only help my unbelief


Sometimes a Blog Comment Surprises [Love and Limeade Slushes III]
January 7, 2009, 10:01 am
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Every week until we get married, I’ll be posting a short installment of the story of me and Christian. They’ll all be compiled at Love and Limeade Slushes as I write them.

On the way to Moe’s on the Thursday before spring break my sophomore year, my friends and I ran into someone we knew.

“What are you guys doing for break?” he asked.

“Getting my wisdom teeth out,” I said, making a face.

It wasn’t exactly my ideal way to spend my week off school. My freshman year, I had gone to Washington, D.C., with my National Security and Intelligence class to visit the CIA Headquarters. It was going to be hard to top that, anyway, but getting my wisdom teeth out? Not even on the same wavelength.

I spent the days before the surgery on the Internet, catching up on blogs. I was writing on my own, commenting on the blogs of those who were in some of the communities I had joined.

The surgery was uneventful. Within hours of getting home, my mom was going to go by Sonic and asked me if I wanted anything: a milkshake, a slush, etc. I insisted I wanted some mozzarella sticks, despite the fact that four of my teeth had been removed earlier that day.

Apparently I had a delayed reaction to the surgery, because the next couple of days were pretty painful. I was taking oxycodeine, which was supposed to ease the pain and calm me down. It did ease the pain, but it was much more of a stimulant than a depressant.

What follows next did not stick out in my mind at the time; in fact, I remember very little of it. But I’ve gone back to my and Emily’s Xanga blogs over the past two years and reminded myself of the turn of events.

At the beginning of March, some guy on Xanga started commenting on Emily’s blog. He was impressed by Emily’s maturity and love for Reformed Theology. They found out they had a fair amount in common, and so were commenting on each other’s blogs. I was following the interchange with much amusement.

I didn’t comment too often on Emily’s blog because I normally just told her in person what I thought, but I guess at some point in early March, right before spring break, some comment I made on her blog caught the eye of this guy, who had the username christianhcrouch.

And so, on the night of the day I had my wisdom teeth out, when I was very, very awake due to the medicine I was taking, christianhcrouch left this comment on my blog:

So, I don’t know you or anything, but your header is only quoting one of William Cowper’s greatest hymns. And it’s so good, only Derek Webb could be able to perform it on an Indelible Grace CD. And you’re reformed.

Good ’nuff. Friends?

He was referring to a quote from a song I had at the top of my blog called “Sometimes a Light Surprises.” It was on a CD by Indelible Grace, a group that takes old hymns and sets them to more updated music. Their CDs are compilations of sorts, in that a lot of different musicians contribute. That particular song was sung by Derek Webb, which endeared it to me even more.

You can imagine how enthralled I was by his comment.

I had already caught his sense of humor from Emily’s blog, but after that comment, I realized even more how similar we were as we commented back and forth on each other’s blogs.

At some point I went to bed, but for the next two days, the blog comments continued. I think at one point one of our blog posts had about 34 comments from the other person.

After several days of this, though, I was a little tired of going back and forth through the blog posts. At the same time, my experience with Mississippi Guy was fresh in my mind. Did I really want to get to know another guy over the Internet? Did I want to have to tell my friends? Did I really want to put myself through that agony again?

I don’t remember convincing myself of anything, but apparently I did, because late one Friday night, I sent an instant message to christianhcourch (Side note: Does anyone still use AOL Instant Messenger? It used to be my entire life. I suppose Facebook is the king now).

Conversation ensued about Disney movies, music and ceiling fans.

I went to bed sometime around 4 a.m.

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Birth Control Emily starts a blog [Love and Limeade Slushes I]
December 22, 2008, 8:00 am
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Every week until we get married, I’ll be posting a short installment of the story of me and Christian. They’ll all be compiled at  Love and Limeade Slushes as I write them.

It used to be that when I heard of someone meeting their significant other online, I flinched. Maybe it was because I was highly engaged in blogging, instant messenger, Facebook – and I was afraid that if I ever met someone online, no one would really be surprised. I wanted them to be surprised, to be happy for me, to get to know him along with me.

