Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Towards Unity...

Yesterday, I came to a realization that I’m not sure I like.

I live a divided life. Half of me is with the team, while the other half is here with my family. I am not whole.

Any time I am not directly interacting with my family, I am living inside of memories of tour…

Being this way is hard to avoid. I wonder if it is inevitable. I very much dislike being divided up like this, but knowing what is wrong with me is helping.

This morning, I was sitting outside thinking about my two lives. I can either choose to really love my family and spend less time with the team, or really love the team and spend less time with my family.

Part of me says, “Choose the team. They are the people who understand you, who know who you are, who will be there for you.” I think of all the times when I have failed to get along with or understand my family or felt like I just don’t belong anymore. They have all learned how to get by fine without me. In fact, they seem to be able function better without me in the way sometimes.

Then, I remember my lonely days on tour, when I figured that it didn’t make a difference whether I was there or not. My mind flashes back to the good times I had with my family before tour… taking walks in the park, laughing, singing, talking late into the night, learning… and I think that I must choose to invest in my family over the team.

But, I’ve come too far to choose one over the other. I love the team and I love my family. I don’t know how to blend my two worlds.

But do you know what? I think I have it all mixed up. Perhaps I shouldn’t attempt to balance between my family and the team. Perhaps I shouldn’t group those I love into two separate groups. Perhaps I don’t have to be divided.

What if.. what if I was whole? Wholly devoted to God, not to some people or other people.

If my first priority in life is God, He will show me how to spend my time and He will fill my desire for belonging.

So, I here I go again, attempting to love sincerely, but knowing that I cannot love anybody unless I love God first.

Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.

–Ps 86:11

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

today, part 2

My emotional high eventually flipped around completely.

By the end of the conference day, I was really tired. After dinner, everybody split up into two groups. Most of the people watched Ice Age. The rest decided to talk about things. I listened for a while, but I found I didn't have anything to contribute to the conversation. Basically, I wasn't adding anything to anybody's life anywhere.
-----
When there is no space for you, do you squeeze in... or do you make your own space?
-----
At the beginning of tour, I often felt lonely. I would try to talk to people, but I could never think of anything to talk about. I would listen in on conversations that everybody seemed to enjoy... but simply didn't interest me. There was nobody there for me. I would spend a lot of time outside.

On one particular day (this was right after Summer Camp), everybody had been having a spiffy time. We had been out for the evening and on the ride home, everybody was talking to each other and nobody was talking to me. I tried to jump in on their conversations or start my own... both of which failed.

When we got back to the Moon Manor, I was quite lonely and rather miserable. Wendell began to play the piano in the Red Room. All my tenseness and stress began to melt away. I lay on the carpet there in the Red Room, letting my misery sink into the floor. I looked up at the ceiling. It was pretty boring: it closed off the space in the house and kept all the air conditioning inside, like most ceilings do. You could look up so far and then your eyes hit the ceiling. There was a limit on the "sky" up there. I was contained in a building.

I kept listening to the piano and thinking. Soon the ceiling took on a new meaning. It was as if I was trapped in a house. This house was my selfishness. I was trapped into thinking just about me and who was paying attention to me.

Just then, as I continued to look at the ceiling, I noticed something. In the ceiling over the kitchen area is a skylight. That's right a window in the sky. An escape! All at once, everything clicked. I was locked inside my house of selfishness, but love left a window in the skies. I don't have to think about myself. If I put others first and seek to love them, it doesn't matter if people love or care about me... or if they need me.
-----
(written September 9, 2009)
Coming on tour, there was one thing I wanted more than anything else. I wanted to understand; understand people, understand love, understand God. I wanted that understanding passionately. God is faithful and I am learning and understanding more and more.

Today, I began to understand what tour is about: it’s about people. I already knew that we would be teaching the same classes and giving the same speeches over and over again. The main difference between conferences would be the people we interact with.

In the middle of July, I was dropped into a situation called prep week, where I was told to get to know, work with, and love 10 people who I barely knew. (Thankfully, I already knew one person pretty well! <3)

Sometimes, I give up on loving others. People don’t pay attention to me and so I decide people aren’t going fulfill me. I retreat into myself. I give up on making friends. I figure I have friends at home. These people on tour don’t need me and so I make sure I don’t need them either. I become lonely. Oh, so lonely.

I imagine Jesus sitting next to me. He is my friend. He is always there. But sitting next to him is convicting. He tells me I need to love others and stop thinking about my poor little self.

How am I supposed to love people who are already happy and involved in conversations? Is there nobody for me to love? How can I love a group? Loving one person at a time is considerably easier than loving several at once.

So, I sit there by myself. Or I stand there in the wind. Alone. But so happy. I have God. I don’t need anything else… except to obey: love!
------
Tonight I chose to make my own space. I didn't want to figure out how to love others, so I hung out with God on the drive way under the cloudy sky. I wasn't needed by anybody. I was pretty sure nobody would miss me. I totally get the idea of loving others who need love, but I mean, some times people aren't needing love. They are just chill.

So, I skipped out onto the drive way. It was really rather pretty. I was tired and decided to lie down on the concrete. I looked at the clouds and told God all about how nobody needed me and how I didn't know how to love people. I thanked Him for being amazing, because He is. I thanked Him that He cared about me and loved me even though I often think I don't need Him. It was pretty much a conversation.

I was outside and rather happy to be outside. I didn't need anything about that evening to change, but it did. The skies suddenly cleared and I could see the stars. God shoved the clouds to the side so the bright stars would show. Just for me. Because He loved me. I want to love like that! People may not need me... but I can still love them and make their lives a tiny bit better. Love always can. Love never fails.
-----
I came inside, ready to love the people around me. Everybody was still involved in conversations or movie-watching. That was rough. Then Janie pulled me into her group who was listening to Tim play the piano. Everything inside of me... all my inner peace... started to crack. Janie was loving me by including me. I didn't want to be loved. I was the one supposed to be doing the loving. I didn't want to need others. My inner self was rebelling at this unfortunate turn of events. How was I supposed to feel good about myself if I couldn't love anybody?

I must remain a monster until I learn to love and receive love.
-The Beast, from Beauty and the Beast

Maybe sometimes love is not all about giving out love. Maybe receiving love is essential to understanding how to love one another. I am still thinking about it all.

This I do know: It is for freedom that Christ has set me free!

We love because he first loved us.
-1 John 4: 19

today, part 1

Today has been a very ...interesting... day. It has also been quite an abnormal day for me.

It started out in a very ordinary manner. The schedules behaved admirably and the printers decided they liked me. We made it through GECCO and the Opening Program uneventfully.

But then came my first free time block of the day! Each of us interns have little mail boxes we bring to each conference. We write each other happy little notes and put them in each others mail boxes. I decided to write everybody on the team a note. I grabbed a pack of sticky notes and my special pen and began to write.

