Tuesday, December 06, 2005


I was tapped by Drea - so here goes!

Seven Things to Do Before I Die (Lord willing):
1. Go to Europe (London, Paris, Rome minimum)
2. Be an "aunt" to my best friends' (future) kids
3. Play the cello...well.
4. Get married and have children
5. Be in a production of Godspell
6. Write a song
7. Live somewhere other than central IL

Seven Things I Cannot Do:
1. Leave a conversation with my best friend unresolved
2. Start a day without a caffeinated soda
3. Keep my office clean
4. Roll my tongue or roll my R's (I think that's genetic though)
5. Keep in touch with long-distance friends
6. Work ahead on schoolwork
7. Fold clothes properly

Seven Things that Attract Me to My (potential future) Spouse/Significant Other (completely hypothetical...and might I add this some of these are negotiable - some are not!):
1. His love for God - and God's kingdom - and the church - and people who don't love any of those things
2. His eyes and smile - these go together I think
3. His tolerance and/or love of music nerdiness
4. Enjoying to see and explore new places
5. The way he challenges me to be better
6. The way he listens and encourages
7. The way he loves to laugh

Seven Things I Say (or write!) Most Often:
1. I'm not gonna lie...
2. Your mom
3. CLEAR-ly
4. Whuh-BAM (from Mary)
5. Whatev's
6. I KNOW!
7. Get out!

Seven Books (or series) I Love:
1. Celebration of Discipline - Richard Foster
2. Divine Hours - Phyllis Tickle
3. What's So Amazing About Grace? - Phillip Yancy
4. Ragamuffin Gospel - Brennan Manning
5. Unceasing Worship - Harold Best
6. Jesus With Dirty Feet - Don Everts
7. John Ortberg books

Seven Movies I Would Watch Over and Over Again:
1. Princess Bride
2. Tommy Boy
3. Legally Blonde
4. Sleepless in Seattle
5. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (I've only watched it once though)
6. Singin' in the Rain
7. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Seven People I Want to Join in - if they wish:
1. Brandy
2. Robyn Elise
3. Adriene
4. Rhonda
5. Danielle

Monday, December 05, 2005

Happy Holidays...Season's Greetings...or whatever...

I've been hearing a lot of people discuss or voice an opinion on the various ways to wish someone well during this particular time of year. Christians especially have made a point of saying, "Merry Christmas." Some people have protested stores that don't use the word Christmas, or re-name things (e.g. "holiday trees"), or refuse to use the more generic phrases. The positions on the issue range from indifference, mild concern, to obsession or paranoia ("fight the Christmas grinches"). I can't help but think that the word "Christmas" is not at risk as much as some make it seem.

I've never understood why we (Christians) get so defensive about the way society treats our religious celebrations. I suppose there's the sense that everyone used to be Christian in the U.S. (which was never true I'd propose) - and now it's becoming less the case. But shame on us for forgetting that our democratic society has given us the freedom to truly worship God - rather than the other way around.

Rather than arguing/protesting/speaking out in the secular arena, why not focus on truly celebrating Christmas ourselves? (I think this OpEd article says it well.)

It's a reminder that I need to take time and consider how to truly celebrate Christ's birth this year - and in the future.

Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus
words by Charles Wesley, 1744

Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel's strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Basketball Season is upon us....

I am happy...especially as an Illinois fan...that football season is fading into memory and basketball season is picking up.

People who have known me for a while know that I've not been a sports fan for much of my life. However, attending the U of I made up for that quite a bit. I have 4 years in the Basketball Band and my friend Melissa to thank for my basketball education. (A real friend never tells you how stupid you are - but simply answers your questions!) I'm still learning, but I know MUCH more than I used to.

I have SO many good memories in the Basketball Band and at Illinois games in general:
  • Getting to sit on the floor for all those games
  • Chanting to the refs: "Go back! Go back to Foot Locker! Go back! Go back to Foot Locker! Sell shoes! (sell shoes!)"
  • Holly feeling guilty about "heckling"
  • The Mizzou games at the Saavis Center in St. Louis - all of them.
  • The Indiana game when Bobby Knight was still the coach - the Orange Krush was BRUTAL.
  • The free soda (hey, I'm easy to please)
  • Going to games with my fellow UIUC alumni - and sitting back up in the nosebleeds
  • Getting to see a game with the whole fam one Christmas break
  • Watching the Illinois/Arizona Elite 8 game from last year's tournament after it had happened - but getting to be there with Chris, Melissa, and Josh when we made the Final Four (unbeLIEVEable!)

