Hunger

I’m hungry. And not for tacos.

It has been creeping up on since before Christmas, this hunger. I’m hungry for more of the Word, for more worship, for more praise, for more Jesus.

I know that my spirit is always hungering and thirsting for fellowship with my Savior, but I haven’t felt it this strong in a long time. It stops my days. It interrupts my nights. It is hovering around me like a cloud.

I’ve tried to do something about it. I’ve started listening to more Christian music. I’ve started a devotional on the YouVersion app on my phone. But I just realized today what’s still missing. I’m not praying. Not like I should. I mean, I’m praising, but I’m not spending any time in prayer.

My excuses are frail. “There are always a bunch of people around,” or “I’m waiting until I can work it into my daily routine.” But those are meaningless. The truth is, I’m not making time to pray. I’m having a hard time getting started. I’m finding it difficult to just speak the words I know I should. I know He won’t reject me. I know He’s always there, but I feel like I’ve been distant for too long. I feel unworthy of His attention. And I don’t want my prayers to be empty. I want to mean what I say. I want to speak from my heart to my Father and know that my words are true.

So, I hesitate and stumble over the act of prayer. And my hunger increases, because I know that I cannot be completely satisfied until I am truly in fellowship with Him.

I should go pray. You, dear reader, are a distraction from what I should actually be doing right now. You’ll forgive me if I don’t have a witty remark or thoughtful question to end this post?

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NaNoWriMo

I did something stupid on Friday. I decided that I would try to do NaNoWriMo this year. Stupid, right? Yeah, it is. Stupid, because I have three jobs. Stupid, because I’m teaching 4 college classes, which means 4 classes worth of paper grading. Stupid, because I’m crazy busy and somehow I’ve decided that I’m going to try to also write a 50,000 word novel by the end of this month.

Yeah.

So far, I’ve written nothing. I’ve started gathering my thoughts, and going through old notes on this long forgotten story I once wanted write. But I have yet to put pen to paper and actually begin writing something new.

And, instead of writing my book, I’m sitting here writing a blog post.

Yeah. Definitely stupid.

A Decade of Singing

If I could travel to any decade and visit, I don’t think I’d pick the Victorian era. Some of you are surprised, and if this were any other week, I’d probably say, “Give me Queen Victoria over the 80s any day.”

This week is different. This week, I miss the 80s. Hold on. Before you paint me with too much neon, it isn’t the hair or the spandex. It isn’t the TV shows, the pop songs, or the movies.

It’s the music.

Not the pop music. I ruled that out, remember? It’s the music of my childhood. I was talking to my Mom the other day about music in the church, and she said something that’s had me thinking. She said, “What I hate is that we’ve thrown away so many good songs.”

She wasn’t just talking about hymns. She was also talking about the praise and worship choruses of the 80s. Remember those? Songs like “Because He Lives,” “All Hail, King Jesus, “Lord, You are More Precious,” and “Majesty.”

I miss those songs, don’t you?

I like a lot of the new worship songs we sing. I love Unhindered’s music, and Kim Walker-Smith and Jesus Culture. (Although, I’m so tired of Chris Tomlin that I could scream.)

But I miss those old songs. They were good, and we threw them over for songs with complicated melodies and even more complicated harmonies. We tossed them aside for really long, boring songs with too many words. We kicked them to the curb for songs that sometimes don’t even make sense (I’m still talking to you, Tomlin).

If I could go back in time, I’d go back to the days when we sang those songs. I slip in the back of our churches and sing them all once again at the top of my lungs. I’d relish it this time. The first time around, I didn’t know how precious those moments were. I didn’t realize how much our worship style would change. I didn’t know we would lose our past entirely.

I want to bring some of those songs back. I want a couple of nights around the piano or guitar with someone who can play a few of these. I want to sing songs I don’t have to think about so that I can just enjoy worship.

Let’s do it. Let’s plan a night, just a few of us, around a piano, and sing some of these oldies. It’ll be great. You’ll love it, I promise. We’ll party like it’s 1989.

The Ten Best Things About Summer

1. Camp
2. Only 6 more months until winter
3. Camp
4. The smell of freshly cut grass
5. Camp
6. The smell of whatever tree grows at camp
7. Camp
8. Cookouts
9. Camp
10. Camp

Cleaning . . . Paused

After over a week of cleaning, we have come to a pause in the work. It is not a voluntary pause, but necessary. Stan has been working a little overtime this week, and so our cleaning time has been limited. I do a few things while he is at the office, but I have to admit that it is difficult to motivate myself when he isn’t here. It is so much easier to slip into my writing nook and write for a few minutes, than to actually make myself go into the kitchen and empty the dishwasher (which is exactly what I should be doing right now).

