Monday, June 30, 2008

You're a handsome devil. What's your name?

Oh how my heart beats for John Cusack. Many years ago a friend made me watch Grosse Pointe Blank, and I was instantly smitten. Not too long after, I fell in love with High Fidelity (Are you kidding me? John Cusack AND great music? To die for...). Then I realized that he was in one of my all time favorite movies - Sixteen Candles. That sealed the deal. I have been loving John ever since. I'll watch a movie just because he's in it. They're not always the best movies, but he's always great!

The other night I was trying to find some sleepiness in front of the TV, when I saw that Better Off Dead was on. Um...yeah. I totally stayed up until 2:00 a.m. just to watch it! About halfway through I found the sleepiness I was desperate for, but John kept me awake way past my bedtime. Now my sleep clock is all funky, but I think it was worth it. :)

Hookers Like Big Macs Too...

I forgot to bring something for lunch today, so I found myself driving to McDonalds today for lunch. McD's isn't my fave, but it's really close, so I deal.

I work in a weird part of Indianapolis. One block south of my building is the ghetto. One block north is the artsy, old, EXPENSIVE neighborhood (read: the governor's mansion is just up the street from me). Although the ghetto is not far, I have never thought to prepare myself to encounter the likes of what I saw today.

Right there at my local McDonalds, standing on the sidewalk near the building was what MUST have been a full-fledged prostitute. She wore what seemed to be a strapless, tight black onesie, a thick gold belt cinched around her waist, and the highest stripper heels I've ever seen. The onesie stopped about halfway down her rear end, so the bottom half of each butt cheek was hanging out the bottom of her outfit. Oh, and would it be too much info to let you know that she had an ATOMIC WEDGIE as well? Ick.

Of course I went back to work with my lunch, and told my co-workers about this encounter. They didn't seem as surprised as I was. (Maybe I spent too many years in this not shocking to anyone else???) One of the bosses in the office just replied by saying, "Prostitutes need lunch too. You can't live on love!" Oh my...

Friday, June 27, 2008

Shear Genius or Sheer Boredom?

If you know anything about me, you know that I am a HUGE fan of shows like The Office and Ugly Betty. And OH how I dream that Arrested Development was only "brilliant" without "canceled" being tacked on. Summers are always a wonderful time for fun in the sun, but are always a miserable time for television.

In the past few weeks I have found myself getting really excited about the season 2 premier of "Shear Genius," and I can't quite figure out why. What is it about Bravo's "reality" shows that gets me all in a tizzy? I do love Top Chef, but given my culinary interests, I'm not surprised by my affection for this show. I am not a professional hair stylist. I can barely get my hair to look acceptable before rushing out the door in the morning! Why do I love Shear Genius? I just don't understand...

Whatever the reasons, I was glued to the TV last night (thank God for commercials necessary!) watching Shear Genius. I'm hoping Daniel (the cute little boy from Dallas) will win. I think he's great. Maybe these stylists will keep my TV on this summer while I wait for The Office to return. Christ knows I am chomping at the bit to find out about Jim and Pam AND the love triangle between Dwight, Angela and Andy. OH - and I would really like to see Michael give Jan the boot she deserves, and date Holly instead.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Facing the Giants

Matt and I watched Facing the Giants yesterday. We’ve been meaning to watch it for months now, and finally got around to it. I was touched by the movie, and here is where I begin to tell you why…

Let me start by saying that Facing the Giants is NOT my favorite movie…nowhere near it. It is your typical Our-team-sucks-but-watch-us-beat-the-odds kinds of movie that is intended to make you feel good and want to try harder in all you do. It’s a Christian movie as well, and in normal Christian movie fashion, the acting stinks. (Why, oh why can’t we have Christian movies with decent dialogue?) We found ourselves successfully predicting plot points, and laughing at the cheesiness of a lot of the scenes.

So why was I in tears at the end of the movie? Why would I take so much time out of my busy schedule to blog about a movie that isn’t really that good? Because Matt and I have some Giants we’re facing right now.

Life is really stressful for the Swishers these days. We are dealing with situations that make us feel angry and victimized and misunderstood. Satan is weaseling his way into our home like the jerk that he is, and we are feeling afraid and hurt and ready to quit. Our confidence is shattered, and we feel like we’re on-edge frequently.

Our hopes for a baby still have not been realized, and at times we are definitely feeling desperate and hopeless. God has been encouraging us lately through this struggle, but we still connected with the movie because of this as well.

