Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Heart Of A Homeless Man...

One of my amazing homeless friends built this snowman. It's on the corner of Michigan and Pennsylvania Street . 
He says, "Everday I will put scarves, hats, and gloves on there until it starts to melt. If anyone needs the gloves or ear warmers please do take them."

This makes my heart smile. 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Distroying What Seeks To Distroy Me...

I love this.

This is from The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis

In his story, he and some others were on a bus trip that took them to the outskirts of heaven. There, they are able to get a glimpse of true reality - about heaven and themselves. The people from the bus trip are "ghosts" and each "Ghost" has something he must give up.

I saw coming towards us a Ghost who carried something on his shoulder. Like all the Ghosts, he was unsubstantial, but they differed from one another as smokes differ. Some had been whitish; this one was dark and oily. What sat on his shoulder was a little red lizard, and it was twitching its tail like a whip and whispering things in his ear. As we caught sight of him he turned his head to the reptile with a snarl of impatience. "Shut up, I tell you!" he said. It wagged its tail and continued to whisper to him. He ceased snarling, and presently began to smile. Then he turned and started to limp westward, away from the mountains.

"Off so soon?" said a voice.

The speaker was more or less human in shape but larger than a man, and so bright that I could hardly look at him. His presence smote on my eyes and on my body too (for there was heat coming from him as well as light) like the morning sun at the beginning of a tyrannous summer day.

"Yes, I'm off," said the Ghost. "Thanks for all your hospitality. But it's no good, you see. I told this little chap," (here he indicated the lizard), "that he'd have to be quiet if he came - which he insisted on doing. Of course his stuff won't do here: I realize that. But he won't stop. I shall just have to go home

"Would you like me to make him quiet?" said the flaming Spirit - an angel, as I now understood.

"Of course I would," said the Ghost.

"Then I will kill him," said the Angel, taking a step forward.

"Oh - ah - look out! You're burning me. Keep away," said the Ghost retreating.

"Don't you want him killed?" said the Angel.

"You didn't say anything about killing him at first. I hardly meant to bother you with something so drastic as that."

"It's the only way," said the Angel, whose burning hands were now very close to the lizard. "Shall I kill it?"

"Well, that's a further question. I'm quite open to consider it, but it's a new point, isn't it? I mean, for the moment I was only thinking about silencing it..." said the Ghost.

"May I kill it?" asked the Angel.

"Well, there's time to discuss that later" said the Ghost.

"There is no time. May I kill it?"

Please, I never meant to be such a nuisance. Please - really - don't bother. Look! It's gone to sleep of its own accord. I'm sure it will be all right now. Thanks ever so much."

"May I kill it?"

"Honestly, I don't think there's the slightest necessity for that. I'm sure I shall be able to keep it in order now. I think the gradual process would be far better than killing it." said the Ghost.

"The gradual process is of no use at all."

"Don't you think so? Well, I'll think over what you've said very carefully. I honestly will. In fact I'd let you kill it now, but as a matter of fact I'm not feeling frightfully well today. It would be silly to do it now. I'd need to be in good health for the operation. Some other day, perhaps."

"There is no other day. All days are present now."

"Get back! You're burning me. How can I tell you to kill it? You'd kill me if you did."

"It is not so."

"Why, you're hurting me now."

"I never said it wouldn't hurt you. I said it wouldn't kill you"...

The Angel's hands were almost closed on the Lizard, but not quite. Then the Lizard began chattering to the Ghost so loud that even I could hear what it was saying.

"Be careful," it said. "He can do what he says. He can kill me. One fatal word from you and he will! Then you'll be without me forever and ever. It's not natural. How could you live? You'd only be a sort of ghost, not a real man as you are now. He doesn't understand. He's only a cold, bloodless abstract thing. It may be natural for him, but it isn't for us. Yes, yes. I know there are no real pleasures now, only dreams. But aren't they better than nothing? And I'll be so good. I admit I've sometimes gone too far in the past, but I promise I won't do it again. I'll give you nothing but really nice dreams - all sweet and fresh and almost innocent. You might say, quite innocent..."

"Have I your permission?" asked the Angel to the Ghost.

"I know it will kill me."

"It won't. But supposing it did?" asked the Angel

"You're right. It would be better to be dead than to live with this creature."

"Then I may?"

"...Go on can't you! Get it over. Do what you like," bellowed the Ghost: but ended, whimpering, "God help me. God help me."

Next moment the Ghost gave a scream of agony such as I never heard on Earth. The Burning One closed his crimson grip on the reptile: twisted it, while it bit and writhed, and then flung it, broken backed on the turf.

