Oct 31, 2011

Same Every Year..

So I wear this "costume" every year.. I change the goal of what my costume is supposed to be, but my dad bought this for me, and I love it.. and let's be honest, given the country we live in, there is no wearing this other than Halloween.. and I love it.. :) And, this is one of my favorite co-workers.. yes, we are "for real friends" outside of work too.. We have a great time together :)

In completely other news... I walked and moved like a sloth today (that may have been a more appropriate costume!) due to my complete and utter soreness and pain from the 10k yesterday. I literally cannot walk fast...

Guess who's learning patience haha...

Oct 30, 2011

Oct 27, 2011

Thursday Thoughts...

Thursday thoughts...

Brooke Fraser and Shawn McDonald are my two favorite artists.

We found our 4th and 5th roomies, and the great roomie swap begins this weekend...

As much as I would like to "love" Halloween.. I do not really care all that much for it. I enjoy dressing up (although in reality I've worn the same outfit every year since my dad bought me a BEAUTIFUL blue kimono dress that I love), I enjoy hanging out, and let's be honest.. I love anything that gives a reason to be festive and hang out with people... But, I am not the biggest fan of all the "other stuff" that typically comes with Halloween... So, while I have been invited to various parties, I am planning on avoiding them all.

I am buying my first piece of real furniture this week...  a table and chairs. Mainly because ours will be leaving with the roomies moving out. So, I have decided that I might as well buy a set I will love for a very long time.. which means the tall counter-height table and chairs!... Although, one of my friends aptly pointed out that I "probably" should have bought a bed since I am still sleeping on an over-sized air mattress (3 years now..).

I am interested to see what the next year holds...

I am running a 10k on Sunday.. and I am unsure I can even run a 5k currently, should be interesting.

I have yet to decide or figure out what my plans for Thanksgiving are.. I had been hoping all year to be in Africa, God had other plans so, I guess now I will get a chance to see what those were.

The leaves are turning colors again, which is beautiful, but means cold weather is coming... I'm not the biggest fan of that...

I realized last weekend how different several relationships are in my life now than they were a year ago... A couple people I now view as having very prominent place had yet to even enter into my life. Another friend was a part of my group of friends where I used to live, we have known each other for years, but were never really close in a one on one friendship... However, she has become one of the few people who just get me.. I am so incredibly thankful for her, and amazed at how different of a friendship we have than I would have ever guessed before. She amazes me with how wise, thoughtful, funny, and genuine she is.. not to mention she seeks out the friendship just as much as I do, so there is always just this level of comfort when we hang out that I have with very... very few people here in DC... A part of me is sad I had not discovered this about her and the potential for our friendship three years ago when we first met. I am always amazed at how very different we are, but completely thankful that our friendship has become a totally unique thing all on its own, and taken a very welcome place in my life.

I have really become aware in the last few weeks how totally and utterly blessed I am.

I was musing to myself while driving earlier this week at how weird it is to feel contentment in my soul again. It feels like a foreign feeling.. a very welcome foreign feeling though. It is almost like the first warm sunshine on your skin after a particularly treacherous and cold winter... I cannot pinpoint  where it has come from, and a part of me has had the (very stupid) feeling that if I dwell on it too much it will disappear again... Yet, I know that is a totally and utterly ridiculous thought (but very human of me still). I am amazed though at how constant it is, even with the continued (and rather awful) situations at work that always threaten my mood.. It has been very carefully protected and shielded from trivial things; and for that I am so thankful! There is a small part of me that does not want to do or try anything new in fear of causing the contentment to disappear again, but, at the very same time.. I feel like it has caused me to re-awaken the dreams and desires I have of life in general... Which means that soon God will be shaking things up again, and I will gladly take His hand and walk where He asks me to.. Only God could create something at your core that causes feelings that seem so polar opposites.

My dad has recently joined Facebook, and I love how easy it is to tell him how much I love him or let him know how frequently he comes to mind... I am so incredibly thankful for Facebook, e-mail, and skype for making the hundreds of miles not feel like anything at all.


Oct 25, 2011

Old Lady Ways...

