Friday, December 31, 2004


1. Ame
2. Schmamy
3. Amers

1. ankaylor
2. schmamy318
3. anglprncss318 (a joke...long story)

1. thoughtfulness
2. openness
3. hair (not the cut, but the texture/etc)

1. perfectionism
2. inability to take criticism well
3. tendency to say/do stupid things

1. sleeping in my house when no one else is home
2. rodents
3. people close to me dying

1. hugs
2. music
3. fuzzy slippers

1. engagement ring
2. favorite jeans
3. old white tank top

1. Nichole Nordeman
2. Stacie Orrico
3. Third Day

1. Dave Barry's column
3. a long list of friends' blogs

1. marriage!!!
2. eating healthy
3. a regular exercise routine

...THINGS I WANT IN A RELATIONSHIP (love is a given):
1. Christ-centeredness
2. building each other up
3. laughter

1. eyes
2. smile
3. muscles

1. give blood
2. give my kids mullets
3. stop journaling

1. journaling
2. singing
3. reading

1. be married
2. lose weight
3. get organized

1. homemaker
2. editor
3. freelance writer

1. Hawaii
2. Europe
3. Israel

1. Stacey
2. Faith
3. Micah

1. be married
2. have kids
3. fulfill my God-given purpose

**a special shout-out goes to Kinky for inspiring this blog entry :)

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Switchbacks and Tree Growth

A postscript to my earlier post (Grace and Tulips) about mountains and growth...

When I imagine the spiritual metaphor of climbing a mountain, I always picture someone headed straight up the steep side of a mountain. But did you ever stop to think that no one ever climbs a mountain that way? Whether you're driving or hiking or however you intend to ascend, you always use switchbacks. Sometimes they're circles around and around the mountain, slowly rising. Othertimes it's just back and forth, back and forth, gradually up one side.

My point is, how many times in life have you felt like you're going in circles--like you've been here before and have learned this lesson in the past, but apparently not well enough? Trying to get the same lessons over and over? Reality is, it's not quite the same lesson you learned before. Your elevation is a little bit higher, you're a little bit closer to the summit--just following the switchback, coming to the same spot at a higher level.

Another provocative, and vaguely related (at least in my head) thought: Did you know that the strongest trees are the ones with tiny bands of growth each year? If you check out the enormous trees out West that are hundreds of years old, the sturdiest, most solid trunks are the ones where each year's rings are narrow, almost insignificant.

And the strongest trees are the ones that have gone through strong winds. The ones that have survived long dry spells, forcing their roots to go deep.

Things that make you go "hmm"...

Monday, December 27, 2004

Jokes That Make Me Laugh

Here are my current favorite jokes (i.e., the only jokes I can remember). They crack me up every time, even if my fiance doesn't think they are very funny. At least my cousin Bekah does. They're funnier if you're tired :)

Q. Why are pirates blind in one eye?

A. They just ARRRRRRR!

Q. What's a pirate's favorite letter of the alphabet?


Q. What's a pirate's favorite bird?

A. A parrot.

And a close runner-up:
Q. How many kids with ADD does it take to change a light bulb?

A. Hey, wanna go see a movie?

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Road Trip to Schmichigan

Schmamela, Schmamanda, and Schmamy!

I took a quick road trip up to Kalamazoo yesterday to see two IWU friends, Pam and Amanda. I hadn't seen either of these beautiful ladies since May, so it was a fun (though short) reunion. Good times were had by all :)
Posted by Hello

In Memory

Blake Charles Thomas, August 17, 2004 - December 14, 2004

Monday and Tuesday I had to do one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life: Attend visitation and a memorial service for a four-month-old baby. I've never seen such a tiny casket. It was so heartbreaking...

After he fought so hard for four months (his second open heart surgery wasn't going to be until sometime after the first of the year), Blake went back to Riley last Monday for a routine procedure. When it was over, his oxygen levels suddenly dropped, his heart stopped, and after CPR and infant life support that kept him going until Tuesday, they lost him on Tuesday afternoon.

I don't really even know what else to say. Please pray for my family, especially his parents--my cousins Rebekah and Kevin. Blake was their first baby.
Posted by Hello

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Never, Ever Again

...will I wait until December 21 to begin my Christmas shopping.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Here's one of our engagement photos! I'm trying to set this picture as my profile's not working :/ We just passed the 200-days mark--not that I'm counting down or anything :) Posted by Hello

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Grace and Tulips

I'm in the middle of learning a really tough lesson about grace these days. I say "in the middle" because a) I haven't learned it yet, and b) I'm hoping there is indeed an "end." I won't lie, it's not fun. For a long time now I've been feeling very broken and empty. I have had some guidance from my incredible, God-sent mentor Diane, and that's helping, cause she's amazing. So is my incredibly patient and compassionate fiance. But I'm at a point where I'm wondering, what do I have to do to "get it"?

You'd think after growing up in the church my whole life, and actually walking with the Lord for almost eight years now, I'd understand grace. Not so. How do I reconcile the concept of God's unconditional love with His holiness? How do I rest in knowing that my status as His beloved daughter doesn't depend on how I perform? Questions I'm wrestling with these days. Diane says one of these days I am going to have an aha moment--a grace awakening. I hope so.

