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in a bit
Ack - tons to say, (birthday, funeral, trip) but it's new years eve and i'm heading out and tomorrow i'm flying to Mexico so it'll be a while. Love you all - see you soon:)
you have opened all your gifts its time to share

I've mentioned buy nothing day and I suggested to Lindsi that she employ buy nothing christmas, but is there a compromise between the extremes of buy everything or nothing? Perhaps share something christmas could be a solution.

Integration Research has released social software with this in mind. SmartCommons Collection is a stuff organizer, that enables you to share your earthly wares. Like, for instance, I recieved 2 America the Books. Its a pain to send one back to Amazon. Its better to either regift or share with someone else. The software is made by my blogging hero so I'm a little biased, but this is a really cool idea. Something that I think will take the music sharing idea to the next level. I understand that it works like this: I post stuff that I have as do others. If there is a certain book I want to borrow, someone has it and I can share my stuff too.

A little feeback on the software: It would be nice to be able to hit enter after typing the keyword to start the search. Also, link "similar items" to be able to automatically add one to your list or watchlist.
Yay a new Joan Osborne CD
Remakes and stuff. Good blusey, mood music.
And so, Christmas begins
I was overjoyed at church tonight. This doesn't happen very often anymore. But, tonight, God was present. I felt that we were all participating in worship together, not just watching it happen.

The 10PM service provides the opportunity to do things a little different than normal. We read a lot, we sang together a lot. There were nine bible passages read and each person chose their own version. There was the King James Version, Revised Standard, etc. And then there was me with my "Word on the Street". I'm so pretentious. But I like to shake things up a little. We read a celtic litany. There was no sermon. Many people shared special music and all glory was given to God as no one aplauded (thank you!) We ended with candles in every hand and well wishes as we left the church to return to our warm little homes.

It didn't feel like Christmas today with work at 6AM and a Vikings game. It was so slow at work, but everyone who came in was so cheery, it was a fun day to serve coffee. When I arrived at my parents' I was happy to finally start the holiday break.

We ate and opened presents. A gift of note is the book Emerging Worship by Dan Kimball, which will inspire to do beautiful things for God at EPIC.

Now, I'm home watching the traditional 'Midnight Mass' on TV. Tomorrow is Christmas at the Albrecht's up north and Sunday is the Hutchinson's at Mom's. Mmmmm food.

I hope everyone is happy and warm this Christmas. Enjoy the break and I can't wait to see you when you return. Anyone else have an over abundance of cookies?
I order everyone to only view my blog with Firefox, go download it right now. Internet Explorer is inferior and will remain that way until Longhorn comes out in a million years. I promise you will be happier with tabbed browsing, standards compliance and no popups.
hmmmmm, I don't know. What do you think?
I've been working on a new template for the blog, I'm trying to do it the hard way and write all the code myself (I didn't realize how much work it would be, but I'm learning). I'm finally back to where I was when I actually liked writing code. I think part of it is I know how to do this stuff better than c++. And it's easier to find help. Thank you CSS Zen Garden. I've been very inspired, but I think my current rendition is a little *too* colorful and the sidebar is too long, but I'm working on it.

Kari and I also started a new blog for EPIC journey today, this should be great for planning and including more people in our pre-service conversations about inspiration and what a certain service puts on our hearts.

Next up is finishing the websites for Uptown Caffe and Cooks.
Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction
I got my gift from my Secret Santa today! America, by Jon Stewart. It was sent to my old address, but luckily I know my mailman - I make him lunch all the time at Uptown - and he knew that it should be delivered here!
I tried to exhert a little assertiveness but failed.
My hours are crappy this week. Annoyingly crappy. Monday I work at 6 am for 2 1/2 hours, what a waste of time. Tuesday I work for 2 hours from 2:30-4:30 in the middle of the afternoon. Can I have a real shift please?

I tried to explain that I wanted to work better hours and was told "You'll have to talk to the rest of the staff." It's me and the girl who takes a ton of time off all the time who have bad schedules. Since it's the holidays it'd be nice if our boss would let off of her maximum scheduled number of hours. Just keep your fingers crossed that we get any kind of bonus, considering the staff is what makes the place - the people who get to know the customers, who set the standards for quality customer service, who take the shitty shifts.
go away
Untouchable you think your untouchable. - Garbage.

