Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Every December 31, I like to reflect on the year, looking back on everything that transpired over the past 364 days and what I hope the coming year will hold. I'd like to take the time to highlight some of the big events from 2008:
1. Rock the City & Franklin Graham Festival - attending these events were both fun because of the huge crowds present at both and being able to witness so many people either returning to God or giving their lives for the first time.

2. Thanksgiving in July - while this event was trying and time consuming, it was also so much fun to see twenty-some people come together and fellowship. What will forever be etched in my mind is the whole turkey thing. I didn't know it takes several days to unthaw a turkey so we had to creatively thaw it...that's all I'm saying.

3. Xtreme Camp - getting away from everything for 4 days was so much fun. We definitely experienced our share of fun things but we also encountered God. The thing that stands out to me the most was our first night there when we came together for our first service. We began with worship but it ended up lasting for the duration of the service. I'd never felt God like I did then and I remember right before we walked up to the stage I went to one of the girls in my cabin who had started crying while we were praying together. I gave her a hug and told her, "God hears you and loves you so very, very much." She started crying again and that caused me to cry. I think that night was a time of healing and breakthroughs for teens as well as leaders.

4. L.A. Missions Trip - this trip included a lot of firsts for me. It was my first mission trip, first time on a plane, first time going to Disneyland and first time going completely across the country. The week was so incredible - it was a time of fun but also of out-of-my-comfort-zone moments, too. Meeting people from different cultures and backgrounds was probably what I will remember the most. Hearing accents from all over was so cool and being able to work alongside people I probably wouldn't normally cross paths with was the perfect example of brothers and sisters in Christ joining together under a common goal.

5. Graduating...Finally! - being able to finally be done with school is both a huge accomplishment and a transition. Knowing that I won't ever have to deal with papers or professors or deadlines ever again is a hard thing to comprehend but it's also a relief to have it behind me.

This has been a busy year but it's been good. Sprinkle in a two concerts (John Reuben and Pursuit of Red at Zuma), a few worship nights and some movie outings to finish off the year. While I'm glad things have slowed down a little bit, I'm also really excited for all of the "beautiful surprises" awaiting me in 2009. See you next year!!

Monday, December 29, 2008


Have you ever felt you're standing on a precipice, daring to peek over the edge and gasp at the drop below? You want to cross the chasm separating you from the other side but there's something pulling at you, preventing you from making that attempt. Or maybe there's a door in front of you and try as you might, you're unable to open it. You turn the knob, bang on the door, kick the door - everything short of tearing it apart piece by piece. You know if you can just make it to the other side, you'll find what you're looking for but you have to first figure out a way to either cross the canyon or open the door...
It's as if you're on a plateau or stuck in neutral or find yourself in a monotonous routine that threatens to push you over that canyon. You can feel it in your bones that there's something big waiting for you on other side - the missing piece you've been searching for. It's as if you're being held back by some unseen force and you fight with every breath in your body to overcome and break free - to finally grasp the proverbial carrot dangling in front of you.
With a new year upon us, we all sit down to make new year's resolutions and other promises to ourselves that we more than likely will abandon shortly after we ring in the new year. We reflect on the past year and examine the things in our lives that we want to change - things we want to accomplish or experience. This is the time to gain our second wind as we struggle to overcome the things that we've battled during the year - the invisible hands that have been holding us back. With January 1 comes a fresh start for all us; a clean slate. We can choose to either continue to remain standing on one side of the canyon, staying where it's familiar and safe or take a risk and cross the distance by using the well-worn and fraying rope bridge. Yes, we may fall or have to stop along the way but "without risk you never fully discover who you are - who you can be."

Saturday, December 27, 2008


While holidays are a great time for family and being able to momentarily forget about all the things we must accomplish and check off a to-do list, it's also a time of thinking of what could be. I tend to want to run ahead of God on some things instead of surrendering to Him completely. Though I know He has great things for me, I don't like waiting or not knowing what the next step will look like. While waiting on God is a really great way for me to develop that trust in Him, it's also really hard being able to only see a small part of the big picture.

I feel like a broken record since I know I've posted about this before but the whole concept of surrendering to God keeps coming back to me. I don't think we can truly understand the importance of giving God our plans so He can have the freedom to work in us and help us become who we're meant to be - how He sees us.
I'm a sucker for happy endings and I thought of the movie The Family Man when writing this post. Jack is given the gift of being able to see what his life would be like had he made a certain choice only to find out it's nothing more than a dream. He then has to decide if he wants to really have the life he imagined and then make it happen.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


I find it almost comical how far the world strives to blur truth from reality when it comes to holidays important to the Christian faith. Christmas is supposed to be about celebrating the birth of a baby who forever changed the world He just became a part of. Instead it’s about Santa and reindeer and presents and lights and all of these other things; it seems we’re so far removed from the real reason of Christmas at times. On the other hand, the world will also acknowledge the true meaning as they sing carols, proclaiming Christ’s birth. It seems that Christmas is the only time of year where it’s not infringing on personal freedoms or separation of church and state to talk about Jesus or sing about Him.

It can be so easy to become wrapped up in gift giving and all the other things we associate with Christmas that we lose sight of what it’s really all about. It IS about giving; God gave us the gift of His Son yet I think we sometimes feel like we have to spend all kinds of money, go on a hunt for the ‘perfect’ gift, cover our house with lights, decorate every inch of yard with inflatable characters along with plastic nativities (my favorite is Santa kneeling at the manger – don’t quite get that) and whatever else. What happened to family gathering together and simply enjoying the closeness and love provided by such an atmosphere? No matter how much money is spent on gifts, there’s no amount that can buy happiness. We’ve diluted Christmas down to money instead of the priceless gift we all received, if we’re willing to accept it.

I hope that we can disentangle ourselves from Hollywood’s picture of Christmas and refocus back on the real meaning. It’s like a box within a box. At the very center is a tiny box representing Jesus but it’s inside box after box that we sometimes forgets it’s there and even add another box to the many layers. Let’s take the time to peel away the layers and embrace the timeless story of a baby in a manger who is the perfect picture of love.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

run your race

So yesterday was a roller coaster day; I don’t know the reason for the ups and downs I experienced but it was just one of those days where you want to do nothing more than go home, put on some pajamas, grab a carton of ice cream or chocolate (maybe even both) and lose yourself in a chic flick where the guy predictably but reassuringly gets the girl.

I’ve realized it can be so easy to look at others and secretly wish for what they have. While happy for them, you also can’t help but think that life on their side of the fence must be a little greener. The only problem with this attitude is that all of us have a different race to run in this life. God put different gifts and calls in all of us, causing the path which we are led on to be just as different. To want the life someone else has is saying you want to trade in the plans God has for you in order to live someone else’s life. In a sense, you’re substituting your uniqueness to be average (I’m borrowing that from the youth pastor at Angelus Temple).

I’ve concluded the only solution to this is to turn to the Bible and lay hold of all the many promises God has for us. If we can confidently trust that God knows exactly what He’s doing and give Him every part of our lives – our dreams, desires, hopes, plans…basically everything – then He can have the freedom to lead us down a path that is so amazing, wrought with all the things our heart longs for but carried out according to His timetable and as He sees fit. Here are some verses to get you jump started:

“I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” – Jeremiah 29:11 (Message)

“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” – John 15:7

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” – Matthew 7:7-8

“If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don't fuss about what's on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.” – Matthew 6:25-26 (Message)

Monday, December 22, 2008


Today was a rather challenging day...I'm chalking it up to being Monday. I was in need of something to make me laugh and wanted to share...

Saturday, December 20, 2008


With Christmas right around the corner, the whole reason for the holiday is on my mind. I love the Christmas story because as Pastor has said before, it’s a story that is so far fetched that it has to be believable. Think about it. God, in order to save a lost and searching people, sent His Son as a baby to that very world. He didn’t send Him as a man with a strong army, ready to conquer those who opposed Him but sent Him in such a subtle and unassuming way. He sent Him not to be born into a king’s family or even a priest or wealthy family but to a teenage girl who was no one to give a second glance to. Add to this the fact Mary wasn’t even married but engaged (I’m sure the talk around the well was just buzzing).

So Gabriel appears to Mary, with news that I’m sure was hard for her to comprehend. He tells her that God has chosen her to be the vessel with which He will provide salvation for the world. The only catch is that she has to say yes. God isn’t going to force her to bear His Son. I was talking to Dayton a few weeks ago and he brought up a point that I had never thought about before. I’ve always thought about the fact if Mary had said no, God would have found someone else but Dayton posed the question of was Mary the first one? How many other girls had Gabriel appeared to before Mary? I think it’s an interesting concept. How many girls laughed when Gabriel told them they would be the one to give birth to God’s Son?

