Tuesday, January 29, 2008

off to the snow

There is much I would like to blog right now. However, I am in the midst of running around trying to get things done before I leave on a staff retreat. We are heading up to Tahoe for the week. Yeah for snow!

Friday, January 25, 2008

ah yes, the lovely book of Judges

Once in awhile I get inspired to share what I'm reading about in the bible. And I'm in one of those moods today. So, allow me to share some fun thoughts and insight into the fabulous book of....Judges. Hmmm...most people don't really think of Judges for excitement or stories, including myself. But I've never read it all the way through until recently and I ended up loving it. Who knew? And plus I've been reading out of my new Study Bible so it gives all sorts of fun background, history, interesting tidbits, etc. which help me get into the bible even more. Anyway, you don't have to read this if you're not feelin' it today. It might just be for my own enjoyment. =)

Ok, so let's jump in!

Judges comes right after Moses' time and Joshua. The Israelites were not following God, other tribes would come and overtake them, the Israelites would cry out to God, and then God would rise up a judge or "deliverer". There was no king yet in Israel (David's era was coming up in a bit) so the judges were essentially the leaders at that time. There were six main judges: Othniel, Ehud, Deborah, Gideon, Jephthah, and Samson. And then there were six minor judges: Shamgar, Tola, Jair, Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon. I'm not going to talk about all of them, just the three that jumped out at me.

Can we first acknowledge how rad these names are? "Hello, nice to meet you, my name is Ibzan." *firm handshake*

* Ehud - cool dude. Left-handed. I wasn't quite sure why the bible shared that, but then it made sense as I read on. The Israelites had been overtaken by an evil king Eglon (again, rad name) for 18 years. Ehud decided to go see this evil king and he makes a double-edged sword about a foot and a half long and he straps it to his right thigh under his clothing. The cool part about this? Ehud was able to conceal his dagger on the side where it was not expected. Since most people were right-handed, they would have to put their weapon on their left side to grab it quickly and kill. BUT I love how God made Ehud left-handed so he could get by the guards and they didn't even think to look at the right side of his clothes. So Ehud goes to see King Eglon and says, "I have a secret message for you, O King." so the king sends all his attendants away (dumb). "I have a message from God for you," Ehud says and the king rises from his seat. Ehud grabs his sword and plunges it in the king's belly. Ewww! Then Ehud goes out the doors and locks them behind him. He escaped to the Israelites and leads them into battle with Eglon's people saying the Lord will deliver them all into their hands. This is in Judges 3:12-30. Left-handed people RULE!

* Deborah. Ok, this chick was AWESOME! The only female judge and she was also a prophetess. Married to a guy named Lappidoth. Deborah's name when translated means "bee". You'll see why this is cool later. So again the Israelites turned away from God, so again ruthless tribes came in and overtook them, again they cried out to God, and again he rose up a leader and judge. Deborah. The commander of the ruthless army against the Israelites was named Sisera. The bible says he "cruelly oppressed the Israelites for 20 years".

So Deborah calls the captain of the Israelite army to her. His name is Barak. Deborah tells Barak that God has commanded him to take 10,000 men and go fight Sisera's army. And God will deliver the evil army into their hands. But Barak says to Deborah, "If you go with me, I will go. But if you don't go with me, I won't go." This made me think. The bible doesn't explain why he said this. Why was he scared to go into battle without Deborah there? Did he not trust that God would really come through? I have no idea.

So Deb replies, "Very well, I will go with you. But because of the way you are going about this, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will hand Sisera over to a woman." Oooo, the plot thickens...

So they go into battle and the Israelites are winning. The ruthless captain on the other side, Sisera, freaks out because all of his men are dying so he abandons his chariot and starts to flee the battle on foot. He ends up at the tent of a woman named Jael. (Jael means "mountain goat". Yeah, I know...real feminine, right? But just like Deborah, you'll see why this is cool later) Jael says, "Come, my lord, come right in. Don't be afraid." Sisera probably thought it was a perfect hiding place. No one would look for him in a strange woman's tent (only the woman's husband or father could enter her tent, so people pursuing him would see Jael and not think he would be inside).

