Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Shrieks and squeals don't even cover the half of it.

I'm having an excitement breakdown!!!  Seriously, I'm a total basket-case of squeals and shivers and spontaneous tears.  I shot awake at 4am this morning and haven't calmed down since.  Figured I may as well try and get some school work done.  Instead, I spent an hour stalking my own sisters on Facebook and getting more and more excited about stepping off the plane in 65 HOURS!!!

Oh, and that paper I should be working on... couldn't concentrate.  Too.  Much.  Excitement.  But I did manage to write a list of all things that keep distracting me from doing what needs to be done:

*hugs.  hugs.  and more hugs.
*mexican food.
*petting my wonderful-monster-of-a-dog.
*sitting on the couch with my Daddy.
*meeting Mooly for lunch.
*the quilting store.
*sonic happy hour.
*decorating the christmas tree.
*sitting on the couch with my sisters.
*all the places i get to go... Lubbock, Searcy, Atlanta, Tuscaloosa.
*all the people i get to worship with... at Highland Oaks, at University, at Passion.
*all the conversations i get to have... about God's faithfulness, about his love, about how blessed i am to see his mighty hand sweeping people toward himself.
*sitting on the couch with my bestest friends.
*my birthday.
*spending that birthday and christmas with my family-in-person, instead of with my-family-on-skype.
*more mexican food.
*lunch with Betsy.
*more fabric.
*doing a little sewing on a Bernina, with that awesome knee-bar i love so much.
*walking my wonderful-monster-of-a-dog.
*the right side of the road.
*hobby lobby.
*more hugs.
*more happy hour.
*sunday morning bagels at einstein's.
*drinking coffee with my sisters.
*shopping for jeans and knowing what size to grab.
*turbo fire and bodypump and crossfit and sweating with my sisters.
*more mexican food.
*more sitting on the couch with my daddy.  or in his office. or in starbucks.
*more places, more people, more conversation, more worship.

Only 64.5 hours left!!!

One more thing I'm super-excited about: electrical outlets in the bathroom!  i just might accidentally electrocute myself with giddiness.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Dissatisfaction: When Culture distorts Creation

The following is a very brief excerpt from not-so-brief paper on "consumerism" I recently wrote for my Faith in Contemporary Culture class at the Irish Bible Institute.  I hope reading it challenges you as much as writing it did me.  Spoiler alert: it may cause you to re-think The List you sent Santa :)

God created humanity to consume.  Not even our most basic needs can be met without consuming external resources.  We need air to breath.  We need food to eat.  We need to consume to survive.  All of these processes remind us that we are not self-sufficient.  We cannot sustain our own existence.  We need outside help.  This speaks to the very core of our divine purpose.  God designed us to desire something greater than ourselves, something that can only be satisfied through a relationship with him.  But as a result of the fall, humanity’s first reach for self-reliance and instant gratification, our desires become misplaced.  We begin to search for the restoration of our lost satisfaction in material things, all the while drifting further away from the abundant life offered through the consumption of our Creator.

We trade-in God for the newest thing on the market.   We allow our desires to be manipulated and our identities to be distorted by the every-increasing yearning for more stuff.  We chase significance through material possession, becoming distracted from the promise of total fulfillment in God.  Our constant dissatisfaction makes us incapable of enjoying abundance in him.    

Finding fulfillment in the richness of our Creator provides a way for Christians to begin reversing the shifts caused by consumerism.  We can return from individualism to community.  From selfishness to sacrifice.  From consumption to discipleship.  In this way we become more than consumers, we become producers, “active and creative participants in the material world” finally realizing “our true vocation as sharers in the creative activity of God."

Friday, December 7, 2012

You can never go home again

What a horrifying thought!

I bought my plane ticket home on July 16th.  That was 144 days ago.  More than 20 weeks.  Almost 5 months.  I thought December 13th would never come!  I tried not to think about it too much.  Time never passes quickly when you think about it.  Excitement can make time hard to ignore.  Somehow, I did it though.  December 13th is only 6 days away!  Instead of weeks and months, I can finally count hours and minutes and heartbeats (approximately 570,800 in case you're wondering, although excitement does make my heart beat faster, so that number may spontaneously increase).

