Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Get It Right

OK, so, I've had a love-hate relationship with Glee for a few months now. This season, parts of the show are amazingly well-written and deeply emotional, and others are just over-the-top ridiculous and unbelievable. However, I have to say, last week's episode was just incredible.

Brief Synopsis: Rachel is in love with Finn. Finn encourages Rachel to write an original song for Regionals, but while doing so, gets back together with his ex-girlfriend, Quinn. Quinn is threatened by Rachel but pretends to be friends with her to keep an eye on her. When they meet to work on an original song for Regionals, Quinn gives Rachel this speech:

Quinn: Do you wanna know how the story plays out? I get Finn, you get heartbroken, and then Finn and I stay here and start a family. [...] You don't belong here, Rachel, and you can't hate me for helping to send you on your way.

Rachel: No. I'm not giving up on Finn. It's not over between us.

Quinn: Yes, it is! You're so frustrating, and that is why you can't write a good song, because you live in this little schoolgirl fantasy of life. Rachel, if you keep looking for that happy ending then you are never gonna get it right.

Rachel walks away crying...and then writes this song and performs it at Regionals. Breathtaking.

I've been listening to it on a loop for a week. This is what it looks like when television gets it right.

And in case you're wondering, I'm totally on Team Rachel. I think all of us who live in little schoolgirl fantasties of life well deserve to get our happy endings.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

No More Terrible Twos!

It's my precious poodle puppy, Lottie's, third birthday today! She is my sunshine and I don't know what I'd do without her. Here's a video of her playing with some friends she met at the downtown apartment complex where we lived this summer. Happy Birthday, Charlotte Elisabeth!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Kiss me, I'm a redhead!

St. Patrick’s Day. It’s the day we wear green and celebrate shamrocks, the luck o' the Irish, and leprechauns.

What are leprechauns? Oh yes - cute, mischievous, little redheads!

Carrot tops. Gingers. Redheads are known for being fiery, high-strung, hot-tempered, and a lot to handle...but totally worth it. And then there are the famous ladies, like Maureen O'Hara, Rita Hayworth, Katharine Hepburn, and Julia Roberts. Pretty good company to be in, I'd say.

I've always loved being a redhead. It's my favorite physical trait. My hair has been called gorgeous and luscious and people often want to run their fingers through it. A good friend of mine once nicknamed me "Grace Adler." An ex-boyfriend said I looked like Nicole Kidman. (Ha!)

And so, in honor of Cute, Mischievous Redhead Day, here are some fun facts and quotes about redheads!

The most rare hair color in humans is red.

The highest percentage of natural redheads in the world is in Scotland (13%), followed closely by Ireland with 10%. In the US, about 2% of the population are natural redheads

Multiple studies have shown that redheads need about 20% more anesthetic during surgery to keep them sedated than non-redheads.

In ancient Rome, redheaded slaves were often more expensive than those with other hair color.

Red hair is a recessive trait, which means that a child must inherit one red hair gene from each parent. Recessive traits often come in pairs, and redheads are more likely than other people to be left handed. (Interesting. Both my sister and I are redheads and neither of us are left-handed.)

"Once in his life, every man is entitled to fall madly in love with a gorgeous redhead." -Lucille Ball

"You'd find it easier to be bad than good if you had red hair," said Anne reproachfully. "People who haven't red hair don't know what trouble is."-Anne to Marilla in "Anne of Green Gables"

"Nobody who has known a redhead can say that redheads are tame. Even shy redheads have a burning spark of adventure inside them. Opinionated, hotheaded, logical, loyal, friendly, reserved, whatever the redheads' personality, you can bet they'll have SCADS of it!" -Review of The Redhead Encyclopedia

"I used to hate my red hair, but now I love the attention I get with it. I think that very smart, daring men love red hair, and I love that in a man." -John Wayne stealing a kiss from Maureen O'Hara

"When a fellow has a home and a dear, little, red-haired wife in it, what more need he ask of life?" -Gilbert in "Anne's House of Dreams"

Happy Cute, Mischievous Redhead Day from one of their very own. Come to think of it, that should be every day!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Send in the Clowns

For about a year now, in one area of my life, I’ve felt like I’ve been in one long audition.

I’ve given all I have in me to give – and then some, praise God. I’ve done the best I can. I’ve shown the best of myself. I’ve listened to God when He held me back and I’ve stepped in time when He pushed me forward.

