Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Standing Secure.

I swear all I do is apologize for the long gap in writing. And then promise to do better. *sigh*

But really, this time...I have a good excuse. Life got crazy.
Insane. Overwhelmingly....unfunctionally crazy.

I don't want to go into too many details...but in October, I packed for a quick weekend trip and headed to Texas. Before getting there, life exploded....and 40 days later....I finally returned to Colorado. I dealt with massive heart attacks and almost losing my Grandma, emergency trip to Kansas, court cases, parents hospitalized for pneumonia, house restorations, secret alcoholism recurrence exposed, suicide attempt, military deployment, and so much much more that I can't even list....my emotions were put on a roller coaster and ran through a ringer.

So, for once...I don't feel completely guilty for my silence here. And hopefully soon I will finish the multiple blogs I already have started and get them posted soon.

But for now, I'm resting...and avoiding as much people-interaction as possible, in reality and cyberly.
I'm ok, for the most part....but the best word I can use to describe what I'm feeling right now, is raw. Very, very raw.

But this I know....

That my feelings...and my circumstances....are extremely real.
But they are not Truth.

My God is Truth.
His unchanging character is Truth.

And that is the promise on what which I stand secure.



(This is the song that got me through, kept my focus on what was True, and kept me from drowning.)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

*I just realized this somehow never got posted. So even though Rosh Hashana was a couple of days ago, I thought I'd post it anyways...


Since last Saturday, I've been meditating on the name/characteristic of the King of Kings. God's highlighted it in one way or another almost every day. Silly me, didn't put the connection together till this morning that it's Rosh Hashana....when the characteristic of King is emphasized.

He is the King of all Kings....even the most powerful, most richest, most blessed king on this earth doesn't even remotely compare to my King, who is ruler over all. And that King....knows me. He sees me. He loves me. He wants what's best for me. He longs for me to know Him as much as He knows me. He longs for that intimate relationship with me, that blocks out the world and only revolves around us.Yet, He rules the nations. The universe is at His control. And everyone will someday bow before His throne...and the whole world will acknowledge His kingship.

I love this holiday....when I'm reminded that who God is, is far beyond my comprehension...but I'm safe and secure in that knowledge. He has the ultimate control. He has the the supreme dominion.


My Father, my King.....may this new year be embraced as a year of new outlooks, renewed purposes, and renewed hope to reach the goals that lays before us. 
My Father, my King.....may this year be a year we walk in your ways, deeper and more steady than we did the year before.
My Father, my King.....may our eyes be opened to the increase of gifts and blessings around us.
My Father, my King.....may you continue to cleanse our hearts and make us more like You.


Don't forget...Rosh Hashana is a time of reflection and repentance. Draw close to His heart...hear His words of correction...and allow Him to change you...making you more and more like Him. 



I'll leave you, once again, with my favorite song/prayer that is sung on this holiday.... Avinu Malkeinu. When the congregation sings this song, I tear up every time. This version is slower than the version the congregation sings...but it's Barbra...sooooooo ya.





And don't forget to eat your apples and honey! 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Gift List- The semi-sorta- patriotic addition


So I’m not actually the most patriotic person in the world. I was when I was a child…the Citizenship Badge was the first badge I wanted to earn while I was in Missionettes. (basically the Christian version of Girl Scouts, of which I was also a part) But somewhere along the way, I lost that patriotic love. Well, ok, it was lost in the midst of deep historical political research...but that’s another story…

ANYWAYS…the point is…irregardless of my non-existent patriotism…9/11 will obviously bring out even the most mundane levels of nationalism. (I even teared up as I listened to Alan Jackson’s song ‘Where were you’ all the way through for the first time yesterday, instead of rolling my eyes to the cheese-factor and flipping the station) At the very least, during this September anniversary, us non-patriots at least step back and allow those around us to proudly and boldly proclaim their red, white, and blue spirits, with our sarcastic or jaded lips firmly sealed.

I had the privilege of being with a group of exchange students on September 11th. They were finishing up a weekend long orientation and had put together presentations about their countries for the 50+ set of host families and friends that were present.

My heart was touched, and I counted my gifts as I sat in that room watching the students and families around me.


291- Being so blessed to continually be surrounded by international people for the last 14+ years. I feel truly saddened for the Americans who are only surrounded by other Americans and miss out on the vast beauty of the people in this world.

292- Stereotypes flattened. Because I am around international people so much, I feel like I don't hold many cultural stereotypes. But one was definitely shattered in a shocking but hilarious way while an introduction game was played. A fully covered Muslim girl introduced her name, and then boldly announced she liked to fart. Ya, I didn't see that one coming. 

292- Watching the students tell us about their countries with pride and excitement…and the sincere invitations extended to come visit them and see the uniqueness of their lands for ourselves.

293- I was touched as I looked around the room at all these families who had chosen to take a student in for a year…despite the difficulties and fear of the unknown, despite vastly different religions or belief systems…and fully welcome and embrace them as one of their own family members. 

294- The respect given, as students sang their own national anthems…audience standing, hats removed, whispering stopped. This especially touched my heart, that even on this 10th anniversary of 9/11, a time when American patriotism is at its highest...respect and honor was easily and readily extended to the other countries represented that day.

295- Standing in that room…full of Christians, Catholics, Muslims, Atheists, Hindu’s...Americans, Russians, Ukrainians, Kazakhstanis, Thai, Moldovans, and many more…with statements being made that were highly contrary to other's beliefs...some things that could have easily been grounds for offense...but instead, choices were made to respect each other, get to know each other, allow stereotypes to be shattered and walls torn down.

296- The last to present, a boy from the Republic of Georgia who proudly shared about his country, and then he asked if he could share something else with us. He grabbed another board he had been hiding and showed us what he made. A very simple, rough drawing that spoke volumes- the Twin Towers and the letters 9-11 at the top. A hushness gripped the room for several seconds as eyes filled with tears...the silence was broken as people in the audience began saying 'thank you' to the Georgian boy for acknowledging the day. He turned the board around and revealed simple words he had scribbled out: "Make peace, not war". He said the words out loud, and said that was his wish for all of us. At that moment, I was aware that everyone in the room truly stood on the same page, silent prayers and wishes being made that this would become a truth in all of our nations.

297- Starting the day at church and in worship. Listening and agreeing with the prayers prayed from passionate hearts for our government, our military, and our future as a nation. And then ending the day with these same fantastic people...thankful that they came to help rearrange furniture and boxes into and out of storage places...and then dinner together, laughing and sharing stories...and I looked around and made a mental note of how truly blessed I am

298- Despite my overall feelings about my own country...knowing I am blessed to be born and raised here during this time in history. I am truly thankful for the men and women who have fought and given their lives for this nation and these freedoms in which we know. I don't want to take the freedoms I have been freely given for granted...ever.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Revisiting a Season...

I’ve had many a ‘duh moments’ with God in my life. Those moments of revelations when I FINALLY get what He’s been trying to tell me for weeks, if not months…and I then feel utterly ridiculous for not putting such simple or such blatant concepts together sooner.

A couple of weeks ago I had one of those moments. The connection finally clicked, a revelation illuminated in my heart…after feeling like I’ve spent a year in the darkness, wandering aimlessly in the wilderness, on the edge of the unknown.

I didn’t have to spend this year in the dark, feeling restless, frustrated, and confused. But I realized I had let a lie slip in, quietly unnoticed, until it took hold and set up anchor and even though I would have never been able to put words to it, I believed it with everything in me.

A year ago, when I was laid off, God started calling me into a specific season in life. But I didn't fully believe Him. I thought it couldn’t possibly be true, so I ignored it…refused to embrace it, and kept searching for the “right” answer. 

I know this sounds silly, and I’m trying to be general here, so I hope I make sense.

