Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I did something fun today to celebrate Spring and meeting my first Weight Watchers goal of 5% (10lbs...wooo-hoooo!!) - I went with a friend to get a pedicure! (This is only the second real pedicure I've ever had, and the first one at a salon where you get to sit and relax!) So...I spent an hour doing nothing - laying back in the massage chair, feet soaking, sipping Diet Coke, and forgetting about the world for awhile. I think I could get used to this!

So anyway...I'm sure these are verses you may have heard before, and I'm sure if they're always meant to be translated literally, but...

Romans 10:14-15  14How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?15And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"

Isaiah 52:7 How Beautiful are the Feet of those who bring good news, proclaim peace, bring glad tidings of good things, proclaim salvation, and proclaim to Zion, "Your God reigns!"

Here is a song from our church service tonight...I love the words so much!

You Are

You are holy, you are faithful.
You are Savior, you are friend.

You are all I’ll ever need, Lord, you are.
You are ev’ry questions’ answer, 

You are ev’ry reason why,
You are moving, you are still, Lord, you are.

You are the Lord on high,
You are the way, the truth, the life.
You are the Word made flesh,
You are the bright Morning Star; you are.

You are Glory Hallelujah.

You are hope of peace on earth.
You are Alpha and Omega, you are.
You are comfort, you are refuge.
You are love personified.
You are kindness and compassion,
you are. 

You are my God and my King.
You are the words that I sing.
You are the reason I make this offering. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Confessions of the Non-Committed...

So I've been thinking about commitment.

I'm a little bit lacking with this in some areas...
I have started three Bible study books in the last year at different times, with different groups. One I got 75% through (It was a great book, and I wanted to finish! But I just didn't...) One study ended after I had only read one or two weeks of the ten or more included. (Again an awesome book, but lack of commitment can get in the way...) And the last one is ending this Sunday...and I've only read one week's worth of the book. This is a problem to me. I feel like things are unfinished.
I have a book shelf in my room holding at least six books that are waiting to be finished....some are 90% through, some only 10%-ish...
I can't commit to traffic lights. When I'm getting close to one and moving with the flow of traffic and a yellow light comes up, I can't decide if I should commit to driving through, or stopping completely.
In my classroom I start to try something new for motivation or discipline, usually fades within a few weeks.

Sometimes I do commit to things.
A certain brand of toothpaste for instance. Or a kind of deodorant. A breakfast food. A t.v. show. Placing the toilet paper in the way where you can pull the sheets from the top. (And you KNOW that's the right way! ha) I also like to think that I am very committed to the places I live and the people, friends, and church I have there. When I move somewhere I'm there 100%.

Well - I didn't write this to talk about being committed to toilet paper placement or deodorant. Although a commitment to hygiene is certainly more important to some than others, and I am thankful for the "some!" But let's look at a bigger picture. A much bigger one. I am committed to a God who loves and cares for me every day. Even when I don't seem so committed, He is right there. By my side, waiting for me to run back to Him. I am committed more than just the 10% of starting a book and then putting it on a shelf. Or the uncertainty of a yellow light.

I made the commitment to let God lead my life 19 years ago. Wow. That's a long time. And that's more than a small percent. I am thankful for a family who is committed to the Lord also and introduced me to Jesus and encouraged me to make that decision. See, we can feel unsure about the daily things we struggle with or the uncertainty of the future, or what to have for dinner tonight, but one thing IS certain. God is committed to loving us 100% even when we fail to be there with 100% of ourselves. And that is something worth finishing. Living each day, moving toward the prize that He has for us in Heaven. Living so that we can introduce Jesus to others, only to have Him introduce us in Heaven one day.

There are many ways to live out the commitment to Christ daily. I feel led to share this commitment through serving and encouraging others. I want to show people around me and around the world that I am committed to a God who is unfailing and worthy of praise. A God who loves and understands more than we will ever fathom. I want to share that with people overseas. So...I am committing to finish the application that will hopefully allow me to do that. And to pray through the process and rely on Him. Not on me. Because if I rely on me....I might never finish the race. I might stop in the middle of the intersection when the light turns red, have unhappy teeth, and never find the end of a book.

