Friday, December 30, 2011

Agree to disagree?

I know that God wants us to stick up for what we believe in, both in action and words, but it sometimes it's hard to know how to approach situations.

For one, I hate starting debates. I'm not good at debating, and I usually end up conceding points anyway. I think I usually end up doing more harm than good.

Second, many people think that when Christians stand up for things they believe in that it makes us bigots and hateful and people stop listening.

Third, I have sins in my life so I don't feel like I have a leg to stand on when it comes to pointing out the sins of others without being called a hypocrite.

We are expected to listen to people who have opposite views, but often when we openly speak about how we disagree they start calling names. They want us to listen to them but won't listen to us.

You can see this a lot now with the debates. Political conservatives get a lot of flack. More liberal people say that conservatives spit hate speech when all they are doing is standing up for what they believe in, because they have something other than "everything is good for me to do" to believe in.

I am proud when our politicians stand up for faith. I think it is wonderful when they can start healthy conversations and agree to disagree.

For instance, people post political views on Facebook and expect everyone to like them. However, I think that if I posted something contrary that people would virtually yell and scream and call me everything in the book - whether to my face or when talking to other people. That doesn't really seem to solve any problems but just create more barriers.

How do we share what we believe without creating enemies? We're supposed to share what we believe to reach people, not to put up walls.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

365 days of reading

A couple of years ago, I read through the entire Bible.

With my new iPhone, I was looking through some apps to download and decided I wanted to download a Bible so that I could read it wherever I was. The app I found has different reading plans to choose from, so I decided to do a chronological reading that lasts 365 days.

I hope that having the Bible with me all the time, I won't have the excuse of not reading something every day. Even if I didn't bring my Bible with, I at least have it on my phone so I will always be able to read it when I have a free moment.

Starting to read a few chapters though, I want to make sure that my reading doesn't end there. I think a lot of times I think that if I listen to Christian radio, write these blogs and read the Bible that means that God will be satisfied with my effort. I have to do more than that though. It's beyond just the surface things.

I need to make sure that I am learning as I am reading and even more, implementing what God wants me to do with these lessons.

I have to start somewhere, but I have to make sure I don't end there too.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Plan it out...sometimes

This one seems like a no-brainer to me, but as I think about it, maybe other people will be inspired.

I live off of writing things down - work, blogs, and especially lists. I don't know if I have a bad memory or am just too much of a worrier, I have to write everything down to make sure that I remember to do all that I want/need to do.

I have always been a planner, from deciding what I'm going to do this weekend ahead of time to make sure that I'm not left hanging to thinking ahead years in the future. It doesn't always work out as planned, but I like to at least have an idea of what I am going to do - even though sometimes God has different plans.

I thinking planning and staying organized with lists is important, because you won't forget to do what you need to do. You won't forget an important ingredient at the grocery store, and you won't forget to pay bills. I think planning is responsible.

However, I used to plan to the point that I didn't leave room for anything other than my plan. Recently, I didn't plan for my car to break down, and I didn't plan to miss my alarm and forget to get up on Christmas Eve for the drive home. However, I tried not to freak out when my plans went awry. Sometimes situations go wrong.

You have to leave room for God to make his moves. He doesn't always have the same plans that we do, and we have to accept that whether we want to or not.

Also, planning can sometimes make people stiff and unflexible. Spontaneity can definitely make days more fun, when we go on a random trip or take time out of our responsibilities to spend time with friends.

Be responsible with your time, but also leave room for God and for fun.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Stick to it

I've had a lot of convictions through the years.

I could probably count on one hand how many I have stuck to without questioning. I rarely stick to my guns.

For instance, my freshman year in college I decided I wanted to switch schools so I could be closer to Nate. After much thought I decided to stay at my school, but it was hard to stick with my original decision. My sophomore year in college, I started to question my relationship with Nate. After I started my job, I almost quit to take a job where I live now.

Those are just a few of the more recent large decisions that I have made and questioned.

It came up again when I looked for a new cell phone last week. I had an upgrade due and needed a new one, because mine was shutting off randomly and just having troubles in general. It was an LG Chocolate Touch and I haven't really liked it since I got it.

However, I didn't want to get a smartphone, because I didn't want to pay the extra data charges. Working from home, I have my computers in front of me most of the time and didn't think it worth it to pay more for data every month.

I started looking for a phone with a Qwerty keyboard, a phone that I could get for free. My last phone is the only phone I've ever paid for, and I didn't like it so I didn't want to waste money on a phone again.

I looked at the very limited variety of basic phones my wireless company provides, and it was select. The only phone I liked - had a keyboard, video and a decent camera - was $100. I didn't want to pay that! So I decided to wait and see if they got new phones.

However, my new puppy decided to grab my phone from my pocket and gnaw on it. She did very little damage and I didn't notice anything wrong until a few hours later I tried to use my phone and the touch screen wasn't working. Apparently her sharp little teeth made an indentation on the touch sensor so the phone couldn't tell I was trying to use the touch screen.

Well, it was time for a new phone.

Nate said I should get an iPhone, but I was determined not to waste his money on extra data charges.

A few minutes into looking at the phone store, I was paying for a new iPhone.

"I don't stick to anything."

"No, you don't."

"Is that bad?"

"Yes. Sometimes you need to."

I started thinking about my lack of willpower. I really need to start sticking to my guns. And maybe I need to stop relying on myself about sticking to my guns. I need to rely on God's power and stick to it with his help.

I think that's my new year's resolution.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Life's stories

When I go through the obituaries for a paper I write for, they seem so short.

In fact, we have some death notices that are no longer than the date a person died, where they died, the time of their funeral and the place of their burial.

It makes life seem like it was insignificant. Those names mean nothing to me, and nothing to many of the people who flip through the pages of the paper. However, to some people that name means everything and it digs a dagger into their heart just seeing their life narrowed down to such a small piece.

I think everyone has a story, and obituaries simply don't tell them. Many people don't tell their stories, because they think they're insignificant. However, the fact that everyone has lived and learned means that they have something important to pass on to someone else.

Don't minimize people around you just because it seems like they have nothing to offer. Just because they're life might fit on a few lines in an obituary doesn't mean that's all there was to them. Get to know people before you don't have a chance.

Since Christmas is tomorrow, maybe I should make a tie in with Christmas.

Sometimes when we look at Jesus, we see his obituary. We see his death on the cross and think about the great sacrifice that he gave. His death is super important, paired with the fact that he beat death and came back to life three days later, but we can't discount the fact that he lived as well.

On Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Christ - the start of his life. Jesus did a lot in the 33 years that he lived. He touched people; he healed; he taught. As we come to this season, let's start visiting all the important things that Jesus did in his life and learn from him, just the way that we should learn from each others' lives as well.

So remember once more, Jesus is the reason for the season.

Happy birthday Lord. Thank you for coming.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Held responsible

When I first got my puppy, I didn't get mad when she pottied on the floor or barked for attention. She was new to the world and didn't know that what she was doing was wrong.

When she did something wrong I would tell her "No," and then would show her a right way to act. If she pottied on the floor, I would stop her and take her outside and tell her that was the right place to go.

