Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Mammas and The Pappas got it right.

These short end-of-the-year days always make me feel hyper reflective. Perhaps it's the long stretch of hours after the sun goes down, or all of those year in review specials on TV. Either way, I am compelled to plot a new life for the coming year with an unrelenting drive like in March of the Penguins. They just kept pressing towards the spot where they always bred, stepping around their dead frozen friends and leaving food sources way behind. I'da stuck near the food if ya know what I mean.

But why this time of year? Why not obsess over renewal, say, in February? For Chinese New Year? Maybe it's because it doesn't feels like the death is fresh in February (instead we're well into the mourning period), but in late December it's easy to imagine the year circling the drain since all of nature seems to be.

So I buy a new planner and diligently fill in all the blanks. I never buy one of those refillable planners because I know my attention span may not make it past the Spring bulbs, more or less for years to come. Plus, it's exciting to buy a new one and I've found the selection of planners is pretty thin at Chinese New Year.

I am wildly uncomfortable with schedules yet enjoy writing events in my new planner, including events I do each week, as if I'm so busy I might forget. I will honestly write in "Church, 11 a.m." on Sunday morning just to put something on the page. But usually I forget to write down appointments and stuff, so I'll write it in after and then check it off as complete. I live a small life it would seem.

This year I reread the Chronicles of Narnia and was transfixed by the way Lewis wrote God into all of nature. It helped me visualize how nature yearns for the world to be made right and how if we Believers were to stop praising the goodness of God, the rocks would have to take over. (Luke 19:40) So right now, even as trees are stripped of their leaves and shrubs frostbitten melt away into mush, they are waiting for God to renew them as He always has. Oh crap. A sycamore tree has more faith than I do. Deep in it's roots are the memories of how God has always renewed no matter how bad the winter got. I can't seem to even remember how God helped me avoid that car accident yesterday.

Yet I am built for renewal as much as a pansy or a slime mold. My cells renew every six months, I am not the same as I was yesterday. (Totally stealing from Donald Miller here. Thanks buddy.) So why do I insist on believing that nothing ever changes in my life? And that this sliver of time is my only chance to lay the ground work for 2010? Maybe it is because I am built for renewal that I seek it. But no matter how I rearrange the trappings of my life, the ingredients remain the same. And let's be honest, they always will. I got what I got. The Creator of the universe, the Author of all things good choose me for this gig. Who am I to complain? It's not like He doesn't know what He's doing.

God is good. All the time. Because THAT is His nature.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

With deepest regrets...

I do apologize for my two month absence from this blog. Lame, I know. Much has happened and nothing much has happened. Just know my computer decided to take a prolonged nap (until I can afford to fix it) and so my access to the internet has been inconsistent. That is however a cheap excuse to cover the fact that I haven't wanted to blog. Mostly it's been a matter too little time and too much coming at me all at once to sort my thoughts out.

So why blog at all right? It's not a requirement in this post-modern world,is it? No, but I wonder if I might not have been benefiting by writing about my spiritual walk. Since I am feeling rather adrift from God right now, I thought I'd see if this helped.

Tonight, while driving from city x to city y (about 45 min) I was thinking about this past year. It was rough. If you recall, I had some drama with that atheist guy. My sister informed me today that his ex-wife and mother to his 7 yr old daughter died. That got me to thinking about the situation. It's hard to have compassion for someone and want to be kind to them without getting into that whole mess again. Even more so, how hard it must be to lose a parent with no hope of ever seeing them again or even knowing what will happen to you when you die. (Pray for your enemies, right?)

That lead me to think about my maternal grandmother who is failing physically, for no known reason. She knows Jesus and I think is anxious to finally get to see him. I can't blame her, sometimes I feel the same. She's been a major force in my life and I am not ready to go through the process of losing her.

I did end up going on mission to Kenya. I have virtually no idea how I feel about it, to be honest. God IS good, and was very very good to take me there. I just don't know how to feel about the spiritual aspects of the mission. It left me with a lot of doubt and confusion. I've had trouble explaining how I feel about the trip, especially since people had such high expectations, but the closest I've come so far to understanding what happened is this: the closer we grow to God, the more we realize how very far we are away from Him.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Prayer Request

So...I am asking you for some major prayer support. Why? Because I am potentially not going to raise enough money for my mission trip and IF that happens, I need strength to praise God despite my disappointment. Lots of non-believers I know are aware of my plans and I want to be able to tell them that even though I am not going, God is in control of my life and that even in hardship God is worthy of praise. I suspect that will be hard for me to do without lying. But...God is amazing and perfectly capable of making sure I get the funds in time. But...if God doesn't want me to go, I won't be, even if I really really want to go! I still need to raise 75% of the money in three weeks!!! That's doable right?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I recently started watching my nieces again since my sister went back to teaching full time. It's hard because I have to sleep on their couch three days a week and miss having my own space. But I get to do the greatest things too. Like today, I was putting Amelia down for her nap and her three year old self insisted she didn't need to sleep. She refused to pick out any books to read before nap time, so I did. I choose two books about how much God loves us. One is this amazing book called "God Gave Us You" which always makes me cry. Of course today it did as well. But not for the usual reasons-gratitude for the gift of these girls, but for a new reason.

I have been feeling that God is slowly working on my need to rely on things other than Him for comfort. My accessible apartment, for example. I love it and could not imagine moving. Even though it's been a huge blessing, I have been feeling God slowly teaching me that I would be ok without it. That I can live anywhere, accessible or not, if I have Him. Just one of many examples.

I have been aware of these changes and have recognized that the last thing I felt a need to cling to was being near my nieces. I love them so much and would hate to not be a significant part of their lives because I lived far away. I have justified my position to God by claiming that I am the main, near daily Christian influence in their lives, and how would God bring them into salvation without me?

While I was reading this book, listening to Amelia snore, I gave the girls to God. I released my need to see them, so that God's will can be done in my life. This does not mean that He has plans for me to move etc. but I know He wants me WILLING to go where ever He sends me. My Lord loves them even more than I do, so they will always be in the best of hands.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Let's just ignore the two month gap shall we?

OK? Good.

Now that we have that settled, GUESS WHAT I AM DOING??? I am planning a mission trip to Kenya in November! God, and Chris Welkley, inspired me to apply and now I have less than three months to raise nearly 4 grand. Scary for us but not so for the owner of a thousand sheep on a thousand hills, right?

I should have blogged the day I heard that they'd take me, I was so full of praise! I drove from my hometown to my sister's (about an hour and a half away) singing praise songs and crying with joy for the goodness of my Lord the whole way. Sappy I know, but I was so grateful. Shouting adoration and exaltations to one so good just doesn't seem like enough.

I will definitely keep you updated via my blog, after all I may have to ask you for money. ;)

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Chris Welkey inspired blog

OK, so yesterday I go to my local Starbucks to drink coffee and read books right? This is what the unemployed do. I notice the new barista is super slow, but I've got no job to hurry back to. So I wait patiently. Not a big deal.

