Thursday, December 25, 2008

I feel it in my fingers. I feel it in my toes...

One of the cheesiest, but most catchy Christmas songs has been stuck in my head. It's from a movie that will always be on my top 5, but I will never recommend... for good reasons : ) 

"I feel it in my fingers. I feel it in my toes.
Christmas is all around me. Come on and let it snow"

Oh heavens! I have a love/hate relationship with Christmas music. Nuff said : )

Highlights from this Christmas:
* Digital Canon Rebel XT
* Russian Red Lipstick
* Plum Purple Vase
* Big Breakfasts!
* Grandmama's life story & wisdom
* Grandma's expression when Micah put on the Mexican Fighting Mask... priceless!
* Talk of Josh & Amy getting a dog?!?!?! eek! : )
* Watching "A Christmas Story"
* Jam time on the gee-tar : )
* Mini-golf & ping-pong
* Playing cards
* Laughing!

* Laughing is always FAVORITE!!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Katy's Graduation Dinner

One of my dear friends from school is graduating this Friday and movin' back home to Chicago for grad school, so we had a little goodbye shin-dig for her last night. We ate a delicious dinner at the Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney and had one of those fun volcano cakes for dessert. I had never heard about them before and they're hilarious! It's just brownies and ice cream piled up like a volcano with a silver sparkler sort of thing on top, but when the server brings it to the table they have to yell, "volcano!" on their way to the table. It made us all laugh! 
Afterward, we decided to take a stroll around downtown disney for awhile and we had the funniest lady take a picture for us! Her voice was loud and raspy and she was incredibly friendly, but sarcastic right off the bat. The moment I handed her my camera she sprinted away for about 10 feet pretending that she was steeling it as we all stood in shock with jaws dropped. I was honestly about to take off my heals and sprint after her, but she turned around and was roaring in laughter! She told us she worked at Downtown Disney and she was on her way to start her shift. Once I realized she wasn't stealing my camera I just laughed to myself, because I thought, what would I have even done once I caught up to her if I had chased her? I don't think I would have tackled her to the ground or anything, but that could have been a funny story : )
So, anyway, as she was taking the second picture she said, "Say... oh no, hahaha that's naughty. We can't say that here." We all started laughing, trying not to think too much about what she might be implying. It was such a bizarre and quick encounter : ) 

I think the funniest thing of the night happened on our way out. We stopped to listen to the live band for a bit and saw that our picture lady really did work at Downtown Disney! She was inside a gazebo dancing like crazy to the music with her hands in the air, swaying back and forth. We all looked and laughed harder than we had laughed the first time : ) We thought that maybe she had just made up the fact that she worked there, but sure enough she was telling the truth. We had to get a picture or two with her and she was so excited. She said "Oh sure! A picture with the picture-taker! Great!" She through her hands in the air in one picture and gave us bunny ears in another. She was a riot : )

SFSP-ers : )

Conclusion: Fun night!

P.S. fun trees : ) I definitely prefer white lights over colored lights, but the trees were still pretty fun, because they sort of give the feel like Candyland was brought to life. 

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Oh yes, it's that time of year again!

Every Christmas the High School group I work with has a music video contest at the High School Christmas party in which every life group has the option of submitting their very own music video. Of course, in a high school group of over 200 students there is never one submitted for every group, but there's still enough for a great competition... and more importantly, some good laughs : ) Most of them haven't been posted anywhere online, but here are a few of them:

-Joyful Joyful- (the church staff)
Calvary Staff Christmas Video from tammy harris on Vimeo.
-I Love Rock & Roll- (Freshman Girls)

-Footloose- (My Sophmore Girls)

-The Jackson 5- (Junior Guys)

-Lip Gloss- (Junior Girls)
-Wake Me Up- (Senior Guys)

... more to come!
My United States of Whatever was hilarious, but no one's posted it yet : )

