Well, not me, but this blog. I finally figured out that I could import all the posts from this blog into my Typepad account. I've been keeping a Multi-Site Kids blog on Typepad since January and like the features and options on that site. So...I'm moving.
Now the only bad part is the address for my new blog is a bit of a confusing mess, so I set up this link so that you can find it easily...that is, if you know how to spell my name. Just remember...put the 'i' before the 'e'.
Since I love sharing our CCC Videos with you non-CCC types, I thought I'd share this one. It is the first in a series of four that will be shown during our current series, "Christian No More." In this series we're being challenged to stop being Christians (or to never become one). Well, stop being what "Christian" has unfortunately come to mean. Instead, be a Christ-follower...one who is whole-heartedly dedicated to following Jesus. Enjoy the video (especially you Mac users)!
Now I realize no one can be good at everything. Some people are good at sports, others have no coordination. Some people are good at math, others can't multiply two numbers. Some people can sing, others think they can sing. I don't expect to be good at everything, but this deficiency is driving me nuts.
I have to face it every time I enter the produce department of the local Meijer where I shop. I was there again tonight and had the same problem. And it's not limited to Meijer. It's gotten me at Jewel and Dominick's too.
I can't get those stupid plastic bags in the fruit and vegetable section open. Does anyone else have this problem? There I am, standing in front of the zucchini, rubbing the edges of the plastic together in vain. This ordeal lasts so long that I always wonder if some guy watching on some security camera in a back room is laughing at me.
Other women walk right up, tear a bag off the roll, and instantly begin filling it with apples or green beans. Then there's me. Trying to delicately grip two distinct sides. Is this a skill you only acquire when you are married or have children?
A couple weeks ago I gave up. I'd been standing there trying with all my might when another woman came up next to me and began filling bags with vegetables. I cracked. When she opened her third bag, I asked for it. Yes, I asked her to give it to me in exchange for my defective one. She kindly obliged and as I began filling it she quickly opened the bag I had handed her and continued on with her shopping.
I guess there are just some things I'll never be able to do.
My life changed 5 years ago on this date. Last night I was thinking about the transition I went through 5 years ago and wanted to remember some of the faith-stretching steps that led me to CCC so I grabbed a few old journals off the shelf and began looking back.
5 years ago to this day (Oct 16), my dear friend Monica spoke the words that released me. When she spoke, I knew that God was opening a door to something beyond. I went through the next 6 months wondering where God was leading. I didn't have a clue. But it is fun to read some of the thoughts that were going through my mind as I struggled to be Spirit-led. Thoughts like:
October 20, 2001 "I want You to make me into something I'm not. Although I know Your Spirit is active and accomplishing things through me, I feel like I'm serving within the limits of my abilities. I just want more. I want to be willing to step into things that are bigger than me. Things that only you could do. Things that aren't safe and controlled. I want to give you the opportunity to make me into what I'm not for your glory."
Hmmm... Children's Director? I think God answered this one.
November 11, 2001 "I think I might like to do something different than campus ministry. I think about the possibility of working in a growing church. And the more I think about it, the more I think about Chicago. I really think I'd like to go live in the Chicago area for a while...with museums and parks and lots of new things to discover."
November 25, 2001 "It really does feel like you are calling me to step out in a new way--to a new future. There is 'venturing forth' in this. Beth Moore's admonition to 'go put my foot on my personal Promised Land' continues to echo in my soul. The minute Monica said, "Do you think it is time you considered leaving Charleston?" I felt like an unknown but real future opened up before me--something beyond this place. I'd never seen beyond this before. I'd never considered that I was made for something beyond--that my Promised Land was still out there."
It took 5 more months until the future became clear and I had plans to move to Naperville to join the staff of CCC. My faith never felt so alive as it did during those months of uncertainty. It didn't feel like I was going after anything...just that I was trying to feel my way through the dark. I only sent out 2 resumes. One to Willow Creek because it was the only church I knew in the Chicago area at the time. The other to a church a friend mentioned to me in early January 2002. He didn't tell me anything about the church. Just the name and that the pastors were some Ferguson brothers. For some reason, I knew I should be listening. I felt my way to CCC.
Looking back on all God was doing and all that he has given, I can't help but be overwhelmed with gratitude. I think I'm in the land he promised to me. It's better than I could have imagined 5 years ago today.
I love big cities. Something about the bigness and the busyness makes my heart come alive. So when I woke up this morning on my day off I decided to ditch the planned laundry and cleaning chores and jumped on the interstate towards Chicago.
It only took me 40 minutes in the light, late-morning traffic to reach McCormick's place. My plan for the day? Simply to enjoy the city. I have a Chicago travel book that I pulled off the shelf this morning. As I leafed through the pages I came across a 3-hour walking tour of the downtown loop area. That suited my desire to get to know this city better. So I parked my car in a garage beneath Grant Park and started on my adventure.
I discovered gardens and fountains and interesting sculptures along the way. I noticed buildings and learned street names and people watched as I wandered. I had lunch in a sandwich shop while listening to a live musician play tunes like "Collide" by Howie Day and Don McLean's "American Pie." I walked through the Theatre District wishing it wasn't a Monday so that I could really be impulsive and see a show.
