Sunday, December 26, 2010

It's tradition

There's something about the holiday's that give certain people (including my family... and yes, that includes me) the urge to make traditions (and yes, in case you were wondering; I'm already planning traditions that I will subject my children to one day). Some choose a family game that, with out it, Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas. Others bake SweetBabyJesus a birthday cake (yes, this is on my list of torturing traditions my children will be subjected to- can't wait!). But for my family, we sing. It's just what we do, every Christmas. Many would not believe it unless they see it with their own eyes, but it really does happen; right after we open our gifts. My Aunt or Uncle pops out of nowhere with the song books that they have been patiently clinging to all evening and begin passing them out. The cousins look at each other and smile that smile that says "oh dear, here we go." When we arrive at this portion of the evening I can't help but cringe a bit inside, every year. If I (and I'm sure other members of my family) were to be completely honest; there is definitely a love/hate relationship going on with this tradition. A relationship I will strive to acheive in my children one day (sorry in advance little ones... and future husband for that matter).
We split up into groups, decide which group has which portion of the song (which is a major feat in and of itself in my family) and, in no particular order, and at a pitch that would make most dogs howl, we sing (or yell) the Twelve Days of Christmas. And here my love/hate relationship lies. "Are we really doing this? Seriously? How old are we? This is so immature! Oh SweetBabyJesus forgive us for ruining your birthday party with this song" I think quietly to myself. Sometimes (ok, most of the time) I can be a bit dramatic. I like to think of it as being emotional, it sounds sweeter than dramatic. Either way, I cringe, then sing. And before I know it my cringe is replaced with laughter... and my love/hate relationship turns from hate, to love. It's in those moments, when we let go, give in, and laugh, that memories are born. It's in those moments that I realize I wouldn't trade my life, my family, my Christmas, with anyone else. Because without the Twelve Days of Christmas my Christmas would not be complete.
Other things may change us, but we start and end with family.
Anthony Brandt

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Reality Check

I'm currently positioned comfortably criss crossed on my couch, lap top front and center, TV set to the limited commercial presentation of Pearl Harbor and the local newspaper at my side. Today is Veteran's Day. And while I woke up this morning with my to do list running through my mind, simply looking forward to a day off work, no thought as to what this day actually represents; I am forcefully (and thankfully) reminded of the lives that were lost at my expense, so that I can sit here, in the comfort and convenience of my home, writing this very post. All too often we, as Americans, forget. We get caught up in the busyness of our lives, the stress that "living the American dream" so often brings upon us, that we forget what it took to give us the simple comfort of sleeping on a bed, with a roof over our head, and clothes on our back. The little things that we so often take for granted.

Today the register guard reported on a bombing in Baghdad, a subject that seems to be all too familiar in the news these days. And as painfully sad as it makes me to admit this, I often times simple skim over these articles. I glimpes at the number of deaths and think to myself "how sad", say a small prayer under my breath and move on to the next article. This article popped out to me though, it's title drawing my interest; "Wave of bombings terrorizes, kills Christians in Baghdad." The picture attached to the article showing an Iraqi man inspecting his destroyed car at the scene of the bombing. I tried for a moment to imagine the feeling of walking out to my car in the morning, on my way to work, and finding my car completely scorched.

As I read I was challenged to imagine what life must be like for them; as "a dozen roadside bombs (were set off) Wednesday... sending terrified famiilies into hiding behind a church where walls are still stained from blood from an attack nearly two weeks ago." The article went on to tell of one man's story: "On Oct. 31, Thomas' brother-in-law bled to death on the church floor after militants stormed the building, shot congregants in the first row, held others hostage and then set off bombs when Iraqi forces came to the rescue. Then Wednesday morning, two bombs went off in quick succession outside his home. 'We are terrified,' said Thomas, who sought refuge at the church with his family on Wednesday. 'I cannot go back to my house. They will attack again. They want to kill us.'"

While we sit here and enjoy a day of honoring our Veteran's and the sacrifice they made so that we can have the freedom we so ungratefully enjoy, let us not forget those who are still fighting, those who have no comforts to enjoy, those that wake up with nothing on their to do list but to survive, and the soldiers that have willingly given themselves to fight along side them.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Funday Sunday: Worst... EVER!

I walk out to my car, super bummed that it's the rainy season but excited for what the day holds. I plop into the driver seat, insert key, turn key, and... nothing. The sound of an engine starting up is replaced with dead air. NOOOOO!!! I cry out; not again! This, my friends, has been the second time in 2 weeks that I have killed my car, and in the last year? I can't even count how many times I have killed my poor Maxine. Yup, my cars name is Maxine. As I begin to pray for a miracle I send out texts in hopes someone is awake at this hour and willing to come save me. Can I just say, my family and friends are amazing! And one of my amazing friends came to my rescue. Karen, I said it once and I will say it again, you are my hero!