I wrote my first sticky note. That made me happy. I enjoyed thinking about why I liked the awesome people I get to hang out with every single day. I wrote another. As I folded it into thirds and wrote the person's name on it, I started to giggle. I kept writing more sticky notes and giggling more. Hannah, Robin, and Eric were all in the staff room during this and can attest to the truthfulness of my narrative. I finished notes for the whole team. By this time, I am really really happy. I am wearing a pair of Tim's sunglasses and dancing around the room. I realized Justin didn't have a note, so I wrote one to him too. Finally, I put them all in their mail boxes.

The class block that had been going on ended and some of the interns came in to the staff room. That made me giggle some more. Tim made a face at me and I giggled and pointed to the mail boxes. He proceeded to read his note and I continued to laugh.

Of course, after my free time block, I had a class. And of course, it would be a Coaches' class. So I decided I needed to calm down. I stood up straight against the wall (think the Orotun-duh activity) and attempted to breathe naturally. I failed and giggled some more.

Determined to succeed in regaining my sanity, I walked out of the staff room and had a marvelous class.

However, that was just the beginning to my day...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Musings on tour

The bright sunshine streaming through the glass door had drawn me outdoors. The prickly grass reminded me of the fact that I was barefoot. It didn't matter. My eyes followed the expanse of grass up til the edge of the field. From my end of the field to the other end, it was a short 100 feet or so. However, on a sunny, humid Tennessee afternoon, 100 feet is a long way to run. I sized up the field again. Yep, I could do it. I set my mind to the task and place one foot behind the other in readiness to speed off. Then, all of my energy sprang into action as I launched myself across the field. Seconds later, I am one third of the way there and not sure why I decided to do this. I am panting and slowing down. Resolutely, I put my eyes on my goal at the end of the field. With this change in perspective, running is a simple task. Just put one foot in front of the other. I keep going and soon and I am two thirds through. As I look around me, I realize this a fun and then return my focus and gaze to my end goal. I throw everything I have into the last few feet and stop running with a huge smile on my face. Haha, I could do that again.

-------

While at the Moon's house during prep week, I ran the length of their backyard many many times. Each time I couldn't help thinking how much running reminded me of tour. It was a challenge I had put on myself. I didn't have to do this, but it certainly would be rewarding if I stuck it through. Times would be tough and I knew I wouldn't want to go on. But as long as my eyes are on my goal, everything is possible. I stop focusing on myself as I gaze ahead at the reason I am doing this.

Now in the middle of tour, I have thought about this a good number of times and it is a continual encouragement. I often wonder what ever made me want to leave my comfort zone for four months of my life and be constantly challenged in new ways. Sometimes, my fears or my laziness get me down. I feel too broken inside to continue communicating for Christ. However, if I return my focus to God, everything slides nicely into place. Joy becomes a reality again and I can keep on running.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
-Hebrews 12: 1, 2

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Who has made man’s mouth?

So, where to start? I have two stories from prep week, but I might save them for an applicable blog post. I guess I will start by sharing what I learned during my first week on tour:
  1. When you think you’re smart and don’t drink water on a long car trip but end up getting a sore throat, you’re not.
  2. Hot tea, honey, and lemon really do help to quell the coughing caused by a sore throat. However, as soon as you stop drinking tea, you begin coughing again.
  3. Your alarm on your phone will not ring if your phone is on silent.
  4. Consuming sugar directly before attempting to sleep can result in restlessness, guilt, resolutions of healthier eating on the morrow, and exercise sessions in the dark while everybody else in your room is asleep. Oh, and, extreme tiredness on the following day.
  5. My voice belongs to God. I’m not going to say God took away my voice, but he certainly allowed my voice to fade. It started out as a sore throat. Then I began coughing at night. Soon enough, I was coughing all day long. When I did talk, Austin compared my voice to that of a 13-year-old boy. It went up and down, high and low. My voice was the worst on Day 3, when I use it the most. I had a couple of classes and was scheduled to help with Beginning Public Speaking. Also, since it was the first day of the speech conference, I had to be part of the opening program and introduce Tim and myself. On top of that, we had the evening program to present. The evening before, I had been up really late coughing. I had tried walking around or sitting up and nothing helped. Eventually, I decided to give my cough to God. If he wanted my voice back by tomorrow, he would have to give it to me. I didn’t know if he would heal my voice or what… I just knew that God was with me. The next morning, I croaked through the opening program and Katie Mac taught one of my classes. My biggest memory from that day was sitting in the staff room, being told again and again to stop talking and to take some emergen-C. I felt like myself and had plenty of energy… just I couldn’t talk. It was frustrating. The people around me were up and doing things while I couldn’t. They would smile at me, hug me, and ask how I was doing. I felt so loved, but so weak, which I rather disliked. Kelsea prayed for me and I made it through the evening program mostly uneventfully, though I still sounded odd. (I actually, I loved the way it sounded, but it hurt to talk.) By the end of the next day, I was literally alternating between coughing and breathing. I couldn’t take more than three breaths before I started coughing again. I avoided talking and had a very unnatural evening, not being able to talk and laugh as I usually do. On Sunday, my voice came back. Not completely, but it was a huge change. I thought about nearly every word that came out of my mouth. It was such a joy and blessing to be able to speak. Basically, I could talk again!!!! I came away from that experience with a greater appreciation and respect for my voice. More than that, I realized that my voice is a gift. It isn’t something I own or direct. If words come out of my mouth, it is only by God’s goodness and I need to make sure all of those words honor Him. Or even better, I need to make sure that all of my words are His words…things He would want me to say. God has allowed me to talk and I want to be an excellent steward of this gift. My voice belongs to God.
The LORD said to him, "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say."
~Ex 4: 11 - 12

Saturday, September 12, 2009

ketchup

Hi! :)

I realized I have not been making much time for my blog. There are a whole bunch of thoughts, ideas, questions, and stories I've been wanting to share with you all... but I've been so busy.

This next week will be an off week, so my plan is to catch up on all my blogging. I don't know it what I have to say will be at all interesting to you, but if you want to know what's been going on with me, stay tuned.

I also hope to catch up on reading everybody else's blogs. I want to figure what you all have been thinking about and let it sink in. Mhm. I'm excited.

That's about it for now. Oh, if I can pray about anything for you, please email me and let me know. I rather dislike being disconnected from people and praying for you would make me happy.

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.
~Numbers 6:24 - 26

Thursday, July 30, 2009

boxes

I know men in a box, who will stay within the box...
Why?
Because they haven't the courage to break freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

I am a girl in a box. I have my warm, smiley, free-spirited self which I like very much. I don't know if I am really like that, just I imagine I am.

All of the interns at prep week have been working on an Evening Program to present to the community. I was assigned a part that required me to break out of my box. I didn't like that. I was very stubborn about it at first. I had my box and it worked for me. Unfortunately for me, I'm not in charge of the program... and so I've had to learn to get out of my box. In all truth, its good for me. I realize that now.

