Friday, April 25, 2008

trials of life

check this. sparky here was discovered yesterday in my friend's car. when your croatian mechanic calls you up after changing the oil and says "there's a squirrel in your engine," it's not a figure of speech from his country. who knows how long he's been there. the mechanic tried to get him out, she called animal control, they sprayed him with a hose. no dice.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

learned extroversion

well, time ticks on by pretty fast. suddenly it's like mid-april and spring has sprung here in the area. I'm sitting in a coffee shop listening to a down home genuine n'awlins radio station playing jazz and other southern music. it's not bad. apparently, it the french quarter festival this week.

that's one of the things i learned about the new orleans area - they love their parties. mardi gras is rather infamous, but don't let that be your only impression of the place. it's not all debauchery (great, what google searches will i show up on now?). it seems like there's a parade or party or festival, or something including all three. we were lucky to be there during the louisiana crawfish festival. i think the gator festival is going on right now. the jazz festival is later in may. and we all hope that there is a biscuit festival somewhere out there, because biscuits are goooood. pretty much all the food is good there. it must be all the butter an salt they use. i figure, if i live there, i'd quickly balloon up to 400 pounds then die shortly thereafter. but i would die happy.

speaking of butter, there was plenty to be found at waffle house. these places are more plentiful than starbucks in the south. we went here after our first full day of work. the girls, for some reason, really wanted chicken and waffles. i figured we'd find both there, even if it turned out to be just grilled chcken.

we pretty much took over the joint, as it was a slow night there. that's how we convinced our servers to come outside and take a picture with us. of course, it was my idea to boost someone on top of the sign. anyway, we lingered there for almost two hours, learning how to talk southern, and hearing their stories about life before and after katrina. people for the most part were overwhelmingly happy to be back HOME. people spend their whole lives in the parish. one of the servers, ashley, had given birth to her daughter 6 days before katrina, and had only spent one night at home before they evacuated. crazy. we had a good ol' time visiting with them. so much, that we came back again 2 nights later so we could hang out with them again and eat more chicken and waffles. and try cheesy grits. grits remain a mysterious substance to me.

Monday, April 14, 2008

i've got a river of life...

i know, i'm up late. it's a habit i can't seem to shake.

today was a good day. i seem to have that thought a little more often now, which is amazing. after a string of many bad days, wondering if i would ever feel any different ... i am thankful.

this morning's sermon was from ephesians 2:1-10, concerning the lavish grace of god, even in the face of our immense sin (perhaps because of it). put any words you can think of, the the two words in vs. 4 "but God..." cancel them out. on our own, we are empty and craven and broken, even with the best intentions. it is the grace of God that flows in and through us that gives us true life. the visual illustration of pouring water into a glass and over the brim, made me catch my breath... because for the first time in a long and empty feeling time time, i could feel God's grace. maybe because it was hot this morning in the sanctuary, but mostly because i have so craved grace and am so unable to give it to myself, i wanted to take the pitcher and pour it over my own head. like peter who demanded that jesus wash his hands and head as well as his feet.

Spring up, O well, within my soul!
Spring up, O well, and make me whole!
Spring up, O well, and give to me
That life abundantly.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

pure genius

Garfield minus garfield. click on this link. you won't regret it.
"Who would have guessed that when you remove Garfield from the Garfield comic strips, the result is an even better comic about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and the empty desperation of modern life? Friends, meet Jon Arbuckle. Let’s laugh and learn with him on a journey deep into the tortured mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness in a quiet American suburb."

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

feast of heaven

i've been sleeping a ton for the last few days. leading a trip takes a lot of energy. but i had a really great time last week, and so did everyone else, praise the lord. it's hard for me to figure out where to start in talking about my experience, beyond declaring that new orleans is awesome. so i'm gonna start with what everyone knows ... food. when i think about what heaven will be like, i think it'll be something like this lunch the James family brought us on our last day of working on their daughter's Dominesha's home. they brought us boiled crawfish, crabs, fried chicken, red beans & rice, corn on the cob, biscuits and shrimp. we ate and ate and talked and laughed and ate some more. we spent the whole afternoon visiting with each other, and the neighbor randy, swapping stories, learning how to properly crack open a crab. southern hospitality at it's finest.

in keeping with the theme, i will now list everything i ate.
for the first time:
boiled crawfish
boiled crab
cheesy grits
crawfish bread (a bread baked with crawfish and 4 kinds of cheese)
seafood okra gumbo
crawfish etouffe
crawfish pasta
crawfish beignets w/ remoulade sauce
(we were lucky enough to be there during the louisiana crawfish festival, we could walk to it from the church we stayed at)

fried chicken
shrimp po'boy (basically a fried shrimp sandwich, what could be better?)
red beans & rice
beignets w/ cafe au lait
waffles from the waffle house, a southern establishment
mexican hot chocolate in a waffle cone from the creole creamery (the spiciest ice cream i've ever had. amazing.)

southern food is damn good. i'd love to live in new orleans; i think i'd end up being 300 pounds. but i'd die happy, that's for sure. more on new orleans to come.