Friday, December 31, 2004

it is new year's eve!

on this last post of 2004, i rejoice that in my parents' Coshocton home, there are currently 14 of my best friends in my living room and kitchen. they are staying for several days, and life is very, very good.

this evening we will have a spontaneous dance party in the Beatles room, and rejoice that 2004 has been such a lovely year.

happy new year! and i pray your day is filled with pork, sauerkraut, and lots of football :)

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Praise the LORD!

I got an email from Hannah this morning, and she and Jon are fine! Hoorah! They were headed south towards Kerala, but fortunately, they did not make it that far. Also, praise the Lord, they did not spend the holiday in Sri Lanka or Thailand as they had originally brainstormed.

Whew. I feel relieved...but it's that difficult kind of relief, where you still have to realize that 22,000 people are dead, and that shouldn't be relieving at all.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Praying for Asia.

I'm a bit overwhelmed this morning as I read the news and read about the huge amounts of devastation. I'm thinking and praying about all of these peoples and countries that were wiped flat in a matter of moments.

And I am thinking about and praying for my friends Hannah and Jon, who were spending their Christmas holiday visiting beaches in Southwest India. By looking at the maps of India, it seems that they were probably out of harm's way, but at the same time, I don't know exactly what city they were in when the earthquake occurred, and I know that they intended to visit Kerala sometime during the next two weeks, which is one of the cities that already has a significant death toll. I also don't know, with downed phone lines and such, how long it could be before I hear from them.

So I'm praying for Sri Lanka, for Indonesia, for India, for Thailand, for Maldives, for Malaysia, for Bangladesh, for Burma, for Somalia...and I am praying for Hannah and Jon.

I do not know why things happen as they do....22,000 is such a big number to throw around.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

A Very Merry Christmas.

and a Happy New Year.

I hope that you and your family have a very happy holiday. Also--peace on earth, goodwill to men, women, and all species of animals. May your days be filled with enough love and birdseed to make you feel truly blessed.

(Since I'm not with you to tell you a funny Christmas story, you must instead look here.)

Thursday, December 23, 2004


there is ice everywhere...apparently...i don't really know, because the only time i left the house today was to check the mail. i ran down the driveway in my bare feet, and the ice was very pointy and non-user friendly.

then i found out that many parts of ohio are without power because of the ice.

and then i found out that danara is stuck in new york city because there are no flights into columbus because of the ice.

then i lookied outside and saw the ice dangling off the ice-encrusted trees.

then i thought about how it's best not to drive in the ice, considering sean and i's vehicle is sporting a spare tire at the moment and will not maneuver well in the ice.

i'm still dreaming of a white christmas.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

C-o-s-h-o-c-t-o-n !

Coshocton is cool for the following reasons:

#1--Last night, my best friend from High School, Havaleh, and my brother and his friend Nick got to see LeBron and the Cavaliers make a smashing showing against the T-wolves. I realize, though, that this does not inherently make Coshocton cool, since we drove to Cleveland, but Havaleh, Nick and Sean were the main reasons the evening was cool, and they are from Coshocton.

#2--The Serenity Tea House is open, and I have YET to return for my favorite chicken salad, which I have been missing since my last attempt in July. My chicken salad and I will be reunited very soon.

#3--Eastern Standard Time--when you don't adjust your body to a different time zone, it means that I wake up at 11:30a and go to bed at 3am. Apparently, if i keep this up for two weeks, I will have no jet lag.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Snow Days in Coshocton.

Two-thousand Coshocton Kids are rather upset that they only wiggled a 2-hour delay out of today. Even though there's about 3 inches of snow on the ground and the temperature is only about ten degrees, they are having school. I laughed this morning when I realized that for the four Baker's, snow days are a moot point. None of us go to school anymore.

So I am in Ohio, and there is snow on the ground, and it IS beautiful. Yesterday when I shouted out, "It's COLD!" Mom reminded me that I asked for a white Christmas....and so, I will complain no longer and just rejoice that I have gotten my wish.

I spent last evening singing Christmas carols to shut-in's with my home church's Youth Group. A few of them really enjoyed Sean and I's rendition of "Carol of the Bells" sung entirely by bears, but other's referred to us as "Conversation Killers." Apparently one of the youth thinks that Sean and I both have the ability to bring up random pieces of information with no relevancy to anything that kill a conversation. I laughed pretty hard, because it's true.

It was good to spend time with kids in Ohio though, and laugh to realize that I really am hanging out with teenagers wherever I go...

