Friday, November 28, 2008

Gift Certificate Recipient...

for those who receive gift certificates...but don't like to use them...i'm offering my services!!! :)

my aunt and uncle had some gift certificates that they weren't going to be able to use, so they asked if i'd be interested. ummm...YES!

so, my friend steph and i dined and dined and dined tonight...and with achingly full belly, i say, "THANKS!".

oh!...for the record, i want to assert...if ANYONE has any gift certificates that you just can't use, i'd be more than happy to use them for you. i could even tell you all about the experience so you can feel included! detailed notes, photos, whatever! :)

Jesus in Opera!

this is a pretty familiar opera song...probably my absolute favorite. the notes, the escalation...completely compliment the story that is going on.

"Turandot" (
It is sung by Calaf, (the unknown prince), who falls in love at first sight with the beautiful but cold Princess Turandot. However, any man who wishes to wed Turandot must first answer her three riddles. If he fails, he will be beheaded.

In the act before this aria, Calaf has correctly answered the three riddles put to all of Princess Turandot's prospective suitors. Nevertheless, she recoils at the thought of marriage to him. Calaf offers her another chance by challenging her to guess his name by dawn. If she does so, she can execute him; but if she does not, she must marry him. The cruel and emotionally cold princess then decrees that none of her subjects is to sleep that night until his name is discovered. If they fail, all will be killed.

As the final act opens, it is now night. Calaf is alone in the moonlit palace gardens. In the distance, he hears Turandot's heralds proclaiming her command. His aria begins with an echo of their cry and a reflection on Princess Turandot:

"Nessun dorma! Nessun dorma! Tu pure, o Principessa, nella tua fredda stanza, guardi le stelle che tremano d'amore, e di speranza!"
(English translation: "None shall sleep! None shall sleep! Even you, O Princess, in your cold bedroom, watch the stars that tremble with love and with hope!")

"Ma il mio mistero è chiuso in me; il nome mio nessun saprà! No, No! Sulla tua bocca lo dirò quando la luce splenderà!"
("But my secret is hidden within me; none will know my name! No, no! On your mouth I will say it when the light shines!")

"Ed il mio bacio scioglierà il silenzio che ti fa mia!"
("And my kiss will dissolve the silence that makes you mine!")

Calaf, now certain of victory, sings:
"Dilegua, o notte! Tramontate, stelle! Tramontate, stelle! All'alba vincerò! Vincerò! Vincerò!"
("Vanish, o night! Set, stars! Set, stars! At daybreak I shall win! I shall win! I shall win!")

the cool thing???...what he wins?...her heart. the prince's name? reminds me of jesus...

Monday, November 24, 2008

In the world but not of it...

interesting question...brought up by some interactions of can people who want to be "in the world but not of it" actually live without making others into enemies? how can they live humbly and respectfully while still holding on to their convictions? how can they ascribe unconditional worth even when their respective "in but not of's" may be defined differently?...even within the same faith.

it's a tricky one.

and i worry that pride is often more of an influence than we'd like to admit...

how many lesson-filled moments do we miss because we choose the blame-game instead? how many fires do we light to rally a team when we could be learning more about each other and true fellowship? how often could we simply choose to not be offended in the first place?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

St. Francis' Prayer...

this is one of my favorite prayers by st. francis. it is very much a prayer of selflessness...asking god to use us as servants and not ones to be served.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My Little Boycott

i haven't watched much network television since before the election. i just couldn't take all the ridiculous commercials and slanted media bias. the break, actually, was really nice, so i've continued to avoid the big news guns like nbc and cbs. when i've wanted the news, i've gone to foxnews, and even then i've been cross-checking when it seems suspicious.

all of that to say, my little boycott plan came up in a discussion the other day...and i found out that others have been doing the same thing. all of us thinking we were in our own little act of rebellion against bias in the media.

so here's a link to an interesting article from one of media's own. check out the whole thing. it's pretty eye-opening.

and perhaps you'd like to join our little 'tea party'...take a little break from power-hungry editors and enjoy a little peace and quiet. :)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Romance-Beauty Connection...More than you think!

Longing for Romance 11/17/2008 (Ransomed Heart On-line Devotional)

We are made for intimacy with God, not just knowledge about him. There comes a time in the life of every believer when propositional truth is no longer enough. It will always remain central, the foundation for our faith. And sometimes it is all we have, and we can run far and long on it. But women long for romance. We are wired for it; it’s what makes our hearts come alive. The path of our restoration as women, the healing of our feminine hearts, that path takes us into a deeper experience of God and his Lover’s love for us.

