Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Not alone.

Last night I cried out: "I want to be loved and accepted for who I am. I want to be allowed to go a little crazy every once and a while." This morning I came to a realization: I am the only one that needs to accept myself and allow myself. I need to be growing and changing, of course, ever seeking to be more Christ-like, but I need to allow myself to rest in the Lord's offered freedom - His mercy and grace. I want to live my life to God's glory. I want to do something to further His kingdom - loving others, letting them know they are worth something. How can I do that without realizing my own worth?

I sit in the wilderness, seeing only darkness, feeling only fear. The reality is, though, that light surrounds me and pierces my very soul, fear has no place in my life, nor timidity (2 Timothy 1:7). Even as I wander through the wilderness I am held by the loving arms of the God of Israel. My Father, my Prince of Peace, my Counselor. He is drawing me to Himself. He loves me as I am - washed in the blood of His Son. He will lead me out of the wilderness, stronger and more full of Him.

Father, what would You have me do? Who would You have me be? I desire to be bold but kind, to smile at the future and encourage even the stranger beside me. You have a purpose, and I cannot even begin to fully understand it.

The whole world's on fire, isn't it? - I read the headlines and listen to the stories pour in from around the world, and I think of what is out there, what could come, the horrors that are realities for so many, and when I do this line from The Last of the Mohicans runs through my head over and over. But no one's listening to me whisper it, fear saturating my voice and tears my cheeks.

I wonder what I could ever really do. I am blessed to live in a nation, with parents who are loving and giving, where I can take a vacation or sleep in peace knowing where my next meal comes from. I can say no to work, change my mind, sit in a coffee shop without much fear of death or bomb threats. But still I sit in the midst of this easy little life, and I get over-whelmed. "Stop the world, I want to get off!" - I feel over-stimulated, over communicated, over media-ed, over fed, over worried, over everything. I want to unplug everything and rest. What from? What have I even done? What do I even want to do?

Something. This world is so much bigger than me, and I want to affect some small piece of it. I want to invest in people - love them and encourage them - to be able to sit on an airplane or in a classroom or in Starbucks and engage with someone in conversation - real conversation. Not because I'm bored, want to get something, or even give something, but because they matter and they need to know that. The teen I saw at the store yesterday needs to know that - she matters!

Imagine... to sit and talk with someone, actually engaging their heart and mind. "You have something to say that is worth listening to," we tell them ... simply by looking them in the eye.

I take comfort: "And such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy comes from God." 2 Corinthians 3:4-5

I am not alone.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Christmas 2008

Christmas Eve. 2008. Why do I have nothing to say? Usually at this time of year I am waxing eloquent about something. At the moment, my brain is fried. I'm tired. Not just this evening but over-all. I sit here pondering 2008 and wonder what I missed. My brother graduated from USAFA, I went to Salt Lake City for a youth conference, my best friend had a baby the day before I turned 27, I've gone back to school very part-time. I nearly moved out but realized I wanted to be teaching before I'm 35. I went to TX with Paul for Kathryn's first b'day. And I've really enjoyed hanging out with the teenagers in my life.

One of my greatest accomplishments of 2008 seems to be buying a pair of knee-high boots. My book writing is at a stand-still. But I re-arranged my room.

It's been a year.

Are you ever at a complete loss for words? I thought, sitting here, staring at my tree and listening to pretty music I would be able to wax eloquent once again about the year and the future and the season. But here I sit, not sure if I'm stuffed or hungry, wondering what to write and kind of wishing I were asleep, but not really wanting to go to bed. Tomorrow, somehow, the magic ends.

What do I get to expect of 2009? All sorts of things. My brother Brien is getting married, I'm taking Calculus and a million other math classes, my ten-year reunion is in August, I'll turn 28, I'll have a new niece or nephew, I'm probably going to take a weekend jaunt to Hawai'i, and I would love to at least get a trip to Greece planned (maybe for early 2010?). I'd like to finish writing at least one of my books as well (in fact I don't make New Years Resolutions, but I did pinky promise one of my seniors that I'll have more than one chapter for her to read for me by the time she graduates). Truth is I don't know what's going to happen, but I do know a few things. God is in control. He is at work. He is faithful. He loves me. No matter how dark the night (or the day), or how still the whispers, He is with me, guiding me, teaching me. I see this so clearly in those I sit across the table with in Starbucks. Oh how much I've learned - from my girls, Paul, Jen and other friends.

So bring on 2009 with all its joys and sorrows. I've got great friends who can and will stand by me through anything, a family that is far too good in many ways, and a Savior who calms the storms, heals the hurts, and is a Light piercing the darkness of all I see around me. I close this rather strange end-of-the-year letter with this: thank you, Lord, for your faithfulness not only to me but to each and every one of the men and women in my life that don't simply survive but live their lives for You and stand strong against the cold darkness that threatens to still our beating hearts. Help us to stand so together.