I pray that you have made the commitment to follow Christ and run for the prize in your life.

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 
-Phil 3:14

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sometimes I wonder what it is like to really fall in love. I can't say if I've actually ever truly had that feeling in my life yet. Sure I have been loved by family and church family. And sure I have loved friends. Maybe that is why the Bible describes different kinds of love. 

But to fall in love with one special want to share the rest of my life with love them unselfishly and have grace and forgiveness and work together. To give of myself every day continuously and walk beside someone faithfully. To want to put them first and overlook myself. To feel so close to a person that I would do anything to spend time with them and be with them as often as possible. To know them inside and out and finish their thoughts and love their weaknesses as much as their strengths. This is a love that I can not fully fathom right now. A love that is so strong, I can only see a relationship with my Savior that can hold all those things. Sure I hope  to meet a man here on Earth someday and walk together side by side with him as partners in Christ. I know that I am not perfect, and he will not be either. But I do know that a love for someone here will only be found through a deeper love for my Heavenly Father. Only my Savior can refine my heart and shape it into an image that reflects His love for others. 

Sometimes I think that as Christians we get caught up in "feelings." Or the logical aspect of things. Or the rules, and and steps and words and obligations that come with being saved. But really - we should just strive to fall more in love with the one who created us each day. Then in His timing, He will provide a chance for us to love someone here. 

Here is a verse I read today - 
"And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love...neither our fears nor our worries about tomorrow...indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of our God that is revealed to us in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39
Many times God speaks to me through music and lyrics. I think Jason Gray says it best - 

More Like Falling In Love by Jason Gray [Christian Single Release 2009]
Give me rules
I will break them
Give me lines
I will cross them
I need more than a truth to believe
I need a truth that lives, moves, and breathes
To sweep me off my feet
It ought to be

More like falling in love
Than something to believe in
More like losing my heart
Than giving my allegiance
Caught up, called out
Come take a look at me now
It's like I'm falling, oh
It's like I'm falling in love

Give me words
I'll misuse them
I'll misplace them
'Cause all religion ever made of me
Was just a sinner with a stone tied to my feet
It never set me free
It's gotta be


...It's like I'm falling in love, love, love
Deeper and deeper
It was love that made
Me a believer
In more than a name, a faith, a creed
Falling in love with Jesus brought the change in me

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

People Watching....

Sometimes I like to sit and take things in.

Like at a mall. Or an airport. Or a coffee shop.

And let me add, as a kind of default, that this is NOT some creepy-stalkeresque activity.

This morning I am with my aunt at a coffee shop in a St. Louis suburb, and while she visits with an employer, I am enjoying some time just sitting, listening, people watching, and taking everything in. I could have stayed in bed and slept in while she was out. Of course that would've meant passing up the chance for a frappe, which is something I don't often treat myself to. Please let me add that while typing this, I am sipping THE. BEST. CHOCOLATE-MINT. FRAPPE. EVER. Yes friends, ever. I could even go so far as to compare this beverage with Girl Scout Thin mints in a cup. Props to Kaldis Coffee, which I had not heard of until this trip. Mmmmmm....

That could be another post in itself...about my love of coffee and all things frappe! =)

Something about sitting in a coffee shop though, at a high-top table, by myself, makes me feel like a "real" blogger. Like the lady on Julie an Julia who was cooking while she blogged, or an important business person...or something. But rest assured friends, I'm not going to leave my ordinary life, take up obsessive cooking, wear 3 inch heels, or move to the city. At least not now!

So some observations from my people-watching -

*People in "business clothes" - trendy and walking in and out with a purpose. Confident.
*The morning jogger - running shorts and GREEN tennis shoes with a green shirt and a green jacket. Never mind the hot pink shorts (it's St. Patrick's Day, after all)
*The business-man - (separate from the people in "business clothes") - taking time to sit down and have business conversations - cell phones, brief cases, laptop computers, and coffee
*The Reader - leisurely, no cares for the day - sitting and sipping the coffee, while enjoying a morning read
*Quick, purposeful, liesurely, confident, tired, routine, calm, and interesting...