After I enjoy my coffee I start to get hungry and decide to get a deli sandwich from the grocery store. I go to the counter. I see no staff. I say "hello!" Nothing. I go around to the far end and see a young woman kind of standing there and so I ask, "Can you help me?" "Oh yeah" she says with little haste. Very blank. She comes to the counter and I say, "I'd like a turkey and swiss, on sour dough, with everything." "Oh...ok" she says. She goes to bread bins, pokes a few and says "Oh, sorry we have no sourdough." I say, "Ok, just a hard french roll then." I choose this because I can SEE it, right? No she says, they don't have any. She walks back to counter leaving the plastic bins open-food sanitation is a must for me! She stands at the counter saying...nothing! Just looking at me. I say, "Well, what can you do?" She says "Sorry." I say, trying HARD to control the snark in my voice, "So there is not a single sour dough roll or single french roll in this grocery store? (long pause-nothing, so I say...) You can't just go get some off a shelf?" She says, kind of surprised, "Yeah, that's a good idea." And continues to stand there. I finally say "You don't want me to go get it right?" Snarky as all get out now. "Oh, ok" she says. She wanders off and returns within less than five minutes, so I think she's made good time. She marvels at the fact that she found a sour dough baggett in the BAKERY! Such luck! She proceeds to make my sandwich, slowly. "You want turkey?" "Yes, turkey with swiss and everything on it." "You want cheese?" "Yes, swiss." "You want mayonnaise?" Every. item. that. could. go. on. the. sandwich. was proceeded by the asking of this question.

Now, if I had perceived any sort of biological reason for her slowness, such as a disability or had I seen flame red eyes that might explain her stoned behavior I would not complain. BUT she seemed perfectly capable of normal cognitive functions and seemed pretty sober, so the fact that she's just some silly young girl who doesn't get that when one is WORKING there should be some haste drove me bonkers. That's when I thought of Chris and knew I had to blog it!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Hello? Is this thing on?

I've been doing better as a blogger, ya know, blogging more often. Yet no comment joy for me. So sad.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Yesterday I was hanging out with my nieces and feeling really happy and content. I thought, if God never gives me kids I'll still be happy with this. This is so good it's enough!

Today is another story. My sister, Dad, and I watched the movie Juno while Amelia was at her first day of pre-school. When she got home I was filled with such I-want-to-have-kids emotions I had trouble hiding my teary eyes. Even Amelia screaming about wanting her pink flip flops didn't touch it. Of course when she started to start screaming about not wanting to wear underwear, I'll admit the feeling slipped a little.

It's hard to wait on the Lord.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Wrestling Match

Today I am just enjoying the wrestling I am doing with God. Pray for me? Pray that I will soon get His blessing and know His will for my life.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Normally I dislike sermons that focus on a holiday (save for Christmas and Easter of course) because I find that they tend to be cheesy. But I was visiting my sister for the weekend and so I planned to go to a local church Sunday morning. While I was getting ready my niece Amelia asked me if she could go with me. My sister put an extra car seat in my car and Amelia and I had out first outing together alone-to church! I was of course delighted to have her in my car yet acutely aware of my driving. We ran to Starbucks and had a drink (The usual for me, triple shot for the toddler) before showing up to church.

Long story short, she was so well behaved. Tried to sing along, kept pretty quiet during prayer and even shook a few hands without coaching. Eventually she got bored sitting still and we went into the "Cry Room" as we call it at home. But what I did hear of the sermon struck me.

The pastor was preaching on Memorials, such as the Ebenezer built by the Israelites after God lead them across the Jordan River. (Josh 4) He told us story after story of God intervening in his life and how despite the power of these moments he often forgot about them, so he keeps a list to memorialize them. He did not want to forget how God had blessed him because when hard times come, as they do, he wanted to remember them and therefore be confident because the God who showed up in his past would show up again. Looking at my niece, a memorial to God answering prayer, who was so prayed for before she was born and is so cherished now, I had trouble not crying. Normally I wouldn't mind, but how do you explain tears of joy to a two year old?

For the next couple days whenever we went somewhere in a car, she wanted to ride with me and listen to her favorite Bob and Larry CD. I very much want her to grow up having a fulfilling and healthy relationship with her creator. I was so overwhelmed with gratitude watching her sing along in the back seat to "God is So Good." It made me want to make a list of how God has shown up in my life. It is in no way comprehensive or specific, but here's what I've got so far.

- A Christian legacy that goes back I don't know how far.
- Prayer warriors who have prayed over me since before I was born.
- The family and friends I have that help keep me pointed to God despite who I really am.
- My nieces who continue to stun me with the goodness of my God.
- A patient Father who allows me to wander and then welcomes me back with such love.
- The death of my Savior who loves me more than I can comprehend, loves my nieces more than I am capable of and has never regretted the sacrifice He made to save me.

Friday, May 15, 2009

No one needs to convince me of the presence of evil in this world. No one needs to cite evidence to justify a belief in the devil and the sin he causes. But honestly, I do not understand why my Father, who I know is love, allows some things to happen. It can be tempting to get angry about this. I do know He does intervene sometimes, but what possible criteria can be used to decide when? To know the answer to this, I would have to be god, and I am not. But I don't think God gets angry with us when we cry out to Him "WHY?" Oh, I know I am rambling.

I follow the blog of a Christian, a friend of a friend, who has just lost one of her twins in utero at 8 months and it makes me wonder why these things happen. Praying about this, the image came to mind of God letting us cry in His lap, like we did as a little kids, asking our parent why something happened that we don't understand. Then I remembered what they always said, "You'll understand better when you are older." I think this may be a good way of thinking about these kinds of situations. We think we understand what we observed, but we don't understand the reasons. That takes time and maturity and there is no way to speed up that process.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

I know I know I know...

I am a terrible blogger! I just have not felt that much like writing. BUT I did want to let you all know that I am doing better. The thing with the agnostic is over, I'm pursuing my relationship with God again and I am generally happier. Not bad huh? I really appreciate all of the support, prayers and listening you have done for me.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Thoughts on heaven and my friend Pat who is there right now.

(This entry was inspired by a posting I did on my friend Pat's Facebook profile. Pat died about 6 weeks ago, but her profile is still up and when I see it I often get to thinking. It's just been on my mind.)

I've known Pat for many years through our church. I knew her to be a happy woman who loved her Lord, family, church and gardening. I am ashamed to admit that while she was alive I didn't necessarily think she would list these items in this order. Being on staff at my church for a while I was often aware of promises people would break to help with this or that ministry and it made me pretty bitter. I know myself, I am a terrific flake. Because of this I think I had trouble appreciating what Pat DID do without thinking about what she didn't do. After all, point the finger elsewhere before it is pointed at me, right? This is in no way intended to critic my friend, but instead myself. I never just looked at her and was grateful for what she did give.

I didn't get to go to her funeral so I feel strange thinking of her as dead. But when I go to church and see the roses she recently trimmed starting to grow, I feel she is gone. I also can't help but see how dedicated she was to taking care of our church campus. She used her gifts to honor God's as best as she could. What right did I have to expect more? Can I say the same about myself? An emphatic no!

She is also helping me to grasp a bit of the reality of heaven. It is not some mythical place, but an actual place of reward for those who love Jesus. Pat loved Jesus. Now she is seeing Jesus face to face-physical and literal!, learning things about God we will never know until we go there, and singing "Holy holy holy" to God without getting tired or losing her voice. She is now the person God always intended her to be, without the side affects of life's hardships, the learned insecurities or fears and without the physical problems that shaped her daily life. I cannot be sad for her. I can't help but be happy for my friend.

So Pat, thank you for all you did. You are with Jesus RIGHT NOW! How freaking cool is that?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

No real title

My continued involvement with my agnostic has lead me to spend a lot of time thinking about what I really believe. That can't be bad...right? I think about things like: will my Christian friends not be as close to me if I date him? (Which I am proud to say has not happened!) Or how will this decision affect the children in my life: nieces? kids of friends? kids at church? Or the biggie, if I'm willing to ignore the Lord telling me to not be unequally yoked, what else will I ignore. And WHY???