Sometimes when I would meet a guy who was particularly good looking and charming, I’d try to remember those first moments of conversation, because one day when we were married, I’d want to be able to say, “Remember that time when we first met? How delightful!” And we would spend every day together, and all of my friends would love him, and my parents would invite us over all the time to hang out with them. And then we would get engaged and married, and what could possibly be better than that?

It didn’t happen like that at all. It actually resembled less of a romantic comedy and more of a trainwreck.

The story really begins long before I ever actually spoke to Christian. It all began in the first weeks of my sophomore year of college. Every Thursday night, me and a few of my best girl friends – Roommate Emily, Katie, Katelyn and Arielle – would eat dinner together. We used to do it at the student union, but once we were sophomores and much more mature, we expanded to the Moe’s that was a few blocks from campus.

One Thursday night, someone invited another girl who would soon come to be known as Birth Control Emily, because  few people, including Roommate Emily, wanted to be mistaken for the Emily that wasn’t planning on using birth control.

I was intrigued by Birth Control Emily. She was quiet and fairly introverted, but if you got her talking about something about which she was passionate, she was no longer so quiet and you’d never know she was introverted at all.

She also called herself a libertarian, but I had no idea what that was.

Every Thursday night for that fall semester, me, Roommate Emily, Katie, Katelyn, Arielle and Birth Control Emily ate Moe’s together. After the first few weeks, though, no one was about to bring up birth control.

Birth Control Emily was an enigma to me. She really didn’t talk that much. We had a dance party once at our apartment, but she just sat on a chair in the corner while Katie and I choreographed Outkast’s “Hey Ya!” I wanted to be friends with her, but I didn’t know how.

But late in the semester, Birth Control Emily (who I know referred to as simply Emily)  invited me and the other girls over to her house to watch a movie and hang out. I don’t remember anything about that night, including who was there or what we did, except for when Birth Control Emily and I started talking and she asked me if I had read any good books lately.

Let me interject and say that I have a very difficult time engaging in conversation of the “How are your classes going?” variety. Of course, I know how to be socially appropriate, but I always feel empty after a conversation that never gets past that point.

Birth Control Emily immediately endeared herself to me with her question.

“I’m reading a book called What is Reformed Theology? by R.C. Sproul,” I said.

Turns out Birth Control Emily was reading that, too, and so for the rest of the night, we talked about that book and what we were learning about the five points of Calvinism and infant baptism and church.

Our friendship was sealed.

One day, Birth Control Emily told me that she was going to write a blog. I had used LiveJournal some to chronicle my daily goings-on, but I’d never actually tried to write something that other people might read. She said she was going to write about theology and birth control, and that because I liked to write so much, I should start a blog, too.

And so, following in the steps of Birth Control Emily, I did.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Which I will recount, in detail, another day.



I really should be in bed
December 21, 2008, 11:24 pm
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Today was a full day.

I woke up this morning and got to church early to greet the kids in my Sunday school class. Almost all of them were there, which is rare, and we had a special craft to do courtesy of Lee – picture frames to decorate, with pictures of our class that we took last week. The kids loved the pictures, and decorating the frames took an incredibly long time, which was actually great. I loved sitting there helping them put the stickers on and talking about the pictures.

After church Christian and I drove back to my house and ate a delicious lunch. Then my mom took us over to her friend’s house, where her friend and her friend’s daughter took some engagement pictures for us. I don’t know how they turned out yet, but we did have a good time making each other laugh and feeling somewhat awkward at trying to look like we weren’t posing.

That only took about an hour, so we came back to my house and relaxed with my parents until it was time to drive back to church.

We were in the 2- and 3-year-old nursery tonight, so it was the same kids I have in Sunday school. They were super sweet tonight, wanting to sit in our laps and read books and take silly pictures. My heart was full of them when we left.

After that we went to a Christmas party where we got to fellowship with friends from church. It was a really relaxing, joyful time, and we felt refreshed when it was over.

