Wednesday, December 30, 2009

An Object of Love

I am an avid reader, for those of you that didn't know. I try to only read one book at a time. However, this Christmas Break I am finishing 4 books. One book is about running, another is the 5th book in a series that my students wanted me to read (it has 13 books in all), one is a fiction book call Midnight Sun, and the other is The Ragamuffin Gospel. They are 4 VERY different styles, but I like them all.

The following is a post I did on the women's ministry blog that I also write on, GLOW (found off to the side under "links"). I don't know how many of you read this, that, or both. I wanted to share it. I would love to hear your feedback...

I just finished reading The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning, an eye-opener of a book. The gist of the book is living in the grace of God because we are objects of God's unfailing love. Not a light subject, but a rather simple one. The final chapter, "A Touch of Folly" might be the one that hit me the hardest.

I am still processing all the questions that Manning poses. They are questions that we, as Christ-followers, cannot ignore. Questions that we need to consider. Questions that we need to come face-to-face with. I want to share them with you. Do with them what you wish. My prayer is that you would take time to think, write, pray, seek answers to each question.

We live in a world that is pining for us. We live in a world that wants to pull us away from God. We live in a world where the focus is solely on "me" and what "I" can get. We live in a world where there is a battle for souls. The time is now to think about and respond to God and the call He has put on each of us...."Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

Do you live each day in the blessed assurance that you have been saved by the unique grace of our Lord Jesus Christ?

After falling flat on your face, are you still firmly convinced that the fundamental structure of reality is not works but grace?

Are you moody and melancholy because you are still striving for the perfection that comes from your own efforts and not from faith in Jesus Christ?

Are you shocked and horrified when you fail?

Are you really aware that you don't have to change, grow, or be good to be loved?

Are you as certain of the triumph of good over evil as the fermentation of dough by yeast?

Though on a given day you may be more depressed than anything else, is the general orientation of you life toward peace and joy?

Are you diminished by other people's perception of you or your own definition of yourself?

Do you possess that touch of folly to transcend doubt, fear, and self-hatred and accept that you are accepted?

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts. More than that, I would love to know that these questions stirred you up. I would love to know that they made you dig deep into God's word, that you sought HIM out in a new way, that you found peace in the unfailing love of Abba.

Friday, December 25, 2009

First Christmas

This is my first Christmas in MY house! It is pretty cool too. I have been sleeping on the couch with the tree lights on. I woke up at 7 this morning and watched A Christmas Story, made some coffee, and here I sit blogging. I plan on spending some time with Jesus this morning as well.

I wonder, if this will become my "Christmas tradition"? I'm sure as I get married and have children things will change. I often wonder what my traditions will be. Right now I go to my parents' on Christmas Eve to celebrate with my family. I attend Christmas Eve service at church. My whole family meets at my cousin's house Christmas morning for brunch. Then we usually just hang out for the day.

So this, my first Christmas in my house, I want to start some traditions. I want my morning to be reflective upon the birth of Jesus. I want to really get my heart set on what this day is truly about.

Matthew 11On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.

My first Christmas.....may it be filled with worship and awe for Christ: who was born a baby, walked the earth as a man, was crucified for my sins, and raised to eternal life.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


I'm sitting in my house. I traveled to 4 colleges this weekend to visit some students. I have an amazing family. I have a job that I LOVE going to each and every day. I have friends that make my heart happy. I am loved and never doubt that.

I am serving a God who thinks I am beautiful and challenges me more and more every day that I live. He has been blessing me with encouraging words and love that I can't comprehend. He is always ready to take this relationship to the next level.

I am just getting another glimpse into the blessings that I have in my life.

And I am so thankful for them....

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Texas, roller coaster ride, blessings, coffee

WARNING: This post may contain some incredibly random thoughts. The author claims ZERO responsibility for your thoughts going all over the map as you read this. If you feel ill from jumping topics too often, STOP, walk away from your computer, and return after a break. Once done reading, relax for a while. Kick your feet up and thank God for who HE is and what He has done for you.

So many things to include in this post, but I want to get it all out. I am currently in College Station, TX. It is home to Texas A&M, cowboys, over-sized trucks, and my dear friend AJ. The weather is amazing - 77 degrees, partly sunny, slight breeze, and the trees are still green. I have heard some of the thickest accents and witnessed one of the most ridiculous college sport training facilities ever!

I even went on a roller coaster ride, not a literal one but an emotional one. How do I describe this......? AJ is a very intentional person. She thinks deeply. She invests in relationships. She is going to throw Jesus in your face whether you are ready for it or not. She is going to challenge you and your relationship with Christ. She will call you out on ANYTHING that may be out of line of the way a Christ-follower should live. Hence the roller coaster ride. She had me read "Now and Not Yet" a great, great, great book about living as a single woman in the 21st century. She was on Chapter 11 when I got here on Friday. I spent all day yesterday reading to catch up. After reading chapter 8 ("The sense of callings") I was ready to throw the book at AJ and explode. All of the emotions of the past 2 months found their way out of me in one explosive case of word-vomit. I was speaking loudly, talking nonsense, making excuses, and crying. All the while I was trying to process everything going through my head, the stirrings and wrestlings, as AJ is throwing her 2 cents at me. Let me just say I didn't want to hear what she was saying. However, God did.

I felt better after getting it all out.

This morning, I woke up and spent some time on my face before the Lord. I was literally lying facedown as I listened to some of my favorite worship songs. I hadn't done that for a while. It was good. It was SO good. I felt like my thoughts were clear. I felt like I had regained a grasp on what is truly important in my life. I felt blessed, truly blessed, to be a single 29-year-old woman. This is something I haven't felt for a few months. And it was good.

AJ and I talked over some fantastic coffee this morning. We sat and just shared our thoughts. We were studying the Word, reading, journaling, and just investing in one another's lives. I don't do that too often with a fellow single. And I was blessed. I cannot describe how my heart felt. I just felt blessed. She had to work today, at Starbucks, so I brought stuff to do. Number one on the To-Do list was finish the book. AJ hooked me up with a french press of coffee and I got myself comfy and read. I finished the book. I wrote down so much from the book and just let God do His thing.

For the first time in months, I felt like God was present in my life. Present and working! My heart feels healed. My mind has a clearer focus. I want to share my closing thoughts after finishing this book:

That was ALOT to read and deal with in a VERY short amount of time. I definitely was not prepared to process it all, but it was good. I've spent more time with the Lord in 2 days than I have in weeks! It really reminded me of what is important. The important thing for me, right now in life, is to live in the comfort of the truth and love of Jesus. For Pete's sake, He gave his life for me. ME....I can't comprehend it, but it's okay. There is a gift of love, unconditional love that is available to me 24/7! Too often I get wrapped up in not having a "tangible" person to love me. Rather than realizing that God's love is incredibly just doesn't always come in the form I want it to.

