Monday, May 31, 2010

Musical Monday

Happy Memorial day all. Thank you to all who have served.

Today's song is "Will You Be There" by Skillet

As I fall to sleep
Will you comfort me
When my heart is weak
Will you rescue me

Will you be there
As I grow cold
Will you be there when I'm falling down
Will you be there

When I'm in retreat
Can I run to you
Will my pain release
At your mercy seat

[CHORUS:]
Will you be there
As I grow cold
Will you be there when I'm falling down
Will you be there
My heart grows cold
Will you be there when I'm falling down
Are you saying yes
I gotta believe it
Are you saying yeah
When your love comes down I can rest my eyes
Feel your grace and power flood into my life
As my brokenness and your strength collide
When your love comes down
Falling Down

As I fall to sleep

As I grow cold

Will you be there
My heart grows cold
Will you be there when I'm falling down 

Sunday, May 30, 2010

School Daiyes

"May your hats fly as high as your dreams." ~Michael Scott

I'm probably a little bit late, but here's to all of the folks who are graduating this year.

Of course sometimes it's a wonder that anyone graduates. Like some of these students, for instance.

These remind me of some of the things Tina and I came up with when we were studying our vocabulary words. My personal favorite was always dubious: The Doobie Brothers often argue about which one is the dubious. I smile every time I see that word.

What are some of your favorite school memories?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Sappy Saturday

We celebrated another birthday in our family this week, so I'm pulling today's Sappy Saturday from my family once again. This time, it's my oldest daughter (and oldest child period!) Deborah.

I found out I was pregnant with Deborah when we had just moved to Cleveland, OH. I couldn't believe that I was going to be a mom. Yet here it was. And on May 26, 1998, after a long, long labor, I gave birth to the child that turned me into a mother.

Deborah just turned 12 and as Jason pointed out to me, we've raised her two-thirds of the way toward adulthood. And what an amazing young woman she is becoming. I am so proud of her and all that she is accomplishing as she grows.

She is a beautiful girl, but her beauty is enhanced so much by who she is. She has a wonderful mind. Her teachers all rave about her, not only because she's smart, but because she is so motivated and pushes herself so much. She could definitely get by with the bare minimum, but she works hard to make sure that she's putting forth her best effort.

She is also one of the most responsible twelve-year-olds I've ever met. I'm sure being the big sister to two younger brothers and a little sister helps with that, but she has an innate sense of responsibility. Younger kids absolutely love her. She started babysitting a bit this past year for my sister and bil's Bible study and is doing a great job with that. Even her siblings like having her in charge if I need to step out for a bit.

She has inherited her father's honesty. For as long as she's been old enough to lie, she just can't do it. As she has aged, this quality has been so important to us. We love that we have a daughter that we can trust not only to do the right thing, but also to be honest with us if she screws up.

She and I are fairly similar. Which definitely means that there are times when we butt heads because we're so alike. We've had our share of screaming matches. But it also means that we share a similar sense of humor. We love to sit and watch Chopped together. We can rag on each other and (generally) just end up laughing. And since we're both the same, it also means that even if we do end up arguing, we're almost always back to normal pretty quickly.

I was definitely not prepared to be a mom. Heck, some days I still don't think I'm prepared to be a mom! Thankfully, I have a truly fantastic daughter who is helping me ease my way through this motherhood thing. She has shaped so much of who I am. My life is deeply enriched by having her in it. I love you Deborah!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Beware the Robot Revolution



As Sam Waterston has been warning us for years, the robot revolution is coming. But back when this was recorded, robots were still slow moving machines. They were indeed strong, but we could still hope to at least outrun them.

Fortunately, the Carnegie Science Center has captured and enslaved some robots so that we may learn their ways. A few weeks ago, we took the family and began our training. In the following video, you will see me playing against the Air-Hockey Bot. Though I did not defeat the fiend, fear not, fair reader. At the end of the round, it had not defeated me. Clearly the hours spent at the college arcade playing air hockey for hours at a time were well spent.


So what is the greatest threat to mankind? Is it robots? Or is the zombie apocalypse still at the top of the list?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Defeating El Guapo



As I've mentioned a few dozen times (or more), I play in an awesome band called Under Shelter. (You know you want to hire us for your next party -- we really are quite good!) I've been playing with them for not quite a year now and for the most part I manage to play our gigs without breaking into a cold sweat. Sometimes I even manage to have a good time.

Lately Rich has been bugging me to take a solo every now and again. This makes me want to throw up. Not because I don't like playing -- I really, really do. But honestly, every time I think about playing any kind of improvisational thing, my stomach clenches, my head swims and my heart races. And what's worse is that despite the compliments that I have received over my years of playing (and when I think about it, people have been very generous with compliments over the years), every single negative thing that has ever been said about my playing leaps to my mind and drowns out every other voice.

I'll hear the voice of the director at the high school regional choir who wouldn't let either of the student accompanists play the best song in the program because we played "too straight."

Or the voice of the visiting professor in college, days before my senior recital telling me at a master class that I was an emotionless player.

Or the voice of a pastor telling me as an adult that I wasn't welcome to play in his church ever again.

These have not been the largest number of voices by any stretch of the imagination. But they've come in at precisely the wrong moments and have spoken to the one area in music that has always felt like my biggest strength. If they had been criticisms of my technical proficiency, I couldn't disagree and probably wouldn't have cared as much. I'm not a chops kind of player. But they spoke to my soul, where music lives. So they go much, much deeper and have caused me to question all comments to the contrary.

But ultimately (lest this turn into a depressing whine-fest), I have to figure out how to get past these negative voices, these "El Guapos" if you prefer. What is it that will get me past this place where I sit here and worry and just DO something?

And ultimately, it comes down to trust. I need to trust the people who have my best interest at heart. Trust that my husband really means it when he says I'm beautiful. Trust that my best friends aren't saying one thing to my face and then something else behind my back. Trust that even when I feel alone, God has told me that He'll never leave me or forsake me. I ask you to help keep me accountable for that trust.

What is your "El Guapo"? How have you conquered negativity in your own life?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Full-Featured Friend

The other day my friend Rich and I were texting about a goofy conversation we had shared over the weekend about meat (seriously, it was just goofy -- I can no longer hear that word without giggling). As most conversations between us go, it veered wildly into discussions about anemones and clown fish and Brahms and eventually settled into something normal about his family heading out of town for a bit of time early next month. I suggested that while we could in no way make up for his family, we should absolutely get together while they were gone to ease the lonely. The conversation wrapped up with the following:
Rich: Thanks for quasi-adopting me while they're away.
Me: Well, keeping people sane is just one of the features I offer.
Rich: True. You're quite the full-featured friend. :-)
I. Love. It.


