Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Surrender



My hands hold safly to my dreams
Clutching tightly not one has fallen
So many years I've shaped each one
Reflecting my heart showing who I am
Now you're asking me to show
What I'm holding oh so tightly
Can't open my hands can't let go
Does it matter?
Should I show you?
Can't you let me go?

Surrender, surrender you whisper gently
You say I will be free
I know but can't you see?
My dreams are me. My dreams are me

You say you have a plan for me
And that you want the best for my life
Told me the world had yet to see
What you can do with one
That's committed to Your calling
I know of course what I should do
That I can't hold these dreams forever
If I give them now to You
Will You take them away forever?
Or can I dream again? ~ Barlow Girl

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A poem...sorta.

There's a peace in letting go
In choosing to stop
In saying no
In not thinking about that thing
Whatever that thing may be

There's a peace in resigning
In being in today
In stopping and resting
In not letting wishes have their way
No matter how sweet they may be

There's a peace in knowing
In trusting God
In believing He is good
In waiting for His promises
Because they'll be perfect no matter what they may be

When they're done
When you're done
When He's done
When It Is Finished
You will say "Amen" and "Thank You"

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

"The" Game

I haven't blogged in a while. Life has been nuts! Between photography, migraines, babysitting and cantata preparations, I have had very little time. However, I try to make time for what is important: church, family, Saints games. ;) Speaking of which...did you see the game last night? Saints vs. the Patriots?!?!?! If you didn't, you missed one heck of a game! It was quite the monumental event! And I have typed a lot of "!'s" in this post. Sorry. (!)

To commemorate the night, I wrote up my own personal take on the game. Check it out. :)

There is no doubt in my mind that Saints fans will be talking about last night's game for a long, long time. No matter what any of the Saint's players say or how diplomatically they say it, last night was a pivotal win, a big win, a milestone, one for the record books, and one fans will refer to and re-live via stories and Facebook mobile uploads for years to come. Now, I'm no sports buff. Ok? I don't know all the jargon and terms or even fully understand what all the different downs mean, but I know when we're good...and last night the Saints were the best I've ever seen them in my life. Forget Archie Manning. Forget the Dome Patrol. THIS team is the realest deal if ever there was one. So...for posterity's sake, I thought it would be fun to share how I experienced "the" game and ask you to respond in turn. It should be fun, and I might cry...so here goes:

The Friday before Thanksgiving, I asked my boss for permission to host a tailgate party lunch at work on the day of this big game. I thought it would be fun for everyone to get together, munch on snacks and talk smack about the Pats. He said "ok" so long as people didn't get all nuts and come to work in body paint or anything. So, that Monday, I arrived at the office with my snacks in hand, excited for our little party and, moreso, for the big game. The last time the Saints were on Monday night football, I watched the game at home, screaming and yelling and cheering all by myself. I was certain I didn't want to do that again. Lacking any other invites or offers closer to home, I drove out to my parents house to watch the game on their 60-inch television, but not before I changed into my Saints t-shirt and drew a fleur-de-lis on my face with eyeliner. When I arrived at my parents house, the kids were nowhere near ready for the game, so...to remedy this, I wrangled up a few white t-shirts and drew fleur-de-lis on them, which they proceeded to color and embellish on their own. Then, the game began. I have to confess, through most of the 1st quarter, I was a nervous wreck. My stomach was in knots and when we ended the first drive with an almost missed field goal and the Patriots answered with a TD, I almost cried. I started bracing myself for the worst. I consoled myself, thinking, if we are going to lose, better it be to a championship team, right? I walked into the kitchen to grab a snack and mumbled "We need to get 3 interceptions in this game, too, guys." Then came the interception! That stunning McKenzie interception, which also left me wanting a good old McKenzie's kingcake...but that's another story for another day. It was then that my hope started building! With each of the following passes, tds and interceptions, I was on my feet, I was screaming, I was high fiving and then screaming again for my mom who was sick and had no voice to scream herself. But, it was the last TD, that beautiful last Marques Colston TD that sealed the deal for me. He was in the end zone with that ball securely in his hands and I burst into tears. We were up by 3 touchdowns. We were really going to win this thing! Wow! It was just amazing and I was still wiping tears from my eyes even as Darren Sharper made another interception. Then, I jumped up from the sofa and ran over to the TV screaming, joining my dad and brother. And,then the tears started flowing again. Whew! What a night! What a game! What a toll it took on my vocal chords! And, as if that wasn't enough, Belichick pulls Brady and sends in the back-up QB! The saints sent Tom Brady to the sidelines!

Seriously?

WOW!

Bless You Boys!!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Coming out of the closet...

I have a secret. Its one I've kept for a long time. I've tried to maintain the illusion, but now, well, I've sort of been exposed and I feel like I really just need to come clean. I need to confess. I need to make a proclamation. I need to say it loud and proud and be done with it.

So...

Here goes...

I am a Saints fan. I always have been. I pretended I didn't really like football. I never told anyone about the times I snuck on to ESPN.com or the sports section of NOLA.com to check scores and stats and read articles, or about the times I listened to the game on my radio in the car all by myself.

Yes, I'm serious.

Ok, so there it is. I've said it. I feel cleansed. Slightly less girly, but cleansed just the same.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Why I don't go to the doctor...

Lately, I’ve been having a sort of dull pain in my lower back on the left side. It tends to only happen in the later part of the afternoon. Today, for whatever reason, it felt a bit worse. I told my friend about it, and said I thought perhaps I had a kidney infection or something like that. She suggested I go to the doctor. I said “Nope.” She asked why. I laughed.

And then I told her why…

Here’s what I said:

“This is how it works. K...you get an appointment. You show up 15 minutes before your appointment and pay your co-pay ($25) and then you sit in the waiting room for 15-30 minutes. After that, a nurse calls you back and weighs you and measures you and scowls at you. Then she puts you in a room to wait for the doctor. The room is freezing. You wait and stare at posters of the inside of an ear or nose or, God forbid, human genitalia, and wait some more until another nurse comes in. She takes your blood pressure and temperature and asks what's wrong with you and writes it down in a folder for the doctor. She probably also writes some notes about how fat you are and maybe draws a doodle or two. She leaves and you to wait, cold and alone, staring at the same weird posters. In desperation, you grab one of the pamphlets on the counter. It is probably about arthritis or hip replacements or some other topic totally unconnected to you, your gender or station in life. And you wait. And you are cold. And you try not to fall asleep. Then, after about 30-45 minutes the doctor arrives. He asks questions. You warm up from the sheer feeling of progress. Three to five minutes later, he says he will be right back and leaves. You feel like, this is it, its close. You are going to be home soon. Fifteen to -20 minutes later, once the warmth has left your body and your teeth are chattering, the doctor returns. He writes you a prescription and says you can go. And, you have frostbite on the tip of your nose. You also feel terrible about yourself on account of the scowls and doodles. And you feel violated on account of the weird medical posters. But, you have a prescription! It’s all going to be better! So, you proceed directly to your pharmacy and wait in line to drop it off. The clerk tells you it will be ready…in an hour. So you walk around the store aimlessly, waiting, trying not to buy a travel sewing kit or some lipstick that will no doubt turn out to be a mistake. Then, you hear your name. You pay your $20. You go home. You take the meds. And, you are better in about a week.”

To that, my friend said “Crazy.”

See, my friend lives in Canada. She just decides to go to the doctor one day and goes. She doesn’t have to make an appointment. She doesn’t have to step on a scale. And, she doesn’t have to pay. She just goes, tells them what’s wrong and walks out with pills. No co-pays. No waiting at the pharmacy. Nothing.
This, my friends, is called Utopia…and I, for one, want to live there. If for no other reason than I won’t have to look at a creepy medical poster ever again.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Happy Birthday?

Whenever we have a birthday celebration in my family, we always end up doing a really bad (annoying, ridiculous, hysterical) version of the "Happy Birthday song". This weekend was no exception as we serenaded my youngest brother, Timmy.

Check it out...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Goin' Campin'

Yep, you read that right. I'm going camping. This weekend. In the woods. Well, not so much in the woods as on a campground. But I'm sure there will be a lot of trees and stuff. There will probably be some forms of wildlife,too, like bugs and raccoons and squirrels and possibly even tigers and bears and komodo dragons. You just never know these days. I mean, if the group from Flight 815 have to fend off Polar Bears on a tropical island, I could come face to face with a komodo on a campground. Stranger things have happened.