Monday, December 1, 2008

As Deep Cries Out to Deep

I am a life group leader at my church for a group of Sophmore girls that I simply adore! They hold an increasingly larger piece of my heart and this weekend my respect and delight in them reached an entirely new level. This summer at Hume Lake several of them expressed to me a strong desire to take their personal lives and our life group, as a whole, to a deeper place than its ever been. Several of them took risks of honesty and vulnerability within the four walls of our cabin that blew me away and made me so proud! I felt richly blessed to be given the opportunity to watch God work in their lives and so honored to have Him use me in such a beautiful process. It was after coming home from Hume that week that I made a commitment to God to stick with my girls all the way through their high school experience. With graduation coming this May, I knew that my future had a lot of question marks and that it most likely includes some long term adventures outside of California, but I decided that whatever that may be, it will have to wait till' after they graduate.
At first this seemed like a bit of a sacrifice, because I had been thinking about going to grad school in either the NW or somewhere on the East Coast, but I am slowing seeing that this is much more of a blessing than a sacrifice! My conversations with them, both in one-on-ones and in group settings are blowing me away! This past weekend in particular made me so grateful for their presence in my life. They decided a few months back that they wanted something outside of our "at church" small group time to get together and dig deeper into what God has for them. We decided to start a once a month life group dinner at one of their homes and go through a book together. No one had any book in particular that they wanted to go through, so I got to choose the book... which wasn't hard : ) I chose one of my favorites, by an author that I get soooo pumped about! His name is A.W. Tozer and the book is "The Pursuit of God." I knew that it would be a bit challenging and possibly overwhelming at first, because he uses a lot of big words and the New King James version of the Bible, but his insight is INCREDIBLE! Sometimes you have to read over a single line about 10 times, before you can grasp what he is saying, but it is soooo rich and soooo worth it! 
Anyway, we had our first dinner this past Sunday and it went really well! We only got through the first 2 pages of the book, but it was exciting to see everyone discussing and contemplating and looking things up that they weren't sure about. One thing in particular that I took a mental polaroid of was our conversation about Psalm 42:1-2. 
"As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God."  
Tozer describes this verse in saying that, "This is deep calling unto deep, and the longing heart will understand it." Previous to reading this portion, Tozer had been talking about how we only pursue God because he first put that desire for pursuit in our heart, but in order to strengthen that desire we must respond to the Holy Spirit in further pursuit, so that the desire becomes entirely captivating. In the midst of this pursuit we also must be aware that we do not get that captivating desire for a deeper relationship by simply one encounter, but rather by a learned habit of spiritual response that continually keeps us drenched in his presence. It is at this point that we experience deep calling unto deep.
When we got to this line in the book everyone looked a little confused and one of my girls said, "what the heck is deep calling unto deep?" to which another one of my girls replied "I'm not sure, but I think... maybe... its when the very deepest part of us is crying out for the deepest part of God." Yes! I was so happy, I wanted to cry! I love these girs : )  It's that feeling you get when you've experienced something so great with God that you don't want to ever have anything less! It's the very deepest part of mankind that only God can reach, reaching God in a way that is deeper than we can and will ever reach with a person. It's DEEP calling unto DEEP! It even brings more sense to the natural desire for progression in human nature. Whether we have a relationship with God or not, we were still created in His image with the means necessary to have a deep relationship with Him. So when we experience great things in the world we have a natural reaction to want more and better! It's not initially a matter of being selfish or greedy, but rather taking that part of us that was designed to dig progressively deeper into our relationship with God and trying to fill it with material pish-posh. It makes sense that we can never get enough, because we were divinely given that desire for more and we will never find something great enough in this world to satisfy that endless abyss of a need for an intimate relationship with our Creator. It also explains why relationships and intimacy seem to be more valuable to people than possessions, but are still not enough to satisfy! This deep calling unto deep experience is what the heart was made for, which is why Tozer talks about only the longing heart being able to understand it. 
One of my favorite quotes from chapter one is when Tozer talks about the great blessing of the long wait in seeking after God sometimes. He says, "Come near to the holy men and women of the past and you will soon feel the heat of their desire after God. They mourned for Him, they prayed and wrestled and sought for Him day and night, in season and out, and when they had found Him the finding was all the sweeter for the long seeking." I want that desire! I want the sweetness that comes with the long seeking! My heart longs for this kind of longing! Show me thy glory Lord. Grant me the grace I need today to seek after You and bring You glory! 

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

breakfast with Tozer

A few highlights from my morning with Tozer : )

"He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts."