What a great reminder. Satan is a LIAR and DECEIVER. And sometimes we have to make radical choices in order to follow Jesus. It isn't always easy and doesn't always 'feel good'. But, it will be worth it. It will be MORE than worth it.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I'm The Price I Pay...

Chasen - Castaway
I Feel Destruction Running Hard Through My Veins
But I See Redemption Rushing My Way
My Victories Are Bittersweet, And Now I Can Tell
The Only Place My Plans Have Led Me Is Right Where I Fell

I'm Overboard, Too Far From Shore
A Castaway Trying To Make It Home
I Catch My Breath To Save Myself But I Can't
In My Sight You Were Just In Time
I Feel You Now You're By My Side
And I Know You Gave Me, A Gift Of A Second Chance

I Had A Dream Of A Life Of My Own
And I Had A Place That I Thought Was My Home
But Now I See I Just Can't Have It Any Other Way
It's All Or Nothing, Do Or Die And I'm The Price I Pay Because

I'm Overboard, Too Far From Shore
A Castaway Trying To Make It Home
I Catch My Breath To Save Myself But I Can't
In My Sight You Were Just In Time
I Feel You Now You're By My Side
And I Know You Gave Me, A Gift Of A Second Chance
A Second Chance

A Second Chance I Won't Forget
A Second Life I Won't Regret
A Second Wind To Brave This Night
A Second More To Make It Right

I'm Overboard, Too Far From Shore
A Castaway Trying To Make It Home
I Catch My Breath To Save Myself But I Can't
In My Sight You Were Just In Time
I Feel You Now You're By My Side
And I Know You Gave Me, A Gift Of A Second Chance

A Gift Of A Second Chance
I'm A Castaway, With A Gift Of A Second Chance


Monday, October 04, 2010

If You Are Willing...

A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. “If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,” he said. Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed. 
-Mark 1:40-42

Jesus may not physically be in front of me...and I may not have 'leprosy', per say, but...I've still got dirt. I still have frequent moments where I need to fall on my face and ask Jesus to make me clean. There is nothing I can do to fix my 'human condition'...nothing. There is only one way. One truth. One life. And that one touch is enough. His grace IS enough.

So, here I go. Kneeling in front of my savior. Begging to be healed. Lord, if you are willing...make me clean. Because you're the only one who can. 

Thursday, September 30, 2010

He Hears My Voice...

Man, life gets hard sometimes. And life gets really dark sometimes. I start to wonder if I'm ever going to get a break. If there is ever a way out. I'm quick to believe the lies that Satan feeds me. I start thinking there is no use. It's too hard. God has had enough of my bull sh*t. I've been down this road. It's nothing new. I should have learned. I'M sick of trying to give myself second, third, fourth...hundred-and-fifty-seven-thousandth chance. Why would someone so perfect take me back again and again. I just always start to wonder. 

But, my God is so gracious and so merciful and his love abounds! I love when He brings me back to that place. That place where His love is so real. His mercy is so fresh. His grace is so amazing.

This Psalm is so perfect when I'm in these moments. I need to be reminded that God hears my voice. He BENDS DOWN TO LISTEN. Is that not a beautiful picture? 

I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath! Death wrapped its ropes around me; the terrors of the grave overtook me. I saw only trouble and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord: “Please, Lord, save me!” How kind the Lord is! How good he is! So merciful, this God of ours! The Lord protects those of childlike faith; I was facing death, and he saved me. Let my soul be at rest again, for the Lord has been good to me. He has saved me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. And so I walk in the Lord’s presence as I live here on earth!
-Psalm 116:1-9

Friday, September 10, 2010

Everything...

Everything.
The current series at Indy Metro Church is entitled 'Everything'. The focus is simple, yet profound...an act of generosity, big or small, will produce a ripple effect that will have an impact each person it touches.

As a church, we are committed to living generously and inspiring others to do the same. This recent 'challenge' has further fueled my desire to live a Christ-centered, grace-filled, life of generosity.

I'd like to share a couple quick stories in hopes that you will be spurred to take a step outside of you comfort zone and let that chain of generous events start happening where ever you are.

Dollar Store.
Last weekend, I ran into the dollar store to grab a couple things and noticed a older woman and a frail little lady she kept calling mother. As I overheard bits and pieces of their conversation, I just wanted to 'awww' at their comments about the cheesy knick-knacks.

As I walked to the checkout, they stepped in line behind me. I heard the daughter say, "Mom, that is beautiful." As I turned to see what she had picked up, the mom was holding one of those dream catchers, telling her daughter that it would bring her good luck (I didn't think that was how those 'worked' but...nonetheless).

