February 13, 2012
Oh my, so many winners! And on a Monday, even!
Here are the random results from last week’s natanaway. (I tried to match people with the prizes they wanted, but it wasn’t possible for everyone.)
- Ange: Mezuzah and vintage card
- Elizabeth Butler: Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus
- Samantha Nicole: Starbucks gift card
- SaraLouHarriger: Secondhand Jesus
- Kendall Davis: The Promise
- Stephanie K.: Amazon gift card
Congrats, you guys! Email me with your address and I’ll get your prize to you. Thanks to everyone for entering, and I’m sad that I couldn’t give every single one of you a present. If you didn’t win and you are sad, here is a video to cheer you up.
What did you do this weekend? I mostly spent time sleeping, working, hanging out with friends, churching (yeah, I said it), and studying. Also, I saw The Vow. It was OK, but not awesome. Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams were not all that good at being actors. The story itself is pretty good, though.
Whitney Houston died, you guys. This makes me sad — she was only 48, she has a young daughter, and it seems like her life had just completely fallen apart starting with bad decision #1: Bobby Brown. I loved Whitney’s music growing up. We taped The Bodguard off of TV (less cussing) and I would watch it over and over again. Who knows how many times my parents had to hear me screeching I Will Always Love You as I swished through the house in my hoop skirt and bonnet. (I was multifaceted as a child. Slash, crazy.)
Here she is performing at the Grammys in 1994. This is how I remember her.
Umm, will someone please do the work in this book for me? Kthanx.
Oh, I also watched the Grammys yesterday. I liked it more than I thought I would. LL Cool J prayed, and Bruno Mars was awesome, as were the tributes to Etta James and Whitney. Love Adele. Nicki Minaj is apparently completely insane. Did you guys watch the Grammys? What stood out to you?
OK, I hafta go. I’m apparently a guest speaker in Kristy’s class at Colorado Christian University on Tuesday, and I’ve done zero things to prepare. So I’m gonna get on that.
February 10, 2012
1. It’s your very last day ever in the history of the world to enter the natanaway! Up for grabs: Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus, Starbucks gift card, The Promise, Amazon gift card, Secondhand Jesus, and a Jewish mezuzah and vintage anniversary card. Enter, you guys! Results on Monday.
2. I am not very hip with the kids, so I was behind with this whole Kristen Bell And The Sloth phenomenon, but I am on it now. This video is so hilarious. Also, don’t you think we should all be friends with Kristen and Dax?
3. At small group last night, we spent the whole time praying together as a group. We did it in sections — praising God, thanking him, confessing to him, praying for others, and praying for ourselves. It was so good. One of the things I loved about it was that so many people prayed things that were on my heart as well. Afterward, we talked about how it’s so good to pray in community because it helps us remember God’s goodness and the praise he is worthy of and the things we have to be thankful for, even when we’re not feeling those things. The community of God’s people reminds us of who God is, helps us remember his goodness.
4. It must be fun to be a wedding planner in Portland.
5. I think some friends and I are going to see The Vow this weekend. Have you all heard much about if it’s good or not? I do literally sob every time I watch The Notebook so I’m hoping that it’s good — in a heartwrenching, puffy eyes kind-of-way.
6. False. China.
7. So many videos, you guys! My friend Josh (he was very specific about wanting the credit for this) posted this video on my FB wall yesterday, and I love it so much. It’s a tiny bear and a tiny wolf and they are bestest friends forever. I just love that baby bear. He hops and skips and squeals and then does some more hopping. Don’t you feel bad for that boring little normal dog, though? He’s so boring. And he will probably be mauled by the bear or wolf very soon.
Have such a good weekend, friends! Get some rest and spend some time with Jesus and watch that tiny bear video if you need a smile. Love!
February 9, 2012
It’s like I’m living in Minnesota over here, you guys. It’s been so cold this week! We have nine billion feet of snow and it never melts, it just freezes into deadly ice paths of painful death for your Fuggs (fake Uggs) to traverse. Just as an example. (Also, I don’t think Uggs (fake or genuine) are actually in style anymore, but guess whose feet were cuddly warm yesterday? Exactly.) Look at my poor, snow-laden car the other day.
