And It Must Be Said

Monday, February 26, 2007


“Make new friends, but keep the old;
Those are silver, these are gold.”
-Joseph Parry

With Benj out in California for the weekend I took advantage of the opportunity to visit my sister (Birmingham) and a college girlfriend (Atlanta). As I sat in DFW, silently rejoicing over my lot (no work for me!) I called my friend Mel and said, “Hey there! Have a GREAT staff meeting without me!” and after cursing my name for awhile she finally said, “Isn’t it great to be alone and anonymous?” She understood the joy I was experiencing of just being. Alone. No one to supervise, listen to, comfort, respond to, answer, report to. Selfish? Possibly. Heavenly? Definitely.

I flew to Birmingham and rented a car, (with a free upgrade, no less, just for being cute. Granted, it was an old-man PT Cruiser, but still) drove to the outskirts of Atlanta and met up with my friend Alissa, a suitemate at Pepperdine and life-long friend. I met 18 month old Brennan – a spitting image of Alissa and I freaked for a moment.

Me: “He’s like an alien!”
She: Who?!
Me: “Your son! He’s like…this weird creature that looks just like you…but isn’t you!!”

I will never get over that my friends have kids that look like them – it still creeps me out. Thankfully, Brennan is a lovey and funny little boy and we made fast friends.

Alissa and I had dinner out, just the two of us, and as we exchanged stories and got caught up I found myself telling her a story about a conversation that Benji and I had recently that wouldn’t exactly win me any points for “wife of the year” but definitely shows my husband’s pure-gold heart. She teared up.

She said, “He really knows you.”
And I said, “Thankfully, yes.”

Then she said, “You know, that story isn’t that surprising to me. Ever since I’ve known you you’ve had that…independent streak. That little part of your personality that hates to be confined or limited, so I’m not surprised that marriage in and of itself doesn’t rub you the wrong way sometimes.”

So we talked about that for a little bit, and as we drove home from dinner I felt a little relieved and thankful that Alissa had reminded me that some of the things I struggle with (read: rebellion against any that constrains) are old friends of mine, still testing me year after year. And it doesn’t make it good or bad, right or wrong, it just IS. And it is especially nice when the people who love you just understand the IS part. So I am thankful.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A Touch of Irony

How’s this for a touch of irony?

My husband sleep walks. Old news. We all know this, right?

Well, recently he accused ME of sleepwalking.

The thing is, I know for a fact that he was sleepwalking at the exact moment he is trying to say I was sleepwalking. He was talking and walking around, like he usually does when he’s stressed out and has too much to do (check out his blog for that whole saga). And I said, “Babe, come back to bed” – like I ALWAYS do when he sleepwalks. I said this like I ALWAYS do, really gently, because he freaks out if he gets woken up in the middle of an episode. He came back to bed and went back to sleep – clueless – like he ALWAYS is.

So the next morning we get up and he says, “You were sleepwalking last night!”


He proceeded to explain that I was up and talking and he had to tell me to go back to sleep.

I cracked up. “You’ve got to be kidding me!” I said. “YOU were sleepwalking!”

Round and round we went, but no amount of logic on my part would convince him that I was not, in fact, sleepwalking. It still won’t. He is convinced that I was the one sleepwalking.

Now really, given our track records – who do you believe in this scenario?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Why I Love Church

When I was in college I attended a church that I dearly loved. Sunday mornings I leaped out of bed to go with my roommates because we really loved going just that much. When I graduated and got married we attended a new church that I dreaded going to. I came up with every excuse I could think of to explain why I couldn’t go: I was sick, I was too tired, I’d go late, leave early, go to youth group only. I hated it. It was a bad combination – part me, part the church. We weren’t friends. Of course its 100 times worse when your husband is a pastor there. Ugh. How awkward.

So I was floored when I came across “Church: How I go without getting angry,” a chapter title in Don Miller’s Blue Like Jazz. I couldn’t believe he actually wrote it, but I was encouraged. I’d been thinking it for years.

But this past Sunday I wanted to write a chapter called “Why I love going to church” because it was quietly possibly the best service I have ever been to.

Our pastor was broken this summer over depression. Sunday it showed. He talked about ripping pages out of his Bible and using them to smoke weed in his dorm room. He talked about melting with love when his granddaughter says “pops” and that God melts over us just like that.
And then some collegian young woman sang Chris Rice’s “Untitled Hymn” before we took communion. This was no schmaltzy “special” music with a half-tone-deaf choir member singing against a Sandi Patti instrumental accompaniment. This was a simple, beautiful song with a piano quietly padding chords and a sweet, clear, breathy voice telling us to “Fly to Jesus.” I wept.

Don’t you love when church is what it is supposed to be?

