Thursday, December 30, 2010

Here's to you New Year Resolutionizers.

Hope you are more dedicated than I!  : )

What is it about the New Year that seems to scream “Make lots of impossible goals now?”  I don’t know. I mean really, there is no way I am going to give up my diet cokes. I am addicted. For some reason though, every New Year, one of my resolutions is to stop drinking diet coke. Yeah right. My brother told me the average resolution lasts 17 days. I couldn’t even go seven without my liquid addiction.  But still, it is on top of my resolution list.

Another goal amidst the New Year is working out. Once, when I was a junior in high school, I worked out every single day for about 6 weeks. Then one day my cousin came in town and I didn’t go work out. That was the end of that good habit. However this year, it will be different. This year I WILL work out three days a week. I WILL be a perfect size 6 (or is it perfect size 2 now? 0?).  I WILL drink plenty of water and have toned arms and thighs. I WILL. My school schedule is even set up so that I have 4 hours in between classes, so what else would I do besides work out?! It’s amazing how much time you can spend on Facebook at one time. But back to optimism- I will be working out throughout this New Year, along with no diet cokes. No exceptions… at least that I have thought of yet.

Another resolution of mine that I should probably take seriously is good grades. Although some of you might disagree, I actually am smart. When I apply myself,  I can succeed at anything I put my mind to. The problem is putting my mind to things that don’t involve a sewing machine, a bike, a book, a blog, etc.  But you know what?  This year, it’s on. Straight A’s here I come,  and I am serious because my scholarship depends on it. So this one I might actually stick to, but it won’t be because it’s a New Year resolution. It will be because I cannot afford to NOT make good grades. Does that still count as a resolution though? I mean, I am starting at the beginning of the New Year with my good grade policy. Sounds like a resolution to me!  Woohoo, one I might actually keep.

So to all you New Year Resolutionizers out there, good luck. May your resolutions last longer than 17 days, so that you might say, “At least I beat the majority.”  Because as we all know, it’s really just about beating the majority. God Speed and the New Year be good to you. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

True Story.

Matthew 27 

He was begging him. This son was begging his Father. Not once did he beg, not twice. Three times he begged. On his knees, sweat and tears, he pleaded. He pleaded. Anxious and nervous, upset, scared, he was begging. "Daddy, please! Daddy, if there is no other way, I'll go. Your plans, not my own. I'll go, but Daddy, I don't want to. I am scared Daddy. Please, can anything else be done? Daddy, please!"

His daddy watched, pacing back and forth. His son, on his hands and knees, tears, sweat, pleading, pleading, pleading. Daddy was rubbing his eyes. He was pulling his hair. He was walking back and forth, throwing his head up, closing his eyes, thinking about what He should do, what he could do. His heart was breaking, breaking. He wants to grab his son, his sweet baby boy. He wants to hold him, to hug him, to love him and run away with him. But he can't. He can't. His heart is breaking, but He knows what has to be done. He knows he can't grab his little boy. This is the moment of truth. This is what his baby boy was made for. As badly as he wants to grab his son up in a hug, he can't. His son is pleading, begging. He is scared and sad, but his Dad just stands there. This is it. He loves his boy. His pride and joy, and his boy is pleading and begging him, but he has to stand and watch. His son, but Dad knows it's what has to do. 

The knock on the door, and this is it. They kick it open. The boy's friends are there, and they try to fight for him, but the boy says no. He goes willingly- to his death. They beat him. They yell and hurt him. He takes it. His Daddy knows what's going on, but He has to let it. The boy is mocked and hurt, and the worst part is, His Daddy could have an army there to take his boy home in one second. If these perpetrators only knew. If they only knew who they were messing with, they might have stopped. The boy knew his reward would be great if he stayed. He knew he was saving more lives, that it was worth losing his own, but that doesn't make it easy to be mocked and beaten and murdered. 

He died. His father cried. His son was hurting and crying out for him. A daddy and his son, and their perfect love, their perfect relationship. A father's pride and joy is his son. He watched his perfect son die- for us. If that's not love, I don't know what is. 

What is love?

Matthew 27

I thought I knew what love was. I thought love was 1 Corinthians 13. I thought love was being joyful and happy and willing and giving away your time. I thought love was being blind to a person's faults, loving them through their short comings, encouraging, compromising. I thought love was You, and what You've done for us, but I didn't really know what You did for us. I didn't really know what love was. I didn't realize the weight of what You did, or the how much it hurt and how scared You might have actually been.  

Then I read the story. The same story I've read a million times. The same story that's been preached every Easter for my 21 years, but this time it was different. This time I stopped at the part where You begged your Father. Please  Father, is there any other way? Please Father, your will not mine, but if there's any other way... and a third time. Please, father. If you can do this differently, please. And then they took him away. After He begged, not once or twice, but three times- he begged. He pleaded with His Daddy. Daddy, please. Daddy, please. Okay Daddy, if I have to, but please Daddy, please. 

Then there's the part where He went. He said, Daddy, your plans, not mine; you know best, Daddy. They took him away. They hurt Him and took Him. Then the crowds, the people He'd healed and loved and saved, they spit on Him. Spit on Him. The beat Him. Beat Him. Then, if that wasn't enough, they hit Him. They hit Him, and then they mocked Him. The mocked the Son of Man. The creator. The SAVIOR. They said, Messiah, prophesy who hit You. Like He was an idiot. Like He couldn't call on his father and a host of angels to destroy them. He took it. With the grace of a King and the love of the Father- He took their beatings and their mockery. 

That's where I stopped. I know the crucifixion. The pain. The hurt. The out cries.  In the midst of his torture He asked for their forgiveness. He asked for our forgiveness. If this isn't the picture of love, then there's no such thing. If this isn't what love is, if you don't feel loved, there's no hope for you.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Oil Rainbows and Donuts.

I was sitting in the donut shop with my nephew. It was cold and raining, and everything outside seemed to have a tint of grey. The sun was no where. It was dreary. Will, my nephew said, "Look Jess, a rainbow." Silly will. I love that kid, but there was no rainbow... anywhere. Everything was grey, even the white cars outside the window looked grey. "Yes it is! That's a rainbow on the ground. Every color except red."

Will was talking about oil. Some oil from a car had leaked and spread all over the black parking lot. He was right. It was a rainbow. It was beautiful. Against the black pavement, the oil had created incredible shades of blue, purple, green, yellow, and orange. No red, but all the others. Will was exactly right. It made a wonderful ocean of color across this parking spot, and the black pavement made the colors look even brighter. I know this sounds crazy, but it's true. 

