Tuesday, February 28, 2012

a wild sloth appears!

The first time we came to Romania I learned something from one of the Americans on our team that is quite possibly the best and weirdest icebreaker you've ever seen. It's called slothing.

Participant one assumes sloth-role. Three fingers on each hand, a face of lazy bliss and really really slow movements. It works best if participant number two is both unwilling and has long hair/a hood, anything that participant one can attach himself to. The idea is to slowly grab the unsuspecting victim's hair (or whatever) and pretend to eat it (or something), get way too close and watch with glee as he or she reacts.

See exhibit A:

Sloth in his natural environment. The fingers aren't visible, but this is a most exceptional sloth-face. Note how oblivious the Englishman is to the fact that his English space bubble will soon be invaded. Perfect execution.

Nearly three years later, we discover, in the words of First Sloth, inception is real! I have no memory of this but I've been slothing. Photographic evidence:

Exhibit B is a poor example of sloth-face, but we see excellent sloth-hands. Later photographs reveal the distance between sloth and victim was in fact bridged.

So what about you guys? Do you sloth? Any good sloth stories/pictures?

Monday, February 27, 2012


From a friend: "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." Proverbs 16:9

And: "You are in the right place."

How easy it is to forget these things.

I was reading 2 Chronicles (14-15) this morning and came across lots of places where the Lord gave people rest. One was after the king then, Asa, tore down all the places of idolatry and commanded everyone to seek the Lord. Another was after everyone took an oath to seek the Lord with all of their heart and soul, and when they sought him eagerly, he gave them rest.

Wondering: what are the high places in my life? And in what ways am I not seeking the Lord? What would doing so eagerly look like?

Lots of questions. This is good.

Coming soon: fun stuff about ski. And less colons!

Sunday, February 26, 2012


I read this article yesterday. Here's a quote:

"Tekhelet is the color of the sky,” Dr. Koren said in his laboratory. “It’s not the color of the sky as we know it; it’s the color of sky at midnight.” He paused and added, “It’s when you are all alone at night that you reach out to God, and that is what tekhelet reminds you of.”

Really great. Definitely worth reading.

So many good things happened at camp and I want to be sure to write about them. To assert that I am thankful.

One of those things happened the second week. We played a game outside, one we played both the previous week and year in which you build small houses and it involves running around in the dark up to your thighs in snow, eluding thieves and collecting money from people who wander around in the darkness flashing a light every now and again. The second week I was one of the light people (I can't think of anything to call them except fairies).

It was clear the second week, and as a fairy/bank teller/IFA, I climbed the hill that goes past the cabin and stood by myself watching the stars and flashing the light every few minutes. I never really knew to call the color of the sky at night when there's not any light pollution anything but black, but it isn't at all. The mountain rises up a big dark thing next to you like dark still water but the sky pulls back from it like the tide might. That sky is the Pacific at night, teeming with all kinds of life, shining and fluorescent. Whole worlds you get to stand under and behold.

I am thankful for an unchanging God who meets me in the dark and points me toward his glory. And that he isn't wandering around in the darkness, hard to catch, hoping we see some quick burst of light, hoping we can make it through the snow before he disappears again. He came down, came to us while we were in rebellion against him, that he came as the light that shines in the darkness. A floodlight, not a flash.

"Toate vor trece intr-o zi
Oricat de bune ar fi
Doar tu esti vesnic, doar tu ramai
Natiuni s-au ridicat si-au disparut in praf
Doar tu esti vesnic
Anii trec tu ramai Dumnezeu neschimbat
Generatii la rand se ridica si cad
Lumea din jurul meu se schimba ne-ncetat
Anii trec tu ramai Dumnezeu neschimbat."

Saturday, February 25, 2012


Today I spent walking around Pitesti looking for reasons to love it, trying to step into the decision of it and the will of my Father when lately I've felt nothing but hostility toward this city. I got back from Rasnov a few days and it is a hard transition, one felt squarely in the middle of two weeks gone, the pivot point where one student group leaves and the next one arrives. Such different groups, so entirely different.

So today, a day that looked and felt like Spring, after seeing a street I'd never noticed before, I decided on a whim to climb the hill behind my apartment, the same one the sun sets behind. From there looking backward you can see across the whole city to the hills in the east that grow into mountains farther north. I found a quiet road in Razboieni, behind the stadium, climbed some concrete structure and stood for a moment there, wondering. On the way back down there was a man fly-fishing in the snow in his backyard. A truck splashed me driving by. It's filthy here these days with all the melting snow and mud, but this isn't the problem. And while turning to see across the whole of Pitesti, the surprise of it, was like drinking deeply, there is little answer here.

I know what the problem is, only I'm not sure best how to approach it. It helped today to walk and pray. How do I put this in the hands of my Father? A few things come to mind: I am to serve others as I would serve my God. This is important. And I came here because an expressed need--it's a little more complicated than that, but this is irrelevant if only because I believe God knows a whole lot better than I do about a whole lot more than I do, meaning I'm here because he brought me here and it is enough to trust him.

But I am so frustrated here. It's easy to write about getting away to the mountains whenever I can, but these are only pretenses. That isn't exactly true: I love the mountain and I think it helps me to look at/be in creation/nature, but while it is usually refreshing, this time when I left--before, even, right around the time of that transition--it was holding on tight to what had not been enough (to be fair, I was working the whole time). I even decided on a whim, after talking to my old roommate, to go to Bucuresti for a day. It's like having a scarf wound too tightly around your throat, pulling at it. It's stifling.

I am reminded that only in God is there fulfillment and contentment. I want to run to him, to drink deeply his mercy, his grace, his rest. "With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation!" From Isaiah, chapter twelve, verse three. I'm not sure what to do with all these frustrations. The answer here is to put them before him, I know this, but I'm having trouble doing it, and meanwhile there is no rest. And yet:

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon me and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest in your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

Especially that part about learning from him, being gentle and humble in heart. Father, help me.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

welcome back, sky

The sky came back out today, as we say. I was walking downtown by myself with nine students' worth of money for a big European conference so was too distracted to look much at it. But then tonight I went down to the store and really noticed the sky for the first time in almost two weeks. It's been the same color as everything else--during the day, concrete gray, like all the blocs; at night, everything's hazy streetlight orange, the sky reflecting it back down on everything.

You know the feeling when you're outside but you feel like you're inside, in a warehouse or something? The feeling you get when you're walking in a big city between really tall buildings and all the honking and shouting and wind have an enclosed sort of sound. And then there's that other feeling when something's different around you, and you sense it before your brain realizes it. And it felt just like someone had lifted the roof off us. Like being on the mountain. And so I looked up and there it was, the sky a real blue--dark, and hard to see because of the streetlights, but definitely a blue.

There will be three whole days with sunshine and wide, windblown skies. I can't wait.