Saturday, December 31

Come Out of the Waiting

Well, this is a day for posting I guess. :)

I'm not one for New Year's resolutions, but after two weeks of resting and contemplating and dreaming again, I have come to the conclusion that it's time to actually record my music. I received this picture in the mail from one of my close friends. When I sang in her wedding, all I remember is being totally fine until it came to my time to sing. And THEN I was nervous. I'm not sure how it sounded, but I'm thinking it was a little shaky. Ugh. Anyways, when I looked at the picture it wasn't the nervousness that I remembered, it was my love of playing and being able to share with others.

I've been waiting around for only God knows what....and, of course, nothing has happened. So to those six of you who have been waiting for me to finally record my stuff, it is my new goal for the year. So if you have suggestions as to equipment and software, it would be much appreciated. This is an add on my post a few days ago. I'm going to take what I have and do what I can do. Only then can I move on to something more or something else, and probably something I never even expected.


"Even in your hobbies, has there not always been some secret attraction which the others are curiously ignorant of - something, not to be identified with, but always on the verge of breaking through, the smell of cut wood in the workshop or the clap-clap of water against the boat's side? Are not all lifelong friendships born at the moment when at last you meet another human being who has some inkling (but faint and uncertain even in the best) of that something which you were born desiring, and which, beneath the flux of other desires and in all the momentary silences between the louder passions, night and day, year by year, from childhood to old age, you are looking for, watching for, listening for? You have never had it. All the things that have ever deeply possessed your soul have been but hints of it - tantalizing glimpses, promises never quite fulfilled, echoes that died away just as they caught your ear. But if it should really become manifest - if there ever came an echo that did not die away but swelled into the sound itself - you would know it. Beyond all possibility of doubt you would say, 'Here at last is the thing I was made for.' We cannot tell each other about it. It is the secret signature of each soul, the incommunicable and unappeasable want, the thing we desired before we met our wives or made our friends or chose our work, and which we shall still desire on our deathbeds, when the mind no longer knows wife or friend or work. While we are, this is. If we lose this, we lose all."
~C.S. Lewis (quoted in The Sacred Romance)
To all of you who seek the same, may your New Year find you walking with Christ.
May you hear His voice, see His eyes, and know His heart.

Friday, December 30

This Year

This year, I...
turned 26

celebrated valentines day with 20 kingdergarteners
taught children how to read
started teaching 3rd grade
had my first disagreement with a parent (at school)
managed 26 students in one classroom
attended numerous workshops
observed the life cycle of frogs (from start to finish...well, basically)

wrote three songs
sang in a wedding
bought a piano
took guitar lessons
read books by Eldridge, C.S. Lewis, Nouwen, Bin Laden, God
went to the music store and listened to the music of guys I knew in college
brainstormed business ideas with my sister

learned how to salsa

enjoyed dancing for the first time in my life
was invited to mexico city
was inspired to really pursue Spanish and finally become fluent
went to Catholic mass
attended my roommate's graduation and felt like I graduated all over again

bought a digital camera
took a road trip from OK to FL to SC to NY to PA to NC and back to FL
visited dallas, l.a., nashville, philly, savannah, rochester, greenville
stood on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean
stood on the shores of the Pacific Ocean
got pulled over for the first time (received a warning for my headlight)
watched sharks get caught off the pier near my new apartment (scary thought!)

saw my brother three times
graduated to friend and colleague of my college professor (not just her student)
watched my "second family" grow to 6 children and spent lots of time loving them
held quite a few new babies of friends that I knew even before they were together
helped my sister and her best friend get to excited for them!
came upon an accident and did not see the person survive
saw two soldier friends return safely home from Iraq
reconnected with a friend from primary school
gained a sister (kaitlyn...lived with us for 5 months)

said goodbye to tulsa
moved to florida (along with my goldfish)
lived with my parents
found a new church home
moved into a new apartment

joined MySpace and found friends that I've been looking for for years (and vice versa)
made a few new friends in Florida
joined 2 online relationships sites
met people on those sites
took my profile offline
decided to wait awhile and see what God does
paid way too much in cell phone bills
broke my record for text messages

laughed, cried
felt lonely
have missed people I love in NY and in Tulsa

asked, "how did i get here?" "am I supposed to be here" "what's going on?"
hoped for new opportunities
dreamed of more
told the truth
prayed for and with friends and family
heard God's voice
went out on a few dates
let go of a few relationships

found healing
learned to trust God more.


I am currently reading three books, which I would highly recommend to anyone.
The Wounded Healer, The Sacred Romance, and Captivating.

I talked with a dear friend last night. She shared some frustrations. I listened closely. And although she may have thought that she was the only one feeling the way she did, every word she shared echoed in my own heart. And this was the question that I continued to ask even after we hung up the phone. "How do we know when loving a person requires us either to hang on or to let go?"

Look around, how many people in this world actually stay anymore? I look around and I see parents quitting their children, teachers quitting their students, friends quitting one another, husbands leaving wives, wives cheating on husbands, lovers of Christ turning their back on the church and their faith. Why do we leave one another? Why do we look the other way? Is it easier? Does it mean that we'd rather look out for ourselves rather than the ones we promised to love?

Where is the line? When are we compromising all we hope for in Christ and when are we compromising our own dreams in order to gain Christ and share His love with others?

Are they one and the same? I don't think so. I think at some point God will call us out of our comfort zone. I believe He will challenge us to stay commited to people and places we would rather not. I believe that He will cause us to grow in those circumstances. And in those places He will bring joy and blessing. But I also believe God gives us other challenges...such as discerning the call He has placed in our hearts, such as loving others without necessarily pleasing them, such as letting go when we feel obligated or comfortable enough to hold on.

I believe God calls us to faith. And walking in faith will challenge us to trust God for every relationship, for every circumstance, for every decision. There is no formula. God is God. He does not live in a box. But He has placed His blueprint in our hearts. That is where we find Him; that is how we follow the mystery that beckons to us when we are most unsure, when we are questioning what should seem right and secure and yet only feels like a sentence to death. The blueprint leads us to life.

God, give us the eyes and the courage to follow what you alone have placed within our hearts. Help us to see when loving someone requires us to stay and when it requires that we let them go.

Sunday, December 25

Florida Meets Tradition

3am...Christmas morning...Santa has still not arrived. Figures, he must know we're out of Christmas cookies.