Happy Christmas and Merry New Year my friends and family! I truly mean that and hope you get lots of hugs and smiles this weekend, the rest of this year and all through 2009!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

50 things about me:

  1. Unless I initiate it's probably not a great idea to talk to me in the morning, especially on a topic I really don't want to discuss.
  2. I apparently think very highly of myself (see 1.)
  3. My dad may say on occasion that it's not a good idea to talk to me in the evening either.
  4. It's possible that it may simply be a good idea not to talk to me.
  5. I can get up on time and still be late to work.
  6. I'm not sure if I'm going to succeed as a teacher (see 1. and 5. and, well, 4.)
  7. I blog at work.
  8. My parents are SAINTS - my mom especially (nothing against you, Dad, it's just that Mom puts up with WAY MORE from me!)
  9. I know I need to grow up because I hate feeling like I'm being treated like a kid or that I am incapable of being a grown-up when I run out of time and have to have my mom do things for me.
  10. I am a fully capable baker and cook with very little time on my hands to do either.
  11. Sometimes I yell, and I don't always know why.
  12. I have to eat every 3-4 hours to keep from being nasty.
  13. 12. isn't always true. Sometimes I'm just nasty.
  14. Some days I'm in tears because I scare myself.
  15. I am a sinner saved by grace.
  16. I can't spell occasion the first time - ever.
  17. I watch too much NCIS.
  18. I love teenagers.
  19. I love Jesus and would be an even bigger mess without Him.
  20. I want to live in Greece for a year.
  21. I want to live in a musical.
  22. I know how to type and actually enjoy doing it.
  23. I wish I knew Spanish.
  24. I wish I had kept up with my piano lessons.
  25. I was born in England, and I really want to be there sometimes.
  26. I think 2 Timothy is an incredibly challenging book.
  27. Pride and Prejudice is my favorite novel.
  28. I'm a military B.R.A.T.
  29. My abs hurt right now because I've started learning Pilates as of yesterday.
  30. I miss pizza.
  31. I miss ice cream.
  32. I need to save this and get to work. (I did - break time again)
  33. My joints pop.
  34. When I set my mind to something, I get it done.
  35. If I think something is pointless it's very hard for me to get it done.
  36. I have amazing friends.
  37. I love to laugh.
  38. Samwise Gamgee is one of my literary heroes.
  39. Edmund Pevensie is another.
  40. I blow my nose a lot.
  41. My hands need lots of moisturizing.
  42. Making this list is making me feel better. (I'm shootin' for 50 now...)
  43. I enjoy list making.
  44. I really love checking things off of a to-do list. (I even write things on them that I got done but didn't plan to do, just so I can check them off!)
  45. Praying is like breathing for me - I need to do it or my soul will shrivel and die.
  46. I don't pray enough.
  47. I don't drink enough water either.
  48. I love singing.
  49. I love to dance.
  50. I love life - all of its joys, sorrows, happy times and sucky times, every heartache and every reason to jump for the sheer pleasure of being excited about something! I want to live my life to its fullest by Jesus' definition and I will - with that goal in mind, His strength behind me, and His love to carry me through the good and the bad.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Our Rescuer

"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor."
Isaiah 61:1-3

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dinner out

I wish I had my own picture to share of the dish I happily ate this evening, but alas, I thought not of snapping one. The one you see is from a blog I happened upon (it's pretty cool if you're ever stumped on what to have for dinner).

This evening I spent a delightful time at Macaroni Grill with Paul and had their new Warm Spinach Salad. It intrigued me: "Wilted spinach tossed with prosciutto, roasted garlic and fresh lemon juice and olive oil. Topped with crispy pan-fried goat cheese." Prosciutto? Garlic? I'm sold! Asked my waiter if there were any hidden ingredients and all I had to do was eliminate the cheese.

It was mighty tasty! Definitely a light fare - and I'll probably be smelling of garlic for a while - but I was thoroughly happy :o) AND I had a Raspberry Italian Soda! Ah, bliss ...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Columbine High School Class of 1999

Guess what I just got in the mail? Yep, it's my Ten-Year Reunion information. Kinda funny. Not really weird, though. You know you watch the movies about reunions and the people desperate to make a good impression on all the people they used to know. I don't feel that. Or the ones that go to show off their new wonderful life. Don't feel that either. Or the ones that are simply curious to see everyone they used to know, simply because they're curious. Okay, maybe a touch of that. Not to mention, somewhere deep down, from the day I graduated I felt some sort of obligation to go to this thing.

As I look over the questionnaire, I have to wonder how my life got to where it is and consider that though I certainly have changed, from the outside it wouldn't seem that my life has changed all that much. "What do I remember best about high school?"

Ten years. Long time. For more reasons than one next year will be significant. Ten years. Seems like only yesterday my boss was talking to all the teens I know about 8 years. You never believe it when you're told it and then it hits you: time flies and it's only going to get faster from here!

Now the ultimate question: do I go?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Wanna run away?

I am often threatening to run away for the weekend: "there's a flight that leaves at 8 p.m..... Everyday!" "It wouldn't be a problem, really. I could be back by Monday!" "Why not? It'd be fun!"

I wonder if this desire is inherent in the human heart. Naturally most busy-bee Americans wish we could "get away" for a little while, just for a break. Hence vacations and honeymoons and long weekends, nervous breakdowns, mid-life crises and early retirement. But what about that deeper desire, the one that gives birth to songs like Norah Jones' "Come Away With Me," Josh Turner's "Would You Go With Me?" or even "Come Fly With Me"? What is so intoxicating about the idea of being followed somewhere or taken somewhere, fully desired, fully trusted, even if we aren't sure of where we're going?
("Is that a trick question?")

This from a simple statement that I'd like to get away for the weekend and once again not being taken at all seriously (which, honestly, why would I be? "Wolf!"). So I'm going to start saving a little money here and there and one day I'm going to take a weekend. Where depends on my mood and the time of year, I suppose. I've threatened everything from South Dakota to South Africa, England to Hawai'i. Of course, some of those would be pretty tough to fit into a "weekend." Ah, well, who knows, could be fun - a little adventure never hurt anyone, right?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Full to overflowing

My heart is bursting within me! Why? Because of the response I have received from parents this year for our jr and sr high Christmas parties! I cannot begin to express my gratitude to all the parents willing to bring so much! I know it is for their kids, but I can't help but feel loved! I am smiling from ear to ear and laughing!!! I had to share this with someone!

