I am not the same after that.

(starting music: Out of the Grey – Come Clean)

1. Every year I get this weird impulse to listen to my whole music all the way through. I have no idea why I do this; it just sort of happens. This year I’ve got them sorted by album title and I’m presently in the non-alphanumerical characters. Yes, I do realize this makes me a geek, thanks for asking.

2. My phone is still broken, so if I owe you a phone call, I’m sorry, it’s not my fault.

3. Resolved: Not to buy any new yarn for any purpose until I’ve gotten rid of the stuff I already have. I’ve heard of other knitters trying to do this and not succeeding; I think I want to be the first.

4. I’ve been realizing lately how much I need to get back into the spiritual disciplines, like, you know, having a regular time for Bible study and meditation. And fasting. I’m a terrible faster, since I have this tendency to focus on the loss of the gift rather than getting to know the Giver, but who knows. There are some things I probably should be fasting and praying about; I just haven’t had the courage to do it yet. Not in a legalistic way, right, just in a “hey, this is what the Word says is a good idea in this situation, be obedient” sort of way. Humbly and without thinking it earns me God’s favor.

I’m also wanting to get more into being involved with the community, both in my church and in the city around me. It’s not always easy without a car, but it’s doable, and I need to start carving out time to do this kind of thing. I’ve been really convicted about all this lately and I need to start applying the gospel to my life instead of keeping it all internal and intellectual.

5. I’ve also been kind of convicted about how much materialistic I can be at times. Lately I’ve been tempted to sell everything I don’t really need and give the money away, but…yeah. I don’t think the parents would be too cool with that. 🙂 Still–I have been convicted lately on how much I spend on myself instead of using my money to bless other people and advance the kingdom, so that’s something I could use some prayer about.

6. Don’t worry, guys, I’m not going all legalistic on you. 🙂 This is just stuff I’ve been thinking about as an application of the gospel to my whole life, and claiming Christ as King over all areas of my life in the specifics, not just as a general principle. I mean, James is right; faith without works is dead (as are works without faith!). The gospel is a holistic thing, which is something I’ve been grappling with for the past few years, so we’ll see what happens.

7. And just to lighten things up: This is extremely entertaining. Have fun. 🙂

(ending music: Out of the Grey – Constant)

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Posting! Right!

1. I keep forgetting to post. Lo siento mucho.

2. So, I’ve been thinking about it lately, and I’ve realized that most of my Christianity is spent trying to make it cool and hip and not ridiculous instead of being unashamed of the gospel, i.e. I want to be seen as a Mark Driscoll/Sufjan Stevens* Christian instead of, say, a Pat Robertson Christian. I mean, I can do it in the name of good doctrine and being “missional”, but when it really comes down to it I want to be seen as cool by non-Christians. Which is stupid, not to mention idolatrous.

(*Don’t get me wrong–I think Mark and Sufjan are doing it right, and for the right reasons. I, on the other hand, just want to not offend anyone. I don’t declare the gospel in my wanna-be coolness. Neither am I saying that Pat is always entirely wrong; he’s made some big mistakes, but he at least has convictions about things.)

3. Also: I feel as though the past several years have been crazy in that the more I learn about Jesus, the bigger my sin gets in my eyes, which is terrible, but more than made up for in the fact that He gets bigger, too. Which is lovely.

4. Finally, this is just funny:

T13.

(Real post coming this evening, but for now, enjoy this.)

This week: 13 ways you de-stress.

1. Reading something for fun.

2. Surfing the Internet incessantly.

3. Venting to someone, either on the phone or in person.

4. Writing.

5. Watching movies.

6. Listening to podcasts.

7. Praying. I know it’s kind of a cheesy answer, but it’s true.

8.  Going to bookstores and browsing.

9. Making mix CDs.

10. Getting myself organized.

11. Baking stuff.

12. Knitting.

13. Sleep. 🙂

this is why I love The Valley of Vision.

This feels particularly appropriate today.

