too good not to share
Monday, May 31 at 1:08 PM

To wait open-endedly is an enormously radical attitude toward life. So is to trust that something will happen to us that is far beyond our imaginings. So, too, is giving up control over our future and letting God define our life, trusting that God molds us according to God's love and not according to our fear. The spiritual life is a life in which we wait, actively present to the moment, trusting that new things will happen to us, new things that are far beyond our own imagination, fantasy, or prediction. That, indeed, is a very radical stance toward life in a world preoccupied with control.
Henri J. M. Nouwen

asking for it

so...God is really teaching me a lot these days. all of it comes back to learning how to trust Him. really trust Him...not just saying "oh, i know God's gonna work this out" or "His will is going to be done no matter what"...but actually believing those statements enough to act upon them. to give all of my hopes, dreams, and expectations to Him. to trust that He is the only one who knows my future and His opinion is the only one that matters.

i can be so quick to seek the counsel of my friends. i have wonderful, wise, and loving friends...and i am so thankful for them. but i think for the last little while i have replaced talking to My Lord about my struggles and desires with talking to my friends. and that is just so wrong.

"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." James 1:5

that's a promise. if we ask Him for wisdom, and believe that He will supply it (the next verse deals with that) then we won't be disappointed. i can't understand His ways...i don't know why things happen as they do...and i can only see tiny glimpses of how His huge, incredible plan is working out to perfection. but He will be generous with wisdom if i will only ask Him.

God, i am asking for it.

and i know this spurgeon devo is a little long, but it's worth the read...says exactly what i can't put into words very well.

"Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee."—Psalm 55:22.
Care, even though exercised upon legitimate objects, if carried to excess, has in it the nature of sin. The precept to avoid anxious care is earnestly inculcated by our Saviour, again and again; it is reiterated by the apostles; and it is one which cannot be neglected without involving transgression: for the very essence of anxious care is the imagining that we are wiser than God, and the thrusting ourselves into His place to do for Him that which He has undertaken to do for us. We attempt to think of that which we fancy He will forget; we labour to take upon ourselves our weary burden, as if He were unable or unwilling to take it for us. Now this disobedience to His plain precept, this unbelief in His Word, this presumption in intruding upon His province, is all sinful. Yet more than this, anxious care often leads to acts of sin. He who cannot calmly leave his affairs in God's hand, but will carry his own burden, is very likely to be tempted to use wrong means to help himself. This sin leads to a forsaking of God as our counsellor, and resorting instead to human wisdom. This is going to the "broken cistern" instead of to the "fountain;" a sin which was laid against Israel of old. Anxiety makes us doubt God's lovingkindness, and thus our love to Him grows cold; we feel mistrust, and thus grieve the Spirit of God, so that our prayers become hindered, our consistent example marred, and our life one of self-seeking. Thus want of confidence in God leads us to wander far from Him; but if through simple faith in His promise, we cast each burden as it comes upon Him, and are "careful for nothing" because He undertakes to care for us, it will keep us close to Him, and strengthen us against much temptation. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee."
-C. H. Spurgeon

Wednesday, May 26 at 12:55 PM

bug...greatest kid ever Posted by Hello

andes mints

so, i really don't like andes mints. love chocolate. like mint. mint in chocolate?...just ruins it for me. and yet, as i write this post, i am eating an andes mint that karl gave me. in fact, i ate one yesterday also. you might be wondering why i am eating one if i really don't like 'em. well, i've just had this little craving for chocolate (ladies, you know what i mean) and an andes mint is my only option. and if i eat it really slowly and try not to think about the mint in there, it's not quite so bad...

now, this may be a bit of a stretch, but i think my andes mint situation is a lot like life at times. those things that we really love and long for often bring along stuff that we'd rather not have to deal with. but if it's worth it, and it means enough, we find a way to get past the minty taste and just enjoy the chocolate...

weekend update
Monday, May 24 at 9:04 AM

okay, so i know i am always disappointed when i check my friend's blogs and there is nothing new for a while. i don't want to do that to you guys. but, sometimes i just don't feel like i've got anything interesting to say. or, i do, but i can't really say it all because i've got to censor myself on here a little bit. who knew blogging could be so complicated? maybe i should just make up hilarious stories about myself and my friends. yeah, i should do that...