The longer she has been here, the more I can tell that she is learning right from wrong. She still messes up, and I don't get too upset unless she does something that I know she knows is wrong. I'm sure the older she gets, the more I will get mad if she deliberately disobeys me.

The more she knows what is right and wrong, the more she will be responsible for her actions and will get punished when she doesn't do what is right.

Thinking about that, I thought about the way that God views us. For those who aren't Christians, I'm sure he is upset that they make choices contrary to what he wants for their lives. However, if they don't know what they are doing is wrong, I don't think he gets quite as angry.

I think what really must upset God is when his children, especially those who have known him for quite a while, do something wrong. He has to hold us responsible and punish us, because we are deliberately disobeying his orders.

However, I'm so appreciative for love and grace. When my puppy messes up, but then she cuddles up to me with those big black eyes to give me a little lick and tell me she loves me, the anger always floats out of my heart. I'm thankful that although God is so much bigger than me, he still will forgive me and give me another chance just because I'm his daughter and he loves me.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

In vain

Psalm 2:1 says, "Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?"

People want independence so much that nations are forever raging and people are forever fighting to gain it. Whether it's from foreign leaders like Americans did during the Revolutionary War or teenagers from parents, we are always trying to get out from under the control of others.

The Psalm continues, "The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying 'Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us."

I think this Psalm is really important today. Groups of people are banding together to try and get rid of every hint of religion, especially Christianity, from this country. Students can't write about their faith in papers or pray in class. The military can't put up a cross for a memorial. People don't even want to say "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance.

People are constantly banding together against God and against his Anointed, Jesus. However, the first part of this Psalm is most important - "Why do the nations rage and the people plot in vain?" It's all in vain.

Any kind of struggle against God is in vain. People have a choice not to accept Christ, and they might think they have won on Earth. However, the moment they die they will see that their struggle against the one who created the heavens and the earth was in vain. They will receive their punishment eventually.

Even the Devil's ruses are in vain. He might have some temporary victories in life, but his struggles against God will eventually lead him to a lake of fire. God will win.

If you're struggling against God right now, realize that it's in vain. It's a lot of work for no gain.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Seeing God at work

It’s so wonderful to see God’s blessings in others’ lives.

Last night I had the wonderful opportunity to catch up with one of my best friends from college.

She came to town to celebrate Christmas with her husband’s family and had a free night to spend with me. It was wonderful, because we haven’t seen each other since June and haven’t had a chance to talk for probably more than a month.

The best part of the conversation was seeing what exciting new opportunities God has brought into her life, opportunities that could only have happened thanks to an Almighty being looking over her.

First, I’ve prayed for her job situation as she has had a rough past year and a half in a terrible work environment. However, recently a new job popped up that worked out great with her personality, was a in great location and had the perfect pay and schedule.

In order to accept that new job, she and her husband had to make a move. However, they found a place that was in a great location and worked out well with their timeline.

She also decided that she wanted to get further education in Christian studies to enhance her knowledge of her faith - which I’m sure pleased God even more. At a preview day, which she didn’t initially feel was any benefit to her, she opened up a door prize of a mug to find a $1,000 scholarship.

Only God.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Every opportunity

"Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity."

I read this verse in Colossians last night, and I both liked and didn't like it. It's a great reminder of how we are supposed to act all the time. We are supposed to make the most of every opportunity.

This can mean that we need to always act like Christians, because we should be taking every chance that we get to reach people for Christ.

However, I also think it means that we are supposed to make the most of this one life that we are given. This is one opportunity that we are given on life.

I like the good reminders, but I also didn't like this verse, because I don't think I do that. I don't think I take advantage of every opportunity to reach people for God, and I don't know that I'm really making the most of this life that I'm given. I like TV and sleep a little too much, that I'm not sure I am making the most of all that I am given.

Maybe we should think about that a little bit more - making the most of every opportunity and those opportunities will mean that we are making the most of the lives that we are given.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Well, she's pooped five times today, pottied inside once, stands on me while I'm trying to type on the computer, barks when she doesn't get what she wants and bit a hole in my shirt.

Yet, when she's nervous she comes and huddles at my feet. She cuddles up when she's sleepy. Her ears perk up when she hears my voice.

Puppies are a lot of responsibility, and I know that what she does wrong she doesn't do on purpose. She's just little and hasn't learned everything yet. The love that this little girl gives me is worth all the trouble that she causes.

I have always been a fan of dogs. We got my families dog when I was only 10 years old, and I've missed her so much since I went to college and moved out on my own. I was so excited when my landlord agreed to let me purchase a dog, and the moment I saw this little one I knew that she was the one for me.

I really don't like cats, because they are too independent. They don't like to cuddle; they don't know their places. Dogs can be trained, and best of all they love people. They like to play and cuddle and sniff and walk and go on rides with you.

When thinking about getting a dog, I thought about if I wanted to take on the responsibility of having this little animal depending on me. However, I think it's good to have responsibility. It's gotten me up in the morning and made me care about something other than what I want and my own schedule.

I already love this little puppy, and I'm so glad I took on this responsibility.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A letter from a friend

My children,

Many years ago, in your timeline, I came to Earth on what you call Christmas Day.

Like you, my mom gave birth to me, and my first breaths were taken in a stable with the smell of hay and animals filling my small nose. Right away, some people knew who I was and came to bow at my feet, but also right away, some people didn’t like me.

I always knew who I was. Even when I was a youngster, I wanted to teach people all that I knew about the other part of me, my father.

Thankfully, some of you still remember me on my birthday. On the calendar in the United States, you mark lots of significant birthdays — Martin Luther King Jr., George Washington. On my day, it says Christmas, but not everyone realizes that it’s my day.

A lot of people think that the day is all about presents. I got presents when I was born, and I think it’s great that you want to honor each other with gifts like that. However, it hurts when people don’t notice the little nativity scene remembering me in the background.

Even on Facebook, you’re reminded of each others’ birthdays. You might feel bad when you don’t get a text message or a call from a friend to say ‘Happy Birthday,’ because that means that they forgot about you on the one day a year you are honored.

I want you to honor me every day of the year. However, I really want you to remember me on one of the days that was created just for me.

I don’t need an invitation to the parties that you are having, and I don’t need a Christmas gift with my name on it under the tree. I don’t need you to write out a place card and put out a table setting for me at the dinner table.

I am already there at all those times.

However, as I stand by and watch you celebrate and have fun on a day off of work and school, please don’t ignore me. Please don’t banish me to the corner or banish me to a church. Invite me in, into your hearts and your minds. Tell me ‘Happy Birthday.’

I’m always here for you. Remember me.


Friday, December 9, 2011

What's important?

At dance, my class of first graders is sometimes a little out of control.

I tried to control them by yelling over them at the beginning of the year, but the dance studio owner didn't like that, so I have tried to keep them under control in other ways. I don't think I'm very skilled at it though, and I don't know if I am teaching them all they should be learning because I don't get as good of use out of the time we have.

However, the other night, I thought about how I was dealing with the situation. Am I there just to teach them dance or to teach them life skills or to show them love through my actions.

