Friday, May 30, 2008

AWL Syndrome.

After watching the Lost season finale last night, I think I may have developed a subform of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, also known as AWL Syndrome (Aftermath of Watching Lost Syndrome).

Symptoms: my brain hurts and I am not quite sure of reality. And I have an unending string of questions.

Is Claire dead?

Where did the Island go?

Is Jeremy Bentham really John Locke?

By becoming the Head Honcho Other, will Locke now become evil and manipulative like Ben?

Why didn’t Locke just strap that heart monitor to his own arm? (Jin might still be alive:()

How the heck has Richard Alpert not aged?

Is Sun trying to wreak revenge on Ben, her dad or Widmore? Or all three?

Will Jack find redemption? (and finally shed that Grizzly Jack beard?)

How will Jack get everybody to go back to the island?

Was Charlotte born on the island?

Is Sayid Jack Bauer incarnate? (those were some wicked, flippy leg mano a mano moves)

How has that time-traveling twist really been at work during the past four seasons, unbeknownst to us?

How exactly did Ben go from his little ice cave to the middle of the Tunisian desert?

How can Desmond really expect not to be found by Charles Widmore?

What are the whispers!??!?

How does Ben control the Smoke Monster? Will Locke have the same power? What IS the Smoke Monster?

Who is Jacob?

Will Sawyer and Juliet hook up (eww… please no)?

I hate this show.


;)


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

lessons from Chik Fila

At Status the other night, Josh Loveless told this story about his encounter with a young woman in downtown Orlando a couple of weeks ago. He talked about how she had initiated a conversation and they began to talk. She was clearly in need and Josh felt like he was supposed to talk to her, but resisted and kind of skirted around having to go very deep. He very smoothly curtailed the conversation and moved on to be with his friends. He saw her at another party later that day, but avoided talking with her.

He initially led us to believe that he done what he thought might have happened had he stepped into that moment and engaged her in conversation. (He tricked us as an audience actually…) He said that he eventually talked with her about religion and faith and turns out she was considering an abortion. He invited her to dinner with his wife and eventually the girl made a decision to keep the baby and become a follower of Jesus.

Josh attempted to “bring her out on stage” so she could share her story with us, and as we were clapping to welcome her, no one came.

Because it didn’t really happen. Oh, the girl was real, but Josh had done nothing except do everything in his power to preserve his comfort and avoid talking with her.

At first, I railed against the notion of Josh sort of playing to our emotions in that way (I kind of loathe it when speakers contrive scenarios like that to make their point), but then it hit me like a ton of bricks—I had done the same thing to someone only a few weeks earlier.

On Monday nights, I usually head to Chik-Fila with a bunch of friends—mostly from FCC—and we partake in free Chik-Fila glory and goodness, largely due to the fact that my friends are Chik-Fila fiends and they go to every Chik-Fila opening possible and therefore hoard hundreds of coupons for free combo meals and chicken sandwiches. It’s our weekly ritual to go to Chik-Fila at 6:30 p.m. every Monday and then usually head over to the Cortez’s to play board games (Scrabble is so much better than Nerts) or Wii.

We were sitting in the usual corner of the restaurant when I noticed an older man, slumped over kind of shuffle his way through the restaurant. He clearly had no money for food and was simply sitting at an empty table. He had the look of a completely broken, dejected man.

I suddenly felt this urge to talk to him or at least offer him some food. I walked by his table once and felt that urge, but also suppressed it. Why? All I wanted to do was have fun and hang out with my friends.

No matter that I had only specifically prayed the day before for God to give me opportunities to initiate conversation and to serve and love in the moment.

When I lived up in Gainesville, it became this habit of mine to every now and then take homeless people to lunch when they asked me for money on the street. I remember my friend Steph always used to get mad at me for doing that, because I was a young, single woman and who knows what would happen, but I was smart enough to only do it in the daytime and in very public places, so I was never too worried. It was always this wonderfully awkward time where I could just get out of myself for awhile and just listen to someone else’s story.

So there was definitely precedent. But that Monday in Chik-Fila, I was just not in the mood. I was with my friends, I didn’t want to be in ‘serving’ mode. So I simply ignored what was a very clearly urging and did nothing. I struggled and resolved the inner tension and decided “no” in all of 20 seconds.

And then I completely erased that scenario from my mind. Until this past Sunday night.