Friday, December 17, 2004

I (Heart) E-tickets.

Can I tell you how much I love being able to print off my boarding pass from home?! I do! I love it so much! I just breeze in to the terminal in a reasonable amount of time, with very little waiting in line, and I step onto my flight. Lovely.

Tomorrow at 4:00am, I will roll out of bed and drive myself to Sea-Tac International Airport where I will board my 757 for Ohio.

I have not yet packed a single thing. But I did enjoy a wonderful dinner at Oui's Thai Cuisine with three of my highschool girls last night. Glorious.

One of my girls gave me a Christmas card which read, "You have made a major impact on my life, and I hope we are friends forever."

Wednesday, December 15, 2004


This week, I have officially admitted to myself that I love John Mayer. Two years ago, I would have been embarrassed to profess a tendency to liking anything too conventional, but today, as I'm making a new mix cd, I really want to include songs by Train, Dido, John Mayer, 3 Doors Down, and Shania Twain. I realize that if I like the songs and insist on only selecting songs by Gillian Welch, Ben Kweller, and the Idiot Pilots only because they might be more independent and less pop...well, then, I'm lying to myself and slipping into non-conformist elitism.

So this morning, I am not an elitist, and I'm telling you that I think John Mayer's song "Daughters" is amazing. You can listen to it here.
The chorus is--
Fathers, be good to your daughters.
Daughters will love like you do.
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers be good to your daughters too.

On Monday at "The Mud Hut Christmas Party" I shared a testimony/sermonette, and I was joined by one of my female student leaders, who also shared the story of her faith journey. It was wonderful to share those moments with her, and afterwards, her mother embraced me and called me "Daughter." Sometimes I feel a bit like a more grown-up version of her daughter, and it was certainly affirming to be recognized by her.

And I thought about what John Mayer was saying--and really, I think that so many of the interactions I have with students have so little to do with me--and so much more to do with the families from which they come. For all of my girls, John's song makes me want to stand beneath the windows of their homes singing it up to their parents, as a prayer for them--that they will be powerfully reminded that they are stewards of God's kids. They have been entrusted! What a load of responsibility--shaping young people into who they will become...and parents have the ability to teach kids how to love well or how to love poorly.

I have had several moments of brokenness in the past weeks, and I think that so much of my ability to persevere through it is that I have been taught how to love well. By my parents, who have shown that love requires as much commitment and perseverence as it does respect and passion, by my friends, who always have the ability to speak to me in truth and are endlessly full of affirmation and comfort, and by my Lord, who is amazingly more than we could ever even want Him to be.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Silence is the loudest parting word you never say.

~Ben Harper, "Amen Omen," Diamonds on the Inside.

I talked to Sean last night, and I said "I'll see you Saturday," and I was just talking to Havaleh, and I said, "I'll see you Sunday."

How lovely.

I board a 757 bound for Ohio at 6:30am on Saturday morning, and my heart rejoices.

Kudos to Cinderella Styling!

I would like to give a shout-out to my stylist at the Cinderella Salon today. My highlights were completed in less then 75 minutes, which I think is a personal best for me.

This one time, I went to this salon, and I was there for 3 1/2 hours, and my hair looked exactly the same as it does right now. And it cost $30 more. And the stylist kept talking to my hair. That was a bad day.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

The Journey Through Orthodoxy.

Over the last few years, I've experienced a lot of restlessness in regards to the church. I'm someone who is very much a Christian and very much wanting to see a church of believers built up in unity, yet I constantly feel like I'm at odds with 'the church' because it never feels like it fits just right, and I want it to fit right. And I ask God if 'unity' means that it never fits quite right for each person, because we're all assimilating a bit, or if 'unity' means righting ourselves to Him so that we are all centered in Him together, or if 'unity' only happens in heaven?

So I'd at odds: there's the United Methodist tradition with which I was raised, the anti-establishment evangelicalism I experienced in college, the Spanglish Roman Catholicism I loved during a week at summer camp, the thinking spirtuality of a small group of friends in Kenya, and exposure to a hundred other different facets of 'the church' at-large to which I've been exposed over the ten year of my personal spiritual journey.

Today I sat down with the Priest of St. Andrew's Orthodox Church, which happens to be across the street from my apartment building. I listened to the spiritual journey of the Priest, whose personal spiritual journey eventually led him to direct his evangelical church towards Orthodoxy.

As I listened to his journey, I realized that so many of the questions he asked about his faith are questions that I, too, ask almost daily. "Lord, is this all there is? Are we settling? Or should we be asking for more? Should we be giving more? Should our worship be more?"

