Thursday, December 30, 2010

closing out 2010 with some thankfulness...

So I know I've been seriously behind in my list of 1000 gifts. But although I wasn't doing very well in the stopping and writing down...I do have to say that even just starting the list has made me more conscientious of my gifts in general. And then it seemed like the end of the year was a fitting moment to pause once again and put them down on paper.

196- Finally owning a kitchen table! (and matching buffet) I didn’t bring my table to CO with me when I moved years ago…and kept putting off getting a new one. (I couldn’t decided to go with vintage or modern) I ended up buying a friend’s antique table she was selling. (her grandparents bought it in the 1920’s) I recovered the chairs. 5 so far, plus one needing repaired. And I like purposed 3 of them are in the colored paisley...2 are in the black (which is textured paisley) and then just the one stripped. I LOVE love love it! I was going to make an entire post about it, but never did. Plus, I decided owning a table makes me an official grown up. Yay me! 

197- The new friends and connections I’ve made this year.

198- Being laid off from my job. I know that sounds kinda crazy…but the stress level and burden that was immediately lifted was almost physically tangible.

199- This time of unemployment. Yes, financial stress is an issue…but I also know this time I have is a precious gift.

200- Receiving Unemployment Benefits. It doesn’t quite make me functional…but is obviously a tremendous blessing when it comes to paying rent.

201- The many visits of my sister (who needs to hurry and just move here)

202- Friends who have helped me get around since my car isn’t working.

203- Watching the amazing circle of a friend embracing the life God has for her…and now is turning around and helping show other’s their path...

204- New people coming to the Selah Tuesday night group…my most favorite place to be every week.

205- Reuniting with a friend after letting 6 mos slip by without seeing each other because of busy lives...and making concentrated efforts to schedule specific times when we’ll see each other next.

206- Celebrating Hanukkah with newbies. I LOVE celebrating holidays with people who never have before.

207- All the fabulous time I’ve been able to spend with my niece this year. 
She’s so much like me it’s scary...and fabulous. I’ve loved the connection we’re forming and the heart to heart conversations I can have with her cause I get what's truly going on in that head of hers. We are kindred spirits through and through...exact personalities...sense of humor...obsession with accessories...flair for drama...and several pairs of matching shoes.

208- The divine reconnection with my old YWAM leaders…and the new possibilities the future may hold because of it.

209- The last 10 days of almost complete solitude with God. Roommates were out of town, no car to go anywhere, on a social network fast, very little tv…it was beautifully refreshing.

210- Sharing intimate prayers with friends

211- God’s refining fire…which seems to be the season I am in…and embracing, despite the extreme uncomfortableness. (cue the music to my current anthem...Misty Edward's Fling Wide…)

I hope everyone that's started their lists are still continuing them............and if you haven't started yours yet...2011 is the perfect time....

Every good and perfect gift is from you, Father of Lights

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

onething 2010

Don’t you love it when God shows you that you’re not always a complete nut job??

onething 2010 started today in Kansas City. It’s a conference through IHOP (the prayer place…not pancake place). And sadly…I’m not there…but, I am watching it via the webstream.

Corey Russell just finished speaking. I freakin heart Corey. If I had to pick just one speaker to listen to for the rest of my life…it would be Corey. He's passionate...he stirs you up...steps on your toes...and makes you want to get closer to God.

His message that started off the conference……WAKE UP! Shake off the slumber….shake off the laziness…and WAKE UP.

Pretty much everything he said was what I wished I could have so eloquently written in my last post. But, bottom line…it was confirmation that this issue is stirring on the heart of God.

If you should watch onething online the next few days. And they should have the archive videos up soon and you’ll be able to watch Corey’s message…or any of the ones you miss live.

Here's the link: onething 2010

Monday, December 27, 2010

Awake, awake, oh warrior

I  decided that instead of blogging about all the issues I’ve been pondering for the last several months…I’ll spare ya’ll the trudgerey of several more posts. (yes, I like to make up words) 
Instead I’ll just share one more about what’s been on my heart.

For the past several months, I’ve mainly just sat back and watched what’s going on around me…in my inner circles…in my social network circles…just even in society itself. And besides what I've already shared, He’s also been showing me how extremes of Religion and Apathy seem to be on the rise too. Now, I know that legalism and religion seem to be the same thing, and in most ways they are, but I do think there is a difference between them also.

Course…I’ve blogged countless times about the ridiculousness of religion and how it makes Christians miss the mark more times than we’d ever want to admit. But…I’m not going off about that…this time.

Instead…what’s really made me the most heart broken…is the apathy that is abounding in our society, and in Christianity. I despise apathy. Partly because…well… if you know anything about me (or can tell by reading my blog)…you know that I’m a girl of PASSION. And passion and apathy do. not. mix. When it comes to apathy….I just don’t have much grace for it, really.

And yes…I get that not all people reach my level of…enthusiasm about most things. That’s not the issue. I know people’s passions look different...different subjects, different levels, different expressions. That’s not what this is about. The issue is that apathy (and religion!) lock up people…paralyzes them…stops them in their tracks…and keeps people from embracing and moving into the things God has in store for them. It keeps them from connecting intimately with the heart of God. And that is the issue that breaks my heart.

Now, one of the things I happen to be passionate about is seeing people fulfill their destinies. This includes whatever Calling God may have for them…and it includes their relationship and connection with the Almighty Creator. I get completely overwhelmed whenever God lets me be involved…big or small...directly or indirectly…with people stepping out into what God has for them. Getting to watch someone moving forward in their calling…connecting with God in a new way…or using one of the gifts God has placed inside of them, brings me to tears every time. It is a beautiful thing to behold…and I don’t think there’s much else on this earth that can compare.

So to watch people caught up in religion or apathy drives me insane. It takes everything in me to show restraint and not literally walk up to them, start shaking them and telling them to snap out of it. I hate watching them being robbed of their destiny because they’re not willing to step out of their comfort zones and run after God. Apathy is a disgusting, destructive device that keeps people from their Calling…from knowing the breadth and length and height and depth of an intimate relationship with God...from fighting for what rightfully belongs to them.

Why fight the apathy? Because for no other reason than this...God is worth it. 

He is worth your love. 
He is worth your time.
He is worth your effort.

He is worth your devotion.

It. is. time, people. WAKE UP! Rise up the warrior’s heart within you and fight! It is a new year…a fresh start for you! It is time to put aside the past…put aside the doubts…the fears, and STEP OUT! Step out of your comfort zone. Step out of your preconceived box of who God is and what your relationship with Him should look like. Wake up out of your slumber! Your relationship with God is worth your time…it’s worth’s worth your fight. Wake up…stand up…and grab a hold of what belongs to you.

(fyi...the number one strategy to fight the enemy that is causing apathy is Worship and Communion. THOSE are your greatest weapons in winning the battle that is trying to steal your warrior’s heart…)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Chan has left the building...

Ok…so I know that I’m a little bit of a Debbie Downer when it comes to talking about the majority of the Church. Especially in light of my last post...and well...the ones that are about to come. Unfortunately, it's just what tends to happen when that’s what's constantly in your face. And’s my blog…and I’ll cry if I want to.

BUT…get this...I actually read an article this week that restored at least a glimmer of my hope in Christianity. (and yes...I know...this is probably old news to most since he announced he was stepping down months ago...but new articles were posted this week)

Francis Chan, pastor of a mega-church, speaker, bestselling author, etc…suddenly stepped down and left the country.

AND….get this shocker………it has NOTHING to do with any type of scandal.  *GASP!*

I know, I know. I braced myself for horrifyingness when I first heard he stepped down. Isn’t that a sad testimony in itself? BUT…it actually seems that Chan gets it…like…really really gets it.

