Thursday, December 04, 2008


I've been freezing my butt off in Iowa for almost two weeks now. Snow covers the ground, more is forecasted and it is doubtful that the temperature broke 20 degrees today. I went into Target for a couple things and was shocked with a quizzical sight. Hanging beside t-shirts of snowmen and gingerbread men were skimpy bikinis and bathing suits. It only took a moment for me to realize that these were for those persons embarking upon winter cruises and tropical vacations. But it was still a very odd sight to see this vast array on the main aisle of Target in deep-cold December...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A New Kind of Door...?

More and more changes. More and more uncertainty. I've felt lost, disoriented, directionless. That's what my life has been about. Still jobless. Now becoming homeless. (Some things are happening within the family I've been staying with and consequently I can no longer stay. They need to be able to rally around each other with no distractions, including a jobless housemate.)

So, what does this mean? Good question! I don't know. My stuff-in-use will join the rest of my stuff in storage. I'll live out of my suitcases for now. I'm still going home for Thanksgiving. After that... only God knows.

More job applications have been turned in, but I have heard nothing. I have made inquiries for housing to no avail.

I would love to live out of my car for awhile- I think that would truly be exciting, even exhilarating. But, it's too cold this time of year.

So, I started trying to think outside the box. If these traditional doors for a job aren't opening, is there another door? Maybe a new type of door? Perhaps something I've overlooked? And something came to mind. A brief conversation I had had with my dad just a few days before. He presented an idea which I casually dismissed. Only because I had thought about it before and didn't deem it relevant or possible. Now, this idea seems much more probable. It is generating excitement for my future which I haven't had in almost six months.

I'm purposefully not naming the idea at this time. I'm talking to some key people and doing a lot of research. And of course, this is spawning lots and lots of prayer. So, if you have been- thank you- and please keep it up. There's still a very rocky road to navigate... but now, perhaps, with some direction.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

It's been awhile...

Yes, it's been awhile. About five months actually. And what a five months it has been...

If you didn't know, near the end of May, I lost my job. I am still jobless. I've had some great interviews. I'm seeking the Lord daily for direction. But the doors have not opened yet. Those around me and praying for me believe God is waiting because something big is coming. And not just for me. Something big for our community, our church, our friends. Something I will be involved with. We have yet to see what that something is, but we are waiting expectantly.

This time (being unemployed) has been rewarding in other ways. God has given me many opportunities to serve friends in the church and the church itself. I have done a lot of childcare and baby-sitting. I've helped organize projects at church and run errands. And have even taken on the position of Hospitality Coordinator for Sunday mornings at church. I have stayed very busy. And the downtime I do have, have been filled with playing Wii with Jonny.

Jonny is our associate pastor's son. I am now living with their family. About three months after I lost my job, my lease came up on my apartment. Without any income, I could no longer afford it. Tom & Jeanne opened their home to me. Most of my stuff went into storage and I now inhabit a finished attic space in their house that is almost like a studio apartment.

The last five months have been wrought with changes and daily struggles. But through it all, God has never left my side. Daily He reminds me and reassures me that He is in control; that He has a magnificent plan for my life.

Jeremiah 29:11- For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

Isaiah 41:9b-10- You are My servant, I have chosen you and not rejected you. Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am you God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

Psalm 142:7- Bring my soul out of prison, So that I may give thanks to Thy name; The righteous will surround me, For Thou wilt deal bountifully with me.

Job 42:2- I know that Thou canst do all things, And that no purpose of Thine can be thwarted.

1 Peter 1:6-7- In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

Thursday, May 08, 2008

She got the Power...

(Suddenly I see)
She got the power to be, the power to give, the power to see, yeah yeah

Lyrics from KT Tunstall Suddenly I See

2008 is the year of new beginnings...
Spring is the time for a fresh new start...

Fervent prayers, heartfelt conversations, urgent restlessness, cries of injustice are plaguing us. Me and my friends. We vent to each other in frustration of our desire to act, to move, to cause the change. But we have been asked to wait. The time has not yet come. The door is not yet open.

When? we ask, though we plead for it to be now. How long are we to endure the anxious motions of our spirits?

Each of us has been placed here at this time for a specific purpose, though we do not know what that is. Each of us are in difficult situations on the verge of giving way. God has brought us together, here in this place, for a reason. We are more than just a support system. We are to be more than just friends.

All of us know it, sense it, believe it. The Holy Spirit is moving within us individually and communally. Preparing each of us for what lies ahead. And we have each been given special gifts:

She got the power to be, the power to give, the power to see, yeah yeah

to aid our fellow man, to fulfill the purpose of the Spirit, to bring glory to God;

through the Power of God alone.

"For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?" Esther 4:14

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Heart of Hearts...

Inside my heart of hearts
You have delivered me
Messiah, You calmed the raging sea
Inside my heart of hearts.

Lyrics from a song that sings to me in times when I'm hurt, by Wayne Watson.

