Friday, April 20, 2007

This World Is Not My Home

Help me Lord cause I don't understand your ways
The reason why I wonder if I'll ever know
But, even if you showed me, the hurt would be the same
Cause I'm still here so far away from home

I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
I've never been more homesick than now

- from the song "Homesick" by Mercy Me.

"And if I weep let it be as a man
Who is longing for his home."

from the song "If I Stand", by Rich Mullins.

Have you ever been homesick? I don't mean the homesickness of wanting to go back to the house you grew up in, or traveling and wishing you were back in your own bed at home. I mean the homesickness of grieving this world and just longing for heaven - our final, true home.

When Bart Millard of the band Mercy Me was asked about the meaning behind the lyrics of "Homesick" (the song I quoted above) he said he wrote it after his brother-in-law was killed in a car accident. He said, "It talks about getting the raw end of the deal when your loved one passes on and you stay here with the pain of not having them. Of course, having that person as an investment in heaven really makes you homesick all the more. We're just passing through this place, and heaven is our ultimate home."

There are times when I just feel like I can't take this world anymore and just long for heaven, when my life is barraged with loss and everything that is broken and wrong with this sinful, fallen world. Sometimes I just don't understand why we have to stay here and endure it all. Do you ever feel that way? What do you do or what have you found that helps to bring you out of this funky feeling? Is this what Matthew 5 is talking about ("Blessed are those who mourn...")? Drop me a comment and let me know your thoughts.

P.S. Just as I was finishing this post, I read a friend's blog, and discovered he's posting/talking about a very closely related topic. I encourage you to check it out, and participate in that discussion as well.

I thought some of you might be interested in the picture I used above. It is a close-up shot of the Angel of Grief, a 1894 sculpture by William Wetmore Story that he created in memory of his wife Emelyn, and
serves as the grave stone for both the artist and his wife at the Protestant Cemetery in Rome, Italy. I think it is a beautiful and unusual piece of sculpture. You can see more pictures of it here.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Are You Superstitious?

Happy Friday the 13th! With a date like today's, it made me wonder how many of you out there are superstitious?

When I was very young, I decided that the number 13 would be my favorite or "lucky" number. I adopted it as my number, specifically because I thought it was silly that people were afraid or superstitious of it. I don't think any numbers are "magical" and definitely don't believe in numerology. It's just the number I use when I need one that's easy to remember - like for my email address.

Did you know, fear of the number 13 is termed triskaidekaphobia? Due to this fear, some tall buildings, especially hotels, have resorted to skipping the thirteen floor, either by numbering it "14" or by designating the floor as "12a" or something similar. Similarly, some streets do not contain a house number 13. Isn't that silly? The late comedian Mitch Hedberg had a joke about this: "Some hotels don't have a thirteenth floor for superstitious reasons...but you guys on the fourteenth floor...we all know what floor you're really on... try it, jump out the window, you will die sooner..."

I don't really have or believe in any other superstitions either, like walking under a ladder, broken mirrors, black cats, etc. The most I've ever caught myself doing is wishing on a falling star, or tossing a pinch of spilled salt over my shoulder. Isn't it funny, how we do those things almost without thinking - without realizing how silly and pointless they are? Is it a cultural thing? What do you think? Drop me a comment and let me know what your favorite number is or if you have any superstitions you can't seem to shake.

I, personally, take comfort in knowing that God is in control, and we don't need to perform goofy little rituals to ensure good fortune or to make things right in our world.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

How to Boil Water

This is a plaque I have sitting on my stove at home. Seriously. It's funny because it's true. I am about to admit an embarrassing fact; I cannot cook.

It's really embarrassing when we have people visiting and staying with us and we have to eat out the whole time they are here. It's also embarrassing when all our wonderful local friends invite us over for dinner and I feel like I can't return the favor. What am I going to do, invite them over for grilled cheese sandwiches? I don't think so.

Now mind you, my husband and I don't starve. But the things I do know how to cook are either out of a box or don't require a whole lot of cooking to begin with. And the worst part is most of it is unhealthy. Not only that, but because I can't cook, we frequently resort to eating out. And not only is that unhealthy but it's expensive.