Every year, my parents have a tradition of putting an orange in the bottom of our stockings. I think the whole thing stems back to our polish roots. Anyways, for some reason the parents have been forgetting about Christmas stockings these past couple of years. So although I have no idea where the stockings are, I have sought out the best Florida Orange fruit stand I could find...or maybe just the most convenient...and we're back in the tradition. Tonight, there are four oranges ready and waiting under the tree. Josh, don't think you're out of the running either, your orange is on its way. :)

As I was wrapping presents tonight I was listening to one of those old school, southern gospel radio stations. Once in awhile, it doesn't bother me to listen to the Gaithers for awhile....anyways, the news report came on and here is what I heard, in paraphrase: "A large number of Christian tourists have been reported to be visiting Bethlehem this Christmas. Many have been touched to see the actual place of Jesus' birth. The problem seems to be that there are so many tourists, it's hard to find a hotel room in Bethlehem." Hmmm....go figure. :)

As I sign off I am headed to sit by the Christmas tree. Have just arrived home tonight, there's a certain peace about it that's calling me to sit before I head to bed. How easy it is to forget the reason for celebrating this holiday. How easy to get so caught up in tradition and culture.

May God open all of our eyes to the wonder of Christmas. May the sound of His coming be louder than the sounds that so easily entangle us.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Tuesday, December 20


I went to church Sunday night. I hadn't planned to, but five minutes before 6pm I thought to myself, "well, why not?" Church is only about five minutes down the road so I wasn't very late. And wouldn't you know that there was a reason for my being there?

Everything I wrote about and all of things I have been wrestling with were addressed during the service. Simply. Amazing. I never cry when it seems like the right moment to cry. But last night I was crying in my seat simply because God was moving on my heart.

The missionary who spoke shared about David being anointed three separate times in his life. David did not go after the men who came to anoint him. Those men came to him because they were sent by God. David didn't have to become king in his own strength. God had already appointed him to be king and brought it to pass in His own time.

All of a sudden, I realized that I have been striving for things in my own strength and understanding. If God has called it to pass then it WILL come to pass...whether it is a relationship or a ministry or a career opportunity or whatever. God's will is God's will and if we abide in Him we will not miss what He has purposed for our lives.

I have not been trusting Him like I should. I have been planning my own life and I have been afraid when I have not seen my plans come to pass. What a difference it has made today just to trust God to take care of my life and bring me to place He wants me to be and to bring the people into my life that He has called to be there.

All I have to do is abide in Him.

Friday, December 16

Musical Interlude

Our class Christmas party was today. We had pizza and just about every snack food you could think of. I let the kids take their own portions...then realized I should have said something when I saw mountains of chips and bowls full of candy. These kids love food and they love to party.

I decided to print out Christmas music last night and take my guitar in to sing Christmas carols this morning. Umm..note to self...never attempt to play without practicing...we ended up singing carols acapella. :) I told the kids that I had never played Christmas music before, but that I usually played my own songs. So they begged me to play a song I had written. And there I was with another teacher, a guest reader, and all 26 kids together thinking, well, I did get myself into this. (and secretly I do want to play more often.) I warned them first that I only really know "church" songs. They still begged to hear one...even the other teacher. The guest reader is the son of a woman who is very high up on the school board here in the obviously I was a little nervous knowing how church and public schools seem to get along these days. But I played and they loved it. Nothing like bringing Jesus to the classroom. :)

A couple of my girls asked why didn't I want to be a singer? I told them that secretly I do want to sing. The two of them smiled and said I could be a singer or a music teacher....I could even go on American Idol and they were sure that I'd win.

I sat here tonight and played, it's actually been a couple of months since I've had the guitar out. I really do wish that I had the right venue to further this music inside of me.

The best part of today was seeing my kids excited about the guitar. I often think to myself...if only they had the resources to learn an instrument. What would they do? They each got five minutes of alone time with my guitar. It was probably the best five minutes of the day for each of them by the smiles on their faces...and to tell you the truth...they were pretty good at sharing their turns.

The whole experience makes me reflect back to four years ago, fall semester at ORU. I had finally decided that I wanted to be a teacher. But what kind of teacher? I contemplated it, prayed about it, called my mom and talked for hours about it...but finally settled on the fact that music was to be my educational field. I was so excited and so full of hope as I walked into the music department and signed my name to papers that would get me into the music program. And then the question was asked, "What is your instrument?" i.e. "What instrument have you mastered?" I chose my voice because although I could play the guitar when leading worship, I was not that skilled. Dr. Pierce...called me into the piano room...had me sing scales (which I still loathe to this day)...and decided right away that I was not fit for the music program. I was crushed of course. But Dr. Robbins, he pulled me into his office and asked me theory questions, with which I actually did okay answering. He was kind about the whole thing and honest, saying that the music program would be a challenge, but I could do it if I worked hard. I left his office concerned about my future. I still remember what he said as I left his office, "April, the Lord is with you." I didn't make it into the music program. I didn't even make tryouts to be in the chapel choir.

And yet, there is music inside of me.

I took voice lessons about a year later. My voice teacher said, "April, you have a gift that you have buried, you need to bring it out." So I sang and I practiced. A year after that, I took guitar lessons and still dreamed of what it would be like if I could share. I just bought a piano and play at least a few times a week. What I know, I have learned through experimenting in the music rooms at college and through short seasons of basic piano lessons right after high school. Mostly, I just improv...but it sounds good, if I do say so myself.

I have friends who have made it in the music arena, who are able to just get out and share in small corners of the world. And I just don't know HOW. I think I've been waiting for someone to show me how to get out there. Sometimes, I wonder if I'll ever get out there and actually do something with this gift. I wonder if I'll get better or if it will just fade away.

All this to say, I thought about music again today. I thought about touching the hearts of children and people and bringing them to a place beyond themselves. I thought about God's presence in the midst of worship. And I wondered if maybe there is still something more that I need to see...something that connects the life I am living now (or my understanding of it) to the life of God and His purposes for me.

When I was about 7 my grandparents had a guitar in their church building. I would take that guitar under a shade tree and pretend that I knew how to play. It was not until ten years later that I actually learned. But I still remember those summer days in my grandparents backyard...dreaming, singing. I still feel like that little girl in so many ways...not knowing what's ahead, but knowing that it must be some great adventure...not quite sure that I had what it takes, but still confident that at right time and place I could play an important part.

God unlock these dreams and show me how to walk. Help me to speak those things that be not as though they are. Help me, Lord, to do what you are calling me to do and to let go of the things that hold me back. Help me to see as you see.

For we walk by faith, and not by sight.

Monday, December 12

One Dollar

The week of Secret Santa gifts has arrived. Our maximum daily allowance? One dollar.

Who knew that so many stores actually still sold things for one dollar?! I haven't even gone to the dollar store this week and I have managed to buy candles, candy, cute little Christmas decorations. Okay, so plus tax it's been a little more...but seriously...I normally have the feeling that I need to spend lots of money to put together cute little gifts....not so this time around. It has actually been a fun challenge to see what I can get for a buck. I feel like a kid all over again, wondering how far I can spread my money.