Enter Funday Sunday:
This weeks post may not be a little known fact, but it's a fact: I am the worst car owner- EVER. And if you are trying to be nice you may say "oh no, I'm sure you're not that bad."
Oh contrare, dear internet. Not only have I come to terms with this fact but my family and close friends are very aware of it as well. And I have stories upon stories to confirm said fact. Like the time I thought my car was dead, had my dad, who was almost an hour away, drive to come diagnose my problem only to have him point out when he got there that I had simply left my car in drive when I turned it off. My mom swears I'm naturally blonde.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Funday Sunday: Jurassic Park, Hansen Brothers, and Billy Ray Cyrus

My mind runs a million miles a minute with more thoughts than I can keep track of. And more often than not there is a song playing as the same time; usually the theme music to Jurassic Park (don't ask). I have even caught myself humming the catchy little tune while cleaning my room, cooking or working. A few weeks ago Mmm Bop by the Hansen Brothers popped in my head at work. I shared this with my co-workers and we proceeded to watch a clip of the music video (we might have even sang along a bit). Internet, it was epic.

This weeks "Funday Sunday" is dedicated to the random songs that pop in my head for no apparent reason. What's that? You want to know what this weeks song was? Well, let me preface my answer with this; Jesus said "Do no judge, or you too will be judged." As much as it may pain me to admit this, Achey Breaky Heart by Billy Ray Cyrus popped in my head this week. I know, random.... but that's me:)
*Side note- That mullet is epic!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Cheer's to you, parentals!

I don't mean to pee on your rainbow, be a Debbie Downer or a party pooper but some things I just don't get... and birthdays are one of them. It's not that I don't appreciate all the love and kind words that are received but it seems a bit backwards, in my opinion. We get a whole day dedicated to celebrating the fact that we were born; yet we really had nothing to do with it. So, in my attempt to change that, I cheer's to you, parentals; because without you there would be no me.

Mom, thank you for the 70 pounds you gained during the 9 months you were pregnant with me just to make sure I was always well fed. Thank you for the 8 hours you waited in labor for me to arrive. Thank you for those moments when we don't have to say anything, yet know what each other is thinking. Thank you for sleepless nights and long days. And thank you for the 24 years of dealing with me, through the good and the bad.

Dad, thank you for feeding mom. Thank you for the 8 hours you waited while mom was in labor. Thank you for leading by example in all that you do and always being available, for anything I may need, even if it's a simple word of encouragement. Thank you for sleepless nights and long days. And thank you for the 24 years of dealing with me, through the good and the bad.

Mom (yes, dear internet, I have two moms. My cup runneth over!), although you did not have anything to do with the fact that I was born, you did have much to do with the fact that I am who I am today; and for that I thank you. Thank you for always being faithful, to God and dad. Actions speak louder than words, and your actions have a strong voice. Thank you for sleepless nights and long days. And thank you for the many years of dealing with me, through the good and the bad.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


The amazing thing about having a blog is the fact that you only have to let the world know about you what you want them to know about you. I have become increasingly aware of this fact lately, and have realized that my blog tells a very little portion of who I am. But why? Why not bare it all? Why not be open and vulnerable and true?

In an attempt to do just that I am introducing a weekly post to my blog... Funday Sunday. Ok, ok don't judge... I know the name is a bit cheesy, but hey, that's me:) My goal is to post a random, little know fact about me each week.

My birthday is coming up and with that comes the need to renew my license. I also am desperately trying to grow my hair out and therefore have not gotten it cut in months, leaving it dull, flat, and oh so unfabulous. My license renew couldn't come at a worse time. And since my license picture is stuck with me for many years to come I refuse to go renew it until I can get my hair did. Some may think this is ridiculous but I just can't do it, dear internet. I can't put a flat haired picture in my wallet. So... Please pray that I don't get pulled over. It would be much appreciated:)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Forgive & Forget

"I want to forgive you; and I want to forget you."

If you are any kind of reality TV fan you know this line very well, and maybe have even used it a time or two. I myself may have used it once, but it was an extremely mature situation which rendered an extremely mature comment such as this, therefore giving me justification in using it... right?

I hate it when people apologize and ask forgiveness from me. I'm not exactly sure why but something inside me wants them to feel better about the situation and therefore my usual responds is "oh, it's ok; no big deal." On the flip side though if it's really not ok with me the phrase "It's fine!" usually pops out of my mouth with every bit of attitude I can muster as I cross my arms and glare in an attempt to make it as obvious as possible that it in fact is not fine and no, I do not want to get over it and move on. At which point the words "I want to forgive you; and I want to forget you" once rolled off my lips. Yes, at that moment I was officially dubbed the coolest girl in town (don't hate).

All too often this is the mentality of our society. We want to say that we forgive someone but then write them off like a bad check; or continue to hold it over their heads in an attempt to make ourselves feel better by making them feel worse. But no where in scripture do we find this obscure sense of reality ok. In fact, we find the opposite.