I swiped my card and the cash back option popped up. I quickly turned around to count how many items the ladies had sat on the counter. (This dollar store happened to be a 'real' dollar store...where everything is actually a dollar.) I chose my cash back amount and as the cashier handed me my $10 bill, I handed it right back and asked her to put it toward the ladies behind me.

My attempt to be discreet about the whole thing, was foiled by the cashiers response. She kept asking what I meant and looking at me like I was a crazy person. But, I guess that is a valid response to our culture's 'it's all about me' attitude.

Gatorade.
Today, I was on my way to drop a carload of stuff off at Goodwill and drove by a couple guys holding up those side-of-the-road-advertising signs...you know, like the Cash 4 Gold ones. It wasn't extremely hot, but it was the middle of the afternoon and pretty sunny...so, I decided I'd stop and buy them a cold drink.

I drove up to the next gas station, bought them each a Gatorade and pack of cookies and headed back to drop off the little snack. I hoped out of my car and walked up to them. I'll admit, it was a little awkward at first, but that didn't last long. The first guy asked me why I was doing this and I told him just because...he asked if he could give me a hug. The second guy was a little hessitant to take my tiny gift and told me to give it to the other guy.

I told them to have a good one and started walking back to my car. As I turned around the second guy yelled at me and asked to 'see my ink'. So, I walked back and I got to explain what my tattoos meant and before I knew it, he was talking my ear off.

He showed me an old gang-related tattoo on his arm that he was in the process of getting covered up. He told me about the amazing things Jesus had done in his life and how He had rescued him. He even invited me to his church.

The three of us chatted a little while longer as the traffic zoomed by and then I jumped in my car and drove away.

--
For a couple ideas on how you can be generous, check out these suggestions for
cultivating generosity


Wednesday, August 04, 2010

"We Don’t Rest In Peace...We Just Disappear...”

**These carts belong to Ron. He sleeps under this bridge. He earns his 'living' collecting cans and other pieces of trash that can be sold for a little bit of change. I don't know how long Ron has been on the streets, but it is the only way he knows. I've known him for over a year and have never once seen him stand up. He is always lying down, on the concrete, with his headphones in his ears. More often than not all you can hear is static coming from his radio. I don't think he can even grasp his situation. But, then again, it's his life. And who am I to judge. I rarely hear the man complain and can count on one hand the number of times I've seen him upset. Each time we leave Ron, he prays for us. His words are beautiful. Maybe he knows more than we give him credit for. God may be all he has, but isn't God really all we need? Ron, you are truly a beautiful soul and you are so very loved.**

Monday, August 02, 2010

Make It Through...

Life isn't easy. It's really hard. It really hurts sometimes. Most of it makes very little sense. But that's nothing new and it's nothing profound. I'm just being reminded of it all. And reminded of how easy it is to want to give up and give in. That's exactly what I've been doing. Of course that never really works. Nothing ever really goes away simply because you chose to ignore it. You've got to face it. Walk right up to that giant and look him in the eye. Walk through the rain. There is hope. There is help. It's coming. Don't give up. Please, don't give up. I have got to remind myself every single day that God is bigger and God is stronger and He is my strength and He is my help. I'm going to make it through. Jesus truly IS the only name that will pull me though. Hold on.

Hold On - Rapture Ruckus
You Gotta Hold On
Help Is Coming
You Gotta Hold On
You're Going To Make It Through The Rain

Through The Rain Through The Pain
Through The Fire And Flame
The Same Name I Cling To
The Same Name That Remains Forever
The Name Above All Names
Above Death And The Grave
The Name That Cures Cancer
And Gives Strength To The Lame
The Same Name That Came And Shattered My Chains
The Same Name That Will Come And Do The Same Again For You
He's Going To Come Through
Yes It's True
Jesus The Only Name That Will Pull You Through

You Gotta Hold On
Help Is Coming
You Gotta Hold On
You're Going To Make It Through The Rain

'Cause He Said He'll Never Leave Us
Nor Forsake Us Man And That's The Only
Word You Need To Hold To
And You'll Never Be Lonely Homie
I Know I Ain't The Only Person Out There Hurting
Who's Flirted With Thought Of Ending It All
But Been Averted And I Know So Many Out There Who Have Had It Much Harder
They Got No Food In Their Bellies
Got No Mothers Or Fathers
So Many Questions Out There That Need Answers To But Even If It Comes Down To The Final Hour
Man He'll Still Come Through

You Gotta Hold On
Help Is Coming
You Gotta Hold On
You're Going To Make It Through The Rain

If You're Waiting For A Miracle
You Gotta Hold On
You Gotta Make It Through The Rain

Through The Rain
Through The Flame
You Are The Name Above Every Name

Jesus The Name Above All Names

Friday, July 23, 2010

Do Not Mix...