We drove back to church to pick up Christian’s car.

I dropped him off and was about to drive off, but I waited because he didn’t have his cell phone with him. God was so gracious.

Christian’s car wouldn’t start. Even though a couple weeks ago it was in the shop for two weeks. And we paid almost $1,000 to get it fixed.

We were able to jump it, but we still don’t know what the problem is.

We have a lead on a car someone is trying to sell before they go on the mission field, so we’re going to call them again tomorrow to see if that’s a possibility, but we know it’s all in God’s hands.

If you think about it, please pray for us. It seems kind of like we’re drowning. There’s the wedding to plan, and we’re still looking for an apartment, and now we need to find a new car as soon as possible. We know God is big enough to handle all this and more, but our faith is being tested, and we know that God hears the prayers of the saints.

Honestly, though, I’m thankful for these trials. Tonight on the way home the song “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus” came on my iPod, and it was just what I needed to hear. I don’t think there’s ever been a Christmas when I wanted Jesus to come and overshadow me more than I do this year.

O come, thou Dayspring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight
Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel



Eight things
December 17, 2008, 11:24 am
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I got this from Leigh’s blog.

8 TV shows I watch:
1. The Office (The funniest show on TV, although this season seems lamer than others…)
2. Jeopardy (My favorite part, aside from pretending to be a genius by confidently yelling out what ends up being the wrong answer, is the stories the contestants tell. Oh really, you make up songs about your cats and sing them to the dear animals?)
3. The Biggest Loser (I am SO glad Michelle won. I hope that Vicki is embarrassed by her foul mouth.)
4. Top Chef (I don’t normally know what 80% of the ingredients are, but it’s a cooking reality show with very little drama.)
5. LOST (My all-time favorite show ever. I watched two seasons over the course of a couple weeks. January 25 21* cannot come soon enough.)
6. Anything on FoodNetwork. My favorites, though, are Paula Deen, Ina Garten (if only she would stop talking about Jeremy!), Giada DeLaurentiis, Tyler Florence, Sunny Anderson, and Sandra Lee.
7. House (Christian and I call this “our show,” because we watched it for the first time together. We LOVE it.)
8. Everybody Loves Raymond (I used to watch this every evening while I made dinner)
8 favorite restaurants:
1. Moe’s
2. Taco Bell
3. D’s Wings
4. Red Bowl Asian Bistro
5. Crust (local pizza place in Sewanee, where Christian went to school)
6. Olive Garden
7. Egg Roll Chen’s (only local Columbians know the joy of this place)
8. Steak ‘n Shake
8 things that happened to me recently:
1. I applied for a new job.
2. I ate dinner with my friend Alexis at Red Bowl Asian Bistro (see above).
3. I ate lunch at Taco Bell (see above)
4. Christian and I explored some new apartment options.
5. I ordered my wedding dress.
6. I called my mom and asked her to plug in my camera battery so it would be ready for Behold the Lamb tonight.
7. I cleaned my keyboard with some compressed air. One of the highlights of my day, seriously.
8. I watched Michelle win The Biggest Loser last night (see above). AWESOME.
8 things I look forward to:
1. Seeing Behold the Lamb tonight.
2. Getting married on April 18.
3. My two friends – Emily and Emily – getting married in March and April.
4. Living with my best friend.
5. Spending time with my second-best friend, Sam, in preparation for the wedding.
6. Having babies. Soon, Lord, soon. (Well, no sooner than January 2010.)
7. Celebrating Christmas in a non-stressful way.
8. Having six days off work for the holidays. Glory.
8 things I wish pray for:
1. Wedding planning that is Christ-centered and un-stressful.
2. That the wedding ceremony and reception would be used by God to draw all of our unsaved family members and friends to Himself.
3.  That I would daily be a godly example for my sisters.
4. That God would remove every temptation to fear or anxiety.
5. That the two- and three-year-olds I teach in Sunday school would learn something of Christ through what I do every week.
6. That the words I use with Christian would lift him up and not tear him down.
7. That God would give me the desire to seek Him every day through prayer and reading His Word.
8. That I would become famous through blogging. (Just kidding. Kind of. No, yeah, I’m just kidding.)
*An insightful commenter pointed out that LOST starts January 21, which is sooner than I thought it was starting. Hallelujah!