All I need to do is finish writing two papers for school.  That's all that stands between me and the joy of home.  So why can't I write them?  I've never been one for getting things done early, I've always preferred the last-minute.  But this feels different.  This doesn't feel like procrastination.  It feels more like hiding.

Then my Daddy sent me a picture of a sleeping Dakota.  The Dakota I left behind a year and a half ago when I came to Ireland.  The Dakota that I can't pet through Skype.  The Dakota that I can't wait to see in 6 days.  And the tears started pouring down my face.  What if my heart can't handle it?  All this excitement and joy and love for Home that I've been holding inside for so long.  Suddenly, 6 weeks at Home doesn't seem like long enough.

And then a rush of What If's overwhelms me:
What if I can't let go of my Daddy's neck at the airport?
What if Dakota isn't over-the-moon-pee-in-your-pants excited to see me?
What if I don't have time to see everyone I miss?
What if Mexican food doesn't taste as good as I remember?
What if I forget to drive on the right side of the road?
What if I can't say goodbye a second time?
What if I don't want to come back to This-Home-Here?

So I'm hiding behind 2 unwritten papers.  They're the only thing separating me from the excruciating mix of excitement and fear that is wreaking havoc on this heart of mine.  This heart that longs for Home.  This heart that's afraid Home won't be Home anymore.

But my heart cannot condemn me because my Creator is greater than my heart.  He knows everything.  And my heart is set at rest in His presence.  I belong to His truth.  He's enough Home for me. (I John 3:19-21)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Rantings of a crazy heart.

It's late.  Almost 2 AM.  I've been trying to do better.  I took my melatonin.  I turned off the computer.  I put my phone on "shhhhhh."  I had tea bags on my eyes.  It's all part of my bed-time-routine.

Well, apparently my brain didn't get the bed-time memo.  Apparently my brain wants to go for a rant.  So much for the routine.  It's time to let the rage out.

Time to point some fingers at a hypocrite.  Yep, I'm talking to me.  Over here.  And not because I'm up past my bed-time.

I've spent the last more-than-several hours working on an essay about leadership.  The assignment said I needed to pick a biblical character to use as a case-study.  I picked Esther.  I figured it'd be good choice... you know, woman-to-woman-wise.  I've been writing about how important it is for a leader to have a personal identity firmly established in Christ.  It kinda goes hand in hand with that segullah soap-box I tend to shout from. 

So that's what I was thinking about when I was trying to fall asleep.  Then it hit me.  Am I living that way?  Does my life and attitude and character scream "TREASURED!!!"?

No.  It doesn't.  If it did, I wouldn't be riddled with guilt.  Not big guilt.  Just pesky guilt.  Like somebody shot me in the leg with a round of "guilt pellets."  It didn't kill me.  I didn't even lose my leg.  But now I walk a little funny.  And every now and then, I can feel those pesky-pellets that I never bothered to remove.

My head knows I'm treasured.  My head knows my Creator delights in me.  But somehow, my heart doesn't always know the same things as my head.  That's where things like body image and success and future like to set-up camp.  In that little dark space of disconnect between my head and my heart.  And they feed on the pesky guilt.  And then they start to grow.  Into big Lies. 

Lies say my body should look different.  Guilt says it's my fault it doesn't.  Afterall, if I went to the gym and quit eating all that yummy stuff, then it could.

Lies say success should be a certain way.  Guilt says it's my fault it isn't.  Afterall, if I'd just put a little more time and effort into things, they'd be better. 

Lies say my future is when everything'll finally get worked out.  Guilt says it's my fault is hasn't already.  Afterall, today is yesterday's future, and it feels pretty much the same as the day before.

No wonder there's no room for all that stuff my head knows.  There's too many flippin' Lies wandering around.  That's why, tonight, my head needs to rant.  Really loud.  So my heart can hear it over the noise of all the Lies.  So that I can be still and know.  He is God.  My Creator.  And I am his Segullah.  His most-treasured-one. 

No matter what Lies and Guilt say.