As for this season.I don't know that I'll make it over to Assembly Hall this year, which would be a first for about 7 seasons. As a fan, I try to never get too high expectations, but to just enjoy every game. I'd like to see nice leadership from the seniors - and growth from the younger ones.

Because I'm a visual/auditory person - this post MUST have pictures and music.

I stumbled upon this page today: http://umgawa.bands.uiuc.edu/BBB/media.html - it has songs from a recording session back when I was in the band. Personal favorites are: "Carry On My Wayward Son," (HUH!) "Everybody's Everything," and "Jungle Boogie."

My all-time favorite Illini:

And one from last season (during the Wake Forest game):

Go Illini!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Environmental Pollution

I am realizing lately how much of my attitude is a product of the environment in which I am residing. Namely - how clean, organized, and "put-together" my personal environment is affects how I feel when I'm there.

I have known this - but realized it even more after this past weekend. My sister, home from college, helped me decorate my bedroom a bit more. I bought a picture for the wall that I LOVE (it's a simple print of a tree - but with some interesting texturing techniques). My bedroom colors are some of my favorites (Earthy, fall tones). I also cleaned up my desk to make it more usable (rather than storage). Consequently, I've enjoyed spending time there (in addition to sleeping).

Now my office - it has been declining in organization quite gradually. It is now at a point of ridiculous clutter. Not only do I dislike it - but I hate it when people immediately look at the piles when they enter my office. The same sister mentioned above entered my office WHILE I was writing this entry, and immediately started straightening things. However, that was a minor dent in the mess.

The answer to this is an obvious one (i.e. "Bethany, get off your butt and clean your office.").
And I think I will....tomorrow....

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Hour by hour, day by day

So for the last year I've been using The Divine Hours (compiled by Phyllis Tickle) devotionally. She uses Scriptures, hymn texts, and the Book of Common Prayer to create the offices - 4 prayer times throughout the day.

Growing up, the only formal prayer we used was the Lord's Prayer. Anything else "scripted" was avoided, in favor of more spontaneous prayers. So maybe it's bringing balance to my experience, but there is a richness in praying Scripture or prayers that are rich in language and theology - which have been prayed by believers over the centuries.

I'm looking forward to going through Advent this year (another word not used in my church!) using these prayers.

This week's prayer:
Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant me so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that I may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Amen indeed.

Also, I have found a great security in praying the Gloria:
Glory be to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, so it is now and so it shall ever be, world without end. Alleluia. Amen.

(You can see the current office's text at: http://www.annarborvineyard.org/tdh/tdh.cfm)

Monday, November 14, 2005

This is about as introspective as I can be

So I've been trying unsuccessfully to write a meaningful post over the past 3 days. So far all I've got it a few drafts about insecurity, community, and change. Hmm. So I did one of these blog-things. Here's what it said about me:
Your Power Color Is Red-Orange
At Your Highest:
You are warm, sensitive, and focused on your personal growth.
At Your Lowest:
You become defensive and critical if you feel attacked.
In Love:
You are loyal - but you demand the respect you deserve.
How You're Attractive:
You are very affectionate and inspire trust.
Your Eternal Question:
"Am I Respected?"

And I thought it was pretty accurate. (especially for a blogthing - my expectations weren't high)

"You become defensive and critical if you feel attacked." Guilty. This happens frequently in my closest relationships - I take everything personally. As an artist, it takes a severe effort by my logical side to counterbalance critique or even commentary about something I've been a part of. Now, *I* am allowed to critique it to DEATH - but someone else? Hah. And my version of defensive and critical is often more subtle than getting angry (for example, getting frustrated and shutting down). Fortunately, I have people in my life unafraid to call me out. It's just hard to get past that initial tendency.

"You are loyal." To a fault. I have always been the friend who tries a little bit longer than the other to stay in touch, hang out, etc. I am somewhat particular about who I get close to, but once I do... Also, crushes stick around for MUCH longer than my logic should allow. However, it has allowed for some friendships that were more real and lasting than I ever knew was possible.

So hopefully I'll get one of those other posts finished soon...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Birthday Weekend Highlights & Lowlights

I had an awesome time away - perfect really. Which makes the rest of this post just for the fun of it. Long story short, I have amazing friends and family - and I enjoyed myself quite a bit!

Highlight: Going to St. Louis w/ Melissa and seeing the cool historic hotel we were to stay in for the weekend downtown
Lowlight: Realizing that they wanted to have us pay $25 a day to park in their ramp

Highlight: Driving around the college town area on a perfect fall day with Stevie Wonder's greatest hits
Lowlight: That I don't live in a place like that (it's hard to come up with a lowlight for that!)