Last night, I prayed when I got there and felt myself getting frustrated that God show me how to deal with them. I don't know if it made any visible difference last night, but I need to keep that on the forefront, that I use that time how God would want me to use it. Although dance is important and is the reason that these parents brought their children to class, I don't think it's ultimately the most important thing.

Colossians 3:22-25 says, "Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism" (New International Version).

We may not be technical "slaves" anymore, but I still think we have to keep that in mind - that whatever our work is, it's not for human masters. We can do our everyday jobs for God.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Remembering Pearl Harbor

As we remember the catastrophe at Pearl Harbor, take a few minutes and listen to this Adventures in Odyssey story about the day!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Counting my blessings

Whew, what a day I had yesterday!

On my way to work, I was talking to my dad and pulling off the highway to a town when my car suddenly stopped and steam started pouring out from under the hood.

I glanced at my gauges and saw the needle on the temperature gauge was off the charts.

In my cream-colored coat and cream dress pants, I grabbed my tools and tried to open my hood - which was stuck - so I could try to add antifreeze to my car. Someone stopped and helped me open my hood and drove me to a nearby coop repair station, and they towed my car in.

Long story short, I had a four-hour break from work as I tried to figure out what to do with my car, and finally got a ride home from Nate while my car stayed there. I'm still waiting on a friend's brother to check it over and either decide to fix it or just tow it home and try to sell it as a parts car or major fixer-upper.

However crazy the day was, and however crazy life will be coming up as we try to figure out what to do for a new car, the day made me thankful for a lot of things. It makes hard situations better when you think of all the good things instead of all the bad.

1. I was thankful I could talk to my dad, who is great with cars, to figure out how to go about fixing the car and what decisions to make regarding whether to fix it or give up on it since I've had it since I was 16.
2. I was thankful for the opposite schedules that Nate and I have so that he could come get me and since he wasn't at work.
3. I was thankful for flexible work that I didn't have to worry about not making my weekly meeting and taking a few hours in the middle of the day.
4. I was thankful I didn't have to spend 600-700 to fix the car immediately because I am blessed enough that purchasing a car in the nearby future is an OK option.
5. I was thankful Nate has a car that I could borrow to finish up work last night after I got home, that we can share in the immediate future.
6. I was thankful for a friend I could call who has a brother that could check over my car and tow it for less than other companies.

I used to freak out in situations like this, but I'm thankful that I can see God working and that I have realized that I can't control everything. I think I'm going to have to start initiating this counting my blessings in every situation!

Friday, December 2, 2011

His and Her Brains

I heard the first part of this Christian comedians talk on the difference between men and women's brains on the radio yesterday, and it cracked me up.

Nate and I have talked about many of these differences before, especially the fact that men have the ability to think about absolutely nothing.

My mom and I don't understand when we ask Nate or my dad, "What are you thinking?"

"Nothing," they say.

"There's no possible way you can think about nothing. You have to be thinking about something."

Well, according to the study cited in the first segment, men can actually think about nothing. Women can't comprehend this; our brains are always moving.

What can differences can you relate to?

I haven't had a chance to listen yet, but I hope the second segment is as good as the first!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmastime is here!

I know I complained about Christmas coming to early in November, but it's after Thanksgiving and it's time for Christmas now!

A talking snowman outside the door, a wooden snowman in the windowsill, a small Christmas tree, lights around the window and the door, a Christmas tree candle. I whipped out my Rubbermaid with all my holiday decorations in it and switched out my Christmas items for my fall decor.

I like seasonal decorations. It makes me excited for the changing seasons, even when I don't look forward to some of the outside changes like the cold weather and the drab landscape before snow falls.

Decorations especially make me happy when they have memories attached. The snowman outside my door reminds me of my mom, because she got it at Goodwill, holding on to it for me even when a woman followed her around waiting for my mom to put the stuffed piece back.

One ornament on the tree is a little piece that I made for my friends last year, and another is a reindeer that we used to make when I was a little girl.

This year, I decided to put front and center a dried starfish that has a surfboard and sunglasses. I got it on the trip Nate and I took to California this year, when we visited Catalina Island. I put the year on it too, because I figure someday we will look back and not be able to remember when we took that trip. Now we will always remember.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Lord's Prayer

"Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen."

I wrote this out and put it on a sticky note on my computer screen so that I would start to read this and pray it at least once every day.

In the Bible, Jesus taught us how to pray. We try to follow all of Jesus' teachings, but how often do we say the exact prayer that he taught us?

Kids go to sleep saying the same prayer every night - Mine was, "Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take."

Now, the Lord's Prayer doesn't having any rhyming in it, but if a little kid can remember Veggie Tales songs they can memorize a prayer if they hear it often enough.

The Lord's Prayer really has everything in it. It addresses our sins, reminds us how to act toward others, asks for grace to get through the day and reminds us of God's power. I want to have this right in my face so that I am reminded of these things each day.

Let's see what kind of a difference this can make!

Monday, November 28, 2011

My "secret" dollar

"As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. [2] He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. [3] "I tell you the truth," he said, "this poor widow has put in more than all the others. [4] All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on." (Luke 21:1-4)

We read this in Sunday school yesterday, and I said, "Is it bad that every time I read this I think that's not very smart?" I mean, God calls us to be good stewards of our money. However, giving away everything leaving us nothing to live on doesn't seem like a good steward. Where's she going to get money for food or shelter - rely on someone else?

I don't know about the monetary part, but I started to think about this as life more than as money.

God blesses us all with lives to live. However, if we give only a little piece of our lives it's not worth very much. Even though our lives are small, if we give up everything it is all God asks for.

I want so much to give up my entire life for God, and I think that I do give a lot. When I look at the things in my life that need to change, I have seen some great improvements in recent years. However, in my life's wallet there's a little coin section.

My mom used to keep a "secret" dollar in her purse, to use when she needed cash and hadn't gone to the ATM recently.

I have a secret dollar, some secret coins. I have some of my life that I want just for me. I have given a lot to God, and I hang on so tightly to that last bill, those last few coins.

However, God's watching. He knows who's giving up their all and who's not. I need to release my grasp on that last secret dollar. But my fingers continue to grasp tightly.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Quick, I'm thankful for...

How many items can you name that you are thankful for in two minutes?

My boyfriend
My job
Extra money for fun stuff like traveling and going out to eat
An apartment
Clothes in my closet
Favorite TV shows
Nail polish
Both day and night, light and dark
A happy marriage for my parents and brother and sister-in-law
A safe country
My church

Monday, November 21, 2011

Jesus is the reason for the season

If my memory serves me, my mom used to have a Christmas pin that said "Jesus is the reason for the season."

It's a common phrase around Christmas, when we think about Jesus' birth - the original reason for Christmas. However, I don't think that saying should be put to the back of our minds the rest of the year.

Jesus is the reason for every season. Jesus is the reason for life. Without God, we wouldn't even have seasons so the reason for the season is God, is celebrating our creator.

Jesus is especially the reason for Thanksgiving. Although God makes the sun shine on the faithful and unfaithful alike, Christians recognize that everything we have is a gift from God.

