Sunday, July 31, 2005

Pushing Forward

Runners describe the sensation of hitting a wall at some point when they are running - a place where they feel like they can't go another step but if they push themselves to take that next step then they can break through it and keep running.

Obviously, I have never actually experienced this myself. My running experience is well, erratic at best. And I have described before how feeling overwhelmed can actually drive me into this closet of inactivity. I'll have more to do than ever before and I'll suddenly be wandering aimlessly around the house and laying on the floor staring at the ceiling.

It's happened before. And I have the urge to lay on my floor right now, or maybe go pop in an old movie and free my mind from responsibility. Yet the sheer magnitude of what I have to accomplish - well, that would just be foolish. I have to work. I have to get this stuff finished. I have people depending on me and deadlines to meet.

So I have to push forward, take that next step and the next one, click off each step of the process, forcing myself to do my best and then move on to the next thing. It's all I can do.

Even though a nap sounds just about perfect right now...

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Movie Round Up...

I spent yesterday feeling ill so today I can't really come with anything worthwhile to muse on so I figured I'd just have some fun and give you my movie round up on what I've seen lately - the hits and the misses and the in-betweens...

Herbie:Fully Loaded - Fun Family movie. Went with my girls and enjoyed it, especially since this will probably be the last G-rated Lohan movie they'll get to see since falling in love with her back in Freaky Friday. Yes, it was rather unrealistic - obviously, a bug isn't going to win a NASCAR race but the movie still had me smiling and the relationships kept me watching. Can't ask for much more out of it!

War of the Worlds - What a waste of two movie tickets! I was mortified that even after reading Anthony's scathing review at Cinerant I still went and saw this atrocious thing. It's a film devoid of humanity. Instead of a film that had people banding together to help one another in a time of crisis (see Independance Day), the film was dominated by lunatics and mob scenes and an anti-hero who spent the entire movie running away. I could go on and on about why this movie is worse than just your run of the mill bad movie because of being completely devoid of true compassion and care - something that does distinguish us from mere animals.

Willy Wonka - I was a little worried about the "weird" Willy Wonka and while I think that Tim Burton kept us from the heart and emotion this film might have brought out in us (I only got to the point of tearing up, rather than sobbing) it still was an amazing rendition of the classic tale. I loved the new oompa loompa songs, enjoyed the way it was edited to tell the story, and liked seeing more of Willy Wonka and how he became the man he was. I enjoyed the film immensely and thought they actually tamed down some of what bothered me in the original version. A definite hit.

A Love Song for Bobby Long - Rent this movie! There is some language so be warned but wow, what an amazing movie and John Travolta has truly won my respect with his performance as Bobby Long. Set in New Orleans, this is a visually stunning film with intriguing characters and a story you are dropped into. At the end, not all of your questions are even answered, yet it doesn't really matter. I am surprised I did not hear more about this movie. I rented it because of Scarlett Johanssen being in it (and I am typically impressed with her)so was taken aback with how much I really liked it.

Million Dollar Baby- I'll give Clint Eastwood this - it's shot beautifully - I love the way he works with composition and light to create beautiful images. I'm not a boxing gal but I was interested in the story and the relationships. But please! Other than it being well-acted (and it was) it was (IMHO) grossly overrated for what it was. The only thing thing spectacular about it was that it was controversial - and I guess that's what wins you Oscars nowadays. I could go on and on about how flat and hollow their whole "right-to-die" argument was anyway, but suffice it to say, it wasn't that great a movie anyway.

Are We There Yet? - Is it over yet? Bad, Bad, and Bad.

Man of the House - Not too bad - not great either, by any stretch of the imagination. But I got through the movie without groaning in disgust and actually laughed a couple of times. I enjoy Tommy Lee Jones and it's a decent movie. Worth the rental fee at least...not really the movie tickets:-)

Hide and Seek - Bizarre movie. I'd have to probably spend more time than it's worth trying to figure out why I didn't really like this movie. I think because it was just psychologically off and I felt that the ending was a cheat. Tick me off in a movie and I tend to write it off which is why I can't seem to review it very well and explain my reasons better.

Hitch - on DVD - go rent it if you haven't seen it. I really enjoyed this movie.

On tap for tonight...The Upside of Anger...we'll see:-)

Monday, July 25, 2005

Needing His Voice...

