Thursday, March 31, 2011

Welcome to my latest disaster...

I’m seriously considering retitling my blog: Welcome to My Latest Disaster. Sometimes it just seems fitting.

This particular disaster was sharp and sticky. It involved lemons, sugar, water, and a glass pitcher. And the whole thing violently smashing into the floor.

Backstory: I was home on spring break last week. Robert was home on spring break, too. Being separated by 2,200 miles on any normal day, the few days we get to spend together are packed full of adventures.

More Backstory: I have a few food allergies - soy, lactose, and pork. Eating at restaurants makes me a nervous because I don’t always know what’s in the food or if it’s been cooked with something I can’t eat. I’m a little paranoid about this whole area of my life right now and it’s something that I just have to work through.

All that said, a picnic seemed like a great idea! I knew exactly what was in my food AND I would get to spend time with Robert. I planned lunch and was excited to have my mom’s help in getting it ready. It was going to be great!

Until...I pulled the glass pitcher of lemonade out of the refrigerator. It slipped out of my hand and collided with the hardwood floor. The thick glass instantly shattered and sent the sugary liquid splattering ALL over the kitchen and dining room floor. It shattered and I froze. I wasn’t wearing shoes when I dropped the pitcher and was stranded in the middle of my mess. My mom was in the other room and came running when she heard the crash. Without saying anything, I just stood there in my sticky mess.

Once my mom cleaned up enough of the mess to let me escape, I left to clean my feet off and to get shoes on. My mom and I then went to work picking up the larger pieces of glass. It was at that point Robert got there. My mom continued to clean up the mess and we all had to stay out of the kitchen in order to keep the mess from being tracked throughout the rest of the house.

Cleaned up and ready for our picnic, I bravely ventured into the garage to pull out my purple picnic blanket. But it was nowhere to be found! So I settled on a murky brown one. I was bringing it into the house when I noticed something crawling on it. I screamed, dropped the blanket, ran inside, and slammed the door.

Dude. Really? A massive cockroach? After the lemonade incident.

I promise, I had GREAT intentions for this picnic! I was organized and ready and really excited about it. And then it just didn’t work right. However, we eventually had our modified picnic and thoroughly enjoyed it!

I ran across this quote a few days ago...

A man would do nothing if he waited until he could do it so well that no one could find fault.

-John Henry Newman

I’m glad I have the rest of my life to practice going on picnics. Because apparently I need it! But at the same time, if I ONLY did things I knew I could do outstandingly, well, I just wouldn’t do too much. I’m glad I’m surrounded by people that are ok if I occasionally make a mess out of situation.

I’m learning. And I’m learning that I’m learning. And I’m learning that it’s ok to be learning!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Think Happy Thoughts :) (Part 1)

This is my “Smile!” blogpost. Instead of writing a sad blog about my dislike for “goodbyes” (aka. change), I decided to post a few things that make me smile. :)

1. Summer. I love lemonade and lemonade makes me think of summer. I also like sunshine, sunglasses, sandals, hot weather, the beach, and warm summer nights. My personal favorite at the moment is that I'll get to spend more than just a few days with Robert before either of us returns to school!

2. David's Poetry

Psalm 27:1-5 (The Message)

Light, space, zest— that's God! So, with him on my side I'm fearless, afraid of no one and nothing. When vandal hordes ride down ready to eat me alive, those bullies and toughs fall flat on their faces. When besieged, I'm calm as a baby. When all hell breaks loose, I'm collected and cool. I'm asking God for one thing, only one thing: to live with him in his house my whole life long. I'll contemplate his beauty; I'll study at his feet. That's the only quiet, secure place in a noisy world, the perfect getaway, far from the buzz of traffic.

3. Vi. How could you NOT love this beautiful girl? I've had a wonderful time getting to know her over the past 2 weeks. We've laughed and cried together. And she threw up on me 3 times. Vi also loves Robert and enjoys spitting up on him, too. Good to know I'm not alone! She's a precious gift and I love her (and her parents and awesome big sister). :)

4. Fireflies. I'm not a die-hard Owl City fan, but I do enjoy this song and music video. I love the business of it.

I’d like to make myself believe that planet Earth turns slowly. It’s hard to say that I’d rather stay awake when I’m asleep because my dreams are bursting at the seams.

5. Long Walks. I love going on long walks with Robert. Or maybe I just love holding his hand and having his undivided attention. I'll never tell!


Thursday, March 17, 2011

No. Whatever. *sigh* Ok.

