Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Everything and nothing

"I got the dress, I got the rings, I got a song that I can sing,
I got the bread, I got the wine, but I've the life that I left behind,
I've got everything, but I got nothing without you.."
- Derek Webb

There's one thing that I tell people when they're about to get married now. And it is: You're still the same person when you walk back down the aisle as you were when you were walking up it. I think that it's the one thing that I wish someone had told me, that I would still be the same and that Brian would also. Not that it would have changed my decision, I think I would have been a whole heck of a lot more prepared for married life than I was if I had realized this crucial fact. It's just that as a little girl, I dreamed of having a wedding and a prince charming and riding off into the sunset to live happily ever after. And, while life's great, it's certainly not that. I still have all of the same quirks and insecurities now, I still worry about the same stuff, and am plagued by the same sin. Before I was married, I somehow thought that all of the issues would fade when I became Mrs. Magee but they didn't. And I realize I may be starting to sound negative about marriage, but wait for it, I'm not finished yet.

I love being Brian's wife. I love him so much more than I did on our wedding day. But contrary to popular belief, he did not complete me. He did not fulfill me. Only Christ can do that. So, I must still trust Him like I did in my singleness. My whole worth must STILL come from Him alone. If I have it all, I have nothing without Jesus Christ.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Skinny Jeans

I have been meaning to write about this for quite some time, so, finding myself in the middle of a paper and wanting to procrastinate more, here goes...Skinny jeans, they're "all the rage" this year for some ungodly reason. They fit only 0.02% of the population and they are not even flattering on those people. I know that everyone in my generation swore that we would never, EVER resort back to the clothing of our elementary school years, yet, here we are again. At the beginning of the season when they first began to rear their wide backsides and tight ankles, I was utterly appalled. Then, like magic, I found myself wanting a pair one day. I even went so far as to go to a store and try on a pair. Fortunately for me, ten years of running has left me with "plus sized calf muscles" and the jeans wouldn't even make it up to my waist. So, what I normally consider a curse (my legs), saved me from myself. Now it seems like people are again realizing why we've hated this style since the last time it went out. They seem to be going out quietly, which is good for all women.

Not to spiritualize everything, but when I was thinking about this earlier today, I thought about how this is very similar to the way that sin works. On the outside and at first glance, it might seem horrible and unlike anything that I would ever do. Then, little by little, I see others doing it, hear about how good it may look, and I find myself trying it on for size. It's tricky like that. And it's exactly the reason why I must continually look to Christ for my life, my satisfaction, my guidance, my LIFE. The world will only leave me uncomfortable and funny looking, trying to be something other than who I was created to be.

So, ladies, proudly wear your boot-cut and flare legged pants, and look to Christ, the author and perfector of our faith.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Not my home

There are just some days when I just feel like a stranger here. While I realize that I am called to take up my cross daily, putting aside my self for the sake of showing others Christ's love, there are some days when it would just be way easier to just go home. Today has not particularly been one of those days, but it seems that they are becoming more numerous lately. Take for instance the day last week when we talked about abortion in one of my classes. Now it's just considered another form of birth control. I'm sorry, but how can people be so calous to believe that a human being is not a true human until it is out of the womb? Since when do people who make stupid decisions have the right to murder simply because giving birth is inconvenient for them? How can we really call ourselves civilized when, not only do we not protect our most defenseless members, we give oursleves the right to kill them? These are things that I do not understand in the least.

When I am more incensed about this week's football score than the hungry people in my town I am just ashamed. My only hope is that this is not my home.

Oh what a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ my Lord!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Goodbye, old friend

It's sad, but true. My dear old friend Pluto was given the pink slip yesterday. Apparently it's no longer a planet, sad. Pluto was always a favorite planet for me, besides Earth, of course. The underdog, the little man, in a way, Pluto gave me hope. Sure, it was the smallest and farthest away from the sun, but it kept trucking in its orbit. It was kind of like your "everyday" planet. Like you and me. Nothing special, just doing its job, circling the sun against so many odds. And those heartless astronomers gave it the ax. Now it's a "pluton." At least its lending its name to a new category of space things. But, then again, that's just like Pluto, forging the way no matter what.