When you're sitting around your table on Thursday, going through the things in your life you're thankful for, don't just say it as a statement. Turn it into a conversation with God. Thank you God for...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Chances to serve

This season, we love to think about volunteering. From soup kitchens to donating presents to children in far-off lands through charities like Operation Christmas Child, many opportunities to give are presented to us.

In a magazine I write for, we did an entire edition revolving around service opportunities this time of year. However, in those stories I wanted to stress that opportunities to volunteer are available all year round.

I am thankful for opportunities to serve. Giving of yourself is great a variety of reasons - people are thankful, you are making a difference in someone's life, we are created to be in relationships with one another which also means helping one another, and it feel good. Knowing that you have helped someone in their time of need really satisfies something deep inside.

There are many ways to give of yourself. We can give financially, like giving to missionaries or purchasing gifts for the Angel Tree or Toys for Tots. We can give of our time, like helping a friend move or by baking cookies for a neighbor. We can give of our hearts, like giving a hug or sitting down to listen to someone's problems.

I think we often view service as an obligation or giving up something. However, when I take an opportunity to volunteer, I enjoy it. It makes me feel satisfied and content. Volunteering gives you something, just like you are giving something to someone else.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The aromas of life

This might sound silly, but I'm really thankful for the sense of smell.

I was going to write a post all about being thankful for candles, however, I decided that it even goes beyond that.

Candles are wonderful - the dim light, the warmth they can bring to a chilly room, the scents of the seasons. However, in general I think everyone would agree that the scents of candles are the best.

I just finished burning an autumn-spice candle and a coffee-scented candle my parents brought me back from Jamaica. My vanilla candle is almost out, and the lilac wax melter smells like springtime. I also just started burning a cranberry candle that is making it smell like Christmas, even though it's a little bit ahead of time.

They say that scent has the biggest tie to memory. That sounds interesting, because we normally think we use sight and hearing much more than smell. However, we smell things and create memories subconsciously, and I think that's why our sense of smell is tied so much to memory.

Smell is wonderful. Without smell, we can't taste - I know from the times I've been sick and have been unable to taste food because my nose is so clogged.

Smells can relax you immediately and make you think of good times - the smell of baking cookies, the scent of apple cinnamon on pinecones that remind you of the holidays, the smell of fresh-cut grass that immediately feels like the fun of summer.

Walking into a house that has a fresh scent makes you feel comfortable, but a bad smell can make you immediately tense up.

I'm so glad that I can experience life through so many different senses, including the sense of smell. It's a beautiful experience that we don't often think about, but I certainly appreciate the aromas of life.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Merry Christmas

People seem to walk on two sides of the fence this time of year, debating about what is really Christmas season.

Does Christmas start the moment Halloween ends or do you have to wait until after Thanksgiving for Christmas to start?

Well, for starters I don't think it's ever too early to celebrate the coming of Jesus to Earth. In that sense, Christmas can be all year long.

However, in a non-religious sense, I hate it when people begin to celebrate Christmas at the beginning of November. It doesn't affect me at all when people get over-exuberant, but it still bugs me.

My brother used to talk about people being holiday impaired. When people left their Christmas lights up after Jan. 1 - and kept them lit - he would say they were holiday impaired. I think instead of people leaving Christmas stuff up too late, people are becoming holiday impaired by putting them up too early!

Facebook is filling up already with pictures of people's Christmas trees. I even passed a house the other night that had candy canes lit up in the yard! Why do we feel a need to rush Christmas?

I love Christmas. I love baking, celebrating with friends, putting up the tree, shopping and wrapping presents, lighting cinnamon-scented candles, listening to holiday music. I appreciate the season as much as anyone.

We aren't allowed to celebrate our birthdays early. We don't celebrate Valentine's Day in January. We don't dress up for Halloween in September.

We have plenty of holidays to celebrate throughout the year. Let's time the time to celebrate each of them without rushing it. Thanksgiving should get its fair shake before Christmas, even if there aren't any presents to open.

Friday, November 11, 2011

I'm thankful for ... naps!

Today, I have to say that I am thankful for naps.

I don't have anywhere to go tonight, and there's also nothing pressing to do. However, I am have been up since 6 a.m. for our trip to the gym, so I was a sleepy this afternoon - I haven't readjusted my schedule yet (although I'm enjoying the time with Nate at the gym).

I got done with work at 2:30 p.m. as I had to work late a couple nights this week, so I took that time to work on a new project and then I curled up to watch a movie and fell asleep.

I think it was a pretty deep nap, because I woke up and left my apartment to hang out with a friend but told her that I couldn't keep my eyes open. I forced myself to open my eyes, and then I opened them to realize I was had still been asleep on the couch!

A nap within a nap - I must have been really tired.

For those of you who don't take naps anymore, I would really suggest slowing down long enough to take one. Whether it's by yourself, cuddled up with your spouse, your dog or your children, grab a few winks one afternoon this weekend.

Thank you Lord for having enough time to take naps!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hello baby girl!

This isn't exactly an everyday moment - this is a once-in-a-lifetime moment. I would like to introduce you all to my niece!

My sister-in-law had an ultrasound today, and we found out that she is going to give birth to a little girl in only a few short months.

It's an exciting time in life, because both my brother and Nate's sister are going to have new additions in their lives, quite soon actually. Both of them are going to be little girls, which I think is funny because we both have boys as the oldest in our families.

These may not be the only children that our siblings have, but they are the first - the first grandchildren for our parents. This is an exciting moment in life, and I don't even have much to add to that. I think these exciting things are self-explanatory!

Today, I'm thankful for healthy babies!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tops today

Here's what I'm thankful for today:

1. Answered prayers. Prayer has so much power, and I don't think we use it enough - at least I know that my prayer life is not where it should be. I don't talk to God anywhere near as much as I should to have a deep relationship with him. However, God still loves me enough to answer my prayers - like the prayers we all prayed for a friend's aunt yesterday.

2. Light and dark. I love the contrasts between light and dark. People think it odd that I like to not use artificial light too much during the day, but I love having both light and dark each day.

3. Color. How boring would life be without color? Watching design shows often reminds me about how much fun color can be.

4. Thanksgiving. It's so nice to be reminded to give thanks for all that we have. In Sunday school this week, the women were talking about what they are thankful for - many for where they are as opposed to where they used to be. I am thankful that I haven't had those absolutely awful times in my life that many people have had.

5. Names. Aren't names fun? Names tell so much about us and the stories behind our names are often interesting and meaningful. My mom thought up my name one day and just fell in love with it, and my middle name is in honor of her. I love that we have names, something to cling to and make us truly ourselves!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Take an interest

I have always thought that an important part of relationships is taking an interest in activities and topics that your loved ones like.

People aren’t always interested in the same things, even if they are close, but I think we should all take the time to talk and learn about what other people enjoy.

For example, although they may share some interests, couples often have interests that don’t even remotely intersect — a woman loves dance, a man loves war video games. What does the woman know about killing the opponent with a few buttons on an Xbox handset? What does the man know about the kids tapping on stage?