Hi. I'm 26 and I take vitamins like an 80 year old...

God's Character...

Last week I went to a speaking engagement/Q&A with Michael Ramsden and Ravi Zacharias. Couple side notes before I begin..

I met Michael Ramsden last January at the reception of my best friend's wedding. He is brilliantly funny, has a wonderful accent, and very clearly loves the Lord and has spent a great deal of time learning and working to understand Christianity.

I met Ravi Zacharias (and his wonderful wife Margie) a little over a year ago in his home. He is an amazing man both in front of an audience and in his own home. A few of my favorite things about him are how totally normal he is, he has just as many amusing or unique tendencies as any other person I have ever met. Yet, at the same time he has dedicated his whole life (since 17) to learning about Christ, Christianity, and teaching what he has learned to anyone with questions. Part of what I appreciate about him and his ministry Ravi Zacharias International Ministry (RZIM) is how much dedication he has to being and apologist (a link to what apologetics is just in case you don't know). He has been described as being the C.S. Lewis of this time, and I can definitely see that.

Anyway, on to the discussion I went to. It was hosted by the C.S. Lewis Institute, and held in the Constitution Hall of the DAR building downtown DC, with easily 1,500+ people in attendance (which is always encouraging).

Michael Ramsden started and was hysterical throughout his entire talk, but the thing that struck me the most about what he was talking about was how easily he wove literature, humor, facts, and faith in with Christianity in a manner that makes perfect sense. He started by explaining that there is a general thought, and one he held on to for quite a while when he was first learning about Christianity, and even after he realized he did actually believe Christ was the real deal... He was somewhat upset because his life was "good" before.. which left a lingering doubt of "will life be less fulfilling as a Christian?" He then commenced into explaining that "faith" is never actually used in a manner described as "stepping into the dark" but actually stepping into the light (Heb. 11:6 "..And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him."). He then connected that thought with the idea that not only "God is.." but that God is trustworthy. The thing that is unique about the "Christian faith" is that the claim is that it is true and real, and that it is not based on an absence of evidence. Michael Ramsden then talked about the idea that so many Christians have "failed," but failed at what? What does it mean to be told that a Christian has failed? What does it mean to truly be a Christian?.. (Galaians 5, the fruits of the spirit) and that to "fail" is to live a life not worthy of the calling. But, in order to understand what the calling is, we have to understand the truth. He did a great job mixing a tough subject of truth, failure, hurt, and love with just enough comedy to tie it all together, at one point he said "I am sorry if you have met a church that is not meek, that has failed (to show love and truth)... Please give us their name and number..."

Michael Ramsden then proceeded to explain that when we are talking about Christians, then we have to be open about failure, the idea is not to hide it, because everyone knows we have failed. The real question that many people struggle with is "I am a good person, but I'm questioning whether there is a good God." When the reality is, we are not good people. Then very comically he pointed out, if you believe you are absolutely perfect, then the only option for you to do is to get married. (which of course sent everyone roaring with laughter...) He then very seriously pointed out that the fear and the core of the problem is that we feel that there is a failure of character of God himself... And, that we do not want God to pass judgement on us, but then we automatically want judgement passed on injustices... We can't understand why God wouldn't leave us alone.. but that if God operated that way it would quickly come across as though either God was schizophrenic or He is at war with himself.

He ended with a few last thoughts... True love exists only in the presence of judgement, not in the absence of better judgement. God loves us unconditionally with complete and total judgement, not in the absence of better judgement. The idea is that if you have never known truth, you've never known love either. You cannot truly love someone without knowing the truth about them, pass a knowing judgement, and then choose to love them anyway.

His parting thoughts were this: Whenever justice is absent, the result is despair and hopelessness. And, Mercy is exercised through justice.

Then Ravi Zacharias spoke second. He told the story of how he became a Christian, and why he is an apologist. But, the thing that I appreciate about his approach to being an apologist was virtually summed up in this one statement,
"Always remember you're not just answering a question, you're answering an questioner."
With that statement, he moved on to logically walking through the validity of the bible and God himself. Here are a few of his talking points:
There is nothing in history that sees the personality of God like the contrast we see in the Bible.
We struggle with the sovereignty of God, and the responsibility of humanity.

