Thursday, November 29, 2007

Shuttle Anxiety

Last night I went online to book my shuttle service from the Denver Airport to Steamboat Springs. Everything was going "swimmingly" (I've been reading British novels) until I clicked "confirm" and the screen popped up: "There is a taxi available from DIA at 11 am." The problem--my flight doesn't get in until 11:35. I'd already bought my non-refundable ticket and I didn't know what to do. The schedule on the website said that the service ran all day, but here it was giving me one single time. I started freaking out, mostly because my mom had just said, "Make sure the taxi can take you before you book your ticket" and I rolled my eyes and said "Yeah, Mom," checked the schedule hurriedly to appease her then went on my merry way to book my ticket. I knew I would never hear the end of it, and worse, I knew I couldn't afford another ticket and would have to borrow the money from my parents.

My heart was sinking as I started up to my room. Halfway up the stairs, though, it came to me that this was an opportunity to practice childlikeness. Trust fully in the guiding authority and rely on Dad to take care of it. I stopped and prayed and asked God to take care of me as His daughter and provide for me as a Father. I was immediately met with the verse "Cast your cares on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall" (Ps 55:22).

I thought about the verse all through today and had to consciously make the decision to trust again. Trust, like sooo much else in life, isn't a feeling, it's a choice. It didn't make sense to me to choose to say "I trust You" when I didn't *feel* that way, but I knew I couldn't sit around and wait for my feelings to catch up with me. So, tonight I logged back on to the taxi website and went through it all again. It turns out that I forgot to include an important detail--the arrival time of my flight. Once I entered that in, the screen popped up with a later taxi time. It turns out that the schedule is right and the screen that pops up is supposed to be helpful--their "suggested time" for you to book your trip. Thanks a lot, Alpine Taxi.

So, I don't have to buy another ticket, I don't have to borrow money from my parents and eat the humble pie, and I don't have to inform the ranch people that I'm an idiot who can't read a shuttle schedule correctly and got myself stranded at the airport. Is this Father God providing for me? I do believe it is, but really, I just feel stupid. It wasn't even worth all this drama--I just couldn't read. But still, I have the lesson--and God didn't let me fall.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


So, we bought this old-fashioned Coke in holiday-themed glass bottles, the kind you have to use a bottle opener on. I usually open mine over the sink because of my tendency to make the bottle caps fly off and Coke splash out. So, this morning I opened one over the sink, as usual. And as expected, the cap flew off and the Coke splashed out--all over the clean dishes in the drying rack. Oh snap.

But anyway, something I've been thinking about a lot since I worked at the school is Jesus' commendation of children. Not just that He loves them or has a heart and compassion for them, but that He speaks highly of them. He says the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these little children (Matt 19:14, Mark 10:14, Luke 18:16), and unless we humble ourselves and become like a little child, we will never enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt 18:3). Those are pretty powerful words. I've always had an image of Jesus lovingly welcoming the children into his arms, smiling at them and blessing them. I think this is true. But there's more to it. He was displeased with his disciples for holding them back and spoke strongly to them about it. He employed a child as an object lesson in humility for them. There's more than just Jesus' love for children here--there is real respect and esteem shown for them by their Savior and Creator.

I thought about this a lot in my moments of frustration with the kids at school. Why would Jesus want us to become tattling, back-talking, unruly scraps of humanity? Why would the kingdom of heaven belong to disrespectful, selfish imps who test patience to the limits? But the more I thought about it and called on these verses for patience, the more Jesus showed me in them.

A phrase that's often used is "childlike faith." It gets tossed around a lot, but I really understood it for the first time when the kids did a unit on Australia. To them, Australia is a far-off, almost mystical land full of strange animals and accents. But whatever they read about Australia, or whatever the teacher told them, was reality to them. They read with great excitement that a kangaroo can jump over a school bus and didn't even think to question it. Where adults might say, "That seems awfully high," or "I'll believe it when I see it," they said, "Awesome! Kangaroos are sweet! I'm a kangaroo! I'm going to jump over my bus tonight!" Nothing was outside the realm of possibility for them.

