Monday, September 29, 2008

Bigger And Better

"Then He told them this story: "The farm of a certain rich man produced a terrific crop. He talked to himself: 'What can I do? My barn isn't big enough for this harvest.' Then he said, 'Here's what I'll do: I'll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I'll gather in all my grain and goods, and I'll say to myself, Self, you've done well! You've got it made and can now retire. Take it easy and have the time of your life!'"
-Luke 12:16-19 (The Message)

Friends, this is us. Me. You. Way too much of the time. In America, the land where greed is admired, we learn to get bigger and better. That is the American way. And it's killing us. Today is a historic day, and to be honest, the state of our nation is starting to keep me up at night.

I look at the economy and the wars and all that's going on and I start to get that anxious, butterflies-in-the-stomach kind of feeling. It's been with me all day, in fact. I don't feel settled, I don't feel peaceful. And then just when I'm at the point of losing my mind, I read this:

"People who don't know God and the way He works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how He works."
-Luke 12:28ish (The Message)

I know God. He is good and loving and faithful and extravagant. And the way He works? Good, loving, faithful and extravagant. He brought the nation of Israel out of bondage. He fed the 5,000. He sent His Son to pay the worst price for my worst sins. And I'm figuring something out. That the battle is not won or lost in the economy, or in Iraq or in the election. The battle is won or lost in the arena of my mindset.

It's time to change my mind.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Vacation Time, Ya'll

Earlier this month, I went on a quick trip to Iowa. The response I got from most people was, "Why the heck are you going to Iowa?" and "Where is Iowa?" and "What's an Iowa?".

Needless to say, most Oregonians spend the majority of their life completely clueless to the fact that Iowa even exists, let alone ever visit there. However, since that is the land that produced my family, I have visited there many times. I know by now what to expect from Iowa: corn fields, chiggers, locusts, humidity and good times. But this time, I went to the city. Iowa City, that is. And it was a whole new experience. There were still locusts and humidity and good times, but no corn fields and NO chiggers! PRAISE THE LORD!

I went for the baptism of my little cousin, Sophia. I'm one of her godparents.

She is absolutely adorable and only cried 9 out of the 10 times I held her.

Here are her parents, and my uncle and new aunt, Matt & Ping:

Did I mention I have a giant family? Oh, well I do. My mom is number 5 of 7 kids and so I've got a whole lot of cousins and aunts and uncles. On this trip I also got to see my Uncle Mark & Aunt Sue, and my cousin Anne.

Other than Mark & Sue, I hadn't seen my family in twelve years. But the great thing about my family is that it doesn't matter if it's been 12 years or 30 years. You just pick up where you left off. And you eat corn. Lots and lots of mouth watering corn on the cob.

Mmmm....hang on a sec.


Okay, I'm back. Sorry about that.

It was such a great trip and I had a blast. Even though I am not at all a country girl, I love Iowa becomes my family comes from there, and in a strange way it reminds me of home.

And corn. Yum......

Monday, September 22, 2008

One Life

One life can make a difference. Just one.

I was constantly reminded of that when we went on our annual CLC Encounter Retreat.

I watched as young men and women laid their lives down at the foot of the cross.

I watched as they traded in old identities for new ones.

I watched as they traded old mindsets for new ones, and I couldn't help but think of Hebrews 11.

Every person mentioned in that chapter stood for God in amazing ways. And what I find even more incredible is that so many of them stood alone. I thought about Paul, Esther, David, Deborah. Each one representing one life that made one big, enormous difference.

If all it takes is one life fully submitted to God, what could happen with 15?

Doesn't it just make your spirit tingle?

I love this picture. They look so small compared the the giant mountain (okay, hill) in front of them. But they conquered it - all of them. Together. And I have no doubt that they will conquer every mountain they face, physical or spiritual. Because you know what is more powerful than one life fully submitted to God?

15, 16, 17, 250, 5000 lives fully submitted to God and fully invested together in His Kingdom.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

This Really Isn't My Style...

What I'm about to blog is not at all my style. I'm not really the let all your feelings out for all the world to see kind of girl. But for the next few sentences, I will be.

Unsettled. Do you ever feel that way? Like a baby being lifted out of it's crib, not knowing where it will end up. Back in the crib? In a parent's protective embrace? On the changing table? In the high chair? I feel that way now.

Unclear. There are so many changes stirring right now. Changes I wish I even remotely understood. But I don't. I feel like a puzzle piece trying to find its place in a constantly changing landscape. Perhaps - if the changes could relegate themselves to just one, or even two areas of my life - perhaps then I might be able to catch my breath, take a moment, renew my perspective. But no.

Uncomfortable. I love home. I love security. But I'm short on both right now. Compared to millions my discomfort is something they would trade for in a heartbeat. I know it's comparably small, but it matters to me. So I have to believe it matters to Jesus.

