Sunday, February 29


(I'm doing this in a rush on Sunday before church so that my small cabal of loyal readers won't scold me again for not blogging. It's so funny when they accost me and ask desperately, "What are you DOING?! WRITE!" It's like I'm a big bad drug ... and you all need a Blog-Readers Anonymous 12-step program! Muhahahahahaha!)

Do you ever hurt so much for a friend that your heart aches and your stomach clenches? What do you do in that situation? You can't help, nothing you say will make your friend feel better, and no matter which way you objectively look at the situation, you just can't see a happy way out of it. It's awful. It's awful to be you, but imagining how much more awful it is for you friend just makes everything ... more awful.


Sometimes, there's nothing cheerier in the world than being totally and completely and fantastically entertained. That was me last night.

NHF had an ice-skating event at the local ice rink. Now the only times I ice-skated were twice in junior high school and once about a month ago. All three times, I skated utterly against my will. The worst part was, it wasn't like mountain biking or road biking or snow-boarding. Those sports, I spent days suffering from intense agita, only to find that not only were they not that bad, but they were fun things to do. The fact that I was SO UNSKILLED made it even funnier and more worthwhile, because I enjoyed those activities and knew that I'd probably be willing to give them more chances until I became proficient. Ice skating is different. I HATE ICE SKATING. There is NOTHING good about ice skating. You fall down, you hurt. If you fall the wrong way and people behind you don't notice, they'll skate over your fingers and slice the tips off. (Before you laugh, note that Wonger knows someone who suffered this fate.) It's cold. There's nothing to hold onto. And of course, there are silly little children whizzing by you at all manner of madcap speed, slamming each other up against the wall to which you are preciously trying to cling.

So I didn't skate yesterday. But it was worth watching because all my friends who were on the ice turned into such humongous HAMS, and I'm not talking deli meat. JC, Soy and Jwu turned ballet tricks for us spectators ... synchronized, I might add. C and JWu tried to do a couples' dance move for us, with C pulling JWu through his legs. Never mind that C is about 5'8" and JWu is 6' tall, if not more. (Hey, I never said my friends were overly bright.) Everyone tried to tackle PEK to make him hit the ice, but I think underlying guilt about ambushing the new pastor made people nice. L'il Christie and Daniel kind of ice-walked (which, incidentally, is what I do, but I stick my butt out more for balance, totally ignoring the fact that I have a lower center of gravity and shouldn't have to do that). Junior was a wild-man, racing all over the place even while barely and precariously staying upright. And of course, everyone had to come and slam themselves up against the Plexiglass behind which we were standing and make funny kissy faces. It was SO SO SO FUN.

So, my apologies for being an ice wimp, but thank you all for being better than television for an evening!


I went biking again yesterday. It was a perfect, beautiful day and it was a great deal of fun, but note to self: when climbing a hill, don't look up. Just go. Don't think. Just go. Oh, and don't forget to breathe.

Thursday, February 26

SIGH . . .

(Incidentally, my bedtime came and went hours ago, so I feel like it's not even worth going to sleep now. We just spent hours at PEK's place, lounging about like we were back in college, talking about the retreat this weekend, bowel movements -- always bowel movements!, people at NHF, our new sound equipment, upcoming plans for NHF, how tasty strawberries are, what nationality we would be if we could be anything other than what we are -- I chose a Spaniard living in Spain, and then JWu mentioned the anal sphincter and the conversation finally ended at 1:40a.m..)

I gave up pasta for Lent. This is proving harder than giving up beef last year. For one thing, I LOVE LOVE LOVE pasta. I often don't even care what form it takes: if it's carbohydrated, cooked al dente, and flavored somewhat and somehow, I'll eat it. Italian pasta, Japanese soba noodles, Korean ramen noodles, deli macaroni salad. I gave it all up. No perfect macaroni-n'-cheese from Good to Go, no japchae at Granduncle's 70th birthday dinner, no late-night ramen cookout with my friends, none of JKA's perfectly spicy ziti. For another thing, JKA brought her famously delicious pasta to PEK's place tonight. Tested already and it was only the first night of the Lenten season! Argh!

Forty days and forty nights ... given what Christ suffered in His short life, surely I can go forty days and forty nights without my beloved pasta, right? RIGHT?!?!

Wednesday, February 25

TMI? . . .

