November 30, 2007

A Friend I Wish I Had

I have been a long admirer of Amy Grant for nearly 15 years. I have enjoyed her music, certainly, but what has most kept my admiration in place is her. To base your opinion on her music alone is missing the whole point of her music. Her music has more meaning and is further understood and appreciated when you listen to her speak.

For me, the hype is not about how she looks (although she is stunning), the awards she has won, or even her music. The excitement I feel when I am about to see Amy in concert or on TV is about what she’ll say. Her words are laced with tenderness and wisdom and full of insight about simple things. Amy keeps it simple and she herself is simple. There are no pretenses with her. What you see is what you get.

There are three things I would wish for if given the chance to have them granted: 1) to hold a baby monkey; 2) to play the cello; 3) to be friends with Amy.

In the course of the last 15 years, I have seen Amy in person at least 15 times, and out of those times, I have had the chance to speak with her in person about 5 times. I have never taken those chances. Some think it’s silly of me, but the reason I have not yet spoken to her passing through an autograph line (another thing I have never done) is because I feel as if it will cheapen the admiration I have for her. It's like it would be a let-down because what I would want to say to her cannot possible fit into the 35 seconds I would get to speak with her. More importantly, I would want to hear from her; hear her talk about life and her walk with the Lord.

Some have found faith journey inspiration in Mother Theresa; some in Martin Luther; and many in Billy Graham; and while I too find these men and women to be inspiring, I have found a great source of inspiration in Amy Grant and her journey with Christ. When she talks about her faith I truly resonate with her. She puts into words things I cannot find the words for. She has been placed on the judgment seat by her own brothers and sister in Christ and instead of becoming bitter and stained by that experience, I see how it has softened her all the more and made her more able to show mercy to others.

I never set out looking to become a crazed fan of a singer. One day I stumbled upon a singer's music when I myself was young in years and in my faith. And even then, in my juvenile state, I was drawn to what she had to say outside of her music.

November 29, 2007


Most of you know Naomi, our dear friend who hails from North Dakota and is living there now as she works on an Indian reservation. Naomi and I were roommates for nearly four years in Minnesota and we became really good friends while we were living together. When we parted ways, she back to ND and I back to Chicago, it was quite sad for the both of us.

I could not imagine my life without Naomi in it every single day. And now, four years after the four years we lived together, I cannot imagine my life with Naomi in it every single day. Time can be a cruel, cruel friend. But the one thing that time can never change is just how much I love my dear friend, Naomi.

Naomi, you are everything that is even and still. In our wedding program I said that you had been a respite for me- you still are even though we are hundreds of miles apart and weeks between phone calls and e-mails. I love that I know your family and that you know mine. I love that you and Taylor have a special dance that only the two of you know. I love that you know inside and out the sequence of events that brought Jason and I together. I just love you, Nome!

At the end of the month Naomi is coming to spend a week with us and I could not be more excited. When the three of us are together we are like the Three Musketeers. We have so much fun doing really simple things like going to Caribou; making yummy dinners; checking out the city lights and heading over to Caribou again.

Nome, we can’t wait to see you at Union Station at 3:55pm!

November 28, 2007

My Gang

Now that I am at home during the day, I am running into a different group of tenants who live in our building that I would not have normally seen so often when I was working during the day. Our building consists mainly of widows and middle-aged bachelors; Jason and I being a young, married couple stick out a bit. But we have always enjoyed getting to know our neighbors and try to learn as much about them as possible.

The other day I was doing laundry in our laundry room and there was Gladys, a tiny woman in her 80’s who has a ton of spunk. Gladys goes to Starbuck’s every day in the afternoon- I know this because usually about the time I am fixing to go there myself, she is coming back from her caffeine fix. Gladys is very proper in appearance, but like I said, she has spunk and every now and then she lets out a zinger or two. The day that we were doing laundry together, she gleefully asked me “Do you like Jockey underwear?” I, at first surprised to be asked such a question, and then embarrassed to see her folding her Jockies, simply replied, “Gosh, I can’t say I have ever tried them.”

Gloria is a sweet woman who is originally from Minnesota. I like Gloria. She is a straight talker. We are both alike in that way. Gloria tells is like it is, but with a spoonful of Minnesota congeniality. We run into each other in the laundry room quite a bit and she always is happy to just say “hello” and leave it at that….I sometimes do laundry at 6:30am, so I appreciate that!

Margie is also very sweet, although a little mysterious. I have not been able to hear her life story yet (I pretty much know Gladys and Gloria’s stories), so I am often left to wonder how she got here and what she does with her time. Margie is funny though. Sometimes the scents coming out of other units on her floor displease her, so she sprinkles her own carpet freshener in the hallways! I love that…it’s gutsy, yet passive-aggressive.

Then there is Debbie, the dog-walker for the building. She has her own dog, but she walks other people’s dogs who live in our building during the day. I swear every time I am coming or going, I run into Debbie walking a dog.