Even more interesting than the first impressions of how people look are the stories that I'm sure some of them have. It's also interesting to think about where the people come from, what they are doing, where they are going, what their stories are...

So if these are the first impressions I have of others, and only a hand full of people at a small coffee shop in a suburb...I can't imagine how we look to God. People spread out over the Earth, and no "first impressions" because He created us. HE. CREATED. US. Wow. Each one of us. He knit us together perfectly in our mothers' wombs and knows the very amount of hairs on our heads. He knows our ins and outs and ups and downs, our thoughts, our attitudes, our struggles, our strengths, and our triumphs. Wow. He knows more about what goes on inside of us than we could ever imagine.

"Men are never duly touched and impressed with a conviction of their insignificance, until they have contrasted themselves with the majesty of God." - R.C. Sproul (Crazy Love Book)

I wonder what people think of me when they are people watching...and I wonder if I reflect the God who made me when they look.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

26? Really?

So for the past few years I have had the strong desire to serve in overseas missions.

Honestly I have had the desire to serve in general...I love helping and encouraging others anytime and in any way that I can. But God has really placed a passion in my heart for doing this internationally.

Let me rewind to my junior year of high school. I had been involved with Mission Friends, G.A.s and Acteens mission education programs since I was a toddler in church. But my junior year of high school, our church hosted a missions fair where missionaries from other states and countries had booths and we went around getting our "passports" stamped and hearing about their various ministries. That was when I first met a missionary couple from Scotland. I don't remember their names. I just remember them telling us all about the kids in schools there and how many of their parents spent the weekends getting drunk, leaving them to fend for themselves, and how the missionaries hosted a pancake breakfast each weekend for those kids. And how situations in their schools were so bad that they had certain areas of the schools "roped off" where students just did whatever they wanted, and teachers didn't bother to intervene. That day is the first that I ever remember feeling the urgent need to go somewhere and tell others about God's love and truth. I remember spending hours looking at the IMB websites and opportunities for teens, knowing that I would probably never have the opportunity to go as a teen, because of finances, and protective parents.

Fastforward to my junior year of college. I guess when I went to my small Christian college, I always just kind of had it in my mind that, at some point, I would probably get to go on a big mission trip, because that was what all students were supposed to do. I think part of that was because I knew I couldn't go in high school, but college would make it more likely. I wanted to go, but also had the idea that most people at Christian colleges just left having done that. (I also had it in "my plans" that I would meet a boy, date throughout college, and be married after I graduated, and ready to start a family. Another common misconception, especially when attending a small Christian college, but that's a whole separate blog post for another day...) Anyway, the summer after my sophomore year, I had the chance to stay for Mayterm and live with a wonderful family from my church. Our church had just started a wonderful new ministry for the community called "Arms Around Arkadelphia." After that local mission experience and much close time with church leaders and members, I began to have a desire for serving. That same summer I attended a one-week in-state mission trip with my church from home, working to build and develop a children's camp. Then, in the fall of my junior year, the information for summer mission trips came out. I'm not sure how or when God put Africa on my heart, but He did. And that summer, 2006, after my junior year was over...I had the amazing privilege of serving for three weeks in Senegal, West Africa. God gave me such a love and a passion for the people and the culture there. It was SO hard to leave, but I knew in my heart I wasn't saying goodbye. I knew that I would be back again one day. I also had the opportunity to serve unreached Indian people groups along the Amazon River Region in Brazil the summer after Africa, and spent part of Christmas break this past year serving in Mexico. I love, love, love serving and hope I will serve long-term one day.

And that is the hope I have hung on to for almost four years now. Wow, already four! I have looked at pictures, subscribed to e-mails, prayed for missionaries there, and longed to go back. I began the application process to go overseas for two years after college, but felt it was not God's timing, and I was to stay here and teach. And I love teaching. sometimes feels temporary. Like I am here, but I am waiting for something. I want with all my heart to be the best servant and light for Christ that I can be where I'm at, but I want so badly to go and serve too. The practical side of me knows that I need to work and pay off debt, etc....But the other part of me knows that if it is God's timing, He will provide a way for me to go, a job when I get home, and another chance to pay off debt. So....all that to say -

I will be 25 in just two short months. And the cut-off for the Journeyman Missions program through the IMB used to be 21-29 years. There was also a program for 30 years and up or married couples with families who wanted to serve 2-3 years, but that program has been put on hold for now due to economic circumstances. And...the age limit for Journeyman has been lowered to 26. Yes, 26. As in one year from now for me, 26. And my heart still longs to go. And in my mind, I was prepared to stay here at this school for as long as I could - pay off debt, work, be practical, etc... I wanted to be sure it was God's timing and not mine when I went to serve.

