Saturday, May 28, 2005

Peace That Passes Understanding

It is truly amazing how much peace floods my soul when I start my day with some quality time with God. Right now I feel totally realigned and ready to face whatever today brings with joy and confidence in God. The question is, knowing this, why on earth don't I make a more consistent effort to do this??????

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

A Chapter Ending...

These are the wonderful people I work with at Project Respect...where I am officially done in two days. My last staff meeting was Monday, so we took this staff picture. I have been privileged to work with some amazing men and women of God this year! The highlight of a very difficult and trying job has been getting to know these people and building new relationships. They have truly blessed my life...I can't believe I am saying goodbye to them! Posted by Hello

As I sat reflecting at our staff meeting, I realized how thankful I am that I finished the year. There were several times where I came very close to quitting--not just because I didn't like the job, but because there was so much else going on in my life that I truly felt I couldn't handle it. Part of me still thinks I would have been justified in throwing in the towel. It was truly only the grace of God that gave me the strength and ability to persevere. But, now that my nine months are over (it has really gone fast), I am so glad I stuck it out. It is a much better feeling to come to the end and know I completed the work God gave me to do...rather than to feel like a failure and a quitter.

My boss gave a devotional thought yesterday about how character is built in the tough times of trial, not in times of ease. I know she's right, and I'm sure my character was built this year. I am still not exactly sure what lessons I was supposed to be learning through all this. Generally that becomes clearer with time. But I know God led me into this job for a reason. And, maybe it wasn't even about me...maybe I'll never know this side of heaven why I was here. But I'm glad I'm finishing this chapter of my life strong...glad to be moving on to something new, even if it's scary and I don't know what it will be like...and I will certainly miss these people who have been a part of my life this year.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Showered with Love and Blessings

The wonderful, beautiful women who came to my shower today! Some of them drove over an hour to come support me. I had so much fun and I felt so loved. Three of my bridesmaids worked so hard to make me feel special. And I got lots of great gifts, some practical and some fun :) Posted by Hello

"Oh no, please don't make me put another piece of bubble gum in my mouth!"

This was the only shower game my bridesmaids planned--a fun one, not a cheesy one :) They sent Steve 25 questions and he and his roommate videotaped the "interview" with him answering them. I had to guess what he said, and if I got it wrong I had to put a piece of bubble gum in my mouth. Only problem is I HATE bubble gum! I usually only chew half a stick of regular ONE piece of bubble gum made me want to puke, let alone SIX! But it provided lots of laughs as I just about drooled all over myself every time I tried to talk :) Luckily I only got six questions wrong--and they had mercy on me and let me spit out the wad of gum after five and start over. Whew. Good times :) Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 21, 2005

A Shower for Maria

We threw a bridal shower for the very lovely Maria White today. Her friend/mentor Shari graciously and generously paid for all of us to have tea at a tea room in Marion and it was fun to (hopefully) make Maria feel special. Plus i hadn't seen her (center, front) or Jamie (next to me) in a long time, so it was great to catch up! Posted by Hello

My little whirlwind trip to Marion included a stop for breakfast (I can't help it, I love Panera's cinnamon crunch bagels--any excuse) with my beautiful and pregnant favorite-cousin Bekah, and a little visit to see Jaala's new house in Marion (so cute), and then I stopped at the graduation party of my co-worker's daughter on the way home. So it was a full and busy but fun day.

Drama, Drama, Drama

I forgot about this picture--it's a couple of weeks old, but it TOTALLY says it all about what I think of wedding planning, and how it went putting together the invitations. My mom and Julie insisted we take a picture to memorialize the whole awful process, so this was posed. It makes me laugh now...but it was NOT funny at the time. I believe my quote of the night was, "the wedding gods hate me." Posted by Hello

Friday, May 20, 2005

The Email Your IWU Advisor Would Never Send You...

(but which my fiance received from his advisor at UC, which went out to all mechanical engineering seniors): "Come to the senior picnic! Alcohol is permitted and encouraged!"

Wow. Wow, wow, wow.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Tennessee, Here We Come

It's official...after our wedding and honeymoon in July, Steve and I will be relocating to northern Tennessee!

