1 + 1 = 3

It's been announced to family and friends, it's been announced on Facebook, and you've probably already heard, so it's high time it's announced here:

Jonathan and I are prego with a boy and expecting in April :)

With the prego state comes a prego future. In just a few shorts months, our life will give birth to unimaginable fun, stress, laughter, tears, and change.

BIG change.

"Aren't you excited?"

These were often the first words out of the mouths of friends and family when they found out about Baby K. Admittedly, I also used the word "excited" when people asked how Jonathan and I were feeling. But at the end of Thanksgiving weekend, as I was driving us back on Hwy 5 from Bend, OR where we had spent the holiday with Jonathan's cousin and family, Jonathan watched a movie and I finally took advantage of the quiet to process the life ahead of us. I realized that "excited" doesn't quite sum it up.

I think a new baby is one of, if not THE biggest life changes, anyone can experience. At certain times, yes, I'm excited. At other times, I'm skeptical of our decision to get into this in the first place. Sometimes I'm nervous, sometimes I'm curious, sometimes I'm happy, sometimes I'm stressed. Normally I'm the type of person that adapts to change well, so it's not just the fact that it's a change. For me, it's the fact that it's a wild frontier of unknowns. Getting into the change of marriage was easy for me. I knew Jonathan. We had talked a lot about expectations and living habits and spent a good deal of time together before getting marriage. Again, I knew Jonathan. But a baby? We don't know this baby. For all intensive purposes, this baby is a stranger. A complete stranger! We have no idea what kind of personality this baby has, how he'll sleep, how he'll interact with us, if he'll have special needs, how he'll develop... many times throughout the past few months I've stepped back from it all in awe, struck by the oddness of person and family creation. One day, in the very near looming future, we will leave our house and life a twosome, and come home a threesome.

So how can "excited" describe a future that is, for the most part, one long horizon of unknowns? It's sort of like getting pregnancy advice from women who have been pregnant. Every woman who's been pregnant feels like she can tell you how your pregnancy will go--what symptoms you'll have, how you'll carry and how that determines if it's a boy or a girl, how your labor will feel, etc. But every pregnancy is different. So is having a baby. It's not just a baby; it's a tiny person. God is entrusting a tiny person into our care to know and nourish and love, and every person is different from the next. Every tiny person is an adventure--no one has ever loved and raised that tiny person before, and no one but God knows what's best for that tiny person. So all we can do is give him back to God and ask God for wisdom.

So maybe"excited" isn't the most precise word. But I would say I'm contentedly expectant. My hands are open. I'm ready to receive.


Fantastical Conference

Two weekends ago Jonathan and I went to this. It was truly fantastical. And ridiculous, to use one of David Crowder's other favorite adjectives. It was essentially a laboratory of experimental church music from bands that formed to create music unique to their faith community--faith communities being everything from house churches in Denver to church plants in Brooklyn to mega-churches in London.

Here's what I loved. Besides the fantastical music (favorites include The Welcome Wagon, Gungor, The Civil Wars, Mike Crawford and His Secret Siblings, BioFrost Arts, etc.) the general session speakers, workshops, panels, etc. inspired so much creativity and thought. I especially was liberated by their encouragement: to be sensitive to my own faith community's language and experience, making it uniquely ours; to be resourceful and creative with the vocals and musicians we've been given; and to RELAX... our goal is not to be a polished, perfect performance, but to provide a truthful, spirit-filled place where people can worship. This last one is key where I am right now.

As mentioned before, one of the groups that played was Mike Crawford and His Secret Siblings from Jacob's Well in Kansas City. I loved the lyrics to their song "Words to Build a Life On." Because of the more repetitive nature of the melody, it takes on a very Psalm-like quality, but with the building dynamics it becomes a powerful anthem. Thought I'd share the words here (and you can click the above link to listen).