Tuesday, December 6

I Want to be a Cartoon

A few of my boys were having a serious conversation about their futures today. They were sharing their drawings with each other, which happens quite often. I'd have to say that they are pretty talented for their age. W. spoke up saying he wanted to be a teacher when he got older. C. responded, "You want to be a TEACHer?" "Yeah, like Mr. McD. the math teacher," said W. Charlie looked right at him, "man, you should teach're good at it." "No way," W. said seriously. All of a sudden, a little guy in the class with dreads pulled up in awkward ponytails, glasses, and an unbalanced walk, passed by the table. He said very confidently, "Well, I want to be a cartoon!" The serious conversation stopped, we all looked at each other and laughed. After pulling this little guy back to the table we decided that he could do voice overs and be the inspiration for a cartoonist's illustrations. I'm glad at least a few of them still have the ability to think outside of the box. :)

Monday, November 28

Sounds of the Season

Already, the music stations are playing non-stop Christmas music. And since I cannot see the snow or feel the ice cold air...I am listening to the familiar sounds of the season.

Tonight, I am missing a cup of Starbucks with my sweet aroma crew. I am missing ice covered sidewalks with Jen and Wen. I am missing pasta and breadsticks with Jenna. I am missing random Christmas parties. I am missing Bethel. I am missing the smell of cold air. I am missing Rochester. I am missing New York. Grandparents and aunts and uncles seem very far away. Friends from high school are moving on with their lives. My friends are having children...and their children are growing! This is my very first Christmas away from the place I have called home.

It occurs to me that at some point, permanent traditions become not so permanent. This Christmas some traditions will remain but many new traditions will begin. I will see new faces. I will feel warm air. I will stand on the beach instead of in a yard full of snow. I will be with my parents and my brother will most likely be on the other side of the country. I will put up my very own Christmas tree. I will try to send out Christmas cards on time. :) I will make Christmas cookies and maybe I will even share them with the neighbors. I will spend a good chunk of change blessing my kids...despite the challenges, I love them dearly. I will go to Christmas parties. I will go to church. I will draw close to God in this new season.

All is well.

Sunday, November 27

One more box

One more box, one more pile of school papers, and all of my wall art...and then I will officially be unpacked. You would think that a four day weekend would be enough to get Somehow, I have managed to use up every moment and yet did not find any time for lesson plans. That should be fun tomorrow morning.

But here is what I've been up to.

My class size is now 15...I don't know if I said that before. What a difference a few less students can make. The other day all of the kids were together for lunch and I thought to in the world did I handle 26 at the same time? I am thankful for the new teacher that has come in to take the class. She's already teaching ME things I didn't know about third grade and she's just starting out. I can focus more on my kids now...which is nice. As long as I can get myself organized. Prioritizing seems to be the word of the season...I keep saying that I could work 24/7 and still not have enough time to finish everything I need to.

Tonight I am sitting in my newly found bedroom listening to Christmas music. This is the first time in ...let's see....quite a few years that I have had my own room....not to mention my own bathroom, which has never happened. I feel as if I can breathe and spread out and do what I need to do. It's a very peaceful feeling in this room tonight.

Thanksgiving was nice. First time in four years that I have spent it with my parents. There is no place like home for the third graders and I have agreed to disagree on the fact that only our own "mama's" and "grandmama's" are the best cooks. My sister and I spent Friday shopping for school clothes...yes, she is planning to head to ORU in January...I'm so excited for her.

Lots of randomness this evening... :) I really do have a lot more to say. I just don't have the words or the patience to think it all out. More updates to come though.

Enjoy this holiday season. :)

Saturday, November 26

The Family

Here's my family. Josh was in town last weekend. He had never been to Florida! So we took a nice walk on the beach and ate dinner at a cute little pizzaria with thin crusted, greasy, New York style pizza. Posted by Picasa
My brother, sister, and me getting ready for a night at Riverdance. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 10

Sunday, November 6

Today I...sat on the beach for 3 hours...fought off a swarm of what can only be described as sand flies (they won, I moved down the beach)...sketched two pictures...stopped for chai and a blueberry bran muffin at Seattle's Best...had to turn around after getting lost in my car...bought two new cd's at Wal-Mart... listened to the sounds of the ocean...people the Bible...wrote part of a story...sat and reflected on the blessings that God has brought into my life. Posted by Picasa

Random photo from my beach blanket this afternoon. Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 4

A Familiar Voice

My parents had company tonight...friends from out of town that I have not seen since I was a little girl. It's so nice to hear them laughing together. I am sitting in the other room and listening to their conversation. What I am enjoying the most is listening to my dad's voice. For some reason, I am reminded of myself as a young girl. I remember being sent to bed at bedtime and just sitting at the door or with my ear to the floor, listening to traces of conversation from my parents as if what they were saying was the most important thing in the world. I remember falling asleep on the couch listening to them talk with relatives or with other friends. I remember sitting in the backseat on long car rides and listening, listening for what was important...soaking in the lessons of relationship and familiarity. I didn't realize until tonight, that it has been a long time since we have all just sat and talked together. It must have been comforting back then to hear the conversations of my parents, because it is comforting to me now. I am hearing pieces of their lives I do not hear in everyday conversation. I am remembering pieces of them that I love.

Monday, October 31

Breaking News

Just for the record...splitting classes midway through the year is not a piece of cake. For what it went pretty smoothly. But let me just say that a roomful of crying third graders breaks my heart and makes me want to cry too.

I was so sure of my list today...which students go to which teacher...but I walked away thinking, "oh, no what if I didn't put them in the right place? Should I have kept this one and let that one go?" One little guy cried loudly for 15 minutes and I felt as if I was abandoning him by sending him to another class. Then again, I had two others crying because they wanted to leave my class...hmm...that really says a lot. Poor kids I wish I could have found an easier way to drop the news on them.

Ughh...I hope this gets easier. I know it's for the best...smaller class sizes mean better education. It was like giving away my own children.

Sunday, October 30


Friday, I was pulled out of my classroom to speak with my principal. She had finally made the decision to pull in another teacher and had come to pass on the news. Effective class would be cut in half. 26 to 13.

So tonight, I have carefully split my students into two lists. It's going to be great for them...they'll get more of the attention that they need. And I am going to be WAY better off...I will finally be able to focus on teaching and not so much on behavior management.

In some ways, I feel that I have failed a couple of the students. I won't be able to get them through the year...they will be going to the other class. It's been a tough 10 weeks and there won't be any reconciliation or time to improve. But then again, I remind myself continually, it's not about me...I just need to keep moving and handle what's in front of me.

I almost feel as if this was an answer to my prayer on Thursday. The "God please help me get these kids under control, because I don't know how" prayer. I'm looking foward to the possibilities.

Thursday, October 27

Who's in control?

I think I need to start carrying a notebook with me. All through the day I think of things to write about. And then I sit here, in front of my computer, and not a thought comes to mind.

