Thursday, June 30, 2005


Now I know why Moms and Dads are so grumpy the first day of's darn hard work!

This will be the first vacation lugging a child around. Pray that we don't lose him and that he doesn't gain any more weight while we are there.

Some things we hope to do on our vacation:
Southborough MA:
Quality time with a bunch of Traynors
Northborough MA:
Aunt Ann's wedding
Concord MA:
Orchard House
Sleepy Hollow
Old North Bridge
Walden Pond
Plymouth MA:
the colony
the mayflower
plymouth rock
gov. bradford's grave
Boston MA:
Isabelle Stuart Gardner Museum
Fenway Park
Clam Chowder
Whale watching
Freedom Trail
Upstate NY:
Fort Drum
Lunch cruise
Quality time with Lauren and Noah
Baseball hall of fame

New Community and Randy Frazee

I'm going on vacation today and don't have time to write everything I have to say about Randy Frazee's first message as our new teaching pastor. I will tell you that the excitement in the room was palpable. The man got two standing ovations!

I'll put up a couple of links for those interested in what Frazee talked about.

The Connecting Church and other books by Frazee

Regrigerator Rights (a concept I first heard of from Clint!)

Neighborhood and GroupLife

I don't know if I'll have an oppurtunity to do any blogging while on vacation...if not, God bless y'all and I'll see you in twelve days!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Harry Potter Mania (and possible spoiler?)

With each new book the mania seems to escalate. Remember the good old days when all you had to worry about was Harry Potter getting some impressionable kid into witchcraft? These days Harry Potter has grown-ups gambling and gun fighting!

Tight security over the book's release has led to some attempts to bust the embargo. London tabloid the Sun reported that thieves offered to sell it a purloined copy of the book three weeks ago, and that when its reporter arrived gunfire broke out. Two men were arrested. The Sun said it had planned to turn the book over to authorities, and Rowling has since obtained a legal injunction barring anyone from violating the embargo in England.

Earlier, British bookmakers suspended bets on which character would be killed off in the new book after they noticed a flurry of bets on Professor Dumbledore from gamblers in Bungay in Suffolk, where the book is being printed, suggesting details had leaked out.

Willow Creek Community Church in the News

(Holy cow, it is a busy week for this feature!)

This year marks the tenth anniversary of Willow's most attended and most controversial conference: the Leadership Summit. The Denver Post has this to say about the event.

Here is an excerpt:

"We're tired of watching our leaders and our captains of industry being hauled away in handcuffs," said Paul Braoudakis, director of communications for the Willow Creek Association. "We're saying there is a better way."

Sketch of "Mally"

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Willow Creek Community Church in the News

The WGN cover story on tonights news was on the Justice Journey. I've already talked about the Justice Journey on the blog, but if you are interested in reading WGN's take, it is linked above.

Willow Creek Community Church in the News

What is "new urbanism"? How does suburban sprawl hinder the work of the church? And what is Randy Frazee doing at Willow Creek?

New Urbanism
New Urbanism, the movement that calls for interdependence among residents by promoting pedestrian-friendly streets, parks and town squares in neighborhoods where shops and homes coexist.

The values of New Urbanism, whose national leaders gathered in Pasadena last week, are consistent with those of Christianity and a possible antidote to the isolation experienced by many churches and Christians, Jacobsen said.

Suburban Sprawl and the Church
[After WWII, churches] adapted suburban development patterns, buying sizable plots of land, building a church and surrounding it with a surface parking lot. Churches then offered multiple programs to draw members, who drove to the site, leaving neighborhoods behind.

Sprawl makes it more difficult for churches to achieve their objectives, Bess said. For example, anyone who can't operate a vehicle, the young, old or disabled are disenfranchised, he said....

"Just as a matter of social justice it's arguably better to make mixed-use, walkable environments,' Bess said.

Jesus did much of his ministry in the context of everyday life. For instance, Jacobsen notes, in one Bible story Jesus was on his way to heal the daughter of a synagogue ruler named Jarius, when a sick woman touched his cloak and was healed.

The woman may not have been noticed by today's ministers, Jacobsen said.

"She's not going to call for an appointment,' he said.

Randy Frazee and Willow Creek
Nationally, Randy Frazee is among leaders who favor New Urbanism. Frazee is a teaching pastor at Willow Creek Community Church, a trend-setting Illinois mega-church attended by more than 20,000 people.

Mega-churches have become like castles surrounded by moats, Frazee said. The drawbridge is lowered a few times a year to let people in, where they become a subculture separate from the outside world.

"You have to disengage from your community to be involved in the church,' Frazee said, describing the problem. "Now the church has become irrelevant to the community.'

