Thursday, July 31, 2008

1 Samuel 23:16

16 And Saul's son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God.

I love the account of David and Jonathan's friendship. Their level of commitment, loyalty, love and respect for each other as brothers in the LORD amazing. What's important in the account of David and Jonathan is the LORD was the center of their friendship. It was their faith in the LORD that bound them together. And this verse, when David was on the run, Jonathan came to him and helped him find strength in God. Isn't that really what Christian friendship is all about--helping each other find strength in God, pointing the other person to God's love and the blessings we have because of Christ.

Buffalo Wild Wings

I have been to Buffalo Wild Wings a few times now. I dig all the different sauces you can get. I think my favorite is the Parmesan Garlic. I want to try all of them eventually, including the really really spicy ones. I love how they have a scale in the menu showing which sauces are on the milder side, which are medium, and which are really hot. The buffalo chips and onion rings are also very good here.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Two Natures in Christ "Christ Present in the Church According to Both Natures"--Martin Chemnitz

"There are many clear statements in Scripture regarding the presence of Christ in the church, which is His kingdom. And not the least part of the work of Christ as our Mediator and Savior is that as Head He is present with His members, gathering, ruling, defending, preserving, and saving His church. For in all our afflictions and temptations--in the depraved infirmity of our nature, among the various offenses and the many pitfalls under the powerful tyranny and the rage of Satan, the world, and all the enemies of the church--our greatest and only comfort is our knowledge that Christ is present as our King, our High Priest, our Head, and the pastor of us who are His sheep in the midst of ravening wolves. He does not place the burdens of governing in His kingdom on the shoulders of others through delegated work, as the custom of our kings is, for the government is always on His shoulders (Is. 9:6), but when He Himself is present He cares for us, governs, defends, preserves, and saves us, as His peculiar people whom He has bought with His own blood. As John says, 'He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world' [1 John 4:4]. And Ezek. 34:24 says, "My Servant David is prince in the midst of them.'"

Monday, July 28, 2008

"What Can I Say" Brandi Carlile

I remember I first heard this song playing on the radio when I was hanging out at the bagel shop in STL one day. I immediately loved the acoustic sound. It's from Brandi Carlile's self-titled album which came out in 2005.

Listen and download here.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

I am not a huge soup eater, but I love Broccoli Cheese Soup. It is definitely my favorite soup, and I love getting it at places like St. Louis Bread Co., Ruby Tuesdays, pretty much wherever they have it. It's very tasty.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Coca-Cola Zero (Coke Zero)

This is a sugar free variation of Coca-Cola. Zero sugar, zero calories. It tastes more like Coca-Cola than Diet Coke. Though I still love Diet Coke with Lime, I pick Coke Zero over plain Diet Coke when I have the choice.

1 Samuel 2:6

6 "The LORD brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up.

Death has no power over our LORD! He makes alive! This makes me think of Jesus' Resurrection. Because He lives, we too shall live.

The Two Natures in Christ "The Worship of the Two Natures"--Martin Chemnitz

"Worship which looks to Christ and apprehends Him whom it adores believes that according to both natures Christ hears our prayers, sees our sufferings, helps and aids us; but particularly the church believes that through His nature, which is of the same substance as our own, by which He is our brother, we have access to the Deity Himself. And because He was tempted in His flesh with our infirmities, therefore our worship stands firmly on the faith that Christ is a merciful High Priest and sympathizes with our infirmities. (Heb. 2:14 and 4:15)"

Saturday, July 26, 2008

"Under Pressure" Queen and David Bowie

Under Pressure
By David Bowie
Best Video Codes
I really dig the music of this song. It just kind of sticks in your head. And it's a good "stressed out" theme song. Vanilla Ice got in trouble for using a bass line in his song "Ice Ice Baby" that seemed to be the same one in "Under Pressure." Though there was no lawsuit, Vanilla Ice settled out of court. I saw a clip of him once trying to explain how his line was different, and it was hilarious.

