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I had an inquiry yesterday as to what "miniette" means and now for your reading benefit I'll let you in on the secret:
A baton twirler is often known as a Majorette. I twirled in the high school marching band for 3 years.
In Bemidji there is a little girl twirling group known as the "Miniettes" (not major yet, but mini). I took lessons in this group for 8 years and taught for 3 years.

So, I guess that is why I am a Miniette. It is a part of my life that not many people know about and not many people know about this blog, so it fits.
That's me
I'm the lady that makes coffee.
Katie's Home!

I didn't know it was this bad

The cycle of revenge and violence has to end. I would add the cycle of poverty has to end and the cycle of alcoholism has to end. These kids are born with 3 strikes against them; fetal alcohol syndrom, lead poisoning from poor housing, parents who neglect them and more - its amazing that they rise above the desperation.
We raise warriors, not children. - Aimless

Beacon of Hope: Aimless, Upward Bound

Aimless mentors these youth! She teaches them all summer, calls them all winter. She had lunch with a group of Cass Lake students on main street the day before Louie Bisson's death. Sierra Goodman's sister is in the group of mentees that I was involved in. Its amazing how close she is to these stories. She was the first one I thought of when I read them. Aimless says this coverage has centered her focus more.

We were both amazed that Leech Lake was being covered by a Twin Cities news paper. The stories are heart-wrenching and unbelievable. I remember them happening, but had never read about them in such depth. We were just talking on Friday night, how much rural areas are like inner-cities. They have many of the same setbacks - poverty, drugs, alcohol, etc.

On Saturday, all the mentors were recognized at a little picnic in the park. But Aimless deserves a lot of accolades for the work she has put into her mentor program - she frickin created it! So here I am telling the world what a good job you are doing Aimless! She isn't just talking about it - she is working for change, fighting the good fight - and she LOVES it!
How to steal the Eucharist

For a while now, I've had this daydream of going to a Catholic church every day before work and taking communion there. The problem with this notion, of course, is that the Catholic church will not give communion to non-Catholics. Their reasoning for not doing so is perfectly sound within the context of Roman Catholicism, so I don't take it as a slight at all.

I suppose I could go to an Episcopalian church--I was baptized an Episcopalian, and they'd look awfully petty to refuse me at this point. But this seems like a half-measure. Plus, I don't think any of the Episcopal churches around here offers daily communion.

We Methodists sure don't. We generally only like to take communion once a month, and even then it seems like a kind of necessary chore, like doing the bills or cleaning the drapes.

I am all for sacred things; I rejoice in the sacred. I believe in setting apart actions and places and time in order to consecrate them to God. I just wish we didn't have to take ourselves so seriously while we did it. We aren't the ones that make things holy; that's God's job. Think how nice it would be if we stopped trying to do it for him.

This frustrates me. In many ways the Methodist church has become spiritually devoid. Mine has at least. Worship is not a sermon. It is ceremony, it is song, it is prayer. I long to have the sacred in our worship. But there isn't much. My pastor went so far as to make fun of communion by calling it "deli-style" ON MAUNDY THURSDAY.

The Longing
It occurs to me that faith is a creative process, like painting or writing or dancing. We don't think about faith that way, and we suffer for it. We think of faith as a thing you have, or maybe a thing that you do, a set of choices that you make. These are both true, in a way, but there's something higher than that, something better than either one of those things that embodies all that faith is.
And so it is with faith. Faith isn't simply a belief in something; it is a mode of expression unto itself. Faith is a dance performed for an audience of One. The words of a prayer can become brittle and crack on the tongue, but an act of kindness performed in love can obviate it. A worship service can seem empty and contrived, but a flicker of light through a stained-glass window can sometimes be all the sermon we need. Faith is our way of expressing wordless knowledge to a listener who is understood only in part. All of our prayers and sacraments and icons are a means to that end, props in the play, instruments in the orchestra.

new email
with google! julie.albrecht@gmail.com
Email Hoaxs
Data Structures project = INSUPERABLE: incapable of being surmounted, overcome, passed over, or solved.

I need a new attitude.
U.S. occupied Iraq is looking little different from Saddam Hussein's Iraq. The press and affiliation are violently controlled. Civilians are being slaughtered. There may be marginal, symbolic gains, but for the average Iraqi totalitarian control feels little different now than it did two years ago--except that now it is a well dressed white man and his army that rules them. TheyBlinked
UPDATED 4/18 Women in computing:

Eric Roberts, the keynote speaker, talked about the culture of computer science particularly pertaining to women and people of diversity. He pointed out the fact that most women have not had the experience of taking apart, putting back together, and messing with computers prior to coming to college and a comp. sci department. Most men HAVE had this experience. This automatically makes women feel behind, when often they are at par or surpassing their male peers in class.