The good news is, our camp site is very close to the restrooms, so there will be no "doing my business" in the woods. That is where I draw the line. Everyone has there limits and pooping the woods is mine.

Stay tuned for some pics from our camping adventure...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Once upon a time...

Once upon a time, there was a girl
She loved to sing and dance and twirl
She dreamed a dream and made a wish
And waited to see how it might come true.

Once upon a time, there was a girl
Whose wish in her heart began to unfurl
It turned to hope and expectation
And she longed for the day it would be real.

Once upon a time, there was a girl
Who was no longer a girl and wore pearls
Still waiting and wishing and longing
And clinging fiercely to a hope deferred.

A hope that grew dimmer and more distant by the hour
A hope that defied logic, reason and reality
A hope that truly, and in every way, made her heart sick
A hope that was dying, choked by years and tears and heartbreak

Once upon a time, there was a woman
Who still liked singin', dancin' and twirlin'
But saw the sun set on that dream she dreamed
And she let it go. And she did not die.





Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sick

Most mornings, I wake up and fantasize about being able to stay home. There are days when I sit, for minutes, day-dreaming about being a stay-at-home mom, working from home, or even being sick enough to call it a day at 6am and snuggle back in bed with a hefty dose of Nyquil or something. But, on days like today, when I actually feel sick...when I have been up coughing most of the night...when my throat hurts and my eyes burn and I feel like I may even have fever...do I stay home? Of course not...I go in anyway. Instead of day-dreaming about rest and chicken soup and daytime television, I spend my early morning hours thinking of the 10,000 reasons I have to go to work and fretting over getting fired if I decide to opt out of a visit to the doctor. The first part, I blame on my dad for instilling a strong work-ethic in us. The second part, a.k.a. the paranoia, I blame on my first boss at my first adult job. His name was Bill, and one time, after I'd been there for about a year, I felt pretty much like I do today...and I was running a fever of 102. I missed 3 days of work while a sinus infection worked its way through and then out of my system. When I returned, I was accused of lying because I didn't have a doctor's note to prove I was sick.

This happened in 1997...and, I've been paranoid about being out sick ever since.

Thanks, Bill.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I think I may have died

Someone is going to have to help me out here. Either, I woke up this morning, went to work, lost a beautiful and RED kitchenaid mixer, tweeted my angst and then received a sweet reply from The Pioneer Woman OR I'm still dreaming OR I died and went to heaven.

I honestly don't know for sure.

Though...I think I can rule out dreaming because, if I were dreaming, I think I would have won the beautiful AND red kitchenaid mixer and danced around my red kitchen with it.

But still...your input is appreciated.

Thanks!

From Spurgeon...

"Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst."—John 4:14.

He who is a believer in Jesus finds enough in his Lord to satisfy him now, and to content him for evermore. The believer is not the man whose days are weary for want of comfort, and whose nights are long from absence of heart-cheering thought, for he finds in religion such a spring of joy, such a fountain of consolation, that he is content and happy. Put him in a dungeon and he will find good company; place him in a barren wilderness, he will eat the bread of heaven; drive him away from friendship, he will meet the "friend that sticketh closer than a brother." Blast all his gourds, and he will find shadow beneath the Rock of Ages; sap the foundation of his earthly hopes, but his heart will still be fixed, trusting in the Lord. The heart is as insatiable as the grave till Jesus enters it, and then it is a cup full to overflowing. There is such a fulness in Christ that He alone is the believer's all. The true saint is so completely satisfied with the all-sufficiency of Jesus that he thirsts no more—except it be for deeper draughts of the living fountain. In that sweet manner, believer, shalt thou thirst; it shall not be a thirst of pain, but of loving desire; thou wilt find it a sweet thing to be panting after a fuller enjoyment of Jesus' love. One in days of yore said, "I have been sinking my bucket down into the well full often, but now my thirst after Jesus has become so insatiable, that I long to put the well itself to my lips, and drink right on." Is this the feeling of thine heart now, believer? Dost thou feel that all thy desires are satisfied in Jesus, and that thou hast no want now, but to know more of Him;, and to have closer fellowship with Him? Then come continually to the fountain, and take of the water of life freely. Jesus will never think you take too much, but will ever welcome you, saying, "Drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved." ~Spurgeon

Monday, October 5, 2009

Normal?

Up until I was in Junior High, I thought "normal" was being in class with the same group of kids every year. Until I met my friend Heather, a Jehovah's Witness, I thought "normal" was being Catholic. Before I turned 30, I thought all "normal" people got married and had children before hitting that milestone. And, before I met my friend, Nin, I thought "normal" people didn't find one of their closest friends on the internet.

Welcome to the new "normal".

I'm beginning to think there really is no such thing.

Silence

But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?" Mark 4:38


How often is it that we do just this, whether we actually raise up this question to the Lord, or do so in our fear, unbelief or lack of joy. What is it today that is causing us to wonder if God cares for us, if he sees, if he knows, if he hears? What is it today causing us to be anxious, doubtful, or discouraged?

Whatever it is, the Spirit is saying:

The LORD your God is in the midst of thee...he will quiet you with His love. Zephaniah 3:17


Amy Carmichael says that this one verse speaks to the whole of life. It urges us to look at "the heart of the heart of love" and to live it. Sometimes, this means to be silent. More to the point, to fight to silence the murmerings and wonderings and rumblings and rest, just as Christ did, in the love of God. To meet the silence and peace of His love, with silence. This silence, Amy says, is not a gap to be filled, it is the climax of love and "all adoration."

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What I'm Thankful For Today...

I am a tender sort...what some might call a person who "wears her heart on her sleeve". Sometimes, I do pretty well at putting an additional layer over that tender, exposed heart, but this only serves to delay the response to rough handling, accidental bumps and bruises and breakage, and even intentional injuries. As soon as I am in a quiet place, the jacket over the heart on my sleeve comes off and all of the emotion pours forth as if the hurt was fresh. At times, too, I handle my own heart roughly. Dashed hopes, disappointed expectations, even forecasts of hurt, rejection or disappointment are magnified in my mind and join the chorus of past hurts, rejections and disappointments until my poor heart can't take it anymore and my very soul wants to run away...to give up...to be done.

This is how I handle my heart. This is how others handle my heart. This is not how God handles my heart.

In those moments, when I can scarcely breathe for the emotion, God says things like this...


“A bruised reed he will not break.”

A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.—He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.—"I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak.”—Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.—“Behold, your God. . . . He will come and save you.”


And that is what I am thankful for today.

Friday, September 4, 2009

A Timely Word...

“Wait, my daughter.”

“Be careful, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint.”—“Be still, and know that I am God.”—“Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”—The haughtiness of man shall be humbled, and the lofty pride of men shall be brought low, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day. . . . “Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”—“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way —“Whoever believes will not be in haste.”

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A-Not-So-Typical Day.

Yesterday, I left work just a few minutes later than usual. I'm not sure why, I just did. I hummed a happy tune on the way to my car, excited about my plans for the evening. Said plans included, greeting folks at Alpha (a 10-week introduction to Christianity which my church does twice a year), having dinner with my fellow greeters and servers and cooks, giving my landlord the montlhy rent check, then going home and going to bed early. That was my plan and it was foiled. Foiled, I tell you...by a case of Coke Zero.

When I hopped in the car, I noticed that one of the cans in the case on my front seat looked funny. I moved the box a bit to see it better, only to discover that another of the cans had actually exploded. Yikes. Carefully, I exited the vehicle, walked over to the other side and attempted to, even more carefully, remove the soggy and potentially fatal case of cokes from the car. As I did...KABLAMMMMM! All but two of the cokes exploded, loudly, all over me and my car. I stood there for a second, in shock and it was then that I noticed the parking lot full of people, looking at me. I assured them all was well, I was just wet and sticky, it was fine, go about your business, nothing to see here. Then, I proceeded to try to clean up some of the mess.

After I was done, and safely back in my not-nearly-so-clean-as-it-had-been car, another co-worker mosied into the parking lot, noticed the coke on the side of my car and wanted to make sure I knew that "someone let a coke explode on [my] car". I assured Captain Obvious that I did know this and that "someone" was me and went about my business.