If you haven’t guessed, this is one example from my own life. I love to dance, and last night Nate came with me to a dance show at a local theatre. I knew that tapping would be most likely the kind of dancing he would actually enjoy, and I appreciated that he came even though his friend asked if he could stay home and play video games.

Although he said it got long, he didn’t complain that he had to sit through 1.5 hours of people tap dancing — sounds that get a little repetitive if you have no dance background.

In another way, he also takes interest in my dance by mixing music for me to choreograph to — a way for him to connect his interests with mine.

As for the video games, I have played a variety of video games through the years. Some video games I enjoy playing — Rock Band, Wii sports. However, I have played games like HALO and Toy Soldiers just to spend a little time with Nate, doing something that he enjoys. It always ends up being fun too.

We have other interests that we don’t necessarily share, but we share with each other, educate each other on just to connect our lives. Some things we even learn to like just by trying it out because the other person loves it — like football for me.

I have seen a lot of couples completely separate themselves. The woman — I hate sports, so if you want to talk sports or watch it, go do it with someone else. However, that same woman will get jealous that her husband is off with other people instead of spending time with her — even though that’s what she said she wanted.

I think to improve relationships, it’s important to take an interest in each other and each other’s interests, even if those interests don’t initially interest you? Did you get all that?

When your spouse, or even your friend, starts talking about something you aren’t interested in, stop and take a moment to listen. Even ask some questions. Make them feel like they are important to you just because what you are taking an interest in what they enjoy.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A new start

So, I often decide I'm going to do things to improve my life - working out, eating better, stop biting my nails, get up with my alarm.

All of them, I've succeeded at for various periods but then my priorities shifted and I ended up caring less and less about what I had decided to do.

This week, I bought a membership to a local 24-hour fitness club for the winter, so I would work out when I couldn't get outside much. Nate and I decided we would work out together at 6 a.m., when he got off work and before I had to go to work.

Well, first I am so not a morning person. In fact, if I could sleep in until 11 a.m. every day without feeling like a slug and without other people thinking I'm a slug, I probably would. I love sleeping!

I want to work out, and I want to spend time with Nate, so I decided I would do this for the winter. And I decided that I would do it without complaining these next few months.

I better keep this up - I already paid for the entire four months of gym membership!

Thanksgiving: Today, I am thankful for the money to get a gym membership. A lot of people don't have the extra money to do something like that, and I am thankful that God has blessed me with a job so I do!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Don't waste it

In my pastor's sermon this week, he noted an article written by John Piper called "Don't Waste Your Cancer." Piper gave 10 ways to waste the situation when you find yourself diagnosed with cancer.

  1. You will waste your cancer if you do not believe it is designed for you by God.
  2. You will waste your cancer if you believe it is a curse and not a gift.
  3. You will waste your cancer if you seek comfort from your odds rather than from God.
  4. You will waste your cancer if you refuse to think about death.
  5. You will waste your cancer if you think that beating cancer means staying alive rather than cherishing Christ.
  6. You will waste your cancer if you spend too much time reading about cancer and not enough time reading about God.
  7. You will waste your cancer if you let it drive you into solitude instead of deepening your relationships with manifest affection.
  8. You will waste your cancer if you grieve as those who have no hope.
  9. You will waste your cancer if you treat sin as casually as before.
  10. You will waste your cancer if you fail to use it as a means of witness to the truth and glory of Christ

I just found this extremely inspiring, and I don't think that you have to have cancer to waste your life in these ways. We should use all of our troubles, all of our daily messes, to make life better in these ways.

Also, my friend started a post on her blog about counting down to Thanksgiving by counting up her blessings each day - thinking of something she was thankful for each day through Thanksgiving. I wanted to start that as well.

Today, I'm thankful for getting time to get ahead at work.

What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Treat people right, now

"A few hours later Jamie returned to them, strangely at peace. Whatever he and Sarah had shared in that time had given him the same radiance that remained in her now-still face when Trinity and the others went back in for a few moments. In death Sarah's lips still curved in a smile and Trinity remembered a conversation they once had.

"'Before I got married I heard a woman say that when she lost her husband, she felt sorry that she didn't treat him the way she wished she had. I made up my mind that I would always treat Jamie with all the love in my heart so if I ever lost him, I wouldn't be like that woman.' Softness crept into her eyes. 'I have too.'"

I was reading in my book today and found this quote, and I decided that I wanted to have this same outlook.

In another book I have read, it said to give your husband/wife a kiss every time you leave for work, because you never know if that's going to be the last time. You want to have something to beautiful and happy to look back on, not something to regret.

This same idea is reflected in numerous movies and TV shows, when people get in fights and then end up not having a chance to make up. For instance, on the show "The O.C." a main character tells her dad that he is going to die alone and then storms out, the last conversation she has with him before he dies.

Whether it's a loved one or simply the person in the office next to yours, make sure you treat people right, now. We never know how much time we are going to have, and you don't want to look back with regrets.

I am often at fault for not seizing the moment. I get stuck in a funky mood, and I treat people the way that I feel like treating them, or the way I think they deserve to be treated, and then I end up regretting it. I have never not had the chance to change my attitude or try to make up for it, but I don't want that to ever happen.

I want to be like Sarah and Trinity in the book - I want to always treat people, especially Nate, in a way that I will never regret it should something happen.

(Excerpt taken from "A Torch For Trinity" by Colleen L. Reece, part of the Inspirational Romance Reader, Historical Collection No. 1, published by Heartsong Presents, copyright 1992).

Monday, October 31, 2011

What's important to you?

Brett Greenwood was a walk-on football player for the University of Iowa but soon began to take over the field. After graduating he came within one step of making it onto the Pittsburgh Steeler NFL team.

However, he didn’t was cut this fall and returned home. On Sept. 9, the dedicated player was working out to not lose his edge. On his old high school’s football field he collapsed during a workout.

Greenwood had developed an abnormal heart rhythm, which caused his heart to stop. He lay in the University of Iowa Hospital for about a month in a medically-induced coma as doctors figured out how much neurological damage had been done.

According to the newly established Brett Greenwood Foundation, he is recovering and working to regain his strength and mobility.

People from throughout the state - those who went to high school with him, those who played Hawkeye football with him, those who simply watched him play Iowa football - have banded together to raise money for him and support him and his family during this hard time.

Even football games were dominated with green shirts while he was in a coma.

Greenwood was an acquaintance of mine. Although I didn’t know him well, I think I knew his personality. Even when he was younger, he was the type of be committed to his sports 110 percent - if that’s possible. He rarely smiled and seemed to think everything in life serious.

Greenwood had great success in his college football career, and I’m sure that getting cut from the Steelers at the last minute was like a shock to the heart. I’m sure it seemed like football was the only important thing at that moment.

However, as he struggled for his life and now struggles to get back to a life he remembers, I bet football doesn’t seem anywhere near as important - if not to him, then at least to his family.

It can take serious situations for people to realize what’s important.

Sports, work, hobbies — people have different priority lists. I talk to people who are so busy that they can’t find 15 minutes in a week to talk with me for an interview. I never want to be that busy, at least with activities other than spending time with my family.