Thou eternal God,
Thine is surpassing greatness, unspeakable goodness, super-abundant grace;
I can as soon count the sands of ocean’s ‘lip’ as number thy favours towards me;
I know but a part, but that part exceeds all praise.
I thank thee for personal mercies,
measure of health, preservation of body,
comforts of house and home, sufficiency of food and clothing,
continuance of mental powers,
my family, their mutual help and support,
the delights of domestic harmony and peace,
the seats now filled that might have been vacant,
my country, church, Bible, faith.
But, O, how I mourn my sin, ingratitude, vileness,
the days that add to my guilt,
the scenes that witness my offending tongue;
All things in heaven, earth, around, within, without, condemn me–
the sun which sees my misdeeds,
the darkness which is light to thee,
the cruel accuser who justly charges me,
the good angels who have been provoked to leave me,
thy countenance which scans my secret sins,
thy righteous law, thy holy Word,
my sin-soiled conscience, my private and public life,
my neighbours, myself–
all write dark things against me.
I deny them not, frame no excuse, but confess, ‘Father, I have sinned’,
Yet still I live, and fly repenting to thy outstretched arms;
thou wilt not cast me off, for Jesus brings me near,
thou wilt not condemn me, for he died in my stead,
thou wilt not mark my mountains of sin, for he levelled all,
and his beauty covers my deformities.
O my God, I bid farewell to sin by clinging to his cross,
hiding in his wounds, and sheltering in his side.

(from The Valley of Vision, page 10)

T13.

This week: 13 random memories from high school.

1. Singing “Carol of the Bells” a capella in the stairwell.

2. “I LOST MY SOCKS”

3. These random bodybuilder guys who told us to get fired up for Jesus during chapel, and me being thoroughly disgusted/distressed the whole time.

4. The Wonderful Wizard of Odd.

5. Lots of choir practice in the bathroom.

6. Completely screwing up one line in Godspell.

7. The third(?) or fourth night of our mission trip to Mexico.

8. ethereal-thoughts.blogspot.com

9. Scribbling band names on the backs of our notebooks during government class.

10. Oh, man, study halls senior year. The randomness.

11. The time David Shook and Ben Cross went to speech competition wearing sport coats from the costume trunk in the drama room…oh goodness. That whole day was hilarious.

12. Burning our notes at Nick’s graduation party.

13. The whole weird story of how I got my nickname.

post-birthday syndrome.

(starting music: Bob Dylan – Only a Pawn In Their Game)

1. ^ Extremely appropriate song for the day. Happy MLK, everyone. Yay for racial diversity and equality (that’s the idea, anyway). 🙂 I may very well have to bust out “Pride (In the Name of Love)” here in a moment.

2. I think I’ve gotten to the point where birthdays give me existential crises. This doesn’t bode well. However–I think this is the good kind, not the “OMG I AM SO FULL OF ANGST AND I WANT TO DIE” kind. I think I exhausted all of those in high school, and wrote the terrible poetry to prove it.

3. So yesterday, my actual birthday, was relatively uneventful–the weather’s all cold and icy outside, which is lovely (I’m serious. In small doses, I love really really cold weather. I wanted it to snow, but that didn’t happen, sadly, so it’s just slick and grey), so we didn’t go to church, so I sat around and watched movies and read. And played Scrabble with the roommates. I was feeling kind of asocial (due to the aforementioned existential crisis), so that was nice.

Tonight, on the other hand, will be another story altogether. Stay tuned for pictures.

4. Wouldn’t it be great if there was an actual “GO” square you could pass up somewhere and just collect $200? Actually–it’d be kind of cool to get a city block somewhere, and play life-sized Monopoly with real money. Humongous playing pieces with wheels. Hmmm.

5. Reader survey:

a) What kind of crazy ideas have you had that you still want to actualize?

b) When was the first time you performed in front of a crowd, if ever? What were you doing?

c) What’s your favorite thing to do when the weather’s yucky outside?

