Flooding Susie’s Inbox

March 13, 2011

The Wow Factor

Filed under: Chicago, Jesus — sashyjane @ 10:20 pm

I’ve mentioned a time or 12 that I love to watch television. Monday nights are for Dancing with the Stars, Tuesday nights are for Glee and What Not to Wear, Thursdays are for Community, The Office, Parks and Recreation and 30 Rock and Friday nights are for Say Yes to the Dress.

Say Yes to the Dress is one of those obnoxious  shows that I cannot stop watching. Almost every bride is an insufferable narcissist with an intolerable accent who has taken out a loan to afford some giant monstrosity of a dress and I find myself loving to loathe them. They all come to Kleinfeld’s with the hope of finding their “dream gown with the wow factor.” Some of them try on hundreds of dresses, not satisfied with anything in their budget while a select few walk in, try on only one dress and fall absolutely in love with it.

This is one of my favorite brides at which to violently roll my eyes.

Here they are, in Kleinfeld’s, a salon full of thousands of dresses and they’ve only tried on one. That can’t be the right one, right? The bride, let’s call her Carmen Giordano, waited three weeks for an appointment, invited her mother, future mother-in-law, first cousin, best friend from summer camp ’97, boss from that Christmas she worked at Applebee’s, high school drama coach, that girl who was sitting across from her on the bus that time and of course, her tough-as-jerky grandmother along for the experience. She went over her strict dress criteria with her hardened sales associate whose tough-as-jerkiness rivals the grandmother’s and now Carmen is looking forward to the long, laborious task of trying on dress after dress in the quest for her “dream gown.”

But what’s this? The first dress is spectacular. It combines the ridiculous pick up skirt she wanted with the strapless sweetheart top and it’s encrusted with enough “bling” to make the rap industry blush. Carmen is in love with it and she can’t wait to spend “her special day” in this dress. She tells the confession camera, “When my fiance Tony to sees me in this gown, he’s gonna be blown away.” But it’s the first dress. The first dress can’t be THE dress, can it? Not with 2,000 other dresses hanging expectantly in the stock room.

That’s how I felt about Ethos this morning. Not the loving to loathe it part, the this can’t be the one part. After last week’s misstep, this is the first church I’ve tried on my church list and I absolutely loved it! The teaching was fantastic, the music was somewhat Nashvillian and the people couldn’t have been friendlier. I even made a few friends! Hallelujah! Praise Jesus!

So now I’m faced with a dilemma: do I continue to church shop or do I come back to the first dress? Ethos gave me the “wow factor” but there are so many other churches in the stockroom.

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March 6, 2011

Separation of Church and a Clever Post Name

Filed under: Chicago, Jesus — sashyjane @ 10:30 pm

I awoke this morning with plans to attend Ethos Presbyterian Church. Just a short train ride and walk away… or so I thought. I couldn’t find it (turns out it’s in a theater that I walked by 2 or 3 times) so instead, I wandered around the neighborhood, bought a packet of almonds and a cup of coffee and stumbled upon St. Paul’s United Church of Christ.

 

Inside St. Paul's

I’ve never been to a United Church of Christ. I mistakenly thought it was the Church of Christ that Annie belongs to. I thought to myself, “Annie’s solid, it’ll be nice to try something new. It’ll be kind of fun to praise the Lord in a different denomination.” Turns out that United Church of Christ and Church of Christ are about as different as PCUSA and PCA, Democrats and Republicans, ACORN and the Tea Party. You get the picture. While the theology and teaching were not my cup of communion wine, the music and the church itself were absolutely beautiful!

Exterior of The Moody Church

This evening, I attended a contemporary service (praise band, they read the scripture from an iPhone) at The Moody Church near my house. The teaching was good and solid but I prefer a more traditional style of worship. The keyboardist was pretty cute. He had sort of a Mr. Rogers appeal and strawberry blond hair. I’d just about finished planning our future together when I noticed he wore a thumb ring. Too bad, we could’ve been so happy together.

If I could blend the music and building from this morning with the teaching from tonight, I’d have my ideal church. The search continues!

Still on my list to try:

  1. Ethos (now that I know where it is!)
  2. Park Community Church
  3. Lincoln Square Presbyterian
  4. CityView Presbyterian
  5. Covenant Presbyterian

April 21, 2010

Great is Thy Faithfulness!

Filed under: Friends, Jesus — sashyjane @ 3:12 pm

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.   Romans 8:18

Hannah’s memorial service today was just about the most worshipful and beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. What a blessing to see how the Lord was so faithful to His children!

