Saturday, November 27, 2010


Hello friends, I know it has been a long long LONG time since I posted. I've had a few thoughts to share, but every time I was about to write it down, something always took my attention away from it... what a coincidence, eh? NOT...

But, while I do have a few ideas still cooking in my head for some posts (stay tuned for a series on my take on the "love languages" of God), For right now I want to alert you all to a need I became aware of this Thanksgiving.

My mom found a single mom who is in an extremely tough spot right now. She just got back to the states with her two daughters, ages 9 and 15. The three of them came to spend thanksgiving with us. She just used her very first check to get them a place to live. Now they have a place, but nothing to put into it. no dressers, nightstands, lamps, you name it. Perhaps it would be easier to tell you what they DO have...

three mattresses (no box springs, no bed frames, JUST the mattresses)
a green plastic lawn table for a "dining room table"
a few metal folding chairs to sit on
and she JUST got a little money for some pots...but not a whole lot of food for those pots to cook.

So, here's my request and challenge to you. Below, I have the specific list of things they brainstormed thanksgiving night, though I'm sure they need more than this. Please look into your hearts, your belongings, anything you can think of, and ask God to guide you in your decision on what, or even whether or not, to donate.

(3) Boxsprings, (2 twin size, 1 full size)
(3) Bedframes (2 twin, 1 full)
(1) Living room set (e.g. sofa, end tables, maybe cocktail tables? bookshelves...look at your living room, what do you have in it?)
(1) Dining table
(2) Dressers
(2) Chests of Drawers
(2) Lamps
(2) Nightstands
(1) Microwave
(1) Toaster
(1) Mixer
(1) Blender

If you can give any of these (or maybe publix gift cards for groceries, or cash donations - my mom is quite craigslist savvy and can find most if not all of this stuff very easily), please comment here or e-mail me at

If any of our Restorers of Streets are reading this, please consider this as a great way to cap off our month's focus on single mothers! She's our sister in Christ, and she just needs a little help in this area. And I cannot give too much info about the job she has, but suffice it to say she would be a great connection to have if we truly want to help the needy in our community! My mom knows her personally, and we have seen the situation they're in, it's absolutely real.

They really are a great family, the girls are very sweet and sharp, with quick quick wit! Believe me, this is a hard working family who deserves our help!

P.S. My step-dad has a pick-up truck, so if you have any of the furniture, he has already told me he would be more than happy to come pick it up in his truck, so you don't even have to worry about bringing it to me! See how easy? Please, guys, lets make this holiday season special for this family!

For those who don't know what I meant by Restorers of Streets, read Isaiah 58, then pray about how you can contribute. Thanks everyone, I know we can all come through for these three amazing women!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Sun Came Up Today

I was working yesterday all alone for the first time, minus the two cats who decided they didn't like me so much... And I got to thinking...random thoughts... about church and work and family and friends and music and food... haha.

Then I started thinking, for whatever reason, about how I wanted to go help set up with the worship night we had last night with Refuge. I thought about how much time and effort it takes to put an event like that together. All the pre-planning, finding the time and date, getting materials, organizing the program, setting up, going through the event, and tearing down safely and efficiently. I thought about all the things that go into making church happen on Sunday morning. And my brain went reeling.

Then God jumped into the conversation. "Do you know how much it takes for the sun to come up in the morning?"

I thought about what it would take us to do that. We'd need trillions upon trillions of dollars for a track to hold our orbit in place, scientists to monitor the rate of motion, repair astronauts for keeping the track greased, agreement between all nations as to what time the sun should peak their horizon. Then all of a sudden everything would come to a standstill because the Earth's office CEO is placing bets against the Sun's office CEO...and an affair with his secretary... then we'd all try to catch all the news on TV, but that wouldn't happen because earth has stopped moving during deliberation, and one side of the earth burns and the other freezes...

Yes, my brain was running a mile a minute...

Then I realized just how much it takes for God to do it... He simply looks at the sun and says "ok Sun, go do your thing," and it happens. See how easy that was?

Psalm 8:3,4 "When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?"

How incredible! He's got the time to keep everything spinning in perfect motion, and is thinking of us the whole time!

God, You are all we need, You are all we truly have. Forgive us when we doubt Your ability to help in our time of need. Rescue us from anxiety. Help us to remember, You've got it covered! We thank You, Father, for being our everything!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Caro Gesu' Ti Scrivo

This was one of my favorite songs last time I was in Italy (11 years ago...I was 12) Just tracked it down and decided to share it with everyone!!

Caro Gesù ti Scrivo

(“Zecchino d’oro” 1997 - musica e testo: M. Piccoli)

Caro Gesù ti scrivo per chi non ti scrive mai,
Dear Jesus, I write to you for those who don't
per chi ha il cuore sordo bruciato dalla vanità,
For those whose hearts are burned and deaf from vanity
per chi ti tradisce per quei sogni che non portano a niente,
For those who betray You for dreams and lead nowhere
per chi non capisce questa gioia di sentirti sempre amico e vicino.
Because they don't understand the joy of having You forever with them as their Friend

Caro Gesù ti scrivo per chi una casa non ce l'ha,
Dear Jesus I write to You for those who have no home
per chi ha lasciato l'Africa lontana e cerca un po' di solidarietà,
For those in Africa, near and far, for some solidarity (not sure about this one, going to double check with dad what this line actually is trying to say)
per chi non sa riempire questa vita con l'amore e i fiori del perdono,
for those who don't fill this life with love and the beauty of forgiveness
per chi crede che sia finita, per chi ha paura del mondo che c'è
For those who think it's all over, and are afraid of the world that is.
e più non crede nell'uomo.
And no longer believe in humanity

Gesù ti prego ancora:
Jesus I beg you again:
vieni a illuminare i nostri cuori soli,
Come and bring light to our lonely hearts
a dare un senso a questi giorni duri,
to make sense of these hard days
a camminare insieme a noi.
and walk with us
Vieni a colorare il cielo di ogni giorno,
Come and color our sky each day
a fare il vento più felice intorno,
bring joy in the wind (loose translation)
ad aiutare chi non ce la fa...
And help those who don't have the faith.

Caro Gesù ti scrivo perché non ne posso più
Dear Jesus I write beause I can't take anymore
di quelli che sanno tutto e in questo tutto non ci sei tu,
Of those who know everything and yet don't know You.
perché voglio che ci sia più amore per quei fratelli che non hanno niente,
Because I want there to be more love for our brothers who have nothing
e che la pace, come il grano al sole, cresca e poi diventi pane d'oro
And that peace, like grain in the sun, would grow to be made into golden bread
di tutta la gente.
for all people.

Gesù ti prego ancora:
Jesus I beg you again:
vieni a illuminare i nostri cuori soli,
Come and bring light to our lonely hearts
a dare un senso a questi giorni duri,
to make sense of these hard days
a camminare insieme a noi.
and walk with us
Vieni a colorare il cielo di ogni giorno,
Come and color our sky each day
a fare il vento più felice intorno,
bring joy in the wind (loose translation)
ad aiutare chi non ce la fa...
And help those who don't have the faith.

Signore vieni! Signore vieni!
Lord Come! Lord Come!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Brush Your Teeth!

(I know, it's been a long time, and yes, I will keep on apologizing every time I've waited too long to post something just deal with it... ok I'm done being mean).

I had a very interesting conversation with God this morning, and as best as I can, I'd like to share it with you. I've been working harder lately on making a daily quiet time a given part of my day. I used to fear having it become simple routine, just something to do because I'm supposed to. However, I've come to the realization that in my life in particular, daily time with God is not going to become a dry, mindless ritual.

However, while I'd been doing very well each day this past week, for the last 3 days or so, my personal, set-apart time with God has been lacking. And boy did it beome evident very very quickly.

I tried to tell God that I'm just no good at making new routines... but God didn't hesitate to give me an answer to my excuse.

"Alex, your daily time with Me is just like brushing your teeth!"

And, instantly, everything else just fell into place and made perfect sense. (Beware, this isn't fluffy and pleasant...)