No kidding. I remember hearing someone say in the lab that if you haven't done some of that and also done programming outside of college you shouldn't be there.

We should be funelling students into the program, not filtering. Roberts explains there is a need for IT/CS people. Many currently in the field do not even have degrees in CS, well-trained people are missing from the workforce.

When there are more students in the program the percentage of women goes up.

We need diverse people in cs. Not the stereotypical obsessed computer nerd who lives in computers. This stereotype is off-putting to women. They may leave a department for lack of community.

Personally, one of the reasons I stayed in CS was for the community of students and faculty. Especially, exemplified in the CS lab. It is our homebase, where we hang out. Even though there can be prejudices against women and especially gays voiced lately.
<Roberts' presentation>

This was certainly the best part of the conference this weekend. It explained some of the things I have been going through.

Weekend recap:
We all talked in the car the whole way down - no radio, no cd player - a first for me to not retreat into my own little world of reading and listening to music.
Reshmi and my presentation went well.
We attended other good student and faculty presentations as well.
We had to particpate in a programming contest, which to me is like forced, timed homework on a larger scale. Basically torture.
Our faculty advisor took us out for drinks on Friday night. It was great relating to him about real world stuff - reminicsing about college, talking about music, alcohol, life...
Finally the keynote speaker on the last day inspired us to go back and be good responsible programmers who are alturistic and community based.
On the way home we stopped for ice cream!
I think that in all relationships there is an initial negotiation of expectations, desires, likes, dislikes, and natural tendencies. At some point there is then a decision to love despite all of those things. And that choice is a very noble thing. The opposite choice--to abandon, reject, hate based on those aformentioned natural occurances--is very ignoble.


The execution of a meaningful life, of a Christ-like life, is to make the noble choice in both the vague and profound interactions and intersections of exisdance.

As I reflect on my experiences at this United Nations Session, I am reminded of the story in Numbers 27:1-11 of Mahlah and her four sisters who brought their experience of injustice to the entire community of Israel. What makes this story intriguing is that their experience of injustice came as a result of the law that was given by God to Moses. Upon hearing the women's challenge, Moses placed the case before God. God responded by acknowledging the validity of the challenge and changed the law. Justice appears to be the overarching ethic that guided the law. Rather than viewing justice as static, the story in Numbers presents justice as a living, dynamic, and powerful ethic that continues to say a resounding "no" to injustice. It is a story of hope for all who experience injustice because it reveals God as one who upholds justice at all times.
Nontando Hadebe
Harvard eliminates tuition for some
Ron DePasquale Chicago Tribune

Peter Brown did not come to Harvard University to move boxes.

Yet the 22-year-old sociology and Portuguese literature major from Oklahoma has been spending up to 18 hours a week moving boxes and doing other odd jobs to pay his $280 monthly tuition bill. Beginning next fall, however, Brown will be able to devote more time to his studies, because Harvard will not charge students whose parents, like Brown's mother, make less than $40,000 a year.
Along with eliminating the average $2,300 expected contribution from low-income students' families, Harvard also announced that students whose parents earn from $40,000 to $60,000 will receive a substantial increase in aid.

via wea.news
poem from my tea box:
With good destiny
spring comes to your soul,
By Name's meditation,
be ever in bloom.

All three worlds flower,
from their nectar

You will eat ambrosial fruit.

In saint's company,
be blessed with bliss,
Praising the Name,
be fresh and renewed.
don't freakout
I read a short story in class yesterday where a black woman analyzed her heritage - American and African. People of other ethnicities are often ecouraged to remember their heritage, to continue traditions and culture. Maybe cause I am white and my culture is everywhere it is not necessary to encourage this in myself, but what is my heritage? American culture, heritage, tradition seems to be very empty and not worth the effort.

Nevertheless, as I was talking to Amy this evening we noticed that we regularly embrace our whiteness/heritage by engaging in the long minnesota goodbye everytime we chat on the phone.

Good Friday
(Jesus dies) Serious, solemn, no sermon, just readings, prayers and hymns. What more could you ask for. (maybe more candles)
Maundy Thursday
(Last supper, Jesus is betrayed, garden of Gethsethme) Our pastor doesn't know how to be respectful or serious. He distracts us with jokes about the sun blinding him from the stained glass window - more than once. This is annoying - please focus. He gives a sermon about how many hours he spent working on his Palm Sunday and Easter sermons and how long other pastors spend.

