Category Archives: Everyday Life

I Love Minneapolis

Lately I’ve found a new love, Minneapolis. :) When visiting, especially for the Desiring God conferences, I just love it. Walking the streets, seeing all the variety of people, and the vibe of downtown is awesome. You get the good things about big cities, without it being a HUGE city. Maybe it’s because I live in a small uncultured town with no street musicians… or maybe it’s just because they are about ten degrees warmer than us…

Unexpected Art

Strange almost abstract tree

I have a love for old buildings and architectural features.

Downtown Minneapolis

This is the strange Presbyterian church with nude statues… it’s sort of weird, but a beautiful building non the less.

Church

This is the book store of my dreams!!!! They had books stacked from floor to ceiling… I want this store as my own personal library someday… yes, I want a library just like Belle from Beauty and the Beast. :)

Bookstore

And it’s very photogenic and a photographer’s dream.

Birds wall art

But beyond just the good points, Minneapolis is a city in need of the gospel. They have a lot of gangs, prostitutes, homeless, troubled, human trafficking, and crime. They also have the rich and well to do who give no thought to the other group of people. It’s a diverse city in many ways and truly needs to see the power of Christ’s blood transform it. But I suppose that’s another reason I love it.

Leave a comment

Filed under Everyday Life, Photography, The Gospel

The Paradox of Freedom

monthlymondaypoetrysmaller-1

The Paradox of Freedom

Surrounded by a sea of people celebrating liberty

Little could they see that they are bound in slavery.

In the light of the day

The darkness was still their way.

Decked in red, white, and blue

Holding their favorite brew,

They are enslaved

Not knowing that they need to be saved.

Their bodies are unshackled

Their souls are chained.

Yet they don’t understand.

In the land of the brave and the free

So many are living in captivity.

Those of us who have been released,

Will we stay silent while our brothers decease?

3 Comments

Filed under Christianity, Everyday Life, Holidays, Monthly Monday Poetry, Slavery, The Gospel

Random Musings About Praise and Radiance

Today has been a long, long day following a very busy week. Last week I was gone at camp then this weekend was full with a funeral, grad parties, and what seems like a million other things. On top of that this week is VBS at our church and I’m helping with music and at the last minute helped fill in for the skit. Add to that not having caught up on sleep from camp and not getting much sleep these last few nights, you have a very sleep deprived, crabby, worn out, and stressed girly.

Just a few minutes ago I went to update my twitter status and was about to complain about all my pitiful woes when I was struck with reminder that we need to praise God in both good and bad. So as I looked up a Bible verse as my twitter update instead of my complaining, I was reminded about a verse from Psalms 34 which I have been trying to memorize and meditate on lately which served as a beautiful reminder. “I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” (v. 1)

Once again I am reminded that God tells us to stay strong when we are past our breaking point, that we are to praise Him when we are too tired to do so, that we are to find our strength in Him alone, and how He works through our inabilities.

Another verse from Psalms 34 that I really love is verse 5, “Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.” When thinking of that now in context, they are radiant because they are praising the Lord, boasting in Him, seeking Him, crying out to Him, taking refuge in Him.

I have never seen a person that is truly praising God in corporate worship that didn’t look radiant. I personally love to see people worship the Lord with extreme joy and to see it in their faces or just seeing their hands lifted to the heavens in praise. It is amazingly encouraging to me and it draws me to praising God even more. It’s contagious! That’s the way our lives should be all the time, contagious.

When we are blessing, glorifying, seeking, experiencing, loving, praising, boasting, and serving God we will be radiant. It will be contagious. My dad always says that “passion is caught, not taught” and I couldn’t agree more! So go out there! Be contagious!

2 Comments

Filed under Everyday Life, Faith, Passion, Psalms

A Lesson From Prejean

*Raises Hand* Excuse me, I have a confession to make.  Sit back and relax while I have a little rant about another sin I see in the western church, maybe even get some tea or coffee while reading! Just allow me to speak my mind on an issue that has bugged me for awhile. Now what is this issue you ask? Ahh, allow me to tell you with a story. 