Highlight: Going to Pier 1 and spending a gift card I'd been carrying for 6 months
Lowlight: The interesting/awkward tourist recommendations from the Pier 1 cashier guy

Highlight: Nice dinner at P.F. Changs and an evening at Borders with no time limit
Lowlight: Melissa getting sick in the Borders bathroom after being chased by a drunk random guy in the parking lot

Highlight: Finding a place to park on the street overnight (to avoid the $25 parking garage)
Lowlight: Street people we encountered on the 6 block walk back to the hotel whose comments ranged from humorous to highly inappropriate

Highlight: Getting a phonecall from my sister at college wishing me a happy birthday
Lowlight: Hearing that said sister considers 25 to be young, but 26 to be old

Highlight: Lunch at St. Louis Bread Company (a.k.a. Panera) at the Loop
Lowlight: Skipping the nearby Coldstone Creamery

Highlight: Walking around the City Museum in downtown St. Louis - an amazing playground
Lowlight: Not acting like a kid at the museum - since there were actually kids there

Highlight: Shopping at the Galleria - $20 jeans from the Gap (quite needed!) were the only purchase
Lowlight: Too much to see in a short time

Highlight: Being surprised by a large group of friends who traveled 45min-1.5hours to spend my birthday evening in St. Louis (!)
Lowlight: The long wait at Cheesecake Factory

Highlight: Opening very thoughtful cards from friends
Lowlight: Receiving my first Bar Mitzvah card ("Today you are a man") - Hah!

Highlight: Hearing that Spear brought homemade banana pudding
Lowlight: Hearing that we didn't have anything to eat it with

Highlight: Going back to the City Museum with everyone - and actually running around like little kids like I wanted to earlier
Lowlight: Keeping my friends up waaaaaaay late

So, to review - my 25th birthday was pretty stinkin cool.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

I gotta get outta here

Well, I finished my project - and with several sleeping hours to spare I might add. Go me. If you have any questions about the Church of God (Anderson, Indiana), ask them quick - because I think all of that information will leave me shortly. Praise God, I picked up a form today to declaring intent to graduate in May 06!

Random moment of the day: As soon as I walk in my office at church this afternoon, my office phone rings - it's my mom. She tells me that a lady named Kathy just called her and said that she found a cell phone in the Qdoba parking lot - my cell phone. So my mom went and picked it up from her this afternoon and brought it to me. So - Kathy and my mom are seriously my favorite people of the day!
Kathy - She finds a random phone in a parking lot, and rather than just taking it to the lost and found of a restaurant uses my recent calls to find someone connected to me.
And my mom! - (She's so awesome anyways) Takes time on her day off to help her clutsy daughter - I have the best mom (for more reasons than just that)

I'm taking off for a few days this week w/ Melissa - to go to St. Louis. Should be good - relaxing and just...really good.

The time is right
I'm gonna pack my bags
And take that journey down the road
Cause over the mountain I see the bright sun shinning
And I want to live inside the glow

Yeah I wanna go to place where I am nothing and everything
That exists between here and nowhere
I wanna got to a place where time has no consequence oh yeah

The sky opens to my prayers

I wanna go to beautiful, beautiful, beautiful,
I wanna go to beautiful, beautiful, beautiful,
I wanna go to beautiful, beautiful, beautiful,
I wanna go to beautiful, beautiful, beautiful...
-India Arie, "Beautiful"

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Procrastination Station

Must....not....avoid....seminary project!

Must.....get....sleep....this time around....


(I'm going to Starbucks soon - the land of un-free wireless - otherwise I'm WEAK!)

Monday, October 31, 2005

I Want A Broken Heart

This is the theme of my days recently.

"I've got faith in the bank
and money in my heart
I've got a calloused place
where your ring used to be, my love

I've traded naked and unashamed
for a better place to hide
for a righteous mask
a suit of fig leaves and lies

I thought the cattle on a thousand hills
was not enough to pay my bills
and I fell in love with those who proved me wrong
and now I want a broken heart"
-Derek Webb
I am way too good at ignoring the voice that whispers, "You are even more calloused to all of this than you even realize."
It's a scary prayer - the one for brokenness that is.
I can rest in God's grace - but I think my problem is too much rest.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

You should learn something new every day

First, I'd like to share a few things I learned this past weekend on my bus trip w/ highschoolers to see "Wicked":
  • Perfume is a weapon. It should be strictly regulated - especially in small enclosed areas.
  • The ushers at nice theaters have become much more aggressive lately. We had one lady yelling across half the balcony at people taking pictures. She stressed me out.
  • According to the girl in front of me on the bus, "All religions are basically about the same thing - God. There are just so many different kinds because people disagree on the small things. Like, Martin Luther was a monk, but he wanted to get married and have kids. So he nailed those things on the door, and that's how we got Protestants!"
  • There are still very few guys in high school choir. Poor souls.
  • I. love. Chicago. I need to live in an urban area. I might hate it, but at least I'd get it out of my system.
  • My sister is VERY cool. We had fun eating Twizzlers during the show and laughing at the scary usher. I'm really glad I got to go see "Wicked" - but especially with Mary.