Today was tough. Thursdays seem to be that way. I actually stood in my classroom before lunch and prayed out loud. "Lord, help me to make it through this day. Lord, help me to get these kids in order. I don't know how. Bring peace because I don't know how to bring it." I think the kids thought I was talking to myself. They proceeded to raise their hands for the quiet signal and actually got themselves to quiet down. One of my little girls said, "Miss T., just raise your hand so they'll be quiet." I listened to her. :) I was on the verge of tears. Then this afternoon, it was just chaotic...a quiet chaos...but chaos nonetheless. And wouldn't you know that that is when the reading coach came in to observe my classroom? I spent 45 minutes getting the kids ready to go home. Well, tomorrow is another day...

I sat in my classroom at the end of the day Tuesday and began to feel a strange flutter way deep down inside. "Could it be that I am starting to love these children?" I asked myself. And not just love them because they're kids and that's my job, but really, truly care about their lives. 26 little minds and hearts. They are full of the anger, hurt and predjudice passed down through their parents. And there the struggle lies because they are also full of love, a desire to be useful, a desire for purpose, talents, laughter, and ideas. So my personal struggle is this...I want to solve their problems, bring peace where there is chaos, train them to love instead of hate. I want to teach them to succeed and grow and become independent thinkers and learners. And I just don't know how!!! I want to know how. But do I want to struggle as they struggle?

I am finding myself in situations of predjudice and judgement and inferiority. I am finding that my pride is being taken down. I am find a new place for humility to plant itself. I am finding that I am not always right and that people are going to point out that I am not right. I am finding that even if I am right people will not see my point of view. I am learning how to stick up for myself. I am developing a thicker skin than I ever thought I'd need, but have always secretly longed for. And in the midst of it all...God's grace is sufficient for me, for His power is made perfect in my weakness. And really it's not about me anyways. It is ALL about His plans and purposes for these little ones and for me.

If I could
wrap my arms around it,
it would seem too small, too comprehendable.
If I could
reach out to touch its surface,
it might appear to be movable, and somewhat controlled.
But there it lingers, beyond my reach, too wide for my embrace
And I do not understand how it draws upon my heart.
So I surrender to His touch and rest in His embrace
To bring me to the place of understanding
A place where I walk in love.

Sunday, October 23


After school on Friday, I sped off to see a friend of mine in Greenville, SC. Seven hours later I was at her door, ready for a good nights sleep...after all of the catching up of course!!! This friend of mine was my roomie in college for awhile. We were also road trip buddies from OK to NY every school holiday and summer. After her wedding this summer, I promised a since they were having another friend in town this weekend, I decided to go visit too.

After lunch and shopping in a North Carolina mountain town, we met up with some other friends for dinner and dancing. Now, I have to add a disclaimer right here....I LOVE to dance. Growing up (ie highschool, early college) I was normally the wallflower at any occassion with music. My confidence lacked, my groove did not seem to match the music, and to top it off...guys did not come in abundance for the asking. Last night, was only the second night in my entire life (the first was at the above mentioned wedding) that I have truly enjoyed dancing. I felt as if I belonged out there in the middle of the crowd. My dancing buddy knew how to lead, so all I had to do was follow, and to top it off I was in the midst of people that I totally trusted.

I watched the other latin dancers move around the crowded dance floor. Old couples, young couples, awkward couples, graceful women, confident men, twirling, releasing, holding close, letting go. The loud music cut out voices, but conversations did not end.

As I danced, I thought about my life and about romance. I thought about the fact that, given circumstances a year ago, I would have married someone who never would have danced with me. I thought about the much different place that I would be in. Had I stayed where I was, I would never have known the joy of coming out of my private living room dance sessions :) and really dancing with someone else. And there, in the midst of twirling and smiling and stepping I felt a twinge of heartache. Because, I realized that this night would end. It would end as all others night had and would. I would go home the next day. Friendships and acquaintances would go back to routine, my heart would go back to manner mode, and I would continue as before. In the midst of the dance, I was warning myself that it would end.

I hate that warning. I hate it even more when it has proven true. I try to ignore it in moments when I am most ready to believe that love could be possible. I try to hold it in moments of fear and vulnerability. Driving home today, it was the same warning that shed light upon the state of my heart. I am afraid that true love will not come again. I am afraid that the dance is only a dance. I am afraid because I want so much to stay upon that dance floor. I do not want the dance to end. I do not want my dancing partner to leave.

I want to dance. For the rest of my life.

Prelude to a post

I built another temple to a stranger
I gave away my heart to the rushing wind
I set my course to run right into danger
Sought the company of fools instead of friends

You know I've been unfaithful
Lovers in line
While you're turning over tables
With the rage of a jealous kind
I chose the gallows to the aisle
Thought that love would never find
Hanging ropes will never keep you
And your love of a jealous kind
Love of a jealous kind

Tryin' to jump away from rock that keeps on spreading
For solace in the shift of the sinking sand
I'd rather feel the pain all too familiar
Then be broken by a lover I don't understand
'Cause I don't understand

One hundred other lovers, more, one hunderd other altars
If I should slow my pace and finally subject me to grace
And love that shames the wise, betrays the heart's deceit and lies
And breaks the back of foolish pride

Jars Of Clay - Jealous Kind

I watched as a young girl of no more than 21 sold herself to a crowd for 100 dollars. And as she danced, I saw her crying out for more. She had traded attention for love, and a smile for security and trust. She had entered the contest at the approval of "friends" and after hearing the conditions she had stayed to prove that beauty belonged to her. Her sad and lifeless eyes broke my heart.

I overheard a husband speak to a stranger about his wife. Instead of dancing with her, he asked the stranger to teach her the steps. After all, he was with his friends too, having a good time, why should he cling to his wife, when someone else could fill her need?

Three recent marriage breakups. Two close friends and an acquaintance. I am hearing the perspectives of two wives and one son. What happens when commitment is no longer commitment? Was it ever based on sacrifice? Was it ever a love beyond circumstances? Why does it seem that life is crowding out the very substinance of our lives?

This song sang the very words that hung over my heart tonight. How many loves have come in the way of my love for God? How many loves have turned me in a different direction? Will I ever come to a place of loving Him and receiving a love that comes through Him? How many people have I allowed to take the place of a void only He can fill? How long has He called for me and I have not answered? How do I respond now that I know?

Sunday, October 16

Restoring Order

The second marking period starts tomorrow. I think I have a better grasp on things. And so I am starting out with new guidelines, new procedures...the way it should have been at the beginning. I am praying all the way, that God helps me to restore or rather to establish the order that I and these third graders so desperately need.

Want to see the world from the comfort of home? GoogleEarth

I took the day off from church, but was delighted to find that I didn't have to miss the service. I am so thankful to have found this place.

By the way, welcome back brother...I missed you! I'm so proud of you can't wait to hear your voice. :)

Tuesday, October 11

Letting it all out

There's nothing better than being able to trust a friend with what's really on your heart. Thanks for listening tonight. It's been hard to take my thoughts and put them into words. More so, it's been hard to trust the words that I knew would come out. Memories, safely hidden in a drawer, kept just in case a better memories did not come along. Fears, that would expose how truly vulnerable I have felt. Hopes, that appear too high or unattainable...and yet still remain as hope. I'm pulling these things out into the light, thanks for helping me sort them through.

