Saturday, December 22, 2007

heading north

I've been the last one in the Transit house for about 21 hours now. It's been a little strange. But it was a nice evening. I did a little writing a little reading and a lot of watching Gilmore Girls! I ate dinner by candle light and enjoyed Italian cookies, chocolates, wine, and lady grey tea. It was a lovely time.

Now, the house will be empty (for a few hours until Adri and her family get back from Wales) I am leaving to spend some time in London with my sister Emily and then taking a bus to Scotland for Christmas with my Kirstin and her family.

It all seems a bit idyllic...

Friday, December 21, 2007

in heavenly peace

I've been thinking about peace this last wee while. So many Christmas songs are full of poetic lines expressing the beauty of the moment the Prince of Peace entered the chaos that is our world:

Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright
O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie
Peace on earth, good will toward men

Now the reality of these songs sometimes seems a bit dodgy; we know Jesus wasn't really born in the middle of a snowstorm and the night was most likely full of noise. But I think there's something very important about the reality behind the imagery.

God had become man. The all-encompassing one had stepped into the finite product of his own creative word. And so whether or not the earth really did stand still in awe and recognition of that moment, whether or not Mary cried out with the pain of her labour, whether or not baby Jesus cried when the lowing cattle woke him up, the deep, dear silence of God Almighty broke into the piercing, anguished clatter of our world and everything changed in an instant.

Jesus, please come and be born in me today. Bring your peace into my hurriedness. Bring your stillness into my noise. Bring your calm into my anxiousness. Teach me how to rest in your heavenly peace...

Friday, December 14, 2007

a Christmas present for Jesus

Been talking and thinking a lot about Justice and social issues and stewardship of the earth. More will come about that later but, I was just reading Amos 5 and discovered what God wants for Christmas:
"Do you know what I want? I want justice - oceans of it. I want fairness - rivers of it. That's what I want. That's all I want."

excitement

Tomorrow is our Christmas party!

Yeah!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

simple acts of love

I've just come back from a Boiler Room meeting. We had a lovely service celebrating Advent, expecting Jesus' coming. As I listened to the different readings I was reminded of these thoughts I posted back in July:

serving savior
"Today I read the story of Jesus washing the disciples feet in John. Isn't it interesting that he did this to "show them the full extent of his love." The simplest, most mundane act of serving was how Jesus showed the full extent of his love. Not in the huge, grandiose act of dying to save them, but in washing their dirty, smelly feet. (You know, that's also how Mary of Bethany showed her love for Jesus.) Of course, that ultimate display showed the ultimate love. Big, widespread, overwhelming love. But sometimes it isn't the o'er sweeping acts of love, the giant incomprehensible acts that keep us going day to day. They are too big, too unfathomable, to be the thing we hold onto, and Jesus knew that. So he covered all the bases. He showed his love, not just by an ultimate sacrifice, but in simple acts of service. In small words of encouragement and comfort, not just sweeping exhortations and challenges. And isn't that, in the long run, the reason that we love him?'


Jesus, thank you for all of the ways that you show your love for me. I don't take any of them for granted, I treasure each of them.

Monday, December 10, 2007

my favorite Christmas ornament

My family has a tradition, every year we each receive a new Christmas ornament from a series put out by Hallmark. I have had the (ahem) privilege of having the same series my entire life. It's called Frosty and Friends. In all honesty I'm rather tired of it and have spent the last probably 10 years wishing for it to come to an end so I can have a new one. I mean this year is the 28th in the series! (My parent's didn't realize the first one they got me was actually the 3rd the in the series.) And they're just a bit too cutesy for my grown-up taste.
So it was rather funny when I decided to look at the Hallmark website to see what this year's ornament was. I couldn't find it and started to panic. No, last year can't have been the last one, there was no warning. I actually started to cry. My first Christmas away from home and family would definitely not be a good year for it to end!
What relief when I discovered that Hallmark has a separate website for their keepsake ornaments! I started to cry again, this time with relief, and I have the pleasure of letting you know that on the 2007 Frosty and Friends ornament, 28th in the series, Frosty and a little penguin friend are making ice cream.
All of that to say that my favorite ornament from my rather extensive Frosty and Friends collection is from 1992, when I was 10 years old. Frosty sharing candy canes with a little killer whale.
I also have some beautiful beaded snowflakes my Grandma made when I was little. But since all of my Christmas decorations are in my parents attic approximately 4,000 miles away I have no pictures of them.


