Saturday, August 22, 2009

a long awaited update (perhaps I flatter myself too much!)

So, I guess the last significant update into my day to day life was written way back in the beginning of July. (Was that only a month and a half ago???) So, I figured it was about time for another!

I was in Florida for just under six weeks. I went down to be a summer nanny for the wonderful girls I used to care for before I left to do Transit and their wonderful baby sister who was born while I was gone and their wonderful cousins who live in Jacksonville. I think I can safely say that everyone involved had a great summer.

We were right on the beach, as you can see from this picture. This is the spot where I did quite a lot of reading when I was "off duty," not bad, huh? The summer was full of sand and water and sun and origami and reading time and ice cream and the dynamics of little girl relationships and naps and trips to the park and trips to the girls' Papa's tree farm and good food and all kinds of other fun things like getting caught in the rain almost every time I went out for a walk in the evenings. And big, beautiful rainbows.

No summer would be complete without a trip to the zoo and this one included petting and feeding sting rays. (Their "stinger" had been trimmed, apparently much like you would trim your fingernails.)
We drove back to Charlotte on the 29th of July, I think. It was definitely a Wednesday. And that evening I booked my flight to Ireland. I fly into Dublin on the 12th of September and will make my way north to Belfast where I will be living until I find a job or run out of money which I project will be sometime in December! No, seriously, I'm heading to Belfast to job hunt and make connections and do some volunteering and have committed to stay through December, which hopefully will give me enough time to find a job so I can stay forever, or at least two years which is how long my visa will be issued for.
So, naturally, I'm excited and nervous and thinking about packing way more than I'm actually doing the packing. And I'm sure to run out of time to do several of the many things I have projected to finish before I leave. So it's all rather exhilarating and tiring.
On a sort of side note I saw movies 24 and 25 of the summer this week. Time Traveler's Wife with my sisters, Laura and Emily, and Nights in Rodanthe with my mom.
I feel a bit like Clare in the Time Traveler's Wife. (If you haven't seen the movie or read the book I'm going to be giving away plot here...) In the scene where Henry travels to and from the bathroom. She's very pregnant, but has tried to keep herself from hoping about this baby because she has lost so many before. Henry comes back from travelling to the future where he meets their daughter, Alba. He tells Clare all about her and she says, "You mean it's all going to be all right?" It was such a moving scene and I feel like her. There's this thing that I've been dreaming about and hoping for and working towards for so long, but because it's been so long it's so very hard to understand that it's really happening. That the dream is becoming reality. I think it can't be true.
But in three weeks from today I'll be sitting (well, sleeping actually) in Belfast. And I'll never again have to cry when I leave Ireland because I don't know when I'll be coming back. It's all rather overwhelming.
So anyway, that's my update.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

the second part of a little rant

In my first rant on worship I steered away from comparing the kind of praise and worship I was used to at MorningStar and the kind of worship I have experienced elsewhere. I still want to avoid comparisons of the, “this is better than that” variety. But I do want to talk about something I miss about worshiping at MorningStar.

I miss the waiting. In my (probably limited) experience with “pop worship” I miss the stillness. The lingering. I often feel that there are too many words, too much of one song following right after another. Not enough of being still. Waiting to see/hear what the Lord wants to do or sing or hear.

Why is it that often you would be hard pressed to tell the difference between a worship service and a pop concert? One song follows swiftly on the heels of another with barely a pause. A song is set in a verse, chorus, verse, bridge, chorus pattern with little sensitivity to what the Holy Spirit may be doing in the room, in the hearts of the people. (I realize that I’m coming across a bit harshly right now. I don’t mean to imply that I think most worship leaders are not sensitive to the Spirit. But often things are moving along so swiftly I wonder if we have even given him room to speak.)

When the Psalms resound not only with the cacophony of praise but also with such statements as, “Be still and know that I am God,” “The Lord is in his holy temple, let all the earth keep silent before him,” and “I have calmed and quieted my soul,” why are we so afraid to just be still, silent, and surrendered as a congregation?

When the Temple was dedicated in Jerusalem, and the Ark of the Covenant was placed inside, we are only told of the Priests and Levites singing one song, and a simple one at that: “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” Why then do we feel we need to compose complicated and catchy tunes for our services?

There have been many times when I’ve just wanted to shout out, “Wait! Don’t move on yet, something is stirring. Give the Lord a chance to speak.” Or when I’ve begun to feel a deep connection only to have to fight to hold onto it as corporately we’re now moving on to the collection song. I don’t want to be harsh and judgmental. I just feel so sad that we’re missing out on something vital.

