Friday, December 28, 2007
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
What is your gift to others?
Friday, December 21, 2007
I knew it was almost time for them to leave, but I just wanted to continue to enjoy my time with these ladies and their adorable families...just a little longer.
We met in college and our friendship continues to grow. I love catching up with these friends, and of course tasting their delicious food as they all definitely know how to cook and bake!!! How lucky am I? I love how the love and appreciation we have for each other allows our friendship to flourish...just a little longer...and longer...and longer...
I hope that the time you have is spent in such moments!
Monday, December 17, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
I write to you out of respect from one coach to another. I have received valuable information that affects your team. And to be fair, I must share this privileged information with you. I thought long and hard whether or not to tell you this as we are competitors this week in the playoffs. But I know you would show the same respect if you were in my position.
There have been reports that your quarterback, Tom Brady, is tired of carrying your team. I am sorry to say that he believes that he is your team and it is due to him that you have made it to the top of the league. To show his importance, he has discussed the option of not performing up to his full potentional this week...causing your team to lose. He believes this will allow all to see how important he is to the team. As a coach myself, I find that mindset highly disturbing and would fully support and respect your decision to bench him in this upcoming matchup.
I wish you luck this week!
Monday, December 10, 2007
Let the gift of love be given to those who have hate and anger in their hearts...
Let the gift of friendship be given to those who feel alone and separated...
Let the gift of compassion be given to those who are just trying to survive...
Let the gift of hope be given to those facing dispair or life's challenges...
Let the gift of encouragement and support be given to those who need a helping hand...
Let the gift of God be given and shared with all...
"Let the Giving Begin"...and let the giving CONTINUE...
1 Thessalonians 3:12
May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
with my wonderful sister!
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
I couldn't help but wonder, what is being reflected in me? Am I letting God's love and work in me be seen, or is it being blocked by my own pride and selfishness...my doubts and fears...my own desires?
What is my reflection? What do people see?
I pray that, like that water, His work and love can be seen and done through me...that He be my reflection.
Monday, November 26, 2007
There is just something so wonderful about airports...
Maybe it is all the good memories...Like the time when Dina took me to the airport, but we arrived a bit early and my flight was delayed. I couldn't have asked for a better time with my roommate. She stayed the entire time which was about 4 hours or more. But we talked and laughed and she really calmed my nerves as I was getting ready to take a life changing trip. To this day, we still recall that memory.
Maybe it is about the people and stories. Somehow airports and planes make you break your comfort zone, and talk to people. You find out where people are heading, what they do for a living, and just find out some interesting things. You get to watch kids press against the windows to watch the planes, passengers sleeping in those comfortable chairs waiting to hear that their plane will not be delayed once again, and just the welcoming of family and friends when those arrive at their destination.
Maybe it is just wandering around the airport, seeing all the destinations and thinking to myself...hmmm...maybe one day I will travel there...maybe one day I will just come to the airport, find an interesting destination, and just go...
All I know is that today... that plane...at that airport...will bring my family back to me and that is wonderful!
Sunday, November 25, 2007
I sit here waiting patiently, cheering on my players and watching anxiously as points begin to increase. I know my sister is in Florida, trying to enjoy her vacation, but is nervous as she watches the games, wondering if this is the week that my players will out score hers. Will she be taken down by a team that is in desperate need of another win this season, but is actually pretty crippled with injuries?
Only time will tell.
Good luck sis! When I win, that will just give you another reason to look up to your older and wiser sister ;0. I have learned a lot in that extra 60 seconds of life ;).
And to the rest of you ladies...good luck to you as well!
I sign off with one parting phrase, even though it has been difficult to say this year..."Go Bears!"
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
the storms and challenges I have and will face in life. Those moments where I am stripped bare to see the One who is and will always be there.
I am thankful for those times when I finally realize that I can't do things on my own, and instead find courage, comfort, and hope in Christ.
I am thankful for the storms that humble me, challenge me, change me.
I sit here and listen to the rain pounding outside...longing to be out there...just thankful for the storms!
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
1. I want to be a missionary. But I let doubts and fears sink in and I begin to question if I could really be used in this capacity.
