Prelude to the Book Talk by Don Miller

This afternoon I beat the traffic and headed up to Baltimore to hear one of my all-time favorite authors speak about his new book and some other great things to be apart of, like The Mentoring Project.  It was well worth the $7 round-trip (says my GPS) to get there:)  I enjoy reading and devouring Don Miller's work, so excited doesn't truly describe how I felt earlier today.

He writes well and I was confident he would also speak well, so I arrived with my journal…and here's my prelude…

I'm sitting in a Presbyterian church.  It's pretty and uncomfortable.  My back's been aching too much today…after 8 days of being pain-free.  I thought this was gone, but I guess not completely.  Anyway, the pews in this church are hard.  Sure, there's pew-length-long foam cushions, but they don't offer much-plus they move.  I'm not complaining.  I'm just saying.  Leave me here long enough and I will surely find 300 things to critique…which is why I'll just amuse myself with my own writing instead…and I'll start reading Don's book for the 2nd time this month.  It's worth reading once a month, but twice during the first one for sure.

…This older gentleman in a suit keeps walking people down the aisle to one of the doors to the side of the stage.  I think he's taking them to the bathroom, since it's obviously the way to the rest of the building (the entrance was just the entrance).  I'm not feeling super well and want to know where the bathroom is, but I'm afraid that I already know.  So, what if I have to go while Don is speaking?

*I just realized that Colbie Callait is playing in the speakers.  I love that.  Do I need to explain why?  I mean, they could be playing Rebecca St. James, which would be fine, but expected.  I didn't expect Colbie. 🙂

Yea, so I'm nervous that I'll have to go while my favorite hero author guy is speaking.  Could I let him know ahead of time-or slip him a note as I walk past him to exit to the john?

Sorry, Don.  I really want to hear the whole thing, but the greasy pizza from Mamma Cucina's is not completely agreeing with my insides right now.  Believe me, it would be a ton worse if I didn't go right now.  You might just want to trust me on this one.

        Your Biggest Fan,

        The Cute Redhead in the 5th Row

One of the things that makes this church a little uncomfortable for me is that there's only one entrance/exit to each pew.  I can see that they were trying to conserve aisle space, but it's just so awkward.  I'm sitting on the end (due to said problem earlier), in the 5th row, and I know that people would love to take up more of this pew, but they feel weird asking if they can hop over me to sit on the other side of me.  I certainly cannot offer to move in through, not now.  

…And now my biggest fear is confirmed…"Sir, excuse me.  Can you point me in the direction of the restrooms?"  "Do you wanna go now?"  "No."  "Okay, you go through those doors, to the left, down the stairs.  Go down the right hallway, take the next left, do 16 jumping jacks and 40 pushups, and it'll be on the right."…or was that "up the stairs?"  Great, so not only will I have to disrupt my favorite author, just to go potty, but I'll also miss half the talk because I won't be able to find the bathroom!  Maybe I should ask for a map.  Or perhaps I should update my FB status right now to ask all of my Christian friends to pray that I don't have to go to the bathroom for the next 3 1/2 hours.

Finally-2 cool people just sat next to me.  The guy made a joke about the doors on the pews.  Did I mention that?  The pews have doors on them.  Do they not want people to leave?  Do you have to hand in your tithe before they'll let you out?  "No, ma'am.  I'm sorry…that was only 9%.  The pew door is staying closed until you cough up the rest."  Why do I feel like trying to be a comedian tonight?  And why do I sound so cynical?  I'm not really, I'm just super intrigued by this church…But I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that Donald Miller inspires me to write-good, bad, ugly-the guy inspires me to be real with my thoughts-even the ones that don't have a chance of coming through as super-holy.  Hmm.

Ah, we're so close to starting…

So there you have it.  My prelude.  These were my thoughts as I sat in the very pretty church, waiting for the man-writer of my dreams Donald Miller, to come out!

I have to do a plug for Susan Isaacs, too, though.  She had about 15 minutes on stage before Don came out, and she's just as gut-wrenchingly raw and honest as he is.  She's the female version of him.  I absolutely loved listening to her and truly look forward to buying her book, Angry Conversations with God, as well.  I am working on my honesty too-beyond, "Yes, I really do like your hair.  It looks great.":)  Susan will challenge me with this.  I encourage you to check out both of the books I've mentioned…and then read them twice.

How could I almost forget to mention this?  So I'm totally starstruck by this guy, for dumb reasons because I know he's just normal…but the whole time he's talking I'm all excited about the thought of getting my book signed by him, and I'm trying to come up with the best thing to say when I go up and meet him.  So what did I say?  I get to the table, 4 things in my head to choose from and…"Thanks!"  That was it.  My big moment to say whatever I wanted and I said, "Thanks!"  And I didn't even break out my camera.  :(

Seasonal, yet tasty.

I woke up this morning on a mission…to make the pumpkin chocolate chip cookies that I'd found a recipe for last week.  Last year I made a batch from a different recipe, and they were okay, but too heavy.  This recipe, though…they hit the spot so well!  I had to share a link to the recipe:)  And the only thing I added to it was some nutmeg and allspice, but there were over 400 reviews on the site, so they have other suggestions too.  

The reactions I got from those I shared them with went something like:

"Oooo, it's like little pieces of pumpkin bread with chocolate chips."

"Like little cakes!"

And my favorite-"Seasonal, yet tasty."

