Saturday, August 18, 2012

30-33 of 52 in 52

What a past month it has been! I can tell you great stories of being busy with grad school, children's ministry, tutoring, preparing my classroom for 18 precious little ones coming my way (next week!), a crazy kitten, a jealous dog, and many other life things. I can tell you great times of a photography workshop with MckMama, s'mores with my sister's family, a day of deep cleaning the house before going back to work (it's already dirty now -- really, Ellen?), and having a 4.0 GPA the first semester of my grad school. But, I decided to tell you something different tonight! (er, this morning)

I haven't been sleeping very well lately. I wake up in the middle of the night rather often. Now being a prime example. :) I usually either just lie there until I fall back asleep, read on my Nook some, or just piddle on Facebook and Instagram until my eyes are droopy again. But a friend suggested that maybe God was waking me up for a reason, wanting me to talk with Him and spend time with Him. Duh, Ellen.

When I woke up about an hour ago, 52 in 52 came to mind. Ouch.

Remember those great stories and great times I mentioned earlier? Yeah. They've taken the place of my 52 in 52. Now they seem not so great.

So I have 4 scriptures to share with you this morning. Enjoy! :)

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
1 John 3:18

Actions speak louder than words, right? What have you done today to love someone with your actions? Have you prayed for (with) them? Offered help or council? Brought someone needing some extra love a special surprise?

These questions are as much for me as they are for you! Teacher workdays started on Wednesday for us, and I've been so extremely focused on my own classroom, my own Meet the Teacher needs, and my own list of last minute craziness that I haven't been very available for the new teachers on our grade level -- or the "old" (not old in age!) teachers either. I need to leave my room and be of help to them. 

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus a Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
Colossians 2:6

Our church has a new pastor now that started at the beginning of July. Friends, this man is amazing! He is so open, honest, personable, and challenging. After being without a pastor for awhile, it is so refreshing to have this leadership in our church! I am so very excited to see what God has in store for our church! (Side note: Our previous pastor was great as well, but then he left. :) And our interim was too, but there's something about having a pastor in the church.)

Okay, all of that to say...he's been taking us through Colossians lately. I don't actually get many chances to be in the service because I'm with the precious little ones about 2 or 3 Sundays each month, but I try to soak up and internalize as much as I can when I'm able to be in the service. This verse really struck me when he was walking us through it this past Sunday. (The following is what I took from this sermon after pondering it during the service and then after getting home and looking through my notes. The basic points are pulled from what our pastor said, but when I say "I", that's me. Not him.)

He started with the "continuing." The life and walk of a Christian is not a one time thing. It is not something you decide one day, and then the next you stray away from it. Of course, we all sin, but that's where "continuing" comes in. It's a continuous walk of seeking Christ, repenting from our sins, obeying God's Word, living out our faith in our lives. It's daily. Every minute of every day. Sounds daunting, eh? Just remember 1 Corinthians 10:13 (God gives us direction and ways out of sin) and Philippians 4:13 (our strength comes from Christ).

Then, he painted a picture of the "rooted and built up in Him" portion. Ever seen a large oak tree? There's one by my parents' house that has been there forever. It's huge. Ginormous, even. We used to have a tire swing hanging from one of the limbs when I was little. It's kind of one of those trees that we never ever (ever) want to see cut down. (Okay, I'm pretty positive it's an oak! ha) Actually, my parents had a neighboring tree cut down not too long ago, but I thought they were cutting down "the tree" and almost climbed it in protest. But I diverted my plan and kept on driving down the road when I realized they were cutting down a different one.

Anyhoo, so this massive tree that sits on my grandparents' (now my parents') property probably has just a few scrawny roots, right? Uh, no. The roots on this thing are just as massive as  the tree itself. Roots grow underground just as wide as the limbs on the tree. There's no way it would stay standing if it worked any differently. So if you're living a life for Christ, striving to please God in your life, it would be pretty difficult to stand in this faith without having roots that go deep into God's word, right? Without having roots that go deep into your faith, your prayer life, your continuous growth in Christ. Without those roots, you'd topple over like a rootless tree. 

