Thursday, December 04, 2008

Rant....

I did not set up this blog to rant about life. I set up this blog to blog about the things that I am passionate about. (Read my first post to see the short list.)

What I am about to say is something that has been mounting for awhile. Please forgive me for ranting.

I have been living in a state of transition since Summer of 2005. My life has been a series of temporary stops since the fateful day of 07/06/05. I had a job for a year, then I went to Minnesota for school, graduated in May and now I'm applying for just about anything that I think I can get. If I sat down and counted the number of interviews I have been on, I would cry. I was doing okay for a long time about my lack of job or my lack of permanence. However, the past two weeks, I haven't been doing so well with this. So, gentle reader, I have two requests.

Thing #1. Join my cheerleading squad. Encourage me whenever possible. When I start to fall, when I start to get frustrated, remind me that there is possibility for me somewhere.

Thing #2. Help me find a job. I have a lot of research experience. I have a lot of social networking experience. I have 2 theological degrees. I have a degree in American Sign Language. I would love to put ALL of that to use somehow. I would love to work for the Search Institute or Pew Internet and American Life Foundation or something of that ilk. I have 7+ years of youth work experience, in both community centers and in churches. I would love to go back to working in a church. I would love to go back to academia as a research assistant. (I realize I'm turning into my father but that is a discussion for another time...:)) Who do you know? I'm currently in Minnesota, but I can move if the opportunity arose.

Again, I apologize that this got personal. I apologize for my outburst of frustration. I thank you for bearing with me and supporting this process and my blog.


And as reward for bearing with me, here is a picture of Jack. He is adorable.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day 2008 - Digital Divide

Today is Blog Action Day. I wish I had known about it before I checked Mary Hess' blog this morning. I would have prepared more!
The theme is poverty.

I'm excited because most of the bloggers that I follow posted something regarding poverty, regardless of the subject of the blog.

Most of you know my passion regarding social media. I love how social media connects us. I have friends on Facebook that live 2 miles away, and I have friends that are thousands of miles away. I also have the luxury of cracking open my laptop just about anywhere, and bam...I can chat/monitor/tweet/connect to social media. Also, I have been working with youth on the brink for 2 years, and I currently reside in North Minneapolis.

Back in the 1990's Colin Powell and Bill Clinton (among others) coined the term digital divide. The term described the divide between the people who had access technology and those who didn't. This changed from computers in the schools to computers in the home.

The definition has changed since then. The term digital divide does not mean access to technology anymore. The term has now shifted to access to CURRENT technology.

Many community centers and schools are operating with old equipment due to donations of outdated equipment or lack of funding.

How is this an issue of poverty? Youth who don't have basic computer skills are behind in school, as they are having to learn both the computer and the content. Education is power and can begin to break the cycle of poverty.

To read more about this, read this report from the MacArthur Foundation.

I have my favorite places that are decreasing/ending the digital divide.
My two favorites are:
Computer Clubhouse
Redeemer Center for Life

Also surf over to the Blog Action Day Website, and read up on the international effort that is happening today. (Other blogs are much more articulate than me...I'm still finding my blogging voice.... :))

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Blogging Take 3

I pondered for a long time what to call this post. I've been off the blogging radar since the beginning of May. I have gone through so much...yet at the same time, I haven't.

I pondered many titles for this post, one of which was "Clinging to Hope," which I then decided was a rejected campaign slogan of Obama.

I'm in a GIANT holding pattern....I'm waiting to take off at the Atlanta Airport, and there's fog....OR...I'm in a giant hallway with a million doors and as I start to walk through an open door, the door slams in my face...OR...

I have lots of time to ponder metaphors to explain life right now...All of them have some form of truth to them.

There are days when the frustration of where I am in life is oppressive, like yesterday and today. Then the Holy Spirit starts to work in ways that I will never completely understand. People just show up. These are people who love me unconditionally and let's be honest, I don't deserve them at all. I am blessed to be surrounded by MANY friends and colleagues who love me for who I am. They SUPPORT my strange gifts and qualities, and tell me that I will find a place and that I am smart and talented. They catch me when I'm falling into my dark place (as Grey's Anatomy puts it).

Right now, I'm learning that falling isn't as hard as it seems, and that there are a great number of people who are willing to catch me, and I'm blessed, honored and humbled by them. That and patience at so many levels...But that's another post for another day.

I decided that I'm going to blog about books and articles that I've read recently. Right now, I'm reading Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs by Chuck Klosterman and an To the Tune of a Welcoming God by David Weiss. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott is in the cue, along with Life Together by Bonhoeffer. (Now that I look through that list, I do think I'm crazy.....)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Internet!