My new toy: www.last.fm It tracks the songs you listen to, shows you others who have similar tastes in music, and has an option for streaming radio. Muy bueno.

Oh, and the UofI Homecoming game was fun too. Our parking place was SWEEEET. Spear and I made up a loyalty song to the company that provided it ("We're loyal to you H.D. Smith..."). The boys were very patient with me and my marching band nerdiness. We stood by the tunnel as the band entered, we went up to the east balcony to watch pre-game, we ran down the big ramps, and they listened to me ramble about the fossil band. Between the band and the Stevie Wonder (YEAH, Stevie Wonder!!) we listened to, I was dancing quite a bit over the course of the evening. The football game itself? Not worth speaking of. However, we did stay to the end.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Come, weekend, come!

So my weekend is going to be quite full....but fortunately it will be things I enjoy a lot!

Friday I get to go with my sister's high school choir to Chicago to see Wicked. (British voice: Wwwwiiiiicked!) I haven't seen a professional show in a long while....probably a year at least...so I'm so ready. Mary told me to bring a book for the bus ride since she'd be hanging out with her friends. Hah! I'm not familiar with the show - but have heard great things. I'm hoping Ana Gastayer will still be performing.

Then Saturday is the U of I homecoming football game. Again, it's been since fall 2003 since I've been to a game - so I'm quite overdue. Time to get out my Marching Illini music again. I'm also going with fellow Illini fans. (We're used to the team not doing so well. We're still loyal.)

Good music....good experiences outside the normal Springfield realm....

Saturday, October 15, 2005

A moment from the Willow A2 Conference

2 student registrations for a Willow Creek A2 Conference
3 nights at a nice hotel
A tank of gas to get up to the suburbs
7 nationally known speakers/pastors
3 different worship teams leading in a 1 year-old worship auditorium with all the bells & whistles
4,000 other church leaders attending the same conference
Having your best friend lean over halfway through the 2nd day of the conference and whisper, "I'm tired of worshipping": Priceless!

Had a good week - it was nice to get away and just take in a bunch of different perspectives. It was also fun to be with my friend. We had some good car time - tough, but hopefully productive conversations.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Columbus Day

  • Began: 9:30am
  • Climate: A perfect autumn day
  • Menu: Leftover cajun chicken pasta and CHEESY BISCUITS from Red Lobster...and a iced chai in the afternoon
  • Soundtrack: John Mayer - specifically, "Why Georgia" and "Love Song for No One"
  • Achievements: Shopping without purchasing and remembering my horn lesson on a holiday
  • Locations: The apartment, the parentals (when no one was there), JC Penneys, Lincoln Memorial Gardens (standing in for Allerton Park), and church - 3 usuals, 1 planned, and 1 exceptional
  • Uniform: Jeans and my new Geneva Vikings t-shirt
  • Pondering: Life purpose, love (or lack thereof), and new resolve to be disciplined
  • Productive moments: folding laundry, putting away dishes (note the lack of homework/work items)
  • Evening Plans: Undetermined

Thursday, October 06, 2005

In praise of seminary...and Southern Baptists?!?

I've definitely complained plenty about being in grad school while working a full time job over the past few years. However, I feel the need to sing the praises of seminary for a moment. I am taking a COOL class this semester.

It's called "Contemporary Protestant Church Theologies" - and it's allowing me to take a more in-depth look at the major Protestant groups. Up to this point most of my knowledge of "other" groups has been stereotypes and worship practices.

This week I had to teach the class (it's in a seminar format) on the Southern Baptist Convention. I have to say - it was fascinating to get a more specific idea about the theology and structure of this group. Stereotypes don't really cut it.

Usually when I have a big school project I'm working on it hangs like a cloud over my head and I'm in a MOOD about having to do it. For whatever reason, this project wasn't like that. I still procrastinated (I mean...of course...) - but I didn't mind doing the work.

This class has already allowed me to converse on a much better level with my friends from other branches of Christianity. It's a shame I can't go to class next week - they're looking at the Reformed family.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

On serving...

I've wanted to process the church's lastest "emphasis" for a while - but now that it's somewhat over I'm able to step back and take it in easier. The idea? The Church Has Left the Building. Re-looking at what it means to BE the church - in particular, how part of the worship of our church needs to be a visible reflection of Christ in our community.