But the season I was being invited into, was a season I’ve been in before. And herein lies the lie. Subconsciously, I didn’t believe I could be in that season again. It was a great season. A precious season. And being in that season was probably the most favorite time of my life. And somehow, someway…I convinced myself I couldn’t ever relive that kind of continued blissfulness with God. I could easily show other people the path to that season. I could be back in it for perhaps a moment.  I could cheer for the ones who were “lucky” enough to hear God calling them into that kind of season for a lifetime. I could forever live on the memories of that season in my own life…and on the depths of my relationship with God that were created during that season………but, I believed that was it for me...the season had come and gone. And I didn't need to waste timing pretending I could go back. 

I don’t know why I believed this. I don’t know when this untruth crept in and took hold. But it did. So when I thought I heard God saying that kind of season was upon us again, I didn’t believe it. When prophetic words came from those around me, I thought they were just being sweet, and didn’t really get it. I'd been there before, I already did that. They didn't understand that God wouldn't let me live it again. 
  
And I don’t know why suddenly, the veil was ripped and the revelation was suddenly mine. But it happened. I mentioned it in my latest 1000 gift post the moment it happened. A simple haircut being given by a girl who loves God and seeks after His heart. Her tender words telling me she had been praying for me before I came over…and that she wanted to share what she heard God say. And as she started sharing, I immediately started to push her words away, she was someone who lived her entire life in this kind of season, of course that’s the view she had for everyone. But then the tangible presence of the Lord rolled through that kitchen and around my heart. God apprehended my heart and quieted my spirit. And suddenly, I got it. He was re-inviting me into that season. And I could step into it. I was worthy of another round. Why would I possibly think it was ever a one-time offer? It wouldn’t be exactly the same, of course it would be different, with new depths dug out, new treasures discovered. But the concept of the season was the same. And of course someone (including myself) could be in that season a second time……………………………and a third time…………and a forth……and a fifth……

And suddenly there was peace. A peace that flooded my being and settled gracefully around me. A deep, deep peace fully enveloping me...something I haven’t felt in almost two years. And as the rest of the evening went along and even as I laid my head on the pillow that night, I was still overwhelmed by the waves of His tangible presence He continually washed over me...bringing peace, bringing healing, bringing a much needed refreshment to my dry and weary soul. 

I felt ridiculous for believing such a lie. For letting it keep me out of that place I had been invited to, for over a year now. Momentary fear crept up as I wondered if I had just wasted a year. But the quick reassurance of God kept me from that lie also.

Job or no job, that isn’t what this is about. It’s much more. There are still many parts of this time in my life that God is being purposefully quiet about. But still, I’m at peace with that also. What matters is that I’m content, with Him, with where I’m at, with who I was created to be. I'm secure in my current stance. And I'm diving headfirst into this season....

Monday, August 29, 2011

Comfort Zones

Things can change quickly around here. And by here, I mean, my life. God is MESSING with my comfort zone. My physical comfort zone. And I’m trying to take deep relaxing breaths and just go with the flow of it.

I love my home...2 bedroom, 2 bath, fantastically big kitchen of never ending counters (unheard of for apt)…a spacious 1050 sq feet of loveliness. I’ve loved the peacefulness and coziness of it. And I thought my days of roommatehood were long over…until Prince Charming finally decided to show up and sweep me off my feet. But a year and a half ago my bff and her son moved to the Springs, and were going to stay with me for just a few months…..but one thing led to another…and they are still here. (SUCH a blessing since my unemployment)

But peace and coziness still abounded…and in the moments that it wasn’t abundant…I could escape into the refuge of my bedroom, curled up in the down blanket and fluffy pillows and blissfully block out the world.

Then 3 weeks ago, a dear dear friend and her daughter were passing through Denver so we ran up to see her for a quick visit. One thing led to another, and it became evident that she needed out of her current situation, and quickly. So last week, in a whirlwind of activities- stuff packed up and moved to the garage to make more room...pinterest projects moved to the back burner.... priorities suddenly drastically shifted...we then headed over a few states, loaded them up, and brought them back here.

So now there’s 5 of us…in my somewhat peaceful, suddenly not so spacious 1050 sq feet apt. I’m sharing my bedroom with them…and have given up my bed in lieu of the couch. It’s not ideal…it’s not the long term solution, obviously. But it is what needed to happen in our lives and what God told us to do. 

People think we’re crazy. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the question “How are ya’ll gonna do that?” the past couple weeks. To which my reply has always been simple, “I don't know. But you just do what you gotta do.” And I’m glad this is the kind of person I’ve chosen to be.

My bff works with exchange students, and one of her top priorities is finding homes. I’ve wanted to grab the phone from her and yell at who's ever on the other end as I’ve heard people’s rejecting answers and long list of excuses as to why they can’t host…especially when it all comes down to the fact that they just don’t want their comfort zone messed with. It seems the more space people have, and the better off they are financially, the less likely they are to want to host. The ones who say yes are the single moms who struggle with day to day routines, it’s the ones with small houses where siblings double up to make space, it’s the families with way too much on their plate already, it’s the dad’s who are going through chemo, but still get the bigger picture of what needs to happen in their world…….these are the people that open up their homes and their lives. During her placement season every year I’m overwhelmed at the people who say yes and the ones who say no. I’ve been humbled and challenged by the ones who have opened up their home despite circumstance that would understandably excuse them from even thinking about it. And...especially this year, I’ve been annoyed and almost offended (yes, I had to repeatedly check my attitude) at those who could have easily said yes, but just chose not to because of flimsy excuses that boil down to not wanting their beloved comfort zones compromised.  

God has called us to reach out and help the world. He’s called us to ignore our own comfort zones and live according to His will alone. He’s called us to connect with people and be the hands and feet of Jesus. Are you willing to do that? Are you willing to sacrifice till it hurts because you know it will make a difference in someone else’s life? Are you willing to let go of your personal comfort and truly be open to hearing God tell you what to say YES too, even if you can't possibly see how it's going to work in the natural? Can you become so content with God, be connected on such a deep and intimate level, that HE is your only comfort zone worth having?

And of course this has to come with the leading of His Spirit. Jumping out and doing the things you're NOT called to do, just for the sake of doing it, only leads to misery. But I'm talking about just being willing, open to say YES to God, even when it doesn't fit with how you'd like life to look. 

5 people in my little home. Five. But these are my people, they are my tribe. This was an easy yes, despite losing boundaries of my own physical comfort zone. And besides, 5 is the number that represents GRACE…….so surely that is the theme that shall abound in this season. (That is the promise I am clinging too...and which is already highly evident in my life, and in our home.)

And I'm not going to lie.......even though it jumped around in the order of my list.....my plan to get everyone I know and love to move to Colorado is moving along quite nicely...........

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My cup runneth over...

My mind is full and my heart is overflowing. It's been a busy yet very precious 24 hours and I have much to contemplate. But I've been wanting to post my Gift List all week, so I added a few this evening and decided to share...

