Thursday, December 30, 2010

No More Special Coffee

This morning, rather, this afternoon, after I dropped my sister off at work I headed to one of my new favorite places to hang out, the Starbucks in Elmwood Village in Buffalo. Its a young neighborhood with hip and college-y hangouts. I like it because it has free wifi and a good atmosphere to get homework done or reading accomplished. They also have my favorite drink, the double shot soy chai latte, to 130 degrees (Thats simply because I don't like really hot drinks unless its below the freezing point outside).
  Well this time I ordered the drink, and asked the girl "Can I have that to 130 degrees, please?!" She nods and goes ahead making it. All of the sudden it exploded. Oh crap son. Apparently she thought I asked her to make it "230" degrees, which is above the boiling point. It exploded all over her, so she ran in the back to tend to her wounds. I felt so bad and apologized. It was no good.

Thats my story for the day.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

For the Absent

O God, whose fatherly care reacheth to the uttermost parts of the earth: We humbly beseech thee graciously to behold and bless those whom we love, now absent from us. Defend them from all dangers of soul and body; and grant that both they and we, drawing nearer to thee, may be bound together by thy love in the communion of thy holy Spirit, and in the fellowship of thy saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(from the Common Book of Prayer)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mini Expeditions: Love Came Down on Christmas

Here I am, chillin in New York with my family. It feels great to be back and see everyone. My "little" dog is laying by my side, chili is on the stove, hoorah.


Anyways, here are some GREAT articles and links about Christmas that I have really enjoyed this year.

  • Disturbing Christmas
    • By CJ Mahaney
    • "Only those who have been profoundly disturbed to the point of deep repentance are able to receive the tidings of comfort, peace, and joy that Christmas proclaims."



        • Christmas is For Those Who Hate It Most
          • by Matt B Redmond  (from Gospel Coalition)
          • "We have it backwards. In the irony of all ironies, Christmas is for those who will find it the hardest to enjoy. It really is for those who hate it most."

        Any other Christmas tidbits you'd care to share?

        Saturday, December 18, 2010

        Quick No Bakes!

        Every year, (Since last year, haha) some people from my church get together for a Cookie Exchange! Everyone brings 2 dozen of their favorite cookies, and you end up coming home with about 3 dozen different and delicious cookies from everyone! Depending on the amount of people, you get about 3-10 of each different cookie!

        This year I was a little short on time, and a friend had recommended these delicious Chocolate Oatmeal No Bake cookies. As soon as I heard no bake, I was all over that. With the help of my roommate and a friend, we whipped these bad boys up real quick. Here is the recipe and some pics from the cookie Exchange:
        Chocolate Oatmeal No Bakes

        2 cups sugar
        1/2 cup cocoa
        1 stick butter
        1/2 cup milk
        1 tsp. vanilla
        3 cups quick-cooking oatmeal
        1/2 cup peanut butter
        (coconut- optional)

        Combine sugar, cocoa, butter and milk in a saucepan. On medium heat, bring to a boil for one full minute.Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter (optional), vanilla and oatmeal.
        Drop by spoonful onto wax paper. Let cool for at least 30 minutes.


        Lisa and I with some of our delectable selections!
        So much fooooood! Our hostess definitely has the mostess! haha

        Do you have a favorite Christmas cookie?

        Thursday, December 16, 2010

        Mini Expeditions: Music

        Lately Ive been mixing it up with some new music. My Pandora already ran out for this month (ugh only 40 hours!), so Ive had to really be creative in my music listening. Continuous play on iTunes can only go so far, especially sicne I havent mixed up my playlist since I was in Russia. There is some great stuff out there. So let me take you on a little musical expedition!


        • Todd Whatley and the Frontmen
          •  :Poor Boy" gets me every time! 
          • southern pub music!