And then when the time does come for Mary to finally bring the promised Messiah into the world, she doesn’t give birth in a comfy inn or even someone’s home. The only place available (since Jesus couldn’t wait any longer to make His appearance) was the same place occupied by animals. The first ones to greet the Savior were donkeys and horses. Shepherds were the ones to behold the tiny baby and stare at Him in awe. It all sounds so completely out there but at the same time, makes perfect sense. There’s a feeling of rightness in such a beginning to God’s plan of redemption for us. But for any of it to happen, Mary had to say, ‘“Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her” (Luke 1:38).

I found this video, showing clips from the movie The Nativity Story and really like how it’s coupled with the song “Filled with Your Glory” by Starfield.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


A few months ago our youth worship band, Pursuit of Red, played at a local youth rally. Some of us went out to show our support and towards the end of the service, we were asked to get with someone else and pray for them. Alicia and I prayed for each other and one of the things she asked God for me was for “beautiful surprises.” That phrase has stuck with me and I can’t help but wonder at the vast amount of surprises God has for us, just waiting to shower them upon us.

I helped throw a surprise birthday party for a friend earlier in the year and though I wasn’t able to see his face at the exact moment when he realized what was happening, I was assured that he was truly surprised. A surprise party is not nearly as much fun if the person for who the party is for either knows about the party or doesn’t like surprises, making such an event rather awkward. Such a person is hindering himself from allowing others to bless him and could be missing out on some really great things by having such a mindset. How often do we do the same thing with God? We either constantly question Him, being no better than the child who incessantly asks his father, “Can we play now, dad? Can we play NOW, dad?” or we become so close-minded to anything that’s out of our comfort zone that such experiences simply pass us by.

Someone could have a gift in hand, ready to give it to you, but until you make that move to accept it, they’re left standing there waiting and you’re standing there empty handed. I think it’s so important that we remain open to what God wants to do in our lives. It would be like asking Him to bless us but then giving Him a list of guidelines on how to bless us. How fun is it for the blesser to be told by the bless-ee how to do the blessing?

Let us learn from the movie Elf. Jovi is presented with a surprise when Buddy asks her out. She could have said no (which would have been understandable – the guy did eat cotton balls and used gum) but she saw an opportunity before her and decided to step out of the box. Moral of the story? Don’t be so quick to overlook what could quite possibly be the most amazing and beautiful surprise.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


When working with four year-olds, it's important to keep them busy and focused, otherwise chaos is most likely to ensue. Idle hands are curious hands and if you want to maintain even the slightest amount of order in the classroom, you will think of ways to use this energy to your advantage. One thing I do and I'm still amazed at the effectiveness (for the most part) is to explain that I'm in need of helpers and I'm looking for boys and girls who are sitting like they're supposed to, not talking, etc. (basically what they're supposed to be doing all the time but they are four :-) As soon as I make this announcement, every child sits a little straighter and looks oh so angelic. There's always the one or two, even though I said I wouldn't call on those who are talking who say, "I want to be a helper." I've tried using the tactic of saying I'll be watching from the time we go to praise and worship until after the lesson to instill that thought of, "Oh, she's watching me. I better be good!" but I'm still working on that.

It's like when parents tell their kids year-round to be good because Santa's watching you. I never believed in Santa growing up (and I'm thankful because how traumatic would that be to believe in this person but then find out he's not real?) but I would think that might be a little scary to kids that someone is watching them, without their knowledge. And the whole coal thing? Don't get me started.

There's also the instance of in school, when the teacher has her back to the students and says, "I'm watching you. I've got eyes in the back of my head." What's the obsession with letting children know they're being watched? I think we all know it doesn't ensure good behavior, otherwise they wouldn't need the constant reminder. Add your pastor telling you that God's watching you as well and you realize that there's always someone who sees you, 24/7. So why do we do things when no one's looking, thinking no one sees us? Apparently, there are a lot of people watching us, whether we know it or not. I don't know that this post really had a point but was something I was thinking about...

Monday, December 8, 2008


I worked with the four year olds yesterday morning and taught on the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth. I had skimmed over the lesson on Saturday and actually took the time to really read it Sunday before any delightful children showed up to the classroom. As I read over the points for the lesson, I couldn’t help but realize I could learn from this story as well. Zechariah and Elizabeth were both older but had never had any children. I’m sure they probably questioned God as to the reason for this since they both served Him and Zechariah was even a priest. I’m sure Elizabeth wanted a child to hold in her arms and Zechariah wanted a son to carry on the family name and maybe even become a priest like him. Yet year after year, Elizabeth remained barren. How many times do we find ourselves in the same position? We desire something from God and question why He’s yet to answer us.

So one day an angel appeared to Zechariah as he was offering incense in the temple. What I find so cool about this story is that on the day the angel appeared to him, Zechariah was performing a ‘once in a lifetime’ act. The ability to decide who would enter the temple to present the incense before God was determined by casting lots. So as Zechariah stood before the altar, an angel spoke to him, promising he would indeed receive his long-awaited child; not just a child but a son. But because he doubted (as we all tend to do), he was unable to share this great news with all those who had looked at him and Elizabeth with disapproval (since the fact that she had remained barren for so long could sometimes be viewed as a sign of God’s disfavor). For nine months, he had to remain silent; only able to watch as his wife bore the evidence of the angel’s words. As the story continues, once John is born and Zechariah insists that will be the child’s name, he’s able to talk again and he and Elizabeth share in the joy of finally having a son. On the heels of this birth, Elizabeth’s cousin Mary is also pregnant (with a certain Son of God) and seeks refuge at Elizabeth’s house while she decides what her next step looks like (another story entirely).

A few things I want to point out that really spoke to me are this:
1. When the angel spoke to Zechariah, one of the things he said was, “…your prayer has been heard…” – even when we feel like are prayers are going no higher than the ceiling, God does hear us.
2. The last part of the lesson said, “God always keeps His promises” – we may think God’s forgotten us and we’ll never receive the things we feel He’s promised us but GOD ALWAYS KEEPS HIS PROMISES.

I want to end with what Gabriel told Mary when she asked how she was ever to give birth to the Savior, “For with God nothing will be impossible” (Luke 1:37).

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


I was driving to work today and couldn't help but not miss a u-haul-size truck parked in an empty parking lot, plastered with scriptures; basically presenting a "get right or get left" message to all those who might read it. Though I’m sure the owner of this truck has the best of intentions, I can't help but wonder if there's not a better way of reaching those who are searching. Instead of offering condemnation (and I’m not saying this man is) why not offer love? Why not let our actions speak for us?

If we look at Jesus' ministry, He didn't point His finger in people's faces (except for maybe the Pharisees but they already claimed to have salvation - another story entirely) but instead treated them with kindness as well as offering them hope. I think of the woman who had been caught in adultery. Jesus had every right to condemn her and tell her what a horrible thing she'd done. Instead, He said, ‘“Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”’ (John 8:10-11)

One of the coolest things about our time in L.A. was the fact that when we ministered to people, we were able to look past their physical condition (be it that they were homeless or whatever) and simply show them God’s love. We went to Skid Row one day and gave out hot meals to people and also passed out cups of water to those waiting in line. Something as insignificant as a cup of water but at the same time, on a hot day a cup of water could be an answer to prayer for someone. I know for me, I was able to give a genuine smile to all those I handed out water to and my hope is that they were all able to see God in me and in the rest of us there. We didn’t preach to them or tell them they were sinners; we gave them food and tried to love them as God does. We let our actions speak for us.

Monday, December 1, 2008


I’ve just finished my work for the semester and will graduate with my Master’s degree next weekend. While I’m immensely relieved to have this behind me, I’m also a little unsure of what to do with myself now that I’m really through with my college experience. After being in school for my whole life, how am I supposed to transition to life away from the classroom? The fact that I’m wanting to be a teacher ensures that I’ll never walk completely away from the learning experience but still, it feels so weird knowing that I’ll never again have to go through the process of registering for classes, purchasing text books (and paying an arm and a leg for them!), enduring waiting for my grades to be posted, or anything else associated with higher learning.

