Thursday, December 31, 2009

It made me laugh.

I'm adding my most recent book to my "book journal" and as I flipped back to what I was reading this time last year, I had to chuckle. I remember Kris and I laying on my bed reading. When suddenly she looks over at me and asks, "Are those tears?"

My only reply was "he was a good man."

She replied with an expression somewhere between confused, concerned, annoyed, entertained, and maybe just a little bit frightened. I tried to explain that Bran had died, and what a great character he had been throughout the trilogy. He was not a main character, just a solid figure always in the background and I was suddenly struck with tears when he lost his life at the end.

I guess crying in books is becoming a December ritual. Yesterday, I sat alone on my bed, tears trickling down my cheeks as I read through the final 50 pages of The Last Song. I know, I know, I am a sap. And this past week I've been more of one than ever... I've cried like 3 times this week. That's more than the past 3 months I think! (I know what some of you are thinking-- No.)

PS, I wish Nicholas Sparks would stop committing film-suicide by allowing such poor casting of his films. Miley Cyrus? crap. Channing Tatum? more crap. He brings unbelievable characters to life, and then poor acting murders them. :( Who knows, maybe Tatum will surprise me with some hidden talent. As of now, he's just a pretty face. I do think that the singer of the background song in the Dear John trailer sounds an awful lot like his voice (I thought it was him... but it's Snow Patrol) .... I'll try to give him a chance. I really do want him to do well in this film, despite my apprehensions. I'm just preparing myself for the worst... Miley Cyrus? REALLY? And the guy playing her 'man' (Will, aka, my dream guy), not at all what I pictured (or how Sparks describes him). dangit.

For those of you who have been confused for the last 3 minutes, Nicholas Sparks (author of the novels Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember, The Notebook, and Nights in Rodanthe) has had two more novels brought to the silverscreen:

Dear John
The Last Song

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I got home from work Yesterday to find my family watching While You Were Sleeping and doing a puzzle- and Jason & Dad at it at some boardgame (I think Chess). Awww, I love my family's holiday ways. I don't necessarily care for puzzles myself, but I always get sucked in because I feel I have to contribute.... plus, lets be honest, I have always hated being left out. Whatever is going on, I want to be a part of it. ALL the more when it comes to a family tradition... thus, 'I puzzle.'

They then started Marley & Me... I left early on to shower and get ready for a potential hang-out with friends. I even did my hair. (I know, I know). I came back to find just Kris and my dad watching the movie. I sat down. Mistake.

I bawled. I haven't bawled like that in a long time. I don't even know what it was. We had a dog die when I was a little girl, over Christmas. For this reason, you'd think maybe my dad wouldn't have brought THAT movie home over Christmas. It was just Kris and I at the end of the film and what started as little trickles down my cheek turned into heaving. Kris started laughing at me, when made me start laughing, only I was genuinely bawling... my cheeks were wet, my chin was dripping, my hair (which I'd just blow-dried) was all sticking to my wet cheek.

I got up and went into the other room to blow my nose and try to collect myself. I looked at my red eyes in the mirror and started laughing-crying again, my eyes were SO red. And upon hearing me blow my nose, Kris started laughing all over.

My dad came down as it finished and Kris told him about his blabbering baby of a youngest daughter (23 years old I might add). He didn't believe us, "I heard you two laughing from upstairs" and Kris lost it laughing again.....

After that, I was not in the emotional state for a thriller of a movie, so I went up stairs and read. For the next 5 hours, I read. All dressed up, with my hair blown out (girls, you know how long it can take to blow out your hair with a round brush...), I read. It was actually a very nice evening. When Kim and Jason returned to find me sitting on the couch all alone, dressed to go out, they kinda chuckled too.

Around 10 my dad joined me in the living room, where we read and drank hot chocolate for a couple more hours.

Today, after a morning of working from home, we are off to Avatar! Can't wait...

Friday, December 25, 2009

I'd forgotten JUST how funny my brother-in-law is. :)

"What do you mean, how'd I get there? I'm parked there!"


What's the one word in the dictionary with no vowels?

I didn't know it was that kind of family.


"Well, it's about time, I guess he should 'pee or get off the horse'" (actually, that was Kim, just retold to us by Jason)

...The games always moving.


Stop fighting girls, you're both pretty. (an old one, but a favorite)

I like my back scratched at pain, just backed off a notch.

B, as in 'baked beans.' P as in ... 'pneumonia.'

(J) "We're one."
--(K) "You weren't one with me in there"
(J) "Well thats because you weren't one you were two"
--(K) "That's disgusting"

Kim & Jason are on a plane here, phew.

We've decided to postpone Christmas one day so we can still enjoy all our traditions with them---

Merry Christmas Eve (again)!

I hope you all have a wonderful day with your families, loving on each other and thanking God for the incredible gift of salvation, and relationship with Him.

If you get a chance this holiday season, read through not only the story of Jesus's birth, but of when He calls His disciples. We read it a few weeks ago and I was so moved by the unique ways He drew each of them. I started to cry when He spoke to Phillip, Phillip who had been faithful and righteous all his life--- he had been living under the old law and suddenly he met his heart's desire, Jesus Christ, Immanuel extended relationship to him. He told Phillip who he was. Phillip wanted to be sure it was true and when he returned with a question, Jesus provided evidence. Aww, Jesus called the seekers.

I cannot even imagine what Phillip must have felt. Only in a small measure can I relate when I think of the pieces of God I haven't yet seen, and the measure of relationship I haven't yet received - I just can't help but cry with such joy and gratefulness and love when I think of the moment when a world who'd longed for their king suddenly were offered friendship and eternal life. Not many were faithful while they waited, but Phillip was.

I'd like to be like Phillip, and I want to relate to Jesus with that same overwhelming love every day, and I want to wait faithfully in obedience and righteousness for the fullness of that love to come. And today, I want to celebrate the birth, life and crucifixion of my God and King: His sacrifices that restored me.

I'm praying this holiday season changes each of us for the better, and draws us closer to our Savior & King.

I love you all- Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Umm.. Is this Christmas Break?

I think I took a wrong turn? Can you help me find "Christmas Break?" Maybe draw me a map, or point me to the yellow brick road or something?

Thus far, I haven't had a nap.. or read a book... nor tasted a hot buttered rum. :/

I've been desperately tired, and working. I can't complain too much though, because I have had a wonderful evening at my buddy T's house for dinner, another last night at the Mitchell's, I've gone to a movie with Kris, and watched one with Todd. But I've yet to get a full fun-relaxing-silly day.

Todd and I had planned to spend an entire day doing all of our very favorite things we've ever done together--- baking red velvet cupcakes, watching our special movie, and our holiday movies we both love, making some random dinner neither of us have ever made, eating popcorn (todd) & kettle corn (me). Drinking lattes. It was going to be grand.

Instead, I fell asleep while we watched Ghost Town, and then I went home. It was still fun and I laughed plenty over the course of the few hours.... but it wasn't the unbelievably amazing day my twin and I had planned.

So, 8:30pm, and instead of hanging with Morgs tonight, I am going to sleep because I am exhausted after another long day of work.

Bright light of hope: Kim & Jason fly in tomorrow night, and with them I hope the Christmas break I've been day dreaming about.

Night, sweet dreams, love you all! Hope I get to see some of you before the holiday is over.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Grades are posted. Not too shabby.

Funny thing is, the class that kicked my boo-tay the most this quarter and I ended up with the lowest grade in, was architecture 350. It's just a little 3-credit class that I need for non-english VLPA (visual, learning, performing arts) credits. And THEY ended up bringing down my overall GPA most. AND I'm signed up for part 2 next quarter. I could get the exact same credits filled in the 100 level architecture course, but I can't get into it. :(

Even worse... I took Arch 150 last spring, and I learned more in it, enjoyed it more overall, and got a 4.0... and the exact same type and amount of credit as this tough class. Man...I think I am going to keep checking for an opening in Arch 151.

Anyways, I'm overall happy with how the quarter turned English GPA went up a tiny bit I think and that makes me smile.

Love ya all. Hope you are staying calm in this last christmas shopping rush.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A few days ago, I had one of those moments where I felt a slight check: am I being myself?