The entire world, even the donuts, looked grey this morning. It was cold. It was raining. This eight year old boy sat in front of me and found the most beautiful thing in the midst of the dark. I was thankful for him at that moment. Isn't that what God does for us? Aren't we ugly? Aren't we oil spills? God sees beauty and majesty in us, despite the mess that we are. He finds us and makes us beautiful. He sees us and so much more than what we really are. We are a creation to him, perfect and bright. Although we lack in so many ways, just like Will's rainbow was missing the red, we are still beautiful. He sees value and worth in us. He knows we are more than just a spill, a spot, that needs to be cleaned up. He wants us. He wants us to grow and remain in him. 

Will loved the oil rainbow. He couldn't believe that oil could do that, or that it was a problem that needed to be cleaned up. He just thought it was beautiful. He saw a pattern and a work of art in what most people see as a nuisance.  

Jesus did too. Jesus saw something beautiful, something unique in us. We don't see each other that way. We don't see people in the way Jesus did. We see each other as problems, as wrong, and messes that need to be cleaned up. Maybe if we found the beauty in one another we could learn to love like Christ did. Maybe if we could look at oil in the parking lot as a rainbow, we could learn to look at each other with love and potential. Maybe that's why he wants us to have faith like a child. Children don't have to be taught to find beauty; they do it on their own. 

Joy and Hope. Not happiness.

God is good, even when life is hard. And life, I have found, is very hard. There is always the possibility of disappointment and heart break. Life is merciless, as is this world we live in. Sometimes my heart breaks for the people that don't know Jesus. Not because of the unsure future, but because of the joy that only comes from Christ. I can't imagine waking up every morning and counting on the world, or people to fill me up and supply my joy. Our own parents let us down. The men and women who love us let us down. Nothing in this world is truly sustaining. Happiness is so circumstantial, and circumstances are so temporary. It literally breaks my heart to think of those living for this world, in this world, with nothing more to count on.

Think about how easily a good day can be ruined, or a good time can turn bad. Think about how our emotions are different with every conversation and every word, every song, every movie. It is so easy to lose happiness, and anger and sadness creep up before we even have time to think about why. Happiness can be lost or gained in an instant. Joy is the only thing that lasts. Joy in permanent, it is deep, it is unwaivering. Joy is what we have in Christ; it's what we get from him when we know that no matter how horrible a circumstance, the future is bright.

Joy is from Christ. Happiness is from the world. The thought of only having happiness makes me sad. I hate to think that people in this world have no hope, no happiness, and no joy. In Christ, there is always hope and joy. Happiness is temporary because it is circumstantial, but joy and hope are unfailing in  an unfailing Christ.

My prayer is that everyone might experience joy and hope. My prayer is that those who are longing for more would find Christ; that they wouldn't turn to this world or that man or that drink for what they are missing. My prayer is that our hearts would be so broken by this world that we have to have Christ because there's no other way we'll make it. We realize that we HAVE to know him. We have to have joy and hope in Him because it is not coming from anywhere else. My prayer is that everyone this Christmas would know the true meaning of Christmas, and know that it is not about tacky sweaters and good gifts. It's about joy and hope that come from the savior, and the reason we celebrate is the savior. My prayer is for joy and hope, whether happiness is there or not.

Happy Christmas.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

For You.

You need to know that you are dearly loved. You are loved and wanted and needed and inspiring. There is great pride in your being and your person. There is a plan for you and a purpose that is for no one BUT you. There is hope and a chance for you. There is a future; a promise. Thought and sweat and blood went in to preparation for you. A plan, an idea; an "ah ha!" moment sparked your beginning. A creator designed you; A creator far more talented than any of us. You are not alone. Someone is just like you. Someone is here for you, walking beside you, behind you, leading you; wherever you need them to be. Someone has been where you are or where you are going or where you just came from. Someone is going your way. Someone can point you in the right direction. Someone can hold your hand, or not talk if you'd like. Someone looks up to you. Someone is encouraged and inspired by you. Someone finds joy in your happiness. Someone hurts in your sadness. Someone wants to be like you; someone wants to save you. Someone BELIEVES in you. You have a story worth telling. You have a story people NEED to hear. You have a story others can relate to. You are worth the time and the effort. You are worth the sacrifice. You are AMAZING and unique and gifted. You are the missing piece. You are a part of the puzzle. You are irreplaceable. There is no other YOU. Your talent is not lost. It is never too late. You are smart. You have all the potential and the world at your fingertips. You can do WHATEVER you want; go WHEREVER you want. You have the power and the capability to figure out how. You can overcome. You can  shock and awe. You can win and succeed. You can listen and learn. You can. You CAN. Lean not on your own understanding; you don't have to. You don't need to. You don't want to. Don't think too hard. Don't work to hard. Don't  lose sight of why. Count your blessings. Compliment. Complement. Complete. Seek purpose. Seek reason. Seek faith. Don't ask why. Just be thankful. Just believe.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Could you do me a favor? Probably not.

In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they might see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven. Matthew 5:16

"You're too kind," he said. It made me sad.

     Today in the Tiger Den (for you non-Tigers, that's our cafeteria, and by cafeteria I mean where the Subway and Chick- Fil- A are) a man with full hands and arms and a backpack dropped his packet of ketchup on the ground. Instead of picking it up, for fear of dropping a lot more than ketchup, he started kicking it toward an empty table. He kicked the packet right into my pathway, and without thinking, I picked it up and handed it to him. When I did this, I wasn't really thinking, and I definitely was not expecting to hear, "You are too kind. Thank you so much for that." Now, I realize this could have been his normal, polite response whenever someone helps him out, but it could have been a genuine "thank you." So here's where I'm at:

        Why are we shown so much gratitude for something so small? Do we live in a world that is so concerned with self, that a simple gesture has become reason for spoken gratitude? And if we do, why is that okay? I don't know if it was ever really like this, but you hear songs and read books about people that would do anything for anybody.The bible is filled with stories of people dedicated to reaching out and bringing people in, doing whatever they could for anyone if it meant they saw Christ through them. If it's in the bible then we know, at one point, this is how people lived, so why aren't we living like that now?
           As Christians, shouldn't we live by the standard of giving ourselves for the sake of others? Our goal and our purpose should be to display Christ' love in our actions and our lifestyles. We should be people of accountability, of trust, of reliability. Instead, we actively participate in a world that is so self-consumed that picking up a packet of ketchup off the ground for someone struggling to balance everything is suddenly a heroic act. In our world, this gesture that should be second nature, means that we are kind and considerate and not self-obsessed. If that's all it takes, what would happen if we started doing real things for each other; things that actually take time and effort and sacrifice? I'm not sure any of us would know what to do. 

That's the sad part- not only should we know what to do, we should be examples of this because we live for Christ who walked the Earth as a living example for us. Our teacher is the one who invented kindness and generosity and compassion, and he gave all of us the potential for such things. Instead though, we float on by with our own lives, only lending a hand where it's noticed or when it's convenient for us. Seriously, this is what has come of the people who have been appointed and entrusted by Christ to carry on His good works. 

