Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Tolkien and I have a brief history- not like the lifelong love affair I've had with CS Lewis. JRR and I just never had that spark, that chemistry. I started reading The Hobbit when I was 11 or 12, on a backpacking trip with my dad, and didn't make it past the first chapter. Around when the first Lord of the Rings movie came out, Amy and my dad read all 3 LOTR books and wouldn't shut up about them*, which led me to attempt them (I failed again). Two years ago (ish) I read the first three chapters of The Silmarillion and nearly died of boredom.

I don't know what made me pick up the Hobbit again- perhaps a whim, perhaps a gnawing sense of failure as a lover of literature; having not read any of Tolkien's work, how dare I refer to myself as an avid reader? How can I claim companionship with Lewis when Tolkien, the father of the fantasy genre, sits unread on my bookshelf, stuffed between Orwell and Huxley? Maybe that's a little unfair- George MacDonald did theological fantasy first (Tolkien just did it better). In any case, I haven't been able to put it down- I think I've just grown up enough since my last assault on this novel, and though my mind is full of Hollywood imagery, I'm planning on reading all 3 LOTR next. Screw all the other books on my list, they can wait.

*It's really annoying to watch movies based on books you haven't read with more than one person who has read the book. Especially when these people are the picky sort with good memories who find it necesssary to point out all the discrepancies in chronology or wardrobe or dialogue or whatever. And you're dumb enough to complain about it so they start referring to scenes and situations from the NEXT book in a vague and mysterious fashion. And they fail to tell you about the monstrous execrable evil spider in the second book even though they know you're an arachnaphobe.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I only needed one lesson to get some sick air (and dress like a dude).

Of course, that's not me. I'm a liar. Anyway, it's official: I am no longer crap at snowboarding, and I shall never ski again. We went again on Saturday and I made a breakthrough. I can now honestly say that I'm carving and improving quicker than Stephen thought I would. Amy came too, and did great. It was fun seeing two of my favorite people, my fiance and my sister, joking and getting along. Amy didn't even cry, like I did my first day (though, in my defense, conditions that day were awful).

I discovered that fear was the only thing keeping me from doing what I wanted to do, which seems to hold true for me in a lot of other ways. The only thing stopping me was mental, and once I overame my fear of falling down or failing, it was easy and I had fun the whole day. Also, I am proud to report that I was able -barely- to put on my bra without help the next morning (see my 11/16 post).

I still have a long way to go before I can keep up with Stephen. He's been very gracious in his willingness to take it easy and teach me (and he says he appreciates the chance to practice riding switch), but I want to be able to ride with him without slowin him down. Happily, my cousin David is coming with us on Friday and he's good, so Amy and I can practice on the greens while the boys go rock the outback.

On a different topic, Stephen and I are saving for our honeymoon and have therefore decided not to exchange gifts. We thought of each putting a certain amount into a joint savings account (boring, but wise) or just buying something that we want (like a digital camera).

Which leads me to this subject of money: I keep thinking how wierd it is that my money will not strictly be mine anymore, nor his strictly his. It doesn't bother me, it's just... wierd. I'm used to keeping and spending my money the way I see fit, and I think I do a wiser job about it than most people. It's how my daddy raised me, and it's why Stephen and I decided that I'll be the one managing our money when we get married. Soon, I'll be accountable for how I handle my-our bank account. I can't just spend and save as I see fit. I have to think of what's best for both of us and I have to include someone else in my decisions, which, like I said, is WIERD. It's a stretch- I suppose it's a good wierd. I've been thinking hard about living selflessly and serving the people you love. Stephen brings out the best qualities in me- traits I never knew I had. It sounds cheesy, but Stephen makes me a better woman, and I make him a better man. We've grown together, and our prayer is that we'll continue to do so.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Hey everyone (everyone being my 3 readers- I 'preciate ya'll!), check it out! I got a whole post dedicated to my coolness on Surface Tension just for posting a comment. His blog made me laugh the way you do in junior high when your friend makes faces at you from accross the room during social studies and you don't want to get in trouble. So you laugh that stifled snort, and then a manager walks past your desk, and you try to cover it up by making it sound like you're coughing, but you over-compensate and make some kind of unnatural hacking noise... anyone ever had that happen? No? What I'm saying is Thom's blog is funny, and you should go read it.

I've been told (by Stephen) that I have a "distinctive laugh". He said it's one of my traits that he was initially attracted to. He noticed my laugh the first time we listened to Mitch Hedberg together (very romantic, ja?) in the car heading up to the mountains for a day hike.

I'm that obnoxious woman in the movie theater who laughs loud (REALLY loud) during the whole movie. Also, my comic sensibilities are not very... refined... so I tend to laugh not only when everyone else laughs, but when it's not appropriate, or at things not perceieved as funny by the typical audience. A wierd, twisted sense of humor runs in my family and it's something I love about myself. I love to laugh and I don't care if no one else is laughing with me. I'm amused by the discomfort my unbridled merriment sometimes elicits in people, but find that more often than not, people like to laugh with me- joy really is contagious. I don't mind making a fool out of myself. At least I enjoy life.