"They differed from the average person in that when they felt the inward longing they did something about it. They acquired the lifelong habit of spiritual response."

"Prying into them may make theologians, but it will never make saints."

"I have been blind to Thy presence. Open my eyes that I may behold Thee in and around me."

~A.W. Tozer (The Pursuit of God)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Okay Okay, Here's My Seven

Miss Lindsay Guard tagged me about 2 weeks ago with her list of 7 interesting things about herself and she asked me to do the same. It took me awhile to get around to it, but here it goes:

Numero Uno: I love speaking in Spanish! I'm by no means fluent, but I really wish I were! I've always wanted to go live with a family in Spain, Costa Rica or Mexico for a semester to learn the language better conversationally. Maybe someday I will?

Numero Dos: I HATE swimming! I love the ocean and being at the beach, I love taking a dip in a pool on a hot summer day, and I most certainly love being out on the lake with my cousins' boat, but I hate swimming. I've never been that good at it and I've always wanted to do a triathalon, but the swimming part freaks me out! I'm completely petrified of diving into a body of water with 500 other people at the same time. I'm positive I would drowned and no one would know till' the race was over! This is also the reason I've never consistently pursued surfing either. I'm not afraid of sharks, just swimming : )

Numero Tres: My favorite color is orange. My bedroom is red, turquoise and brown and everybody thinks turquoise is my favorite color, but there are wrong. Orange is my favorite color because it makes me happy. Orange is a happy color : )

Numero Cuatro: I don't plan on living in Southern California the rest of my life. I don't know where I'll move to, but I've always wanted to live in a place that has all four seasons. I used to think that Southern California was the greatest, because I could snowboard, go to the beach and go to the river all in one weekend, but it just doesn't appeal to me as much anymore. I'll come home for holidays and I can go to those places during vacation. I would rather have snow during the winter and red leaves all during the fall : ) Plus, I really enjoy cold weather!

Numero Cinco: I can be very outgoing and high-energy at times, but I've discovered this past year that I think I'm actually an introvert at heart. I'm most happy in one-on-one conversations with a person that REALLY knows me, I feel most peaceful and content when I'm by myself in nature with my journal and a pen, I love being awake when everyone else is asleep, I don't actually like big parties I just want everyone to feel included, I love playing my guitar by myself and I'm petrified of performing, I'd rather go on a walk with a cup o' joe by myself or with a friend than go to some sort of social gathering, and there's nothing I admire more than those people that live savory but quiet lives. My self-induced trap is busyness. I'm currently on the search for the root of this terrible habbit that often makes me so unhappy.

Numero Seis: I drive barefoot. I don't know why. I just prefer it.

Numero Siete:
I wake up hungry every morning. It's kind of weird but food is pretty much my first thought in the morning. I can't even start getting ready for my day until after I've eaten breakfast. Even if I'm planning on going out to breakfast for some reason, I always eat before as well. I just don't function too well until after I've eaten.

So these are my seven. I'm sure if I had asked around first, I would have come up with some more bizarre things about me : ) but nevertheless, this is me.

I tag: Amy, Annie, C.J., Courtney, Luke, Marge & Shaukie

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Some Spice in My Life

Table Rock will forever be a mental postcard in my brain that is filled with the scent of precious people, a few precious moments and God's hand at work in each of our lives!

What I value most about this rare and priceless group is their desire for living life to the fullest! This is not in a careless way though; quite the opposite in fact. They are so intentional in being real about where they are at and honest about how they are feeling. They have brought a new spice to my life that is exquisite! It is an adventure with Christ through a whole new light that involves using the whole spectrum of colors, not just those in front of me. It has brought the spontaneity of night swims at the beach, the courage of cliff diving and a depth of heart that is so new! It has put light on some scarred areas of my heart that I never would have believed existed had they not been brought out in love. It is a bit of a painful season of life, but God has surrounded me with some beautiful aspects of Himself through these friends and their furvor for LiFe with GoD! It is living each moment in obedience and spontaneity with a comforting and supportive hand always near by. I believe this is the clearest vision of God's intent for the church that I have ever experienced! They are not perfect by any means. They are better... they are real.