Frazee said Willow Creek is changing so members spend less time on campus and more in their communities. The push for integrating the values of New Urbanism will include the 10,500 churches in the Willow Creek Association, which links smaller congregations that share the mega-church's philosophy of ministry, Frazee said.

Interesting ideas. To be honest, I'm so used to suburban sprawl and having strangers for neighbors, when Willow kicked off it's new neighborhood plan it kind of freaked me out! I haven't gone to a single one of the local Elgin get togethers. Maybe this summer I'll finally check it out.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

No Sketches

No new sketches for you because I'm actually busy painting! I've got two commissions I'm working on with a possible third one lined up! Since I stopped posting on eBay I've started getting emails from my new and old clients wondering how they can get my paintings! What an encouraging thing! And it feels great to be able to sell my art without having to give eBay and Paypal a cut!

O24 Update

My enchantment with O24 continues.

I have discovered, to my amazement, that it works on menstrual cramps (apologies to my male readers.) I have Endometriosis and no longer take b.c. for the symptoms, so I have been putting up with terrible cramps. For the last couple days I've been treating my cramps with O24 and it actually works! It's especially useful because I tend get nauseas at that time of month and even o.t.c. pain relievers make that worse. Now I have a treatment that works fast, works well, and won't make me feel tired or sick. Girls, if you just rub a little of this stuff on your tummy you will be amazed at the difference it makes!

The results I told you about the first day have been repeated again and again. This stuff works! However, I do find that the sensation of cold and the smell can be too intense sometimes. One of the problems (some say the primary problem) with FMS is heightened sensitivity. The area around the collar and the back of the neck, as well as the shoulder blades, back of the arms and front of the thighs are especially sensitive (probably because of the constant rubbing of clothes) and O24 applied to these areas is actually painful for the first few minutes. I'm hoping that the O24 Fibromyalgia formula will take this sensitivity into account, and be a little milder.

Friday, June 24, 2005

My O24 Has Arrived!

After reading so many good things about O24 last week I ordered a couple of bottles, one for Mom and one for me. I had to find out myself what all the hype was about.

My first impression upon opening the package was disappointment. Most eBay vendors I work with pack more professionally than these folks. The bottles were tiny. And the labels looked more like they belonged on cheap men's cologne than a product with any medical credibility. Then I opened the bottle and took a whiff. Whewee! Not stinky exactly, but quite pungent. After all this I was actually a little scared to use it!

But I was too curious to resist, so I tapped out a couple of drops onto my finger tips and rubbed the oil into my knees. It started to work immediately. Walking was easier, and I found myself crossing my legs comfortably for minutes at a time!

Since then I've used it on my shoulders, my right hip, my neck, and I put a couple drops in my bath this evening.

Observations after day one: I was at least twice as active today as I am on a normal "good" day! I went to the DMV, splashed around in the wading pool, walked around Spring Hill Mall (usually my knees' worst nightmare!) and after all that still had it in me to go for a walk with Lauren and Steph (though my legs did get very stiff and we had to come back.) The O24 seemed to make the biggest difference and work the fastest on my knees and neck. It also made a noticable difference in my hip and shoulders. I'll make more observations in this little science experiment as I go.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Mother, child and pigeon

Here's the sketch of the day.


My inferiority complex was aggravated recently when I saw all the giant paintings at the Art Conference exhibit. So I went out and bought a couple of big, cheap stretched canvases.

Below are the fruits of my labor (so far.)

People don't get this one. They (not just Steph this time) say "nice cat, but what's the black stuff?" I call it a couch. That thing behind the cat is a newspaper, leaning up against the back of the couch.

This one is not done. It may never get done because every time I go to work on the eyes freak me out and I have to go hide. That thing he is sitting on is a tree limb in progress. I've actually made it look more bark-y since I took this photo. I've also closed the gap between the cat's right side and the background.

(ps For those of you wondering "who is that handsome black man, smiling at me over the cats head?" That's Harvey Carey. Maybe I should hide him somewhere in all my posts in order to subliminally lift your spirits!)

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Fibromyalgia Not as Lucrative for Drug Companies

I was amazed to watch the cough syrup "study" with its 14 FMS participants, sky rocket from a little press release into an international heath headline. By the end of the week it had been covered by major news agencies in the US, Canada, Great Britain, and India. Why did this happen? Because 3-6% percent of Americans are suffering from an illness that no one sees fit to do any proper research on. There is a vacuum of good information.

