Wednesday, December 1, 2010


My Advent devotional begins with these words:

“God is that greater than which cannot be thought.” St. Anselm of Canterbury

“Think about it. We can stretch our minds as high and deep and far as our minds can stretch, and at the point of the highest, deepest, farthest stretch of our minds, we have not ‘thought’ God. There is always a thought beyond what we are able to think. ‘God is that greater than which cannot be thought.’”

God’s greatness is something that I don’t usually marvel at. Growing up, I easily accepted the complexities of faith. Occasionally in worship I am led to marvel at the majesty of God, but most often I take it for granted. In college we called them “the omnis”: God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and so on. We know all these things, and absorb them with little thought.

This past week, I’ve been struggling with some big “why” questions. Even bigger than those questions, though, I am struggling with the “how.” I have never before been struck with such paralyzing cluelessness. I have no idea what to do. I have no idea how to figure out what to do. I have no idea why these things have happened, or how I can resolve them. How do I get out? How do I go on?

I am in a women’s Bible study of Isaiah, and he has a lot to say about God’s final plans for creation and humankind. The last question this week was “In what specific ways are you waiting patiently and trustingly for God’s final work of judgment?” And as strange as it sounds, right now I am so eager for the final judgment! There is so much uncertainty, so much I don’t know how to answer or deal with. And the only relief I have is knowing someday that all will be well. All will be fulfilled. All will be peace.

When I read those words in my Advent devotional, I felt peace in the midst of my turmoil. At the outer limits of my attempts to find answers, as far and as hard as I stretch my mind to go, God is there. He is greater than anything my mind could perceive or produce. “God is that greater than which cannot be thought.”

Quote by Richard John Neuhaus, from God With Us, ed. Greg Pennoyer and Gregory Wolfe, p. 17

Monday, June 21, 2010

Would you like some tears with your coffee?

I’ve been kind of miserable lately. I love being in Indiana, near my parents, and in the Little Yellow House, but I’m pretty lonely. I’m working on it, though! I came up with a few things I think will help me feel better about myself and where my life is going.

This week I will:

not eat fast food

keep the house clean(ish)

make myself dinner (no frozen pizza!)

read some poetry

take a walk


research some future career options

Accomplishing all this might be tricky, because this week I’m helping out with my parents’ church VBS program. But that will be good for me too.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I Surrender All

All to Jesus I surrender
Humbly at his feet I bow
Worldly pleasures all forsaken
Take me Jesus, take me now

I surrender all
I surrender all
All to thee my blessed Savior
I surrender all

We sang this in church today: an old-school hymn that my college students (and who knows how many other people in the congregation at my rather modern church) had never heard before. It's a great, classic song with powerful lyrics, as many of the classic hymns have. But as we were singing, I had a terrible realization: I don't surrender. And it wasn't one of those terrible/good realizations that causes us to cry out to Jesus and come closer to him -- oh, no. I was annoyed! I haven't surrendered all recently, I don't want to, and I would rather you not bring it up, thank you very much! I hate it when Jesus calls me out.

All these thoughts were flitting across my brain while we were singing, and I just kept singing because I love singing. But then I decided something: I have to keep singing. No matter where my heart is, I will keep singing. I'm not surrendering to Jesus, but I know I should, and deep down in my heart I want to surrender, so I will keep singing. I'll keep singing 'til it's true.

Monday, April 12, 2010

I bow

I bow at the feet of Jesus.
I am broken and unworthy. I am a sinner who does not learn from her mistakes; I stumble over the same hurdles repeatedly.
I bow at the feet of Jesus, who takes my broken pieces and fits them back together the way he designed them to go. He brushes of the dirt and dust as if it were never there. He heals me over and over again, and each time he does it as if it is the first time, because he has forgotten every one before.
I bow at the feet of Jesus, who takes my broken, dirty pieces and uses them for his glory.

