Friday, April 29, 2011

Should or want to?

I am contemplating becoming a part of the women's ministry at my new church.

I have complained about how there is no one my age at the church and that it's been hard to get connected. However, when approached about helping get a better women's ministry going, I've balked.

I went to a meeting yesterday, and I got so nervous I started pitting out - sorry for the graphic details. I am so not a leader, and they kept talking about each person on the ministry team stepping up and talking to a certain group of women, inviting them to events, taking charge of getting them together.

They also said as a part of the team, they want me to be at all the events.

I have a quandry. I am really a homebody. I enjoy spending time with my closest friends and with Nate. I would like to have other friends and know people at church, but it completely against my nature to put myself out there to meet those new people.

I also say I want to attend events, but then that will take my free time, which I love. Nate's schedule switches all the time, so what if those events take me away from him when he actually has the night off.

What if I don't want to be in charge of a group of women and seen as their leader in the church. I want to just blend in with the scenery, not stand out.

I like doing behind-the-scenes work. I would love to help with flyers and spreading the word about upcoming women's events. However, I don't like being held to the commitment to attend all of them.

Should I do this? Well, it would be putting my commitment where my mouth is and actually trying to improve something I wanted improved. Do I want to? Not really.

I don't know what to do. It would probably be good for me to get out there and do something like this, but then again, I never have so maybe I would hate it.

Pray for me. I'm supposed to let them know soon what I want to do. One of the women said, "We don't care if it's you. We just want someone."

I'm not sure that really inspired me to help out, since I'm not super desired, just my time. However, that may make it easier to say no if I have to.

Should I do what I should do? Or should I do what I'm comfortable with?

Thursday, April 28, 2011


You know the Bible verse talking about how you shouldn't try to pick the speck out of your brother's eye when you have a plank in your own? Well, I need to work on that.

Often, I realize when I'm judging someone, and I try to stop. I know that things I used to judge other people for I ended up doing myself, so I have no right to judge someone else's choices.

However, sometimes I think I have the right to comment on how people can fix their lives in areas that I think I have under control. I guess I figure I can help in an area that others might not see they have a problem with, because I have already figured it out.

That doesn't always work out though.

I have commented on areas that I think people can fix in passing conversation. It usually doesn't end well, because I have upset people unintentionally.

I wrote a post earlier about how it is better to listen that comment much of the time. Some situations people have not even asked me to listen, yet I have commented on situations that I have seen.

I end with the argument, "I was just trying to help." Have you done that before? Much of the time when you're just trying to help, you're just butting in where you're not wanted.

I have had people give me unsolicited advice, which I take with a smile on my face but wonder where they have to room to talk to me about situations they don't understand. I should remember that next time I feel I should talk about something I don't need to talk about.

I think the best thing in these situations is to first pray. Perhaps later you're led to talk to someone about a problem you see in their life, but maybe they aren't willing to listen until God does a little work in their lives.

I see myself as a quiet person, but with people I know well, I tend to talk a lot. Those are the people I tend to hurt with my talk, because I don't think enough before I speak.

So I guess the lesson here is, keep my mouth shut unless I have really thought through what I am going to say.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


The world today is loud.

My life is loud.

And often, that's just the way I want it.

I usually have the TV going in the background or my computer playing videos. I don't sit and watch it the majority of the time, but I like to have some noise. I even sleep with a fan on, because I just don't like the silence.

Sometimes when I start contemplating my problems, I don't even want to think about how to fix stuff. So I turn on something on TV so that my ears listen and my mind quiets.

On the drive home last week, I had some time with the radio off. I didn't have a TV to go to sleep to, so my mind had some time to really wind up again. It was a good wind up though. It made me think through some things in my life and contemplate. I think I need to take more time to do that.

Instead of keeping things so loud, I think I need to take more time just to be quiet.

Monday, April 25, 2011

You really can go home

I got to go home this weekend, over Easter. It was a busy trip, like most trips home are, but it was a lot of fun.

I got to see my grandparents, spend time shopping with my mom, have a barbecue with my brother, sister-in-law and parents and attended a welcome home party for my friend's husband who just got back from Afghanistan.

I was driving around town to all these different places and realized you really can come home again.

I have heard the opposite saying - you can't go home - because home changes too much while you're gone.

Yes, every time I go home, a new building has popped up and new housing additions are added. The city is constantly expanding into the country.

However, when I stood in the foyer of my home church, I looked around and say the same faces that were there for all my growing up years. A few I didn't know, but the kids from my youth group were there - some with spouses and babies in tow. The youth group leaders were there with a few more gray hairs. I looked around and thought, "You really can come home again."

I am glad that my parents are even still in the same house I grew up in, and I'm still greeted by my puppy who is now almost 13 years old. She ran out to meet me and then twisted her arthritic paw and hobbled around on three legs for the next day. Who knows how much longer she will be there when I go home.

