Conflicts and a Mustache.

Another dawn, another Monday.  Whether this excites or horrifies you, it’s here.  I sit behind the student desk at work with eyes swollen by sneaky night-ninja allergies, reflecting upon the last three days, wondering what the heck is going on.

I’ve always felt a little conflicted, and I think that’s good.  Not necessarily over any specific subject.  I mean generally conflicted, in everything. As a christian who realizes the sin and pain of the world alongside the joy and celebration of eternity with my Jesus, I don’t really see anything wrong with feeling joy in sorrow, or feeling a little down during celebration. This weekend, I think, demonstrated vividly just how hand-in-hand joy and sorrow really are in the life of someone longing for Jesus to return.

Here are a few conflicts I wrestled with this weekend:

1) Fellowship and disappointment (both within the Body and in ministry)

2) The fact that I think I like Fantastic Mr. Fox the movie better than the book – that never happens.

3) Catcher in the Rye

4) Death and celebration of ETERNAL LIFE

5) Flesh vs Spirit

6) Exhaustion and excitement

So here I am, battling to understand why, and wishing Jesus would just come back right now, but not wanting to leave just yet, and feeling so absolutely inadequate of His grace but trying to live within and through it, and trying to share it with others who so desperately need it, and wondering how the heck to love someone you care so deeply about when they are experiencing pain so profoundly horrifying that you have no chance of genuine sympathy.

O, Lord, how long must the battle rage before You return? You, O Victorious King, are the answer, I know that full well.  But the present evil is blinding. Burst forth in Your brilliant light and truth, Father! Put to rest the transgressions of our flesh and soothe the aching hearts of Your beloved children.  Though the horrors of this world seem monumental in comparison to our feeble bodies, we celebrate the victory of Your Son, Jesus on the Cross.  We sing and dance in expectant jubilation, though we do so with weary bodies. Restore us, Father.

And there’s my weekend.

But today, ladies and gentlemen, is most definitely a day to be thankful.  Why?  Because 22 years ago, the one and only David ‘mustache maniak’ Noble was born.

Praise Jesus for this young man.  Really.  Now, I may be biased, as he is, in fact, my boyfriend, but I really think that he is one of the most wonderful people in the world.  Here are some reasons why:

1) He loves Jesus.  A lot.  I mean it.

2) Because he loves Jesus so much, he loves other people really well and he loves them a lot.  “Other people” includes me, and I’m really thankful for that.

3) He’s hilarious – if you haven’t had a chance to experience his humor, make one.

4) He has a lot of really nice character traits that are a bit cliche but really genuine and awesome.  A few examples: he’s loyal, trustworthy, honest, humble, consistent, responsible, hard-working, gentle, talented, driven, etc.

5) He is super handsome. I mean, super crazy handsome. (See photo above.  Stay back, ladies)

6) Did I mention that he loves me really well?  He does.

7) He’s brilliant, really he is.  He would say otherwise, but that’s just because he’s humble.  He’s so smart.  I really like that about him.

8) He puts up with all of my crap, my sin, my sob-sessions and speaks so much truth to me, even when I hate hearing it.

9) He keeps me grounded.  But he still lets me be a dreamer.  He’s a dreamer, too. I’m getting sappy.  It’s hard not to.  He’s so wonderful.  I could probably write a book about how cool he is.  He’s a rapper, for pete’s sake! Gosh.  I am a lucky girl.

All this being said, happy birthday, David.  We’re glad you’re here.  I’m glad you’re here.

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sweet summertime

Cookies! Never disappointing, are they? Actually, that’s not true. I’ve been disappointed by cookies before. But not by these!

That’s right, people. Peanut butter and jelly cookies. They rocked. here’s the recipe.

I did make a few alterations:

1) I used  only creamy peanut butter.  It worked fine, but I think chunky would have added a little something. The oats add a ton of texture, though.

2) As I took these to a family get-together, I let everyone make their own little cookie sandwhich! It was so fun.  I just set up a little buffet: first, the cookies, followed by the peanut butter spread (so delicious!) and gloriously concluded by an array of different types of jam/preserves/jellies. It was so nice for everyone to be involved with the baking process. I’m all about hands-on culinary experiences. I think i just realized that as I typed it.

Moving along, I took a trip to Half-Price Books yesterday. That’s another thing I’m rarely disappointed by.  Book stores. Books themselves, on the other hand, are a different story. I’ve read my share of shabby books, but there’s just something about a book store, I think. Something a little musty, magical, even. Seeing as it’s summer and I have the freedom to read whatever I want (I can’t tell you how excited I am about this, I sang a song to by dog this morning about it, if that gives you any idea), I took the liberty of treating myself to a little childhood indulgence. I bought some of the chapter books I never got to read. Here they are:

1) Matilda – I loved this movie growing up. Not to mention, I adored anything Dahl. BFG, anyone? obsessed.

