Saturday, May 21, 2011

Chan's video

I admit it...I still haven't read 'Love Wins' by Rob Bell. And I still haven't researched, for myself, the Biblical scriptures on Hell.

So I'm still not sharing my opinion about that.


But yesterday my friend posted this Francis Chan video on his facebook page. And I'm loving Chan more and more all the time...so of course I watched it.


And I was speechless...


...and deeply convicted....



These 2 concepts alone have messed me up for the last 24 hrs...

"We're just pieces of clay trying to explain to other pieces of clay what the Potter is like."

and...

"When we make statements like "Well God wouldn't do this ___ " ...at that moment we're putting God's actions into our reasoning..."


Those thoughts are enough to leave you contemplating and speechless for days.


Totally worth the time... and would love to hear your thoughts about it...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

It's so hard...to say goodbye....

I am a relationship-oriented girl. People are my thing. And the one thing I hate most in this world…is goodbyes. I’m not talking the little ‘see ya later’ ones (ok, actually, I still hate those too)…but I’m talking the heart ripping, gut wrenching, don’t know the next time we’ll see each other, if ever, goodbyes. I’m not being dramatic. That’s really how it feels to me. I don’t get people who aren’t fazed by major goodbyes. I kinda want to push them down. And honestly, I have to work hard not to judge them as cold and heartless when really, it’s that we’re just wired differently. (and I do occasionally envy that detachment)  

I’ve always known this about myself...end of year school times always stressed me out and made me sad because I didn’t want to move on and leave those people behind. But, I realized I was pretty much completely crazy in the head about this issue the end of my Senior year in high school. I had a close group of friends that had been together for several years. The group had slightly shifted several times…but everyone was still around for the most part, even if they weren’t hanging out with us consistently. And then…Mark changed the game. Mark came in and announced he was joining the Navy and would be leaving in a few months. He would be the first one in our group to officially move on to the next season of life. And let’s just say that I did NOT deal well with this at all. I was in tears pretty much most of the time whenever the thought of this change creeped up in my mind. Poor Mark, I’m sure he had no idea what to do with my basket-case self. And of course I was gonna miss Mark, himself…but there was something about the concept of his leaving that messed me up. The concept that things would never be the same…that this specific dynamic at this specific time…would be lost forever. That part messes me up as much as the loss of the relationship does. And I don’t know why it tears me up like it does.

And let me tell you, people who feel like their heart’s being ripped out by goodbyes should not join YWAM. (Youth With a Mission) This is just one big continual transitional mess. People are constantly coming and going. And because of what we’re doing…the training for missions/ministry…the prayer times…the outreach times…these are people you bond with on a deeper level and a faster pace than normal relationships. And again, I’d be a total basket case toward the ends of my schools. For two-three weeks before it was over, I’d be in a relentless state of tears. We’d be hanging out, having fun, I’d be laughing and enjoying myself…yet- uncontrollable tears would be streaming down my face, because again, the concept that this dynamic would be lost forever, and the fact that I didn't know if I'd ever see anyone again...messed. me. up.

I know…it’s really like I should get some sort of major therapy, isn’t it...or at least some medication...

Wanna know what else you shouldn’t do if you suffer from this crazy disorder? Move to Colorado Springs, that’s what. It’s apparently one of the most transitional cities in the world. Too bad I didn't know that before I got here. People come and go WAY too quickly here. And linking up with a church that focuses on the military isn’t the brightest idea either, I’m just saying. Cause they’re the most transitional of the transitional people in this city. 
 

Sarah and I at her baby shower
I’ve only been here a few years, and have already had to say goodbye to WAY too many people. And there's a trend that is trying to develop that must be stopped. It started with Sarah, one of my closest friends here. She announced she was pregnant and of course excitement abounded. Shortly after that…she announced they were moving to Washington. Now, I’ve learned to handle these situations only slightly better than my high-school self. I was able to use most of my tears up in private instead of in front of her. (I said most) And I had to really work through not being mad at God and just accept what was happening. I was just getting so tired of people here moving away...I didn't know if I could take much more. 

