i was late everywhere i went this week because i couldn’t tear myself away from reading this blog!  i finally, FINALLY got through all the posts this evening and now i can actually be punctual.  🙂 

anyway, kim revisits the babysitter’s club series and reports what the BSC wore… most importantly, what CLAUDIA wore.  and she snarks about it.  it’s amazing.

what claudia wore

and this is why

i am feeling so susceptible to the enemy’s lies today.  i’m not at peace.  my self-esteem feels shattered.  my self-worth is hinging on what people think of me.  i can feel that my validity as a person depends on who does or doesn’t talk to me and what they do or don’t say.  this is ridiculous.  i know the truth and i know that this is just an attack and it won’t last.  i know who i am, i know where my identity lies.  it’s just so hard sometimes to hold to that truth.

sometimes i hate how social networking can really alienate people.  it’s meant to bring us “together” but really can serve as a tool for pushing us even further apart.

i’m dealing with envy and idolatry.  and i hate it!  i want to feel peace.  i’ve prayed off and on this morning, asking forgiveness for the jealousy, asking for help in dealing with the feelings i don’t want to feel.  i don’t want to resent people.  i don’t want to waver in my identity and feel less worthy because so-and-so didn’t say such-and-such.

listening to jon foreman right now in hopes of getting a grip on myself.  “don’t let the panic bring you down” was the lyric repeating as i was typing that last line.  father, please don’t let the panic bring me down.

So, my mentor recommended “The Inner Voice of Love” to me back in November and I ordered it but never read it.  I never read – which I need to work on – but anyway.

While I was typing my blog last night, I was thinking about the various voices around me that I’ve heard throughout this process.  Most have been encouraging.  Other people are feeling the same way.  My mentor was so encouraging.  Graham told me “You’re not the same person you were when you were 22” esssentially saying that maybe the church is not the best fit anymore.  He has just been through a similar situation and I’ve seen how he has flourished after taking a step out – he’s an inspiration, for sure.  There have been voices not as positive as those, though.

However, I saw on facebook yesterday that my friend Brooke “became a fan of” Henri Nouwen and it reminded me of my unread “Inner Voice of Love.”  I picked it up last night and you’re supposed to read it slowly – as a devotional almost, but I kept turning the pages.  I couldn’t stop.  Every sentence seems so carefully crafted to strike at your core and get past your walls and get all the way to your heart and help bring healing.  It’s amazing so far.

So, a few seemed to apply to my current heart-situations… One is too personal and has to do with all of the blogs I deleted last month, haha but here is one that applies to last night’s blog:

Trust the Inner Voice

Do you really want to be converted?  Are you willing to be transformed?  Or do you keep clutching your old ways of life with one hand while the other you beg people to help you change?

Conversion is certainly not something you can bring about yourself.  It is not a question of willpower.  You have to trust the inner voice that shows the way.  You know that inner voice.  You turn to it often.  But after you have heard with clarity what you are asked to do, you start raising questions, fabricating objections, and seeking everyone else’s opinion.  Thus you become entangled in countless often contradictory thoughts, feelings, and ideas and lose touch with the God in you.  And you end up dependent on all the people you have gathered around you.

Only by attending constantly to the inner voice can you be converted to a new life of freedom and joy.

Now, obviously I think it’s important to have wise people around you helping you discern and figure things out… but maybe I should trust that inner voice more.

And maybe I shouldn’t blog about huge life decisions before they happen and get people’s opinions.  ha.  Don’t be surprised if that post disappears soon, ha.  It’s something that I haven’t even voiced with my fellowship group as a whole, so I feel bad about posting it online first…  but we meet tonight and I will definitely bring it up.

I’m in a really strange place right now.  I’ve felt for weeks that I’m on the cusp of a new adventure – that God has brought me to a specific place and I just need to take a step in faith to see where he leads me.  When I was home for Christmas, I was itching to get back here and enact change.  I came up with new ideas every day of ways I could change my environment or life.  I could paint my bedroom, I could build shelves in the living room, I could paint the living room, I could buy a new chair, I could hang drapes in the dining room, I could rearrange my room, and so on and so on.  (It didn’t help that I watched a lot of HGTV while I was home and was really inspired!)    It wasn’t just my house that I thought about changing – my craving extended to other areas of my life.

