hot bliggity blog 267

Saturday, November 27, 2010

B90X wk 8: He's still workin' on me

Text covered: Isaiah 14, Jeremiah 33:22

Memory verse: Isaiah 58:11: ‘The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. you will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.’

Reading Status: ‘Red’

Isaiah 64:8 & 9 says, 'Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. Do not be angry beyond measure, O Lord; do not remember our sins forever. Oh, look upon us, we pray, for we are all your people.' This verse reminds me of a Sunday School song that has been in the background of my thoughts for the past several months. I am sure you have heard it; it goes something like this:

'He's still workin' on me.
To make me what I ought to be.
It took him just a week to make the moon and stars,
The Sun and Earth and Jupiter and Mars.'

This song has been constantly playing on my inner stereo (heart) this past month. As children this simple song makes perfect sense. At 5 years old, 3.5 feet tall, we can easily see that God is still working on us. However, at this age, we are unable to comprehend the symbolism of what the lyrics are really saying. I bet you thought the lyrics simply talked about what you were going to be and do physically. I know I did. What will I be when we grow up? Where will I be? Will I have 3 kids like Mommy and Daddy?

As adults, we probably do the same thing when we hear this song. We may Ooh and Aah at the Kindergarten choir singing to the congregation because little Billy is screaming at the top of his lungs and sweet little Susie is waving at her parents. We might think, oh how cute....Yes, He does have a lot of work to do in those kids.

What's crazy though is the message, revealed in such simple lyrics, ingrained in our heads from birth is still real even after we 'grow up'. God has done so much in me but thankfully He is not done yet! I feel like I have so far to go and with each new thing that He reveals to me I realize how much more work is still to be done.

A few passages that spoke to me:
Isaiah 53:5-6.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him
and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 54:10.
"Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed,"
says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

Isaiah 55:12.
You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the tress of the field
will clap their hands.

Isaiah 59:1
Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save,
nor his ear too dull to hear.

Jeremiah 29:11-14a
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity.

Friday, November 19, 2010

snapshots of my life: over-load october

I think the camera phone was one of the greatest things ever invented. EVER! Yes, yes there are a few other things that I am thankful for as well: flushing toilets, fashionable lunchboxes, DVR for fast-forwarding through commercials to name a few. But, if your brain functions as mine does, having a camera on your phone has to be one of the handiest outfits. I tend to forget what I ate the day before (most people who use this analogy insert ‘what I wore yesterday’ right here; this usually isn’t a problem for me as my outfits from the past 5 days tend to be strewn about my living quarters of the house. Ha!) let alone remember what all I’ve done in the past 2 weeks. This isn’t to say that I don’t value my time with friends and at events; it’s simply that there is always so much going on in my life and the information gets scrambled from time to time. This is why it always amazes me when I go back through pictures (taken on my phone or real camera) and see everything that I have done and people I have come in contact with.

What’s in your photo log? Mine is a hodge-podge of events, places I have been, covers of books I want to read, design ideas that I think I might like to reference later, bar codes for items I would like to bargain shop for at a later date...You get the idea; it’s all there! So, here are some snapshots of the past 3 weeks of my life:

Starbucks. Yummy, right?! And who is excited that their famous Pumpkin Spice Latte is back for the season?!?! You will notice, though, that I am holding an iced beverage in this picture. It’s still very warm here. I think I have worn socks 3 times this season?! (This is excluding the days that I have to wear socks in my office if I don’t want to freeze to death!)

I have been spending a lot of time at Starbucks lately. I live a good distance from where I work and play and often end up with lulls of time in which I don’t have any scheduled events or available friends. So, I take my handy dandy Bible in 90 Days, grab a Pumpkin Spice Latte (hot or iced) and a seat with an electrical outlet nearby (for plugging in my phone and listening to Pandora) for an hour or more of Bible action. I realized the other day that it’s probably a good thing that I will finish the B90X around Christmas time, right when the Pumpkin Spice Latte leaves the stores!

Shane and Shane led our worship service one Sunday night; how cool is that?! They were amazing, of course, and really funny. After the worship service they gave a free mini-concert. Sorry the picture is blurry....the lighting was terrible for photo opps!

This cracks me up. It scares me a lot, too. These men are doing exactly as it appears: riding down the highway, legs swung over the tailgate riding happily (for now at least) down the road. I passed them as quickly as I could.

Next on the agenda: Halloween. Enter Bon Qui Qui. My talented friend, Heather, captured the entire essence of Bon Qui Qui. From the ‘King Burger’ logo-ed polo and 4 inch nails to her lip liner and attitude she had it down! Have you ever watched someone with 4 inch fake nails put on their tennis shoes??? If not you definitely should. If you can’t find a video, let me know :)

Several of the Sunday School classes joined forces to host a Mystery Dinner Party. It was fun! The whole night I had to walk around in character (a Perfectionist, High School Band Director) telling people they weren’t good enough and trying to figure out who murdered the victim.

