Monday, January 31, 2011

devotional thought: the rescuer

just something i've been thinking about the past few weeks as i meandered through exodus, leviticus, numbers, and deuteronomy. two separate but related ideas:

1) God rescues slaves: "therefore, say to the people of israel, 'i am the Lord. i will free you from your oppression and will rescue you from your slavery in egypt. i will redeem you with a powerful arm and great acts of judgment. i will claim you as my own people, and i will be your God. then you will know that i am the Lord your God who has freed you from your oppression in egypt.'" (exodus 6:6-7)


2) those slaves are his special treasure, his prized possession: "they are your own people. they are your special possession." (deuteronomy 9: 26)

these concepts are significant.


it's important to note that moses and the israelites did not just prance out of egypt. they were not capable of doing it alone. they needed a rescuer. sounds so similar to my life. yours?

from the beginning (remember all those relationships in genesis?), he had a plan of redemption for mankind (not just israel). i don't pretend to understand his ways, but the entire story is pretty awesome. in this particular case, he allowed joseph to be taken to egypt. joseph became a hotshot. as a result, all of joseph's (and therefore, all of jacob (aka israel)'s) family settled in egypt. and then they got busy (literally) and 'eventually a new king came to power in egypt who knew nothing about joseph or what he had the egyptians made the israelites their slaves.' (exodus 1: 8, 11)

so...because they were slaves, God chose to resuce them from back-breaking, joy-sucking slavery and promised them new life in an awesome home...a place that would be theirs. he did not have to do it. but he chose to because of his great love for them. he loves slaves. wrap your head around that--if you can. he says time and again that they are his special treasure and prized possession.

but why is all this important? how does it apply to us?

well, we are all slaves to someone or something. it looks a little different for each person, but we're all stuck. we need a rescuer. we cannot do it alone.

fortunately, God is in the business of rescuing slaves. in the old testament, he did it in egypt. in the new testament, he sent Christ. (yay!) so we have a way out of our slavery. we have a rescuer.

on top of that, he prizes us. even in our sin (slavery), he loves us. oh, how he loves us! he sacrificed his beloved son to be with us.


for me, the lesson is that, though i am a slave, he wants me. i am his. so i can live and walk in the truth that i am valued highly and loved deeply. that should change everything about the way i relate to people.

what's the lesson for you?

Friday, January 28, 2011

picture this: spider solitaire...the domination

for those who said it couldn't be done...
for those who doubted i had the patience...
for those who are surprised my computer never crashed in the middle of a game, thus ruining my streak...
for those who think it is not possible to beat every game...

i think 100 games is a large enough sample size to prove you wrong.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

my favorite...awesome idea involving food!

so i was craving the southwestern crab cake salad* from bluephies the other day, and sara and i started talking about places where we love to eat in madison, wisconsin. at times, it is both wonderful and terrible to work with someone who knows how fantastic madison truly is. wonderful because we came up with a super cool idea. terrible because it made me SO HUNGRY.

hungry like a wolf.

we decided that we need to roadtrip up this summer and EAT OUR WAY THROUGH MADISON! (you may clap and dance with glee at the brilliance of this idea.) instead of a bar crawl, we would do a restaurant crawl (potentially the same amount of vomit, just for different reasons). we could make t shirts, invite all the wisco people we like to join us, and eat some RIDICULOUSLY good food.

here are some places we thought of:

bluephies (duh)
harvest (
ella's (no, i haven't been, but sara says it's fun)

so...any other suggestions?