The children--most of them--are still purely honest. They haven't learned the subtleties of what's "ok" to say and what's not. Like Alex with the pencils in my earlier post. They have no qualms in saying to the teacher, "This is hard! I wish I didn't have to do this," or "I loved reading the book about Koala Lou." Even "This makes me really angry" is something they're not afraid to say. They have yet to learn the art of masking their emotions. Delight, anger, and sadness are all freely expressed by them.

They delight in things so easily. A trip to the grandparents', the class's pet hermit crab starting to come out of its shell, a classmate bringing in their dog for show and tell--these are all major deals to them. They're not yet jaded by the everyday and don't fail to delight in things that seem commonplace or mundane to us. Grasshoppers living out by the fence, the first red leaves in the fall, and the cold weather that means snow and Christmas are coming are just a few more things that the children shared their delight in with me.

Kids are not afraid to say "I don't know," or "Can you help me?" or "I need help tying my shoes" or "I don't understand this math problem" or "I can't get these fruit snacks open." Something many adults would die before saying is "I need help" or "I can't figure this out on my own." Children can't imagine any other reality. They know that they need the help of someone bigger, stronger and wiser, and it never occurs to them for a moment that they won't get that help. Teachers always know all the answers; the principals have ultimate power. And they never doubt that all of it goes toward their benefit.

The thing that touched me the most is that the children aren't afraid to express their love. They run up and throw their arms around you, turn around and smile at you, grab your hand while you're walking down the hallway, say blatantly, "I like you!" or "You're my best friend!" When does this become so hard for adults? When do the words "I love you" get pushed back? I am often so fearful of rejection that I hesitate to even offer my friendship, let alone my love. That is something that you must prove you are worthy of before I'll give it to you.

The kids are open, honest, trusting, humble and loving, while so often I am guarded, double-worded, skeptical, prideful and overly jealous of my love--and not just in my behavior toward others, but towards God. We learn such fine arts of guile and second-guessing as we grow up, and everything loses its straight-forwardness and simplicity. I can easily imagine why God would want to see people coming to Him with hearts like a little child--open, honest, fully dependent on Him and fully confident that He will meet every need.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving weekend

What a weekend! It was busy, busy, busy!

The fun started on Wednesday, my last day of work! I gave Alex some Spiderman pencils as a going away present. He said, "There are four--I could give one to everyone at my table. But I really love Spiderman, so I think I'll keep them all." So cute! I'm going to miss that kid.

Wednesday evening, we tood my parents to Bella Vita Ristorante in Indianapolis to celebrate their 30th anniversary. It is a really cool restaurant on the Geist reservoir. The food was great, and they had a wine cooler that was temperature-regulated by a waterfall over a glass panel. We gave my parents a picture frame and told them that we were getting family photos taken for their anniversary present.

Thanksgiving was a relaxing day of eating, playing games and reading in front of the fireplace. Good thing, too, because the next day we got up to hit the sales at the mall. I now have a new definition for insanity. We were able to get some awesome deals, though--the best being a down ski jacket to take to Colorado, marked down from $145 to $40! Worth enduring that out-of-control Kohl's line for. I got some "Western-style" clothes to wear at the ranch, too.

Friday afternoon we cut our tree and decorated it. We have a party every year with party food, Christmas music and watching "A Muppet Family Christmas" after we decorate the tree. I will really miss it when we all go our separate ways. Hopefully I'll do it with my own family some day.

Saturday was a spectacular day. We went up to Chicago and spent some time down town--looking at the Marshall Fields window display (The Nutcracker this year), browsing through German Fest, and checking out the American Girl Doll store at my special request. I have Samantha. Those dolls will always hold a special place in my heart. I love Chicago at Christmas. Everything is decorated so beautifully, and they have the horses and carriages trotting down town, and random people playing Christmas music on the corners--saxes and Salvation Army brass quartets and stomp-type drummers playing on buckets. We had Giordano's pizza for dinner--yummy!--and then we went to see Phantom of the Opera at the Cadillac Palace Theatre.

One of the things on my list of Top 5 Things to Do Before I Die is see Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. This wasn't Broadway, but I am satisfied. The performers did an outstanding job, and it was so wonderful and amazing to see the music come to life and be acted out. I got chills the first time the Phantom showed up and swirled his cape. Oh my gosh, it was so so so TREMENDOUS. TREMENDOUS is mine and my sister's new favorite word from this weekend. We decided it should always be spelled with all caps and only used for the truly great things of life. But then we ended up using it all the time. But the original usage definitely applies for Phantom.

