deciding that it would still be ridiculously good even if I didn't have those things. Jesus said "I am the bread" and in Him we have life and breath and our being, the rest of it, Maximus, is shadows and dust. Concretely, I'm not sure how that works, but in my spirit, I know it is true, because there are times when I have indeed had everything, and it wasn't enough. So it stands to reason that if all I had was Jesus and nothing else, that it would somehow, inexplicably, be enough.

In the meantime. I'm not ignoring your calls. Thank God the internet still works.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Sometimes Beth Says it Best

"I can say without stuttering that in my 45 years of living I have NEVER had a man be as mean to me as women have been...

Now I've had them be stupid, Amen?"