Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Okay, Yes, I Did it Again...

Another nerdy Wheel of Time video. Because the idea was just too fun to pass up.

Trust, Trust Not

Today's reading in My Utmost for His Highest addresses the burning question I've held for years: how am I to trust people (let them in), yet not trust them (expect them not to let me down) at the same time? This is good stuff right here...

An excerpt from GOD FIRST

"Jesus did not commit Himself unto them...for He knew what was in man." John 2:24-25

Put God First in Trust. Our Lord trusted no man; yet He was never suspicious, never bitter, never in despair about any man, because He put God first in trust; He trusted absolutely in what God's grace could do for any man. If I put my trust in human beings first, I will end in despairing of everyone; I will become bitter, because I have insisted on man being what no man can ever be -- absolutely right. Never trust anything but the grace of God in yourself or in anyone else.

Monday, May 30, 2011


There's something to be said for laughing at our fears, as Harry and his classmates must do in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

In Defense Against the Dark Arts class, the Hogwarts students come up against a boggart, which takes the shape of the thing they most fear. In order to combat it, they incant the spell Riddikulus! while thinking of a way to make their feared object into something utterly laughable (for example, Ron makes a giant spider funny by removing all its legs).

Neville makes his biggest fear look pretty ridiculous
in the
Prisoner of Azkaban movie!
My fears are so often unfounded and get blown way out of proportion, not to mention that the nature of fear in the first place is that is is usually irrational. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to perform a riddikulus charm on fear of the future, financial anxiety, fear of being alone?

The great thing is, for those of us who are in Christ, we have that kind of defense. It's called the truth - that is, the Word of God - and it's not to be taken lightly. Our fears will come against us using all the negative power of our weak human mind, but we have a sure way to stop them where they stand.

Fear (of the boggart sort) is not from God. We are commanded to have faith instead. I'm reading in Mark right now, and one of his primary themes is faith as the antidote to fear. "Do not fear, only believe," he says in Mark 5:36, even as one of the greatest fears of humankind, death, lay before them.

We can have faith because we know the truth, and we can repeat the truth to ourselves because it's been given to us in the form of the Bible. Even if we can't think of a specific verse right off the bat to combat our fears at a given moment, we can remember the sure and unchanging character of God that we have learned. That he is good. Holy. All-knowing. Just. Compassionate. Merciful. Almighty.

And the legs fall off the spider, and the boggart retreats back into its dark box.

We can laugh, because the overwhelming perfection of Christ makes our fears look so small, and so, well, riddikulus. :)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Kitchen Observations

One way I like to make cooking dinner more interesting is by reading the boxes I'm working with. Today's choice was Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. The last part of the blurb says this:
Inside this box you'll find the same deliciously gooey macaroni & cheese dinner you know and love... in fact, raise our new box above your head and announce to the whole store that you love it. Because you know you do.

Imagine how hilarious that would be.

Person walks over to the box in the grocery store, picks it up, reads it.


"I LOVE THIS!!!!!"

Person walks away.

Also, guess what? Our microwave has gone crazy. Keep it plugged in long enough, and it will spaz out sometime after 2 pm (or maybe I'm just imagining things) by spouting, "2! 2! 22222222!" After awhile you're like, okay, I get it, 2! and unplug it in wrath.

Bet your microwave doesn't do that!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Being Sick Has Been Nice...

One thing about being sick is that it makes you stop. It's kind of a heady feeling to be freed from all obligations so that you can recover. It's like getting a day off from the world. With lots of salt water, medicine and tissues involved, of course.

The past few days that I've had pharyngitis have been surprisingly restful. I've slept a lot - when do I ever pass up a chance to do that? - as well as simply reflected a lot. My reflections have brought me many times into the long, vaulted hallways of spiritual meditation, which has been extremely good for me.

It can be hard for me to come face to face with God, particularly when I don't feel that I have anything to say to him. Things aren't unbelievably wonderful right now, nor are they painfully and dark. I'm not doing anything particularly special, nor have I learned anything lately that's turned my life upside-down. I'm just here, being me. What does God have to do with me being me? Me being me is frighteningly small and boring.

However, as I've started a second read-through of Oswald Chambers' My Utmost for His Highest and read in Psalms and Mark, God has simply reminded me how little I know of him, yet how much he loves me in my ignorance and wants to simply spend time with me. God's love is the biggest, most encompassing force I can imagine, yet I've managed (so I thought) to squeeze it into a neat little box in the corner of my mind labeled "For Further Intellectual Enquiry at a Later Date." It's no wonder I go around with a vague feeling of self-imposed loneliness.

So, yeah. I have this annoying habit of pushing love away when I see it being poured recklessly upon me. Now open the floodgates, Lord, and let me taste the joyful, heart-ful abandon of a life filled by you!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My First Audiobook

I am proud to have studied under author Mel Odom for the last few years of my undergraduate studies. He is a talented writer, a superb teacher and a friend I greatly admire. 