Monday, July 30, 2012

MVP: A lesson in ancient vocabulary

Segullah.  Most valuable possession.  One tiny Hebrew word.  Packed with so much significance.  The single answer to that cliche question: If your house was burning down and you could only grab one thing, what would it be?  Segullah.

The house was on fire.  Hot flames.  Thick smoke.  I was trapped in fear and darkness.  But my Creator came back for me.  He rescued me from eternal destruction.  He claimed me as His segullah.  I am His treasured possession.  He has proven it over and over.  He set His affection on me.  He loves me.  He chooses me.  He fights in my defense and defends my fight.  He pursues my heart.  He protects me in the midst of my carelessness.  He remaines faithful through my unfaithfulness.  He continually refuses to let me go despite my wandering.  He draws me ever closer to Him.  He encamps around me.  He hems me in.  He treasures me because I am His segullah.
Last week, I spent 9 days surrounded by 9-16 year-old-girls at Camp Shamrock.  Some of them believe in God.  Some of them don't.  But my desire was the same for each of them.  That in every conversation, every word they heard me say, they would be sure of this one thing: they are treasured.  Chosen.  Loved.  Wanted.  Cherished.  They are His segullah.  Created to be valued.

Yahweh your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his TREASURED POSSESSION. --Deut. 7:6

But you a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's SPECIAL POSSESSION, that you may declare the praises of him that called you out of darkness and into his wonderful light. --1 Pet. 2:9

Friday, July 6, 2012

Fourth of July... Emerald Isle style

I gotta admit that celebrating the 4th of July in Ireland was possibly more fun than celebrating in the USA (despite the lack of spectacular displays of patriotic pyrotechnics, of course).  To get in an independent-frame-of-mind, I ate a PB&J sandwich with my firecracker nails.  And made a couple of red, white, and blue fruit pizzas for the big party Shay and Juli hosted.  I even wore one of Denise's aprons.  I feel like a cupcake... sans sprinkles.

The fruit pizzas, along with burgers, hot dogs, apple pie, and a friendly game of whiffle ball were enjoyed by this group of folks.  Though the Americans were definitely in the minority, we had a great time sharing our favorite cultural past times with all our Irish, German, Polish, Hungarian, Argentine, and Cuban friends.

In an attempt to share the holiday love with my sisters, I created little 4th of July inspired WeeMee versions of them.  Oh, they're so adorable... just like my real-life sisters.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Lessons from silver linings.

My laptop got stolen last night.  During a softball game.  At least 8 cars were broken into.  Juli's was one of them.  I know, I know... I shouldn't have left it in the car, but "the car park is out of the way" and "we park here all the time" and "I don't want it to get rained on" and "it'll be fine in the back of the van."  Wrong.

I sent Shay down to the car park to check things out as soon as we got word that several cars had been hit.  The one, tiny flicker of hope I had was already being snuffed out by the sinking feeling in my stomach.  Of all the days to have my computer with me, why did it have to be this one?

My phone rang.  It was Shay.  Calling to tell me what I already knew.  It was gone.  Along with my oh-so-awesome orange Patagonia bag that I'd had since college, 30 euro, the Smith's satnav, and Shay's 3 euro sunglasses.

My first thought was about all the things that were stolen with my laptop.  The things that are inside of it.  The things that are worthless to the ones who took it, but priceless to me. My music.  My pictures.  Thousands of pictures.  Pictures of people I love.  Pictures of places I love.  Pictures of a dog I love.  Snapshots of my life, squeezed into a gigabyte of space.  When did my computer become so much more than a computer?  I may not have "big barns" full of "plentiful crops", but I did have a lot of "stuff" tucked away in 4 pounds of metal.  Storing up treasure is a tricky thing (Luke 12:16-21).

