Friday, November 10, 2006

Nice Coffee...
I do believe that the nicest Starbucks workers are the ones who work at the Starbucks by my house. Everytime I go I'm amazed by their radiant smiles, desire to make my customized drink delicious, and genuine interest in my day. As I waited at the window tonight for my grande decaf non-fat no whip white mocha, I was more than happy to answer questions about my Thanksgiving plans and hear about the Starbucks girl's search for her true passion as she takes a semester off from college. My every experience at this Starbucks makes me wonder if my enjoyment of life and vocation of service is as evident as theirs. 1 Peter 3:15 says that we should "always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have." But before we can be ready to give an answer, we must first give cause for someone to question the reason for our hope. The first part of verse 15 says, "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord." What a reason for hope and motivation to bring Him glory in whatever we do (Colossians 3:17)! I don't know if the girl working the window at Starbucks tonight is a believer, but she definitely made me question the reason for the hope she had and left me wanting to know more.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Craving...
Well, I haven't posted in a while. I get so overwhelmed thinking that if I'm going to do this whole blog thing, I must have something profound and worthwhile to say... thus the weeks of silence. Ha. I still doubt I have anything grand to say, but I will dare to share a few thoughts...

I lead a group of senior girls on Wednesday nights and I love them dearly. In talking about the importance of community and accountability among our group last night, we discussed the amount of time we each spend with God daily. Sadly enough, it is not very often. I know without a doubt that time spent with God is vital to the growth of my relationship with Him and is what prepares me for my daily activities, future decisions, and facing temptation. I find myself craving that intimacy that only He can give... and yet I find myself too tired or distracted to follow through. What's wrong with me? My seniors and I have made a pact to work on our daily quiet time - desiring to crave spiritual things above selfish and worldly things. And so I have agreed to share some thoughts as we dialogue about Scripture and spur one another along on our spiritual journey to becoming all God desires us to be...

Psalms 1:1-4... "Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked..."
The habit of our life should not be following the advice of ungodly men. Why? Because the wisdom of fools fails... Because there is blessing in delighting in the law of the Lord! The law of the Lord (Scripture) is where we find true wisdom, and delighting in that law means that as believers we should find even pleasure in it! I know I find pleasure in TV, pleasure in music, pleasure in really good food, pleasure in friends, pleasure in so many things... But the Word? Do I find myself delighting in the Word and meditating on it day and night like verse 2 says? Not often enough. How I long to be "like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. (vv 3)" When I follow after God, He will put me where He wants me and nourish me as needed. These thoughts then take me to the psalm of David in chapter 63 (read verses 1-8). He is mine! God is personal to me! How wonderful! He is above and beyond anything great I could ever imagine, and I desire to be close to Him. He will bring satisfaction, comfort, and help like nothing this world has to offer. And yet I find myself too busy, tired, and distracted? Shame on me! What is it that you crave? God and the Word? Or more time to yourself? More time to party? An intimate relationship with a guy/girl? The perfect job, grade, body, or something else? I've found myself seeking after each of those things at some point, and what I often fail to remember is this: Following after God satisfies all cravings. Following after other things only leaves me longing for more.

Friday, October 06, 2006

You jump, I jump...
Dawn would probably follow her sisters off a bridge... well, I'd probably follow her.