 

Course...I was left with a constant reminder of her...since she was the designer of my most fabulously amazing tattoo...






Then, a couple months ago…Amber, a kindred spirit in ways we'd only just begun to discover...tells me she has some important news and we go out to dinner. She then announces she’s pregnant…AND by the way….they’re also moving to Alaska. I’m not making this up…is this not the most ridiculous trend you've ever heard?? She left this week...thus my need for a goodbye-blog-vent.

80's party...and the beginning of the deep
bond that was forever between us

I sometimes debate whether or not God is sitting up there just trying to mess with me. I mean, He created me with this deep connection and unceasing amount of tears for people…so why would He possibly continue to put me in these situations? I sometimes think it’s a cruel joke.


But then I think…if the alternative is NOT knowing these people…NOT learning who they are…NOT being involved in their lives…NOT caring about whether or not they reach their God-given destinies…then that’s an even greater heartbreaking concept than only knowing them for a season and having to say goodbye. Because I’m thankful I get to be a part of their lives…even if only for short glimpses. I'm thankful  for the ones I get to bond with on deeply spiritual levels, even when it makes the goodbyes that much harder. 

And...even through the perpetual tears...I am thankful that this is who God created me to be...and He wouldn't want it any other way.


P.S. Also....everyone....please stop moving away....especially if you're about to have a baby....

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Royal Wedding

Oh see how I thought I was gonna impress ya’ll last week with 3 posts in a row….and then life got crazy and I never got to stop and post this one. PLUS…after I wrote it, I wished it was funnier, so I was gonna rewrite it when I was in a funnier mood…but, there wasn’t time for funny this week. So instead…you just get to be WOWed by the pictures. We just can’t put this post off any longer…cause it’s all about…

The Royal Wedding. Now, as much as I FULLY own my personal princess identity…I have to admit…I wasn’t paying attention to anything regarding the Royal Wedding. I didn’t watch ANY coverage, no documentaries, nothing. But sometime the week before the wedding, I decided I should probably watch it, since you know, it was a culture phenomenon and all. (I even had to research to find out when the wedding day was) Then, last week, (or two weeks ago-it's all a blur) Becoming Paige declared it Princess Week in honor of the wedding and so I decided for the final week I should fully embrace all things royal. I began watching the documentaries and shows of how they met, what the wedding was gonna look like and the fun stuff like that.

As Friday approached, I found myself disappointed I hadn’t put together a viewing party. Most of my friends had to work Friday and watching it that morning wasn’t an option. Holly, my bff and roommate said she’d attempt to wake up and watch with me…but uuuhhh…let’s just say I knew that wasn’t going to happen.

THEN…on Thursday night…while at a “Farewell Michael Scott (but Welcome to Colorado) Party!” with my friends, the Royal Wedding was brought up. The fabulous Amber was dvr’ing it and had plans to come straight home from work and watch it then. Within a matter of moments, it was decided we’d all come over and be a part.

Course, I still felt the need to watch it live. I took a short nap and was up about 2:30 a.m. I was pretty groggy and debating my dedication when I looked up at the t.v. and saw them- THE HATS! Ooooohhh my goodness. My eyes grew wide and suddenly I wasn’t near as tired as I was 30 seconds before. It was love at first sight…I was in total awe. I got up to make coffee (nope, didn’t go for tea)…and decided to go all out even though I was alone…so I went and put my own tiara on…along with a giant flower for a little extra pizzazz. And…because of the fab of social networking, I was chatting and sharing opinions with friends…and even a part of the commentary happening at my Australian friend's house. So I felt very much a part of the world wide phenomenon happening. 