I tried out a new church the Sunday before I went home for Christmas.  I went to Midtown in the morning, even went to the congregational meeting afterwards, then went to Crosspoint that night.  I had prayed a week or two earlier that if someone invited me to church, I would go.  Crosspoint came up multiple times in conversation and I had friends there and when someone who doesn’t go there said, “You should try Crosspoint,” I gave in.

I had a hard time with it.  I was constantly comparing it to Midtown.  “That’s not how we do it at Midtown, we would never do THAT at Midtown, we do THIS at Midtown.”  It was really hard to clear my head of 4.5 years of comfort & familiarity.  I like Midtown.  I love Midtown.  I went the very first Sunday I lived in Nashville and hardly ever missed a Sunday that I was in town.  Midtown has been my home and community since I set foot in this city.  I have been in 3 fellowship groups across those 4.5 years and I have met amazing people.  I have loved, I have been loved.

But I’ve been restless lately.  Things have been happening in my heart and mind that make me wonder if I need to shake things up a bit.  I’ve settled into a comfort zone and now my heart is not as engaged as it could be.  I find it hard to connect the dots in the sermons, I find myself craving more structure.  Changes are being set in motion at Midtown and it makes me think: Maybe it’s not a coincidence that I am restless, aching for a change in my life at the same exact time that things are getting stirred up at Midtown.

It could go either way:  the changes could totally re-inspire me at Midtown…. or they could give me confirmation that it is time to step into a new adventure and season of life.

I am trying to seek God’s will – I know he prods me along in life and puts me where he wants me.  Looking back, I totally see that.  But it’s been awhile since I’ve stepped really out of my comfort zone and said “Yes, I trust you in this decision.”

I hate sticking to comfort zones – I gravitate toward them and then I’m miserable.  In high school, I went to Girls State (don’t ask if you don’t know – it’s just a weeklong government camp for HS girls.  It’s awful) with my 3 best friends.  I didn’t make new friends there but when I looked around, everyone else was making new friends.  I was so grateful for my girlfriends, but there could have been so much more there for me that I missed out on because I stuck to the familiar and the comfortable.

I think I remember in high school Emily telling me that she hoped I would move away for college and take a chance.  I did – not TOO far away, but I did move away.  I didn’t know anyone at DePauw and that forced me to grow and stretch and make my own way.  Then I moved to Nashville where I had a handful of acquaintances and I forged ahead, making my own way.  4.5 years later, I am settled into what is familiar and wondering if I am missing out on something because I am sticking to the familiar and comfortable.

There are a few fears associated with all this.

1.  I’m scared that saying I want more or that I want a change is telling God that I’m not content with what he has given me.  I’m scared it’s a slap in the face and that I’m telling him what he is providing isn’t good enough for me and I want something different.  Is that rational?  Irrational?  I’m not sure.  A few weeks ago I realized the paradox of my life is that I want a quiet, contented heart but yearn – even ache for a change right now.  Does the need for change essentially say “You are not enough for me?”

2.  Leaving my comfort zone!  This is huge.  I look around Midtown and see people I have known and cared for for a long, long time.  What will happen to those friendships?  How will I feel when they move on without me?  How will I feel when photos pop up on facebook of them having a good time without me?  I know these are very immature, selfish fears but I can’t help but be plagued by them.

3.  What if I make a mistake in stepping out?  Looking back, the risks I have taken that are similar to this have never seemed like mistakes in hindsight.  I have been grateful for them and for the new opportunities.

I am continuing to go to Midtown in the morning.  Randy is preaching about the vision of Midtown throughout January while Pete at Crosspoint preached about the vision there on Sunday.  He starts a new series called “Paralyzed” next Sunday all about – you guessed it – fear.  “Fear is the #1 dream-buster,” he declared on Sunday.

In all of this, I neglected to mention that the 2nd and 3rd times at Crosspoint were easier to swallow.  I wasn’t AS struck by the major differences between the 2 churches.  I really, really liked last Sunday and even ran into some friends there – which was awesome.

All this to say: prayers for discernment would be much appreciated.  I will be church double-dipping for awhile as I continue to pray and try to discern where I belong.  This is a pretty big decision and it’s scary to make on my own – even though I know I’m not alone in it.

i’m hopping on the bandwagon and doing a year in pictures post. here goes! 🙂  BUT I got tired of it pretty quickly, so I’m not really elaborating on them.  🙂

January:

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Shannon and me New Year’s Eve 2007 at Patrick and Betsy’s

February:

dsc032711Patrick, Grey, and David (Patrick Collum and the Law) played at the 5 spot on Patrick’s birthday.  We all had fun!

