Hehehehe. . . they think we're not so smart. They think they'll suck all the money out of us before we can say "move". Well, I'm on to them, and I'm going to get the message out to all of you so that you're aware of the manipulation and you too can prevent soap scum!!

Yep, that's right. The dreaded SOAP SCUM. And not just any scum--I'm talkin about the kind of soap scum that sinks deep into the crevices of bath tubs made specifically by money-hungry apartment renters to eeke out every ounce of deposit left in our account when our lease is up.

You ask how I came upon this invaluable information? Gladly I'll share. It was when I began cleaning our first apartment bathtub that I recognized the signs. The bathtub was uncleanable. I tried every type of scum remover, every kind of tub cleaner. It was so bad that my husband set out himself, without any kind of suggestion from me, to soak it with clorox over night--more than once. But to no avail!

Thus, when it came time to move to a new apartment our tub was full of dirty scum, unattainable, untouchable. We received a notice after moving into our new apartment that the staining of our tub meant we would not be getting our deposit back. *sob*. It was a dark evening.

Until tonight. Tonight I just got angry when I cleaned my new apartment's tub for the first time and *gasp!* came upon the same cavernous crevices collecting crap.

That's it. I'm writing a letter to my senator.


Redemptive Writing

From "Writing Creative Nonfiction"

"Creative nonfiction writers are in an ideal position to be one-person "truth and reconciliation" commissions, to uncover "the small stories that have gone missing," as one writer put it. Rooted as it is in telling people's stories, creative nonfiction is a particularly well-equipped genre to deal with events that have been forgotten or understudied by official histories, and to unearth lives at the margin of bigger events" (pg. 32).

An interesting position to be in. . .

". . . one-person "truth and reconciliation" commissions. . ."
". . . to unearth lives at the margin of bigger events."


Next Door Worship

I love mountains. I mean, who doesn't? Unless of course they're ocean lovers, in which case they can still do water sports on big lakes like Lake Tahoe CA, my new beloved home away from Colorado home. There's nothing we can't do here (except maybe surf and hope for a job with Bubba Gump Shimp Company).

It's easy to worship when we're in nature . . . majestic mountains, towering waterfalls, comedic ocean life. . . and the people who are the kind to validate God's existence are those that have no problem seeing God's presence in it. We can't forget that God reveals hiimself on a mountaintop all through Scripture. But I'm afraid I'm missing a grave truth beginning in Genesis that continues on through eternity. Yes, God began creating nature on the very first day--a preliminary of sorts (not that God's preliminary is anything short of perfect). But the grand finale? The creation that probably stopped all the animals in their tracks? (And at that time, probably b/c they were amazed and not scared). Man. Woman. People. Us.

Sadly, I've had a history of seeing God's majesty only in the outdoors. And I don't know of too many people who escape nature to find God in the city. I think I need to start reminding myself that I don't have to go anywhere but right next door to my apartment neighbors to learn something new and exciting about God. I might learn that God suddenly had a creative urge to make a freckled, red headed girl who has an obsession with hamsters and decided that at the same time, he would give her parents that are allergic to them but love their girl too much so they're sneezing every five minutes and have kleenex boxes sitting every five feet in the house, and all because of the five hamsters rolling along in balls everywhere. . . it could happen.

I could also learn that God has a tendency to put people in our lives that reflect our own problems, and somehow, when we reach out to them, we end up becoming stronger as they help us and we help them. Then, maybe people are the better reason to worship.


Grace Is Not. . .

I feel judged when I try to obey Christ. Now, before that's interpreted as an egotistical, Pharisitical phrase, let me clarify and say that my frustration has absolutely nothing to do with my attempts to live a perfect life. It has everything to do with my trust in a Savior that enables me to lean on grace. And as an example of my need for mercy, sometimes I have angry words I need to get rid of, and now's one of those times.

Heaven forbid I try to live my life to please Christ, to bear fruit, lest it be considered as an effort to attain salvation!

I think my frustrations came about when my eyes were first opened to the differences in denominational beliefs, and the different attitudes that came about from a particular emphasis or perspective on God. I suddenly noticed that cheap grace does exist. People actually lift up what they call "works" to a place of sin, almost making the assumption that if anyone makes an effort to bear fruit in their life, to obey Christ, then they don't have a proper understanding of grace. Has it gotten to the point that, I hate to say it, but, obedience is sinful? If so, what does it mean to suck the blood of Jesus and live by his flesh, if nothing changes as a result of him in our life?

I am motivated by love, therefore I seek restoration. Grace is both my reason and strength, but it is not the end. It is what holds the universe together, but it is not the meaning. It is the solution and power that enables us to keep on keeping on, to persevere, to encourage, to be strong . . . but when grace comes to its full fruition, it is because we have come to understand love in its fullest, most eternal capacity: we will worship face to face with our Creator--the God of the Universe, the God of us, the God of Love.