[Almost] True Story.

Yep, I did it. I found my dream man. How do we look together, y'all?!?!? I'm thinkin' he's the whole deal; he's tall, has dark hair, a great smile, he's willing to stand by his woman [that's me, see me?] and he's very agreeable - seriously, I don't hear a peep out of him!

We're registered at Target, Crate and Barrel, and Pottery Barn. You can also send cash, checks, money orders, Chuck-E-Cheese tokens, or credit cards with high spending limits to me. Please save your pocket lint and gum wrappers for a more appropriate occasion.

I told him to let me know if he wanted me to share the wedding gifts, but he didn't say a word - he just smiled.

It looks like we're definitely a go for celebrating our golden years together. ;o)


Hello, World. Remember Me?

I'm a bad blogger! It's been 5 whole days since I've dusted off the ol' keys and snapped out my random and often-useless musings and warblings for you [hello, world!] to read.

Yep. Even my poor twitter feed has been sorely neglected.

For this, I repent in sackcloth and ashes.

It's not that I haven't wanted to write - I've been meaning to jot some things down that have been pressing Godprints into the clay-dough of my soul, really, I have.

True story.

But since my crazy life doesn't always cooperate with my blogging intentions, I got sidetracked.

[insert repentant face here]

So instead of worrying about my crazy-busy life or apologizing to you for living it, I'll tell you what happened during my week, and you can tell me what happened during yours, and we can all live happily ever after.

And possibly sing Kum-Ba-Ya. Because that's how I roll, y'all.

5 days, 5 things:

1) I got a GREAT manicure and pedicure - so great that I'm definitely going back when my bank account recovers next year.

2) I had a birthday - my sweet parents and sister sent me flowers at work, and I got a lovely little gift bag of goodies from Momma C - and birthday wishes from unexpected people, which was also lovely.

3) I officially retired my Motorola Razr. [Yes, I still had a razr. Back off me, I'm cheap! ;oP] As much as I hated the thing, I was sad to see her go - partly because her replacement was so, so, SO expensive.

4) I got flipped off on the freeway - there I was, puttering along, mindin' my bid'niss, when a monstrous SUV driven by a perfectly coiffed soccer mom very nearly mowed me down. Soccer mom was obviously not concerned with the example she was setting for her children when she offered me a one-fingered salute not suitable for humans under the age of 598.

5) I tasted cheese curds for the first time in my life. I must say that the name was so offputting, I was gravely concerned for my safety. Fortunately, all was well and I am alive to [happily] report that the cheese curds were delicious.

I'm going to vote for a cooler name for them, though.

Shh, don't worry. It's all a part of the master plan. ;o)

So that's my week! How about yours?



The Sbux Oracle..

You love surveys and tests about you. Don't lie. There's a reason that 40 bajillion 'About Me' MySpace bulletins are posted daily. [Sshh. I know it can't only be me!]

We love talking about us. Yes, we do.

So we shamelessly followed this link to find out what kind of person we are, based upon our usual Starbucks order.

Shoot. I'm incriminating myself with the royal 'we'. Fine, okay - I did it. ;o)

My summer drink, a tall blended strawberry lemonade, dooms me to dullness, according to the Oracle, which promptly labeled me 'lame'.

Hmph. So I did what every self-respecting human would do. I tried again. ;o)

My winter drink, a tall light caramel white chocolate mocha, means that I am 'high maintenance'. Apparently, I am only this way in the winter, so you can sigh with relief now that spring is supposed to have sprung.

Personality type: High Maintenance

You pride yourself on being assertive and direct; everyone else thinks you're bossy and arrogant. You're constantly running your mouth about topics that only you would find interesting. Your capacity for wasting other people's time is limitless. Your friends find you intolerable, that's why they're plotting to kill you.

Also drinks: Water. Bottled, chilled, with four ice cubes, a twist of lemon, in a crystal glass.
Can also be found at: Trendy martini bars

So says the Oracle. Check it - you know you want to! ;o)


The World Loses A Heroine.

This face is probably not familiar to you, except as a prime example of a sweet bapka who bakes and loves on babies.

But to 2,500 Polish Jewish children, this lady was a savior.

She was a senior administrator in the Polish Welfare department when the Nazis took over, and when the Jews were herded into the now-infamous Warsaw ghetto to await certain death, she decided to take action.

In baskets, strapped under gurneys, in coffins, and in toolboxes, Irena Sendler smuggled 2,500 children from the ghetto, placing them with foster families and carefully noting their name, family of origin, new code name, and new location on a tissue-paper list that she buried in her neighbor's yard. She dug the jar up every time a child was smuggled out and reburied it, somehow avoiding notice by the Nazis. She wanted to be sure that families would have access to records that would allow them to be reunited after the war.

She was eventually discovered by the Gestapo and was beaten and tortured. When she refused to reveal information while being interrogated, her arms and legs were broken by her captors. She was loaded onto a truck headed for a firing squad when she was unceremoniously dumped in a forest - friends had managed to bribe the truck driver to spare her life.

When praised for her courageous work during the Nazi oppression, this is what she said:

"The term 'heroine' irritates me greatly. The opposite is true. I continue to have pangs of conscience that I did so little."

Many of the children she rescued consider her as another 'mother'; some were so young when they were taken that her face is the only mother they remember. Whether or not these displaced children were reunited with their families [sadly, many found that their families had been killed by the SS] they expressed gratitude for their heroine, 'Jolanta'.

I wanted to mention her because she deserves so much more credit than she's been given. Movies and books have lauded other heroes, like Oskar Schindler, who was instrumental in saving hundreds of Jewish people, but this woman personally saved thousands.