This is my favorite quote from one of the articles I read… “Even in my own church I heard the words, ‘Francis Chan’ more than I heard the words, ‘Holy Spirit’,” he said. “I think there has been too much emphasis on me. I want to be used by God, but I think we have this desire to make heroes out of people rather than following God and the Holy Spirit.”

I think what he’s doing takes a lot of courage. And shows much character. I hope more Pastors take note and follow suit. Not necessarily stepping down and disappearing…but the aspect of TRULY prioritizing what God wants them to do...and doing it exactly how God's called them to do it.

And no worries Chanifans…he’s not disappearing forever.

You can read the whole article here...

P.S… I haven’t actually read his books yet, but I did recently get a copy of Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God and was planning on reading it soon. Who’s read it? Tell me what you think…

Friday, December 24, 2010

Truth = Stability*

I know I’ve been quiet for quite some time. I have such a hard time trying to figure out how to effectively communicate what’s stirring in my head or heart…mainly because it’s several different issues…separate but intertwined…and I’m not sure how to effectively separate them to be able to blog about it all. So this is my first attempt. I’ve just been saddened and heartbroken over the things I continually see around me. I don’t remember what specifically triggered this burden…(it was actually a series of events)…but my Spirit has been stirring…and my heart has been heavy…and my head has been spinning.

Now, I know what I’m about to say is far from new…people everywhere are screaming out about it…entire blogs are dedicated to the subject…books top the best sellers list written by jaded Christians. But I just don’t. get. it…and I wonder if it will ever stop.

I’m just so tired of hearing or reading story after story of people being hurt by God’s idiotic followers. And by idiotic followers…I mean, quite sadly, the majority of The Church.

And I’m tired of the extremes that comes with it. The Bible says that Legalism and Lawlessness goes hand in hand. But it’s nauseating to watch. Story after story after story is out there…people who have been hurt by some legalistic standpoint of the Church…and swing to the extreme of walking away from God...or…those that don’t completely walk away, adopt an “anything goes” philosophy. Either one…is tragic…and scary.

Several weeks ago, I was watching videos of the “It Gets Better” campaign. Now…this was stirring up approximately 71204587674920 different issues in my Spirit…but for this subject…there was one particular video that put me over the edge. It was by Randy Robert Potts, grandson of Oral Roberts. The first part of the video made me weep and weep. He shares his story of being gay and being part of the Robert’s family. (I. Can’t. Imagine.) And I found myself being angry at Christians for failing once again. Then, as the video progressed, I became sick to my stomach. Because that extreme swing was so blatantly evident...the lawlessness was embraced. (for example, he states that "sex with someone you love is ALWAYS beautiful." That's a really risky extreme.) By the end I wished he could hear me screaming at my computer that his new message was just as crap…and just as dangerous. And I can’t seem to get him out of my mind…praying for him over and over again…that the balance of truth would prevail in his life.

Then again tonight…just as I thought I was moving on and wouldn’t be so consumed with this subject…I was reading a blog post about Mark Driscoll…and the hundreds of comments that resulted. Basically, Pastor Mark has some EXTREMELY old-fashioned views of women. He thinks that our only God-ordained purpose in life is to be married, popping out babies, and making sure dinner is on the table by the time your husband is home from work. (oy-see my restraint of containing this to just a paragraph explanation and not going on for HOURS about what’s wrong with that view) ANYWAYS…as I sat and read the comments…I was heartbroken all over again…I saw several women state that they’ve totally walked away from God because they couldn’t take the oppressiveness of women in Christianity. And again, I sat and cried for these strangers. Praying that they would find their way back to their Creator…and would find the balance in the truth they so desperately need. 

(those were just two small, random examples of what I've been watching over and over again...)

For two thousand years, we have repeatedly twisted and profaned the heart of God…and as a result…the gap between God and the people He longs to have relationships with have grown further and further apart. AND…most tragically…we dare to do it in the name of Jesus. Our religion’s history just keeps repeating itself. We’ve done it to the Jews, women, the divorced, Democrats, unwed mothers, and homosexuals…just to name a few groups.

At what point do we really start to get it? At what point do we find the balance in our own lives, so that we can then find it corporately? Can we learn to find truth without having to swing from extreme to extreme? Can we just move to the center and stand firmly there instead?

My prayer is this:
~ that we find God’s stability in our own lives. That whatever our extremes are in our own lives, will come to the center...will come to the true truth. ~that in the journey to our stability…we will stop causing harm to those around us and pushing them further away from their promises. ~that our passion for truth and new revelations will not make us swing…but truly get and understand the Heart of God…so that we may walk it out...and effectively share it to the World around us. 

*(education side note....did you know that many times in the Hebrew...Truth and Stability are the same word?? mmmmhhhhhmmmm...EXACTLY!)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Stupid is as stupid does

So yesterday my friend Holly and I were out and about running errands. Our first stop was the fabulous Einstein Bagels. (shout out for the turkey bacon/sausage!) The only problem is that it's on the corner of a shopping center in a HIGHLY awkward traffic spot. The SMART thing to do is park way out in the lot and just walk up...and of course NOT park directly in front of the building to avoid having to back out in the middle of impossible and utter chaos. But...temptation abounded because there was an empty spot right by the door...and I felt momentarily I decided to throw caution to the wind and just go for it. But just as I was turning into the spot...all the consequences of my choices flashed through my brain, and I said, out loud-  
"I'm probably REALLY stupid for doing this." 

By the time I finished the sentence...I was in the spot............and Holly and I just burst into laughter...because this was directly in front of us...the confirmation I didn't really need:

Lesson learned.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Apparently it's NOT just about the Maccabees...

Are you people lighting your menorahs??? CAUSE IT'S HANUKKAH baby!

Just in case you aren't aware of the pure fabulousness of this holiday, I wrote a post about it a couple of years ago... Here

AND...actually... I can share a new fun fact I learned last year celebrating with my fab friend Sarah ...a fan-freakin-tabulous Hanukkah story that is forever going to be part of my celebration! It's about the lovely heroine Judith. Now, there's debate about whether or not her story is true...course, there tends to be debate whether ANY story involving a Woman World Changer is true. Unless of course we turn her into a prostitute...then that somehow justifies her story. Oh, but I digress...., it is very probable that her story IS true...AND it's a story about a butt-kicking woman, very similar to that of Deborah and Jael (my personal favs)'s specifically regarding kicking the butts of the Assyrians. SO, incorporating her story with the Maccabees, pretty much makes Hanukkah all about defeating the Assyrians AND Greek influence...and well...just trust me, Judith is DEFINITELY my new favorite.

Ok. So Judith in a nutshell- It was during the second century B.C.E...when the Assyrians were large and in charge. Basically...they're about to invade, and Judith and her maid take off to their camp. (which is MUCH bravery right there, cause the Assyrians were the cruelest of the cruel to those they captured) So the general sees her, is instantly gaga over her cause she's apparently gorgeous and all that...and invites her back to his tent. So they go, she fills him up with wine and cheese till he's drunk as a skunk...and then takes a sword...and WHACK! Off with his head! Which then of course freaks out the army...the Israelites launch an attack...and victory is theirs!

SO...along with eating large amounts of fried foods, celebrating the miracle of the're also suppose to eat lots of dairy (especially cheese) and wine. Well, ok, I may have added the wine part myself. But the Mogen David and Manischewitz can barely count as wine, right?

So there you have it. My new addition to Hanukkah....that makes my heart happy. 

The ORIGINAL purpose of this blog was JUST to post this video that made me laugh...but then, you know, I can never pass up a chance to tell a fantastic story about a world changing woman.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

One Characteristic....revisted

Hmmmm…I guess if you open up the communication a little bit…suddenly more wants to come pouring out. But trust me...the floodgate is still tightly closed…even if I do just let a momentary trickle out…

At the beginning of the year, I wrote a post about choosing one characteristic of God to concentrate on for the whole year.

