Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Year End...

Ok, Ok you harrassers! Here's my update!

2008 was a quite excellent year for me (but also so very challenging), in a lot of different ways. Here's the rundown:

1. Top Chef/Project Runway Nights
2. McNellie's and Cranium, New friends, acceptance into a social circle and other new friends.
3. New Year's 08 in Chicago and the 4th in Tulsa.
4. An excellent small group where I am challenged, enouraged and supported far more than I feel I deserve.
5. An Alaskan Wedding Adventure with my very favorite sewardians and meeting Moose-tipping.
6. Colorado and VBS with Sarah Wright (and elitch gardens with the Spanish Teacher)
7. Sara Bareilles, Joshua Radin and Ingrid in concert.
8. Moving back into a one bedroom.
9. Prom for the sister, VBS with mi madre, and labor day with the other fam.
10. Learning how to cook well and often.
11. Obama winning the election and learning how to voice my opinions when everyone else seemed to think they were wrong.
12. Realzing that you don't always know who is going to be important to you.

1. A thriving growing middle school group full of giggly, goofy girls (who also make excellent movie companions to things like twilight, HSM3 and Kit Kittredge).
2. Ok'd in Christ
3. Middle School Trips to Youth Quake and Houston
4. The high school trip to Ohio (and spending some time at the aunt's house).
5. An excellent evaluation in November
6. Article writing for thesource and more forum moderating.
7. Experiencing the death of a youth and of a youth leader and learning to grieve privately and corporately.
8. Falling in love with teaching 6th graders and with the middle school group.
9. Watching my youth use their talents and gifts at youth led worship.
10. Seeing our church grow and move into a new and exciting ways.

More about Illinois, New Years, Jess's Wedding and other exciting adventures soon.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My Favorite Things.

I totally jacked this idea from Ashley. :)

Here are my favorite things about the month of December/Christmas Time:

*All the goodies. Seriously, at what other time of the year is it acceptable to gorge yourselves on brownies, candy canes, chocolate, and figgy pudding?
*Being with family.
*Christmas Music. (Sufjan, Barenaked Ladies, Andrew Peterson, Sarah MacLachlan... I also watched this "Celtic Women Christmas concert" on PBS that I really enjoyed. I realize this makes me nerdy, but it was REALLY good.)
*Children's Christmas Programs
*Teaching the school kiddos about the reason why we have the decorations we do on our Christmas Tree.
*High School Christmas Party and drive-by caroling
*Middle School students "singing" and "playing chimes" for the "blue hairs" at the nursing home.
*Christmas Parties
*Shopping for presents for those less fortunate
*Illinois. Please have snow and mistletoe and presents under the tree!
*Reading, "The Worst Christmas Pageant Ever." It's my holiday tradition!
*Christmas Eve Service. Singing Silent Night by candlelight.
*Lighting the advent candles one week at at time.

OH! I also forgot!
*Christmas Pajama Pants for Jules and Jamie!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tohu Wabohu and Why the Cookies Aren't the Point: AKA Being God's Kingdom Come in this time of Advent Waiting

Ok, the extremely long title is my effort at tying together some very abstract, though very related points.

Last Sunday, the church where I attend small group, in place of worship handed out cookies to neighbors in the Plaza District as a St. Nick's day gift to the community. I know what you're thinking is the same that I was thinking when I first heard. "No one's going to eat those cookies!"

It isn't easy to wait for something to understand motives of some actions. In fact, sometimes everything seems like chaos. I certainly don't understand why a high school student who was battling depression committed suicide. I don't understand why a father was taken from his family. I don't understand why. It seems like everything is chaos. Without reason, without any explanation.

In Genesis and in Jeremiah there is a phrase that is used that sums this up correctly: "Tohu Wabohu." It's used to describe how the earth was before creation and lives of the Israelites during their babylonian captivity (right, hebrew scholars?). Especially in Jeremiah, life must have seemed Tohu Wabohu. Chaos. Destruction. Hopelessness. Reason-less. Purposeless.

Much as life seems Tohu Wabohu for the widow who lost her husband and is raising her four children on her own. For the family who is still greiving over the death of their son. For someone who has lost their job in this economic downturn and fears losing their house. For the person who is struggling with cancer. Tohu Waboho. Chaos. Destruction. Hopelessness. Reason-less. Purposeless. Tohu Wabohu.

However, we are not living a life of Tohu Wabohu. We are not people without hope. We are not people whose lives are subject to chaos and destruction. We are much like the Israelites who were exiled who were waiting expectantly to return to their home.