Just like a tree's roots, a building has to have a pretty strong foundation, right? One of the most pivotal steps in the process of constructing a building is the foundation. If it isn't laid correctly, the strength of the building is compromised. When I was growing up, our church began constructing a new building. It would serve as a gym/sanctuary, and it was pretty big! Once they laid the foundation and did some other "constructiony" type things (I'm no architect!), we all met at the building site with chalk. Lots and lots of chalk. I think it was chalk! Maybe we used markers. Lots and lots of markers. 

In any case, we had a lot of writing utensils, and we covered that foundation with God's Word. We wanted the foundation of that building to be covered in scripture and prayer, because that is the foundation of our lives. Now, did our scribblings actually help the construction of our new building? Probably not. But was it a perfect example of our lives? Absolutely. When our foundation is built on and covered with scripture, prayer, obedience, and repentance, we are able to stand firm in Christ.

And then overflowing is something that has always just been a neat illustration to me. I usually think of an overflowing cup, an overflowing swimming pool (why in the world? lol I've always thought it'd be cool to have a pool that is just continuously overflowing for some reason. But then there'd be a ginormous sized water bill and lots of muddy/soggy grass. Sad.), or an overflowing bathtub. But a pot of boiling water came to mind this time for some reason.

I love mac and cheese. I seriously could eat it every single day and not tire of it! (kind of like my love of Chick-Fil-A, I reckon) Actually, I did eat it almost everyday during the summertime in highschool. Cheese and pasta. Two of my favorites, all mixed up together. Yum! (Hmm...early morning snack?...) But I have this problem in that I get very distracted very easily, and I sometimes (ahem...often times) have an overflowing pot of boiling water before I realize it! I step away for what I think is only a minute or two and return to a mess.

But what if that mess was a glorious, thankful, God-praising mess? What if my love for Christ was so active, so hot and on fire that it bubbled up inside me, out of my daily living, and splashed all over the people around me? Of course, it wouldn't actually be scalding hot, so there would be no real physical harm to others (I couldn't hurt a fly! A spider, yes...I can do some serious bug spray damage there. But other creatures are safe), but there would be effects. Others would be splashed with my overflow, hopefully creating a bubble inside their own lives and hearts. I want to be infectious and overflowing. With thankfulness and love.

Phew! That's a lot more than what Pastor Dave said, but he of course expounded on the surrounding scriptures as well. I didn't expect to go so far with that, but that's why I love sharing my 52 in 52 on here. It makes me reflect and really think about the scripture, and sometimes more comes out than I had originally internalized about the scripture. 

So, with that, I'm going to share the remaining two later. It's not almost 4:00AM, and I have to be at my grad class in just 5 hours. Eek! Another 3 or 4 hours of sleep would be marvelous!


Saturday, August 4, 2012


Wow! It's been over a week since I've posted.

Life is good.

That is all for now! I'll post some next week!

Monday, July 23, 2012

friend of sinners

Jesus, Friend of Sinners
(by Casting Crowns)

Jesus, friend of sinners, we have strayed so far away
We cut down people in Your name, but the sword was never ours to swing
Jesus, friend of sinners, the truth's become so hard to see
The world is on their way to You but they're tripping over me
Always looking around but never looking up I'm so double minded
A plank eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks Yours

Jesus, friend of sinner, the One whose writing in the sand
Made the righteous turn away and the stones fall from their hands
Help us to remember we are all the least of these
Let the memory of Your mercy bring Your people to their knees
Nobody knows what we're for, only what we're against when we judge the wounded
What is we put down our signs, crossed over the lines, and loved like You did

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks Yours

You love every lost cause; You reach for the outcast
For the leper and the lame; they're the reason that You came
Lord I was that lost cause, and I was the outcast
But You died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet

'Cause You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks Yours

And I was the lost cause, and I was the outcast
You died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet

This song has been on my heart so much today. It came on the radio, and I almost broken down thinking about the depth of the lyrics and what they mean.