Sunday, October 9


"All I once held dear, built my life upon,
all this world reveres and wars to own,
all I once thought gain I have counted loss,
spent and worthless now compared to this.
Knowing You, Jesus, knowing you. There is no greater thing.
You're my all, you're the best, you're my joy, my righteousness, and I love you, Lord."
-Graham Kendrick
Saying I love God is one thing. Acting upon it is the test of my heart.
I have seen many days and many seasons already in only 26 years. And I know that even still, I will be asked to trust God more, to drawn even nearer, and to step out in faith for things I have yet to see.
As I write this tonight, I am reminding myself that I cannot turn back. I cannot return to things that have held me down. I cannot hold on to things that will not move me forward. I cannot grasp for things that are not mine to keep.
I have to let go of...
dreams, possibilities, people, plans, money, expectations, assumptions, control.
I have to trust...
that God is who He said He is...
that I don't have to earn His love...
that He will take care of my needs...
that He will show up when He said He will show up...
that He will come and walk with me.


Read this post .

Thursday, October 6

World Peace

I called my professor today; finally, after surviving two months of third grade. She told me everything I knew already, she encouraged me to keep going. Somehow, just hearing her voice assured me that I could go on at least another week. I can't quit these kids, but I sure can't keep going with the way it is.

If I could just find myself in prayer, then it would probably be better. Call it stubborness, call it at the end of my rope, I'm just sitting here wanting to sulk and think about nothing but the silence of my own home.

Dr. M. said one thing that sticks with me tonight. "Keep track of where the students are at the beginning. Even if they don't seem to be where they should be by January, you will be able to see some progress. You won't reach all of them...there will be some that won't move on. Focus on the fact that you can help a few.

I think my problem is that I want to save the whole world. If all of my students are not progressing, then I feel like I'm failing. It's hard for me to leave any of these kids behind...and yet if I'm waiting for the stragglers then I am neglecting the ones who are ready to move ahead.

If we could all just get along. If I could find a procedure that keeps the kids following directions all day long. If the kids would just learn that fighting in school is not going to solve their problems. If I could just find a balance.

If I could just trust God to order my steps, to bring peace to the chaos. If I could just stop and listen for the sound of His voice.

Tuesday, October 4



...a word commonly Christian speaking of lives lost in the armed hopes that love will seem greater...words seem deeper...acts seem less selfless.

I wonder how many of my "selfless" acts could actually be recorded as sacrifice. I wonder how many times I have really given up "me" in order to specifically help another person or wholeheartedly serve God. Oh sure, a bit of discomfort seems to qualify for recognition. But how long should that discomfort last? And how far am I required to go?

My limited understanding has caused me to act as if a fulfilled requirement or a small dose of pain is enough.

This season that I am going through...causes me to take stock of what I have deemed right and good. I am not always going to be comfortable. Life is not always going to be easy. My friends and family are not going to be perfect.

Sometimes I will stand as a lifeline to someone else....if I so choose. But the scary question is...will I choose it? Will I get off of my couch, after a long day at work, when all my mind and body want to do is veg? Will I get off my couch and pray for a friend whose husband has left her and does not yet have the hope that God will help her through? Will I even answer her call late at night? I want to say YES. But I am finding, though, that it is a struggle...even in something so small as a phone call.

Even my attitude about I willing to go every day? Knowing that my children will be less than perfect? Knowing that I will be given more expectations than I "feel" like I can handle? Knowing that for some reason God has placed me here?

What if I just turn my face and decide to live for God's purposes and not my own. What if I choose to say that my discomfort is worth it, if it means the discomfort of someone else will decrease? What if my discomfort leads someone to God?

Sunday, October 2

Another week begins...

Here comes another week, Monday being just an hour away. I am slightly looking foward to tomorrow. I am slightly looking forward to what the week may bring. Which is more than any other week's getting better. :)

On Thursday my jump drive came up missing in my classroom. I was sure it had been left plugged into the computer. And yet, at the end of the day, there was no trace of a small piece of technology that held the last two years of my written, working, and photographed life. I was sure that one of the students must have unplugged it and even more frightened that it had been stolen. I searched the floors and some desks along with another teacher who came in to help. I asked God to help me and then I realized that it might have been thrown away. The other teacher and I walked down the hallway to the janitor's cart. We began to search through bags of garbage. And there it was, at the very bottom. What if I had only assumed that it was stolen and had given up? I never would have seen it again.

On Friday I got to school and realized that my phone was not in my purse. I thought I remembered putting it in my purse. At the end of the school day I called from my classroom phone to see if I had left it at home. Dad informed me that he had found a piece of metal with an antennae in the driveway....and then pronounced that there was no damage. I remembered back to when I had dropped my purse that morning in the driveway. What if I had driven over it?

Saturday, I realized that these instances were not coincidental. I was driving in my car on my way to meeting mom and dad for dinner, and I was hit with the thought...God's grace is evident in my life. I'm starting to see that more and it's bringing a lot of peace to my heart.

Tuesday, September 20

Verse of the Day

"For your waste and desolate places,
And the land of your destruction,
Will even now be too small for the inhabitants;
And those who swallowed you up will be far away,
The children you will have,
After you have lost the others,
Will say again in your ears, 'The place is too small for me;
Give me a place where I may dwell.'
Then you will say in your heart,
"Who has begotten these for me,
Since I have lost my children and am desolate,
A captive, and wandering to and fro?
And who has brought these up?
There I was, left alone;
But these, where were they?'"
Isaiah 49:19-21
This passage spoke to me tonight as I read through Isaiah. It breathes hope in a seemingly hopeless situation. It speaks of life when only death and loss were expected. God truly does make all things new.
I am sitting on my back porch, enjoying the sounds and smells of an evening rain and the fact that I can blog via wireless out here. I figure that it's about time for an update.

Seven weeks into school and I have had seven new children in my class. I'm up to a population of 24. Rumor has it that my class is the largest in the building. Great. :)

I'm learning that to get the respect of these kids, I have to be hard on them. I hate being hard on them. I just want to love on them and teach them good things. The biggest lesson in my classroom for the past two weeks is...respect your teacher and respect the people around you. Ughh...once we get past this stage I hope they will be able to handle some academic work. To those of you who are in the teaching're probably guessing that I'm a bit behind schedule.

I see a few of them really trying though. The toughest kids are some of the smartest...big surprise. And the ones working the hardest are the ones that I least expected to be doing so. I see so much potential, but I admit to being overwhelmed at where to start.

In other news, my 26th year is at the door. I didn't feel old until I read one of my student's papers in class today. Her mother is 26. I heard myself saying, "Oh, your mom and I are the same age!" Is it me, or does that sound a bit odd?