She passed away last week at 98. A lady who lived by her own simple statement, she will be forever remembered by those who know her legacy as an extraordinary woman who made the difficult decision to do good, even when evil stared her in the face and threatened her at every turn.

In her own words, "the world can be better if there's love, tolerance and humility."



A Diagram of Intentions..

This cracked me up today! I'm late occasionally [all the time] so I tend to be the 'Uncommitted' one nearest to the door. *grin* H0w 'bout you?



Like David.

I know, it's redundant. But this is how my story begins; "So I was sitting in staff meeting the other day..."


Apparently, the Lord graciously sees fit to confirm to me via these innocuous little planning sessions what He's already shown me in my personal walk. It's humbling, it's amazing, and it also serves as a reminder of just how stubborn I must be. Trust me, folks. They don't call me 'independent' and 'assertive' for no reason. [and that's just being nice about it. I know. It's sad.] This He knows, and against all human odds, He still loves me.

But seriously - don't you love when inspiration strikes someone else and ends up knocking you on the nose, too?

No? Oh. Well, I could be wrong about the nose job, if that's any consolation.

Everyone's favorite Biblical king. Start guessing, ok? He's the one after God's own heart, who composed some of the most beautiful, perfect poetry ever to be written by divinely-inspired human hands, who sinned greatly and repented truly.

Ding ding ding! Yep, that's our boy David, right there.

I think that Dave and I are going to get along quite well when we meet in heaven. He was passionate and sincere about everything he did, even if it was dead wrong. And when he was dead wrong, he was truly and honestly repentant.

Take, for instance, his rash and impetuous decision to take hold of his own destiny in 1 Samuel 27-29. I won't post it all here, since it's a lengthy read, but try it out with your five million translations [you know you love it!] and see what you can learn from David's mistake.

Chapter 27 starts out by revealing David's meltdown. The Message reads it this way:

"David thought to himself, "Sooner or later, Saul's going to get me. The best thing I can do is escape to Philistine country. Saul will count me a lost cause and quit hunting me down in every nook and cranny of Israel. I'll be out of his reach for good."

So David left; he and his six hundred men went to Achish son of Maoch, king of Gath. They moved in and settled down in Gath, with Achish."

Without a doubt, David had a promise from God. He had been anointed by Samuel [and seriously, who's going to argue with God's prophet?] for his future leadership role. But life for David was anything but a great big joyous musical.

See, after the aha moment of his anointing, after Goliath was killed by David's slingshot, after the Israelites started composing odes to David's prowess, and after he'd clocked in for a cushy new position as the king's musician, King Saul found out that his days on the throne were numbered, and that David was God's boy for the task.

Saul was obviously not interested in being kicked out of the palace, so pulled a fast one on our boy D, quickly becoming his most powerful enemy.

David, perceptive fellow, already knew that Jesus had a plan for his life and leadership. But the whole plan didn't seem to be progressing. Instead, he and his family lived in constant fear for his life, skulking from cave to cave, hiding away from his pursuer.

So D made a judgment call. He decided to pick up and leave. Even if he wasn't in the right place, at least he wouldn't be miserable and have to live in caves and worry all the time.

It worked, too! David settled in the land of the Philistines, chillin' with the enemy, raiding camps and killing people [apparently, everyone did this, so David can still be a part of our dichotomous 'Good Guys vs. Bad Guys of the Bible' fantasy team list] and plundering goods. and Saul left him alone. And the Philistines? Oh yeah. They were loving that David was playing for their team.

If you're at all familiar with the way things go down in the Biblical account of David's life, you're probably aware that David did, in fact, become the king of Israel. But not before he learned a hard lesson about choosing his own path.

1 Samuel 29:3 tells us that David's plan to hang out with the Philistines and mope about what coulda shoulda been didn't work like he'd thought. As they prepared to do battle with Saul's troops, David showed up to lend a hand. Then,

"The Philistine officers said, "What business do these Hebrews have being here?" Achish answered the officers, "Don't you recognize David, ex-servant of King Saul of Israel? He's been with me a long time. I've found nothing to be suspicious of, nothing to complain about, from the day he defected from Saul until now."

Angry with Achish, the Philistine officers said, "Send this man back to where he came from."

David didn't belong in Ziklag with the Philistines. He knew it. They knew it. God [obviously] knew it. But he tried - desperately - to make it work. To follow his own plan. And it may have been gravy for awhile, but it obviously didn't end triumphantly.

What did happen is this: once David submitted his will to the plan of the Father, he was back on track to do great things.

As you are all quite aware, David did fulfill his destiny and calling, becoming Israel's favorite king and a direct contributor to the bloodline that Jesus was born into.

So what about you? Are you considering grabbing the reins to your wagon and striking out on your own? I'm not here to judge. It's tempting to just do it - I know this well. But it will only detour you from reaching your destiny, and in the end, the will of God, our purpose and destiny, is the place we all want to be.


Words Escape Me..

This little gem was invented [and patented, as if anyone would want to replicate this genius piece of equipment] by two guys who wanted to make relaxation a little easier for the common man.

Here's how I think it went:

Eric: "Man, we need some major cash. We need to come up with something that people will want to spend a lot of money on."

Philip: "Dude, my parents just spent $3000 on a cruise! What the heck?! If I knew they had $3000, I would have asked for a loan."

Eric: "Focus, man. Hey, what are they doing on a cruise? They're going to be stuck on a boat, for WHAT?"

Philip: "Relaxation, or something. I don't know."

Eric: "People pay money to relax! Shoot, I think we're on to something, man!"

