Thursday, August 31, 2006


Many of you know how uncomfortable I get speaking in front of groups of people. Unfortunately, that happens to be part of my job throughout the year. Tonight I am holding one of my proposal workshops, and yes, I still get nervous and a bit terrified, though I have already done several of these presentations before. I usually can't wait until it is over. I talk fast, and I stumble over words. But even though my presentation isn't as smooth as I had planned, I still feel that those who come do learn something about proposal writing, atleast that is my hope. So where am I going with this story? Lately, I have been thinking about my weaknesses. The question of my ability to accomplish something, occasionally enters my thoughts. I am not down on myself at all, just realizing what my weaknesses are and wondering how can I accomplish what God sets before me?

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

Amazing Weekend!

Have you ever had one of those weekends, where you just looked back on it and realized that you really used each minute to its greatest advantage? This weekend was just one of those times, where it just was amazing, productive, and just full of new experiences!

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

One More Thing...

We are having a staff birthday lunch today as well....tostadas and snickerdoodles! Why do I get so excited about food?...probably, because it all is pretty much delicious!

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!


It stormed last night and is still raining this morning. Isn't that exciting? Yes, I had to keep my jeep top up this week, but I just love the rain. It is actually supposed to rain the rest of the week, rain that I have heard we need. So you will probably find me walking outside or sitting on my porch reading as the storms continue to pass. Anyone is welcome to join me.

Have I mentioned how much I love storms? What an amazing Thursday!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Why is it that we remember the things people do that hurt us or that we don't agree with more than we remember the good times we share and all that they do right in "our eyes"? It makes forgiving difficult as we hold on to those negative memories.

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.

1Samuel 16:7
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

And So It Begins....

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


I just received a wonderful email from my sister today. This is her first day back to work after our vacation, and she has such a great attitude. She is just so full of thanks today. And so am I! I know exactly how she is feeling. I don't know what makes today different than any other day. I don't know why I am noticing all the blessings I have in my life. When I look around at all that I have, it is so apparent that it is more than I ever need. Honestly, it makes me want to just get rid of so make life share with others everything I have. You know that scripture verse that talks about giving up everything and following Christ? That is something I have been thinking a lot about. I mean to give up could one do that? It is such a scarey thought...but lately it has been something exciting as well. Exciting to have such a faith to really take that step and give up everything to follow the call of Christ. I don't know...I don't even know what I am called to do, but I really desire to reach that level of conquer the doubt and fear that I see beyond the happiness I feel now to be filled only by the immeasurable happiness and love that can be found in Christ.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Back To Reality...

What an amazing vacation! I was in the company of great friends and many cultures...and even had time to myself. It was a vacation that definitely went too fast, but one where I enjoyed every minute. One of the amazing things that I enjoyed, besides spending some time with the Hahn's at the Mayan ruins of Tulum and eating some of their salsa :), was my time to myself in the mornings...especially when my loving sister trusted me enough to actually be by myself :)....I do love your protective nature though Jess :). I woke up all but one morning to watch the sunrise and to read. It was a great way to start the day, even though it only meant getting 4 hours of sleep a night. Some mornings were cloudy, but still the sunrise was beautiful and the mornings were peaceful. Another wonderful moment took place throughout the entire trip. Being the only single one in the group I had the unique opportunity to observe the wonderful couples I traveled with. Not only did they include me in everything, but I was able to watch them interact as couples. Each couple showing love and affection in different ways and each couple just enjoying their time and experience together. It was just nice seeing how well they complement each other. Now the vacation is over and it is back to reality. But really not much has changed. Besides missing the endless supply of food :), I am still surrounded by these amazing couples, the sun rises every morning and is just as beautiful here, and the cultures are still out there ready for me to experience. I guess vacation just opened my eyes a little more to see what is all around me...even here at home.
Of course I have pictures of this wonderful vacation. See Below...and enjoy!


I have about 105 more snapshots, but thought these few would give you just a taste of the fun we all had together!

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

Undivided Heart

Distractions are everywhere! We can get caught up in all the wonderful things that surround us. We have the love of family and friends that is so intimate that they seem to be all we need. Money and power can be addicting. Possessions become desires and necessities. We can even become obsessed with people we admire or look up to. I am definitely susceptible to many of these distractions. In the past I got lost in them. I lost my focus and turned these distractions from something I just obsessions. I loved so much and so many things that no matter what the next thing I desired was, my heart was empty. My heart was divided, and honestly I can't say that God had a piece. But still He never left...He was always there. He broke me down and helped me see that the intimacy I seek and the One I long to be devoted to is Him. No matter what item, person, dream I focused on, nothing was going to fill that void. My heart was missing the only focus I needed...Christ.

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.

Psalm 86:11
Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.