Monday, January 31, 2011

a day in

i'm sick. complete with the chills, stuffy nose, and an occasional cough. nothing too terrible but enough to make me feel legitimately under the weather. i took a nap today, enjoyed 3 (maybe 4?) cups of tea, time to read my book, and a skype call with Jake. it's a day in. but i have to go to work in 40 min so it isn't really.

we're supposed to get a crazy storm on wednesday: 12-18 inches of snow! if it doesn't cause too many problems, i hope it does actually snow a lot. if it's going to be cold out, it might as well snow a lot. at least then it's pretty (for awhile).

not a lot going on, as you can see. so i don't even know why i'm on here trying to blog about it. i read this from Ann Voskamp just a bit ago, "Significance is in direct correlation to smallness and life is leveraged by all that is little." It sort of piggy-backs off of yesterday's post about patience and life's moments. lately i've really been challenged to live the moments. i've been trying (hard) to be less concerned about figuring things out and more "ok" with my need to trust God and deliver my life over to him (again and again and again and again). He provides enough courage for each moment, i'm finding. courage to ask questions or to stop asking; courage to rest; courage for moving and courage for stopping; courage for company and courage for loneliness; courage for knowledge and courage for wonder. i think it's safe to say my moments have been riddled with his mysterious presence and i'm grateful.

the snow will slow the big city down. maybe that's why i want it to come. but it will also mean some panic and some chaos. a sea of people slowed? but they're used to living life fast! so they won't be happy. but there's value in the slowing. slowing forces us to see, think, feel, ask, and learn things we might not otherwise recognize.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

are you impatient, like me?

these are snippets from today's homily, God's Patience and Ours. it came at the perfect time. the liturgy washed over me this morning as if there was dust piled up that needed cleansing and cracks full of dirt-thoughts believed that have no place in the heart of one set free toward Life. i found myself achingly grateful for a weekly communion that, unfortunately, does not always feel meaningful but most certainly feels necessary. today all i could whisper was, "i need you again." and my eyes filled with hot tears. the woman's smiling face behind the table met mine as she said "Christ's body, broken for you and Christ's blood, shed for you" and i cast myself on him again, "you are that one. i feel it in my bones today but the tasks and experiences of the week have beaten and bruised me. come again to me as i come again to you."


Our very lives depend on the patience of God and of others. God takes up (with us) the task of patient disciplining and forming. He sits with us in the mess and brokenness knowing the moment counts for the importance of the journey. We confess to God that we are on journey with Him. He is long-suffering and faithful. We are impatient--and impatient with ourselves--because we imagine we should be somewhere else along the journey; we believe others should be at a different place along the journey. We want instant solutions to the problems we face. God cares about the process.
Relationship teaches us we need people to be patient with us. It also demands we ask the question, "are we eager to be patient with him/her/them?"

We tend to pull away from situations that are painful...often into narcissism. We are impatient with pain, discomfort, the mess of who we are.

Pray to God for the cultivation of patience for self--recognizing "i'm not where i need to be." More significant to God is that we are on journey with Him. He calls us to be faithful in the moments.

"A waiting person is a patient person. The word 'patience' means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us. Impatient people are always expecting the real thing to happen somewhere else and therefore want to go elsewhere. The moment is empty. But patient people dare to stay where they are. Patient living means to live actively in the present and wait there. Waiting, then, is not passive. It involves nurturing the moment, as a mother nurtures the child that is growing in her womb." -Henri Nouwen

This quote is so helpful as we envision what life with or without patience looks like. Our lives depend on the patience of God. Without the cultivation of patience for ourselves and others, we'll find ourselves in empty moments. Not life; not freedom; empty moments. Impatience breeds emptiness. And we'll be frustrated, confused, and unsettled in the journey if we're living empty moments.

friends visit

Josh, Jared, and Isaac came into the city yesterday. It was good to see them and catch up a bit. Lots of recalling of old memories, lots of walking, and lots of laughing...among other things...

Friday, January 28, 2011

missing her today

"There's no way to get away from the loneliness of the thinking Christian."
-Dr. DeRosset

"He will offend our mind to reveal our heart." -Dr. DeRosset

"We must live with unmet longing or we have left no margin for eternity. -Dr. DeRosset

"Our souls are shadowed places. We cannot always tell where darkness ends and light begins..."
-Dr. DeRosset

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

from a brother of a friend, found this...

Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when with the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst for the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life, we have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, to venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars.

We ask You to push back the horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future in strength, courage, hope and love.

