Green

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It’s not that easy being green
Having to spend each day the color of the leaves
When I think it could be nicer being red, or yellow, or gold
Or something much more colorful like that

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It’s not easy being green
It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things
And people tend to pass you over

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‘Cause you’re not standing out
Like flashy sparkles in the water
Or stars in the sky

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But green’s the color of spring
And green can be cool and friendly-like
And green can be big like a mountain
Or important like a river
Or tall like a tree

When green is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why

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But why wonder why wonder
I am green, and it’ll do fine
It’s beautiful, and I think it’s what I want to be

 

 

—Kermit the Frog

Galentine’s

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Ladies love to pretend they hate Valentine’s Day. We whine and moan about how stupid it is. But guess what, world? Ladies love Valentine’s Day. Single or taken, it’s an excuse to eat fancy chocolate, watch rom-coms, & listen to an exorbitant amount of sappy love songs.

And here are some of my personal favorites:

Stay Young, Go Dancing – Death Cab for Cutie
(Side note: I’m pretty sure Ben Gibbard wrote this about Zooey which actually makes this song totally heartbreaking for me.)

See You in the Spring – Court Yard Hounds feat. Jakob Dylan

County Line – Dr. Dog

Longing to Belong – Eddie Vedder

Prairie Wedding – Mark Knopfler

Smile When You Call Me That – Jakob Dylan

Pretty Flowers – Dolly Parton & Vince Gill

Sea of Love – Cat Power

I’m Making Believe – Ella Fitzgerald & The Ink Pots

All I Have to Do is Dream – The Everly Brothers

She Lit a Fire – Lord Huron

Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me – She & Him

p.s. If you happen to be in an extra-sappy mood, here are a couple of my favorite watch-until-you-weep love stories from the internet:

Danny & Annie (Story Corps)

Ian & Larissa (prayforian.blogspot.com)

 

Frozen in Thought

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It’s cold here. I’ll spare you the mundane details about wind chill & frost bite warnings & just tell you: it’s so cold the only thing you really want to do is sit inside in your warmest sweater and think.

And so tonight I thunk.

I thought about culture, mainly about viewing Christianity as mainstream culture views it & then as I know it. And here’s my conclusion:

Christianity isn’t hard until the moment I have to come face to face with my own failures. No one wants to do that, but this is a crucial moment for a Christian. Sometimes sin seems unfair. I am born, I am seemingly wired with certain weaknesses, & I am punished for this? And then there’s the matter of comparing sin. This seems bad but it’s not a sin and this over here seems harmless but it is a sin. My humanity can’t fathom this quandary. But you know what? It doesn’t matter if what is sin and what isn’t sin feels unfair. That’s not the point. What matters is whether or not I value and trust God above everything. If I value Him above all, I am willing to give up anything to honor Him. Even if it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If I think about life that way first, then the Christian life does not feel like a series of do’s and don’ts. It feels like something valuable, something to be treasured. A precious and infinitely wise friend to love and respect and trust and be in awe of rather than a distant god-creature who is only ever disappointed in my shortcomings. That’s not who He is. Who He is is love. And love is patient, kind, and it isn’t arrogant or rude. It’s not irritable or resentful, and it doesn’t rejoice in wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things – because it never ends. He never ends. My rock, my life, my all. Who hems me in, behind and before.

It doesn’t matter if what is sin and what isn’t sin feels unfair. What matters is whether or not I value and trust God above everything.

The rest falls into place.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.—1 Corinthians 13:12

I Have Pretty Friends

“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.”—Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

I have pretty friends. Pretty on the outside, but more importantly, pretty on the inside.

One of them is my dear friend Ford who recently got engaged to Mike.

I got to take their engagement photos & they made it very easy with their pretty faces.

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They are a most wonderful & fun couple, & I am honored to be called their friend.

Also: WOOOOHOOOO!


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Bonus Pretty Friend: George graciously tagged along to watch over hair/make-up & hold coats. I’ve known both of these ladies since we were very small. We’ve gone through many stages of life together & their friendship is most important to me. What stands out to me about both of them is their kindness. They always go the extra mile to love others, & what’s more important than that in a friend?

Here’s to many more years of pretty friendship!

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[Your Name Here]

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Nothing makes me feel more loved than those rare glimpses of heaven. They can come in the form of laughter with a friend, dinner with my family, hide & “theek” with my nieces & nephew, or even just a really good donut. This week I felt it even more intensely when I read Jesus’ prayer in John 17. While I was reading it, something made me think, “I should put my name in here.” And bam. The love overflowed. So I encouraged you to do the same. Where you see my name, replace it with yours, & feel His love wash over you.

Or just go eat a really good donut. He’s in that too.

