Saturday, 8 December 2007

Housewifery and Basketball

Some days I feel much more like a housewife than others.

Last Monday night was certainly not a housewife night. For those of you who had not heard, I reffed my first basketball games Monday night! Both games were seventh grade girls, and they were highly entertaining in a boring game sort of way. *grin* I remember playing ball in seventh grade; we were quite clumsy and unsure of ourselves and these girls were no different. As a referee I had to choose which violations to call, because if we had called every last violation and foul each game could have lasted four hours! In the end I think we did a good job of keeping the game clean enough to be safe and fair, but still allowing the girls to play, learn and have fun. I certainly learned a lot Monday night, and I have a long way to go before I will be a great ref. I had two more games this week (both 8th grade girls) and will have three next week - including my first high school game! The extra income will be greatly appreciated, and I enjoy the job so far! I will be traveling all over Lane County, visiting all sorts of schools and interacting with lots of kids. Hopefully sometime in the near future I will get a picture posted of me in my ref uniform. I've even got the cheesy black ref tennis shoes!

More on point...

Tuesday and Thursday nights Tim works until 10:00 at night and our schedules clash so we don't see each other between our scheduled work times. In an effort to keep myself busy and retain my sanity, some nights I clean while Tim is gone and my friends are busy with their jobs or homework. Keeping myself busy helps me to forget that there are no people around to enjoy, while cleaning sooths my obsessive compulsive neat freak tendencies.

Last Tuesday was one of those evenings that made me feel especially housewife-ish.

In truth, last week's housewife trend began on Sunday when I put up all the Christmas decorations my mom had so thoughtfully delivered to me over Thanksgiving! I played parts of Handel's Messiah and A Charlie Brown Christmas, two holiday classics, while setting up and decorating my little imitation Christmas tree. Miniature white lights and all of the angel ornaments my mom gave to me throughout my childhood Christmases set the mood in our living room for the Christmas season. Tim even joined in and helped me put white rope lights up at the top of our living room walls for that especially cozy Christmas feeling.

This homemaker feeling must have carried over into my usual Tuesday evening housewifery. I spent the whole evening half-watching HGTV while vacuuming every last speck of dirt from our carpeted floors, making four trips to the laundromat in our complex to do all our laundry, ironing each wrinkled item I had just washed, sweeping, mopping, and cleaning up the mess from Christmas decorations. I don't know how moms with full-time jobs (or even without one), bigger houses, and kids get everything done!

Here's to you mothers of the world!

And now I'm putting together our Christmas card/letter to send to family and friends. This strikes me as a very married thing to do. When I asked my friends for their new addresses, some of them took the opportunity to mock me for doing such a "married person" activity. It's all in good fun, of course, but it's also very true!

Life certainly has changed over the last six months for Tim and I. And my perceptions of the world have changed ... part of me is a housewife, and part of me sees the world that way. Next week the businesswoman part of me will need to kick in as I travel to Georgia for a company Christmas party during which time I will meet all my coworkers from our headquarters in Newnan.

I've always liked my life to be random and varied - it keeps me from getting bored. The varying activities of recent months - from homemaking to officiating basketball games - have certainly not allowed me time for boredom!

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Make Something Day!

Check this out - and do something constructive rather that destructive on the day after Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Conspiracy Continued

I realized after my post yesterday that I didn't include any of my very practical ideas for how Tim and I are going to do a "Conspiracy Christmas" and change the world singlehandedly in one worshipful holiday season! Coincidentally (or not so coincidentally) my mom asked for our Christmas "wish lists" with items between $5 and $50 yesterday (Aren't my parents great - not spending too much and keeping a budget so as not to loose the meaning of Christmas!? Neil, they're right up your ally). What a perfect opportunity to make up a list of great world-conscious gifts that bring Christ back into Advent.

Here is the list I sent her:
A donation to the World Vision Child Soldiers Fund to help get children out of their forced soldiering and back to childhood.

A portion of a World Vision deep well to deliver clean water to people who do not have access to it and die from water-born illnesses in mass numbers daily.

Any of the Ten Thousand Villages nativities but especially the Nepal Knotcraft or Manos Amigas Peru ones. Any Ten Thousand Villages purchase is fair trade and helps the artisan who personally produces hand-made products for a living.

A Ten Thousand Villages piece of jewelry or accessories (for the home or person). I particularly like this purse.

