Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage . . . They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
~Psalm 84:5

Saturday, November 27, 2004

I'm saucy!

You Are the Cranberry Sauce

A little sweet, a little sour - you've got the flava!
Though, you do tend to squish in people's mouths...

via Jen

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

No worries . . .

. . . I'm still alive!

This blogging thing is fun but it sure takes time and energy. Oddly, I've had an abundance of both recently, but get preoccupied. Here's what I've been up to:

*My brother and his family came to visit two weeks ago. Eric is a free-lance photographer and he was hired to shoot a convention in town. He brought along wife Brandi and their three children. Brandi's mom also came down since it was her weekend to visit them. Needless to say we had a very full house. We had a very loud house as well.
Brandi stayed in town with Eric one night, so mom and I took the kids home. Mom has no night vision so I had to drive home. As I was strapping the boys in mom just had to say, "You know there are people your age who would have this number of kids already." I just shot her a dirty look and said I know and that's crazy.
While we were in town we took the boys on a boat ride in the river. It was pricey, but they had a lot of fun. Daniel, age 3, doesn't speak much. Let me rephrase that: he talks a lot, you just can't understand half of what he says. When we first took off his eyes got real big and he held onto his chair and cried, "Wheeee." It was cute.

*The weekend after my brother's visit we headed over to Houston. We had a ghetto garage sale in my grandma's ghetto neighborhood. Seriously. If I didn't practically grow up in that neighborhood I wouldn't want to go there. Last month there was a police raid on the house across the street. And by the looks of things, there are still some dodgey dealings going on over there.
We were in Houston for a week. Once again I found myself cramped in a small house with five other family members. I can't wait until we move! However, we didn't even get to look at any houses while we were in town. That was frustrating because I can only do so much since my parents are the ones in charge.
I did visit a church that wasn't half bad. It's in Pasadena and is pastored by someone we grew up with. It's a multi-cultural, Baptist-affiliated-but-has-a-non-denominational-feel church. I liked it more than I thought I would. I love the pastor, Sammy, and his wife, Julie, especially since I've known Sammy for nearly 15 years. My friend Elena and I had dinner with them the night before and it was loads of fun. I still want to check out a few other churches. I feel there would be a lot pressure if I went to Sammy's church since so many of the members know my family.

*I'm finally applying for jobs!!! Well, I'm at least working on an application. Elena is living with her cousin who is the head kindergarten teacher at her school. Apparently they have a few openings for teachers next year and the school district is the only district in the region that pays for the alternative certification program. The drawbacks: 1.)The deadline is December 3rd - that's only 10 days away! And I haven't even taken my TASP since Baylor's a private university. 2.)It's Pasadena ISD which is nowhere near where we might be living. We're talking about a two hour total commute everyday! 3.)There's tough competition and I'm not completely prepared to compete.
I'm hoping this is the door I've been praying for God to open. Starting salary is $37,000!! For a teacher! I'll have to sign a three year contract, which will be tough considering I had planned to return to England by June of '06. But it may be good in the long run because that will prevent me from running off before I've done all I can to get debt free. Damn student loans! Damn credit cards!