So while I’m super excited to no longer have to deal with the stress and time constraints provided by school, I’m a little sad that it really is over. It’s as if I’ve been handed a blank book, ready for me to fill it with whatever I choose. I can go down whatever path suits my fancy and use my degree or not use it or whatever I want. There’s a sense of freedom attached to finally reaching this point in my life. So I think the logical thing to do is look to God and ask for His direction as I begin a new chapter in my life. The time following graduation can be full of countless opportunities and experiences if I’ll follow God and walk down the path He’s leading me on. I have no idea what’s in store for me now but will follow Lincoln Brewster’s advice in his song, “Today is the Day.”

I putting my fears aside
I`m leaving my doubts behind
I`m giving my hopes and dreams to You

I`m reaching my hands to Yours
Believing there`s so much more
Knowing that all You have in store for me is good

I found this clip from The Office and wanted to share. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

by your side

Ok, so I'm using Elizabeth's idea of making a song my post but I heard this song on the way home and actually took the time to listen to the lyrics. It was at the part where it says, "why are you searching as if I'm not enough?" that God had my attention and I couldn't help the conviction that washed over me. Am I allowing God to be enough or am I wanting other things to help satisfy me? Ouch.

The song is called "By Your Side" by Tenth Avenue North.

Why are you striving these days
Why are you trying to earn grace
Why are you crying
Let me lift up your face
Just don't turn away

Why are you looking for love
Why are you still searching as if I'm not enough
To where will you go child
Tell me where will you run
To where will you run

And I'll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don't fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Look at these hands and my side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world's sin
So I could carry you in
And give you life
I want to give you life

Cause I, I love you
I want you to know
That I, I love you
I'll never let you go

Monday, November 24, 2008


"Perfection has many flavors." I heard this quote last night when watching a movie and it really stood out to me. The context behind the line is that this girl had it in her mind what a perfect Christmas looked like and a guy was trying to explain to her that perfection comes in many forms. He made her a drink that, after she sipped it, sighed in delight and said "it tastes like Christmas; it’s perfect." He then fixed another drink and she couldn't help but deem it perfect as well, causing her to wonder how two completely different drinks could both be labeled as "perfect." I think we're very much the same way. We tend to get it in our heads that perfection comes in only one form and everything else is second best. We refuse to let anything alter our opinion and set out on this quest to achieve something that, in all honesty, isn't really even attainable. We may even bypass things while on this quest that God could have for us simply because we're only focused on this one thing that we're sure will look a certain way. The problem with this attitude is that God doesn't always look at things the same way we do. His idea of perfect and our idea of perfect can be two totally different things. So who's right? Hmmm...

While having high expectations is good and will cause us to want to strive for the best, we don't need to allow ourselves to become so wrapped up in trying to obtain "perfect" because I think that will only lead to disappointment. Nothing in this world is perfect because it's all flawed in some way; everything is temporal and fleeting except the One who created it all. By constantly striving for perfect, we'll continue to always reach but never be quite able to grasp. I think it all comes down to trusting God (this seems to be a recurring theme in my posts) and resting in the fact that He has a plan for us that is beyond's perfect :-)

Friday, November 14, 2008


So I’m going though a situation where I’m really having to trust God with the outcome. It’s something that I’ve been dealing with a while and comes down to if I’m willing to completely surrender the situation to Him or will continue to try and take it back. It's not that I know I’ll do a better job of handling it than God it's just that by giving it to Him, I’m giving up that control and that's a scary thought for me. What if He doesn't answer me like I want Him to?

So I was actually praying about this very thing last night, the song "Always" (Hillsong United) playing on my laptop and putting into words what I couldn't say. I realized that a big part of prayer is the ability for us to stop talking and listen. It’s not all about us and us telling God what we want; it's about letting Him speak to us as well. Even though He may not choose to speak in an audible voice, He may "speak" by giving you an indescribable sense of peace, assuring you that He hears and will His time (that's the kicker right there). For me, I find great comfort in listening to worship songs during these times of soul searching. "Always" was the perfect song for me last night because more than me wanting this thing to happen in my life, I want what God has for me.

I think God chooses not to always speak in a loud voice because that would be too easy and require little if any faith on our part. All we would have to do is be quiet enough to hear Him. Yet if He chooses to speak in a whisper or through a song, that requires much more thought and concentration. There’s the story in the Bible about Elijah and how he was standing on a mountain, waiting for God to move. A great wind blew by but God wasn’t in the wind. An earthquake shook the mountain but God wasn’t in the earthquake. A fire came next but God wasn’t in the fire. Finally, Elijah heard a still, small voice and that was God (1 Kings 19:11-13).

Saying all that to say that I think sometimes listening is just as much a part of praying as talking. It’d be like asking someone a question and before even giving them time to answer we keep talking. What’s the point of even asking if you don’t let them respond? God won’t force us to listen; we have to make the choice to quiet down and hear Him.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

animal crackers

I wasn’t going to write a blog tonight but certain events have happened today to cause me to need to put thoughts on paper (though I’m not using paper but beside the point – just an expression). I was talking to an oh, so wise person today and she gave me her point of view regarding a situation in my life. She didn’t necessarily give me the answer I wanted to hear but the answer I needed to hear and I’ve been meditating on it all day.

We all have desires that are really special to us and sometimes we become impatient while waiting on God to fulfill them. A little while ago, our college group had a discussion about waiting on God and someone (shout out to Seana!) used the example of waiting on God as waiting on a made-to-order cookie. We can have complete understanding that our cookie is being prepared or even merely cooling off but sometimes we just decide we’re through waiting and we stomp off, rummaging through the closet and settling for stale animal crackers (not even the Barnum kind but the generic ones). Yet, if we could have just waited a few more minutes, we could have had the cookie made just for us! Why is it when we’re the closest to receiving our answer that we throw in the towel? We can’t hang in there for a few more minutes because we’re just…too…tired. I find that so frustrating because I know if I can just keep trusting God instead of trying to make it happen on my own, it’ll turn out so much better than I could have planned.

A verse that this wise person gave me, though I’ve heard it and know it and say it all the time, really spoke to me because she used a different translation than what I’m used to. It’s Jeremiah 29:11 from the Message: “I'll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” What really got to me and I’m fighting tears right now is the tail end of the passage. If we can trust God and not become impatient, He’ll show us “plans to give you the future you hope for.” If we can fully comprehend God’s love for us and that He wants nothing but the absolute best for us, we can make ourselves wait on Him and His timing. Is it easy? Not by a long shot. But is it worth it? You bet.

I have one more verse that came to mind when I was thinking about all of this. It’s John 15:7: “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” My pastor talked about this verse one Sunday and said that when we truly seek God’s will, then we want what He wants and are prayers will be answered. We can’t push our agenda on God, throwing bits and pieces of scripture at Him in order to justify our requests. We have to be in line with what He wants for us and trust that He really does know best. I’ve thought about it like this: if I really wanted something but knew it wasn’t God’s best for me, would I still want it? Surrendering our desires to God is soooo hard sometimes because we can become afraid that He’ll not answer like we want Him to. However, if we trust Him like we should, we’ll be able to rest in the fact that when He does answer us it’ll be absolutely amazing – just like when you’re able to take the first bite of that made-to-order cookie.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

skirting the edge

Imagine it’s dark and you’re driving up a mountain, inching along because the only light is from your headlights – not even the moon is casting a glow. You follow the bends and curves, going farther and farther up the mountain, hoping with each turn that you’re almost there. Finally, finally, you reach the top but then have the arduous task of going back down. You ride your breaks the entire time, the speedometer barely topping 5 miles per hour. Each rock you drive over seems to feel like a boulder as you carefully make your way back down the mountain. Though you go slowly, you’re not scared because you’re unable to see anything beyond the road directly in front of you. Anything on the left or right you’re oblivious to, therefore fear isn’t a reason for your lack of speed – only wanting to make it back safely is your primary concern. You eventually reach the bottom and travel on your merry way, gratefully accelerating once on an even, familiar road. The next day you go back to the mountain, curious to see the object in daylight. Pulling up to the huge mass, your jaw drops as you realize you had been driving right along the edge, not even a guard rail there to protect you should you have drifted too far from the road. As you leave, you realize you’re shaking because the full impact of “what if” hits you full force. What if you had accidentally veered too much? What if you had taken one turn too fast and in an attempt to regain control, come dangerously close to the edge?

Life is much the same way. As long as we’re ignorant of what we should be afraid of, we won’t know we should be afraid. It’s like when you’re little and have this fascination with bugs. You love to hold them and collect them. Then you reach the point where you realize they can be potentially harmful and you’re suddenly scared. What changed? The bugs could have hurt you in the beginning but you weren’t aware of that fact. It’s only when we let our mindset to be challenged that we experience an upset. My challenge is that we don’t let what others may say, or life in general, change how we either view things or handle situations. If we don’t know we should be afraid then how can we be afraid?