And thus, this amazing vibrating metal helmet was created to soothe even the most savage beast.

Or something.

More completely useless and absolutely hilarious inventions can be found here.

[Being unaffiliated with them, any potential hideousness you may find by following that link is excused by my lack of knowledge, ok? ;o)]



Nick Pitera

Whoa.. I don't know whether this guy is amazingly talented as a singer or as a lip-syncher. He's rockin' the Leona, though!


Miss Personality!

I know, I know. Psychology nut. Really, it's habit-forming! When I find nifty little sites like this one, I absolutely must try it out for myself.

Don't judge me. ;oP

Click to view my Personality Profile page


Quotable Quotation.

In the words of our friend [and this in no way implies that he actually is my friend, but it sounded a whole lot nicer than 'that clown', at least!] Bono:

“Religion is what happens when the Holy Spirit leaves the room.”



Music Monday!

I'm a lyric nut. I love a bumpin' beat and interesting harmony and unique vocal stylings as much as the next person, it's true. But I want to know how the song was born in the heart of the author.

'Healer' by Mike Guglielmucci is one of my favorite songs. Alone, it's a powerful song. But when you know the story, it's moving and emotional. Mike was involved with the youth at Planetshakers church in Melbourne; he's also a talented bassist who had traveled with the Planetshakers band. Yeah, you know 'em. If not, get to know them. They rock.

Mike had a serious secret, though. He struggled with an addiction to pornography that caused him to lie to his family, his church, and the world. In 2006, Mike announced to his church that he had been diagnosed with a terminal cancer of the blood, already at a stage three. His doctor gave him three and a half weeks to live.

His church, his family, and the entire Christian community rallied around him, praying for him daily, donating to his medical fund and supporting his music. He wrote songs like 'Oh, Praise Him' and the following, 'Healer, all while indulging in his secret addiction. Pornography affects the chemistry of the brain and many scientists advocate it's use as a painkiller for terminal patients.

The true story of Mike's secret battle, and the extraordinary lengths to which he went to cover up his sins, eventually came to light, devastating his family, friends, church, and the entire world who had given their unwavering support throughout his purported illness.

That's not the rest of the story, though. Our God is gracious and loving, far above what we deserve. Mike's struggle is only one example of countless stories of people who neglected to seek rest in the grace of God. This song is Mike's song. The words, I know, are inspired by a God of hope and comfort. No matter how crazy your situation is or how far gone you think that you are, Jesus is waiting for you to call on Him.

Maybe it took one man's brokenness to bring a message of healing to an entire generation. But don't take my word for it - listen to the song and hear for yourself. ;)



Everybody's got to love the #1 antidote for gas. You know you do - don't lie. ;o)

Unfortunately, I have no such antidote for the ridiculous gas prices we're all draining our bank accounts to pay, but I did find a nifty little site that can be used to locate the cheapest gas in your area.

Go here. You're welcome.



What Are You Saying?!

It hit me like 2,000 lbs. of bricks last night [that's a ton, if you're counting] during the church service.

I'm not entirely sure what the preacher's points were, because my mind was galloping along it's own thought trail faster than wild horses being chased by cowboys in Montana. [Tell me you didn't just visualize that. I dare you. *grin*]

He was saying something about blessings. Yep, definitely. Well, ok, maybe not 'definitely' - I think it was about blessings, since that was the general direction of the charging herd in my head.

I also thought about my old Pez collection, scheduling a pedicure, contacting a vocal coach, and what sport I would play if I were athletic. But that's not the point. [back off me, you judger-person, you. *grin* I was listening, I promise!]

So here's what God was telling me last night. Trust me, I can't say it as well as He did, but I'm going to take a stab at telling it, anyway.

There is a vast difference between simply receiving a blessing and claiming a blessing in your life.

To receive a blessing, your position is the key. If you're under the spout where the glory comes out [as the ol' timers used to say back home] and you're prepared to receive what God is pouring out, then you're going to be blessed. It's a corporate blessing. Jesus rains down favor, and because He's so awesome and generous, we all get to experience it.

To claim a blessing is a completely different process. It involves steps of faith, and it begins in the heart. Luke 6:43-45 [The Message] says this:

'You don't get wormy apples off a healthy tree, nor good apples off a diseased tree. The health of the apple tells the health of the tree. You must begin with your own life-giving lives. It's who you are, not what you say and do, that counts. Your true being brims over into true words and deeds.'

What's in your heart will be manifest in what you're saying, so it's the heart that matters. Start there first - go ahead! Check and see if you really trust God.

There's one sure-fire way to tell if you're truly rooted in faith that He will provide what you're asking; if you're speaking life toward that blessing.

Whoop! Do you believe it tonight?!? Oh. Oops! Havin' church up in here.

Proverbs 18:21 [The Message] puts it this way:

'Words kill, words give life; they're either poison or fruit—you choose.'

By the standards of our swaggering, individualistic society, claiming a blessing is high-risk, because you're put in a prime position to look like a blazing idiot.

Yep. Here you are, naming and claiming your miracle and acting completely oblivious to the situation that sits directly in front of you - while people are carefully observing you! What will they say when your waiting stretches into days and weeks and months and years? Your reputation is at stake, sheesh! The pressure, oh, the pressure.

That's not faith talk, though. Faith doesn't sit back and lament the impossible, nor does it hide away in fear of being proven wrong. Faith claims the promise and then lives every day as if the miracle has already taken place.

So what is it that you need to claim today?



It's a Good Friday!

What's not to love here, folks?!? We've got Hillsong. 'Mighty To Save'. A child's scribbles about Jesus. Drumsticks that move. Jesus with super buff arms.

