Tuesday, July 30, 2013

7 Times He Rises Again

"It doesn't matter how hard you fall down. It matters that you trust God to raise you up again - after all, He's already Risen."

Proverbs 24:16
For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again,
but the wicked are brought down by calamity.

"Everybody falls sometimes, but you will have the strength to rise..."
(Downhere, What Faith Can Do)

Struggles can try to take our focus off Christ and put our attention on our failures, pain, and circumstances. Even when I try my best, sometimes everything combined just overwhelms me, and if I have the guts, I will admit it - "I fell again."

One of my friends told me, in possibly one of the worst moments of my life,
"It doesn't matter how hard you fall down. It matters that you trust God to raise you up again - after all, HB, He's already Risen."

A few weeks ago I was talking to a girl, I'll call her Lydia. She was talking about these times when we can't feel God. "I really don't know what it is. It's been a few "dry" months. I still read my Bible and pray, but it's been real silent."

She wasn't alone. In fact, all of that week, almost everywhere I turned, I came face to face with yet another person in this type of situation. But Lydia had some great insight, as I'll share later on. Lydia's faith carries her through, but not everyone chooses to hold onto the promises found in God's word like she does. It made me wonder, do we not know the promises well enough? Are we letting the world tell us these promises aren't always true and so are unreliable? Are we trusting what we can see more than what is true?

Wondering how large the issue was with people my age, I put out an invitation to talk about these "dry" times on Facebook. One of my friends replied,"He's there despite how you feel! Salvation is not based on emotions. If you are happy, he's there. If you are sad, He is still there. God is greater than your heart (1 John)."

Since it was on my mind, we ended up doing this for a topic for youth. "When you can't feel God..."

I asked the youth group if they can always feel God. They said, No!
When I asked what causes it, they discussed that we aren't redeemed yet, that maybe sometimes it's just because we live in a fallen world, but that the day is coming when we will never be separated from God again, so it is our hope.

Back to my friend Lydia. She isn't remotely a part of the youth, but I liked her insight on the topic. She said, "I keep thinking back to what I've learned of Abraham. What hit me was how many years he waited in between each time he heard from God. It doesn't seem that long reading the chapters back to back, but looking at his ages...it was decades of time!"

Lydia knows the truth, which holds her in this time; even though she can't feel God, she is trusting Him that He is there, He is at work, and He keeps His promises. Hebrews Chapter 11 tells us about all kinds of people in the Old Testament, including Abraham, who trusted God their whole lives, not yet receiving the things they had been promised, but knowing it was all in God's plans and God's timing.

At youth, we were also looking at verses that talked about God strengthening us in our faith, and it was discussed that those dry times test us but also make us more like Christ, as God has prepared everything in our lives to do. That's in Romans 8:28-29.

I love what one of the kids said, I'll just share it... I asked, What should we do when we can't feel God, and I thought they might do the Sunday School answers of "Pray," "Read the Bible," "Go to church..." but she said, "Do things for your love of God. Do everything you do because you love God and want to please him. Do chores and school and everything for your love of God."

I was impressed with the thought of dedicating everything to God especially, in a time when I may feel a disconnect. "Wow, that's a good focus," I told her. This discussion made me smile cause we were getting into applying stuff in life. I hope it sticks. I learned a lot.

Along these same lines, one of my friends wrote as her status the other day, something like this: "I will keep running the race and even if I fall down, I will not stay there, but remember that the One who died in my place, understands and went through greater temptations and death than I ever could. I will get up and have one thing in mind: it’s to finish the race."

So, I'm going to break a bit here. One of the passages we examined at youth included that first verse I wrote above, Proverbs 24:16. I asked the youth,

1) What does it mean 7 times in this passage?
They answered, "Every day... or ... special number throughout the Bible, like forgiving 70 times 7, which is found in Matthew 18:22."

2) What does it mean to fall?

The dictionary says, "to come down under the effects of gravity." Quite literal - you're allowed to laugh here, they did!
Some possible serious understandings include fall referring to sin, and our sin nature. We covered the question, "Are we born sinless, or sinners?" There was a little debate but we ended up at the conclusion that we were born sinners according to the Bible.

3) What does calamity mean?

Once again, the dictionary says, "adversity and trials, disasters that life inevitably sends our way."
This had great meaning to me, as far as the last part.

Now we get to the good stuff, where the hope comes in.
4) How do we have the strength to overcome our downfalls?

God provides the strength through His victory at the cross. It's supernatural. We can't do it ourselves or on our own.

5) What is our hope supposed to be in?
The Cross; eternal life; God

6) What is hope?
Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

Hope produces joy and peace.

7) Can we always FEEL God?

8) Is something wrong when we can't feel God?
Not always.

9) What should we do when we can't feel God?
See the student's answer above, about dedicating ourselves nonetheless.

In summary, the comfort that God gives us is not to escape the trouble we go through, but to get through the trouble to the end. WHAT'S THE END? Eternal life with Jesus Christ our Lord.

Truth: The more you think about a fall, a circumstance, whatever is holding you back... the bigger the problem becomes, because you put all your time on problem, instead of enjoying the freedom - FREEDOM FOUND IN CHRIST.

When we can't feel God, it's not that He is not at work.
That's something we just have to trust.
And there are reasons to trust Him; everything He's done for me in my life so far, everything He's done in the lives of those around me and those I read about through all of history, the cross... so many reasons.

I choose to trust Him.
Now you choose - when the dry times come (and they will!) will you examine your life, praise Him, and wait on Him?
Or will you try to take things in your own hands, stubbornly refuse His grace and peace, and try anything to "feel" again?

March 27, 2010 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Jeans are Better

You and me on the back porch,
you told me it was okay to like jeans better,
we played soccer and caught lizards,
went to church and talked about it for hours.

You gave me my taste in books.
Westerns and childhood tales stirred my heart,
showed me the beauty of another life,
and I wrote myself in as the ever companion.
But what I remember more, were the dreams...

Where did your dreams go?

I was confused when you shut me out.
I didn't know how to get back in.
You gave me a choice and I thought I did the right thing,
but did it hurt you more than everyone else?

I held my dreams, and my hurt healed...

But I didn't have the ability to hold up yours with you, for you.
I still pray for you, childhood friend.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

My role at the writing center, and the reason the writing center is important to USC Upstate

We were asked to write about our roles, and the role of the writing center itself, for work. I thought I'd share. Any thoughts are welcome!

I see my role as helping students develop their voices; I look at each paper as the message that they are trying to get across, and each paper, then, is an opportunity to improve the skills that enable people to more clearly and impactfully say what they want to say.