God's blessings don't always come in the form that we want. For that, I am ever so greatful. His form is always better than what I expected!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Single Living

I bought a house almost 5 months ago! I was super excited (and still am) to be a home-owner. It is the first time I have ever lived completely on my own: no parents, no roomies, no animals. It's just me. And I love it.....most of the time.

I guess the "I live totally by myself" thought hit me about a month and a half ago. It is quite the realization in all honesty. I am completely dependent upon myself. I don't have anyone to come home and gripe to on a bad day. I don't have anyone to come home and celebrate those super great days. I don't have anyone to talk to at home after a day of conversing with 10 and 11-year-olds. It is just me.

I get a little lonely.

Then I get down in the dumps.

Then I have my own, private, pity party.

And I don't feel any better.

I am a relationship person. I enjoy the relationships in my life. I enjoy investing in the lives of my family, friends, and students. I feel alive when I am with others.

I have gotten pretty honked at God about my single living. "Why can't you give me a husband? Why are all of my close friends so far away? Why have you done this to me?!" These go through my head a few times a week.

And do you know how God replies?....

"Why can't you let me be enough for you?"

"Why don't you consider me a close friend?"

"Why have you done this to me?!"

Case in point....I'm not leaning on my Heavenly Father the way I need to. Maybe this season is meant for me to learn to be totally reliant upon HIM. Maybe this season is to teach me that God is all I need. Maybe this season is for putting God back at the forefront of who I am.

So, I am going to work on that. I am going to work on chatting with Him daily. I am going to work on making Him closer than a friend. I am going to work on Him being my everything.

Monday, November 09, 2009

I love you but.....

Do you ever feel this way about people? Do you put conditions on your love for others? Boy, I sure do. It is so hard not to, but God always opens my eyes.

I'm leading a new Bible study of 7th grade girls. We meet on Monday nights and are studying the Bible. There are 4 girls and I love them to pieces. I really look forward to Monday nights and the questions they will have, the scripture we are studying, and just being a part of their lives.


I find that my human-ness gets easily frustrated. We had a sleepover. They totally did the teenager thing and destroyed my house. Nothing was broken or damaged, it just looked like a tornado had ravaged the inside of my house. And I found myself thinking, "I love you girls but could you seriously not be such pigs?!" I was really upset about it when they left Saturday.

So, I had the rest of the weekend to clean up and stew in my frustration. I prayed about how to address this issue. I vented to a few people. I went to God with questions. Was this really something I was ready for again?

Tonight, I talked to the girls. I addressed it out of love for them. You see, I am leading a Bible study. But I also want to be a good example to each of these girls - show them some lifeskills, help them grow in respect, and let them into my life. It is so hard, there is a fine line, and "I love you but...."

Yes I need to love on these girls, but I also need to be a role-model. I have been praying that my life would be a good model for them. That I can be someone they look up to. That they will see Jesus at work in and through me.

Friday, October 30, 2009

12 Years

It was exactly 12 years, 3 hours, and 36 minutes ago that I gave my life to Jesus. I was laying on the couch in Sara Frantz's living room. I had been going to a Bible study for about a year and attending Milford Christian Church. I had spent a year learning, questioning, fighting, searching, and growing. I don't think I will ever forget the final statement that turned the light on in my brain. Sara looked at me and said, "Let's say you accept Jesus, he isn't real, you die, and rot 6 feet under for ever. OR, let's say you accept Jesus, he is real, and you spend eternity in a place noone can even imagine." I let that all sink in deep and was silent for about 10 minutes. Finally at 4:00 am on October 30, 1997 I gave my life to Jesus. It was the turning point of my heart and soul.

12 years later, looking back, I cannot believe the places God has taken me physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I wanted to share a list with you all to commemorate this day. It is a "12 things that I wouldn't have dreamed of having done before I gave my life to Jesus" list.

1. Going to Zimbabwe to work with a missionary serving AIDS orphans.
2. Leading a Bible study for 5.5 years.
3. Leading worship.
4. Talking to my dad about God.
5. Counseling at church camp (twice so far).
6. Leading others to Christ.
7. Starting a new Bible study of 7th graders.
8. Studying my Bible.
9. Laying hands on someone to pray.
10. Being single virgin at the age of 29.
11. Impacting the lives of teens for Jesus.
12. Speaking to others about my struggles.

I am blessed beyond words to be where I am today. I give all that glory to God, the Maker of heaven and earth. He used HIS people to get the message to me. For those people, I will forever be grateful. They never gave up on me just as Jesus would never give up on me.

This is a pretty joyful day for me and has been for the past 12 years. I'm reminded of the excitement as I woke up to go to basketball practice, 12 years ago, and tell my best friend what I had done. That same excitement creeps up in me every October 30th and I pray that it will continue to do that. That I will be reminded, not just on October 30th, every day the excitement that comes from knowing that I am a child of the Most High.

Psalm 118:14 "The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation."

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Making an Impact

I woke up at 5:45 this morning. If you will note the date of this post you will see that it is SATURDAY....and I didn't need to get up for anything.

Or so I thought.....

I woke up to find Mr. Holland's Opus on one of my movie channels. I love this movie. I love the message, I love the music, but I love it most because it is about a teacher. As I watched, I was moved to tears several times (if you haven't seen it, you should). I really began to reflect on myself and the talents and gifts that God has blessed me with.

I have the pleasure of working with kids, lots of kids. I am around kids ages 5-18 on a daily basis (and adults for that matter). It is the joy of being a teacher and youth volunteer. I am constantly interacting, teaching, talking, serving, and loving on kids. I have come to realize that God has molded me to be this person, a person of impact. Why he chose me, I will never understand, but he did. And for this I am blessed beyond measure.

Each day that I step into life I have an opportunity. We all do. God gives us each day to make an impact. The impact we make can send someone in the right or wrong direction. It can build them up or crush them. It can spur them on or stop them dead in their tracks. It can love or hate.

At the school where I work we begin each day with a moment of silence. My moment of silence is my time to pray: Jesus, help me to love these kids as you have so graciously loved me. It's nothing wordy, but it is the same every day. I am amazed at how God comes through each and every day.

Right now I have a student teacher and I am out of my classroom a lot. But, it has allowed me to interact with other students and teachers. It has allowed me to model for others. It has allowed me to see the impact that I have.

How are you impacting people? I would love to hear and pray for you.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

I'll Pray for You

You've said that little 4-word phrase a gajillion times, haven't you? Me too. I actually said it this morning to a dear friend while chatting.

I'll pray for you.


I will pray for your situation.


I will have my _____________ (insert group name here) group from church pray about that for you.

I'm smirking as I recall the numerous times I have said this phrase and DIDN'T follow through.

I'll pray for you. When we say that, we are making a pretty important promise to someone. We are given an opportunity to minister or not. I'll pray for you means something when you are on the receiving end of the phrase. It means "hey, I care about you and know that God will get you through." Or "I have compassion on what you are going through my friend and I will present your request to God." OR "I know that the God I serve can help you through this and I am going to pray for you."

