Jan 31, 2012

Your Love is Strong...

This song keeps playing over and over in my head.. the tune is great, but the lyrics sink deeper every time I hear them, almost like it is literally getting absorbed..

I think one of the things I like the most about this song is how he blends perfectly the Lords Prayer with new prayers and feelings. Plus it helps that I literally feel this song applies to my life right now.

Here are the lyrics so you can follow along:
Heavenly Father
You always amaze me
Let your kingdom come
In my world and in my life
You give me the food I need
To live through the day
And forgive me as I forgive
The people that wronged me
Lead me far from temptation
Deliver me from the evil one

I look out the window
The birds are composing
Not a note is out of tune
Or out of place
I look at the meadow
And stare at the flowers
Better dressed than any girl
On her wedding day

So why do I worry?
Why do I freak out?
God knows what I need
You know what I need

Chorus (3x):
Your love is
Your love is
Your love is strong

The kingdom of the heavens
Is now advancing
Invade my heart
Invade this broken town
The kingdom of the heavens
Is buried treasure
Will you sell yourself
To buy the one you've found?

Two things you told me
That you are strong
And you love me
Yes, you love me

(Chorus 3x)

Our God in heaven
Hallowed be
Thy name above all names
Your kingdom come
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven
Give us today our daily bread
Forgive us wicked sinners
Lead us far away from our vices
And deliver us from these prisons

Jan 30, 2012

God Goes Before Me...

I have been "stuck" in Romans for almost a month now.. I just keep finding things that speak to me.. renew my spirit, and remind me Who's I am. I am so blessed, even on days like today that really could not have gone worse. On days like today, I realize how much God goes before me and how in the end His will and His glory are all that matters... I find my worth and value there.

"In the same way, the Holy Spirit helps us when we are weak. We don't know what we should pray for. But the Spirit himself prays for us. He prays with groans too deep for words. God, who looks into our hearts, knows the mind of the Spirit. And the Spirit prays for God's people just as God wants him to pray." - Romans 8:26,27

I was reminded over and over today as I sat in meeting after meeting how much everything in my life is directed by God, but that all I want is to walk in a manner worthy of His calling. (Col 1:10)

Jan 29, 2012

27th Birthday...

Today I turn 27.

I have had one of the best birthdays, and have been reminded of how incredibly blessed and fortunate I am to have so many people in my life who love me dearly... even when I fall short.

I will write more about the weekend later... Right now, here are the top 27 things from the last year (in chronological order):
  1. Two of my best friends getting engaged 30 seconds after the the ball dropped on New Years. 
  2. My bff marrying the man of her dreams, and getting to stand up in her wedding with her.
  3. My best friends and roomie surprising me for my 26th birthday.
  4. My little brother showing up for my 26th birthday with a dozen roses from him and my older brother.
  5. Spending Easter with my best friend from college and his wife.
  6. Getting to surprise my older brother for his birthday.
  7. A friend moving to DC and becoming a close friend.
  8. A new roomie moving into the house.
  9. The wedding of a great friend.
  10. My two best friends getting married.. and spending the weekend with so many close friends.
  11. Throwing my parents a 30th anniversary party and seeing everyone.
  12. The Bachata congress here in DC with such a wonderful friend. 
  13. Lake and beach days.
  14. Helping my bff and her husband move.
  15. Visiting my cousin in California.
  16. Learning to Paddle board.
  17. Finally letting God take control of my frustrating work situation.
  18. Finding stability and peace internally for the first time in two years.
  19. Surviving the first year of Grad school.
  20. Reconnecting with an old college friend.
  21. Making Thanksgiving dinner with a my wonderful friend.
  22. Letting God use others teach me about my value and worth.
  23. Going to Philly with one of my amazing friends to dance and spend time together.
  24. Driving to MI and back to DC with my roomie.
  25. An old roomie/sister getting engaged.
  26. Christmas.
  27. Surviving 2011 officially when the ball dropped and it was 2012.
Some of these are obviously a little tongue and cheek, a few I am well aware make no sense unless you lived through those moments with me, and others are amusing, but completely true to how I feel.

26 was a really difficult year for me (as was 25), but I am incredibly hopeful about this year. I am amazed at the things God is teaching me already in this year, and I am so excited for what is to come (and filled with a little Holy trepidation if things continue to go the way they are currently).

Thank you to the friends and family:
That have stood by me, listened to me vent, ramble, cry, yell, laugh, and for the times you sat next to me in total silence because the were just no words. Thank you for the cooked foods, the movie nights, the galavanting around, the trips, and the memories we built this year. Thank you for sticking through the really difficult times, and for all the times you were more gracious than I deserved, and chose to love me despite my shortcomings and flaws. Thank you for your patience as I learned how to be patient. Thank you for your compassion as I learned what true compassion meant. Thank you for all the times you sought me out because I was unable to look beyond my own pain. Thank you for all of the hugs, dances, snuggles, running, goofing around, and for all the talking around the dinner table. Thank you for all of the phone conversations, for telling me when I was wrong, for listening to me when I needed to bounce my ideas and thoughts off of someone, and for praying for me whether I asked you to or not. Thank you for encouraging me more each day to draw closer to the Lord, and for all of the times you were on your knees on my behalf. Thank you for the unconditional love and forgiveness that I do not deserve, and for picking me up when I was unable to get up. Thank you for the faith you shared with me and for the confidence in our Savior when I was doubting. Thank you for sticking by me when it would have been much easier to walk away.

To my friends and family, I do not deserve you, but I simply cannot express how thankful and humbled I am that you are in my life. You show me Christ in new ways every day, and words simply cannot express how much each one of you mean to me. Thank you is not enough, but thank you is all I have.

Jan 27, 2012

Love My Life...

I love my life!

Two save the dates, pictures from my two favorite 3 year olds, and notes from home!

Happy birthday weekend to me!