If only the rest of my boxes were that simple! I don't think I have to tell you that I have placed most of the interns in boxes too, only to find, day by day, that I was wrong. I am constantly learning new things and realizing my own foibles.

Then of course, I put God in a box. I thought I wasn't. Really. I thought I was doing okay, but I'm not.

I've known for a long time that I can develop relationships with others and learn many truths about God through discussions with other people. This week, I've realized that discussions aren't the only way to grow closer to others and to God.

At home, discussions are my primary form of food for the brain. I usually don't participate in discussions as much as I listen. I rarely have anything to share, but I learn so much! I love it!

Now, coming to prep week, I knew I was going to get to talk to some very amazing people. I really really really want to get to know them. More than that, I want to seek God. I want to understand!

So, naturally, I assumed that we'd be having lots of deep, wonderful discussions all the time because everybody wanted to get to know each other and God better. I was correct that everybody wanted to know each other and God better. However, I got the part about the discussions wrong. I have had some absolutely amazing discussions, but not as many as I expected.

A few nights I went to bed feeling like nothing had happened. I had this giant desire to connect with people and to understand God, but no way to meet that desire.

There are a few people here who I have decided are perfect for discussing life with me. I have tried to make some sort of discussion happen once or twice. [I apologize if you have been a victim of my attempts at discussions!] I am a terrible discussion facilitator. Besides, I argue, I am no good at having discussions. I just want to listen. I don't know what to ask people, I complain.

This evening, I saw two people having just the discussion I wanted to be part of. It reminded me of home and of Reg10n. It was perfect, except that both of them were guys. I decided it was probably a discussion I wasn't welcome in and watched from the sidelines...

"If I only I knew everybody better, so that I could participate in the discussion without it feeling awkward!" I thought to myself.

What I desired was just out of reach. I went to bed rather crest fallen.

"Things never happen the same way twice, dear one." - Aslan

So, I have been thinking about and this is the conclusion I have come to. Maybe it's a bit simplistic, but: there is more than one way to get to know people and glorify God.

Looking over the past days, I discovered that I have built relationships and learned about God while dancing in the rain, singing, listening to the crickets, watching the stars wink at me, playing Frisbee, reading the Bible together, praying together, hugging people goodnight, swinging on a hammock, eating meals, working on projects, and memorizing.

Wow.

It's been just amazing. I've sought to understand people and God better and I am understanding more and more every day... all outside of my box.

Boxes tend to rule my life, telling me how to act and how things are supposed to happen. It stinks. But I don't want to leave my box and try something new.

I miss my pre-tour life. I miss you all.

But I am here now, suffering from an overabundance of boxes. I've got to break free.

He man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.
-2 Cor 8:2

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

a walk in the park

[Most of this was written Sunday evening...]

I am leaving in two weeks. Exactly. It isn't hard for me to admit that I am nervous.

Today, I was taking a walk outside. The weather simply mandated that I stop what I was doing and go outside. So I did. It was lovely, as always.


I went by myself, which is quite out of the ordinary. I took my camera and snapped photos along the way. When I left the house, I knew walking by myself meant walking with God. Usually, I just enjoy His presence. However, today He used his creation to remind me of his faithfulness.

Truthfully, I don't think I was planning on doing anything but enjoy His creation. For half of the walk, I stopped every little while to take a picture. It was fun, but slightly pointless. Then, my camera said its battery was low, so I stopped taking photos and began communing with God. [I hope you don't mind me borrowing your word, Becka.]


Walking along the river, with the breeze fingering my hair and the sand tickling my toes, I sang. Tripping along the grassy path, with the grass brushing up against my legs and the sun casting shadows on the way ahead, I recited some of the verses I was memorizing. Sitting under a great tree, with the leaves rustling and the birds' song in my ears, I thought and listened.

This is what I heard.


While I was lying out on the grass, a fly was buzzing around my head. Three times... buzz, buzz, buzz... and three more times... buzz, buzz, buzz. God said to me, If you wave your hand, this fly will go away. I am more faithful than this little fly. Even when you try to wave me away, I surround you. I am always there.


Then I looked up and saw the leaves on the tree above me. They grow in the spring, florish in the summer, dance in the fall, and then die. That's it. God whispered in my ear, Child, you are a leaf. Life is much, much bigger than what you can see and what you think. You are nothing and your life is nothing. I am forever.


Examining the leaves brought me to the tree. Trees take a long time to grow up as tall as this one was. Much can happen to prevent that growth. But, God grew it that tall. He told me, I will do the same with you. I will make you into the person what I want you to be in my time. Trust me.

As I thought about that, I felt the wind on my face. I love the wind. It makes me feel carefree and at the top of the world. I think, "So this is life!" Then God nudged me, A cool breeze makes hot days feel cool. The wind doesn't depict reality, but fantasy. The world is like the wind. It will tell you of things that seems and feel good. Your eyes will be opened to new things and you say "So this is life!" But the world lies. It makes evil seem like good, good like evil. Like a windy day, the world prevents you from hearing the truth. Listen to me.


It was about time to go home. I walked out of the shade into the bright sun. Wow, it was warm. It doesn't matter if it is raining or storming or cloudy: the sun is still there, He said. Just because the circumstances might hide the sun doesn't mean its gone. The sun will be back. It always is. In the same way, Jesus never fails. Circumstances don't change God's faithfulness. Trust and be content.

Wow, it really was warm. Try standing up to the sun, looking it in the eye and refusing to move. You die, you wilt. You might not immediately, but it will happen. God said, You can't change Me any more than you can change the sun. I have the authority and the power. My will shall be done. Your rebellion is foolishness. He will endure. I will fail. Having no strength of my own, the only thing I can do is be humble.

Little things in God's world reminded me of big things about God's nature. I am thankful for my perfect, infinite, loving God. He is faithful.


When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust;
I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?

- Ps 56: 3, 4

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

curiosity

So... I've been cleaning. Yesterday was "junk day," when I went through my drawers of random stuff. Today was "fan mail day."

When I was much younger (and much more immature, I assure you), colleges would contact me frequently, attempting to recruit me. I loved the attention. Then, my mom gave me this form, which I filled out and sent off. Soon, even more colleges sent me even more mail. Finally, I took the SAT. It asked me if I would like to be contacted by interested universities. I checked the "Yes" box.

Thus, mail started to flood my house. Letters, packages, postcards, and CD's crowded up my drawer space. Then I put some of it in a box. That helped.

During my Junior year, the mail was exceptionally abundant. I think my record was 7 pieces of mail in one day from different colleges, all to me. Of course, I didn't just get mail. I also received phone calls and emails. I think they peaked at 4 phone calls and 8 emails in one week.

