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. :)