I am still excited about all that we have done, and I am finding that making one decision to get rid of something I’m keeping “just in case” is leading me to make decisions to get rid of things I may be keeping for other reasons. For instance, I have a coffee mug that I used when I was a kid. Now, of course, I didn’t drink coffee when I was little, but I used the mug for other things; cocoa, water, soda, whatever. So, I initially thought I might keep it for sentimental reasons, but as I thought about it, I realized that I’ll probably never drink out of it, and the sentiment is only partially important to me. Honestly, I don’t even remember using it that much, but I do remember it, so I had convinced myself that it was important. However, over the past few days, I’ve started to ask myself why I’m really keeping it. It isn’t like we don’t have many other coffee cups that I like to use. In fact, I much prefer my Oz Museum cup that we bought on our honeymoon, and it is currently beside me full of morning coffee. That is the cup I need to keep, because I love drinking from it, and it always makes me think of my honeymoon. So, the childhood cup is going, and the Oz cup is staying.

This experience has been an amazing learning experience for me. I’ve realized that by purging our home life physically, I am really anxious to start purging in other ways. We’ve started talking about changing the way we shop by only buying things we KNOW we will use, rather than buying things based on “maybes”. It has also made me ponder the things I might need to purge in my spiritual life. Having a room totally dedicated to writing and studying, makes me want to use it for more than just my school work. I want to use it to study the Word, to spend time with my Savior, to get back in the habit of daily bible study. Yes, this is a good experience. It has truly caused me to think a little differently about the “things” of life, and for that, I am truly grateful.

Review: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Last night I attended my first midnight showing of a movie. Yes, sports fans, I stayed up way past my bedtime in order to experience the very early opening of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

This morning, several people have asked the question “Was it worth it?”

The answer is yes. Yes, it was worth it. If for no other reason than the experience, it was worth it.

The other question I’ve received is, of course, “How was the movie?”

It was better than I expected. After Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, I wasn’t looking forward to this film. However, it turned out to be a good adaptation. Of course, there were some added scenes and many more deleted scenes, which always happens going from book to film. I felt there were some very crucial scenes deleted from the end, but I understand the idea behind the adaptation.

The acting was very good. I was delighted by Alan Rickman’s performance, and liked him more in this film than in the previous five. Jim Broadbent was a nice addition to the cast, and Helena Bonham Carter was brilliant as usual in her role as Bellatrix.

Going to a midnight showing is like no other experience. I have seen movies on opening day, standing in line for a few hours with friends. There is little comparison. The midnight showing brings out a very interesting group of people. I saw kids there as young as 10, and adults as old as 60 (a very generous guess, I might add).

Though I don’t plan to make a habit of going to midnight showings, I must admit that I really enjoyed myself and would probably do it again if the opportunity presented itself.

As for the film, I think it deserves 4 out 5 stars.

The Big Day Approacheth!

No, no! Not THAT big day. I’m talking about Shakespeare’s 445th birthday on Thursday. Perhaps you weren’t aware that he was getting to be that old. Yes, my friends, he has aged well.

Fortunately, and most likely, to my family’s distress, I have just learned that Thursday, April 23rd, is Talk Like Shakespeare Day. Yes, you read that right. Talk Like Shakespeare Day. Awesome, right?

Don’t worry if you aren’t a Shakespearean scholar, it just so happens that there is a website (Talk Like Shakespeare.org) to help you prepare to talk like Shakespeare on Thursday.

While I can’t guarantee I will talk like Shakespeare all day (I do have to answer phones, and our customers may not understand why I’m talking like that), I do plan to try to talk like Shakespeare as much as possible on Thursday. My hope is that we’ll have family dinner Thursday night so that I can drive my family crazy with my thees and thous.

So, talk like Shakespeare on Thursday. People may think you are crazy, but I bet it’ll be fun!

"ER", Good-bye

Today there are hundreds of news articles, blog posts, and recaps all over the internet about the finale. My “dime a dozen” post won’t mean much to anyone except me. I’m writing anyway.