I’m not really into the whole “surrender” thing. It’s a hard sell. I want my way. I want it now. And I not only want the end result to be my way, but I want it done my way as well.
I’m more of a fighter than a lover. Although my initial reaction to a situation is sometimes to run away, it quickly turns to a “fight till the death” reaction. The whole “willingly give up” concept has no appeal to me.
I like to be in control of my surroundings. I feel like I need to be in control of my surroundings for everything to happen and for me to be ok.
Reality: I don’t need to be in control. I’m not in control. The different seasons - they just come and go. And God decided long ago when they would do so. I have nothing to do with it continuing. The world will continue to turn without my approval to do so. I'm not in charge of everything. Funny, huh?
My Fear: My fear in surrendering is that I’ll have to give up all my dreams. I’ve worked really hard at what I love. Writing. Photographer. Guitar. I fear that if I surrender my dreams to God, that those things I love and have devoted much of my time and effort to will be taken away. These three things I’m passionate about reflect who I am. I wouldn't be the same person if writing, photography, and music were taken out of my life. I’m afraid that if I give my dreams to God, that I won’t be able to dream again.
Reality: I don’t know what my life has in store for me, but I do know that it will all work out. God wrote my story and is in control. I don’t need to be in control of the future. I can’t be in control of the future. His plan will be the best for me. He knows me and loves me. He has my best interest in mind and will prepare me for whatever my future in Him holds. It was Him who gave me these talents and passions to use as worship.

My Fear: If I relinquish my plans to God, I won’t be in control. The whole “unknown” thing makes me nervous.

Reality: Endless amounts of fear can be paralyzing. Especially since I don’t know what I’m scared of. It's foolish to fear imaginary things.

My Fear: I'm worried that I won't be strong enough, smart enough, or brave enough to do what God wants me to do.

Reality: God is my Strength and my Shield. He will be with me and provide for me. Always.

My Prayer: My prayer is that God would quiet my heart and slow me down. I don’t want to miss the excitement and joy in my surroundings because I’m too busy trying to control the world. I want to enjoy life rather then spend my time battling the anxiety that comes with attempting to control everything. I also want to be content being “in-process”, especially since I’m going to be learning my entire life. My prayer is also that I would be fully surrendered to God - that I would follow Him without fighting every step of the way.

I need to surrender my:
  • Time
  • Relationships
  • Schedule
  • Future
  • Plans
  • Dreams
  • Lies
  • Pain
  • Vengeance
  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Anger
And I’m learning that in surrender there is:
  • Freedom
  • Forgiveness
  • Joy
  • Healing
  • Peace
  • Rest
  • Life
  • Strength
  • Truth

I’m working on it. I’m trying. I’m being sanctified.
Let’s do this!
It’s not so pretty once you get inside my head. It’s kind of a mess, actually. And a pathetic one, at that. So thank you, to my handful of wonderful life-processing people, for doing some messy digging and tough loving.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Look Inside

I don’t think the battle is something that will just disappear - it’s an ongoing thing that can be rekindled at anytime and triggered by a number of things.

In my life, I may lose an individual battle, but this is a war that will be won.

Imperfection is an unavoidable part of life due to the fallen, degrading state of mankind. But, I believe that my self-image is something that God can bless and positively sustain because He gave me an image in the first place. Genesis 1:27 says, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” I’m pretty sure that means God cares about how I perceive myself to be since I’m supposed to look like/take after/resemble Him.

Despite that, I still have to remember that He made me when I look around and see all the fake, plastic, and perfect people. They look so good from the outside. I, however, have God-given peace and I care more about my relationship with Him than appearing flawless.**

I do realize that my outside reflects who made me and the family who raised me. But I want to make sure God gets the glory - no matter what. And one way I can do that is by loving, taking care of, not destroying, and caring about my body. I only get one life and only one body. I want to take care of this one. God made me and I have to believe He made me just right.

Challenge: now I need to live like I believe that.

You make me beautiful.

You make me stand in awe.

You step inside my heart and I am amazed.

I love to hear you say,

“Who I am is quite enough”.

You make me worthy of love and beautiful.

-Beautiful by Bethany Dillon

**I’m not saying the gorgeous people can’t have Christ living in them.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Pure in Heart

Purity - (noun) the quality or state of being pure

Pure - (adjective) unmixed with any other matter; free from dust, dirt, or taint; free from harshness or roughness; free from moral fault or guilt; containing nothing that does not properly belong

In the Bible, the heart stands for the seat, source, reservoir, and instigator or our thoughts, attitudes, desires, character, and motivation. It is synonymous with our modern use of “mind”, since the mind is where we hold knowledge, attitudes, motivations, affections, desires, likes, and dislikes. - Keiki Hendrix

“Pure in heart” is described in the following verses:

Matthew 5:8 - those who see God often

Philippians 4:8 - those who think on pure things

1 Timothy 5:22 - those who carefully screen their associations

2 Timothy 2:22 - those who follow after righteousness

Titus 1:15 - those who discern purity

Hebrews 10:22 - those who draw near to God

James 1:27 - those who are compelled to love those who God loves

James 3:17 - those who seek wisdom of God

1 Peter 1:22 - those who obey God

1 John 3:3 - those who continue to examine themselves

1 Thessalonians 5:22 - those who care about their witness

Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.

