Thursday, December 27, 2007
My new favorite ingredient: almond extract.
I just made those candy cane cookies...and I can't say that mine looks even half as good as the picture in the Betty Cocker Cookie book, but they sure taste good. It's all about the almond, I'm sure of it. They are even better with a glass of milk...yum! The wonder and priceless effect of cookies and milk on a soul!
Baking can be so therapeutic. No one is in the house, the music is releasing sweet melodies, the kitchen floor is free to dance on, and the oven is begging to be used. Once the apron is on, a whole new world of ingredients and utensils are seen. By the end, there is the feeling of such accomplishment! There is actual evidence that I did something today...well, there is until the family returns and gobbles down everything. Still, there is a satisfaction that I made my family happy somehow...what an esteem booster! :)
Anyway-the buzzer is now ringing at full volume...I must take out the last batch!
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
star of night,
star with royal beauty bright,
guide us to Thy perfect light.
Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Keisha Castle-Hughes (an Australian, born in 1990, first discovered for her role in Whale Rider) and Oscar Isaac (a Guatemalan, born in 1980) played the roles of Mary and Joseph. They drew you into the times and the integrity and character that the real Mary and Joseph would have exemplified. I honestly can't imagine being in Mary's place...but at least in time, she had Joseph on her side. God knew just what she needed to make it through that trial.
My favorite part in the movie was when Mary and Joseph stopped by a shepard's fire to keep warm, just for a few minutes. This weathered man said to Mary, "My Father told me something a long time ago, that we all are given something...a gift...your gift is what you carry inside of you."
And she replied, "What is your gift?"
That pledged me...what is my gift? how can i use what God's given me to be a healing salve or an encouraging balm to others surrounding me?
And I must ask, "What gift did God place in you?"
Don't let it be dormant this season...give...
Sunday, December 16, 2007
I sit by the fire as the wind howls and blows against the house.
It picks up quite the speed as it comes over the field behind the house.
The zucchini bread is in the oven.
I've read my first book for this vacation and have started on the second.
I took a nap.
I watched a movie with my parents.
I ate cheese and crackers with dad, who needs help doing things due to his fractured elbow.
Ice is no good at times, though it is pretty when the sunlight reflects off of it.
I think we need these kind of relaxing days with no work or worry swarming about us.
Just days to share in company of family and to have no reason to change out of sweats.
Now all I have to look forward to tomorrow is getting my wisdom teeth out...oh the joys...
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Those sweet reminders made me feel special and thankful for such amazing friends!
So, here's to being 20 1/2 today!
Monday, November 26, 2007
There are a couple people who have inspired me lately to write more...one being Shauna Niequist. I'm currently reading her book cold tangerines...she writes with a genuine heart and eloquent language. The lessons that she has learned through her experiences are enriching to me. Shauna shares honestly and admits to her shortcomings humbling...this life is all about becoming who we were made to be. Another person who causes me to write is a friend's mom who blogs. I occasionally go to her page and take part in the insights to life that she has. There is wisdom gained through trails and what you do with experiences and emotions. She is one who asks hard questions and wrestles with ideas that require much thought. Funny how I can be so influenced by someone who I have only met on one occasion. The final person is my mom, a former English teacher. I secretly want her to write a book or at least right down stories of her life and what God has done. Even in her emails depicting events that have gone on in our family are brought to life through her words. Her wisdom and knowledge of the Word runs deep...she has so much inside that she needs to keep sharing. She is so gifted and I'm proud to call her Mom...
As I reflect on this frigid day, I am warmed by the fact that God has placed me right here in this moment to be impacted by other writers he has awakened. He's rising up this element of myself that I am new at and trying to become familiar with. Some of the words that I've written and the emotions I've expressed on those scraps of paper are so candid that I just shake my head in awe. When you begin to dig deep into the areas of your heart, you get more of a glimpse of who you really are and what defines you. This journey is not a deserted trail. There is a community of believers who can be challenged and influenced by one another through the use of words. May we begin to uncover the deep experiences and thoughts of the heart and stand back in awe of how intricate God created us!
My friend Traci once told me that my friendly is her flirting. Sometimes I can come off as flirting when I really have a genuine desire to get to know someone. I wish all assumptions could be put aside. Jesus called us to be a community of believers...So my challenge for myself this week is to get to know someone, ask them what they are really all about. And also to find something new out about an old friend...friendships and the intricacy of humanity is so precious in this life.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
I must confess that this was quite fun but then as we kept driving, God revealed to me that he really cares about each and every one of us. He knew those people and the details of their lives, just as he knows mine.