Monday, November 3, 2008


Ever since returning from L.A., I find myself being more introspective and examining all the things I choose to invest my time in. I want to make every moment I have to count towards something and not be wasted on something that will have little if not zero significance in the long run. I keep thinking about something I’ve heard before that we all have twenty-four hours in a day. It doesn’t matter where we’re from, what our occupation or our age – all of us have the same gift of twenty-four hours to spend as we see fit.
During our last night in L.A., we listened to Ken Hart speaking on “When Your Dreams Get Stuck” and I felt God bringing dreams I’d either put on hold or thought were just too big/hard to obtain back to the forefront of my mind. I felt Him stirring those desires as one stokes a fire – probing and prodding the wood so the fire will continue to burn – and I have a renewed determination to achieve those dreams. I know we can sometimes feel intimidated when God puts certain things in us because we’re only able to focus on the obstacles we must overcome instead of looking beyond them to see what God sees. We let fear hinder us from stepping out and cower in the corner, afraid to place even one toe over the line separating the familiar from the unknown. I just finished a book called “Evasions” by Melanie M. Jeschke and one line that really stood out to me is this: “‘Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt [which is actually a line from Shakespeare].’”
I want to view each day as bursting with potential and holding a plethora of possibilities. God places different gifts in all of us and I want to make sure I use mine to the best of my ability and leave a mark in my corner of the world. One more quote that a certain blonde shared with me in L.A.: “True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.”

I came across this picture today and wanted to share it with someone else. It's a photo of Josh Griffin (youth pastor in California) and he dressed up as Michael Phelps for Halloween :-)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


How many times do we ask others, "How are you?" They automatically reply with, "I'm good. How are you?" We give another automatic response and then go about our day, focused on us and all the things we must accomplish in order to feel as though we were productive throughout the course of the day. What if we actually took the time to give those around us more than a quick glance and a five second conversation? I think we have an indifferent attitude sometimes when it comes to the welfare of others. It's not that we don't care but it's that we don't want to invest the time necessary to sit down and have a serious conversation with someone. Maybe it's because we're dealing with our own issues and don't want to be put in such a vulnerable position because when one person shares, doesn't the other feel a certain amount of obligation to do the same?

After spending a week in L.A., my perspective has changed. We worked alongside people that I would probably avoid, just because I wouldn't take the time to move past the surface. People with piercings and tattoos and brightly colored hair but who are so cool. We got to know one guy (shout out to T.J.) when we visited a place called Skid Row and he had his eyebrow pierced along with his lip (I think) but he was super friendly and helped us as we nervously/anxiously mingled among the homeless. It was as though, because we were all there for the same reason, we were able to automatically look beyond physical appearances and see people for who they really were. Why do I struggle with doing the same thing back home?

I think having a change in environment can foster a sense of boldness that we wouldn't otherwise have because we're in a place where we don't have a history (good or bad) and can portray ourselves as we'd truly like to be. We realize that we probably won't see any of the people we're around ever again so why not pull out all the stops and be bold? The hard thing is maintaining that attitude once we return home and the sense of sameness threatens to settle back over us. We don't need to leave what happened in L.A. to stay in L.A. We need to become contagious and let what we experienced spark something in all those we meet so that they can become contagious as well until we're all infected. To quote one of the girls in my cabin at camp, "I want to be like a sneeze so that all are infected who come near me" (my paraphrase). Achoo.

Here are some random moments from the trip:
~ Chelsea wearing only one sock because Kamisha took her other one.
~ Nate creating a tent in his bunk and apparently doing so while the others were asleep but they would wake up to find his head sticking out of said tent with him watching them.
~ Walking by the guys' room and hearing Eric say, "What's the policy for child abuse?"
~ Meeting Big Booty Judy and Big Bertha.
~ "Have a nice day!"

Monday, October 27, 2008


So we returned from our mission trip late Friday night. The trip was…amazing! So many things happened in the course of one week that I don’t think my brain has had time to really process all of it. We had tons of fun but we also worked hard. Though we didn’t do anything overly amazing (such as build a house or whatever), we did serve. The thing that I realized is that we don’t have to wait until an official missions trip in order to partake in mission work. Missions can begin the second we step outside our doors and be applicable in all we do. Holding the door for someone, picking up a piece of trash or any other act of random kindness (also know as “ark” – Evan Almighty); all are examples of how we can serve others. We don’t have to go to another state or out of the country in order to give aid to someone else.
One of the things that was so cool to me was the worship. We arrived in L.A. Saturday afternoon and had to go straight to the evening service without having the chance to drop off our luggage or change clothes. We walked into the church and went down front to the altar, where many others were already congregated – a sense of expectation in the air. As soon as the band started playing, all of us immediately recognized the song and could enthusiastically belt out the lyrics (there wasn’t any of that awkwardness that comes with trying to sing an unfamiliar song). It was the coolest thing to be able to worship with complete strangers but yet be unified in our worship. We also met people from other parts of the world; their only reason for coming to the U.S. being the Dream Center. It was really fun talking to them and hearing their accents.
The most important thing about the trip, for me, is the desire not to go back to how things were before. I don’t want the feelings I’m experiencing to be strong for a while but then gradually fade until I’m exactly where I was before leaving for L.A. It can be so easy for us to let life invade our newly found peace or purpose or whatever we each discovered and we’re finding ourselves waiting for the next missions trip in order to find it again. We have to make the decision to not revert back to how things were because for me, I don’t want to go back. I feel like this trip was a major stepping stone for me and I want to continue to move forward, finding out what God has for me so I can fulfill the calls He’s placed on my life.

I really like this video by Brandon Heath. I think it fits with the whole “missions” idea because in order for us to love on others, we need to see them as God does; through His eyes. We need to take the time to step away from ourselves so we can focus on others. Plus, it takes place in an airport and I think that’s really cool :-)

Sunday, October 12, 2008


In only a matter of days, I leave for my first ever mission trip. I’m super excited because I truly believe this will be a life-changing experience. We’re going to have fun but we’re also going to be stepping out of our comfort zone as we minister to those who are hurting. It’s going to be an amazing week and I look forward to all God has in store for not only me but for the rest of us going. My youth pastor said he hopes this will light a fire in all of us that we can bring back to the rest of the youth group and I’m agreeing with that prayer. I think we sometimes have an attitude of knowing we need to do something but handing off that care to the next person, telling ourselves “someone else will step up so I don’t need to.” It’s as though we take the whole “it takes one person to start a change” literally in that only one person needs to actually do something. But by refusing to carry on the work of others, we’re letting ourselves miss out on not only some cool experiences but the opportunities to bless others and be blessed in return. Yes, change can only start with one person but who says it has to only be one?

I’ve decided to not include anything funny in exchange for a video that only stresses my point. It’s the song, “Waiting on the World to Change” by John Mayer and I really like the video this church made to accompany the song. I think it illustrates the fact that everyone is going through something and instead of waiting for someone else to offer help, we give that help ourselves.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

train tracks

So I was on my way to church yesterday and had a few stops to make along the way. I was trucking along, right on schedule when I hear a train whistle in the distance. At first, I panicked, thinking I would get stuck behind it but then realized the turn I needed to make was right before crossing the tracks (and I mean, literally, right before the tracks – we’re talking fifty feet or so). As I’m nearing my turn, I’m inwardly laughing because a bunch of cars are going to be stuck behind the train but not me. My laughter is short-lived because what I had failed to take into account was the fact that with my turn being so close to the train tracks, cars would be lined up, hindering me from turning (unless I wanted to be brave/stupid and drive in the oncoming lane to pass all the cars and hope no one was blocking the entrance – I decided to play it safe and stayed in line). Sitting in a line of cars, all temporarily suspending their lives and plans while unable to do anything but watch several tons of metal slowly crawl by, I grew more and more frustrated with each train car that seemed to inch past me. It didn’t seem fair to me that I was being held up simply because everyone else was at a standstill. While alternating pounding the steering wheel and wishing the train would just go on, a life lesson slowly settled over me, much to my dismay. I think we have similar “train track” experiences in life. Something looms in front of us, refusing to budge thus rendering us helpless. All we can do is stand there, mouth agape as we let fear sink its claws into us. Or maybe it’s a person standing in our way; someone who is determined to dig in his/her heel and not budge. It may even be that the obstacle isn’t even standing directly in our path but we’re ultimately affected, just like with me and the train. So what must we do? Will we allow what’s in front of us to completely derail us from what could be awaiting us just on the other side? Or will we hold tight until the train passes and then just cross the track?