There are others, people whose names I do not know, but I know their faces and routines. I like this little community of mine during the day. It’s like we are a gang; a gang that does not do anything together (besides fold laundry), but a gang nonetheless. We’re all in it together: the shopping, the laundry, the cleaning, the lunching, the running around doing errands, etc. The building’s hallways and the streets below are our stomping grounds. We rule the hallways and those streets during the day.

But at night, when the “professionals” come home, we clear out of the hallways and the streets and retreat to our units. This does not bother us, because we know come 8am the next morning, we’ll have it all back to ourselves again! I like being a part of this gang, even if I am the youngest member.

November 27, 2007

Living a Life by Faith

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1

This past Sunday, our pastor taught on Hebrews 11 and it has really got me thinking. In case you are not familiar, Hebrews 11 writes about the faith of men and women who became examples of living out the kind of faith spoken of in the verse above.

Noah built an ark because by faith He believed it when God told him there would be a great flood. Can you imagine spending years of your life building a gigantic floating vessel while others scoffed and declared you insane? But Noah’s faith compelled him to do what others thought illogical and a waste of time and because of his obedience to the Lord, he and his family (and not to mention a few animals) were saved from perishing in the flood. He had faith.

Moses was found floating in a river by the Pharaoh’s daughter when he was a baby. He grew up a privileged child with the best of everything because he was raised in the Pharaoh’s palace. Essentially, he was the Pharaoh’s kin and because of that, he was entitled to all the privileges that being with the Pharaoh of Egypt afforded. But one day Moses saw a man being beaten by what can be assumed to be a palace guard. Instead of turning away, Moses chose to leave the comforts of the palace and live amongst the people of God- what were to become his people. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God. Little did he know that one day he would lead those people out of Egypt to get away from their oppressors. He had faith.

There are more examples of great faith in Jacob, Isaac, Abraham, and even in a prostitute, Rahab. But what about me? Could I ever fall on to this list of those who led lives ruled by their faith in God?

“All these people were still living by faith when they died, they did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth” Hebrews 11:13

I try to remind myself of this every now and then. I try to get myself to a place in my head that comprehends that this life I have now is not fully what God has for me. My life now cannot compare to what God has for me when I am with Him. My identity is not a married, white, female who is a citizen of the United States of America. My hope is not in my marital status or citizenship; my hope is in Christ who died for me.

It is by faith that I live here on earth, believing that God sent His only Son for me so that one day I may have eternity with Him. Of this I am sure. This is where I put my faith.

But what counts now is how I live out my life of faith….this is what has me thinking.

November 26, 2007

Simple Guy

So, as you know, Simple Guy is my husband. But that sounds so technical and it does not give creedance to all that he really is to me. You see, Simple Guy is more than just my husband. He is my best friend, my warrior, my launching pad, my crash get the point.

To know Simple Guy is to love him. How can you not love the most gracious and tender man on the planet? I know I am lucky…..actually, it’s not luck that I get to be his wife, it’s God’s perfect blessing that I am!

Did you know that I knew I was going to marry him long before we ever dated? I have not told very many people this story, so here it goes in case you have not already heard it.

My senior year of college was a bad year for me. I was terribly depressed and had a very difficult time doing simple things like going to classes or buying groceries. But one of the few bright spots for me that year was my good friend, Simple Guy. He lived below me in one of the off campus dorms for upper classmen. We would have dinner together quite often, and I always enjoyed spending time with him, even if all we ate was nasty Pasta Accents from the grocer’s freezer section!

Anyway, one night I got back from having dinner with him and as I crawled into bed, my roommate Jen made a comment to me about how much time he and I were spending together. Instead of trying to deny any feelings I might have for him, I said “I am going to marry him some day.” A few days later I was reading my Bible and the Lord led me to read the passage about Jacob and Rachel and how he had to wait 7 years before he got to be with her. This all happened in 1998. Simple Guy and I were married in 2005….you do the math!

Now I am not trying to imply that our story is like that of Jacob and Rachel’s. I mean Simple Guy did not have to marry my sister before he got to marry me and there was no drama with my dad and him. But I remember reading that passage and having a peace in my heart that this was a message for me; this was something to hold on to; this was a promise to be fulfilled in God’s perfect timing.

January 29, 2005 has forever changed my life. It was the first day of my life with Simple Guy. There is no going back to life without him. Even if he passes before I do, he will always be with me. I wish we could have 100 years together because three years has gone by so fast. But I will be thankful for each day we do have together. Our love is better than life.

Getting Started

Well, here I go....writing my first entry on my first (and likely only) blog. To be honest, I feel a little silly starting a blog since I do not have children to write about and that seems to be the catalyst for the start of most blogs. And my life isn't all that interesting in that I do not live in an exceptionally excotic place to post pictures of; I do not have an unusual occupation of which I can share stories of; and I am not famous, not even a little.

But, in the context of keeping things simple, I live in a great city; am working on trying to get my little business off the ground; and to my husband, I am famous- famous for my chocolate chip cookies and all the other things I bake!

So welcome to my blog and stay tuned....I feel like I am going to have a lot to say!