Monday, January 29, 2007

achtung, baby! here comes U2 instead of I AM

I just read this on Yahoo! a few minutes ago:


"U2-charist": Bono moves in mysterious ways

LONDON (Reuters)--For Anglicans who still haven't found what they're looking for, the Church of England is staging its first "U2-charist" communion service -- replacing hymns with hit songs by the Irish supergroup.

"Rock music can be a vehicle of immense spirituality," said Bishop of Grantham Timothy Ellis, announcing plans for the unique service in the central English town of Lincoln in May.

A live band is to play U2 classics like "Beautiful Day" and "Mysterious Ways" with special singalong lyrics displayed on a giant screen. Seating for the 500-strong congregation is to be re-arranged so everyone can dance and wave their hands.

The service is to focus on the Millennium development goals -- U2's lead singer Bono is a leading promoter of the targets to alleviate world poverty.




Saturday, January 27, 2007

today is my real birthday

As part of my ongoing effort to grow in faith and to focus on God's will instead of the will of the culture in which I live, I would like to ruminate briefly upon the subject of birthdays: 

Why do Christians celebrate the day of their physical birth? Oh yes, I understand all the reasons: It's nice to have a special day on which we can tell each other, "I'm glad you're here, I'm glad you're my friend, and I want to express my appreciation for you." That's all fine, and I have no problem with that whatsoever. 

But that begs the question as to why we honor the person who was born, instead of showering appreciation upon the woman who gave birth to that person, or both the woman and the man without whom that birth wouldn't have been possible. 

But that, conversely, begs the question as to why we don't use that birthday to shower praise and honor solely upon the Creator without whom neither mother nor father nor birth would ever have been, since he is the only one who truly deserves praise for the existence of anything. Hmmmmm....... 

And, as Christians, why don't we celebrate the day of our spiritual birth with even more enthusiasm and excitement than we do our physical birthdays? 

So, in the spirit of these thoughts, I would like to share this with all of you: 

Today is my birthday! Sixteen years ago today, I was immersed into Christ for the forgiveness of my sins and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. As of today, I have been alive in Christ for sixteen years. And that life is great.

all comments answered.... far as I can tell. If I've missed any, I beg for notification posthaste! ;o)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

thoughts about the church

These are some thoughts I posted as a comment on someone else's blog. They are also things that I've been thinking about for a long time. I might write more extensively on this subject at a later date, but for now, here are a few brief lines on my general thinking: 

We need to take the phrase "go to church" out of our vocabularies. "Church" isn't somewhere we "go." The phrase alone indicates a deeper mindset that "church" is a location, a building, an event, (an entertainment?), something we can attend. 

By Biblical definition, it's not possible to "go to church" or "attend church." Because church isn't somewhere we is something we *are*. 

After all, think of our families: We *are* family. We don't "attend family." We don't "go to family." We *are* family. The statement indicates a certain mindset, and it's the same mindset we should have when thinking of the church. 

It isn't possible to open or close the doors of the church, because the church doesn't have any doors other than Jesus Christ. When our family assembles to worship God, we should want to worship God *with* them. Not "attend a service" so that we can say we were there. But anytime our spiritual family is assembles in order to praise God, we should feel a drive, a burning *need*, to praise God with them. 

I believe that if we try to change our mindset about "going to church" vs. *being* the church, it will go far toward resolving some of our inner conflicts about "life in the suburbs" (meaning our everyday, do-this-do-that-rush-to-activities habits) vs. true spiritual life. If we can learn to think of ourselves as *being* the church, perhaps this can help us refocus our priorities, so that the accumulation of status symbols and the living-out of the social life become less important. 

In closing, a thought about the kids and the soccer games and the medals and the ribbons (which kids receive even if they haven't earned them, because we want to boost their self-esteem): Why do we allow our children to get sucked into this you're-ok-I'm-okay culture? I'm all for academic achievement.....but why do we push it so hard? We want our kids to grow up and go to college and get goods jobs. From a young age, kids say, "I want to be a fireman, a police officer, a teacher, a vet when I grow up." 

But I've never heard a kid say, "When I grow up, I want to be a faithful Christian." I've never heard a parent say, "When my child grows up, I don't care if s/he goes to college, I don't care what job s/he long as my child has an active, healthy relationship with God." 

If we as parents want to keep our kids out of the everybody's-okay culture, we're going to have to change our own priorities first. 