Have you ever spent time looking at people? They are fascinating, especially when they don't know they are being watched. There are some that aren't quite so attractive to me and still others who take my breath away...but that doesn't really matter. Every creation of God is beautiful in His eyes. I contemplated this as I rolled myself into a ball to sleep...it was going to be a long trip. Funny how it is when you're confined in a small car and yet each passenger can be miles away.
There was a brief moment that I awoke, looked out the window, and saw the sun glistening on a lake with the trees swaying in the breeze. It was so beautiful...and I knew that moment was a love note from God. We need to be aware of those...it really made my day.
Now Thanksgiving break has come to a close and I need to focus on finishing the semester off strong! Two weeks of classes then some finals...then break! phew!
Thursday, November 22, 2007
This year, I marveled in the fact that it was nice to sleep in my own bed and get woken up by my mom...we got to cuddle for a while and talk. Finally, I put on my glasses and wandered into the kitchen where I was met by my grandpa...who had been up since the crack of dawn. My dad worked on the Thanksgiving meal as I finished a book that I had started the night before, as Joel and Julie worked on a 3-D puzzle by the fireplace, and as my grandpa watched the football games (a sport that I don't fully understand the rules of and don't care who wins)...throw wrestling in there with my brothers, meaningful conversation, a lot of eating, and a lot of doing really nothing and you have a fabulous Thanksgiving!
One of my dance teachers challenged me a couple weeks ago and said, "To whom much is given, much is required." That has stayed with me. And though I know that I have much required of me, especially with the end of the semester closing in, this day I am choosing to focus on all that I have been blessed with. I am blown away by the grace that I have received...Thank you, Father, for such a fulfilling day!
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
It's the stories that are shared that intrigue me about this time. Books such as Number the Stars, Diary of Anne Frank, and Corrie Ten Boom have been imprinted on my heart. The majority of the books are from a Jewish/prisoner perspective. I recently finished a book by John Boyne called, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. My suitemate suggested the book to me after she finished it for her literature education class. The perspective is of a German boy who's Father is a German soldier. Due to his Father's honor of being deemed Commandant of a POW camp, Bruno and his family move out of Berlin to the country. This new place has no one for nine-year-old Bruno to play with...yet he discovers that in the distance, behind a fence, there are little people in striped pajamas.
One day as he is exploring, he comes in contact with a boy his age that is a prisoner...their relationship is quite unusual. Bruno is so naive and curious as to the people wearing pajamas and why they are so skinny. I won't tell you the ending, just in case you read it...which I think that you should! It's an easy read and it was very eye-opening...and that is my tribune to history for the week.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Being a Christian is like being a pumpkin. God lifts you up, takes you in, and washes all the dirt off of you. He opens you up, touches you deep inside and scoops out all the yucky stuff-- including the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, etc. Then He carves you a new smiling face and puts His light inside you to shine for all the world to see. This was passed on to me from another pumpkin. Now, it is your turn to pass it to a pumpkin.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
I've found that I'm someone who has the love language of quality time. My roommate, Laura, and I try to schedule dates so that we can have quality time...while I try my hardest to leave her notes of encouragement, since that is her love language. Anyway- today was absolutely beautiful (over 70), so we decided to stop our paper writing and studying for a date. We went to Wendy's, got food, and drove over to Kollen Park on Lake Macatawa. We sat in a little pavilion by the water, talked, ate, and watched the sun set. Those moments were filled with honesty about life, our excitement for the times ahead, and looking back to the blessings of the past.
Laura is indeed a treasure in my life. She is someone who I can be myself with. I am completely comfortable with her...after living with her for a year and a half, I should say so! Still, nothing I say is judged or read into the wrong way. She knows me inside and out...few people really do. I have a lot of friends but few who really know who I am. It's not that I'm not genuine...it's just that there are those choice people in life who really get to peer into the dimensions of your soul. Those people are rare and precious. God has blessed me with this woman of God...and I am so thankful.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
There is nothing like the beautiful colors of fall on a hillside of the country...the deep brown of the branches, the yellows, reds, oranges, and greens of leaves, and the contrast of the vast blue sky overhead. All details combined to create a collage of God's artwork. It even involves the forlorn black walnut hanging on a lonely branch, like the last sock on a clothesline that has been forgotten.
I wonder when it will finally fall.
Boy-I miss New York falls...but I know that I will be back in years to come to partake in the wonder of the changing seasons. The colors, tastes, weather, and sense of preparation all goes into making this season a perfect one. So enjoy where you are in life and praise God for fall.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Jesus, You are the only one that satisfies,
Yet so easily I look to another
And try to fight my own battles.
I thought I could be strong,
But I’m only getting lost in it all.
My weakened body lays defeated on the field,
Torn, battered, and bleeding.
