It was such a special memory that I wanted to share it with my sister and niece. I know my sister will do her always wonderful job describing the night, but I just wanted to say thank you to the friend who help create this tradition.
Last night Jess, Grace, and I made our first apple pie together. And though we discovered the importance of patience and though the kitchen looked like a virtual war zone, I was so thankful for that time with my girls...baking an apple pie, creating memories, creating a tradition. I look forward to next year!
Friday, December 29, 2006
It was such a special memory that I wanted to share it with my sister and niece. I know my sister will do her always wonderful job describing the night, but I just wanted to say thank you to the friend who help create this tradition.
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
An expression of love for a special couple that united in marriage, and who understands the importance of keeping Christ the center of their love.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
In Judges 6:15-18 I see that doubt, that questioning in Gideon. It states, "But Lord", Gideon asked, "how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family." The LORD answered, "I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together." Gideon replied, "If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me. Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you." And the LORD said, "I will wait until you return."
The Lord said he will wait! I was amazed at the patience the Lord had with Gideon and I am sure the Lord has with me. As I battle the doubt, He is waiting patiently for me to return to Him. As I question His calling, He is waiting patiently for me to return to Him. As I get burdened with life's struggles, He is waiting patiently for me to return to Him.
What a message of Hope!
Friday, December 15, 2006
You see, last night Dina took me down the road to see the Northern Lights. I have always wanted to see them, but never thought I could see them from here. It was such a clear night! we pulled off on a side road, got out of the car, and just stood there watching the sky with the bluish/greenish haze. Streaks of blue and green would shoot up towards the center of the sky. It was like our own personal light show. It was beautiful! It was one of those moments where you wish you had a camera, but knew that no picture could ever really capture that moment, those feelings of awe, and the colors that were present. It was one of those moments where you realize how amazing God is, and how beautiful His creation is. It was one of those moments where I thought of nothing, wanted to be no where else, but there.
GOD IS AMAZING!
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
So why am I rambling about the rain and this experience yesterday. Because if I hadn't taken the opportunity to just stop moving, working, running around, I would have missed out on one of the most calming and enjoyable experiences I have had. I can't plan the storms, but I can take the time to enjoy them. I am one of those people who likes to be busy, getting things done, meeting with friends, but sometimes it is just nice to stop, do nothing, and just enjoy the moment!
Monday, December 11, 2006
It is perfect that Grace played a sheep, because I felt like that lost sheep before, But this past year, God found me and I can't think of any better reason to celebrate!
What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
When I think I am alone and no one really understands what I am going through. God is always with me and He is leading the way.
When I can't seem to find the courage to do something, God is always with me and He is leading the way.
When I find myself lost and confused, God is always with me and He is leading the way.
When I begin to worry and want to start planning my own future, I can find comfort knowing that God is always with me and He is leading the way.
With the world changing all around me, the one thing I can count on, the one thing that remains the same today and tomorrow...God is always with me and He is leading the way.
I hope you find the strength and confidence in this question that I have found...the strength to trust in the Lord always and the confidence to really make the choice to follow the One who is always with us and who is leading the way.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Seeing my brother, niece, and nephew this weekend was definitely a highlight of thanksgiving. There isn't a lot in common between all of us, but we always have fun when we are together, and I always look forward to seeing them! My brother is an amazing man. He is definitely accomplished, but most importantly, he is a good father. He has introduced his son and daughter to so much and makes time for them. He doesn't just drop them off at each of their games, but cheers them on. He may have a great house, a great job, work at being proficient at all of his many hobbies, but in my eyes he is a good father. My nephew and niece are growing up way too fast! I am just amazed at how their personalities are growing and changing. They are helpful, creative, smart, athletic, funny, and just great young adults!
Cute little Grace ended up giving Jess and I her deathly cold this weekend. Okay, not so deathly, but not a big fan of being sick! I spent all of Monday curled up in bed trying to breathe, trying to make my head stop throbbing. And as I laid there I thought about how much I missed my parents. I could have used mom's miracle grilled cheese sandwiches that she always made when we were sick and that always seemed to make us feel better. I could have used dad's big chair as we would sit with him watching great shows like M.A.S.H, Magnum P.I., etc...feeling safe knowing we would feel better soon.