When I first really got into this song, I was still in my parents' house, and I played this on the stereo over and over again. My mom got so sick of hearing it and desperately wanted me to play anything else. Then my mom and I went to the theater to see the movie Stepmom and "Under Pressure" was played near the beginning of the movie. It was kinda funny.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Judges 6:23-24

23 But the LORD said to him, "Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die."
24 So Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and called it The LORD is Peace. To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

These verses really struck me when I was reading through Judges. The LORD has told Gideon he has important work to do--he is sending Gideon to save Israel. And Gideon has some doubts, fears, concerns and needs a lot of reassurance from God. When the angel of the LORD appears to Gideon, he is overwhelmed, (perhaps we could say a little freaked out) and the LORD speaks the words of these verses to Gideon. It is awesome that the LORD speaks those words to us too. We have peace because of Christ. We don't have to be afraid because of Christ. We have eternal life because of Christ. These words are reality for us no matter how chaotic and crazy and overwhelming our lives may be: The LORD is Peace."

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Movie)

Awesome movie based on the book of the same name, about Willie Wonka, owner of a chocolate factory who invites the five children who find the coveted golden ticket on a candy bar to come tour his factory with the idea that one of these children he will name heir to ownership of the business. Johnny Depp is wonderfully eccentric as Willie Wonka. This movie is interesting in that it shows flashbacks from Wonka's childhood which explain why he is the way he is. This film is also visually beautiful with the use of color.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Vanilla Bean Noel

This is my all time favorite scent from Bath and Body Works. It is only available during the Christmas season (as one might guess from its name). I love the sweet scent. "Fresh vanilla bean, warm caramel and rich, comforting cream create this deliciously sweet holiday scent."

"Authority Song" John Mellencamp

This song was a hit in 1984. I love it not really for the lyrics (in fact, years ago when I heard this song, at first I couldn't understand what he was saying), but for the music. Though it is a good theme song for when you get a speeding ticket or are in some similar type situation! "I fight authority, authority always wins." The song is so much fun, and is one of my favorite Mellencamp songs. It's on the Uh Huh album, the first album where Mellencamp used his real last name.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Joshua 21:43-45

43 So the LORD gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their forefathers, and they took possession of it and settled there. 44 The LORD gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their forefathers. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the LORD handed all their enemies over to them. 45 Not one of all the LORD's good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.

What joy the Israelites had! The LORD has enabled them to defeat their enemies and had led them to the Promised land.

This passage makes me think about how Christ has defeated all our enemies (sin, death, the devil), and because of this we have rest. And just as the LORD's promises to Israel did not fail, His promises to us do not fail either. We can be certain of that, and rejoice in that every day.

Uno Chicago Grill

This place has an extensive menu, but it seems like every time I have the opportunity to go there, it seems I can't resist getting the deep dish pizza. The Numero Uno Pizza is awesome. It's "a ‘works’ pizza with sausage, pepperoni, onions, peppers, mushrooms and our unique chunky tomato sauce. Topped with mozzarella and grated Romano." There are lots of Uno locations in the US. Good stuff.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup (Uno Chicago Grill)

This dessert from Uno Chicago Grill is incredible. "A huge peanut butter cup warmed and topped with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with chocolate and peanut butter sauces." It's sooo good.

The Great American Bagel

This is my favorite bagel place. I usually try get to The Great American Bagel when I am in the burbs of Chicago. They have quite a large selection of types of bagels and types of cream cheese, and also have a nice variety of sandwiches and soup. My favorite thing to get there is a cheddar onion bagel toasted with scallion cream cheese. You can check out the menu on their website.

"Jesus, Lead Thou On"

Jesus, lead Thou on
Till our rest is won;
And although the way be cheerless,
We will follow calm and fearless.
Guide us by Thy hand
To our fatherland.

If the way be drear,
If the foe be near,
Let not faithless fears o'ertake us;
Let not faith and hope forsake us;
For through many a woe
To our home we go.

When we seek relief
From a long-felt grief,
When temptations come alluring,
Make us patient and enduring.
Show us that bright shore
Where we weep no more.

Jesus, lead Thou on
Till our rest is won.
Heav'nly leader, still direct us,
Still support, console, protect us,
Till we safely stand
In our fatherland.

Text: Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf, tr. Jane L. Borthwick
Tune: Adam Drese

Lately this hymn has been going through my head a lot. My dad has been dealing with some health issues, and it's been a challenging time for me as the only child having all the responsibility of taking care of things for him and trying to figure various things out and having uncertainty about what's going to happen in the future. This hymn is a wonderful prayer. It reminds me that Jesus is the one leading and I need to rely on and trust in Him. There are a lot of things out of my control, but Jesus is there. He's there when life is drear, when there are fears, difficulties, temptations. And so no matter what we face, we will get through. He supports, consoles, protects us, and that's all we need.