A woman becomes beautiful when she knows she’s loved. We’ve seen this many times – you probably have, too. Cut off from love, rejected, no one pursuing her, something in a woman wilts like a flower no one waters anymore. She withers into resignation, duty and shame. The radiance of her countenance goes out, like a light that has been turned off. But this same woman, whom everyone thought was rather plain and unengaging, she becomes lovely and inviting when she is pursued. Her heart begins to come alive, come to the surface, and her countenance becomes radiant. We wonder, “Where has she been all these years? Why – she really is captivating.”

Think of Fran in Strictly Ballroom, or Tulah in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Remember Lottie in Enchanted April, Adrian in Rocky or Danielle in Ever After. Their beauty was always there. What happened was merely the power of romance releasing her true beauty, awakening her heart. She has come alive.

This doesn’t need to wait for a man.

God longs to bring this into your life himself. He wants to heal us through his love to become mature women who actually know him. He wants us to experience verses like, “Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her” (Hosea 2:14). And “You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride.” (Song of Songs 4:9) Our hearts are desperate for this. What would it be like to experience for yourself that the truest thing about his heart toward yours is not disappointment or disapproval but deep, fiery, passionate love? This is, after all, what a woman was made for.

(Captivating 112-113)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Great Christmas Opportunity!

it's time for giving!!! well, soon anyway! so i thought i'd do a quick shout-out about a great opportunity. world vision international is an organization that helps people in great need both in america and abroad. normally, people can sponsor children through this organization, but in the holiday season they also open it up to provide unique answers to various needs.

in my family, we let the kids pick out some of the gifts we will give instead of the typical gift-giving craze. they really get into it and usually like to get farm animals. (pigs, of course, would be my preference in the farm animal department.) last year world vision also started adding other categories like educational supplies and tuition, hiv meds, business loans for widows, etc. one that really struck a cord in me was the donation to girls that are getting out of the sex trade. they help them get out, find counselling, and get solid vocations.

so, if you are interested in a bit of a different christmas this year, how about checking out

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Enough of the "Anti-Christ" Stuff!

this one is for the american christian, so please don't be offended if christianity isn't your persuasion.

let's be candid for a bit. all this talk about the "end of the world" and "obama is the anti-christ" the nicest way possible, well, you need to settle down. fear and faith were never meant to be bed buddies even remotely. so why be entertained by fear-mongering?...and why perpetuate it?

i'm not debating the actual issue of apocolypse possibility. i personally don't think so...but regardless, i don't care either way!

it's the reaction that concerns me...the fear, the judgment...

let's say for one moment that it really is the "end of the world"...honestly, my reaction is "FINALLY!" i mean, seriously, let's get it done...the sooner the better! i've been longing for 'home', for the life i am truly meant for.

i know that it would be a scary thing, but doesn't our "freaked out" factor reveal where our true security lies? comfort, prosperity, peace...all desirable things, but truly not the resting place for the heart. just ask someone who is legitimately persecuted for faith...are they concerned about gas prices, stocks, liberals, etc.?

what an opportunity for you to let god show you that you could have your hope in a much more secure him!!! no matter what comes!

you know what else this reaction reveals?...where your kingdom lies. is the kingdom of god defined by the borders around these 50 states with a leader that hopefully is a conservative? if you think that a nation is the kingdom you were meant to serve, there is so much more for you! god certainly asks that we be good citizens in our countries, but the kingdom you should be living for and serving...the one that should define every morsel of the one with christ at the helm. your primary calling was not to be the hands and feet of the republican party...first and foremost, you were meant to be the living, breathing love of christ.

what hope there could be for you if you stepped into your rightful place in your rightful kingdom! what hope for the world too!

who knows what's going on? i don't. you don't. but god does! i'm sorry to say that he might not have the comfortable, peaceful plan for your life that you'd like, but truly, he will never let go of you. this earthly existence is but a blip on the radar...there's the best of the best ahead...real, true adventure...a great dance with the trinity...unbelievable abundance and fulfillment.

