Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sermon Prep Lessons

Every week I get to go to a sermon preparation meeting for my church. I really LOVE it! My reason???...every week is an amazing learning opportunity for me. I'm getting all the "101's" and mentoring from people that I love and admire. There are 7 of us now...that's so fabulous considering most pastors really have, well, themselves to bounce ideas off of.

The thing you should know is that the meetings can get very interesting...VERY...Hehe! The reason?...because other than salvation issues there is a LOT that can be debated...especially when you have people on opposite ends of the spectrum. Debate, though, is a GREAT thing!!! It purifies...AND encourages people to walk in humility, grace and REAL community.

So, there was a debate this week. I leaned more toward one perspective over the other, but I also (because of my passion for "balance" and "nuggets in all things") always ask myself what God wants me to pull out of the other side of an argument. He always shows me something I can consider and move more deeply towards with Him. More than that, there's something I appreciate about one of the people in the group. Tim is a shooting star!...and I don't say that due to his particular arguments for or against things (although I do learn a great deal from his knowledge of Scripture...amazing!!). What blesses me SO much about him is that his debating assumes something...the value of all involved. He guards the value of people underneath it all. Does that make him get all "pansy" in his arguments??...NOPE! He doesn't need to walk around on egg shells because everyone knows that people are his heart-business. So, if someone is upset, he doesn't just say, "Eh, they just have problems." No, he pursues. It's so respectful and honorable...and I think people know that he carries that with him in all interactions. I love him!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Piggy Says It Well...Hehe!

This was on a friend's FB the other day. I like it a lot!

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye." — Miss Piggy

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Another "Challenge" Blast!!!

i'm telling you...this no-spending challenge will end up being one of the BEST experiences for me!! i'm learning SOOOO much! don't get me's been terribly uncomfortable at times (which is good), but the things i'm learning about myself are really quite wonderful.

today, i actually made my own dressing from scratch. costing me about $.50 in ingredients as opposed to a whole bottle from the store, i feel like i'm WONDER WOMAN!!! :) yep, i'm fanning myself...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Why the focus on Jesus and the Bible...

i've been watching a debate showcasing "science" vs. "god". my reason for watching is that the person chosen to "defend" the "god" position is really more 'new age' than god-oriented. kind of a strange choice for the pro-god side...just not the typical representation that i'm used to. in the past i've seen a jewish or christian individual in the hot seat, but maybe this choice was more for that purpose of arguing "spirituality" as opposed to a specific divine being.

the thing that stands out to me though...why is it that when atheists discuss the existence of god they go after christianity specifically? isn't that a little weird? are there actually debates between atheists and muslims? atheists vs. hindus? atheists vs. buddhists? atheists vs. jews? maybe there are and i just haven't heard of them, but it's been my experience that the religion of choice is christianity. at minimum, that's what's publicized, and i guess it just seems odd.

anyway...just my brain prattling around. :)

Nature Center

i've been thinking about working in the nature center at church again. my dad and i started it years, was that so cool! soooo many people helped clear trails, build bridges, plant flowers and maintain it all. it was great! in the years after, though, life got so busy for me that i couldn't be so heavily involved. the good thing was that others have been able to step up and use their AMAZING gifts to create some incredible things. well, i've been walking through there lately, enjoying all the sights and sounds, and i've started to feel the desire to maintain the trails a bit more. after all...i LOVE hauling brush and cleaning up trails. so...i think i'm going to!! it's the perfect job for any time availability too. even if i needed a 30-minute break to clear my head, i could go haul sticks for a while.

so...there we have it. i think i'm headed back to the days of being the brush-hauling queen! :)

Taking our Menus Back!!

i've been watching a show on that has me wondering A LOT about how we eat in america...not just in schools but in homes, etc. i've been thinking about the a la carte lunch at my school...and it has me FREAKING OUT! i actually think i might go after that a bit...mwa-ha-ha-ha.

so, here's the link. thing i will say is worth it...and quite the beginning of episode 2, he shows how chicken nuggets are made. it's NASTY! it might even be worth showing kids!!! oh man...i get vomit in my throat just thinking about it.