~Psalm 139:23-24

Monday, March 7, 2011

Explosive Anger

The overpopulated campsite across from ours was swarming with grownups talking, children yelling and running everywhere, and youths off to a side table with endless amounts of food and some card games. The chaos across the dirt road from us was a little annoying, to put it mildly. Quiet hours were not observed, and a general courtesy was unimportant to the group.

My group seemed perfect. It was my parent’s Sunday School group and all the families were familiar with camping and the protocol of how to camp.

A few days of the constant noise from across the way was frustrating, but being the fun loving group of people that we were, we managed to enjoy ourselves. Lots of hiking trips, swimming in the lake, crafts in the big tent, horseback riding, singing around the campfire, Bible stories, canoeing, boardgames, and lots of food.

It was about 6:30 in the evening and the sun would start disappearing soon. One of the campers in the site across from us retired to his tent. After climbing in his sleeping bag, he lit a small tea light candle to keep the mosquitoes away, then tied the tent flap closed.

It was sunny evening with a few clouds and a light breeze. The temperature was in the mid 70s. It seemed like the perfect weather for a walk by the lake to watch the sunset. But that’s when our plans changed.

One of the light gusts of wind caught the tent flap and caught fire. His sleeping bag immediately burst into flames with the tent around him. He safely jumped out of the inferno as the crackling flames jumped from the tent to the trees to other nearby tents.

Within 10 seconds the entire tent and its contents were consumed by the seemingly innocent flame. Screaming children ran around the full campsite while the adults seemed frozen with panic and confusion. The incompetent group eventually fled to the spot and started kicking burning pieces of branches and fabric around, spreading the fire considerably. The group and the fire was out of control. Less than a minute after the fire had started, the dads from my group grabbed pots and buckets filled with water that were near our fire pit and ran to the fire. Another dad from my group ran to the hose while one of the moms ran down to the ranger’s station to get more help. Since my sister and I were the youngest kids in this group, our mom stayed with us and managed to corral the other kids to the other side of our campsite so we were in a safe place and out of the way.

As soon as our dads ran to the rescue, we knew everything was going to be ok. That’s just how life works when you’re in 3rd grade! Their confidence and quick thinking led me to believe everything would be just fine.

The fire was extinguished quickly, thanks to the brave dads in my group and the two rangers that jumped in. These guys had nothing to do with the problem, but got dragged into the solution out of necessity.

4 tents, lots of sleeping bags, a few bushes, and lots of tree branches were destroyed. The man in the tent escaped with just a few minor burns. And there were just a few minor scraps and burns in our group, as well.

The smokey air slowly cleared and the mass panic across the road from us eventually died down. Without so much as a “thank you” from them, they went on with their way of life. Careless, messy, and loud.

Because of this incident, no one in the entire area could have a campfire for the next few days. So we looked pathetic roasting marshmallows over a barbecue that evening to make s’mores. Although we had nothing to do with it, and it was because of our group that the fire was put out, we still had to live with the negative consequences.

Although I was in 3rd grade when this happened, it’s still seared in my mind. But when I was that young, the moral of the story was: don’t play with fire and only go camping with people who know what they’re doing. Now the incident serves as an illustration.

Fire in itself is not bad; it’s beneficial for many important things.

Until it gets out of control.

Then it’s dangerous, vicious, damaging, permanent, and deadly.

Anger in itself is not bad; it’s an indication that something is wrong.

Until it gets out of control.

Then it’s dangerous, vicious, damaging, permanent, and deadly.

Just like that small candle.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Intense Accuracy

I like accuracy. I like consistency. I like intentionality.

I’m double majoring in Bible and Communications at Moody. I love to write and particularly enjoy journalism. Interviewing people, researching a situation, and then verifying the facts I’ve collected are within my sphere of interest. When working on an article, I want to be accurate - I don't want lies to be printed and read, whether intentional or not. Truth is something I crave in a situation.

I also love studying the Bible. It’s something that is much more complex and challenging than I ever thought it could be. In one of my classes, we’re looking at the transmission of the Bible. My favorite part of this class is the repetitive proof that the Bible is true.

I found this absolutely fascinating:

Guidelines for Ensuring Accuracy During Transmission…

*spacing – each column had between 48 and 60 lines with 30 letters per line

*memory – recording from memory was not allowed

*observation – letter by letter was looked at and copied

*pronunciation – a scribe pronounced each word as he wrote it

*review – the manuscript was looked over within a month

*count – each letter had to be counted

*middle letter – the middle letter of each book was identified

*errors – if 3 mistakes were found, the manuscript was destroyed

Not only is the Bible unchanging, but God is as well. He is steady, faithful, and constant.

And the words of the LORD are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times.

Psalm 12:6

As for God, his way is perfect; the LORD’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.

Psalm 18:30

The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statues of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

Psalm 19:7-9

For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.

Psalm 33:4

But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever.

Psalm 52:8

God is constant. His Word is consistent. His characteristics are sure.