Monday, December 28, 2009

Oh Traditions...

My whole family is very content with spending the day hanging around the house doing things like watching movies, knitting, surfing the internet, and reading. I, however, go crazy after a few hours of this. Every Christmas we spend the day in our pajamas watching movies that we got for Christmas and playing around with the things we got that day. I respect the tradition and try my best to be happy about it but usually by about 2pm I start getting a little jittery and bored and eventually lose my mind. The rest of my family however is still happily enjoying their hermit ways. This year was worse. I love and adore chocolate covered coffee beans. So, my mom decided to be wonderful and put a whole bag of them in my stocking. How do you think that turned out? Take a girl who is already almost incapable of sitting still for longer than 25 minutes, throw in some chocolate covered coffee beans and other various sugary treats, and force her to stay home all day. Thankfully I had a little project I had to finish which kept me busy for a bit, and then we went for a 3 or 4 mile walk which helped a lot. Let's just say that the day after Christmas they can no longer force me to stay home, and I no longer have to wander aimlessly around the house hoping i'll find something to do.

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, and a time to reflect on who Christ is.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I Heart the Old Testament

I'm done. Well, atleast until February. That feels good to say. No more homework, no more deadlines, no more giant projects and papers, and no more sitting in class for six weeks.

*insert happy dance*

Last night my sister Afton and I helped our sister Cate study for her Old Testament final which she was convinced she was going to fail. It was hilarious. Turns out Afton is really good at studying for tests, and I remember random things from my Old Testament survey class freshman year. Like the year that King Josiah died, and the three deportations of the Jews out of Jerusalem into exile. Useful information right? I also know both names for King Xerxes, the capital city of Persia during the time of Esther, and why Purim was started.

I think I remember all of these random facts because I loved my Old Testament class. Yes, it helps that I've also had other more specialized Old Testament classes and the Old Testament comes into play in pretty much all of my New Testament classes at some point as well, but I think it's mainly because of the love. The Old Testament is fascinating! Yes, some books are not so fascinating, but if you can get past Leviticus and Numbers you will get to the good stuff. The Old Testament is full of epic battle scenes, sojourners, love stories, good kings, bad kings, strong men and women who stand up for what Yahweh has told them is right, weak men and women, and women who use their tent pegs as weapons. It's also the story of redemption broken up into mini-redemptions. It is the story of the People of God, His gracious interaction with them, and His unrelenting desire for relationship with them. It is also the foundation of God's ultimate plan to reconcile all to Him. How could we not love it?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Christmas Miracle

Hi Friends, would you like to know what stands in between me and Christmasy freedom?

1 exam and 1 paper. That's it! yay!!! Just thought I would share that with you.

And now time for a story about a Christmas miracle.

Once upon a time, my friend Heidi and I loaded up her violin and my guitar and drove with my dad up to Forest Home Christian Camp. Awaiting us there was a recording studio and a wonderful guy named Ian who had offered to record my CD for free. We recorded six tracks in 8 hours and had a great time doing it. When we left Ian said, "i'll work on these rough tracks and send them to you in about 4 weeks!" I thought, "This is amazing! I've been working on this for so long and it will finally be done!" That was April.

Fast forward 8 weeks. It's been four weeks longer than Ian had promised and I have not heard a word from him. Even though I probably called him 20 times. About 6 weeks after that I find out that Ian no longer works at Forest Home and I am transferred to the new AV guy. New AV guy tells me, "Sure! I'll go look for your tracks and call you back." About another 4 or so weeks later I have heard nothing, and i've called him about 300 times.

Fast forward to last week. I call Forest Home again and get Jarell. He apologizes for everyone elses incompetence and says he will look for my tracks and call me back by early next week (i.e. this week). I thank him over and over, hang up the phone and think "Yeah. Sure. He'll call."

Tuesday evening at about 4:30pm I receive a call from Forest Home and it's Jarell!! He informs me that he has found my tracks and he is mailing the CD to me. I squeel with glee, tell him he's my new best friend, and hang up.

So. All this to say that a Christmas Miracle has happened and my CD is FINALLY going to be back in my hands. The odds are that it hasn't been touched since we recorded, but that's ok since I have friends who can make it sound wonderful.