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution

Friday, March 26, 2010

Opening the Door to Intimacy

i've been enjoying some wonderful sermons by rob bell lately (pastor at mars hill in michigan). i was hooked by the nooma videos that he produced and have been listening to his podcast ever since. well, his series on jonah has me thinking, and in my typical form it has caused me a tangential "hmm" session. thinkings, thinkings, thinkings...

one of my passions is intimacy...the possibility and reality of intimacy with god and the subsequent life that flows out of that to others. i find it so odd...the number of christians who equate "relationship with jesus" to knowing an awful lot about him and how to behave well (and force others to do the same). oh my!!!...such a terrible picture of the true "deep" we were meant to know!'s a journey i'm on every day. some days are better than others, but regardless of that, what i intimately understand and experience today is so much more than before...and it will only deepen!!!

well...back to my "hmm"...i've landed on something pertaining to my love for intimacy. i've begun to wonder how possible it is for "americans" to know the best of intimacy with god. my reason??...our need for and our dependence on circumstantial joy. when i think about it...that's not really "joy" at all. true joy isn't reliant on work satisfaction, relational success and on and on and on...but we...well, we need it. we've convinced ourselves that happiness is and should be a result of material possessions and/or performance, appearance and on and on. AND...we're entitled to it often at the expense of others. goodness, it's why we are in debt up to our eyeballs and continue to justify so much stupidity.

that dependence...and temporary satisfaction with lesser existence (i.e. denial) in direct competition for the "more" that we are meant to know and experience. an obstacle, i believe...because we become doomed to a life of running after all those things (or complaining when it doesn't shake out). that's a lot of work!!!!...leaving little time to even entertain the notion that there could be something better.

so...i've been thinking about how we break with the need for circumstantial "joy", how we can have our pursuits and passions without being subject to them, how we can know true peace and joy come what may...all in the tornado of more intimacy with the hottie god.

i think this month of no spending is helping me more than i had originally thought...


man...sometimes, i feel like a campfire and a cigarette!! HAHAHA!

CNN's Cafferty Sounds Off

a friend posted this on fb today. i had to chuckle...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The "Worship" Conundrum

the fact that i'm blogging about this should NOT indicate that there's more drama in the actual situation than there really is. i just find that circumstances get me thinking...and my thoughts about things are more for myself as opposed to issuing particular indictments etc. so...ya.

we have a singing time every sunday at my church. i almost called it "worship" but then realized that using the word to solely mean our vocal/instrumental time would be sooooo limiting (worship is really...well, LIFE...with all of it's parts included). well, there's been some "tug-of-war" lately regarding that singing time. oh my gosh, some of the opinions have been a little surprising to me. maybe indicating that a few aren't totally on the same page about what worship through music can look like...i guess i'm thinking that's the situation because i keep hearing the word "should" as opposed to "can".

for me personally, i HATE the notion that a singing time must look/sound a certain way. i mean seriously!!! there can be profound worship in silence, in liturgy, in contemporary praise, in prophetic mayhem...through dance, chant, shouts, whispers, 3-part harmony, unison, rhythm, major/minor/disonance...whatever!!! it's the notion that it MUST be a particular way that causes me to pause. do we really subscribe to the b.s. that style equals quality worship??? holy moly...i'm guessing that as long as the heart is turned toward the audience of "3 in 1" it doesn't matter a flying flip what it all looks/sounds like.


what is really funny to me though is that the "youngers" and the "olders" can be unified in their "issue" over the matter. they both think the other is doing it wrong!!! hahaha!...but i guess that's sometimes the "common ground" that is needed to have the heart of matters rise up. ;)

preference-wise, i have to say that the style that drives me absolutely nutso is prophetic worship. i know, i'd think someone as crazy as me would enjoy it. AHHHH! but you know what it is???...the constant repeating of words and phrases!!! especially in choruses. then again...some of the verses are packed with as many words as possible that it's difficult to even know what i'm singing as we prattle through all the lingo!! totally drives me nuts! the other reason?...they usually aren't very "musical". they tend to have boringly repeated note patterns, so singing isn't so fun (for sing-y peeps like myself).'s the thing. there's no excuse to not worship in that style...i don't give myself that permission. i have to say that if i really set myself to do so, i can "worship" in prophetic style. i just have to set my expectations that way. it's about the heart really, right? it shouldn't matter.