Sunday, December 9, 2007

a longing

I spin and twirl
my journey held in place
by an unseen hand

my deep, dear silence
is broken by whispers
I become unsettled

a knowing presses on me
something is missing
I cry for the moon

Thursday, December 6, 2007

a shepherd's prayer


I've had a hard time "getting in the Christmas spirit" this year. Being in another country where things are celebrated in different ways is a big part of that. For some reason holidays seem to be really dependent on nostalgia. At least for me.

But I was thinking about this song from my childhood. A rather cheesy 80s Christmas song called "A Shepherd's Prayer." It's the story of a shepherd from some one's nativity set crying out because he has been placed too far away from Jesus.

"Move me closer. Move me closer. Move me closer to the child. Let me see him. Let me hold his hand. Move me closer to the child."

I was just thinking, isn't this what Christmas is about? Remembering that Jesus came close to us? Remembering that we need to come close to him? Remembering that we need to bring him close to those around us?

And so I'll echo the prayer: "Move me closer..."

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

some elfin' fun!

Click here:
http://www.elfyourself.com/?id=1183121928
to see my siblings turned into elves!

And here:
http://www.elfyourself.com/?id=1188134504
to see my sister's retaliation!

And here:
http://www.elfyourself.com/?id=1244395768
to see one my mom made of her, my dad, and her best friend!

Friday, November 30, 2007

when you wish upon a star

*I wish I didn't make things so complicated.
*I wish the path to making things right was lined with little white stones and clearly sign-posted.
*I wish everyone believed in magic.
*I wish I were better at re-using things creatively.
*I wish whining was actually a hard thing to do.
*I wish I had curly hair.
*I wish that no child in the world ever went hungry.
*I wish that everyone had a meaningful job that they enjoyed.
*I wish I could see the unseen.
*I wish to see justice roll like streams down the mountains and flood the earth.

Monday, November 26, 2007

november

So, November has been quite a month! We kicked things off with a weekend of celebration. A big bonfire, my 25th birthday, and fireworks. Here's Rosie and I at the bonfire, Adri and I at the girl's birthday coffee where I had the best hot chocolate in the world!

























Mid month I got my hair cut entirely too short. And although this picture is rather cool, I don't like it! We also had a week of prayer but I can't get the pictures of the prayer room to upload, so possibly more on that later.








Last week we had Mission Week and Rosie and I got to go to Ireland! We had a lovely time and the trip deserves it's own post, but here is a picture of me with our lovely host Amy at Starbucks.






I've been dreadfully lax in posting this month for which I am sincerely sorry. And I know this doesn't really cover all that has happened, but hopefully it gives a general idea and there will be more to come!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

all saints day

This video is a friend of mine, one of the worship leaders of my church in Charlotte, telling the story of our friend Steven. He died five years ago, today. I can honestly say that his death changed my life. Today, on the day set aside to remember those who have gone before us, I hope and pray that his story and John Mark's song change yours.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

10 things that make me smile


1. the smell of Rosie's cookies baking.
2. early morning prayer meetings.
3. the beautiful sunset out my window.
4. how long the smell of my vanilla soy candle lasts.
5. seeing exactly how far away from home I am "door to door" on google maps.
6. making new friends.
7. staying in touch with old friends.
8. bonfires!
9. fireworks in the cold!
10. how freaked out everyone gets when they discover I've already started listening to Christmas music.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

helpless

Last night we went out prayer carding. Just walked around asking people if they wanted/needed prayer for anything. We had a brief conversation with a couple who were spending the night on the street because they didn't have any where else to go. We prayed with them and then continued on our way. Somehow offering them a cup of tea or something to eat seemed so small, so inefective. In the face of such an important and basic need what I had to offer seemed silly. I walked away shaken, and it's not the first time.

On my 12th birthday I was going shopping with my mom. We drove past a panhandler on a street corner and I asked if I could use my birthday money to get him some food. While she commended the thought she said no because he would probably be gone by the time we would be back. I knew that it was really important for her for me to use her gift for myself and so I accepted her decision. But I felt so frustrated and helpless.

And that feeling has just been confirmed over and over again. When I see people out on the street I never have cash to give them but I usually run to the nearest drive through and pick them up something to eat. The last couple times they have indeed been gone by the time I got back. And I'm left, once again, frustrated and helpless.