Any.Hoos. Aren’t blogs that talk about the weather the very best and most entertaining and worth your time?!
I feel very disappointed in myself as a human awesome person because apparently on Parenthood the other night, Crosby was wearing a Dillon Panthers shirt. Like the Dillon Panthers of Friday Night Lights. As the show’s biggest fan, I should not miss things like this!
This week has been so busy, and I’ve had super long days. I’m worn out. For example, yesterday morning I was having the most annoying dream in which an alarm clock was going off by playing Jason Mraz’s I’m Yours over and over again. In my dream, my friend and I tried to turn it off and we threw it on the ground and we unplugged it, but it would not stop playing that song. Finally I rolled over and woke up and realized it was the alarm on my phone. It was 7:08. I had been having that dream for eight whole annoying minutes and never woken up. (And yes, I’m Yours is my alarm ring for some odd reason. I’ve apparently decided to make that song something that makes me very angry and sad and cranky all at once. Which it was kind of already doing before I made it my alarm.)
I just started a new class at my church. It’s basically related to commissioning believers into ministry. Our pastor reminded us of Luke 10 when Jesus sent out 72 people to preach the gospel. Their mission was to preach the kingdom — they did amazing things like cast out demons and heal the sick. The 72 returned to Jesus joyful because even demons submitted to them in the name of Jesus. But Jesus reminded them that our joy is not what we do — it’s not in our works – but in God’s grace. They were to rejoice because their names were written in heaven. I love it. Jesus sends us out — we are to act, and share the gospel, and serve because we have a mission. But the joy doesn’t come in our accomplishments, but in the recognition that God has shown us such grace — he’s invited us into his kingdom and eternity with him. Sweet goodness.
You guys, only two days left to enter the giveaway! Get on it right now.
February 8, 2012
Literally, you guys. We’ll get to it.
So, remember how I had an unhealthy obsession with American Girl dolls last week? Well, Jaci found this awesome post about what your American Girl doll (or lack thereof) tells you about yourself. And it’s kind of true! OK, I’ll be done now. I promise.
Also, remember how you need to enter the natanaway?! You can enter through Friday to win some sweet prizes like such as, Starbucks treats and Amazon gift cards and fascinating books.
I wish I had something cool to tell you, but I was at school all day trying to get caught up on my life. I wasn’t all that successful, but I did find you this picture of a dog wearing a giant Hello Kitty head.
I had to do a devotion for my Hebrew class last night, so naturally I chose the topic of circumcision. Naturally.
We were translating Joshua 5, which just happens to be all about circumcision, and this verse stood out to me:
Then the Lord said to Joshua, “This day I rolled the reproach of Egypt from upon you all.” So the name of the place is called Gilgal to this day. — Joshua 5:9
The Israelites had just crossed over the Jordan River and had finally entered the Promised Land after wandering in the desert for 40 years. At that point, God told Joshua to circumcise all the men of Israel. Although the people who had come out of Egypt had been circumcised, this new generation had not. So Joshua got to cutting. Also, this may be TMI, but Joshua was supposed to make a “sword of flint” for this job. Basically a super sharp rock. All the women of Israel were so happy with their gender at that moment.
After Joshua circumcised everyone, the Lord told him that through this ceremony, the evils of Egypt were behind them – rolled away, cut off, no longer relevant. They were about to take over their new land and new life, led by Yahweh God.
This was kind of cool to me because when we become believers, God rolls away the reproach of our former rebellion. Instead of bearing the marks of our former idols and sins, our hearts are cut with the everlasting covenant of the Lord. Although it can be a painful process to cut away the traces of our old lives, it is rewarding to be marked as a follower of the one true God.
After Israel was circumcised at Gilgal, they celebrated the Passover. While they healed, God reminded them of their rescue from Egypt through the Passover ceremony — how he had kept his promises in the past and would continue to do so in the future. As the Holy Spirit painfully cuts away the reproach and stench of our sin, God rolls away the lies we have believed and replaces them with reminders of his truth and His faithfulness. God takes away our sin, invites us to be his own, and shows us how to live as people marked by the covenant of the everlasting God.
And that’s how you get something spiritual out of circumcision, you guys!
