Monday, May 16, 2011

Warning: this may be a downer

I don't think I've even looked at this blog in over a year. However, due to recent circumstances I have a lot of thoughts that need expressing. I like to write them out, and I try to also make it sound good.

The scene: A young woman sits alone in her childhood home recently left to her by her deceased father. It's dark and rainy outside. Inside, music is playing accompanied by laundry tumbling through the wash. These are her thoughts...

It's comforting and heart wrenching to be here. I look around and know this is very different from the home Dad was living in. The surfaces and corners are free from clutter. The couch and rug are new. The furniture has been rearranged, different placements than they have had for years. Most of Dad's things (clothes, fishing, gardening, hunting stuff) has been boxed up or cleared out of the main rooms. Despite all that, there are things that are his. Things he kept for years and years. Things that had particular meaning and importance to him. It occurred to me it is strange that Dad's things are here when he is not. These things, the fish he caught and mounted, great grandpa's clock, his Arizona Iced Tea bottle collection, cause his presence to linger. I know these are just things. Dad himself would say, "It's just stuff," putting little importance in material things. Still, this stuff has memories attached to it. Even if they aren't all my own memories, they contain something of Dad and what he valued enough to surround himself with.

The memories and all of his STUFF are what I have left. There is a lot, but often I still feel robbed. Dad isn't a part of my present or future. That's a hard thought to face. I know he is still present even if it is only in memories and his belongings. And I'm not angry at him, although I wish he had been more willing to accept help and had made different choices. I'm not angry at God either. In his hospital bed Dad said, "God is good," and I tend to agree. I know God is happy to finally express to Dad that he was always loved. No more doubts and questions. I know God grieves with me, too, for the pain of the last few months and months to come. But sometimes I am angry at the world. I'm angry and bitter that this is not a safe place to live. That people suffer and die. That others are left behind to suffer loss and feel alone. That there is confusion and doubt and regret.

Of course I know there are good things, too. All I have to do is call my mom, get a big hug from my boyfriend, talk in silly voices with my sister, or look up at the clouds and know I'm loved and not alone. It is still a daily struggle to choose to look at the blessings instead of the pain, but I'm determined. With God's help this pain will ebb, new joys will come.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Whoever says the Bible is boring should read 1 Kings!

Well, like a lot of people I know, I joined twitter. That's why I have been gone for so long. If you want to follow me there, my screen name is rachie_lynn. It feels a little like talking about an affair to put all this on my blog. Hopefully blogger will forgive me.

In other news, I have been reading 1 Kings lately and it has been great! That stuff is wild. Most of the time it's like reading some kind of magical adventure story. I believe it is all true, but it is as engaging as a novel. Today I came across a story that I have read before, but it really struck me this time. It's in chapter 18, and the story goes that Elijah calls all of Baal's prophets and all of the people of Israel (who have been worshiping Baal, by the way) to Mount Carmel and challenges them to a sacrifice-off: whichever god can make fire to burn up the offerings is the real God. Elijah even soaks the altar before praying that God would show himself so that the people would turn their hearts back to God. And of course, God delivers. The way the crowd responds is so powerful: v. 39 "When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, 'The Lord -- he is God! The Lord -- he is God!"

As I read this passage over lunch, I felt like God was present and speaking to me. First, I pictured him as a friend telling crazy and impressive stories. That didn't fit. Then, I pictured him laying out the story gently and quietly before me. He was reminding me that he is real and can work powerfully to call people back to him. He wasn't boasting because God doesn't need to boast. He spoke to me of his longing for his people. How incredible is it that God, who doesn't need anything from anyone, wants me to know him and believe that he loves me?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

I think this has been brought to my attention before, but today as I was browsing Amazon.com books (one of my favorite pass times) I read the description and had to share. In case you didn't know about this, here you go:
Product Description
"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains." So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton—and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she's soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers—and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield as Elizabeth wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead. Can she vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you'd actually want to read.

About the Author
Seth Grahame-Smith once took a class in English literature. He lives in Los Angeles.

Jane Austen is the author of Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, Mansfield Park, and other masterpieces of English literature.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Andrew Bird aka Dr. Stringz

Once, a long time ago (like 3 years) I went to see a Nickel Creek concert in Spokane, WA. I was a little bit chagrined when another act came on beforehand and I had to wait to see one of my all time favorite groups. This artist turned out to be a little strange and a little entertaining, but once Nickel Creek got on stage I basically forgot about him. One thing I did remember, however, was that he whistled. A lot.