I know I have mentioned family a lot recently, but it is just hard to get across how special they are me. Maybe it is the holiday season that is making me think about them often, or maybe it is finally realizing just how special my family is. Either way, I love them and they are on my mind and in my heart. I know we all have family that may not live close enough to see very often, but it just means that we cherish the time we do spend with them that much more!
Just had to share how special these people are!
Monday, November 20, 2006
Do you have those people in your life that you always turn to for assistance?...that you always count on to provide for you? Jess wrote a wonderful post on my parents and how giving they are. And as I was contemplating her post and my prayers lately, I realized that I had gotten into the "request" rut. I have taken those "relationships" for granted.
What was the last thing I have done for my parents? Even during their short visit, and after they provided us with so much, I actually made a request that they keep their eyes open for a particular item that I have been looking for. Who does that? Why couldn't I just be so grateful for all they have done and instead of making a request, turn the tables around and ask what they needed?
And in regards to my relationship with God, why have my prayers turned into request times. I examined my prayer this morning to find out that my requests far outweigh any praise I give Him. Have I made this about me instead of Him? How could I ever think I knew what was best for me or the world better than God?
The question should be what can I do for you?...rather that what can you do for me?...or what can I get? It is about trusting God enough to know that He will provide and take care of us so that we can fully open our hearts and lives to Him to be used to fulfill His will, not ours.
So I end this post with a couple more requests, because it is such a hard habit to break :)...Ask yourself, what can I do for those who do so much for me...and do it! Most importantly, let God handle the worries we have and the direction of our lives as he has proven to be trustworthy all along, so that we can be servants of God with a heart that asks..."What can I do for you?"
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
So last night we saw Stomp! And it was completely and unbelievably amazing! The rhythm throughout the whole show moved us and just brought so much energy to the night. We sat their in awe of the talent and of the ability of the performers to entertain us, to distract us from all that we face and have to do, if only for a short time. It was one of the best shows I have seen…and maybe that is because of the company I was with. But, it was a great opportunity...an opportunity that I am so thankful for.
Thanks to the parents for introducing us to the arts so that we may develop that appreciation. Thanks to the performers who share their talents with us. Thanks to my sis for being an example. Thanks to God for creating opportunities such as these.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
"In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." - Matthew 5:16
365 days of creating a habit! 365 days of opening my heart! 365 days of being led by God and not my own desires! For those of you who might have done some investigative work into my past posts (Hint: October 2005) would have found that last year, at this time, I challenged myself. The challenge was to reach out to someone every day. To stop focusing on my own needs and wants but to change my "outlook" and actually see those around me, friends, family, strangers, and their needs...the ways I could help them...the ways I could be a servant rather than the one expecting to be served. It was last year that I realized that the goals I set for my life were based on ways for me to get praise and recognition when all praise goes to God, the One who works through us. I realized that the valuable thing my life could be used for is to touch just one heart...to truly reach out to someone so that they can see and feel the love of Christ.
Out of all the lessons I have learned this past year, the most important lesson has been that of faith and trust in Christ. Each day, He guided my heart and showed me all that I can do for others, with His help. I went into this challenge wondering how I could help others when I don't have many skills, talents, or even an understanding of how I could be used, but He prepared the way each day. Just wait and see...a simple phrase that has been a large part of this experience. Nothing I did throughout the year was planned. I put trust in God that He would show me those opportunities. I had to just wait and see. And it is amazing all I have seen.
I have kept a journal each day of the ways that I reached out to others and as I flip through the pages, I can't do anything but give all the credit to the One who works through me.
It has been 365 days and that is something to celebrate! I know I built up your expectations for this post and sincerely hope you have not been let down, but this year has been amazing. This challenge has been such a large part of my days and something I just had to share with you.
I know a year isn't a long time, and the acts I have done have been small, but I will continue striving to look outside myself every day and reach out to those around me. I will continue trusting in Christ knowing that He is guiding me. I will do all that I can to continue fighting my own selfishness to have a servant heart. And hopefully, one day, God will use me to reach that one heart.