Pluto, you'll always be a planet to me!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Epic DC Housing Story

It's been a while, so I don't know if anyone even reads this anymore, but, just in that case and the case you were wondering about our summer in DC, this post will hopefully answer all of your questions.

To begin, I must admit that we learned the very hard way to never, EVER rent a place before seeing it with your own eyes first. Not pictures, not promises of this or that, you must stand in the midst of the place and see it as it will be when you inhabit it. Maybe this sounds like common sense to you, but this bit of sense was not a natural thing for the Magees before this summer. First, there was place #1. We found it some time ago on Craig's List (mistake #1) and it sounded great. A five bedroom house in Alexandria, of which we would be renting a room and references that described the owner of the house a wonderful, fun, Christian man. Well, we never even met him. Brian arrived at about 8 o'clock on the night before he was to begin work to find no one home, but the door wide open. Upon entering, he was met with a scene that he cannot yet talk about without wincing. The whole house was covered with trash and there were animal cages everywhere-even on the kitchen counter! He said that it smelled like a bad vet's office and that his first thought was, "Kelli cannot live here." So he left and called me in a state just a little less than panic. He stayed at a hotel that night and we called everyone that we knew who might know anyone in DC or the surrounding area.

Fortunately, a friend of a friend lives in a house in Pentagon City with a bunch of guys and they graciously let Brian live there for several weeks while we sorted things out. He said it was a little like living in a fraternity house, but the guys were really great to live with and they charged him nothing in rent. Then, miracle of miracles, after a late night internet search, I found a one bedroom apartment on Capitol Hill in our price range that said it was ready to move in. This was just in time, because I was about to come up for the summer at this point and didn't really want to live with a bunch of guys. So, Brian signed a lease within a couple of days and was supposed to move in the day before I arrived. Well, come that day, the apartment wasn't ready. It was being renovated and would need a couple more days. Well, I came, and what was a couple of days turned into three weeks. I will not even go into the incompetencies of the liar that was the renovator. Meanwhile, we lived in house in Woodley Park that our landlord also owns with about eight other random people. The house was really nice and we loved the area we were in, so it wasn't all that bad.

Finally, July came and we were able to move into our apartment. On the day we did, however, it was so dirty that I had to go out a buy $60 worth of cleaning supplies and scrub the place for a day. Basically the guy "renovated" the apartment and didn't clean a bit of his mess up. Dust and nails were everywhere, not to mention the garbage disposal in the kitchen sink wasn't even hooked up yet. (To date it's still not.) In addition it was "furnished" with the most random things possible. A table and 3 chairs, none of which go together, a stereo that doesn't work, a tv and 3 remotes, none of which actually go with the tv, and a mouse pad and plastic cup in the way of decorations. In the midst of all this weirdness, the bathroom is entirely tiled in marble. I have no idea. So, we have made it as much of a home as possible and have really had a good time, although we are REALLY looking forward to going home to our apartment. It will undoubtedly feel like a palace.

I will end the saga with an event that took place two Saturdays ago. After a day of site-seeing with my brother and sister who were in town for the week, we stepped through the doorway to find that the ceiling right inside the door had fallen in. Yep. Not the whole ceiling, but a good 3x4 foot section of it. We cleaned up the mess, called the landlord, and patched up the hole with a garbage bag. Eleven days and counting, there's still been nothing done about it.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Escaping high school

High school was not a time in my life that I would like to forget, but it's definitely not a time that I would relive for any amount of money. I was a generally mean person. Not on the outside, but on the inside and certainly around my friends. I gossiped like it was going out of style and I would make fun of someone in a heartbeat. And I wasn't even in the "popular" crowd. High school was brutal, both to me and because of me. Nominally, I was a Christian, but I did not act like one. Among my closest friends we would backstab one another. It was a shock for me to make friends in college and not wonder if they were talking about me when I wasn't around.