New and old DO NOT mix. I guess it really is that simple.

“Besides, who would patch old clothing with new cloth? For the new patch would shrink and rip away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger tear than before. “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the wine would burst the wineskins, and the wine and the skins would both be lost. New wine calls for new wineskins.”
-Mark 2:21-22
I'm so thankful for this reminder...a reminder and maybe even a little bit of a warning.

Thank you for making me new, Jesus. Please stop me from trying to mix the new with the old. You are all that I need.

Monday, July 19, 2010

365 Day Challenge...

I've accepted this 'challenge' via Flickr. It is simply to take one self-portrait everyday for 365 days. Here are the shots from my first week of 365 Days...

[1]
"But I'll Always Be The Girl I Am..."
♫Gretchen Wilson - Girl I Am♪

[2]
"And That's What You Get For Falling Again...You Can Never Get Him Out Of Your Head..." 
♫Sugarcult - Pretty Girl♪

  
[3]
"You can bury a lot of troubles digging in the dirt." 

[4]:
"Secrets Got Me Torn Apart, Trying To Destroy My Heart...But I Can See The Light, It's Cutting Through The Night...Everything Will Be Okay..."
♫Fireflight - Stand Up♪

 
[5]:
"You See Her Confidence Is Tragic, But Her Intuition Magic..."
♫Train - Meet Virginia♪

[6]:
"I Was Thinking Just Today About How We Used To Play Barbie Dolls & Make-Up, Tea Parties, Dress Up...Wish We Were Kids Again...My Sister, My Friend..."
♫Reba McEntire - My Sister♪

[7]:
“So Watch Me Strike A Match On All My Wasted Time...As Far As I’m Concerned, You’re Just Another Picture To Burn...”
♫Taylor Swift - Picture To Burn♪

You can keep up with my 365 Days through my Flickr Photostream or 365 Day Set. :)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Courage Is Not...

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all. From now on you'll be traveling the road between who you think you are and who you can be. The key is to allow yourself to make the journey."
-The Princess Diaries

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Save A Life...

Please take a minute today to help save a life tomorrow.

Vote now and help
the Kristin Brooks Hope Center win up to $250,000 for suicide prevention. 100% of the proceeds will go directly toward creating the first online peer-to-peer crisis network. Vote now to bring the hope and help of 1(800)SUICIDE to the web.

1. Vote online here. (It's free and only takes a few steps.)
http://bit.ly/vote_hope

2. Personally ask friends and family to vote too.

3. Post a status update on Facebook, Twitter or elsewhere. "Please vote for Kristin Brooks Hope Center to win $250 K for online suicide prevention: http://bit.ly/vote_hope

4. You can vote for both the Kristen Brooks Hope Center and Active Minds. (Voting ends July 12th.)

Flickr...

Hey friends...there are lots of new photos up on my Flickr page! Let me know what you think...pretty please! :)

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The World Has Plans For My Demise...

Underdog - Audio Adrenaline
"...Which Leaves Me
Down On My Knees
Back To The Place I
Should Have Started From

Been Beat Up
Been Broken Down
Nowhere But Up
When You're Face Down
On The Ground..."

Big Dave & The Cat Lady...

I want to introduce you to my friend, Dave. 'Big Dave' hold a special place in my heart, being that he was one of the first guys on the streets that I really got to know. My first couple nights of outreach, I was pretty quiet. But, as soon as I stepped out of my comfort zone and pulled up a milk crate and began asking Dave his story, everything started to change. He was no different than me, or my friends, or my family. He was a beloved child of God, a beautiful person...with a story and dreams and...and, now, he was my friend! 

Dave has been homeless for years and years and has some how survived some pretty situations addictions and heath situations. There is no doubt someone is looking out for him...and we've talked many, many times about how God is not done with him yet. It's a huge encouragement for me to hear him speak those words. I know there have been times in Dave's past where he was seemingly ready to just give up, lay down in his tent beside the river, and just quit. The last few months his attitude has been so refreshing. He has been trying and taking steps toward finding housing and programs to help him with this battle.

A few weeks ago, it seemed like it was never going to quit raining. The rising river forced Dave to leave his camp, the place he's called home for the past couple years. Surprisingly, this didn't effect his hope or positive attitude one bit. He told me that he knew if God ever made him move, it would be for good and he would not be returning to live in that tent. Fortunately, he has been able to stay with a friend the last couple weeks. So, he is off the streets for the time being and is really making an effort to find housing. Please, please pray for Dave to find housing and finally be able to get off the streets for good.   