I still know that He will provide a chance for me to go in the future because clearly it is Him who has given me this passion and urgency to serve. But...if Journeyman is the program I am supposed to serve through, I need to start applying soon. I need to be willing to set "practical" aside and have faith. I need to be willing to leave my job if that is what He has in store, and to go. I'm just having trouble discerning what is me, and what is Him. I am having trouble thinking about the fact that if I don't apply now and go by the time I am 26, I might not have another chance for a long time, because the 30+ program is on hold. Who knows? It could be back by the time I'm 30. And I could have another opportunity to go with some other organization. But the IMB provides for their workers as they go, and if I went with another group I would have to raise my support. So....these are the thoughts that are flooding my mind right now.

26? Really? That is SOON. And I want to go. I would probably go right now if I could.'s a scary thought too. And I am afraid I will rely on my own feelings. Please pray for me as I consider the possibilities and seek God's will and timing, not my own.

14How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?15And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" - Romans 10:14-15

1 Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth.

2 Sing to the LORD, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.

3 Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples. - Psalm 96:1-3

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Spring Fever

It's Spring Break time!!

A friend from my college church posted pictures today of the beautiful flowers and spring weather in Arkansas, and another friend shared pictures of the beautiful outdoors from another community there. Oh how I miss the days of being in the South, bragging to my family in Missouri about how it was already warm and spring-like while it was still cold and drizzly here. (Wait, I would never...brag! Not me! haha) I suppose now, that is why it has come back to me, and here I am in Missouri, longing for the flowers to bloom and the smells and feel of Spring to be here. We got a little taste of that last week, and I was thankful, but oh how I'll be glad when Spring is here to stay.

I'm also missing friends and experiences and traditions from Spring on my college campus. Sunday afternoon picnics by the gazebo and river, laying on "grass-mats" while we studied in the plaza, taking pictures of flowers, the "smelly" trees lining campus, walking to Sonic, playing outside, and so much more! I'm glad friends are sharing pictures of those things right now so I can feel like I'm enjoying part of the Spring with them, even from far away.

Speaking of missing friends, there are many special friends I'm missing a lot.
The one I enjoy talking and laughing with the most.
The one who does the best "whale-talk" ever. (Think Finding Nemo!)
The one who shares a heart for missions that I have and has many more experiences than's always so good to talk and be encouraged through our conversations.
The ones who make it seem like I never left my church there, and I'm just supposed to be there on Sunday.
The ones who are still enduring the walls of Mabee Fine Arts Building and reaching toward their goal of teaching one day.
The one who shares many inside jokes and other things in common with me!

If you're reading this, which not many of my friends there do, one of these descriptions probably fits you, and I can't wait until my upcoming visit!

Happy Spring to everyone! Enjoy the renewal of God's beauty as nature comes back to life, and be sure to thank Him for each day, no matter what it brings!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Phonetics, Sternoclydomastoids, and Job Security...?

When I think about Speech Pathology, I get excited.
Like...nerdy excited.
I took four of six classes needed for a minor in SLP in college, but didn't take the other two because one was during my student teaching semester, and one was the semester before. But since I knew I would lack the last class, I decided to audit a missions class instead. Which was one of the best classes I took at college and is another thing that makes me excited.
I like thinking how things are spelled phonetically in my mind when I hear words.
I like understanding (though I've forgotten a LOT) how the vocal anatomy works and naming off all the parts I remember. Sternoclydomastoid, for instance...
I like thinking about working in a school....or somewhere else. Like a hospital. Or a speech clinic. Or....anywhere really, because SLPs are in high demand.
Grad school, anyone? Maybe someday....I hope.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What does a grown-up look like, anyway?

