Thursday, March 24, 2011

Birthdays and Deathdays

A year ago today, a friend of mine died from liver cancer. He was 23.
My birthday is coming up. The big 2-5--A quarter of a century!

As my heart ached today remembering Peder and what today represented, I started smiling. On earth we count birthdays. The trend is to agonize over the next year. Western cultures war against nature and *gasp* getting OLD. Each year we mark down one more year finished. One less to live. One closer to death. We're terrified of death.

Peder just had his 1 year birthday in heaven. The neat thing...he's not counting down anymore. Heaven is forever. ETERNITY. One down, eternity to go. NO BIG DEAL. How exciting is that?! Forever with Jesus. In his presence. Adoring Him. At HOME with HIM. My heart beats faster just thinking about it. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hip Hop Conviction

I got to spend the last 3 days of my Spring Break in Austin, Texas for South by Southwest. I had been serving at a camp in Tyler, Texas for the first part of the week then got an invite to tag along to Austin for a weekend of music and fun with a friend that was also serving at the camp. He's way more into music (at least the kind that plays at SXSW) than I am, so he made the schedule of shows he thought would be awesome and I was all in.

I'm a white girl. I like classical music, baking, high heels, ruffles, romance novels, and craft projects. I drive a chevy malibu and love opera.

Scene: Holy Hip Hop Concert.
It's at a church, there are seats, then a stage with two DJs spinning and a whole bunch of people milling around waiting for the show to start. We take our seats. I'm feeling moderately self conscious, but okay. We're not too close to the front and claimed seats. I can blend in here. I still feel like people are staring at me. The emcees come out and welcome everyone and set two rules: no sitting, and they tell people to come up front by the stage (as the smoke machines start going off and rappers get ready to come out).

Dustin says, YES! LET'S GO!!
My heart SINKS. I'm like. uhhh. I'm so uncomfortable already. I'm going to stick out. I also don't want to sit by myself. I go up there. First rapper comes out. All I can think about is how awkward I feel. How people are judging how I stand and how I bop to the music and how I look. Then I start listening to the lyrics. They are about Jesus. They are about who we are in Christ. They are about the idols we hold above Him--ourselves.

Enter: Conviction.

I'm so wrapped up in myself that I'm missing the point in a HUGE way. My audience isn't the people around me. Their opinion of me isn't important. They aren't judging me. THEY are enjoying the music. THEY are having fun. They don't care nearly as much about me as I do. My insecurities are taking away from the GLORY due to Jesus Christ. As my heart is hurting over my own sin and ugly focus on myself, the lyrics these rappers are singing start delighting my heart. "Ain't no party like the holy ghost party cause the holy ghost party don't stop". I start singing along. I'm swaying. I'm loving it. I make friends with some girls next to me. I'm dancing. I'M HAVING A BLAST!

My own pride is my worst enemy. Pride was keeping me from encountering Jesus at that show. Pride was assuming that MY APPEARANCE was more worthy of the attention of people around me than the saving grace of Jesus Christ presented through rap lyrics. 

I'm thankful for a God that humbles me and uses my filth to drop me to my knees and points me to Him. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


I have a Curriculum and Instruction class on Tuesdays and Thursdays that I really don't enjoy very much. My disdain for the course is largely due to a) the fact that the class is from 3:40-5PM b) the subject matter seems pointless/common sense and c) the frequent use of markers, games, and other elementary type activities often frustrates me.

The other day we had the option to get 4% extra credit on our exam if we wrote a poem. Typical Anna fashion, I scoffed at the assignment labeling it as "lame" but knew I'd do since I have a hard time passing up the chance for extra points. The assignment was pretty specific-- to do an "I am from" poem addressing sights/sounds/phrases/smells etc of where we're from. To be creative within that paradigm. 

Then I started writing...I loved it. Thinking of imagery that described the heart of who I am and what my family is. Working within specific questions to give a complete understanding of 24 years of life. It was a game I actually enjoyed.

So, I thought I'd share. A blog is kind of like the grown up version of the family fridge of proud papers, pictures and stories. Welcome to a taste of home.


I am from the Midwest, wherever my dreams or family take me.
I am from tradition and love. Monday night soup night, Friday family night,
I am from a welcoming home—full of strangers, friends, and family. The door is always open.
I am from a culture of debate and teasing, grow some thick skin to survive the dinner table.
I am from walls and halls of pictures. Friends competing for their faces to make the “wall of fame” or the coveted top of the baby grand piano.
I am from the smell of homemade oatmeal bread baking in the oven, freshly popped popcorn, and wisk laundry detergent.
I am from the constant hum of activity: the sounds of worship music blaring at all hours of the day, the Hallelujah Chorus on full blast as the standard alarm clock for holidays, and the door swinging on its hinges as people come and go.
I am from a home full of books strewn across the arms of chairs, half completed board games ready to be conquered, and an extra plate set at the dinner table in case a friend stops by.
I’m from a home with lots of chiefs and not enough indians where life is a party and food is our hobby.