29 April 2009

Regarding packing

A few weeks ago I watched the movie "Australia" with my Aussie friend, Janette. It was a lovely movie, and I have a newfound appreciation for the song "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", the concept of the "walkabout", and the attraction of Hugh Jackman.

Beyond those, there was a quote in the movie that really resonated with me. Hugh Jackman's character "The Rounder" is with the prissy city woman (Nicole Kidman) who came looking for her husband in the Australian Outback, and he tells her what he's about:

"Most people like to own - y'know, land, luggage...people - makes them feel secure, but all that can be taken away. In the end, the only thing you really own is your story...[I'm] just trying to make it a good one."

I'm at the point of starting to consider my life as represented by my material possessions. Trying to condense your life into two 50-lb trunks will do that to you! Currently I have about 40-50 lbs of books alone, leave aside clothes and shoes and taco spices.

Basically I'm having to make some calls about how I identify myself through my stuff. Even my books are a judgement call, because I can't bring even half of the books I want to have with me, so which books do I really need? (Need? I don't need books to live, although sometimes it feels that way...)

Indeed, it is nice to have stuff. It's nice to feel ownership, but the truth is that stuff slows you down. That's why it's taking me months to trim down my collection of books and other things to a still generous amount of stuff that the airlines will let me carry over to Tanzania for free. It's both a privilege and a burden to own things. Am I secure enough to let go?

27 April 2009

"Leisha Flies Away"

My friends Bryan and Leah Rupp did a photo shoot for me a few days ago, and they've posted a few of the preliminary photos on their website.

Bryan and Leah have been such wonderful friends, from back in our days at the Ben Jaquith Agency of American Family Insurance. They're a wonderful couple, and Bryan's eye behind the camera has continuously astounded me. I feel really privileged to have my photos taken by a such a talented photography team.

22 April 2009

I'm really really blessed

This is an old photo, but I just want to give props to my home group for Imago Dei Community. I've been blessed to be part of the Northwest Home Community for a couple of years now, and they have exhibited true love and authenticity to me in so many ways. I really believe that God has created in us a desire to be known, to be part of community, but in all my years in the church, I've never been part of a group who love one another in such a real and committed way as those in my Home Community.

Thank you, friends, for being real people with problems and worries, and loving me, another person with problems and worries, who loves all of you.

17 April 2009

I know I'm not the first, but...

I have to talk about it. I've tried to resist, but I can't.


Susan freaking Boyle.

I admit that I'm a reality TV junkie. It's my guilty pleasure, although I've never really gotten into the American Idol, etc. genre. The main reason is that my heart hurts for those people in the first few weeks who are trying to pursue their dream and are put on television to be mocked and laughed at, ala William Hung.

For this woman to get up on stage, singing Les Miserables of all things, and not just live her dream, but blow it out of the water...just beautiful. It's one of those moments that makes me a bit more optimistic about the state of the world.

There is beauty in this world...
A beautiful voice singing a beautiful song...
A beautiful, brave spirit in a normal, average woman...
And there is redemption and grace even in reality television! Who knew?

14 April 2009

Thank God for Resurrection

So the past three months have been particularly difficult for me. I can't go into the reasons right at this moment, but my relationship with Jesus has been critical to my emotional health. He has been extremely close, in a more intimate way than I've ever experienced.

Because of that renewed closeness, Good Friday was different this year than it has ever been before. Somehow I knew that I wouldn't have the same closeness of Christ between Good Friday and Easter morning. I attended the Good Friday service at Imago Dei, and felt the violence and despair of the Crucifixion in a way I had never felt it before.

I began to realize in a new way the gift of the resurrection. The disciples and the women in Jesus' "posse" didn't understand His promise of resurrection, and I felt a tiny piece of that despair they must have felt.

Can we imagine, though, if Jesus hadn't risen from the dead? I cannot imagine the burden of being responsible for Jesus death through my sin, but also being responsible for the absence of His presence in my life and in the world. Talk about despair!

I realize this year, more than any other year, what a gift the resurrection is. What love and mercy our Father has given us, to give us the gift of salvation and redemption as well as then giving us the gift of Jesus' resurrection. The resurrection wasn't for Jesus, although nothing could have power over him, the resurrection was for me.

Thank God for Resurrection

11 April 2009

We're rich.

I just finished reading Rob Bell's first two books, and I've been listening to his sermons from Mars Hill Bible Church in Michigan on Itunes. Kate Cremisino, is a great writer and blogger and all around cool person who sponsors a great girl named Zuhura in Tanzania through our programs. She had this Nooma video from Rob Bell on her site. I am shamelessly stealing it. It's great. Please watch.

Nooma 13 - Rich from P-M Nordkvist on Vimeo.

03 April 2009

Words often in the media these days

I listen to a moderate amount of news on the radio, especially in the mornings. There are two names that have been very present in the media lately of which the pronunciation by members of said media is driving me crazy.

The country bordering Afghanistan which is being used as a "partner" and launching ground for much of the United States' operations in Afghanistan, and has recently been attacked several times by militants recently is called "pah-kee-stahn", not "pack-ih-stan".

The slightly homely Chancellor of Germany who is apparently rather suspicious of our President's fiscal policies and charming charisma is called "Ahn-guh-lah" Merkel, not "Ayn-jeh-lah" Merkel.

Rant concluded.