All of this to say, I have had too many high school-like experiences lately for comfort. It all began a couple of weeks ago when I walked back into a classroom after a break duuring class and all of the sudden the conversation among my classmates came to a screeching halt. Their faces seemed to say, "No, we weren't talking about you...." Sure. All of the sudden I felt exactly like I did six or seven years ago. Like people I had been trying to get to know for a long time were just patronizing me with their friendship and their smiles. My heart really sank in a way that it hadn't in so long. And I know that it's my fault. And I'm sorry.

I've spent the last six years escaping high school probably the same way I would want to escape a burning building. The person that I was then, I wish to be no longer. I don't want to be the patronized one, the one everyone hides from. I don't want to be a backbiting gossiper who fuels her self-worth with the chastisment of others.

I'm so sorry.

"Wretched man that I am! Who will resuce me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!"
-Romans 7:24-25a

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Micah Jacob

I am going to have another little brother!!!! Again, please do not forget to read the word BROTHER. It is very important. Several people that I have told have stopped listening at, "I am going to have..." and assumed that I am pregnant. I am not. Nor is my mother for that matter. He is coming from China. He is a special needs child which means, 1) he had a cleft lip and still has a cleft palate, 2) we (or my parents, specifically) got to pick him out, and 3) the adoption process is not going to take half as long as it did with the Gracer.

All that aside, his name is going to be Micah Jacob. His Chinese name is Zhen Xian Jin. I am so excited. Adoption is such a wonderful thing for everyone involved. When Grace was adopted, people kept talking about how lucky she was to have us. But what they don't realize is that we are the fortunate ones. We are all blessed to be so enriched by her life. She is so full of joy and love and everything else, I cannot imagine life without her. And I know that things with Micah will be the same.

Through these adoptions, God has taught me much about my adoption as His child. Just like Grace and Micah were, I was helpless. My parents sought them out to be adopted, payed the full price, travelled/will travel to get them, gave them new names, and brought/will bring them home to be a son and daughter, full heirs just like Sarah and Andy and me. God sought me out, He paid the full price, came all the way to the depths of my sin for me, has given me a new identity in Christ, and will someday call me home. Before Christ, there was nothing that I could do to go to the throne of God, but He Himslef has opened the way. I, who was once without hope, am now co-heirs with Christ.

"And as He stands in victory, sin's curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine, bought with the precious blood of Christ."

Friday, April 28, 2006

BYOB Baby Shower

Yep, you read it right. Our friend Robin is having a baby in July, so tonight there was a party for her at Cafe Cuba, which is amazing. There were presents, and tears, and exclamations of, "awwww," and "that's cute," and, oh, beer (but not for mama), and fake bugs and pirate coins on the tables. Honestly, it was the most fun, genuine, laid back baby shower that I have ever been to. Sadie is going to be a very loved little girl because, well, she already is and she has very loving parents.

And why drink punch when everybody really wants Mexican beer?

Friday, April 21, 2006


My brother, who is one of the greatest thinkers that I know, said something profound last night that has been in my mind all day. He said, "Everone gets depravity. All great works of literature are one chapter short, because they understand depravity but miss redemption." This struck me because I love literature and I had never thought about it this way. But I guess it's true, we all "get" depravity.

Whether we want to admit it or not.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The fear of God

I was struck Tuesday morning by the awesomeness of God as I looked at a tree. Now, before you think I've gone "all Thoreau" on you, hear me out. I am often very impressed by the works of others' hands. Art, music, fashion, even writing fascinate me all the time. But a tree is an entirely different thing. You may say to yourself, "Well, trees have always been there, they are different, " but they have not. God created the trees. He not only fashioned them by his hands, the very idea of trees was birthed in God's mind before the beginning of time.

