"This is why it is impossible for a Christian to have a secular job. If you follow Jesus and you are doing what you do in his name, then it is no longer secular work; its sacred. You are there; God is there. The difference is our awareness. The goal isn't to bring everyone's work into the church; the goal is for the church to be these unique kinds of people who are transforming the places they live and work and play because they understand the whole earth is filled with the glory of God."
-Rob Bell in "Velvet Elvis"


"Fortunately" for me...

So, I'm gonna be honest....I had a crappy night. I mean one of those really just upset and frustrated and trying to hold it all in nights. I was sitting in a Chinese restaurant, silently staring into space and entertaining my sad thoughts over and over again until I really wasn't thinking at all anymore...just staring. And suddenly the fortune cookie portion of the meal arrived. I apathetically cracked it open to see my "lucky numbers" and "chinese for dummies" word and instead I got this message...
"You have so much to be thankful for."
No lie....I've seen it all now. Jesus used Buddha to speak truth into my heart at exactly the right time and place. I mean really...I guess truth can be found anywhere, even in a fortune cookie.


A Quarter for your thoughts

I've been thinking through so many things since Chicago, but the one thing I can't get past is a little thing called poverty...what to say about homelessness? I left Chi-town with this one burning question, what do you do? For instance, I will give a few examples. Sleeve and I ventured out of the hotel one night with 2 huge boxes of left over burritos. We walk right out the door and immediately this man named Jimmy comes up to us asking us for a quarter. The dialog went something like this...
Jimmy-Hey you got a quarter
A.J.- No but we have lots of burritos
J- shoot I don't want no burrito
aj- well what are you gonna do with a quarter that you can't do with a burrito?
J- (mumbling unmentionable words under his breath)
We walked away and a few minutes later Jimmy is back up with is....
J-hey you got a quarter
A.J.- no but I still got a big box of burritos and they're kind of heavy so it would be awesome if you'd take some

Now I was just blown away.....if I was walking back from Chipotle with a big burrito in my hand for dinner I bet I could find a dozen people who would want it...not this guy...he wanted a quarter. So, I ask myself and Sleeve what is so wrong with giving jimmy his quarter and then we see exhibit B.
We watch this guy from accross the street debating whether or not he is homeless (yes we were judging from the outside). As we debate on walking over this other guy walks up and hands him so money. The man then bolts off down the street like I have never seen anyone run. Now I could be wrong, but I would guess he already had that money spent in his mind before he got it. Thats why you don't give them money....its a quick fix...its no help to them.
So, our question was...what do you do? How do you fix a problem that seems inevitable? How do a bunch of upperclass white kids go into a city with food and tell the inner city ghetto about how "our God" will bless them?
I have thought through some things and have much more than this, but what do you think?


Chicago Pictures

Jenni Koz, me, and some crazy faces at Giordanno's
A.J. and Focker
The beautiful nightime city sky
Group Awesome...formally known as Group 12
The City Skyline from Navy Pier
Laurel, Brittany and Me (The morning after "Wakie Wakie"..looks like I should have gone back to sleep
The Beach?...in the city? Welcome to Lake Michigan
Wrigley Field
Um....who knows


Spring Break.....is it really a break?

I leave in approximately 6 hours for two states that I have never been to. First stop...Chicago, Ill. Second Stop...Denver, Colorado. I have high expectations for both of these trips. One allows me to live in the present, encouraging those who are currently experiencing their college careers and the other is a step towards my future, life after college. Who knows where I will be in 2 months from now. In all of this, many hard lessons, I am learning that life must move on. You die a little more every second you stand still. I don't want to be like that. I want to be working towards something, even if its something I can't see. I read something the other day and is struck me as a rather important idea. In his book "Don't Waste your Life" John Piper says, "“The people that make a durable difference in the world are not the people who have mastered many things, but those who have been mastered by one great thing.” I have spent so much time trying to be good at so many things so that maybe they can be used. I hope that I will learn to be mastered by one thing, for my life to be poured out for one thing, one important, life changing thing.


What a "weak"

I have so much to say that I don't have anything to say at all.
Even if could find the words that I wanted to use I think I would find myself too tired to use them.
Its been a week, one of those that you need to analyze, mull over if you will, take time to reflect upon or either cast aside and enter into the solace of the next week, the next journey, the next stage of life.


A tear is not a tear which hasn't fallen
And love is not a love which has not died
And Giving, giving is nothing until its alive

But its hard to give when you get no peace
You're falling to pieces
And you're just waiting for some sweet release


Viewer Discretion is Advised...

Introducing a fun, family, night time activity. Good times had by all...Juggling lessons. You can use balls, oranges, flames...I don't know...knives for instance.
Here is Sleeve displaying his sweet knife juggling skills. He is in a whole different league than me.

I started off with the "soft stuff" because yes, I was just that terrible. My roommate's oranges took quite the beating.


"Raisin Hell"

I witnessed a moment of innocent hilarity this morning while I was spending some time with a mother of two.. Her two year old son was there. He was eating raisins and watching Veggie Tales. He suddenly ran over to the table where we sat and began pointing to his nose. He seemed slightly uncomfortable and began sneezing and snotting everywhere. I casually mentioned that he might have stuck a raisin up his nose, you know me and my motherly instincts....or maybe it came from my own mispent childhood. She kind of panicked and tilted his head back not finding anything. He kept pointing and sneezing and so she tried to blow his nose, still not seeing anything. Then all of the sudden he blew and out popped this small shriveled up piece of fruit. That was the end of the raisins for him, she gave him a banana and he went back to watching Larry Boy. Its much harder to stick a banana up one's nose. It was quite an amazing sight. I had never actually seen a kid do that. Everyone should see a kid do that some day, it is a really funny sight.


Slayne Master P's Wedding

The beauty of life is enhanced by the people you build your world around...I really have a beautiful life!


Beauty for Ashes

I had one of those moments today. You know those moments that are so picture perfect that you would give your right arm (or left depending on which arm you value most) to have your camera. I was sitting by the water at Issaquena trails after a good bike ride with a friend and I saw one of the neatest contrast photgraphs. Sitting on a pile of black fire pit ashes was a bright yellow butterfly. It had just lighted there, like it would on a blooming flower in spring. As I sat there and watched this take place, two verses of scripture came to mind.
"Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; the old is gone, the new has come." 2 Corinthians 5:17
I see and here this verse related to the life of a butterfly all the time, with a butterfly being a new creation and all I guess it makes sense. But the verse that was really at the forefront of my mind was from Isaiah 61.
Isaiah is speaking about the Lord's calling on his life and he says,
"He has sent me to provide for those who grieve in Zion- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair."
This is a life with Jesus. We trade all that we have, for all that is better. We give up an old way of life, for a better way of life. Its not always easy to see. In fact, many times its not visible at all. Today was a visual image for me of beauty meeting ashes, a reassurance that there is a stark contrast between the things I want for my life and the beauty of the things the Lord has for me; a reassurance that sacrificing the things I want will be worth it, some day.


YAY for skipping winter!!!!

Here's to the weather today people. What a gorgeous day. I was saddened because I spent the majority of this gorgeous day making bagels and drooling pressed up against the great glass Einsteins window that allows me to vicariously live through all of those people who were frolicking around on Lever Beach enjoying this gift of sunlight (minus those in the bikinis).
And this is, I have recently discovered, one of the most relaxing things to me. I absolutely love to go for a nice long run, usually around perimeter, and then finish it off by lying in the grass on Bowman. Stretched out, body relaxed, still sweating, eyes closed or open, just relaxing. It is awesome. I did this today and I didn't want to get up. I think you should try it, and by you I mean anyone who reads this.