Now, one thing I forgot to mention...and it may actually add to why Dave is one of my favorites. :) He is a crazy animal lover...like myself. He has a beautiful dog, named Bear, and a kitty, named Little Foot. With not knowing where he would be moving or how long it would be before he would be settled again, I got a phone call from a few friends who were helping Dave move his stuff. And...I ended up with Little Foot, who happened to be VERY pregnant. 

Little Foot had NINE kittens yesterday afternoon. They are adorable. This also happens to bring the total number of cats living in my house to...TWELVE! So, my claims to being a 'cat lady' are now a definite truth. ;) 

P.S. If you know anyone looking for a kitten, let me know! Pretty please! They will be ready to go to their new homes the end of August! :)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Yellow Balloons...


Recently...via PostSecret, an illegal immigrant pledged to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge – “I have lived in San Francisco since I was young...I am illegal...I am not wanted here. I don’t belong anywhere. This summer I plan to jump off the Golden Gate."

...but over 20,000 online voices responded with hope!

And today hundreds are meeting on the Golden Gate Bridge to take a stand against suicide at the very place where it happens most in the world.

PLEASE DON'T JUMP! ♥

Sunday, June 06, 2010

You Are Loved...

I completely love the PostSecret project! Sometimes I smile...sometimes I want to cry...sometimes it gives me hope...

Check out the last reply on this post! I just pray that whoever wrote this PostSecret would know they are loved...and I agree, "Come to Indiana. I want you here. You could belong here."

 

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Oh, Do Tell...

...well, actually...ask..anything you'd like! :)

Go on...CLICK, CLICK...ask away!

formspring! say anything :D, originally uploaded by βeeŁo.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Beautiful Birthday...

...no way I could even come close to describing this day to you! Mickey lights up my world every time I'm around him! I feel so blessed that I was able to celebrate such a special day with such a beautiful soul! :)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Missio Dei...

In three short months I'll be on my way to the rural Guatemalan village of Magdalena to serve a local art school with my church. I feel so very blessed that I've been given such an awesome opportunity to travel somewhere so different from everything I'm used to. I can't wait to see how God uses this trip...not only to share Christ's love, but to completely shake up my world!   


Please, please pray for me, those I will be traveling with, and those we will be serving in Guatemala! 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

And That's All That Matters To Me...

I'm FREE! :) 

God's love has set me free! NOTHING else matters! This world, it's shallowness, the 'stuff', all of it...will be gone in the blink of an eye! But I am LOVED, really LOVED, by the one who made the stars...and so are you! What is better than that? Could anything else EVER come close to that? 

God, Your love IS all that matters to me!

All That Matters - Addison Road
I May Never Be The One That Gets A Second Glance
I May Never Be The One They Call The Prettiest
But That’s Alright With Me

And Maybe I Don't Follow Every Crazy Passion
Spend All My Time Trying To Get A Good Reaction
But That’s Ok With Me

This World Is Like A Trampoline
High And Low No In Between
Jumping At The Chance To Please
Everyone But That’s Not Me

Cause All That Matters Is
All That Matters Is
I Know Your Love Has Set Me Free
And That’s All That Matters To Me

Cause All That Matters Is
All That Matters Is
I Know Your Love Has Set Me Free
And That’s All That Matters To Me

Some People Tell Me To Step Out And Do My Own Thing
And Others Say I Got To Blend In Just To Be The Same
And Stop Being Me

But This Shallow World Is No Longer What I'm Made Of
I've Been Changed By Grace
I've Been Saved By Love
What More Do I Need

All That Matters Is
All That Matters Is
I Know Your Love Has Set Me Free
And That's All That Matters To Me

My Life Comes From The One
Who Made The Stars And Brought The Sun
He Loves Me More Than These
So I Don't Need Another Identity

All That Matters Is
All That Matters Is
I Know Your Love Has Set Me Free
And That's All That Matters To Me

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

BOLD...

What are they going to do?
Are they going to take away my stuff? It's not mine. It's God's, and you can't take from me what isn't mine.

What are they going to do?
Take away my repuation? I don't boast of one, and the one I have isn't all that good.

What are they going to do?
Manipulate me with guilt? Fat chance.

What are they going to do?
Kill me? Doesn't matter. I was going to die anyway.

What are they going to do?
Take away their love? I am loved by the One who will never take away His love.

...Real boldness is just another name for nothing left to lose. And Christians who have nothing left to lose are the world's worst nightmare!

- Steve Brown 'A Scandalous Freedom'

Friday, May 14, 2010

Semper Fi...

