Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Quandary of Starbucks Proportions

I just came across the announcement that all the Starbucks in the US are going to be closing from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm local time today for (much needed) staff training. To take advantage of this, Dunkin Donuts has put out a 99 cent promotion on their espresso drinks for the day. The problem with this for those of us in Seattle is that there isn't a Dunkin Donuts in the entire state of Washington. What are the corporate coffee drinkers of the city to do? Here are my suggestions:
1. Get off of work early in order to get a last minute drink.
2. Walk the whole extra block to Tully's :)

Top Three of the Day

1. My mom. Today is her 4_th birthday. She and I are so much alike (but don't tell us that) that we don't always get along, but I love and respect her more and more everyday. She truly rocks my socks off :)
2. MapMyRun.com. This website is especially awesome for Seattlites because running is our #2 pastime behind drinking massive amounts of coffee. (Since we don't have the sun, we have to get our artificial happiness somewhere else. If caffeine won't do it, the endorphins will.)
3. The Cobalt Season. They are not only the composers of my current life song, but they are coming to the Purple Door on Saturday to do a concert! You can see a YouTube video of them here.


Monday, February 25, 2008

Taking Suggestions

I just realized that I've been sitting in the same place for about 30 minutes thinking about all kinds of things. Then I thought that I would read a book to at least get something done, but I don't have a book that I want to read right now. You may be glancing over at my book list and thinking that I've gone crazy. No, I just read books differently than most of the world's population. I can't just sit down and read one book cover to cover. I usually have several books that I take turns reading based on my mood and how much I really want to think.
For example, I have a Brian McLaren book that I've been reading for several months now. I can only read one chapter of Brian at a time and it's deep enough that I have to be in a special sort of mood to even crack the cover. I have Out of Africa for the times that I want to travel but can't get past downtown Seattle. I have Pride and Prejudice for when I'm feeling romantic (or unromantic, based on the chapter). The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy gives me entertainment when I don't really want to think beyond a surface level. The American Political Tradition speaks to my history background and makes me feel like I'm using my degree for something.
All that to say, I need book suggestions. It doesn't matter what kind of book it is. If you enjoyed it, let me know about it so I can expand my book rotation to suit all moods :)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Donut Wars (Part 1)

I'm a foreigner in a strange land. OK, so I'm just a Tennessean living in Seattle, but I find myself in a place where the clear dominance of Krispy Kreme donuts is not recognized by all.
I came to this realization the day that my supervisor made a post on his blog that sung the praises of Top Pot donuts. He said, "I’d do a comparison of Top Pot to Krispy Kreme or Dunkin Donuts or Winchell’s, but seriously folks, that would be like comparing your grandma’s homemade cherry pie to one of those Hostess cardboard things with is-this-toxic-or-edible?"
I was shocked! What could be better than a Krispy Kreme in the morning? I took this complaint up with my supervisor. It lead to some good-natured trash talk about donut supremacy and a promise to do a taste test.
Today we had our staff meeting at Top Pot. I had my favorite kind of donut, the Bavarian Cream (or Boston Creme donut as they are called at Dunkin Donuts). It wasn't the kind of life changing experience that I had been lead to believe it would be. It didn't melt in my mouth, the texture wasn't great. I have to admit that the donut wasn't exactly fresh so it took away from the experience and I did try Ronnie's old-fashioned donut and it was better than mine. Therefore, I will reserve my final judgment until we've been to Krispy Kreme about who actually makes the best donuts.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Top Three of the Day

Three things that rock my socks off as of right now:
1. "Simply Christian" by N.T. Wright. It's being hailed as the new "Mere Christianity." I just think it's a good book that everyone should read.
2. Swahili. I've finally found my "African clicking language." (I have a theory that everyone has at least language besides their own that they are naturally good at. I call it a person's 'African clicking language.')
3. Lauren Winner. She's an amazing author and person. She has degrees from Duke, Columbia, and Cambridge. To top it all off, she's finishing her PhD in history while teaching at Princeton. She reminds me that strong Christian women can be intellectual and have a personality.


Monday, February 18, 2008

1 Corinthians 11

You know those days where God seems to be yelling at you in order to get your attention? Not the quiet whisper or gentle suggestion, but flat out yelling. Yeah, so today was one of those days for me. My day centered around 1 Corinthians 11:17-34. It's about what the Lord's Supper is and what it isn't. I listened to a sermon about this passage at the Journey this morning and just came back from an unrelated Bible study on it tonight. Here's what God yelled at me:
1. We are designed for community. Chris pointed at this morning that one of a Christian's first reactions to having committed a sin is to distance themselves from the local church. Coming together for the Lord's Supper forces a believer to face their sins in a supportive environment where real change can occur.
2. I shy away from community a lot. I tend to skip opportunities to be with my brothers and sisters in Christ. That's gotta change. I can't be satisfied with just going to church. I need to be part of the church, the body of believers established to keep each other strong and bring about the kingdom of God.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day! Yes, I know that I'm single and the culture dictates that I should be miserable on this day, a kind of February Scrooge, but that's just not how I work.
Today, I choose to concentrate on a deeper kind of love. The love of my ultimate husband, Jesus. Out of all the days of the year, today is the day that God uses to remind me that I am part of the bride of Christ and that He thinks that I'm more than beautiful.
This morning I was listening to this free song that I got off of iTunes called "All That Matters" by Addison Road. I thought that you might enjoy the lyrics on this Valentine's Day.

