A few weeks ago in house church we had to to draw what we would come up with if God asked us to remodel heaven.  Here’s mine:


Note The Non-Allergic Great Outdoors, where the weather is always perfect and the pollen/mold/fungus count is always at 0.  Enjoy creation to your little heart’s content without the plague of itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing, or breaking out in hives.  Next observe The Bakery of Heavenly Goodies, where you can obtain fresh, homemade pie, brownies, or chocolate chip cookies at any time.  I added Tex-Mex and Chick-fil-A sections following inspiration from a teammate.  And then we have The Eternal Game of Ultimate Frisbee (which is, after all, God’s favorite sport), which is actually more of a friendly, only mildly competitive tournament because that way everyone can be on a team and have fun.

I wanted to add a Room For Everyone, Yet Still With That Small-Town Feel And No Traffic Neighborhood, but I ran out of room (and time).


I have been exercising fairly regularly since about 8th grade.  A year ago, I had just started training for a marathon, and six months ago I finished it – in the process, aggravating a recent knee injury to the point of being unable to walk.  Four weeks and a steroid shot later, I was on the road to recovery…except I moved to France, where there are stairs everywhere and few “accommodations” such as elevators or escalators.  The knee flared up pretty bad and I have been sidelined since.

But weeks months of therapy and at-home exercises have started to pay off.  On Saturday I was able to play ultimate – really play, not moseying around the field.  I mean I was clearly out of shape, but this time it was my lungs and heart holding me back, not my knee.  And today we joined a gym!  I was able to use an elliptical for 30 minutes and it feels so, so good to get my heart rate up, sweat a bit, clean up and…nothing.  No limping or sharp pains – I still have to go up and down stairs somewhat baby-ish, and I have a few more physical therapy sessions, but I am so happy to see progress!  I am particularly excited about the ellipticals, because I can get a good, weight-bearing cardio workout with little to no impact on my knee so I can get the rest of me back in shape without worrying about damaging it again.  Hooray!

I don’t get the fuss over Anne Lamott, by which I mean why so many people like her.  I like Donald Miller, and a lot of people who like his writing also like Anne Lamott.  I can see the similarity but I just didn’t enjoy her most recent book that much.  She supposedly has a self-deprecating sense of humor but I feel she came across as self-centered, and that her faith seems very self-centered – in which case, it’s not much of a faith, is it?  And she also seemed very judgmental towards people who don’t subscribe to her particular brand of Christianity, which is a strange quality coming from a former(?) hippie because they’re supposed to love everybody.

I gave up a particular thought process for Lent.  I think the original purpose of Lent is more to give up something morally neutral that you enjoy in order to remind yourself constantly of Jesus’ sacrifice, but recently many denominations have been encouraging adding something beneficial to your life instead.  I think that’s a nice thing to do but it is another example of a pretty self-centered faith.  But anyway, that’s not the point.  The point is that while I might not have particularly enjoyed this particular thought process, it was certainly not beneficial and possibly even sinful (well, it probably was, and therefore not morally neutral) and an indulgence to my own selfishness.  So, whenever I started this process I just reminded myself that I can only control my own response to things and if I don’t like what’s going on I should just do something about it instead of sourly griping.  I think it’s been good.  Jesus came to redeem my mind too, so I think growing in that redemption is an ok way to do Lent.

The weather here has been absolutely gorgeous and I have been just dying to go running.  But unfortunately my stupid, stupid knee is still in rehab.  I am getting so tired of being gimpy.  I have been able to play frisbee a little bit without any major repercussions so I am tempted to go running and just tell my knee to DEAL WITH IT but I think that might result in an unfortunate setback.  I was in such great shape 5 or 6 months ago, it’s depressing to be so limited.

I am really happy with my little speaker/ipod dock that I got before we came.  The sound is great, it has a radio, the voltage is international, and it can run on batteries too.  Plus I got it for 60% off and waaaaaay less than the Bose one we were looking at.  It’s my little electronic friend.

I’ve been spending a lot more time with Nicodemus (my ipod) too, along with my FREAKING AWESOME earphones that Jake’s dad sent me.  Now that we have internet for the first time in our married life, I can get podcasts and things, which is really great.  I seriously don’t know how people did this kind of stuff before the internet, with all its podcasts and email and chat mediums and Skype.

Laundry takes a lot more planning when you have to hang dry everything.

Flowers are inexpensive here, which is really wonderful.  I love having fresh flowers around, it’s so wholesome.

Also, not a/an eulogy.  (I looked online and saw it both ways so…it was basically no help.)