It occurred to me this morning as I was getting ready for work: I have never finished a stick of deodorant.

I think I started using deodorant/antiperspirant/whatever in high school, and I would estimate that I've tried about four different brands, types and/or scents. Currently, I am using Tom's of Maine Natural Deodorant Stick w/Aloe, Lichen & Coriander, Unscented. But as I applied it to myself this morning, it dawned on me that it would take me for-evah to get through the whole 2.25oz stick. Would I get sick of it or want to try another brand before the end of the Tom's of Maine stick? And what did I do with all the other deodorant/antiperspirant sticks I never finished? How long does it take an average person to completely get through a normal-size deodorant stick, anyway?

And then I thought to myself: "Why am I even thinking about this?"

Tuesday, February 24

ME TOO, ME TOO . . .

Okay, everyone is buzzing about the movie "Passion of Christ." People are all crazed about it for one reason or another, and I wasn't going to join the fray. But I have to. And I will speak simply and quietly so everyone can understand me.

1. THIS STORY IS NOTHING NEW. What is the big freakin' deal? Has the story of Christ NOT been around for over 2000 years? Have we all NOT known that he was brutally crucified? Have we all NOT been aware of what He stood and stands for, and why people do and do not believe in Him? Have we all IGNORED the existence of the Bible and how it tells the story/stories of Jesus's crucifixion? WHAT ARE YOU PEOPLE ALL FREAKING OUT ABOUT?

2. I heard someone complain this morning that the movie, depicting the last 12 hours of Christ's life, was "too violent, too bloody, too graphic, too physical." GUESS WHAT: CRUCIFIXION, WHETHER YOU ARE JESUS CHRIST OR NOT, IS VIOLENT, BLOODY, GRAPHIC AND PHYSICAL. People were crucified because it was the purest form of torture and debasement, from the flogging and whipping that preceded the nails, to the nails, to the being left hanging on there to die a slow, painful death. Don't sit there and whine about it, like it's supposed to be some quietly mysterious and beautiful death. It ain't.

3. I heard someone complain that depicting the last 12 hours of Christ's life in such a violent way minimized the spiritual nature of who He really was and the message He truly came to earth to disseminate. That is the biggest load of hooey I've ever heard, aside from Shrub wanting a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. But that's a rant for another day. The WHOLE POINT of Jesus is that He was BORN A HUMAN BEING, and was OF GOD all at the SAME TIME. He is NOT LIKE ANYONE YOU HAVE EVER KNOWN OR WILL EVER KNOW. That is the point. As I learned this weekend, people weren't drawn to Him because He was just like everyone else. He was kind of like people, kind of not, and THAT is what drew people to Him. GET THIS, FOLKS: JESUS WAS MAN AND GOD, ALL IN ONE. And here's another point: you can't emphasize Christ's sacrifice for mankind UNLESS you emphasize His physical suffering. What kind of God would let His Son die for the sins of the world in a NICE, GENTLE way? Would you believe in a god like that? No, you wouldn't, because that is namby-pamby, and nothing would separate a god like that from people like us. Only a God who would send His Son to die a horrible, painful, wretched, tortuous death on behalf of ALL OF US, would be worthy of praise and thanks and worship. The physical nature of Jesus's death WAS His spiritual nature, that He would endure ALL OF THAT because that was what He was born on earth to do. So don't try to separate the physical and the spiritual or say that one was more important than the other. Jesus was all of those things and more that we can't even fathom, and if He were more or less one characteristic, then He would not be worthy of taking all of our sins and wiping them away by suffering as He did.