The internet is back!

Let the rejoicing begin!

And my feet hurt.

That is all.

Monday, May 19, 2008

No internet again

So, I am without internet again!

I had all these plans for blogging! They are now thwarted!

I will be posting my summer reading list very soon...once I finish the list...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Thoughts?

A recent Dairy Queen commercial disturbs me at many levels.

Thoughts?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

God and Dog Take 2

This is the second draft of my video for class

For my classmates

So, after class, we sat around and talked about various shows that are coming through the Twin Cities. Wicked is coming this next season.

There are two shows that have brought me to tears through the tv, Lion King (the Broadway musical) and Wicked.

Here are videos from Wicked. The first video is Defying Gravity, which still brings me to tears.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Jesus Christ Superstar

On Sunday night, I had a convergence of three HUGE interests of mine: Broadway, Pop Phenomenon, and Theology.

I saw Jesus Christ Superstar. I love that show. I saw it 15ish years ago, with Ted Neeley as Jesus. Ted Neeley plays Jesus in the 1973 film. This tour is being referred to as the "Ted Neeley Farewell Tour." When I saw him in high school , he sounded tired. Last night, he sounded AMAZING. Corey Glover played Judas. Corey Glover was the lead singer of Living Colour. He was amazing as well.

Such a good show.

I got so much more out of the show now than I did 15 years ago. For starters, I now have 6 years of formal theological education under my belt. I'm also older (and hopefully) wiser.

I saw the show with my friend Erica. She had never seen the show before. She talked with her mother before coming and picking me up. Her mother was asking about controversy surrounding the show, specifically the relationship between Mary Magdalene and Jesus.

When I saw it before, I didn't like the Mary/Jesus relationship. I also didn't like the songs that Mary gets to sing (Everything's Alright and I Don't Know How to Love Him). Being smarter and wiser I get it now.

Webber/Rice wrote the show with the understanding that Mary was a woman of ill repute. (In Luke, Jesus exorcises seven demons, but there is no proof of this.)
I Don't Know How to Love Him is sung with Jesus and Mary on stage. Jesus is asleep.
Mary is trying to figure out what she's been experiencing while she's been around Jesus. She explains that Jesus is unlike any man she has ever met. She also wonders what she should do and how she should react.

Webber/Rice fully captured the angst that Mary and the other disciples could have felt, knowing that Jesus was something special and different.

Had I been there what would I have done? How would I have felt?

I tried to find a video of this song, and I couldn't find one on my very short search. I did find the Tony Award performance from 2000.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Emotional Story

I have been fascinated with the story of Randy Pausch. He's a college professor at Carnegie Mellon University who is dying of pancreatic cancer. His last lecture (which can be watched here) has become famous, being featured on Oprah and the Today show.

His lecture is about saying good bye when you know it's going to happen.
His lecture has become a best selling book as well. Jeffery Zaslow is the co-author of the book. He has an interesting op-ed article about co-writing the book. The article can be found here.

In the words of Christina Yang from Grey's Anatomy, there is a club of people who lost their parents. My father died when I was 5. It was a month before Kindergarden. It was quite sudden.
His story seems like a good way of saying goodbye, along with preserving memories for his young children. I wish I had something like this from my dad.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Unexpected Grace

Grace has been a theme of this week. Grace has been a very visible thing. Grace has come in tangible things! Grace came in my mailbox multiple times!

This morning I turned on my TV to watch the Today Show. Neil Diamond was the concert of the morning. He began with "America," in honor of Matt Lauer's "Where in the World?" series. Then he sang a new song. I was shocked (in a good way) with what I heard. The album drops on Tuesday, and when it's released on iTunes, I will be buying this song.
What caught me was the second stanza. (love in the midst of chaos, calm in heat of war)

The video is available on Amazon, but it's a bad recording.
Here are the lyrics.

Pretty amazing grace is what You showed me
pretty amazing grace is who You are
I was an empty vessel
You filled me up inside
and with amazing grace restored my pride

Pretty amazing grace is how You saved me
and with amazing grace reclaimed my heart
love in the midst of chaos
calm in the heat of war
showed with amazing grace what love was for

You forgave my insensitivity
and my attempt to then mislead You
You stood beside a wretch like me
Your pretty amazing grace was all I needed.