And then....the evening viewing party! The original plan was simple, show up with your own food and comfy clothes. That was it. But as the day progressed...dinner plans turned into full on homemade Asian food buffet...(cause we're THAT cultured- English wedding, Asian food)...desserts of scones and pastry puffs. AND...most importantly...10 minutes before walking out the door...it hit me...we HAD to have headpieces! So the impromptu people that we are...pulled together anything and everything we had on hand to make our own makeshift pieces...all most definitely fit for a Royal Wedding.

It was a FANTATIC night! Amazing food…laughing so hard tears streamed down our faces…our own imitation of the boys choir (yep, there is video proof)...and of course watching a real life Disney fairytale wedding take place.

And since it’s Monday, and I should be listing my gifts…

246- The gift of fabulous friends, who are willing to dress crazy and embrace every moment. And since our precious Amber has decided to pack up and move to Alaska in just a matter of weeks...it was MOST definitely the perfect way to celebrate one last dressing-up soiree with her. 


Me! I didn't want to take it off!
Debating making this an everyday look

My bff Holly!















Renee' - My plottin' and schemin'
theme party partner!
Amber! The beautiful hostess


















Trust me- we have perfected the art
of a homemade Asian buffet
(this wasn't even all of it)
Dessert/Appetizers














Cooking Diva
Stir-fry Startlet













Barbara came late, but of course we threw a flower
on her the moment she walked in the door

Ezekiel- yep, we always
get the kids involved
Grayson-saluting everyone in uniform













And without further ado...I present to you...
The Impromptu 'God Save The Queen' Choir... 
(and yes, we are available for booking)

video

Oh my goodness, the end makes me me giggle every time..and now 'God save the Queen' is gonna be stuck in my head for the rest of the day...



and lastly-  
#247-254: The crazy week I had. Because although it left no time for blogging or relaxing of any kind- it did involve packing Pregger Amber's house...much research for my teaching for the Sunday sermon series I'm doing at church, bringing me new revelations of God's heart...an art project for my Mother's Day gift for my Mom....cleaning, cleaning, cleaning, getting everything ready for my Mom's 3 week visit...trip to Denver to pick up my Mom from the airport...and a Baby Shower/Goodbye Party for Amber and Aaron. It was a whirlwind of a week...but everyday of it was a gift.

Monday, May 2, 2011

In Honor of Yom HaShoah

I’ll never forget the first I attended a Synagogue. Holly, who at the time was only a new roommate, and far from bff status, had been attending for several months. This was long before God so profoundly opened my eyes and heart to this world. With just a deep curiosity and wondering, I headed out to my first service.

When we arrived for the service, people were walking out, not in. The night we had chosen to go was Family Night and the services start an hour early. But, after all services is the Oneg Shabbat ("Joy of the Sabbath”)…a time of eating desserts and fellowship with each other. After they laughed at our mix up, they convinced us that we had to at least stay for the Oneg and visit.

We filled our plates and looked for a place to sit. I felt so nervous and out of place…wondering what had possessed me to go. Holly lead us to a table with some of her friends and I sat in front of an older woman....who would help change my life.

Her name was Helene Shiver and she was larger than life. She was tall, wore large glasses, had big, bright, perfectly placed white hair, and wore hot pink lipstick. She talked loud and with an accent and had that raspy smoker’s voice. I was instantly fascinated with her and was so happy we had decided to stay.

She began talking about this and that. She’s not one to meet a stranger, and instantly included me. And then she began the story, reciting every detail VERY matter of factly. In that raspy, accented voice she said, “So I was eating dinner this week, and the phone rang. It was a man, and he asked if he could speak with Helene. Now, I knew he had to be Jewish, because the gentiles call me Helen.” (she looked over at me and gave a nod...and I quickly made a mental note never to call her Helen) She continued, “So I said, “Yes, this is Helene.” And he said, “Helene, this is Steven Spielberg, am I calling you at a bad time?”

Now…I’m trying to maintain a calm composure for my first impression with these people. “What?” I said with as much restraint as possible…but my shock and disbelief was pretty evident. “Steven Spielberg? THE Steven Spielberg? WHAT?” I was looking at everyone up and down the table, trying to figure out if I was the only one in shock. Helene, who was still acting extremely matter of fact (although she was LOVING all this) said, “Of course Steven Spielberg. I did an interview for Survivors of the Shoah, telling what happened to me during the Holocaust.”