Jan 26, 2012

The Vow...

Tonight I saw a pre-screening of the movie The Vow. I was very surprised by the movie for a few reasons.. first of which is because it is inspired by true events; so, while it seems initially that it will have all the classic elements of a typical chick flick with drama, but the perfect-man-wins-in-the-end-because-they-were-meant-to-be, it actually has more real elements, real emotions, and when all was said an done, a real picture of the couple at the end than is to be expected, and it turns out different than I was expecting (in a satisfying but not entirely predictable way).

I cannot give away too much of the movie, but I walked away inspired by true love (not the movie/hollywood/chick flick kind of love), but real, broken, hurting, confusing, and sometimes totally unfocused love. The main character (Channing Tatum) is not perfect, he loses his temper, walks away, and in one instances punches someone out.. but in other instances he forgets that his wife does not remember him at all and is just in love with his wife and nurturing towards her. The wife (Rachel McAdams) loses her memory in a car accident that is not their fault, and subsequently reverts back to who she was five years prior before several major events in her life, including marrying her husband. She does a great job of portraying the confusion, the personality differences, and the struggles someone in her place would be in... Including the torn emotions of what you remember, who you remember loving conflicting with the clear love and patience of someone who says they will love you always.

I strongly recommend the movie (a lot of girls cried, although I don't cry at movies, so that wasn't something I struggled with), not because it is a chick flick (although that helps) but because in the end you walk away satisfied... especially when you see a picture and are updated as to the real couple's life now.

One of the lines that struck me was when they got married (in flashbacks), part of the vows she wrote to him were "... And I promise to always make my home in your heart."

Two thoughts pertaining to that line...
How does that look if it is applied to Jesus making His home in our heart? And, do we make our home in His?
And, the commitment it takes to make something your home is daily in good times and bad, but even more so when it is someone's heart, that is a profoundly difficult statement. It is one that I think makes sense and speaks of dedication and purposeful and intentional love. That type of love seeks out the other one, it is patient, it is kind, it does not want what belongs to others, it does not brag it is not proud, it is not rude, it does not look out for its own interests, it does not easily become angry, it does not keep track of other people's wrongs, it is not happy with evil, it always protects, always trusts, always hopes, it never gives up, and it never fails.

Jan 25, 2012

Running Cramps...

Tonight I am tired. I am gross cause I had to write a paper before I could shower after working out. I am tired. I am excited about several things going on in my life, my new business, my new workout routine, my soon to be best shape of my life, and finally feeling like home here in DC... But, tonight I am just tired.

I went to the gym tonight (which greatly added to my overwhelming sense of tiredness currently), and, I was amazed at the complete and total suckage that was my run. I literally have not had a run go this poorly ever (I think.. maybe I am lying..), I did not even make it a mile before both sides cramped up, which is weird considering that for the almost month that I have been running 3-4 times a week I have not one time had my stomach muscles cramp... But, they sure made up for it tonight. Then, I struggled to focus and pray, I struggled to breathe, I struggled to not favor my left leg over my right (my right knee is worse so I tend to baby it without thinking)... basically, I. Just. Struggled. It was so bad that by the time I made it to mile two I was actively working to not panic due to my inability to breathe. My breathing was horrible! So much so in fact, that I actually could not breathe at all. Yet, I knew what was going on, I knew physically why I was struggling as much as I was (lack of appropriate amounts of water yesterday and today likely had something to do with it)... But, even more than that, I knew I was struggling beyond the physical because this was my first run after making a commitment to God to run my entire life as long as He meets me there in my run (or walk as the case may be sometimes...). I had to walk for more than a 1/4 mile before I was able to breathe deep enough to feel like I was getting the appropriate amount of oxygen in my system... Then, I kept running, and continued to struggle through to mile three, and just as I was about to quit and say three miles is enough (it was after all the distance I was supposed to run today), it all... stopped. The cramping in my side went away, the focus suddenly came, the favoring my left quit, and I was able to run... another mile.

So bizarre.

Jan 24, 2012

Consulting Business Colors...

So, after a lot of discussion, a lot of creative playing and looking over paint colors, design colors, and the trending colors of 2012 I have finally decided on my new consulting business colors!


The size differences in terms of main colors, complementary colors, and accent colors.

Jan 23, 2012

Running for Life...

Tonight I ran once again, but this time it was different.

I have been working towards running a half marathon the first weekend in April (oye). Mind you, I am not a runner.. I do not particularly like running (ok, I actually kinda hate it), and I definitely would not choose it as my favored workout...

However, running IS a fantastic workout.. It works the appropriate stomach muscles to help me flatten my stomach (my most disliked area of my body), and while I have a lot of issues with my joints, if I wear a knee strap and work on strengthening my muscles with other workouts, I have found I CAN actually run... (Even if I do typically walk like an 85 year old man for a day or two afterwards!)

This time the run was different though, I typically listen to random music for the first couple miles, then begin praying and pray through the last mile of my run (I get that 3 miles is not that far, but it is for me), however tonight I listened to techno music without words and prayed the entire time.

I prayed for the things I am seeking, the things I desire for my life, I spilled out my desires and gave them up, the things I want more than other (insert list here) things in my life.. I prayed for salvation for a few friends, I prayed for struggles, I prayed for God to reveal Himself to various people in new ways, I prayed for the hearts and pains of others, I prayed for health, and jobs, and exhaustion for all different people I love in my life.. I prayed for wisdom, peace, patience, compassion, love, joy, understanding, knowledge, Truth.. I prayed for the various things on my 3x5 bathroom mirror cards... Basically, I prayed. For the longest, most focused and most sincere period of time than I have in quite a while...