Oh, and Forest Home is no longer dead to me.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

A Strange Sacrifice

My project on forgiveness is finally finished. As much of a relief as that is, I still find myself thinking about what i've learned and what exactly it means to truly forgive from your heart. I am grateful for the Holy Spirit's help cause it is also even more clear to me that without it forgiveness would be impossible. Last night as I wrote my final reflection paper for the project I began to think about God's gracious act of forgiveness and I was struck by the beauty of it. In the ancient world forgiveness was attained through a sacrifice. The person offering the sacrifice was never the person who also offered the forgiveness. However, this is not the case with God. God Himself offered the sacrifice and the forgiveness on our behalf. For some reason I never fully connected just how strange this act would have been to the Jewish and Pagan world into which Christ came. They knew how the sacrificial system worked. This was weird.

Maybe this hits me harder now than ever before because of the time of year. It is the time of year that we as christians celebrate the first coming of Christ and we remember what that coming initiated. God sent His one and only son into this world as not only a little baby, but a poor one at that. He sent His son to atone for the sins that we committed. The Creator of the universe sacrificed to reestablish the relationship with His creatures that was broken in the garden. He was and is still justified in simply letting us go the way we chose, but in His grace and mercy He refuses to let us continue on in our ignorance and disobedience. In Christ we have the sacrifice for our sins and our only hope of forgiveness. It is a beautiful gift that we must not only receive but also continually remember and be thankful for. It is the gift of abundant and eternal life. It is the gift of forgiveness, the complete wiping away of all our transgressions. It is a sacrificial gift, and it is a gift that we cannot just receive and not give away again. Although we cannot completely wipe away another's sin, we can and must forgive them for any of their trespasses against us. This is one way in which we can reflect the image of the Almighty God during this Christmas season and through out the rest of our lives.

Merry Christmas to you all, I pray that this season is a source of joy and peace for you all as you rest in the knowledge that you are loved, forgiven, and that God Himself came to earth as a sacrifice for you.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Change is Good... I guess.

People say change is a good thing and I guess they are right some of the time. Some of the time change is good and yet it makes you cry. This weekend some very difficult change happened in my life. My pastor and his family have decided that it is time for them to move on and for that reason I am very sad. Last night we said goodbye to them as a church and it was a really sweet time of sharing memories, stories, and best wishes. Oh yeah, and a lot of people cried. A lot. 

When I think about the kind of woman I want to be several women come to mind. One of them is Robin Sidders. She has handled more difficulty in the past 5 or 6 years than most people I know, with incredible grace, compassion, and love. She battled cancer and several surgeries and I don't think she ever said a negative word about her situation. She always had a kind word for whoever she spoke to and she has faithfully and graciously stood by her husband through the difficulties that come with being a pastor. I pray that some day I can be the kind of wife she is. No matter what was thrown at her Robin never wavered in her faith and she always managed to find something to laugh about and be grateful for. Robin, I don't think you read this, but I want you to know how much you mean to me. You have influenced me more than you could ever know and I love you very much. I hope that I can handle my life the way that you have handled yours to this point. 

Thank you Robin and Greg, thank you thank you thank you. 

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Some People Wear Really Ugly Pants.

It's true. I've witnessed it first hand. Ugly pants are rearing their ugly heads all over, disguising themselves as fashion, and doing horrible things to people's thighs. Yesterday I saw someone wearing pants reminiscent of 19th Century riding attire.

Like this man's pants. Minus the red coat and the boots. And I'm really not sure why it says "prepared to kill" in the picture, but you get the idea. Ugly ugly pants. Why would someone do this to themselves? Pants are meant to cover up things that you don't want seen and hopefully they also make you look better. They are not supposed to add volume to your hips and thighs and make you look like you lost your horse a little over a hundred years ago and are still hoping you will find him. P.S. Pants like this do mean things to your calves as well. Just so you know.

I also saw someone wearing faux-leather leggings yesterday too. WHY!?

Now, onto the guys. WHY ARE YOU WEARING YOUR SISTER'S PANTS?! It was bad enough when they were super tight and skinny and normal jean colors, but purple?! Really?! Seriously? Are you trying to look like Howard Wallowitz?

What's so wrong with normal guy jeans? They look good! Maybe guys don't care, but tapered skin tight jeans are not a good look. They also do cruel and unusual things to your butt and thighs. Why must you do such mean things to them? What did they ever do to you?

So, to sum up. Some people wear really ugly pants and I wish they would stop.