271- Reading Gone with the Wind…and crossing it off my Someday… List.
272- Getting lost in the fullness of the story of Scarlett…and letting go, at least for a moment, of her procrastinating mentality I adopted as a child. After all, tomorrow is another day…
273- My dvr. I really don’t know how I’d keep my sanity without it.
274- Reruns of M*A*S*H. I know! But I became addicted to it as a teen. (I was watching for the episode with Patrick Swayze…and then I started watching to see if I could see Radar’s deformed hand…and before I knew it, I was hooked!) And really…even though I’ve seen the episodes dozens of times, I STILL laugh out loud. I don’t have them on dvd’s so when there’s a rerun on tv, it really makes me happy.
275- Semi-spontaneous dinner stops on a road trip to connect with road-tripping friends Paige & Linda, who were headed in the opposite direction.
276- Connecting with people in Texas on my last visit that I haven’t been able to connect with in a long time…some since I moved to CO five years ago!
277- Despite record heat all summer, it ever so slightly cooled off while there…making it somewhat bearable for my heat-hating self!
278- Mini-me niece Bekah coming back with us and spending over a month here in CO.
279- Cuddling with her at night. (even though the cuddling eventually turned into her hogging the bed and trying to push me out as the night progressed)
280- Passer-throughers! Colorado seems to be quite the happening place for people driving to or through. I’ve been able to connect with so many people! The latest was my family from Kansas…and then a close friend that I hardly see, who was in Denver for a night.
281- Making new connections here in CO, from very unexpected ways.
282- The opportunity to be used by God, to reach out and make relationships with others, in a city that can be very secluding and isolating.
283- The precious sweet prayers of my Selah Tuesday girls…bringing much needed refreshment and encouragement to my dry and weary soul.
284- Email exchanges with a friend sharing freak outs, questions, prayer requests, confidences, encouragement and support.
285- Getting to support a missionary WHILE getting my hair cut. You can’t beat that.
286- Her treasured words, that finished what God had started in my heart the night before at Selah.
287- Hearing how she had been praying for me before I got to her house. (overwhelmed me, because we don’t know each other that well)
288- Listening to the voice of God coming through her words, bringing reiteration of the exact words He spoke through my friend Paige last week, then the massive new revelation that flooded my heart, and the sweet presence of the Lord that was felt in tangible waves as she cut my hair...and the continued waves I've felt the rest of the evening.
289- Closure to the heart and mind tug of war, wondering if I had been forgotten by God.

290- For the first time in months…being truly, totally, completely content with exactly where I’m at in life.........in the Waiting Room.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Me, Scarlett, and a little bit of crazy

The epic adventures of Vulnerable Jenn, the Nut Job…

I did it. I read Gone With The Wind. All itty bitty tiny font, small margined, 719 pages of it. Now for those of you who have read it, and even have read it several times, that may not seem like a big deal to you…but it was a HUGE deal to me…because it’s been on my list of Wanna Be Accomplishments for quite some time…so I am embracing this triumph with arms wide open.

I have loved the movie GWTW for as long as I can remember...and was quoting it before I even knew about its existence. (My family basically converses in movie/tv quotes…mostly Saturday Night Live or Steve Martin movies, but Gone with the Wind is also right on up there, cause we like to keep it classy) Somewhere in my childhood, while watching a documentary on the making of GWTW, I realized it actually started as a book...and I decided that I definitely wanted to read it someday.

And there it is. The trap was set.

Unfortunately, a trait that drives me utterly crazy about myself, and I’m desperately trying to wipe away from my life altogether…is that I live with a list…a LONG list…of ‘Someday Goals’. I have 7934208019203 projects/goals/etc in my head at all times…and I don’t know what happened to myself as a kid, but I became a perpetual procrastinator with such things. The list continually grows, because I add more and more to it without ever crossing anything off. Everything I wanted to do became “when I’m older…” “someday, when this, this and this is done, I’ll do this…” “When I have time, I’m going to read this, repaint that, or write about…” Plus, I suck at prioritizing myself. I can prioritize the heck out of someone else’s issues. I can see the big picture of things and see the plans/steps in how to get there in an instant, and can start systematically and efficiently knocking the steps out …with everything except my own life. Even when I step into the workplace, I can see if for myself, or my job position. But when I step back into my own personal world…ppssht, out goes my own visual direction.

GWTW was on that list of perpetual goals...held for 25+ years. (Slightly ironic that I continually procrastinated reading a story about a woman continually procrastinating and choosing to think about things tomorrow.) But sometime last year, the concept crept back up into the forefront of my mind and I began searching for an old copy of the book. Part of me just wanted to own it, cause that would be cool…but of course would then hopefully lead to one step closer...to one day...hopefully... maybe...actually reading it. Then, a while back, while out shopping with my Aunt at an antique store, she came up to me holding a copy of the book. It was the exact copy as the one she’s had forever, and was just wanting to show it to me. Of course I exclaimed excitedly and bought it immediately…and then brought it home and…...…displayed it perfectly in my house.

A couple months went by, and I walked past it, and suddenly just reached out and grabbed it. Something came over me and I was determined to read it right then and there and mark it off my Someday Goals. Which then...led to my other great issue of reading. I love to read. But I tend to stay away from fiction…because I get obsessed. Ob-SESSED. Life ceases to exist around me. I don’t answer my phone, I barely sleep, I seldom stop to eat...I lock out the world around me and become consumed with the story. IF I absolutely must go somewhere, I carry the book with me, and you’d see me reading it at traffic lights. I’m a little. bit. crazy. And I don’t really like this fact, but it hasn't been that easy to overcome...and I tend to avoid fiction. So the sheer size of the book, stressed me out simply for the fact that I knew I couldn’t function that way with it. Now I’ve knocked out 300+ page books in less than 48hrs…but life was too crazy to lock myself up for 4-5 days to read this one. If I was really going to read it, I just had to overcome this crazy Jenn fact. 

So I picked it up that day and just held it. And set in my heart that I was going to read it, not someday, but now. And I set in my heart that I was not going to get obsessed, and I would just casually pick it up when I could and not lock out the world around me...no matter how long it took to get through it.

And I did it. It took me almost 2 months…and obsession did set in occasionally…but for the most part I maintained functional life. I was worried my crazy would become evident, because I get so wrapped up in the story that even while real life is happening, I’d be thinking about what was going on in the book like THAT story was real life. Am I the only one that does this? That the lines get ever so slightly blurred and for half a second you want to start talking about ‘your friend, Rhett who thinks this war is ridiculous’. Or when I was reading one afternoon while it was storming outside, I heard the thunder and thought it was Yankee cannons. Or, I’m so not even kidding you and can’t believing I’d admitting this...but one Sunday in Worship, I was praying for people in our church, and for a second, I had the thought “God, I just wished Scarlett could get a hold of who you truly are.” Oy. Vey. 
Ok, so the crazy crept in a little more than I wished.

And I LOVED this book! Loved loved loved loved loved! Way more than the movie…and I LOOooOOooOoove the movie. And I may have stopped and watched scenes of the movie after I finished a section. And I want to read it again…and again and again. GWTW definitely pushed it's way up to one of my all time favoritest books EVER list. 

So all that to say…I did it. And I am proud of myself. Because THIS was a great accomplishment, even though the world around me will see it as just reading a simple book. But for my heart, it was so much more. It was a tangible goal finished. It was a step taken...an encouragement... knowing that tomorrow I can wake up and grab hold of the next goal, big or small, old or new, and make it happen...and start seeing more and more things crossed off...instead of just perpetually added. “After all, tomorrow is, another day.”

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I left my heart in Flekkeroy...

I gallivanted around Norway from April-August in 2001. It was truly one of the greatest times in my life. I went to attend a YWAM school, confused as to why God wanted me to do a school in Norway. This was not on my list of Countries I'm Passionate About. If I made a list of my top 20 countries I wanted to someday visit, Norway wasn't on that list. The only time I’d ever randomly think of Norway was when I’d think about the Vikings, which, you know, was really not that much. It didn't make much sense as to why God was sending me there. People would repeatedly ask me, “Why Norway?” and I would just answer, “I have no idea. I just know it’s what God wants.”

But I was there for less than a week, just enough time for the shock of my journey to wear off (that’s a story for another day)...when I suddenly became aware that I had been given a precious glimpse into this treasure chest of the North. Besides the integral relationships I made during the school, I felt like God took me there, just to show me one of His favorite places. I swear, Norway is where God chooses to just...hang out. It is the most breathtaking, most stunning, most gorgeous land you have ever encountered. And the Norwegians are some of the most fantastically fabulous people you will ever meet.