If and when I get my first book published, I intend to dedicate it to him.

Recently, Mel and I have collaborated on a project - recording an audiobook to accompany the novella he published on Kindle. The story is called The Affair of the Wooden Boy and is a colorful and exciting read.

Mel discovered that I can conjure up a "radio voice" when needed, and he thought it sounded great. He recruited me to record the audiobook version of his story for him, and now we're going to sell it on Amazon and see how it goes. It's a publishing experiment. Writers, you'll understand. 

Check out the promo page that Mel set up, and listen to the first chapter of The Affair of the Wooden Boy!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Thoughts from a First-Time Harry Potter Reader

Well, folks, the title is just what it sounds. I've never read Harry Potter before! Please, hold back your collective gasp! I'm a poser bibliophile is what I am, apparently. Instead of shunning me from your hearts and minds forever, though, perhaps you'd like to hear a few of my thoughts first?

Books vs. Movies

I'm not far into The Sorcerer's Stone yet. In fact, Harry has only just learned of his past from Hagrid, since those darn Dursleys (just thinking about them makes my blood pressure rise) failed to inform him that he is a wizard. 

However, one thing is eminently clear - the Harry Potter movies are incapable of creating proper pathos for Harry.

[Pathos (n) - an emotion of sympathetic pity]

Surprisingly, since I sometimes sport the memory of a goldfish, I remember the first time I watched The Sorcerer's Stone. I recall that the Dursleys were annoying, and that Dudley was ugly. Honestly, though, the only thing I remember about Harry Potter is that he was smiling gleefully when his letters from Hogwarts came pouring through the fireplace. I had no sense of compassion or hurt for the fact that he was basically being abused by his family. 

Reading the book, on the other hand, makes me want to cry for the kid. Shut up in the cupboard under the stairs, thinking a good day is a trip to the zoo where he is practically ignored...awful stuff. 

You might be thinking, "The books is always better than the movie." While I cannot substantiate that statement, based on the principle delineated in the following scene in Napoleon Dynamite...

Napoleon: This is pretty much the worst video ever made.
Kip: Napoleon, like any one can even know that.

...I can say that I already see how seriously lacking my conception of HP characters is having only seen the movies. Some movies are able to communicate a depth of character that does the book some justice, but the HP series probably isn't among them. The story may be much too complex for that, or the movie making just not quite thoughtful enough.

I'll read on, and we shall see!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

I Have Bruxism.

That's right, folks; it exists, and I have it.

The Merriam-Webster definition of bruxism is "the habit of unconsciously gritting or grinding the teeth especially in situations of stress or during sleep."

This only started in the past three months or so. At first I thought I must be doing something awesome in my subconscious, like fighting velociraptors in my dreams, but it turns out that I just do it. When I'm stressed, when I'm not stressed, when I'm engaging in an apologetic tirade (which is a story for another time) or participating in a dance-off in my dreams, I grind my teeth so hard that it wakes up my poor husband most nights. 

As I mentioned this to various friends, I was surprised at how many of them knew that Wal-Mart sells "dental guards" to ameliorate the effects of bruxism. Not that they used the term, but come on. I mean, how pervasive is this condition? For all I know, my college friends all have small boxes with molds shaped to their implements of chomping while I thought I was the only one in the world who was apparently so disturbed that I had to masticate the helpless folds of nothingness for hours each night.

Anyway, Chris and I went to Wal-Mart today, and I bought a dental guard. 

I don't know why she's so happy to have one.

Here's mine! Yusss.

This particular dental guard was roundabouts $23. Okay. Cool. Whatevs. The disturbing part was the packaging. In the upper-right corner was a picture of teeth - yes, just teeth - with a huge, 200-lb weight bearing down on them. "This is what grinding your teeth is like!!!!!!" the caption read (though perhaps it did not have 6 exclamation points, or any at all). 

Greeeat. Not only have I not been fighting velociraptors, I've been putting a 200-lb weight on my teeth. 

So, my exciting activity for tonight was boiling the guard to soften the plastic-like material, then shape it to my teeth. Now my "dentures," as I call them, are all ready to go when I feel like closing my computer and closing my eyes. I must say, this all makes me feel rather humbled. There's nothing like having a weird device to keep you from unwittingly doing something that's bad for you that you can't stop doing even when you want to to take you down a peg.

Anyhow, thus concludes another episode of my surprisingly normal odd life. If your teeth and jaw hurt in the morning and your "sleep partner" - as the package calls the unfortunate person who has to put up with the lovely crrrk crrrk crrrkkk your grinding teeth make - has especially dark circles under his/her eyes, you mighty have bruxism. 

So then, dear reader, you should join me in my grand denture adventure.