Today I came across this encouragingly titled article Improved Awareness of Fibromyalgia by Both Physicians and Patients Will Drive the Drug Market, According to a New Study from Decision Resources with this discouraging quote;
The new Pharmacor study entitled Fibromyalgia also finds that, although the fibromyalgia market has clear potential, it remains a secondary target for most drug companies. Primary markets such as depression, neuropathic pain, or insomnia represent much more lucrative target markets than fibromyalgia, so many companies will investigate their drugs for fibromyalgia only after they have secured a place in one of the more lucrative markets.

Saturday, June 18, 2005


This sketch would have benefited a lot from a ruler and a sharpened pencil. Oh well, it's just not that kind of day.

This is based on a photo. In photos you can get away with this kind of composition. If I were going to paint this, which I'm tempted to do, I'd have to change some things.

First I'd get rid of the solid part of the balcony, and I'd get rid of the ornamental stone work that is sitting next to the baby monkey because it looks too much like another baby monkey. What would you guys change?

Willow Creek Community Church in the News

There are more than 200 Creekers working on the Habitat for Humanity project in Michigan right now.

The article is linked in the title.
Excerpts from the article are below:

Diverse church groups represented include Presbyterians, United Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ, Baptists and many non-denominational churches including Willow Creek Community Church near Chicago, which is sending more than 200 volunteers and sponsoring two homes.

“For many years Willow Creek has engaged with Habitat for Humanity locally, nationally and internationally. The role Habitat plays in reaching out to those unable to afford housing is vital and unparalleled,” said Bill Hybels, senior pastor of Willow Creek Church. “The opportunity for the Church to partner with Habitat allows a unique expression of Matthew 25 to be lived out. We are honored to be participants in the 2005 Jimmy Carter Work Project in Michigan.”

By the end of 2005, Habitat will have built its 200,000th house and more than one million people will be living in Habitat homes they helped build and are buying through no-profit, zero-interest mortgages.

Move over Extreme Home Makeover, our fellow Creekers will build a house in five days! (This info is from the Habitat website.)

Day 1 (Monday, June 20):
Raise all walls
Staple house wrap
Hang windows
Set up roof trusses
Sheath and felt roof

Day 2 (Tuesday, June 21):
Insulate walls
Start shingling roof
Start vinyl siding

Day 3 (Wednesday, June 22):
Continue shingling roof
Finish vinyl siding
Prime and final paint interior walls
Start hanging doors

Day 4 (Thursday, June 23):
Complete hanging doors
Install cabinets
Put up interior trim

Day 5 (Friday, June 24):
Finish interior trim
Paint touch up
Dedication ceremony

Friday, June 17, 2005

New and Improved

I tweaked a couple of things. Steph says it looks the same.

Gray Cat in Pencil

I was volunteering at the Arts Conference all day so I had to do this one kind of quickly. It's a sketch based on a photo from my calendar.

ps I tried to draw Malachy from life today but he was just too wiggly! I'll keep looking for a good subject though!

More on O24

This article is about a study done in Florida using the original O24. Instead of comparing it to a placebo, they compared it to another topical analgesic.

M.D. Says O24 Is 90% More Effective Than Other Topical Analgesics

TAMPA, Fla., June 21, 2004 -- Dr. E. Michael Gutman, M.D. and medical director of the Gutman Pain/Accident Center in Orlando, Florida told that Swiss Medica's O24 pain relief product is "going to revolutionize pain management on a topical level." Dr. Gutman tested the US-patented proprietary blend of essential oils on fifty fibromyalgia patients for more than two months and remarked, "It's almost like a miraculous lotion. It has an effect of relief from pain for four to six hours." His associate, Dr. Amicarelli, reported, "We found that O24 is 90 percent more effective than the other analgesics we'd been using."

Nearly 250 patients have been treated with the O24 pain relief formula at the Gutman Pain/Accident Center for varying musculoskeletal conditions, including fibromyalgia. Said Dr. Amicarelli, "We find O24 very effective with soft tissue injuries, muscle spasms and tired muscles. We've been using O24 consistently for about one month (on chiropractic patients)." O24 reportedly out-performed the popular Biofreeze(R), prompting Dr. Gutman to comment, "Biofreeze(R) is not bad, but when we came to O24, it was like the light went on. There is no doubt that O24 is the class of the race."

I can't wait to try this stuff! When I got home from the conference today my back and legs were so sore. I took a hot bath and a vicodin and while I'm feeling nice and relaxed I'm still terribly sore. The idea of slapping on some of this O24 sounds heavenly right now!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Art Conference IV

At Session IV Nicole Nordeman mentioned that her favorite time to create is between 12-2am. Just thinking of those hours made my fingers itch for a paint brush. I'm going through serious painting withdrawl. I used to do three or four paintings a week, now I'm lucky if I do one.