Seriously. Full-featured friend? That could be the best phrase I've ever heard with regard to friendship.


So I started thinking about what kind of features I want in a friend. Here's my list.
  1. They make me laugh -- Maybe it's totally shallow, but honestly, that is one of the top features I look for in a friend. Life is unbearably funny. I want a friend who understands and thrives with that. And who helps me find the funny when I'm having a hard time seeing it (because seriously, everything is funny).
  2. They make me think -- As much as I love to be entertained, I also need to be challenged. I love it when someone gives me something to chew on mentally. I can't express how many blog posts have come from conversations I've had with friends who challenge the way I think.
  3. I can be honest with them -- Very little endears me to someone more than the ability for me to be honest. If someone asks me a question, I appreciate it when I can answer unedited. It's good to know that a relationship can withstand "wrong" answers. That's a pretty rare thing.
  4. They are willing to be honest with me -- Even though it's not necessarily easy to hear, I want my friends to be honest with me. If I'm being a jerk, I want someone to tell me. A constant that I find among my closest friends is that they are able to deliver the truth to me in a way that lifts me up, even if it's a criticism.
  5. They know how to hug -- Not that side hug stuff -- real hugs. No matter what my mood is, a full embrace will improve it. When words can't cut it, a hug will. 
  6. They play -- This one is big to me because this is is an area where I am lacking. I don't have an innate ability to play, so I rely on my friends to help me access my need to be a kid once in a while.
  7. They are characterized by love -- When they evaluate a situation, a full-featured friend will choose to be loving. I've seen some close to me be in situations where the loving choice was not the easy choice and have made it anyway. That speaks volumes to me about their character.
  8. They have unbridled passion -- (Okay, I'm adding this one in a few hours later, but I can't let this post rest without it!) Watching or listening to someone fully immerse themselves into something that they love is intoxicating. They don't have to mirror my own passions (though that's always a plus), but I do love to see my friends engaged in what moves them. It's truly beautiful.
So there you have it. I can't think of someone genuinely close to me that doesn't have every one of those features. I have friends that may not be full-featured, which is totally okay! But those truly close (my bffs, as it were) have it all. I am crazy lucky to have a couple of full-featured friends.

What kinds of things do you look for in a full-featured friend? And no kidding, am I wrong, or is that not just the best phrase ever?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Don't Panic!

Hey there froods!

In my sophomore year of high school, my friend Tina introduced me to Douglas Adams's "trilogy" (at that time only four books long), The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. We bought each of the books separately, one at a time, and passed them between us. This is the first set of books that I remember actually reading and laughing out loud as I read. I'm sure books had made me smile before then, and maybe even a soft chuckle, but this was the first I remember a book eliciting deep laughter. Everything about that series makes me happy.

Today is Towel Day. The purpose is to celebrate the life of Douglas Adams. Though he was a pretty prolific author, his most well-known work is definitely the Hitchhiker series. If you haven't read the books, you need to get right on that. And if you have, well then, you know just how hoopy they really are.

"Six by nine. Forty two."
"That's it. That's all there is."
"I always thought something was fundamentally wrong with the universe."
For thoughts on what you can do to celebrate, be sure to check out this link.

What kind of towel are you carrying with you today? What's your favorite Douglas Adams moment (gratuitous quoting encouraged)? 

Monday, May 24, 2010

Musical Monday


Todays Musical Monday was inspired by Matthew Paul Turner and his book Hear No Evil. It was a really funny, poignant story (you can read my review here), but one part in particular really grabbed me. (Mini-spoiler ahead, just so you know.) He was talking about going to the home of a non-Baptist where he was introduced to the subversive music of Sandi Patty. And while his experience is not mine by any stretch, I do have my own Sandi Patty memories.

Because I didn't have musical restrictions that Matthew did, I was never the huge Sandi Patty fan that my mom was. But I definitely attended at least one Sandi Patty concert and had the t-shirt to prove it. And the song featured on that t-shirt is the song I've chosen for today's Musical Monday selection.

Love in Any Language was one that touched something in my young (and enormous-haired) heart. Again, this reminds me that what has always dominated my perception of God has been his love. And it reminds me that despite all of the rules and lists we place around our lives, the greatest commandment that Jesus gave us was to love God and to love one another. That's it. We do our best to make it complicated, but ultimately, it's just not. I'm not saying that love is always easy, but as far as the actual rules go -- it's quite simple. And it works no matter what our background.

Je t'aime
Te amo
Ya ti-bya lyu blyu
Ani o hev ot cha
I love you

The sounds are all as different
As the lands from which they came
And though the words are all unique
Our hearts are still the same

Love in any language
Straight from the heart
Pulls us all together
Never apart
And once we learn to speak it
All the world will hear
Love in any language
Fluently spoken here

We teach the young our differences
Yet look how we're the same
We love to laugh, to dream our dreams
We know the sting of pain

From Leningrad to Lexington
The farmer loves his land
And daddies all get misty-eyed
To give their daughter's hand

Oh maybe when we realize
How much there is to share
We'll find too much in common
To pretend it isn't there

Love in any language
Straight from the heart
Pulls us all together
Never apart
And once we learn to speak it
All the world will hear
Love in any language
Fluently spoken here

Tho' the rehtoric of government
May keep us worlds apart
There's no misinterpreting
The language of the heart

Love in any language
Straight from the heart
Pulls us all together
Never apart
And once we learn to speak it
All the world will hear
Love in any language
Fluently spoken here 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Well that's creative

Creative people always impress me. Really, it can be just about anything. I love to go out to eat and see what kinds of flavors people put together to make something delicious. I love to curl up with a good book and let a word smith take me to another world. I love to listen to a really talented musician use sound to stir emotions. I love flipping on a show like Mythbusters and seeing how they use their minds to creatively solve problems. I love browsing around over at Etsy and seeing what kind of things people are making out of just about anything you can imagine.

So when I stumbled across this article about chessboxing today, it just made me smile. Jason told me that someone at his last Drinking Skeptically meeting had mentioned it, but this was the first time I had seen it out in the wild.