My word was Portion. Honestly…I didn’t fully study my word like I had planned too. I’ve held onto the word itself, but there is a deeper aspect I know I have yet to grasp. I researched it for a moment…realized it was a bigger concept than I had ever thought…and continually put off the study as the year snuck by. And now it’s November, and in the last several months, it has become even more evident as to why God told me that Portion was my word for 2010…but I know there is more. More He wants to share...more He wants me to know...a lifelong principle He wants me to be able to firmly stand on.
So with only 2 months left...I will press in, not letting it be stolen, not forgetting, putting off, or allowing the treasure to slip through my fingers.

Do you remember your word? Were there new revelations, new principles, new truths that you found for your life? Or has it slipped by? Is your promise being stolen?

My prayer for that in these last two months...the characteristic that God gave you becomes more evident...more real...that it brings an answer to a question in your heart...and most importantly, brings you closer and more intimate with your Creator.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Momma always said....

Sorry for the long silence.

My mind has been heart has been emotions have been excessive.

I have lots to say....but for a little longer, I'll remain silent.

...cause like my Momma always said..."If you can't say something nice... then don't say nothing at all"....

Thursday, September 9, 2010

L'Shana Tova!

Here I am…once again...apologizing for the blog absence. I was viciously attacked by a wave of ridiculousness and feeling overwhelmingly inadequate in my writing. It was brought on while trying to write some non-blog stuff...I was fully shut down in all things scribed…and so was avoiding the blog world too.

But...nothing like a new beginning to wake me up.

No…I don’t have a new job yet.

It’s a better new beginning than that.

It’s a God-ordained…God-declared…God-inspired…new beginning.

Numbers 29:1 ‘On the first day of the seventh month hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. It is a day for you to sound the trumpets.’

Happy New Year everyone! Rosh Hashanah is upon us…and the year 5771 has begun!

Yes…it may seem a little weird to declare a New Year on the first day of the seventh month…BUT…it’s really considered more of a Spiritual New Year. And who wouldn't want to be part of that?

I deeply love Rosh Hashanah. It’s probably my most favorite. (Ya…still pretty sure I say that about every holiday)

It’s the Feast of Trumpets, the time when the Shofar is sounded. And I looOOoove the sound of the shofar. I also think it’s one of the holidays I haven’t written about here…so I thought I’d do that today. (and hoping it solves my writing issue maybe)

Rosh Hashanah begins the season of The High Holy Days...which ends with Yom Kippur ten days later. It’s a joyful, yet serious time of celebration. I LOVE attending Rosh Hashanah services. It’s the one holiday that I make a priority to celebrate AT a Synagogue. The concept of the holiday, the prayers that are prayed, the songs that are sung…is such a prophetic picture of the Messiah. I am brought to tears every year at some point in the service…touched by the heart of God.

In the natural, Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of the new harvest season. It’s considered a time of regathering. In the spiritual, it’s a time of reflection. A time of repentance. It’s a season to look at your faith and your spiritual condition and pray about what needs to be changed. It’s a time of asking for forgiveness and to be cleansed from your sins. A time of asking God to write your name in the book of Life…before judgment is determined on Yom Kippur. (I’ll write about Yom Kippur next week) It’s a time to look forward to the coming of Messiah…bringing that final declaration of deliverance and redemption.

It’s the time when the Shofar is sounded. The blowing of the shofar represents so many things. It’s a call to repentance. It’s used to gather the troops together for battle. And it was used in the ancient times…to hail the King.

Hmmmmm. Did you catch all that? That is the Jewish perspective of Rosh Hashanah. Those are the things they focus on as they celebrate the holiday God ordained for all of us. As Christians, it should be easy to see the significance of the festival. And if you really stop and think about it…it will put the return of Jesus into a whole new perspective too.

One of my favorite prayers is recited during the High Holy Days. It’s Avinu Malkeinu. That means, “Our Father, Our King”. The prayer can vary depending on the transliteration…but here’s the basic concept…

Our Father, Our King…Hear our prayer
Our Father, Our King…We have sinned before Thee
Our Father, Our King…Have compassion upon us & upon our children
Our Father, Our King…Help us bring an end to pestilence, war, & famine
Our Father, Our King…Cause all hate & oppression to vanish from the earth
Our Father, Our King…Inscribe us in the Book Of Life
Our Father, Our King…Let the new year be a good year for us

Our Father...Our King…an instrumental focus of the holiday. Another piece of the foundation God established and set into place from the beginning of time. His strategic, encompassing timeline never ceases to completely amaze me.

Again…this was just a bare-boned-basic picture. The depth and richness of the High Holy days is so very much more than what I could have possibly explained here. And you should definitely start searching out those pieces of His treasure for yourself.

So get your apples and dip them in honey and declare that you’ll have a sweet new year…and greet each other with L’Shanah Tovah! (Have a good new year!)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

surely stable and fully secure

Life seems to be spinning out of control for so many people, lately. Well, maybe that is too harsh of a phrase…but it does seem like so many around me are being hit with sudden changes that are outside their control. And, by human nature, the initial reaction is easily fear…insecurity…worry…anxiety…etc.

I totally used to react that way. Change would shut. me. down. Completely paralyze me. Especially back in my late teens/early 20s when life seemed the most out of control in general…AND I seemed to move homes constantly. I would get to my next house and unpack…placing everything exactly where it was in the house before. Course, it’s pretty much in my genetics to rearrange furniture CONSTANTLY (“turn the walls” as my family calls it)…my bedroom growing up looked different on a monthly basis. But during this particular time of life, that all stopped…my furniture, my décor on my walls, bookshelves, etc-would be placed exactly the same way with each new move. I never felt a sense of stability…and it came through in the fact that if my house looked the offered at least a small amount of stableness to me. About the age of 22ish…God starting healing my heart in that area and I slowly starting letting go of that creepy concept…in itty bitty tiny baby steps.

Then in 2001, when I did my 3rd YWAM school…that all drastically changed. I heard a teaching that radically and forever changed my life. I’ve mentioned it in small ways before…and I won’t be able to fully explain in now…but in light of the world seemingly spinning chaotically around us…I felt the need to share the bare bone basic concept…and I hope that you take it in your heart…and grab hold of the promise that is yours.

It’s ALL about the New Birth. (cause really, everything is)  Here’s the basic low down: in Genesis 1…perfection abounded. Then...the Fall happened…and we lost the perfection. So Jesus came…and through the Cross…gave us the New Birth and Salvation. (and what does Salvation mean, people?? - Health, Victory, Defended, Prosperity, Safety, Deliverance, etc, etc…look it up! Those things BELONG to you!)

Jesus took us BACK to perfection…back to Genesis 1. The Curse no longer applies to us. Genesis 1 states that we are created in the image of God. And what does that mean? It means that HIS attributes are OUR attributes. (ok, not the God-stuff like omniscient, omnipotent, etc…but the non-God stuff) THAT MEANS…if God is slow to anger…I AM slow to anger. If God is quick to love…I AM quick to love...

God is stable…therefore….I AM STABLE. God is secure…therefore I AM SECURE. It doesn’t matter what happens around me. It doesn’t matter if it seems like I can’t control the circumstances around me…I AM STABLE. I AM secure. I AM steadfast….because I was created in the image of God…and those things belong to me.

The character of God is unchanging. It’s one of the extremely few things you can FULLY put your trust in. No matter what’s happening…you can always find an aspect of the character of God to cling too regarding that issue. One of my favorite teachers constantly says this “Circumstances are real…but they are NOT truth. Emotions are real…but they are NOT truth.” (again-grasping those tiny concepts ROCKED my world) GOD is Truth. His character IS Truth.

So whatever is happening around you…especially those things that make you feel like you’re out of control…according to the New Birth…stability belongs to you. Security is part of your DNA. Stand fast. Rest assured. Because your Absolute is in Him….the one who's image you were beautifully…fearfully…and wonderfully made to reflect.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

it's the journey...not the destination...