Now fast forward to earlier this week in Starbucks. I was getting an iced mocha and checking out the cds there as I waited. One was an artist named Andrew Bird, and it described him as being known for his whistling. I had to check him out on youtube and what I found was astounding. He definitely is the man I saw so many years ago, but I didn't know he was also a superhero who fixed stringed instruments for puppets.

I love this video for many reasons. Here are a few of them:
- sing alongs with puppets
- the unique instrument that he fixes
- and Dr. Stringz' magical whistling powers

Monday, April 6, 2009

I've got all these ideas...

Recently I rediscovered couscous. It is so easy and tastes delicious if you add the right things to it. When I think about couscous, the first thing that comes to mind is lunch during family camp 4 or 5 years ago. The meal was all different kinds of salads and one of my favorites was a couscous salad. While reminiscing about this with my sister, I suddenly struck upon and idea: I could start a restaurant where couscous was featured in every dish. And what would I call such an inspired and unique restaurant? COUSCOUS NEST!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Really?!

I really should be working, but when I saw this headline I just had to share.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Quarter Century

This Saturday, Alison and I will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of our birth. We will be right smack-dab in the middle of our twenties. To celebrate we have a few ideas but I would love to hear from the couple people that still read this what they would do or what they think I might enjoy doing to commemorate my 25th year.

I must say I am enjoying this time in my life quite a bit. There isn't anything particularly fantastic going on, I am simply content with who I am and who I'm becoming. In the words of Greg Laswell (see previous post), "Yeah, it's well worth the time it's taken to get here now."

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pick of the Week

Although I have been trying to support smaller businesses by searching for independently owned coffee shops instead of going to Starbucks, they (Bucks) do have something I really enjoy.... the PICK OF THE WEEK! Every week they have a new song or two you can download for free from iTunes. So far, I have found some winners. One of the most recent was Greg Laswell. I found the music video that goes with my free song, and I like it for two reasons:
1) the simple symmetrical choreography reminds me of the treadmill video made by Ok Go and
2) three guys dancing around a grocery store with bottled soda and indifferent facial expressions makes me smile. I hope it makes you smile, too.

Here is "How the Day Sounds"

Monday, February 16, 2009

Triple Header

This weekend was an extra long, extra exciting one with not one, not two, but three holidays to celebrate.

First: Friday the 13th. This was also special for me because it was the day my cousins and I were finally able to do our Christmas gift exchange. Turns out Ali, my cousin, Lauren, and I were the only ones able to make it, but we had a good time staying up late watching movies and talking in typical sleep over fashion.

Second: Valentine's Day. My sister and I were unsure of our plans until about 6:30 in the evening when we decided to host a Super Sappy Valentine's Party at our apartment. A few friends from church came and we all wore Valentine's colors and watched a romantic comedy together. It was fun.

Third: President's Day. I slept in and got a hair cut. That's pretty much it.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Today

Today is a very important day for the United States and Canada... it's Groundhog Day! Every year I forget that on the other side of the country there is a fortune-telling groundhog getting more attention than he probably wants. What's the forecast, Punxsutawney Phil?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Fusion + Small Groups = Infusion

Infusion (n.) - the act of introducing a certain modifying element or quality
The Bible study infusion will change and enrich my life.
Infuse (v.) - to steep or soak
I want to be infused in the word.

Yay, small groups!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Time is ticking away. Tick, tick, ticking away!

Wow! Life has been busy the last month or so (hence the lack of blog updates). It has been wonderful to participate in so many events and social gatherings with my friends and family, but I need a break! Since it is a new year, I have been thinking about how I want to spend my time. My life is so busy that I am almost constantly fighting off weariness and sickness due to a lack of sleep and hurried, unhealthy meals. Coffee has become a dietary staple and I don't think that actually contributes to my physical health. While having fun is certainly not a bad thing, I want to find more of a balance. I realize that if I stay home a couple nights a week I may be missing out on a couple nights of fun, but more are sure to come.

I'm nervous and excited about how this new year will pan out. I can feel changes coming. Change can be so stretching, but I'm feeling up to the challenge.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Four Hugs a Day...