"To rip through the dear and tender stuff of which life is made can never be anything but deeply painful. Yet that is what the cross did to Jesus and it is what the cross would do to every man to set him free."
~ A.W. Tozer (The Pursuit of God)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Trigon Commercials

This is why I hope to end up in a career that involves kids. I don't think grown-ups are ever this funny : )

Spinach & Carrots

Karate & Muscles

You know what he did?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Don't vote... unless you care. Do you care? Okay, than you should definitely vote!

My English teacher senior year of high school, Mrs. Hamilton, was a HUGE advocate for us being good citizens. One of her biggest shpeels she gave us was on voting and she did a little more than just encourage us to register : ) She kept the forms in her classroom so that the day we turned 18 we could fill them out and she would even mail them in for us! I saw this video and I immediately thought of her. It's pretty funny. There are a couple lines that are unnecessary & slightly inappropriate for those under 13, but I'm pretty sure you can handle it :)

Friday, October 10, 2008

It is extremely well with my soul : )

It's funny the way my mood can change so quick at the thought of slightly cooler autumn weather and the beauty that surrounds it! Mmm Mmm Mmm :) Well, anyway, I decided to make a list of what I'm thankful for and some of the places I've seen God lately:

1. silence- it seems that no matter how busy life gets, you always have a choice to slow it down if you want to and that's what I've done. I'm still going to school, working & volunteering, but in the midst of that I have had time to slow down and spend some moments of solitude with God. Nothing can compare to that kind of embrace and intimacy.
2. thirst- it also seems that the more I spend time just being with God, the more I want it! He makes me more and more thirsty for his presence, his touch & the sound of his beautiful voice! I prayed the other day with my friend Meg, that God would allow our thirst to NOT be quenched by ANYTHING and that he would stir in us an ever-growing desire to be in His presence! "O God, show me Thy glory!"
3. a beautiful innocence in children

4. honest conversations
5. relationships that move to be stronger
6. good cooking!
music & its emotional effects
8. the beach at night- the sound of the waves and the beauty of the moon shining off the water make it really hard for me to understand atheism.

9. A.W. Tozer
10. my slightly pitiful, but ever faithful Yamaha gee-tar : )
11. bike rides
12. snow!!!!!! - not just for snowboarding, but that is part of it.

I am not thankful for homework, but I must get on with it anyway, so... goodbye for now my little world of bloggers : )

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Missing Branch

Every weekday morning I seem to go through almost the same routine. Due to the putting off of a few of my gen-ed classes, I got stuck senior year with a pretty awkward and pesky little school schedule. This little schedule has me at school everyday of the week for Spanish class! It started off seeming like more of a curse than a blessing, but after realizing that a dear friend of mine was in the class as well, I knew it wouldn't be so bad. In fact, because of her comical and quirky personality and our hilarious meshing of characters, its been a routine that I now enjoy and fully embrace! Everyday brings a new priceless moment due to our spontaneity and free-spirited manner. Last Wednesday in particular was one to write home about : )

Walking out of Spanish, chatting and laughing hysterically about who knows what, we saw a HUGE branch fall down
right before our eyes about 30 feet away for no apparent reason! We both froze and looked at each other with our jaws to the ground, thinking completely different things. Not too surprisingly, I was thinking, "Woah! That was weird and could have been dangerous if someone had been walking beneath it," but Maddie was thinking, "Thank you Lord! I can't believe you sent me a tree for my balcony!" Yes, that is correct, Maddie proceeded to ask me if I would help her take this thin, but large 16 foot branch back to her apartment and set it up like it was a complete tree. I was slightly thrown off by her quick thinking, but I said "Of course! This will be so funny." So, while the people in the office in front of which it fell, were probably calling campus safety to come take care of the problem, Maddie and I ever-so-suavely walked over, picked it up, and carried it halfway across campus to her car, while getting many strange stares! We were laughing so hard! The real challenge was trying to get as much of it as possible into her car while not attracting too much attention and drive the tree back to her apartment, but we did it!

