Sunday, July 23, 2006

"For from Him, through Him, to Him is everything"

I can't get the song from this morning out of my head. I probably listened to it 50 times last week, but I still listened to it 5 times on my iPod today (after hearing it in church 3 times too). I can't completely say why I'm fixated on it - aside from the fact that it's probably a good lesson in perspective. It is a reminder that He's above all of this. And in the end, I just want to give glory to Him.

Oh the depths of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable His judgments!
How unknowable His paths!
Who knows the mind of our God
and who could bring counsel to Him?
Who has given to God that God should repay?

For from Him, through Him, to Him is everything...

To God be the glory forever and ever, Amen.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Hail alma mater!

I ran across this nugget of joy in an alumni magazine - Dress Alma. Enjoy!

(For those not familiar with the U of I, the Alma Mater statue is a favorite campus landmark. I've included a photo of her in her original wardrobe and location [ignore the random guy].)

Monday, July 17, 2006

Monday Randomness

  • Do I look like I work here? I'm starting to wonder. For some reason, whenever I shop at certain clothing stores (Kohls, JCPenneys, and once at Old Navy), random women ask me to help them with something - and then are surprised that I don't work there. Honest to goodness, this has happened to me at least 4 times. The most recent was yesterday. I thought the lady was talking to someone else, so I didn't say anything. She started to raise her voice, but found a person who actually worked there before things got too weird. I can't figure out why this happens to me so often. At first, I thought it could be wardrobe related. Yesterday I was there, still in my nice clothes from church. So maybe I was looking "professional"? But I've had it happen when I'm in really casual clothes and my hair pulled back too. So. My questions are - does this happen to anyone else? And any theories? Any recommendations on clever comebacks?
  • This past weekend, I picked up a skill that I haven't used since I was 12 - cross-stitching! I was with friends at a cross-stitch sale for the day (long story), and I figured, when in Rome... Turns out, it's harder than I remember. The goal is to finish the small project I started and then be done with it. I don't need another hobby unless it's learning the cello.
  • Link for the day: (A t-shirt that made me laugh)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

In my mind, I'm gone...

(...but not to Carolina*)

I have confessed my need to travel and see new places. I'll also admit that once I spent years in Champaign-Urbana, I began to appreciate towns that have a wide variety of cultural opportunities & types of people. And, let's face it, Springpatch just doesn't have as many artsy/diverse things to offer. However, since I can't be away all the time, I've tried to be resourceful and find places that make me feel like I'm...well...not here :)

In my hometown, here's my list of places that have this effect on me (that I can think of):

  1. Prairie Archives - A used bookstore downtown (right by the Lincoln-Herndon Law Office) that is so big and fun to get lost in.
  2. Head West Sub Shop - Why does this place make me feel like I'm back in a college town? It isn't the fact that they sell sandwiches on the BEST bread (it's addictive, I tell you), but more that they also sell hemp necklaces, Ben & Jerry's pints, and decorate with all things hippie. It's SO NOT Springfield.
  3. Norb Andy's - Although I've not been there more than once (and that one time was thanks to Johnna), I felt like I was in Boston in this below-ground pub between the mariner decor and all the politicians in their expensive suits (it's only 2 blocks from the capitol).
  4. Lincoln Memorial Garden - If you follow the trails all the way to the lake, it ruins the effect (the CWLP smokestacks are telltale) - but in the fall especially, it's very peaceful.
  5. Some of the dowtown churches (like First Pres or the big Catholic one) - I really like big, old churches...for cultivating a sense of wonder. First Pres has some fun concerts, too...

Anyone else have ways you get away without going away?

*Not because I necessarily dislike Carolina...just because I've never been there. But I like James Taylor.

Monday, July 10, 2006

From the Midday Office

I read these verses just now, and while they're familiar to me - reading them really convicted me. My life and my relationships would be much different if I applied this Scripture:

A Reading
"Let love be without any pretense. Avoid what is evil; stick to what is good. In brotherly love let your feelings of deep affection for one another come to expression and regard others as more important than yourself. In the service of the Lord, work not half-heartedly, but with conscientiousness and an eager spirit. Be joyful in hope, persevere in hardship; keep praying regularly; share with any of God's holy people who are in need; look for opportunities to be hospitable." Romans 12:9-13

I won't self-disclose too much, but I'd just say a good goal for the week might be looking for practical ways to apply that Scripture.

The Concluding Prayer of the Church
Almighty God, to whom our needs are known before we even ask, Help me to ask only what accords with your will; and those good things which I dare not, or in my blindness I cannot ask, grant for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Death's Sting

After Sunday lunch last weekend, I had a long conversation with my roommate. A good chunk of it was about worship song lyrics and the resurrection - 2 topics that I can talk into the ground.

We talked about one of my current favorite corporate worship songs, which happens to paraphrase Hosea/1 Corinthians 15 - "Sin has lost its power, death has lost its sting..." - it's a powerful lyric. However, she helped me remember how in the midst of grief it's hard to see how death has no sting. We talked about that for a long time - but it was just reminder #842 this year of the lesson God's been teaching me: death is not good - but He has done and will do something about it.

There is a real tension in talking about death as Christians. We can't act as though death wins - because we know that we have the promise of heaven. We have a God Who was raised from the dead and therefore has control over it. However, we can't act as though death is an inherently good thing either. It's a result of the fall - and contrary to God's creation and nature. (Think about it - if God defines perfection - and He's eternal - then death is the opposite of that.) That's why it's not okay to give trite or over-simplistic answers to people who are grieving. We should mourn WITH them... It's a bit of a paradox in perspective (I've heard people call it living in the now & not-yet).

I ran across a blog entry that articulated this as well as anything else I've read: The God Who Hates Death. I hope linking to someone doesn't seem like a cop-out, but his thoughts are honest and have a lot of truth stated so well...that I'd just recommend giving it a read.