        • The Civil Wars
          •  Joy Williams really goes big in her new duo with John Paul White. 
          • Oh gosh, "Barton Hollow"- repeat repeat repeat. 
          • literally americana folk music that sounds like its from a bygone era, with banjos!
          • when I listen to their music I feel like Im wandering in the woods, about to stumble upon the civil war.
          •  
        • The Temper Trap
          • obsessed with the song "Sweet Disposition"
          • weird alty-folk 80s'esque electronica with epic lyrics
          • check out their remix playlist, definitely worth a listen

        • Red Mountain Music
          • GLORIOUS hymns, thats really all I can say. GLORIOUS
          • I love "All Things New"

        • Jon Foreman
          • yes he is the lead singer from Switchfoot, but his solo music is so different (and better)
          • deep lyrically driven folk rock music 
          • My fave is "In Love"

        Okey dokey. Thats all for now.

        What music have you stumbled upon lately? Anything good?

        Tuesday, December 14, 2010

        Joyce Carol Oates and Home

        Joyce Carol Oates, a National Book Award winner, returns to her hometown of Lockport, New York and recounts the places and faces that haunt her memory from childhood for an article in the Smithsonian. This piece is quite good and as I read it I was right with her, also knowing in my own way of the romance she had with the city from hours of wandering around it, getting to know its deepest crevices.  I also connect deeply with her descriptions of the Lockport Public Library, and how she remembers always taking time out to go and read. 


        "The consequence of so much unsupervised freedom was that I seem to have become precociously independent." ...Joyce, are we the same person?




        Joyce Carol Oates Goes Home Again


        Here began my “romance” with Lockport, which I experienced as a solitary individual mostly walking—walking and walking—along the streets of downtown, and along residential streets; over the wide windswept bridge above the canal at Cottage Street, and over the narrower bridge, at Pine Street; on paths above the towpath, winding through vacant overgrown lots in the vicinity of Niagara Street; and on the shaky pedestrian bridge that ran unnervingly close beside the railroad tracks crossing the canal. Many days, after school I went to my grandmother Woodside’s house on Harvey Avenue, and later on Grand Street, across town; after visiting Grandma, I took a city bus downtown, or walked; to this day, I have a proclivity for walking—I love to be in motion, and I am very curious about everything and everyone I see, as I’d learned to be as a young child; and so I have felt invisible also, as a child feels herself invisible, beneath the radar of adult attention, or so it seemed to me at the time. For Lockport, which I’d previously experienced only in the company of my mother, my father or my grandmother, seemed very different to me, when I was alone. The small city—26,000 residents in the 1950s, now 22,000—became an adventure, or a series of adventures, culminating with the Greyhound bus to take me back home to Millersport.
        Do you feel this kind of connection with your hometown?

        Christmas Card Crafts!

        My sister and I loveee crafts. During any given day during the holidays, I await picture text messages from her showing the latest craft delight! I thought I would post some pictures of Christmas cards we both made recently, and maybe they will inspire you!
         


        All the cards are made out of easy to acquire scrapbook paper, ribbon, buttons, and glue!
        (And you never know, one might arrive in your mailbox!)

        Do you make Christmas cards?

        Saturday, December 11, 2010

        2am Chit Chat

        My mom called at 2am tonight.

        Most moms call at 2am if the house burns down, or if there is an emergency. But my mom just called to chat. She had just gotten some text messages that I had sent earlier in the night and wanted to say hi. I love that about my mom. I love that she doesn't get mad if I forget to call her back, or if she gets woken up by texts in the middle of the night, but she just takes advantage of the opportunity and talks to her daughter.

        I love that she always has something encouraging to say to me, even when I have crazy things going on. I love that she remembers who my friends are, even when she has only met them once.

        Gosh, I could go on. I love my mom, and I love our random 2am chit-chat.