After New Community last night I was sitting in Dr. B's trying to decide how I was going to let this conference experience change me and my art. I thought about Dewitt Jones and the next right answer, I thought about Randall Wallace and creating emotions, but the thing that really hit me was that I needed to find more time for art. Since becoming a Nanny I have a lot less free time. I can't paint and baby sit at the same time. However I often blog and babysit at the same time. Why can't I take that blog time and apply it to something artistic, sketching or creative writing?

So I decided that from now on this blog is going to be more about my art (the good the bad and the ugly) and less about other stuff. The stuff that I create while I'm resisting the blog I'm going to try to post at the end of each day. Even though most of it will be embarassing, it will be a good way for me to stay disciplined and productive, and hopefully you guys will give me a little constructive criticism once in awhile.

Below are my most recent sketches.

Mother and Child

This measures about 8"x12"
Pencil in sketchbook.
Done from a photo in a 365 day card calendar thingy-bob.

Cat in a Tree

Measures about 8"x12"
Pencil in a sketchbook
From a photo in 365 day card calendar thingy-bob

Fibromyalgia Relief on the Way!

Forget cough syrup, this is much more exciting! And they say it will be out this summer!!!!

Here are some excerpts from the article;

What is O24?
O24 Fibromyalgia(TM) is the first product of its kind developed to specifically address the symptoms of long term pain associated with the fibromyalgia syndrome and is a patented and clinically tested, strong and safe, all-natural, over-the-counter health product. Swiss Medica is the owner, maker and distributor of this product. At today's press conference, Swiss Medica president Grant Johnson unveiled the packaging for the product - which he said will become available this summer at retail outlets throughout the United States and Canada.

NFA and Swiss Medica Team Up
According to Lynne Matallana, president and founder of the National Fibromyalgia Association, the agreement [promotional deal between Swiss and NFA] will be a great benefit to her 400,000 members. "The fibromyalgia community is desperate for safe, effective treatment options to help reduce FM symptoms, including long-term widespread muscle pain," she said. "Even though there are up to 11 million Americans suffering with FM, there have been only a few products developed and clinically tested to evaluate their effectiveness specifically for fibromyalgia pain. We are pleased that Swiss Medica has not only developed such a product, but is now committed to helping support patient service programs and future research implemented by the NFA to directly benefit the FM community."

Why Kim is Excited
The pilot study, conducted over a four-to-six week period, compared the O24 Fibromyalgia(TM) pain reliever against a placebo in patients suffering with fibromyalgia. 68 (51%) used a placebo. The other 65 (49%) used the O24 Fibromyalgia(TM) product.

For participants who used O24 Fibromyalgia(TM), more than 90 per cent of the patients reported mild to markedly better improvement on the 7-point Lanier rating scale. Nearly 54% reported moderately better or markedly better results using O24 Fibromyalgia(TM) instead of the placebo. About 80% of the placebo group reported no change in their condition and 13% reported a worsening of their condition. Only 7% reported mild improvement from the placebo. The clinical study was statistically peer-reviewed by Marko Katic, biostatistician at the Institute of Clinical Evaluative Studies (ICES). Dr. Ko has submitted his findings to a peer-reviewed medical journal for publication and previewed the results of his study on Saturday May 28 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada at the When the Body Forgets to Heal conference hosted by the Association of Complementary Physicians of B.C.

After doing a little more research I figured out that O24 Fibromyalgia (TM) is variation of 024 Essential Oil Pain Neutralizer, a topical product!

They've started using the original 024 in German hospitals to treat post-operative wounds and are having great success with it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Arts Conference III

We did three sessions today;
  1. 526,000 minutes: Seizing Moments in Everyday Life (Nancy Beach with Lincoln Brewster)
  2. Looking for the Next Right Answer: Capturing Moments (Dewitt Jones)
  3. The Making of Sunday Morning Moments (Bill Hybels, Nancy Beach and a ton of other people)

As awesome as the first session was (Nancy is a great teacher and the opening nature montage was stunning) my favorite sessions were 2 and 3.

I loved session II because, as a visual artist, Dewitt's amazing photographs and his ideas about art really resonated with me.

He told us "it's not trespassing to go beyond your own boundaries." That seems like a simple statement but I know, in my own art, how easy it is to get comfortable and stop pushing yourself.

He insisted that every problem has more than one right answer. That is something that is so contrary to my instincts, but which my own painting has been teaching me. So many times I think I've hit a dead end, but then I take a break and come back to it and suddenly new possibilities are there. Dewitt pointed out how when we start to see this truth we lose our fear of failure.

My one line take away from Session II is "keep looking for the next right answer."

