Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sunday, May 22, 2011

You are mine.

"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.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass trough the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through 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...'"
Isaiah 43:1-3a


Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I think this is awesome...


Monday, May 16, 2011

Let the rain fall

My after work ritual has become: come home, change out of my Chick attire, and crash on the couch to watch some movie or tv show that has me hooked at the moment (most recently it's been the Biggest Loser... the show brings me to tears every time!). Tonight though, I watched the most recent 20/20 episode about one of my favorite bloggers, Stephanie Nielson. (I have blogged about Stephanie before, here.)

As I watched the episode, I was struck by just how happy Stephanie is and just how much joy you can see in her entire family. Throughout the whole show the theme of hope is repeated over and over again. It is inspiring. And it hit me, how can a person who has been through so much trauma and tragedy be so full of joy and life and here I am, sitting miserably on my couch day after day, day-dreaming about the life that I would like to live one day but not doing anything about it? For once, the thought hit me in the face as completely and totally absurd.

As I watched the computer screen, the sky outside my windows turned from grey to slate and right as the show ended, the sky opened up and let loose. I haven't seen it rain that hard in a while- and something inside of me itched to get out. I hurried for a sweatshirt and stepped outside to watch the sheets of rain fall from the shelter of my porch. And then I wanted to be in the rainstorm. So I grabbed my rain jacket and ran to my car for a quick trip to the grocery store. I was completely soaked within two steps of the front door, but by the time I was in my dry car I was laughing.

It took the freezing cold rain running down my face and squishing through my toes to wake me up and bring me to my senses. I was created for full life- and that full life can not be found watching someone else live it on the Biggest Loser or 20/20, and it can't be discovered by reading about other peoples' adventures in books or on blogs. (Gosh, that sounds so obvious, but it's honestly a realization I'm just coming to.) I'm going through a bit of a storm right now, but tonight's thunder storm reminded me just how beautiful they can be because of the hope that I rest in. The hope that I am not lost or forsaken. But that I am loved and cherished.

"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed;
perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned;
struck down, but not destroyed."
2 Corinthians 4:8-9

"For you are a people holy to the Lord your God.
The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people,
his treasured possession."
Deuteronomy 7:6

I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

And I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to you
And you raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can't find You

But as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth
-"Praise You In This Storm," Casting Crowns

May there be many more life giving rain storms to remind me that I am not only alive, but that my days were created to be full of life... because there is absolutely a difference.


PS I couldn't resist- here's an oldie but goodie (:

Let's go back
Back to the beginning
Back to when the earth, the sun, the stars all aligned

'Cause perfect didn't feel so perfect
Trying to fit a square into a circle
Was no life

I defy

Let the rain fall down
And wake my dreams
Let it wash away
My sanity
'Cause I wanna feel the thunder
I wanna scream
Let the rain fall down
I'm coming clean, I'm coming clean

I'm shedding
Shedding every color
Trying to find a pigment of truth
Beneath my skin

'Cause different
Doesn't feel so different
And going out is better
Than always staying in
Feel the wind


Let's go back
Back to the beginning
-"Come Clean," Hilary Duff

Friday, May 13, 2011

It doesn't take much.

The more I learn about myself, the more aware I become of the fact that it does not take much to thrill me. It doesn't take a lot to make me happy and there is no telling what I might stumble on that does the trick- that's usually how it happens: I happen upon something that surprises and wows me and makes me thankful to be exactly where I am in that moment. What a great feeling. One of the very biggest highlights of my Portland trip (and no... we're not talking about the fact that it was two months ago, thank you very much) came near the end of one of the longest nights of my life-

8:30pm: Said my goodbyes to Erica's housemates and headed to the bus stop with my large purple suitcase in tow (avoiding those darn worms the whole way- ew).


9:30ishpm: We hopped on the bus headed for the Portland International Airport (you may be asking yourself: why does Portland have an international airport... answer: who the heck knows?!)

10:35pm: We FINALLY got to the airport (the last time I checked, my plane was supposed to leave at 11pm so I was getting a little nervous by that point)

10:40pm: Said my goodbyes- bittersweet. I love those girls dearly, but I had been away from home for 8 days at this point and was definitely ready to sleep in my own bed!

10:45pm: Stood in line, nervously watching the clock as I wondered what the heck you do when you actually miss a flight.

10:50pm: Found out that my flight was delayed an hour and I was officially going to miss my lay over in Detroit and not make it to Richmond by 11am like I was scheduled to. I spent the next 10 minutes frantically calling my parents (at 2am on the east coast) to ask them to pick me up at the Roanoke airport. Thankfully after about three tries, my mom finally answered the phone and agreed to pick me up. I got my new ticket and headed for security.

11:00pm: I made it through security in no time only to sit for an hour waiting for my plane (which I found out later was delayed by a "late crew member." WHAT?! Seriously??) By this point I am so done and what started as an exciting adventure in Atlanta now just feels like one long, drawn out fiasco after another.

12:05am: I boarded my plane.

12:10am: I started frantically praying as my night went from bad to worse and my flight was by far the most turbulent that I have ever experienced. The man next to me was so scared that I was worried he was going to cry- so I felt obligated to keep myself composed as my focus moved from breathing to praying, "God, don't let it hurt when we crash and I die." No joke, I was convinced I was never going to see land again. I don't know if it was because it was a red eye or what, but our pilot did not know what the heck he was doing- that plane did not stop jerking and twisting and dropping the entire 4 hours from Portland to Detroit. But in spite of my fear, I was so exhausted that I finally just curled up in my seat and fell asleep.

7:15am: We landed in Detroit. Alive.

7:30am: I decided I deserved a reward, so I visited Starbucks in the airport and began making my way to my next gate.

8:00am: My morning started looking up when I stumbled upon this--


The absolute highlight of my trip home. I had heard about this tunnel that connects the terminals in the Detroit airport, but in all the craziness I had forgotten all about it until I found myself standing in it. I was thrilled! Immediately my mood was lifted and the feeling of adventure was back.

9:00am: I couldn't help it, I had to walk through the tunnel one more time, so I picked up my stuff and retraced my steps for one last glimpse. (Okay, technically I went through it two more times.)

9:30am: I boarded the plane for the final leg of my trip. The plane headed for home. This was a much smoother flight (and much quicker).

Photobucket Photobucket

Before I knew it, I was flying over some very familiar mountains into the Roanoke valley.

11:30am: I got off the plane, made my way out of the terminal (all 8 gates of it) and found my dad waiting for me on the other side of security. Finally. Even at 22, after a night like that, it was an enormous relief to see him standing there and to know that I could sit back and let him take the reins for a while.

"So I commend the enjoyment of life,
because nothing is better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad.
Then joy will accompany him in his work all the days of the life God has given him under the sun."
Ecclesiastes 8:15

"...I have come that they may have life,
and have it to the full."
John 10:10

Life is full of thrills- some are right in front of us and obvious while others are hiding just around the corner (or in an airport tunnel). But God has good in store for us. So, so much good!

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well."
Matthew 6:33

It makes me think of the song from Mary Poppins (I know, sometimes the most random things pop into my head!)--
"Let's go fly a kite
Up to the highest height!
Let's go fly a kite and send it soaring
Up through the atmosphere
Up where the air is clear
Oh, let's go fly a kite!"

We've been given this incredible adventure to live! Let's not settle for anything less than the "highest height"! Because it has been graciously given to us.

"He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--
how will he not also, along with him graciously give us all things?"
Romans 8:32

And for me, that included a tunnel full of light!