Suzanne's Second Estate

A web log of my thoughts, activities, life....

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Giving My Dinosaurs

Tonight my pastor, Jonathan, preached a message about dinosaurs. He brought along a collection of his 4-year-old son's dinosaurs. Among them were the mighty T-Rex (which roared), the slightly less-scary Brontosaurus and the downright wimpy Pterodactyl. Jonathan explained that when he and his son play dinosaurs together, Carter will offer to let his dad choose a dinosaur, but he's really only willing to give the wimpy Pterodactyl.

We then looked at the story of Cain and Abel found in Genesis 4. Abel brought his best to God, the first of his flock, while Cain brought some of his fruits — his leftovers. Jonathan was sharing this in the context of monetary giving, but it hit me at a different level. He talked about how as the father, he ultimately has control of his son's dinosaurs. He gave them to Carter, he has the power to take them away and the only reason he's even asking for them is for the joy of playing dinosaurs with his son. His son's tendency to only offer the smallest, wimpiest dinosaur shows a lack of understanding of his father.

I began to wonder how often I think of things — belongings, circumstances, relationships — as mine and only trust God with my leftovers. I'm quick to trust Him with areas of my life that could go either way — "Lord, if it's Your will let me get that promotion" — but when it comes to things I deeply care about, I'd rather stay in control.

What would happen if I gave all my dinosaurs to God? Even my best — the T-Rex? I suspect that my Father, who has more love for me than an earthly father could, would use my dinosaurs in ways I could never dream or imagine. This week I think I'm going to get a dinosaur — not the Pterodactyl but the T-Rex — to remind me of what I want to offer Him.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Saved by the Bell

How many of you loved this show? I'll admit it; I did. It was the show that Matt and I sneaked watching while Mom was out of the house. But, seriously, who didn't love A.C. Slater, Zach and of course, the beautiful, Kelly Kapowski? I'll be playing Miss Kapowski at an 80s murder mystery party tonight, so I've been brushing up on my lines: "Sorry, Zach. I can't go out with you. I already told Slater I'd go with him;" "Wow, Slater, that was hot!" and of course the old standby — "Go-o-o-o Bayside!" Pretty good impression, right? Ah, yes, classic early-90s cheese. Yay for guilty pleasures!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A Little Boy I Love

Ben looking spiffy in his new fall duds. So precious! I am very excited that Matt, Anna and Ben will be visiting me next month. Let the countdown begin!

Meet Herb

This is Herb. Herb is a pumpkin. Herb has a nose that looks kind of like a Christmas tree. I like Herb.

Tonight I went to my friend's pumpkin-carving party. About eight of us carved pumpkins. Laughter and creativity abounded. Neighbor Clem (whose actual name is Brandon) carved Nemo (the cartoon fish), a turtle and waves into his pumpkin. He also used a drill to create a mass of bubbles. On a sidenote, this is the second year in a row that I've witnessed a guy using a drill to carve a pumpkin. Drilling holes in vegetables seems to hold the same attraction for guys as setting things on fire. Jack-O-Lanterns are perfect, I guess. Drill, then set on fire.

I decided to go traditional and freehand a spooky-ish face. My pumpkin ended up having the Hadley nose (exaggerated of course), so I named him after my grandfather, Herb. Herb the pumpkin also has a perfectly placed Cindy Crawford mole above his right tooth.

I had a super time carving pumpkins and sharing laughter and fall goodies with friends. I'm not sure Herb had as much fun, though. Just take a look at his grumpy expression. Lighten up, Herb. (Ha! He does!)

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Born to Dance

My sister Sarah loves to dance. She always has. I remember a little 3-year-old Sarah dancing around the living room to the ever-inspiring tunes of the Beach Boys. When my brother and I played piano, Sarah would dance to our choppy melodies. And sometimes you'd catch her just humming her own little tune and waltzing and twirling. I guess dancing was in her blood. When she finally started ballet lessons at age 8, she quickly advanced to the top class. I started ballet a year later at age 14 and was forced to practice my plies in a class of 9-year-olds while Sarah perfected double pirouettes with girls my age.