Great is Thy Faithfulness

Chisholm/Runyan

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

Refrain: Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Refrain

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

April 16, 2010

A Heavy Heart

Filed under: Friends, Jesus — sashyjane @ 8:16 pm

Please keep the Wilkins family in your thoughts and prayers. Their sweet girl, Hannah, was taken home to Jesus this evening after a long struggle with her heart. She lived so bravely and so happily during her four short years on this earth and I praise Jesus that her sweet life touched so many others.

My heart breaks for them and I can’t even begin to imagine the pain they’re in right now. My comfort is that this sweet child is resting peacefully in the arms of the Savior this night and she is no longer hurting.

“May Your unfailing love be my {their} comfort, according to Your promise to Your servant{s}” -Psalm 119:76

If you would, please take a moment to pray for these dear friends as they mourn the loss of their sweet girl and as they continue to honor the Lord with their lives.

October 19, 2009

Contentment

Filed under: Houses, Jesus — sashyjane @ 8:45 am

I’m finding it increasingly harder to just be content in the Lord and not get frustrated and upset when I see things I want but can’t have.

For example, I would love to have a beautifully decorated house with built in bookshelves that look like this.

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And a big backyard with a fun set up like this.

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And throw pillows made from this fabric.

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But alas, I don’t have any of those things and I feel so unsatisfied when my house isn’t perfect, I don’t have gorgeous outfits and I don’t have 10,000 blog followers. However, even if I did have those things, I still wouldn’t be satisfied.  My satisfaction doesn’t come from a pretty house or cute clothes. It only comes when I’m resting fully in the assurance that I have a God who loves me enough to send His very own Son to die for my sins.

So why do I still chase worldly things that will never satisfy me? For some silly reason, I’m believing the lie that these earthly trinkets will satisfy me and bring me joy. They do bring me some joy, for a minute, but they can never satisfy me the way Jesus can.

I’ve been wrestling with this more and more recently. I think looking at these pretty magazines and blogs has added fuel to the fire when it comes to my materialistic heart. I’ve begun praying that the Lord will show me how to use my blog without looking to earthly things to fill me up. Any suggestions?

“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.  Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me;  hear, that your soul may live;  and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,  my  steadfast, sure love for David.” -Isaiah 55:1-3

August 17, 2009

Babies and Showers

Filed under: Babies, Jesus, Weddings — sashyjane @ 4:55 pm

This weekend, Lenka and I did a little more than bridal shower planning.  We took on two boys (ages 2 and 4) for the weekend while their parents were out of town! (Newborn baby brother went with Mommy & Daddy)

6340_101027918154_570948154_2188942_4491872_nSorry for the low-quality picture… I stole it from Facebook.

Holy.Mother.of.Pearl.

I have a whole new respect for mothers and I’m seriously rethinking my desire for 3 kids.  They kept us busy and there was never a dull moment.  Friday night, we played outside, got them fed, wiped hinies, changed diapers, brushed teeth,  put on pjs, read stories, dried tears, stopped fights and tucked them in.  Saturday morning we woke up at the crack of dawn, wiped hinies, changed diapers, fed them pancakes (quite the ordeal!), played outside, stopped fights and jumped on the “champaleen.” Thankfully, at 10:00, a sweet teenaged girl from church came to relieve us so we could do a little shower planning.

After an all too quick reprieve, we were back to feed them supper, wipe hinies, change diapers, give baths, comb hair, brush teeth, put on pjs, read stories, tuck them in and wake up in the middle of the night to stop the crying.  Sunday morning met us all too early and we started breakfast, changed diapers, wiped hinies, brushed teeth, changed into church clothes, packed diapers and sippy cups, loaded into carseats and headed off to church.  (It bears mentioning that Lenka and I will never judge another mother for showing up to church sans shower and makeup with her hair pulled back into a ponytail… we may or may not have arrived at church in a similar state.) After church, we fixed lunch (a messy mix of Spaghetti Os and apple slices with peanut butter), washed hundreds several tiny shirts that were covered in lunch, took naps (all four of us!), changed the world’s worst diaper, wiped one more hiney, played games, rolled dice, fixed supper and waited impatiently for Mommy and Daddy to return.