Sooooooooooo…a new journey has begun in my life. I have no idea what lies ahead…I have no idea when and how it’s going to happen…but the path has been opened and I have stepped out into the unknown.

Friday was my last day at work because I was laid off. Honestly, as I’ve said to those around me, it is a very bitter sweet moment. I managed a Sponsorship Department for a ministry that sponsored children’s education in a third world nation. I accomplished A LOT in the 2+ years I was there…and I am proud of what I was able to do. But the battle to figure out how to implement changes in areas I had no control over was becoming too much to bear. Plus, there was the fact that the job required constant attention to itty bitty details. The tiniest missed issue caused a chain reaction of mass casualties. Now...I’m a girl who’s gifted in seeing the big picture…and being able to figure out how to connect the dots and make the paths that need to happen. I can SEE and figure out the details…but I despise DOING the details. Unfortunately, my coworkers weren’t fans of the details either, but as the manager, it landed on my shoulders to constantly take care of. Plus...even the culture we were working with was FAR from a culture of details. (there's not even a consistency in the birthdays, names, or even basic spelling) It really took so much out of me...that I wasn’t even myself while I was there…instead I was mostly quiet and introverted because my mind was constantly spinning and I was spending all my energy fixing problems and trying to make things better. Even after hours I was consumed with trying to figure out better ways to do things…and fighting overwhelming discouragement when I’d realize the answers were completely out of my control and would never happen. The day I was called in and told they would have to lay me off…I had actually sat in my car for over 10 minutes that morning just trying to psyche myself up to go in. So when they told me that afternoon…immediately I felt relief…but then also anxiety. Not just for the financial issues…but because the only reason I hadn’t left...was because I didn’t know how to let go when I knew there would be no one there to pick up the detailed pieces I had held together for so long. I couldn’t stand the thought of all my hard work unraveling if there wasn't someone new that could take it all on. I had always felt very blessed to be connected with the literal, world-changing people that were over the ministry. They want to make a difference in their native country…and I believed in them and wanted to help them achieve their goals. So I continued to hold on even when I barely had it in me to do so.

The last 2 weeks were a whirlwind of craziness as I tried to wrap up everything enough to hand over to my co-workers. I don’t really struggle with false-guilt…but false-responsibility is a whole other issue. It was a battle to let go of the feelings that would rise up knowing the burden the others were going to have to pick up. At one point, the concept of filing cabinet labels sent me into a tailspin of uncontrollable tears. I was WELL aware of the ridiculousness of the specific concept…but it was the bigger picture it represented...and my heart broke because of it. The ministry will forever be in my heart and prayers. I truly hope they find a way to pick back up from the donations and sponsorships that have dwindled in this economy. 

Sooooooooo…now…along with several other areas of life…I’m in the fun place of transition. I’m truly and totally at peace. Praise God that change…transition…and the unknown...stopped being an issue for me years ago. I’m stable and secure in God, my Rock. I have NO idea what lies ahead. I am staying here in the Springs…that’s all I know. So ummmmm hey…..anyone out there with some connections…come on and hook a sista up!

On a random side note…blogs are going to be more annoying to post. Something weirdy happens when I type something into Word and try to copy/paste it onto the net. All this html code craziness occurs and I have to spend about 20 minutes deleting and fixing it. So I’d write my posts…and then wait till I got to work and post them from my computer there. It started whenever I switched to Mozilla. Just curious if anyone knew why the heck this happens??

Saturday, July 24, 2010

surprise refreshing

My amazingly precious friend Kelsey, is starting an internship at The Wall…which is a 24/7 House of Prayer that’s being established here in the Springs. Tonight she invited me and my friend to a little bbq they were having for their friends and family. On the way there, we were talking about how we missed those days of YWAM (Youth With a Mission)…and that feeling of starting a new school. Where you’re crazy nervous but excited…knowing that you really heard God (but still questioning if you might be crazy) and were in the right place…and instantly bonding with your group because you're on the exact same path together for that season.

YWAM…IHOP Internships (prayer place not pancake)…Master Commissions…etc,…are life changing moments. There’s something about separating yourself unto God…setting aside a season of your life to just stop and truly focus on God, and God alone. To allow yourself to get outside of your surroundings…outside the traditional mindset of the mainstream church…outside the box you’ve put God and your relationship with Him in. You are literally engaging with the Heart of God on a 24/7 basis with a community of people sharing the same heart's desire as you. You've left the distractions behind. Your perspective changes, your vocabulary changes, and most importantly, you change. It’s hard to explain unless you’ve experienced it. But those who have, are forever different.

We walked in tonight and started introducing ourselves and talking to the others. I was instantly in love…and could have stayed in the corner the entire night just observing and listening to the conversations around me. I loved listening to others share their heart about what they felt like God was...and is going to their lives, in Colorado Springs, and in the world. Because they're engaged in the heart of God on such an intense just pours out of them in everything they do...conversations, introductions, goodbyes. Even just the prayer before the meal made me teary because the passion and love for God was so completely evident that it couldn't help but being expressed even when stopping for a moment just to bless the food.

This week has been a hard one for me. I have felt God’s hand...His strength...and His peace over me through it all. But tonight…just being in the presence of these people that were totally sold out...completely consumed...and passionately in love with their Bridegroom brought such a refreshing to my Spirit, in ways I wasn’t even aware I needed. There's an awakening that happens in your Spirit when you're among this kind of community. It was like a watering of those dry places that have been dry for so long...I didn't even know it was an option for the dryness to be quenched.

It reminded me of one of my favorite Psalms.... #63:

1 O God, you are my God;
Earnestly, I search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
where there is no water.
2 But I have seen you in your sanctuary
and gazed upon your power and glory.
3 Your unfailing love is better than life itself;
how I praise you!
4 I will praise you as long as I live,
lifting up my hands to you in prayer.
5 You satisfy me more than the richest feast.
I will praise you with songs of joy.
6 I lie awake thinking of you,
meditating on you through the night.
7 Because you are my helper,
I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.
8 I cling to you; 
your strong right hand holds me securely.
 9 But those plotting to destroy me will come to ruin.
They will go down into the depths of the earth.
10 They will die by the sword and 
become the food of jackals.
11 But the king will rejoice in God.
All who trust in him will praise him,
while liars will be silenced.

I’m so grateful that God watered those dry places tonight. His faithfulness and provision never cease to amaze me. And I’m so so SO excited for my friend as she begins her internship. She’s gonna be blogging her way through it if you wanna follow her! She's over at  A Watchman's Blog (and she's listed under 'the princess warrior watchman' on my blogroll!)

(fyi- HeatherClark Band has a GREAT song of this really should all own the entire cd, Selah. They just sat down, opened Psalms and added notes to the verses. How can you not love that? Here's this song if you care)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

trying once again...

Sooooooooooooooooooooooo...remember one time...last summer I said this? 'possible summer goal'
...Which was basically me saying that I was wanting to do the Read the Bible in 90 Days Challenge for the summer.

Ya well...I failed. Miserably failed. Sad and pathetically....failed.

I started off strong. And my fantastic Aussie friend Belinda joined in with the challenge...and that helped keep me inspired so freakin much as I read her updates and comments from her friends that were doing it too.

And then...I got sick.

But I tried to catch up.

And then…I went on vacation.

But I tried to catch up….sorta.

And then I got overwhelmed…and then complacent…and then mad and frustrated at myself.

But then I got REINSPIRED and tried to finish Isaiah-Revelation in about 4 days.

Cause that’s how I roll.

And of course…

I failed miserably.