The End.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Because He Lives

The fear of what the future holds seems to be a common theme in my life and the lives of my friends (hmm.. could have something to do with the fact that most of us are graduating college in May...). I've written about my own fear of the unknown before, so I won't do it again, all I want to do is give you the words that I often sing to myself when I feel fearful. I hope it's an encouragement to you. We trust in the God who created the world by His word, He is more than able to accomplish what concerns you today and everyday. He just might not do it the way you want him to.

"Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
because He lives, all fear is gone.
Because I know, He holds the future
and life is worth the living just because He lives." -Bill Gaither

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Never More Connected, Never More Lonely

I've been thinking a lot about loneliness lately. Not necessarily because I am lonely (at the moment), but because I know so many people who are. I started looking back over the conversations I've had this past week and figuring out how many of them were over some sort of technology. Facebook, cell phones, e-mail... the list goes on. As a culture we are more connected than ever, and yet we've never been so lonely. The more I study how God made us the more I am convinced that our substitutions for face to face contact are entirely inadequate. Don't get me wrong, I think that being able to connect with friends and family who you cannot see in person on a regular basis through technology is a fantastic thing. I love being able to keep in touch with my cousins and friends who have scattered all over the place. However, it is not enough. Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert you were made for human relationship and touch. We need to look at the person's face we are talking to, we need to be able to hug and be hugged, we need to hear voices and see facial expressions.

Technology has given us so much but sometimes I wonder if it's worth what it has taken away. It seems that with each new invention the human race retreats further and further into their own living rooms. The invention of the washing machine meant no more chatting with neighbors while hanging out the laundry, the invention of the dishwasher eliminated time spent washing dishes together after meals (I'll be honest, this one I think might be worth it... man I hate washing dishes). The invention of the air conditioner meant people no longer had to sit on their front porches to cool off in the evening. The invention of the computer and the TV cut into family discussions and time spent actually interacting with one another. While all of these inventions are in and of themselves good things, because of our dependence on them we have lost the much better thing of human interaction and relationship.

The sheer volume of social networking sites on the internet should be screaming to us about our need for real relationships. No number of friends on facebook can replace one close friend that actually goes through life with you. The physical presence of people who love you is one of the greatest gifts in this world. This became very clear to me when my bestfriend lost her beloved father a few months ago. When words cannot express the compassion and sympathy you feel, sitting with them can.

I don't know if this resonates with anyone, but I suspect it does. We are constantly connected, yet feel completely alone. We are rarely ever more than a click of a button away from contacting a friend, yet it often takes too much effort to just go see them. I am so grateful for the friendships and family that God has blessed me with, and I am more and more grateful the more I realize the deep loneliness in this world. So, shut off the computer and go be with real people if you can. I'm going to :-)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Weather Is Mean.

Why is the weather toying with our hearts and our closets?! It gives us one or two days of cold awesome weather, so you're all excited and pulling out the scarves and then it goes back to summer weather! kdiwefljfdjkeiew.... sorry, my anger got the better of my english.

Dear God,
Please make it cold for a little while. I really really need it. Thanks!
Love, Me.

Seriously. It's making me crazy!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

How Some Companies Stay in Business is Beyond me.

There was a company next door to where I work that moved several months ago (actually, probably atleast a year ago). This company appears to make and repair wheelchairs. So... since they are working with physically disabled people, you'd think they would be motivated to do a good job, and you know, possibly try and make their lives a little easier. nope! not these people! Originally we thought they were horrible because their parking spots were on a slight incline which meant that none of the wheelchair vans could park there. But, it gets worse. Like I said earlier they moved atleast a year ago- they have yet to tell several of their clients!

On a regular basis you can see people out there wandering around trying to find any information as to where this company went. We made a sign with their new address and phone number on it but the landlord keeps taking it down. Apparently nobody wants the people to get new or working wheelchairs.

Yet, even with all of this company's horrible behavior the drivers are the worst. The people that are hired to transport the people who need a new wheelchair or need some repairs done often just drop them off and leave without checking to see if they even got in! Then the people in the wheelchairs are left with no information as to where the company really is, and no way to get there. It's truly awful. Seriously. How in the world are they still in business?!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Forgiving Makes Us Happy

Thanks to my cousin Adria I have to decided to start blogging again. I've decided to get over my debilitating feelings that I have nothing interesting to say and that no one would want to read it anyway... although i'm still not convinced anyone will actually read this. 