2. I love learning!!! I could be a full time student if it weren't so expensive. I love listening to different ideas and thoughts, researching, and just growing.
3. I really enjoy classical/jazz music, especially attending the symphony and or jazz concerts. I believe it is because it brings back so many great memories with my parents. There is nothing like watching musicians perform and listening to all they create! And on the other side of that, there is nothing like a great game at a stadium surrounded by fans. I think in both cases, the energy is just incredible!
4. Relationships are very important to me. There are no lines or differences between friends and family. My friends are included as part of my family and I love connecting with new people and just building on other relationships as well. I think we all are connected in one way or another.
5. I still don't know my way around Lake Wawasee! Or...any other parts of Northern Indiana really ;). So needless to say, I am not the best with directions. Did I mention that I have lived up here for over three years now?!? So if you see me driving around in circles or it looks like I am lost, just point me in the right direction ;).
Well, since I am slow at getting this done compared to my sister who already tagged those I would have tagged, I am still going to refer you to them...Ang, Dina, and Melanie. I figured since we are twins, that is acceptable ;). Ha! So many benefits to being a twin!
Monday, November 19, 2007
But atleast I always new what time it was.
Morning came as the girls once again piled into the car to drive back to Indy to pick up my niece, Rhi. On the way back we made various important stops to shop and get coffee. Upon returning home, we realized that Grace was pretty sick, dad was still feeling weak, and Tyler was teething. We did our best to take care of all of them all while making the non-traditional Thanksgiving feast. We had a nice roast, mashed potatoes (made by rhi!), corn, green beans, biscuits (because the dinner rolls were still frozen), and salad. Not to mention the delicious display of pumpkin pie and pecan pie...
but I opted for a few spoon fulls of cookie dough instead.
Although, our brother and nephew weren't able to join us, the table was still full of family and great conversation. We spent the rest of the night playing dominos and kind of making up the rules as we went along.
The next day, Amos stayed with Grace, since she was still sick, and the rest of us went to church. It was another wonderful service and once again mom's words touched my heart. We made our way back to mom and dad's house, packed up the car...making sure we had everything, just in time to have a quick visit with my brother and nephew who came to pick up Rhi, before taking off on the drive home.
It was another great visit and wonderful Thanksgiving!
We didn't have the turkey and stuffing. We had to care for three out of eight people. We were missing two important family members. But we were together!
I was with family! We spent most of the time laughing and just enjoying being together once again! I don't think you could have asked for a better Thanksgiving! Thank you God for such great time together and great relationships! Thank you mom and dad for hosting it and for spoiling us as you always do! Thank you Rhi for coming to hang out with us this weekend. We always have a great time with you! Thank you Jess and Amos for driving!
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
I read recently that people are maturing much later in life because they are spending so much time trying out their many assumed roles and just filling their lives with “busyness”…All for what?
We have become a society that stresses the importance of finding ourselves, who we are. Yet, we have parameters on that definition…education, careers, hobbies, accomplishments, memberships, likes and dislikes.
At work, one of my co-workers thought it would be good to let the community know who we are through a small profile on each staff member in our upcoming newsletters. We were asked to answer several questions, including the following…
But does that really define me? I am tired of trying to fit into a box of achievements. Aren’t we making it too hard and too complicated, running from one thing to another so we can keep adding things to our list of who we are?
If Christ is within us, working through us, shouldn’t we just simply be…love?
Monday, November 12, 2007
I pray, but am I really listening to You or just talking?
I look around, but am I really taking the time to notice You in everything…in me?
To release my own desires to see Yours, to release my distractions to see You, to release all that I am still holding on to, my fears, my selfishness, my insecurities, to see only You…
To release me so that You can be...
To confidently say…”I am ALL Yours!”
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
What better way to start than to spend the next morning cleaning up the highway. A group of us literally put up the bright orange "Road Work Ahead" signs, put on our even brighter orange vests, and began picking up trash along the side of the road Saturday morning. It was a beautiful day and a great start to the day. Who wouldn't want to spend a nice fall day outside?....picking up trash ;)? Besides, I even found a nice present for my roommate! I know she appreciated the gift :).