So he goes in, Jael puts a covering over him. He says he's thirsty and asks for some water. She opens a skin of milk (most likely goat's milk) and gives him a drink. Right before Sisera falls into a troubled sleep, he asks Jael to stand at the doorway of the tent and if anyone asks, say that no one is inside. The bible says that "Jael picked up a tent peg and a hammer and went quietly to him while he lay fast asleep, exhausted. She drove the peg through his temple into the ground, and he died." Whoa! Yo go, girl! With Sisera dead, the Israelites could live in peace again. The land flowing with "milk and honey" was saved by the courage and faithfulness of "bee" and "mountain goat". And indeed the honor went to a woman, just like Deborah had said. Good times. (This is in Judges 4)

* Samson - if you grew up going to Sunday School, you probably remember felt-board cut-outs of this huge guy with long hair. Samson, the man with incredible strength and whose hair had never been touched by a razor (Judges 14-15). If I could give Samson a Spice name, he would be "Lusty Spice". My word, he sure loved the ladies. He saw a young Philistine woman one day and told his mom and dad, "I have seen a Philistine woman; now get her for me as my wife." No beating around the bush for this guy. His parents don't want to, because she was not an Israelite and the Lord had warned them about marrying people from other tribes (because they usually got sucked into the idol-worship of the other tribes). But Samson was dead-set on it. "Get her for me. She's the right one for me."

They marry, there are issues, Samson leaves and people think he's left his wife, she gets given to a friend from the wedding instead, Samson comes back later, finds out his wife has been given to another man, grabs 300 foxes and ties them in pairs by their tails, fastens a torch to every pair of tails and lights them, and then lets the foxes loose in the standing grain of the Philistines. All their grain is destroyed plus all their olive trees and vineyards. (no bread, olive oil, or wine for them!) What the heck?!?! I never learned all this in Sunday School!

So of course the Philistines are P.O.ed at Samson and want revenge. They go and kill his wife and her father, which then makes Samson P.O.ed. He starts attacking them. They grab him and he gets tied up to be brought to the Philistines, but the spirit of the Lord comes over him, he breaks out of his bindings and kills 1,000 men with a donkey jawbone. Craziness!

Then Samson meets Delilah (after a brief stint with a prostitute - classy, Samson!) The Philistines bribe Delilah to give them the answer of Samson's great strength so they can overcome him. She keeps pestering him, "Tell me the secret of your great strength and how you can be tied up and subdued?" Ummmm.....if I was Samson, I think I'd be a little suspicious, wouldn't you!?! He gives her three lame answers ("tie me up with fresh thongs, tie me up with new ropes, weave the 7 braids of my head into the fabric on the weaving loom" etc.) and each time they try to do that, he broke out every time. Finally Delilah's nagging and prodding makes him tell her the real secret: "No razor has ever been used on my head. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man."

Well that did it, my friends. They shaved his head, his strength left him, he was seized, they gouged out his eyes, and dragged him to prison and made him grind grain (which was a woman's job...they wanted to humiliate him). One day the Philistines were having a grand ol' party and they said, "Bring out Samson to entertain us!" Samson, being blind, asked someone to help him over to the pillars that held up the temple where they were partying. He prayed to God, "O Sovereign Lord, remember me. O God, please strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes." The he screams, "Let me die with the Philistines!" and pushes with all his might. The temple fell down and killed everyone in it (about 3,000+ peeps)

There's many more judges and they each have their own story. But these were the 3 that I felt like writing about. And it got me thinking...what do I get from these stories? What did I learn by reading these? They're in the bible for a reason. I've been thinking and journaling about it, but I think what I mostly take away is that God never gives up on us. Time and time again in Judges, you will read about how Israel turns their backs on Him and starts worshiping other gods and doing horrible things, even though God had just rescued them from Egypt and brought them out of slavery. And then other tribes would come in and take over the land and the people, and then they'd cry out to God for help. And God saved them every time. He had a leader/judge to help them every time. And then right after they were saved, the Israelites would go right back to turning their backs on God again and serving/worshiping other idols. It made me think of...well, me. How many times have I cried out for help, God helps me, and then I turn my back on Him again. Until the next time I need help. Oh man, God, you never give up on us. It's a quiet, sobering, humbling thought.

So hey if you've made it this far, you rock! Thanks for reading my long ramblings. I don't do this very often, but when I do, it's pretty fun for me to talk about. That's all for now, friends. Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Heath Ledger R.I.P.

Spring semester of my senior year in college, I went and saw a movie with my friends. A little teen comedy based on The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare. It was called "10 Things I Hate About You". And thus began my crush on the beautiful Aussie, Heath Ledger.

After that movie and the many following (The Patriot, A Knight's Tale, Brokeback Mountain, etc) I would always loudly claim that Heath was my secret boyfriend/husband. He just didn't know it yet.