        Wednesday, December 8, 2010

        Our Eyes Are At Fault

        Be brave, my dearest Maria, even if this letter is your only token of my love this Christmas-tide. We shall both experience a few dark hours -- why should we disguise that from each other? We shall ponder the incomprehensibility of our lot and be assailed by the question of why, over and above the darkness already enshrouding humanity. We are being subjected to the bitter anguish of a separation whose purpose we fail to understand. And then, just when everything is bearing down on us to such an extent that we can scarcely withstand it, the Christmas message comes to tell us that our ideas are wrong, and that what we take to be evil and dark is really good and light because it comes from God. Our eyes are at fault, that is all. God is in the manger.   -Dietrich Bonhoeffer (before he died in a prison camp)

        Tuesday, December 7, 2010

        Experience New England: Latin Fa La La's

        Saturday I went with some ladies from my church to our friend Diana's jewelry party. She and her husband have just recently joined Grace Harbor, and it was great to go support her and see some of her wonderful handmade accessories! I would totally recommend taking a glance at her page on Etsy! (and then buy some and give them as gifts!)



        Last night my roommate Niki and I headed to the 62nd Annual Brown Latin Carol Celebration! It was held in the First Baptist Church in America and featured choir performances that were simply magical and readings that touched on the season, all in Latin! A woman from our church is studying classics at Brown, and I'm so glad she told us about the event! It was simply awesome to hear our favorite Christmas carols sung so beautifully and in Latin! I hope more people come with us next year, and man, we need to remember to get there EARLY, (starts at 8) because it was mad packed!

        Celebrating Advent has been wonderful. I'm a few days behind because of the crazy weekend, but I'm absolutely looking forward to catching up today. It has been a great time of establishing a steady time to read my bible and think. It has also caused me to really think about the glory of the incarnation and what it means. The fact that the holy, perfect, and righteous God would send his son to the earth- the earth full of humans that repeatedly rebels against Him and slanders Him. So that we could then kill Him. But all for our salvation and his glory. Whew.

        And lastly, Red Mountain Music has a new cd that is available to stream or download on their website. They have really wonderful, gospel centered hymns. Oh man, so good. Especially the song "All Things New," which I think is the first track. Perfectly fitting for Advent as well :)

        Thursday, December 2, 2010

        Mini Expeditions

        An expedition is an excursion, journey, or voyage made for some specific purpose. Well, today I'm offering you some mini-expeditions, with the only real purpose being to show you some really great things Ive stumbled upon. Here we go!


        Sacred Deprivation by Erin Davis  
        Article from the True Woman website. "It was in that exhausted state that I had an epiphany. I’m not tired from a lack of sleep. I’m tired from a lack of the sacred.... "


        Desktop Wallpapers from Smashing Mag for December. I love to get some fresh new digs for my lappy! They range from Christmas theme, to simply beautiful scapes, and far from tacky. 


        Hubble Space Telescope imagery Advent Calendar for 2010. Keep checking this page - every day, for the next 25 days, a new photo will be revealed here from the Hubble Space Telescope, some old and some new. How cool, and its the third annual.


        TV Evangelist Being Extorted Over Affair. I kind of like this article. Though I don't know much about this man or his ministry, I like his statement: "To our beloved partners and friends," he said, "we're not here to excuse sin, but we are here to celebrate the goodness and the grace of God. He has helped Joni and me."    God is holy. Men are sinful. He forgives us if we trust in him and follow him. It has nothing to do with our ability to live a perfect life, but to trust in the one who did. 

        Monday, November 29, 2010

        Advent?

        Having heard of Advent many times, but never really understanding anything about it, this year I decided to dive right in. There are a lot of reasons, but the main one being that I really want Christ to be the driving force of my Christmas celebrations, and I want to get into the meaty concepts behind the incarnation of God himself.

        According one resource, the word Advent is from the Latin adventus for "coming" and is associated with the four weeks of preparation for Christmas. 



        Taken from a Noel Piper article, Looking Forward: Preparing to Meet Jesus Face to Face, this is a great brief on Advent and its purposes:
        "Advent is a time of looking back, remembering the faithful people who were waiting for the salvation God had promised, as 1 Peter 1:10-12 tells us.

        Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully,inquiring  what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted  the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.
        Then the very next verses continue by turning our eyes forward in Advent, looking toward the return of Jesus.
        Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. (1 Peter 1:13-19)
        There will be another advent of Christ; he will come again. This makes Advent a season for introspection. Peter gives us God’s high standard as we contemplate our standing with him: “You shall be holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16)...."



          Awesome Resources:
          • Journey to the Manger, an Advent devotional from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary
            • Go sign up HERE, for daily emails. So far I have really enjoyed it.
          • Daily Scripture Reading from CRI Voice for Advent 2010
            • check that out HERE
          • What is Advent?  by 
            • Noel Piper, from Desiring God.org
          • A Season to Look Back and Aheadby Noel Piper from Desiring God.org 
          •  The Jesus Advent Celebration: The Jesse Tree Journey
            • a free Jesse Tree Advent book 
            • from aHolyExperience.com    Click HERE to download it now!
            • (pretty cool illustrations as well)

          Sunday, November 28, 2010

          Growth or a Sore Thumb

          "In a healthy church, growth is the norm. In a not so healthy church, those who are growing stick out like a sore thumb."


          I heard this quote recently, and I'm wondering how many of us would be able to say that growth is the norm in our churches? And its not talking about numbers, necessarily, but the growth of the individual Christians. Are more people    growing, or are more people just stagnantly hanging out at status quo? Are more people developing a love for theology and God's word, or only being spoon fed by the pastor once a week? 


          I would say that a strong exposition of the word penetrates hearts. And when the word gets in your heart, the Holy Spirit definitely does some work.


          What do you think?

          Thursday, November 25, 2010

          Bountiful Thankfulness

          This is my favorite prayer from the Puritan prayer book, Valley of Vision, and at the end one of my favorite psalms. 
          Have a great day of Thanksgiving.

          Bounty:  
          Thou great and only potentate,
          Thou hast made summer and winter, day and night;
          each of these revolutions serves out welfare
          and is full of thy care and kindness
          Thy bounty is seen
          in the relations that train us
            the laws that defend us 
            the homes that shelter us
             the food that builds us
             the raiment that comforts us
             the continuance of our health, members, senses,
                understanding, memory, affection, will.
          But as stars fade before a rising sun,
           thou hast eclipsed all these benefits
           in the wisdom and grace that purposed
           redemption by Jesus thy Son.
          Blessed be thy mercy that laid help on
            one that is mighty and willing,
           one that is able to save the uttermost.
          Make us deeply sensible to our need of his saving grace,
                                             of the blood that cleanses
                                             of the rest he has promised
          And impute to us that righteousness which justifies the uilty,
             gives them a title to eternal life,
            and possession of the spirit
          May we love the freeness of salvation, and joy in its holiness;
          Give us faith to grasp the promises,that are our hope,
          Keep our hearts from straying after forbidden pleasures;
          May thy will bind all our wishes;
          Let us live out of the world as to its spirit, maxim, and manners,
            but live in it as the sphere of our action and usefulnesss;
          May we be able to live to every call of duty, accepting without question
             they determination of our circumstances and our service.
          [The Valley of Vision, pg 212)


          Psalm 13:4-5
          But I have trusted in your steadfast love;   my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
          I will sing to the LORD,   because he has dealt bountifully with me.