 Carrie Prejean. Miss California. You all know her. For the past weeks she has filled the TV screens and the news headlines. She has also crept into the hearts of Christians across America and most conservatives for her strong views on same-sex marriage. She boldly proclaimed that she believed in traditional marriage and then later stated that she was a Christian and was soon after jumped on by the conservative/Christian world faster then a brownie in the midst of teenage girls. They loved her and praised her and though her answer might of made her lose the title of Miss America she won the approval of Evangelicals. 

 Then it happened. For me it wasn’t much of a surprise. Somehow some horribly racy pictures of her got out on the Internet. The liberal world jumped on that like teenage girls with brownies as well. And I don’t blame them. It’s sickening the hypocrisy that comes from many Christians in America that “homosexuals are the worst sinners in the world but I can be proud, immodest, and hateful and it doesn’t matter”. Now I am not saying that homosexuality is right, it’s obviously against what the Bible says. But so is pride and immodesty and judgemental attitudes. Yes, certain sins have worse consequences but they are all high treason against a holy God and all are deserving death. 

 What really frustrates me about the Miss California situation is how Christians dealt with it. It’s nothing new though. When someone who is popular, beautiful, successful in the world’s eyes, and has a huge hunk of change to their name and can still manage to tack on the name Christian and some good morals the church pounces. I’ve seen this in so many realms of the church. We often do not pick the poor, unattractive, and unpopular person who has a fire for God and the gospel to emulate and admire but the person who has it all in the worlds eyes. 

 In Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s article on Miss California she states it this way:

“Sadly, Carrie is the product of a Christian sub-culture that has lost a sense of what it means to be citizens of the kingdom of God and has embraced the values and thinking of this world.

By and large, young adults who have grown up in our evangelical homes, churches, and schools, are buying into a message that they have seen modeled by those around them who call themselves Christians—namely, that Christianity can be divorced from Christ-likeness, and that practical holiness in everyday life is out-dated, irrelevant, or optional.”

 Simply put, we like being comfortable with the world, to sit down and have some lemonade with it, but little do we know that the lemonade is seriously sour and wont quench our thirst. We look at those that are living a life abandoned to Christ as being a little over the top and freaky. We think that being Christians in name while still having our lemonade with the world wont hurt us. What many don’t know is that the sweetest lemonade, the one that can quench our thirst, is found in a relationship with Christ and laying down all that we are, picking up our crosses, and following Him. It might mean being hated and despised by this world, but it will satisfy. 

 While I don’t think that Prejean should be a role model, we can still learn from her. I know that she has taught me that I need to seek sweeter lemonade and to emulate those that are doing so themselves. 

 {Recommended reading: Nancy Leigh DeMoss on Prejean“Miss California, Meet Miss Beautiful Morals” by Hannah Farver, and “Women Who Fear the Lord” by Your’s truly. }

2 Comments

Filed under Entertainment, Everyday Life, Faith, Passion

Goodbye Sam!

DocImage16

Sam and I when we were little...

  For those of you who don’t know, Sam is my older brother. Five years older than me, he has still become one of my dearest friends. This year he is graduating and moving a few hundred miles away from his poor, carless, sister. :) Over the last two years or so we’ve had so many great memories blasting music in the car, late night chats, hanging out with friends, watching random old movies (ahh… Duck Soup… classic randomness… :D), and many other things. 

DocImage7

We've always been crazy!!

  In our lifetime together we have had some… umm… interesting moments… Hugging Barney, creating an imaginary world, walking around Walmart wearing Sombreros, arguing about if my dolls were real or not, all that sort of fun stuff. It’s been a fun and crazy ride. He’s always been around to make me smile and laugh. 

DocImage45

Our one eyed dog Rusty... poor Rusty...

  Though this is a post about Sam I must mention our dog Rusty that we had many years ago. This was no ordinary dog. Not in the least bit. He had only one eyes, that in it’s self makes him unique. But he also was a bit of a… hmm… how should I put this? A pack rat? A collector of random things? Crazy? Those things all describe dear Rusty. He would bring home bags of bread, lawn gnomes, umbrellas with pictures of dogs on them, toilet paper, and other things. But Sam and I still loved that dog and had fun with him.

DocImage42

Sam, Corina, and I shortly after Corina joined our family

  Eight years ago this May, Corina came into our lives and family. It took us from a twosome to a threesome and we’ve had a blast together. We are so thankful to have Nina with us. 

Sam had to get into the picture that was being taken by a friend last winter in AL.