I feel like I bring enthusiasm and patience to this community, because I have a passion for the students who come in. I have a lot of empathy, as well - I understand that a lot of students come from backgrounds that did not fully prepare them for the level of academic writing that their college classes require, but I find that many students want to know the right way to write formally - they just have never had the opportunities to learn.

I think the Writing Center may be the singularly most important service to students that this campus offers. I say this because, in my opinion, if one cannot write, one does not think as fully as one has the potential to. There is something about the process of writing that pulls thoughts together, making the comprehension of any given idea more full. Between the research, structuring, actual writing, and editing, something happens to the mind that goes beyond even just clarity. There are few subjects that do not involve the skills learned through basic reading and writing - even in the math and science fields, papers are required for the highest levels of learning and application to everyday life.

Original post: Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Saturday, July 27, 2013

8 Observations About Job Applications

1. Some places must just want to see if you can persevere - because to apply for an entry level nothingness job, they will have you waste 2 or more hours going through their application process (besides uploading your resume)...

2. Personality tests, which are commonly a part of this process, might include critical questions like (on a scale of Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree) - "I have never crossed the street on a red light"... okay because that's gonna help me file your papers...

3. You sometimes glance at the qualifications, start applying, almost finish, and then they suddenly announce that you have to have 3 years of experience or you won't even be considered...

4. Applying for jobs can leave you feeling very depressed, or at least insane, as you just uploaded your resume, but they want you to fill out the same information that's in it, in drop down boxes and even text boxes that don't allow copy-pasted answers.

5. Applying for jobs can make you wonder why you did not go to one college... instead of four... or if they really won't hire you if you don't list them all... because there are only 2 text boxes anyhow...

6. Applying for jobs can make you very sorry you ever worked at more than one place... for the same reasons as above

7. Can they contact my current or previous employers? Sure! But do I have everything short of their Social Security numbers? No! I don't have each of my employer's home and personal mobile phones, home addresses, and all that. Just the work numbers, thank you!

8. I hate rejection letters... but I hate silence even more. And I hate when they call but don't leave a message..

Original post: March 12, 2012 at 7:04pm

Friday, July 26, 2013

Every 4 minutes...

I get an email in the GGFG inbox every 4 minutes some afternoons. These are emails from real people, and most of my responses are better handled from my computer than my phone (meaning they are long, deep, require files to be attached, or complicated because I want to answer using multiple previous emails).

That's pretty full time...
And there's NOTHING more than I'd love than to be full time manager of GGFG.

But for now, I'm full time administrative assistant at Net3 while still doing a big chunk of the work of running GGFG (thank you Megan H. and Rebecca U.! I couldn't do it without ya'll!) and once again, starting in August, I'll be running the house solo again. No Awana this year... no secondary jobs or regular sitter jobs. But I will be getting things ready to move, and saying goodbye to friends. And then I'll be cooking and seeing Erik most weekends!

I am extremely thankful for this season, and will be okay with wearing myself out if it means I can help more girls grow closer to God and even come to know God in the first place.

Like A Child, The Teacher Says

Like a child, the Teachers says
Simple trust, the child has
Untainted love.
Humble himself, but so greatly treasured
Both on earth and in heaven.

Children capture our hearts,
not because they have accomplished great things,
not because they give us expensive gifts,
not because they sacrifice time or material,
not because they speak eloquently,
not because they posses power or knowledge,
but just because they are, they exist.
If we believed we were loved "just because,"
would we love better?
For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. (Matthew 18:11)
Matthew 18:
2-6 He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
10 See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Games You Played for the Past X Years

You can say you want something, but if you don't use the resources and opportunities given to you, you don't want it that badly.

For example, you've asked questions about things you could look up online - it makes me think you just want someone to hand you everything. Even when people have given you money, physical resources, and tried to help you, you haven't used them well. If you really wanted better... I know you have a phone, and you're on Facebook. Even if you didn't have a phone, you are around people that do. You are just fishing, and you're doing it with someone who tried to offer you a lot already. Just stop.

You can say you weren't given what you needed, but if you never even looked into anything, researched anything, or tried to help yourself, don't expect others to hand everything to you. You were given many chances to accomplish things, to finish things, to make the right choice.

I'm not fooled. If you wanted it badly enough, you'd finish those things now. When I left home, I wasn't exactly putting myself in an easy position, but I did all the work to get where I am. I could have never finished the things I started, but I finished all of them. I could have "just gotten by," but I did even more than that. And as stubborn as you are, if you wanted better, you'd have it.

I offered you help a few times, too. But you want things that aren't good for you, and I'll have no allegiance with you.

You can say you don't like your life right now, but if you make no move to change, you won't get any results. You have to work hard to get good things. You have to take pride in yourself, in doing a good job - you have to care enough about doing the right thing that you choose it when it's hard. Until you choose to do more than what you feel at the moment is "what you want," and actually apply yourself to a goal, you're getting nowhere. So stop asking for things you've already turned down.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

How Do You Know?

I was thinking about the whole "how do you know if you're really saved" issue because it came up on GGFG. One of my thoughts goes beyond the verses I use to back up "once saved, always saved," and the regular fruit analogies. Although I will not claim that I know if someone has trusted Christ or not, I have always been very aware of people who are Spirit led. Besides a willingness and interest in putting others' needs first (which I fail to do so many times), I notice in others a changeable spirit and an unchangeable view of the truth.

When I look for friends, I look for people who constantly and consistently move toward their goals (even if their goals change over time), work on their faults, learn new things, accept advice, try to evaluate their words and actions to some degree... these people aren't perfect, but they have a drive inside of them that makes them want to experience life to the fullest, and they are willing to put in the effort to make a difference in the world. (Okay guys if we talk a lot don't get all prideful knowing that that's how I view my friends.)

This should be true of Christians. All Christians should be changeable, and changing, no matter how many times they fail and how slow the changes are, because God doesn't leave you where you are when you come to the cross. Yes, He accepts you where you are when you get there, fully. But if your clothes were filthy when you arrived at a friend's house, say, your best friend, wouldn't they give you new clothes? And you'd change into the clean clothes, because the dirty ones were unacceptable to wear inside. Your friend wouldn't say, "Go home and come back when you're cleaned up." God welcomes you into His presence, and the things you get to changes were never meant to be a part of you anyhow (you are NOT your clothes, you are so much more!).

Sometimes I can sense this in a person, and I just know that they know God.

Some people change in ways that contradict who they are, though, at every new idea that comes by. They think everything sounds like a great idea, and they are not consistent about their view on anything. (They aren't even politicians...) People who don't accept God's Word as the truth resort to using their own thoughts as the basis of truth, or claiming a cultural system, other religion, or other system (this is what "real science" says, this is how the corporate world functions) as the decider of truth.