And taking it a step farther, isn't this what has happened to the modern church? We are all about bringing people in and helping them find the truth in life, but is it more about convenience? Are we willing to travel like Paul, or give our lives to bringing people to Christ? Some churches are great at this, and they have an outreach that has reached across the ocean, but what about the majority? Our doors are open, but don't ask us to come to your door first. What happened to the people being the church, and the church goes wherever the people are? Isn't that how we should be living?

These might just be my own convictions, but I think it's something we should all be more aware of. Our goal for ourselves should be to live as people from whom generosity and kindness and outreach are expected. People should not be surprised when we reach out and do whatever we can for them. They should know that's what we're going to do. Our goal in all of this should be to shine the light of Christ into the darkness of this world. When we are living in love, we are living in Christ. After all, whatever we do for the least of thee, we do for Christ, right? 

     Like I said, these might just be my own convictions. I go to a wonderful church, as I'm sure many of you do, but I think it's easy to get comfortable and forget that the purpose of living for Christ is about going beyond our own comforts. Comfortable is a scary place to stay. Challenge yourselves to live as people from whom kindness and generosity is expected. Challenge yourselves to do everything with a cheerful heart, without grumbling or complaining. When someone needs something, be there for them, and let Christ use you to reach others. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Wreck Me.

This is the true story of a terrible car accident that left Brandi Massey for dead- almost. God chose to heal Brandi, in more ways than one. 

Romans 8:38 “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose for them.

                Brandi was mad at God. Her marriage was falling apart. Her father, to whom she was an only child, had just passed away. He was much too young; much too loving to be lost to such a terrible disease.  Life had changed all too quickly in the past six months. Of course she was mad at God, no one could blame her. But a new town was going to be the fresh start Brandi needed, right? Surely this was on her mind when the car crashed that night, but we’ll never know. She had been moving her things, preparing to start fresh. More than just her body was tumbled and changed forever the night of her accident.
                January 13, 2002 was very, very cold. It was dark. The truck was big. Her mind was filled with more than just the road in front of her. It’s something we’ve all done countless times. Atleast she realized she’d driven onto the shoulder before she hit the trees; although, maybe the trees would have been more kind to her. She jerked the steering wheel, or so they think, a little too hard. One flip, two flips, how many more? She was thrown from the truck. As if the driver’s side window or windshield might not be bad enough, her body was hurled out the passenger side window. Like an enemy, the pavement was cold and unwelcoming. She lay there, unaware, alone for dead.
                The fire chief, like an angel with no name, saw her truck. His family car skidded to a stop and he ran to the body. Lifeless, he held Brandi in his arms. 9-1-1, young girl here, we need an ambulance. D.O.A. means dead on arrival. This is what Brandi was. The chief laid a blanket over her cold body, and back from the dead- she moved. 9-1-1, don’t send an ambulance; we need a helicopter. That’s how the wings of life saved Brandi.
                32 days and nights she spent in The Med. Debby, Brandi’s mom, spent 32 days and nights beside Brandi, waiting patiently for God to take her or heal her.  Take her home, Father, to her dad and to you, or bring her back to me. That’s what He did. Brandi Massey’s earthly life was not complete. A second chance is what she was given. God didn’t want her to come home angry at him.
                Happy Valentine’s Day. Brandi spent hers on a plane to Atlanta. After 32 days and nights, a shunt, several Lumbar drains, a case of meningitis, a feeding tube, brain damage, a crushed pelvis, severed nerves, and a shaved head, Brandi was sent to The Shepherd Center for rehabilitation. After five weeks in ICU at The Shepherd Center, thanks to meningitis, Brandi finally began rehab. Five days a week, five hours a day; speech rehab, physical rehab, every kind of rehab- and we thought high school was hard. She couldn’t talk, except for a couple words here and there. She couldn’t walk. She couldn’t feed herself. She couldn’t go to the bathroom. She didn’t know her Dad had died. She didn’t know she was getting divorced, or even who her husband was. She didn’t know who her mother was- this woman taking care of her day in and day out. Her beautiful, rich brown locks and been shaved to a little boy’s buzz, but she was alive. God was giving her a second chance. Brandi didn’t wonder why. She just wondered if she’d ever be a big kid again. To - go to the bathroom on her own, to walk from the bed to the couch- goals that once were not even thoughts in Brandi's mind.
                May. Debby drove Brandi home from Atlanta. Home again, finally. It had been six very long months. Prescriptions lined the window sills. Brandi had to grieve again over the loss of her Dad. She had to learn who Debby was. She had to learn how to go to the bathroom, but she was home. Progress was made. She’d come a long way from being D.O.A.
                June 13, 2003. Brandi Massey moved into her very own condo; she was a big kid again. She wasn’t mad at God. In fact, she was grateful. Her harsh spirit had been softened. She looked at things in a new light, a grateful light, a light that allowed her to see the beauty in everything. A bad day, a good day, at-least it’s another day. God used this accident to build her faith. He used it to build her mother’s too. Debby was out of control. For the first time in her life, she was completely surrendered to Christ. She saw the beauty in small things and the strength of God. Her faith had been tested and tried. Blind is what she called it. Blind trust had gotten her through; completely and utterly dependent on God. Just like Brandi’s blind trust in Debby, who was a stranger to her daughter for six long months. God was good. Healing had come from this accident. Can God use something so painful? Yes. He can use anything for His glory.
                Brandi’s faith was restored. God used this wreck in a way, to allow her to forget the pain of death and divorce. She only remembers, from this year in her life, what people tell her. The wreck might as well be a story she reads; the anger she felt over her divorce and father’s death is simply a chapter in this story. All she knows now is that God gave her a second shot, and this time, she was going to get it right.
                Brandi is beautiful; striking actually. She's the kind of woman you stare at, and wonder how anyone could be so present. Her hair is shorter now. She walks a little slower. Her fast-moving career has slowed to a steady pace. She has found happiness and peace. She’s an advocate now, for what God has done; for what he continues to do, for his saving, blind grace. Her life is a miracle. She is no longer mad at God. Brandi is stronger now, after a wreck that almost killed her, than she ever used to be. Strength comes in so many shapes. The way it takes something so drastic to make someone realize what’s important, is sad. The way God uses something so drastic for His glory and honor, and to bring praise to His name, is incredible.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

And it's okay...

Don't forget that-

It's okay to eat extra helping of everything on Thanksgiving in honor of those who will not be partaking in the festivities.

It's okay to "forget" to tell people the food you brought is not homemade.

And it's okay to think that one run or one walk or one bike ride justifies several servings of dessert.

It's okay if you don't really listen to anything your teacher says, after all everything you need to know you learned in kindergarten, right?

It's okay if the only reason you GO to class is so you can sit next to that one cute boy or girl.