Session III was the most powerful session. It was some of the years best dramas, videos and music rolled into one, with some passionate and edgy commentary offered by Bill Hybels and Nancy Beach. "edgy" would mostly be describing Bill, who was suffering from some kind of cold or flu and was a little less than graceful toward worship leaders, making caustic references to repetitive and theologically unsound worship leaders.

He did make many very encouraging comments. At one point he spoke very earnestly to the artists in the room, saying something like "I don't know how you view your roll; you may think the politicians are the ones with the power, or the business men on wall street; but you are the ones with the power to shape the way people think." I couldn't help wondering if Bill was thinking of Bono.

If Lynne hadn't met Bono at the cafe in Dublin, if Bono hadn't come to Willow on his heartland tour a few years ago, what would Willow Creek Community Church be doing about AIDS? For that matter, what would America be doing about AIDS in Africa if it weren't for the artists like Bono who have cast a vision of what we CAN do if we try?

Well, it's after midnight so it's time to hit the sister's couch. First thing up tomorrow morning is John Ortberg and Nicole Nordeman, can't wait!

Arts Conference II

Last night was fun. We met Stuart at his hotel (Staybridge Suites in Schaumburg - S-weet!) last night. We got to meet the group from his church - really cool people. Then we all went to Portillo's for some chicago style dogs (though I might be the only person who ordered one.) We had some great conversations (I keep thinking of that frederick buechner quote; "all theology is auto biographical.") Chad showed us his awesome U2 iPod. I can't wait to get my own iPod. Then we went back to Steph's place so Mark could show us his break-out presentation on "Video in a Smaller Room." It was great. I'm not a video person, but I thought it was really informative. That Mark is pretty savvy with the power-point.

This morning I went to church to register for the conference. There were a few groups wandering around but the places was still pretty quite. I felt kind of wierd picking up an attenders tag instead of one of the familiar Here to Serve tags. Stragely guilty.

On the way home from registering I picked up a dozen and a half donuts thinking that would get us through the next few busy days, but it's starting to look like they might not even make it through tomorrow! I also got a big hazelnut coffee, which I spilled on my snazy blue polo trying to unlock the apartment door. I'm staying at Steph's so clothes are's drying on a hanger and I'm wearing it tomorrow, I don't care how many people saw me walking around it in today!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Mother and Child

Orangutan? Something like that. This is based on a photo in my Baby Animals desk calendar. If it sounds like a great desk calendar, that's because it IS!

Arts Conference I

Even though the conference doesn't start until tomorrow, today was supposed to be sort of an unofficial start for me because I was planning on helping Tiley and some of the other artists set up the exhibit. Steph and I showed up at 1 and wandered around the church for 45min before we were able to get a hold of Tiley. Turns out the set up starts at 6:30. I'll be out in Schaumburg visiting Stuart at 7 so I can't do the set up. I feel like such a jerk. Tiley was really sweet though, and said it would be fine if I did tear-down on Friday instead.

I'm really looking forward to seeing Stuart. Last time we saw him was Steph's wedding, and now he's married too! Man we are all getting old! He is a TD in a church in Fl and is attending the conferene with some people from his church. I'm kinda hoping I can tag along with them for some of the conference, this will be my first conference without Steph!

Tomorrow is probably going to be a little hectic. There are going to be three sessions and the first one doesn't even start until 1pm!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Distinguished Cat Painting

This was an experiment - I was trying to mix acrylic glazes with the more heavy handed approach. The results are a little schizo (and I'm not even talking about the horrid puke colored couch.) The cat was pretty sexy though so I thought I'd post it.

Right now I'm working on a couple of GIANT cats. When I took my paintings in for the Arts Conference exhibit I noticed my paintings were the punniest so I went out and bought two 24"x16" canvases. I've got one pretty much finised and I like it a lot. Working on a large canvas isn't as hard as I thought it would be. The second one is coming a long nicely...I've got the background in (I'll touch it up when the cat is done) and I'm currently working on the shadow areas of the cat.

More Fibromyalgia News

The news of this study first came out a week or so ago and I didn't post it because the articles I read basically just said "dextromethorphan reduces pain in FMS but won't be available as a treatment for FMS for at least five years." Not very helpful (though I am tempted to just buy some cought syrup and see how that goes.) But today I found an article explaining how the study shed some light on the deformed-spinal-cord theory that is so hot with chiropractors and the like.

The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, but researchers generally believe that people with the condition have "amplified" pain signals due to abnormal sensory processing in the central nervous system.

One theory has held that fibromyalgia "wind-up" pain -- in which repeated touches create pain that intensifies with each new contact -- is caused by an abnormality in the spinal cord structures that process NMDA.