This hymn reminds me too that all "this"--earthly life and the challenges and difficulties we face in earthly life are temporary. This is a temporary place for us to be, and Jesus is leading us to our eternal home where we will have rest and no tears, worries or problems.

Rainforest Cafe

As is obvious by the restaurant's name, the atmosphere at Rainforest Cafe is that of a rainforest. There is mist, there are waterfalls and robotic animals. There are large aquariums in many of the restaurants. Automated water sprinklers and synchronized lights set to specific patterns are also featured. A simulated thunderstorm occurs every thirty minutes, utilizing simulated rain as well as flashing lights and high-powered subwoofers for lightning and thunder.

The food is delicious. Some of my favorite things are the quesadillas that are made with pita bread and the pizza with BBQ sauce.

There are various locations throughout the US (I have been to the Chicago, IL, Schaumburg, IL, Bloomington, MN, and Orlando, FL locations) and also some in other countries as well. This is such a fun place to dine at for the food and atmosphere.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Freedom Writers

This 2007 film is based on the real story of Erin Gruwell, a teacher in a Los Angeles high school. At first the students in her class who are from various ethnic groups/races, have no respect for her and don't want to listen to anything she has to say. But she doesn't give up and finds ways to get through to the kids and ends up having a significant impact on their lives.

When you first start watching a movie like this, I think it's kind of natural to think, "It's another teacher movie, and what's different about this one than say Dangerous Minds, Stand and Deliver, etc.?" But I was so engrossed in this movie. Knowing it was based on a real person/real events, made it very powerful; these kids were totally changed because of this teacher who took time for them, cared, even took on extra jobs so she could take the kids on field trips and get them resources. I thought it was cool how Gruwell taught the kids about the Holocaust and took them to the Museum of Tolerance, and how the students really connected with that and were effected by it. Awesome and inspiring film.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Biscuits and Gravy

This popular breakfast dish consists of biscuits covered in thick gravy made from the drippings of cooked pork sausage, white flour, milk, and often bits of real sausage. Delicious!

Deuteronomy 33:29

29 Blessed are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD? He is your shield and helper and your glorious sword. Your enemies will cower before you, and you will trample down their high places. "

Army Wives

Army Wives premiered on the Lifetime network in 2007. The show follows the lives of four army wives, an army husband, and their families. This show became a huge hit for Lifetime. I find the show very engaging and love to see the relationships--relationships between friends on base who support each other no matter what, relationships of husbands and wives and of parents and children. The show really gives a picture of the unique challenges and stresses military families have, and how these families cope. It's a great drama.

Pina Colada

This is a rum based cocktail which contains pineapple juice and coconut cream. Lately I've been into getting the Bacardi Pina Colada concentrate that you simply blend with rum and ice. It's very good!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Life Moves Pretty Fast Quote--Ferris Bueller

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it."

--Ferris Bueller, main character in the film Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Lots of wisdom coming from a movie character who ditches school to hang out with his girlfriend and best friend in Chicago. His quote is true--lots of people get so caught up in the busyness of life, they someday find life has passed them by and they haven't truly enjoyed it. You gotta just stop once in awhile, take a break from the busyness and hecticness, and enjoy life, enjoy what's around you.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

This classic John Hughes film from the 80s about a high school student, his best friend and his girlfriend taking the day off is pure fun. I like it for a few reasons. 1. Being from the Chicago area, I love seeing all the Chicago attractions they visit--Wrigley Field for a Cubs Game, the Sears Tower, the Art Institute, Board of Trade etc. 2. I like Matthew Broderick a lot and think he was the perfect one to do this character. 3. The other characters are amusing like the principal, Mr. Rooney, who tries all day to catch Ferris, his secretary, the teacher played by Ben Stein who made memorable "Buller, Bueller, Bueller."

Some lines:
Ferris: (Ferris opens the curtain to show a beautiful day outside, blue sky, sunshine) "How could I possibly be expected to handle school on a day like this?"