While this weekend was in no way relaxing, it was a bit refreshing.  There’s nothing better than a child throwing his tiny arms around you and giving you a big hug or hearing his silly giggle when he’s having a good time with you. I also have a new found respect for parents who do all of this all day long without complaint and I am so thankful that we have a heavenly Father who loves us and cares for us and takes care of our every need without complaint. He loves us unconditionally despite our whining, begging and tantrums.  He wipes away our tears, he protects us and provides all that we stand in need of without needing to pass us off to another babysitter for a break.

One of the sweetest things this weekend was when the four year old would sing “Come Thou Fount of Every Bwessing” while we prepared their meals.  He knew almost all of the words and sang them very reverently and sweetly.  His tiny tw0 year old brother tried very hard to sing along but was having a bit of a problem with enunciation. :) When things would get overwhelming, (casserole was bubbling over, kids were fighting and whining, the piano was being banged on entirely too loudly and everybody was hungry) it was nice to be reminded of those lyrics of singing His grace with loudest praise:

Come, thou Fount of every blessing,
tune my heart to sing thy grace;
streams of mercy, never ceasing,
call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
mount of thy redeeming love.

On the shower front, we got a lot accomplished.

We printed and mailed the invitations.

invitation

Complete with accompanying recipe card.

recipe cardAren’t those prints just adorable?! They were created by my fantastically talented seester, Susie.  You should read her blog.  She’s terribly funny and sickeningly talented.  Here’s the original:

susiehomemaker090We decided on the favors… I won’t post about them yet just in case some shower attendees are reading, I wouldn’t want to spoil the fun! We nailed down at least one activity, did a little shopping and decision making about plates, napkins, etc and we decided on a little bit of the menu.  We want everything to be pickupable.  It shouldn’t be too hard coming up with yummy things that fit that parameter.  The bride isn’t wild about cake (she is having a cinnamon roll tower at her wedding reception brunch in lieu of cake) so we decided to do cupcakes for the shower.  I ordered some of these lovelies this morning.

They’re so dadgum cute that I had an impossible time picking!

bip044

mini-damask-main

newplaidcupsmain

I ended up choosing these in blue.

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I probably need to block this site on my computer.  Otherwise, I could end up spending a ton of money there.

All in all, it was a very productive weekend! What do you think of the shower stuff thus far? I’ll keep you posted as we continue to map out all the fabulous details.

June 24, 2009

Trinidad- part of the story

Filed under: Jesus — sashyjane @ 10:57 am

I don’t know when I’ll get enough time to sit down and really write out all I want to tell you about Trinidad but I did want to share a few pictures and a brief recap.

We arrived in Port of Spain, Trinidad on Sunday night and were taken to our compound where we settled in and rested for our first day of clinic.

the compound

Monday morning, we set up a clinic in a nearby community center and I was assigned to work in the eye clinic.  I gave eye exams and fitted patients for glasses.  It’s an incredibly rewarding feeling to hand someone a pair of glasses and have them be able to see clearly from them.

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Before I left, a friend of mine told me that the people of Trinidad were some of the nicest people he’d ever encountered.  I wasn’t let down.  Truly every person who stepped through that clinic was sweet, gracious and grateful.  I had a blast just talking to them about their lives, their experiences and their families. It’s surprising to learn that Trinidad has an average of 600 murders every year and that kidnapping is a big problem when you meet such kind souls.

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Tuesday, I worked in the eye clinic again and quickly learned that it was a popular place! Almost every patient who came through the doors wanted to have their vision screened.

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According to my sister, I should have had the flash on while taking these pictures and they wouldn’t have been so blurry.  Hindsight’s 20/20.

Wednesday was a little different, we were at the same clinic site but I was on the Evangelism team.  After the patients had been triaged and treated by a doctor, they were taken out to talk with somebody on the “e-team.”  We sat the patients down and explained why we were doing this clinic- because we love Jesus and Jesus loves people.  Once the Gospel was presented, conversation just flowed naturally and many of the people had great questions and wanted  to investigate further.

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Most of the people we talked to were Hindu.  We later learned that the bright, colorful flags in front of many of the houses represented the different dieties they prayed to.

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Thursday, we went to a new clinic site and I was back in the eye clinic.

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Friday, I was assigned to Children’s ministry where I met these gorgeous children.  I had a really hard time not packing them up in my suitcase!

IMG_0755Kevin

IMG_0797Aaliyah

IMG_0801Alana

IMG_0750Nicolai.  This was my absolute favorite child.  He was so sweet, smart, funny and such a little gentleman!

