29 December 2007

I could SO be Dorothy

in the Wizard of Oz! Would you just look at these Chuck Taylor All Star Sequins shoes! I'm not sure what it is about my gene pool that makes me absolutely LOVE these shoes. I want some. Probably shouldn't buy them, much less wear them, but I do honestly think they are so great. I just showed them to my dad. He thinks they're awful. What can I say, I guess I didn't get my taste in shoes from my dad, and as far as these go, probably not my mom either. But still, something about them is just so charming...it's like they are glitzy but earthy at the same time. And well, I already know they're cozy, and well, they're red and that's always good and they're converse and that in itself is great and well, they are just so completely impractical and totally unexpected. A juxtaposition of natures if you will. And I will. :) If I bought some that's what I would name them. Juxtaposition.

26 December 2007

December craziness!

Merry Christmas! Thank God that He has come to be WITH US. I so desperately need Him to be living life here with me everyday. Anywho, as with most of you lots and lots has been going on this month...here's a few of the happenings and a couple o'pics.
For a lovely start to the month, my sister hosted the most amazing early birthday girly Christmas tea party for me on the 1st. My mom even flew down from Jersey for the fun and I also had about 18 or so other beautiful ladies show up to let me know how loved I am. We delighted in the cranberry punch and the cutest tea sandwiches you've ever seen and a wonderful display of teas and petite quiches and scones and clotted cream and all the cute little doilies and unexpected touches that my sister spent hours and hours preparing. Have I mentioned that I have the greatest sister ever? She even had lace on the punch cups and teeny red bows on the forks, not to mention the cheese was cut out in holiday shapes! (btw, sorry to any guys reading this, I'm sure you could care less, but for girls this stuff is extremely important.) There were even door prizes and little gifts for everyone to take home! I especially enjoyed reading all of the thoughtful notes and scripture passages that my friends brought for me. I so wish that all of my girlfriends in San Diego, New York, Magnolia, Louisville, Boston, India, Turkey, Brazil, Iowa, and even Pineville, LA could have come to share in the girliness with me. However, if all of you had been there too, I'm not sure I could have stood all the excitement!
Then, there were several Christmas parties and shopping to do and new offices to move into. The office move was a little bit nuts, but I shan't complain because in the midst of it all, I had 5 unexpected and undeserved days off! Wow, that was a HUGE Christmas gift! And I have a window in my new little office with a great view which I'm loving! Oh, and sadly my dear dear dear dear friends Will and Kristi moved to Louisville to get em some more skoolin. :) So very happy for them, but I already miss them both like crazy!
And now I'm in New Jersey with the folks and just enjoying some stillness. We had a lovely Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and today my mom and I did a little bit of shopping (I guess I'm a bit shopped out this year because all I came home with was a $3 scarf from JCrew which my mom generously bought!) And tomorrow I'm going to take a small little bite out of the BIG APPLE all by myself! What a big girl I am. :) Have no idea what I'll decide to do, but I'm just looking forward to being in the city and soaking up all the sights, sounds, and smells of NY. And then on Friday which just so happens to be my BIRTHDAY my daddy is taking off work and all three of us will drive to this cute little town to have a delicious lunch and look around the cozy little stores and enjoy all the Christmas lights...oh, and I'm thinking I might get to open a few gifts too. And well, there's more that's going on in the homefront, but I'll write about that another time.
As you can tell, I'm getting lots of love. :)

30 November 2007

Every word of God proves true.

I have no idea what's going on in your world today. Lots, I imagine. I know there's lots in mine and probably yours too...big stuff, little stuff, work stuff, family stuff, relationship stuff, dream stuff, disappointment stuff, good stuff, bad stuff, easy stuff and hard stuff. If your brain, body, spirit, and soul are tired and overflowing or empty today... if you're on the verge...if you need encouragement today...if you need a bit of hope, a corrected perspective, a paradigm shift, a reminder that He really is enough and good and trustworthy...if you just have plain need today, then take a moment, take a really deep breath (the kind that takes more than 2 seconds, the kind where your shoulders actually go up and down) and read this. You need it. I did.

Psalm 145

A Song of Praise. Of David.

1I will extol you, my God and King,
and bless your name forever and ever.
2Every day I will bless you
and praise your name forever and ever.
3Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised,
and his greatness is unsearchable.

4One generation shall commend your works to another,
and shall declare your mighty acts.
5On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
6They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,
and I will declare your greatness.
7They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness
and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.

8The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9The LORD is good to all,
and his mercy is over all that he has made.

10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD,
and all your saints shall bless you!
11They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom
and tell of your power,
12to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds,
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures throughout all generations.

[The LORD is faithful in all his words
and kind in all his works.]
14The LORD upholds all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.
15The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food in due season.
16You open your hand;
you satisfy the desire of every living thing.
17The LORD is righteous in all his ways
and kind in all his works.
18The LORD is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
19He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
he also hears their cry and saves them.
20The LORD preserves all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.

21My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD,
and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.