All of colleges had the same story: they could offer me the best education and the one that was perfect for me. All of them wanted one thing: me. I called it all my fan mail. I had become a celebrity of sorts. It was fascinating.

Fast forward a couple of year. Today, June 30, 2009. I am now a graduate of highschool. I know where I'll be attending college. Truthfully, I knew all along where I'd be attending college. Just, I wanted to know what other universities were out there... and I was curious to see how much fan mail I would get.

Boy, did I find out.


And, boy, did I hurt the environment too.

Yes, they sent me all of that. I believe it took about four years to collect it all.

Even now, when I've applied to Rutgers, been accepted, and enrolled, I am still dealing with the effects of my curiosity.

Exhibit A: I've received three pieces of fan mail in the past 8 days alone.

Exhibit B: I got a phone call yesterday from a university asking me to apply there.

Exhibit C: My fan mail collection.


Stacked this way, it is 3 feet and 11.5 inches high


It weighs 144 pounds.

I was curious to see how much mail I would get and now I am utterly disgusted with the answer. I charge these colleges with a breach in common sense. Never did I, besides the first time, show any interest in receiving addition information. I got it all the same.

I do feel slightly bad for all the postage and paper wasted on me. At least I am recycling it all.

Yes, I am getting rid of it. All of it. Id satis erit! Goodbye, fan mail. Goodbye, science experiment.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

fruit salad is a wonderful thing

On Friday, my mom went to the store and bought fruit. She didn't just buy ordinary fruit, like apples and bananas. She bought grapes, strawberries, and blueberries. Mmmm.

On Saturday, we made fruit salad. It had apples, bananas, grapes, strawberries, blueberries and clementines it. Mmmmmmmmm. Colorful, exciting, beautiful, it combined many textures and tastes. Delicious.

To top that off, it was healthy! Rarely do you get good tasting, good looking, good-for-you party snacks. It was blissful. :)

There were many types of food at the party and I didn't have room in my stomach for seconds of fruit salad. But hey, we made lots so I could have some tomorrow. Mmmmmmmmmm.

On Sunday morning, my mom put "my" fruit salad into a smoothie. Something inside of me died.

...

...

...

I'm okay now, but it was still sad. At least we have some berries left over so we can do it all over again! It won't be the same though. Life goes on.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

friendship is pain

Really, it is.

I just finished reading "The Four Loves" by C.S. Lewis. It was a fantastic book. Lewis talked about so many things I knew in my head but couldn't explain. He also gave me a lot to think about.

In my view, Affection is needed, but certainly not the greatest of the human loves. I don't think I understand Eros love at all. However, I do know what it isn't now. It isn't Venus. My favorite human love is friendship.*

~~~~~

Of course, it has issues too. All the human loves do.

Issue 1: It's painful when you're separated from your friends. Eros probably has it worse, but missing my friends is painful. I’m not completely “me” without my friends. My friends bring out different parts of my personality and without them I’m a different person. The more time I spend with my friends the more we become united in spirit. When my friends go home, part of me goes home with them. I’m broken up. That hurts.

You know how it is, right?

Issue 2: It's painful to others when they're excluded. And it’s painful to me when I exclude others. I do this all the time unintentionally. Almost every post I post here is about something I’ve talked about with people in NCFCA. You New Jersey people might not understand the hype about Nationals or know half the people who comment on my blog. Lewis writes, “To say ‘These are my friends’ implies ‘those are not.’” I think my biggest fear about this blog is that you will read it and think I’m not talking to you, think that you aren’t one of the friends I am writing to/about. Does it have to be like that? Can’t everybody be my friends?

Sure, all of my acquaintances have their own wonderful friends too. They probably are not depending on me at all. But if I only hang out with people I know really well, how am I supposed to get to know others? Ha, maybe I don’t need anybody but who I have now. I’m tempted to believe that. My friendship is selfless to my friends, selfish to the rest of the world.

Stop it! You know you’re wrong! Meeting people is important. Being exclusive is not okay. I know plenty of people that cause me to ask myself, “Why didn’t I get to know this person before now? He/she is SO awesome!”

Issue 3: It pains me that the Bible has so little to say about it. There seem to be few instances of friendship illustrated in the Bible. I can think of David and Jonathan, but not much else. I wonder if friendship is somehow less Biblical than Affection or Eros. The Bible does seem to approve of friendship though. Many of the new testament authors call the people they write to “friends” or “my friends.” But, most of those people they call friends are people they are mentoring, not the friendship that CS Lewis writes about. I looked up “friend” on Bible Gateway and found 172 instances. “Friendship” gave me 8 results. “Love,” on the other hand, returned 697!

Though, maybe I’m not distressed at the lack of examples of friendship in the Bible. Maybe my pain is an extension off of the fact that I don’t know how I am supposed to love God. Affection is too self-absorbed. I’m not “falling in love” with God either. Am I God’s friend? Not exactly. I can’t claim to have any interests in common with God. Yeah, I am thinking I need to try and understand charity better.

~~~~~

If only I never had to leave my friends, didn’t exclude others, and knew how to love my friends and God better, friendship would be perfect…

Perfect.

Only God is perfect.

I expect something on earth to be as good as heaven. It’s not going to happen.

What am I trying to say? I don’t know where I am going with the post. Just basically, is friendship worth it?

After thinking about it for half an hour, this is my answer: it depends on why I have the friendship.

One of the advantages of friendship is that it makes me happy. If that’s the only reason I’m in it, then no, friendship is not worth it. I will miss my friends all the time and probably hurt other people’s feelings.

However, if I’m friends with people because I want to seek Truth and know God, and if I'm willing to love everybody, then...

