Well, hello!

My apartment is freezing. As in, my fingers are cold while typing this. The things I do for you guys, typing and what-not so you can read a bunch of nonsense each day. Also, I suppose I could go turn the heat up. But the thermostat is way over there, and I am way over here. See.

Umm, I just spent way too long creating that arrow. Good use of time. Who needs to pass classes when there are arrows to insert into pictures?

So, I was planning to go to Denver’s Parade of Lights on Saturday. The parade is a bunch of floats all done up in Christmas lights and cheer and festiveness. It’s in downtown Denver, and it’s pretty fun. But then Saturday was so snowy and cold, and my sweatpants were so cozy and warm. So I stayed in with my fireplace instead. It was a good choice.

The Vikings and Broncos played yesterday. I felt very conflicted and stressed. My loyal heart cheered for the Vikings, but my logical brain wanted to cheer for the team I knew would win in the end. I was actually impressed with the Vikes for doing as well as they did. Get Christian Ponder some protection, and convince Allen to get his defense in check and you’ve got a real live NFL football team!

So, it’s Advent, you guys! Advent is about waiting for Christ’s coming. We get to look forward to celebrating his birth later this month, and we joyfully anticipate his return. Woo hoo! My pastor talked about Isaiah 40 yesterday at church, and it killed me. In a good way. You should take a second to read that chapter. It’s beautiful.

He talked about how God is great and mighty — he has created all things and calls the stars out by name each night. By name. That is a lot of of names. But God is also compassionate — Isaiah 40 says he brings comfort to his people, that our way is not hidden from him, that when we grow weary, he does not. How encouraging. Our God has got it all. It’s such a sweet reminder in the midst of life — whether your life is exciting, mundane, disappointing or filled with hope. I like it.

OK, have a good Monday — two more weeks left in this semester! It’s crunch time. The whining is about to get out of control, y’all, so please prepare yourselves. See you tomorrow!

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All Your Very

November 15, 2011

Y’all.

I am exhausted. I was at school yesterday for twelve hours, working on a paper in which I had to do Greek word studies.

Umm, I don’t know any Greek.

Not knowing Greek makes Greek word studies less than enjoyable. And by “less than enjoyable,” I mean “worse than Satan’s breath after he wakes up and drinks a cup of coffee while munching Doritos.” I’m writing a paper on 1 Peter 3:1-7 and I’m supposed to get a bunch of opinions and then form my own about what Peter was talking about in relation to wives and submission and whether or not to wear weave and gold bling. I may blog about my findings at some point, but right now I will punch you if you talk to me about 1 Peter and its Greek. My head is tired.

OK, let’s be happy now.

Talking about Minnesota sports should make us happy, right? … No? Not so much?

Well, here is something lovely. Thanksgiving is next week! That means 1) a week off of school, 2) time with friends, 3) no school, 4) cornbread stuffing, 5) a break from classes, 6) cheap seasons of Friends at Target’s Black Friday sale, and 7) school is for suckers.

I love Kendi Everyday and her awesome style. But I have to admit that I was not a fan of her pleather pants last week. She looked cute in them because she’s so skinny, but all I could think of was when Ross wore those leather pants on Friends. The lotion and the powder made a paste, you guys.

So my small group has been discussing prayer lately. It’s something I want to be so natural in my heart — to turn to God for everything, to thank him right away, to petition him with my needs, to share with him like I do with my friends.

The Jewish people start and end each day by praying the Shema — Deuteronomy 6:4-9. These verses remind us to love God with all that we are, with everything that is in us. His commands are to be on our hearts; God’s words are to be so natural to us that we talk about them at home and on the road. They are the first things we think about when we wake up and the last thing to cross our mind when we lie down.

The Shema says to love God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. In the Hebrew, the word that we translate “strength” is actually “meod.” In Hebrew it means “very” or “muchness” or “abundance.” God wants us to love him with all our very, all our muchness, all our abundance. Every. All.

That is my prayer — the Shema. That loving God with all of me would be my biggest desire. That turning to the Lord wherever I am, whatever time of day, would be my first instinct. With all my heart, with all my soul, with all my very.

Isn’t Hebrew so much better than Greek? That’s right, Peter!

