Island Living

March 23, 2016


How was everyone’s weekend? (I just realized that it’s Wednesday, so it’s really not a relevant question anymore, but whatever. Days of the week have no meaning when you still have to get up at 5 a.m. on Saturdays because your baby is feeling chatty.) Anyway, happy hump day?

This past weekend we went out to Vancouver Island. For those of you who are not Canadian, Vancouver is not on Vancouver Island. Vancouver is on the mainland. The island is a 12-minute plane ride from Vancouver and it is beautiful and filled with fresh ocean air. (Andrew talked about his love of the island air no less than 16 billions of times this past weekend. #marrytheislandairalready) Also, talking about the island reminds me of The Island and Sawyer and The Dharma Initiative. Those were good times.

Vancouver Island really is beautiful. And the air is quite amazing. #airomatic

Anyway, Andrew’s brother-in-law and sister pastor a church on the island and they asked me to come out to lead a Passover Seder to start out Easter week. So we quickly packed up our stroller, Ergo carrier, car seat, diapers, wipes, baby clothes, pacifiers, toys, blankets, video monitor, breast pump, bottles, sleep sack (oh, and Theo) and headed out. We had super late flights on the way out and the way back because they were such great deals. This was awesome except for the fact that Theo had no idea it was time for sleep and decided to stay awake way past his bedtime. But he was a pretty cheerful fellow, so it wasn’t too bad.

1 a.m. Happy as a clam. Go to bed.

He was a bit off sleepwise for the rest of the weekend, which meant we got to hang out lots in the middle of the night. It apparently also threw off his bowels because he decided to poop on my sister-in-law’s bed as a “thanks for having us” gift. Luckily he’s a pretty fun guy, which made up for the middle-of-the-night-peeing-on-mom-while-she-changed-him fiasco. (Keep in mind that this was separate from the poop incident.)

Loved. Poop and all.

Anyhoo, Passover! I have celebrated Passover seders for about ten years now, which means that I’m old. It also means that I’ve had ten chances to experience this amazing holiday that has taught me so much about Jesus and the Last Supper and the deep meaning and significance behind the bread and the cup.

One of my favorite parts of the seder is after supper, the kids go search for a hidden piece of matzoh bread called the afikoman. Once found, the child brings the afikoman back to the leader, but will only give it back for a ransom, usually a piece of candy. The afikoman must be redeemed for a price. How significant that Jesus, after supper, takes the bread (the afikoman) and says that it is His body, broken for us. How amazing! There is so much to learn from celebrating the holidays that God asked His people to remember every year. Most of us Christians don’t know much about the holidays of the Old Testament, but I believe that we should! They show us so much about God and His amazing character and redemption. If you ever have the chance to attend a Passover seder, do it! (If you’re in Red Deer, I’m doing one tomorrow at CrossRoads Church and there’s still room for you to join!)

Theo is not invited to Passover, but he thinks you should go!

Speaking of Passover and Old Testament things, if we were to take some time to explore questions and topics in the OT, what would you like to see discussed? Leave a comment with your suggestions!

Do you all have big Easter plans? We will be Passovering and then spending time at church on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. And Andrew’s spring break starts tomorrow! Next week we’re going out to Fairmont which means relaxing, hot springs, winter wonderland, and probably more poop incidents.

Anyway, if we don’t chat again before Easter, have an amazing day and take time to honor, praise, glorify and laud the One who paid the price for our sins and then proved that He was God by defeating death!

Speaking of paying the price, Andrew and Theo spent some time humming “Jesus Paid it All” recently. (As you’ll see, I was praising with my eyes closed.)

I love this song and its truths. Oh praise the One who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead! (Here it is with more words and less of me snoring.)

Happy Easter, friends! He is risen indeed!


Happy Monday!

How’s work going for everyone? Wearing running pants all day is going well for me. (Don’t worry. I haven’t been doing any actual running.)

So, it’s #noworrieslent everyone. I’ve been posting pics over on Instagram (denise_ruth), but in case you aren’t cool enough for Instagram, I thought I’d re-post some here for a little pictorial essay time. Let’s call it “Hakuna Matata: A Filtered Picture a Day Keeps the Worries Away.”

I eavesdropped on these ladies at Starbucks a couple of weeks ago. One of them was talking about getting a visa for her Canadian fiance! Mr. Ponytail and I both felt her pain.