Go here and make these delicious treats:)


If you live anywhere near Philly, you go "down the shore" at least once every summer.  You might rent aDSC05105  house for a week and go with your family.  But it's close enough to head down for a weekend, or even just for a day!  Going "down the shore" is what we refer to when we talk about venturing down to a Jersey shore-Ocean City, Wildwood, etc.  

Growing up I loathed going down the shore.  It was not a pleasurable thing for me:  the sand, the waves, the sunburn.

First of all, the sand.  After spending a day at the beach I would find sand in very uncomfortable places, and it never seemed to go away-especially on those "day trips".  I probably still have sand in my life from that one time in 1985, but I'll never know for sure.  

Secondly, I never really learned how to swim, so the waves absolutely sucked…literally.  They sucked me under their toes 😉 and every time I was pretty sure that I was going to die, and that no one would ever know what happened to me.  It's not my parents' fault for the whole swimming thing.  They paid for me to get swimming lessons at the Y, but the blood-curdling screams that would be evicted from my mouth were no match for the instructor that was holding me, trying to get me used to putting my face under the water….I would get away from her, climb the ladder, and run to my parents.  I don't think they ever took me back.  So you can imagine my horror when taken out into the ocean with waves crashing around me.  I hated it.  I hated the experience and I hated the adults that put me through it.  To my future children…I will probably do the same to you, not because I hate you, but because I really want you to get over the fear of water earlier than me:).

Finally, the sun and redheads never truly become friends.  Redheads burn…easily and A LOT!  I recently discovered spf 50 sunblock, and I went through 4 bottles of it this past summer.  When redheads go to the beach with anything less than spf 30 or 50, well, they're just asking the sun to give them the hot new lobster look.  I always got super burned when I went to the beach growing up, and even when I did have the right sunblock around, I never used it properly.  Then I would lay on my stomach, which makes your bathing suit shift a little, and the next thing you know you can't walk straight or sit painfree for a few days.  Welcome to my world.

Why share about sand and the sun's effects in uncomfortable places?  And about the water that I was sure would become my fatality in life?  I think that it's all related to something that God is trying to teach me right now, and I'm hoping that writing about it will assist me in processing it all.

The irony is that now I love the shore!  I love to sit on the sand, and squish it between my toes.  I love the water, and the sound of the waves crashing.  And now that I've become friends with the Coppertone, spf 50 spray…the sun and I have actually become friends!  When I was still in Michigan I wrote my friend-for-many-years, Suzanne, to ask her to take me down the shore for a day this summer when I was in Philly.  So we went and I was exhilarated as we drove into Ocean City and rolled down the windows to the familiar scent of the salty ocean, and the sounds of seagulls flying around.  I got so giddy and excited because I hadn't been down there in 5 years!  It was so great to spend the day there.  It's not the nicest beach in the world, but I was at the ocean once again…and I had longed for it!

One connection that I have right now is that one of my great, great friends, Hannah just took an incredible leap of faith and moved to work at a place called Harvey Cedars, along the Jersey shoreline.  I stole some of these pictures from her Facebook account…because I am so jealous of her view;)

8432_547889019404_55300462_32443359_5171660_nAnd here's another shot that I love…and it actually looks a little like what I get to see of the Potomac River, down the street from me, with the rocks and all (sans the lady and the pelican;).


But here's where I'm going on the topic for now…this is where I need to process a little.  Join me in my ramblings for a moment.  (or not…now would be a good time to click on another blog or websearch, or go watch your favorite episode of The Office, if you'd like)

Here's a peek @ my journal this evening, as I sipped my zebra mocha at Buzz.  

…go deeper.  Be deeper.  Love more deeply.  Be lavished on Him.  Step onto the shoreline-the line where the land meets water.  Where waves crash.   Where land can disappear for while, to be seem again when the water decides to concede its demand of sight.  I long for my life to be epic…to have meaning…to have presence & purpose.  This is bigger than just "being a teacher".  It has to do with BEING who God has created me to be.  Processing the adventure.  Psalms 42.7 "Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me."

be honest, I'm really glad that wasn't one of my Sunday School memory verses
when I was little.  "God wants waves to sweep over me?"
 It's a frightening thought when you can't swim.  And yet, it's what
I want right now.  What a shift in thought.  The thing that caused me
to fear as a child has become the thing that I actually enjoy in this moment in
life.  Tonight I went for the first walk I'd been on in two months.
 I chose to go walk by the Potomac River,
because I really love the water.  Hearing the ripples of water crash ever
so gently along the rocks put me in my happy place.  And for this simple
enjoyment, I thanked Jesus.  It's all connected…God, water, waves,
rocks, shores, depth, life.  And in some way it's stirring my heart…but
again, I'm processing this part of my journey.  Not really sure what I'm
sensing.  Not really sure what is about to happen.  But I do know
that His waves and breakers are sweeping over me…and it is truly deep.  

 The initial topic was the shoreline, and the water is not deep at the
shoreline.  But the waves call us out into the depths of the vast ocean
(and I chuckle as the old song, Beyond the Sea, is playing on my Pandora
station;).  So, again, I'm not completely sure how all of my thoughts and
developments are connected, but they are.  I will journey along this shoreline for now.

Water and a Big Hole

Something similar to this is happening right now, outside my window…and it's been happening all day.  There's a gigantic hole in the street, due to what I'm pretty sure was a water main break overnight, last night.  Water here.  Water there.  Water everywhere.  

Water main break