Many people fly from work to play practice to Bible study to the computer to check on work and then head to bed after saying hi to their family.

I want to make sure that people are the most important part of my life for my whole life, and that if something serious happens to me or my family that I know I’ve had my priorities in line.

I’m not saying that Greenwood’s priorities were out of whack. I just think that situations like this give us a good reminder to remember what’s important in life. Are you treasuring it like you should?

To find more about the Brett Greenwood Foundation, visit

Friday, October 28, 2011

The little nagging desire

I've never really thought I had a problem with jealousy.

I grew up with a lot of friends who were wealthy - at least their parents were - and I never thought that I wasn't as good as them or didn't have as good of a life because I didn't have everything they had.

I often think to be jealous of someone, you have to want whatever stuff they have - their big house, their nice car, their expensive clothes. I didn't want any of that, so jealousy wasn't a problem in my life.

However, I am starting to realize that I am jealous a lot. I covet a lot of what people have - although most of it isn't material possessions.

There are things in my life that I wish I had and I just don't yet. Much of my life I have felt OK with not having things because I knew that I could work toward what I want and eventually get it. However, there are things now that I can't work toward. I just have to wait until they happen. That is hard for me.

And when people get what I want without having to wait as long or work as hard, I start to get jealous and I covet that. I just want it. Why can't I have it?

I've had things like that for a long time, but I never really pinned it down as jealousy until this week.

Then we were singing a worship song in church on Sunday - I wish I could remember which one - and it talked about the importance of the cross.

Sure, the cross is important.

Yet, when you think about it. The cross is the only important thing in life. We get caught up wanting what we want, when we want it. When we don't get it we get jealous and covet and mad and upset. Why Lord why?

Yet, he already gave us all we need. He gave us a savior who died to fix all the mess-ups we've ever done, EVER!

Those nagging little desires, they seem important in the grand scheme of things. But compare them to the importance of the cross. All of the sudden even the most important desires in our lives seem to pale in comparison.

That doesn't mean I'm going to stop wanting things. However, I need to remember the ranks of how important those things are compared to how important God is to me.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Striving for perfection

Everyone wants to look perfect in someone's eyes.

Some people want to look perfect in everyone's eyes.

On Sunday, a couple different ideas about perfection came up at church, and I wanted to address them here.

One idea was how people often seek out fault's in others to feel better about themselves. I am so guilty of this.

For one example, I don't think I have a perfect body. I have admitted on here before, that I am often unhappy with how thick my thighs are, and I often check to see how much pudge is on my stomach.

Sometimes, I go on Facebook and check out photos of people that I think are really pretty, or used to be really pretty in high school. I try to find photos of their whole body so that I can compare mine to theirs and see if I am thinner.

It's awful; I know.

Somehow though, I wish bad on other people so that I can feel better about my own life. Although that doesn't really give me any lasting satisfaction. I might smile for a millisecond, but then I am again looking at myself in the mirror and thinking about how much I need to get in shape.

Some people look to others to make themselves feel more perfect. Others cover up their imperfections so that people will think they have it all together.

Even though people will admit to themselves that they have faults, they don't want to admit it to others. We put on a smile and don't talk about our failures, because we don't want anyone to know that we don't have it all together.

I often cover up my shortcomings, one because I don't want people to judge me. I was the "good girl" growing up, and I certainly don't want people to think that I have gone astray and am no longer "perfect."

Some also think that they will give God a bad name if they admit that even Christians falter in some places. People think Christians have to act perfectly, and we sure don't, because we sure aren't.

It's great to strive for perfection, because that means we are striving after living the way God wants us to. However, we are never going to actually reach that goal and we should never act like we have. It's a lie to act like we are something that we aren't, and we should all just loosen up and tell about our imperfections. Then we should all help each other in those areas instead of judging one another to make ourselves feel better.

Instead of comparing ourselves to each other, we need to start comparing ourselves to God - to the person God wants us to be. Although God wants me to be healthy, he doesn't want me to compare myself to others to make myself feel better about my body. He wants me to appreciate what he has given me and to make the best of it. Also, I should prioritize the things in my life. Is the shape of my body most important or should I be spending all that time working on my personality and spiritual imperfections instead of being concerned about a little extra pudge? I think that answer is obvious.

Just so you know, I do see the imperfections in my life. By confessing them here, I'm not condoning what I do. I know I need work, and I want to get better! Hopefully by seeing my imperfections, you can see some of yours so that we can all get better together!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Worth it

This film is a half-hour, but if you take the time to watch it I think you'll find it's worth it. The time just flew by as I watched it.

Monday, October 24, 2011

I'm a prostitute

This blog could really be called "Confessions of a Prostitute."

That’s right, I’m confessing right here and now, I’m a prostitute.

No, I’m not standing on street corners agreeing to payment for sex. However, I do whore myself out quite a lot.

You probably do too.

In Sunday school yesterday, we heard the story of Gomer and Hosea. If you’re not familiar with it, you can find it in the first two chapters of Hosea in the Old Testament.

God called Hosea to marry a prostitute, or an adulterous woman in some translations, who would have illegitimate children. Gomer had one child by Hosea and also children that were not his. She eventually left him and started sleeping around and was sold into slavery by a lover.

God still told Hosea to go buy her back and love her like a cherished wife.

Sounds wrong, doesn’t it?

We might want to identify with Hosea - we’ve been used and abused and had to put up with a lot of unfair stuff in our lives.

However, we can identify with Gomer just as much, if not more.

You see, God asked Hosea to do all this to make a living example of what Israel was doing to God. God’s people, which now includes all believers, were prostitutes - selling themselves for earthly pleasures. They were whoring themselves out to things that felt good at the moment instead of clinging to their betrothed love, God.

I think I put myself on quite the pedestal if I think I’m like Hosea. Really, I’m just sleeping around with all the things of this world, trying to have some fun.

Thank goodness we have a loving husband, a God, that takes us back time after time. He doesn’t just take us back - calling us names, making us feel guilty about our actions - he loves us with an unconditional love. He forgives us for being adulterers.

Even better than Hosea, he does it without anyone making him.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My apologies

I'm wondering, do we apologize too much or do we not care enough in the first place that we have to apologize?

Let me explain.

I have a friend that every time I go over to her house, she apologizes for how messy it is. It never bothers me. She has two kids and works full-time, so there's not much more time for housework.

Well, today she stopped by unexpectantly and saw how messy my place is at the moment. I get so embarrassed when people stop by without notice, because I admit that most of the time my apartment is not as neat as I want it to be.

I wasn't going to apologize, because now we're even that both our places are messy. However, I wanted her to know that I wasn't proud of my messy place so I said I was embarrassed that she saw it!

Then I start thinking, should we really apologize too each other for messy places? Is it really that big of a deal? Who cares if our houses or apartments are messy? Cleanliness is great, but is messiness that big of a deal sometimes?