"The world we have created is a product of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking." 
~ Albert Einstein

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Some humans improve with time and age. 

And some don't. 


Fare thee well, and good night. 


Jan. 27 Addendum
I want to emphasize that this thought 
is not in reference to any particular 
person. It's simply an objective 
observation on the human condition. 


as though i had nothing better to do.....

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Her Noble Excellency Courtney the Profuse of Midhoop St Giggleswich
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

i'm flabbergasted

I plan to write more on this later, sometime when I have a chance during the next few days. I think I have to process a bit more first. However, here's a hint on what my brain is currently dealing with:

Today, an individual told me that I'm not really a Christian because, among other things, I am a woman who wears pants and makeup and cares about what her hair looks like. He said that even though I read the Bible, I obviously don't understand what it says, and I don't listen to anything that God is trying to tell me. He also told me that I'm rebellious.

Like I said, I'm still processing.


Monday, January 15, 2007

news and factual fun

News: Though I still have a little bit of congestion, I am over the sinus infection, a fact about which I am stupendously excited! ;o) Also exciting is the fact that I did find my camera. True to Courtney-form, I'd overlooked it where it was hiding in the wrong pocket of my purse. Go figure. ;o)

The rest of this post is something I did awhile back but never posted. I kept it as a draft against the day when I wanted to post something but didn't really have time to do anything about it. The day has arrived. So here ya go:

I know I can always count on Patricia to post something fun that I decide I want to do, too! Thanks, Patricia! :o)

Go to Wikipedia and look up your birthday (excluding the year). List three neat facts, two births and one death in your journal, including the year.

February 26th


747 BC - Epoch (origin) of Ptolemy's Nabonassar Era
1815 - Napoleon Bonaparte escapes from Elba
1991 - Tim Berners-Lee introduces WorldWideWeb, the first web browser


1564 - Christopher Marlowe, English dramatist (d. 1593)
1829 - Levi Strauss, German-born clothing designer (d. 1902)


1360 - Roger de Mortimer, 2nd Earl of March, English military leader (b. 1328)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

a meeting of cultures at war

Well, I’m still sick, but am feeling better. Monday, I finally broke down and went to the doctor. When I told her that I’d wanted to try getting rid of this without antibiotics, she looked at me and said, “Considering your sinuses, I wouldn’t recommend that.” So I’m meekly taking my medicine (clarithromycin) as the doctor ordered.

Something else I want to write about, though. This is something I’ve wanting to write about for a long time, but I always forget. Well, this time, I told myself that I was going to follow through and not let these thoughts just fade from my mind!

Today (Tuesday), Ed and I had to go downtown to the Ausländerbehörde (Foreigners’ Office) so that I could get my new visa stuck in my passport, since my old one expired today. Nothing like last-minute, right? ;o) Anyway, on the way home, we stopped at Galerie Roter Turm (“Red Tower Gallery”), which is a downtown shopping mall. There, we ate lunch at Kervansaray (I think that’s how it’s spelled, anyway), our favorite Turkish place.

We’ve been going to this place fairly regularly for quite awhile, long enough for the guy who works there to know what we want before we order it. We always have great conversation with him. He’s really friendly, outgoing; and if there isn’t a horde of other customers, he’s always happy to take a few minutes to chat with us. He told us to call him “Joe,” saying that his real name is too long and complicated.

Shortly after we started eating regularly at Kervansaray, we found out that Joe isn’t actually Turkish. He’s Iraqi.

Joe always has something interesting to share with us. I’m not sure how long he has lived in Germany, but it’s long enough that he can communicate effortlessly in German. He has family all over the world: an uncle in Australia, another relative (I think) in Canada, and his mother and one of his sisters still live in Iraq. He hasn’t been back to Iraq in two years because travel there has become too dangerous.

His news about his homeland always interests me a lot. He calls his mother about once a week. He always worries about his mother and sister because their city, Kirkuk, is plagued by terrorist activities. Car bombs are a particular danger. His mother’s house has no more windows because bomb concussion has broken all of them. They can’t go out at night because there’s an after-dark curfew.

Joe talks about how the last time he was in Iraq, he passed through a checkpoint guarded by American soldiers. He wanted to try talking with them, but his English isn’t good enough. And this is the crux of the matter, the reason I am writing about this: Joe likes Americans. He thinks it’s past time for American troops to be out of Iraq…but he likes Americans. He likes us.