Only that business was not quite what I had planned. I couldn't greet visitors to Alpha wet and sticky and smelling of stale Coke Zero, so home I went to peel the yuck off of myself and see what else we might do with the rest of the night. In the end, and after I was clean and dry, it turned out to be a nice night. I chatted with a new friend, my friend Yves who is currently in the custody of the immigration service, my hairy little atheist and an awesome Canadian. Oh, and I watched this movie called The Lake House. Strange. Don't recommend it. Strange.

And I didn't go to bed early.

Hope you enjoyed that odd little slice of my life. :)

ta-ta!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Psalm of the Day - Psalm 24

Psalm 24
The King of Glory
A Psalm of David.
1 The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein,
2 for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.
3 Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?And who shall stand in his holy place?

4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.
5 He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
6 Such is the generation of those who seek him,who seek the face of the God of Jacob.

Selah

7 Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors,that the King of glory may come in.
8 Who is this King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty,the Lord, mighty in battle!
9 Lift up your heads, O gates!And lift them up, O ancient doors,that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is this King of glory?The Lord of hosts,he is the King of glory!

Selah


Normally, when I read Psalm 24, I hear a song. That is to say, I hear it sung. I get caught up in the image of a great choir, and the full sound of their combined voices proclaiming "Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors,that the King of glory may come in." And then, in my head, the choir divides.

One half sings "Who is this King of glory?"

The other half responds "The Lord, strong and mighty,the Lord, mighty in battle!"

Then, louder "Who is this King of glory?"

"The Lord of hosts,he is the King of glory! "

Psalm 24 is a loud and lively Psalm...in my head, anyway.

But there is something interesting about this Psalm. The proclaimations, calls and responses are punctuated, if you will, by a single word, twice. The word: Selah. Now, I had to look the word up because I'm not that bright. According the the online bible dictionary, Selah is a hebrew word that is difficult to translate into English. Because of its usage, scholars believe it indicates a time to pause or to "stop and listen".

Stop and Listen.

Good advice. Hard to follow. Isn't it? Don't we all just seem programmed to "do"? To always be about something, moving on to the next thing, taking care of business? Stopping and Listening is downright un-American! But, David (thankfully) wasn't American, and neither is God.

That's all I got on this Psalm of the Day, folks. "Stop and listen". Whatever your situation, whatever business you are busy with, whatever hurt or crisis or choral activity you are in the midst of. Stop and listen and see what He might say to you.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Psalm A Day - Psalm 51

The other night, I went to bed at 9:30. Then, I woke up at about 10:30 and couldn't get back to sleep. This sort of thing doesn't happen to me often. Once I am out, I'm out 'til morning. But, this was just one of those nights. I lay there, head spinning, body willing itself to sleep, craving it even...yet it was elusive. I almost cried. For two hours, I wrestled and begged and prayed for sleep. In the midst of that time, I prayed for other things, too. One of those, was a renewed and revived relationship with the Lord. His answer was a starting place...read a Psalm a Day. I love the Psalms, so I don't expect this to be a task I will resist too much. However, because I think better by getting my thoughts out, I figured it would be good to blog about each Psalm as I go. I pray it will also be a blessing to anyone who happens to stumble upon them.


So...here we go. The first Psalm of the Day:


Psalm 51

Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.
1 Have mercy on me, O God,according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,and cleanse me from my sin!
3 For I know my transgressions,and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins,and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,and uphold me with a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,O God of my salvation,and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;build up the walls of Jerusalem;
19 then will you delight in right sacrifices,in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;then bulls will be offered on your altar.



This is the quintessential penitenial psalm.

Say that three times fast. ;)

It is good that we have the note about the inspiration for this psalm of David - his sin with Bathsheba. Knowing this, I think, helps us to take this cry to God, this prayer, seriously. David isn't just some hyper-spiritual person that we have nothing in common with. We can't put him on a pedestal here and think that the way he speaks to or thinks of God is something we can never come close to. We can't idealize his words. David was a human being, like you and me. He was not perfect. He was not a monk. In fact, he sinned in ways most of us will never know beyond a flash of a thought in our heads. Yet, he was called a man after God's own heart. Perhaps this psalm, the heart that is revealed in this psalm, well help us understand why.

after he had gone in to Bathsheba: As I mentioned in the paragraph above, this psalm was composed after David had sinned with Bathsheba. We know from Scripture that, during a time of War, David spied Bathsheba bathing on her roof. It is implied that he watched her for a while, allowing his lust to grow. Nurturing his lust, then not only led to actually committing adultery with Bathsheba, but in plotting the death of her husband. Though most of us will never know these sins personally, they do fall on our list of "big bad sins". As such, there is no way we can read David's cry to the Lord and not apply it to our lives. If God can forgive one such as this, he can no doubt forgive us and our "lesser sins".

have mercy...my transgressions,and my sin is ever before me: Can't everyone relate to this? Something happens, you know you are at fault, and no matter how big or small the situation is, its all you can think about. You worry about being exposed. About being embarrassed. About coming face to face with someone youve hurt or wronged in some way. You want it to go away, but don't necessarily want to have our faults come to light. It can be a difficult and consuming and distracting place to be. Like David, I'm sure we cry "have mercy", but often God's way of administering mercy is not just a "poof" and our anxiety is gone.

Against you, you only: Here, David sees something that will help him move past the anxiety of what seems the most immediate consequence of his sin. He has sinned against Bathsheba and her husband and, also, against his subjects...but more than that, he has sinned against God. Every step we take away from what God calls good and right and true is sin.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice: Every time I read this, I think of someone beating me with branches. But, that is not what David means here. Hyssop was an herb. Its branches were used to administer sacrifical blood during religious rites. Moses is instructed to dip hyssop in lambs blood and apply it to the door posts on the first passover. Here, David is asking for the same mercy, the cleansing that follows when we experience repentance. This is also, of course, a foreshadowing to the cross and the Blood of Christ which is far greater than a lamb without spot or blemish.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,and renew a right spirit within me: Here, David is acknowledging that only God can grant repentance and regeneration and turn our hearts to Himself.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise: Interesting wording following the verse above. "Broken spirit" and "Right spirit". A right spirit is a broken spirit, but not a spirit broken by sin. The right spirit is one broken by the grace and mercy of God, filled with awe and gratitude, and yearning not for its own way or to satisfy its own desires but to do the will of God and be pleasing to Him.

From start to finish, the Psalm covers the gamut of emotions and tracks the progression of sin to repentance...and beyond. I think my favorite thing about this psalm is that, while it acknowledges our emotions and weaknesses and the temptation to want to hide or cover or make up for our our sin rather than truly face it, it never throws the proverbial baby out with the bath water. David says, rightly, that God does not desire sacrifices or works of righteousness to bring us into right fellowship with him. Yet at the end he says: "Then I will teach transgressors your ways,and sinners will return to you...then will you delight in right sacrifices,in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;then bulls will be offered on your altar."

Contradictory?

No way! God does not desire sacrifices or works of righteousness to bring us into right fellowship with Him. This is a work of the heart. A work He does in our hearts. Sacrifices, works of righteousness, walking in His law, and teaching others of His ways...like all of worship...should be the result of right fellowship, or a right spirit, not what produces it. God never despises us for desiring to walk in a manner worthy of the calling He has placed on our lives or wanting to abide by His law...when our hearts are aimed at loving and honoring him. The minute we see obedience or any spiritual act we perform as a means to the end of being accepted and loved by God, we've missed it; we've lost; we are worse off than before. Why? Because we are seeking our own. God seeks hearts that are completely His, not those who just want to feel like they are because they did this or didn't do that. David saw this. He didn't need to slay a ram to be cleansed of his sin, He needed the one who provides the lamb to have mercy and make him clean. And, we...well, we don't typically go out looking for lambs to slaughter when we have sinned, but we do go looking for a sacrifice or some work we can do to make ourselves feel better...like we've balanced the scales, somehow, don't we?

It doesn't work. God does not delight in punish work. He delights in us when we delight in Him...when we turn our whole heart to Him....even in the midst of sin and failure and weakness, as this Psalm clearly shows us.