When I was a kid, I was always "shooed" out of the kitchen and was never allowed to help or watch what my mom was doing. So I never learned from my mom. In college, I ate at the union. Then, when I was a newlywed, with my own home and my own kitchen, at a time when most gals are learning to cook through trial by fire (sometimes literally - ha ha), instead, I was grabbing something quick in a hospital cafeteria. My father was in the hospital, and every waking minute that I wasn't at work, I was there with him and my family. Food was an afterthought. Then, after my dad was gone, the "eating out" precedent or habit had been set.

Regardless of all the excuses or reasons or whatever, this whole food situation is driving me nuts. I want to be healthy. I want to save money. I want to be a good hostess and be able to invite people over for dinner. So I'm reaching out to you, my faithful readers. I'm desperate. What is one of your favorite, most satisfying (and preferably easy) recipes? If you would be so generous, leave me a recipe in the comments. What is your favorite, most useful cookbook? Or, give me some tips on how you plan your menu and shop for groceries. Any tip, trick or recipe would be greatly appreciated. And just of these days...I'll thank you by inviting you over for dinner! ;)

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter!

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."

John 3:16-17

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Our Friend, Navi

Peace, perfect peace, in this dark world of sin:
The blood of Jesus whispers peace within.

Peace, perfect peace, by thronging duties pressed:
To do the will of Jesus--this is rest.

Peace, perfect peace, with sorrows surging round:
On Jesus' bosom naught but calm is found.

It is enough: earth's struggles soon shall cease,
And Jesus calls us to heaven's perfect peace.

"Peace, Perfect Peace," Hymn by Edward H. Bickersteth, 1875
Philippians 4:7

Today we say good-bye to our friend Navi. She was a sweet, beautiful, funny girl and I can't believe she's gone. My heart is so sad, I don't know what else to say.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Shout Out to My Chi-Town Friends!

When I started this blog, I didn't necessarily want it to be an online diary and didn't want to talk about "personal" stuff. However, I just got back from a trip to Downers Grove, IL, (a suburb of Chicago) to visit some long-time friends and had such a fabulous time - I just had to mention it here. Plus, I know that one of them feels like a celebrity when he gets mentioned on a blog. ;-) So here you go, C. - bask in the glow.

It was rainy and foggy the whole time I was there (which did wonders for my hair), but it didn't matter - the pleasant company was bright and sunny. We hung out, laughed a lot, watched movies and I played with their little girl, who is sweet, funny, smart and absolutely adorable. (Just look at that picture!)

I also took a tour with my stomach through all of Chicago's famous foods. We ate a hot dog at Chicago's famous Portillo's Hot Dogs, had Chicago-style stuffed pizza at Giordano's, devoured frozen custard from Culver's, and had fresh caramel corn from Garrett's (mmm...I'm craving some right now). On our way to Garrett's, they told me people stand in long lines outside the store for hours to get some, and I didn't believe it. After eating some - I am now a believer. Heavenly!

Since the weather was gray and gloomy, most of the things we went and did were confined to indoors. I went to story time at the library with T. and L., went to church on Sunday at the Church of Christ of Downers Grove, visited the Museum of Science and Industry, and found some awesome buys at a local craft fair. The museum was huge and packed (probably because everyone was on spring break), but they had a lot of really cool displays, including a miniature fairy tale castle that I fell in love with.

But all trips are bittersweet in that they all must eventually come to an end. It was very hard to say good-bye and get on that plane. My visit with my friends made my heart happy and was the "mental health" break that I didn't even know I needed until I was there. Good fellowship, good food, good times. I can't wait until next time!

Even though it was sad to say good-bye to my friends, it was a wonderful feeling to be back home with my dear husband. He had just recently started a new job and couldn't take time off of work to come with me, so it was very hard to leave him behind and be away from him. That was the longest we'd ever been apart and we really missed each other. :-( Next time I go to Chicago, he's definitely coming with me!