As their countries remain locked in war, two Americans and an Iraqi have peaceful, pleasant, open conversation, making friends with each other…in German. ;o) Not only that, but the two Americans are Christians, the Iraqi is Muslim, and on occasion they even mention religion and are able to find a few plots of common ground.

This is one of those situations I take as proof that in spite of all the evil things happening in this world, there are still some things that are good and right.

I’m thankful that God crossed our path with Joe’s. He’s a good reminder that no matter where you go, no matter the apparent evidence to the contrary, there are still open, friendly, warm people who try to brighten the corner of the world where they are.
Ed and I want to try inviting Joe and his wife over for dinner. I have no idea if they will accept…but we want to get to know them better. Who knows what God might do? :o)

Sunday, January 07, 2007

difficult announcement

Well, we've told the church in Chemnitz, and we included the news in our update letter yesterday, so I guess I might as well share it here, too. Although, I think most people who read this blog are either in the Chemnitz church or recipients of the update letter! Oh well, please forgive me for repeating myself. 

Anyway, the item of news is this: Ed and I have decided that if God makes it possible, we're going to move back to Oklahoma in October 2007. There are several reasons, of course--there always are for such things--but one of the main ones is his dad's health. If God wills it, Ed would just really like to be able to spend time with his dad before that isn't possible anymore. It's strange to think that we're old enough now that we've begun to think of our parents' mortality as a reality. But it's a fact, and one that we can deny only to our own detriment. So we choose to face it for what it is and react accordingly. Burying our heads in the sand and pretending......that just isn't an option. 

Making this decision was so difficult. Honestly, it just tears my heart out. I feel terribly wounded, even though I know that this is the right decision at this time. Telling our Chemnitz family that we're's one of the hardest things Ed and I have ever had to do. We both hated to do it. Because the Chemnitz church and our friends here....these relationships go beyond friendship. These people are our family. This is home. And I don't want to leave. 

I'm going to stop writing now, because if I don't, I'm going to start crying, and that won't help the sinus infection. 

Here's what helps me, though, and it's something we tell everyone when we announce that we're moving: Just because we're leaving Chemnitz now doesn't mean we won't be back! Life with God is a neverending adventure, and we'll always go where he leads us. Who knows where that might be in the future!

Friday, January 05, 2007

a health update, wheeeeee

Well, I'm still toiling on, toiling on, fighting with my stupid-kinupid sinuses. The infection doesn't seem to be getting any worse, but I don't seem to be improving much, either. I'm still taking all sorts of decongestants--herbal and medicated. So those, combined with the gunk in my head, have me totally wired so I can't rest, as well as feeling like there are about a gajillion insects running around the inside of my skull with their tiny little insect feet. And underneath my cheekbones. Gah. 

Really, I'm thinking I probably should've gone to the doctor today. However, she can't do anything for me that I'm not already doing for myself......except prescribe antibiotics. And I am SO TIRED OF THOSE. It can't be healthy to spend 5 to 7 weeks out of the year on antibiotics. After a week's dose, it takes me a month to recover. And I'm just tired of that. 

I am just so tired. 

Kendra flies back to the States tomorrow, so I asked her to come over this afternoon. I'm glad she chose to do so, in spite of the attendant risks of bacterial contamination and contagion and such. This was really the first time we got to sit down and chat. (I did my best to ignore aforesaid insects in skull.) We had a really good time together, in spite of the fact that I poured her coffee into the mug that already contained two packets of my elderberry-and-honey-Vitamin-C powder. Fortunately, I realized my mistake before she downed a gulp. We both tasted it and determined that the concoction probably wouldn't sell in stores. 

In other news, I can't find my camera. I had it with me at the church building on New Year's, and I can't recall seeing it since. (Of course, with all the gunk in my head, it's a wonder I can recall anything at all; see previous paragraph on coffee mishaps.) Ed looked at the building today and couldn't find it; asked around, but nobody has seen it. I've decided that in spite of our thorough apartment searches, the elusive camera must be somewhere in the apartment. I'm really antsy about it (pun intended!), since it has a bunch of pictures on it. Not to mention that said pics are saved on my brand-new 1 gig memory stick. 

*sigh* If the camera goes the way of the many earrings, scarves, and umbrellas I've misplaced over the years, I'm gonna be seriously ticked.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

new look again!

Okay, thanks to Steve and his html-guru-ness, all the wrinkles of my blog's new look seem ironed out! Said blog is now ready to strut its (her?) gorgeous bloggy stuff on the bloggy streets of Blogland. 

