Saturday, September 29, 2007

Beyond the Noise

About a month ago I was talking with an elder from church about the fact that I was having trouble praying about a certain issue in my life. He suggested that maybe I needed to get away from "noise" and just be quiet with God. I kind of thought that was odd, because really my life is pretty quiet. I don't have cable, so I very rarely watch TV. I watch movies once in a while, but not too often. I did listen to music almost every waking moment possible, but I figured that since I was listening to worship/praise/Jesus music, that certainly didn't qualify as noise.

He specifically suggested that I try keeping the radio off in my car and using that time to meditate, pray, and generally listen for God. I wasn't sure that was a great idea, and if you know my issues with road rage you will understand me when I say that that music is all that keeps me from going nutso in traffic at times. But hey, I thought I should give it a shot.

I took about a week after that to try and live in purposeful silence. I'm not going to lie, it was strange and kind of rough at first. I love music; if you've read the blog long enough, you can probably catch the fact that music ministers to and moves me powerfully. But the silence was very freeing. If God put a song in my heart, then I sang it. I felt like my praise was my own and more personalized because it wasn't just what the radio or iTunes was telling me was next in the queue.

It is also very nice for time to pray and really have "conversations" with God. When I have my prayer time at night, although it is sincere, I usually am praying specific and purposeful intercessory prayers (oftentimes from a list-- what can I say, I like lists). But when I'm in the car or washing dishes and it's just silent, I feel more free to just pour out to God what is on my heart. The things I'm stressed out about, people I love, thanks for the joys of the day, or whatever is on my mind at the moment. For some reason these times are more conducive to dropping any facade and revealing my true self--problems and praises, victories and defeats.

One of my favorite times of the week now is Tuesday nights, which has for some reason become the time I do my nails. Something about the combination of doing something for myself and spending quiet time in prayer is so calming. In fact, I missed it this week and it's been nagging at me ever since (I'm making up for it tonight).

We live in a very noisy world. Even when the "noises" are good things, it is still beneficial to step away and be silent for a while. Who knows what God is trying to say to us, but we can't hear it for the noise.

The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. --I Kings 19:11-13

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Yom Kippur

My life can be called many things, but it will never be called boring.

Last weekend one of my friends from church called and asked if I'd be interested in an odd job on Friday night and Saturday morning. Odd job was perhaps an understatement. In case you didn't know, Friday at dusk began the Jewish Holy Day of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Conservative Jews interpret the Sabbath commands of rest very strictly and literally, and so the most conservative won't even ride in a car. My friend tells me that she has a friend of a friend who is a member of a Temple in town, and she is an older woman who has back problems. So while most conservative Jews are walking to and from the services Friday and Saturday, she is going to need a wheelchair. However, the Sabbath laws also prohibit any Jew from pushing her wheelchair. That's where I come in. :)

To make it easier to keep the Sabbath laws, some of the members of the congregation were staying in a hotel about two miles from the Temple. My job was to push Estie in her wheelchair from the temple to the hotel Friday night and Saturday morning. The trick was that our route was in the middle of the very bustling NW OKC area, including crossing a major road. I don't think I fully understood was I was supposed to do until I actually got to the temple, or I might not have agreed. :)

Let me tell you about Estie. She is probably about 70 years old, Hungarian born, a Holocaust survivor, and then spent most of her life in Israel. I expected to meet a frail old woman, but she has more life and fire and spunk than I do! Half of my job was chasing her with the wheelchair trying to get her to sit in it!!! She is full of joy and laughter and was such a blessing to me.

We walked our route with another conservative family, and it was fun to get to know them as well. I think they were all from Israel. It was kind of wild to hear Hebrew being spoken! I studied it so much, but only as an ancient language. The walk was a little scary at times, but we made it alright. And it was an AMAZING cardio workout. :) God is so good to bless me with these crazy experiences and wonderful people! It was a blessing to be able to serve this woman in this way. I believe it is the beginning of a friendship!

I have a funny story to share as well. My friend who recruited me for this also went with me (she couldn't push herself because of a back injury). As we waited at the Temple for the service to finish on Friday night, we both realized we were wearing our cross necklaces, and had a conversation about whether we should wear them or put them under our shirts or what. I wasn't ashamed of Jesus, so no comments like that, but I also didn't want to affront Judaism on their most Holy Day. So we decided to put them under our shirts.

The next day, my friend said, "Did you even realize what shirt I was wearing last night?!?" I thought about it... then realized it was the Quail Springs VBS shirt from this year. On the front it says "Family of GOD at Quail springs" hugely with a big cross in the middle of God, then the back features a nice big picture of Jesus and Aslom the Lion (Narnia) on the back. I died laughing! We were worried about our little crosses and she was running around with a big picture of Jesus on her back! Hahaha... oh well.

Like I said, my life can be called many things, but never boring.

Friday, September 21, 2007

That Crazy Cat

My cat, Penny, is crazy. I've decided she has some identity issues and really believes she's a dog. She's uber-affectionate, meows like dogs bark, and follows me wherever I go. Only I would end up with a co-dependent cat.

One thing that has been consistently elusive is a cute picture of the two of us together. Not only does she always give goofy looks, but her last minute shifts change my expression as well. It's probably what I deserve for subjecting her to the flash of my camera. Today I tried again, and came out with what I think is the funniest picture of us:

I died laughing when I saw how it turned out! It reminds me of one of the old cliche that pets and their owners start to look alike after a while. But then the goober turned around and produced one of the sweetest pictures of us (even though I look like a dork):

As soon as I started taking it, she turned and started licking my face! So if kitty kisses make you swoon, then eat your heart out. They do not have that effect on me. Animals' tongues should not touch humans, especially their faces. Sorry if you're one of those people who gives open mouth kisses to your dog (or bird, in one friend's case). :) Ha!