My dear friend Emi came to hang out this past week.  You know someone is a true friend when they act like it’s no big deal that your house is a wreck and you make them sit on the floor and all you have to feed them is frozen pizza.  (I have eaten frozen pizza four times this week, by the way, although I do typically cook it first.)  Incidentally, Emi is in the process of moving too.  She brought us French magnetic poetry, which is awesome.  Emi has a lot of great qualities, and the fact that she gives very cool and useful gifts illustrates that.

I met Emi when we were in junior high, I think.  She is really fun and does things that need doing, simply because they need to be done.  “Somebody’s got to do it,” she would say.  Somebody had to play keyboard for our youth choir, and she knew a wee bit of piano but since nobody more qualified stepped up she did it.  And it was fine.  When many of our peers (myself included) were feeling disconnected at church, somebody needed to do something, so she organized an informal Bible study that fit the bill perfectly.  In high school we used to sit around during down time on mission trips or camp with another girl named Laurie and sing harmonies, although probably none of us would have claimed to have a great voice.  Considering our non-vocal team status they always turned out surprisingly well.  Emi and I were working at a weekend youth thing a year or two later when we found out Laurie had cancer, and that was the end of the harmonies.

Emi has phenomenal taste.  I mean, she is in a league with Audrey Hepburn.  Everything from clothes to makeup to friends to music to movies – if she recommends it, you know it is a solid choice.  I asked her to help me pick out Jake’s wedding present for this reason, and it was a hit.  But beyond that, she is a really great person.  I guess being half Japanese and half Irish doesn’t hurt, because there is a lot of awesomeness in that combination.  She has a lot of wisdom, lets you borrow her socks at frisbee if you forget yours (another sign of true friendship), lets you borrow her ipod to DJ your wedding reception if you are not cool enough to own one, lets you borrow her clothes that are so much more tasteful and stylish than your own, and drives you around when you don’t have a car.  Reading over that I sound like an Emi mooch, but the thing about Emi is she is so cheerful about giving or being helpful in any way.  And she is not too proud to let people help her too, which is a rarity.  Also she is very cute, has a lovely smile, and is a great athlete.

Once at Bible study she said something that has stuck with me: “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”  At the time she was talking about how the church (as in Christians, not a particular church) neglects their duty of caring for people and then complains about how the government does it, but this has since really shaped the way I think about and act in all sorts of areas.  If there is something that is just not right, whether it’s litter or people going hungry when others are throwing away tons of food, instead of waiting for someone else to do something or complaining about it, I should get up and do it myself.  Somebody’s got to.

I really like that song, with Paul McCartney and all.  It’s just perfect for a good day, and yesterday was a good day!

  1. I had a really good run, able to sustain a pretty hard pace the entire run.
  2. It rained!  In Texas, in July, that is akin to a miracle.  (Except last year, Monsoon ’07.  But that was abnormal.)
  3. It was sunny!
  4. I saw the trailer for the new Harry Potter movie.  I love Harry Potter and I’m not ashamed to admit it.  I am so, so excited this movie will come out before I leave the country.  Of course I will be in a Baptist compound when it comes out, so I will just have to sneak out to see it.  That will be fun.
  5. It rained again!
  6. 2 days left at work.  ‘Nuff said.  (As a side note, I was told I would have to plan my own going-away party.  Um, no.  Although I was tempted to clear out what is known as the “slush fund” as a bonus.)
  7. Jake’s frisbee team let me play with them!  I have been watching all season, a bit sad that I didn’t sign up due to marathon training.  Of course if I had, either we wouldn’t be on this team, or we wouldn’t be on it together.  But it is probably the best team Jake/we has/have been on since we started playing league, so I felt all forlorn.  Last night they only had 2 females, and since rules require 2 females on the field they played almost all game.  Towards the end they decided to bend the rules a bit so in I went!  And thankfully, I caught what was thrown to me and completed all my passes.  And whoever I was guarding didn’t get the disc.  It would have been mildly embarrassing had it been an off day.  I had a lot of fun.
  8. It was $1.50 cheesecake day at Cheesecake Factory!  My husband, who hates cheesecake for some strange reason, is sweet enough that he went with me so that, using the “one slice per person at this fabulous price” rule, I could in fact obtain two slices of delicious cheesecake.  He is just that nice.  (Lest you be concerned, I did not eat both slices.  I took a few bites of each so it would look like 2 people ate them – I am a first-born, after all, and must at least make people think I’m following the rules – boxed them up, and trotted home to place them carefully in my refrigerator for near-future enjoyment.)
  9. Drumroll please…I am now the happy and proud owner of a Macbook!  Jake has been faithfully scouring Craigslist for quite a while now, weeding out the I-am-a-student-in-the-UK scams and I-will-not-negotiate-this-price-because-this-is-what-I-owe-on-it overpriced offerings until he came across a good deal on a good computer from a nice guy who actually exists.  We have to provide our own computers when we go to France, so we saved up and prayed God would send a good deal…and waited.  And yesterday was the day!  It’s only a few months old and in very good condition.  In all honesty, I am not a Mac person (I am not really a PC person either; I think technology in general is in fact overrated) but I am looking forward to learning.  I am a computer owner!