21 November 2007

Singing in the Rain

Let me just confess that so many times I am stunned by how sweet God is to me. I don't know why I am always surprised, don't understand why I'm so cynical about Him much of the time. Yesterday I was just kind of sad - not really sure why, just different stuff on my mind, random stuff. Not even all bad stuff, but just things I wanted to process. Stuff like thinking about what God did on the high school retreat, but realizing how many students are still in so much turmoil and can't seem to connect Jesus with their real lives and real stuff. And wondering why God doesn't seem to help them. Or rather, why it doesn't always look like God is doing anything. And then just thinking about what to do for Thanksgiving and why I don't really feel like I fit in anywhere this year. I decided not to go see my folks since I'm going up there for Christmas. I shouldn't complain because I am thankful I'll get to be with my bro and sis and their fams, but tagging along at their dad and stepmom's house just didn't seem to thrill me, ya know. It's not that I'm not always welcome there, it's just that I'm not expected or needed to be there. Nobody would be mad if I didn't come. So weird that I was having a pity party about this; I know tons of people wish they could get out of their family gatherings! :) And then I was just feeling lonely in the office - not sure why sometimes that bothers me. It never bothers me on Fridays when I'm alone, but the Tuesday afternoon just did. Guess I was just missing my peeps and it just didn't feel right for Tuesday. And for some reason I was reminded again yesterday of the issue of human trafficking and just the thoughts of how I need to care about that which I do, but I need to care enough to do something about it. But I don't know what to do and I honestly don't even want to think about such evil because my brain and heart and theology don't even know what to do with it all. But anywho, I sucked it up and decided to do something. Not really a something worth even talking about, but for me it was a little bitty act of obedience to just confess that I've been calloused and decide to care and think about it and be willing to learn about it. If you want to care you can check out www.love146.org.

Anywho, all that to say I was feeling funky. But then right in the middle of it, my sister called me just for something random and she hardly ever calls me during the day. I guess just having her care was a help. And before I even got off the phone with her my mom called. We talk probably once a week or so, but it just is a warm fuzzy to hear the sympathy in your mom's voice. Made me cry a little actually - what is it about moms? And then after work I went to walk/talk/pray with my friend Annetta and it was just really good. We love to walk and talk together but even though I told her I was all prayed out and just have it in me, just listening to her pray was such an encouragement to me. And then went inside to hang out for a couple hours with one of my most favorite families. For some reason I always feel so relaxed when I'm at their house. They were busy in the kitchen preparing for their Thanksgiving day feasting, but even in their busyness there is just a peace being with them. So good for my soul. And by the time I left and came home I just wasn't in a funk at all. I guess I'm just grateful that God set up all those things for me on a day when I needed the encouragement. I know that sometimes He makes us wait and sit in it for a while, and sometimes a long while, but yesterday He didn't. He pulled me up and out of the puddle right away and I'm thankful.

And might I add, today was a fantastic day as well! Work was less than exciting, but I did get some good cleaning out accomplished and even put up a few Christmas decorations - yipppeee! And then I went to lunch with some stellar Winchell sisters to CPK and had a great time catching up. And then I peeled out of there about 2:30 which was amazing and headed home and took a good long nap. So love naps. When I woke up I checked on my sister who had some major dental work today and I cooked us up some pumpkin tortellini that she bought and we enjoyed a lovely dinner and watched Singing in the Rain on TV. "I'm singing in the rain, just singing in the rain, what a glorious feeling, I'm haaaaaapy again..." "
Love love love that movie! And now I'm just chillin and bloggin - what a great day. I think sometimes I get in a funk when I've been around people too much. Not that I don't love being around people cuz I really and truly do. It's just that with a shortage of down time spent at home or just by myself, it starts to wear me out. So yeah, I'm all good and even looking forward to the good food and good company of tomorrow. And looking forward to Friday - no clue what I'm gonna do except that I don't have to work. Awesome. Oh, and I almost forgot that I got to talk to my best friend tonight which just makes me feel like all is right with the world. She's the best at listening to me ramble. Thanks Little Bit. :)

Okay, speaking of listening to me ramble, if you're still reading, thanks to you too. And just in case you need to do a little Thanksgiving venting of your own, go right ahead and leave a comment, even a real long one if you need to...

20 November 2007

I promise

to write something tomorrow, but for now here's a few more Far Side comics. I was in a teeny weensy bit of a funk for a bit this afternoon so it's probably a good thing I didn't write anything - who knows what I might have said! :) I'd much rather give you something funny than be a downer anyday of the week...speaking of funny, I did have a swell lunch with 3 men today...no, no, no don't get all excited - they were all married. Oh, the joys of church work. :) Seriously, Tuesday Lunch Bunch was a tad sparse but completely superb today as we enjoyed our Panera (especially our double freebie breadbowl soupage) and discussed new stem cell research, random reality shows, my upcoming advent appearance, the fancy water label on the drink machine, the writers strike and the plausibility of a Twood "executive assistant" strike, and well let's not forget the brief pancreas mention. So today I'm thankful for all the cool guys God puts in my life, even the married ones. ;)

I hope you laugh out loud at these. You know you want to.

09 November 2007

The little things

Okay, so here's the deal. I have a lot I want to write about - really and truly. And even more music I'm in love with right now and happy things I'd like to share. But alas, lots o'work to do today and for the next week so it's gonna have to wait...I'm sure the suspense is really gonna kill you. And so I've attached a picture to show just how cluttered and crazy my little cubicle is these days which in my life translates to lots to do - not the "summer craziness" lots to do just the "high school retreat is one week away and lots of other things are piling up too" lots to do. So yeah, I've attached a pic and I better shut up before I waste more time doing this which is really not that essential to the grand scheme of life I'm thinking. OH, and I've attached a pic of why it is that I don't mind doing all this stuff...it's cuz sometimes my boss brings me fun gifts from office depot. I'm sure it's not what most folks get excited about, but for me gold paper clips are everything. They are just so much nicer than the run o the mill silver. You laugh, but it's true. I get really excited about those - Jerome knows it. He knows the way to get me to work like a dog is through bribery. He smiled real big when I got all excited about those gold paper clips. The silver key labels are pretty fun too, don't get me wrong, but they don't hold a candle to the gold finish clips - a 100 of them. Yep, I'm pretty high maintenance this way.

