Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I will sing a song of hope unto the land, barren and dry.
I will sing a song of joy into the hearts, for you to revive.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

quiet sunday morning

its a blizzard outside. so i am entirely content to stay at home. i decided not to go to church anyway because i wanted some alone time. it's been nice. i'm listening to old caedmon's call, which brings back tons of memories from high school, hillsdale, etc. i spent some time listening to a lecture by Bruce Waltke entitled Why Do Good People Suffer? I didn't finish it because Mariah's amazing cinnamon rolls came out of the oven. so i joined Sarah and Mariah in their room. There's nothing quite like warm cinnamon rolls on a sunday morning in your pj's with hot tea. mmm.

i love tea.
right now i'm back to tea because coffee has been making my throat hurt again.

i might brave the weather to go study somewhere today. that was the "original" plan but no one plans on a blizzard. sigh.
two papers to write and quite a bit of reading. i can do it!

in other news, i think the 1/2 marathon is off--at least for awhile. it costs $60! Maybe that's not much for the fun, the challenge, and the cool shirt, but right now it is. I don't really know what next year will look like or if i'll be able to keep this job. so i can't register and dish out 60 bucks. sad. maybe some other time...

man, old caedmon's call is so good. I forgot how much i like it. i've had many "table for two" moments over the past several weeks so i find it appropriate to post the lyrics. its a great song :)

Danny and I spent another late night over pancakes,
Talkin' 'bout soccer
And how every man's just the same
We made speculation
On the who's and the when's of our futures
And how everyone's lonely
But still we just couldn't complain

And how we just hate being alone
Could I have missed my only chance
And now I'm just wasting my time
By looking around
But you know I know better
I'm not gonna worry 'bout nothing
Cause if the birds and the flowers survive
Then I'll make it okay
I'm given a chance and a rock
see which one breaks a window
See which one keeps me up all night and into the day

Because I'm so scared of being alone
That I forget what house I live in
But it's not my job to wait by the phone
For her to call

Well this day's been crazy
But everything's happened on schedule
from the rain and the cold
To the drink that I spilled on my shirt
'Cause You knew how You'd save me
before I fell dead in the garden
And You knew this day
long before You made me out of dirt

And You know the plans that You have for me
And You can't plan the end and not plan the means
And so I suppose I just need some peace
Just to get me to sleep.

enjoy your sunday!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

coffee conversations

i love them. chatted with mariah last night for over two hours at a new coffee shop (/cocktail lounge) that opened up down the street. it was wonderful. its such a joy to share what things we learn in life, what things we want to learn, what things we hope we learn.

lately i'm just happy that we journey with each other through life. it's important to seek out strong community--that will not only provide encouragement and support but will also propel faith.

at the end of a frustrating, stressful, and burdensome week, I am actually glad to be where I am. but i am also glad for a weekend to rest. mmm :)

i'm listening to the hillsdale roadtrip mix. it makes me want to drive away, Hallie!!! so good...

Thursday, March 26, 2009


it seems like whenever we think we've really started "figuring things out," it all starts to crumble. Or, at least, we begin to see how much we DON'T know and realize and are left quiet again.

i'm feeling sad and frustrated.

too deep for words...

Monday, March 23, 2009

i'm taking a vote

this is the thing: i'm thinking of running a 1/2 marathon in the fall. should i? could i?

Friday, March 20, 2009

we walk in steps: musings on life and faith

sometimes i forget that learning occurs in steps. one rarely ever "learns" a thing all at once. and, if it is something particularly challenging, pertinent, or what have you, i think there are many steps to take before anything is truly learned.

many of you know that i have had something of an interest in the idea of a suffering God. this has been years in progress but has especially taken the stage in the past two years. i don't really know why this is. i think that my understanding of and experience in the world are inextricably linked to my understanding and experience of God, and so as I get older, my faith dares to ask the harder and more "raw" questions. Knowing God deeper--knowing Him nearer--demands a lot of daily life and existence. Because He changes everything. That's what I treasure about the place of life i am in right now. As much as it is a challenge, i am finding myself in this place of "doctrine meets real life." On so many levels, the things i've been told and taught are beginning to take root (or, like chaff, are blown away). Life and theology are necessarily linked. Faith and praxis cannot be separated. What you do and what you say in life will always reveal what you believe about God. Whatever you are placing faith in for life is evident by the way in which you live it out.

For me to live honestly, truthfully, and with integrity, i must give more than a passing thought to the issue of suffering. if i am true to my faith and desire to develop a well-formed, true theology, then i must concern myself with the question of a suffering God. the world suffers, it is easy to see and therefore easy to say. i suffer (as each of us does), and this too is easy to say (although i alone might know in what intimate ways I do suffer). so then, my faith asks, "Does God Suffer?" and the question isn't very easy.