I must say, it looks awful nice with one branch poking over her balcony and one arching over her large front window. We were pretty proud of ourselves : ) Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the branch. The only one I have is from the car and you can't really tell that I'm holding onto the trunk, but here ya go:
We still wonder what campus safety must have been thinking when they showed up and there was no branch for them to haul off. They must have thought the ladies in the office were crazy : )

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The fullness of our heart is expressed
in our eyes,
in our touch,
in what we write,
in what we say,
in the way we walk,
the way we receive,
the way we need.
~Mother Teresa

Saturday, September 27, 2008

What Hole in My Wall?

So, one of the many joys of living in a house that is over 100 years old, is that things are ALWAYS falling apart, breaking and dying. One of these beautiful things is my wall. I've always hated wall paper, but my mom has always been a big fan and it was not until my high school and college years that I realized why : ) Basically, some of our walls would just fall apart if it weren't for the giant band-aids we call wallpaper. I'm pretty sure the drywall in my room has been around since the house was first built in the 1800's and its a wreck! In high school I wanted to put a whiteboard on my wall, but my mom insisted that my brother put it up for me (due to her fear of my walls collapsing). Well... lets just say it took him several tries and when he was done I thought... "why is it crooked? and why isn't it snug up against the wall?" He left my room angry and said something about the stupid molly bolts? When I looked behind the whiteboard, I realized that there were SEVERAL holes in my wall that I think just caved in when he was hitting the nails : ) So, ever since then, there has been a vast array of pictures and such hung over some of these holes to cover up the disaster. Last semester, I decided that I would just start painting over all the holes in my wall instead of hanging more weight on the already decrepit drywall : ) I never had time to actually do it though, so I just taped up a drawing of what I was going to paint and I finally started on the first hole last night : ) Can you see the hole? I think I might just start taking pictures of everything in my room that has been "re-decorated" to cover up the disaster areas : - )

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Were You There?

So I was in chapel 2 weeks ago and Eric Thoennes shared this video before he spoke, but I completely forgot to post it. It is very powerful. You have to watch the whole thing though, because the last 30 seconds is a sermon by John Piper (I think?) and he gives a powerful way to look at the cross. He says that "before we can begin to see the cross as something done for us, leading us to faith and worship, we have to see it as something done by us, leading us to repentence. Only the many or woman who is prepared to own his share in the guilt of the cross, may claim his share in its grace."

Needless to say Eric followed that with a powerful message on our true identity and what that means in terms of the cross. The song in this video says, "sometimes it causes me to tremble" and I wonder if it really makes us tremble often enough when we think about this. Does the power of Christ's death on the cross and the realization that we were in the crowd yelling "crucify," does that make us tremble?!?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Prosperity Gospel

I know that if you're from Calvary you've probably already seen this, but it is one of those powerful videos that really sticks with you and makes you think, so I've decided to post it anyway for those who haven't seen it yet.

P.S. I stole this from Ryan Guard, so thanks Ryan : )

Monday, September 15, 2008

Silence to Hear

Cannon Beach, Oregon is a place that is silent enough to hear. I wish I could be back there right now, back at this exact spot in the grass/sand by the ocean. It was at this beautiful place that God gave me one of my treasured times of embrace this past summer. I cannot think of anything better than being fully embraced by God with all my senses. In the morning there aren't too many people on the beach, but it wouldn't really matter anyway, because at this spot you're far enough from the shore that you can't hear people. All you hear is the ocean, the birds, and the wind against the grass. It is so beautiful! I love the feel of the cool morning breeze and the smell of the ocean is so refreshing and light. I can quite literally feel God's arms wrap around me as I sit in silence and just soak it all in. There is nothing more peacful than sitting in silence with God. I have needed this so much lately.

Sometimes I just feel like the world is screeming at me! I feel like I'm in the middle of one of those scary carnival scenes in a movie, where a child is lost in a huge crowd and all they hear is loud laughter all around them as they spin in circles crying and no one hears them. It's like being trapped and just wanting to drop to the ground, roll-up in a fetal position and rock back and forth till' it all goes away. I know that I am never trapped or stuck and that God always gives a way out of trials, but I'm just too stubborn to let go and let God do the work. I become a hamster on an exercise wheel instead and run myself to the ground. Its so exhausting and burdensome!