I was driving alone in the car and was evaluating a bit, as many of us do this time of year. My family has a Christmas tradition of giving 3 (some years 5), 'gifts to the Lord.' It's really more of a gift to ourselves I guess... He doesn't need us to give Him anything. Regardless, they can be anything. Last year a few of mine were to take better care of my body, not just exercise but doctors appointments when needed- resolving health issues I sometimes (okay, more than sometimes) like to ignore. I was convicted by my care of His temple. There were several promises; some I accomplished, some I haven't.

But this is where I began thinking of who I have become, and who I am becoming. I was thinking on who I once was, and the changes I am grateful for.... and the pieces of who I once was that I miss. There's a balance of who I know I am called to be, and it involves being pure, true love that requires great self-control, and it also involves not being intimidating to others. I don't want walls up. I also don't want my pet-peves or OCD to cause others to someday feel like they can't be themselves around me. Practically: I NEED my bathroom to be clean, and I really love my bedroom to be in shape, bed made in the morning, drawers all lined up, floor pretty. However, I don't want to be the woman someday who friends don't want to come over because their house isn't clean.

It's these two battling parts of me that want to be orderly, controlled, self-governed.... and the other side of me that's a little crazy and free. I'm not totally certain what the ratio is supposed to be yet, but I miss something about who I once was. I think maybe I've been trying to be something I'm not... to a degree.

It's easy to look at what you want in life, and try to be what you think seems fitting to that neat picture. But I know ultimately, that won't make me happy. I do NOT want to orchestrate my own life, nor do I want to fall into something by default. I want to be who God created me to be. I want to be who I am. It seems all the more important these days as I draw closer to that 'someday' of marriage. I'd like to be who I am, and trust that the Lord will bring along the man who loves all the seemingly-opposite pieces of who I am.

Perhaps this year one of my gifts will be to find who I am.... who He already knows I am... again. I expect that this is a never-ending process... perhaps some of you ladies who've lived a few years longer then me can chime in and give a little big sister/motherly wisdom....

What should be my perspective in this? Should I be intentional? And if so, how itentional? I know once again, there's a balance of just trusting the Lord and just being but there is also an intentionality that will bring me even more growth and better fruit...

(Mom, Kim, Linda, sisters... others who may be reading... please, invest..)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Today is the Day!!

One hour and 27 minutes.

Putting in a little last minute studying at Starbucks. It's with equal dread and anticipation that I greet each new minute.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

11pm. I feel ready for my Astronomy final. :)

I worked entirely backwards in preparation. Finished my english papers, which are due by 2pm. Then I finished studying for my Astronomy final which is 10:30a-12pm. Tomorrow morning I will wake up at 5am, shower and head to campus where I will study until my Architecture exam at 8:30am.

Please feel free to pray.

Or fast, as the Spirit so leads you ;)

(not really the fasting part... unless the Spirit really does lead you, then you better).

Night all. See you soon!
Just finished my two short (3 pages each) analytical essays for Honors English! I am more or less DONE with Honors English for the quarter, I just need to print them out and turn them in tomorrow! (Though, I'll probably give my major paper another revision before then. ;)

YEAH- I think I'll clean my room real quick to celebrate... then its back to studying for Architecture and Astronomy. It's with both dread and excitement that I await tomorrow morning :0

Love you all, and I'll be back to real life soon... in approximately 27 hours. ;)

Monday, December 14, 2009

I just finished by huge research paper for Honors English.

My gift to myself?

Now its back to studying for architecture for the next 6 hours.

Then? Writing the two revisions for Honors English.

I will probably have to miss Bible Study tonight, and that makes me genuinely sad.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

On nights like tonight, when I realize just how much I need to memorize for my architecture final, and that I've somehow lost the papers I need to revise for my honors english, and that I still haven't even begun studying for my astronomy final...

on these nights...

It's amazing how happy a good black pen can make me. As I'm sitting here writing out all my architecture sites, my favorite one was dying on me and I was about to put on my shoes and go to the store to buy a new one. First, I asked my mom. I walked out to her at the computer and held up my dying warrior, "Mom, do you happen to have one of these?" She opened up the drawer right in front of her and pulled one out and handed it to me. The smile spread across my face as I asked in disbelief, "REALLY?"

She then told me we have a whole drawer of them in the library. Christmas came early.

As I walked back to my room I let her know "I was just about to put on my shoes and go buy one." From my desk in my room I heard her reply, "Okay Tom Kelly."

What can I say, Kris may be right.... I am pretty much my dad, in a little girl's body. When the world is crumbling around me and I feel anxiety about to set in, I take out a blank piece of white paper (this is NOT like Dad, he needs lines) and a crisp black pen that makes lines so sharp and dark I feel those lines may actually be able to cut through all my troubles.

I have quite a few troubles to face tonight.... good thing I've got reserves in the library. ;)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I hope everything slows down this Christmas. :) Wouldn't that be nice-- Chirstmas in slow-motion? :)

Well, it's a pleasant thought at least.

Saturday morning (early afternoon) and I just got off work. I went from Starbucks to Starbucks- studying in the Rose HIll sbux while I get my oil changed and fluids checked next door. I thought that was pretty brilliant of me ;)

1pm I head to my food-drive slot. Then it's study time again until 6:30, when I get to go take the Ruff kids out to dinner and something fun. In these mini study-episodes I'm hoping to sure up my research paper, which is now officially 10 pages long (the minimum page requirement) and draws form 9 sources (I need one more to fit the requirement). Its still very rough, but I need to just give myself a time limit and call it done....because I still have two more short papers to revise and 2 more final exams to prepare for. :-0

Yes, Christmas break... christmas shopping, nap times, hot buttered rums (?), free-time reading, baking, traditions, movies, kim & jason..... :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Paper update:
I was hoping to be done in an hour. I'm at the top of page 6. Not bad, but not where I wanted to be. And I feel sick, so I'm heading to bed. Long day again tomorrow. I have at least 5 more pages to write, though in reality it will probably end up being more like 8-10. Plus bibliography. Even still, if I finish this paper by tomorrow I will be doing well. So please pray for more wisdom, clear thought, ability to organize my arguments and communicate my ideas.... as well as focus. :)

Peace is always good too, you could pray for peace.

Thanks. Hope you guys are keeping warm and enjoying the holiday season.

(This pick has nothing to do with this blog... I just love this picture.)
Today is going to be great. I'm already finished with classes for the day. I'm heading in to the office to pick up some... money. And then I'll probably swing by my Starbucks to check the schedule, say hello, remind people I still work there, etc. :)

Then, with a couple small exceptions, my work today will be shopping, and writing my paper.

When I was first hired on at UIEvolution 3 years ago, they ran a 'holiday concierge program' as a benefit. My first job was to be a personal shopper for a month. Minus one or two grumpy people, it was a blast! This year, they've brought it back. So for the next month, I will be the shopping and errands queen. I LOVE it. :)

I already have $1200 worth of requests that will send me to JCrew, Walmart, Costco, Toys R Us, The Lego Store, Bell Square.. and so on! :) The only thing spoiling the fun, is I also need to write this paper.... today.

Love you guys.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

I just voted for the first time ever for a contestant on a tv show.

We (we being my mom and I, but I guess it was I since only one can dial) voted somewhere around 10-15 times for Kathryn.

We also voted like 5-8 times for Ellenore.

Unfortunately we weren't planning on voting, so we didn't note the numbers of the guys. Mom's favorite is Russell, I also like Jakob I think. But no votes from us. Sorry fellas.
Finishing strong.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Sitting in my Monday afternoon spot, in the Astronomy building, like I do every Monday at this time. Thankfully, this will be the last time. I haven't finished my lab because I just realized I need a scientific calculator... but besides that the day is going rather well. Today begins my real push on finals. On December 16th I have my Architecture final from 8:30-10:20am. In the same room, I have my Astronomy final directly following, from 10:30-12:20am. Then I have an hour and a half to turn in my Final Research paper for my Honors English, as well as the 2 analytical rewrites (each about 3-4 pages double spaced). This is going to be fun. And when I say 'fun' I mean it strictly in the Mrs. Gilbert-way.

This is going to require me getting some of these done (like completely ready) in the next couple days. I'm having a hard time determining what order to tackle this in though. I'd like to just start with studying for architecture because it's strictly memorization and seems most straight-forward. But all that memorization means I should probably do it closer to the test so its fresh. My paper is probably what I should do first, and I have been trying to (I've already selected my research question/topic, met with my professor about it, met with a librarian, and scanned the 5 books I came home with). However, the books I found in our hour together researching.... aren't really helpful.