When you are looking at Christianity, and what it means or entails, he had three main points. 1. It is a life of meaning, but not without tears. 2. It is a life of perfection that reaches out to the flawed. And 3. It is a life of hard physicality but a triumph of spirituality.

1. It is a life of meaning, but not without tears.
As humans, we talk often about moral law, but we try to forget evil and neglect the moral law giver. The problem with being human is our longing becomes agonizing because we always want to touch and feel. (Which is what caused the fall in the garden to begin with).

As Christians, we don't often emphasize the moment of encounter with God that causes us to believe in Jesus and His story. We try to downplay it in a way.

2. It is a life of perfection that reaches out to the flawed.
One of the biggest problems people have with Christians is the broken people come to our churches, they make a huge blunder in some fashion, and then we never let them forget it... (how terribly sad.. and totally true.) Ravi went on to explain that he is not advocating that we need an "all embrace" wrong and sin attitude, or that it doesn't matter, but that in our own lives we have to be hard and stringent, but with others we need the grace filled arms of God. There is no other worldview that does not lean on the works.. "My Grace is sufficient.." (2 Cor. 12:9)

Ravi went on to explain that as Christians we often adopt an "I don't agree, and refuse to support.." attitude, and then try to step out of someone's life to show how much we disapprove. But, that the reality is if we take our own voice out of the life of a broken person because we don't agree with them, we are leaving them exclusively with the contrary voices... (If that isn't a reality check, then I am not sure what is..)

3. It is a life of hard physicality but a triumph of spirituality.
From there he went on to explain that when people are faced with Christianity, the reality is no one truly hears the gospel until they are made uncomfortable by it..

The loneliest people are those who become tired of pleasure and are still left wanting... When the ultimate fulfillment comes from learning to love God in spirit and in truth.


Most of the questions asked about Christians (hypocrisy, authentic, truth, etc..) are really questions about God's moral character, and can he be trusted.

Lastly, according to Christ, no one killed him, he freely gave his life. Which would serve as a sign for us to know who He is, so we may know the certainty of who He is and what He offers.

After the Q&A part of the night (I did not put all the note from that section in this post) Ravi ended with these parting thoughts,
"We have to take the questions we are being asked seriously, and we cannot fail to see the person behind the question..."
"Take your faith seriously.."
"People are desperately seeking Christ, don't bring all the other baggage (humanity, Christianity, and sin)..."

The thing that I loved the most about listening to Ravi speak was the sheer level of work and understanding he puts into living his life for Christ. It was clear as people were asking questions that he was purposeful about answering the person just as much as the question. I was amazed.. and spent a lot of the time overwhelmed by the ability he has to naturally speak at any level, theology, facts, history, etc.. the amount of knowledge he has is impressive to say the least.. But, not once did it ever come out without humility and smothered in Christ's love and grace. What I appreciate throughout all of this is that I know on a personal level the man speaking, and he is not perfect, but I appreciate that about him as well.

I am sure I will post additional thoughts.. especially since this in not the entirety of my notes from this evening.

Oct 20, 2011

Twilight Thoughts...

Due to one of my friends pleading.. or basically telling me I will be accompanying her to see the next edition of the Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn movie, and then me informing her that I have not read any of the books or seen any of the movies.. Two days later I had her entire series of books written by Stephenie Meyer to read... and about a month to complete the task of read them all.. Whoa! So, I am fairly certain I will post several more times on my thoughts about the story as I read through this series. But, in the last 3-4 days I have read about 3/4 of the first book, and I thought I would share my thoughts on this book so far.. and why I feel like it appeals to teenage girls.. young women.. and even older women so much, or not at all.

So, in case you have not read the books (no reason to feel guilty), the basic story plot (if you don't know), is Bella a 17 year old girl moves from Phoenix to Forks, WA to be with her Dad... She hates the small town and the gloomy weather, but true to any girl's dream she finds that virtually every boy in this town likes her.. but she is drawn to Edward.. (and later Jacob).. Turns out Edward is a Vampire that is part of a "family" that does not eat people because of moral reasons. Jacob is part of a Native American tribe that are actually werewolves.. (although so far, Jacob is unaware that he's a werewolf... and is not a major role in the book yet..)