So to all those parents out there that don't have my blog address I thank you! (Even though you probably won't see this!) I love my job, but it is always made that much easier with the generosity and love shown by the families of this church!

Always praise God for the little and the big :o)

Thursday, November 27, 2008


This week I did something unthinkable - for me - I purchased a PC laptop. It's an HP, it's blue (it's actually kinda pretty - I like shiny things), it's Vista, it's Office 2007. I actually kinda like it. But don't tell anybody that, because it's unthinkable - for me - to like such a thing as a PC. I have run Macs since I was 8 years old. I'm typing on a Mac right now. But necessity has driven me to it. So add it to the list of things I've caved on and pray for me.

I am thankful for the kind - only laughing at me behind my back - support I have received from my anti-Mac friends as I struggle through this transition.

I named my laptop BOB. Maybe someday B.O.B. will stand for something, but for now, I just really wanted t0 name it anything but "Carey's PC" - *scream* - that's just going to far - so I named it BOB. It wasn't until today that I typed the name and decided it should be in all caps. I know, I'm strange, what can I say? I'm a Mac girl. Strange fits.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

It's okay.

I'm tall.
I'm pretty.
I'm loud.
I'm smart.
I have great hair.
I have a big smile.
I have feelings.
I can be quite stubborn.
I can be rude, but I don't want to be.
I can be very honest.
I love fully.
I trust my friends.
I can be mean but rarely on purpose.
I am loved.
I am imperfect.
I am lovely.
I am me.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


These are Crocs!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What if...

This morning I was toying with this idea: what if everyone got into the voting booth and couldn't vote for McCain OR Obama? So at random we all picked the same man and he rose to power with the support of 100% of the country...yipes. Silly idea, but I enjoyed toying with it. It's a good plot for a bad movie :o)

Then when I voted this morning I was looking at all the names and parties that are running for president (had no clue there were SO MANY), and saw a man and his running mate with "Boston Tea" listed as their party affiliation. Naturally my brain immediately put it together - they are from the "Boston Tea Party" (a political party that does exist, actually, it was created in 2006). I had a nice chuckle.

On my walk home from voting, I thought it so clever I decided he would be the one to rise out of the rubble of everyone's confidence crushing beneath the pressure to vote for one of two parties - a battle that has brought more division to our nation in the past year than we could ever have desired. Because when our pens stayed and the bubbles next to those two remained empty and we looked desperately for another choice we might just think that a party that can be so clever might have something to offer. Of course we'd probably be wrong.

Good thing this life is only temporary and that my imagination doesn't create reality.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


List of things I've caved on since I started my current job:
  • this blog
  • Harry Potter
  • LOST
  • facebook
What's next? Hm? Skiing? Driving in the mountains in the snow?? Eating sushi? WAIT, I've done that! AH! Stop the madness!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Morning People

What an eye-opening experience. I always knew I was not a morning person, but didn't realize how bad my case was until this morning when I was at B&N. The man who made my coffee was genuinely awake, pleasant and attentive. I was with one of my high school girls and quite happy but still did not feel as chipper as he looked.

I would like to commend those morning people I encountered this morning - to you at the Barnes and Noble Cafe, Mardels and Babies R Us - may you be blessed for your genuine smiles and heartfelt joy!

Sunday, October 12, 2008


My niece Kathryn turned one year old on October 4th. Paul and I went and visited her and her family (my brother David and his wife, Amy, and their son, William). It was great seeing all of them again - especially getting to play trains with William and laugh with Kathryn.

We read and relaxed and went to a street fair. College Station isn't far from them, so we went to the George Bush Library and Museum as well (and got to see my cousin).

I had a great time and got a fresh perspective on some constant thoughts and ponderings, which is always nice! (Thanks, David!)

I always love seeing family and this trip was a real treat for me!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My birthday in a few pictures

My gluten free cupcake at Pahtyana and Clinton's (Friday b/f)

The roses Paul surprised me with on my actual b'day.

Pottery painting with some of the girls in my life and dinner (below)

Dinner out with Paul (Thursday after)

Rose in full bloom :o)

An Intoxicating Reality

We are always in the presence of God. Moses was commanded to remove his sandals because the ground on which he stood was holy; he was in the presence of Almighty God. We are always in His presence - every moment is sacred. This is an intoxicating reality.

I am loved by God and that truth should ignite every moment, every activity of my life.

"Brother Lawrence says that 'our sanctification did not depend upon changing our works, but in doing that for God's sake which we commonly do for our own.'" (Transformed into Fire, p. 198)

"...live a God-enthralled life....everything we do is aflame with love." (197)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Is there a world you long to see?

I have been trying to figure out how to word this post for a week! Last Saturday I went to see Les Miserables with my family and Paul. It was superbly done and has always been an amazing story of mercy and redemption, love and honor.

I am going to post the lyrics to 2 songs as this post, because I don't know how to get to what I'm feeling - the words and the music stir my soul and make me think of more than the French revolutions. They are a call to arms for us as well....

"Do You Hear the People Sing?"
Will you join in our crusade?
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Beyond the barricade,
is there a world you long to see?
Then join in the fight that will give you the right to be free.

Will you give all you can give,
so that our banner may advance?
Some will fall and some will live,
will you stand up and take your chance?
The blood of the martyrs
will water the meadows of France.

Do you hear the people sing?
Singing the songs of angry men?
It is the music of a people
who will not be slaves again
When the beating of your heart,
echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
when tomorrow comes

Do you hear the people sing
Lost in the valley of the night?
It is the music of a people
Who are climbing to the light.
For the wretched of the earth
There is a flame that never dies.
Even the darkest night will end
And the sun will rise.