These are words to build a life on
These are Your words how can they be mine
These are words to build a life on
These are Your words I want them to be mine

Blessed are the poor
Blessed are the weak
Blessed are the ones
Who can barely speak

Blessed in your hurt
Blessed in your pain
Blessed when your teardrops
Are falling down like rain

Blessed when you’re broken
Blessed when you’re blind
Blessed when you’re fragile
When you have lost your mind

Blessed when you’re desperate
Blessed when you’re scared
Blessed when you’re lonely
Blessed when you’ve failed

Blessed when you’re beat up
Blessed when you’re bruised
Blessed when you’re tore down
Blessed when you’re used

These are words to build a life on
These are Your words how can they be mine
These are words to build a life on
These are Your words I want them to be mine

Blessed when you’re heartbroke

Blessed when you’re fired

Blessed when you’re choked up
Blessed when you’re tired

Blessed when the plans
That you so carefully laid
End up in the junkyard
With all the trash you made

Blessed when you feel like
Giving up the ghost
Blessed when your loved ones
Are the ones who hurt you most

Blessed when you lose your
Own identity
Then blessed when you find it
And it has been redeemed

Blessed when you see what
Your friends can never be
Blessed with your eyes closed
Then blessed you see Me

These are words to build a life on
These are Your words how can they be mine
These are words to build a life on
These are Your words I want them to be mine

Blessed when you’re hungry
Blessed when you thirst
Cause that’s when you will eat of
The bread that matters most

Blessed when you’re put down

Because of me you’re dissed
Because of me you’re kicked out
They take you off their list

You know you’re on the mark
You know you’ve got it right
You are to be my salt
You are to be my light

So bring out all the flavor
In the feast of this My world
And light up all the colors
Let the banner be unfurled

Shout it from the rooftops
Let the trumpets ring
Sing your freaking lungs out
Jesus Christ is King!

Jesus is my Savior
Jesus is divine
Jesus is my answer
Jesus is my life

These are words to build a life on
These are Your words how can they be mine
These are words to build a life on
These are Your words I want them to be mine

Give us ears that we may hear them
voice that we may sing them
life that we may live them
hope that we may give them
hearts that we can feel them
eyes that we can see them
thoughts that we may think them
tongues that we may speak Your words


Addendum II

For inquiring bakers, I present an image of a tart pan:
Although I don't own one myself. I prefer to use a baking stone and just roll out the pastry like a pizza and fold over the edges. I like the rustic look of it.


Addendum to Tart

A friend kindly pointed out to me that I had left off the rest of the directions for the tart pastry recipe I posted--quite a long time ago now, unfortunately. When I get busy all I seem to want to write about is food. And our garden. But technically our garden also falls under the food category because we don't have much in the floral department... I guess food is my comfort topic?

Anyway, back to the important topic of tarts...

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Place peach mixture on tart (I spiraled them out to make them pretty) and make sure to leave a 2 inch border for the crust. Once you've put all the peaches on, bring the pastry edge toward the center, overlapping on the peaches as necessary. Bake for 25-30 min or until the crust is golden brown and the peaches are soft. Serve with vanilla ice cream or vanilla greek yogurt.


Tart Pastry

Jonathan and I are housesitting this week for the same family we did last year. While enjoying an orange sunset over the lake at dinner, it occurred to me that the thing I like best about this beautiful place is the make-believe games we can play. We can pretend to be anywhere (anywhere with grapevines, that is)--Tuscany, Provence, The Peloponnesian Penninsula...the list could go on. I like pretending sometimes.

Partly inspired by a book I'm reading, A Year in Provence, I decided to pretend I was a french baker last night. I seasoned some fresh peach slices with lemon juice, cinnamon and sugar and found a tart pastry recipe in a French cookbook. It came out of the oven flaky and melt-in-your-mouth buttery and tasted delicious with the simple peaches. Jonathan wished I had made it with apples, but when it comes to pies and tarts, I say there's no better fruit than peaches. They have the most refreshing flavor and texture.


TART (unsweetened) PASTRY

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
2-3 tsp ice water
2/3 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
1 egg yolk

Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl, add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles bread crumbs (or a food processor works really well). Add the egg yolk and cold water and mix with a food processor or flexible bladed knife until the dough just starts to come together. Bring the dough together with your hands and shape into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator to rest for at least 30 minutes.