Or instead of apologizing, should we really just take care of our stuff better so that we have no reason to apologize. Our house growing up wasn't messy, like ever, so I don't think my mom ever had a reason to apologize for it. Should we all just start caring more about stuff ahead of time so that we don't have to apologize for it later?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What if there was no heaven? (Part 2)

What if there was no heaven?

This was honestly a hard question for me to think about, and I don't exactly know what my life would be like then.

My initial reaction to the question was, I wouldn't act like a Christian if there weren't any consequences, if heaven weren't real.

However, I started to think about how I would live my life differently, and I don't really think there would be much that I would do differently. I might not feel guilty when making mistakes, but I wouldn't probably do much different.

The ultimate reason for accepting Jesus was to save me from my sins, so that I could spend eternity in a beautiful place of worship and love instead of eternal damnation, solitude and burning. However, my Christian life offers me a whole lot more while I'm still here.

When I have a problem, I get through it because I have someone much bigger than myself to rely on. I'm a natural worrier, but the only way that I can have peace and stop worrying is because I give it up, stop thinking about it and let God take care of it instead. I wouldn't really want to take on the problem's of life even if there was no heaven.

Some problems I can't take care of - illness, relationship problems among friends - I can't take care of myself. These are things that are beyond my control. However, I know that all things work together for good, because God is in control. Even if there was no heaven or hell, I still would want to believe that God was in control.

What if there was no heaven? I don't really think my life would be much different. However, I'm thankful there is a heaven so that this lifetime is not all I get. It makes life so much more hopeful.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What if there was no heaven?

Coming home from work last night, I was listening to a preacher who said even if there was no heaven and no hell he would still be a Christian.

That struck me hard.

I had never thought about it before. Would I still act like a Christian if heaven and hell didn't exist?

What about you?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Laughter is the best medicine

They always say that laughter is the best medicine. Even Gilda’s Club started off as a place for people to help their cancer treatments by finding the humor in daily life.

It is actually proven that laughter has health benefits. According to
“Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
“Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
“Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
“Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.”

On the radio today, Focus on the Family talked about the importance of instilling laughter in your relationships as well. They were talking about marriage and the importance of being friends with your spouse, but I think it extends beyond that as well.

We often get into deep conversations with friends, talking about all the troubles we are going through. Sometimes it seems like to be close to someone our talks have to be important and thought-provoking.

Although that is great, think of the people who you really like to spend time with. How often does that person make you laugh? I’m sure it’s quite often.

Every has a different funny bone, has different topics/actions/sounds/touches that make them laugh. Focus on the Family talked about having to study our loved ones to see what inspires them to laugh so that a bond can be created that way.

Laughter means happiness. Happiness means relaxation. We don’t often make ourselves laugh, so we need people around who can help loosen us up.

Do you relationships have enough laughter?

Friday, October 14, 2011

So and so said this....

Gossip stinks.

People gossip for a variety of reasons - they are upset and want to vent; they are mad and want to get back at someone; they are bored and have nothing else to talk about, etc. However, gossip tends to always have bad results.

Whenever you talk about someone else, it will somehow get back to them that you gossiped about them. That is always damaging to relationships, because people feel judged and used when others have conversations about them.

People gossip and talk about each other without knowing the whole story too. We may see people's actions, but we don't know their heart. When we pass along information, we aren't talking about intentions or thoughts behind actions but we just pass along actions, which can often be misinterpreted.

If you need to discuss a situation with someone, you need to confide in the person you are concerned about. An issue will only get resolved if you bring it to someone's attention, not if you spread it around to other people.

I think you can confide in trustworthy people and discuss a situation without gossiping, a heartfelt conversation. I think you can also talk through situations with loved ones without gossiping - it depends on why you are doing the talking.

Next time you want to talk about someone though, think about why you're doing it and how it will help to tell the person that you are telling. Will it hurt the person you're talking about? If there is any possibility, don't do it.

Like the old adage, if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A baby's smile

Although my cousins started having babies a few years ago, I haven't been living in my hometown so I didn't spend much time with the kids.

However, some of my friends have kids, my sister-in-law is pregnant and so is Nate's sister, so there are going to be more kids coming into my life very soon.

Today, I went for a walk with a friend and her two little boys, age 1 and 2. One of them is a little stinker and the other is a cuddly little booger. They are both super cute.

I love how easily a baby can put a smile on your face. Whether they are being ornery or just having fun, it's so easy to fall in love with them.

I just thought this picture was cute, and it brings a smile to my face so I thought I would share it!

I liked taking pictures, so I hope that sometime soon I can take some more of the babies I know!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Always wanting

I woke up this morning, and I just wasn't ready to go back to work for the week.

It was cool outside and rainy, and I was warm and cozy curled up in bed in my silent apartment.

Driving to the office this afternoon, I just didn't feel like making calls and doing all the things I had on my list for the week.

Then I started thinking about how much some people wish they could have a job and have a good attitude going to work every day - at jobs that are much less rewarding than mine. I thought about all the days that my dad has headed off to work, which I'm sure he never looked forward to. I thought about the man on "Courageous" who was happy to get any kind of work, because it didn't come easy.

People who don't have work just want to have a job. People who have jobs wish they didn't have to work. It seems like we are never satisfied.

I had to stop and just thank God that I had a job to go to. I am where I am for a reason. I just have to remind myself of that every once in a while!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Best decision ever

Yesterday was my parents' 32nd anniversary, a huge milestone in today's culture.

My parents got married when they were only 19 years old, and my mom had only turned 19 about two weeks before the Oct. 6, 1979, ceremony.

I always thought it would be great to be married by that age, but when I was 19 I know I was certainly not mature enough to get married. It has always impressed me that they made it getting married so young and that they could work through their problems.

My parents have always told me that they only have made it by the grace of God. Their faith has been a core part of their individual lives and their relationship. I think that's wonderful that God found them at the time they got married and that he helped them through the years.

My mom was actually dating my dad's best friend when they first met, and my mom broke up with him for my dad.

In fact, the day my parents got married my dad's best friend - who was the one that had dated my mom - asked my dad to switch places.

That story makes me laugh, because, seriously, even if my dad had agreed did that guy seriously think my mom wouldn't mind if someone else showed up at the altar?

When about half of marriages end up in divorce, I am so glad that my parents have such a strong relationship. I don't know how either of them would do without the other, and I don't have any qualms about saying they will spend their entire lives together.

They have set a beautiful example of marriage. Although their relationship is unique and different from the one that Nate and I share, I think we both agree that we have wonderful examples of marriages before us. It gives a lot of hope that we have seen people who have made it through the problems and have relationships that are models of what it means to be successful and still in love.

I texted my parents yesterday to tell them Happy Anniversary, and I loved what my mom wrote back: "Thank you. Best decision I ever made was to marry your dad. What beautiful babies we made."

I agree - best decision ever!

Thursday, October 6, 2011


We went to see "Courageous" last night in the theatre.

Going to see it, I was excited. I wanted to see it, but I also wasn't expecting the greatest of acting because I have seen the other three movies by Sherwood Baptist Church. Although they always have great lessons, they are not the most professional movies.

However, leaving the theatre I was blown away by this movie. I'm going to put it in right now, if you haven't seen this movie, go see it!