They will live again in freedom
In the garden of the Lord.
They will walk behind the plough-share,
They will put away the sword.
The chain will be broken
And all men will have their reward.

Will you join in our crusade?
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Somewhere beyond the barricade
Is there a world you long to see?
Do you hear the people sing?
Say, do you hear the distant drums?
It is the future that they bring
When tomorrow comes!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My center

"The shift I propose begins with youth workers who live out of the wholeness of their own souls, who nurture a personal spirituality that makes Jesus Christ the center of everything. Youth need youth workers who dwell in the presence of God and are willing to walk along with them on the journey regardless of how often they are prone to personal detours." (Presence-Centered Youth Ministry: Guiding Students into Spiritual Formation by Mike King, p 11)

A new project my boss gave me yesterday is to go through a book he's read and type up everything he's underlined - sort of offer a taste of the content to those who don't read as often as he. I really like this project for a number of reasons. Primarily because I learn. The above quote was the first one I typed up. Impactful. My journal response:
"All I have to offer is my brokenness."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Good Morning

Concerned that the radio station I listen to when I wake up may have been contributing in some small way to the attitudinal problems I have been having, I decided to switch it this weekend to KVOD, the Classical station. I think, perhaps, I have chosen poorly. Waking up to soothing music seems to contribute to going back to sleep. Granted, I've never been good at getting up on time; I make a lot of excuses and sleep until the radio turns off, one hour after it comes on. Perhaps I should have gone to bed at 10:15 when I first had the notion, instead of climbing into bed and reading Emma until 11:30 (but I finished it, so that's something, isn't it?)

Perhaps I should petition to have only Tchaikovsky played in the mornings between 6 and 6:30 - that would get me up!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

How can I give less?

"God loved them with all of his heart. And they were lovely because he loved them." - The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones

What an amazing truth that is! What a tremendous reminder! There are often times in my life when I feel quite 'unlovely' - either because of my attitude or I'm just not looking in the mirror with a friendly eye. But the truth is, no matter how I do at work, or how hard I have to try to understand the distribution of a graph, or how quickly I snap at someone over something that has no meaning in the grand scheme of life, God loves me.

Of course, that doesn't leave me freedom to behave as I choose; in fact, the way I see it, it only leaves me to respond in love, to strive to be more and more like Christ every day. My worth is not bound in what I see or what I do or how easily something comes to me. My worth is bound up in the fact that God loves me; He thinks I'm worth giving everything - even the life of His only Son - to have me in relationship with Him.

That truth is worth standing for, fighting for, living for, dying for, and striving to obey - out of love - what this great God has commanded. He gave His all - how can I give any less? Mark 12:29-31

At last!

I found my marbles!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Birthday Ideas

For those few patrons of my birthday, I have compiled a short list. You can find it here.

Monday, September 1, 2008


Happy September, everyone! Only 3 more weeks until the Autumn begins!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Don't you hate it

when you think of something to blog on and then you forget???

Sunday, August 10, 2008

life of sacrifice

"I have witnessed the bonds within this family.... These strange golden-eyed ones deny their very natures. But in return have they found something worth even more, perhaps, than mere gratification of desire? I've made a little study of them in my time here, and it seems to me that intrinsic to this intense family binding - that which makes them possible at all - is the peaceful character of this life of sacrifice. There is no aggression here.... There is no thought for domination."
from Breaking Dawn Copyright 2008 by Stephenie Meyer (pp 717-718)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Dark Knight

My thoughts jotted quickly on a Post-It note after seeing The Dark Knight for the second time...
  • Are you willing to be at the end of the gun? Have all the people you stand against out to get you?
  • What do you do when you are falsely accused? Faced with injustice - do you continue to stand against it or give in?
  • Do you make the right choices even if they are hard and unpopular?
  • What does it mean to be the hero everyone deserves but not the one they need? To be more than a hero?

An odd thought

A secretary working from home...

The purge

I woke up this morning to my radio station talk-show hosts talking about purging. Throwing out all superfluous possessions for a greater cause - other's needs and also our own sanity. Funny thing is, that's exactly what I did last week! Here are some before and after shots. Sigh - what a beautiful feeling!

Closet 2 Before

The room disaster while purging

Closet 2 after


Oh so tidy!

I got rid of so much STUFF! It was fantastic!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

You were saying?

"Now as they [Jesus and His disciples] were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord's feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations [or much service]" Luke 10:38-40a

I have long known the chilling words of Jesus in 10:41-42: "Martha, Martha...only one thing is necessary...", but the other day I re-read the passage and my heart zoned in on the verses above.

Martha wasn't listening to Jesus' word because she was distracted with all her preparations. She was distracted with much service.

Do I ever miss the Lord's word because I am distracted with my service?


If Americans changed the way we spent money, thought about money, revered money, would our economy completely collapse?

Monday, July 28, 2008


After reading headlines about bombings in 3 different countries and a shooting in our own, listening to NPR in the car, and processing a video I saw in church yesterday about the Good Samaritan, I heard this song.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Keyboard shortcuts

My very dear boyfriend taught me sometime ago a simple trick I thought I would never use. Instead of typing in an entire web address, you can just type in the primary word, for example "blogger" and then hit ctrl-enter and viola! www.blogger.com is instantly entered and away you go! Well, yesterday I was attempting to do this (I use it all the time now), and I accidentally hit the shift key instead of control (sometimes I type a little too fast). Suddenly I was searching for istockphoto.net not istockphoto.com! Ooh, I thought, what if I could find a shortcut for .org as well....

