Addicts and daily bread.


I’ve been doing a lot of silent (happy) screaming today. Lots of hand twinkling, ecstatic smiling, eye widening, toe tapping, and seat dancing.

I applied for an internship this morning. You’d think we were made for each other. And we just might have been. If it get it, I’ll tell you about it.

Oh baby.

Excitement central over here.

Today was another French Toast morning. Also a ginormous mug of coffee morning, but when isn’t it a ginormous cup of coffee morning? As I contemplated my possible addictions to cream cheese and coffee (we all know that my addiction to coffee isn’t just possible though… it’s certain), I thought about God.

We talk about going to church in terms of being fed. And I’ve heard people say that we should be at a place in our lives where we crave God and want more and more of Him.

Something about the metaphor bothers me. Is God a hit? A dose of some substance that I need to stop the shakes and the demons in my head? Is he a temporary satisfier, something that tastes good, but I’ll need more of it later?

Somehow, that doesn’t fit to me. I think God would rather be my daily bread, something that I make time for on a regular basis and enjoy deeply. Something that I need to live, desperately but not like an addictive substance. I’m not addicted to God. I run on God. There’s a difference there. Addiction indicates unhealthy dependence, that it’s something that we have a love/hate relationship with. Daily bread is something we can’t live without and are still dependent on, but it’s something we eat as a means of living well. It’s empowering rather than creating an obsession.

I don’t think God wants us to be obsessed with him like a stalker or an addict. I think he wants us to respond to him as you would to someone who loves you deeply and is fulfilling your needs, not your cravings.

Perhaps in the end, it is God who changes our cravings so that instead of wanting single hits of his presence, a strong wave to last us til we’re ready for the next one, we want daily doses, a consistent presence in our lives that changes us continuously and keeps us healthily seeking Him.

 

There is absolutely nothing that I can’t relate to food.

Self-control abandons ship.


If I ever had the ability to say “no” to a cup of coffee, it’s gone now.

It’s so gone that even though my flatmate made coffee and left some for me (probably two little mug-fulls), I still made more after I drank that. Just because it’s Saturday and I have a lot of reading to do today. The coffee is always good here. Always. Julius Meinl, will you marry me? Oh wait, you’re dead. (If you want further proof that God is good, click that link to wikipedia, and you’ll notice that Julius Meinl coffee shops are in Austria… and there are three in the USA, all on the North Side of Chicago)

I’m slowly losing the ability to say no to cookies (keks) and waffeln now. In America, those little wafer cookies are not that tasty. They’re pretty good when you dip them in chocolate (what isn’t good with chocolate?), but otherwise, they aren’t that spectacular. Enter: Manner waffeln.

My team won the Ernest Hemingway trivia game yesterday in my first Hemingway seminar (which is the coolest class in the world, might I add, full of people who want to explore literature deeply), and this was our prize. We got a bag of the Schoko-Caramel Törtchen and a bag of little Spar brand Mounds. Since it was Friday and our class had already gone 15 minutes over, half of our team left without even looking at the prize twice (makes no sense. You have to stay late to win a game, which the prize is fabulous for, but then you don’t stay to get your share? people are crazy), so we divided up the candy by throwing it to people as they walked down the stairs. Then we started eating the Manner waffeln as we walked off campus.

Melt in your mouth is such an overused phrase, but my goodness. These really do. So much so that you seem to forget how many you’ve had. My fellow winners and I marveled at them as we walked, and after we’d eaten about four, one of them says to me, “Here, you take the bag home. You’ll enjoy them.”

I was floored. One, is it a compliment when someone can tell that you’ll enjoy having a bag of cookies all to yourself? Two, these were amazing, and his kindness to give them to me was unprecedented. Few people are so kind. I consider giving food the highest form of love and appreciation. The girl from Bosnia agreed, “yeah, just let me grab another, and you take them.”

I was touched. Perhaps a little too touched since not everyone considers food the highest expression of love, but I gratefully and with gushing took the bag home with me.

I have had to put it on a high shelf to keep myself from eating the whole thing before the weekend is out.

I will learn how to enjoy all the delightful cuisine of Austria (because I didn’t even mention all the bread and amazing dairy products and fruit and pizza) in a moderated way… perhaps but July 5th.

Mysteries on Valentine’s Day.


I was going to blog about the hunt for the flowers that my boyfriend sent me (since they were supposed to be delivered to one place and ended up in another), but that ended up being pretty simple.

Here they are:

Valentine’s Day is one holiday that I have barely any insight into.  Thanksgiving?  Oh yes, I can talk about being thankful.  I know what graciousness and gratefulness and mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie are all about.  (I mean, I know there are gaps in my knowledge, but I can at least fill up a few paragraphs with something thoughtful)  Christmas?  Again, there are some things I’ll never understand, like why God so loves the entire world in an unconditional way that He sent the only son He had to live in humility and teach us and die for us.  Also, I don’ t think I’ll ever get why people like eggnog.  Maybe that’s just me.

But Valentine’s Day?