I’ve heard God speak, seen Him move, witnessed miracles, experienced fulfilled promises, and felt joy like never before in my life.

I can say that, with God’s help and His very real presence and guidance, I’ve done very little I regret. Only flubbed a few lines. I can’t praise Him enough for that.

And I have prayed. And prayed. And prayed some more.

Now, though, the audition is over. There’s nothing more I can do.

It’s time for me to step off the stage for awhile and just let Daddy have it. Time for me to wait in the wings, behind the curtain, until I hear my name called again.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Psalm of the Day - 143

I'm loving this Psalm today - it speaks to my soul and perfectly verbalizes my heart's cry.

LORD, hear my prayer,
listen to my cry for mercy;
in your faithfulness and righteousness
come to my relief.
Do not bring your servant into judgment,
for no one living is righteous before you.
The enemy pursues me,
he crushes me to the ground;
he makes me dwell in the darkness
like those long dead.
So my spirit grows faint within me;
my heart within me is dismayed.
I remember the days of long ago;
I meditate on all your works
and consider what your hands have done.
I spread out my hands to you;
I thirst for you like a parched land.

Answer me quickly, LORD;
my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me
or I will be like those who go down to the pit.
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I entrust my life.
Rescue me from my enemies, LORD,
for I hide myself in you.
Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
lead me on level ground.

For your name’s sake, LORD, preserve my life;
in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.
In your unfailing love, silence my enemies;
destroy all my foes,
for I am your servant. -Psalm 143

Sunday, March 06, 2011

The Passionate Pursuit of Perfection

I've been feeling a lot of pressure lately to be perfect. Faultless. Blameless. As if my life were one big test on which I'm constantly being scored. I have to be perfect to witness to people who don't know Christ or else they'll see me as a hypocrite. I have to be perfect or else I'll never get a man to love me enough to want to be my husband. I have to be perfect to be a leader in our youth group, because those kids are looking up to me. I have to be perfect at work to get a permanent position. I have to be perfect everywhere, all the time, at everything.

That's a lot of pressure.

This past week, especially, I've been feeling it - and, I admit, I buckled under it. It overtook me. I let myself get angry, resentful, and frustrated. I started acting defensively and pushing people away. I felt helpless and hopeless. I spent four straight nights last week crying myself to sleep.

Yeah, um...that doesn't sound anywhere near perfection. Way to go, me.

We always say "God doesn't expect us to be perfect" to comfort ourselves. We say things like "Do your best, and God will do the rest," and "God only made One perfect person and they crucified Him at 33."

But in Matthew, Jesus says the very words, "Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:48)

Um...what? Does Jesus really expect us to be perfect? Jesus knows us. He walked among us. His best friends disappointed him over and over with their imperfections. Doesn't He know how impossible that is? Doesn't He know we can't be perfect? Doesn't He know I can't be perfect?

Right before Jesus said that, He was talking about loving other people - giving all of yourself that you have to give, loving those you hate you, showing mercy and grace to people who you really just don't like. He finishes those instructions with the exhortation to be perfect.

Perfectly loving. Perfectly graceful. Perfectly generous. Perfectly forgiving.

It seems to me the point Jesus is trying to make is that we should treat everyone else with the unconditional, unending, unfaltering grace and generosity and love of God. If we're doing that, we won't notice each others' imperfections because we're too busy loving each other.

I get it. That makes so much sense. It turns the pointing finger of judgment into an embrace of affection.

I still feel the pressure to be perfect, though. I get upset when I know others see my flaws and I feel like they're judging me and withholding their love from me - whether or not it's true. I do it to myself. I'm pretty much always my own worst enemy.

The problem is, much to my chagrin and no matter how hard I try, I'm never going to be perfect this side of Heaven. So what do I do in the meantime?

The only way I can see to get closer to perfection is to continue to seek the love and presence of God - the One who is perfect. Because the closer I get to God, the more He purifies me, molds me, works in me, and makes me more like Himself.

That's not a simple answer. It's not easy. It's not painless by any means. Just this weekend I became acutely aware of more of my egregious imperfections - of hard-heartedness, insecurity, immaturity. No matter how much God works, He always has more to do in me. My job is not to be perfect but to let Him.

And I just pray that my loved ones, knowing I'm trying, will be gracious and forgiving along the way.