Stumbled inside the doorway of Your chapel
humbled in God by everything I found
beauty and love surround me
freed me from what I fear
ask for amazing grace and You appear

You overcame my loss of hope and faith
gave me a truth I could belive in
You led me to a higher place
showed Your amazing grace
when grace was what I needed

look in a mirror I see Your reflection
open a book You live on every page
I fall and You're there to lift me
share every road I climb
and with amazing grace You ease my mind

Came to You with empty pockets first
when I returned I was rich man
didn't believe love could quench my thirst
but with amazing grace You showed me that it can

In Your amazing grace I had a vision
from that amazing place I came to be
into the night I wandered
wandering aimlessly
found Your amazing grace to comfort me.

You overcame my loss of hope and faith,
gave me a truth I could believe in.
You led me to that higher place
showed me that love and truth and hope and grace were all I needed.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Reason #20,000,000 why I will miss school

There is absolutely no question that I don't want to graduate. I'm ready to have a break. I will truly miss the community that is here.

Today was free Ben and Jerry's Day. After a flurry of phone calls, a friend and I were ready to go. I did a quick run through the dorm to see if anyone else wanted to go. I found one more and brought him along.

Once we got to Ben and Jerry's, we realized that the line was FOUR hours long. So, instead, we went and ate dinner a block away. We laughed, we talked about brokenness in the world, and prayer. It was a moment of "Mutual care and consolation." It was a moment where we could pause, have a moment of fun, bear one another's burdens and joys, and eat.

Once out in the "real world," things like this won't happen as much.
I will miss these impromptu moments of adventure for free Ben and Jerry's.

So, after returning to Luther, I came inside with the impromptu friend. He later told people that I kidnapped him. At least I was a benevolent. And let's be honest, it was for ice cream.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

ROFLCon

I've been following the blogs of two conferences this weekend.

One is the Web 2.0 conference being held in San Francisco. The other one is not receiving as much press, ROFLCon.

Here's the description of ROFLCon in their own words:
Mix up a bunch of super famous internet memes, some brainy academics, a big audience, dump them in Cambridge, MA and you've got ROFLCon.

What has been receiving press has been the internet celebrities, like the Bert is Evil guy (it disturbs me because of my extreme love of all things Muppet), Jibjab, and the xkcd guy.

Had I known about this conference, I would have gone to it. If they do another one, I am so there.

Regardless, one of the posts that has intrigued me greatly was from Wired News.
Read the article here. (I'll try to find the full lecture.)
She called for a revolution. She called for new media to not be sexist, racist and something to be proud of.

The church is in a great position to respond to the revolution in so many ways. Churches can be participating in new media, and encouraging members to create media that is not sexist or racist. There is so much more that I could put here about how the church can participate.

The $10 Million question is how. How does the church accomplish this? How can the church encourages others to do the same?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth day!

So, today is Earth Day!

I've said this before, I'm working on small changes toward wasting less.

My two big changes for 2008 has been not using disposable grocery bags and coffee cups.
I try to remember to have tote bags and mugs in my car at all times.

There are the times when I don't remember to have mugs in my car or I'm at the mall, I do get a disposable cup. I also use the sleeves.

I found this knitting pattern online. I can throw it in my bag, and use it when I need it. Amy is making one for me. I'm excited!

Coffee cup cozy
Thanks to the Knittingbug for the pattern.

Just out of curiosity, are there little things that you do to be less wasteful?

Caffination!

I find myself in need of caffeine. A lot.

Surprisingly, some blogs I read have made mention of caffeine. For anyone in need of caffeine resources, here you go.

The Caffeine Database
Better ways to use caffeine

Yep, this is where I am now. I don't want to think about how much caffeine is in my system.

It's been awhile since I've worked full time in a congregation. This time of year is where I remember self-care. How do we work in congregations and take care of ourselves?
I usually swing toward too much self care or no self care. I've never found that balance.
How or what are your ideas for self care? What do you do for self care?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Pros and Cons of Graduation

So as much as I am looking forward to graduation, I am not looking forward to graduation.

There are so many unknowns right now, and well, after graduation, the number of said unknowns will increase exponentially. Some days I'm fine and some days I'm a mess.

However, there are many things I'm looking forward to, like being able to do things I want to do. I have a huge list of books I want to read.
I love crafty things, especially beading. I haven't been able to bead in a really long time. Right before I came out here I began to learn how to throw pots. I'm not very good, but it was fun and I miss it. Don't even get me started on photography (again, I'm not very good, but it was fun).

However, I have been introduced to something receiving more press as of late.
What is this you may ask?

Plastic bag recycling.

Apparently, you can use plastic bags as yarn and crotchet things with it, or you can make "fabric" by fusing 6 bags together with an iron. Then you can use this fabric to "make" a more sturdy bag.