Pain is worth it.

~~~~~

*I really liked C.S. Lewis's explanation of friendship. From Chapter IV, “Friendship arises out of mere Companionship when two or more of the Companions discover that they have in common some insight or interest or even taste which the others do not share and which, til that moment, each believe to be his own unique treasure (or burden). The typical expression of opening Friendship would be like “What? You too? I thought I was the only one.” … But as long as each of these percipient persons dies without finding a kindred soul, nothing (I suspect) will come of it… It is when two such persons discover one another, when, whether with immense difficulties or semi-articulate fumblings or what would seem to us amazing and elliptical speed, they share their vision – it is then that Friendship is born. And instantly they stand together in immense solitude… In this kind of love, as Emerson said, Do you love me? means Do you see the same truth? – Or at least Do you care about the same truth?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Love must be sincere

Here I am, wading through my emotions and feelings and memories. What is worth saying?

Nationals is over. I know many people I may never see again, or at least for quite a while.

I feel so muted right now. I wish I could write you all a touching goodbye letter so you know how much I care.

But I don't want to say goodbye. Do I have to?

I don't deserve love, but I am given love all the same. You let me into your lives and your hearts.

Quite simply, there isn't anything I can say just now. Only, God's will is beautiful and His mercy is overwhelming.

Blessed be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like that to that above.

When we asunder part,
It gives us inward pain;
But we shall still be joined in heart,
And hope to meet again.
-John Fawcett

Sunday, May 31, 2009

language is...

Today we were folding laundry and trying to match all the socks into pairs.

Dad: "These all singles?"
Me: "Yup. We'll have to get them a date."
Art: "No, why not we exchange them for a twenty?"
Dad: "Oh look, there's the match for this sock."
Me: "No need for a blind date!"
Art: "Yeah, they're sole mates."

Language is imprecise. So many words have more than one meaning, yet are spelled the exact same way. 

Of course, language's imprecision can be funny, but sometimes it is just depressing. You can say what you mean, but because words have so many meanings and connotaions, your listener may get a completely different picture.

Take love, for instance. I am have been learning so much about love recently. I talk about, think about, and seek to understand love as much as Art likes to do the same about truth. (I am even considering writing "LOVE" on the side of my notebook.) Whenever I use the word love, it means so much to me and I am always careful how I use it. Love is a value I have,  a goal I yearn for, an abstract I cannot comprehend.

But, it sadeness me that love has such a bad rap, so to speak. I can't talk about love without people in general automatically thinking of sappy, emotional, romanic love, and often of Need-love. If I see the word "love" in people's status messages, I wonder do they know what they are talking about. Do they mean the self-sacrificing example of love God gives us, or do they mean the momentary, fuzzy-inside feeling?

That is certainly not what I mean, but love has been dumbed down and lame-ified to a point of gross error. 

The music, the TV, and the movies I consume are full of romantic love. Even Christian artists like Relient K sing about human love more than the Lover of our souls. Sure, romantic love and all that is important, but love is so much more!

Then you have all the college students who care about purity about as much as they cared for spinach when they were six. They say it's love. Short-lived and selfish, this love always takes and never gives. I think, "if this is love, this is lame."

All of this though, is just me being frustrated. I guess I would rather blame language for making love sound silly than stand up for real love. 

By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. - John 13:35

Does imprecise language frustrate you?

Monday, May 18, 2009

miss-out-a-phobia

A severe case of miss-out-a-phobia attacked me this morning and, now, I have a new blogger template too!

I found an awesome template which I was going to use... but it is coded in French and is thus rather difficult to use. I will need to work on that one some more first. 

While the process of editing my French template, I have figured out the basics of coding templates.

For example, that wonderful bright orange "pyzam.com" bar on the top of my blog? I made it dissapear!

If anybody wants me to edit your template, just send me your xml file.

[/geeky post]

Friday, May 15, 2009

maximizing my profits

My life wouldn't be the same without economics. I don't think I'll be majoring in economics in college, but I certainly do love it.

Quotes and articles about economics make me happy.

"Knowledge is the only instrument of production that is not subject to diminishing returns." - John Maurice Clarke

More than effecting my emotional (and hopefully academic) self, economics has changed the way I think.

I was on Facebook the other day, bemoaning the fact that I never can seem to spend the "right" amount of time there. As I continued to think about it, I realized economics would explain my issue perfectly (I recommend opening this photo in a new tab):


So, the idea is to "maximize your profits." Choose to spend the amount of time where you get the most profits (benefits from being on facebook) and the least costs (in wasting time). Of course you have to realize I am putting a numerical value on the benefits of using Facebook, which isn't really possible... but hey, this is economics and they do that.

I think I usually spend 10 or 40 minutes on Facebook, neither of which are satisfactory. If I spend 10 minutes, I catch up on the social basics and reply wall posts, but never have any time to show people I really care. If I spend 40 minutes, I have taken too much time off from working and it is hard to go back to work. Besides, the "communication" starts to seem meaningless. I see words and pictures in abundance... but does anybody really have anything to say that's worth hearing?

In my opinion, Facebook has two redeeming points:

1)Facebook chat! I don't have the emails of all my friends and not all my friends have gmail, but now, I can still talk to them! To me, conversations over chat are so much better, so much more real and meaningful, not to mention more FUN! than writing on your friends' walls.

2)Messages. For those of you not on Facebook, each Facebook user has an inbox for private messages, the same way the Reg10n forum does. The ability to message other people has actually been useful to me, not just fun. Earlier this week, I was trying to get my article for the ICC Chapter Chatter written and I couldn't get in contact with anybody over email. So, I messaged one of my friends over Facebook instead and I got reply soon after!

Okay, back to economics. I think I would enjoy facebook for if I tried harder to maximize my profits. Or, I could still spend my 10 minutes and use Facebook more intentionally. I don't have a suggestion of how to do this yet... it's just a thought.

How about you? Do you maximize your profits on Facebook? (Or, we can start simple, does this chart make any sense?)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

NaQuesWriMo

This month I am embarking on a journey to make me more balanced, understanding, and thoughful. I am participating in NaQuesWriMo.

Yes, you got that right: the National Question Writing Month.

While many of you are off writing novels and poems, I am going to spend this month learning how to ask good questions.

Knowing how to ask good questions means one can contest logical errors effectively, discover essential information, solve problems quicly, and build a deep friendship. It means one is alert, incisive, and interesting. 

Currently, I have very little in the question-asking skill-area. 

I tend to take things as they are presented. I rely on facts. Once I gather the information I need, I work with that. I am a sensor.

Also, I tend to believe whatever you tell me. Even if I don't believe it, I probably won't tell you because I don't want to add to the confusion or hurt you. I am a feeler.

So, questions really aren't my thing.

However, at the beginning of this year school year, I told myself that I would learn how to ask questions before I graduated. Back then, I still thought I was an introvert and knew nothing about braintypes. My motivation to learn how to ask questions based on a desire to become more "well-rounded" and prepared for life.