          Friday, November 19, 2010

          Who I am: I am Forgiven

          This is one of my new favorite songs by Sanctus Real, titled "Forgiven."   I just listen to the words and relish the fact that I am.. forgiven.  Check it out:



          The lyrics are epic:

          Well the past is playing with my head
          And failure knocks me down again
          I’m reminded of the wrong
          That I have said and done
          And that devil just wont let me forget

          In this life
          I know what I’ve been
          But here in your arms
          I know what I am

          I’m forgiven
          I’m forgiven
          And I don’t have to carry
          The weight of who I’ve been
          Cause I’m forgiven

          Wednesday, November 17, 2010

          Experience New England: To the Golden Shore Tour

          If you havent heard me talk about this book already (have you been living under a rock?) then let me just quickly introduce it to you. "To the Golden Shore" is a biography about Adoniram Judson, written by Courtney Anderson. Judson was the first missionary sent out from America to another country. He went to Burma. Its an amazing book and everyone should read it. The leadership team for Christian Student Fellowship has been reading through it this trimester, and I'm really getting a lot from it.

          Travis, our campus minister, decided we should take a day trip and explore some of the points of interest from the book. Most of the book takes place in either New England or Burma, and so we were able to explore quite a few interesting places! Let me share a few pictures, following with relevant quotes from the book:

          "
          Tabernacle Congregational Church, Salem Massachusetts
          "Next Thursday, February 6, 1812 by appointment of the Prudential Committee of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, Messangers Adoniram Judson, Samuel Newell, Samuel Nott, and Gordon Hall are to be set apart by a solemn ordination at Christian missionaries to carry the Gospel of Salvation to the heathen. The public exercises are to be holden at the Tabernacle in this town, and to commence at 11:00am..."
          -Samuel Worcester (pg 106)

          Salem Harbor, Massachusetts
          "It proved impossible to load the Caravan in time to sail on the tenth. She lay at the end of the Crowninsheild's Wharf- closest to the sea of all of Salem's wharves- until the 13th."  (pg 116)

          Beverly, Massachusetts
          "Jaunting the few short miles to Salem, as they must have done often, Adoniram and his father would not have gone far through Beverly's streets before unmistakable evidences of wealth began to appear everywhere."  (pg 21)

          First Congregational Church in Wenham, Massachusetts
          "In Wenham the church chose the pastor but the town employed him and paid his salary. Immediately after the church made its decision, a town meeting was held. The town voted to invite Mr. Judson to be its minister..." (pg 16)

          Judson House, Plymouth, Massachusetts
          "But the Judson's did not settle on this side of the Town brook. East of the brook, in the direction of the new church and the Training Green, the land rose upward into what was then known as 'Watson's Hill.' ... A crude Road in front of it, scarcely more than a wagon track, became known as 'the way to the new meeting house.' Later it was called 'the way to the Judson's house'; still later, "Judson Street"; and today, 'Pleasant Street.' The house still stands, Number 17 Pleasant Street."   (page 27)


          It was a great little excursion. It was so amazing to be able to see all these places up close, places where people lived out hard decisions, decisions that cost some of them their lives as they set sail to unknown lands.  The Salem Tabernacle church even had a specific room full of all sorts of historical artifacts relating to Adoniram Judson and similar people like the Newells, Samuel Worcester, etc. I recommend this day trip to anyone with an interest of church history. 

          Tuesday, November 9, 2010

          Here, There, and Everywhere!

          The past month or so, Ive been here, there, and everywhere!

          New York City
          Janelle, Casey, Bryan, Sung, Billy, and I all met up in New York City. It was a great adventure that FINALLY happened after years of planning.  (We have literally been talking about this for years, havent we Casey..?) They drove down from Medina, Lockport, and Houghton, NY,  Sung took the train in from Long Island, and I took a bus in from Providence. I cant express how great it was to see everyone!! After a crazy adventure with Sung to find our super ghetto "hotel" in Jersey, we met up with everyone in a Korean restaurant and basked in the Kimchi glory! Everyone was so tired and we went to bed right away!
          The next day we got lost, I mean, wandered around the American Museum of Natural history, China town, Little Italy, Soho, around Ground Zero and over by the Staten Island Ferry. We fed squirrels at Washington Square Park, and ended up topping the night off with a glorious Korean/Japanese dinner (I just don't even know)! More Kimchi with Udon Noodles, all sorts of other things, and Saki! I love my friends. Sunday we tried going to church but after not finding parking, we decided to get food at a little Irish pub, wander around Time Square and Central Park, and then it was time for me to head back. A quick jaunt, but a glorious one! We walked so much (and I wore the wrong shoes) that I was literally debilitated by the blisters for days afterward. haha. And dont forget our friend Tsquirrel.