Roll out the pastry into a circle on a lightly floured surface and use to line a tart pan, as directed in the recipe. Trim the edge and pinch around the pastry edge to make an even border raised slightly above the rim of the pan. Slide onto a baking sheet and put in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.


My So Called May

Start new job.
Plan for and prepare Mother's Day chocolate buffet.
Confirmation parties.
Fundraiser BBQ for National Youth Gathering.
Housewarming party with 72 people in my house.
Graduation parties.
Decide to take on a "weekend" (ha!) cosmetic make-over for our kitchen.
Tear down wallpaper.
Senior high retreat in the mountains.
More tape.
More paint.
Coordinate all church picnic.
Drive to SF to see London musician friend Greg Holden and his gf Katie Costello play at Hotel Utah.
Paint! Paint! Paint!

Tomorrow... college roomie visits from Nebraska and we take a MUCH NEEDED trip to the coast.



Fresh Expressions in the Church

One of my favorite bloggers, TallSkinnyKiwi, posted this article from the London Times about a new movement in the Church of England. The concept isn't new--it's been happening organically for a couple of decades (at least in England... the U.S. has been a little slow to catch on). But what I find interesting and encouraging is that it's only just now being sanctioned by the upper-powers.

It reminds me of how English developed in Great Britain. It wasn't the wealthy and nobles who established English as the main language, because they were few and far between and therefore, had weak influence. Instead it began as the speech of the peasants and gradually built up momentum because of the large numbers. Then it became the language of the people.

From what I've seen, certain change cannot be commanded; it can only grow from a grassroots movement--especially in the Church. We limit our resources, and therefore mission, if the only ideas come from the uppers. We also limit our mission if we underestimate the power of personal "referrals" and word-of-mouth "advertising". So much depends on the bottom-up stream of change.



While I'm enjoying a few of Trader Joe's potstickers before a meeting I have tonight I thought I'd post a link to a fabulous new website I found. Colorjive is one of those websites that I invented in my head and then thought someone must have already thought of it so I googled it and it turned out someone had (this also happened with Bookswim).

In essence, upload a photo of a room and digi-paint it! Get an idea of how the room will look in any color you choose. I did our living room and kitchen. You can see it's a bit smudgy, but not half bad at all when you're just trying to get an idea of how the room will look. As you'll see in the living room picture, I was even able to try out the red curtains.

Paint away!


Help for the CD COW

This is me, the CD COW (or maybe a cow somewhere in Ireland).
I've never been very good about asking for help. I'd rather risk time, energy and sanity than bother someone with a question or request. Why? It's probably too late to ask "why". What is important is that I get over it because after three years of bumming around in a Masters course and one short-term full-time job and sporadic freelance work, I recently piled a mound of job descriptions on my flimsy plate and I've just now realized it's about to fall through.

This past Monday, I started working full-time as a Creative Director of Communications, Outreach and Worship at my church. Yes. The acronym for my job title is CD COW. That's sort of funny... but not entirely funny when I remember that I over-estimated my superwoman capabilities and underestimated my fatal flaws and miscalculated the number of hours in a week. This new job + freelance copywriting gigs + playing for worship for our band-led and the occasional classic praise service + small group leadership promoting responsibilities + my own small group I'd like to get going + youth group activities + new house projects adds up to an interesting situation if I don't start asking for help.

I'm trying to be realistic at the outset. I know that I'll give 100% to my jobs, and that will leave nothing for my family. That will leave nothing for my friends and community. That also leaves nothing for my writing goals that I've slowly let go over the past few months. I wonder what else I would sacrifice?

What have you sacrificed because you haven't asked for help?


And Another Link (Iceland Volcanic Ash Pictures)

These pictures are unbelievable... and beautiful. I know my scientific mind is infinitely too minute to fathom most physical realities, but I'm in awe that one volcano is responsible for shutting down all of Europe. It just goes to show--


I don't know. It just goes to show, I guess.

20 Catalysts for Creativity

So this is funny. I'm posting a link to a blog post about creativity because I don't have anything creative to say. Eh. We have a world wide web of resources so why not use em?


where's the f** in church?