The Mennonite Central Committee "Where needed most" fund to help the MCC make a difference in the most desperate situations this Christmas season.

Anything from Invisible Children which will not only help child soldiers get back to childhood, but will help spread the word with apparel and bracelets.

Anything from The ONE campaign to help make poverty history, and again, spread the word.

Amber also suggested which is another great option that fits right into the Conspiracy.

A few reasons why I like these options:
- Each one either produces a tangible, hand made and fair trade gift to give someone, a card that explains what you have given to someone else in need, or a useful tool to spread the word to others about world needs.

- They help us to think beyond ourselves to the very real needs of others.

- They are trustworthy organizations where donated money goes to great uses.

- They have websites that make it easy for anyone anywhere to take part - you don't have to live in a metropolitan area to become a part of this Conspiracy.

So, with these easy and tangible options and creative ones of your own, I encourage you to re-think Advent - the Coming of Christ - and really help Christ "arrive" for others in the form of much needed aid. We can also rethink the other gifts we give to each other - giving relationally, rather than giving "stuff". I promise it will help each of us feel like our Christmas is full of Christ this year.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Church Shopping and Advent Conspiracy

In the past few months Tim and I have been “church shopping” – my term for trying to find a church home. It has been quite a struggle, and one that has really frustrated us at different points in the process. Just when we think we like a church, something really big about their mission or methodology makes it difficult for us to continue attending. There have been several Sunday mornings we've been unable to muster the desire to try out a new church only to be disappointed, or the desire to attend a church with which we have already become disenchanted.
What we seek seems simple, really, but apparently our “demands” are not as simple and attainable as we had thought. We seek a church that desires to incarnate the mission of Christ – not just the spiritual mission of ‘saving souls’, but the very personal earthly mission of saving people from their earthly hell (of poverty, homelessness, alcoholism, broken heartedness, hunger etc.) as well. We seek a church that is not ingrown – not solely focused inwardly – but aims to enter the community and world helping people on every level. Our ideal church would accept people of all walks of life, would be a family for everyone who walks in the door, would not be judgmental but rather genuinely loving and caring. We seek a church similar to my home church back in Weston – a truly welcoming community full of people who don’t expect to only help people who come through the church doors, but actually go out to people where they are and walk alongside them as friends.

Until last week Tim and I were very discouraged about our church search. Last week we attended Norkenzie Christian Church where the pastor preached on Advent Conspiracy. The idea of changing how we celebrate Christmas, intentionally focusing on compassion rather than consumption, has been on my mind and nagging at my heart for a while now. My family has never been extravagant in their celebration of Advent, for which I am very thankful. This Christmas season Tim and I are hoping to make Christmas even more about the least of these for whom Christ entered the world and who still lack life essentials such as clean water, food, a roof over their heads, access to education, medical care, and the means to provide for themselves.

As we have all noticed, Christmas seems to come earlier every year. Of course, it doesn’t actually come any earlier than the year before; we always celebrate Christmas on December 25th and the year hasn’t lost any days recently. But two weeks ago the stores in our area were already completely decked out for the Christmas season - three weeks before Thanksgiving! Is our economy so desperate for holiday extravagance that we have to encourage people to spend crazy amounts of money for two months rather than the customary one? What would happen if instead of spending our usual amounts of holiday cash in stores on gifts that will not last much beyond the holidays, we spent our Christmas cash on those who are in need of life essentials? Giving that bit of help to people who are in need can change their lives. And choosing to give relational gifts to our family and friends rather than the typical items off the sale rack will mean more to everyone involved - and may just bring the Christ back into Christmas.

As we approach Thanksgiving, and the “black Friday” following it, now is the perfect time to reconsider the ways we celebrate the coming of Christ. There is still hope for the least of these if we choose to incarnate Christ’s mission today – by not giving in to the consumerism that our culture has adopted and will be pushing down our throats in all sorts of ways this season - but rather choosing to give to others in the Spirit of Christ’s mission. And there is still hope for Tim and I to find a church home here in Eugene – if Norkenzie Christian Church is truly the community of Christ seekers it seems to be!

Monday, 12 November 2007

What's New??