March:  (several – march was apparently really exciting!)

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I met a leprechaun!

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Carrie and I saw “Who’s Bad” – the Michael Jackson tribute band.  Amazing!

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I got a dog!  Louie is the best!!!

dsc03430We saw Jimmy Fallon at Zanies!

April:

The only pics I have in my iphoto from April are of Newworldson at GMA!  LOVE THEM!

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dsc03511hair/makeup by autumn petersen!  🙂   me with josh, then me with mark.

May:

dsc03547Dayna graduated from med school and I went up to Indiana to celebrate with her!

dsc03580I got as close as I could to the twin spires at Churchill Downs – we had a little suite on mother’s day – it was awesome!

dsc03759I turned 26 and Dawn made me an awesome fiesta cookie cake!

June:

dsc03834Carly and Brent moved away  😦   but they had a fun going away party!

dsc03840I dressed up as Amy Winehouse for the first time for Stoneroo 08 (Graham Stoner’s guitar hero party) and LOVED it.

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I met Ira Glass!  (yes, it’s sideways… i can’t get it rotated… oh well)

dsc03936Creation Northeast – not much to show for it except this pic of Amy Grant with Hawk Nelson.  Random, right?

July:

dsc04094i am kinda a rockstar at Creation NW.

dsc04034SO beautiful.

August:

dsc04672The Wilson County fair is pretty awesome – unfortunately all the really good pics were on Andra’s camera and not mine 🙂

I went to CO but apparently those pics aren’t on this computer!

September:

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I had a labor day party – this is me and Janelle!

dsc04703Sassy ladies with candy cigarettes at Gabe’s birthday dance party at the Jarhole.

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Shannon and Grey got married!  I love this pic of Shannon from the hotel before the wedding- someone in the lobby had that ridiculous hat and we made her take a pic with it 🙂

October:

was so busy and fun!

dsc04867we went to a cornmaze!  me and kelee on the scary tractor that takes you out to the maze.

dsc04956we carved pumpkins in my garage!

dsc04988i dressed up as amy winehouse again.. (this time for halloween, duh) and met chewbacca!

November:

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Mishy’s baby shower!!  yay for baby mia!!

December:

TATTOO!!!

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Dinner with the girls and their significant others… i love them all 🙂

dsc05154Me and my mom at Christmas (we didn’t take many Christmas pics with my camera)

dsc05199Dancing at the Jars’ pre-emptive NYE party!

OK, ta-da!  Here’s to 2009!

Two things I’ve come upon in the past 24 hours that are completely AWESOME:

tokbox.com: you can video conference with multiple, i meant MULTIPLE people – without having to sign up or download anything! the only person that has to sign up is the person who starts the conference. oh yeah, it’s free. i created a “room” last night and invited my friends janelle, derek, graham, and grant and we had 4 people at one point.

It was FUN!

ohdontforget.com: You can set reminder texts (FOR FREE) to come to your phone (or anyone else’s). You can set them up on a schedule or send them immediately. AMAZING. How many times have I emailed myself and kept the email as new so that I would remember something? COUNTLESS. This could revolutionize my life!!

I love podcasts… which is funny because I never thought podcasts would last. I scoffed at them. “What’s the point?!” I wanted to know.

Now, I’m an avid podcast listener. I didn’t realize back then that I would become sucked into the world and culture of NPR. I didn’t realize that a 50 year old guy from Chicago would become one of my all-time favorite people in the world. (Ira Glass of This American Life fame). I didn’t realize that I would listen to people on podcasts that I would want to know, and would want to write, and would be elated when they wrote back.

I am going to introduce you to my favorite podcasts and also tell you some stories about how podcasts have affected my life.

All time favorite:

This American Life. Really, it is the best thing on radio. In popular culture. I love it. Each week, Ira takes a topic and dissects it through 1-5 stories from different contributors. Writers, comedians, news reporters, regular folk… It is so entertaining and informative! And when you meet a fellow TAL listener, it’s like an automatic goldmine of topics of conversation. “Do you remember the one with the girl that worked at FAO Schwartz? What about the one where the women were switched at birth? Can you believe that?!”