We are waiting for the hope and promise fulfilled in Jesus Christ, Infant King. We are waiting for the hope and promise fulfilled in Jesus Christ, Returning King. And while we wait, we grieve, not as victims, but as broken survivors. We celebrate, not in the shallow trappings of this season, but as those who know the real reason for which we wait. We share the great news of Christ, not only with our words, but being God's kingdom come in our actions. We are waiting expectantly and proactively.

The cookies aren't the point. The point is that by the delivering of cookies we are God's Kingdom Come. His assurance of hope and life and light in this season where it might seem like chaos and void.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Looking for Love like a Peasant.

The Spode found this article and it's convincing enough to almost make me want to email the church member who wants to set me up with her co-worker or to ask the weatherman to lunch after chuch on Sunday.

Monday, December 08, 2008


"Boy, I wish I had your job! You never have to be in the office! Let's trade!"
-said to me, on the phone.

Ummm, I'm sorry that I was gone on Thanksgiving vacation and I'm sorry that I wasn't in the office on Friday (my day off). I know you meant it as teasing, but you should know that I work. I work a lot. Sure, let's trade.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Social Currency

Alaina posted something a couple weeks ago that I agreed with, and was something I had been thinking about in a related manner for quite some time. I feel I should preface this post with an, "I'm just pondering these things," and that, I do love my family. A lot. Anyway, continue reading.

In Oklahoma City, the things that make up my identity, my reality are that: I'm a churchworker at a large church with a youth ministry that is exciting, challenging, and frustrating, all at once. I'm also a member of a small group with people that I love and care for like family. I am someone who likes to vist McNellie's on a Tuesday for talks about theology and politics. I am someone who has decent taste in music, someone who buys clothes that are occasionally trendy. I have good friends all over that I can call and can talk to without having to epxlain every context for every story. I am someone who keeps a blog that is read by friends (and some strangers) across the web. I get paid to write articles and blog for a youth ministry website. I drive a cool car (albiet one that needs new tires and tune-up pronto). I have identity, purpose, presence and a place here.

However, all those things seem to shift and change when I enter into my parents' house. My family takes up the whole of my life instead of just a piece of the puzzle. I am seen as less than those things, those realities that make up my life in Oklahoma City. I am a sister to a spoiled 17 year old who tends to mock my taste in music and tease me about my non-carhart brand jacket and my stovepipe jeans. I am a unmarried daughter who hasn't yet started bearing children. I am someone who lives in a far away location for "no good reason" because I'm not yet married, so therefore, whatever the job opportunity, I should take it if it brings me closer to home. The most asked question about me while I'm home is, "so, met anyone yet?"

I don't feel as if the things that make up my identity and my reality here in Oklahoma City really provide enough social currency to convince those who aren't involved in it on a day to day basis that it's worth it. I don't feel that my singleness is the issue, or that living 10 hours away from my immediate family is the issue. Would I like to be closer to home? Maybe, if the call was right. Would I like to be married? Maybe, if the guy was right. Would I want any of these things if it meant settling in some way for less than what I am? No.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

OK'd In Christ 2008 Video

Video from Ok'd. From SNehrenz

Carharts, Rural King and Squirrels-Thanksgiving 2008

Ok, really, I just picked out the three most ridiculously rednecked (that IS a word) things about my vacation to make the title.

Thanksgiving was good. Here's a bulleted list of what went down.

*Four Christmases with Lynn, Jan, Mom and Syd
*Role Models with Syd and Kati
*Lunch at the FREEZE with Jenny P. (yay for breadsticks)
*Mexican Train Dominoes
*Cross-county travels with Sydney (if only I'd been smart enough to take pictures while we were out)
*Thanksgiving lunch
*Grampy's birthday dinner at Cracker Barrel
*Sweet present from my Godson, Christian
*Hanging out at Uncle Jim's Bakery
*Cousin Matt's stories
*Sydney finding out that you cannot in fact, rig a muffler to blow out through the air vents (story there later)
*West Side Pub with the brother
*My Parents having Dish and about 25 more channels than they used to have (granted, they only got pbs... so it didn't take much to improve that situation)
*3 (or 4) trips to Rural King
*About the same amount of trips to Walmart
*$8.00 children's coats for Threads
*Wi-fi at the Dairy Queen
*Cold, Blustery Weather
*Coffee stop with Alycia May in Springfield (and the "HOLD ON, I THINK YOU'RE DRIVING INTO ARKANSAS!" phone call)
*Hanging out with my favorite So. Ill Teenager, Nick (and the game of "ouchie")
*New Card Games
*Driving to the boonies to see the busdriver for about 20 minutes.
*Having to pick up my brother and dad so they could get the tractor to unstick their truck.

All in all, good vacation. Pictures below are (but I don't know the order, Jenny and I, my godson, Christian and I, Syd and I in our "city v. country attire, lynn and I and all the grand and greatgrandkids present at grampy's party)