          Fusion: New England Collegiate Conference
          Fusion is a fall conference for all Baptist Collegiate ministries located in New England and North East Canada. We gather together in Hull, Massachusetts for a few days of retreat, with David Platt (of Radical fame) as our speaker. His message is all about really truly living a radically gospel centered life. It was really challenging as he encouraged us to take a look at how Jesus calls us to live and what kind of implications the gospel has for us. A lot of what he said is very contradictory to the "American Dream," and its a good thing to hear. All of our JWU Christian Student Fellowship students who went were very challenged by it, in a good way.
          We are all given a few hours of free time on Saturday and a bunch of us decided to visit Fort Revere out on the Hull peninsula. It was the most beautiful place I have seen in a long time. Wow. The New England beauty just blazed a path in my brain and I could not stop being amazed. You can see for miles, as the fort is up on a hill, and it is surrounded by water, little islands, lighthouses, cottages, fall foliage... Just go there. Now.

          Sandwich, MA

          You know whats great? Having friends that also desire to satisfy those 1am road trip cravings! (Me to Hannah: "If getting married means that I cant do this anymore, Id rather not." haha) Hannah, Niki, Jake and I decided to go on a road trip. At first we were going to go to Salem (a la witch trials) but then decided we wanted to get some sleep eventually. Pfft who works on Saturday mornings. After creating a soundtrack for the trip, we departed at 1am. None of us having been on the Cape, decided that was a worthy destination! Using my map assessing skills we trekked North East! Crossing the Bourne bridge and the Cape Cod Canal and finally ending up in a little town called Sandwich, the oldest town on Cape Cod! We did not discover much, but a cool tree was right in the town square, so we climbed it. Aside from the beautiful old church buildings and making Jake run and dive in the car, we essentially drove to the Cape to climb a tree. Haha. It's great to be young, and I was glad that I was free to do this! Next time we are hoping to actually get more than one mile onto the cape, maybe even during the day too!

          So those have been my adventures as of late. Stay tuned for more! 

          Monday, November 8, 2010

          Titus 2: But Where's My Older woman?

          In her Radical Womanhood blog post- "Where's My Older Woman," Carolyn McCulley talks about how many times she has read the Titus 2 passage, where God is exhorting older women to train-up the younger women in godliness:

          Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Titus 2:3-4

          And after reading said, "Ok God, where is my older women to mentor and disciple me? I'm not seeing her." All the while expecting that some "elusive, grandmotherly type" would come and take her under her wing and teach her everything about being a godly woman, just like her. But then she realized she had never asked God, "Lord, who is my younger woman to disciple?"

          Wow. Ouch. How challenging. 

          I honestly spent a lot of time this summer in a needy, selfish mindset, complaining to God that there weren't any older women in our church who could disciple me, while hardly even looking for a younger person who I could disciple!  I love how Carolyn says:  
          Yes, you are a sinner, but Jesus has redeemed you
          Yes, you need to grow and mature, but God has also given you a tremendous amount of wisdom and insight. True, you will never be perfect, but that doesn’t mean you can’t by God’s grace be a loving, caring older woman to a younger woman."  