It's been a while since I've posted, eh? Ok, then. I suppose it's time for an update on life in Eugene.
Recently Tim asked me if I would like to help coach a youth volleyball team. It seems that a woman in his Anatomy and Physiology class is coaching her daughter's volleyball team and she needs an assistant. As I have been trying to find volunteer activities to fill my time, and have been missing volleyball quite a bit as of late, I jumped at the opportunity! So, tomorrow evening I will embark on my first coaching experience. I'll let you know how that goes...

Craigslist has come through for me, yet again! I have not been terribly happy at my job so I've been seeking a new one. Two of them jumped out at me when I searched one day. One is an investigator for the Public Defender Services of Lane County, Inc. This job would entail contacting witnesses and victims of crimes, taking statements, collecting some types of evidence, photographing crime scenes etc. I'm definitely applying for that one - though I have no idea whether I will even be seriously considered. At least in that job I would feel like I was making a difference in people's lives.

The second job I found on craigslist was high school Basketball Officiating! Referees get paid up to $50 or $60 per game plus $1 per mile they drive to and from games! And if you think about it, games are only an hour or two - so that's somewhere between $25 and $60 per hour! I went to the first meeting last night and began training. There is certainly a lot to learn! There are only two rookie females so I am very much in the minority, but I don't mind. I'll just have to prove myself. With my current job, I get off work early enough that I could ref games almost every night of the week if I wanted to. The extra income should help a lot, I'll get good exercise, and I will stay connected to a sport I love. Plus the group of veteran and rookie refs seems to be pretty enjoyable overall. This could be the beginning of a great lifelong activity.

Craigslist also came through for me with selling my computer last week. Tim and I recently bought a MacBook (still can't believe that my Mac-hater husband converted), and we are selling our laptops. I successfully sold mine and am working on selling his. If all goes well, we will recoup almost the full price of the MacBook by reselling our old laptops - thus ridding our apartment of the two unnecessary laptops, simplifying life and chipping into our pocket books. Oh, and I'm also trying to sell my brother's 1959 Chevy restored pickup on craigslist. We'll see how that goes. Anyone wanna buy it for $10,000??? :)

Aside from these new involvements and happenings, I had a fantastic weekend. I got to visit Caris and Maile in Portland Friday night and most of Saturday, during which time we went to see Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix, had two GREAT meals, strolled around the Saturday Market in the sun, rode the Max, drank Starbucks hot cocoa, and watched "A Mighty Heart". Then Tim and I watched Kim in the Three Penny Opera Saturday night and spent most of yesterday at home cleaning, making cinnamon rolls, napping, reading "The Story We Find Ourselves In" and watching "Children of Men". Overall, quite a good weekend!

Monday, 29 October 2007

What a JOKE!

This is another e-mail I recently received... I had to laugh at its conclusion!

1. The Garden of Eden was in Iraq.

2. Mesopotamia, which is now Iraq, was the cradle of civilization!

3. Noah built the ark in Iraq.

4. The Tower of Babel was in Iraq.

5. Abraham was from Ur, which is in Southern Iraq!

6. Isaac's wife Rebekah is from Nahor, which is in Iraq!

7. Jacob met Rachel in Iraq.

8. Jonah preached in Nineveh - which is in Iraq.

9. Assyria, which is in Iraq, conquered the ten tribes of Israel.

10. Amos cried out in Iraq!

11. Babylon, which is in Iraq, destroyed Jerusalem.

12. Daniel was in the lion's den in Iraq!

13. The three Hebrew children were in the fire in Iraq (Jesus had been in Iraq also as the fourth person in the Fiery Furnace!)

14. Belshazzar, the King of Babylon saw the "writing on the wall" in Iraq.

15. Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, carried the Jews captive into Iraq.

16. Ezekiel preached in Iraq.

17. The wise men were from Iraq.

18. Peter preached in Iraq.

19. The "Empire of Man" described in Revelation is called Babylon, which was a city in Iraq!

20. Israel is the nation most often mentioned in the Bible. But do you know which nation is second? It is Iraq! However, that is not the name that is used in the Bible. The names used in the Bible are Babylon, Land of Shinar, and Mesopotamia ... The word Mesopotamia means between the two rivers, more exactly between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers ..