For the most part, Norwegians are extremely peaceful. As a whole, (with exceptions of soccer matches or if you're my friend Katrine) they aren’t a loud or boisterous people. (a fact I was told REPEATEDLY before flying there…out of fear my sometimes exaggerated personality would send them fleeing in every direction.) They may be somewhat shy and reserved, but they are definitely friendly and have genuine hearts to want people to feel welcome. They are THE best host/hostesses I have ever encountered. 10 years later, I’m still wishing I could make my home as koselig (best translation, cozy, but it's so much more, AND was the first word they made me learn in Norsk...thus it's importance) or set a table with as much thought as they have regarding presentation. Even just hanging out sipping coffee or tea at night, was usually made complete with music in the background, candles lit, and an impromptu centerpiece put together for the occasion. And, they are a people who dearly love their country. It was an honor and privilege to spend May 17th (Constitution Day) with them. The day truly celebrated their nation and their heritage. I was ashamed when they’d ask me if our July 4th was celebrated in a similar way, and my response was “No, we tend to acknowledge beer and barbeques more than we acknowledge the literal specific celebration of our Independence on that day.”

Before 2001, Norway and her people were barely on my radar…but they quickly found their way into my heart. Deep in my heart, in the depths reserved for the sacred treasures I hold dearest…and shall never be moved or replaced.

And so my heart has been ripped and broken last week because of the tragedies that occurred there. It was absolutely unthinkable. I gasped when I read the first headline. I felt that dreadful fear rise and catch in my throat, wondering if someone I knew from Oslo had been hurt or killed. I was so thankful for facebook, as I quickly went down the list of my Norwegian friends, finding most of them had already posted that they were safe and sound. But even after learning they were safe, my heart still wept, knowing the dreadful violation they were all now dealing with.

The thought of Norway being the target of a terrorist attack seemed preposterous…but the thought that one of their own could do such a thing, completely unfathomable.

But in true Norwegian dignity, they are rising out of the ashes, and we should take a lesson from them. Their reaction called for love and unity, not violence or vengeance. My friend quoted this on one of her updates from an article she read: "Even in their deepest sorrow the Norwegians don't get hysterical. They resist the hate. It is amazing to see how politicians and the whole country reacts. They are sad to the deepest thread of their souls. They cry in dignity. But nobody swears to take revenge. Instead they want even more humanity and democracy. That is one of the most remarkable strengths of that little country"

My friend Katrine, who lives in Oslo and has been out and about all week among the people, has had several posts throughout the week that I’ve loved, “I’m very proud of our leaders and amazed that the madman got the opposite of what he intended - love, generosity and closeness in the nation instead of fear and pure hatred.”

She also quoted one of the victims at the camp, “If one man can bring so much hate, imagine how much love we can give together.”

Beautiful, touching, inspiring words.

Even their media has been part of this unified stance, not blowing things out of proportion or saying inappropriate things. The negativity that’s coming forth is coming from outside their country. And voices from our own America media have been the most horrific. (Glenn Beck, really? You should have your fingernails ripped off for your comments comparing their camp to Hitler’s youth camp. Utterly. disgusting.)


Even though today’s Norwegians seem to be described as a calm and placid people…they are not too far removed from the ancestors of their past. Make no mistake, they are warriors through and through. They will not be kept down. They will survive. They will stand together and fight. They will rise up, in dignity and honor, and become a stronger and more unified nation in spite of the recent trauma.


So please take a moment to pray for the beloved Norway. Pray that peace and hope will be restored. Pray that justice is served. Pray that the nonsense of the media is silenced. Pray that they will know when to stand in quiet strength, and when to shout from the depths of their warrior’s heart. And pray that God’s promise will come forth- that He will turn bad to good…that He will give beauty for their ashes...and that His glory will shine upon the nation of Norway.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Break our hearts...

A couple of weeks ago, in some sort of internet bunny trail...I came across a comment posted on a YouTube video that really broke my heart. The video was a guy sharing his story about how his church hosted an anti-Christian concert. It's an amazing story actually...one that can shake your core beliefs in what's supposedly appropriate and inappropriate. I questioned my own thoughts and motives...wondering if I would have let the extreme anti-God band give a concert in my church. I don't know what I would have done, honestly...but I do know that whichever way I would have chosen, it would have caused a deep wrestling match in my soul...and I wonder if I would have made the right decision.


I glanced down at the few comments that were posted, which I seldom do on YouTube...and was completely overwhelmed by this one: 


"I am an atheist, but I really enjoyed hearing your beliefs concerning what God is. Your God of love will do a lot more for the world than the Christian God that I hear about most often, who seems to be mostly concerned with hate."

Two weeks ago that comment brought tears to my eyes. And now, as I just reread it for this blog, tears flowed again. 2000 years, and we've done a crap job of showing who Jesus really is. Why? How can we get it so incredibly wrong over and over again?

It's such a hard balance in finding the heart of God on issues of sin and sinners. Knowing what's truly right and wrong in His eyes, and not through the eyes of what our Christian culture declares right and wrong. But when will we really get it? When will we cause the world to want to embrace a relationship with God instead of run from Him because of His people?

When will we begin to show the truth? When will we let go of our religious blinders and truly walk like Jesus walked? When will these comments from the world not be the norm because they see their Creator as someone who deeply loves them and embraces them exactly where they are. God hates sin...despises it. He tells us repeatedly to get our sh*t in order and act appropriately. I don't believe we've even begun to comprehend the level of holiness He is calling us too. But there's something deeply not right about the God we've portrayed to a lost and hopeless world. There's a balance we have obviously yet to find because we continually push people away from God...not to Him. And I fear standing before Him, as a people, and being held accountable to that fact.

Our hearts must change. Our walk must change. The image of Jesus we've showed in our past cannot be the Jesus we show in our future, or most importantly, in our present. This has to be an issue that breaks our hearts, causes us to cry out in repentance, and changes our walk. I cannot imagine anything worse than portraying the wrong image of God to the world.

Sadly, even when this balance is found, people will still choose to stay away from God. But we, as His followers, should not be the reason they stay away from Him. Our lifestyle, with love oozing out of pores, ready answers of hope and redemption...should be the reason they want to embrace Him...and become more like Him.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Counting....counting...counting...

Alas, I am again lamenting at my lack of proper blog-posting-timing. I hate that I don’t do it as often and as quickly as I want. Trust me, if I blogged like I want to in my head…this would be the greatest blog in. the. UNIVERSE. At least it would be…in my head.

Someday, I will reach this seemingly out of reach goal.
Someday.

And today…I’m gonna count my gifts. Because I have a long non-published list going and I’m ridiculous for continually putting off a published list. So here are just a few highly precious moments from the past couple of months…


255-  Getting to go to Amber’s sonogram appt with her! Her husband was out of town, so she let me go in his place. And it wasn’t just ANY sonogram appt…it was THE sonogram appt! We found out she was a carrying a loud and proud baby of the male persuasion!! It was a slightly shocking moment since everyone was convinced it was a girl...but the news couldn't have been more perfect! It was the first sonogram appt I’ve been too…and of course was in tears the majority of the time seeing him on the big screen and hearing his heartbeat. I felt overwhelmingly honored and privileged that she let me come and be a part of this appt with her...especially since it was only a matter of days before she'd be moving off to become an Eskimo.

256-  In the midst of that crazy adventurous whirlwind time…spending fabulous moments with Amber before she moved…packing, organizing, chilling, laughing hysterically, cleaning, cleaning, cleaning, and stopping everything for important life moments such as watching Funny Girl for the first time. (I couldn’t let her move till I had properly introduced her to Bab’s first movie!)