Maybe this is not profound to you, but it hit me like a bolt of lightning. Why do I toy around with God, thinking that something I can do will change Him? He MADE me. He thought me up. He thought up hearts and kidneys and blood and bones. God invented mitochondira and atoms. He alone conceived of music, its notes, and ears to hear them with, as well as white light that is really made up of many colors and eyes that flip it around in order to see it.

I'm not here setting up the argument that God brought us into this world and He can take us out (although He can), I am attempting to put forth the pure awesomeness of that is manifested in all that we see. He is not small or insignificant to our lives and this world. He is also not a clockmaker, sitting back to watch His creation tick. He is integral. The closest that I can come to describing Him with a word is "Awesome."

"May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works - he who looks at the earth, and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke."
- Psalm 104:31-32

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Self Efficacy

So, just in case you're like I was about 9 months ago, ignorant about about the world of behavioral theory, (and pretty darn happy about it for that matter) I will briefly explain self efficacy before launching into my assault of it. Brain child of Albert Bandura, it basically means one's belief in their own ability to do something. So, your self efficacy for eating jellybeans would be your belief in your ability to put them in your mouth and chew? Not can you do it? Do you believe that you can? But maybe this was a bad example.

Anyway, moving on, self efficacy is an idea that we over-kill in public health. But there is so much of a conflict in me about this idea even though I use it a lot when we have to justify what we are writing about using theory. My conflict comes because, as a Christian, a foundational premise of my faith is that I am the chief of sinners. As such, I believe that I will always fail. No matter how hard I believe that I can do something, I know that I will always fail. We will all always fail apart from Christ. So, sometimes I feel like a phony thinking about teaching people to "believe in themselves." It is a false hope. And when we fail ourselves, what have we left besides Christ? If I am teaching a health belief system without Him, do I even believe in what I am teaching?

Life has taught me that there is always someone better than me, that I am much less qualified to do what I am doing than many others. There's always someone faster, someone smarter, someone prettier, someone more popular, someone with more talent. I get really lost in despair when I am not remembering what Christ has done on my behalf. Why can't I always be confident? If I have hope at all it is in Jesus Christ alone.

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us." - 2 Corinthians 4:7

Sunday, April 09, 2006

So, I'm still here

This has been a very long, arduous semester with the addition of the assistantship back in December. I am only blogging now because I can either do this or write about a disease outbreak on a cruise ship, a topic that does very little to peak my interest. In fact, nothing that I am currently studying interests me very much this semester, which is why I have unabashedly immersed myslef into Lewis' Mere Christianity lately. It is fascinating. I hope to read some of the Reformers this summer, but I am always a little partial to my dear CSL. His writing is enchanting.

I have struggled a lot harder this semester also with what it looks like to be a Christian in the world in which I do my day-to-day living. I'm talking about what it looks like to really live by faith, to really live out faith. What I have come to is simply love. Love for the people around me despite everything. Their beliefs, lifestyles, attitudes, thoughts about me or Jesus do not matter as a deciding factor on whether or not to love them and pour myself into them.

The past year and a half has found me in a rather swift downward sprial into selfishness and materialism and, frankly, I'm sick of it. Other people's opinions of me will never satisfy. The best outfits and shoes will never satisfy. Being a great student will most certainly never satisfy, even for a moment. Having the most charming, handsome, amazing husband in the world will never satisfy. Christ and Christ alone is the ONLY satisfaction.

It was freeing to stop trying to build my resume. Not that I am not trying anymore. Admittedly, I want to work at everything that I do as if I am working for God alone. But I really could care less about building for myself a great big kingdom of accomplishments. And that I mean with all of my heart.

"If I stand, let me stand on the promise that You'll pull me through,
And if I can't let me fall on the grace that first brought me to you.
If I sing let me sing for the joy that has borne in me these songs,
And if I weep let it be as a man who is longing for his home."
-Rich Mullins