Well there you go. I have two posts of substance that I'm working on, so hopefully I'll have those out soon. Have a great weekend! Shalom!*

*gold star if you get it

Monday, September 17, 2007

Funniest. Picture. Ever.


You have to click on it to get the full effect. Darn you blogger templates that give me grief!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Life is Good!

To all those who worried because I left a depressing post up for a week, I'd like to say that I was just having a bad day and really, my life is actually pretty darn good right now. In honor of my charmed life, let's have an impromptu Thursday Thanksgiving, which I generally neglect.

I'm thankful for...
  • Caedmon's Call's new album, "Overdressed"
  • Quail Springs Church/my Connections group
  • Diet Dr. Pepper
  • Richard Foster and John Eldridge's books
  • Stories that make me laugh til I can't breathe
  • Unwaveringly encouraging friends
  • Unexpected joy

As a minutia update on a little bit of my life, a few weeks ago I was smoking crack* and agreed to take part in the Race for the Cure's 5k race. I have no idea what made me think that was a good idea. Anyway, it seems that since I've done that, the gods** are against me as I train. In the past week I've had several unfortunate mishaps. The most embarrassing was last weekend, when I was out jogging. I knew that my workout pants had been becoming more loose, but I didn't realize the extent of the trouble until suddenly my pants were not around my waist anymore. They didn't make it all the way down to my ankles, but it was enough of a show for anyone around. And did I mention that I happened to be running around the state capitol at the time? Oh my.

Other things have happened this past week to thwart my training schedule, but today was a new one. As I set out on my warm up this morning I noticed that my foot hurt, then remembered that a friend of mine accidentally stepped on it last night. I went on and did my walk/jog anyway, but was hobbling some by the time I made it back. I checked it out and I do indeed have a nice bruise on my foot, but believe it will heal quickly. It made me nervous at first because it's the same area where I broke my toe about this time last year. My poor battered feet. :)

I'll keep you updated on that. By the way, it's another 101 in 1001 goal. I'm really enjoying this goal list.

*I wasn't really smoking crack. It's an expression
**Don't worry, I'm monotheistic. It's also an expression.

Friday, September 07, 2007

If I Could Just Sit With You...

The world is a harsh place, and some days you just feel it more than others. Today I'm feeling every grating piece of it. I love this song by Dennis Jernigan (the version I own is performed by Martin Doman via iTunes), because on a day like today I just play it and pray it and let it wash the truth of God's love and tenderness over me.
If I could just sit with You a while, if You could just hold me
Nothing could touch me though I'm wounded, though I die
If I could just sit with You a while, I need You to hold me
Moment by moment, 'till forever passes by

I'm guessing I'm not the only one who has days like this. Are there any songs or scriptures or what not that minister to you on days when you just want to curl up in bed and hide from the world?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

What Men Want

CNN brings us confirmation of many women's deepest fears and insecurities:

Men Want Hot Women, Study Confirms

I love how that is the actual title of the article. :)

Does this offend any men out there? Is this an over-generalization? Can women have hope that there are men out there with more depth than this? Ladies, how does this make you feel? Remember, this blog allows anonymous comments.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Jane Austenesque

In the past few days I have watched both Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice (5 hour long BBC edition). Before this I don't believe I've ever watched or read a Jane Austen story, although Lord knows I have a million friends who swear by her. I really enjoyed both, especially Pride and Prejudice, and now have a better idea as to why every woman seems to love Mr. Darcy and wants to be Elizabeth Bennett.

Of course, seven hours of 19th century immersion will mess with your head, and I started to think about what my life would be like were I a character in a Jane Austen novel.

If I were a character in a Jane Austen novel, I would--

  • be fairly to mildly pretty but nothing special, except for my amazing wit, impeccable reason and quick thinking skills
  • spend copious amounts of time strolling through the English countryside
  • have a precocious sister or at least be surrounded by over the top outlandish relatives
  • need to marry a well-to-do man to help secure my financial future, but resentful of this fact and hold fast to the romantic notion of marrying for love
  • meet an enigmatic and brooding man who appeared to despise me, and I would then return his feelings of disgust
  • meet a charming and pleasant man after meeting brooding and enigmatic man, begin to believe in love, but then have my heart dashed after realizing he is a scoundrel
  • have the pieces of my shattered heart picked up and reassembled by enigmatic, brooding man once learning that he is actually tenderhearted and kind (and incredibly wealthy)
  • finally realize true love does exist and live happily ever after
Hmm. Let me know if I'm forgetting anything. Do men love Jane Austen like so many women do? Do they fall in love with the heroines like women fall in love with the heroes?

Saturday, September 01, 2007

What book are you?

I don't generally do these types of quizzes, but this one interested me. Here is what book I was determined to be, and an analysis of my personality:

You're The Guns of August!

by Barbara Tuchman

Though you're interested in war, what you really want to know is what
causes war. You're out to expose imperialism, militarism, and nationalism for what they
really are. Nevertheless, you're always living in the past and have a hard time dealing
with what's going on today. You're also far more focused on Europe than anywhere else in
the world. A fitting motto for you might be "Guns do kill, but so can

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

I didn't quite know what to do with that, so I took it again, slightly changing my answers:

You're The Catcher in the Rye!

by J.D. Salinger

You are surrounded by phonies, and boy are you sick of them! In an
ongoing struggle to search for a land without phonies, you end up running away from
everything, from school to consequences. In this process, you reveal that many people
in your life have suffered torments and all you really want to do is catch them as
they fall. Perhaps using a baseball mitt. Your biggest fans are infamous

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

I love the book, but I don't know what to think about the description. Interesting indeed. You guys go take it, then tell me what book you are.