the lives of others

It took three tries to get past the first fifteen minutes of the German film, The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen). I'd fall asleep, decide to go check my email, or start daydreaming and forget to read the subtitles and find myself hopelessly lost.

On the third try, I trudged through and within the next ten minutes I was barely able to peel my eyes away from the screen. I went to sleep last night knowing I'd seen the best movie I've seen this year.

I had to do a bit of retrospective research on East Berlin and the Berlin Wall in order to fully grasp the historical setting of the film. Yet, I lost nothing in my viewing for being moderately ignorant of 1980s German history.

The trailer makes it seems like the film is highly sexual, highly thrilling, highly charged. And while elements of these exist in the film, it is much to subtle to be highly anything. The Lives of Others is a film of compassion and relationships.

This film shook me because nothing is as it seems. The theme of fidelity and its intricacies and complications is woven through each character's development. I don't want to detail the plot because I feel so strongly that you should see the film. It has changed the way I think of fidelity this morning and though fictional, has given me a greater faith in human compassion.


finishing touches

As you are well aware, I have sorted through every nook and cranny of my house, dejunking, reorganizing, and beautifying it. One of my lagging projects was the top of my dresser. It was a storehouse for anything to nice to be tossed on the floor and too average to be put away immediately. It looked like a space on hgtv where the host mocks the homeowner for their inability to see how awful it looked. I knew how awful it looked, but I was dragging my feet on doing anything about it. Mainly because doing something about it would entail hanging a very heavy large mirror and finding a different location to toss my too nice and too average items.

The other problem was the box collection. I've collected boxes or various shapes and sizes that store my growing collection of Kohl's clearance jewelry. The boxes are from different countries and often showcase a certain type of folk art unique to that country. They are beautiful, but individually too small to simply set on my dresser and not look like clutter. And on top of my dresser with a glass top, they would become dusty easily and I would have to look at it every time I pulled socks out of the drawer.

I contracted my sister for the project, my sister who is so thorough in planning, creating, and designing every aspect of her life that even the bad decisions were plotted down to the type of sock she would wear with her casual, but semi-dressy when worn with the jeans with a crease down the leg brown shoes. It is for this very reason that she is the perfect person to help me create a space in my newly cleaned out bedroom. Anal creativity always wins.

Within three hours and a Target run, I had a well organized dresser-top. Instead of hanging the heavy mirror and boring large holes into my rented walls, we leaned it against the wall. It is heavy enough, you can barely move it without asking the incredible hulk for some lifting assistance. I can safely say it isn't going anywhere. We bought a few shelving pieces at Target to display my collection of boxes. Now they are stashed on my wall next to the dresser in a way that makes them look like pieces in a museum. I love art museums, so living in one is a dream come true. I bought a real live orchid (God help it) to put in the corner.

My dresser looks phenomenal even if I am the only person who regularly looks at it. Since I have droned on about a six square feet of space for nearly five hundred words (you've been thrilled reading every one of them, I am certain), it is only due and proper that I also include a photographic documentation of this carefully planned space.




I'm thankful for friendly emails, for lunch dates and for laughter.

I'm thankful for lotion and friends that will help me put it on my back.

I'm thankful for support from my family to follow my dreams, to live in freedom without guilt, to honor God in my life.

I haven't realized how blessed my life truly of late. I take things for granted. I forget to say thank you. I forget and I pine after more.

But today I am thankful. I know this life is blessed. I pray these days will only glimpse the truly better days ahead of me.

Thank you.


all these things

Life feels hurricanic (Yes, I made that word up. Yes, it was influenced by my recent stint in Florida, land of the whirling tropical storms.). Vacation (err... the work trip) was wonderful, except for the ignorant sunburn. I haven't been sunburned in years. I remember why I hate it so much and why I am a sunscreenaholic.

I've got a new roommate sharing the great townhouse that Not-Roommate and I picked out and painted and loved. New Roommate has great taste and has already suggested throwing a party. I like her for this. I like her A LOT for this. Not-Roommate is on her way out of the country tomorrow. Pray for her travels!

Attending the National Lutheran Youth Gathering and seeing many of my former classmates, professors, and my beloved college roommate has breathed new life into some of my perspectives on work, life, and faith. It is so easy to forget who we are, who we have been created to be, whose we are when we are attempting to finalize a city park reservation, write a multi-age Bible study, and learn the chords to that worship song. Life is distracting and as the C.S. Lewis' Screwtape would have it, I am too often distracted by it.

The weeks are winding down before the half-marathon that I haven't trained very much for. I will be fine. I will run it, but my desire to compete and run fantastically dwindles by the hour. I'd rather not throw-up water all of the medi-tent. Or lie prostrate on my living room floor. Vacation (errr... the work trip) wedged it way in between me and the running plan. Oh well. I needed the sleep.

School begins in a few weeks, which in youth ministry means: PUMP IT UP. I've got loads of back-to-school work to do, but I know where my sights are set and it has a lot more to do with praying than pumping.

I've had a full cup of coffee and too much iced tea today. This means I feel like I am really nervous about something but I have nothing causing me to be nervous and I have to go to the bathroom a lot.

This blog is unreasonably episodic. My deepest apologies. Blame it on iced tea numero 3 of the afternoon. Lady Grey makes great iced tea. Pucha.