What's up with you?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

pre-Lenten Reflections

At the last Staff Seminar training I was at for my campus ministry job, I bought a book called Living the Christian Year: Time to Inhabit the Story of God by Bobby Gross. As is my custom, I had more books than I could read at one time, and never got around to reading past the foreword. It's arranged, naturally, by the Christian year, and every time I thought about beginning it we were in the middle of a season. But Lent begins next week with Ash Wednesday, and today I had some extra time to sit down and read through that section.

The traditional 40-day period of Lent reflects long biblical fasts by the likes of Moses, Elijah, and Jesus. Catholics typically give up meat during Lent, but in my Protestant upbringing, people abstained from a variety of things including chocolate, pop, sex, gossip, coffee, ice cream, etc. Thinking about what I might give up this year left me feeling shallow, because what could I possibly give up that would compare to the sacrifice that Jesus made for me? But Gross's notes helped me to remember the benefits that humbly choosing sacrifice during Lent can have.

We adopt practices that help to sharpen our spiritual awareness. Through prayer and Scripture meditation, moral inventory and behavior changes, fasting/abstinence, and generosity/service, we open ourselves up to receive God's grace and blessing.
I also liked the idea that during Lent, we revisit the declarations we made during our baptism: we renounce satan and all evil powers and sinful desires, we trust in the grace of Jesus Christ our Savior, and we follow him as Lord.
(summarized from p. 128)

How can I put those ideas into practice? My roommate and I decided to do "Frugal February," a month where we cut out all unnecessary shopping and basically only buy gas and groceries. I think I'll continue that through the end of Lent as a part of my fast. I've begun reading through John, so I'll focus on that during Lent in addition to any other reading I might do. I'm also considering doing a day-long juice fast on Ash Wednesday, Fridays during Lent, and Maundy Thursday through Easter Sunday. And I hope that through that process, I will be able to reaffirm the declarations from my baptism: I renounce satan and all evil powers and sinful desires, I trust in the grace of Jesus Christ my Savior, and I follow him as my risen Lord!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The $5 Savings Plan

I'm really horrible with money. What I mean by that is, I'm horrible at managing/saving money. I'm pretty good at the spending part. (What can I say, I love to shop!) But with a big move and a new house creeping closer every day, I'm starting to feel the pressure to save.

Let me introduce you to the only plan that I have found so far in my short life that is actually effective for me:
The $5 Savings Plan

It's pretty simple. Are you ready??

I read in a magazine once that if you take every 5-dollar bill that comes into your possession and put it in a jar/box/bag/under the mattress, it adds up to a nice sum within about 6 months.

So that is what I have been doing. Since I got back from Christmas, I've taken all the change and every $5 bill in my wallet and put it in a big jar. The effectiveness of this system naturally depends on how much of a cash flow one has, but since I get cash tips from Starbucks every week, I always have something to contribute. I realize that I won't be using this for the down payment for a house or anything big, but it's there for emergencies and, hopefully, for some splurges for the new house (which you can read about here!).

There are a few reasons why I think this system works for me:
(one) I'm particularly motivated to save money for this house project, because I'm really excited about it!
(two) It's become a fun challenge to see how much money I can put in there each week.
(three) The jar I'm using is transparent, and it's fun to see the bills and change piling up.
(four) The jar also has a really small neck, so if I was ever tempted to take money out of the jar, I would have to dump three pounds of change on the floor and then pull the bills out with tweezers.

I know it's not the best savings system in the world. I'm not earning interest or protecting my assets. But it works for now, and it works for me!

Monday, February 1, 2010

I love to cook!

Tonight for dinner, we had:

  • Lemon Pepper Chicken

  • Crash Hot Potatoes from here

and for dessert:

  • Pear Apple Cranberry Crisp from here


ALSO... This is my new favorite blog person, Color me Katie. So fun and sweet!

Friday, January 15, 2010


I saw this video today, over at High Calling Blogs.

Inspiring, no?