*i will love you forever if this shows up on my doorstep. although that will probably violates several health codes.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

why i am a writer: cause it's funny

i am a writer because writing silly stuff is amusing to me. and to others. and it's how people get theme songs.

sarah, the playful whale
(the sarah heck theme song)

(verse one)

sarah, the playful whale
bobbing through the ocean
splashing with her tail


she's sarah,
the playful whale
most playful animal
you'll ever see
friend to you and me
oh, sarah,
the playful whale

(verse two)

sarah, the playful whale
rides the waves with glee
swims throughout the sea

(verse three)

sarah, the playful whale
she's friends with all the fishies
her cheeks are so squishy

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

faith integration

there has been some discussion about faith integration when it comes to school. after all, shouldn't faith already be all-consuming in our lives? perhaps we should word it 'school integration in our faith.' i appreciate the difference in semantics--the first way sounds like we are making space for faith as opposed to it already being the dominant force in our lives.

but is faith the dominant force in your life? or in mine?

as someone who loves Jesus, i want it to be that way. it's what i'm striving for.

i don't think i'm there yet.

what about you?

Monday, January 24, 2011

backstreet's back

i know. i have been ABSENT for the past week. well, i am sick. so i decided to let myself take a break from blogging and not feel bad about it. i do so sincerely apologize if you had nothing else good to read. i'm several days into my medicine now, so i would like to believe i am on the upswing.

but i still have no voice. bronchitis is lame sauce.

since i blew off my 30 by 30 update on friday (hey, let's say i was celebrating my half birthday), here you are (and i am only writing about the things that have any actual updates):

1. (get my master's degree): second semester started. think it'll be good.

2. (pay off debt to my dad): he's another $100 richer. which means the debt is down to $2500. slowly but surely here.

4. (become a warrior): i registered. i am running/walking/crawling this sucker on september 17th at 10:30 am. i would love it if you wanted to come and cheer. or actually come and run. that would be sweet action, too.

11. (do a monthly cooking segment): i made this excellent meal on new year's eve for my parents. that makes it 2 meals down, 18 to go. i am open to meal suggestions. and meal eaters in my vicinity.

12. (plan a project reunion): ok, i haven't done any actual planning, but i thought maybe some of you would like to offer input. so throw out some suggestions for when (probably this summer or next), where (convenient to the most project people probably), and activities. i just might create a survey based on your suggestions and send it out to the project kids.

16. (finish my book): i wrote a chapter over break. but no, the book is nowhere close to being done.

29. (read 100 books): i am at 13 now. here are the six most recent books:

-the war of art
-the lost art of listening
-the hunger games
-catching fire
-first things first

so that's what i've got for you. i hope i'll be back to the regularly scheduled blogging tomorrow. thanks for letting me take the week off.

give me a challenge for the next month--make it something i can actually do within my lifestyle of school and work.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

sick days

i know i didn't post a devotional thought yesterday. and you're not getting a faith and school blog today. let's call them sick days. i'm working really hard at not getting sick. interpret that as me sleeping in and drinking enough tea to float warships. hopefully, the clouds will clear, and i will be able to deliver some award-winning blogs in the next few days. but today is not one of those days.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

new song: scars and tattoos

Scars and Tattoos

Scars remind me

Of the pain

Of my decisions

Of shifting blame


Too many sins to name

Too many sins to name

I could be buried

Under the weight

Of my shame

Too many sins to name


Tattoos remind me

Of your grace

Of being purchased

Of being claimed


Beloved is my name

Beloved is my name

Your Son was buried

Under the weight

Of my shame

Beloved is my name

this song is fresh off the press. i wrote the lyrics this afternoon and the music tonight. there's a story behind it, but you have to leave a comment to hear it.

do you have a tattoo? if so, what is it, where is it, and what does it mean to you?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

why i write

this morning, i read donald miller's post and suddenly felt insignificant...very small. he is a 'real' writer. so to even suggest i might have something to say about writing--the planned theme of my wednesday posts--seemed ridiculous.

and then i smacked myself in the face.

sometimes i need to be brought back to reality in a semi-violent fashion, you know? (i know you know...but i still like to ask.)


what i do matters. what i write matters. and the thing about it is that i can never predict how much it's going to matter to any one particular person.

but it matters most to me. cause if i don't write, everything gets stuck in me: i become trapped...unwell...emotionally constipated. so honestly, if it even ends up mattering to other people, that's gravy. (is gravy good for emotional constipation?)