But in the new study, dextromethorphan was as effective at easing pain in the 14 women with fibromyalgia as it was for 10 women without the condition.

Since dextromethorphan acts on NMDA receptors, the findings suggest that people with fibromyalgia do not have a "radically altered" NMDA system, according to Staud's team.

For the study, the women underwent two tests, in which either a heated probe or a rubber-tipped peg repeatedly tapped their hands until they said they felt a certain degree of pain. As expected, women with fibromyalgia had a lower threshold for pain.

A single dose of dextromethorphan, however, reduced the women's pain response to the tests -- with women with fibromyalgia benefiting as much as those without the condition.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Golf War Vets and Fibromyalgia

Interesting new study shows that soldiers deployed in the Gulf War are more likely to suffer from FMS and it's cousin, CFS. Linked here.

Willow Creek Community Church in the News

The Daily Herald has a great article about the Justice Journey called Two Churches Bridge Divide. Below are a couple of exerpts and a picture.

SELMA, Ala. — The young black girl, sweat beading across her squinting face, inches her head out the back window of a rusted turquoise Buick, looking at them as if they had said the broad blue sky was red.

More than 50 church leaders from Chicago and the suburbs, hand in hand, two by two, white and black, are singing.

“Ain’t nobody gonna turn me around. Ain’t nobody gonna turn me around,” they bellow as the afternoon sun stings their skin. “Gonna keep on walkin’. Gonna keep on walkin’ to freedom.”

On Thursday’s march...Hybels and Meeks walked comfortably together on the historic Pettus bridge. The church members followed, wearing dark blue polo shirts heavy with sweat and boasting patches that read “Justice Journey,” the tour’s official title.

Hybels said the march and the tour are just the surface of a reform in his church and a shift in direction toward concentrating on social justice issues and working in the inner city.

LOST Dominic and Evangeline are DATING!!

To those of you who knew this was going on and didn't have the decency to mention it - shame on you!

Way to go Evie and Dom, what a cute couple!

In other Lost news: Lost is the clear winner of Kim's Best Season Finale Survey. Here are the results
  • 46% LOST
  • 23% You didn't include my favorite (Whoops, those must be the Star Trek fans)
  • 15% 24
  • 15% Desperate Housewives
If you didn't vote you still have a chance, but just until I can think of a new survey question. If you've got a great idea for a new survey question post it in your comment.

Thursday, June 09, 2005


I absolutely love a book called Listening to Your Life; Daily Meditations with Frederick Buechner. The entry for May 31st has been stuck in my head for days so I thought I'd share it with y'all.
As Acedia, boredom is one of the seven deadly sins. It deserves the honor.
You can be bored by virtually anything if you put your mind to it, or choose not to. You can yawn your way through Don Giovanni or a trip to the Grand Canyon or an afternoon with your dearest friend or a sunset. There are doubtless those who nodded off at the coronation of Napoleon or the trial of Joan of Arc or when Shakespeare appeared at the Globe in Hamlet or Lincoln delivered himself of a few remarks at Gettysburg. The odds are that the Sermon on the Mount had more than a few of the congregation twitchy and glassy-eyed.
To be bored is to turn down cold whatever life happens to be offering you at the moment. It is to cast a jaundiced eye at life in general including most of all your own life. You feel nthing is worth getting excited about.
To be bored is a way of making the least of things you often have a sneaking suspicion you need the most.
To be bored to death is a form of suicide.

Fibromyalgia and Weather Prediction

I've noticed lately that I can predict the weather. I'd heard of this phenomenon before but never given it much though. Today when sudden stiffness in my joints made me hobble home from the park with Malachy and a sudden shift in the weather followed I decided it was time to do a little research.

Midwest Arthritis has an interesting page on the subject with summaries of major studies regarding joint pain and weather prediction.

They conclude...
There is some evidence that persons with arthritis have symptoms influenced by changes in the weather. Women may be more sensitive to weather changes than men. Those persons with osteoarthritis or fibromyalgia (at least in some studies) have the greatest likelihood of having symptoms made worse by climatic changes. Some people can predict rain. Changes in humidity, temperature and barometric pressure all have been implicated as factors changing joint pain.

A Less Contentious Bono

The Belfast Telegraph has this excerpt from 'Bono on Bono: Conversations with Michka Assayas.'

Below is a tiny tidbit.

My father's advice, without ever speaking it, was: "Don't dream! To dream is to be disappointed", which would be a pity, wouldn't it, never to dream. Of course, this is where megalomania must have begun. To never have a big idea was his thing. That's all I'm interested in.