05 November 2007

Beautiful, Scandalous Night

Just wanted to share my new favorite song. As a matter of fact, it’s on one of my new favorite CD’s, Robbie Seay's Give Yourself Away. I loved practically every song on it the first time I heard it. (The song isn’t original to Robbie Seay so you may have heard it somewhere else too.)

Go on up to the mountain of mercy
To the crimson perpetual tide
Kneel down on the shore
Be thirsty no more
Go under and be purified

Follow Christ to the holy mountain
Sinner sorry and wrecked by the fall
Cleanse your heart and your soul
In the fountain that flows
For you and for me and for all

At the wonderful, tragic, mysterious tree
On that beautiful, scandalous night you and me
Were atoned by His blood and forever washed white
On that beautiful, scandalous night

On the hillside, you will be delivered
At the foot of the cross justified
And your spirit restored
By the river that pours
From our blessed Savior's side

Written by Steve Hindalong and Derald Daugherty © 1992 New Spring / Never Say Never Songs (ASCAP)

Click here to listen to a sample

02 November 2007

I'm one hot burrito!

How often do I say this, but well, it's Friday afternoon and I've pretty much finished everything I need to accomplish in the office...lucky for you, that means blogtime! :) Let's see, what's new with me...

you know I'm hot.

Most newsworthy I suppose is the fact that I dressed up as a Freebird Burrito not once, but twice, last week. The first occasion was the Tallowood "junior staff" Hallo-Wii-n party where we had sooooooo much fun learning how to play Wii bowling, tennis, and baseball - not quite sure I'm ready to fork out the big bucks for my own Wii, but playing in a big group was uberfun. One of my favorite moments of the night was when I retorted to Will for who knows what "bite me!" Classic, oh man, do crack myself up.

check out the expressions of everyone watching - my bowling ball just missed the last pin!

Then, the very next night I redressed and rewrapped myself up as a burrito for the junior high game night at church. The favorite part of that night was that one of the kids on my team was a cookie - it was a touching moment there in the ladies restroom when she walked out of her stall and I was happy to discover another food item. We embraced and teared up and the rest is history...we did in fact name our team the "Killer Cookies" in her honor. She even had a milk moustache. BTW, the kids first suggested "Cute Cookies", but come on I said, cute cookies aren't tough, we need a more fitting name for the pure fighting machine that we were.

Killer Cookies in action - this would be the mummy wrap!

On a lighter note, I've been keeping my room clean. Trust me, that's newsworthy.

What else...well, I have been learning to wait on God. Tons of fun. Actually, it has been really good just learning how to wait on Him instead of just waiting for something from Him or waiting for Him to tell you something...not that I would ever do that personally, but some people might, ya know. I've discovered that when waiting on an event or thing or answer, you might grow weary, but when just waiting on Him, He really does renew your strength as it says in Isaiah 40.

Also, I was just reading through my journal the other day and remembering how incredibly faithful our God is. Of course, there have been times when it hasn't felt like it, but when you think back to how He's worked over the course of time, in the journey of your life, that He has been faithful to accomplish His purpose all along the way. As we just studied Noah in SS, we were talking about how Man cannot (even when he is evil) compromise God's plan for creation to bring glory to Himself. God's purpose cannot be thwarted - ever. And yet for some crazy reason I think that if I hear Him wrong or misinterpret what He's telling me or if I somehow don't make the "right" decision, that I'm going to mess up His plan for my life or just His plan period. What kind of foolishness is that? He is just reminding me that He really is in control, He really does have all authority, He really does have all power, He alone can accomplish what He wants to accomplish in all of time and history, not to mention my silly little life. So, don't forget that, my friend, it's not up to you to figure it all out and make it happen. It's not. It's really not. So, take a big sigh of relief. Sighhhhhhh. We are called to trust Him, and trust his heart when we can't see Him working, and we are called to obey. Obedience is our job, but God is the One who fulfills His purpose in us because of his covenant love toward us. Psalm 138:8 "The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands." Here's an interesting tidbit...did you know that every time you see the phrase "lovingkindness" in the NAS or "steadfast love" in ESV that it is a reference to God's covenant love for us? Trust me, it's everywhere! And do you get that a covenant is eternally binding, God cannot and will not break it. In fact lots of blood has been shed for it - it's that serious. In SS I like to cut a cute teddy bear in half for dramatic effect! (We've been studying Covenant all semester so the two-piece bear returns quite often - my girls love it - they act like they don't, but I know they do!) So, next time you start thinking God really doesn't care about you or see you or that He really isn't working for your good, stop it. He does care, He does see, He is working for your good. How do I know? His Word says it and I've seen it over and over and over again. And here's a one of the cool new verses I just discovered, Proverbs 30:5, "Every word of God proves true; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him." Every word. True. Believe it.

