Suzanne's Second Estate

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

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ridgecrest Idol

American Idol ended one week ago. For the record, I'm glad David Cook won.

I was at the Ridgecrest Christian Writer's Conference in Asheville, NC, at the time. The conference was fantastic. As part of the faculty talent show, I was asked to play Ridgecrest Idol judge Trala Blabdrool (beautiful name, I know). The three judges Mandy Slackson, Trala and Simone Cow, judged famous writers such as Charlotte Bronte, Daniel DeFoe and Jane Austin. The event was hosted by Rhianna Fleasnest. You can read more about it here.

I had a great time pulling out my best Paula impression, including her famous "seal clap" and a quip about Charlotte Bronte's second book. Not sure if Ridgecrest Idol will gain the following of AI, but I hope it encouraged writers that even the big names would receive criticism from the likes of Simone Cow. Moo.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Bolder Boulder 2008

We did it!

Today, Jared and I ran the Bolder Boulder 10K (6.2 miles). My time was 1:04:07.04, which is a 10.20-mile pace. To give you perspective, I was 20,242th place out of 50,000 runners. My goal was to finish the race within an hour and 12 minutes, so that I could be considered a runner instead of a jogger, so I was pleased with my finish time. The biggest personal victory is that I ran the entire thing without needing to walk. I told Jared he should patent his training program, but he claims it's pretty standard.

Props to fellow Stick Horse Lacey Maynard for creating our original horse headgear. Thanks to her genius, our race was filled with, "Way to go, Horses!" and "Giddy up, Horses!"

Near the end of the race, Jared and I turned toward each other to talk and our horses had a "moment."

I caught up with my friend Krishana after the race.

This was kind of a "pre-enactment," since we hadn't actually started the race yet. The race was a lot of fun with live music and neighbors cheering us on along the way. Let me know if you want to run with me next year. Happy Memorial Day!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Pray for Steven Curtis Chapman

Yesterday I told my writing class that I became a journalist so I could meet my favorite Christian music artist, Steven Curtis Chapman. I've had that privilege three times. I was shocked and saddened to hear the news this morning that his youngest daughter, Maria, was killed yesterday when she was hit by a car in her driveway. Steven and his wife, Mary Beth, have been advocates for International adoption and adopted three daughters from China: Shaoey, Stevey Joy and Maria.
"After our first trip to China, my wife and I knew our lives were changing — our eyes and hearts were opening to how big God really is, and we have wanted to experience more of that," Chapman says on the [Shaohannah's Hope] Web site. "We've really wondered whether or not we should just go to China and stay there. But I don't think so. I believe God is saying, 'I want you to go, get your heart broken, your eyes opened, and then take this story back to the church in America and around the world."

Please pray for the Chapmans during this difficult time.
This is not at all how
We thought it was supposed to be
We had so many plans for you
We had so many dreams
And now you've gone away
And left us with the memories of your smile
And nothing we can say
And nothing we can do
Can take away the pain
The pain of losing you, but...

We can cry with hope
We can say goodbye with hope
'Cause we know our goodbye is not the end.
And we can grieve with hope
'Cause we believe with hope
There's a place where we'll see your face again.

(lyrics from "With Hope" by Steven Curtis Chapman)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Am I World Friendly?

The Lord has been challenging me with something recently.

It started with these words found in James 4:4: "You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God."

I began to wonder: Am I a friend of the world? In today's Boundless article "World Friendly," I write:

Of all the things that could make me an enemy of God, friendship with the world isn't what I'd expect. I could understand if the verse said, "Anyone who joins a Satanic cult is an enemy of God," or even, "Anyone who denies the existence of Jesus...." But, "Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God?" It seems a little extreme.

After all, isn't being familiar with popular TV shows or appreciating the world's sense of humor an enlightened way to live as a Christian? Paul seems to say nothing is off limits (as long as its beneficial). And he quoted the Athenian's own poets to get his point across (Acts 17:28). Those who don't know Christ seem to respond positively to someone who understands their world. It feels good to be accepting and in the know.

Still, I can't ignore James' words.

God used a couple of 16-year-olds to teach me something about my relationship with the world...and the Lord. Read more....

Monday, May 19, 2008

Cousins and Charlotte

This past weekend, I spent some time in Charlotte before my writer's conference visiting my cousins. First I hung out with my 19-year-old cousin Katie. She's a soccer player at the University of North Carolina Charlotte. I loved getting to spend some time with her. We had a little conversation about running.

Me: I like running in humidity. It's comforting on your lungs.

Katie: That's one way of looking at it. I'll have to tell my teammates that. C'mon, guys. It's comforting!

Next I visited with my cousin Brooke and her family--Bob, Caroline and Claire. I saw them at the family reunion in July, but it was wonderful to spend some extended, personal time with them. Caroline is very mature and polite for an almost-5-year-old. She told more than one adult: "This is my mom's cousin, Suzanne. She lives in Colorado."

On Saturday we attended a local small town festival. I bought a blue beaded bracelet and Caroline got a pink one. "I'll think of you when I wear this," she said.

I definitely have a new friend.

Fourteen-month-old Claire was adorable, too. (Though not entirely cooperative for the camera.)

Thank you, Brooke, for your hospitality and sharing your dear family with me.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Stick Horses voted "Best of the Springs"

Thank you everyone who voted for Stick Horses in Pants for "Best of the Springs." Gazette readers voted us best theater troupe in Colorado Springs (look under the Arts and Entertainment category). According to the "Best of the Springs" Web site:

No two shows are the same for the Springs’ most popular improv troupe, which frequently sells out houses at the Colorado Springs School and elsewhere.

Thanks for the vote of confidence!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bekah's Engaged!