It really pisses me off when a certain person is in the lab. He looks over your shoulder, he rubs it in your face that he is already done. I find it difficult to do any work what so ever when he is here.
How do we make that possible
I wish I could study while driving around, listing to music and singing along. What could I study that would make that feasible?
Or maybe while reading my new novel that I got at the youth group christmas party last night. It's Lamb: the gospel according to Biff, Christ's childhood pal, by Christopher Moore. It is refreshing and blasphemous and hahaha I love it. New books (that you don't want to put down) during Finals is probably not the best thing. Having an addiction to reading blogs is probably not very beneficial either.
Friday is going to frickin' Rock!
We're hosting the first PARTY of the year at our house on Friday (December 17th) starting around 9ish. Everyone is invited - BYOB. We are located at 1026 Birchmont Dr. Call if you want more information.

I hope everyone is getting through Hell week with their sanity and humor intact - Friday is going to frickin' Rock!
Half done with finals
Two and 1/2 finals done, two and 1/2 to go. The first two being Intro. to International Realtions written final and Social, Ethical, and Professional Issues in Computing debate final. The half being meeting with my Graphics professor.

The next phase of finals is Software Engineering take home essay test & Human Sexuality multiple choice test. The last 1/2 is finishing my Computer Graphics Maze program, although you could actually call this 9/10 of the final points wise. SE and graphics are seeming to take longer than I had anticipated. There are a lot of essays to write and I am at another roadblock in my code - it should work, but it does unexpected things.

And here I am procrastinating.
I ones I like the best
There is a list being compiled by Bob Carlton here of the top 5 blog posts of 2004. Here are my pics from Miniette this year (I couldn't narrow it down to only 5).
church of the dropouts the losers the failures and the fools
overwhelming feeling of wanting to cry
Holy Week youth group
*you do it to yourself, just you*
passions colliding
the marathon needs to come to an end
looking to encounter jesus
girls night in the lab
and another
advent calendar
Amazon donated mostly to republicans!? Say it isn't so! Happily, J.Crew is a complete Democrat supporter - woohoo buy more sweaters!
"All I want for Christmas is World Peace and a boyfriend. Is that too much to ask?"
Carson, QE
Here are a few pretty/fun/spiritual interactive advent calendars I've found this season.
Digital Santa
I picked out my Secret Santa gift today. I didn't really like the stuff the girl had on her Amazon wishlist, but I think she will like her CD. She's also a blogger (I won't link to her, cause she's savvy enough for it to get back to her), who describes herself like this:
I'm a 20 year old full-time graphic designer/email cordinator. I have 7 cats. I love the color red. My guilty pleasures include reading, watching CSI, and listening to angry music despite my perfectly cheerful dispostion.
Sounds like we'd get along. Its definately more fun than the guy I bought something for last year.
From MoveOn.org newsletter
For years, the Party has been lead by elite Washington insiders who are closer to corporate lobbyists than they are to the Democratic base. But we can't afford four more years of leadership by a consulting class of professional election losers. In the last year, grassroots contributors like us gave more than $300 million to the Kerry campaign and the DNC, and proved that the Party doesn't need corporate cash to be competitive.2 Now it's our Party: we bought it, we own it, and we're going to take it back.
2 "The Next DNC Chair: Why You Should Care," Arianna Huffington, December 8, 2004.
that's how many miles my car turned over to yesterday. just thought i'd share.
This is not the way to be successful
Our group in Software Engineering is completely dysfunctional. We are trying to write software for the university library that helps them manage their government documents. Sounds easy enough. The problem isn't that there are tons of different files (that change at different rates which are out of our control) to compile into one database (that's annoying enough).

The problem is that there are three students in the class that do all of the work, without telling anyone and without asking for any help. Even when others are assigned to do a specific part and we do our assignment, these certain three go and did their own version and not mention it to anyone. So when it comes time to make a presentation to the client suddenly its a competition. Who's are they going to like better? When it should have been a collaboration. It seems as though one side is out to get the other side. Instead of being helpful during a presentation to a client, students ridiculed and belittled it.

And they COMPLAIN about doing so much work. Let us do some then! I've tried to offer help, asked when they will be working on things. I've been told, "Don't worry about it," and "We're in the lab everyday." But they're not in here every day. And they aren't always working on software engineering.