I hope you had a wonderful weekend and are excited for the great opportunities that are just waiting for you to take hold of!
p.s. Great cap to the weekend...Bears win!
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
As I thought more about this, so many ideas crossed my mind. I thought of the many times when my mind was distracted in worship. I thought of the many times I just went through particular actions in life because I felt I had to or it just seemed like something I was supposed to do. When you give your life to Christ, shouldn't it be all of you..not just the heart...but your hands, your feet...your mind? Shouldn't you have a mind that is anxious to know God and eager to serve Him? "Willing"...it encompasses so much!
Do you have a willing mind?
Monday, November 05, 2007
Dina: For being an amazing roommate and great friend. I enjoyed our time together on Saturday as we watched movies and just took advantage of the time when we were actually home at the same time! I especially loved laughing with you as we watched Grace slide down the slide in the backyard.
My Friends: No names can be shared, but you know who you are. Thank you for the wonderful gift you shared Sunday. I had a great time with you and your generosity really touched my heart. I hope you know just how special you are to me and to so many others.
Friends and Family of Sarah: For the bridal shower was a lot of fun and it is wonderful to see all those in her life who care for and love her and Chris.
Jess and Amos: For all the times you invite me over to spend time with your family!!! Especially the opportunity to watch the Colts Patriots game. Though the outcome wasn't the one that we were hoping for, it was great watching it with you!
Can you tell I had a wonderful weekend?
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Who is standing infront of you?...Have you stopped today?
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Of course I lived on coffee the entire weekend as sleep was not an option, or wasn't really built into the agenda. But it was all worth it. It is always exciting to not only grow personally and learn, but to watch youth really begin to understand what they have to offer this world...how they can reach out to others. Many of you work with youth or have in the past, and know exactly what I am trying to say...to see them learn, to see them grow, to see their passion...there is nothing like it! Basically, the retreat was a wonderful opportunity to see people come together to learn how they can better serve others, and that was encouraging!
There are many moments I could share, the lessons learned, the messages spoken, but it was action that I will remember the most. Action! It was the time when we spread across Huntsville Alabama to serve. I visited Huntsville Hospital and worked with the foundation by making pillows for patients, and decorating pumpkins for the nurses stations. Delivering these items made many people smile and brought us into some really good conversations with the patients. There was a connection made between people, strangers, and that was just amazing.
The weekend ended too quickly as we collected our luggage and made our way to our buses for the long drive back, but I know the students from PULSE not only grew as a group, but individually. I know I came away with something new. I don't know exactly how our new knowledge will be used, but I know that we all will take what we have learned to reach out to others...
62+ hours of service and learning...and I'm ready to go...
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
"Now, my son, the LORD be with you, and may you have success and build the house of the LORD your God, as he said you would. May the LORD give you discretion and understanding when he puts you in command over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the LORD your God. Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the LORD gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.
Why do I hide? Why do I put things off, scared to take that next step...afraid of what I may be called to do? Why do I doubt? The real question is...Where am I putting my security?
I am going to be honest here...Do I find my security in the things I own, afraid of where I would be without them? Yes. Do I find my security in the relationships in my life, scared of losing them, of losing that closeness and support? Yes. Do I find my security in myself, staying in the limits of what I know I can handle? Yes.
and I doubt...I fear...I hide...because my security is not where it needs to be....
in the hands of the One who has been with me always, the One who has brought me success, the One who has held me during the difficult times, the One who wants me to put all my faith and security in Him so that I can be free to BE...
BE strong and courageous...
BE used by Him...
BE free to take that next step...
Sunday, October 21, 2007
After realizing that it wouldn't quite be feasible to work through the volunteer effort being organized from the high school, a group of us headed to where we knew help was needed. We ended up spending our time at Phil's and then worked our way to Rudy's. We battled corn stalks, thorns, etc...to pick up pieces reminding us just how powerful this tornado was. There was a lot of insulation, siding, roof shingles, even a cabinet door, and a yellow slide all spread across the fields. All the other stuff collected was twisted and bent and broken causing it to be unidentifiable scraps. As I worked my way through the fields, I looked up to see a neigborhood where the houses were either missing a part of their roof, missing their second floor, or just completely destroyed and I realized that though this was a great showing of volunteers, I hoped that the giving spirit continues as it is only the beginning for some.