Now, at this moment my mind was spinning almost out of control. This larger than life woman, who I was already wanting to declare my new bff, was telling a story regarding Steven Spielberg calling her at home. AND…I just found out she was a Holocaust survivor...the first one I’d ever met. As a little girl I was obsessed with Anne Frank…and here I was sitting in front of someone who has survived one of the worst moments of history. My mind was thoroughly spinning out of control…but I quickly shook it off and concentrated on what she was saying because I didn’t want to miss a detail of the story.

She continued the story, despite my abrupt interruption, “So Steven says, “Helene, have I caught you at a bad time?” And I said, “Well, I am eating dinner right now” Steven, who apparently has perfect manners, quickly asked if he should call back later. “No”, Helene said, “You’ve already interrupted me.””

Now at this point, I did lose my sweet demure composure. I laughed out loud, loudly, and threw me hands up in the air- ‘What?!?” I screamed again. “You told STEVEN SPIELBERG it was a bad time?!?!?!?!?” “Yes”, Helene said. “I was eating dinner. But I did talk to him”.

I was totally in love with this woman.

She went on to tell how he had called to tell her that he had seen the footage of her video interview and wanted to thank her for sharing her story. He also had sent her a letter thanking her and he wanted to make sure she got it. She then nonchalantly, although the glimmer in her big twinkling eyes gave her away, showed us all the letter from him. We oo'd and awe'd as we passed it around.

And I must say, that of course I’ve always loved Steven’s movies…but after this story, he’s been at the top of my list of favorite people…and I can’t see him, or his name, without automatically thinking of Helene.

I continued going to the Synagogue, almost every Friday night. I loved the service and I utterly adored the people. Sitting around the table during the Oneg, listening to them exchange their stories, became the highlight of my week.

Helene was an avid speaker, traveling around and educating people about the Holocaust, and sharing her stories. I had many opportunities to go and hear her, but I could never bring myself to do it. I knew some of her details, when she’d matter of factly mention them in a story here or there. For example, she’d mention how it was hard to walk and she had so much trouble with her feet because of the poison that had seeped into them while having to go barefoot at Dachau. But because I was getting to know her personally, I couldn’t bring myself to go and listen to her full story. I would be in tears leaving the Synagogue on so many nights, just because of a small detail she shared, or because I had seen a glimpse of her id number tattooed on her forearm. My heart can’t handle stories of such tragedies. And I knew I’d be a hysterical basket case if I ever went to one of her speaking engagements.
 
Many years went by, and Holly and I were not as faithful to attend services every Friday night. Then one night, in a fluke moment of switching on the tv, the end of the news was on, and a picture of Helene was being shown. We got excited and stopped to watch, only to hear the very end of the story, and the announcement that she had passed away that week. We were in shock. Even without saying anything, (neither of us could speak) I just grabbed my keys and ran out the door, in search of a newspaper. (this was before most people had internet) The funeral was held the next day…and we went and said our good byes to her.

Helene was an inspiration. She was a fighter. She was a survivor. Holly and I love to share about our encounters with her. (Like the time she took Holly to Bingo and proudly announced to everyone over and over that Holly wasn't Jewish, but just liked to go to the Synagogue) I try my best to imitate her while I reenact the stories, even though I know I’ll never come close to relating the true vibrancy of this woman.


A couple of years had passed after her death, and Holocaust Remembrance day was coming up. A friend of mine who worked in a Multicultural Center had access to a video tape of Helene sharing her story, and she let me borrow it. I knew it was time. I sat and watched it that night, to honor her memory, and the memory of the other 6 million that lost their lives during that monstrous time of history.