This spring, I figured out that I was not an introvert. I also listened in on many conversations my "N" friends had and figured out that they have quite a leaning towards asking questions all the time. Their converstions were deep and interesting, varried and insightful. I wanted some of that.

So, I decided that I would ask more questions. At first, the only thing I met with was misery. I simply didn't have any questions.

Thankfully, that didn't last. Recently, I've been working on breaking the bonds of my braintype and trying to look at things in new ways. I have found myself running to grab my little notebook to write stuff down. 

To make sure I don't slack off in learning to ask questions and to help me accomplish my goal before I graduate, I have begun NaQuesWriMo.

Here's the rules for NaQuesWriMo:
  1. Write down at least one (1) question per day. Yes, you must write it down. For best results and simplicity, write all the questions in one place. I am two days behind so far. 
  2. Deep questions only. "What's for lunch?" doesn't count. My deep questions aren't very deep, but I am working on it.
  3. Extra credit: ask somebody your question and discuss it.

I'm guessing that for some of you, this challenge is not at all difficult, but all the same, this is where I am starting. Anybody want to join me?

Friday, May 1, 2009

unworthy

I don't deserve the ability or the freedom...

~to admire
~to blog
~to create
~to dream
~to eat
~to feel
~to giggle
~to help
~to inspire
~to jump
~to keep
~to love
~to move
~to nix
~to operate
~to praise
~to quip
~to rejoice
~to speak
~to think
~to understand
~to verbalize
~to walk
~to explain
~to yearn
~to zoom

I am fallen. I am bent. I don't deserve anything but failure.

And yet, I still have no problems misusing and twisting these abilities which I don't deserve and aren't mine. Whatever happened to "By grace, for glory"? Or has it turned into "By grace, my glory"?

He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 
- Titus 3: 5 - 7

Thursday, April 30, 2009

in love...

When we laugh so hard we cry
It's the love between you and I
Something beautiful

Maybe it's a case of post-regionals blues, or maybe it's the knowledge that I am graduating, or maybe it's just because I am a feeler... but I miss my friends. I miss you.

It's actually pretty painful. I've been thinking about everybody I miss all day for the past two days.

I want to see your smile, hear your voice, listen to your thoughts.

I don't like missing you, but I can't say I mind having to miss you. Missing you makes me feel emotional, which I love.

Sometimes, I think I am in love with my emotions.

I know, I should be in love with God, not my emotions... but emotions make my life so real, so vivid.

I was made to feel, not only think...

It's sad that I would rather feel something - anything - rather than be unemotional. I would rather be extremely lonely than feel nothing at all.

It annoys me to no end that I can't always feel emotional about God. I don't want to just read my Bible, I want to feel like doing something, feel inspired.

Without emotions, I feel so disconnected. I hate that.

Emotions connect me. I like that.

But here is what I learned today about emotions:

"Although it may be emotionally satisfying to say how much I miss you or to feel the pain of separation, if those feelings do not move us to action, then it is of little use — at least to others in need of love."*

Simply feeling is selfish. I have to do something with my feelings.

I am loved and I love, but thinking about love is pointless.

1 John 4:19 says, "We love because he first loved us." It is only because God loved us that we have the ability to love others at all.

God gives us love so that we can love others. God gives me emotions so that I can love others.

Whenever I next miss you, I am going to put that love into action. 

Maybe I will write you an email, or maybe I will pray for you, or maybe I will invest in somebody else who needs love... but at any rate I've had enough of empty, selfish emotions. 

It's time for fulfilling, selfless love.

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

*I edited this quote from an article by Hugh LaFollette and Larry May which Art quoted in her persuasive. The actual quote goes "Although it may be intellectually satisfying to determine whether children have a right to be fed or whether we have an obligation to assist them, if those arguments do not move us to action, then it is of little use — at least to the children in need."

Monday, April 27, 2009

comments on commenting

(I apolgize for the rather lame/predictable title to this post. It was too good to pass up! :D)

Today, I did two things that were very uncharactistic of me.  Actually, it was one thing, that I did twice. I commented on two blogs that I never commented on before.

Why did I do it? I had something to say.

Why is it uncharacteristic of me? I think I generally asume people don't like me. I am not sure if this is normal, but I do it all the time. So, I assume people would prefer I don't talk to them, and I keep out of the lives/blogs of people unless I know them really well. Unless they reach out to me first.*

Basically, my commenting I invaded this unsuspecting people's lives!

Thus, I am cross-examining and comparing myself and my comments, hoping to reasure myself that these bloggers aren't annoyed with me.
  • Were my comments actually worthwhile? or was it just me wanting to talk?
  • Are my comments detracting from the overall flow of the post? My comments don't foster any new discussion... they were just some thoughts I had
  • Are the other blog readers going to think I am shallow now? Or did my comment just reinforce that knowledge they already had?
No, I am not looking for answers from you all. I am not seeking comments that say you like receiving comments, even from Sensors like me. I am simply working through the problem that's been plaguing me as long as I can remember. In fact, it probably plagues everybody.

The problem of acceptance. Wanting to be "cool." Feeling you don't measure up to others.

I wonder if I am "cool" enough to comment on the blog posts of other people. Or will they just get annoyed...

But all this is selfish talk! How I look doesn't matter all that much.

So, if it doesn't matter, I can comment right? 

It is hard for me to get past my natural tendency to put people in boxes and rank them by their coolness factor. In commenting, I am saying "no" to the immature barriers I set up between myself and other perfectly human people. Essentially, commenting is a hard thing to do. And I did it.

All good, right?

Not so fast, girl. You can set aside your fears of being rejected, but that doesn't make commenting a good idea. 

The Bible calls me to be wise in what I say. My blog's title even suggests that I seek to speak only wholesome and constructive words.

It is too easy just to say whatever is on my mind without regard to wisdom.

I wonder if it is worth commenting at all, since I know my words are not always full of wisdom. Commenting for the sake of a shard of wisdom that may be burried within the comment is pretty lame. 

On the other hand, maybe... just maybe... my comments encourage the writer. I know I love comments, regardless of the the contents of the comment. It shows me that people care enough to say something. I like that. 

Maybe you like that too?

At any rate, I have figured out a few things:
  1. Commenting to make myself look good is sinful (besides being impossible for me!)
  2. Fear of looking bad is not an exuse for not commenting
  3. Employing wisdom in commenting is imperative.
Overall, commenting is rather difficult for me and now you know why. I am not sure if thinking about commenting so intensely will make me comment more or less, but at least I am more aware of my motives and more focused on wisdom.

When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise. 
-Proverbs 10:19

*I am not defending myself here... I realize this is yet another area in my life that must be surrendered to my Master.  :-/

Friday, April 24, 2009

what the world needs now...

(This post was written late last night and is not written "for" a certain person. It is written more to humanity in general. Oh, and if you don't understand the title to this post, you need to listen to more Daddy-music.)

Please don't ask me how my day is going. Please don't talk to me.  I can do this by myself. 

I don't want to depend on you. I am depending on God and I don't need you. No, you don't need me either, so I don't have to talk to you. 

I'll keep my life in order, and you keep yours. If I can do this alone, you can too.

No, please do not worry about me either. I don't matter. God's here and He's all that I need.

Above all, please do not compliment me. I told you, I don't matter. God matters. Go away.

I don't want to let you inside.

....