OK, I best be going, Pea Pods. (That is apparently my new nickname for you.)

Have a good day and love with very muchness!

 

 

Shade

October 27, 2011

Oh, hello.

I’m just here in Colorado — you know, where it is the dead of winter.

I am originally from Minnesota, so I can handle tragedies like early snowfall. (I cannot handle tragedies like the Vikings 2011 season, however.) But a snowstorm I can take in stride, you guys. Don’t even worry about me. Especially since it’s Colorado so it is likely to be 95 degrees again by the weekend.

So I’m learning Hebrew, you know. Sometimes it’s kind of hard. But mostly it’s very awesome. Hebrew is a very physical language — the word for “anger” has its root in the word for “nose.” Because when you’re angry, you flare your nostrils, you see. So we know that “Yahweh is gracious and compassionate, slow to flare his nostrils and rich in love” (Psalm 145:8, Denise’s Third Semester Hebrew Version).

Hebrew is a very physical language, and the Jews are a very physical people. When Ray Vander Laan is teaching, he often has people close their eyes and call out words that describe who God is. When he is here in America, with people like you and me, he gets answers like “omnipotent, holy, omnipresent, good, love, infinite and transcendent.” These things are all very true of who God is. But, he says, if you were to ask that same question of a group of Orthodox teenagers in Israel — if you were to ask them to describe who God is, they would say things like, “rock, shepherd, shade, eagles wings, and a father who taught his children to walk.

I think the way the Scripture describes God is very meaningful. When I’m driving on the highway and I look over at the mountains, I can remember that God is a rock, upright and just. When my friends have babies and I see them holding on to the fingers of their sons and daughters as they attempt to move chubby little feet, one in front of the other, I can be reminded that God guides our steps, teaches us to walk in his ways.

I hiked the Grand Canyon with friends once. It made me very whiny. The trip down was wonderful. It was still morning and it was cool out, and the view was incredible. At the bottom we splashed in the icy river and ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Then it was time to hike back up.

It was the middle of May; by the time we were halfway back up the canyon it was 94 degrees. The switchbacks were endless. My friends kept telling me we were “getting there,” but they were cruel liars. We would never be to the top. I would die in that canyon — hot and dusty with blisters on my feet. Tragic.

Every mile or two on the trail there was a little stone shelter, built for the fools who were dumb enough to be trying to hike their way out of that canyon of death. I would see the shelter in the distance, nine million switchbacks away, and I would put one foot in front of the other, trying to make it there. When I’d arrive, I would plop down, so grateful to be shaded — for just a few minutes — from the blazing Arizona sun.

I wish, when I did that hike, when I finally found shade and sighed with relief in those shelters, that I had remembered that the psalmist tells me that “Yahweh watches over you — Yahweh is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.”

That is what the Bible can do for you. We can remember God in the things we see every day. He has given us these images in his word as reminders of who he is and what he does. It’s a beautiful thing.

Have a wonderful day, friends. May God be your strength and your shield.

p.s. Make sure you enter the drawing for the great prize package! And find me on Twitter!

That Torah Shuffle

October 21, 2011

Someday I would like to be skinny. But today I met my friends Kristy and Ashley for breakfast and I ate eggs benedict with corned beef hash and hollandaise sauce. So today will not be that day.

Also, I really like this quote. Don’t you?

“When I’m 80 years old and sitting in my rocking chair, I’ll be reading Harry Potter. And my family will say to me, ‘After all this time?’ And I will say, ‘Always.'” — Alan Rickman

Oh, Snape. Always.

So, today is Simchat Torah (rejoicing in the Torah). The synagogues follow a weekly reading schedule with portions of the Torah (the first five books of the Bible). Today ends the cycle — this past year, the Jewish community has read Genesis through Deuteronomy together. Simchat Torah is a holiday in which the last chapter of Deuteronomy is read and then the Torah reading immediately starts over with a reading from the first chapter of Genesis.