I've prayed that prayer so many times...the one that goes something like, "God, let my heart be broken for the things your heart breaks for..." and along with this I've prayed a TON of other prayers that sometimes may have just been things I 'thought' I should be praying for. So many times I've failed to grasp the words coming out of my mouth. And more than once, God has answered those prayers...the ones I hadn't the faintest idea what I was asking for. 

This is without a doubt one of the biggest, if not the biggest, situation my heart has been broken for. A childhood friend of mine lost her husband on March 24, 2010 while he was serving in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. 

I've never met Jake, and haven't seen my old friend for years...but I've shed so many tears over this death. My heart has honestly been broken again and again. I'll chalk part of that heart break and a few of those tears to the fact that I have a number of people in my life, who mean a lot to me, serving overseas or who have served in the past. But so much of it is God grabbing a hold of my heart and showing me what His heart is broken for. 

I really can't explain it.

You may know, I'm not the US Government's biggest fan and I HATE war. But not because I'm "political" or whatever comes to mind...but because it's all so far from the way Jesus lived...the was we are called to live. However, realistically, there will always be war...there HAS always been war. So, what do I do with that? Love? Let my heart continue to break? Cry? Pray? Love more? I guess so. I guess I'll love those that I am 'supposed' to hate. I guess I'll cry for the people being killed EVERYDAY. I guess I'll pray God will give me strength, that I could be strength to others. Because what else CAN I do, dammit!

Please, please pray for Jake's wife, Brittney, and his family and friends and those he served alongside!   
  
R.I.P. Lance Cpl. Jacob A. Ross
I am forever grateful!

SEMPER FI

Thursday, May 06, 2010

A Garden ♥...

I am so very, very blessed with AWESOME friends! ♥


 
...and it won't be long until I'll be blessed with yummy food growing in my back yard! YAY! :)

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Tessa...

I've written bits and pieces, a couple times, about this adorable little girl....This would be Tessa! She was my neighbor last summer and fall, but her family has since moved to New York. Tessa was a little blessing, but let me tell you...she was a TRIP! :) 

Before I had actually moved into my house, I spend sometime cleaning up outside and around the yard...that was when I first met Tessa. She was dyyyying to help, so she pulled weeds with me...and we talked about all kinds of stuff. She told me on more than one occasion how happy she was that I was moving in next door! It was so sweet! The day I actually moved in, she came running over to ask if she could help...and that she did. That girl carried stuff inside all afternoon...and even stuck around to eat pizza with us afterward. 

It wasn't long before I could count on a knock on my door  or a "Hey, Jen!" across the yard every couple days. She'd always come over in hopes of petting my bunny or playing with my dog or hanging out in my house. I spent some really great times with Tessa. My favorites, by far, were...Taking her to church for her first time, telling her about my homeless friends and  then having her come along to do street outreach with me one night, letting her finally hold my not-so-friendly bunny, and watching Matilda the night before she moved.

I don't think I'll be forgetting Tessa anytime soon... :)
 

Monday, May 03, 2010

What Good Do 'What If's' Do...

Relient K - Forget And Not Slow Down
How Many Times
Can I Push It Aside
Is It Time I Befriended All The Ghosts Of All The Things That Haunt Me Most
So They Leave Me Alone
Move On With My Life
Be Certain The Steps Of Left And Right Don't Fight The Direction Of Upright

I'd Rather Forget And Not Slow Down
Than Gather Regret For The Things I Can't Change Now
If I Become What I Can't Accept
Resurrect The Saint From Within The Wretch
Pour Over Me And Wash My Hands Of It

It's Time To Decide
Which Is Out Of My Mind
Cause It'll Be Me Unless I Put Some Thoughts To Rest And Leave Some Faults Behind
I'll Watch The Glint In My Eye
Shine Off The Spring In My Step
And Could Be Blinding Depending On The Amount Of You That I Reflect

Cause I Could Spend My Life Just Trying To Sift Through
What I Could've Done Better But What Good Do What If's Do

There's Something I Should Tell You Now

I'd Rather Forget And Not Slow Down
Than Gather Regret For The Things I Can't Change Now
If I Become What I Can't Accept
Resurrect The Saint From Within The Wretch
Pour Over Me And Wash My Hands
Pour Over Me And Wash My Hands

Cause I Could Spend My Life Just Trying To Sift Through
What I Could've Done Better But What Good Do What If's Do

Closer In The End...

God's really been doing some serious, serious work on my heart recently! That 'work' He's doing doesn't always feel warm and fuzzy either...it's actually pretty darn painful at times.