Whew, that was long! Once I get going sometimes it's just hard to stop. But alas, I will. Oh, just for kicks, check out my new Facebook profile pic. When I grow up, I'm gonna be a donerci...perhaps even the most popular donerci in all of Istanbul. :)

19 October 2007

good to the last slurp

Here's a few things I'm happy about today...

aleph - I just finished the last slurp of my cookies-n-cream milkshake complete with whip cream and cherry (I actually didn't eat the cherry) from Chick-fil-A. Man, was it good.

bet - Today is Friday and inherit in every Friday is a bit of happiness.

gimel - Since I'm alone in the youth office today I've had lots of quietness which for today is quite enjoyable. Sometimes I get a wee bit lonely, but not today, just embracing all that is serene. Okay, so "embracing all that is serene" is probably putting it just a bit too dramatic and Jane Austin'ish, but I just liked the way it sounded.

dalet - This week I've found several of my really good turkish friends on Facebook which is so very fun. mutluyum. cok.

heh - Tonight Kasey and I get to babysit Janelle's little baby girl which I'm so excited about. There's just something so sweet about cuddly babies - can't wait! And plus, Kase and I just need some good girl hangout time so that will be fabulous too.

vav - My bedroom AND my bathroom are both really clean and organized which is giving me immense happiness these days.

zayin - Life with the sis, bro-in-law, and nephew has been really great lately...just so fun. Just helping my nephew with his homework or laughing with them at family jokes and getting my sis and nephew out of bed after they got back in bed after breakfast just for cuddle time...just little bits of life like that make my life richer.

het - Today it is only 82 degrees and beautiful. I know it's weird that I'm thankful for 82 degree weather in October, but just yesterday it was 92 so I'm grateful.

tet - Tomorrow I don't HAVE anywhere to be or anywhere I HAVE to go or anything I HAVE to do. ahhhhhh, now that is a breath of happiness.

yod - I love my job.

kaf - I get to wear jeans on Fridays.

lahmed - I've been getting stuff accomplished today and marking stuff off the list makes me happy.

mem - I'm in the middle of reading a great book - Israel, My Beloved - I read it a long time ago and knew I loved it, but ohmygosh it is so good. It's fiction, but it just paints a beautiful picture of God's lovingkindness towards his people.

nun - For some crazy reason, the only thing I remember about my two incredibly hard and almost devestating semesters of Hebrew is the alphabet...I figure I may as well get some use out of it, right? I could finish it off for you, but you probably couldn't care less and if you actually do care just check out Ps.119. :)

samek - I've had over a 1000 visits to my blog...most of those are probably me, but still fun stuff.

25 September 2007

Best of the Wurst

So for a couple weeks now I've found myself writing stuff in my head...not sure if that's just the way I think or what, but I keep thinking of things to write about and then I never have time to actually write the verbosity down - or type it out for that matter. And so I'm home alone, well just me and the dogs that is, and felt like spitting some of that stuff out and alas, it seems that as time passes all those things that seemed really interesting at the time, really just aren't. But perhaps the randomness will be entertaining.

For instance - last week I learned on NPR about a sausage convention or consortium if you will (and I know you will) they were having somewhere in the midwest around Chicago or something. Okay, so you're thinking who cares? But the funny thing is that the name for it was going to be "The Best of the Wurst." Still, now, a week later, it makes me laugh out loud.

And then there's always the fodder that comes from driving the Katy Freeway everyday to and fro. One afternoon I saw this small white pickup truck with the words "Bert the Bug Guy." And I thought to myself, oh man, hope that guy's already married because I personally don't see that and think, "Gosh, nothing hotter than a bug guy!" I mean, really, not to be picky or anything, but there's nothing about a bug guy that's attractive. And then the really funny part is that I saw the same truck the very next day! How ironic - maybe God's trying to tell me something. No offense Bert, I'm sure you're a great guy, but I hope not.

And also, last week or so while driving on aforementioned Katy Fwy, I saw this man on the side of the feeder road pushing a large trash bin. Not the kind that people put on the curb on trash day, but the kind you see gypsies pushing in other countries. But even stranger was his wife I assume, walking about 20 feet behind him in a full black burka. For a minute I wasn't really sure what country I was in. Nothing funny about that story, just a strange moment for my brain.

Or I could write a page or two about the temper tantrum that I threw with God last Thursday night, but it wasn't really pretty so I'll spare you the details. Basically, I ranted and raved while I felt like God was ignoring me only to find out later in the evening when I was doing my best to avoid Him, that He actually was listening. Not sure why He even does that. Why He even lets me know He sees me and cares about me when I'm being so stiffnecked, but He often does. Sometimes of course, He lets me sweat it for a while as He's silent. That's the part I don't like. But I'm afraid it shows me what I'm really made of inside and how tiny my faith really is when it comes right down to it. I figure I at least have mustard seed-sized faith which is good since God can do something with even that. Why, oh why, do I doubt His goodness toward me? As if He hasn't done enough. Giving me life and all that and grace upon grace. God, help me trust you.

So didn't mean to get all deeply spiritual and melancholy on this post since I'm not feeling melancholy at all. In fact, I'm pretty "stoked" (just wanted to use that word) that I finally won a week in Fantasy Football. Of course, Sweet Pea Domination is still in second to last place, but after I steamroll my measly opponent this week, I'm sure I'll be heading up in the ranks.