We've been in an odd season in our church recently. The words "disillusioning", "hopeful", "frustrating" and "confusing" also come to mind. I haven't been able to write about it, which is another oddity because I'm usually able to work through my thoughts better when I write them down.

Every week I feel differently about our future, and today I came to a completely new realization. I'm beginning to wonder if we (speaking generally of Christians) sometimes take church a little too seriously. By church I don't mean faith or God or our relationship with God. I'm talking about our relationships with each other. The first thing Jesus did in ministry was gather a group of friends around him. Would you consider the people in your church to be friends? You may worship with them and pray with them, but...

what else?

Do you hang out with them outside of church "meetings"?

Do you go to them for advice?

Do you eat together? laugh together? have fun together? do life together?

When I look at our church and a few others I've been a part of, I wonder if I struggle because it seems like all the fun has been taken out of it. We've created rules about what we should do when we hang out. We've decided that we need to be governed. We've gotten all beaurocratic about it and completely forgotten about the relationship aspect. It's like if I invited you over to my house one night and handed you a list of house rules and a program for the evening and told you to sit in uncomfortable chairs and we all sat around staring at each other and forgot how to talk.

Well, maybe that's an exaggeration. But I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that at one time or another, most people have viewed church as a chore.

So what can we do to put the fun back into church?


Blog Makeover at 3:00 am

It's 3:00 am and I can't sleep. I wasn't tired when I turned out the light at 11:45 and I was wide awake during an hour long spontaneous pillow talk with my bed friend. I guess I drifted off for a half hour but then woke up with a dead arm. So now I've been sitting at the computer for an hour wondering if I should attempt sleep again or if I should continue redesigning my blog (an entertaining way to spend the wee hours, I must say). In any case, I felt the need to inform you that I might be making some aesthetic changes around here. We'll see what strikes my fancy the next time I'm up at 3:00 am.


I spent my spring break at IKEA

I guess you should call it a spring weekend. I don't like to use the phrase because it reminds me of the madness that was our university's annual Olympics which consisted of boys and girls teams competing in opening ceremonies, sync swims, cowpie throwing (it was Nebraska) body-contorting games, obstacle courses, art races, and of course, the dreaded and hailed lip sync that required months of practice...but it was a weekend, and it did occur in the spring.

My parents and younger brother came to visit our new house! And us, I suppose. We walked to the lake, enjoyed happy hour in a local wine bar, rode bikes in San Francisco, (fell off our bikes in San Francisco), went flea market and IKEA shopping (female-bonding time), golfing (male-bonding time), cat-hunting (don't worry, we found him), champagne-toasted the house, and as is always the case, ate WAY too much food.

Not only did we make lot's of good memories but I learned a few things:

--Goat cheese log topped with Trader Joe's pineapple mango salsa. Yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmyyyyyyyy

--I haven't ridden a bike in a long time for a very good reason.

--The next time I ride a bike, I'll make sure it has an excessively large padded seat.

--You should visit us just to try my husband's stuffed burgers. They're aMAZing.

--Baker Beach is not biker friendly.

--Flea markets. Love them. Will visit more of them. (Except the guy in the wiry-things stall. He was not happy to barter.)

--Shopping is so much better with my mom.

--Two people are required to manhandle IKEA shopping carts. And if you aren't as obsessed as I am with ingeniously-designed Swedish odds and ends, you can entertain yourself by watching other people try to maneuver them and have just as much fun.

--Consider spending your spring break at IKEA, but plan on a day in each department. Monday in living rooms, Tuesday in bedrooms, Wednesday in kitchens and so on. You might want to plan an extra day just for lighting and home organization.

--One brother is nice, but three is even better. Next time I'm home I'm looking forward to seeing all three of them!

So yes. Good weekend. House is broken in. Easter coming. Hope is here!


So much depends on the heart--

"If Jesus were in this room, what would he say?"

A common question from parents and Sunday school teachers to kids when they're misbehaving. Whenever it was asked of me, I had it in my head that Jesus sat in the corner, quietly observing, not saying anything unless asked and then he spoke short proverbial phrases.