But there isn't an ounce of me questioning the fact that God has got a plan. I don't, however, have a clue what that plan even remotely looks like...nor is it of any importance for me to try solve that puzzle. Things seem to work much, much better though when I leave the God-sized work up to God.

I guess what that leaves me with, then, would be...baby steps. Obedient, baby steps. Maybe some bigger steps, too. But nonetheless, careful, obedient steps. And sometimes He'll tell me to jump. So, I will have to obediently take that leap.

Honestly, though...those simple, little baby steps can sometimes feel like I'm running across the top of an enormous skyscraper and falling, feet kicking and arms flailing, into the middle of a fifthly city's obnoxious unruliness and screeching cars and screaming horns.

No, it's not always pretty...and it can be downright scary at times. As scary as plummeting off the top of a skyscraper. But, let me be the first to tell you, I did a whole heck of a lot to put myself in that 'not-so-pretty' spot. So, I've got no one else to blame. 

God IS going to rescue me from it, though. It's going to be in HIS time. According to HIS plan. Dependent on what will bring HIM the most glory. 

I'd say after all I've done in opposition to Him and all He's done in favor of me...it's more than fair. It's actually an amazing deal on my side of things. One I certainly don't deserve...one I could never, ever come close to earning.

So, for now, I need to be still. I need to listen. Listen for God telling me to take that step...to make that move. It won't be easy. It's going to hurt. There might be tears. But He's going to carry me through it. It's all going to bring me closer to Him. And regardless of the path it takes to get me there, it's the only place I ever want to be.      

Thank You For The Cross...

Man...Talk about something for which to be grateful!

Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.
- Colossians 2:13-14 (NLT) 

Are these words not simply beautiful! He forgave ALL my sins! He CANCELED the record of charges against me! EVERYTHING was nailed to the cross! 

I'm not sure how I so often manage to let this perfect promise slip my mind! But those moments when I really 'get' it...when it all 'clicks'...those moments are the overwhelming, to say the least! God's love for me and for EVERYONE is unconditional! And nothing can ever change that, ever!

As much screwing up as I've done in the past and as much screwing up as I'll do in the future...Christ's blood has already covered it! That's is some seriously powerful LOVE!

Thank you for the CROSS!  

Monday, April 26, 2010

Forgive...

I can't count the number of times I've read this over the last couple weeks.

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
- Colossians 3:12-15 (NLT)

"Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others." There it is! What else is there to say? It's a requirement. You MUST forgive others. The end. There are no conditions to said forgiveness or circumstances in which it's an option. Forgive.

"Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you." I read that and start throwing out excuses. Man, that's not easy. And right now, I just don't want to. I'm mad. I'm still hurt. Look how I was wronged. Oh, but wait a minute...I start to hear God screaming, "IT ISN'T ABOUT YOU!"  

"Remember, the Lord forgave you..." That's right, He sure did. And look what I've done to hurt Him and wrong Him and upset Him. I promise you it was more than once...and I promise you it was much bigger than any wrong that will ever be done to me, any hurt that I will ever feel, or any anger that's stirred inside my being.

That's why God is God and I am not! His response to everything I've done is mercy and kindness and gentleness and patience and LOVE. He doesn't look my junk. He's FORGIVEN me. To Him, I appear perfect and without fault. How do you even begin to wrap your head around that one.

And that's the kind of love and forgiveness I am ordered to extend to someone who has "offended" me?

Well God, fill me with that love. Make me able to forgive. Let me be merciful. Humble my prideful heart and stubborn mind. Give me words and thoughts and actions that speak kindness and gentleness and nothing more.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Trial & Error...

I said this in some sort of joking manner...and in reference to photography, but in all reality I use the "trial and error" method all too often. It hit me as soon as I clicked send. I suppose using this approach to certain things may work. I, however, wouldn't recommend it as a means by which to live life. Now...if I could just take my own advice from the previous sentence I'd be in much better shape.

Although, if I were to be completely honest, my method isn't really "trial and error"...it's more like "trial and error and re-trial and same error and re-re-trail and saaame error..." on and on and on. Then, I usually end just up feeling hurt or saddened or defeated. You'd think I'd learn, right? 

The first time you try touching a hot stove is usually the last time you try touching a hot stove, is it not? That will cause a decent amount of pain and teach a lesson awfully quick. But I'm willing to bet that at some point in time, before touching that hot stove, someone told you not to. Maybe they'd touched it themselves and been burned, maybe they'd watch someone else touch it and get burned, or maybe they were just passing along a message they'd heard. Either way, there was warning or instruction or advice...however you want to look at it.