I've been working on a huge project for school on forgiveness. This has been a very interesting project for me since I struggle with forgiving people because I want them to know what they did and be punished or apologize (or both... I know. I know. It's vindictive. I'm working on it!). The first section of the project was a biblical survey of forgiveness (i.e. what the bible says about forgiveness). I was  not surprised about the findings here. We are commanded by God to forgive others, and if we don't we are being ungrateful for God's forgiveness of us (Parable of the ungrateful servant in Matthew 18). Once again. Not surprised by this. Convicted? yes. Surprised? no. 

What I was surprised by was the Psychological aspect of this topic. The second aspect of this paper was to look at the academic literature concerning the psychology of forgiveness. Secular psychologists as well as Christians agree that forgiving people who hurt you frees you to live a happy and healthy life. Phsyical, emotional, and mental health studies show that when you are more willing to forgive you are healthier in each of these three areas. People who forgive have lower stress levels, and lower levels of depression. I was very intrigued by these studies. Forgiving others allows us to have healthy relationships, lives, and minds. It is amazing how holding a grudge really only hurts us, not that person. Holding a grudge interferes with ALL of our relationships and our relationship with God. I know that this doesn't necessarily make forgiving any easier, but that is where God's grace comes into play. No matter how hard it is, it is obviously the best choice.

So, that's what i'm thinking about right now. What do you think? Do you think forgiveness is mandatory in all situations? Is there a difference between forgiveness and reconciliation? Should forgiveness and reconciliation always go hand in hand? 

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


Hello! I'm back! However, i'm pretty sure my two readers have abandoned me since I haven't written since February... Well, anywho! 

My family has never ever had cable or anything more than 5 fuzzy channels. Ever. Now we do. In the past three days I have seen TV Shows that I cannot figure out how they ever got on TV in the first place. Case in point: Nudist weddings? Seriously people? I have three words for you all.... People are crazy.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

It's Finally Here!!!

Have I ever told you how much I love February? No? Well, I do! Besides the fact that it's the "month of love" (which, right now puts it on my list of reasons to die), it is also the month of my birth, and it is short. These reasons may not seem very significant, but I'll tell you why they are.

1). Love is good.
2). I was born. :-) Really, I love love love love birthdays. Not just my own, but everyone's. I think birthdays that go uncelebrated are tragic and something should be done about it. Right away.
3). Less days in a month makes it feel like the semester is going faster. It's amazing how much those two or three days can affect your outlook on life. You reach the end of the month and you think, "It's already March? I CAN go on!" It's really a beautiful thing.

So, enjoy February! It's really a wonderful month. Next month I'll write on the wonders of March. This might become the only thing I post about from now on, so prepare yourself for monthly updates on why each month is wonderful. ;-)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Token Post

I feel like I should write something since it's been a couple weeks. However, i'm bored with myself so until said boredom goes away and I have something remotely interesting to write about i'll just keep my random thoughts to myself.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

2009... Wha?!

Happy New Year everyone!!

Normally new years is one of those holidays that comes around and I say, "eh." But not this year thanks to Heidi and Zachary. We went to Zachary's church where I was dragged up on stage to sing with the worship team, which was refreshing and a little bit strange to me. Next, we were off to a party full of people i'd never met before and once again the feeling was refreshing and strange. New people mean there is no old issues. I like new people.

There is always the token drunk girl at these parties. You know, the one who's not wearing pants. This girl, however, knew she wasn't wearing pants and had made this decision long before she was drunk. She kept saying how cold she was and when her friends told her to put pants on and stop complaining she very matter-of-factly said, "But I don't want to wear pants." As a person who would love to not wear pants I understand this sentiment. However! When one is in public pants are required, no matter how depressing that thought is. So people.... wear pants! They are important to other peoples eyes. That way, no one has to run around screaming, "my eyes!!! my eyes!!!!!!" and then run into the wall because they were hiding their eyes and die. So when the urge to walk out of your room on any given day and out into the world without those all important pants hits you, think again. You could save someone's life.

I hope 2009 is splendid for you all! Remember. Only you can prevent pant-related deaths.

P.S. Congratulations Heidi and Zachary!! You are both splendid and I'm so excited to see how your life together continues to grow! Yay for marriage!