Sunday, September 11

I especially liked the add for Coca-Cola. This is the town of Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island. The streets of shops continue on both sides for about a mile and turn down side streets as well. Posted by Picasa

The railroad. My sister. A beautiful day. Posted by Picasa

Standing at Front and Centre. Posted by Picasa

Finally, a beach without tourists and hotels. Posted by Picasa

Mom's Birthday. On our way to the white sand. Posted by Picasa

Fernandina Beach. The edge of town just before the water. Posted by Picasa

Amelia Island

I found an incredible oasis here in Florida. The past two weekends I have stepped into another world. A world that breathes peace and simplicity. A world that allows me to breathe and to feel creative and alive and quite like myself without the cares of the world.

Amelia Island is located less than an hour north of Jax. Yesterday, a friend and I ate lunch at Lulu's Bra & Grill (no mispelling intended here...we found it b/c every single other cafe closes in town between 2 and 5pm), walked down streets lined with shops pretty enough to fit into a small town movie set, sat on the beach like children sifting through thousands of shells, drudged up because of the hurricane, looking for shark's teeth (we found two), and shared tears with a Christian artist in her studio as she told us about her experiences with Christ.

I am about ready to pack up and move to the island. Although, I feel as if it wouldn't be quite right, at least not yet. I have a job to do. I have some stretching left.

I am pressing on in the school arena. It will be quite a year I am sure, one that I cannot make it through without the strength of God. I'm not quite sure what God is doing or rather what I thought He was doing when I decided to move here.

But I will look back on this day and see it clearly. My prayer is that God will open my eyes in this place. That He will show me why He has led me here. That I will walk with the trust and faith of child, sure of His goodness, sure of His presence, sure of His promises.

Before we left the studio, the artist we met said, "I want to share one more thing with you." She shared the story of her husband's illness and death from cancer, and how God moved in the situation. She shared about the last moments and experiencing the transfer of death to life. She said to us, "No matter what happens in your life, ALL of God's promises are TRUE." That thought is engrained upon my heart tonight. I know a lot about God, have been His child for all of my life, but I wonder how much I believe His promises. I wonder how many of His promises I have hidden in my heart.

It is time to look for the promises of God and to hold out hope for His return.
I smell fall in the air. The season must be engrained upon my senses, because it is still summer as far as Florida is concerned.

Thursday, September 8

Lookout point for soldiers of the past...taken from the lookout tower of an old fort in St. Augustine. Posted by Picasa

Does this sign seem odd to anyone else? Posted by Picasa

Fernandina Beach...gotta love a sunset. Posted by Picasa

This is part of downtown Jax...kinda looks like an oil painting the way it turned out. Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 29

Be ready in season and out of season.
Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching...
Be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist,
fulfill your ministry.
2 Timothy 4:2,5
This past Friday can go down as one of the most frustrating teaching days I have ever experienced. The day started out with an upset parent and ended up with an 8 year old child throwing a tantrum in my classroom. In between, a whole lot of other things occured that were less than favourable, and all of a sudden I realized that I am in for a challenge this year.
Call it naivity and inexperience. Call it blind faith. Call it whatever you like. I still believe that there is good in each and every one of these children.
They have been trained and raised to fight at every offense taken against them. A misguided word, a crossing of the eyes, the gesture of a hand will send even the smallest one reeling against another.
"My momma said that if anybody gets in my face, I can hit 'em."
Yep, that is truly what their momma's say. And now I believe it. That is all they seem to know. I don't know if I will be able to change their way of thinking. But I sure hope to be planting some seeds of life into their little hearts. We had a long talk about what to do if someone was causing them trouble. Most chirped up with suggestions for beating the other person up. They didn't have any other solutions and I think it is because they've never really been given another solution. So instead of telling them what to think my challenge for them was to think for themselves. The question posed on my front board in the classroom is now, "Can you find a better way?" And that is what I now ask them constantly...whether it be math, or reading, or solving a social problem.
And so I am challenged too. B/c I was so frustrated this weekend that I did not want to go back to school. I wanted to go back to my middle class, suburban children. I had it easy. As I sat in the chair behind my desk, watching the rain fall, fighting back tears, I began to think about the challenge before me. My first thought was to call my professor whom I have always depended on for support and encouragement, and then realized that everything I needed to know she has taught me. And everything I don't know...God will show me along the way. There is more inside of me than I realize I suppose.
I began to think about God's call on my life.
What is call God's call on my life? What has He prepared me for? What is He preparing me for? I have no idea, but I do know that I am on my way somewhere. I know that there are others who need to know Him. So for now, this teaching job IS my ministry. And realizing this was a hard one to swallow. I do not feel like a missionary...I do not feel like a pastor...I do not feel like an intercessor or any of those other labeled ministry jobs. But yet God has placed me here and now I have to respond and do my best.
Fulfilling my ministry in this season is simply loving God and loving the people He has placed in my life. I expected that it would be hard, but I did not expect the emotion that comes with the hardness. I truly need His strength to make it through this year.

Saturday, August 27

This past week, I came upon a surprising recognition. It was during a late night conversation with a fellow teacher (and new friend) over hot chocolate and a Krispy Kreme donut. We were talking about relationships and comparing where we are at in age to where we thought we'd actually be. And then she said (in paraphrase) that she really admired how content I seem to be in spite of the fact that I'm going on 26 and still not even close to being married.

It reminded me of a moment about 6 years ago when I was visiting my very single, yet very happy with her life, 27 year old friend. I remember praying, "God, pllleaasse don't let it take that long for me to meet Mr. Right." I never thought I'd be looking at 26 the way she had seen 27 and 28 and 29 before she finally met the man she would marry. I never wanted to think about being single for that long.

Yet, here I am and I am totally happy about it. I don't WANT to get married just to get married anymore. I don't want to be in a relationship just to have someone to talk about or just to have someone to talk to. I love having friends. I love traveling. I love reading a book for hours a day. I love being able to change my plans at any moment. I love having time to just sit and reflect and play music. I love being able to spend money on whatever I want to spend it on. I love having freedom to live my life.

I have been on the other side. The side where everything I loved and cherished was squelched and locked up in a place that I felt obligated to turn away from. All in the name of "love". I let another person decide for me what was important and put my own feelings, thoughts, and dreams in the background. I proclaimed to myself that what I wanted did not matter as much as making the relationship work. And all that time, I never realized, that I was not loving myself enough and, therefore, could not fully love that person either. No, I never want to go back to that place.

Do I want to get married? YES
Do I want to have my own family? YES

But not until it is right. Not until I know that we'll be the very best of friends and enjoy our lives together. Not until I see that he is the one God had in mind when He created me.
" Too many people are trying to meet the right person
Instead of trying to be the right person."
Russ Myers

My sentiments exactly...been pondering this same thing and ran across this quote tonight.

Tuesday, August 23

"Yes, it was good..."

Tonight I am sitting at Panera in Jacksonville, FL and I am missing the places and the people known to me in the most recent years of my life.

