So, I just activated the new Timeline today, and it was a fascinating experience. Primarily, I noticed that my 15 minutes of allowed social web time on Chrome ran out very quickly.* I wasn't spending a lot more time looking at others' pages, new Twitter accounts, recommended friends, or any of the other normal rabbit trails that make you lose 15 minutes in the blink of an eye. Instead, I was deep in the historical archives of my own Facebook page.
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Thursday, December 8, 2011
A word from Jean at Signal Mountain Presbyterian Church for Advent. And very timely for me.
December 8 The True Vine
“I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.”
Perhaps the reason I love this name of Jesus so much is the beautiful word picture it paints. It’s probable that when Jesus spoke these words to His disciples they had just left the upper room and were walking through a vineyard on the way to the Garden of Gethsemane. It was the night of His betrayal. He was preparing His followers for life without His physical presence. How could they conceive that it would be better for them for Jesus to go away? What could be better than the flesh-and-blood nearness of their Master, hearing His voice, looking into His eyes, feeling the warmth of His touch, following in His footsteps as together they walked the dusty roads? How could they live apart from Him?
As Jesus had done with His disciples so often, He again chose to use something in the earthy physical realm to illustrate something in the spiritual realm. From this time forward, the sight of vines and branches heavy with clusters of grapes would hold new meaning. They would see what happened to the branches that were attached to the vine; they would bear fruit. As well, they would see what happened to the branches that were no longer attached to the vine; they would not bear fruit.
Jesus’ use of this simple metaphor has provided a profound truth for all those who would follow Him from that time forward. Just as the branch is completely dependent upon the vine to provide everything needed to produce its fruit; so are Jesus’ disciples completely dependent upon Him to provide everything needed to produce the fruit of lives that bring glory to His name.
Was it better for His disciples that Jesus would no longer be with them in the flesh? Yes, for though He would walk beside them no longer, through His Holy Spirit He would soon be within them. They would then experience the life of the True Vine flowing through them, infusing them with power and enabling them to live fruitfully for Him. Time and again in my own life I have experienced the dismal results of attempting life on my own, apart from Him. Thankfully however, because of His mercy and grace, He is using those times to teach me this timeless truth – apart from Him I cannot do a thing of eternal value!
Follower of Jesus, can you live apart from Him?
Heavenly Father, help me to stay, to remain, to abide in vital union with Jesus, the One True Vine, knowing that without Him I can do nothing. AMEN
Posted by Megs at 7:03 AM
Thursday, December 1, 2011
I truly love buying presents for people, all times of the year. So here's a round up of places I've come across where you bless people on both sides of the buying. I encourage you to consider purchasing with purpose!
I'm still shopping, too. Are there any other places you'd want to add?
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Larry and I wrote an entry for our church's Advent devotional which came out today. I love that we wrote it together several months ago and a) I can't remember which of the words belong to me and which belong to Larry and b) I sense the anticipation of waiting for the light all the more!
There were clouds that morning, but not on the horizon where it mattered. Before us was the slope of the mountain and a gaggle of tree-covered islands before the expanse of the sea, all covered in a haze of deep blue. Our eyes were fixed on that horizon, expectant, waiting. The colors began to change, blue became purple, red, pink, orange. The undersides of the clouds lit up in fire and suddenly a point of light appeared, illuminating our faces. For all its intensity, we could not turn away until the light had disappeared behind the low-lying clouds. We were captivated. The light was literally seared in our vision for quite a bit of time moving forward.
Reading John’s words about Jesus reminds us of that day on Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. John opens with the expectant image of waiting for the light. “The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming”—it was coming!—into the world! (John 1:9) The Gospel of Luke reminds us of all those who were waiting for him, beginning with Zechariah and Anna. And then the rest of the Gospels give us so many full-on glimpses of the pure, blinding light of Jesus as he proclaims, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) Light of life, indeed, who dispels the darkness of sin. (1 John 1:7)
As John says, the true light is already shining, but the darkness is still passing away and we see its shadows around us, perhaps inside us, still. (1 John 2:8) In a way, we join Zechariah and Anna, still waiting, still expectant, seeing in a mirror dimly but expectant to see face to face. (1 Corinthians 13:12) We anticipate his coming, piercing the deep blue expanse of the world. We are watchers of the world, watching the horizon for his full glory to be revealed.
Where are you waiting expectantly for God’s light to shine? What shadows have you seen Him cast out by His presence?
Monday, November 21, 2011
Posted by Megs at 7:19 PM
Monday, November 7, 2011
I am swooning over ABC's "Once Upon a Time." Not only does it have great characterization, the traces of bread crumbs (not Hansel & Gretel types, but the kind "Lost" is famous for), thrilling intros of favorite storybook characters, and some pretty interesting cinematography. BUT ALSO... as a theology student, Larry and I as well as my girls here just can't resist digging into the themes we're seeing.
