Tuesday, October 31, 2006

1. Sit in the dark and watch the TV.
2. Write a poem (by candlelight) honoring Thomas Edison.
3. Light a fire in the fireplace.
4. No fireplace? Improvise!
5. Access the neighborhood electricity box and fix the problem yourself.
6. Grab a metal hanger and go harness your own energy (in case of a thunderstorm).
7. Pretend you live in colonial times. Talk like an early American settler.
8. Play hide-and-seek.
9. Sleep.
10. Let number 3 set "the mood" (married people only!!).
11. Perform the same job as your vacuum by the use of a flash light and a pair of tweezers.
12. Make a list of things you could be doing if the electricity wasn’t out.

Friday, October 27, 2006

My face hurts

I think I need to go to the dentist. The left side of my jaw hurts- I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to have my wisdom teeth removed.

So, instead of drinking coffee today, I decided to get a vanilla chai (my excuse: 'I need to break this $20!') while walking on my lunch break. Chai is pretty sweet, and that vanilla syrup is pure sugar, but I can usually handle a grande without getting really wired. But then one of our admins brought me a piece of October-birthdays-in-the-boardroom! cake, and I thought it was so sweet of her that I couldn't refuse. I had no intention of eating it, and I still don't. I've been absent mindedly picking at the frosting for an hour or so (frosting is usually my favorite part), but it's not appealing at all today because I just can't stand the idea of any more sugar in my system. It's a good sign, really. Lately I've had very little desire to eat unhealthy food.

It's nice feeling better about myself. I've been working out regularly- lifting weights and riding a stationary bike. I never thought I'd ever be able to ride one of those bikes in a gym (because they're so boring and they hurt my back), but I found one in the gym that's in a sort of reclined position, so I can lean back and read. I'm surprised how long I can ride without getting bored because I'm so distracted reading.

I think I may start fasting regularly (this is unrelated to losing weight- I just happened to think of it). I used to fast once a week with my sister, and once a month with IHOP, KC (International House of Prayer, Kansas City) but I stopped, because I was beginning to struggle with viewing it legalistically. It's been a few months and God has brought it to my mind several times in the last few days.

If you've never fasted, pray about it and think about it. The benefits of the practice itself are widely recognized by many faiths, but Christian fasting is different.

Types of biblical reasons to fast:
1. To avert individual/national crisis (1 Sam 7:6, Jonah 3:3-5, Joel 1:14, 2:15)
2. Fast to experience the power of God in personal ministry (matt 17:21, though the phrasing differs between translations)
3. For corporate revival (ex. Paul)
4. To express sorrow or mourning (ex. David in Psalm 38 & 69)
5. Corporate sin over a nation or city (1 sam 7:6, Neh 9)
6. Over personal loss, the death of a loved one (David in 2 sam 12:16-23)
7. Desire for God
8. Preperation for a divine assignment(Neh 1:4, Ezra 8:21, Acts 13:1-2, 14:23,
9. The bridegroom fast (Matt 9:14-15)

Something happened to me when my body was temporarily deprived of what is takes comfort in. The last fast I did was 3 days- the whole time, I was tired and grumpy, and very sensitive (in other words, not MUCH off of my typical demeanor :)), but it left me emotionally raw, and very sensitive to the still small voice of the Lord. It's also beneficial in a practical way, as fasting takes away something that I normally spend a lot of time doing (and really enjoy)- cooking and eating, therefore leaving me with a lot of extra time. In short, fasting positioned my heart and flesh in a posture of willingness to be worked on and instilled in me a fierce desire for His presence.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

More Happy Things

More things that make me happy today- I think I'll continue to do this, because even making the list makes me happy. It's better to pick a few good things to be thankful for than constantly dwell on and complain about the negative things.

1. Snow (We're supposed to get 10 inches!)
2. Hot chocolate (It is best when inbibed under the conditions mentioned above)
3. Kelli is coming to visit (Stephen's sister who I've not yet met and her brand new baby boy!)
4. Calvin and Hobbes math comic strip (My favorite one EVER, EVER. Thank you Kara!!!!!!!)
5. My little sister, Amy (I am consistantly amazed by her maturity, sweetness, humor, compassion, and radical devotion for God.)
6. The janitor guy that takes care of the plaza at 17th and California (He has a unibrow, so in my head I refer to him as such. I've never talked to him, but we have a connection. My train stops right at that intersection so I walk past him most mornings while he's setting up the tables and chairs. I always wave and smile and say good morning, and he always greets me in return, though I'm not sure he speaks much English. I think very few people notice him, but he's a highlight of every morning for me.)

In the spirit of #4, I give you another of my favorite Calvin & Hobbes comic strips. I have this taped to my desk by my computer.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

7 things that make me happy today, in no particular order:

1. Insouciant [in-soo-shunt] -adjective
(free from concern, worry, or anxiety; carefree; nonchalant); related forms -insouciantly
What a great word! Thanks to number 6 for this one.

2. Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
Delicious, fattening, rich, and about 3 times the size of a reese's cup, this sweet treat is my greatest foe and my greatest love. (perhaps I am being a little dramatic- my desire to lose weight is engaging in a war of epic proportions with my desire to eat chocolate.)

3. Cursive handwriting
I am have a good handwriting day (much like a good hair day). Everything I write looks like like mystical ancient script, even though it's just names of people who are visiting and notes regarding the catered lunch so-and-so is expecting.

4. Stephen
I have receievd a lot of grace from him lately, and I've just really enjoyed him a lot. We're in a kind of learning-about-each-other phase, whihc is funny because we've known each other for a fairly long time. It's amazing how much you can think you know someone and still discover new mysteries in them. I'm just so blessed.

5. Water
I've been so thirsty!!! I love water today.

6. Surviving the Extremes by Kenneth Kamler, M.D.
I'm riveted by this book today. I'm fascinated by this stuff- I very seriously tossed around the idea of climbing Everest for a number of years, but I've since given that dream up due to a) the danger of an Everest expedition, b) the unbelievable expense, and c) the touristy-ness of Everest lately- the mountain is cluttered and crowded.

7. My Lovely by Eisley
Everything about this band is so pretty. I'm in a wierd wanting-to-listen-to-mellow-music-mood.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

How I love birthdays!

Please stop by and wish Kara a happy birthday! I am a little late... I just found her blog today and I love it!

...and you'd be right! On to the post:

Colorado is beautiful. I’ve lived here all my life, just like 3 generations before me on my dad’s side and 5 generations on my mom’s. Although it would be fun living somewhere else for a change (Stephen and I are considering it), I’ll always want to move back to Denver. The weather, the aspen, the mountains, the city, the everything. I adore it.

Yesterday was our first snowfall; we got about an inch (I didn’t read the weather report and wore flip-flops like an idiot). I love watching the big flakes floating down, in no particular hurry- it causes me to slow down and relax. I love hot chocolate, I love wearing scarves and hats and warm socks and long sleeves, I love reading by the fire with a glass of wine. I love skiing and snowboarding (I’ve been boarding on my own for a few years, and this year I’m learning for real).

But this morning, I remembered something about this season of sport and snow that I hate: scraping ice off my windshield. No on likes getting up in the morning, leaving the warmth and comfort of sleep to face the cold, cold world. It’s no fun at all leaving your house to get into your cold car/walk in the cold to the bus stop, but it’s bearable. But it’s the WORST to be already late (in my case) and have to shuffle around your car scraping all the ice off the windows. It really shouldn’t be THAT bad, but there’s just something about having to do this tedious task that I cannot abide. I always end up missing spots on my windshield so my wipers won’t work right, or screwing up the way I’ve got my side mirrors set, or getting myself all snowy and wet. It's a craptastic way to start your day.

Before I end this post I’de like to say a few words regarding recent comments by Tony Blair (UK Prime minister) and Jack Straw (UK Foreign Secretary). Jack Straw recently asked Muslim women visiting his office to remove their veils. Tony Blair said the veil is "a mark of seperation" that "makes other people... feel uncomfortable", which has led to leaders suggesting banning the veil altogether, much like France has done in its schools. This has sparked a heated discussion on religious freedom and the value of an integrated society both within and outside the Muslim community.

I will admit that the veil is little understood by westerners, and complex at best. Some say the veil is meant to protect a woman, that by wearing it she is keeping her beauty secret and sacred, and that it is a relevant and appropriate practice. Other say it is a sign of a woman’s enslavement, that her husband is exersicing control over her, and that it is an oppressive and antiquated tradition. Regardless of how any individual may feel about the tradition of the veil or the motivation behind this practice, we simply cannot mandate against it. We pride ourselves in the west on religious freedom and tolerance; taking away a woman’s right to wear a veil is taking away her basic freedom.

Most American women would be furious to move to Afghanistan or Somalia and be forced to dress in the manner of the majority of women there- it would take away their rights. Why should WE presume to do any differently? The notion of prohibiting something as simple as a Muslim veil, which does no harm in and of itself(other than make people uncomfortable) is unfounded and ridiculous. Society has always feared what is different, what it does not understand. I am not a Muslim, and I don't wear a veil. I'm a Christian and I wear normal American clothes (not counting flip-flops in snow). I'm not even friends with any Muslims, but I am irate. This controversy makes me very nervous for my own civil liberties- what will politicians think of next?