They don't want to do the work of changing the altar for Thursday, because it is set for Friday with a red cloth, rocks and a crown of thorns. Hello! This is Holy week - pull out all the stops, make each day special. The altar is the communion table! This is supposed to be the most significant communion service of the year. They use a cart and he calls it communion deli style. I find this undermining and unsatisfiying. Give me some ceremony, formality, tradition.
wrath music
Father into your hands I commend my Spirit Father into your hands why have you forsaken me in your eyes foresaken me in your thoughts foresaken me in your heart foresaken me God of wrath God of love God of earth and God above God of hope God of peace God of you and God of me. My love for You my heart for You my life for You all I am for You. Blood through my veins for You I give my world to You all I am and all I have I lay it down for You dancing 'round with You spinning 'round with You laughing loud with You my love

Six CDs came in the mail for me today.
I ordered them in February, but the last one was released on Tuesday and they don't ship till they are all out. Anyway - woo for new music.

And my friends of hillary tee came too! (mine's blue)

wow, i am much happier than i thought. i went out tonight with some people that i don't usually and they made everything evident as to why i used to be so depressed and lonely. one person in particular seemed to want nothing more than to "pound" on others. Ram put downs to everything that, especially i said. Constant name calling. Not open to actual discussion at all. everything would be escalated to arguing.

i was extremely unhappy being with these people. i wish i would have stayed home and cleaned the house, like i was going to.
State of the Union
Also, do repeated references to "the homeland" strike anyone else as weird? I suppose it's a perfectly reasonable phrase to use, but it sounds a little "Vaterland" to me.
Holy Week youth group
Youth group was so great today! The middle schoolers listened and talked and prayed and asked awesome questions.

The theme for the afternoon was a passion/play/holy week/station/journey thing that I concocted from my desire for experiential church activities, research of postmodern youth ministry, the book of uncommon prayer, verses from the bible gateway and music I have downloaded/mixed and burned. Due to Student Achievement Day at BSU, I was rather rushed to set up, but I threw everything together, set CD players to the right songs, lit candles, etc. And put myself in the attitude of happy/uncool/silly/thinks she's funny/youth worker. I chatted briefly with Kari as to what I had planned for the night. We did a little "it will work out" pep talk and gathered the now roaming middle schoolers. I decided I was going to have a good time, whether the meeting worked or not (basically, I kept my expectations low).

I had broken down the days during this (holy) week into ways I thought they could understand and would be fun and interesting. I had some prepared prayers, responsive readings, and a few questions, but mostly I just "winged it". I used my own knowledge of the history of each event and my way of adding "dude" to what Jesus says to explain. I try to help put things in their world view - the cars/computers/school/america view as opposed to some guy 2000 years ago who looks nothing like them (although it is hard to find a picture of Jesus that doesn't look like a WASP). After a little ditsy excited explaination of how much I enjoy holy week and making fun of myself a little bit - this really seems to help me break through my utter seriousness and allow me to connect with them and then they actually, listen, our activities are meaningful and they even learn something, which usually leads to critical thinking and very deep and valid questions. These kids can really amaze sometimes.

We began in (what we at our church call) the upper room. I had "Hosanna" from Jesus Christ Superstar playing as they entered. They didn't like it too much. So, I didn't make them listen for too long, just long enough to hear the chorus. It is really much more effective with the visuals in the movie, which is what I had originally wanted to have playing, but the church doesn't have the video. We sat in a circle on the floor under the huge skylight. They did their best not to bounce off the walls. We talked about what they were saying in the song. The history of Palm Sunday and other rituals that our church does for the day. We looked at a verse that talked about the "Triumphal Entry" and then one girl prayed a prayer I had typed out from uncommon prayer.
...Give us the courage to open our eyes and see it all – the beauty and the pain. After all, the same crowd that cheered your son’s arrival screamed for his execution a few days later. Father, help us be the disciples and not the crowd. Give us just the smallest hint of who you are and what we can become through you, and we will follow you to the end of it.

Our church has a chapel with a stained glass window of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsethme, so we moved there next. The room was dim, but the light from outside illuminated the window and cast a green glow on us. The mood of Maundy Thursday is far more solemn than Palm Sunday and so we left the lights off for atmosphere. We sat cozily in the first pew and on the floor in front of it. This time it was mostly just questions. Me asking them about passover, communion, betrayal, gethsethme. Basically, I know they want to talk - so I'll let them tell me the story. And by now they were asking thoughtful and honest questions: "How do you know that's what Jesus was thinking when he was praying," etc. Kari and I did our best to answer. And we said another prayer.
...The words of Christ are posted on flashing neon signs, so bright we can’t ignore them. Then we turn around, and our actions put us to shame...Forgive us God for all the stupid things we’ve done and all the stupid things we’re going to do. Amen.

