Saturday, December 24, 2011

put me in coach

It was twelve years ago that I was on the cusp of starting my last relationship.  It ended just a few months later.  Little did I know at the time that God was going to put me on the dating sidelines...for twelve years. 

For most of those years, especially the earlier ones, I am so grateful He did.  The “relationships” I had been in were not ones worthy of really remembering...let alone desiring repeats of.  They weren’t terrible...but the truth is, if I had it to do all over again, I would’ve just waited.

About halfway through this waiting period, God showed me a little bit of why He was having me wait.  I had just had my heart broken in a friendship where I was misled, and after bringing some healing, God asked me to write a list of traits I wanted in a husband.  What amazed me was that there were things on my list that the guy I was getting over didn’t have.  We’re not talking unreachable, high expectations...a list of things that no guy could ever achieve.  Real things.  Things that were important to me.

In the last few years, I’ve gotten to know who I am.  I am pretty confident in who God has made me to be, even though there are still lots of pieces to the puzzle for me to figure out and put together.  God knew it would take twelve years...and possibly more.

I’ve had more than a fair share of arguments with God about His timing...particularly in this area.  I had a plan...and that plan was that I would meet Mr. Right in college, graduate, and get married.  I would start having kids at age 25.  I think one of the hardest parts of letting go of that plan was the realization that when I lost my mom to cancer at age 25, I knew she would not know my husband or kids.  That was a tough one to swallow.  I like plans.  And I especially like when they work out.  There is a certain security in that.  Instead, those plans are in the wind and I have no idea where the master plan is leading me.

Part of me is afraid.  Afraid that I won’t know what to do when pursuit begins.  Afraid that it might not happen.  Afraid that I don’t know how to have a real relationship.  I’ve gotten really good at being a friend.  I don’t remember what it’s like to be anything more.

God’s got me on the sidelines.  But I also know He’s the kind of coach that knows when it is time to put me in the game.  I have to trust in His training so that when the moment comes, I’ll be ready.  I’ll be able to say, “Put me in coach.”

(I think all this came up because I read Ruth today.  It was the next part of my reading plan.  Go figure.)

Friday, December 23, 2011

merry CHRISTmas!

I just want to wish you all a wonderful Christmas...may you enjoy time with friends and family, be blessed by the gifts, food and fun, and most of all, know how much God loves you.  He sent His Son to save us! What a beautiful thing to celebrate!

Leaving you with a few favorite Christmas videos:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

quiet faith

Tonight I watched The Nativity Story with some friends, and we were asked what struck us most about the movie.  Of course, it being the story of Christ's birth, it shares a powerful moment wrapped in humble beginnings.  What spoke to me most was Mary's faith.  Her quiet, steadfast faith.  That immediately her response to the angel revealing the wondrous news that she would give birth to the Son of God was, "I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled."  To be honest, I think I'd freak out.  If not in that moment, perhaps when I faced the possibility of being stoned for being pregnant before I was married.  But Mary believed.  She trusted that God who brought her to this would walk her through it.

One of the most impacting verses is the one Elizabeth speaks about her- "And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord." (Luke 1:45)  We are blessed when we believe that there will be a fulfillment of what God speaks to us.  Another verse says a similar thing- "And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him." (Hebrews 11:6)  It points out two things.  That we must believe that God exists AND that He wants to bless us.  That He wants to fulfill what He has spoken to us.  So, why, oh why do I doubt?

Mary spoke to me so much because I want to be like her.  It wasn't that she was fearless.  Instead, despite her fear, she stood firm in what God told her.  She trusted Him.  That is one of the biggest things I want to move forward through in 2012.  A deeper relationship with God where my trust expands and is rooted.  Where even if my circumstances place me on shaky ground, I will stand firm.  What a powerful thing.

Monday, December 19, 2011


Because there have been some great awkward/awesome situations in my life lately, I thought I'd share...

Awesome: Being one of the first few people at our office white elephant exchange party to get to pick a meant I had the potential of having my hands on several gift choices!

Awkward: Grabbing a bag because I think it has wine in it.  Instead, it had a shake weight inside.  I am instantly feeling awkward about this and turn bright red.  Everyone laughs.