Psalm 51 is quite counter-intuitive to the way the human mind and heart works, but it really demonstrates the heart of God and work of God in us sinners. Do you have any thoughts on this Psalm or the ideas I felt led of the Lord to share here? Any sections of the Psalm stand out in a particular way to you? Feel free to share in the comments. :)

My People

I have some news that I want to share but I can't on account of it not being my news. But I feel like it is my news. But feelings are not facts. - Feelings are NOT facts. - So...I have to wait.

The news involves a dear friend and I am just over the moon for her!

Over the moon? Do I say "over the moon"? Am I 65 or a publicist for Sarah Jessica Parker? NO!!

What I meant so say, is, like, I am so, SO totally psyched for my girl. Yeah, that's what I meant to say. But, I can't tell anyone why, yet. Hopefully, soon, though.

Yay!

Having this news and waiting to share, however, made me think about how wierd it is that I am so excited for her. She's not family. She's not my bff. But, somehow, some way, there is this spot in my heart just for her. She's one of my people. One of my people that I just love, just because I do. One of those people I love and kinda act like they belong to me, sometimes. Not in a creepy way, more in a momma kind of way. I think about them and pray for them and hug on them whenever they are around. I can't explain it. It just happens sometimes.

I'm glad it happens sometimes!

The last time it happened was with Nin. She's Canadian. And...before I tell you anything else about her, let me ask you a question. Do you know any Canadians? If you don't, rectify that immediately! I don't care what the movies tell you, Canadians are awesome. They aren't backwards. They don't all wear overalls. They don't all say "eh"...which is actually kind of sad for me. But, regardless, find a Canadian and become their friend today. You won't regret it! So, anyway, back to Nin...

She lives in Canada. She has piercings. She likes to dye her hair a lot. She is fearless in a way I may never know. She's married with 2 adorable kids. And, the year she was born, I started my period, tried my first cigarette, and got grounded often for wearing make-up without permission. Good times.

We couldn’t be more different, really. Well, except for our love of movie quotes. But, I love her? We already have several inside jokes...like the question mark after "love her" and, though we've never met in person, or even talked on the phone, I feel connected to her. She is one of my people. I can't explain that. It just happens sometimes. And, I'm very glad it happened this time.

Then, there is Yves. He's my brother from an African mother. He speaks French. Adores hip hop. Wears really cool outfits that include members only jackets, trucker hats, pink Chucks, and fake gold “$” chains. He is very cerebral and philosophical and theoretical. The year he was born, I fell in love with Michael Jackson and wanted to be Olivia Newton John. We met on an RV at midnight not quite 2 years ago and, for whatever reason, I decided he was going to be my friend. He disagrees with how our friendship "went down", but I tell him all the time, he can be wrong if he wants to...its ok. Regardless of the origin, or the organic outgrowth of it all, and the fact that we pretty much disagree about everything, I love him. I really do. As I type this, my brother from an African mother is in the custody of the Immigration Department. So, if you think about it...please pray for him.


Finally, there's Jonathan. (Sigh) My hairy little atheist. When it comes to polar opposites...we be it! Not only is he an atheist (which is kinda wierd because he sorta looks like the popularized version of Jesus), but he is also a liberal and a vegetarian. I was a sophomore in high school the year he was born, so I, quite literally, am old enough to be his momma. That is, of course, if I had slept around in high school...which I didn't. Anyway, I first met him in his dad's cubicle at our office. He was half asleep and didn't even raise his head to say hello. But, for whatever reason, I felt compelled to speak to him every time I saw him in the halls. Sometimes, he would grunt back a reply and then run away. But, after about a year of this, I was feeding him crackers in my lap at lunch time. Ok, that's a slight exaggeration, but we did get very close very fast and, still, I love him like I birthed him. And, my heart breaks when I pray for him.

I can't explain how all of this happens. But it happens sometimes...and I'm so glad it does!

Monday, August 17, 2009

My Ovaries Didn't Hate Me Today




Today, my friend Steph delivered her second child...a boy...named Carter Edison. Steph's husband's name is Eddie, so...get it? Eddie's Son. Cute, huh? Anyway, I decided to bump up my lunch hour and try to squeeze in a visit to the hospital to meet Carter, check on my friend, deliver the androgynous gift I'd purchased over the weekend and, of course, snap a photo or two of the new little one.

Generally, when I meet brand new babies, I cry. If I also hold them, and get to sniff their heads when I meet them, I cry more. Furthermore, after said meeting (and optional holding and head sniffing) my ovaries wage an all-out assault on me as I drive home. At times like these, when there are new babies around which I did not grow in my womb, my ovaries can be down-right mean! They do painful things to my body, obliterate my mascara and threaten to shrivel up and die on me if this happens one. more. time!

But not today.

Today, I met little Mr. Carter Edison. I watched him snuggle in his gram's arms, suck on his fingers, and god help me, even yawn real big and my ovaries barely made themselves known. Well, one time, I think I detected a sigh, but that was about it. So, either they did shrivel up and die on me, or they are getting better at accepting reality and rejoicing with others, OR they are on vacation in Fiji. Either way, me and my mascara are greatful. More than that, I'm just super excited for my friend! Pretty much everyone was convinced she was going to have another girl...including me! But, in this case, I don't mind that I was wrong. :)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Freedom or a Cell?

A few weeks ago, I saw an acquaintence's status update on Facebook. It said something about finally being released from prison or paroled or something like that. Several of his friends chimed in and congratulated him. The only thing is, this friend wasn't really in prison...he was speaking of his divorce being final. His status and his friends congratulatory remarks made my heart sink. I know his wife. I know his kids. I know what divorce does to families. Most of all, I know God hates divorce. As my friend was rejoicing in his freedom, God was not rejoicing with him. I believe God was grieved. I know I was.

But, thankfully, before I could harshly judge my friend, the Lord turned his light on my own heart. He hates my sin no less. My sin grieves Him just as much. Like my friend, I often mistake sin for freedom. The steps I take in that direction lead just as certainly and swifty to the opposite of freedom. Indeed, every step we take away from God and what He calls good leads to slavery and a prison cell...albeit a very clevery disquised cell.

What my friend did in divorcing his wife and rejoicing is what I do when I choose nachos over the word or vain imaginations over being where God has called me to in that moment. Every day we are capable of, and often do, exchange what is truly good for what seems good right now. And, each time we do, we are exchanging God for a lie...freedom for prison...good for sin.

God, help us to choose rightly and desire you above all things! Amen.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

One Year Ago Today...

Since I migrated over all of my old blog posts, I have spent a little time taking a bit of a trip down memory lane. Because I'm naturally curious and nostalgic, I thought it might be fun to see what I was up to one year ago today. Here's what I found:

My oldest brother, Nicky, thinks he looks like my maternal grandpa (we called him, Pa Pa). He doesn't, really. He acts a lot like Pa Pa, or at least tries to emulate him, but there is no strong physical resemblance outside of hair color and skin tone and bow-leggedness. In reality, Nicky looks like a fair-haired member of my Dad's side of the family, especially when he wears glasses. He has the nose, the eyes, the bone structure of a Gaspard. Granted, there are a few pictures in the family album where Nicky could easily pass for a Lemoine and bears little resemblance to the Gaspards. However, more often than not, if you lay out every school photo ever taken of my poor, deluded brother, he is Gaspard all the way...except for the blonde part.
Me, I have no delusions. I look like my mom. She couldn't deny me if she tried. The only things I inherited from my dad were his "birthing hips" and "thunder thighs". Well, that is, only in terms of physical resemblance. When it comes to personality, at times, the resemblance in each of us to our parents is far more striking than the physical.
I laugh like my mom and share her inability to do math when it comes to money.
My brother Brad is not only another fair-haired version of my dad but also shares his temperment down to a "t".
Our "middle child", I think, inherited the best qualities from each of our parents. He consistently works hard, is kind, thoughtful, insightful, generous and funny without being cutting or overly sarcastic.
These thoughts came to me the other day as I was driving and listening to a new CD titled, Sons and Daughters. The theme of the CD is about our standing in Christ with God our Father. As I meditated on this idea, and the Lord brought to mind all the ways I resemble my parents, I was almost immediately aware of all the ways I don't resemble my Heavenly Father.

I didn't finish the post or publish it. I'm sure I had tons of insightful and possibly witty things to say, but, alas, they never made it into type. Perhaps my lunch break was over or I was distracted by a small shiny object. We may never know.

