Saturday, April 29, 2006

I left a piece of my heart in England.

This is my sister.
My one and only Dee Dee.
I love her so...

I brought her a couple pairs of Converse, some Pop Rocks and Beef Jerky. You know, all the stuff you can't get in England. (Well, you can get Converse but they are outrageously priced.)

Spending time with her and her daughters was food for my soul.

When God dished out sisters, he made sure that I got one with plenty of patience. And I say pu-lenty. Because I know I'm not easy. I was in awe at her strength and endearing commitment to her family. She has sacrificed so much for them, including the sunny beaches of California, including the comforts of having her family near, including...well, including LOADS of things. And she NEVER complains.

I want to write some sort of tribute to this one I love so much but the words are tough...there is so much to say about her.

For Deanna

She is one of a kind
She is more than I recalled
She is all that I believe in

She is lovely
Lovely to the extent
I find it tough to know
What to say
What to do
With all that I feel

While I was sleeping
She awoke

She is one of a kind
She is more than meets the eye
She is too far away

California misses her
but not so much as I


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

There's a band named Marillion that I used to listen to alot. They have this song called "Easter." And although the song never did strike me as being specifically about Easter, the beautiful chorus has been ringing in my head all weekend.

"Easter here again
A time for the blind to see
Surely now can all of your hearts be free"

I've had a lot on my mind this Easter. I was up at 4am this morning. I'm fixing coffee now and some biscuits and I'm gonna chill a little and do some writing and some blogging.

I'm taking a break from work until the first of May. My project wound down considerably so I asked for an extension on my contract and am taking a few weeks off without pay. During this time, I've chosen to do some very considerate reflecting about where my life is headed and I also will be going to England to visit my sister. (So I won't be blogging for at least a week...but I'll be back!!)

I'm very excited about my trip to Rwanda. I'm overjoyed that there will come a time when I can go work for my church...or better yet, be considered for an internship. I'd made a promise to myself and God around Christmastime. The man I went on a date with reminded me that I'd shared this promise with him the night we met in January.

I said that I would not date until after I returned from Rwanda. He asked me about this on our date last week and his gentle challenge to me has been ringing in my head.

"Easter, here again...
a time for the blind to see..."

Things seemed to be on a nice roll and I was pretty sure he was gonna ask me out again. I think we hit it off. When he called me tonight I told him that I needed to keep my promise and not date until after my missions trip this summer.

He respected my decision completely. I had prayed before we spoke that God would prepare his heart...that he would already know what I was going to tell him and he did know. We prayed together before we hung up and I felt peace.

I felt Psalm 23 in my heart...

Psalm 23
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,

he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.

Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD

This is my deepest desire. To dwell in the house of the Lord forever. I feel God's love so intently in my heart. I spent the better part of last week thinking about a man when I needed to be considering all the changes going on in my life right now. I made that promise "in my right mind" and after several tearful and revealing conversations with God. But I praise God for the experience of having been asked out by a really cool guy because I think I was going out of my mind wondering what broke!

Father, this morning I lift a special Easter prayer to you.

You are awesome
And I love you
Thank you for rising on the third day
For keeping your promise

Thank you for calling after my heart
Not my parched, unmanaged pastures (which I quite lazily would remain grazing in if not for your love...)
Not the pastures of my mind
Not the pastures surrounding my physical impulses
Or the pastures of my desires for a man
But your green, lush pastures

Thank you for the morning star I saw when I awoke
Thank you for my girlfriends who spoke to and prayed with me this week
Who watched my heart race
Who asked me if I was ready
And listened to me say that I was
And then told me lovingly that it was okay
when I admitted that I wasn't

And father
Thank you for bringing a man into my life
Who wanted to know on our first date
"What happened to your promise?"
And respected that sometimes
I don't think so clearly
And understood
God still operates in reverse gear



Saturday, April 15, 2006

The following is now appearing on Starbucks' Vente cups:

"You are not an accident. Your parents may not have planned you, but God did. He wanted you alive and created you for a purpose. Focusing on yourself will never reveal your real purpose. You were made by God and for God, and until you understand that, life will never make sense. Only in God do we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance and our destiny."

- The Rev. Rick Warren for Starbucks

Christ is Risen Indeed! Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

"Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus and lead him away..." St. John 19:16 (Christian Life New Testament)
I spent the better part of this week writing my Rwanda letters. Most of these letters are going to non-believers, to old friends of mine.

I think telling people that I have returned to my faith is scarier than going to serve in Rwanda. Seriously.

It's been nearly 2 years since I've returned to my faith. God has been so good, so faithful. So much healing has taken place in my life and I really feel centered, peaceful. I pray these letters will adequately convey my peace and my love.

So please lift my intentions up in prayer to God after reading this post.

In Christ,

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Folks, it was nice. N-I-C-E. : )

Nothing to report other than he's a sweetheart to talk to and seemed to respect and value who I am.

I hope he asks me out again but the ball is in his court.

