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.