But chessboxing is what it says it is: A match consists of alternating rounds, several minutes at a time, first at the chessboard, then in the boxing ring.
"It's a hybrid sport between one that's considered really geeky and one that's considered really macho," Armancas said. "A really strange juxtaposition."
That's just fantastic.

I think we all have a creative spark in us. I think we sometimes relegate creativity to the arts, but I believe that creativity exists in all disciplines.

What kinds of creative things move you? What do you do to express your creativity?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sappy Saturday

As you've no doubt noticed, my posting output has increased pretty dramatically in the past few weeks. I've been inspired by some really entertaining bloggers and encouraged by some close friends to really get some of my thoughts out there, so I hope to keep the pace up (okay, there might be a lot more posts like yesterday's in the future -- I don't know if I've got daily "real" posts in me!).

But today's Sappy Saturday is one of the first people who made me write almost every day. My high school sophomore English teacher, Mr. Davies. Obviously I was asked to write prior to tenth grade, but he was the first person I remember asking us to write a daily 50 word essay. They didn't have to be about anything in particular. They didn't have to teach anything or have any deep insights. We just had to write a little bit every day.

As I've said before, I've been a journal keeper most of my writing life. But this was one of the first times that I was asked to write about my life in a way that was for a more public audience. I would consider those journals to be some of my true first blog posts (even though that was well before the word blog even existed!). Yes, I was writing them for me. I had some entries about religion, some about politics, and lots about Flee Ball, band, musical rehearsal and studying spelling words with Tina. There was one week where I even taped pictures into my little green book and wrote about the events in the pictures.

Plus, I would say that Mr. Davies got me addicted to getting comments. We would turn in our booklets every Friday, and in Monday's class, he would return them to us and every single entry had a comment. That was absolutely my favorite part of the assignment. They weren't graded. He didn't point out spelling or grammatical mistakes (I know this because I still have mine and wow. There are some doozies in there!). He just commented on the content. Just a few words, but enough to let me know that he actually read what I wrote.

Aside from all of that (and really, that would be enough because it was really amazing), he was a teacher that just thought outside of the box about his subject. I always looked forward to English my sophomore year, and I don't know if I could say that as much about other years. I always enjoyed the subject, but that year I looked forward to the class itself. He engaged our minds in a way that was far more than just giving us the material and having us write a paper or giving us a list of words to memorize. It was just a really great class. He also cared about us in our life outside of his class, which I think was always nice for us. He was a basketball coach and had two high school students of his own when I was in school, but he still attended most school functions, which not all teachers did.

It's been twenty years since I had him as a teacher (yikes -- did I just admit that???), but he is someone who had a fairly profound effect on my life. Thanks Mr. Davies!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010

My Anti-Lost Post

Okay, so I'm not really anti-Lost. I've just never, ever watched the show.

So I'm surfing around to all of my favorite blogs and nearly all of them are talking about the series finale of Lost. Tons of my Facebook friends have status updates speculating on the finale. I see Tweets about Lost. And I'm left, amazingly enough, with absolutely nothing to say about it. And since I've only watched half of one episode of 24, I'm going to go through this again in a few weeks when that show wraps up. Now I know what all of those folks who didn't watch Seinfeld were feeling (though the internet was still pretty new back then, and social networking was definitely not what it is today!). It's horrible being on the outs with popular culture!

That said, I know that series finales are kind of a big deal, so I'll sit quietly by while the world bids farewell to a show that apparently a lot of people really enjoy. In the meantime, what is your favorite series finale? What one left you most or least satisfied? What show that's on now are you most or least looking forward to wrapping up?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Free Speech? Hate Speech?

Tomorrow is supposed to be Everybody Draw Muhammad Day. Or it's not. I'm not entirely sure. At this point, even with most of the originators bowing out, it seems like it is still likely to happen.

Ever since it was announced following the whole South Park incident, I've been of two (at least!) minds about this.

On one hand, I fully support the right to free speech. To me, it is one of the few truly unique freedoms that American's possess and I hate to see it hindered in any way. Even if I hate what someone has to say, I fully support their right to say it. I may encourage people to avoid listening if I think it's wrong. I will almost certainly complain about it being given air time if I think it's harmful. And I'll certainly spend my money elsewhere if there's a similar product that doesn't support something that I find distasteful. But as a rule, I support a person's right to say whatever they want.

On another hand, how is it remotely okay to let a few extremists dictate how we live? Changing how we live is pretty much the goal of terrorism. So by succumbing to the demands to not draw the Prophet, it's pretty much giving in to the demands of the very, very few. Which is not at all how I want to live.

On yet another hand, how cool is it to be deliberately offensive to a whole group of people? My understanding is that extremist or not, all Muslims find depictions of Muhammad to be offensive. So what this event is likely to do is to be offensive to a bunch of people who are just practicing their faith the way that they were taught and in the way that they believe. Which I've got to say, seems kinda' douchey to me.

On this fourth hand, creativity has always pushed boundaries. I would much rather it be judged on the quality of its content than necessarily on the content itself. Provocative for the sake of being provocative is probably not going to have any staying power. But at least people are putting it out there. Stifling the creative process just feels wrong to me.

I don't know what the answer is. I think all sides have valid points. I certainly don't think that tomorrow is going to give us all of the answers, but I do think that the questions are important and need to be discussed.

What do you think? Are free speech and standing up to terrorism more important than not offending a whole people group? Or is free speech good, but maybe being nice to our fellow man is more important? Or does the creative process trump everything?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Groundhog Day

I finally saw him!

In the grassy lot right next to the local BP, there lives a groundhog. This wouldn't be a huge deal, but animals die in the middle of the road. All. The. Time. This guy has been there several years and is still going strong (or at least his progeny is still going strong -- something!). I know that I'm not the only one who is impressed by this guy's staying power. There's a stump in the middle of the field and more than once I've seen food set out, presumably for the groundhog. So I know that his appearance doesn't just make me happy, but clearly others in the area as well. I know that groundhogs are just rodents, but there's something about this little guy's tenacity that just really seems to connect with people around here.

What's really weird is that I didn't realize how much I look forward to seeing him when I drive past that little patch of land. He's out during most daylight hours, especially during the summer, and I had forgotten how disappointed I am if I don't see him. This animal has done absolutely nothing for me. Heck, I don't even know if "he" is actually a "he" but even so, I worry if I don't see him for a week at a time. It's a little thing, but seeing him never fails to put a smile on my face.