Seriously. I dare you to keep from smiling.

It's Friday love, y'all!



I said it, and it is so.

Love this!


Chicken Soup For The Soul

"I, even I, am He Who comforts you." Isaiah 51:12a, Amplified Bible

Don't you love tiny little moments where Jesus wraps your heart in a hug so real that you can almost feel the dents that His hands leave on the edges of your soul?

Over the last week or so, I've fluctuated between feeling miserably sick to feeling uncomfortably [but still functionally] ill. I'm not sure if it's the flu or allergies, but I'm sure I don't want to be miserable like this again.

I'm not gonna lie. I'm the world's biggest baby. My thought process every morning goes something like this:

"Hi, God. I'm sick again. I don't want to do anything productive today. I want to crawl into bed and sleep for a year. Close my eyes and shield every tiny ray of light from searing my corneas with blazing pain. Finally get warm and force my perpetual chills to subside. Hug someone with a friendly face.

Oh, and I also want a bowl - a whole bucket will do, really - of chicken soup."

I might have even mentioned the chicken soup part on MySpace.

Ok, ok - scratch the maybe. I said it, 'cause I'm a witty gal! [Fine. I said it 'cause I really wanted it! Gosh. Try and write a blog and see how witty it looks in text! *grin*]

And you know what? This morning, when I got to my desk, there was a can of chicken noodle soup and a little note waiting for me.

Totally a God-hug.

Thanks, Cara and Brooke, for letting Jesus use you. It was more than a chuckle [or even lunch!] or a grin - it was an answer to a prayer I wasn't fully aware of praying.



Tag - You're It!

I wish I could remember where I found this, because it's stinking hilarious. Picture this - it's China. In a [completely unethical, of course] sweatshop.

There are hundreds of poor, dirty children [they're poor and dirty because of the evil sweatshop, not because they live in China, by the way] sifting through piles of ready-made garments, painstakingly sewing tags to each piece, detailing the taco fold.

For Americans. Y'know, Americans who stole the whole 'taco' idea from Mexicans.

What the stink?!? Have an awesome day, y'all! ;o)


Runs Like A Deer[e]!

"Though the fig tree does not blossom
and there is no fruit on the vines,
[though] the product of the olive fails
and the fields yield no food,
though the flock is cut off from the fold
and there are no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will exult in the [victorious] God of my salvation.
The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to go on the heights."
Habakkuk 3:17-19 [The Amplified Bible]

I can't say that I've ever become despondent over fruitless vines and empty fig tree branches, or that I'm particularly offended that I have no cattle in the stalls, but I'm very well acquainted with the low times. Do you know that valley? The one where certain catastrophe looms over your head and clouds your soul? I do. I passed through it not so long ago; I can still feel the chill of the darkness behind me. I know, without a doubt, that Jesus was the only reason I had the strength to keep going.

Yep. I know where my Help comes from!

Still, when He reminded me that I am carried on His wings via Habakkuk's song, it took awhile for me to apply it to me.

I'm not always the quickest brown fox to jump. Don't judge me. ;o)

So when I read the passage recently, I scribbled a few quick notes, intending to come back to it at some point in the hazy, distant future. I even scribbled verse 18 on the bathroom mirror for my roomie one morning in place of the usual good morning wishes, silly pictures, and funny quotes. [Why yes - yes I am a note-leaving nerd!]

I decided to revisit the passage today, since I overslept to an emergency state - you know, where I jumped out of bed at a dead run and kept up the frantic pace until I got to my desk at the office [if you think that's a funny image, imagine what my hair looked like. *grin*] and I knew that it'd be good fodder for this sheep.

I was into my 3rd translation of the passage when it was time for staff meeting [Sssshh! Don't tell my boss, or I'll blog on you! ;oP] where Pastor shares a scripture with us, we pray, then we talk about important things, like world peace and cheerios [ok, maybe not those important things] and then scatter to our respective desks to accomplish everything we should have already been working on.

Pastor opened his Bible and said "Habakkuk. Chapter 3."

I closed my eyes and whispered "Ok, Jesus. I receive it. Goodness. I'm none too swift, huh? Thanks for still reaching out to me."

I never really read past the 'rejoice in the tough times' part in verse 18. Rejoicing in the Lord is absolutely vital to surviving difficulties, it's true. Job endured hell on earth, and when it was over, he was blessed because he continued to praise Jehovah. But I already know that part.

Sometimes, though, at the lowest, darkest point of the valley of the shadows, we simply need to be reminded that He is sovereign. His strength is available for us to lean into, as soon as we ask. He promises that His power will propel our feet as we travel that lonely path, and He assures us that He will lift us to the high places.

Maybe not today. Today, we might still be running through the valley. It's exhausting, yes - but our strength doesn't come from us, and the promise of a mountain just ahead is worth the journey.



You Must...

Why yes, yes you should, actually. Make 'em wonder - that's the fun of it! ;o)


Show Your Support!

I'm blessed. As a young girl, I never lived with the constant fear that I might be ripped from my family by a money-hungry enterpriser intent on selling me, or worse, sold by my parents into sexual slavery. I was not born into a society so bereft and poverty-stricken that simple sustenance means daily struggles to survive. My mother did not contract a deadly disease and affect my development in the womb because of it. I have never had to live under the shadow of fear of militia attacks, marauders, and gang wars.

But all over the world, there are people who do live with these atrocities. Because I'm blessed in non-monetary ways, it's easy to pretend that I can avoid being socially conscious because my small contributions won't help.