Living in a world so overwhelmingly full of hurt and need is hard enough. But when I seem to repeatedly fail at even the tiny things in front of me it's really hard to keep trying. To not just throw my hands up and surrender to the inevitablity of it all.

What I need to hear is that it isn't inevitable. That small, even tiny gestures make a difference. That the tears I'm crying now have an impact in some way. Because right now I don't know what else to do.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

sunny spain








Unfortuately I got sick in Seville and so have no pictures from that beautiful city. But I did have a really good time, all things considered, and didn't miss out on too much as far as the meetings went. I will be looking forward to going back and really seeing everything and soaking up all that I missed.

a very eloquent summary of what I've been learning lately, by Eugene Peterson

One of the stubbornly enduring habits of the human race is to insist on domesticating God. We are determined to tame him. We figure out ways to harness God to our projects. We try to reduce God to a size that conveniently fits our plans and ambitions and tastes. But our Scriptures are even more stubborn in telling us that we can't do it. God cannot be fit into our plans, we must fit into his. We can't use God - God is not a tool or appliance or credit card.
"Holy" is the word that sets God apart and above our attempts to enlist him in our wish-fulfillment fantasies or our utopian schemes for making our mark in the world. Holy means that God is alive on God's terms, alive in a way that exceeds our experience and imagination. Holy refers to life burning with an intense purity that transforms everything it touches into itself.
Because the core of all living is God, and God is a holy god, we require much teaching and long training for living in response to God as he is and not as we want him to be. All our god-fantasies of "give us what we want when we want it on our own terms" in fact do is cripple or kill us. Leviticus is a start at the much teaching and long training that continues to be adapted and reworked in every country and culture where God is forming a saved people to live as he created them to live - hold as God is holy.
The first thing that strikes us as we read Leviticus in this light is that this holy God is actually present with us and virtually every detail of our lives is affected by the presence of this holy God; nothing in us, our relationships, or environment is left out. The second thing is that God provides a way (the sacrifices and feasts and Sabbaths) to bring everything in and about us into his holy presence, transformed in the fiery blaze of the holy. It is an awesome thing to come into his presence and we, like ancient Israel, stand in his presence at every moment. Our Lord is not dwelling in a tent or house in our neighborhood. But he makes his habitation in us and among us as believers and says, "I am holy; you be holy." (Leviticus 11:44)
Once we realize this, the seemingly endless details and instructions of Leviticus become signposts of good news to us: God cares that much about the details of or lives, willing everything in and about us into the transformation that St. Paul later commended:
"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life - your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life - and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you." (Romans 12:1-2)


PS, sorry its so long!

Friday, October 12, 2007

i am the deep blue sea

I've had this song stuck in my head for the last three days. It's so beautiful I don't want it to leave.

"I have a friend, the one that I love
Her name is the moon, she holds me close.
When she gets thirsty, I let her drink,
When morning comes, I lay her back down to sleep."

If you want to have a listen check out
www.myspace.com/markmathis

Thursday, October 11, 2007

a wasted day

I've been wasting this day trying to make decisions. Trying to be productive. Trying to be creative. Doing nothing of significance. I tried to write a poem... This is how it starts:

Time is passing as I sit here
I can measure it by the scars on my hand
As they gradually fade
As they become a part of me

It gets worse from there...

I had a conversation with a friend this week about life and waiting and how we spend so much of our time waiting for life that life is waiting. I guess that was what today was. I wouldn't call it a life-filled day, but nevertheless I lived it.

Monday, October 1, 2007

priority number one

This was today's text reading:

The Lord has granted me the petition that I made to him. 1 Samuel 1:27

Paul wrote: We know that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope. Romans 5:3,4

Father, God, only you know your plan for us. In our prayers, we confess our weakness and fear when faced with the unknown. We pray we may learn from every circumstance you bring us, and to be faithful to your will for us. Amen.


Last night I was reading the chapter about simplicity in Celebration of Discipline and Richard Foster was talking about putting God's kingdom first. I think this is something key for me right now.

"Focus on the kingdom produces the inward reality... Nothing else can be central. The desire to get out of the rat race cannot be central, the redistribution of the world's wealth cannot be central, the concern for ecology cannot be central. Seeking
first God's kingdom and the righteousness, both personal and social, of that kingdom is the only thing that can be central in the Spiritual Discipline of simplicity. The person who does not seek the kingdom first does not seek it at all."


