Saturday, November 26, 2005

The Grand Illumination

Last night Chris, Amberly and I went downtown to see the grand illumination of the Christmas tree at courthouse square. This was the big kick-off for all the Christmas events in the area.

After we looked at the old window displays we got some hot chocolate and moved to the square to see the tree. After a couple choirs the city commissioner got on stage to begin the countdown for the lighting of the tree. He made some remarks about how great the city is, blah blah blah and then began the countdown.


Someone was echoing his counts. I looked on stage and our mayor (who happens to be a drug addict and is never really all there) is repeating after the commissioner. Everyone, except the mayor, continued to count with the commissioner.










At "One." The commissioner started cheering and nothing happened. Soon the lights on the tress around the square lit up, but not THE tree. Everyone just stood there, not sure of what to do. After a painfully long wait the tree's lights finally came on.

At this point the choir on stage started to sing Jingle Bells, but they were off about a half of a verse from the music that was playing. This was because the band on the second stage had started singing Jingle Bells a few moments before the choir did. Both groups were being pumped through the speakers and it just sounded awful.

Not to worry, because the fat sound guy with the mullet went sprinting across the stage to get to the sound board and turn off the choir's mics.

Amberly, Chris and I almost fell over laughing at all of this.

Sigh. I love this city.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Sorry girls, he's not available.

On a completly different note from my last post, here is a picture of my wonderful boyfriend, Ben, and I.

I know. I probably just made a whole bunch of people puke. Well...I don't know what to say except for... sorry about your mess.

Happy Thanksgiving

Did you see it?

It snowed yesterday and today. I love snow. Snow crunching under your feet is one of the best sounds in the world. It is right up there with leaves crunching under your feet. I really hope I always get to live somewhere with four seasons. I love the changes in weather. (Good thing I live in Ohio, Huh? The weather changes about every hour.)

Well it's officially the Christmas season. Stores try and trick people into thinking the Christmas season starts right after Halloween, but it doesn't. It starts right after Thanksgiving. I am listening to Christmas music right now. Tomorrow Amberly and I are going downtown to watch the lighting of the tree. I absolutely LOVE Christmas time. I love that people throw parties. I love that people are willing to start conversations with strangers just because it's Christmas time. I love Christmas in cities (NYC especially). I love picking out the perfect gift for my family and friends. I love decorating for Christmas. I love making caramel and buckeyes to give out. I love singing Christmas carols at church. I love Christmas.

I know several people who do not share my love of Christmas and it makes me slightly sad. I feel like they just aren't seeing something that I see about this time of the year. I think I annoy them by trying to convince them how great this season is, but I really don't see what there isn't to love about this holiday!

Yes, we have taken it and turned it into the "Holiday Season" so as to not offend anyone and we've made it more about presents and less about the birth of Christ, but I can ignore that. I know what Christmas is all about. And so does my friends and family. So until the world gets in line, I will continue to love what Christmas is really about and ignore the junk that we've added to it.

With that said I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

How to make friends with your neighbors and throw a good party

Last night I had invited some people over to play some games. Amberly came over early to help me get ready and we decided to fix a pizza for dinner. Amberly put the pizza in the oven and as I was finishing cleaning the bathroom I heard "Hey Andi, what does this little lever do?" By the time I had yelled back not to touch it Amberly had said "Oh. It's locked."

I run into the kitchen and sure enough Amberly had flipped the self-cleaning lever which had locked the oven shut. With the pizza inside. For those of you who don't know what the self-cleaning function on an oven does, it takes the temperature up to some uber high temperature like 500 F and chars everything so it can just be brushed out. And since the oven gets that hot, it locks for safety.

This is all great if you have small things stuck on the bottom of the oven that need charred off. It's not so great if you have a whole cheese pizza in the oven. I was sure we were going to burn down the apartment building. So after a few minutes of Amberly and I yelling and pulling on the lever, I flipped the breaker for the oven. This kept the oven from burning the pizza, but it did not unlock it.

Amberly and I tried to call people to see if anyone knew what to do, but no one answered. I noticed that there were directions for cleaning the oven. I figured if we could trick the oven into going through the whole self-cleaning cycle in a couple of minutes then we would be golden. We flipped the breaker back on and tried to reset the cleaning cycle. It didn't seem to be unlocking the oven and after smoke started coming from the oven we flipped the breaker back off.

Shortly after this the power went out in my apartment complex and the complex next to mine.

The night just got better.

We busted out the flashlights and then realized that my apartment was FILLED with smoke. We quickly opened the windows and then heard sirens. I think I would have laughed my butt off if the fire department had showed up at my door. They didn't, but we panicked and Amberly fixed her hair in case they did.

Eventually the smoke cleared and people still came over. Note: If you lose power, cancel your party. It's really awkward for everyone to sit around in the dark. No matter how nice of a fire you have in the fireplace. The power came back on after 2 hours and saved the party.

I'm not sure if we caused the power outage. I kind of hope we did. It would make the story that much better. This morning I heard a girl at church talking about how she was at a friends apartment and the power went out. Apparently they didn't have any candles and it ruined their party. It made me laugh. Really hard.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

A Filtered Worldview

I really hope my last post didn't come across as whiny. My intent was not to write against any one church or an organization, but to simply express my frustration with a problem I saw. Last night, I briefly talked about home churches with one of my pastor's and I think my church may be moving towards more partnering than I had thought. Yeah!

