A Wish The Heart Makes

You know you're becoming a computer geek when you start dreaming about Perl scripts... which I did, all last night.

Too bad some departed programmer didn't arise in my dream to explain a few things to me, like why I couldn't get that multi-level-list script working yesterday. Thankfully, Dan rescued me this morning.

I know it's supposed to be nerdy, but this is kind of fun. I can't help myself.

AI5 Top... how many now?

For someone who blogs as faithfully about American Idol as I do, I seem a bit ambivalent about actually watching the program.

Friends come first! Brandon and I had fun hanging out and talking, even without watching Idol (he likes Idol about as much as Simon likes Ryan's jokes.) I'd tell you to click on his blog, where you could read his thoughts, but he deleted the whole thing yesterday... *sigh*

Not having watched the program, I did at least look it up online and read what happened. My opinions stand as such:

Despite Kellie's eminent likeability, I would have to say that she appears to want to go home. It takes a very strong, power-based voice to pull off Unchained Melody, and while I think she has a good country voice, its strength lies more in lightness and flexibility than power.

No matter what else happens, Chris and Katharine are still the best :)



"A bruised reed He will not break,
And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish..." Isaiah 42:3

I wrote this little piece on grace two years ago, as an outburst of joy in understanding that God wasn't watching me for the first slip-up, ready to cut me off from His love.

After hearing yesterday of the breaking of a friend who happens to be a wholehearted servant of God, this just seemed appropriate. The world will judge, and the church will judge more. I just dare them to continue. Not one of us is proof against breaking. We are already broken. All any of us have to offer in our defense is that we are forgiven, and we are loved.

Grace is one of the high concepts: it seems impossible to understand, until one day you "just get it" and then it is the simplest thing you've ever learned, and you wonder how you've missed it all this time.

It is a whole new dimension, bringing shape and life and color to concepts that seemed as flat and lifeless and uninteresting as an old textbook.

It is a learned concept, one God teaches us, much as a dance instructress gently corrects the line and posture of her students according to their level. Like any other talent, the faculties for it are a gift, but the ability to use it comes only with much practice.

Grace is the difference between religion and faith, between infatuation and true love, between good deeds and honor. And where the being of a person is concerned--soul and spirit--it is the difference between death and life.


You Might Be A Sinner If...

Last night, the bad-things-versus-good-people question came up in conversation.

I'll put that in the context of this week's events in my life and the lives of those around me: one of my best friends in the emergency room twice (he's okay), my car accident, and the news that another close friend may have cancer, among other things.

The thing that struck me, as I talked over the latest news with Mom, is how naturally we expect faith and good behavior to be rewarded in the physical realm. I don't understand how cancer happens to someone who has suffered as much with as much faith and purity of heart as our friend.

I know people who would say that when God is displeased with someone, he punishes them with "something bad happening."

I think something bad does happen when we place ourselves outside of God's design: We wind up trying to live out of our own rigid or skewed expectations of God and life.

Ultimately, that lifestyle punishes us far more thoroughly than the vague "something bad", even if it does coincidentally materialize. Especially since at some point we will all suffer.

…Which means that the spiritual joys must overshadow the physical, too… I think we grow into that throughout life :)


If You're Going To Collide With A Garbage Truck

Good thing I recently read Pollyanna, because topping off this week with a car accident could have left me a tearful mess. It might still pull that off. This has been a wild week.

But... I did recently read Pollyanna, so I found myself playing her Glad game this morning. Of course, I read it over a month ago, and this is the first time that has happened. Still:

I'm glad it was sunny outside, not raining like yesterday.

I'm glad I stopped in time and he was backing up, so neither one of us were at all hurt and the damage to my car was minimal. The garbage truck escaped without a scratch, as far as I can tell :)

I'm glad the officer decided not to press charges, either on me or the other driver. The guy who went speeding around the curve past my house, as the officer was walking back to his vehicle, was not so lucky... after all, he was probably breaking the law on purpose.

I'm glad my poor mother didn't faint or have a heart attack when I yelled three times in her ear, as I was talking to her on my cell phone when the accident occurred.

I'm glad the driver of the truck came over and asked me if I was okay and was pretty easygoing about the whole thing. Had he started yelling at me, I guarantee the floodgates would have burst.

But why, when the truck driver told me he still needed to back up to the dumpster, did I have to say "Okay, well, I better go get out of your way then!" Good grief...


AI5 Top 7

American Idol. I watched it last night. I have no idea how Rory and Logan and Jess are doing.

Chris Daughtry, however, did fabulously. He outshined everyone else with the possible exception of Katharine McPhee.

Paris did a lovely job, but that song was just a little too mature for her in my opinion. She seems childlike, and heartbreak songs just don't seem to work with innocence.

Ace and Elliot can both go.

Kellie's funny when she messes up.

