Dear Mom

Although most of me (the emotional part) is upset, I'm also really confused about your news. i've racked my brain for the last day and a half trying to figure out what good this is doing anyone, especially considering you've already had the most stressful year of your life. i know it's not for me to ask why, and i know i'll never know why... but WHY? i want to be able to know exactly who/what this is benefitting because you've suffered more than many people ever will even once in their lifetime.

the other part of me (the deeper, rational, thinking part of me) realizes that God did not cause this--we caused this with our sin and by virtue of the fact that we live in a fallen world. which means that God's only role in this is intervention--with grace. so this other part of me is awed and amazed that he loves you so much that he steps in and hires doctors to speak and act on his behalf so that you're cared for in the best possible way.

i also wonder about the coincidences--that in the past couple of years, the music department, you, and lisa have all undergone incredible spiritual attacks, and i wonder if this is just another one. which leads me to a completely different question--what amazing things is God planning to accomplish through you that satan is so threatened by? even if it's not a Peace music plan, but a family plan, or a whirled peas plan, or any other kind of plan that will change the Kingdom for his purposes, all of this seems to point to one conclusion:

there must be something that you're doing right.

even if that one thing is just trusting him and then telling everyone you know at every chance you get what amazing things God is doing through these situations, it's a powerful thing. worship is about proclaiming God's goodness, power, faithfulness and love. and you've had more chances to do that within the last eight years than probably ever before.

now, don't hear me wrong--i'm still completely disillusioned by your news and still confused and will probably still ask "why" even after it's over and done with. but more than anything, I'm thankful that I have a mom like you who, after experiencing two bouts of breast cancer, having the worst year of her life (and separated by an ocean from her only daughter and son-in-law), and then, on top of it all, hearing that she needs brain surgery to remove a tumor, says to me, "I feel loved by God." honestly mom, nothing has changed my perception of suffering and God's love and challenged my faith more than those words. i wish i had your faith, but am so humbled that i can have a first-row seat to witness it.

i love you, mom. my prayers and heart are with you, even though I can't be there in person. but soon, very soon, I will see you!



And So It Goes

The title of a song I sang in high school choir. Don't remember the writer but it popped into my head as I thought about the changes coming up this year. Well, that and the fact that Jonathan's sitting next to me playing his guitar and singing about watching the tides roll by...and for the record, our apartment does not have a view of the Thames.

I didn't think we'd be returning to the States until at least a year had passed. But after a whirlwind interview process, we found out just a few days ago that Jonathan and I are being flown out to Lodi, CA June 25th-29th. Considering the timing, it's unfortunate that the church isn't located in St. Louis or we could also make it to my friend Becky's wedding (and actually meet her fiance for the first time, which would be nice). But the wedding and the miles between California and our family are seemingly the only downsides to the deal. Jonathan and I are already impressed with the church's attitude towards mission, community, service, worship, and team-based ministry.

We've already been to Lodi since we have friends that live (and lived) there. It's located in the central valley of Northern Cal about 45 minutes from Sacramento and an hour and a half to San Francisco. Our beloved Lake Tahoe is only 2 hours away, fabulous friends in Reno are 3 hours away, Napa is an hour, Yosemite is just up the State, and now we don't have to lament the fact that we didn't manage to fit in a trek on the Pacific Coast Highway when we lived in Reno.

But of course, now that "the end" of our adventure in London is in sight, I have inbetweeny discomfort--the kind of discomfort that Harry Potter feels when he uses the Floo Network and has his head in a fireplace in Hogwarts and the rest of him in the fireplace at the Weasley's. Or the weird squeezy space transportation that squishes Meg into A Wrinkle in Time.

Here? or There? I feel like I just started acclimating (hence my appropriate use of adjectives ending in "y" in the above paragraph, a cutesy British linguistic habit--i.e. squeezy honey, chewy chews, etc.) Most of the time I like it here and I don't want to leave. I love traveling. I love theatre. I love live music. I love English culture. I love my job. But then there are those times when I go out late at night and have to walk to a bus and deal with drunk, swearing Aussie's throwing food wrappers at me for an hour. . . That's when I want to be able to go back to stay out as late as I want and drive myself home, not rely on public transport. But then again, will I be able to afford to drive when I finally go back to the U.S. of A.'s current economic tragedy?