I've decided to look into the common trope in two of the books I read in this class, childbirth. As the course focuses on 'aesthetics in times of political crisis' (we specifically focused on South Africa), my research paper will be considering what the stakes are behind closing one novel with a nameless birth, and another novel which subtely constrasts a white couple not conceiving and a black south african couple conceiving. I like it. I'm sincerely curious about this, and it allows me to deeply consider politics, childbirth, national identity, and crisis. Since my freshmen year I've been toying with the idea of writing a book on abortion, from an ethnographic approach. I can't help but get a bit giddy at the idea of how the Lord is bringing me back to that original passion... and I think it is this grandeur idea of this piece of writing which I have been fiddling with, and trying to determine how to touch for the past 4 years that is ultimately making it SO hard for me to try to write this research paper which is ultimately not THAT big of a deal for this one class. Yes, it is %50 of my grade, but it is only 7-10 pages I believe. I wrote a 19-page research paper last spring, quite easily.

This paper will not be about abortion, but it is leading me into the greater discussion of childbirth as a political event, a personal freedom, and individual decision... childbirth and its erovacable connection to a nation. What does it mean to say 'It is not the time for childbirth' as Serote's character speaks. What does it mean to end a book with the both the pain and hope of a child's birth? What does it mean for a writer to create a potential future, in which the previously powerful race becomes barren, and those once held down, overcome, and remain fruitful?

What does it mean when a nation becomes more concerned with convenience than protecting innocence? What does it mean when a nation sees childbirth as an individual choice, and entirely forgets that it is also a political, national statement?

I think I've prayed more over this paper already then any other piece I have written in college. THIS is what I am passionate about ultimately writing, and while I don't believe this piece is it, I do think what I am supposed to search out right now is a part of the knowledge I am supposed to get for what I someday will write. It is both exciting and terrifying when you step into a moment that you know is a training ground for your destiny. Its no more games, its no more neutral, unobserved mindsets, theologies, philosophies or filler sentences. What I write here is not just a part I am playing, but it is my lines to speak in this grand story unfolding, and they need to be cohesive with the part I'll play in its climax.... the part I know has been written for me, the climax I know is coming, and the resolution I may give my life for.

"The birth of a child is a political event. So is the absence..."
-Births and Power: Social Change and the Politics of Reproduction

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Secret (almost):
I am bad at high-fives. Quite bad. Someone just broke it to me a couple weeks ago.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Cruelty: looking up hotels in Barcelona for two of my VP's.

I want to travel so badly right now, and a suite in Barcelona makes my mouth water a bit at the moment. Actually, the mouth watering may be from the smell of that delicious food working its way through the office right now. Why does everything smell delicious on fasting day? :0

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Hmm, I opened Fenelon's Seeking Heart tonight, and I heard the echo of Kristin's voice.

Like literally, my sister said this to me just yesterday.

"Encourage peace. Become deaf to your overactive imagination. Your spinning imagination will haurm your health and make your spiritual life very dry. You worry yourself sick for no good reason."

Fenelon carries on to say, "Allow yourself one excess: be excessively obedient."

"Can true love hesitate when the Well-Beloved asks?"


Check out how amazing the Message Remix wording of Romans 12 is- I LOVE it!!

So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life -- your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life -- and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it. Run for dear life from evil, hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality. Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they're happy; share tears when they're down. Get along with each other; don't be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don't be the great somebody. Don't hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you've got it in you, get along with everybody. Don't insist on getting even; thats not for you to do. "I'll do the judging," says God. "I'll take care of it."
Don't let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.

WOW!!! This is a new favorite verse. I love it! And remarkably it ties in perfectly with what we talked about at Homegroup tonight... which unsurprisingly, is exactly what God has been working at my heart this week, becoming truly Christ-like, and a mature Christian... pouring out to others. I love so much of this verse I can't even list all my favorite lines! All I can do is read it over and over tonight, praying that it will work its way into me.
I want to be swept away in an adventure. (right now).
If this isn't the picture of a girls library...I don't know what is.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

If I could write you something beautiful
Dutifully, my pen would scroll.
First I'd look for that which grows deep.
And when I'd found the strongest tree,
I'd carve my secrets in his side.
My dreams would span the whole trunk-wide.
The tears that never touched my face
You'd silently read across his base.
And as you wrapped your arms around,
You'd feel my memories surround.

If I could write you something beautiful
You might come to know me well.

Sorry, fenelon just made me break again... like snotty, little kid crying.

I don't think I've ever read a 'devotional' that just so bluntly nailed my heart over, and over. I went to grab my journal, and decided to grab The Seeking Heart. I opened it to a random page actually and it was titled "Wandering Thoughts." Ouch. Thats all I can say. In a lot of frustration and a bit of heart ache, I opened it up and started to read...

....Accept, despite your natural reservations, all that God brings to you to exercise your faith. Don't worry about whether you will have the strength to do the right thing. Grace comes only in the moment that you need it. Just be willing to receive your trials with a cheerful heart.

When you see your thoughts wandering, call yourself back to the present moment, but do not struggle with your thoughts. Just stay in the present and you will soon notice your Lord by your side again. The more you turn back to Him just as soon as you sense yourself wandering, the sooner you will have the blessing of knowing the indwelling presence of Christ in a more constant and familiar way.

When you are completely given to God, all that you do is profitable, even if you don't do much. Offer your future up to God, and don't try to figure out what will happen to you. It shows your faithlessness when you want to know the future that God has chosen to conceal from all of us.

Leave the future to God. The best preparation is to die to self-will and give yourself wholly to God. Your spirit will grow as you become less weighed down by your self-nature. You get used to a life full of strife and endless labor and think this is normal. You will be surprised to see how simple and straightforward your life in God is.

It is enough to look to God with confidence, without trying to explain the past or reason out the future.... You will make a lot of progress if you just keep turning back to God. This is much better than getting all upset about your faults and failures.

As for the depression that grows out of a melancholy personality, there are natural things that will help you- a good diet and exercise. [LOL!! How very true... love this man's reality!] ...

If anything is capable of enlarging the spirit and freeing you, it is entire surrender to God. Nothing will keep your mind calm, content, and joyful as living like a child in the arms of God.

Christ wants you to follow the will of God and to live it out in the present moment...

... Peacefully do what stands before you. Desire or refuse nothing. Whether people seek you out or reject you, whether they applaud or oppose you, what does it matter? It is God, not the gifts of God and not yourself, that you seek.

Jesus says, "Lean on me for I am meek and lowly of heart, and you will find rest." Stay gentle and humble and you will know the peace and rest of God.

That is a man I could truly fall in love with, the one who is a King, yet says, 'Lean on me for I am meek and lowly of heart, and you will find rest.'
I've been slowly reading through Matthew (like reeaaallly slowly), and I came across something today I'd never realized.

We all know the story of Jesus feeding the 5 Thousand with a little boy's lunch, right? And it's no doubt a miracle to be marveled at. But this morning, I'm marveling at something else in the story.

I don't want to in any way make God in my own image.... but Jesus must have felt great pain, right? He was secure in His Father's love and no doubt that was the ultimate comfort, but he faced a great deal of painful things during His 33 years on earth as a man.

Matthew 14 starts off explaining the death of John the Baptist. When the news reached Jesus, it says "He withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself" (v 13). It's then that masses hear the news, and follow Him. When it begins to get late in the day, his disciples suggest Jesus send them away to go get food. I think I would have appreciated this suggestion. I would not be so gracious if I'd just heard of the brutal murder of my cousin, the one who lept in his mothers womb at my conception into the earth, the one who baptized me, and spent his life in sacrifice, 'preparing the way' for me. I'd have definitely got in a boat and gone away, alone. And if people came after.... huh.

But what does Jesus do? He feeds them.

He then dismisses them, and once again goes away alone. He heads up the mountain.

In fact, its later the same night that Peter walks on water.

Remarkable that two of the most memorable miracles were performed on a day when Jesus faced one of the greatest pains we know on earth- the loss of a close friend. Funny how we disqualify ourselves so often to pour out to others because we feel unready, empty, or broken. Okay, its not really funny... It's incredibly convicting. It's enough to break me even now, and make me long to do something as remarkable and loving as either of the two miracles Jesus did that day. It makes me want to commit to not push others away in my own pain, but even then, even on some day yet to come, when I feel the most wounded and empty, to give.