Around that same time, though, I also blogged about a dream where I grew fur, my response to a friend's divorce, my ovaries, and some of my people. And, that's just a small sampler platter of the seriousness, silliness, and randomness you're sure to find here at It's Just Me!

Aren't you just, like, totally excited?!?!

(silence)

(crickets chirping)

Hmmm...guess its just me, then. ;)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Another Odd Dream

The other night I had what could arguably be called the oddest dream of my life. It all started in my bathroom, however the dream had a sort of "en medias res" quality to it...which, in regular people speak means it seemed like it was in the middle of the story. I was looking at a large black, swollen area just below my arm pit. I had seen this black thing before and was growing concerned. As I examined this spot in the mirror, I looked down at my arm and saw what appeared to be werewolf-looking skin and fur all the way up my arm. I turned around and saw that the the black skin and fur was well over my shoulder and making its way towards my back. "I should see a doctor. It seems to be spreading." I thought. "Seems to be spreading?!!?" I would say so.

After that stroke of genius, I walked out of the bathroom and had another. "I'll just rub the blackness a bit and see if it peels". At first, the fur started pilling and peeling off. Then, a bit of black skin separated and turned up enough for me to grab...and before I knew it, I was pulling the blackness off like a really gross legwarmer. Only it wasn't a legwarmer and it was on my arm. And it was gross.

That is all I remember. I think even Dr. Freud would have a hard time finding the meaning in this one, folks! Though, I suspect, he might think I have a "thing" for hairy preternatural creatures. But I don't. I promise. Really.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Today's Daily Light

His mercy is for those who fear him.

Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind! In the cover of your presence you hide them from the plots of men; you store them in your shelter from the strife of tongues.

If you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile.—The Lord is near to all who call on him . . . in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.

“Because your heart was penitent, and you humbled yourself before the Lord, . . . and you have torn your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you, declares the Lord.”—“But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.”—The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

(Luke 1:50; Ps. 31:19, 20; 1 Pet. 1:17; Ps. 145:18, 19; 2 Kings 22:19; Isa. 66:2; Ps. 34:18)

Friday, July 31, 2009

Me & P-Dub = BFF4L

About a year or so ago, a friend introduced me to The Pioneer Woman...and my life has never been the same. Since meeting The Pioneer Woman, or P-Dub as she is often called (though her real name is Ree. I've never known anyone named Ree. I might name my first born Ree. Or maybe, I'll name her Rhiannon, because I've always loved Stevie Nicks and Ree would be a cute nick name. What was I talking about, again?)

Um, so anyway...yeah...my friend recommended Ree's blog to me and my life has never been the same. I said that already, but...its my blog and I can repeat things if I wanna.

Moving on.

Since I started reading her blog, I've discovered a desperate need in me to make cinnamon rolls and chocolate sheet cake from scratch; collect whimsical china place settings; eat new and strange foods like bacon jalepeno thingys, something called migas, and pots de creme; to own every lens Canon has to offer; and to move to the boonies and get a bassett hound. Her blog'll do that to ya! And, you'll probably gain some weight.

Despite these desires that are alltogether new to me, P-Dub and I do share many common interests and character traits. I mean, its like we are the same person, she and I. She loves to cook. So do I! She loves photography. So do I! She has red hair. I sometimes dye my hair red. She is tall. I am tall...er...when I stand on my tippie toes. She's a homeschool mom of 4 married to a rugged cattle rancher. I want to be a homeschool mom married to a rugged rancher...or carpenter...or plumber...or English teacher. Uncanny, huh?

I know!!

I generally check out P-Dub's blog on my breaks at work and in the evenings when I'm home...every 15 minutes or so. She likes to spring these give-a-ways on me. Kitchenaid Mixer give-a-ways! Need I say more?

Anyhow, it would seem that my frequent visits to her highly-addictive, and Kitchenaid dangling, blog has had an effect on me besides the urges for china and bassett hounds. Two nights ago, I dreamt about The Pioneer Woman. I dreamt I was at her house visiting. At the first, or the first of what I can remember, we were sitting down for lunch. Obviously, if I visit the creator of The Pioneer Woman Cooks, we are going to eat, right? So we did. But instead of the elaborate and amazing meal she serves all of her other visitors, and chronicles for us on her blog, I was handed a plate and directed to grab handfuls of fresh, raw veggies off the counter. So...um...I did. As we were sitting down at the table, one of my carrots fell on the floor. I picked it up and I ate it. P-Dub germs are like sugar on a strawberry to me! So we ate our lunch together, chatting and giggling like friends from way back, when her sister-in-law, Missy came strolling in. In my dream, the character of Missy was played by Naomi Watts. Missy (Naomi) had a bag of tortillas with her. She walked over to the counter without stopping her stride and scraped a tortilla against a halved avocado and continued on her way. Ree offered to make guac, but Missy (Naomi) gave her a polite "No thanks. I'm good." and walked out of the dream and my life forever.

At some point during lunch but before the next "scene", her baby boy took a liking to me. So, from this point forward you can just picture him on my lap or on my hip or on top of my head.

After lunch, my small group from church showed up. We decided to have our small group meeting at Ree's house. I have to confess, I was very rude to my friends. They kept trying to come and chat with me, but Ree and I were a huddled, giggling, impenetrable social stonewall. That is, until there was a rucckus outside. Sirens and screeching tires and barking bassett hounds commanded everyone's attention. So we all ran outside and the cops told us there was some drug activing going on in town and they needed me to ride along and help catch the perps. Of course, having extensive criminal background in the form of one criminology class in college and copious hours of crime TV watchin' and book readin', I felt up to the challenge and obliged to help.

Once in town, I boldly hopped into the perp's car, subdued them and carefully placed the evidence in an evidence bag.

Then I woke up.

If I'd known I wouldn't make it back to P-Dub's house, I would have at least hugged her goodbye...and given her baby a big kiss right on the top of his blonde head.

Sigh.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

This is My Beloved and this is my Friend

He is altogether lovely. This is my Beloved and this is my Friend. (Song of Solomon 5:16)

Why is thy Beloved more than another beloved? (v. 9). That was the question asked of one who was so unworthy of her Beloved that she had grieved Him until He had to withdraw himself from her. She sought Him, but she could not find Him. She called Him, but He gave her no answer. It could not be otherwise, for her thoughts were moving round herself so that there was no room for Him.

But now she forgets herself in thinking of Him and showing Him to others. She cannot find words beautiful enough to show Him worthily. He is altogether lovely, she says. This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend. And instantly she is with Him in spirit. She knows where He is. There is no more separation.

There is nothing that can surprise our Lord in our unworthiness; He knows us through and through. But it must surprise Him sometimes that we ever stay even for one minute in the dark and cold, when we have such a Beloved and such a Friend that we have only to think of Him (instead of ourselves) to find ourselves with Him, embraced by His warm love on every side.

From "Whispers of His Power" by Amy Carmichael

This is My Beloved and this is my Friend

He is altogether lovely. This is my Beloved and this is my Friend. (Song of Solomon 5:16)

Why is thy Beloved more than another beloved? (v. 9). That was the question asked of one who was so unworthy of her Beloved that she had grieved Him until He had to withdraw himself from her. She sought Him, but she could not find Him. She called Him, but He gave her no answer. It could not be otherwise, for her thoughts were moving round herself so that there was no room for Him.

But now she forgets herself in thinking of Him and showing Him to others. She cannot find words beautiful enough to show Him worthily. He is altogether lovely, she says. This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend. And instantly she is with Him in spirit. She knows where He is. There is no more separation.

There is nothing that can surprise our Lord in our unworthiness; He knows us through and through. But it must surprise Him sometimes that we ever stay even for one minute in the dark and cold, when we have such a Beloved and such a Friend that we have only to think of Him (instead of ourselves) to find ourselves with Him, embraced by His warm love on every side.

From "Whispers of His Power" by Amy Carmichael

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Faith Brings Forth Praise!

Psalm 56:4 - In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?

“Faith brings forth praise. He who can trust will soon sing. God’s promise, when fulfilled, is a noble subject for praise, and even before fulfillment it should be the theme of song. It is in or through God that we are able to praise. We praise as well as pray in the Spirit. Or we may read it—in extolling the Lord one of the main points for thanksgiving is his revealed will in the Scriptures, and the fidelity with which he keeps his word of promise.