... That's the minimum
Four hugs a day, not the maximum!

This video is instructional as well as entertaining. You can learn not only how to give a great hug, but also how to shake your booty so you're ready to hit the clubs. Remember, you can do no harm with four hugs a day!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Speaking In Tongues

"... Human speech is like a cracked kettle on which we tap crude rhythms for bears to dance to, while we long to make music that will melt the stars." ~ Gustave Flaubert in Madame Bovary.

In Girl Meets God, Lauren Winner talks about speaking in tongues. She says it can be a prayer language in which we can express things that don't seem to fit into plain English. Like her, I have never actually spoken in tongues, but I long to because my own words appear flat and lifeless in the face of some of life's experiences and God's majesty. Sometimes journaling or writing poetry can come closer to that full expression of feeling. I think Flaubert expressed it well. I get dancing bears when I hope for falling stars, but I keep talking anyway.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Can I Get an Amen?!

I'm kind of going through my own personal revival right now. I have been reading books that cause me to think about having purpose and how God orchestrates events, and it gives me comfort. It feels good to remember that everything has a purpose and that, while I may not have any idea about what is going on, God does. There are so many things I m trying to figure out about my life and my future and the message I keep hearing about that is a relationship with God is the answer. Or at least, when my focus is growing closer to God everything else falls into perspective. It reminds me of a couple of songs...

The hymn "Seek Ye First"
"Seek ye first the kingdom of God
And His righteousness
And all these things shall be added unto you..."

And "The Answer" by Shane & Shane
"The answer is to love You and be loved by You alone"

Monday, October 20, 2008

Growing Wings To Fly

This is how it used to be...

video

This is how it is now...

video

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Birdie Breakthroughs

Lately my parakeet, Kiwi, has become much more social. He can fly because we haven't kept his wings clipped. For awhile we were worried that meant he would forever be flying away from us. There was a point when he seemed to realize that he was independent. I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T. He could fly back to his cage without needing a helping hand from his human flock. Then I began to entice him to my hand with millet, his extra special birdie treat. We call it his crack. Shortly after that he began to fly to my hand when it was a very short distance from the cage whether it had a treat or not. Then the fun really started. He began to try to fly to us when we were sitting at the kitchen table. The only problem was he didn't seem to have much control of his speed or direction. He would go zooming past our heads and then go back to his cage, a much safer alternative to a potentially moving human target. After much practice he is now able to land on my head, shoulder, and even hand... while I'm holding a phone in it. Oh, I forgot to mention glasses. He has a strange attraction to our faces and glasses. It is a little inconvenient when you have a bird perched on your face chewing on the rim of your glasses. Still, I'm pleased it appears he is coming to accept the fact that he is in our flock. Just a moment ago he was sitting on my shoulder making noises that sounded a little like the aliens in the movie Signs. Next maybe he will learn to talk to us!

To be a therapist...

...Or not to be. That is the question.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I need a few more

I recently found a list of life goals that I wrote over 5 years ago. It's one of those lists of all the things you want to do or see before you die. It had 34 items on it and I had accomplished 3 of them before I lost it. Now I can cross out a few more. I think I've done 6 or 7 total. I started adding to the list again. I kind of want to have a nice round number like 50. I'm not really sure why. I'm up to 47. Some of them I'm not particularly attached to like eating escargot or spending over a hundred dollars on a meal. Those would be cool, but if I came to the end of my life and hadn't done those things I wouldn't be too disappointed. Some examples that I would really like to do are to see the Northern Lights in person, visit a tulip field in the Netherlands, learn to play the mandolin, and see all 50 states (I've seen about 15 already). I was wondering if anyone out there in the blogosphere had any suggestions to help me finish up my list. I'm curious about what other people would like to do in their lifetime.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Pharisee in Disciples Clothing

Jesus and the pharisees butted heads all the time. The pharisees were the guys who were supposed to know what was up. They were supposed to be the experts and Jesus was constantly telling them that they didn't have it right. At all. That worries me because I identify with their desire to follow the rules. I'm constantly trying to figure out if I'm doing things right. I follow Jesus but sometimes I feel like he would be talking to me the same way he talked to the pharisees. "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." (Hosea 6:6) Sometimes I forget that it's about developing and maintaining a relationship instead of doing everything exactly the way it's "supposed" to be done. I think Jesus wants me to lighten up.