One year down and a lifetime to go!
Monday, October 30, 2006
Still don't know....just wait and see...
Friday, October 27, 2006
I know, I know. Your bathroom will be finished!!! You will have a dishwasher installed!! An elevator will be put in for me at your house!! Green concrete is being poured so you don't have to mow!! Your garage will be clean?? You are getting cable tv??
I can guarantee that the future post will be on something more important than these, but since it is out in the open...if any of you want to accomplish these tasks for me, just let me know ;)...just kidding.
What could be more important than getting accomplished what is listed above?....Just wait and see...
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Good guesses that make me laugh! And some of you are trying to get it out of my sis (stay strong Jess! I am counting on you ;). You may think it is impossible to guess what the future post will be about, but I can assure you that it isn't.
Maybe I will give a hint...just wait and see...
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
If you still haven't figured it out....just wait and see...
Monday, October 23, 2006
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Just had to share...
Monday, October 16, 2006
This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
My sis has a wonderful blog, entitled daily blessings. It is a blog that shares with us the blessings she sees in her every day life. Today is another Monday, and after my morning routine of dragging myself out of bed, listening to the news, driving to work, and looking at the list on my desk of things I hope to tackle today, her blog came to mind. Why? Because it is another Monday and I caught myself in that Monday mood. You know where you are just "blah" because the weekend is over and you have a whole week before the weekend comes again. So I thought about her blog and thought what better way to get out of this Monday mood then to share the blessings I had this past weekend, but also look forward to the blessings today brings, and tomorrow, and the next day.
First, Friday I had an amazing visit from my sis and Grace at work. They even brought me two dozen cookies ;) and I just loved the surprise visit! Then that evening I spent time with some good friends, enjoying a great dinner, a few haunted houses, and just driving around the area. Saturday I was lucky enough to be able to visit with the Frye's before Amos' football game, then I house sat for a bit ;)...ran a few errands and actually spent time at the park by the lake. Couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day...okay, maybe if it was just a bit warmer! Finished the evening visiting with some wonderful ladies! Sunday included another wonderful church service followed by a little bit of football!
Well, today's blessings so far include a good conversation with my roommate this morning, having a job I do enjoy, a co-worker bringing in donuts for all of us, the gloves that I remembered to bring today because it is a bit cold in the office ;), a great email from my sister, ....the Bear's game tonight ;), etc....and just the fact that I remembered to think about the blessings in my life...and the blessings that today holds...and tomorrow...and the next day...
Hope you find the time to think about all the blessings in your life! Thanks Jess for that reminder!
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Monday, October 09, 2006
This weekend was definitely a busy weekend for me. But something happened, that I just had to share! I had the amazing opportunity to enjoy the beautiful day on Friday. After meeting my sister for lunch, I walked around a park taking pictures of the changing leaves, watching people walk by, and just enjoying the nice day. As I was taking pictures, I once again felt small. I was surrounded by large trees that tower over everything. As I focused on a group of leaves intertwined around one of the branches, I felt as one of those leaves, a small part of the big picture. I stood there just looking around at all that surrounded me, and I realized something. Each of those leaves contributes to the beauty of the tree, of the view. Each leaf was different. And that is what amazed me. I was amazed at what God created. He took care of every detail. He took the time to design each of those leaves...and as much care as He took on that landscape, He has taken that much if not more care on each one of us. As small as I felt at that moment, I felt special! I felt cared for! I felt as though I was designed for a purpose!...Because God took care of every detail!
Monday, October 02, 2006
There are few people, such as myself, who enjoy reading the stories of miracles, love, forgiveness, sacrifice....the life of Christ. But when it comes to the nitty gritty parts of the Bible, the family lines and ancestry, the battles, the division of land, etc...I tend to begin to skim, hoping that when I turn the page I get past the "boring" part to an interesting story or adventure. But, I realized I have missed out on a lot by doing this.