The name Iraq, means country with deep roots. Indeed Iraq is a country with deep roots and is a very significant country in the Bible. No other nation, except Israel, has more history and prophecy associated with it than Iraq And also, this is something to think about: Since America is typically represented by an eagle, Saddam should have read up on his Muslim passages... The following verse is from the Koran, (the Islamic Bible) Koran (9:11) - For it is written that a son of Arabia would awaken a fearsome Eagle. The wrath of the Eagle would be felt throughout the lands of Allah and lo, while some of the people trembled in despair still more rejoiced; for the wrath of the Eagle cleansed the lands of Allah; and there was peace.(Note the verse number!) Hmmmmmmm?!

(I will spare you the ending lines of obligatory chain-letter damnation for not forwarding above message…)
All I really have to say is, this is joke! How ironic that Qur’an 9:11 actually reads:
But if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, they are your brethren in faith; and we make the communications clear for a people who know.

An e-mail dialogue

I recently received an e-mail containing an anonymous article. I've copied it below.
Subject: Who is Barack Obama?

Probable U. S. presidential candidate, Barack Hussein Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., a black MUSLIM from Nyangoma-Kogel, Kenya and Ann Dunham, a white ATHIEST from Wichita, Kansas. Obama's parents met at the University of Hawaii. When

Obama was two years old, his parents divorced. His father returned to Kenya. His mother then married Lolo Soetoro, a RADICAL Muslim from Indonesia. When Obama was six years old, the family relocated to Indonesia.

Obama attended a MUSLIM school in Jakarta. He also spent two years in a Catholic school. Obama takes great care to conceal the fact that he is a Muslim. He is quick to point out that, 'He was once a Muslim, but that he also attended Catholic school. 'Obama's political handlers are attempting to make it appear that Obama's introduction to Islam came via his father, and that this influence was temporary at best. In reality, the senior Obama returned to Kenya soon after the divorce, and never again had any direct influence over his son's education.

Lolo Soetoro, the second husband of Obama's mother, Ann Dunham, introduced his stepson to Islam. Obama was enrolled in a Wahabi school in Jakarta. Wahabism is the RADICAL teaching that is followed by the Muslim terrorists who are now waging Jihad against the western world. Since it is politically expedient to be a CHRISTIAN when seeking Major public office in the United States, Barack Hussein Obama has joined the United Church of Christ in an attempt to downplay his Muslim background.

Let us all remain alert concerning Obama's expected presidential candidacy. The Muslims have said they plan on destroying the US from the inside out, what better way to start than at the highest level - through the President of the United States, one of their own!!!! ALSO, keep in mind that when he was sworn into office - he DID NOT use the Holy Bible, but instead the Kuran (Their equivalency to our Bible, but very different beliefs).

Please forward to everyone you know. Would you want this man leading our country? ...... NOT ME!!!
My response:

First of all, Obama has never admitted to being a Muslim, nor is there any evidence of him being a "radical Muslim." Robert Gibbs, Obama's communications director states: "Senator Obama has never been Muslim. As a six-year-old in Catholic school, he studied the catechism." According to Obama has been associated with the United Church of Christ since the mid-1980s, and describes himself as "rooted in the Christian tradition."

Even if Obama was a Muslim in the past or present, last I knew I lived in a country founded on democratic principles, not upon those of theocracy. We do not truly have the FREEDOM of religion America professes if we are, in fact, fearful of people of other religions. We do not have the democracy we preach to the world if we limit the types of people who can be elected (for example, white Christian male). If Obama were Muslim and had only recently professed Christianity, it would speak more to what we require of our presidential nominees than to Obama's desire to hide his background and sneak into the Presidential position and cripple us from within.

The statement that Obama attended a radical Whabbist school is far fetched. He lived in Indonesia - a predominantly Muslim country! His mother enrolled him for two years in a Catholic school, and then in a neighborhood school that was predominantly Muslim. Obama himself wrote in his 2006 book The Audacity of Hope, that his mother "was less concerned with me learning the catechism or puzzling out the meaning of the muezzin's call to evening prayer than she was with whether I was properly learning my multiplication tables." Obama's background would say "well-rounded" and "well informed" to me, not "dangerous"! It is encouraging to me that Obama has an understanding of the Muslim faith - if for no reason other than the fact that there are millions (estimates vary from 1.8 to 12 million) Muslims in the world and America largely misunderstands them. If elected, Obama may have a better chance at diplomacy with the groups of people with whom we have historically had a hard time coming to agreements.