These really don’t have anything to do with No Worries Lent, but I had to capture them on camera, obviously. Because these are some shorts you can buy at Express right now. Apparently to wear. In public.


Guess who came to visit me last week? (Hint: it was not that guy in the sweatpants and red sweatshirt.)


Andrew’s visit helped a lot with No Worries Lent. It was so fun to see him and show him the wedding venue and hang out. We also took engagement pics! Actually Matthew John Photography took engagement pics — if you want to get specific. We can’t wait to see them!

Anyhoos. We had a lot of fun! I miss that guy. We should try living in the same country someday.


How can you worry when you’re hiking around Garden of the Gods on a sunny day? Answer: you can’t.


OK, here’s a thing: Ashley has been so kind and generous and wonderful to me the last few months. She has given me a room at the famed Boyer B&B, and has let me sit on her couch a lot. It is probably annoying to have a whiny, waiting girl living in your home, but Ashley has put up with me like a trooper. My only complaint is that when I make her delicious (not delicious) sugar-free treats, she shuns them.


Diana and I went to brunch yesterday. None of this was sugar-free or fat-free or calorie-free. But it was delicious. If you are in Colorado, you must visit Adam’s Mountain Cafe in Manitou Springs. It is my favorite.


This really has nothing to do with worry, but look at the vintage windows I got this weekend! We went to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, and I loved it. Have you ever been to one? People donate doors and cupboards and light fixtures and furniture. And cute windows you can use to decorate your wedding!


Umm, we went to a thrift store and found this sign. If you get hurt, they are not reliable. Don’t depend on them. For reliability. (Or, I’m guessing, liability either.)


Saturday night the Jewish holiday of Purim started. Purim celebrates what happened in the book of Esther when the Jewish people were saved from total destruction at the hands of a mean guy named Haman. People usually celebrate Purim with a masquerade party. They do this because Esther is the only book of the Bible in which the name of God is never mentioned. Not once. Weird, right? But if you look at the story — a Jewish woman becoming queen, the plotting of Haman, the wisdom of Mordecai, the strength of Esther, the tables being turned on Haman, and the surprising triumph of the Jewish people — it is clear that, although God’s name isn’t mentioned, he is clearly at work behind the scenes. So people wear masks as a reminder that we cannot always see or feel God, but he is always there, guiding and working.

My friends and I read the story of Esther on Saturday night. We talked about ways we hope God is at work behind the scenes in our lives right now. We talked about how important it is to look back and remember and celebrate the things God has already done for us — because in the here and now, it is easy to forget and complain. It was a good night for No Worries Lent because it reminded me that God is never absent, even when he is not obvious.

Okey dokey. I best let you get on with your day. Have a good one — no worries!!!

No Worries

March 5, 2014

Lent starts today, guys. (I made paleo pancakes last night because I just happened to be hungry for pancakes, and also it was Fat Tuesday, and also I can’t eat fattening foods because I would like my white dress to fit this summer. p.s. Paleo pancakes are not as good as delicious, normal pancakes.)

I like Lent. I like it because the date of Easter changes every year, and during Lent I am so aware that it is coming — that the death and resurrection that brings restoration is on its way! I like that in giving something up, I am reminded of the One who emptied himself for my sake. I like it because it makes Easter Sunday so, so joyful!

So as I thought about Lent this season, I thought of my past year. Ugh. It has been and continues to be hard. The past week has been rough — I have felt sad and mad and listless at times. It has been hard for me to see bright spots. I have thought of every worst-case scenario for the next ten years.

Because of all this, I have decided to give up my favorite pastime for Lent — worry.

I’m worried about how it will go.

(See what I did there?)

I’m not quite sure how to go about giving up worry. Most of the time I don’t even know I’m doing it until I suddenly realize I’m thinking about how I will have to work on a ranch in Montana so I can live close to the Canadian border so that Andrew can come see me and our future children on weekends. Or something equally as reasonable.


But it’s dumb, you guys. I read this post by someone else who gave up worry for Lent one year, and it described exactly what I do:

Suddenly, it became crystal clear to me why I worry so much. Somewhere along the line, I’d convinced myself that worrying prevented bad things from happening, or at least, mitigated the damage when the worst occurred. Worrying helped me prepare a mental emergency first aid kit, and if I could manifest that preparation, like the gray tub of survival supplies in the garage, all the better.