But they will. My dollar and your dollar, my signature on a petition and yours, my donated time and effort and yours - together, they make all the difference.

Here are a few organizations to check out! I've worked with these agencies in the past, via donations, volunteer work, or raising awareness, and I can vouch for their motives. ;o)

The Emancipation Network, a middle-man agency that works with women escaping sexual slavery, teaching them handicraft trades and helping them establish a customer base. www.theemancipationnetwork.org.

ONE, a non-profit advocacy and humanitarian agency. ONE campaigns for poverty stricken nations on Capitol Hill, working to introduce bills into the US Senate that will provide relief for underpriviledged nations. www.one.org.

Compassion International, a Christian organization through which a child in an impoverished nation can be sponsored for $32 monthly. www.compassion.com.

Project Red, an organization aiming to fight AIDS in developing or poverty-stricken nations. www.joinred.com.

LiveStrong, Lance Armstrong's famous foundation aimed at eradicating cancer. This organization funds research for cancer cures. www.livestrong.org.

Doctors Without Borders, an organization through which medical professionals can volunteer their time to travel to poor and underdeveloped nations to provide critical health care at no cost to the people there. DWB always needs donations for supplies and volunteers to provide quality medical care. www.doctorswithoutborders.org.

Habitat For Humanity, an organization that focuses on poor and needy people within our own borders. Habitat provides low-cost housing for underpriviledged families; construction for these homes is volunteer-oriented, and supplies and funding are always needed. www.habitat.org.



Sentimentality [Ode To A Flip-Flop]

Some people have memories tucked away in letters, tied together with old ribbons and layered with dried rose petals and whispers of times past. Some people have photo albums full of glossy prints of happy times shared with loved ones.

I have a beat-up old pair of flip-flops.

At least four years old, slightly too big, and an indeterminable shade of navy blue [ish], they were purchased for a whopping $2.50 at an Old Navy located somewhere in the southern US. I'm not going to lie - I was a little bit snobbish about the whole 'cheap flip-flop' thing, so I bought them only to be worn as grubby work shoes.

But at some point, they flip-flopped into my heart and became a staple wardrobe item. Don't judge me. I rock the 'flops.

This particular pair should surely hold a world title. When I lived in Texas, I wore them to college classes, while traveling, while shopping, to church work days, to church events, on trips... I'm sure you've begun to note the ever-occurring trend here.

Enter good-natured [I hope!] teasing - my flip-flops appeared so often that people took note.

Then the news came that I'd be moving to Florida. The flips were a little shabby now [The 'Old Navy' stamp had become 'L Na y'] and I figured I probably wouldn't even use them. New People would not be seeing me wearing grubby 'flops - my momma raised me better!

Still, they held so many memories and were so stinking useful, I couldn't part with them. Never mind that I had a huge cardboard box brimming with cute flip-flops to match my every outfit - I needed these. So they went to Florida.

In Florida, I tried to keep them designated as beach shoes, but that didn't last long. I pulled them out for errands, for hanging out with friends, for the pool, for the beach, for the mall, and various and sundry other events. Roommates and friends began to notice how attached I was to them - and had to try them out for themselves!

When I learned that I would be leaving Florida, I knew it was time to downsize. I was packing my entire life into a storage unit, taking only the clothes I would need. By now, the 'flops were grubby at their very best. My box of cute flip-flops overflowed with all the colors of the rainbow, beckoning me to make the only feminine decision and take them with me.

Instead of doing that [because it'd be too much to carry, I reasoned] I left the whole box and took my worn and definitely worse-for-the-wear flip-flops. Because, you know, I might need them in the winter in Ohio.

I wore them today. When I look at them, I smile at the memories I've made in them. I can point out the tiny hole in the sole where a stick poked through it at the beach, or the uneven edge on the right 'flop caused by an incident with a parking lot curb that we won't discuss. The ding in the left 'flop is from dropping a metal box on it at Boot Camp. The foot marks imprinted into them aren't exactly fit to my foot anymore because they've been borrowed by so many friends.

They may be just an old pair of 'flops, but to me, they're so much more. I can't say when I'll be packing up and moving on again, but I can assure you that my trusty old 'flops are going with me wherever I go. They hold memories worth far more than $2.50; it's four years worth of loving, learning, laughing, crying, rejoicing, mourning, and living that I will treasure forever.

So what do you hang onto?




This guy is officially one of the coolest musicians [Props to FP for introducing me to his music via a well-loved and somewhat skippish CD] alive.

His music covers a wide range, which is a nice thing for a musician. I love this song, just 'cause it's fun, but my all-time favorite Barnes song is 'Nothing Fancy'. I'd tell you about it, but then you'd be all lazy and take my word for it, and really, you should be checking him out for yourself.

Hit him up at www.davebarnes.com or www.myspace.com/daveb.

He's up for airtime on MTV's 'TRL', so if you like him [or if you don't, it really doesn't matter] or you actually have time to watch that show, vote for his new video 'Until You'.

Really. It's a matter of national importance. Plus, he loves Jesus and makes good music, so that pretty much makes this a holy trinity of necessity - Jesus, national security, good music.

Go to http://www.mtv.com/ontv/dyn/trl/voting.jhtml and vote. Keep voting until 11:59pm Friday. You may not pause for any reason. This is critical. ;o)



Inspiration in the strangest places!

I found these nuggets from a recent interview on the 'Today' show and thought they were worth sharing. I'm pretty sure that this is the first [and probably the last] time I've ever written something about this lady, but here's what she had to say:

When asked about why she's adopting from Africa, she said "If I was challenging people to open their minds and hearts, then I had to be willing to stand at the front of the line."