*Pause and insert additional background information*

At my church we are mid 21 days of prayer. I love it. I love my church, I love what Jesus is doing, and I am loving this series. It is speaking to me, beckoning me to a deeper relationship and communication with my Lord and my Savior. I have been somewhat surprised that I do not feel at all like this is something else I "have" to do.. this is something that I must do because my very core is calling out for it. My favorite part is my pastor (Mark Batterson) keeps stressing that even if we have no idea what to say, it is perfect to ask the Lord to "teach me to pray." I have been uttering that phrase so many times over the last couple weeks.. I could go on and on (and will likely do so another time) about the things I am learning about prayer these last few weeks, however this last Sunday we heard a story about a woman who made a deal with God that if He would bless her husband's ministry, she would meet him at 9am every morning (she had several other things that were part of her deal with God as well, but this was the one that struck me).

So, I have been mulling over the idea of "making a deal" or committing to something with God. Not because I want to test Him, not because I want Him to prove something, and not because I am doubting Him or His ability to do certain things in my life... I wanted to make this commitment because I want to learn to pray through.. I want to experience my sweet savior in a new way. I want to experience a relationship and a solid faith unlike anything I have experienced before. I want to see God's faithfulness explode.


So, while I was running, I decided, this was perfect for me. I prayed and told God that I would run as long as I am able (meaning for my entire life), if He would meet me there. Meet me while I ran, and would create space for me to meet Him. Running is not my favorite thing ever, I (really) do not particularly care for it... But, it is good for me physically, and now it will be good for me mentally and spiritually as well. So, I will run for the rest of my life... until I am unable to run, and then I will walk... And, I will begin to make that a priority so my Lord can meet me there to speak to me and hear me.

I am full of a little trepidation, but mostly I am excited to see what He does with this time, this period committed to Him. I am excited to see how this changes my life purely by encountering Him new.

I am circling this prayer.

Jan 22, 2012

DC Weekend...

I feel like this weekend was the epitome of a weekend in DC.. Or maybe, a classic weekend for me in DC.

I went out Friday night with a couple girlfriends to a new place we had never been to, which really is one of the best things about living in DC, there is always a place you have never been to that is great for trying new foods and drinks. We chatted, laughed.. at one point I even shushed the loud room cause I was having a difficult time talking over the crowd haha Then I went with my friend to see the new Underworld (good movie!)... Only to walk outside after the movie was over and discover snow.. and lots of it.

Now, I realize at this point it is three weeks into January, and we have had an incredibly mild winter so far (thank you Jesus.. really!), but regardless, I really hate snow. I hate driving in it (although I do now that I am an adult), I hate walking in it (it snows down your neck or gets your feet cold and wet)... although it is REALLY pretty while it is falling, I still hate the coldness of it. However, I am extremely thankful that I grew up in Michigan where snow and winter go together like peanut butter and jelly because I know how to drive in it. Which, Friday night was what made the difference between me making it up the hill or me having to push my car or get stuck... Thankfully I know how to drive in snow, and slid, slipped, and INCHED my way up a 40 foot hill (while FLOORING it and fishtailing).

Saturday I was able to sleep in (YESS!!), then have lunch with a friend that I have not been able to see in a while, catch up on life, and just enjoy each other's friendship... I then made my way into the city, parked my butt in a Starbucks (classic city passtime), read my bible and texted with my little sister killing time before my hair appointment...

Got my "hair did" haha and loove it :)

Then went BACK to Starbucks to meet up with and hang out with a friend. Once we both split from there, I met up with a couple friends and we went out dancing (not salsa sadly)... And, we ended up leaving with several very funny stories of guys trying to dance with us (sometimes repeatedly), and very sore feet (not from kicking anyone either haha).

Sundays are always my favorite though... Mainly because I love my church (I say it every week), but also because it is when I fill my randomness in.. work, school, laundry, napping, gym time, cooking, it's the day that I find easiest to actually let my mind process and work through things.

Tomorrow starts Backswanza!.. Aka my 27th birthday week, I am pretty excited (cause I love birthdays) and this year I am doing something different for my birthday... Please help me raise money for my Charity:Water campaign! I am trying to raise $2,727 to bring 27 families (137 people) clean drinking water!

Jan 20, 2012

Business Colors Round 2...

Ok, so after a great amount of feedback (thank you!), here are some revised color schemes...

So, round two, please let me know your thoughts of these options... (or offer your own)

Jan 19, 2012

Business Color Schemes...

Ok, so, I am in the process of choosing color schemes for my website and business (yes, I am aware that I have yet to name it.. That is coming with the logo ;)

I decided since I am looking to help others, it only makes sense to ask the opinion of others as well... I have my couple favorites, but please choose the one (or combination.. or make up your own) and let me know what you vote for. (These may or may not be the final one I choose.. these are just what I have been playing around with so far)


It Is Over...

I find myself in a situation again that makes me want to respond like a typical girl, it seems like the most appropriate way to feel at the moment, hurt, frustrated... emotional. Yet, I realize that how I think I should be feeling right now is not actually what is going on at all inside...
What is even more amazing is the peace I feel despite the situation I am in.

Thankfully my innumerable prayers to protect my heart were answered, and even more thankfully the situation is the most void of drama and hurt I have ever encountered. And, even though there is always a slight feeling of being bummed, not because of the circumstances themselves... I am actually quite thankful for how it all happened, everything I went through, and learned (cause let me tell you.. it was a lot), but just bummed because it has occurred once again.

Yet, through it all, there is a peace. A letting go feeling of complete surrender that the situation, the circumstances, the feelings all are being handed over to my sweet savior, and I will never care to take the control of them again...

I had a feeling this situation was going to turn out this way, and still chose to walk through the door because I knew I was going to learn, I was going to grow, and I was going to see several things in a way I had not ever viewed them. Looking back, I would do it again for all of those reasons, and quite frankly because I felt a peace to walk through the door, which thankfully the peace has remained. I do not think I made any poor choices nor did I make a mistake.

