Monday, August 28, 2006

the august recap...

FOR THE RECORD: I have tried to post this like 7 times...and every time, it moves my pictures back to the left, even though I've changed it, and the preview shows me the right way. So sorry my post is ugly. I guess you can't always be pretty!

So, I've got no real "end of the month events--
I also have no pictures of Evan's graduation party
But, Quizmania was middle of the month, and it was good fun

And a few weeks before that
we celebrated our 7th anniversary
in St. Louis. Scott's parent's took us to lunch and then we went and
saw the Chihuly glass exhibit at the Botanical Garden

And while we were in St. Louis for our weekend long celebration,
we hung out with Evan and Liz (again no pictures)
and hung out at the city museum
which is like a giant jungle gym/playground

We also went to a Cardinals game because
Scott had gotten tickets for his birthday
to be redeemed on this anniversary trip.

Overall, it looks like it was a pretty good month.
Coming in September: the move, our first district quiz as directors,
District Leadership conference with Bill and Steve,
Erica's wedding, and maybe some other fun stuff.

Friday, August 25, 2006

we're moving.

of course, this is no suprise. when aren't we moving? anyway-i think we're actually going to get to move on Sept 9. (if we get the basement finished, and our crap packed).

Quizmania went pretty well. I'm excited to see how the year is going to turn out. there's a few pictures on jeremy's site, and all of the pictures are up at the ccdquiz gallery (so visit the website and see em!)

two more weeks at Lutheran. Yay. im sad to be leaving, but since my supervisor drives me up the wall, i can do the same job closer to my family. and thats better for everyone.

oh, we still don't have jobs. we're working on it though.

i think thats about it in the news department.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

of course.

well, quizmania is tomorrow. so of course i am sick. I am currently medicated. it's NICE.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Rest for the weary

The following is an article written by the late Mike Yaconelli, co-founder of Youth Specialties. It's how It helps when I get tired, and I hope it helps you.

My life at present seems like an impenetrable jungle of responsibilities, a jagged briar patch of relationships, a tangled web of obligations. It feels like I am lost in the darkness of everyone else’s needs, silently pursued by a growing crowd of strangers who crave one more piece of me. Even in the dark, I can feel the penetrating stare of those who don’t know me. Feelings of loss and loneliness dog my steps, and I begin to sag under the weight of it all. Exhausted, weak, confused, I remember the words of Tilden Edwards:

The more that rushes through our minds, the more complicated and anxious life seems. Maybe TV will help settle us down—or the newspaper—or some work—or sex—or a big snack. Less seems to gnaw at us then. Life stays put for a moment. We feel in control again—we’re "doing" something—anything.

The after-effect of the doing leaves us more anxious, but more drugged. We’ve exchanged a gnawing anxiety for a dulled sensibility. Maybe, at least, we can sleep now. We do, on the surface. But not below. Our dreams are troubled. Fragments of life whir round and round without a center. We wake tired, and struggle out for another round.

You and I share such an "underlife." It usually is bearable; it even seems "normal," sometimes out of sheer habit. Sometimes it is even fun. But it is not fulfilling. We are grown for more than that. When this becomes most clear, when the whole daily round feels most wearisome, we hear ourselves crying out...How long will I , must I, tromp through this dense jungle half crazed and blind before the clearing appears?

"Half crazed and blind?" Wait a minute...that sounds like me! And here is the most frightening part—no one knows I’m half crazed and blind! I look normal! The reality is that I not only look normal, I look better than normal. After all, I am a minister, I do talk about God a lot, I appear to everyone around me to be a good person. So I not only look normal, I look better than normal.

But I’m not. I am "tromping" through the years of my life, half crazed and blind, looking for a clearing, longing for a clearing, desperate for a place where life can stay put for a moment.

Apparently (and this should come as no surprise), I have to be half crazed and blind before I am willing to do anything about that which makes my life half crazed and blind. Apparently, I have to experience density before I look for a clearing. I am beginning to understand that life is not so much a search for answers, as it is a search for clearings. Clearings are the required stopping places in our lives when our lives get to be too much.

A clearing is a place of shelter, peace, rest, safety, quiet, and healing. It is a place where you get your bearings, regroup, inspect the damage, fill out the estimate and make the repairs. It is the place where the mid-course corrections are made—where you can change course, even, or start over. A clearing is a place where you can see what you couldn’t see and hear what you couldn’t hear.