Here are the things that I can easily see as appealing about the Twilight book and love story:
It is CLEARLY written by a woman, she understands the constant battle between emotions and logic (Bella knows it's a bad idea but is drawn to him anyway.. wants to touch him, but is afraid it'll make it more difficult for him.. worried for his safety.. etc.. etc..). 
Meyers clearly understands the desire that girls/women have to be fought for, protected, cherished, and found more beautiful than any other girl... We love the feeling when get from those things, and in normal life (today.. or throughout history) girls/women do not feel that way much, often, or at all.
There is an appeal that this book has that makes the female reader desire to be cherished like Bella is cherished. It is a powerful thing.
I love how easy the book is to read, I am not sure if that was on purpose or a mere side effect of Meyer being a new writer.
I enjoy certain aspects of the descriptions.. like the vampires have changing eye color depending on their mood. (how cool would THAT be?!)

The things I find borderline obnoxious:
Bella's narrative is CONSTANTLY describing him as angel like, perfect, beautiful etc... (He stood there stone like with an angel like face... His perfect face... etc..etc..) the first introduction and getting to know Edward/Bella it was fine.. (especially since it's part of his "vampire charm"..) now that they are "together" the description is getting old.
I find their conversations amusing, but their physical contact distracting.. (I think it's awkward that he holds her so much... cradles her in a rocking chair.. etc.. etc..)
The initial, the idea of having a guy you love watch you sleep sounds romantic.. but really it is just awkward..
Vampire or not, no one can resist something indefinitely on "mind over matter," it is impossible (so him holding her while she sleeps is not even close to a good idea.. and really a rather stupid part of the story)

So, while the story itself is entertaining enough, and thankfully easy to read so I can fly through it rather quickly (thank you mom and dad for facilitating me to become a reader..). But, what I keep thinking about as I read this story is the appeal it has to teenage girls and their moms.. (It was all over the news) and I keep thinking about how all that really does is highlight how much women are starving for their God given roles to be a part of an adventure, loved fiercely, protected, found beautiful etc... and how many girls and women are drawn to this book/series because they are lacking in this area.

Which then brings me back to a thought, "Where have all the good men gone?" Not in an angry, frustrated, or condescending way, but in a serious, slightly sad, and honest question sorta way...

Oct 19, 2011

Turning 7...

Today my little duder turns 7. I cannot believe how big he is getting!.. This is him reading a chapter of his favorite book to me.

I love skype and that it makes it possible to sing him happy birthday from 700 miles away.

Love this little man with all my heart!

Oct 18, 2011

Sola Scriptura...

Last Sunday at church (I love my church), Mark Batterson talked about Sola Scriptura for our new series Sola. I loved the entire message, it had this feeling of being a foundation building, crack sealing, re-centering type message that really just built up with information that made sense and was thought provoking. I have been sifting through the information for a couple days now, letting my spirit dwell and let it linger.. Now, I think it is time to share some of my thoughts...

The verse we looked at was Psalm 119:1-8,
1 Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
   who walk according to the law of the LORD.
2 Blessed are those who keep his statutes
   and seek him with all their heart—
3 they do no wrong
   but follow his ways.
4 You have laid down precepts
   that are to be fully obeyed.
5 Oh, that my ways were steadfast
   in obeying your decrees!
6 Then I would not be put to shame
   when I consider all your commands.
7 I will praise you with an upright heart
   as I learn your righteous laws.
8 I will obey your decrees;
   do not utterly forsake me.

The sermon went through the importance of the Bible to us as believers, but in a very unique way. So, highlighting some of the things, Mark Batterson pointed out that there were 40 writers over 1600 years, on 3 continents, and in 3 languages, and it is all equally inspired, but depending on our situation not all scripture is equally applicable.