So, it is over, but only because one thing has to end in order for the next to start. Whatever is next, it is in God's hands.

Jan 18, 2012

For My Birthday...

I will be turning 27 on January 29th.

I am excited because I love birthdays. I love celebrating other people's birthdays, I love celebrating my own. I really just love having a legitimate reason to celebrate someone I care about. In my family we are the Backs (and I have cousin's that are the Butts.. we know.. it's funny, and we love it), during the week of our birthday, it becomes "Backswanza" (Or Buttswanza.. they maybe have started the name.. I'm not sure) meaning, we do something each day.. something small.. like Pizza and a movie.. cake and ice cream, presents.. flowers.. etc.. I LOVE IT. In fact, I love it so much that I have began adopting (winning or forcing maybe) my friends into this tradition haha!

However, this year I am pulling and audible!.. I am changing the game plan.

Since I am turning 27 (I know, nothing really significant, but it is to me :), instead of getting anything for my birthday I want to raise $2,727 for Charity: Water. 100% of the money you donate goes to help build clean water wells to those around the world.

It. Is. Awesome!

To break it down,
I need 101 people to donate $27 each...
Or, I need 202 people to donate $13.50 each!

What would my goal of $2,727 do?

It would give clean water to 136 people.
27 families would get clean water! (noticing a theme?)

So, please join me, wish me a happy birthday, and donate to my personal Charity: Water project for my birthday!

Thank you so much :)

Jan 17, 2012

The Business...

I have gone and done it now!...

I finally decided on a name for my business.. and now I have applied for and gotten the paper work I need to move forward! So, what am I doing?.. Consulting. Sorta. Let me walk through it a bit...

I love talking to and helping new and small businesses. I really enjoy talking to business owners and hearing about the things they are doing, that they are passionate about, and the various aspects of their livelihood. However, more than that, I love helping them. The idea that a person can start a business and make it successful or know everything they need in order to make a profit is just silly.. Especially when it comes to marketing, advertising, communications, social media, and even sometimes basic business things. Yet, at the same time, more often than not they just cannot afford to hire people to fill these roles, and subsequently they end up wasting a whole lot of time and money trying to make their business succeed...

aka... They work longer and harder instead of smarter.

So, the business I am starting is a consulting business.. but a little bit more intricate and involved than that. There are three components essentially, but there is established flexibility to accommodate anyone.

The first component is the business that needs help.. I want to get to know them, get a feel for their company, their goals, products, services, mission, values, market, culture.. all of it. I want to start with getting a real feel for who they are and what they are doing. Once I feel I have done that, I will be able to start putting together suggestions and priorities for them.. Whether that is a marketing plan, a business plan, a photographer, web designer, graphic designer etc.. But, because I will be working with new or small businesses the key will be their budget and me figuring out a way to fit what they need within their budget... Which means it will likely turn into a monthly plan of what priorities should get done with the budget they have for each month. The thing that I would actually like to do at this stage is be as involved as I can in this process, including the executing portion.. For two reasons... The first being, just handing someone a plan to follow is fine, but the chances of it getting done and getting done well are slim. And second, while I can give them all the coaching possible on how to do this, it is not what they went to school for, nor are passionate and excited about. So, I will be as involved or uninvolved as they would like me to be... Or that they can afford.

The Second component actually is to include the network of business contacts and friends I have or will make in my life. You see, I know hundreds of people across the country (and some around the world) that have amazing talents, education, skills, passions etc.. And, a lot of them are running their own small businesses.. Some in photography, graphic design, web design, copy writing, videography, accounting, consulting etc.. My goal will be to create a network with these friends and colleagues, get the best possible deals from them that I can, and then use them to provide the services the original client needs. However, the cool thing with this will be that the client will be able to choose the ones that match their style instead of just choosing from one that may not be a perfect fit for their style or business. Then, what will be happening in this stage is that the businesses of my friends and colleagues will be gaining additional business (and while it will be at a reduced price, it will still be business), so I will be able to help them as well.

The third and final component is that I will create a list of recommended charities, and the first 10% of the income (not profit) will go to the charity of the original business' choice. They can certainly choose their own charity if they have one they support or like in particular, but I will also work to create my own list of recommended charities that they can choose from. So, while the money will be donated by my business, it will be in honor of the business I am consulting for.

You see, my goal is not really to get rich so much as, this is a way for me to do what I love.. I will be able to grow as I am able (especially seeing as I have a full time job and have a year left of my double masters program), but I will be able to eventually grow this into whatever I want or am able, from anywhere in the world, AND I will be able to do what I love.. helping others succeed. I will be able to help them attain their goals and passions instead of struggle with things they know little about or cannot afford full time. Plus, it will be fantastic experience for me!

More to come as I begin to put all of the pieces together!

Jan 16, 2012

Great Weekend...

I am so amazed sometimes at how God works.. and even more so the people he chooses.

I had an absolutely fantastic weekend, I got to catch up with old college friends that I have not seen in years, and we played the "remember when... remember who..." game for hours about various things from college. It was so much fun, and hysterical just remembering things that we did or went through. Plus, I got babyfied. They have an adorable 3 year old little girl and twin 6 month old baby girl and boy. I got to hold, kiss, hug, feed, cuddle, get spit and slobbered on, and laugh at them all.. It was wonderful :)

I had a lot of great conversation throughout the weekend, and I was absolutely exhausted when I climbed into bed last night.. which lead to the FIRST good night sleep (even though it was only 8 1/2-9 hours) that I have had in about two months. I finally woke up rested.. Thank you Jesus.

I also was able to have a couple conversations about where things are, where they are going, and really begin to figure things out. No real answers were reached yet, however things are further along, and I have a real peace about where things are, no matter where they go in the future. My God can do anything, and I know that He will (and I have been praying for Him to) work things out to glorify Himself and that His will be done, not my own. Thankfully the more I pray about it the more content and at peace I am... Although, there is always the Krista side that inclines me to want to know the end instantly, but as it stands right now I am content to let things play out however they need to, and my prayer is that God helps me to see what He is doing, and that I am able to walk in a manner that is worthy of the Lord (Col. 1:10).

