Friday, September 30th, 2011
Sometimes I think my husband’s love language is meat. More specifically, beef. Steak is his favorite, but I love cooking with ground beef because it’s cheap and versatile. Burgers one night; meatballs the next!
Thursday, September 29th, 2011
There’s nothing like waking up to the news that a guy was plotting to attack Washington, D.C.
An undercover FBI investigation has likely prevented terrorist bombings at the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol, according to the reports.
I know there are many instances like this that we never hear about. But just the ones that have been made public are stunning: Including today’s news, a total of 41 terrorist plots have been thwarted since 9/11. That’s cause for daily thanks.
Wednesday, September 28th, 2011
I’m thankful for a band.
Once upon a time (11 years ago), a new friend handed me a CD and said, “Listen to this. I think you’ll like it.” It was Switchfoot’s album “New Way to Be Human.” I had never heard anything like it. The lyrics were personal; the songs had variety of sound; the rock rocked and the ballads were beautiful. And though their words were solidly Christian, they didn’t sound like a Christian band. (That could be another post for another day, but a lot of Christian-labeled bands have a certain similar sound.)
One of the reasons I like Switchfoot is that they have successfully broken out of the Christian label and boldly taken their theology to the world. They live and perform in the public sphere, not just at churches or Christian music festivals. This invites heightened scrutiny of their lives and their music from all sides. I believe this is what Bob Briner was talking about in “Roaring Lambs” – he had a vision of Christians working in all sectors and producing excellent products for general consumption, instead of producing art, music, or writing only for each other.
If you listen to their lyrics, they don’t sound like rock stars. They’re not cooler than you. They speak to downtrodden people – people outside the circle of coolness. People who are brokenhearted, down on themselves, questioning God, trying to hold on. They’re not just playing guitar riffs to distract us from our daily struggles; they are hitting our deepest issues head-on.
It was a beautiful letdown when I crashed and burned. When I found myself alone, unknown and hurt. It was a beautiful letdown the day I knew that all the riches this world had to offer me would never do. In a world full of bitter pain, bitter doubts, I was trying so hard to fit in until I found out I don’t belong here.
This approach is intentional. Lead singer and songwriter Jon Foreman explains that “Switchfoot is a surfing term. We all love to surf and have been surfing all our lives so to us, the name made sense. To switch your feet means to take a new stance facing the opposite direction. It’s about change and movement, a different way of approaching life and music.”
Since I was captivated by “New Way to Be Human,” the band has gained two members and released six more albums. I associate each album with the time in my life when it came out, and in many cases, certain songs spoke directly to my situation.
I was working an incredibly tough summer job when “Gone” hit my CD player and encouraged me that this too would pass – and soon.
“Golden” hit in another phase of life when I had recently uprooted. I was struggling with deep questions and needed to know the struggle would be worth it.
She’s alone tonight with a bitter cup… she’s been staring down the demons who’ve been screaming she’s just another so-and-so… You’re a lonely soul in a land of broken hearts – but far from home is the perfect place to start. You are golden. You are golden, child. Don’t let go.
Listening to the first chords of their newest album, which came out yesterday, I was nearly giddy. The lyrics, once again, are killer, and I love hearing the new twists on their sound.
But even after all these years and all the songs, my favorite is still from their very first album. It’s called “Home,” and they’ve never played it at any of the four concerts I’ve been to. It sums up faith so well with this one line that has brought me comfort enough to fall asleep many nights: “All that’s in my head is in Your hands.”
Tuesday, September 27th, 2011
I’ve been hunting around for trip planning hints and have learned a lot from anecdotes people have posted online. This is especially helpful for places I’ve never been – how far is it from A to B? Is it walkable, and if not, what’s the best form of transportation to take? etc. Thanks for the tips, people of the world!
Monday, September 26th, 2011
Once again, I could’ve sworn I already covered this one. Today, I salute you, Mr. Contact Lens Inventor Guy! Without you, I would be condemned to a lifetime of feeling like my bespectacled 6th grade self. (Note to her/me: No, the glasses do not need to be half the size of your face.)
Contacts are truly amazing. They are teensy and oh-so-thin, yet they are able to replace even the Coke-bottle thickness of my (abysmally near-sighted) glasses prescription. With them, I can wear sunglasses! Instead of – wait for it – clip-on sunglasses. Oh yes, I did that. As a kid. Which is just sad.
For this, I will gladly reach into my eyeball on a twice-daily basis! Hooray!
Sunday, September 25th, 2011
It’s pretty great that I can put stuff in a box at my house and send it all the way around the world to my friend AS. And it’s not going by horseback and then by ship, so it won’t take years to get there.
Saturday, September 24th, 2011
My friend AS lives overseas and doesn’t have access to a lot of the conveniences we take for granted. I think of her often as I mull what will go on this blog. Her birthday is coming up, and I’m putting together a few things to send her. For example, she can’t just go into a grocery store and buy any flavor of chocolate candy (can you imagine??).
I’m humbled by her selflessness. She serves others daily. She has a gift for giving wise counsel.
I’m thankful to know her. And one day she’s going to be very, very rich.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
Friday, September 23rd, 2011
I thought I had written about umbrellas already! (Well, I did mention my rain boots.) Can’t imagine life without them.
Thursday, September 22nd, 2011
A lot of times it feels like we are just stumbling through life, hoping to hit upon some idea of what we’re supposed to be doing. And most of our decisions can’t be based on feelings, as they can lead us astray. But sometimes feelings can be very confirming. Have you ever had the sense that you are exactly where you’re supposed to be? Right in this moment, talking to this person, saying this specific thing, etc.? You realize a reason why something happened to bring you to this place.
“You can see the roads that we all traveled just to get here – a million miniscule decisions in a line. Why they brought us to this moment isn’t clear, but that’s all right… Could it be that the many roads you took to get here were just for me to tell this story and for you to hear this song? And your many hopes and your many fears were meant to bring you here all along?”
– Andrew Peterson, “Many Roads”
Wednesday, September 21st, 2011
There are things I can do, and there are things I can’t do. Gardening or any derivative thereof falls into the latter category. I guess I *could* plant something, technically, but the desire to do so is pretty much nonexistent. I have one houseplant that survives despite my care.
Thus, I am extremely grateful that people exist who do these things well. The front of our house – a mere patch of grass – has been graced with the original set of bushes for awhile. We never pruned them, so each rainy season basically produced an entirely new plant on top of the existing plant. It was just lovely. Every so often, some weeds would sprout up. (Did you know weeds can grow as tall as I am?)
We finally attended to this issue – I’m sure much to our neighbors’ delight. The mutant bushes have been hauled away, and small, neat plants have taken their place. I might have to purchase some shears now.