I miss my roomates. I miss chatting with Ria. I miss Jenny's smiles and hugs. I miss Jilli's everyday friendship. I miss Starbucks on Sundays. I miss the small elementary school I worked in. I miss the teachers there. I miss the kiddos and any confidence I had that I actually knew what I was doing. I miss my extended Tulsa family. I miss the few good friends I did have left after the college crowd scattered.

My sister is about to embark on the ORU experience. I find myself wishing that I could be there (in Tulsa) too. How odd...seeing as how I was so excited to get myself out of there. Don't get me wrong. I am doing just fine here. I love being near my parents and sister again. I love having new places to explore and meeting new people. Tonight, I am just missing some pieces that are close to my heart.

Slowly but surely my heart is being renewed in this place. I have been made aware of some things that are not right and at the same time I have felt the calling of a deeper sort, the right things rising to the surface. I think I did have to come here. I don't know how long I will be here. I don't know what God has for me to do. But I know that whatever it is, it will be good. I will look back and say..."yes, it was good."

Thursday, August 18

Imagine my excitement upon seeing 9 comments in my comment section...and then imagine my disappoinment after seeing that 3 of these comments were merely SPAM. in the world did they find me? And even more importantly, do they actually think that I'd believe their claim to liking my blog?

Tuesday, August 16

Dear Readers,
I know that it's been awhile...hope you're still checking every once in awhile. :)

As per Amy's request I will fill you in on the first week of school.

First off, I couldn't have asked for a better place. For being a city school...the campus is well taken care of, the people are friendly, and for the most part I have not seen any big student problems.

My classroom:
*is at least double the size of my classroom last year.
*contains a whole wall of windows and two doors.
*produces at least one large palmetto bug for me dispose every couple of days.
(now mind you that I cannot squish these bugs...they are large and full of squishy insides...I must first trap them and then manuever them through the outside door...where I am sure inevitably they only wait for the opportunity to return to my classroom again.)
*is filled with all the materials I could ever need
(thankfully this is a title I school which somehow has extra money to provide what teachers need.)

My students:
*continue to add in number every day. (seriously, I have gotten at least four more than I expected.)
*have been surprisingly well behaved...better than I expected anyways.
*7 girls/13 boys
*the majority eat breakfast in my classroom b/c they do not eat at home
*are very eager to learn
*are sweet
*have been taught at home that if someone gets in their face they are allowed to hit them (learned this lesson from two of my girls who were having a misunderstanding)

*am the minority in my class.
*am overwhelmed with information, and standards, and requirements, and meetings, and lesson plans, and this new concept of grading papers (in kindergarten this did not happen), and portfolios, paperwork...did I leave anything out? :)
*am excited about this opportunity...I enjoy working with the older ones.
*have improved on my classroom management since last year (though I know I still have a lot to learn)
*have made some new friends among the teachers, there are a lot of younger teachers at the school, which is very nice.
*have already gotten my first paycheck!!! ..can we say no state tax and full medical coverage? (and I'm still looking to see if they are going to help me out with school loans...there's a good possibility.)

Student quotes:
*On the first day, "Are you going to be our teacher for the whole year?"
*After scribbling out only the words (and not the rest of the paper) on a discipline note home my student explained,
"yeah, my baby brother did that."
More to come...the year's still young. :)

Sunday, August 7

Tomorrow is my first day of third grade. Nervous? Umm..yeah.

I just realized that I might be in over my head as most of my training has been at the kindergarten level. I do realize, however, that in order to learn and grow, I must be challenged. So, for this year, the challenge is to teach urban third graders in a Jacksonville public school.

I do admit to some excitement. Once I figure out what I am supposed to teach them...I should be okay. ;)

In other I haven't been so faithful to my blogging...I am wondering how the heck I got here. I mean, I know how I got to Florida. I remember the sequence of events. But I really do wonder recently what I'm supposed to be doing here. It's only the beginning, these kinds of thoughts are probably normal and healthy. But I do miss the comforts of familiarity. I do miss my friends.

To all of you One Day people...I broke out the live cd and listened while I was out and about in Jacksonville. I seriously had tears in my eyes from beginning to end...mostly b/c the music added to the way that God was working on my heart throughout the day. The songs and prayers reminded me, though, that at another time and place, I sought out the heart of God with others around me. Oh, how I miss and long for that chance now. I long to have a heart to heart conversation about what God is doing me and to hear what God is doing in others. I long to share the love of Christ with someone over coffee and really walk away knowing that God was there. Where does that excitement go through the years? The excitement that causes you to stop in the middle of Waffle House and pray for a group of highschool graduates, the excitement that unconditionally brings thirty young adults together every week to share the love of God with one another, the excitement to talk about God and sing songs about Him and just LOVE Him? Where does it go? I still want to be excited.

Pip recently talked about the holy roar. In my own heart I know that it has been suppressed. Somehow, I know that I have allowed myself to be defined by the relationship I have held with the church only to find that it was a lie and a misjudgment. I became who they wanted me to be. I allowed their definitions to become my definitions, their labels to become my labels, their lifestyles to become my lifestyle. And I never questioned whether it was right or wrong. Until one day when I no longer fit into the mold that I had assumed had been created for me.

I want to know God more than I want to know anything in the whole world. I want to hear His heart and to see His face. But all of a sudden doing church as I have always done it no longer seems to coincide with knowing who He is. Do I want to ignore the people of God? No. Do I want to ignore what He is doing among His people on earth? Absolutely not. I hear the roar. I hear it at the depths of my heart. But how do I free it from the box that I have locked it away in? The box of uncertainty and apprehension.

Lots of questions on a night like tonight.

I've been reading the Chronicles of Narnia this week so I will end with this excerpt from chapter 8 of The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis. It is the chapter where the Lion begins to sing and as he sings Narnia comes into being.

"In the darkness something was happening at last. A voice had begun to sing. It was very far away and Digory found it hard to decide from what direction it was coming. Sometimes it seemed to come from all directions at once. Sometimes he almost thought it was coming out of the earth beneath them. Its lower notes were deep enough to be the voice of the earth herself. There were no words. There was hardly even a tune. But it was, beyond comparison, the most beautiful noise he had ever heard. It was so beautiful he could hardly bear it...
Then two wonders happened in the same moment. One was that the voice was suddenly joined by the other voices; more voices than you could possibly count. They were in harmony with it..The second wonder was that the blackness overhead, all at once, was blazing with stars. They didn't come out gently one by one, as they do on a summer evening. One moment there had been nothing but darkness; next moment a thousand, thousand points of light leapt out...The new stars and the new voices began at exactly the same time. If you had seen and heard it, as Digory did, you would have felt quite certain that it was the stars themselves which were singing, and that it was the First Voice, the deep one, which had made them appear and made them sing."

Sunday, July 31

It is early Sunday morning and I am wide awake. So is the cat. She is racing around the carpet, climbing the couch and looks very sure of her imaginary prey...