As I held the phone to my ear listening to my mother describe the fact that my father had cancer, and what kind it was and what the doctors had told her, I sat in front of the computer typing in the words to Google even as she spoke. Long after we hung up I poured over every page I found reading every word I could find. Then I would call her back and ask more questions.

I had to know what I was dealing with. What we were facing.

Facts became my coping mechanism.

When I grew frustrated with my mom not knowing the answers I drove up to talk to the doctor myself. The weekend he was dying I was calling the Hospice nurse asking her for what to expect, what would I see, what was going to happen. I had to know. It felt like if I had all of the information, knew what was coming, I could be ready.

It's a lie, really - beacause there are some things we just are never ready for. And therein lies my struggle for faith. Oh, I don't struggle with having faith that God exists, that He's come and will come again - those are givens. But it's the other stuff in my life. When I'm faced with what seems like a mountain before me - one that I can never tackle, never conquer - and the Word says something like...

"If you had faith like a mustard seed you could say to that mountain 'move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." (Mt 17:20)

Sounds pretty simple. But what do I do instead? I want to analyze the mountain to death. I pull out my measuring tape and take a thousand measurements. I stand back and rub my chin and calculate the distance. I take stock of my supplies and travelling companions. I look at all the facts to decide whether I can deal with the mountain before me. You can guess how I measure up to all of that.

So I'm in that place now in my life. Where God has spoken a word to my heart and has asked me to believe Him, trust Him - and not be consumed and focused on what I see in front of me. I know that if He resides in me, that He also has given me all that I need to do that. But actually letting go, can be harder than all the rock-climbing in the world.

So here's to ignoring the facts - and walking in faith. Here's to searching for His voice, instead of anyone else's.

So what mountain are you facing? Maybe it's time to step back and stop staring at the mountain, and start staring at Him. He's all we need. It's so easy to get side-tracked with the facts and lose faith but it's also easy to get refocused and find it again. Take a deep breath and just listen...

Cross Post from 4:12 LIVE!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

When friends hurt...

I almost didn't blog again today, because I suppose I was feeling a little sorry for myself but then realized that it has been more than a few days. So here I am, in all my imperfect self.

So instead of actually, you know, calling this friend and telling her that I'm hurt, I'd rather just spill my guts to countless readers on the Internet. It's just so much more anonymous that way! Please! I don't even think many of my flesh and blood friends even read this thing - but what if they did? Today is the first time I've been tempted to cross that cyber line and spill something that could actually get me in trouble in the real world.

So in the interest of maintaining the blurred line between my cyber-reality and my real reality I won't give names or even any details. Just the facts. I got hurt. Again. Been there before? Figured you had. Most of us have at one point or another. Heck, I bet I've even been the hurt-er sometimes. Trouble is, forgiving - I can do that. I know how much I've been forgiven. And I'm willing to stake money that she probably doesn't even realize what she's done. That's just the way she is. My trouble always comes in how honest should I be about the hurt? Reveal it in truth or cover in love? I never know which one to do. Mostly because instinctually I'd rather just forgive and love and never bring it up. But that's not always the healthiest thing to do. Some people are more confrontational, but I'm the opposite - I'd do practically anything to avoid a confrontation - other than flat out disobey God.

I'm just not sure what He wants me to do in this situation. Except I know I'm bad at lying.
"So how you doing Sarah?"
"What's wrong?"
"Yeah. Right."

My face is an open book. It's a blessing and a curse. So I know I'll have to say something - but how much should I say?

To be honest, I'd rather avoid the whole thing. But the fact that I'm screening my phone calls tells me I'd also rather avoid her at the moment - and I know that is not a healthy thing either.

I thought things would get easier once I got out of high school. I'm not sure relationships ever get easier to get navigate. In some ways - I think they're even harder. But I also know we need each other, and that God uses our relationships with one another to make us more like Him. Come to think of it - that's probably the really hard part:-)

Sunday, July 17, 2005


are over on 4:12 LIVE today.

Have a restful Sunday...

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Under the Influence

I returned from Denver last night hepped up on caffeine and fumes from jet engines. The International Christian Retail Show is still going on but I am happily at home with my family - with an awful lot to think about.

One thing I always struggle with when I go to these things is this: How could I possibly have anything to add to all of this?

"What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again,
there is nothing new under the sun". Ecclesiastes 1:9

And how true that is. Especially at CBA. There will always be parenting books and marriage books and another book about a single gal finding love where she least expects it.

What could I possible have to add to it all?