A Christian cannot and will not trade truth for lies because of convenience, acceptance, fear, situational circumstances, selfishness, pride, pain, peer pressure, guilt, or "the end result." One of my favorite quotes is from Charles Stanley, "Obey God, and leave the consequences to Him." It's been on my bulletin board (or closet) for 12 years. The stand must be made, and it can be made in a loving manner, but it will not be a weak stance. See Ephesians starting at 6:10 to the end of the chapter.

How do you know if you're a Christian? Because you long to know God more, trust Him more, and you are willing to make that your priority - you don't let anything else get in the way of that, you want Him more than anything you might fear losing or missing out on.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What's so impressive about that

I had a conversation last semester that inspired me.

A girl shared a story about what God had done in her life, and I commented on how impressive that was. She was like, What's so impressive about that?

It got me thinking...
sometimes, we don't recognize His work for as awesome as it is. Or celebrate it enough. Or thank Him enough.

See, she had shared her favorite verse, because I randomly sent out a verse as a text for an encouragement. Her verse was:

Romans 14:8
If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

She started to share her story, but first she said, This story..."it's not a good one." At that, I couldn't help but mention Romans 8:8-9, which tells us how God sues all things for his good, to make us more like Christ.

Some pretty bad things had happened, things that caused her to wonder where she belonged. But God taught her that even if she didn't belong anywhere on earth she belonged to him, and that's all that mattered.

It's amazing the way God gets our attention, and speaks truth to us in hard moments.

Original Post: Friday, April 9, 2010

Monday, July 22, 2013

I'll show you

Tell me I can't. Try to make me cry. Take away my dreams. Make it fall down, this sky.
Tell me I'm unloved. Try to make me fall. Take away my rights. Make it rain on my day.

I'll show you who I am. I'll show you that I'm strong. I'll dream anyhow. I'll feel the rain and know that rain comes with rainbows.

I'll show you true love. Yeah I'll fall, but I'll get up again. I have no rights here, my citizenship is in the land of my home. I'll be seein' sunshine tomorrow. 

Original Post December 24, 2009

Sunday, July 21, 2013


So, Kansas still doesn't feel real to me. We found out where we were going in December, and I've had quite some time to start thinking about things.

I've looked at houses for rent online and looked up surrounding areas to familiarize myself... I've made travel plans in my mind and looked up jobs (but I hope to stay part time with current one instead)... I've thought about Jake, and moving things, and packing things, and saying goodbye...

And I'm glad December is really far away right now.

This will start my new life of moving around, not knowing where the Army will take us, not knowing what church we'll be at, not knowing how exactly I'll be spending the time God has given me here on Earth, but then, who knows these things? Yes, I may move more than the average person, I may change churches and jobs and other things more... but I'm just as subject to God's calling as any of you. :)

Who knows where any of us will be in 10 years!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Not a princess

Original Post: Thursday, May 13, 2010

I know I'm not really a princess
and life isn't really a fairy tale
And up until now there wasn't any stairwell

(All I could see was the pain around me
I almost forgot what I was hoping for
I almost gave up on forever, happy endings)

But this moment
I am this princess
I step into a fairy tale
I'm so loved I can't imagine anything else

All the things on my mind are gone
Because I finally see the reality of what matters most
Problems look so small
Maybe because I'm in the arms of one so strong

And I'm being carried up the stairwell
I'm giggling, I'm laughing
I'm in the arms of the one I've come to love

And I am a princess
This is my fairy tale
Nobody can break this dream
Perfect timing, he leads me
And I know everything's gonna be all right

Friday, July 19, 2013

Time, space, and strength

Original Post: Thursday, May 13, 2010

Given enough time,
many things can be accomplished
Given enough space
things are easily organized
Given enough strength
few things are impossible

But what about the poor man
who, lacking time, space, and strength
goes about his life
trying to attain
what is good and true and valuable
and finds nothing is in reach?

He makes do...
and finds the best in everything.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Missing Pieces

Original Post: Wednesday, June 16, 2010

 The other day, I was talking with a friend. She was sharing about how someone had a certain false perception of her, and she wanted to, needed to, set it straight. She made a comment that has stuck with me the last several days - "I'm not perfect, but I know someone who is."

How many people think others' lives are "all-together"?
How many people spend most of their time trying to look "all-together"?

There's something I've been missing lately, and this conversation embodied it. There's something in such open, honest, heartfelt conversation... such sweet fellowship... I've missed it so much. It's something I think is missing from most churches today. In being real with one another, real understanding and compassion can be shared.

My friend was concerned for sharing her faith and what God was doing in her life with someone else. What better way to prepare for that than in a circle of friends who share this concern? I miss this at church as well. It is rare that people stop trying to hold up their walls about hiding who they are and looking important to listen to concerns about Christ's kingdom and get invovled in the furthering of it.

Maybe our trying to look all-together is satisfied in the exact opposite - admitting we're missing some of the pieces.

And maybe it is only in the honest, open, realness of conversations and sharing life, that we are healed by Christ, and made ready to share His work.


I have been thinking about the causes people promote.

I've had my own. Inviting people to college Bible study or youth group... raising money for going to missions camps... asking people to support my buying a cell phone for use the college ministry... yeah, that one was a little weird, but whatever. Oh, and of course, GGFG.

I have promoted others' books sometimes, and often promoted small Christian girl Web sites. (Why? Because they are promoting the Gospel and Christian values, so we're after the same thing - saved souls.)

 That's the thing. If I'm not meeting a physical need (which often can lead to a spiritual need being fulfilled) or a spiritual need to begin with, I'm often not really sold on the cause. I may repost something here or there, but there are so many good causes... I found I need to be careful what I put my whole energy into.

James explains what a good cause is all about pretty well, I think. Here are two different translations (The Message groups verses differently so sorry it's not apples to apples here).

James 1:26-27 The Message

Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.

James 1:27 NIV
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. 

People are called to work in different areas, and I think it's fine if your life calling has little to do with mine. I won't bash your cause, but I may not promote it - the only cause I'll never back down on is the Gospel. I believe all people need a Savior. I believe the only one who's able to save that way is Jesus. I believe God sent Jesus to be more than a good guy - He was life-blood spilled to pay the penalty for sin which is death. And He was God, so of course He didn't stay dead. Believing in this, and trusting Jesus for all my needs, has been an ongoing life changing thing.

Sometimes in my life I've had a hard time knowing how to reach my world. I felt like one missed opportunity happened the other day at the gym. The man at the counter said, "interesting email address" about my reach_this_world address. I could have said, "I chose that as a kid because I wanted to remind myself why I'm here - to remind me about God's purposes for me." But I didn't say it. What if that had been inspiring or encouraging to him? I'll say it next time someone asks :)

Sometimes it's easier to reach a group using a cause. I think our Campus Crusade for Christ Bible study groups grew better because they had a well-known organizational name, and God worked through that.

