Thursday, February 28, 2008


My mom is a bad "bad news breaker." After 26 years, I've figured out that when she says, "I've got some sad news," it means that someone has passed away. Today, I got a text from my mother via my sister, saying that she had some sad news.

The husband of a family that I was close to at home, passed away this morning after a long battle with cancer. He leaves behind his wife and 2 sons, both in High School. Paul's wife, Karen, taught me piano lessons for years, he taught me organ for 2 and I babysat their sons many times during High School.

When I go back to Illinois, I always end up running into their oldest son, Greg, when I go up to see my sister at school. The last time I saw Paul, I was home for the musical and he assured me that God was keeping him firmly in his care and grace. A few weeks later, I heard that his very rare form of cancer had returned and the prognosis was bleak.

So, this sad news is more sad news in a week of sad news, but I am certain that Paul is in heaven and that is exactly where he wants to be.


Yesterday morning, I received an email from a friend alerting me to the death of a college classmate. This was a boy that while I was never close to him, was significant for his always being on the fringe of my college existence, particularly freshman year.

I've been thinking about this boy these last 24 hours and trying to pinpoint the kind of loss I feel. In my memory of him, I remember him as friendly, but quiet and a little awkward. Because he was on our "brother floor" freshman year, he spent a lot of time wandering our floor hanging out in whomever's room was open. In my freshman mind I remember always feeling more than a little uncomfortable and more than a little judgemental of him.

Perhaps the loss is my realizing that I never truly took the time to see him for what he was, to see him as Christ saw him, and it isn't now, until his absence that I realize how wrong that was.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Sunday night, on my way home after a rather intense meeting with a youth and the Morgans (who lead Wednesday Night Bible Study), I found myself wishing, quite surprisingly, that I was driving home to someone who I could share this burden with, or that I had my own someone to share who had been there with me, for me. I say this as no knock to my roommate, because she has been very considerate and understanding so far and has offered some very good practical advice on some things in the past.

Sunday night was a different kind of night. It was a night that I felt I would have been stronger had I been part of a pair. It was a kind of aloneness that took the wind out of me with the intensity of the wanting.

There is something that distinguishes couples in ministry, doing ministry together from other couples, I think. I see it in the Morgans and in the Caplingers, the couple who help Pastor the church that I attend for Bible Study. There is something about that united purpose, the purpose of working together for the good of other people that seems to strenghthen them. It's more than just loving Christ together. Perhaps it is that they are sharing together the love of Christ with others.

I'm not sure what it is, but I found myself wanting that on Sunday night. That partnership.

Monday, February 25, 2008


Today I feel burdened.

Today there isn't any pleasure in this.

Today there is only the weight.

Today there is only mourning.

Today there is only grief.


Friday, February 22, 2008


Last night, I went to see The Bucket List with a friend from House Church (after some excellent Panera and conversation). After the movie, I, like my good friend Matt over at Daedal Jocosity, thought for a while about what I might put on my very own Bucket List. So, here's my list of things I'd like to do in the next 50 or so years (maybe even sooner than that).

1. Learn to play guitar well.
2. Write and be published by a non-cph publisher.
3. Live in New York City for at least a year.
4. Travel to India to do mission work for at least a month.
5. Backpack Europe.
6. Fall in love, get married, have babies.
7. Meet my compassion "babies," Sergio Samuel and Jennifer Tatianna.
8. Adopt a child or become a foster parent.
9. Learn how to love without condition or expectation.
10. Travel the route of my favorite children's book, Homecoming.
11. Run a marathon.
12. Learn how to ski well enough to do a double diamond course.
13. Show someone Jesus who didn't know him before.
14. Sing in public.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


I'm not someone who "does" vulnerability well, but I admire those who seem to live in a state of open vulnerability. (You know who you are.) I don't know if it is the fact that at different times in my life that I have been told that it is not ok to be vulnerable or if it is me that is cautious to place my vulnerability in someone elses's hands.

I think it is some of both.