He went through the thoughts that Scripture is useful and does not return void (Is. 55). The voice behind scripture is both all powerful and all knowing. It is an authority, and when I have a problem with something it says, regardless of how I feel, I am wrong. Which, let's be honest, that is a really hard concept to swallow...

Much to my amusement he pointed out that no one likes authority... but, today the dominant authority is "they" ... But, the problem is, WHO IS "THEY"?.. I dunno.. but they said so....

Sola Scriptura is the final authority, and whether we like it or not, the Bible interprets us to ourselves... Whoa. I have never thought about that before, but the more I read the Bible and dig in, the more I understand who I am, good, bad, ugly, and beautiful.

He also jokingly pointed out that we are really just "inspired dirt" lol love it!

Several other points worth mentioning.. When we first read the scripture, it is merely theory. Until we experience something that is applicable, then it becomes our reality. He also pointed out that often times we go to the Bible to correct it instead of letting it correct us.

He pointed out 3 things I am not sure I have ever thought about before.. The bible was not meant to merely be read through, it was meant to be prayed through, to be meditated through, to be done.

He thankfully pointed out that no one reads the Bible "too much" and none of us read even as much as we should, so the idea of this being a sermon to lay on the guilt is not even applicable here, it is merely to bring to light things we need to know, educate us, and help us to understand and grow.

He ended with this thought "You might be the only Bible some people read. How good of a translation are you?" ... Whoa.

The thing that I loved about this sermon is that it was a solid building up of the foundation of what I believe. There were parts that made me feel guilty, excited, solemn, confused, awestruck.. but mostly just completely grateful that I am able to understand and grow, and truly have a chance to let the scriptures rebuke me and grow me. How totally and utterly blessed am I.

Oct 16, 2011

Fried Bread...

It is no secret in my family that my all time favorite food is beef stew with southern fried bread. Well.. I didn't make the stew today, but I definitely made the friend bread!.. I am fairly proud of making it all of my own haha ;)

You need a packet of Yeast, 2 cups of very warm water, 2 eggs, 4 Tablespoons of sugar, and enough flour to make it elastic/sticky... mix all of that together, let rise.. Then fry in a pot of oil. It is easiest to do it with a spoon to drop them in the oil, and a pair of tongs to get them out of the oil.

This is what it looks like before it rises.


After you fry, you get this!

I love. love. love. this bread haha :)

One of my friends came over and made no-bake cookies while I made the bread...
Then I taught some salsa in preparation for tonight.
It was a fantastic afternoon!

Oct 15, 2011

Spy Hair...

New hair..
Pretty sure I could be a successful spy with how different I look with different hair!

Oct 14, 2011

Before I Die Part II...