          She goes on, pointing to 1 Corinthians 12:12-31
          Paul explains that we are one body united by Jesus through the Holy Spirit. As a body we are to care for individual members, using the gifts and abilities God has given us. We don’t have to wait for the Christian Martha Stewart to come along and make us just like her. We have been adopted by God the Father through his Son, Jesus, and are now being made more like him (Ephesians 4:22-24).
          Who knows, maybe if we all took that more seriously, your older woman would come along, too. But if not, what joy you will have in training your younger woman! Let’s not allow Jesus’ sanctification, the gifts for life and godliness that we each possess, end with us, ladies. Pray for God to put younger women in your life, who you can pursue and help point to Jesus.
          I am only 21, and maybe you are only 25, or 31. But lets really take the time to ask:

            "Ladies, who is your younger woman?" 

          Sunday, November 7, 2010

          Sudden Sight

          Sudden Sight
          by Alissa

          the longings of my heart
          a blatant picture of what I hold worthy
          how Ive spent my time, attention, love, money
          at best, a sad picture daily

          my heart is a deceitful liar
          that must be shod with redemption
          it is an idol factory
          that must cease production

          let the desire of my heart
          be my delight in Christ
          let my delight in Christ
          be the desire of my heart

          Until Ive spent it all for the cross
          giving my existence to what is worthy
          I must cling to salvation
          God, point me there daily.

          Saturday, November 6, 2010

          Beyond Words

          Beyond Words
          by Alissa

          Toska, a sick pining for which nothing will satisfy
          vague restlessness, no answer
          we gaze.
          Mamihlapinatapei...
          and it happens again and again.
          But nothing ever happens.
          a jayus, we cannot help but to laugh
          despite the lack of humor.
          the reality breaks through.
          litost. tears.      toska.
          Луна поцеловала наши лицас
          его сияющим мягким
          жаромчерез темноту это сияло
          we cannot plimplamppletteren. like old.
          just empty skipping syllables.
          refrain. dont tingo what I have in my heart,
          slowly, unknowingly it could happen.
          it is diaphanous, cant you see? but full.
          I've heard,
          there is a remedy. opposing toska. opposing poshlust.
          Mellifluous, cadence- susurrus, from above.
          we need to try.
          Cant you hear it?

          Friday, November 5, 2010

          His Choice? His Best.

          "God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with Him." -Jim Elliot


          Truth. He is God. We are not. Therefore any of our choices are lacking omnipotence and omniscience.

          Paul Tripp said it this way, "Service of your Savior King is rooted in the admission that his plans for you are profoundly better than any plans you have for yourself."


          I also want to clarify that God is sovereign and that our selfish choices, or our refusal to trust in God, are not taking the situation out of God's hands. There are various accounts in the bible where God will give people what they want as a means of judgement or discipline. Kind of like letting us learn things the hard way. Of course He is still there loving us, forgiving us, mercifully NOT giving us what we deserve (but giving us MORE than we would ever deserve.) 


          I need to stop fretting that things aren't going the way that I would want them too. I need to stop trying (key word there) to control every situation and not giving it up in trust to God. He is wonderful. He is kind. He is not withholding good things from me.
          Lord, please forgive me for my lack of faith in You. 

          Friday, October 29, 2010

          Cautious Optimism

          "So the feel of a praying life is cautious optimism -- caution because of the Fall, optimism because of redemption."
          -- Paul E. Miller

          Thanks to my friend for sharing this quote.
          I think this quote is true, but how do we balance this caution and optimism? What does this look like in real life?
          Thoughts?

          Thursday, October 28, 2010

          Marriage is a Hospital: And Other Lessons on Married Life from Martin Luther

          I love Martin Luther and what he has to say on marriage. So do the guys over at The Resurgence, which have been host to a series solely dedicated to Luther and holy matrimony which I have been enjoying incredibly. This article by Justin Taylor, titled 4 Lessons from Luther on Married Life stood out to me quite a bit so I thought, "Nows the time!" (to share a little tidbit of course.)

          No marriage seminars will tell you this, but Luther will: marriage is like a hospital. You won’t find the metaphor understandable or appealing until you realize that you are sick and that you need to be healed. Here’s how Luther put it:
          The temptation of the flesh has become so strong and consuming that marriage may be likened to a hospital for incurables which prevents inmates from falling into graver sins.