A specific verse comes to mind as I think about prayer. Phil 4:6-7 says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (emphasis mine)

Did you let that verse sink in? If not, go back and reread it, allowing the words to settle deep within you. Did you do it this time? Did you see the 2 key words there?

with thanksgiving....

What a splendid display of God's grace that we get to come to him in prayer WHENEVER WE WANT TO! When we say, "I'll pray for you, " we are expressing our gratitude to God for the fact that we can come to him WHENEVER WE WANT TO because of the door that was opened through the death of his son on the cross.

I'll pray for you is not to be said lightly. When we say this we need to understand what that phrase truly is saying to the person. Most importantly, we need to follow through.

Here's my challenge to us all, myself included. The next time we say, "I'll pray for you, " do it right then and there. Pray with the person. Pull our car over to the side of the road and present that prayer, with thanksgiving, to God. Turn off the TV, close the computer screen, put down the book, close your Bible...STOP what we are doing and present that request to God. Whatever we do, we NEED TO FOLLOW THROUGH.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

I Miss Running

hahahaha....I'm cracking up at my title because I honestly never thought that phrase would come out of ME!!!

I have been sick since Sunday and haven't been able to run for 4 days. If you've been keeping up with me you know that I started running about a month ago. I have worked my way up to a little over 1 mile at a time. My goal is to run around Syracuse Lake (5 miles) by next summer. So, I have been running 4-6 days a week. Being sick with sinus grossness tends to keep one from being able to breathe while sitting down, let alone while running.

And I miss running. I miss that 20 minutes of worship each day. I miss being outside. I miss that good sweat! I miss the time that I talk to Jesus. I miss the exhilirating feeling when I finish my run. I just miss it.

It is amazing how we are such creatures of habit. I am anxious to get back into my new habit. Hopefully this weekend I will be able to.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

13-16 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother's womb. I thank you, High God—you're breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I'd even lived one day.

I love this Psalm! It is so beautiful and it has been my prayer for a while now. When I say prayer, I mean that literally. I have been praying this Psalm to the Lord for a few months, not every day, but often. I love how The Message says verse 1..."God, invesitgate my life; get all the facts firsthand." WOW!!! There is no other that can do that. God is the ONLY one who can fully investigate our lives. He is the only one who knows us inside and out, before and behind, forever. I've been trying to wrap my mind around that....the infinite-ness of God.

Verses 13-16 are a constant reminder to me of my identity. It is in God, the maker and creator of me. He designed me exactly for HIS purpose. I have not been feeling this for the past few days. I really struggle to see myself through God's eyes. I see my self through blinders and lies. Blinders that hinder me to see the beauty of God that comes through my life. Lies that I am nothing and never will be, that no one wants me.

Moment of complete bareness for you readers:
Tuesday night was one of the lowest points I have reached in a long time. I have been running like crazy and working so hard to lose some weight. My clothes are noticeably looser, I feel better than I have since highschool bball, people have made comments about "the weight you must be losing". So, I braved the scale.......there it was, 258.6. I hated it! I was instantly fuming. I'm sure my blood pressure went through the roof!!!! I have been seeing numbers at or close to 260 for almost 2 years now every time I step on the scale. I have been working my BUTT off. I have spent money to go to the doctor and have tests done. I have completely changed my eating habits. I have begged and pleaded on my knees to the Lord to take this burden of weight from me. Then, I get on that stupid scale and am crushed. There is just no other word for how I felt physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I left school and cried....wept.....heaved.....lost my breathe in sorrow. I felt completely helpless and didn't know what to do.

I sent a text to 3 friends that said, "got on the scale today. no change to the weight. crying." Here is what I got back.....Jenna said, "I can imagine it is rough. I am praying for you. I think you are beautiful and you are amazing! Keep working hard" AJ said, "Don't let the enemy deafeat or discourage you...God is beyond any scale. You are loved friend!" Jamie called me just to make sure I was okay and to affirm me. Those were enough to get me moving and go for a run. And I ran hard....I was pissed!!!! I listened to my music, I ran hard, I repeated the words of my friends to myself over and over.

Later that night I journaled and was honest with myself and God. I can't really explain how I felt other than to say that I was overcome with a peace. A peace that can only come from God and the words of Psalm 139 filled me. I am a creation of the Most High. Nothing in my life can defeat HIM! No scale, no weight, no lie, no person can ever take that away from me. And I went to sleep.

Yes, it is a struggle. Yes, the lies are almost too much some days. Yes, the tears come easily most days. Yes, I stumble into the pit of lies. BUT MY GOD IS STRONG ENOUGH AND BIG ENOUGH TO PICK ME UP AND CARRY ME INTO HIS SAFETY.

"I will praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.....I know that full well."

Saturday, August 29, 2009


It's Saturday afternoon....2:10pm.....I'm still in my pj's. I've been up for 4 hours. There is a movie on, laundry going, and a computer on my lap.

I've been catching up on my blog reading and a thought popped into my head. I can spend HOURS reading blogs, "stalking" peeps on facebook, searching sports news, emailing, and just wasting time on the internet.

I LOVE to read. I'm finishing the Chronicles of Narnia, reading through some professional books, and catching up on everything listed above. But, one thing I don't read much is my Bible.

Why is that? Why is it I can spend so much time, hours sometimes, reading everything but the ONE thing we need to read? I'm not doggin reading other stuff, but God's word is the "instruction manual" it is the book that can answer everything. There are lessons to be learned, people I can relate to. And amazing accounts of some incredible things that have happened. Sounds so interesting, but I can't manage to read it with the excitement that I read other things.

I go through phases whre I can't get enough of the Word, but they fade and I notice that tons of time has passed since I last picked it up. I'm in that place right now. It's a tough place to be too. So much of me wants to want to read my Bible. I just find that I fill my time with other things.

Hmmmm......have you ever found yourself in this position?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

And the Rains Came Down

I'm looking out my window and the rain is coming down. I love where my desk is in my house. It is right under a window that looks out the front side of my house. And, I love to see what's going on outside.

So, the rain is coming down again.....more rain.....dreary day......more water......not really pleased with this. However, it made me think of Noah. I couldn't tell you the last time I read the account of Noah and The Flood in Genesis. Heck, I can't even tell you the chapter that it is in. But, I can tell you all about it.

God was honked-off at creation. Nothing was going "right" and creation was a mess. All of creation except for Noah. God found favor with him and gave him a huge task - a God size task. "Noah, I want you to build an ark exactly like these blueprints and I want you to get 2 of everything to take on the ark. Take your family. And when you get everyone/everything on board, don't come out until I tell you. There's gonna be a whole lotta rain." Then it rains for 40 days and nights and the whole time Noah is stuck on a boat with his family, a crap-ton of animals (and animal crap), and there is nowhere to go! Finally the rains stop, the earth dries up, and God gives the go-ahead to get off the boat.

Why am I writing about this? Because we ALL need the rains to come down. I love to walk outside after it rains. It smells amazing. Everything is green and wet and healthy. Rains bring life back into creation. We need the rain.

