April 5, 2012
I am hungry for a taco. Or some ice cream. Or just to be able to taste something.
Yesterday’s photo challenge was to take a picture of someone who makes you happy. But I was at school and then at the grocery store, and the checkout clerk did not make me extra happy. So here is a picture of My Special. He makes me happy.
Also, the lady at the Judaica store knows me. We’re friends. I went in yesterday and she asked how I was and I told her I was sick with a cold. She told me about their new Passover products. She probably wondered why this crazy Gentile black girl keeps coming into her store to buy stuff for Jewish holidays.
So my small group is doing a Passover Seder tonight. Passover is actually tomorrow, but we are under grace, OK?! Like I mentioned yesterday, God asked his people to remember the Exodus every year by eating lamb and bitter herbs and unleavened bread. So each year, people use a Haggadah, which is the liturgy of Passover to go through the Seder meal. The liturgy includes a reading of the story of the Exodus — all the plagues and how God finally brought the people out from slavery. When you participate in the Passover meal, you do it as though you were one of the people God rescued from slavery in Egypt. Although the first Passover was spent in traveling clothes and eaten quickly, now people lounge and take their time because we have been set free.
You also eat elements from the Seder plate at the meal. You dip parsley in salt water to remember the tears of bondage. You eat a bitter herb — usually radish — to remember the bitterness of slavery. And you eat an apple mixture to remind you of the mortar used in building for Pharaoh’s kingdom.
One of my favorite parts of the Passover Seder is when we recount all the things God has done for us. It’s called “Dayenu” which means “it would have been enough for us” in Hebrew. You say things like, “If God had only brought us out of slavery, but not brought us to the Red Sea, Dayenu.” “If God had only brought us to the Red Sea, but not parted it for us, Dayenu.” “If God had only parted the Red Sea, but not drowned Pharaoh’s army, Dayenu.” And on and on. I love it. It would have been enough — but God continued to act, he continued to provide, he continued to do so much more. He is good to us.
Jesus celebrated Passover. I believe that the Last Supper was a Passover meal, which is cool because we see Jesus using the elements of the meal in order to institute communion. The cup he takes after supper, the cup of the covenant cut in his blood, is known as the cup of redemption in the Seder meal. It is related to God’s promise in Exodus to redeem his people. God did it through the Exodus, and here Jesus showed that he was doing it again, this time for the whole world to set us free from our sin.
It’s really cool, you guys. It’s awesome to remember how God has set us free, to notice the elements of Passover that Jesus used when instituting communion, to eat a meal with friends in grateful praise for all the Lord has done. It is good.
OK, I best be off. Hope you have a lovely day!
April 4, 2012
It snowed all day yesterday.
And my sinuses hurt.
And I have to teach a class today at school that I am woefully unprepared for.
And I like to whine.
Yesterday’s photo of the day was “mail.” My mail was pretty boring, so I took a picture of a cute, old mailbox that I keep in my room. It’s called creativity, you guys.
Also, retraction. Apparently Diana did not win the bracket, but Matthew did. (Clearly I didn’t actually look at the bracket before pronouncing it on my blog. I’m not good with the fact checking. Apparently you shouldn’t believe much you read here.) Anyway, congrats, Matthew! Your gift basket of Toby Mac CDs and broccoli is in the mail!
So, Passover is on Friday. It’s the first holiday God commanded his people to celebrate in Exodus 12. It is the night of the final plague in Egypt and the Israelites are finally going to be set free from the yoke of the Egyptians. Pharaoh has hardened his heart numerous times, but this last plague will leave him devastated and he will finally allow the Israelites to leave. Moses has warned Pharaoh of what is about to happen, and God has given instructions for the meal Israel is supposed to eat as they prepare to leave. They are to dress in traveling clothes, eat a lamb, eat bitter herbs, and avoid leaven. Most importantly, they must take hyssop and spread the blood of the lamb over their doors. The Lord is about to pass over Egypt, and he will smite the firstborn of anyone who does not have the blood of the lamb upon their doorposts.
The Lord provided a way for people to be saved from the destroyer—it was a monumental night in the history of Israel, and he wanted them to remember what he had done forever. God gave them tangible ways to commemorate the Exodus from Egypt — lamb, herbs, unleavened bread. This meal would forever remind the Israelites that God passed over them and brought them freedom. It is also important to note that the Israelites had a task to do. In order to be saved, they had to put the blood of the slaughtered lamb over the doorpost.