Oh, wait! How about you? Are you okay? I didn't know something was wrong! If you tell me what's wrong, I will be there for you. I love you. I will share as much time with you as you want, if that will help. I will even tell you how I felt when that hapened to me.

"When that happened to me"... yes, I got past that. God helped me and now I can help you.

-----

So prideful. I am appalled at my incredible self-centeredness.

It is like a mixure of two problems: my unwillingness invest in others and my unwillingness to be invested in.

In a way, though, I have it backwards. I am happy to invest in others, if they talk to me first. If you invest in me, you melt my heart. 

The thing is... I will solve your problems, but I don't want you to solve mine. 

No, still not right. I would love for you to help solve my problems actually... just you make me feel guitly. 

When you ask how I am doing, I am reminded how I never ask the same question back to you. 

So, can't we strike a deal? You don't encourage me, and I don't encourage you. 

I won't feel guitly that way.

-----

I am so caught up in my own thoughts that I never even wonder what others are thinking. I never even wonder how their day is really going.

I notice that when I walk down the hall, I rarely greet people verbally. I smile at them, for sure, but hardly ever will I give them a "Hi, how's it going?" or anything...

I keep to myself. I like to listen.

...or at least those are my excuses.

It drives me off the wall that I am so willing to just listen. I am just waiting for somebody to invest in me or waiting for somebody who needs me.

I am so contradictory. Very rarely will I seek out somebody to encourage me, but I expect others to come to me with their troubles.

Why am I not aware of who's around me, what their needs are, and matters to them? Why do I live in my own little world?

Why don't I take the trouble to get up and find someone to encourage?

The kindest, most loving thing you can do is get up and encourage me. It doesn't matter what you say; the fact that you are talking to me is enough. You smother my pride and break my heart (in a good way). You know what selfless love really is.

I feel profound effect of love and it humbles me. But, at the same time, I am unwilling to give you the same love you showed me.

Unless you ask for it.

So proud.

I know nothing about love. I know everything about selfishness. 

At the Reg10nals banquet, I talked about how NCFCA has given me a heart for others. I feel like a hypocrite. 

Or maybe, I just have more problems than I realized. 

Graduating doesn't mean I'm done learning about love.

-----

I just want to show you what I mean
I just want to love like you've never seen
Do you want to live like you used to dream?
Then I've got a song for you

-----

Hey! I'm sorry about being so self-centered the other day. Please don't give up on me. 

God said he would give me second chance. I am hoping you will too. 

Yes, I can survive without you and you can survive without me. But why survive when we can thrive? We can encourage eachother. 

How about this? I'll be a bit more observant, a bit more transparent, and a lot more humble, and we'll see where that takes us. 

I'm done being selfish and independent... and lazy. This life I live isn't mine anyway. 

So, please, will you give me another chance to show you real love?

-----

"A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." - John 13: 34

Saturday, April 11, 2009

quote war

1AC
Some vague plan.

1NC
“It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

2AC
Voltaire once said, “A witty saying proves nothing.”

2NC
“The wisdom of the wise, and the experience of ages, may be preserved by quotations.” Isaac Disraeli, British writer and scholar

1NR
“Is there anyone so wise as to learn by the experience of others?” - Author and philosopher Voltaire

1AR
Charles F. Kettering, inventor, noted, “You can't have a better tomorrow if you are thinking about yesterday all the time.” 

2NR

The established way of doing things is thus so because it has worked and created stability and prosperity in the past, do not rush to change.” - Alfred Fried, winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1911.

2AR
"Most people would rather be certain they're miserable than risk being happy." - Robert Anthony, British statesman and prime minister

Who should win the round? Vote your comments!

fragments of thoughts

I spent a good portion of today thinking about emotions. I am still very confused about them. I've been writting a very long post about it, but I am too lost to go any farther today. 

Which reminds me of transparency. I don't like transparency. I could on and on why I don't like it. If I act exactly who I am (supposing that is actually possible to do):
  • people will reject me
  • I will hurt my witness for Chirst
  • people will make fun of me
  • people will like what I am, not who I am
But maybe I misunderstand transperency. Of course, people should "be themselves." But I don't think people should expose their whole selves to just anybody. 

I am absolutely terrified of transperency. But then, maybe everybody is. 

So, overall, I don't really have any conclusions to share today. Just fragments of thoughts.

Thanks for listening. Thanks for being there.

Friday, April 10, 2009

flowers

The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.
Isaiah 40:8

This post is just to say that:
  1. Flowers and spring are lovely things
  2. But like everything else lovely, they will pass away
  3. God is the only thing (for lack of a better word) that matters
  4. I changed my blogger theme/template
:)

the day i was an introvert

I just thought I should chroncle this mommentous event, and, perhaps, note what it was like.  

SePA tournament, Day 1:

Really tired. Can't breathe. Can't really talk either. I can think though!

Actually, I take that back. Katie had to spend 3 minutes of our prep time explaining the aff's case to me in round 2.

I am content to sit down and listen. Be silent and listening are beautiful things. 

When I do talk, I have to repeat myself, beacause I am talking too quietly.

When I am excited, people can finally hear me. Otherwise I am just too quiet.

I can't talk fast. I have to talk slowly in order to breathe. 

The introverted me still liked people, but didn't get up to find them. If they weren't around, I was a-ok just sitting there... zoned out.

I come home and I feel like sleeping, so I do.

Conclusions:
I have decided I was more sick than introverted. And, more tired than sick. That day, I would have been happy to be my normal bubbly extroverted self. 

Sunday, March 22, 2009

survival

The little puppy was thrilled to be taken for a walk. She surged ahead, eyes on the road, eager to get to exciting places. Sometimes, her master let her go where she wanted. Unfortunately, puppies don't have very good judgment. This one often found herself at dead ends (both literally and figuratively) when she chose the path.

Other times, the puppy would attempt to go places that looked good to her, but her master tugged her in a different direction. She hated that! She bit the leash and tried to shake it out of her master's hand. Her master wouldn't let go. She wondered what was the point of trying if she couldn't get where she wanted.

Her master told her that his way was better, but she couldn't see how. But, wow, it was so hard to go her own way because her master was so much stronger. Then, she realized she didn't really have a choice. Her master's will would happen whether she liked it or not.

So, she gave up her way and followed her master. Of course, the words "gave up" and "followed" are a bit misleading. She still liked her way better and she lagged horribly. Her master told her to cheer up and look at the lovely places he was taking her. She didn't care though. It wasn't her way and she was discontent. Eyes on the ground, she walked as slow as possible and imagined life the way it was "supposed to" be.

She couldn't last though. Surely life couldn't be as awful as it seemed. Deep down inside, she knew it was her own fault she was miserable. She could enjoy the walk that her master was taking her on, but she was refusing to.

Eventually, her master had her sit down. Trying to walk with her in this state was pointless. Seated and unable to move, the puppy looked into her master's eyes. Then, she understood. The only way to get any where in life was to focus her eyes on her master.

She could pull at, bite, or lag on her leash, but it wouldn't make a difference. Her master was in charge. As long as she paid attention to him, she didn't have to meet dead ends, get caught in rebellion, or lost in misery.

The puppy resolved to focus on her master for ever and always.

However, puppies don't always learn quickly. This one got distracted from her master so many times it was embarrassing. She really did love her master and wanted to please him.