I am REALLY excited by this. I miss crafty things... I'm ready to graduate, so that I have some free time.

Instructions for the "fabric" method is here.
Instructions for the "crotchet" method is here.
Thanks to Lifehacker for the instructions.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Seriously?

Seriously? Today is April 10? Seriously?

Where did the past 10 days go?

Seriously.

(Can you tell I watch Grey's Anatomy a lot?)

Tomorrow, I'm hopefully heading to the Twin Cities Social Networking Breakfast (if the weather decides to cooperate, and I'm a wimp in the cold).

Phew. I need to climb back onto the planet.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff Part 1

I went back to VA for the week after Easter. It's been an adventure. I got a lot of reading done. Thank heavens. My brain needed both the fun and academic reading.

I'm almost done with Lamb:The Gospel according to Biff.
It's one of the first books I've read in awhile where I actually laughed out loud.

I'll write more about the book later, but the book has been making me think about Jesus' humanity. We, as modern readers, have three years of Jesus' ministry documented. Even in those three years, and four gospels, there are holes.

What was his childhood like? Did Jesus know that he was the Son of God? When did he know it?
It's one of those things that almost two years into seminary, and I question Jesus' humanity/divinity more and more.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

My East Coast brain hurts. It's Good Friday, and it's snowing. That's just not right.

I saw this on one of the blogs I read, and it made me laugh. The author does make a good point, the church knows it's audience.

Jesus Mii

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

God and Dog

This is a video I made for class.  It's a draft, and it's a start. Please let me know what you think and what I should add.  


Blogger's Prayer

I come across this prayer every once in awhile, and it makes sense to me.....

The Blogger's Prayer
Special thanks to jonnybaker.
Everytime I read it, I pick something else up.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Unlikely Theologians

Well, I've given this a lot of thought. I am surrounded by unlikely theologians. There are many authors, songwriters, and movie directors that would say that they are NOT theologians...I disagree.

I've been reading Lamb: The Gospel according to Biff by Christopher Moore. I am soon going to read A Song to Sing, a Life to Live by Emily Saliers and Don Saliers. Dr. Don Saliers recently retired. He was a seminary professor at Emory; Emily Saliers makes up one half of the Indigo Girls (my favorite band. ever.).

However, the theologians that have been taking up a lot of mental space are the ones with fur. Yes, Dogs. Dogs have taught me a lot about theology. I know this will sound strange, but read Moltmann and think about a dog. Moltmann makes so much more sense when you think about a dog.

I have had 14 collies in my lifetime. (Well, there are 2 that my mom has now that I kinda consider mine. I haven't lived with them for long periods of time, so are they really mine?) All but 3 are shelter or rescue dogs.

My dog Jack is a collie, and he's blind. He's been blind since birth as a result of irresponsible breeding. (Collies are prone to blindness. Reputable breeders will genetically test for the gene. Jack was born at a puppy mill...) He has taught me about how I respond to God. Just as Jack cannot see me, I cannot see God. I call Jack, just as God calls me. Jack zigzags and meanders, while I keep calling. God keeps calling me and I know that I meander and zigzag and who knows what else. Yet, I keep calling Jack, and God keeps calling me. God continues to be faithful, even when I don't know the way.

Berkeley is a smooth collie (read: short hair). I consider him mine, even though he's back in VA. We got him while I was still in college. Berkeley was found in Berkeley Springs, WV, as a stray. He was abused before we got him. He doesn't like men much, nor does he like newspapers or brooms. Last night he had a Grand Mal seizure. My mom's a wreck (he's her favorite, don't tell the others...). He's not to happy either. He's seeing a specialist today. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers. I'll update you after he's seen the Vet today.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Blogging with Pen and Paper…..

Or it’s equivalent…..

Writing this blog in MS Word feels like writing with pen and paper.

The internet is down at my apartment. I feel like something is missing. I cannot check IMDB at a moments notice. I cannot check Facebook, MySpace or e-mail. I cannot watch YouTube, check up on blogs, look for plane tickets, look for answers to all the random questions I have while watching TV, research (read: play Webkinz. I do read actual reports too...) and play Scrabulous. I cannot instant message or Skype!

What am I going to do with myself? Well, I’m blogging with MS Word. I started to clean my desk. I’m watching shows on DVD that I haven’t had time to watch since I got them. (Star Trek: Voyager and The Muppet Show, yes, I am a geek.)

I never realize how the internet has revolutionized how I live until it’s gone. I depend on it for research, communication and recreation. I wonder what is going to happen over the next 5, 10, and 20 years how it will continue how to revolutionize how we live. How will the internet continue to evolve? Thoughts?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

One whole lot of movies...