I'm not entirely sure I've been "doing" Christianity right. By that I mean I think I have spent all of this time saying that everything that happens is in God's hand, but truthfully have been striving daily with white knuckles to do what I think is right. (I DO know I can't earn salvation.) I can see now that that put a lot of pressure on me. Pressures like, do I mention Jesus enough to my niece and if not have I somehow missed a huge opportunity? Does my attitude at church affect the kids who see me? Have I done some permanent damage to their view of the church? How will I explain to my pre-teen friend Mikayla that she should not date a non-Christian boy, when I am? This really goes to the question of my credibility. While these concerns may be valid, the reality is they are not really in my control.

I don't really get how the Holy Spirit works. I tend to think of Him as the lesser of the Trinity. More like an angel or helping spirit than actually God. So I don't rely upon Him. I don't depend upon Him to take care of these concerns. I act like He is useless because I think I can take care of it all myself. All I need to do is work really hard or longer or persuade more people to help etc etc. Perhaps this view of the Holy Spirit is not related to how I "do" Christianity, but it might be.

Sorry, this post is all over the place.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

But I have nothing to say!

I don't! I am fairly boring right now. No new drama. I know it has been over a week, but nothing has happened! OH! Duh! I made my own laundry soap!?! Not exciting enough to post about I suppose, especially since most of you have heard about it from the others who have done it. Oh, I could pass along a prayer request, couldn't I? My church is having a meeting this Saturday eve to consider a new church plant. Please pray that if this is God's will we will be faithful servants. Today I am watching my nieces while my sister is at work. Right now the 8 month old is crying in her crib while I count the seconds until the 2.5 yr old goes down for a nap too. 5 minutes until peace time! Boring I know, I told ya I had nothing to say.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


OK, I'm offically panicked and regretting all mature and healthy things said in previous blog!

Holly's theme for the day

As you well know, I've been struggling lately to keep my hope in Christ and not in some guy, any guy for that matter. I've been buoyed by your support, I really have. My friend Annie has been sending me emails that are not filled with fluff and delusions, but filled with the truth. These emails are blunt and loving and have really been on my mind. In addition, her sister Mary posted a photo yesterday that the Lord has used to remind me of who He is. You may have seen it, but if not, it is of Mary standing in prayer with her three boys tucked against her. She and her husband are building upon a legacy, raising their children in the ways of God. This image was so genuine and so true that I could not look away. I had to look and see something I could not have with a guy who thinks my faith is a fairytale.

Don't freak out, I'm not in love and I have only gone out with him twice, this is really more about what he represents: the hope I put in being chosen by a man. But the reality is, I have been chosen. I've been chosen by Christ and I have been cheating on him with my agnostic.

As I drove to church today, which I wept through, I was finally able to really talk to God about this. I was able to actually feel Him listening to me, despite the fact that I am not at the point yet of asking for forgiveness. I could have asked for it weeks ago, and every time I screwed up again, but I hate doing that. I prefer to come before Him without reservation, which I would have had.

I've been really honest with my pastor and his wife throughout this and they have been amazing. I can be totally honest, say whatever I need to and they still heap upon me the love of Christ. So today, when he preached on Galatians 1 11-15 he knew what I was thinking about. He preaches straight through books of the bible, so I know he did not manipulate this sermon, it was sent by God. The words "Hope in Christ and no one else" came up again and again. If I didn't know what I needed to do when I got there this morning I did after the sermon.

But there in lies the rub, as my philosophy professor used to say. I know what I need to do, but have yet to find the strength. This guy, he is not good enough. Not so much "not good enough" for Holly, as much as not good enough for the daughter of the Creator, for the daughter of the Lion of Judah. That phrase "Lion of Judah" has been in my head all day, I need to look it up and see what it really means. I think I'll learn something important.

So please pray for me, because going back to life without a boy in it will be really hard and lonely. Oh, even the thought of it feels awful. It really does. Not to have the excitement of hearing from him, of not looking forward to seeing him, of not pondering where the relationship will go. This feeling made me think today of a deeply theological Alanis Morisette song. Now Alanis is not known for her 'theology', nor do I think she realises the theological implications of this song, but they are there. I've posted a link to the song, sans the video so you can hear what I mean. This song is about how she has lived her life with a dream about how a relationship with a man would be and how she's always disappointed. (Ok, yes I'll admit most of her songs are about this.) This song is incredibly true for me. It's embarrassing to admit that. This guy, my agnostic, has become such a companion in my head, even though we've only gone out twice, that I am preparing to be very lonely without him. Alanis seems to think that the truth will ultimitely be found within herself, but in fact can only be found in a relationship with an actual Living God. I wonder if anyone has told her?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

A favor for Martina

My dear friend Martina has shared with me her great blonging for a new post from me. Considering the lack of sleep I got on her couch last night due to her four adorable dogs, I am incapable of any rational thought. However, I am still capable of saying how much I love her and her family and am so very grateful to God that He had the foresight (odd to think of God as having foresight when He is ALL, but ok) to send them into my life. Wherever would I be without them?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Numbers 44 through 50 of (more) random stuff about Holly

44. I will always pick a worm up off the sidewalk and place him in the dirt, but I'd prefer no one see me. I can't stand to watch them struggle to breath in a puddle either so I fish them out.

45. I hate several words. Words that get under my skin. Mostly I hate the word p-a-n-t-i-e-s. Makes me want to take a bleach bath.

46. I'm a mess. Wait, this is supposed to be things you DON'T know about me. Ok, how about a total mess? A thief, a murderer, a blasphemer, a liar, and an adulterer (additions to number 46 coming soon I'm sure)

47. I really wish I had enough money to grocery shop at Wholefoods. Of course I would eat all of the food I bought, then would finally achieve fear of being wider than I am tall. Poverty has it's perks.

48. I went to Wholefoods today just to smell their flowers. My heart gave a funny little pitter-patter normally inspired by a boy. I think I have spring fever.

49. I wonder how much it would cost to fill my bathtub with flower blossoms and sit in it. Hyacinths, and tulips, and geraniums, and peonys, and irises, and..... Just once. Wouldn't that be glorious?

50. I think it is going to take another 30 years to compile 50 random things about me. I'm exhausted.


I have nothing of value to say. I don't. I'm ugh. I am a-jumble. I am a mess. I may soon not be able to even find my way around my apartment. I'm rudder-less. Adrift.

Despite all of this, especially the internal conflict over my agnostic, I am grateful because God has continued to remind me that He is still singing over me. That's weird no? I can easily imagine Him singing over me on those rare occasions I get it right, but to sing over me constantly? Even when I do things so counter to His perfect nature. Things so ugly to the majesty of my Creator? Such a far cry from the royal priesthood I have been called to?

I can't claim to know much about Calvinism, but it has been on my mind through this. I know three things about Calvinism. It has five points (5 point Calvinism), it is often mentioned with a sneer, and Mark Driscoll preaches about it. Now I am not saying I believe it yet, and certainly not just because Brother Mark supports it, but the idea....the idea that God has chosen me, despite the CRAP He knew I would do...well it has been a tremendous comfort through this. That He elected to love me regardless of the fact that I would never in my right mind have chosen Him, but instead would choose to wallow in the darkness. The darkness that covers so much and is infinitely more comfortable than the blinding glare of His light, where every single awful thing I have thought or done in 32.5 years is on display. Yet, in that light, where He always is, viewing every nasty secret that will ever cross my heart and every nasty public action I will commit from today until I die, seeing ALL of that, He chooses to love me. How bizarre? How humbling? How terrifying?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Well, I heard back from him....

Read it for yourself? (it's been a really great day!!!)