   Sam is one of the best brothers in the world and one of the nicest too! Despite what this picture might tell you about Sam, he’s very nice and picks on me only in limited amounts. :) Compared to many other guys I know Sam is an angel! He is a fantastic guy with a passion for the truth, manly gentleness, compassionate, and he loves the gospel. I’m so blessed to have him as my brother and friend. 

 Sam and I have shared almost fourteen years together and for the first time in my life, starting this fall I’ll be facing life without my big brother right by my side. While our childhood is coming to a close and we are growing up, I’m excited to see what the future seasons of life will hold for us. To everything there is a season and this one is coming to a new end, but a new one is starting. I trust that our relationship will only grow as we go off into the world. 

 Sam, I love you and I’m going to miss you! You are the best and the only good thing that’s coming from this is me getting your room! :D

3 Comments

Filed under Everyday Life, Family, Uncategorized

The Simple Pleasures of Life

 

My pearl necklace and fluffy blanket, two other simple pleasures I enjoy.

My pearl necklace and fluffy blanket, two other simple pleasures I enjoy.

  • The smile and giggle of a little child.
  • Seeing a little one year old alternate between his real bottle and a toy baby doll bottle. 
  • Hugs and kisses from a two year old. 
  • Morning coffee. 
  • Photography.
  • Finding a new spiritual truth during your devotions.
  • Discovering treasures from thrift stores and garage sales. 
  • Finishing writing a song and being pleased with the results. 
  • Having a toddler run into your arms while excitedly calling your name.
  • Chamomile or mint tea in my mug in one hand and a good book in the other.
  • Deep theological conversations. 
  • Free stuff
  • Just enjoying the company of friends and family. 
  • Knowing that you have been forgiven of all you’ve ever done wrong. 
  • Long talks with my parents and older brother. 
  • Family dance time. 
  • Hearing a two year old pray when he gets hurt. 
  • Watching people grow up and learn new things. 
  • A good song that touches my heart and turns my eyes to heaven. 
  • Any kind of chocolate. 
  • Being in a bookstore and searching out all the books that I want to read.
  • Hearing your little sister share her heart with you and try to copy what you do. 
  • Talking on bananas like they are phones with your two year old brother. 
  • Driving with the music loud with my older brother and just hanging out together. 
  • Meeting someone who shares my passions in life. 
  • Praying with family and/or friends. 
  • Seeing miracles happen in the lives around you. 
  • Seeing how God works all our for good both in our lives and in the lives of those we know.
  • Finding cute and modest clothing. 
  • Seeing flowers blossom in the spring and the grass become bright green
  • Hearing modern arrangements of age old hymns. 
  • Talking to my cousin Elyssa. 
  • Going to conferences with hundreds of like minded believers. 
  • The feeling of being productive. 
  • Getting comments on my blog(s). 
  • Worshiping with thousands of other believers because it’s like a little glimpse of what heaven will be like.
  • Brainstorming about ministry opprotunities and ways to help others. 
  • Writing poetry. 
  • Sitting on the edge of a dock with my Bible and just looking out across the lake while doing my devos and dangling my feet in the water.
  • Getting emails or letters in the mail.
  • Watching the leaves fall in autumn. 
  • Being able to play a song on the violin, piano, or guitar well. 
  • Hearing stories of redemption.
  • Going to camp. 
  • Finding heroes of the faith and great role models. 
  • Rejoicing in the wonder of God and all that He’s done. 

 I know that was a long list but there are so many things that make up my life that make it so refreshing. Those simple daily things that make you smile may be not much to anybody else, but to you they are like a breath of fresh air. They are the things that can transform a dull and sad day to something joyous and exciting. What are those things for you? What makes life strangely fun and brings a smile to your face? Leave a comment or even post on your own blog about these simple things (link back in a comment or such to tell me that you posted). I can’t wait to hear from you!

8 Comments

Filed under Everyday Life

Death is Not Dying

Our life is fragile and easily blown away. But death is not dying.

Today I finally sat down to watch the video of Rachel Barkey speaking to a group of women about the terminal cancer that fills her body and the faith in God that fills her soul. It’s a beautiful address that everyone should hear. It’s just under an hour long but it’s well worth the time out of your day. She is a beautiful inspiration and I believe that through her upcoming death God will work wonders and be glorified. I can not wait to meet her in heaven some day and while it is so sad that she is only 37 and leaving behind a husband, two young children, and other family and friends, she will be in heaven and God will use her life and death for His good and glorious purposes. Now go and watch the video and let her words speak for themselves!