257-  Having a Mother’s Day dinner with some of my favorite mom’s. My bff Holly, Renee’, and of course my own! It was a simple evening but filled with much love and my heart was most definitely full.

258-262  Speakingofwhich- a 3 week visit from my Momma! It was amazing. We hadn’t had hang out time like this since I moved out when I was 18. Isn’t that crazy? We found a $29 flight and she was here till we drove back to TX on Memorial Day weekend. I’m only assigning 5 numbers to this…but the reality is that it was filled with a hundred gifts. This was highly precious time that was truly cherished and valued.

263-  Being a part of MTS graduation. While in TX on Memorial day weekend, a sudden and impromptu decision was made when I realized graduation was happening and it involved 2 girls that I’ve connected with through the class I taught. I also got to go up and pray for them while the Pastor's were praying and commissioning them. Because they didn't know I was coming (cause I didn’t until an hour before) they were very shocked when my name was called to go up...and lots of hugs and tears abounded. I was SO proud of these girls...and KNOW God has much in store for them...and can't even begin to find the words to express my gratitude in being able to play even a small part in their lives. 

264-  Receiving the sweetest most precious card from Julia, a dear friend and one of my Selah girls. She made me teary from the sweet words and totally made my day!

265-  New girls coming to Selah Tuesdays. We’ve always been a small group, with many transitions and these girls seem to be constantly moving away from here! But I’m amazed that every time someone leaves, another person comes to be a part.

266-  Long hot baths during the weeks I was teaching at church. I always love taking baths, although I don’t always take the time for them. BUT there was something about the dynamic while teaching that changed everything. When I was stressed, when I couldn’t get my thoughts together or find direction…I would just lock myself in the bathroom with bubbles surrounding me…and it would all come together. I know it seems bizarre. But I was excited by this revelation and embraced it fully. I took countless baths those 7 weeks...day and night. The bathtub became quite the holy place for me.

267-  FINALLY getting my own domain for this blog. (Part of that ‘perfect blog world’ I aspire too)…I was always overwhelmed at the concept- the technical effort and the cost…but stumbled upon a blog that showed how easy and cheap it was, and I followed through immediately!

268-  Relay for Life! This was the 3rd year my church has been a part, and the 2nd year that I’ve been able too. It’s an honor to help raise money for cancer research…an issue very near to my heart and the hearts of the people at our church.

269-  Hearing Taps playing at night. I live in the vicinity of one of the bases here in the Springs…and when my windows are open and my house is quiet…at precisely 10 pm, I can hear Taps softly playing announcing the end of the day. It always makes me nostalgic  for my childhood…remembering how at the end of every Girl Scout meeting, we’d stand in the Friendship Circle, arms crossed over each other as we held hands and sang Taps to close the meeting. In fact...I can hear it again even as I type this...

270-  Ursula, my upstairs neighbor. It's been a divine connection, and I'm so thankful God has put her in my life. She's German...and I can often hear her singing German (possibly Opera?) songs as she walks around the apartment complex. She is such a joy...and because of her I've even been able to meet some of my other neighbors too. (after meeting no one for years!)

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

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wal-Mart brings out a level of Pride and Prejudice in all of us...

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that if you dare take a trip to Wal-mart at night, you must be in want of an encounter with crazies.

And that's exactly what happened on my last trip there.

I was helping bff Holly get supplies for her job, and picking up some personal stuff too. We get what we need and walk to the front. And here’s something that I know will really shock you... the lines at the check out were INSANE because there wasn't enough open. (I know, utterly shocking!)

So Holly and I get in separate lines next to each other. No one was behind me yet, and I realized my purse was still in the basket with Holly. So I quickly step over to grab it and start to step back into my line. From the opposite direction comes this tall, 20-something boy who’s heading to my line. I wasn’t about to lose my place, and I was closer than him, so it only took a quick step to get there.

Ok. So he arrives maybe a step or so behind me. And what does he do? Tries to fight for that place! (or at least that's what I thought) And how does he do that? BY STANDING NEXT TO ME. Next. Not slightly in front. Not slightly behind (where he should have been) but beside. me. And not at a comfortable space between us…but RIGHT UP NEXT TO ME. Oh it was SO weird. I wouldn’t even look at him cause I was getting really creeped out. So I start to “casually” look at the magazines beside me and kinda subtly step forward. And what does he do? Steps up with me! And he’s still creepy close. In fact…he gets SO close he is LITERALLY touching me! Our shoulder’s kept knocking together! And did he jump away and say excuse me? NO! He leaned against me and stayed where he was! TOUCHING. ME. What is going on? I tried several times to get Holly’s attention but never could. (Although she had apparently been watching and kept thinking “Is he touching her?”)

So at some point I break free and put my stuff up on the conveyor belt and he then steps back behind me. Relief!! But then! Instead of using the little divider to divide our stuff…he puts his stuff NEXT TO MINE...like I'm going to buy his stuff for him because he had apparently confused me with his girlfriend. So of course I find a divider and push his stuff back and place it down between our stuff. I still have yet to look up at him.

AND THEN…he really starts acting weird. Eyeing all the candy and such REALLY close. Like, his face is inches from the candy. AND THEN…I see him grab some tic tacs AND PUT THEM IN HIS POCKET. He stole tic tacs. Right up there in front next to the cashier. At this point I do turn to look at him cause I’m just so shocked and can’t take it anymore. One glance and I suddenly understood…he was not in his right clear-headed mind...this guy was definitely on something. Definitely. I don’t know what, it wasn't alcohol…but he was hanging out and shopping around Wal-Mart in a drug induced state. (hmmm...I'm wondering how much more entertaining Wal-Mart would be if you were the one high...)

Then it’s my turn. So I was trying to figure out a price for a bathmat that didn’t have a price or didn't come up on those price-check things. It wouldn’t come up for the cashier either so she was calling her manager to find out what to do. (I was hoping it was on sale for $5) This guy suddenly gets annoyed WITH ME…and says “Ooohhhhh what? You gotta call someone? Can I just go ahead of her cause I only have like, 2 things and I'm in a hurry?” So at this point, I ever so slightly snap. I turn to him and said, “No. I only have 3 things, she’s already doing what she needs to do, and (in by best mom-voice) you’ll be JUST fine and can stand there and wait.”

The cashier almost laughed out loud. And then quickly scanned my other two things so that the transaction was in progress and Crazy couldn’t keep whining.

The whole 10 minute experience was a little entertainment and a little hell all wrapped up together. I *wanted* to ask him in front of the cashier if he was going to pay for those tic tacs in his pocket…but I chickened out.

Oh! And wanna know what 2 things Druggy McDruggerson was purchasing and in such a hurry about?

A box of fruit roll ups…and a pillow.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Blog Change!

Oohhh...look at me, 2 posts in one day!

Oh, actually, scratch that...I just realized we've reached the wee hours of the next day. Oops...nevermind.

BUT....guess what:

I am my own domain! The address for my blog is now:

www.girlseekstruth.com

No worries...jennpossible.blogspot.com is supposed to automatically redirect you. BUT...it would probably be wise to change the address in any automatic links you may have.

And my blog is currently "in transition"...so who know what or how it's going to look for the next day or so...so please bear with me.

AAAaaaanndd...it looks as if I did lose my blog rolls. (oh the agony!) I HOPE that they will come back...but uuuuuhhhhh...I'm not so sure. I will try to get that back up and going soon, if I can remember them all. The HELPFUL thing would be to leave me a comment to remind me you were on my list (or that you'd like to be on my list)...and the link to it for my easy finding. Just sayin.

