Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Top 5 Movie Lines that Changed My Life...and Why

5. "I believe... I believe...It's silly, but I believe." - Miracle on 34th Street
Little Susan really didn't want to believe in Santa Claus, but she did anyway. Although I knew eventually Santa Claus wasn't a man coming down my chimney, this movie showed me at a young age what faith was all about.

4. "Where the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window." - Sound of Music
I don't know if this line was first uttered in this movie, but that's where I first heard it. This was somewhere around the part of the movie where Mother Abbess sings "Climb Every Mountain" and quotes Psalm 121...."I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, whence cometh my help." That was a favorite passage of my Mom's which became a favorite passage of mine.

3. "Look around you. There is not a life in this room that you have not touched, and each of us is a better person because of you. We are your symphony Mr. Holland. We are the melodies and the notes of your opus. We are the music of your life." - Mr. Holland's Opus
I cry every time I watch this part of the movie. Mr. Holland lays aside his dream of writing the most beautiful opus to invest in young lives. For someone like me who longs to write the great American novel, but is preoccupied with investing in the blessings of my life, this movie is very affirming.

2. "Not all who wander are aimless." - Mona Lisa Smile
Many view this movie as a stand for feminism, but the teacher, Katherine Watson, wasn't anti-marriage, she was a supporter of women having purpose. Her singleness in the 50's wasn't as easy as women have it today. This movie encourages me that I have a purpose to invest in the lives of others, even as a single woman.

1. "I would rather have thirty minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special. " - Steel Magnolias
I could write an entire blog entry about why Steel Magnolias is my all time favorite movie. But this line has formed my life. I would rather enjoy the moment, 'carpe diem', than live a life of mediocrity. My life is a wonderful collection of many 30 minutes.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Mystery of Quiet Time

In the Christian world, there is a phrase we commonly use called "quiet time" - the way we describe the personal time we spend growing in Christ. It can contain prayer, Bible study, journaling, and/or scripture memorization. Although there are a myriad of structures to a personal quiet time, there is no hard and fast rule of how it should look.

And, therein lies the rub.

I had a conversation with a friend of mine the other day, inquiring about how I structured my devotional time (another moniker for quiet time). She knows my somewhat obsessiveness of routine and figured I could share some insights. So I lined out what I do each day, and what I strive to do each day, and what I wish I could do each day. And, confessing to her that I'm not where I want to be. This exercise of explanation made me throw out the question, "Do you find this "quiet time" a mystery?" We, as Christians, throw out that phrase and lingo freely, yet how many people have really been helped practically by being shown what that looks like? For someone new to Christianity, they think quiet time is that game your Mom used to make you play when you'd run around her feet for an hour giggling and driving her crazy. Or that it's some magical mixture of some act that when you're done you say, "Wow, I'm all better now!"

I believe the reason we are so nebulous about this quiet time is because if we truly were transparent enough to share what we do daily, we'd be ashamed to call ourselves Christians. I know many days I am. I'm convicted when I know I'm counting down the hours to the next episode of Heroes, yet, do I get that excited to look forward to spending time with God? And, do I go beyond that "quiet time" slot to actually practically live out my Christianity? Am I "Praying without ceasing" as the Scripture teaches? And, do I look at daily experiences in my life and meditate on what God is doing in my life through this?

I'd love to know if anyone else has battled this mystery of quiet time. Instead of measuring your effectiveness through what you can check off on your quiet time list, look at your life and see if you have grown more in the last 3 months, 6 months, or a year; that's a true indicator that you are allowing your quiet time to take root. At this time of year, I'm thankful that I have a God who loves me beyond how little I show that love back in return - a quiet, unrelentless love.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


One of my favorite movie lines is from the chick flick, Return to Me. Bob Rueland, the character played by David Duchovny, lost his wife, Elizabeth, in a car accident and found love again in Grace, played by Minnie Driver. I'll avoid any spoilers, but if you love a good romance, check this one out. Bob's captivating line is "I miss Elizabeth. I'll always miss her. But I ache for Grace."

Everytime I hear that line I let out a feminine sigh. Oh to be loved so much that he aches for me! Recently I had a conversation with a great friend of mine about my singleness. She had passed along an article in hopes of encouraging me, but alas, it was one of my less than stellar days as a single. In thanking her for her well-intentioned act (probably no one other than my Mom who's gone on to Heaven wants to see me married more than this dear friend), I explained to her my longing to be married in a way that finally makes sense to me.

I ache to be married. It's a nagging emotional pain somewhere in the depths of my heart. Part of it comes from the way God created me to crave relationship and the other part comes from my taste of good relationships along my journey. Some days I feel the ache more than others and begin to question, "Do I not desire marriage anymore?"since my ache had dulled. And then while replying, an analogy dawned on me that worked and helped me realize, yes, Virginia, I still want to get married.