Derek Webb, probably my favorite songwriter, has as the last track on his album She Must and Shall Go Free, lyrics from Christ's perspective which say, "If you love me, then you'll love the church." And I've been challenged by his song to really examine my attitude towards the church in realizing that Christ died for the church--it is His bride--and I cannot truly love Christ without loving what He loved.

And so I'm out here--still searching for a church home on this earth--oh, I have many church homes. In fact, when I count up churches that I love, I count four, and I have appreciated and enjoyed many more than that. But I have yet to find in my whole life the church that 'fits' all these different pieces and facets of a complex self. Is it out there? Am I to create it? Am I to immerse myself in the church and unleash creativity in its context?

Oh, I don't know. I do know it's a journey. I do know that I am fascinated by liturgy and orthodoxy. I do know that I'm fascinated to read of the spiritual journeys of others...And I pray the Sinner's Prayer: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Je voudrais aider avec les etudiates dans la classe de francais.

I realize there maybe a few grammar mistakes in that title. Johnny P, pleeeease forgive me...

BUT, today I talked to Ms. Taylor at Arlington High School, and I will very soon begin tutoring students in French, free of charge, and they normally have to pay $10/hour for a tutor! Hooray! And I will finally be an official AHS volunteer after months of dragging my feet because I'm a scaredy-cat.

Mrs. Shurtz and Prof. Loy would be oh-so-proud of me if they could see me today!

Monday, December 06, 2004

Christmas Parties, Sleepovers, and very Long Meetings.

Now, in blogger world, apparently it's really best if you don't try to record every detail of your life. For instance, if I began this message with "today my alarm went off at 7:30, and I rolled around in bed for 47 minutes before finally standing up, getting a shower, changing my clothes, washing my face, applying my makeup, cleaning up the kitchen, making some coffee and heading into work," you might begin to question your interest in reading this webpage.

BUT, when 3 very exciting things happen in a period of two days, does it mean that I should only record ONE of them?? NO! Because they are exciting. So, against my desire to keep these entries concise, I will try to write briefly on all 3 events.

Event #1--The Annual YD Christmas Party.
On Thursday Night I joined with my 30 fellow YD Staffers for what I truly believe is the best of all possible Office Christmas Parties. We were gathered in this humongoid mansion at the top of a mountain, drinking spiced cider and singing worship songs. I was huddled a plush couch with a few of my YD friends thinking how awesome it is that I LOVE the people I work with and I am FRIENDS with them. I respect all of them, and I just love serving with them. It was an extremely wonderful realization.

Event #2--A Very Long Meeting
It's also great to realize that the morning after the office Christmas Party, I can spend EIGHT hours discussing 'operational definitions for core ministry competencies' with my co-workers and still love them. During a break in hour 4 of our meeting, I started climbing up a pole in the middle of the room, and trying to climb up the edge of the stairs. My co-workers were looking at me and saying, "Where do you get your energy?" I said, "I don't know. I'm usually pretty tired. Maybe not being around high schoolers for one day totally puts my batteries into overload because they aren't being sucked dry." and also--apparently my attention span has shrunk to high-school-sized, because I often doodle and giggle during eight hours of meetings.

Event #3--A Very Long Sleepover.
On Friday night (after the Party and the meeting), 6 teenage girls showed up on my doorstep for a sleepover. We made pizza from SCRATCH, watched VeggieTales, talked, journalled, and had an all-around stellar time. The highlight was certainly playing dressup with my prom dresses and my silly hat collection....having 6 wonderful girls to fellowship with at the end of a very fast-paced semester encouraged me that ministry is right where it should be.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

The car is fine. and my girls are great.

$65.10 later, the diagnostic lady says, "your check engine light was malfunctioning." sigh. but, i am of course very glad to not be forking over hundreds of dollars for a new carbotransistoinjectionoid.

much y.d. stuff is happening currently, and i will write about it on monday.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

My poor car!

dear friends, please pray for my poor car! the engine light has turned on today, and i'm all in a worrisome tizzy, wondering if my lovely blue Sunfire will live to drive another day! tomorrow, i take it to the diagnostic man who may just charge me $60 to tell me the check engine light is broken. or he might tell me the car needs a new engine. oh dear.

Say a little prayer.

World AIDS Day is today. It was just over three years ago that I watched my Kenyan roommate Edith deal with the painful aftermath of losing her father to AIDS. Say a prayer for Africa and Asia today.