I’ve realized that it’s been a year now. And this summer’s challenge is going on…and my tiny little bookmark is still in the same place I left off in the challenge last year…

So I’m jumping back in! Maybe since I made it half way last year I’ll make it the rest of the way this summer. Maybe I can still count it as 90 days...with an ever so slight hiatus.

Ok now….come on people…who’s in with me???

Friday, July 9, 2010

raining fireworks

Again…I’m just a big ole pile of excuses…but really…life has been insane, and blogging was the last thing on my mind. Ok, actually…that’s not true…blogging was on my mind CONSTANTLY…I just couldn’t ever seem to find the time to stop and write the 15 kajillion thoughts running through my mind this last month. They (ok...I don’t actually know who consists of the aforementioned ‘they’ but irregardless…) say the number one key to a successful blog is updating regularly and/or daily. Who are these people that can do that? That’s what I want to know. Do they not have real jobs? And if so, how do they pull this off...cause I want the secret! I’d love to be able to do nothing but sit around blogging my thoughts…events…theories in life. Jonathan Acuff (Stuff Christians Like) seems to have a real job…and a newly published book. How does he still find the time to blog every day? Course, Matthew Paul Turner (Jesusneedsnewpr) doesn’t seem to have a job and just sits around all day blogging and looking for cheesy pictures of Jesus to ridicule. I want that gig. Ok, not really…but I do want to at least find a way to make time to pull off my own gig. Cause I got things to say to you people! LOTS of things. For goodness sakes.

So I will start with at least this for a catch up…this week was the 4th of July…and it is definitely in my top 5 most favorite 4th’s ever. (side note rant: what is this new trend about people whining that we refer to it as the ‘4th of July’ and NOT ‘Independence Day’. I heard SO many people complain about it this year. Really? That’s an issue that needs a stance? I so don’t get that)

My sister was up here for the week for her much needed vacation. So there was lots of fun and bargain shopping abounding. I loved that she was up here. AND…one of my most favorite things in the world is watching fireworks…so thanks to the Skysox (local baseball team) we got to watch fireworks on Friday AND Saturday night. THEN…on Sunday…the actual 4th…we decided to go out to Palmer Lake. There were food booths and live music and people galore. Course…only in Colorado would you see the normal Turkey Leg and Corn on the Cob booths…right down the row from...the Organic Chicken booth.

So after walking around to the little stores and such…and eating…outside on a blanket (I know-shocking for those that know me)…my friends had grace on me when I realized that not only had our bag become the new habitat for a gigantic granddaddy long-leg…but we were also sitting by some holes in the ground that were clearly not made by Prairie Dogs. Plus- it started sprinkling, so we grabbed our stuff…minus the spider…and went back to the Trailblazer.

Here’s where the fun truly abounded. We laid the seats down…and all piled in the back. We hung out telling stories…singing camp songs…making videos…all while it rained and HAILED off and on. The radio said the fireworks were still on…so we stayed. Then sure enough…at 9 on the dot…while the rain was still pouring down…the fireworks went off. Now as much as I hate the outdoors, I LOVE storms and rain…and I love being out in the rain (I’m a quandary of dichotomy, I know) So we all jumped OUT of the car and stood in the rain watching the fireworks…that were highlighted by the thunder and lightning happening in the background.

Tell me that’s not the greatest thing you’ve ever heard? I so loved it. It was some of my most favorite things and people…all rolled into one. It was a FANTASTIC Independence Day 4th of July! (heeheehee)

OH! and P.S….for all those on the edge of your seats waiting for the decision from the last post…I’m going with DISHES!!!! And now…the hunt for the perfect mix and colors begin…

Sunday, June 20, 2010

pointless opinions needed

Semi-pointless blog here...(I just always feel like I should warn you) But I am in need of opinions. Of course, please remember that the comment lines won’t open until the end of the blogging post…

So I decided when I got my Rewards Debit Card that I’m always going to use the rewards for something I need/want and never for anything ubberly responsible, like paying bills. Ok, that just sounded selfishly irresponsible. So I should clarify that 95.49302% of the time, I use ALL my extra money for bills…birthday money…Christmas money…etc. (mostly because I tend to always work for non-profits…which…you know…isn’t always so…profitable) So my rewards card selfish declaration isn’t really that selfish. I sometimes get SO ridiculously caught up in a frugal/conserve/responsible mindset that I start feeling guilty for ever spending money. If you could only witness the internal drama and guilt that occurs in my head when it comes time to buy make-up or something like that. It’s ridiculous really. 

ANYWAYS...So last time I got the cash reward I got a fantastic bookcase for my office. Love it. Makes me freaking happy And’s that time again, boys and girls…I have $100 to do whatever I want. But I can’t decide! Cause I need WAY too many I’ve narrowed it down to a few items…and now…I need opinions…everyone ready?

#1. Luggage. My last set was given to me at my high school graduation. Which was…well…let’s just say that numerous reunions have already happened since then. It’s completely falling apart. I don’t have exact pictures of what I want…but TJ Maxx and Ross always have super cutie luggage for great prices.

#2. An office chair. For my office at home. And again, I don’t have an exact one picked out yet. I don’t want one with wheels like at work-offices…but I want a fun fabulous funky one that will DRAW me to my desk to work on things like blogging and studying and things like that.

#3. Dishes. I desperately need new plates and stuff in my kitchen. Actually, the kitchen is the one room I have yet to have even a remote decorating concept. It’s pretty eclectic and random right now. I do have wine bottles everywhere…but it’s not yet fully pulled together as an actual theme yet. I kind of have a concept I want to do for the dishes…but haven’t known how I could pull them off. I want to figure out how to mix vintage and modern (that’s pretty much the goal for my whole house) and square plates and round plates, etc. I think I want black and white…and then some sort of color (blue??) or pattern...or something. I really like some of these from Anthropologie...that I could mix in with plain black and white maybe? (Flaming Leaf and the Upsy Daisy set are my favorite) Should I go with these...that only have bowls and cups...then somehow coordinate my plates another way?? Oh the insanity! I JUST DON’T KNOW! (ANY opinions of how to do this is GREATLY appreciated) 

#4. Pictures. So the one thing I DO have specific pictures of…are these pictures off Etsy from Sascalia's store. I would pick 3 of these for my living room.

So there you go...I'd love any and all lines are now open...

Friday, June 4, 2010

happiness is lubbock, tx...where?

I made an interesting and perplexing discovery the last couple of weeks…and I don’t know what to do with it.

So I grew up in Lubbock, Texas...lived there for over 20 years. I know lots of people would give Lubbock a bad rap…but in reality, I truly loved it. (I think most people do, but just don’t want to admit it out loud) To me, it’s that perfect big-town-small-town-feel balance. For instance…it’s a college/university town, with 200,000+ population…but it wasn’t uncommon to have cotton fields right in the middle of the city between businesses. (ok, so that has changed over the yrs as the city has grown) Lubbock has great qualities…and I think it holds a very specific purpose in this world…but we won’t get into all that cause this really isn’t a post all about L-town.

The thing is…I moved to Colorado Springs in 2006 to do a Bible Program. My school ended a year ago…and I really didn’t see a big reason to move again…so I just stayed. I didn’t feel particularly connected to the Springs…but just on a practical side…it didn’t make sense to move either.

I’ve made many trips back to Lubbock…and I always love that feeling you get when you pull back into your hometown after you’ve been gone a long time. (I also did my YWAM stuff while living in Lubbock, and would be gone for months/year at a time so I've been in and out a lot) You know…it’s that feeling of nostalgiacomfortbelonging.

The last time I went back was at Christmas...and I still had that returning-feeling. Then, this month, for various reasons, we actually went to Lubbock for 2 weekends in a row. The first weekend, though…as we were pulling in…it hit me. That feeling wasn’t there. I didn’t feel connected like I always have in the past. The entire time I was there, I felt like a stranger who just happened to know my way around the city.