And yet in the midst of the noise of the convention, the music and the booksignings, God's still small voice in my heart was unmistakable. I was right where I belonged. It was where I was called. Just because I didn't know what that was going to look like really didn't matter. I have to keep writing. The message may not be anything new - it never is - but I've never been around to say it. God has shaped something in me that is completely unique and that is valuable all by itself. It really doesn't matter if my name is never on one of those hanger-sized posters hanging from the rafters. All that matters is that I'm faithful to the call on my heart. That I tell the stories. That I share my passion. That I point to Jesus Christ - the One who gave me the voice in the first place. I'm honored, and humbled, at the privilege to even be a part of the many voices out there today.

I did have one pretty significant problem at CBA. Yeah, well, apparently the altitude of Denver appears to be a problem for me. I was either feeling sick to my stomach, had a headache, or just acting bizarre. It reminded of my old drinking days - yes, I'll admit that I did that on frequent occasions - and that is the best way to describe it - I felt tipsy. A little light-headed and too free with my words. It was like somebody shut off my internal filter that makes me stop talking. Therefore I was saying things to random strangers and think I have blocked out what I might have said to some V.I.P (not so random strangers)while I was there.

I am embarrassed just thinking about it. I just couldn't make my brain and my mouth work together, you know? And the more I tried to explain my problem, the weirder it got. I just hope I didn't do too much damage in all my blatent honesty (which is what I tend to be when my filter-girl is on the fritz).

So in one sentence - It was the best CBA that I'd like to completely forget. Weird, huh? And if you met me there and I said bizarre things, please forgive me and chalk it up to altitude instability. I promise it was only temporary insanity!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Book Mecca

So tomorrow morning will find me bleary-eyed with Starbucks in hand at Dulles airport for my way-too-long flight to Denver for the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS). It used to be called CBA, the convention of the Christian Booksellers Association. But no, they had to go and change the name this year confusing everybody. But I know why they did it.

I love going to CBA, I mean ICRS, because there are books EVERYWHERE! And I happen to love books. But it has become so much more than books. Many of the aisles are filled with what some people call "Jesus junk". You know, any little trinket or dust collector that sports a Scripture or a poem about God. Tons of pictures, dolls, jewelry, T-shirts if they can put "Jesus" on it, they do. Now, I buy a lot of books and a bit of music, but I don't even remember when I bought something else besides a card at the Christian bookstore. This is not new stuff, it's been around for a long time but I suppose some big-wig somewhere wanted to make sure that "retail" was the focus rather than "booksellers".

And I'm not sure how I feel about that. Partially because most of the people who write the books that line the shelves of a Christian bookstore do so because they want to help others in some way. We want to share truth whether it is through a story or the next twelve chapter "You can Overcome X". But all the other retail stuff? What's the purpose? It's basically to make money, right? We can argue that we wear t-shirts or jewelry or hang framed prints in our halls to be a witness to others. While that may be true on some level, our real witness is the way we live our lives, the way we treat others, the way we exhibit peace in the midst of pain. Frankly, I've seen too many people wearing Christian T-shirts that made me want to run in the other direction. Those Christian fish on the backs of cars certainly aren't helping many people be more polite and courteous drivers. Sometimes, that witness is a bad one.

I have one piece of jewelry that I wear all the time. It was a gift from my grandmother. People notice it regularly and I find it funny that when they point it out it's almost code for "I'm a Christian too". But as for all the other stuff? I feel compelled in other directions now.

So I'll be wandering up and down aisle after aisle of "stuff" in Denver the next few days so you won't see me blogging here until next Thursday. Until then, be blessed, and be a witness with your life.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


I was intrigued by Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants when I first saw the trailers - a movie about girls getting along? And being supportive of one another? While the world is very aware of the "Mean Girls" issue among girls, it's refreshing to see a movie about everyone else.

I moved around a lot as a kid, so I was immediately jealous that these girls knew each other from the womb. I'll never have a "lifelong friend" like that. I think close friends, kindred spirits, are hard to come by these days. But when you find them - wow - it's amazing.

Spoilers abound, so beware if you still want to see the movie:-)

Carmen, the narrator of the movie, is ethnic and well, not skinny. She is dealing with a father that has gone off and gotten this perfect little blonde-haired family, around which she feels like the odd-woman out. It's a great story line - with real emotion and depth. Dad cares but he's clueless, too. And Carmen and her dad will both have to step out and be uncomfortable to bring reconcilliation.