4. And here I go, probably sticking my foot somewhere it shouldn't be, but I'm going to say it anyway. Yes, the Jews in that day despised and tortured Jesus, particularly the "educated" Jews, the Pharisees. They hated Him because He turned their law and their teachings all around and confused the heck out of them. They had nothing to say in response to His "radical" teachings, the fact that He ate dinner with prostitutes and "sinners," the fact that He touched menstruating and therefore "dirty" women, the fact that He spent "valuable" time playing with undervalued children, the fact that He emphasized a life with God instead of a life lived according to written "laws." Of COURSE they hated Him and wanted Him dead. And yes, it was actually the Romans who nailed Him up there. BUT NONE OF THIS EQUALS ANTI-SEMITISM. GET OVER IT. I am not saying that the Jews in this life have not suffered; I am not dismissing the Holocaust or anything else that the Jews in this world have gone through in their history. I am not saying that anti-semitism is not a serious and hateful problem. But I AM saying that accurately depicting a biography does not equal or incite anti-semitism. And here's another thing I want to say: ANY PERSON OUT THERE WHO CALLS HIM/HERSELF A CHRISTIAN, BUT PERSECUTES ANYONE ELSE, JEW, BLACK, WOMAN, CHILD, WHOEVER, IS NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT LIVING ACCORDING TO CHRIST'S TEACHINGS. You who do wrong and evil things in the name of Jesus give the rest of us a bad name. So either quit your bull, or stop calling yourself believers and followers of Christ. Stop inciting people to hate. Stop blaming Jesus's crucifixion on the Jews. Because here's another thing: in laying blame for Christ dying on someone or something, you are saying that it was not God's divine will to save the world from its sins, and that Jesus came to earth to live among us for nothing. NOTHING. If you dare to nullify God's plan and Jesus's vision for this world, then you go ahead and BLAME people for His death. But guess what, HIS DEATH WAS MEANT TO HAPPEN WHEN IT DID AND HOW IT DID. So everyone, JUST GET OVER all this finger-pointing and blaming. You're all so LOUD, but you're not SAYING anything.

5. And bottom line ... IT'S A MOVIE. Movies, in an ideal world, should make you think and question and wonder about things. They should encourage discussion and parsing out theories and evolution of opinions and beliefs. Movies are only controversial because loud-mouthed talking heads MAKE them controversial. The rest of should be allowed to watch in peace, absorb, enjoy and think for ourselves WITHOUT other people telling us what to think, what conclusions to draw, whether or not to be offended or pleased. I wish no one had made a big deal of this MOVIE. All this drama hinders people from going into the theater with an open mind, a porous curiosity. It turns this movie into a freak show, something people pay to see to discover what all the hubbub is about. Just go see it. Enjoy it if you enjoy it, hate it if you hate it, think about it if you are so spurred, ignore it if you think it's a big load of hooey. But remember ... we should not be a humanity that allows a MOVIE to dictate our lives, our hearts, our thoughts, our actions. We should not be a people afraid to discuss RATIONALLY things that we see, things that make us curious, things about which we disagree. And we should not lose sight of the fact that Jesus is Jesus, belief is belief, faith is faith, God is God, and a MOVIE is a MOVIE.

Thanks to my friends who have digital cameras. I am too much of a faux-Mennonite (read: techno-phobe) to purchase and use a digital camera for myself, so I rely upon the largesse of my cronies.

At the risk of sounding like a bad Art Humanities slide show director ... following are some photos of a group of us returning from our weekend retreat in the Poconos. Man, what a great time, but I'm still recovering from it, and it may take me a week of 7-hour sleeps to catch up. In these photos, please keep in mind that although we were traveling between 85 and 100 mph, I had both hands on the wheel and my eyes on the road at all times. Also, note that Junior (my front-seat passenger) almost dropped JC's camera trying to take the action shot of Soybean passing us. And finally, please be aware that we aren't this stupid all the time. Ha ha ha! Wait, that's not entirely true ...



Check out my goddaughter, looking perplexed at her Baby Dedication Service on Sunday. She and her brother are totally fun, as far as almost-five-month-old babies go. (Yes, these miracle babies are almost FIVE months old!) Or maybe I'm just easily amused ... but they truly are great. Until they puke on you. Which they do with some regularity. Sigh.

(OK, I had a photo here of the two Noodlets, but it was humongous and made the page all weird. So it's gone. But trust me, they're pretty cute and funny.)

Monday, February 23


OK, I don't think this qualifies as a real blog entry, but I haven't had much to say (believe it or not), and I've been harangued by all three of my loyal readers to write something. So courtesy of Snoozy, here's some more fun n' games:

(Oh wait, I DID have something to say: spring training has essentially started ... and Ralph Nader better get out of the picture or else we'll definitely be stuck with the Shrubbery for another four years. Shudder to think ...)

Everyday: white and blue Corningware.
Special occasion: white Wedgewood.

"Living History" by Hillary Rodham Clinton, as per Wonger's suggestion.

Work: Snoopy and Woodstock = I love them!
Home: some random computer company logo.