Holly~ Jesus is my Lord and Savior. It's through His sacrafice, and my faith in His promise by which I am saved. You obviously don't know me. I leave you to your ill judgements, and grudges. But yes... I'm accepted by Jesus Christ because I've accepted Him. Your ill-will is amazing considering you've been saved. I pray for you still, and wish you happiness. I guess we were friends all those years because you didn't feel safe...? I can't even justify that thought. I will leave you now in peace. Thank you for our good times... even if YOU choose not to remember. May Christ melt your heart and make it whole, its a wonderful feeling!!!

Confess your sins to one another?

If you'll recall I had an email from an ex-friend that I've been pondering how to respond to for a few weeks now. (see earlier post) I don't mean to sound dramatic, but ever since I received his email I have been feeling gross, angry, irrational, and even questioning my faith. I don't think it was because of him really, just perhaps a symptom based on my reaction. I really don't know yet.

Along with being available on stupid facebook to the likes of him (ugh!), I have been able to talk with old friends. Friends that knew me when I was the farthest away from God. Totally unexpectedly, it has really shaken my center. Not because they are bad people, they are in fact really good people (who are non-Christians). They always treated me really well, even when I was a dumb young girl who didn't know what trouble she could have gotten herself into. Especially the guys, they always looked out for me like a little sister. So it has been nice to talk with them again. They can see from my page that I am a Christian now but none of them seem to find it off-putting. It's kind of been like old times... including my behaviour. Despite no pressure from any of them to do so, I slid right back into my old habits! I keep thinking "...I don't understand what I am doing, because I do not do what I want to do, but I do what I hate." (Rom 7:15)

The reality is this....being a Christian is (often) hard for me. Curbing my behaviour, not doing things I want, giving up things I feel certain I need to trust that God knows better than I do. It can be so hard. At least it has been for me lately. Frankly, I have fun talking and joking with them online to replace the loneliness that I feel sitting around waiting for God to show me what He has planned for me. I don't feel like I can do that anymore.

I want to be married. I want to raise children to honor God. I want my husband to cherish me and pray over our children when he goes to work everyday. And yet....this has not happened. This is probably THE major stumbling block for me. For some reason I've been reading a lot of different blogs by several women (most of whom I have never even meet) who seem to be doing just what I want. Blogging merrily about their lives with their Christ-like husbands and posting pictures of their babies who will (God willing) grow up into men and women of Christ. If you think I am referring to you and your blog, please don't take offense. I love your blogs and have gotten a tremendous amount from them. If anything, they help me visualize what can actually be in a Christian marriage. It is hard however always being a fly on the wall instead of a participant.

In that vein, I accepted the offer of a date with one on these old friends. He's smart and funny and charming and was really kind to my sister and I when we were young and our grandfather died. He's a good guy. He's also an agnostic. Seriously. Sexual sin is not something I struggle with often, thanks to the grace of God. But when I do struggle with it, it becomes all consuming. I want the closeness that comes from that kind of a relationship. With this guy, there is the possibility of fulfilling that, even if for only a while. On the date I was looking at him and thinking, "I don't want to give up Jesus for this guy!" Yet given opportunities to end it, I have not. Honestly, I like the attention and I'm not sure I want to let it go yet.

Hmmm, what else it there to say? I emailed that ex-friend today with a brief explanation and reminder that I did not want to be friends again. I gave him no opportunity to think I would be willing to hear from him. I did however tell him a little about my faith and then pasted in an article from Vernon McGee about the real way to heaven. At least I don't have to worry about responding to him anymore.

Well there you have it. Holly in all her honesty, nearly as naked as the day she was born. The good news? God already knows how this is going to end and promises that it too will be to His glory. I just wish I knew how...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Status update

I have a paper due tomorrow, which is the primary reason I've blogged three times today. I am nearly convinced that God wants me in seminary; why else would I freak out so much, if it wasn't important? But every single paper I have to write results in a panic attack. Well, not a full attack, I don't pass out, but my heart races, I get sweaty and I look for absolutely anything to avoid doing what I have to do. The part of the paper due tomorrow morning isn't really even hard but none-the-less, I'm panicked. There is no rational reason. I decided to take a break, after only achieving reading the assignment description through a few times. I ran to Target. Here's a list of what I bought. See is you can spot the madness.

1. cat litter (which I needed or I wasn't going to be able to go into my bathroom anymore.)

2. a new pair of slouchy comfy pj bottoms. (which I did not need, especially since I was wearing a pair of slouchy comfy pj bottoms at the time.)

3. a box of Hotpockets Pepperoni pizza (this was to be my dinner.)

4. garbage bags (nothing odd here, I did need them.)

5. a box of Weightwatchers Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Sundaes (which is thawing as we speak, although I will eat it (read: both) frozen if the panic gets bad enough.) Note: apparently they were supposed to be frozen, they are not now. I guess the word sundae should have given me a clue.

To top it all off I ran to the Starbucks for the ultimate comfort, a gigantic mocha with whip cream, darn it! It took me a while to order though because I couldn't speak, I kept saying "I want a venti mocha cappuccino." The barista and I both just stood there looking very puzzled, because we knew there is no such thing.

The long and short of it...I need your prays. I can't stay in school if I'm gonna do this on a bi-weekly basis.

Number 27-43 Random Things about Me (Because I am a narcissist)

27. I was in-love with Madonna as a little kid. I used to run around the house singing "Like a Virgin" with absolutely no idea what I was talking about. I owned three "Madonna" skirts (fav was mustard yellow), ya know the kind that was a long tube and rolled over at the top so your belly showed. There is a photo that exists out there somewhere of me dressed as Madonna. Gobs of bangles, trashy make-up, my Madonna skirt,l posing in our garage window for our record cover. It had just started to drizzle, it was pretty rockin'. Heather if you still have it, I would love to see it! Post it on Facebook, I have no pride.

28. I know how to weld, drive a backhoe and want to learn how to drive a scissorlift.

29. I learned to drive with hand controls and kind of miss them because I could drive with my legs crossed, which I was told was kind of sassy!

30. I regret selling my first car. It was a crap, grey, 1982 dodge van with no real backseat. I would pack loads of people in there and drive to Ashkenaz's in Berkeley to go dancing, pick up hitchhikers, and went on more trips to the ocean in that van. Of course I ran out of gas more times in that stupid van too...I still haven't lived that down in my family.

31. I once slept in the Soda Hole parking lot in my van.

32. I dropped acid at my sister's Christmas party at 15 and got caught by my mother. I know. But I am glad it happened, I learned my limits.

33. I could tell you the name of every boy I've crushed on since kindergarten including a self deprecating story to go with each.

34. My favorite sound in the world right now is the squeal my niece Amelia makes when she greets me. Then I do it back. Then we hug. I hope she never grows out of that.

35. I was obsessed with marine mammals as a kid. I went to the Steinhart Aquarium at 5 and saw the dolphins. It was like a spiritual experience for me. From then on I was obsessed and planned on being a marine biologist when I grew up. I can still identify nearly all whale species and most dolphin by sight. If a friend was mad at me she would tease me and say she was going whaling and I would cry.

36. I am proud to say that the first tape I ever bought was Joshua Tree by...do I really need to tell you? I bought it at the Rainbow Records in Napa, remember that place? However...if I'm being really honest here, the first record I ever bought was the Cabbage Patch Kids Sing-Along Album. I bought it at Mervyn's. There was a significant gap of time between purchases.