I want the causes I choose to affiliate with to be causes I can make a lasting impact with. I don't want to leave someone hurting because I was busy promoting something.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Best in you, Being your best

Original Post: June 16, 2010 at 10:25am

Somebody once told me that they thought that your significant other should bring out the best in you.

Honestly, I think this is idealistic at best.

I disagree with the basic train of thought that leads to this assumption. For one thing, the concept seems too dependent, in ways that one shouldn't depend on another human being. I mean that the dependency should instead be dependency on God (not that dependency is bad, just often misplaced). Someone else might bring joy to my life that is unlike anything else, and allow me close and draw me close like no one else, but they are still human. Their encouragement could just as easily fall on an unresponsive heart. Also, they can just as easily wound another as build me up. Even considering only those times that are good, encouraging, pure, and uplifting, these times are not perfect, because people are not perfect, and cannot fully satisfy.
But it is what God has given them that is good that might encourage me, to begin with, and so it is God's work that brings out the best in me. The best in me, is Christ in me.

Some people also say things like, "I want to be the best I can be before I date."

It sounds all right. Really. But, I think this is impossible.

Sure, there are times in life when one probably shouldn't date, because of situations and circumstances that would not allow for the best foundation for a relationship. These things might range from a rough time in life, one's age or maturity level, one's health, or other life changing or highly emotional events. But only God knows the perfect timing. And my standards of best may be quite skewed. If I have to have it all together before someone loves me, then what kind of love is it, truly?

This is how I see the whole thing:
I am who I am, despite what other people do to me; my relationship with Christ makes me who I am. It is Christ in me who makes my best. And I won't be my best until I die, and am in heaven free from the sin nature and standing in the presence of God, made whole. And the man I commit to, I will commit to knowing that he won't be his best, until then either. That, hopefully, he will constantly be growing in his faith the rest of his life, and I will be there to encourage him, and vice versa. But no matter what, I will have the grace and patience to know this: God's not finished with him yet, with me yet.

I hear people argue about things like, "People don't change." Leaving people on their own, I agree with the statement. But I know a life-saving life-changing God. And with that God as Lord of their lives, I have seen - people can, and do, change. Sometimes it is very slowly, but it is possible, and I have witnessed it. And sometimes other people are heavily involved in the process. I know in my life, I have many people to thank.

I am changing constantly. Everyone is ready to date when they are, and that is different timing than anyone else, but I know it's right when God directs it. I will grow the rest of my life. And it's really nice when we have someone willing to be with us in this journey for the rest of our lives.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Marker Cap

Original post: March 7, 2010 
I always loved being reminded great truths about God while working with children. This was published a little differently in "Write for Him: The Story of GGFG" Available on http://www.amzn.com/1300504730

"The lid on this marker is hard to get back on, and it's even hard for me, and I'm a lot bigger than you," I told a little 2 and a half year old. She laughed and said, "Yeah!"

I still felt bad, because she is a little disabled, and I didn't want her to think it was her lacking. So, I said, "It's just hard to get back on so it's not just you" and she got real serious and said, "Why?"
I didn't know why... what did she hear when I said that? So I just told her, "Because it is so tight, too tight."

Sometimes I feel like life is like getting that marker cap back on.
I can try several different ways, and I still don't have the strength to do it on my own.

I watched as this little girl looked inside the marker cap to make sure it was the right end she was trying. See, she understood a lot about how it was supposed to work.

Sometimes I think I get life.
But then the cap won't go on still yet. :)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Adventures of a 12 Year Old

Original post: Saturday, January 17, 2009
Just remembering things now shadows but these were shadows of good things.

I slowly opened the sliding glass doors, walked across the 20 foot completely screen-enclosed beautiful porch, watching to make sure nothing had crawled in that I might step on and feel slimy or crunchy or gooey under my bare feet. It was already so warm out, and the sun hadn't risen. It was dark except for the "outside light" my dad had put up when I was a little kid - a homemade streetlight in the middle of the backyard, for all imaginative purposes.

There they were, at my heels for a second, then racing across the porch in front of me. I could just hope there wasn't a lizard or salamander or roach or frog near the door that the little one could snag before I got there; I hated the foam that came or the guts I would have to clean up or even the animal I'd have to watch die or try to kill to end its pain. But for this time there was nothing.

I unlatched the little doggie door. Well, really, it was a couple feet high, and I could easily climb through it with no problems whatsoever. I closed it just so the bigger one couldn't come back in before he'd done all he needed to; it seemed to me, he would much rather sleep in a little later than 5am. Or at least he wanted to be with me, one or the other, because he always came back in first.

There he was, peeing like a little girl dog. He never would hike! It made me laugh. The other puppy was tracking something, probably imaginary or something that had been gone for four hours. It didn't take much to excite him, and I swore to his dying day he had always been "mental." He was sooo very smart, though.

Finally, the bigger one, my dog, came in. He sat patiently by my side for a moment, then took off toward the sliding glass door. Please don't bark, please... I mentally begged. He was wagging his tail against the glass and moaning, as if he had to take up strength to bark that early in the morning. Just then, a cardinal flew right by my head, feet away only because of the screen. This caught the attention of the little dog, who instantly growled and let out a little disgusted bark. The bird was clinging to the screen! She was picking up some breakfast; there were moths resting on the screen, and she was getting a feast! I thanked God for the little surprise, so cool!

Suddenly she darted to the lightpole and continued eating her moths, finding even more there. The quickness of her movement set off the little dog, so I was forced to climb out there to physically get his attention so he would go in. He was still barking as he flew inside and not to the sliding doors, but the screen door, biting the lattice in his frustration. He wanted to hunt her. I was mad. Finally making my way inside, I was only halfway across the porch when all goes black --- daddy was up, to get ready for work, and he had switched off the lights, as the sun would be up in no time. I sighed, making my way across the rest of the porch, and opening the glass doors. As I put the dogs back into their pen, hoping they'd sleep a couple more hours, I was met by daddy.

I smiled and whispered good morning, gave him a goodbye hug, and went back to lay down, instantly asleep.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

“She’s Standing Now”

Original Post: Saturday, July 11, 2009, also published in Writer's INC. the following Spring
You think you can destroy, what has been set in place
By one who loves her more, than anyone in the human race
You think you can hold her back, from who she was destined to be
You think you can take her back, once God has set her free...

Stand down, she's standing up
Fall away, this is His day
This little one had gone astray
But through the mess He's called
And through the rest He will call
Stand now.