Scrabble. Especially when I play with people who try to cheat (my PASTOR) or try to add random prefixes onto everything (JWu, note that "uncurry" is not a word. Nor is "untaco." Nor is "de-un-pre-renew.").

Marie Claire, New York Times Magazine, People.

Coffee. Or kimchi jigae. Or my grapefruit body wash.

"How many more times can I snooze without being totally late to work?"



I don't like talking on the phone, so I'll usually let it go to voice mail, check the message, and return the call if I need to, or send an email later or wait to see the person face-to-face.

I'm not telling because (1) I don't want to jinx my uterus; and (2) there are people out there who will read this and then "innocently" forget and steal my name choices! Eh, call me a cynic ...

Believing in something and fighting for it.


Er. Yes.


Cool, unless you're driving in one. And even then, it's nominally cool.

The first car I ever drove: Volkswagen Jetta.
The first car I ever drove legally: 1989 Cadillac DeVille.
The first car I ever drove as really MINE: 2001 Toyota 4Runner.

Jimmy Carter.

Black Russian with Grey Goose.

Scorpio. You don't need to know my birthday.

Yes, that's the best part!

FBI agent investigating crimes committed by Asian gangs, or crimes committed against women and children.

Dark brown.

Oh yes.

Three-way tie between: "The Sound of Music," "Bring It On" and "Schindler's List."

Not totally. My pinkies are horribly underutilized.



Being alone or being bored with life.

Snoozy can do everything and anything, be cheerful about it, and STILL raise two of the cutest little boys ever. Three if you count her husband.

Right now, Sarah McLachlan's "Afterglow."

Right now, "CSI" or "The Apprentice."


Hot dogs.

I don't really like soda, but if I REALLY need carbonation, I hit up the Diet Coke.

The top of Cadillac Mountain on a sunny spring morning after a long and arduous 4.5-hour hike.

PJ bottoms with a tank-top or long-sleeve shirt.


Tuesday, February 17

FUN N' GAMES . . .

Courtesy of The Captain ... try this neat feat of trickery! I know there must be some bizarre mathematical explanation for this somewhere, and I bet some of you might find the explanation quite intuitive and easy to figure out, but don't ruin the illusion for me!

1. Grab a calculator. (you won't be able to do this one in your head)
2. Key in the first three digits of your phone number (NOT the area code)
3. Multiply by 80
4. Add 1
5. Multiply by 250
6. Add the last 4 digits of your phone number
7. Add the last 4 digits of your phone number again.
8. Subtract 250
9. Divide number by 2

Do you recognize the answer?

Monday, February 16


Oh, don't get the wrong idea. We analogized the installation of PEK at NHF with a marriage. Actually, we analogized it with the installation of a furnace in a home: the furnace warms the home and makes it habitable; without the furnace, the home will break and no one can live there for there will be no heat or hot water. There was no mention made of the length of the warranty or the return policy, but I don't think we'll be needing either.

My brain is overloaded with today, which started with a bizarrely unnecessary late start out of the house and continued with: a rewarding and heart-warming young women's Bible study; an intense service full of emotion, thanksgiving, and family and friends supporting NHF and PEK at the start of this new season; the "my worlds are shrinking and crashing into each other" realization that my parents and PEK's parents went to the same church almost thirty years ago (before I was even a twinkle in my parents' eyes!); a new, exciting and concrete vision of the future of the praise team; and a loud but lazy evening at Camp Capio, laying like roasted broccoli in front of their awesome fireplace.

Today was a day of commitments, promises, new beginnings, affirmations of friendship, dedications to growth, expressions of honesty and grace, reiterations of love, and immersions in the Beloved and my beloved. My simple and ineffective words could not accurately or justly describe today.

But I go to bed with a full, bursting heart. I know I am loved. I know that I love others. I know that I have the ability to make new friends and keep old ones. I know that I have passion and that I am shown passion. I know that there are those who commit to me through thick and thin, and despite my super-speed brain and questioning heart. I know that NHF has a future and that I have a new friend. I know that NHF is supported by love we didn't even know existed. I wonder how I can sleep at all, with all this knowledge crowding my head and heart ...

Saturday, February 14

BUH-BO . . .