Tonight at Bible study we were talking about kind of a related concept (at least in my head), living in victory over sin--and how we believe the lie that we can't overcome sins in our lives. I know I feel that way sometimes. As my pastor talked about a few weeks ago, I see this gap--more like an enormous chasm--between where I am and where I want to be. So I grunt and push with all my might, believing that if I just try hard enough, it'll narrow.

It doesn't. Must be because I'm not trying hard enough. So I work harder. I buck up and throw all my weight against that gap. Still nothing--now I'm exhausted, defeated, and convinced the gap will never close.

What I'm trying to understand is that I'm right--I CAN'T. That's the point. Only when I realize that I'm powerless to close the gap can it be closed on my behalf. Exercising strong will and "choosing" to change won't do it. Accountability from others won't do it either. The only victory will come when I learn what it means to give up, to utterly submit to the Spirit and let Christ do it through me, in me.

Sounds straightforward and simple enough. But I'm still wrestling.

Two side notes, thoughts from others, that I found insightful tonight: First, we are to walk in the Spirit. Notice it's not sitting in the Spirit (being passive). But it's also not running in the Spirit--we aren't going to get there immediately. Second, did you ever stop to think about the fact that plants grow in the valleys? There's no growth on the mountain peaks; it's barren up there. Growth happens in the low places.

Right now I'm hoping to make it to the summit, so that I can actually look back and see the living, breathing plants. It's like planting tulip bulbs in October, and having to wait until spring to enjoy them. Are they really growing under that cold, hard earth? Sometimes I wonder. But I wait, and a small part of me dares to hope.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Compassion at Christmastime

Meet Marcos Morais Silva. Eight-year-old Marcos lives in Brazil, and he's on the waiting children list for a Compassion sponsor. I'm shamelessly using my blog to advertise.

My goal this month is to find a sponsor for Marcos. I have been sponsoring a little Indonesian girl for four years, and it has been a great experience. Leni writes me letters a few times a year, and it is always exciting to hear from her. What a joy to know that such a small sacrifice on my part can provide so much for her! Compassion is a wonderful organization that's doing so much to help needy children around the world. I think you'd discover that it's a blessing to be involved.

I really encourage you to check out this link and consider sponsoring Marcos. What better way could there be to participate in the spirit of Christmas than by sharing Christ's love with a little boy like this?
Posted by Hello

I'm Glad Abstinence Education Has Come a Long Way Since 1990...

My boss got out some old curriculum today that she had when she began abstinence education in 1990. Throughout the book, there were these little boxes with catchy slogans about abstinence. And they had me rolling on the floor laughing. What do you think about these for new Project Respect bumper stickers? --

"Control Your Urgin' - Be a Virgin!"


"Pet Your Dog...Not Your Date"

NO, I did not make those up, I swear to you they were in the book...hahahahahaha...I'm still laughing :)

Monday, December 06, 2004

Have I Mentioned That I Hate Cooking?

Cause I do. And considering in less than seven months, I'm marrying a man whose mom is Supermom...this is not a good thing :(

When my future mother-in-law makes chocolate chip cookies, they are puffy and soft and generally perfect. When I made chocolate chip cookies last night, they were dry and flat as pancakes.

Generally I manage to go long enough between cooking attempts that by the next time I try, I have forgotten how disastrous and frustrating it usually is. So I get all ambitious and think, "Yay, I am going to be all domestic and it will be wonderful!" Umm...that's not so much the result, usually. What actually happens is, either the recipe is incomplete/unspecific/impossible to follow, or the baking time is ambiguous and I'm at a total loss as to how to know when it's done, or it takes hours longer (prep and/or cooking time) than I planned for...or any number of other undesirable results. I end up frustrated and feeling like a failure, and ranting about how much I hate cooking. Of course it doesn't help matters that I am a) a perfectionist, and b) sometimes a drama queen.

My mom, in a futile attempt to make me feel better, tries to reassure me that when my grandma got married, she didn't even know how to boil water. (I can't help but wonder if this is a family myth--I find it impossible to believe that anyone could be that inept, since even I am not that helpless in the kitchen.) It doesn't make me feel better.

All I know is, 1) the thought of preparing meals for a husband, and then a family, for the rest of my life fills me with dread. I WANT to want to do that...but I don't want to. and 2) it is a really good thing that I am marrying a patient, easygoing, non-picky man.

Easy Mac, anyone?

Yessssss!! Dave Barry's Gift Guide

Still have some Christmas shopping to do? Look no further.

What in the world am I going to do in 2005 when Dave Barry stops writing weekly columns???

Friday, December 03, 2004

"You Didn't Convince Me"

I taught four classes on "boundaries" today at a local high school--freshman and sophomore health classes. Quite a different experience from the sixth graders I blogged about a few weeks ago. Instead of the positive, sweet and innocent evaluation comments from them (though I did get positive evaluations today), I got these:

(from a 14-year-old girl) "I have already been sexually active with my fionse before we were even engaged. I have no regrets. Amy made it seem like if we have been sexually active then we regretted it. I do NOT. I love the person I'm with and I wouldn't change any decision I've made."

(also from a 14-year-old girl) "It's my life and although I am a virgin, I'm in a very happy healthy relationship w/ a person whom I am going to spend the rest of my life w/, & personally I think it's ok if I have sex before I'm married. 'You didn't convince me!'"

Honestly, I'm speechless. It's so hard. I don't want to do this anymore...