The statement that Obama was sworn in on the Koran (Qur'an) is incorrect, as far as I know. I believe this is a mistaken reference to congressman Keith Ellison. However, if Obama were Muslim and had been sworn in on the Koran (Qur'an), it would be a testament to his integrity. It would mean more for him to swear on a book upon which his faith is founded, than to swear on the Bible belittling its importance and the authenticity of his oath.

It concerns me that any American would be afraid of a person based upon their religions beliefs, or upon the fact that an atheist raised him or her.

I have not decided upon whom I will vote for in the coming election, but I will only vote for someone with integrity, intelligence, and courage, who is prepared to make difficult decisions in difficult world circumstances. Knowledge of history is key, as is a depth of understanding where current world affairs are concerned. Wise and courageous advisers are also integral to a successful and productive presidency. Let's hope we find a candidate who possesses these qualities and utilizes them well in the oval office and beyond.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Ten Reasons Gay Marriage is Un-American

As this is a hot topic, I know many of you may not agree with what I've posted below, but I saw this on and thought it was worth posting. It is succinctly reasoned, comical and poignant.
1: Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.

2: Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

3: Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

4: Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can't marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.

5: Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Britany Spears' 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.

6: Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren't full yet, and the world needs more children.

7: Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

8: Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why we have only one religion in America.

9: Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.

10: Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven't adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Somedays you’ve gotta’ laugh...

Have you ever had one of those days where everything just seems to go differently than you had envisioned? When I married Tim he claimed that I was endangering my life because I would inevitably be struck with his typically bad luck (sharing everything and all). Tim tends to get frustrated when his “bad luck” strikes, having dealt with it for so long, but I tend to find such situations quite comical. One Sunday a few weeks ago, Tim and I had quite the comical morning.

Our morning troubles actually began the night before while I was doing our laundry. In our apartment complex there are two laundry rooms for tenants. I had loaded up five loads of laundry and hauled them down to one of the rooms in the early afternoon. Having to do two people’s laundry is certainly more work than just doing my own! Upon reaching the laundry room I realized I didn’t have any quarters or any cash with which to get quarters. A bit annoyed, I drove to US Bank, got cash out of the ATM (so I wouldn’t have to pay an ATM fee somewhere else), drove back to the Dairy Mart next door to our apartment, got the $20 bill changed into four $5 bills, then walked next door to convert the bills into quarters at the Gateway Laundry and Diaper. Feeling as though I had conquered a much larger task than I really had, I trekked back to the apartment complex laundry rooms to start my piles of laundry. The washing process proceeded uneventfully, but when I came back to get my clothes out of the dryer, I noticed that one load had not dried at all. I moved the load to another dryer, paid another dollar to dry it again and took my other four loads of dry clothes back to the apartment to fold them. Unfortunately, the lonely load left in the dryer had to spend the night in the laundry room because it closed before I could get my clothes out.

The next morning (the Sunday in question) was a busy one. I needed to finish that last load of laundry, Tim had to get gas in the car (for our trip to McMinnville later that morning) and go get cash so we could go get the lamps we were considering buying from a lady who posted them on craigslist. We rushed around trying to get ready to leave for our day-trip to visit family and finishing last minute chores. The laundry room key was in my car, and we live on the second floor with an outdoor landing that has a straight shot to our parking spot. Tim was taking the car to get gas and cash so I asked him to toss the laundry keys up to me on the landing. He tossed them… but onto the roof!! Oh dear! His face was priceless – he just stared at the roof with a look that said Why did I do that? What was I thinking? Did that really just happen? all at the same time. Through spurts of laughter I told Tim I’d call the maintenance guys and get them to bring a ladder.

Tim rushed up the stairs to get something he forgot and on the way back down the stairs cracked our top step!! I had stepped inside to find the maintenance phone number and I had to laugh as Tim yelled up to me that I should tell the maintenance man about the top step as well.

After several wrong numbers, I finally got the maintenance man out of bed. He cheerily met me at the laundry room to let me in. I told him about the broken dryer, the keys on the roof and the broken step and he laughed at me. I hadn’t really stopped laughing since the whole thing started. The kind man got our keys off the roof and kindly marked off our stairs with DANGER tape (which we now disregard and use the stairs anyway) – not promising that they would be repaired or replaced anytime soon. Just before he left he shouted up to me (in the apartment) “anything else you need fixed while I’m here?!” Once again I couldn’t help but giggle at how differently the morning had gone than planned.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Reaganomics Finally Trickles Down To Area Man

Check it out ... another great piece of work from The Onion: Reaganomics Finally Trickles Down To Area Man

Worth a good chuckle - even if you believe in the trickle down effect.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

What's YOUR Poohsonality??