Now that I'm a bit older than eight and I've had more time to understand the Jesus in the Bible, I realize that the question is fairly open ended, as it should be. Especially when it comes to matters that aren't specifically addressed in Scripture. When we need guidance, our natural tendency as humans is to want a straight answer. I've often wished I could hear Jesus' audible responses to my questions. How much TV is too much? Should we or shouldn't we use birth control? How much do we need to give to be considered generous givers?

I'm not a parent, but as I've watched friends and family parent their children over the years, I've realized how different kids are from each other, and how differently they respond to love and discipline. A parent knows what each child needs--the content and the delivery of it.

It occurred to me last night that Jesus appears to be the same way. You see this in the way he relates to disciples, to the sick, to the poor, to anyone he comes in contact with. His actions vary widely depending on each of their situations because all of us are different people. He communicates to each of us differently. When it comes to matters that are not commandments (because I do believe there is a right and a wrong and the important commandments are addressed in Scripture) what's right for me may not be right for you. It all depends on our personalities and our relationship with God.

So for example, if Jesus came to visit you, would he enter your living room and suggest you turn off the TV? Maybe. Maybe not. I think he might ask if you're distracted from him because of it. Or if you're distracted from people because of it.

As Paul says, we have freedom in Christ. Freedom to eat or not to eat. Freedom to watch TV or not to watch TV. Freedom to give what we've been convicted by the Spirit to give.

--So much depends on the heart.


If you give a woman a house...

...she'll want to take the ugly drapes down and put up her curtains.

When she takes her curtains out of storage, she'll realize that they're in desperate need of washing.

After she washes the curtains, she'll realize that they need to be dried.

After she dries the curtains, she'll see that they need to be ironed.

After she's ironed the curtains and waited patiently until her handy husband arrives home to install them, she'll realize the curtains have shrunk and are too small for the window and she has to go buy new ones.

...But if the house you give the woman is the first house the woman has ever owned in her entire life, she'll hum her way happily to the store and start the whole process over again...


Upcoming is Coming

When the horizon is hazy, remember:

peace He leaves.


The Beginning of a Beautiful Relationship

I hope you're not tired of San Francisco pictures yet. Last week Jonathan and I met up with a friend in the city to to hang out for the day before going to the Rob Bell Drops Like Stars tour. Although I didn't go to Rob Bell... I had work to do and ended up in a noisy Starbucks in the midst of a bathroom reconstruction. Have you ever tried to write while a toilet, sink and dry wall are being ripped out? Don't even try. It's almost impossible. I would have benefitted going to the Rob Bell thing since he talked about suffering. Then at least I would have been prepared for the Starbucks situation.

Anyway, we got to spend a relaxing day in the city, without a lot of plans, just hanging out and seeing the sites. Normally we take the BART in but decided to drive since we didn't want to be walking to the station at night in the part of town where the ballroom was. And I have to say, the city is really growing on me. I mean, I visited it a few times before moving to Lodi, so I was familiar with the touristy areas, but as I get a feel for all the burroughs I appreciate the diversity and yet unified quaintness of the architecture, people and geography.

It took awhile to park, but once we got ourselves a spot we decided on dim sum for lunch near Chinatown. Rarely do Jonathan and I end up in a good restaurant so quickly, but this time was an exception. The first restaurant we came to had dim sum, and the people in front of us raved about it. We were one of two Caucasion groups in the place, I think. We shared a table with an older asian man and poured ourselves some green tea and watched carts roll by filled with gelatin-like desserts and bamboo steamer bowls and piles of stir fried vegetables and then the pork dumplings... pork dumplings with their melt-in-your-mouth sweetbread. We randomly chose it off a cart and were very pleasantly surprised! The cart-rollers barely spoke English so we tried to decipher the contents of each plate and pointed to what we wanted. Then they set it on the table and stamped our ticket with a number. No idea what everything cost until we were ready to pay. The total price came to $17 for six (rather large) pork dumplings, three beef, three pork, and three shrimp/vegetable dumplings. If you're ever in San Francisco, let us know and we'll pass on the info for this place. A great experience.

