Sheri McConnell: December 2005

Saturday, December 31

Eve of 2006

Hope all your New Years Eve plans have shaped up to be exciting with perhaps a mix of wild and out of the ordinary! EZ Tigers ... winkwink

I will keep you posted from my happenings tonight ... it sure isn't what last year was... oh, i miss the calgary posse right now ringing in 2005! Bizarre how so much changes so quickly.

Love to you all! You are missedxoxox
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!
Sheri at 5:50 PM
3 comments

Wednesday, December 28

Christmas Morning Wifesaver

mmm ...oh the delicacies of Christmas morning brunch. The "Wifesaver"! What a funny name for a recipe. Our family has celebrated with this wonderful brunch treat every Christmas Day Morning for countless years now. I have no clue how many and I am finding that there are a few of you out there also who celebrate with this delight.

Funny enough, I have never been a casserole, stroganoff, chilli, lasagna, spaghetti girl. I think that it was WAY too many years on the road travelling and encountering every traditional church potluck imagineable where all the suprises of every little granny's cupboards are thrown together to make some sort of casserole, soup or assorted combination thereof. ick...gross... Let me tell you we had some pretty scary surprises many a time which definately put me off to any of the above. To this day I have never made one of those meals.

HOWEVER, until the Christmas Morning Wifesaver ...it is a combination of eggs, ham, cheese, breadcrumbs and other tasty treats combined into a layered cake sort of lasagna pan form. As close to a casserole of sorts that I like. So yummy ... you must all now run out and find that recipe for your next festive holiday! hahaaaa:) Only question ... why is it called "Christmas Morning WifeSaver?" hhmmmm...never thought to ask my mom that. Perhaps, it is because you can prepare it all the night before and then it should be called "Christmas Eve Wife Stealer?" ok. lame joke. Nevertheless, perhaps I will find out one day when I am a wife myself and can experience the mystical "saving" of this recipe.

All this talk above to say - Christmas Day was spent at the Ruis' ... and yes, once again, the "Wifesaver" appeared! They too have adopted this tradition into their family. ahhhhahaha.... another little piece of "home" for me.

In between the Christmas Day Wifesaver and the 4pm Turkey Feast - can you say SPANDEX! Anita and I decided to head out to the streets of Tujunga with an assorted box filled with shampoos, conditioners and the remainder of the children's toys from the night before. We wanted to meet and give out Christmas gifts to some of the homeless, tent communities and friends that we would meet on the street.

As we were driving down Foothill Blvd. on the way to a trailer park I spotted out of the corner of my eye an older gentleman barefoot hobbling on his bandaged, cut open feet. You could tell that he was having difficulty walking so anita and I pulled around and approached this man seeing if he was ok. We met Robin for the first time, whose face was red and swollen, hair matted, urine stained levi's, tattered slippers in one hand and the other bracing his fragile body against the cement wall. Looked like he could not remember the last bath he had and definately the smell matched that. I started to ask him about his feet and noticed very quickly that the bandages hadn't been changed for quite some time ...his feet were stained black with yellow pussing wounds mixed with blood and other were creating such pain he was having difficulty even standing. We asked him where he was going and all he wanted was to get to the dollar store to buy a pad of lined paper for his binder. He was a writer. We carefully asked him if we could drive him to the dollar store and then back to his house so that he would not have to walk any further on his feet. He complied and so off we went ending with a painful prayer of healing and comfort with and for Robyn as we dropped him off at his adult residence.

We met a couple other people that day in Tujunga and as I got to thinking about it afterwards realized that our encounters on Christmas Day really should be no different than any other day. I have to say it felt so good to be able to step outside the normal/typical christmas celebrations - to look beyond myself and my little world to again re-sensitize myself to random 'others' around me. Interesting how we need to intentionally be looking for the opportunities to keep ourselves in the face of the outcast when our cultural norms and comforts really actually isolate us from the earthiness and rawness of such realities. Perhaps it is because our own brokenness overwhelms us most days that it makes us hard to look outward.