I realized as I read the list of kings the Israelites defeated and I read about the division of land, that though I get confused and may not be able to really remember the names, that just as the "miracle" stories, this history is important! I learned about how the Israelites followed God's commands and instructions. I learned about their human fears and doubts. I learned that God delivered their enemies to them so that they may receive the land He had promised. I learned that God is faithful! I learned that God provides! I learned that the Bible is about more than miracles, and all the "interesting" stories, but about love, promises, and history that reveals the past, a past that helps us understand the present and the future!
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever
Monday, September 25, 2006
Yet, I still haven't been able to tithe.
Yes, through all that I have seen and experienced, I still hold on to my financial situation rather than trusting enough in Christ to give Him what is His. Thankfully, I have some wonderful friends who encourage me. They challenge me by reminding me that it is all about trusting God.
I have a friend who is a parent. And as a loving, caring, parent he/she worries about the safety and security of his/her child. Though I have no idea what it must feel like to be a parent and care for a child, I know that trust must be in Christ.
We all have areas in our life where we are weak in trusting in Christ. So I share this with you not only to hold myself more accountable, but as as a challenge.
How much do you trust God with?
One day, I hope my actions and my response to this question will be....EVERYTHING!
Friday, September 15, 2006
Dina is such an amazing listener who gives such comforting and loving hugs and who will do anything she can for someone. Ang speaks straight from her heart and has to be one of the most genuine and sincere ladies I know. Jess, what have I not said about her yet? :)...just a beautiful lady inside and out. Last night was really the first night the daughters came...and to watch them grow and interact was something that really was wonderful to see. We all support each other. We are more than just friends, but family!....and for that I am thankful!
I love my girls!
Thursday, September 14, 2006
You see, a church can not survive with just a minister, pastor, priest...etc. If that is all a church needed, who would sing in the choir? Who would sing in the worship team? Who would teach sunday school? Who would prepare the dinners so families can eat together before participating in Wednesday night church activities? Who would decorate the alter table? Who would greet the members and new visitors? Who would make the bulletins? Who would keep the church clean? Who would support the missionaries? Who would work with the youth and children of the church? Who would reach out to others in the community? Who would take care of the finances? And the list goes on.
It took me a bit to figure out how I could be involved in the church, not just attend, but actually be a part of the church. I have heard congregations complain about different aspects of their church and some just want certain programs, etc...but who is going to take initiative and make things happen? Will it be you? My parents are ministers and I know they can't do it all. They already do so much for the church and it is time that we realize that we all can be LEADERS of a church in one way or another.
So I thank the ministers of the church for their leadership, the deacons, the choir members, the worship team, the committee members of all the committees that exist, the Sunday school teachers, the greeters, the custodians, those who prepare food, those who perform skits, those who operate the sound board, and the many others who share their skills and talents with the church. Thank you for being LEADERS so that the church can be a church that is actually a group of people gathering together in the name of Christ, rather than a church of one.
Friday, September 08, 2006
As much as I appreciate the support and love she provides, I would be mistaken to give her all the credit. That love that she shares, that encouragement and support that she expresses, comes from God. She lets Him work through her. She lets His love shine through her.
Just as I can not give her all the credit, I too can not take all the credit for the successess I have had or will have, for they would not exist without the love and support of God. As we learned this past Tuesday, He is faithful and steadfast!
Without the support and love of God, of family (like twin sisters and amazing parents!), of friends, of someone who really believes in us, where would we be? What would we accomplish? They are the ones lifting us up, challenging us, loving us!
Have you taken the time to thank those who support you?
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Amos just amazes me with all he can do. He even gets out there with a sore ankle! I of course was the spotter for the evening...what I do best!....also, watching and learning, which is important to do before actually trying to board again. Jess and Grace kept us entertained. Their company is something that I truly enjoy! So it was definitely a day to celebrate!
Celebrate beautiful days! Celebrate opportunities! Celebrate successes! Celebrate times with friends and family!
*Since I didn't take my camera with me yesterday, the pictures were from labor day.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Just this past sunday my parents held a beautiful church service that incorporated the celebration of a couple's 50th wedding anniversary. Still today, through the tears, through their embrace of each other, through the touch of their hands and the way they looked at each other, you could feel their love...the love that has been the foundation of their 50 years of marriage and the love that washed over their family as they surrounded the couple.