Honestly, I haven't had that feeling of connection about Colorado Springs, either…but I kinda thought maybe the transition had been made in my heart…but my head just hadn’t been aware until my trip back to Texas. The unfortunate part is…as we returned to CS and drove into the city…I didn’t have that “I’m home moment”…I had that exact same feeling I did when driving into Lubbock. A stranger…semi-connected and knowing my way around…but I didn’t feel like I was returning home.

I was kinda startled by these discoveries…and don’t really know what to do with it. I’m not in a “I want to move somewhere else mode”. I don’t think that’s part of God’s plan right now in the least. (hello! I’m still faithfully working on my list of people I want to move here to the Springs with me!) But it has made me feel very removed and unsure about everything. Well…ok...not EVERYTHING…but you know…just questioning...and asking “What the freaking heck, God”.

I also realized today that this month marks an entire year of I-have-no-idea-what-to-do-next-in-life-transition. How annoying is that? And here I thought the 4-5 month phase I went through in my early 20s was bad. I’ve had some rattlings around in my head about what I’d like to do…but the confirmation hasn’t been there in even the tiniest of concepts…so I’ve still just been living…and asking God what’s next…and waiting…and waiting…and waiting...

Sorry…I think this post is a little bit blah blah blah. This is why I usually don’t talk about the ponderings of my mind until I’ve fully processed them. But today…I just felt like sharing what’s in my head…soooooooo there it is. We'll try for more of a pick-me-up next week. :-p

* foreign and non-Lubbock lovin friends...the title is a reference to an old song...'Happiness is Lubbock, TX in My Rearview Mirror'.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

forever cherished

**When I first wrote this blog, it was from the perspective of relationships. I never dreamed that so many people would access this post looking for answers as to how Shayne Kohout passed away. I thought perhaps more should be said about Shayne and what happened. Her mother, Sharon, has written a beautiful message that I posted at the end if you'd like to just skip down to there... 

Once upon a time…there were these separate little groups of friends. They attended different churches and knew nothing of each others existence. Then, in weird, bizarre interactions…individuals from the separate groups started connecting with each other in random occurrences. It’s really quite the phenomenon…but for the sake of time…and your attention span, I’ll spare the details.

Then…a Sunday School for young adults was formed at one of their churches. These separate groups of friends all decided to attend…and because of the random individual connections that had been made in the previous year within the groups...they all quickly merged together as one. As time went on…people came and went…the group shifted again and again…and eventually what was left was a new core group of friends. (ok, I thought it sounded kinda conceited to say “core” but really…since it’s the one I’M in…I decided core is acceptable)

Ok, so that’s not the most perfect version of what happened…but it is the basic concept.

There is a unique bond among this particular group. In some ways we’re closer to each other than we are our own families…and in some ways we’re very distant. It’s quite the strange dynamic. We love each other dearly…but like real families…we most definitely have our dysfunctional moments. And really, we’ve known each other so long…in many ways we’ve merged ourselves within each other’s real families. It’s not uncommon to have actual family events that these particular friends are always welcomed at. We’ve known each other through our most transitional seasons of life. We’ve been there through unplanned pregnancies…surgeries…stalkers (yes…true…and yes…plural)…major moves...starting businesses…and so very much more.

Several of us have moved out of Lubbock in the last several years (I was the first one)…but there is still a connection among us. We don’t always get along with every person in our group…we don’t call everyone on a consistent basis just to chat…but there are two things we will always know for sure: 1) We will exchange Christmas/Hanukkah gifts every year…and most importantly, 2) When one of us has a crisis…we will drop everything and come running.

Two weeks ago, we faced one of our greatest crises yet. We all got a text from our friend telling us that her sister had just committed suicide. We all knew and loved her sister...and had known that she had struggled with depression and other issues over the years, so it was shocking, but not completely surprising, if that makes sense. Paige wasn’t in the place to talk to anyone yet, but sent out the text so that we would all know. Literally, within seconds…a myriad of calls, texts and IM’s abounded within our circle. We shared every tiny detail we knew and pieced together as much of a plan as we could. (I think we’ve said “I love you” to each other more times in the last two weeks, than we have in all the years we’ve known each other.) Major pre-planned events were rescheduled, kids pulled out of school, furniture sold for gas money...we all dropped everything and made it back to Lubbock to be with Paige. 59 hours of driving, 3,800+ miles, among us…and we’d do it all again tomorrow if we needed too.

I was very aware of relationships this week. Not only with my specific group of friends…but all my other friends…my family…even my don’t-really-know-each-other-but-feels-like-we-do-cause-of-social-networking connections. I was captivated by the relationships I was watching from the friends with each other…my friends interactions with their own families…people at the funeral hugging, laughing, and crying with each other. I was awed at how each member of the Kohout family had their own circle of support…both in Lubbock and while they were in Atlanta for part of the week, where Shayne lived. And…I’ve wept as I’ve continued to watch the messages and pictures Shayne’s friends and family have been leaving on her facebook page.

Death always makes you stop and become very aware of everything around you and all the things you take for granted. I made a very conscious effort to pay attention to things I could add to my 1000 Gift List…and there were many. But the thing is…I’m not going to publicly share this part of the list. These were very intimate moments that will be held very close to my heart. So #181-194 will just stay in the pages of my journal…and my heart.

But I do want to close with just this one…

#195- The amazing, talented, and precious Shayne Kohout. I only knew you from a close distance and through all-too-short encounters…but I am utterly grateful for those glimpses. My life was changed because of the impact you had on those around me. Your smile, your grace, and your humor will forever be remembered. We can be comforted...knowing that your pain is now eternally gone…and you last...resting in the perfection of love and peace, with your Savior.

Shayne can be seen as an extra in the film 'Life As We Know It'. She is in the first birthday scene, as 'Pregnant Woman with DeeDee'. She is sitting on the right hand side of the screen as DeeDee is sitting on the couch. She looks absolutely stunning, 

*Shayne's family and friends often participate in A Walk Out of Darkness with the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention. You can donate to their team, in Shayne's honor, and for the thousands out there that feel like there is no hope.  Team Shayne

**From Shayne’s mother, Sharon:  In Shayne’s case, as with most suicides, there are questions and details that we will never ever know or understand. However, I have come to several realizations – after months of questioning her friends and colleagues, reading her journals, and pouring over her medical records. Shayne never hid the fact that she had struggled with depression since adolescence.  She was in and out of treatment for clinical depression, anorexia, and bulimia for many years. What a fighter she was! She was fearless in her attempts to examine her behaviors and to try to get better. What was so special about Shayne was that she was more concerned about other people than she was herself. Her compassion and sensitivity were boundless; yet her own self image was incredibly low. After talking to therapists, we have come to the conclusion that Shayne most likely suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder. It is a rather complicated and controversial diagnosis, but the symptoms are so “her.”  During the last several years of her life, Shayne’s acting took center stage. She craved the “rush” and the fulfillment it gave her. Unfortunately, between acting and a full time job, Shayne had little time to take care of herself. She was tired and run-down, and even though she was on anti-depressants, she struggled with bouts of depression. For whatever reason, Shayne was prescribed medication for Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) in Nov. 2009. Unfortunately Shayne’s use of the anti-depressant, the ADD medication, and prescribed sleeping pills was not closely monitored. She rarely, if ever, saw her doctor and began losing weight. She apparently was trying to figure out how to manage all of her medications, and went into a tailspin. After she quit taking the sleeping medication (about 2 weeks before her death), she found it impossible to sleep…..further impairing her judgment. A series of other life events (career, work, relationship) caused her to completely give up hope and she intentionally overdosed on all of her medications. Our lives are changed forever, but her family and friends are committed to keeping Shayne’s beautiful spirit alive and to promoting awareness of suicide prevention.
If anyone has any further questions, or would like to talk more, I can get you in touch with Sharon...just leave a message in the comments.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

definitely...definitely more gifts...yaaa

159- recipes from leslie the skinny chef

160- amazingly fantastic wonderful fun time with my friend Belinda from Australia (only reason why I haven’t made a post about it yet is because they had to borrow my scanner at work and I haven’t been able to scan in the proper pictures)