I hit the mall again today to look for a few more things to take to CO. I stocked up on warm socks and black shirts--part of my work dress code. I ran into Kim, Dave and Noah while I was there, which was fun.

So, that was my TREMENDOUS holiday weekend. Here is a link to pictures:

Melodic Monday

Rocky Mountain High - John Denver

He was born in the summer of his 27th year,
coming home to a place he'd never been before.
He left yesterday behind him
you might say he was born again,
might say he found a key for every door.
When he first came to the mountains
His life was far away
on the road and hanging by a song.
But the string's already broken
and he doesn't really care,
it keeps changin' fast, and it don't last for long.
It's a Colorado Rocky Mountain High,
I've seen it raining fire in the sky
The shadows from the starlight are softer than a lullabye.
Rocky Mountain High, Colorado....
Rocky Mountain High.

He climbed cathedral mountains, he saw silver clouds below,
saw everything as far as you can see.
And they say that he got crazy once and that he
tried to touch the sun,
and he lost a friend, but kept the memory.
Now he walks in quiet solitude, the forest and the stream,
seeking grace in every step he takes,
his sight is turned inside himself, to try and
understand, the serenity of a clear blue mountain lake.
And the Colorado Rocky Mountain High,
I've seen it raining fire in the sky
You can talk to God and listen to the casual reply.
Rocky Mountain High, Colorado....
Rocky Mountain High.

Now his life is full of wonder,
but his heart still knows some fear,
of the simple things he can not comprehend.
Why they try to tear the mountains down
to bring in a couple more.
More people, more scars upon the land.
It's the Colorado Rocky Mountain High,
I've seen it raining fire in the sky
I know he'd be a poorer man if he never saw an eagle fly
Rocky mountain high
It's the Colorado Rocky Mountain High,
I've seen it raining fire in the sky.
Friends around the camp fire and everybody's high....
Rocky Mountain High, Rocky Mountain High,
Rocky Mountain High,
Rocky Mountain High.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Out-of-Control Freak

Well, a decision has been reached about the car. I'm not going to take it. I was kind of upset at first when my dad told me, because they made the decision instead of me, but my dad explained it really well. He said it's not that they don't trust me to make a decision, but since they own the car, they need to decide how to best use their resources to support me. That made a lot of sense to me--at first I felt like they were using the fact that they owned the car as leverage against me, but I can understand that they want to be good stewards of their resources. My dad said one thing that helped him make the decision was a picture he had of me, which is somewhat unusual for my dad. It fit in with thoughts I've been having lately of things God is bringing up in my heart. Basically this:

All my life I've prided myself on not being a control freak. I was proud in my ability to be flexible, roll with the punches, and toss the schedule out the window. It never occured to me that their was another extreme--being an "out-of-control freak." I've always hated to feel tied down or like my options are closed in any way. I always do things last-minute, and one reason is that I hate to be committed to any one way until I absolutely have to. As I said, I was proud of this and saw anything else as rigidity and inflexibility. I've been convicted of this a little bit before, but every time I tell people I'm working on being more disciplined, they say, "Fantastic! Let me see your hour-by-hour schedule!" or "I noticed you read your book for ten minutes when you got home instead of starting right on that assignment. I thought you were going to be more disciplined?" THAT kind of life I could never live. It seems silly, but only recently has it occurred to me that there might be some middle ground. I can still be spontaneous and flexible (keep the "P" part of my personality, for you fellow Meyers-Brigg lovers), but also work on instilling some discipline and boundaries in my life.

Another point of pride for me has always been, "I'm not like those control freaks who hold onto every detail and don't trust God to run things." But as thoughts of not having a car have entered my mind, I've started to realize my own lack of trust. "Not be able to leave whenever I want? Not be able to take solitary trips into town or drive away from the ranch?" In summary, "Not be able to drive away from my problems? Not have an escape route open?" That idea freaks me out. I feel my options closing and my freedom slipping away, and panic starts to ensue. But the Bible says that we are slaves to righteousness; I am a bondservant of the Lord. Scary words, words that I don't like, but words that are true. That's why I think it will be good for me to have to rely entirely on God while I'm at the ranch, and trust that if I need an escape route, He'll open it for me. And if He doesn't open one, maybe I need to reexamine why or what I want to escape, and see if it isn't something I should be facing head-on instead.

