Thursday, January 31, 2008

A February Resolution

OK, my New Year's resolutions went down the drain during January. Honestly, today was the second day this month that I have worked out. I'm also ashamed to say that I have gone to bed a couple of nights without even glancing at my Bible. I'm not giving up on these worthy goals but...
...For February I have made the more abtainable goal of not going out to eat. This is a one month experiment to see if it will change the way that I do life on several levels. The first level is the monetary level. Hopefully, by fixing my own food and having leftovers I will save money that I can then put into my savings account. The second level is the nutrition level. By not eatting out, I can better monitor what I eat and make healthier food decisions. The third level is the spiritual level. I find that I slow down both physically and mentally when I cook. It puts me in a good place to pray/think/sing/dance (yes, I occassionally dance to music when I cook).

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

PB Messages

For my nostalgic moment of the day, I opened up a new jar of peanut butter and wrote my former roommate a message. Ahh, it's the simple things in life...


My word of the day is 'single.' Why is it my word of the day? I recently noticed while mindlessly stalking people on Facebook that everyone, and I mean that in the teenage exageration sense of the word, is engaged/married. This makes it even more apparent to me that I'm single.
If you had talked to me last week about how I feel about singleness, you probably would have had to give me a hug and put up with tears on your shirt. I asked a friend last week if I would ever not be lonely. Her response was "The proper and true answer is that there will be a time when you're not lonely. However, when that times comes, I think that you will still feel it every once in a while, but not as painfully, and definitely not in the way you do now."
For today, at least, I've made my peace with being single. Would I be content with being single for the rest of my life? Absolutely not. Am I going to be depressed about it for the present? With the help of God and wonderful friends, no. Would I go on a date tonight if somebody asked me? You bet!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Kingdom Life

Yesterday at The Journey the pastor talked about this thing called 'kingdom life.' Kingdom life is basically living out the reality that the kingdom of God is not only a future promise but a present thing. Jesus says in Matthew 6:33, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness..." This is not a command to sit back and wait for a "by and by" Heaven. It is a command to seek the kingdom in this life. To live out the ways of Jesus in this life.
This concept was not a new one to me when I heard it yesterday. From the first day I moved to Seattle, my supervisor has been talking about kingdom life and what that really looks like. I guess that the full weight of the concept finally hit my yesterday. How is what I'm doing on a day to day basis contributing to the kingdom of God?
That thought process led to my questioning of what I'm supposed to do with this life that I have been given. I thought that I had a pretty good idea of what my life is supposed to be, but now the only thing that I'm sure of is that I have no clue at all. God has a funny way of pulling my own hopes and dreams out from under me and telling me to go a different direction. We've had fights about this. I haven't won one yet.
I guess this was all to say that I don't know what life is supposed to look like anymore. I think that's where God wants me for the moment. It's a frustrating place to be. It's one of emotional pain, but also a place where great victory is possible.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


My word of the day is 'change.' Change is what is happening to me right now. It's this major force on my life that I can't stop.
On Saturday, I found out that Brittany will not be working in Seattle anymore. I understand her reasoning, and I respect her decision. I'll miss her though. She started working in Seattle at the same time as me. She represented my partner in ministry and a friend that I could talk to about parts of life that I don't share with just anybody.
On Monday, Michael moved to Missouri to go to seminary. Micahel was my connection to home in Washington. I could talk about Tennessee things and know that he understood what I was talking about. It was a shock to go upstairs on Monday morning and not hear his sports podcast playing.
Today, I drove Tuba to the airport. Tuba is a Turkish student that studied at UW last quarter and lived in the building. She and her mother, who came to the US a week ago, flew back to Turkey this morning. I almost started crying when I realized that she wasn't coming back any time soon. She was always a bright spot in my day.
It's times like these that I envy my married friends. I know that marriage is not a cake walk, but at least there is that promise that change does not happen alone. I feel like I'm dealing with these changes alone.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Peanut Butter Lovers Unite

After many years of dealing with my not-so-secret love affair with peanut butter, I have been vindicated. Today's staff editorial from "The Daily", UW's student newspaper, has confirmed that there are others out there just like me. Usually, "The Daily" deals with the broken-record topics of war, politics, and why students should become activists. Today's editorial writer Vicky Yan dared to write about "Why you should love peanut butter." I say Bravo!
Well, I'm off to watch the snow melt and eat a spoonful of peanut butter :)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Why I Love Seattle

The first Thursday of the month is always "Free Thursday" at Seattle museums. This month I went to the beautiful (and never-ending) Seattle Art Museum, affectionately known as SAM.

Seattle is surrounded by water and mountains. The last couple of weeks has had freak weather occurances for the city in the winter. Namely, the sun has been out for a couple of days. This is a picture of the Cascades that I took near Lake Washington today.

Latte art. This is my 12 oz. decaf vanilla latte from Zoka. Seattle baristas (the people that make coffee drinks) like to use their creative skills to impress their customers.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A Good Day

