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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Thankful Thursday

(For an explanation of Thankful Thursday, go here).

1961) A successful day of shopping.  Kind of fun to have a reason to get some new stuff!
1962) Calvary's Tenebrae service.  What a powerful, moving time reflecting on Christ's work on the cross.
1963) The reminder that even as Christ was nailed to the cross, HE was sustaining the soldiers who drove the nails.  It is such amazing love and sacrifice.  And a sweet reminder of how he lovingly sustains me even when I'm unfaithful.
1964) "The Lamb of God / in my place / His blood poured out / my sin erased / It was my death He died / I am raised to life / Hallelujah / the Lamb of God"
1965) Easter is coming!
1966) The kindness of the Worship Team in welcoming me as a newcomer. 
1967) Having my whole family here in Rochester!  So thankful they all made the trip down!
1968) Realizing I know Penny so well that all she has to do is lay down in an unusual place and I can tell something is wrong.  I am thankful for the connection I have with her and the meaning I find in that.
1969) Thankful that my first Worship Team experience went better than I thought it would!  What a blessing to be a part of that team and to lead the Body in worship on Easter.  What a celebration!
1970) Thankful for Joel's kind encouragement during vocal warm-ups.
1971) Right before 2nd service, Ginger asked me to be one of her Mary Kay models, saying she keeps looking at me from across the room and just thinks I'm so beautiful.  Moments later Karmen taps me on the knee and says, "You made it through the first service!  Hang in there, you're doing a great job!"  And then a few minutes later, Alicia leans over and says, "You look so pretty this morning."  I will never understand why God is so gracious to me and why He shows me such unnecessary kindness through His Body.
1972) Getting to stand on stage and watch people worship, to see them express their joy through their bodies & faces and to hear them singing praises...what a blessing!
1973) Yummy yummy Chester's brunch buffet.  SO GOOD.  Yummy.
1974) Having my family at my church to join in our Easter celebration and then spending time together over lunch with much of the conversation centering around all the future plans of things we want to do together.  I love how much I love being with them.
1975) Thankful Penny seems to have stopped vomiting and pooping.  It was a long night last night getting up with her every few hours...thankful this night seems like it might be a bit quieter!
1976) Great emails from Laurel with her ideas of what she wants to do while I am in Atlanta.  I love how that girl plans and communicates!
1977) Sending Dad a thank you email for everything he paid for last weekend and having him respond, "Well, we're spending your inheritance, so thank YOU."  SO funny!
1978) Making returns.  I feel a little better getting some money back after my wardrobe shopping spree last week!
1979) FINALLY getting around to listening to my new CDs Lindsay gave me for Christmas.  Great music with lyrics that remind me of sweet and significant truths of which I often need reminding.
1980) "He takes broken things and makes them beautiful."  Hallelujah.
1981) Another successful platelet donation!  Thankful my hematocrit seems to be trending upward so I can give more consistently.
1982) A chance to have some small talk with Amanda (receptionist at the chiropractor).  I love meeting other old souls.  I also love being reminded how fascinating people are when you take a minute to talk to them.  (Who would have thought that a classically beautiful, 20-something-year-old receptionist would spend their free time tracking the migratory patterns of hummingbirds?!?!?)
1983) I'm thankful my back pain doesn't prevent me from being active.  In fact, that's the only time it doesn't hurt.  Glad I can stay consistent with my workout routine while I wait for the pain to be relieved.
1984) Thankful for a sweet, encouraging, complimentary email from my mom in response to my thank you email.  To have TWO people that love me the way she and Dad do....an embarrassment of riches that can't even be put to words.
1985) Early to bed for the first time in the last long 7 days.  Thankful for the opportunity to SLEEP!
1986) "What though the vile accuser roar / of sins that I have done; / I know them well and thousands more / my God, He knoweth none."  Hal.le.lu.jah.
1987) Only three days left with kidney transplant before I get to start my new job!  Yay!
1988) Thankful that Julie took the time to chat even though she felt like she needed to prepare for her meeting tomorrow.  Talking with her is good for my soul and I'm thankful she offered me that gift tonight.
1989) My dad in the window of his apartment, signaling to me in the parking lot by waving his arm and flicking his shades open and closed.  Just the sight of him makes me happy.
1990) One more sleep until Atlanta!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Humpday Listday: T5 Reasons I Travel

