Friday, July 30, 2010


I leave for youth camp in two days. I've started packing but it seems I still have a thousand things to do. I'm trying not to stress. See, I tend to over-plan and make things more complicated than they really need to be. This year, I'm making every effort to simplify things for camp. I'm going as a leader which means I'm taking things for the girls in my cabin and trying to keep it all "simple" isn't easy. I like having a plan A, B and even C but this philosophy doesn't translate well when it comes to packing bag after bag for a four-day trip.

It comes down to control. I like knowing I'm prepared and ready for whatever life may decide to throw at me. But how often are we really prepared for life? How often do things go like we want them to? Yeah, not all that often. There needs to be a balance between going with the flow and being prepared. I want to be able to have a plan but be ok if it gets chucked out the window. I think one way to achieve that is by keeping...things...simple. Not becoming so wrapped up in details that we lose sight of the big picture. Being too busy focusing on each piece of the puzzle and where it fits instead of looking at the finished product. Now for me to put that into action :-)

Thursday, July 29, 2010


I had a moment today that I'm taking as confirmation from God. I've been praying for a new job (not just a new one but the right one) and wondering if my degree is ever going to be used. I majored in education but have begun doubting if that's really what I'm supposed to do.

Taking a slight bunny trail, I just finished reading a book that made reference to the story of Gideon in the Bible. She was talking about how she asked God for a sign in regards to a big decision she was facing - just as when Gideon asked God to 1. have the fleece be wet and the ground dry and 2. the fleece be dry and the ground wet. Though I can't remember asking for a sign from God (though it'd be great for an arrow to simply point in the direction I should go), I feel like He might've given me one anyway (and I'm totally fine with that - God's just loving like that). I was at Target and looking at the $1 section they have at the front of the store. Walking down one aisle I noticed a super cute pointer for teachers on the floor (to use to point at maps, charts, etc.). Without hesitating, I bent down, picked it up and decided to buy it. It wasn't until I was in the car that I realized my reaction. I'm choosing to believe this was God reminding me I didn't choose the wrong major and He'll work out the whole job thing for me.

Monday, July 26, 2010

book review: "flight to heaven" by capt. dale black

On July 18, 1969, nineteen year-old Dale Black boarded a Piper Navajo along with the pilot and co-pilot. Shortly after taking off, they crashed into the Portal of the Folded Wings’ dome in Los Alamitos, California. Both of the other men died shortly after impact but Dale survived. The doctors didn’t think he’d pull through and during his year-long road to recovery he often wondered why he’d been spared when the others weren’t. Dale’s injuries were severe, including memory loss. Even today, his short term memory doesn’t function. It wasn’t until later that he began remembering things from that day. He remembers suddenly being in midair, looking at his body while doctors operate in the ER. He then traveled out of the hospital and found himself quickly speeding through a narrow pathway. He was escorted by two angels. “I was fast approaching a magnificent city, golden and gleaming among a myriad of resplendent colors. The light I saw was the purest I had ever seen. And the music was the most majestic, enchanting, and glorious I had ever heard.” He describes the colors as being “alive” and light emanating from everything. At one point he encounters a group of people who he feels were there to greet him. “They came here for me. The looks on their faces, their excitement at seeing me, at welcoming me, was overwhelming. I felt so special, so loved. I had never felt such a deep sense of belonging. They radiated profound joy at seeing me. Everyone smiled, their eyes warm and kind; their hearts so filled with unconditional love that it spilled out of them onto me. No one was recognizable as an earthly acquaintance, but all seemed remarkably familiar. I didn’t know these people, but somehow I knew they were my family – my spiritual family, my brothers, my sisters, spanning generations.” He talks about feeling as though he was about to receive a gift and all of these people knew what it was. Before he could accept it, he was swept away.

This encounter with heaven has colored Dale’s perspective every since. He had been told he’d never walk again but he refused to believe it. On the one year anniversary of the crash, he flew back over the Folded Wings’ dome. He overcame setback after setback, stumping the doctor who couldn’t understand why Dale would seemingly need surgery one day and then as he was about to operate, find out he didn’t need it after all. It wasn’t until a few years later that Dr. Graham would give his life to Christ, finally believing in the God who had remarkably healed Dale. He now is a missionary pilot, having been to fifty-one countries and flown over 1,000 mission trips.

This was an interesting read. I had thought there would be more than a chapter or two devoted to Dale’s experience in heaven though his recovery consisted of miracle after miracle. The one moment that stood out to me was when he made his first anniversary flight and the dialogue between him and the tower:

Dale: “Burbank Tower, this is Cherokee 37 November. One year ago today a Piper Navajo crashed into the air memorial Portal of the Folded Wings, just south of the airport. Two pilots were killed. I alone survived. I dedicate this anniversary flight to the glory of God.”
Tower: “37 November, two of us were on duty that day…we didn’t think anyone survived…37 November, we’re glad you made it! Congratulations!”
Following his landing, the Tower had one more thing to say, “37 November, Burbank Tower. A very…big…congratulations to you…from all of us.”

Note: I received this book free from Bethany House as part of their book review program. I wasn't asked to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.

book review: "the edge of the divine" by sandi patty

“A dictionary defines the word edge in several ways, but my favorite is “the point at which something is likely to begin…I’ve learned that, throughout each day, we encounter points at which something is likely to begin. Edges.”