God has to be at the heart of this love. His sacrifice for us...His love for us is much deeper than the love we could have for anyone, but His example allows us to see what true love is about and teaches us how to truly love Him and one another. His love for us provides an endless supply of love that we can share...a love that He wants us to share.
In Hemingway's book, A Farewell to Arms, a priest describes what it means to love God and others. He states, "When you love you wish to do things for. You wish to sacrifice for. You wish to serve." What an amazing love, to be truly open, giving, to serve!...and to love with all that is within you, not holding back.
All I know is that I am not going to settle. I want the foundation of any relationship to have that strong foundation of Christ...His love...and my love for Him. So I look forward and wait patiently for the true love of and for a gentleman that may be in store, being completely satisfied and filled with the love I have for Christ and the love He fills my heart with.
For there is no Greater Love...Example...Foundation...than Christ!
Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
Thursday, August 31, 2006
I have begun studying Joshua. I have been captivated by the first few chapters, chapters of God fulfilling His promise to the Israelites. The chapters that once again reveal God's power and His presence. Normally, I would just share one scripture verse that moved me, but I cannot do that in this case...because the following verses work together to show me how God is with us and can work through us.
Joshua 3:5-17, states: Joshua told the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you." Joshua said to the priests, "Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on ahead of the people." So they took it up and went ahead of them. And the LORD said to Joshua, "Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses. Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant: 'When you reach the edge of the Jordan's waters, go and stand in the river.' "
Joshua said to the Israelites, "Come here and listen to the words of the LORD your God. This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you. Now then, choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the LORD -the Lord of all the earth—set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap." So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water's edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (the Salt Sea [b] ) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.
What power! This is as far as I read this morning, so I am anxious to read further. But this scripture really spoke to me. Why do I let my weaknesses define my capabilities, when I am not alone, when God is with me? Even my strengths are from God. If God can divide waters, move mountains, transform hearts and lives, why do I forget that He can work through my weaknesses so that I, with His help, can accomplish all that He calls me to do?
He is God! God is with me!
So I strive to not run from His call. I strive to not doubt His power. I strive to give all praise to Him.
I strive to be OPEN to God and His work in my life, having a faith that conquers all doubt and all fear and relies only on Him so that I may answer His call with courage and strength.
Monday, August 28, 2006
You see, this weekend there was some stuff that I had hoped to get accomplished...mowing the lawn, laundry, working on my proposal workshop, organizing my photos so that I can finally have my coffee table back, etc.
Let me tell you what I did instead.
Friday night I spent time with two wonderful ladies. We of course got some delicious coffee :), ate some great food...and walked around Winona Lake...ending the night by watching a movie. I had such a great time talking to these ladies and just getting to know more about them. So thanks Jamie and Sarah for your great company!
Saturday, I visited with one of my very good friends and her beautiful daughter. Though Ang, Addison, and Brad live only an hour a way, I still never make it out there to visit them as much as I could. So Saturday I decided was the day to change that. I had a great conversation with Ang where I learned how her days were spent and shared what I have been up to. And of course I got to play with my other very adorable niece Addison. I definitely couldn't get enough of her so I left my coffee cup behind only so I would have to turn around and see her again ;). Okay, so really I just forgot it and had to turn around to go back and get it...but I was able to see Ang and Addikins again and that was well worth it!
Later that night, I attended the monthly Sunday School party hosted by the Frye's. There we had some great food and had a pretty challenging yard game tournament. Challenging because it was getting dark and started to sprinkle towards the end, which made bowlingket (aka corn hole), bocci ball, and horse shoes pretty challenging. Though Dustin and I pretty much prevailed in the events, Jamie and Brian were lucky enough to win the fantastic prizes the Frye's provided. Of course we all regressed in age and played with the prizes in the house, but that was the fun of it all. At 11:30pm, after a rousing game of cranium and settlers, three of the gentleman took a swim in the lake and I took my walk in the rain.
