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Showing posts from April, 2015

On Being an Adult (or: Thanks, Mom)

When I was a kid, I was convinced that being an adult was going to be fantastic, mostly because then I could eat mac'n'cheese every single day if I wanted to.  And of course I would want to.

Being an adult, I have discovered that in fact, while it is pretty awesome to be able to eat mac'n'cheese whenever I want, sometimes I want to eat other things.  Things that I didn't even like as a kid.  Things like polenta.  For real.  A few months ago I was struck by this intense craving for polenta... corn meal, milk, a little cheese.  Maybe some tomato sauce if you want to be really fancy.

FOR REAL?

Anyway, that's something that I'm finding fascinating about being an adult.  Not the polenta specifically, but the fact that I'm suddenly discovering a deep, passionate appreciation for things that I disliked (or despised...) as a kid.

And here I come to the actual story.  Ready?

You'd better be sitting down.

Especially you, Mom.

I've recently been realizing…

Stages of Grief

In the past day I've been thinking a lot about stages of grief.  I don't think that I have anything new to say but I write anyway, knowing that it helps me to sort through my own thoughts and feelings.

Grief is hard, because as soon as I think I have a bit of it figured out, BOOM, it turns into something else that I have no idea how to deal with.

The first three or four times I told someone, "He's dead," it was terrible because each time it seemed more real.  Like maybe, maybe if I didn't keep saying it, it could all be an awful joke and Nick would be popping in the back door of Crumble any moment, ball cap tugged on backwards, laughing and saying, "Gotcha!"  Because for the eight months that I knew him, he was always so very alive.  So sweet and thoughtful and generous, quick to laugh and quick to encourage.

But now --

The more often that I say the words, answering when people ask how I am, how we are at the coffee shop and the bar --

Now they ar…

Randomness

I'm pretty much convinced that we have some of the best regular customers in the world at Crumble.  It makes work a joy.  They're awesome in many ways -- from engaging us in conversations to putting up with our goofy teasing to recommending/bringing in books that they think we'll enjoy.
Also, they say awesome stuff.  One customer today took the "saying awesome stuff" to an entirely new level with his quick response this morning in the following exchange:
Laura:  *cautioning a customer about the raspberry cream cheese brownie that he was buying*  “It’s very sweet and rich --” Jordan:  “Sounds perfect!  You know, that’s what exactly what I hope people say about me when I’m gone!”
:)
~~~
Also, I'm pretty sure that ever year I remember how much I dislike winter and love summer, but I always wonder if I've exaggerated my memories... until spring comes.  SUNSHINE!  WARMTH!  HAPPINESS!
~~~
Sometimes I wonder if our downstairs neighbors think I have a terrible chil…

Normal

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It's a reality check to us all.

There are so many things that can always go wrong, yet don't.

And now, less than three days later, it's hard to believe that it even ever happened.



Of course, it's normal to sit on a bench in the early spring warmth, tell stories, take pictures.

To cook dinner and watch movies, play games and laugh.

But at the back of our minds, when it gets quiet, we slip into remembering: this could have been so very completely different.


And I ask myself the same question that I did freshman year of college:

Did I love enough?
(Do I ever?)

And how can I love better?


There are plenty of days, no shortage of news stories, that make me wonder:

Why are things so broken?
Why is so much wrong?
Why is there so much evil?

I don't remember where I first read someone asking this question now, but there are days and seasons when I find myself thinking:

Why all this good?
Why so much grace?
Why all this beauty?

And for a few moments, I am shocked again into remember…

Lessons from Revelation

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As my Community Bible Study group comes to the end of the semester spent in Revelation, we go back to the beginning, stepping back to make sure that we haven't lost sight of the forest for the trees.

And the view is astounding.  Seeing the whole again after taking time to look at the parts, it's easier to see some of the connections and depth and richness of how the whole book is interwoven.



I've been especially struck by the messages to the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3, and how the rest of the book ties into them.  The blessings and warnings are all fleshed out, given more detail -- and there is great encouragement in seeing how the later chapters of Revelation equip believers to obey the commands that Jesus gives to the churches.

The warnings given to the churches still carry relevance for us today, as churches and as individual Christians as we struggle with the same temptations to tolerate sin, to slide away from faith, or to give up under the huge pressures of…

Catching Grenades and Fiddler on the Roof

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There are myriad reasons why I love my family.

A goodly portion of them relates to songs and quotes.

Here are two that have come up recently.

1) Nat and I both like playing (read: blasting) the Pentatonix station on Pandora when we're closing at work.  The song Grenade by Bruno Mars comes on fairly regularly, and every single time it plays, I think of my mother's words of wisdom when some of us kids were listening to it at home --

Well first, an excerpt from the lyrics.