Simchat Torah is an extremely joyful holiday — God has given us his word, and we rejoice in it. In the synagogues, the people come up and recite blessings over the word of God, and then people grab the Torah scrolls and dance and sing together. The Jewish people have a joy and appreciation for the Bible that most of us have never experienced. They rejoice in the fact that God has revealed himself through his word — they literally dance and sing as they carry his word in their hands, close to their hearts. Can you imagine if we evangelicals started to dance and sing, while holding our Bibles? We’d probably be kicked out of church; we’d certainly be frowned at. But the Psalmist reminds us that God’s word is sweeter than honey, it’s our light, our heritage, the joy of our hearts. God and his word are worth cutting a rug.

These people love God’s word.

Well, it’s Friday, and you know what that means. Work and going to bed as early as possible. I hope you have a lovely times weekend (I suggest not watching the Vikings play any “football” in order to keep your weekend as joyful as possible).

Joves!

FRIENDS.

I wanted to have a bright, fresh post for you on Monday morning, but I was too busy fighting off the purple and gold waves of depression that consumed me on Sunday night. My Vikings had a HEARTBREAKING overtime loss, and so I sobbed myself to sleep  on Sunday as I wrote hate letters to the New Orleans Saints. It has taken me days to recover. But at least I wasn’t quite as upset as this guy.

Honestly, I was not surprised by this loss. Any Vikings fan knows that the team will do well up until the game that counts. NFC championship game? Sure, why not?! Superbowl? Now, why would we want to go there?

I will say that the Vikings defense did a great job of slowing down the New Orleans offense. It was all of our offensive fumbles and that last-minute-just-for-fun interception that did us in. But oh well. I’m not mad. It was a fun season, and overall, I think it made me more Christ-like as I learned to love my enemy, Brett Favre.

Anyhoo. I started class up at Den Sem Monday night. I think I’m going to like it — the professor made me laugh out loud at least three times, which is always an excellent sign. Oh, and also, the Bible stuff looks interesting too.

There is something happening next Tuesday that I’m not going to go into detail about right now because the excitement might actually kill me. I’m trying to pace myself so that my level of anticipation doesn’t cause me to have a nerd attack. All I’ll say right now is this: “Ille qui nos omnes servabit.” Like I said — nerd attack.

Here is a thing that is fascinating to me. When poor Job from the Bible found out that he had lost his children, all of his property, and his wealth, he fell down on the ground and worshipped God. Probably not because he wanted to, or because he felt all in love with God, or because he understood what was going on. But he chose to worship the Lord in spite of his circumstances. He tore his clothes in anguish, and he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”

Wow.

OK, I best be going. It’s been a tough week or so, folks. My Ezekiel passed away, my Vikings lost, and it seems as though everyone has forgotten to buy me those red shoes. Depressing. But, I am going to perk on up because A) I’m awesome and can’t nobody hold me down and B) Refer back to A.

Hope your Wednesday is fantabulous!

Updatey Times

January 19, 2010

Hello, my sweet dears.

I hope everyone is keeping up on all of their New Jear’s Resolutions. I have resolved to become even more awesome this year, which may seem impossible, but where there’s a will, there’s a way.

So, here is some sad news. Jaci, my kindred from the race of Joseph has abandoned me and run off to Austin to live with cowboys and big-haired people. Also, she got engaged and figured she should live near her soon-to-be-husband. Fine. Whatever.

So my heart is sad that Jaci is gone. But my heart is happy that she is engaged and especially that she is getting married on the 4th of July and will be having a Star Spangled Wedding! Jaci keeps pretending that she’s not OK with our suggestion that her wedding colors be red, white and blue, but we know that she is SO excited by all the ideas we keep sending her. Like this one. And also, this.

And best of all — this.

It’s going to be such a great wedding!

But Sarena and I did gain a great new roommate in our new friend, Jenn! She is super fun and cool, and also an extreme cheat when it comes to card games. Just saying. You probably don’t want to play against her.

So, remember how I hated Brett Favre last August? Yeah, me neither. I have blocked all of those comments about his old man shoulder from my memory, because he has become my favorite ever in the history of the world! The Vikings will be playing New Orleans in the NFC championship this weekend. It’ll be a tough game. I will probably spend most of it screaming and trying not to swear at the TV. Also, I will spend it eating a lot of Pioneer Woman snacks. You know, to support my team… SKOL, Vikings!