Remember that post awhile back when I said I didn't like to blog about deep things? Hahaha.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Kim's blog got me thinking about my favorite Christmas traditions. I am a big lover of Christmas traditions. Cutting down a tree, decorating it, advent wreaths, advent calendars, watching "Muppet Family Christmas" after decorating the tree and "Muppet Christmas Carol" on Christmas Eve, the endless food traditions, having a birthday cake and singing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus--it's all very near and dear to my heart.

I think my favorite Christmas tradition is the one my parents have of giving all three of us an ornament each year. They're always part of a set, but they don't usually match exactly. My favorite set is one of teddy bears playing different instruments: Shannon's plays the guitar, mine plays the fiddle, and Ryan's plays the cymbals. They're dressed like they're part of a Kentucky bluegrass band. So cute. The idea is that when we all leave and get our own trees, we'll have a good start on ornaments. So far, though, all of us come back for Christmas and we haven't split up the sets. I have an idea that even when we do, we'll e-mail each other pictures and relive the memories.

I think my favorite tradition isn't a family one, it's a church one. At the end of the Christmas Eve service, we light little white candles, turn down all other lights, and sing "Silent Night." It's my favorite Christmas carol, and singing it in a reverent, holy hush of light after just hearing the Christmas story and feeling full of the awe and excitement that Jesus became part of mankind as the first step to redeeming mankind, is a feeling like no other. Wow, add that to the list of things I'm going to miss this year!

So, what are your favorites? Christmas traditions, Christmas carols, Christmas foods, Christmas movies? Two of mine are listed above; my favorite Christmas movie is "White Christmas." My favorite food are these things my mom makes that are like a Reese's cup wrapped in a chocolate chip cookie. Yummy.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Funny kid story of today: the kids were given a word scramble. One of the kids said, "I can make the 's' word!" I told him he better restrict himself to school words. A few minutes later, Alex told me, "I think I know what word he was going to make." He leaned in and whispered, " 'Stupid'."

I've been trying to think of things that I'll miss about Indiana. I'm sure there are some things I take for granted that I'll miss once I'm gone. Some of them:

Sunsets. In a valley, the sun just disappears behind the mountains, and suddenly it's dark. Of course, the fact that there's mountains make up for a lot of it, but I'll miss the colors and glow. Winter sunsets are the best. My bedroom has a west window, and the leaves are gone so I can see the sky. I think that God tries to make up for the dead brown-gray of everything else by making the sunsets especially vibrant.

The 9th street historic district decorated for Christmas. Every year, they line the sidewalks with votives, and ever since I was little, I've loved to drive down 9th street hill and soak in the Christmasy glow.

Fall color. Absolutely beautiful this year. I drive to school every morning by South River Road, and as I'm thinking about how I don't want to go, the amazing leaves make the morning seem worthwhile.

There's probably more that I'll think of when I'm actually gone. I find my Indiana pride tends to increase with distance.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Funny kid story of the day: A girl came up to me on the playground and said, "My grandma has those shoes." On further perusal, she added, "She has a jacket like that, too!" I dress like grandma. Outstanding.

I had a conversation with my parents tonight about how I was going to get to Colorado. Apparently, even if I found someone else to drive out with, that doesn't mean they'll let me take the car. It still makes my mom nervous to think of two girls driving out there, apparently. I'm not surprised--she didn't want me to drive to Ohio. I pointed out to them that, if they didn't own the car, I would still ask for and respect their advice and opinion, but I wouldn't be waiting on their decision, I would be informing them of mine. I said that if the car was what they were concerned about, I could understand, but since the concern was my safety, that's really something that I make my own decisions about at this point. I told them that most people my age don't ask their parents for permission about anything at all, they say, "Hi Mom, I'm moving to Colorado. I'll send a postcard." My dad acknowledged that I should be making my own decisions at this point and even said that it was important that I should. My mom said no such thing, but I don't know what she was thinking. But they didn't say I could take the car. My dad then switched to logic and did a lot of math to show me that it's actually cheaper to fly. But that limits the amount of stuff I can take and leaves me stuck on the ranch, bumming rides off the other ranch hands. I really have no idea how much stuff I'll need or how often people go into town. I don't know, I just want to decide for myself and be a freaking adult.