Really, who are the lepers of our day? The outcast? The ones who Jesus walked with, talked with, broke bread with? Are they still not all around us ... and really not that hard to find. We just have to be willing to look past the peripherie and beyond "me" to really SEE.

Father, I pray that again and again you would help me to not be so 'inward' that I miss the constant beauty of the 'outward' all around me. And that beauty can come in all shapes, sizes and yes, even smells.
Sheri at 12:09 PM
2 comments

Monday, December 26

Another Day to Party!

HAPPY BOXING DAY to all my fellow Canadians and British Friends!! Another day to celebrate ... yeah:) and to all my american friends, no this day is not in honor of Mike Tyson ;) lol! You will just have to find either a canadian or a brit to explain what Boxing Day is about.

You all would have had a laugh to see the guys facial expression at the YMCA the other day when I asked him if they were open on "Boxing Day". I then needed to explain what the heck that was and that it had nothing to do with fighting or the latest boxing match. Just another lil' cultural difference

Hope you all had a fantastic Christmas! Only a few more days before NEW YEARS! yippeeeee

Any exciting New Years Eve plans out there?
Sheri at 10:50 PM
2 comments

Saturday, December 24

::Christmas Eve::

Hope all of your Christmas Plans have shaped up to include loads of fun, frolick and eggnog!!

Tonight I will be with some of the Basileia Crew, we are helping to host a Christmas Party for children from the Children's hospital and the Ronald McDonald house before the Narnia showing at the El Capitan -Disney's Premiere Theatre. Right down in Hollywood on Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Ave. This Theatre is amazing! Comes with props and effects from the actual movie. That's right it actually SNOWS in the theatre!!

We've been able to secure a whack of tickets and will be treating these kids to a party and a special showing of the movie. Virgin Records has sprung for the tickets, and Jimmy Kimmil's charity will be giving away toys to all the kids. There will also be some of the Los Angeles Kings on sight to be part of the festivities.

Then it will be off for dinner and am hoping to hit up a midnight mass somewhere at a Catholic Church down in Hollywood. One has to love liturgy particularly at this time of year. Perhaps it will help me get into the Christmas Spirit considering it is hot and surfing weather right now! ahhhh ... another moment of missing the good ole' Canadian vibe ...

Tommorow is Christmas Day festivities at the Ruis household. Should prove to be a laugh.

Blessings to you all! Have a Wonderful Christmas with family and friends!!!

Don't forget to make time for that really good movie you have been dieing to see, the fantastic book you have been wanting to read, a glass of wine with some dear friends and of course step out and bless someone's life over this season which perhaps is typically out of your comfort zone yet, expresses the beauty of your heart and more importantly the one of our Saviour and King!

Love to all my dear family who I am away from and my close friends you are missed!Your in my thoughts and prayers

sherix
Sheri at 11:29 AM
2 comments

Tuesday, December 20

Christmas

In the deepest night
there rises the star of morning,
of birth,
the herald of a new day you are making,
a day of great joy dawning
in yet faint shafts
of light and love.

I hear whispers of peace in the stillness,
fresh breezes of promise
stirring,
winter sparrows
chirping of life,
a baby's cry
of need
and hope -
Christmas!

In the darkness I see the light
and find in it comfort,
confidence,
cause for celebration,
for the darkness cannot overcome it;
and I rejoice to nourish it
in myself,
in other people,
in the world
for the sake of him
in whom it was born
and shines forever,
even Jesus the Christ.

(Book: Guerilla's of Grace)
Sheri at 4:30 PM
2 comments

Monday, December 19

Phone Call

Paul, Corey, Jamie ...

Thank you Thank you for calling last night! It meant so much to me that a few of you called me from "the party"! Man, I so wish that I could have been there ... I love you guys, think of you often and pray for you! You are so dear to my heart ...thank you for not forgetting and most importantly remembering the most important details and little fun things, nuances and feelings of my heart!

Love to you all!
sherix
Sheri at 4:53 PM
2 comments

Saturday, December 17

Christmas Letter 2005

HI My Friends ... Well, I just spent pretty much all day perfecting the art of completing a Christmas Letter. Man, it sure is a lot of work! Why is it so hard?? This definately is when my perfectionistic characteristics come into play.