Ladies and gentlemen I never knew it was possible, but yes, you can hit control-shift-enter and viola! any .org address is complete. I was so excited, I simply had to share it with both of you!

I can hardly wait to get home and see if the same is possible on my Mac!

Friday, July 11, 2008

An experience...

Meet Mathabo. She is a young girl living in Lesotho (in Africa). Her life and story was the one I entered into at the World Vision Experience. It was an incredible walking exhibit, one that attempted to submerge you in the world of a child affected by AIDS through different rooms and an audio tour. You are introduced to one of 4 children, shown their home, pictures of them and the people in their life, hear how AIDS directly affected them. It was a powerful feeling to hear their voices and see their faces.

To sit by the bed of Mathabo's mother and look up to see her aching face on the wall above the bed while listening to Mathabo encourage her to get better.

We sat in a clinic waiting for the result of our AIDS test, sounds of crying babies and coughing neighbors filled our ears until we were finally called. After hearing the rest of Mathabo's story we were lead into a chapel. This, I think, impacted me most. Staring into the beautiful faces, picture after picture, some of them with the red + that denoted your test was positive stamped over their faces.

When faced with something so big - so many children fighting against something so deadly - how do we respond? I hardly know. I know I can pray. God is bigger - it's so simple, the word barely doing a proper job, but I confess I can't think of a better.

Pictures from World Vision Experience: AIDS. The exhibit exists to raise awareness. World Vision's HopeChild sponsorship program is specifically for children directly affected by AIDS.

Salt Lake City - After (it's a long one!)

You are here...
...to help the hurting
...to encounter Christ
...to lead.

What an amazing week! To be honest, I'm still kind of shocked it's over (though we returned a week ago). I wish I hadn't wasted Sunday and Monday struggling with my own attitude, but I awoke Tuesday with renewed energy and joy at being in Salt Lake City. Praise God that I was able to get past myself at least a little and be fully there. It was a blessing and a privilege to hear the students process this week and all they heard. We got to spend time Tuesday night with my former youth pastor and hear his charge to our students. Wednesday night Kelly and I got to hear the girls process an incredible presentation on leadership! Seriously, it was incredible!

I am so excited to see what happens not only in the ministry I serve in at large but also in my own life and leadership! One thing I was reminded of this week was that God is bigger - than anything I could ever fear or worry about or wonder about or get stressed over. When something seems too big all I need to do is take a deep breath, remember He is bigger, He is in control, and take it all one step at a time.

Some thoughts and questions I boxed while taking notes:
  • Where does your passion lie?
  • (Rev. 4) How do you see God?
  • (Acts 16:11-34) Show the Gospel by our radical generosity, inexplicable love, and our possession of radical joy in the midst of hardship and persecution.
  • Valuing something more than life itself - that is what we worship.
  • The love of Christ compels me...
  • Where is your heart, your home?
  • (John 4) What things do you rely on to make you happy? - Where do you seek fulfillment? - God is the only source for joy, love, fulfillment.
  • Spend time with God.
  • When headed somewhere you aren't quite sure how God can use you - ask Him why, be open to whatever He might have for you in that place.
  • It's about surrender - you and God.
  • (Dan 3) What are you willing to give up? That shows the value you put on God.
  • What you focus on expands.
  • Be a river flowing, not a flood destroying (Pr. 29:18)
  • Remember the iceberg - your character is the 90% below the surface and it will always be the part that sinks the ship (Lk 6)
  • Your greatest value is what is inside (2 Cor 5:17)
  • Light a candle, don't curse the darkness.
  • Why are we embarrassed by Jesus?
  • Count the cost.
  • Love people - listen to them.
  • God is with you
  • Pray for opportunity
  • What God starts, God provides the resources to finish.

This isn't even everything. It's years of life lessons crammed into one week. Good reminders, new lessons, challenges and promises. I can count the cost, seek God, serve Him, live for Him, love and be a fool for Him - He is bigger, He is the only one that will never fail me, and He is reaching out to this generation, to every generation, to stand up and fight against the world, one soul at a time. Me first.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Salt Lake City - before

For those of you who don't know, I am headed out this very early morning to Salt Lake City, UT with 25 students from the HS ministry at my church and 3 leaders for the Challenge Youth Conference. I am excited about this week! I really have no idea what is going to happen in the lives of the students or my own life. I am eager to see what God will do through and in each and every one of us. We get back July 4, and I am sure I will have many stories to tell! Please pray for us, may we have servant's hearts and teachable spirits, listening ears and ready hands and come away challenged to live life for nothing aside from Christ.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

if only...

If I could work outside where the sun was always shining, the temperature a steady 75 degrees with a pleasant breeze, no fear of sunburn, melanoma or skin damage, I would be quite happy. Of course, it's kind of difficult to see a computer screen in direct sunlight... but then I would be sitting in the shade of a beautiful tree.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Class of 2008, you are dismissed!

My brother Stephen graduated from the United States Air Force Academy on Wednesday, May 28th. I am proud of him. I have loaded a few pictures and will load more as I get a few minutes to do so each evening. Please take a look - click on the link, from there you can view the "USAFA Graduation" and "Breckenridge" albums.

This has been one of the most memorable weeks of my life, one of those pivotal moments, it seems, in more ways than one. I am praising God for my family, His faithfulness to us, and the gifts He gives me each and every day. I am so thankful Paul was able to join me this week in celebrating with my family. I am thankful for Paul. I was reminded Sunday of the vital importance of praising God for all He gives. I praise Him for all my friends and family, people without whom I wouldn't be who I am or where I am.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

engraved in stone

"What truly matters in this life is helping others win, even if it means slowing down and changing our course." - unknown

We talked about the 2 wisdoms in James on Sunday. I have been thinking a lot about "selfish ambition." What does the opposite look like? The above quote, which I found today in my 2007 journal, is part of the answer. We must be looking to help others, raise them up, not ourselves.