In contrast to yesterday's post, I felt like something a little lighter today. All you Pooh lovers out there - read on.

Ever since I was a small child (oh how long ago that was... *winks*) my mom and I would talk about how people identify with different characters in Winnie the Pooh because each character in these classic stories is a different personality type ("Poohsonality" type, if you will). For example, Eeyore represents people who tend to be downhearted and pessimistic, Tigger the group of people who are carefree and peppy, Rabbit the obsessive compulsive and overly controlling people, and Pooh is the character who represents the loveable but slightly slow folks.

These “Poohsonalities” play out in real life much the way they do in the Hundred Acre Wood. Tiggers do not get along well with Rabbits, Poohs are loved by nearly everyone, and Owls spew their knowledge on anyone within earshot. Just observe the people around you and think of them as Pooh characters; you’ll see.

Recently I tried to decide which character(s) I identified with or resembled most. I think I am part Rabbit (I am obsessive compulsive and very tidy), and part Tigger (I can’t help but bounce off the walls and be silly sometimes). How is it that I can embody two characters that are so diametrically opposed to each other in A.A. Milne’s stories?

Tim is a nice compliment to my personality, in my (unbiased) opinion. I would call him a mixture of Owl and Pooh. He has the “smarts” of Owl (except Tim’s smarts are for real) and the loveable nature of Pooh. Even so, sometimes Rabbits and Tiggers don’t get along well with Owls and Poohs. In the end, however, they always work it out, but not before some new learning adventure.

So which Pooh character are you? If you can’t decide right away, here is a little quiz you can take to help determine your Pooh character match. Of course, I’ve taken many-a-poohsonality test and I have come up several different characters. This is not a fool-proof process… but it’s a fun one to be sure.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

To Pledge or Not To Pledge

I accidentally told a coworker today that I do not “pledge allegiance to the flag.” I hadn't intended to tell him that, nor did I ever intend to write a blog entry about it... but I think this serves as a good conversation starter, if nothing else. Now, before you write me off as a crazy closet communist and/or terrorist, please hear me out.

Somehow, my coworker and I got to talking on the subject of illegal immigration and my coworker is of the opinion that if immigrants do not completely become American and pledge all of their allegiance to the American flag, they are not welcome here. I understand where he is coming from to a certain extent… a nation divided cannot stand for long. On the other hand, I myself find it difficult to pledge my allegiance to anything aside from Jesus Christ.

National boundaries and allegiances frequently become reasons to fight one another. My goal in life is not to create reasons to fight, but rather reasons to join together in love and understanding. This may sound very “hippy” of me (I live in Eugene, give me a break!), but in truth, Jesus Christ is a trans-border icon for love and salvation. Can I truly pledge my allegiance to the flag of the United States when my real allegiance lies higher than that?

Please don’t get me wrong. I do not say any of this to downplay everything people have done to preserve the rights and liberties of this nation in which I have been privileged to live. I am thankful for the courageous acts of all those who have fought to keep our rights and liberties. But somehow I cannot pledge myself to any nation when invisible (and even worse sometimes, visible) lines drawn with the blood of those who fought to create a politically recognized entity border every one of them.

No, my allegiance lies higher than a simple nation state that will come to an end. My allegiance is to the Kingdom of God (which could be the topic of a hundred posts, but I will spare you that lengthy discourse). This Kingdom need not be simply pie in the sky – this is something we, I, can and should strive for on earth. After all, the oft quoted Lord’s Prayer states: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

But how do we go about this Kingdom work, you may ask? One of my life verses (Micah 6:8) states: “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God (NIV).” The Message version reads: “But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don’t take yourself too seriously— take God seriously.” If we are to see God’s Kingdom come on this earth, we must start focusing on justice, compassion, kindness, and our humble walk with God. Focusing on national allegiance only creates differences.

But allegiance to one’s nation is not the only thing that can distract from bringing the Kingdom of God to earth. There are all sorts of differences between people that we tend to focus on - including differences between religions and denominations. This does not help in the cause of realizing the Kingdom on this earth. Let’s drop our differences whenever possible and focus on our common call toward the God who created us.