(Sir Francis Drake)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

thank you, my 3 yr old friend

there's something really wonderful (and rather perceptive) about a 3 yr old noticing a mood change. today was really hard. for various reasons. i won't go into them, but my mind and heart were far away from the trucks and airplanes we were playing with in the playroom. i hadn't really realized it until A looked up at me and said, "Andrea, what's wrong?" and i almost burst into tears right there. how did he know? it's like he read my mind. it took every ounce of energy to keep back the tears and force out an "oh, i'm alright." we kept playing. he even gave me a hug today. so needed. and all from a little 3 yr old who was a friend to me when no one else was around to be one.
on days like today i'm really grateful for my job. i was so blessed by the little guys all throughout the day. maybe God knew i needed a little extra out-of-the-ordinary lovin'...from unexpected places.

a mom?

some days i'm just really excited to be a mom. nannying is a unique situation to find myself in. i'm not always thrilled to have this as my "occupation" right now. but other times, i'm really blessed that i have the opportunity to grow in so many ways and consider a lot about what it means to parent (/mother), etc. the interactions you're able to have with your children on a daily basis are undeniably abundant and really such moments of blessing and gift. so much is taught and learned about really significant things but in really simple ways. that's one thing that has taken some getting used to but that has also been really refreshing. those "life moments" can pop up anywhere--over hot chocolate, finger paints, and playdoh or in the backyard playing "American football" and on the short walk to the lego store...

yesterday while getting C's snack ready, I asked him if he wanted a banana or an apple with it, to which he responded, "Are we back to this conversation again?" haha. Yes, C, you've learned well. something fresh and healthy with snack but your pick. then later while in the playroom getting ready to battle: C--"how many Army men do you have?" Me--"nine." C--"I have twelve. this is going to be good." he makes me laugh. regularly. he also makes me see the world differently. regularly. i'd say that's something to look forward to in the living with and raising of children.

i'm eager for it.

Monday, January 24, 2011

East of Eden

"The direction of a big act will warp history, but probably all acts do the same in their degree, down to a stone stepped over in the path or a breath caught at sight of a pretty girl or a fingernail nicked in the garden soil."

"'An unbelieved truth can hurt a man much more than a lie. It takes great courage to back truth unacceptable to our times. There's a punishment for it, and it's usually crucifixion. I haven't the courage for that.'" -Samuel Hamilton

i am loving this book. i haven't read a really good novel in so long. it is absolutely wonderful. i highly recommend it as a fascinating look at the human struggle/condition with all the depth of Steinbeck's descriptive voice and rich character development. The front flap describes it as "the work in which Steinbeck created his most mesmerizing characters and explored his most enduring themes: the mystery of identity, the inexplicability of love, and the murderous consequences of love's absence. A masterpiece of Steinbeck's later years, East of Eden is a powerful and vastly ambitious novel that is at once a family saga and a modern retelling of the Book of Genesis."

If i have any kind of "perspective" (post Bible College) on the study of theology, I would say that good literature has the potential to (and often does) teach what theology books cannot. That is, the practical vision for why truth matters, how we wrestle to believe and disbelieve, and how faith is lived out in meaningful (and not so meaningful) ways on this earth...among other things. Good literature tells the stories of our lives in such a way that we can find our place in them and learn through them what it means to be human (or not) and what it means to know God (or not).

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Take the Journey | Documentaries | International Guild Of Visual Peacemakers

Take the Journey | Documentaries | International Guild Of Visual Peacemakers

The IGVP is something new learned today. Super cool. Hmmm. Some days I am just so "ready" to get involved in something like this. Truth documentation. Honest research. For a real purpose and toward a hopeful cause.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

rant: facebook honeymoon albums

they make me gag. seriously. i don't know if i've looked through a single one after which i've thought, "hmm, that was nice." they're rarely very interesting. no, we don't really care what the bed looked like (or the bathrobes), how many bikinis she brought, or what it was like lounging on the beach on day number five (could it really be that different than days number one, two, three, and four?). AND....self-shot kiss pictures??!! are you kidding me??? uuugh. they're downright painful. i laugh. i do. out loud. they're ridiculous. maybe once in a blue moon there's a sort of cute one but mostly...really not tasteful.
don't get me wrong. i plan on having a fabulous honeymoon. and i have nothing against beds, beaches, kissing, or bikinis. but seriously...a facebook album?! it's more than I can stomach. i just want to say, "who cares! you should have been enjoying the moment(s) more than thinking about how you'd document the trip for the world!"

but i don't know. maybe i'll feel differently when the time comes? i rather hope not...

whew. alright: rant over.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

i am a rock

lately i've been wrestling with a lot of thoughts about what it means to 1. be human and 2. be in relationship. in other words, i've been considering how the gift and task of relationship are such a part of what it means to be human. with such deliberate and intentional care, God has created us to function in relationship. it is difficult, though, and wrought with both joy and pain because we are so very sold out to the pursuit of self (protection, achievement, comfort...). we aren't always first to recognize what's best for us; nor are we first to pour ourselves out for others.