*searching for interesting content*

(starting music: Ben Folds – Songs of Love)

1. Added to my list of qualities I’m looking for in a guy: I can’t be able to beat him up. That may seem obvious, but in the circles I run in, a girl gets worried about these things. Not that I necessarily hang out with wussy guys, mind you. But still.

2. Then again, he has to just be able to beat me up–not that he would. This is also important.

3. The apartment smells like pie, and it’s making me really happy.

4. I have entirely too much to read this weekend for class–for my class on Mark Twain, for example, I have about 150-180 pages to read. Yeah.  *falls over*  Tomorrow’s my birthday. Something feels entirely unfair about this, but it’s probably also a sign that I’m definitely almost an adult.

5. Speaking of my birthday, I’ve come to the conclusion that after 21, most of the rest of your birthdays are thoroughly unexciting, except for the multiples of 10. Twenty-two is a really boring number, no new rites of passage or anything except that I’m this much closer to being able to rent a car. C’est la vie.

6. Currents…reading: Saturday by Ian McEwan (I really dig McEwan. I think most of y’all would like his work a lot), still chugging through The Odyssey, starting The Awakening soon…listening to a lot of The Decemberists and Ben Folds…eating more than I probably should…and that’s it.

7. That’s all I’ve got. Have a good one.

T13.

This week: Thirteen favorite albums.

1. DC Talk, Jesus Freak. (No joke. This was absolutely seminal for me when I was 12–it got me to stop listening to Carman, at any rate. And it’s still a great CD.)

2. Waterdeep, Everyone’s Beautiful. (Borrowed from TeacherDave when he was, in fact, still a teacher my senior year.)

(I really need to be at my home computer for this.)

3. Zwan, Mary Star of the Sea.

4. Radiohead, OK Computer.

5. The Elizabethtown soundtrack.

6. The High Fidelity soundtrack.

7.  Nickel Creek, Why Should the Fire Die?

8. The Decemberists, The Crane Wife

9. Bob Dylan, The Times They Are A-Changin’

10. U2 – All That You Can’t Leave Behind

11.  Damien Rice, O

12. Andrew Peterson – Behold the Lamb of God

13.  Sufjan Stevens, Come On, Feel the Illinoise!

oh, wait. i have a blog?

1. Sorry for not posting in a few days. I’m sure all you faithful readers were thinking I’d dropped off the face of the planet (or something).

2. So, class started yesterday. So far I’m liking all of my courses–I have two more this afternoon, so the jury’s still out on those, but I think they should be all right. I just auditioned for chamber choir, results are posted tomorrow, so I’ll find out then whether I actually get a break in my schedule or not, haha. The roommates are all well. My phone died from not being charged over Christmas break (forgot my charger at the apartment–but seriously, people, why have we designed phone batteries like this? I don’t get it). Everything else is pretty good.

3.  I do think, though, that I’m going to have a hard time being disciplined this semester–all of my classes seem like they’ll be fairly easy, or just challenging enough to keep me interested. No 17th-century literature nightmares again. (Uh. Not that I didn’t like that class. Just saying, it was hard.) All this despite the fact that I have something like 15 papers to write.

4. So, what else is going on? Getting geared up for All-University Sing (the big talent show we have every February)–I’m planning on being in it this year, which should be a lot of fun (tickets go on sale next Friday, ahem). Reading The Odyssey for fun (yes, for fun, shut up). Still digging the new Decemberists album. Getting back into the Word (for some reason, I always slack off on this during breaks, I can’t explain it). Learning to trust God more. So nothing real exciting. But that’s fine.

5. What about y’all? What’s up with all of you hep cats out in cyberspace?

food for thought.

“The Bible doesn’t start with total depravity. Do I believe in total depravity? I actually do. I believe total depravity’s for optimists–I’ve been in ministry ten years, right? I believe those who are optimists think we’re merely totally depraved, I think we’re far worse than that. But I want to start where the Bible starts; the Bible doesn’t start with me being evil. Where does the Bible start? With God! ‘In the beginning, God.’ The story of the Bible starts with God. My problem with the five points of Calvinism is that it starts with me.”–Mark Driscoll