1. Whats your name spelled backwards? einalem
2. What did you do last night? Taught my ballet and an adult yoga/stretching class and then went home to watch Grey's Anatomy with Holly.
3. The last thing you downloaded onto your computer? AIM so that I can chat with Jamie :-)
4. Have you ever licked a 9 volt battery? I would do that because...
5. Last time you swam in a pool? This summer.
6. What are you wearing? Overalls. I'm painting today.
7. How many cars have you owned? One.
8. Type of music you dislike most? Hardcore rap and really, really old country, and heavy metal.
9. Are you registered to vote? Yes.
10. Do you have cable? Absolutely! I didn't for a while when I lived in NC and made it through, but it's so nice to have.
11. What kind of computer do you use? Just bought my first Dell laptop!
12. Ever made a prank phone call? Yes. (Middle school, I'm glad we're through.)
13. You like anyone right now? Small crush on my neighbor??
14. Ever done any shrooms? Love to eat them! :-)
15. Furthest place you ever traveled? Montreal, Canada.
16. Do you have a garden? No.
17. What's your favorite comic strip? I used to love reading them on Sundays at my parents', but I don't know my fav now.
18. Do you know all the words to the national anthem? Yes.
19. Shower, morning or night? Morning. Definitely morning. How else are you supposed to wake up?
20. Best movie you've seen in the past month? Shop Girl
21. Favorite pizza toppings? Mushrooms, Onions, Black Olives... yum.
22. Chips or popcorn? Don't really care for either... but life or death? I'd choose chips. (Because it would definitely be a life or death kind of question.)
23. What cell phone provider do you have? Verizon
24. Have you ever sucked peanut shells? Gross!
25. have you ever been in a beauty pageant? Yes, for my high school when I was a senior.
6. Orange Juice or apple? More orange, but I do like apple.
27. Who were the last people you sat at lunch with? Chris and David. Always Chris and David. hahaha
28. Favorite chocolate bar? Take 5 or KitKat.
29. Who is your longest friend and how long? Emily Stamper... um... has it been like 20 years???
30. Last time you ate a homegrown tomato? This summer. My parents love them!
31. Have you ever won a trophy? Do the ones they give you for soccer, and t-ball count? Also for being Dancer of the Year and 2nd Runner Up in my pageant.
32. What do you drink in your coffee? Cream and sugar... whatever takes away the strong coffee taste.
33. Favorite computer game? I'd rather watch tv.
34. Ever ordered from an infomercial? No, but I am often intrigued.
35. Sprite or 7-UP? Sprite, but Diet Cherry 7-UP is my fav.
36. Have you ever had to wear a uniform to school/work? Yes, for O'Charleys we had these awful vests they wanted us to wear for a while.
37. Last thing you bought at Walgreens? Shampoo.
38. Ever thrown trash or emptied ashtray out in a public place? I don't think so.
39. Would you prefer being a millionaire or finding true love? True love all the way.
40. Do you believe in love at first sight? No.
41.Can exes just be friends? Whew! So difficult to have a healthy relationship, at least in my experience, but I'm not opposed.
42. Who was the last person you visited in the hospital? Mirna when she was having her baby.
43. Did you have long hair as a young kid? Yes, and I remember it being pretty... well, until the perm phase hit.
44. What message is on your voicemail machine? Something boring.
45. Where would you like to go right now? The beach - always the beach.
46. What was the name of your first pet? Pookie, a little black poodle.
47. Do you decorate your lawn for holidays? Lawn? What lawn?
48. Last incoming/outgoing call on your phone? Holly.
49. What is one thing you are grateful for today? There's so much
50. What do you think about most? My future... job, a house... especially who my future husband is.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

My top picks of the...
Best magazine(s) EVER!
Radiant
Check it out at www.radiantmag.com
I love me some magazines, but this one I read cover to cover and even carry with me for a few days to make sure I don't miss anything. It's written specifically for young women. It covers everything from music to books to how to relate to your friends, finding balance in your life, and how to spiritually recharge yourself.

Also, it's counterpart...
Relevant
www.relevantmagazine.com
This one asks some hard questions, interviews top singer/songwriters, discusses the hottest trends, and changing worldviews... all while challenging you to pursue God in everyday life.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Living in the valley...
I went to lunch with a friend whom I haven't seen in several months yesturday. She had been stuggling with the label of "the good girl," and sought out to try some new things... a.k.a. an older crowd, the party scene, boys... only to realize that none of that was fulfilling. It led her to create lies and simply left her with feelings of guilt. Coming back to the realization that Christ is everything, she said that she feels her faith has become more real, not just a bunch of facts and rules that she's heard over the years. I've been there for sure... tired of always having to do everything right, be perfect. Just let me have a taste of sin to be sure it isn't something I want to pursue (my mom always says that I'm the one who has to learn everything the hard way)...