161- reconnecting with Chuck for more adventures (more explanation as soon as I write my post about Belinda)

162- lunch with old friends/staff from one of my YWAM schools

163- invaluable information that was *randomly* shared during that time

164- Norwegian chocolate and Tim Tams

165- friends that went with me to spy out a new anti-Israel/pro-Replacement Theology movie that just came out (produced by someone here in the Springs connected to a group I was once a part of…ugh...the tragedy of it all) :-(

166- realizing I have amazing world-changing connections…and a God-given ability to network them together when needed

167- Sunday lunches with friends

168-173 getting to lock myself up in my house for an afternoon so I could finally read “Same Kind of Different as Me”…complete with being snuggled in my bed…coffee…pj’s…Ella Fitzgerald/Louie Armstrong/Rosemary Clooney playlist softly in the background…and watching the raining snow outside

174- Shane and Shane ‘Rocks Won’t Cry’ cd. Or is it just one Shane? Cause I’m very blurred about the time frame of Shane and Caleb to Shane and Shane and any moments in between. IRregardless…this old school cd makes my heart very VERY happy

175- my favorite team winning Amazing Race (and before people start yelling at me again…I would have also been happy with the Cowboys...blahblahblah)

176- B&B (booze and board games) nights with an extremely entertaining group of girls outside my normal circle who I love dearly and bless my heart in countless ways...

177- the countless A.W. Tozer quotes that have been everywhere I turn for the last several weeks…which have been greatly insightful…and making me curious and searching for the bigger picture God is trying to show me…

178- plans finally fully coming together after months of trying to figure it out for our POP outofthebox Night (Pursuing Outrageous Prayers -an all night prayer event at my church-*shameless plug* anyone reading this in Colorado Springs should come!!! ferserious! Ridiculous amounts of fun and insightful prayer principles planned) -say that 3x fast

179- that indescribable...powerful...overwhelming feeling I get deep in my Spirit when I see someone I know taking steps on their God-directed path…

180- realizing that apparently EVERYone is at the same loss of opinions as I am since no one commented on my last post (except Holly who was just probably tired of me whining about it)


Every good and perfect gift is from you, Father of Lights

Friday, May 7, 2010

"read" any good books lately??

So one of my New Year’s Resolutions this year was too not buy any new books…but instead concentrate on the dozens and dozens of books I already own…but have yet to ever actually read. Does anybody else do this? I’m REALLY bad about this if I’m on a trip…especially to IHOP KC (prayer place not pancake place) or something.
I sit and budget and rebudget…trying to figure out a way to buy the 9 books on my lap that I just MUST have or I'm sure my spiritual life could come grinding to a halt for lack of the specific revelations contained in those pages…and then…I come home and read only the first one in the stack…while the rest just gets displayed nicely and prettily throughout my house.

It’s like a crazy disorder or something. Part of me LOVES information…hence the love of sitting in a bookstore scanning and searching the shelves for interesting titles or jackets. And part of me loves the look of books. I’d line my house wall to wall in shelves with just books and decorations. Someone recently told me how she loves to read, but she NEVER holds on to the books. She either gives them away or sells them to a used bookstore and gets more. “Why would I just want them lying around my house if I’ve already read them once?” she said, like I was the crazy one in the scenario. I really just couldn’t wrap by brain around this concept. I mean, why would you ever give them away if they’d look so good sitting somewhere in your house…or what if per chance you DO want to read it again…or LOAN a great story to a friend but of course holding it’s important, perfectly displayed spot, on the shelf while it's gone…OR…what if someone asks you a question about something you like to pretend you’re the expert on…and you can’t just rattle off the answer from the top of your head…but you know exactly which book would have it and must be kept easily obtainable. And really, come on…who doesn’t just love the thought of having your own personal library at your fingertips?
Or perhaps…I’m the only crazy one out there.

Well…it’s May…and I haven’t been completely successful in this 2010 goal. I HAVE started reading some of the books already in my house…but I have also been sucked in to a few purchases here and there. So, now I’ve just told myself that I can’t buy two in a row…and must alternate with ones I currently own. AND I’m not allowed to buy one and turn it into art until I read it first. I think this is a pretty darn good compromise if you ask me.

Which brings me to the slightly related but not quite completely point I usually have…I’m starting to find a new adoration for audio books. I don’t completely love them, mind you…but I do enjoy listening to them while at work or doing something around the house. But I never know if I get to claim the “I just read such and such”. Do I get to declare that I read it…if in reality…I just listened? If someone mentions the Left Behind series…I’d totally say that I read the first few. But in reality…I listened to the first few waaaaaaaaaaaaay back in the day. Did you know that I used to make Santa Claus dolls for a living? Lynn Haney Santa’s to be exact…which are insanely high-end really expensive collector dolls. I know…the irony of this fact is killing some of you, isn’t it? And yes…this was at the very moments I was learning all those lovely Constantine-Connections…but I digress. ANYWAYS…we all went through this audio-book phase and I can’t even begin to tell you how many we had checked out of the library and were passing around to each other. And Left Behind was in its 4th or 5th book I think…and I listened to the ones that were out. So if asked now…I’d say that I read them. But if you ask me if I read the “Stuff Christian’s Like” book that just came out recently…I’d have to be honest and say…“Well, I listened to it a few weeks ago.” (fyi-TOTALLY freakin worth it…and the author reads the audio version himself which always makes it 100x better…everyone should read/listen to it! SO freakin hilarious!!)
It’s like there’s some sort of statute of limitations in my head as to whether or not I can claim an audio book to my why-yes-I-have-read-that-book-list. If it’s recent, I clarify that I only listened…if it’s years…I just say I read it…but honestly…in the back of my head I feel guilty about that claim.

Am I crazy? (regarding this point specifically people) What are the rules here? Can I claim an audio book as “read” or must a distinction always be made? Cause these things must be clarified before I continue on in any book-sharing posts. Except now...the more I think about it...regardless of whatever the opinion results're always going to be questioning which category a particular book actually fell in. Crap.

Monday, April 26, 2010

keeping the perspective

This list is pretty much the ‘Baby Justin Edition’. My not-really-Amish-but-I-like-to-pretend-is-Amish-friend had a baby this weekend! What is that you say?? Didn’t I write a blog post less than a year ago about her wedding??? Mmmmhhhhhhmmmm. We won’t go into how the mathmatical equations matching that timing up works out. JUST KIDDING…I’m kidding, I kid. She’s a good little girl...the Amish just don't like to sit around wasting time. They need more hands to churn butter, cook red beet eggs, and plant an apple orchard.

Sorry…lack of sleep leads to pure blog silliness…

I think I should just get on with the list then…

150- getting off slightly early on Friday because of an unexpected snow day

151- fun Friday game night at church with friends

152- meeting precious Justin…just 24hrs after his world debut

153- holding and cuddling with him (life is truly just more peaceful when holding a newborn baby…well...ok…a non-hysterical newborn baby)

154- dinner with the new parents- including Wingstop (by Momma’s request) and “Happy Birth Day” pie

155- *Guest write-in by Baby Justin:Talking my Momma out of the Cajun flavored wings

156- the overwhelmingly amazing rhythmic cooing (or as those Pennsylvania Dutch peeps call it- Grexing ) from Justin…that lasted well over 30 minutes.