My side of laughter is from The Far Side. This is one of my favorites.

Monday, October 6, 2008


I just finished reading the book, When the Heart Cries by Cindy Woodsmall. It’s about a seventeen year-old girl named Hannah who lives in Owl’s Perch, an Amish community. She ends up falling in love with a Mennonite named Paul and she must decide if what she and Paul share is worth severing the ties to not only her family but to her community or to bury her feelings with the departure of Paul returning to school. Not wanting to explore the idea of moving on, Hannah accepts Paul’s proposal, him promising they’ll figure out some way to overcome her father’s impending refusal to let his daughter marry outside the faith. On the night of their engagement, Hannah’s life is forever altered in the course of several minutes. I don’t want to give anything away but at the end of the book, Hannah comes to the realization that even though her plans may fall apart, God is still in control.

“As she stared through the window, a soft whisper crossed her soul. Nevertheless. It was an odd word coming to her at an odd time, but it kept circling through her mind, whispering hope. Life hurt. Nevertheless, it was a gift worthy of honoring. Nevertheless. The word came stronger this time, immediately lifting her spirits and causing sprigs of faith to grow.”

I looked up the definition of nevertheless and it means, “nonetheless; notwithstanding; however; in spite of that.” I think we all experience those times when we need the encouragement provided by such a word. Maybe you’re overlooked for a promotion at work. Nevertheless, God could be preparing a different job for you. Maybe the college you wanted to be accepted to turned you down. Nevertheless, God has an even better school in mind for you. Maybe, maybe, maybe. My point is that whatever life throws at us, nevertheless God still has a plan and He’s not caught off guard. We might be thrown for a loop but God never is. Nevertheless, God hasn’t forgotten us or left us to fend for ourselves (thank goodness!). I looked up the word nevertheless in the Bible and the search engine I used ( – it’s amazing!) said the word is recorded 34 times. I think that’s a fairly amount of instances so God must feel the word is important. I shared a message with the college group at my church a few weeks ago about how our plan B in life could be God’s plan A. Just because things don’t go the way we want them doesn’t mean we’re not exactly where God wants us. I think that’s the embodiment of nevertheless. Though life is full of ups and downs, nevertheless, God is never too busy with running the world to not care about the small things, like the fact I’m completely enamored with my new phone (see yesterday’s post).

My side of laughter today is some fun words to say. Please insert them in your everyday conversations. We need to inspire others to color their vocabulary with fun words.
~ Squishy – softly gurgling or splashing (I found other definitions but I liked this one best)
~ Humanoid – someone who isn't existing or answering you. Example: if you text someone and they don’t respond like they usually do, you respond "Humanoid..."
~ Hoity-toity – giddy
~ Awry – away from the expected or proper direction; amiss; wrong
~ Ostentatious – characterized by or given to pretentious or conspicuous show in an attempt to impress others (I don’t really like the definition but I think it’s just fun to say)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

new toy

I am the proud owner of a new cell phone! To some the admission may not seem like a big deal but to me it is. I'm a person who takes her time when deciding to join the rest of society when it comes to "what's in." I only sent my first text message a few weeks ago and to have that capability in my own hands is the coolest thing. I've spent the past four hours or so choosing a ring tone, changing the wallpaper and entering my contacts. I think it's fun to invest in a new "toy" because there's that whole learning process of how it works and then we step it up by figuring out shortcuts. My post today isn't really insightful or thought provoking; I'm just super pumped about my phone and find myself simply staring at it for minutes at a time. I hope that doesn't sound as "Wow, she needs a life" as I think it does - I'm just enamored with my new toy :-)

Even though my phone isn't with AT & T, I still love this commercial and wanted to share it with you. Enjoy.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

ready or not, here i come!

Have you ever done something that forced you to cross the line between age-appropriate and ridiculous? Yet at the same time, you found yourself enjoying said activity more than you expected and discovered a level of freedom in participating? I went to a friend’s surprise birthday party a few weeks ago and all of us played hide-and-go-seek. We weren’t a bunch of teenagers, which I think would have given us a certain amount of leeway to play such an elementary game, but most of us were college-age. At first, I must admit thoughts of “Why am I doing this?” flitted through my mind. Those thoughts only lasted until the first person who was deemed ‘it’ finished counting and began looking for us. Apparently I was an easy target because he came running for me and I almost slid in who knows what (I was outside and it was dark) and became the next ‘it.’ For the next hour or so we reverted back to simpler times and our biggest worry was making it to base without being tagged. Some people were far more creative than I in their hiding spots. One person climbed inside a cabinet but then managed to get stuck, proving to not be the best location. Another person hid under the table right beside where the person ‘it’ was counting! I think she made a point of choosing places that were challenging. At the end of it all, I had the most fun and I think sometimes we need to take a break from everything weighing on us, all the decisions we must make and simply…play.

I found this video yesterday and I had to share. It may take watching it a time or two to really find the humor but I hope it makes you laugh. It’s the simple things.

Friday, October 3, 2008


A coworker and I declared today "Chocolate Day." There was no reason; we just wanted an excuse to bring in chocolate. So when I got to work this morning, I was pleasantly surprised to already see the table laden with chocolatey goodness. There were chocolate covered strawberries, brownies with chocolate frosting, doughnuts with chocolate icing, candy, chocolate cookies, red velvet cake (which apparently has chocolate in it - who knew?) and something I'd never heard of before but am now hooked on, potato chips dipped in chocolate! Oh, you've never tasted anything so amazing as the combination of salty and sweet together in your mouth. Your taste buds will shriek with astonishment tinged with delight at such a unlikely duo, the flavor just bursting in your mouth and leaving you craving more (I'm feeling descriptive today).

So why am I going on and on about chocolate? My point is that we all need a reason to celebrate sometimes. Maybe you've had a bad week and just need that excuse to step out of your routine and do (or eat) something that puts a smile on your face. This kind of goes along with my post from Monday; sometimes we're stuck in a rut and need to make an attempt to pull ourselves out. Chocolate is a great way to do that :-) It was so cool to see all the women in the office (I guess the guys felt they would contribute by eating) come together and bring in a plethora (I dare you to use the word sometime today - it just rolls off the tongue) of chocolate-based confections. Everyone said how they loved the idea and I think it just helps bring about a sense of common union, or community (Pastor King's topic on joining together as a body of believers). Though not everyone in the office shares a belief in Christ, who knows, maybe over a piece of chocolate the gospel can be shared. Talk about a win-win situation: eating chocolate and welcoming a new brother/sister into the kingdom. So I hope all those reading this have your own "Chocolate Day." Find a reason to celebrate and then have at it!

I was going to list some creative ways to use chocolate but I don't think anything can top this:

Thursday, October 2, 2008

nail scars

I heard something today that threw what I believe for a loop. I was listening to the radio and they were discussing the book, The Shack by William P. Young. I’ve not read the book but have heard others talk about it and that it raises some interesting questions. One thing that was brought up is that in the story, the character portraying God showed someone the scars from hanging on the cross that she herself had (apparently God is portrayed as a woman, which we know isn't true (I mean, Father God) but that’s beside the point). The woman talking about the book said that if we believe the Trinity is three separate people (yet interrelated at the same time), then that means, since Jesus is also God, God would have those same nail-scarred hands as His Son. The whole point she was making was that even though God is so...everywhere, He's also intensely interested in every aspect of our lives, no matter how mundane.

At first I wanted to argue with that because I never really thought about God having a physical form so how could His hands be pierced? But then I think about in the Bible when it says God is seated on His throne. How can you ‘be seated’ without having a finite shape? Revelation 4:3 talks about God on His throne: “And He Who sat there appeared like [the crystalline brightness of] jasper and [the fiery] sardius, and encircling the throne there was a halo that looked like [a rainbow of] emerald” (Amplified). Reading this, it sounds like God doesn’t have human form but is this kind of ‘thing.’ On the other hand, John 10:30 says "I and the Father are one." Wouldn't that imply in some sort of way that if Jesus has a physical body, God would as well? In order to 'be one,' wouldn't that mean the two must take the same shape? I feel like I’m talking in circles but I think sometimes we need moments like this to force us to go to the Bible and find answers. We don’t need to take for granted what others say as the absolute truth but instead seek the answers for ourselves.

I wanted to end with something a little lighter. I’m in a “happy ending” mood so here’s the American ending to the newest remake of Pride and Prejudice. Please enjoy.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


“Forget what your Mom said about playing with matches. You’re not seven anymore. Strike that match, watch the flame consume the head and dare to wait as it moves, insistently, toward your thumb and forefinger. Sure, you could get burned. But playing it safe is not always best. Without risk, you never fully discover who you are - who you can be.”