And I suppose I could make all these resolutions about what I”ll do “next time.” But see, that’s the problem. I’m always thinking about what I’ll do “next time” and never have the courage to step up and do the right thing “this time.” I long to be completely genuine and heartfelt in the serving and in the moment. To not contrive or force things but to simply speak and act and be part of that “conversation” that our generation loves to dialogue about.

But I guess now that I once again feel the gravity of what it means to so completely fail, I pray I can act and speak in love—not to ease my guilt or conscience—but because God and His kingdom are true.


Friday, May 23, 2008

the brilliance of Ricky Gervais

I'll let the video speak for itself, but this is a clip from the show Extras. Ricky Gervais plays this guy Andy who is on the reality show "Big Brother." I still have yet to see all of the British Office, but this scene made me truly appreciate Ricky Gervais for the first time.

Also--please excuse the profanity (f bombs) in the video. I'm not endorsing the profanity but I do think overall he makes a remarkable statement about Western culture's obsession with celebrity.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

My Indy 4 review

I went to the midnight showing of Indiana Jones: Kingdom of the Crystal Skull last night, cautiously aware that any unrealistic expectations I may have harbored would automatically detract from my enjoyment of the movie. So as much as I love Indy with a nostalgia rivaled perhaps only by my love for old school Star Wars, I took care to make sure that my hopes were not too fiercely pinned on this fourth installment.

As a result, I was pleasantly surprised. Overall, the film was not as good as it might have been, but it was a lot better than it could have been also. I absolutely loved the old school analog feel of the film, and Spielberg used good old fashioned stunt work and imaginative camera angles and kept the CGI toned down, as should be. He really recaptured the look and film of the original trilogy series but threw in enough updated flair to keep things interesting.

I have always admired Harrison Ford the actor’s incredible ability to take punches and make them look like they really hurt, but then bounce back with some smart-aleck comment and rugged confidence (note, this is one of the reasons I love Nathan Fillion in Firefly). I am not a huge fan of Shia LeBeouf—his overly earnest, hyperactive performance in Transformers surely didn’t sway my opinion in his favor—but I find myself genuinely enjoying the easy rapport between him and Indy. All of the nods to previous films (watch for the Ark of the Covenant and the snake) didn’t seem contrived; rather they seemed to merely celebrate the spirit of the old films without beating our heads over the top with it.

The film had plenty of classic Indy creepy crawly moments and great, satisfying action sequences. I am constantly amazed at Spielberg’s ability to make done-and-done movie clich├ęs (like the all-important car chase) seem fresh and original and imaginative.

Also, while the movie occasionally toed the line of cheesy, the screenwriter was smart enough to throw in enough clever writing to pull off potentially disastrous lines. For instance, when Marion asks Indy why he never stayed with any other woman long enough, Indy responds "Because they weren't you, honey." To me, the "honey" in this line, is what the "kid" is in Casablanca's "Here's looking at you, kid." That extra term of endearment somehow saved the line from cheesiness. The difference is this however: n Casablanca, the word "kid" ("which, helloooo, totally makes the line") made that quote become iconic and classic; however, in Crystal Skull, the "honey" merely redeemed the line from being entirely saccharine.


But little touches like that throughout the film sidestepped potential problems and kept me happy. Thank you, Spielberg.

Warning: SPOILER ALERT ahead. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I wasn’t even too jarred by the whole alien twist at the end, mostly because I had pretty much expected it after the first scene. Also, the inclusion of the mysterious Nazca Lines in Peru in the opening moments of the film already signaled to me that Indy’s leap (pun intended) into the paranormal this time was going to be of extraterrestrial origin.

My enjoyment of Stargate: SG-1 over the years probably primed me to accept the weirdness of the alien plotline way before it was revealed in the final moments of the Indy film. The whole premise of Stargate is that the advanced technology of ancient civilizations to achieve marvelous architectural wonders—as evidenced by the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Nazca Lines, the statues on Easter Island, Stonehenge, etc.—was actually brought by extraterrestrials that visited Earth and eventually left these things behind. In the Stargate film, for example, one extraterrestrial posed as Ra, the Egyptian sun god. Armed with superior technology, he successfully posed as a god to the masses and this supposedly accounts for the detailed hieroglyphs that archaeologists have found which depict the Egyptian pantheon of gods. As the storyline goes, the people didn't just make their gods up--they were actually visited by aliens but mistook them for gods and recorded these experiences on stone and in papyrus.