Lately, I have been wrapped up in the dreariness of the rain of my life. I am tired and have just found myself focusing way too much on the negative. The rain outside has reminded me that we need to have it! The rain is going to come down in our lives and outside. There is no avoiding it. It is part of living. BUT...................wait for it.............................when the rain goes away, we are refreshed. We are given a little life. We are brighter. We are healthy. We are cleansed.

Jesus, thank you for the rain. Thank you for the rain outside and thank you for the rain in my life. I want to be joyful always and focus on what you are trying to do when the rain comes down. Help to clean me, brighten me, and breathe more life into me. You are amazing!

The account of Noah is based on the brain of Dina. If you want to read God's version of the account, check out Genesis 6-8. It's super great!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Hey everyone! I know I have posted something about this before, but there is a great blog you should start reading (if you haven't already). Click on the link to the left that says is a blog that I do with 4 other women. We are getting a ministry up and going at our church (actually Shannon and Kristi do the brunt work, I just like the ride). GLOW stands for God Loving Ordinary Women. The blog is just us sharing what God is doing in our lives and how He is working. Also, we have started doing some give-aways at random.

These women are pretty amazing. If you know me at all, you know I don't settle when it comes to ministry. I am blessed by this ministry and these girls. I hope you are too!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

New Goals

This is about to get very personal. I share a lot about myself with people, but somethings I keep to myself or share with a few. The Lord has been working on me this weekend to share my new goals - I don't know if it is to encourage, to be held accountable, or step out of my comfort zone. Regardless, He has asked me to share so here goes!

I have struggled with weight loss FOREVER!!! I have tried calorie counting, food logs, workouts, detox "diets", biking, eating different, going to the doctor.....everything that I can do and not go insane (and I have been insane a few times along the way). However, nothing seems to work. I'm not wanting to be 115 pounds or be a gym-going psycho. I just want to lose some weight. I have cried, cussed, hid, hated, raged, and wallowed over this struggle SO MUCH in the past year and a half. I have been working with a trainer since March of '08, I have completely changed my diet (much more balanced), I have gone to the doctor and had tests done. Results: still weigh exactly what I did in March of '08, my doctor says I'm one of the healthiest patients that he has (just overweight), I eat pretty well 95% of the time.

3 months ago, after stepping on a scale to see no change, I kinda just stopped paying attention to my weight....went numb to it. At first, I got really angry. The kind of angry that makes me cry and shut down. Then the numbness settled in. I kept exercising, eating well, and went to the doctor. Last Friday, August 1, I stepped on a scale for the first time. I had noticed that my clothes were fitting a little differently (in a good way). Several people asked if I had lost weight. I honestly didn't know. So, stepped on the scale and ................................................ still weigh the same! But, this time I wasn't angry. I wasn't sad. I wasn't numb. It was okay.

I know how I treat my body. I know what goes in (and comes out). I know how I love to be active and AM active. I know that I am trying. I know that changes aren't going to happen over night. I know that I am driven, I mean DRIVEN, by goals and rules. So I set some goals with help from a friend.

1. I started running. I HATE RUNNING, but I'm running! I needed some motivation, so I bought new tennis shoes. And I made a rule that I can only wear them, for the next year, if I am going to run. If you know me, you know that this is probably the BEST motivation for me.

2. I decided that I want to lose 40 pounds by the time school gets out in June. That is 40 pounds in 10 months. It is totally reasonable.....only 4 pounds per month.

3. I want to shop for clothes that are not plus size. I'm not trying to be a size 6, 8, or even 10. I just want to shop in the Misses' sizes, not the Women's sizes.

4. I want to work up to running around Syracuse Lake by next summer. That is 5 miles. And I want to RUN the whole thing.

5. I want to wear the Manchester England Soccer Jersey that my best friend's family got me 10 years ago (I have never fit in it).

6. I want to go see the internist and have the last of medical testing done.

Those are my goals. I know that I can do it. I know that God will help me do this. He has given me a heart that longs to live for him and honor him. Thanks for reading. I didn't write this to gain pity or compliments. I know I am not the only person who struggles with this. I wanted to share. And God has been pushing me to share this part of me. I'm trying to listen and DO what he is asking of me....just a little bit better this year.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body."

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Not How I Had It Planned

Sometimes I am honked at the way Jesus doesn't do what I want! I pray and he does it differently than I asked! I expect him to use me in one way and He chooses something different! I have a fantastic 5 or 10 year plan, and his is nowhere near the same as mine!

And for all those times, I am blessed.

I was reading through some old journals and came across one from my senior year of high school (11 years ago). I was "planning" where I would be in 10 years. Here is what I wrote: In 10 years I plan on being married, having at least 2 kids, teaching with a Masters Degree, living in a 2 story house in the country, being involved in a church close to home (where my parents are). I seriously laughed when I read that. That was the honest plan that I had for myself.

Let me tell you where I am 11 years after I graduated. I just bought a house - by myself. I teach 5th grade. I am single. I have no kids. I am involved in a church. I struggle most days to see myself through Jesus' eyes because I haven't lived up to what I had planned for myself.


I am blessed! I am blessed with my own home to open up to those that I love. I am blessed with a job where I get to live out my love for Jesus and teach some of the coolest 10 and 11-year-olds on the face of the planet. I am blessed with an awesome family that has supported everything I have done (even when they don't always agree) for 29 years. I am blessed with a network of friends who encourage me, love me, and pray for me at the drop of a pin. I am blessed by a church family that spurs me on in my relationship with Jesus Christ.

I am blessed to be a child of God who doesn't do things my way. His plans are SO MUCH BETTER than any 5, 10, or 50 year plan I could ever write for myself. My life is not what I had planned, it is better. Yes I have dreams and desires, but I am learning to trust that God knows my heart, he hears my cries, and HIS 5 YEAR PLAN IS BEYOND ANYTHING I COULD DREAM OF.

Jeremiah 29:11 "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord. 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"

My 5th graders

My House

5th grade teachers


Monday, July 27, 2009

I miss....

I have recently moved and have been doing LOTS of unpacking. Today I have been unpacking books and pictures. I found myself in tears as I remembered some great things and caught myself missing "the way things used to be". I miss the care-free days of college (even though they seemed so stressful at the time). I miss my 4 roomies from Goshen and the crew I spent every weekend with up there. I miss the days before everyone was married and had kids (even though I adore their spouses and children). I miss the days when we would hop in a car and matter what time.

I also just got home from an awesome week at Camp Adventure (church camp). I miss the kids that I hung out with. I miss friends that I only get to see at camp. I miss singing praises twice a day. I miss built in nap time. I miss daily time set aside for Jesus. I miss late nights pouring our hearts out with each other about God and His work.

I caught up on blogs today. I miss my friend Jenn. WOW, do I ever miss her. She is doing missions work and growing so much. I miss her lots though. I knew I would miss my friend and roomie, I just didn't know how much I would miss her. I miss our nights of cravings. I miss seeing her in the morning before work. I miss her laugh and hugs. I miss the smell of her cooking crazy things in the kitchen.