When asked, "What is it that you want to feel about your life?"She responded, "That my soul reached it's true potential. And that I did everything I was put on this earth to do."

Wow. Good stuff right there.

I may not support her music or her motives or anything about her, really [I think she needs Jesus, not Xenu or whoever she believes will be coming in a Scientology-approved spaceship to fly her home] but Madonna's got words, y'all. Or her publicist has words. Or her hairdresser.


Take inspiration where you find it! ;o)



What Do You See?

Showing face. Keeping up appearances. Preserving dignity. Presenting a respectable front.

I draw attention to myself at all the wrong times. On good hair days, when my hem is straight and my shoes match my bag and I'm rockin' along like I've got it together, I'm pretty sure I blend into the walls. [well, if the walls were multi-colored and very fashionable, that is. *grin*]

But when my hair looks like it was coiffed by a 4-year-old and my heel gets caught in the sidewalk and I very nearly lose my balance and dignity, everyone notices. Trust me. Everyone.

I think it's programmed into humans [or at least into every person who has amusedly observed me tripping or dropping things] to notice when something goes comically [or critically] wrong. I'm pretty sure that's the way the human code was written. You're welcome to ask Jesus about it on your own time. Don't tell Him I said it, though, ok? ;o)

Since we all know about the code, we tend to be obssessed [to varying degrees] with our appearance - we all worry about how other people perceive and judge us, whether or not all of us admit this freely. [Hey, even I'm not even going to try to pretend it doesn't matter to me, too.]

But how important is the preservation of our outward dignity?

Not so much, according to Jesus. He told Samuel, who was in the middle of searching for the perfect candidate for the crown, to let Him do the choosing of Israel's future king, since "man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks into the heart. 1 Samuel 16:17"

Samuel's mother knew a thing or two about the disparity between the inside and the outside; as a woman who spent years longing for a child, she was misunderstood by everyone. 1 Samuel 1 says:

"As she [Hannah] continued praying before the LORD [that He would bless her with a child] Eli [the high priest] observed her mouth.

Now Hannah spoke in her heart; her lips moved, but her voice was silent. Eli thought she had become drunk, and said to her "How long will you be a drunkard? Put away wine!"

Hannah said, "No, sir, it is this; I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit. I am not drunk. I've been pouring out my soul before the LORD. Don't consider me as a pagan drunkard, because it's in my grief that I am crying out.

Then Eli answered and said, "Go in peace; and the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of Him."

Thank you, Eli. A regular little Captain Obvious, aren't you? Eli was the high priest of the temple, a man who should have been in tune with the spirit of the people who prayed there, but it's clear that his discernment was a little cloudy when it came to Hannah. Growing up in an apostolic environment, fervent prayer and exuberant worship are second nature to me, so I can't imagine being accused of drunkeness in church. But it happened to Hannah.

Our girl took the criticism in stride, though. In her willingness to step outside the box and approach God with everything she had, she took a chance. And she looked a little silly. But she didn't care! When people didn't understand her, she was ok with that, too. She sought after Him with her whole heart.

Are you seeking Him for something? Are you willing to sacrifice your dignity to do it? What's on the outside is important in the earthly sense of sharing the love of Jesus, but purity on the outside is motivated by a beautiful heart - and that's what Jesus is looking for.



Of the Nourishment and Edification of the Saints.

I've been on a get-skinny-or-die campaign since January, and I'm not skinny yet, but I look different enough to throw people off a little. I find it vastly amusing every time someone stands in front of me, rotating an index finger pointed directly at my clavicle, eyeing me with one eyelid at half-mast and trying desperately to figure out what I've done differently. Back off me - you'd laugh, too. *grin*
I'm not going to lie, though - for the past few weeks, I've been absolutely unmotivated to eat all things green and healthy. I'm ashamed to admit that I found 4 (FOUR!) fortunes from Chinese takeout cookies scattered in my car today.

Is that the end of my embarrassing admission? Yes.
Well, no. Fine, ok, sheesh. It gets worse; the drive-through lady finished my sentence for me today. I kid you not. She had the duck sauce in hand before I could finish asking for it.

Don't judge me. Those fortunes were nuggets of wisdom! It was for the sake of knowledge and greater understanding, really! ;o)



Things I Love..

- Sunday afternoon naps [these are very critical to the success of a Sunday. Don't cross me. lol!]
- Sushi [tempura, to be very specific]
- Seeing comments about my blog [really, y'all - talk to me and you earn instant cool points! *grin*]
- Swedish meatballs [seriously - sweet, tangy goodness + meat?! VIVA SWEDEN!]
- Suddenly realizing I have created an all-out alliteration.
- Sleep.

Have great church, y'all! ;o)



What is UP with our crazy world?! I have an odd fascination for news of the weird and wacky, which makes me all the more aware of how nuts everyone but me [and you, of course!] is. ;o)

Here's one of my favorite sites for weird-but-true news pieces. This guy even has a free [or premium subscription] weekly newsletter, so the fun never stops.

Don't believe me? Here's a sample item from one of his newsletters:

"Sent Packing - Charles D. McKinley, 25, of Brooklyn, N.Y., had four weeks of vacation coming, so he decided to visit his parents in DeSoto, Texas. Rather than buy a plane ticket for $320, McKinley, a shipping clerk, packed himself into a shipping crate and air-expressed himself home, charging the fees to his employer. When the crate was delivered to his parents' front step, McKinley pushed out of the box and shook hands with the "shaken and frightened" delivery driver. The driver called the police. After an investigation by the FBI, the U.S. attorney, postal inspectors, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Security Administration, McKinley was charged as a stowaway, a federal misdemeanor. (Dallas Morning News) ...If he had only waited for the driver to leave, he would have been home free."