In high school i thought i knew a lot. i really did. i thought so much made sense and i neatly categorized my faith. I adopted an understanding of God's sovereignty that has, yes, "served me well," but was under-developed, if that makes sense. so lots of the education, study, experience, and such that has taken place SINCE high school has shaken and grown that understanding of God's sovereignty that was actually more of a flattening than an enhancing of the truth about God. (But this is life, isn't it? we are always learning more, discovering what we thought we knew but didn't or at least discovering deeper and more fully....)

I had that whole medical challenge with my back in high school. being braced for two years as a teen isn't exactly "ok." And i heard enough from both sides to be left confused: "Andrea, I'm so sorry for you, and God is too." "Andrea, as difficult as this is, i don't think we can say God is 'sorry' because He's sovereign."

Being a natural "empathizer," I've felt the suffering of many close friends. I've given enough well-intentioned but misguided advice and encouragement to know that the answers really are never easy and clean. I've also seen some beautiful redemption happen in the lives of wounded people and in the faith of disbelieving ones to know that something is going on that's a whole lot bigger. (to sum, i've been humbled and brought low. i've been brought to my knees. and that is how i've had to approach this subject).

I don't "focus" on suffering to be dreary or dull. It isn't a concern because I am somehow a bit twisted and like to dwell on the negative. I don't really see myself as a pessimist. but when i approached a professor about developing this class i am now taking, "A Theology of Suffering," some thought it was weird, it sounded strange. Some didn't know how to respond. I guess that's because it isn't a "typical" college undergrad course. And it's really not something Christians talk about (and live through). WHY?

I want to know why we don't really have a theology of suffering. why is it that our churches tend to teach and encourage praise before lament (or, sadly, praise WITHOUT Lament)? why is it that we've adopted self-help mentalities that have done more to rip apart our communities (encouraging off-balance individualism) than to unite them? why is it so difficult for us to journey with one another through suffering? why don't we have categories for long-term pain?

I know that there is no simple solution. I don't propose one. But i do offer a challenge. i want us to think about it. i want us to pray about it. i want us to wrestle with some of these questions.

the thing is, we all have many of the same questions. it seems that certain communities encourage tight lips over and above honesty. because, you know, sometimes the honesty is raw. sometimes honesty looks like disbelief. and, for some reason, we've decided we can't have that.

I'd like to see a conversation started. a conversation about God and suffering. A conversation that explores God in the midst of suffering.

NOT a conversation for the sake of conversation (to that, i roll my eyes) but a conversation that seeks the honest truth. A conversation that admits need and weakness and that is humble enough to hope that the Spirit will lead us into truth. A conversation that will walk itself out in the lives of people all over the place.

i don't mean we have to be constantly engaged in "heavy" conversation. but i think this issue matters and i think that it is essential to healthy faith. i think it speaks wholeness--both to the individual and the community. yeah, it matters.

if you're interested in some more reading, i wrote a paper last semester for my Old Testament Biblical Theology class that was an introduction to this discussion. The topic was my own choice and was prompted by last semester's wrestlings with suffering, God's sovereignty, His immanence, and His impassibility. Big words that basically address God's otherness, His power/control, His presence (or not), etc.

Here is a link to the paper: Where Is He and Does He Suffer?
(And, as always, I welcome any thoughts you might have)

Also, i think i'll try to keep up with posting more thoughts i have on this discussion as they come, as well as thoughts raised in the class. I'd like to share because it's been so transformational for me--and i think it has that same power for others. If you ever want to hear more, talk more, come find me. but i'm not pretending to have answers--we can wrestle together! and i can offer some book titles to you, if you want to read more. i can share my steps but your steps will be different.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

mom day

today was mom day. we ran a bunch of errands, splurged at starbucks :), and went out for lunch at My Big Fat Greek Restaurant (yum!!). I got running shoes--yay! She also bought me almonds and prunes to take back to school!!! yessss. It was a fun day. we visited, joked, and had a great time together. we even gave a little old lady a ride home to Fellowship Square from Sunflower Market because she got left behind by her van. She was a dear woman originally from Israel. She could hardly see and was very frail--but super sweet and so cute. She was thrilled that we would give her a ride home (it was only a block away).

now i'm spending the afternoon catching up on emails, phone calls, and homework. then, tonight continues the "country music week" of American Idol. I don't usually watch the show but c'mon, its country music week. what could be better???!!!

ok. i might take a nap first.


Monday, March 16, 2009

my skin is hot

i spent some time at the pool today. i'm a little burned. ouch. but at least i'm getting some of my actual color back. winters in chicago are no good :)

one more week before i go back. sigh. i have quite a bit of homework to get done first. yikes. and there are a lot of things to look forward to this week. lots in the schedule:

breakfast with isaac tomorrow; haircut with kristen; errands
running with dad wed. morning; shopping with mom in the afternoon; movie night with mom and dad wed. night.
homework thursday (maybe granola-making day with kristen?)
friday night dinner party here with jay, kristen, sam, and friend lilian.
4TH AVE STREET FAIR on saturday!!! hello street vendors, dreadlocks, tie tye, and one-man-bands. i love it!!!

somewhere in there i would like to go to Sabino Canyon and hike around and maybe spend some more time at the pool.

