Thursday, December 29, 2005

Only in my house...

*Please keep in mind that I live in a white, Southern Baptist household in Georgia.

Tonight Heather and I were having dinner with my parents. The other two girls were off at various events. We'd just about finished eating our pork stew when Dad looked over at Mom and said, "Should we tell them about CHINESE-CHINESE-CHINESE?" "Oh," replied my mother. "You mean the CHINESE-CHINESE?" "Yes," Dad answered. "I think CHINESE-CHINESE-CHINESE."

Allow me to point out that CHINESE-CHINESE is, in fact, real Chinese. My parents were speaking Mandarin over our heads.

I'm almost 25, but at that moment I felt like a little kid whose parents opt to spell out choice words in dinner conversation. "Don't mention that we have C-A-K-E or she won't finish her P-E-A-S." My focus switched from Dad to Mom and back again but, not speaking a word of Chinese myself, I had no clue what they were talking about. Something about that strikes me as unfair--I am an adult now, after all. But as Mom loves to tell anyone who'll listen: "Whoever said life was fair?"

Such is life in the Phillips family. Surreal.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The 5 Phillips femmes

"You're seeing a rare event," my dad always informs people. "All of the girls together at once." Inevitably, he announces this a few times before the evening is over, a note of pride in his voice. And often, a hint of a tear in his voice as well. He adores having all girls. As a word of warning, if you are ever over for dinner with the entire family, the "rare-ness" of the evening will be impressed upon you, too. Even if you don't care. Even if you don't comment on it. It doesn't matter.

As a group, we are insane. Giggles ring through the house, though we're often not sure what's so funny. Or at least, we won't be able to explain it. We are just sisters; we share funny bones as well as parents. "I'm going CWISMAS CWAZY!!!" Kate yells, flailing about and tossing her hair like a rock star before collapsing on the floor. The rest of us can barely breathe for laughter, and we watch the video of her performance over and over (thanks to the advances in digital cameras, Cwismas Cwazy will live on in infamy!). Countless times throughout our week together, you can find us in a lump, piled on top of each other on a couch. Somtimes chatting, but mainly just enjoying being close.

Right now, Heather and I are sitting shoulder to shoulder on the couch in the den, laptops open. She's reading columns on and chatting on IM. I'm writing this entry. We are the geeks of the group--she's a computer science major at Georgia Tech, so I adamantly proclaim that she's the premier geek, though I can't deny that I make my living with my computer. Heather takes no crap. She's a tough cookie who might very well intimidate me if we weren't related. But she's become a true friend over the past year, especially since we share an intense love for swing dancing, and I miss her fiercely when I'm away.

Kate has "popular cooties," as my dad likes to say. She can do anything, no matter how dorky, and somehow remain cool. Just the other day, she ordered bagles at Panera with a lisp, on a dare from a coworker. "Thix bagelth with a thmear, pleath...Yeth, that'th good." Smile. I wouldn't be surprised if the cashier wanted to ask for her phone number anyway. Who can explain popularity? You either have it or you don't. And Kate does.

Madeleine is truly an angel. She'll give you the shirt off her back then crochet you a scarf if you're still cold. Every request at dinner--"Could someone get me the hot sauce?"--has an implied "Madeleine" following it. And she always complies without complaint. She takes out the trash, washes the dishes, is number one in her high school class, and dances like a dream. Like I said, she's an angel.

And then there's my momma. What a perfect match she is for my father. Even though she and my dad married long before they became Christians, watching them together reminds me of how God works everything for good. She is fiesty, yelling at the guests on Fox News shows, sighing in disgust over columns in the AJC. She is mild, holding her tongue when one of us snaps at her, and completely diffusing the situation in the process. She is wise, my little momma, and I would gladly accept her offer of a "core dump," a concept she has dreamed up where she could simply funnel all her life experiences and the knowledge of 55 years into my thirsty brain. I'd be unstoppable!

So there we are, all 5 of us. I'm assuming you know me, so I'll spare you the details. I have been blessed with a dear family. Dad's another entry all together (not in a bad way). This one's devoted to the ladies in my life. Take a good long look--after all, it's a rare event.

Saturday, December 17, 2005


It appears there's no away around it. I've tried everything. You simply can't fall in love God without spending significant amounts of time alone with Him. I've tried praying over every morsel that's about to go in my mouth. Nope. I've tried closing my eyes and singing my heart out at church. Nuh-uh. I've tried going to church twice on Sundays. No.

All these things have caused me to develop a serious crush on God. I suppose that's better than hating or ignoring Him. But the thing about crushes is that they're more about you than about the person you're crushing on. A crush is based on scraps of fact, yes, but supplemented by heaping portions of idealism, concocted by your own brain.

Crushes crackle with emotional electricity--volts and volts and VOLTS of it. You see him drive by--SURGE. He doesn't call--DRAIN. But that an email from him?--SURGE! Is that him at the movies with HER???--DRAIN (well, this one's accompanied by a surge of its own: rage, jealousy, sorrow...take your pick). It is inevitable that, continued at this pace, something will blow.

Crushes fluctuate. You may have multiple crushes at once; they wax and wane depending on your mood, the weather, who you're hanging out with that day, who you decide you'd like to be that day. How many times have you remembered a past crush and thought, "What was I thinking?" Constant they are not.

Love it most certainly is not.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Earlier I mentioned that having a crush on God was perhaps better than hating or ignoring Him, but allow me to correct myself. Because what is a crush if not a lukewarm sentiment? It runs hot and it runs cold. Take random samples, combine, and stir, and there you have it: lukewarm. He will spit me from His mouth, He tells me. No thank you. I've seen the world on the other side of heaven...not a place I desire to travel on my own.

I want my love for God to burn so hot, it purifies everything I think, everything I do, everything I touch. I want my love for my Abba to be so transparent that people look at me and wonder at how like my Father I am. I want my love for my Lord to make Him smile always and to compel me daily to discover ways to make that smile even broader. I want this love to be so transforming that I barely remember the me from my past; it merely flickers around in the shadows of my head, like an old film of someone else I knew once. I'm sick of fickle. I'm sick of empty passion, spurred on by a moving word or a powerful chord. I'm ready for love: deep, constant, holy, true love. My God, my shepherd, will You lead me there?

yes, my love. grab on.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Exodus 20:3

With special thanks to the women at the retreat this weekend...


I bow and bend and seek to please
my god without a face.
I say I'm Yours but with my life I lie;
You are replaced.

My God, my God, though I forsake
Your offer to direct my days,
You love me still--in spite of me--
and You alone deserve my praise.

My lips I part and words flow out--
in speech, You I proclaim.
But do they echo in my soul
or am I yours in only name?

The master that instead I serve
desires not to set me free.
With fear and lies in whispered tones,
it binds me in captivity.

But in Your boundless, ceaseless grace
You show me holy light,
and, blinking, I accept Your hand
and step out of my self-made night...

Friday, December 02, 2005


The front of the very first postcard I designed at my new job!

Guess I AM a graphic designer!

Tell me I rock and I'm yours forever.

This is a summary of my day:

Boss Mike: Phillips, there's a lot of good work coming out of this corner.
My heart: JUMP FOR JOY!!!

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