what matters to you? what's something you have to do to feel whole (dare i say...normal?)?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

welcome back to school, wildcats

it's tuesday. that means i am talking about faith and school and their delicious intertwining. conveniently, it is also the first day of our semester here at iwu. sometimes i plan things like that, but this time, it was sheer coincidence. if you believe in that sort of thing.

does loving Jesus affect the way i approach school?

quick answer: yes. and no.

when i take the time to both contemplate my position in life and ruminate on the quality of my position in life and ruminate on the quality of my output--whether educational or creative or whatever--i truly desire to be honoring to God and a blessing to those around me. i want to commit significant time and energy to my [school]work: producing quality schtuff.

but i'll admit that it is challenging to maintain that dedication when i am slogging through the thousands of pages of reading material or fighting to stay engaged with my research paper at the end of a long, exhausting semester.

i love school. reading, writing, the whole shebang (anyone else hear william hung's voice singing, 'she-bang, she-bang'?). it's just ingrained in me. so i naturally want to be a good student. the problem is that i am also really lazy. i naturally want to just be uber mellow and do nothing all the time. those desires tend to war in me. go figure.

in many ways, this is just a glimpse of my heart toward life in general.


Monday, January 10, 2011

monday's devotional thought

i have been looking at relationships in the's a topic that i am curious there could be more devo thoughts on this subject in the future, but today will focus on some relationships in genesis.

these are 6 well-known pairs of people--at least they should be well-known if you have buzzed through this book at all. i'll highlight the couple and then share its male perspective on a segment of their relationship.

adam and eve: "at last!" gen 2:23
abraham and sarah: "they will spare my life and treat me well because of you." gen 12:13
isaac and rebekah: "he loved her deeply, and she was a special comfort to him." gen 24:67
jacob and leah: "God saw that leah was unloved." gen 29:31
jacob and rachel: "his love for her was so strong that [7 years] seemed to him but a few days." gen 29:20
judah and tamar: "she is more righteous than i am." gen 38:26

here are some things i noticed: there is a lot of love here; aside from jacob and leah (the wife he was tricked into marrying) and judah and tamar (his widowed daughter-in-law), these men love their women. but what else? a lot of sin. every single couple makes terrible decisions. briefly:

adam and eve: pretty famous fall of mankind--heard of it?
abraham and sarah: he called her his sister twice so he wouldn't get killed; she laughed at God's promise; neither of them is noted for their hospitality toward hagar (abe's first baby mama).
isaac and rebekah: he pulled the 'my wife is my sister' stunt like his father; she helped jacob deceive isaac to gain esau's blessing.
jacob and leah: the big trickster got played by his father-in-law to marry her; she used sex and having kids as weapons; he didn't love her.
jacob and rachel: she pimped jacob out for some of leah's mandrakes; she lied to her father about his household idols.
judah and tamar: what a story--read it if you have time (genesis 38)! he withheld his third son from her after his first two died; she dressed as a prostitute to trick him into sleeping with her so she'd get pregnant.

genesis is like soap opera central!!

but more than the love and sin within the relationships, the biggest thing i noticed is that God cared deeply about each person.

a) each of these people (except rachel) made it into matthew or luke's geneology of Christ.
b) God had a plan and purpose for each of them all along.

God is all about showing up and redeeming life:

adam and eve: he came looking for them!
abraham and sarah: he followed through on his promises despite impatience, deceit, and disbelief.
isaac and rebekah: rebekah had a small vision and simply wanted isaac to bless jacob. God had a big vision and wanted to bless a nation.
jacob and leah: God saw leah was unloved and blessed her with children. the lineage of Christ comes through her, not rachel.
jacob and rachel: although rachel isn't in the lineage of Christ, her son saved the small nation of israel AND got a whole musical written about him (go go go, joe!).
judah and tamar: anyone else think it's ironic that when his daughter-in-law tricked judah into sleeping with and impregnating her, he called tamar righteous? that awkward one night stand put her on the big time list straight to Christ, though. that's some almighty orchestration.

so here are some things i believe are true about relationships:

1) every single one has sin in it.
  • you can see your nakedness and hide (adam and eve) OR
  • you can call the sin what it is, deal with the consequences, and then make an honorable decision (judah and tamar)
2) God sees all the details of the relationship. and he happens to care about them!