Then, in the midst of all the anger and frustration and sadness and kicking-myself-for-being-so-careless, came a slow trickle of realizations that made the terrible situation a little less terrible:

*it really is JUST A COMPUTER.
*I still have my phone... at least that wasn't in the car too.
*they left a lot of important things behind, like my bank cards and my Starbucks card and my immigration card and the cool double-zipper pouch that took me hours to figure out how to make.
*school's already finished for the summer, so I don't have to rewrite any essays.
*I had just paid Juli the 16 euro I owed her, so they only got 30 euro instead of 46... essentially saving me 32 euro (that's funny math, I know, but it makes me feel better, so please don't correct it).
*they broke into a car, not my apartment, so I can still feel safe in my home.
*some of those thousands of pictures are on Facebook (according to the softball team, the picture of my "Jane Fonda" headband and swimsuit/leotard is the most important of them all).
*I hit a triple in last night's game.
*the Creator of the universe holds me in the palm of His hand.  He is sovereign and faithful and loving beyond all measure.  Nothing can rob me of the immense treasure I find in Him.
*it's just a computer.

To God be the glory.  Amen!

Do not lay up for yourself treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourself treasures in heaven... for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."   --Matthew 6:19-21

Thursday, May 24, 2012

There was a little girl, who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead...

...but when she was bad, she was HORRID!

Over two months since my last post... how embarrassed and ashamed and horrid I am!  After so much time, the pressure builds to write something totally awesome, which makes it even harder to break the slump.  I have a tendency to lean toward extremes.  Please forgive me.  So here it goes, time rip off the silence like a bandaid.  Time to get back on the horse.  Time to jump back in.  Time to get the ball rolling.  Enough with the cliches, here's what's been happening during my inexcusable Blog-Post-Drought:

*Pam and Jenny came to visit from Scotland so we could see the Hunger Games together.  Their trip really deserved it's own post.  My bad.  The Hunger Games was not disappointing.  That's the best compliment I can give to a movie made after a book I love.  It was good, but the book was better.  But that's how it always goes, right?

*Lots of people had birthdays.  People here.  People in the States.  Everyone got a little older.

*Baseball started!!!!!!  Go Rangers!  On a more local sport's note, the softball season started too.  The team Juli and I play for (Dublin Bay Packers) is currently undefeated!  And we're building the first actual softball field in Ireland.  We've got a tournament there this weekend.  Here we are sifting the rocks out of the base path.

*The school year ended.  I can't believe how fast it went!  I'll blame the end-of-term-crunch for part of my BPD.  I'm glad for a break, but I'm looking forward to being back in September.

*I sewed a little.  Created some new byjo. stuff.  I re-opened my Etsy shop and created a byjo. Facebook page.  Check it out.  I even got some business cards from Vistaprint with my new logo.  I feel so professional :)

*I cut my hair.  The wind and rain was too much for my long hair to handle.  I got really tired of ponytails and messy buns.  And I had a perpetual halo of crazy, frizzy fly-aways that always made Mooly say, "What's up with your hair?"  To which I would answer, "I was outside today."  Enough of that!  Now the wind can blow all it wants and it'll just make my hair look even better... who doesn't love a tousled, wind-blown look?  The fantastic girl who cuts Juli's hair came to her house and chopped mine too.  She didn't know what she was getting herself into.  This is only about 2/3 of what actually got taken off.  It only took an hour and a half.  Now I feel like myself again!

*Irish summer is here!  It came for a few days around Easter, then left again.  It's back this week!!!  The forecast says 60's and sunny for the next several days.  Hooray for sun that's warm enough to make my soul sing but not so hot that my soul starts to wail as it melts.

Now I'm off to enjoy the sunshine and meet up for the coffee shop Bible study we recently started in city center.  My BPD is officially over.  More soon.  I promise. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Enough is enough.

I try so hard, spend so much effort, trying to prove that I'm enough for this work here in Dublin.  Strong enough.  Smart enough.  Spiritual enough.  Compassionate enough.  Perceptive enough.  Praying enough.  Open enough.  All so that I can love enough.  Witness enough.  Be enough.  Do enough. 

But no matter what I do, it's never enough.  Success through enough is impossible.

Luckily, God doesn't call me to be enough.  He doesn't even call me to be successful.  He calls me to be faithful.  He calls me to love.  "Since God so loved us, so we ought to love one another; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us" (1 John 4:11-12).

