25 February 2010

Now and Then

My hair is longer than it used to be,
And my eyes greener.
My head doesn't ring with your sorrows now,
And my pillow is more welcoming with
Each passing night.
I listen to more music than I used to -
And I sing louder.
I cry harder now too,
Because the experience of you taught me
To allow my grief.
Yesterday, I danced in the wind
And told my heart to the rain.
Is it not better, I ask you,
To embrace your unknown destiny
Than to be given what you thought you wanted?
Strange -
Once, I would have given you everything.
But isn't it funny -
Now my eyes are greener than they used to be,
And my hair is longer.

With regard,
That girl in Switzerland

16 February 2010

Two Monuments

Upon Viewing Geneva's Cathedral from Across the Lake at the Brunswick Monument

Two memorials,
Both raised to men.
One man sleeps aloft,
Sepulcher held high
By pillars and gated walls -
No man dares enter there.
One Man does not sleep,
Yet He also is lifted up.
Beneath His towers and spires
The doors are thrown wide,
So that all may enter in.
Welcoming Cathedral,
How beautiful are your
Walls of stone,
Built by man, for Man.
Sepulcher lifted high,
Enjoy your earthly throne
While you may.
Other spires point
More Heavenward.

That girl in Switzerland

09 February 2010

Leviticus and a Reminder to be Salty

Lately God has been giving me many reminders of how I am supposed to be a living example of Jesus to the world. These reminders are in answer to my prayers that God will continue to purge blemishes from my life and show me what it means to be a genuine follower of Christ.

Monday afternoon, I was reading in Luke, preparing for a Bible study that evening. Luke 12:8-9 popped out at me:

"I say to you, whoever confesses me before men, him shall the Son of Man confess before the Angels of God, but whoever denies me before men shall be denied before the Angels of God."

I stopped to consider the verses, and wrote in the margin that this was a great inspiration to be more vocal about my faith, but moved on because I was trying to get through ten chapters.

Later that night after the Bible study, I climbed in bed and picked up my Bible again, this time to start reading Leviticus. Topic of the evening: sacrifices.

It's really easy to get bogged down in Leviticus, and I honestly wasn't reading with lot of inspiration, but I read something that made me stop.

Leviticus 2:13 - "Every grain offering of yours, moreover, you shall season with salt, so that the salt of the covenant of your God shall not be lacking from your grain offering; with all your offerings you shall offer salt."

I wondered why God required salt.

Put as simply as possible, grain offerings were offerings of worship to God, made of fine flour and oil, either baked or fried into an unleaven bread. God said that these offerings would go up before Him with a sweet aroma. How interesting that God ordered the Israelites to offer their sacrifices of worship with salt.

Since I was reading in bed late at night, I didn't get up to use a commentary, but I did stop to mull over the idea. God required salt.

The thought took my mind back to the New Testament to Matthew 5, in which Jesus states that we believers are the salt of the earth.

As my mind was searching for a connection, I thought of Romans 12:1, where the writer states that we are to offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God, holy and acceptable.

God wouldn't accept a grain offering that didn't include salt. Give yourself as a living sacrifice. You are the salt...

And then my mind went back to the verses from Luke that I had read earlier that day - if you confess Jesus before men, Jesus will confess you before the Angels of God, but if you don't confess Jesus, He won't acknowledge you either.

Four verses that seemed unrelated joined together to remind me that if I am not...salty...I won't be acceptable. How I long to be holy and acceptable to God.

I want my living sacrifice of praise to go up before my Lord with a sweet aroma.

So interesting the connections God will make if you just ask Him. I love Him, and I love His Word.

Be blessed,
That girl in Switzerland

05 February 2010

A Bit about Dreams, and a Request for Prayer

I wish it were safe to really bare my soul on this blog, but that's impossible. Blogspot just doesn't cut it for the deep stuff, you know?

But is it ok for me to admit that I'm having a hard time right now? I think I need prayer. Since November of 2008, I've been having horrible dreams several nights every week. Last night was the worst yet. There is no worse feeling than waking up in a cold sweat because you've just watched someone you love die a horrible death over and over, or you've stepped back in time and then awoken to find it was all a dream. Sometimes I dream about my family, but mostly I dream about this friend I used to have. I can't tell you how many times I've woken up shivering and crying with my hair matted to my sweaty head, and with horror in my heart. Last night this happened five times.

I used to cry for hours and beg God to take away my dreams. I would stumble through my days and then stay up until three or four in the morning so that I could have a few hours of uninterrupted sleep before doing it all over again the next day.

Then I started praying for the person I was dreaming about. I prayed for no other reason than to get my mind off of the negative feelings I always had when I woke up, and I thought maybe the dreams would start to go away. They didn't.

