Tuesday, October 30, 2007

10 things that make me smile

1. the smell of Rosie's cookies baking.
2. early morning prayer meetings.
3. the beautiful sunset out my window.
4. how long the smell of my vanilla soy candle lasts.
5. seeing exactly how far away from home I am "door to door" on google maps.
6. making new friends.
7. staying in touch with old friends.
8. bonfires!
9. fireworks in the cold!
10. how freaked out everyone gets when they discover I've already started listening to Christmas music.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Last night we went out prayer carding. Just walked around asking people if they wanted/needed prayer for anything. We had a brief conversation with a couple who were spending the night on the street because they didn't have any where else to go. We prayed with them and then continued on our way. Somehow offering them a cup of tea or something to eat seemed so small, so inefective. In the face of such an important and basic need what I had to offer seemed silly. I walked away shaken, and it's not the first time.

On my 12th birthday I was going shopping with my mom. We drove past a panhandler on a street corner and I asked if I could use my birthday money to get him some food. While she commended the thought she said no because he would probably be gone by the time we would be back. I knew that it was really important for her for me to use her gift for myself and so I accepted her decision. But I felt so frustrated and helpless.

And that feeling has just been confirmed over and over again. When I see people out on the street I never have cash to give them but I usually run to the nearest drive through and pick them up something to eat. The last couple times they have indeed been gone by the time I got back. And I'm left, once again, frustrated and helpless.

Living in a world so overwhelmingly full of hurt and need is hard enough. But when I seem to repeatedly fail at even the tiny things in front of me it's really hard to keep trying. To not just throw my hands up and surrender to the inevitablity of it all.

What I need to hear is that it isn't inevitable. That small, even tiny gestures make a difference. That the tears I'm crying now have an impact in some way. Because right now I don't know what else to do.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

sunny spain

Unfortuately I got sick in Seville and so have no pictures from that beautiful city. But I did have a really good time, all things considered, and didn't miss out on too much as far as the meetings went. I will be looking forward to going back and really seeing everything and soaking up all that I missed.

a very eloquent summary of what I've been learning lately, by Eugene Peterson

One of the stubbornly enduring habits of the human race is to insist on domesticating God. We are determined to tame him. We figure out ways to harness God to our projects. We try to reduce God to a size that conveniently fits our plans and ambitions and tastes. But our Scriptures are even more stubborn in telling us that we can't do it. God cannot be fit into our plans, we must fit into his. We can't use God - God is not a tool or appliance or credit card.
"Holy" is the word that sets God apart and above our attempts to enlist him in our wish-fulfillment fantasies or our utopian schemes for making our mark in the world. Holy means that God is alive on God's terms, alive in a way that exceeds our experience and imagination. Holy refers to life burning with an intense purity that transforms everything it touches into itself.
Because the core of all living is God, and God is a holy god, we require much teaching and long training for living in response to God as he is and not as we want him to be. All our god-fantasies of "give us what we want when we want it on our own terms" in fact do is cripple or kill us. Leviticus is a start at the much teaching and long training that continues to be adapted and reworked in every country and culture where God is forming a saved people to live as he created them to live - hold as God is holy.
The first thing that strikes us as we read Leviticus in this light is that this holy God is actually present with us and virtually every detail of our lives is affected by the presence of this holy God; nothing in us, our relationships, or environment is left out. The second thing is that God provides a way (the sacrifices and feasts and Sabbaths) to bring everything in and about us into his holy presence, transformed in the fiery blaze of the holy. It is an awesome thing to come into his presence and we, like ancient Israel, stand in his presence at every moment. Our Lord is not dwelling in a tent or house in our neighborhood. But he makes his habitation in us and among us as believers and says, "I am holy; you be holy." (Leviticus 11:44)
Once we realize this, the seemingly endless details and instructions of Leviticus become signposts of good news to us: God cares that much about the details of or lives, willing everything in and about us into the transformation that St. Paul later commended:
"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life - your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life - and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you." (Romans 12:1-2)

PS, sorry its so long!

