into the fire.

Yesterday, I found out that a colleague of mine from Baylor–frequent classmate, in the same honors program as I was, good acquaintance but not close, better friends with one of my good friends–out of nowhere (or so it seems to all of us) committed suicide on the 13th. 24. Just a week or so before her birthday. Was a Christian. Who knows what was going on in her heart. Hits a little close to home, if you know my story.

This morning, I read on Twitter that a man who served at my old church, who taught Sunday school classes and went on mission trips and to camp with his wife, who was like a father and grandfather to generations of kids, had died.

Just a minute ago, I read this article about Matt Chandler, his family, his cancer.

Been having conversations with my parents about my brother and his family. Things not going well at their house. Don’t want to divulge details here, but it’s been weighing on my mind and my parents’ minds for some time now. My brother and I aren’t close, but dang it, he’s still my brother. His family is mine, too.

Feeling broken because of all the brokenness of the world, of people who I hold in my heart, of helplessness in the face of it. I come with empty hands upraised and plead for help to a God who has not and will not let us go.

thursday 13.

This week: Thirteen things you’ve ever done at work.

1. Sorted a (fairly sizable) storage room full of display hardware in the back room, which took longer than expected…we did, however, get rid of a lot of stuff, which was nice.

2. Knitted. Yes.

3. When I worked at Starbucks, I mixed together every single ingredient we had behind the counter–coffee, syrups, shots of espresso, every kind of milk (including soy), Frappuccino mix, everything–and then drank it. (Well, two or three sips of it.) Actually, it was less scary than I anticipated, although it was overwhelmingly hazelnutty (strange), but my coworker said, “I was half-expecting you to turn into some sort of magical beastie.”

4. Listened to Cake. I don’t know why I remember this, since it happened nine years ago, but there’s my crazy long-term memory for you.

5. Read communication theory, or attempted to, anyway.

6. Gave out over 100 hot chocolate samples in about half an hour. This was, of course, during Christmas.

7. Eaten a granola bar at the library desk.

8. Folded origami.

9. Listened to All Songs Considered (during an overnight shift when there wasn’t anyone there, don’t worry).

10. Strung CAT-5 cable, which was more interesting than it sounds.

11. Led a discussion about the Odyssey.

12. Graded quizzes.

13. Attempted to do my taxes. Yes, seriously.

mix tape monday

This week: Probably a little delayed, but some of your favorite songs from 2009 (as in, songs that were released last year).

1. Pitbull, “I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)”
2. Wilco, “You Never Know”
3. U2, “Magnificent”
4. Derek Webb, “Cobra Con”
5. Sarah Jarosz, “Come On Up to the House”
6. Fleet Foxes, “Mykonos”
7. Shawn Colvin, “Crazy”
8. The Swell Season, “Feeling the Pull”
9. Andrew Bird, “Masterswarm”
10. The Avett Brothers, “I And Love And You”
11. Bon Iver, “Blood Bank”
12. J. Robert Spencer, “A Light In the Dark”
13. Noah and the Whale, “Blue Skies”

random missives from Quack’s on a Sunday night.

*Quack’s is one of several coffee shops in my neighborhood and the one I frequent most often, aside from a Starbucks down the road. I’m eating a walnut scone and a cup of tea for dinner, which will be partially burned off when I walk back home. The area I live in is very walkable, not just because of the topography, but the houses are [mostly] super-cute as well. Also, the zoning laws are apparently really flexible, because I live across the street from an itty-bitty grocery store this couple built onto the front of their house.

*Also, apologies for use of the terms “super-cute” and “itty-bitty”.

*One of my readings for class (Social Media) was about community; the sermon at church this morning was about Christ’s hospitality towards us and how that should affect the way we treat other people, both far and near (also, this was preceded by an announcement about work in Haiti some guys from our congregation are doing); I’ve been wondering about how I can better enter into people’s lives, and also about Communion as an act of God’s giving Himself to us. I don’t think this is coincidence. (“Don’t mistake fate for coincidence…”) To possibly be hashed out in a later post.

*I found this the other day and the only thing I can think about it is one comment someone left on the site: “He’s Jesus, brotha!” (Losties will understand what I mean.)

*What are you reading these days, kids? By the way, if your answer is nothing and you’re not the parent of very small children, you will invoke the wrath of the literacy gods. Just saying.

*Oh, and one more reason I’m becoming a librarian: I don’t pour out all my obsession into just one thing; I just tend to get mildly obsessed with a whole bunch of things. I know just enough about stuff to be dangerous. 😉

“three words that became hard to say…”

“…I and love and you.” (That’s the Avett Brothers, if you’re not familiar. Highly recommended–they’re so good.)

I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep last night (see the last post for evidence), so this is going to be interesting. I’m going to sit here and make myself write something for fifteen minutes. It’s 12:15 now, so that makes coming up with the end time easy, doesn’t it.