When you don't brush your teeth, you feel it all day. Once you realize it, you can't help but run your tongue across your teeth and sulk over that rough feeling that would be gone had you brushed. Not to mention your breath isn't all that great. Not only do you notice, but other people may notice, too... and that's never good. And not to mention the disease and death that slowly happens to your teeth and gums when not properly cared for. Sure it doesn't happen by missing once in a while. But if you continually neglect the care of your teeth, it will backfire.

All of the same is true for my daily time with God. If I don't spend that initial time with Him, I feel it all day. I know something was missed and it nags at me. Not to mention my attitude isn't as great. I notice it, and most likely, others notice it, too. And that's never good.

And of course, over time, if I choose to neglect my time with God, I start to see the over-reaching consequences. Before I know it, I've become depressed, discouraged, ready to give up. Whenever this happens, I can always trace it back to having eliminated that vital part of my mornings.

Thankfully, though, God is our healer. Once we come back to Him, and determine in our hearts to not let a day pass without spending quality time with our heavenly Father, He begins to redeem the time lost, and continues His work in us. This is why we are always a "work in progress."

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Move Me

I'm trying very hard to clean out my closet right now, and I've come across a larger-than-life box of cards, letters, crafts, etc. from ages ago. My mom gave it to me a long while back, and everything in it has not been seen by anyone in at least 3's been longer for me (I found a letter written to me 22 years ago I'd never seen before).

Anyway, I just found a song/poem I wrote. I don't remember the music for it, but the lyrics definitely speak to how I've been feeling. How good God is to give me this reminder that I wrote these words so very long ago, so long before today, when I need them most. He knew I'd come across it today of all days. So, in honor of our God, who knows exactly what we need exactly when we need it, I want to share this with all of you.

Move Me

When the music ends
And I'm alone again
Reality creeps back in
Through the back of my mind

Friends try to comfort me
With the simplicity
Of the truths they say
To give me courage, give me strength....

They tell me that

In me
There is strength to move a mountain
But I don't want to move the mountain
I want to leave it be.

They tell me that

In me
There is strength to take that mountain
And throw it to the sea
But throwing's not for me

I want to the Maker of the mountains and the sea
To move me

When the day is through
And I'm ready to
Try to sleep but
Sleep won't come easily to me

I've heard it all before
So please don't tell me more
I know the way it goes
You must have faith the size of a mustard seed

I know that only then
I'll find that

In me
There is strength to move a mountain
But I don't want to move the mountain
I'd rather leave it be.

I know that
In me
There is strength to take that mountain
And throw it to the sea
But throwing's not for me

I want the Maker of the mountains and the sea
To move me

I'm reaching out for restoration
And all I find is desperation
When will all this desolation
Let me reach my destination

I'm not asking for an easy way out
I know that's not what it's all about
Lord just please remove my doubt

Lord, you are and will forever be
My Ultimate Provider
But first I'm asking You
To fulfill my one desire

In me
There is strength to move a mountain
But I don't want to move the mountain
I'd really rather leave it be.

In me
There is strength to take that mountain
And throw it to the sea
But throwing's not for me

I want You, the Maker of the mountains and the sea
To come back down and lift me up
And move me.

Longing for Something More

I know it's been a while since I posted. I really have no excuse, since I have nothing else eating up my time.

I know this job simply wasn't meant to be. I know that I'm mostly glad things didn't work out. I know that God's got a plan for me. I know that He'll never leave me hanging. I know I know I know.

What I don't know is what's next, or how I'm ever going to be able to be a part of God's Plan. I feel so insignificant, useless, awkward and insufficient. I feel like "a bull in a china shop," as my mom used to say; everywhere I go, everything I touch, I seem to mess up. Any idea I have for a job prospect is quickly replaced by a long list of reasons I would never succeed.

Call it depression, call it pathetically low self-esteem, call it whatever you want, and you'll be right. This is mostly why I haven't posted anything. As transparent as I try to be with you, my faithful readers, I don't want to be such a downer.

But I have to be honest with you. No matter how many "facts" I have about what happened at steppin' stone, the emotional impact remains the same. My heart is broken, and I'm scared to jump back in.

I know that "God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." (2 Timothy 1:7), but right now I'm honestly just not feeling it. I know I shouldn't follow up God's word with "but"... when I was a little girl, I used to say "but" alot... mom used to tell me "anything that comes after 'but' is crap."

"But" I know I'm not the only one who has ever felt like this. And I am tired of waiting for some magic words to make me instantly feel revived and renewed. No. There is no singular verse in scripture that's going to immediately make me feel better. I may be momentarily relieved and reassured by some verses, but it will only be through daily reading and meditating on the Word of God, and quality time in prayer with my King, that I will find healing.

I'm realizing these truths as I type them to you. My emotional state at the moment is huge evidence to what happens when we stray away from daily time with Christ.

So I openly, honestly and earnestly seek out your prayers for me as I try to come back into a pattern of walking WITH Christ, not just in Him.

I hope that somehow in this ultra-depressing post, you will be blessed. I love you all and feel your prayers.

Friday, August 13, 2010

When the Door You Thought Was Open...Closes

It seemed so perfect. I'd be living a new life, in a new place, with new challenges, to serve God in a new way. I'd be facing fears, learning new things, doing things I never thought I could do, fully relying on God. I'd be ministering to girls who need Christ, making a difference in their lives a little at a time, every day.

The timing was perfect. I was down to the wire on my funds, and this job came in just in time. And it wasn't just a job, it was going to be a ministry and an exciting life.

The calling seemed to fit. The prayers of many seemed to be answered. I was ready to give up all the things I held so dear to start something new for God.

Then a week later, I was let go. For what (true) reason, I may never know. The meeting went well. They still want me to spend time with the girls. They think I'm good with them one on one, they want my singles' group to come out and do dinners and such with them. But as far as my time on their was cut pretty short.

The reasons for all of this are still so unclear to me. It's hard to believe that there is a good ending to this whole story. But I have to trust in my God. He doesn't leave us hanging. I don't believe He allowed me to go through this without good reason. I may not know that reason for a while, but I do know there is one.

I'm not going to lie to you all. This threw me into a funk. I've been very down all day. I spent some time standing out in the rain, thinking... the tears ended last night, today was more of a numb feeling.

I feel like I missed out somehow on my calling. I feel like I did something wrong and failed God, my friends, my Bible teachers, my pastors, and my family. I feel like I made a big deal about nothing. I feel a lot of things right now...and none of these feelings include clarity...

But do not despair...I have a happy ending to this. God hasn't given up on me, and I will not be giving up on Him. I had a little time when I honestly didn't feel like talking to Him, and it probably won't be the last time I feel like that. But God, in His sovereign grace and patience, is ready to take me back and get me back on track.

So I don't know what my future holds. I have no clue, and honestly, it's the best place to be. It's a strangely calming, overwhelming, scary, disturbing, exciting, wonderful feeling, and I hope it's over soon... :)

Friday, August 6, 2010

I'm Not Enough

So, I promised updates on my time at the farm, and since today is my first day off, it's the first time I've had a chance to get online. Let me tell you all it has been an amazing experience so far! I'm sure there will be days that I'll want to just curl up in a ball and cry, but I'm convinced at this point that God isn't going to guide me into anything He's not capable of bringing me through. I've already done so many things I didn't think I was capable of! And I know it's not me, but rather God working through me. I honestly have no doubt!

I would love to sit here and list everything that God is doing, but it's just so much! I really have very few words to describe this experience, except to say that God is bringing me to places I never thought I'd be, in situations I never thought I'd be in, to do things I never thought I'd do. The amazing thing is that God has overshadowed every "I" in my life, and I'm starting to learn to just say, "Ok God...I can't do this but I know you, do Your thing!"

That's really all I have to share right now. Perhaps the next update will give more material to write.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Oh yeah...

So, I forgot to mention on this blog, I GOT THE JOB!!!

That's right!! After over a year of praying and searching for work, God has provided a job for me that is not just a job but an amazing ministry opportunity!

I'm going to be working at Steppin' Stone Farms, training to be a house parent. It's going to be a very demanding, though extremely rewarding job, and it seems to be EXACTLY what God has been preparing me for!

