Tuesday, November 29, 2011

100th Blog! Major Updates

So this is my 100th blog post. Hooray! Hooray (imagine applause, streamers, confetti, and foam...if you're into that)!

So I thought I would go back and in true July Flame list style, name my 5 all-time favorite blogs and update on what has happened since that time.

The Tragedies of Being Short - this is still a legit issue...as I have not grown. But to add insult to injury, my brother recently married a chick who is SIX FEET TALL, thus ousting me from my throne as "tallest girl in my family." This past Thanksgiving (when we put up our tree), the fam actually asked her to put the star on top SIMPLY because she could reach. Sad rudeness. Now I'm nothing, just second tallest. Tragedy continues.

Goodbye 27! - I like this one, because it legitimately captures a true moment of positivity and gratitude for my life. I had a really rough year, and I could've dwelt on the bad, b/c I can get pretty dark sometimes...but my happiness during 27 was real. I noticed that I never said goodbye to 28...I realize I forgot to count my blessings. Shame on me. That won't happen when I count down 29.

Our Friendship is Over! - this should be nominated for best animated short at the Oscars. I mean...true I didn't create the animation, but the script is golden! This was my first cartoon video and I love it. And let's be honest, many friendships end just this way. It's still happening, as we speak. I said that friendship is an umbrella that single women stand under so we don't get wet. Friendships forged under the umbrella fail (i.e. friendship born out of the solidarity of being single). So now...I avoid those. I choose to dance in the rain, splash in puddles, and find other people who are doing the same.

Critical Mass - This one deals with the aforementioned boredom. I love this post b/c it's one of the first times I started creatively applying the issues in my life as a way for me to connect with God. It was like I was trying to connect what I was going through with the Word of God. Sounds hokie I know...but after that, I wasn't afraid to say "I'm crappy, and this is how I think God wants me to deal with it." I'm still at critical mass all the time. I'm always SECONDS from the next blow up, and then prayer fixes it. I think that's amazing.

God and Math - I like re-reading this post, because often things don't seem to "add up." I get mad because my dividends are totally in arrears (accounting nerd!!). Like I've invested in this Christian life, and where are my dividends?! But I've learned that God is not a vending machine. And even if He was, I'm not putting in all quarters. I've definitely thrown some Canadian change in there... His grace is sufficient, and even given that...I'm still betting that somehow 2+2 is 5. It just goes like that somehow.

I thought about trying to write something deep and profound for the 100th post, but that's just begging for writer's block. No dice kids. Maybe something awesome will come along for post 101. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Overheard at Thanksgiving

Time with family is awesome. I'm very thankful for my family, but it's a time when crazy things are said and discussed, and below are some of the more memorable:

How do You Know When Babies are Growing?

Aunt #1: (while fussing over a hiccuping newborn) The hiccuping means they're growing!
Me: (blank and incredulous stare)
Aunt #1: (sheepishly)...well maybe it's a myth

How do You Know when Someone's Pie is Good?

Sister: Taste my Sweet Potato Pie!!! Please!!
Aunt P: I don't know...maybe just one bite
(we all watch her chew very very slowly)
Sister: How is it?!
Aunt P: It's...alright.
Sister: Aunt J, why don't you try some
Aunt J: I think I'll pass

I never tried that pie. I instead shamelessly smashed apple pie (my favorite) and pound cake. 


Sister: Elmo is like the most famous muppet.
Me: Elmo ain't no muppet.
Sister and Cousin: YES HE IS!
Me: Technically, no he isn't. Muppets are a trademarked term of the characters created by Jim Hensen. They are called "The Muppets."
Sister: KERMIT is a muppet!
Me: Yes. Yes, he is.
Sister: And he was on Sesame Street.
Me: No. No, he wasn't...unless as a cameo.

That argument went on for about 15 minutes. Upon further review, we found that Sesame Street uses the term "muppet" by permission of the Walt Disney Co.; however, they are not true muppets. That honor belongs to The Muppets and the Fraggles (the trash heap has spoken).

How to Become an Addict

Sister: HAHAHA! YES!!! WOO-HOO!!!
Me: What happened?
Sister: I just bought a $15 gift card for 1 cent!
Me: Huh? How?
Sister: Online auction
Me: I want to try...
(2 hours later)
Mom: What did you win?!
Me: A ring! A $44 ring for 1 cent!!
Mom: You don't wear jewelry...
Me: SO?! You gotta watch and pray, Mom...watch and pray!
Mom: Well, I'm going to pick up the ingredients for a German Chocolate Cake...bye
Me: Pray for me.
Mom: what?
Me: I want the 60inch TV
Mom: ok...
Mom: In Jesus name, amen (and then she left)

I didn't feel like she was sincere. But I also noted that I might have developed a problem. Be that as it may, I also came away with a $25 gift card that also cost 1 cent (2.99 shipping and handling). It made for a long day at my computer...in pajamas. I felt like I was at the slot machines. Note: I've never played the slots.