I came across this quote the other day and thought it was so good. I’ve talked before about fighting for what you want and not giving up and I think this falls along the same lines. There’s nothing in the world wrong with playing it safe but if we do, what all will we be missing out on? I’m speaking as much to myself as to those reading this; I think we sometimes just need that push to propel us to do things that may be out of our comfort zone but are nonetheless needed in order to stretch and grow us. I think risk is a good way of finding out what we’re truly made of. Do we have the grit and drive to step out or just stay in the box where it’s safe and everything is predictable? I once read that, “Courage isn't an absence of fear. It's doing what you are afraid to do. It's having the power to let go of the familiar and forge ahead into new territory." Here’s my challenge to myself and all those reading this: even if you’re scared to no end, be courageous and take that jump anyway. How many people in the Bible were scared when God asked them to take a risk? Think about David when facing Goliath, Noah when asked to build a ginormous boat, Esther when asked to go to the king on behalf of her people, putting her own life on the line? And let’s not forget Mary. Imagine how scared she was when realizing she was going to be giving birth to the Savior of the world. Yet she still said yes and we all can benefit from that decision.

Today’s side of laughter is funny but also helps make my point. I was flipping channels and came across Gilmore Girls. I don’t usually watch the show but this episode had a way of drawing me in and I realized one of the scenes fit perfectly into the topic for this post. Here’s the clip.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

one life

I’m in the process of applying to be a substitute teacher and today went to orientation. I was a little nervous just because I didn’t know what to expect but was instantly put at ease when one of my supervisors from my student teaching was also there. She’s also applying to be a sub so it was comforting just to recognize a friendly face. We had to wait in the lobby for a few minutes (I think it was just a control thing) and, similar to the apprentice, the secretary told us we could go on up. We rode up to the 15th floor and then had to wait in the lobby area on that floor (again, a control thing). We were led down a long hallway, made a few turns and filed into a room. I had to stifle a laugh when the person leading the orientation was my former high school principal. It was funny to see him in a different environment. He then informed us that his job today was to tell us of the ugly side of being a substitute. He said 99% of the students will be good as gold but it’s the 1% we have to worry about. He shared things I wish I hadn’t heard but feel like it’s better prepared me for when I do walk into the classroom for the first time. One thing he said that stood out to me is that one of the schools he either taught at or was the principal at, the teachers were challenged to save one student that year; every teacher save just one student. Can you imagine if every teacher today shared that same dream? If every teacher took the time to reach just one student, what an impact that would make on this world. It just blows my mind to think about that fact. What if we all took that to heart, not just educators? What if we all made the point of reaching one person in our workplace or our class or in our family? Changing the world can be as close as the person sitting beside you.

Today’s side of laughter is another blonde joke. I ran across it today and just had to spread the humor.

Two blondes were walking through the woods when they came upon some tracks. The first blonde said, "They're deer tracks." The second blonde said, "No, I think they're bear tracks." Suddenly they were hit by the train.

Monday, September 29, 2008


Why are Mondays so hard to face? Is it because we're forced to accept the fact that the weekend is over and it's time to get back into the routine of school or work? We roll out of bed (much against our will) and stumble around as we try to wake up, muttering that we can't wait for Friday to arrive. The problem with this picture is that we can't live from weekend to weekend.

I'm sitting at work right now, struggling against this mindset. What I really want to do is go home, grab my favorite blanket, find a comfy spot and go back to sleep. Instead I'm doing the responsible thing and am working (please don't mistake that for bragging). I don't look forward to spending the next 3 hours (not counting the 3 I've already spent working) or so filing. Nothing else - just filing. It's a job and I'm thankful but at the same time, I can't help but wonder if watching paint dry or grass grow might be more exciting. Yet I know this is where God wants me. I was presented with the opportunity to turn in my notice in exchange for another job but I don't feel like I'm done here yet. I feel like I'm here for a reason. What reason? Yeah, I'm not quite sure. But I'm trusting God to show me the reason because He does have a plan; He just seems to have a tendency of making me wait to see what it is.

So what do I propose we do to rid ourselves of the Monday mollygrubs? Insert something fun into your day to make it more exciting. Start off by stopping at your favorite fast food jaunt and grab some breakfast (perhaps Chick-fil-A?); splurge and pay for the person behind you (you'd be surprised at how the act can turn your day around or get it off to a good start). For the girls out there, go shopping and treat yourself to a new pair of shoes (I'm sure you can find some reason to justify the purchase). Whatever it is, just do something so you don't find yourself already looking to the end of the day/week when it's only just begun. What am I going to do? I'm going to go heat up some left over pizza and savor the cheesiness in each bite. Mmmm.

Today's side of laughter is some fun things to do when bored.
~ Get a tootsie pop and see how many licks it takes to get to the center.
~ Pretend you aren't bored.
~ Call a wrong number and talk to whoever answers.
~ Have a staring contest with yourself in the mirror.
~ Call your local representative and convince him/her to have lunch with you.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Tonight in Xtreme we’re having our worship night. For an hour and a half or so all we’re going to do is worship. It’s an amazing thing to crowd around the stage and with hands lifted praise God. I think one of the most important things when going into a night like this is the level of expectation. We need to have the confidence that God will move and prepare ourselves for that before we even get there. I was thinking back to the forty days before we left for camp this summer and how we witnessed some amazing things in those services. There were several nights when we had unexpected ‘worship nights’ in that all we did was worship; the schedule for the night out the window. God met us there and people’s lives were changed. We then went to camp and that first night we had the most amazing service. We did nothing but worship for two hours. Everything we had sacrificed during those forty days and the prayers lifted up concluded with that night. It exceeded my expectations and what transpired during those two hours was something that will forever be etched in my mind. So we returned from camp and I can’t help but realize that we’ve not experienced God like we did prior to and during those four days. I think our level of expectation has dropped because we’re all busy with school and work and…life. Yet we can’t just fall back into a routine and wait for camp next year before we have an encounter with God. We need to go into every service with the anticipation that God will have His way and we’ll walk out different than when we walked in. Jeremiah 29:12-13 says, “When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I'll listen. When you come looking for me, you'll find me. "Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I'll make sure you won't be disappointed" (Message). When we ask God to do something, He promises to move so if we want to experience Him, all we have to do is ask.

Today’s side of laughter is some fun things to do in church (though I’m not responsible should anyone actually try these :-)
~ Slap your neighbor. See if they turn the other cheek. If not, raise your hand and tell the pastor.
~ By unobtrusively drawing your arms up into your sleeves, turn your shirt around backwards.
~ Start from the back of the church and try to crawl all the way to the front, under the pews, without being noticed (this couldn’t work in my church since there aren’t pews but I’d love to see it done).
~ Raise your hand and ask for permission to go to the rest room.
~ Sit close to the front, and during the prayer, turn around backwards, point, and count softly how many people do not have their heads bowed and eyes closed.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

remember when?

I’m still in a nostalgic mood so I want to look back on the 90’s once more, highlighting movies, food, and toys that will spark a memory in all those reading.

Braveheart (1995)
City of Angels (1998)
Clueless (1995)
Cool Runnings (1993)
Forest Gump (1994)
Jurassic Park (1993)
Titanic (1997)
Toy Story (1995)
While You Were Sleeping (1995)

~ Dunkaroos (kangaroo-shaped graham crackers with frosting – these were my favorite!)
~ Munch ‘ems (I loved the cheese flavor)
~ Surge (combination of Mello Yello and Sprite – it was amazing)
~ Chiclets gum (I loved the tiny ones the best)
~ Ouch Bandaids gum (they came in a metal case; I think that was my favorite part)

~ Cabbage Patch dolls (I still have mine somewhere – her name is Emily)
~ Cupcake dolls
~ Sally Secrets doll
~ Starla doll (I used to put on shows for the rest of my family with Starla – we were a team)
~ Easy Bake Oven
~ Water Babies (I used to have one but had to throw it away when the water inside got all nasty; very traumatic experience throwing my baby away)
~ Quints dolls (oh, I loved playing with these!)
~ Talk Boy tape recorder (I used to have one - I felt just like Kevin from Home Alone 2)
~ Nintendo (I loved to play Paperboy)
~ Game boy (the original, awkward one)
~ Polly Pocket (the original, compact-looking ones – I have a container full of these somewhere)

Today’s side of laughter is a commercial for Skip It. Please take note of the outfits the kids are wearing – typical 90’s.

