Oct 24, 2011


It is Sunday. I am seated on a magenta colored pew, several rows from the front of the sanctuary. The pastor up front giving the announcements asks us to all scoot to the center of our rows, to make room for more people.

Six years, one month and twenty-four days earlier I was asked the same thing by a different pastor of the same church. The same question in a different building, with different people, though some of them might remember that Sunday in July when we gathered inside white stucco in a building not our own. Hot skin stuck to wooden pews and to those on either side without prejudice, and still we were asked to scoot closer, to make room. Standing room only in the back, both then and now.

I'm over at Deeper Story today, writing about perspective. Will you join me there?

Oct 19, 2011

longer later, but for now...

Oh man, there is so much more to this than what I am about to write, but that is a longer post for a later day. So for now I will just say this:

I have been accepted to, and will enroll at Multnomah Biblical Seminary!!

these mornings

There are these mornings, these mornings, like this morning, when I manage to get up when my alarm goes off. Mornings when I do not wrestle with my enemy, Snooze Button, but roll out of bed, no more awake than other mornings, but my resistance to stay inside myself is weak and my desire for more than myself, for Peace that exists outside of a head on pillows with eyes closed, is somehow forefront.

There are mornings when Snooze wins, sometimes ten sometimes forty-five minutes of my time. Those mornings are never restful. They are marked by hurry and a slightly panicked feeling of having to cram it all in before I have to rush off to work. In this hurry and this rushing there is the underlying desire for slow. There is an understanding that the extra minutes have not granted me extra peace.

Peace is found in sleepy eyes that strain open as the smell of ground coffee and the sound of a kettle on its way to boiling mark the start of more. Peace is found as the kettle boils, water saturates coffee, and four minutes pass quickly. Peace is found at a small wooden table next to windows that are full of sky changing from navy to morning, a table that requires layers in the winter and open windows in the summer.

On these mornings I cannot bring myself to turn on a light. These mornings I light candles and wrap myself in the comfort of the slowly waking, and of the Peace that exists even before I sit and open the Word.

Oct 14, 2011

fabulous friday video goodness—bryan john appleby

There's this band I really like, called Hey Marseilles. I see them almost every time they come to Portland. They're coming to Portland in November, and they've got this guy who's opening for them, called Bryan John Appleby. I looked him up, and then I listened to his album for an entire day, maybe two. I tend to do that. He's from Santa Cruz, and now lives in Seattle.

There was a great migration of Santa Cruz musicians back in 2008 to Seattle. By great I mean these guys who were in this band called Caravel that no longer exists moved to Seattle. All that to say, maybe that's what brought him to Seattle. Regardless of what brought him to Seattle, his music is delicious and perfect for the kind of autumn day I WISH we were having in Portland. Have a look and a listen at his Doe Bay Session, and if you just can't get enough, head over to his bandcamp page and buy the album. Your ears will love you for it.

worth reading—10.14.11

How did I miss ALL of September?? Wow.

The lack of these bi-weekly lists says a lot more about my time management skills and the number of things I'm trying to cram into each day than it does about the quality of posts out there. Because friends, let me tell you, there is some GOOD STUFF being published.
  • My friend Mike gave the call to worship at church on September 11. It was beautiful. This man has a way with words, and I was so excited to find out that he posted a written version of what he shared in church. I hope you love it, I know I do.
  • I have only recently learned about Sharideth and her awesome blog. She posted a few weeks ago about Christian deal breakers in dating relationships. It's awesome. She writes with levity and truth. Please do enjoy.
  • This post by Laura Parker ROCKED me. She and her husband and their kids recently moved to Thailand. She wrote over at Deeper Story this week about struggling through what it looks like to help and love the least of these. Her writing at Deeper Story led me to check out her blog, and to read a post she linked to on human trafficking. It was sobering to say the least.
  • Have you read Nish's post about how we Christians treat Mormons? Have you read the amazing discussions going on in the comments section? I think things have slowed down a bit since she published it last week, but holy smokes did she do an incredible job both with the initial post and in her response to the comments. Apparently the post went a bit viral amidst the LDS community.
  • So, there's this blog that I stumbled upon earlier this week thanks to a few tweets. It's fiction, and it's awesome. If it's your first time visiting the blog, make sure to click the start here link, so you can start at the beginning of the story.
  • Lastly, Joy wrote an incredible response to the sermon Rick preached a few weeks ago. I do hope you'll take some time and read it.
  • Then there was Max's post on sin and what happens when we give sin more weight than God's grace. There's plenty of superfluous stuff I could say about it, but really you should just go read it for yourself.

