Tuesday, March 30, 2010


 The last bit bears repeating:

"I entreat you, I implore you, I exhort you,
I challenge you: To speak with conviction.
To say what you believe in a manner that bespeaks
the determination with which you believe it.
Because contrary to the wisdom of the bumper sticker,
it is not enough these days to simply QUESTION AUTHORITY.
You have to speak with it, too."

- Poem written by Taylor Mali

Bloggy Fun

1) Playing music.  (Voice or violin...either one....or both!)  Whether it's on the worship team at church, reuniting with my Nomadic Grubfest friends, fiddling down in Annapolis with the Weems Creek Jam, or something different altogether.  I enjoy playing a well-written piece or finding a harmony that's brand new.  Each one gives me a moment of fullness that I just can't quite describe.  It's a beautiful thing.  
2) Being a friend and 'token daughter.'  I've been blessed with so many relationships.  It seems like the more love I give away, the more I have to give.  It brings me joy to give that love and support to those I have in my life.  It's an ever expanding circle, and thus an ever increasing joy.
3) Those everyday moments when I know that Jesus loves me.  Sometimes they're happy.  Sometimes they're serious.  But they give me roots and wings.  The vibrant, dynamic relationship I have with my creator is my greatest joy.  I hope I never become obnoxious about my faith.  I just want to do what I think Jesus did....live a life that made others ask questions and love people without getting tired.

1) I've been able to do some amazing things and serve some incredible people.  I fear that my glory days are behind me.  Silly, since I'm only 27 right?  But there it is.  But that fear won't keep me from preparing, and jumping when I think I hear the word "go!"  Sometimes it's the hardest thing in the world to just wait, watch, and be faithful.
2) I fear that no matter how I wage war with my body, I won't be the athletic wonder of my imagination.  (There's a little sarcasm there, but the heart of that fear is very true.)
3) When given a golden opportunity, I fear I won't have the right words to build a bridge...or that I will use too many words when only a few are needed.  But that won't keep me from sharing the message.  Hopefully with my life first, and my vocabulary second.

To blog about each book I read this year.  (I do a lot of reading.  Did you know that?  I talk about my literary adventures here.)  I didn't do so well last year, but I'm making myself keep up in 2010.  All part of being "tenacious." *grin*
To continue with my "cash only" policy, with the possible exception of gasoline.  It started as an experiment/exercise for the Lenten season, but I like how it made me think about every purchase. 
To return to my habit of writing letters.  I've let it slip in the past year, but I enjoy writing out and mailing letters to people.  (I LOVE finding cards too.  It's dangerous for me to walk down a card aisle unattended!)

Current Obsessions:
The Amazing Race 16 (I blame my Realtor - now good friend).  Bikram yoga.  NHL.com and excuses to watch hockey at "Twiga Central." (I can't wait for Stanley Cup season!) Scouring DVD stores that are going out of business. Hunting for an affordable flight to Uganda.  Making pies.  Inventing reasons to host things at my house.  Brownie edges.

I won't tag anyone else this time, but feel free to join in the bloggy fun!  (This epilogue is for you, my long-lost Twiga friends!)

Monday, March 29, 2010


You know what happens when you pray to find God in the everyday?  You start finding him.  Sometimes in the most unlikely places.  Like in a Books-a-Million on a Friday night in the middle of Percy Jackson book, when all you're planning to do is kill a bit of time before a hockey game.

"In the middle of the valley was a glittering blue lake... immediately I knew that's where I wanted to go when I died.  'That's what it's all about,' Annabeth said, like she was reading my thoughts.  'That's the place for heroes.'  But I thought of how few people were there...so few people did good in their lives.  It was depressing."  (Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, p 302)

And just like that, God burst into my ordinary moment.  I thought about the truth of that statement.  How so few people get it.  How we can get wrapped up in avoiding bad and in doing so forget to actively do good.  How if we can catch just a glimpse of heaven, we'll immediately know that's where we want to call home.

I felt conviction to walk the narrow way -- the way that isn't always convenient, but is right and pleasing.   Conviction to be the social center of God's love.  Maybe all I can do is help people see through a window darkly...but just a glimpse can be life-changing.  I thought about how I long to be counted among the heroes. And amid all that, I felt hope.  Because unlike Greek heroes, I don't have to earn my way onto the Elysium Plains.  Salvation, reconciliation, forgiveness is a gift.  Made possible by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

All of that from a God moment in the middle of a bookstore.  It's amazing what you find when your eyes and heart are open!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My prayer for today

My Lord God
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following
your will does not mean
that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that my desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope that I have that desire
in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything
apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this
you will lead me by the right road
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always
though I may seem to be lost
and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear,
for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me
to face my perils alone.
- Thomas Merton (1915-1968)

Be exalted over my reputation.  Make me ambitious to please you even if as a result I must sink into obscurity and my name be forgotten as a dream.
- Originally from A.W. Tozer, though I'm claiming his words as my own today.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Full Attention

I know I haven't been speaking very much...but I've been listening.