Yesterday was MLK Day, which was spent by me cleaning my apartment, and eating another round of bacon chocolate chip pancakes with my ex-roommate Madalyn (who is on Twitter now, which amazes me). Oh, and sitting awkwardly in a coffee shop in my neighborhood with Madalyn at the table on my left, and my friend Summer and her friend on my right, and pretty much ignoring them for the sake of the episode of LOST I was watching on my laptop. Social skills FAIL on my part. If you’re reading this, ladies, I profusely apologize.

[I got interrupted by work–imagine that–so this will be shorter than anticipated. I almost put in a paragraph here about Dr. King, but some of the content would likely have gotten me in trouble, unfortunately, so here we go.]

Classes start tomorrow. Looking forward to it. I like time off as much as the next person, but in smaller chunks. I’ve been out of class for over a month, and I need to have more stuff to do in my life. Actually, the class I have tomorrow morning is on social media, so we get to do things like talk about Twitter and Facebook, so that’s going to be all sorts of fun.

What else? Um…I maybe have some other projects brewing; I just need to actually get to working on them. I will keep you posted. They’ll hopefully be interesting, or at least entertaining to me. I don’t know. We’ll see.

Also, I’m reading a book about covenant theology right now, and it very well might make my head explode. It’s short, but it’s very dense; there’s a lot of rather weighty stuff packed in there. Which is fine, it’s just sort of slow reading.

Okay, that’s it. Later kids.

4 am

Awake in the middle of the night for no discernible reason, I have the two following thoughts: One, that Christ did not die so I could continue to sin, and two, if The Swell Season made a record of hymns, I would be really happy, but that seems unlikely. The former is of the Spirit, the latter what the muse drops off on her way back home after she’s been out drinking, but not too much.

thanks, dr. king.

From “Letter From a Birmingham Jail”:

There was a time when the church was very powerful–in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being “disturbers of the peace” and “outside agitators.”‘ But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were “a colony of heaven,” called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be “astronomically intimidated.” By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests. Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church’s silent–and often even vocal–sanction of things as they are.

But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today’s church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust.

Perhaps I have once again been too optimistic. Is organized religion too inextricably bound to the status quo to save our nation and the world? Perhaps I must turn my faith to the inner spiritual church, the church within the church, as the true ekklesia and the hope of the world. But again I am thankful to God that some noble souls from the ranks of organized religion have broken loose from the paralyzing chains of conformity and joined us as active partners in the struggle for freedom.

Thursday 13.

(I think I’m going to start doing this and Mix Tape Monday on a biweekly basis instead of either weekly or once in a blue moon. Stays consistent, but still gives me time to come up with ideas. And I can do that, because today’s my birthday, gosh darn it.)

This week: Thirteen more things that make you happy.

1. All the blackbirds that come through central Texas in the autumn and spring, even if they also kind of freak me out, Hitchcock-style.

2. The Proust questionnaires in the back of Vanity Fair (pretty much the only reason I’ll ever pick up Vanity Fair).

3. The singalong in the middle of the movie Magnolia (actually, I don’t know if it induces happiness so much as it does what Roger Ebert calls elevation).

4. The Pink Power Ranger, a somewhat girly adult beverage introduced to me by Steph and the incomparable Jen. Tasty, tasty stuff.

5. Mo Rocca’s sputtering on Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!

6. Cataloging stuff. (One more confirmation that I’m pursuing the right career.)

7. The fact that my church sent me a birthday card, which I got in the mail today.

8. Period clothing from the 1920s-’40s.

9. The fact that iambs feel like the most natural meter, since it’s the way our hearts beat.[/English major moment]

10. Little kids singing.

11. Ridiculous hashtags on Twitter.

12. The house where one of the assistant pastors at my church and his wife live and work–both what happens there and the house itself, where I’d love to film a movie one day.

13. Adults getting baptized at paedobaptist churches, which doesn’t happen nearly as often as I’d like. (Let’s fix that.)


Three epiphanies I’ve had this week as part of my annual birthday-induced existential crisis:

1. I am entirely too self-focused in my thinking about life, the universe, and everything.

2. I’m not telling a good story with my life right now. I’ve hit some kind of weird wall, and I don’t know how to get over it.

3. I need concrete goals to work toward instead of vague, nebulous ones, or else I’ll never work for them.

So what does all that mean? Well. Stay tuned. Let’s just say things might start getting interesting soon.

mix tape monday tuesday

Sorry, meant to put this up yesterday–this week: Female vocalists, part the second.

1. Next to Normal OBC, “Wish I Were Here”
2. Plumb, “Late Great Planet Earth”
3. Adele, “Chasing Pavements’
4. Judy Garland, “Over the Rainbow”
5. Anna Nalick, “Breathe (2AM)”
6. Sandra McCracken, “Gravity”
7. The Duhks, “Fast Paced World”
8. Fiona Apple, “Extraordinary Machine”
9. Jenny Lewis, “Acid Tongue”
10. Kendall Payne, “On My Bones”
11. Feist, “Brandy Alexander”
12. Gillian Welch, “Look At Miss Ohio”
13. The Swell Season, “Fantasy Man”
14. Patty Griffin, “Nobody’s Cryin'”
15. Over the Rhine, “Changes Come”