I have to remember why I am here, what my purpose is. And Ireland isn't it, 24-7 isn't it, it's Jesus.

personal dna



You are a Benevolent Visionary.


About You:

Your imagination, self-assuredness, and knowledge of the world combine to make you a VISIONARY.

You have clear notions of how things could be, and the confidence to try to make them that way.
You enjoy having a routine, and prefer comfort and familiarity to risk and adventure.
Not needing others' approval to forge ahead, you are confident in your designs for the future.
Your imagination allows you to envision the world as a better place.
You're better at thinking of the big picture than you are with details, and you can see wonder in abstract things.
Style and appearances are important to you, and you have a good eye for beauty.
You are somewhat rigid in your beliefs, which comes from both confidence and an aversion to change.
You are good at creating works of art in forms with which you're familiar.
You're not afraid to let your emotions guide you, and you're generally considerate of others' feelings as well.
You prefer to have time to plan for things, feeling better with a schedule than with keeping plans up in the air until the last minute.
You have a strong sense of style and value your personal presentation - friends may even seek your style advice from time to time.
Generally, you believe that you control your life, and that external forces only play a limited role in determining what happens to you.

If you want to be different:
Appreciate the earthly, functional elements of things.
Your clarity of vision sometimes prevents you from being open to new ideas. Try expanding your horizon of experiences, and experimenting with novel ways of doing things.

How you relate to others:

You are a great person to interact with—understanding, giving, and trusting—in a word, BENEVOLENT

You don't mind being in social situations, as you feel comfortable enough with people to be yourself.
Your caring nature goes beyond a basic concern: you take the time to understand the nuances of people's situations before passing any sort of judgment.
You're a good listener, and even better at offering advice.
You're concerned with others at both an individual and societal level—you sympathize with the plights of troubled groups, and you can care about people you've never met.
Considering many different perspectives is something at which you excel, and you appreciate that quality in others.
Other people's feelings are important to you, and you're good at mediating disputes.
Because of your understanding and patience, you tend to bring out the best in people.

If you want to be different:
You spend a lot of time taking care of others, but don't forget to take care of yourself!
Sometimes you can get overcommitted, and when you sacrifice spending time with those close to you, it can make them feel unimportant.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

fresher's fayre

Last Wednesday we did a booth at the Fresher's Fayre at the University of Surrey here in Guildford. We did a doughnut eating contest. I was VERY unsuccessful... But I did get a free henna tattoo which was very exciting!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

the transit team

i'm really into getting over myself

And it’s a good thing because yesterday I got an opportunity to do so. I have run out of clean pants and wore a pair of jeans that I can only wear with heels. (I actually had to have them hemmed so they were short enough to wear with heels.) So I wore my black boots. Just one problem, it’s a 45 minute walk into town. Up hill a good part of the way. I made it to the office with a manageable level of pain. Took the boots off while we were there. Then, on the way home, once we got past the town center it was too much. I had to take them off. So there I was, walking home in red striped socks, with my jeans rolled up so they wouldn’t drag on the concrete. It was pretty humiliating. You could tell by the expressions on everyone’s faces that they were trying not to laugh until they got past us. It was pretty hilarious!

On a more triumphant note, I made dinner on Tuesday with Frances and successfully cooked an entire meal without a recipe. Yeah! I really can cook!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

from london, well egham really

I have arrived safely and soundly. Will post soon about everything but want to take some time first. I just wanted to share this story which was recently shared with me:

Legend from the Cherokee Indians


Do you know the legend of the Cherokee Indian youth's rite of passage? His father takes him into the forest, blindfolds him and leaves him alone. He is required to sit on a stump the whole night and not remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through it. He cannot cry out for help to anyone. Once he survives the night, he is a Man. He cannot tell the other boys of this experience, because each lad must come into manhood on his own. The boy is naturally terrified. He can hear all kinds of noises. Wild beasts must surely be all around him. Maybe even some human might do him harm. The wind blew the grass and earth, and shook his stump, but he sat stoically, never removing the blindfold. It would be the only way he could
become a man.!


Finally, after a horrific night the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold. It was then that he discovered his father sitting on the stump next to him. He had been at watch the entire night, protecting his son from harm. We, too, are never alone.