Today I am thanking God for church, Sandra McCracken songs, egg salad and 11 really awesome college students.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Look Back, Look Ahead

My friend Katie sent these questions to me last year and I am actually using them now to celebrate the end of a year and the start of a fresh, new year! Enjoy, and Happy New Year!

1. What were the memorable events of this year that captured your attention? In your home and family? In your vocation? In your community?

2. Who were the significant people in your life?

3. What sources instructed or challenged your heart and mind?

4. Did you have recurring questions you struggled with during the year? What were they? Any answers? What questions are you still facing in this new year?

5. In what areas of your life did you grow? Were these areas related to your joy or your pain?

6. What are your regrets? How would you do things differently? What did you learn?

7. What discipline did you use most this year? The least?

8. What service did you give to others which was the most meaningful? Received from others?

9. What image comes to mind for your relationship with God at this point in your life?

10. What do you feel is the message of the year? What do you think God might be saying to you?

11. Are you responding with resistance? With trust? With fear?

12. Do you have a verse, an image, a word, or a poem to guide you into the new year?

13. What is it you wish? How would you answer Jesus’ question to you? “What are you looking for?” (John 1:38) and also “What do you want me to do for you?” (Luke 18:41)

2006 Books

Hello Blog World!

Forgive the lack of posts. My only explanation is that I simply didn't feel like blogging. Can we still be friends?

I think I'm back. I've got one other post to wrap up 2006, but for now, here's my reading list for 2006. I finished book #50 at 12:37 pm today. My favorites for the year, in no particular order: #7, #11, #13, #14, #17, #36, #44, #45, and #49. What did YOU love in 2006?

1. 1/06 - The Testament by John Grisham
2. 1/06 - Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
3. 1/06 - It Takes a Village by Hillary Rodam Clinton
4. 2/06 - The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
5. 2/06 – Queen of the Underworld by Gail Godwin
6. 3/06 – Rejoice by Karen Kingsbury
7. 3/06 - Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss
8. 3/06 – The Year of Pleasures by Elizabeth Berg
9. 3/06 – Ordinary Life by Elizabeth Berg
10. 4/06 – Founding Sisters and the Nineteenth Amendment by Eleanor Clift
11. 4/06 – Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
12. 5/06 – The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella
13. 5/06 – The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
14. 5/06 – Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris
15. 5/06 – Yas Yas in Bloom by Rebecca Wells
16. 6/06 – Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory by Randall Balmer
17. 6/06 – Real Sex: Thoughts on Chastity by Lauren Winner
18. 6/06 – Open House by Elizabeth Berg
19. 6/06 – Marley and Me by David Grogan
20. 6/06 – Crunchy Cons by Ron Dreher
21. 6/06 – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling
22. 7/06 – Smashed by Koren Zailckas
23.7/06 – Ghost Soldiers by Hampton Sides
24. 7/06 – Lethal Harvest by William Cutrer and Sandra Glahn
25. 8/06 – Operating Instructions: A Diary of My Son’s First Year by Anne Lamott
26. 8/06 – A Million Little Pieces by James Frey
27. 8/06 – Orthodoxy by GK Chesterton
28. 8/06 – Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
29. 8/06 - The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger
30. 9/06 – The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris
31. 9/06 - Primal Leadership by Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee
32. 10/06 – What We Keep by Elizabeth Berg
34. 10/06 – The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank
35. 10/06 – Five Star Living on a Two Star Budget by Margaret Feinberg and Natalie Nichols Gillespie
36. 10/06 – Bad Leadership by Barbara Kellerman
37. 10/06 – Simplify You Work Life by Elaine St. James
38. 11/06 – Of Love and Other Demons by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
39. 11/06 – Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell
40. 11/06 – Designing Organizations by Jay R. Galbraith
41. 11/06 – Confessions From An Honest Wife by Sarah Zacharias Davis
42. 11/06 – Ask The Dust by John Fante
43. 11/06 – Collaborative Entrepreneurship by Raymond Miles
44. 11/06 – Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner
45. 12/06 – When Life and Beliefs Collide by Carolyn Custis James
46. 12/06 – At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon
47. 12/06 – A Light in the Window by Jan Karon
48. 12/06 - Sabbath Keeping by Lynne Baab
49. 12/06 – Are Women Human By Dorothy Sayers
50. 12/06 – Open Heart, Open Home by Karen Mains

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

An Update

Here are some highlights from the past few weeks:

The students are back! Last week I held an Open House where over 100 residents came to check out my digs and snack on homemade oreos and milk. It is quite possibly the best thing I’ve done since I became a Hall Director, if I do say so myself.