3) God has purpose in each relationship.

4) God can redeem each relationship.

i happen to find all those things pretty hopeful. how about you?

which of these genesis couples do you relate with most closely? why?

Friday, January 7, 2011

picture this: spider solitaire

i am decent at four-suited spider solitaire, but i am usually too adhd to put a lot of effort into it. but i often make the claim that it is possible to beat every game, so i decided to put that theory to test. on average, when i just play at my normal quick speed, i have about a 17% win rate. meaning...if i can't beat it within the first ten minutes of working at it, i am done and moving on to the next game. but putting my money where my mouth is, i have invested the time and patience to beat each game. you'll notice my most recent game took me 4,351 moves to beat. but i hope that you also notice after 10 games, my win rate is 100%. not an easy task, i'll tell you that.

i don't have this kind of free time at school, so i doubt you'll be seeing anything this amazing for a while. feel free to sit and bask in the awesomeness while it lasts.

happy friday, world.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

2011: the year of writing

so here are the goals i have for writing this year:
  • i am going to write every day
    • with purpose
    • with passion
    • even when i am sick
    • even when i am tired
    • even when school stuff is due
  • i am going to blog [at least] five times a week:

    • on a schedule
    • with direction
    • for a broader audience than the people i know currently subscribe

  • i am going to write at least one chapter of my book each month.

  • i am going to publish my writing.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

my writer's credo

"our job in this lifetime is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it."
steven pressfield, the war of art

i am a writer. i am thankful and blessed that God has made me this way. he has given me a creative outlet to express all the deep, secret, and sacred things i feel in this life. each day, i will acknowledge this gift and use it to the best of my ability. i will not waste what he has given me, and i will strive to glorify him with every word i produce. i am a writer. i am built to bring voice to hidden and holy things. my calling is greater than just to exist. i am a bearer of divine expression. i give shape to formless dreams and ideas, craft something tangible out of simple hope and wonder, and speak for the voiceless. i am a writer for the Father's honor and glory.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

my 2010 reading list

some of you like to know the things i read. if you don't, you should probably just skip over this post. i'll bold some of the books i really loved. let me know if you would like to know any of the authors. also, every book that has an exclamation mark was part of one of two series i read, just in case you were wondering.

the shack

confessions of a shopaholic
all creatures great and small
what the bible says about healthy living

all things bright and beautiful
all things wise and wonderful
the Lord God made them all
the adventures of johnny bunko

the search for significance

new mexico!
the papa prayer
the historian

a million miles in a thousand years


naturally supernatural
eat, pray, love
it's not easy being green
practical magic

understanding people
the developing person

stuff christians like
follow me to freedom
hidden worldviews

living faith

interviewing in action
theory and practice of counseling and psycotherapy
66 love letters
gazelles, baby steps, and 37 other things dave ramsey taught me about debt
the christian college
the history of higher education
press play
the war of art

the master schedule

in an effort to be more diligent with my blogging and writing, i made a schedule. i think this will help me commit to creating quality posts for you; i also think it will allow me to work within a framework--in other words, if i have an idea about the types of things i will be writing, my brain will automatically shift to think in those terms.

you should know i am striving to give myself the kind of grace i give to others--so i will tell you right now that i doubt i will do this schedule perfectly, but i will make every effort to not allow failures to keep me down.

mondays: devotional thought. my hope is that i will have learned and processed things over the previous week (and weekend, when i don't plan on doing scheduled blogging) that i can formulate into something that is both personal to me and thought-provoking for you. we'll see. :)

tuesdays: faith and school. sometimes i will be talking about how my faith fits into my schooling process (or has in times in the past), but sometimes i will be talking more generally. faith integration is just as important in the small christian environment as it is in large public schools, so i think it will be an interesting topic that is broadly applicable.