The rest of the day was relaxed and as always, we took a few pictures. Sorry I can't share much about Rob Bell--you'll have to ask Jonathan to get the story. I did find out that he's left handed, for what it's worth.


A Lesson in Cupcakes: failure strikes again

I recently heard that Thomas Edison was perturbed that no one asked him about the 1,000 light bulbs that didn't work. I understand what he was saying, at least as far as baking goes. I think I feel more productive with kitchen failures because I learn more from what doesn't work than what does.

About a year ago I posted a picture of my embarrassing cheesecake flop. I learned a valuable lesson from that cheesecake: it's worth the extra trip to the store for the exact ingredients, because baking is all about chemistry, and I didn't do so well in high school chemistry, so I don't know what I'm doing when it comes to substituting fat free cream cheese and/or greek yogurt for regular full fat cream cheese (which I may or may not have done...)

A couple of weeks ago I learned two valuable lessons about Seven-Minute Frosting: one, that it'll be Twenty-Minute Frosting if you don't use an electric mixer and decide to handwhip the egg whites over the simmering water; and two, that Seven Minute Frosting is not the best option for a red velvet two layer cake (note the dam-like effect of the glass cake cover):

Today I learned a valuable lesson about cupcakes. If you don't have enough tins, wait until the first comes out instead of putting paper baking cups on a regular baking sheet and expecting them to come out looking like cupcakes. Instead expect a melty deformed (albeit strangely visually appealing) result:

The good news is that the cupcakes in the tins worked out, which means that Jonathan and I get to enjoy scrumptious yellow buttermilk cupcakes after our Valentine's dinner tonight :) I'll just add some frosting and sprinkles and they'll be ready to go!


Grains Glorious Grains

I love food, so maybe it's not saying much. But every once in awhile a new dish is so unique that it reminds me to savor each delectable morsel of life. Introducing:

Trader Joe's Harvest Grains Blend.

This savory blend of orzo pasta, Israeli couscous, red quinoa, and mini garbanzo beans can be eaten with chicken or shrimp, as a side, or in a salad. The first time I made it for friends, I was a little disappointed with the mushiness. I think I added too much water. The next time I made it I added less water and it was deliciously crunchy and al dente. The texture is probably the most intriguing thing about it, but the flavor is delicious, too, even with just a little salt and pepper. So far I've made it with some onion salt, pepper, basil, pine nuts, and fresh grated parmesan cheese, but I recommend throwing in your own favorite ingredients.

Sorry for those of you who don't live by a Trader Joe's. If you're really interested in trying it, email me, we'll exchange addresses, and you can send me your favorite grocery store item (Preferably dry...) in return for the harvest grains. It'd be fun!



This is the dating game that won't ever end.

I didn't date many people before I met Jonathan. There was a guy in high school who turned out to be gay. There was a short-lived thing in college that was really more of a friendship. Besides a few random dinners and movies, the most serious relationship I had was with my now husband. And after we met, it was only a few months before we knew we'd get married.

Me and houses? Not so much.

In August, my husband and I began a wonderful relationship with a lender. We contacted our realtor in September. We set up an online profile and eagerly checked the listings everyday for a perfect match. We thought there was a possibility we'd meet "the one" by the November deadline tax-credit, so we enthusiastically set out into the ocean of young first-time homebuyers. There had to be a smallish fish in the sea that needed just our touch of TLC.

After a few months of retro kitchens, walls of wood panelling, a couple of french doors, and one scary profanity-ridden foreclosure, we thought: maybe a more realistic aim is to plan on meeting ours in the new year. Maybe we could still meet the extended April tax credit?

And that's when we found out who we were competing against.


Voluptuous, wealthy investors. Heavily endowed investors. Investors who decided to take advantage of vulnerable real estate instead of aiming their assets at the feeble stock market. Investors who could swing a hammer and make a few extra bucks with house makeovers. As I write, they're multiplying, parading their scantily clad loans--without shame I tell you!--in front of our houses and strategically forming brothels of house flippers.

They have cash and every asset we don't have.

Well, almost every asset.