...karl is going to quit her job to follow soco around in a desperate attempt to meet ireland and have him fall madly in love with her. she has become an expert on drums, drum sticks, cymbals, and everything else drum related. she has even made herself a nifty little shirt that says "i am the future mrs. karl ireland" in pink, fuzzy letters.
...lanna made some really groovy "lanna pants" for gavin degraw that he wears every day. never takes them off. she is on her way to millionaire status. we'll all be able to say we knew her before she was famous.
...shua just bought a brand new BMW convertible. he has left the thrift stores behind, now dressing only in tommy hilfiger. he never puts flops on his perfectly pedicured feet. he plans on taking the beamer cross country so he can meet all of his internet friends (of the girl and boy variety). these imaginary friends of his will now all become real. good luck on your adventure, shua.
...suz is pregnant with triplets and is looking forward to spending all day every day in bed watching soap operas and jerry springer. jake is totally freaking out, pitching fits every several minutes, and basically acting completely opposite of the jake that we all know and love. has declared that rock music is "of the devil" and he will never play it again. in his personal campaign against the rock, he has become one of those televangelists that says jesusuuhh and has weird hair and stuff. he now only does covers of avalon and point of grace.
...i have decided that God has blessed me with the gift of singleness. i've bought fourteen cats that i love dearly, even though my eyes are now constantly swollen shut and i can't really breathe too well. in my spare time, i teach people exactly how to swerve in their cars when deer run out in front of them. my technique is designed to maximize the potential harm done to both the deer and the car in the situation. the highlight of the class is definitely the pitiful little sounds that i make to imitate the deer in pain.

...well, that was fun. i hope you all enjoyed the little tangent as much as i did. makes me very thankful for the "ordinary" life that i live. and by "ordinary," i mean incredible.

friday...dinner with the parents to celebrate dad's birthday. lots of late night scrabble with lee and shua. mcd dominated, of course...shua became king of the "hey, i've got all vowels" phenomenon...and i somehow managed to hand mcd the triple word score spot practically every time. you'd think i would start to pay attention. apparently not. great fun with great friends...i am so blessed.

saturday...lots of shopping and no buying. the only girl at the gym with about five guys total. and a nice little wedding party for kelly and jason outside that evening. of the greatest sundays in some time. moving worship. a message that hit me right where i needed it (more on that later)...sandwiched between teaching four-year-olds about jacob and the dream God gave him. relaxing all afternoon at the bamberg pool (complete with a chocolate blast from baskin robbins) with friends and then on to dinner with the parents and my brother, darren, and his wife, julie. more scrabble, this time with the dominated, as usual. i don't get to spend much time with darren and julie (being that they live in boston), so these times together are precious. all in all, a day filled with the things i love most in life...God, kids, new spring, friends, and family (and also baskin robbins and scrabble). i'll post more about the sermon and how God is revealing His truth to me soonly...

dang gina
Friday, May 21 at 9:38 AM

aren't my friends hott?? yes, yes they are...

the mcd Posted by Hello

shua Posted by Hello

lanna Posted by Hello

karl Posted by Hello

suz Posted by Hello

faces with names

so, i am going to try to post pics of some of my favorite people...these are most of the peeps who comment on this blog and i think it'll be fun to put faces with names (or nicknames, as the case may be). as i write this post, it hits me that the only people who actually read this blog are these wonderful friends of mine. and they know what they look like...but i'm doing it anyway. i love these guys and i want their gorgeous mugs on my site.

all these pics come to you courtesy of shua...he takes nice photos.

