Monday, January 31, 2005

What's New?

God seldom speaks to us in startling ways, but in ways that are easy to misunderstand, and we say, ‘I wonder if that is God’s voice?’ Isaiah said that the Lord spoke to him “with a strong hand,” that is, by the pressure of circumstances. Nothing touches our lives but it is God Himself speaking. Do we discern His hand or only mere occurrence? Get into the habit of saying, “Speak, Lord,” and life will become a romance. Every time circumstances press, say, “Speak, Lord”; make time to listen. (Oswald Chambers, My utmost for His Highest, January 30th)

I might be getting sick again. After two bouts with pneumonia last year as well as a nasty virus that took months to get rid of, two ruptured ear drums and laryngitis you’d think I would have served my time in the sick prison. I’m not sure if I’m getting sick or not, but I’ve had a horribly sore throat since Thursday. So far I have no other symptoms, but my grandmother assures me it’s a sign of impending doom.

My nephew turned one last weekend. It’s hard to believe that he was so frail and tiny one year ago. He is the biggest proof to me that God answers prayer and still works miracles in the world today. It’s easy to forget that with no one parting the Red Sea or calling down fire from heaven to burn up a dripping wet sacrifice, but it’s still true nonetheless. It is amazing to watch Evan grow and see how God has watched over every part of his life from the very beginning. I am so thankful for Evan and how God brought him to us.

I went to see Phantom of the Opera again this weekend with some friends. I loved it just as much the second time. One of the reasons this movie appeals to me is that it has some deeper themes to it. For instance, there’s the idea of letting go of the past to move forward into what your life can be. Obviously Christine was unable to let go of her father, even though he had passed away many years before. She was still clinging to his words and his memory as if he was coming back to her. And the Phantom couldn’t move beyond his past of being mocked and tortured. He lived below the opera house in fear and despair, refusing all contact with people. Maybe at first he needed to keep hidden, but there’s no reason he couldn’t have moved away and began a life in the world in some way. Even Raul’s relationship with Christine was built on events of the past. In fact, I wondered how their marriage lasted for so many years as it didn’t appear that they had much in common except for a shared childhood (very young childhood, too, as she was housed in the opera dormitories at the age of 7) and a fear (hatred) of the Phantom.

Another thing I noticed this second time around was something in the first scene of Christine in the Phantom’s lair below the opera. She wakens from sleep, walks to him and begins touching his face. She runs her fingers around the edge of the mask, and then pulls it off his face. He becomes angry and frightens her before taking her back to the opera house. What I noticed this second time around was that she did this very slowly, so he had to know she was going to pull the mask away. Yet he didn’t stop her. I was thinking as I saw this that we really want the people we love to see us for who we truly are. We long for others to accept us as we are, but we are afraid. Often when they do see the real us, we become angry, like the phantom so that we don’t have to deal with their fear, loathing or pity. I think he wanted her to see him without the mask and was hoping she could love him in spite of his features. His anger was his fear that what he wanted would never happen and a desire to protect himself from what he was afraid he’s see in her eyes.

Putting aside the past and putting away the masks we hide behind are two big themes in this movie and proof that good stories often hide deeper truth in the midst of them. If you haven’t seen the movie yet - go see it before it’s gone.

On another topic related to the Phantom, why are people so negative about the actor that plays the Phantom in the movie? Gerard Butler is certainly no Michael Crawford in the vocal style catagory, but I think he did very well. His voice is untrained, but for me that worked well with the story. The man lived in a damp dungeon underground. He didn’t see the light of day much if at all. He lived alone and was tortured with madness. I think Gerard Butler’s voice and delivery fit perfectly what the Phantom would have sounded like. In fact, I think his voice translated the madness and desperation of the Phantom very effectively. We had to watch Tomb Raider:Cradle of Life this weekend so we could see what he looked like without the mask.

I am trying to get on a schedule to do certain things on certain days. You know, like the pioneer women of old used to do washing on tuesday, bake bread on Wednesday, etc. I do better with a scedule and I’m trying to do too much every day. I need to start being wiser with how I’m spending my time. Not that I am wasting time, I just need to find ways to do things smarter so that I can free up some time for fun things. I’m overwhelemed with my responsibilities at times and can barely find time to put a coat of polish on my nails. That may seem like a trivial thing, but when I can’t squeeze out ten minutes for a coat of nail polish, I’m too busy.

I did some reading this weekend, which was nice. I also caught up on a bunch of Gilmore Girls episodes I had TIVO’d. I love that show. Love it, love it, love it. I also watched the second episode of the Apprentice. Oh my goodness! That was a hilarious show. Not that it was trying to be funny, but those people acted so badly I just couldn’t help but laugh. The girl that walked off looked like a lunatic and is so obviously not right for this job. Her team manager put her in charge of customer service and she was paralyzed. Why was she asking him all those questions to begin with? She should have said one thing - is there anything specific you need me to make sure I do? Then she should have done whatever she wanted as long as it fell in line with any specifics he gave her in answer to her question. She had no initiative and no clue. She was freaky-weird. I am not sure she’s the one who quits at the beginning of this week or not, but she should be. I actually think Carolyn shouldn’t have brought her back to the group. She should have been sent home. If she can’t handle it on week two, she’s out of the running, in my opinion.

Both teams did horrible jobs on their renovations, but the guy who ripped out the toilets (Brian??) was the worst. He did it without even consulting the woman who was keeping the budget. And speaking of her, I have two words for her teammates…duct tape. Enough said. Brian was rightfully fired, but I honestly felt that most of that team should have been sent packing. Except for one or two they are all sinking quickly. I need to watch it a few more weeks to remember everyone’s names and get them all straight. Once the pack thins out a bit, I’ll post my pick for final winner. I need to see them another week or two yet.

Sunday School class has been low in attendance the past few weeks as we’ve had snow both weekends. I’m sorry for the people who missed because both lessons were really great. And I’m not saying that because I’m the teacher. I’m saying that because I learned alot and am sure others would have as well. This past week we talked about El-Roi, the God who sees me. I love the story of Hagar and how the Angel of God came to her two times and questioned her about her circumstances. She began to cry and God heard her crying. Crying is such a personal thing. Most people don’t want anyone to see them crying. Yet times we cry are the worst times to be truly alone. How comforting to know that God hears our crying. He hears the sounds of our crying and sees the tears that flow. He is the God who sees me.

So this week is going to be packed with stuff to do, but none of it especially bad. I’m not going in to work early today. I am using the time to catch up on a few things around the house and with Flourish. I have a HUGE newsletter to finish this week as well as our events calender to do. I will be glad when both of those are done. I also have a packed weekend, but it should be fun stuff, rubber stamping, breakfast out with friends, party at my house, etc.

I signed up for’s monthly membership and downloaded my first book. I picked an Elizabeth Peters book from the Vicki Bliss series. I love those books and will be glad to have them on Audiobook. I put it on my iPod and now I have a book that travels with me and is much easier to read! I listen to audiobooks quite a bit at work, so I may keep the membership if I can swing it financially. But for now, I’m enjoying the book I downloaded last week.

I need to get my Avon order placed online today so that I don’t miss my deadline. I have a big order this week which is cool. I wasn’t selling too much after Christmas. I wasn’t sure if I would stick with it as an Avon Rep but I’m enjoying it and I’m now trying to get some new customers. I am considering a special promo if you get a friend to order something for the Easter/Spring brochures. I’m still thinking on it. Any Avon demo’s out there who have any ideas for me? Leave me a comment or email me with any great suggestions.


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