divinely rolling with the punches.

I believe in divine appointments.  I kind of thought I was making one when I called the salon on Wednesday.  Yes.  12:15 sounds great.  uh-huh.  We’ll see you then.  Thanks so much.

12:15.  Right, so when I dropped Brooke at an intersection in uptown Minneapolis, telling her to go check in (while I successfully parallel parked, amid impatient drivers), I was thinking I’d have a new ‘do within an hour or so.

Instead, I found myself in a movie theater, watching Anna Karenina.  Bunny trail: If you read the book, see the movie.  It was fabulous, and so true to the themes and messages and characters in that brilliant work.  If you didn’t read the book, you probably won’t be able to appreciate the unique staging and some of the nuances of the movie, but I bet you’ll still follow the general storyline all right… and you might even enjoy it.

Back to my story: I thought the appointment was at 12:15.  I think that’s what the lady on the phone said.  I’m like 99% sure that’s what we agreed on.  But, then again, my hearing isn’t super great. I may have heard what I wanted to hear.  Anyways, the salon said, nope, your appointments are at 5:15.  

What are two young gals to do in uptown Minneapolis for five hours?  Answer: shop for spices at Penzey’s, sneak french fries into Anna Karenina, enjoy Anna Karenina, and go to the quirky bookstore while you wait for your appointments.

It wasn’t planned, but it turned out well.  And that’s not even the end of it.

I usually get my hair done by a stylist in Wayzata.  (and by usually, I mean that every two months I head over there, desperate for a trim) She’s fast, thinks I’m sweet, knows my hair at least as well as I do, and we have a good time.  I was looking forward to seeing her when I came home.

But when I found myself in Sophia’s chair, hearing about how she’s living her dream, how she’s grounded in faith and wants the same for her 16 year old son, I think God had a different appointment in mind for me.  Granted, it took double the time that it normally does since she was a little newer to the trade. It was well worth the time spent.

We were late for dinner, and nothing turned out how we planned it today, but it was lovely.  I guess sometimes you just roll with the punches, see a movie, and end up in a different stylist’s chair.

And you have a good day.

Sweat, scary folders, and enrichment

I don’t know anyone who enjoys being sticky, smelly, and shiny all over.  Sweat can be, however, a sign of a good thing (note: I didn’t say it was a good thing… it’s just a sign of a good thing.).  It means you’ve either been working hard, or you’re enjoying something out in the heat too much to go inside and miss it.  Regardless of the cause, it calls for a shower and change of clothes… and a night in the air-conditioning.

Since I am a woman, my train of thoughts runs on one track.  There is no track-hopping, so I apologize in advance if you aren’t following my travels here, but I PROMISE that it all goes together somehow.

I was reading last night in my Jim Cymbala book that I’ve mentioned before (after a day at an amusement park in the heat… sweating – and seeing Winnie-the-Pooh, which was very good, by the way), and, as usual, I only read abut 2 pages of it.  Dense books like that require me to read them in tiny chunks; otherwise I forget parts of the amazingly wise things I have read and can’t apply it.  And tell me: what is the point of reading something if it has no bearing on my life and makes no impact in how I live?

Funny, that was kind of what I was reading.

Jim (yes, we’re on a first-name basis) was saying that the way we spend our time should enrich our spiritual life.  I kind of figured that one was a no-brainer, but it really does make a marked difference in the things I choose to do.

It’s confession time: I have an app folder on my ipod that is entitled: “My Time-Wasting Addictions”.

Should that be a sign to me that I have some issues?  yes.  Have I deleted said folder yet?  no.

(In case you’re wondering, the contents of that folder at Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja- in which I have astonishing high scores, and words with friends…  not that you need a way to waste your time.)

When you get to the point where you KNOW that it’s wasting your time, yet you do it anyway, I think that means that you have some priority problems.  And by “you”, I mean “me”.  I need to either rarely open that scary folder, or delete it’s contents. I’m thinking I need to delete some of those.

Back to Jim: Not only did he mean that what we do shouldn’t harm or hinder our connection to God, but it should distinctly enrich it.

I had to stop and think about that for a while, think about how I spend my time and if it enriches my spiritual life.  Then I had to think of the reasons I thought they all did enrich my spiritual walk and try to figure out which reasons weren’t reasons at all but instead ridiculous rationalizations.  I came to the conclusion that there are some things I definitely can’t justify: for example, playing angry birds to use up my energy before bed when I know I really need to just talk to God for awhile… then God gets my leftovers, which ends up being not much.  But I also came to the conclusion that not everything seems from the outside to enrich, but once you have participated in it, you realize that God used it to teach you something or speak to you.

God doesn’t just speak at church or when you’re reading your Bible or talking about Him.  When you’re in a right relationship with Him (and even sometimes when you’re not, think Paul on the road to Damascus), He uses even the strangest of situations to give you a message.

Anecdote: I went to a Twins’ game about a month ago, and I think we can all agree that this is not an outwardly Christian activity.  (In fact, it could be seen as the opposite, I suppose.)  I was seated at the end of our group of people, and next to a bunch of Padres fans with whom I struck up a conversation (what can I say?  I’m friendly.) about the game, where they were from, and, eventually, the fact that the woman I was sitting next to had two nieces who went to the same 1800 undergrad university that I have been thinking is right for me for a while, and they both loved it.  Dude.  That was a divine appointment.  I left that game feeling so enriched, feeling that God had given me more confirmation of where he wants me.

This leaves me fairly certain that God can use anything to speak to me, but I get the feeling that it’s less likely to happen when I’m glued to my ipod, trying to win at hangman or trying to kill little green pigs with kamikaze birds – and far more likely to happen in interactions with people and with my Savior.

This calls for some adjustments.