Thursday, May 20 at 1:52 PM

i think it's funny (and sad) that we as Christians spend so much time and energy trying to "find God's will for our lives." for me, college was the time when i wrestled with this issue the most. i wanted to know what God wanted me to do with my life...i wanted to find out what direction i would be headed after graduation. i would go on fca retreats and attend the "finding God's will" breakout sessions...and yet i never found the "answer." turns out that the "answer" i was looking for is one that will never come.
"A man's steps are directed by the Lord.
How then can anyone understand his own way?"
Proverbs 20:24

i'm not in control...i believe that much of my desire to know what the future holds comes from some need to feel in control of my life. but i'm not. and when i really think about what that means, i am completely grateful. i can't understand my own way...and i don't need to. God is directing my steps. what could be more comforting that that?
Tuesday, May 18 at 3:17 PM

okay, so i love kids. them. most of the time, i would rather be around a two-year old than anyone my own age. last night was the most fun i have had in quite some time...well, actually since the last i got to hang out with the coolest kids i know. me, lili, and shua spent the evening with the beautifully pregnant shay and her two incredible girls. jordyn and rylee--so much fun. being around them brings me more happiness than anything else i know. there is just something so pure and breathtaking about children...i'll never get used to it.

i look at jordy bug and i am utterly amazed. it blows my mind to think of how many changes take place in the first couple of years of life. there is no way i will ever be able to grasp the greatness of a God who engineered this whole life thing. a God who knits us together in our mothers' wombs and knows every detail of who we are and who we are to become. a God who makes our tiny bodies in such a way that we have all we need to grow into adults (i just don't get that at all). a God who loves us no matter how often we fall short of His glory...

thanks Abba.

too much
Monday, May 17 at 3:12 PM

today is one of those days when there is just too much going on in my head to actually make sense of any of it. i've discovered that it usually takes me some time to sift through my thoughts and feelings in order to draw conclusions from them...and really gain perspective. and the more i think about it, the more i realize how common this practice is in my life. i know that there are others who, like me, always think of what they really meant to say or wanted to say in some particular situation after some time has passed...the "perfect" answer suddenly comes into your head. but it goes even deeper...many times i don't really know everything that i feel or think about something until i am directly questioned about it. usually there are so many angles/factors to think about and i want to consider all of them. and of course it takes me a while to wade through all of this in my head and come up with an answer. and wow, i don't know how i started rambling about this topic, but i'll stop now...

by the way, i got a big old box of ceramic tiles for $8 on saturday and lots of other supplies for my first mosaic project. it's coming along fairly well...i'll keep you updated.

for "karl" and "shua"
Friday, May 14 at 10:16 AM

"quotation marks"

created to create
Thursday, May 13 at 3:05 PM

so, i'm really in the mood to create things lately...i got my old art supplies out and i've been looking into the mosaic thing. my friends should all be may be getting lb-made presents soon. i believe we were all made to be creative in one way or another, and i haven't indulged that desire in quite some time. there is just something so satisfying in creating some unique thing...a painting. some photos. maybe a mosaic piece. i see God in those things, and i feel Him in those things...why don't i do it more often?

also, on my lunchbreak today, karl and i went to the habitat resale store. such a good choice of "lunch" spots...i found some cool ceramic tiles really cheap. mosaics (how many times can i say that word in one post?), anyone? oh, yeah. then, i happened upon this great old camera box...very cool even on its own. i looked inside. really interesting old camera? check. old school f-stop meter? check. flash and flashbulbs? check. check. all the old instruction books? check. so i say to karl, "wonder how much this is? it doesn't have a price." and she says, "why don't ya ask?" so i do, thinking it's gonna be more than i want to spend on something that may not work and might not be worth much really. and the response was " bout three dollars?" yes, the hospice store has won my affections. a great trip, i must say...

comeback kids
Wednesday, May 12 at 1:12 PM

i feel old. i mean, when i can say, "hey i loved these things when i was a kid...and now they are making a comeback," there really is no other logical conclusion. all you old-school garbage pail kids collectors should go and create your own on the site. be a kid again; it was way more fun...

this is weird

i knew that having a blog could potentially be very unsettling. i knew it would be easier (in a sense) to share things about me in this forum...and i knew that i would be aware of how people responded to my posts. but i was really only thinking of how those people close to me would respond. i must say that it is just weird to write my thoughts, feelings, and struggles here...and have random people comment on them.

my first inclination is to just stop posting, or at least stop posting anything that could be taken the wrong way, dissected, attacked, etc. (wouldn't that be just about everything?)...that's pretty much my reaction in real life, anyway. i think i am afraid of letting others really see me because i know me...i know every flaw, every inconsistency, every insecurity. so i thought this internet journal would be an easy way to let more of myself come out...and now i am feeling more vulnerable than i have in quite some time. funny. and yet, isn't that what life is all about? putting yourself on the line. leaving the comfortable. knowing others and being known. i think it is, so i will continue to be as real as possible...

romans 8:1-2 keeps coming to mind as i'm writing..."therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death." such a comfort to know that i don't have to be perfect. none of us are...but i know Someone who is, and that makes all the difference in the world.

