Suzanne's Second Estate

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

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Source

Over the past few years my faith plan has come down to two goals: loving God and loving others. This is based on Jesus’ words in Matthew 22:
“’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (vs. 37-40).

As I’ve sought to do this by reading my Bible regularly, being active in my church and reaching out to nonbelievers, I’ve found myself feeling burned out at times. In fact, while there are definitely some rewarding moments, most of the time I feel I have a minimal amount of passion in my striving.

This weekend I was reminded of the power of the gospel. The gospel is mentioned 91 times in the New Testament. This would lead one to believe it’s kind of a big deal. As I heard messages on the gospel — the fact that God crushed His Son for me — I found myself being deeply grateful. And that gratefulness quickly turned to love for the One who dreamed up and carried out this merciful plan.

Paul says the gospel “is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). The gospel is the source; love for God and others is an outcome of plugging into the source. For me, the connection has been broken. I have been running on low power as I try to apply the Scripture to my life rather than apply my life to Scripture.

David says, “Restore unto me the joy of my salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me” (Psalm 51:12). Remembering what we were saved from leads to joy and desire to do God’s work. It’s also very freeing because when we understand what God has done — substituting His own Son for a debt we could never pay, and then raising Him from the dead to give us life — we recognize that we can do nothing apart from Him. No wonder it wears us out trying.

I was convicted this weekend that I have been worshiping the functions and fruits of Christianity — Bible study, church participation, worship, service, evangelism — instead of the One who deserves my worship. But when I consider the rich truth of the gospel, my response will be awe. And at that place of humility, God can begin to use me for His plan.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Land of Giants

I was having a conversation with Stephen, Justin and Zach after tonight's session, and it suddenly occurred to me that they were ginormous! All three are over 6 foot (Zach is 6'4"). I guess I was wearing heels the first time I met them and didn't notice. Here's a pic from my (exaggerated) perspective.

More Pics from New Attitude

The social area at New Attitude is called "the neighborhood." It's a place to just chill, play games, be artistic, whatever. Read more about the conference.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Spaghetti in Louisville

At the Old Spaghetti Factory in Louisville, Kentucky with new friends (and Boundless readers) and Boundless editor, Ted. I'll be attending the New Attitude conference through Wednesday.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Congratulations, Bek!

My sister Bekah got the part of Chava in the Grays Harbor College summer production of "Fiddler on the Roof." I'm so proud of her and, of course, will be traveling to Washington to see the show in August.

The Musician

I love this picture of my nephew Ben. His dad, my brother, Matt, is a worship leader. It looks like Ben may be following in his dad's footsteps.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Ripped Off and Loving It

USA Today published a cover story this weekend on the "Starbuckszation" of America. Starbucks has conquered the coffee industry (24 percent of its customers visit 16 times per month - and sadly, I think I bring that average up), and it now plans to move on the music and entertainment industries. I have no doubt it will succeed. Starbucks has done a tremendous job in branding itself.

The article mentioned several ways Starbucks has changed culture:

  • It has changed what we'll pay for coffee. "We live in a society where people think $5 is $1 because of Starbucks," says Marian Salzman, trends guru at JWT Worldwide.
  • It has changed how we order. Starbucks made custom ordering chic, says Brad Blum, former CEO of Burger King, now a restaurant industry consultant. "People take a sense of ownership when their order is personalized." (Suz says: This reminds me of that funny scene in "You've Got Mail.")
  • It has changed how people meet. "There's a sense of security when you go there, " psychologist Joyce Brothers says. It has given people a "safe" place to socialize, she says. (Suz says: coffee shops are also low commitment for first dates - you can later pass it off as a "friend thing" if you need to.)
  • It has changed cities. Starbucks is influencing urban streetscapes. In brochures for high-end apartments near New York City, it's not uncommon to see "near Starbucks" as a selling point. A Starbucks in the neighborhood is "definitely an indication that an area has arrived," says Doug Yearley, a regional president with builder Toll Brothers. (Suz says: Go Aberdeen!)

I've known it for a long time. Starbucks is taking over the world. But it's a great example of a company (like Mary Kate and Ashley) that has taken every opportunity to brand itself and be cutting edge. And, of course, the fact that their product has addictive properties doesn't hurt.

(Excerpts of this article, "Starbucks Nation," were taken from actual paper; I could not find the article online.)

New Blog

Some of you have already found it, but I've started a new blog devoted to Boundless Webzine. Switch over to that one May 27-31 for details about my experiences at the New Attitude conference in Louisville, Kentucky. I love Kentucky. I really do.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Oh the Drama!

