Monday, January 17, 2011


On Sunday, I got to spend an hour at Campaigners worshipping and learning surrounded by my high school friends and my YL team. We were talking about a verse in Psalms when my teammate, Dave, mentioned David (because he was a contributor to Psalms) and it is so cool how the Lord sent my heart and mind spinning.

We were discussing "How does God feel about me?" and I realized how loaded that question really is. Way more than I thought at first! There is the typical "God loves me no matter what" answer- but that just wasn't cutting it for me tonight. I've done too much, read too much of what God says, and had a relationship with Him too long for that statement to satisfy me completely. I'm not saying it's untrue- no, no... but I am saying I think there is a lot more to that story. And my mind started running when David was mentioned.

Here's a little of what I know about David- David wrote a huge chunk of Psalms. David is known as "a man after God's own heart."

"The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people."
1 Samuel 13:14

"After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him,
'I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart;
he will do everything I want him to do.'"
Acts 13:22

David was a mighty warrior and a great king. David was in Jesus' lineage. David slept with Bathsheba (who was another man's wife) and then because he wanted her for himself, had her husband killed. Wait! What?! David, "a man after God's own heart," did that?? Yep- quite a mess, huh? And so it comes as no surprise that he reminds me of myself. My desire is to be after God's heart, to know him more every day, and to please and glorify him... and yet there are so many messes- so many distracting 'Bathshebas' in my life. I do things all the time that I know must upset and anger the Lord! So while I know that his love is unceasing and his compassions new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23), I also know that he deserves more than I give him and there must be a consequence for that. And honestly, if nothing else, I live out that consequence every day that I don't obey. It's called a life half-full. And it sucks. But I still believe that there is nothing I can do to make God love me any more or any less- so why even obey? What does it mean to be a woman after God's heart?

I think it means that there is a craving in my heart that I can't explain away. A desire that can only be fulfilled by One. A crying out that had been heard and answered. As much as this world tells me lies- as much as I tell myself lies- the truth is that I am spoken for and that is why I obey. I submit because I am loved. I surrender because I know I am safe.

"He who conceals his sins does not prosper,
but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy."
Proverbs 28:13

"'Then neither do I condemn you,' Jesus declared.
'Go now and leave your life of sin.'"
John 8:11

"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise."
Psalm 51:17

So what does God think of me? Honestly that is a hard question to answer and until I meet him face-to-face, I won't ever have the complete answer. But I do know that God wants me. All of me. And when I hold back I hurt myself and I hurt the God of the universe! It seems crazy that his love for me could be so great that as small as I am, my actions could wound Him! And so I have become convinced- partially by looking at David's life, and partly by looking at my own- that God loves me and that he can and will use me. He will use a little of me if that's all I give him- but honestly, that's lame. The God of the universe wants to use all of me for his glory- he wants to know me like he knew David, he wants to have a relationship with me like the one David sings about in Psalms, and he wants me to leave a legacy like David's. David wasn't perfect, and neither am I. But he was after God's heart and that is my greatest desire.

"But now, this is what the Lord says-
he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel:
'Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.'"
Isaiah 43:1


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

This our hymn of grateful praise

For no other reason than it is absolutely beautiful and I felt like it, I wanted to share this video.
The woman with the tambourine is Courtney Jane Kendrick (a.k.a. C Jane). I will introduce y'all soon, I promise!

For the beauty of the earth
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies.

Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the beauty of each hour,
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flower,
Sun and moon, and stars of light.

Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth and friends above,
For all gentle thoughts and mild.

Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.
-'For the Beauty of the Earth'

"Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise-
the fruit of lips that confess his name."
Hebrews 13:15

In love,

Monday, January 10, 2011

Two weeks later...

Can you believe it has already been over two weeks since Christmas?! I swear, my life is flying by (that's my excuse for this post being slightly late)! Anyways... this was my first Christmas officially living away from home. All week I had heard weather updates calling for a white Christmas and all week I was a little nervous that I wouldn't make it home before the storm hit and trapped me. Don't get me wrong, I love Waynesboro, but spending christmas there, separated from my family, was just not an option. Thankfully the skies held off until Christmas day and I made it safely home Thursday night- Christmas Eve eve. Christmas is so much sweeter when spent with people that you love... And that is just what I got to do. (:

At the end of every Christmas service, Father Joe (the priest at my parents' church) gives everyone a task: trace a cross on the foreheads of those you love, letting them know that you love them and claiming them for Christ. And the sweet part- my mom does it every time. Because she loves us. I'm blessed to be a part of a family that loves genuinely. We are by no means perfect... not even a little, but the incredible blessing is not lost on us and loving each other covers up the messes that we each bring to the table as humans.