OK, now that we’ve discussed weird things, I’m leaving. You should stick around and enter the giveaway. Bye!
February 7, 2012
Oh my. This week is getting to me already. Tuesday, don’t let me down. One thing that will make this week awesome for you is entering the natanaway! I’m giving away an Amazon gift card, three different books, a Starbucks gift card, and a mezuzah! It is your lucky day!
So Jaci went back to Austin. Sad. We had a fun weekend, though. Our Vail trip got snowed out, but we improvised and had fun in Denver. I would post pics of our fun times, but I took literally one picture the whole weekend because I am bad at life.
You guys, I’m not saying that I watch The Bachelor, but if I did, I may have felt so awkward the entire show last night. Like I actually muted it and turned away a few times because Ben and those girls are so bad at being human people. Courtney, Blakely, Jamie, Casey — it was a train wreck. I can’t see what Knox McCoy has to say. Not that I watch The Bachelor.
This weekend I went to an amazing art show by a friend from Denver Seminary. It was very inspiring and classy and cool. Afterward I ran into Annie. We both blog and live in Denver and have friends in common, but we had never actually met in person. It was so fun to chat with her, and we’ve decided to be friends. You should definitely check out her sweet blog, Hootenannie.
The art show was awesome. My friend created an installation while we watched — it was his story of God’s redemption set to music and visual art. It was really cool. One of the songs we heard was “Winter Song” by Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson. I can’t stop listening to it. It’s not a Christian song, but I find so much meaning in the lyrics. It warns of an upcoming storm, a difficult time, a winter chill in the air. But we are not forsaken, friends, even when times are difficult. Even in the cold, our God is with us.
“This is my winter song to you. The storm is coming soon; it rolls in from the sea. My voice, a beacon in the night. My words will be your light. To carry you to me.”
We have hope in the storm. Love is alive. Spring is coming.
February 6, 2012
Woo hoo! It’s about to be a fun week on the bloggy, y’all.
Remember that “natan” means “give” in Hebrew, so we are having a “natanaway” because, clearly I like to make up words. In fact, I jove made-up words.
Last time we did a package giveaway, but this time you have a chance to win one of six prizes! Can you even believe it?
So, here are the prizes up for grabs in no particular order.
- The book The Promise by Chaim Potok. This is a novel about a guy named Reuven who lives in New York and is studying to be a rabbi. It’s a story about friendship and faith and all things Jewish. It’s really well-written, and it’s a national bestseller so you know it’s good. Just like the Twilight series. Seriously, though, it is good. You’ll love it.
- A $10 gift card to Starbucks. This doesn’t have really anything to do with Judaism, but the CEO of Starbucks is Jewish, so that counts, right? Also, who doesn’t love some delish coffee? No one doesn’t.
- A mezuzah from Israel and a vintage Jewish anniversary card. This is my favorite prize, but that’s probably because I’m weird. A mezuzah is a little piece of parchment encased in wood or metal that contains Scripture from Deuteronomy. It’s the passage about loving the Lord with all your heart, soul and strength. You affix the mezuzah to the doorpost of your house or your bedroom, and it reminds you to follow these commands to love God with all that you are. This tradition comes from Deuteronomy when God told the Israelites to love him and to keep his commands on their hearts, to talk about them all day long, to teach them to their children, to think about them when walking on the road or lying down to go to sleep for the night. They were even to write them on the doorframes of their houses – hence the mezuzah. The vintage card is just cute and it has some Hebrew on it, so it is cool.
- The book Secondhand Jesus by Glenn Packiam. I’ll be honest — this one is mostly because I just discovered I have two copies of it. However it’s also a cool book. Glenn Packiam is one of the founding worship leaders and songwriters for the Desperation Band, which means you probably already know a lot of his songs. Also, this book is about wrestling with God and finding out who he really is. Our faith does not come to us secondhand — we are not grandfathered in. This book is about truly discovering Jesus’ mercy and grace and walking in it.
- The Book Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus by Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg. OK, I lied. I may actually be most excited about this one. This book is such a great intro into understanding the Jewish roots of Christianity. It explains Jesus’ parables, miracles, religious celebrations and relationship with his disciples through the lens of Judaism — the way the people who followed him while he was on earth would have understood him. It’s so awesome. It’s eye-opening and beautiful. You’ll be hooked. I want you to win this one.