I was laughing, crying, then laughing, then crying, then laughing, then crying. The film was full of drama, action, comedy, friendship, love and lessons. It had everything you could have wanted in a film.

Nate commented that the script for this film was so well done that the actors didn't even have to be that good, because the words were so empowering that even non-actors had passion just reading them.

The script was written and the film was directed by Adam Kenrick, who also plays one of the leads in the story.

It's obvious that the church is on it's fourth film, as the actors have gotten better with some experience under their belt.

If you didn't watch the trailer on put on the blog a few days ago, I would go back in watch it. The movie is about a group of law enforcement officers who struggle with many things in life, including faith and fatherhood. It also brings in the tale of a young Mexican man who struggles to find a job and provide for his family, until God obviously steps in.

So much happens during the movie - gang members selling drugs, a man trying to steal a car, the death of a child, a cop stealing - it's hard to know how it's all going to be resolved at the end.

However, the movie ends up hopeful and ends with a challenge. Our world needs dads who will step up and do their duty by their children. Who will be that man?

Will you?

I walked out of the theatre with a little mascara war paint and a full heart, inspired by the relationship these people have with God and ready to purchase that movie the moment it comes out. I have a feeling this is going to be one of those movies that you learn/notice something different every time you watch it.

Check out more at

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


I interviewed a woman today who talked about being the best person that you can be.

She said we are to utilize our gifts but not to become full of ourselves as we do it, because our gifts are really blessings from God.

When we start to get prideful, when we start to get a big ego we really are Edging God Out - E.G.O.

I liked that, so I thought I would pass it along today.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Give in secret

"So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you" (Matthew 6:2-4 NIV).

I enjoy giving of myself, my talents and my financial blessings to others. Growing up, my parents always knew what I was giving, because they knew how much money I had and had to take me anywhere I went. My mom said it was OK to tell them about giving stuff away, because it's not bragging when you tell your parents.

As I have gotten older and independent, I found I still found little ways to tell people how giving I was. No, I didn't tell them exactly how much money I donated, but I usually let it slip that I gave money or that I baked cookies for someone, etc.

Lately, I have tried to not tell people when I have given something away. Let me tell you, it is hard! I have always enjoyed helping people, but I think I enjoyed also getting credit for helping people. Keeping quiet means that I have self-satisfaction knowing that I am doing what God wants me to do and that's it.

I don't write this to tell you and brag about giving of myself but to challenge you too to also do your giving in secret. If you're giving to get credit, you're giving for the wrong reasons. Test yourself and see why you're really giving by not telling anyone you're doing it. It might be good for you!

Monday, October 3, 2011

A little reminder

Yesterday I got a text message from my dad that said, “I’m glad you’re my daughter. I love you.”

It didn’t say anything else.

It didn’t need to.

I don’t know whether my dad heard something that reminded him of me or he learned something watching “Courageous” at the movie theatre on Friday, but it was a nice little text.

That little message was really sweet and made me smile. Although I know my dad loves me, it’s still nice to hear it/see it. I think everyone would agree with that.

I like to text people/Facebook message them/e-mail them and tell them that I’m thinking of them and that I love them. The person I text message most would be Nate, at least with messages of love and appreciation. I think sometimes he just shakes his head, because he already knows that I love him. However, it never hurts to remind someone.

Who should you tell you love or appreciate them today? Even if they already know, why don’t you remind them that you’re in their thoughts.

Even if it doesn’t do anything but bring a smile to their face or their heart, that little message is quite worth it.

So for all of you reading this, I appreciate you. Even if you already know, I thought I’d remind you. :)

Friday, September 30, 2011

Cheering for killing?

This morning, I check Fox News online and read an article that said Al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki and co-editor of Al Qaeda's web magazine Sami Khan were killed this morning by a US drone attack.

I immediately cheered inside and said "Thank you Lord."

Then I felt a little weird. I just thanked God that someone was killed.

I have never been one against war, in fact I am very far away from a pacifist. However, I have never really thought about praising God for a death.

I know this is a complicated subject that people have varying views on. The one thing I did think about right away was that God called people to go to war in the Bible. He assisted in many killings.

David, Joshua, Gideon - these men would never have been able to fight and defeat their enemies had God not assisted them in battling evil in the world.

We have people trying to kill us, trying to kill our loved ones, trying to kill our soldiers for what they consider a holy mission. I think we have a holy mission to fight back against this evil.

And although it feels weird, I thank God for helping us defeat the evil forces fighting against us.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fallen (part 2)

I don't know if people don't have any opinions or no one watched video yesterday, but I guess I'll just talk about some ideas myself.

We watched the video of Fallen at my church small group on Sunday night and discussed the allegory that it was.

When the video was over, my immediate thought was, "That was depressing."

The little asteroid just had some fun flying when he realized that he was about to hit some water. A moment of fear flashes across his little hot rock face, but then he decides to have some fun before he is obliterated, considering he can't really do anything else.

Finally, the little guy splashes into the water and immediately loses all life that the fire inside of him afforded him.


However, it's kind of like life - we are born, we realize we don't have very long on this Earth, we try to enjoy the time we do have, we die.

Really, what's the point?

That's question that people have struggled with since the beginning of time?

If we're all just going to die, what's the point of even living? Having fun? Finding someone to love? Having kids so they can pass on your name? Ruling the world?

A few weeks ago, I posted about our purpose in life - to glorify God. Without that, we don't really have a reason for living - why many people are depressed and unhappy with life I am sure.

Do you ever have those times when a topic keeps coming up and coming up until you realize that God is really just trying to teach you a lesson? I think that God has been smacking me in the face with this lesson that life is not all about me; my true purpose is supposed to be glorifying him in ALL that I do.

Without the purpose of glorifying God and serving a master that will make our life more than it is, we have nothing. We will end up with a big splash into a pool of water and will sink into forgottenness.

With God, we may splash, but hopefully those ripples will keep on growing.

In the words of C.T. Studd, spoken at church (one of the "OK, God!" moments) "Only one life will soon be past; only what is done for Christ will last."

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

Blessings in disguise

Wow, yesterday was a day full of great lessons from Sunday school, church and our small group. However, I want to only address one item at a time.

Yesterday, in Sunday school we focused on the life of Rebekah, and the speaker on the video talked about how Rebekah's strong arms and beauty led her to the life she was supposed to have - marrying Isaac and giving birth to Jacob and Esau.

Her arms let her be strong enough to carry enough water for Abraham's servant and all his camels, a sign from God that Rebekah was the one the servant was looking for.

Women often don't recognize their beauty or concentrate on one part of their bodies that they dislike, compared to what they see in others.

However, I think even the part of your body that you hate the most has a purpose. God created you to look just like you do. What is your least favorite body part?

I have never been a huge fan of my legs. Their strong, and if I have any fat, it automatically goes to my upper thighs.

What good can come of the body part that you hate the most?

Thinking about it, my legs have supported my dancing. The muscles have made me able to jump and leap, my favorite part of dancing. That ability to dance has also allowed me to teach dance as well.

Even my least favorite asset has a reason. What about yours?