As I get older, on trips home, conversations include more and more memories. My brother and I chatted about getting our dog, and the one dog we almost got until we found out she didn't like my dad. We talked about Easter holidays at my aunt's house growing up. We chatted about the sixth-grade camp out when my brother - my high school leader - made the boys in his group wear duct tape so he knew who he had to keep track of.

I'm not very old, but it still seems like I have a lifetime of memories. Sixth grade seems so very far gone. Easters are now full of the next generation of children as my cousins start to reproduce.

Yet, as much as time has passed, everything still seems so familiar when I drive home. Those roads that I traveled so often are not so very different today.

Although times change, it's still nice to know that home is there waiting for you.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Easter!

I got this e-mail forward from a friend, and I thought it had some fun Easter notes to pass along. Look at all the things you can learn from the Easter Bunny!

Don't put all your eggs in one basket.

Everyone needs a friend who is all ears.
There's no such thing as too much candy.
All work and no play can make you a basket case.
A cute tail attracts a lot of attention.
Everyone is entitled to a bad hare day.
Let happy thoughts multiply like rabbits.
Some body parts should be floppy.
Keep your paws off of other people's jelly beans.
Good things come in small, sugar coated packages.
The grass is always greener in someone else's basket.
To show your true colors, you must come out of the shell.
The best things in life are still sweet and gooey.

However, as fun as these things are, they're still missing the real reason for Easter. I'm not sure when the Easter Bunny came along and how the holiday turned into another one about food, candy and presents, but the real reason for the holiday is so much sweeter.

Jesus came into the world as the son of God. He lived a perfect life - never committing a sin. He did miracles, healed people and preached, but some people did not like that.

Jesus the Christ, the Messiah, was tortured horrendously and killed on a cross. At 3 p.m. today, Good Friday, the horn was blown in Jerusalem to make the Jews stop during the sacrifice of the lamb. It was at that exact time that Jesus gave up his last breath on the cross - the lamb sacrifice for all of us who have sinned.

"He who knew no sin became sin."

For us.

Thank the Lord that he provided a special lamb sacrifice for all of us. He tore the temple curtain in Jerusalem in two to show us that he was no longer off limits. We are all now allowed into the Holy of Holies to worship him, to build a relationship with him, to serve him.

It was all because of Jesus sacrifice on the cross.

But it doesn't end there.

At my home church, we call Easter Resurrection Sunday. That's because it's not about the Easter Bunny, it's about celebrating that Jesus resurrected from the dead that day. He overcame death so we too are not bound by sin and death anymore.

After he resurrected, the stone in front of his tomb was rolled away - not to let him out, but to let us in.

So Happy Easter, but remember the Easter Bunny has got nothing on the Savior of the world that truly deserves all the worship on this most holy of days.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Home is where the heart is

We used to have a pillow that said 'Home Sweet Home.'

You know something is important when someone took the time to sew it on a pillow.

Home sweet home for me was always my parents' house, the house that I lived in from age 2-18 and off and on during college.

Home sweet home was always my hometown, when I would be overcome with peace and know that I was home.

After college, when my life didn't take me home sweet home, it took me a while to feel comfortable.

However, I've found a different meaning of home sweet home - another phrase that is often sewn on decorative pillows - home is where the heart is.

I don't know exactly where I will be in the future, but wherever my love is, that's where home is. My heart is always with Nate, so wherever he is, that's home.

For that reason, I have always felt comfortable where he lived, more comfortable than when I lived in a city by myself. He had my heart and wherever he was felt like home.

Thankfully now that we're in the same town, I finally feel like I have a home sweet home again.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

April's Winter Wonderland

March comes in like a lion, out like a lamb.

April showers, bring May flowers.

Winter wonderland.

Well, none of these sayings predicted that April would be snowy here. I am promised spring weather in April, but that's sure not what we're getting.

It might seem like this winter is never going to end. We got a brief hint of nice weather, with temperatures in the 60s, and now snow is falling - and sticking.

However, in Genesis 8:22, the Bible reads: "As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease."

You see we're promised our seasons, and God keeps his promises.

Whether it's summer and winter in your personal life or summer and winter outside, we have ups and downs, cold times and warm times. Thankfully, there's always tomorrow.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Beautiful life

1. Bouquet of flower balloons to end the workday after interviewing two women who make them.
2. Dinner out, which thankfully we can pay for easily
3. A weekend with my family and another weekend with them this weekend - which hasn't happened in years.
4. Four nights to spend with my boyfriend before his work shift starts again.
5. TV and movies online with full episodes, netflix and hulu
6. A stash of delicious homemade chocolates in the cupboard
7. Hopefully the snow that fell this weekend killed off the first wave of insects for this summer
8. A warm bed to sleep, covered with an extra quilt made by my late great-grandma, a great way to remember her
9. New spring clothes in the closet and bright new camisoles courtesy of my mom
10. Laughter in the little things

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Yesterday, we had two dance recitals for the dance studio that I teach at one night each week.