- A $15 Amazon gift card. Fine, I’ll let you pick out your own book. Although, I suggest Lauren Winner’s new book. Or you can pick out some music (suggestion: Avett Brothers). Or get a TV series (I demand that you choose Friday Night Lights or Lost). OK, I’ll back off. $15 gift card to spend as you please!
You guys, have you ever even seen a better giveaway? I have. But I’m not The Pioneer Woman with free KitchenAid mixers to give away every day. So this is what we get.
To enter the drawing:
1. Post a comment in this thread telling me which prize you’re most excited about.
2. Post a link to this blog post on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. You can even snail mail it to your grandma. Just spread the word!
Remember, you have the chance of winning one of these six prizes. Six winners in all! The combined value of all these prizes is somewhere around $350 billion. Take that, Pioneer Woman!
You can enter the drawing until 11:59 p.m. MST on Friday, February 10. I’ll announce the six lucky winners and which prize they won next Monday, February 13.
Woo hoo! Enter away!
February 3, 2012
1. Apparently it’s the storm of the freaking century outside. It hasn’t snowed in Colorado pretty much all winter, but the day that Jaci and I were going to drive up to Vail and stay at a fancy hotel and pretend to be rich is of course the one day that there is a momentous blizzard of death that closes all roads and mountain passes. Boo. So, you guys, it’s not our fault that we’ve watched so much Lost. Nature made us. The island wanted us to. It was our destiny. We want to avoid going stircrazy/being eaten by the Smoke Monster, though, so if the roads are good enough today, we’re going to head to the spa!
2. Exciting news: I am having a giveaway on the bloggy next week! I’m still working out what’s for grabs, but it will probably include awesome things like gift cards, books, vintage treasures, and Jewish stuff. So, make sure to be back Monday for giveaway details!
3. Jaci and Ashley and I visited the American Girl store here in Denver yesterday. It was wonderful. We both grew up reading the books and yearning for the dolls. Neither of us ever got any of the dolls because our moms were mean/the dolls were ridiculously expensive. But we’d get the catalogs each month and wish and wish, pretending we could get a doll and pick out her outfits. Being in the store today brought up feelings of sweet nostalgia … and a tiny bit of bitterness toward our mothers. But we forgive.
Do you see Kit’s darling little ringer washer? I learned so much about different historical eras reading those books. I learned about Colonial times and rationing during World War II, and the Underground Railroad and Victorian treats and pioneer living. You guys, no wonder I always wanted to live in an earlier era — it’s all I read about as a kid. I was into American Girl back when there were just three girls — Kirsten, Samantha and Molly (I wanted Samantha). Now they have these silly modern-day dolls that you can make to look like yourself. What do you learn about history from those dolls?! Bah hum bug. They have added a lot more historical girls, though. A Native American girl (probably should’ve been the first one anyway), two girls from New Orleans (they wear real hoop skirts!), a 70s-era girl, and a Jewish girl from New York, you guys! She has a tiny menorah! I need to read her books!
American Girl was a such big part of my life growing up. I even had a story published in their magazine when I was 12. They did not give me a doll, though. I got a stupid watch. OK, let’s move on. I’ve spent way too much time talking about dolls…
4. Umm, I think this is awesome. Because it is true.
5. Yesterday I was reading Job 1 in the Bible. Job has lost his possessions, children, everything. He is ruined. Satan has caused him unimaginable pain, and he is devastated. When he hears the news of his children, he falls to the ground in worship and says, “Yahweh gave and Yahweh has taken away. May the name of Yahweh be praised.” How? How did he do it? My prayer today is for the Lord to give us strength to praise him in the difficult times and bring comfort and peace and joy to those who need it today.
6. How do you solve a problem like Maria?
7. (This is Jaci) Clearly, Denise ran out of things to say at number 5, but she continued on with her list anyway and then handed the computer off to me. I don’t actually have anything to say, but am being “forced” into contributing. Sorry. I love reading Denise’s blog every day though, and I always check back late in the day to see if there are any clever/interesting/fun comments, but I don’t know who a lot of the commenters are, so let’s do an experiment. If you read this and if you ever comment, I would like you to tell me who you are. How do you know Denise? If you don’t know her, how did you find her blog? It’ll be a fun, like a get-to-know-you game that doesn’t involve choosing a fruit or animal or super hero. Please play along. (Aren’t you glad Denise ran out of things to say and let me write number 7?)