Sunday, after another good church service, Melanie and I met our class of Sunday School students and then joined our own class for the ending of our current study. I then spent the rest of the day and evening with Jamie, Jess, Amos, and Grace out on the boat and then just having great conversation eating fried green tomatoes and homemade applesauce! I wakeboarded for the first time, or shall I say...I was dragged by the boat for the first time, but couldn't have felt more at ease without the wonderful support from the Fryes and Jamie.
I just had an amazing weekend, and though I didn't get to all that I had hoped to, I am so thankful to God for the opportunities I had to spend with such great friends. I am so thankful to God for the opportunities to have new experiences. But mostly, I am thankful to God for helping me see the amazing people around me and the amazing experiences awaiting...all which were more important than organizing some pictures or mowing the lawn (which I do need to get too ;)
Just an Amazing weekend from an Amazing God.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Hope you get excited about the little things in life! And hope your day is full of many wonderful surprises!
What a truly wonderful Thursday!
Have I mentioned how much I love storms? What an amazing Thursday!
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Recently, I was asked about forgiveness, which is definitely something I had to deal with...a challenge of mine that I faced...and still do face on occasion. I think we all do. But I can only speak for myself. In this blog, I have talked about my past...been open and honest about times in my life...and struggles that I still face. Why? Because I need to be honest with myself and with you. Because I can only speak on what I know, and what I know is me. So get ready for some honesty.
I could chose a scripture verse to share with you that deals specifically with forgiveness and judgement. But there is a verse that I came across in 1Samuel, that really showed me a different perspective...a different way to think of forgiveness.
The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
I know this verse is not speaking about forgiveness, but it made me really think about forgiving. Because forgiveness deals a lot with the way we look at each other. How? Have you ever taken the time to really get to know the people in your life, to understand each one of them as individuals, to get to the "heart" of who they are...not putting any preconceived notions on them or stereotypes...not putting them on a scale of standards they should meet? Or do you just notice a few of their qualities that are similar to yours and automatically assume that you know them, understand them, know what you would do if you were them or in their situation?
I had come to the realization a while ago that I had put expectations on those around me. Expectations that go beyond seeing the person they are and could become, but expecting them to think like me or act like me....sometimes even putting higher standards on them, than the standards I put on myself. I didn't take the time to UNDERSTAND them... to see them as individuals or UNDERSTAND where they were coming from. So when I felt hurt by something they said or did or felt that they made a mistake, I began to "JUDGE" them more and more, holding on to the mistakes they made, seeing only their "physical" aspects and actions rather than looking into their heart, as God looks into our hearts to see who we really are. He sees past our own flaws and sees the heart of us, the special and unique ones he created us to be.
Literally, one morning, I woke up early just tired of it all. Tired of holding on to grudges, tired of judging...because it all was filling my heart leaving no room for the Father of Forgiveness, the one who wants to take it all from us if we just let him. So right then and there I gave it all to him, all of it...forgiving those who didn't even ask for forgiveness, just letting all of it go so that He could fill my heart, so His love could fill my heart, so that when He looked past my physical features and my imperfections, He could finally see the heart He created with a purpose to love and praise, not to judge.
Who am I to judge? For I am only human, I too make mistakes, and I too need to be forgiven. Thankfully, Christ has given us the gift of forgiveness. He sees our hearts. So I strive to look into the hearts of others, I strive to truly forgive from the heart, and I strive to share with others the love, mercy, and grace that God fills my heart with every day.
Monday, August 21, 2006
The eight of us gathered together Sunday evening, not really certain how things would go or what outcome we would have, but we came with plans. The atmosphere was light and the room was filled with the smell of candles that were burning throughout the house. We spent the evening laughing, thinking, wondering, hoping, encouraging, and just anxiously awaiting our turn to speak...our turn to say the one name we would hope to say before it was snatched away by someone else...the one name we hoped we could even pronounce correctly ;). And so it begins...
Football season has officially started and we definitely had one of the most interesting drafts last night. It was actually one of the most enjoyable times I have had during a draft. We didn't argue with each other, though there was the occasional boo from my sister and me as we heard players called that we didn't care for :). But for the most part, the draft went smoothly and we even helped each other pick players. There was no time limit and we just kept it light. One of the participants even offered to forgo the team she was going to choose to let someone else have them. I definitely haven't seen that happen before :).