I put my hands up in surrender and cry out,
“Father, I can’t do this on my own!”
Then I feel a tender touch,
See a caring face,
Hear a gentle whisper calling out my name.
Now salve is put on my wounds
And piece by piece I am placed back together.
I am refined, renewed, and refreshed,
All for the glory of your name!
Camp Shiloh 2005
Camp Shiloh 2005
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Sunday, Rob Bell (pastor at Mars Hill) spoke about the first woe to the Pharisees. Jesus confronted the Pharisees saying, "You clean the outside of the cup and dish but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? First clean the inside of the cup and dish and then the outside will be clean." (Matt 23 and Luke 11)
We spend so much time on the outside that the inside is neglected. That's probably why we have such good looking people in the world with no character, integrity, or genuine love. We put on more make-up and buy more stuff to make ourselves look good...yet, we're rotting inside.
Cups were given to us as we walked into church, and Rob urged us to write down on the greed, wickedness, and self indulgent things that had seeped into our heart and had overflowed into our lives. What about you? What does your cup look like? Is it like the Pharisees' cups? I know I had somethings to write on that cup...then I put it at the foot of the cross...my challenge is to develop the inward man.
Later that Sunday night, Trygve Johnson (Chapel Dean at Hope College) spoke about Isaiah. he saw the throne on God...saw that he was unclean and cried, "Holy Holy Holy!" Who's been on your throne lately? sports, school, relationships? When you see who's on your throne, respond the way Isaiah did...go to the throne of God, fall on your face, confess, repent, and declare the holiness of the Lord.
I have been finding myself evaluating my life lately...and trying to figure out what really matters in life. I don't want to be the kind of person who looks great on the outside but is as shallow as a kiddie pool.
Deep and pure...centered on the majestic throne of God...and just being the person God created me to be...that's who I want to be.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Have you ever met someone who made you doubt what you really wanted or made you lose track of what God had told you in the first place?
That somehow in our own accord we make something up that there is not or we just start to settle for something that is not God's best or according to what's really in your heart.
I get so wrapped up in life, emotions, friendships, schedules, and my own world that I lose sight to the writing God inscripted on my heart.
I realized tonight that I am in need of God to renew those dreams and words he has placed in my heart...especially in preparation for the future. Right now, there are all these distractions that are gaining my attention. What I really need to do is run to the Holy of Holies. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a woman who stored all things in her heart. I bet that when she saw Jesus getting beaten and nailed to the cross, the Father reminded her of the memories and prophecies He had laid on her heart years before.
My counselor at camp once told me to never lose sight of the dreams and words God had placed in me. What a good reminder that is...
What about you? Are there words you've let drift away in the whirlwind of life? Have you lost focus of what God had intended for you? Take some time in the next week and let God probe your heart. I know that I will be setting some time aside to get refocused and reassured in my walk with the Lord. My prayer is that you will regain life from God's words to you and that you will be renewed...
...run to the Lord unhindered and in complete awe of His grace...for you will never be the same.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
I go back to school on Thursday...there have been no deaths... until yesterday and today. My friend Karen Linder left with her boyfriend, Sam Meenings, to go to his family's cottage in Michigan. They were in a car accident that resulted in Sam's death at the scene and Karen on life-support. Her parents flew into Iowa to be with her...then they took her off life-support at 6:00pm. She died within 2 hours...peacefully...
I knew Karen...she was a roommate to both my suitemate Katie and her sister Jeanne. She was in Sacred Dance with me. She had such a peaceful joy about her...she ran deep...
My friend Traci wrote this poem in memory of a boy we knew from Camp Shiloh. I was reminded of it today...it could easily have been me that is no more...Karen and Sam were both 19 yrs old and ready to start their sophomore year of college...some things are just beyond explanation. Jesus, hold them...
What if it had been me instead of you that day?
What would have been the last words I'd say?
"Gee, mom, I love you" or "ease up off my back,
You always seem to yell at me and put me under attack."
Would the last thing people saw me do glorify my Lord?
Or would I be sitting round like the world looking like I was bored?
Would the last movie that I watched be worthy of my sight?
Or would it have been folks swearing up a storm and getting in a fight?
Would that last song I listened to have edified my mind?
Or would it have been a song the devil uses to bind?
What if it had been me?
Would I be satisfied with my life?
Would I be ready to go,
Or would I need to save one more life from strife?
What if it had been me instead of you that day?
Would I look at my life differently?
Would there be things I'd change?
It wasn't be that day,
sadly, it was you.
But throughout my life, in everything I'll do,
I'll ask myself, "Is it worth it?"