Of course, this got me thinking about people that make me happy. I hope that those closest to me know that they're important to me. That when I don't see a status update or get a text or read a blog post or talk to them or get a hug that my day is just a bit more drab than when I do. But what about people who are on "the fringe" of my life? People that I'm not really friends with, but who make my life better anyway? Does the lady at the McDonald's drive-thru who is there every Sunday after church and always gets our order right know that we appreciate that? Do the hospitality folks at church who come in early and brew coffee for thousands of people  every week know that we, the caffeine-dependent, are deeply grateful that they show up week after week to make sure that we are headache free for the service? Does the lady who sees me coming with my shopping cart full of giant bags of dog food and cases of pop and who already has the gun out so I don't have to lift those an extra few times onto the belt know that I appreciate her consideration? Or do I only notice those folks when they're NOT there doing those things?

So I can't tell my little groundhog friend how much he inspires me. But I CAN tell these people. What kind of small things inspire you? And who do you need to show more gratitude?

Monday, May 17, 2010

And the winners are...

Thanks to Random.org (for all of your randomizing needs!), we have our winners for the Beautiful Things give-away.

And they are:
MistyDC29 and Kristy K! I'll be sending you an email shortly to get your mailing info.

Thanks to those of you who stopped by and left comments, and even to those of you who just stopped by without leaving comments! I hope to have a chance to do this again. It was a real treat.

If you didn't win, you can still go here to download a few tracks for free. And here to download the full thing. It's a truly great cd and you won't be disappointed. Have a great day!

Musical Monday

Today feels like a throw-back day. No lesson, no deep thoughts, not even any shallow thoughts. I've just liked Erasure since the first time I heard them back in high school and when my friend Tina texted me the other day that she was listening to Blue Savannah, it reminded me that I had never used one of their songs for a Musical Monday.

Picking a favorite is hard. I like so darn many of their songs. So I decided to go with the title track to the cassette (!) that first endeared me to them. I'm sure I was browsing the "New Wave" section of the music store and Chorus looked interesting to me. Even now, listening to this song (and most of their other ones) makes me happy. And on a rainy, chilly Monday, I'll take it!

(By the way, to the truly creative types out there, I would LOVE to see a literal song done to this video. It is just plain wonky!)

Go ahead with your dreaming
For what it's worth or you'll be stricken-bound kicking up dirt
For when it's dark, you never know what the night will bring

Go ahead with your scheming
And shop at home, you'll find treasure while cooking up bones
But the knife is sharp, you'd better watch that you don't cut your hands

And they covered up the sun
Until the birds had flown away
And the fishes in the sea
Had gone to sleep

And they covered up the sun
Until the birds had flown away
And the fishes in the sea
Had gone to sleep

Go ahead with your dreaming
For what it's worth or you'll be stricken-bound kicking up dirt
For when it's dark, you never know what the night will bring

Go ahead with your scheming
And shop at home, you'll find treasure while cooking up bones
But the knife is sharp, you'd better watch that you don't cut your hands

And they covered up the sun
Until the birds had flown away
And the fishes in the sea
Had gone to sleep

And they covered up the sun
Until the birds had flown away
And the fishes in the sea
Had gone to sleep

Holy moses, our hearts are screaming
Souls are lifting, only dreaming
We'll be waiting, some are praying
For a time where no one's cheating

The sunlight rising over the horizon
Just a distant memory
The dawn chorus (dawn chorus)
Birds singing, bells ringing
In our hearts, in our minds

And they covered up the sun
Until the birds had flown away
And the fishes in the sea
Had gone to sleep


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Invitation

I've posted here before about my friend Bob's experiences in losing his parents and being shot by their murderer. Today is four years since the shooting.

I just wanted to invite my readers here to check out Bob's blog (called, coincidentally enough, The Bob Blog). He posted a bit today and he has begun to tell his story. You can read the first chapter here.

Bob is a pretty amazing man and I would ask those of you who pray to lift him up right now as he is writing through what happened to him.

In the post I wrote when the shooting first happened, I asked, "...what can the Church do to help stop this absolutely senseless, needless violence? What can I do to help stop it?"

That continues to be my question. What can we do to show love, not just to our friends (which can be challenging in itself), but to our enemies?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Sappy Saturday

I know that it's been a pretty serious week. But it IS Sappy Saturday, so you'll have to indulge me in in one last VIP (Very Important Post).

Over the past few weeks, we've had several days where the temperatures have reached the 80's. For many who have suffered this long, cold winter, these rising temperatures have been cause for rejoicing. They speak to the coming of fireflies and fireworks. Of summer vacations and s'mores. Of watermelon and water parks.

But around here, these temperatures just mean that it's getting hotter and that BigMama is becoming her summer self. And summer self is not a pleasant person.

That brings me to the subject of my Sappy Saturday. My air conditioner.

I. love. my. AC. I love stepping out of the shower on a hot summer day and instead of immediately becoming a sticky, sweaty mess, I am cool and dry. I love that when I go to bed, I don't have to toss and turn in my bed, trying to find a comfortable spot, but instead can settle down under a sheet and feel it's gentle breeze lulling me to sleep. I love that if I want to knit or read, I don't have to worry that it will be so much exertion that I'm going to collapse into a puddle, but can instead enjoy those activities year round.

And my family loves it because instead of a severely grumpy, short-tempered mom, they have someone who is just an average grumpy, short-tempered mom.

Thank you air conditioning. You keep me cool. You keep me sane. You are my favorite part of summer.

(Oh, and I appreciate the guy who lugs that heavy piece of metal around and shoves it in the window. Though I expect that he does it as much for his benefit as for mine!)

Friday, May 14, 2010

The B-I-B-L-E

During Lent, my mom sent me a list so I could read through the New Testament in nine weeks. It was a really good experience. My time in the Bible has been abominable lately, so it was good to have that regular reading to do. I confess that I bogged down a little bit at the end (Revelation is just tough for me to get through -- should have made that at the beginning instead of the last week!), but overall it was a good time. Getting back into a regular pattern of reading the Scripture was good for me. (And in case you're wondering, I read online at BibleGateway.com and I read the Contemporary English Version.)

So anyway, my relationship with the Bible has changed over the years. Back when I was first really "saved" (for me, a bit of a process when I was in 7th and 8th grade, really culminating the summer of 1988), I could read the Bible for hours. It spoke to me a lot. My first Bible (a Thompson Chain Reference) was underlined almost solidly through most of the Gospels and the Psalms. It was all very lovely and easy and straight-forward.