Steve has accepted a job as a mechanical engineer at an aluminum plant in southwestern Kentucky (I guess about 1 of every 3 pop/beer cans is made from aluminium from this plant--think of us the next time you pop the top of a cold one :) Last weekend he and I drove down to explore the area together and check out housing options. We found some apartment possibilities, but nothing's definite yet except the fact that we are headed down there. I'm starting to look into what might be available job-wise for me in the publishing field down in Nashville...I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be doing or even how realistic of a commute it would be, so I'm praying God will just make it clear by opening/closing doors.

It's exciting to have some direction, and to have the reality of starting a new life together come a little closer...yet to be honest, I'm scared to death. I have no idea what it's going to look like to live out my role as a godly wife and helpmate to Steve...we don't know a single soul down idea whether we'll like the area...the process of finding and settling into a strong church...and I hate country music :)

Seriously though, it's overwhelming. I am SOOOOOO excited and ready to be married...I'm just not so excited about all of the grown-up stuff that comes with it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


Tonight I drove to Fort Wayne to see my Roommate (we still call each other that even though we haven't lived together for two years!) direct her 4th and 6th grade students' musical, Shortstops. I am so glad I went! First, it was fun to spend some time with Stephanie (we had dinner together beforehand). But I loved the show. I sat in the front row with this goofy grin on my face because I just thought the whole thing was so cute...I laughed really loud at all the funny lines and was absolutely precious. You could tell the kids and Stephanie had worked so hard and they did such a wonderful job--I was so impressed!! They sounded great, the choreography was fantastic, the kids did great on their lines and solos...It was so much fun to see Steph in her element as a music teacher. She's so good at it and you can tell the kids are having fun and just love "Miss Longbrake." I just felt really proud of her!

"Here is a Trustworthy Saying":

"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen." 1 Timothy 1:15-17

Monday, May 16, 2005

Satan is a Jerk

The newest book I've started--I'm actually listening to it on CD, which I've never done before, but it makes car trips pass quickly--is Lee Strobel's The Case for a Creator. I listened to the first couple of hours last night on my way home from Cincinnati.

Strobel starts out by explaining how learning about evolution as a young student led him toward atheism. He studied biology and was taught that evolution was fact--and thus, obviously, God was out of a job. The Case for a Creator documents his journey of learning how wrong all those "facts" were: he interviews dozens of respected, doctorate-level scientists in every field who systematically expose evolution for what it is...a ridiculous theory that has no evidence to back it up.

The first interview was about "images of evolution"--four pictures/experiments/examples that served as "proofs" for evolution and really swayed Strobel when he was first learning about evolution. But the scientist he interviews totally dismantles each one, showing how they're misleading at best, or downright false at worst. As I listened, part of me wanted to laugh at how preposterous the whole thing is. But most of me just got angry at how Satan has totally blinded so many much of the world mindlessly accepts evolution as proven fact and labels Christians as ignorant buffoons...not realizing that the arrow of modern science CLEARLY points toward intelligent design. All these people being totally deceived, and like Strobel, led away from faith and toward atheism...when really, believing in evolution takes a whole lot more faith...

Ooh, Satan is such a jerk...I can't wait til he gets what's coming to him.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Stayin Alive

So...I sort of feel like blogging but have nothing terribly profound or earth-shattering to say. Just a shout-out to say that I'm still alive but have been busy and life has been pretty uneventful.

However, Steve and I are headed to Tennessee tomorrow to look into housing and make a final decision, which I'm very excited hopefully I'll have some interesting news to post come Monday. Until then, thank you and good night :)

Friday, May 06, 2005

God Alone

LOVE this story:

"After the Philistines had captured the ark of God, they...carried the ark into Dagon's temple and set it beside Dagon [one of their false gods]. When the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the LORD! They took Dagon and put him back in his place. But the following morning when they rose, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the LORD! His head and hands had been broken off and were lying on the threshold; only his body remained." --1 Samuel 5:1-4

How awesome is that? Lord, there is no god but YOU!
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” --Howard Thurman
A Hasidic tale describes a Rabbi who told people that if they studied the Torah it would put Scripture on their hearts. When someone asked him why he always used the word “on” instead of “in” he said, “Only God can put Scripture inside. But reading sacred text can put it on your hearts, and when your hearts break the holy words will fall inside.”