          Luther biographer Roland Bainton picks up another metaphor in his writings:
          "After his own marriage Luther’s tone shifted to a stress upon the home as a school for character. It is the area where the Christian virtues find their readiest exemplification, and, whereas in Catholicism monasticism is the sphere for the cultivation of the counsels of perfection, in Protestantism the home is as it were a functional substitute."
          Both metaphors—a school and a hospital—signal the important role of marriage as an agent of sanctification and rehabilitation. Our selfishness and pride are exposed. And if we respond in God-honoring humility, marriage can be used by God to cleanse us of our sin. The shift away from the monastic metaphor is also significant, for it signifies that marriage is never a purely private affair. Christian marriage is not to be of the world, but it must certainly be in the world.

          Amen, Luther, Amen. (Like I even know)

          Check out others in the series:

          Tuesday, October 26, 2010

          Ann Judson: Oh, Death...

          There are a few things that my curiosity will never be satisfied with, and one is learning about women of the faith. The wives of the reformers, the women who risked it all to take their faith to the world through missions, those who serve the church faithfully in their hometown, the women who quietly walked a steady faith that might not have inspired thousands but worked wonders in her family's life, those both past and present.  In the future I hope to highlight some things on my blog that I've come to learn from these inspiring women of the faith.

          First lets take a quick look at Ann (known as Nancy) Judson, first wife of Adoniram Judson. She was the first American woman missionary to go overseas. She sailed with her husband for Calcutta, India in 1812.

          This quote, taken from "To the Golden Shore" is a response to the death of her son and offers a fierce theology on death.

          "Oh death, thou destroyer of domestic felicity, could not this wide world afford victims sufficient to satisfy thy cravings, without entering the family of a silitary few, whose comfort and happiness depeneded much on the society of of each other? But thou hast come, clothed in thy usual garb, thou wast sent by a kind Father, to release his child from toil and pain. Be still, and know that God has done it." -Ann Judson, page 159
           She basically starts out by saying, Oh, death! Destroyer of happiness. Why us! Out of all the people in the world! And she ends with the hard to say words "Be still, and know that God has done it."   Everytime I read this I cry, because I just hope that I would be able to speak these words with the same meaning.

          Be still and know that God has done it, and He is a kind father.
          Mmmmmmmm.

          Thursday, October 21, 2010

          Isnt All Spoken Word, Art?

          By Alissa Graham


          "I do spoken word art," she boasted to all with ears, univited might I add. The bus driver was especially stuck listening to anyone who had anything to say. A bold rainbow was juxtaposed on her body by means of spectacular displays of jewelry.

          "Im sorry though miss, but isnt all spoken word, art?" I thought in my head. Our words are a tapestry crafted and designed- some speak more eloquently, yes, and some weave that poetic picture using melodies and announciations. If art is defined as a human creation, then I need to stand my ground.

          "Hey there yall,"  splatter the paint in an uneven manner. "How you doin'?" splash, flick, colors, more colors!

          "My darling I want to hold you near!" The type of art to caress the soul. "I love you forever." A careful and gentle motion from the potter to the clay. Brotherly exhortation, a sisterly concern: friends, your words carve out my inconsistencies.

          A poem, a song, "row, row, row your boat..." Words that invoke feelings, memories, hearing them brings comfort or sorrow. We like to display our words in our homes, above the mantle, "Dont forget your p's and q's!"

          But sometimes art is embarrassing and awkward. "I dont know what to say," a painters hesitation, his brush paused. "This cant work out, Im sorry." Criss cross with charcoal, starting over. Sometimes the scultpers sharp tools knick, "You've hurt me." 

          Every artist has taken out a new canvas with good intentions. Everyone has picked up the phone and dialed. Only to put it back down, to set it back in its holder, nothing to say.

          I think all spoken word is art, and sometimes not speaking is an art unto itself.