Wednesday, June 15, 2011

oh, to grace how great a debtor

Recently my friend Irene and I tried to open a bottle of wine without a corkscrew. First we tried to dig out the cork with a screwdriver, but the cork broke in half. Then we screwed a screw into the remainder of cork, and tried to pull the cork out with pliers.

Get it, Irene.
But the cork kept deteriorating. Those little boogers are really packed in there.

So then we wrapped the spout of the bottle in a towel, put it in the sink, and hit it with a hammer. (And by "we," I mean Irene did so, and I stood on the other side of the counter with my hands protecting my head like they teach you on an airplane in case of a crash. I was one floatation device short of the Southwest safety catalog.)

But the bottle didn't break. So finally we had to suck it up and go to Kroger and buy a corkscrew, for seven dollars. Come on, Kroger. I'm probably never even going to use this thing again. Anybody want a corkscrew? I will sell it to you for $6.99. It's quality.

This morning I was reading in John 8, and in verse 31, Jesus says, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples."

I think this would be a pretty easy verse to just breeze over. Right, obviously, in order to be a disciple of Jesus, we have to hold to His teaching. Duh. Moving right along.

But this verse really stuck out to me. (About this time you're probably wondering, What the hairy does a bottle of wine have to do with Jesus? Patience, grasshopper.) I thought, What exactly is Jesus' teaching? What is He referring to that we must hold to in order to be His disciple? Do I hold to His teaching in the way I live my life?

I prayed, "Lord, penetrate my heart with your teaching and convict me of the things I need to change."

Then I thought, "Whoa, that is a heavy prayer." You don't pray words like "penetrate" and "convict" unless you're really serious. Am I willong to go through what that prayer may bring about?

And that's when the image of the wine bottle came to my mind. I realized as I prayed, that my prayer was basically asking God to take a hammer to me and crush me, in order to make me into what He wanted. ("But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him" [Jeremiah 18:4]).


But I saw God's grace like that towel that Irene wrapped around that bottle. Breaking, yes. But gently. Wrapped in God's grace. Sweetly broken. Maybe Jeremy Riddle wasn't exactly picturing smashing a wine bottle wrapped in a kitchen towel with a hammer when he wrote that song, but I am.

And if that's what it takes to be a disciple of Jesus, that's what I want. A disciple, not just a Christian. And I think it's great that Justin's going to be preaching about being a disciple this weekend. (Saturday at 5:30pm, and Sunday at 9am, 10:30am, and noon. Shameless plug for the Vineyard? Yes.) I'm looking forward to hearing what he says.
Monday, June 13, 2011

C-I-T-Y, you can see why

I haven't met many of my neighbors, though I've caught glimpses of them. They're like those butterfly clams we used to catch on our vacations to Florida, who would stick their little pink tongues out until they realized they were in our hands, and then they'd swiftly retreat and pretend like no one was inside their pretty pastel shells. Unlike those clams, however, I can't pry open my neighbor's homes and reveal their lying fleshy bodies. Or make necklaces out of their walls.

The other day I went to my car to retrieve my iPod, however, and noticed a man sitting in his suburban (I had to google image that to make sure that's what it was - and I was right!), just chilling out. That's okay, I often like to sit in my car with the windows down in 90-degree weather next to the dumpster that smells like dead raccoons (as a friend of mine so eloquently put it). When I pulled my head out of the backseat, his suburban had used some sort of stealth mode to creep up behind my car, and he was leaning out of his window. "Excuse me," he said, "I just moved here, and I'm looking into Internet providers. I've been asking around as people come out of the building...."

In my mind I was thinking several things.

1. Do not stand too close to his car.
2. Be helpful and friendly, but not too helpful and friendly.
3. I wonder if this guy is a creeper.
4. Well, if he's telling the truth, maybe he'll find a good Internet provider and he can tell me about it and then I won't have to do any of the annoying research.
5. Wait until he is gone before going into my apartment, so he doesn't know which one's mine.

Since then I've seen this fellow talking with several other apartment-dwellers, so I feel pretty convinced he was just taking some quiet time to himself out in the parking lot, meditating on Internet providers. Ommmmm....Windstream....

I've seen several attractive men riding bicycles, but fortunately for me I don't have to worry about them hitting on me, because the only time I see them is when I, too, am exercising, and we all know how freakish I look when I exercise. Thankfully my hair is short enough that, after sweating and running into the wind, my hair sticks up straight in the front, a la Roxanne Ritchie.

Who wouldn't want to hit on this?

I've also noticed that men don't honk at me when I walk down the street. I think it's because females are much more common here in the city than they are in the country, and to see one walking down the street is not worth honking at. Life's so different far from cow country!

I've been making a lot of different foods, too, now that I'm not living at home where the men like meat and potatoes at every meal. At first I thought the spinach and artichoke hummus on my sandwich was gross because it looked like mold, but now I think it'll be a good way to keep other people from eating my food.

Random coworker: "Do those cheese puffs have mold on them? Yuck! I'm definitely not eating those."
Me: "Bwa-hahaha, THEY'RE ALL MINE." (My imaginary dialogue is always so believable, isn't it? Especially since spinach and artichoke hummus goes great with cheese puffs, and as we all know, very rarely am I seen without a cheese puff in my paw.)

Perhaps I will try this "slathering of green goop" method on other things that I don't want people to use. Like my sharpies. And the little lever that I stuck double-sided tape onto that keeps the paper cutter at the perfect measurement for cutting weekend handouts.

"Can I move this lever from 5 1/2 inches...why is there green goop all over this?"

Don't move my lever.

P.S. I confess to riding my bike multiple times without a helmet.
Saturday, June 4, 2011

someday my prince will come

This past week I was sitting at a red light. I had my windows down and I was singing loudly with the Beatles. I looked to my right and saw the car sitting next to me, a man probably in his 50s at the wheel. He looked at me, and I looked casually away as if my head was simply vacillating like a fan in the summertime. But then I grabbed my cell phone and took a picture.

Yes, that is a car covered entirely in fake flowers and Disney princess stickers.

Snow White and Belle seemed to be his chosen favorites.

I have no idea why.

I mean, has he ever seen Pocahontas?

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