Oct 8, 2011

the LORD knows what you need before you need it

The last time I owned a car, it looked a little something like this:

Well, not exactly like that. That's what it looked like after the Junior High ministry team at my old church got ahold of it. What's underneath all those lovely layers of people and spray paint is a brown, 1979 Volvo 244-DL named Patrice. She was a good car, somewhat of a tank, really. A four speed, and she was the only car I owned from age 17 to 26. I drove her up and down the mountain those years I worked as a snowboarding instructor. I almost got her stuck in a snowbank on the way back from Mt. Hood with Kathy. My mom and I drove her from Vancouver, Washington to Santa Cruz, California in 90 degree weather with no air conditioning when I moved down there to teach outdoor science school. I spent two days wiping, scrubbing, vacuuming, and shampooing her after a wet winter and two months of not using my car turned her into a petri dish. Every Friday morning, after leaving my friend Hannah's house, Patrice and I would drive along West Cliff and Seabright and East Cliff instead of taking the freeway, just so we could take in that beautiful coastline.

And all too soon it was time to leave Santa Cruz. Patrice stayed behind so the junior highers could have their fun and raise some money for Snow Camp by breaking her windows and denting her doors. Me? I traveled northward to Portland, to family, to rainy winters and gorgeous green summers, and awesome public transportation.

For three and a half years Tri-Met and I have been good friends. I've ridden busses to Hillsboro in search of the perfect sock yarn. I've taken the MAX to the airport on trips to visit the family I still miss in Santa Cruz. I met my friend and roommate for the last two and a half years getting off the number 9 on our way to church. I've ridden it to Beaverton and Vancouver, and back and forth to work almost everyday for the last three years. I've lugged huge shopping bags full from a morning at Ikea, and more grocery bags than I could ever hope to count. I've started and finished books on the bus. I've knit Christmas gifts, birthday presents, hats and booties and blankets for newborn lovelies, and seven pairs of felted slippers, all while riding the bus. Tri-Met and I, we've had a good run.

I've borrowed cars when I've needed them. Trips to the cabin, a weekend in Seattle, trips to Ikea that wouldn't fit inside a bus. I've carpooled to youth group with other leaders, which is basically a nice way of saying I've bummed a ride from several of my friends every Wednesday for the last two years.

Then Lauren and Max came into town as Max's cross country road trip slowed to a halt upon his meeting, wooing, and proposing to the woman of his dreams. They drove into town in the middle of August. Hot and tired from a long day of driving. They shoved clothes and shoes and books and power cords out of the way as I folded myself into the back of Max's car [which a friend gave him a week before Max was supposed to embark on this faith adventure] and drove to my house, where they camped out for two weeks before a brief trip to Columbus, Ohio and Boulder, Colorado [where they got married on a mountain top, nbd]. When I dropped them off at the airport, Max encouraged me to use the Red Dragon as I needed and reminded me not to roll the driver's side window down because it does not roll back up.

They've been back in Portland since the beginning of September, but Max kept telling me they didn't need two cars just yet. They were too busy looking for a place in Portland to call home, and it was one less thing they had to worry about. I was happy to take care of the Red Dragon, especially after I cleaned seven months of road dust and dirt off all the surfaces that could be reached with a sponge, towel, hose, or vacuum.

On Monday I was in the middle of a Skype sesh with a friend of mine when Lauren, who'd dropped by with Max to pick up some mail and, "get something from the car," said they had something for me. I looked up from my computer, and Max handed me a piece of paper. "Here," he said. I looked down at the paper, and then at Lauren, and then back at Max. The look on my face conveyed my confusion fairly clearly because Max clarified saying, "it's the title for the Red Dragon. I'm giving you my car."

There was a lot of hugging, and a lot of me choking back tears. And even now, after passing the air quality tests, and filling out the paperwork, and holding the brand new Oregon license plates in my hands, I still can't really believe it.

The thing is, this isn't about a car. I mean, it is, but it isn't. Not at all. This is about the fact that the Lord knows what I need before I need it. This is about the truth that the Lord knows what YOU need before you know that you need it.

"I need a husband," I cry, wondering where he is and why he's not here yet.

No, I don't. If I did, he would be here.

"I need an iPhone!" I exclaim as I wonder how I'll possibly accomplish everything I'm trying to do in the few short hours between the end of the workday and the time my head hits the pillow each night.

No, I don't. I want an iPhone, but I can get all those things done with a little help from my friend time management.

The Bible says that the Lord knows what we need before we do. I have a few ideas about why I might need the Red Dragon in the near future, but that is another story for a different day. Today, I will trust that God is able to do immeasurably more than all I could ask or imagine, today I will live in the truth that the enormous gift of this car is not even the tip of the iceberg where God is concerned.