Archive for November, 2005

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November 30, 2005

I don’t know if any of you who read these thoughts that spill out of me from time to time ever click the link to where my good friend Heather Baker writes, but you should.  And so to give some publicity to my good friend my post for today is actually one of her posts, to which my response was, "yeah, that’s seems just about right."  Soak it up…A

Of Dostoevsky and Lesser Things.

Last night, when I returned home from my 20/30-something Women’s Bible Study, I sat down on the couch and wanted nothing more than to read The Brothers Karamazov. This is an odd feeling, because usually when I’m arriving home after an emotionally-draining day, I want some mind-numbing television and sleep. For whatever reason, last night was different.

I had woken up that morning frustrated and sad over of a situation with a student, in which I felt partially to blame…and I mellowly filled in the rest of my day trying to figure out what to do. After a series of staff meetings, I picked up a few students for a meeting and was finally able to grin and laugh with them about french fries and tanning. We had a good talk, but as I dropped them off, I could feel exhaustion setting in…

And yet I still had one more appointment and my evening Bible Study…later, Heidi and I were talking about whether or not we should go to Bible Study when we’re exhausted, and I recommended that we should not go if we’re not going to be mentally present….

Later that evening, while physically present at Bible study, I was rather mentally disengaged (disengaged enough to have spilled an entire cup of hot chai down my denim skirt)…and yet, we began talking about this concept again, of whether or not we should stop going to things if we plan to be ’emotionally unavailable,’ and I was reminded of something in Lauren Winner’s Mudhouse Sabbath, or maybe it’s in Girl Meets God, where she talked about how in the Jewish culture, the practices of faith are important because they keep your body doing your faith, even when your soul and mind do not…that way, when you catch up, your body is already there to remember where you were.

It’s a beautiful concept to know that your body can help you to remember things your mind and soul might forget…and for whatever reason, last night, my body remembered that it used to sit on couches late at night for hours at a time reading Russian literature, and it directed my mind and soul that way. A few minutes later, I’m laughing outloud about a shaggy dog in The Brothers Karamazov, thankful that I have not entirely forgotten how to enjoy the process of reading, even though the book mark I was using had notes about Substitute Teaching on it, meaning it’s been two years since I have been a faithful reader of Dostoevsky.

Somehow, over the last few months, the process of hoisting up bookshelves and laying out my Taylor guitar in my living room has reminded me of who I used to be–before Washington, before kayaking, and before Verizon…slowly, my evenings at home have become about reading, knitting, and songwriting. Suddenly, it feels like our homes always need to be places where we build around us the kind of person we want to be, so that when we forget, we can return home and our bodies remember.

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Because I Must

November 18, 2005

It’s been over a year since I lived in Los Angeles, yet I find that what I learned that summer always stays with me.  I did a lot of growing up there, and I was poured into by people who are leading with their lives-heart, soul, mind and strength.  I had a conversation one time with Alex McManus.  One of many conversations that we had that summer.  It is hard to explain unless you have it in you.  This thing that pushes you forward.  This sense of your life being powerful, meaningful.   This sense that God wants to accomplish something great with your life.   Alex calls it the sense of  "must".  I don’t want to be a "church leader".  I don’t want to teach people and walk with them through the Bible.  I don’t want to build relationships with people who don’t know Jesus.  I don’t want to create a community of people who bring the kingdom of God to a broken world.  I don’t WANT to do any of this that I am indeed doing.  I simply MUST.  It is not an option.  That is what drives me to live the way I do.  It isn’t a perfect life by any means, but it is a life conducive to the "must" within me.  The "must" will haunt me until this is all over.  It’s enough to drive a person mad.  To think, I have 50 years or more  (maybe) to live out this these longings that claw at me; that won’t ever go away.  I’ve tried to quiet them.  I’ve tried to ignore them.  I have found that I have no free will to do so.  Erwin said to me last summer that I am in the small percentage of people in this world who wake up thinking that they can and must change the world.   Then he warned me: "Never under estimate one single act of faithfulness." 

In a world full of people
Only some want to fly.
Is that not crazy?

No, we’re never going to suvive
Unless we get a little crazy.

-Seal [Crazy]

Freedom has a scent
Like the top of a new born baby’s head.
The songs are in your eyes
I see them when you smile.
I’ve had enough
I’m not giving up
On a miracle drug.

-U2 [Miracle Drug]

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Asheville, NC

November 16, 2005

Asheville is a place I’ve always wanted to visit.  I’ve always heard great things about it.  And, if one has ever been to North Carolina in general, one will know the feeling of always being pulled back.  The beauty of autumn always enhances the pull. Well, the opportunity came for me to go two weekends ago.  The weather and scenery were beautiful, and I am convinced that better company could not have been had. 