Ferris: "This is my 9th sick day this semester. It's getting pretty tough coming up with new illnesses. If I go for 10 I'm probably going to have to barf up a lung, so I better make this one count.

Mr Rooney: (Observing Sloane kiss who he thinks is her father, but is really Ferris): So that's how it is in their family.

Deuteronomy 33:27

27 The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He will drive out your enemy before you, saying, 'Destroy him!'

This makes me think of the song "Everlasting Arms." God is our refuge always. What joy and peace we have in that! And we know our LORD has driven out all our enemies--sin, death, the devil. Christ's death on the cross took care of that.

Dippin' Dots

Dippin' Dots are beads of cryogenically frozen ice cream. Natural ice cream ingredients are used and then flash frozen into tiny beads. It is unique and very tasty. I enjoy getting Dippin' Dots while at the zoo, stadium, mall, etc. (it's not sold in grocery stores). My favorite flavor is the cookies and cream.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Hala Kahiki

Hala Kahiki is located in River Grove, IL, and is a great place to enjoy tropical drinks in an exotic atmosphere. I went to this place several times when I attended Concordia, River Forest, and a few times after that. I love the atmosphere there, and have enjoyed the various drinks I've tried like a Chocolate Pina Colada (Kahuna) or a Chocolate shake with rum and strawberry (Princess Kaiulani). Good stuff! I really want to get back there again. Check out their drink menu at their website:

Deuteronomy 33:12

12 About Benjamin he said: "Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders."

This is such a great verse because it reminds us the LORD shields us, and in Him we have true security. This is such a great comfort, especially when everything around us seems uncertain and chaotic.

"Rockin' Over the Beat" Technotronic

This song is so fun. I remember hearing it when I was in high school (in the early 90s), and it was one of my favorite songs to listen to. And I still enjoy the fun beat of it. Technotronic emerged from Belgium and was a popular dance music project in the 90s. According to a website, "the multicultural group helped push the deep bass grooves and insistent beats of house music out of the club scene and into the pop mainstream." Their biggest hit was "Pump up the Jam," but though I never really cared for that song, I have always loved, "Rockin' Over the Beat."

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Rice Flower & Shea

I've really grown to love the Rice Flower & Shea gel, lotion, and spray from Bath and Body Works. My friend Jeannie loves it, and that's how I got into it.

"Delicately delicious, rice flower & shea embodies a nurturing healthy goodness. Top notes of lush bamboo and fresh ginger root are enlivened by a fresh air accord. A feeling of early morning n freshness includes textural blossoms muguet, lotus petals, and exquisite rice flower dew, all wrapped in anise leaves."

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Deuteronomy 32:39

39 "See now that I myself am He! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand.

This passage really struck me recently when I read it. It conveys the awesomeness of our God. He is the true God, loving and all powerful.

Glittering Images by Susan Howatch

I first read this novel as a required book for a counseling class I took for my Master's work, and recently re-read it. It is a fascinating book about a clergyman Charles Ashworth who is commissioned by his superior to visit the Bishop of Starbridge and see if there are any skeletons in his closet which would have potential to cause scandal. During the visit, Charles' interactions with the Bishop and others leads him to come up with interesting theories about what is going on in that residence, and in the process, Charles himself is faced with a moral and spiritual crisis.

There is some great counseling stuff in this book--great interactions between a spiritual director and a distraught man. To me, it is so interesting.

The title of this book, Glittering Images refers to the image people project to the world--the together, successful, good self that a person wants others to see. People often cling to this glittering image and strive with all their might to present this, afraid that if people saw what was really underneath that image, they would not be loved and accepted.

Beggars Pizza

Though this place has various appetizers, pasta dishes, and different kinds of pizza, I usually always get the same thing--deep dish pizza with pepperoni, onion, mushroom, and garlic. It is so delicious. I usually go to Beggars with my friends Gene and Jean when I am up in northern IL (there are various locations in the suburbs there). Jeannie likes the same kind of pizza as I do, so it works out well! It's hard to get good deep dish pizza in southern IL, so I love going to Beggars when I'm up north.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Deuteronomy 31:8

8 The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."

Moses speaks these words as Joshua gets ready to succeed him in leading the people of Israel. I find these words so comforting. Wherever we go or whatever situation we are going into, the LORD goes before us; He is there. It is so reassuring to know the LORD never will forsake us.