Fast-forward to college. For about the first two years of college, I don't know if I cracked open a Bible more than once or twice. I didn't go to church, I didn't really do much of anything related to anything spiritual. I certainly don't have the most interesting stories, but I've got at least a couple that I don't want my kids to hear about any time soon. It wasn't that I didn't believe, I just completely neglected my faith.

Then I got a job working with the Newman Center on campus. I got the job so I could afford to call Jason once a week (that was back in the olden days when cheap long distance was $.25/minute). But it ended up being a way for me to reconnect with the Church. I probably wouldn't have thought that it would be a Catholic church that would bring me back (especially as someone who had grown up in the LCMS!), but nevertheless, being a part of a faith community again really helped me get my bearings. But if you've ever crossed the divide between Protestant and Catholic, you know that they approach the Bible in a much different manner. So my easy, straight-forward reading of the Scripture was challenged a good bit.

As an adult, we've shuffled around to a number of different churches. And again, each of them had a different way of reading and interpreting the Bible. Things in one church that were no big deal, were quite a big deal in another. Things that one church embraced, another church would call a sin or heresy. A verse promoting unity would be used as a club to beat you up for having an individual view about something. A verse about submission would be used for daring to voice an opinion that was different from the pastor. Nothing was easy. Nothing was straight-forward.

So where am I now?

Well, I kind of see my Bible like our GPS (her name is Karen and she's our computer wife). Provided all of the satellites are working and the maps are up to date, it's right. It knows the right way to go. It's got the correct information. And it's a great tool, especially in going somewhere that you've never been before.

But.

Sometime the satellites are obscured. Karen doesn't work well in Jason's car, because of some kind of coating on the glass that keeps her from working correctly. Sometimes the maps aren't up to date. Sometimes everything works fine, but it's set for footpaths or to avoid toll roads or something like that. You can Google "blindly following GPS" and see one story after another of a GPS leading someone down a path that is not where they intended to be, sometimes with really disastrous results for both them, and other people. Not because the GPS was wrong, but because the person wasn't paying attention to their surroundings.

I think sometimes we approach the Bible the same way. I'm not saying that the Bible is wrong -- not at all. I'm saying that maybe we're wrong. We read a verse and because of our upbringing or hurts in our past or just not reading it in context, we end up forming a view about God or the Church or non-believers that isn't correct. In this article, Jason Boyett sums it up so well. He says,
I believe the Bible is God-inspired and perfect in what it communicates. But the “God wrote it, I believe it” brand of inspiration fails to account for an important kink in the process: People are idiots. While the Bible’s message may be perfect, those of us reading it are unequivocably not.
Yeah, that's pretty much it. I get the context wrong. I'm completely ignorant of the history or culture of the people group the letter was written to in the first place. I insert my own version of God into what I'm reading and pass that off as His Holy Word (TM). And I think that when I do that, I can end up down a path that is not the one that God intends for me at all. Sometimes I even take other people down with me.

So how do I sort it out? For me lately, I've been approaching things with a more wide view. Does my interpretation follow the golden rule? Is my interpretation loving? I think it can be good to talk about deeper things than that, but I'm trying not to get too wrapped up in things beyond that.

What about you? What guidelines do you use for reading the Bible? Do you have any Bible reading habits that you'd like to share? (And if you're really feeling brave) How have you used the Bible wrongly?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Michael Gungor Interview and Give-Away!

A few weeks ago I featured a song by Gungor for my Musical Monday selection. I was later contacted and asked if I’d like to do an interview with Michael Gungor with the blog and also do a give-away for Gungor’s latest cd, Beautiful Things. Yesterday I had the honor of speaking with Michael and asking him a few questions about his music, about serving the poor, about doubt, and about movies.

BigMama: In reading what other people had to say about “Beautiful Things” one word that kept popping up was "controversial.” Would you consider your lyrics to be controversial and if not, what word would you use to describe them?

Michael: I’m surprised that they would think “Beautiful Things” was controversial! But I’ve kind of been removed from the groups that would care about that so much that I kind of forget that people get offended. I guess to me they’re not controversial, they’re just honest, that would be my word for it.

BigMama: In “Cannot Keep You” you talk about God being uncontainable and not boxed in. What are some ways that you feel that we as Christians tend to limit God?

Michael: I could see how that one might be a little controversial! I think that any concept of God limits God. Calling him “him” is a metaphor. Soon that becomes a limit, it becomes an idol, that’s what the song is about. Having a human idea where we think we understand God on really any level or have any concept of God. It’s too small because infinity can’t be understood, it can’t be contained in human ideas. I think we can have reflections and glimpses of the truth of infinity. Kind of experience that infinity and be held by that infinity, but to hold it within our own concepts, with in our own ideas…I think we all do it. I’m sure I do it. We generally like to make God in our image. Ya’ know, I like to imagine God as a big, loving, hippie guy. I know he’s not that because God is more than even what I think love is. I think we all probably limit God and we should all be shattering those idols as regularly as possible.

BigMama: In “Please Be My Strength”, which is the song that moved me most on the album, it seems to deal with doubt in the life of a believer. How would you advise someone to deal with periods of doubt in their Christian walk?

Michael: Well, I grew up in the church and was a believer and I always loved Jesus. I was in kind of a real busy season, going to a lot of different churches and sometimes when I get away from my home community for a long time, I kind of start deconstructing again. Sometimes we’re blessed to see a lot of beautiful things in the church, and then other times you have a run of a lot of stupid stuff, like, “What is all this stuff?” So this was kind of an unfortunate string of events that was pretty low. And we’re just at this church and I’m like, “God, this is ridiculous! Is this really your plan for the world? This Church?”

So I wanted to get my heart right before we lead worship. So I separated from everybody and went back in this room where nobody was and for the first time in my life, there just was nothing there. There was no faith there to pray from. It was the weirdest thing. It was scary; an empty and hollow feeling. I desperately wanted faith, I wanted to have hope that love was real and that God was active in the world and that this whole story…I just wanted to believe it. I think it’s beautiful, but there was just nothing there. That had never happened before in my life. It was really scary and that song was what came out of that moment..
I had always heard that faith was a gift, but that was the first time I really got it.  So I was praying, “Give me faith. I don’t have the strength to believe this right now. I don’t have the faith to believe all this right now.” And I was kind of there for a few days, then I felt like God kind of restored my faith. But it was scary and a low place. And out of that and toward the end, you can probably sense a little hope coming out of it, as I continued to write the song. I did feel like God gave that gift back.