Friday, October 13, 2006

So, I was reading Melissa's blog the other day and was inspired about a recent post to lose weight. I'm at a pretty decent weight, considering my height, but I could stand to lose 10-15ish pounds and firm up a little. My problem isn't the resistance of fatty foods so much as it is the fight against hard and established habits. For instance: I love coffee. Not just plain coffee, but silly 4 dollar drinks (that's another problem: I spend way too much money). Now, I work downtown. There is literally a Starbucks on every other corner- I don't even have to leave my building to get to one. There's a Starbucks in the lobby (Tyra Banks was there a few weeks ago and there was a big local fuss about it). And if you'd rather support a local shop with better coffee, as I would, you needn't walk more than 2 blocks. There are at least 3 to chose from within 3 minutes of my office. In downtown Denver, you are never, ever out of sight of a coffee shop. This is the worst part of the city for coffee-phobes.

AS I WAS SAYING, habits: I love to get a hot americano on a chilly morning, or a cool, sweet, syrupy iced coffee beverage on a warm afternoon. I have a favorite for every season, and as coffee is practically as available to me downtown as the air I breathe, I am having significant trouble breaking my habit. I am drinking a hazelnut mocha as I write this. Another dubious one is my will-kill-everyone-who-looks-at-me-if-I-don't-get-some-chocolate-immediately-habit, which only afflicts me about a week a month. (Like I said, hazelnut mocha) I like a soda when I get home, while I'm cooking, or with dinner, and I always end up feeling totally crappy afterwards.

I want to develop healthier habits- water instead of coffee, a glass of wine instead of soda. In general I even like healthy, whole foods better than junk foods- I just eat too much. I love to eat! I love to cook, I love to bake, I love food! If I trimmed my portions down, and changed a few habits, I could probably lose this weight pretty quick. We're working out 3 times a week now, and ski season is coming up. If I discipline myself, maybe I can be where I want to be by Christmas (just in time for ham, stuffing, cranberry sauce, buns, pie, and traditional German family-recipe Christmas cookies).

Self-control is a virtue I really want to develop in myself right now. Most importantly, I want spiritual discipline. I feel like this is a foundation for discipline in eating, exercising, time, school, chores, entertainment, etc. I feel strongly that God is working in my life to nurture and develop self-control in me.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

It has been quite a while since I have made any new posts- I've been busy working, going to math class, going to bible study, going to small groups, singing on the worship team, and trying to maintain my relationships in the midst of it. I feel so stretched!

One night I go to a book study, which I probably shouldn't have signed up for, given my already high level of stress. Anyway, we're reading selected passages from Devotional Classics, which I enjoy. It's a comfortable setting, a pretty small group, and I am liking the book. It includes exerpts by a lot of classical christian authors, everyone from CS Lewis to Martin Luther to Francis of Assisi. It's refreshing to read these, especially the older stuff. I feel many of the newer devotionals I've read recently (the kind under the 'christian inspiration' section at barnes & noble) are superflous, meandering, and soft.

CS Lewis and AW Tozer are my favorite authors. I've been ruined for typical Christian literature ever since I read the first page in Tozer's Knowledge of the Holy. Every sentence is heavy with meaning, straight to the point, unflinching, clear, profound, and beautifully written. He did not back down from unpopular or unpleasant truths- he wrote about what was really important in a time when much of the church was focused on trivialities. Tozer pointed out the irreverance of the church and their wrong beliefs about God, and his resulting work is an enduring classic which continues to impart revelation to those with ears to hear and eyes to see.

Tozer's Knowledge of the Holy is a thin little volume which I think every Christian should read at least once. It has changed my perception of God and changed my relationship with Him- the revelation I've gotten during my reading of this book has changed my thinking and transformed my faith.

CS Lewis's Mere Christianity is another of my favorites. It's such a well-known classic that it almost seems cliche to recommend it, but I do anyway. Lewis's writing style is simple, funny, and resolved. He has a way of articulating common thoughts in a new and "aha!" kind of way. I love all his work.

I've read the Narnia series dozens of times (and thought the movie was weak, but good), but my favorite selection by CS Lewis is a lesser known sci-fi trilogy chronicling the adventures of a character named Ransom. Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength are books I could, and do read over and over. Like Tolkien, Lewis creates a complex, phantasmal world, and you can't help but get lost in it. I never was able to read Tolkien, though I have a great respect for him. He's so descriptive, almost too complex- every attempt I ever made on his work was abandoned early on because it bored me (keeping in mind my relatively short attention span).

I love books that make you forget where you are. I'm in the middle of an historical fiction set in the 1600's in Hindostan (India and the surrounding areas). I'm just fascinated by the customs and culture- I get so caught up in the story and the setting. I can almost taste the chai, smell the jasmine, feel the smooth, brightly colored silks, and see the elegant architechture glimmering through the desert heat waves.

Next on my list: Alexandre Dumas' Three Musketeers, Feast of Roses (the sequel to the book I'm reading now), and a book of short stories about "surviving the extremes" (stranded on everest, lost in the desert, stuck in a cave, etc.).

I should read the Dune series. I've heard they're good. I've also never read Dracula.

Thoughts? Suggestions? I'll read almost anything.