What a great weekend.

Jan 12, 2012

Prayer Over Me...

Today is day 3 of the 21 days of prayer that my church is doing as part of the Circle Maker series.. which is also a book that my head pastor Mark Batterson wrote.

I fasted on Tuesday.
Wednesday I avoided music while I drove.

Today, it dawned on me how many people have told me recently that they are praying for me.. Either because they felt compelled for no reason at all, read something I wrote on my blog, saw something I said on Facebook or Twitter or because of a conversation I had with them personally.

What amazes me, and really truly humbles me to my very core is HOW MANY of them there are..

I am so incredibly thankful for each prayer.
I am so humbled by the pure love expressed in each prayer.
I am so amazed at the sheer number of people sending petitions to my savior without any idea why.
I am so undeserving of the amount of time people are spending on my behalf.
I am so completely blind, but completely excited to see what God is doing through all of this.
I am so grateful for the true friends and family that have taken me before the Lord.

I am so loved.

Last Sunday while my pastor was talking about the 21 days of prayer, he mentioned that so many times we just have no idea what to pray, but that sometimes we just need to start with “Lord, teach us to pray..." (Luke 11:1b).. Somewhere in there I realized this year is going to be a lot of me praying. I have no idea why or what for yet, but what I do know is there will be a whole heck of a lot of talking to my sweet savior this year...

The idea that this year is going to be a lot about prayer was solidified when three separate friends e-mailed me last night and today, and each of them said they had been praying for me. One because she felt compelled, another because we had a conversation, and still another because she said she loves me.

That is when it dawned on me that something is up this year.

"Lord, teach me to pray..."

Jan 11, 2012


A couple of times a week on my way home from work, I end up talking with my mom. We talk about our day, the last few days, things we have been thinking about, things we are praying about, and a whole lot of things that only moms would understand. I love and cherish these conversations with my mom because they are such special moments we share just us..

Anyway, we were talking tonight and I was updating her on conversations, things I found funny, and I was telling her about hanging out with the boy, things that we have talked about, and several things that I am learning and praying about regarding everything going on in my life right now. Part way through the conversation she commented on the story I was telling her saying that it seemed like a good thing because he did not seem as needy as past relationships I have had. She then went on to explain that I tend to operate from a place of giving... I give my time.. my energy.. my money.. my things.. my emotions.. I tend to just give, and I do not really have a shut off or a filter for when I need to stop or when I can no longer handle it anymore. She explained that there have been instances when it seems like the person I am helping literally just drains me and does not give back...

What I found particularly surprising in how she was explaining it was the way in which she clearly communicated a love for how giving I am, a hint of worry because of my lack of ability to just shut it off... Yet, mixed in equally with the other two was almost an admiration in her words for the fact that I operate my life with the understanding that if I CAN do something to help someone else.. why wouldn't I?...

One of the things she mentioned (and what seems to be a totally logical approach to me), is her observation that I will respond the same to people who I barely know as I would to someone I love deeply.

I find myself really intrigued at the view my mom has of me.. Partially because I know she is right, and because there is so much love in the way she talks and worries about me (even though I'm about to turn 27 :), but also because I really had never thought of the fact that I do not really have an off switch in this area of my life. Sometimes I do, in a case by case basis, but I never say no over mild inconveniences...

After we talked, I began thinking about the ways in which this trait (whether learned, cultivated, or born in me) is and has been a good thing, but also how there have definitely been so many instances where it was really not a good thing. How in past relationships (friendships or otherwise) I literally just poured into them, sacrificing things I liked, needed or wanted in order to help them or "make the relationship work".. all the while, literally just emptying myself.. Sometimes to the point of breakdown or worse. More often than not, I view things in light of "would this help or benefit them (whoever them is), and is there a sound reason NOT to?" If the answer is "yes, no" then typically I will do it.. Drive hours, spend time or money, go out of my way, lose sleep, work extra etc...

However, there is definitely a couple ways that I can see how this has turned into maybe a not so good thing for me.. Namely that I really struggle letting others help ME.. Sounds bizarre, but I honestly do not know how to handle it well, and really have to work at letting other help me... and more importantly asking others to help. There are some people that I have slowly accepted into the category of ok to ask for help, some I am really working on, and others I have no cognitive understanding of what it would look like to let them help me...

Don't I seem like such a "good person"?...haha.. *gag*... That is not at all where I am going with this thought, and certainly not what my heart is contemplating regarding this whole thing...

Truly I am intrigued by the perspective my mom has, I am even more so intrigued because of how it applies to the story I was telling her, and how much I struggle with letting people help me... including, and maybe especially so the boy. I cannot even begin to fake being able to do everything alone, that idea is completely ridiculous, and I would be doomed to fail. I also know that I really need to work at letting others help me, and being (appropriately) vulnerable.. Sometimes (ok maybe a lot of the time) I have a hard time wrapping my mind around the reason someone else (especially the boy) would go so out of their way for me.. I mean, if I detached myself and looked at the situation or if someone else was explaining this to me, I would laugh and tell them how ridiculous it was, that of course they are loved and letting others help them is a wonderful thing.. Yet, applying it to myself takes on a whole different light.

How do I help others and be selfless without turning into a fortress all unto my own?... I haven't a clue. How do I do these things without also turning into a self-centered person?.. I don't know.

So, those are a few of my thoughts for this evening...

Jan 10, 2012

21 Days of Prayer...

Today my church is starting 21 Days of Prayer. I am so excited and whole heartedly jumping into this because I feel compelled to be a part of this. I feel as though this is a game changer for me, and I feel like I am starting something new with these next 21 days.