Last night was the last night of our frisbee league before tournament.  I have not written as much about frisbee as I thought I would, mostly because this has been a strange season.  Because Jake & I both work in Christian environments, this was a way for us to get out in the community.  Unfortunately we have had a difficult time making friends with most of our team – partially due to rainouts and partially due to personalities.  There is one couple, Alex & Marie, that has been on the same team with us all three times we have played in the league.  They are very nice.  There is also another couple, Chad & Courtney, who we really like.  They were on our very first team and we are still friends with them.  They might come to church with us sometime, which would be pretty cool.  They are super nice and friendly, and they invited us to watch all 3 Indiana Jones movies at their house last weekend.  It was LOOOOONG but we had a lot of fun, met some new people, and also they are awesome hosts.  They are the kind of people who take care of everything but let you help so you don’t feel useless.  I digress.

Anyway last night we showed up a bit late due to Bedford Snoball having pineapple jubilee.  Bedford Snoball makes the best snowcones in the world.  I am not kidding.  They use plenty of syrup, so you get lovely flavor and no risk of plain ice at the bottom.  Also they make jubilees everyday with fresh fruit in them and they are delicious.  Pineapple jubilee is my favorite.  It is like eating a juicy, ripe, slightly frozen Del Monte Gold pineapple.  I like to think of it as perfection in a 16-oz styrofoam cup.  I digress again, but only slightly.  Anyway my need for a pineapple jubilee outweighed any interest we had in showing up on time, so we were a bit late.  Our team was finally, FINALLY, at the end of the season, playing well.  I thought we had a really good shot at winning the game.  But it was not to be.  Lightning in the distant sky resulted in the game being called off just before halftime, and because we were down at the time it was chalked up as a loss.

However, we played pickup with them during the late game, which proceeded as planned.  And it was a lot of fun.  Actually it was the most fun we’ve had all season.  And I did pretty well, if I do say so.  I had this one awesome move where I was running toward the end zone, my defender a bit behind me, and the disc was thrown.  I kept running to meet it on its path to glory, and as I looked down to catch it I noticed the boundary of the end zone.  As I clasped the disc in my victorious hands, I kept my feet in the air to sail over the line, thus scoring an athletic and graceful-looking point.  Some people score points like this all the time, but I am such a klutz that I dropped out of ballet after a mere month because I couldn’t skip for the warmup.  So this was quite an accomplishment.  I credit the pineapple.

There was another moment that would have been my crowning achievement, but it was snatched from my fingers by one who is near and dear to me.  A different point, but once again running toward the end zone, fairly open, waving at the guy with the disc across the field to alert him to my open and touchdownable state.  He saw me.  He threw the dreaded hammer, in which the disc is sideways in the air and then comes down upside down.  I saw its path clearly and began booking it to our rendezvous point at the back of the endzone.  I am not speedy but at this moment I was hauling.  I knew in my soul I could get there and oh, what a glorious union it would be.  From the corner of my eye I saw Jake also running toward the disc from the other side of the field, guarded by a large, large man called Deaf (Def? Deff?) Jeff.  Surely, surely he will see and know that the throw was intended for me, see it is mine.  But see he did not.  And as I was reaching for the disc, I found myself violently thrown into the air, sliding across grass and then somersaulting in a James Bond-like move.  I had been hit by a husband and then by a large, large man who helped me up because Jake had landed on his face several feet away and was laughing too hard to get up.  He just flat out did not see me until the moment of collision.  I almost, almost had the disc when I was flying through the air…but the second hit and then the somersault knocked me out of reach.  I could have been great.

Lest you mistakenly think I am an athletic beast, full of power and coordination, I will inform you that the somersault was purely the result of momentum rather than planning or cool instinct.  I always wondered how and why people landed that way, and now I know: they don’t do it on purpose.

I was going to call this “good stuff” but that would be too matchy-matchy with my last post.

Anyway, Stuff Christians Like has some really good posts up today.  Including one about frisbee.

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