Jesus, after being beaten and broken to the point of unrecognition and hung naked on the cross, cried out to God "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." We, as Christians, are called to be Christ-like, therefore we should daily, hourly, even every minute of every day, ask ourselves; "What did Jesus do?" If Jesus loved, we are to love; if Jesus evangelized, we are to evangelize; if Jesus forgave, we too are to forgive "not seven times, but seventy-seven times."

He told me he was sorry; and through my tears of pain and frustration I remembered to ask myself "What did Jesus do?" I remembered that He first forgave me and He first forgot, not me, but my sin. Through my tears I spoke those three little words that have such power; "I forgive you." And I really meant it; for the first time I meant that I was forgiving and forgetting, not the way the world does, but the way Jesus did.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I'm back!

"After L.I.T. is over" I told myself over and over again. After L.I.T. is over I will start on my stacks of books that are accumulating through out my room; after L.I.T. is over I will quickly get rid of the 15 extra pounds I so happily put on during the holidays; after L.I.T. is over I will start blogging again. Well, dear internet, here we are, 2 months later, and I have yet to finish one book, shed any number of pounds without putting it right back on again, and post any sort of writings to my blog- epic fail (that's right, I used the word epic).

I had plans for all the moments I would blog about, all the highlights that I had experienced but lacked time to write out, and while those plans seem unrealistic now considering that every new day brings a new thought and idea to blog, I thought I would try to hit the high points, to, if nothing else, at least amuse my self.... and then I realized that would take much longer than I had time for. So, for now, I leave you with a photo from our L.I.T. grad party:)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

You better put on your stretchy pants

"You wanna preach the last 5 minutes of the message and close us up tonight?" Wait, what? Is he serious right now? He can't be serious right now. He just learn of my desire to preach a few moments ago. But, to be fair, he did warn me to be ready at any time.... I just figured he would give more time to be ready at any time. STILL, I'm not prepared, I don't have a nicely typed outline with bullet points, underlined words and scripture references to accompany. Pretty sure all of these thoughts went through my head, simultaneously, in less than a nano second... and before I knew it I said "yes." WHAT!! I just said yes, oh Jesus help me. And that right there was all I needed- Jesus.

Many times we look at something, such as preaching, and immediately look at ourselves, our flaws, fear of man and what others might think of us, not even giving the thought a chance. We look to ourselves, thinking we are unworthy, and loose focus of who it's really all about- Jesus. Who are we to tell Him what to do, or not do? who is worthy of such a task and who isn't? When did we loose sight that it isn't about us?

Paul exhorted the Romans and Christians everywhere in Romans 12 to "in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God" God has a plan and a purpose for every single person - every-single-person- and all He asks of us is to give our selves to him "offer our bodies as livings sacrifices". And when this is done something amazing happens, He begins to use you and His plan and destiny for your life begins to unfold right in front of you. Before you know it your preaching the closing message to your brothers and sisters in Christ on a Sunday night service.

I encourage you, simply offer yourself to God. See what happens. I guarantee you, He will use you. He is desiring to use you right now! It may be uncomfortable and you may be stretched to a new level (that's what stretchy pants are for though, right?) but being stretched and uncomfortable is a good thing, you begin to realize that you can't do it on your own and that you must rely on God. "For all things are possible with God." Matthew 19:26

Monday, January 25, 2010

Conviction is only the first step...

We sat there, eating our sandwiches and discussing the lessons of life as well as what the infallible Word of God says regarding said topics. She spoke of her convictions and I, being the great christian woman that I am*, simply stated that "conviction is only the first step, it's what you do about that conviction that really matters." I spoke those words and as they left my mouth I was convicted; I knew what I had to do...

I had been going back and forth with God all day on how to handle a certain situation that I had gotten myself into. He knew that I knew what I needed to do; but I continued to ask questions and He continued to answer until He got tired of me. He finally told me that I knew what I needed to do and He wasn't going to talk about it anymore. This pathetic back and forth discussion made me realize the extent of God's grace for His people. I'm sure I'm making Him blue in the face at times but amazingly, He loves me anyways; no matter how stubborn or immature I may be. Little did I know that the depth of my knowledge of His grace was about to increase. James 4:6 says But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
I returned from lunch knowing that I needed to swollow my pride, no matter how much it hurt. And oh did it hurt. So, with tears and humility, I confessed my mistake, repented, and asked for forgiveness. I had no idea how he would respond and frankly, expected the worst. Luckily, this certain person is not the type to inflict "the worst"; he graciously forgave and I felt completely unworthy. I had hurt him in many ways but he was so quick to forgive and forget, I was amazed.

How often do we hurt God? Yet God is quick to forgive and forget, not matter how large or small our transgression is against Him. All we must do is repent; confess that we messed up and decide to learn from our mistake. Proverbs 28:13 states He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoeve confesses and renounces them finds mercy. And Psalms 103:12 says as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Sometimes God has to bring us down in order to pick us back up again, to remind us that we are sinful man and He is the one and only perfect God; slow to anger and abounding in love (Psalms 103:9)

Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn. C. S. Lewis

*I say this in complete sarcasm, knowing that I am no where near perfect; no matter how much I like to think I am at times.