Friday, June 24, 2011

Journal Entry [Sunday, March 28th, 2010]

Apex last night and Grace this morning.  

Last night Pastor Rob shared a story of the celebration of the 100 anniversary of Christian missionaries coming to a certain country (Paupa New Guinea?).  At this event, one of the natives of the land got up and made an announcement.  He was only of the oldest men still living and he said that he had important information and if he didn't reveal it, it would die with him.  He said that when the missionaries first came, the people didn't want them there, so they poisoned them.  Missionary children started dying.  Yet as the number of graves rose, the missionaries did not give up or get discouraged.  This elderly man ended by saying, "It was watching them die that made us want to join them."

Lord, so often we hear people say that people will come to Jesus as they watch how we live.  Yet here it is death that brought the change.

I want to live and die as such.  Oh Lord, I am reminded of my desire to be martyred for you and my desire to live everyday as a martyr.  May I both live and die for Your Glory.  In watching me die, may others want to join the cause of Christ.  Oh, I know that it is not easy.  Perhaps it means a lifetime of sickness.  May I be found faithful as I pass through the fire.

Use my life, Lord.  Use my sickness.  May my life truly be a beautiful, broken offering to you.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

i. hate. my. mac.

Subtitle: Computer Woes

Ok.  That's not true.  I really love my mac.  We're just going through a little bit of a "phase" right now.  (Sounds like parents talking about their teenagers!)

Last winter, my hard drive crashed.  I lost everything.

So...I got a new hard drive.  And an external hard drive.  And I backed it up religiously.

Last week, my hard drive crashed again.

I took it into the Mac store and the guy said, "Well, you'll need a new hard drive.  Is it backed up?"

"Yep.  I backed it up earlier this week."

"Awesome!  Then you'll just need a new hard drive and then reinstall your OS."

That's easy enough.

One new hard drive and new OS later...I plug in my external hard drive to discover that although all the dates are there when I backed up my computer, there aren't any files!  Thanks a lot, Time Machine! I should have just backed it up myself.  :(  And...everything just "feels" wrong...it doesn't feel like my computer at all.  I've had problems with even the most basic program installations.

Enough of my computer woes!  It's just technology...and in the course of all eternity, it doesn't matter that much.  Hopefully when Mr. Mays flies in next week (!!), he'll be able to help me a little bit more.  He's much more tech-y than I am.  We're usually on opposite sides of this mac v ps war.  But I'm afraid that with all my mac problems, I'm losing ground in this battle....

On the off chance (the very off chance) that a macintosh executive ever reads this:  you would very much restore my faith in your company if you fixed this problem!  :(

Monday, June 20, 2011

prayer

I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt;
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low by thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things
to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.  Amen.

-John Wesley

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

stop motion inspiration

If you haven't seen Stop Motion before, make sure to watch these videos.  It's a series of photos that line up to tell a story.

There is simply one word for this:  incredible!








Thursday, June 2, 2011

one thousand

It was about 15 months ago that I took up the challenge.  The challenge to have fresh eyes for the world, eyes for beauty.  The challenge for thankfulness.

Could I really find gratitude for 1000 things in my life?

Life was hard.  I had been sick for months and unable to find an answer.  My doctors were in one state, my university in another.  I was barely making it through college, unable to get out of bed some days.  My prayers seemed unanswered.  God seemed far away.  Beauty seemed evasive.  Constant pain meant that my eyes were always focused on myself, on my circumstances.

In this time I read her words.  I read her own search for gratitude, for seeing the everyday common graces that really aren't so common after all.

I started counting.

1.  soft and soothing cello music quieting my soul
2.  getting lost in a bookstore and losing track of the real world for an hour
3.  prayer that comes from so deep within that there are no words - simply the aching and yearnings of a heart 

One by one, I added to the journal the graces I was experiencing.

32.  tear-stained bible pages
33.  rustling leaves in the wind 

The list grew.