In God I have put my trust. Altogether and alone should we stay ourselves on God. What was a gracious resolve in the former verse, is here asserted as already done. I will not fear what flesh can do unto me. Faith exercised, fear is banished, and holy triumph ensues, so that the soul asks, “What can flesh do unto me?” What indeed? He can do me no real injury; all his malice shall be overruled for my good. Man is flesh, flesh is grass—Lord, in thy name I defy its utmost wrath. There were two verses of complaint, and here are two of confidence; it is well to weigh out a sufficient quantity of the sweet to counteract the sour.”

- Charles Spurgeon, commenting on Psalm 56:4 in The Treasury of David

HT: Of First Importance

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ten Kinds of Crazy: A Memoir

A while back, I decided if I ever wrote a memoir, "Ten Kinds of Crazy" would be the title. I chose it, for no other reason than I like the way it sounds.

If I had to name the 10 kinds of crazy I am, here and now...it might be boring. As crazy people go, I'm pretty garden variety. I'm a coffee snob; I don't like my food to touch; I have issues with eyeballs...serious, deep seeded, gag-in-an-instant kind of issues; I am afraid of heights; I still, 13 years later, have dreams about missing exams in college; I regularly have nightmares about teeth. Long story; I am convinced no one really likes me and that even people who act like my friends are just being polite; I am terrified of brown recluse spiders, though I've never seen one in real life; I have a hard time eating store-bought pastries; and I am generally suspicious of dairy products.

Now for the catchy titles/headings:

Ten Kinds of Crazy by Tina Gaspard (note to self: work on a pen name)
1. The Coffee Snob or Get the Folgers Outta My Face
2. The "No Touchie" Foodie
3. Like, totally, gross me out with an Eyeball.
4. High Anxiety (thank you Mel Brooks)
5. Lost. Missed the Final. Sometimes Naked.
6. New on DVD: When Teeth Turn on Their Owners!
7. Nobody loves me. Everybody hates me. I'm gonna eat some worms.
8. Brown. Recluse. Spiders!
9. Don't Fear the Fake Baker.
10. Expiration Dates and the Big Bang Theory.


Sounds like a best-seller to me! No one steal my idea, ok? I mean, I know there are lurkers out there...people who stop by and think they don't leave a mark. But, I'm tellin' you...you steal my idea and I will find you. My cousin-in-law is a lawyer, so are three guys at my church, so...um...I'll bring it like O.J....legally speaking, of course. I won't have a knife cuz I'm not Eleven Kinds of Crazy.

Or maybe I am?

11. Paranoia on Parade?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Read the Word

This is my first webcast. It is an experiment, but meant to bless and encourage just as anything I would write on here. But I promise, next time, I will do something more to make my visage more appealing. Until then, I thank you for extending grace.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Wisdom from George Mueller

I first heard about George Mueller while listening to a sermon series by John Piper. This series, called "Men of Whom the World Was Not Worthy", is comprised of biographical sermons on great men in Christian history: Luther, Newton, Spurgeon, Wilberforce, Augustine...and lesser known greats like Athanasius, Brainerd, and Mr. Mueller.

George Mueller is best known for his prayer life and for the orphanage he ran. It is said that his every breath was a prayer and that he cared for tens of thousands of orphans without every askng anyone but God for the funds to do so.

Since he qualifies as a man of prayer, I think knowing and learning from what he had to say about prayer is good and right and would be profitable for all of us. A friend shared this with us at small group last night...and, so...I am passing it on here:


1. Entire dependence upon the merits and mediation of the Lord Jesus Christ as the only ground of any claim of blessing. "Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do" (John 14:13,14).

2. Separation from all known sin. "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me" (Psalm 66:18).

3. Faith in God's Word of promise as confirmed by His oath: "He that cometh to God must believe that He is...a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6).

4. Asking in accordance with His will. Our motives must be godly. "Ye ask and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts" (James 4:3).

5. Importunity in supplication. There must be waiting on God and waiting for God, as the husbandman has long patience God and waiting for God, as the husbandman has long patience to wait for the harvest. "Shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry day and night unto Him?" (Luke 18:7).

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Pick Your Hard

"Losing weight is hard. Being overweight is hard. Pick your hard." (HT: Quiet Life)

Pick your hard. 

Can't that be applied to any area of life? 

Pick your issue, then pick your hard...and hang on till it's not hard anymore.

Good. Practical. Kinda in-your-face advice. I think I might take it. :)

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Work of the Holy Spirit

“It is always the Holy Spirit’s work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus; but Satan’s work is just the opposite of this, for he is constantly trying to make us pay attention to ourselves instead of to Christ. He insinuates, ‘Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you do not have the joy of His children; you have such a weak hold of Jesus.’ All these are thoughts about self, and we will never find comfort or assurance by looking within. But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self. He tells us that we are nothing, but that Christ is all in all.’” - Charles Spurgeon


HT: Of First Importance

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Men

Tonight, as I was simultaneously chatting on Facebook and watching Joe Versus the Volcano, I realized something...I just really like men. I like them a lot. I like the way they look and the way they are shaped and the way they smell. I especially like when they are tall and have nice shoulders. Dirty hands are good too...sometimes. Is that weird? One time, when I first started working, I got butterflies watching a guy fix the thingy that makes doors shut on their own. What are those called? I have no idea. Anyway, I didn't even like the guy. He was actually very nerdy. But, still, I got butterflies watching him fix the door closer thingy. Anyway, I like men. I don't have one, though...so I have to like them from a distance, which is also kind of weird cuz most times they either belong to someone else or come to belong to someone else sometime in the not too distant future. But I like them just the same. If you have a man, especially one with nice shoulders, thank the Lord, will ya?

The end.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Oh...hi.

Several months ago, my life changed. And, by changed, I mean, it was taken over. My routines were undone, rearranged and mangled. My time was sucked way and utterly consumed. My thoughts were for once in my life fixed and central and nearly solitary.

What caused such a life-changing turn?

A camera.

Sad, but true.

Since photography has come into my life, almost everything else has fallen by the wayside. I mean, I still go to work and do my job and all that. But so many things that were essentials B.C. (before Canon) have fallen into the cateory of "whenver I can get to it/them".

I think I'm sort of snapping out of it now. Oh, I'm not giving up photography, I'm just trying to achieve the proper balance and priorities. What that means, practically, is getting my home, my family time, and my blogging back in order and my routines a bit more consistent.

Wish me luck...and pray for me!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Why I Love Being an Aunt

My Fridays are usually pretty predictable. I get off of work at 11:30a, do whatever I want until 2:30pm and then I start picking the kiddos up from school. I pick up my youngest niece (The Diva) first, and everyone at her school knows that Friday is Ti Ti day. Its kind of a big deal.

But this Friday, the kids were home, so I headed over to their house after work. We had lunch. We played with Photobooth on my new computer. And, we did Karaoke. After several hours of this, I headed home. On my way out the door, my youngest niece ran after me. She hugged my legs and said "I just wanted to say 'I love you.'"

After I'd been home for about 45 minutes, my phone rang.

Diva: (sounding a little sad) Hi, Ti Ti.
Me: Hi, my love. What's up?
Diva: You have to come back to my house.
Me: Why baby?
Diva: You forgot something.
Me: I forgot something? (looking around my living room, wondering what I could have forgotten) What did I forget?
Diva: Your phone.
Me.: (laughing) Baby, I didn't forget my phone. I'm talking to you on my phone.
Diva: Oh, well then you left your computer.
Me: Sweet love, I was playing on my computer when you called.
Diva: You forgot my socks.
Me: Your socks? Why do I need your socks? They belong with you, at your house.
Diva: I want them to be at you house.

Bless her little heart. She just wanted her Ti Ti there with her. 

It don't get much better than that!


Monday, April 6, 2009

Fireproof

The movie Fireproof certainly is popular these days. It seems like everyone is talking about it, watching it, doing bible studies based on it, buying the dvd, etc. Tonight, my small group is watching it together. 

