Words and thoughts are like a traffic jam, all stopped up trying to get somewhere, reach that destination, a conclusion.

This topic of "character" has kept reappearing. Defined in all sorts of ways from all sorts of sources. This quote had been very clear in my head over the past while. "Character is who you are when no one is looking." Don't know where it's from, but it sums up the direction of my thoughts in the past while.

What am I like when no one is looking? I recently did a very short 'character evaluation'. The results? I probably could have failed myself, if you could actually fail such a thing.

A very clear realization came to me today, after hearing someone speak on Christ-like character.
All the surface stuff aside, what lies beneath?

I've spent too much time wasting time, wasting energy, pouring myself into bottomless pits, going nowhere, telling lies to cover it all up, losing myself in person after person, hobbling around with all sorts of crutches. What character can develop out of that?

I'm not dwelling in the past: I know forgiveness and freedom. But it scares me to really look at myself and wonder if I have the strength of character that Christ wants of His followers. Have I really looked deeply, see myself for who I really am when no-one's looking?

I know what I desire, what my ideals are. I want to be transparent. I want to be whole and full of love and empathy for people. Instead, honesty is a conscious and ever-present choice. I feel fractured, divided between worlds sometimes. I am easily angered, territorial, driven by wrong motives. I pull down judgement upon people, I sit in church, disengaged, critical, caught up in the world rather than my relationship with God. I want to be able to pour myself out to people, to realize their needs are like to mine. Instead I am still so self-centred, fearful, cynical, doubting people's motives, crouching in my shell. Where is Christ in me? Oh God, I am no reflection of You!

I guess this is crawling. after acknowledgement, moving so slowly in the right direction. Ragged knees and palms. But still moving... Let my heart ache for the things You want for me. I am unable to face this without You. I have no strength, no peace, no love to offer without.

"...I want you to get out there and walk - better yet, run! - on the road God has called you to travel. I don't want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don't want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline - not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love...
You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all..."


watching them go down

Ha ha!
Oilers lose.
Fly your silly little flags, you bandwagon riders.


he's my butter pecan

We just arrived back from a walk through our neighbourhood - my passport had arrived in the mail and we took a walk to the post office to pick it up. Once finished, Martin felt a rare craving for dessert, so we extended our walk further to the Northeast Grocery, home to yummy ice cream, and also featuring one of the best-tasting flavours ever: butter pecan.

So we're walking along, enjoying our ice cream, the warm evening air still and thick with unshed rain. I'm in the midst of talking tough, and Martin is laughing at me as we pass by this cute little elderly lady. We smile politely, and she's already a little ways past, when she turns around and asks, "Can I say something to you?"

I can't quote her exactly, but I hardly forget the point.

"Does life get any better than this? A young couple in love, having ice cream, enjoying a night like tonight?"

At that moment, it didn't feel like it could get any better.

I've never experienced something quite so natural, lovely, and poetic. I could have kissed her. I could take many a lesson from a person so observant and transparent.

I was ever-more aware of the touch of Martin's hand on the walk back, of his comfort when I pinched my finger throwing something in the trash bin, when he laughed with abandon.

To love and be loved. I need to relish it, cherish in it, bathe in it. To be vulnerable and bare, to acknowledge the perfect beauty in humility to one another. To cradle God's precious example of love and sacrifice with gentle, awe-struck hands. To remember His unforeseeable ways, and the incomparable blessing of obedience.

What a wonderful little lady. I hope I see her again.


like cats at night

2:36 p.m., Sunday. The apartment is quiet, and I can hear the irritating howl of the singers in the nearby street church. They run the church in small park across the river near the homeless shelter, Sundays and Mondays, and it's starting to drive me mental. I have often wondered about the whole scenario. I have nothing against them putting on church for those living on the streets, but the way they do it is a bit in-your-face. I mean, what's welcoming about giant loudspeakers and yowling worship leaders? Everyone in the neighbourhood is subjected to it.

At least I can still hear the rain outside; increased to a dull roar on the roof of the apartment, and pattering on the leaves of the trees. The sound of a generous rain is so soothing, and it takes the edge off the singers.

My brain is a soft jumble of unfinished thought lately. I've been tired and working alot and haven't had much energy for creative process. I've started reading the book The Righteous, by Martin Gilbert, a collection of anecdotal accounts of unsung heroes of the Holocaust. While informative and carefully written, it's ghastly and incomprehensible. I am only reading it a bit at a time.

My learning process right now has slowed to trying to learn a bit about the game only Americans and Camericans call "soccer". I started with a National Geographic feature, and worked my way to some online reading, to actually getting up at 7:30 a.m. to watch a World Cup game. It's funny: When it comes to soccer, my whole family cheers for Sweden. Hockey, of course, is another sport, but it was enjoyable to be gathered around the boob-tube in a heightened state of anxiety and anticipation. The tie is another story; a fluke, I say.

Now street-church preacher is up, and I can hear in the cadence of his tone exactly how he is preaching. Can't they ever just speak to people in a normal tone of voice?

I think I will end this... time to get ready for dinner at my parent's place with my grandma. More on my thrilling exsistence later. I'm sure you are going to hold your breath.

And Jakob, if you read this, I promise I won't say anything more about U2 if you tell me what you guys are planning for the reception :-)


i like the friday feeling

Wanna read a desperately sad, unbelievably hilarious story containing, but not limited to, Wal-Mart, Mexican delegates, a total British wiener, football, and unfair trade, all set in the truly exotic backdrop of Arkansas?

If so, read this article. Workers of the world spice up meeting

And if you are totally bored with reading a rather long-ish article by the Arkansas Democrat Gazette (although I insist it's worth it), go watch this video from the Daily Dancer, an absolutely wicked nerdy web person who loves dancing. Like me! Except he's a man. And I am a much better dancer, right bunny?

Anyways, this video gives rap and all it's sexist ridiculousness the treatment it deserves. Daily Dancer gives new flesh to Ms. Booty