I start this Wednesday at around 10 a.m., and prayers would be GREATLY appreciated! I am still quite nervous about it, but I know that if this is God's plan for my life, it will work out. I'm trusting in all His promises He gave me during this past year.

I was talking to my dear friend Robin Parker today and I was telling her how I wasn't looking forward to not being able to go to my church every week. I said, "why is God taking me away from my HOME!?" (emphasis on excessively whiny voice), and then I realized what I'm really saying is "why is God taking me out of my COMFORT ZONE!?"

But He never once promises our lives in Him will be easy...He does promise, though, that He will never leave or forsake us. So we are never truly alone. It is such a comfort to remember always that the same God I worship Sunday mornings at Fishhawk Fellowship Church is the same God I worship at Refuge at Bell Shoals...Metamorphosis .... Daily in my own living room... driving in the car... and working at the Farm! He's in all of those places, which means I'm not truly torn apart from my family! How EXCITING is that!?

So, I'm actually going to try to keep this post short (I always say that, don't I?), so I'll end it here. But another blog is coming soon, I promise!

Thank you all for your prayers up to this point, and I hope you will continue to pray as I start to learn how to do that which I truly believe God is calling me to!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Never Failing Love

Hey everyone!

So I haven't written anything new because I didn't feel ready to. I am going to confess to you all that I have been going through a lazy season in my walk with Christ. And I can't explain why, or give any excuse. I just know that I can't write something I'm not sure I believe in myself, and I was experiencing doubt.

Doubt is such a scary thing. The "what ifs" that come up in our walk with Christ are really extreme questions. But I know now that because I went through this season, I am now that much MORE confident of God's unfailing love, and His determination to complete the work He started in my life so very long ago.

I wanted to share with you what God taught me through this season. I prayed a while back that God would allow me to understand just how much I need Him. I'm not saying I will ever truly get it, but I wanted to renewed appreciation for my need for Christ. We pray things like that, and then we sometimes forget, but God doesn't. And God will ALWAYS answer our prayers for Him to show us our need for Him!

We sing the songs that say "break me Lord." But do we really understand what we're asking? No one falls and breaks a bone and says "oh, that was fun!" No! We fall and get hurt and say, "How did that happen? What did I do to fall like that?" We pray for God to break us, then we're surprised when He does.

I had a teacher once tell our class that if someone is saved, and then sins, chances are he wasn't saved to begin with... I've since learned that that is ludicrous, but the thought still remains in my mind. It is understood that when we accept Christ, He takes up residence in our hearts and that begins to change us. But to believe that it means an overnight change to perfection is to set yourself up for failure and a tiresome cycle that will get you nowhere. We are saved by our Redemption, but we are being saved daily via Sanctification... Both are needed.

Why? Are we saved for Heaven, just in case we die before we're perfect? Of course not! That would mean God doesn't know when we're going to die. Rest assured, nothing happens that takes God by surprise. Nothing happens that leaves Jesus going "woah...did you see that? I didn't see THAT sin coming...I'm not sure I died for THAT one....oops."

The mere thought would be laughable, if it wasn't so heart-breakingly common. We run with the belief that if we are saved we will be perfect...therefore if we aren't perfect, we must not be saved. But this is SO flawed! We are seen as perfect in God's eyes when we realize that Christ is the only way we can be saved. When God is looking at us, He sees us as perfect because He sees His own Son. We see the now, He sees the end result. How beautiful is that!

And yet we fall into habitual sins. It is these sins, not the oops-I-didn't-think-first-kinds, but rather the addictions, the habits, the ones we struggle with daily (be they anger mis-management, inappropriate films or music, over-eating, lustful thoughts, laziness, anxiety...choose your poison), that make us question whether or not we are saved.

But my recent visit back to my past life (previous struggles that made a re-appearance) taught me a few things about what happens when we open our lives up to sin (I also have to give some credit for some of what I will say here to last night's metamorphosis lesson).

Before I continue, I want to make it clear. I do not believe God makes us sin just so we can see our need for Him. He hates sin...why would he compel us to do that which He hates? It's not a making...but rather an allowing...When I prayed for God to break me, I didn't know I'd fall into my old sin patterns....but He did, and He knew that He would be able to use that backsliding season for my eventual benefit and to further His will in my life. So, God does not MAKE us sin (nor does the devil..."the devil made me do it" is just as ridiculous as saying "God made me do it"...we make our own will, remember?)

Now, back to what I wanted to say:

When we open our lives up to sin, we also open our lives up to the father of lies.

He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.(John 8:44b)

When we decide to start listening to satan, he takes his cue and starts filling our minds with lies. Lies about anything and everything. We don't even notice it... then he lowers the boom. "If I were saved, I wouldn't be doing since I'm still struggling with this, I must not be saved." It sounds like a logical statement... philosophical at best. But it turns into a fear in our hearts that, maybe we're not saved!!!

Think of when you were a little child in the grocery store. You wandered off because something looked more interesting than following your parents...and suddenly you look aroubnd and realize, "mom's not there! I'm alone! I don't know where I am! I must find her!!!"

So it is with the child of God who has wandered away. We look around and realize we're alone. And the lies kick into overdrive, "look at you, yeah you're alone because God left you. He gave up on you because you messed up just one too many times. Just give it up, you're never going to be what God wants you to be."

But all we have to do is turn around...God is right there, waiting for us to run back into His arms. Rest assured, there will be scolding involved. But it is a scolding that leads to our own healing. It is just like when we found our moms in the store... she scolded us for running away, but while we are sorry we ran off, the joy of being back with our moms outweighed the scolding we were receiving. And now that many of you are moms (and even I felt this at times when my brother as a baby would run off for even a moment), you know that while you were scolding your child, your joy and relief to have them safe and back with you outweighed your anger at them for leaving. Your scolding comes from your desire to never go through the pain again and for your child to never have to be afraid and alone like that again.

God is the same way. He longs for us to remain in Him.

"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love." John 15:9

This doesn't mean that when we wander, we lose our salvation. It does mean that there are consequences for our actions, both good and bad. And we can all attest to just how severe those consequences can be. But we have something those who are outside of Christ don't have. We have our Father, waiting for us to turn around and come back. And when we do, He will never turn us away. He will welcome us with open arms.

"But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

"The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.

"But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate. (Luke 15:20b-24)

This is how God is with us when we come back to Him. It is a beautiful celebration. A wonderful reunion of Father and child.

And the greatest part of all, is when we have the courage to be honest with eachother and share our struggles and fears and concerns, as well as the truths God has laid on our hearts. With that, I hope and pray that this blesses you. Whether it does or not, I still consider this season worth the pain for me to come out even closer to my Jesus.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


In looking back a little more, I found this paper I wrote for a science fiction class (believe it or not this was a science class...not a writing class... for HCC)... great class because it was a great teacher. Really no way to have failed. Fairly wonderful summer class from way back when. Anyway, we had to write a science fiction short story. Here was my submission...I believe I received an "A" on it...though I always did get "A's" and "B's" on my papers.

There is room for improvement and expansion, but I re-read it, having completely forgotten how it went, and I liked it all over again...I hope you guys enjoy it too! It's kinda long (4 pages printed), but worth it, I think. Anyway, enjoy!


Dr. Bourge and his colleagues were setting up for an important briefing at the Pentagon. They had finally made the discovery so many had been waiting for. They set up the charts, graphs, and result sheets, and prepared to give a presentation that was sure to shock and amaze anyone watching.
It had taken many years, but Dr. Bourge had finally found the results he’d been searching for for over 10 years. Little by little the press began to move into the room. Dr. Bourge could hear all the clicking and swiping of the cords and wires of the cameras. But no sound could possibly be louder than his own heart racing. He was so excited he could barely breathe.
Finally, he saw the secretary of state come out to the podium to announce him. As the press gave a light applause, Dr. Bourge stepped up to the podium and gripped the edges. He began with a shaky, “Thank you all for coming this morning.”
“My colleagues and I have been conducting stem cell research for the last decade. It has taken us much longer than we planned, but we have come up with some amazing discoveries. We have so far been able to use stem cells to cure Leukemia, Alzheimer’s disease, and even paralysis, in over 30 patients. Every experiment had already begun over 5 years ago. However, considering the fragile nature of the study, we decided to monitor patients for another 5-7 years each.
“We have come out with no recurrences of any of the aforementioned diseases, and we are now comfortable with our conclusions. Pending consent of the United States Supreme Court, curing of such diseases will be possible with the aid of stem-cells.”


