Friday, September 29, 2006

Expected Release Date: Summer 2007

The latest fall fashion for the LA Knox Fam: NYC. This is Kevin's idea for the fall. The summer... was San Fran, but as the seasons change, so do our plans and I wanted to keep you all up to date with the latest. He's so excited he even bought a plane ticket for November, just after Thanksgiving, to check out the city, meet some church planters and go to a Mosaic conference. I have to admit... I'm still a fan of San Fran. But... we'll see where the Spirit leads.
"The wind blows whereve it pleases. You hear its sound, but you don't know where it is going or where it came from. So it is with everyone who is of the Spirit." John 3:8

Monday, September 25, 2006


I went to the dentist for the first time in almost two years this weekend. And I remembered why its been two years since my last visit. I've had several oral surgeries on my mouth since the time I was 13 and I have to admit... I am just sick and tired of doctors poking around in my mouth. It's a "lose lose" situation you see... b/c no matter how much you do to your teeth to make them "right" something will always go wrong in the future. They age, they weaken, they hurt. I just want one fix up and I'm done. No more of these check ups every six months.

So I have a cavity. The first cavity in my entire life that will require a shot to numb it before they can fix it. I'm scared to death... of the needle. Drilling, no problem, but a needle- we need to talk. I have no pain tolerance when it comes to those things. Kick me in the face with a soccer ball and I'm alright... stick a needle in me and I might faint.

I think the reason I am so dramatic about this is because I am so anal about my teeth- ask Kevin. I brush for mintues at a time, floss every day, try to avoid stuff thats "bad" for them. And I STILL got a cavity. Are you sure cavities aren't genetic? Next Saturday morning will be no fun. Keep me in your thoughts as I endure this endless pain :)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Fish Eggs and Bracelets

This is from last week… but it is too good to not share. Last week I tried fish eggs. And it was by accident too. LA is FULL of sushi places… and my co-workers love it. Every Friday we “younger” people go out for lunch and they really wanted to try this more authentic Japanese sushi place… so I willingly agreed. I couldn’t find anything on the menu that I could eat (AKA that was cooked) so I finally just pulled the server aside and asked for some simple California rolls. I was confident I would like those. They arrived… covered in tiny bright orange balls. I had no idea what these were so I took one bite of my food and asked a co-worker. She laughed really hard when she saw my face. “Fish eggs… are they always this orange?” Apparently they are… and they are crunchy too… but I just couldn’t get myself to mentally accept this so I didn’t eat another bite. Oh well, it was worth the experience.

Now for the bracelets… this one will take more imagination to understand. I got on the bus last week, somewhat perturbed b/c the bus was a half hour late, to look up and find a man sitting directly across from me. It was no ordinary man. He was tall, with cut off jean shorts, and dreads… and his arms were covered in those huge plastic bracelets… all the way up his arms, past his elbows. They are the kind of bracelets that you give to your kids… huge, plastic, pastel colored… and to top it off he had attached small stuffed animals to them, which hung down from his arms on strings. I so badly wanted to stare but just couldn’t be that rude… so I spent awhile using my cell phone to discreetly take a picture. I still look at it sometimes. I really think this was God’s way of trying to cheer me up b/c I frequently struggle with bad attitudes and traffic. He has quite a sense of humor sometimes.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Drive to Work

This morning as I stepped outside, the air was unusually crisp... it felt as though a mist covered my skin as I walked, yet there was no rain. (And hasn't been for months now- the usual LA summer.) Something about the weather just before a rain creates a strange feeling of excitement... although the clouds cover the sky in a blanket of gray- I am oddly excited to be outside, on the way to work.