“But now I am coming to You, and these things I speak in the world, that Katie may have my joy fulfilled in her. I have given her Your word, and the world has hated her because she is not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take her out of the world, but that you keep her from the evil one…Sanctify Katie in truth; Your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent Katie into the world. And for her sake I consecrate myself, that she also may be sanctified in truth…O righteous Father, even though the world does not know You, I know You, and Katie knows that You sent me. I made known to her Your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which You have loved me may be in Katie, and I in her.”—A portion of Jesus’ prayer in John 17

 

((And know He means this to be for all people. For He so loved the world.))

Twenty Thirteen

Image(Bemidji, MN October 2013, journal which contains my favorite quotes pictured here)

My blog and year (and life) is mostly a composite of photographs I’ve taken & quotes by folks I admire.

So here is 2013 in quotes from books I read & photos I took.

In no order.

Just like my blog.

And year.

And life.

Image(Bloomington, MN August 2013)

Surprised by Joy—C.S. Lewis

“Shut your mouth, open your eyes and ears. Take in what is there and give no thought to what might have been there or what is somewhere else. That can come later, if it must come at all.”
 
“The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and his compulsion is our liberation.”
 
“I think that all things, in their way, reflect Heavenly truth, the imagination not the least.”
 
“It is more important that Heaven should exist than that any of us should reach it.”

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(Duluth, MN May 2013)

The Pursuit of God—A.W. Tozer
“…but if my fire is not large, it is yet real, and there may be those who can light their candle at it’s flame.”
 
“Let the inquiring Christian trample under foot every slippery trick of his deceitful heart and insist upon frank and open relations with the Lord.”
 
“He meant us to see Him and live with Him and draw our life from His smile.”
 
“A spiritual kingdom lies all about us, enclosing us, embracing us, altogether within reach of our inner selves, waiting for us to recognize it. God Himself is here waiting our response to His presence. This eternal world will come alive to us the moment we begin to reckon upon it’s reality.”
 
“Men do not know that God is there. What a difference it would make if they knew.”
 
“God will not hold us responsible to understand the mysteries of election, predestination, and the divine sovereignty. The best and safest way to deal with those truths is to raise our eyes to God and in deepest reverence say, ‘O Lord, Thou knowest.’ Those things belong to the deep and mysterious profound of God’s omniscience.”
 
“In the living breathing cosmos there is a mysterious Something, too wonderful, too awful for any mind to understand. The believing man does not claim to understand. He falls to his knees and whispers, ‘God.’”
 
“So one hundred worshippers met together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be were they to become ‘unity’ conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship.”
 
“Keep reminding God in our times of private prayer that we mean every act for His glory; then supplement those times by a thousand thought-prayers as we go about the job of living.”
(San Diego, CA September 2013)
Gift from the Sea—Anne Morrow Lindbergh
“Now, instead of planting our solitude with our own dream blossoms, we choke the space with continuous music, chatter, and companionship to which we do not even listen…we must re-learn how to be alone.”
 
“And yet, once it is done, I find there is a quality to being alone that is incredibly precious. Life rushes back into the void, richer, more vivid, fuller than before.”
 
“…the truth of Saint-Exupery’s line: ‘Love does not consist in gazing at each other (one perfect sunrise gazing at another!) but in looking outward together in the same direction.’”
 
“And one perfect day can give clues fora  more perfect life.”
 
“This is what one thirsts for, I realize, after the smallness of the day, of work, of details, of intimacy – even of communication, one thirsts for the magnitude and universality of a night full of stars, pouring into one like a fresh tide.”
 
“Out of the welter of life, a few people are selected for us but he accident of temporary confinement in the same circle. We never would have chosen these neighbors; life chose them for us. But thrown together on this island of living, we stretch to understand each other and are invigorated by the stretching.”

Image(Crosslake, MN July 2013)

Can You Drink the Cup?—Henry J.M. Nouwen
“How does anyone dare to speak about joy in the face of unspeakable human sorrows surrounding us? And yet, it is there! For anyone who has the courage to enter our human sorrows deeply, there is a revelation of joy, hidden like a precious stone in the wall of a dark cave.”
 
“Jesus, who participated fully in all our pain, wants us to participate fully in His glory.”
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 (Crosslake, MN July 2013)
Tremendous Trifles—GK Chetserton
“I will sit still and let the marvels and the adventures settle on me like flies. There are plenty of them, I assure you. The world will never starve for want of wonders; but only for want of wonder.”
 
“Mercy does not mean not being cruel or sparing people revenge or punishment; it means a plain and positive thing like the sun, which one has either seen or not seen.”
 
“The poetry of art is in beholding the single tower; the poetry of nature in seeing the single tree; the poetry of love in following the single woman; the poetry of religion in worshipping the single star.”
 
“This world and the powers in it are far more awful and beautiful than even we know until some accident reminds us.”
 
“Lying in bed would be an altogether perfect and supreme experience if only one had a colored pencil long enough to draw on the ceiling.”
 