Our "Good Friday" location was the fellowship hall in the basement of the church. No lights, a make shift altar on a folding chair with my (first nations interpretation) picture of Jesus, candles and red stained glass window projected on the wall and picture. On the tile floor I had candles in the shape of a cross and a CD player with some caustic music (which I had decided not to use). I set the tone as depressing, sad. They participated in a responsive reading which cast them as the crowd telling Pilate to crusify Jesus. They seemed to like this (I think mostly because they were saying the same thing over and over and they knew what to say and they could say it louder and louder). We read verses and prayed. At different times we blew out some of the candles until they were all out and Jesus had died in our story/journey. One guy noticed that the last words Jesus says are in a System of a Down song. Amazingly, I had my system/david crowder* mix queued up in the CD player next to me. And so after our prayer I played it while they were playing with the wax from the candles. We were in the moment, there was nice conversation. I talked to Kari about how I like the juxtaposition of the cultural and xian song together and how it resolves into something positive and uplifting.

*Last year when I was mad at God, I mixed the intro from System's Sweep Pea, a part from Chop Suey and a David Crowder Band song called God of Wrath into one song that I called wrath music. I love the juxtaposition of the extremely cultural and angry sound of System next to a Xian band. The xian song goes from rather uneasy, questioning, frustrated lyrics to that of (possible) understanding, peace, joy, love - dancing music.

Finally, we moved to the choir loft of the sanctuary for "Easter Sunday". We had a bird's eye view of the altar and pews below. But, then faced the huge gorgeous stained glass window of 3 crosses on the back wall for final prayer.
Come into our hearts like a storm inside a closed room. Change everything. Pick us up and spin us around and make everything new. Give us that one moment when all things are possible, and we feel like we can do anything in your name. Give us a chance and let us show you that we can change your world. We can be the creations who honor their Creator. Turn our lives upside down, God. Make us new. Amen.

Then, when they were free to go and play the two tough girls of the group opted out in favor of being with God while, dancing, and listening to my crazy, xian, seldom heard, music. They went back down to the basement and reveled in God's presence! This is simply amazing to me - it brings me so much joy and makes all work ever done to plan worth it. The ones with attitudes, who often interrupt and have problems at school - they wanted to go deeper. They even took the CD player up to the chapel, so as not to be disturbed by those running through the basement. (This shouldn't surprise me, it is those in need that God reaches out to.)

Crazy questions - I'm so glad Kari was there to help with answers. Its much better to have two perspectives on something. The meeting totally worked AND they had time to play. We all had fun, learned, were moved and had community. This is what church is about!

Some of my biggest hurdles is trying to make youth group NOT like school, NOT just me talking the whole time, NOT just playing[watching a movie, running around the church] the whole time. I'm constantly trying to figure out how to keep them engaged and not distracted. It is also challenging to contain their hyperness. After school it seems like they are on a million volts. So, I try to find ways to chanel that into positive outlets and facilitate their coming down from those highs. Today, it was easy for me to modify each part - if they seemed more interested at times or had lots of questions that facillitated discussion we stayed in different areas longer. I also ended my problem of overplanning or having far too many activities, dicussions, crafts, etc. where they are left with no time to socialize, commune with each other. I find they love to talk - this is very conducive to guided questions or discussion. I simply ask them a bunch of questions and our discussion is shaped by their answers. I used to make them write stuff down - it worked at one time, but now they really don't want to do that, so we don't. I find when I explain exactly what I want them to do I am much more successful in getting them to do things (like sit in a certain spot). If they know the expectation, it is easier to enforce. I also find I have a much better time and the afternoon is better for everyone if I just give up ownership of the little meeting I created. So what if they are so hyper it is obvious that a quiet prayer won't work, so what if time runs out and you can't finish, let go of your baby and let it grow. Let it become what each youth needs for the night.
it's getting late
I've been aware of the fact that I'm not nearly as strong-willed, as faith-driven, as passionate and compassionate as I used to be. . .I've been aware that all I need to do is find God again and I know where He is and I know that He's waiting and I know that He loves me (and all I need to do is love Him even a tiny bit more than I do at
second) and that's all, that's it, but I haven't yet made the effort or sung Him a song with my soul pouring out through my lips though I know that's all
(and it's getting late).