When You Realize Something Within You has Died

Me: Look at Jhalil (3 years old). He's just playing by himself, making noises, scooting around. He's having so much fun.
Sister: Yep.
Me: I don't remember imagination being that fun.
Sister: That's because you don't have any imagination now.
Me: ...dang

Kids with Attitude

New Niece by Marriage: (unprovoked, walks up to declare) I don't like you.
Me: Ok. That's one less gift for me to buy. Thanks.
New NbM: What do you mean?
Me: It means I'm not getting you anything for Christmas.
New NbM: (panicked) WAIT! NO! I do like you...a little. I mean, I don't know you that well...but...
Me: (cutting her off) Too late. Peace.

Maybe something else will happen. I'm going to not one, but TWO church plays this weekend...so one can never know.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Miracle, Interrupted

This blog is about that moment when you think all hope is lost. Sometimes we feel this way because, logically, we've done the math. There's only so much awesome to go around, and we just saw the last of it (you know what "it" is) plucked up by Sally, Bob, or Mike. Or maybe we got there too late for "it." Whatever happened...it sucks. Despair starts to overtake us. Someone else got what you've been waiting for. You feel like you're on the brink of a major vom, throwing up the pit that has settled in your stomach, when a voice says:

Just Believe. 

My favorite miracle of Jesus is the woman with the issue of blood, but yesterday it was pointed out to me that her miracle interrupted the miracle of someone else. Check out Mark 5:21-43.

Here's the breakdown:

There's this dude named Jairus who's 12-year old daughter is dying. He falls before Jesus and asks him to come heal his daughter. Jesus consents to go with him and sets out towards his house. On the way, the crowds throng him (delay), and a woman who has been suffering (maybe even dying) of a blood disease for 12 years thinks to herself: "if I can just touch the hem of Jesus' garment, I can be healed." So she presses through the crowd and touches JC. JC stops, looks around and starts asking his disciples: "who touched me?" The disciples are like: "are you kidding me JC, look at this crowd...we don't know who touched you." But Jesus is not having it, he's waiting around for this woman to come forward.


I have always been wowed and blown away by this woman's faith. The story (for me) is usually about how she presses through the crowd with faith so awesome, that she knows if she can just touch his clothes. Not even His body. She doesn't have to get His attention. He doesn't have to speak to her. If she can just touch His clothes she'll be healed. What faith! So wowed by the faith that I never considered the despair. Jairus' despair. Imagine him. Imagine you are him.Your situation is urgent, and JC is wasting time trying to figure out who touched him! He has to be freaking out by now.


The woman, having been healed (she stopped bleeding immediately) comes forward, tells Jesus what she thought would happen if she touched His garment, and proclaims to everyone that she is in fact HEALED. Jesus gives her some kudos; I bet the crowd is rejoicing, and suddenly some of Jairus' servants walk up and say:

“Your daughter is dead,”...“Why bother the teacher anymore?” Mark 5:35

If I'm Jairus...I'm about to throw up. I'm about to just lose it, screaming in the crowd. The thing I asked for, was just given to someone else, in my sight. Jesus was on His way to my house, when He was distracted by the needs of someone else. I'm probably having 1000 different crazy, messed up thoughts, when Jesus overhearing says:

"Don't be afraid, just believe."

I'm going to end the story there. We know that JC goes to Jairus' house and raises his daughter from the dead*, but...that moment where he almost gave up. I'm almost always in that moment, where everything that I want isn't happening, but yet seems to be happening for everyone else: the blessings, the raise/promotion, the new house, the new marriage/new baby, the peace, the contentment..."it." I'm in that moment so much, because it is easy to believe in the finite. There is a finite amount of "awesome" and there is a timeframe that we have to get it in. We believe in "windows of opportunity." But with God, there's no window. Jairus found that out...I'm trying to learn it too.

Less fear. More belief.

*There will probs be a part 2 on this portion.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Working Out Sucks

As a person who has had some health problems in the past, I know that this is a dangerous statement: Working Out Sucks. Exercise is necessary, don't get me wrong, but let's not lie to each other anymore: it hurts. I've been doing the Insanity Workout, and have spent the day limping around the office. Every movement hurts. When I go into the restroom, I'm trying to maneuver around so gingerly and yet I still groan (which could give other restroom users the wrong idea about me!). Sadness. I will now enumerate the pros and cons of working out (of ME working out):