"Above all, love each other deeply,
because love covers over a multitude of sins."
1 Peter 4:8

And then the snow began to fall...

So we bundled up, trusted the 4-wheel drive, and braved the weather to make it to North Carolina.

{Sophie, my cousin Stephen, Rachel, my cousin Scott, and me.}
Good lookin' bunch, huh? (:

This has been an incredibly thought provoking Christmas for me. We have several Jehovah's Witnesses that work at Chick-fil-A and if you didn't know, Jehovah's Witnesses do not celebrate Christmas. That fact prompted so many conversations surrounding why we should or shouldn't celebrate Christmas. I read and reread the Christmas story and after all of that, I am convinced that we are absolutely called to rejoice and celebrate the birth of our Savior.

"The shepherds returned,
glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen,
which were just as they had been told."
Luke 2:20

I hope your Christmas was blessed with time with loved ones. And tonight trace a cross on the forehead of those that you love, letting them know that they are dearly loved and claiming them for Christ- the one who lowered himself to be a man so that we might be lifted into eternity with him.

"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself and became obedient to death-
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father."
Philippians 2:6-11

{the beauty we saw outside my grandparents house before we headed home in the blizzard}

Until next Christmas,

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Make yourself at home

I have officially lived in my apartment for 5 months. I have paid rent 5 times. It is official, I am nearly 1/2 way through my one year lease! I have no idea what my life will look like next August, but for now I am calling this little place home and doing my best to make it feel that way. I am finding myself to be an relentless nester, and I am pretty darn proud of these six little rooms and two porches.

It is one of my greatest desires to be able to invite people in and even show it off a little. For some reason, having company fulfills something deep inside of me- and so I share with you one of the highlights of this past week (this is going to make a certain one of you chuckle- you'll know who you are!).

This week was one of the very few times my spare bedroom has been slept in (a.k.a.... the third). I was so excited to have company! And as silly as this sounds, because it happens so rarely, I was even a little nervous. So many thoughts were running through my head: "Is my apartment clean enough?" "Is my apartment even cool? Or has it just been my pride talking all this time?" "Is it too cold in here?" And on and on. But alas, the night was pretty ordinary, but having that 'talk until you must go to sleep in order to function the next day' feeling that I haven't had since college when I had roommates was fun!

However, the best part came a few days later- I was stowing a dirty dish in my sink (because I was too lazy to wash it right away) when I saw a green bowl that I knew I hadn't used. Because I live alone and don't have guests too frequently (yet), I pretty much rotate the same 5 cups and 5 bowls- and the one that I saw in the sink wasn't one of those 5. Later I found an empty grape juice container (that I had not finished) in the trash can. I had offered the little that I had and my sweet house guest had taken me up on it and made herself at home!! I was genuinely thrilled! Perspective is a funny thing... in college, if someone had eaten my food, or worse yet, finished it off, I would have gotten irritated. Now, I see it as a huge blessing- to have friends that take me up on the few things I have to offer, like a place to sleep, a shower to use, and breakfast in the morning. I don't have much, but I know that I have been incredibly blessed and it blesses me even more to be able to share what I do have. God calls me to it and I feel that in my bones.

"Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality."

Romans 12:13

"Do not forget to entertain strangers,

for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it."

Hebrews 13:2

"All the believers were one in heart and mind.

No one claimed that any of his possessions were his own,

but they shared everything they had."

Acts 4:32

I experienced this absolute gift from so many sweet families here in Waynesboro throughout my college years and now it is my turn to practice that same hospitality. So, take me up on it! Please! Come and stay- for a night... or a month! What is mine is yours.

Yours truly,


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I call you friends (Part 3)

After a brief interruption in the introductions... meet Stephanie, a.k.a Nie Nie.

Stephanie Nielson is, in a single word, incredible. Stephanie is a young wife and mom to four from Utah. In August 2008 Stephanie's life was forever changed by a plain crash involving Stephanie, her husband, Christian, and their flight instructor (who died in the crash). The crash burned 80% of her body and her outward appearance was forever altered along with her life (she will continue to have surgeries for the rest of her life).

(Stephanie before the accident; Stephanie and Mr. Nielson after the accident)

What is so, so sweet about blogs, though, is that you only see a person's heart. Yes, there are pictures (and Stephanie is beautifully bold in including photographs of herself for the world to see), but when I read about Stephanie's day-to-day life and her heart, I am blown away by what God can do in the midst of tragedy.

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment,

such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.

Instead, it should be that of your inner self,

the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight."

1 Peter 3:3-4

Stephanie is a Mormon, (like Lauren- Busy Bee Lauren), but I have to believe that she has a very real relationship with God- because only that relationship could possibly allow her to be the woman, the wife, the sister, the mom, the friend that she is today (2 1/2 years after her accident).