So we took breakfast to teachers. We read to kids at schools. We washed cars for free and picked up trash. We encouraged everyone to invest in the lives of others - just for the sake of loving and caring for them. We try to actually get to know our neighbors. We hosted a really fun movie on the lawn/carnival last Friday (picture above).
I expected to hear words of thanks from the people we served...and we did. However, what has been more surprising is the words of thanks from the people who had the chance to serve. Isn't that funny? We serve others - but we are the ones who change the most.

I really enjoyed getting "out of the building." I've known for a while that I need to do it more. I spend so much of my time at work (church) or school (seminary) - that it can be stifling. In little steps - but intentionally - this has to change.

I just have to say - I have never been so excited about what God's teaching us as a church. It's nothing new - we're just starting to "get it" a bit better. I don't know what's next with this group of people called the church - but I am so glad to be a part of it.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Ready? Okay! 2 3 4...

Saw Sufjan Stevens and the Illinoisemakers in St. Louis last night.
What a FUN show!
The whole show had a pep rally theme - all the musicians in cheerleading outfits (with big block I's on the front of course), cheers for the introduction of several songs, spirit fingers, and a human pyramid. It was a riot! I was especially amazed at the musicianship and teamwork this group had. There was lots of jumping from instrument to instrument throughout the show.
I've only listened to the "Illinois" album for a few weeks now, but I loved the energy that the live performances brought to the songs.
"They are Night Zombies..." was probably my favorite.
That and the random guy who yelled, "I love Polish people!!" after "Casmir Pulaski Day."
So, thanks to my brother for introducing me to Sufjan and encouraging me to go see him live.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Music is her food

My iPod has been working for a week and a half now - and it is my new best friend. I've been rediscovering all of my music that used to sit around lonely and unloved -- and now listening to it again is like catching up with an old friend. Maybe I can't travel - but I can really escape in music. Am I melodramatic? Hah.

Anyways...here's a few of my old friends:
  • Dumb (but fun!) pop music - EnVogue, Destiny's Child, and others too embarrassing to share...
  • My piano playing friends - Stevie and Billy (Wonder and Joel, that is)
  • Beethoven's 7th Symphony
  • Sarah McLachlan
  • Musicals - Godspell Prologue, Lion King soundtrack
  • Caedmon's Call Guild CDs....especially the sound check from Guild 3 and their cover of "In God's Country"

And some new friends too!:

  • Over the Rhine
  • Robbie Seay Band
  • The Normals - "Grace"

Don't bother me when my headphones are on.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Rejoice with those who rejoice - mourn with those who mourn?

I had a rough Sunday a few days ago. I had a crisis of faith of sorts. Not so much of what I believe - but how I practice it (especially as a leader). Fortunately I've been able to process it with some good friends - to whom I am very grateful. But I'd like to put a few thoughts on here to remind myself of what God's teaching me.

The basic issue is the problem of pain - which is nothing new - but this week I couldn't ignore it.
I'm not naive enough to think that people don't suffer or question every week. And yet on Sunday we come together to sing songs about who God is and what He has done...and this is often from a very comfortable/happy mindset. But not last Sunday...

So over the past week -
The hurricane tragedy surrounded everyone - which is a national/global/human tragedy.
But the thing that got to me most: A young, strong, healthy 21-year old guy from church gets a surprising and devastating diagnosis with little warning or hope - and he and his family are in church.

As I walked out to lead the body in songs of praise - my heart was so heavy as I saw this family and especially this kid. I have NO idea what they're experiencing - doubt, anger, pain,...
And I sang,

"Forever God is faithful, forever God is strong...."

"And right now in the good times and bad - You are on Your throne and You are God alone"

"I know for sure all of my days are held in Your hand, crafted into Your perfect plan"

- and I know all of those things are true.
But it was not comforting - it actually made me want to grieve.

My brother and sister were home from college - so we all ate lunch together. As my dad thanked God for our home, our food, and our health - and prayed for those who did not have some of those things - I lost it. (Meaning, I went to the bathroom - and bawled.)

I know all the right answers about worshipping God despite circumstances. But I think I had a moment that Melissa has told me about that I've not had often.
Come soon, Jesus. This world hurts and we want to be with you. You promised there will be a day when there won't be any more pain or sorrow. Let it be very soon - as You always intended it to be.
Forgive me for forgetting where I am - and what You've told me about that.