To those that struggle with doubt, I feel your pain. I pray now that God just sustains my faith, because my human reason, my human logic isn’t enough to keep me going. Planting myself in places where faith thrives, my home community is great, being around believers that I respect. Hearing the truth. The Scripture says faith comes by hearing the Word of God.  Just being in places where my soul is being encouraged and I am able to give love to others keeps my soul healthy and keeps my faith alive. When it’s just me in a room alone thinking about stuff, it doesn’t turn out so good, generally.

BigMama: Obviously you have a heart for the poor. My brother-in-law Justin, who turned me on to your music asked, “What benefit, spiritual or otherwise, is there to working with the poor hands-on, as opposed to writing a check to an organization that serves them on a regular basis?”

Michael: Yeah, I think both are good, but there’s something about the poor that we need just as much, if not more so, than they need us, people who have more money than them. Jesus talked about when you do this for the least of these. When you came and saw me in prison, not just sent me a check. When you sat by my bed while I was sick. There’s something about the very presence of Jesus in the poor that we miss by only sending money. I think it’s good to send money, but it’s better to spend time with Jesus.

BigMama: It seems that your involvement in areas of social justice have lead you to plant a new church community. Could you tell us how Bloom is different from past church experiences that you’ve had?

Michael: Bloom just started with a friend in our living room. And it’s been a lot of fun. I’ve had great church experiences and I’ve had not so great church experiences. It’s been different in that it’s a different story that we’re building the church out of than what I understood growing up.  What the Good News is and how to live that out has radically grown in my own heart and mind that what it means to be the Church has changed quite a bit. That’s probably the biggest difference. It’s still people gathering and having some good ideas on how to do things and some dumb ideas on how to do things. Some successes and some failures. Still a bunch of imperfect people trying to be the Church together. But the ideals of what we’re trying to do now have been really honest and really pure and it’s just been a joy. And we like Denver too. It’s a cool place.

BigMama: Musically, "Beautiful Things" is one of the most diverse collections I’ve heard in a long time. Who would you list as your strongest musical influence?

Michael: That’s tough. Musical influences. I grew up in a Christian home, so I wasn’t allowed to listen to “secular music” so I listened to a lot of instrumental and jazz, and I studied jazz in college. Then when I finally got into college, I was able to stumble into the pop and rock world for the first time. It’s funny, any time a song comes on that came out before the year 2000, I’m like, “I have no idea.”

As far as musical influences, it’s really all across the board. You might be able to hear traces of Sigur Ros or Sufjan Stevens, maybe a little Muse, some classical influence here and there.  All over!

Just for fun questions:

BigMama: What is your favorite time of day?

Michael: Night-time

BigMama: What Is the last book that you read?

Michael: I’m reading “The Case for God” by Karen Armstrong

BigMama: What is your favorite guilty pleasure movie?

Michael: I’m a fan of the Harry Potter movies. I’m kind of a closet nerd!

BigMama: If you were taking a friend out to lunch, where would you take them?

Michael: Probably the closest Chinese take-out.

BigMama: This is from the Pivot Questionnaire: If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say at the Pearly Gates?

Michael: That’s a good one! I mean, the cliché answer I guess, “Well done. Well done.”

*************************

How to participate in the give-away!

I have two copies of Beautiful Things to give away. In order to qualify for the drawing for one of the cd’s, you must do #1, but can also do any of the following (each will be worth an entry):
  1. Leave a comment here about what struck you in Michael's responses. Was there anything that surprised you, or moved you, or frustrated you? Let us know!
  2. Follow the blog. You can follow it through Google Friend Connect or through Networked Blogs on Facebook. Just click the links on the right.
  3. Post a link back to this entry on your blog.
  4. Post a link back to this entry from your Twitter account.
That's it! The give-away will run through 5/17/2010, 12:00PM ET. Thanks for reading and for spreading the news about Beautiful Things!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Diversion

I'm not going to be able to get the Michael Gungor interview up tonight. We're getting rid of our hutch and doing a little of this and that which has kept me from getting everything written up today. So in the meantime, watch this kid do a kick-awesome cover of Lady Gaga's Paparazzi. (I'm going to pretend that Lady Gaga covers are the new piano playing kitten.)


Watch this space

I've got an exciting opportunity to interview Michael Gungor of the band Gungor that I featured a few weeks ago on my Musical Monday segment. We'll also be doing a give-away of their latest cd, Beautiful Things.

So stay tuned. We're going to have some fun here!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Christian Values

With today being election day, of course I'm getting calls and emails and letters and flyers on my car about voting to support Christian Values (tm).

Now I know that election Christian values have a specific meaning that may be different from your average, run-of-the-mill Christian values (generally called by pundit of the day Judeo-Christian values). But as my friend Tina and I have been discussing, what about those values (value of life, caring for the poor, treating others the way I want to be treated, etc.), what about them makes them specifically Christian or even just religious? I hear people claim that those without God have no moral compass. In Ken Ham's creation "museum", he has a display that indicates that without God, the world would cease to be safe. Of course, being married to one without any faith, I would tend to disagree that being a non-theist automatically wipes out all sense of right and wrong. 

So, my friend Tina and I have been asking one another what are Christian values? What is unique to the Christian faith? Or is it more of an issue of the law of Christ being written on our hearts, so that we have it regardless of our faith background? But if this is the case, why the hateful rhetoric toward those who don't share our faith?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Losing God

May is Mental Health Month. Obviously if you've read my blog for any amount of time, you know that my family has been touched by the stigma of mental illness. Jason was diagnosed with Bipolar II right around the time I started blogging and of course we dealt with the fall-out long before we had a diagnosis. And of course I have had my own brushes with depression, suffering from prenatal and postpartum depression, as well as a season a few years ago where I was on anti-depressants after a painful church experience.

One of the most difficult things about mental illness, and depression in particular is that it is invisible. There isn't a blood test you can point to that proves that you have bipolar. There are no physical symptoms that prove that you have depression. Often it's difficult to even see it in yourself. You know that things feel wrong, but it's hard to admit that you may need help, rather than to just pull yourself up by your bootstraps.

I'm thankful that the Church seems to be coming around on people dealing with depression, but even so, we've had people in the Church how long Jason thought he might need to be medicated. We were in a church that was preaching the health and wealth message when we first started dealing with Jason's illness, and it is incredibly painful to have your faith tied to your brain chemistry. When you don't see healing from depression or other mental illnesses, it can be very easy to doubt your faith.