You think you can hold her, because you held her then
You think you can mold her, cause of the lies in her head
But what God has done is tell her, that He's already won
He's painted her a picture, and all she has to do is tell you

To stand down, that she's standing up
Fall away, this is His day
This little one had gone astray
But through the mess He's called
And through the rest He will call
Stand now.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Know how much, how much you love me

by me at age 15

I'll keep a prayer in my soul,
and a song in my heart,
and a banner over my head,
and a vision in my mind,
to remind me how much,
how much you love me.

And in times of persecution,
and in times of calm and chaos,
and in times of war and peace,
and in times of failure,
I'll just know how much,
how much you love me.

Original Post: Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Friday, July 12, 2013


Original Post: Wednesday, April 24, 2013
I am constantly at a war. I constantly persuade myself that somehow I can borrow time. The college season of life didn't help this attitude much - sometimes I would be working in the Mac Lab, doing homework, and running a report at the same time for another employer! So I was getting paid twice over and studying at the same time... talk about multi-tasking.

I do this in other ways too. Sometimes it is just practical to plan things back to back and to get all the errands done at once, but I feel very dissatisfied after running errands if they take more than an hour or two.

I like being able to run the dishwasher and wash clothes in the morning before I leave so I don't have to wait for them to be done when I get home. I learned I can't do both at once, or the dishes don't get clean.

I like having phone conversations while I drive or do chores. This really annoys some people but I have a blue-tooth so I'm hands-free and I will ignore the conversation when I hit traffic.

I need to re-learn that it's okay to focus on one thing at a time, that multi-tasking really is just a myth, and that I'm only human. But it's very hard to not want to somehow make there be more time and accomplish more things than I have time for. I think of more things to do than I can get done, and while many of those things are good things to finish, like the dishes... they are always back tomorrow. And that's just how it is.

For everything, I need to rely on my Savior, because there are many things I cannot fix, I can't fit in, I don't do right, I can't manage, etc... all of it's in God's Hands.

Psalm 90:12 ESV 

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Brave? How about shortsighted, irresponsible, and cowardly.

I read this article - http://www.ourlivesourrights.org/statements/ft-hood-soldier-successfully.html 
A friend posted the link on a social media site and I began to read the comments underneath my friend's post.

Someone said, "Being in the military is not all about being a soldier." Ummm, then what is it about? What do they spend so much time training for? Parades? I think not.

The point was made that if you don't agree with something, if you can't stand behind it, leave it. I agree. If you were too stupid or thoughtless to think about what you would do when/if you were asked to go overseas, and you signed up anyhow, have some responsibility and fulfill your commitment. It will teach you to think next time you make an oath.You should figure this out during basic.

Someone said if he left, he'd have to live with the less than honorable discharge on his record. So be it. He can explain to an employer, "I didn't agree with the war." If you're proud of your cause, confident in your beliefs, and a responsible person, you will use the situation to further your cause. If you're not, you're using the cause to further your plans for the moment, and you will not get success in things until you learn to be an adult.

Speaking of being an adult, if you didn't want to put your kid and wife through a deployment, you should have thought about that before you signed up, or before you had a wife and kid.

"When ordered to report for duty with all of his gear for deployment, PV2 Munoz reported as ordered, but he bravely refused to bring his gear." That's about as brave as a teenager who is told to come home at 10:00, and does, but goes back out for the night at 11:00. That's about as responsible as a person who finds out his girlfriend is pregnant, and breaks up with her. That's about as courageous as a person who signs up to help someone who needs an organ transplant, but backs off when they talk about actually having the kidney surgery. In other words, I think his actions were rebellious, irresponsible, and cowardly.

I wouldn't go to work for an abortion clinic and tell them I wouldn't prep anyone for procedures because I'm against abortions; I would simply never align myself with any office that performs abortions. If my beliefs changed while I was employed there, and I grew to hate abortion (as I do in reality), then I would quit. My consequences might be: I would be jobless, I would have to explain to others why I quit, I may be unable to find another job to support my family immediately. But I have the guts to stand for what's right no matter what the consequences are, instead of trying to manipulate my circumstances to fit whatever I want at the moment. It's called having character, folks.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

An Old Box of Papers - Part 1

One morning I woke up and found an email in my inbox for GGFG. I had been interviewing a girl for a writing position with the magazine, and she had suddenly cut off correspondence in the middle of it. I was hopeful to hear that she was ready to begin, and had just been on a vacation or something.

Instead, she stated bluntly that she was no longer a Christian and would not be writing for the magazine.

I can't seem to get over that email.

Well, this afternoon, I started to pray about it again. And then I started going through an old box of papers.

Did I mention I love "random," and I love "coincidences"!?
What I found was the original meeting planning notes for GGFG. We were to determine the following:

* the magazine's Title
* Cost
* everyones' positions
* our first two topics
* how often the magazine should be published
* who would handle the letters if we got any
* how many pages it should be
* how many topics per magazine
* decide whether we have only girls for writers & focus (there was a guy wanting to write as I recall)
* what age group we were targeting

This was before we even decided to do it online; we were producing physical magazines.

I propsed that positions would include:
* Treasurer
* Editor
* Article writers
* Format designer
* Letter handler

And I wanted the first issue to be about "Conquering Life," whatever that meant to a 15 or 16 year old... however old I was.

Anyhow, this all thoroughly encouraged me, and gave me hope.

Perhaps this quote is right - "Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous."
(Albert Einstein)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

An Old Box of Papers, Part 2 - A Good Story

Sorting through these papers, I found notes from an English class in highschool. Most of the notes were useless - my practicing matching questions for the test, random words and definitions that any dictionary could provide me later on, terms of poetry that I never understood, or the names of assignments for the day. One thing caught my eye.

There was a section that discussed what makes up a good story. I tried to explain this to many of my closer friends, not knowing exactly when the though originated. I knew that it was before I was a huge PluggedIn reader, where movies and other media are discussed - I recalled knowing what I thought was a good movie long before that.

According to my highschool class:

In a good story, the characters' actions have moral consequences; no one "gets away with murder," so to speak.

In a good story, evil is condemned and good is approved, which is found in direct and indirect ways; the tone itself may be as much as a clue as if good is rewarded, and evil is punished.

Also, a good story is neither cynical (where nothing goes right) or overly and purely sentimental (nothing goes truly wrong). A good story balanced realistically. That is, goodness is possible, but bad also. The struggle between the two is what makes a story, if you think about it, and it feels unsatisfactory if the good guys don't win, and the bad guys aren't punished.

Which brings me to my last point, which really was a PluggedIn truth - in a good story, there are distinct good guys and bad guys by the end of the story. And a good guy who does bad things and isn't punished, just doesn't satisfy. Not that good guys don't do bad things in some stories, but just that if they do bad things and are either praised for them, or don't get punished for them. See, there's good, and there's bad, and the two can't be a part of each other.

Luke 11:36
36Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be completely lighted, as when the light of a lamp shines on you."