And it's okay if the only reason you put on real clothes to go to class is because of that one cute boy or girl.

It's okay to have a favorite football player, but not a favorite football team.

It's okay to listen to the same song over and over again, and sing it out loud in a completely serious fashion.

It's okay to claim your hair "has to be dirty for this style."

And it's okay to buy a shirt at Marshall's but let people think you paid full price at the expensive store.

It's okay to seriously think Jake Gyllenhall would want to date you if you ever met in real life.

It's okay to watch the same youtube videos over and over and laugh equally hard every time.

It's okay to sleep with the night light on.

It's okay to wear your pajamas all day.

And it's okay to claim to work better under pressure to hide your procrastination.

It's okay to talk in funny voices with your friends a lot longer than you'd ever claim to do.

It's okay to laugh at your own jokes, even if no one else does.

It's okay to yell at the basketball team from your seat like they are your boyfriend.

It's okay to talk like about Taylor Swift like she's your best friend just because you know a weirdly-large amount of information about her.

And it's okay if Teen Mom is your favorite TV show.

Love who you are, and don't be afraid to find happiness in the small things. Remember that laughing makes every situation funny, and friends are the best medicine. Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Don't forget to remember...

Monday, November 1, 2010

Do the Two-Step

I'm not talking about the dance, although I encourage doing the dance, too.

Psalm 37:4 & 5- Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit yourself to the Lord and trust in him and he will do this...
Psalm 37:7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him...

I'm talking about prayer.
No, prayer is not a two-step process. Prayer is our direct communication to God, and thank the Lord, literally, for that. The thought that I can voice a prayer and God will actually hear me is enough to calm whatever worry I had, on the spot, before He even has His way with my request.

But what about the bigger requests? Not even the requests; what about the times you are just calling out to him to PLEASE show you what to do because you have NO IDEA. What about the times when all you want is for him to say, "Do this,"? When you are driving down the street and the whole way you are praying for him to please tell you what to do, to please make His will your own and show you what He wants for you, and then you stop at a red light and it's silent and you wait for a few minutes and then you say, "God I can't hear you! Why aren't you answering me? All I want is to do Your will. Please just tell me what that is!" This is when we do the two-step.

So often, as I am guilty, we want to pray and pray and then for God to just divinely send us the answer we are seeking. Seriously, sometimes I hope that a stranger will walk up to me and say, "I know this is weird, but I just felt like I should come and tell you..." Now, that happens, no doubt, but it's like because we prayed a lot, we expect that to happen. What about the bible? What about opening our bible and reading what God has already laid out for us. It seems logical, almost like a "duh" moment to me. 1. Pray 2. Open your bible. Genius.

Prayer is our direct communication with God, and the bible is His direct communication with us. God has written out anything we could need to know, but so often that is the last place we look when seeking the answers we are hoping to hear. Sometimes I'll find myself thinking how I feel so distant from God. I've been praying so much, but I feel so distant from him. Then I'll open my bible and it's like I can feel him speaking to me. Sometimes I forget that prayer is only the beginning of communication with God. The rest of it comes from opening the bible and letting him speak to us. I truly believe that if you are in prayer, if you are taking delight, truly, in the Lord, he will make known to you his plans for your life. We can't expect them to be as obvious as the person in front of us because God is not like that. But, if we are truly seeking him with our whole lives, we can be confident that the decision we make is one he put in place for us. Sometimes it may take a while, but there is a purpose for that, too. Our God is an intentional God. There is a plan and a purpose for everything he allows to happen, and what better way to see that than praying and reading His word?

So don't forget the two-step. And I would suggest learning the dance, too.

Friday, October 1, 2010

You HAVE to read this book.

Psalm 139:14-16

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; 
       your works are wonderful, 
       I know that full well.
 My frame was not hidden from you 

       when I was made in the secret place. 
       When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

 your eyes saw my unformed body. 

       All the days ordained for me 
       were written in your book 
       before one of them came to be.

I love the library. I love that there are thousands of pages among the shelves, each telling a different story; each unique in it's own wording. I love that you can hide away between the rows, obvious to none but the books in front of you. You can escape into the story of your own choosing; a pirate today or princess if you'd rather. If you don't like the way it's going, or the ending, you just set it back in it's place and pick another one- pick until you find the perfect story, the perfect ending. It's a beautiful thing, really, and so freeing to know that you can choose whichever story you want.
             Although life is not like this, we can't change who we are or where we come from, we do have the power to choose our story and our ending. We can decide on our character and what path we will walk down, ultimately leading to the ending we decide upon.

 If you've just read the most wonderful book, if the ending was as beautiful a picture as can be painted, wouldn't you share it with you friends? Wouldn't you tell them about this story, tell them to go immediately and check it out? Wouldn't you urge them to read it quickly, so you can talk about it and share in the joy of this amazing story? God has laid out a perfect story for us. It's filled with the most wonderful and intimate detail, and ends in the best way possible. Many of us are in the middle of this story, whether we've read all the chapters from the beginning, or we're just beginning in the middle, we've opened this book, this story, to the most amazing spot. Why are we not telling our friends? Why are we not sharing this story of love and loss and struggle and forgiveness? Why are we not spreading the word and urging our friends to check it out?

The library holds a million stories, each unique and individual, but none as unique and individual as the one God has written for us. It's the most epic, heroic, tragic, romantic story you'll ever read, and it's true. In the same way we would share a good book with a friend, let us share the good news of our own story- a story written for anyone who chooses the read along.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wednesday Morning.

This poem was written after  "Tuesday Night." The same great teacher suggested writing a counter piece. "What's the other side to anger? Vulnerability." Again, keep in mind that although these words might have been inspired by an emotion, they are fiction.

Wednesday Morning.

Last night I said some things I didn’t mean
About anger and brown skies and the stuff in between.
I said I was over it, I wanted to escape
But the only place I’m running is back to your place.
I need you, I want you, and yeah, you make me mad,
But there’s not a man in the world who could give me what I had.
Now this sounds crazy, like I’ve lost my mind, but I’m hurting and scared
And I just needed time.
It’s easy to blame you for all that’s gone wrong, but the truth is most the blame should probably be mine.
I’m hard to please and bad at listening, and you try to get through but my tone is splintering.
I should come with a warning that says the truth, then you wouldn’t have to hurt because of what I say to you.
I loved what we were and the future that we thought of, I just want to get back to the place where we left off- the place of laughs and smiles where everything is right-
somehow we got lost in this place and it’s worse than night. But in this tunnel that we’re stuck in,
there’s got to be a light and I’m gonna run until I see it shinin’ bright.
Now I’m laughing at myself, these words sound so childish but if I can show my anger,
I’ve gotta learn to show its counter-friend.
You see, that’s my problem, it’s so easy to defend, but when I really think I’ve lost you,
I’ll willingly show you where I’ve been. 
I’ll tell you what you need to hear, no guard to fight, I swear,
But you need to do the same for me; life doesn’t, but we’ve gotta play fair.
So here I am, what’s left of me, vulnerable and scared, now show me what’s left of you,
If there’s any part to spare. 
I’m gonna change, no more blank stare; When you talk to me I’ll listen, 
and I’ll ask you not to turn the chair.
Show me your heart, and I’ll quit with this game. Nice girl, here I am, I'm ready for a change.
Though I’m not gonna smile yet,
it’s gotta be real and I’m still stuck on “ready set.”
I’m trying though, I hope you see, and I promise- 
this is the real me. 