Head down to Aggieland and that’s where you will find me next! My parents graciously donated to the Ellen-Has-NO-Pass-To-The-Game Program and gave me their tickets for the Texas A&M vs. Texas Tech game. (They went to Wyoming to see geysers and snow; they were not missing out!)

It was a perfect day for football; the weather was absolutely gorgeous for tailgating and spectating. It was one of those days that I was thankful I had reason to be outside and enjoy the weather.

Flyover: F-16s

Daniel and I had my parents’ seats. To the outsider this may not seem like a big deal but ask any TAMU student or alumni and they know exactly what this means: we got to SIT DOWN!!! Let me tell you this makes any game so much more enjoyable. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is awesome that the 12th Man stands with the team during the 5 hours of play but there comes a time in a person’s life when balancing on metal bleachers and staring into the sun becomes too much and 8 Advil’s are not cutting it anymore! There were several times during the game, however, where I found myself standing alone while watching the game. What if they need to put me in the game?!

Enjoying the game! Judging by our expressions this picture was obviously taken later in the game when the Aggies started bringing it. The first few possesions were downright ugly; it was pretty tense in the stadium. I’m not sure why or how I got this picture turned backwards nor do I know how to flip it around. Ha!

We got the W!!! This was not the final score (my phone died before the end of the game) but it shows the Aggies stomping on some Raiders. The final score was 45-27. BTHO Texas Tech!

I have been spending a lot of time job searching, researching and networking. I read everything I can get my hands on, talk to anyone who will listen and pray constantly! God is good and He will provide. My verses of the year are found in James and Romans:

‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.’--James 1:2-4

‘Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.’--Romans 5:3&4

‘As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.’--James 5:11

My best friend from grad school, Abby, was given some tickets for the Texas A&M vs. OU game! While in school Abby and I went to every game together; she wasn’t always happy about it and we NEVER had time but come every game day I would drug her up with Advil, hand her a frozen water bottle and a clean towel and drag her to the game.

Ok, actually, Abby is the responsible one of our duo so she took her own drugs, froze her own water and washed her own towel; I would usually show up late to our seats and meet her at the game BUT she would not have been there if she didn’t KNOW without a doubt in her mind that I was going to be there soon and talk football with her :) Talking football with Abby is fun and easy: count the number of loose helmets and shoes, count the pieces of trash that land on the field, discuss the flyover and sing ‘Texas, Our Texas’ (She knows all the words!)

It was so good to see Abby and catch up. We have the kind of friendship where we rarely talk to each other but know of each others’ comings and goings through our mutual friends that we talk to almost daily. And we’re okay with this arrangement; we just pick up and talk like we didn’t miss a beat. I am thankful for my sweet friends!

Flyover: helicopters

‘Now forming at the North end of Kyle Field, the nationally famous Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band’

And we have another W, folks! 33-19. BTHO OU!

Driving down my street the other day I noticed this sign attached to a neighbor's mailbox:

Of course I deemed it photo worthy and am happy to inform you that the stands were returned promptly a few days later.

And that, my friends, is why I love my camera phone :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

B90X wk 7: precious words

Text covered:Psalm 89:14, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Isaiah 13:22

Memory verse: Proverbs 16:3: ‘Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.’

Ecclesiastes 3:1 'There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven'

Reading Status: ‘Red’ for almost caught up!

This was a HUGE week of reading!!! No way could my words express the beauty written within the text of the books covered this week. So, I have decided to cut and paste some of my favorites and ones that really spoke to me. 'But', to quote LeVar Burton of Reading Rainbow, 'you don't have to take my word for it...'

cry out.Psalms 6:6-10
6 I am worn out from groaning;
all night long I flood my bed with weeping
and drench my couch with tears.
7 My eyes grow weak with sorrow;
they fail because of all my foes.
8 Away from me, all you who do evil,
for the Lord has heard my weeping.
9 The Lord has heard my cry for mercy;
the Lord accepts my prayer.
10 All my enemies will be ashamed and dismayed;
they will turn back in sudden disgrace.
refuge.Psalms 9:9&10
9 The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
10 Those who know your name will trust in you,
for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

father.Psalms 10:17&18
17 You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted;
you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.

cry.Psalms 13
1 How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and everyday have sorrow in my hear?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

3 Look on me and answer, O Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;
4 my enemy will say, "I have overcome him,"
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

5 But I trust in your unfailing love;
my hear rejoices in your salvation.
6 I will sing to the Lord,
for he has been good to me.

God's greatness.Psalms 18:1-3, 25-36
1 I love you, O Lord, my strength.

2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
and I am saved from my enemies.

