Monday, February 26, 2007

Good stuff

The new job started today, and is going well! In fact, I got a nice surprise when I got home from my biggest fans :) --
Thank you!


I don't know that I've mentioned them much on the blog, but I have been so blessed to be part of a Bible study group here for the past three and a half years. Granted, I've been away for two years of that time, but you wouldn't know it. It's an amazing and diverse group, and we laugh and discuss and cry together and truly share each other's lives. A few weeks ago the ladies of the group were talking about wedding and baby showers during our snack time afterwards, and I mentioned that it's not fair that only marrieds and the impregnated get showers. Single people need stuff, too! :)

Well, one sweet woman who I'll call CA remembered I'd said that, and tonight came in and told me she'd brought me a "shower present." :D She bought me a recipe box and had put my favorite recipe of hers in it! Then all the ladies there took some of the cards and told me they'd give me recipes to help fill my box. It was so funny and touching that I was between laughter and tears. I absolutely love my Bible study group. They're a big reason I'm back in OKC, to tell you the truth. I'll write a whole post about them sometime. We're an interesting bunch. :)


Oh yes, and on Saturday I went to a baby shower for my college roommate, Angie. It was so so good to see her, since I don't remember seeing her for over two and a half years, although she told me she came to the hospital when I was sick (I really don't remember hardly anyone who came). And it was a little shocking. :) She was about to pop! Little Silas is set to be born somewhere between two and four weeks from now. I'm going to predict more on the two side. Angie and Brian are some of the most godly, faithful, loving people I know, and they will be amazing parents.


Because I started a real job today, that meant that Friday was my last day to be with my Special Ed kids as a sub. As their goodbye present to me, they each performed their little victory move. The first video is the child who started the whole movement. He does this Heisman Trophy-like pose and says, "Oh yeah, Uh huh, Awesome!" :) Well, the other kids learned it and they all do it sporadically, but they all performed for me before I left. So the first video is the boy who started it, and the second is the other kids doing their versions. :) I'll miss them so much!

Most subs request to not be put in Special Needs classes, and it really blows my mind. These kids have been such a gift to me over the past several weeks. Yes, the work has it's unique challenges, but also it's unique joys. I'm very grateful to them and the other teachers I worked with.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Wanted: Human Pet

I've been doing apartment hunting lately, and today I ran across this one in the classifieds. The post title is their heading. :) I promise I didn't alter it any.

I have 3 cats and a dog already, but am looking to branch out into other species. Guys only, aged 17-24, college students. Must be clean, cheerful and well-behaved.

Private residence, 1.5 miles from Oklahoma Christian University, 4.5 miles from UCO.

No smoking, no stealing, no drugs, no underaged-drinking, no overnight sha-WING -partners.

You get: Furnished room with bed, linens, dresser, armoire, night-table, lamp, closet, 13" TV; Bathroom with tub & shower, two sinks ( and a litter box ).

Rent Plan One: For $350 per month, you get a key and I stay out of your bidni'.

OR - Save $200 with Rent Plan Two: For $150 per month I'm on you like grannies on Jell-O salad. You keep your room clean and your grades up. You are home by 11:30 p.m. on school nights. You bathe regularly and brush your fangs twice a day. I am allowed to put you in a headlock and give you noogies at least once a week, and you must submit to random huggings.

You need to bring a valid I.D., a letter from a parent or guardian, and a letter from a high school teacher, college professor, employer, minister, or youth minister. -- and I WILL check your pedigree /:-)

Downside -- I don't have cable. If I did, I would be late everywhere and probably would never leave the house.
AT&T doesn't have high-speed in my area, so I'm still on dial-up, but Panera is five minutes away and they have free wi-fi.
There's no phone-jack in my guest-room, but I'll go halves on putting one in, if you want your own phone-line.

All nationalities and ethnicities are welcome.
Oh my! Hahahaha....

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Tenacity is more than endurance, it is endurance combined with the absolute certainty that what we are looking for is going to transpire. Tenacity is more than hanging on, which may be but the weakness of being too afraid to fall off. Tenacity is the supreme effort of a man refusing to believe that his hero is going to be conquered. The greatest fear a man has is not that he will be damned, but that Jesus Christ will be worsted, that the things He stood for - love and justice and forgiveness and kindness among men - will not win out in the end; the things He stands for look like will-o'-the-wisps. Then comes the call to spiritual tenacity, not to hang on and do nothing, but to work deliberately on the certainty that God is not going to be worsted.

If our hopes are being disappointed just now, it means that they are being purified. There is nothing noble the human mind has ever hoped for or dreamed of that will not be fulfilled. One of the greatest strains in life is the strain of waiting for God. "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience."

Remain spiritually tenacious.

--Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

I'm telling ya, good old Oswald always knows what I need each day. :) I can't believe I haven't written about this yet, but I'm employed! I hate the phrase "God thing," but if I were a person who used it I would totally say that this was a God thing. :) After an extremely frustrating month and a half of job searching, Monday I had the idea to send my resume to the local big school district (LBSD). They called me the next morning for an interview that afternoon, and they hired me to write curriculum for their ESL program! I'm STILL in shock about the whole thing. The job is so well suited to my interests and talents, and the best feeling of all is that they actually wanted me! I am finally unrejected! :) I start on Monday. Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement. Some of you know how much the job hunt was wearing on me, and God provided in his own time and way. And he provided so many wonderful friends to cheer me on, help me, and now celebrate with me. Yippie for tenacity!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ash Wednesday Prayer

Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wickedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Common Book of Prayer


I'll be attending this service tonight. If you're in the area and want to come with me, drop a line.

Monday, February 19, 2007


As my beloved Brazilians begin the celebration of Carnaval and Cajuns rock through Marti Gras, I am reminded that Lent is just around the corner. I've written before about my personal history with Lent, so I won't rehash that, although my feelings and understanding run much deeper now.

Last year was by far the hardest Lenten fasting I've done, and although it was difficult and something I struggled with every day, I felt like I appreciated the spiritual discipline at a much deeper level. Lent is a season of expectation and observation. Because I practice Lent, each day I am aware that we are in the Holy Season, which turns my thoughts to Christ and His Passion.

So, for the past several days I've been praying and meditating over how I will observe Lent this year. The idea is to become aware of those things in your life which are obstacles in your pursuit of God, so it requires a lot of honest self-reflection.

The Lenten season is a precious time in my spiritual walk, and even if you don't choose to participate, I hope you will take the time to learn about and appreciate this Holy Season.

The Lectionary reading schedule for this year's Lenten season.
Devotional thoughts for Ash Wednesday

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Dear Music Makers

I've seen some bloggers write "open letters" to people who will clearly never read their message and certainly wouldn't care, but it makes the writer feel better just to vent. I've become vain enough to take my shot at it.


Dear Recording Industry,

Although I appreciate some of the trends your people produce and sustain, there is one that is quite unfathomable to me-- the replacement of words for single digit counterparts. I don't know who started it, perhaps the venerable MC Hammer with his hits "2 Legit 2 Quit" and "U Can't Touch This", but that was the eighties. Parachute pants didn't last this long.

Since that time, I have seen it featured, and in my memory I seem to think that it is more prevalent in the rap/pop arenas. Avril Lavine and the Pussycat Dolls contributed their more complex mutations with "Sk8r Boi" and "Stickwitu," respectively.

This was all sad but bearable until it hit a little too close to home. On her debut album, Katharine McPhee has a song named "Not UR Girl" (which is confusing in this dialect because I think it actually is "your", although it might be "you are")

Let's just take a moment to look at the real issue. For some reason, your industry feels it is more marketable to abbreviate nice, respectable, innocent words down from their undefiled state to bastardizations, such as these--

you -- U
are -- R
too, to-- 2
be-- B
see-- C

My question is, who does this appeal to? I realize that I am from a very WASPy demographic, but I don't see who really communicates this way. Is the general populous turned off by those who use entire words in their song titles? Are you perhaps saving money on printing fees by reducing the necessary ink? Surely it's not pure laziness.

Please respect our intelligence. Give a hand to those trying to reintroduce literacy to our country and children.



Wednesday, February 14, 2007

My Funny Valentines

I've been acting as a long-term sub for the past week or so in an elementary special needs class. They've pretty much stolen my heart. Who could ask for better Valentines? :)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Bittersweet Symphony

Tonight I was invited to the most wonderful Valentine's dinner. The ambiance was perfect-- candlelight, roses, great food, chocolate, and wonderful company. It wasn't a traditional hot Valentine date, but I did have a wonderful evening with the ladies group of a local church. One of my friends (Auvrey S) was their guest speaker this evening on the subject of singleness. It was an extension of their ladies ministry, which has been using different spices as the monthly themes. This month's theme, on singleness, was bittersweet (as in chocolate).

When I heard that bittersweet was the "spice of singleness," I laughed, but it is really quite appropriate. I've been thinking about singleness a lot lately. When I was in Japan and Brazil it was kind of nice, because in those two cultures it would be quite strange for someone my age to be married. But coming back to the US, especially my unique little subculture of the US, I am feeling the stigma again. I think part of it truly is that in the Christian south people don't know what to do with people who don't fit into the pattern that seems pretty standard. College, marry, kids. But I will be very honest to admit that a lot of the stigmatism is self inflicted. I would love to find "the one" and settle down and live the life that my heart truly desires.

But I don't begrudge my singleness. Although I sure thought I was ready for marriage in college, looking back I am thankful for the opportunities that remaining single afforded me. I've lived some dreams that I would have given up otherwise. And that has been truly priceless. I shouldn't speak in the past tense, because clearly I'm still single. :) While you're living in exotic countries and things like that, it's easier to be contently single. :) But hearing my friend speak such Godly words of wisdom tonight reminded me that although I am not happy in my singleness now, I still have things to learn from this stage of life. I have to learn to depend on God and not others to fill me. I have to learn to use my energy and time wisely. I have to be able to see my own value and the value God's placed in me and not depend on others to make me feel worthy.