157- sharing in the amazement and awe of a tender-hearted 10 yr old boy meeting someone that’s only 1 day old…

158- watching the Amazing Race with friends and eating Japanese by Samurai Chef Renee'

OK...that’s it…short and sweet this week...but had to post something to keep my perspective positive. I'm in the middle of annoying emotions and large amounts of whirlwind activities. But excitement abounds…my friend Belinda from Australia is taking a Walkabout…and I’m her first stop. She shall be here in just mere hours…so I must be off preparing…

Every good and perfect gift is from you, Father of Lights

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

and the gift goes on...

All those that grew up in the church just busted out with some old school Sandi Patty didn't you??? Try getting THAT out of your head now. I said that phrase the other day...and it's been haunting me ever since. "(And the gift goes on)...The Father gave the son...(and the gift goes on)...The Son gave the Spirit...(and the gift goes on)...The Spirit gives us we can give the Gift of love...."

heeheheheheeehehehehehehee. Sorry.

And the gift goes on and on and on….

136- vulnerable and honest conversation with a friend as a result of the Jennifer Knapp stuff

137- sad and frustrated about not having time to stop for breakfast on the way to work…only to find that a co-worker brought bagels in that morning for everyone

138- finally getting to go to the Heart of Jerusalem café this week…and discovering the food was even better than I’d hope for

139- the smells of the Heart of Jerusalem café that reminded me of Israel. (I just kept holding the shawarma up to my nose… trying to take the whole experience in)

140- sitting for a long time and watching the people in the café…it fascinates me the vast differences of the people that eat in these kind of places…middle eastern of course…but also other nationalities…ditzy college students…and even a few gang bangers came through while we were there

141- the many convictions God has continually brought to my attention this week

142- the fact that several of my friends can so eloquently speak out the truth through their passionate hearts…and say exactly what needs to be said ever so perfectly (I try not to be jealous of them)

143- sharing in the ecstatic and tearful joy of a mother, who is in the process of reconnecting with her children, when she was chosen as the youngest one’s “favorite person” for a school project

144- finding time to squeeze in one more Indian curry date with a friend before she becomes a mom for the first time …any moment now

145- seeing answers to prayers the morning after our Selah Tuesday group had prayed for them

146- taking friends to my favorite Thai place…great conversations and interactions with each other and even the employees…and having them share in the love for this place too.

147- free shipping :-)

148- getting ready surprisingly fast this morning…allowing for extra moments of quietness with God before I had to head out the door

149- looking back over this particular list…laughing and thankful my friends and I appreciate the cultures of this world…as evident even through our dining choices…

Every good and perfect gift is from you, Father of Lights

Monday, April 12, 2010

the chezi addition

So Holly's been off on a short business trip...which left her son Chezi and I to fend for ourselves for the last several days. And just fyi- for all the people who don't know/forget why I call him's because I read a story about a guy in Israel named Ezekiel- but of course in Israel was really Yechezkel or something like that...and his nickname was Chezi...and I loved it...and this Ezekiel tolerates me calling him win-win-WIN. Well, ok, I'm not sure what the 3rd Win would be...but because of Michael's the solution I always aim for irregardless. (my blog-my words) AND...for those who don't know/forget the overall connections...Holly and I were roommates before he came along...and then up until about 2ish. I got to be the 'live-in nanny' during those I always felt especially bonded to him when he was little...and I've been really looking forward to re-establishing that connection with him since they've moved up here.

My continued gifts...

121- the overall reconnecting with Chez this weekend

122- helping him set up the netbook he got last week...his uncontained excitement and constant hugs were THE moment of (re)connection I think...

123- getting to drop him off on his first day at a new school

124- praying with him on the way to school that morning

125- picking him up and hearing his stories about how great the day was

126- cooking and experimenting together in the kitchen

127- both of us agreeing that the best possible plan for our weekend together would be low key chillin at the house in our pj’s

128- him wanting to snuggle together when we first woke up on Saturday…special place in my heart because that’s how we spent a great majority of Saturday mornings during his first couple years...while his mom would be catching up on much needed sleep

129- Jenn and Chezi days going smoothly and better than imagined (course, I don’t know if he’d say that…but the fact that there were no severe injuries…and poison control didn’t have to be called this time like it has been in the past…more than once…I pretty much declare it a success)


130- coworkers sharing countless pictures of beautiful Indians from their trip to India for the 100 yr Celebration of the Gospel reaching the Hmar tribe (northeast India)

131- listening to the Passion for Jesus Conference (IHOP) archives while at work

132- fantastic new shirt that makes me feel quite adorable

133- new shoes

134- starting another new book that's been on my shelves waiting to be read for many many months now

135- listening to God talk to me...and then having it confirmed by another person just a few minutes later...

Every good and perfect gift is from you, Father of Lights
holy experience

Thursday, April 8, 2010

passover contemplations

So Passover was last week. I LOOooOOoVE Passover. For SO many reasons-most of which are hard for me to put into adequate words. It’s such a time of holiness and awe. I have yet to make it through a Seder without tearing up because I’m overwhelmed by who God is. Passover represents the basic, foundational, all encompassing picture of the heart of God. Passover symbolizes Redemption...Faithfulness…Deliverance…Hope.

For those that don’t really know about the holiday…here’s the bare bone basics. Passover was when God delivered the Israelites out of Egypt. It’s when He had them sacrifice the lamb and put the blood on their doorposts to save them from death. During their escape, there was no time to allow the bread to rise…so God told them to make it without yeast. And of course, there’s always a spiritual connection to everything He does…so He declared that during this time-yeast was to be a picture of sin…and to not partake of it during the 8 days of Passover as a picture and reminder to keep sin out of your life. (ok, the 8 days are actually a couple of holidays combined…but I’m just keeping it super simple) Fyi- when He talked about Passover and its celebration…He declared it an everlasting concept… to be followed forever. You know…just thought I’d throw that out there...

Being an amazing sovereign God…the events of His timeline are interwoven and layered…not just random…sporadic...or one dimensional. Thousands of years later…Yeshua came to earth…and gave His life for us. Jesus was purposefully crucified at Passover. He came…TO DIE…AT Passover- during the moment people were remembering that God was Faithful and brought them Redemption…Deliverance…and Hope…by the blood of the innocent lamb. During the moment God was reminding them, in natural and tangible ways, the importance of removing sin from their lives…during the moment they remembered how their people had cried out for a Savior...and God answered.

This… is the beauty of Passover.

This… is the essence of who God is.

The picture of the Israelites coming out of bondage…freed from their captor…removing sin from their lives…was set into place to reveal the culmination of His plan…His heart for all mankind throughout the ages of time.

Did you know that from the time the lamb was sacrificed…until the time they arrived at the Red Sea…it was 3 days. Three. Days. On the third day…when they thought all hope was lost…when they thought the promises of God were not going to be fully fulfilled…God stepped outside the laws of nature...and gave them a redeeming miracle…while simultaneously annihilating the enemy that was pursing them. Victory belonged to them. Safety belonged to them. Deliverance belonged to them.
Salvation belonged to them.

Do you see the deep majestic beauty and power of our God?

It saddens me that generations of Christians miss out on this complete picture. We see these amazing stories in the Bible…and have no idea how much they are interwoven and complete... because we’ve separated them into categories of Old and New. As Christians, we aren't even aware of that there is a specific day we can celebrate the anniversary of God parting the Red Sea...let alone that it correlates with the most important moment of our existence.We only get a glimpse of the heart of God…but we don’t even begin to grasp its depths…because we choose to believe Old doesn’t pertain to us...and New is the only thing that matters. We run to embrace the concepts man created to try to understand God…while choosing to ignore the ones our Savior created to reveal Himself. And we do this under the guise of ‘grace’.

We miss out on so much. We get Him. But we don’t get Him enough.

You know…this isn’t the post I was originally going to write. I was just going to talk about the fun night I had celebrating the Seder with friends…and all the things God showed me this week while trying to keep yeast out of my life. But…this is what came out. And I hope you stop and contemplate it…even if for just a moment...