Monthly Archives: March 2009

Signed Kingdom Hearts Cards!

Thought I’d share an idea we had on our last trip to Walt Disney World! My husband and I loved the Kingdom Hearts games (which feature Disney and Final Fantasy characters in a neat story, very cool), and a little over a year ago they started printing a trading card game for it in the US (think Pokemon, only better 🙂 ). Continue reading

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Devotional: Amazing Things

Every once in a while I get to do a devotional for work. This is one I did last October, which really means a lot to me so I thought I’d share it here. — Sarah

There’s a scene in the movie The Incredibles that always strikes me. The movie is about superheroes hidden among us, and at one point the main character, Mr. Incredible, is coming home from a really, really bad day at work. He pulls in the driveway of his house, and there’s this little kid, his next-door neighbor, sitting on a tricycle waiting for him. Now, this kid has reason to believe that Mr. Incredible is actually a superhero in disguise, so he’s just sitting there, watching him. Mr. Incredible turns his tired eyes to the kid and asks, “What are you waiting for?” And the kid goes “I dunno. Something amazing! I guess.”

Something amazing. Like flying or lifting a car over your head. That’s the kind of life I’ve always wanted to have. But God has a different concept of what it takes to be amazing, and lately I’ve been struck by several Amazing Things Jesus talked about, and how we can really live an Amazing Life. Continue reading

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The Diamond Age

I finally gave in to everyone who told me I just had to read Stephenson by picking up The Diamond Age (also known as A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer) this week. I got through it pretty quickly, but either the book isn’t as good as his others or I am not destined to be a Stephenson fan.

The style was a bit jarring to me at first – no chapters per se, just sections and one book break. Before each section several sentences describe what you are about to read, a technique that broke up the story but left me feeling tired for some reason. I was able to get into the flow of the book eventually though, and got to the point where I didn’t notice it so much.

The book had an interesting premise and I felt myself wanting it to be better than it actually was. For one thing, while I’m not going to hate a book just because of “mature” content, the frequency with which it was used in here kept breaking me out of the story in order to roll my eyes. The language and violence weren’t too overdone I guess, but the weird sex didn’t seem to be needed in the story — it felt artificial as if the author thought it was expected of him so he stuck it in there.

I was very connected with the main character in the story, and some of the supporting characters, but that only made it worse when the book failed totally to resolve any of their stories. Well, the main character has at least some plot points that can let you imagine an ending, but one of my favorite supporting characters was completely dropped for the second “book”, with no clues as to his story resolution.

I’m giving the book two stars, as I liked it alright but thought it failed to live up to the book it could have been. Stephenson spends a lot of time (maybe too much?) talking about the way things work in his imagined future world, but forgets that it’s the characters and what happens to them that most people care about. Obviously, he’s a successful author and lots of people love his work, so either I’m totally missing something, his other books are better and this one did well because of his name, or a lot of (other) people enjoy the “hard sci-fi” feel of books like this and could care less about actual plot and character development. I’m sounding harsher than I mean to – I did enjoy the book for what it was. But I’m unlikely to pick up anything else of his.

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Finished front and back of long-forgotten sweater!

At last!  I have been “working” on this sweater for my poor, patient husband since October of 2005.  Yeah…obviously, not very hard working, but I did look at it once in a while.  Well, I recently decided that I needed to get a move on and actually finish this thing, and I’m proud to say that I am now up to the sleeves!  (and working hard — really! — on that)

This is my first venture without an official pattern, so that’s part of why I’ve been hesitant to finish it — I’m worried it’ll be wrong and I’ll have done all that work for nothing.  But so far it looks ok.  I’m doing a few weird things — first, I made the back panel much wider than the front.  I’m planning on doing a reverse seem in the front so there will be two little ridges, which I think will look kinda cool if I do it right.  (I’ll probably also duplicate stitch his initial in the middle, as in Harry Potter, which he’ll like.)

I’m also doing the sleeves all in one piece with the yoke, knit sideways to give it an interesting texture.  At least that’s my plan.  If it doesn’t work I’m not sure how to fix it at this point, so I really hope it works!  I don’t have a great pic yet as there’s not much to see, but here’s one of lots of material knitted up!  Yay!

Front and back done!

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Servant Leadership

I was just reading the passage in Matthew where Jesus tries yet again to explain to his disciples just what life following Him is really all about. They don’t get it, which is easy to look at and laugh nowadays. (I’ve been keeping a mental tally of the number of times Jesus predicted His death and resurrection — and yet the disciples were surprised when it happened! Talk about deluding yourself out of the truth!)

But on the other hand, I don’t think we really get it most of time, either.

I’m in chapter 20, and I’m talking about Servant Leadership. I capitalized that because the term is really overused in protestant Christian circles, to the point where we forget what it really means.

So in this story, James, John and their mom have this plan. They want to be reigning with Christ in His kingdom. Now really, this isn’t as audacious a request as it seems at first glance, because just a few chapters ago Jesus already told them that they’d be judging the twelve tribes of Israel — with the other disciples. What’s got the others so upset about this request is that J&J have asked to be put over the other disciples, on top of ruling everybody else!

Is it me, or does this sound really familiar?

Of course Jesus defuses the situation and says something totally crazy — a) that in order to lead, you have to serve and b) that even Jesus has to give Himself up to the point of giving up His life. (chalk another one up on the board, please)

If I were a disciple, I bet I’d be focusing a lot more on that last part. They probably didn’t learn this lesson, at least not right away.

This blog is only nominally anonymous, so there’s a good chance that some of you know I have had experiences with several Christian organizations, both church and para-church. And I can tell you first hand that we have still not learned this lesson. I know for sure that I haven’t.

Get any group of people together, Christians or not, and there will be politics. People will talk behind each other’s backs. Middle management will be in and out of favor with the Big Bosses, and the peons will be used, leaned on or even totally ignored. If you’ve never worked for a Christian company you may not believe that a group of Christians, who are there to serve God, could be capable of this. But trust me, it happens.

Christians just use different wording.

When you want to gossip, you say “can I ask you to pray about this?” When you’re presenting your favorite idea you say “God can do the impossible” if anyone tells you it must fail. And when you want to rise in the ranks, you call yourself a “Servant Leader” and talk about how God is really at the top of the company.

That’s not to be down on Christian companies, or to say that all of the above is always bad. But Christians are still people. And very few have learned what Matthew 20 means.

What is a Servant Leader? It’s someone who doesn’t demand that their projects and ideas always come first. It’s someone who knows everyone — not because of what they can do for them, but because they want to know them. It’s someone who loves God so much that they can’t help but love people, just because God loves people. It’s someone who thinks what your heart looks like is more important than what label suit you wear. It’s someone who cares more about the project than who’s in charge of it. It’s someone who gives up their rights. It’s someone who doesn’t name drop. It’s someone who steps in whenever and wherever they can help.

There’s a lot to it. But mostly, I think it’s someone who wouldn’t think to capitalize Servant Leader and make it a title. They’re just too busy being one.


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