“Never had I stood so close to pain, and so far away from pessimism.”
 
“The great human dogma, then, is that the wind moves the trees. The great human heresy is that the trees move the wind.”
 
“Sometimes I fancy that every great city must have been built at night. At least, it is only at night that every part of a great city is great. All architecture is great architecture after sunset; perhaps architecture is really nocturnal art, like the art of fireworks.”
 
“I saw a light too near the earth to mean anything except the image of God.”
 
“…and of a sane man there is only one safe definition. He is a man who can have tragedy in his heart and comedy in his head.”
 
“That is what makes life at once so splendid and so strange. We are in the wrong world. When I thought that was the right town, it bored me; when I knew it was wrong, I was happy. So the false optimism, the modern happiness, tires us because it tells us we fit into this world. The true happiness is that we don’t fit. We come from somewhere else. We have lost our way.”

Image(St. Louis Park, MN November 2013)

A Grief Observed—C.S. Lewis

“You can’t, in most things, get what you want if you want it too desperately: anyway, you can’t get the best of it. ‘Now! let’s have a real good talk’ reduces everyone to silence, ‘I must get a good sleep tonight’ ushers hours of wakefulness. Delicious drinks are wasted on a really ravenous thirst.”
 
“On the other hand, ‘Knock and it shall be opened.’ But does knocking mean hammering and kicking the door like a maniac? And there’s also ‘To him that hath shall be given.’ After all, you must have a capacity to receive, or even omnipotence can’t give. Perhaps your own passion temporarily destroys the capacity.”
 
“For all sorts of mistakes are possible when you are dealing with Him. Long ago, before we were married, H. was haunted all one morning as she went about her work with the obscure sense of God (so to speak) ‘ at her elbow,’ demanding her attention. And of course, not being a perfected saint, she had the feeling that it would be a question, as it usually is, of some unreported sin or tedious duty. At last she gave in – I know how one puts it off – and faced Him. But the message was, ‘I want to give you something,’ and instantly she entered into joy.”
 
“For a good wife contains so many persons in herself. What was H. not to me? She was my daughter and my mother, my pupil and my teacher, my subject and my sovereign; and always, holding all these in solution, my trusty comrade, friend, shipmate, fellow soldier. My mistress; but at the same time all that any man friend (and I have good ones) has ever been to me. Perhaps more.”
 
“It is arrogance in us to call frankness, fairness, and chivalry ‘masculine’ when we see them in a woman; it is arrogance in them, to describe a man’s sensitiveness or tact or tenderness as ‘feminine’. But also what poor, warped fragments of humanity most mere men and mere women must be to make the implication sod the arrogance plausible. Marriage heals this. Jointly the two become fully human. ‘In the image of God He created them.’ Thus, by a paradox, this carnival of sexuality leads us our beyond our sexes.”
 
“God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t. In this trail he makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down.”
 
“I need Christ. Not something that resembles Him.”
 
“Can a mortal ask questions which God find unanswerable? Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable. How many hours are there in a mile? Is yellow square or round? Probably half the questions we ask-hale our great theological and metaphysical problems-are like that.”
 
“Rebuke, explain, mock, forgive. For this is one of the miracles of love; it gives—to both, but perhaps especially to the woman—a power of seeing through its own enchantments and yet not being disenchanted.”
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And my wish for all those I know & love in 2014:

Image(San Diego, CA September 2013)

Topsy-Turvy

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“The world is upside down. We’re all upside down. We’re all flies crawling on a ceiling, and it’s an everlasting mercy that we don’t drop off.”

(…)

“‘We were talking about St. Peter,’ he said; ‘you remember that he was crucified upside down. I’ve often fancied his humility was rewarded by seeing in death the beautiful vision of his boyhood. He also saw the landscape as it really is; with the stars like flowers, and the clouds like hills, and all men hanging on the mercy of God.'”

The Poet & the Lunatics, G.K. Chesterton

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Oh, Minneapolis

(Lyrics: Ben Kyle, Minneapolis)

Oh, Minneapolis

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I saw you & St. Paul kiss

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Neath the moonlight in a Mississippi mist

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Never saw a thing as beautiful as this

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Oh, Minneapolis

(Lyrics: Ben Kyle, Minneapolis)

The Power of a Glance

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“The power of a glance has been so much abused in love stories, that it has come to be disbelieved in. Few people dare now to say that two beings have fallen in love because they have looked at each other. Yet it is in this way that love begins, and in this way only. The rest is only the rest, and comes afterwards. Nothing is more real than these great shocks which two souls give each other in exchanging this spark.

At that particular moment when Cosette unconsciously looked with this glance which so affected Marius, Marius had no suspicion that he also had a glance which affected Cosette.”

—Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

The Rose

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He wants the rose

That’s the point of the gospel.

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