Here's an excerpt from Oswald Chamber's My Utmost for His Highest today...
"After every time of exaltation, we are brought down with a sudden rush into things as they really are, where it is neither beautiful, poetic, nor thrilling. The height of the mountaintop is measured by the dismal drudgery of the valley, but it is in the valley that we have to live for the glory of God. We see His glory on the mountain, but we never live for His glory there. It is in the place of humiliation that we find our true worth to God - that is where our faithfulness is revealed. Most of us can do things if we are always at some heroic level of intensity, simply because of the natural selfishness of our own hearts. But God wants us to be at the drab everyday level, where we live in the valley according to our personal relationship with Him. Peter thought it would be a wonderful thing for them to remain on the mountain, but Jesus Christ took the disciples down from the mountain and into the valley, where the true meaning of the vision was explained."

Isn't it true? In the drab, normal, everyday life is where what we read about in Scripture and experience in worship is made REAL! Our time spent with the Creator is our vital source of life as a Christian, but the challenges we face each day is where our faithfulness is put to the test. Oh how I've failed so many times. But it is in that "place of humiliation," as Chambers calls it, that we are made strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says, "And he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." I'm sure I can't even fathom the hardships and persecutions Paul faced, and yet he could find the delight in them!

And so I am encouraged to say, "Bring it on!" to the future... and yet challenged to remain so close to God, knowing that I cannot stand on my own. In the valley, I want to live for the glory of God, have my faithfulness be proven true. Because a life like that in the valley brings freedom from guilt, an escape from lies, and the overwhelming peace that surpasses all understanding becomes the Guard of my heart and mind (Philippians 4:7).

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Looking for a few good men...
"And the Lord my God will supply all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:9)
It is such an easy thing to remember and say... but such a hard idea to really and truly believe and trust. I found myself shedding some tears the other day over Hugh. It's been over a year now since our relationship ended... I'm as confident as ever that God knows best and being together wasn't a part of His perfect plan. But my heart still hurt remembering the good times we had together and all the ways that he was wonderful... and also remembering the hurt and frustration that I'm sure we put each other through trying to make something "fit" that wasn't meant to be.
I've been on a few first dates lately and have only been left wondering why a second date was never mentioned. Then again, I've been thankful because I wasn't really that into them either. And so I'm left wondering where all the good men are? I mean, how hard can it to be to be handsome, seeking after Christ, a strong leader, funny, considerate, compassionate, ambitious, and in pursuit of me???? Ok, so I know that may not be totally fair. But, being so few and far between will make the perfect one stand out even more. I know without a shadow of a doubt that God is big enough to make all my dreams come true. Of course, sometimes He has to prune those dreams (sometimes a little, often a lot) before granting them. Everything in life is a season. If you're not waiting for this, then you're waiting for that.
"Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and emjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes." (Psalm 37:1-7)
That's my greatest desire. To find utmost DELIGHT in my Creator and have His ways, thoughts, and desires become my own. It can be difficult not to envy what other people have, but realizing that no one "has it all" and everyone is left waiting for something, helps to give some perspective while I wait for my prize.

Monday, September 18, 2006

A friend loves at all times... (Proverbs 17:17)
I am so thankful for my friends. I was talking with Amanda this weekend about girlfriends and we realized that what we have is so rare. She and I have known each other since middle school and have grown to be the best of friends. There were a few years that we didn't really talk due to life circumstances and living far apart, but even now it's like nothing has changed. There has been a lot of patience, a lot of forgiveness, a lot of helping, encouraging, support, and a whole stinking ton of laughing. As tears came to her eyes during the conversation, I yet again realized that I wouldn't change what we've got for anything. And yet I am so blessed to have many more relationships that are as priceless as hers. Scripture tells us in Ecclesiastes 4:10-12, "If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." I've known this verse for a long time, but it has proven itself true over and over and over in my life. When I've been down, there's been someone to pick me up; when I've rejoiced, there has been someone to throw a party; when I've cried, there have been shoulders to rain mascara upon and arms to embrace; when I've struggled, there have been courageous words to hold me accountable; when I've messed up, there has been patient forgiveness. For these things I will give my life and only hope that I can return the friendships that have been lavished upon me. God has blessed me beyond measure with my girlfriends... shoes that no man could ever fill... So I say thanks to Emily D., Amanda, Holly, Emily S., Haley, Sarah, Dawn... I love you guys and I'm your biggest fan! Here's to many more years to come!