I have had a reminder on my phone for the last 40 days to pray for my best friend. She has been on a 40 day/night hiking trip with her husband and others. So, I miss talking to her. I miss laughing with her. I miss hearing her voice. I miss the surprise email from her. I miss our accountability.

I miss my girls Bible study that I lead for 5.5 years. Those were some of the greatest times of ministry thus far. I miss our intense discussions. I miss our sleepovers. I miss laughing with those girls. I miss hearing from them often. I miss digging into God's word with teenagers.

I hope that this isn't depressing or sad. It is just a day of reflection for me. I have had a super busy summer and haven't had much time to just stop! I have 3 weeks until school starts - which is good, because I miss school and teaching.

I guess my purpose in writing this is to remind myself of all the blessings God has so graciously poured over me through the years. I look back through pictures or re-read journals or catch up on blogs and am reminded of how truly blessed I am. I am blessed to have memories worth remembering. I am blessed to have amazing friends. I am blessed to have gone to college and live in a house.

Thank you Jesus for the blessings you pour out on my day after day. You are a wonderful father and I am humbled to be in your presence.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Mission Served

Birmingham, Alabama is HOTTTTTT! I spent the week of the 13th-20th there with our youth group. We were on our mission trip and worked with an organization called Mission Serve.

Some cool things about this trip:

1. We took the church bus all the way!
2. We were mixed up with kids and adults from 8 different states.
3. Consider was the worship band all week.
4. I met some amazing adults and kids.
5. I met Ms. Betty Taylor, a.k.a. Momma.
6. God used each one of us to do HIS work.
7. I turned 29 (and only cried once about it).
8. We washed feet.
9. We did volunteer work on our free day.
10. I let go and let God!

My final thoughts about this trip came down to one amazing thing: God brings HIS people together for HIS good. I was amazed at how quickly relationships were formed and bonds were made. I keep in touch with several of the kids from my team. I have talked to Momma on the phone. I am in touch with Courtney, new friend from TX, just about daily. None of this could have been done on my is only by God's amazing planning that this happened.

And I am changed because of it.

Front row: Megan, Momma, Courtney Middle Row: Tessa, Me, Wilson, Maranda, Lauren, Mark Back Row: Tanner, Garrett, Will, Joey

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Two Amazing Women

I had the greatest time yesterday! I got to spend time with my grandma and my great-aunt Thelma. These ladies are two peas in a pod. They are so much like sisters (related by marriage to each other). Their company just overwhelms me with joy!

My grandma is one of the strongest, most caring people I know. She loves the Lord with her life and has modeled that for me - sometimes more than I have realized. She lives in Arkansas now, but is very involved in my life and the goings on of it. I can seriously talk to her about most anything. And, boy can we laugh!!! Those of you that know me, know just how much I love to laugh. Well, time with grandma can bring out some of the BEST laughing attacks!

My aunt Thelma is probably the sweetest person I know (and I know lots of sweethearts). She is genuinely happy to see me. She prays for me often. She shares how the Lord is working in her life. She relies on Jesus 24/7 and speaks truth always! I could honestly spend all day with her and never want to leave. My favorite thing about her is the way she loves....unconditionally and makes you feel like you are the most important person in the world.

Yeah, I was blessed beyond measure yesterday just getting to spend time with these two amazing women. I pray that everyone has at least one person like them. Maybe you are fortunate to have several. Don't take them for granted. I am a firm believe that God intrinsically designs relationships to meet needs that we have. Your relationships may just be the way that God daily reveals himself to you!

Precious Jesus, thank you for these 2 amazing women. Thanks that I could spend time with them. Thank you for the testimony that each of them has. Thank you for the witness that they are to me, each other, our family, and the world of your awesome-ness.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The End is Near

Four more days! I can't believe that the end of another school year is almost here. This has been quite the year too.

It was the first time I have ever taught the same grade for a second year. We had a new reading series. There was a new teacher in our grade level. I had 6 high-ability kids. I tried MANY new things in my class. I didn't coach middle school basketball. I went through some personal challenges. I had a student reach 300 objectives in ACM and another get to almost 500 points in AR (independent math and reading programs). I read a book to my kids called Sir Fartsalot Hunts the Booger. I read 10 books over the course of the school year. I traveled. I attended professional workshops/conferences.

I have thought back over this school year SO MUCH this weekend. I find myself wondering "What are the lessons that my students learned this year? I mean the important lessons that they will take with them. What will they remember about their 5th grade teacher? Are they a better person after having spent 180 days with me? Are they ready for middle school? Are they smarter?"

So much goes through my mind. Teaching 5th grade, I don't have the luxury of seeing my kids at school next year...they go on to middle school. I miss them already.

I always try to figure out what the closing message will be to my kids on the afternoon of their last day. I don't know what I will say. I don't know if it will be the right thing. I don't know if they will care. I don't know if they will remember.

What I do know is that God is in control. I know that HE has challenged me this year to lean on him more and more in every aspect of my life. I know that my daily prayer: "Lord, give me the patience that I need today to love these kids they way you love me," will continue to be my prayer for 4 more days.

Yes, the end of one things is very near. But the beginning of the next is just around the corner.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Do Not Worry

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? (Matthew 6:25-27)

I worry too much. How much is too much you ask? According to these verses, any worrying is too much. When I read them, worrying just seems stupid. I know that God is going to take care of me, he always has.

So, if you are a worry wart (like I am sometimes), don't be. God knows what we need when we need it. He's really great like that.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

What To Do

I'm stirred today. I'm still working through Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne. I actually hadn't read too much for a few weeks. I picked it up today and was rocked! I'm constantly amazed at the blind faith I read about. I worry about the dumbest things some times, and for no reason. These people are really putting themselves out there. Living "unsafe" according to societal norms. And they are totally filled with joy in the risk and their faith is bubbling over.

Then I think, "So Dina, what are you going to do?" And I honestly have no answers. Sometimes I just want to pick up, move somewhere else, and minister to kids in the ghetto. Other times I think about all that I can do, but am not doing, with the students in my classroom. I wonder if I need to go to another church. Or, do I need to just downsize my life.

I know what I need to do. I need to spend more time with Jesus. I need to get into the Word. I need to pray for some guidance. I need to be awake and aware of the opportunities God is giving me (maybe I am overlooking things). I need to be Dina, not someone else.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Super Cool Thing about God

God is so good!

This past week was a rough one. For more info click here:

back to the title....God knew I needed some encouragement and HE provided. I had emailed 2 friends about some struggles and was overwhelmed by their replies. I want to share some of what they said with you.

"I want you to know that you are a BEAUTIFUL child of God equipped with so, so many talents. You carry your friends burden's, pray and care for them like no one else I know, teach and are Jesus to SO MANY kids DAILY and yeah.. I could go on and on about the attributes that Jesus gave you, D. You are truly, truly beautiful inside and out and I hope you know that. (Dude, do you know how many people covet your fabo hair and super tan completion???)"