God told them to celebrate the Passover — to remember the Exodus — every year on the 14th day of the first month. So, they did. Sometimes they sinned and didn’t do it. But then they would remember again. Jesus celebrated it — it is where communion was first instituted.
Tomorrow we’ll chat more about the details of the Passover seder. It’s pretty awesome.
Have a good day, friendsies!
April 2, 2012
It kind of rhymes, you guys.
Let’s forget the fact that it’s in the 40s with a chance of snow today. Let’s focus on this past weekend and how it was in the 80s. “Always focus on the past.” That’s the old saying, right?
My friend Diana had some of her besties in town, so on Saturday we did fun things in Denver. We visited the Highlands, which is where I want to live someday in a darling old house filled with hardwood floors and radiators. We shopped and accidentally bought a couple of things. We ate lunch in a cute little house that has been turned into a delish Italian restaurant, and we took pictures of the tulips that are bright and blooming in March. We walked around downtown and enjoyed Denver like I wish I would every week. But normally I am in the library every week. It is not as fun as exploring Denver.
Then last night a few of us went out to the Mercury Cafe for swing dancing! I hadn’t been there in such a long time, and it was so much fun! I’m not good at swing dancing, but if you have a decent partner, he’ll swing ya in the direction you need to go. There are nice lights and a live band and girls in dresses and gentlemen who ask you to dance. I am going to go there every day.
So my friend Emma informed me of this fun photo challenge for the month of April. There’s a list on this site, and you take a picture of whatever is on the list for the whole month. I may or may not follow through, but I thought I’d at least give it a shot for now. So here’s yesterday’s pic:
I’ve had that mirror as long as I can remember.
My friend Kerry reminded me of this song by Ian Britt, so I’ve been listening to it on repeat like an insane person for hours. Join me.
Yesterday was Palm Sunday, you guys. At our church we all received palm branches and stood outside. We heard the reading about palm Sunday from the Bible, and we said “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” Then my friend Kevin played his djembe and we all marched into church waving our branches.
Would you like to know some interesting facts about the word “hosanna”? OK! It is the hiphil stem of the verb “yasha” which means “to save.” It’s the same root as Jesus’ name, Yeshua. In Hebrew, “na” is an interjection which means “please.” Lord, save us please! And he has.
Another cool thing about palm Sunday is that it is just a few days before Passover, my favorite of all the holidays God commanded. We’re celebrating it on Thursday with my small group. I highly encourage you to attend a Passover Seder if you can. It’s amazing. (You can also do your own seder. All you need is a Haggadah to lead you through the liturgy. This is the one I use.) Anyway, the day Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem was also something called “lamb selection day.” In Exodus 12, God gave instructions for the yearly Passover. On the 10th day of the month, each family was to select a lamb without blemish. They would keep that lamb — feed it and care for it and spend time with it — until the 14th day of the month when it would be slaughtered at twilight for the Passover meal. Jesus entered Jerusalem on the day of the lamb selection — unblemished, the one who could and would save. Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
Ok, lessons over for the day.
Spring break has come and gone, which means I should probably spend five days (instead of four) in the library this week. Hope your Monday is off to a good start, friendsies!
March 9, 2012
Friday Listday is about to come at you like a whirlwind.
1. Oh, man, you guys. Overwhelmed with goodness. Last night I got home to gifts and cards that had come in the mail. They blessed me so. I received two cards — one from my kind grandma and one from my sweet grandpa — the one who had a birthday this week. Grandma sent me $10 and some stamps (I mean, why not?) and called me “first class.” Grandpa sent me the cutest card that will go on my postcard wall and he told me that he is proud of me. He signed it, “Grandpa Dale (your special).” Heart. Bursting.
2. I also received a package from my mom. She sent me a sweet card and some tea and some of her famous cookies. She suggested we go to Israel together in May. So we shall. She is the bestest. She also sent me this picture of my brother and cousin napping together when they were little. A tiny brown boy and a pale little man. Best nappy time friends.
3. My final gift was a package from the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Missouri. You guys. Yes, my heart skipped a beat. Laura and Almanzo moved to Missouri with their daughter, and Almanzo built them a wonderful house there. They lived there for the rest of their lives. It is where Laura wrote her books. My sweet and dear friend Kerry had ordered me a bookmark and a pin from the Laura museum. Kerry reads my bloggy and knows of my Ingalls obsession and decided to send me these gifts because she is thoughtful and kind and the awesomest. And just as I was sad that I was finished reading them! I will cherish these gifts, and you better believe that I will wear my pin.
4. So, these were all the gifts waiting for me when I got home last night. I cried with gratefulness — the gifts were lovely, but overall I was just so blessed and overwhelmed by the love of each of these people.