Let the musicians linger on that chord progression just a bit longer. Perhaps the background singer has a prophetic song that’s going to speak to a place in someone’s heart that needs healing. Maybe the Lord is speaking something to the drummer, showing him a bit of His heartbeat. It could be that a member of the congregation is being given a prophetic dance. Or that the Pastor has a word of healing for the lady who just slipped in the back row. Perhaps there’s a simple song that the Lord wants us to sing to Him together, a song to help us express our love for Him. Maybe, just maybe, the Lord wants to show up and take over the service and completely wreck our hearts for him forever. Maybe, but we’ll never know if we rush on to the next song without pausing for a while.

(Also, I think we could use more waiting on our worship albums. Make it conducive for people to worship in their homes or driving in their cars instead of just entertaining them with our catchy tunes to sing along with. But maybe that’s just me.)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

a theatrical summer

I have seen a copious amount of movies this summer. More, probably, than I've seen in the last two years. It was a great way to pass the time on the weekends in Florida, when I was off work and my European History book was getting a bit... tedious. So here they are, the summer's movies:

Land of the Lost
The Proposal

Away We Go*
The Tale of Desperaux
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Confessions of a Shopaholic*
Last Chance Harvey
Rachel Getting Married
New in Town*
Miss Potter
The Ugly Truth
Michael Collins*
Nick and Norah's Infinite Play List

August (so far)-
500 Days of Summer*
Waking Ned Devine
The Other Boleyn Girl
The Wind That Shakes the Barley*
Julie and Julia*

So that's 23 movies. Some of these were brand new in the theater and some have been out since the mid 90s, but it was the first time that I've watched any of them. The stars are movies I'd recommend generally. My two favorites were Confessions of a Shopaholic and Julie and Julia. And my favorite kids' movie (and all time favorite Pixar movie) was Up, which was fantastic!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

having a laugh

So I realize that a true and proper update is very much needed around here. But I can't be bothered tonight. Thought I'd share a couple things that made me laugh this week.

This is from Rosie's blog:

"Why do we date? It's not in the Bible, and it makes everyone nervous...."

This is from Confessions of a Shopaholic (the book which I have read before, but not for a while and I found at The Book Rack for $2):

"I can do this, I tell myself firmly. I can be attracted to him. It's just a matter of self-control and possibly also getting very drunk. So I lift my glass and take several huge gulps. I can feel the bubbles surging into my head, singing happily "I'm going to be a millionaire's wife! I'm going to be a millionaire's wife!" And when I look back at Tarquin, he already seems a bit more attractive (in a stoaty kind of way). Alcohol is obviously going to be the key to our marital happiness."

Today, when we were playing Winnie-the-Pooh Uno, we decided to play a third round in the hopes that everyone would get to win a game. Sydney had won a round and I had won a round, Shelby was the only one left. Sydney said, "God made me win a round, and God made Miss Rebekah win a round, so God will make you win the next round Shelby."

(I did explain to her that we don't know if God made us win our rounds. I certainly hadn't asked him to get involved and so he may have just let the game go on as it was. But she was unconvinced and Shelby did win the third and final round. "See, I told you that's how it worked!" said Sydney.)

Friday, August 7, 2009

the song that started it all

In a green, green land riding on the sea
Live a people who speak like a song
But their fertile field lies so fallow and bare
And has born bitter fruit for so long

Pray for the greening of Belfast
That what is now barren might bloom and be fair
God loves the city of Belfast
For so many children who love him live there

The verdant hills, like strong arms embrace
A heartbreaking, heartbroken town
With the air so full of angels there
It’s not hard to imagine the sound

Of their cries and tears
Of their pleas and prayers
For their city to know peace once more
Let the fighting cease, let the saints be released
To join in true spiritual war

Pray for the greening of Belfast
That what is now barren might bloom and be fair
God loves the city of Belfast
For so many people who love him live there

~ Michael Card

Sunday, August 2, 2009

a rare sighting

Yesterday, while sitting at the stop light where West Blvd becomes East Blvd, I saw a Luna Moth. It was flying down the street in the middle of the afternoon. Quite beautiful really. I love the book A Girl of the Limberlost. It's the story of a girl named Elnora who pays for her education and makes her way in the world, despite some rather hard circumstances, by collecting and selling moths and butterflies. Her two favorite moths are the Golden Emperor (or something like that) and the Luna Moth. So, ever since I first read that book I've wanted to see a real, and living Luna Moth. I've found wings and bits of dead ones before, possibly even the cocoon of one, but never a whole, real, living one. They are actually quite common but very rarely seen. The adults only live for a week and, being moths, are mostly active at night. So it was rather amazing!