At the not-so-recent IBI retreat, we talked about faith, hope, and love.  During the last session, we looked at the impact vulnerability has on our capacity to love.  Not just any vulnerability either.  The "it might rain outside, but I'm gonna chance it and not take a jacket" kind of vulnerability won't cut it here.  We're talking about the "I know a hurricane is coming, but I'm gonna go stand on the beach and left my arms to heaven" kind of vulnerability.  The kind of vulnerability that leaves you totally exposed.  Totally helpless. Totally dependent.  We're talking about excruciating vulnerability.

Excruciating vulnerability means embracing all the things I've been trying so hard to fight with enough.  I embrace weakness instead of strength.  Not knowing instead of wisdom.  Failure instead of success.  Confusion instead of perception.  I embrace embarrassment.  Pain.  Loneliness.  Misunderstanding.  I embrace everything that brings fear.  A complete upheaval of my self.  Excruciating vulnerability allows God's "perfect love to cast out fear."  His "love is perfected within me, so that I may have confidence... for as he is, so also am I" (1 John 4:17-18).

He doesn't call me to be perfect.  He calls me to have confidence in His perfection within me.  He doesn't call me to be enough.  He calls me to abide in Him.  I don't know how to do that.  I don't know how to quit trying and just love.  But He is a patient Teacher.  And my heart will learn.

Note: Jars of Clay's song Faith Enough highlights how God uses our weakness to show His love and faithfulness.  It's pretty-much-literally-exactly what I'm trying to say here...  

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Hope: Round Two

A few months ago, I wrote this post on the things I hope for.  But after the IBI retreat, and a slightly-too-close-to-home assignment on "singleness", it seems that there is more to be said about the nature of my hope. 

"What do you hope for?"  That was the question we were asked.  It wasn't hard to come up with lots of answers.  They range from completely superfluous to completely genuine.

I hope that...
*the Rangers win the World Series this year.
*I can go home for Christmas.
*Mooly and Daddy come visit me in Dublin.
*I eventually run into Liam McAwesome.
*my wings stay as strong as my roots are deep.
*I can let go of myself and surrender everything to Christ... for real.
*God is proud of me.
*my Daddy is proud of me.
*when people look at me, they see Jesus.
*my work and my passion will always have something in common.
*I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing.
*I won't always be so far away from Home.
*and so on...

(Several of my "hopes" had something to do with Sonic Happy Hour and/or Mexican food.  They were too ridiculous to properly mention.)

Family.  Faith.  Future.  Health.  Happiness.  Love.  Success.  It all went through my mind.  Then I found it.  The core of what I hope for.  The one thing that I want most: To know and be known by my Creator.  To be of one mind and one heart with Yahweh.  To pursue Him as passionately as He pursues me. 

And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.  --Romans 5:2

Friday, February 24, 2012

There's no "I" in "righteous"

(Well, there is.  But there shouldn't be.)

The events of the past two weeks have begun to release the chains that I didn't know were shackling my heart.  I didn't realize it until now.

First, we (sans Denise and the kiddos) spent a day and a half among a great cloud of witnesses in Derby, England, experiencing how God is bringing healing and restoration to their community through 13 years of Celebrate Recovery.  We saw how God advances His kingdom through the faithfulness of those who love Him: it was incredible.  Second, the Hutsons and I have been working on a video-update to send to our supporting congregation in Tuscaloosa, trying to convey how God is stirring in Dublin, trying to find my significance in the work here: it's been difficult.  Third, I had a two-day retreat with all the staff and students from IBI.  I didn't want to go.  I was feeling burdened and overwhelmed.  The theme was "faith, hope, and love."  Apparently, it was just what I needed to hear. 

Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.  --Hebrews 12:1-2

These are the lies the Adversary has convinced me of, these are the thoughts that hinder:
*I'm not "right" yet.  Not the right weight.  Not the right gentle.  Not the right spiritual.  Not the right person... yet.
*But "right" is just around the corner, and it's up to me to get there.  Eat right, sleep right, so I can feel how I should.  Read more, pray more, so I can know what I should.  Feel more, cry more, so I can love how I should.  I know what I should do, if I can't make it happen then something obviously needs to change.  I just need to re-organize, re-prioritize, then I can de-flesh and re-spiritualize.
*I'm not useful until I can be "right."  Right time.  Right place.  Right words.  Right answers.  Right prayers.  Right vision.  Right strategy.  Right action.