As I write this, I feel like I understand what it means to “love your neighbor as yourself” as Jesus asked us to do. Each of these people went out of their way to bring me cheer and remind me of God’s love and his provision. The Lord is so good to us, and he uses his people to show us his love. I am blessed.
5. OK, switching gears. We celebrated Purim last night. I’ll post a few more pictures next week, but I thought you might want to hear how it sounds when we read the Esther story and blot out the name of Haman every time it is mentioned in the text. So my friend Diana the Sailor made you this video. (Also, I’m wearing a feather boa because I was originally dressed as a peacock for my Purim costume.)
6. Charles in Charge (my dad) is coming to town this weekend! We’re going to hang out and go to the Broadmoor and listen to good music and be friends. It should be fun times.
7. If you’ve watched Friday Night Lights then you love Landry Clarke. Well, Landry (a.k.a. Jesse Plemons) in a band (not Crucifictorious) called Cowboy and Indian. They will be releasing a CD soon, but they have a couple of songs out on iTunes already. This is one of them. I love it. You should listen.
OK, I hope you have a good weekend and feel the love of Jesus and show it to others too. Lots of love.
March 8, 2012
Thank you for all the concern about my burned-to-a-crisp leg. It really doesn’t hurt at all. I just hope I don’t have a permanent tattoo advertising the cheapest curling iron I could find at Target.
You guys. I am sad. I am pretty much done with the Little House books. I still have to read The First Four Years and Farmer Boy, but both of them are different in tone and characters. I just finished These Happy Golden Years.
Laura is all grown up and she just got married to Almanzo. It’s happy, but also sad because she is no longer a little girl playing with Mary along the banks of Plum Creek. Now she cooks and teaches and sews dresses for herself. On her very last night at home, she asks Pa to play the fiddle and she remembers each of the songs and is reminded of her home in the big woods, and on the prairie, and in the dugout and on Silver Lake. “Then while the sun was going down he played all the old tunes that Laura had known ever since she could remember.”
It’s OK to cry at books, you guys.
So we’re celebrating Purim this evening! Like I mentioned yesterday, the holiday of Purim comes from the book of Esther. During this time, the Israelites were in exile and under the control of the Persian king. This king decided he wanted a new wife, so he searched the kingdom for some beautiful ladies. Hadassah (Esther) was one of them. She won the favor of the king and became queen, but she never told him that she was a Jew. Esther had a cousin named Mordecai and he made a man named Haman angry because he would not bow down to him. Haman apparently took things a little too personally because he decided to kill all of the Jews in the whole world simply because Mordecai made him mad. Haman managed to get the king to agree to this killing, and he planned to murder all the Jews in the month of Adar. Well, Esther stepped up and was very brave — she ended up telling the king that she was Jewish, and she exposed Haman’s plot and the king sided with her. The Jews would not be killed, and instead, Haman was hanged on the very gallows he had built for Mordecai. Bam! Haman, what now?!
So, in Esther 9, the holiday of Purim is instituted. Purim is the plural of “pur” which means “lot” because Haman cast a lot against the Jews. This holiday is celebrated every year because God saved his people from destruction. For the Jews, the Bible says, “it was a month which was turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and rejoicing and sending portions of food to one another and gifts to the poor.”
Purim is a very celebratory holiday. You eat good food and drink wine and read the story of Esther to remember God’s work. Whenever Haman’s name is read, you shake noisemakers to blot out his name from the earth. This is because Haman was a descendent of Amalek, and Deuteronomy 25:19 says that when the Israelites get to the Promised Land they should “blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven; you must not forget.”
One tradition of Purim is to make Hamantaschen which are triangular cookies. Hamantaschen means “Haman’s pockets” in Yiddish. I made some last night — some filled with a poppyseed/honey mixture and some filled with Nutella. They did not all stay so triangular, but I tried.
I’ve never celebrated Purim before, so it’s been fun to learn about it. We’re celebrating tonight at small group, which should be great. We’re bringing canned goods to give to the food shelf at our church, and we’ll eat and read the story of Esther. We’re also dressing up in costumes and masks — it’s traditional to “masquerade” during Purim because the name of God is actually never mentioned in the book of Esther, but it is clear that he was at work behind the scenes, saving his people from destruction.
So, that’s Purim! It’s fun and celebratory and a remembering of God’s continued faithfulness to his people.
Alright, I must be off. Have a Happy Purim!