let your heart rest in that...and in fact, let your heart start to experience that

the election drama was a downer for me too. i also have some concerns as we move ahead. but my issue isn't so much the one man as much as the people that would place all their hope and security in that one man. what an impossible burden to bear! misplaced security...disappointing ends if you ask me. but then again, isn't that what all the post-election fear is also revealing?...just on the other side?

so, let's take advantage of this invitation from god to go back to the ancient truths...the real hope, the real security. let's step into our rightful places in the eternally established kingdom and really be the love of christ...givers not takers...champions who need no political backing to be effective...


my music "tastes" are so random. lately, i've been enjoying some new 'skillet' songs...haha, all screamy and metal. but, wow!...their lyrics are so amazing. so, here's one for you with lyrics included. it's about wanting more...the 'deeper' that's totally possible for each of us.

I lie here paralytic
Inside this soul
Screaming for you till my throat is numb
I wanna break out
I need a way out
I don’t believe that it’s gotta be this way
The worst is the waiting
In this womb I’m suffocating

Feel your presence filling up my lungs with oxygen
I take you in
I’ve died
Rebirthing now
I wanna live for love wanna live for you and me
Breathe for the first time now
I come alive somehow
Rebirthing now
I Wanna live my life wanna give you everything
Breathe for the first time now
I come alive somehow

I lie here lifeless
In this cocoon
Shedding my skin cause I’m ready to
I wanna break out
I found a way out
I don’t believe that it’s gotta be this way
The worst is the waiting
In this womb I’m suffocating

Tell me when I’m gonna live again
Tell me when I’m gonna breathe you in
Tell me when I’m gonna feel inside
Tell me when I’m gonna feel alive
Tell me when I’m gonna live again
Tell me when this fear will end
Tell me when I’m gonna feel inside
Tell me when I’ll feel alive

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

5 Cancer-Free Years!

it's been a long time coming!

5 years ago today my mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. she developed a cyst in her abdomen that began to grow rapidly. they scheduled surgery after a blood test also revealed high levels of a cancer-indicator chemical. by the time of surgery, her cyst had grown to the size of a volleyball...we were all completely shocked...and horrified.

following her surgery, there was a horrible night. turns out there is a family over-reaction to morphine where they sink so deep into rest that they stop breathing. people spent the night trying to pull her out of that while also trying to regulate pain.

then came the port into her aorta, the chemo, the nausea, the anxiety, the loss of hair...

it was hell.

i will never forget that moment in a cramped little conference room when the surgeon came in to explain the situation. lots of family and friends were squished in with us. but when the words came out...oh man, everything just came crashing down. so many consonants and vowels and percentages were floating in the air. it was hard to breath.

and then we just started to cry. it was the only thing we could do...

i was thinking though. that time was the beginning of my a bad and then really good way. i absolutely couldn't handle the notion of losing my mom. i was trapped in the job from hell, having to spin all those plates...and then to have to somehow wrap my heart around the cancer question mark...i completely blew up. because i had no idea where to go for support...and couldn't see god in it...i went into major hiding inside...started doing all kinds of things that were painful and wrong. wonderful a god as he is, it was also the start of my walk towards real life.

sometimes you have to explode so you can rebuild...

so, today is 5 years for my mommy...well, all of us...20/20 hindsight shows god's fingerprints all over the place, and i'm so thankful.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Considering Buffy...

every now and then, i have to pause to consider characters or stories that pull on something in my heart. to be honest, i find that considering those moments more deeply actually opens a window into a person's calling and the real story she was meant to live. fictitious, mythical characters are actually more helpful for me because they force me to notice principles as opposed to being distracted by circumstances.

i've been laid up for a bit with a back problem, so i've been filling my horizontal time with seasons of 'buffy the vampire slayer'. i know, i's odd...but she's actually had me considering...noticing what inspires me, what grieves me...things that point to real existence for me.

i included the photo above, not so much because of her, but because the saying in the upper corner says "see the world. it's how you see the world." i had to mention that because i have found that our perspective on the world (it's people, and their value) really drives what we fight for...and if we even fight in the first place. it's one of the things i love about her character...she fights because she believes there is something of value to defend.

i received an email the other day. it said, "how would you live your life if you truly knew how important the heart really is?" it struck me to the core and has continued to resurface in my buffy adventures. the human heart...the most precious of all it really worth fighting matter the consequence...a war of abandon???

she has me considering...