I met Ira Glass. It was wonderful. He is wonderful. He is quirky and smart and witty. He spoke in Nashville over the summer and I went and stood in line to get a book he edited signed. I told him that I interview people for a living and asked if he had a favorite interview question. I explained hearitfirst.com to him and he thought for a minute and gave me some interview ideas.. all of which I’ve asked before. BUT, it was cool for just that minute to think that Ira Glass thought he was helping me break ground. Love him. 🙂

New favorite:

The Moth Podcast. People tell stories without notes in front of a live audience. The range of stories is so vast and so interesting. There’s a new story every week and they’re usually about 10-15 minutes long. They are awesome.

The one I downloaded today “The Funny One” by Elna Baker was awesome. I wanted to hear more, so I visited ElnaBaker.com and she has MORE stories there! She is absolutely hilarious – she is a mormon writer living (and trying to date) in New York City. She is really open about her faith and her values and her struggles.. all while making you laugh hysterically. Check out the video below (it’s not vulgar but it does mention anatomy…. so um… watch at your own risk. ha).

So, I wrote Elna today. I told her I loved her stories and that I admire her conviction and her candor about her values and that it was refreshing to hear someone my age and in my stage of life on podcasts and on NPR (she contributes to This American Life) that shares my (core) values etc. She wrote me back pretty quickly and was very nice. I love how the internet makes the world smaller and everyone more accessible!

Other new favorite:

Radio Lab from WNYC. They also take a topic and dissect it, but in a more scientific manner. They use psychology studies to shed light on a topic and they are really innovative in their editing and the layers of sounds they broadcast… It draws you in and then keeps you hooked!

Standards:

Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. A quiz show about the news featuring comedians as the contestants. Mo Rocca and Paula Poundstone are on it. Very entertaining!


Car Talk.
The funniest show on the radio happens to be about car repair! I don’t care about cars but I could listen to Tom and Ray all day long!

If you’re driving around the holidays, subscribe to these podcasts, throw them on your iPod and enjoy. You’ll thank me later for these hours (and even years) of enjoyment that are sure to follow!!!!

Any others you’d recommend?? Any fun stories about podcasts? Leave ’em in the comments. 🙂

…when it’s freezing. Any ideas?

Here’s the deal: I’ve been to Chicago several times. I haven’t been THAT impressed with it – so now’s the time to let this city shine. I’m going January 16th or 17th through the 20th (INAUGURATION DAY!!!) so it will be COLD. I know this. When I was in HS, my family and I went to Chicago over Christmas. We had to buy new winter-wear while we were there – including umbrellas. It rained a lot and it was COLD. And it got dark at 4:30. Ugh.

My other high school Chicago experience was a Key Club trip (international convention, baby! wow, what dorks). 🙂 We stayed downtown and were there on a Sunday and nothing was open. We couldn’t find a single place to get dinner. We were frustrated and all declared that we hated Chicago because we had so much free time and nowhere to go!

I went in college and we drove and went to a show at that well-known club that’s down the street or in the same neighborhood as an army surplus/unique stuff store. That was a fun trip because it had a purpose – we were there for a show. We also had a car so we could get around and we went shopping on Michigan Ave…. it was good! (Man I miss crazy spontaneous roadtrips with Kelsey!) 🙂

Post-college, I went to Chicago to visit my same friends that I’m visiting now – but we stayed in Naperville – which was fine with me because all I wanted to do was go to Ikea! (Aaaand hang with my friends.) 🙂 We went to a really fun tapas place and had quality time together and it was awesome.

But now I’m itching for some city time. I want to be amidst the hustle and bustle and I want to experience the CITY. Of course I will be with my friends I’m there to visit and of course I don’t mind experiencing Naperville with them…. but I definitely want to check out what Chicago has to offer.. now that I’m 26 and an adult and into WAY different things than I ever was before. Art galleries? Yes please! Wine bar? Sure why not? Decorating/design stores? Uh huh!

So, here’s the part where you tell me what is a “must-see” in Chicago. (Something more original than Navy Pier, please – UNLESS it has gone through significant changes in the past 10 years). 🙂 I don’t mind doing all the normal stuff, but I want to know “off-the-beaten” path Chicago!

“If men and women were surer of their God there would be more genuine manliness, womanliness, and godliness in the world, and a whole lot less fear of each other.”

this page is me and what i want to talk about. if you feel apt to judge, then move along... thanks!

my art attempts

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