Now, I have been trying to figure out if I can post it as an attachment but, obviously not. So, if you have not received an email with my Christmas Letter and would like to receive it -pop me out a note and I will email it to you right away! Of course pop me out a note with your email address!!!

Love to you all ...merry merry cheer and some tasty eggnog latte's!

PS - King Kong -oh my gosh, flippin amazing movie! Narnia on the other hand -fairly average, it will be interesting to see how many churches now start using that movie in every preach. mmm...scary! Tho' I do have to admit that I was crying when Aslan was killed!
Sheri at 7:37 PM
1 comments

Tuesday, December 13

A Random Thought Today

What Have I Done Today That Is Worth Talking About Tomorrow?
Sheri at 1:37 PM
5 comments

Thursday, December 8

'Tis The Season To Be Frenzied ... fa la la la la la la

Oh wait, that isn't how the song goes ...is it ;)

Christmas is quickly approaching and it is a season which culture and media promotes with excitement and perhaps even a touch of frenzy. I mean think about all the money our north american "rich" culture is raking in at our expense!

So I ask, are you already finding yourself in a mode of a fast pace mall hunt for that "perfect gift", or perhaps that doesn't happen until the 24th - when it is just mayhem! Lights, Christmas Trees, Cards, Eggnog, decorations, tinsel, garland, ivy, holly ... mistletoe? It never ends and it is so easy to find ourselves caught in the swirl of the very thing it is not.

Our Christmas Season.

So many reflective thoughts roll around in my head, Years ago ... as a child I remember my father came home from work one day and proudly announced to us as a family that ... "This year we are going to discover the real meaning of Christmas".

screeching halt - fullstop here. Every child's nightmare conversation! WHAT -no presents????

You mean Santa will fly right by our house and NOT STOP?! Not even the token 'orange' in the stocking? I remember my brother, kevin and I looking at each other like this would be the end of all fun and frolic as we once knew it. What would we tell our friends at school, when the christmas loot list starts being read and here we are with a big FAT NOTTA "0" ZERO!

My Father proudly declared even stronger "NOW WAS THE TIME to DISCOVER the REAL MEANING of CHRISTMAS!"

If I remember correctly, this was the year that mom, had zealously gone to the local bakery and ordered a "Happy Birthday Jesus" Cake which she proudly marched in on Christmas Day and there we sat all around the table (uhum -forced) to sing a rousing chorus of HAPPY BIRTHDAY to JESUS! Which I then -very energetically- was able to practice the famous sheri mcconnell "eyeroll" and the common kick under the table to my brother.

Like what the heck - WHERE'S MY PRESENTS! WHERE'S MY PRESENTS?? PRESENTS?! WHERE??????? !!!

Perhaps, you can relate completely to my story above and then others of you perhaps bake that cake every year joyously, celebrating the birth of Christ in similar form. Either way, let, me just say loudly THANK YOU JESUS the children won over somewhat that year- or perhaps it was just a healthy compromise. My parents decided to go with just one gift for each of us that year. Making a specific point of highlighting the truth that Christmas is not about commercial marketing of the latest gadget and the plethera of toys/clothes that one "just feels" the urge to need right at this time of year.

As much as I really did not understand the point of those fateful Christmas events past, now as an adult I can say that I appreciate the intent and heart of my parents in wanting to model truth and meaning far beyond the miss of mass media blitz.

I look at Christmas now very differently, thanks to encounters like I speak about above and a Christmas Season I spent a few years ago in a far off beautiful land called, Nepal.

Of course, the excitement of watching a child open a gift with such fervency and joy ripping that paper off, I admit is very fun to watch.

Yet, the teacher in me even more wants to point children and adults alike to the Biblical response "it is more blessed to give than to receive".

"Giving" - Must it come in a small, medium or large box with glitzy paper? Or how about through a kind word, an outstretched hand of mercy and love to a broken, peaceless culture and society. How about taking our children,youth and self to the real reality and beauty of Christmas - to the cold streets of every city or town you find yourself living in. Looking into the faces of the lonely, the lost. These ones are everywhere around us! This season for many is just another day of brokenness and sadness, fighting for their next meal or place to stay warm out of the cold. The latest Macy's sale is definately not in the forefront of these ones minds.