Or is it Bup-Bo? Or maybe it's Boh-Boh? Who knows. All I know is that we're addicts. We just can't get enough of it. Nine grown adults, overgrown children really, playing Buh-Bo for hours and hours, flogging ourselves as if every overturned card meant life or death, chanting "buh-bo, buh-bo, buh-bo" at each other like a holy mantra. Man, I love card games.



We might get A-Rod. We are this close to getting A-Rod. I got three phone calls tonight from friends and family to inform me that we are getting A-Rod. Berry, berry interesting ...



The latest song on repeat wherever I go (and of course it's a non-sappy sappy love song): Sarah McLachlan's "Push," from her new album "Afterglow." Only ten songs, but they are all worth it. BUY IT.

Every time I look at you the world just melts away
All my troubles, all my fears dissolve in your affection
You’ve seen me at my weakest but you take me as I am
And when I fall you offer me a softer place to land

You stay the course, you hold the line, you keep it all together
You’re the one true thing I know I can believe in
You’re all the things that I desire, you save me, you complete me
You’re the one true thing I know I can believe

I get mad so easy but you give me room to breathe
No matter what I say or do ‘cause you’re too good to fight about it
Even when I have to push just to see how far you’ll go
You won’t stoop down to battle but you never turn to go

You stay the course, you hold the line, you keep it all together
You’re the one true thing I know I can believe in
You’re all the things that I desire, you save me, you complete me
You’re the one true thing I know I can believe

Love is just the antidote when nothing else can cure me
There are times I can’t decide when I can’t tell up from down
You make me feel less crazy when otherwise I’d drown
But you pick me up and brush me off and tell me I’m okay
Sometimes that’s just what we need to get us through the day

You stay the course, you hold the line, you keep it all together
You’re the one true thing I know I can believe in
You’re all the things that I desire, you save me, you complete me
You’re the one true thing I know I can believe

"Push" -- Sarah McLachlan


Happy Valentine's Day!

Omma, Appa, Cheech, Gran ... my extended blood ... my L.O.L. ... my sister in LA and her manic brood ... my KBB ... my NHF Ladies ... my PT who must now sit in the PTP ... all the babies and their amazing parents (to-be, as well) ... my goddaughter ... my government posse ...

I love yous!

And though we spend today thinking upon each other and reflecting on the loves in our lives, let's remember tomorrow, and the day after that, and the week after that, and the month after that, and all our days, that our love for each other doesn't ebb and flow around one manufactured and commercialized day in February. The true test of love, of friendship and of family ties, is whether we can feel the same passion and care for each other on the other 364 days of the year that we don't have to buy a card or rampage the local Godiva outlet or put on sexy lingerie or eat some decadent meal together.

So I'll tell you tomorrow, too: I love yous!

Tuesday, February 10


Hooch is my latest inspiration, my kick in the pants, if you will. Every morning, that lady gets up at 4:30 to work out before hitting the road a little after 6:00a.m. to make the long and dreary commute to work at our glorious little courthouse. Today, she demonstrated to me how loose her pants had become on her trimmer waist as a result of her steady workouts; I told her that was a great excuse to go shopping. Although we hate shopping. So online shopping. Anyway, I digress.

I've been kind of lax with my workouts lately. My evenings have gotten a bit busier (or I've gotten lazier, I can't tell which), so it's harder to get motivated to change out of work clothes into exercise clothes, work out for 45 minutes, take another shower, then eat dinner. All I want to do in the evenings now is change into comfortable clothes and lay like broccoli. So I have taken a page from the Book of Hooch and have begun exercising in the mornings. OK, maybe that's not entirely true. This morning, I exercised in the morning. Hee hee.

There's only a few issues I have with morning workouts, aside from the horrific fact that I have to get up earlier. First, I hate, so early in the morning, guzzling the amount of water needed to hydrate myself sufficiently to run two miles. All that water sloshing around in me -- oh, and it does slosh -- just makes me feel like vomiting. Plus, my strong gag reflex and apparently small throat opening make it very difficult to guzzle anything without starting to choke. Second, my entire family has lately taken to ending our evenings with mugs of hot chocolate made from real milk instead of simply water. Delicious, yes ... but also stinky. Dr.G and all you other lactose-intolerants out there, you feel me? I know you do. Suffice to say, if you didn't love me or my family very VERY much, it would be very difficult for you to be here with us. Smirk. I love toilet humor. But again, I digress. The point is, running in the morning with residual milky hot chocolate issues is ... questionable, at best. And finally, something about all that activity first thing upon waking makes me feel icky within the next hour or two hours. When I get to work, I gulp my first cup of morning coffee and head straight out of chambers to complete my "morning routine." C, you feel me? I know you do. Not the daintiest image of myself that I could put forth, but I'm just being honest here.