37. My first cigarette was with Sarra Brooks (Loew) in her parent's backyard.

38. I will say virtually anything self deprecating for a laugh. (see #33)

39. I do not recommend dating an Englishman. I do not recommend dating any buskers. I do not recommend dating any English buskers. (see #38)

40. I have a phobia of certain paper noises. I hate the sound of cardboard edges rubbing against each other. I hate the sound of cardboard being cut. I do not like to touch newspaper. (This is what ended my budding career in journalism, until the advent of the internet-but sadly then I was too old.) I do not like the sound of fingernails touching paper. I consider it grounds for ending a friendship if a person does any of these things on purpose to mock me. Consider this your warning.

41. I have reoccurring nightmares about orca whales (killer whales). The dream always involves being in a body of water and they are swimming below me and I'm scared. (weird considering #35)

42. The song Hotel California will always have a special place in my heart, no matter what you say.

43. I am a groupie. *sigh*

A Varsha-Rachel Update

I've gotten several chances to hang out with my friend Martina's new daughter Varsha-Rachel since they got home and have been having lots of fun! I thought today I would tell you about it since I haven't been blogging much lately and because I'll do just about anything to avoid writing a paper for my class. (You want to write it for me? It's on Song of Songs 5-have at it!)

I expected that when I meet Varsha for the first time, well..I expected to cry like a baby. I really did. I expected to freak her out because "This new lady is weeping on me!" I had watched my friends struggle for nearly one year to get to this point and joined them in praying earnestly for her physical, spiritual, and mental health. And every time I would read their blog from India I would cry! So, the odds were pretty good I was gonna cry a river. So I planned it out in my head, I would be dignified-no slobbering! It did not go as planned.

I was sick with a cold but determined to get to meet her that day so after skipping church to rest up (I'm awful no?) and after taking more than the prescribed amount of aspirin I drove to the nursing home where I knew I could catch up with them. My timing, as it were, could not have been more perfect. I was parking as they were coming out! I had envisioned being able to come up to her and introduce myself, likely with tears in my eyes. Instead, after I opened my car door Martina saw me and pointed me out to Varsha, who then ran at me (I'm still in my car!) with a gigantic grin on her face, talking really fast in Marathi. I did not cry, I did not have the time! She was climbing around my car, showing me her teddy bear, pointing out her parents and our friends Marlow and Geneva, who she calls grandpa and grandma. She was so cute and such a whirlwind that it was all I could do to keep up.

Since then I have had the honor of teaching her some English words (push the button on, push the button off), discovering some of her hidden English knowledge (knows the numbers 1-10) and introducing her to playdough. It is universal, every kid tries to eat it the first time!

I ended up sleeping over at their house Friday night and got to watch her nighttime routine. Bath time, story time, things like that. But as Martina was reading the next story out of her children's bible to Varsha, the tears showed up. You see the story was taken mostly from Genesis 15 and 18, the Abrahamic covenant and the fulfillment of the promise to give Sarah a child. As they sat on the floor and read about how God promised that He would give Abraham so many children that he wouldn't be able to count them I realized that God was talking about Varsha. Thousands and thousands of years ago, God knew that while He was promising children to one Hebrew man and his wife, He was also promising that this little Indian girl would be adopted into this American family and be told of His love for her. I couldn't help but cry when I felt how good He is, how big He is, how complex He is, and how everything He does (including what might appear to be misfortune-a child likely being abandoned by her impoverished mother) is ultimately for good, for the glorification of HIM. What could possibly be better than Him, and how can we not just fall at His feet in worship? She eventually noticed my tears and explained to her mom in Marathi, that I was crying. I can't wait to explain to her in English why.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

In the name of full disclosure...

I've been thinking a lot about the Crucifixion lately, trying to change my heart toward that former friend I blogged about last week. I had no compassion for him or the fact that he is likely to be going to hell when he dies. How can I be so callus? I wanted to remember that I too am a sinner, that I am no better then he. That he and I both nailed Jesus to a cross.

So I focused on how I was one of the people who sat in a field and listened to Him preach. How I followed behind Him as He left Jericho full of excitement that the political atmosphere might change. Waving a palm branch as He entered Jerusalem for Passover, heard the children cry out "Hosanna to the Son of David!" How scared I felt when I heard Him criticise the leadership I relyed upon and realized how much I would have to change to follow Him. How I hide in the corner to see Him brought out, chained. How I eagerly chanted "Barabbas!" when they asked us who should go free. How I excited I was to shout "Crucify HIM!" with the mob. How early I got to the parade route so I could see Him walk by dragging His cross, covered in His own blood. How I stood in the safety of the crowd to watch His mother cry for Him, how I could smell His body fail Him as they put the nails in his hands and feet.

But then He reminded me of something else...He reminded me that when He was preaching in the fields He was preaching to me. That He was rejoicing with me as we entered Jerusalem. That when He was explaining how to enter the Kingdom of Heaven to the Pharisees, He was explaining it to me. How when He was in the garden praying before arrest, He was praying for me. How He heard my voice in the crowd but didn't dispare because He knew I would come to love Him. How He saw me in the crowd as He passed by but didn't hate me as He should. And how He chose to be utterly humiliated on a cross so that when I felt humiliated I could think about how He felt the same and understood my pain. And how when He asked His Father to forgive us, He meant me.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Status update.

I had a really bad day. I think God might have picked a fight with me just to get my attention. I may blog about it tomorrow, but for now...I'm exhausted.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

25 Random Things You Should Know About Me

Since I have been blog-stalking several of you and you might be wondering just who I am, I thought I would share with you an exercise I recently did on Facebook. The latest trend on Facebook is the create a list of 25 random tid-bits of info about you. The point is to do it fast, I however took 6 days.