What you don't understand is
I'd catch a grenade for ya
Throw my hand on a blade for ya
I'd jump in front of a train for ya
You know I'd do anything for ya
oh oh oh oh oh
I would go through all this pain
Take a bullet straight right through my brain
Yes, I would die for you, baby
But you won't do the same


Mom:  "That does not sound like a healthy relationship."

For some reason, it cracks me up every time I think of it.  So now that song makes me laugh.

2)  Ib sent me this the other day, and …

doxology of the day

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Sometimes you praise God in the storm.

When you get an email that says one of your friends was hit by a car on campus that morning, and is short on all other details.  When your mind races with questions of what does "injuries mostly in lower extremeties" mean?  Are we talking about it ran over her toes or she's never going to walk again?

And then there are a couple of hours of just not knowing.  Of praising God for what you can -- her family is close, she's a believer, the hospital is close, that her head and chest seem to be okay -- and asking others to pray, and hoping, and worrying, and praying some more, and shooting off text messages, and making phone calls.

And then, sometimes, you get to sing praises of sheer joy, and laugh at the crazy, merciful goodness of God.

When you're walking to the hospital to see if she's still there, what's going on, and see her and her parents driving home from the hospital.  When God, in His kind providence, arranges t…

China moment: Better than Revenge

Almost two years later, there are still moments from teaching in China that are suddenly recalled to my mind, and I am thankful, because it reminds me to pray.

One of the translation classes was doing something in my apartment towards the end of the semester, and one of them -- Robben, I think -- started talking with me about Taylor Swift's music, and how disappointed he had been in the song Better than Revenge.

"I thought it would be about forgiveness," he said.

I wasn't familiar with the song.

"But instead it's about how there's nothing better than revenge."

To be honest, I was thankful for his disappointment.  Because he was so right, so beautifully, gloriously right, both in being disappointed and in his guess about what is better than revenge.

Song of the Dust

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There are the days when I realize --
oh my God, I'm dust, and to dust I will return --
and still, I'm rebellious dust,
as if my very existence didn't depend on You
as if Your breath didn't bring me to life
as if all good things didn't come from Your hand.
My heart is inclined, foolishly,
to fight You, to flee You
to run straight down the paths that lead to Death.

But here's the wonder of it --
You didn't shake me off Your hands,
snuff out my existence
look at me and shake Your head.
You came to this created planet
and took on dust-flesh Yourself,
living just as we do
fighting trials and temptations.
And then, having lived,
You died in my place.
Blood spilled, publicly shamed
King of the universe, murdered by traitors
who called You a liar, a thief, a fraud.
You're the only Holy, most glorious;
we should have fallen to worship You,
but instead we stood and mocked.

You -- God Yourself, the sinless Son --
took on the unspeakable agony of the wrath of God.

March pictures

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March was a crazy month.  It was a good month, filled with a lot of excellent activities and time with a lot of people who I love, but it was so crazy that by the end, I just wanted to go hide in my closet for a while.  (Our apartment seems to have a revolving door -- being able to provide hospitality is awesome.  And exhausting.)

Instead I sat down and made some lists of things that I want to be priorities on a daily/weekly/monthly basis.  It always kind of surprises me how easy it is to get swamped without intending to.  It's easy to keep writing things into my planner and get to the end of a day... or week... or month... and realize that I've barelyseen my room in daylight and haven't written anything.  (That's the real red flag, right there!)

Anyway.  So I'm learning about life being a perpetual balancing act, constantly requiring adjustments.

A few pictures from the month of awesome insanity.

Snowman building during the snowed-in-Sunday
Apples to Apples-ing
G…

Touch, Loneliness, Love

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Marilynne Robinson is one of those authors, like Leif Enger, who writes in such a way that sometimes I read something and think Yes.  Oh yes.  I know exactly what you mean.


Jack said, "I don't suppose you'd have time for another customer."
"Well, sure."  She was surprised.  They had always been so careful of him, almost afraid to touch him.  There was an aloofness about him more thoroughgoing than modesty or reticence.  It was feral, and fragile.  It had enforced a peculiar decorum on them all, even on their mother.  There was always the moment when they acknowledged this -- no hugging, no roughhousing could include him.  Even his father patted his shoulder tentatively, shy and cautious.  Why should a child have defended his loneliness that way?  But let him have his ways, their father said, or he would be gone.  He'd smile at them across that distance, and the smile was sad and hard, and it meant estrangement, even when he was with them.
I hadn't r…

Working on a new project...

Xaris and Shalom

Because what I need is a new blog, right?  :)