Tuesday Night.

This is a poem that you're not going to be used to. A teacher once told me, "Anger is an emotion that scares most critics because people think skeptically." She was right. So here is anger. You just have to keep in mind that it's fiction, possibly inspired at an angry moment. 

Tuesday Night.

When you want to write but the words don't come out,
so many thoughts in your head, you're chokin' now,
at-least I think that's what Eminem said.
 You're hopin' somehow they might look at you and know what to say, what to do.
To disappoint the masses would obstruct this view-
this view you'v been given from the life that's "you". 
But the truth is, they don't know who's who.
It's not you, smiling bright saying yes and no, it's alright.
It's not alright, you're pissed off and he's ramblin' like a broken 
One more thing you've done wrong, 
another mistake and you're cryin' out
someone please take the burden of this weight, but no one hears a sound
beneath the smiles are nothin' but frowns and the blue sky looks brown
or maybe gray, i think that's right, but either way nothin' looks bright
To run now would make you a coward, or the strongest person in the world
if you could just escape for an day or one hour
you might make it through or find a place to really be you. 
No more nice girl, no more twisted hue, just the blue sky and a new view that's you.

The clock says eleven and you think sleep might be that get away
you close your eyes and try to escape, 
but it chases you in your dreams and all day-
there's no runnin' from your problems, they won't go away, 
so you take them like a man but with the grace of a lady 
and your promise yourself it'll be the last of "please, baby." 
you're done beggin' and sayin sorry, those things lost their meaning
long ago and today it's time to give back the beating. 

You throw your hands up but you're not leaving, 
you're saving yourself from a life of bleeding- love that is; 
you're gonna find the true feeling. 
I'm angry but there's nothin' left to say.
I've written these words and now all that's left is to quit this day. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Free Time? Is that a movie or something?

I miss the days of Starbucks on a regular basis and no class until 12:40. I miss Skype sessions that last until 4 a.m. because there's nothing to wake up and do the next day. I miss nap times and watching TV.  I miss Tuesday night bible studies and no class on Fridays. I miss lunch dates and manicures. I miss shopping on Saturday mornings and  going to the movies.

Is this to be expected- losing all of these things? Or, not losing them, but not having time to do them- ever? The years between 20-something and 40- something come with a label: "No Free Time Available." I can't remember the last time I sat down to watch TV, or had a Saturday with nothing to do. When did Starbucks become a drive through instead of an afternoon on the patio? I can't remember when I had time to stop and breathe, or actually write a blog about something other than what I don't have time to do! It seems crazy to me, that we function this way; that we function in such a rush and a strain to get all the things we need to do done. We do it though, and some of us do it with such a poise and a style that you'd never know we hadn't had a manicure or a nap or a free second since I-don't-know-when. Here's to you super humans. You must be the ones conquering the world because I can barely eat my lunch. You know, they say you'll always remember your college years, well that's because you'll look back and think, "How in the world did I ever get all of that done?" It'll be a amazing to you. Parents, next time your kids say you don't do anything, you should drag them with you everywhere you go in a day while they're at school or out with friends. Oh, and parents, next time you tell your college student they don't do anything, you should go with them through their day and see what all they're "not doing." You'd be surprised- and very, very tired.

But now that I've complained, I'm going to class. And then work. And then I'm going to wake up tomorrow and do the same thing. Again.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

And it's okay...

Just in-case you've been wondering-

It's okay to paint your toe nails a different color than your finger nails...
And to paint them more than once a week... or day. 

It's okay to rent a movie and not watch it, or to watch the same movie over and over.

It's okay to write it on the To Do list instead of actually doing it,
And it's okay to write down things you've already done, just so you'll have some thing to check off.

It's okay to eat peanut m&ms for a snack... or dinner.

It's okay to pretend you are an Olympic runner, for the sake of completing that ridiculously long mile.

It's okay to dance around and sing at the top of your lungs, even when people are watching.
And it's okay to dress up like you're going to a dance- just for fun.

It's okay to cry the whole way through Dear John or P.S. I Love You, or any movie for that matter.

It's okay to pretend you've got everything under control,
And it's okay to not have anything under control.

It's okay to laugh at your own jokes. 

It's okay to talk to yourself when no one else is home.

It's okay to not understand,
And it's okay to not care to try and figure it out.

It's okay to sleep in on Saturdays.

It's okay to buy something new just because you haven't in a while, 
And it's okay to buy things, even though you know it will probably be returned.

It's okay to stalk old friends on Facebook,
And it's okay to tell yourself you look better than them.

It's okay to be happy for no reason, or to cry for no reason.

It's okay to break etiquette.

It's okay to live your life the way you want to, regardless of what the world tells you, and in the end...
It's okay. 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Happy Feet and Pink Pedals Day 1, Day 2

Now, I literally just posted the first entry. I am posting tonight about today and yesterday's ride because I want them all to be included in this series, so here we go:

Thursday: I hadn't ridden my bike in months, and to tell you the truth, I felt a little bit of nervousness and I pedaled toward the trail. As soon as I hit the dirt, my nervousness was overcome by adrenaline, and I was immediately reminded why I loved to ride so much in the first place. It was brilliant. I realized how much I'd missed this feeling, this activity, and the freedom that came with it. I spent the whole hour on the trail feeling like a kid in the candy store. Every  corner, every hill, every climb and descent had me wanting to go faster and every near-fall made my heart race a little and my eyes light up. It's a great feeling to find complete and utter happiness in something so simple as riding a bike.

Friday:  I had planned on riding this afternoon, but when a phone call woke me up at nine this morning, I called the weather hotline and couldn't turn down 76 degrees. I got out of bed and headed toward the trail. I was so excited to be going back out for another ride, I didn't even eat my breakfast before I left. I brought the bagel with peanut in the car with me! This is not a good idea, just in case you were planning to try it, but if it meant getting on the trail 10 minutes earlier, then let's do it! Needless to say, I got to the trail and spent the next two and a half hours in the same blissful state as Thursday. I rode faster today, so I was more tired, but I pushed myself through to another lap. I say pushed myself, but it really didn't take any convincing, which is a nice change from the normal ride. I began my second go round with the same excitement as the first. There were no exciting crashes, no "i hate this hill!!" bursts. It was just a good ride. I was worn out when I finished, but not the kind of worn out you get from pushing too hard or doing too much. I felt accomplished and pleased, and I was still excited and happy about riding. I don't think I'll make it to the trail tomorrow, but you better believe Sunday I've got a date with the dirt, and I'm wearing my good spandex!