I ended my guidebook walking tour (which only took a little over 2-hours, by the way) sitting in the sun for a few minutes on a bench in Grant Park. As I stared at the city skyline before me and the foliage that is succumbing to the changing season, I voiced a simple prayer. "God, if you ever want me to move down here, I will."
I have dreams of living right in the heart of a city. I don't know if I ever will. I hope it isn't something I'll regret if I don't. But maybe someday there will be reason for me to stuff myself into one of those cramped, over-crowded high rises.
But for now I'll have to settle for today's city fix.
I'm in a bit of a bind this fall premier season...there are too many good shows on television!!! Normally I have 2 or at most 3 shows that I follow on a weekly basis, but this year I feel overrun by good TV. What should I cut out? I want to watch...
Greys Anatomy because I instantly fell in love with the characters the first time I watched it. Not many shows can make me laugh out loud, but Christina on Grey's manages to get me in every episode. I'm a little tired of Meredith & McDreamy's pathetic drama...but so many great characters and so many great actors.
Despite growing frustration over being so clueless, I can't stop watching Lost. What the heck is going on? Has there ever been a more intriguing show? I know if I stop watching they will reveal everything in the subsequent episode.
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip sucked me right in from the pilot. I love how this show is dealing with a Christian storyline in a new way. I'm really curious to see where they take that.
Because it is getting all of the buzz, I recorded and watched the first two episodes of Heroes this past week. It might be a little dark for my tastes, but it's another one of those "What is going on?" shows that I like. But can I really afford more cluelessness if I keep Lost in the rotation?
OK. This is where you might stop reading. But it is time for me to confess I've been a faithful watcher of Gilmore Girls. It is my guilty pleasure. I've always loved the dialogue on this show. The storyline is getting a bit stale, but do I bail on a show when I've seen just about every episode?
The final show that's been finding space in my DVR is 6 Degrees. Has anyone except me watched it? I haven't heard anyone talking about it, but so far it's been pretty good. I'm giving it a chance because it is a J.J. Abrams series and, well, I owe it to him after Alias and Lost.
So what's your opinion? If you had to pick 2 shows off this list which would you choose? Or would you suggest something else? Keep in mind I'm not a reality show fan or an off-the-wall comedy sitcom fan. Some other options might be dropping a few friends or slacking off at work and keeping all the shows, but that's probably not the right choice.
I love my small group. I have to be honest that I haven't always been able to make that statement. Sometimes being in a small group has been a discipline I knew I needed to be faithful to instead of something I looked forward to every week. But for the past 9 months I can say I have honestly looked forward to every Thursday morning.
Brooke, Sara, Cindy, and I started meeting at Starbucks in January. We shared our stories. We talked about the "next steps" God was calling us to. Our curriculum for most weeks has simply been the Bible. We read 4-5 chapters on our own each week and come together to talk about them. Usually the discussion begins with Brooke asking a question that launches us into a non-stop conversation. I've loved the topics we've discussed and the rapport we've built. But what I've loved most is the laughter. I'm not sure there's anything I need more from a small group than laughter. And it has been there in abundance with this one...
Like the time Brooke and Sara discovered they both had the same short-person fear...that they wouldn't be able to spin the big wheel on The Price is Right (they are both 5' 0" tall).
Or the countless politically incorrect Puerto Rican comments we've made at Sara's expense.
Or today when one group member (who shall remain nameless) said she didn't understand what she had read about the guy named DaJesus. It took a while until I finally figured out it was the Bar-Jesus from Acts 13. But you can't blame the girl. After all, this is Chicago. DaBulls. DaBears. DaJesus.
Now sure, many of these things probably don't seem funny to you, but they still make me laugh when I recall the conversations. Small group should be a place with abundant laughter. The kind of laughter that continues in an uncontainable smile as you drive away from the meeting.
A small group filled with laughter. I think DaJesus would approve. Well, the real Jesus. Not that Bar-Jesus dude. He didn't fare so well.
Incredible storms last night. I could see their effectiveness this morning as I drove through neighborhoods filled with downed branches and overturned lawn furniture. My own gas grill ended up on its side 10 feet from my house.
It rained all day yesterday. For a portion of the time I sat in my living room with the windows and front door open listening to the steady sound and watching the stream flow down from the corner of my porch onto the sidewalk below.
I love rain.
Not the kind that keeps you from going on picnics or to ballgames or the really cold rain that sends a shiver through every nerve ending. But rain on a warm, relaxed day when you can stay home and read or journal is so soothing to me.
I love its rhythm.
It's a piece of nature that refuses to be ignored.
It invites pause.
Maybe I like rain because at heart I'm a contemplative that enjoys being huddled up in a sheltered place with nothing but a pen and a spiral-bound notebook. Rain gives permission to that existence. And as it saturates the ground my soul begins to fill through the expression of thought and written words.
I hope there will be evidence of the rain in my own life afterward.