1. I was hoping no one would tag me (meaning sent me theirs so that I am obligated to do mine-a sort of virtual chain letter), but now my (former favorite) cousin Megan has gone and done it. Blast!
2. Like Megan I can suffer from "Impostor Syndrome". All through college I felt like a big-fat-faker. Grad school (including the trial by fire in Dr. Arbino's class) has really helped with this. Thanks God!
3. If I could go back and be a Freshman in college again, I'd totally do it, and do it ALL differently. Does anyone know the rules for going back in time? Do I get to keep the knowledge I've gained since?
4. I hated high school so much I graduated two years early. I have a reoccurring nightmare that the high school contacts me to tell me there's been some sort of mistake and I have to go back. Awful!
5. I've always wanted to try being a professional writer (please don't take the quality of this note (or my blog) as proof or disproof of any talent). I've also always wanted to learn how to paint with acrylics.
6. I'm sick of my hometown! I've lived here for 6 years since college and feel like it's time to move on for awhile. I want to move to somewhere fun and urban, but I feel stuck. Mostly because of money. (pout) I'd love to move to some little colonial Mexican town in the jungle. Um...maybe not forever, I've seen what it's done to some people. I think they call it jungle fever.
7. I regularly read the gossip page on MSN, then feel really gross afterwards. My favorite is when they have the worst dressed list. I don't think Jesus would read it, ya get me?
8. I recently started a blog of out total boredom. I'm generally too embarrassed to share it with anyone, but I did give the link to a few people who I thought would be encouraging.
9. I learned to knit about three years ago. I do mostly kids stuff, not because they're so cute but because I have a short attention span. I don't do anything in pairs for the same reason.
10. The closest thing to "action" I've gotten in 6 months was being called a saucy tart by a gay friend and kind of being stalked by a creepy neighbor. I chose to chalk this up to the ethical behaviour form I signed for grad school. No?
11. I love Christmas. I think it should start on November 1st (I totally stole this idea from you! You know who you are.) and end after the first week of January. That's when my Spring fever kicks in like a Kung Fu Master. However...my place still has some decorations up and I hate it. In my defense the items are above my reach and I am waiting for a volunteer. Any one? Please don't make me ask the creepy neighbor, cause I know he'd do it.
12. I love opera but have never seen one in person. La Traviata is SO beautiful. I bought a book called Opera 101 because I know nothing about it, but when tried to read it I couldn't, it was way too boring. Maybe it isn't true love.
13. The thing I am most afraid of is waking up alone at 50, with 7 cats, wearing the same sweater I've worn for 15 years with the compulsory holes in the elbows, craft projects covering my apartment, having grown wider than I am tall.
14. Every time I go on a big trip I make a travel journal, but have never, ever filled one up, no matter how hard I try. So I have like 6 half full travel journals. (Oh, who am I kidding? I never fill up any journal but I sure do love buying them.)
15. If I find a household appliance that I think is really great; like my grandma's upright Kitchen Aid mixer or my super-fab yellow vacuum, I name it Gloria.
16. I am currently watching Dirty Jobs and trying not to pee my pants laughing. He's at a factory where they clean ducks and he ripped it's head right off! Too funny.
17. I don't like watching football because I hate the macho-beer-gut-cheerleader-crap that (I believe) American football is today. However...I secretly sometimes turn a game on and let it play in the background when I'm lonely in my apartment. Sounds like childhood and home. (And yes, I do realize this comment drastically improves my chances of ending up like #12 but what can ya do?) I did however enjoy watching the end of the Superbowl, are there pigs flying? Check for me?
18. No matter how exhausted I am, I must read before bed. I have found that a good book will keep me up too long, a simply written book will get me to sleep pretty fast and non-fiction is the fastest. (ok, my bible is the fastest fastest, that's why I read it in the day time, duh!) Right now I am reading good-for-me-non-fiction-books. I've been getting plenty of sleep but am making no progress in the book.
19. I hate putting clean laundry away. I love when it has been put away, but loathe doing it. I thought I was being really clever and just left my clothes in a pile on my kitchen table near my laundry room. Very convenient! Until I watched an episode of "Wife Swap" out of total desperation. This awful awful woman did the same thing! I stopped doing this immediately!!!!!!
20. Every birthday my maternal Grandmother gives me $10 and has since I was a kid. This was the exact amount of money needed to buy a new Barbie at K-mart. To this day my sister and I call a ten dollar bill Barbie money.
21. The best camping trip I ever went on was when I was 18 with Gina A. I lost count of the number of ways we could have died. That was the best trip ever. I remember being thirsty the whole time, and drinking the koolaid with cinnamon and sugar in it, and the wild boar, and the rancid cheese, and the heat stroke. Ah, good times.
22. The code word for adventure is "pudding." It's from the 1950's movie Annie Get Your Gun. You see these two guys go on a big city adventure...ah, ya just got to see it.
23. At 18 I moved by myself to Seattle and went to culinary school. It was fun but I wasn't a very good cook-just didn't have the palate. I can, however, follow most complicated recipes and do still love to cook. I usually only cook on holidays though. My favorite memory from Seattle is riding the bus (which we called the shame train) home from Swedish Hospital with a fever (my car had run out of gas in the hospital parking garage), and seeing these two guys talk ecstatically to each other in Spanish about having just bought Michael Jackson's Thriller album. It was 1994! 94! Not 1984! When I eventually got my car out of the garage, I had to write a check for the $1 fee and the check bounced. This was pretty typical for my surreal days in the Emerald city.
24. I would die for either of my nieces.
25. I know it isn't popular but I totally love Jesus. This love has strained several of my relationships with family and friends. But he has changed my life, he's the reason I can get out of bed everyday. You could say I'm in love with him. Crazy, I know! I believe he is the son of God, was born to a virgin, lived a life never doing anything wrong, died on a cross, raised from the dead three days later and is still alive today. I know many people would rather me just keep this to myself, but think about this...if you read a great book or go to a fab new restaurant, you want to tell people about it, right? That's how I feel, I want to tell people about it.
After reading my friend Annie's blog today I decided that instead of writing about "Pray for your enemies" from Matthew 5:44 as I intended, I would be honest. I don't want to pray for my enemies. Don't misunderstand me, I know I should and am praying for that desire. But I think it is important for Christians to be honest and acknowledge that they sometimes struggle to comply with God's will. It's not all "happy Christians" and roses, right?

So, to my 'enemy.' I was recently contacted via Facebook by someone who I considered a friend at one low point in my life. (Stupid Facebook!) I had managed to avoid him for many years and was quite happy that way. Then a few weeks after I signed up with Facebook he invited me to be his 'friend.' It was a no-brainer, I clicked deny right away.

It doesn't really matter what he did, he was just someone who didn't treat me with much respect. Even though I wasn't walking with the Lord at the time, I always had a feeling of deep distrust for him. For a couple of years I ignored my gut instinct, that told me something was not right with this person. I did this because it was to my benefit to hangout with him, he had a car and I didn't. That choice is my responsibility. After I chose to end our friendship, he would take pleasure in making me uncomfortable when he saw me. Looking back, as a maturing(one can hope?) Christian, it looks like bit like demonic influence it me. ( I feel nuts just typing that, but...)

My sister, some distant cousins, and friends did not deny his Facebook invitations and so he has been able to see who I have contact with. Stupid Facebook! Through my sister I learned that he is seriously ill; his kidneys are failing probably from a combination of poorly managed type 1 diabetes and drug use. He's been given 2-3 years to live on dialysis. This news did give me pause; was I too harsh to deny him contact with me? I did feel like a jerk, but when I thought about the poisonous influence he had on me, I didn't want to invite that back in.

Yesterday I get this email from him on Facebook and I was mad! Stupid Facebook! Assuming he hasn't fundamentally changed in 15 years, I think the email was full of the same melodrama and attempts to manipulate. He talked about how he was trying to contact old friends since he was "going home soon" and how I had been so important to him, and how he loved me. He said he understood that I might not want to talk with him again, but that we'd see each other later "on the streets of gold." You might get excited and think oh, maybe he's a believer now. Maybe. But knowing him as I did and seeing the things he says about himself on his Facebook page; well I see no evidence. I certainly could be wrong.

My sister patiently listened to me rant about him yesterday on the phone and said somethings that got me thinking. Primarily that I should consider writing him back, if only to make my peace with it. I mulled this over while driving to her place and I think God gave me a solution. I will write him back but I will not give him a list of ancient grievances, after all what will that solve? It might make me feel better for an instant, but it certainly wouldn't draw him closer to God, whom I assume he (still) desperately needs. What I will do is give him the gospel. I will tell him that if he has questions about Christ, I'm available. If he wants to go to church, I'm available. (groan) If he asks for prayer, I'm available.

So please pray for me, that I put aside my bitterness, that I write the words God knows he needs to hear, and that I allow the Holy Spirit to speak through me. Please also pray that his heart is open to the truth that could literally save his life.

I checked Matthew 5:44 again and it still says:

But I tell you,
love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
so that you may be the sons of your Father in heaven.

***Why don't babies understand that you can't feed them when they have their thumb in their mouths? Maureen, your sister wasn't nearly as messy an eater. I'm just saying...

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Varsha-Rachel's Day!

My dear friends Martina and Tom are right now taking a taxi across Pune, India to meet their new adopted daughter! They have waited so patiently for nearly a year for this blessed day and I know they are praising their Lord as I am right now. I pray she is not scared to leave the home she has known her entire short life, that the language barrier will not make her more uncomfortable, that the courts will move fast, that they will be home on time, but primarily I pray that Varsha-Rachel will grow up a girl devoted to the God who gave her a new loving home and embrace His Son as her Savior.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Will there be peace in the valley?