One good thing about at least an hour commute... I get to be outside more :) Today is one of those very rare days in which I get to drive the car so it will shorten my commute a little. To get to my office I have to drive over the Hollywood Hills... and although these hills aren't anything compared to mountains, they are still some massive hills... massive enough that sometimes the weather on one side is different from the weather on the other. We live on the valley side of the hills so it is typically hotter and drier... while the ocean side is always cooler, with a breeze and heavy fog (especially in the mornings). Today it seems the ocean side slid right over the hills... because both sides were the same- cloudy, the air heavy with moisture. For somebody who grew up in Colorado, the Hollywood Hills aren't really that impressive, but today they seemed more alive as though something about the moisture in the air awakened some vitality in them that the dry heat seemed to dull. There is something so comforting about the hills... the bushes and trees... the nature. Its like taking a long sip of a cool refreshing drink, before heading back down into the city. I wish I had time to pull over and just soak it in some more, but I was about to be running late already and the cars behind me are starting to catch up.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Deep Thoughts- be prepared

My hands tremble as I type tonight. I try to control the intensity of the emotions that I feel but the shaking reminds me that some things are just impossible to hide. Today Erwin talked about why God allows suffering... and the explanations that he gave based on multiple stories in the Word and also from his life made the reality of suffering all too real.

I feel it now as I just got finished talking with a dear friend. I love this friend so much, but he seems stuck in a cycle of suffering that quickly swallows any glimpse of hope by its centrifugal strength. I find myself suffering with him as he shares his stories and also as I remember my own past pains. We have all been hurt by those that we love... in fact the deepest hurt seems to come from those we know the best, the ones that we are most close to, the ones that our lives are bound to not by choice, but by blood. And the cycle that we can all easily find ourselves in, grows stronger and stronger and stronger with every breath we take as we continue to blame each other... I believe because we are all too insecure, too shallow, to just focus on the task of being responsible for ourselves- parents, teachers, professionals, coaches, and children, alike. Our judgement is so clouded by our self-righteousness, our justifications, our rationalizations, by our obsession with our "rights"... the cycle quickly swallows any glimpse of hope by these forces.
The number one reason Erwin gave for suffering is this: self-infliction. We are responsible for a lot of the suffering in the world. It is because He gave us the freedom of choice, the freedom of life, the freedom to think and be, that also gives us the freedom to hurt those we love the most. The scary thing is, as my friend shared his stories of hurt by another, I found myself quickly overcome with my own anger towards those who hurt me in a similar fashion... and in my head I screamed at them, and yelled, and as the intensity of my emotions grew... I saw myself lose control and hit them back. I saw myself inflicting on them, what they had inflicted on me. Then I suddenly stopped and asked myself, "would I really do that?" and silence covered my heart as I realized... I really could. I really could be that hurtful and vengeful and angry back. After all, I was justified- I had been hurt and was sick and tired of watching others be hurt the same way. After all, my self-righteousness cries out in my head, "well I may not be perfect, but at least I'm not like you." After all, my rationalization is that if I don't interfere this hurt will continue to spread... and its my "right" to defend and fight against those who inflict pain on others. Right? See... I suddenly entered the cycle myself... and now I'm just sad.

Because the reality of suffering, is that a lot of the time, its self-inflicted. Of course, a huge amount is due to the two others reasons he gave... but today I focus on the reality of the first one. How do we break these cycles that we enter into so easily? What hope is there for change?

There isn't I think- because no matter how hard we try, we will never be perfect, we will never be able to avoid hurting those we love, whether intentionally or not. Our thoughts will always be clouded by our own self-centeredness and rationalizations. The only hope we have, I am convinced- is to embrace the humility to acknowledge the reality of this type of suffering, to not pretend we can escape it, to not blame it on others, and to embrace the only hope we have for change... something outside of ourselves, something greater, and most importantly, something that will never falter in love...

God, please change me. Show me anger that doesn't inflict pain on others, show me grace to quickly forgive others, show me love that moves beyond myself into the lives of others- that meets them where they are, show me- share with me, the compassion You have on me, that I might show it freely to others, knowing Your love. Help me, Father, to help those that are also suffering, that they might know peace and love and freedom... Cover us in humility that comes from knowing Your love and that is free from condemnation. Amen.

Download Erwin's complete talk to hear about the other reasons that suffering exists and the role of God in it all.