I know the competitiveness of some of us will begin to appear throughout the season, but I know I enjoyed the company I was with last night and I am anxious to see how the season plays out. I am excited to root for my team of players who I would say have "unusual" names, which of course was my strategy ;), but I will definitely be laughing and having fun as I root for them throughout the season, hoping that with one of my players I will know how to pronounce his name correctly by the end of it all :).
So I wish each one of you luck and am just so grateful to experience such a new experience with each one of you. I think we will learn a lot and am just ready to watch some football!
So let the season begin...
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Of course I have pictures of this wonderful vacation. See Below...and enjoy!
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Happiness! Love! Compassion! Friendship! Support! Encouragement! Faith! Respect! Family...and the list goes on!
This is what I feel when I am around Amos and Jess! This is what I see when they look at each other or hear each other's names. These are the words that best describe what I sense when I think of their love...their marriage...even when no words are spoken.
It is the kind of love that leaves me SPEECHLESS!
Happy 5 year anniversary (August 11th)! God has blessed you richly by bringing you two together and creating such an amazing love!
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Why am I being so honest? Because today I came to the realization that it is so easy to head in that direction again. If I can't admit this, than I would just be in denial. I would just be pretending that I haven't made mistakes and that I couldn't make those same mistakes again. There has been something I desired for the past week or so, but as I thought about it today, I realized that it had become a distraction. It distracted me by not giving this desire to God, until today. Today I caught myself and remembered that God is in control and that He is the desire of my heart.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoy many things and enjoy the many blessings God gives, but I need to remain focused on Him and let Him be what my heart desires...knowing that no matter what wonderful blessings come my way, my heart is His. So I hold myself accountable and share with you this fault, praying that I have an undivided heart, one that only seeks, loves, focuses, and is devoted to Christ.
Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Lately, I have started reading the classics that I have not yet had the opportunity to read. I am definitely not a fast reader, but I just couldn't put down the book, To Kill a Mockingbird (as I finished it in two days), and I am finding Pride and Prejudice just as captivating. As I read, I find myself unconsciously imagining the images that the words describe. I find myself living in that moment and some how feeling the emotions that exist between the characters. What a talent these authors have to be able to invoke images and feelings through something as simple as words.
Words are part of our day to day life...yet, I never really took the time to grasp their importance and the messages and emotions they help us express. I am amazed at those who have the talent to write and speak clearly, to use words in a way that captures our attention and thoroughly explains the messages they are trying to get across. I am not one of those people. I find myself talking in circles adding the occassional dreaded words that show my nervousness...words such as "um"..and "you know" ;). Even when I write, I am unable to really express the emotions I have behind the words. If that even makes sense ;). But I continue to try.
I am thinking more and more about the words I use now....the words I use to make connections with others and develop friendships, the words I use to express emotions, the words I use to tell a story, the words I use to make someone laugh, the words I use to express love, the words I use to share who I am...and to share my faith. Why is this so important to me? Because lately, God has been using me to share with others my journey back to Him. And no matter how hard I try, I cannot find the words that can clearly explain this journey and the emotional shift that took place. So I stutter through it, wishing I had that skill that others have of finding the perfect words to use. I try to just give this awkwardness and uncertainty of speaking and writing to God praying that He please provide the words...
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Monday, July 24, 2006
This weekend, I came across the scripture about the body of Christ. As I began to read each word, I began to realize, that though I am weak in areas, God is with me and has created me for a purpose. I may not know what that purpose is but I do know that I am a work in progress and that I am a part of the body of Christ and can do all things by letting Him use me...my body, my mind, and my heart.
I look at my hands, and though small, they can reach out to others. They can hold someone up. They can help carry burdens. They can create something for someone. They can show love through touch. I look at my legs and know that I can run to someone who needs me. I can walk with someone who needs to talk. I can chase my neice around creating a bond with her as she laughs with the anticipation of being caught. My eyes allow me to see the good in people. They allow me to see the needs of a community. They are eyes that allow me to connect with others just by making eye contact. They allow me to show emotion. My ears listen to the joys and concerns of those around me. My mouth can speak words of comfort, hope, love. My heart is open. My heart feels, cares, loves, hopes, grows...my heart is vulnerable. It is vulnerable to allow others in, to allow Christ to work in me, to be open to all those around me.