Dick Iverson says "What I am a part of is more important than the part I play."

Last night at our high school ministry's leader's meeting, our fearless leader mentioned being a witness for Christ and the importance of it - God uses us! to reveal Himself to others.

I do not believe these contradict. The second we focus more on the part we play than the source of the story we try to tell and the story itself, we lose the entire point.

I often struggle with the thought of what I have to offer others. Do I really have anything of worth to say? share? show? I pray and pray, crying out to God, How do I even begin to prepare to come alongside the hearts and lives of those You bring into my path? The answer over and over again:
"Seek Me."
"Give your life away."

A question focused on ME - answered with HIM.

I was talking to one of my girls about this struggle and the following analogy came to me: I can carve a message into a stone and tell you all about it, maybe even give you a glimpse of it. It isn't worth much unless I give it to you. My life is a stone that needs to be given away - engraved with the Greatest Story ever told. I must seek the Lord and allow Him to carve His story into my life.

Nearly 2 years ago I saw a quote that shook me to the core: "Stop protecting yourself - pursue God" (Luci Swindoll). It's the greatest thing I will ever do.

Friday, April 25, 2008

I'm too calm...

I have a ridiculous amount of work to do and it will increase exponentially next week. I'm too calm. I should be stressing. I'm not. So I say

1. God is good
2. I'm scheduling my nervous breakdown for Thursday afternoon. That way it won't get too much in the way. I should be fine by Friday and Saturday.

Anyone care to join me?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

In Honor of Administrative Professionals Day...

You know you're a secretary when...
  1. You see a page of labels and immediately wonder what their Avery # is.
  2. You get really excited about pads of blank paper.
  3. You eat your lunch in double-time, usually at your desk.
  4. You sing because you found extra little plastic tabbies for hanging file folders.
  5. You go super-nova because someone moved your pen.
  6. You get super-excited about a database that can track not only attendance and birthdays but who is going on which retreat and how much they owe you.
  7. You are as sweet as can be on the phone but curse like a sailor at the copier machine.
  8. You have some form of edible substance (food, drink, or candy) in your desk drawer, on your desk, or somewhere close by.
  9. You have a really big calendar covered in to-dos.
  10. You get served breakfast one Wednesday in April just for showing up to work every day and doing what they tell you to.
What's a girl to do?

Addition: from my friend Christy:
"You know you're a secretary when you are more protective of your masking tape and scissors than your best friend."

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


I sometimes wish that lunch were not a necessity. Wouldn't it be nice if all our bodies needed was breakfast, dinner, and maybe a snack or two? Tea anyone?

But, alas, we require lunch...at least I do (along with second breakfast, elevensies, afternoon tea)...and today all I had was this frozen rice bowl thing.

In order to be edible, my lunch requires 50 minutes in a 400 degree oven or 5 minutes in the microwave.

Is anyone else disturbed by this???

Monday, April 14, 2008

My "crap" day

It lasted all of 30 minutes.

My day started out beautifully. The weather was gorgeous, I was in a skirt, I knew what I was eating for lunch. I was happy. I was looking forward to the sunshine at lunchtime and an evening tentatively planned. Then my plans got "canceled" (how can you cancel plans you didn't make?), and things at my job got irritating, and I had two meetings to go to, and I wasn't going to be home until 9, and I suddenly heard myself saying: "today is just a bad day."

I took time to complain about it to a friend on the phone when she called for other reasons, and I realized when I hung up with her that all I was basing my "crappy" day on was my attitude. That was all that had really changed. I truly had nothing to complain about. I was disappointed about my altered evening plans, but there was nothing I could do.

When my day suddenly became "bad", the sun was out and the air was warm, I was getting things done, I was preparing to eat my favorite meal. Things were only bad because I was choosing to be upset. So I made another decision: I snapped out of it. Who wants to have a "crap" day when there are so many nice days to be had? And the sun was still shining.

Friday, March 7, 2008

near tears

My computer is finding it humorous to wipe my Word docs of all the formatting I am so carefully applying. I'm going through some key documents and printing them to pdfs, but before I can do this I must first make sure they are looking as they must look. I got through a document and instead of printing it immediately did something else and when I got back to the doc I found it free of all formatting. ::SOB::

As frustrated as I am, my heart is heavy for more important reasons. There is something in the air today that keeps reminding me of Nigeria, and I know I cannot go back this year.

It has been a year since we got back. I can't help but wish I was returning. I remind myself that I chose not to go this year because when the time came to say yea or nay I knew it wasn't a good idea for me to go. But then I have to wonder why - was my attitude simply off that night and I made the easy decision? Or was I truly not meant to go? It was an easy call at the time.

Now it feels like death to know that I won't be going back.

Sunday, March 2, 2008


I never thought I would ever post on such a subject.

Yesterday, while on a walk with Paul, I decided I will start watching LOST.

I blame it on the beautiful weather.

And, of course, all of my friends are pretty convincing.

There's no going back now, even though there's a good half a foot of snow on the ground.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Bush in Africa

Yesterday I took some time to read this article that was sent to me by a friend.

I really enjoyed the read because it shows a glimpse of what President Bush has done in Africa during his administration. I first learned of it a year ago when I was in Nigeria. We did a week-long VBS at Mashiah Foundation. When we first arrived in Jos and were given a tour of Mashiah, we were told about the reality of these women who are HIV positive and the drugs being too expensive for so long and now they were all on medication because of Bush's policies.
I was shocked. Sad, isn't it? I had to travel to Africa to learn of something my president had been doing for years.

