Monday, July 30, 2007

yeah for weekends!

This past weekend was very full and very fun. First off, I went to Berkeley all day Friday for some family schtuff and then drove home that evening. Saturday morning two of my college students got married at my church. Congratulations Melissa and David. Love you both!

Then, that afternoon I drove up to the city with some buds to watch the SF Giants beat the Florida Mariners 4-3. We were hoping to see Barry Bonds hit homerun 755 and tie with Hank Aaron (or even hit TWO homeruns and BEAT Aaron's record) but no dice. Oh well. We were up in the bleacher (aka: cheap) seats and I'm so glad because we were the most fun. We threw around a beach ball, had garlic fries and Cokes, and started the wave with the section next to us. I haven't been to a Giants game in a long time and it was my first time at Pac Bell, I mean SBC Global, I mean AT&T Park. Here is the baseball crew:

Then on Sunday I drove into the mountains for another wedding. Our friend Anna married Rich at a beautiful vineyard overlooking the whole Bay Area. It was fun to be at the wedding with all my roomates. One of the roomies, Jessica, was a bridesmaid. Hot mama! After the ceremony while we were waiting for the bride and groom to come join the par-tay, we decided to take "emo" pictures with our cameras. I tried to convey the look of being mad at the world...but I think I just ended up looking mad in general. Oh well!

All in all, good family time, good roomate time, good wedding time. Now I need to catch up on some good sleepy-time.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

You can't stop the beat!

I am in love with Hairspray. I saw the movie with some friends last Friday and left the theater shimmying down the aisles. The music and dancing in the movie make you want to join in! I bought the soundtrack and have been listening to it obsessively in my car. Love it love it love it. Go see it if you get the chance.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

759 pages in 21 hours

This blog is going to be about Harry Potter, so if you are not into him or are tired of hearing about all this, you can totally skip it. No worries.

But for those who are still reading, don't worry...I won't be posting any spoilers. I just wanted to share my first-ever experience of attending a "midnight release party" and then spending 21 hours of the next 28 reading the final book in the Harry Potter series. Here we go!

It all started in summer 2000. I was working at camp and I saw a counselor friend of mine reading Book 4. I was intrigued so I asked her about it. She gushed on and on about this boy named Harry who had a lightning bolt scar on his forehead and got whisked away to a magical school for witches and wizards. She said she was reading Book 4, but if I was going to start, I should start with Book 1.

When the summer was over, I borrowed my younger sister's copy of Book 1 and began reading with loads of apprehension. A book about an 11 year old wizard in England? Would it be sketchy? Would it have lots of talk about witchcraft? I had no idea what to expect. But I found myself being thoroughly charmed during my reading. By the time I finished, I was immediately grabbing Book 2 and reading that one as well.

Soon followed Book 3 and 4 and then I couldn't get enough. Pottermania hit me hard. I had fallen in love with Harry, Ron, Hermoine, and all their crazy adventures. Fans had to wait three summers to get Book 5. I remember summer 2003 getting my book and not even waiting to get home to start reading. I sat in my car in a parking garage, scouring every word as quickly as possible. Yes, I am a nerd.

We had to wait two more years to get Book 6. Summer 2005. Again, got my book on the release day and my eyes attacked its pages for the next week, sometimes staying up till 1 or 2 in the morning to finish a chapter.

And now that brings us to the release of the final Harry Potter book - Book 7. My friend Haley wanted to go the "midnight release party" at our local bookstore. I had never been to one, and since it was the last book and all, we went for it. Here are some pixs from the night:
It was packed! People of all ages everywhere. Kids and adults were dressed up in Hogwarts robes, Harry's signature round glasses and lightning scar, or Hagrid the giant, or a dementor covered in black garbage bags chasing people around the streets outside. The energy was so high. You could tell the build-up of the past week...heck the past 2 years...was reaching an all-time high.

After listening to some Shakespearian actors read the last chapter of Book 6 outloud to a group of listeners, I walked around to all the different stations. One station had a magician.
This one had Sirius Black speaking to kids through the fire.

This section had trivia about the books and gave prizes to kids who answered correctly.
Another station had a game where kids had to carry a slug on a spoon across the room without dropping it. (The funny part was when I took this picture, the guy had just dropped the slug as he put it on the girl's spoon. Nice.)
As midnight drew closer, people started screaming and laughing with anticipation. We all headed outside to get in line. The line was crazy! It went all the way around the whole block and then some! There must have been at least a thousand people there. We made friends with the people near us in line and watched all the costumed people walk by.
At midnight, everyone shouted with glee and the line began moving. People who had their book ran by us in line holding it high. We all cheered and clapped for them. It was so exciting. Others weren't even waiting to get back to their car to start reading. They started reading page one in the street.