118.  laundry flapping in the breeze
119.  repairing rather than starting anew
120.  a majestic tree spreading its limsb
121.  engagement stories
122.  reading books aloud to the borrowed child

I began to see God in the everyday.  I began to see echoes of Eden and glimpses of heaven.  Truer still, I learned to give thanks in the midst of hard circumstances and see beauty in the midst of pain.

408.  skirts with pockets
409.  a song for the day
410.  doctors who listen

Was I learning?  Yes.  Had I arrived?  Absolutely not.  Sometimes a week would go by where I would neglect my little gratitude journal, and worse yet, neglect my search for gratitude.  But I pressed on.

797.  being reminded that "there is no condemnation in Christ"
798.  bestowing on others the grace I relish
799.  growing in wisdom together

998.  reminders taht the best I have to offer is Jesus
999.  a clean kitchen
1000. learning familiar words in an unfamiliar language 

1,000 graces later, I still have not arrived.

Life certainly has changed since I began that list; I wish I could say that the tune of my heart is always a thankful one.  Instead, I can only say that I am still practicing gratitude each day.  But it has made a difference.  Weren't we commanded over and over again to give thanks?


"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication
with thanksgiving
let your requests be made known to God"
Philippians 4:6

"Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it
with thanksgiving."
Colossians 4:2

"...give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
I Thessalonians 5:18

"For everything created by God is good,
and nothing is to be rejected if it is received
with thanksgiving."
I Timothy 4:4

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

the perfect dress

There it was.

The.  Perfect.  Dress.

Three sizes too small.

The dress was discontinued, so there was no chance of ordering it in a different size.  The only option of buying that dress was buying it off the rack.  We held our breath as the sales clerk called the other stores in the state.  Perhaps, just perhaps, one of those stores held a matching dress in a different size.

No such luck.

There wasn't time to waste pining over "the dress that wasn't meant to be".  I tried on other dresses and went to other stores.  Eventually another dress was found.  It was more than I had hoped to pay and I wasn't completely confident in it, but it seemed like the best option.

Before settling on that dress, we decided to drive to the neighboring state, visiting several bridal stores in one afternoon.  The first stop was discouraging.  Was this trip even going to be worth it?  We prayed that we would find a dress and find it at a good price.


We walked into the second store hesitantly and explained that we didn't have an appointment.  The clerk was so gracious and kindly offered to help us anyway.  "Start looking, and pull out the dresses that you want to try on," she said, "I'll get a dressing room ready for you."

 We headed for the rows of white.  That's when she found it. 


 The.  Perfect.  Dress.

It was the same dress that we had liked at the other store.  Mom ecstatically called me over, but I was hesitant to get too excited.  It was still the wrong size.  "Just try it on!"  She encouraged, "You never know."  We continued browsing, calling each other over to look at dresses.  Soon I had four or five dresses and was being lead to the dressing room.

It was the first dress I tried on.  And surprisingly, it fit!  I walked out of the dressing room to survey the effect in the mirrors.  I turned my head from side to side, trying to see at all angles.

I loved it.

And...I soon discovered that it had pockets (one of the things I was hoping for in my wedding dress).

Wanting to be sure, I tried on the other dresses.  They were all pretty, but it was wasn't the same.  I looked at Mom.  "I think this is it."  Although she LOVED the dress, she was hesitant to say anything for fear of influencing me to pick something that I didn't like.  But that wasn't necessary.  I liked the dress on my own.  I didn't want to take it off to change into normal clothes.  It was one of the ridiculous moments that everyone talks about when you just know instinctively that this was the dress.  Honestly, I thought that was a silly, fictional moment that overly-emotional girls made up because they were trying to romanticize every detail of their wedding planning.  I guess I was wrong!

Standing in front of the mirror, I turned to ask the sales clerk the price.

"Well, its actually on a great sale."  She replied.

"How much?"

"$99"

"We'll take it!!!!"
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