I ask myself. What can I do to bring hope during this season. To reach outside of my warm, comfortable, clean home and to look outside of myself. Not to the Mall, Not to the Tree, Not to the Gift - But, truly to He who gives and gives and gives! This one whose name is JESUS.

Isn't the person of Jesus REALLY what Christmas is about?
How would He choose to celebrate His season?


Thomas Merton so eloquently penned "We are not at Peace with others because we are not at peace with ourselves, and we are not at peace with ourselves because we are not at peace with God."

I pray PEACE over you my friends in this very PEACELESS hour as you discover real love, true joy, contentment and simplicity in the important realities of life.

How will you choose to celebrate the season of Christmas?
Sheri at 10:12 PM
8 comments

Tuesday, December 6

This is soooo good ... You gotta love Thomas Merton

Thanks Lisa Girl!

The real purpose of meditation - or at least that which recommends itself as most relevant for the modern man - is the exploration and discovery of new dimensions in freedom, illumination and love, in deepening our awareness of our life in Christ.

What is the relation of this to action? Simply this. He who attempts to act and do things for others or for the world without deepening his own self-understanding, freedom, integrity and capacity to love, will not have anything to give others. He will communicate to them nothing but the contagion of his own obsessions, his agressiveness, his ego-centered ambitions, his delusions about ends and means, his doctrinaire prejudices and ideas. (Thomas Merton "Comtemplation in a World of Action.")
Sheri at 11:25 PM
4 comments

This article REALLY struck me today ...

RELEVANT Magazine :: relevantmagazine.com

My sister just caught her boyfriend soliciting a local prostitute online.

Now she gave me permission to write this, but this situation does raise the question: How far has common morality slipped? Is the Internet Age to blame? Has easy access to e-smut pushed us further and further toward the brink of depravity? Was the world always this bad, or is Original Sin merely as American as hot apple pie?

Do common ethics appear to be on the decline just as personal spirituality is exploding into everyday life? The 21st century looks to offer more potential for Christian evangelism than, perhaps, any period in the last 200 years. Today, even vocal anti-Christians acknowledge belief in God and respect Jesus, but such spiritual openness hasn’t translated to the kind of kingdom Jesus came to establish.

This is the central challenge posed to postmodern Christianity: How does one introduce a higher ethic, an absolute Truth, in the midst of exalted relativism?

We approach this question when we talk about “relevance” or “emergent Christianity,” but too often the relevant issues at hand are lost in theological rhetoric and pop-philosophy that has little to do with practical living. My views of hell and creation may be changing (and they certainly are thanks to postmodern literature), but if my love doesn’t grow, then my Christianity is just as stale and marginalized as it’s always been.
Conclusion: theology, per se, isn’t the whole solution.

So if intellectuals can’t save “selfish me” or my spurned sister or her philandering ex, where do we go from here? How does Christianity redeem a world where Christian virtues are trivial to the point of social incompatibility?

The Apostle Paul boiled it down to this: “And whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Romans 13:9, TNIV). Jesus lived and breathed this kind of self- negating, rights-surrendering, community-altering agape. It got Him killed.

If we are to embrace a brand of Christianity that truly alters our lives and the world in which we inhabit, it will require more from us than throwing out our secular music and wearing kitschy T-shirts bearing memorable Jesus-ized slogans.

First, it’s important to rediscover the unsexy unselfishness inherent in biblical ideas of love. We have to remind the world (and ourselves) that love involves sacrifice. Somewhere along the way, the “otherness” that love demands gets lost. In a generation where self-gratification reaches new levels through erotic mass media and a dangerously casual dating culture, the idea of abstaining from indulgence sounds almost puritanical. Yet such an attitude is completely contrary to a 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love that is defined, not by feelings or emotions or sensuality, but by matters of will, of choice and of sacrifice.