This so-called theory is perhaps best exemplified in the book Chariots of the Gods (which I have never read) which apparently served as the inspiration for series like Battlestar Galactica (which I could never get into) and Stargate (woot woot). Suffice it to say, this theory has served as a staple for many science fiction stories today.

So the fact that Kingdom of the Crystal Skull threw this in as a final plot twist didn’t seem too outlandish to me (outlandish as it pertains to the realm of science fiction, not outlandish as it pertains to the real world. I’m not saying I believe in aliens, just in case you didn’t catch that;). Just saying as far as sci-fi goes, this was nothing new. Spaceship leaving earth after being disturbed by curious individuals? Check (X-Files movie). The idea of a collective consciousness complete with genetic memory being downloaded into one person’s brain that can't handle it? Check (Jack O’Neill or Daniel Jackson in Stargate).


In short, the Indiana Jones franchise has always dabbled in the paranormal. So rather than searching for the fantastical untapped power of the ark of the covenant or the Holy Grail, you have, well… aliens.

Kinda weird. But hey, that’s science fiction for ya.

The film is not without its flaws, and I can see some people maybe not liking it, but here's my advice: just sit back and enjoy. It is what it is. Overall, I was reminded why we love Spielberg. The man knows how to make an enjoyable flick that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Now if only George Lucas would have let him help with the newer Star Wars films…

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Status documentary

Some Full Sail students recently made this short documentary on Status, the 20s community/church that I've been involved with for the past year and a half or so.

I'm really grateful to the community there, especially those I've gotten to know through my Sphere (just a fancy Status word for "small group") over the past year. Enjoy the video and come check out Status on Sundays nights (6:30 or 8:30PM) if you have the chance!

*One of my awesome Sphere leaders (Jeanne) is featured in several of the talking heads. Woot woot.:)

Okay, that's enough talk. Just watch.

Friday, May 16, 2008

the great divorce

I received my $600 from Uncle Sam this past week. And while visions of MacBooks and trips to the Caribbean danced before my eyes, I found myself questioning the value of investing in…well, myself.

Especially since the whole point of this little gift from the government was to stimulate the American economy, a tidy little euphemism for succumbing to consumerism.

I have been trying to keep up with what’s going on in Myanmar and China, and trying to wrap my mind around the devastation and loss and tragedy that hundreds of thousands of people are facing right now.

Last night was the Florida Music Festival in downtown Orlando. Our band (the OaKs) played a half hour set, opening up for the Blue Man Group. There was something really refreshing about playing this year. Last year, I think the time mix-up and rain kind of stressed everyone out. This year, it was just fun and relaxing. It was great to see so many friends and people come out to the show, I enjoyed the set, although I was really bummed we didn’t get to do our last song due to time restrictions.

But thinking back on last night, as much as I enjoyed it, part of me marveled at the contrast between this festive, carefree luxury I had of a night of music and city life, when halfway across the world, hundreds of thousands of people are struggling to survive and make sense of tragedy. As much as I enjoyed last night, I can’t seem to divorce that experience from the reality of what’s going on in Myanmar and China.

Because I have a responsibility.

And this is making me think twice about what I am going to use that money for…I hope I am not being unpatriotic or doing my part to perpetuate rather than stem the tide of recession, but as far as economics goes, the whole stimulus package was a terrible idea anyway.

Might as well use some of it to do a little good in this world.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Swell Season concert

Just went to see Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova perform at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center in Atlanta.

For those of you who have been living under a rock, Glen and Mar won the 2008 Oscar for Best Song for the tune “Falling Slowly,” featured in the John Carney-directed film “Once.” They both gave beautiful, heartfelt speeches at the Academy Awards, a breath of fresh air in this typically self-obsessed, self-congratulatory Hollywood affair.

First of all, the venue was amazing—it reminded me a bit of Lincoln Center—and of course makes Bob Carr look and sound like a landfill. Some chick opened up the set with some impressionistic piano pieces she had composed. Too bad they never announced what her name was and her name wasn’t listed on the program so who knows if I'll ever figure out who she was.

Finally, Glen came onstage at 9:05 with the houselights on. He performed "Say It To Me Now" unplugged--in the mode of the opening credit sequence of the film--and it was a completely perfect way to begin the show. He was shortly joined by Marketa on the piano and the rest of the band. They played most of the songs from the film (including my favorites "Lies", "When Your Mind's Made Up" and of course "Falling Slowly", several of the "Swell Season" songs and a few others I had never heard that were amazing.