I may never be the one that gets a second glance
I may never be the one they call the prettiest
But that’s alright with me

Maybe I don’t follow every crazy passion
Spend all my time trying to get a good reaction
But that’s okay with me

This world is like a trampoline
High and low, no in between
Jumping at the chance to please everyone
That’s not me ‘cause

All that matters is, all that matters is
I know Your love has set me free
That’s all that matters to me

People tell me to step out and do my own thing
And others say I got to blend in, just to be the same
Stop being me

But this shallow world is no longer what I’m made of
I’ve been changed by grace
I’ve been saved by love
What more do I need

My life comes from the one
Who made the stars and brought the sun
He loves me more than these

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Frustration (or 'Why I Need to Get Out of Town')

My word of the day is 'frustrated'. That's how I feel right now about both work and life, but mostly work. I have been in the Northwest for over six months now. What have I accomplished?

(begin a stream of consciousness that Mrs. Boyte would be proud of...)
I want to shout. I want to scream. I want to cry. I want five students at this university to give a rip about the NCM and what we do. Just five. Is that too much to ask for? I don't even know how to approach the problem anymore. It's six weeks into the quarter. Nobody starts caring about something new six weeks into the quarter. I go out on campus almost everyday, but I can't seem to start the right kinds of conversations. The kinds of conversations that lead to a person saying 'oh yeah, that sounds cool. when do you meet/can i stop by?'. I listen to people try to encourage me that everything will be ok, that I may not be the one that reaps the harvest. At this point, I don't always feel like I'm sowing a seed. I want to understand the students, but I can't seem to crack their code.
I need a plan. I need a new perspective. I need to pray more. I need God to perform a miracle of some sort. Any miracle. I'm not picky.
I want to be able to go to a church outside of the Northwest and be able to describe what God is doing in Seattle with clarity and conviction. I don't want the blank stares of those that don't understand life outside of mega-churches and Southern living anymore. I don't want to hear someone tell me that if I just used the right tract/evangicube/analogy for becoming a Christian that Seattle would suddenly understand what they've been missing out on.
I came to Seattle to make a difference. Where is the difference?
(end of rant)

I'll be okay tomorrow. But for today, my question is 'when will I feel like I'm doing something right?'.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Latin Aerobics = Church

Last Friday, I decided to try out a new class at the local YMCA called Latin Aerobics. It had the potential to be lots of fun even though I have all the moves of the Baptist white girl that I am. What can I say? I was feeling adventurous.
The class was supposed to start at 6:30am. (Yes, I can get up that early on my own if I feel the need.) When my friend and I got there, only the 20-something instuctor was there. We had a nice chat with her and then got up to start the workout. About two seconds before the girl turned on the Latin workout music, about eight older ladies (in their 70s-90s, no kidding) came into the room. Apparently, these ladies go to the 6:30 workout class every morning no matter what the workout is. They spread out around us as the workout began.
About five minutes into the workout, one of the ladies who was probably in her mid-70s tapped my friend on the shoulder and very firmly suggested that we move to another part of the room (aka. out of her space). We moved and the workout went on.
At the end of class, we did some core exercises on the floor with mats. When the class was over, we went and stacked the mats back where we got them. As I turned around, the same lady gave me a dirty look and told me to clean my mat. My mom says that I took this too hard, but I seriously felt like I had just made my grandmother mad.
So, I've been thinking about this for the past few days. I think that my latin aerobics experience is what it's like for some people to go to church for the first time. The pastor (aerobics instructor) is really nice and welcoming. He/she wants everyone to get involved. The people themselves often lack something to be desired though. They get into their own personal routines and refuse to break out for other people. They point out flaws in the spirit of judgment instead of the spirit of love. They make newcomers not want to come back until they feel like they're perfect themselves.
Just thinking...

Monday, February 4, 2008


My word of the day is 'happy.' This morning I woke up, folded some laundry, and got ready for my day. After getting ready, I felt this strange sensation that I couldn't place. Then, I realized that I was humming (a habit I picked up from my grandpa). This was a sure sign that my strange sensation was indeed some level of happiness.
Sure, I'm generally content with life. Lately, though, I've had a lot of days filled with frustration, sadness, and just general anxiety. It's a relief to feel truly happy with life even though the sky is cloudy and it's cold outside. Inside, I feel like it's the first day of spring and that vacation is right around the corner :)

Sunday, February 3, 2008

"Careful Not to Draw Your Maps in Pen and Ink"

I may alone in this, but I think that God is giving lyrics to musicans so that I can have my very own life soundtrack. When I first became a Christian, the song was "Worlds Apart" by Jars of Clay. When I found out that I couldn't go to my first choice college, the song was "Forward Motion" by Relient K. When I got my heart broken into a million pieces in college, BarlowGirl came out with "Porcelain Heart." Then, when I started asking some hard spiritual questions after moving to Seattle, the song was "Fade Away" by the OC Supertones.
So, lately I've been listening to "The Cobalt Season." (Awesome band, check them out on iTunes.) They have given me the new song for this season in my life. I've put the lyrics below for you to enjoy...

You are gonna change your mind someday
So just let go of all your thoughts on tomorrow
You may find your bearings in disarray
Though you may lead and trip and fall and follow

And all that you thought black will be proved red
Full of life and complication and sorrow
And all that you thought white was in your head
For life is lived in the shadows that we borrow

And I’ll look far, but may see nothing
And I will thirst, but may not drink
And I will yell to those behind me
“Careful not to draw your maps in pen and ink”

The same road disappears up ahead
Will you ever understand this equation?
The compass in your hand is all but dead
Time to feel your way around this evasion

Read the words again, for you might see
Life where you saw death, a way to your salvation
Best to lay down what you thought was certainty
Freedom’s found in the in that calmed frustration

And I will strain to find a pattern
And hold my breath ’till I’m on the brink
And I will yell to those behind me
“Careful not to draw your maps in pen and ink”

You are gonna change your mind someday
Just let go of all your thoughts