I'm getting ready to fly to Atlanta in the morning to keep my sister company while she attends a work conference and then to spend the weekend with a dear friend. I'll come home to work a couple of days before taking off for London, Belgium and France with my family. 


I have always loved to travel and have tried to take advantage of every opportunity I have to do so. My ability to hop on a plane every 6-8 weeks may take a bit of a hit with my new position at work, so I feel especially aware of how thankful I am for the opportunities in front of me this month. 

Traveling is not something I do absent-mindedly. In fact, I have always had a fairly clear vision of why I travel and what I am trying to accomplish. My five main reasons are....

5)...to learn things about God. I like to explore God's creativity and learn about Him through His creation. He had so many different ideas when He created this world!

4)...to help fight my egocentricity. The things I see and learn about when I travel serve as reminders of the breadth of this world and the depth of history and, subsequently, how small I am in comparison. I need that reminder often. So I travel. 

3)...because I am single. I want to take advantage of the perks of singleness for however long that remains my reality and one big perk is that I get to spend my time and my money however I choose (within biblical guidelines).  One of the perks of being fairly unencumbered is that I am free to go see people I love who live all over the U.S. and the world. And I also get to go see new places with people I love. 

2)...because I enjoy it. I believe God wants us to delight in Him. Delighting in His creation helps me delight in Him. I worship when I travel. I reflect more when I travel. I learn things about Him when I travel. And also, I'm learning it's okay to have a little fun and enjoy life. 

1)...to build relationships with those whom I travel with and those whom I visit. So many great conversations, meaningful memories and inside jokes happen while traveling with friends and family. I also have friends serving the church who I am able to support beyond giving finances. I can offer emotional and spiritual support in the form of a friendly face and a face-to-face word of encouragement in a new, unfamiliar place (or a no-longer-unfamiliar place that is still a great physical distance from familiar faces and knowing hugs). As long as I am blessed with the time and fiancial resources to do so, I will continue to delight in serving the church in this way. 

So as much as I have learned to delight in the routine and consistency of life on my new schedule, I am also greatly looking forward to the month of April when traveling will be the means that will allow me to explore a new city with my sister, spend time encouraging one of my dearest friends who faithfully serves young missionaries who work abroad with Operation Mobiliazation, celebrate my cousin's wedding with my extended family, and spend precious time with four of my favorite people reflecting on the historical significance of Normandy, the art and architectural beauty of Paris, the quaint delight of Brugge and much, much more. SO EXCITED!!!!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Thankful Thursday

(For an explanation of Thankful Thursday, go here).