Then Satan reminds me of the times when everything felt "right."  Times when I was right with God.  Walking on the right path.  Making the right decisions.  Living by the right Spirit.  And then something went wrong.  Fear creeps in.  Fear that my selfishness has deafened my heart.  Fear that I'll misstep and ruin everything.  Fear that I was never really "right" in the first place.

He twists God's promise of righteousness into the impossible: the pursuit of rightness.  And I find myself entangled.

But my God is greater.  His Truth rings louder.  He tells me it's all about who I am in Him, not what I do for Him.  I am unworthy, but not worthless.  I can't be right, but I am righteous.  I was created.  Chosen.  Loved.  Redeemed.  This is the Truth that defeats the lie:

Listen to my gospel.  It is your salvation.  Believe it.  There you will find MY righteousness, revealed from MY faith for your faith (Romans 1:16-17).  You are blessed.  Your sins are forgiven.  I count nothing against you.  Don't be silent!  Pray to me! I will be found!  I am your hiding place.  I keep you from trouble.  I surround you with shouts of deliverance.  I will instruct you.  I will teach you.  Trust me.  Be glad, and rejoice! (Psalm 32)  For my word is true.  All my works are done in faithfulness toward you.  The whole earth is full of my steadfast love.  I look down on you from heaven.  I fashion your heart.  Hope in me.  I have delivered your soul from death.  I will keep you alive in the famine  (Psalm 33).  I have chosen you to be my treasured possession.  I have set my love on you.  I have brought you out with a mighty hand.  I have redeemed you.  I am Yahweh, your God!  I am faithful.  I keep my covenant.  Just love me (Deuteronomy 7:6-9).  I give you my peace through my son, Jesus Christ.  Stand in my grace.  Live by my faith (Romans 5:1).  Fix your eyes on Jesus, and run this race I have marked out for you.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

My two other-halves: A video recap

I don't want to be sad about Sisters leaving.  So I won't write about our last night (when we never went to bed) or taking them to the airport (where Jes did something really funny that made us laugh really hard) or how empty my apartment feels now that they're not in it (though it's still surprisingly clean).  I won't write about how I started crying at school when Joan asked me how I was doing (I didn't mean too, I promise) or how boring it is to wait for the bus by myself (I got really spoiled always having someones to talk to).  No, I won't write about those things.  We had too much fun together to let any of that stuff get in the way.  Here's to remembering the good times...

I am so totally in love with being their sister!  And I can't wait to see them again... whenever that happens to be...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Moments... or "How not-to-be-sad until your glass is completely empty"

Not too long ago, time couldn't pass fast enough.  All the excitement and anticipation of seeing Sisters seemed to slow everything down.  Then Day Zero finally came, bringing Sisters with it.  Now, 10 days later, I can't seem to slow time down.  Only 8 days left.  Passed the half-way mark.  They've been here longer than they'll stay.  I can feel the sadness creeping out of my heart, making its way to the lump in my throat.  I take another drink from my glass.  The same glass that was overflowing 10 days ago is now half-empty.  I want more.  Too bad life doesn't offer free refills.

The last 10 days have been full of so many amazing moments.  Talking on the couch.  Sitting in cafes.  Walking to the store.  Hiking around Howth.  Riding public transportation.  Watching American's Next Top Model.  Shopping in city center.  Worshiping our Creator.  Playing games.  Eating grilled cheese.  Uncontrollable laughter.  A little bit of exhaustion.  So many moments of finally experiencing life in Dublin with the parts of myself I left behind.  I can't explain it.  My heart swells when I'm around them.  I'll never be ready for them to leave.

So I'll shove the sadness back down where it belongs.  It will have to wait its turn.  There are still too many moments to enjoy... Glendalough, Killiney (so we can see Bono's house), Dun Laoghaire (so Jes can re-enact scenes from P.S. I Love You), fish and chips, live music at The Ruby Sessions.  More coffee.  More grilled cheese.  More laughing.  More moments.  Lots more moments.