New Community

"New Community" is a weekly installment for me, but this week I just don't know where to begin. (And not because I just can't find the words to tell you how lovely it was.)

Okay, I've had a moment to gather my thoughts.

Here's where my problems with last night begin... Steph and I had the misfortune to sit behind a middle aged gentleman in shorts. When the message started, he crossed his left leg over his right and commenced picking at a white scaly patch of flesh on his shin. He did this throughout the evening, coming up briefly to glance at Gene Appel, and then digging back in. As you would expect, a scaly white patch of flesh can only take so much abuse, and it eventually began to bleed. At this point his wife, who should have slapped him and told him to quit it, handed him a napkin which became his new instrument in the little surgery he was performing on himself. My nausea was growing and growing, and I was trying really hard not to look at him, but when I caught a glimpse of a thoroughly blood spotted napkin it was too much for me and I had to leave the auditorium to either laugh my head of or puke my guts out. Luckily I was able to just laugh.

After shaking it off I might have returned to hear the rest of Gene's message, but I was actually really pissed at Gene for some irresponsible comments he'd made dismissing the importance of civil disobedience. He said something like "I believe abortion is wrong, but you aren't going to find me on some street corner holding a sign." Well bite my shiny metal ass! Gene's point was that signs don't change people's hearts, Jesus does. Listen Gene, I want everybody to know Jesus, but until that happens we still have a responsibility to protect the rights of the marginalized. Where would the civil rights movement be if Martin Luther King Jr. had said "peaceful demonstrations are for the birds, I'm waiting for Jesus to change everyone's hearts."

My feelings toward Gene have been very complicated since he joined our little family. By really complicated I mean worthy of a paid professionals attention. Imagine you are a child and your mother (in this case John Ortberg) dies/divorces/runs off and then your father (Willow Creek) marries this new floozy (Gene Appel) who tries to act like your mom (John) to get you to like her (Gene.) How would you feel? You would feel RAGE!!! And you'd want your dad to dump your stepmom at the nearest bus stop and go searching for your real mom and beg her on bended knee to come back.

So I have some baggage. But if I try for just a moment to ignore the JO shaped hole in my heart, I can say that Gene Appel is an absolutely lovely human being. He radiates humility and goodness. His teaching on family and marriage are right up there with the best of them. But he was dead wrong last night.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Yoga and Satan

Is the path to hell paved with Yoga? This is the subject of a recent debate going on over at CT magazine.

Laurette Willis cays "yes, it is."

Then Agnieszka Tennant says "no, it is not."

And Holly Robaina defends her buddy Laurette, saying "oh yes, it is!"

Holly Robaina subtitles her rebuttal "How can I support a practice that is targeting the young and the weak?"

As a FMS sufferer I have been targeted. It happened in Physical Therapy. My PT said, "Kim, I'm going to teach you some basic Yoga that you can do at home to help with your pain and range of motion." I said "okay Frances, sounds good to me." I learned the moves and I now I do them several times a week. Watch out, or the same thing could happen to you!

Okay, I'll be serious for a moment. Is it possible that a Christian can be lured into apostasy by Yoga? My answer is that we all have a tendency to seek out false idols, but one man's false idol is another man's...whatever. We should examine ourselves, know our weaknesses and walk accordingly.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Itinerant Preacher

I painted this after a painting in a children's book. Unfortunately, I can't remember the name of the book or the artist - all I know is that it was a ZondervanKidz book.

It is done in acrylics on Arches 140lb paper.

They are NOT playing poker.

Willow Creek in the News

The Chicago Tribune has posted this article, Churches Will Tour South, Strive to Bridge Race Gap by Manya Brachear. Here is an excerpt;

In search of the history that still separates their congregations, two of the Chicago area's largest churches--one predominantly black, the other mostly white--will travel south on Sunday to revisit touchstones of the civil rights movement.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Bill Hybels' Book Club

This weekend Bill offered some great tips on how to make the most out of your summer. Tip #3, read a great book. Here are his recommendations;

The End of Poverty by Jeffrey Sachs

The Barbarian Way by Erwin McManus

God's Politics by Jim Wallis

Hmmm, where to start? I think I want to read God's Politics first because I've heard so much about it. Any of you read any of these? Your comments are welcome!

Parting Shot

My sincere, heart-felt thanks to Scott for giving me a couple of V.O.L. cd's I didn'thave. This one's off Blister Soul and it's my new official blog song. So memorize it, we'll be singing it at the pep rally.