Here, I’m a little at a loss.  Love is a mystery.  And I don’t think I’m qualified to write about it.  But here’s what I do know:

  1. It’s not just about romantic love.  And if it is, it shouldn’t be.  It’s about loving your friends and family and the cashier at Jewel-Osco and the lonely guy in your class and the people who wait on you at dinner.  
  2. It’s a great opportunity to wear lots of shades of pink, especially since you wouldn’t be able to get away with that on a normal day.
  3. It’s also a great excuse to eat whatever you want.  I mean, I can justify eating anything any day because I just have the power of justifying: e.g. It’s Thursday, which it almost Friday and I have a paper to write, and it’s cloudy so naturally I should eat two nutella cookies and a truffle pig.

So, there’s my three cents worth.  Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone.  Show some love to lots of people today.  The Jesus kind of love, because that’s the best kind.

Not a shelf.


I’ll start with a note about what I’ve been eating today.  I ate a normal breakfast, but lunch consisted of apple pizza and apple pie.  And it wasn’t healthy at all.

But it was delicious.

 

And deep dish pizza is for dinner.  I’ll go back to eating like a rabbit tomorrow. (aka salad and salad sandwiches from the cafeteria)

I was thinking about shelving today.  It’s totally normal, because that’s one of the first things that I see when I wake up.  My shelving unit with all my post-it reminders.

It’s an ever-growing collection of things I want to remember.  It makes my life much less stressful, to at least know that I will remember these things.

Anyways, shelves.  This morning, I was telling Jesus about the things that I knew I needed to give over to Him, again.  Then I got this picture in my head of what I keep doing with the things that I worry about needlessly.

I treat Jesus like a shelf.  I put my problems and cares and worries and issues up there when I’ve had enough of them, when I think I’ve worried enough to actually do something.  Then, when I start feeling like I’ve left it there long enough, I take it back down.  And when it’s up there, I’m still looking at it all the time.

I’m pretty sure that Jesus doesn’t want to be a shelf, something that holds things when it’s convenient for me.  I’m pretty sure that Jesus wants to take the role of the God who holds my cares and shortcomings and takes care of things and replaces worry with peace and then throws my sins and such into the deepest pit ever.

I’m pretty sure that it’s not supposed to be convenient for me to give things up.  Not because Jesus makes things difficult for me, but because worry is clingy.  It’s like a barnacle or a parasite.  It’s rarely convenient to get rid of a parasite.  And I doubt that many of us would want to put it on our shelves, to take it back down and keep it with us.  Why would worry be any different?

Shelves are nice for post-it notes or for my graham crackers and peanut butter.  Not worry, anxiety, troubles, cares, etc.

 

Eating Alone.


As a nanny, people sometimes ask you to do sort of strange things.  So I did one of those sort of strange things today by taking a little road trip with my boys in order to take them to their grandpa, who graciously met us halfway.

It made my workday pretty short, but then I was left with a monotonous drive home alone and a stomach growling for lunch.

So I stopped at Jimmy John’s and picked up a Vegetarian (no mayo, of course.).

Here’s where the dilemma comes in.  I don’t really like eating alone in public.  I don’t think that many people do, but I always feel like people are going to judge me severely for doing it.  Like they’ll say to their kids, see that girl over there?  yep, the one with the curly hair and the avocado on her face.  See how she’s eating alone?  That’s what will happen if you don’t have any friends.  You’ll have to eat alone in public places.

I guess you could say I just want people to understand that I am not eating alone because I have no friends but just because none of them are with me at the moment. I want them to realize how much confidence it takes to sit down at a table for four and only use one of the chairs (or two, if I want to set my purse down) and give me some credit.

It’s one of those lame worries.  Like how I used to worry that snakes lived under my bed when I was younger.  How I worry when going through airport security that I actually am a terrorist with bombs in my pockets, but I just didn’t know it.  How I worry that all the people at the beach will stop being self-absorbed and see that I haven’t shaved in a couple days.

Lame, I know.  But I think that admitting my lameness is good.  I think that if you know I’m human and I know you’re human and we all just try to get over it, we might be better off.

Just so you know, I’m not a terrorist.

Glad to get that off my chest.

eating my feelings.


I’m not really a feeling sharer.  Well, sometimes I do, but I end up exhausted and frustrated that I 1) shared too much and now that person with whom I shared won’t be able to sleep tonight, 2) I didn’t share it right, so now they have a skewed perspective of my very complex feelings, and 3) I probably don’t have a solution just from talking to them about it.  Not saying that getting advice isn’t good, but sometimes it doesn’t work too well.  There are few moments where I can express my heart coherently to another person – at least in a reasonable amount of time.

I’m a bottler.  And an eater.  Really, I eat my feelings.

Like when I got home from school today, checked the mailbox for the mail (one of my favorite afternoon activities) and found that my mom had already gotten it.  Right about then, I wanted to eat a donut and wash it down with caramel apple cider.

Then I got inside, saw two huge envelopes sitting on the staircase and realized that my long-awaited (okay, so it’s been like 3 weeks) acceptance letter was sitting right before my lil blue eyes.

so I took an excited picture of it (notice I haven't even taken the time to take off my jacket yet...)