well...i know it'll all shake out...always does. it's just been a little entertaining and thought-provoking. (and secretly...i love that.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A "Challenge" Surprise

coolest thing happened today!! well, to preface i should let you know that i ran out of my dessert cache. since i'm in the no-spending challenge, i've been practically losing it!! so this morning a little girl came up to me with a gift bag. on top was a ziplock with rice crispy bars in it, and below was pure heaven. little bags...and bags and bags...of desserts!!! her mom put a note in it that she thought i might like this today!!!! what's even more overwhelming is that she doesn't even know that i'm doing this challenge!!!

see how cool my hottie god is?? i could have taken it as an opportunity to further pursue weight loss...but noooooooooo...apparently god isn't in to that!!! :) why lose weight??...let your neighbor love you with a gift of sweets to tide you over!!! AWESOME!!


Blast from the Past...Worth It All

this song came across my listening experience this morning...weird, because i have ZERO m.w.s. in my queue. anyway, i used to dance around to this song back in the 90's, i think??? HAHA! i just couldn't help myself was the cry of my heart!! the cool thing???...still is today!!! it's just that today i actually know the experience of a "realer real" of intimacy with christ...sweet! the excitement in my dancing isn't because i'm "hoping" it's true...i KNOW it is because he holds me every day. he's hot like that!! ;)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hope Rises...

i really love to read this girl's blog. she lives out the life of christ every day, and i find it to be a great challenge to do the same where i am. with all of the drama about health care, i found her post this week to speak volumes in the midst of all the arguments. i'm not a fan of the government's particular response to the issue...i just think there are way better answers to our mindset of "acceptable greed". BUT...what i am reminded of is the truth that no one else should be doing my job of "loving my neighbor" in place of me. you know what i mean??...the fact that we actually have to consider having an institution take tax money from us just so the poor can be taken care of is...ridiculous!! there shouldn't even be that need because the life of christ in us should call us up to a life where we give... at minimum, that's the balance that i hope shakes out...but hey, i'm an idealist. ;) anyway, check out her blog...i wonder how many of us would do the same...

Katie's Blog

I am Second

an interesting site that a friend posted today. some of the stories are great reminders!

I am Second

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Neiman Marcus Dessert!!!

fyi...per the blog below...this is the dessert i ended up doing with a homemade yellow cake mix instead of the pre-made box stuff. it's AMAZING! i also added raspberry jam before i baked it...holy moly, i'm pretty sure i'm not sharing it tomorrow...hehe.

neiman marcus dessert

Status of "The Challenge"

well...i have to say that i'm enjoying this month of "no spending". what is becoming surprisingly fun is discovering how to create meals from "scratch". i know this is normal for a lot of people, but it's just not typical for me. i learned bread-making some time ago and have picked up how to make some great meals...but there's just an ocean of possibilities for making foods that are massively cheaper than i ever realized. take my challenge for today...making a dessert for tomorrow without running out to buy any additional ingredients. holy crap!!'s HARD, but it lead me on a great search. i found a recipe for making a "yellow cake mix". a recipe for a boxed recipe...funny. turns out that what i could have paid around $4-5 for plus the additional ingredients like oil etc. is now costing me pennies using the stuff i already have in my pantry. goodness!!! that's $4 i'll now have at the end of my month along with the other nickels and dimes and DOLLARS that i'm saving from all of the other sneaky ways of living with what's in the cupboard.

fyi...i'm still wondering how in the heck i ended up with a box of dry milk flake thingies...i'm thinking mom is somehow in that equation. :)

so...week 2 is well on it's way to a great ending! :)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Enough of "Pucker-ups" and "See my Boob" Shots!!!

oh my GOSH!!! i can't handle all the self-photos on facebook and myspace anymore. women, girls...AHHH! they take these bizarre photos...and not just one but MILLIONS...of their faces with weird "i'm a model" puckers and such. then they have these contorted body shots so we can get the fuuuuulllll gander at their curves.