Even when we don't know it, our Heavenly Father is watching over us, Sitting on the stump beside us. When trouble comes, all we have to do is reach out to Him. OurFather would Never leave us alone, A love like none other!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

yard sale

Today Kirstin and I had a yard sale at my parent's house. It was hot, hard work. But considering we didn't sell any furniture, we raked in a good amount. I made enough to buy a new, super large duffel bag from L.L. Bean for my trip, including monogramming and expedited shipping. The funniest part of the morning was when a man gave us a hundred dollar bill for a $2 purchase. Yikes!

My dad, two of my sisters, and my brother are all out in Iowa for the Anderson family annual pig roast and apparently having a hilariously wonderful time. I so wish I could've gone. Love to every one there if you read this!

I have one week left tomorrow and I can't decide if reality has hit me yet or not. I haven't been still enough for it to catch up with me I think. Still a lot to do, but I think it's all manageable. As long as I stay very busy. Very, very busy.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

two weeks left

Today marks two weeks until I leave. Saying good-bye to Charlotte is proving more difficult than I expected. Yesterday I was at the pottery studio cleaning my tools for the last time and fighting back tears.

So many dear places and moments have made up the last nine years. So much change has taken place in me that this place of change has grown to be a part of me. The person I was when we came here and the person I am as I leave are entirely different.

The state motto of North Carolina is "esse qualm videri" (or something like that) "to be rather than to appear." That is what has happened to me here. I have ceased appearing to be and have become. And while part of the becoming means moving forward, it is never easy to say good-bye.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

the sound of music




I just bought the most beautiful Violin. An Eastman Fiddle to be precise. She is so lovely. A beautiful, rich tone to her voice, simply beautiful. I have never played a violin like this. I don't feel worthy... yet. But I do feel inspired. She makes me sound better. My playing level hasn't increased, but she is so wonderful that it sounds like it has.

I'm learning a lot about not giving up. I've been renting a violin for 2 years and have played it less than 50 times. I just sound so horrible I can hardly stand to listen to myself. And with this move to London I was just going to give it up. Put the violin on the shelf and forget about it. But I have wanted to play the violin since I was four years old. This is my truest life-long dream. It began before any other. And I can not turn my back on that. I will not turn my back on that.

So, with patience and perseverance I am going to become a violinist. (Or a fiddler, who knows!)

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

A Happy Day!

I just found out one of my favorite bands of all times Waterdeep has just released a new album. And I thought they were finished forever! This is so happy!

Now, the actual album doesn't come out till the fall, but you can download the entire thing from their website Waterdeep and then upgrade to a physical CD for $4.00 later. Yeah! This has put a big smile on my face!

And to make it even better my lil sister sent me a newsletter that proclaimed one of my other favorite artists, Sara Groves, is releasing a CD two days after my birthday! Yeah!

I'm a very happy person right now! (And I already know what I want for my birthday.)

Monday, July 30, 2007

oh happy day!

I have recently finished all the books on Ireland that I own. Today I got a gift certificate to amazon.com from my credit card rewards program and ordered a bunch of new ones. I am so excited! Here are the titles I picked out (after long and painful deliberation):


As you can see they are all relating to Northern Ireland. Up till now I have focused on general Irish history. I think its time to focus some attention on Ireland's current issues. Can't wait to start reading!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

this makes me smile

"Singing also adds vivacity, buoyancy, and gaiety to our prayers."
- Richard Foster

Monday, July 16, 2007

something beautiful for God

A Prayer by Mother Teresa:

Dearest Lord, may I see you today and every day in the person of your sick, and, whilst nursing them, minister unto you.
Though you hide yourself behind the unattractive disguise of the irritable, the exacting, the unreasonable, may I still recognize you, and say:
"Jesus, my patient, how sweet it is to serve you."
Lord, give me this seeing faith, then my work will never be monotonous. I will ever find joy in humouring the fancies and gratifying the wishes of all poor sufferers.
O beloved, sick, how doubly dear you are to me, when you personify Christ; and what a privilege is mine to be allowed to tend you.
Sweetest Lord, make me appreciative of the dignity of my high vocation, and its many responsibilities. Never permit me to disgrace it by giving way to coldness, unkindness, or impatience.
And O God, while you are Jesus, my patient, deign also to be to me a patient Jesus, bearing with my faults, looking only to my intention, which is to love and serve you in the person of each of your sick.
Lord, increase my faith, bless my efforts and work, now and for evermore. Amen.

a little ditty


When I was little we had a tape by Psalty the Singing Songbook. Only one, the camping adventure. I don't remember much about it but I have always remembered this rather profound little song;



I cast all my cares upon you.
I lay all of my burdens down at your feet.
And anytime I don't know what to do,
I will cast all my cares upon you.