Right before he went up to bed, my dad asked when I would be home tomorrow and said he wants to talk to me some more. I don't like this for two reasons: 1) I'm being asked when I'll come home (again, not something 24-yr-olds tell their parents), and 2) I don't know what he wants to talk to me about, but whatever it is, I bet I don't want to talk about it. It's probably either the car again, money, or something. I shouldn't be dreading a talk with my dad, but I am. It's not really my dad, it just that, once again, I'M 24, and these things are my concerns, not my parents' anymore.

This is one reason I'm so excited about going. I should not be living with my parents anymore. You know what this is? It is the enemy trying to steal my joy. I will not let him. They joy is mine.

Monday, November 12, 2007

"Waxin' Lyrical"

I gave notice at school today. I felt a moment of guilt at the look on my boss's face, but really, I had to restrain myself from leaping around her desk and singing at the top of my lungs, "I'm not coming ba-ack!"

I am so excited about working on the ranch. Honestly, I don't remember the last time I felt this happy. It's a deep, inner, settled, peaceful happiness. I feel like people should be able to see my heart glowing through my chest. When I got off the phone with my new employer, I ran laps around our dining room and then jumped up and down until I hurt my ankle and had to stop.

I enjoyed the rain today. Several rainy days in a row can be depressing, but we've had such a sunny streak that I enjoyed the soft gray of today. There's something comforting to me in shutting the door against the rain and coming into a dry, warm haven. I made soup and warm bread for dinner, and later I plan on curling up with a blanket and a glass of wine, secure against the rain streaming off the window panes.

I seem to be "waxin' lyrical" (should be read with a Scottish accent) tonight. I'll probably read this tomorrow and laugh at it.

The washing machine is making weird gurgling noises. I hope I don't have my own private rainstorm inside.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Retrospective musings

So, one of Jonell's posts got me thinking. Last year in Bloomington, my pastor preached a sermon on 2 Kings 4:12-17. Summarily, a woman convinces her husband to give Elisha lodging, and to thank her, he asks her to name anything he can do for her. She says, "Nothing." So Elisha asks his servant what she needs, and the servant says, "Well, she has no children and really no hope of having any." So Elisha calls her back and tells her that this time next year, she will have a son. She basically says, "No, don't even say that--don't toy with me." But God's promise is true, and she does have a son at the appointed time.

Pastor Matt asked us to consider what it was that we wanted from God but were afraid to ask for, and would say to God, "Don't toy with me," if He offered it us. The answer that came to me was "emotional healing." I was going through a really hard time of challenging God and feeling like He had made me promises that hadn't been fulfilled. One of those promises was of being restored and made whole in spirit. The year at IU was hard in a lot of ways, and I often felt drained and discouraged, and never restored. Verses like Isaiah 61:3 seemed to taunt me. I had thoughts that I wouldn't allow to take form, like "Maybe this is as good as it gets." When I finally faced God on the issue, it was with angry hurt and defiance.

I talked about it with my campus leader, Ken, he suggested that I read the book of Job. This took care of my anger and defiance pretty quickly. Job is a great book, if you haven't read it. Verses like, "It is unthinkable that God would do wrong, that the Almighty would pervert justice. Who appointed Him in charge of the whole world? If it were His intention and He withdrew His breath, all mankind would perish together and man would return to the dust," and when God Himself says, "Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself?" make it pretty hard to be anything but humble before our Maker.

My attitude was adjusted, but my heart still ached. The end of the year and decisions about whether or not to stay with Navs brought additional hurt and burdens. I talked with a counselor friend at my last Nav conference, and we were able to pray together and pinpoint more of this desire for emotional healing. I made some breakthroughs and sought some forgiveness with some people, all of which was good and healing. But my spirit still wasn't whole.

The summer was extremely disheartening. Two job possibilities, one in Colorado Springs and one in Florida, didn't pan out. I was looking for a job and living with my parents. My Bible reading turned into mindless formality. I came closer to depression than I've ever come. Once again, God's promises seemed empty and unfulfilled.