It has divided our class of 13 in half. And everyone's pissed off. We have no communication. This bad. It makes us unprofessional.
bringing the postliberals and postconservatives together
An excerpt from an interview from this month's issue of Next-Wave with Brian McLaren about his book A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I Am a Missional, Evangelical, Post/Protestant, Liberal/Conservative, Mystical/Poetic, Biblical, Charismatic/Contemplative, Fundamentalist/Calvinist, Anabaptist/Anglican, Methodist, Catholic, Green, Incarnational, Depressed-yet-hopeful, Emergent, Unfinished Christian.

Next-Wave: In the book you talk about being surrounded by Christians who like the idea of the American God, and the middle-class Republican Jesus. How do you think this culture has distorted the view of lordship?

McLaren: Don't get me started on this, or I'll lapse into rant. Let me just say that I'm very very afraid of what's happening in the church in America. I'm afraid we're falling into a warrior trance, where the church baptizes the state or seeks to reclaim a kind of Constantinian power in the American empire. We're not listening to our brothers and sisters across the globe who are shocked and disappointed in our uncritical support of our government. We say we trust in the Lord, but it seems to me that our trust is pretty enmeshed with "horses and chariots" as the Psalmist said. We're succumbing to the politics of fear. We think that because we're pious---because we pray and sing and use lots of highly religious language - that we're immune to this kind of seduction, but it's happened a thousand times in history, and I think we're no less vulnerable. In fact, our wealth and power should make us more vulnerable to these seductions. As I said ... don't get me started.

Once again I direct you to read the Christmas story in a new light.
Are you flesh of our flesh, bone of our bones?
what color are you God?


I ABIDE with you.
I rejoice with you.
I suffer with you.
I heal you.
I awaken you.
I transform you.
I transform through you.

This is God's voice speaking not only to the world but to every part of the world; not only to nations and communities but to every
individual; not only to humanity but to every aspect of struggling, evolving creation.

-- Flora Slosson Wuellner
I don't want to brag
but I just realized that I'll be done with finals on the second day! Next Friday! My schedule goes something like this:
Wednesday 6-8, Intro. International Relations
Thursday 1-3, Social, Ethical and Prof. Issues in Computing
Friday 8-10, Human Sexuality
Graphics (no final, but last project due Friday @ noon)
Friday 3:3-5:3, Software Engineering (Take home final)

Friday 9pm, Party at our house! 1026 Birchmont Dr.

This never happens to me. I'm always the one with finals on the last day.
he waits
"...sometimes when we have no feeling of peace or of God's presence He is more truly present to us than He has ever been before."
Thomas Merton
a tongue of flame
Ahh, Correction speaks to me again. Stringing beautiful words together that combine feelings and science and hopes and knowledge into one, big, beautiful God poem/prayer/story. Don't we all wonder at our absurdity at times? Below are comments from RLP and an excerpt from the post. Go read the whole thing, it is truly worth it.

Comments on this post
Do you feel that you can never go back now, if only because you want to retain even the possibility that you and your daughter MEAN something in this world?
This is all utterly absurd.

All of it: the Target stores and the mittens and the minivans, the parking lots and credit card applications. All of it: penises, dandruff, feet. Bowel movements. Camus and his Sisyphus and Sisyphus's motherfucking rock.

They are all utterly absurd.

You and me. The pope. Everyone. Weird and messy and human and ultimately without intrinsic meaning.

The bible says, "You are dust and you will be dust again." The bible says, "Everything is vanity." If St. Jerome had read Camus, might he have crossed out "Omnia vanitas" and written "Omnia absurdum" in its place?
Here is what God does; here is God's best trick, better than bees, better than black holes: God redeems all of those things, and makes them mean something. Out of the chatter and static of quantum uncertainty and human frailty comes meaning, rich and pure. Elegant, potent meaning.

In C.S. Lewis's The Great Divorce, the fantasist George Macdonald, in a thick scottish brogue, tells Lewis's fictional narrator that to those in Heaven, everything that they have ever experienced, when viewed from their perspective will be seen to have been Heaven all along. Likewise, those in Hell will find that they have resided there from the start. It's not just "how you look at it." It's the central meaning of things, the meaning by which we reckon everything around us. Untransformed it is cruel, lonely, hostile, indifferent, chaotic. Transformed by grace it is kind, purposeful, loving, infinitely meaning-full.