I just watched all five Best Picture Nominees back to back at the AMC in Roseville.

I'm surprisingly emotionally drained.

I realize that I really can't talk much about the individual movies. The spoiler alert statute of limitations is not up yet.
However, I think I can write about the experience without revealing too many plot points.

So, the order of the films were:
Michael Clayton
There will be blood
Atonement
Juno
No Country For Old Men

Midway through the movie marathon, we started saying that the films were so different. Each one had it's own flavor.
Then again, maybe the movies were more similar....

Michael Clayton deals with corporate corruption. There will be blood...I still can't quite tell you what I was supposed to get out of it. The movie deals with the rising (and falling?) of an oil prospector and his family and associates. Atonement deals with the effects of a lie on family and friends. Juno deals with a teen pregnancy and how the family deals with the situation. No Country for Old Men deals with drug dealing, greed, and honest law enforcement.

Now, how are all of these movies similar?
Each movie deals with the messiness of life. There is corruption, deceit, pregnancy, drug dealing, greed and weird relationships in our lives. Unfortunately, we do not live in a Disney fairytale. (Sad, considering I want to walk into a room with a full production number in progress...) As over the top as some of these films are, they began to encapsulate real life.

Also, the movies were similar in how they ended. Other than Juno, each movie did not end with all of the loose ends tied up. Even Juno, things were "relatively" tied up, but the future was not "perfect." As much as I wish life was sometimes that simple, we leave situations and places with loose ends and more questions.

As for my Oscar pics?

My favorite is Juno, but I think There will be blood will win. I still want Juno to win. Badly.
Note: I wanted Little Miss Sunshine to win last year.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

What the cold does to the Duck...

When the Minnesotans tell you that it's cold, it's cold. It's really cold in Minnesota right now. Grr....I'm trying to stay warm, but that's not working out for me so well. I did give up and start using the puffy coat that invites ridicule from the "real" mid-westerners. However, I am a wannabe mid-westerner, so I will wear the puffy coat with extreme pride.

Cold also makes me sleepy. So reading the tons of books that I have to read this semester is a challenge! My classes are quite interesting this semester, so I enjoy the reading, it's just that I'm cold!

Hot Chocolate is my friend. mmm.....Hot Chocolate.....

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Neeterduck?



Yes, neeterduck. Why do I have that user name?


Well, it was my nickname in college. Well, it started before that.
Surprisingly, as I started to type, I realized that it's a really long story, that actually has to deal with what I was going to write about today.

I have a large collection of rubber ducks. In fact, the duck collection is quite insane. The collection started with two special ducks.

One is a duck from Germany. It is a necklace by Janosch. I bought it while I was on a choir tour with my high school choir. My host had the same necklace. Since then I have received the actual toy that the necklace is based on, along with a large print of the duck. I wore the necklace almost every day of college. It's in my driver's license picture. I don't wear it anymore, but it's still important.

The other duck is a rubber duck. It's a duck. Visibly, there is nothing special about the duck. I bought it while I was on choir tour with my church choir. Because the tech crew of the choir was referred to as the Ducks (we used a lot of duct tape), I bought a mascot on one of our fun stops. This duck has traveled to many places. It has a prized spot on my shelf.

What do these ducks mean to me? These ducks are concrete reminders of my communities. I am still close friends with members of both of those choirs. Geographically, I may be far away from friends that I call family. They are there when I am in need. The ducks remind me that I am not alone in this crazy thing called life.

So in college, people saw me with these ducks. Then someone blurted out "Duck, Duck, Neeterduck," and it kinda stuck. (Anita gets shortened a lot to Neeta or Neeter)

So, today, I saw all of the friends that were there when Neeterduck was blurted out, plus some. These friends are also family. We support each other, we are there for each other in times of joy, sorrow and need.

As Meredith Grey said, "Friends are the family we choose."

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Welcome! Pull up a chair!

Welcome to my new blog...well, I realized that I signed up for Blogger back in Feb. 2005, and never used it. So welcome to my mostly new/very dusty blog! I'm not sure what I'm going to write about. However, I'm sure some of the following will come up!

Theology, Ducks, Social Networking, Collies, Blind Dogs, The Muppets, Humorous yet potentially heretical books and movies, The Indigo Girls, REM, Eddie From Ohio, Lowen and Navarro, Broadway Musicals, Technology, The Digital Divide, and friends, friends and more friends.

Ah yes, and the Minnesota Weather. I'm still getting used to the cold.