It doesn’t sound very erotic, but it may be the only prescription for healthy, transcendent relationships.

Next, the believer must expose and defy the all-too-American attitude that blindly tells us, “More is better—even relationally.” This lie convinced my frat brothers back in college that quantity is better than quality—that sleeping with four women in a week is perfectly acceptable, that there is plenty of time to settle down and be domestic later on. Years later, this lie convinced a man that his wife may have been adequate when his salary was $40K a year, but now that he’s reached junior vice president, it’s time to think about image.

“More” has been defined as a certain shape of body and a certain social inclination, a plastic replica of happy living. After all, how could something so pedestrian as love survive the rigors of corporate appearance?

Finally, love must be removed—with a scalpel, if necessary—from the romantic entanglements lauded by pop culture’s generic TV-archetypes. Ironically, this aspect of false love may be the most difficult to rid ourselves of. Because it is seemingly benign (almost adorably innocent), it escapes the critical lens of truth. Who could deny the life-changing love that grew and blossomed between Justin and Britney? Brad and Angelina? Kevin Arnold and Winnie Cooper? Who would want to?

The truth nobody likes to admit (but everyone knows deep down) is that love can be quite unimpressive, even boring; my parents have watched British comedies every Saturday night for 15 years! Before that, they square-danced. God save us from such fates …

Or perhaps: God redeem us through such simplicity.

I live next door to a woman with schizophrenia. Her husband left her last month, tired of dealing with the illness. For the last four nights, she has danced to blaring country music in her driveway, silhouetted by the empty glow of her parked pickup’s headlights. She’s out there as I write this paragraph, lost in some blurred reality that few will take the time to care about. I wonder what facets of love are lacking in her life. I wonder which parts of “ever after” fell by the wayside as her husband walked away for the last time.

Love is a lot of work—gut-wrenching at times—which means that Christianity is inevitably hard, no matter what the televangelists say.

In cautious reflection, I guess there must be a rush in making email contact with a real-life prostitute—the adrenaline of “what if” must excite the baser instincts in a man. Perhaps my sister’s ex isn’t so vile. I suppose I can almost see how something so empty and meaningless could provide a tempting escape from the responsibilities of a real, deep, give-and-take relationship …

But prostituted love isn’t real. Neither is empty, self-help Christianity, which promises far more than any religion could deliver: the simple life, the good life, the American pie. Maybe real love—real religion—is the one that Jesus was talking about before He gave His life for people, some of whom will never even realize why.

Peter Walker is a Spiritual Formation student at George Fox Seminary, and works with youth and drama ministries at his local church. He is desperate for change.
Sheri at 10:41 AM
1 comments

Sunday, December 4

J ... This is for you

.:My prayer for you tonight:.


"The soul must long for God in order to be set aflame by God's love; But, if the soul cannot yet feel this longing, then it must long for the longing. To long for the longing is also from God." - Meister Eckhart


Even when Christ 'feels' invisible to you - know that He in you is visible! I saw Jesus in you tonight and choose to fight with a handful of others for you - every part of your life!

You are not alone. I believe in you!

Will you once again choose to even just "long for the longing?"
Sheri at 11:18 PM
0 comments

Friday, December 2

Captured




Tony, a good friend of mine from Winnipeg posted this picture on his blog and I feel stirred by this photograph.

So many lost, lonely, empty and utterly exhausted women+men who fill the benches we pass by everyday in the parks, at the bus/train stops, in front of the shops.

My heart asks of myself ...Will I be a smile, a word of encouragement; a gesture of kindness, comfort, hope or perhaps even courage?

Interested to hear your feelings, emotions and thoughts as you look at this image...
Sheri at 6:27 PM
4 comments

Thursday, December 1

New Friends ...


I hung out with a really cool couple tonight ~Ahhhh....Refreshing! They have been in LA for just 2 years, moved here from Texas and are just very interesting people. We seem to have a lot of common interests... Youth, Travel, Missions, The Arts, etc.

This felt like a little personal oasis for me in the midst of a vast desert.
Thanks Jesus
Sheri at 11:47 PM
1 comments