Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Book Finished... One Thousand Gifts

I finished reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  It is a book I would highly recommend.  I struggled some with the way that she writes, not sure my brain functions quite like hers.  But she has a great sense of perspective and is very deep in her thoughts.  Here are some of the thoughts from her book that got me some good thinkin'!

"Life is brief and it is fleeting but it is not an emergency." -p73

"How to lay the hand open for this moment's bread - when it will hurt." -p80

"I pay tribute to God by paying attention." -p111

"Worry is the facade of taking action when prayer really is. And stressed, this pitched word that punctuates every conversation, is it really my attempt to prove how indispensable I am? Or is it more? Maybe disguising my deep fears as stress seems braver somehow." -p143

"Are stress and worry evidences of a soul too lazy, too undisciplined, to keep gaze fixed on God? To stay in love?... Isn't joy worth the effort of trust?" -p147

"Much of the worry in my own life has been a failure to believe...a wariness to thank and trust the love hand of God." -p149

(I could put a ton more quotes from Chapter 8, I think it was my favorite!)

"God needs knees more than hands." -p168

"True lament is the bold faith that trusts Perfect Love enough to feel and cry authentic." -p176

"A life contemplating the blessings of Christ becomes a life acting the love of Christ." -p184

"It's impossible to give thanks and simultaneously feel fear." -p203

"Will I remember this, not wanting to spend an hour's absence from Him?" -p219

And this is where my heart has stopped to ponder.  I want to remember, I want to stay connected.  I want to go deeper and to do that... I must give Him space.  I must make habits of going to Him with all things.  I must run to Him first.  I must talk with Him, share openly and honestly with Him.  I must trust Him, believe Him.  I am trying to practice being thankful in all things.  Of recognizing what He has put in each day for me to see.  I'm also trying to be more active in going to Him, not just in the morning or when I feel helpless, but knowing I need Him in all things.  It's gonna take time, and practice, but I know it will be worth it.

What is the last book you read and what did you like about it?

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Main Thing

1 John 2:15
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.

This verse got me to thinking... what things does this world offer me?  And I just started writing...
quick fixes, drugs to not feel, distractions from reality, obsessions to keep me from time with God, hobbies to fill my days, activities to distract, worries that make me want to grab for control, drugs not to feel, help to get what I want, answers for dreams that have not been fulfilled...
I knew that I could keep going but most of those were enough to stop me in my tracks.  To make me really think!  Am I allowing this world to suck me and distract me from why I am really here?
When I think about the question, "Why am I here?" It isn't hard to get lots of answers flying around... to love others, to be successful, to make a name, to do something that counts, to make a difference, to get a lot of money, to be married, to be happy, to procreate, to not do anything stupid.  So many options for the answer. And yet at the end of the day... for me... it's to know God and to make Him known.  And yet, I get distracted by all the enticing things of this world.  And not that all of the things of this world are bad or wrong, but if they get in the way of why I'm really here, I'm missing my purpose.
And I don't want to miss the most important things.  I don't want to miss the chance to bring God glory and to know Him as deeply as I can.
What of this world entices you away from the main thing?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Painting of a Rainy Night

This past week I got to have a really fun night with my friend Leigh.  We went to a place called Painting With a Twist.  Everyone in the place paints the same thing as they walk you from blank canvas to finished product.  We started off with a plate of paints, 3 brushes and a blank canvas.

The first thing we were told to do was to put a dot on the canvas and then draw the lines that would create the street, side walks, buildings and sky.

Below you can see Leigh's sky and the lines that create each part.  And my very intense face as I paint my sky.

The lady behind me is the instructor.  Secretly inside I wanted her to comment on mine. But she never did.  

We got so consumed in our painting that we missed some of the other stages... but here are both of our canvases with main buildings, street and sky.  The sidewalk and street are to look like it has been raining.

Then we painted on the skyline.  This was hard for me.  In the end I was pretty pleased with them.  Leigh's skyline follows mine.

Then we added in the street lights. And if you look close you can see our choices of treats while we painted!

This is the night that it was major rain, hail and tornado warnings.  We had to all gather in the back room at one point because there was a tornado at Love Field.  Very fitting that our picture was rainy :)

And the finished products.  It was a very fun night.  It was also fin to see all the different perspectives around the room.

Here's mine up close.  It has been sitting on my couch this week and I keep finding things really wrong with it. I just don't let things go very easily!  But a VERY FUN night and I am glad I got the chance to go.  
Thanks Nat!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Hold You!

I was thinking this week about God being Father and what a comfort it is to know that the God of the Universe is who I can run to.  That He is always there and that we can call Him Abba.  And while at staff prayer we were singing and I went to raise my hands and thought about kids when they hold up there hands and say... "hold you!" And was drawn into the fact that we can call out to God at any time and say... "hold you" and He is right there to lift us up.  What an amazing comforting gift!
Have you run to Him lately and let Him HOLD YOU?

Romans 8: 14-16
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

"Wasted Time?"

(This is what the pic at the top of my blog started out as!)