God's deliberate and intentional crafting of creation (nature, race, everything) was called good. And while our fall from a perfect place has landed us among thorns and thistles, I don't believe it has erased from us the mark of God and the creative ingenuity by which he put it all together, looked out over it all, and called it "good."

these are pieces of whole thoughts and the whole of my broken thoughts but maybe they'll make some kind of sense to you. I want to encourage you--me, us--to think about what it means to be human. consider what it means to flourish: where and how do you find significance and purpose? where and how to you call together the pieces of yourself that are meant to form your true identity?

so, Simon and've written a catchy tune with a lot of truth included. we do build walls--fortresses, deep and mighty, so none can penetrate. we stack things up around us for protection from the warmth and touch of another human soul. we call on our fear and doubt and darkness to convince ourselves, "i am a rock. i am an island." but we won't flourish here. we weren't made to be rocks and islands...

[my last year of school was a hard one, and i'm really only beginning to understand really just how hard. i sort of put a lot of long-distance friendships on the back-burner because I was so engaged in school and school life emotionally, spiritually, mentally. i miss life with those friends. i miss consistently knowing what's going on, what's being learned, even though far away. i miss the challenge of another's journey and the encouragement of another's learnings. lately i've been catching up with a lot of friends--phone dates, skype dates, letters--and it's been so very wonderful.]

Monday, January 17, 2011

(almost) on the needles

I have exciting plans to knit a few of these for groceries, book-carrying, project-keeping, etc. Only a few hours to knit? Um, yes definitely.

Monday night back at Waterhouse was great. Mmm. burgers, drinks, lots of laughs, and good company.

hello, week. i think i'm ready for you, and i like this feeling :)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

i'm a list-maker

I read this over at A Holy Experience this evening. I appreciated her words. Because I've been thinking about the difficulty of faith--esp in the face of "soul-suffering" or darkness of mind/spirit.

Anyhow, I don't really have the desire to expound on it now. Just go ahead and read what she wrote. I'm going to go read some more...(i've mentioned that i'm reading East of Eden, yeah? Ah, I am so so so enjoying it).

Having loads of fun in Indy this weekend with the Schnakes--and the kiddos! We've laughed so much tonight we're all going to sleep very soundly. Good, that's what we need. Refreshing to laugh together.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

who am i?

Warning: i'm about to pull something "meaningful" out of a few lines from Fantastic Mr. Fox. If this makes you cringe, wince, or react in any other number of (negative) ways, I apologize. But only kind of because the movie really is a good one and has, buried in it, a lot of worthwhile concepts. So i really don't care if you find this cheesy :)

Mr. Fox: Who am I, Kylie?
Kylie: Who how? What now?
Mr. Fox: Why a fox? Why not a horse, or a beetle, or a bald eagle? I'm saying this more as, like, existentialism, you know? Who am I? And how can a fox ever be happy without, you'll forgive the expression, a chicken in its teeth?

So. That is the question: who am I? And, to follow up, what gives me purpose/significance? I ask myself these questions from time to time and so I assume you ask them, too...?

Somewhere along the way (probably more in Christian up-bringing than not) we get tired of asking these sorts of questions. Maybe this is because we're taught things like how to consider, defend, and debate the five (or is it seven?) "big questions" of life. You know the ones, "where did I come from?" "where am I going?" "is there life after death?" etc., etc. Don't get me wrong, there's value in this sort of thing. But I think it has to run the risk of becoming old. The system of {questions+right answers=assurance} necessarily faces the possibility of those questions becoming habit (dull, used up, boring), those answers becoming mechanical (practiced, versed, empty), and, therefore, that assurance ending up shallow (unsatisfactory, unstable, frustrating). This isn't to say that the questions, the answers, and the "assurance" aren't true or valuable or right. It's only to say that, at it's best, I'm not so sure the practice of faith allows such a neat formula. In other words, yes we can have our Apologetics and Christian Perspectives/Worldview classes. But let's not forget what life looks like where it happens. We can't divorce our apologetic or our "Christian" perspective from the lives we live every day. We can't divorce our sound theologies and doctrines from their practice--their interaction with the world. If we do (which we do do, because I do it and i know i'm probably not alone...), we end up with dull habit, mechanical responses, and shallow belief. And then one day we come back to those questions, after having put them away for awhile, and we actually hear them again. We might even be puzzled by our inability to really answer them. Gosh, we might truly wonder what the answers are, and if we ever really knew them. Then we have to relearn some things.