This is my ever changing and molding "Before I Die" list that has been slowly forming and growing in my head for years. I initially posted this almost two years ago, but thought I would updated. I have taken a lot of these ideas from family, friends, and other blogs... some I have come up with on my own.. a lot I just heard of and thought it would be awesome. The crossed off ones I have already accomplished, and this will hopefully be every growing, and getting more crossed off. They are in no particular order. Enjoy!
Watch the sunset or sunrise from each side of every ocean: Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Arctic, Southern | Go dog sledding | Go on a Safari in Africa | Scuba dive | Ride a camel in the desert | See the Pyramids at sunset | Ride an elephant | Tango in a milonga | Build a house start to finish | Cross the Canadian border | See Cuba | Have a croissant at a French cafe | Go wine tasting at a vineyard in Italy | Take a road trip across the U.S. | Have an exceptional time in Greece | Drink whiskey at a pub in Ireland | Stay in the ice hotel | Visit that church made entirely of bones | Make butterscotch from scratch | Go on a multi-day biking trip | Tube down a river | Get art in a gallery | Attend a Black and White Ball | Grow vegetables in my own garden | Learn to roll in a kayak | Write a novel | Be conversational in six languages: 1. English 2. Spanish (this one comes and goes) 3. Sign-Language 4. Greek 5. German 6. Arabic 7. | Set foot on all seven continents | Set foot in all fifty states | Help someone get into or through college | Visit ancient ruins | Stand on top of the Great Wall of China | Get my second degree black belt | Get a tattoo (I have two) | Learn to snowboard, and ski | Learn to wakeboard and water ski| Drive a sports car over 100mph | Stand inside the Taj Mahal | Do something for someone they can never repay | Do two pull ups | Go berry picking and make completely homemade pies | Have a very large dog | Ride through the Panama Canal | Go Sky diving | Horseback ride through a coffee plantation | Make my own perfume | Tithe my whole life | Go to the Kentucky Derby | Go white water raftingTaste 1,000 Fruits | Get in the habit of grand loving gestures | Live in a house with a window seat and wrap around porch | Go parasailing | Go paragliding | Swim with bioluminescent plankton in Puerto Rico | Climb a volcano | Climb a glacier | Go rock climbing | Watch the sunrise or sunset over the Grand Canyon | Watch the Northern Lights | See a shooting star | Attend Loy Krathong, the sky lantern festival in Thailand | Ring a church bell | Move somewhere new alone Organize a retreat | Learn and be good at all the Latin ballroom dances: Argentine Tango, Salsa, Cumbia, Merengue, Cha cha, Bachata, Rumba, Mambo, Bolero, Samba | Go on a cruise | Use my work to improve lives | Form a workplace with people I love | Participate in a giant food fight | Make my own list of the hundred best things to eat | Climb a mountain| Choose fifty favorite places to relax and connect with God | Attend the summer Olympics | Go a day without speaking | Plant a tiny orchard |  Throw a block party | Remove money as a concern |  Take a month long vacation without computers | Zip line through a canopy | Lemonade on the front porch swing on warm summer night | Buy a stock on my own| Have a big wedding celebration with everyone I love | Christen a boat | Attend La Tomatina in Spain | Shoot every major gun: Pistol, Shotgun, Rifle, Muzzleloader, Revolver | Learn to surf | Learn to paddleboard | Be in Spain for running of the Bulls (but not participate) | See a glacier in Antarctica | Live in another country for a year | Dive with Manta Rays in Hawaii | Start a fire without a match | Hike the Inca Trail | Spend the night in a treehouse | Swim with a whale |
With any luck this list will continue to grow.. and continue to get crossed off!

Oct 13, 2011

New Ones...

If you are unaware, I have been living in a house with four girls for the last year.. which means our 5 bedroom, 3 1/2 bath, megatron of a house is usually teeming with laundry (clean and dirty), dishes (also clean and dirty), almost constant good smells of food or candles... and, it is really difficult to say whether you are actually ever home alone or not. I am also pretty sure there has been at least one car parked in front of our house constantly all year, whether one of ours, a friends, or someone who needed a place to store a car while they travel.

Currently however, we have two roomies moving out at the end of the month, and are in the process of replacing them with two more... The three of us staying in the house have been talking a lot lately about what we want the next year to look like, how we want our house to stay the same or change.. and mostly just curious about how the next couple months will unfold adding two different people to the mix of the house.


One of the things that we realized is how incredibly blessed we have been this year. While there are frustrating days and issues that naturally come up when five girls live together, for the most part, we have been so lucky to have the issues be relatively minimal... Especially since, we typically talk through everything pretty quickly.. We have dealt with conflict in an adult manner that has proven and cultivated maturity and genuine care and love for one another (who knew that was possible having so many girls in once house!), instead of from a selfish standpoint that just leaves everyone frustrated. I am so thankful that we have chosen to live in a manner that makes sense.. meaning, we live in genuine community, sharing food when it makes sense, laughing, cooking, cleaning, etc.. all in a way that feels natural instead of fake or forced.

I truly hope these feelings do not change when the new ones move in at the end of the month!

Oct 12, 2011

Debts and Freedom...

I found out last night after looking and crunching some numbers (sounds way cooler than simply doing some math), that I will be debt free.. except for my student loans (which are on hold thanks to being in school again) as of Friday (payday).

First thought: YES!

haha..

Second thought: How did that happen?!

Third thought: I will be able to save loads of money.. and head to Africa soon!..