She thought her master would give up on her, but he didn't. No matter how many times she got distracted, he was there ready to sit her down again. No matter how unworthy she was, she didn't have to earn her master's love. No matter how hard it was to return to her master's side, looking into her master's eyes was the only way to survive.

Here is a trustworthy saying:
If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
if we are faithless,
he will remain faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.
2 Timothy 2: 11 - 13

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

dogs

Dogs are a wonderful part of creation. My dog is a particularly wonderful part of my life.

It doesn't matter how I am feeling: my dog is there for me. Sometimes, she is very busy sleeping, but I can pet her gently and admire the peace she has. Other times, my sadness arouses her compassion and her slobber mixes with my tears. I would like to avoid the slobber part, but that's how she shows she cares. Still other times, I need a friend to hang out with. In between throwing a toy for her, I dance to the music on the radio.

I love having some one there for me all the time. My dog doesn't judge me or even seem to get tired of me. If I dumped all my burdens on her, it wouldn't make her depressed. In fact, she would just love me more.

Sometimes I forget about her or think she is an unneeded hassle. I have "more important" things to do. But, it doesn't last long. She has a way of squeezing herself back into my life. She reminds me of the great relationship and the fun we used to have, so I reform... again and try to spend the time with her that she deserves.

I often choose to ignore her until times are difficult. I run to her when I need her. It isn't very nice, but she is still there for me, no matter what.

God is a wonderful creator. My Savior is a wonderful part of my life.

God teaches me so much about Himself by having me observe the dog He's give me.

God loves, no matter what. More than that, he speaks. My dog is confined to eternal silence. My God corrects, admonishes, and encourages me. God and I share the ability to communicate in words.

Eventually, my dog won't live here any more. She will go on to harder, greater things in life. But my Friend will always be here. Nothing will take Him from my side.

What a friend we have in Jesus,
all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

stunning seventeen

This past year has been just stunning. Yes, go ahead and take stunning both ways. Seventeen has been both beautiful and surprising. God in his uncontainable grace has blessed me greatly.

I'd like to share a few reflections upon seventeen and a few resolutions for eighteen if you'd like to listen.

A few things I will probably remember best about being 17 are:
~Attending Nationals in Alabama
~Learning to drive (and feeling embarrassed about the bright yellow sticker on our minivan which broadcasted my driving incompetence to the world)
~Praying for and finding a new debate partner (and an very awesome one at that! God most certainly didn't forget about me.)
~Flying on 12 different planes and visiting 15 different states for some amount of time

Wow, just thinking back... when I turned 17 I didn't expect to do any of those things. Even with driving, I somehow tricked myself into believing that 17 was not the year for it.

Knowing all the different things God has taught me and the ways he's stretched me, I'm not even going to try to sum up what the biggest lesson I learned in 17 was. What I do know is this: God has met every single one of my needs and nearly all of the desires I've had this year. I am making a list of them all in my head and it is long. Going to Nats, RSAing at MASTERS... it has all been wonderful!

For this year of 18, there are several things I'd like to work on. I'm not sure if they are resolutions or goals, but they are definitely aspirations. I want to:
  • Become such good friends with Jesus that I cannot do without Him. I know a relationship with Jesus is much more than friendship, but this is something I want to work on. I want my confidence and identity in life to come only from knowing Him.
  • Live with open my eyes. Yesterday, I took my mom's laptop downstairs for a while. I didn't know she needed it, so I just left it there when I was done. Then she just quietly used my dad's computer, which has a shorter battery life and is harder to use. If I had watched what was going on, she could have used her own computer, especially since I wasn't using it. In addition, there are so many ways I could help around the house more if I only opened my eyes.
  • Talk to people as the living, breathing individual they are, not who they seem like. The fact that I judge people and put them in boxes annoys me to no end. Getting beyond what I think people are and into who they really are takes time and effort. I'm enjoying the process and hope to continue it.
  • Give people eye contact and peer into their hearts. It appalls me how much of my debate skills I keep in the debate round. I recently started thinking about eye contact a great deal. When you look some one straight in the eye, it's like you can see straight down into them. You both are thinking the exact same thing; you connect. It is beautiful.
  • Learn to ask questions. Listening is something I thoroughly enjoy. I get to hear what somebody thinks and learn about them. However, listening can be the easy way out. Listening means I wait for somebody to talk. Instead, I want to be able to initiate meaningful conversations and ask questions that show I care.
"Things never happen the same way twice, dear one." - Aslan

My stunning seventeen is over and I am ready for the challenge of eighteen. I don't know what things will happen this year, but I am going to trust God and seek to make His name magnificent through it all. During these next 364 days, I want take these ideas off my blog and put them into practice in my life. But more than that, I want to be available for God to use me and I want to be ready to do His will cheerfully.

"For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." - 1 Cor 2:2

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sleeping in

Good morning!!!

I have been meaning to wake up my blog for a long time. Now I am finally doing it! Many of my friends have recently created blogs or have been blogging very frequently, which kind of reminded me about mine. :)

October 7, 2008 was the date on my last blog post. Wow. I'm trying to figure out why I haven't blogged for a long time. The main reason, I think, is because I've been sleeping in. No, I don't mean spirtually. I am very much awake spirtually. It's my virtual life that's been sleeping. 

In October, I gave up facebook for a month. Most of my extra time was spent on the ICC Alumni Program, speech, or debate. I began to ignore my communication in the virtual world. Sure, I was still "allowed" to chat and blog; I just didn't do it for the most part.

My facebook fast ended months ago. However, I wonder if that disconnection from the virtual world is still lingering with me somehow. I check my facebook and chat all the time now, but I don't blog. One of my big three in virtual communication is missing. 

It's as if I had taken a real fast from food and, when I returned to my normal eating habits, I forgot about my vegetables. My non-vegetable foods, like grains, protiens, fruits, and snacks, are all "easy," so I put them back into my diet. However, vegetables take longer to prepare and require chewing to get through the fiber.

Basically, I decided to opt-in to the easy things about the virtual world like chatting and facebook and forget about the things that take time and thought. While fasting certainly was a good thing for me, it may have indirectly caused me to become lazy in my virtual communication. 

After my fast was over, I didn't take the trouble to communicate on my blog. I saw I could do without it, so I didn't feel like spending the time. 

However, by not blogging, I am sleeping in. Nevertheless's song "Sleeping in" inspired this whole concept. The song talks about how we would rather sleep in than face the world outside. Sure, it makes us feel lame, but it's just easier. 

Sometimes, I agrue back and say that I prefer face-to-face communication better and so blogging isn't important for me. I mean my brain type has wired me to like people, not computers. 

But...

If I am really trying to communicate with the cultural, if I am really hoping to win others for Christ, I need to know how to relate to people over the internet, as well as in person.

So, here I am, waking up my blog and my blog life. And singing the last few lines of "Sleeping in"...

Open up my eyes. 
I'm tired of sleeping in 
In a world that's dying to wake up.
{and hope does not put us to shame}