Friday, September 26, 2008


I'm very excited about tonight. Today is the release of the new movie, Fireproof. A ton of people from my church are flooding a local theater to watch the movie and I will be in that crowd. I was watching Dr. Phil yesterday and Kirk Cameron was on the show, promoting the movie. Though God wasn't mentioned as being one of the keys to a successful marriage, Dr. Phil talked about ways for couples to stay together instead of giving up. One line from the movie that I really like and that Dr. Phil brought up is that for a marriage to be fireproof doesn't mean it won't ever come up against any fires; it means that when the fires do come, it will be able to withstand them. I think that can apply to not just marriage but our lives as well. The Christian walk (and life in general) is not easy. We will have the choice to either walk through various fires or run and hide, refusing to move forward. Having a firm faith in God ensures that when we are faced with those fires, we can make it through unscathed. It's like in the Bible when Rack, Shack and Benny (Veggietale version) were thrown in the fire and came out not even smelling like smoke. That's what I want. I want to be able to stand up against whatever life throws at me and walk out of it not even smelling like 'smoke.'

Today's side of laughter is a blonde joke (though I know not all blondes are, shall we say, naive? I personally know several who are incredibly smart and just plain awesome! Carly, you're one of those :-)

Three blondes are in an elevator when the elevator suddenly stops and the lights go out. They try using their cell phones to get help, but have no luck. Even the phones are out. After a few hours of being stuck with no help in sight, one blonde says to the others "I think the best way to call for help is by yelling together." The others agree with the first, so they all inhale deeply and begin to yell loudly "Together, together, together."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

looking back

I’m using the transition to fall as a time for reflection. I’ve been doing a lot of reminiscing lately; just thinking back to music and tv that were a part of my growing up years. I was on youtube watching intros to some of those shows, having ‘kid on Christmas morning’ moments when I would see a show that I had completely forgotten about! It’s so fun to look back and remember; it seems like it was so long ago but at the same time, it doesn’t. Life is short. We need to enjoy every second of it – there are no do over’s. Life seemed much less complicated back then and I think we can somehow hold onto some of that innocence when we do take the time to remember. So while looking back is sometimes necessary, we can’t become stuck in the past, refusing to move forward. I once came across the quote, “Our eyes are placed in front because it’s more important to look ahead than to look back.” So enjoy remembering these shows but don’t forget to look forward; you might miss your rowboat (see Sunday’s post).

Angry Beavers
Captain Planet
Hey Arnold!
Rocko’s Modern Life

All That
Caitlin’s Way
California Dreams
Charles in Charge
Clarissa Explains It All
Hang Time
Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper
Hey Dude
Pete & Pete
Salute Your Shorts
Saved by the Bell
The Secret World of Alex Mack
Sister Sister
USA High
Welcome Freshmen

Game Shows
Double Dare
Figure It Out
Wild & Crazy Kids

My side of laughter is the theme song for California Dreams. Take a trip back to the 90’s and enjoy.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


No, I didn’t hit random keys when writing the title. SYATP stands for See You at the Pole, a day set aside for students around the country to join together and pray at their flag pole. I participated this morning, going to a local school not as a student but as a youth leader, offering my support to the courageous students willing to get up early to come to school to pray. It’s so cool to watch students not only coming together to pray but to lead the event as well. People can take the Ten Commandments out of the schools and try to remove God from the pledge of allegiance (to a country which was founded by men who served Him – how much sense does that make?) but the one thing they can’t do is stop us from gathering to pray. They can’t stop us from crying out to God on behalf of a country that seeks to separate itself from Him. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land” (Amplified). Kudos to all those who crawled out of bed when it was still dark this morning to humble themselves before God.

Today’s side of laughter is some more bad pick up lines (to all the girls reading this, may we never fall for such cheesy lines).
~ “Can I have directions?” “To where?” “To your heart.”
~ (Close hand with nothing inside and give it to her) “It’s my breath from when you took it away” (open hand while saying this).
~ “Excuse me, I think you have something in your eye. Nope, it’s just a sparkle.”
~ “Hi, I’m Mr. Right. Someone said you were looking for me.”
~ “It’s not my fault I fell in love. You’re the one that tripped me.”

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I mentioned yesterday that I've been reminiscing lately. In keeping with that, this post is a look at songs from those days gone by. The other night a friend and I were talking about music we used to listen to growing up and we had several "oh my gosh!" moments when one would bring up a song/artist the other had forgotten about. Please join me on a stroll down memory lane.

All Together Separate ~ Paradigm (1999)
Anointed ~ Under the Influence (1996)
Audio Adrenaline ~ Big House (1995)
Margaret Becker ~ Keep My Mind (1993) & Deep Calling Deep (1995)
Bob Carlisle ~ Getting Stronger (1993)
Steven Curtis Chapman ~ More to This Life (1989) & For the Sake of the Call (1990)
Clay Crosse ~ I Surrender All (1993) & He Walked a Mile (1997)
DC Talk ~ Jesus Is Just Alright (1992) & Jesus Freak (1995)
Bryan Duncan ~ Strollin’ On the Water (1998)
Imperials ~ I Listen to the Trumpet of Jesus (1998)
Jars of Clay ~ Flood (1995) & Love Song for a Savior (1995)
Cheri Keaggy ~ My Faith Will Stay (1995)
Wes King ~ Common Creed (1995) & Simplify (1997)
Scott Krippayne ~ Sometimes He Calms the Storm (1995) & Wild Imagination (1995)
Greg Long ~ How Long (1994) & Jesus Saves (1998)
Newsboys ~ Shine (1996) & Entertaining Angels (1998)
Out of Eden ~ More than You Know (1996)
Twila Paris ~ God Is in Control (1994)
Petra ~ No Doubt (1995)
Phillips, Craig & Dean ~ Crucified with Christ (1995)
Point of Grace ~ I’ll Be Believing (1993)
Seven Day Jesus ~ Butterfly (1997)
Michael W. Smith ~ Place In this World (1990)
Kathy Troccoli ~ Everything Changes (1991) & Go Light Your World (1995)

Please add what songs you remember for this is only a handful of artists and songs.

Today’s side of laughter is the music video for Butterfly. Whenever I hear this song, I’m taken back to when I was in youth. It would be blaring through the speakers while we played pool or fuseball or just sat around (and thought we were so cool). Good times, good times.

Monday, September 22, 2008

happy fall

Since today is the first day of fall, I thought I’d welcome it by dedicating a post to it. Fall is my favorite season. I love it because it brings cooler weather and the leaves change. Never will you see more brilliant shades of colors than in the leaves that will soon litter the ground. I also feel like with a new weather season comes a new season in our own lives. I think once fall rolls around, most of us have finally established a routine after the whole back to school thing and are faithfully chugging along down life’s road. While I view fall as being a spring board for a fresh start others may view it as the closing of a another chapter in life. With the trees losing their leaves and plants no longer blooming, I can understand that perspective. Kind of like looking at the glass as half-full verses half-empty. But I think if we take that standpoint, as fall being the beginning of an end, how can we possibly have an optimistic outlook? It would seem to me that such a mentality would color everything else around us, putting it in a downcast light. We need to enjoy each day and take it for the gift it is. If the truth be told, each day is a new beginning so we don’t need to wait for a new season to inspire us to turn over a new leaf (little fall humor).

And, for the “with a side of laughter.” Worst pick-up lines:
~ “See this pin? I want to prick you with it to see if you truly do bleed sunshine.”
~ “You’re ugly but you intrigue me.”
~ “I may not be the best looking guy here but I’m the only one talking to you.”
~ “If you were a new burger at McDonald’s, you’d be McGorgeous.”
~ “You must be tired because you’ve been running through my head all night.”
~ “Do you believe in love at first sight or should I walk past again?”

Sunday, September 21, 2008


It had been raining for days and days, and a terrible flood had come over the land. The waters rose so high that one man was forced to climb onto the roof of his house.

As the waters rose higher and higher, a man in a rowboat appeared, and told him to get in. "No," replied the man on the roof. "I have faith in the Lord; the Lord will save me." So the man in the rowboat went away. The man on the roof prayed for God to save him.

The waters rose higher and higher, and suddenly a speedboat appeared. "Climb in!" shouted a man in the boat. "No," replied the man on the roof. "I have faith in the Lord; the Lord will save me." So the man in the speedboat went away. The man on the roof prayed for God to save him.