And I know this is a little out of context, but I think it fits -

2 Corinthians 6:14
14 For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?

Original Post: Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Painfully reminded

Original post: Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I hate when I wake up from a nap and I realize my phone's screen is completely gross with smudges.

Everyone's phone gets dirty.
But there's a certain way my new phone gets if I cry while talking, and I hate that. It reminds me of the pain.

I haven't cleaned it off from the last time I cried on purpose this time, though.
See, it reminded me of something. And no, it's not something I want to hold on to because of revenge, anger, resentment, or hatred. It's something I want to be held by; I want God to keep me in the place where I have to be constantly reminded of what He's doing in my life.

See, I forget, but He was getting my attention back. Funny thing, how God just can't let me go. Sometimes I act like I think He will. But apparently He's not finished with me yet.

The tears remind me that God's got me where He wants me. This place might hurt for now, but I'll be okay in the end.

The tears remind me that God's in control. He knows best, He does best, He wants best for me.

The tears remind me that I'm not strong enough. The tears remind me that even so, He is.

The tears remind me that I need to come to Him with all this pain. That I shouldn't be afraid to remember the tears, because it is in this pain that I find His peace is still more powerful than this pain.

I shouldn't be afraid to be reminded how weak I am.
I shouldn't be afraid to be reminded of how I can't fix things, I'm not in control, and I don't know what's going to happen next.

So the tears stains stayed for a while. They were there to remind me - I'm not enough, but His grace is more than enough.

I don't believe in the magical hedge

The Bible study material this week bothered me. On one hand, I could see if someone feels called by God to stay / go and is protected by God, who is all-present, all-powerful, and all-knowing. And I understand not living in fear and worry. I just as strongly believe that we are to think, not put ourselves knowingly in harm's way, and be responsible. (Didn't Jesus tell the disciples if they were not well received in a town to shake the dust of their feet as they left?!)

First of all, I believe that people's actions have consequences while here on earth. Sometimes God does intervene, but that's up to His choosing. He doesn't change everything like we've never sinned. Sometimes we still hurt people, and that hurt doesn't magically go away. Do I believe He can and does redeem all things? Yes. But, in His time, not mine. The temptation here: To think that just because we get hurt, God isn't protecting us.

Secondly, I do not believe that every person who gets sick, is involved in an accident, is abused, is hurt by another person - I don't believe that these people are guilty and being punished! People get sick, hurt, abused, neglected, and are experiencing the consequences of the sins of others all the time, or just this fallen world. The temptation here: To think that just because we get hurt, we aren't walking with God.

I know from experience, you can be walking with God, but the people around you may be as far from Him as possible. As Charlie Boyd says, God's greatest purpose for us isn't to make us happy, it's to make us holy; we can't understand everything that takes. When we look on this life, maybe we'll understand, after it's finished. But we are limited here. The tempation here: To think that just because we don't want something to happen, it won't happen; to think that we understand and can predict what God will and will not allow into our lives.

Do I trust God enough to let Him decide what He protects us from, and what He allows into our lives?

Romans 8 

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose...
What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?....

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?
(As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Completely, Unconditionally, no "but's" about it.

Original Post:  Thursday, May 13, 2010

The last few days I have experienced some things that have gone much deeper than an outsider could possibly understand just seeing the things that have happened.

I have always been fascinated about the contrast of when someone says, "I love you," and when someone says, "I love you, but..."

Now, I know those words are so rarely ever said outright like that. But the sermon I listened to recently talked about "Grace changes lives / there is nothing you can do to make God love you more or less / God will go about His purposes despite your performances."

It's easy to be worried about what people think. Some of it has to do with how complicated my life has been at times; I'm afraid because there are so many facets that people either have preconceived misconceptions of, or have no comprehension of, what I am saying, possibly due to their experiences up until this point in their lives.

I don't like trying to explain adoption to someone who thinks of Disney and Orphan Annie. I don't like trying to explain being the daughter of a police officer to people who spend most of their time on the roads cussing about stupid fat cops and making donut jokes. I don't like trying to explain that I've gone to four different colleges to people who have never moved, and have had the same friends ever since the 4th grade. I especially don't like explaining why I went back to highschool when I got to SC or why I attended BJU for a semester. I don't like encountering questions about my sister.

So I worry about what people think sometimes. I don't want to explain, and mostly, if I try to explain, no understanding is established anyhow.

Then there are those few special people in life...
they not only understand completely, but they love unconditionally. They see me, the real me, bad and good and good and bad, and they still love me, for some reason.
I quit trying to figure out why. These people simply say, "I love you."

They don't try to change me, yet they change me profoundly. They don't have some distorted view of me that might crumble if they catch a glance of the real me; if anything should surprise them, it is superficial, because they have, for whatever reason, chosen to love me, and nothing else is big enough to alter that, to shake that, to ruin that.

May I love like this. It has always been one of my greatest desires.

Things I Don't Miss About Daycare

I've almost been at Net3 for one year.

Things I don't miss about Daycare:
  •     Getting sick every week
    •    I really did catch everything that went around. I've had a lot fewer colds at this job. I sanitize my hands after I sign for packages... otherwise I don't have to touch anyone or anything that's not mine, really.
  •     Being in charge of multiple living things that I didn't bring into the world 
    • At least I could spank them if they were mine... and put them to bed when I knew they were tired instead of having to wait until set times that were just not workable. (Some kids had been up since 5:30am, but had to wait til 12:30 to nap... others had been up only since 9am.)
  •     Mistakes potentially being life and death instead of dollars and cents
    • It makes all other mistakes less devastating once you're used to lives being at stake.
  •     Dealing with diaper rash
    • Do these parents not change their kids in the morning? Because they know the daycare will? Seriously, you can't have a ten pound diaper without some serious time...
  •     Living for naptime
    • I couldn't wait... couldn't sleep, of course, but they just looked much sweeter asleep, so I could bear them awake again.
  •     Shouting "Stop!"
    • And "No biting!" and "Walk in a line, please!" and "Wait at the door, please!" and "No hitting! No kicking! No licking! No spitting!" ... you get the point.
  •     Asking a child why they did something... when I know they will just say, "I dunno."
    • I don't know why I ask... except out of frustration...
  •     Asking if a child needs to potty, getting on the playground, and hearing, "I wet."
    • They just wanted to go outside sooo bad. They don't get consequences very well yet. 

Things I might miss:
  • Hugs.
  • Cute things they say.
  • Singing with them about God.

Sunday, July 7, 2013


For the trials of life...

Original post: Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Listening to the same song til it makes me sick
Reading over memories til the tears flow again
Feeling that pit in my stomach
Surrounded by the best of the best
Yet longing for the one thing I'll never have.

