Friday, January 28, 2011

Snow Blast 2011

Ok, friends, I'm off for a weekend in the snow. Every year, we take a group of college students up to Lake Tahoe to ski, snowboard, play, and bond. I'll be back Tuesday night. If you ever think of it, I would love prayers for safety. Thanks!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

the intern search

I have been looking for an intern (to help me run the college ministry) for a year now. I have two potential candidates. One is a surfer. The other is super theological. Can't I fuse them together? A surfing theologian.

I'll keep you posted on the search.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

No Strings Attached sucks

I am so angry about something and I need to vent.

A month or two ago, I saw a trailer for a movie with Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman called "No Strings Attached". I remember thinking, "Oh my gosh! This looks so dumb!! It's all about sex and looks like it has no plot." Well, the movie came out this weekend so I've seen more previews on TV and the internet and I've realized the more I've seen, the angrier I've become.

I've been seething all weekend. Why is it affecting me so much? I've always known that the world is obsessed with sex. But maybe I've just reached my breaking point and my nonchalance has crossed over and become anger.

Here's what makes me mad. I believe sex is a gift that God created for a committed marriage relationship. And even if I wasn't a Christian, I would still hope that sex would be viewed as beautiful and special and intimate. Something you share with someone you truly love and have given your heart to. But this movie makes sex look like it's on the same level as doing the dishes.

"Ahhh, well I'm a doctor and I work 80 hours a week, so I just need a warm body around (whenever it's convenient for me) to have sex with and not attach any feelings or commitment to it whatsoever."

That's what our culture has become? We just selfishly use each other's bodies for our own pleasure? No big deal. It's JUST sex, right?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

you have value

A few weeks ago, I saw the third Chronicles of Narnia movie: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. This book was my 2nd favorite in the Narnia series (after The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe), so I was looking forward to seeing it on the big screen. It was a little long, but overall I liked it. However, there's one part of the movie I have been thinking about a lot since then. Because it deals with something I've been struggling with lately.

Lemme start off by saying Lucy is my favorite character. Wasn't she so cute in the first movie? She was so little. She was so innocent. She loved Narnia, Mr. Tumnus, the beavers, Aslan, everything.

And now it's years later and Lucy is growing up. She and her brother Edmund are brought back to Narnia one last time. During this adventure, a group from the Dawn Treader sail to an island and Lucy goes inside a magical house. She sees a book of incantations and inside is a spell that will make you the "beauty you've always wanted to be". There is a small mirror on that page and Lucy sees herself slowly turn into Susan. "I'm beautiful!"

She rips the page out of the book (to take with her) and suddenly hears Aslan's roar and his voice calling out to her: "Lucy!" She can't see him, but you can tell she's frightened.

At night, Lucy is in bed and pulls out the page she ripped out. She recites the spell and then jumps out of bed to look at herself in the full-length mirror. She is Susan in a pretty blue dress.

She opens the mirror and walks through it. On the other side, music is playing and she is at an English party in someone's backyard. She gets announced ("Ladies and gentlemen...Miss Penvensie!"), everyone claps, all the men are eyeing her and saying how beautiful she is.

Edmund shows up to take her right arm. Peter shows up and takes her left arm. A photographer says, "Excuse me, miss. May I take a photo?"

"Oh Mother's going to love this," says Peter as the 3 of them pose, "All her children in one picture."

"Hang on, where am I? I mean, where's Lucy?" asks Susan (who is really Lucy)

"Lucy? Who's Lucy?" says Edmund, looking confused

Susan (Lucy) starts to frown and tries to pull away from her brothers.

"Susan! What's wrong?" -Peter, smiling for the camera

"I'm not sure about this. I think I want to go back." -Susan/Lucy

"Go back where?" -Edmund, also still trying to pose and smile for the photo

"To Narnia!" -Susan/Lucy

"What on earth is 'Narnia'?" -Edmund

"What's going on!? Stop this!!" -Susan/Lucy screams to the photographer

The lens flashes and Susan puts her hands over her face. When she takes them away from her face, it is Lucy, back in her dark room on the Dawn Treader, and staring into the mirror in horror at what just happened.

Aslan walks up to her in the mirror. She turns to see him, but he's not in the room with her. Just in the mirror.

"Lucy...what have you done, child?" -Aslan

"I don't know. That was awful." -Lucy

"But you chose it, Lucy." -Aslan

"I didn't mean to choose all of that," said Lucy getting tearful. "I just wanted to be beautiful like Susan. That's all."

"You wished yourself away. And with it, much more. Your brothers and sister wouldn't know Narnia without you, Lucy. You discovered it first, remember?" -Aslan

"I'm so sorry." -Lucy

"You doubt your value. Don't run from who you are."

This part of the movie has been causing me to think a lot. I have been struggling lately with the "comparing game". I look at other people and wish I had more of their attributes. I wish I was prettier. I wish I was funnier. I wish I was smarter. I wish I was more athletic. I wish I was this or that. I look at someone and think, "I wish I was more like that person..."

I'm like Lucy.

And this part of the movie reminded me that I shouldn't wish to be like other people. God made me who I am. I should never doubt my value. My value comes from being His child. And there are things about me that make me special, just like there were things about Lucy that made her special. I love when Aslan reminded her that her siblings would never have even known Narnia if it hadn't been for her.

I hope this encourages you, if you've also been struggling with the "comparison game" as well.

You are known.

You are special.

You are loved.