Look out, world. 

Ha ha. ;o)

new look!

So, here I am, experimenting with a new template! For the first time since the birth of my blog! I'm not sure yet that I like it; I might go back to the old look if I can't make friends with this one. BUT! I am willing to give it a chance and try to be flexible. ;o)

At this point, the only real problem is my picture, which currently seems a bit stretched out of shape. Plus, my links list seems to have disappeared. However, since I'm sick at home, I have plenty of time to remedy these errors, right? Right. ;o)

So what do you think about this????

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Happy New Year and all that!

Hi all, Happy New Year!!! and so forth. Guess I'm a few days behind, so does it still count? I have no idea. At any most of you know, 2006 was a particularly difficult year for me, so I'm looking forward to a hopefully better 2007.

It all depends, of course, on which blessings God gives and which challenges he chooses to send. And the challenges, of course, are blessings in and of themselves. I am slowly beginning to learn what it means to thank God for the trials I endure, instead of feeling frustrated and sad over them. I know that my Lord loves me and that everything he does in my life is toward a greater good for me. Even if it's a long, long time before I actually recognize that good.

And these ruminations, of course, remind me that "Happy New Year" is totally a human construct. Years, months, days, minutes, seconds, all are devices that we humans have created in order to make our lives more manageable. That said, there's no reason for me to expect any "year" to be better or worse than any other "year." The only "time" I have is now. That's all any of us ever have.

So what am I doing with my now? I am fighting another sinus infection, that's what! But I'm well-armed with sleep, Vitamin C, essential oils, and Mucinex D. Most importantly, I can tell that God is working to get me healthy again, as I really feel better today than I did when I woke up drowning in gunk in the middle of last night. But that's more detail than any of you wanted to hear, right? ;o)

Anyway....since my head is full of said gunk and I'm wired on medicine, I'm not managing to think very clearly right now. Everything I come up to write about here is pretty random. Please forgive. ;o)

Now, I can say that I haven't painted since September of last "year," which is somewhat frustrating, because I miss my paints and canvases. Plus, ideas for new paintings keep piling up, and at the rate I'm turning them into actuality, I won't be finished before I'm 150 years old. Gah.

Pippin is getting increasingly cuter all the time. She now curls up in my lap every morning at breakfast and purrs and stretches and doesn't even try to get into my food. And anytime she sees Ed or me coming, she flops on the floor and begs to be petted. I don't care what anyone says: I love cats. They have the best personalities in the animal world.

I recently bought several new albums that I'm very much enjoying: KT Tunstall's "Eye to the Telescope" and Sting's "Songs from the Labyrinth." The Sting album is a collaboration between him and Edin Karamazov, and it's a recordning of songs by John Dowland (1563-1626). Gorgeous lyrics, beautiful music. I love it.

Speaking of songs and the like, meaning poetry: In the "year" 2006, I wrote 23 poems, more than I've ever written in one year. This brings me to a total of 109 poems since I started seriously working on my poetry ten years ago. And a grand total of 137 poems penned by Yours Truly. Considering the amount of poetry writing that I have done to date, I am seriously considering looking into getting published. I've always been focused on novel-publishing, so I know nothing about the poetry business....but I think I am finally ready to learn. I am open to helpful hints, suggestions, and caveats!

I've been spending too much time on Myspace. I'm finding that it's even more addictive than Blogger here, which irritates me no end. I don't want to get hooked on yet another (potentially shallow) Internet community! I have enough to do as it is, and already not enough "time" (there's that construct again!) in which to do it! Sometimes, I really do toy with the idea of boycotting all things Internet and going back to handwritten (or at least typed and printed) letters every few months. Does anyone else remember remember with fond nostalgia that restful, simpler time in life before email?!?

That said, I'm laughing at myself for my hypocrisy, because I'm planning to start playing poker online. Yes, I'm getting into the poker craze. There are several friends around here who play frequently, and I've now played twice. It's fun. And no, we never use money, so no worries. I don't approve of gambling. But card-playing is harmless fun. Actually, there's a poker night in progress as I write, but I couldn't go 'cause I'm sick. Gah again.

Well, I think that's enough for now. I'm afraid to write more, for fear of overloading the brains of the one or two people who still read my blog. Ah well, this post will go into my private journal as well, so at least *I* know I'm not writing in vain! ;o)

Confetti to all,