I was just thinking of that song last night, really needing to (once again) express that to the Lord.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

serving savior

Today I read the story of Jesus washing the disciples feet in John. Isn't it interesting that he did this to "show them the full extent of his love." The simplest, most mundane act of serving was how Jesus showed the full extent of his love. Not in the huge, grandiose act of dying to save them, but in washing their dirty, smelly feet. (You know, that's also how Mary of Bethany showed her love for Jesus.) Of course, that ultimate display showed the ultimate love. Big, widespread, overwhelming love. But sometimes it isn't the o'er sweeping acts of love, the giant incomprehensible acts that keep us going day to day. They are too big, too unfathomable, to be the thing we hold onto, and Jesus knew that. So he covered all the bases. He showed his love, not just by an ultimate sacrifice, but in simple acts of service. In small words of encouragement and comfort, not just sweeping exhortations and challenges. And isn't that, in the long run, the reason that we love him?

Friday, July 6, 2007

why, oh why , oh why?

Sometimes I can be such an idiot! Where does my common sense go when I need it?! Yesterday I left a bunch of candles in my car thinking 1) it wasn't that hot 2) candles are made to melt at very high temperatures. So this morning I went out to my car to find that my car seat is now one giant candle! Several of the candles melted completely away. The only thing left is the wick! I am not exaggerating. A couple just left giant globs of wax on the seat, and then the rest are just malformed. UGH! (Does anyone know how to clean vast quantities of wax out of upholstery?)

Saturday, June 30, 2007

event-full week

So this was a big week:
1) I did the online part of my visa application and got the necessary passport photos taken. It will go in the mail as soon as I get my next bank statement (which must be included to prove my financial viability).
2) I sent in my Transit Fees by international bank transfer and discovered that my bank has a horrible exchange rate.
3) I booked my flight to London. I will be leaving Charlotte at 7:00 pm September 2nd and arrive in London 11:35 am September 3rd. Transit starts September 5th.
Everything is starting to come together. It's very exciting! I have this week off so I will be packing and planning and organizing to my little heart's content. 9 weeks and counting!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

life of an artist

I went to see one of my favorite artists tonight; Amy Correia. She was great, the other performers not so much, we left early. But it furthered thoughts that were sparked over the weekend when I bought Bruce Springsteen's Live in Dublin CD.
I find people who live by their art fascinating, especially musicians. They seem to be consumed by it. Where for me, art, literature, and music are parts of my life, even big parts, for them it is their life. You can hear it in their voices, see it on their fingers, hear it in their words. It is actually who they are.
So my thought is, who am I? What is it that defines me? I write, I throw pots, I used to paint and want to again. I would call myself a musician, but it's been a long time since I have really played a piano or a violin. These are things I love, they are parts of me. But they are not my life, they are not who I am.
Why? Is it because I haven't cared enough about one thing to give up all the others to pursue it? Am I destined to be a Jack of all trades but always yearning to master one? I don't know. Maybe I just need to keep living. Maybe the thing that defines who I am is something less tangible than a guitar strapped to my shoulders or a canvas on my wall.
Something to think about.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Summer Fruit


Summer is not my favorite season, I don't like being hot. But one thing I do like about summer is all the yummy fruit. When I got back from the beach my mom gave me a bag of peaches and plums and nectarines. I've been eating them for breakfast. When I bite into one the juice goes splashing down my hand. This is happiness.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Beach


I got back Sunday from a working beach trip. The girls were great and we had a fun, albeit exhausting, trip. We were out on the beach and in the pool and went to their grandfather's tree farm where we rode gators all around the 300 acre property. I had Saturday off and spent it laying on the beach reading. And burning. It was a lovely day for which I am still paying... OUCH!
I wanted to share something really cool that happened on the trip; A couple Sundays ago at church we had a special offering for Zao Water, a project that raises funds to dig wells in Africa. I felt compelled to give, and not just my standard special offering amount, something big, something challenging. And I did, while saying, "Ok Lord, I trust you. It's your money anyway so you're going to have to provide that much more for me to go to London." On the beach trip I was given double the amount I put in that offering.
Great is your faithfulness oh Lord!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Courage to trust beyond our fears!