It ended last night. After 15 years of ups, downs, and everything in between, “ER” closed it’s proverbial doors and said good night. I openly admit that I cried during more than 50% of the 3 hour “ER” window last night.

I started watching “ER” in season one, and maybe missed only half or possibly one whole season during the 15 year run. I was remembering last night that I started watching the show because Michael Crichton was the creator. In high school, I was really into Crichton, reading everything of his I could get my hands on. When I heard he was attached to a television series, I was right there, on Thursday nights, ready to watch. I didn’t care who the actors were, I just wanted to see his genius at work.

And genius it was.

The show took the viewers places they had never been. Yes, we had been in an ER. Shows like “Trapper John, M.D.” and “St. Elsewhere” were both based on the idea of a teaching hospital, and there were probably numerous others with a similar concept. I vaguely remember seeing the shows. Of course, my mother was a fan of Knots Landing and Dallas, so our evenings were filled with the prime time soap opera antics of Larry Hagman and William Devane. Medical dramas weren’t really the thing in our house. However, “ER” was more than a medical drama. It was a soap opera, of sorts. It was a comedy, at times. It was heart wrenching and sappy and amazing. The show always made me cry, more than once a season, sometimes once a week. It moved me. And yes, even when it got too political for my liking, I still loved it.

“ER” has been part of my life for 15 years, and even though it is just a TV show, I will miss it. My Thursday nights have been an “event”, as “ER” writers always billed it. The writers weren’t afraid to shock us and make us angry. They were willing to push the envelope. They took us places we never thought we’d go. They toyed with our emotions. They created characters we hated, taught us to love them, and then cruelly took them away from us in explosions and helicopter crashes.

It was epic television, and they knew it. And now, that season of television is over.

Yes, there will be other shows that create “epic” television, but there will never be another “ER”.

I realized that the show has been on for half of my life. It has been the show I watched throughout so many different seasons of my own personal journey, and like a warm blanket, I let the show become the outlet for my tears and frustrations when I met them in my own life. Many of the tears I cried for “ER” over the years represented tears I couldn’t cry any place else. “ER” gave me an excuse to be vulnerable.

Perhaps that seems a little extreme to some, but, looking back, I realize how true it is.

So many of my favorite shows have ended in the past few years, and it feels like television is slipping into the background. It is becoming less “Must See” and more “Will Watch”. Now what will I do? I will probably watch something else that doesn’t move me quite like “ER” did. And I will probably like it. “ER” will disappear from the minds of television viewers the same as every other epic show has done. I’ll catch the occasional rerun, and perhaps buy a season or two, maybe all. Life will go on the same as it did when other shows have ended. This is not a tragedy. Still, let me mourn. Let me cry once more as the camera pans out and the ambulances come in, then I’ll be content to let the screen go black.

And believe it or not, the tea didn’t help

Well, I’ve been sick. It started on Monday afternoon, quite suddenly with a dry cough. It turned into a terrible hacking cough with fever that lasted two days.

So for two days, all I have been able to drink is white grape juice on the rocks, and I have eaten less than I have ever eaten in my life. On Tuesday night, I ate half a bowl of shells and cheese, prepared by my gorgeous Stan. On Wednesday, I had a banana, and most of a grilled cheese sandwich. Today? Well, today it is the juice, and I officially ate less than half a cup of soup.

Is it starve a fever, feed a cold; or starve a cold, feed a fever? I can never remember.

Anyway, I’m sure no one cares about my meals, or lack thereof, over the past few days.

The real reason for the post is that (1) I haven’t posted in ages, and (2) I couldn’t drink tea. For two days. And I haven’t had any today. The tea didn’t help. I tried to drink tea the first day. I took one sip, and just couldn’t finish the cup. I wanted to. I thought it would be tremendously soothing on my throat, but it wasn’t.

So, I drank the white grape juice. I’m sure I’ll be back to my old tea drinking self in no time, but it made me sad that tea couldn’t soothe me in my time of need.

Anyway, to anyone that is actually still reading this blog, I’m sure there is more to post, and maybe I’ll post later. I’m just a little more interested in reading right now than writing.

Sometimes I Love My Classes

Today my English professor asked me the most awesome question I have ever been asked.

We are about to study The Tempest, and he asked those of us in the class who have studied Shakespeare before to think about and have some answers ready on Monday to the following question:

“What is the most important thing about Shakespeare?”

Greatest.Homework.Assignment.EVER!