Dying to fill the void with just one more good song
Straining to hear that new catchy quote
Getting caught up in a whirlwind of emotion
Just to be let down and refigure my devotion...

Going through the motions without pure joy
Strangling out the pain that aches inside this void
Longing for a voice to carry out this fear
Carry far away so I never have to hear
Hear the ones who tell me that
I'm only meant for earthly things
When everything in me can only be
Satisfied by things
Things I cannot see.

Longing for Home
while sitting through hell
with my hands tied helplessly
and while a lot to look forward to
a lot to get through before then.

Listening to that same song
wishing it didn't speak the truth to me
wishing the pain would go away
wishing things were mine I've never known
and knowing things that wishes never bring
and bringing things before a throne
a throne that judges best from good
and doesn't satisfy my live-right-now mode.

Will you take that way of life?
Let it die!
Begin something new in me,
something that won't fade in an hour,
something not based on feelings
something not based on how good I can be
something not based on circumstances
because I have lost interest in all of these.

Rescue, that's what He died for!
Freedom, that's my new life.
It's all inside me, nothing to do with the outside.
It's not my fear and not my pain
not even being happy.
It's not how many times I win
or all the times I fail.
It's not how good or bad "life" treats me.
I wanna be your hands, your feet - I'll go, send me!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Explorations of American Ideals and Plastic Surgery - Part 1

Americans have come to value particular ideals about the way a person, especially a woman, should look. Every culture has its own ideals, but the American views are unique in how they have been transmitted; through magazines, television, and the Internet, Americans see more instances of these idealized images than the typical citizen of almost any other nation. Plastic surgeries are one of the "answers" people look to in order to try to make themselves fit these ideals.

People get cosmetic surgeries for many different reasons. Some include psychological reasons, professional and social reasons, and health or quality of life reasons. Examples of each of these, respectively, would be someone who has a surgery to increase self-esteem or decrease self-consciousness, someone who has a surgery to advance his career or social status, and finally someone who has surgery to improve vision or remove fat that’s causing a strain on the body’s structure and heart. In the episodes of the Tyra Bank shows I have watched, most of the women were undergoing plastic surgeries in order to advance social status, or increase perceived self-image or self-esteem. For example, one woman wanted to change the size of her breasts, and another the size of her buttocks.

The following are possible risks for nearly any type of plastic surgery: infection, excessive or unexpected bleeding (hemorrhage or hematoma), blood clots, tissue death, delayed healing, anesthesia risks (including shock, respiratory failure, drug or allergic reactions, cardiac arrest, coma, death), increased risk of pneumonia, loss or change of sensation, need for secondary surgeries, dissatisfaction with results, and even paralysis or some type of less severe nerve damage.

Several women on the show reported infections, loss of sight, loss of sensation, the need of corrective (secondary) surgeries, and all the women on this show reported dissatisfaction, as all the surgeries were instances where something had "gone wrong."

One episode of Tyra Bank's show was entitled, "Black Market Plastic Surgery." Several women were interviewed about what they had done, and why. One woman reported having woken up one day and decided she wanted a new look, but nothing like a haircut - she wanted something permanent. So she "researched" on Google and found a place in Panama that offered permanent eye color changing, which would involve surgery on the iris, replacing the current tissue with tissue from another eye. Despite the unsanitary conditions and informalness of the doctor, the woman went through with the procedure and now has permanent damage to her eyes that may result in blindness in her near future. Her desire to make a permanent change to herself masked all common-sense judgment. While an extreme case, it shows that there are dangers in being obsessed with trying to obtain perfection or unique unnatural beauty.

In light of all of this, I would like to go to a slightly deeper area... in part 2.

Thursday, July 4, 2013


The following post is for mature audiences only. I advise 18 and older.

I saw an advertisement on TV featuring Alicia Keys, and took from it that there was a campaign called, "Empowered" and that it had to do with the fact that 1 in 4 people who are diagnosed with HIV in the US are women. It took me a few days to look it up, but I finally did. I had failed to hear any clear call to action given in the ad, and I wanted to know where they were going with it.

On the Empowered campaign's Web site, I found this more specific actions the campaign promotes. "As mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, partners and people living with HIV, we have the power to change the course of this disease through our actions." http://greaterthan.org/campaign/empowered/

The steps suggested are:

1. Know
2. Talk
3. Protect
4. Test
5. Treat

The site has stories from women who live with HIV, and their photos, so you can see real people. I feel like these things would be encouraging to women who find themselves in the same situation. But in order to have an effective campaign, fewer people would need the last step over time. 

To create "an AIDS free generation," as the site hopes for, the change is going to have to be more drastic than just not passing the disease from mother to child, of course. There needs to be changes in the way people think about women... and how women think of themselves. It has to be a change in the way people think about men, and how women and men relate to each other.

If you're going to be careless enough about your heart to have multiple sexual partners who also have multiple sexual partners... how likely are you to be careful enough to always use a condom? If you meet someone spontaneously at a bar, are you going to go get tested before you go to their place for the night? I think not... the whole lifestyle of a person who is a likely candidate for contracting HIV contributes to the situations they encounter.

One morning I was sitting eating breakfast at my college. A group of four girls sat nearby, all freshman. The conversation was about the night before. Apparently, one girl had an "unexpected" encounter with one guy, and, while he was in the shower, also gave herself to another guy who appeared in the room. And this is ok!? No!

I know this may be an extreme, but the many choices and attitudes that led up to this group of girls talking like this was a normal occurrence, or somehow acceptable, were likely multiple small choices. It can start with feeling rejected by a father figure, used by a childhood acquaintance, or just being enthralled by images in a magazine. But slowly a girl's perception is formed, of herself, of women, in general, of men, and of their expectations of her. Having experiences with multiple sexual partners is suddenly normal, and becoming one with just one person becomes something that is completely unfamiliar.

I also found a Huffington Post article that looks at the AIDS picture outside of America (some Americans need to remember, the world is so much bigger than just the USA!). http://www.huffingtonpost.com/racheal-yeager/womens-empowerment-and-hi_b_1124029.html

"Violence or fear of violence can reduce women's ability to request safe sex or HIV testing." Some women are faithful to their husbands, who may travel around to look for work, and who may then choose to be unfaithful. They sleep with a person who has contracted HIV, come back home eventually, and sleep with their wives... their husband dies, and even if the wife thinks it was HIV, she may not even dare to be tested, in case her husband's brother would not take her. She could lose anything she has if she tests positive, and that fear, or other fear, may hold her back. If she is taken, and sleeps with her husband's brother, she may infect him, any children they have... the cycle goes on.

