Saturday, December 30, 2006

"TILL DEATH DO US PART"

These days people are more willing to commit to a cell phone plan than to a relationship with a living, human being.


When I was a kid...

(I can tell I'm getting old!)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

MID-WEEK SLUMP

Well, Christmas was fun with family, and quite a new venture with a three and a one year old boy to entertain and contain in an non-baby-proofed house. My parents took pity when they heard I had borrowed a digital camera from a friend, and gave me one for Christmas. (How sweet!) So beware! I will now become "official photographer" of... whatever I choose to photograph.

I'm back in STL, (and back to work tomorrow) and full of garlic after a little visit to Saleem's with my dad (in town for Urbana). I've got a mild case of the post-Christmas blues... I'm thinking it's time for a good book and to lose myself for awhile. That's the January spirit! Any book recommendations, anyone?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

THE PROBLEM OF PEACE (OR LACK THEREOF):

With a number of folks I've had the conversation. I'm sure you've had it too-- it seems to come around with regularity this time of year. Especially now, as we are on the "adult" side of things. We are usually discussing "how are you"-type stuff, and we begin to lament how BUSY we are and how overbearing all the festivities and parties and decorations and present-buying and [insert seasonal activity here] are.

And I'm thinking about Christmas because it seems like we always tie the words "joy" and "peace" to the season. And while we are doing our best to manufacture joy, in the absence of peace it comes out a bit forced and fake, with an underlying weariness. As Christians, it is particularly frustrating because we know we ought to be reflecting on the meaningfulness of the birth of Christ but instead we are waiting in traffic to get to the mall and making sure we get out that family newsletter out (ha- no newletter for me but maybe for you!) or just spending our free evening at the work Christmas party and trying to get together with folks or get out of town.

But I don't need to convince anyone of the problem. I'm sure you've felt it. I've been remembering today the importance of going about my days prayerfully. I'm not meaning superficially prayerful, like:
"God, please keep our travels safe and bless so and so, amen."

I mean prayerful conversation about the things we actually stress about, like:
"God, help me to decide what to wear today or give me an idea of a gift for him or her."
"Ok, Lord, so I'm not quite sure what I can accomplish today, please order my steps and give me the strength! I've got several conflicting invitations, where would you have me, Lord?"
"God, I'm feeling jealous right now and irritated in general... can you show me what is going on in my heart?"
He always does.

And I have noticed that the times I feel indifferent to prayer are the times I need it the most. Today I got home from church and I just felt cranky. I didn't know why. I thought to myself that perhaps I could go for a walk and pray. I noticed a certain dryness in my spirit. But I had stuff I needed to get done. I thought I'd take care of my tasks first. My spirit said, "I just don't have it in me today! Leave me alone! I'm tired!"

I rushed through lunch and picked up the phone to return calls. First I was compelled to take a cup of coffee out on the porch and have a little chat with God. Five, ten, twenty minutes passed. I confessed, I asked, I listened. The tasks remained, but my spirit was replenished. Now I had the energy I needed, and even energy to GIVE to others who were in need. Not my energy. It's the Spirit. My heart felt at rest so I no longer had to be driven by meeting my own needs.

I guess my point is this: we have no peace outside of fellowship with God. This is a gift we have now! And all the little tasks of the season quickly become oppressive and overwhelming without the strength and peace we find in simple prayer. So, my prayer for you is peace, and my prayer for you is prayer. Happy Christmas.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

OLD NEIGHBOR BRINGS "GOOD CHEER" TO STL-AREA

It's already been a great weekend, and it is only Saturday afternoon! I'm having so much fun with Leandra, my friend from so many years back in Indiana! Leandra and I have been through high school drama, college dorm life, and every Thanksgiving and Christmas ever since. We've shared in pranks, The Euchre Group, and rollerblading, and so many evening walks. We've had bad times (mostly at the beginning) and good (which far outweigh the bad).

We have just been talking and laughing and laughing and laughing.

Other highlights:
Pho Grand and South Grand area.
Movies and hot chocolate.
Settlers of Catan.
Pizza World- world tour package.
City Museum.
Buy-one-get-one-free ice cream at the CWE Ben & Jerry's.
And connecting new friends/reconnecting old friends (aka Vinita)!

She's taking a nap right now. Then we will leave Larry, whom she predictably hates. (Who doesn't?) Then, off to new adventures with an old friend.

Friday, December 01, 2006

SNOW DAY

Today is beautiful- the earth is covered with snow, and every branch is coated with ice. Yesterday's two-hour commute home from work (made slow by sleet and freezing rain) was rewarded with a day off work today.

Photo by Joel Sartore, from National Geographic

Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,

for I know that through your prayers and God's provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.

I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philipians 1:18-21