There always seems to be a lack of peace in the world, watch any good news cast and you can find a heartbreaking story somewhere. Right now the peace most Americans were hoping would dawn with the new president has disappointed, the economy worsens daily, and the cover of the San Francisco Chronicle reports the worst draught ever is expected for California. This does not include the perpetual wars in central Africa, the corruption in Latin America, the poverty in Asia etc etc etc. I usually can't spend much time thinking about these kinds of concerns because they depress me a great deal and I have no control over them. I just find myself calling out to God, "Father, when will You return?"

I am able to function in this peaceless world if there is peace in my family. But since the world has become so chaotic and troubled, it has started to bleed into my little world and affect my family. I don't like it. Money worries, fears over the political process, and a general heaviness of heart has invaded my family. And I wonder, where is my peace? Is it found in the company of congenial family and friends? Because if it is, I'm in trouble right now.

My peace should be found in Jesus, found in the knowledge that God is in control and that everything that is happening is in compliance with His plan. But it isn't, my peace is found in my circumstances. My faith is often so weak that I panic and freak out at the slightest thing. Am I capable of changing this? No. Never have been. No matter what happens in my life I pretty much react the same way I always have. Hence the "hollymakesfourleftturns" in my blog address.

The good news is that sometimes I manage to shut up long enough for the Holy Spirit to work through me. That's what I'm trying to do today. To ignore that my mom is fighting with my brother-in-law, that my father is facing divorce or relocating far away from me, that my sister is often stuck between her family and her husband, that I do not have enough money to pay for the car repairs needed asap, that I don't have the money to pay for my ONE class I'm taking at seminary this semester, that my parents will likely pay for both of these expenses even though they are worried about money too, that my mother is facing losing her job, that my sister is looking at a pay cut, and that my brother-in-law is likely to get a IOU today instead of a paycheck from the State of California. The song on the radio is "Homeward Bound" by Simon and Garfunkel and it makes me want to cry. Because that's how I feel today, homesick for my place in heaven, for my home where there is no sin.

I did some research on the word 'peace' in the Strong's Concordance and I noticed an interesting pattern. (see chart below-the bold type was added by me)

Result of search for "peace":
1514. eireneuo i-rane-yoo'-o from 1515; to be (act) peaceful:--be at (have, live in) peace, live peaceably.
1515. eirene i-ray'-nay probably from a primary verb eiro (to join); peace (literally or figuratively); by implication, prosperity:--one, peace, quietness, rest, + set at one again.
1517. eirenopoieo i-ray-nop-oy-eh'-o from 1518; to be a peace-maker, i.e. (figuratively) to harmonize:--make peace.
2270. hesuchazo hay-soo-khad'-zo from the same as 2272; to keep still (intransitively), i.e. refrain from labor, meddlesomeness or speech:--cease, hold peace, be quiet, rest.
4601. sigao see-gah'-o from 4602; to keep silent (transitively or intransitively):--keep close (secret, silence), hold peace.
4623. siopao see-o-pah'-o from siope (silence, i.e. a hush; properly, muteness, i.e. involuntary stillness, or inability to speak; and thus differing from 4602, which is rather a voluntary refusal or indisposition to speak, although the terms are often used synonymously); to be dumb (but not deaf also, like 2974 properly); figuratively, to be calm (as quiet water):--dumb, (hold) peace.

I was surprised by two things; how often it describes peace as meaning that I am to do nothing, to stop, and be quiet. But also that so much of the language is what I am responsible for: to be, to keep, to refrain. These are things I am to do, regardless of the circumstances that caused the situation.

Now the radio is playing Johnny Cash's "There Will Be Peace in the Valley." God is so good to me.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

God's perspective?

I bought a Veggie Tale's book of bible stories to read with my nieces when I baby-sit them, and today was the first day I tried to read them with Amelia. She had never seen the book so she was curious and flipped from page to page, never settling on any story or page for long. She also kept asking, "What's that?" I'd tell her and she'd ask again, "What's that?" "Whose that?" It was starting to drive me a little nuts! Then it occurred to me that I do the same thing, I ask God the same questions over and over again, "Why me?" "Why not now?" "When?" "When?" "When?" Unlike me, God does not lose patience. He keeps answering over and over again. He continues to say to me, "Because I'm God" "Because I'm God" "Because I'm God."

As Amelia stopped on pages and I answered her questions, she'd start to piece together parts of the stories. She got some names of characters, "That's baby Moses" "That's King David as a little kid." Occasionally she'd ask about places in the pictures like Jericho and Bethlehem but she didn't understand the elements of the stories, the way they fit together, the way they made up a greater narrative about how much God loves His children. I'm no different. God has shown me occasional glimpses of His plans, just small bits of the total story. But I don't understand enough to fill in the gaps. That's OK though because...I know how the story ends.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Little Christ

Lord, I want to be like Jesus,
In my heart, in my heart…Lord,
I want to be like Jesus,
In my heart.

Today I am hanging out with my two and a half year old niece Amelia. She picked up something fragile and I had to restrain myself from overreacting. I said "Please hand that to me Miss Priss." Now I have never called her Miss Priss before. She handed me the object and said to me, "Here you go Miss Priss." I laughed at her quick wit but then I began to feel kind of...panicked. I thought what would she have said back to me if I hadn't controlled myself? This reminded me that I am the closest thing she has to Jesus right now.

Everytime I see her I am reminded how incredible my Creator is. He created this amazing girl and placed her in my life to heal some deep wounds. Her wet kisses and zealous hugs rejuvenated me like few things can. And she adores me. I feel arrogant even writing that, but it's true. If I tell her something is yummy she'll eat it, if I say a toy is too noisy she thinks so too. So, the question is, what am I going to do with this opportunity?

I pray that the LORD will give me the self control I need to be as like Jesus in front of her (well, all the time would be nice..) as I possibly can. That through my influence she and her sister will learn to love Jesus as their Savior, and to live their lives consumed with love for Him-not to be like so many Christians who claim to be saved yet aren't in love with their Savior. I pray that I will follow through with my plan to use my two days a week baby sitting her and Maureen to teacher them about Jesus. After all, I will tell them the ABCs, why wouldn't I tell them about Jesus?

Oh my gosh, now she is disco-dancing to "Stayin' Alive"...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Reflections on Romans 1

I recently started copying the book of Romans by hand. This exercise was suggested to me by a dear friend as a way to really get to know a book. Since Romans is so useful for evangelism, I thought it was a good place to start, especially if it proves so hard I never do it again!

Chapter one is completed and I have already learned a lot. The book begins with greeting from Paul to the Christian Romans then begins to describe the rest of the world, the Gentile world as he calls it, the unbelieving world. I realized as I'm copying down words like, "They are full of envy, murder, disputes, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, arrogant, proud, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents (I noticed here he wasn't talking to children but adults! That means me too!), undiscerning (I recently had a problem because of this...), untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful." (Romans 1:29-31) I know Paul is writing about the unbelievers in Rome, but he was describing me. Few people are so awful that they act like this all the time, but most of us do these things on a daily basis, first amongst them is me. I could write about how I committed many of these sinful acts just today and I have only been awake for...four hours!

Please LORD use this exercise to show me my sin and then to teach me to have a greater confidence in sharing your gospel with a sinful world that You love so willingly despite it's flaws.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Lord showed up at the grocery store today.

I was at the grocery store today with my sister and her girls. Amelia, who is being pottytrained, was on her first outing wearing underpants instead of a diaper. Although she went to the bathroom before we left the house, she peed her pants in the produce isle. I offered to take Amelia to the bathroom since my sister had a basket full of food and a second kid to watch. My sister said, "Amelia you have to stay with Holly." Amelia reached up and took my little finger in her hand.