Then I started to wonder if God might think I was simply the right one to pray for this person. Maybe I was the one who knew him well enough to pray as specifically as he needed. But hasn't it been long enough? And is it ok to admit to God that I just don't want to have to pray for that person anymore? Is that utterly selfish of me? Is it alright to wish it would all just go away, or that that person would just fall off the earth, or that he had never existed in the first place so that I could actually go to bed without being terrified of what I'll see the second I close my eyes? Really, God?? I'm willing to pray if he needs it, but why does it have to be me? I'm tired to my core.

Or maybe I've been going through an attack from Satan for the last year and nearly two months. Maybe I'm being tested to see how I'll react, or to see what I'm made of. But God knows that I desperately want Him and His will more than anything or anyone else in life. If I'm being attacked, then God will help me fight, right? I want to have only Christ-like reactions to people and situations, but the feelings that strive within me just bring me to my knees some days.

This whole experience has gone beyond shallow emotions or pain, frustration or anxiety, and has turned into what feels like a desperate fight between the spiritual forces in the world, with me caught in between. And when I wake up in a panic in the dead of night, I always feel like I've lost the fight. I'm so tired of being exhausted.

Last night I dreamt about a hallway, and a suitcase, and a photograph. In the photo was a beautiful family - a man, a woman, and two golden-haired daughters. I knew without looking that the man was my old friend. The woman's face was blurry, but those two girls...oh, I can picture their chubby cheeks and curly hair and bright blue eyes even now so many hours later. Such beautiful little girls. And all I can do is pray with longing, "Father, help them be a successful, happy family. Help those two little girls to learn who You really are, and help all four of them to overflow with love for each other and for You."

It's so strange, but waking up from my dream about a hallway, a suitcase, and a photograph, I was absolutely convinced that I was in neither a bad dream nor the past, but that I was actually seeing the future. And who knows if that's true or not. I just desperately wish I could survive without sleeping tonight or ever again.

I'm so sorry if you don't think that blogspot is the place for a post like this. I just need to share it with someone. If you're reading, and if you care, would you mind sending up a prayer for me? It's easy for me to pray for people. It's quite hard for me to ask for prayer myself, you know? But I need it right now, I think, probably quite a lot.

Thanks for reading,
That girl in Switzerland

04 February 2010

On that (SECOND) Bloody Movie Involving Shiny Vampires...

I can't stay quiet about this new Twilight movie. Seriously, people, it's been two months. Give it a rest already. Do we still need to be talking about "Twilight 2: The Return of Skinny Emo Vamps" (this time with even more glitter, and SHIRTLESS!)?? I mean, really...I can sum up this movie for you in four words: bad story, bad acting. And that's all you really need to know...not that you should stop reading this rant, mind you...

First of all, let's sum up "Twilight 1: Enter Glittery Vampires." You have Bella, a self-absorbed emo-teen who speaks in mono-tone (or not at all) and doesn't smile for pretty much the whole movie. And you have Edward, a 100+ year-old, shiny vampire who can't make up his mind (though he seems to have no trouble making up his face) and who has serious communication problems. So take two "people" (but seriously, can we even label them this, since Ed is a blood-sucking monster, and B is about as zombie as an actual human can get, or at least you'll think so until you see DivaVampII...) and throw them into a weird, blood-scented, glitter-induced relationship, and what you get is two people who can't admit they even want to be friends with each other trying to be together yet avoid each other for about two hours of screen time. Such a thriller. I can't even tell you how it makes my heart pound.

So "Twilight: New Moon"...yeah, it pretty much picks right up where the first messy affair left off. Bella and Edward are still fighting their attraction while not saying much of anything.

The movie's plot is even worse than you might imagine. Summed up in basic dialogue, it goes something like this:

Bella: Since I apparently order people around on my birthday, kiss me while I do a cocky eyebrow raise.

Edward: I'm...leaving you...forever...because...(dramatic stare)...my...little brother...tried to...(traumatized pause)...eat you...after you got...[wait for it]...a paper cut.

Bella: I now have a death wish, but since I couldn't die while I was waddling on the ground for hours out in the forest where I know there is a horrific wild animal killing people, I'm just going to wallow in my misery for months on end, throw away every other relationship in my life, and become an obsessed adrenalin junkie who totally uses this hunk Jacob, even though I know he's head over heels in love with me...but do I care?? Heck, no, because all I can even think about is how to be stupid enough to get my vampire ex's dramatically-eyebrowed, ghostly visage to appear and tell me not to be stupid. Oh - and let's see if we can't just throw a random trip to Italy in the mix!!

SERIOUSLY, my dialogue is actually better than the dialogue in the movie. If someone had just thought to release a two and a half minute version (thirty seconds for Bella to say her stuff, and the other two minutes for darling Edward to stumble though his one soggy line), it would have saved movie-goers the trouble of yawning through all those lousy scenes that DRAG on for HOURS without effecting the plot AT ALL. Yeah, my dialogue just about sums up the whole movie, other than mentioning that all the main male characters go through wardrobes full of shirts because they keep ripping them off through the whole movie.