As the movie closed, and Matt and I laughed at the cheesy ending, I couldn’t help but think about how many similarities we shared with the couple in the story. One glaring difference was clear though, and that is why I blog to you today. They prayed – we don’t.

We love God. We serve Him with our life and our vocations. We praise Him when things go well. We have never been good about praying together when we have trouble.

I just finished reading “The Shack” (AWESOME book – I’m sure I’ll blog about it soon), and in this book there is a lot of talk about sin and free will and God’s plan for creation. It became clear to me through this book that we sin because we ultimately want independence from God. Isn’t that just like us? Don’t we, as children, decide that we don’t have to listen to our parents, so we do our own thing? Don’t we get ourselves into trouble that way? Oy vey…what a predicament.

God desperately wants to be in relationship with us. He wants us to talk to him about our life, to consult him when there are decisions to be made. He wants to guide us, and he wants to help us become exactly what he intended us to be in the first place – dependent on him.

I don’t know what our future holds. It’s not really my business anyway. We may slay these giants, and we may not. Regardless of the outcome, it sure is nice to know that God is on our side, guiding us through the battle. Thank you Jesus…

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The eternal band geek

I'm such a band geek.

I played flute in school, and I LIVED. FOR. BAND. Seriously. Marching band, jazz band, symphonic band, orchestra, pep band, etc. I did it all, and I loved it. For a long time I actually planned on making music my career. In college I played with the Indianapolis Symphonic Band, but once I got engaged to Matt, my music interested waned. Now my flute sits in the closet in my craft room, and only gets played once or twice a year. I'm saddened when I think about all those years I spent practicing, learning, playing...only to have my talent put on a shelf now. I still get out my flute and play now and again, and I always promise that I'm going to pick it up again. Play at church. Join a community band. I have yet to do any of this though...Right now my band days are buried deep in my past.

Although I no longer play, my band geek-dom can't help but rear its pimply head from time to time! Now and again I jump into stories that begin, "This one time at band camp...", and I still enjoy and appreciate great music. Yesterday, I was reminded again of my geeky past when I couldn't resist these at my local Staples store:

I apologize for the blurry picture, but I think you can still make out what the picture is of...

That's right folks - I bought treble clef paper clips! I love them, and I don't care what you think. These little babies make my band geek/office supply-loving heart go pitter-pat. :)

Geeky as I may be, I still do love music, and I will ALWAYS. BE. A. BAND. GEEK.

Monday, June 02, 2008

He has not forgotten me...

God has spoken to me through dreams on various occasions. One was so vivid I can still remember most of it to this day. It has not escaped my attention that obviously my mind is so occupied during the day that God can only get a word in edgewise while I am fast asleep! Last week God decided to speak to me through a dream, but unlike the other times, it was not my own dream. Apparently my mind is so consumed with myself these days that God is using my friends’ dreams to communicate with me.

Karen is a friend from Asbury. She and I worked together in the Admissions Office. She and I were never best friends or anything, but we got along well and had a great time working together. I haven’t really seen Karen much in the past year or more. We have moved back to Indiana, and the only time I’ve even talked to Karen in that time was for a quick minute when we were visiting Wilmore in December. Needless to say, she is not someone that I would usually confide in or keep up to date on the status of my life.

Out of the blue, I get a message from Karen on Facebook just after midnight on Tuesday. Here is what it says:

Hey Katie Swisher, Tonight is the second time in week that I've had a dream about you having a baby. Each time I have seen you cradling a baby saying "I'm blessed like Sarah. I have to laugh. I'm blessed." We need to talk. Send me your phone number. I need my beauty rest and I would rather be dreaming about a rich and handsome man. Not that you're not great to dream about.... Take this with you until we get a chance to talk — God is mindful of you and the desires of your heart — He has not forgotten you.Blessings and love,Karen

Um…okay God. You have my attention.

I wrote her back to give her my phone number later that morning, and she called me just a couple hours later. We were both surprised to be talking to each other, I think. She told me about the dream, and how she tried to just pray for me instead of calling. I think after the second dream, she knew she was supposed to call me. I’m so thankful she was obedient!

I’ve blogged on here about the issues Matt and I are having with trying to start a family. No doubt this call has totally blown me over! I’ve tried to figure out what this dream might mean for us. Obviously, the first thought I had was, “When am I having this baby?” J Then I worried about the “blessed like Sarah” part. Sarah was an OLD LADY when she had her child…am I going to be an old lady too? I swung like a pendulum between excitement for a child, and fear that I might be 50 when it happens.

It took me a while to realize what God’s message to me really was. How could I miss it?