Went to the Central Dallas Ministries Urban Engagement book group last Thursday, which meets at a church on SMU’s campus and met some very interesting people. I chatted with a prof from Perkins, the seminary at SMU. He laughed out loud over the irony that I was at the book group and my husband was sitting in a classroom at DTS. Mostly he was laughing because someone had just been bashing “Dispensational Pre-Millenials” and thought it was funny that I was married to one. He asked how Benj hooked up with a liberal like me. I explained that yes, even they, can care about the poor.

Had an Organizational Change class all day on Saturday, at the Dallas campus. It was the friendliest class I’ve had yet at UNT! Afterwards we spent the evening with our friends Tim and Courtney and their dog, Bentley, who pees all the time. Good friends, good food, good weather, good hot tub, good times throwing eggs at 14 year old boys, good conversations about passions and disappointments. Yes, all of that really did happen.

Went to church on Sunday. It was so good it made me want to curse. I am thankful.

Looking forward to:

Maya Angelou speaking on campus on Thursday night – way exciting.

Homework every spare minute of the day, so that…

We leave Friday morning at 5 am for DFW where we will fly to St Louis for a blissful 4 day homework-free vacation. The Zoo, Natural History Museum, and Busch Stadium are all calling our name. We’re packing light and taking public transportation everywhere. Can’t wait!

Derek Webb in concert on Monday the 25th, somewhere around here.

Monday, August 21, 2006

A Prayer for Readers

I've been using John Baillie's A Diary of Private Prayer (1936) as part of my Bible Study this summer, and this afternoon the prayer I read included a little paragraph on reading. His prayer life is beautiful and inspiring. I love the way he uses language. He makes the simplest concepts seem elegant and honorable, and I suppose the most elegant and honorable concepts are indeed simple.

So for your readers out there, here's a prayer for, well, praying:

"Leave me not, O gracious Presence, in such hours as I may today devote to the reading of books or of newspapers. Guide my mind to choose the right books and, having chosen them, to read them in the right way. When I read for profit, grant that all I read may lead me nearer to Thyself. When I read for recreation, grant that what I read may not lead me away from Thee. Let all my reading so refresh my mind that I may the more eagerly seek after whatsoever things are pure and fair and true."

What I love about John Baillie's prayer life is that he invites God into every aspect of his life. He is detailed, he is gentle, he is honest. I don't know his theology completely, but I know he loves the Trinity. The book includes 31 morning and evening prayers, and a Sunday morning and evening prayer. He's Episcopalian and Scottish and died in 1960.

Monday, July 31, 2006

What is Your Savior Lacking?

Benj and I started a Bible Study together this week, studying some classic sermons and the texts that inspired them. This week we read a portion of "The Excellency of Christ," preached by Jonathan Edwards in 1746. The accompanying text was Colossians 1:15-23.

We found ourselves in awe of, and gleefully stumbling over and discussing, the same passage:

"What is there that you can desire should be in a Savior, that is not in Christ? Or, wherein should you desire a Savior should be otherwise than Christ is? What excellency is there wanting? What is there that is great or good? What is there that is venerable or winning? What is there that is adorable or endearing? Or, what can you think of, that would be encouragining, that is not to be found in the person of Christ?"

and later, "What is there wanting, or what would you add if you could, to make him more fit to be your Savior?"

I've been thinking about it ever since. Everything I need my Savior to be - Christ is or has been. Holy? Check. Human? Check. Loving? Check. Near to God? Check.

Check. Check. Check. Check. Check.

What a joyful comfort to my soul that my Savior is so incredibly and completely everything I need.

All About Books

Sandi Glahn, Benji’s “writin’ mama” and ultra-cool DTS prof tagged me on her blog about books. Here’s my response:

1. One book that changed your life: Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster. I read it my sophomore year of college after taking what I call my “hiatus from God” – my freshman year. I freakin’ love that Quaker.

2. One book that you’ve read more than once: September by Rosamunde Pilcher.

3. One book you’d want on a desert island: The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. I mean, if something is going to tell you “get over it” that you’re on a desert island, this is the book.

4. One book that made you laugh: Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris.

5. One book that made you cry: Marley and Me by John Grogan. I bawled like a baby when Marley died.

6. One book that you wish had been written: Using PMS to work FOR you, not AGAINST you. I mean, really.

7. One book that you wish had never been written: God is a Conservative. Ok, in its defense, I’ve actually not read it and hear that it is fairly objective, but still…I HATE that title!

8. One book you’re currently reading: Two, actually: Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott and A Million Little Pieces by James Frey.

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read: The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky. I’ve had it for two years now and shrink away from it each time I’m done with a book because it looks so daunting.

10. Now tag five people: I’m going to make it 3, also; Benj, Amber and Nicole!