I actually rented this movie a month or so ago and watched it, on my sofa...alone. Now, I'm pretty particular, some might say critical, when it comes to movies. If a movie takes itself seriously, pulls out its soap box, thinks it has something to say, well, I expect the movie to say it with no excuses...and not fudge on the actual making of the movie in doing so. I expect actors to be able to act, and act well since I am paying to see them perform "their craft". I expect the writers to provide pleasing, effective, poignant dialogue as opposed to trite and predictable drama club fare. I also expect the movie to feel real, not forced for effect or overdone. I expect to leave entertained, not annoyed...having my thoughts and or emotions provoked, not manipulated.

As I said...I'm particular.

I am particularly particular when it comes to Christian movies. I don't really like the whole ideology of providing christian surrogates for all modern forms of media, or for using movies to mold and shape and influence popular thought, in general. But, if a Christian group is going to produce a movie, I want it to be an excellent one. Typically, though, it is a cheesy one. And, typically, the "message" is seriously diluted. Modern movie makes are not afraid to be in your face about their thoughts on romance, sex, race, prejudice, gender, violence, crime, drugs, parenthood, abuse, religion, or the president, so why should Christians? Why should we soften the message that should be at the heart of what we do? Why should we have to make our messages more palatable? Why should we not say "Jesus" when other movies use His name as a swear word, and use any other word they choose, as often as they choose? Why should we have to turn down the volume? 

I submit that in trying so hard to seem normal and inoffensive, we lose what would make these efforts seem more authentic, more meaningful, more powerful...and decidedly less cheesy.

Some might argue that the budgets aren't there to produce the types of quality movies my particular tastes require. I would say that talent and heart and faithfulness to the message of Christ doesn't have anything to do with money.

Thus endeth my rant.

All that said, though, tonight, my main concern isn't so much the cheese factor as it is my own heart. There is only so much romance a single lady with no prospects can be subjected to, and I have found the need to ration myself pretty severely.  Pray for me.

Finally, a confession...cheesy, movie of the week though it was...I sobbed at the end of Fireproof.  I also cried at the end of High School Musical 3. True story.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Quote

Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace, nor are your best days ever so good that you are beyond the need of it. - Jerry Bridges

Friday, March 20, 2009

We Do Not Fight Alone.

THROUGH the night of doubt and sorrow

Onward goes the pilgrim band,

Singing songs of expectation,

Marching to the promised land.

Clear before us through the darkness

Gleams and burns the guiding light;

Brother clasps the hand of brother,

Stepping fearless through the night.

--BERNARD S. INGEMANN


WE fight not for ourselves alone. These are they--our brethren--the cloud wherewith we walk encompassed; it is for them that we wrestle through the long night; they count on the strength that we might bring them, if we so wrestle that we prevail. The morning that follows the night of our lonely trial would, if we be faithful, find us new men, with a new name of help, and of promise, and of comfort, in the memory of which others would endure bravely, and fight as we had fought. Oh! turn to God in fear, lest through hidden disloyalty we have not a cup of cold water to give those who turn to us for succor in their sore need! --HENRY SCOTT HOLLAND

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Romantic Feelings

Tall.

Rich.

Smooth.

Dee-licious. (swoon)

Beads of sweat glistening under the florescent glow of my office lights. (swoon, again)

I gaze, longingly. My breath catches in my throat. My lips draw nearer, nearer, nearer...to the edge of the cup...and I drink. I love. I am satisfied.

Coffee is the love of my life.

As a single woman in my late 30's, I'll take what I can get. Please don't judge me!

Thank you.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Song and Not a Sigh

On my birthday, the Lord gave me a verse: "The Lord will provide." (Gen 22:14) The verse comes near the end of the story of Abraham and Isaac, after Abraham has laid his son on the altar and God spares his life. "The Lord will provide" is what Abraham named that place, for God had provided an offering, and spared Abraham from sacrificing what he cherished most in this world...his hope for his future and the fulfillment of what He believed God had promised him.

In the weeks preceeding my birthday, this passage of scripture came to mind often, along with a sense that my own most cherished hope for my future - marriage - also needed to be put on the altar. It has become more and more evident to me that my desire for marriage, my certainty that it is coming, my insistent and, at times, burdensome, hope that it will soon be reality and my devotion to God cannot co-exist. Something has to die.

As I've waited, though, something has been dying. My confidence in God to give good things, to hear and answer prayer, to bless those who are called by His name, to satisfy our souls has withered and has long been languishing on this bed of despair called "singleness". Because of this one thing, this one hope, this one dream, this one expectation, this one desire - which is neither promised or guaranteed or necessary - my view of God has become small and a bit resentful.

So, like Abraham, I've tied my future hope and joy to a person and not to God. Abraham had his son, mine is a phantom, but it is nonetheless wrong, sinful, and faithless. When God led Abraham up to the killing stone, he was saying "Isaac is not the fulfillment of my promises and purpose for your life...I am." Had God not provided a ram in a thicket that day, he would have provided another offspring...His promise to Abraham would have been just as sure.

God hasn't promised me marriage. He has promised me Himself, peace beyond understanding, joy unspeakable, a very present and constant help, and all things necessary for life and godliness. I keep insisting on putting "marriage" in that list of "all things". I keep insisting that God must fulfill this "desire of my heart". But the truth is, he doesn't. He may not. He has not. And that is what I am left with now. Thus far, God has said "no" to marriage for me, but He has promised that He will provide, that He will not withhold any good thing from me, and that He will never leave nor forsake me.

I am single. I am not forsaken. Now to the living...

As with any death, there is grief. Though this is "just" the death of a hope or dream, the grief is no less real. My tears are real. The heavy, squeezing and rending of my heart is real. But God...

Yesterday morning, in my quiet time with the Lord (my first in a while) he led me to a particular, and favorite, devotional book. It said: "As for God, His way is perfect. (Psalm 18:30) ...the love of God is searching...He is partiently teaching us truly to mean [this]. ...he does not hurry us, but He does wait for us...till we can look in His face and say - not with a sigh, but with a song, 'As for God, His way is perfect!' This is victory; nothing less can be called by that shining name!"

This is what I want. This is my new hope, my new dream. This is the promise I am claiming, and trusting that God will hear, and answer.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

It's not such a small world, afterall

This morning, I got to work about an hour early. A few months ago, this would not have bee n noteworthy, but today, after many months of sleeping "in"...it is. Since I was early, and it is daylight savings time, I made sure I lugged my camera with me as I stepped out of the house into utter darkness this morning (if you can call it that these days) and headed to work. Our building is 4 stories high, and if you are brave enough to venture out on to the 4th floor fire escape, you can get a pretty fair view of the City's skyline. I thought the skyline + sunrise might make a nice shot.

When I arrived at work, though, it was still pretty dark and there was not a ray of sun in sight, so I went to my desk and started my normal morning routine, keeping a keen eye on the window and the soon-to-be approaching sun. As I waited, a few other people filtered in. One was a client who would be travelling to a meeting with some of our guys. As far as I can tell, he is of Indian descent. He stopped to look at a huge sat map of South Louisiana which hangs outside my office and asked one of our guys some questions about it. Hurricane Katrina came up. He didn't really know what our guy was talking about. I had to pick my chin up off of my desk.

He didn't know the levees broke.
He didn't know that 80% of the City (and burbs) flooded.
He didn't know our neighborhood was virtually underwater for weeks.

Weird.

As I grabbed my camera to head up to the dizzying heights of our building, I continued to be puzzled. Katrina was like national news forever. I talk to people regularly who still think the majority of the City is in ruins, but this guy...he had no clue.

Weird.

Then again, I can't tell you the last time a tornado swept through Kanasas, or a monsoon overtook a village in Africa or a mudslide destroyed a part of Mexico. So maybe it isn't such a small world, afterall? Maybe we tend to think our issues are bigger than they actually are? Or maybe this guy's been living under a rock?

I vote for rock. Who's with me?

Monday, March 16, 2009

The End of My Birthday Week.

When I was a kid, my birthday celebration consisted of my grandmother calling me before school and singing "Happy Birthday" to me the morning of my actual birthday, and a family party the weekend before or after. Highlights of birthdays past would be: my first slumber party (I sponge rolled my hair the night before and had a missing front tooth), the year I got Michael Jackson's "Off the Wall", the year I got my Darcy doll (think Bratz, only less skanky); it was the only gift my paternal grandmother ever bought me, and then there is this year. It was my first birthday week, ever and I think its going to become tradition for me.