Yippee! And now...I must sleep...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Worthship ........... (part 2)

We were created to worship. And our God is worthy of our worship. This truth doesn’t become any less true, or any more mundane, no matter how long we meditate on that concept, no matter how much we think we grasp it. It only becomes more real. More evident. And it’s a concept that we should let permeate and utterly consume our hearts and minds. 

I remember a phrase that was repeatedly declared during my YWAM Tyler days, “The entire expanse of the universe...fits into the hand of God”. I had heard this concept spoken many times in my life. But during my YWAM days, this truth began to really take root in my Spirit.

To think about this concept for even a second, can mess with your mind. But don’t think about it for just a second. Stop. Meditate on it. Contemplate it. Let it roll around in your mind and just try to grasp this overwhelming, truly awesome notion.

When my friends and I would lie in the field, looking up at the stars of that East Texas sky, I would try to let the concept seep deep into my mind. I would think, “if just the part of the sky I can see right now fits into the palm of God, then I serve a really big, really mighty God.” But that’s just it, what I saw was only the tiniest, of the tiniest, of fraction of sky. While staring up at the atmosphere, I would then try to slowly let it expand in my mind. I would try to imagine the sky over all of Texas. After I'd ponder that for a few moments, I'd then expand the vision in my mind and tried to envision the sky over the South…then over the entire US. I would let each new step settle in my mind and would then move to the next phase...trying to wrap my mind around outer space…around our Solar System…then the Milky Way. And then I would meditate on the fact there are hundreds and thousands of galaxies out there…billions and billions of light years away. The outer space that we've discovered is enough to blow your mind...but imagine what we have yet to discover. I would try to let it all sink in...and then I would try to fathom all that, in it's entirety, far beyond what we could possibly know...fits...into the palm...of the hand...of my Creator. The One who knows me intimately, knows everything about me. My thoughts, my feelings, how many cells make up my body, how many hairs are on my head. The entire universe fits in His hand, yet, He concerns Himself, with me. He thinks about me. He deeply and affectionately loves me.

THAT is an Almighty God. THAT is a God who deserves to be worshipped. He is worthy of us stopping our piddly little days and focusing on Him. Standing in awe of Him. Marveling at the uncreated Creator of the universe.

And I find its one thing to be sitting in church or in my home thinking about this concept…but it’s a whole other thing to walk out at night…gaze up at the sky…and try to wrap my mind around the magnitude of who my God is.

Try it.

I live in the Rocky Mountains, and I can’t go a single day without looking at Pikes Peak, and realizing I serve an amazing, awesome God. But there’s something about the night sky…away from the city lights…gazing at the stars…that arrests my spirit. I’ve stopped many times on my way back to my hometown in West Texas to just stare at the night sky, especially when I’m needing a reminder of just how big my God is, and how my problems or circumstances don’t remotely compare. And the West Texas sky is the greatest place for a refreshing revelation. The barrenness and extreme flatness of the land may not be much to look at during the day, but the vast night sky is absolutely breathtaking. It puts life in perspective, how magnificent God is, and how small I am in comparison. It reminds me where my focus really needs to be. Not on myself, my roller coaster feelings, my stress of whatever problem there may be, my endless set of questions in which I'm awaiting an answer…but on my Mighty, Faithful, Unique, Life-Giving, Awesome, Uncreated God.

And my Spirit rises in worship. Because the Creator is worthy.

He is worthy of my time.

He is worthy of my thoughts.

He is worthy of my focused worship.

Selah.





The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The skies display his craftsmanship.
Day after day they continue to speak;
night after night they make him known.
They speak without a sound or word;
their voice is never heard.
Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
and their words to all the world.
Psalm 19:1-4 (NLT)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Recipe Obsession

Wanna know my newest obsession? It’s a meal I could eat literally morning, noon, and night. It’s completely the fault of my friend Renee’ who first made it for me a couple months ago. And now…now it’s all I want to eat…ever. 
Ok, that may be exaggerated...but it’s not exaggerating to say I could easily eat this 3x a week at least. I know…I’m insane. But I do love all varieties of Asian food and could easily forever live on the Eastern cuisine...so it's not really that much of a stretch.  

But what I telling you is...is that you need to make this. Today. Or, you know, tomorrow, after a quick trip to the grocery store.

 
It's Simple Sesame Noodles from the Pioneer Woman herself. 

The following is all directly from her blog:


Recipe: Simple Sesame Noodles

 

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces, fluid Thin Noodles, Cooked And Drained
  • ¼ cups Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons Pure Sesame Oil
  • ½ teaspoons Hot Chili Oil
  • 4 Tablespoons Canola Oil
  • 4 whole Green Onions, Sliced Thin

Preparation Instructions

Whisk all ingredients (except noodles and green onions) together in a bowl. Taste and adjust ingredients as needed.
Pour sauce over warm noodles and toss to coat.
Sprinkle with green onions and toss.
Serve in a bowl with chopsticks. Yummy!


Here's the direct link to her page if you wanna see her pretty pictures and such: Recipe

My tips: I double, even triple or quadruple sometimes, the chili oil measurements and it’s still barely spicy…in my opinion. 

I like to just use linguini noodles...cause it's easy.

I also do a quick stir fry of chicken and vegetables (broccoli, zucchini, carrots, etc) to add to it. 

Oh! And tonight I actually used olive oil instead of canola oil cause that’s all I had in my cupboards…and it was totally fab.

And I read in the comments over on her page that lots of people add peanut butter to the mix also...and I'm so gonna try that soon too!


EAT THIS! And then come back and thank me later.

Monday, June 6, 2011

I love lamp…and the adventures thereof…

I love all things artsy and most things crafty. I however, am not always the most creative person there is (although I’m intentionally working on this area of my life) but I can usually copy an idea pretty darn well.

So many many moons ago, I came across a super-fantastic-amazing-spectacular lamp that you could make yourself for under $15. It was gigantically fabulous. So I began the search for a paper lantern so I could make this light. I searched everywhere, but couldn’t find what I was looking for…without having to pay a ridiculous amount of money. The original article said she got hers at IKEA…for you know, a dollar or something. So I looked at their site- and found what I thought (mmmm foreshadowing…dun dun duuuuun) was the one…but also saw that they wouldn’t ship it. So a plan began to form in my head.

Thanks to facebook…and many friends traveling from my hometown to the DFW area all the dang time…(I miss taking those trips!) I asked if anyone would be willing to bring back a lantern for me, and then I’d pick it up on my next trip down to Tejas. (so much effort for a $5 light) I had several great friends volunteer…and after some back and forth…a semi-high maintenance plan was in place, with a relay lantern-passing event that should qualify for metals. HUGE shout-out to the spectacular White family. (that's their last name people, I'm not being racist) They were so extremely helpful...even though they probably thought I'd lost my ever-lovin mind.

So, Leslie (who really should start blogging again) was buying it...and at some point passing it to her mom Linda...who was then bringing it back to Lubbock. (I don't think it involved the rest of the family, but who knows)...and then I met up with Linda at church, to pick it up. When she gave it to me I was sooooo confused. Cause this was not, in fact, the gigantic lantern that was in my head. It was a cute, little, average sized one. I didn't let on to my confusion...because I thought maybe Leslie was the one that was crazy, not me...and I was trying to be nice. Plus, in the transport, it had gotten a tear in it. Which, honestly, for what I was planning to do with it wouldn't have been a big deal, I think...but the whole thing was just crazy. I had been SO excited that the plan had come together and I could finally make the lantern of my dreams...and the dream was deflating before my very eyes. (dramatic, much?)

So I went back and looked at the one on IKEA’s website. And realized my highly-anti-number mind struck again. I was the crazy one...not Leslie. It clearly stated it was 45 cm, but what did that translate in my head? 45 inches. Giant. What’s even crazier…is that if I had really thought THAT part through too…would have realized that was way too big...because the original one the project called for was about 23 inches. Oy the insanity of my crazy over-estimating-assumptions-no-concept-of-numbers mind. 