March 7, 2012
You guys, short and sweet today because unfortunately I have an Aramaic midterm this afternoon. Even more unfortunately, I do not know any Aramaic.
OK, I promised I wouldn’t subject you to pictures of the burn on my leg, but I thought you should see this.
This is what my curling iron says.
And this is what my leg says.
I’ve been branded.
Last night in my Hebrew class we talked about how complicated it is to figure out the theology of Joshua. There’s a lot of killing and many people have a hard time understanding God because of all the violence he commanded. We talked about how, as much as people want there to be, there’s probably not any easy answer — we have to consider the types of writing (law code is different than narrative), the worldview of the Ancient Near East, the redemptive model of Scripture, the way God hands out historical judgments to other nations and to Israel, the meaning of “the ban” in Joshua, and on and on and on. It doesn’t mean that there’s no solution, but I do think it means that we probably can’t give a quick, neat answer to questions about justice and judgment in the Scripture. We have to be thoughtful and we have to think well. We have to take the time to discuss and ponder. It may not be a quick answer, but we know the character of our God and his holiness and goodness.
So the holiday of Purim starts tonight at sundown! Purim was not one of the seven holidays commanded by God, but we see it begin in the Bible in the book of Esther. It is a joyful holiday that commemorates when God saved his people from destruction at the hands of the evil Haman. The Bible commands the Jewish people to celebrate it every year by giving gifts, and giving to the poor and having a great feast. I’m not actually celebrating it until Thursday evening with my small group, but I’ll tell you lots more about it then. If you do want to consider celebrating, you mostly just dress up and eat lots of good food. And on Thursday, you could give to the poor and bring treats to friends!
OK, seriously. I’ve got to study for this awful midterm. I’ll see ya soon!
February 22, 2012
No I’m not. I’m totally not.
Wednesdays are the worst this semester. They make me very complainy. Do you know what makes me less complainy? Knowing that my dad is coming to visit in a couple weeks and we’re going to pretend we are rich at The Broadmoor! The Broadmoor is the most beautimous hotel in all the world/Colorado Springs. It’s very fancy and gorgeous and way more sophisticated than we are. We are going to eat brunch in here. I will smuggle you some crepes.
Ok, y’all, let’s just calm down and have a moment of silence. Please show some respect. Jack, the Ingalls’ trusty bulldog … has died. He was such a good dog and always trotted faithfully under the wagon — from Wisconsin, to Indian Territory, to Minnesota. He protected the family, and he swam an overflowing creek in order to stick with them, and he helped herd cattle, and he was always there to greet Laura when she got home from school.
I may or may have cried the other night when he died, you guys. It was emotional. I don’t even like animals.
Speaking of emotions, I love Parenthood! I felt so sad for one couple and so happy for another one last night. I mean, Zoe and Julia killed me. But then Crosby and Jasmine made me feel all better. Also, I felt mostly just perplexed when it came to Sarah and Mark. What is their deal? They’re going to have a baby and then run off to New York right quick and pretend Sarah doesn’t have two other children and that Mark doesn’t have a creeper mustache? Is that their plan? Maybe they just want to hang out with the Hasidic Jews too.
So Lent starts today. Is anyone observing it this year? I’ve done it for the past few years, and it’s always a good learning experience for me. I like this season. There’s Lent and Passover and Easter Sunday. What I’m trying to focus in on for my thesis is the ways God asked his people to remember what he’d done through the holidays that he commanded. He didn’t just tell them to remember, he gave them celebrations and things to do, build, eat, not eat as ways of reminding them of his goodness. For some holidays you blow trumpets, and for others you eat unleavened bread or bitter herbs. Sometimes you fast and other times you eat and eat. These tangible things that God commanded are interesting to me. I like that God gives us ways to remember him. For me, Lent is one of those ways. I won’t talk a ton about it here, but I did blog about it over on Boundless this week if you want to learn more.
OK, I’ve got to go be crabby to everyone because it is Wednesday. See you tomorrow!
December 23, 2011
Oh, hello. FRIDAY!
1. My dad and I went to a Gophers basketball game last night! They played North Dakota State University from Fargo. So yes, there were a lot of farm boys on the team. Although Minnesota is D1 and in the Big Ten, they kind of suck right now. All their good players are hurt. So, the game was actually very close and tense, even though it shouldn’t have been. They squeaked out a victory in the end, though. Minnesota, Minnesota, yeah Gophers!
