Monday, April 30, 2012

On the Farm

Don't you love when you wake up and have no idea what your day will have in store for you?

I had plans today to have lunch with an old friend, a former pastor of mine.  She was my pastor when I was in high school.  I worked with her for a summer when I was in college.  And we've kept in touch throughout the years since.  She lives about 3 miles from my house, on a lovely farm... and we haven't seen each other in about 7 years!  Terrible, I know.

I was at an event in Minneapolis a couple of weeks ago, listening to Parker Palmer (wonderful!), and I looked up, and saw Betty sitting in the balcony, happily listening and knitting!  I was with other friends and needed to feed the parking meter, so I didn't get to say "hi."

So, of course, when I got home, I "facebooked" her!  Ha!

We ended up making plans to meet for lunch today - out at her farm.

Delightful.  She's always so warm, so curious about my life, so understanding of the ways I don't fit into the ministry world, and so willing to debate the things we may not see eye to eye on.  She's a strong, passionate woman - with a heart for God and for people - and it's always a lovely visit!

And she makes me laugh.  We waited to have lunch until her hubby came home from running a load of corn down to the loading area (where they put the corn on the barges that go down the Mississippi and then shipped all over the world!).  He's always sweet, and so cute.  In the middle of lunch he invited me to ride along on the next delivery, after lunch.  I figured, "why not?!"

So we did!  I got to ride in his "straight truck," loaded with corn; got to watch them sample the corn, measure the corn, dump the corn - and meet some of the other local farmers.  I don't know what it is about being around big trucks - but I immediately turn into a little kid!  Curious, impressed, and having loads of fun!

It reminded me of spending time with my grandpa.  I loved it.

I figured when I got back to the farm, we'd be saying our good-byes and I'd head home - but no!  Betty met me at the truck with bags in hand and guided me to the "mule" (a little vehicle) and we rode out to the outskirts of the property to pick rhubarb - LOTS of rhubarb!  YUM!

The last time I visted, we got to pick apples.  Gotta love having a friend with a farm!

It was a wonderful few hours.  So different from my daily life.  So good to spend with a wonderful couple.  Those little breaks from "the normal," those little glimpses of God, smiling down on us....  Made me grateful for the life I have.  Right here.  Right now.

Thanks, Betty and Wayne!

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Surprises.
2.  Feeling like a kid.
3.  Understanding friends.
4.  "Furry" tulips!
5.  Rhubarb - oh, the possibilities!
6.  Muddy shoes.
7.  Pot pie, without the chicken...  and the giggles that followed.
8.  The TV Show "The Voice"! 
9.  Time to read...
10.  Warm milk with a dash of vanilla...

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Blue Like Jazz

"I never liked jazz music because jazz music doesn't resolve. I used to not like God because God didn't resolve. But that was before any of this happened." ―Donald Miller

In Donald Miller's early years, he was vaguely familiar with a distant God. But when he came to know Jesus Christ, he pursued the Christian life with great zeal.
Within a few years he had a successful ministry that ultimately left him feeling empty, burned out, and, once again, far away from God.
In this intimate, soul-searching account, Miller describes his remarkable journey back to a culturally relevant, infinitely loving God.
For anyone wondering if the Christian faith is still relevant in a postmodern culture.
For anyone thirsting for a genuine encounter with a God who is real.
For anyone yearning for a renewed sense of passion in life.
Blue Like Jazz is a fresh and original perspective on life, love, and redemption.

A few years ago, I read this quote about the book, "Blue Like Jazz - Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality" and went out and bought the book off a bargain table at a Christian bookstore.  I loved it!

It's a memoir, written in short essays about Donald Miller's growing up in a Christian home, but eventually coming to his own understanding of God and spirituality.  He openly talks about the parts of Christianity that he doesn't agree with, the parts he questions, and the parts that fill his life with grace.  It's funny, clever, and honestly written.

And it made me feel like I wasn't alone.

I love God.  I love Jesus.  I feel led by the Holy Spirit.  But I don't always have all the answers.  I don't always agree with my denomination.  I don't always agree with the most respected of theologians.  I'm liberal.  I believe God loves all people - no matter what. 

I believe God is bigger than we could ever imagine or describe.  And I will never pretend to know all the answers.

And, at the heart of it, I think this book says the same thing.  Which is why I loved it.  (It's not something you hear very often...)

So when they decided to make the book into a movie, I was pretty excited!  Don Miller followed up with the book, "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years," which was about writing the screenplay - and how his journey in helping to write a movie made him realize that life could be so much more!  He realized that all of our lives are stories - and we have the choice to make them stories worth telling!  (It's a great book - maybe even better than BLJ!)

Anyway, shortly after I read that book - it was announced that the movie would not get made.  The Hollywood producers didn't want it, because it was too "Christian" and the "Christian" production companies didn't want it because it wasn't "Christian" enough...  Blah blah blah.  In the end, it meant they couldn't raise the money to make the film.

Till two guys in Memphis decided to start a Kickstarter campaign online!  They put the word out that they only way to get the movie made, was for those of us who wanted to see it, to chip in! 

So I did!

For the small amount I gave, I got a signed poster; phone call from the director, Steve Taylor; a mug; my name in the credits as "Associate Producer;" an "Associate Producer" t-shirt; and two free tickets to the premiere in Portland, OR!


I was invited to a free screening and Q&A here in the Twin Cities.  Very fun.

And yes, we went to Portland.  A funny experience - but once in a lifetime, right?  (I'll write more about that when I post about the trip!)