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We played Uno…

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We played “football”…

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We “skipped” rope…

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and most importantly, we shared the love of Jesus with these precious children.  (I took pictures of one of us surrounded by children explaining these cute Gospel bracelets but I tragically deleted a day and a half worth of pictures when putting them on my computer.) Thanks to Recuva.com, my pictures were recovered!!!

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You can see the bracelet below (Black= sinful hearts, Red= blood of Jesus shed to cover our sins, White= Jesus washed our sins away, Green= we begin to grow and learn about God and how to follow and love Him, Gold= the streets of heaven that we’ll one day walk- the bracelet below is a little out of order… the gold should be after the green)

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Saturday, we traveled to the mountains for a hike to the waterfall…

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followed by a trip to Maracas Bay for a swim.

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There, I bought some souveniers for my family and prayer partners

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and soaked up as much of the beautiful scenery as I could.

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Sunday, several of us sadly boarded the airplane back to Atlanta and left the rest of the team there to hold more clinics and share Christ with more Trinis this week.

It was an absolutely incredible trip and I couldn’t have asked for any more provision from the Lord.  He provided and protected in more ways that I ever thought possible and I look forward to the rest of the team returning Sunday so I can hear all about what else He was doing in this country full of beauty and sadness.

June 22, 2009

I’m home!

Filed under: Jesus — sashyjane @ 9:47 am

After a simply amazing week,  I arrived safely home last night.  It was super hard to leave (most of the team was staying for another week) and I have so much to tell you all but I left my memory card with all the pictures at my parents’ house and I have tons to catch up on at work so a full report will have to wait a bit.  Thanks for your thoughts and prayers.  The Lord is doing a mighty work in that country and it was absolutely incredible to be a part of it.

June 13, 2009

Bon Voyage!

Filed under: Jesus — sashyjane @ 8:48 pm

I’m headed off to Trinidad first thing in the morning for a weeklong medical mission trip! I’ll be joining a large team of talented medical professionals in serving the hurting and poor people of Trinidad by offering free medical care in traveling clinics.  We’ll care for their ailments, play with their children and share the love of Christ with them.  I fully expect to be blown away by the people I meet, the things I see and the lessons I learn.

I’m ashamed to admit that before this trip, I had no idea where Trinidad was! If you’re interested, it’s just off the coast of Venezuela in the Atlantic.

trinidad_and_tobago

My generous sister, Susie, is letting me borrow her sweet camera so I’ll be back next Monday with tons of (hopefully) gorgeous images of the lush, tropical terrain.

Susie

Here’s a little peek at some of what I’ll be seeing.

Maracas Bay Beach, Trinidad, October 2007

TrinidadHarbor

trinidad

Of course we’ll see the sadder side of Trinidad as well…

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I look forward to finding out and sharing with you all what the Lord is doing in this beautiful but hurting island.  Stay tuned…

April 23, 2009

O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go

Filed under: Jesus — sashyjane @ 4:23 pm

jesus-shepherdI absolutely love this picture.  I ran across it in a Google image search for something else and was completely dumbstruck by it.  The person who posted it didn’t credit the photo so I don’t know what it’s called or even the artist’s name but I am completely in awe of its sweetness and purity. *

I love how Jesus is so tenderly hugging the lamb.  You can see that He loves this fragile little creature so much that He is willing to die (evident by the nail piercing in His hand) to protect it.  What struck me as even more beautiful was how the lamb is snuggled in so tightly and obviously loves his master and protector. The lamb trusts Jesus entirely and knows to rest securely in His loving arms.  That thought brings me to tears.  Far too often, I feel the loving arms of Christ wrapping around me and I kick and flail and push Him away.  Oh to be like this trusting lamb! How I long to rest soundly in the arms of my protector and keeper with that look of comfort and satisfaction on my soul.

O Love that Wilt Not Let Me Go

O love that wilt not let me go, I rest my weary soul in thee; I give thee back the life I owe, that in thine ocean depths its flow may richer, fuller be.

O Light that followest all my way, I yield my flickering torch to thee; my heart restores its burrowed ray, that in thy sunshine’s blaze its day may brighter, fairer be.

O Joy that seekest me through pain, I cannot close my heart to thee; I trace the rainbow through the rain, and feel the promise is not vain, that mourn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head, I dare not ask to fly from thee; I lay in dust life’s glory dead, and from the ground there blossoms red life that shall endless be.

George Matheson (1882) and Albert L. Peace (1884)

** Estute commenter Jana discovered that the drawing is by artist Katherine Brown.  Thanks, Jana!

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