Matt Rogers has written an amazing book about dealing with depression as a Christian. In it, he talks about his own experiences with depression and how that affected his faith. It's called Losing God and if you or anyone you love has experienced or is experiencing depression, I would highly recommend it.

Depression touches a number of people and one of the worst things that it does is to leave you feeling completely alone. If you know someone who is dealing with depression, love them. If you want to help them, just love them. Be their friend. Listen to them. Help them see their self-worth. And if you want to try to understand them better, consider purchasing Matt's book today. Thanks!

Musical Monday

I had another song picked out for today, but after hearing about Lean Horne's passing yesterday, I decided to go ahead and change it to honor her.

While I'm old, I'm not quite old enough to have a very encyclopedic knowledge of Ms. Horne's work. I've heard her version of "Someone to Watch Over Me" which is absolutely beautiful. And of course, she has one of the most stunning versions of "Summertime" that I've ever heard. She lays back so far on that, she makes you ache for every note. Gorgeous.

But being a child of the 80's, my primary memory of Ms. Horne is her appearance on The Cosby Show. In that particular episode, it's Cliff's birthday and the family goes to Lena Horne's private club and she sings for them. She gives an absolutely beautiful performance of "I'm Glad There is You" in that episode. It's really absolutely beautiful. YouTube won't let me embed it here, but I hope you'll take a minute to click on this link and listen to her wonderful performance (and revel in your own little 80's moment -- even if you're too young to remember the 80's). Thanks for the music, Lena.


In this world of ordinary people
Extraordinary people
I'm glad there is you

In this world of over-rated pleasures
Of under-rated treasures
I'm so glad there is you

I live to love, I love to live with you beside me
This role so new, I'll muddle through with you to guide me

In this world where many, many play at love
And hardly any stay in love
I'm glad there is you

ETA: A friend on Facebook posted this video about Lena Horne's life. I was not aware of her level of involvement in the civil right's movement. What an amazing woman!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Sappy Saturday

For today's Sappy Saturday, I'm going again with the near-by holiday and choosing to write about my mom for Mother's day.

My mom is definitely one of the people I respect most in my life. Despite the fact that I have, undoubtedly, given her more grief than any parent deserves, she has stood by me with an amazing blend of love and discipline. Even though we have had differences of opinions, I've always felt free to share my opinion without worry about it being somehow tied into acceptance from her.

And more than anything else, my mom has exhibited the courage of her convictions as long as I've known her. I remember being fairly young and our family had just discovered Christian rock music. We attended an event as our family singing group (The Mountaintop Experience) and one of the ministers there spoke about the evils of "so-called" Christian rock music. My mom spent hours putting together a mixed tape (yes, a tape!) with various songs and included all of the Scripture references for each song. Despite it being a relatively new thing and certainly something that was still controversial in the Church, she still stood up for what she believed to be important. Following that thought, she later started a contemporary choir in our very conservative church.

Later, she has made the choice to travel around the world to minister to those who are full-time missionaries. She has traveled to Burkina Faso, Thailand and Romania with my dad, even though even small airplane trips in the USA were often the source of stress for her. And in her own back yard, she is unafraid to share her faith with those she meets in her day to day life, doing it both in bold ways, and in quiet ways by simply loving those with whom she interacts.

She has taught me so many things. When she was directing the choir, she allowed me as a junior high student to practice my accompaniment skills by playing the piano for them. In the years that she worked as an activities director at a nursing home, she taught me to love and serve the elderly. She taught me respect for life, both unborn and nearing the end. She taught me to treat people with respect, but also to stand up for ideas that are important to me.

I feel so blessed to have a mother who has been such an amazing role model. Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Friday, May 07, 2010

The Ties that Bind

This past week, Deborah went on a short vacation with my parents. They took her by herself down to Tennessee (not the area with the flooding, but to Pigeon Forge) where she got to swim, play Phase 10 and eat ice cream for lunch. All in all, a pretty good couple of days!

My folks decided to invite each of the children on individual trips with them over the coming years. My dad read an essay by a student who talked about his grandparents taking him on vacation all alone and how amazing that was for him, and they thought that they would like to offer that to their grandchildren as well. They already keep the kids for some time during the summer at their house, but this would be time spent alone with each grandchild in a place that is fun for them. I think it's a really cool idea.

Of course, any time any kind of vacation rolls around, it gets me to thinking of some of the trips I took growing up. While we never did any kind of individual trip with our grandparents, I do remember going on vacation with Kack and Gram. We did a couple of trips to Disney with them that were a blast. I remember Kack riding Space Mountain with us. I remember going to the Tiki Room and the Country Bear Jamboree and laughing with them. I remember leaving Disney and spending the night in a hotel at Myrtle Beach and my sister getting on the elevator before any of us did and it taking off with her inside and no one knowing what floor she got off on. Lots of great memories. (We did eventually find her and as far as I know, has very few emotional scars related to that incident.)

I also remember sleep-overs at their house. They were usually on a Friday night. Now Fridays we almost always went out with Gram and Kack. We'd usually go to Ponderosa. Then we'd go shopping at Clearview Mall. Then we'd go home and watch The Dukes of Hazard and Webster and Benson. But if we spent the night at their house, we'd also get to stay up and watch Dallas. It was tremendously exciting.

I feel like my kids are really blessed to have relationships with their grandparents. Every day they get to see their paternal grandfather when he brings them home from school and gives them gumdrops. They get to spend the night at my in-laws house pretty often, and they always come home regaling me with tales of the amazing desserts they ate and games they played. It makes me so happy that they are getting that time with all of our parents (and that we're blessed to have families that we get along with so well!). In a world where many people tend to be far flung from their families of origin, I love that my parents and my in-laws make such an effort to spend time with their grandchildren so they grow up knowing our stories and knowing their roots.

What about you? Did you have much of a relationship with your grandparents? If you have children, do they know any of their grandparents? What are some of your favorite grandparent memories?

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The best medicine

I have written about my mom several times on my blog, but the parent that I am most like is definitely my father. And the area where I am most like my dad is definitely my laugh. If my dad is in a room and is entertained, there is no escaping his laugh. It is big and booming and absolutely delightful.

I have totally inherited that laugh. I have a really loud laugh. If something strikes me as funny, odds are, anyone within a five mile radius is going to know. I love to laugh and my laugh is a hearty one! (Or if you prefer, obnoxious.)