Some may say that allegiance to God causes just as many wars, or more, than national allegiance. Unfortunately the fallen nature of human beings allows some to become mistakenly and dangerously zealous or fanatic about a badly distorted view God and faith. That is not God's fault, and we cannot discontinue all belief in God or actions out of faith because some individuals use religion for violent causes. In the end, God will sort out each person’s actions and the desires of his or her heart. Until that time, we can do our best to act justly, love mercy and kindness, and walk humbly with God.

Pledging all of my allegiance and all of my heart to the God of the universe is a far greater and higher calling than pledging my allegiance to the flag of a country which will come to an end – even if that country has given me liberties and rights unlike any other country on earth. God - my global God - is higher still.
***If you are still reading - haven't been so enraged by my lack of patriotism that you quit reading altogether - I am very interested in hearing your thoughts. This is something I've been thinking about for quite some time now and I really enjoy hearing people's varying opinions.***

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Another Chinese Toy Recall - OUCH!!!

I couldn't help but post this!



Monday, 8 October 2007

A Nation of Christians Is Not a Christian Nation

My friend Aaron pointed out this op-ed article and I found it to be mostly well thought out provocative. As Amber pointed out, a thoughtful Christian should be wary of anyone proclaiming "Scripture says" anything because Scripture is both ambiguous and contradictory at times. It's preferable to state that "some places in Scripture say...", or even better to use precise references to the places in Scripture. However, aside from the part where Meacham uses Scripture, which many Americans don't consider authoritative, as support for his reasoning, he has thought his argument through well and he makes his point. I've thought for quite some time that America's claim to the title of "Christian Nation" is faulty - one needn't look any further than the separation of church and state to realize that our nation was not founded as a "Christian Nation", per say. It was founded by people who sought to escape religious persecution, not by those who desired to establish a new nation where religion ruled.

While I, myself, proclaim the Christian faith, I do not believe that the nation in which I live was founded as a Christian Nation, nor do I believe that we act as a Christian Nation. Meacham is right when he writes that Christ's Kingdom is not of this world, though we are called to bring about His Kingdom in this world. The Kingdom of God is not bound by nation states, hemispheres or borders. We must remember these truths if we are to truly follow in the footsteps of Christ. America has not co opted Christianity, nor do we have a corner on the proverbial market of Christ's blessing, though we may think we have.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Laptop With a Mission

This article from the New York Times amazes me. It's great to know that technology is being used for the betterment of poor children around the world. Read on...

Monday, 1 October 2007

New IMF chief ... reform on the way???

I always listen to NPR on my way to work in the morning. Today reporter Anita Elash informed me that former French Finance Minister Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been named president of the International Monetary Fund. This appointment makes him the first Socialist leader to run one of the world’s major capitalist organizations. Strauss-Kahn’s leadership in the IMF could have significant effects worldwide. In practice he has been more centrist than socialist, but his background has won the confidence of poorer/developing members of the IMF. This reputation and respect may allow him to push through reforms. One can hope that he will give developing nations more say in IMF policies and use his power to shift IMF policies toward the left. I would hope we see developing nations allowed to decide more of their own fate with only limited aid in coming years as they are allowed to step out from under devastating past economic measures recommended by foreign IMF experts.

We shall see what we shall see. I’m not holding my breath.

9/11 Is Over

Though I do not always find US news or political babble terribly interesting (I find international topics much more appealing), Thomas Friedman is one collumnist I read often and frequently agree with. He mostly discusses international affairs, but his most recent article is more focused on the US.

Op-Ed Columnist
9/11 Is Over
Published: September 30, 2007
I honor and weep for those murdered on 9/11. But our reaction to 9/11 has knocked America completely out of balance, and it’s time to get things right again.

Friday, 28 September 2007

Mika "Grace Kelly"

I just wanted to share a bit of the joy with you all. Mika is one of my current favorite artists - very British and very peppy. Always a good pick-me-up. :)

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Winds of Change

Yesterday the winds changed in Eugene. The air was suddenly brisk and chilling. I was pleased that the sun was still out to brighten my day, but I am told that in a month or so we will settle into the fall and winter months during which the sun will hide behind a perpetual cloud cover that drops relentless rains on our unsuspecting (or not so unsuspecting) city. I have yet to purchase galoshes, a raincoat or an umbrella but I have been anticipating their necessity for quite some time now. I plan to find some affordable and fun rain attire to bring a ray of cheer to the coming rainy months.