I'm not gonna post anymore on the subject and am going to ask for NO COMMENTS on this. It will just drive me to analyze. And the only person I have room to currently analyze is myself and HOW GOOD AM I AT THAT!?

Blessings Everyone!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Okay, friends, thanks for your comments on my last post. As of late, I've been going off on a tangent. I get a bit intense at times...fellow bloggers, can ya relate? I think these are the minds of writers, for those hungry to communicate and contribute to the discussion of life. I praise God for my questions, for my constant hunger.

I don't like to post too much about my personal life. Like to "keep it general" but recent events have challenged me. I like the challenge. I am really enjoying writing again and exploring "where I'm at..." And time and time again, God brings me into a fuller awareness of Him and life.

"Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him." Psalm 126:5,6

Drumroll...a man has entered my midst. (yes, you could have knocked me over with a feather...) He serves at my church. Volunteer like me. Probably been there a few years longer. A faithful servant. We've talked a few times. He's interesting. Funny.

So I run into him in the store and we stood and chatted for probably well over an hour. Something was said about fitness and I said:

"There are 2 things I can't stand: working out and gardening. These are promises I can't keep."

And he says,

"When I walked up on you from behind...I wasn't sure it was you, but I was thinking, you've got a nice backside. You're lookin' pretty fit to me." And he's grinning. Grinning like a kid.

So I explode. I tell him, "hey, My Christian brothers would never chose to compliment me in that manner. They would tell me that I'm a good servant or that I know scripture well."

And he says, "Well, that's how I compliment a woman."

I couldn't believe this guy. How can he say these words to me? He knows I'm one of the leaders. He and I have talked before, and he knows how serious I take my role in the Singles Ministry.

So I thought about it for a few minutes. I say to him,

"Well, erhh...thank you. I guess I will go home now and tell my girlfriends that I received a real compliment this week."

And I left him, half disgusted, half intrigued.

We are going out for coffee next week.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

I'm hoping this post will get some comments. This is something I've been thinking about recently. It has to do with me being a Jesus Freak.

I am ON FIRE for God. And I love my role in leadership. I'm willing to sacrifice my personal comfort to serve God. But I think sometimes I've "lost touch" with the rest of the world. After I blasted the Clash on Sunday I realized, girl, how LONG HAS IT BEEN since you cut loose? And I'm not saying "cut loose" from God. I'm saying, just explored who you were, who you are? And the whole scene begged a deeper being "on FIRE for GOD, 24/7" too much?

It is no accident that I am who I am. I don't want to live in a bubble. I don't want to be a shiny, happy person. What a WASTE. I want to be REAL. But I need to know, what is REAL? Real is not wordly. I'd like to think that real means I'm APPROACHABLE, HONEST, OPEN.

I have died to Christ. I have died and will die again and again, my life a continual surrender. But I wonder if I've gone too far to put myself out of touch with sides of myself that, frankly, I used to dig. I think I used to be interesting...

I meet with the new singles pastor tomorrow. I still have to wait to climb on board at my church. But I think I'll seek his guidance on this.

If you have something to share, please post.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

My friend's mother passed away today. I had just seen her in the hospital a few weeks ago. She looked stunning and happy, full of life. I know that her children are hurting tonight. I pray for this family. But I know in my heart their mother is in heaven. I just know it. And I know she's found peace and comfort. Lord, be with this family tonight. Holy Spirit, comfort them. Amen.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A friend of mine is hurting tonight. I post this picture of a beautiful beach near our home that reminds me of her. I am lifting her up to the Lord tonight. My friend, I love you. And frankly, he isn't worth it.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

I had to post this photo of the Clash for my good friend, Teri, who was baptized today. It has been my privilege to witness her beautiful surrender to Christ over the past year while we've shared friendship and a small group.

We came back to my house afterwards for some lunch and someone put on Chris Tomlin. Don't get me wrong, I love his music, but today called for something special. Nothin' like a bit of the Clash on a Sunday afternoon to get a party started...

Teri, I'm only sorry that I did not know you when you had the blue mohawk. But I'll take you just as you are and I love you.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

God never lets me down. I say this again. God N-E-V-E-R lets me down.

"I can always count on you--
God, my dependable love." Psalm 59:17 (MSG)

There is much pain in my surrender to the Lord. But it is the kind of pain that a child would face when holding onto a half-eaten cookie that's being pulled from her grimy hands 20 minutes before dinner.

I have crumbs on my face, my eyes are red and wet and puffy and I am determined not to let go. (And by the way, I've dropped this cookie into the dirt at least half a dozen times only to anxiously throw myself upon it and snatch it right back up...)

"Because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son." Hebrews 12:6 (NIV)

There is nothing we could do to make God love us any more or any less. Nothing. But often it is tough for us pea-minded creatures to understand this. His unconditional, beautiful, beautiful love for us. I rest in the knowledge that God beckons my surrender. I FEEL him pulling on my cookie. He's not gonna pull me flat on my face but he's tugging. I can feel the tug of his love in my life these days. An ever-present reminder that he's lookin' out for me.