"And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings,

because we know that suffering produces perseverance;

perseverance, character; and character, hope.

And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts

by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."

Romans 5:2b-4

"Blessed is the [wo]man who perseveres under trial,

because when [s]he has stood the test,

[s]he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him."

James 1:12

Stephanie has an awesome sense of perspective and humor (about her situation incredibly) and she has precious and unique kids: Claire, Jane, Oliver (Ollie), and Nicholas (Gigs).

I am also a big fan of Nie's style- in her home and wardrobe. She has perfected the eclectic style I strive for and if you start reading her blog, you will quickly notice that we share a love for headbands (especially those with large, colorful flowers). If one day my living room looked like this on Christmas Eve while sugarplums danced in my little ones' heads, my life would be complete (ok, that was a bit of an exaggeration... but you get my drift).

Mind blowing, right?? I mean look at that tree!! And balloons?! Wouldn't you want to be Claire, Jane, Ollie, or Gigs on Christmas morning?? Yeah, I know, me too! (:

I am learning big things from Stephanie Nielson- in a lot of ways, she exemplifies the woman, the wife, and the mom that I hope to be one day. So, I invite you to join me in following Nie's beautifully ordinary, and yet uniquely extraordinary life!

Nie Nie Dialogues



Monday, January 3, 2011

The love of my life

When I fall in love, I fall hard. And this past weekend I fell in love.

Here is the conversation that took place between me and my mom:
Me: "Hey, Mom.... how much would you pay for a 5' x 7' rug that is the love of your life?" [said completely straight-faced and serious while sitting on the aforementioned rug in the middle of Target]

Mom: [laughter]
Okay, so it wasn't much of a conversation...

Like I said, when I fall in love, I fall hard. And that rug is now mine. It sits in all of its plush glory on my living room floor. ("Merry Christmas to me....." was my song as I left the store with my new friend.)

I am like a protective mama to that good looking rug- I avoid walking on it in my shoes, and yet I relish sinking my toes into it. It is perfect. The blues match the (also perfect) blue that I picked for my living room walls; the yellows are the exact butter yellow that I chose for my (yet to be painted) dining room... and I could go on and on.

I want to show it off to as many people as possible- so come on over! Just make sure to wipe your feet before you step... on second thought- maybe you should just take off your shoes completely. And I'm pretty sure I just became 'that person' who says all food and drinks must stay on the hard floors, away from the rug. Okay, okay, I won't go that far. But it is pretty sweet and I think it calls for some sweet company and some major lounging- let me know if you're interested! (:


Saturday, January 1, 2011

I call you friends (Part 2)

Today I want to introduce you to my friend, Lauren. Lauren is the owner and operator (yes, that was a Chick-fil-A reference... oh geez!) of the blog Busy Bee Lauren.

Lauren is a 22 year old interior design student who lives in Mesa, Arizona with her husband Ted (sounds a little familiar, huh? ...well the 22 year old part and the interior design part at least, not the Mesa part.... or the Ted part sadly). Lauren is beyond sarcastic and pretty far out there; at first I wasn't sure if I thought she was funny or just strange (I decided her humor will never be my humor, but I definitely like her). She inspires me on a regular basis with her creativity- both with her choice of clothing and in the way she decorates her home (both on a pretty tight budget- which I relate to and respect).

Lauren and her family are Mormons and she takes her religion very seriously. It has been interesting to read what she writes about being a Mormon and it has given me many things to think about and question in my own life and relationship with the Lord. Don't get me wrong, I think Mormons are way off, but their devotion to and understanding of what they believe is pretty incredible; something I can definitely learn from.

"Now the Berans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians,
for they received the message with great eagerness
and examined the scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true."
Acts 17:11

Lauren is beautiful and funky, and while she seems so confident in her individuality and unique personality, she regularly shares her personal battles with poor self image on her blog. It is compelling to read someone share their life- the highs and lows- so transparently. That is a huge reason that I visit Busy Bee Lauren day after day.

Lauren is my age and at my stage of life, and yet the same time, not at all. I can't imagine what it would be like to be married at 22, but I hope it would be something like Lauren's relationship with Ted. They love each other, but it's not boring or typical at all!! I'm so encouraged to see how much fun they still have together (they've been together since high school- so 7 years!!).

The other day I mentioned that I did not admire Stephanie for her blogging skills... today I must admit that I do admire Lauren for her blogging skills! She cares greatly for the upkeep of her blog and for those that read it. She updates very regularly- sometimes even twice a day! I've learned a lot about what it looks like to have a successful blog from reading hers.

So, head on over to Busy Bee Lauren and say hello to Lauren (and Ted). I think you'll be glad you did!!