1 corinthians 12:27
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
I may not be much, but I can be used. I pray that God uses me to fulfill His will....I pray that He uses all of me...for I am a part of the body of Christ! We all are a part of the body of Christ...and isn't that exciting?
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
I know my sister tends to drift off when I am sharing recent news headlines and stories with her. Not because she doesn't care, but because I seem to share everything I read with her and she has an amazing heart that tends to ache for those she hears about, though she doesn't know them. A lot of people tend to avoid the news or what is going on in the rest of the world because they believe that it is all just depressing. I admit it. A lot of what I read in the news tends to be on the negative side.
BREAKTHROUGH: PROGRAM OFFICER DISCOVERS AN UPLIFTING ARTICLE IN BETWEEN ARTICLE ON WAR AND ARTICLE ON DROWNINGS
But there are those uplifting stories that tend to be a nice break. They are the articles that provide hope. You know the stories of a community that has come together to support and provide for a family who just faced a fire. The stories of a youth group that raised money for a particular cause. Or the stories of a school that came together to create a memorial garden for students and teachers who have passed away.
HEADLINES SHOW NEED AND SPARK MOVEMENTS
Maybe it is the position I am in or the field I work in, but keeping up with the news, though negative most times, allows me to see the needs that still exist. I truly believe that if it weren't for some of these heartbreaking stories, some wonderful things wouldn't have developed. People wouldn't know about the fire that destroyed a family, and a community wouldn't have come together. Youth wouldn't know of any causes to support. We wouldn't be able to see the positive actions that take place in our own communities.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
I don't really have anything special to reveal through this random post. Just want to thank you for reading and hope that you know what is going on in the world and maybe think about what you can do to help. The news is a reflection of life...there are bad times...but there are good times...and it all is worth going through as active participants.
Monday, July 17, 2006
Jennifer is a beautiful person who welcomes you and makes you feel like you are family. She has accomplished so much. She is humble. She is funny...always making me laugh. She is strong. She is caring. She is determined. She is just amazing. Jessica is beautiful as well. She too has accomplished so much and values friendships, family, and relationships. She shows interest in all that is around her and understands the importance of having fun and living life. She is smart and loving and just an amazing woman and friend. John is someone I was lucky enough to finally get to know better. He is such a supportive husband to Jennifer. He is so personable. It felt like we had known each other for a long time. He shows interest in others. He is the master of the grill and of magic. He has so many skills and talents that I was just in awe. There were interactions with others that I will never forget as well...Jennifer and Jessica's parents...who are just wonderful parents and just seem so knowledgeable in many areas that it is easy to see the amazing influence they have had on their daughters. There were also great times with other friends that, though short, were memorable as well. I know I will never be able to capture just how special all these individuals are in words, but they are in my heart and for that I am thankful!
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Monday, July 03, 2006
My sister just recently commented on the idea of being thankful for all we are blessed with...that sometimes we can get caught up in our own struggles and challenges causing us to lose sight of all we have. This weekend was definitely a weekend of thanks and rejuvenation. If anything, I spent the weekend thanking God for the wonderful people in my life and for the amazing opportunities that are in front of me. Every morning I say to Him, that my life is His to use. I pray that He will fulfill His passion and desires through me...and that I have the patience and strength to listen and follow. Every day I make that choice to give control to Him, to give my life to Him. This weekend while camping, I had those moments where I just felt filled...filled with love...filled with strength...filled with hope...and filled with excitement. I had time to reflect and genuinely be grateful for each moment. Who would have thought camping would be so uplifting. Maybe it was the smell of the campfire. Maybe it was all the laughter that took place. Maybe it was the good food and the good company. Maybe it was being surrounded by nature...and getting back to the simplicity of life. All I know is that things came into focus and though I don't know the direction my life will take, things seemed clear. That peace, that excitement, that love, and that clarity can only come from God. I am thankful He is with me.
What an amazing camping trip...