Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Dinner

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Above is a picture of our wonderful Thanksgiving dinner! Yes, we had beef too because we are not huge fans of turkey. Also, not all the food fit on the table.

John and I had a great time with our families – John’s parents and grandma came over to my family’s and we celebrated with some friends from church!

I am still in awe of how long it takes to make a Thanksgiving dinner. I am not sure I will ever be able to handle making a dinner like that by myself.

But I also hope I never have to be by myself on Thanksgiving. One of the things I am most thankful for is the community God has provided in the last 6 months. It has been wonderful to be surrounded by people who are living life with us and who love and pray for us.

I hope you all had many things to be thankful for as well!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Thanskgiving Psalm

Psalm 107

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures for ever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say this— those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south.

Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle. They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away. Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. Some sat in darkness and the deepest gloom, prisoners suffering in iron chains, for they had rebelled against the words of God and despised the counsel of the Most High. So he subjected them to bitter labour; they stumbled, and there was no-one to help. Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away their chains. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron.

Some became fools through their rebellious ways and suffered affliction because of their iniquities. They loathed all food and drew near the gates of death. Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.
Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men. Let them sacrifice thank- offerings and tell of his works with songs of joy.

Others went out on the sea in ships; they were merchants on the mighty waters. They saw the works of the LORD, his wonderful deeds in the deep. For he spoke and stirred up a tempest that lifted high the waves.
They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths; in their peril their courage melted away. They reeled and staggered like drunken men; they were at their wits' end. Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men. Let them exalt him in the assembly of the people and praise him in the council of the elders.

He turned rivers into a desert, flowing springs into thirsty ground, and fruitful land into a salt waste, because of the wickedness of those who lived there. He turned the desert into pools of water and the parched ground into flowing springs; there he brought the hungry to live, and they founded a city where they could settle. They sowed fields and planted vineyards that yielded a fruitful harvest; he blessed them, and their numbers greatly increased, and he did not let their herds diminish.

Then their numbers decreased, and they were humbled by oppression, calamity and sorrow; he who pours contempt on nobles made them wander in a trackless waste. But he lifted the needy out of their affliction and increased their families like flocks. The upright see and rejoice, but all the wicked shut their mouths.

Whoever is wise, let him heed these things and consider the great love of the LORD.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Different Kind of Day

Since June, I have not ridden the bus. That is a HUGE deal because for the past four years I have spent at least two hours of my day on a bus. First there was the 271 (my sister calls this one my boyfriend, because we spent so much time together), then the 556, 372, 540, 545, 44, 522...

Well, today I got on the 372 and sat on the seat I claimed as my own in the past year. I pulled out a book - The Atonement Child - and read for about 50 minutes. During that ride I took a couple minutes to remind myself how much I actually like being on buses. I am sure no one else shares this enjoyment with me, but there is something about being on a bus with a bunch of people from all kinds of walks in life that makes me really happy. I would like to write a story about the stories of people who take buses. I am convinced that each individual would have something meaningful to share with the world.

My destination today?

The hospital.

I had an appointment that lasted over two hours. TWO HOURS!

I sat in a waiting room...and then another waiting room.

The doctor came in to let me know that she was a patient behind and she would be with me shortly. Forty minutes later she came back and I had finished reading my book and had moved on to a Nutrition magazine.

I finally got to talk to the doctor - who happened to be one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen. I kept thinking that she should be in a medical TV show and not in a real hospital.

Anyways, I got to talk to two more doctors after that. Then I had two x-rays, two blood tests, peed in a cup and got on two other buses to meet John.

Wow. I am glad this is not my normal routine!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I'm Sorry, I Can't Hear You

Since I was a baby I have had ear problems.

Throughout life there has been many doctor visits, antibiotics, pain, discharge (which sounds gross just to think about)...

Well, it turns out that the ear still has issues.

I have had a cold for the past couple of days and now I have an ear infection to go with it. Besides the pain, the worse part of having an ear infection is the inability to hear anything out of the ear.

I feel like my whole body is out of balance – when it is missing half of a sense. Just the simple task of buying groceries becomes a little harder.

The cashier asks: Do you have our Connection Card?

I answer: Do I have what?

The cashier: A Connection Card.

Not wanting to say “what?” again, I stop to think – trying to figure out what she is saying. Thirty seconds later I remember that the cashiers always ask for the Connection Card.

I say: Oh, the Connection Card! Yes, I have that.

Needless to say, I try to stay away from people when I can’t hear them. However, every time I get an ear infection I am reminded to thank God for the many parts of my body that function just fine. It is easy to take our physical and even mental and emotional abilities for granted.

I also thank God for health insurance – because this tiny tube of antibiotics cost almost the same as our monthly groceries budget!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


My parents had my ears pierced the day I was born, and for that I am very thankful! Unlike many other girls, I never had to wait to become a 'certain age’ to get my ears pierced and I always enjoyed that I was a step ahead of everyone else.

Well, when I got to High School I really wanted to get something else pierced….
I thought about my bellybutton, knowing my mom would never let me get away with that. I then decided that my cartilage would be a good option.

When my parents told me I had to wait until I was eighteen to get my cartilage pierced, I decided to settle down and just get my ears double pierced – at least for the moment.

By the time I turned eighteen, I didn’t want my cartilage, bellybutton or anything else pierced. I was content with the double piecing.

Since then, I feel naked whenever I am not wearing earrings. However, being allergic to everything but gold, I don’t have many options to pick and choose from. For most of my double piercing life, I have had one pair of studs that have become a part of my body.

This last year I decided to get little diamond studs and they looked great. But I lost one of the earrings…and I bought another pair and lost one of those as well.