Reverend Klein was eating his breakfast rather quietly, compared to his usual morning chatter with his family.
“Is everything alright, Dad?” asked his daughter, Elizabeth.
“Of course, Lizzie,” he answered, “Why do you ask?”
“Well, dad, you’ve been kinda quiet this morning.”
“Oh really? Well maybe it was because of the long evening I had yesterday at the church! You know, my job doesn’t end when I step down from the pulpit at the end of the Sunday service!!”
At this reaction, his little twin children, Janie and Sean, began to cry uncontrollably. Even Elizabeth’s eyes filled with tears. Her father had never been like this before, but since last month, he’d become easily angered.


Mrs. Richman was everyone’s favorite teacher. She always had a wonderful surprise for all of her students. But today, as had been the case for the last few days, she had no surprise. In fact, the bigger surprise was how she acted today. She came in with a very tired look on her face, and she sounded absolutely drained. She shuffled into the classroom and plopped her purse on the desk. “Please open your books to page 56 and read quietly to yourselves while I read the story aloud.”
Her students sadly opened their books and began to read along. But in the back of everyone’s mind was a worry about what had happened to their beloved teacher. Mrs. Richman was usually so perky. What was going on? Ever since she got back from medical leave, she’d been very different.


Mr. Madison was working on his project when his supervisor knocked on the door. He came in with a big smile on his face and told Mr. Madison he had some news for him.
“I’ve decided to quit my job!” he exclaimed. He seemed so happy, but Mr. Madison didn’t like what he heard. Mr. Brinkley had always been absolutely in love with his work. It was his first and only love. He wasn’t even married. But this was a side to Mr. Brinkley that Mr. Madison had never seen. Mr. Brinkley’s face was shining, and he had a massive smile across his face. Even his eyes were glistening. Mr. Madison just had to ask.
“And what are you going to do after you quit?” Asked Mr. Madison.
“I’m going to be a teacher!” Said Mr. Brinkley.
Mr. Madison looked Mr. Brinkley square in the eye. There was nothing about his supervisor that was like a teacher. “Why the sudden change of heart?” he asked.
“I don’t know, Bill.” Said Mr. Brinkley. “Just a change in the wind I guess. I’m ready for a new challenge anyway.” He turned and happily stepped out. He even seemed to have a new spring in his step.


Angela Michaels was cleaning up the dishes after dinner. She was very worried about her husband. He was always home in time for dinner. In fact, more often than not, he was home early enough to help set the table. But today, that was not the case. It was already 10:30, and he hadn’t gotten home or called yet. Then, the phone rang. Angela ran to it and picked it up. “Bryan?” She asked, seemingly out of breath.
But it wasn’t Bryan. It was the hospital. “Mrs. Michaels? This is Dr. Hillbrand. Could you please come to the hospital right away? Your husband has been in an accident.”
Angela was speechless. She didn’t know what to think. Then, she finally came to her senses, and responded to the doctor. “I will be there in no more than 15 minutes.”
She quickly hung up the phone and picked it up again to call her neighbor. Gina was over in 2 minutes flat, and no sooner had she arrived than Angela bolted out the door.
She arrived at the hospital and asked for Dr. Hillbrand. When he came to the waiting room. He said that Bryan had been in an accident involving a drunk driver. “I wish those drunks would just stay off the road.” She said.
“Actually, Mrs. Michaels, your husband was the one who was found to be intoxicated. The other driver is in stable condition, but I can’t say the same for Bryan. He’s lost a lot of blood, and right now he is in the ICU. Please, Mrs. Michaels, I’d like to ask you a few questions.”
But Mrs. Michaels was too shocked to answer any questions. Suddenly everything she held dear seemed to fade away. She felt hopeless with the thought of losing her husband. What if he didn’t make it? What would she do? And why was he drunk? He’d never even stepped into a bar in his entire life. He didn’t even drink wine! He never enjoyed the taste of beer. In fact, in all their marriage, Bryan had never had a drop of alcohol, except for one glass of champagne at their wedding.


Mrs. Richman came home after a long, hard day of work at the school. She had a message on her answering machine from the principle. “Mrs. Richman, this is Principle Jones. I have received some reports about your performance during this week. I’d like you to call me as soon as you get this message. If it’s too late, please just come into my office tomorrow morning, and we can discuss what is to be done about this situation.”
Mrs. Richman was rather worried about this, but it was already 7 o’clock. Even the little mischief makers who stayed in school for detention were home already. She decided to just relax, get a good night’s rest, and go into the office in the morning.
The next morning, the principle was worried. He said that more than three students had come in that week to report Mrs. Richman’s change in behavior. They had said that she was always tired and irritable, which was odd in comparison with the happy, perky, and patient teacher she had always been.
“Mrs. Richman, you’ve been teaching at this school for over 13 years. I’ve known you for seven of them. I’m worried about the way your students are describing you. I would hate to see you leave, but I’m worried that that could be a result if something doesn’t change soon.”
Mrs. Richman was caught off guard. Was the principle telling her she could lose her job? “I’m so sorry. I have just been so tired these days. It’s like all of my energy has been drained out of me. I promise, Principal Jones, I will go see my doctor this weekend.” She said.
“I strongly recommend it.” He said sternly.


15 doctors had been invited. 3 doctors had presentations. There were also 2 educators and 3 governmental officers present.
The first to speak was Dr. Bourge. “As you all know, my father was the doctor who, along with his colleagues, finalized the processes of using stem cells to heal certain illnesses. However, I have received a few reports and have decided to hold a conference concerning these situations. We will first hear from Dr. Baker.”
Dr. Baker sat up and leaned forward so as to allow everyone present to see him. “I am a therapist in Chicago. I had a patient come into my office about two weeks ago who was having some serious anger management problems. He was a Reverend at a church near my practice, and he had never had any history of poor anger management.”
Next was Dr. Millard. “I have had a patient for 10 years. This patient, let us call her Mrs. Smith, had never had any history of headaches or fatigue. However, last week, she came into my office complaining of these very symptoms. She was found to have migraines and excessive fatigue, and I still don’t know where they came from. Of course, I prescribed some strong pain relievers and asked her not to drink any more decaffeinated coffee. I still thought, though, that I should address the situation, since she had just had a stem cell procedure done to heal her of leukemia. I thought, maybe, that she had not been fully recovered, but I’m still pending a definite diagnosis.”
After these two doctors came two of the educators. “We have been studying the SAT data provided by the students who take the exam. We decided to closely monitor them, and we have found that there were 4000 students whose selected major did not match the scores. In other words, those who are much stronger in math wanted to pursue a career in some other area, one that does not use math, but rather English or writing skills, where they scored far lower. 500 of these students had had stem cells implanted to help with the diseases and disorders this medical breakthrough has been able to heal. 1000 of them had fathers or mothers who had had the same procedure done for some other reason. 1587 of them had had a grandparent receive stem cells.”
3 of the government officials came up next. They announced that 4 of their fellow officials had left their jobs in order to pursue careers that had never interested them, before they had been given stem cells.
Dr. Hillbrand came last. “I had a case last month were a man who had never had a drop of alcohol in his life, ‘except for one glass of champagne at his wedding,’ in his wife’s words, died from a loss of blood and a significant blow to the head after becoming intoxicated and getting into an accident.”
“And what is the common denominator here? All of these people have received stem cells. We are now here to discuss the possible reasons for these occurrences.” Said a solemn Dr. Bourge.
“Couldn’t they just be side effects?” asked Dr. Baker.
“I don’t think so. It seems so strange that nearly everyone has this ‘side effect’ It’s almost like this is a normal outcome, not a strange occurrence.” Responded Dr. Hillbrand.
“Excuse me. If I may speak, I think I may know what is going on here,” came a small voice from a far corner.
Everyone turned to see who had just spoken. They saw a young man with short curly hair. “I believe that we have made a major mistake. One that should never have been made. I believe that we have messed with something that was better left alone.”
“How could you say that?” Said an angry Dr. Baker. “We have seen so many people healed of diseases that we never thought we could heal. Illnesses who’s prescriptions were “make the patient comfortable,” are now easily and quickly healed.”
“Yes, but at what cost? We have seen some prominent government officials leave their jobs for no reason. We have found confusion among the students of our generation. I believe we have meddled with something we never should have. What if we don’t know as much about DNA as we thought?” Said the man.
“What do you mean? And what is your name, anyway?” Asked an interested Dr. Hillbrand.
“Well, to answer your second question first, my name is Andrew. To answer your first question, I believe that there is a whole other side of DNA we haven’t even begun to tap into. Something intangible. How do we decide to become doctors, or teachers, or ministers? How do we develop a love for certain genres of music or films? I believe there is another element we have messed with, and I will henceforth call it SNA.”
“SNA?” asked a puzzled Dr. Bourge.
“Spiritual Neucleic Acid.” Answered Andrew, with a smile.
“Oh great, here we go. Let me guess. We’re messing with God’s plan?” said Dr. Baker.
“I didn’t say this was of God, though I do believe. Let me say, Dr. Baker, that you can’t separate church and state, no matter how much you want to, and you can’t separate someone’s spirit from their body with science.” Answered Andrew.
The entire room fell silent.
“The Bible says that even before you were in your mother’s womb, God had a plan for you. We have allowed unborn children, or embryo’s as you call them, to die as a result from taking stem cells from them to heal these illnesses. My theory is that if we have kept a child from growing up to be what God intended, he is going to achieve his purpose by some other means. This could be the means.”
“So you are saying that we have messed God’s plan and have therefore set ourselves up for disaster and failure.” Said a victorious Dr. Baker.
“Yes I did say that, but this could apply to many other things. How do we know that what makes a murderer a murderer doesn’t happen in his DNA? We don’t know. We never will know, because you can’t see the thoughts of a criminal.” Continued Andrew.
“Then why don’t we just take the children of parents who aren’t prone to crime or some other immoral activity, and use them instead?” asked Dr. Millard.
“We still don’t know much about the difference between genetic predispositions and social elements. We don’t know the effect these have on a person’s actions and personality. Therefore, we can’t guarantee that the embryo would not have grown into a productive and law-abiding citizen.” Answered Andrew. “And did you all notice the increase in symptoms in the children of these stem cell recipients? How far will this go? I believe we have to ask ourselves which is more important; healing these illnesses, or allowing society to continue as it always has and keep the country safe from unknowns.”
The doctors left the meeting very quietly. They were all thinking about what had just happened in that room. They all had to ask themselves, which is more important?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Strolling Down Memory Lane