"I am not hopeless for you! truly are a wonderful and beautiful person. Phil. 1:6 (Message version). 'There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.'"

I am by no means sharing that to boast about myself, but to share how God speaks to us. He created us to be in relationship with other believers. These 2 friends have PROVEN that to me. When I am down, I know that God has placed people in my life as HIS tool. People that can speak HIS truth over me when I can't/won't hear his voice alone.

That is the super cool thing about God - HE knows what we need when we need it!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

at a loss...

Have you ever gone through times when you are at a loss for what to do?

I have reached that point with some things.

I am a person who wants to know NOW! I don't like to wait. I don't like to be in the unknown. I don't like to get to the end of me.

But, I find that those are the times when God does amazing things.

Right now, I am struggling. I'm watching so many people give into satan and sin. I'm seeing so many friends reach a point of hopelessness. I'm at a loss for what to do. Pray is what I do, but I don't even know what to pray anymore.

I am a flood of emotions: joy for the positive moments, anger at their decisions, frustration from not knowing how to help, sadness for the pain that is so evident.

Lord, you know all. You know hearts, you know choices, you know the way the enemy can sink his teeth in. I'm begging you to make your presence known in these lives. Let your love pour over them. Lord, open their eyes and hearts to YOU. For you are the mightly healer. Only you can satisfy. And help those of us who care to believe that you are in control.

Monday, April 27, 2009

All I Want to Know is Christ

I had the pleasure of visiting Kalyn and Hannah at Taylor University. I was even blessed enough to get to go to chapel with them. The speaker was a man from Scotland.

I can’t remember his credentials. I don’t remember the title of his address. I can’t tell you all of the key points that he made. BUT, I can tell you one thing that I heard that just rocked my socks.

It is a passage of scripture that I have read countless times, memorized, and taught from. Today I heard the same verses in a different version (Good News Bible) and I was blown away.

Philippians 3:10

“All I want to know is Christ…”

Did you catch what that is saying?! Did you hear what Paul is proclaiming?! Do you see the stand that he is taking?! ALL HE WANTS TO KNOW IS CHRIST! I can’t wrap my mind around it!

The version I have always read and studied is from the New International Version: “I want to know Christ…” Can you see how this different version puts a new perspective on things?

“All I want to know is Christ” is a powerful proclamation. And I don’t know if I could proclaim that. I mean, I could. I can say it right now in the middle of Starbucks (grande vanilla latte). I could tell people as I see them, “Hey, all I want to know is Christ.” I would probably get some crazy looks. I might get an “amen” or “go for it” or “good luck with that.” But to proclaim that all I want to know is Christ is something completely different.

I’m teaching about the American Revolution right now with my 5th graders. We are talking about the proclamations were made then: “Give me liberty or give me death!” “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes!” These were not said in simple passing. These were not merely spoken just to be said. These were proclaimed and the people that said these things lived it out.

To proclaim “All I want to know is Christ” is more than just opening our mouths and speaking words. It is a life. It is a daily choice. It is a denial of one’s self. It is complete surrender of all control. It is humility.

I want to know a lot of things. But if I don’t want to know Christ, first and foremost, what good is wanting to know the lots of other things?


“But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.” (2 Tim 1:8b)

I’m reading 2 Timothy and was hit hard with this verse. So many questions came to mind.

What does it mean to suffer for the gospel?

Is this suffering the same for everyone?

Am I suffering for the gospel?

What do I need to do to suffer for the gospel?

I wrestled with this verse. Some days I feel as if I go through the day with no NEED for Jesus. I am in complete control of every aspect of my day: my travel, my job, my time with people – everything. Then I read this verse and realize that I am called to suffer for the gospel! How do I do that when I’m not even sure what it means?! Like today, what have I done that has caused me to suffer for the gospel of Jesus? Or what will I do for that matter?

I asked some of my peeps what on earth Paul meant by this verse. Basically it is literal suffering and hardships. Let’s look at the ministry that Jesus lived on this earth. He was homeless. He hung out with the “wrong crowd.” He was questioned constantly. He was tempted. He was beaten. He was nailed to a cross. He suffered.

Look at the life of the disciples. They left everything that was familiar to them to follow Jesus. They were questioned, ridiculed, shunned, and (several of them) martyred. That is literal suffering and hardships.

The crazy part of this is that they CHOSE this life! Jesus, his disciples, Moses, Abraham, Paul, John, the list goes on – they all suffered (literally) for the gospel. They heard the call of God and CHOSE to follow it. They relied on God to get them through and had their hope in Jesus. Nothing that they went through was too much, because it was all for the glory of the Lord. It was all to give testimony to the work that God was doing.

So, I go back to the earlier questions:

What does it mean to suffer for the gospel? From what I have read and heard, it means hardship. It means putting me out there for Jesus. It means struggling…literally.

Is this suffering the same for everyone? Absolutely not. However, we can share our sufferings in that they are for Jesus. We can listen, learn, console, and encourage one another in our sufferings.

Am I suffering for the gospel? I would have to say that I’m not sure. Sometimes I’m just sure I am. But, my life is not a life of hardship or suffering. Today, I feel as though I am just because of the wrestling in my heart to learn what it means to suffer.

What do I need to do to suffer for the gospel? I need to live beyond myself. I need to step out in faith MORE! I need to put myself in uncomfortable places and circumstances. I need to stand up for Jesus more than I do. I need to rely on God and the truth that HE has his best for me.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

God Loving Ordinary Women

Just a quick note:

I am part of a women's ministry at church called GLOW (God Loving Ordinary Women). There is a link to our blog on the side. Just wanted to let you all know. There are six of us who post on there. We all come from different backgrounds with one common purpose - to spread the love of Jesus.

I just wanted to let you all know.

Much love, Dina

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Great Day

Today was a great day! I woke up tired (see previous post noting time it was posted). I think I got about 5 hours of sleep. But, right as I remember falling asleep, I prayed that God would let the little amount of rest be enough to get me through the day. HE did! I love my God!

Nothing super significant happened today, it was just a good day. First off, I got to spend the day teaching...AND I LOVE MY JOB! I know so many people who do not have joy at their place of work. I can honestly say that I love my job. I look forward to each new day. I wonder what it will bring. And I genuinely enjoy my students. They are some of the coolest 10 and 11 year olds that I know.

So, what made today so great...Well we started a unit on the American Revoluntion in Social Studies. We are doing some things different and the kids were overall excited. This is one of my most favorite parts of US History. Also, we started our Poetry unit in Writing. I love teaching poetry to kids. This is my 3rd year teaching poetry and it amazes me what comes out of kids. I plan on sharing some of the things they write.

After school I worked out - my thighs are on fire. I spent some time with Robin. I had a good dinner and conversation with Tim. I watched the news (which I love to do). I did some grading, including reading letters from some of my kids about what they are reading. I emailed some people, chatted with some of my former youth kids on facebook, and spent time with Jesus.