The music was gorgeous, the acoustics in the room were wonderful, the mix was superb. It was completely worth it to spend my Delta SkyMiles and fly up for the evening to catch this show.

Glen truly knows how to engage the audience. He endearingly fumbles his way through the in-between-song banter, explaining certain metaphors in song lyrics and giving a running commentary on life and culture in the self-deprecating, angsty Irish way (He made a silly joke about E.T. and Protestants halfway through the set). It was a mix of the random, the poignant and the bluntly honest.

One of my favorite moments was when he was describing how life was kind of like him slamming up against the same wall over and over again and it absolutely won't give, and so he did a 180 and start walking and before he knew it he had walked across the face of the earth and ended up on the other side of that wall. What a perfect way to describe his career... After 15 plus years of playing with The Frames with little recognition beyond Ireland, it's this tiny film indie film "Once" that finally though unexpectedly launched him into "commercial" success.


Mar was more reticent than her counterpart (backstage, she apparently bet Glen $100 he couldn't get through the entire set tonight without talking) and personality-wise it seems they couldn't be more different, but when they sing and play together, they absolutely soar. Their voices blend seamlessly and they effortlessly anticipate each other's nuances.


I only wish that Mar had sung and played something solo on the piano. I was hoping she would do "The Swell Season" or "The Hill" but no dice. Also, Stephanie and I were hoping Glen would sing "Broken-Hearted Hoover Fixer Sucker Guy" during the encore but he didn't. They did however close with Van Morrison's "Into the Mystic" which I was very happy about.

Well right now I am running on about two shots of iced espresso, a cup of orange juice and a cup of Colombian and I still feel exhausted after catching a 7:20 a.m. flight this morning from Atlanta to Orlando but it was totally worth it.




Friday, May 9, 2008

B.J.'s

music: listening to ingrid michaelson

Last night, we went to the pre-opening of the new B.J.'s Brewhouse in the fast-expanding citadel known as The Loop in Kissimmee, FL. They're training all the servers, cooks and bartenders to prepare for next week's grand opening, so they decided to use the nearby residents as guinea pigs. Fortunately, the guinea pigs get an entirely complimentary meal out of the deal, so you really can't go wrong with that!

I had my heart set on fish tacos for some reason. I've only ever had fish tacos once before at the B.J.'s by the Millennia Mall because that combination of seafood and Mexican had always seemed weird to me, but I gave them a chance and they turned out to be phenom. So I really wanted fish tacos last night.

Alas, when we arrived at B.J.'s, I was informed that each table had only select menu items available. I suppose they're still managing the logistics and timing of everything in the kitchen, so each table and section only had a certain amount of entrees to order from. So unfortunately for me, fish tacos were a no go.

Instead, I chose the spinach and artichoke pizza and also the Maibock, the seasonal German speciality, typically available in the month of May. The Maibock turned out to a bit too hoppy and bitter in my opinion when combined with the pizza. The pizza was incredible (it had cream cheese mixed in with the spinach and artichoke!) and also probably incredibly bad for me.

We were also given the choice of either a surprise appetizer or a Pizookie dessert. We decided to go with the Pizookie, because that's always a safe bet. The avocado spring rolls are incredible but there was no guarantee we'd even get them. And if you've never had a Pizookie before, it's not heavy artillery as the name might suggest. It's basically heaven in dish-sized form: cookie dough baked in a pizza tin (Pizza + Cookie, get it?) and generously topped with vanilla bean ice cream.

And the best part? The meal was entirely FREE. boo yah.

On another note, how crazy was LOST last night? I always like to read the recaps on www.ew.com. They come up with all the symbolism, crazy theories and hidden trivia during each episode. A few thoughts...

  • I think this week confirmed to me that Claire is dead... or at least she's unalive. Or would that be undead? No, that would be zombies. Anyway, either way, she probably has a purpose now on the island and even though she's technically separated from Aaron, she's actually helping him by staying on the island. I don't think the island would bring her there under the pretense that her child must "not be raised by another" and then just take her child away from her for no good reason. Anyway, I don't think we've seen the last of her even though I'm pretty sure she's dead/undead/unalive.
  • Until this episode, I completely forgot that when the plane crashed on the island, Jack found his father's coffin (remember, the one that he was flying back to the States?) was EMPTY. So here's what I think... The island somehow made Jack's dad either come alive or at least somehow in semi-corporeal form. People that are seriously ill or incapacitated (enter John Locke and Rose) are healed by the island. Stands to reason that the island could make dead people come alive. However, the continual reappearance of Jack's father could be due to Jack's own imagination or unresolved psychological issues projecting in the image of his dad or whatever. It's probably a combination of both. Either way, the point is... the Island makes you see things that you need to deal with.