My little sis Bekah got engaged Tuesday night to Ezra Simon. Hooray! I'm so happy for you, Bek!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Foxes on the Street

During the past few weeks, I have occasionally seen a fox trotting through my townhome complex. Today, I met her babies. They evidently live in that drainage canal. And they let me get close for a photo shoot!

Oops! I wasn't ready for the picture.

Want to be friends?

Come back tomorrow!

Educational Choice Should Be Approached With Humility

For those of you who don't know, I was home schooled. I loved it. Learning at home gave me the opportunity to indulge my interests and develop my talents in a unique way. I'm also thankful (now) that I had so much quality time with my parents and siblings.

Growing up in the Northwest, I was very familiar with Gregg Harris and his family. Harris was one of the pioneers of the homeschool movement from the early 1980s to the mid 1990s, and I know my parents gained many insights from him.

Gregg's son, Josh, went on to write I Kissed Dating Goodbye. (I interviewed him about the book for my college newspaper.) Recently, Josh challenged his congregation to step away from the divisions caused by educational choices: home school, Christian school, public school. These groups seem polarized, even within gospel-centered churches. While each family needs to prayerfully consider which educational choice is God's best for them, an us/them mentality is unfitting among a community of sincere believers.

In a comment on Josh's blog, Gregg Harris points out that the true issue is not the style of education a parent chooses, but his faithfulness and responsibility to God in that child's upbringing.

The only moral issue at stake is whether we are willing to walk in the obedience of our faith in God and His will as we understand it from the Scriptures. Though wisdom and foolishness are called into play, there is no moral superiority to be found in any one educational option. Though diligence is required of all three options, only our labor in Christ will not be in vain. Then, as the relative fruit of each option is put on display in time, may we all be humble enough to change our ways as needed in order to bear even better fruit for God.

Not all options seem to be equally fruitful thus far. But as a long-time home-schooling father and Christian home-schooling advocate I can honestly say that every option, including home schooling has its problems (as you well know). So, pick your problems, and by the grace of God deal with those problems as they arise.

I agree. Like all things in life, each educational style has potential pitfalls. While each believer is responsible to decide the best way to follow God's call on his family, simply depending upon a method is not what God asks. 1 Thessalonians 5:21 says: "Test everything. Hold on to the good."

I am pro home school. I am also pro unity among believers. I think Gregg Harris is on a good track encouraging believers to exercise humility in this area and "walk in obedience to our faith in God." That's what truly matters.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Stick Horses in Pants Featured in the Woodmen Edition

Stick Horses in Pants made the front page of this week's Woodmen Edition. You can check out the PDF. Keep in mind that the quotes and bios were taken from our Website. (No, I didn't actually say, "As Colorado Springs' longest-running improv group, Stick Horses in Pants is committed to you laughing experience.") But, hey. It's true.

If you're in the area, come see our next show on May 24. (Tickets now available online.)

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Mia in May

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Mi Madre y Padre

My childhood friend Julie is visiting my parents in Washington this week. I love this picture of the three of them taken at Ocean Shores, Wash.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Work In Progress

Tonight my friend Josh gave a message on Ephesians 4:17-24:

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.

You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

There's a tension in this passage. As new believers, the Ephesians were called to live differently than before. Before was marked by futility of thinking, darkened understanding, ignorance, hardness of heart and lack of sensitivity to God. Yuck.

In contrast, the new self was to be like God and marked by righteousness and holiness.

As Josh pointed out, there is a tension between the two. As redeemed children of God, we are new people called to live in righteousness. But the old nature is constantly popping up, trying to take control. Paul stated it well: "Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it" (Rom. 7:20). Despite this pull toward fleshly living, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to us, and can help us overcome sin.

One point I found especially helpful, was the idea that one sin does not equal bad fruit. Nor does one victory equal good fruit. Josh said: "Persistent Christ-like actions produce good fruit." Sometimes I sin and feel like I just blew up the whole fruit stand. But the truth is, inner transformation is taking place when I daily seek to surrender my will to Christ's. And that kind of transformation is the source of good fruit.

There absolutely should be a difference in the way a Christian lives his life. However, sanctification is taking place. And despite the "not yets" and flaws in my walk, it is possible to walk in victory. Thanks for that reminder, Josh.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Horsin' Around

We had an impromptu photo shoot at Kate's house on Wednesday.

Stick Horses Perform for Austrian Youth

OK, we didn't actually perform for the Austrian youth. But this past Friday night the Stick Horses in Pants did perform on their behalf and that of Krishana Kraft, who will be ministering in Austria with Greater Europe Mission.

We gave an hour-and-a-half show to one of the best audiences ever. (You can see they actually were part of the show!) Krishana put together these photos by Karen Lopez. Thanks, Krishana, for allowing us to join you in this exciting adventure!

(Pictures and music start at about 1:02.)

Four Things

Becky tagged me, and this seemed like fun.

Four jobs I've held:
Filer and envelope stuffer
Maintenance woman
Server at Izzy's Pizza
Children's magazine editor

Four movies I could watch over and over:
Anne of Green Gables
You've Got Mail
Pride and Prejudice
The Sandlot (Good call, Bek)

Four places I've lived (in order):
York, PA
Aberdeen, WA
Portland, OR
Colorado Springs, CO

Four TV shows I like:
Gilmore Girls
Freaks and Geeks
Biggest Loser

Four favorite foods:
Chocolate chip cookies
Ai Chili Roll (sushi)

Where would I rather be?
With my family
Somewhere tropical
New York City

Four people I'm tagging:

More Retro-Awesomeness

My recent hobby has been to look up old TV shows I watched as a kid. I think the fact that I LOVED "Zoobilee Zoo" explains a lot. It's Broadway packaged for kids. Or else it's just VERY weird.