What that central meaning truly consists in, I am not given to say; I am merely a hissing tongue of flame in a vacuum; lucky to burn at all. It is like asking "What is spirit made of?" Where are the words even to begin? Words could only alienate it. Better to go taste strawberries, or lay on your back at night and stare at the stars until they leap out from their bowl of pinpricks and take on the full dimensionality of the cosmos.

In a purposeless world, I am standing in Target with my daughter for an instant and then that instant is gone forever, and is nothing more than the foam on the wavefront of molecules and flapping limbs and consumer culture, vapid, banal, meaningless. In God's world, however, it is the most precious moment of all; it is a decision point, a crux, a point at which great things might have begun or ended. In God's time it is eternally present and full of life, rich with significance and the scent of sweet humanity. Two of God's creatures, singing in their hearts to God and to each other of their love, while pretending on the outside to argue over mittens.

Devotional/form for waiting room area of EPIC journey worship service. December 5, 2004
Welcome to our Waiting room.
Please fill out these questions while you wait for your number to be called. We appreciate your patience.

How long have you waited this week? In line, in the car, for the webpage to load, the microwave to finish, in the doctor's office...

What did you do with your time? Did you multitask?

Were you patient?

Do you like to wait?

Most of us don't like to, it is part of our culture to want things immediately - pizza in 30 minutes or its free, ... maybe we feel like if we slow down we are waisting time?

In contrast, Advent invites us and gives us the chance to pause, wait and listen for the Lord's coming. A time for us to remember his first coming as a small baby. J. Marshall Jenkins in "A Wakeful Faith", reminds us that "We must listen for God day by day. We must keep an ear open to our neighbor, an ear to our hearts, and a third ear to God. Faith is a journey led by God. We pause, wait, and listen for the Guide who speaks more often than not in a still, small voice that requires careful, patient attention."

The WAITING makes the JOY better. Like soft parts of music, make for more dramatic crescendos. If we make Advent a quiet anticipation, the climax and celebration of Jesus' birth on Christmas is more joyous.

We waited for snow this year and how sweet it was when it fell on Friday night after Thanksgiving. All soft and gentle like in a movie.

Instead of having an empty feeling after the presents are opened, which is what I experience, how do we set ourselves up for joy? Our task is to prepare for his coming so that we will not miss life's greatest gift.

So we ask you to join us this evening and Advent season as we do our best to wait for Jesus.

“Those who wait for the Lord (Yahweh) shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” --Isaiah 40:31

be God's work

We are to become like the awed and the open, like those blinking their eyes at the wonder of life. Do this, Jesus counsels, and then we shall enter most fully what God sets before us. Not long before his crucifixion, Jesus responds to those seeking dramatic signs of God's reign:

"The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or 'There it is!' For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you" (Luke 17:20-21).

Be open, Jesus counsels. Be attentive. Be aware! The reign of God is in our very midst.

- Stephen Doughty, Discovering Community

We light a candle today, a small dim light against a world that often seems forbidding and dark. But we light it because we are a people of hope, a people whose faith is marked by an expectation that we should always be ready for the coming of the Master. The joy and anticipation of this season is captured beautifully in the antiphons of hope from the monastic liturgies:
See! The ruler of the earth shall come, the Lord who will take from us the heavy burden of our exile
The Lord will come soon, will not delay.
The Lord will make the darkest places bright.
We must capture that urgency today in the small flame of our candle. We light the candle because we know that the coming of Christ is tied to our building of the kingdom. Lighting the flame, feeding the hungry, comforting the sick, reconciling the divided, praying for the repentant, greeting the lonely and forgotten - doing all these works hastens His coming.

"Hastens His coming..." Hmmm, I suppose traditionally that has referred to His "second coming" at the end of time. I wonder if it means much more than that - if it refers to His coming now, in us, in the world through us. I think it does. I think it's calling for His Kingdom to come - "Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven..." Yeah, that. Right NOW! Right HERE! More and more and more - fuller and fuller - until we are swallowed up in it and it overflows in the world. I pray we see that and allow that to happen during this season. - Alan Creech
And before I hear any more lectures about how we liberals need to show more respect for the religious views of red-staters, I want someone to explain why it's acceptable for Roy Moore and the "Christian" Coalition of Alabama to mock my religion with their blasphemous parody of it.

julesmae is love

Girls night in the lab
It's just Kari, Rachel, Caroline and me here in the Computer Science lab. No overbearing, judgemental, loud, video-game-playing boys. Just peace and quiet and pretty girls coding.