Then, yesterday, I got an email with a video based on Psalm 137 - images from the hurricane and a song called, "Don't Make Us Sing This." I'm there. And I'm not the first or last person to feel that way.
(If you go this site you can request a free download - it's Music Video 2. It's by Waterdeep's Lori Chaffer.)
It's okay to mourn - and yet have faith.

Monday, August 29, 2005

The Marinator

I've been to Chambana twice in the last week and a half. Highly unusual. I've enjoyed it - but most of it was shopping in downtown Champaign. I want to go back when I can wander on my own and possibly connect with some old friends.

This is a pic of Mary with her Marching Illini hat. She cracks me up.

I love that town - but things change so fast there - it's inevitable nostalgia/reality check. Mary says I'm just old.
I hope to make it to a football game this year. Had to turn down tickets for this Saturday's game b/c I'll be at a wedding. As I'm typing this - "What is Hip" by the MI came up on iTunes.

I love campus in the fall.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

a little perspective

Worth your time to watch: http://www.worldonfire.ca/
(Sarah McLachlan - "World on Fire" video)

I found this interesting in light of an email I saw today - from someone who asked why the church spends so much money on buildings for themselves and things within the U.S. - and seems to ignore world poverty and hunger.

It's a good question. We can't claim ignorance.
What should ministry here in America look like in light of the world?
What's my role in all of that?

Monday, August 22, 2005

Randoms from the Last Week

  • I like the State Fair...especially when it doesn't feel like August. I went 2 nights in a row last week with lots of fun people. Highlights: watching random people dance in the Twilight Ballroom and going on rides w/ friends' kids. Yeah, Tilt-o-whirl!
  • I have been feeling un-cool somewhat regularly. I've traditionally been okay with that - but every now and then I have junior high/high school thoughts about needing to "fit in." But at the end of the day, I'm pretty comfortable with who I am - whether that's "cool" or not.
  • I had an AWESOME "sisters day" last Friday - despite driving all over the eastern part of Illinois. I love shopping in downtown Champaign - makes me feel millions of miles away from Spfld. Best part - Mary finding the Marching Illini hat and then wearing for the rest of the day (pictures may be available later).
  • I had an older sister moment on Friday - leaving Bekah at her dorm (on only her second day of being at college). I remember that first year and being alone - just praying it goes well for her. However...she is SO much cooler than me!
  • I wonder if being a girl (woman - whatever) in ministry leadership will get easier with age. I know I'm pretty lucky to live in 2005 - and that I'm blessed with many opportunities - but it can still be frustrating (sing it with me, "Oh I'm just a girl - what's my destiny? What I've succombed to is making me numb. Ooooooooh - I've had it up to here!")
  • To bring some balance - I've been really excited about being part of the Church lately - and really have been enjoying my role in all of that.
  • This is the last week of summer - better make it count.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


I am really amused at myself right now!

Earlier this week I wanted lyrics and songs from an old UBC Band song (a.k.a. the David Crowder Band) - "Break My Heart".
I looked - rather hard I thought. Couldn't find a thing. Found lots of lyrics for Toni Braxton's "Unbreak my Heart" though.

Here's an email dialogue from this week:

On Aug 15, 2005, at 1:18 PM, Bethany wrote:
> Below is the result of your feedback form. It was submitted by
> Bethany on Mon 08/15/2005 14:18
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> -
> comments: I'm looking for lyrics and/or chords to an old UBC song
> "Break My Heart." Any info you could provide would be MOST
> appreciated. Thanks!

And then today I get this:

-----Original Message-----
From: Jack Parker
Sent: Tuesday, August 16, 2005 1:55 PM
To: Bethany
Subject: Re: Song Information
did you try a google search?

And I was like - DUDE - Jack Parker emailed me!!! (He's in the band - he cowrote "You Alone")
And then I thought - of course I looked at google.
I started to reply, but then thought I'd do one more search just in case.
I pulled up google and didn't even have to type in the search items - they were still in my history.
What do you think I found? (On the FIRST page of results!!)
Yep - lyrics AND chords. Doh.

So I sent Mr. Parker a thankful (and probably stupid) email.

Just call me Captain Obvious - and call me weirdly star-struck.

Ditto what he said

Just read a really good post by Andrew Osenga on the topic of being a Christian who writes music in the midst of a Christian subculture. Here it is: The Third Commandment. I think he does a pretty good job of keeping personal responsibility in the forefront - but still adds something unique to this whole issue. It makes me grateful to see people who are committed to the Gospel - but not overly cynical either.

Monday, August 15, 2005

I want to be a person of depth...


And yet I *constantly* struggle with investing the time and energy.

I struggle because I want to be that way NOW. But I know that nothing happens overnight.