Yep, well, I can't find any more yarns of eloquent phrases rolling around in my head so that's it. That's all she wrote. HAHAHAHAHAHA - so dumb, but still makes me laugh.

I have to say a couple years ago I had a good friend of mine telling me that I needed to write. So ever since then, I've tried to do more writing off and on, mostly off. But then sometimes there's this nagging feeling that God wants me to write and so I used to try to contemplate what and how and why I should write and to who and for what purpose. Aren't there enough words in the world as it is? But finally, as in just a couple months ago, it dawned on me. The writing is mostly just for me. Me and God perhaps. Well, not that it's for God, although sometimes it can be, but sometimes it's for me to figure out myself ya know, and what's really in my heart. I guess I used to feel like if I was going to write it needed to be for some great purpose or something, like I needed to change the world through it or maybe even just one person's world. But thankfully I've decided that's not the case. It's just about this life, mine. No, no, I know life's not all about me, but I need this. To write. To process my life. To process at least some of this stuff rumbling around in my head - all those silly and sacred things. I feel like if I don't, I'm going to miss out on life - on the richness and fullness of it. Maybe even miss what God's trying to speak to me in it. And that would be much too great a loss.

P.S. Have you read Romans 4 lately? Don't you want to have the kind of faith like Abraham did? It's easy to have faith when you see God for who He really is - a God who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. A God who is able to perform that which He promised. I guess that whole speaking things into existence was fresh on my mind anyway because we taught on Genesis 1 this past Sunday. God just speaks things into existence. He just breathes and there is life. Now, that is something for me worth writing about. Gosh, I need this encouragement.

07 September 2007

Gold and silver gifts

Gen. 24:53 "Then the servant brought out gold and silver jewelry and articles of clothing and gave them to Rebekah; he also gave costly gifts to her brother and to her mother."

Okay, so I was thinking that God has been giving me good gifts lately and was looking up scripture and this is the first one that popped up. Well, since the name fits, I'll use it. The truth is, God has been just so incredibly sweet to me lately and I just wanted to share. Granted, the gifts haven't been gold and silver and articles of clothing, but really I'm not that much of a jewelry person anyway. Here's just a few of the gifts my Dad has been lavishing on me this week. And God, I'm sure my bro and my mom would appreciate some gifts too. :)

1. For some crazy reason God has just been wooing me to Himself and making me hungry for His Word lately. Okay, so maybe it's not a crazy reason, maybe it's that He's trying to transform me or something like that. :) All I know is that when I feel this way, and especially when I actually do something about it, it is ALL HIM. No doubt about it, it's His working in me.

2. I've been having the joy of house and pet sitting for some friends who have a dog, a cat, two turtles, and a fish. (So, I can't quite consider the turtles to be a gift yet, but I'm sure we'll be bonding soon!) Anywho, the best part is having a huge peaceful house all to myself! It is amazing! I went into culture shock the first 24 hours because it was so quiet and I honestly felt a bit lonely without my sister, brother-in-law, nephew and 3 dogs around. But, once I got over that and decided that God and I could have a 12 day retreat just to ourselves, I was pumped. It has been soooooooo good. I decided after the first night that nothing on TV was really that entertaining (although I did enjoy that episode of SurvivorMan and the documentary on the guy that "died" climbing Mt.Everest, but wasn't really dead after all - woops, I digress) so I've just been listening to music, listening to the quiet, reading, journaling, praying, being lazy, you get the idea - it's good stuff. Now, granted, I've busy all day and some evenings to being out and about, but when I'm at the house it's lovely chill time. And you know what I discovered. Now, don't get me wrong, it's really not mindblowing, and probably wouldn't be a Eureka for anyone else, but whatever, here tis. Have you ever noticed that when you actually spend more time in His Word than in other stuff, it starts changing the way you think. It actually DOES build your faith. It actually DOES give you peace. It actually DOES encourage you. It actually DOES make you want more. It's just that God's wisdom is soooooooooo dramatically different from man's wisdom and it takes reading Truth for me to really get it. Not that I've gotten much of it, but some of it is ACTUALLY STARTING TO SEEP IN. Cool stuff. One of the places I've been reading the past couple days is I Corinthians chapters 1 and 2. I'm telling you, it's worth a sit down. It's like it's stuff that I kind of knew in my head, but not really - that God's wisdom is completely contrary to man's. Such good stuff.

3. So I got a little carried away on #2...but also, and I'm sure there's tons more I haven't even realized were cool gifts yet, but here's another one - friends in my life have just been a huge blessing. Guys and girls, married and single, near and far - God has just given me great ones to encourage me, challenge me, love on me, admonish me, build me up, stretch me, make me laugh, make me think, etc. at so many times and in so many ways the past couple weeks. Thanks God for people who love me or at least think I'm cool enough to be friends with!

4. And on that note, earlier today my friend Rindy had a layover in Houston and so we got to hang out for a bit, eat lunch, and just catch up. Just a great perk for my day.

I could go on and on, but that will have to suffice for now..."to the praise of the glory of His grace"

5. This just dawned on me - sometimes I'm a little slow - it occurs to me that maybe the reason I'm receiving all these gifts or perhaps that I'm realizing them as gifts and that just maybe the reason God's been drawing me to Himself could be that PEOPLE JUST MIGHT BE PRAYING FOR ME! How cool is that? So thanks guys - just another reason to be thankful for ya.
Okay, I'll quit - here's a pic of Rindy and I at the airport drop off. Don't miss the lady in the suburban in the background wondering "Who the heck takes a picture in the middle of the departures lane?" Well lady, people like me do - live a little.