I don't clearly define what you will get from a link. I disagree, it makes perfect sense to me.
im trying to find truth in words, in rhymes, in notes, in all the things i wish id wrote...
just tie the rope and kick the chair leave me hanging there, gasping for air yeah dont mind me three feet from the ceiling and i think i know (whoah oh oh) why you never get to close its cause youre too scared to when im with you theres no point in breathing youd rather watch me drown, then see your hands get wet you took the plot from stage to screen and turned it to an epic scene so whisper it once, tell me again cmon whisper it twice, i cant stand to see my whole life flash before my eyes when im with you theres no point in breathing no point in breathing
its your bed, so please choose a side ill take the one closest to the door and you start to speak the words that try to justify do far more wrong then anything you do so grab the coat, the keys, the tension speaks but we're singing it ill tap the break while you crack the window the smell of smoke is making my lungs explode the 51 is backed up and too slow lets tune out by turning on the radio and this town is dead weve been caught in these sheets way too long lets just see whos up on this screen no one i know is more depressing then me or should i say the two of us cause after all we're all weve got and tension speaks but we're singing it
the format
Happy Holy Week!
This is my favorite time of year. 4 holidays in one week people. And they run the gamit of emotions - Palm Sunday with its excitement and anticipation, Maundy Thursday with its deception, anxiety, confusion, the sadness and depression of Good Friday and the utter joy and celebration of Easter Sunday.

Easter is new beginnings. Spring is coming, school is getting closer to the end. The sun is out longer and more. We've come out of the darkness of winter and lent.

This week has so much tradition and ceremony. And of course I am a sucker for ceremony. Behave myself into believing and all, rather than reason myself into it.
I am so embarrassed to be represented by these people, according to them: I'm evil, I lie and I discriminate against women
My representative addressed his constituents this weekend and he brought news of how our governor views Democrat Minnesotans:

Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a Republican, met Wednesday with House GOP members. “He called it a knife fight,” Doug Fuller said of the battle with the DFL-controlled Senate.
They’re evil. They lie.

Not only that, my other representative is going to accuse my party of being discriminatory towards women:

State Senate Republican women plan to hold a news conference Monday morning to claim the DFL is discriminatory in blocking commissioner appointments.

Senate Democrats, who control that chamber, plan to block Lt. Gov. Carol Molnau as commissioner of Transportation, and stymie Cheryl Pierson Yecke as commissioner of Education. “They are very discriminatory on who they confirm and won’t confirm,” Sen. Carrie Ruud, R-Breezy Point, told Beltrami County GOP delegates Saturday at their county convention. Ruud called Molnau “a fabulous person who is down to earth she joins in our Bible study,”

As if joining bible study ensures you will do a good job as the Transportation commisioner. Stop playing the God card.

Sharon Markor and Mee Moua, who happen to be a member and vice chairwoman of the Minnesota Senate Transportation Policy and DFLers, see the issue as simple: She simply doesn't pass the test for a good commissioner.

The Molnau funding program has moved us from a system of pay-as-you-go to a system which relies exclusively on the state’s credit card. In addition, because the money is borrowed, the taxpayer will spend millions more in interest
Molnau has also failed utterly with respect to a vision for transit. In short, she has no plan for transit. She has not advocated for increased funds for transit or brought forward a plan to create a dedicated multimodal fund....she sits on the sidelines and appears content to watch as funding for transit, especially in the metropolitan area, is repeatedly cut back to 1980 levels
She was especially aggressive in her efforts to keep the light rail line from becoming a reality. This week, when asked about her position on the Northstar Commuter Rail Line, her message was mixed. She said she didn’t personally support Northstar but would do whatever the governor asked of her on the subject.

We take seriously our responsibilities with respect to commissioner confirmations. We are not, nor should be, a rubber stamp for any governor whether Republican or Democrat. We have an obligation to raise our concerns and speak our mind.

We have major concerns about the future of transportation under Lt. Gov. Molnau’s watch. We do not support her confirmation.

As always Lindgren just has to be himself to be embarrassing. Even the GOP knows that he is an idiot and so they have him follow Fuller around the capital and on every vote:

Lindgren, who will seek a second term this fall, said his first two years has been a learning experience. He sits next to Fuller on the House floor, has his office next to Fuller, and was assigned Fuller as his mentor.

“I’ve been criticized for not standing up and being very vocal for my district,” he said. “I’m not one to go out and stand on the corner and wave my hands and say, ‘This is what I am.’ ..."

Things will change this November they just have to!

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