Aw, Lord, make me like You!

Monday, November 30, 2009

It's pretty terrible to face oneself.

It's easy to think yourself quite selfless, until your heart awakens to desire. Amazing the sins you suddenly realize have sat silently in the back seat, in a dreary sleep.

Oh Lord, purify me.

Clean hands and a pure heart. A tested heart, one that has felt great fire, lived a great life, and loved beyond itself.. one that has seen such glorious things to awaken every part of it- the ugly and the beautiful, the jealousy and the sacrifice, that neither may lie dorminantly silent. The ugly can be slain, and the beautiful take root. Let it live in the presence of majesty, so it learns humility and courage. Humility to see the ugliness in my own soul, and courage to slay it.

That is the heart of David, as I have read it. That is the heart in me, as it has been written.
I just got a random Noel Richards song in my head, and decided I needed to find my old cd of his... which I did. Man, I love this guy. I love his worship, I love the way he pours out His heart, I love the hunger and the hope of transformation. I love the humility.

I am also about to make a second pot of coffee and get busting on my work for UIE (where I work for those of you who still consider this the "mystery job") and my homework. You may not hear much from me over the next three weeks. I have two weeks of classes, and then finals. And I do not feel ready for what is on its way- at least not in my english honors course. I have no clue what to write my research paper on...

On the other hand, knowing my tendencies... you may see more posts then usual, as the stressful to-do lists tend to make me do a few things: clean, exercise, blog. None really help with the overall projects due. :/

Lord, help me stay focused, and do more then even seems possible. Multiply my time, expand my capacity for wisdom and my ability to organize and communicate my thoughts. Let me glorify You these next three weeks with peace, gentleness to those who have to put up with me (my poor family), and excellence in all I do... with a full heart.

Love you all!!
I am ridiculously blessed when it comes to friends and family!! I am soooo thankful for all of you in my life! The Lord has been lavish in His gifts to me in all of you!

PS, I've been being such a girl lately, since Rob & Aime's wedding I've been looking at bridesmaid dresses. I have been lucky- I loved all three of my dresses from the weddings I have been in. Each have been so different. Can't wait to someday get to pick the ones for my sisters and dearest friends!! (okay, I may have already picked them, but don't tell, let's just say they are a bit of a tribute to my parent's wedding ;)

Since Kim's wedding, I've been telling my sister's I am going to select the most hideous dresses for my bridesmaids.. just because I can. They informed me I don't have a say, but I happen to know them better. When it comes down to it, they'd wear a burlap sack down the aisle if I asked them to. Luckily burlap sacks would clash with the bouhays kristin, so ya'all are safe.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I read this the night I last posted and intended to share it the next morning, but Thanksgiving rushed at me too quickly and carried me along in such a hurry. This is a letter written by Fenelon, collected in his book, "The Seeking Heart." It speaks to the heart of what I've been contemplating these past couple weeks and I hope came through some in my previous post/story.

The Purpose of Suffering

God never makes you suffer unnecessarily. He intends for your suffering to heal and purify you. The hand of God hurts you as little as it can.

Anxiety brings suffering. Sometimes you are simply unwilling to suffer, and you end up resisting God's work. If you put away all your restless longings and your anxiety, you will experience the peace and freedom that God gives to His children. The yoke that God gives is easy to bear if you accept it without struggling to escape. You make life more painful for yourself when you resist God in the least way.

Usually you bargain with God to set a limit on your suffering. The same inward waywardness that makes the work of the cross necessary in your life is what will try to push the cross away. God has to start over with you every time you push Him away.

Sometimes God takes away His gifts until you can possess them purely. Otherwise, they will poison you. It is rarw to hold God's gifts without possessiveness. You think everything is for you. You do not think first of the glory of God or you would not become depressed when your visible blessings vanish. The truth is, you are mostly concerned with yourself. Self-love is proud of its spiritual accomplishments. You must lose everything to find God for Himself alone. But you won't lose everything until it is ripped from you. You won't begin to let go of yourself until you have been thrown off a cliff! He takes away to give back in a better way.

Look at the example of friendships. At first God attracts you by pouring His presence out on you. You are eager to pray and to turn away from your selfish comforts and friendships. You give up everyone and everything that does not feel the same as you do. Many people never get past this place. Some get past this to letting God strip them of everything, but get depressed when everything becomes a burden. Far from looking for friends, the friends they used to enjoy now irritate them. Here is agony and despair. Joy cannot be found.

Does this surprise you? God takes everything because you do not know how to love, so do not speak of friendship. The very idea brings tears to your eyes. Everything overcomes you. You do not know what you want. You are moody and cry like a child. You are a mass of swirling emotions which change from moment to moment. Do you find it hard to believe that a strong and highminded person can be reduced to such a state? To speak of friendship is like speaking of dancing to a sick person.

Wait until the winter is past. Your true friends will come back to you. You will no longer love for yourself, but in and for God. Before, you were somehow always afraid of losing- no matter how generous you appeared. If you didn't seek wealth or honor, you sought common interest or confidence or understanding.

Take away these comforts and you are pained, hurt, and offended. Doesn't this show who you really love?

When it is God you love in someone, you stand by that person no matter what. If the friendship is broken in the order of God, you are at peace. You may feel a deep pain, for the friendship was a great gift, but it is a calm suffering, and free from the cutting grief of a possessive love. God's love sets you free.

Do not waste your suffering. Let suffering accomplish what God wants it to in your life. Never get so hard that you suffer for no reason and no purpose. Paul says, "God loves a cheerful giver." How much He must love those who cheerfully give themselves to His dealings.

Isn't that the most incredible thing you'v ever been told?! I feel like this could have been written to me this time two years ago. After years of His processing, I've learned to not love possessively. I've learned His love frees. And now, I feel like HIs dealings have begun again, and He is purifying me again, teaching me to hold His gifts purely. I still get depressed when my visible blessings and friendships vanish. I still care for myself when it ultimately comes down to it. I want to think first of HIS glory.

Gotta be honest, the dealings of the Lord have wounded me terribly the past couple years. He mended me and it is better then ever, but I am still a little fearful when I hear this word returning a second time, and the Lord assuring me of what I know and who I am in this... I see the windup for a test... and I remember the pain in being broken. Oh Lord, let me not resist You or Your ways in the least. Teach me to Love. Make me real. Create Your image in me.

"When I awake I will be satisfied with Your image"

Monday, November 23, 2009

The internet here is shoddy (word? appears to be since it's not underlined in red). I hope it doesn't fail me at the end as I go to post.

Not sure what I want to write right now, just certain I'd like to write to you all. (Yes, Kris, I am 'certain').

I could write about the amazing MLS cup game last night, but those of you who actually care about it would have watched it last night on ESPN. I'll just say I had incredible seats on the first level (thank you Kristin & Grant!), and both regulation-time goals were scored right in front of us (Ty came with me since my dad was sick)! The game was unbelievable... mostly the shoot out was unbelievable! Next year I hope the Sounders are in it ;) The one terrible thing about watching soccer matches- it makes me ache to play again! Not just scrabbling around at Kenmore Junior High with all the masses on Sunday afternoons, I mean I miss the BEAUTY of passing! I miss the adventure in crafting plays on the field, webbing with my teammates, lofting the ball across the goal from the left corner, I miss battling, I miss break aways- racing across the 50, a few steps ahead of the defense, hitting the ball just right, or tapping it in with my left foot, or the perfect pass for an assist... thats definitely one of my favorites! AGH! Sadly, these feelings are hard to satisfy... I've tried. I think it may never be like that again :( You see, I need a team...I always have. I'm not the showstopper, I'm the playmaker. I wouldn't really stand out at tryouts.

Fun story to tell, which I think my family all already knows. In 10th grade I tried out for 3 or for different select clubs. I made two, Crossfire United's C team, and Northwest National's B team. Crossfire's A team was #1 for my age group in the state, Northwest National's A team was #2 I believe. My dad wanted me to go for Northwest Nationals (I'd played for their club the year before, playing a year up on their A team). My dad's a good strategist, and he loved seeing me play with the right fit. He'd actually watched the Northwest Nationals A team play quite a bit and had decided there was a girl in midfield he knew I could knock out....(I still laugh at this- love you dad!) It just made more sense to go with the B team, rather than a C team. But I went with the C team.