For reminders of God's faithfulness, almost nothing beats looking back on the other times He's shown up. I wanted to repost a blog entry I wrote over 4 years ago about God's Fireworks...but it was in my old Myspace account, which I haven't touched in at least 2 years... so I had to contact tech support, send a picture of myself holding up three fingers and a piece of paper with my old url...yeah it was strange...but it was all worth it, getting to read my old blogs!

I'm going to recycle some of them over the next few days only because they are still so relevant! I'm not going to edit them...(I found some errors, so that will be hard...) I don't want to alter what was written. Yes, I'm weird like that, please forgive me for it. But this one is one of my favorites. May it remind us of just how big God really is.

From July 3, 2006
God's Fireworks

I was sitting in my room doing some knitting (yes, I knit...I'm working on an American Flag for my appropriate for July 4th, right?), when I heard (and saw, a bit) what sounded like some great I went outside to see them.

Now where I live, you don't have to spend any money to go see my neighborhood, everyone around me does all you have to do is stand out on the front lawn (or in the street if you're brave/dumb enough) and watch the fireworks all around you.

Well, I was watching the fireworks...they were very beautiful. They weren't el cheapo...they were really nice...sparkly and colorful...saw a few red/white/blue ones and a few cream/white ones...really pretty...then, I heard some huge fireworks starting up...but I saw nothing...then it was silent...I was getting a bit bored...I thought, "ok these people are going to go to bed is past 10p.m. and July 4th isn't till its starting to rain." And with that...the ENTIRE SKY filled with light!

The next hour proceeded in the same way...a few fireworks...silence...then massive flashes of light that took up almost the entire sky...

My ex-fiance used to say that lightning was God's fireworks show. Although he turned out to be a jerk and we broke up about 3 months of engagement...that's one thing I'll never forget that he said. Everytime I see a firework I think to myself...yeah that's pretty...its neat how we figured out how to get that to work...but then I see lightning...and I'm left speechless...Its God's way of going..."yeah let me play too! Here are my fireworks! Hope you like them!" It was like "battle of the lights." God obviously won.

We use fireworks on the Fourth of July to remember the battles that were fought for our independence from England. While the canons and rifles didn't leave lovely colorful flowers of sparks in the sky, the sound and flash remind us of the explosions and the sounds of battle. They remind us of our independence as a nation.

But the lightning reminds me of my dependence on God as my protection and strength. As human beings, we are not "independent." Although we want to believe that with age comes independence, we are still dependent on God. We may want to convince ourselves that we are independent, but as believers, we do know better. We are fully dependent on God for all of our provision, strength, peace, purpose, joy, and love. We are always in God's Mercy.

Remember every time you see a flash of lightning, remember these verses...

Job 36:26-33
How great is God - beyond our understanding! The number of his years is past finding out. "He draws up the drops of water, which distill as rain to the streams; the clouds pour down their moisture and abundant showers fall on mankind. Who can understand how he spreads out the clouds, how he thunders from his pavilion? See how he scatters his lightning about him, bathing the depths of the sea. This is the way he governs the nations and provides food in abundance. He fills his hands with lightning and commands it to strike its mark. His thunder announces the coming storm; even the cattle make known its approach.

And my favorite one!
Job 38:33-35
Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you set up God's dominion over the earth? "Can you raise your voice to the clouds and cover yourself with a flood of water? Do you send the lightning bolts on their way? Do they report to you, 'Here we are'?

Happy 4th of July to all of you!
Next time you see fireworks,
remember that

God is the Ultimate Firework Technician! this video. It gives you an idea of what I'm talking about here.

(It's kinda long but you'll get the whole idea between 3:00 and 4:10, so fast forward to it and enjoy!)

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Dessert In the Desert

Ok...I'll admit this entry won't be fuzzy wuzzy like my cloud gig... but it is what it is, and I promise it will be orth your time.

I've been reading through the Bible in 90 days... on (my favorite website, hands down), it is one of the reading plans. I have never gotten this far into it. I usually get through Exodus and I exodus outta there... Just too many nitty gritty details...and let's not get into Leviticus...or worse, Numbers! Sheesh!!!

Well this time I've so far made it through to Judges (I'm about two weeks behind, between getting sick and being at camp), and it's been an amazing journey!

Maybe I'm being a bit dramatic here, but I honestly feel like the Israelites...wandering the wilderness. I was in a horrible situation with my family, and God delivered me from it, but now I feel like I'm wandering that seemingly pointless wilderness between the bad and the promise. I have so many hopes and dreams that, only with God on my side, can be reached! So much potential! So much...future!

So much to thank God for for delivering me from the past. Dark depression, low self esteem, poor self-image and extreme stress and anxiety were all left on the altar of the LORD and are just part of my past. By His Grace, I'm never going back to any of it!

But here I am, stuck in the middle...not getting much of anywhere... it can be very discouraging (I just hope it won't be 40 years!), and disheartening most of the time!

But then I came across a gem of a verse in Joshua. At the end of their long journey, the writer says, seemingly in conclusion to the whole messy, five-book-long story, that

"Not one of the LORD'S good promises to the house of Israel failed;
every one was fulfilled." (Joshua 21:45)

So I'm taking hold of that verse. God is a promise-keeping kind of God. He has promised that if we delight in Him He will give us the desires of our heart.

And I wish I could sit here and tell you all the great stories of how He's done that! (of course for sakes of time, and confidentiality, I can't, but trust me it's some awesome stuff) I've learned so much about my God that I never would have learned had things not gone so crazy all's sort of the dessert in the middle of the desert...