I grabbed my book, hugged Haley good-bye, bought myself an extra large soda, and stayed up till 4 am to read (even though I am a night-owl, I never stay up that late). I was still wide awake and wanted to know what happened next, but I forced myself to go to sleep. Haley and I had promised each other we would have the book finished by the next night. I was determined.

I woke up at 11 am and promptly started reading again. I read all day. Oh my goodness. I will probably never do it again. This was a one-time-only deal. I just don't think our bodies are meant to sit and read for that long at a time. I barely ate and drank, hardly left my room.

I have never felt so anti-social in my life. Roomates and friends kept coming up to my room or calling me wanting to go have fun and I kept turning them down, feverishly turning the pages in my book. About five o'clock, I started to feel sick. I needed air. I left my stuffy room, made myself some food, and sat outside reading for awhile. Ahhh...much better. At least 20 degrees cooler.

I got a text message from Haley at 8 p.m. saying she was done and I flipped. "How could she be DONE?!?!" I still had a fourth of the book to go! I HAD to find out what happened to Harry. I would stay up all night if need be.

My roomates all went to bed around midnight. My light was the only one still on in the house. As the book started coming to a close, I began to feel very sad. And at 4:00 a.m. when I read the last sentence of the last page and closed the book, the sadness was overwhelming. I had read 759 pages in 21 hours. It was over. Done. Complete. No more.

Have you guys ever felt that way with a book? I wonder if people felt it when they finished "The Last Battle" by C.S. Lewis or "The Return of the King" by Tolkien. Or any other series or book where you have been enthralled for hours. The characters you have been with for days or months, whom you almost feel like you have experienced everything with...are gone. Yes, you know you can go back and read about their adventures again, but it holds no mystery or surprise anymore. You know how it is going to turn out. They won't be coming back for any new adventures. In a way, you are saying goodbye to those dear friends whom you have come to know and love.

Maybe you think I'm crazy to feel this way or "Whoa, that Sarah is in way too deep with this Potter series" or whatever else. I'm ok with that. All I know is that it is a joy to have read all 7 Harry Potter books and even though it may sound funny, I'm glad I got to be alive when they were released. These books will be passed down and read by children of all ages. And how fun to remember back in life when I got to be there for their release and how much fun and excitement they brought.

Thank you, J.K. Rowling, for bringing the love of reading back to so many people!

Harry Forever.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Abraham, Issac, Jacob, and Joseph

Awhile ago I posted questions/observations I had from the beginning of Genesis. Well, I finished Genesis and LOVED it. Who knew it would be so cool to go back and read this book of the Bible I have only read sections of before. So, without further ado, here are my observations from the rest of Genesis:

* I got PISSED in Genesis 19 with Lot (Abraham's nephew). Two angels of the Lord are at his home in Sodom. While they are there, men from the city surround his house and demand that Lot bring out the two "men" (not knowing they were angels) so they could have sex with them. Lot goes out to them and says, "No, my friends. Don't do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them." What a great dad!! Jerk.

* Even though I have heard the story of Abraham being tested many times, I still love it as much as ever. He was asked to sacrifice his beloved son, Isaac. And he was totally going to do it! Dang! I liked the idea of how the Lord stopped him right before he did it, and provided a ram instead for Abraham to sacrifice. One life for another. Just like the ram took the place of Issac, Jesus would one day come and give his life instead of us.

* Issac's son, Jacob, was a little swindler! He took his older brother Esau's birthright (the inheritance rights of the firstborn) AND his father's blessing by pretending to be Esau. Issac was too old and couldn't see and knew he was near death. He wanted to give his oldest son his blessing before he died. With prompting from his mom Rebekah, Jacob lied to his pop (saying he was Esau) and stole what wasn't his.

This scene breaks my heart: (it happens right after Issac gives Jacob his blessing) Esau comes in from hunting and is bringing his father food. " 'My father, sit up and eat some of the game, so that you may give me your blessing.'

His father Issac asked him, 'Who are you?'

'I am your son,' he answered, 'your firstborn, Esau.'

Issac trembled violently and said, 'Who was it then, that hunted game and brought it to me? I ate it just before you came and I blessed him - and indeed he will be blessed!'

When Esau heard his father's words, he burst out with a loud and bitter cry and said to his father, 'Bless me - me too, my father!'

I can just imagine Esau's anguish and tearful pleading. His younger brother had taken his birthright and now deceitfully stolen his father's blessing as well. And he cried out to his father for a blessing, too, but it was too late. Jacob received what was meant for Esau and would in turn be lord over him. Sad sad sad.