OK, have a lovely weekend, friends! Make sure to hustle back on Monday to enter the drawing for the Awesome Giveaway of Awesome Awesomeness!
October 31, 2011
Oh, hi, you guys!
First things first: the winner of the book, DVD, card and gift card from last week’s giveaway is Joy Hoelscher!
Joy, email me with your address, and let me know if there’s a Chick-fil-A near you. If not, let me know what restaurant you’d like a gift card to. Congrats!!
For all you losers, I’ll try to have another giveaway soon!
So, on Friday I went to a Sabbath dinner at a friend’s house. It was pretty awesome because we had some delicious fall food and we each brought a scent that invoked a memory. I was in charge of lighting the Sabbath candles and saying the Hebrew blessing. Since I do nothing with decorum, I managed to be in the midst of some snarky comment right when I was supposed to light the candles, so I literally said “I will kill you” in one breath, and “let us pray” in the next. I then burned myself as I was trying to light a match, so I whined and forced someone else to light the candles while I stumbled through the Hebrew prayer. It was classy.
It is traditional to light two candles at Sabbath because God said to “remember the Sabbath” (Exodus 20:8) and to “observe the Sabbath” (Deuteronomy 5:12). Every Jewish blessing begins with the words, “Blessed are you oh Lord our God, king of the universe.” We always remember to bless God — he is the one responsible for every blessing we have, so we thank him first.
I spent the rest of my weekend with my boys. I babysat for my friends Kim and Miah, so I got to hang out with Neo (5), Elijah (3) and Jonny (9 mos.). It was good times. We went to Chick-fil-A, we ate pop tarts, we set up train tracks, we watched Thomas and Friends, we baked sugar cookies, and we read. We also spent a lot of time doing things like this, so clearly, I’m worn out.
Jonny preferred a more sensible photo.
The boys were so sweet and good and we had a lot of fun. But I’m also exhausted. Props, for reals, to parent-type people. You have a very busy job.
OK, so I have a big theology test tonight, and I literally
have not even looked at one word of a study guide. I think I’m supposed to know something about the Holy Spirit or Calvinism or Arminianism or some other things I don’t have any clue about. Gots to get to it.
OK, bye. See you soon — bless God today!
October 28, 2011
Yay — it’s Friday! It is nearly the freakin’ weekend, you guys. I think Friday is a good day for randomness, so let’s get our list on:
1. Last day to enter the drawing for the prize package of a book by Lauren Winner, a DVD by Ray Vander Laan, a vintage Hanukkah card and a gift card to Chick-fil-A! Make sure to leave your comment and tell your friends! The contest closes tonight at 11:59 p.m. MST.
2. How about those baseball-type people, huh? Crazy game last night, but such a good World Series! I’m cheering for Texas, mainly because every single time anyone on the Rangers does a good job, their manager jumps up and down and hugs people. I love that guy. He’s so cheery.
3. My friend Brad is having a Sabbath dinner tonight. (I didn’t even force him to do it; it was all his idea! I love when people get weird like me!) I am forcing us to light Sabbath candles, though, and to say the blessing in Hebrew. Which means I need to learn the blessing in Hebrew, right quick.
4. I am spending some time with my favorite young men this weekend (ages 5, 3 and 9 months). I’ve heard rumors that they always play quietly, get along, don’t jump off furniture, go to bed within five minutes of being asked, and never get up during the night. Or maybe I just made those things up. Either way, I’m looking forward to hanging out with my guys.
5. Do you all watch Psych? Shawn and Gus are my heroes — you know that’s right. I heard their latest episode was really funny, so I went to Hulu to watch it yesterday and it was not on Hulu. Excuse me, Internets site that I don’t pay for — where is the latest episode from the network I don’t pay for that I would like to watch without paying for it? Rude.