I try to control everything by worrying. If I’ve imagined the worst, I won’t be surprised. If I’ve thought of all the horrible options, I won’t be caught off guard. It’s really dumb and not helpful. And most of all, it shows that I am not trusting God’s control. I am not trusting his character and plans.

So, what I am going to try to do for the next 40 days (and hopefully beyond) is redirect my thoughts when I realize I’m worrying. I will pray about whatever I’m worrying about. I will read my Bible. I will remind myself that worrying doesn’t work — what’s the point? I will pray for someone else. I will try to notice something in that moment to be thankful for. I will ask God to help me to trust him more and more each day.

If you want, you can do it too or help me out. I am going to Instagram a picture a day under #noworrieslent. You can Instagram along with me (my username is denise_ruth) and share your own ways you are trusting the Lord instead of worrying.

So that’s my plan. Sometimes I will blog about it; sometimes I won’t. (I like to be unpredictable. Like John Travolta’s name pronunciations.)

Anyhoos. Thoughts on Lent? Giving something up? (I recommend giving up paleo pancakes for Lent.) No? Love Lent? Hate it? Leave me a comment!

Have a good day! Don’t worry!

I went to Target again … don’t yell at me! Andrew wanted to go. We went insane and just started buying $5 pieces of clothing all over the place. Andrew bought 7,800 hoodies and a plaid shirt. I got a $50 blazer — for $5, guys. Also, here’s a question you might ask me: Did you feel a little embarrassed when the Target fitting room attendant said to you, “Oh, you’re back again?!” Answer: $5.

Umm, I got in trouble from a certain Canadian high school teacher boyfriend yesterday because when I was talking about the polar vortex, I failed to mention how all the schools in the States were closing because of the cold weather but the schools in Red Deer never close for weather because they are hardcore and strong and hearty (calm down). People in Canada go to school in negative a billion temperatures all the time, everyone! It’s true. I was here about a month ago when there was a giant snowstorm and windchills of minus epic proportions and everyone was expected to still ride a tractionless bus to school on roads of sheer ice. Good job, Canada?

Speaking of brave Canadians, when we were at Lake Superior a couple of weeks ago, Andrew was determined to touch the water because he’s done it at all the other great lakes he’s been to. Unfortunately, it was winter and freezing and hypothermic to go anywhere near the lake. But no worries. He simply climbed down an icy ladder, held on to it with his icy fingertips, and dipped his scarf into the icy cold water of doom. He survived.


Today at Starbucks I asked the barista if they had almond milk I could put in my coffee and she gave me a look like I was a crazy hippie who shelters cows at my underground railroad stop on their escape to Portland, while serving them vegan dinners of nutritional yeast and seaweed. Sorry, lady.

Is it still trendy to wear colored tights? What if you are 31? No?

Micah, this is turning into another Supdate. Sup diggity. Sup doubt.

I just bought this CD to help me focus on writing my lesson today. (It’s going well, obviously.) I love The Head and the Heart. They’re coming to Calgary this spring and I will be there with all the bells on, belting out River and Roads in an off-key shout.


So, this lesson I’m supposedly writing is about the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the Bible. It is a yearly holiday God wanted the Israelites to celebrate. The holiday lasts for a week and comes in conjunction with Passover. The Israelites were to eat bread without yeast for the whole week as a reminder of how quickly they had to escape from Egypt — there wasn’t even time for their bread to rise! The theme of the lesson has to do with how God redeems us. It is a time to remember and celebrate the Exodus — to be mindful of how God redeemed His people with an outstretched arm. And it reminds me of how Jesus later did the same thing — literally — on the cross. He invites us to repent, to turn from our sin, and to accept His sacrificial gift. When we ask Him, He begins to redeem all that has been broken by sin and the curse in our lives. He is making all things new. It is so so beautiful.

Ok, now that I am inspired, I better get to writing. Go to Target, Red Deer! Toughen up, the States! Start serving almond milk, Starbucks! Thank Jesus for His goodness, everyone!



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!

Preparing for Passover

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!

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:

Your Reflection

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!

Gifts of Goodness

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.


Happy Purim!

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!