Pros for Working Out
  1. Health - regular exercise (A) controls weight...but I'm not overweight. I suppose I will be if I shun exercise forever. It also (B) combats diseases and health conditions. Blank stare.That ship has kinda sailed, but Combats does not equal Prevents. Combats is good...it's a pro.
  2. It makes you sleep like a rock - You know that sleep that you thought was reserved for "I-had-a-glass-of-wine-and-had-dreamless-sleep"? Skip the wine! Do Insanity Workout and you will be KNOCKED OUT. I've had good sleep 2 days in a row, woke up before my alarm completely rested.
  3. Feeling of accomplishment - The first night, I had to shut it off with 9 min to go. I was done for. I just couldn't do it! Second night, I finished...and I felt like I had just won Biggest Loser. Imaginary streamers were falling on my head, and confetti was sticking in my eyelashes (does that happen on Biggest Loser?). In any case, it was great.
Cons for Working Out
  1. It Hurts - Like a mutha! My legs were shaking yesterday. During the stretches. That's when you know it's chopped: when you can barely get through the stretches. Granted, I'm crazy out of shape. I could run a mile without stopping if I was forced (i.e. chased by zombies), and I can get through a zumba class w/o sitting out. However, I am not strong.  That's why I don't hold doors for people, I mean...the door is too heavy for me to wait for slow people to walk up at their leisure. (J/K! I hold doors...for people moving swiftly).
  2. It's time consuming - this is only true in the sense that the 45 min to an hour you spend working out, is time I could spend gaining weight: eating chips and ice cream while watching DVR'd tv shows. Or it's time that I could be relaxing, curled up with my newest book (currently reading A Feast for Crows).
  3.  Your Hair Gets Jacked Up - this may only be a con for people of color, but a good workout requires a good washing of the hair afterwards, and as mentioned in a previous blog (point #1 in this old post), I can't wash my hair every day. That being said, I have a small dilemma. I want to work out tonight (despite the cons), but I have a hair appointment in the morning to get a relaxer. Will this cause probs? Please help if you know (no one ever responds to my polls...so I guess I'll just have to update you with a story of either triumph, tragedy, or laziness borne out of fear).
Should I work out tonight, even thought I'm getting a hair relaxer in the morning? 

Well, I'll let you know how it works out. I might not work out b/c my legs feel like jell-o. Or maybe I'll just do light workout on the treadmill and pick Insanity back up once my hair is done. So many choices.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Tired of Being Good

You see that brokedown Marge Simpson? That is what my spirituality/righteousness/"goodness"/whatever feels like right now. This was one of my rougher weeks, and if I was "on fire" for biblical love last week, that picture of Marge depicts how busted and disgusted my love is right now. Remember that biblical love is a supernatural ability, and sometimes, I find myself using the shameful excuse: "It's only natural for me to feel this way." And so, while I do still feel like Marge, it made me think of a scripture that kind of didn't make sense to me until this past week:

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. - Galatians 6:9-10

So, it just never hit me that you can really get tired of doing the right thing! Isn't that nuts? I have this vision that it feels good to be nice to people. You know "it's better to give than to receive" and that awesome feeling you get after volunteering your time to the needy? That never gets old. You know what does get old? Swallowing pride. Turning the other cheek. Biting your tongue. All the "good stuff" that we hate to do. We? Fine...stuff that I hate to do. I admit it, I hate it with a bitter hatred. I hate it especially with those who belong to the family of believers. Why? Because I like to think it should be unnecessary in the family of believers. Why am I turning the other cheek for someone who I wouldn't expect to slap me? Awkward.

I once heard a preacher talk about the difference between "the saints" and "church folk."  Technically, all believers in the gospel of Jesus Christ are "saints": a person set apart for the Lord and His kingdom. But often, I'm reminded that sometimes we are also "church folk": crappy people who just go to church. And saints/church folk get TIRED of doing good, because saints/church folk don't make it very easy. But...we are all in process. I try to remember this. We are all in process. No one is perfect yet. My feet are still on the ground; I have not stepped onto a cloud and peaced out. It hasn't happened.

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.- 2 Corinthians 3:18

So, I had one idea when I copy/pasted that scripture...but now I'm having another one. My first point was that we are "being transformed." That we are in process. That we have to be patient and wait for the ever-increasing glory to come from the Lord. We have to wait to be like him. And we have to wait on other people to be like Him. That is legit. I have taken that to heart.

But my second thought was:

How obvious we are. 

Lord, I don't want to be so obvious! When Moses came down from the mountain, he had a veil over his face, so that the Israelites wouldn't see the glory of the Lord fading off him. They could hear God's message unfettered by their view of Moses. And so they wouldn't be distracted or concerned by the obviously fading glory...Moses put on a veil (see Exodus 34:29).

But I don't get a veil! I either reflect the Lord's glory, or I don't. You either see Him, or you see ME. God's message either comes through loud and clear, or the audience is distracted by my fading? While I'm being transformed into his likeness, can you see me changing...or do I still look (too much) like ME?! I don't get to hide behind a veil. With unveiled face, I should be reflecting the glory of the Lord. Today...I think I look like me. Like Marge. And I wonder how obvious it is...and who I've distracted. I have taken that to heart, as well.

He must increase, but I must decrease - John 3:30