Hee-larious stuff, and totally decent, since his pastor is on his mailing list, and it'd be like cussing in a church to send your pastor naughty news items.

Check it out! www.thisistrue.com.


Do it again, Lord!

Psalm 126

A Pilgrim Song

1 -3 It seemed like a dream, too good to be true, when God returned Zion's exiles. We laughed, we sang, we couldn't believe our good fortune. We were the talk of the nations - "God was wonderful to them!" God was wonderful to us; we are one happy people.

4 -6 And now, God, do it again - bring rains to our drought-stricken lives, so those who planted their crops in despair will shout hurrahs at the harvest, so those who went off with heavy hearts will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing.

This 'pilgrim song' is my anthem today. I love the Message's translation (above) because it highlights David's faith in God. There is no hint of doubt that God will provide for Israel here, only rejoicing in the fact that He's going to do it again.

My dad likes to tell everyone [why yes, 'everyone' does include an embarrassing assortment of past boyfriends - how did you know?] a story from when I was younger. I'd been allowed to ride into town with Dad on an errand. This fact alone meant that I'd beaten my sister in the race to be the first one wearing shoes. It was a winner-take-all fight, because we both knew that errands with Dad often turned into a 'Daddy date', complete with ice cream cones and a chance to sit on his lap and 'drive' home. [A perfectly safe maneuver, since we lived in the country, at least ten bajillion miles from any county road.]

Apparently, after we'd visited the shop or Auto Zone or wherever Dad's errand had taken us, we'd pulled up to the fine [magical, really!] establishment where mushy cones with brightly printed paper wrappings full of dripping soft-serve ice cream [chocolate, vanilla, or swirl, no less!] could be found in abundance.

'Dad?!?' I asked excitedly 'do you have any money?'

To which Dad replied 'I sure do, honey!'

My response was simple. 'Well, get it out!'

See, I already knew about the goodness of ice cream. This wasn't my first rodeo, y'all - my Dad was famous for Daddy dates. And I already knew he loves me. Since there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that an ice cream cone was in my very near future, I was on my game. I was ready to expedite whatever process stood in the way of my devouring The Best Ice Cream Cone Ever.

Verse 4 of David's prayer reminds me of that. God, do it again! I remember when you provided for us before, and it was awesome. Now, we're waiting in anticipation for you to work miracles and bring us favor, peace, and joy again. We know You can, we know You will, and we rest in the promise of Your love for us. Do it again, Lord!

It's childlike faith, y'all. Plain and simple.

So what are you asking for today?



Ye Olde Pastimes..

Not too long ago, there was a 'child of the 80s/90s' forward passed around among twenty-and-thirty-somethings and children who lied to MySpace and swiped the from their older friends. [Oh, please, honey chil' - you are not a 102-year-old living in Barbados. We're so on to you.]

The forward got to my inbox and exploded; someone hit 'reply all' and it was on like Donkey Kong. For real, y'all. At the end of the day, we all agreed that being born in the 90s does NOT make you 'a child of the 90s'.

So, if you're that 102-year-old in Barbados, ignore this. If you're a real twenty-or-thirty-something and you remember home computers with black screens, blinking cursors, and dinner-plate sized discs [viva la floppy!] with the ability to bring [magically addicting] arcade games right to you, how much love can you show for Digger?!?!?

Seriously. This little guy is timeless. Please tell me you made it to level 37 before you made the switch to 3.5" floppies and our friendly little scooper was lost to you forever!

Well, not forever. Someone resurrected him here: http://www.play.vg/games/58-Digger.html.

HAPPY FRIDAY, FOLKS! [Seriously, kicking 5-year-old heinie AND evil, dirt-dwelling goblins? THIS is Friday love, y'all!]


Future Mother Of The Year!

I think I've got what it takes to go all the way, y'all. I'm definitely ready to be a mom.

Not right this second, sheesh! [if you've paused to faint at my previous statement, you may feel free to revive now.] I still need to work on my ninja reflexes a little.

Think you're badder than me? Prove it. www.howmanyfiveyearoldscouldyoutakeinafight.com.
Happy Friday! ;o)



1 Peter 4:8 - 'Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it, because love covers a multitude of sins.'

My brain was doing somersaults this morning while I tried to be a good saint and read a whole chapter without stopping. You know, because there's so much fodder for the flock in this passage that at least 543 redundant sermons could jump off the page.

Ok, so that's not the whole reason. when I say 'somersaults', I mean the acrobatic turns of a tired, hopped-up-on-caffeine mind, not necessarily revelations of great importance. Hey, I can't be perfect, folks. *grin* At verse 1, which reminded me to crucify my flesh as Christ lovingly sacrificed His earthly body for us, I was primed and ready to whip out a devotion on daily crucifixion, but somewhere around verse 3, I started a grocery list. Don't judge me. I was back on board by verse 6ish. ;o)

I screeched to a halt - mid-somersault - at verse 8. Bible.com has a handy-dandy clickable feature that translates a passage into whichever of the 7 bajillion translations you choose, so I clicked around until it really started to sink in. My favorite version was The Message - 'love as if your life depended on it'.

Wow. I'm pretty sure I've never loved like my life depends on it, because, frankly, I've never felt an overwhelming sense that I would surely perish from lack of loving on humanity. Sure, I love people, but sometimes I love people most when I don't have to deal with them.

But does my life really, really depend on unconditional love? All the time, all the people?