So whether in relationships or single, content or not, it's my prayer that we'll all find our completeness in God alone.

PS-- Funniest Valmumtimes Video EVER! :) (Copied from Dan)

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Cost of Friendship

It's a beautiful thing when folks in poverty are no longer just a mission project but become genuine friends and family with whom we laugh, cry, dream and struggle. One of the verses I have grown to love is where Jesus is preparing to leave the disciples and says, "I no longer called you servants, instead I have called you friends" (John 15:15). Servanthood is a fine place to begin, but gradually we move towards mutual love, genuine relationships. Someday, perhaps we can ever say those words that Ruth says to Naomi after years of partnership, "Where you go, I will go. Where you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God will be my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried" (Ruth 1:16-17).

That's where things get messy. When people begin moving beyond charity and toward justice and solidarity with the poor and oppressed, as Jesus did, they get in trouble. Once we are actually friends toward folks in struggle, we start to ask why people are poor, which is never as popular as giving to charity. One of my friends has a shirt marked with the words of the late Catholic bishop Dom Helder Camara: "When I fed the hungry, they called me a saint. When I asked why people are hungry, they called me a communist." Charity wins awards and applause, but joining the poor gets you killed. People do not get crucified for charity. People are crucified for living out a love that disrupts the social order, that calls forth a new world. People are not crucified for helping the poor. They're crucified for joining them.
-- Shane Claiborne, in The Irresistible Revolution


"Never befriend the oppressed unless you are prepared to take on the oppressor."

-- Ogden Nash


I'm tired of having ideals and not living them. God, I want to change.
I am wrong and of these things I repent.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Zody, where art thou?

While web surfing today, I saw a banner that claimed their website could tell me the precise name of my soul mate. So, seeing as Valentine's Day is coming up and I'm single, I had to check it out.

After entering my first name and astrological sign (go pisces!), they revealed me the name I've been waiting so long to learn. Are you ready?


I googled the name Zody to see if it really exists and apparently it does and was created by deranged people who thought it would be a good idea to combine the names Zoe and Cody, and it means "cushion of life". I'm not kidding; that's what it really says.

So alright, at least I have something to work with. This is my petition to my Zody named readership to come out of hiding and show yourself. Or, if you know a Zody, feel free to tell him that you have found his other half.


In other wonderful news, I would like to share with my readership that Eb+Flo, the label that Chris Rice co-owns, is having a clearance sale of their music inventory, including arts such as Derek Webb, Caedmon's Call, Sandra McCracken, Chris Rice, and a lot of other great stuff. This is cheap, like under $5 cheap. Go check it out if you want to catch up on some of their collections.

Friday, February 02, 2007


Today as I was browsing through the local paper I stumbled upon the page of church ads. Let me share with you some of their slogans.

"Scripture. Tradition. Reason."

"Loving God. Loving people."

"Hungry for His Presence... Thirsty for His Word."

from a church with an apparent arborical theme-- "Come grow with us."-- next to a picture of an acorn.

"Serving the Lord with gladness."

"At XYZ, we believe the key to a meaningful life is found in our relationship with God."

"The church of the welcome table."

"A place where you fit!"

"Study, growth, and support opportunities in a community of joyful Christians."

And my personal favorite-- "Doing life together."

I'm being overly critical. I know I am. I am way too cynical about church. I had a wonderful conversation today with a dear friend about the struggles of faith, and I told him that it seems like most of the time it's not God I have issues with but the church. It's the second half of that greatest command that really tries my faithfulness. Heck, I'd even take my neighbors before I'd take a lot of church folk.

This has really hit home for me recently because I am at a transition point in life where I am trying to decide what congregation I want to commit myself to. I was telling my friend today that there's way too much choice in everything in the US, not to mention churches. If I'm not totally satisfied at one church I just pick up and keep looking for what makes me happy. The problem with that thinking is that you start to believe it's really about what you want... fitting your preferences, your lifestyle, demographic, and comfort level.

Being a self righteous, pseudo-intellectual, I am afraid that I'm even more critical than the average church-goer. As I've thought about where I'm going to attend, I'm pretty sure that if I hold to this line of thinking I'll be attending the church of Me Myself and I.

Churching is rough for me. I think conversely, it's probably the easier aspect of spirituality for a lot of other folks. But God calls us to live in community for the benefit of ourselves and others, so I'd better get over my funk. Derek Webb says it beautifully in his song "The Church"--

I didn't come for only you, but for my people to pursue.
You cannot care for me with no regard for her; to love me you must love the church.

So I'll continuing to pray for an open heart to decide where I am going to attend. We'll see where it leads.

*my poke at the new emergent or postmodern or whatever term of "unchurched", for folks who we used to call pagans in the good old days. ;) oh shucks, jokes aren't funny if you have to explain them, right? oh well. :)