The donut and apple cider still sounded good, but since we don’t have a full-service kitchen with a self-restocking pantry, I had to settle for the cider.  Soon afterwards, I was feeling like procrastination of my homework was a good idea, plus I was craving salt.  There was leftover guacamole in the fridge, but no chips – what do we do when we’re out of food?  We go to Cub.  This is a 3-time-a-week occurrence, at minimum.

I was going to recount everything I’ve eaten since I got home from school, but suddenly (as I’m listing the things off in my head) that doesn’t sound like such a good idea anymore.  I’m starting to feel the weight of the things I’ve eaten, and now I wish I had gone for a run instead.  That actually sounds appealing right now.  (you know something’s wrong when going for a run at 8:00 – when it’s pitch-black outside and rather chilly – sounds like a good idea.)

Speaking of throwing off weight: At a youth event I attended yesterday, the speaker recounted a story about throwing cats that really stuck with me.  Not just because I don’t particularly like cats, but because of what the cat represents and because he was a very gifted storyteller.  (I’m told that I don’t possess the storyteller gene, so I envy this guy.)

So this guy went to Turkey on a trip to study the Bible.  Apparently there are stray cats all over Turkey, and when he arrived he was told that under no circumstances was he to pet the cats.  Long story short, he did the unthinkable one day and pet a cat.  The cat proceeded to purr and look very happy… then it jumped up into his lap.  (stray cat.  diseased most likely.  yucky.  taboo.) By this point he wasn’t too comfortable with having a cat – that he wasn’t supposed to even touch – sitting on his lap, but before he knew what had happened, the cat had leaped up onto his HEAD and started trying to eat his ear.  The guy freaked out and ended up flinging the cat down fifteen rows of the outdoor amphitheater where he was listening to a lecture about Ancient Ephesus, right past the lecturer.

It’s like the sin in our lives.  When we first encounter it, it looks harmless enough – actually, less than harmless; sometimes it looks beneficial! – but soon after we give in to those temptations, they ensconce themselves in our laps and eventually wrap themselves around our heads, eating away at the things in our lives that are valuable to us: our morals, relationships, priorities, our connection to Jesus.

It reminded me of Romans 6:6-7

6We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7For one who has died has been set free from sin.

We’ve all got cats to get off of our heads.

I’m so glad that speaker told a bizarre story about cats, because now I might actually retain the essence of his message.

 

we played a little rummikub.


The leaves have made a carpeting over my driveway that crunches whenever I drive over it, but it was 80 degrees out today.  I remember my Biology teacher saying that the leaves fell because it got too cold for the xylem and phloem to keep going and so they just died…  This is not consistent with nature as I have seen it this fall.  Either way, it makes my drive to school that much more gorgeous.  It makes me wish that I was a gifted photographer with a nice camera lens…. and lots of spare time in which to take pictures of the beauty.  Unfortunately, I don’t have the talent or the time, so I’ll just thank God for the loveliness as I see it and take snapshots in my brain.

In other news, my grandma and great-aunt Shirley are upstairs playing Rummikub.  (Chloe doesn’t think that’s a word…  obviously she’s sheltered from the world of fun number games.)  In between bouts of homework, I played a game with them since I’m at school all day while they traipse about with my mom – shopping, eating, laughing, shopping… shopping…  We say that they shop so much because we don’t have tax on clothing in Minnesota – but it’s really just because they love to shop.

I love my grandma and my great-aunt.  I know I’ve mentioned that before.  Having extended family around is just such an infrequent occurrence  that when it happens I get warm fuzzes galore.  Affection runs rampant.  Happiness abounds.  Plus we eat a lot when we have people in town, and that makes everyone a little bit happier.

At school, it’s Spiritual Life Week, and that basically means that we just go chapel-crazy for three days.  I wish it could be Spiritual Life Year, that our school would be passionate and focused year round.  We’ll get there, eventually.  It may be after we graduate, but some day we’ll be mature enough spiritually that our lives are about Jesus.  Today, the speaker was talking about how he was a reject in high school -thought he was cool until someone else told him to stop trying to invite himself to “cool people” outings.  He didn’t belong, and he let people determine who he was and what his value was rather than letting God define Him.

I was thinking while he shared this Dude, you are trying to build rapport with your audience right now.  Do you really think we’re going to take anything you say to heart if you tell us that you were a reject when you were our age?  which is totally off-base, of course.  I was being just the same as those people who labelled him.  and that makes me think: who have I labelled?  Who have I written off and not taken a second look at?

The sad thing is that I know I have done that.  I think everyone has.  It’s sub-conscious sometimes, we just think that someone else will be more prone to like their personality – even though they never have anyone to hang out with.  I know that not everyone has to be your best friend, but there’s a certain level of kindness and decency, the basic stuff that we’re taught in elementary, heck BEFORE elementary, that everyone should be shown.

I don’t think that was our speaker’s point, that we need to be more careful about trying to determine who people are and “putting them in their places”, but that’s what I got out of it.  FUnny, God can speak completely different messages to different people – using the same words.