Sunday, July 20, 2008

On a lighter note!

This weekend our friend Adam (the one with the mullet) celebrated his birthday 80's style at the skating rink. Mark and I chickened out on full 80's decor. (I'm stilled scared.) But the costums were so much fun to see! (And so authentically 80's).

Saturday our good friend, Lesley Flores (on the left), was married to Brad Ashby. It was a beautiful wedding and the reception was a blast! Our friends, Jamie and Blake (who moved 3 wks ago) came in for the wedding and stayed with us. It was so fun catching up and visiting (until 2 am!). We had a great time.

I'm off to the beach for two days tomorrow with friends from work! I'm looking forward to hearing the sound of the's what I imagine angels wings sounding like. Summer's winding to a close so I'm soaking up every minute.

Friday, July 18, 2008


Last night I woke up nausiated and vomitted twice. I hate to throw up. It's disgusting, painful, and leaves a horrible taste in your mouth. No one wants to feel the involuntary pulsating reflex in your intestines, particulary because you know the burning sensation in your throat that will follow moments later. Moreover, no one wants to experience the complete lack of control that comes with purging...unless of course you've gotten to the point of surrender. You know what I mean. That moment that you realize that purging yourself of the toxins that are causing your body to retaliate is the only option unless of course you plan to be miserable in your nausia, sweating, and sleeplessness for several more hours. That's where I was at an ungodly hour this morning.
Isn't that just like our flesh; constantly resisting the purifying power of God. We try to ignore the sin in our lives. Maybe if we lay really still no one will be able to tell it's there, or maybe if we ignore the Holy Spirit's conviction, I will escape the pain of repentance. We don't want to experience the anguish involved in facing the reality of who we are apart from God. Our pride resists and supresses the purging of sin that must occur in our lives to become more like God. Instead we rebel in fear of the pain of relinquishing our hearts to God. The fact is that we will not be effective for God's kingdom in our generation if we do not allow God to purge us of the "sin that so easily entagles us". Yea, it's gross, painful, and uncomfortable, but until we surrender and allow God to purify us by washing our hearts, we will never experience the rest and healing that comes from eliminating the most ruthless toxin in our hearts: sin. Whether we want it to or not, it's going to come out. We might as well cooperate with God and get on with healthy living.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Musings at Midnight

It's 12:08 a.m. and I can't sleep. This often happens during the summer when I sleep until 10:00 in the morning. My internal clock is saying it's only 9:30 p.m. right now and there's no need to get in bed quite yet. My real-live clock reminds me that the sun is coming up in 5 1/2 hours and unless I want this to happen again tomorrow night, I better go to sleep. But it's summer, and I love staying up late. The only problem is that Mark still has to work and there's no one to stay up late with. Unfortunately, I lay in my bed thinking... wondering... pondering... thinking... wondering... pondering...and on and on until I just can't take anymore. Sometimes I count sheep, other times I do deep breathing, but most often I try to drink a steaming mug of caffine free hot tea. My favorite bedtime tea is cozy camomile or sleepy time. But that's not the only remedial tea you can find these days. There's detox tea, dieter's tea, energy tea, fruity tea, antioxidant tea, flowery tea, herbal tea, medicinal tea, and the list goes on. Their names alone offer hope to the sleepless, diet-obsessed, health nut, but somehow they always seem to come up short. As I laid in my bed tonight and let the wheels turn round and round in my head, it occured to me that too often I have let restlessness steal the joy that's found in waiting and expecting God to move in my life. We are often restless ramblers walking around with our eyes sealed giving the appearance of one who finds peace in God, but never truly surrendering our minds, bodies, and spirits to Him. We claim to know Him, to follow Him, and even to be satisfied with Him, but we impatiently seek a back up plan unless God doesn't come through for us and give us what He promises us. We doubt, attempt to hide our unbelief, and lower our expectations of God. Irritated with the inevidable lack of divine activity in our lives, we secretly sneak into the kitchen to indulge in a cunningly packaged flavor of tea that claims to provide whatever we need. Although delicious at first, the tea unavoidably, begins to taste like bland hot water, and it soon becomes a lukewarm letdown as you near the last sip. Reality is that if I simply went to bed at 10 and woke up at 6, as I do during the school year, I would probably not still be awake writing this and I would be fast asleep. I could drink all the tea in my cabinet and it would not give my body the rest that it needs. Only a disciplined schedule and peace of mind will give me that. Similarly, all the allurements of the world can not substitute the astounding glory that is revealed when we rest and wait expectantly for God to show up in our circumstances. When we "cease striving, and know that He is God" our mind is at peace, our hearts are at rest, our bodies are relaxed, and our spirits are full of hope. "Find rest oh my soul in God alone, my hope comes from Him..." How did we begin thinking that tea could give us that?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Ellis Marsalis!

Friday night, Mark and I went to hear Ellis Marsalis play at Snug Harbor. Snug Harbor is a small place near the French Quarter in the Marigny. They have great hamburgers and a jazz concert room. It was a great concert! What a cool thing it was to be in the same room with a legend. Ellis came out and was eating with friends after the show. Of course, I put on my best "begging smile" and got a picture with him. I felt so bad afterward. I'm sure he's had a lifetime of strange people wanting his picture. Our friend Geoff played on drums, and it was so much fun to watch them!

Saturday, we went to the New Orleans Museum of Art. It's free for LA residents! Anything's more fun when it's free! Fernando Botero's work was on display. We had a picnic at city park and I just about died of heat exhaustion. I'm exaggerating, but it really was hot!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A Fantastic 4th!

Mark's parents, sister and brother-in-law came in for the 4th of July. We had a blast! I was proud of NOLA for being so beautiful from Algiers Point as we watched fireworks crack over the Mississippi river. What a sight! Just before fireworks began a brass band that was performing in Blaine Kern's Mardi Gras World Museum led a "second-line" parade down the levee where spectators danced and cheered.

New Orleans does this to you. Just when you think you can't stand the sight of one more dilapidated house, feel the awful sensation of one more pot hole, or taste the sweat pouring from your upper lip as humidity floats like a fog over the city, she surprises you with just enough beauty to keep you wanting more.

You can't get any more New Orleans than Palace Cafe for dinner, a free tour of Mardi Gras World, a visit with Blaine Kern himself, and sparkling fireworks to the tune of a trumpet-blaring rendition of "When the Saints Go Marching In..."

I love this city.