* Favoritism sucks. Parents, don't have favorites. Look at what Rebekah caused by favoring Jacob over Esau. Look at what happened to Joseph because Jacob favored him over all his other brothers (more on that in a moment).

* In Genesis 32 when Jacob struggles with God, the angel tells him his name will no longer be "Jacob", but it will now be "Israel" because he had struggled with God and men and overcome. I have a study bible, which has been awesome. The notes according to this section talk about how the name Jacob/Israel shows the characterization of the nation of Israel: the people who struggle with God and with human beings and overcome.

* Joseph. It wasn't his fault that his dad, Jacob, favored him over his bros. But he could have been a bit more selective in what he shared with them. For example, if your brothers are already annoyed at their father's favoritism and that you have been given an amazing coat with tons of colors on it while they are stuck still wearing boring blah might not want to tell them dreams you've had about them bowing down to you one day. It's called tact, buddy.

* Another cool note from my study bible: "Joseph's experiences in Egypt, as well as those in his youth in Canaan are similar to Israel's national experiences in Egypt. Initially, because of God's blessing, Joseph attains a position of honor (in Potiphar's house); he is then unjustly thrown into prison, his only crime being his attractiveness and moral integrity (not to sleep with Potiphar's wife). And finally he is raised up among the Egyptians as the one who, because God is with him, holds their lives in his hands. Similarly Israel was first received with honor in Egypt (because of Joseph); then it was subjected to bondage, it's only crime being God's evident blessings upon it; and finally God raised Israel up in the eyes of the Egyptians (through the ministry of Moses) as they came to recognize that these people and their God did indeed hold their lives in their hands." I like the comparison!

* Later when Joseph is number 2 under Pharoah and his brothers come to see him to ask for food (they don't recognize him), chapter 43 verses 29-30 say, "As he looked about and saw his brother Benjamin, his own mother's son, he asked, 'Is this your youngest brother, the one you told me about?' And he said, 'God be gracious to you, my son.' Deeply moved at the sight of his brother, Joseph hurried out and looked for a place to weep. He went into his private room and wept there." There are a few other passages that talk about Joseph openly weeping (revealing himself to his bros, hugging Benjamin for the first time, seeing his father when Jacob comes to Egypt, receiving a message from his brothers after Jacob dies, etc). He was emotional and sensitive, no doubt through all the experiences he had been though in life. It is very beautiful to me.

* Joseph's brothers intended to harm him, but God intended it for good. He was able to accomplish many good things through something that had been meant for evil. How true is that in life! Romans 8:28 comes to mind.

Anyway, these are just my random ramblings. I have so many more, but these are the biggies. Feel free to add any commentary of your own or call me out if I've misunderstood something. And seriously, when you get the chance, I totally recommend going back and reading Genesis. It's been so cool to see how God can use fallible, sinful humans and do amazing things through them. It gives hope to the rest of us!!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Sunday, July 08, 2007

fun but busy week

Last week was fun and crazy at the same time. My sister Liz came into town and stayed with me from Monday-Saturday. And with her came between 1-12 friends, depending on the day. Woohoo! Good times. During the week we had 4th of July at our house with fireworks, went surfing, ate breakfast at our favorite spots, went hiking in the redwoods, played beach volleyball, and all sorts of other fun stuff. And then yesterday I spent the whole day with 15 college students at a nearby amusement park. Can we all agree that roller coasters are amazing? Good. I'll post pictures from that in a couple days. Tomorrow morning I head out for a 2 day retreat with my staff. Hope you all are doing well and enjoying your summer.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

It's gonna be a bright sunshiny day

I have lived in this area for 7 years. And I have NEVER experienced summer weather as perfect as this. Usually, we have a bit of "June gloom" where it's cloudy and foggy most of the day. And then in July and August it is foggy until about noon or 1. But for the past month, I wake up every morning and the sun is already out and shining! No clouds, lots of cool breezes, perfect temperature. I LOVE it! It is making me enjoy this summer even more.

We had church on the beach this past Sunday. I have never done that before. It was amazing! We were singing and praying with the sound of the waves in the background and the sun shining over us. Everyone sitting on beach blankets, kids running everywhere, acoustic worship. Afterwards people went in the water, played beach volleyball or ultimate frisbee, and ate lunch. I wish we could have church on the beach every Sunday in the summer!

I'm sure I sound like such a grandma, talking about the weather. But I can't help it. It's lovely. In fact, enough time on the computer! Bah! I'm going outside...