During our travels this weekend we listened to a couple of sermons that really meant a lot to us.  There are two guys I listen to regularly — one I know very well and one I don’t know at all — who both inspire me to re-think my preconceived notions about a variety of issues.  Being insanely entertaining speakers helps, too.  Thanks to these guys and many others, I’m always being reminded that I don’t have it all figured out.  And I think that’s healthy.

Erik BonkovskyWhat Happens When You Die?

Full disclosure: I might be quoted at length in this sermon on the topic of vampires.  Which brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “born again,” no?  Har har.

Rob BellJesus and Divorce

This message presents the challenging standard of respect and honor due to a spouse, while addressing the very real issue of how to treat people who are going through divorce.  So many “heck yes!” moments here.

the conviction of things not seen.

Not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar…

Last night at small group, we had an amazing discussion about faith.  We were studying Hebrews 11, and it seemed to fit with what a lot of us are going through right now.  A bunch of questions were brought up, like:

  • How do you know what the “will of God” is?
  • How do you tell the difference between wanting to do something, and being “told” to do it by God?
  • At what point should you wait on God, and at what point should you pursue whatever opportunities you have in front of you?
  • Is faith the part where you just keep doing what you’re doing (having faith that God will show you what to do next), or the part where you don’t settle for the prospects you’re offered (jobs, etc.) and wait for what you’re “supposed” to be doing?
  • What do you do when God’s answer is silence?

Erik offered up the quote from Kierkegaard: “Life must be lived forward, but can only be understood backwards.”  I love small group and all the amazing talks we have there, even if we don’t come out with a bunch of official answers.  I feel like as a group, it’s more about the journey anyway, and the fact that we’re asking the big questions — even if we can’t always answer them — means we’re pursuing wisdom together.

Here is the usual bag of miscellany:

  • Some interesting quotes from Offbeat Bride that sort of echo my style as I continue to plan the wedding:
    Quote 1: “when you assume that anyone enthusiastically planning a wedding is automatically a victim of outside forces, you’re asserting that women can’t think for themselves and are powerless against the lures of taffeta and tiaras.”
    Quote 2: “I guess it comes down to this: Attention gives you the cheap high of other people’s energy focused at you … but authenticity gives you that deep, long-lasting satisfaction of knowing that you’re on the right path and you’re doing the right thing. While the quick high is more fun in the short run, the deep satisfaction is ultimately more filling.  ….  The pursuit of authenticity is thinking to yourself five years after the wedding, ‘I’m still living out my vows in this commitment … every single day.'”
  • In Midnight Society-related news, I was recently featured on the Botetourt Paranormal Society’s web site.
  • Rumor has it that there’s a Clueless 2 in the works.  !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Do we have to say this again?  Stop picking trendy baby names.
  • For people who always ask how to make a t-shirt quilt like mine, here’s a tutorial that’ll show you how to make one.
  • For the people who loved the single people map, here’s another map of the seven deadly sins.  Fun!

Oh, and…

Happy birthday, R. Pats.  Preowwwwwwwwww.  I wonder what he’s doing for his birthday.  Oh, probably whatever he wants.

easter resolutions.

This gem is courtesy of myvintagevogue of course, which you should check out if you haven’t already.

I’ve been swimming in Passover at work, and trying to learn all that it involves, and I hope all the Jews in my life are having a good one.  And that all the rest of you are just having a good Sunday.  Today we’ll probably go to the Easter Parade or something, I think.

Some musings…

Apparently Easter, contrary to popular belief, is not all about candy and bunnies.  For me this year it’s about the rebirth that happens daily when I recognize again that I’m not perfect, and that I can’t do everything on my own.

So in that spirit, I’ll just set forth the fact that I want to start loving people better.  I think it’s hard for me to know how my friends and acquaintances need to be loved.  Anytime I need the slightest bit of help (not often, so I always lead myself to think), I just ask for it.  But I don’t think everybody does that.  So my big Easter prayer this year is to magically gain the discernment it takes to see how to love people and treat people kindly and leave them in a better state than when I met them.  And I want to make sure I’m showing people that I care in the ways that they want to be cared for, not just in whatever way that I would like best if I were in their situation.

So the moral is that within reason (no, Mad Dog, this does not mean I will start buying you beer), I would like for you to tell me what I can do for you.  That would help me out a lot.  Because you’re awesome, you’re my friend, and being there for you is simply what’s right.

Off to enjoy this cold, pretty Easter!

of duels and density.

This is my first day back at work since Friday.  I had a delicious four days off, which I spent mostly working on wedding stuff.  Doing things like making spreadsheets and comparing prices of plastic flatware and making schedules for the day of  are probably only fun to people like me, who love to compulsively organize.

Probably my favorite part of the desk work I’ve done for the wedding has been putting together a list of possible readings.  Right now, Edgar Allan Poe and C.S. Lewis are dueling for podium time at my wedding.  Reading Thomas Jefferson’s love letters has put a smile on my face as well.  Don’t tell him, but he’s probably a shoe-in.

In related news, I love tech-savvy marriage proposals.

Here is a picture of Dan and I collecting old bottles at an antiques store that absolutely murdered my allergies.  It’s a rough break for a girl whose fondest pursuit is being surrounded by crumbly, age-old treasures, to be allergic to dust.  In the photo, Dan is retrieving the bottles from a high shelf which I could not reach, and may not have even notice if he hadn’t pointed it out.

Two couples in my life gave birth this week, and I can’t wait to meet the little ones.

We had a really good time at small group last night. It was fun as always (we died laughing while coming up with some baby names for Erik and Sarah’s forthcoming child), but we also learned a lot.  Hebrews is a dense book to work through, especially since it had a very specifically Jewish audience, so there are a lot of references to Old Testament things that are meant to be understood easily, but for us we have to go back and dig through those old verses and figure out what is being alluded to.  Dense, but rewarding.  I’ve been contemplating what service means to me, and how to serve others out of real love, and not because it’s what I’m “supposed to do.”  It is beginning to feel more natural that I, being loved, should want to pay it forward.  But of course this is one of those things about which you can never say “okay, I’ve got it!  I’m doing it right now!”  Because that’s when  you know you’re doing it wrong.

This morning it snowed.  No matter how hard I try not to get excited, every time I see a flake, my heart soars.  How beautiful the neighborhood is when large, fluffy flakes are descending!  I’ve told myself over and over again, “you know it will not stick” and “don’t even think about sledding,” yet I can’t stop myself.  Of course as soon as I got to work it had turn to slushy rain, so now it’s just wintry mixing again.  Ick.

I’m very excited about Movieland opening up, and I desperately wish I could go to the first show: GWTW and mimosas.  COME ON!  Why do I have to work that day?!

Yesterday was Jonesy’s birthday.  Yesssssssss!