Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Whole Nother Ball Game

For some, Thanksgiving means football, family and food. On account of the fact that I’m not all that crazy about the all-American sport* or about the fare that characterizes this holiday, I’ve recently arrived at alternate reasons why I think it’s just swell anyway.

Of course, any excuse to gather long-separated families together is mighty fine. I am overcome with disbelief that I have not seen my sister or brother-in-law in three months! That’s a quarter of a year, for Pete’s Sake. Too long. So, granted, I’m looking forward to a sweet reunion with my kin.

Additionally, I’ve been chewing on (and been challenged by) these words by A.W. Tozer that were thoughtfully shared at Redeemer this Sunday:

“The dictionary says that to admire is to regard with wondering esteem accompanied by pleasure and delight; to look at or upon with an elevated feeling of pleasure. According to this definition, God has few admirers among Christians today. Many are they who are grateful for His goodness in providing salvation. At Thanksgiving time the churches ring with songs of gratitude that all is safely gathered in. Testimony meetings are mostly devoted to recitations of incidents where someone got into trouble and got out again in answer to prayer. To decry this would be uncharitable and unscriptural for there is much of the same thing in the Book of Psalms. It is good and right to render unto God thanksgiving for all His mercies to us. But God’s admirers, where are they? The simple truth is that worship is elementary until it begins to take on the quality of admiration. Just as long as the worshiper is engrossed with himself and his good fortune, he is a babe. We begin to grow up when our worship passes from thanksgiving to admiration. As our hearts rise to God in lofty esteem for that which He is (I AM THAT I AM), we begin to share a little of the selfless pleasure which is the portion of the blessed in heaven.”

It is quite effortless to leak thanks to the Lord when things are going my way…when I feel blessed. It is an altogether different ballgame to worship Him out of genuine admiration of WHO HE IS – an unchanging, always-loving, never-not-deserving-of-praise God. I hope that this Thanksgiving, I will move past myself to see the Giver beyond His gifts.
* Though I do have a soft spot for the Dawgs, of course.
(Um, is "nother" a word? It sounded so right a few minutes ago, but now, I'm all the sudden not so sure).

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Patty Kind of Day

No one on this planet can rival the therapy-slathering melancholy of Miss Griffin. She is heart medicine. And on days like today, it just seems right to let her soft sadness float out of my desk-side speakers. Pandora combines the blues of Over the Rhine with other upsetting-beyond-belief ballads of heartache and hopelessness. There are few things that can make me happier than such devastatingly beautiful tear-inducing music.

Friday, November 21, 2008

An Autobiographical Interview

My line of work has me asking a lot of questions. For a change of pace, I'm going to sit on the other side for a moment. Inspired by a reading of November's Real Simple, I have decided to produce my own answers to the questions posed in their "Your Words" section. I so enjoyed the thoughtful and vastly-different responses of readers and have added a few of mine into the mix below.

I'd love to hear yours.

How do you save money on everyday essentials? (December 2008)

Well, to be quite honest, I (embarassingly) skimp on going to the grocery store. I'll eat cereal, pasta and sandwiches until the cupboard is completely bare. Oh, and I sign up for more work lunches weeks when I know budget is especially tight. I'm not saying it's right...but, if I disguise in the name of "networking," it's not so bad.

What's the last thing you do before going to bed at night? (October 2007)

Lately? One of the following: a) read b) write c) talk on the phone to faraway friends d) watch Felicity re-runs and chew the fat with my roommates.

If you had 15 extra minutes in your day, how would you use them? (January 2007)

I would go for a brisk QUIET walk in the neighborhood at the start of each day.

What do you love most about your kitchen? (October 2006)

The windows that allow copious amounts of light in during the day and provide a view into our neighbor's (Dick/Lou) kitchen at night. We face each other when we're at the kitchen sink. It's fun.

What's your best advice to a new High School Graudate? (May 2005)

Don't let anyone tell you that you can't find a job that lights you up. You can. If there doesn't exists a job that allows you to use your gifts, then create it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

For Your Entertainment Pleasure

Just a little anecdote: I was about 10 years old when my dad decided to take up playing the Native American Flute. Joining a flute society and befriending a Peruvian, he started a collection of authentic wooden instruments and began the process of teaching himself. From anywhere in the house, Dad could be heard piping away. His favorite and most-reoccuring number was "Green Sleeves." For a while, he carried a flute with him wherever he went. In the car. On a hike. To friend's houses. In a moment's notice, he was known to whip it out and blow us a tune for, what he called "our entertainment pleasure."

Anyways, the following is a list of songs that are accompanying my recent days. I'll call this playlist: "For Your Entertainment Pleasure." Click each link for a listen.

1. Band of Horses (Both Cease to Begin and Everything All the Time. Thanks be to the treasure box who shared them with me.)
2. Fleet Foxes
3. Ray LaMontagne (Gossip in the Grain)
4. Ingrid Michaelson (Be OK. Album faves include, but are not limited to: "You and I" and "The Chain.")
5. Abby's 3-CD-long playlist entitled "Falling Like Leaves" including this jewel: "Lovin's for Fools" by Sara Siskind (GOLD!)
6. Modern Skirts (particularly the new stuff! Yeah for the chance to see them at Urban last week. Three cheers for the Skirts!)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Fireside Friendships

C.S. Lewis asks, "Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a fire?," to which I respond: "You know, Clive, I don't think there is. Nope, nothing finer."

This weekend, I had the grand pleasure of packing up and heading out into the blustery wilderness that is Cheaha State Park with sizeable group of sweet friends. Though a grey cloud followed us by day, we were blessed with a beautiful clear night under the harvest moon. As we gathered around the fire, I couldn't help but think of ole C.S.'s words. It's not even thanksgiving yet, and I'm already glowing with gratitude for what a blessing it is to be a part of the church without walls.

(Pictured above are the lovely Kate D., Kara H, and Elaine D.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Next G.A.N.

As you may know, I have recently accepted the NaNoWriMo challenge: an initaitive that requires each participant to pen a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. How am I doing, you ask? Well, let's just say I'm horribly hopelessly behind in word count, yet nonetheless quite excited about my developing characters and what I hope will wind itself into being a sweet little plot. In all of this, I'm just glad that I'm attempting to do something that scares the pants off of me. I'm no novelist. Heck, I've never even written a short story that I was pleased with. I'm comfortable writing about what I know... but when it comes to imagining, creating somethings out of nothings... well, that's a different story altogether.

All that to say, I'll likely not write a bestselling book this month. It's not probable that I'll forgo my journalistic career and turn to fiction-writing. But, I will revel in this opportunity to do something out of my ordinary, to plug away at something that challenges me. Who knows, maybe something surprising will result.

And now, what will likely be the only excerpt you ever see of this shoddy attempt:

"Today, she hoped, would be a day filled with color and light. Today, she prayed, would be a day accompanied by symphonic overtures. Yes, it would be a soft-hearted, eyes-open day. It was quite often that Leighton thought about what it'd be like to make a collage out of her old journals. She'd paste pages from yesterday next to excerpts from age 10. She'd juxtapose the best of the years that were, with the wisdom of her present. Plucking passages from when her teenage optimism reigned, she'd cover a canvas with the combined words of who she wanted to be. Each day, Leighton dreamed about the installation of her masterpiece -- the moment of proud completion. She swallowed a dry mouth full of air and drove. "