I hope that this is of some encouragement to anyone else who feels like they're stuck in the wilderness! I know it helped me a great deal. I still feel like I'm stuck in the middle, but it's not so much wandering anymore to me, it's more of a waiting on God. And I'm willing to do that as long as I have to!

Praise His Holy Name!!!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

God's Doodles

My grandma is a doodler. I'm not entirely sure that that's actually a word, but a doodler is one who doodles.

Ok, vocabulary out of the way, I can move on. :)

My grandma is a doodler. Whenever she's on the phone, she simply has to have a piece of paper near her to draw on. Her doodling is always the same; the profile of a woman with an up-do, and then a drawing of a dress, as a dressmaker might draw as a concept sketch. My personal favorite is when no paper is available. She finds a magazine and gives the models makeovers of eyeliner and longer eyelashes and bold lipliner. It's always the same.

I read somewhere (don't ask for the source, honestly I don't remember where I saw it), that doodling actually enhances our attention. When you're in a boring business meeting doodling your 1 millionth daffodil, you're actually retaining more information!

Trust me, I'm going somewhere with this.

The other day, I begged God for something to show me that He was still with me. I know He is, but sometimes I feel like He's just not listening. So there I was in the car, finally a moment of complete silence before continuing with my day. I pulled out of my parking spot and started on my way, turned the corner and saw one of the most breathtaking sights I've ever ever seen!

I honestly wish I had a camera to take this picture. It was a massive cloud with the sun in the middle. It looked as if the cloud was surrounding the sun on the sides and back... (the sun seemed to be inside the cloud), with the sunbeams pouring through the slits in the cloud. It was the closest my mind has ever come to what the throne of Christ might look like.

I'm always staring up at the clouds (or the stars). If I ever get into a car accident, you can bet a cloud was involved. Now, this isn't doctrine...I'm not claiming that this is something we all need to agree on, but it is just a thought.

Maybe the clouds are God's doodles?

Think about it. Clouds provide shade, and rain when God decides we need it. I can think of many other things that would have accomplished the same goal, but they didn't have to look so pretty, majestic, and fragile. And, being in Florida, we are blessed with all low-lying land and water on both coasts Because of this, we always have some sort of cloud, somewhere in the sky. But the clouds never ever ever look the same! I can't help but imagine God humming while he doodles. I mean, when we breathe, we take in life-giving oxygen and breathe out the aftermath...carbon dioxide. When God breathes, he breathes life into things...God breathed life into Adam. Into human beings...and we're so intricate, the best doctors in the world still haven't fully figured out how we work. And that's just breathing!

I don't think it's too far-fetched to think that God just feels like giving us amazingly beautiful creations that are different and wonderful every day, just because He wants to...

So, this sounds very fluffy and light, but I'm not kidding when I tell you to look at the clouds. Actually take the time to take it all in, look at the colors...only God can make gray look beautiful. Look at a sunset...God gets greens, blues, golds, yellows, pinks, and purples into a perfect spectrum, and it's not always how we learned it in school... (you know...ROY G. BIV)...If God wants a yellow next to a violet color...or an orange next to blue...He can, and He does!

So, seriously, take some time this week and take a look, and enjoy God's doodled post-card for you!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Stuck in a rut

Hello ladies,

I have to be honest with you all. Always have been, why stop now? I don't want to waste precious time with details, but my heart is heavy at the moment. I'm no longer depressed, by God's grace alone, but I lack the motivation to take the next step in my life. It also doesn't help that I don't know what that next step is supposed to be. All the next steps just seem too big for me.

But they aren't too big for God. I love writing on here because it makes me think things through. Though no one seems to be reading it right now, at least I am...

I simply feel overwhelmed right now. My days keep slipping away before I have a chance to do anything with them. I just wish time would stop for just a few moments so I could catch up. It's like walking with those dear friends of mine who have very long legs... one of their steps it like three of mine, so unless I'm nearly jogging, I fall behind.

That's where I'm at right now. I've fallen behind. I'm trying, though, to remember that God doesn't want us to compare ourselves to those around us. But I also need to get moving. Time's a-wastin'!

So, all of this just to say, please pray for me. Pray that God would give me the strength I need to get up and get going!

Love you all!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

God is so Good!!!

Hello ladies!!!

This past week I was at youth camp. I know many of you were praying for me, and I can tell you your prayers were answered! I cannot begin to tell you how much God spoke to me through this week...ok I take that back...I can try to begin to tell you...teehee.

Let me start at the beginning. I was trying to get over a cold. I had no voice, and if I tried to laugh (which you all know I love to do!), I would start coughing nearly uncontrollably. But I was not about to let it stop me from keeping my commitment to this camp. Between that and my job situation, I simply wasn't sure if I would make it, but I simply prayed that if God didn't want me to go, He'd stop me. Well, He didn't stop me!

Now, you all don't know this, but when I start to lose my voice, the first thing to go is my laugh...then the next thing to go is my ability to sing. I already had a problem laughing, and I couldn't sing either, but I love few things in life more than singing worship songs. So, I prayed that God would somehow allow me to sing along in worship. We tried singing on the bus, in the dorms, anywhere else, and I couldn't. But, worship music started in services, and sure enough, I could sing without coughing! I was completely asymptomatic, so long as I was singing to my Jesus.

It gave me a peace in knowing that our Lord, not only inhabits the praises of His people, He will not inhibit their praises! It was amazing though... the second I tried to turn the attention to myself and my voice, it faded... as I focused on praising my Lord, I was able to without any problems. Now, I'm not sure that I was perfectly on key (lol), since I had no voice all the other times, but I do know that under any other circumstances, my singing would have made me cough uncontrollably. And I didn't! Praise God!

Then, of course, there was the material we studied. The entire theme was spiritual warfare. And I'll tell you what...the enemy DID NOT WANT us to learn this material. But by the Grace of God, and by His protection, we all learned so much about the power of God and the deception and weakness of satan. The devil was exposed for the weakling, good-for-nothing, toothless lion that he is. Many teens surrendered many areas of their lives to God. 39 students accepted Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. Truth was taught, Truth was learned. My prayer is that these amazing teenagers of ours will be able to teach us, their friends, and even their parents, a thing or two about their Glorious Jesus!

I feel so much closer to our teens after this week, and the Lord solidified in my heart that this is what He wants me to do. The heart I have for our teens (especially our girls), is huge. So many areas of my life have come full circle, and God revealed so many things in my heart. Now, the question is no longer, "what?" Now it's "How?" I know I will be relying on God fully during all of this, and I am trusting Him completely on this journey, but there are still some things I don't know.

I'm still looking for an income, but if I have to give up some things for the sake of God's plan for my life, I'm willing to do it! I know that being in God's Will is the safest place I can possibly be. When I consider that my eternity is, well, eternal...compared to it, my life on here is but a vapor! (Psalm 144:4).

God has given me the privilege and pleasure of enjoying so many beautiful things around me. I praise Him for delivering me from the darkness of the deep depression I was in, and for bringing me to a place of belonging and purpose!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Blind Spot Information Systems and Workout Playlists
So, every time I see the commercials for this thing, and similar technologies (I believe Ford came out with one), I can't help but rant to myself...but why keep the genius thinking to myself?

God gave me a blind-spot detection system for free! It's called.... (drumroll please...)...a NECK!!! Just turn for a second before changing yourself the money and use what God gave you! Stop trying to drive like you're in a spy movie and everything will be fine...teehee... ok I'm done ranting...for now...

Ok, so enough of that... I have a small update to make in the fitness area of my life. Tobymac is going to help me lose weight! (Man, how awesome would that be for him to do, I don't know, some sort of combo Tae Bo and Zumba class?) No, he's not personally helping me, but I took some of the faster, more extreme songs from his albums (the ones less likely to ever hit The Joy FM's day-time playlist), and put together a workout cd (with one track each from Jake Smith and the Crossing Live.)

The great thing about this cd is that, because I absolutely LOVE Tobymac (and, really, who doesn't?), I can exercise as long as Toby sings! currently the cd is 40 minutes long, but I can easily add more of his amazing stuff on there...the posibilities are endless...and yay for repeat features on cd players! HAHA!
So, I cannot wait to lose all this weight and be able to say Toby helped...maybe we can convince him to do a workout video? Hmmm....the wheels in my head are turning now!