Monday, May 5, 2008

the Great Hall of Faith

Hebrews 11 has always perplexed me. My good friend Matt preached on this passage this past week, and while he did a fine job of using the passage as a basis for exhortation, I couldn’t quite grasp the passage much beyond the call to perseverance and faith and discipline, the same message I’ve always heard whenever this passage was preached. I found myself asking a couple of questions about things I had never noticed before.

First of all, there are very specific people that are chosen for this Great Hall of Faith. Most notably, Job is entirely excluded from the list. He’s not even included on the off-handed addendum “I do not have time to tell you about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David and Samuel and the prophets.” (By the way, nice work, Hebrews author guy. Ya knocked out all of the prophets in one fell swoop. Clever, you.) Job’s been a bit on my mind lately, so this time I was quick to notice the exclusion of Job from this list, this patient individual who underwent extreme suffering. If you’re going to laud and immortalize a "saint" via literary narrative tradition, who better than Job to serve as the example of perseverance and faith amid trial?

I felt as though either the author had entirely forgotten about Job, or simply had no idea how to fit this guy in the middle of this Great Hall of Faith and so conveniently skipped over him. And no wonder. Job’s not an easy character to deal with. His story makes us uncomfortable because there’s something about the economics of his life that doesn’t sit well with our modern sense of justice or a fluffy view of God.

Second, there were not only specific people that were chosen to be highlighted in this passage, but specific actions. Some of them were quite obviously appropriate, like with Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac. That seemed to be the defining moment of not only Abraham’s life of faith, but of the Israelite nation to come.

But what about Joseph? The author highlighted his prophecy of the exodus of Egypt and that his bones be carried out of the land, not the years he spent languishing in jail or the prophetic dream interpretations or even his own perseverance despite egregious abuse by his older brothers and injustice by Potiphar. These are the events we often look to when celebrating Joseph’s faith, not some prophetic words spoken at the end of his life. My next question was, not only why did the author pick these specific people, but why did mention the specific actions?

So I decided to go back through Hebrews 11 and circle every action committed by the individual, in response to “by faith.” Of course, we know that faith is foremost where mind meets heart, where an intellectual knowledge intersects with heart-oriented action. In its stripped down form, faith by definition implies action, James' ole "Faith without works is dead" mantra. As I began to circle these words, I began to notice a pattern emerging. Nearly every action could be traced to something Christ Himself did:

  • From Abel “offered a better sacrifice”—Jesus offers the better sacrifice, once and for all
  • Enoch being “taken up so he would not see death,”—Jesus’ ascension to heaven, not tasting death; victory of life over death
  • Noah “prepared an ark,”—Christ preparing a vessel of salvation from divine judgment
  • Abraham “offered up Isaac,”—a Father allowing His precious Son to be sacrificed
  • Sarah “received ability to conceive,”—God working through a woman to miraculously produce a child—sounds like Mary’s story
  • Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau “regarding things to come,” Jacob “blessed each of the sons of Jacob,”
  • Joseph “made mention of the exodus” and “giving orders concerning his bones”—this echoes a prophecy concerning Joseph and Mary’s flight to and from Egypt
  • Moses “refusing to be called son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God,” and “keeping the Passover” and “passing through the Red Sea.”—Jesus giving up rights as God to choose suffering on behalf of the people, becoming the Passover lamb and delivering people from slavery

Every story and action that the author highlights points to the larger narrative of Christ, of the Father orchestrating events and working through the faith of people to accomplish redemption. This list isn’t a random assortment of great faith heroes where you merely say “Look at the amazing faith of these people. Now you go and do this same thing.” It’s so much more than that: It’s deliberately structured—like the building of some great pyramid—to draw our eyes and attention to one point or peak or zenith.

It kind of remind me of those recaps like “previously on LOST” where you string together the pertinent highlights of the past narrative to bring you to the current story. If the present episode is a "Jack and Kate"-centric episode, then the "previously on LOST" recap splices together past scenes of past episodes featuring Jack and Kate. There’s a sense of culmination, of all the pieces coming together for one express narrative purpose. This is what the author of Hebrews seems to be doing in this passage. He's bringing together all the threads of the gospel story together to feature the person of Jesus.

