Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Breaking Lent?

Some friends have commented that I've been on facebook since I've been posting notes. Well, I'm not on facebook, I'm just cheating : ) My blog uploads directly to my facebook and, without facebook, I've been able to process more thoughts I wanted to blog about. Enjoy!

P.S. I don't know what it is about Lenten services on Wednesday nights, but I think they're great! I went to the Lutheran church down the street last year and enjoyed it, so this year, I'm attending again.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lenten Lamentin'

I have food to eat, clothes to wear (most of them still fit), a place to live, a church to go to, a cell phone (with texting), twitter, email, Skype, and a blog, but oh...I miss Facebook! There are people I don't have contact with through any other means and that, I believe, is the hardest thing. I've broken my Lent fast about three times in order to facebook message those whose phone numbers and email addresses I do not have and need to get a hold of (and they have reminded me I am not to be on Facebook now). It seems ridiculous and un-beneficial that I am cutting myself off from "the world" in this way (but maybe they are glad to get a break from me : ) ). I have photos to upload, statuses to read, and witty things to post to my wall. And...I have all this free time... My homework is actually getting done. My Bible is actually getting read (in fact, I emailed my pastor a few in depth theological questions I have wrestled with for quite some time). I have time to watch endless amounts of Olympic ski jumping and ice dancing (grrrr NBC). I helped pack meals for the poor. I feel more focused. I no longer have this urge to check my facebook (just my email). I even played Wii with the neighbor girls! Maybe being off Facebook is not that bad, but I do miss my 243 friends. But I guess if they truly were my friends and not simply statistics, I would hear from them, they would have my number. So, dear, dear, facebook friends, come Easter I will cherish you all the more, and read your status updates and posts all the less!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Cousin of Frugality

Oh yah! I almost forgot: my cousin is famous! She has an amazing blog: Check it out! : )

Winter Fun

This past weekend, my parents and I went up north for a day simply to get away. My dad has now snowmobiled with all of his children, which he is pretty happy about. And my mom got me to cross country ski with her while we both wore ski shoes three sizes too large. Our neighbor's dog tagged along with us. Meanwhile, we cleared off our unmaintaned rink and I took a little skate.


So, last week, we were Stamped as I wrote about experiencing the World Vision Experience: AIDS exhibit. This week at church, we had Ash Wednesday. As far as I know, it is a made-up holiday. But underneath the stories of the ashes poofing upon impact due to carpet static and pastors using printer toner in place of ashes, the holiday has significant meaning. It is meant as an extended time to prepare oneself for Good Friday and the Easter celebration that follows. Since our church is normally loud, enthusiastic, and video few every weekend, it is nice to have a few times a year we come together as our campus and quietly observe holidays. We do this twice a year: Thanksgiving Eve and Ash Wednesday. The services are an extended time of worship, a short time of teaching and reflection, communion, and (for Ash Wednesday) the ashes. What a powerful time.

For Lent, I gave up facebook. It as been interesting because I don't miss it. Even though I did dream about reading status updates last night and throughout the day my thoughts revolve around "Bethany is...". I miss chatting with friends, but I don't miss the endless, often unimportant statuses, links, updates, and posts to read. I also do not miss how easy it is to compare my life to others, well, what they put on facebook. So, for me, I've learned, in a small way, it is about giving up something you think you cannot live without and realizing, in even a small way, God truly is all you need.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Our church is doing a series call the 6:8 Project, focusing on Micah 6:8. One experience this week involves eating like the world's poor: rice, beans, oats, tap water, that's it. Next week, we will be packing food to send overseas as Feed My Starving Children will be setting up a packing line at our church. But this evening, a girl from my small group and I went to the Experience:AIDS World Vision had set up at our church.

Upon entering the gym, I was given an audio device to walk me through the tour. I got Kombo's story, which you can see here. It is a story of a small boy growing up in Kenya. His father is gone and his mother dies of AIDS. During part of the experience, I, as Kombo, walked into a "clinic" to be tested for AIDS. When the audio prompted me, I went up to a station and got my hand stamped. I got a red X, I had AIDS. My heart sank. "Snap out of it! Its just an audio tour! Its just a stupid stamp!" I thought as my heart sank. And then the reality hit...for some people, for Kombo (a real child), this was a real experience. They can't turn off the audio tour, they don't hand their headphones back at the end, they can't wash off the stamp. However unfair it may be, they have AIDS. What a heart wrenching experience! To experience my heart sink upon receiving that stamp and then the reality of experiencing it 1,000 times worse, was wrenching.

Upon exiting the exhibit, I read through the other stories and realized that the audio tour I was given was the only Kenyan child. It touched me closely because the child I sponsor, Desma, is in Kenya. Similar to Kombo, she has no memory of her father and during the time I've sponsored her, her mother has died of AIDS. It is hard to comprehend that these are real people, real lives, real situations. They happen every day, thousands of miles away. I need to 1) write to Desma more and 2) pray for her more. It is easier to remember to pray for the people I influence and see on a daily basis, but hard to remember Desma whom I've never met and lives miles away.

It was a touching experience. A quiet, relaxed, moving experience.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A.D.D. Church

Have you noticed that church these days is loud? Its flashy. Its fast beat. Its visually stimulating. Its on time. The audio/visual effects rival some of the most recent Hollywood movies! Some of this is great! It is convenient for our busy, western schedules. But sometimes I miss the quiet moments of church. I miss the awe felt when watching the sun dance through stained glass. I miss the songs going a little long simply because we felt like singing the chorus one more time. I miss acknowledging the "church calendar" (Easter, Christmas, Ash Wednesday, Epiphany, etc). I miss being able to clearly hear God through the noise. I miss it. Perhaps I'm a traditionalist or its my introversion coming out. But mostly I think it is my discomfort with the church looking more and more like the world. Yes, we want to do things well, we want to give our best, but as we are doing and being the best to impress the world and draw them in, what are we drawing them into? Is God Himself not impressive and enticing enough? Shouldn't the church be a quiet shelter from the pressures and noise of the world; a place of peace?

Don't get me wrong, I love my church! I think their ministry philosophy of loud music and edgy light shows both for kids and adults is fantastic and draws people who would otherwise not show interest in church. The lights, noise, etc are great tools used to bring people to God! There are screens EVERYWHERE, but used for information and out of necessity to see words and people. The excitement that fills the buildings and the people is from the joy we feel from God's great forgiveness. It is genuine and real, but it is loud.

Yes,sometimes, I miss the quiet. Shhh....

Monday, February 1, 2010


Food goal
So, I've not been keeping up, but I've been doing well and have been surprised how far my low-cost Aldi trips have gone! I have only spent 25% of my month's grocery budget and the month is 1/2 over! I'm excited about that!

There is a challenge coming up this next week that I would like to take on. This has to do with my church and our focus on the poor in our next series. We are being encouraged to eat like the poor (rice, oats, etc). You can learn more about that here: Join in!

Hmm...I am not doing well at this at all! I have been ice skating each week and that is good exercise, but not enough. My family bought me Just Dance for the Wii for Valentine's and that is quite a work out, so I try to do that.

Three people were added to our small group, so those will be new friends. Also, I am hosting a party this weekend for my apartment neighbors, so I hope to get to know them a little more. I feel I have been doing well on this goal.

God's Guidance
Oh it is so easy to think I have my life all together and not need God's guidance, but I need it even more! I do need to stay diligent on this task!

Thanks for reading!