In high school, we had a yearly jeopardy competition.  We all faced off in groups of 6-8 and the winners moved on to the next level.  We were each equipped with little buzzers and everything.  It was great! 

But of course, this wasn't a mainstream TV competition.  Instead of having little video displays of each question, we had to rely on the voice of the Quiz Master...reading from his bank of index-card clues.

To keep things fair and honest, he would stop reading the clue as soon as someone buzzed in.  And inevitably, there would be a contestant who was overconfident in their ESP-esque ability to predict both the direction of the question, and the accuracy of the potential answer.

For example:  Quiz Master - "This director was the first..."  BZZZT!  Contestant - "Kathryn Bigelow"  Quiz Master - I'm sorry that's incorrect.  "This director was the first African-American to be nominated for Best Picture of the Year." Second, more patient contestant - "Quincy Jones."  Quiz Master - "That is correct."

As the first contestant is still reeling in disbelief, his points are claimed by another.  He may have known the answer, but he didn't listen to the clue.

Sometimes, I think I have the same problem when it comes to God.  As soon as I think I know where he's going with something, I'm off and running.  I'm too excited about the points to realize that He hasn't finished with all he has to say.

Daniel Golman said:  The act of compassion begins with full attention.

If I truly want to have a 'common passion'...to make God's heart my own, I need to give him my full attention.  Otherwise, I may find myself running off in the wrong direction with a false sense of confidence and camaraderie, while he's standing there shaking his head wanting to give me the critical information/inspiration/direction I need.

I certainly don't want to be standing there going "Ta-da!" only to hear him say, "I'm sorry, that's incorrect."  Even if those few extra moments feel like forever, I'd much rather be delayed than be on the wrong track.  Wouldn't you?

The need for full attention goes for our other relationships too.  My dad once told me that guys tend to stop listening after the first sentence or so because they're already trying to figure out their response.  (I think girls do this too.)  But instead of jumping ahead, what if we waited and gave each other our full attention? 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Spare Change

I had a moment.  You know the kind in which you wonder, "What's the point?"  Of life, the universe, and everything?  I was in my car at the time, and found inspiration in the strangest place:  In the door handle, right next to the window toggles:

My bits of spare change.

Sometimes I feel like all I have to offer is bits of spare change.  Disjointed.  Fragmented.  Left over. 

But all those bits are valuable.  Maybe not on their own, but put them together...

An everyday, nondiscript treasure trove.  One that lays dormant and near forgotten until I really need it.  But when that need kicks in, I'm really grateful that it's there.  (And I doubt I would be able to tell you the purchases for which those pennies and nickles weren't used.) 

I don't know if that answers my original "what's the point" question.  But it made me reassured about all the little bits that make me...me. 

At the right time, for the right purpose...those pennies can be priceless.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Even though I've been tenacious about sticking to my gym schedule...I've been really tired lately.  I'm still putting in the time, but I'm not covering the ground required to stay on top of my training  (Meaning:  instead of running four miles, I spend an hour on the elliptical.)  I just don't have the energy to do it.

Now I know why.

I tried to give blood to the Red Cross last week, but I was denied because my red blood cell count was too low.  You know that lovely finger prick you have to survive before answering all the heath history questions?  I didn't pass the test.  (Actually, I was well below the threshhold.)  So the lady asked me if I would consent to a second finger prick.  I agreed, but secretly I thought the whole thing was silly.  Wait five minutes, use a different finger, and viola!  a higher reading?  Riiiighhht.  Low and behold, a second prick and reading later, my level was actually lower than before.  So they said thank you very much, but I get to keep my anemic blood to myself.

The most common cause of anemia is iron deficiency.  But while you have to add iron back into your diet, you can't just munch on scrap metal.  (I hear it's bad for one's teeth).  Your body has to absorb iron in the context of healthy food.

You ever feel emotionally tired?  Spiritually weak?  Just worn out or out-of-sync?  Maybe your life-blood is anemic.  But like iron, it's difficult to just munch on a bar of cheer or chug a cup of courage or have a sandwich of optimism or a patience pasta.  You need those things, but I would argue that it has to come in the context of a healthy diet.

What are you listening to? Watching? Reading? Discussing?  Because they're feeding you.  And if your life blood isn't working well for you, you won't be in a position to give to others.  Waiting five minutes or using a different finger won't change that. 

(On the bright side:  I have a new and completely legitimate excuse to eat more asparagus!)