2) Fantastic Mr. Fox – another Dahl gem.  I didn’t know about this story until Wes Anderson turned it into a claymation masterpiece, absolutely one of my favorite movies of all time.  When I saw this little guy on the shelf, you’d better believe I pounced.

3) The Secret Garden – confession #1: my first imaginary friend was the boy in the wheelchair from this movie. confession #2: he was also my first imaginary kiss, at the top of the stairs.

4) The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – I’m not sure how I missed this one growing up. Better late than never.

5) Pride and Prejudice – I get it, this isn’t a “kids book”.  Whatever. I got it anyway.

I’m also on a literary journey through the classics with the ever-handsome David Noble this summer.  I started Catcher in the Rye a few nights ago.  I read it in high school, but it’s been so fun to relive the life of Holden Caulfield again without the impending test over the details of the novel.

So here’s to summer! Baking, reading, writing, laying in the grass, getting kicked out of Pencey, fireflies and sweet tea! Cheers!

A “Runner’s” Tale (Part 2)

Last evening, the beautiful Katie Rhodenbaugh and I went on our first run together as training partners. Let me tell you something: it was awesome.
Sundays are our “long run” days.  Yesterday was a 6-miler, and we made it!  We wove in and out of parks, neighborhoods and crosswalks, and an hour passed, and we snuck onto the country club golf course to drink some water out of white paper cones.

Here are some things I’ve been learning:

1.  It’s so much better when someone is running alongside you.  In anything, right?  It’s so good not to be alone.

2. It feels good to sweat.  I’m not saying I love being sweaty all the time, I don’t.  But when I’m working hard…it’s not so bad to be a bit more damp than usual.

3. The only way we will be able to finish a race is if we prepare for it.  There’s no way in a million trillion years that we would be able to run in this race without training.  We have to understand the end goal in order to truly be able to commit to desiring it. I need this in my walk with Christ, as well.  So often, I see the end goal as “no more pain”, which is true, in part.  But there is so much more to the prize promised to christians than that, isn’t there?!  Here I am, running a race to try and just get through it so that I don’t have to feel sore all the time, but how much more glory will there be after that beautiful finish line?  I’ve been on a “promises of God” kick recently, dwelling on scriptures in which God promises us, His children, various wonderful things, of which there are tons and tons, way too many to mention in a blog post. 2 Peter 1:3-4 says,

3His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine
nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

His glory. We are promised experience  of that.  Rest, true worship, perfected bodies, minds, dancing…we get these things!  Let’s work toward them.

I’m not feeling very eloquent this morning, there are so many other things I feel would be appropriate, even cozy in the context of this post…but they’re stuck in my brain, somewhere between last night’s crazy dream and preparing for the flock of teenage boys that will be invading my house today around 2.  Maybe more words will spring through my fingers later.  Maybe not.  Wait!

4. Not everything in my life has to be deeply poetic or theological.  This may be rather obvious, but through conversation with Katie last night on our run, I realized that I’ve been believing a lie that says that everything I think, read, say, feel has to shake me to the core.  While my existence is absolutely rooted in deep, rich, beautifully solid truth, there are things that I can do that don’t necessarily have  to rock my world.  Like reading books.  Throughout my freshman year of college, I would guilt myself into only reading books written by famous pastors or theologians.  While these books are incredibly useful and an enormous blessing to individuals seeking to learn more about the gospel, the Holy Spirit, how to pray, what to  pray, how to find a good, christian spouse (eh?), etc, they are not the only books created by God, right?  God gave people the gift of writing to write about all sorts of things.  Last week, I began reading The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, a really nice novel written by Aimee Bender.  It’s so  good!  It’s not filling my mind with garbage.  It’s beautifully written.  I look forward to reading it before I fall asleep.  It’s a blessing!  It’s a created thing!  Just because Beth Moore’s face isn’t gracing the cover doesn’t mean I’m sinning for reading it!*  Now, don’t take this as me renouncing my love for theology-heavy books.  I deeply enjoy learning from texts written by people who have followed Jesus longer than I’ve been alive.  But God is creative, and expresses that creativity through so many outlets, literature being one from which I draw a great deal of enjoyment.  So here’s to His creativity through His creation, Miss Bender, and the novel her words have created.  It’s really good.  Seriously.

*I love Beth Moore