So…I decided I still needed a bigger lamp for my original project...and would maybe practice on this one. Then, while searching for something fun to do with my bar stools (do you see the multiple projects going on in my brain? Oy.)…I came across this picture and was instantly in love…and knew this is what I wanted to do with my highly traveled labor of love lantern.

From Parlour blog


And so…months later, with a free afternoon and high determination to stop putting it off any longer…I turned this small, torn lantern into a gorgeous masterpiece. It did make me slightly lament that I do not own the BBC Pride and Prejudice series to indulge in as I hot-glued away...because that would have been utter perfection....but I did clear out some much needed space on the dvr.

And voila-

The finished masterpiece.



I made my 'ruffles' slightly further apart than the ones I researched online. And the ones online trimmed theirs so that it was all even...but I liked the unevenness of it...I think it makes it look more...fluffy. Then after some slightly more drama in which I will spare you the details…weeks (aka months) later, it’s finally found its home in my now favorite corner of my living room. Along with a lamp I had found at an antique shop and spray painted. (The shade was found out Lowes.) And yes…I have plans for making over that table too…just waiting for the time, $$, and resources to pull it off. But it will also be spectacular.

LOVE love love love LOVE






Lamp before
Lamp after


Lit up! Ah-mazing!!





















It’s only been hanging for a week…but it makes my heart so happy to be able to sit and stare at it…


Also…I have in fact found the lantern needed for my bedroom one…and will let you know as soon as that project is finally finished…or you know…gets started

Also also...Praise GOD Denver's IKEA is opening next month! (July) OoooOOoooOOoohhhh Praise the Lord oh my soul! Who wants to come sleep out with me for the grand opening??????

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Canyon Revelations


I started praying one of those dangerous prayers this week. I asked God to increase the concept of ‘the fear of the Lord’ in my life.

Last time I did that, was in 2001, during my School of Intercession, Worship, and Spiritual Warfare, with YWAM. I was getting ready for the day, innocently blow drying my hair…and began to pray that prayer. An hour later (with many details and concepts leading up to this moment, it wasn’t just my prayer, just creepy coincidental timing)…the entire school was on our face in the classroom…and the presence of God was so strong, and so...ominous…that for the first time I truly understood why that when the Lord, or a Messenger, appeared before the characters in the Bible, they immediately fell to their face and cried out for mercy in fear and trembling. It was an intense moment, (week) to put it mildly. But I was so thankful for the new revelations it brought to my walk.

This week, for many reasons, I felt that same need to ask for another increase. Proverbs says that the beginning of wisdom, and the beginning of knowledge is the Fear of the Lord. And I’m in definite need of more wisdom and knowledge. And I'm in definite need to know God more...in new ways...new intensity...new depths. I've coasted on my current depth for far too long.

As I was praying about this, God reminded me of the first night we arrived at the Grand Canyon.  
(it’s taken me forever to write this, cause I’m pretty sure everyone’s gonna think I’ve lost my ever lovin mind with this correlation)

We first arrived late at night…driving in from Colorado. None of us had any idea what to expect. The fastest way to get to where we were going was driving through the park, itself. So we entered…and started driving the narrow, winding road. Of course, there wasn’t a single light, no street lights, not even moonlight. It was pitch. black. Overwhelmingly so. And not knowing what to expect, it started to kind of freak me out. The concept of the ‘unknown’ started to get to me. I didn’t know how close to the edge we were driving…if it was half a mile, or mere feet. (the pull-over look out points really freaked me out) All I could think about was the massive canyon just beyond our sight and the incredible cliff drop-offs that I had seen in countless pictures. I let my imagination take over for a bit too long. I started thinking…What if I lost control of the car? What if I accidentally swung off the road? What if we dared pulled over to get out and see if we could see anything, and fell off the cliffs into the vast darkness? What if, at any moment, we were suddenly sucked in by some crazy gravitational pull of the Canyon floor? (well aware of my extensive craziness)

I knew my imagination was being ever so slightly dramatic. But even after I pushed away the ludicrous thoughts, and began to enjoy the peaceful darkness around us, this immense fear swept over me. But it wasn’t the normal fear that I'm far to accustomed to...it was a deeply respectful fear. At that moment, even without having yet seen the Canyon in person, I suddenly had a profound respect for it's existence. This feeling was intense and engaging....and......awesome. Knowing that we were safe and secure, within the boundaries we were supposed to be in....but also respecting the fact that craziness on our part, recklessness or neglect, crossing over the boundaries, could in fact lead to our demise.

I actually started thinking...this is what the fear of the Lord should feel like. That intense, overpowering feeling of a respectful, healthy fear of our God. Knowing He created me, knows my inmost being, and loves me with Agape love...but also knowing my life is in His hands, and He could in fact strike me dead for the slightest disobedience. (just ask Ananias and Saphira from Acts 5...a passage we like to quickly skim over)

I wanted to remember that tangible feeling forever as I looked out into the vast darkness around me. 



And now....the rest of my Canyon story...


Raining over the Canyon

Daylight came and I was in absolute awe of the majesty of my God. To look out at the breathtaking views, and think, "He created this. With His hand...or with just His spoken word....for no real reason other than just because, He could.
To sit and realize that He knows every detail of this canyon. He even knows the logistics of how it was formed, when we're only left with guesses and assumptions. Whether it was billions of years, or just a few thousands. Whether it was formed during the beginning of Creation, or during The Flood. Whether it was a result of Pangea...or The Fall...or just because He was in the mood to create it that day.

I could have spent several more days there because I truly wanted to see it from every angle possible. Which, if you know me, is kinda crazy since the Grand Canyon, is in fact outside…and all nature-y and stuff. And you know, I usually do my best to avoid any such moments. 
But suddenly I was hopping up and down rocks and trails…figuring out how to get as close to the edge as possible…crossing broken barrier tapes for better views…standing out in the freezing cold and rain, just because I couldn't stop staring at the formations...
I was a little bit of a maniac.

This was at the bookstore and it made me laugh
because of my *momentary* new-found
love for the outdoors
 


a sign at one of the stops
 I wanted to shout out in worship at the top of my lungs. I wanted to lay on my face at the edge of the Canyon in reverence to the Uncreated Creator. I wanted to spin and dance and sing out loud. I restrained myself from these outward expressions (for better or worse) but my Spirit was alive and loud with feelings of worship. I loved this natural expression of the hand of God...this gorgeous piece of creation that effortlessly points to the Ancient of Days.


I definitely hope to make it back...and see the other sides of this vast Canyon. (especially the part we passed in the dark!)
And I desperately hope God answers the cry of my heart for more of Him.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Twitter + Coffee = Very, very blessed

Tell me you don’t just love the fabulousness of social media? Course…this probably has to do with my extroverted-social lovin-relationship oriented-self…but still. It’s better than pen-pals, I swear. Remember those? Actually- random pre-story: I had a pen-pal when I was in 1st grade with another girl named Jennifer in a nearby town. A year later, we moved to that town…and the summer after 2nd grade while at the local swimming pool…I met a girl named Jennifer. After weeks of hanging out…we finally realized it- WE were each other’s pen pals! My life could be a movie I tell you...this was just the beginning of my crazy interchanging reconnecting world of relationships. I have countless of those stories.

Ok...but now the point of THIS post:


So several weeks ago, while still getting up ridiculously early because I was teaching at church, I was in the midst of my normal morning routine. First things first- making the coffee! The whole day hinges on this important moment. So I made it…and curled up on the couch, looking over my notes and praying for the service. A few minutes later, I noticed the aroma of coffee was NOT filling my home. I was annoyed at myself because I assumed I forgot to turn on the coffee maker. So I got up and made my way to the kitchen…when a horrifying discovery was made. The light was on…but nothing was a-brewing! I clicked the switch back and forth, plugged and unplugged, prayed, and begged God for a resurrection miracle.