Yesterday in the car I had one of those hearty/obnoxious moments. I went with two band members (Mike, our drummer and Rich, the band leader and lead guitarist). We were driving back from our meeting and delicious lunch and just shooting the breeze. We'd talked business quite a bit, and while we had laughed through the day, things had been primarily serious. Which is fine -- that's what we were there to do.

Anyway, Rich was in the front seat and Mike was in the seat behind me. Rich commented something about his shoe looking like it had a cookie in it (yeah, I know) and then talking about how much he loved Gabriel Bros. since they were one of the few places that had shoes in his size for a reasonable price (his feet are big). Mike, in what appeared to be a serious question, asked him if because his shoes were so big, if they came in regular sizes.

Now I don't know what about that question struck me as funny, but wow. For some reason I absolutely lost it. This was a full on laugh moment. Absolutely wonderful.

There is a lot in the world that can bring us down. Just this week we've seen a number of frightening and sad things happening here in America between the Time Square bomber, the flooding in Tennessee and the oil spill in the Gulf. There are plenty of opportunities to offer a helping hand and a shoulder to cry on. And I fully believe that we have an obligation to do that.

But I think that sometimes we forget the first part of the "mourn with those who mourn" verse. I absolutely love how The Message puts it:
Romans 12:14-16 Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they're happy; share tears when they're down. Get along with each other; don't be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don't be the great somebody.


Isn't that great? Laugh with your friends when they're happy! The Bible talks about laughter and joy, but I think that sometimes we think that it's not really holy to laugh. Or maybe we can only laugh at God-approved things (like puppy dogs frolicking or babies giggling) and sometimes those things aren't as easy to come across as things like the Better Marriage Blanket. So we end up being a group of people who don't laugh easily. Which is too bad, because if we're supposed to laugh and cry, it would seem to me that those things are probably found in pretty equal measure.


So what has cracked you up lately? (It's okay if it's a video of frolicking puppies or giggling babies -- I like those too!). Where do you go to get your good medicine?

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Road Trippin'

I'm going to be out of town today. A couple of bandmates and I are going up to Pittsburgh to meet with our new booking agent. Exciting stuff, but it means no real post today (I've been on a roll and hate to miss a day right now!).

So it's up to you. Tell me a story about a road trip you've taken. Define "road trip" any way you want. It can be an actual road trip in a car, or just a vacation that you took. It can be recent or way in the past. It can be goofy or glurgy. I'm not picky. Just tell me a story!

Monday, May 03, 2010

By the way...

...I'm trying a new commenting system. Let me know what you think. Thanks!

Musical Monday

For almost as long as I can remember, I've been a fan of The Choir. Growing up listening to almost exclusively Christian music, I was always on the look-out for Christian artists who went outside of the general Christian pop scene and wrote about things from a less mainstream point of view. To this day, "Wide-Eyed Wonder" is one of my all-time favorite cds, in part because they wrote an album largely about being in love with their children. Well before that was a consideration in my life, I appreciated that there were Christian musicians who were willing to write about things in their life that brought them joy, other than just the "I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart" variety.

Today's song is one that means a lot to me. The longer I go, the more I know that I'm a pretty wretched person. I don't always live what I say I believe. Sometimes it's in little ways, sometimes it's in big ways. And as I learn that, I am more and more thankful for things like grace and mercy. What I absolutely love about mercy is that it's available to all of us. It doesn't matter who we are or what we've done, we can all receive mercy. And what is even more beautiful to me is that we have so many opportunities to extend mercy in our daily lives. Opportunities to show kindness and compassion on those who may not deserve it, but who need it nonetheless.

This is Mercy Lives Here by The Choir.

An empty street in Ohio
Lookin’ to kill some time
We stumbled into Cairo
Egypt must be divine
And the jukebox plays
While a little clown sways
Hey it’s two songs for a dime

Mercy lives here
Oh mercy lives here
At home with the saints and the sinners
Mercy lives here

A girl in the corner is crying
The silver haired lady’s alone
And the queen of the boulevard’s trying
To hustle somebody home
The smokin’ man shakes
While the broken girl aches
And the clown starts to sing his song

He sings mercy lives here
Oh Mercy lives here
At home with the saints and the sinners
Mercy lives here

Mercy, oh mercy
Mercy, oh mercy

And the clown at the bar
Laughs and lights a cigar
And we all start to sing along

And I know that mercy lives here…


Sunday, May 02, 2010

Why do I blog?

Last night when our band was at dinner, we somehow got on the topic of blogging. (I promise, I didn't bring it up!) As the conversation went, my friend Misty asked why do people blog.

Of course, I gave my standard answer for me, which is conceit. Heck, I even say it right in the subtitle of my blog. And I'm sure I've mentioned it once or twice here as well. I like to talk. I like people to listen. So what better way to have that happen than to have a place where I have a forum for all the talking I want! We got into a bit of a philosophical discussion (well, as philosophical as this group of yahoos would allow -- nothin' but love to my Under Shelter peeps!) about why anyone writes, or performs music, or even eats and concluded that really just about anything could be done for conceit.

But if I'm being a bit more serious, I would say that there are other reasons that at least some people write blogs. When I think about blogs that I really enjoy reading, a lot of it has to do with the community that can build up. If I'm over at Rachel Held Evans's blog, I like to see what Karl or James or PVK have to say about the subjects that she brings up. Certainly I enjoy reading her thoughts, but a big part of what I get out of it (and I expect the authors do as well, since I know that I love getting comments here or on my FB page!) is the community that has arisen. There can be a real give and take there that is really invigorating, both for the author and the readers.

I also think that for some of us, there's a working out of our own "stuff" through writing. I've kept a journal of some sort since about fourth grade or so. When Jason and I were dating, we were long distance and since it was in the days before email, I wrote a letter almost every day, most just chronicling the daily goings-on of me in college. I know that for me, writing is a good way to work through some of my own questions and ideas. I don't think I'm alone in that (especially when I read over at Naked Pastor's blog).

And also, I think people write just for the joy of it. Even though I'm not a great writer, I like to do it. It's just fun. I think that a lot of people write blogs just because it's something they enjoy doing. Which is certainly as good a reason as any to do just about anything!

What about you? What motivates you in your leisure activities? Or anything that you do?
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I'm a wife to an amazing man, and mom to four incredible kids. I'm a Christian woman who sometimes struggles with doubt. I'm a musician and a writer who is sometimes afraid to play and write. I'm trying to be more authentic every day.
 
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