Here? or There? Eventually I'll be ready. But until then, I still have three months to savor Londony.



3 separate mornings this week I poured a glass of cranberry juice in the morning and drank it with breakfast, went to brush my teeth, and while the mint was still fresh on my tongue, i looked on the table and saw an inch of juice left in my glass. 3 separate times. What can this mean?



As crazy as it may sound, I often forget that I've never seen God personally. That I've never physically touched him, or shared a glass of wine with him, or felt the roughness of his shirt as I cried on his shoulder. Because most of the time, I feel like he's walked along beside me every step of my life, and that I know him and he knows me, and that the only thing that has separated us is the skin between immortality and eternity, like how the skin of my mom's belly separated me from the born world.

But yesterday I was struck by the vastness of God . . . God, this being who is so completely beyond my comprehension that I can't attempt to understand him with my limited senses, this God that I speak of and to daily, who created me and the universe and keeps it stuck together . . . how is it possible that I can really know this God?

I wondered why I don't feel that gap between God and I more of the time. It makes more sense that I would be confused by him, rather than feel loved by him.

But then I realized that the times I feel separated from him are the times when I'm far from home--from other like-minded knowers of God. You just can't be as deep with people who don't acknowledge the same Father that you do.

This morning I read an interesting article about twentysomethings and the Christian faith called Faith No More. What's enlightening about the article is not the fact that 60% of twentysomethings who were involved in spiritual activities in their teens have dropped out. This I guessed, and a lot of leaders today have acknowledged this problem. But what's intriguing about the article is the hypothesized explanation for the dropout. Mainly, that too many churches put all their efforts into producing events with screens and lights and cutting edge music, and forget the most fundamental ingredient of our faith communities: authentic fellowship.

Most people would agree that it's friendship, support, honesty and encouragement that keeps us going back anywhere--home, work, a friend's house, and of course, church. It reminds me of the young adult Bible study that we had at our last church. It wasn't anything spectacular. Just a weekly dinner gathering consisting of food, the Bible, prayer, and lots of questions. But it's what I miss most from our time in Reno. Of course I miss the worship services, but it was the intimate gatherings and the relationships that were created from it and the weekend nights out with those people that I miss the most. Because we had something between us that was greater than age, culture, humor, extracurricular activities, place of residence, etc. We talked about the same Father. We knew the same Father. And in doing so, we shared the same worldview that effected everything we did.

I miss that commonality.


This Week in London...

Rain. (Now is not the time to confess how many times I've complained about sunny Denver...)

Crazy riotous "last night to drink on the tube before it's illegal so let's get back at Boris the new mayor" booze party on the Circle Line Saturday night that resulted in police assaults, funky animal hats and clothing, vandalized trains, 17 arrests, injured train drivers, and my late arrival to the Astoria 2 club to see Iglu and Hartly, my friend's brother's band, play (unfortunately there was a stage mix-up and they didn't get to play at all.)

Spontaneous shopping spree for Amy and Jonathan! You need to know us to know how rare that is, because frivolous is definitely not in our vocabulary.

A dinner outing with a friend to a Belgium brewery in Covent Garden where we were served by people dressed in monk outfits, ate wild boar for the first time and shared a fatty shank of lamb. Later I got so confused by the all-gender bathroom and metal accordian toilet doors that I almost left without using it (luckily after I had used the toilet a nice man was standing there and showed me how to use the foot-pedal powered water trough. Awkward...)

A women's brunch at church called How to Look Good Clothed where a fashion designer did our colors, personality styles and body types. I found out that in terms of color, I am an extremely rare breed--Light Muted. But in terms of body shape I'm quite common--conference pear. Not to be confused with a prince albert pear, which is more curvy. I dare say you are as surprised as I am to learn that one body shape is so popular that they have to come up with two types of one fruit to describe us.

I'm reading a delightful book called Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. It's an advanced copy that's about four years old given to me by a friend, but a long time ago the book split in half so I only read one half at a time and get strange looks on the tube during my commute.

Still editing... have worked on books about illustrating fairyland, writing and illustrating children's books, acting 101, and basic animation.

And finally, interviews with churches to determine our next destination! TBD and TBA at a later date.

Hope you're having a sunny, summery week!