Actually, let's chat about the shirtless guys in this movie for a little bit...

I didn't COUNT the number of times the Twilight guys ripped their shirts off this time around, so I'm just going off the top of my head for this one...

First of all, you have Jacob, Mr. Werewolf himself, pulling off his shirt to wipe Bella's head. What I want to know is, what kind of guy just offs his shirt to sponge a girl's head?? It isn't like she's bleeding that much. You can't even SEE the blood until after you see that Jacob has just stripped off half his clothes in the middle of the road.

Here's a paraphrased dialogue from the movie:

Bella says, "I'm sorry."

And Jacobs replies, "Sorry? You don't have to apologize for bleeding, Bella. It's just blood."

OK, SO IT'S JUST BLOOD, SO LEAVE YOUR BLOODY SHIRT ON, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. I was more worried about that than the fact that Bella's head was bleeding. She would do a great Monty Python, though...only a flesh wound and all.

Not that most of the women watching the movie are going to complain about Jacob not wearing his shirt... He isn't so bad. There, that had to be said, unfortunately, to make this an honest rant.

But really, those werewolves...What I'm curious about is this...every time they change from humans to wolves, their shirts rip off, so then when they change back, they're shirtless. OK, so that seems to make sense, RIGHT?? But WHAT ABOUT THEIR SHORTS??? Not that I WANTED to see them naked, because that is NOT where I'm going with this, but seriously...just being logical, wouldn't the same thing happen to their shorts?? If a wolf is too big for a man's shirt, he's probably going to be too big for a man's shorts too. And yet here is this pack of werewolves wandering around in shorts the whole movie. Explanation???

Ok, so here's the one that's really painful to talk about: dear Ed and his glittery chest there at the end of the movie when he's going to reveal himself to the crowd in Italy...

Do any of us really want to see his pasty, chicken-fleshy chest??? NO. A THOUSAND TIMES NO. Please, Edward, either work out or leave your shirt on in future movies. And lay off the glitter while you're at it. That stuff can't be good for your lungs. Or our eyes.

Alright, moving on...I can't take that subject anymore.

I don't get why everyone feels so sorry for Bella. Will someone explain this please?? Because from what I can see, she has two guys who desperately want her. She's pretty much best friends with one of them, and he happens to be a fairly good guy from the looks of it. He's got a sense of humor, great hair, a great body, and he cares about her more than about himself (or his shirt). The other guy, although he lacks charm, wit, good looks, or humor (and does not lack in age, pasty flesh, fangs or glitter), is so devoted to Bella's safety that he leaves her despite the fact that he is willing to die if she stops existing in his world. So what is she complaining about all the time??? The whole movie, not to mention the lives of both of these guys, revolves around her, for pete's sake...isn't that exactly what she wants??

So what are some reactions people are having, other than blowing way too much money, over this New Bloody Travesty?? It might be easy to write me off here and say that people aren't really taking the Twilight craze too far, and that it's easy to separate the fantasy from the reality, but I heard about a guy who posted on fmylife.com that his WIFE, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, PUT GLITTER ALL OVER HIM WHILE HE SLEPT SO THAT HE WOULD LOOK LIKE EDWARD IN THE SUNLIGHT. I mean, COME ON!??! If we go with the assumption that this actually happened, then we have to stop and say a quick prayer for this poor guy's marriage, because his wife obviously thinks there's room for dramatic aesthetic improvement...Or we could just go with the assumption that that didn't really happen, but even the guy writing it had to think up the idea, right?? And that might even be worse than it actually happening because then it's HIM WHO HAS BEEN DAY DREAMING ABOUT EDWARD, in which case we still need to pray for his marriage. I honestly can't decide which scenario is worse. At least we'll all know exactly what's going on when people start complaining about the rising price of glitter...

Oh...here's something else that bugged me...

Bella decides she wants Edward to change her into a vampire. He doesn't want to because he's worried about her losing her soul. And all Bella can say to that is a stuttered, "Well, I don't believe in that." My dear girl, you didn't believe in vampires either until the middle of the last movie. And all it took was a little book of old Indian stories and a few internet articles to convince you. Why don't you read the BIBLE and figure out the bit about your soul before you influence yet more people to decide the vampire religion is more interesting than worrying about where they'll be spending eternity??

A basic message of this movie: That it's ok to romanticize and flirt with suicide just because you don't have someone to complete you. I sadly wonder how many young girls actually will commit suicide because they've seen this movie and think it's ok to act like Bella does when she loses Edward, or like Edward does when he thinks Bella is dead.

I could go on and on forever about this movie, but my fingers are sore from all the typing. I could talk about the ridiculous slow motion romp in the woods, or bring up the way Edward still can't stop staring, but for now I'll just quote Bella...

Bella said that she felt like a hole had been punched through her chest. Watching this movie makes me feel like a hole has been punched through my head, and that is no exaggeration.

Ranting a bit too late to stop the craze,
That girl in Switzerland