These girls, sadly, are not CS majors, only Math or Physics majors doing a CS minor or required CS classes. They will not be in here next semester. But, there will be others. Just not enough doing CS. CS is NOT boys only. What is the problem that makes girls leave this major at this University?

Do we start out feeling left behind because we haven't taken computers apart or we don't code at home for fun? I don't believe that those are necessary components of being a CS major. As my advisor has said in the past, boys tend to see computers as an integral part of their life, where girls see it more as a way of making their lives easier.

Is it society? We talked about this today in Social/Ethical. Do our parents steer us away from using the computer, give us less freedom with it than boys? It was opposite in my house. I LOVED making cards, posters and other misc. crap with the computer. My brother on the other hand was not really interested in it.

Or do we too often feel the work is drowning us. I think that all majors have plenty of homework. Caroline says that it depends on how efficient you are when coding. Perhaps the teaching methodogy is better for boys. Whatever the case, plenty of girls start in low level courses and steadily drop off as the years go by.
I wrote a function to read in my maze data file and it has about a million bugs. Time to blog.
This has turned out to be another week where I don't see home very much. After the holiday of lots of home alone time, these nights are spent in the lab, at class, or at meetings (apart from Monday).

When I come home my roommates are in bed, I get up before they or they before me. The hours between classes are being eaten up by group meetings, work and time in the lab. I'm neglecting the house, my laundry, our well being. I communicate with my friends by reading their blogs.

Speaking of which reading blogs of people who live in your town, but don't know you very well can be quite weird when you actually talk to that person. People tend to be surprised when I say something in reference to their blog and they reply, "How do you know that? Oh, right its on my blog."
Buy Nothing Day. Served coffee to weary and cheery shoppers.
*I wrote this on Sunday, but forgot to finish and post it*

The parade on Friday night brings out more people every year. The moderate temperatures and gentle snowfall made for a beautiful and enjoyable scene. The snow was falling like it does in movies. Slow and gentle, no wind to blast the icy snowflakes into your face. Forces everyone to remember how to drive. Makes everyone slow down (and with me become late).

A warm and welcoming coffeeshop is much appreciated after an hour in the cold. The cash register rings with business and urgency, the espresso machine steams, barristas fly behind the counter, people laugh and talk, kids run around. We sit and are merry, chilling with jazz music, a mocha and good friends.

Friday of Thanksgiving usually makes for a good party with those who have returned for the holiday. The bars were packed with a seeming all-school reunion of Bemidjites. People spoke with those who they may not have in high school - we've grown up a little and realized the stupidity of our ways.

Everything's great until its 3AM and I have to work at 8:30AM, but have not made it home yet. Two employees with only four hours of sleep each make for zombie like waitstaff.
To graduate in the spring or not
I finally went through my liberal education and CS major requirements last night. Aparently, if I took 4 computer science classes next semester I could graduate. That's a lot. I have problems with 3 CS and other lib eds at the same time.

Basically, after next spring, I'll only be short 2 CS credits. That's kind of annoying. But, then next fall I could do a poli sci minor, finish my math minor and that would be nice. Especially to help my grade point average and help round out my transcript.

The idea of being completely done with school is SOOO tempting though. I don't really have any idea of what I would do after graduation besides working full time at Uptown and looking for some kind of computer/internet-related social justice job in the Cities. And then there is paying back all of those loans I owe on $7.50/hour.

Young House Love
Anna Maria Horner
Apartment Therapy
Kellie DyKast's Scraplog
Oh Happy Day
Feeling Stitchy
Desire to Inspire
Modern in MN
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The Martha Blog
Perfect Bound
Love Forever
2000 Dollar Budget Wedding
a $10,000 wedding
Style Me Pretty
Snippet & Ink
Little Green Notebook Don't Call Me Becky
Sublime Stitching
St. Paul Craft Mafia
Etsy Favorites

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