Sarah has put her talents to good use. She's choreographed children's theater productions, performed worship dances, started a children's dance troupe at her church, danced in weddings and taught classes. This year Sarah took up swing dancing. She attends swing events in Portland several times a week. She has a dance partner and has done some exhibition dancing (she's just that good :) This summer a swing band called "Dukes of Swing" played down on the Aberdeen riverfront on the fourth of July. Sarah and I had a blast getting our Lindy on. Even Dad and Mom joined in.

Although I didn't enjoy the same level of success in dance that Sarah did (I should have given up the day I had to dress like a flamingo), I am so proud of my little dancing queen.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

A Place I Love a Latte

Tonight I attended a coffee tasting at Starbucks (which is why I'm still wide awake at 11). We sampled three Latin American coffees. Judy, the very-perky barista, instructed us in proper coffee-tasting technique: sniff, slurp, identify, describe and pair. Pairing involved tasting a pastry which enhanced the flavor of the coffee. (My theory is that these coffee tastings are a ploy to hook people on pastries.) Judy mentioned that the first Starbucks opened in Pike Place Market in Seattle in 1971 (seven years before I was born, my destiny was brought forth). I've been to the market but not the Starbucks there.

When I got home, I found this definition of Starbucks at Wikipedia:

"Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) is a large multinational chain of coffee shops, often serving pastries, with a reputation in the US as a center for socializing, particularly among students and young urban professionals. The corporate headquarters are in Seattle, Washington. The company was named after Starbuck, a character in Moby-Dick, and its mascot is a stylized cartoon Siren.

According to the company's fact sheet, as of April 2005, Starbucks had 5,630 company-operated outlets worldwide: 4,593 of them in the 50 United States and Washington, DC and 1,037 in other countries and U.S. territories. In addition, the company has 3,851 joint-venture and licensed outlets, 2,158 of them in the 50 United States and Washington, DC and 1,693 in other countries and U.S. territories."

That's a lot of lattes! For some time I have been aware of the ubiquitous nature of the 'bucks. I once conducted my own little experiment. I was driving home from Denver, and I guessed that I could take any exit and arrive at a Starbucks within two minutes. I exited at the next off ramp, and, as I predicted, I spotted the familiar Siren in less than 45 seconds.

What would the world be like without Starbucks? What would Christianity be without Starbucks? (Do you know a pastor or youth pastor who doesn't spend half his life in that place?) And I won't even go into the possibility of world domination.... Remember — sniff, slurp, identify, describe and pair!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

My Skydiving Adventure

Yesterday I went skydiving. Skydiving is not something I’ve always wanted to do. In fact, it wasn’t even on my list until recently. My friend Anthony, who is a parachute instructor at the Air Force Academy, is a talented skydiver (his team took 7th in the nation among 70-some teams). And when he offered to take me, I realized I’d never have the opportunity to go with someone I trusted more.

Yesterday dawned clear and gorgeous with a light breeze. We arrived in Canyon city at 10 a.m., and I geared up. Anthony explained everything I’d need to do: step out on the platform, rock forward-back-forward and ARCH. Arching was the important thing. We piled into a small plane with four others, including the pilot. Going up in the plane, which reminded me a little of an airborne clown car, was the scariest part. You could feel the air, like riding a paper plane.

When we reached altitude, Anthony tightened our harnesses until I could feel his breathing on my back. As I stepped outside the plane onto the platform, I gripped the side of the plane for stability. But Anthony quickly ripped my hand from the door — I could hear his words in my head, “Oh no you don’t.”

Then there was a quick rocking and the plunge — like leaving a high dive. I arched with all my might, and we tumbled a couple times — ground, sky, ground. Then we stabilized into our 40-second freefall. Anthony tapped my shoulder and I put my hands out to my side. I wasn’t scared, but the collar of my flight suit whipped against my neck, which hurt since we were traveling 200 mph. Anthony gave me a second tap, and I tucked my thumbs under my harness. WHOOMP. The canopy inflated, sucking us upward and tossing us side-to-side like a towel on a wash line.

My first words to Anthony were, “My lips are so dry.” Yeah, it was dumb but true. All that air rushing past my face had a drying effect. As we began a gentle descent I took in the scenery. It was strange being so far above everything without being in a plane. Anthony showed me how to steer, and our canopy danced back and forth several times. He pulled us into a fast spin complete with G forces. Then it was time to land.

