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)