Tuesday, May 11 at 2:10 PM

so i've been feeling really restless and unsatisfied lately...longing for something (or someone) to capture my attention. you might even say i've been bored, especially if you go by one of the definitions for bored i found on"tired of the world; ex: bored with life." (yes, i am a dictionary/scrabble/crossword nerd...i'm okay with that.)

tired of this world. bored with life. those statements seem so sad and depressing until i realize what they actually mean, where they are rooted. it reminds me of a song by one of my favorites...

i miss You
by shane barnard and will hunt

put down your paper plate
come to the table made
deep blue china
found on the table by the wine
so fine

it brings out flavor
like You bring out color in life

oh, i miss You so
the feel of forever
oh, that taste i know
it hurts to remember
unfortunately high
ironically dissatisfied
i miss You
i miss You

oh, i miss You so
the feel of forever
oh, that taste i know
it hurts to remember

i had a fleeting thought this morning
and i mentioned you today
it breaks my heart just to know You in part
and not to be with You where You are

i'm sure there will be things in life that make this world more exciting to me...marriage, children, etc., etc. but i doubt that my heartbreak from only knowing Him in part will ever cease...until i am with Him. i just hope to always recognize that "boredom" for what it truly is--my heart crying out for God. for infinitely more than any person, job, or relationship can give me. it's amazing to me that "He has also set eternity in the hearts of men." (ecc. 3:11) why would i ever be surprised by my own restlessness? it makes perfect sense in light of all these things...

Friday, May 7 at 3:03 PM

so many thoughts...i'm not sure where to start today.

so i guess i'll give a brief recap of the athens adventure last night. something corporate put on an awesome show--one of those that you can't help getting swept up in. lights. sweaty, stinky people. smoke. jumping around. just good. well worth the drive. i'm not sure, however, that it was worth sitting through the rocket summer. worst "band" ever. and by "band" i mean kid with 12 arm bands and some other guys who should know better. i actually thought that maybe we were on an episode of punk'd. seriously. they were that bad. the other opener, woodbelly, was a nice little surprise.

now that i have ranted about the level of awful that the rocket summer lives on, i will tell you what else has been on my mind today...ephesians 4:29 "do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."

ironic, isn't it?

i've been thinking about how i don't live this verse out much...even when i try. how often do my words build others up? sometimes, i'm sure they do. but much of the time, helpfulness is lost in a sea of sarcasm and wittiness. why is that? are we so afraid of letting people know us and really getting to know others that we prefer to keep things on the surface? to build others up with words, we have to know their needs. to know their needs, we have to go deeper...i don't know the answer, but it's a good question.

gotta go...more later.

me in two words
Thursday, May 6 at 2:46 PM

so, thanks to shua for the title of my little journal's his description of me in two words. i like it. if you know me, you'll have to judge for yourself...

1. In a manner to deceive.
2. In a misleading way; "the exam looked deceptively easy" [syn: deceivingly, misleadingly]

1. To engage the attention of; to awaken interest in; to excite emotion or passion in
2. In hacker parlance, this word has strong connotations of "annoying", or "difficult", or both. Hackers relish a challenge, and enjoy wringing all the irony possible out of the ancient Chinese curse "may you live in interesting times."

hacker parlance? uummm...okay.

moving on. it's great to have friends. real know? those few people in life who truly get me and who are willing to put in the time, honesty, and energy required. i'm not so sure i'd want to be my own friend (if i weren't me) and yet there are people who choose to be mine...i don't exactly understand it, but i am grateful. i think the true friends that i do have are those people who were willing to see through the "deception" and get to the interesting part.

Tuesday, May 4 at 2:07 PM

wow...this is new, exciting, and also a bit intimidating. do i really want to post my thoughts for the world (or random people in the world) to see? will anyone actually want to read them? not sure...and yet here it is. we'll see how it goes.