6. I found this on Pinterest. It sums up 1) awesomeness, 2) the horrible things I will do to my child if I ever have one, and 3) how I feel whenever I have to go to my Monday night class that doesn’t get out until 9:15.
7. Ahh, number seven. Numbers are very important in the Bible — not in a mystical, weird way, but in a way that helps us better understand what’s going on. Oftentimes they tell us something about the story — so, if you see a number in your Bible reading, don’t just skip over it. It’s probably there for a reason. For example, in the feeding of the 5,000, we see the numbers 5, 2 and 12. These numbers were all symbolic of Israel — there are five books in the Torah, two tablets of the Law, and twelve tribes of Israel. This event happens near Bethsaida, a Jewish town, and so the story tells us — through the numbers — that Jesus came to feed the nation of Israel. However, in the feeding of the 4,000, we see the numbers 4 and 7. Four was a number associated with Gentiles, and seven is a number of completion and wholeness. This miracle was done in the region of the Decapolis — where Gentiles lived. Now we know from this story that Jesus came to nourish the Gentiles as well.
These accounts are not the same story with a couple of authors who just messed up and got the numbers wrong. These are two different stories that share two different messages. Jesus, the bread of life, came to satisfy the hunger of the Jew and the Gentile. Salvation is available to everyone — Jesus is willing to share it with any who believe. Pretty awesome.
So, watch the numbers when you’re reading. Pay attention to the locations mentioned in the Bible stories. They might be trying to tell you something!
OK, have a good weekend, friends! Come back Monday and I’ll announce the winner of the prize package! Shalom!
October 26, 2011
Thanks for stopping by — we had lots of new friends here yesterday and it was so fun! Please keep visiting and tell your friends. And don’t forget about the awesome giveaway; people can enter through Friday evening. Chick-fil-A, Mudhouse Sabbath, A Ray Vander Laan DVD and a vintage, Hanukkah card are up for grabs!
So, I want to share just a little bit about how I became so interested in being this weird Christian-who-loves-Jewish-things-and-subjects-all-her-poor-friends-to-listening-to-her-rants-about-the-Old-Testament-and-the-importance-of-understanding-the-Hebrew-roots-of-Christianity-type-person.
I was kind of a weird child, and I liked to read non-stop. (I also ordered the salad bar every time my family went out to dinner because I loved salad and thought the salad bar was pretty much heaven on earth. Like I said, weird.) So, I read lots of Christian fiction (Janette Oke, baby!) but I also read some really good historical Christian fiction by Bodie Theone about the Holocaust and the establishment of Israel in 1948. They were interesting, and I learned a bit about how the Jewish people were connected to Christianity through the Old Testament. Then after college I went to the Focus Leadership Institute and heard Ray Vander Laan speak about the culture of Jesus’ time. It was fascinating and opened my eyes to an entirely new world.
Overall, I started to realize that the Old Testament and the traditions of Judaism that came from the biblical text were crucial to understanding what Jesus was like, what he believed, and how he lived out his faith as the perfect representation of God and humanity. I started to believe Paul’s words in Romans that we have a lot to learn from Judaism because, “you do not support the root, but the root supports you.”
I’ve been a Christian since I was five. I grew up memorizing Scripture for Awana and youth group — I was in Bible quizzing, you guys, and it was hardcore. You think the NFL is intense? Try going up against a bunch of Baptist teenagers who have memorized Philippians. Cutthroat. I had read the Bible consistently for years, and I thought I knew it pretty well. And then I started to learn about the Hebrew roots of Christianity and I realized that there’s so much more to know about our Scripture. It’s fascinating, it’s mind-blowing, and it has convinced me that our God is so amazingly intricate and cool.
Anyway, we’ve got so much to discover and learn about our God. It’s really fun and I think you’ll like it. We can eat at the salad bar, talk about Jewish things and be friends.
Speaking of salad, it’s snowing today. (I’m good with transitions.) We’re supposed to get a foot of snow in Denver! And it was literally like 75 degrees yesterday. My heart isn’t ready for winter yet. It makes me sad. Fall, please come back! We weren’t done being friends, and I miss you.
Anyhoos, I have a huge test on Thursday, so I plan to be cozy at home today, studying, avoiding the snow and making this yummy meal.