I have so much to be grateful for lately, but its a whole new road for me. I feel like my eyes have been opened to what's around me, but my hands have been tied behind my back. It's good to be reminded that God's in control, but my natural instinct has never been to "be still." When I look all around me, I feel so stuck, but when I realize that I'm in the arms of God, there's no place I'd rather be! I hate that I need constant reminders, but I LOVE knowing that God hasn't given up on me. His grace is SO big! I prayed that my heart would break for what breaks His and how could I have expected anything less than this? My heart is breaking constantly, yet I've never felt so alive. Everything is vanity outside of my relationship with God. How in the world does that ever go to the back burner? I am ashamed, yet restored. God is so good all the time. Good just doesn't always mean happy. I pray that my heart and my mind and my mouth would just be silent, so the Spirit could speak to and through me, because that is all that matters and that is when my joy is made complete. You have captured my heart once again, I love you!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A Series of Fortunate Events

This last week I was incredibly spoiled by my friends and family!

I decided to ex-ney the friend party this year for my bday and only do a family thing on the weekend, but because I wasn't doing anything with friends, they all just went over the top and blessed my socks off anyway! Every year around the time of my bday I seem to run into the same problem. Who do I invite? Do I do something with my church friends, my school friends, my longtime girlfriends or just family? Well, I usually invite everyone, thinking it would be so great if they all became friends, but it never works out quite like that. Everyone kinda sticks to their own peeps and I end up way stressed out trying to spend time with each group to make everyone feel welcome. So that's why I stuck to celebrating it on the weekend with my family.

My friends on the other hand had a different idea :

It all started on the day of my bday (Wednesday) when 3 of my girlfriends took me out for a surprise evening : ) We began with an traditionally amazing car ride in Jade's white stallion, followed by dinner at the "Cliffs" in Laguna Beach. Of course, we had some time while waiting for our table, so we took full advantage of a sweet leather store and hat stand near the restaurant.

Dinner was accompanied by the HILARIOUS & priceless gifts of a Venus Fly Trap, a juggling kit, a desk calendar called "Useless Information," a giant bathtub tea bag, an orange colored pencil, my new favorite children's book called "I Like You" and a box of 12 new journals (1 for every month of my 22nd year). And THEN to top the night off even MORE we headed down to Newport for some lifeguard tower time : ) with the absolutely necessary sparkling cider toasts, some prayers of thanksgiving and direction & some stomach cramps from laughing so hard : ) What a night! I am so grateful for these times and these gals.

And that was just Wednesday! Thursday came with an additional set of peeps to praise God for : ) I call them my SFSP-ers... or my second family. The summer school class that I blogged about before brought with it 10 beautiful people that have poured into me in a way that no else ever has or ever could due to unusual circumstances. This group of peeps along with several divinely annointed profs and their families have been with me during a pivotal new direction in my faith. God brought us together and created the most ridiculously vulnerable and safe space in our midst where the Spirit of God has taken a whole new meaning as He has used us in each others' lives to proclaim TRUTH and pour out LOVE!
Well, 6 of these beautiful people threw me a little shin-dig on Thursday night that just blessed my soul. They got together and home cooked me some of my favorite things : ) shrimp pasta for dinner and chocolate dipped fruit with whipped cream and ice cream for dessert! It was so fun to see everyone in the kitchen at once all working together to cook, clean and serve each other. This group just naturally works together like the church should : ) I completely forgot to take pics though. Oops.

Friday night came around and I just planned on hanging out with fam, eating pizza and playing cards, but they too had a little more in store for me. My dad, Joey and his friend Nate set up a pretty legit woofle ball stadium in our backyard. They lined the outfield by tying from tree to tree that rope that has colorful triangles of plastic material hanging from it and put about 5 or 6 flood lights up in different trees to light up the field, because it was dark by the time we played. They made the backstop with large pieces of lattice and had frisbees on the ground for bases. Josh had put speakers outside for the movie we were watching later, so in the mean time we used them for music during the game. It was soooooo fun!!! And then we did one of my favorite things: made s'mores outside while we watched Top Gun on the barn doors with a projector (while cuddled up in quilts). It was the best birthday I can ever remember having with my family.