Here is a small excerpt from my pastor's blog (Mark Batterson),

"David set the standard in Psalm 5:3:

In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning, I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.

One of the reasons why many people don’t feel intimacy with God is because they don’t have a daily rhythm with God. They have a weekly rhythm.  If all you have with God is a weekly touchpoint called church, you’ll lose touch with God. Would that work with your spouse or your kids?  It doesn’t work in God’s family either.  We need to establish a daily rhythm in order to have a daily relationship with God.  The best way to do that is to begin the day in prayer.

Is it always easy? No.  That’s why I love the determination in David’s voice: In the morning, O Lord, you will hear my voice.  That’s what it takes doesn’t it?  It’s hard to get up early, but that is what makes praying hard so hard. Setting your alarm is a stewardship issue!  David was determined to circle his day in prayer.  I don’t know if he prayed through his calendar or wrote down his requests in a prayer journal.  But I know that he prayed with specificity and consistency.  And that is what drawing prayer circles is all about.

This is the day the Lord has made!  Circle it.

To sign up for the 21-Day Prayer Challenge, go here.

You can purchase individual copies of The Circle Maker on amazon.com.  For free resources and bulk discounts, go to www.thecirclemaker.com."

Today, I start the 21 Days of Prayer with fasting and just asking God what His plans are, where my focus should be, and to burden my heart with the things that burden His. I want Him to teach me His ways, to show me where He is guiding me, and where He is asking me to rest and wait on Him.

Should be an interesting and way exciting 21 days.

Jan 9, 2012

Unexpected Growth...

How do you respond when you are having a conversation with someone you care about, and it is a topic that makes you uncomfortable and feel vulnerable?... I ramble.. I make significantly less eye contact.. and sometimes I get flush in the face. It is lovely (please note the sarcasm).

However, I had one of these types of conversations last night, and it was interesting to say the least. The overall conversation was really good, it did not go at all how I thought it would (which typically is a good thing), and the response to what I was bringing up and talking about was not at all what I was expecting (also a good thing). I typically try to prepare the person I am talking to in advance, letting them know that I need them to understand what I mean instead of necessarily hearing what I am saying, and then I usually apologize for the massive amounts of rambling that is about to take place as I try to muddle my way through the emotional thoughts that are about to fall out randomly...

What is interesting to me though is how God is using these types of conversations to grow me in ways I have yet to experience and in ways I was not at all expecting.

One of the most bizarre things that took place during the conversation last night was I literally felt my head and heart trying to wrap my mind around what I was hearing.. I knew I was hearing truth, I knew that the response to my emotional ramblings was authentic, but most of all, I knew that the value being communicated while coming from this person, was actually a sweet whisper slowly expanding in my heart from my wonderful creator reminding me that I am treasured... While the voice came from the incredibly sweet and thoughtful person sitting next to me on the couch, the words were entirely that of my Lord... And, I eloquently responded internally with what was the equivalent of stuttering, "uh..uh.. uh.. w..w..what?" You see, I had no issues understanding cognitively what was being said to me, but what I struggled believing was that the truth in the words applied to me, to every part of who I am, and that my value has little to nothing to do with me at all, has nothing to do with my actions, my past, my successes or my failures.

My value and worth comes from my Lord.

I am always amazed and so incredibly thankful for the people that God uses to speak to me in new and special ways. I love how each person fills a specific role, has a unique place in my life, and how so many people can say the exact same thing.. but somehow when a certain person says it, the meaning and impact take on a completely different meaning and light. What I love even more is when the person is clueless as to the profound impact they have made on me. I get so amused when I try to communicated and explain what has happened and how God has used them, I get this sweet smile, but a completely unknowing and not understanding smile in response.

My God is awesome, and I love how He never ceases to amaze.

Jan 8, 2012

The Circle Maker...

I say this pretty much every Sunday, I love my church. This week we started The Circle Maker series, and I am so pumped!

While there is nothing particularly special about the building(s) and nothing different about the people, what is special is that God moves because the leaders are humble, seek His face, and because the followers seek, listen, and learn. I have said on several occasions that the thing that speaks to me the most is the humility people exhibit.. But, this Sunday, the thing that spoke to me the most was the boldness.. Not to be confused with arrogance, dictation or any sort of demanding... But, pure boldness.

Mark Batterson's latest book is called The Circle Maker. To sum up the book in way too little amount of detail, the book is about prayer. But, it is the fact that it is not just about prayer that excites me, motivates me, encourages me, it is because it does it in a way that does not make me feel burdened or like I am being obligated to yet another thing that I should be doing but am currently failing at. The book is about inspiring.. not coercing.

My roomie and I began reading The Circle Maker while we were driving back to DC after Christmas (really she read to me while I drove).. And, there is always something that flares inside of me when I read about the boldness of others and the way they live their lives for Christ. Even if the story I am hearing is hundreds (or possibly thousands) of years old, I cannot help but feel inspired. I love these stories because I do not posses the strength, boldness or faith to do the same things, and I know it... But, I always love the feeling I get inside of me when I hear about someone else choosing to be bold, and then God ANSWERING their boldness! I am always amazed at how some people have the ability to speak things into existence with their prayers, and I am always inspired because they posses the most humility of anyone I have ever met (or heard of etc..). I want to be like them.

It is no surprise to anyone who knows me that I am naturally fairly bold and direct in the way I operate or communicate. Although, sometimes my boldness or the directness of my approach is just way too much, and other times it is the completely wrong choice of words or timing, but either way, I prefer straight forward. I admire people who can tote the line of direct, bold, and maintain the understanding that it is all out of genuine love and humility. I hope and pray all the time that God gives me the wisdom and understanding to be proficient at this as I get older.

All this to say, I am really excited about this new series, and finishing reading this book :)

Jan 7, 2012

January Ramblings...