tonight i made bagels!! they are REALLY GOOD! they are whole wheat oat bagels: some plain, some "everything" (garlic, onion, and poppy seed). yuuum. i'd never made them before. they don't take too long--worth it, for sure. i'm excited to live in jenkins next year with our own kitchen to cook and bake in!! I'm so glad to have an apartment to live in!!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

i love sam's faces

he smiles at me lots. and he sticks out his tongue and makes kissy lips. its the cutest. seriously...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

good to be here

it's good to be here. as always, there is refreshment and challenge when I step away from moody. it's just natural, i think, to gain renewed perspective once "away" from all the things that demand so much emotional, spiritual, and physical attention.

i'm glad for the rest. i am challenged to think about proper rest. its easy to err on the extremes--lazy or overworked. neither of the two represent a productive, healthy life. neither of them is particularly fulfilling or satisfying. so i'm challenged to think about what it means to be a steward of my time and learn how to rest well. i ask the Lord to teach me something of sabbath rest...so that my days develop a depth and richness that reflect the satisfaction and fulfillment found in his presence.

here's how i'm resting :)

(obviously, spending time with family and friends, which was the previous post)

1. catching up on odds and ends (i think i finally worked out my schedule for the fall...and the following spring, which will bring me up to graduation!).

2. cooking! I've been waiting to get home to try a few new recipes, experiment, etc. it's really relaxing to cook. the other day i made really good whole wheat maple cranberry bread. super healthy; super delicious. yum!

3. soaking up the sun. the weather has been beautiful and I am utilizing our patio (in all its glory: sun, flowers, birds).

4. reading. I'm working through a couple right now: Rachel's Cry: Prayer of Lament and Rebirth of Hope (excellent book); A Biblical History of Israel (for my OT Historical Literature class--really interesting. i learn lots from it); Flannery O'Connor: The Complete Stories (reading some short stories that i've had my eye on for awhile now...); and my Bible (finishing the samuels and kings for class and working through 1 corinthians). it's a good balance of genres. i do love to read :)

so. that's what i'm up to right now. i need to go and get some things cleaned up around the house and dinner cooked before mom gets home.

Monday, March 09, 2009

home again

i'm enjoying spring break in tucson! mmm. the weather is beautiful.

i've had some really good conversations with mom (and dad, too, but he usually goes to bed). we've been able to stay up late into the night a few times to wrestle with life, share, encourage, and catch up. it is so good.

i've been able to spend lots of time with jay and kristen and sam. i went over to their house yesterday afternoon and ended up spending the night. it's so good to be with them again. it is encouraging to be able to catch up on many months away from each other, share life again, enjoy one another's company. today we went to the park with subway sandwiches, ate a picnic, played frisbee, held sleeping sam :)

now i'm home alone until mom and dad get home from work tonight. i'm sitting on the back patio in the sun. i'm reading, journaling, catching up on emails...its wonderful.

here are a few pictures so far :)

OH! and today is Luker's bday. He's 20!! crazy...

Sunday, March 01, 2009

to be known

i didn't go to church this morning. instead, i listened to this sermon by John Piper: He Knew What Was In Man. It was super encouraging, sobering, refreshing, directing. if you have time, i suggest it to you (you can click on it for the link). I recommend you listen to it rather than read it. but that's just me :) I don't even have the words or the energy to explain what its about. but it reflects a lot of what my heart has been wrestling with over the past week(s).

i talked with my sister for a long time on the phone this morning. it was much needed and incredibly encouraging. i love sisters, they're the best! someday maybe we'll live closer and i can drive over for morning coffee or she can visit for an afternoon of conversation. and we can call each other sister and mrs. (it's an "inside dream") and share life and family together. for now, a phone call across states will have to do :) these are some of the simple things of life that are so wonderful.

today is a blizzard. we woke up to clouds of white snow swirling outside our window. the snowing has slowed but the world is white. i needed to get out so i went for a walk in it! it's beautiful--revitalizing and somehow comforting. there's great power in weather, isn't there? it speaks of God. the other day it rained ALL day. and not the usual grey, depressing rain. but a full on storm, complete with thunder and lightening! I miss storms. tucson has such beautiful storms. mmm. they are glorious.

i go home in five days. can't express what a gift it is to be able to go home. even though the ticket was expensive, i am glad I decided to do it. i need to get away for awhile. i need to think outside of these walls and live beyond the city for a few days. my family love-tank is running on fumes and i can't wait to spend time with mom, dad, kristen, jay, and little sam. i can't wait to catch up with friends--spend time on the road with hannah and just relax together. i think i must mention these excitements every other post. haha. you're probably sick of hearing it!

this semester has been such a great semester of being with friends. i am especially grateful for mariah, sarah, and lacy. its a joy to see how our hearts have grown towards each other. i love nights together spent in hushed whispers or loud laughter. the best :).

ok. i need to get homework done. i've got several projects to finish up and LOTS of reading due this week. onward ho!!