2. When my high school friends were over the other night, we sat around and talked about how we are old and gray and like sitting around in a living room drinking wine instead of going out dancing. This is our fate. We’re OK with it. We like sweatpants. Today I’m going to lunch with Kate, one of my college friends. We are also old. We’re meeting up for a nice little lunch at 11:30 so as to avoid all the rowdy crowds and such. Then we’ll take our Metamucil and head home to be in bed by a decent hour.
3. Minneapolis and St. Paul are actually pretty cool cities. There are lots of darling neighborhoods and cool shops and good restaurants. If it weren’t for the biting cold, it could be pretty awesome.
4. Jaci has informed me that we are all moving to Portland because it is fun and awesome. I’m only going if I can certify that all the chickens in the state have four acres to roam free.
5. So, this is darling. A telling of the Christmas story by little tiny people. That first sheep in the stable killed me. He didn’t seem to care much for Mary and Joseph. And that third wise man wasn’t all that interested in going to visit the baby Jesus.
6. Third night of Hanukkah last night!
They have eyes, but cannot see; ears, but cannot hear. They are rebels against the light; they are strangers to its ways, and do not stay in its path. For darkness is morning to all of them; for they are friends with the terrors of darkness. Indeed the light of the wicked fails; the flame of his fire does not shine. The light in his tent darkens; his lamp fails him. They grope without light in the darkness; He makes them wander as if drunk. And I will banish them from the sound of mirth and gladness, the voice of bridegroom and bride, and the sound of the handmill and the light of the lamp. All the lights that shine in the sky will darken above you; and I will bring darkness upon your land — declares the Lord God. Listen, you who are deaf; you blind ones; look up and see! — Psalm 115:5-6; Job 24:13, 17; Job 18:5-6; 12:25; Jeremiah 25:10; Ezekiel 32:8; Isaiah 42:18
7. I’m going to take a little bloggy break next week, you guys. Maybe not the whole week — I might need to give you up-to-the-minute updates about all of the happenings in Deer River, the 900-person town my mom lives in. But I probably won’t blog the first half of the week for sure. So, have a wonderful Christmas. I hope it is blessed with family and friends. Most importantly, I hope the birth of our savior — the one who brought light to darkness — will bring you joy this season.
December 22, 2011
This post is very late today. I’m an irresponsible blogger. Mainly because I stayed up really late and my fingers were too lazy to type you a note.
I was up so late because some of my high school friends came over for dinner last night. And we got carried away with talking because now we are old and no one can tell us when to go to bed or when to be home. We had to make up for all those curfews of the past. It was so fun to catch up with friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen in years.
I’m about halfway through Catching Fire the second book in the Hunger Games series. I wish I had known they were such a quick read — I didn’t bring the third book to Minnesota with me. I’m in trouble.
The second night of Hanukkah was last night.
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight. Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks, who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent. Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw and as dry grass sinks down in the flames, so their roots will decay and their flowers blow away like dust; for they have rejected the law of the LORD Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel. — Isaiah 5:20-24
Who put darkness for light and light for darkness.
OK, I’ve got to go. My dad and I are going to a Minnesota Gophers basketball game tonight — I’ve got to get ready to cheer on the team!
December 21, 2011
There really weren’t any fascinating people at the airport. No mullets, no ugly Christmas sweaters, no people running around in Confederacy suits like I saw one year. There was a Santa at the Southwest terminal taking pictures with people. I shunned him in favor of reading The Hunger Games. Which I finished on the plane.
The Hunger Games was fascinating — and kind of horrifying. It’s basically like a modern take on the Roman gladiator battles. They’ve dressed it up — the combatants get television interviews, amazing costumes, good food. But it’s a barbaric fight to the death. I sometimes wonder if something like the gladiator battles could happen again, and then I flip by something like UFC on television and I sadly think, yes, yes it could. Yuck.
So I’m back home in Minnesota. My dad still lives in Minneapolis, and my mom is remarried and now lives in a small town up in northern Minnesota. I’ll be staying with my dad down here in the Cities for the next few days. My dad immediately made me help him set up his new Gmail account (he’s getting fancy) and update his LinkedIn profile. (This is my dad who didn’t update from DSL until two years ago.) Once that was settled, he opened a bottle of champagne, we toasted to my being home, and we watched a movie. Good to be home.
Last night was the first night of Hanukkah! My mom had a card waiting for me at my dad’s house. She is a good wannabe-Jewish mommy.
My dad indulged me while I lit the candles and said my Hebrew blessing. I also found a reading that goes with the first night of Hanukkah.
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day. … And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. — Genesis 1:2-5; 14-18
Let there be light. And there was light.
Ok, I best be going. I’ve got Minnesota to explore, you know. Have a lovely times day!