This verse in particular hit me strong:

Jesus, friend of sinner, the One whose writing in the sand
Made the righteous turn away and the stones fall from their hands
Help us to remember we are all the least of these
Let the memory of Your mercy bring Your people to their knees
Nobody knows what we're for, only what we're against when we judge the wounded
What is we put down our signs, crossed over the lines, and loved like You did

In light of the current events going on, it's hard to remember that even the people we despise, the ones we long to see come to justice, are still loved by God.

He doesn't love their sin. He loves the person.

And I'm reminded... He doesn't love my sin. But He loves me.

My prayer for the victims of the CO shooting is that they will find rest, peace, comfort, and God's healing hand on their lives during this time. Physical healing, emotional healing, and spiritual healing. I pray that they will draw near to HIm.

My prayer for the suspect of the CO shooting is that He will feel conviction, guilt, shame, and sadness over what he's done.

But I also pray that through this, he will realize his sin and his need for God.

Our God is an amazing, outstanding, miraculous, and forgiving God. He is also a just God.

Praying for those whom we consider monsters is so hard.

But Jesus was a friend of sinners. Let us not be blinded by our longing for justice that we forget the need for God in every person's life.


Friday, July 20, 2012

my junky wall

(This is my 100th post! Yay!!!)

Do you have a wall like this in your kitchen?

Yep. There are 6 light switch (with a total of 7 light switches)/outlet things on this one small expanse of wall. It's located on the back of my counter, and is the main part of my kitchen that is seen when you first glance into the room.

I'm sure it's functionally necessary. However, I consider it to be an aesthetic disaster! It's just so... I don't know. Switchy...or something.

A couple days ago, I couldn't take it any longer. I had to take action and make this portion of wall not so yucky.

First thing that came to my mind? Let's just move all of these electrical things to another place!!!

(Don't worry Dad, Aaron, and Bobby. Keep reading. I won't be calling you for electrical help!)

It's okay. You can laugh in my face.

I may be able to change a door nob, replace a doorbell, and fill in numerous nail holes (all skills that I've perfected since buying my house), but electrical work is definitely nowhere on my resume.

So I nixed that idea.

What else could I do? A fun curtain to cover it up? (nixed.) Paint all of the white parts yellow to match the wall? (almost did this. but nixed.) Really loooong flat screen TV that fits perfectly in this spot? (okay. that would totally ROCK! but nixed.)

See? It's tough coming up [good] with ideas for deyuckifying this wall!

And then I thought about my amazing paint skills. ha!

Well, really it's more like I got hives thinking about painting something worthy enough to actually hang in my house. But, I decided on a plan. And I'm SO EXCITED to do it!!

I went today and picked up all of the supplies.

When I told the guy at Lowe's (you know, the one that was lucky enough to be the first to ask if I needed any help) what I was doing, I couldn't help but laugh at the look on his face. Yeah. I really did laugh out loud. More than once. or twice. He thought I was a nut.

He made my plan a bit more complicated, and I almost threw in the towel at that point. But, I persevered and learned more about what needed to be done (by asking questions that were totally silly to him, I'm sure), and I did the first step this afternoon.

Want to see?

Tada! There's now a board on my wall!!

What will the finished project be?!

Stay tuned!!!


Thursday, July 19, 2012

chasing the sunset

Izzy and I set out on a walk to chase the sunset tonight.

Well, I reckon we were really trying to find the sunset.

I could see above the houses in my neighborhood that it was full of pretty pinks and blues tonight. I couldn't wait to see it!

One thing that makes me want to live at the beach is the sunsets. An unobstructed view of God's beauty. It's so hard to catch in a subdivision.

So, Izzy and I walked. And walked.