So, for the past three months I have been wearing no earrings in that second piercing and it really bothers me.

Today, I went through all my jewelry trying to find those old studs and I found them!!!
I also found out that one of the piercings had filled in…and I had to re-pierce it.


My ear is throbbing and once again I am thankful my parents got my first piercings done when I was too young to remember if it hurt or not.

P.S. I looked like a boy when I was born – and didn’t have any hair until I turned two…so the earrings might have helped me look a little more girly.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy Tuesday!

Here is a little something that puts a smile of my face every time I watch it!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Walk the Walk

This morning I finished reading the "Mark of the Lion" series. And I loved every single book!

I have learned so much while reading through each page that I want everyone I know to read them too. People, go get your copy and start reading/learning!!

For the first time in my life I have sat down to read a book (or books) that focuses explicitly on loving others the way God loves us. Each chapter, each story emphasizes our need to love others and forgive them no matter what.

Seriously, "no matter what" sometimes sounds like too much to ask of someone. So many times I had to put the book down and pray that God would change my heart from deep within. So many times I read the pages thinking:

"Really God?"
"Forgive her too?"
"How is she supposed to love him?"

I still don't have the answers for all my questions, but I do know that God continuously calmed my heart by reminding me that "I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13

The book As Sure as the Dawn is all about persevering and trusting God - knowing that God's plan does not fail. Here is a paragraph that really caught my attention:

"Our work isn't to change the way these people live. It's not to fight against a pagan idol any more than it's for Atretes (the main character) to try to beat into their heads a belief in Christ. Our work is to devote our own lives to pleasing God. It's that simple. We're to devote our efforts to learning to think as God thinks, to see ourselves and others through his eyes, to walk as he walked. That's our life work."

As simple as that life work may sound, it is hard to do. Pride gets in the way and stubbornness keeps us from seeing God's ways accurately. However, it is good to be reminded that God has high expectations from his people. He sent Jesus for us to learn from him and not merely agree that he is a good man. It is time to walk the walk.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What Am I Passionate About?

While listening to Jesus the One and Only bible study, John asked me what am I passionate about.

To tell you the truth, I am not very good at answering the kind of question that makes me think about what I value. However, I was surprised by how fast the answer to that question came out of my mouth.

'People,' I said.

I have not always been a people person - and many times I still prefer the silence that exists when I am alone. As a matter of fact, the more time I spend by myself, the less I want to be with people. The ironic part of all of this is that I am by no means shy or an introvert.

Unable to explain why I am passionate about people, I came to the conclusion that I can only have this passion because of Jesus. You see, by myself I am not loving enough, patient enough, understanding enough or forgiving enough to be passionate about people. Yet, as I mature in my faith I continue to discover that I am more and more passionate about what God called 'very good.'

It breaks my heart to see people in pain (physical, spiritual, emotional or relational pain). The thought or sight of poverty, hunger and diseases can easily bring tears to my eyes - not because these situations are sad, but because they are tragic.

God's plan for his creation was a perfect plan and we are so far away from that plan that it is hard to imagine what the world would be like without sin. Yet, in the middle of a desperate world, there is hope and there is peace.

I don't know what my life will look like in the years to come, but I hope to make it a goal to be God's instrument in bringing hope and peace to all who accept it.

You see, I believe that if I am going to be passionate about the things that Jesus is passionate about, I better start acting like him. This is harder to do than to say - but I pray that God will give me wisdom and direction.

My desire is to learn to serve like Jesus served and to love like he loved - and this is a HUGE task.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hands, Feet or Lungs?

Lately I have been thinking a lot about my role in God's kingdom.

The bible says that "just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. " Romans 12:4-8

While at times I feel like I know exactly what my role is, more often I stop and wonder if I really have an essential function in the body.

Do I have gifts?
What are they?
Am I the hands, feet or the lungs in this amazing body of Christ?
How do I find out?

There are times when I feel like I am not doing anything worthwhile. After all, I have never been on a mission trip to a foreign country, I am not popular in my church and most kids in the Sunday school program cannot pronounce my name. I don't know that I have made a life changing difference in any one's life and maybe I am just not doing what I was created to do.

These thoughts peek into my head from time to time and I start thinking that my works and deeds are nothing but a waste.

With this mind set, I read a chapter of The Hole in Our Gospel, where the author quotes a wonderful message written by N. T. Wright in Surprised by Hope. This is how N. T. Wright describes our role in God's plan:

"But what we can and must do in the present if we are obedient to the gospel, if we are following Jesus, and if we are indwelt, energized, and directed by the Spirit, is to build for the kingdom. This brings us back to I Corinthians 15:58 once more: what you do in the Lord is not in vain. You are not oiling the wheels of a machine that's about to roll over a cliff. You are not restoring a great painting that's shortly going to be thrown in the fire. You are not planting roses in a garden that's about to be dug up for a building site. You are - strange though it may seem, almost as hard to believe as the resurrection itself - accomplishing something that will become in due course part of God's new world. Every act of love, gratitude, and kindness; every work of art or music inspired by the love of God and delight in the beauty of his creation; every minute spent teaching a severely handicapped child to read or to walk; every act of care and nurture, of comfort and support, for one's fellow human beings and for that matter one's fellow nonhuman creatures; and of course every prayer, all Spirit-led teaching, every deed that spreads the gospel, builds up the church, embraces and embodies holiness rather than corruption, and makes the name of Jesus honored in the world - all of this will find its way, through the resurrecting power of God, into the new creation that God will one day make. That is the logic of the mission of God."

These words have encouraged me in the past couple of days! As I continue my journey to find my place in the kingdom of God, it is refreshing to know that nothing is a waste - nothing that is done in the Lord is in vain.
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