I never really thought about the fact that to be "debt free".. really does feel and resonate as freedom. I mean, I know and totally understand that I am not *really* debt free because by the time I am done with this round of schooling, I will have in the vicinity of 60k in student loans... Which is just a little less than what my brother and sister in law paid for their house. But, the reality is, for that to be my only real debt, sans any major disaster... (hence the mass exodus of cash that will soon be entering my savings account) I am pumped about all the possibilities, and freedom I feel knowing my monthly bill payments have no automatic deciding factor attached to them. I mean, obviously there are bills such as rent, cell phone, gas, food, etc.. But, I also feel like those can be canceled and I *could* walk away from them if I needed to with relatively little consequence or cost.

So, what did the possibilities look like in my head?.. Well, first it looked like a trip to Africa, or Asia... or maybe finally to Spain!... Then, I decided I would save that money and see what happens not making any real plans for it yet... Then, I began thinking of the needs of certain people I love, and what would it look like to save a decent amount of money and "Merry Christmas, Jesus Loves you" them with it?... The excitement I would have getting to do that would be virtually indescribable!.. And, the need to keep it a secret would be like trying not to breathe! (I love surprising people)...

After I was done fantasizing about the possibilities, reality set in and I realized, I have no idea what is to come. Whether this means I have the ability to save my money by putting it into savings for a rainy day, putting a large first payment when it comes time to pay back my loans, or if later I find myself really compelled to send I love you money to various people, or whether that means I get to walk the streets of another country.. or simply save to prepare for life to dramatically change in the near(ish) future... Regardless of where I feel God leading my finances, the freedom that comes with knowing I am not attached to any certain pay grade in order to "make it" anymore is really a quite lovely feeling. A feeling of freedom.

I am pretty excited about the possibilities and for the chance to see what God does next.

Oct 7, 2011

Field Full of Dew...

I was driving to work this morning and found myself somewhere between thrilled about the sun blasting my retinas and annoyed at the sheer blinding power of the light. I love the feeling the sunshine gives me, but I hate it early in the morning because I am pretty sure it takes me a couple hours to fully wake up. Plus, I also know in a couple months I will feel starved for sunlight, and more than likely make my way to my annual fake sun places to absorb some man made UV light.. This was the beginning of totally random fleeting thoughts during my morning commute which then mixed with sending a few encouraging text messages to friends and family (at stop lights due to the fact that DC driving and texting = instant party with Jesus). I realized the correlation between my thoughts and feelings towards the sun, friends, and the journey I have been on the last couple years.

Out of almost nowhere, I find myself content again. Totally satisfied with where God has me. I feel normal again, I laugh easily and often once more, thoughts of school or relationships no longer bring very negative visceral reactions, and while the sheer aggravation I experience at work most days is exactly the same, my attitude and perspective has changed. I am so thankful.

What is ironic is I remember telling someone near the end of the summer of '09 that life was just perfect, and I was almost afraid to utter those thoughts because I was fairly certain some rough waters were ahead. I had felt like it was the perfect calm before the storm... (boy was I right on the money with those feelings) You see, my storms tend to have waves of disaster associated with them. 2010 was full of a new mega disaster each month.. I handled it ok, and thankfully was completely surrounded by a support network of family and friends to get me through. The end of 2010 and 2011 so far has been like a slow boiling pressure cooker. I literally felt like I was going to explode like Mount Vesuvius...



I was working so hard to control how things were coming out that not enough stress or pressure was getting released to make any significant difference, and I began dreading the (what felt like ) inevitable explosion, and the poor soul(s) around who would have to take the brunt of that disaster. And, while the support network was there, it had dramatically changed, and no longer felt the same, which left me feeling very alone and protective of myself.

Then out of nowhere God intervened and caused (for no apparent reason) a stillness that was felt to my core, and suddenly I feel at peace once more.


(I did not take either of these pictures, they are linked to where they were found)
All this to paint a picture of what has changed...