25 To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
26 to the pure you show yourself pure,
but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd.
27 You save the humble
but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.
28 You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light.
29 With your help I can advance against a troop;
with my God I can scale a wall.

30 As for God, his way is perfect;
the word of the Lord is flawless.
He is a shield
for all who take refuge in him.
31 For who is God besides the Lord?
And who is the Rock except our God?
32 It is God who arms me with strength
and makes my way perfect.
33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he enables me to stand on the heights.
34 He trains my hands for battle;
my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35 You give me your shield of victory,
and your right hand sustains me;
you stoop down to make me great.
36 You broaden the path beneath me,
so that my ankles do not turn.

hope.Psalms 20:1,4&5
1 May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;
may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.

4 May he give you the desire of your heart
and make all your plans succeed.
5 We will shout for joy when you are victorious
and will lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the Lord grant all your request.

deliverance.Psalms 31:1-8
1 In you, O Lord, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
deliver me in your righteousness.
2 Turn your ear to me,
come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge,
a strong fortress to save me.
3 Since you are my rock and my fortress,
for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
4 Free me from the trap that is set for me,
for you are my refuge.
5 Into your hands I commit my spirit;
redeem me, O Lord, the God of truth.

6 I hate those who cling to worthless idols;
I trust in the Lord.
7 I will be glad and rejoice in your love,
for you saw my affliction
and knew the anguish of my soul.
8 You have not handed me over to the enemy
but have set my feet in a spacious place.

repent.Psalms 51:1&2, 10
1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

trust.Psalms 56:3&4
3 When I am afraid,
I will trust in you.
4 In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I will not be afraid.
What can mortal man do to me?

sovereignty.Psalms 86:5-8, 11-13
5You are forgiving and good, O Lord,
abounding in love to all who call to you.
6 Hear my prayer, O Lord;
listen to my cry for mercy.
7 In the day of my trouble I will call to you,
for you will answer me.

8 Among the gods there is non like you, O Lord;
no deeds can compare with yours.

11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
and I will walk in your truth;
give me an undivided hear,
that I may fear your name.
12 I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart;
I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your love toward me;
you have delivered me from the depths of the grave.

thanksgiving.Psalms 100
1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
5 For the Lord is good and his loves endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Proverbs 27:1&2
1 Do not boast about tomorrow,
for you do not know what a day may bring forth.

2 Let another praise you, and not your own mouth;
someone else, and not your own lips.

Proverbs 28:19
19 He who works his land will have abundant food,
but the one who chases fantasises will have his fill of poverty.
meaninglessness.Ecclesiastes 1:9, 14
9 What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.

14 I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

friendlessness.Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
9 Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:
10 If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

As I went back through my Bible, I began to notice a theme among the verses and passages that I had underlined: brokeness, tears shed, hope. Every emotion, trial and season are mentioned and addressed in the Psalms and Proverbs. As I quoted from Ecclesiastes 3, there is a time and season for everything. I wonder what my underlines might have traced 3 years ago? 8 years ago? And what might they show 5 years in the future? 20 years? What do your underlines show you?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

your hands

Happy Fall!!!

As the weather here is changing (slowly but surely) I realized that it was probably time to change the design of my blog. Designing the look is one of my favorite aspects of blogging and I spend WAY too much time on it (often to little results. Ha!)

I decided a couple weeks ago that I am getting old and I'll tell you why: I was really looking forward to the Fall's cooler weather this year. Ha! Sadly, Fall has always been my least favorite season. I know, I know, it is most people's favorite. But allow me to explain:

-In the Fall you have to put away your swimsuits and any chance of last minute pool time is gone (to live everyday in my swimsuit is a dream of mine);

-The Fall means that Winter is the next in the Season Line-Up and that means big, chunky, winter clothes;

-Fall means donning gloves and scarves and, while they make nice fashion statements, are just more accessories to keep up with (Grocery shopping in all of this get-up is one of my least favorite things to do);

-Until last year, Fall meant the start of a new school year.
To name a few :)

Don't get me wrong; the Fall has a lot going for it: football, pumpkin carving, Thanksgiving, anticipation of Christmas, etc. I think it all boils down to the fact that I am a cold-natured person and trying to warm up is that much more difficult when it's already cold outside. But this year, I have to admit, I was looking forward to the cooler weather; this is a HUGE deal! I can't even tell you why but I can tell you I have enjoyed it! Well, most aspects...Ha!

On another note...

...I love music. Have you ever heard a song, thought you knew the words and never thought much of it? Unfortunately I do this a lot. In fact, I have my very own Ellen version of most songs played on the radio; Ellen's lyrics almost always rhyme and rarely make any sense. Ha!