The waters continued to rise. A helicopter appeared and over the loudspeaker, the pilot announced he would lower a rope to the man on the roof. "No," replied the man on the roof. "I have faith in the Lord; the Lord will save me." So the helicopter went away. The man on the roof prayed for God to save him.

The waters rose higher and higher, and eventually they rose so high that the man on the roof was washed away, and alas, the poor man drowned.

Upon arriving in heaven, the man marched straight over to God. "Heavenly Father," he said, "I had faith in you, I prayed to you to save me, and yet you did nothing. Why?" God gave him a puzzled look, and replied "I sent you two boats and a helicopter, what more did you expect?"

Today I realized something; when you ask God to do something, you better expect Him to move. No, He may not move in the way you thought He would but He will do something. We can’t be so close-minded that we’re unwilling to recognize when God may be trying to do something in our lives. We can’t overlook the ‘rowboats’ because we refuse to believe that God won’t answer us exactly the way we expect Him to. Matthew 21:22 says, “And whatever you ask for in prayer, having faith and [really] believing, you will receive” (Amplified). How much sense does it make to ask God for something but then not expect He’ll do it? It’s like asking our parents for something but knowing they won’t give it to us. Why even bother asking? When we go to God, we need to have faith enough that He’ll answer and be receptive enough to realize when He does answer us.

Today’s side of laughter is a clip from The Office. Enjoy.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

unaware hero

Do you have certain memories of people who stand out as helping shape your childhood? Without knowing it, they forever impacted your life? I was able to be a bystander to such an event. A few weeks ago, I was at church on a Friday night, helping with childcare for an event. At one point we took the kids into the gym, letting them burn off some energy (thinking that might tire them out – yeah, not really). An almost 13 year-old I like to call Chester was also at the church. I asked if he would be willing to come and play with the oldest boy there, who was around 11. Having such a wide range of ages (kids from 3 years up to 12), he was a little out of the loop being one of the older kids amid toddlers and other "little ones". Chester agreed to come into the gym, grabbing a football and tossing it back and forth with the boy (my brother will do this with his friends for hours and I’ve yet to understand the appeal – must be a guy thing). What stands out to me is the look on the little boy’s face when Chester asked if he wanted to play. This was a kid who tried to act tougher than he was but was secretly excited to have a 7th grader befriending him. I think we all have those instances where we just want someone to look past the tough, confident exterior we may exhibit. We try to be brave but in reality, our world could be crumbling apart, bits and pieces slipping through our fingers. Though this moment may not make an indelible mark on the boy’s memory, it will forever stand out to me. Witnessing such a scene makes me want to leave lasting impressions on all those I meet. We all have the capabilities of being a hero to someone, simply by taking the time to care.

Today’s side of laughter is more fun things to do…not at the workplace but at the grocery store.
~ While arguing with an invisible friend, proceed to play tug-of-war over an item.
~ When the clerk in the deli asks for your order, mime it.
~ Ask if anyone has seen your pet snake – he was just in your pocket a minute ago.
~ Look for someone holding a jar of honey; explain it’s actually bee vomit.
~ Stand in front of the ice cream freezer, look intently at it, and scream intermittently.

Friday, September 19, 2008

fine print

Have you ever panicked over a situation only to realize you overlooked something or just hadn't been given the latest update? I was just looking over the syllabus for my very last class in my graduate program (I'm breathing a huge sigh of relief right now) and wanted to cry when realizing there are nine pages of assignments with at least five or more activities on each one. It was then I flipped to the page with guidelines (that I had completely overlooked the first time) and read that I only have to choose one activity from each page, giving me nine to complete instead of…well, a lot more than nine. Though this is just one example, I tend to do this a lot. Either I'll make a judgment before getting all the facts and then feel lower than dirt when I realize how quick I was to react or I'll say something before thinking it through (because I'm usually in the moment and will say the first thing that pops into my head - not always a good idea) and have the need to put my foot in my mouth (which does not taste very good). I don't take the time to read the fine print, if you will, and get all the facts before jumping to conclusions. This can also apply to our walk with God. When it seems to us that God is hesitating in answering our prayers, we revert to throwing a temper tantrum, complete with foot stomping. We may utter things such as, "God, don't You hear me? Where are You?" or "In Your word it says to ask whatever we desire in Your name so why haven't You answered me?" We neglect to read the fine print. We can't understand why in the world He wouldn't answer us the second He hears our prayers. Don't we know more than God? Um….no. Learning God's timing truly is perfect is a hard lesson because it usually involves experiencing waiting in order to fully grasp the concept. Ultimately it comes down to trusting that God knows what He's doing (I mean, He is God) and follow Psalms 16:9 which says, "rest in hope." Is leaving things with God easy? Yeah, that'd be a big no. But who better to leave them with than the One who cares the most about you? That's what I thought.

My side of laughter for today is some more fun things to do in the workplace:
~ Don't use any punctuation.
~ Send e-mail to the rest of the company to tell them what you're doing. For example, "If anyone needs me, I'll be in the bathroom, in Stall #3."
~ Adjust the tint on your monitor so that the brightness level lights up the entire work area. Insist to others that you like it that way.
~ Move your desk into the elevator and ask anyone that comes in if they have an appointment.
~ Change your accent every three minutes.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

find your place

At my church we're in the midst of Find Your Place. For those not familiar with FYP (it's fun to throw around the lingo), this is the time for members to renew their commitments to the areas they're currently serving in or to get involved for the first time. For the past two weeks, my pastor has stood from the pulpit and stressed the importance of serving. What I love the most about serving is the fact that I get blessed out of it as well as the person I'm serving. Isn't it just like God to allow us to benefit from putting someone else first? Galatians 5:13 says, "…through love serve one another." By serving, we take the focus off of us and place it on someone else. I find it so easy to only think about me and my problems, what I'm going through and what I want. Me, me, me! But by shifting my attention from me to someone else, not only am I helping another person but I'm not thinking about me. Ghandi once said, "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others." We can serve others in countless ways be it through open acts of kindness or those done in secret. I always think the latter is more fun (though by no means any more important) because the recipient doesn't know who helped them or whatever; just that someone cared enough to do something. Imagine if we all engaged in a kind act every day? How much better off would we be? I know there have been days when I'll think about it and realize I didn't do anything nice for someone else. Something as seemingly insignificant as opening the door for another person could make all the difference for that person. After all, with one act, Jesus hung on the cross, offering the ultimate example of serving another; in fact, He served the whole world. I think I can manage to hold the door for someone, how about you?

Today's side of laughter are some fun things to do in the workplace:
~ Page yourself on the intercom; don't disguise your voice.
~ Find out where your boss shops and buy exactly the same outfits. Always wear them one day after your boss. This is especially effective if your boss is the opposite gender.
~ Put mosquito netting around your cubicle; play jungle music.
~ Develop an unnatural fear of staplers.
~ As often as possible, skip rather than walk.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

belly buttons

Ok, since the video I included yesterday was titled "Belly Buttons" that got me to thinking. What are belly buttons for? What purpose do they serve? My findings have turned out to be quite interesting. Belly buttons serve as the means to which babies in the womb receive nourishment via the umbilical cord. That cord is the lifeline between mother and child and the belly button is a reminder of that. Once a baby is born, the umbilical cord is cut; a little piece is left that will eventually fall off. When this piece does fall off, it leaves a tiny scar, otherwise known as a belly button. I was unable to find a logical reason for the whole innie versus outtie debate although I did read that innies are more common and only about 10% of people have outties.

I then wondered about Adam and Eve. Since neither was physically born, did they have belly buttons? Apparently they didn't because that would imply something not true and God's not a liar. I found an interesting explanation of Adam and Eve's lack of belly button. "Lack of a belly-button on Adam and Eve would be one of the biggest tourist attractions in the pre-Flood world, as the grandchildren and the great-grandchildren would come up and say, "Why don't you have a belly-button?" And they could recount again and again, to generation after generation, how God had created them special by completed supernatural acts, and yet had designed them to multiply and fill the Earth in natural ways that are equally a part of God's continuing care for what He created." I have to wonder if they freaked out when Cain and Abel were born and both had belly buttons while they didn't. I think it's so cool the extent God goes to in order to show His greatness. He cares so much about us, down to our belly button.

My side of laughter today is some letters written to God by kids. These will surely put a smile on your face.
~ Dear God – did you mean for the giraffe to look like that or was it an accident?
~ Dear God – in Bible times, did they really talk that fancy?
~ Dear God – if You watch in church on Sunday, I'll show you my new shoes.
~ Dear God – are You really invisible or is that just a trick?
~ Dear God – I went to this wedding and they kissed right in church. Is that ok?