What a week it has been.. Sometimes I am just thankful to have made it through the week, and this week is definitely one of those weeks!

I am SO sore because I literally ran off the stress and anxiety this week with four separate days of running a 5k each time, three core work outs, thee shoulder work outs, and a kicking session. I have no idea how I am still walking right now.

My sleeping pattern continues to be absurd. For roughly six weeks (maybe a little more) I have been sleeping bizarrely. However, since just before Christmas my pattern is to sleep for about an hour (maybe two), then be awake for 30min-an hour.. Or to wake up every hour for a few minutes... I have no idea what is going on with my used to be able to sleep 10-12 hours straight... One day I know it will return to me.. Until then, I pray a lot at night now...

This song has been my favorite song for the last week or so..

Jan 5, 2012

Mounting Attacks...

I do not know why, but sometimes I am completely blown away by the force at which I end up struggling with things.. I am unsure why I do not see it coming more that Satan is mounting an attack, but let me tell you, sometimes I am just totally blindsided.

Today was one of those days.

Looking back on yesterday, I should have known it was coming, I spent a great deal of time praying yesterday, and was feeling particularly antsy and like I just could not rest... yet somehow I missed the signs that a full onslaught of struggling was coming.

Today, I was taken by surprise. I hate getting taken by surprise in this way, I hate that I barely slept, and certainly did not sleep well enough to be able to recognize what was happening. So, instead I spent hours today struggling with some pretty intense fear and anxiety. It was so much so that I literally could not put accurate words to it for hours.. and even after the majority of the attack was over I felt physically exhausted, but still completely jittery.

So, I talked with a few friends, ran my third 5k of the week, and proceeded to have my third core worked out of the week... I am going to be hurting tomorrow.. But, thankfully right now the gym time is working off the extra energy I cannot seem to control, clearing my mind of the fog, and giving me a distinct chance to pray (which seems to naturally be taking its place the last mile of my run).

Thankfully the full onslaught of whatever was going on earlier has been replaced by calm seas once more. I have no idea how people get through days like today without Christ...

I am so glad tomorrow is a new day.

Jan 4, 2012

Nice Guys...

"Nice guys finish last."

I cannot count how many times I have heard this saying.. sometimes in exasperation from guys or sometimes as a nonchalant (or maybe jaded or calloused) comment from girls. However, what I do know is the saying has always bothered me, and I always feel the need to defend it with the "no way, that's not true!.." Yet, I always end up feeling defeated with very limited number of examples because I know regardless of what I know to be true, this is a feeling had by a lot of guys (and girls.. "Where are all the good guys?!"... While always choosing the wrong guys.. and I am guilty of this too...).

What is interesting is I know I will "end up" with a nice guy... not meaning the plain, boring, or pushover type of nice guy, but the kind that treats me better than I expect or deserve... Haha There just simply is no chance of me ending up with a boring or plain man. How do I know this? Because I know what is good for me, and the typical "bad guy" that I know has drawn me on several occasions has more to do with the strength of his personality, and the fact that usually those are the types of guys that are straight forward and view me as a challenge... But, that is never the type that will keep me for very long. So, while I hate to admit this, I understand that the typical "nice guy" often will feel like he finishes last because of being less likely to step into the unknown and risk getting hurt to pursue (I am sorry), but in reality, he will not feel that way when he finds his girl.

So, let me take a moment to say, nice guys, please pursue. Risk the pain and pursue us, be patient, be tender, be sweet, and show us we are worth anything... but for the love!!.. pursue us, do not wait for us to notice you, throw you a sign, or initiate. We are waiting for you to notice us, to show us we are important, and to prove to use that our insecurities are unfounded. I am not saying there is any sort of magical recipe for finding love, a girl, or avoiding heartache.. There is most certainly risk involved, and sometimes you will not be able to avoid the turn downs or heartache..

But, please.. please do not stop pursuing and risking for us.

From my experience, I am used to guys showing interest that realistically are not good matches or fits for me (or me for them) because of one reason or a dozen others, but what I have begun to realize over the last little while is that my relationships with them has actually left me extremely broken and insecure on the inside, which rarely comes out in any significant or visible way unless you add a guy into my life, then I throw all my energy into hiding the insecurities and trying to seem composed, put together, and not at all emotional. Sometimes, others can see the ways in which I am damaged and broken, although really you have to look for it (or know what you are seeing) to find it.

However, recently, I have found myself in a situation where a genuinely nice guy is pursuing me.. (and not at all plain, boring or predictable either!) He came out of nowhere (that I could see), and has been a sweet surprise. I am amazed constantly by how tender, caring, honest, and communicative this nice guy is... Not to mention (tall) funny (and tall), and incredibly smart (did I mention tall? haha). We are taking things very slowly, just sort of seeing how this unfolds. He and I both realize there are a lot of challenges ahead, so we are just taking it a little bit at a time and seeing where things go. What has been interesting for me throughout all of this though is how completely and totally sweet and caring he (this nice guy) is, and how much I am completely out of practice, not at all used to, and fairly uncomfortable letting someone else take care of me or go out of their way for me (How can anyone be bad at letting others care for them?!.. I dunno but I would get a gold star...). Thankfully, he is incredibly patient and does not get bent out of shape when I (sometimes) inadvertently fight back on things he wants to do to show I am important or ways he wants to take care of me. In return, I have been working incredibly hard at not even attempting to try to control or manipulate anything in order to make myself more comfortable in this situation I find myself in unexpectedly...