Today my church drama team, 605 Live, provided superhero-themed skits for the church's quarterly leadership connection event. We performed four original skits - one to represent each part of our mission statement. In the Star Wars skit, Luke and Leia battled it out over Darth Vader's will. The skit introduced the concept of leaving a legacy.

The superhero recruitment representative explained to Mr. Jones the ins and outs of being a hero.

Lactose Intolerance Man took on the evil Udderdon (the soy milk proved to be an ineffective weapon) to the 1950s radio-tunes of the back-up singers.

"Superheroes Anonymous:" Bruce, Clark, Diana, Peter and the rest discussed their "difficult feelings" in a therapy session.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Night Out

Sometimes you just need a night out. Original Stick Horses Hunter, Jared, Christa and I spent a fun-filled evening in Denver. We had dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory and then took in an improv show at the Impulse Theater. We used to go to this show all the time for inspiration, so it brought back good memories of the early years. Good times.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Bekah Sings

My sister Bekah is preparing to audition for a summer production of "Fiddler on the Roof. Here she is, singing "Far From the Home I Love."

On a different note, Happy Anniversary, Matt and Anna!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

A Date with Dentistry

I went to the dentist today to have a cavity filled, and I left in tears. I'll admit it: I'm a wuss when it comes to pain. But I think it goes deeper. I have a strange dental history that involves four oral surgeries, braces and an implant tooth. Most of this went down between the ages of 12 and 17. Since then, everything has been normal. At my last teeth cleaning the dentist discovered a small cavity (my first ever). So I went today to get it fixed. Small cavity. Forty-minute drill and fill. No big deal. Yeah, right.

My jaw doesn't open very wide ever since I had Lyme disease. It's normally not an issue. But attempting to hold my mouth open wide, while numb, for 30 minutes proved to be a challenge. And suddenly all the unfortunate memories of dental stress through the years came flooding back. I think had I not had a history, it would have been fine. But sitting back in that dentist chair, hands clammy, jaw throbbing, drill buzzing, I found myself on the brink of coming unglued.

The dentist sensed it and avoided the potential crisis beautifully. He distracted me by asking me questions about my family (why do dentists ask you questions?) and saying things like, "You're doing great." You would have thought I was on the operating table fighting for my life or something.

After the ordeal, the receptionist took one look at me and said, "What's wrong, Hun?" Compassion in such circumstances is always a bad idea. A tear came and I blubbered out something about how the dentist was great, but my tears were a result of my own "past dental trauma." (Yes, I actually used those words.) She handed me a tissue and told me to go buy myself an ice cream. I left feeling like a 5-year-old.

The thing is, I really was upset. The whole thing was a bad experience. So I'm thinking...maybe I'm in need of dental counseling. Anyone know a good therapist? ;)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Siesta Key

I spent a couple hours at the beach yesterday. My boss had suggested I go to Siesta Key which is known for being the Florida beach with the whitest sand.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


I spent the past two days with my grandparents in St. Petersburg, Florida. Three years ago my sister Bekah and I stopped by on our way back from a missions trip to Ecuador. This was my first visit since then. Grandpa and his wife, Cookie, live in a condo on the water with their toy poodle Gigi. Gigi and I became very good friends since I was her primary "walker" while I was there. I also did an assortment of jobs such as putting together their new vacuum cleaner (they were very excited about it; the neighbor called twice to get all the details!), taking out garbage and filling water jugs.

Yesterday morning while Cookie got her hair done, Grandpa and I went to the store. As we pushed a cart through the bakery, he got a sparkle in his eye. "Want to ruin a little bit of your appetite?" he asked. I'd seen that look before; I nodded and smiled. He opened the doughnut case and pulled out two doughnuts. "I won't tell if you don't," he said. (Twenty-five years ago when my grandpa remarried after my grandmother died, Cookie [yes, this is just about the best new-grandma name ever when you're 3] put him on a strict diet. Sweets were always off-limits.)

For lunch we went to a seaside restaurant called Woody's. A perfect breeze was blowing, so we took advantage of the outdoor seating. I ordered a grouper (fish) sandwich - a local specialty. Halfway through our meal a man seated nearby informed me that a bird had pooped on my back. Grandpa and Cookie thought that was pretty funny - "The true Florida experience." When I went to the restroom to wash off my shirt, a woman came in and asked me if those were my grandparents. I said yes. "They're so cute," she said. "You're lucky. Enjoy it!"

