Wednesday, July 26, 2006


I think God's been taking me down a path of laying at his feet my worries, fears, and hopes of what others think of me and my work. A book called TrueFaced by Thrall, McNicol, and Lynch describes it as trusting God--trusting what he says about who I am already, that he is already pleased by me, and that I can please him no more than I do right now. That's some major trust.

I was supposed to pick up the Gibbons family from Frankfurt this morning at 10:00. The trip began somewhat troublingly at 7:00 a.m. when I couldn't find their car to drive up in. Then about an hour into the trip, I decided to get some gas and put unleaded into their diesel tank. My cell phone went dead in the middle of the call to the tow-truck. I waited at a dealership for three hours, paid for the repairs, finished the hour and a half trip to the airport, rode back another three hours with the Gibbons and just got home tonight at 9:00. I cannot begin to tell you how much I have cried today. I am emotionally, spiritually, physically wiped.

My dear friend Susie drove up to sit with me at the dealership and bought me a sandwich. She's so great. She reminded me that we don't know why God works the way he does. He could have been saving me from a major accident. As I drove away with a newly-cleaned gas tank and headed toward Frankfurt again, I asked God against the wind beating through the open windows of the van if I was able to really say that I felt his love. Could I honestly say in that moment that I felt loved? I had cost this family money and time sitting in tremendous heat after an already long 14-hour travel itinerary. . . I had made a stupid mistake and had been mentally replaying what should have happened for five hours.

I've been reading TrueFaced every night for the past couple weeks and have been trying to understand and soak in yet again a God who loves me just as I am (It seems the more painful times in my life boil down to the question: will I choose to see myself as God sees me?) It's pretty easy to believe I am loved when I am freshly-showered and powdered and lying between clean pink sheets. It is harder to believe when I am stinky, sweaty, using bad German grammar and putting unleaded into diesel tanks.

I think I did feel his love today more than I have in awhile. By the grace of God I understood a bit better how to trust him with the all-masks-off me.

Friday, July 21, 2006

My World Cup Tribute

that crazy screen you're seeing in the background (that is, unless you're blinded by the cuteness in the foreground) is the official fanfest area in frankfurt. that baby was double-sided, double-stick fun for the espana game in which we partook.

those crazy germans.

a skyscraper in frankfurt. the word for skyscraper in german is "Hochhaus," which literally means "high house."

germany hasn't seen this many flags waving in a long time.

drive-by waving.

the teens at the local cafe hanging out together. the guy up on the mantel was the self-proclaimed cheer leader. they love them some football.

thar she blows!

the best part of wakin' up . . .

i woke up to this email today:

"i have a very reserved, kind of nerdy first-grade student who always plays ahead in his book. so whenever we are starting a new piece he can already play it, but just with a screwed up rhythm. he is very small and polite, and he is asian but does not have any kind of accent--but he said something today that shocked me so much that i thought at first he was speaking a different language or something. after playing through 'skip to my lou', he very politely said, 'miss nicole, once i held my poop so long, i had a seizure.'

well, i couldn't believe my ears so i said, 'ooooooh! look at the next song! it's a really cool one!'"
blessed be the ties of bodily functions that bind. or, in this case, that don't bind . . .

Thursday, July 20, 2006

meet the newest family member

hit ctrl + end to meet the new baby!

kittyrific will now be here to entertain you for those long months between posts.

treat her nice. no knives or flame-throwers allowed. and myles, watch where you're driving.

Friday, July 14, 2006

idylls & idols

“When the work takes over, then the artist is enabled to get out of the way, not to interfere…then the artist listens.” -Madeleine L'Engle, Walking on Water

worship makes me uncomfortable.

i had been looking forward to tonight's worship concert all week. "looking forward to" really means "experiencing simultaneous enthusiasm and dread." there's a stirring and then just staring.

dr. parsons spoke last sunday morning on the rich young ruler who came to Jesus. he emphasized that the young man had initiated the conversation with this esteemed teacher and yet walked away unable to give what He had asked of him. "are you listening to what God might be asking you to give up?" he asked. "are you willing to lay down your riches--your Idol?"

i don't know whether to put my hands in the air or clasp them together when i sing. more often than not, they're gripped white-knuckled in front of me. it's more comfortable. in fact, i like the title "worship concert" because concert gives me license to stay seated--also more comfortable.

was that a IV chord or a V chord?

after dr. parsons' sermon and the visible school had led worship, someone asked me if i ever led worship at the church. two weeks earlier at a wedding party, one of my german friends had asked why i had never helped with worship at our german church. i answered both questions with something like, "well, it's not really my thing." "i haven't really had much experience." "i've been classically trained." what i wanted to say was: because it's scary as hell.

i live with a piano now. it's not greatly in-tune, but i find myself at it often. especially mornings and rainy afternoons. i've been drawn the past few weeks to bach's partita in c minor, and the sinfonia melody gets stuck in my head.

the last performance i saw at ouachita was the great god brown by eugene o'neill. the play had brilliantly captured the fear of rejection and the masks that we have grown to love and see as our true faces. i couldn't leave my seat when it was over. the actors had removed their masks for the curtain-call, and i had inadvertently reached up and removed my glasses.

what does it feel like to play the sinfonia for bach's ears only? how hard would i have to listen to only hear what chopin said about my fingers on his ballade?

my masks, my idols . . . they are c chords and d chords. they are green glasses and paisley skirts. they are cat hair and geraniums. they are tattoos and toenails. i'm serving the wrong art, i'm tired.