Unresolved. I'm not asking for answers, or looking for attention. I just had to get this out there. If any of you had doubts (though I highly doubt that's the case) that I was a regular, twisted soul like the rest of the world, now you are certain of it. Let me be clear: Jesus will provide the answer. He will give me peace and He will bring me through this. He just hasn't yet. Sometimes I think He likes to use these seasons to sift me so that I can be more like Him. He is good that way - at least He's using this junk for good. He is using it so that I will be stronger. He allows it so that He can build something in me. So that when all is said and done, I will be...


Thursday, September 18, 2008


Today is my dad's 59th birthday. That, in and of itself, is a crazy fact. Somehow my dad has stayed a solid 40 years old in my mind, until today when I actually did the math. He is an amazing husband and father and I have learned so much from him. Here are a few things:

  • How to change a tire. He wouldn't let me drive my car until I'd changed my tire 5 times. Turned out to be helpful...many, many times.
  • How to build a house. Namely, my house. Okay, so maybe not the whole house. Okay, so he just let me help. Okay, so I mostly watched. Okay, I suck. Sorry, dad.
  • How to work hard. My parents are the hardest workers I know.
  • How to ride a horse.
  • How to manage thick, curly hair. I got it from him and he's got a rockin' fro!
My relationship with my dad wasn't the greatest in my teen years, probably because we're very alike! We're both passionate and opinionated...even to our detriment. And we both stand up for what we believe in. Oh and did I mention I was a jerk in high school? Anyway, last year my dad was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery. It's funny how moments like that can strip away all frills and seeming importance and boil a relationship down to one thing: I love my dad. I love him with all my heart. I love that he's a die hard Raiders fan. I love that he loves my mom. I love that he cried at my brother's wedding. I love the way he eats popcorn. I love my dad.

Dad, I know you don't read my blog (what???). But mom does. And when she prints this out and reads it to you, I hope you know how very much I love you. And if I could wish anything for you would be that you would get the big cup. (Long story...)

Happy Birthday, Dad!


P.S. This is my 50th post! Yay me!

He Answered

Have you ever looked at the overwhelming statistics that exist in our world today?

  • Every 15 seconds, another child becomes an AIDS orphan in Africa
  • Every day 5760 more children become orphans
  • Every year 2,102,400 more children become orphans (in Africa alone!)

143,000,000 orphans in the world today spend an average of 10 years in an orphanage or foster home, but...

Every 2.2 seconds, another orphan child ages out of the system with no family and no place to call home. So, by the time you are done reading this blog, about 23 orphans will be homeless. Many of them get trapped as sex slaves, and the cycle continues.

It's overwhelming, and difficult to know how to help. But you CAN help. I CAN help.

Many months ago, my friend, Bo Stern, looked at these statistics and asked God possibly the greatest question that can be asked: "What can I do?" And He answered. Big. Many of you will read her blog and learn about Amani. But if I can get this to even one person she can't, that's powerful.

Want to know more? You should! Click here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My Job

I get paid to be here.

I get paid to eat this for dinner

And this for breakfast!

I get paid to work with these amazing women

And these awesome guys

I get paid to wake up to this

And this

And to hang out with these weirdos

And to climb this :(

I get paid to watch young adults have their lives changed.

I get paid to be here.

And tomorrow maybe I won't. But for now, I'm really grateful for where God has placed me. And not just that I get paid to do it - because let's face it, I'd do it anyway - but because 15 people that surrender their lives to God can change the lives of 15 million. And that's not a hopeful dream, it's a fact. And I'm reminded that serving Jesus is a REALLY good life!

Stay tuned for more stories from CLC Encounter!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My exciting night

So, last night I found out that Coldplay was coming to Westside Church to do a concert. They decided to do one West Coast show and we were it! You can imagine my excitement when Chris Martin walked through the door of the church...which actually looked like a very strange attic. Huh. Anyway, the band came through and a few of my friends and I were there to greet them. Being in leadership at Westside Church, we were charged with helping them set up.

The date was June 15th...huh. Anyway, being that it was June 15th I made the remark that having Coldplay come was such a great birthday treat. Well Chris overheard me and said, "I didn't know it was your birthday! We're going to have to do something special." He then proceeded to tell me that for my birthday, he would fly me to New York City on his private jet! I said a very small "thank you" and then rested my head on my friend's shoulder and cried a little.

Why was I crying? Well, I want to go to New York City more than anything in the world - and the fact that of all places, Chris Martin picked that...huh. Well, it was just an overwhelming happiness and I didn't know what else to do. Of course he asked what was wrong, and my friend, Mekenzie told him about my deep love for NYC. So he upped the ante. He got me a private session on the Rockefeller Center Ice Rink and more things that I just can't remember.

All in all, it was the greatest night of my life. Huh.