- Snow White having a cross around her neck? Are the writers alluding to the Christian faith somehow with her? Is it a moral symbol indicating the purity of her character?
- How the characters do not know who they are until they begin to understand their part in the story? Could this relate to how we only come to know who we truly are as we identify ourselves in a larger story?
- Quotes like, "Good will always win"?
- Quotes like, "Believing in the possibility of a happy ending is a very powerful thing"?
- Concepts like, the one who knows your name has power over you?
- Out of the mouths of babes... the truth of the story comes out of a young boy?
- Purity of love both breaks and seals curses?
- Every curse can be broken?
Friday, November 4, 2011
I've been deeply desiring to write a really good, insightful blogspot about my friends' singleness. Don't expect this blog to be that. But I do want to get one thought on paper:
What if a female, single, 20-something, seminary friend had listed as her goal "To be married and have kids" ? We would probably politely nod, and then send someone to talk to her to make sure she was "finding her fulfillment in Jesus" because, let's be honest, she might not get married, and she might not have kids.
Posted by Megs at 8:43 PM
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Prepare for some Exodus love! We're digging into a few short verses with some major impact for the rest of the semester in class, and I just can't withhold what I'm seeing! It's who God declares himself to be after a faithful servant, Moses, asks to see God's glory in Exodus 34:5-7.
- He is compassionate
- He is gracious
- He is slow to anger
- He is abounding in lovingkindness
- He is abounding in truth
- He keeps lovingkindness for thousands
- He carries and takes on iniquity
- He carries and takes on transgression
- He carries and takes on sin
- He punishes iniquity
Saturday, October 15, 2011
The other day I was alternately weeping and translating, translating and weeping. In a former season, it was because of how difficult the exercise was. This week, it was for the beauty and grace, love and worship, and sense of calling revealed to me in the pages of Luke as I translated.
"And Jesus said to Simon, 'Do not fear; from now on, you will be a catcher of men.'
Friday, August 12, 2011
Begin by looking at Google maps and orienting yourself to the Charles River and the Gardens/Commons. You can't get lost if you know where these 2 landmarks are.
I recommend staying in the Back Bay.
Freedom Trail (beginning at Boston Commons/Gardens ending in North End (aka Little Italy))
Dinner in Little Italy at Giacomo's. You'll want the butternut squash ravioli. You need cash.
Dessert just a block closer to downtown on Hanover Street at Mike's Pastries.
Walk back to the Boston Gardens via Charles St. (where the signs are pictoral)
Begin again near the Boston Gardens
Walk Newbury Street, enjoying the fancy shops
Track back on Boylston, hit the 3 story Apple store, the Boston Public Library, Copley Square, and Filene's basement
Take the Copley Plaza subway (to the left of the library, up the hill 1/2 a block if you're looking at the library) to FenwayFenway Park
EITHER Take the red line to Cambridge/Harvard. Enjoy the campus, Harvard Square, and maybe grab dinner there. Walk along the Charles. Take the subway back to Back Bay or your hotel.
North Shore/Cape AnnOR Take public transportation to the Sam Adams Brewery for a tour.
1st stop- me at Gordon-Conwell!
You'll want my pass to go onto Crane's Beach (a couple dollars) and maybe the Crane Estate (free) if you're interested in that.
Pick apples at Russell Orchards on the way to/from or at least stop for fresh cider donuts.
Have brunch at Sugar Magnolias in Gloucester. You'll want the carrot cake pancakes. Breakfast only until 1pm.
Maybe pop through Rockport. It's a bit touristy, but quintessential New England. The Proposal with Sandra Bullock was filmed here.
Drive up the coast to Halibut State ParkCatch a sunset dinner at the Lobster Pool
Newburyport/PortsmouthEither spend the night at an Inn in Rockport, or go ahead and drive up to Newburyport
Spend the morning walking around, looking at boats, trying to find the jean store, Katwalk, and popping through Azure
Spend the afternoon driving up 1A to Portsmouth
Walk around and enjoy an evening in Portsmouth. Not sure where to eat here for dinner, but I'm sure you'll find somewhere amazing either there or on the way.
Back to Boston! That'll do you, I think!Spend the night in Portsmouth.Grab breakfast at The Friendly Toast on your way out.Stop at the Kittery Outlets if you haven't had enough shopping.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
2 things brought up this passage in an hour, so I feel compelled to bring it up a third and round it out.
Thursday, July 7, 2011
I know we (as in, we as a people, generally) don't talk about money very often. But we did, kinda, with new friends this weekend, and we got a great idea from them!
