Tuesday, August 25, 2009


After my Zombie-inspired moment during church, I drove home on some back roads that I haven’t used in a while. I got to a certain intersection and familiar blue house took me back to a lesson I learned from my mother.

This is the kind of woman my mother is: Years ago, as we were driving on our way to church we passed an elderly woman walking on the side of the road. The woman was in a McDonalds uniform and appeared to be a little weary. My mom stops, rolls down her window and asks the woman if we can take her somewhere. The woman hesitated at first, but only for a second before accepting a ride to her house. She lived right on the way to church, it cost us nothing but a bit of time to stop and help her on her way. Call it generosity. Call it respect. Call it kindness. Call it risky. Call it what you will. I call it being the social center of God’s love. What made that lesson stick in my heart and head is that it wasn’t a one-time act. After that first day, every time our paths crossed the McDonald’s Lady, we picked her up and took her the rest of the way home. Such a simple, valiant thing.

Just last night I stumbled upon another act of generosity my parents are performing behind the scenes. Out of the public eye. But my parents are like that. And I think more is communicated by caring and supporting others than all the rhetoric we can muster. I hope I can be like them when I grow up.

The deeds will not be less valiant because they are unpraised. ~ Aragorn


Pastor Jason made a comment during his sermon this week: “Jesus is the head of the church.” You know what image immediately popped into my head?


Probably because “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” keeps popping up on my reading radar…and a friend of mine just got a t-shirt that says “In the event of a zombie uprising, remember to sever the head.”

Yes, I know I need help.

But think about it for a second. The best way to kill a zombie is to cut off their head. They can be bleeding, oozing, dripping, dropping (basically they can be a mangled mess) -- and they will still keep going as long as they have their head.

I don’t know. I found this image oddly uplifting. Throw what you will at me. As long as I’m connected to my Jesus, I’ll be alright.

*bonus random moment. Tim Gunn meets Monty Python* It’s just a flesh wound. Carry on! Make it work.

Vine and branches are much more picturesque (and vibrant and stuff). But I had zombies on the brain this Sunday.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. ~ Galatians 2:20

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Flavored Water

I don’t like the taste of water. I’ve tried doing the water-only thing, hoping that in a few weeks/months/whatever my taste buds would come around. They don’t. It doesn’t matter if the water is filtered, or bottled, or tap. I’m equally un-fond of them all. Bleck.

But…since drinking water is a healthy thing to do, I do it. And to help me do it, I add flavor. My absolute favorite is water with lime. Water with lemon is ok too. And since I don’t want to carry around bits of citrus in my purse, I’m also fond of the tea-ish packets you can add to a bottle of water.

It doesn’t detract from the healthy goodness of the water. And my body gets the hydration that it needs to function well.

Just as your body needs water, your spirit needs to stay hydrated too. It’s not a one-time fill-up. Eight 8-oz glasses. Every day.

Little bits of truth and inspiration hit me all the time: in the middle of movies, songs, tv shows, or even commercials. (Some posts on this blog are a testament to that phenomenon.) Spiritual hydration can come straight from water, but sometimes those “aha!” moments are easier to swallow when they are flavored through a story. I think this is why I love stories so much. (Maybe this is why Jesus told so many stories too. He knew that, as a people, we’re not very good at drinking water.)

Some of my recent drinks:
* The power of community – Lars and the Real Girl
* Crossing more than just a channel – On a Clear Day
* Loving without strings attached – Marley and Me
* Affirmation – Mia and Brandon on SYTYCD
* We all have hurdles to jump - Commercial for the Salvation Army
* Sometimes you just have to be there – Neil at Nexus
* Life is not perfect – “Sounds like Life to Me” by Darryl Worley
Each of these moments will probably show up in later posts. For now, they’re just little sips.

Added all together, it’s a healthy gulp of truth and inspiration…flavored with a bit of story. My thirsty soul just drinks it up.

Are you thirsty? Your body (and spirit) may be trying to tell you something. Drink up!

A “P.S.” that may just be for me: The more active you are, the more water you need to drink. (You’re losing more water through sweating, etc.) So…for those of us that live a little more deeply, we need to drink more to keep up with all that spiritual sweating we do. Kinda gross, but do you follow me?

Bonus thought #2: Feeling bloated? Retaining too much water? You're not meant to be a sponge. Maybe it’s time to pour out into someone else.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Plan B

To get to Oregon last week, my traveling buddy and I utilized the privileges of the Purple Pass. Meaning: we totally took advantage of the fact that my sister works for an airline and flew on stand-by. If there were empty seats on the plane, we were going to fill them.

Usually when I fly stand-by, I fly on off days when we know there is a mostly empty plane. This is my first venture into the land of traveling with someone, on a busy weekend, and with a definite arrival time in mind. Also, airlines have reduced their schedules to send fuller planes and help save money. Great for the company…nerve-wracking for those of us who bank on empty seats.

My sister is amazing, and prepared a gazillion route options for us. I’m not kidding. In my backpack I carried the full flight schedules for four airports, along with tons of extra information. Plan A: morning flight to Vegas. We checked in, and waited for the magic “10 minutes before push off” time. If a passenger hasn’t checked in 10 minutes before their flight, their seat can be released for people waiting to fly stand-by. Sadly (or happily depending on the perspective), the last three passengers on the full flight made it to check-in by dashing through the airport at a full out run. It was very dramatic.