I think the practice of faith has more to do with creative living, honest doubting, small believing, constant seeking, and unashamed limping than we'd like to admit. But maybe that's just me. I'm the liver, doubter, believer, seeker, limper who watches a silly movie and hears an old question sound new: who am I? And i think this question really matters. It's a shame it becomes old, dull, boring. It's a bummer the answer(s) to it are mechanical, unsatisfactory, unthoughtful. It's too bad it's all "so cliche."

You know what? Some days I wake up sure of myself. Other days I wake up and think, "gee, what happened?"
I think this is the faith journey. The becoming.

Faith is so daily. Today I might trust God "easy" but tomorrow wake up wondering how on earth I can surrender and relent my fears, longings, questions, doubts, excitements, desires...
And so I remind myself that I'm part of a larger story--the story I experience every day around me; the "old" story I read/hear about; the "new" story I hope/live for. I try to bring old, used-up parts of my faith before God to be made new. He makes all things new.

I guess all this is to say that sometimes our faith really does need refreshing and our questions need new vigor. Our answers need reviving and our assurance needs more depth. It's not that we don't believe or can't--more that we won't, because we fail to just be our honest selves in it all. Our true, broken, needy, valuable selves.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Epiphany Sunday

Yesterday was Epiphany Sunday. I didn't really know anything about Epiphany Sunday until yesterday. It's a day in the liturgical year that stops to consider the relationship between humankind and God's manifestation of himself through his glory (esp. as experienced in/through the life and work of Christ). In particular, it centers on the story of the Magi from Matthew.

Bob talked about the glory of God in the incarnation and in relationship with humanity. It was a really good homily with reminders such as, "don't live beneath the glory God has given you; glory bestowed on and manifested in you, his people." "God delights in sharing the experience of His glory." "God regards us as the manifestation of his glory." We are his field, building, temple. We are made holy. We are becoming.

God has come for the sake of all people--to make a new humanity. The great theme of this movement in history is reconciliation. The scandal of such a subversive message has been made apparent in each generation. There is a new story available to the oppressed and the broken; the weak and the needy; the frustrated and the proud. God's involvement in the world is one that desires to saturate and dignify with his love (funny I should happen to watch Crash with friends this same afternoon..). This resonates with what it means to be human. Such a story is, at base level, full of the freedom and hope that we need. We are most alive when we are animated by something bigger than ourselves. We always will be--it's in us to be this way.

Bob reminded us that the liturgical year reminds us we are part of a bigger story--a story gone before us; a story we are written into. Our lives are hidden with Christ in God...

Saturday, January 08, 2011

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, to discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and to be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion."

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Resolved: to take vitamins this year

I must have an abnormally small throat or something. They always get stuck. Even the small ones. uughhh. But it doesn't matter, because I have resolved to take vitamins this year. #1 on the list is D, since I don't get enough sun and i'm quite certain it affects my mood.

I'm sure you really care about my habits (or not) of vitamin intake. huh. Oh well.

In other news, today is dad's bday. Three family bday's in one week. whew!!

Otherwise, the week is coming to a close. This weekend holds some fun things, including sunday dinner with friends (here!). i'm trying a few new recipes so stay posted.

I'm reading again--East of Eden (Steinbeck)--and loving it. Not far yet but feeling as though I'm settling back into his style. It's so unique and wonderful. There's nothing like a good novel. I should reread Grapes of Wrath. yeah right, like that's going to happen...

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

wanting to be a part of something larger than myself

"I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself." -Aldous Huxley

i had coffee with Monica today. i am thankful for her. there's something just wonderful about coffee with a friend, isn't there? mmmm.

Monday, January 03, 2011

roommate christmas

last night was our "big blue house" christmas. Lacy got me The Jesus Storybook Bible (favorite kids Bible, by far) and Mariah got me castile soap (peppermint) in honor/hope of our backpacking/camping adventures, as well as The Fantastic Mr. Fox. All-around great, great, great!!

I had a lovely weekend in Wisconsin. It was a quick trip but such a good one--I was missing those Schnakes. Now I'm back to the real world and my jobs and my routine...BUT it's a new year, so I feel refreshed and eager and ready and expectant. hmmm. i was talking to mom last night about how this year holds so much "uncertainty" for our family. most of us have big unknowns--Luke's move to Oklahoma; Mom and Dad's move to Flag; the future of my apartment/living situation here, jobs, etc; Jay and Kristen's resignation from Wycliffe and a new job...whew, lots of changes for the Childs clan. Lots of trusting and hoping and praying going on in all of our hearts. In some ways, it's cool to all be in a similar place because we can relate, sympathize, share the experience, etc. But it's also a little hard because it just means A LOT of big changes coming that demand a lot of relenting, relinquishing, and trusting.

i read on a blog earlier, "gratitude is what makes the past a grace, here holy, and tomorrow a gift." i like that. there's been a lot of gratitude in my heart lately. all's grace. i realize this more and more with each new year.