Posted by Megs at 1:11 PM
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
I’ve just finished cram-studying church history from about 1600AD to present. Exam’s done. This is the first thing I read afterward, and it’s quite a bit of the theology and history in my exam in one article from my financial website:
"Are You Ready to Start Giving Money to Charity" from Mint.com
You can get the gist for yourself, but basically they’re saying that donating money lacks financial wisdom. So don’t do it. Be like the airlines. Put your own mask on first.
But then they throw in this last line with the most tremendous sense of irony and dispacement with the rest of the article:
In fact, he’s done economic numbers crunching to establish “that when people give more money away, they tend to prosper.”
Well, Fancy that.
What are your thoughts? What value do you find in “giving away” money? Where have you seen this trend before?
Posted by Megs at 10:59 AM
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Due to a night owl and a mouse, I crave the new earth. Allow me to explain.
I don’t do well with rodents. I once had a cat named Natasha that was supposed to stand guard over my house while I was sleeping, protecting me from the mice I knew were there. She was terribly ineffective. Arrow Exterminators was effective, but I still felt bad for their poison methods. They’re brutal. (Never Google what poison does to animals.) Yesterday I found out that we have a mouse in the cabin, and neither Natasha nor Arrow are at my disposal. So we had to go with the traps.
Bless Larry’s heart, he had to set them. They kept snapping at him with this horrible noise. He placed them around the kitchen sink, which is all of 2 arm lengths from where we sleep. I was already dreading hearing that sound in the middle of the night. And heard it, I did.
Snap! “Larry! Please wake up! It’s the mouse. It got him.” Followed by squeak, squeak, lots of grunting, shuffle, shuffle. Why is it making that much noise?! “Seriously, Larry. Please get up, I can’t stand it!”
Sparing you any more details than necessary, it only got his tail, so Larry threw him out the front door. And I didn’t sleep for another hour as I actually prayed for the Lord to bring in the new heavens and the new earth where I wouldn’t have to kill and expel his created mice (disease carrying, food eating, defecating everywhere mice) from my dwelling.
As for the night owl, don’t worry. I’m not going to tell a story about setting a trap for an owl. (Though I did see one while I was sitting on the cabin’s porch! He was flying low about 3 feet from me. They are beautiful!!) Our church where we are serving this summer has a program called Night OWLS where we hang out for the evening with children with special needs and with their siblings. It’s a gift of a program, and I really feel as though I was the one who walked away blessed and served.
Larry walked away that night with a keen insight. As he lifted a child out of a wheelchair so that he could sit in a fire engine, as he placed the child’s hands upon the fire truck so he could feel its rough texture, and as he turned his head to see the shiny bins (shiny bins!) on the side of the truck, Larry perceived that this is his own posture in the hands of his loving God. That we are broken individuals in need of a loving Father to carry us in our sin and brokenness, to lift us up into places where we can see what’s coming ahead, to lead us to the people we need to reach out and touch, and to turn our heads to what we need to notice. Larry also showed me what I could not see: that these children are a reminder to us of the promise of restoration. God has promised that he will set the world aright. That he will heal the broken.
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face. Rev 22:1-4
So I’m holding out hope today for the night owls and the mice. I’m also claiming this eternal promise for other circumstances that have arisen just this week—funerals, Alzheimer’s, injustice against orphans in Bolivia, addiction, lost college students, tornado victims, and cancer patients. And I hold out hope for myself as well—that the wounded places will be mended and that family and friends that have left this earth will be brought back into communal presence. That tree’s going to bear fruit each month. Heaven will be eternally abundant and whole.
Posted by Megs at 8:03 AM
Sunday, May 22, 2011
The image of the taproot.
My friends visited a vineyard recently and shared with me this image:
A stressed vine is a healthy vine.
Let me repeat.
A stressed vine is a healthy vine.
This is not one of those immediately applicable images for which the heavens part and we immediately grasp that-- yes! a stressed Megan or a stressed Mom or a stressed student or a stressed teenager or a stressed person is a healthy Megan, Mom, student, teenager, or person. But it is a miracle of nature that a stressed vine is a healthy vine.
So why would you observe this in nature? That in the case of a vineyard, a stressed vine is a healthy vine? Prepare for some science.
The vine has a taproot from which it receives its water. The taproot will naturally grow as deep as the water it needs reside. So in a season of sufficient rain, the taproot will grow near the surface, receiving water from the taproot in the immediate soil.
Seasons of stress drive the taproot deep into the soil. Seasons of stress for the vine are primarily seasons in which water is withheld. I’m a bit dense. It’s 5am, so let’s try that again.
A stressed season is a season in which water is withheld.