The weather, however, is not the only thing that has been changing in recent days. It seems our whole lives have continued to change since Tim and I got married two-and-a-half months ago. I’m certainly not complaining; most of these changes have been fun even if challenging.

First, I pierced my nose! This may not seem like much of a change, per say, to many. For me, however, this is noteworthy. It has been enjoyable to step out on the proverbial limb on something like a tiny piece of metal through my nose.

Second, I’ve recently sold over half of our furniture on craigslist, possibly the greatest site on the internet next to my blog of course. I am in the process of selling the couch and have managed to sell our mattress and box springs, and the futon. We then bought a like-new leather love seat, new bed, cocktail table and two end tables! Our apartment looks very different from what it did when we moved in. Lest you think we are high rollers, please know that we got great deals on every new-to-us piece of furniture and we are now done purchasing anything aside from gas and groceries for the next three years (if Tim has anything to say about it)! Change seems like too insignificant a word to describe the whirlwind of furniture flying in and out of our first apartment.

But belongings are not the only area of our life that has changed in the last two months. Tim and I are certainly growing and learning in our relationship. This requires some change on our parts. For example, I am becoming more and more aware that I don’t always show up when I say I will. I don’t intend for this to happen, life just catches me off guard – I’m not used to traffic or waiting in lines. Anyway, Tim gets very frustrated by this; he often cooks dinner, or does some other thoughtful but time-sensitive thing that is ruined by my tardiness. So I now tell him I’ll be home later than I actually think I will so that I won’t disappoint him. Latin American time has apparently affected my life more than I thought it did.

A fourth change to our lives is that we are consistently recycling for the first time. This probably sounds odd to many, but I’ve never lived in an area that had easily accessible recycling opportunities. It is really nice to finally live in a place where recycling is valued and encouraged. It is a lifestyle change, however, so it takes time to make it habit.

Then there are the generally expected changes that accompany a move to a new city. We’ve begun searching for doctors, hair stylists, oil change centers, tasty and affordable restaurants, nearby grocery stores etc.

Finally, Tim and I are both changing our eating and exercise habits. We’ve both set up our own workout regimes and have taken to eating healthier portions of healthier foods. We will see how long this change remains, especially with my love-hate relationship with baked sweets and ice cream…

At times I feel like one of the prospective nannies from Mary Poppins. Have I been swept away by the sudden gusts of change?

Monday, 13 August 2007

Transision - much lost and much gained

The last three months have brought many-a-change to my life. I hadn't thought that such changes merited mourning until my friend Caris mentioned it this weekend. She simply observed out loud in her insightful way: "Kendra, you have experienced a lot of changes lately, and allowing yourself to mourn those losses, even in the midst of such treasured gains, is important."

I suppose that wise statement from a cherished friend is the impetus for my starting this blog. Maybe if I am able to blog my thoughts and share this transition with other people I will be able to learn more from the experience and hopefully better transition from my life of three months ago into my current life.

I've been referring to many changes, none of which I have elaborated. Here I go.

Transition One: Three months ago I graduated college. I left my roommates and many very close friends who have been and continue to be special to me. My four years at Northwest Nazarene University were meaningful, but now I move on.
Transition Two: Two months after I graduated, I married my childhood and lifelong best friend, Tim.
Transition Two and a half: Immediately thereafter we moved to Eugene/Springfield and I began searching for a job.
Transition Two and three quarters: Three weeks later I found a less than dreamy job that nonetheless pays the bills. So, for now and I am transitioning into a new job as a Sales/Office Assistant at the Grenzebach sales office in Eugene. This will provide good job experience and "look good on a resume."
Transition Three: Julie, my best friend from college who was also my maid of honor, is now leaving the country to work in a hospital in India. As if long distance friendship was not hard enough, now she will be halfway across the world.
Transition Four: One of my very best friends from childhood who was also a bridesmaid in my wedding recently began dating my older brother. This is simply odd.

It's not that these changes are for the worst or that I dislike all of them. Many, if not all, of these changes are very good and beneficial for everyone involved. Yet change and loss of any kind should be, for lack of a better word, mourned so that I can move on as a healed, healhty and whole person. Thus, I will work on this "mourning" process in the coming days and weeks.