This series of days was almost difficult to take in, because there was so much happening and it didn't stop there! For my last surprise, my sister (Lindsey) and 2 of my longtime girlfriends (Katy & Kelly) took me PARASAILING in Balboa! I had soooo much fun! You go almost 500 feet high and you stay so still! I thought I'd get blown all over the place, but it wasn't like that at all. It was really peaceful... and I saw 7 dolphins!!! It was unreal! These girls spoiled me rotten!

This year was one of the strangest bday years, because I have never had so many surprises! I'm typically a very hard person to surprise, because once I know something's coming my curiosity runs wild and I usually cheat to find out what's going on : ) I'm not sure what held me back this time, but I think it was good : )

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

It Broke Every Mold in My Mind to Get to My Heart <3

Due to the request of Kelly Burgess I just might start blogging once in awhile : )

I came to the realization this week that I observe so many new things everyday, but because I do not acknowledge them, I fail to really learn them. Sometimes when I am distracted by too many ideas, concerns or questions floating around in my brain, I just start journaling and when I finish I am always amazed at how much God was teaching me! I wonder how much I am missing out on when I just push thoughts away and don't fully work through them? Yikes! The same thing happens when I simply talk out loud. When I am able to discuss what's on my mind with a friend or even just talk out loud to myself... not that I do that : ) but it seriously changes EVERYTHING! It seems sort of dangerous to just run things over and over in your mind without talking them through or writing them down. It intensifies the feelings behind the thoughts without actually making sense of them. Hmm...

I have really been learning a lot lately! I just finished a summer program on spiritual formation through the ISF program at Biola and it blew my mind out of the water!!! I learned some HUGE new concepts that I can't believe no one has ever told me before! The most impactful thing I learned was about the link between the Holy Spirit and my heart. There is so much teaching done in Christian circles about God, Jesus and the Bible, but everyone is so afraid of being called charismatic that we neglect teaching about the Holy Spirit! We hear sermons that say, "do this" and "don't do that," and we try our hardest to follow, but we fail over and over again and somewhere beneath the words of the sermon, we get this message that says, " just try harder next time." We've got this idea that if we just obey the ten commandments, we'll draw closer to God, but in fact its been flipped upside down completely! If we draw near to God, the outcome will be an obedient lifestyle that glorifies Him. Now, even this you may have heard before, but how do you do it? This is what I've learned to be called the "sanctification gap." Its the gap between knowing your sinful and wanting to be sanctified, but not knowing how to get there. This, my friend is where the Holy Spirit comes in.

Have you every tried to just stop everything... COMPLETELY and try to hear God speak, but sort of wonder if you're just hearing your own thoughts? I know that whenever the pastor asks the congregation to just sit and listen to God in church I wonder if I'm just hearing my own thoughts and I think I am : ) I know His Word well enough that I can come up with logical biblical answers to most of my questions, but this is NOT a relationship! God doesn't want me to schedule in time to hear Him speak or give Him a time limit in which he can speak! In fact, my life before these two classes I just took was too busy to hear God speak. It was not until after days of hours of solitude that I realized how far my head was from my heart! My mind was soooo well trained and my heart had never learned to speak. I am just now learning for the very first time to hear the Holy Spirit speak through my heart and lead me through life and it is transforming my prayer life through silence.

In the past, I have so often caught myself apologizing to God over and over again for getting distracted during prayer, but this was all wrong. The Bible says, "where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." If my mind is traveling during prayer, its because I am obviously using my mind to pray instead of my heart. I had never been told before a few weeks ago to follow the rabbit trails in my prayers. This sounded crazy, but now it makes sense. If I'm distracted by other thoughts, then THAT is where my heart is and THAT is what I need to be talking to God about. As I dig into these distractions during prayer I am finding the truest parts of my heart! These are the areas God wants to work in. He already knows the roots of all my fears and frustrations, but until I acknowledge them, I cannot surrender them to Him and He cannot have those areas of my heart. As I find more and more of these unsurrendered areas of my heart and truly give them to God, he will take a stronger hold on my heart and be a louder voice in my life. This is all so new, but it makes so much more sense than trying to honor a God that I don't really know by following a list of rules that get so confusing sometimes. Now its just a matter of sitting in silence and letting the Spirit speak through me in every situation, conversation and relationship. He's doing CRAZY things in my life right now!