Who’s withholding water from a vine? You want wine after all, which definitely requires water. The vinedresser knows that a stressed vine is a healthy vine, and so she will withhold water from her vine in order that the taproot will grow more deeply, seeking water. The taproot will grow more deeply when the topsoil, the soil near the surface of the plant, is providing insufficient water.
So the vinedresser withholds water from the vine for a season, ensuring that her vine’s taproot will grow deeply and have a source of deeper water so that when a dry season comes, she is not tapped out (sorry, couldn’t resist).
A stressed vine is a healthy vine because her taproot has rooted herself into the deep, rich source of water available far below the surface. Because her careful vine dresser has withheld surface water for a season, deeper nutrients are available to her in seasons of unexpected stress.
How’s this picture working for you?
It’s working for me right now. I even think my careful vinedresser has prepared me for a season of withholding by showing me the sustenance available below the surface level of my faith. I have been sitting every morning this week in the words of Psalm 46. Here the Psalmist introduces us to the tumultuous nature of the world in which mountains are literally being hurled into the sea. He concludes with, “Be still.” For the God who throws mountains into the sea, the Lord of the angel hosts, is with you. He is your fortress-- an immovable place-- when mountains are being hurled into the sea. I cannot imagine any place being safe when mountains are being hurled into nonexistence. And yet, God promises us that even when he is in the business of absolute destruction of all that surrounds, he is in the business of protecting us.
When you feel you are in a season of being withheld from-- loneliness, uncertain health diagnosis, unanswered questions, temporary living situations, without work, empty bank account, a string of “no’s” or “not yets,” persecution; when your surface level soil isn’t providing the nutrients you’re used to-- when your friends, spouse, calendar, devotional time, sense of calling, go-to verse, vacation, exercise plan aren’t delivering what you need; will you allow me to remind you of the nutrients available just a bit deeper? Will you allow the vinedresser to send your taproot deeper?
A stressed vine is a healthy vine.
Times of stress can be opportunities to send your taproot down deeper.
More fulfilling nutrients with a better promise of satisfaction are available in the Word of God, below the surface areas from which you are used to receiving the love, acceptance, and assurance you need. There is an invitation to draw near to the throne of grace with confidence to find mercy and receive grace to help in your time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)
Let us allow God to send us deeper into his Word when we feel lonely and unsatisfied, that we may find the truth that will enable us to bear the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and faithfulness in the season to come. May we not squander our vinedresser’s season of withholding so that we will have access to the nutrients we need in the season of harvest to come.
Better nutrients are available below the surface.
God’s Word supplies more richly than the platitudes often repeated.
Tapped out? Go deeper.
Posted by Megs at 1:49 PM
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Posted by Megs at 5:53 PM
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Such a strange thing. The place where I worked for 3 years closed their doors this week, leaving many people without work. I don't think the closing was unexpected, but certainly the timing. March was the buzz I was hearing when I was home, but then they closed just this week.
The strange thing is thinking-- what were those 3 years of work about? Lots of calling people, trying to get them to accept the free stuff they had earned by being AT&T customers. Imagine trying to get people to believe that. Hi, I'm from AT&T. You've earned $500 in Visa cards. Yeah, right they said. But they did. So weird. Then a couple more years of working with an amazing team of project managers, spending entire nights adding little electronic coupons into people's accounts. I know that doesn't make sense when it's typed out, but that's what I spent some time doing. And now that work's for naught. Or is it? I learned a lot of things during my time there:
1. The excitement of having a schedule full of meetings (post-call center)
2. The excitement of having a full day without any meetings (post-1st year in project management)
3. The fun of remembering birthdays with Koch's donuts
4. How to function as someone's second brain (miss you, Donna!)
5. Many Excel, Outlook, SharePoint, and Word tricks
6. The not-so-beauty of the not-so-effective "recall" option in Outlook
7. How to brainstorm for catchy tag lines
8. The bribing/rewarding power of cupcakes
9. How to fill empty hours with "research"
10. The importance of being ethical
I think ethics is ultimately what undermined the business. From the very top to the very bottom of a company, you must have people who do what they say will do, are who they say they are, do business with who they say they do business, and speak frankly and familially with both their customers and their employees. I watched that breakdown, and I am sad to say that.
Differing weights and differing measures-- the LORD detests them both. Even small children are known by their actions, so is their conduct really pure and upright? - Proverbs 20:10-11
Posted by Megs at 5:58 PM
Friday, January 21, 2011
Abundance. That's what I experienced last month at home. Abundance. In every sense of the word. We had surf & turf with wine instead of frozen taquitos. We had the very best of friends in wave upon wave of laughter and food and unplanned time together. So I think it's only natural that I miss home. But I also think it's got to be natural for me to continue on here where I am. And then I will celebrate all the more those moments of abundance.
Posted by Megs at 7:27 AM
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Posted by Megs at 5:30 PM