I struggle because I want it to be in ways that other people notice. But I know that the internal matters SO much more than the external.

I struggle because the everyday tasks often seem more pressing than the larger, underlying need to grow...to slow down...and keep priorities in order.

And here's the other thing. I do a lot of talking or thinking about this...but very little actual doing. Typical Bethany.

And so, month by month, week by week, and day by day...
I have to be about the things of substance, the things of value.

"Save me from those things that might distract me. Please take them away and purify my heart. I don't want to lose the eternal for the things that are passing. Cause what will I have when the world is gone if it isn't for the love that goes on and on - You're my One Thing." -rm

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Breaking News for My Non-Existant Readers

Derek Webb has a podcast available on iTunes. The first segment doesn't have any music - but he tells the story of how he joined Caedmon's Call...and then some info on his upcoming album ("Mockingbird" I think). I listened to it today (on my computer - not on my ipod because - well - nevermind). Yup.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Less than Love

It's a lonely world
And everybody's grabbing what they can get
and love is wonderful you've heard
You don't know if you've seen it yet
You can't miss it when it comes
Don't settle for less than love
-The Normals

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Ipod: 3 Bethany: -5

I am not cool.

I can't figure out how to sync my ipod.

And it makes me mad.

I'm so cool

I just got an ipod.

I think I could fill it up really quickly if I'm not careful.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Guess the Dictator or Sit-Com Character

I found this more than moderately amusing the other day: Guess the Dictator or Sit-Com Character.

The computer successfully guessed most of ours (although it though Lisa Turtle was Topenga).

I love summer.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Road Trip

Took a nerdy road trip this weekend - visited 3 churches in 3 states.
Had a great time though! :)

Didn't experience anything life-altering or mind-blowing - but it is always fun to be somewhere new (or old in the case of LifeSpring) and worship with other people.

Went to Parkview Christian Church in Tinley Park, IL; Mars Hill in Grand Rapids, MI; and LifeSpring Christian Church in Cincinnati.
Lots of variety - which is, as they say, the spice of life.

I tried to think of deep insights I had - but like I said - this trip wasn't like that.
Favorite things from each place?
Parkview - Singing You are God Alone - and the preacher who was just about his message - and genuine. I love it when Bible people are presented as real people.
Mars Hill - Family worship - lots of squawking babies and singing Hallelu - Praise Ye the Lord, singing all 4 verses of How Great Thou Art and seeing church in the round, SIMPLICITY and HONESTY
LifeSpring - Old friends, a challenging, thought-provoking message that was basically the preacher honestly wrestling with a passage, and a wonderful communion celebration

Actually one of my favorite things about all 3 churches was being able to hear the congregation sing loudly.

It always amazes me when I think about Sunday mornings - how so many people across the city - and across the country - and across the world are gathered together in the name of Jesus (okay, I know time zones can make things tricky...but that's besides the point).
Makes me excited to be a part of the Church.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Nothing to Say

I don't have much to say - but I wanted to be a current blogger...so....

This week's highlights:
  • Leading worship for junior high students at camp - playing with my brother is fun!
  • Looking forward to a weekend away
  • Reading "Walking on Water" - Madeline L'Engle
  • Hanging out w/ Melissa in the evenings
  • I cleaned my office a bit yesterday
  • 2 mix CDs from Josh - my music collection just got LOTS cooler - I love the hidden track on the new Coldplay CD - "Til Kingdom Come" - and I need to listen to more Patty Griffin and Damien Rice


  • My church computer randomly dying this morning
  • Trying to jump up and down w/ the junior highers - not my thing
  • Heat+humidity=nappy hair

Boring post - but noone reads this yet, so no worries!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Willow Creek Arts Conference

Just got back from 4 full days at the Willow Arts Conference. I thought it might be a good idea to process a bit.

I love going up there - and I know why. I can just take in all these creative things - and have good discussions with other people I'm in ministry with all year long.

Best things:
  • The morning with the Nichole Nordeman concert and John Ortburg preaching. They were both very genuine - and very obviously using their gifts to God's glory. John O talked about the book of Job - and being in a spiritual winter. He re-iterated the need to acknowledge pain and suffering in our services. Good stuff...deep stuff.
  • Briefly getting the chance to thank Nancy Beach - she's very genuine. I admire that.
  • Seeing WC's new auditorium. Awesome. Although I was again thankful that we do not use I-Mag in our services. Noone's face should be that big...but especially mine.
  • I love going to the sessions where they show us things they've done in their services or different artsy things. I don't think it's showy - I love seeing it and it makes me think of 1000 other ideas.
  • Gene Appel's message Friday morning about costly love. I doubt I can do it justice in an explanation...but realizing that I cannot think more highly of myself than anyone else. Christ died for the world and loves the world.
  • Getting a surprise visit from Melissa and Kira. I have great friends.
  • Coming back with new ideas and fresh energy.