A huge thanks for all of you who showed up today, and let's continue to reach out to those in need.
*Pictures taken from camera phone...
Beginning to collect stuff
Loading a pile we gathered
Caught in the tree
One of the smaller metal piles we collected
Friday, October 19, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Definitely not a dream, but another "average" day at work.
And when I was little I thought I wanted to be a teacher... Someone needs to start teaching kids about the adventurous field of nonprofit work ;).
Monday, October 15, 2007
On the way the four of us, Jess, Alicia, Jessica, and I talked about how excited we were to be spending time together in Chicago. We occupied our time on the train watching all the different people, cheering on the Bears fans with their jerseys and painted faces, and even booing the viking fans...just a bit.
Navigating our way around Chicago made the trip very interesting especially during the morning rain. After several attempts to get directions to any restaurant as we were starving (attempts that included asking complete strangers and even reading some city guides we found in a bookstore), we stumbled into a wonderful place to eat....Pizano's! Not only was the food good with our deep dish pizza, cheese bread, and brushetta, but there were three tv's in which to watch the Bears Viking game...which any sports fan knows, watching a Bears game surrounded by many other Bears fans makes the game even more entertaining. Did I mention how good the food was?
We spent the rest of the day walking around, going in and out of stores, buying some Christmas presents, and just enjoying the perfect temperatures and the great company, of course finishing our day at the Cheesecake Factory for some delicious dessert!!!
The day trip to Chicago was a lot of fun and educational as well....For this is what I learned....
Jess is very good with directions as she states, "I know the Cheesecake Factory is by a building"...very helpful Jess ;).
Jessica is very easy going as she says something along the lines of...I will eat with dirty silverware as long as it is only dirty on the handle. She is so accomodating ;).
Alicia has probably the greatest style I have ever seen as indicated in the following picture! Breathtaking right?
But mostly I learned just how much fun I can have with these ladies...getting lost in the rain...doing nothing, but laughing the entire time.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
And then last night I read 1Chronicles 17:16. And I begin to embrace the changes. Why? Because I am not alone. I shouldn't be so comfortable in this world, focused on this world and my life that I lose focus on the One who has brought me this far...
God has been with me through every change and has blessed me greatly through it all, so why continue to fight change, instead it is time to embrace it...to embrace Him...looking forward to all that is and is to come.
Then King David went in and sat before the LORD, and he said: "Who am I, O LORD God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?"
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Monday, October 08, 2007
Thursday, October 04, 2007
I am walking to my sister's house and there she is. The same neighbor I pass everytime I walk to my sister's house. She is always walking her dog Oliver. We have our "Hello, how are you doing? Good...and you? Good. The weather is beautiful isn't it? It sure is. Well, have a nice day. You too!" conversation and continue on our way. Who is she? I don't know. What is her name? I don't know. What is her life like? I don't know. Do I see her?
I have a friend who I see occassionally. We have a good time together, but don't seem to get passed the surface stuff. Who is she? I don't know. What is her name? That I know. What is her life like? I don't know. So do I really see her?
Who are the many others I miss seeing? Who needs help? Who needs love? Who needs a friend? Who needs fellowship? Who needs to be heard...to be seen? How many have I missed?
Even beyond that, how many times have I missed the greatness of God?
I am blinded by my selfishness, my own life. I am blinded by fear. I am blinded by distractions...all blinding me from what God is trying to show me.
After reading 2Kings 6:17 which states, And Elisha prayed, "O LORD, open his eyes so he may see." Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha." I prayed that the Lord open my eyes to see what He wants me to see. I prayed for assistance in removing the blinders that keep me focused on myself, that keep me from really seeing others, that keep me from really seeing His greatness, that keep me from really seeing...