Friday, October 12, 2007

i am the deep blue sea

I've had this song stuck in my head for the last three days. It's so beautiful I don't want it to leave.

"I have a friend, the one that I love
Her name is the moon, she holds me close.
When she gets thirsty, I let her drink,
When morning comes, I lay her back down to sleep."

If you want to have a listen check out

Thursday, October 11, 2007

a wasted day

I've been wasting this day trying to make decisions. Trying to be productive. Trying to be creative. Doing nothing of significance. I tried to write a poem... This is how it starts:

Time is passing as I sit here
I can measure it by the scars on my hand
As they gradually fade
As they become a part of me

It gets worse from there...

I had a conversation with a friend this week about life and waiting and how we spend so much of our time waiting for life that life is waiting. I guess that was what today was. I wouldn't call it a life-filled day, but nevertheless I lived it.

Monday, October 1, 2007

priority number one

This was today's text reading:

The Lord has granted me the petition that I made to him. 1 Samuel 1:27

Paul wrote: We know that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope. Romans 5:3,4

Father, God, only you know your plan for us. In our prayers, we confess our weakness and fear when faced with the unknown. We pray we may learn from every circumstance you bring us, and to be faithful to your will for us. Amen.

Last night I was reading the chapter about simplicity in Celebration of Discipline and Richard Foster was talking about putting God's kingdom first. I think this is something key for me right now.

"Focus on the kingdom produces the inward reality... Nothing else can be central. The desire to get out of the rat race cannot be central, the redistribution of the world's wealth cannot be central, the concern for ecology cannot be central. Seeking
first God's kingdom and the righteousness, both personal and social, of that kingdom is the only thing that can be central in the Spiritual Discipline of simplicity. The person who does not seek the kingdom first does not seek it at all."

I have to remember why I am here, what my purpose is. And Ireland isn't it, 24-7 isn't it, it's Jesus.

personal dna

You are a Benevolent Visionary.

About You:

Your imagination, self-assuredness, and knowledge of the world combine to make you a VISIONARY.

You have clear notions of how things could be, and the confidence to try to make them that way.
You enjoy having a routine, and prefer comfort and familiarity to risk and adventure.
Not needing others' approval to forge ahead, you are confident in your designs for the future.
Your imagination allows you to envision the world as a better place.
You're better at thinking of the big picture than you are with details, and you can see wonder in abstract things.
Style and appearances are important to you, and you have a good eye for beauty.
You are somewhat rigid in your beliefs, which comes from both confidence and an aversion to change.
You are good at creating works of art in forms with which you're familiar.
You're not afraid to let your emotions guide you, and you're generally considerate of others' feelings as well.
You prefer to have time to plan for things, feeling better with a schedule than with keeping plans up in the air until the last minute.
You have a strong sense of style and value your personal presentation - friends may even seek your style advice from time to time.
Generally, you believe that you control your life, and that external forces only play a limited role in determining what happens to you.

If you want to be different:
Appreciate the earthly, functional elements of things.
Your clarity of vision sometimes prevents you from being open to new ideas. Try expanding your horizon of experiences, and experimenting with novel ways of doing things.

How you relate to others:

You are a great person to interact with—understanding, giving, and trusting—in a word, BENEVOLENT

You don't mind being in social situations, as you feel comfortable enough with people to be yourself.
Your caring nature goes beyond a basic concern: you take the time to understand the nuances of people's situations before passing any sort of judgment.
You're a good listener, and even better at offering advice.
You're concerned with others at both an individual and societal level—you sympathize with the plights of troubled groups, and you can care about people you've never met.
Considering many different perspectives is something at which you excel, and you appreciate that quality in others.
Other people's feelings are important to you, and you're good at mediating disputes.
Because of your understanding and patience, you tend to bring out the best in people.

If you want to be different:
You spend a lot of time taking care of others, but don't forget to take care of yourself!
Sometimes you can get overcommitted, and when you sacrifice spending time with those close to you, it can make them feel unimportant.