Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I read ahead in church on Sunday. The pastor was preaching on John 11:1-44 (raising Lazarus from the dead). I read to the end of the chapter, verse 57, where it talks about the plot to kill Jesus. Something struck me that I’d never really noticed before. Here, let me put it here for you. See if you notice.

Then one of them ["them" being priests and Pharisees], named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up. "You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish." He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation, but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. So from that day on they plotted to take his life.

WOW! Here it is, so right on (his quote and his prophesy) and then, the next sentence, in stark contrast "so from that day on they plotted to take his life." Can you blame him, really?

I started to think how we are no better than this high priest. Then I started to think about this "bringing together and make them one" that the high priest prophesied. One church? But I am not in "communion" with somewhere around two thirds of my fellow Christians. We share our faith, we share the same hope, but we do not share the body and blood of Christ together. That has always saddened me. This is why I rejoice when church factions reunite as happened recently with two branches of Eastern Orthodoxy.

Ah, the Russian Orthodox Church. Now that’s a church culture I had a rough time understanding! I attended so many services when I studied abroad, but I just couldn’t see the link between what they did in their services and what my Christian experience was. That is, not until the last Sunday I spent there. Easter Sunday. Midnight service that Saturday night. I was in St. Petersburg. I held a candle. We were having a vigil for the crucified King. When my candle blew out, I had a stranger next to me help light it for me. Just before midnight the priests walked in circles around the church with as many of the congregation as could follow. As they walked back in, I looked across the human aisle we had formed to let them pass. A woman across the aisle looked into my eyes, with a joy and a love and a peace that I knew well and craved often. The peace of Christ. Then I understood. She was my sister. The man who lit my candle, my brother. This woman followed Christ’s story during passion week, and the power of it all changed her life, just as it had mine. "He is risen. Indeed he is risen" the church chanted (in Russian) over and over again. "Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tomb bestowing (or is it "restoring?") life." Over and over. "Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tomb..."

I am in the tomb. We all are. He gives life. The priests’ prophesy. The Holy Spirit shining through the Russian woman’s eyes. We are indeed one. But not of our own accord or through decrees passed by church officials. We are one because He has made us one. Amazing.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US! (Background -- my Jr High/HS best friend and I have birthdays a day apart. Tradition dictates that we find a way to get together to celebrate sometime that week. This year it was easy, as she lives in CH. That said, her dad made the deal sweeter by inviting us all to their beach house this weekend. What a great way to celebrate! Sadly, she moves next week. :-( Off to bigger and better things. Next year won't probably be this fancy.)

MORE beach pics

In no particular order:

E & El chill (E likes her chair -- thanks bro 2.0 & wife for sending it our way!);

The birthday girls have a party;

S sorts rocks;

a daddy-daugher moment;

E's first tooth (fossilized and prehistoric, who'd have thunk? -- El's dad "helped her" find it.);

big shoes to fill; A mother-daughter moment

We went to the beach!

So, pictures have been requested as have stories of E in the pool. This is to satisfy those requests.

This isn't E in the pool. That turned out poorly. Turns out that dunking a baby (up to the knees) in cold water (water that YOU even were cautious about jumping into) when the baby is overly tired after not having a good afternoon nap -- yeah, this is NOT a good way to introduce that baby to the love of swimming.

So, this weekend when we went to the beach I took a more careful approach. Just INTRODUCE her to water. Don't dunk her. It turned out well. In the video you'll see that the first couple of steps she takes are VERY encouraged (her weight is basically shifted to one leg, and then the other) but then she starts picking up her feet on her own. That was very exciting (small things, small things). She was very deliberate about picking those knees up high, and now definitely gets the concept. After she was changed later that evening, she looked in a full-length mirror at herself and did the same high-knee walk to the mirror (with me holding her to help keep her balanced) to get a better look at herself. Aw... baby steps. (literally.)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

We're Going to the Beach! (And I'm a bad blogger)

Sorry, folks, for not posting pictures of E or any other cool things for a long time. I have no excuse, other than I'm a bad blogger.

So, in lieu of actually blogging, here are some topics I would have blogged about, had I been a good blogger. If you'd be interested in actually reading any of these topics, let me know. I've included a convenient menu of options so that you can refer simply to the number you desire.

1-E learns to turn, and practices putting her pacifier in her mouth. (Riveting for the parents, especially as it means nights with uninterrupted sleep, but personally, I doubt you care.)

2 - Teacher appreciation week and all the junk and junk food that entails (this post was going to include quotes from all the "inspirational" (and mass-produced) food/gift bags that the PTA left in my mailbox. Things like "Thanks for BEAN a special teacher" on a package of jelly beans. With a pre-printed list of reasons I was a great teacher on the back. Even though I know no one on the PTA, and my teaching has only been observed once, apparently they know intuitively enough to print it on the inside of a bag of jelly beans that I "work hard and go the extra mile") If you'd like to see more teacher-y quotes, let me know. I laughed at most of them, and didn't feel any more inspired than a sugar high.

3 - Why my 7 yr old niece rocks.

4 - All about E traveling in the airport with me to the midwest. (summary: she was good. Also, people (usually 35 years +) thought the sling I wore her in was constraining and worried for her comfort, even though she was either (a) wide awake and happily looking around or (b) sound asleep, and peacefully so. One younger woman practically TRAMPLED me at the Chicago airport as I got off the plane and exclaimed how COOOL my sling was and "what brand is it?!?" "erm... I don't know... my mom bought it in Asia...")

5 - E knows that MR = MC

6 - E knows that "Daddy does my hair."

7 - E's experience in our swimming pool.

8 - Dear husband defends his dissertation proposal (and passes)

9 - Repeat the menu options again.

0 - Talk to a service representative.

So, dial a blog. If you'd like to see any of the above posts come out of my mind and be typed on computer, press or say the number now. If you'd like to see "E learns to turn," press or say "one" now... ... ... Okay, so that's not going to work. Why don't you just type it below in the "comments" section, and I'll do what I can.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Upper Midwest, here I come!

Looking forward to:
The one hour drive to parents from airport with my sister. (Time to catch up!)
Seeing sister.
Seeing my parents.
Helping them pack/generally helping make life easier for them
Introducing my sister, sister-in-law, brothers, and nieces (V. 1.1 and 1.2) to E.
Seeing V 1.1 and 1.2 again (And my siblings, but really, kids change so fast that, I'll admit, I am looking SLIGHTLY more forward to seeing them...) and maybe painting their fingers with sparkly color-changing fingernail polish. (I bought it a year ago and haven't had the chance to try it out on them yet... I'm not sure if 1.2 can get her nails polished yet, though. Gotta check with her mom.)

Not looking forward to:
Leaving S
Traveling alone with E.
Take off and landing with E.
Missing S's dissertation proposal defense.
Trying to protect E from parents' cats.
Missing breakfast, the occasional lunch, and dinner with S.
Being exhausted at work Monday morning

Apprehensive about:
A small house full of family and 3 little ones (5 including the cats. :) )
E in a sling carrier (past experiences haven't been the best.)

Thankful for:
E, glad she's so laid back (generally)
Ability to nurse publicly (helps with take offs and landings)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

"It's just that 5 am is a really convenient time for me to check my e-mail." (An explanation for why I needed to finish installing software onto my computer -- we did a complete overhaul on it -- at 11 pm, when I was really tired and wanted to go to bed.)

I can't believe that sentence came out of my mouth.

I guess they're right, becoming a parent changes you.

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