(A couple things I gotta confess: One, I should be sleeping.  I woke up at 4:45 this morning.  I tried to go back to sleep, I promise.  I couldn't.  At 5:45, I finally quit trying and got up for good.  Call me a quitter if you like, I did my best.  Two, I'm not supposed to be thinking about what I'm thinking about.  Sorry Sisters, I didn't mean to break the rules.  Sometimes you just can't keep your mind from going where it's not supposed to.)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Day Zero

I could barely sleep last night.  I didn't think this morning would ever come.  It did!  Denise and Bailey came with me to the airport.  They helped me be patient.  Mostly.  I contained my excitement for as long as I could, but I nearly exploded when I finally saw my sisters walk through the door.  I heard Mooly's request from the email she sent, "Just don't get arrested for being too loud at the airport."  Denise didn't want anyone getting arrested either.  I tried to keep the volume down.  I did scream for one tiny second once the elevator doors closed.  I couldn't help it.

We had tea and grilled cheese and turkey sandwiches at the Karnes' house.  About an hour later, we headed over to my house.  Jes said, "Whoa, it looked a lot bigger on the computer."  After the 2 minute tour, we had "Christmas."  Mostly fabric I'd shipped to my parents' house.  Lots of fabric.  It was wonderful.  When they couldn't keep their eyes open any longer, we put on shoes and coats and walked to the grocery store.  Amy fell asleep while the pasta was cooking.  She woke up long enough to eat, take a shower, and watch a couple episodes of Friends.  I tucked them in around 7:30pm.   'Night-night sisters...

 I can't believe I get to see them everyday for the next two and a half weeks!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Less than 200 hours...

...until my sisters arrive in Dublin!  Ok, maybe it's a little too soon to start counting down hours.  Eight days.  That's a more manageable time frame.  A week and a day.  That's even better.  I can't believe it!!!  I just love them oh-so-much!

I remember getting the email at the beginning of November with all their flight details.  Two and a half months ago, January 19th felt like forever away.  That was before going to Germany.  Thanksgiving.  A craft fair.  End of semester assignments.  My birthday.  The 3rd Hunger Games.  Christmas.  New Year's.  Two and a half months ago, there were so many things that had to happen before January 19th could come.  Not anymore!  Now January 19th is just around the corner.  One more weekend.  Two days of school.  A day of impatience.  Then THE day... January 19th!

It's 3:06 AM.  I'm supposed to be sleeping right now.  I can't.  I am too excited to sleep!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Free parking.

Born to sin and then get caught
All our good deeds don't mean squat...
Guilt is bitter, grace is sweet
Park it here on the mercy seat...
When we don't get what we deserve
That's a real good thing, a real good thing
When we get what we don't deserve
That's a real good thing, a real good thing.
(A Real Good Thing, Newsboys)

New Year's.  An opportunity to choose Change.  A fresh start on forgotten resolutions.  No, not forgotten... ignored.  Discarded.  Unchosen.  Paul knows what I'm talking about.  The battle that rages between flesh and spirit.  Between what I want and what I choose.  Between what I resolve and what I do.  (Romans 7:15-20)

My struggle isn't with not doing the don'ts.  For the most part, I'm a good girl.  Ask my parents.  They'll tell you.  Don't lie.  Don't do drugs.  Don't hit or bite or kill.  No problem, I can avoid all that.  Most of the time.  My battle is fought on the other side of sin: doing the do's.  Love your neighbor.  Share Jesus.  Pray without ceasing.  Seek the Kingdom.  Be bold.  Have courage.  But instead I find myself defeated by fear.  Complacency.  Insecurity.  Indifference.  Pride.  These are the things that separate me from God.  These are the sins I'm born to.  These are the sins I'm caught in.

But grace is sweet!  And I desperately need it.  Not the kind of grace that erases wrongdoing, but the kind that conquerors the depravity inside my heart.  The kind that creates a new spirit within me.  The kind that draws me ever-closer to my Creator and my Savior.  The kind that gives me what I don't deserve.  That's a real good thing, a real good thing.

This year's resolution: to park it.  Right here.  On the mercy seat.  Where my sin collides with his grace.