I have a chronic illness known as rheumatoid arthritis. Unlike the osteo version, this usually hits in your 20s and 30s and is an immune-based disease, not a wearing out of the joints. I was diagnosed quite a few years ago and have been treated for it to allow me to live a fairly normal life. Sure, I have my physical limitations, but for the most part, I do what I want. But, as part of this disease, pain is an everyday occurance. A day doesn't go by that I don't have some ache or pain in some joint of my body. Some days are better than others. The bottom line is, the RA doesn't go away, it's still there, just not as apparent on some days.

And then it hit me.

That's exactly how I can describe my longing for a mate. The ache is there, just not always apparent everyday. Not because it has left, but because I've learned to deal with it, much like my RA. If I focused on my RA symptoms on a daily basis, I'd not get much accomplished. And, some days, if I focused on my singleness everyday, I'd wallow in the mire of "woe is me."

Aches and pains are indicators that something isn't right. And, although I am complete in Christ, I know the marriage ache indicates my desire for relationship. My RA may never go away this side of Glory, but, if God blesses, maybe my marriage ache will.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Smart TV

Back in the Spring, I started watching Alias. Now, granted, the last season of the series ended in the Spring, but I was starting from ground zero, Season 1. From the pilot, I was hooked. It was smart tv. A show that made me sit on the edge of my seat, and try to figure out all that is going on that isn't clear. It was like watching a puzzle on my tv screen. I like to watch televison for mindless entertainment at times, but I enjoy a good show that shakes the cobwebs in my brain.

I've finished Season 2 and am taking a hiatus (I'm so Hollywood at times) before continuing with the storyline. Season 2 ended with quite a shocker so I'm savoring it a little while longer. I know that in 3 more seasons, Alias will be over for me.

Given my love of Alias, I decided to find a new show this Fall I could watch that would challenge my mind. Since the late 90's, I haven't watched a lot of network TV (other than a few Reality shows) but I decided to check out the new offerings. After watching week one of a few shows, it was a no-brainer that my Fall TV romance was going to be with Heroes.

For those who haven't seen it, the show consists of random people who have supernatural powers, such as flying, time/space teleporting, mind-reading, and other odd gifts, like painting the future. To explain it any further would require a long conversation. There are many different plots running simultaneously and characters referred to as "HRG" (Horn-Rimmed Glasses) that require a full dissertation on their dossier.

I'm hooked. They had me at the Pilot episode. As a viewer, I know enough to follow the show yet don't know enough to figure out everything that is going on. I'm even geeky enough to tape it so I can watch it again to catch anything I might have missed. The show's creator and producer, Tim Kring, is doing an excellent job with subtle nuances that I'm sure will play a bigger role later.

A lot of folks are complaining that it is an X-Men ripoff or just a lame attempt at a Marvel Comics repeat. Come on people, television isn't rocket science, but appreciate the fact that it is at least Chemistry I level. And, may I remind those same people, JJ Abrams got a lot of flack about making Alias too complex, even being challenged to dumb the show down for better ratings. Thankfully he stuck to his guns.

You can catch all the episodes on in their entirety if you want to catch up. Then you can join in the discussions of "Who is Sylar?" "Can Peter really fly?" "What's up with HRG?" "How many hours until next Monday night's episode?"

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Who Says Theology Professors are Boring?

I miss Denny and Susan Burk. This wonderful couple lived in Louisville for a few years while Denny attended Southern Baptist Theological Seminary to get his PhD. As active members and leaders in our church, I got to know them through our connections at church. Susan is one of those women that everyone loves. She's the epitome of a "gentle and quiet spirit" and girls would stand in line in hopes of being mentored by her. I miss her smiling face. And, I loved how Susan adored Denny and was quick to point out the reasons why he was God's man for her. She recently was blessed by entering motherhood after the birth of their sweet little girl, Emily. Susan will be a dynamic mother.

Denny is truly one of my favorite theologians. He can take something complex and make it understandable. And, he's not afraid of being goofy, crazy, and just plain real. I like that in a theologian. After Denny obtained his doctorate, he and Susan headed to Dallas where he teaches at Criswell College. And, he teaches young adults at First Baptist Church, Dallas. I even periodically listen to his teaching podcasts from there just to get a dose of Denny. I know that church is blessed by the Burks.

Now for the fun part.....

Denny recently directed this video short that is about the funniest thing I've seen lately. Lest you think all theologians are crotchety old guys...take a look at this....

Halloween Hustle

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