Monday, June 7, 2010

An Itch for Updating

Hello to my sisters!

I've been incredibly busy this past week. Little things here and there, but finally getting my head back in the game. I refreshed some of my office skills at the church office helping out with a few projects. I was so grateful to them for giving me so much to do. It's nice to feel useful like I used to in my old jobs. Gotta love the binding machine! My favorite!!! Yes, I know, this makes me odd.

I also spent the weekend house-sitting. I had a blast with all three ladies of the house, and had a more relaxing weekend than I would have even had at home. It was a wonderful time of "chilaxing," playing Life, watching many many youtube music videos (yay Silly Songs!), and watching some documentary about the world's strongest toddler (kid's stonger than me, sheesh...ok, maybe not so much).

Sunday was the day we chose to celebrate my dad's birthday. Mom suggested that I take him to Anthony's Coal-Fired Pizza on 60. Since he wasn't in a very celebratory mood (is he really ever?), I honestly wasn't sure he'd go anywhere...much less a place he'd never been to. But I came home, went into my room, and said a little prayer. To my surprise (why was I surprised?), he VERY willingly came to the restaurant. It was a fun time with dad, daughter, and son. How wonderful it is to know that God even cares about the seemengly little prayers in our lives? :-)

On the slightly negative side, I think my knee is arthritic. I feel old, unable to walk in a normal fashion, though, praise God, it is feeling a little bit better. Yesterday was pretty intense, though, with quite a bit of pain that was hard to mask in the church. Luckily, I was surrounded by my church-family, which always brings me joy, so it was much easier to keep the smile on my face!

I love you all, my sweet sisters in Christ! I hope you realize just how important you all are to me. Each and every one of you have blessed me in some specific way, and you are more family to me than any of my own family. I've heard it said that friends are God's way of apologizing for family, but I disagree. I believe when we accept Christ, we become a part of His family, and we need to see our brothers and sisters in Christ like family and not just like friends. In fact, I think if we really saw it like that, there wouldn't be any church-hopping over petty differences and hurt feelings. If we realize that we'll be spending eternity together, we see eachother differently (ok, getting off my soap box now). And that is how I see you all... when I say sisters, I MEAN sisters! I never had a sister, but now that I'm getting older and more on my own, God has blessed me with tons of amazing sisters to love and be loved by. Praise Jesus!!!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Right Place, Right Time

Since You are my rock and my fortress,
for the sake of Your Name
lead and guide me.
Psalm 31:3
Hello Sisters!

I simply had to take some time and share with you something that happened on Thursday. I wasn't going to, but it ties into so many of my themes for this blog, so I just couldn't resist!

I was coming back home from a meeting, and I suddenly had a craving for something from Checkers... I didn't even know which greasy, horrible burger I wanted, but I knew that I knew that I knew, I wanted those fries! I mean, come on, they have the best fast food fries around!

But as I was driving closer to my home, the Lord began to convict me of my eating habits, and before I knew it I was instead craving my chicken salad sandwich (my friends in meta know the chicken salad I'm talking about...I made it as a snack once). But, I had no chicken, and no red onion (I'm sorry, but it's just not my chicken salad without the red onion), so I went to the supermarket to get my ingredients.

I was driving down the road towards my apartment, and I saw a girl, about my own age, with a neck brace, limping. So I pulled over to ask her if she was ok. Long long story short, she said she had been hit by a car. She was going into shock and she was very disoriented. I tried to offer to make a phone call for her (her cell phone battery was dead and she couldn't even call 911), but she said, no, that it was ok, that she was going to try to go back to the scene of the accident and see if the driver was going to come back.

She turned around and started to walk back to where it all happened, but she didn't make it more than about 30 feet, before she fell on her back, in the grass, and began seizing. I had let her start walking away, but I didn't let her out of my sight. I called 911 and help miraculously came in record time. It looked like she was going to be ok, barring her accident injuries.

I am not trying to show off, and I'm not in the running for a good citizens award. I'm only sharing this story with you, so that I can show how important it is to listen to God's voice. Had I ignored Him, and gone to Checkers instead, I would have taken a completely different route home and I wouldn't have seen this woman. and it was in a more secluded area, and I didn't see anyone else coming out to see her until law enforcement and the paramedics pulled in. Also, because I had stopped to talk to her, she turned a different direction than she was going...she was very near a street, and had she collapsed in the street, who knows what could have happened? All this to say I have no idea how long it would have taken someone else to find her and get her. help.

I haven't gotten out of the house much since losing my job. If I'm out of the house, it's normally for something church- or mom-related. I very rarely leave for any other reason. It was a blessing in my life to have been in the right place and the right time, and I ask that you pray for this young woman. I only caught her first name, which I will also leave private. God know who she is, even if we don't.

I'm not sure how many opportunities I've lost to help others, or to share God's love and truth. The thought breaks my heart, though, because I know I've missed more chances than I should have. But thank God for His grace! Nothing is wasted with Him, and it is still not too late to choose to take the moment we are in (that's right, right now), and obey Him. We cannot change the past, but we can make a decision for our present, and leave our future in His hands. If we trust Him to lead and guide us in His will and love, we simply can't go wrong!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hello to my dearest friends!

In case you didn't notice, it's been a LONG time since I've posted anything on this blog. I have a few reasons for this, none of which are very good excuses, but they are what they are.

First off...I've lost pretty much no weight at all... I think around month two, when I realized I'd lost a grand total of 4 pounds, my 10 pound a month goal wasn't going to happen. But, things are changing in my life and list of priorities, with exercising and getting into all-around better health being in my top 5 (don't fret, my "priority list" is quite detailed, so to give it a 5 isn't bad at all...).

Second, up until about two months ago, I didn't have internet access at home. Now I do! By God's grace and provision, I was able to purchase a netbook (very affordable, fyi) for my apartment. Now I am able to update all the time, and I most certainly plan to!

Third, I've been ridiculously depressed. In the name of transparency, I've been down in the dumps. Being unemployed and not having much to do each day takes a toll on a person's self-esteem and self-worth. I can feel myself slowly climbing out of this pit, though (Not quite fully out yet, but I'm praising God in advance for what I know He's going to do in my life).

One thing that He has been driving home to me more often each day, is that I need to stop looking to my "self-esteem" and "self-worth". Now, don't get me wrong here, we all (sisters in Christ) have beautiful worth and value because we are God's children. We are His princesses, children of the King!

For a while now, though, I've had a really hard time finding any value in myself. I had started feeling that to say that "well, Jesus loves me" was just a mantra for losers who have no one else who likes them all that much. Like when the nerds we grew up with insisted, "well, my mom loves me!" Of course...she's your mom...what else is she going to do? For a season, I honestly felt that the love of God was my last resort. If all else fails, I can lean on God.

I'd like you to take a second and watch this YouTube video.

The Awe Factor of God - Francis Chan

Please don't misunderstand me, I've known about this video for a few months now, and I'll be honest with you, it still hasn't fully hit me. I haven't seen it and gone, "oh well, in that case, I can now change every negative thought about myself, because God, being this big, still loves me." It's been a process, I promise you. But the more I think about this video, and just how big God actually is (we'll never truly know until we get to see Him), the more I stand in awe.

Now, one way to look at this video is to say, "wow we must be pretty special if God cares so much for us to send His Son to die for us. As tiny as we are, He still cares." This is true. God sees us as special to Him, and He does care enough for us today to pursue us with all His Heart until we finally get it.

But, the main point I'm finally starting to get from all of this, is we need to drop the need for high "self-esteem," and focus on our "God-esteem"! We would be NOTHING without our Savior, and yet we keep trying to find ways for our relationship with God to make US more special! What a warped view!

Up until recently, I was in this race for me. Trying to do all I could so God would like me more, or be more pleased with me. Sadly, though I knew Jesus is the only reason I'm getting into Heaven, I was living as if I had to help Him make my case! Like, "well I've done this this this and that over there, and I was part of this event and I gave some money to this homeless person and I tried to be patient with my grandmother and, oh yeah, I also accepted Christ."