Awesome: Someone steals the shake weight! I get to pick a new gift.

Awkward:  It turns out to be this gift...

Yeah, it says "expose yourself to art". Sooooo awkward!
Awesome: Someone steals it from me (yay!) and I steal a bottle of wine that has been stolen enough times that I got to keep it.  Happy.

Awkward: On my on-call shift, I had so many call outs that I worked two extra shifts...I was so exhausted that when I showed up to my work Christmas party and people asked me how I was, I started to cry.

Awesome: Because I had to work so much, I got a four day weekend out of the deal!

Awesome: Hearing two really great messages at church for two weeks in a row and it speaking to your heart so much that you decide to update your status to reflect part of the message.

Awkward: Writing the status in such a way that no one who wasn't at the same services as you got it...and wrote concerned messages.  *Note to self, explain slightly ambiguous statuses in the future.

Awkward AND awesome: The picture my roommate and I used for this year's Christmas card.

Awkward and awesome: Having such a loud voice that your pastor points at you and wants you to sing as loud as you can because you can...because the group of people you are singing with are not quite loud enough (though we sounded amazing!) and he wants us to be heard.

Awkward: Loving a band so much that you go by yourself to see them...for the second week in a row.

Awesome: Running into people you know, and one of them giving you cake that she made for the band because it was extra.  It was DELISH.  Oh and the band. History of Painters.  Check them out. :)

Awkward and awesome: Realizing that you can do your grocery shopping, finish Christmas shopping, get birthday gifts and a baby shower gift all in one Target.  It seems wrong, but it's so right!

Awesome: Going for my first run since Thanksgiving and running a mile!

Awkward: Seeing as I am running, a cat almost getting run over by a car, THEN the cat nearly running me over...not kidding. It was running so fast that it lost control and almost flew right into my path.  I had to stop and laugh for two seconds.

Share with me some of your favorite awkward and awesome moments of the's good to laugh!

Monday, December 12, 2011

holiday inn & love

So, in the spirit of Christmas, my friends and I are all about watching movies that involve Christmas!  Yesterday, the movie of choice was Holiday Inn.  If you haven't seen it, it is a lovely black and white film about love and its pursuit, all splashed with singing and dancing! Of course, watching this movie spurred on lots of "that's how to win your wife" comments...mostly aimed at my friend Estevan, since he was the only male present.  Haha.

This movie inspired the quote on my Facebook page yesterday as well, "You could melt her heart like butter, if you'd only turn on the heat!"  So, I thought it would be kind of fun to write a post about things men can do to melt a girl's heart, some from the movie, some from life least in my (humble) point of view. :)  (in no particular order)

1. Sing. Dance. Use what ever romantic talent you have (drawing, writing, etc.).   
In the movie "Holiday Inn", it opens with this song "I'll Capture Your Heart Singing".  It definitely has truth to it. Bing Crosby had the whole group of us ladies swooning with his voice, and Fred Astaire with his dancing.  Anyway, something worth noting.

2.  Walk ladies to their car when they leave, especially at night, regardless of being interested in them.
You see, not only does this make the lady friends in your life feel protected, it makes you look good.  It shows you are a gentleman interested in ensuring they are safe.  If the girl you are interested is around when you do this, they will notice.  If they are not, her friends who are there will.  It's a win-win.  Same with opening doors, offering to carry things for them, helping them down stairs or down potentially slippery surfaces, offering to check the fluids in the car before a road trip if she's driving...all things note-worthy over the years.

3.  Notice children around you.  Get down to their level, play with them, hold them, be their friends.
If you do this, most women will take note and assume that you will be a good dad.  You can't fake this though.  If kids freak you out, we will notice.  But if you really do like kids and want to have your own one day, practice now.  This makes you look really good.

4. Compliment her. 
Did she just get her hair done? Do you like her outfit that day?  Tell her!  Tell your lady friends too.  Some of my favorite compliments have come from just is a great encouragement!  My favorite was when a guy friend was writing out a name tag for me and wrote "MODEL", then asked, "Is that how it's spelled?"  And you can practice on your lady it doesn't come across as awkward when you compliment the one you have your eyes on.