Nevertheless! I loved having my evening free tonight, with no "oh, I didn't exercise" guilt looming over my head like an ominous cartoon bubble. So I have set my alarm clock for an hour earlier tomorrow morning. It will be the ultimate test: whether I can do this two mornings in a row. I hope I do; I hope I hear my alarm and get out of bed, even if I kind of slide and crawl in the process, clinging desperately to my pillows. No milky hot chocolate side effects or sloshy stomachs can hold me back, oh no!

Monday, February 9

SORRY, DR. LEE . . .

If you haven't seen "Drumline," go and rent it now. Better yet, if you have HBO on Demand, try to find it there, because you might not really think it's worth even the drive to the video store.

But for those of us who love getting suckered into movies like this, permit me one small bastardization of Dr. Lee's all-important mantra, and let those of us in whom this line reverberates particularly loudly never lose sight of this truth:


And then there was dancing.

This was our communion song this past Sunday. I hope it will forever be our communion song. Heck, I hope we sing it all the time, even if we "kill it." Some songs are sooo good they need to be killed. Sorry, JWu. Words and music by Stuart Townend ... I hope you enjoy, and I hope you can get your paws on the amazing recording off of which I learned this song, the version that threw chills up and down my spine and which sent me to my knees ...

How deep the Father's love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the man upon a cross
My sin upon His shoulder
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Sunday, February 8


I've said it before and I'll say it again: I love Communion Sundays. No matter if, in the days and weeks leading up to it, I've felt and been close to God, or felt and been far from Him, Communion Sundays always refocus me and remind me why I'm here and by Whose grace I continue to be here.

Today's message hit me particularly hard, particularly forcefully, and with particular meaning. PEK reminded me that God is God. He is not human, and He does not act like humans. Just because people around me may view me in a certain way, just because I am plagued by insecurities based upon how I think people view me, does not mean that God views me in that way. If I displace human feelings and human behavior onto God and how He treats and considers me, then I am nullifying the very act of Him sending His Son to be crucified on a cross, taking my sin away. Past sin, present sin, future sin -- all of it. And how could I nullify the act of One who sees me in all my disgusting humanness, being mean to people, lying and being two-faced, acting lazy, not trying hard enough, not loving my neighbors enough or at all, not always respecting my parents, not always being a woman of faith, etc. but still loves me and still extends permanent grace to me and still says "I'm here for you even if you don't know it"? How could I? I can't.

I was also reminded that there are people in my life who love me unconditionally. Of course family comes to mind immediately: we let it all hang out in our family, so when you've been a total jerk, someone will tell you immediately. It's no holds barred in our home, and Omma, Appa and Cheech have seen it all ... but they stick by me anyway. And I realized today that one can have friends who love one unconditionally as well. Sure, we're all human, so of course we might talk about each other or get annoyed at each other or feel the need for some distance now and then. But I have friends who have stuck by me anyway and continue to do so. I have friends who know how awful I can be, but pray for me and with me anyway. I have friends who know I snore in my sleep but will go on vacation with me anyway. I can be a complete annoying type-A bee-yatch one day, but be embraced and welcomed into a friend's home the next day.

And if human beings can love me this unconditionally, then how much more lasting is the love of God shown to me? I must dwell upon that always: as great as my friends and family are to me, as much as they love me, as gracious as they are to me, God is unfathomably greater, more loving and more gracious than that.

I don't know why it is so easy to remember the negatives and forget the positives, to be wounded by hurt than healed by forgiveness, to stagnate in one place emotionally or physically than to run forward with freedom. But for believers like myself, running forward with freedom is something we must do, given that we have received the love of God and the salvation afforded by His sacrifice.



JKA put it exactly right: NHF is experiencing growing pains. The coming month will see some concrete changes in the way NHF operates, how our services are run, how meetings are held, and in particular, how our praise team will grow. That growth process has already begun, and as in any situation, it hasn't been pretty. In fact, practice on Saturday afternoon was pretty damn stressful and I hate thinking about it, even now, a whole two days later.