I didn't even know how far I'd fallen until God started lifting me back up. I knew it was time for me to move on from my parent's church, and my brother had mentioned a new church on the west side that one of his friends attended. I thought, "Why not?" So I went to RVC.

My first Sunday there, God grabbed my heart. The worship moved me to tears, and Tony's message was Biblically solid and really spoke to me. It was like a puzzle piece that I'd been trying to force in the wrong place had finally found its fit. And there was this lady I sat next to, Kim, who helped me fill out my welcome card and shared her NLT Bible with me. All through the next couple weeks, when I felt shy and socially awkward and tried to slip out the back door, Kim would pursue me. She invited me to her life group that was just starting up. I still felt shy and socially awkward, but I felt an even deeper desire for friendship and the vital, Spirit-filled life I saw in the people at RVC. And there was still an ache and desire for healing, even though I had managed to push it down and ignore it until I had forgotten it. I thought that what I had received that summer was as good as it was going to get.

It wasn't long until God started pursuing me again. He used several pictures dealing with water to speak to me. I was totally unused to this and had no idea what to do with it. Also, I was afraid. I was just like the wife saying, "No, my lord, do not mislead your servant." Don't make any promises You're not going to keep. Finally, I talked with Kim, who had been so kind and faithful to pursue me. She prayed with me, and right there, in Noah's bedroom, sitting on his new "big boy" bed, God met me. He touched my heart deeply in places I thought I had forgotten and flooded in His life and His power. Since then, I have been prayed for at RVC on more than one occasion, and God has brought out issues that I wasn't even aware of, or that I thought I had already dealt with and were as healed as they were going to be. God has even given me pictures and words for other people, something which never happened to me before. He's not just restoring me, He's using me.

I had forgotten about this sermon preached last March until I read Jonell's post about RVC becoming her home. Then I remembered the long-ago promise and my reaction to it. Can I even call it long-ago? Six months ago. But I, in my human, American mindset, didn't see immediate results and assumed that I was forgotten. But now I see that brought me to the right place, with the right people, at just the right time. His promises are true. His ways are higher than our ways. I used to think of that as a sort of excuse--God does something that seems mean, or seems like a broken promise, and we say, "Well, His ways are higher than our ways." But now, I've seen that lived out. I've seen Him, in His supernatural timing and wisdom, give me just what I needed just when I needed it. And I've seen how short my patience is. I want the quick fix--instant alleviation of the pain. But I wasn't willing to trust God in the hard times, or to believe that they were the gateway to good things and answered promises, and rely on His Spirit and His Word. But God has reminded me what a good God He is, and how His timing is ultimate and better and above mine. And His promises are always true. If He offers me something, I don't need to shrink back and say, "Don't mislead me, my Lord." It is not His character to tantalize me with false promises, or to dangle a carrot in front of me and pull it back. He desires wholeness and restoration for His people. And He has promised it.

...He [Jesus] found the place where it is written: "The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because He has annointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." - Luke 4:17-19

That's His promise.

Men swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of His purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, He confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. - Hebrews 6:16-19

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Emotional exhaustion

If anyone who reads this doesn't know, I e-mailed Johanna yesterday and told her that I want to come work at her ranch. Her boss called me today and set up a phone interview for Thurs at 3 pm. I am really excited about the whole deal. I got prayed for again at life group and again felt confirmed in it, mostly with the word "freedom" and a picture of myself running, headlong and determined, into the rain and towards some mountains. That's the short version, but God has been using pictures of rain and water to speak to me a lot lately. I'll give anyone the long version if they want it.