5. Pay attention to her life and ask her about things (i.e. trips, important events in her life).
This is good because A) it shows you are paying attention and B) it shows you care.  It also creates more topics to talk to her about!

6. Laugh at her jokes.
Nothing is worse (for me) when I get a blank stare after telling a joke.  Even if it is a terribly cheesy joke. It just stops the flow.  Hopefully, you find her funny.

7. Pursue, pursue, pursue.
Mamie in Holiday Inn gives Bing's character quite a speech about pursuing the woman he loves, pretty much ending with the butter quote.  And it's true.  I'll say it over and over, women want to and need to be pursued.  A note of caution for guys though: make sure you are clear about your intentions.  When pursuing friendship with any woman, especially if you only want to be friends with them (!!!), make sure that somewhere along the line you let them know your intentions.  We don't expect you to know right away, nor that declaration to come too quickly, but be clear.  And don't be afraid to be clear.  When we know what to expect, we feel at peace.  (See #2 about protecting women). So, be bold and pursue!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas hymns

(The idea for this post came from my cell group leader, Kristen, who had us read out loud our favorite hymns as we meet this week.  It was really impacting...)

What is your favorite Christmas hymn?  What makes it your favorite?  Well, mine is "O Holy Night".  I've loved it for many years, and it was my first solo in choir in high school.  It's melody reflects the power of the words.  But even I, over the years, had forgotten to really read the words and take in the depth of their meaning.

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
'Til He appear'd and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! O hear the angels' voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.
Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here come the wise men from Orient land.
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friend.
He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King, Before Him lowly bend!
Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
I put in bold a few of my favorite lines.  What Jesus did through His birth, and later His death, is so incredibly powerful.  He has broken every chain, every curse, and has set us free.  He is our friend.  Because of that, we can worship.

Someone else had picked "Joy to the World".  And I wanted to leave you with some of those lyrics.  These were the ones that jumped out at me as what I needed to hear...

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

So, I'd love to hear what your favorite one is...but after you go and read the lyrics.  You'll be blessed even more by its message, and I would love to hear what God shows you!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

grownup Christmas list


And the funny thing is...I am WAY more excited about buying and giving others gifts than getting them.  In fact, I am having a hard time coming up with ideas of things I want.  I just bought the lens I wanted...because my awesome friend Jess is selling hers for way cheaper than retail price...and so that left a few ideas.  Have you ever felt like that?  Like you are pretty satisfied with what you have and don't really need/want a whole lot?  I mean, sure, I probably could come up with some ridiculous list of things that would be fun to have but that I don't really need.

Most of the things on my list are things I need to buy eventually because they are dying, old, or already dead and I am borrowing a roommate's (shout out to Steph!).  Without further adieu, here is my fairly practical if-I-don't-get-these-I'll-eventually-cave-and-buy-them-for-myself list of gifts:

A Chi hair straightener. Mine died in St. Louis. No joke.

There is no good reason why I don't already own this movie.

Um, how cool is this 2-way coffee maker?!

And although my dryer is not dead yet...I'm afraid it will be soon.   
So there it is. My list.  I guess if The Help and Courageous are out (movies) before Christmas, I want those too.  The Muppets movie too but that definitely won't be out.  I haven't gotten boring in my old age, have I? ;)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

worst case scenario

Today I had to tell myself out LOUD that my life is not full of worst case scenarios.  Have you ever had those thoughts?  "Oh, that person didn't hug me today, must be mad at me."  "That person hasn't talked to me in weeks...must not like me after all."  "Why is that person calling me? Must be fill-in-whatever-negative-thought-fits..."

Oh, am I the only one who has these thoughts?  Well, today when I realized that the person who was calling me this morning was not calling because I missed choir practice this morning and am now no longer in the choir....BUT for a totally normal reason, I had to tell myself out loud that I had to stop thinking everything is a worst case scenario.

It's a revelation that shows where I am missing grace in my life.  Where I am living in fear.  "God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love." 1 John 4:16-18  I need to be surrounded by God's perfect love.  Anyone else?