STTTTOOOOOOPPPPPPP! it's embarrassing for YOU! not only are they not remotely makes them look so self-obsessed and conceited.

ok...calming myself now...;)

Almost Alice??

LOVED it! :) it's totally weird too because i don't typically enjoy burton flicks...

What in the World???

it's been "spiritual emphasis week" at school....and i'm writing this in a state of shock. usually the kids kind of sit there taking their christian education for granted and just do what looks "christian-y" least, that seems like the norm sometimes. but this week has been so...different!! it's been so GREAT! and it's been so REAL!!!

what in the world???

we have done our teachings and then given them time to be with god, to worship, to be creative...and the things i've seen them do with it all on their own have been so wonderful!! kids have been hearing god speak to them for the first time!! kids have been creating wonderous artwork during of what god is sharing with them. they have been giving words of encouragement to others...praying for others. they've asked for worship songs to be played that they feel god is singing to them.

it's been so great to see them enter in!!!!!...and even better, to see them actually see god move when they do!!!

i'm guessing some of my "traditionalist" parents might freak out a bit...hehe...but their kiddos are really experiencing some real life...woo-hoo!!! so, i'll take the grief for it without a care in the world. ;)

Monday, March 15, 2010

"Where I Belong"

holy smokes!!! a TON of great music about belonging in god's presence...woo-hoo!!...just where our hearts were meant to home in him!!!! many thanks to my pastor ryan for introducing me to this one. he let me listen to it in his office before my sermon on sunday...soooo sweet!!!

"In Your Presence"

i've had this song almost haunting me lately, and i haven't been able to place it. my niece came over tonight and sorted it out for me. yay!! so...enjoy! the chorus is just wonderful.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Alert to Self

This is prompted by a few scenarios I've been observing lately and my non-spending challenge for the month of March. I'm just starting to think that we need to pay attention to something...a reaction or decision of sorts. I think it's good to notice the moments when we are unwilling to "fast" or "take a break" from something/someone...especially the degree of our defense of NOT doing it. Sometimes, I think that is a great "alert to self" that there may be some unhealthy attachments. Just sayin'...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Non-Spending Challenge

I ran into my friends Dan and Angie the other day at Wal-Mart. They were getting some groceries because they had just completed their semi-annual challenge of not spending for a month (unless it was an emergency). got me thinking, and now I've taken on the challenge!!! For the entire month of March I will not spend a dime on anything! I'll definitely pay my bills...but other than that, nope! It's been really good and challenging thus far. I'm actually planning things out, making meals from scratch, and trying to save, save, save!

Maybe this is my "Lent"!

Some cool things have already happened. Some of my meat had spoiled before I could use it...lesson learned for planning ahead more...well, I went over to someone's house for dinner and without them knowing my "situation", they said that they had excess hamburger and offered it to me!! SWEET! Another one happened today! I had to turn down a massage because the rules wouldn't allow for something like that. Well, a lady came to volunteer today and gave me a back massage at lunch just because she wanted to!

Of course, there are some things this "pushes on" in me. Number 1 would be impulse spending. It's a good thing that I'll get to see the money that I'm saving, but I'm telling you it's quite a "trying" experience knowing that I can't just go and buy some candy or lipstick or Payless shoes or... :) Number 2 is letting people give me things!! Probably good for the pride!!! ;)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Undiscipled Disciples

Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection – Jesus’ Life = Undiscipled Disciples

This showed up on Rebecca's status today. I LOVED it!! Not only do I think this is true of a lot of "American" Christianity, but I think it's also one of the reasons that so much of Christianity EARNS a bad name. How come we aren't hated for being "Jesus" to the world??? Instead, we are hated because of those that have very little "life" in them and subsequently push for their own kingdoms rather than bring kingdom life to a world that sooooo needs the life of Jesus to be expressed.

