Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Link Love

Something New from Something Old: A project I want to complete soon
Word Fun: So very cool.
Perfect Pair: Endless Entertainment & Helping Others 
Jesse Tree: Looking for a good advent season devotional/tradition? Look no further!
Heroes: Vote for the hero of the year.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Counting My Blessings: Friends

Today was a good day for connecting with friends. Kristin met me for coffee. Luci and I caught up on life over the phone. After that I talked to Cat for 40 minutes. (She comes back to work in two weeks; I cannot wait to see her everyday again!) I love my friends. They are good for the heart and soul.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


This weekend I went on a retreat with the high school students from church. Seth and Adam did a fantastic job planning a weekend getaway for these teens. We had a GREAT time.

Highlights from the retreat:

  • Dave Cramer's messages titled "My Dad, My Brother, and Me"
  • The Dodgeball Caped Crusader
  • conversations with students who are growing in their relationships with Christ
  • great music from a very talented band who led the musical portion of worship
  • variety show acts
  • lots of fun games

    Thursday, November 13, 2008

    Opportunity to Care for Orphans

    About a year ago I stumbled upon the blog of a family who had adopted a sibling set from Ethiopia. It is an amazing story that only God could have authored. This same family was called by God to adopt a second sibling set from Ethiopia. Fast forward to this month. All they need to do is pick up their children. To do this they need to raise about $14,000. To help bring in the money needed to unite their family, they are raffling a 8GB iPodNano. For every $10 you donate to their adoption fund, they'll enter your name into the drawing. Interested in participating? Find all the details here. If you aren't interested in the iPod, please consider donating a monetary gift to their adoption fund.

    "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."  
     James 1:27

    Wednesday, November 12, 2008

    Counting My Blessings: Employment

    Last night my friend Christy asked me to pray for her family because her husband has been laid off. He's the newest addition to the long list of people who now find themselves in the ranks of the unemployed. My heart goes out to my friends as they attempt to patiently trust God in this scary time. Getting Christy's text last night renewed my gratitude for my job. Because barring an act of God, being laid off is not really a possibility. I can't tell you how thankful I am for that. I almost feel guilty that I have a job and it's one I really like.

    Sovereign God, you hold all things in your power. I pray tonight that you would comfort and calm Christy and Kenney. I pray that you would fill them with all joy and peace as they trust in you, so that they will overflow with hope by your Holy Spirit. May their eyes be fixed on you even in this discouraging circumstance. And may they find their sense of security soley in you.

    Monday, November 10, 2008

    Counting My Blessings: Time

    It's hard to explain my gratitude to the Good Lord tonight. Right now I'm most thankful for time. Time to rest. Time to rake leaves. Time to love on broken young people. Time to soak in the joys of today.
    Lord, we both know I don't have words to adequately express my gratitude tonight. Thank you for understanding my heart and hearing my prayer. And thank you for making me content with this time in my life.

    Sunday, November 9, 2008

    Ordinary People Making A Difference

    Thursday, November 6, 2008


    The first time I can recall being truly lonely was when I spent a semester in Chicago. It was the first time I had gone to a place where I knew absolutely no one. I made friends while I was there (one I'm still close to), but I certainly missed my family and friends in a way I had never experienced before. I longed to be with people who "got me." People who understood my thoughts and feelings without an explanation. People who were intimately invested in my life. I wish I could say those lonely days in Chicago were an anomaly in my life, but since that time loneliness has been an irregular but frequent companion.

    This loneliness that seems to plague me doesn't stem from not having people to hangout with or the lack of people expressing their care toward my well being. I have some of the most amazing friends I could ever hope to have.They are invested in my life, and they "get me." Some of them have been around for a long time, so long that they often understand me better than I understand myself. The problem is not that I'm disconnected from people.

    The loneliness I experience most manifests itself in feelings of disconnectedness and isolation--at times even when I'm in close proximity to my friends. So far I haven't been able to pick out a predictable pattern. There are times when I'm home alone for days at a time and don't feel an ounce of loneliness. Conversely, there are times when at small group where I've felt completely alienated. Certainly I've been able to identify intensifiers over time, but I can't consider them triggers because they don't consistently cause the feelings of loneliness to settle in.

    It's frustrating that I frequently feel so disconnected from people. I have so many great people in my life that I don't feel justified in having such a lonely heart. I felt like I was sinning by feeling lonely. But then God granted me the insight to see that he created emotions, and feeling lonely is no more a sin than feeling excited, angry, or confused. It's how I deal with my emotions that can become a sin. If I deal with anger by lashing out at others, then I sin by hurting others not by feeling angry. And if my response to loneliness is to wallow in self-pity or overeat or mismanage my financial resources (aka shop 'til I feel better), it's then that I sin.

    So the next time loneliness comes knocking on my door, I'll remind myself that it's not wrong to feel lonely. Then I'll seek to distract my lonely heart by counting my many blessings and finding solace in my favorite promises from scripture.

    "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
    Romans 15:13
    "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.  For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;...Do not be afraid, for I am with you..." 
    Isaiah 43:2-3. 5