1926) Dianne calling me "just to check in."  So thankful for the renewed sense of community here.
1927) Another great conversation with Heather (my new manager), hearing about school and her kids, and getting unequivocal support for pursuing the Early Intervention Work Hardening program (more extensive PT and strengthening for my shoulder that will interfere with my new work schedule).  So excited to work for her and get to know her better.
1928) The opportunity to catch up with Kristy before Salt & Light.  So thankful for her interest in me and my family, her encouragement, support, kindness.  What a gift she is to me.
1929) One last dinner with Jill before she heads to Liberia.  I will miss having her around but I am thankful to see her continue to be faithful to the work God has called her to.
1930) The Salt & Light community.  Thankful for stories told, laughter shared, music sung, truth spoken and prayers raised.  I love my Thursday nights!
1931) Sweet time with Heather and Ami, hearing about their ministry in South Africa and what the Lord has been teaching them over the past couple of years.
1932) One last hug from Jill before she leaves!
1933) Heather's side comment, "You have a lot to offer, sister" when I was processing future co-worker relationships.  I don't know if she even knows I heard her, but it was encouraging to know that was her knee-jerk reaction to thinking about me going into a new situation.
1934) Ami's perceptive comment that she thinks I would be really good at teaching before I even mentioned my new-found interest in patient education.  Encouraging reinforcement, for sure.
1935) Stories.  Laughter.  The opportunity to tell my stories until Ami is red in the face, Heather is crying and Meredith says her abs hurt.  So. Much. Fun.
1936) Having my hair washed and brushed and cut.  I just LOVE it.
1937) Denise's kind words about the possibility of me singing on Worship Team.  She shows me such favor.  Bless her.
1938) Getting the opportunity to talk to my nail girls some more about Cambodia and Thailand.
1939) Penny's unbearable cuteness when her hair is just the right length.  I just can't get enough of her right now.
1940) A successful first "office party."  Excited to get to know that group better.
1941) Getting to church in time for choir warm-up at 8 even though I woke up at 7:40...over an hour after my alarm went off.  I don't know how God stretched those 20 minutes so much, but I'm thankful He did!
1942) The ladies in the back of church who waved their palm branches the entire time of worship.  Such a blessing to see their expression of joy in the Lord.
1943) The much-needed challenge/reminder of what it means to repent and to not hide behind denial, minimization or blame-shifting.  I sinned.  It's bad.  I need help.  My help is in the Lord.  U-turn.  Lord, make this sequence a pattern in my life!
1945) A quiet Sunday afternoon reading with coffee in hand and pup in lap.  Happy.
1946) Laughing on the phone with Ang and then getting a text from her that it was the highlight of her day. :-)
1947) Finally feeling well enough to work out again.  Feels good to be back at it!
1948) Finishing a preliminary outline for the Medical English classes Jennifer asked me to teach to Chinese-speaking university students.  It came together nicely and I feel really good about it!
1949) Filed my taxes.  Thankful for a little money back to cushion the account.
1950) Eric's wedding invite!  SO beautiful and formal!  Oh man, I'm SOOOO excited for him and so proud of the man he has become!
1951) Tina.  I'm thankful for my time with her and how she pushes me.
1952) Dunn Bros Coffee.  Great way to start the day.
1953) Getting the giggles SO BAD on the phone at work when I asked to speak with a nephrologist and I called him Dr. Dribble instead of Dr. Dibble.  Oh man.  It was so funny to me.  It has been a while since I have had to fight that hard to keep my composure.  I mean, come on.  A nephrologist named Dr. Dribble...
1954) The STRINGS section at choir practice tonight!  I could listen to them all. day. long.
1955) Crying every. single. time. we sing Man of Sorrows.  Can't wait for Easter morning!
1956) A beautiful, brisk, 10-minute walk into work each day.  Great way to start the morning.
1957) Those moments of extreme clarity when a bunch of pieces of information that have been floating around in your head for YEARS come crashing down into their proper place....like when you see a flowchart of all of the hematopoietic cancers and suddenly understand which ones are related, how they are classified and how they differ from each other.  SO EXCITED for my new job!
1958) Cute pictures from Andrea of Penny cautiously checking out the dog park. :-)
1959) Having Liz introduce herself at choir rehearsal and the chance to get to know her a little bit.
1960) Good Friday dress rehearsal for the Tenebrae service.  What a blessing to be a part of that service.  So sweet to sing and reflect on what happened at the cross.  Excited to see how the Spirit moves tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Humpday Listday: T5 Jokes Played On me

I'm not a huge prankster, although it seems like I would come by it naturally enough (back in the day Dad pretended he got his face smashed up and would still be in bandages when the big day came on April 17th, years later Mom got him back by calling him and saying she was in labor with me when I didn't actually arrive until the 19th...) but I have been the target of some pretty good pranks. Here are my 5 favorite:


5) In junior high, after an exhausting weekend at a youth group retreat, I fell SOUNDLY asleep on the bus on the way home (surprise, surprise....). And I happened to be sleeping with my head tipped back and my mouth wide open. After the youth group boys grew bored of their competition to see who could throw the most Froot Loops in my mouth (yes, they were hitting me in the face with cereal and I never woke up), Mark decided to stick a Cheeto in my mouth...because....you know...he could. 