I Corinthians 2:9-10 "But just as it is written, "THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM." For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God."

24 August 2007

Guard Your Heart

So if you’ve been a single girl for any amount of time, likely someone has encouraged you to “guard your heart.” Sounds biblical right, sounds wise, doesn’t it? Well, it is biblical and therefore determining the wisdom factor as well.

Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)

23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

Proverbs 4:23 (NASB)

23Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.

Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)

23 Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.

Proverbs 4:23 (ESV)

23Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.

But the question that I’ve been asking myself is this, so what? What does this mean? How am I supposed to do that? And what exactly am I guarding my heart from? So a few days ago when I was thinking and journaling and praying about this I asked God to help me figure this out through His Word. And of all places, God started my journey in Nehemiah.

The following is pretty much word for word out of my journal and since it was so revolutionary to my previous way of thinking, I thought I would be open to share it. I’ve tried to fill in places where the stuff that was going on in my brain didn’t make it to paper. Here goes...deep breath...

Reading along, I came to this part where Nehemiah addresses his enemies trying to discourage them from doing what God has asked them to do, to rebuild the wall.

Neh. 2:20 So I answered them and said to them, "The God of heaven will give us success; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no portion, right or memorial in Jerusalem." Hmmm, interesting...guess this means that my enemy, the enemy of my soul, has no portion, right, or memorial in my life. Places where I’ve failed or been defeated are over. Those “memorials” I have to those times don’t have a claim on me. The enemy has no right to bring up stuff from past to discourage me – he doesn’t own me, Jesus does.

Neh. 4:9 “But we prayed to our God, and because of them we set up a guard against them day and night.” I need to be guarded against the enemy! Not guarded against relationship or my own feelings necessarily, but against the real adversary. Nobody in their right mind sets up a guard against something good. Protect my heart from what? From risk, from hurt, from love? That’s not biblical. Who in scripture protected himself from hurt? Rebekah? No. Ruth? No. Rahab? No. Esther? No. Nehemiah. No. Abraham? Only in his disobedience when he lied about Sarah being his sister to protect himself – he chose fear, not faith. And when he offered Isaac on the altar in obedience, definitely not protecting his heart from hurt. Joseph? He was guarded against adultery – he was kind to his brothers even after they had betrayed him. Jacob? Protected himself and stole the blessing by deceiving his father and disobeying God. But, years later Jacob did not guard himself when he saw Esau. Instead he was gracious. Joshua? Not guarded, but courageous. Daniel? Not guarded – only guarded against sin – he trusted God and went into the fiery furnace and into the lions den. God is protector, not man or self. Hosea? Are you kidding me – he married a prostitute – definitely did NOT protect his heart, but was obedient to the Lord. Peter, John, Jesus? Jesus did not protect His heart. He sacrificed it. The soldiers pierced it. He died. He suffered. By choice. For God’s eternal glory and for our good.

So, am I supposed to protect my heart for my benefit? For my fear of pain? Protect my heart from being vulnerable and therefore from the possibility of being hurt? I don’t think so. Guard my heart against sin? YES. Guard my heart against the attack and lies of the enemy? YES. Guard my heart against pride, envy, self-preservation, self-exaltation, fear, greed, materialism, against wimpy and shallow Christianity? YES. YES. YES. Guard my heart against my thoughts and emotions getting carried away and not living in the reality of the moment? Definitely YES. Guarding my heart against giving in to the fear of rejection? YES. Guard against risk? NO. Guard against hope? NO. Guard against caring? NO. Guard against guys? NO.

Proverbs 4:20-24 (NASB)

20 My son, give attention to my words;
Incline your ear to my sayings.
21 Do not let them depart from your sight;
Keep them in the midst of your heart.
22 For they are life to those who find them
And health to all their body.
23 Watch over your heart with all diligence,
For from it flow the springs of life.
24 Put away from you a deceitful mouth
And put devious speech far from you.

These verses are talking about what you put in your heart. Not necessarily excluding, but definitely not referring to guy/girl relationships. But still, do I need to guard against accepting Satan’s lies? YES. Against emotional fantasy? YES. Against pain? No, not this girl. My heart is not wimpy. Actually my heart’s been through several fiery furnaces and God ALWAYS REDEEMS. I don’t want my heart to be wimpy. I don’t want my heart to be hard. Soft, yes, but wimpy, no. I don’t want to be afraid. Why fear anything but the Almighty? That is wisdom – fearing God. Matthew 10:28 "Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Guard my heart from getting attached to people? No. How am I supposed to be a blessing to portray the beauty and image of God, to love and care and pray for people without getting attached? Without my heart getting involved? Am I supposed to offer my whole heart to any friend, to any guy, all at once? No, I don’t think so. But is it my job to protect myself at the cost of loss of real relationship in the body of Christ? NO. God is my fortress. My defender. My help. My shield. God is my protector. Do I think we as people need to protect each other? Yes. Should men seek to protect and guard the hearts of women? Yes, I think that’s what God created them to do.

Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

(So, after typing this I realize, it’s totally all over the map ended kind of randomly, but what can I say, I was getting sleepy when I was journaling. I think I turned my light off and on several times because I would try to go to sleep and then I would think of something else that I didn’t want to forget! So I apologize if it doesn’t make sense to anyone else, but there you have it, that’s me trying to figure out this whole thing of being guarded against certain things, but not too guarded against other things. I’d love to know what you think.)

17 August 2007

Blog Boredom

Okay, so this has possibly been one of the longest days of my life. And it's not even 4:00 yet. Ah geez. So, it's Friday and I'm in the office by myself today, all by my little self. Do you feel sorry for me? You should, I'm pretty lame. Actually, once upon a time I was used to this kind of day and enjoyed the solitude of Fridays. They are so incredibly productive it's amazing. And yet, well, it's been a wild and crazy summer and I guess since the middle of May I haven't seen a full Friday of alone time in the cubicle. But alas, all my regular youth compadres are off today and my beloved interns, Jacob and Tim, have left me. Woe is me. Yeah, so maybe I'm being a bit melodramatic. It hasn't been a bad day at all, and actually I've been enjoying most of the peace and quiet. Yeah, so what was I saying? I can't even pay attention to myself...not quite sure how you will endure reading this. I'll offer prizes to you who make it through this. But I digress again, I was saying that it's been a good day and all, I even had a jalapeno pretzel with cream cheese for lunch and have been uber productive today. But still, this day is lasting FORFREAKINEVER! Even since I've been writing this post, I've only managed to waste about 4 very long minutes. Isn't there something more entertaining than listening to me whine....

EUREKA! How bout I dig up some favorite pics from the summer. I know you're salivating with anticipation.
My senior girls....ah, let me wipe a tear...they're all grown up now and heading off to college!The tribe of Dan at camp - what a beautiful week!

My mom and I and a few amazing and godly friends we got to visit before the family reunion...

My mom and nephew playing at reunion - definitely two peas in a pod.

Here's me being a total dork in the lake at the state park in TN.

Ah shucks, nothing says summer memories like the youth staff - Jerome, moi, Charis - AKA "Cherish the Intern", WilliMac, Buck Wild Tim, and Jake, the little ball of hate.
Okay, okay, so he's not really that mean-spirited and just for the record, Charis isn't an intern, she's here to STAY, thank goodness!

24 July 2007

Amy & Dan's wedding

Wow! I had the amazing honor of getting to be at Amy and Dan's wedding yesterday in San Marcos! Such a sweet wedding and such an amazing picture of God's sovereignty and faithfulness. It was great to see them and reconnect with several of my ol'Turkey buds. Time was way too short, but it was still great. Here's a few pics for those of you who couldn't make it. (Oh, I also went to Tennessee for a family reunion, but I'll have to post about that later.)

Amy trying to talk someone into taking a hit at the pinata at the reception!
Man, how I miss that laugh!

Together again, except in San Marcos eating fajitas instead of kofte in Istanbul! Oh, well and then there's the Dan and Amy married part too - that's a new twist. :)

Benjamincim! Oh Rindy, canim, I can't believe it's been three years!
But so thankful that it only seemed like it's been three minutes.

13 July 2007

fun little diversion

Okay, so I really should be productive at the moment, but found this super fun quiz to do! It takes like 30 seconds - here's my results! Although I'm not from the midwest, my Dad is and I've been told I don't really have much of an accent. What do you think?

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The South
The Inland North
The West
The Northeast
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

09 July 2007

You gotta love this!

Okay, so rarely in life is there something that so clearly encapsulates so many things I'm passionate about. Shoes...Hello! What's not to love about shoes? And Kurds...well, maybe I'm unique in this, but I truly do love Kurdish people. And kids...especially ones needing heart surgery! Besides the fact that I had heart surgery myself when I was a teenager, only a completely compassionless person wouldn't have a "heart" for them. (Man, I am so cheesy!) And well, I can't think of anything much cooler than a business-for-blessing in Iraq. Do you ever look at this world and just feel overwhelmed at the need and despair and can't imagine how you can help? Know that you're supposed to bring Jesus to this world, but don't know how? Well, here's at least one thing you can do. And if you're like me and can't imagine spending more than 20-30 bucks on a pair of shoes, well...this isn't really about you. Or the shoes. And besides, how much money did you spend on gas last month? Or at Target? Or drinking Starbucks? Or on concert tickets? Go ahead, suck it up. You can do it. A teeny little sacrifice won't kill ya. Go ahead. Click on the link. You know you want to.

28 June 2007

Two months in retrospect

For those of you still checking my blog, I applaud you. You're persistence should be commended. I humbly thank you for sticking with me. It's not that nothing has been going on, but rather too many somethings. This will be an attempt to fill you in on the highlights...hope you're getting excited!