On a side note, I think I've ridden better the past two days than I ever have. I think the reason for that is, at some point over my couple years on the bike, riding went from something I loved and did for fun to something I did because I wanted to be good and get better. It quit being about loving the sport and having fun. It started being about getting better times and sticking with the guys. But the question is, if you don't love what you're doing, if there's no passion behind your actions, then what's the point? What's the reward? If you're killing yourself for something that you don't love doing, won't you just resent whatever it is in the long run? There's got to be a passion for what you're doing. It's the only way anything is going to be worth while.

Happy Feet and Pink Pedals

I called this "Happy Feet and Pink Pedals" because that's what riding a bike does for me- it makes me happy. Not to mention, it literally makes you smile, but I'm not going to get all scientific on you. That's not the point of this blog. Oh, and I called it that because I have pink pedals. They are incredible; a work of art, but that's not the point either. Here's the thing: 

I rode my bike yesterday for the first time in about five months. It was amazing, and I was reminded why I fell in love with riding in the first place. It felt so good to finally be back on the bike, just me and the trail. I went again today but for twice as long. Same result- pure bliss. I even got so excited that I decided I would do  a mountain bike race called The Six hours of Herb. It's called that because it is a six hour race. Wow. I forgot to mention earlier that when I said I rode twice as long today, I meant that I rode two and a half hours instead of one. I'm only three and a half hours short of being able to complete the race- yay. So, for obvious reasons, I won't win this race. I won't even place. Heck, I am really just hoping to finish. And the truth is, I'm going to finish because there is not a certain amount of laps (one lap equals nine miles) you have to do in order to finish. You just ride as much as you can in the six hours. Technically, I could do one lap and quit, and I would have "finished." Anyway, I'm getting sidetracked.

My goal is just to do the race and not chicken out. I guess the ultimate goal would be to ride four laps, 36 miles, in six hours. Now, if you're any good at all, that's not a good race time, but for me, that would be awesome! I am going to blog about my rides up until the race and then I'll finish this blog series with the race. I guess, in a way, I'm holding myself accountable through this blog. School's about to start though, and I need to find a job. Time is going to be stretched for me and finding time to ride is going to be hard. So hold on. It's going to be a bumpy ride! 

Monday, July 26, 2010

worship or WORSHIP?

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God- this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is- his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2

One of the greatest things about Student Life is the worship. Every night, regardless of your day, you go into a room with several, several hundred students and glorify a God who is forgiving and gracious. I love the worship. I love the music and the songs and the words.

And one thing I was most excited about this summer, was getting to spend a whole week in worship with Tenth Avenue North. I play their cd in my car and I know their songs by heart, so naturally I was pumped to spend the week with them. I knew they were going to be awesome, and I had built them up in my mind the be as great as they sounded in my car. So as they took the stage for our first night of worship and started singing "Mighty to Save" I felt the disappointment rise.

Let me clarify. The band was as great as I had imagined. They sang "Mighty to Save" as wonderfully as the others. I was not disappointed in the band. I was disappointed in my purpose of worship. I did not come in to worship tonight expecting to sing to a God who loves me, I came in to worship tonight expecting to hear my favorite band sing awesome songs. So let me say this:

What are you worshiping? Or rather, are you worshiping? Are you singing because  you like the song or the band, or are you singing because your God is mighty to save and he can move the mountains? I wasn't. My disappointment came from my own desires of a great concert; the the phone call I'd have with my best friend about how I was "working" with Tenth Avenue North all week. My ideas were thwarted and backwards.  I was not there to worship. I was there to hear a great show. That's where my disappointment came in to play.

But even more than that, what are you worshiping with your life? Worship is not a song. Worship is a lifestyle. It's a way of thinking and living. It's a basic foundation to build your life around. So what are you worshiping? Why are you singing? Who gets your praise?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Faith like a Child.

"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom belongs to such as these."
Matthew 19:14

As a rec leader, I see wonderful things throughout a normal day of camp. I see students, who have never been included, win the game for their family group, suddenly finding the confidence they've been missing for 13 years. I see homecoming queens and football stars break down under the weight of their sin, letting God renew and rebuild them. I see youth ministers, thrown into the job a week before they came, find purpose and meaning in a group of lost middle schoolers, and I see walls crumble and pain healed. God moves every single day in the lives of those students fortunate enough to come to camp. Unfortunately, as a rec leader what I don't see comes from a different camp perspective. 

Today the rec leaders had the opportunity to go with two mission site coordinators to a local Youth program. Now, for me, this was my first encounter EVER with missions camp, but I didn't realize the difference between missions and rec. During the day, they go play with kids in the community. During the day, I go play with kids at camp. Pretty similar, right? Wrong! What I saw might have changed the course of my life; at-least according to my plans.

We entered into a middle school turned inner-city youth outreach shelter, and as I entered the doors I was overwhelmed. Dozens of dirty little children lined the walls. They were sitting against the wall, waiting for their turn at the water fountain. They were small; probably three or four years old. They were dirty and tired, but when I bent over and said, "Hey there!", their eyes lit up and immediately I was caught up in a fit of hugs and high fives. They wanted to blow my blue whistle and see my watch light up. They wanted to sit in my lap and ride on my back. They wanted to be held and talked to. All the love and affection and attention they never get at home, they saw in my eyes. Now, this might not be the case for them. They might have seen my bright blue whistle and shiny white watch, and thought nothing more of me, but God was using these children to get my attention. 

These kids didn't know me, but in my friendly "hello" and nervous smile, they didn't see a stranger. They saw a hug and another hand to hold. They saw a girl who was too in love with their sweet faces to be mean and a strong set of shoulders to climb on- literally! It was a beautiful picture of what Christ should look like to us. We should hear his word and jump immediately into his arms. We should see his love and trust him. We should know his intentions and hold our arms out to him. We should lean on his strong shoulders and trust him to carry us. We should not question his motives and our faith in him should be unwavering.  I held out my arms and those children reached up to me. Jesus holds out his arms  EVERY second, and we are so cautious to reach. So scared of what we might lose or give up if we reach out to him. Why though? What have we to lose, and why can we not have the faith of a child and trust his heart and his word? Why can we not let him be our hope and our joy, and why can we not let him carry us when we're tired and weak? I don't know either.