“God is mindful of you and the desires of your heart – He has not forgotten you.”

Through all of this trying (and failing) to have a child, I have wondered where God was. I have wondered if he knew or cared about what we wanted for our life as a family. I know there are bigger things for God to worry about, but my God is bigger than that, and loves me and cares for me…right?

Right. Absolutely right.

This dream has given me hope again…a hope I haven’t had for so long. As friends and sisters and everyone around me has gotten pregnant, had babies and gotten pregnant again, I’ve become pregnant with hopelessness.

“God is mindful of you and the desires of your heart – He has not forgotten you.”

I don’t know why we are having so much trouble getting pregnant. Maybe I’ll never know, but knowing that God has not forgotten me is amazing. I knew somewhere deep down that he hadn’t forgotten me, but I guess that knowledge was shrouded by this hopelessness.

“God is mindful of you and the desires of your heart – He has not forgotten you.”

Thank you Jesus. Thank you for being mindful of me...of all of us. I have found hope again, and can’t wait to see what God brings us in the years to come…

"Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart."
Psalm 37:4

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Stormy Weather (cont.)

Thanks for praying for our friends. Their daughter passed away this afternoon with her entire family by her side. Obviously everyone was sad, but as we sat in that hospital room with them, I was really amazed by the amount of peace and joy that filled the room. Their daughter's broken body, ravaged by disease, was still there in the bed, yet all they could talk about was how excited she must be to finally be in the arms of Jesus. To finally be in heaven with Him. To finally be able to "feast at his heavenly banquet." She hasn't been able to eat much of anything these past months, so there was plenty of talk around the room about all the foods she must be enjoying with her savior. They talked about how she must be dancing right now. How there is no more pain for her now. That she ran a good race and finished strong. That her life during her battle with cancer this past year has touched so many people. That she had spent her last months on earth making people laugh, reminding them that God loves them and inspiring them with her fighting spirit.

I am so incredibly sad for this family. For these parents who watched their daughter pass on before their eyes. For the two young adults who lost their sister today. For the friends who had to say goodbye. Everyone will move on, but no before some serious, painful grieving. It is this grieving period that we must pray through now. We'll pray that God will sustain this family through their grief just as he sustained their daughter through her disease. He is mindful of their pain...

This young woman's life has left a huge mark on all of our lives. Thank you Jesus for being so evident in this situation. Thank you for not leaving our sides. Thank you for releasing Kristen from her pain, and for wrapping your arms around her. We know she is home.

I can only imagine what it will be like, when I walk by Your side...
I can only imagine, what my eyes will see, when Your Face is before me!
I can only imagine. I can only imagine.
Surrounded by Your Glory, what will my heart feel?
Will I dance for you, Jesus? Or in awe of You, be still?
Will I stand in Your presence, or to my knees will I fall?
Will I sing 'Hallelujah!'? Will I be able to speak at all?
I can only imagine! I can only imagine!
(-Mercy Me)

Stormy Weather

It's 12:18 a.m. on Sunday morning. I should be in bed, but I can't seem to make it back to the bedroom quite yet. I'm burdened with sadness, and can't help but feel like I need to be awake.

Our friends are at the emergency room right now, praying that their daughter will make it through tonight. She has cervical cancer (caused by HPV), and was rushed to the ER earlier this evening because she was bleeding everywhere. This young woman (early 20's) has gone through so much in the past year or so. I can't imagine what they're feeling, what she's thinking, etc.

We came to the hospital, and found her dad outside giving an update to someone on his cell phone. Once he hung up, Matt embraced him, and all this hurting father could do was cry. Sob. Meltdown. He hung on to Matt with desperation for just a few moments, and then gathered his emotions together to let us know what was happening. "This is when it sucks to be a parent," he said.

We stuck our heads in the hospital room to say hello, but left quickly so as not to disturb anyone. The mother has been so strong through all of this. Tonight she looked tired, but stayed as calm as she could, and helped her daughter as much as possible. We hugged for a moment, and she thanked us for coming. We decided to leave, chatted with the father a little bit longer, and let him know to call us - no matter what time - if anything should change.

What do you do? What do you say to these people who are going through the toughest battle of their lives? How do you pray through something like this? I wish we could do something to make it better, but nothing I can do will heal this girl. No dish I can cook, no errand I can run, nothing I can do will make this situation better. I don't know words to say to people who have a dying child.

I'm sad. I'm scared. I'm hurting for this family. Please join me in praying for them. They need all the help they can get right now...