Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Good Friends: A Cereal Review

Cereal is that wondrous 24-hour food. There's never a bad time to pour yourself a bowl. Feeling especially adventurous and nutritious last time I went cereal shopping, I picked up my first-ever box of Kashi's Good Friends. This "Toasted Trio of Flakes, Twigs & Granola Cereal" was my kind of cereal... or so I thought.

After a few bites, I asked myself if I was eating fiber twigs or a spoonful of nails. Certainly doesn't fall into the category of "comfort food". I decided to let it soak, but to no avail. If soggy cereal is your worst nightmare, Good Friends is the one for you.

I don't know what kind of friends the namer of this cereal has, but if by Good Friends he means Two-Faced Back-Stabbers, I could do business with him. This doesn't remind me of good friends or even good times. It doesn't make me want to invite my good friends over for a bowl. The only thing it makes me want to do is count down the days until the box is empty. I'm happy to announce I have maybe a bowl or two left, and then I'm going to spend the weekend with my real friends.

If healthy cereal is your thing, always go with Kashi, but leave your Good Friends on the shelf. :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Hearty Analogy

The other day, my friend Amanda the Sassy created an analogy, effortlessly, on the spot, that was so good I’m still thinking about it. In a conversation about dating, which...never...happens, she said something like this: “I’m in a place I don’t think I’ve been before. I think about dating like this --- a man is the hot tea after an entirely satisfying meal. Hot tea is delightful; not necessary for survival. The food, the nutrition, I need that.” 
Hot tea. Brilliant. 
When you’ve already eaten a hearty dinner, the tea is even more enjoyable. Its calming, settling effect are felt more dramatically on a full belly. If you neglected dinner and went straight for the tea, you’d be ravenous and malnourished, and the tea would help with neither. Tea would only make you realize that it’s not food. And all you need is food. 
So what if we all ate food before we drank tea? Psycho girlfriends (I’ve had my weeks) would face extinction. Boyfriend wouldn’t fuel the fire for said girlfriend’s derangement. The gumption to end a bad romance would be there. The gumption to start and keep a good one would be there. A healthy soul makes a healthy romantic. 
I’ve been telling Amanda for weeks that her life calling is to write children’s books. Who doesn’t agree with me after reading this genius analogy? 
Jesus is the hearty dinner. Romance is the tea. Chew on that. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Calvary's Anthem

The Valley of Vision may seem old, outdated; shoot -- it may even seem like Greek to you. But the folks whose prayers are recorded there had serious insight. They could speak in language that expressed the real Christian experience with honesty and accuracy. Oh, and they make me think things I've never thought before. Although my mind is full of things I could write, this particular prayer struck me this week and I hope you find value in it:

Heavenly Father,

Thou hast led me singing to the cross
where I fling down all my burdens
and see them vanish,
where my mountains of guilt are levelled
to a plain,
where my sins disappear, though they are
the greatest that exist,
and are more in number than the grains
of fine sand;

For there is power in the blood of Calvary
to destroy sins more than can be counted
even by one from the choir of heaven.
Thou hast given me a hill-side spring
that washes clear and white,
and I go as a sinner to its waters,
bathing without hindrance
in its crystal streams.

At the cross there is free forgiveness
for poor and meek ones,
and ample blessings that last forever;
The blood of the Lamb is like a great river
of infinite grace
with never any diminishing of its fullness
as thirsty ones without number drink of it.

O Lord, forever will thy free forgiveness live
that was gained on the mount of blood;
In the midst of a world of pain
it is a subject for praise in every place,
a song on earth, an anthem in heaven,
its love and virtue knowing no end.
I have a longing for the world above
where multitudes sing the great song,
for my soul was never created to love
the dust of earth.

Though here my spiritual state is frail and poor,
I shall go on singing Calvary's anthem.
May I always know
that a clean heart full of goodness
is more beautiful than the lily,
that only a clean heart can sing by night
and by day,
that such a heart is mine when I abide
at Calvary.

Does this not make you want to sing at the top of your lungs? To jump into that stream, dunk your head under and guzzle?? To stay always at the cross of Jesus? Even if the world crumbled around you, somehow everything would still be at peace, everything would still be okay, if settled at Calvary. I need more of this. The best part of all is that there's a lot of room at the foot of that cross. So hog all the space you want. Revel in it, get to know your neighbors. There's room for you, and you, and you. And you.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Encounters in the Wild

{What you are about to read is true in its entirety, and most information was scored in an exclusive interview with the prey.} 

My sister Emily bikes to work in the summertime. It's a lovely ride that winds through overgrown vines and trees and weaves between tall red rock towers to reach her destination: an 1800's castle. One particular day, Emily was crossing the bridge to reach the castle and noticed a legion of turkeys across the lawn. She looked again, and one crazy turk had bolted from the group and was running straight at her. Instinctively, she pedaled those little legs like lightning, out-sped the turkey and made it to work in one piece. 