A week or so ago I subscribed to the Moravian Daily Text. Everyday you get an email with a couple of Bible verses and a prayer. They can be really timely. Yesterday I had a bit of a crisis of faith. I decided to add up some totals for Transit and somehow the discrepancies between incoming and projected outgoing seemed bigger than before. So I had a few hours of trying to relax and trust. Then this morning I woke up to this:

The Lord makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters.
Isaiah43:16

And Jesus said to the disciples, "Why are you afraid, you of little faith?"
Matthew 8:26

Making a way in the sea, you direct us beyond ourselves. Forgive us for
wanting assurances when you have asked us to have faith. Give us the courage to
trust beyond our fears. Amen.


Exactly, exactly!

(Oh, if you want to subscribe yourself just visit this website: http://www.moravian.org/daily_texts/)

Monday, May 28, 2007

Ready for Take-off





I have had some pretty big news this week. In February I applied for a training program with 24-7 Prayer called Transit. Since my vision is to start a Boiler Room in Dublin (a 24 hour prayer room) this training program is the first step. I had an interview on Friday, and although it started out a bit rough, it ended great! And the end result is that I have been accepted and will be living and learning in London for 10 months beginning the first week of September. After waiting years for the door to open to the first step to pursuing my calling it feels very surreal. I can hardly believe it's true.

This is from today's Moravian Daily Text and it sums up, very nicely, my feelings:

Then the Lord called, "Samuel! Samuel!" and he said, "Here I am!" 1 Samuel 3:4

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear,
but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father."
Romans 8:15 (NIV)

Loving God, we thank you for your gracious call, and
we thank you that you bring us together as your family. Help us to continue to
respond to your calling, and may we be worthy to be called your children. In a
spirit of gratitude and love we pray. Amen.


Through this entire process, in the emotional highs and lows, I just want to learn how to stay with the Lord, how to keep my eyes on HIM.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Believe in miracles and cures and healing wells

Faced with the challenge of, "now what?" following Devolution in Northern Ireland and an apparent end to the peace process this is what I feel the Lord is saying:

This is not an end result. This is not all prayers answered. This is a beginning, an inspiration for more and deeper prayers. The wounds of Ireland are bigger than Sinn Fein and the DUP. They are bigger than Protestant and Catholic. The wounds of Ireland are not limited to the North, they stretch across the entire island. And to view current events as prayers for Ireland answered is like putting a band-aid on a dirty, gaping wound.

In order for deep wounds to be healed they must first be recognized and acknowledged. They must be cleaned out. After that process true healing can begin. I believe Ireland is called to be a nation of healers, to be a nation of peacemakers. But first she must be healed and set at peace. Not a superficial glossing over, but real, true, permanent healing.

None of this is to negate or belittle what has already happened, because it is a very big thing, a very good thing. But we must be careful that we do not settle for the good thing at the expense of the best thing.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

There's no other way to be happy in Jesus

This was a rough day. I'm inexplicably tired. Work was frustrating. And I wasted 2.5 hours watching tv.

I've been waiting for several months to hear whether or not I've been accepted for a training program that would finally get me started on my life dream. I had an email yesterday, but it was only to say that they've updated the website and that they would be in touch in some undefined time frame. Even though the program starts in September apparently they haven't even started looking at applications yet. I had mine in in February. I've been trying so hard not to count on this. But this is it for me. This is the last door I know to knock on, every other one has been very firmly shut. So, try as hard as I can not to, I'm finding it impossible to not "put all my eggs in this basket."

I've told myself all the right things, over and over. The Lord will open the right door at the right time. If this isn't it, that just means the Lord has something better ahead. But after 3 shut doors and years of waiting they are all starting to sound a bit trite.

We had a guest speaker from Germany at church last week, Walter Heidenreich. He had a really "wow" message. He said that the Lord has everything, there is nothing he is missing, nothing we could give him that he doesn't already have. Heaven is full of saved people so evangelism is out, worship, and intercession are too. The only thing missing is faith. "They don't need faith in heaven because they see everything." The one thing we can give to God to please him is faith. And I seem so lacking in it right now..........

But the thing of it is, I like to think of this dream as mine. This grandiose vision for my life as belonging to me. But here's the reality; it's not. There is no way I could come up with all this stuff on my own. And not even a hope of a chance I could accomplish even one bit of it without Jesus. So I don't know why I get so upset by the challenges along the way. It is not my job to make sure this happens. My job is to trust. Trust and obey.