Again, there wasn't anything super significant to my day. It was a just a blessing of a day and it was good. I love days like this. They are like a little piece of candy from God, just the right amount of sweet.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Do We Really Get It?

I was getting ready to go to bed and my mind is just too busy. I have this "problem" every now and then - my mind gets to racing and I have to get my thoughts out. Normally I would write in my journal, but I left it in my Jeep. So, my thoughts shall get posted here.

Let's day today was busy: blogged this morning (on a private - soon to be public - blog), went to church, stopped by home quick, went to a cookout/6-year-old's bday party, ran back home for 45 minutes, went to a 4 and 2-year old's bday party, hung out with my other mom, came home at 9:30. That is the day in a nutshell.

Church got me stirred up (as if I needed anymore to do that). J preached and his sermon title was "Unreasonable". The gist of the sermon was exceptional generosity - what we are called to give as followers of Jesus. Let me tell you, he spoke truth, he made me uncomfortable with how little I am giving, and he challenged me. So many times we "christians" quote scripture saying that we need to "give 10%" of things. J put it well...10% is the minimum. God wants it all, 24/7, everything that we have. As I listened to the sermon I wondered, "Do I really get this?"

I celebrated some pretty awesome kids today at their bday parties. But, as I sat there in the midst of presents, food, mindless chatter, I had to wonder. At one party I was blessed to see and hear a friend who has been doing missions in several countries. She was talking about ministering to prostitutes in the red light district in a city in Thailand. There we all sat, enjoying the securities that we have and I wondered, "Do I really get what Jenn is doing? Do I grasp the depth of the crap that she is seeing?" I found that I just wanted to break down and cry, but it wasn't the time or place for that (so I did it in my car as I drove away later).

I spent time with my "other" mom, Kimmy. I haven't sat and talked with she and her husband in a long time. I can honestly say that every time I am with them, I am filled with joy. I can be myself and talk and know that I am loved. We talked about everything; what we are reading, what we have been doing, families, etc. We laughed and just purely enjoyed the company of each other. I left there happy but questioning, "Do I really understand the importance of these relationships? Do I understand that Jesus has built this relationship to what it is? Do I give HIM praise for these people in my life?

I don't want to downplay my day. It was a great day and I am blessed by the relationships that I have , the kids I celebrated, the WORD that was preached, and the home that I have. But there is so much more going on around me. Do I get it? Do I understand that not everyone lives a happy, comfortable life? Do I realize that there are people in my personal life, my community, kids in my class that can't comprehend the blessings that I too often take for granted?

Just what is on my mind tonight. I thought I would share. Praying that God would open my eyes more and break my heart more. Praying that I would give more, give all that I am and have to God.

Friday, April 10, 2009

An Uncomfortable Wrestling Match

I don't really know what to title this I'm not going to title it. I just can't seem to find the right words. And, forgive me now if this post wanders and I seem a little ADD. I have a lot going on in my brain and I can't keep it to myself any longer. So, for those of you who actually do read this, I hope it stirs you and causes discomfort.

I just finished reading The Shack. I won't give anything away, but I highly recommend this book for ANYONE to read. It is on the New York Times best seller list, it is fiction, and I have never read anything that so clearly portrayed the relationship we are to have with the trinity. The story takes you through a man's struggle to forgive and understand why. I was moved to tears, laughter, anger, questions, and a deep desire to grow in my relationship with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. My eyes were opened to how close-minded I am in my walk with God. More importantly, my eyes were opened to how . . . looking for the right word . . . clouded the church is to what relationships and love and forgiveness and fellowship and worship are really about.

One of the first things I tell people about my testimony is that I wasn't "brought up in the church" or that I didn't grow up in a "christian" home. But, I am realizing that doesn't matter. I was raised to love, care about human beings, not judge, and live with good morals. Truth be told, I was raised better than many people who were brought up in the church or grew up in a christian home. Don't get me wrong, I know lots of people who were raised well in the church and christian homes. But I also know many who have turned from God because of being raised in the church or in a so-called christian home. What is my point? God doesn't care about it! He cares about the here and now. He cares about us growing closer to him, attempting to understand a little more every day, giving up ourselves daily, trusting HIM 24/7.

Those were my thoughts when I finished The Shack. Today I started reading Irresistible Revolution. I haven't been able to put it down for long. I am intrigued. I am stirred. I am feeling forced to look at my life in alignment with the Gospel, with what God has spoken to my heart, with what I know to be true of Jesus and the sacrifice that he made for this world. Let me tell you - IT IS NOT COMFORTABLE! I like to feel in control, to have a plan, to know what is coming at me tomorrow, to be in a routine. Well, that is not a life of faith. So, I wrestle with what is important to me right now: a safe plan or a life of faith. Not an easy wrestling match. Honestly I hope I lose this one. I hope that Jesus pins me and beats me up in the process. That is what I need right now.

I think of the account of Jacob wrestling with God (found in Genesis 32:22-30). Jacob wrestled through the night and was given a new name, Israel, because of this. What is the new name God has for me? What is the purpose in wrestling with safety versus faith? Why is living by faith so incredibly difficult for me? For the church? For humans?

(I just thougth of a title. So, if you are reading this and wondering why I said at the beginning I didn't have a title, well I didn't have one at first. It just came to me...)

Back on track . . . Well, I lost my train of thought. I guess I just wonder if I am trying more and more every day to live by faith, to trust God with my whole life and not just parts of it, giving up control and safety, willing to go wherever God wants me, and showing people that I truly love Jesus with all my heart.

I would love to hear your stories of wrestling. I have a friend who shares her stories with me often and I am encouraged. I hope you are encouraged by this. More importantly I hope you are challenged to be in an uncomfortable wrestling match.


It is Spring Break.
I went to the East Coast.
I spent a day touring some of the sights that formed our great country.
I saw some beautiful Vermont country.
I read a fantastic book - The Shack.
I met 10 amazing teenage girls.
I was reminded of the importance of relationship with people.
I was blessed by my friend Sara.
I watched my Lady Huskies win a National Championship.
I drank some great coffee and some great beer.
I missed the way things used to be.
I thought about life.
I watched "Slumdog Millionaire" and was moved.
I realized how much I really do have.
I started reading my Bible every day (for the 198th time).
I questioned God.
I spent hours traveling.
I hung out with some cool people.
I bought a Vermont hoodie.
I listened to good music.
I ate some great food.
I listened to some awesome Boston accents.
I conversed with Jesus lots.
I slept in.
I started another book - Irresistible Revolution.
I looked at books with dad.
I talked on the phone with mom.
I sent a lot of text messages.
I struggled.
I missed my kids.
I am challenged.
I consider if my life is reflective of the relationship I have with Jesus.
I wonder what I am doing every day that requires faith.
I look forward to time with a friend tomorrow.
I go back to school on Monday.
I start teaching on the American Revolution in a little over a week.
I wrestle with where God is wanting me to go.
I love.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Crazy Love

So I'm reading this book, Crazy Love by Francis Chan, with our senior high small groups at church. I have mixed emotions about this book. The gist of the book is God's crazy love for us and how we need to share that with Jesus to the world, if you will. The mix comes with a deep-down passion to do just that, love like Jesus loves, but I have a fear of what loving someone like that will do to me.