Last night was the first choir practice for this season. We all joined together afterwards to enjoy some delicious pie and icecream. As we sat there talking, I saw an older gentleman who I wanted to get to know. So I left my table of people I knew, my comfort zone, and joined this gentleman at his table. There we talked and laughed and I listened...I saw him...I saw...
When I got home I didn't go inside, but instead walked down to the lake. I sat there for a moment to take in all that was around me, especially the massive sky full of many stars. I saw God's greatness...I saw...
Let my eyes and heart be open...to see...to see YOU!
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
I drop the mail instantly and tear the envelope open. It is a letter from my good friend Jimmy, who I refer to as Mr. James Issac. I hung on every word that I read. Happy not only to hear the wonderful things he had to share, but just full of joy to receive a letter from him...to know that our friendship remains strong. I placed the letter in a safe place to remind me that my friend is not far away.
I know that we will continue to correspond and I will enjoy reading of life half way around the world. I am blessed to call him friend. How blessed we all are to be able to relate to one another, to connect with one another, to reach out to one another, to love one another. Love crosses all boundaries and connects us all. No one is too far away...
*The only friend I let call me "Jenny"...thought you all would enjoy that ;).
Monday, October 01, 2007
Friday, September 21, 2007
Anyway, just received word that I may have the opportunity to return to Malawi with a visit to Kenya in the spring. Needless to say I can't stop smiling just thinking about it! As I am ready to pack and go, I do realize the need to take the time to figure out if this is something I should or can do. So let the praying, planning, and logistics of it all begin...
Please keep me in your prayers as I only want to go where God is leading...
Thursday, September 20, 2007
a nice large pot of freshly made rice crispy treats and a spoon! It works every time ;)!
It is always nice to catch up with each other....Thanks Dina!
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
I have been studying 2Kings for a while it seems, and just am trying to work my way through it, but last night these verses really hit me. The story is similar to the feeding of the multitude with bread and fish, but as I read this scripture I really grasped that nothing is too small when God is involved.
2Kings 4:42-44 states, "A man came from Baal Shalishah, bringing the man of God twenty loaves of barley bread baked from the first ripe grain, along with some heads of new grain. "Give it to the people to eat," Elisha said.
"How can I set this before a hundred men?" his servant asked. But Elisha answered, "Give it to the people to eat. For this is what the LORD says: 'They will eat and have some left over.' " Then he set it before them, and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the LORD."
It was a small amount of food...a small amount that was given to the people. Elisha's servant doubted that this small amount would be able to feed a hundred men. But the Lord commanded that it be given to the people and as it was, there was more than enough. More than enough! God took something small and made it more than enough!
Why do I doubt God's power? Why do I question what He can use? I read this scripture and am reminded that nothing is too small to be used by God. When we give Him all we have...When we give Him all of ourselves...no matter how small we think it might be...
He makes it more than enough!
Monday, September 17, 2007
I watched them both Saturday night so that Amos and Jess could go to his 10-year high school reunion. The decision wasn’t easy because to be honest I was a bit nervous. Could I handle both a five-month old and two and a half year old? I figured if Amos and Jess trusted me enough to watch both kids, then why not. So I accepted and even invited the two and a half year old to spend the night. I figured she was old enough to enjoy a sleep over with her favorite aunt.
And that is exactly what we did! It was a girls night, well once Tyler went to sleep. First, I must say, Tyler was great…pretty much ate and slept…what five-month old babies typically do. He must have known to take it easy on his favorite aunt.
While he was sleeping, Grace and I had the ultimate sleep over. I am talking, running around the house, football playing, pizza and junk food eating, cookie baking, movie watching, dancing, nail painting, stay up until early morning (yeah, church was the next morning…probably not too smart, but hey, I’m the fun aunt ;) sleep over. This will definitely become an annual event!
I of course documented this momentous evening with a few photos…enjoy!
Followed shortly by pizza of course
Bed time being after midnight as we had to paint our nails and watch Cars!
It was just a special night for Grace and me. We had some wonderful quality time together as we spent the night just making each other laugh. She is a special person and I hope I can teach her so much as she grows up...maybe not how to eat so much junk food all the time and stay up late every night ;)...but just how I will always be there for her...that I will always love her...and just how special she is.