The next day, Emily was biking to work and crossed the bridge to reach the castle. She noticed a legion of turkeys across the lawn, and looking again, the same crazy turk bolted from the group and ran straight for her, only this time it bolted sooner and ran faster. Emily jumped off her bike to use it as a shield and a weapon, and once the turkey was sufficiently frustrated it left her alone... and late for work.

The next time Emily was biking to work and crossing the bridge to reach the castle, she expected a legion of turkeys across the lawn, but instead, she saw something much bigger: a bear. Knowing her bike simply wouldn't be enough to protect her, she darted into the nearby carriage house and slipped into an open door. When she turned to close the door, the bear had followed and was just outside. After slamming the door in its face, she watched through the window and after several minutes it wandered into the woods. The coast was clear -- or so she thought -- so she got up to leave. As she rounded the corner to the carriage house, another bear was poking its head around the corner... and it might have been drooling a little bit. She left her bike for later and scooted herself up the back stairs to the kitchen, out of breath, panicked, and ready to find another form of transportation. 

Who knew animals conspired?

I've had my own share of wild encounters since moving a few weeks ago. When I leave home in the mornings, a little gray rabbit is waiting by my car door at least twice a week. I only started to think it was weird when I found gray rabbits waiting by my car at other places around town. Oh, and did I ever mention this guy was on my balcony not too long ago? 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

On Behalf of the Women

Dear Women's Fashion Designers, 

I have a few bones to pick with you. Your job is to design clothes that flatter and beautify a woman, no? Then why, when shopping for a dress this summer, did I have to wonder whether the bottom half of almost every dress I tried on was sold separately? You know very well that thighs are something most of us try to conceal...or should try to conceal. 

Also, which one of you decided that a bra should no longer be an undergarment, but an accessory? And who seconded that motion? I suggest we scratch that one and start over please. After all, we follow your lead...and you know that most of us will believe that what you tell us is beautiful really is beautiful. 

I've always wondered why all clothes are made in all sizes. Wouldn't it be better art if certain styles were designed for and restricted to those it looked best on? 

And for the good of all mankind, please start encouraging the ladies toward a bit more mystery and intrigue. This promotes self-respect, which promotes healthier relationships, which promotes happier lives, which results in less self-focus and a more joyful world. And wouldn't you agree, if you were honest, that true, lasting attraction develops from admiration and respect for the person, not the figure? Help a sister out.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Running for Freedom

Today’s downtown run led to some interesting thoughts. Running brings me joy and I hardly feel more alive inside than when I run. It is freedom. Think about the things people run for: People run for their lives, in war, from home, to safety. People run for help. We run to warn people of coming danger. We run to escape. We run to the arms of our beloved. We run for sport, to push ourselves, to do what we thought impossible, to conquer goals. We run angry, we run scared, we run ecstatic. 
All of these reasons, in one way or another, lead to freedom. We either run so that we can be free or we run because we are free. 
Back in the good ol’ days when I took running seriously, I would recite 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 in my head right before a race. It pumped me up better than techno. “Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”
At a glance, discipline appears to be the opposite of freedom. A closer look reveals that lack of self-control and being disqualified from the prize is bondage, meaning that discipline and its fruit lead to freedom. If we focus our running, decide we’re running for Christ, and go at it with all our might, we will know never-ending freedom when we see his face. 
Proverbs 19:16 says, “Whoever keeps the commandment keeps his life; he who despises his ways will die.” We will all continue running, but those who run to obtain the prize will run for freedom, and they will receive it. 


I found this poem I wrote in college on an especially feisty day and thought I'd share.


I know you know I’m here, 
But me you will ignore.
Tomorrow you’ll be clear:
It’s me you just adore.
You take your time and say,
“I’m not quite sure. Please wait.
 I must take time to pray.”
I’ll find another date. 
You want to hold my hand
and hear that I’ll be there. 
It’s this I cannot stand.
I’ll go pull out my hair. 
And then I look at him, 
So beautiful and kind.
This game is far too grim.
He’s in a different line.