We left on a Friday evening, after work.  Three in our party of six had left earlier in the day, and Melanie, Blaine and I were left to catch up with them at Ridgecrest.   Before anyone thinks that the weekend was full of deep meaningful and profound conversation about the mysteries of the universe, I must say that I would be challenged to find a group of six more sarcastic, cynical and witty folks to travel with.  Much laughter was had by all.  It is about a six hour drive from Nashville, and the topics of conversation on the way there consisted of Bon Jovi , Successories , Reading Rainbow , NASCAR  and much more. 

Not long into our trip, we decided to make a stop for some dinner at Chick-fil-A.  We exited the interstate and drove to the restaraunt.  We drove one mile…two miles…three miles…into Cookeville, TN.  There was literally no sign of the Chick-fil-A.  We drove back towards the interstate to get gas and Blaine asked the attendant where the Chick-fil-A was. 

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We were apparently supposed to make a right turn down a road that we missed.  We ranted for a while about how they should have signs, and why didn’t they have signs??!!  We wasted 40 minutes of our travels with that stop.  We left the gas station, headed for the Chick-fil-A, finally, when we saw this…sign.

They should really have signs.

We arrived at our destination at 1:00 am EST and went directly to bed.  Our lodging was at a conference center in Ridgecrest that Beth got us hooked up with through Lifeway, a Southern Baptists Publishing Company where she works spreading the good new of Jesus.  It just so happened that a women’s conference was going on at the time AND we had a man with us.  We apparently created quite a stir with the ladies…they asked Blaine if he was "the handyman".  He made some lady friends and we all thought that maybe he should stay around the conference center and capitalize in his unique situation.  Alas, he went hiking with us. 

Since we traveled when it was dark the night before, we had no idea what our surroundings looked like.  We stepped outside into God’s great autumn and the beginning of his creation resting for a season. 

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After a good breakfast, save one of the worst cups of coffee ever, we began our journey to Chimney Rock for a hike, which tooks us past sites where Last of the Mohichans was filmed.  It was a wonderful few hours full of conversations, laughing, more Reading Rainbow stories (courtesy of Blaine) and Beth’s award for coming the closests to falling off a precipice.  The day concluded with New Orleans cuisine for a well deserved dinner, and music and darts at Jack of the Wood pub in downtown Asheville. 

Sunday morning we shopped downtown Asheville after taking in breakfast at an upscale greasy spoon, and then it was back home.  The jouney home brought more in the way of profound conversation as Blaine, Melanie and I touched base on some important topics of this season of life and our journey as followers of Jesus.  Peaceful, I would say it was.  Quick, but peaceful.  I saw what I perceived to be every star in the heavens from high on a mountain, listening to the wind swirl around and moving through the trees, speaking its mysterious language.  And whatever it was saying in that moment, I knew that I had to move with it…we all do…

But you don’t have to take my word for it… 🙂

Suddenly there came a sound from the sky like the roar of a violent
wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting..they were all filled with the Ruach
HaKodesh and began to talk in different languages, as the Spirit
enabled them to speak.

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Travel  Well

 

 

 

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An Update: Per Heather Baker’s Request

November 16, 2005

To the faithful who have checked this space more than once since October 5, 2005:

Where I’ve Been

-Bongo Java East Cafe –

We have extended our hours at work, and instead of being open until 6 every evening, we are now open until 8:00 pm.  So, my hours have increased there.  A good thing for the checking account, a bad thing for my feet and legs and sometimes social introversion.  And a funny thing happened when we increased our business in the evening…our business TRIPLED…in the morning???  One major thing I’ve learned about this business is that it is indeed unpredictable.

-Moving-

I moved in the middle of October into East Nashville .  To give you an idea of what this means for me, let’s break it down like this:

  • drive to work decreases in time from 25 minutes to less than 5 minutes
  • filling up my gas tank decreases in frequency from once a week to once ever two and a half weeks…and I hear money dropping into the bank
  • I now live in the same area as all of my co-workers and the people I’ve been building relationships with for a year, and can therefore invest myself even more in their lives

What this also means is that I have to reset everything, such as bills and what not, including getting my wireless connection re-established.  Once that happens, writing will hopefully be more frequent. 

-Nickel Creek-

I attended my 6th Nickel Creek concert in the middle of October as well.  Still good as ever.  Everyone should by their new album.

-Construction Zone-

There are currently men I do not know entering my house on an almost daily basis to do construction work on it.  They begin banging around at about 7:00 am, fine for when I work in the mornings, not so fine on my mornings off.  And every time we girls get annoyed we remind ourselves that rent is currently $184 a month for each of us, and we listen to the money roll into the bank. 

-Asheville, NC-

see Asheville, NC post

-Moving without Running-

see Because I Must post

I want to be back in the writing saddle soon.  Life is simply chaotic, presently.  Stay with me…the ride is just beginning.

Shalem

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