Obviously, it is important that a parent be able to hold their kid's hand while walking, not to mention a joy, and I have often wondered/worried how I am going to hold my own kids hand's when I need to be able to move. The Lord used my niece to relieve some of the anxiety I have about (someday) being a parent with limited mobility. She just held my finger with her death grip while I pushed myself. It was kind of jerky and we couldn't go too fast, but she just laughed and got into it. Even after we finished with the bathroom she wanted to hold my hand because it had become a fun game. I was so overwhelmed with love for my God who knows the scope of my fears about being a parent while being in a wheelchair. I was so grateful that He gave me this opportunity. I had trouble not crying in the store and had to keep stopping to pick up Amelia and cover her with kisses.

God truly is so good to His children, even in the small things.

What no eye has seen and no ear has heard, and what has never come into man's heart, is what God has prepared for those who love Him. ~1 Corinthians 2:9

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Addendum to previous blog

As I was feeding Amelia and Maureen lunch today I was singing praise songs to them and it reminded me of that scripture were God is described as singing over us in joy and I was moved to tears. The joy I felt about singing to them helped me catch a glimpse of the joy God must feel singing over His children.

The Lord your God is with you,
He is Mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
He will quiet you with his love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.
~Zephaniah 3:17

Bloggin' during nap time

Today is my first day watching my sister's girls as their nanny. I have been feeling apprehensive, concerned that I wouldn't be able to keep up with them or that I'd lose my patient and yell at them, but so far so good.

After getting them both up and changing diapers, I fed Maureen(Momo) a bottle while Amelia tried to comb my hair. This hurt a great deal and Momo was fussy so I could easily could have gotten frustrated, but instead...I was able to sing "Jesus Loves Me" to them through it all. That means I was able to praise God even though things were getting hard. Small victory for some, big victory for me!

Maureen has been asleep for the last two hours, unusual apparently. I keep checking to make sure she's breathing. Amelia has been good too, except when I told her it was nap time. Then she cried and yelled at me. But once she saw her bed she started to settle down. This didn't last long though. After reading the three books required for a nap, she tried to insist on another one. Tough auntie that I am, said "Nope, I love you, sleep well!" She is currently singing to herself and thumping around her room. That's fine with her mom, so it's fine with me. But I'll tell ya, I'm in trouble if she figures out how to work the doorknob!

Thank you Jesus for giving me the opportunity to be with these precious girls and learn how to parent from them. After nap time and lunch, I think we'll sing "Jesus Loves Me" together!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


While driving from my friend's house to my sister's today I made a list in my head of things I was grateful for and thought I should write them down so I can remember them later when things aren't so good.

-gut instincts
-the Holy Spirits ability and willingness to enter our dreams.
-good friends that offer "cities" of refuge with their warm beds and even warmer hearts.
-the internal combustion engine that allows me so much freedom.
-mp3 players that enable me to worship wherever I am.
-sunny days that lift my spirit.
-early wildflowers, yellow fields of mustard.
-little girl squeals of joy.
-solitary time with my Savior.
-Christ's unending love and grace, allowing me to start over again every day.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Facebook rant

I was recently shammed into creating a Facebook page and I am learning a lot from the experience. Not that the world is actually a small place, or that we all have similarities, or that a decade after high school we suddenly forget why we didn't like each other. But instead I have discovered that in fact we're all posers, fakers, just like in high school. The quality of who we are is summed up in the few words found under "education" and "employment." Kind of like "cheerleader" and "debate team."

If you thought that the number of friends you had in high school was important, imagine having a tally float over your head every day. You see in Facebook-land my value is assessed based on the number of "friends" I have. With 15 friends I have less value than Joe Blow with 500. But the good news is I have more value than Jane Dow who is a sad girl with only two (it's her parents-shh!). In inviting people to be friends I thought it would be polite to drop a note along saying hi, but people accepted my "friendship" without reply. They add me to their tally and keep collecting! The people I really respect are the ones who ignored my invites, those are the people who are really cool. Of course those were the people I wanted to talk to most...

You are also valued by the number of exciting things posted to your page, like books and music. You can't say you only read books recommended by Oprah, even if it's true. The farther from Oprah the better in this post-modern-indie-rock-hipster world. So find books by authors who are dead, originally had a very small printing, are now out of print, and were considered total hacks when they were alive and you may have found the coolest books to put on your virtual bookshelf. Right now I'm going with Dawn Powell-who I ripped off from Gilmore Girls. By the way, that show was a hot bed of super cool post-modern-indie-rocker-hipster references. Even if someone who would describe themselves that way would never admit to watching it or plagiarizing from it. You know who you are!

It is important to have the right photo as well. No standard pic from last Christmas, you gotta be hanging from a vine during your last trip to the Amazon baby!, or some shot of you in front of Big Ben. That's only if you want people to recognize you, otherwise you go with pictures of quirky objects, like a high school friend who has a robot for his picture. I keep vacillating between a cool picture I took of a Mayan ruin in the Yucatan and a artsy pic taken of my one time when I was a little drunk. Perfect Facebook pictures! Proof that I've traveled outside of the US and proof that I can have a good time. Joy. Sorry to say though, the lamest pictures are the ones people post of them with their kids, it's a coolness killer.

Speaking of traveling, unless you are a diplomat or independently wealthy, don't do the "Where have I been?" application, it will only depress you. I spent three hours of my life plotting the places I've been in the world. And I've been pretty lucky, I've been to Germany, Mexico and Canada and a good amount of the US (save for the Mid-West, but you understand). After all that work, the map said I'd been to 1% of the world. I checked and it can't go lower than 1%. You are born in city x, never leave city x and die in city x? 1%.

To make up for all of this Facebook angst, I did what any self respecting post-modern-indie-rocker-hipster would do, I blogged about it. It was a good day!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The waiting place

*It is important to know right off the bat that my b key sticks. So when I don't make sense, insert the letter b and see if it clarifies things.

The reality is I'm starting a blog because I'm bored and need to start something new. 'Tis the season for new starts, with New Year's day right around the corner, right?I've spent the day in my pjs on the couch eating Christmas cookies/candies watching a season and a half of Gilmore Girls and have gotten so bored I want to either stick a fork in my eye or remake my entire life. Since I have never looked good in an eye patch, I am forced to consider the second option. Like most people, my life is pretty middle of the road. I'm better off than say 3.35 billion people and worse off than the other 3.35 billion. I have clean drinking water and three meals a day, so I'm aware that whining about my life is a luxury. I also have several really meaningful relationships with family and friends. So why do I feel so unfulfilled? Because I'm stuck in the "waiting place." People all around me are doing things with their lives, and I? I'm growing moss. Those of you who know me might think, but didn't she just start seminary? That's right and I should feel a sense of adventure because of that but instead I feel blah. All around me friends are getting married, moving to foreign countries, having babies, trying to bust into show business. A friend of mine from high school who married her tattoo artist named Lucky had a baby! And me? I still living in the town I grew up in, live in the same apartment for four years with my two cats. Yeah that's right TWO cats. I don't even really like cats but it came with the old-spinster-kit and I couldn't say no. And the worst thing is, I feel pretty far away from God. How did this happen? We were so tight over the summer. I often feel like I have no idea what He wants from me, where He wants me to be and I'm always looking for that burning bush. I thought I'd feel different after starting seminary. I've never been around that many Christians before after all, surely that can only help? My relationship with Jesus is really all I've got when it comes down to it. It's like in that song from Sister Act, "I will follow you, follow you wherever you may go..." That's how I feel most of the time and yet...I feel like I'm in the same place as when I started.