Let me clue you in on some of the internal workings of what is going on with me right now... I am very uncomfortable with, and really have no idea how to handle actually letting someone take care of me without then letting me do something in return or to "balance" things out again. I really like all the small things, and they make me feel incredibly special, but the reality is I have no idea how to respond or how to handle it.. so instead, I just get really awkward (or feel awkward inside haha). I purposefully try to take the focus off of me by asking questions or rambling about nothingness.. Usually in a failed attempt to keep him from seeing what I am thinking or how uncomfortable I feel that he is showing me that I am important. What is interesting for me is that in the midst of all of these conflicting emotions that I deep down I feel cared for in a way that I have never experienced before, which in turn only makes my awkwardness worse (who am I right now?!) haha However, what is the really interesting thing about all of this is how the intense uncomfortable feeling is something that I realize has nothing to do with anything him or his actions, but is purely my own insecurities... and maybe partially because I am a huge fan of practicality (...I am realizing practicality does not, nor do I realistically want it to play a role in how these types of things end up working out).

While I have no idea what is to come, and he and I are both uncertain about the future at this point (can anyone be certain of the future?), I am extremely thankful for getting the chance to experience something new, in a genuine, honest, and caring (and kinda new and exciting) way. I am also finding that I am spending a lot of time praying myself through my fears and insecurities and uttering "your will not mine" in my prayers more than I can remember... I also have found that I have a very welcome but bizarre feeling of peace, not because I feel an inclination in terms of direction, certainty or safety, but because I know that God is actually working things out.. And, in the end, regardless of what this will all end up looking like, I will be so incredibly thankful for all of it, and I will have learned so much.

Jan 3, 2012

My View, Proverbs 31 Woman...

I first was introduced (or remember being introduced) to the "Proverbs 31 woman" in college. A group of men created a band of brothers that was really inspiring, so a group of us girls got together and focused on the Proverbs 31 woman..

If you have not read it recently (or ever), here it is, Proverbs 31:10-31:

"An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
And he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
She looks for wool and flax
And works with her hands in delight.
She is like merchant ships;
She brings her food from afar.
She rises also while it is still night
And gives food to her household
And portions to her maidens.
She considers a field and buys it;
From her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She girds herself with strength
And makes her arms strong.
She senses that her gain is good;
Her lamp does not go out at night.
She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hands grasp the spindle.
She extends her hand to the poor,
And she stretches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of the snow for her household,
For all her household are clothed with scarlet.
She makes coverings for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies belts to the tradesmen.
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future.
She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
“Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all.”
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
Give her the product of her hands,
And let her works praise her in the gates."

I have heard a lot of things about these verses.. Ranging from "who has time to be that kind of woman/wife" to "every woman should always strive for these things.." even, "These just make me tired thinking about it.." ... and, I have heard men and woman alike comment one these verses, some of the comments inspiring, others just make me want to break someone's nose...

So, what do I think about this passage of scriptire? Well.. it certainly can seem daunting at times, I mean this woman I swear (can you swear about Bible things?) is the cream of the crop, and is a superhero! On days that I am particularly distant in my discussions with the Lord, I am absolutely the furthest from resembling this woman. Some days I think this woman is absolutely the most inspiring thing I have ever read... and then other days I do not even understand what I am reading. How would I possibly MAKE linen garments and sell them anyway!?.. haha..

But, the more I think about this passage the more I realize I (just myself.. because it is totally unfair to speak for any other woman) do actually strive to be this woman. Even though I am still single, so I am not bringing my husband any honor or glory, I am certainly bringing those same things to my sweet savior, and preparing for (possibly) being married later.

So, here are a few of the sections of this passage that really jump out to me...

For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life. 

I love that immediately her worth is vast beyond any solid tangible precious jewel.. And that immediately after that it is pointed out that her husband trusts in her, and that because of that it is a good thing.. that every day of her life (not married life... but life as a whole) she will not do him evil (that means working at it now and cultivating the characteristics and wisdom now.. not just later after marriage).

She considers a field and buys it; From her earnings she plants a vineyard. She girds herself with strength and makes her arms strong. 

This is my kind of woman.. and one that I hope I will always be. I want to be financially able.. I want to work to help my entire life.. whether that means bringing home an income or merely planting a vineyard (haha.. I wouldn't have any idea what that means...).. But, what I love most about this part is that she is able, she is not weak..

She extends her hand to the poor, and she stretches out her hands to the needy. 

I want to always be this way.. Love and compassion I want to exude from me at all times.. (gosh I have so much to learn and so far to grow)

Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land. 

I really.. really like this verse, and it rings a bell deep within me to want to bring respect to my husband (or right now to God) because of the way I conduct myself... I think this is a really cool and affectionate verse because it has little to do with him except for that she belongs to him, and he is hers.

Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future. She opens her mouth in wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. 

I want this to be descriptors of me, all the days of my life... (I have a lot of work to do, but in an inspiring way, not a depressing way)

Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.

Love this, and I hope this will be how I am described at the end of my life.

So, I really do not think the Proverbs 31 woman passage is overwhelming.. I think it serves as a good constant challenge and reminder about who I am and who I am becoming.

I also think it is imperative.. and probably impossible to do without Christ in my life, which means that every day I get a do-over.

Jan 1, 2012

Ringing in 2012...

I went out with several friends for New Years Eve, we had.. a lot of interesting things happen, including almost getting hit by a drunk driver that was trying to outrun us.. or run into us... while driving without a tire and spraying sparks and flames... Praise the Lord that the cars that had a green light didn't go so I could run the red light (after already stopping) when I realized he was going to rear end me going 50mph... Whoa.

Anyway, here are a few pictures from the evening.. lots of fun and laughter!

 This is a dear friend I have been able to reconnect with a couple months ago. Which is awesome!

My fantastic friends who made the trek up to DC to ring in the new year with me!

 Haha.. we became friends being in a wedding of a mutual friend.. and we dance TOTALLY ridiculous at the reception, it had been a while since we had the chance to have a ridiculousness dance session.. so we had to take the opportunity to interpretive dance to the music haha

On the train on the way home, we discovered we both are complete cheesers when we smile for pictures.. So, we had to take a few to laugh at.

Such a fun evening with friends, even with a few minor mishaps...

Happy New Year!