My heart broke for these children. I looked at them and I looked at the neighborhood they lived in and the neglect on their faces, and the helplessness I felt was overwhelming. The thought of the futures they might live crushed me, but the thing is, these kids aren't thinking about the neglect or where they live or what they lack. They aren't thinking about how they might end up, or what might happen to them. They are thinking about the girl in front of them who obviously loves them and wants to be there for them. They are thinking about the fun they had coloring, or even playing on the floor in the hall way. That's it. With Christ, we don't need to be concerned about our futures or what we lack. We need to enjoy him and bask in his word and in the love he has for us. We need to be filled up in him, and we need to let him take care of us and plan out our futures.

These kids did not know me, but they didn't question my motives when I smiled and held out my hand. They took to me and trusted me. They let me be a part of their joy and happiness. Even though these children probably won't remember me tomorrow, they allowed me to be a piece of hope for them, and they will forever be on my heart. 

I don't know what God has in store for Corey and me, but I do know that his arms are reached out and I am jumping in. I am going to soak up his love and live in joy for what he has planned next. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sunny Days and water coolers

This week, we are at Wake Forest. Now, just to "connect a few dots" as my camp director, Brad, always says, on Friday morning we let Estes Park, Colorado and on Sunday afternoon, we arrived at Wake Forest in Winton-Salem, North Carolina. So here we are- two hours ahead and 50 degrees warmer. Now that we've cleared that up, I will tell you this:

Some of us are sick. Most of us are drained, but some of us are sick. There is just something about 50 degrees and really gets to your head- literally. So, as we woke up for our first full day of camp on Tuesday morning, we walked a little slower and talked a little less as we pulled ourselves to the rec fields. Morning rec went well. There is always room for improvement, but it went well. After wrestling a bunch of 10-year-old soccer players for lunch, we refilled the water coolers and headed back to the rec fields. Now, somewhere between 12 and 1, the sun got a little hotter. It is summer though, and really, it was no hotter than normal; or so I thought. It was a hectic day of recreation, and afterwords, our heads were sort of spinning, and we were all ready for a nap. But here's the thing-

Somewhere in the midst of running out of water and upset students, we forgot about the rain that threatened our rec earlier in the day. We'd also forgotten about the prayers we'd sent to the Man, asking him to hold off for just a little while, which is exactly what he did. It did not rain. The sun stayed high and the ground stayed dry, we just forgot what a blessing this really was.

It is so easy to forget the requests we make and to lose sight of the blessings in the midst of chaos. Here's the thing though- God is constantly blessing us, but often we are too selfish to realize it. A small problem today caused us to lose sight of a greater blessing over all. (It's not easy moving 300 panicked students into a gym)

I hope you might be encouraged to step back, in the midst of frustration and panic, and thank God for the way He is always providing and never failing. Don't get so stuck on certain problems that you cannot see certain blessings.

I love my job. I love the 20- something people I wake up and serve beside every single day, but mostly I love that God has given me the opportunity to be a part of something greater than myself. I am so thankful for the way He is constantly providing, and for the way His hand is always supporting us.  We serve a mighty, mighty God. Sometimes, we just need to remember that, and count even the small blessings.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Summer time

As you know, I am on the road with Student Life this summer. We eased into camp last week at Louisiana Tech, with only 2 squads of 100 kids. This week, we took the plunge and are serving 900 7th-12th graders in Estes Park, Colorado. Now, just so you have the correct mental picture, when I look out my window I see snow covered mountains, and this morning, as we made our way to the rec field, it was probably about 40 degrees. Let me tell you, coffee in the middle of summer time is rare where I come from. (unless it's iced of course!) But anyway, none of that is what I wanted to tell you.

I wanted to tell you about how unprepared I've been feeling. Satan has been attacking me in so many areas. I have been really struggling with missing Corey, but this shouldn't be a struggle because it's daily life for us. Also, he's been really attacking my confidence in what I'm doing. Sometimes I feel so unprepared and unsure of what I'm doing, which is not at all the case!

I tell you all of that, to tell you this...

God is everywhere. He's in the mountains that surround me. He's in the laughter of the students at recreation, and he's in the hearts of my teammates. His love is overwhelming, and sometimes I don't even realize it. I take for granted the greatness of God, and in my own selfishness, sometimes I fail to realize his love and his grace. I fail to realize why I am in Colorado 1,000 miles from everyone I hold dear, and even worse, I fail to realize the unfailing support and love and joy and strength I have in Christ. Today as I was standing in front of 200 middle schoolers, trying to tell them about being bold in their faith, I realized that I need to be bold in my trust. I need to stand firm in the fact that God has a plan and a purpose for me and the fact that I would not be here if it wasn't where He wanted me. 

As I watched the students run to free time after rec, I realized that the privilege of serving Christ is greater than any doubt or any lonliness or any hardship we might face. The thought that I might be telling some 14- year- old boy exactly what God wants him to hear, and even more that God is using me  to do his work and share his message, is greater than anything in this world. There is no greater honor than being used by Christ. We have to have confidence in that. We have to pray that Satan would be bound from us and that God would dwell in us and use us as his instruments. Satan attacks those who are working for the Lord, and that is where our feelings of incompitence come from; that is when we start doubting ourselves or our goal, and that is when we forget our purpose and lose sight of our faith.

Stand firm, believers. God has great plans for you. Allow him to use you.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Pray like you mean it.

Let us therefore come boldy into the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in the time of need. Hebrews 4:16 

Prayer. As Christians, prayer is our strongest, most useful tool. It works at just the right times, and it is always readily available. Prayer is our direct connection with God, our way to communicate with him, and through regular time in prayer and in scripture, God reveals himself to us and we grow closer to him. It is incredible, and there is no greater feeling than realizing a prayer has (or has not!) been answered. But anyway!

I say all of that, to ask this. I, along with 100 other young adults, am about the embark on 2 months of Student Life Camp. I am not going to explain camp to you what goes on there because I can't. I am afraid my words might not do justice to the experiences had at Student Life. BUT I will say this- it is a hard 2 months. I won't call it a sacrifice because I consider myself lucky to be a part of camp, but it is physically, emotionally, and mentally draining. So I am asking for your prayers. I am asking that you will make a space for the Student Life Staff members in your regular prayer time. This is what I am asking you to prayer for:

That first, God would give us an attitude of service and a spirit of humility. That, as a staff, everything we do or say would be glorifying to Him, and every message and devotion we share with the campers would be from God Himself. Pray that we would simply be God's instruments and that He will use us wherever we are needed; that we will deliver His message clearly and the way He would have us deliver it. Also, please pray for travel mercies, as all four of our staff teams travel long distances and several times over the summer.

Second, pray that the hearts and minds of the 3rd through 12 grade kids who come to camp will be open the God. That, when they come to camp, they will leave behind problems and worries from home and let God break them and fill them up. That their hearts would be forever changed and they would go home with new hearts and attitudes.