I hate to even put this into words. The thought of it makes me sick! How could I think Jesus needed my help!?

If we believe we need to do something on our part (works-based faith) beyond accepting Christ into our lives, in order to be saved, we are in effect telling Jesus His sacrifice was insufficient...

2 Corinthians 12:9a
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

So, if His grace is sufficient...but we claim He's insufficient, we're calling Jesus was a liar, then He wasn't the truth... so who is it that we worship?

No, our God is sufficient for all of our needs. He will never leave us or forsake us, and there is nothing that can separate us from His love!

So, ladies, as you ponder these truths, and as I pray for all of you, please continue to pray for me, because I'm still battling this fact in my heart. Pulling away from self-esteem to focus more on God-esteem is not an easy task, but I'm trusting that God isn't going to give up on me until His work is completed in my life!

I love you all my dear sisters! God bless you!!!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Value of Time

Hey everyone!

Ok so I haven't posted about my weight loss because between family emergencies and getting the worst flu/cold/I don't know what in all of history, I haven't been to the gym, and I've pretty much eaten all things creamy that would make my throat better...somehow my family still says I'm looking thinner, but I'm not really buying it...Anyway I had promised that I'd also share with you things that God has impressed on my heart, so here goes!

Last week (was it last week? time flies) President Obama visited my alma mater to discuss multiple issues, including the high-speed rail system that is about to begin in our area. Now, I'm not going to discuss politics, though I think it's safe to assume how everyone among my current followers feels about him. That is not the issue I want to talk about though, what I want to share with you is what God wants us to consider about time.

One of my professors, Dr. Beckman, argued that no matter where we stood politically regarding the president, we should still be proud that our current leader, whoever he may be, chose the University of Tampa to hold his town hall meeting. This was the first time a sitting president came to our university. He also told me that President Reagan came to the Bay Area but instead spoke at USF...which was a major disappointment at UT. This professor is also a graduate of the university, so we did have to share the pride for a moment that someone so important chose our humble little campus.

But I had to ask myself one question. Would it have been so awesome if Obama came while he was a US congressman from Illinois? What about a community organizer in Chicago? Or a constitutional law professor? Oh, the students would have come to hear him speak, sure, if they were assigned by their own professors to do so, or if they were just that much into politics of law...But now the he's the president! Well well well!

What has changed? He's still the same man he was as a professor in law school, as a vibrant young community organizer, perhaps even as a class leader in elementary school, for all I know. The only thing that has changed is the density of his schedule. We value that he took the time out of his busy busy schedule to come to our relatively small, quaint campus to meet with the students and faculty, and anyone else who lined up for a ticket. The only thing that has changed, is how much time he has.

Now I want that to really sink in. take a minute and think that over.

Now, we serve God. Creator and King of the Universe. Planets, stars, the sun and moon, all rotate at the speed He dictates day in and day out. Every hair on our heads grows (and falls out) as He calls it to. Every bird and animal comes and goes as He pleases. God is quite busy.

Everyone knows of Him...or some idea of Him...they may not acknowledge or know that it is Him, but even scripture says that

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world." (Psalm 19:1-4a)

So, everyone (who doesn't live under a rock), by seeing the earth around him, has at least entertained the idea that there was/is some sort of creator...they know there's some sort of decider of right and wrong...or however they want to put it. They may not call him God, but they know there must be something.

So, God is known, to some degree, to many, many people. In other words, He's kind of a big deal...

And not only is He available to us, He desires to have a relationship with us. Think of it as having the president's cell phone number on speed dial, knowing that even if he's in some huge meeting, he'll step out to take the call. God is near us when we call out to Him, and yet we take Him for granted.

Why is it that we have to be "assigned" by our "teachers," (Bible Study teachers, Pastors, even televangelists...whatever, etc.) to meet with Him? Why is it that when we are in a "prayer group", everyone hesitates to be the one to lead the prayer? Why do we think about our quiet times as time cut out of our schedule, rather than time we are priviledged to spend with our King? God wants to spend time with us, and when He's with us, we have His undivided attention. So why do we always stand Him up at the times He wants to prepare to meet with us?

Please do not think I'm trying to judge anyone...I'm just as guilty, if not moreso, as anyone else.

We need to thank God, each time we think of it, for desiring relationship with us and never failing to be at our side when we need Him.

Just a little food for thought, hope it fills you up!

'Til next time!
God Bless you all!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Week...oh forget it

So, our internet was down and we finally had it fixed, so now I can share with you all another little nugget of truth that has been on my mind and heart!

First let's get the stats out of the way...week two down...starting week three...I lost nothing...ok let me clarify...those two lovely pounds I lost? Yeah...they came back...then I got them off again. Let's explain that one, shall we? Hehe.

I wanted to share with you all a few more throughts for losing weight and having meaningful and productive workouts.

This goes back to my thoughts on what it is we are really doing when we pray for blessings over our meals, but this is a little more about the exercising aspect of getting healthy.

I will praise You as long as I live,
and in Your name I will lift up my hands. (Psalm 63:4)

Lift up your hands in the sanctuary
and praise the LORD. (Psalm 134:2)

I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer,
without anger or disputing. (I Timothy 2:8)
Sometimes when we are singing in church, I see people (sometimes myself included) with their hands lifted. It is just one of the many ways some of us choose to surrender ourselves to God during that special time of praise.
But did you know that lifting your arms above the height of your heart increases your heart rate? If you have ever tried power-walking, you know what I'm talking about. If you've ever laughed at the people on the sidewalks swinging their arms like they're about to break into dance, they're actually getting an awesome workout!
So if you are walking or at the gym and you have the balance to do so, raise your hands up, whether you are singing along with your iPod, or praying. While worshiping, you are also working that much harder to purify your temple, which is not just your mind, but also your body.
Hope this helps! Will keep you all posted as much as possible! Love you all!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Jane is Home!!!!

After years of patience and dedicated hard work by Matt and Rachel Setliffe, and after months and months of great faith and many many prayers for Jane in particular, the Setliffes are finally a happy family of four!

And, in typical Setliffe fashion, Baby Jane has already begun to teach us all about God's love through her life! I was thinking back last night about how Rachel had told us that for a long while, only she and Matt could hold and care for Jane. This way she would start to understand that they were her parents. We take this for granted here in the states, especially those many of us who were not adopted. I couldn't quite figure out why this was so profound to me, until last night.

As I was thanking God for bringing Matt, Rachel and Jane home safely, He began to reveal to me this truth.

Jane's situation is not very different from our own!

When we were born (most of us) had the same parents we have today. But in reality, we were dead in our sin, and abandoned by the things in our lives that we thought would satisfy us. We finally come to a point when we are rescued by our savior, Jesus Christ. He spends the rest of our earthly lives showing us that He is our Father, our Provider, our Protector, our Sustainer. That He is the One we should be going to in our time of need, when we are afraid, and even when we want to share our joy! It is not until eternity that I believe we finally, completely, and truly realize that He is our Father.

And just as Matt and Rachel will be consistently showing Jane their love and authority as her parents, God does the same for us!

I'm so thankful that we have a God who does not give up on us, who lovingly chases after us until we come back to Him. He will never leave us nor forsake us. We serve an amazing, loving God!


End of Week 1

What an exciting week it has been! I'll start off by giving you the *weight loss stats*

Wk. 1- 2 Pounds down...many many to go, but hey, it's a start!

I didn't miss a single day at the gym. It helps to have a radio on my phone...yes, ladies, I do this without the hi-tech insanity that is the it is most of us use...I have a cruddy little phone with no working camera, a slowly dying ring volume, and a half-dead battery 99% of the time...but it has this awesome feature...dial 7 numbers and hit the green button, and you're making a phone call! Woohoo!!!

Ok, I'm done ranting about the phone. It's been a long time since I came online here to update everyone! Internet was down, and I was very busy doing absolutely nothing at home...besides hitting the gym every day.

This week I'll be incorporating a stricter diet (please ignore the piece of chocolate cake I just was home-made by my just don't pass that sort of thing down!!!), and we'll see where it takes me.

Wish me luck! :) God Bless you all!!!