So...  In a nutshell, if you've ever questioned your faith.  If you've ever felt like you didn't fit in because of your faith.  If you've struggled with how your faith compares with today's views...  Take a chance and read or go see Blue Like Jazz.  I'd love to hear what you think!

(By the way, the movie is very different from the book - it had to be, to translate the message to film.  I'd suggest experiencing them both.  The one scene that makes both of them worth every penny and every second is the "confessional scene".  Amazing.)

For more info on the movie, check out the website here.

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Awesome youth group kids.
2.  Getting through another sermon!  Phew!
3.  Very nice responses to the sermon - even better.
4.  A wonderful Sunday nap!
5.  Reading several good books at once.  Ha!
6.  Anne Lamott.
7.  Paying off debt!  Woo-hoo!
8.  Ephesians 2:19-22.  I bet Don Miller likes this verse...  Just a thought.
9.  Authors who make us think, and inspire.
10.  Being part of something bigger than myself!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Simple Saturday

Just a few things I'm thankful for today:

1.  Sleeping in.  Wowzers!
2.  The hubby offering to make me breakfast, even though he already had his.
3.  Manatees and sea lions.  Love them.  (There was a kids' show on this morning, highlighting rescues of these animals.)
4.  A cold dreary day to stay at home with sweats, slippers, and hot tea!
5.  Finishing my sermon before 10pm.
6.  A spontaneous ice cream run!
7.  The hubby gave the staff at Coldstone Creamery a tip... Meaning they all break into song, right?  Their "thank you song" was to the tune of "The Addams Family"!  They didn't even realize our last name was "Adams" til we told them!  Too funny!
8.  The movie "The Blind Side" on tv tonight!
9.  The book, "An Altar on the World" by Barbara Brown Taylor.
10.  My "Powell's Bookstore" hoodie.  Love it!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Fun - Catch Up

Ok...  Since I've been missing in action for four months, I'll start with a quick recap of the fun stuff:

* Not really "January" - but close enough...  My new nephew was born on December 28th!  Zion is quite the handsome little dude!
(How cute is that little guy?!)

*  Took the hubby to a glass-blowing and beer-tasting event for his Christmas present!  Very fun.  Here's what we created...  Lessons needed if we ever hope to sell our wares!  (Don't worry...  We don't!)

*  My new little car finally came home!  "Half Pint" is my new Fiat 500 Sport.  She's lots of fun with great gas mileage!  But my favorite part about driving her?  ...Catching the people gawking, wondering "what the heck is THAT?!"  I just smile.
(Having a little fun on a snowy day...  How many cars can park sideways in the garage?!)

*  And...  We went to my god-daughter's first dance recital.  So funny!  4 year olds in tutus?  Adorable!

*  Started attending Financial Peace University (FPU) with the hubby.  Yep.  Dave Ramsey is getting our finances in order!  Debt snowball is in full effect!  (Don't know what I'm talking about?  Check out the website - everybody should take this class.  ESPECIALLY young adults!  We wish we had started this process 10 years ago...)
*  I got to take 3 remarkable young women to the United Methodist Senior High Youth Conference.  It was a great weekend - and really reminded me why I love working with youth so much!  Such great faith conversations...  Thoughtful questions...  New ways of looking at things and experiencing life.  Loved it! 

*  Got to spend an entire day at Afton Alps, a local ski hill, with several of my youth group boys and my hubby.  What a great day!  So fun to see the boys having fun - and one of them learned how to snowboard with my hubby teaching him.  (Which was quite a gift to both of them, I think!)

*  I got two free tickets to a screening of "Blue Like Jazz" the movie.  This is the movie I got to be an "Associate Producer" of (along with 400 others!).  My friend, Jill, and I went to check it out - a wonderful film, a fun Q and A with the writer, director, and main actor, and free popcorn!  (I'll write more about the movie in a future post...)
*  The hubby was out of town for St Patty's Day this year - but that didn't stop me!  I cooked a yummy dinner and was happy to spend the evening with Jill and my parents!  Good times.

*  My church presented me with a beautiful birthday gift!  Many people sent in one word describing me, to the office and our lovely Administrative Assistant, Diane; who took those words and transformed them into a portrait of me!  Crazy, I know - but so cool!  And the words were so thoughtful.  It makes me smile everytime I look at it.

* And the Hubby took me to see the "David Wax Museum" band at the Cedar Cultural Center for my gift - perfect. So fun!
*  Amanda came for a visit over my birthday weekend - and joined us for a night on the town with a few more friends!  So fun.  Gotta love the Town Hall Brewery!

So that's the quick recap - I'll write about April soon.  We took a short vacation this month, so there's lots to tell! 

Here are the things I'm thankful for today:

1.  The last 3 months.  Pretty fun!
2.  Good friends to spend happy times with.
3.  Burgers on the grill!
4.  Paychecks!
5.  Inspiration.
6.  Orange walls. 
7.  A hubby that cooks.
8.  Pictures.
9.  Pinterest.  Yep.  I got sucked in!
10.  Funny comments from bank tellers about my little car.  Gave me a good laugh!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I'm BACK!!!!

Just a quick note - to say "Happy New Year!"  "Happy Groundhog Day!"  and "Happy Easter!"

I'll be back later with an actual post...  But I'm still here and thrilled to be on a computer that will allow me to blog again!  Woo-hoo!

For now, what are you thankful for today?!

Here's my 10 things:

1.  Sunny days.
2.  My fun little car.
3.  A dog that can't resist the squeaky tennis ball.
4.  Funny friends.
5.  A new work computer!
6.  Cool water.
7.  Jason Mraz's new song "I Won't Give Up"
8.  Hummus.
9.  Friendly gas station workers.
10.  Good books.
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