Friday, December 08, 2006

When a cat gets frightened or angry its fur stands all on end and its tail gets poofy. That's how I felt last night.

I was driving home at 11:30 when I suddenly realized I was completely out of gas. I'm never comfortable going out alone late at night- I'm compulsive about this. At all hours, no matter how long I'm getting out of my car, I ALWAYS lock the doors. Someone could jump in the car and when I get back in, kidnap me at gunpoint in my own vehicle!! If it's dark, I always check underneath my car as I'm walking up (there could be someone under!), and I look in the back seats, even though I've locked the doors. If, while I was gone, a large vehicle of any kind that I can't see into has parked on the drivers side of my car, I will actually CLIMB IN the other side of my car (yes, seriously). I even used to carry a knife with me, but I haven't lately because it does not fit in my purse. I might be paranoid, but at least I air on the side of safety.

Anyway, I get to the gas station and start filling up my car. There was an old blue beater car with two guys in it parked at the gas station. It seemed like they alternated for a while, both going in to the store and coming back out to their car. Finally they both got in the car for a few minutes. Then, as I was almost finished (still rejoicing in the new novelty of paying less than $40 for a full tank), one of them got out of the car and walked over to me. That's when I did the angry cat thing. Somthing was just not right about this guy. Here's how the conversation went:

FREAK: Good evening, how are you? (big ingenuine smile)

ME: Fine, thanks.

FREAK: Hey, I have a quick question for you. It's kind of random...

ME: Yeah?

FREAK: (still smiling that uncomfortable smile) What kind of perfume do you like to wear?

ME: None. (A lie, of course. I'm not about to give this guy anything that resembles a remote interest in continuing our conversation.)

FREAK: None?!? (In disbelief)

ME: None.

FREAK: Not even lotions or body sprays? Nothing?

ME: NOPE. (I wanted to scream "NO MEANS NO!" and kick him in the balls, but I unhappily restrained myself)

FREAK: Oh, Alright. Thanks.

ME: Uh-huh.

FREAK: Have a happy holiday! (glancing back at me)

ME: Ok, thanks.

FREAK: (glancing back again) OK, drive safely!

How stupid does this guy think I am? It's almost midnight, and you're just a garden-variety salesman offering perfume from the back of your car to girls at gas stations who look like they might be an easy hit. Just the usual. I'm glad the Lord blessed me with intelligence and common sense.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

a kingdom aligned mind

My pastor is doing a sermon series on "A Kingdom Aligned Mind", and God is stirring up my heart. I'm feeling challenged to change my mental habits and honor God with my idle words.

There is a pattern in my falling:
1. I stop communicating with God, usually because of busyness, unrepentant sin, or negligence.
2. My discernment is weakened and I begin to feel apathetic and far from God.
3. Negative circumstances arise in my life and I feel overwhelmed by my helplessness against them.
4. I mentally agree with the lies satan is throwing at me.
5. Satan gains a stronghold.

The power of agreement is a curious and undeniable thing. Examine your own life and see how influential your thought life is! When I agree with the word of God, and stand on it, my perspective is changed. I create access for God to work in my life if I am believing His word, what He says about me, His promises, etc. Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks, and our words have a tremendous power. Matthew 16:19 says,

'I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.'

Matthew 18:18 says the same thing. I want to speak life, and healing, and joy! I want to have sharp discernment and boldness! I want angels and demons to move when I pray! As heirs with Christ, we have an authority and a power in the spirit. You don't have to be a missionary or a pastor to minister to people. Thinking and speaking in a righteous manner will minister to the people around you and it will galvanize your own heart. As I am transformed by the renewing of my mind, I am transforming the world around me.

I really enjoy the Christmas season. I love the lights downtown, and houses lit up (tastefully), and shopping for people I love. I love the holidays, but by the time Christmas actually comes around, I'm tired of the hype of the whole affair. The commercials, the sales, the stupid holiday songs you hear in the mall and at restaurants and at the grocery store and EVERYWHERE YOU GO! I dread my weekly trips to King Soopers for mortal fear of suffering through one tacky version or another of "Santa Baby".

Here's a marketing scheme that doesn't make sense: I'm beginning to see the men's razor christmas commercials. It happens every year, around the same time. "What your man wants for Christmas is a Mach7" (is 6 blades really enough? get the closest shave this season with this new ridiculous product!), "Make this holiday special for your special man by giving him a braun whatever whatever". What is that?!? Men (at least all of mine) don't want RAZORS for Christmas!! I would be deeply disappointed if I got a venus vibrance in my stocking. Giving someone a razor for Christmas is on par with giving out toothbrushes on halloween.

While I was looking for the toothbrush picture, I found a website called "higgin's journal: the life and times of a young raccoon". Sounds promising, yes? I was rewarded with several cute pictures:

AHHH! Look at his little face peeking out of the trash can! Dirty, adorable little Higgins! What a rascal. I want one. :)