Nothing.

Now, I’m not as addicted to coffee as I am addicted to the routine of coffee…especially when something important is happening that day. I like cozying up with a warm cup and a blanket. I love clutching the mug, slowly sipping it as I sort out my thoughts for the day, in the stillness and quietness of the morning.

And as far as I was concerned, this was full on tragedy. I was trying not to let it push me over the edge. (since the stress of the leading the series at church was keeping me pretty close to it) I kept telling myself that silly routines and ‘moments’ didn’t matter. That there were FAR greater issues happening that day that deserved my attention…and that I just needed to let go and move on with the day.

Of course, this wasn’t before screaming out my meltdown on Twitter about what had happened.


Many days pass, and here I was, without a coffee maker…trying to figure out a plan about how to get one. I’m still, highly unfortunately, unemployed…and unemployment barely, but not really, covers my necessary bills…with nothing left over for the frivolousness of new coffee makers. I was trying to figure out what to do…where I could rearrange money options…or debating with myself whether I could justify putting it on a credit card that I’m desperately trying to pay off.

While out and about one day, I was checking Twitter via my cell phone…and accidentally hit the message button. And there it was. A message that had been there for over a week but I hadn’t seen it, an instant reply to my coffee meltdown. (stupid ‘new’ Twitter and their lack of message notification!) It was from a friend of a friend…someone I haven't met yet…but we tweet each other regularly. She told me that she would love to send me her coffee maker- because someone had bought this piece of fabulousness for her as a gift, but she couldn’t make a pot of coffee to save her life!

Long story short…after lots of back and forth and such…this morning the UPS guy knocked on my door…and within 20 minutes I had coffee brewing. Amazing, yummy, fabulous coffee.

*blissful sigh*  Life is good again. I am very blessed. And I can settle back into my comforting routine anytime I feel like it with this crazy amazing, fancy, fabulous gift.


Cheers to the precious giving heart of my Twitter friend! 

And to the amazing thoughtfulness of her friend that was the first to give the gift of this maker...And to our mutual friend that we're connected through...And to the creators of Twitter, who made all this possible.

May the blessing be returned to you, Rhonda, a hundred fold, and hopefully, maybe someday, we can share a cup in person!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Chan's video

I admit it...I still haven't read 'Love Wins' by Rob Bell. And I still haven't researched, for myself, the Biblical scriptures on Hell.

So I'm still not sharing my opinion about that.


But yesterday my friend posted this Francis Chan video on his facebook page. And I'm loving Chan more and more all the time...so of course I watched it.


And I was speechless...


...and deeply convicted....



These 2 concepts alone have messed me up for the last 24 hrs...

"We're just pieces of clay trying to explain to other pieces of clay what the Potter is like."

and...

"When we make statements like "Well God wouldn't do this ___ " ...at that moment we're putting God's actions into our reasoning..."


Those thoughts are enough to leave you contemplating and speechless for days.


Totally worth the time... and would love to hear your thoughts about it...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

It's so hard...to say goodbye....

I am a relationship-oriented girl. People are my thing. And the one thing I hate most in this world…is goodbyes. I’m not talking the little ‘see ya later’ ones (ok, actually, I still hate those too)…but I’m talking the heart ripping, gut wrenching, don’t know the next time we’ll see each other, if ever, goodbyes. I’m not being dramatic. That’s really how it feels to me. I don’t get people who aren’t fazed by major goodbyes. I kinda want to push them down. And honestly, I have to work hard not to judge them as cold and heartless when really, it’s that we’re just wired differently. (and I do occasionally envy that detachment)  

I’ve always known this about myself...end of year school times always stressed me out and made me sad because I didn’t want to move on and leave those people behind. But, I realized I was pretty much completely crazy in the head about this issue the end of my Senior year in high school. I had a close group of friends that had been together for several years. The group had slightly shifted several times…but everyone was still around for the most part, even if they weren’t hanging out with us consistently. And then…Mark changed the game. Mark came in and announced he was joining the Navy and would be leaving in a few months. He would be the first one in our group to officially move on to the next season of life. And let’s just say that I did NOT deal well with this at all. I was in tears pretty much most of the time whenever the thought of this change creeped up in my mind. Poor Mark, I’m sure he had no idea what to do with my basket-case self. And of course I was gonna miss Mark, himself…but there was something about the concept of his leaving that messed me up. The concept that things would never be the same…that this specific dynamic at this specific time…would be lost forever. That part messes me up as much as the loss of the relationship does. And I don’t know why it tears me up like it does.

And let me tell you, people who feel like their heart’s being ripped out by goodbyes should not join YWAM. (Youth With a Mission) This is just one big continual transitional mess. People are constantly coming and going. And because of what we’re doing…the training for missions/ministry…the prayer times…the outreach times…these are people you bond with on a deeper level and a faster pace than normal relationships. And again, I’d be a total basket case toward the ends of my schools. For two-three weeks before it was over, I’d be in a relentless state of tears. We’d be hanging out, having fun, I’d be laughing and enjoying myself…yet- uncontrollable tears would be streaming down my face, because again, the concept that this dynamic would be lost forever, and the fact that I didn't know if I'd ever see anyone again...messed. me. up.

I know…it’s really like I should get some sort of major therapy, isn’t it...or at least some medication...

Wanna know what else you shouldn’t do if you suffer from this crazy disorder? Move to Colorado Springs, that’s what. It’s apparently one of the most transitional cities in the world. Too bad I didn't know that before I got here. People come and go WAY too quickly here. And linking up with a church that focuses on the military isn’t the brightest idea either, I’m just saying. Cause they’re the most transitional of the transitional people in this city. 
 

Sarah and I at her baby shower
I’ve only been here a few years, and have already had to say goodbye to WAY too many people. And there's a trend that is trying to develop that must be stopped. It started with Sarah, one of my closest friends here. She announced she was pregnant and of course excitement abounded. Shortly after that…she announced they were moving to Washington. Now, I’ve learned to handle these situations only slightly better than my high-school self. I was able to use most of my tears up in private instead of in front of her. (I said most) And I had to really work through not being mad at God and just accept what was happening. I was just getting so tired of people here moving away...I didn't know if I could take much more. 

 

Course...I was left with a constant reminder of her...since she was the designer of my most fabulously amazing tattoo...






Then, a couple months ago…Amber, a kindred spirit in ways we'd only just begun to discover...tells me she has some important news and we go out to dinner. She then announces she’s pregnant…AND by the way….they’re also moving to Alaska. I’m not making this up…is this not the most ridiculous trend you've ever heard?? She left this week...thus my need for a goodbye-blog-vent.

80's party...and the beginning of the deep
bond that was forever between us

I sometimes debate whether or not God is sitting up there just trying to mess with me. I mean, He created me with this deep connection and unceasing amount of tears for people…so why would He possibly continue to put me in these situations? I sometimes think it’s a cruel joke.


But then I think…if the alternative is NOT knowing these people…NOT learning who they are…NOT being involved in their lives…NOT caring about whether or not they reach their God-given destinies…then that’s an even greater heartbreaking concept than only knowing them for a season and having to say goodbye. Because I’m thankful I get to be a part of their lives…even if only for short glimpses. I'm thankful  for the ones I get to bond with on deeply spiritual levels, even when it makes the goodbyes that much harder. 

And...even through the perpetual tears...I am thankful that this is who God created me to be...and He wouldn't want it any other way.


P.S. Also....everyone....please stop moving away....especially if you're about to have a baby....