I have learned SO MUCH about love over the past few months. (those of you that read this blog or talk with me know exactly what I'm talking about.) And I am completely blown away by God's unfailing love. I can't believe how God constantly pours his love out on me, on those around me, on those who don't even acknowledge him. And, all He wants in return, is for us to share that love with others.

Now, when I love, I love all-out. I love my family, my friends, my students, the youth....I love them. I do my best to show that love. But, I'm wrestling with when I love, is it really (I mean REALLY) unconditional? Do I love people when they aren't easy to love? Do I hide from love when it hurts? Do I love the "unloveable"?

I get caught up in the way the world defines love - love when it benefits me. Love if I will get some glory out of it. Love if it makes me look good. Love because others are watching. And wouldn't you know, just when I get comfy with my conditions on love, God throws a curveball. He puts somenone in my path that I want to avoid, but I can't help but love them. It could be a friend, foe, or complete stranger. It ticks me off sometimes because it is never convenient.

Then I remember God's crazy love for me. He doesn't have to love me. But, he chooses to love me. And I'm sure I'm not easy to love all the time. In fact, I know I'm not! That is the example that we have to follow: to lay ourselves aside and love.

Because that is what God does for us.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Threes about Me

Kevin tagged me, so here goes (I'm such a nerd too because I love doing these):

Three jobs I have had in my life: grounds crew, school bus cleaning, young adults leader at church

Three movies I would watch over and over: Shawshank Redemption, Grumpy Old Men, Tommy Boy

Three shows that I watch: Biggest Loser, The Office, Bones

Three places I have been: 1. Mena, Arkansas 2. Sydney Australia 3. Doma Zimbabwe

Three of my favorite foods: potatoes, break, pizza

Three places I'd rather be right now: Colorado, sleeping in bed, on a hot beach

Three things I am looking forward to this year: mission trip to Alabama, buying a house, having a student teacher (in the fall)

Three jobs I would love to have: college bball coach, professor, house parent for children's home

I'm going to tag Darcy, Jess, Niki

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Tat update

Just wanted to say that my tattoo is healing very well. A little itchy, but doing great.

Also, I can't believe the comments I have had about it.....both on here and on my facebook.

It amazes me how we, in our human-ness, are so quick to give our opinion on something without knowing the full story. I have had several comments on facebook or in person of people expressing their.......dislike of tattoos. The great thing about that is that I get to share a piece of my personal testimony with them. If they mention something on facebook, I send them to my blog post about it. If I meet them in person I get to share with them, one-on-one.

Funny how God works. I got this tattoo as a very personal reminder of HIS love for me. And by having that reminder, I get to share HIS love with others.

Sure, I don't expect everyone to have the same opinion I do about tattoos. And I'm certainly not trying to judge those who do or don't have them. I'm just being bold enough to say that before we pass judgement, we need to seek out more of the story.

Jesus was a perfect example of this. Think of the accounts in the Gospels where Jesus "ran into" someone who was socially unacceptable. Do we read about him passing judgement (when he very well had the right to....I mean, he is God in flesh)? Do we read about him pointing fingers and telling all his friends about the outcast? Do we read about him blasting people with hatred? NO, NO, NO. We read about love. Love of God's children. Love of the lost. Love of the hurting. Love of our brothers and sisters.

So, a reminder for all of us (me too), be quick to LOVE and slow to judge.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

New Thoughts for a New Year

Cliche', I know. But, it is true. I wrote these down while eating breakfast on January 1 (and continued them on January 2). I debated whether or not to share my personal thoughts. This morning I was reading back through my journal, something I do often. I felt a nudge to share my new thoughts as this new year began. No doubt they will dig at people. I felt uncomfortable writing them and still felt uncomfortable as I read them this morning. I will let you decide for yourself.

It all started on New Year's Eve as J was giving a lesson to the youth. He said, "Have you ever reached such a low place that you wonder if it is all worth it? Not suicidal thoughts, but just wondered?" I began to realize right then, that this is kind of how I ended 2008 - wondering if it is worth it. I know that it is, but that doesn't make it easy. I'm constantly wondering what life has for me, how I can get what I want. Then I stop and remember . . . this life is not about me. It is about serving Jesus as best as I can. Then I think What is my best? What would it look like to serve Him the best that I can?"

I don't have the answer, but I know it is better than what I'm doing right now. I know it means continually giving my life, my whole life, over to the One who knows best. And that is hard - for whatever reason - it gets harder every day.

I'm sure it boils down to faith.

Simple, undamaged, raw faith.

Faith that doesn't want all the answers.

Faith that doesn't doubt that God has HIS best for me.

Faith that says, "I will go."

Jeremiah 9:11 says, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord."

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Tattoo Fun

This post is just to show you some fun that I had on Friday with some friends of mine. J, Roblyn, G-Pack, and Jenna accompanied me to get my sweet new tattoo. It was loads of fun.

Please check out the post after this one. It gives a little more of my thoughts about my tattoo.

And yes, it did hurt. LOTS! Hahaha!

The King is Enthralled....

"The King is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord." (bold is mine)

enthralled - to hold spellbound; captivate

That has been a pretty powerful verse for the past 2 years. If you have kept up with my blog recently, you know that I just finished reading Captivating. I first read it a little over 2 years ago. Life was great, but this verse struck me. It is a beautiful verse. It tells exactly how God feels about women.

But, what does this verse mean to me.....As you can see, it meant enough that I got it permanently place on my foot (and boy did it hurt!). This verse is a reminder for me. A reminder that God is enthralled with my beauty and, therefore, I need to honor him for that. But what does that mean, "honor him"? In my recent journey, it means letting God love me. It means loving myself because the creator of all that was, is, and is to come found it esential that I be made. In HIS image. For HIS purpose.

I have been reflecting so much lately on how my life honors God.

Sometimes, it doesn't. I can be 100%, completely honest to say that too. I have spent nights filling my body with poison. I have engaged in activities that bring NO glory to God. I have said things that have caused pain to God's children. I have committed sin that has caused others to sin.

But then, there are times when I feel that I am doing all and giving all to serving the Lord. And I can honestly say that those have been some of the hardest and most joyous times of my life.

What is the difference? My attitude. When I really sit back and consider God - well, I am baffled. Overjoyed at the true mystery of this amazing, loving, right, just, compassionate, graceful, merciful God that I can call on any time. And then I remember what Psalm 45:11 says, "The King is enthralled by your beauty..." That is awesome. No matter what I go through, the stumbles, the falls, the highs, the lows, the KING of Kings is enthralled by my beauty. He looks at me and calls me his daughter.