Third, that when they do go home, it won't be us they are telling their friends and families about. Pray that it will be God they run home and talk about. Pray that we won't be rememberd, but what God did the week they were at camp and the way God was revealed will be what they remember.

Pray that the message of the Gospel will spread like wild fire in the hearts of our youth and that God would use us and these camps to help show these campers His truth. Pray that God would shake our youth and ultimately our country, and have a lasting impression on their hearts and their lives. 

Thank you brothers and sisters. Also know that you are being prayed for as well.

Ramblin' Mind.

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good. His love endures forever... Psalm 118:29

Well right now, there are about one million and five things on my mind. Here goes...

On the whole going- out- of- town- for- two- months thing: I think you should be able to go to some website and type in where you are traveling, what you will be doing, and how long you will be gone, what size you are, and what kind of clothes you wear on a daily bases, and this website will mail you a suitcase pre and perfectly packed for whatever it is you are going out of town to do. "Going on a honeymoon? Type in your size and we'll send you a beautiful suitcase filled with flowing dresses and bathing suits that flatter your figure! What about going to Student Life for two months? Are you a REC leader? We'll send you a cute but durable suitcase equipped with the best tennis shoes, gym shorts, sports bras and socks. But it doesn't stop there! Great jeans and comfy but nice shirts for worship and nights off!" No one take this idea, I am going to create this little cyber travel-store-heaven when I get home in August.

And why can't hair grow faster? What if your hair grew as fast as your fingernails? How nice would that be?! OR what if you could take some magic potion that made your hair stop growing so your 100 dollar highlights looked brand new until you decided to stop taking that magic potion? Clearly I've missed my calling in life.

I got a wedding dress... WITH POCKETS!!

I have gotten to spend the past few days in fellowship with great friends. I am so thankful to have people in my life like them. Where would we be without friends? A good friend is more valuable than gold... and a lot more fun.

I am SO EXCITED!!! to be going to Student Life on Saturday. I am going to miss my family, of course, and I am even going to miss planning my very own wedding, but I am SOO excited about my team for the summer! I love them all like family, and I know God has INCREDIBLE things in store for this summer. I can just feel it. My attitude this summer is so much different than last year, and I cannot wait to get my hands dirty and step out of my comfort zone. Student Life pushes me to work hard and it really teaches a lot about depending solely on God for everything. Even more than that though, I cannot wait to see what God does in the lives of the campers this summer. It is so easy to forget that the summer is not about me, but I have been praying for an attitude of humility, and that God is what the kids remember from camp, not us. I know He is going to do incredible things, and I am so very excited.

Also, in 234 days (not that I'm counting! But seriously, it's a facebook countdown... I am literally not counting) I am going to marry my best friend. I cannot wait. After all, absence only makes the heart grow fonder for a while. After a certain level of fondness, it's no longer cool- just annoying and hard. There is a light at the end of the distance, and it will be here in 234 days.

I have realized that the story of "Breakfast at Tiffany's" is actually a tragedy, and that no one should feel so lost to not even be able to name their cat. I love this story, but it breaks my heart for Holly. She needed someone to love her and show her where she belonged. Why can they never put Jesus into these stories? Then they wouldn't seem so sad.

I painted my toe nails lime green and ate a Clown Cone from Baskin Robbins. Does it get any better?!

I am getting old. I no longer know what is "in style" (nor do I really care?) and if a word is abbreviated, I have to ask someone what it stands for.  If I get a text from a younger girl I might know, I have to ask her to type out the abbreviations and resend the message. Am I 30?

In the past few days, I have been thinking a lot about the difference in a teenager and an adult. I have been thinking about how little we know and how much we learn as time goes on. I don't think it really has to do with getting older, but as you get older you do experience more and come in contact with so many different people; this is where those realizations come from. Maybe it does have to do with age after all.

Planning the wedding of your dreams is so much harder than they tell you! Do you know how many different colors there are to choose from? And why does every dress have to be so perfect?! SO MANY CHOICES. No wonder the girl plans the wedding.

It's 12:24. I am going to bed. Sorry for rambling, but I do feel better now. :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The wreck that didn't happen

 "Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him,
       for he shields him all day long,
       and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders." Deut. 33:12
I had turned from Sycamore View to Summer Avenue today. There was a lot of traffic and drivers were crazy; a big shock for Memphis, I know, but still, more crazy than normal! On Summer Avenue there are no turn lanes, (which is a terrible road to not have turn lanes) which means the whole road is stop and go, both lanes, waiting for people to turn. I was driving past the Sonic and the shopping center, right before you get to Shelby Oaks Elementary when a school bus decided to turn right in front of me and a white Lexus to my right. I noticed the school bus and my first thought was, "Oh my goodness! That bus driver is crazy! I cannot believe he just turned!" I was already driving slow, but I put on the breaks and came to a complete stop. The Lexus beside must have missed this or was just distracted otherwise, because it did not stop or even slow down. I was immediately overcome with fear at the wreck that I and several other cars were about to witness. I was panicking. This Lexus was going 40 miles an hour and was about to run right into the middle and side of a school bus! What was I supposed to do? I wanted to close my eyes. I wanted to scream. I did NOT want to see this. It was going to be bad and I knew I would not be able to handle watching something like that.

In all of my panic, I didn't notice that traffic going to opposite way had stopped too. For some reason, the car that was in the lane (opposite of my direction) beside the school bus had stopped too. Were they trying to turn into Sonic? Did they need to get over? I don't know, but for some reason they had stopped. The Lexus, quick thinking, swerved right in front of me. "Okay, the end of the bus is better than the middle, at-least there's no kids back there." The Lexus kept swerving though, into traffic going to opposite direction. This could have been even worse than hitting the school bus, but our merciful God was ever present. The truck that had stopped for some unknown reason, was not stopped for an unknown reason. The truck being stopped allowed the Lexus to swerve safely into the other lanes, avoiding the school bus, avoiding being hit.

God is good. He is merciful. He makes up for everything that we lack. He watches over us. He protects us. I just witnessed his saving grace. He spared, not only the life of the person driving the Lexus, but the people who would have witnessed this terrible wreck. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Sweet Jesus.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Spring Air and a Prayer

Blue skies a mile high and the sweet boy I love.
Mom and sister and coffee on ice-
All the things that make a Tuesday nice.

Courtyard basketball and pancakes for dinner;
There's homework to be done, but it sure is a nice night for a run!
The crisp night air kisses my skin,
And I am thankful that spring has sprung again.

As another long day has come to its end,
I lay in bed and thank God once and again.
He blesses us each day and his miracles are clear.
His love for us is evident and his mark is everywhere.

Off to sleep I drift and tomorrow I'll rise
With joy in my heart and a gleam in my eyes.

Bright sun shining and my dear nephews close;
Brother sings loud and misses the notes.
The smell of muffins and Dad's good advice-
All the things that make a Wednesday nice.