Clearings are not optional. They are longings in disguise. They are the required rest stops of life when our exhausted souls run out of steam. A clearing is the only place left to go when the madness of our lives has left our souls dying, hungering, gasping for oxygen and nourishment. If we don’t seek the clearings, then we will be brought to them forcibly in the form of a heart attack, illness, breakdown, anxiety attack, depression and/or loneliness. I am beginning to believe that life is not a search for jungleless existence, but rather a search for a few clearings in the midst of the jungle. Life is not triumph over the jungle, but rather submission to reality that clearings are integral to life in the jungle.

Life requires not only the recognition of the need for clearings, but the humility to look for guides to get us there. Those guides have different names (wife, husband, minister, child, friend, mystic, books, mentor, counselor, dad, mom).

The Christian life is a "tromp." It is a majestic tromp, but a tromp, nonetheless. The Holy Spirit doesn’t bring us to a limousine, it brings us to a clearing.

I didn’t find my first clearing until I was approaching 50, and now, three years later, I have sought out my next clearing. I have sought it out because I had no choice: my anxiety level was dangerously high, my relationships were clearly in jeopardy, and wherever I looked in the aftermath of my life, someone was getting damaged. My friends, my wife, and my children could see what I couldn’t see, and they hemmed me in with the truth so I had no alternative but to desperately find a clearing.

My clearing this time was in the form of a counselor who spent three days taking me through the jungle of my life. (My counselor, by the way, made it very clear that I cannot preach about my experience nor write about it. I have become quite good at writing about clearings rather then experiencing them). I can tell you that my clearing was not all that fun. It was painful exhilaration, though—and in time, I will be ready to cautiously move into the jungle once again.

For now, however, I’m going to hang around the clearing for awhile—maybe even dance around it—just so I can savor what it is like to experience sight and sanity once again.

--Mike Yaconelli

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

the best thing i read all day.

So last week...scott got this book-PLAN B FURTHER THOUGHTS ON FAITH and i thought it sounded alright--but more like i have nothing else to read on sunday afternoon so why not? But today, i get up and go to leave for work--and i think i should take that book with me (as i was going to be sitting at mcdonalds supervising visitation for three hours). I had another book already in the car--but something (probably Jesus) suggested this book was to be my reading for the day.

The story is really long, and so I'm not going to post it here--but you should get the book, the author is Anne Lamott (and its on the 3 for 2 table at borders!) and read the story red cords. It really helped me to get this insight into how we are connected, anointed and loved by a crazy wonderful God. It gave me hope, and peace. It also gave me strength and courage. It really affected me.

I hate being jealous. Ask my husband, i'm jealous a lot. whether its because some of our friends have babies, or homes or whatever--i get jealous. Now-we're really happy and we've chosen to live the lives we're living. We opted for doing tons of volunteer work (and missing vacation opportunities to maryland or disney) to do these things--camp, quizzing, youth work--we have to sacrifice--we have to work at jobs that will be flexible enough to allow us to do these things. These jobs will never be high paying jobs. Our hope is that we can have a house and kids, and that we'll get by. We've CHOSEN this life--or this life has chosen us. Either way--i still get jealous. Why can't i have a gym membership? or a huge house in bourbonnais? or get my masters? or work part time so that we can have babies? We've been brainwashed-much like the rest of our culture--we're programmed to keep up. Your best friend just got a new car? well then you should too. It's hard to not want the things that others have. It's hard to make other people understand--we aren't doing these things to appear holy--we really want people to understand this Jesus thing. And to do that--we have to give up some stuff. I've always been kind of materialistic and its hard for me to not have what everyone else has. I want the new house, car, pool, plasma tv, whatever. But more than that, I want to serve Jesus. I was once told that if you're doing something--and it isn't for the glory of God--then you need to evaluate why you do it. I realize not everyone will understand this post. Some folks I'm sure think we're nuts. Thats what Jesus does to people. He makes them do things they never considered doing. I want to give up what we've given up--i've prayed, made that choice--and been happy. i wouldn't give up camp, or quiz events, or youth events, or NYWC for any of the stuff everyone else has. I love seeing and being Jesus. I wish I was better at it. when i get jealous, i feel like a failure. like i shouldn't want all of those other things because i've chosen this life. The cords story reminds me that God has chosen me--just as i am...failure and all. I wouldn't be happy if I gave all those other things up in exchange for a big screen tv, or gym membership, or a fancy car (although the 11 cup holders in the party van give me hope that God loves me!).

Maybe my struggle is wondering--would those other people with all their cool stuff be happy if they gave it up to go to church camp? Or is there a way to have both?

Anyway, thats my struggle of the day. Who knew that loving Jesus is such a struggle sometimes?