In the afternoon, Grandpa packed a little cooler and we drove out to Fort DeSoto State Park. Evidently I went to DeSoto Beach as a little girl, and Grandpa wanted to take me there again. I walked out to the water while he sat under the picnic shelter. The beach was beautiful - white sand against blue water. I'm used to rough, gray, cold, Northwest beaches. I stood in the waves for a while then returned to the shelter for a cold Pepsi. Then we drove around the park, and he pointed out all the special beaches and fishing spots.

It's interesting to get to know your grandparents as an adult. For example, I discovered that my grandpa is a neat-nick. He's constantly picking things up, shutting cabinets, straightening papers. Another thing I noticed is that Grandpa and Dad (and my brother) have the same feet. Mom once pointed out that they have the Hadley walk, and we've joked about the Hadley nose, but this is the first time I noticed the feet. My grandpa also loves taking pictures, which is a trait I think both my dad and I inherited. I feel incredibly fortunate to still have my grandparents living. I appreciate them more as I grow older, and I'm thankful for the moments we can spend together.

Friday, May 05, 2006

What I do at Work

This is what we do when we get bored on rainy days. Our rendition of the comic for our next magazine (planning stage, of course).

My Kind of Day

Today was gloriously cloudy and drizzly. I was reminded of home, sweet Aberdeen. Three quarters of my teen years (or at least it felt that way) were this kind of day.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Starbucks and Jesus

In the "wish I'd thought of this" category, John Fischer brews a great article that compares Starbucks coffee to Jesus.

I found Starbucks coffee in 1978 when it was served in the cafeteria of Seattle Pacific College (now Seattle Pacific University). My whole understanding of coffee was revolutionized at that point. It became something I actually liked - something more than an acquired taste or a necessary morning drug.

Now here's where Jesus comes in: just about everything I can think of about my experience with Starbucks coffee happens to also correspond to something true about my experience with Jesus.

He goes on to contrast religion with a vital relationship with Jesus.

Just as there is coffee and there is Starbucks, I believe that there is religion and then there is Jesus. I was very happy to find this out because Christianity for me used to be an acquired taste. I grew up with it - even knew in my heart it was true - but that didn't mean I liked it. Meeting Jesus made me fall in love with God. I'm not into Jesus because I'm supposed to be, or because I grew up with Him, or because believing is a fire escape from hell. I'm into Jesus because I'm way over the top with Him. I love following Christ. I love the life I have with God. I love the world the way He shows it to me. I would do this no matter what.

I resonate with this article for more than one reason. Yes, I love Starbucks. But Jesus is also an addiction. And a healthy one at that.

Thanks, Sarah, for tipping me off to this article!

Monday, May 01, 2006


"Are you OK?" my friend Tonya asked me on Saturday. "You look like you have a lot on your mind.”

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened.

I didn’t feel like I had a lot on my mind, but I guessed it was the look of having been running around for six days straight without much of a break. I’d worked hard the previous week to meet deadlines. Lunch breaks were used to run errands. And evenings had been filled with too much to do and too little time.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened.

Along with a packed schedule, I’d managed to have an intense e-mail conversation with a friend — arguing and defending Christianity. As I settled into my seat at church Saturday night, my mind was weary — the feeling of having produced much effort with little viable return.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened.

My pastor, Jonathan, preached on Matthew 11:28-30:

”Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

He asked the question: “Is His yoke really easy, or was He just saying that?”

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened.

Great question. I’ve been taught to be realistic when it comes to faith in Christ. The Christian life is no piece of cake, after all. Take up your cross and follow Him. That doesn’t sound easy or restful. But it makes sense walking with Jesus should be easy. After all, He who holds all power helps carry the yoke.

Jonathan went on to talk about four important aspects of faith: pursuing God, serving others, building community with believers and leaving a legacy of faith. He pointed out that when we only focus on one or two of these areas, our faith becomes unstable, like a four-legged stool with missing legs. This kind of faith requires more effort because we’re forced to keep the stool standing in our own power.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened.

I’ve learned that I have a tendency to make my faith intellectual. I can quickly become obsessed with apologetics, historical evidence and intellectual arguments. But when I look back on my faith journey, the most powerful moments of walking with Jesus have come while serving the least of these or being impacted by other believers. While knowing God’s Word is important, it is not most important.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened.

Most important is walking side by side with Jesus in humility, service, community and love, not pulling against the yoke, but letting it pull me. Only then will I experience what He promises.

I will give you rest.