I lifted my legs into a pike position as we drifted down into the landing area. A couple guys were ready to catch us, but we touched down so softly, I didn’t even fall. I can’t describe the feeling of accomplishment that came over me in that moment. I, a relative scaredy-cat, had jumped from a plane and survived! I had done something no one in my family has ever done. I had done something my friends and family would never have expected me to attempt. Triumph.

As I reflected on the experience, I also saw a spiritual metaphor. I had never considered skydiving until I met Anthony. His enthusiasm for the sport and my confidence in his abilities gave me the desire to take the risk. And while there were the usual nerves that accompany such things, I felt safe. People have asked me, “How could you do that? How could you jump out of a plane?” My answer is that I trusted the person I was jumping with. I think you can catch the power of that picture when it comes to our relationship with Christ. When you feel safe in His hands you can do things you never thought you could. Take a risk with Him.

View more skydiving pictures on my photo blog!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Having a Fall Ball

Ben gets into the fall spirit.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Have You Heard the Good News?

Last week I resumed my Good News Club at Antelope Trails Elementary. This is my third year teaching the Club. I’m always hesitant going back into it, because it requires leaving work at 3 p.m. every Thursday and making the 15-minute trek up to Glen Eagle. Not to mention, I have to prepare to teach the Bible lesson, memory verse and other Club elements.

The payoff, of course, is the kids. They love Club, and their enthusiasm for it is contagious. Last year 26 girls attended and four of them accepted Jesus as their personal Savior. I was humbled to see the Holy Spirit begin to work in these girls’ lives and open their eyes to spiritual things!

We didn’t advertise going into this year, so I didn’t know what to expect when I showed up at school on Thursday. Nine children came, including two boys! Zach, a blond-headed boy with large glasses, a missing tooth and loads of personality, informed me immediately that he was the Nutcracker in the school play. After that, we were fast friends.

Midway through Club, as we all sat in a circle, I asked if anyone could tell me what the “Good News” was. Zach flipped both hands palms up at his sides in a gesture of exasperation: “I wasn’t here last year, but I WISH I KNEW!”

Yes, Zach, I wish you knew, too. It's good to be back.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Beauty in a Flat Tire

Last night when I got out of my car, a hissing sound greeted me. I went around to the passenger side and discovered the source of the gurgling: a screw firmly embedded in the front tire. I called a couple tire places, hoping to drive in my poor baby before the tire deflated, but apparently, due to yesterday’s snow it was the busiest tire day of the year. My housemate’s dad came over and changed the tire, giving me the fatherly warning not to drive over 35 mph on the donut.

So this morning at 7 a.m. I left my house, rolling along at a very slow rate of speed. And as I turned West, I suddenly felt as if I were driving into Narnia, or some equally fantastic wintery land. Under magnificent blue light, a perfect dusting of snow covered the peak and the surrounding mountains. And because I couldn’t go over 35 mph, I allowed those in a hurry to pass, as I savored the view all the way to Academy. It was a perfect morning.

Funny how the Lord has to give me a flat tire to show off His creation. I'm thankful that He slows me down sometimes...just long enough to see His beauty.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Ben in the Pumpkin Patch

Great photo of Anna and Ben.

It doesn't get much cuter than this, people.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Quarantining a Generation

New today on Boundless:"Quarantining a Generation,"
an article I wrote about young adults and the church. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Sweet Kisses

This weekend I babysat 4-year-old Phoebe. She is so dear. We watched "Barbie Swan Princess" (there's a reason that never made theaters), dressed up (yeah, she actually thought I'd fit in her tutu — sweet thing) and built "scrapbooks" out of k-Nex (remember those? They're so fun!). As we're building, Phoebe says in the most precious little voice, "I'm going to miss you when you go home." At that moment I thought, It doesn't get much better than this. And, yes, the title was just to get you to read...but at the end of the night, when Phoebe's dad got home, she came tearing down the stairs wrapped up in a blanket. "Kiss, kiss, kiss!" she said with urgency. So I stooped down and gave her a kiss. How wonderful to be so loved.