My grandmother didn't call to sing me "Happy Birthday" this year on account of she's in Heaven and I can't even imagine what a long distance call would cost from there. I also didn't have a signficant other to share the day with, but let me tell you, my friends and family went all out to make sure I didn't miss that too much. Tuesday morning was filled with phone calls, texts, e-mails, facebook messages and repeated "Happy Birthday" wishes from a certain hairy young atheist who frequents my office. After that, my small group from church through me a surprise party. Over the course of the rest of the week, I had dinner with friends and capped it all of with a trip to the French Quarter with my family this weekend.

Now, when we planned the trip, I envisioned a beautiful, partly sunny day - perfect for picture taking - and all sorts of silly antics in the Quarter...most of them involving my brother, Brad, who has a penchant for making public displays. What we got was rain...and wind...and more rain. It wasn't the day I thought it would be, but we had fun, albeit it wet, muggy fun.




























Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My Birthday.

Yesterday, my ovaries turned 37. Well, i guess the rest of me did too, but I'm more concerned about my ovaries. I've heard that these particular organs have an expiration date on them, and the closer I get to that point in time, the crazier my emotions get about the whole still-being-single thing.

Is there such a thing as ovary transplants? That would be something! I could replace my shriveling ovaries with those of, say, a 25 year old. That would buy me at least 15 more childbearing years!! Plus, my ovaries will have that young ovary smell.

Perhaps, I need to stop saying the word ovaries now.

Needless to say, concerns over certain internal organs which shall not be named, made it difficult for me to be excited about my birthday. I thought about wearing a tiara, but didn't expend the energy to find one. I thought about inviting a group of friends to join me for dinner, but thought that would be pretty pathetic. I thought about sending myself flowers just so i could have some sort of nice surprise for the day, but thought that would be the most pathetic thing of all. So, I just went to work, and accepted a friend's invitation to join her family for dinner at their home. A nice, quiet family dinner and snuggling her newborn for a couple of hours sounded really nice...and not nearly as pathetic as my other ideas.

I arrived at my friends home just before 6pm and spent some time taste-testing a batch of salsa she'd just made, chatting with her sweet mom, and, of course, snuggling her new baby girl. In the midst of that, her husband arrived home from work and headed upstairs to shower and change for dinner. I continued to hold the baby. A little while later, after her husband was done showering, my friend asked me to walk over to a neighbor's home to get a dessert from her freezer. She was nursing the baby and he was loving on the other two kiddos, so I said, "sure" and headed over to the neighbors house.

I rang the bell.

The door opened.

A bunch of people yelled "surprise!"

I stood in shock.

The whole night was pretty surreal for me. I didn't know what to do with myself. Generally, if I'm at a social function, it's for someone else...and I am either running around doing hostess things or taking pictures. Tonight, I could do neither. I was at a loss.

A very touched, slightly overwhelmed, loss.

The party was thrown together by some friends from my church small group. They invited a few of my other friends and my family. It was very sweet...and very pink. There were pink balloons, pink flowers, a pink princess pin for me to wear and even a pink cake.

After I arrived, and some of the shock wore off, they played a game. A survey/quiz type game about me. That was pretty fun. There were questions about my disdain for my name, my baby tooth, and, of course, my love of blogging.

I love surveys and quizzes.

Then, they went around the room and took turns saying nice/encouraging things to me. This was the most difficult and meaningful part of the night for me. I just have a hard time when people say nice things to me. It's dumb. I should love it. But, I don't. I squirm inside. I feel vulnerable and exposed and weird. I don't feel that way when people say critical or unkind things to me. I expect those kinds of things...and they are easier to believe.

Yes, I've considered psycholocial help.

During this sharing time, my sister-in-law spoke up and even this morning, I get choked up thinking about it. Since she became part of our family, the Lord has led me to be a specific way with her, to be intentional and consistent in how I relate to her...regardless of what is going on or how she responds to me or how I feel. I've never communicated any of this to her, I just try to do it as much as I can. But, last night, as she spoke, I could see that she got it. She knows it. She sees it.

I almost lost it.

Then she told the "mall story", about the time I almost jumped a guy I thought was coming on to her. He turned out to be a guy she went to high school with who just happened to have a very seductive method of greeting an old friend. He swaggered over and looked at her like a lion looks at a zebra, and I said "you better keep on walking. she's a married woman." Then my sister-in-law recognized him and I was able to de-clench my fist.

I'm a bit over-protective, it would seem.

After that, my friend Lisa spoke. My Lisa. I love her. I want to be her when I grow up.

My friends Amanda, Todd, Brenda, Regina, Steve and Wendy also shared and said some very sweet things to me. I was blown away by their kindness and thoughtfulness in what they shared. I just sat there thinking I could say so much more back to them about how they've blessed my life...and how they made all these things sound so special and like a big deal when really it wasn't...I just love them. But, also, their words helped me to see a little bit more clearly the true state of my life. So often, I feel alone...very alone. I feel like my friendships are on the periphery of other people's lives and don't really make a dig difference. I feel like that a lot...but not last night. I'm very grateful for that.

I think my ovaries are grateful, too.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Quote

Our present life in Christ may be compared to that of the seed; a hidden life, contending underground against cold and darkness and obstructions, yet bearing within its breast the indestructible germ of vitality. Death lifts the soul into the sunshine for which a hidden, invisible work has prepared it. Heaven is the life of the flower. -- Dora Greenwell

Quote

Our present life in Christ may be compared to that of the seed; a hidden life, contending underground against cold and darkness and obstructions, yet bearing within its breast the indestructible germ of vitality. Death lifts the soul into the sunshine for which a hidden, invisible work has prepared it. Heaven is the life of the flower. -- Dora Greenwell

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Through the curtain that is His Flesh

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:19-22)


It never ceases to amaze me how living and active and timely and fresh the Word of God can be. I wish I could say "always is" there, but I would be exaggerating if I did. Certainly, there are days when I go to the Word and it falls flat on my heart and sounds like white noise to my ears. Those are thick, cloudy, tuneless days. But, today was not one of those days.

I can't tell you how many times I've read Hebrews 10 over the past year, so please accept "several" as a sufficient descriptor...and know that it is an understatement. In fact, know that, of all of the books in the Bible, I've read Hebrews the most in my life, with one exception: Psalms. Yet, with all that reading, all those times of seeing and mentally and emotionally and spiritually hearing the words quoted above, I never saw or heard or felt those words quite the way I did just now.

"...through the curtain, that is, His flesh..."

Jesus opened a way for us to approach the Father, the throne of God, with confidence. He made a way for us to be forgiven and redeemed and know the eternal life sin would rob us of. As the passage above says, he opened a new and living way, opened the curtain to grant us full access. This curtain was His flesh, which was opened, or torn, for us. When I come before my Father in heaven I come by the tearing of His flesh, by the power of His sacrifice...and only by this way. I do not come by a prayer I prayed, or a list of things I do or don't do, or by my own good feelings toward God, or because I'm not Hitler or even because I seek to know and love Him more. I come through the curtain of His flesh, which was torn open for me. Every time. When I open my Bible to hear from the Lord ... I come through the curtain that is His flesh. When I pray...I come through the curtain that is His flesh. When I worship...I come through the curtain that is His flesh. When I seek to glorify Him...I come through the curtain that is His flesh. Every time.

And, when I choose to sin, to disobey, to go my own way...I must also go through the curtain that is His flesh. Whether I am coming in or going out, I pass through the curtain that is His flesh. Coming in, I accept the gift, the entrance that was made for me and God is pleased. Going out, I reject it, and God is grieved.

Knowing this, then, "let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith," and go out no more.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My Hope & My Song today

From "Daily Light"...

You are my refuge in the day of disaster.

There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!”—But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress.

As for me, I said in my prosperity, “I shall never be moved.” You hid your face; I was dismayed. To you, O Lord, I cry, and to the Lord I plead for mercy: “What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness? Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me! O Lord, be my helper!”

“For a brief moment I deserted you, but with great compassion I will gather you. In overflowing anger for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord, your Redeemer.—“Your sorrow will turn into joy.”—Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

Jer. 17:17; Ps. 4:6; Ps. 59:16; Ps. 30:6-10; Isa. 54:7, 8; John 16:20; Ps. 30:5 (Read full verses...)