So, that is great. I shared that with my parents, and it encouraged them too, which is also great. What is not great is that I feel completely drained. I've spent so much mental, emotional (and even some spiritual ;) ) energy on this decision that now that it's made, I feel wiped out. The kids have also been little hellions this week. Alex's mom told me he's not sleeping very well, which means for him that he's wound up like a top. He cannot sit down or stop talking to save his life. He acts as goofy as heck. Today all the kids acted like they downed a quart of pure sugar for breakfast. One little girl I spend a lot of time with said her mom forgot to give her her medicine. She was bouncing off the walls like a wally-ball. Another kid who sits at the same table as Alex, and who always asks me for help with his work, got mad because I wouldn't do the same things for him that I do for Alex. I found out from the teacher later that she's going to move him because she doesn't want him to come to depend on my help. Really, I think this is probably for the best, because he's convincing himself that he can't do things on his own that he really can, but I think what he really wants is attention more than help with his schoolwork, and I hate to see these attention-starved kids and be denied the chance to show them that they are loved and worth paying attention to. The little girl I mentioned before always wants hugs, and when we're standing in line or waiting in the hall, she takes my hands and wraps my arms around her, or puts my hands on her face. During reading time she'll sit next to me and gradually creep closer until our shoulders are pressed together and her head is leaning against me. I hate telling her that she can only have one hug a day, or that I can only hold her hand in the hall, not hold her all the time. She needs love. She needs someone to hold her. But like most kids from a background like hers, she is darn good at manipulating and trying to get what she wants. Trying to love her and yet show her that I won't let her control me is a daily battle, as is convincing this little boy that he can do his own work and I don't like him any less than Alex, as is being patient with Alex's tendencies that can seem just like unruliness or disrespect. My patience is wearing holes in it, as is my judgement. Today I kept repeating Matt 19:14 - "Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'" These same little buggers who wear holes in my patience when my emotions are at a ragged end are the ones that Jesus says we have to become like to enter the kingdom of heaven.

So, if you think about it, please pray for renewing of strength and refreshing of spirit, for my sake and the kids'!

Monday, November 5, 2007

1. My kind of relative right now
2. I am listening dad mow the lawn
3. Maybe I about new contacts--my old ones have run their course
4. I love it when...I laugh until I can't breathe
5. My best too far away (Korea)!
6. I don't understand...Portuguese
7. I marbles? This blog really isn't big enough for the things I lose; I'm quite an expert at it.
8. People say...I look exactly like my sister
9. The meaning of my blog name is...that I wanted something that started with the same letter
10. Love is... letting someone else have the last bite of cheesecake
11. Right now, somewhere, someone is...thinking of me, and loving me tonight...somewhere out there, out where dreams come true
12. I will always...hate math
13. Once upon a time, I...wanted to be a doctor
14. Now, I...have no idea what I want to be
15. I never want to...skydive
16. My personal motto is...Never skydive
17. When I wake up in the morning...I curse my alarm clock
18. I get annoyed when...people use the wrong form of there, their, and they're, it's and its, your and you're, or say "Where's it at?"
19. People always...use prepositions at the end of their sentences
20. I the car
21. Hugs are the best when...they come spontaneously from children (thanks, Ann!)
22. Today I...worked a half day! Whoohoo!
23. Tomorrow I a full day :(
24. I really want...a date where I can wear an evening gown and get flowers

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Sweet, sweet Jesus

He is sweet, He is sweet
What you're looking for
Is my sweet, sweet Jesus
What you're looking for
Is my sweet Lord

I was driving home tonight and listening to this song by Shawn McDonald. I love the simplicity of it, and it perfectly captured the state of my heart. But let me begin at the beginning.

Yesterday my mom, my sister and I went to Chicago. Our original plan was to go shopping at Ikea and visit my baby cousin, who Shannon and I hadn't met yet. Friday night, though, we got a phone call from my uncle telling us that my grandpa was in the hospital. He had fallen down twice in the past week, but both times he refused to call for help because he was afraid the assisted living people would put him in the health care facility. He always says, with no intention of exaggerating for effect, "I'd rather die than go there." So, I guess the second time he fell, he finally called someone, and when they were checking him to make sure he was okay, they discovered he has pneumonia. So they moved him to the hospital. While he was there and they were performing routine tests, they found a spot on his bladder and did a biopsy. It turns out he has cancer in his bladder and it's spread to his kidney some, too. The doctors say there's no way of knowing how long he has, but they guess anywhere from 2-18 months.

I don't think anyone in the family was terribly surprised by this news. He's been in poor health for almost as long as I can remember, and when I was in high school, he battled prostate cancer. He's been failing even faster since my grandma, who has Alzheimer's, was taken to the Alzheimer's ward. He will be 90 years old this Christmas.