So, as Jesus gives me the strength to hold on to him, I will start again tomorrow.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Now you are a lioness

I love these encounters between Lucy, Susan, and Aslan:

From somewhere deep inside Aslan's body there came the faintest suggestion of a growl. "I'm sorry," said Lucy, who understood some of his moods. "I didn't mean to start slanging the others. But it wasn't my fault anyway, was it?" The Lion looked straight into her eyes.
"Oh, Aslan," said Lucy, "You don't mean it was? How could I-I couldn't have left the others and come up to you alone, how could I? Don't look at me like that ... oh well, I suppose I could. Yes, and it wouldn't have been alone, I know, not if I was with you. But what would have been the good?" Aslan said nothing.
"You mean," said Lucy rather faintly, "that it would have turned out all right-somehow? But how? Please, Aslan! Am I not to know?" "To know what would have happened, child?" said Aslan. "No. Nobody is ever told that." "Oh dear," said Lucy. "But anyone can find out what will happen," said Aslan. "If you go back to the others now, and wake them up, and tell them you have seen me again; and that you must all get up at once and follow me-what will happen? There is only one way of finding out."
"Do you mean that is what you want me to do?" gasped Lucy. "Yes, little one," said Aslan. "But they won't believe me!" said Lucy. "It doesn't matter," said Aslan. "Oh dear, oh dear," said Lucy. "And I was so pleased at finding you again. And I thought you'd let me stay. And I thought you'd come roaring in and frighten all the enemies away-like last time. And now everything's going to be horrid."
"It is hard for you, little one," said Aslan. "But things never happen the same way twice. It has been hard for us all in Narnia before now."
Lucy buried her head in his mane to hide from his face. But there must have been magic in his mane. She could feel lion-strength going into her. Quite suddenly she sat up. "I'm sorry, Aslan," she said. "I'm ready now." "Now you are a lioness," said Aslan. "And now all Narnia will be renewed. But come. We have no time to lose."

"Lucy," said Susan in a very small voice. "Yes?" said Lucy. "I see him now. I'm sorry." "That's all right." "But I've been far worse than you know. I really believed it was him-he, I mean-yesterday. And I really believed it was him tonight, when you woke us up. I mean, deep down inside. Or I could have, if I'd let myself. But I just wanted to get out of the woods and-and-oh, I don't know. And what ever am I to say to him?" "Perhaps you won't need to say much," suggested Lucy.

Then, after an awful pause, the deep voice said, "Susan." Susan made no answer but the others thought she was crying. "You have listened to your fears, child," said Aslan. "Come let me breathe on you. Forget them. Are you brave again?" "A little, Aslan," said Susan.

They remind me of my conversations with the Lord.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Someone is Hearing the Outcry

Human beings suffer.
They torture one another.
They get hurt and get hard.
No poem or play or song
Can fully right a wrong
Enflicted and endured.

History says, Don't hope
On this side of the grave,
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up
And hope and history rhyme.

So hope for a great sea-change
On the far side of revenge.
Believe that a farther shore
Is reachable from here.
Believe in miracles
And cures and healing wells.

Call miracle self-healing,
The utter self-revealing
Double take of feeling.
If there's fire on the mountain
And lightning and storm
And a god speaks from the sky

That means someone is hearing
The outcry and the birth-cry
Of new life at its term.
It means once in a lifetime
That justice can rise up
And hope and history rhyme.

from The Cure at Troy
by Seamus Heaney

Sunday, April 29, 2007

To bring healing and joy to the broken heart of God.

I recently read "What Christians Should Know About Reconciliation" by John Dawson. It really is a life changing book, one I think all Christians, and definitely people in ministry, should read. I think one of the most important points he made, and one I had never heard before, was the reasons he gave for the reconciling, why we should seek to heal wounds in the first place;

"Jesus Himself should be the focus of the reconciler's heart. Our essential motive in all this is to bring healing and joy to the broken heart of God. We seek the healing of wounds, not because people or cultures deserve healing, but because Jesus deserves to see the reward of the cross, the reconciliation of people to the Father and to each other."


We hear so much about the hurting; those with AIDS, the hungry, the poor, the war-torn countries. It is good and right that our hearts bleed for them. But our hearts bleed for them because of Jesus. Because we have someone who showed us what is right and what is wrong and what true life really looks like. We look around at the world and see how things are, then we look at Jesus and see how they should be. He is the hope, the inspiration, and the strength we need to go out and begin to set things right. And more than that, he is the reason they should be set right.