All of these thoughts and pictures lead me to realize this morning that it is my turn to be the rallying support for my family and friends who are struggling. It is my turn to support, uphold, encourage, and pray knowing that God will come to their rescue. It is my turn to hold up the arms of my loved ones who are tired (As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. - Exodus 17:11-12).
I know it is not I myself that will change anything, it is not my job to solve their problems, and they will inevitably have to walk through this period just like I did. But, I also know that they will get through this time, just like I did...

In the end, they will feel the peace to their core like a bright sunshine filled morning in a field full of dew.

Oct 5, 2011

Blogs...

More and more I find myself being drawn to blogs of friends, acquaintances, family, companies, etc.. I love blogs so much more than facebook and twitter. I mean, do not get me wrong, I love me some classic social media, but mostly I stick to facebook for the pictures and chatting.. not to mention the humorous comments my friends and I leave on each others walls and pictures.. but mostly I try and use facebook as a way to connect and remind friends they are loved, remembered, and cared for. However, unless there is a serious intentionality, it is easy to assume that with facebook "what you see is what you get" in someone's life. But, let's be honest, everyone posts the best, the highlights, etc.. of their life. It is not a true glimpse. Twitter is great for thought sharing, news sharing, and funny comments, so it definitely has a quality I enjoy.... But, blogs are an entity all their own. They have the ability to get a glimpse into the reality of someone's world. The struggles, views (sometimes literally with pictures, or figuratively with words), the joys, the processes of _____ (house building, adoptions, having twins, husbands deployed, etc..). I love learning more about people, getting a different perspective, and in reality getting to stay in touch better. Blogs help (me) know what to pray for in a friend's life.. or realize some difficult times have come their way, and allow me the chance to help (usually by getting an idea of something I could do to brighten their day).

Blogs are definitely my favorite social media... I mean look at the almost 500 blog pots I have (no I am no the highest, or most blogging person ever, but I am somewhat consistent in the just over last 3 years). I enjoy sharing my life with family, friends, and random passer-clickers... I enjoy the ability to be real, and be authentically imperfect in a way that facebook does not really allow to be highlighted. I enjoy showing my view of the world.

Blogs are definitely one of my favorite online activities.. So, please feel free to share favorite blogs, I will gladly add them to my list of must reads! :)

Oct 4, 2011

Shout Outs...

So, I do not typically talk to particular readers.. I honestly blog as if the people reading my blog do not exist. However, I am fully aware of their presence, I just find I write better if I write as though this is just for me. I tend to write in a little abstract terms, referring to people in the neutral, and in a manner that unless you are well acquainted with my situations and friends there are very few details given to clue strangers into the lives of my friends. I do this in an attempt to protect the privacy of my friends and family and keep their stories theirs, while talking about my portion of the stories. I avoid writing while I am mad, and when I do write angry, I make a concerted effort to avoid naming, blaming or defaming someone.

Anyway, with all that said.. I wanted to point out some fun facts and say thank you!


Below are the number of my blog visitors since about the middle of 2009... Which means it is sans about 9 months of stats.. which really is not that much to be totally honest. However, I love the diversity in my readers. Some of my visitors I have no idea who they are, and probably even most of my readers... However, mostly, I wanted to show how neat the reach of my blog has gotten. There are some countries that I know who at least some of the readers are, and others I am totally clueless.

These are the top 10 visiting countries:
United States                                          5,005
Russia                                                    133

Germany                                                117

South Korea                                          117

 United Kingdom                                     62
Canada                                                  58

China                                                     58

France                                                   58

India                                                      32

 Poland                                                   31

I am very curious the thoughts and posts that keep people coming back to read more. I hope it is because they see something different in my writings, connect with feelings, find comfort in the authenticity... But, mostly I hope it is because they are finding hope and encouragement from Jesus through this blog. Thank you for coming and reading my blog.. This one is a rare pause to shout out to you all :)









Oct 1, 2011

Saturday...

So, today I pretty much made myself sleep in late.. Made a great baked omelet breakfast. Chatted with one of my roomies for a couple hours... and then, have spent the rest of the day looking like this while I am attempting to do homework...

Yup, sans makeup, in the glasses, uber comfy long sleeved shirt, under a blanket, and with my earbuds in. That is the majority of my saturday.