Today is Yom HaShoah- Holocaust Remembrance Day. It is the 27th of Nisan on the Hebrew Calendar-the anniversary of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the day Israel chooses to honor the memory of the Holocaust victims. I find it almost overwhelming, that this year, 2011, the 27th of Nisan fell on May 1st-May 2nd (sundown to sundown)- a day marking the anniversary of the announcement that Hitler was dead, and of course last night, announcing that Osama had been killed.


My prayer for this day is this:

May we never forget.
May this cycle of history never repeat.
May Christians not duplicate the mistakes of our past as we turned a blind eye and refused to get involved. (or worse, involved on the wrong side)
May the Jewish people live in peace, in Israel, and throughout the world.
And for Helene, and the 6 million other victims, may we be very clear, and very serious when we say:

NEVER AGAIN.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Osama...my wonderings + the one thing I know

Osama’s death was just announced and the social network world blew up. Cheers and declarations of joy regarding his death filled my live streams. It was a shocking announcement…one we’ve waited all too long to hear. American’s have wanted justice since the atrocity of 9/11. And Osama’s death is the only way we would be satisfied.

But as the cheers were being exclaimed…suddenly a deeper reality began to sink into my heart. Osama, as far as we know, did not know the One, True God. He could be a soul lost for all eternity. (this is not a 'Love Wins' debate) And as this realization sank in, I began to wonder if this is truly a moment of celebration.

I began to wonder if God was rejoicing as much as we were. And then I saw someone quote this verse on Twitter: Ezekiel 18:23 “Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked," declares the Lord GOD, "rather than that he should turn from his ways and live?

And I began to realize that if God wasn’t taking pleasure in this…then maybe I should check my own attitude.

And then this verse came up: ‎"Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice, or the Lord will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from them." Proverbs 24:17

Ummmm….wow. Stop and contemplate that verse, it will mess. you. up. Especially in this case.

And then they announced that a group has formed outside the White House… reciting chants and even singing ‘We are the Champions”...and my heart really began to be deeply grieved. We’ve suddenly become the same as the Middle East countries who cheer in their streets when an American dies…who rejoiced and waved their flags on that tragic September day. The media portrayed the White House gathering as a beautiful moment of patriotism and unified celebrations among Americans. I wonder if they’ll say the same thing the next time a nation does the same against us. Do we see that we've just stooped to their level?

Should we be rejoicing as we are? Everyone keeps saying that justice was served. Was God’s justice really served? Or was this our vengeance? Did God want his death? Or did He want his heart?

How many of us rejoicing now, prayed in the past for Osama’s spirit…to see the truth, to come out of the darkness and into the light…to repent and turn from his evil ways. Instead, did we pray, or even just wish and hope, that our troops would find and kill him? I have to say that I didn’t. I didn’t pray for him at all.
And at this realization, any rejoicing I felt at his death stopped altogether.

So many conflicting feelings. There is a man on death row in Texas that keeps getting reprieved, and it has made me angry because he murdered my friend and I have wanted justice. And now I realize I haven't prayed for him either...just wished for his death.

And I know my God hates wickedness. The Bible is full of Him wiping out entire groups of people for their wickedness- and Osama WAS wicked. Maybe God does see this as justice. I'm not saying he didn't need to die. I just question the fact of whether or not we should rejoice in that death like we are.

I am grateful for our military, who have served, fought, and even gave their lives for my safety. From a military viewpoint I see this as a victory. But I also wonder what the backlash will be, and know the war is far from over.

I know people that had a connection to 9/11- ones that should have been on a plane, were in New York, etc. But I personally did not know anyone that died in the attack. And I do wonder if my reaction would be different if I did. I wonder if I would be in the street rejoicing in what I saw as justice for my loved one. I wonder if I could have moved through the grief to search out God’s heart and God’s will for the man He created, and loved, as much as He loves me.


I pray the ones that have desperately needed it, find their closure tonight. And I pray that my heart and eyes would be opened to see God's heart for the people on this earth. All people.  

Because, beyond wondering, this I KNOW...it is God's desire for all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (I Timothy 2:4)