A few months later, the team I chose, Crossfire C faced up to Northwest Nationals B... and we beat them, knocking them into the league below us. :) My dad was happy with my decision at that moment.

Halfway through the season life was pretty tough. I remember my dad coming to get me early from a practice, I lost it crying. I don't do that. I'm pretty strong when I need to be, and I rarely ever cry in front of people...let alone on a soccer field. Our team was terrible, we lost week after week. And with all it was costing us, and all we were facing as a family we chose for the first time to pull me off a team. I don't quit. As a family, we don't quit. Yet, in every visible regard, we were quitting something.

I remember processing it with the Lord, feeling like HE was asking me to give it up, to lay soccer down. My dad felt it was him doing it to me, and even felt quite a bit of pain for it. But I never did, I knew it was me choosing to put the Lord first. I left that team knowing that a year off would make it even harder for me to make a premier/select team the following year, and I expected I wouldn't try again. To me, I'd laid soccer down.

The following fall came around, and our family had begun to mend from the previous season. My dad came to me with all the tryout schedules and we debated for a while. My decision was this: I'll try out for Crossfire, thats it. If the Lord wants me to play, I'll make their team. No backups. I just knew that was the Lord, and as my dad is amazing at, he supported what I felt I'd heard.

Here is what I've been getting to... not only did I make the Crossfire B team (a team up from the team I'd left the year before!), but the head coach informed me that he'd almost picked me up the year before. Instead, he'd chosen to pick up another new player, and he told me, 'I regret that decision, I should have picked up you.' That wasn't something he had to say.

To take a year off, and totally lay it down expecting it to die, something I loved but knew was not the best for me in that season... and then to come back and be given something even better- if that isn't the picture of God's ways, I don't know what is. For the non sports people- you don't take 9 months off and somehow come back better-- but I can sincerely say, that was my best tryout I'd ever had! That coach became the best coach I ever had, and I was able to stay with him the next two years. Not only that, it was the best team I'd ever played with- relationally wise. A group of 20 teenage girls can be hell... and I'd been in situations where it was, but this team was remarkable. The coach knew how to lead, how to guide, how to correct, how to improve his girls, how to father. He encouraged me, challenged me, got in my face, yelled at refs for me, put me on the starting line, and believed in me. Awww. This is what I love and miss. Not to mention, I miss my United girls. :(

I think this is what I was supposed to write, and I hope that the soccer details didn't detract form the ultimate picture, but helped to truly show God's love and wonder. I think this is the story of my life... my message. That must be part of why I love The Great Divorce so much, I know that death is not the end. Good things must die to bring life to the surreal. When you feel the Lord is breaking your heart and asking you to let your dreams die, trust that He will resurrect what ought to be alive, and you may not even recognize it because of its glorious transformation! He does all things well.

Death so that we might have life, is that not the promise of the cross?! ;)

My favorite verse, today!
1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.

3 There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard. [a]

4 Their voice [b] goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun,

5 which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.

6 It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is hidden from its heat.

7 The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.

8 The precepts of the LORD are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.

9 The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever.
The ordinances of the LORD are sure
and altogether righteous.

10 They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the comb.

11 By them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.

12 Who can discern his errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.

13 Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then will I be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.

14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Psalm 19

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I went fishing in your eyes
And I found a secret hidden,
Found the depths I dreamt I’d written
In the perfect green disguise.

"It would be best if this obscure chapter in the history of the world were terminated at once, if these ugly people were obliterated from the face of the earth and we swore to make a new start, to run an empire in which there would be no more injustice, no more pain. It would cost little to march them out into the desert (having put a meal in them first, perhaps, to make the march possible), to have them dig, with their last strength, a pit large enough for all of them to lie in (or even to dig it for them!), and, leaving them buried there forever and forever, to come back to the walled town full of new intentions, new resolutions. But that will not be my way. The new men of Empire are the ones who believe in fresh starts, new chapters, clean pages; I struggle on with the old story, hoping that before it is finished it will reveal to me why it was that I thought it worth the trouble. Thus it is that, administration of law and order in these parts having today passed back to me, I order that the prisoners be fed, that the doctor be called in to do what he can, that the barracks return to being a barracks, that arrangements be made to restore the prisoners to their former lives as soon as possible, as far as possible."

J.M. Coetzee, Waiting For The Barbarians

This book is breaking my heart! I am only 25 pages in and I want to stop reading it, it is too painful. The wrongs we can do to one another.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I keep getting blogging ideas when I have nothing to pen them down with and then when I return to an idea to try to capture it, it's already scampered away to some greater mind's hiding place.

I know what you will all advice, and I do keep a pen and notepad nearby almost always... except for the few occasions. Do you know, there aren't many places to stash a pen and notepad (be it however small) in a sunday dress. Most of my writing ideas come during worship, and sometimes I will go back to my notepad and write them down, but other times I don't want to risk losing the moment I am in with the Lord so I don't move... I just enjoy it. And I can't exactly stash a notepad in my scarf.... hmm, or can I? This may have just caused a whole new deliberation in my attire.

One concept that has been sticking with me (taunting, running, and returning), is that of fire. Last Monday night in worship at Bible Study we were sining about being His burning ones, and wanting His fire to consume us-

"Let our souls be like a fire, let our lives be like a flame. Fill our hearts with your desire, let our passion bring you fame."

And I began thinking on fire, or perhaps the Lord was telling me about fire. You can't easily control a fire, and it has cost many their lives in trying to. I told the Lord "Some may try to control the fire, but I am not one so brave." What I meant was this, fires consume, destroy, burn, ignite, heat, protect, clear out for new growth. And if we are really going to invite His fire, we better not be thinking we can tame it.. His fire comes as it wants to come. He's been speaking to me a lot about my expectation lately. Recognizing that I cannot put my expectations on Him for how He will bring things about. He has made promises to me, but they are His to accomplish and fulfill. And with people the rule is much easier- don't put expectations on them. This isn't to say don't trust them, but don't relate to others with an expectation of receiving.

As I walked to my car last week my heart asked Him, "How do I guard my heart?" In high school the answer was much simpler, but I need a higher answer today. In my driveway, in the rain, midstride, I heard Him respond simply, "Don't put expectations on people. Relate to them freely." WOW. Just like that the simple truth fell into my spirit just as the rain fell into the grass all around.

My lesson recently is this: don't try to control God. Man may plan his steps, but God determines His way.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sunday, November 08, 2009

I knew now, that it is by loving, and not by being loved, that one can come nearest the soul of another; yea, that, where two love, it is the loving of each other, and not the being loved by each other, that originates and perfects and assures their blessedness. I knew that love gives to him that loveth, power over any soul beloved, even if that soul know him not, bringing him inwardly close to that spirit; a power that cannot be but for good; for in proportion as selfishness intrudes, the love ceases, and the power which springs therefrom dies. Yet all love will, one day, meet with its return. All true love will, one day, behold its own image in the eyes of the beloved, and be humbly glad.

George MacDonald, Phantastes
(of favorite.)

Friday, November 06, 2009

How to be honest?

This has been one of those very difficult weeks. One where it seems everything is going wrong and requires your attention, but there is something else pressing for the entirety of your thoughts and time, in this case: midterms.

And it's not the sort of messes you can actually clean up anyways, it's the sort you have to wade through and wait out.

These weeks are hard and I sometimes find myself wishing life would just be easy. But then again, I don't. I know many of you are reading this and thinking 'silly girl, your life is easy.' And it's true, I have such a wonderful life and so many blessings, and I am so wonderfully taken care of (I've reminded myself of this, this week). But then it comes down to the fact that my troubles are real, and my worries are real, and my pains are real. Like David, I feel hopeless.

And like David, I've chosen to say 'yet I will praise YOU' because I know He really is supplying my every need, and furthermore He really is growing me up and drawing me near to Him. I'd rather be a compassionate, tender woman who loves the Lord and is careful with the people in her life then one who has faced little hardship or pain and knows not how to 'handle with care.'

I've tasted the smallest measure of distinct pains, and I thank the Lord that He has but dropped my little toe in them, but I think He's strategically allowed these certain things so that I have just enough to say "I don't know what you are going through, but I know what you are going through." I know just enough to know, I don't know.