Well, I just now got back from a meeting with my intern Jeff and all of our co-workers told us to check Yahoo real quick. So we got on and here is what I saw:

"According to the New York Times, 28 year-old Heath Ledger was found dead in an apartment building in SoHo, New York City this afternoon. It seems that a masseuse went to the apartment for an appointment with Ledger, and was let in by a housekeeper, who knocked on the door of Ledger's bedroom. He was found unconscious in bed, surrounded by pills, and the housekeeper and masseuse called the police. Police sources say 'signs point to a suicide or accidental overdose.' "

So sad.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

LOST season 3

Ok, so some of you may know that the LOST season 4 premiere is on Thursday Jan. 31st. For hard-core fans (I think I'd put myself in that category), we have waited 8 lo-o-o-n-g months for Jan. 31st. Because of the writer's strike, we only get 8 episodes this semester instead of 16, but whatever...I'll take what I can get.

With it being a 3-day weekend, I decided to go back and watch season 3. I borrowed the DVD's from a friend and have camped out on the comfy beanbag chair in my living room, soaking it all in. The sad thing is I have only seen 4 episodes out of 23. Hmmm....19 left to go. But I have a week and a half, so I should be fine.

Any other LOST fans out there? Or am I the only one?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

decorated car

I was checking MySpace this morning at my house and I was reading one of my student's "bulletins". He was talking about life and how things are going, and then at the end I read this: "P.S. Sarah M - I had nothing to do with your car. . . . And no i will never tell you who was involved."

What the....?!?

I jumped up and looked out the window into our driveway. There's my roomate Copey's silver car, there's Jen's black car, there's a yellow car....hold up. Wait. Go back. None of us have a yellow car. And then I burst out laughing when I realized what happened.

I got "Post-It"ed.

My car has been TP'ed, saran wrapped, covered in window paint, and now I can add Post-Ited to the list.

Good times.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Congratulations Jen and Colin!

Yesterday was Jen and Colin's wedding. First off, beautiful weather! We had some crazy storms here last weekend that seemed to linger on-and-off all week. But then Saturday we all woke up...and there was not a cloud in the sky. Amazing! Looked like a good day to get married.

Lots of their family and friends were over during the week and weekend. On Friday half of the crew put together flowers at the house while the other half went to get the church looking all spiffy (followed by a night of karaoke!) and then Saturday we got the reception hall all set up. Everyone worked so hard! It was awesome to see so many people who love Jen and Colin coming out to help.

The wedding was beautiful, the reception was a blast (Taqueria Vallarta and dance party!!), and our dear friend and roomate for 5-7 years (depending on when we lived with her) is now married and has a new roomate! J + C: I am so happy for you two!!!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

back in the swing of things

Have you ever gone on vacation and you lose track of what day it is?

Isn't that the best?

That pretty much sums up the break I had. I went to my parent's house for Christmas and stayed there for a few days with my fam. Then I drove down to So. Cal and had 9 days of nothingness. I did pretty much what I always do when I go down there: sleep, eat, sleep some more, read, see good friends. A few highlights:

* staying with BFF Elissa and her hubby Mike. They just bought a new place and it is SO fun!

* I love Eddie Izzard. I didn't recognize his name when we first put his DVD in, but he is a British comedian and actor (you might recognize him from Ocean's 12 or 13). Anyway, we watched one of his comedic acts and were DYING. He is so funny! Oh my gosh. I was weeping. I usually dislike comedians cussing in their acts, but for some reason I laughed when Eddie did (is that wrong?) Maybe it's because he's British and they say it more nonchalantly and he's not meaning it in a crude way like Dane Cook or something. Anyway so then we had to watch another one. And another one and another one. We watched 4 of his DVD's throughout the week and my laughs echoed throughout the house.

* I went fishing in San Diego and caught a ton o' sculpin ("scorpion fish") Hmmm...good eatin'.

* I got to see my old roomate Lindsey, her husband Luke, and their new baby boy, Sutton!! Soooooo cute.

* Spent a 4 hour lunch with dear friend Jenna at a pizza parlor with guys cursing the Seattle/Washington football game in the background.

* Went to Wicked in LA for my third time! I just cannot get enough of that musical.

When I was driving back home (I got to drive through snow! It was awesome), I was reflecting on how much better I felt. Just about life and the world in general. I left December feeling burnt out, stressed, and tired. And I was returning feeling rested, happy, and more at peace. I am very thankful for that.

And now I am back in the swing of things. Unpacked, caught up with my roomies, did my laundry, cleaned my room, went back to work. The college group kicks off the new semester tonight. We're going ice skating and then to In N' Out. I am looking forward to seeing all the students again. I missed them. And then this Saturday... roomate Jen is getting married! Woohoo!

Hope you all are well.

Monday, January 07, 2008


Safely home from vacation.

Body - rested
Mind - cleared
Heart - full
Soul - at peace

Blog coming soon.