Women in the USA have no excuse to get tested; there are more programs, opportunities, and more help here than the women in Africa and elsewhere have access to. The fear of having everything taken away just because of an HIV diagnosis isn't applicable here. It seems to me that women of America don't need to be empowered; they need to realize the power, freedom, and opportunities they already have (and often neglect). They need to take educating themselves and others more seriously, yes. But they have to be willing to do something about their knowledge, and have common sense and take responsibility for their choices and lives. 

The biggest trap women of America are under, in my opinion, is the "I have to have a man to be someone / I have to be in a relationship to be whole" mentality that starts at gradeschool and seems to never stop. So, yes, be empowered to be truly independent (and not for just 2 days after your latest break up). Wait for a guy who'll wait (who's been waiting) for you. I didn't have to ask my man who'd he been with - and he didn't have to ask me. Yes, we do exist. No, I wasn't waiting to complete my education, start my career, do big things in my community and ministry, etc. while I was single. And I didn't give myself to him until our wedding night. Women, we say we're equal to men in this country - yet women put themselves down every time they act like they are just at a man's disposal. "Prove you really love me" should be a diamond ring on your finger, ladies, not a piece of plastic over his privates.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

40 days and 40 nights

We weren't the ones in pink doing our nails -
we had lizards to catch, races to run.
We'd never touch a romance novel, but we
admired beauty in a thousand westerns,
a hundred pieces of another culture's art,
a Bible verse that spoke solely to us.
We were dreamers, we were afraid,
we were seeking God, even while we played.

I wish I'd been a better listener. Or maybe I was,
just you stopped talking.
I wish I could have saved you from the madness,
chaos, secrets.
But I stood helplessly as the lies overtook you.
I was a child, you were my best friend,
and I mourned you even then.

What happened to the dreams, my friend?
Is this the life you always wanted?
But you and me, we read it, remember...
I can't always be the one with the memories...
Jesus said, in John 10:10 - I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Is this really living? This life you have now?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Things I Want Them To Know

Things I want my children to know someday

1. They are loved. Unconditionally, completely, perfectly by God, and as close as we can come as family.

2. Mud, sand, dirt - it washes off. Have fun, work hard, and don't worry about a few cuts and bruises. God said we'd have to work hard while we're on earth, and to do everything for Him.

3. People have been made in a great variety of ways, and it's really cool that God enjoys so many different variations. We should see the beauty and value in each human life.

4. Sunrises, sunsets, leaves, birds, lizards, clouds, grass, beaches, lakes, rain, mountains, rivers... nature is awesome and reminds us of how awesome our Creator is!

5. There are no excuses for not doing what God calls us to - we can't be "too young, too old, too small, too big" for God. Nothing is impossible for God.

6. Obey God and leave the consequences to Him. You can be scared all you want of what might happen, or trust Him and do the right thing - "Courage doesn't mean you aren't scared, it means you do the right thing in spite of fear."

7. Telling me the truth will not only prevent you from having to go pull weeds, but it keeps the trust. If you tell me the truth, the consequences won't be as bad as if you do something wrong and lie about it. Two wrongs really don't make a right.

8. Forgive quickly. God doesn't have a waiting period before He thinks about forgiving you, so what gives you the right?

9. If you think someone's being a bully to someone else, it is your duty to do something about it. I'd rather hear your explanation of your black eye than hear how you walked away, and it doesn't have to come to busted knuckles necessarily to stop a bully. God says to defend the weak, but also that timely words are pretty amazing.

10. You are kind, you are smart, you are good. ~ The Help

11. Don't spend time wishing you could change anything you've already done, just change it next time. No regrets, just lessons learned.

12. If someone tells you that you can't, (unless it's something bad)  look at them and at least think, "Watch me." You can do so many amazing things. God says that when you commit your plans to Him, He will direct your paths.

13. The biggest thing God wants for you IS NOT TO MAKE YOU HAPPY. It's bigger - He wants to make you holy, that is, filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control; set apart; His. And if that doesn't involve getting your way, just remember that His way is so much more satisfying.

14. JOY is Jesus, others, you. Notice where you are.

15. The grass is always greener... where you water it.

Erin O'Donnell:

The world will try to tell you
that might is more than right
and beauty's on the outside
and being good's a losing fight
but remember what I've told you
'cause the world will make you choose
hold to Jesus, He's holding onto you

Hold on to Jesus, and cling to his love
rest deep in his mercy, whenever things get rough
and don't lose sight of his goodness
and don't ever doubt this truth, that when you hold onto
Jesus He's holdin onto you.

17. Beauty gets attention, personality wins hearts.

18. There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.

19. To the world you may be one person, but look at what On e person was to the world: For God so loved the world, He gave His one and only Son, so that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life. Dream big, reach your world.

20. A friend likes you just because you're you. There are people in this world who will act like they are your friends for a time, but time and circumstances tests them.

21. Don't complain to God about how big your storm is, praise Him for being bigger than the storm!

22. Your mom married her first kiss, and while that may not be the same story you'll have, I'm daring you to try to come close. There's no reason to date someone you know you'd never marry, or kiss someone you aren't ready to spend the rest of your life with.

To be continued...

Hope of Tomorrow

My friend posted as a status, "Instead of living in the shadows of yesterday, walk in the light of today and the hope of tomorrow."

Last night I had some trouble falling and staying asleep. At least 3 different things were on my mind, and I was unable to put them aside. I was glad Erik was home, even if he was snoring. I sleep better with him here still. We had finished reading Ruth tonight...

Perhaps if I could focus on the fact that Ruth was a part of the line that eventually produced Jesus... the hope of the whole world... but if she had stayed in Moab mourning the loss of her loved one she would have never married Boaz and became a part of the story!!

God loves me yesterday, today, and tomorrow. I will walk accordingly.

Monday, July 1, 2013

"Those People"

"Those people."

That's what they called anybody they suspected of not being in their little world. Their world supposedly consisted of people and only people who believed in Jesus and submitted to Him as their Savior.

I propose the idea that they were very, very wrong in their thinking, in their perception of their reality, and in their desires... but that God used them in my life, anyhow.

They'd call us "Those people" too, I guess.

Those people that aren't afraid to get into the details of the lives of ... those people who are far away from anything good, pure, right, satisfying, whole, who pursue nothing worth spending time and money and energy on.

But, they forget or talk around so many things, like:

Romans 10:14
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?

I'm not saying live like in way that contradicts that which is good, pure, right, satisfying, and whole.
But to go around proclaiming you're not one of "those people" is to commit a sin - you're stuck in pride - instead of deepening your dependency on God who is gracious and who has saved us. You're saying you're not that kind of sinner... but there are only two groups: sinners, and sinners who've received God's grace. And the sinners with grace show truth and grace, not fear and pride.

So to "those people" who say they aren't "those people" - please, refocus on the grace given to you, and quit judging people who readily admit they are no better than anyone else.