Parting Shot

words of wisdom,
quotable quotes
reader's digest sayings
for those losing hope
why do i feel so mocked
by the hands of the clock?
well anchor me down
to the solid rock

i want to leave you with something
but i almost forgot
was it a closing statement
or a parting shot?

well you lie on the flowers
hair in the wind
i've twisted it all
with original sin
there's a knowledge i traded
a long time ago
well i bartered it off
for these rags i call clothes
i learned how to fake it
and remake it on cue
but i swear i never stopped
needing you

there's a question forming
out here in the dark
in the heavy air
all around my heart
now laden with consequence
chain link fence
and shot through with
all manner of lies
i've been trapped in
and caught

and the world like a tempest
in your ears doth roar
and the flesh wants to dress up
and play your whore
and the devil wants to cast
all manner of doubt
on the real lover with the key
dying to let you out
from the bars that you fashioned
with your stolen clout

well i may be confused
but i'll play my hunch
did it feel like a kiss
or a counter-punch?

evening is closing
and the kid drones on and on and on
well get out your car keys
i hope this is his last song
wait, it's bigger than life
it is gracious and grand
something a child
readily understands

hey you know i sure could
use a new suit of clothes
see i'm gone all threadbare
and my shoes are worn
now the flowers are growing
right out of these bones
and i hear the trumpet sounding
like louis armstrong
when the great divorce happens
hide me in your song
though i don't deserve it
and i don't belong

i want to leave you with something
will you take it to heart
are you a closing statement
or a parting shot?

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Willow in the News

Greg Ferguson (pictured here looking uncharacteristically peppy at the Christmas service) is heavily quoted in the Chicago Tribune's article "In Praise of Music."

Philip Yancey shares his thoughts on Evangelicals in "A Quirky and Vibrant Mosaic." Willow Creek is mentioned (very briefly.)

Friday, June 03, 2005

Rough Sailing

This is an old watercolor painting I did on cheap paper back when I was just getting started. Seemed appropriate for my "gloomy" day.


Somebody, say something encouraging, quick! It's a yucky day - humid and dark. Mom talked to a lawyer and it doesn't look like she'll be getting disability to help with the cost of her surgery. I've been sick, have lost 7 lbs thanks to the nausea. Gloomy gloomy day.

"I Was Wrong About Porn"

Disclaimer: Recent events have renewed my interest in this subject, but this post is not aimed at anyone. I found it linked in the awesome "thunderstruck" blog and liked it. So I'm linkin' it here.

I was Wrong About Porn: Feminism has Failed to Change the Way Men Look at Women

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Jeff Sharlet Was Here!

Many of you have had a sneaking suspicion that my blog is better than yours. Well, today that was confirmed! At 2:49 pm Jeff Sharlet left a comment on my blog. If I'd known he was coming I would have tried to think of something smart to say. And I might have left out the post about my butt wound.

If "religion in America" is your thing, check out Jeff's blog "The Revealer," linked in the sidebar.

New Community

New Community is a bit of a blur right now. I went with a head ache and ended up in some kind of sugar coma after trying to treat the headache with a $4 fruit smoothie from Dr. B's.

There was a guest worshipper, Drew Cline, from Crossroads Community Church (not the same Crossroads mentioned in last weeks New Community post.) He was gracious and confident, a great worship leader. If we were shopping for worship leaders (and I don't know anything, I'm just saying...) then he'd get my vote.

Thanks to The Revealer (see link in sidebar) for the photo.

Gene Appel gave the message. It was out of Colossians 3:12-17. The most memorable thing about his talk was the emphasis he put on the singing of "psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God." He pointed out that we, as the core of the congregation, are rarely as demonstrative in our worship at the weekend services as we are at New Community. He said that this is a mistake because the way that we participate, or fail to participate, in that part of the service can be seen by our visitors as a test of whether we really believe the words on the screen or not.

It was remarkable to hear this from the pulpit at Willow because Steph and I clearly remember hearing John Ortberg, back in the 90's, warn us that demonstrative worship was alarming to seekers and often used inappropriately by people desiring to appear holy. I agree with what Gene said last night, and I agreed with what John said ten years ago...I think that reflects the changing needs of seekers as well as Willow's evolving understanding of the importance of public worship.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Painted Horse Painting

I was asked to paint some cats for the Arts Conference and, in what I can only describe as a fit of contrariness, I painted this instead.

Weird composition. The cloudy sky looks more like an uneven blue sky. But it does feature a horse, which is more than most of my paintings can say!

Not for the faint of heart.

Posted by Hello

Did you ever wake up to find your nails had grown long while you slept? This phenomenon makes operating a cell phone or playing the guitar difficult. It makes pulling down your paints absolutely dangerous. I got a thumbnail full of right cheek yesterday. From now on I'm keeping the clippers next to the bed.