I have to admit that today was one of the best days I've had in Seattle. I'm not saying that it was the absolute best, but it definitely makes the top ten. Today is what I want my typical day-to-day life to be more like.
I woke up a little bit later than usual but still had enough relaxing time before I went to the staff meeting at 10:30. The staff meeting went smoothly and was a good blend of getting stuff done and goofing off. After an incredibly healthy lunch (something that doesn't happen often enough, I must admit), I went to SureShot which is my favorite independent coffee shop in the U-District. I ordered a delicioius 12 oz. decaf mocha from a guy that had only been working there for about 3 hours (or so it seemed from the kinds of questions he was asking his co-worker). After getting my mocha, I sat down and started reading a book by Bill Bryson about his travels in Europe. For those of you that like a good travel book, Bill Bryson is the man for you. Informative yet funny. While I was reading, I got a call from Brittany. We had a short conversation but it made my day a hundred times brighter just to talk to her. Because I was happy and ready to take on the rest of the day, I left SureShot and walked on campus for a while. I picked up a copy of The Daily (the UW student newspaper that, surprisingly, comes out daily) and worked on the crossword at the Purple Door for what was left of the afternoon. At 5:30, I put the crossword down and went to a Habitat for Humanity meeting on campus. I pitched a fundraising idea that the NCM staff has been kicking around for Habitat called "'Have-a-Tat' for Humanity." It's a long story but a wonderful idea. The president of the UW chapter loved the idea and said she would send me an email soon to set up a meeting to work out more details. Because it was supper time after the Habitat meeting, I went back to the Purple Door. I wanted to make Pillsbury biscuits, but it turned out that they had expired on Dec 10. I called my mom to see if I would die of some horrible disease if I made the biscuits anyway. Without going into details, my mother convinced me that it would be better if I tried to make my own biscuits from semi-scratch. I'm not saying that I have a potential career of making world famous biscuits, but I did pretty well for myself. At 7:30, I went upstairs and sat in on the Every Nation worship time. (Every Nation is another small campus minisitry that needed space to meet in, so we offered to let them use our space on Wednesday nights for the quarter.) It made me extremely happy to see the Purple Door getting used for a student worship space again. I also got to have some great conversations with the Every Nation students and staff.
It is days like today that help me to remember why I stay in Seattle. I have to admit that there are days that I am so frustrated with the city/ministry that I want to leave Seattle and go back to Tennessee. Then God sends me a day where everything clicks and life is good. Today was just one of those days.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Why I'm Not a Christian Anarchist

This afternoon Steve sent me this article. It's a blog posting by a Christian anarchist entitled "Ten Reasons Why I'm Not Voting for President." Basically, the author outlines the reasons why he does not vote and, I'm assuming, why other Christians should also abstain from voting.
For those of you that know me well, you know that I have certain soapboxes and the responsibility of all Americans (especially Christians) to vote is definitely one of them. Therefore, just from skimming the article, I could tell my initial response would be some degree of anger/annoyance.
After reading the article more carefully, I had to concede that Mark has some very valid points. His most valid point, in my opinion, is that Christians should be more involved in bringing positive change to our world. We should not depend solely on government agencies to feed the homeless, provide for the poor, and counsel those in emotional need.
I also cannot argue that at times voting seems like choosing between the lesser of two evils. Watching the current presidental debates, I am more convinced than ever that no candidate will fully support the all the agendas that I believe are necessary to bring about the most positive outcome for humanity at the present. Mark's answer to this would be to not vote at all. To take a stand by not voting.
Assume for a moment that all Christians suddenly realize that Mark is correct and, as a consequence, do not vote in the upcoming presidental election. As Christians, we tell America that we are members of a different "government" and do not wish to participate politically in this one. Is this going to cause a positive change in America? Yes, it is a revolutionary stance and would catch the attention of many people, but would it do the country more evil or good? Will Americans respond to this as an act of love on the part of the Christians or will they feel like Christians just gave them the middle finger/don't really care about them?
Ultimately, as Christians we are called to be in the world but not of the world. It is true that we are citizens of a Heavenly kingdom that is already a reality, but we are not gone from this world yet. We are left here, for the moment, to do God's will on earth (and America). I truly believe that part of God's will for every Christian is to exert a positive influence on all spheres of life that He has put under our control. As Americans, one of our spheres of influence is the American political system. We are uniquely positioned to make our voices heard in the most powerful country in the world. We can vote for the candidate that aligns most closely with what we believe to be in the best interest of America and then protest for the changes that the government needs to make later.
With that said, the Church needs to step up to the plate and start doing what Jesus commanded us to do. We should not put our complete faith in American Democracy to make the changes that we would like to see. The government is part of a fallen world. Christians should vote in order to help influence positive choices, but they should also roll up their sleeves and address the needs of our fellow Americans (and humanity in general) in an active manner.

Monday, January 7, 2008

And They're Back

Today was UW's first day of the winter quarter. After a week and a half of not seeing any students, they finally made an appearance. It made me incredibly happy to see them come back. The U-District is just kind of dead with them gone.
I also realized this morning as I was waking up that this is the time of year that I am usually in Seattle. For the last two years, I've been in Seattle during the first week of the winter quarter to do collegiate ministry. It makes me want to go outside and start serving up some hot chocolate to perfect strangers. Come to think of it, I should suggest that in the next staff meeting...
On a slightly unrelated note, I've been thinking about how I express (or don't express) emotion today. I tend to keep my emotions bottled up inside until I am alone. I may be extremely mad or sad, but I don't feel comfortable letting others see what I'm feeling.
I've been mentally beating myself up this week for not talking to my friend, but I just can't physically get the words to come out. I want to tell her that I miss her and wish that this tradegy had never happened to her. I want to tell her that my soul cries out for the pain that she is experiencing. I want to tell her that she will make it through this, but I don't know how to say it without sounding like her situation doesn't matter. I want to make her laugh because she has always made me laugh when I was upset. I guess where I'm lacking in expressing these emotions I turn to prayer. I pray that God would be her source of comfort and that He would send her people that are better at expressing these things than I am. People to give her hugs that I am not there to give (Hugs I do well because they don't require words).

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy New Year

2008. A chance for a fresh, new start on certain parts of life. When you think about, changing from December to January is no different than changing from April to May. But for some reason changing of years gives us a mental license to try something new, to will ourselves to go to the gym/keep to a budget/(insert your resolution here).
It's only January 2nd and I've already broken both of my resolutions for the new year. I guess I can always try again tomorrow :)