I still can't figure out why. All ten or eleven of us are friends, or at least very friendly with each other. But maybe that's the problem. As much time as I spend with them, we still exist at a very superficial level of friendship, so I think there is still some insecurity about being real with each other. Like, if I say to someone "you're out of tune," will that person be offended and not like me anymore? Or does someone else feel like their only value is in their musical talent and cannot bear to hear words that say otherwise, even if those words come from a 'friend'? Or perhaps we just don't know how to work intensely together. Or maybe we don't feel comfortable enough yet to be honest with each other, and we don't know what words to use to speak to each other truthfully but with love. Or maybe we just all feel the pressure that I feel: now that we have a pastor who has an expansive vision for NHF, we as a praise team need to live up to that vision as well and move forward with it ... we just don't know how.

Whatever it is, it's painful. It's never nice to feel like you can't be honest with people you considered to be among your closest friends in the world. It's never nice to feel like someone is mad at you, or to feel mad at someone else but unable to articulate it constructively. It's never nice to work at something for hours but feel like it's never going to turn out the way it's supposed to. It's never nice to go through a tense period in a friendship, and realize that for a time, you need to tread on ice until things smoothe over. But ... that's what growing pains are, I suppose ...

Friday, February 6


A woman in Tennessee is suing Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake, MTV, CBS and Viacom over alleged injuries sustained by watching the Super-Bowl-exposed-boob incident.

Oh please, get over yourself. It's a BOOB.


ME TOO, ME TOO . . .

Beyonce, Missy Elliott and Alicia Keys are touring together, starting on March 12th.

I need to see this.


OUCH . . .

At least 39 people were killed in a bomb blast in a Moscow subway.

My only thought (aside from "that really sucks"): God, please don't ever, ever, ever let that happen here.



I don't like today's Friday Five, so I'm just not going to do it.


RATS . . .

The courthouse is open today. And I am ever so sleepy about it.

Thursday, February 5


Sigh. I'm bored today. I've been working on this one assignment and I need to finish it up soon, but frankly, it has lost all of its initial appeal (no pun intended). But here's a new misspelling I've never seen before: instead of "POTATOES", he writes "PATATOES". Brilliant.


Would it kill some attorneys to just be NORMAL and NICE and POLITE? Sometimes, I just want to say, "Look, guy, your sh*t stinks too, so relax." Sheesh!


I really love some of the folks that work in this courthouse. They are just fun, funny, witty, well-mannered, down-to-earth, generous, kind, unselfish, intelligent and helpful people.


We professional employees of the U.S. Government are no different than 10-year-old elementary school kids. At the news of impending snow and ice tomorrow, we have all been harassing the decision-makers-on-high all day: "Clooooooose the cooooouuuuuurt! Pleeeaaaase! Cloooooose the coooooouuuuurt!" We are so pathetic.

Tuesday, February 3

DAMN YOU . . .

I scoffed at the weather forecasters all day today. Snow? "What snow?" I asked in disdainful disbelief. I believe the word I used to describe it all was "hooey." As in "that weather forecast is just a bunch of hooey."

Of course it was I who got a swift kick in the pants when I SLID down the hill to my house this evening on the way home from work. Rain in the air, I-dunno-what on the ground. Thank goodness I was the only car on the block at the time. For a moment, it was fun and I said, out loud, "Whoooooooo!" with a grin on my face. Then it wasn't so fun.

Then it just became a load of hooey.

Sunday, February 1

10:40 a.m. ... Caro's gran ... Godspeed ...

I feel disjointed, sad, heavy-hearted, deflated and insecure today.

Everything in the world that would make me feel disjointed, sad, heavy-hearted, deflated and insecure seems to be whirling about in my thoughts at the same time today. I wish I could ration them out throughout the week so I can at least feel like I can deal ...

I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to get through today: a full day at church, a full night at Camp Capio surrounded by people. Loud, screaming, laughing, unknowing people.

My only consolations this sad day: my Gaggle of Six, with whom I've had such a productive and interesting and eye-opening email-week ... C, who will kick my ass and make me laugh, even if I don't want to ... the shining sun and impending relative warmth ... Oswald Chambers' reminder that I am already saved and sanctified ...