This is really me encouraging myself to persevere. This is me reminding myself that the Lord is right now working a good thing in me, and it is HIS patience with me that is my hope for ever being anything remarkable. It's His patience to walk me through these mucks and messes, and to not let me sit down in them. :)

Sunday, November 01, 2009

I had an absolute brilliant thought today. I repeated it to myself so I wouldn't forget. I've been excited to blog about it.

What is it?

Oh, I don't know- I can't remember.



Thursday, October 29, 2009

I'm always astounded by David. His courage to call himself righteous, blameless... and so on. To tell the Lord to search him, confident he'll be found spotless. I read some of the Psalms and I go silent. I think it was in one of those moments last week that I asked the Lord to humble me again. I know I need humility- I need reality about who I am, and who He is.

I'm sure you've all heard it said that when you ask the Lord to humble you, He always does. Well, I knew that as I said it. What I'd somehow managed to forget is that when you are humbled... you feel dirt. I want the Lord to search my heart, not because I'm confident He'll find me spotless, but because I want to BE spotless. "Search me and know me" is the major cry of my heart tonight.

You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great. Psalm 18:35

Aww, I love this verse for the first time. The shield of His salvation, and His right hand right now supporting me. And His gentleness in dealing with me is my hope.

As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness. Psalm 17:15

When I awake. Lord, make me not a child. Grow me up into you.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

For the daughter of the melody and light:

Someone brushed her arm with theirs, another’s strong cologne reached around her. She could feel people pressed close all around, yet her heart felt untouchable and her thoughts a million miles from any of these faces. She closed her eyes tight and tried again to offer all these thoughts up.

The night before she’d looked up at the stars, smiling and feeling wide open. Whatever this was in her heart, it couldn’t be shaken. She wished she could hear the stars. Standing at the car, head tilted back she'd become convinced that the constellations knew the song in her heart and if she could only listen to a star as it fell across the sky, she might be free. It would loose its hold on her. She’d be able to let go. She’d be known, and understood, a daughter of the melody and light.

A song could always make her cry, make her feel not alone, not an oddity. The right rifts could answer questions, for a moment. The music could always come so close to being right, but never really release her. Still, it was in the music she looked.

This morning she stood in the music, stood in the praise. And she begged herself to open to the King. She struggled within herself, all the while knowing the answer would have to come from outside. It would have to come from the King. She was postured to fight for it, her hands in fists, her eyes to heaven.

Just then the lyrics disappeared, and there was nothing for her to say. The instruments gave way and one sound rang out. The electric guitar let loose in the hands of a musician, the hands of a father creating the mystery in music that could loose the captive heart of one so small and hurting. She breathed deep. She let go. She didn’t even know the fullness of change, the melody of light flooding into her heart, her soul, her spirit. The song of the stars had escaped for a brief moment. She opened her eyes and with a smile said, “That’s my dad.”

“LIGHT MELODY”. I created this image as a tribute to a bright side of life. A woman dressed in a soft and flooded skirt, which is inspired by a costume of ballet dancers of the beginning of the19th century. Natural gray and white colors represent innocence and are in contrast with a highly emotional background. Sun streams into the room the moment she turns around and dancing, plays the last note. Heavy curtains part to let sunbeams in. I painted drapes in an abstract manner to show the immense importance of a bright light that symbolizes hope.
Lena Sotskova

Friday, October 23, 2009

Wonder. Realizing that I really DO need some of it, because I'm becoming too enamored by things of considerable beauty. To explain, a shooting star is exciting. In fact, it can make you night if you see one, seal that evening in your memory. However, when you watch a meteor shower, you learn that the shooting star is beautiful and spectacular, but mostly in the way it reminds you of the meteor shower. :/

I'm doing a terrible job of this. Its hard to find examples, because the truth is I LOVE finding wondrous beauty in the small things in life and I don't want to downplay them, but I DO want to make the point that something kind of common in beauty is overshadowed when you suddenly come face to face with a true WONDER. You know?

And lately, I'm just too enamored by what really should be the 'common beauty.'

This all sparked because Courtney just sent me a text, and told me she'd just wished on her eyelash that God would give her and I some wonder tonight... and I realized that wonder really is exactly what we need this evening. We need fresh perspective... childlike eyes. wonder.

Okay, I may have just failed at conveying my thought.... but I will leave it for today and perhaps try again once I have more time.. and a clearer explanation.

Peace. Really though.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Before the workers rise from their beds, before the sun turns the skies golden red, you cover the land with your rain, you let the clouds shed all their praise... and with them I make my praise plain.

[Sitting here in the UVillage Starbucks, waiting for the sun to come up and fine tuning my Architecture paper...did I mention this beautiful rain? Rain is so much better in the dark of night or early morning dawn. Good morning friends- may your today be truly blessed with His love and friendship.]

Thursday, October 15, 2009

"There is no moral authority like that of sacrifice."

"As fish that swim under the weight of many dark fathoms look like any other fish but on careful examination are found to have no eyes, so writers, looking pretty much like other human beings, but moving deep under the surface of human lives, have at least some faculties of supra-observation and hyperperception not known to others. If a writer does not go down and use these- why, he's just a blind fish."

"There is no forgetting how we could live if only we could find the way."

Nadine Gordimer, The Essential Gesture

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My Heart Takes Deep Breaths

My heart takes deep breaths,
Preparing my desires for another death.
Bracing itself for the years it might wait,
Drawing strength to face its written fate.
Slowing the speed of my dreams
That race away at each new scene,
Studying the script and each character's face.
If slow and steady wins the race,
Deep breaths win with Hepburn grace.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Chances are all of you have a "Kati(e/y)" in your life, so this should come as no surprise to you when I tell you that Katrina means "Pure One, Beloved." As such, I've always felt that purity is a sort of responsibility I need to learn to live up to, or rather, a quality I need embody. But I've found it's not easily understood what exactly God sees as Purity.

I know purity is defined as "Without Mixture" and most of us view it as this ilucent beauty, untouched and undirtied. To be pure, I've thought I must keep myself apart, avoid anything that might 'soil' me. But this understand was confronted when I went to the University and discovered that I was going to have to face a number of "dirty" things.... topics, discussions, conversations, literature...

My dad played a further role in offending my idea of "pure" when he challenged my basic understanding. It was then that the Lord began to show me verses like "This is pure and spotless religion, to care for the orphan and the widow." Let me tell you first hand, caring for the orphan, isn't clean and pretty. Sorry to disrupt ideals here. Christ spent his time with the prostitutes, tax collectors and sinners. He stirred up the dirt. And yet, if we know nothing else about purity, we KNOW He was pure. So our basic understanding of purity seems to fall not only short, but I've found that if I hold on to my concept of purity as it is now, I will never really fulfill HIS description of purity that I see walked out in scripture. I have shadows thus far and that is all, I know something about purity has to do with having no dualism in us. Its not in NOT seeing or touching the dirt- its in truly seeing Christ as the center of EVERYTHING and recognizing where there is distortion, and bringing light to those dark places. It's carrying a presence with us that unbends the bent, and realigns where the enemy has twisted and distorted. I know it surrounds this heart that is Christ-centered and has no dualism.

This was all sparked by a silly comment of someone regarding my purity of mind... but its been in me for the past two days, a growing frustration with our misunderstanding of purity...with MY lack of understanding of it. I want to be pure, and while I can look at characters like the great saint and see purity, I can't quite put my hands around it. So today, I am beginning my word study of purity. I especially want to know what exactly the Greek words mean when we are told that Christ is waiting for a pure and spotless bride, without blemish or wrinkle.... because wrinkle here stumps me. I am ready to have my understanding be offended again. And if this is what He is waiting for us to become, we better make sure we really get it.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

I'm thinking on some of my favorite authors and quotes (a common tactic for when I have to read literature I dislike for school...'a spoonful of Lewis helps the Modernism go down.') So I opened up The Great Divorce in search of 'the great saint.' I've been thinking a lot about that character lately, the woman who's very presence makes the children love their parents more purely, and husbands love their wives more deeply. She's one of my heroes quite truly, depicting true love and purity. She makes something stir in my heart and come alive. Like a little child, I see her and think "I want to be like her someday." But I have a lot of selfish ambition and desire to be rooted out of me yet...I love connecting others, introducing different friends of mine, or simply building bridges of relationship by speaking well of those in my life. When I meet new friends and realize how well they would get along with another friend of mine, I delight in introducing them and creating an environment where they can truly connect. However, I still love too much to be loved. If I am really going to be like that great saint, I cannot take love unto myself or for myself, it must flow through me swiftly and purely.