wednesdays: why i am a writer. this might be a little abstract some weeks, but i just want to share general thoughts about writing, etc. i'll talk about books, people, and things that inspire me.

thursdays: my favorite feature. this should be one of the more chill days of the week. i'm going to pick something that i love in the world and explain why.

fridays: picture this. i'll do some photoblogging for you. with my own pictures, theoretically. i mean, i have a camera for that reason, right? ;)

special days:

30 by 30: on the 21st of every month, you'll be getting my update rather than the featured segment for the day. until i'm 30, that is.

monthly cooking segment: as close as possible to the day that i make the meal, i will post the pictures and recipe (if i feel like sharing it...if i don't, you might have to make a special request).

cast of characters: i know that last semester, i only did one of these...certain people around town are kind of surly and unwilling to be featured. but i will get on that for you and try to post a few more.

poem, song, and chapter updates: these will probably be little bonus announcements rather than replacing the designated days, but it depends on my workload.

just because i am getting more serious about writing does not necessarily mean my writing will get more serious. i'll try to maintain that charm and humor you know and love. :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

new year, new energy?

as promised, i will be making some changes to the blog this year. this week, i will kind of outline what it's going to look like--the posts will help clarify some of what i have been processing and illustrate the direction i am heading (with life, with the blog...).

last year, my personal focus was on being less complacent about life. i think i did pretty well (with some obvious epic fails scattered throughout)--i grabbed hold of opportunities; i had challenging conversations with people; i made some big life decisions. so taking that a [pretty scary] step forward, my personal focus this year is to be more intentional. i want to apply that focus to everything, but my writing and what i am doing with it are a huge part of it. you'll hear more about that later in the week.

so why a new blog style?

  • it will be action-oriented. i need things to work toward; i need specific guidelines and deadlines in order to be most productive and efficient.
  • i am lazy. i am not naturally self-motivated at all. this new style will kick my butt.
  • this will challenge me creatively, and that is a very good thing.
  • this is a year where i am going to [finally] get serious about my writing. (please hold the applause. your shared joy is enough for me.)
  • i want to continue to be vulnerable and share more of my world and heart. sometimes i forget that not everyone actually knows what i am doing with my days; my hope is that you will have a better feel for that as the weeks and months go by.
here's a preview of the week to come:

tuesday: my new blogging schedule
wednesday: my writer's credo
thursday: my goals for writing in general as well as writing on the blog
friday: capture the moment

i'd love your feedback as the week goes on (and further in the future, of course).

btw, i don't think i mentioned it, but i posted another chapter(ish) of my book.

walking through

my computer has been giving me fits lately (surprise, surprise), so we'll see if this goes as planned...but i am going to drop two posts on you today. kapow. see if you can handle it.

i posted a new song. well, it's not really new. i wrote it three weeks ago for my final exam in theories and techniques of the helping relationship. i know...grad school is fun, right? ha. i wish my whole exam had been to just write a song. alas, that was not the case. anyway, for one of the questions, we were supposed to use our creative juices or energy or something to depict ourselves in the helping we could draw a picture, write a poem, or whatever. i wrote a song. and then i played and sang it to my freshmen, because they are the ones who inspired it.

so go check it out.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

the monthly cooking segment

it appears i started a new tradition last year.

as some of you are aware, i made it a goal to cook a real meal for other people once a month during my 27th year of life. so my meal for december 2009 was for my parents and younger sister.

since i am kind of lame and didn't make any effort to have a social life last night, i rang in the new year with my parents again. so i fixed the same meal.

the meal: corned beef, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, onions, and beets...with a side of sweet and sour tossed salad (iceberg, romaine, spinach, red onion, and mandarin oranges with a homemade dressing).

it turned out well. :)

i also posted a new poem.

stay tuned next week for the big announcements about my plans for the blog, the new year, etc.