Feb 19, 2009

lentil soup

It is Lent. And, other than knowing people sometimes give stuff up for Lent, I've never really looked into what the season of Lent is all about. A few weeks ago a fleeting thought brought the upcoming Lenten season to mind. My next thought was, "what should I give up?" My thought after that was, "should I really give something up if I don't really understand the reason for the practice?"

I'm a fairly intelligent person. It was easy enough to deduce the basic idea behind Lent. It lasts 40 days. Jesus went to the desert and was tempted and fasted for 40 days. Ta da. But I wanted to REALLY get what I was participating in. It is too easy to blindly participate in just about everything, including religious tradition. I am tired of blindly participating. If I am part of something I want to know why.

We took a break from the current series at church last week and I learned enough about the Lenten season to feel like I could participate and tell someone why I was participating in this season of fasting. I even went to the Ash Wednesday service last week, something I'd never done. It was something I didn't understand and had never participated in. Having had my questions about Lent answered I figured I would go and find out more about why everyone left the services with black crosses smudged onto their foreheads.

Here is what I know thus far: I do not often sit and consider my sinful nature. I do not often think about just how far from God I am without the grace and sacrifice of Jesus to reconcile me to God. But I have decided that it is a very good thing to be told, "remember you are dust and to dust you shall return." Just as it is good to be told, "go forth and be faithful unto Christ."

Feb 16, 2009

erica sue

About two months before I finished working at Mount Hermon, right around the time I realized that almost all the people I knew in Santa Cruz were leaving, I went to Starbucks. I went to Starbucks to meet this girl, Erica, who would be one of my bosses for the Summer Intern Program at Twin Lakes Church. I was sure she was quiet, conservative both politically and socially, and that I would just have to make the best of the summer I spent working under her. Approximately two minutes into our first, of many coffee date I realized I was completely wrong.

It is almost three years later and I still marvel at the gift her friendship is, THE GIFT ERICA IS. I am not going to try to put into words why I love her, why I'm so happy she was born 26 years ago TODAY. Not because I don't want to. I just can't. I've been sitting here trying to, and all the words I put together into these things we call sentences fall short of the mark.

Here is what I know:
Erica is so amazing at loving people, including the people who are hard for her to love. It is inspiring to experience.

Erica is an incredible photographer. It's not just that her pictures are beautiful, it's that she captures the essence of a relationship in her photographs.

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers is one of Erica's favorite books.

Erica loves to listen to the same song over and over and over [and over and over].

Erica came into my life at the perfect time. I didn't think I had room for another close friend, and then we met for coffee. I realized that I had this place in my life, in my heart just waiting patiently for her to arrive.

My dear sweet friend, Erica Sue, I adore you. I cannot imagine my life without you, without your friendship. A very, very happy birthday to you BFF.

Feb 10, 2009

forget the scrubbing bubbles

We repainted and rearranged the office last week. Doing so meant we got to clean under, on top of, and around much that rarely sees a vacuum or dusting cloth. I loved it. Because I love cleaning. Especially when I am cleaning something other than my room / house. This major cleaning project brought to my attention my two new favorite cleaning products:
White vinegar cleans surfaces, floors, windows [oh my goodness, they sparkle!]. You need an empty spray bottle, white vinegar and water. Fill the bottle with a 1:1 ratio of vinegar and water [that means half vinegar and half water]. Spray on your dirtiest surfaces and enjoy the fact that you don't to wear gloves because it's just vinegar and water. You can also use it in your laundry! Add it to the rinse cycle [or be lazy and just add it at the beginning and you'll be fine]. It acts as a fabric softener and reduces static cling! It can also be used to pre-treat stains. Bonus: Enjoy the fact that vinegar is approximately $4.00 / gallon.

Baking soda is an abrasive. It cleans things you would normally clean with Ajax or Comet [except maybe toilets*]. It is also incredibly satisfying to use in white sinks or tubs because it becomes this really grimy color as whatever you are cleaning gets brighter and whiter. It's also fantastic at making stainless steel pans gleam. Bonus: It's a deodorizer so instead of a kitchen or bathroom that smells like bleach, it just smells so fresh and so clean, clean.

Seriously. These two products are incredible. Buy them.

Use them.

Love them.

*Method makes wonderful toilet cleaner and soap scum spray. They're natural and don't hurt the groundwater. With all the money you'll save buying baking soda and white vinegar you can splurge a bit on the Method products.

Feb 6, 2009

dreary and tired

It is dreary out today. And I am tired.

I think most of this tiredness would go away if I could just enjoy this dreary day the way it is meant to be enjoyed: outside, wearing rainboots, stomping through puddles, with a hot cup of cocoa waiting at the end.

When my sister Lauren and I were little we would go outside and play in the rain together. We had this idea that if we were soaking wet enough our mom would make us hot chocolate. So as we made our way home, no matter how wet we were from playing in the rain, we would stop under trees and take turns shaking water from the leaves onto one another. We would find hedges and roll along them, attempting to absorb as much water into our already wet clothes as we could.

Sometimes we got hot chocolate. Sometimes we didn't. I wonder why we didn't just ask if we could have some.