Dance has always been a fun activity in my life. It's not usually something I dread going to. Although I get paid, I usually forget that I'm going to get a check for my work until it shows up. I enjoy it so much that I don't do it for the money - although the extra money is nice!

This year, I had a class of 5-year-olds and a class of junior highers. When one of my little girls came in with her purple costume on and her hair all done in curls, she handed me a bouquet of pink tulips and a card.

Another little girl's grandma purchased a bouquet of dyed and sparkled daisies to give to me.

Another little one gave me a box of chocolates from her and her older sister who was in my class of older girls, also with a card.

The dance studio owner gave me a thank you card as well.

It's so nice to feel loved.

However, the little tokens of affection I received didn't even compare to the hugs I got as the older girls left, the fact that they said they hope they get me as a teacher next year, and the way the little girls just hung on me before they went on stage - hugging me or holding my hand.

My parents also drove all the way here just to watch my dancers - and me, since this is the first time I danced in a recital as a teacher, which I admit was a little weird to me. My boyfriend sat through 2.5 hours of dancing. My friend and her daughter even showed up to watch.

I put a whole year of effort and love into these dancers, and I was so proud that day. I felt so loved that people enjoyed their time with me and loved me so much that they would sit through 2.5 hours of dancing that I wasn't even in, except for the teacher dance and my teacher solo.

It sure is nice to feel loved.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Acceptance is the first step to a happy life

Did you know that?

One of my good friends spent the last six months - of her first year of marriage - living at her parent's house while her new husband was in Afghanistan.

I don't know how I would ever cope with that, but I almost tear up thinking of how proud I am of her, because she had the best outlook I have ever encountered.

She told us one night that she realized that she could have a terrible six months and be depressed every day or she could have a wonderful six months and enjoy the time. Either way, she was going through those six months, she just made up her mind to enjoy them.

Today, I talked to a woman whose son has been in the Navy since he graduated high school. He has had several tours overseas and is currently serving as the commander of an Army post in Iraq.

I asked her how she felt about her son serving in a war, and she said she learned early on to accept it.

She said life is usually about acceptance - from accepting that you have the flu and making the most of it to accepting that your loved ones are going to be away at war. Some times in life are inevitable. You can either get upset and stay upset through tough times or you can realize that you can't do anything about it and accept it.

Either way, you're going to go through stuff you don't want to. You might as well accept it and enjoy what you can.

By the way: My friend's husband got back from Afghanistan today. I can't imagine how wonderful that first embrace was! :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Master of disguise

On "The O.C." Summer Roberts answered her college entrance interview questions with some honest answers that others didn't think were appropriate - for instance, saying her inspiration was a fashion designer.

She said if she didn't answer honestly she might end up with the wrong life, one that came from not being herself.

In college, I learned how to do job interviews - how to answer questions, how to stress my strengths, how to correctly admit my weaknesses. I wonder if I could get just about any job, just because I know how to spin ideas to make them look good.

I could call myself a master of disguise. I think I may have talked about this before, and I was thinking about it earlier this week. I know how to act around certain people to have them approve of me. I know what to talk about and what topics to avoid. I know exactly how to act like I'm the person the people I'm with want me to be.

However, often, who I'm acting like, isn't me.

During college, I took some time to try to discover myself in order to grow up and be independent. I can honestly say that I know who I am. I know who I can be. I know who I should be. I just don't always act like that, because I don't want to have someone disapprove of me.

We were talking last night. Nate said that because he is who he is, people either love him or hate him. I can't stand the thought of someone hating me, even if it's because of who I am. Maybe I'm just not confident enough in who I am to let the real me shine through all the time.

The people I'm closest to know me, but that's because I know they will always love me, even if they don't love everything about me.

It's taken years for me to become a master of disguise. I guess it will take a little while for me to become a master of myself too.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sacrifice of the lamb

I was listening to Ravi Zacharias on the radio yesterday when I was driving home from a friend's bridal shower. He was talking about a conversation he had with a Muslim leader about the story of Abraham, since both religions believe the same story.

It got me thinking about the similarities between Abraham's story and our story.

Abraham was sent to sacrifice his son, but at the last minute God provided a lamb for him to sacrifice instead.

I wonder if even that far ahead of time God had it planned for us to realize that that lamb was a metaphor for the lamb that would be slaughtered for us.

In place of us dying, like Isaac, a lamb was sent in our place. A perfect lamb, Jesus, was sent to die for us.

No matter what, God provides.

I just never had thought about the story of Abraham, Isaac and the lamb in a way that made it relate to other parts of the Bible. Not only is a great lesson in itself, to me, it can show once again that God knew what was going to happen all along.