They're missing one key ingredient:

love. (Sigh.)

We have an unlimited supply of love to pour into the one house that's out there--somewhere out there I tell you!--waiting patiently for us to meet and fall in love and spend every last penny we have on its maintenance and improvement. If only we could get married by April.

Some people are lucky with guys. Some people are lucky with jobs. Some people are lucky with houses.

But I live in California.


The Big Security Guy in the Sky

I was the nerdy one. I spent my high school and elementary school days stressing over both menial and major assignments, perfecting every last detail from the name at the top of the page to the alignment of bullet points. If I made a mistake on a piece of notebook paper in the first few lines, I'd throw it out and start a new one, just because crossed out words made the page look messy.

My perfectionism, combined with my fear of authority, landed me the accidental role of teacher's pet, which ruined my life. No one asked me if I wanted to be the teacher's pet. No one wants to be the teacher's pet. But someone somewhere decided that all teachers should prey on their favorite student, and so at some point some teacher appreciated my maddening inability to break the rules and made an example of me to the class that used to like me. And the cycle continued every year.

Social suicide. I am a victim.

To this day I still cannot break rules. I don't like to talk in the middle of a church service and I don't like to speed (more than 5 miles over) and I don't like to take carry-ons that don't fit in the airline's designated sizer-upper even though they accept baggage a lot bigger than that and even if they don't, you can check it for free at the ramp.

So you can imagine how the following situation almost had me running for solitary confinement.

Jonathan and I had friends stay with us in London over the summer in 2008. On the first day they visited, Jonathan informed me that Anne Hathaway and the actor who goes by "The Rock" (does anyone know his real name?) would be at the Apple store (where Jonathan worked) that afternoon. Jonathan was working that day. My friends and I got there late, so as we walked into the crowd--which was small considering there were two famous actors speaking--I took my camera out of the bag so I'd be prepared when we found a good angle. Just as I pulled the camera out of its case, I noticed a significant sign placed in front of the crowd. On it were written two significant words:


I immediately began to put my camera away. By immediately, I mean I really couldn't put it away fast enough for my liking... and as it turned out, for somebody else's liking, either. Someone else had noticed my camera. The big scary Apple security guys. They immediately headed in my direction. They were the biggest meanest men I've ever seen. The crowd started whispering and pointing. With palms sweating and voice trembling, I tried to explain that I had seen the sign after I had pulled out my camera, and had put it away immediately afterwards, but apparently they don't teach forgiveness at Security Guy School. They told me I would have to be escorted out.

At that moment, some of Jonathan's friends noticed the crowd disturbance. They nudged him and told him someone was getting in trouble for taking pictures. They all craned their necks and laughed until Jonathan said in disbelief, "That's my wife!" He was just as surprised as I was that I was getting in trouble for something--and something big enough for security guys.

Thankfully Jonathan vouched for me and I didn't have to leave the store. I got to listen to the actors respond in the question and answer session. For all of the trouble, I wasn't all that impressed. But at least my name was cleared and the red in my face eventually faded.

I could litter this blog with stories like that--stories that explain who I was and who I'm growing to be. I'm at a point in my life where I'm beginning to remember them and to analyze them for their deeper implications. For example, this story says interesting things about the way I see God. I've begun to realize recently that I like to follow rules in my faith life just as much as in other parts of my life. I've had to ask myself a difficult question:

Do I really love God, or do I obey because he's the big security guy in the sky?

I don't know the answer yet. But I'm thankful that Jesus has already vouched for me.


This. Is. Brilliant.

This is quite possibly the most hilarious scene ever.



“[God] vanishes from our sight to do what He could not do if we could see Him. In the spiritual journey, I know of nothing so difficult to believe. But it’s true.

"Think of those long hours of darkness on the cross. Jesus screamed in agony, “God, where are You?” God said nothing. But it was during that exact time that God was in the Son reconciling the world to Himself.

"Imagine the comfort we would experience and the hope we would feel if we realized that during His felt absence, Jesus is working to cut the chain from our ankles, to remove the weight that keeps us from flying."

--Larry Crabb