(Picture courtesy Keara Jaelyn.)

Leave a comment

Filed under Christianity, Everyday Life, Faith, heroes, Passion, The Gospel

The Battle Against Blog Views

 This summer will mark a year of blogging for me. May was the month that I first started writing blogpost like articles and started thinking about starting a blog. I’ve gone from having no clue what server to even use to giving opinions to my family members on the pros and cons of Blogger vs WordPress, blogging on both, and starting a blog for my own mother. I even learned how to make a picture link button widget thing! (Though don’t ask me to repeat that…) 

 Blogging, meanwhile, can be both good or bad for our pride (or good or bad for our humility). When you get a comment that says you did an excellent job or that there should be more people like you in the world, your ego rises a few hundred points. When someone shows you catosrophic errors in your reasoning, philosophy, or general writing, (or even no comments at all) it’s easy to get discouraged. It’s the same way with blog stats… oh those condemning or glorifying numbers! 

 Since I’ve started blogging, stats have been one of those things that it’s hard to get past. All along I’ve known in my head that I’m writing for an audience of one, that the number of people it reaches doesn’t mean the amount of impact, and that getting views is no reason to have a blog, but those opposing thoughts keep returning. I keep finding my mind wandering to how I can get more stats and trying to comment on blogs or find ways to get links to my site from other sites just for purposes of views. When I hear of those that have many more hits than I do, I must admit to a pang of jealousy that occurs in my heart. 

 So what is the point of telling you all this? Why should I admit to this struggle with my pride and coveting? Part of it is showing the fact that I am so very human! I know that a close friend of mine who I met through my blog reflected that it wasn’t until we met in person that he realized I was human. I like to show people my good sides, especially on my blog, and I don’t like to express my struggles in life. In reality, pride is my biggest battle everyday. I think that my lack of views may be only helping that battle. 

 When I have a day that the views are high, my pride is soaring as free as an eagle! On the other hand… when I have a day that my views are pathetically low, it’s a reminder that I need to focus on Jesus instead of the people that I’m writing to. It’s easy to think of ways that you can get more blog posts with interesting titles or topics, but that’s not what God has called me to do in my writing. God has called me to write from my heart, sharing my meditations, thoughts, and life in a way that will glorify Him and encourage and inform others. The issue is not popularity, the issue is faithfulness.

  So all you bloggers out there on blogosphere, can you relate? Has blogging become about stats and views rather than the message that you are trying to convey? Has the focused changed from being about glorifying our heavenly Father to getting a good rating from others? Is blogging a way to puff up your pride? I know that my answers to those questions are not what they should be so it’s time to search my heart and let God once again remove my pride and people pleasing.

2 Comments

Filed under blog, Christianity, Everyday Life, Faith

Rachel Scott: Ten Year Anniversary of Columbine

 About a year ago around this time I was reading a wonderful book entitled “Rachel’s Tears”, the story of Rachel Scott who was killed in the Columbine school shootings for her faith ten years ago yesterday. Her story has made a big impact in my life and I consider her one of my heros. She lived out her faith in very practicle ways and she was devoted to being the hands and feet of Christ. She showed Christ’s love through befriending the friendless. When she was violently gunned down by two guys that she had actually been praying for, the last thing anyone said to her was “do you still believe in your God now?” 

 Yesterday was the ten year anniversary of the Columbine shooting. A year ago on April 20th I wrote a poem about Rachel on the ninth anniversary of her death. It was one of the first poems I wrote that wasn’t for school or that had a real message to it. So while it wasn’t very good, I wanted to share it with you and also encourage you to look into Rachel’s story more. Also go check our Rachel’s Challenge also the ministry set up in her memory. Without further ado, here is my poem:

 

Was it a life wasted?

A like only tasted?

She was so young, 

A life only begun. 

Yet she was so ready

Unlike so many. 

 

Always she’ll be,

Forever seventeen.

Yes, that is a tragedy.

Yet she served as a witness,

 to the faithless.

 

Her prayers came true,

He used her as a tool

And as our tears fall

We remember she is with God.