Tyson (one of the wisest young men I know!) mentioned the other day about his posturing when he interacts with girls. He literally adjusts his heart to make sure he is "giving hugs," not ever taking them. I was shocked a bit, and told him so. You see, of all the young men, he is so strongly the essence of a brother. Girls who hardly even have relationship with him describe HIM when others ask who they see as a big brother. He gives the "safest hugs" of anyone I know, meaning, I feel safe and at peace, and cared for. I DO feel like I've received a hug. What surprised me was his intentionality. I am proud to say its clearly conveyed, because what he hopes to do, he certainly does. The connection between that and what I am really trying to say is this: If I am to become like that great saint, and in other words who I feel called to be, I cannot 'take.' Sometimes in my heart, I still want to grasp... grasp onto friends and friendships, good reputation, comfort, my own plans... It's a common re-posturing of my heart to live freely, holding on only to the Lord and His promises to me. Thats really what the 'poem' below was about... re-posturing my heart to not grasp, but to hold onto something bigger, Him. I read about the great saint Lewis depicts, and I am re-envisioned, realigned, ready to sacrifice. Great stories of wonder can do that to a person, thats why I love stories, they change our perspective... drawing us out of the mundane day to day into something grandeur. We suddenly recognize the stakes are high, and we can afford to take great risk, and make great sacrifices. We live a great story when we surround ourselves with them.

Having said that, and bragged about one of my best friends for a moment, I wanted to share one of my favorite quotes, one that is working its way through me yet again:

When you own heart's been broken it will be time for you to think of talking. But someone must say in general what's been unsaid among you this many a year: that love, as mortals understand the word, isn't enough. Every natural love will rise again and live forever in this country: but none will rise again until it has been buried.
CS Lewis, The Great Divorce

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

I've gained a few new followers over the last week, and I thought I'd say hello. You are a few of my favorite girls and I look forward to sharing my thoughts, revelations, writings, and crazy happenings with you through my blog. Bless you guys!

It's a wonderful moment to tell you all how much I love you and appreciate you taking the time to read through here. I know it's not always the best quality of writing, or the funniest. I especially love your comments (hint, hint). You are such wonderful people and I am blessed to walk through life with you. You each challenge and bless me in different ways, encouraging, correcting, loving and affecting me in many unique ways. Thank you each for who you are in my life. Again, I am such a blessed young woman.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Something Bigger to Hold On To

I'll press into You, with every fear and tear and heartache
I'll press into You.
I'll return to You with every thought and prayer and breath I take
I'll return to You.

Each time my heart unfolds, I'll call Your name,
Run to you, know no shame, reveal the pain.
Hold me in Your everlasting love,
Give me something bigger to hold on to.

Tell me a story, a story of wonder
Of desire and sacrifice, men called after Thunder,
That my courage may stir, and my weak heart return
To a brighter fire than any man's may burn,
To a sweeter hope than any earthly dream,
To a greater love than my heart currently sings.

I'll press into You. I'll return. Run to You, for I'm Yours.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

It's so exciting to recognize that Father is daily transforming my mind, literally. This morning I think I grasped a new understanding of why He cares so much about stewardship. Ultimately, it all comes down to how we steward people. Doesn't everything come down to the people in our lives? Yes, God is first and it really all surrounds Him, but grant me this, just follow.

According to 2 Peter 3, we are waiting for a new heaven and earth. A fire is being reserved for the earth, and what will remain after that fire comes? Righteousness. The righteous. It's not ultimately about how we spend our money, its not His currency anyways. The final question isn't "did you recycle?" So why does He care SO much about how we steward our finances, jobs, gifts, talents, environment, semi-good cars, cell phones (yes, kicking myself here!), rooms, books....why does He care that we are good stewards?

Because good stewards, steward...what is put into their hands, be it $1000 or a human heart. If in the end, men and women are what remain, aren't they one of the highest examples of how good of stewards we are?

I am taking a risk here, and please do challenge this if you disagree...but as I understand it, God created this earth because He wanted US. right? He wants a family, He wants to share all the goodness that the trinity is, with mankind.

I want to be a good steward in the little things, so I can be a good steward in the big...His people, and Him. Truth remains, love remains, He remains...and you remain.

Friday, October 02, 2009

So many wonders.

Life and loviness.

I don't really even know what I'm talking about-- I think its more my heart speaking. But yes, life is full of wonder and beauty, mysteries that force us to run to the edge, trusting we wont fall off...or will, but that we'll land in something grand. Sometimes I wish I could rip open my life for all of you, not speak in code and "larger picture" words, but wisdom is a virtue ;) And besides, the "larger picture" conversations allow me to give you the gold at the end of my roads, without dragging you through the potholes. Hopefully, these posts help to transfer something from my specific situations, into yours, whatever they be.

I promised myself this would be a short blog, for I have officially begun my senior year, and the homework is already heavy upon me. With a number of commitments, and a desire to spend myself in some new ways too, I have to spend each minute where it is best invested, not where is convenient (or where I am pressured by friends to spend it--- though my heart is absolutely to be with them). So, here are my quick thoughts to fill those of you who read this to know whats going on in my life (aka, Kimberly Dawn):

I am very excited about my classes this quarter:
Honors English Seminar, which focuses on how literature interacts with cultural crisis. I think this will be one of the most important classes I take in all my college years. We are delving into the recent political situations in South Africa, and the different approaches writers took to bring about change. I wish the instructor were a little more alive (and didn't lose the entire class by her babbling down at her notes), because this subject is who I am at my core! I know little about South African politics in the 1980s-- VERY LITTLE. And as of now, I know far too little in general about world politics, but one of my recent challenges from the Lord is to cast off fear based on what I don't know-- and not let it stop me from what I'm called to know. I NEED to know these things, and you have to start somewhere.

Its been a recent revelation that what I feel called to is absolutely political. For years I felt called to be a lawyer. For one case: protect. I am too passionate about protecting the broken and hurting, the children who are abused and broken, forgotten, unborn...too passionate to not be devoted to change. But, I realized that law school didn't line up with the other desires of my heart, and a courtroom didn't really seem like my battlefield. Thats when I started to realize that my pen is my tool to bring change. I've always kept my grades and activities in such a way that if God did call me to law school at some point, I wouldn't be discredited. You see, there is still this passion to affect our culture in a political way...

I will not be a politician, so I never stand when pastor norm calls those individuals to stand...but I've been feeling convicted lately for not. I still don't know how it will all play out, but what I DO know is this, I have a heart to see my nation restored, and I have been given a gift in some measure in writing, plus a whole lot of passion. I'm called to the people. This is what I know, and this is why I am thrilled to engage this honors course, I'm praying to uncover mysteries and strategies that even the professor is unaware of, as I ask Father: How do I as a writer serve my nation, amidst crisis?

If I knock, He'll open. And if I seek, He'll answer..... I have a lot of questions. I see a great deal of wonder, mystery and beauty about me, and I intend to affect it. :)

I have two other courses too:
Astronomy.... if you know me, you probably don't need me to tell you how excited I am about this course!!!
Architecture... if you know REALLY know me, you could also guess that this class (and as my dad would say, EVERY class) is thrilling to me. I took a course last year on architecture and absolutely loved the overarching study of buildings, and the changes in how people perceived and attempted to create beauty- as well as what they found important, and what was even achievable. I especially became hooked as we reached the Gothic period in France and England. The abbot who is credited with 'creating' Gothic aimed to use the structure and aesthetic of the building to raise peoples eyes up, and recognize that all light and revelation came from God. His structure was beautiful. And watching as the technology involved with vaulting (ceilings) evolved and escalated with flying buttresses ...aww I came alive! I'd heard Mrs. Roberts talk about them in high school, but I didn't get why they were so exciting, until I watched over weeks and then suddenly saw how they opened up the structure and made it all more airy, light, beautiful. Its incredible how one person can have a revelation that changes everything! I want one of those revelations- actually, a few. I've been praying lately for solutions to real problems- for entrepreneurial ideas.