Have you ever 're-learned' a song; heard it played somewhere where you can focus on the lyrics, meanings and emotions? This happened to me recently with JJ Heller's Your Hands. I have heard this song numerous times and always loved the sounds of it but I had never paid any attention to the words. Unfortunately I had this re-learning experience with this song at a funeral that I recently attended. One of the young daughters of the deceased sang this song in honor of her father. It was beautiful; there was not a dry eye in the house. How she had the strength to stand up there and sing is beyond my understanding, but God used it to touch everyone that was present.

Your Hands is my current most-favorite song. I hope that you enjoy it, too :)

I have unanswered prayers
I have trouble I wish wasn't there
And I have asked a thousand ways
That You would take my pain away
That You would take my pain away

I am trying to understand
How to walk this weary land
Make straight the paths that crookedly lie
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands

When You walked upon the Earth
You healed the broken, lost, and hurt
I know You hate to see me cry
One day You will set all things right
Yea, one day You will set all things right

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands

Your hands
Your hands that shape the world
Are holding me, they hold me still
Your hands that shape the world
Are holding me, they hold me still

Monday, November 8, 2010

B90X wk 6: strong charcacter

Text covered: Nehemiah 13:15, Esther, Job, Psalm 89:13

Memory verse: Job 42:2: ‘I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.’

Reading Status: ‘Red’ for almost caught up!

This was a huge week in the scriptures; from the strength of Esther, the tribulations and testing of Job and the beautiful words of the Psalms I have been filled!

Esther: another heroine who's strengths and characteristics we can learn a whole lot from.

-she was courageous
-she was a careful planner
-she was open to advice and willing to listen
-she was more concerned for others than her own security

What we can *learn form Esther's life:
-God has a purpose for every situation that He puts us in.
-Serving God often demands that we risk our own security.

These are both tough pills to swallow; I would dare to say that these both fall into the 'Easier said that done' category. Would you not agree?! It seems that I find myself asking God things like, 'Why me?', 'Why here?', or even better: 'Why NOT?!

Since the beginning of my unemployed, living-at-home, now working-for-almost minimum-wage season I have seen God's hand at work and have had my eyes open to some of His greater purpose. While I doubt that I will ever know every reason for my time here I do know that I am right where He wants me to be. I have also learned that I may not be here solely for my benefit but possibly others' as well; whether it be my parents, co-workers, people's names I do not know or people I have yet to meet, or never meet for that matter. We are all instruments in His greater plan and purpose. He doesn't promise us all pink roses, all the time; only the security in knowing we have eternal life in Him.

Job: (not to be confused with the J-O-B that I am diligently searching for. Ha!) was prosperous-he had thousands of cattle, sheep and other livestock to fill his pastures; a large , beautiful family that filled every seat at his dinner table. It appeared he had everything. Satan, ever the accuser, presented this argument to God: that Job trusted God because of his great health and wealth; he had never struggled in anything. To prove him wrong, God allowed Satan to bring destruction and devastation to Job. In the following chapters we see Job tested, advised by friends and finally, answered by God.

*Strengths:-He was a man of faith, patience and endurance
-He was known as a caring, generous man

What we can *learn form Job's life:
-Knowing God is better than knowing answers
-Pain is not always punishment
-God is not arbitrary or uncaring

Have you ever found yourself feeling like Job? Whether it be a decline in health, pay cut, loss of a job, loss of a friend or loved one, we have all experienced a case of 'I wish things were the same as back when...'

I found myself in a discount shoe store this weekend. For those of you that know me knows that this has the potential to be a very bad situation. Why not buy more since you are getting such a great deal?! That has been my shopping philosophy pretty much from the day I was born. But, due to my current financial situation, buying more does not save me any money; no money at all.

So now, on the off chance that I allow myself anywhere near new, shiny shoes, I have to stop and think what even a $15 pair of shoes is worth to me. Queen Justifier of any and all purchases has had to take a back seat and let me just tell you-she is not happy child-locked in back there. But, I can tell you that I have learned so much during this period of non-shopping; among many things I have successfully made it halfway through the B90X challenge (and fully intend to finish!) and been able to spend time with both new and old friends, getting to know them all much better.

Not being able to buy a new pair of shoes may sounds silly to you; for some it may be a true problem. The point, though, is not the finances to buy new shoes whenever a shiny pair calls your name but that we all have experienced times of 'What we once had' and times of adjustment. It's what we choose to learn from these periods that shapes us into the man or woman that God desires for us to be.

Psalms: such a beautiful book, I found myself in so many of the pages of this book. While almost every one of the spoke to me I have chosen one that really gripped me as I through it; the entire chapter ended up being underlined in my Bible!

Psalm 13

'1 How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?

2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

3 Look on me and answer, O Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;

4 my enemy will say, "I have overcome him,"
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

5 But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.

6 I will sing to the Lord,
for he has been good to me.'

*Book and character summaries taken from The Life Application Study Bible
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