Plan B: mid-morning flight to Phoenix. Check in. Wait. Hope. Hear our names called for the last two seats on the plane. Hooray! And when we arrived in Phoenix, I had a text message waiting on my phone letting me know what flight to catch, and which gate it was leaving from. Again, I love my sister. She is amazing.

Long story short, Plan B was flawless to the finish. We hopped and skipped through the rest of our flights and made it to our destination. Each time we landed, even though I had carefully consulted my noted and highlighted print-outs, I had a waiting message from my sister telling me where to go. (Have I mentioned she's amazing?)

Blatant transition: I’ve been slacking on my running. After being in the “Platinum Club” for three months straight (never missing a day), I completely fell off the treadmill. July was an insanely busy month, and the insanity continued through August. According to my carefully noted and plotted running schedule, I was woefully behind. I actually bought a journal for myself to “draw a line in the sand” at the beginning of August. I told myself no excuses, get up and get running. (I wanted to start having technology free quiet time in the morning and re-discover my inner morning person again.) August is halfway gone, and the only thing I’ve written in that journal thus far is a few blogging ideas. Just to note: I *have* been running a bit. I even ran while I was on vacation in Oregon. But I’m definitely behind schedule.

It’s like I’ve been waiting on stand-by, and the planes just keep filling up and pushing off without me.

But I did a search, and discovered a running plan that gets me to the half-marathon…starting right where I am right now. Hooray! Plan B! I may not be flying though Vegas, but I’m headed to Phoenix!

And you know, as long as you get to the destination…it doesn’t really matter if it takes Plan B to get there. What matters is that you keep going for it.

13.1 miles, here I come!

What’s your half-marathon? Feel like your plane has pushed off without you? Don’t give up! Plan B!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

More beautiful feet...

It's a dangerous business going out of you door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet there's no knowing where you might be swept off to. ~ Bilbo Baggins

Sorry. Twiga Tales has me on a LOTR quote kick. Last week, my feet were swept off to the Oregon coast with some of my dearest friends. Pictures and stories abound...but I think this collage captures the spirit of our adventure. 6 girls, 4 cameras, 2 cars, countless Starbucks and a million laughs = 1 fantastic trip.

Friendship is the hardest in the world to explain. It's not something you learn in school. But if you've not learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything. ~ Muhammad Ali

Beautiful Feet

In this post, I talked about how when I was a little kid, I would want to help my dad with a building project and he would have to remind me that we couldn’t both work in the same space. I still get that “why not?” feeling, though these days it’s for a different kind of building.

Like these friends, The Longs. A few years ago, Jen went on a mission trip to Uganda, and her heart was captured by the people there. She went back with her husband, and he got the bug too. They decided not just to give support from afar, but to relocate their family to Uganda to be up to their elbows in what’s happening there. It’s exciting. And reading the things that they have been up to makes my heart swell with a sense of "Right on!" mixed with "I'd love to do that" and a pinch of "So what are you doing to change your world?" It's a good combination.

A part of me wants to be right there with them, but for now I’m walking the path of support. But that's the beauty of a worldwide body right? Together we all make a difference.

"How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" Romans 10:15

To learn more about my dear friends, and what they’ve been up to, check out Hackers for Charity. You can also download their first newsletter by clicking here. (I love how Johnny calls it a “maybe-monthly” newsletter. He’s definitely my brand of weird!)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Tightly wrapped

Once again, my heart has been captured by song lyrics:
“We wrap our lives around your life”

Not like a force field (let me contain and examine this thing), but like saran wrap or spandex or an awkwardly wrapped present (getting into all the nooks and crannies)

Remember this moment from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s stone? What could possibly be in that broom shaped package? *gasp* A broom?! You don’t say!

And a broom is exciting enough for a first year at Hogwarts. But when Harry opens the conspicuously-wrapped present, it’s not just any old broom. It’s a Nimbus 2000. The best broom there is!

That’s the point, isn’t it? We should wrap our lives so closely around the life of Christ (seeing with his eyes, talking with his words, acting from his vision, accepting with his grace, loving with his heart), that it’s *his* shape that starts to show. When the wrapping looks suspiciously like wholeness, freedom, and hope, people should get excited. They should want to tear away the wrapping paper (figuratively of course) and get to the goodness contained within.

I don’t think that even we fully recognize the caliber of the present. Maybe because we’ve bottled our image of God into a manageable box. Wrapping presents is a whole lot sneakier (and easier) when you can leave things inside their boxes. Measure, cut, fold, tape, done. But God isn’t nice and neat (or overly subtle for that matter). If your shape isn’t a teaser of hope …maybe you need to let Jesus out of the box. You may have to get through a few layers of boxes (Have you ever had to open a present like that? I did one year. It was quite an adventure), but once you do…He’ll explode and expand and rattle your wrapping paper. A change that won’t go unnoticed by any who glance your way.

Then you’ll be ready for Hedwig to dramatically place you in someone’s life. And when you actually get the chance to pass on the hope that you have inside, “It’s what I’ve been dreaming of” becomes “It’s better than I could have ever imagined.”

“We, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory” 2 Cor 3:17-18

“We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. …Life is at work in you.” 2 Cor 4:7-12

That’s a gift worth opening! Does it show?