“The Edge of the Divine” is about, as the title hints, edges. Sandi Patty, through her weight-loss journey has come across edge upon edge in her life. This book is about what lead up to her decision to undergo Lap Band surgery and her life since. She talks about the times when she had no idea what God was doing but trusted Him anyway. “God by His providence brings you into circumstances that you can’t understand at all, but the Spirit of God understands. God brings you to places, among people, and into certain conditions to accomplish a definite purpose through the intercession of the Spirit in you.”

One line from the book that stood out to me is this: “That’s my God. That’s my Jesus. He doesn’t mind getting rained on or mud-splattered. He’s right there in the storm with us.” She talks about how Jesus doesn’t wait on us to get everything together before being there for us. When we go through rough times, He’s right there with us…not afraid to get a little dirty. In life we have two options when coming upon an edge. Sandi talks about Humpty Dumpty and what might’ve happened if he fell on the other side of the wall. “We teeter on that edge, looking on either side of the wall. Neither landing site looks comfortable; there are rocks and sharp points to be endured. But sometimes, if you look a little farther in this imaginary scene, you can make a better choice by checking out the first responders to pick up the pieces.” She talks about the importance of friends who will support you during hard times and gives her own firsthand experience with her divorce and the situation surrounding her second marriage.

This was a good read and good message. Another line that jumped out at me was, “we keep trying, keep moving in the right direction, knowing that our journey isn’t about a stopwatch but about a compass.” Life is full of edges and moments when life might get a little messy. I love how each chapter begins with a scripture. My favorite was 2 Corinthians 12:7: “my grace is enough; it's all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.”

Note: I received this book free to review from Thomas Nelson Publishers and was not required to write a positive review.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I started reading a book today by Sandi Patty called "The Edge of the Divine." I'm only a couple of pages in but she talks about the word "edge" and gives this definition: the point at which something is likely to begin. That's something to think about...

Monday, July 5, 2010

book review: "unburdened" by chris tiegreen

“I’ve often wondered what would happen if we followed their [Christian writers] counsel and simply let go of our concerns. Would the world fall apart? Would situations worsen because we aren’t stressed about them anymore? Would all of our dreams and desires fall into God’s trash pile if we were no longer pestering him about them? Why don’t we just “let go”? I don’t know. We would certainly lose a sense of control, but maybe that’s the point. Perhaps that’s our fundamental problem – our false sense of control. It’s an illusion, and it wreaks havoc on our sense of peace. But we desperately try to maintain it anyway. Why? Because we have a hard time trusting God.”

The above quote adequately sums up the message behind “Unburdened” by Chris Tiegreen. He attempts to tackle the issue of why we have such a hard time giving our “baggage” to God and being able to confidently leave it with Him. From the start, he admits that he’s the last person who should be writing a book about being worry-free and “at rest” with his life. “Apparently, God doesn’t think a discussion on “the unburdened life” is for people who are cruising. It’s for people who are weighed down and about to buckle.” Our lack of trust stems from our need for control. We have a hard time letting go and not trying to take it back. “Do you see the absurdity of our stress? We are very busy and anxious about the very things God has already said he’s taking care of. We are relentless in our pursuit of what he has already promised to deliver. We micromanage the concerns we’ve allegedly asked him to handle.”

I admit I’m one of those who pray about something and leave the issue with God but then try to go back and take it from Him. Somehow I’ve convinced myself I’ll do a better job of making it happen than God – an absolutely crazy notion I know but I’m not good at letting go. I like to plan and have things go the way I want them. God doesn’t have the same timetable as me and that fact is a little unnerving. But if I truly trust Him, I’ll be able to know His plans are infinitely better than mine. “Any stress about whether or not Jesus will take care of us is a stark rebuttal to his words. Somehow we got comfortable with being living contradictions: Christians who “believe” in the words of Jesus but worry anyway. That makes no sense.” So if we trust Him like we say we do, then we can leave it with Him. End of story.

To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


I've been listening to a song called "Healer" (the Hillsong version is my favorite). The one line that's been sticking out to me is "I believe You are all I need..." This is where I'm getting hung up. I have to make a conscious decision to mean that line. I'm craving the kind of relationship with God where that truly is my heart's cry. To reach a point where I don't need a guy or anything else but only God. To know who I am in God and be content with the path I'm walking. I've always thought of content as meaning happy where you are and having no desire for anything else and that's not what I want. I want to fulfill the things God has for me and not be satisfied with where I'm currently at - I know He has more for me. But that's not what it means. Philippians 4:12 says, "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." In other words, no matter the situation, Paul trusts God. He knows God has a plan and will take care of him. God, You're all I need.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

i'll be happy when...

I was cleaning out my email and found this draft I had written back in March. I don't think I ever posted it but if I did, it's a lesson that deserves a second reading :-)

I've been thinking about something lately that I can't quite remember where I heard it that caused me to begin thinking about it. It's the whole idea of life being a journey and not looking so much to the next destination but enjoying the time in between as well. For me, I have a hard time not getting caught up in the whole "when I ______ then I'll be happy." There's nothing wrong with looking forward to those moments but we can't allow our happiness to solely rely on them. If so, we're only going to be happy during those times and what happens to the rest of our lives? If you've yet to notice, a lot of our time is spent waiting - or at least that's how I feel.

There's a saying that I first thought was really cool but at the same time, gives the wrong impression: "life isn't about the moments we breathe but about the moments that take our breath away." No, it really isn't. While those moments are great and should be cherished, life is about the everyday things. It's about driving home from work, windows down, music playing and the sun shining. It's about hanging out with friends and laughing so hard you're crying. It's about enjoying each and every day as the gift it is.