You have value.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


There is a bakery near our house. They make yummy breads and pastries. And we heard that at the end of the day, they just throw out whatever they don't sell. They throw it out! I don't think they're allowed to legally donate it to homeless shelters or anything like that (in case someone got sick, they could be held liable), but that just seems silly to me. It's perfectly good bread. In fact, it's amazingly good bread! It seems such a waste to just throw it all out.

And when they throw it out, they have it in neat, clean bags. That are easily untied. And they leave the dumpster gates wide open.

So, well, er, um, all of this to say...I may or may not have gone dumpster diving behind the bakery last night.

I plead the fifth.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

what are your spiritual gifts?

Last night at the college group, I talked about spiritual gifts. I'll share a little here.

If you are a Christian, you have spiritual gifts. You might not know what they are, but you have them. You received them when you received Jesus into your heart and life. And here's what's so trippy: God already knew what gifts you were going to have! I never thought about that before. But Paul talked about it.

"There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines." (1 Corinthians 12:4-11)

I love thinking about this because it reminds me how freaking amazing God is. He gives us these spiritual gifts so we can serve others, edify/lift up/encourage the church (His body), and glorify Him. And because he knows each of us fully, completely, and intimately (I mean, He did create us), He already knew what spiritual gifts he was going to give us when we made the decision to follow Him. I dig it.

(Side note: if you're reading this blog and you're not a Christian, I hope you know that I'm not saying "if you're not a Christian, you don't have any gifts or talents". You have natural talents, gifts, and abilities, whether or not you believe God gave them to you. But those are different from spiritual gifts.

I used the example of U2. Whether or not people like their music, I think most everyone would agree they are extremely talented musicians. They were gifted with good minds, strong musicality, talent on their instruments, and spent years and years practicing to get really good.

But spiritual gifts are given to Christians to bless the church and give glory to God. I hope that makes sense. And I hope this is something interesting to think about!)

Ok, so all Christians have spiritual gifts. So now is the fun part. Figuring out what they are! Do you have 20 minutes? Have you taken a spiritual gifts test before? There is a church out in Indiana (Carmel Lutheran Church) that put together one I really like. You can take it online here. Or you can download a PDF form from that website, print it out, and do it on paper.

This test is not an end; it's just a tool. It might not be completely accurate, because well, first of all, it's man-made. It's not from the bible. And second of all, WE take these tests. So be reeeeeally honest with yourself when you answer the questions. No one is going to see the test but you.

Even though tests like this aren't 100% accurate, they are helpful to give us an idea of what our gifts might be. And then when you find ways to use your gifts, you will know if they truly are your gifts or not. For example, my top spiritual gift is hospitality. I totally see that in my life. I LOVE making people feel welcome. I LOVE being that friendly presence, making people feel at home, taking care of them, loving them without question. I do that every Wednesday night when students come to the college group.

I come alive.
It brings me joy.
Others notice it and affirm that gift in my life.

Those are usually 3 good signs that you are truly using your spiritual gift. To bless and serve others. To build up the body of Christ. And ultimately to bring glory to God.

So go take the test. What were your top 3 gifts? Do you see those in your life? Did any surprise you?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I have not been able to hear in my left ear for 5 days now.

As you know, I have been battling allergies for awhile and I blow my nose constantly. I guess my ear had just about enough of it and one day in mid-nose-blow, it closed up.


I thought it would open up the next day, but it didn't. I started taking sudafed and ibuprofen to see if that would help. I would wear a warm washcloth on my ear to hopefully open it with steam. Nothing was working.

In the meantime, I've been having to ask everybody what they're saying. I'm like George Bailey in It's A Wonderful Life. ("Could you speak into my good ear? It sounded like you said, 'No charge'.")

"Hey Sarah! How are ya doing?"

"Eh?" -me

"Hey Sarah, do we have college group this week?"


"Sarah, how are those allergies treatin' you?"


I finally couldn't take it anymore and went into the doctor's yesterday. I wanted to make sure it wasn't an ear infection. My doctor was booked, but they placed me with a new guy. He was a short, balding, grey mustached man probably in his late 50's. He looked in my ear and said, "Ahhh, let me tell you what's going on."

The eustachian tube (behind my ear drum, it connects the middle ear to the throat) is closed. Probably the pressure of so much nose blowing did it. So, to help open it up again, the doctor prescribed:

1) suck on hard candies and chew gum
2) drink hot liquids
3) keep taking sudafed
4) continue using my nasal spray
5) lie on a pillow, with my left ear UP

"Now Sarah, you're probably thinking you'd want to lay on your side with your left ear down, so fluid can drain out of the the ear. But I actually want you to lay on your side with your left ear UP, so it drains down through the eustachian tube and into the throat. I know it sounds ass-backwards."


Are doctors allowed to cuss with new patients?

Sunday, January 09, 2011

next year's birthday cake

A friend introduced me to a fun blog about cakes and I have seen one I would like for my birthday in August:

I know it looks detailed, but you have 8 months. So it's all good.

Thanks (in advance)!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

oh no they di'int!

I have been noticing an alarming trend of cartoons being made into movies. Classic cartoons we grew up with are now (twenty years later) getting whipped into crappy movies with eye-cringing CG characters. Some examples:

Well, I thought, at least there's ONE classic 80's cartoon they haven't touched. Hopefully it will escape the computer-generated movie curse.

But then...I saw this:

Oh yes, coming to theaters August 3, 2011 in freaking 3-D.

How dare they.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year

I hope you all had a fabulous New Years!

Last year, some friends of ours rented out a roller rink and we skated into the new year. They decided to do it again this year. Yeah! The theme was "black and white", so it was fun to see everyone's outfits.

Farewell 2010.

2011, bring it.