Pesky, lingering thoughts:

  • I don't want to put Willow on a pedastal and try to be just like them - but I also don't want to look at them overly-critical or belittle their ministry. I'm on the outside looking in - and I'm just grateful for their hearts for God and His kingdom. Is that okay?
  • Where is the balance in worship between giving glory to God and putting our attention on Him and ministering to people and connecting their lives with God's story? Can we do both, or are we bound to favor one at the expense of the other?
  • What does moving worship "forward" really mean? When people are trying to do that, what are they really trying to do?
  • One word: copyright. Enough said.
  • I HAVE to make some friends outside these church walls. Non-Christian friends, specifically.

Glad to be home. And there's plenty of summer left.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

I ::heart:: NY

Tonight at church the group of us who went to Brooklyn last March talked about our trip. Even though it's only been a few months since we've returned - it was amazing to see how talking about the trip and that area stirred up very strong feelings and thoughts. Nostalgic in a way.

I loved visiting Park Slope (Brooklyn neighborhood) - and God did cool things in many of us during that trip.
  • I love urban areas - and it always amazes me that God knows ALL of these people as well as He knows me. I always wonder if I could live in an urban area.
  • People in Park Slope have really strong perceptions of Christians - primarily political (which I don't think politics is bad - but it's definitely not the central theme of Christianity!!) and close-minded. I know the team out there is trying to break those stereotypes. How do I contribute to those perceptions here - how do I actively work against them?
  • As we walked around the neighborhood, prayed for people, served people, and talked with people - my heart and eyes began to see things from a Kingdom perspective. I need to do that here in Springfield - and am glad that we're going to try this summer (www.servantrevolution.com).
  • I want to go back there. Maybe this summer.
  • God put together a random group of young people to go on this trip - and did really cool things in community.


Now I'm off to play in the LAST "Sound of Music" show at the Muni - por fin. It's been good, but ready to be done.

Saturday, June 11, 2005


I was talking to several people this past week about how my thoughts about worship are constantly being challenged and stretched. It has been confirmed by my friends that I am a dork for reading the Christian Standard on a regular basis. I'm okay with that! This past week's issue had some articles on worship - one in particular was really good: Exploring Biblical Worship by Knofel Staton.

An excerpt:
"God does not want worship that includes him, but intentionally or unintentionally excludes a certain category of people. What is happening on the platform that includes or excludes people in the pews? Whom we exclude in the sanctuary, we will eventually ignore in the streets.
Each congregation is God’s personal vehicle for transporting his Trinitarian nature and interpersonal relationship within the Trinity to others. Every aspect of the early church’s worship in the New Testament enhanced unity amid diversity. Early Christians were devoted to the apostles’ teaching, which stresses unity amid diversity; to fellowship, which is sharing partnership with others in spite of diversity; to breaking of bread, a meal of unity; to prayer for one another; to generosity that crosses economical differences (Acts 2:42-45); and to baptism that incorporates diverse people into God’s new community. "
And then the standard question - HOW DO WE DO THAT?
Unity among diversity. What does it look like when a church is thinking about other peoples' needs before their own? How much unity is possible? This is much deeper than worship styles. Special events where churches and different groups come together are good - but what does it really look like to be unified for the sake of the Kingdom?

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Summer Resolution

I am failing at this blogging thing. My goal for the summer is to make this something fun - and perhaps even share it with some people I know...or some people whose blogs I look at. Hmmm...only time shall tell!

For now - movie recommendation: Hotel Rwanda. Not an easy movie to watch, but an important movie.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

What will the world be like when I'm 80?

I've been chatting w/ my cousin Tim lately on AOL instant messenger. He's in Iraq - and I'm in my friends' living room on my laptop. If I think about it much it makes my brain hurt! I've not been good about keeping in touch with him until the Christmas season, so I'm grateful for the technology.

My dad likes to play this game with my sisters - it's "what are you older than?" For example, my dad is older than TV, computers, and a bunch of other stuff - hah! I would be older than...remote controls, the internet/email, CDs/DVDs, and a few more things. Mary (my youngest sister - she's 14) says I'm old.

Last week we got to visit my Nana in Wisconsin - she'll turn 97 this month. When I realize that she was my age in the 1930s - working as a nurse in Chicago during the Great Depression - it blows my mind to think about how much change she's seen in her life.

So what will life be like if/when I'm in my 80's? As Tim would say, "I have NO idea."