OKay, last comment and then on to homework:

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I left out a critical part of my "family" revelation from Sunday morning. I actually said "This is why God wanted a family" after another piece of understanding came to me...

I only understand this as a sister, friend, and daughter, but I am sure it is intensified in the affections of a wife and mother. When I see someone love one of my loved ones, I love that person (more). Meaning, when my friends love my sisters, I love that friend even more. When Rosemary or Elise talk about how great my dad is, and they treat him like a dad in their life, my heart is all the closer to theirs.

I recently met a friend, of one of my friends from work. The first couple times I hung out with them together, I realized that this friend of my friend, was good to her. She cared for her sincerely, and looked after her, and lvoed her with a pure love...a Godly love in fact. And suddenly, I loved this new friend to, because of her love for someone I love. (confused? I hope not.)

There's more though. I've realized this is magnified when it comes to God. Almost two years ago now, I was driving to my dearest friend Rosie's house (I don't think she'll mind me telling this story--- it may embarass her though) when I had a divine encounter. She was hurting, but I knew the Lord was coming to really mend her heart in an unprecedented way. I'd been waiting all evening for her call, and when it came, I flew out the I drove, I started praying in tongues and it turned into a song. And then I just started to really sing over her and to her (alone in my car...). And something came over me like I have only felt 3 or 4 times. I started to bawl as I felt like I touched a piece of Father's love for her- a passion and intensity that I'd never even felt from Him toward me. The words coming out of my own mouth were wrecking me. By the time I reacher her door, I couldn't even contain the love. I'd felt a piece of what Father felt for His Rosemary Grace and it wasn't almost enough to destroy me.

It changed a lot of things. It changed the way I dared to talk to her, treat her, the level of grace I had for her. And, it made me love her so much more even. But, it also made me love God unbelievably more. I cared about Rosie deeply, and when I discovered how much He cared about her, and how He took better care of her then I ever could, my heart was joined deeper to His.

THIS is why God wanted a family- love mulitiplies in a family. I love Kim more for her love for Kris, and vice versa. It touches my dad's heart when I really express love to my mom...and speak highly of her. This is His intention...

The larger the community, the greater possible expression of love. Love multiplies.

There are those who I have very little relationship with, but the witness of their love for my loved ones has built a bridge already, and I look forward to crossing each of those someday. This is also the power of speaking highly of one another- of dwelling and speaking about that which is beautiful, lovely, pure, true, admirable (etc)--- it multiplies it.

I have never been a "Bigger is better" person (EVER), but this Sunday, I was...and am. I can make more room for people in my close circles, because I see that is the heart of God. Grow love....and love grows communities. If we aren't finding that with bible study, phew.

Everything I have said above is true of our Monday night bible study. Other's love for the Word of God has made me love them more. And the Word of God is living...its a person, Jesus is the Word, right? Its one of the most unique expressions I have seen of love and community- a somewhat random misfit group of us young people started coming to Braden & Joel's bible study. We weren't really close friends. But what we tasted from the begining, we wouldn't let go of, and we became a sort of community, building relationship on the basis of the word truly transforming us and our daily lives. Now, a year later, we are not 6, but 20-something. :/

So, you can see how this revelation of God's heart for a family has become real to me at the perfect moment. ;)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I have four different blogs in my head, and I'm considering just writing them all out right now. Too many thoughts and ideas and revelations... not a bad problem to have.

First one that that came (I'm going to save the most exciting two for the end, so read through) was while I was washing dishes at sbux friday morning. I was looking forward to seeing my friend Meghan, just back from summer vacation at home in Cali, and my friend Aime, just back from her honeymoon in Mexico. I then started thinking about the chance of my sister Kim coming home for Christmas. I began to laugh as I looked at these 3 very close, very different friends. My range of close friends runs somewhere from 17 to 30ish...scratch that, 40's. I absolutely love spending time with a particular 4, 6, and 8 year-olds. When dancing with a 4-year-old is one of your favorite ways to spend a Friday night, and you'd prefer to spend Tuesday night with a good friend watching her daughter score in her highschool soccer match, you have to wonder a did I get like this?

Please don't take this as bragging...its merely me examining two things: What has caused me to be the way I am? And why was I created to be this way?

These two questions are closely connected to the process the Lord has had me in of growing confidence in His intention to fulfill my dreams.

The answer to why I have such a broad range of close friends I'm pretty sure has to do with my sisters. My sisters are 4 and 9 years older then me, and have been my best friends for a great many years. I wasn't always close with Kim. I have certain memories where Kim was the ideal amazing "older" sister, once when I was crying and very upset she sat and talked with me on the floor in my parents room, and I still remember her promising to take me for a ride in her "rabbit" some day (my favorite car at the time, because it was hers). I also remember her playing some hide and seek game with her earings in her room. I still clearly remember her teaching me how to make a bed properly, how to square the sheets in the corners. All these were before I was 5 years old, and I remember them. Once we moved to our new house (my kindergarten year), life took a lot of turns and I wasn't close with her until I reached high school.

Once again, life took more unexpected turns and I found myself spending more and more time with Kim, becoming best friends as we spend saturdays reading on her couch with a fire burning silently, or catching up on a season of some TV show... or eating her delicious baking projects... anything really. Maybe going to see some film together at the theatre, or playing basketball as she coached me and a bunch of my friends. Nine years came to mean very little, even while they meant a lot. She was older, wiser, and she was my ever-near friend, not judging or demeaning.

Our middle sister, Kristin, has always been my partner in crime, as well as interpretive dance. ;) She's the one who laughs at me no matter what I do, and pulls out the goofiest side that most of you don't even know exists....that will start conversations with strangers, maybe even bark at them, lay on the mall floor at christmas time, causing people to step over us, offer the woman at the macy's counter my library card as I snoutily inform her "charge it." She's 4 years older, but has never (okay, rarely!) made me feel like the obnoxious little sister. When she was a Junior and I just a seventh grader, she brought me along nearly everywhere. The older siblings I've seen do this genuinely I can count on one hand.

For this reason, when I was a Senior in high school, it seemed not so strange to bring the seventh graders along with me...not as a project, but as a friend. And I am so grateful today that this was put into me, because some of those "seventh graders" are the most incredible young women I know, and my good friends who I love to talk about life with. In Masters Commission and the years following, a girl 6 years or so older then me because my closest and dearest friend, walking through fire after fire together.

This was my final thought, I am so grateful that my parents had us girls 4 years apart, and even more grateful that they raised us to treasure one another as friends.

As for the why I am this way, I'm getting revelation...but I'll leave that to you to determine. :)

The revelation I had today that amazed me was this: our gifts really are for each other. During worship this morning I watched as Barco hopped off the stage to go dance, and Tong Pineda just as swiftly jumped up to the mike and began to sing in his place. I was stunned by how lovely this expression of praise and giftings was, and how the greater the complexity, due to the more people involved, the even more wondrous and lovely. See, I'd watched Tong clear more room for the dancers a few moments before, and considered also how his wife was involved in the training of the dancers...and the other dancers involved and their giftings, and the band. Its lovely, and complex, and so simple and pure at the same time. I hope some of this is making sense, sometimes a revelation is hard to really pass to another through words.

I've long considered my primary gifting to be "for others" as in, it's my heart to see the people around me become who they truly are, deeply, fully, freely. My calling is to call them into their callings. I want to do this through my words (spoken and written), my actions, my literal gifts to them, my glances, my hugs, even my clothing. We read recently in 1 Peter where it spoke about our giftings being for one another... and today I got it. It's not just my gifting that's for others, ALL of our giftings are for others, for one another.

And this led me to realize, "THIS is why God wanted a family." You see, it's beautiful to see a person functioning in their gifting, to watch Jordyn Cline dance is stunning. But to watch a group of people with different giftings, all interact is breathtaking. It's like listening to a piano, than an orchestra. (This comparison in worship this morning made me decide I AM going to listen to a live performance of an orchestra this year). The larger the community, the more beautiful and complex and overwhelmingly beautiful the expression is.

My final exciting remark is this, the Lord gave me a promise in worship today...
"I will write many stories through you, some with your pen, some with your words, and the greatest with your blood."

I gained one other noteworthy revelation today (also in was a very remarkable morning):
Adventure will find me.