What am I living for, because tomorrow,
it could be me that is no more.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
It has been an amazing, stretching, and exhausting week, not only physically but emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
Here's an example of how my day is:
10:00 Conditioning (keyword: push-ups)
10:45 Technique (learning mime, gymnastics, etc...)
12:15 lunch after having burned so many calories
1:00 Warm-Up again
Then Improvisation with using different viewpoints and partnering
5:00 back to the Roberts townhouses for food!
7:00 Lecture by one of the company members...this is just every other night
There are 15 of us doing this apprenticeship. We are from all over...from various places in New York, Michigan, Delaware, Mississippi, Virginia, and North Carolina. God has certainly brought us together to pursue our passion for the arts. There is going to be 2 more weeks of training, then we go on tour! I'll put up the tour schedule sometime soon!
by the way-News Channel 13 is doing a special on PUSH this Friday (the 20th) on their morning show...5am-7:30am. They want to shoot us live so we have to be up at the studio at 5 am, which means we have to look like we're up at this hour everyday dancing! :)
Sunday, July 8, 2007
My friend Sarah showed me this poem after a conversation that we had about being content about being single for the time being and falling more in love with Jesus. I pray that you really enjoy it and that God speaks to you through it.
Everyone longs to give themselves completely to someone,
To have a deep soul relationship with another,
To be loved thoroughly and exclusively.
But God, to a Christian, says,
"No, not until you are satisfied, fulfilled and content
With being loved by Me alone,
With giving yourself totally and reservedly to Me,
With having an intensely personal and unique relationship
With Me alone.
Discovering that only in Me is your satisfaction to be found,
Will you be capable of the perfect human relationship
That I have planned for you.
You will never be united with another until you are united
With Me alone,
Exclusive of anyone or anything else,
Exclusive of any other desires or longings.
I want you to stop planning,
And allow Me to give you the most thrilling plan existing,
One that you cannot imagine.
Please allow Me to bring it to you.
You just keep watching Me, expecting the greatest things.
Keep experiencing the satisfaction that I Am.
Keep listening and learning the things I tell you.
You just wait.
Don't be anxious.
Don't look at the things you think you want;
You just keep looking off and away up to Me,
Or you'll miss what I want to show you.
And then when you are ready,
I'll surprise you with a love far more wonderful than any
You could dream of.
You see, until you are ready and until
The one I have for you is ready
(I am working even at this moment to have you both ready at the same time),
Until you are both satisfied exclusively with Me
And the life I prepared for you,
You won't be able to experience the love that
Exemplified your relationship with Me.
And this is the perfect love.
And dear one, I want you to have this most wonderful love,
I want you to see in the flesh a picture of your
Relationship with Me,
And to enjoy materially and concretely
The everlasting union of beauty, perfection and love
That I offer you with Myself.
Know that I love utterly.
I Am God.
Believe it and be satisfied.
~ St. Anthony of Padua
Saturday, July 7, 2007
There is a cry within each one of us that wants to be captivating and loved by another. We want to take someone's breath away, yet we replace that someone with anyone who will pay attention to us. A guy or a girl can't complete that desire. We search and search for that One. The world grows tired of the masks we've place over our hearts to gain love...and it has all been through our own pursuit. There's a quote that says, "Don't chase after love and hope God catches up to you, chase after God and see who's running beside you." I think that is so true! True contentment is letting Jesus make you beautiful inside and out, knowing that as you pursue Him, everything will work out according to His perfect plan. My challenge to you is to follow your true love and continue to fall in love with Him...then and only then will you be able to effectively love someone else.
You alone are Beautiful
You alone are worthy
Captivate me, Jesus
Until you are all that's left of me.
You alone can make me beautiful
when you shine through me.
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
I then heard God whisper, "this is for you! I made this morning with you in mind!" He knows just how to make me smile and to display his love for me. I'm reading Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge. It was talking about how God romances us.
Every song you love, every memory you cherish, every moment that has moved you to holy tears has been given to you from the One who has been pursuing you from your first breath in order to win your heart. God's version of flowers and chocolates and candlelight dinners comes in form of sunsets and falling stars, moonlight on lakes and cricket symphonies, warm wind, swaying trees, lush gardens, and fierce devotion (pg 116).
Even though there are probably many people who are disappointed about the rain on this Independence Day, I must confess that I have enjoyed this day entirely. I know that God made this morning as a love letter to me. He loves us personally and knows just how to show his love. He's the master of all love languages!
So how have you been blessed by Him? Are you aware of how He shows His love for you? It could be just small things such as hearing your favorite song on the radio or receiving encouragement from a friend. Be aware of these gifts of love, stay in-tuned to Him, and thank Him for displaying his glory and love in your life.