and buffy's's not against's against evil. in fact, she's often working for the restoration of people who've fallen, who've become pawns instead of players. sometimes that means she has to stand against them until they's a tough thing, but it's always because she believes they could be more. sometimes, sadly, they don't come back, but the chance that they might makes the fight worth fighting.

buffy has a fellowship of friends that walk with her too. all of them couldn't live without each other. however, she also bears a kind of lonliness, and i can so relate to that. i imagine many can. there are things she has to bear sometimes that others cannot relate to, decisions she has to make that can go uncheered, strength and hope that she has to muster when others succumb to fear. i don't know...some of that gels with real life on occasion.

but you know what struck me in the end???...she begins to be more intentional in investing in others. other girls specifically. she begins to show them what she is daily learning...fighting as women can. a very odd sort of way...buffy has given me an appointment with "calling". her drama of slaying vampires...yes, i told you it was odd...has pushed on some things that i think god wants me to notice.

i wonder if this will help with my manifesto...:)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Question...

i'm excited to have all the political drama end. it often doesn't bring out the best in people.

but one thing it does do is get people to think more...and that's always a good thing. (unfortunately, our "thinkings" sometimes only happen every 4 years...hehe).

i keep hearing a ton of talk about how we are now approaching a socialist state, which in world history can have potential negative consequences. however, the reason for the possibility of some not-so-desirable results, though, doesn't always have to do with the philosophy as much as the people in the setting.

the early church would be a great example of that...where it actually worked.

so, i've been considering that possibility lately...and the american people in that setting.

and i guess i'm not too thrilled about the idea.

here's why..."entitlement".

in the book "the death of the grownup: how america's arrested development is bringing down western civilization", diana west describes the trend in our culture where people actually don't leave adolescence even though chronologically they may be aging. what this means is that more and more adults actually behave and think in the ego-centric manner of a teenager...making decisions based on "what's good for me" and "let me learn from my mistakes but take away my consequences" and "what would my pop star idol do" as opposed to the more mature/aged commitment to "what sacrifices do we need to make for the good of tomorrow" and "what will better the world for others" etc. it's a trend that is completely obvious in the media...and overtly apparent in the financial mishandlings of the american individual. "keeping up with the jones'" in point credit fiascos nation-wide. oh my's apparent in the hero-worship of the election (either side). it's even apparent in the church...the swing towards "entertain me" services. there are tons more...

so, the problem? k, well there are tons of implications of a "me first" culture...but back to socialism...

making a move toward socialism...having the government take care of everything...if that's really going on...well, that driven by the key factor of a growing self-focused majority makes for tons of commitments with very little intent to carry the load, to put in the work required to "care for all".

history validates it. not a good plan.

but then do you get the american adolescent culture to grow up?...the school of hard knocks. perhaps that's what they need to create... eventually, after they get tired of blaming everything and everyone else, they may learn to be more than "takers"...


Monday, November 3, 2008


a friend of mine has been having strange/interesting dreams lately. her latest one was a simple word..."manifesto". something about that struck her as having significance. as she told me, i had the same reaction.

it was something to look into.

so, a manifesto...thanks to "a public declaration of intentions, opinions, objectives, or motives, as one issued by a government, sovereign, or organization".

and it seems like it's also appropriate for the individual.

so i'm taking this opportunity to consider the driving force...the passionate conviction...behind my doings. the reason?...i want to live a life that is "on purpose"...not one that never stops to consider the direction of the arrow.

so, that's one of my assignments in the next however form my own "manifesto".


one of my co-workers is a deeply spiritual scientist. her stories about nature and astronomy and biology and chemistry feed my wonder for how majestic our god really is. today she told me about a naturalist who, by the end of his life, was spending most of his days and nights in nature. being in nature was like worship for him. he was constantly seeing the fingerprints of god...and delighted in each new moment.

one interesting fact about this man is that he actually spent one entire year in complete blindness because of an accident. his suffering, however, was not something he regretted. it was through his blindness that his eyes were truly opened to god's artwork all over creation.

"Though in that terrible darkness,
I died to light,
I lived again,
and God who is the Light
has led me tenderly from light to light,
to the shoreless ocean of rayless, beamless Spirit light
that bathes these holy mountains."

John Muir

so i guess i'm thinking today about the challenges that we all face...the tough stuff...the sufferings. and i'm reminded today that so much hope and possibility and depth can be birthed out of those things...if we chose to invite god into them.