May was pretty much filled with busy work stuff. The approaching summer hits with an onslaught for the student ministry minded and onslaught it did! My time was spent getting ready for Senior Recognition, a senior boat trip, camp preparation, camp preparation, camp preparation and a thousand other things I already forgot about. But, the highlight of May was definitely going to Louisville (that's looavull for you foreigners) for Will & Kristi's wedding! It was such a wonderful weekend and HUGE gift from God to me. I didn't think I would be able to go because plane tickets to L'ville are not-so-cheap and I'm not exactly Mrs. Moneybags these days. But, God being rich in mercy and lovingkindness provided an incredible way for me to go. An incredible young and poor married couple decided that since they weren't able to go to the wedding themselves, they would like to help pay for me to go. Wow! So awesome! So, I booked my plane tickets and got excited. Will has been my fellow student ministry guy, friend, brother, goofball for the past couple years so it was very special to be a part of his big day. AND!!!! Kristi is my relatively new (since last summer) dear heart connecting kind of friend and so I wanted to be there for her as well and be in the house party and all that good stuff. My favorite moment of all the wedding festivities was when Kasey and I spur of the moment helped her bustle her dress in a public restroom right before the reception. Ahhh, good times. AND...also so fabulous was that I spent the weekend staying with and catching up with old friends from my seminary days at Southern. I had such a blast staying with my old roommate Alicia and her husband Bo and playing with their two babies who I hadn't even met before! And then I spent some time with Homola Granola (also known as Connie) who used to teach my sunday school class. And I got to eat pizza from my favorite pizza place in the whole world - Tony Boombozz - TWICE. So yummy! AND I got to worship at my old church and see lots of old friends and it was just so refreshing. AND I spent one afternoon with my super special friends Rob and Chandi and their two little girls (who I also met for the first time!) Wow, it was such a great weekend!

So, that pretty much brings us to JUNE. I just thought May was busy. I had no idea. June has pretty much been camp, camp, and more camp for myself and the whole youth crew. But it has been amazing. After lots of long hours, and even longer days, and God being extremely and sweetly gracious to me in exactly the moments when I needed it, all 372 of us finally got on buses and headed to camp about 5 hours away. It was a glorious week with God's favor resting on us in amazing ways. We had fabulous weather at just the right times, I had a great group of kids in my tribe, we had so much fun, the creation was simply breathtaking (God said "Good morning" to me that first Monday morning as the sun peeked over the mountain at me) and God moved in the hearts of our students in a way that left no doubt that it was all Him. So sweet. This year our camp theme was walking through Exodus and one afternoon we all trekked like the Israelites (except for a bit less than 40 years) up the hill about an hour or so, had dinner up on the hill and then trekked the rest of the way to a life-size recreation of the Tabernacle complete with the ark of the covenant and all of the elements and the high priest's proper dress. It was an amazing visual for me that I will never forget. The theme of the week was basically the gospel and how we must live in the gospel every single day. His grace and only His grace is sufficient for us to meet with God. Sins paid for. Once for all. The curtain has been torn. Jesus is the only way. Here's what we memorized during the week...Hebrews 10:19-22 "Therefore brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, opened for us through the curtain that is his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water." That's it. That's what's we live on. Paid for. Everyday.

30 April 2007

What to post...

Strange. Maybe not so strange. I'm sitting here at my computer, actually with time to post, and for the life of me I can't think of anything to post about. Not that my life has been dull lately, actually kind of busy, but maybe it's just too much to write about or perhaps it just seems boring to the rest of the world. Let's see...what's been going on.
1. Moved out of my apartment and in with my sister and brother-in-law and nephew. I was sad about sacrificing the joys of living by myself, but it's been really nice to be part of a family again. So far, so good. Of course, I still have stuff that needs to be unpacked once I figure out where to put it.
2. Oh, the reason I moved back in with my sis (after 2 years or so) is to save money. Lord willing, I'd love to buy a house!
3. Still loving the job. The longer I have this job the more I realize how blessed I am to love being where I am and doing what I do with the people I'm with. Few people have it so good and I'm grateful to be in this spot for now.
4. I'm loving teaching my senior girls on Sunday mornings. I never prepare like I should, but they continue to be a delight - not to sound cheesy, but I just enjoy relationship with them. I'm usually surprised by their drastic swings between great depth and insight one moment and their eyes glazing over the next moment. :) They are such a joy and yet a burden too. My heart just longs for them to really want Him.
5. I just erased the previous entry for number 5 which was about boys and how complicated they are. Actually they really aren't complicated at all, but being a girl, I just like to make them complicated! Perhaps another time.

This blog is just not doing it for me. Should I just erase the whole thing and give up? But that would make the last 15 minutes a complete waste of time with nothing to show for it. So, I'll leave it. Ah...let's see, pictures always make things more fun right - let me see what I got...EUREKA - maybe eureka is a little strong, but I'm going to put up my favorite pics of me with my fam. Sorry if you've already seen 'em. I am shocked to discover that I don't have a single picture on my computer (at least not that I can find) of my nephew - that is pure craziness that must be remedied especially since the bond we have now formed sharing a bathroom. :) First off, my nieces - Lauren, Lindsey, Landri . Adorable stinkers.
My brother Andy - the father of aforementioned stinkers - shocker. I must admit though, he gets sweeter in his old age!
And yes, my baby Carly. Nobody on the planet adores me as much as she does - in my opinion, the number one reason to have a dog.
Mom, wow, she is the best. She comes second to Carly in adoring me and unlike Carly, she has loved me from day one and is probably the most selfless and godly woman I have ever known.

Dad. Again, I have to be amazed at how blessed I am in this world to have a good dad. A rare treasure - and funny too. If you think I'm funny, he's probably why!
Speaking of funny, my sister, Kate. Honestly, I can't imagine living life without a sister. Whether far or near, she's always on my team and there's no one else on the planet I'd rather go to WalMart with. (I'm a bit bothered by that hanging preposition, but it just says what I mean, ya know?)

And Z-man, I promise I'll add you too soon.