Last night, at house church, we were talking about the season of Lent and what we felt God was calling us to "give up" or to "take on." One of the questions we were called to ask ourselves in our private times of devotion was the following, "How can I use this season of lent to become more vulnerable? How can I help others become more vulnerable? How can I help create a safe place for that to happen?"

It was as if that question triggered in the minds and hearts of those in house church the ability to be open. One confession, then another, and another.

As we laid hands on each other to pray, I realized it is in that place that the healing truly begins, that in the vulnerability is strength and a binding together of the people of God.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Now that the tv's off, I find that I have been anticipating having a "tv crash," so I have taken my free time and filled it with things, so as not to be distracted by the fact that I have a tv I'm not watching (or perhaps a Bible I wanted to be reading during that time). This could be a more challenging lent than I thought.

Still, these past few weeks have been busy (though I have to stop acting suprised that I am busy. So goes the life of a youthworker) and continue to be busy (tv or no tv). It has been three, nearyly four years of busy.

Yesterday, after I'd slept in, had coffee and lunch with Suz and gone shopping with another friend, I realized that God, in His timing, had answered my prayers from a year ago. He has provided for me a place that feels like home, with people that feel like family. Not one thing that I brought before the Lord (in a bit of a petulant state, I might add), did he neglect to answer. Silly, particular things and in more than one way. He answered more fully and richly than I could have imagined.

I guess, though, that it has always been about God's timing and working in my life. Had I not had last year would I have come to the place where I am now?

I see that God is good and active in my life. I see through others that He is faithful to me, that He loves me, that He has answered the groanings in my heart and soul.

So, I continue to trust God, in His perfect timing, for other things as well.

The Big 26

26 sounds old. At 26, no one can really say, "oh so you're a college student?" anymore. 26 denotes some form of adulthood.

My 26th birthday was one of the best in recent memories. From all the facebook greetings and the spontaneous singing from the third and fourth graders and the homemade cards on Tuesday to Friday night's dinner, I have felt truly blessed. I hope this good beginning is a sign of a very good year.

Thursday, February 07, 2008


Sometimes I wish that I was a Jewish person living in ancient times. Grief was very visible. You ripped your garments, covered your face with ashes and were allowed to wail at the top of your lungs. Grief was very apparent.

How comfortable would it be to have that visible grief. Everyone would know that there was something you were grieving. When Jesus was taken before Caiaphas to be tried, Caiaphas ripped his robes in grief and rage; Job, in mourning, ripped his robes and sat down in a pile of dirt. Grief seems so easy. That outward demonstration of grief clearly showed your inward condition.

However, in last night's reading from Joel, God calls us to "rend our hearts and not our garments." God calls us to tear our hearts in mourning, to tear our hearts in sorrow, in repentance.

Of course, God has always been more concerned with our inward condition than our outward demonstrations. In Hosea he tells us that he desires, "mercy, not sacrifice," and in last night's Gospel reading we heard that we are not to pray outloud on the streets, but quietly, in our rooms.

How fitting for the beginning of lent, the season of reflection and repentance, of mourning, that we are called to tear our hearts in preparation for the tearing of our Savior's.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Ash Wednesday

First, an introduction:
At Youth Quake with my Middle Schoolers this past weekend, I got a little emotional (I'm learning that's a combination of lack of sleep and stress). During family time, I cried as I told my kids just how much I want them to know Jesus and His love for them, how I prayed that weekend was the beginning of them experiencing Jesus in a very real way.

The more I pondered this on the drive home the more I realized that I don't feel like I know Jesus the way I pray that my kids will come to do. I've been so distracted by other things I feel like I've lost a very good friend in the process.

Last year, my friend, Spode, gave up television for her lenten fast. While I thought she was maybe a little crazy (or a lot crazy), I admired her for that and saw God really working through that time of television silence.

A few weeks ago, after watching the same episode of Scrubs for the bajillionth time before falling asleep to the noise of the television, I realized that TV has become a distraction for my spiritual life. The noise of the tv has drowned out the quiet movement of the Holy Spirit and I need a break.

I need to re-focus.

So, this Lenten season, I am turning off the TV and re-reading the Gospels during those times of quiet and hoping to reacquaint myself with this Jesus that I follow.

Yes We Can