 

It was not a life wasted,

Though only tasted.

She knew,

She was only passing through.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Everyday Life, Faith, heroes, history

A Sluggard? Me?!

 I have never even pretended to be organized and have never acknowledged myself as diligent, diligence has been a lifelong struggle for me. I am that crazy, go-with-the-flow, hippie, free spirited girl that is constantly getting distracted by everything under the sun. But a sluggard? The name sounds so harsh and mean… me? A Sluggard? Isn’t that the guy that wont even bring his food to his mouth(Proverbs 19:24), I mean, I may have my lazy times but I can sure put that chocolate into my mouth! And who would ever want to be anything that sounds like a slug? Not me, that’s for sure.

  The dictionary describes a sluggard as someone who is habitually lazy. How often does that describe most of Americans in the 21st century? How often does that describe ourselves? When looking into my own life I see that far too often I have the character traits of a sluggard. I decided to take a little study of the sluggard as the Bible describes him, these are the “qualifications”:

  • He/she sleeps instead of works: (Proverbs 6:6-11 and 26:14) Sleeping isn’t a bad thing. C.J. Mahaney talks about sleep being a way to keep us humble. Our bodies need sleep and we can not function without it. But when we are lazy about our sleeping is when it becomes sluggardly. Are we sleeping, relaxing, or resting when there is work that needs to be done? If so the Bible says that we will end up poor and in want. 
  • He/she craves and does not receive: (Proverbs 13:4) Obviously some cravings (especially sinful ones) we shouldn’t receive, but here it’s talking about wanting things in general. It says that the sluggard is always in want but he never gets anything. Why is this? Because he doesn’t work for it. He sees something he wants but instead of working for it and pursuing it like the diligent man, he doesn’t do anything and therefor does not get anything.
  • He/she starts something and does not finish: (Proverbs 19:24 and 26:15) I think that this is what the Bible is saying when they say that he buries his hand in the dish but doesn’t put the food in his mouth. We have the thinking part of ideas and plans, the relatively easy part, and maybe even start it, but we do not press on as to actually finish what we started. (This has been a lifelong struggle for me. From craft projects, writing projects, school stuff, ministry ideas, and all sorts of things; I have had a hard time finishing what I’ve started.)
  • He/she doesn’t realize the theory of “consequences”: (Proverbs 20:4 and 21:25) This is similar to point two. He/she does not understand that if they work they do not get food or anything else they desire. In our world of easy entitlements most people think that they deserve all the blessings in life without any (or little) of the work. In truth, if you don’t work hard for something, you may still get it but it wont be as rewarding. Also, if you have something and don’t work to keep it, you will most likely lose it.
  • He/she has lame excuses: (Proverbs 26:13) He cries out that some lion is at the gait and makes it an excuse for being lazy and unproductive. Instead of facing the challenges he faces and getting past them, or even if they can’t be solved, working around them, he does not. Instead he puts things off in order to be lazy or even just for comfort’s sake.

 These are some of the main points I’ve found in Proverbs that mention those that are slothful, lazy, and the sluggard. When looking at these qualifications and looking at my own life, I see far too many resemblances and it frightens me. I want to be the wise woman who is diligent and serves the Lord with ferocity but who I see when I look at my heart and lifestyle is a slothful fool. And that is who I am by myself. I myself am a loathsome, pitiful person not worthy of anything. But God decided to come and give me worth and He desires me to become that wise and diligent woman who can serve Him faithfully. My tool for this task: the very blood of Christ.

 So right now I’m working on attacking the sluggard within my soul for the purpose of serving and glorifying God better. When sharing a big dream I had with my dad a few months ago he pointed me back to the fact that if I want to do that someday I have to start working towards that now in the little ways like school. I am reminded of the story of the servants who were faithful with little and were shown to be faithful over much. I do not want to be that slothful and lazy servant but I want to hear from my Savior that I have served Him well.

 In the next few weeks or so I’ll try to keep you updated about my journey with this as I try to restructure my life to no longer include the sluggard inside. Hopefully this will provide me with accountability as well. How about you that ? Do you see the character qualities of a sluggard in your life? What are you going to do about it? Any ideas and advice from those of you who have attacked this enemy in the past and conquered it?

1 Comment

Filed under Christianity, Everyday Life