I love making things... but I also love things to be perfect, at least in my opinion!  At times this is great.  When I want to make sure things are lined up, spacing is right, or colors match.  Other times, this can lead to lots and lots of hours wasted trying to create something that is exactly what I want.  Now I realize that creating something takes time.  Just about everything we see that was created by someone took way more hours than we could guess.  And sometimes all those hours create something even greater than was originally sought after.  
So why am I writing about this?  It's about the internal struggle that takes place for me.  You see... when I go to create something I am not always sure when to just stop and let it be.  I want to keep going and going until I am happy with what I have.  And yet, there are times that I look up and lots of time has ticked off the clock and I feel guilty.  I feel like it has been wasted time.  And then I wonder why I chose to spend all that time on one project. The hard balance in that for me is that I LOVE doing creative things.  I love getting lost in the creation and just going and going and seeing where I end up.  Take for instance my blog design.  I like changing it, I like playing with the pictures, I like thinking about all the different options... AND THERE ARE A LOT OF OPTIONS!  In the end, it was fun.  But am I OK if I am the only one that sees it and the only one that cares.  (Now I realize I just set myself up for insecurity because many of you may look at the blog and wonder what I was thinking anyway! But that is beside the point I am making here.) And the truth is, I'm sometimes OK when I spend time just playing and creating.  And other times I think there are probably more productive things I could have been doing.  
What are the answers?  I don't know.  I know there is a balance in here somewhere of not always having to be extremely productive on things that matter and of being sure that I am not wasting my life on things that don't matter.  So... wasted time? Sometimes!  But not ALWAYS!!
What do you like to "waste time" doing?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Miracle of Life

Angela and I have been friends for the last 8 years.  She is like a sister to me and pretty much everywhere we go people assume we are and are shocked when we tell them we aren't related by blood.
Ang and I have been through a LOT of things together... some really hard stuff and mostly amazing joy & fun filled memories. We worked side by side for many years, lived together, vacationed together, and were in community together!  So when she found out she was pregnant and made a comment about me being in the room with her...  I of course said YES!!!
So on April 20th at 8am I headed to the hospital with Ang's parents, Mom and Dad C to me.  I thought we would be in for a really long day of waiting around, entertaining each other and we wouldn't get to meet the "unknown sex" little one until way later.  But... Ang received pitocin at 7am, had her water broken, received an epidural, labored down for 30 minutes, pushed for 20 and had a baby boy at 1:15pm... can you say FAST!
So on the same day I found out that the calcification was benign, I got the wonderful privilege of watching my little nephew being brought into this world.  I had my camera with me and asked Ang and Zac what all they wanted me to take pictures of and they said... whatever, we can always delete.  So I took a FEW pics in the very short time of delivery.  Keeping them all G rated... here is Harper Samuel Ladd's birthday!
 The Mommy and Daddy waiting to meet their little one.

 Zac in amazement at his little boy!
 Harper hanging out with the doctor getting all checked out.
 The delivery team!
 Uncle "Thunder" Matt and Grandma Peggy "Maggie"!
 Grandpa C holding his first grandson!
 I just like this pic!
And here are a few more after his birthday...

Ok so maybe we played a little dress up!
It was such a privilege for me to get to be there to see life entering into the world.  And for the gift of getting a small understanding of something I might not ever get to do.  For sure it brought mixed emotions... but mostly... Amazement and joy for the miracle life really is!
Thanks Ang and Zac for letting me be a part of Harper's birthday!


About a month ago I went in for my yearly mammogram.  My mom had breast cancer and so my doctors started me on my yearly "check-ups" about 4 years ago.  This year again they found a spot they were concerned about.  So I had to go back for a follow-up.  Mammograms are not comfortable, nor would I choose them often, but they are not as awful as some comics have described (at least for me.)
Any way... I digress :)
After my follow-up they determined that they needed to do a biopsy to determine if the mass they were seeing was cancer or not.  As I processed going through this procedure again, and knowing that there was a chance it was cancer, I came to an interesting truth.  When the doctor was telling me what she had seen and why she needed to go in to check on it, she told me that 15% of the time calcifications are caused by cancer cells.  I started pondering this percentage and realized something.  If cancer is part of my story... then there is a 100% chance this calcification is cancer. If cancer is not part of my story... then there's a 0% chance it is.  It all came back to trusting God with the story He has written for my life.  So often I want to get caught up in fear, what-ifs and really start worrying before I even know what the story is.  And so, as I went in for the biopsy, I was at peace, knowing that God was in control and sovereign over any result I would receive.
The doctor had warned me when she told me she wanted to do the biopsy that there was a very SMALL percentage chance that she would be able to get to it.  The mass is located way back by my rib cage and she just wasn't sure.  The day before the biopsy I sent out a prayer request asking people to pray for three things... 1) that I would trust God no matter which side of the percentages the results fell on 2) that the needle biopsy would work 3) that God would be glorified in the process!
The day of the procedure I walked into the room and the technician was anything but encouraging.  She told me that it was very unlikely that they would be able to get to the mass because of where it is located.  Everything in their demeanor told me that this was probably going to be painful, long and futile!  I even asked, "If this is so unlikely to work, why am I going to pay so much money for it.  Should we just go another route?" To which she explained, if it doesn't work, you don't pay.  And I was slightly comforted!
After the 2nd attempt (I'll save you all the crazy details) to get a picture that would tell them exactly where it was ... they told me to hold still because they had gotten everything in the right place for the procedure.  And you could hear the shock in their voices.  I was able to tell them that lots of people were praying that they would be able to get what they needed.  So thankful that once again... God was not bound by percentages.
The next day I received a call that the mass was benign.