Here is a man that has done so much good and is only ever talked about for all we do not agree with. I can only hope that President Bush's legacy, though blackened with the memory of Iraq, will have some luster added by his work in Africa.


For those of you that know my stance against the use of "ish," you will find this amusing, I am sure. I received an email on Friday from a friend of mine that included the following quote and a link to this article.
"The exhausted secret-service guys, the secretaries of state, the chief of staff, the assistants and advisers and the press pool attempt a fitful sleep in the gray-and-beige reclining seats. Some give up the unequal struggle and order dinner. Not fantastic food, with decentish wine served by nicely uniformed, friendly waiters." - Time Magazine
There it is, in Time, "-ish." Well, I laughed and appreciated the email and moved on with my day. I had no concept of the humbling that was headed my way. As I headed off to lunch later that same day, I said to myself (I talk to myself a lot when I'm alone in the office for any length of time), "I am feeling quite peckish."

I was suddenly aware of the fact that I had just used the suffix "-ish." The moment I was back in the office I looked "peckish" up on the online dictionary and there discovered that "-ish" is an actual suffix used to make adjectives out of nouns: "1. with the sense of 'belonging to', 'after the manner of', 'having the characteristics of,' 'like'; addicted to,' inclined or tending to'; 'near or about' 2. with the sense of 'somewhat,' 'rather.' Similar to the suffix "-esque."

Needless to say I had a good laugh at my own expense and will probably stop ranting about the use of "-ish" from now on (seeing as I never bothered looking it up all these months AND I never noticed that I've used -ish for a long time: "feverish", "ravish", "English", "Swedish").

Though I still believe if you are going to be somewhere you should tell people when you are going to be there not "about" when.

Okay...I'm done.

"-ish." Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. 01 Mar. 2008.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


If you think your life is insignificant, that you have no purpose and that you will never affect anyone else, I challenge you to consider how much impact a twisted piece of wire can have on one shower - one life. If a "shower caddy" has a purpose...why not you?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Secure in the Everlasting Arms

"A prayerful heart and an obedient heart will learn, very slowly and not without sorrow, to stake everything on God Himself" (p. 34).

"The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever - do not abandon the works of your hands." Psalm 138:8

"We are meddling with God's business when we let all manner of imaginings loose, predicting disaster, contemplating possibilities instead of following, one day at a time, God's plain and simple pathway. When we try to meet difficulties prematurely we have neither the light nor the strength for them yet. 'As thy days so shall thy strength be' was Moses' blessing for Asher - in other words, your strength will equal your days" (p. 37).

"Faithfulness today is the best preparation for the demands of tomorrow" (p. 39).

"Are we assured that we are safe in the hands that hold the stars? Can we wholeheartedly surrender to God, leaving quietly with Him all the 'what ifs' and 'but what abouts'? Will we truthfully say to Him, 'Anything You choose for me, Lord - to have to be, to do, or to suffer. I am at Your orders. I have no agenda of my own'?" (p. 39)
excerpts from Secure in the Everlasting Arms by Elisabeth Elliot

Sunday, February 17, 2008


"All shall be well, and all shall be well,
and all manner of things shall be well."

~St. Julian of Norwich

Friday, February 15, 2008

Not meant to work alone

As a secretary I create a lot of posters. Sometimes I do a really bad job and sometimes I amaze myself (whether other people are amazed, I don't know since I can only speak for myself). Unfortunately the bad drafts always come first. I have learned not to create posters when I'm in a bad mood or I have been stressed for a while because those are truly scary.

Wednesday I created a poster I was quite happy with for the junior high ministry's next Tuesday night series (Not Alone) and sent a jpeg to our junior high guy - the image is above. He liked it, but was picturing something else. So he asked if I could get a different picture, one of someone walking alone.

I admit I was skeptical, it painted a totally different picture in my head, but if I have learned anything in my 2 years at this job it is that I am often wrong, I need to have other's opinions and the picture on the poster is important - it sets the stage for a lot of impressions. So I went in search of a more suitable picture. In my hunt I discovered the image that follows (thank you, iStockphoto). I loved it because I knew I could make the picture itself the poster - all I needed to do was add text. It is simple and powerful.

I look at this image and the words on the page and I want to stand in front of a hundred people and teach on this topic!!

Friday, February 8, 2008

An ode to my morning

I'm a complicated woman,
And though I’m saved by grace,
There are those certain mornings
When I shouldn’t show my face.
By the time I’m up and moving,
I’ve thought of a dozen things
I really shouldn’t think about
Until it’s dawn in Beijing.
I feel I never have the time
To get ready and to work
Even when I’m early
I still can go berserk
I head on down to breakfast,
Too much on my mind
I ask a simple question
Not wanting an answer, I find.
When the answer I wasn’t wanting
Comes to me anyway,
I find my temper rising,
And my nerves begin to fray.
My mother has done nothing
She’s only trying to help
I know I’m over-reacting
But I can’t control my yelp.
My tone begins to sharpen
As I try to calm myself
There are so many topics
We should leave up on the shelf.
As the seconds tick by faster
And I know my hair’s still wet
I determine I must get going
There’s no real reason to fret.
I chastise my own behavior
As I quickly blow-dry my mane
Reminding myself I’m cruel,
Ridiculous and lame.
As I grab my bag and keys,
Shove my feet into my shoes,
I hurry out the door
Still curt, a little rude.
I remind myself again
That though I’m saved by grace
I am far from perfect
A fact that I must face.
I am a work in progress
As I struggle to succeed
I want to be a godly woman
Clothed in strength and dignity.
So I offer my apologies
To all of you who see
Sometimes I simply relate too well
To my pet, Itch: one very sassy bee.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

the strength of my heart

"Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
For, behold, those who are far from You will perish;
You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You.
But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
That I may tell of all Your works."
Psalm 73:25-28