My friend, Rebekah, introduced me to this video. It gets a little off-color at the end, but you know what, the system doesn’t own me! Happy Birthday to the ground!

Speaking of NBC, how rude!! I am so with Coco.

So, my next few lessons that I’m writing for the curriculum I’m working on, have to do with Job’s story. I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m always fascinated by his situation. God allows Job to suffer, and He really never answers any of his questions. It’s just the way it is. I’m excited to go a bit deeper into these passages–I’m sure I’ll be reporting on it here with all of my many opinionated opinions. Look forward to that.

Speaking of suffering, if you haven’t yet, please donate to an organization that is providing relief to Haiti. I recommend Compassion International or World Vision. Also, check out Halogen TV for lots of updates about what you can be doing to help the people of Haiti. I wrote this article for them about products you can buy to help support the earthquake relief efforts. Also, Dan Woolley, the Compassion International worker who was finally found and rescued from an elevator shaft, used to work here at David C. Cook. Many of my co-workers know him, so it was quite tense around here until he was found. Continue to pray for David Hames, a Colorado Springs man who is still missing in Haiti.

OK, I gots to go. I am thinking I should do another fashion faux pas post again soon, because let’s face it, I continue to buy some ugly stuff.

Have a great day!

Minnesota Bound

August 19, 2009

Why has no one reminded me that I’m going to Minnesota tomorrow night?! There is laundry to be done, snacks to be eaten, freelancing to finish, seminary books to be ordered, Harry Potter to be read, more snacks to be eaten, and naps to be taken — all before tomorrow! I have a busy evening ahead of me.

So yes, I am going home to the land of 10,000 mosquitoes to visit my dear old daddy-o this weekend. Charles in Charge, as we like to call him, has apparently made a ton of plans without first consulting me. This is why he’s in charge, I suppose. I am most excited to go on a bike ride on the trails that take you around the lakes in Minneapolis. I like bike rides. And lakes.

I am sure we will be eating many weird foods as well. My dad prides himself on scorning restaurant chains (every time I tell him I went out to eat he has to haughtily ask if I ate at somewhere like Applebees, and then I have to scoff and laugh at the preposterousness of that question, and then shamefully reply, “yes.”) Dad has already informed me that we have a reservation for Dim Sum on Sunday. You see, Charles also thinks that he is Chinese. He is even a black belt in Kung Fu! When I was little, he taught my brother and me Tai Chi moves and also how to use chopsticks. And we watched a lot of Karate Kid. As you can tell, we are going to have fun times all around.dadandme

I like my dad lots. We like to chat about stuff, and since we are similarly stubborn (I get it from him—it’s all his fault), we usually end up having good conversations and challenging one another. He’s a good one — I miss getting to see him all the time.

I am not looking forward to going home and seeing purple Brett Favre jerseys. BOO! Vikings fans have spent years cheering against Brett Favre, so I really don’t see why we’d want to start cheering for him for one crappy, broken-shouldered year. Also, seriously, Wisconsin, you should feel pretty cheated on. Favre has been rude to you.

All right, let’s get serious for a minute here. I need to take a moment to say a formal goodbye to a dear friend before I leave on this trip:

Dearest Internets,
Goodbye, sweet friend. I will miss you so very much this weekend, but I will see you as soon as I get back. You know that it is too heart-wrenchingly painful for me to try to contact you when I am in Minneapolis. Having to try to reach you through a series of beeps and screeches and disconnections on my dad’s wretchedly old computer is just too, too, too hard on our relationship. It makes me angry with you, even when I know it’s not your fault! If we have anyone to blame, it’s Charles who still believes that “dial-up” and “Juno Internet Service” are politically correct terms. I’ve tried to explain that those words are hurtful to you and remind you of your slow and painful past, but he just doesn’t understand.

Anyway, please know that my heart is yours and I will return as soon as I can reach you without having to wait 83 years for you to load my homepage.

01001100 01001111 01010110 01000101,
Denise

OK, that was difficult. Let me dry my eyes. I should be going — so much laundry to do. I hope everyone is doing wonderfully and experiencing a sunshiney, glittery day. Bye, friendsies!