Sometimes I look at pictures of people I went to high school or college with, and they look "grown-up." Trendy, or even frumpy (frumpy in a non-chalante, no cares way, not a bad way). But still, they look "older." Or they look..."put-together." I feel like I just look the same. This isn't really a downer post. But honestly, when I look in the mirror, I don't look like anything has changed. I feel like my hair looks the same every day, I've worn the same glasses for three years (thank goodness for a tax return that will help me get some new ones soon, maybe even try contacts again!) and I just look Well, who else am I supposed to look like, right? But that's not my point. And I know that "what's on the inside matters most," "I am an adult..." "I have a different hair-cut than last year," etc....that's not the point today either. Honestly I really don't know what the point is. It's not to complain or have poor self-image, or, that's all. My oh-so-wonderful thought for the day. I think it's ok to say that frustrates me sometimes...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Things I'm looking forward to over Spring Break...

*Actually HAVING a full Spring Break this year!
*Reading a good book or two
*Organizing my "extra" room (again...uggh) and making my apartment more like "home"
*Sleeping in
*Springfield time at the end of the week
*Thinking about a lot...yet not thinking much at all
*Playing outside? (Please come soon, Spring weather!)
*Spades card party with friends
*Flea marketing in Springfield with my sister! (Yes, I just used "flea-marketing" as a verb!)
*Using my "extra" WW points for that week to eat Chinese food!
*Deciding what to do at the last minute
*A mini-road trip somewhere (close)...maybe Lake of the Ozarks?

I'm sure the list will grow as the last week goes by. I'm counting the days!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Did you know...

1. I love the color blue.
2. I hate yellow lights. They make me nervous. I never know whether to speed up or stop, which usually results in me stopping in the middle of an intersection WITH a red light! Not good.
3. I have been alligator hunting on the Amazon River and once stood next to a couple of sleeping rhinos in an animal park tour in Africa. I know...I'm just so wild (Or crazy.)
4. I love writing encouraging notes and letters to friends.
5. I watch Biggest Loser. Yes, it's true. Really the only reality show I get into though.
6. I am the youngest child in my family (of five kids)
7. I like teaching music, but can't decide if it is what I want to do/am supposed to do for the rest of my life. It feels kind of temporary, and I can't pin-point why.
8. I taught ESL once a week for my last few years of college, and I loved it. I miss it. A lot!
9. I like cold pizza. (And pepperoni with pineapple is my favorite kind!)
10. I got married on the playground in first grade.
11. My thumbs look like toes. Resulting in much teasing and laughter from my next oldest sister. (It's ok, because I laugh too.)
12. Speaking of laughing, sometimes when I laugh, I start crying hysterically. Not like, the usual tears of I switch and suddenly I can't stop crying. (Another joke for said next older sister and me!)
13. I own all seven seasons of Gilmore Girls.
14. I love my macbook. A lot.
15. I love serving others, especially overseas. I want to serve long-term doing mission work someday.
16. I usually feel like I am not good at what I'm doing and am afraid that people will find out I don't know what I'm doing, even if I really do.
17. I still have a baby tooth.
18. I won a trip to Europe through Kappa Delta Pi, an international organization for educators my last year of college. I wrote essays about where in the world I would go and how I would use that experience in my future classroom, and was one of twenty college students in the nation selected to go. I consider this one of the biggest accomplishments in my life.
19. I took French in high school and had a wonderful teacher my first year! I still remember the actions and songs Madame Fraga taught us to go with all the words.
20. I am a percussionist. I always will be. A true drum girl at heart. I miss drumline a lot!
21. I was born in Oklahoma City, moved to Missouri when I was one, and have only lived in three cities in Missouri and one in Arkansas (for college) in my life. Total of five cities.
22. In May I will be a quarter of a century old. Yep. 25.
23. I never made Ouachita Singers, the top, auditioned choir in college. This still kind of bothers me.
24. I make my bed everyday.
25. I have been on two blind dates in my life. I don't like them. I would rather just hang out with a good guy friend.