Ok...soap box done...for now. ;)

I'll be Waiting

i've had some moments of "missing" lately. the cool thing about my big "g", though, is that he is quick to remind me of who he is. so, here's a little lenny for the moment...

Lenny Kravitz - I'll be Waiting

Shock followed by *Sigh*

well...sometimes there just aren't words for the collosal things. letting go so people can walk their journey is hard...except that i know that i've had to have that release as well. it's a good thing there is always prayer!


I love "molecules"...hehe...yes, I'm a nerd. Lately, I've been studying the functional groups with my chemistry students. Oh my gosh, it's so cool how an atom in a particular place over another creates totally unique properties. The difference between how a bananna smells vs. a pineapple...all about atoms in unique places. Anyway, Debbie sent me an email of this awesome molecule. I'd heard about it in a Louie Giglio speech. What's so cool about it is that it's not a victim of "Christian enhancements"...hehe. It's just what it is...and it's so coool.

As the email said..."LAMININS are a family of proteins that are an integral part of the structural scaffolding of basement membranes in almost every animal tissue." You see.... Laminins are what hold us together. LITERALLY. They are cell adhesion molecules. They are what holds one cell of our bodies to the next cell. Without them, we would literally fall apart."

What I also love is the verse that says that "He holds all things together." :)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Insane Week!

Well...this has been one crazy week!!! I ended up being pulled into a pretty sad situation. The way I was pulled in totally ticked me off, but my new ability to "go off" truly helped. ;) One thing I will have to say...I feel bad for fearful people that get put in desperate situations. Not that I think a fear-based reaction is ok, but sometimes I wish people could see how they contribute to the actions of the perpretator. They are sometimes victims first...

Anyway, one thing that proved difficult yet again is letting my "self" get pulled into conflicts. As Maya Angelou once told Oprah.."You are not in that."..basically meaning that she didn't need to get so "rocked" by lies because the real "her" wasn't and didn't need to be "in it". It's amazing how friends breaking the cardinal "friend" rule will do that. Unfortunately, it's a long road back to trust for me, but then again maybe that's fortunate. It assumes the road can be travelled...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Something COOL!

I've already blogged about the car trauma of February. In a whirlwind I found out my car was going to die and that I needed to figure out how to get a new one. But...working on a "ministry" salary, the situation seemed totally impossible. In reality it was totally impossible. God, however, swooped in and saved the day. Someone called me and felt strongly that I needed to bring it to the Saturn dealer to see what they could do...that decision alone raised the value of my car from $50 to almost $2000. The other dollars were arranged through a huge blessing from others!

Well...I was sitting at my desk yesterday when a student asked me about a picture that I had hung up in December. It was a drawing that a little girl gave me. And I totally forgot about it!!!

Here's what it is...

It's a picture of me saying "Oh no!!". There is another person that she said was my "friend", and there is a car with a big pink bow on it. She said, "This is you and your friend who is going to help you get a new car!". the moment (in December), I just said "Thank you!" and thought to myself that getting a new car would be awesome. But at the time, my car wasn't possessed or dying, so it was just a passing fancy. Looking at it today???...I think God was totally giving me a "heads up" that He had everything in His hands. I'm totally blown away!!'s what I'm thinking...those little thoughts that pass through our heads about saying a kind word or doing something nice for someone else aren't accidents. What encouragement for others right from God's heart!! Letting us know that we aren't alone when the world seems to be crashing down in the particular moment. This little one ended up doing that without even knowing...she was just being herself and drawing what came to mind...and ohhhh how God has used that today to remind me of how amazing He is. :)

By the way...there's a castle in the upper corner of the drawing...ya, I'm totally expecting that now too. ;) And two butterflies, a Christmas tree and a rainbow...