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The tragedies of transfers

In the process of looking into grad school I have been looking at my old transcripts. I just got my UNC unofficial transcript faxed to me this morning. At UNC I was an English major with a History minor. I graduated from UCD with a major in English. During the transfer to UCD all of my credit hours made it safely, however, not all of my UNC classes had complements at UCD, so I lost my History minor in the process. I have a distinct memory of finishing my History minor, but it has been 5 years since I was at UNC, so I was curious if I really had finished my minor or if I have been fooling myself, so I looked back at the requirements for a UNC minor in History:

"Minor Requirements: History - 18 Credits. Note(s): A minimum of 9 semester hours with HIST prefixes must be taken at the 200 level or higher. History minors must obtain a grade of "C" or better in all history courses taken at UNC. It is recommended that at least one course should be drawn from the fields of Latin American, African or Asian history."

While at UNC I took 21 History Credits (7 classes). Fifteen Credits were at or above the 200 level, I received a C or better in every class, and I took 2 African courses. So I have an unofficial History minor...not that it changes anything :o)

(Something else I noticed on this transcript: my best semester at UNC was my last one because I knew I was leaving!
- I got all A's, which was a first for me in college)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

One small step for man...

...one giant leap for Carey-kind: This morning I was 4 minutes early to work.

I was early despite the fact it snowed last night. Monday afternoon, after arriving at work 30 minutes late again and kicking myself for it, I finally decided it was time to retire my 8.5 year old alarm clock (the one I purchased my first semester in college, the one I am so good at ignoring), and replace it with something a little more versatile. My new alarm clock (pictured) has a volume control and an AM/FM radio and a snooze that you can make longer or shorter (all of these features, so common to so many are BRAND NEW to me...it's been 8.5 years since I bought an alarm clock). So I did something I never thought I would ever want to do: I set my alarm to radio. The talking that is on the station I chose (for an entire hour - I thought people listened to music in the mornings too!!), is so annoying that I become quite alert, and once alert I immediately begin thinking about my day and realize why I set my alarm to the annoying talking: I want to get to work on time, yes even more than I want to stay warm and snuggly.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


I started this blog long after I returned from Nigeria in March of last year. I feel a need to say something about my trip, though I know I speak of it often. This is quite long.

More and more over the past week or two I have been reminded of my experience and what it meant to me. Having a memory that seems to fade all too quickly, I fear losing the memory of the sights, smells, textures, emotional exhaustion, joy, wonder, and peace that bombarded me in Jos.

I can still see it all so clearly, feel it all as well, picturing myself walking across the tiled floor of the common room at our hostel and feeling the coolness under my feet, feeling my skirt against my legs, smelling the wonderful food cooking in the kitchen and hearing the laughter of the cooks as they worked so diligently. Sitting with Steph and talking about the trip, our experiences, home; hanging out with the girls as they created birthday signs for Mike. Sitting on the swing, watching the girls and Zac jump on the trampoline, doing back flips, talking about what they enjoyed about the trip and how it was to come to an end all too soon.

Walking through the Bush village with Steph after our climb, surrounded by children, hearing no English, meeting all the elders of the village. Seeing the flies swarm around the sugarcane, wondering how long we'd actually been gone. The look on Samson's face when he "found" us - the look on Jane's face when we got back to the vans. The numbing cold of the night as we slept in tents. The darkness that surrounded and engulfed us as we slept far from any man-made light. The laughter in our tent, the rooster that crowed all too often and all too soon for my liking. Walking out into the trees as dawn began to creep over the horizon, covered in the same haze that covered everything constantly.

Maneuvering through the narrow passages of Blind Town, taking countless pictures and letting the kids see themselves on the screen. Standing by, waiting for our group to move on, smelling a pot of rice, hearing the movement of the livestock behind me and the laughter of the children beyond where I could see. Watching people crawl along the dirt caked corridors, dreading the thought of what it must look like during the rainy season.

First driving from the airport at Abuja to Jos, seeing Africa - this small corner of it - for the first time. The sights, the smells, the constant haze. The van rides were fun for me - a chance to see more of the country as well as time spent with our team.

Worshiping with Nigerian brothers and sisters. Hearing their rich, strong voices fill the church. Listening to the boys at Transition House sing - praises to our God, songs I knew well and songs they themselves had written. Standing in a long, narrow building, it felt much like an oven, clapping to the music that rose from the mouths of Jos prison inmates - 30 minutes without a pause. Standing, my team behind me, and giving my testimony to these men, someone translating it into Hausa at my side. The peace I felt was God-given and strong.

There are so many other memories: VBS, the hospital, EMS, beef jerky and Goldfish, Purel, Malaria meds, 2 litre water bottles, Bill Cosby, Internet cafes, shopping for fabric and jewelry, sitting in the hallway journaling while Steph slept, the Irish missionaries visiting, meals, meetings, speed scrabble, listening to Zac play his guitar, watching Ice Age 2, the ants in the carpet, the mosquitoes everywhere, Deet, the massive amounts of people, the smell of burning trash, a picnic on the rocks, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, a bridge that miraculously holds the weight of a fully loaded bus, a ceiling fan that reached velocities that matched a gale force wind, dancing, laughing, singing, eating, walking, praying, learning.

I learned a lot on the trip and afterwards - if you're interested, I'll share it with you. The Lord is tremendously faithful and good beyond description.

It sounds hokey, but true for me, when I say, Africa gets in your blood.