So we altered our plans to include a stop by the hospital to see him, and also a visit to my grandma at the assisted living home. I hadn't seen either of them for a long time--probably close to two years. My grandpa was so glad to see us and seemed in good spirits. He hadn't been told about the cancer because they wanted him to concentrate on recovering from the pneumonia, but he told us about the biopsy and said he thinks it's "the big C." So, he pretty much knows.

After that, we saw my grandma. I haven't seen her since the Alzheimer's started taking a severe hold, and my mom tried to prepare us for the big change in her, but the time we had with her was really a gift from God. She knew who each one of us was, and she managed complete sentences and said, "I love you." My mom said it was the best she's seen her since she started going downhill.

I've known for a while that each time I see my grandparents might be the last time, so I'm really glad to have had this. Neither one of them are believers--they are nominal Catholics. But my grandpa let us pray with him and seemed really receptive to it. We're all praying for Jesus to break his pride and work in his heart.

After that, we had lunch at a place called Juicy-O's Pancake House. Shannon ordered caramel pecan cinnamon swirl French toast, which was pretty much the best French toast ever. Then we went to see my Uncle Mark and my cousin, Evan. Evan is 7 months old and couldn't possibly be any cuter. He let us hold him and play with him. He is the strongest 7-month-old I've ever encountered. He would grab something (hair, necklace, earrings) and hang on for dear life. Aunt Megan was out of town, but we really only came to see the baby anyway. ;)

After that, we finally made it IKEA. I was overwhelmed at the vast amounts of Swedish furnishings that filled that enormous warehouse. I didn't get anything, but I picked out a few things to keep in mind for someday down the road. My mom and my sister made a few purchases.

All of that made for a super long day. We didn't make it home until about 1 am, and we were totally exhausted. I came home after church and took a four-hour nap. Then I got up and went to prayer meeting at the church office.

Prayer meeting was wonderful. Julie and Mindy prayed for my Colorado decision (which I still haven't made), but I feel so at peace right now. For so long, before I came to RVC, I had forgotten how real and active and present Jesus still is today. I believed the fact that He still heals and restores and answers prayers today, but I had a somewhat fatalistic approach: "Sure, I'll pray about this, but really, God's going to do whatever He's going to do, so it's almost kind of a formality" (I could never bring myself to actually say that, even though it was my heart attitude). But the Bible tells us that prayer is powerful, and that God answers it. It has been sweet beyond belief to experience this first-hand and participate in it.

Thanks for reading the longest post ever--have a great start to your week with my sweet, sweet Jesus.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


We had a minor crisis in the lunch room today when they ran out of ketchup. They served chicken nuggets, but no ketchup. Little hands kept shooting up, asking for ketchup packets, but all we had to offer them was honey packets. The kids were like, "Honey? On chicken?" I love this combo, but I guess it's not popular with the younger generation. They also ran out of milk, which seems absurd. What elementary school doesn't have milk? Actually, the last few kids in line were pretty happy because they got juice boxes instead.

I spent some good time hanging out with Kim today. We had a good talk about how God is working in our lives, and how encouraging we find Peter. He is so refreshingly realistic and human. Noah was pretty hilarious. He climbed up on the chair next to me while we were eating lunch and kept handing me and his mom the utensils we weren't using, as well as the salt-and-pepper packets and wet naps that came in the take-out bag. He has a little servant's heart. :)

I got an e-mail from Johanna last week end. She works at Vista Verde, a resort/ranch in Steamboat Springs, CO, and she asked if I would pray about coming out there to work for the winter season. Believe me, I've been praying about it. I keep tossing the pros and cons back and forth. The main points I keep coming back to: When else in my life can I just say, "I feel like moving to Colorado for a few months," and then pack up and do it? Probably not ever again. But then, I am only just starting to establish new relationships here and make a post-college niche. I'm not at a point where I have nothing to leave, but I'm also not at a point where things are so established and deep that I could slip right back into the groove upon return. Also, I would really miss life group and tiny group and Tony talking about Panama and co-landers on Sunday mornings. I would hate to leave the kids at work, but I would love to leave the politics and tension and people-pleasing of work.

So, that's that. If the Spirit moves you to pray for my decision, that would be awesome!