*I saw the new Bridget Jones movie Friday! I know, I know, a good Christian girl shouldn't be watching such smut, but I've been waiting for this movie for over a year and a half! My roommate, Kelley, introduced me to the first Bridget Jones movie two years ago. I remember when it came out in the theater I didn't think I would ever watch it. It just looked bad. I was such a prude! I felt an immediate affinity to Bridget upon my indoctrination. I am Bridget! Well, except for the fact that I'm not a chain-smoking, nymphomanical alcoholic.
Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason wasn't as great as the first. The soundtrack wasn't as memorable, for one. You can't beat Bridget lonely, depressed and drunk singing All by Myself or the famous fight between Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) and Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) while the techno version of It's Raining Men plays in the background. They're such wonderfully ignoble fighters. It's fun when their paths cross again in The Edge of Reason. The only thing I like about the musical choice for the movie was that they played Beyonce's Crazy in Love. That was very appropriate for Bridget because she was not only in love, she was CRAZY!
Since I read the book, I kept comparing it to the movie. Without the book, the movie is great for Bridget fans. But there are such wonderful story lines in the book! Mr. Darcy's 22 year-old stick insect co-worker doesn't play the role you expect her to. The way that story line is resolved in the movie was interesting, to say the least. Surprisingly interesting. Of course, not like the literary version at all!
Bridget's circle of friends also play a bigger role in Fielding's books. The girls have a falling out when Jude takes back her loser boyfriend, Richard, and agrees to marry him.
I guess what I like best about the books is that they mirror Jane Austen novels. I knew the first one was loosely based on Pride and Prejudice, but it was fun discovering Beyond the Edge of Reason's connection to Persuasion, especially since I finished reading it just two days before I read BtEoR. So it's disappointing wanting to see that parallel portrayed on the big screen and it not be there.
Anywho, didn't mean for this post to turn into a movie review of Bridget Jones. Sorry. But I would recommend that you Bridget fans watch the movie to discover Bridget and Mark's fate.
The funniest thing about my Bridget movie experience was that I was carded when I bought my ticket! What's even funnier was I didn't realize I had been carded until I was driving home! As I bought my ticket my friend Jessica called and I was telling her how to get to the movie theater. When the lady asked for my ID I assumed she wanted my student ID (I know, it's horrible that I still use it even though I'm not a student!). When she asked for my license I pulled it out without a second thought. Silly Debbie! I don't know if I should be offended or flattered that the woman thought I wasn't even 18. Since I'm not flat out offended is evidence that I'm getting old. Oi! What's crazy is I think the girl who sold me my ticket was younger than me!

*It's time for this post to end. And I must go pack. Back to Waco and another house full of family members for Turkey Day. Yay! Mmmm...I made my famous Honey Bread today. It takes four hours to prepare, but it's well worth the wait. I haven't had homemade bread in AGES! My parents and I nearly polished off a loaf tonight. Luckily, we have two more loaves for Thursday. Mmmm...

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Poem of the Day

Be Strong
by Maltbie Davenport Babcock (1858-1901)

Be strong!
We are not here to play, to dream, to drift;
We have hard work to do, and loads to lift;
Shun not the struggle - face it; 'tis God's gift.

Be strong!
Say no, "The days are evil. Who's to blame?"
And fold the hands and acquiesce - oh shame!
Stand up, speak out, and bravely, in God's name.

Be strong!
It matters not how deep intrenched the wrong,
How hard the battle goes, the day how long;
Faint not - fight on! To-morrow comes the song.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Poem of the Day

by John Borroughs (1837-1921)

Serene, I fold my hands and wait,
Nor care for wind nor tide nor sea;
I rave no more 'gainst time or fate,
For lo! my own shall come to me.

I stay my haste, I make delays -
For what avails this eager pace?
I stand amid the eternal ways
And what is mine shall know my face.

Asleep, awake, by night or day,
The friends I seek are seeking me,
No wind can drive my bark astray
Nor change the tide of destiny.

What matter if I stand alone?
I wait with joy the coming years;
My heart shall reap where it has sown,
And garner up its fruit of tears.

The waters know their own, and draw
The brook that springs in yonder height;
So flows the good with equal law
Unto the soul of pure delight.

The stars come nightly to the sky;
The tidal wave unto the sea;
Nor time, nor space, nor deep, nor high,
Can keep my own away from me.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Tortillas and Queso

It's 3:15 a.m. and everyone in my house is still awake. We're all up watching the election news and cleaning the house for my brother and his family to come this weekend. I am quickly withering. I'll probably crash soon because we're not going to have a definite answer before the "morning."

Sitting in front of a computer screen, trying to craft words in the wee small hours of the morning reminds me of those good old college days. I told Mom and Dad that this would be around the time we'd make a Taco Cabana run for tortillas and queso. I offered to drive if Dad paid, but Mom quickly squelched our plan. Oh well. Since I can't have Taco C I'm going to bed.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Election Day

It's almost over, and I am so happy.

About four weeks ago there was an episode of Seventh Heaven all about voting. The parents were calling all their kids to make sure they were registered to vote, giving them a great speech about how important it is that they vote. Do you remember Peanuts cartoons and every time an adult spoke it was all gibberish? "Whawa whawawawa, whawha" Something like that. That's how it was when the parents started their great speeches. Their children heard the first few sentences but the rest was all whawhawhas. That's how I've felt during this whole election process.

