Suzanne's Second Estate

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

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Party in My Tummy

Nuff said....

Thursday, September 27, 2007

A Vlog on Holiday Blues

Tomorrow I'm being interviewed about holiday blues for a TV short on the subject. As you can imagine, I'm a little nervous about talking with a camera nearby. I created this vlog to test my skills in front of the camera. I hope tomorrow will go much more smoothly.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Rebels (and Friends) with a Cause

Boundless bloggers (plus Tim Challies and Ricky Alcantar) with Brett and Alex at NA.

My blogging cohorts Alex and Brett Harris (younger twin brothers of Joshua Harris) are featured in this month's Breakaway magazine. In "Rebels With a Cause," we meet these dynamic 18-year-olds who won't settle for the typical teen existence:

In the spiritual warfare of today’s often-aimless teenage culture, the twins are a double-barreled shotgun. They are blasting away at (to borrow one of their phrases) “the myth of adolescence,” which says the teenage years are nothing but a long pleasure cruise. The twins’ alternative is a three-word mantra.

“Do hard things,” Alex says. “We live in a world that says, ‘You’re young—have fun!’ It tells teens to ‘Obey your thirst,’ ‘Have it your way’ and ‘Just do it.’ Or it tells us, ‘Hey, you’re great! You don’t need to exert yourself.’ But those kinds of mindsets sabotage Christlike character and competence.”

To fight against this attitude, the twins formed “The Rebelution” in August 2005 by merging their two separate blogs into one focused vehicle for change, It has been wildly successful, winning consecutive “Best Teen Blog” honors in the 2005 and ’06 Homeschool Blog Awards and attracting more than 10 million hits. They are at the forefront of a large community of teenage guys and girls who want to, as their Web site puts it, “rebel against the low expectations of an ungodly culture.”

All I have to say is, "Yay, Alex and Brett!" It's exciting to see young adults promoting a higher standard (and succeeding at it!).

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Daniel is the Man

Thanks to Carolyn McCulley for making me aware of this sweet, little guy.

No Negotiation

Even devoted Christians make deals with God. You may not realize you're doing it, but if you've ever been disappointed with a direction God has taken your life, you may have been guilty of "Negotiating with God." Here's an excerpt from my article on Boundless this week:

If I'm really honest with myself, I realize I'm guilty of making unspoken deals with God. My favorite is "the formula." I assume that if I figure out the way God would have me go about things and follow the steps precisely, I can achieve — or at least expect — a certain result.

We're all constantly trying to decipher various formulas: the secret recipe for finding a spouse; the five steps to succeeding at work; the blueprint for turning out godly children. These formulas make us feel safe, like we have a little control over our lives — over God.

(Special thanks to Jon for giving me the idea and Jared for lending me the Dennis Prager book!)

Friday, September 14, 2007

Wisdom From My Friends

I am blessed with some pretty smart friends. Two of them have articles appearing on Boundless this week.

My breakfast buddy and former roomie Krishana wrote an article called "Tandem Living," which recounts her skydiving experience and the more terrifying leap of faith from a steady job to missions. She writes:

Only hours before I went skydiving I, in a sense, had flung myself out the opening of a secure and comfortable place in my life. That morning I sat around a table with co-workers and announced I'd be leaving my editorial magazine position to pursue full-time youth ministry in Europe.

Then my childhood friend Dave (I'm SO glad I grew into those ears!) writes about one of my favorite topics: the church. His article "What, No Paycheck?" was incredibly challenging. He asks: Have American Christians lost Christ's spirit of service? His answer hits pretty close to home:

And I submit that a Christian truly devoted to God will sacrifice some modern desires — perhaps a new iPhone, flat-screen TV, or dinner at Applebee's (or the extra time spent making the money to buy them) — so they can instead spend time and money serving God.

I encourage you to take a few minutes with my friends this week and hear what is on their hearts. It's good stuff.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Purpose of Confession

My friend Jon gave me this quote today, and I've been pondering it:

"People think ceremonies like marriage, confession, confirmation and baptism are just tradition and ritual, and certainly they can be. Indeed, most often they are. But they are meant to be something else; richer: an orientation, a return to center, a refocusing, a cleansing. And confession is the most misunderstood. Sin itself is not something you should feel guilty about; there is no punishment, or disapproval, with sin. The sin itself is punishment. You turn from Light and darkness is the punishment. [Jon adds: so when one turns from light, they don't get extra lashes on the back just for making a bad choice. But they may get beat up because they can't see where they are going, so they stumble and fall, sometimes badly.] If you live life in deceit, and if you do that long enough, you'll come to see that there need be no penalties other than the ones you've created for yourself, such as no one trusting you and loneliness. Confession is not designed to alleviate guilt; confession merely indicates the desire for realignment. To acknowledge the desire for light and honesty, that's the point."

—Ethan Hawke, from Ash Wednesday

I have often wondered about confession. If my sins are forgiven by Jesus' sacrifice, what is my responsibility in confession? I cannot atone for my own sin, only recognize Jesus' work in my place. And sometimes guilt is not alleviated since we have an accuser. That guilt is not of God (though conviction that leads to repentance is). What do you think? Is Mr. Hawke's analysis accurate?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Tag, You're It!

My friend Sarah "tagged" me to participate in some blogosphere fun. I'm supposed to list eight random facts about myself, and then tag eight other bloggers to do the same. Since I don't like "Send this to eight of your friends or you will suffer an untimely death" e-mails, I'm going to follow Sarah's example and leave it up to any of you who read this blog and want to participate. Leave me a comment if you do, so I can read them!

Eight deliciously random facts about Suz:

1. One of my feet is size 8 1/2 while the other is size 9.

2. In 10th grade, I won a blue ribbon at the state fair in horse judging.

3. I've been captured on local news five times (that I know of).

4. My mom's great-grandmother gave birth to Mom's grandfather during the Oklahoma Land Rush (while they were rushing!).

5. I worked maintenance as my first college job and learned to replace washers and utilize proper toilet plunging technique.

6. I have met the professor from Gilligan's Island.

7. My e-mail handle "Dozergirl" was named after Dozer, the beautiful, orange, tabby cat I had in high school.

8. My sister, brother and I once won a street fair talent competition, dancing to "Let Us Pray" by Steven Curtis Chapman.

Ben at Cannon Beach

My nephew Ben can be...well, a serious little critter. That's why I love these pictures of him enjoying Cannon Beach. Yay, Ben!

Photos courtesy Anna's myspace

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Balloons Are Magical!

Yesterday morning, Josh, Bruce and I went to the 31st Annual Balloon Classic at Memorial Park. The site of dozens of hot air balloons rising into the air at once was breathtaking. These are a few of my favorite pictures.