And one glaring reality: These people—limited by space and time—had no idea that their lives were part of the greater Christ narrative. They were faithful with what they had in relation to Yahweh, but there was no way they could predict—or anyone could predict for that matter—how closely intertwined their stories and lives would be with the story of humanity’s redemption. But this immense “cloud of witnesses” surrounds us today as we take our own part in the story.

This is where the story brings me back to Job. We’ve been discussing in our small group the idea of this “great cosmic drama.” Poor Job had no idea he was the center of this cosmic drama playing out in heaven between God and Satan. He only saw loss and grief and sickness and what he thought was God’s apparent hand of judgment on His life. One rare time we get a glimpse behind the supernatural curtain and we see there’s Satan walking around earth, creating havoc and destruction, and God sitting on His throne. God allows this bet, this wager by Satan to progress, because He knows the power of faith and love, of freely choosing, rather than allowing mere circumstance to determine Job’s response. And Job’s faith—even amid his questioning and pain—had widespread ramifications that echoed through the hallways of heaven and hell, but not even so loud as the booming God of voice resounding across creation as He shows how far outside of time and space He truly is.

I really can’t conclude if Job was excluded for any particular reason. Knowing me, I likely am just reading far too much into it. He is one among many in a great cloud of witnesses. If anything, his exclusion forced me to think on those who were included--and why.

As much as we humans claim we wish we could see the actual hand of God—fire from heaven, miracles, some obvious manifestation of His power—sometimes I wonder if we are choosing the lesser thing—a sign—over the greater thing—faith. And I do not intend this as the cop-out answer "Just have faith." It's not an irrational leap as some would say, but reacting and responding authentically to the person of Christ—the One who loves and suffered on our behalf—with a life of discipleship, of denying self and taking up the cross daily in pursuit of Him. This is what the author means when he says “let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Thursday, May 1, 2008

tagging back

Okay Christina sent me this so I’m doing it now.

So…here are the rules:
1. Link back to the person who tagged you. (Check)
2. Post these rules on your blog. (Check)
3. Share six unimportant things about yourself
4. Tag six random people at the end of your entry.

1) I am obsessed with musical theater. This all started when my parents got me into Les Miserables and Miss Saigon when I was about 6 years old and it hasn’t stopped since. I’ve seen the following shows on Broadway, in London or through a national touring company: Les Miserables: 5 times, Miss Saigon: 5 times, Aida: twice, Wicked: twice, Rent: thrice, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: twice, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Titanic, Tarzan, My Fair Lady.

2) I have a huge Serenity movie poster hanging over my bed because I am obsessed with all things Firefly/Serenity.

3) I am a voracious reader. I often have 3 or 4 books going at once. I’ll read anything from 18th century British lit and Thomas Merton to fantasy/science fiction and Harry Potter. Right now I’m reading Renovation of the Heart by Dallas Willard, That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis and Atonement by Ian McEwan.

4) I love to dabble in languages, including French, Swahili, German, Spanish, Tagalog and most recently Arabic. However, despite all my resolve, I have only become barely conversationally fluent in German. I wish I could become fluent in all of them! I think I just need to spend a year overseas. That'll take care of that.

5) I love Planet Smoothie smoothies and wish they would build one over here by the airport. I need some Acai energy or Shag-a-delic in my life.

6) I am a former-former Disney employee. Shout out to Artist Point @ the Wilderness Lodge and Magic Kingdom. And I miss being able to go into Disney whenever the heck I feel like it. Food and Wine festival, anyone?

6 people to tag

1) Tina—because she tagged me and she miraculously likes Jane Austen even more than I do!

2) Crystal—She lives in Nottingham, England now and does cool things like hanging out with kids and telling them about Jesus.

3) Serenity—She’s got a sweet name and even sweeter stories about dumb salespeople who try and trick her into taking them seriously. Also she has a dog named Tater.

4) Carrie—Carrie’s my Orlando bff. And maybe this will inspire her to update her blog!

5) Ellie—Former housemate and proud Aussie. She taught me all kinds of cool things like Tim Tam Slams and how to successfully entertain 100 high school and middle school students in a small enclosed space while it's raining outside. Genius.

6) Shane—because he’s friends with everybody and he's moving to Kenya. And I wish I were as cool as he is.