I tried so hard to sit down and watch as much of the debates and campaigning speeches that I could. I would follow along at first but then it all turned into whawhawhas. At Baylor we all had to take a Political Science class and following the professor four years ago was just as hard. I was just not created to be involved in politics. Fortunately, I've heard enough to decide on the candidate that would receive my vote. But then two weeks ago my mom started telling me I needed to make sure I vote early when I went to Waco. Every day for nearly a week she pestered me about it. There was no escape! She was whawhawhaing too! I finally voted just to get her off my back. THEN, she started asking me if my brother's had voted. "I'm not my brothers' keeper!" She laughed but I don't think she very much appreciated that comment. Oh well.

So, we've finally arrived to election day. I've only been back in the States a month, but I'm tired of hearing about it all. I'm so glad I missed a majority of the mud slinging. Unfortunately, it probably won't end after today since this race is so close. I'm just praying that God's will be done and this election be decided quickly.

Poem of the Day

If All Who Have Begged Help
by Anna Akhmatova

If all who have begged help
From me in this world,
All the holy innocents,
Broken wives, and cripples,
The imprisoned, the suicidal -
If they had sent me one kopeck
I should have become 'richer
Than all Egypt' . . .
But they did not send me kopecks,
Instead they shared with me their strength,
And so nothing in the world
Is stronger than I,
And I can bear anything, even this.

translated by D.M. Thomas

Monday, November 01, 2004

The Cost of sacrifice

King David lived a full, long life. God's hand was upon him from an early age. Although he was the youngest of all his brothers, he was the one anointed to be the next king. He found favor with King Saul, which was increased when he later killed Goliath. This success began David's military career, in which he became quite famous and favored in the eyes of the people. Saul became jealous of the praise David received and tried to kill him numerous times. David was forced to flee but his fame continued to grow as he was in hiding. Eventually David became king over Judah and Israel, finally uniting the two countries. Everyone knows of the whole Bathsheba episode and the shame that fell upon his house afterwards. David's family was torn apart by adultery, incest, murder, and betrayal but he made it through and the kingdom was restored to him.
David is described as a man after God's own heart. This truth isn't negated even after he sins. Why? Because he does exactly what God wants the prodigal to do - he repents and turns to the arms of his Father, where he finds love and forgiveness. This took a tremendous amount of faith. David knew his Daddy and knew he could do anything and go through anything because his Daddy loved him. And he knew exactly how much he was loved. So when David found himself at Araunah's threshing floor, being offered all he needed for his burnt offering free of charge, he declined the offer. He could have accepted, thinking he deserved it since there was a plague on Israel and tens of thousands had already died. He could have accepted just because he was king. But he insisted on paying: "I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing" (II Samuel 24:24) What a bold statement! That is why David was a man after God's own heart. He didn't allow his guilt over his sin keep him from worshiping God. And he didn't blame God for the bad things that happened. He offered his pain up as worship and was willing to pay for it.
So many times we fall short. At least, I know I do! It's so easy to praise and worship Him when all is well - when we have wealth, good health, and love; when everything comes easy. But life isn't always "fair." Bad thing do happen to good people and we have an enemy who takes pleasure in stealing, killing, and destroying. Sometimes it feels as though justice will never come, and that's usually because sometimes it doesn't. People we love are hurt or end up hurting us. Sometimes it's a struggle just to keep afloat in this world and in our society. But it's when we worship during those days of darkness, pain, and doubt that we join with David, saying, "I WILL NOT SACRIFICE TO THE LORD MY GOD [MY DADDY] BURNT OFFERINGS THAT COST ME NOTHING."

Poem of the Day

A New Poet
by Linda Pastan

Finding a new poet
is like finding a new wildflower
out in the woods. You don't see

its name in the flower books, and
nobody you tell believes
in its odd color or the way

its leaves grow in splayed rows
down the whole length of the page. In fact
the very page smells of spilled

red wine and the mustiness of the sea
on a foggy day - the odor of truth
and of lying.

And the words are so familiar,
so strangely new, words
you almost wrote yourself, if only

in your dreams there had been a pencil
or a pen or even a paintbrush,
if only there had been a flower.

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