Okay, so life is a little more complicated than whether or not you burn your finger on a stove, but  I guess you could draw some parallels. Like that person warning you not to touch the stove...what if that 'person' was the God of the universe! The one who created you! The who created everything, ever! The one who loves you more than you could ever understand! What if He cared for you so much that He wanted to protect you from that hurt and that pain? And I don't mean a blister on the tip of your finger. I mean the pain that comes from an addiction, a break-up, a job loss, a shame-filled past, anger, hatred, loneliness, jealousy or whatever it is that makes you ache. Whatever is it!

He's given all of us all the warning, instruction, and advice we could ever need. His word is sufficient for each of those purposes.  But without reading those pages or opening our hearts to hearing what God is trying to tell us, we're stuck with our method of "trial and error".

So, maybe it isn't the most convenient thing in the world and maybe it takes time, but God will show you a clear path and an unmistakable plan if you are just willing to read the instructions and listen to His warnings. 

I wish I could, but I just can't explain the amazing joy I feel when, instead of trying to do things my way and ending a situation with an "error", I choose to be obedient and the situation ends with the feeling of being pleasing and glorify to the most high God!

So...thank you Lord. Thank you for your word and your love and your open, merciful arms that we can always, always run to!           

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Need A Little Help...

Not too long ago, I wrote a little bit about my friend Eric getting into housing, which is still so exciting to me! But there is some more AWESOME news...another friend, Mike, ended up getting into the same apartment building the following week! What's really neat about where they have ended up is it is literally a couple blocks from the evening service my church just started...and both Mike and Eric have gone to church with me the last couple weeks! I have no doubt that me meeting them under a a bridge almost a year ago, our friendships, and their new apartments are nothing short of God's doing! :)

Last week after church a friend and I went over to check out the apartments and we've put together a list of what they still need to get them going! So, if you've got anything on the lists or anything else you think may be useful, please let me know. 

Mike's List
Bed
Dresser
Couch
Recliner/Living Room Chair
Coffee Table
TV
Small Kitchen Table & Chairs
Desk
Microwave
Trash Can
Mini Blinds (I Have Measurements)
Dish Soap
Laundry Soap/Dryer Sheets
Cleaning Products
Groceries (I Have A Small List)
Lamps
Light Bulbs

Eric's List
Small Kitchen Table & Chairs
Desk 
Mini Blinds (I Have Measurements)
Area/Throw Rugs
Full Size Bed Frame
Tacks/Nails (For Hanging Pictures On Plaster Walls)
Mop & Floor Cleaner
Dustpan  
Microwave
Desk/Office Supplies (Tape, Paper, Etc.)
Ice Cube Trays
Light Bulbs

Mini Blinds: Dining Room - (2) 25x57; Living Room (2) 33x57, (1) 38x57; Bedroom (2) 37x57

Feel free to e-mail me for more information! Thank you so much from the guys and from me! :)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I'm Standing On A Ledge Waving My Hands...

This is seriously my life right now...to a T!   
Desperate - Fireflight 
 Seek And You Will Find, They Say
But I've Been Looking Everyday
For A Way Past This Wall That's In Front Of My Face
I'm On Hands And Knees Searching For My Faith

I Know There's So Much At Stake
But I Don't Know If I Can Take One More Pat On The Back Saying I'll Be Okay
Can't You See Me Whole Life Is In Disarray

You've Got Me Desperate
I Know You Hear Me
Would You Give Me A Sign
Reel Me In Before I've Fallen In Line
You've Put Me On A Path I Don't Understand
I'm Standing On A Ledge Waving My Hands

You've Got Me Desperate, Do You See Me
Desperate, Do You Hear Me
Desperate, Will You Help Me
You've Got Me Desperate

I Know You're My Only Hope
The Only One Who Truly Knows How It Feels, What It's Like When It All Starts To Fall
You're The One I Can Trust Who Hears When I Call

You've Got Me Desperate.

I Know You Hear Me
Would You Give Me A Sign
Reel Me In Before I've Fallen In Line
You've Put Me On A Path I Don't Understand
I'm Standing On A Ledge Waving My Hands

You've Got Me Desperate, Do You See Me
Desperate, Do You Hear Me
Desperate, Will You Help Me
You've Got Me Desperate

Some Things I'll Never Figure Out
Until I Let Hope Erase My Doubt

You've Got Me Desperate

I Know You Hear Me
Would You Give Me A Sign
Reel Me In Before I've Fallen In Line
You've Put Me On A Path I Don't Understand
I'm Standing On A Ledge Waving My Hands

You've Got Me Desperate, Do You See Me
Desperate, Do You Hear Me
Desperate, Will You Help Me
You've Got Me Desperate