Okay, maybe I'm not awake enough to think of something profound here...I've been looking at the screen and erasing words for about five minutes...

All I can say is that, at this point, life is changing in more ways than I thought it would. I'm not sure of any other way to put it. There are moments when I realize that I cannot go back to Tulsa, to the friends I have lived close to, to the comforts of things familiar. In those moments of striking reality, this new place seems so overwhelming.

However, it was my choice to come. And I do believe that I made the best decision. So I will continue to tell myself, "It IS time to begin again, to look forward to the promises of God."

My prayer for this season:
God help me to step forward and help me to continue to become who you have made me to be.

Monday, July 25

Diamond in the Rough...

What does it take to truly know someone, to truly love them? Can it happen in a day? How long does it take? And what does it take?

I knew the point would come in my life where I would have to trust someone else to forgive and forget my past wrongs. I can live with it now. I can carry it on my shoulders. I can use it to extend mercy to those without hope of mercy. I can remember what God has done. It is my story. But when the story is told, who will love me? And will I love me? And what will I be?

I have always loved those who are rough around the edges. I have loved the people who went against the grain. I have loved the people who didn?t exactly have it all together. But I never thought of myself that way. In comparison, I was way smoother. Until today, I did not realize how rough around the edges I truly have been. I sat in church blinking back tears. So badly, I want someone to know my life and to love me in spite of it all. Christ has done it, He loved me before my life began, knowing every decision I would make. He died for me and gave His life for me, knowing my sin.

I keep thinking about the diamond and the process that it goes through.

I am not conventional. I am not traditional. I only know Christ. I only know that I need Him. That?s all I know. I cannot impress with theology and Christian discipline. I do not fit in with the "church" people. And, at the same time, I do not fit in with the world who lives ignorant of the fact that God loves them. I sit here, in between, not knowing what lies ahead. I know there are others like me.

Wednesday, July 20

Josh and I explored an old plantation in Fayetteville last weekend. These are just a few of the many pictures that we've taken. The plantation used to be owned by the nephew and niece of Rockefeller. It was a country club used for golf and fox hunting. The abandoned buildings around this place of 35,000 acres are beautiful. I love imagining what it might have been like in the old days.

We got to explore these we did get chased by a bee. Posted by Picasa

gotta love doors :) Posted by Picasa

One of my favorites taken at an old plantation in North Carolina. Posted by Picasa

I love my brother. We spent our whole day Saturday taking least 120 but I'm guessing more. This is one of the best...consequently, it's going in a frame. :) Posted by Picasa
Well, I made it back to Jacksonville. Safe and sound.

Two bouquets of flowers, three thank you cards, and countless pictures to local Wal-Marts around the country have all been sent to commemorate my month long trip.

I feel full and blessed.

Thursday, July 14

Check this guy out... Matisyahu
One of his music videos can be found here.. King Without a Crown

Out of the ordinary but talented and packs a punch. I am very impressed.

Tuesday, July 12

I have a lot of deep thoughts to post in the days to come.

Tonight I am thinking about the fear that I did not recognize inside of me until recently. Anyone who knows me well knows that I have always loved airports and flying. I love seeing so many different people and I love the view from my window seat. But for some reason, it was hard for me to step onto the plane this time around. Ever since 9/11 I have been afraid of flying. And in all reality, I know that I am afraid of many other things. I am afraid of being alone, I am afraid of not having enough, I am afraid to allow myself to get too close to anyone for fear that they'll walk away, I am afraid of looking incompetent and incomplete, I am afraid of being forgotten. But this past weekend, I had to face my fear of flying head on. I had already paid for my ticket, made plans to see my friends, and had packed my bags. There was no turning back for me.

I closed my eyes and reflected on the fact that, worst case scenario, if I did die it wouldn't be so bad after all. I would be with God. And, best case scenario, if I lived then my life would go on and I would continue as I had before. Either way, my life is in God's hands. I thought about the stories of a missionary who had carried a large wooden cross through every continent. He had talked about being stoned several times and about being held at gun point and many other life threatening things. But he said this, "If God itends for you to live, you will live. You cannot die when God has a plan for you to live." Those were my thoughts throughout take off and landing and every moment in between. 'My life is in God's hands, He will take care of me and provide for me, and when the right time comes He will take me home to be with Him.'

It is one thing to say, "I trust God with my life". It is another thing to be at peace and live as if He truly is taking care of you.
Los Angeles was a fun trip. Granted, I did not have my luggage for the first day, but it all got worked out. My friend Zoe always takes good care of us when we go out to visit her. She brightens my world with things I would not think about otherwise and for that I am glad. My friend Angela brings joy and adventure to every situation. All three of us have an agreement that every year we will visit and spend time catching up with each other. This was the third year of our tradition. To commemorate, we have begun a scrapbook documenting momentous occasions and highlighting our adventures. We joke, because of the traveling pants movie, that our scrapbook is to be a traveling scrapbook of sorts.

We did have a star sighting while out and about. Zoe, Angela and I went to eat a little sandwich shop in Brentwood and ended up sitting two tables away from Josh Brolin and Diane Lane and their two kids. I wouldn't have even known except for the fact that Zoe and Angela recognized Diane Lane. We couldn't put our fingers on who Josh Brolin was until we got home to do some research. Just today I realized that he was "The Kid" in Young Riders a looong time ago. He was definitely one of my favs. I'm more excited about seeing him now than I was when I actually saw him. Oh well. :)

We also got to hang out with some friends from college who are now recording out in L.A.! I didn't know them all that well but enough to be proud of how much their hard work has paid off. Zoe invited them over for lasagna and good 'ol game of Cash Flow. Cash Flow is a game that teaches you how to invest your money and get out of the rat race. Fun and educational...didn't know they could go in the same sentence when it comes to learning about money. :) Check out Edison Glass...I especially love their songs "When All We Have is Taken" and "Comfort".

Aromas Bakery. The best and only Kosher bakery I have ever been too. It was open until 3am and busy all night long. We actually went here twice on our visit. We are sitting by a window in this picture...everyone behind us is outside while we are inside. You can also see the white volvo we drove that night. Posted by Picasa

At the Santa Monica Pier. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 10

More posting to's hard to get on the internet here. I am currently in L.A. on an annual trip with my two very good friends from college. I'm taking lots of pictures a few of which will be posted soon.

Monday, July 4

The flowers before they went into the bouquet. Posted by Picasa

I had to post this picture to talk about the toast. The groom's seven best friends were at this wedding. He honored each one of them as well as several other members of his family. In turn, each of the best friends made a toast to the newly married couple. It was so moving to hear of the love that these guys had for each other. Posted by Picasa

Another new friend from this weekend...Betti...although I don't think I am spelling her name correctly. Betti is from Mexico City also. Posted by Picasa

The flower girls gathering flowers. Posted by Picasa

Had to take a picture of the food. :) Posted by Picasa