I need to make sure that I check myself before I post. Blogs are a great communication tool, but they can do a lot of damage. A post made in frustration or anger can be hurtful and the damage can be hard to repair. A while ago I was talking to my pastor about a blog that had some very hateful stuff posted about me and he made the comment that he didn't think blogs were always a good thing. People post on them as if no one reads them, but they are open to the public. Things people wouldn't normally say in a large group are suddenly easy to post. I wasn't sure I agreed with him at the time, but I see the danger now.

James tells us that the tongue sets the whole body on fire and is itself set on fire by hell. With the same mouth we bless God and curse men. I never took that to mean written words, just spoken words.

The theme my junior year at the Christian high school I attended was "filtering everything through a biblical filter". I thought it was dumb at the time. A cheesy Christian saying that allowed for creative skits. Now I see the value in it. EVERYTHING I do and say needs to be filtered through scripture to see if it glorifies God.

Filtering my words and actions seems stifling. Like it is quashing my real desires. However, when I glorify God I realize that is my true desire. I may lose sight of that for the temporal things of this world, but I was made to worship God.

I am sure there will be times that things that are posted on here should not be. For that I apologize. I'm still learning how to filter everything.

Monday, November 14, 2005

We don't really play well with others....

Why can't churches work together?

It really frustrates me that most of the time they don't. Even the campus ministry I was a part of didn't work with other campus ministries. Sometimes I feel like churches are competing for "holiness points" or something. If we worked together to reach our community then we'd have to share those points. Ahhhh!

I've decided that I really like small churches. I grew up in a small church and the community in a small church is great. The problem is that small churches don't have a lot of resources. Big churches do. The church I go to has somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 people that attend. Tons of resources available. The church plant I go to has about 20 - 30 people and pretty much no resources.

So little churches have a hard time sending missionaries, providing supplies for their community, etc... BUT, what if small, big and medium sized churches all teamed together? Looked past the doctrinal differences for a little while and all served together? We might look more like the Bride of Christ.

I know churches aren't perfect. And I don't really blame anyone. It's hard to partner with people. Takes time and trust. But I'm not sure churches even think about teaming together.

Maybe we focus on the community within our church and ignore the relationship between churches.

I've just began to realize how much this frustrates me.

My church is beginning to launch Home Churches. (Don't ask me about them because I still really don't understand much about them...) Maybe with these Home Churches (I promise we are not a cult) we can get the community of a small church and enjoy the resources of a large church.

Now if only we could team with other churches and parachurch organizations....

Sunday, November 13, 2005

A Door Opened?

I may be able to get involved with a ministry downtown sooner than I thought. Last Sunday I went to a church plant meeting in a neighborhood that has one of the highest number of prostitution businesses in the city. It was a little scary going downtown with sketchy directions to a neighborhood I had ever been to but I found the community center just fine though.

I walked inside with a couple other people, all of us carrying dishes for the meal. It was pretty chaotic inside. People were setting up tables, setting out food, and herding kids. I put my salad on the table and quietly sat down at the table with a million kids and one mom-looking lady. I was soon introduced to the pastor, Jeff, who explained what the meeting was all about. It was an informal way to introduce the community to Jesus, see where the immediate needs were for that week and pray and worship together. Jeff introduced me to Leslie who explained a brief history of the neighborhood and how the construction of the highway killed it.

After some time of chatting we prayed and started eating. Once again chaos. After the food we sang some songs. Most of the praise choruses were sung by the music guy, the pastor and me. People didn't seem to know them, however; everyone sang for the hymns. People then started sharing praises that happened throughout the week. Two teens accepted Christ this week. One ladies son almost died but a "chance" encounter with a nurse and CPR saved him. Another lady was finally able to go to the next city and see her sister. Then we started praying for each other. It was awkward. Most people had never been to a church and weren't comfortable praying out loud. But they all knew that prayer was the thing that was going to get them through the next week.

You could tell just by looking at the people in the room that they had had a hard life. But they loved Jesus and each other and were fighting to make their neighborhood a safe place to live again.

I loved it. I'm going back tonight and I can't wait.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Pudding Cake

Whew. A lot has happened since I really posted last. My mamaw passed away. She was a believer so she's in heaven, which is good for her because she got to go home. I'll miss her though.

My Mom's birthday was on Tuesday. My Dad brought Chinese food home and I was supposed to bake a cake and bring it. This would be the first time I baked anything in my apartment. Cakes are well.... cake to bake. At least most cakes are. I made a yellow cake and we fought. It looked perfect coming out of the oven but it soon fell and when I tried to ice it the top layer kept coming off and making the icing all crumbly. Angry eyes. I let it cool overnight, I shouldn't have had this problem! Finally after fighting with it for approximately 35 minutes, I got it iced. I won. However, by the time I got it to my parents house it had fallen even more and there was a giant chasm in the top. Whatever. I gave up. When my mom (who was so excited that I baked her a cake) cut it, I figured out why it fell. It was completely mushy on the middle. Only the corners were done enough to eat.

I fought the cake and the cake won. Happy birthday Mom.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Hello again!

I am back. Sorry for the delay in posts. Since I moved into my new apartment I have been without the internet, TV or a phone. I now I have internet access and a phone. Oh the joys of communication.

I love living on my own. I just can't wait for my cats to get flea treated and come join me!

I have so many great stories but I need to go to bed. It's an early morning tomorrow.

I am open to suggestions about how to decorate my apartment. I'll see what I can do about getting some pictures of it up here.....