I have tried to brush it off, ignore it, or even hide from it. I have tried to simply not let it affect me. Others have offered advice which I have tried. I have taped a picture of a duck to my computer at work to remind me to let it "roll off my back like water off a duck's back". I put up a strong front, but inwardly I'm shrinking and shriveling. Because no matter what, I always have and always will, have a sensitive heart.

The slightest off-hand remark or inflection in a voice can send me reeling. Even if it was unintended. A truly harsh word is like a knife being stabbed directly into me.

God has promised that He will contend with those who contend with us (Isaiah 41:11). And He will strengthen us before our enemy (Psalm 18).

I want to ask if I will ever grow out of this. Will I ever be unhurt by the words of man? Perhaps I have discovered part of the purpose for my current position. Never have I been somewhere before where words were used everyday in such a harsh, critical way. Never before have I been so wounded by words spoken to me or about me. Perhaps I am here to once and for all learn that my validation is from God alone. No one on earth can take that from me.

But is there a way for my heart to exist in both ways? To still be sensitive and yet not be wounded? Or just maybe, that is why my heart is sensitive and to lose the wounds would harden it. If that is so, then I will have to learn to endure the wounds. For though I act tough, I enjoy my sensitive heart and the compassion towards others that it allows.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Please watch this...

My friend posted this on a MySpace Bulletin. The words ring with profound truth and the musical accompaniment is simple and passionate. I hope you enjoy...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Experiments in Cooking...

This past week I got to spend time doing one of my favorite things- cooking. I have become the resident dessert maker for our bi-weekly Lifegroup (home fellowship)dinners and undertook a massive effort for Friday's pleasure, which I'll get to momentarily. I also got a little experimental with some ground beef. All in all it was an exciting time and I thought I would share my experiments with you...

Sweet Beef
I was cooking some ground beef one evening and wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it. So, I opened my spice cupboard hoping for inspiration. I saw a recently purchased tub of paprika from Whole Foods sitting there in its burnt red gloriousness. (I love paprika!) So, I opened it up and luxuriously sprinkled some over the meat. Then on a complete whim, dusted some ground cinnamon and crumbled some brown sugar into the pan. The result was amazing. It was sweet, a little saucy- but perhaps a bit too much. So, the next night, I happened to be at the grocery store and picked up some more ground beef. I did the same to this, but with a bit less of everything, then mixed it with the leftovers from the previous evening. I served it on some toasted sour dough bread- it was delicious! The milder form of the beef gave it just the right temperament and the sour dough added just the right amount of kick.

Strawberry Dessert Cups
This was my dessert for our Lifegroup meeting. I had scoured blogs, books, websites, etc., for over a week trying to find a recipe that fit what I wanted to do all to no avail. So, I decided to make my own. After going through several ideas, talking them through with multiple people, I finally decided on what is to follow. I must warn, this became a massive undertaking- almost 6 hours of work. This was partly because (as to my recollection) I have never worked with phyllo dough before.
I started by making 4-sheet thick phyllo cups, making sure to spread melted butter and lightly sprinkle sugar inbetween each sheet. Several attempts utilizing different cups, sizes, shapes, etc. I settled on my muffin tin. This later became a time saver as I was able to bake a dozen at a time. Then I melted semi-sweet baking chocolate squares and poured it into the bottom of each cup- just thin enough to coat the bottom. And for decoration I drizzled some on the edges of the cups. These I refrigerated overnight. Then the next evening I sliced strawberries galore and layered them in the cups. Beat up some fresh sweetened whipped cream and piped it onto the strawberries.
The result: Though many hours of work- the dessert cups were described as a "taste of Heaven" and would "surely be served at the Lord's table".

I have a few leftover phyllo "cups" - ones from my first attempts before utilizing my muffin pan. I mixed up some cream cheese, almond extract and powdered sugar then layered some sliced strawberries- scrumptious!

Friday, April 18, 2008

I'm All Shook Up...

Just after 4:30 this morning, I was rudely awoken by a pounding and a shaking. In my groggy haze, it seemed as though someone was in the attic above my apartment jumping up and down, causing my entire apartment to shake. I was quite irritated and on the verge of yelling out to this phantom that people were trying to sleep. But before I could muster the alertness to put together a comprehensible sentence, it stopped. So, I rolled over and went back to sleep, mumbling about the rudeness of some people.

Fast forward about 2 hours. I'm in the bathroom getting ready for work, earlier events almost forgotten and passed off as a probable dream. I have my tv on to the morning news as I always do, when they start talking about all the emails and phone calls they had been receiving about the earthquake. I walked out to my living room, confused as to what they were actually talking about. Then they laid out all the details of this 5.4 earthquake that hit Southern Illinois just after 4:30 this morning. Suddenly, the light bulb above my head bursts into brightness and the dots connect. There wasn't a rude person that somehow made it into the attic above my apartment and was jumping up and down... it was an earthquake.

I can now say that I have been in an earthquake. Something I would have been totally fine with never being able to say...