Bridget is dealing with her mother's death, twice as hard with a cold and aloof father. She runs, plays hard and chases guys to fill that void. Unfortunately, they indicate that this void-filling includes sexual activity. While it is true that girls make this choice all the time, I thought this story line was tied up a little too neatly and quickly. The guy follows her home from Mexico (!?)on his way back to school and she's able to have this extremely mature insight that she doesn't need to fill the void that way anymore. There is no major consequence to her actions to help her get this big insight except just talking to the girls about how much she misses her mom. I just think this one fell short a bit. Now my friend Anthony was a little concerned about the "college-guy" thing but it didn't faze me. Of course, that could be because I married someone older. But teenage girls are often drawn to college guys so that part of it didn't bother me as much.

Now Lena's guy did bother me a bit partly because he didn't look like a college kid, he looked like a man - so it kind of gave me the creeps a bit. Lena makes an observation that "Me, who has lost nothing, is still too scared to open myself up to love" or something like that. This story line also wasn't all that it could be. First of all - we're supposed to like that she's finally opening up to someone (also involving insinuated sexual activity) and yet it's with a guy who goes to college in Europe and she's going back to high school in Maryland (supposedly, yeah right). Like she's not going to get hurt in this equation somehow? This story line might have worked better if we weren't dealing with a high school girl I think. The family tradition pieces were interesting but not really fleshed out much. I love Alexis Bledel and I think she did a beautiful job but I'm not sure thay gave me enough.

And then there's Tibby with her little friend dying of cancer. This felt a little overdramatic for me but I liked how Tibby's change was more subtle and not so spelled out for the audience. The little girl went from running around to sick and dying pretty fast and I think it was a bit of a cheat to do it that way. It was designed to get an emotional reaction (I say that like it didn't work, but I wasn't the only one sniffing in the audience).

The whole jean thing that ties these girls together - didn't really work for me. I would have been fine with the letter-writing I think. If the movie can still work without a device like that, then why use the device?

There were only two guys in the theatre (including my husband) which I thought was funny. But I really did enjoy the movie - it's only when I start tearing it apart that I see the missteps, and how I might have changed it. I think the movie really belonged to Carmen - and there was enough richness to that story that I think it could have been the whole movie. Just my thoughts.

Feel free to disagree:-)

Tuesday, July 05, 2005


So I was all set today to discuss "Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants" and then I get knocked out with a migraine this afternoon.

I hate migraines!

I've gotten them since I was sixteen. Some of you already feel sorry for me because you know exactly how I feel. Only another migraine sufferer truly knows what it feels like - it's so much more than a headache. My kids, even at their tender ages, know the difference between mommy having a "headache" and mommy having a "migraine".

There is a commercial on TV for some migraine medication where a woman is going about her day and then a boulder smashes her into the ground. It's a great visual for how it actually feels.

So, my movie musings will have to wait for now...because I'm going back to bed...

Friday, July 01, 2005


I am a natural planner, as is my husband. Even my six-year old daughter will get up in the morning and immediately say, "What's the plan today?" I guess something about knowing what's ahead gives me comfort and security.

Unfortunately, God doesn't always tell us "the plan". Oh, we get glimpses - often glorious glimpses - but we don't know what our tomorrow's will bring. I think I can get distracted from what God wants me to do today by trying to look too far down the road in front of me. I get weary just looking at it instead of focusing on the step right in front of me.

When we drove to Florida last year with our kids, my husband and I pulled an all-nighter driving back home. It was my turn to drive, and my entire family was asleep. The road seemed to strech out forever. I knew we had almost eight hours left and I began to think "We're never going to make it home." Then God's still small voice whispered, "One mile at a time." I began to watch the mile markers to keep myself awake. And even though they flipped past slowly - I kept passing them. One mile closer to home.

I can get the same way in my daily life. Days that I began to think, "I'm never going to overcome this area of sin." Or, "It's just going to be like this forever." It is then that I need to remember today. All I need to do is deal with today, conquer "right now". I've been feeling overwhelmed with my work projects lately. So much to do that I do nothing. But yesterday I tried it...What do I need to do right now? I felt like I should work on one particular project and it took me several hours. But I stuck with it and now, it's finished, and I feel this tremendous sense of relief. One mile closer to home.

So if something seems to strecth out in front of you endlessly, take a deep breath and just walk the mile in front of you, the one for today.