Apparently, life [as I seek to live it] is completely tied to love. 'Love' [or a derivative of the word] is mentioned in the KJV 442 times. Jesus, in all the wisdom of the ages, knew that He'd have to mention it more than once to get the point across. Especially to me and my acrobatic noggin. He got specific, too - in Matt. 22:37-38:

"Jesus said, "'Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.' This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.' These two commands are pegs; everything in God's Law and the Prophets hangs from them." The Message

If I'm going to be more than Jesus talk - if I claim to live a life committed to Him, it is absolutely non-negotiable. My life [and yours, 'cause I'm not the only one here, sheesh!] depends on loving people.



43 Billion Things..

I am not a melancholy. I haven't the patience nor the ability to sit still, which makes me an odd mix of sanguine-ity and choleric-ness [yes, I totally made up those suffixes. Don't judge my Engrish, you! ;o)] in case that was the eternal question burning a hole in your brain.

But my momma, on the other hand? She is - through and through. I'm convinced that the authors decided to make a category about my mother and call it melancholy. Melancholy people looooooooove lists, so Momma made her children be list people. Going to camp? Make a list. Cleaning your room? Make a list. Grocery shopping? Make a list, for goodness sakes!

Choleric people think they don't have time to make a paper list. Sanguines lose lists, but it doesn't matter, since sanguines make completely useless lists with hearts and doodles and scribbles, anyway.

But if you're any of those personalities, or shoot - even if you're phlegmatic [and if you are, I'm very sorry for you. You got the worst of the four terrible category names, though I'm sure you're just peachy in real life!] you can't help but enjoy fun stuff like visiting www.43things.com and clicking 'refresh' a hundred or so times to see what people are putting on their 'Life Lists'.

Oh, yeah. Good times at the office - much better than solitaire, which I always lose at. ;o)

If you're really brave [or melancholy] you can make a list, too.

Go ahead. You know you want to! *grin*


Hello! Freedom calling!

Galatians, chapter 5. Read it. If you're more spiritual than me and you've already read it a million times [I'm pretty sure I haven't soared to the millionth mark just yet, after all!] just don't get all pious on me. Quiete yourself and read it in another translation. I bet it'll be revelation! ;o)

I'm all about Jesus being a personal God. Sure, He's God of everything. But He's mine, too. His Word? Yep, pretty sure those letters were for me. ;o) In Galatians 5 [today's devotion]Paul talks all about the glorious freedom we have through the Spirit living in us, and it was so freeing [heh!] that I took the liberty of making this passage mine. Oh, and of sharing it here. Oh yeah, I did!

I tried my hardest and holiest not to change a dot or tittle, though, so I think we're good. If it can be translated as the Christian Living Message Incarnate Word and Holiest Book of Books and be sold in your local Christian bookstore, I feel like it'll be ok that I did this for free. I'll take it up with Paul later, y'all. ;o)

Here's what Jesus told Paul to tell me today.

v1. Jesus has liberated you into freedom, so stand firm and don't submit to bondage again.
v2. I'm telling you; seeking to fulfill traditional church laws will not bring Jesus' favor.
v3. Every Christian who seeks only to fulfill tradition is obligated to live by every law.
v4. If you're trying to be justified by the law, you have fallen from the grace of God!
v5. By His spirit, we hope for righteousness to be manifest in our lives through our faith in Jesus.
v6. In Him, traditions accomplish nothing; what matters is faith working through love.
v7. You were doing great, Rachel! What kept you from obeying the truth? [Ow. You don't miss one stubborn moment, do you, pal?]
v8. This discouragement didn't come from He Who called you.
v9. A tiny bit of yeast [discouragement] can leaven [affect] the entire loaf [Please note that if I must be likened to a loaf of bread, I'd like to be Hawaiian Sweet Bread, since everyone likes that. But moving on...]
v10. I have peace through Jesus that you won't falter in your doctrine; don't worry! Whoever is troubling you will pay a penalty. [Dum dum dum! Thanks, Lord, for backing me up!]
v11. Rachel, I don't preach adherence to tradition, or else I wouldn't endure persecution still. I preach the cross of Jesus, which no man should be offended by.
v12. Seriously, I wish those who are troubling you would be bound to the laws that they propogate!
v13. You're called to freedom, Rache. Don't use your freedom for yourself, though; use it to serve your brothers and sisters in love.
v14. Remember, the entire law is fulfilled in this statement; 'Love your neighbor as yourself'.
v15. If you choose to attack your brothers and sisters, you'll destroy each other.
v16. I'm telling you, then, walk in the Spirit of Jesus and you'll avoid the temptations of the flesh.
v17. Your flesh desires earthly things that are contrary to the desires of the Spirit, and the Spirit desires heavenly things contrary to the desires of the flesh.
v18. If you're led by the Spirit, you're not bound by traditions and mandates.
v19. Fleshly desires are obvious; sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity,
v20. idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions,
v21. envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. Just an advance warning, Rache - people who practice these things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
v22. But the fruits of the Spirit, the principles for you to live by, are these: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith,
v23. gentleness, and self-control. There is no law or tradition against any of these things.
v24. Rachel, you belong to Jesus. That means you should have crucified [or axed, or killed, or done away with, however that may have occurred] fleshly passions and desires.
v25. If you profess to live by the Spirit, you must follow the Spirit.
v26. Never, ever become conceited. Don't provoke your brothers and sisters, nor be caught up in envy.

There you have it, folks. It's encouragement, it's gentle, loving reproof, it's promise, it's hope, and it's grace. From Jesus, with love.

So tell me.. How are you making Him relevant to you today?

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