Thoughts before bed
November 24, 2008, 10:44 pm
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On the way home from the gym, I had this thought: “What’s the point of life?” and I had this realization that people who don’t know God must feel as depressed as I felt all the time. I almost wanted to sink into a hole until I remembered that oh yeah, God exists, and as my little Sunday schoolers say, God made us “fo His own gwowy.” Lord, may I glorify you.

***

I’m really enjoying writing in these little vignettes, in case you can’t tell.

***

I had dinner with a dear friend tonight. We talked about all the things we always talk about: church, getting married (for the record, I’m not engaged yet. Oh, you didn’t ask? Sorry.), and having lots of kids by means of not using birth control. Our conversations are always hilarious because we act as though we’re trying to convince the other of our arguments, even though we both completely agree. It is good to have friends who don’t think exactly like you, I know, but I also think it is good to have at least one friend who is just like you. Because then you don’t always feel crazy.

***

My mother likes to watch The Hills. I’ll leave it at that. She does watch it with my 14-year-old sister, but is that any better, really?

***

Speaking of my mom, she actually sounded really impressed tonight when I told her that Christian and I were eating dinner with a couple from his work tomorrow night. “It’s great that you have such a social life,” she said. Thanks, mom.

***

Tennessee beckons to us on Wednesday, and I couldn’t be more excited. We’ll actually get to relax and enjoy time with Christian’s family, not to mention a wonderful car ride with music and podcasts and conversation.

***

I think I’ve found my blogging passion again.



Brown paper packages tied up with string
November 1, 2008, 9:50 am
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I think that chilly Saturday mornings are one of my favorite things.

I love waking up and having the freedom to lay under the covers for a few moments. Being warm when it’s supposed to be cold. Perfect.

Christian and I are going to go to the gym this morning, and then to the grocery store to pick up some ingredients for a casserole I’m making for our church’s annual Reformation Day picnic. I think it’s going to involve broccoli and cheese and probably a fair amount of butter.

Tonight I’m going to see High School Musical 3 with some of my closest friends. We haven’t all hung out in a long time, so I’m looking forward to being able to do something fun with them.

I’ve really been enjoying podcasts on my iPod. I’ve downloaded most of the sermons from First Pres, which is what I started with, but I’ve also enjoyed episodes of The Boundless Show and some NPR programs like Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me, This American Life and Fresh Air. They help the time go by really quickly at work.

In case you read through RSS or Facebook, I’ve changed the look of the blog, and I think I really like it. Part of that was because I perhaps kind of deleted the CSS I had before, and so it wasn’t really like I had much of a choice. But it gave me a chance to try something different, something I like even better. It also kept me up far too late last night.

Happy Reformation Day, friends.



Orange oatmeal breakfast pie (and beautiful art!)
May 28, 2008, 11:10 pm
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As many of you know, on Sunday mornings I help with the todder Sunday school class at church. In doing that, I’ve gotten to know several wonderful people. One of the other helpers is Lee Monts, who all the kids love. Tonight we realized that the other had a blog, so I wanted to point you to Lee’s blog – full of his beautiful art – and also share with you a recipe he e-mailed to me. I haven’t tried it, but it looks good!

————————-

Orange oatmeal breakfast pie

2 unbaked 9 inch pie crusts
6 lg. eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (13 to 14 oz.) evaporated milk
1 c. orange juice
1 c. uncooked oatmeal, quick cooking or old fashioned
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter, melted
2 tsp. grated orange peel
1/4 tsp. salt

In medium mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, juice, oatmeal, sugar, butter, orange peel and salt. Mix well. Pour half of the mixture in each of the two pie shells. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes, or until brown and set. Garnish with bacon and orange slices. Serves 12 to 16.