It was just something I thought about. Maybe you'll disagree, but I thought it was worth mentioning!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Let freedom ring

What does it mean to be free?

We're told that becoming a Christian sets up free from our sinful nature, but sometimes we think that living by God's law doesn't feel like freedom. Sometimes it feels like a whole new type of constriction.

In her book "Power Thoughts," Joyce Meyer said, "Exercising self-control is a form of power - not a type of bondage. You don't have to do what you 'feel' like doing. You are free to do what you 'know' is best."

That's a whole new way to look at freedom. Choosing to become a child of Christ means that we get the freedom to exhort our power over our sinful nature. We no longer have to do what feels good. We can do what we know is right.

That sounds weird, that we are free to follow the rules.

Freedom really means that we can direct our lives in the way we want them to go. That is why people move to America, so they can set the course of their lives. When we become Christians, we should desire our lives to go in the way that God wants. We are free to make the right choices that will keep our lives on the right track.

To go along with this, Joyce Meyer said. "We cannot expect to reap where we haave not sown, but when we do sow good seeds, we should indeed expect good results. This is true in every area of our lives, including health, finances, abilities, relationships, and everything else that pertains to our well-being."

We have the freedom to make good choices and to sow good seeds. It's not like a third-world country where even the seeds we have to sow may be rotten or old, not producing good fruit. That's like when we are in the bondage of the world, even what we have to work with may not allow us to get what we want out of life.

When we sow the seeds of Christ - strong, powerful, healthy seeds - we have freedom to put those seeds in good places and the freedom to take care of them so they grow just as strong as they can be.

Freedom is all in the way you look at life.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A little bit more

Last fall, I realized I had reached a weight about seven pounds more than I wanted to be at. Throughout the winter, I have dropped a few pounds and gained a few here and there.

Finally, this spring, I started eating well enough that I got down to the good weight for my body type.

The past few days, I have started to eat a little bit worse here and there. "Oh, I'll start eating better again tomorrow."

Today, I ate a good breakfast - an egg sandwich with Laughing Cow cheese. Very healthy.

For lunch, I ate a brownie and some Doritos.

Once I start eating badly, I just want to eat even more junk. It starts my cravings, and then I just keep going.

I think that's the way it works with a lot of life. We have good intentions, but then we start dabbling in things that are bad for us. The more we dabble, the more we want.

A lot of times, bad things in life taste so good.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Man with fire

Usually one person in a relationship is the cook, and the other person the eater. Well, I am usually the cook, but that's because Nate works nights, so he's not usually home to cook.

Also, I grew up with my mom as the cook, so I think it is the woman's job to cook. I love to be able to make good food that pleases people as well.

Tonight, we are having some company over for dinner, and I offered to cook. However, then Nate said that he wanted to cook some steaks, so I left it up to him to get everything ready while I work. He got groceries and prepared steaks, mushrooms, potatoes, peppers and asparagus on the grill.

It's fun to see him excited about preparing a meal. Whenever he cooks steak - which he is amazing at and which he does for me and our friends when he can - he gets excited. Not only does it taste good, but he actually enjoys making them. He enjoys the process and the result.

I think it's fun to see him doing things that he's good at and that he enjoys. It's that way watching him at work, which he also loves.

Men all seem to be professional grillers at heart. It's almost like it goes back to the cavemen when man first found fire. Men love to grill and build fires, whether it's when camping, in a firepit or in a grill. Men are almost made to deal with fire.

Like I mentioned yesterday, we all have things we are meant to do. Whether it's a small thing like using a passion to grill to give pleasure to others or a big thing like choosing a career choice that will fulfill you and serve others, it's important to do what were are gifted in.

Life isn't necessarily all about being happy, but often using our gifts is the best way to stay happy.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Using your gifts

Yesterday at church, the pastor came up and asked me about possibly editing some books he was looking to write.

I told him I would be completely willing to help with this.

When he walked away, I felt a genuine excitement inside. I had always thought I wanted to use my talent of writing to make a difference with people - to inspire faith, to encourage. I always wanted to work for a Christian publication writing.

However, I never really thought that I could help people out with it in this format. I think it's an interesting way of using my talents for a volunteer purpose - or even a little payment if that so happens.

We often know what we are gifted in, but finding out how to use those gifts can be difficult. I enjoy writing, but often I don't feel fulfilled at my job right now. I know I am blessed to be able to work at home, and I am very thankful for my job, but I can't say I feel fulfilled doing it.

I don't know exactly where life will take me, but seeing opportunities like this inspires me that somehow I can actually make a difference, in more ways than just getting the news out. I like to think that I will get to help people. And God has an idea already in mind for me. He gifted me in special ways, and he has a reason for doing it. He knows exactly what I am supposed to do.

And that's encouraging.