Rod Stewart is as good as Barry Manilow at helping people out. He's also fun to watch on stage. The only big secular concert I've ever been to was Def Leppard and Bryan Adams, so I didn't know that about Rod Stewart before now.

Good show. The Songbook was a great choice for a theme.


Resurrection Sunday

The elders had to bring in chairs to seat everyone in first service yesterday. I got to thinking that perhaps heaven's praise-hours would be all crowded, standing-room only, just like that.

Except... maybe I won't be wondering if my dress is too junior-style for a 28-year-old woman, and whether my shoes match it properly... and maybe, if I'm standing next to a boy in his early teens, he won't have the "ugh, girls! cooties!" sort of attitude...

This is my favorite Easter song. I'm not one of those who think that the old hymns are better than any new music, but I do think that the greatest of songs transcend genre. This song stands out to me for being so completely, joyously full of life.

Christ the Lord is risen today, Allelujah!
Sons of men and angels say "Allelujah!"
Raise your joys and triumphs high! Allelujah!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply: Allelujah!

Lives again, our glorious King, Allelujah!
Where, O Death, is now thy sting? Allelujah!
Dying once, He all doth save! Allelujah!
Where thy victory, O Grave? Allelujah!

Soar we now where Christ hath led, Allelujah!
Following our exalted Head, Allelujah!
Made like him, like him we rise, Allelujah!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies! Allelujah!


I'm Out of the Cave Now

After watching The Goblet of Fire this past Sunday night, I am now completely caught up on Harry Potter.

None of the movies came anywhere near being as good as the books, although I liked them pretty well. Daniel Radcliffe looks exactly like I'd pictured Harry. The Goblet was almost remotely scary for a moment there, not that I need it to be scary. And the actors have actually begun learning to act. I missed Dobby, though, from the book:

"Socks are Dobby's favorite, favorite clothes, sir! I has seven now... but they has made a mistake in the shop, Harry Potter, they is giving you two the same!"

My one real annoyance with the movies is Dumbledore. What are the producers about, changing his lines? Anybody can say, as he did in the first movie, "Let the feast begin" but only Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore gets up and says, as he does in the first book, that in honor of the occasion he would like to say a few words "...and here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!"

Other than that, though, the movies are likeable. Quidditch, Hagrid, getting a good mental picture of Ron, and more, made this loyal Harry fan glad she saw them. Now I look forward to movie #5, where I'll get to meet one of my favorite characters: Luna Lovegood.

"We're going on an expedition to Sweden this summer, to see if we can catch a Crumple-Horned Snorkack." I'm right there with you, Luna.


AI5 Top 8... or not

Despite my best intentions, I had to be in Anacortes last night, which meant that at 8 PM PST I was at my parents' watching... The Gilmore Girls. All I have to say about that is that Rory needs to get over Logan already and fall for Jess again. But then, Logan is showing every sign of getting himself killed off in the next two or three episodes.

Chris Knight told me that Kellie was going to sing Bohemian Rhapsody, which seemed like a recipe for a very unique experience. Briana Bell, who likes country music about as much as Simon does, told me afterward that "Kellie rocked for the first time" so it must have worked out.

The parts I did catch, during the Gilmores' commercial breaks: part of Katharine's song, which sounded good to me, and Taylor's rendition of Crazy Little Thing Called Love. Taylor's uproariously funny performance, crowned by his having to try twice to kick over the mic stand, caught my family's attention so much that we were late returning to the Gilmore Girls and missed part of Rory's conversation with Jess.

After the Elton John fiasco a couple of seasons ago, I wouldn't have expected a Queen-themed night to go very well, but it sounds like everyone rose to the occasion. It should be interesting to see who goes home.


There's One In Every Season

All right... I was shocked even when Jon Peter Lewis was eliminated at position #8, and when Constantine Maroulis got voted off at #6. But Mandisa at number 9? How do we explain that?


AI5 Top 9

My main frustration with American Idol is that it runs at the same time as the Gilmore Girls. One would think that the only two shows I really watch with any regularity could be put on different hours. Then again, one would think a lot of things that never make it to reality.

In utter disregard of the judges' opinions, I think that Chris and Katharine proved once again that they, out of all the rest of the crowd, deserve to be singing professionally. I've got to give props to Kellie, though. Last night was make-or-break for her, and it could have gone either way. She took a risk with "Fancy" and pulled it off beautifully.

Ace's performance was also nice, and I never would have thought Mandisa--or anyone else--could have pulled off a Shania song as well as she did.

Everybody else, quite simply, had an off week.

Yes, I mean Bucky too. I'm afraid I can't root for Bucky. He reminds me too much of Kenny Chesney.

Rhetorical question of the week: Why do they have a country night when none of the judges like country? Cheers to Katharine for getting Simon to say that he hated it, which of course we all knew anyway.

In other AI news, the judges and host had quite the verbal war last night. I personally think Simon's love life should be off limits for jokes, along with Ryan's personality, but that's just me :)