--from Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Glorious Riches

"And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen" (Philippians 4:19-20).

As I was reading in Philippians 4 today, I was thinking about the blessings and the beauty of "partnership in the gospel" (Phil. 1:5)...specifically, people whose ministries require them to raise support from other Christians. If you've ever had that experience or have known someone who has, you know that it's an incredibly challenging and stretching faith journey, even frustrating and discouraging at times. Yet I'm struck today by what a blessing it can be for others to participate in the work God is doing in you and through you. Paul says of his supporters in the Philippian church, "Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account" (4:17). My study note suggests, "The investment value of the Philippians' gift is not primarily what Paul received, but the spiritual dividends they received."

How true that is! I can verify firsthand that when you get to partner with someone in a ministry support-raising venture, all kinds of blessings come and faith is built. They see God meet their needs and show Himself as their provider. They get to do the Kingdom work God has called them to, and to see Him move powerfully. You see God's blessing and provision as you're faithful with what He has given you. You get to share in the Kingdom work that God is doing through that person as you invest in them. Both of you receive "full payment and even more" through God's glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

One other thing that struck me about this passage: the study note for verse 20 says, "Paul cannot hold back a doxology, especially as he considers the truth of v. 19." When he stops for a moment to think of who God is and what He has done, Paul can't help but praise Him! May that be true of me...that as I'm reminded of God's faithfulness, I would always be quick to praise Him...

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


Today I'm puzzling over a verse in Philippians 4 that usually gets overlooked and buried between more familiar verses. "Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near" (Philippians 4:5).

The word "gentleness" reminds me of a favorite quote from Josh Harris: "Femininity is not weakness. It requires great strength of character for a woman to be gentle in an age that screams for her to do otherwise." I know gentleness is something I need to work on cultivating and portraying--and everyone needs to see it, not just those close to me. Whether it's wedding vendors that I'm frustrated with, or kids I'm teaching, or gentleness is supposed to be evident to ALL.

What I'm wondering is, what is the connection between these two sentences? "Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near." Why did Paul put those two statements together? How are they related to each other; what am I supposed to learn or know about gentleness in the context of the Lord's coming being near?

Any ideas?

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Live Up

"Only let us live up to what we have already attained" (Philippians 3:16).

There are so many things about God, His character and His ways, that I just don't comprehend. It's frustrating, even discouraging at times. "His ways are not my ways, His thoughts are not my thoughts" is true enough, but feels like a pat answer.

A deeper answer comes: Obedience produces a fuller revelation of God. We can't expect more knowledge and understanding unless we're being good stewards of what we already have. So the question is, am I living up to the knowledge and understanding I have attained? Am I putting into practice the truths I already comprehend?

Another angle: We can't earn our position or standing in Christ. We don't have to--His blood bought it for us. So what are we required to do then? We're called to "become what we are," as John Piper puts it. God calls us righteous and pure, so we’re supposed to live like it. We can’t earn our righteousness; Isaiah points out that all our attempts to do so are “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). But we strive to live righteously because that’s the identity Christ has given us. We seek to live up to the name we have attained because of His sacrifice, His redemption of us.

Lord, let me live up to the name and position YOU have attained for me...and let me live up to the knowledge and understanding that I have attained ONLY through Your grace.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Another Little Miracle!

Isn't she beautiful?? One of my bridesmaids and dearest friends, Kelly, had her first baby March 20. I got to meet Emily Grace for the first time last Thursday! I also got to have a wonderful time of catching up with her mom. I miss Kelly so much...she is a beautiful woman of God and motherhood just suits her--she has this sweet glow :)

My short time in Marion was filled with many visits with old friends; unfortunately I don't have pictures. It was such a blessing to reconnect with some chorale friends, the girls that I used to mentor, and three of my favorite professors. It was strange to be on campus for baccalaureate, and to realize it's been a year since I was in cap and