I tried to choose the best no dog route I could think of. Since I run in my neighborhood so much, I remember where many of the dogs live. And since Izzy is not a dog type of dog (yeah, weird, eh?), I thought it'd be best to avoid the dog houses (ha!).

We had a hard time finding a good spot for a picture.

This was the best we could do.

We caught a few of the pinks!

And then we were racing the thunder and lightening back to the house.

Izzy insisted on pottying in every other yard though, so that slowed us up a bit. But we returned safely!

Have you chased any sunsets lately?

Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psalm 73:25-26

Such a powerful scripture. In our weakness, we find God's strength. Out of heaven and earth, He is our constant, our purpose. Our portion.



Thursday, July 12, 2012

What's been going on?

What a week!! We've had some serious fun at VBS this week!

We've had an average of about 30 kids each night, which is great!!

I challenged the kids to raise $125 for missions this week. We'll give the money raised to a girl in the church that is overseas right now.

As of last night, we've collected $180!! WOO! We're hoping to reach the $200 mark tonight, which is Family Night!

Speaking of challenges, I challenged myself to run 30 minutes everyday for 30 days (Sundays being my rest days). It was going GREAT until I fell and skinned my knee last Friday.

I haven't run since. Sad!

But, my knee is healing nicely and feeling better, so I'm hoping on running today.

52 in 52 has been rough the past few weeks! No real excuses other than me being busy with school work and VBS prep the past couple of weeks. I didn't even realize that I hadn't posted about it last week until last night.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

joy, peace and hope

I want it to overflow!!!

Great is our Lord and mighty in power; His understanding has no limit.
Psalm 147:5

This is our theme verse for VBS this week! My prayer for them is that they've truly experienced God's amazing power as they learn about Him this week!


Friday, June 29, 2012


This has been a great week so far!

Of course, I started out pretty overwhelmed and under joyed, but I realized that it has a lot to do with how I'm spending my time and what I'm investing my time in.

I've been intentional about my quiet times and 52 in 52 studying this week. It's a breath of fresh air!

Just like these lovely wildflowers. Aren't they happy?

My friend Ashley and I were driving down a back road Monday morning, and these little beauties were growing on the side of the road. I said, "I want to pick some!!!!" So she pulled over!

Yay!! I picked some for myself and some for Ashley.

They're still on my kitchen table right now.

I had to shake out all of the pollen (or whatever it was that was falling off) today. I should probably throw them out, but they're too happy still to be tossed.

One of my tomato plants outside has a baby tomato.

But I think I killed the plant, therefore killing the baby tomato. Oops.

There's still another plant going strong, and it has flowers on it so far! Hopefully baby tomatoes are in the neat future!

The other flowers in my garden are doing pretty well. I may have a green thumbnail at this point.

Definitely not a whole green thumb though.

2 Chronicles 3l:20-21

In everything he undertook ... he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered.

Love that passage. 

Philippians 2:14-16

This is so hard, isn't it?

Well okay. Maybe it's just me, but I find it hard!

I don't even realize I'm complaining sometimes until after it's done and time has passed.

But this is my prayer, my ambition. 

Remember when I said I was trying to be more intentional about my quiet times and my scripture memorization? Well, I'm trying to be more intentional about not complaining or arguing as well.

So this bitty kitty has kind of taken over the house. Her name is Chloe, and she's only about 5 weeks old now.

I know, she's supposed to still be with her mommy, but she didn't have one when she was found, so I've become her mommy.

She drinks goat milk. And sleeps in a little cradle formed from my shirt. And climbs the curtains like an American Ninja Kitten.

And...she drives Izzy crazy. For real.

For the first week that Chloe was here, Izzy hid under the bed all the time. This week, she has been coming out from under the bed.

She does well until Chloe decides to play Simba from The Lion King and pounce on Izzy.

Yeah. She's pretty feisty!

I discovered a "Documentary Network" on my TV tonight.

And I just watched an hour worth of a documentary about these four Irish women talking about their late husbands and their many quirks.