I continued to sleep. 

And breathe. 

When we got back to church I awoke to find a Cheeto CRUSTED to my tongue. It was disgusting. 

Unfortunately, I didn't find it funny at the time, but looking back on it I think it's hilarious. I mean, come on. I was a mouth breather. What did I expect?!?!?

4) Growing up in a small town and driving a rusted out conversion van without a grill gave us two reasons to never worry about anyone stealing our car. So we never locked it. 

And we mostly left the keys in it. 

In the ignition. 

So some of the high school boys thought it was hilarious to move it from the school parking lot to any number of nearby locations which were completely out of sight when you were standing in the school parking lot. So Hanah and I would come out of school after practice, sigh and roll our eyes and....start looking. Good one.

3) My dad LOVES to scare us. One of his most successful attempts occurred when I was a senior in high school. I was at the computer, which is on one end of the house, and was getting ready to go down the stairs - on the other end of the house - to go to bed. Dad heard me gathering my things and "hid" behind a pillar in the dining room ("hid" in quotes because he was over two times as thick as the pillar) where all the lights had already been turned off. Instead of jumping out in front of me, as most people would do, he waited for me to pass and grabbed me from behind.  I screamed, pushed him away and went to bed with adrenaline coursing through my body. 

As I laid there, completely unable to sleep on tht kind of adrealine high, I realized I had not turned the computer off. So back upstairs I went to shut things down. Dad heard me come back upstairs, got out of bed and "HID" BEHIND THE SAME PILLAR

Moments later I pass him, he grabs me from behind, I scream. 

Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice...moments apart....with the same trick....shame. on. me.

2) My turn! One of my dad's other favorite tricks took place anytime he saw our headlights coming up the driveway. If the house was dark, which it often was in the evening, he would stand with his foot about 6 inches behind the door, facing the direction of the door handle so that when we came in from the garage with our mind on a million different things and the door opened a little and then stopped suddenly, we still couldn't see him standing behind it. Then, in that brief moment of surprise and confusion, he would reach around the door and grab our wrist which was usually still holding the doorknob. And more often than not we would scream. 

Well, one night, as I crested the hill in our driveway, I caught the last little glimpse of the lights being turned off. Gotcha!  I pulled into the garage like normal, but when I went to open the door, I turned the handle and sort of "threw" the door open, removing my hand from the knob. Sure enough, the door hit something solid and then The Hand came sweeping around the edge...and whiffed. 

And swept again. 

Whiff. 

Finally his confused face came peeking around the edge to find me standing there feeling proud and triumphant. Not that I scared him or anything, but it sure was fun to beat him at his own game!

1) I actually have other stories, still, that I could tell about my dad.  He simply loves to startle us. But to this day, the best prank ever pulled on me was the infamous "Hiding of the Christmas Presents."  

One year before Christmas, Mark and Norm (I think it was Norm...seems right...but for sure Mark) were at our house hanging out with Hannah. I was not home.  The boys got the brilliant idea to go through all of the presents under the tree and hide all of mine so that when Christmas morning came and the presents were disbursed I had....none. After a few moments of confusion, Hannah informed me that I was to go find my presents. 

Sort of like an Easter egg hunt. 

At Christmas. 

And everyone else simply had their eggs handed to them. 

Thankfully Hannah knew where to locate a few of the strays that I had trouble finding, and I had grown up enough by this time to find it much, much funnier than the Cheeto incident, even in the moment. To this day, I LOVE hearing how Mark giggles any time this story comes up. Oh, brothers. 

Happy April Fool's Day!  If you're looking for me, you can find me trying to avoid my dad and Mark....