Wednesday, December 19, 2007

NYC Christmas Update

Dear Friends and Family,

I am here in Harlem on the upper East side where I've been living since Sept. 15th. I am on staff with Youth With a Mission. It's been hard and good and stretching. God has been showing me more of Himself and His love for me.

One of the things I've been learning about is humility...which is not the same as humiliation. Humility is knowing who you are in God. Knowing who He says you are...not more than that or less than that. Anything other than that is pride.

Last night I met up with some other Christians near Times the cold and we sang Christmas carols behind a live nativity. Ok...half alive nativity...Joseph and Mary were real and some of the time baby Jesus was too...(he was switched out with a doll part way through.) There were 3 sheep hanging out there to but they happened to be stuffed...but almost if not life sized. I ended up singing with other believers from My church, Morning Star NY and people from other churches joined us too. It was COLD out there. BUt it was good and fun. We sang mostly true Christmas Carols...the ones that are truly "Christmas" oriented in the sense of telling about Jesus the reason of Christmas:)

Late last night one of the girls heard water running and thought it was our dehumidifier and eventually we looked up and there was a leak and water drippin' through the ceiling and a the water just kept spreading along joints in the ceiling where walls from the 2nd floor meet the ceiling. I tried calling my leader Tom but couldn't get him, he was already in bed so one of the students, Lissie and I walked up the street to get him. We tried ringing the door bell over and and over again. And no one was coming. I was like we need to pray that Jeremy comes down... And Jeremy happened to be downstairs (which he doesn't really do-he lives on the 4th floor in the same apartment as our leaders) and heard when Lissie knocked on the door which she only did one time! So God even made a way for us to get in contact with Tom by causing Jeremy to be downstairs at the right time to hear Lissie knock on the door. It was a team effort. So Tom came down and dealt with it.

I'll be goin' home for break on Saturday. Than we'll all return on the 30th. Outreach begins! The 31st of December, New Years Eve we'll be joining another ministry and helping to pass out 2008 Gospels of John near Times Square!

We have about 3 months of outreach. Two of the months we'll be in NYC. The other month some of us may be in Jamaica, and some in San Fransisco...we're still not sure. God will open and close the doors He wants us to go through.

So we, YWAM-Manhattan are almost done our Lecture Phase, when we've been discipled hardcore. It's been good and challenging and stretching. We're about to embark on a differnt type of Journey of Learning about God and making him known. Now it's our turn to go out into all the world and make disciples. Our target age we hope to work with is Jr. High-High School.

Please keep us in your prayers! Write me and tell me what' s goin' on in your life too...any ways you want me to pray?

I love you guys! Merry Christmas!!!
Enjoyin' where He has me, Marie

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Can you hear God's heart?

Do you ever feel the sadness inside of you? In your's not a feeling you want to stay in. But you do feel it, while it's there you want to explore it. To give it full expression.

Tonight I watched a film that has left me with this residue of sadness. It's called, “Beyond the gates.” It tells the story of what happened in Rwanda in 1994, when 800,000 Tutsis were killed by the Hootoos. The UN was there at a school. Because of the UN military presence at the school 2,500 Tutsi's took refuge inside the school. The UN was was told to pull out. There were Hootoo's waiting outside the gates ready to kill the ones waiting inside.

I saw reenactments of what happened...but the thing is it really did happen. When it happened it wasn't someone pretending...there wasn't fake blood...or sound effects. It REALLY happened. In our safe western society it is sooo hard to grasp. That it was real.

I can't place my finger on why I'm sad. What I sad about? Well in the story, there was a priest who lived through all this upheaval. He almost lost his faith, but when the UN pulled out, the white Europeans, he decided to stay. He stayed because that was where his soul was. He knew he was going to die...but he stayed anyways. He said that he felt God's love there more than anywhere else. He said God is here, and God is suffering. I think that's what made me sad.

It brought God down to earth. Down to the human level.

It made me think...

After the movie I looked at pictures of Israel. And I saw the Garden tomb. Some of my thoughts are why doesn't God stop stuff like that. I know it's because God wanted us to choose to freely love him. But I feel that isn't good enough. But than I know too God did allow Adam and Eve to sin...he could've stopped them.

Free will huh? I don't understand. Show me God...I guess Jesus freely laid his life down. He said He chose that. He didn't want to die, but He chose God's will. He said that he laid his life down of his own free will. Free will to love. Jesus ultimately chose love. He chose to love us because Adam and Eve couldn't choose to love God above themselves. So he stepped in to offer God's love to us again.

Will we do that and lay our life down for others? What does that look like? For some that means throwing off the comforts of the west and laying your life down for Refugees in Thailand...or teaching Art in a prison in Sierra Leone, or giving up time to love and minister to people. Laying your life down, ask God what that looks like for you? Are you doing what you can, what God is asking you to do. Are you choosing to love? Am I choosing to love?

I've read that the answer to suffering in the world is Jesus. Is Jesus. I am not saying he made the suffering I'm saying he is the answer to it.

I guess God chose to allow Adam and Eve to choose between God or ...what did they choose between...? God and sin. To believe God or not. The bottom line was freewill. Why? Because without freewill you cannot love.

Jesus through his freewill, came and laid his life down, to redeem our in a sense we're back at the garden again choosing between God and the apple....but we see what it has cost God. His bring us back into fellowship with Himself. The fully God and fully Man, Jesus Christ chose, as did Adam (Adam chose).... to in a sense go back to that moment when Adam fell...and eat the apple...and take the full punishment upon Himself.

He is the 2nd Adam.'s like history folded itself back upon itself and Jesus redeemed what Adam did. He did redeem what Adam now it's up to us to choose God or to choose the “apple”, to choose sin, to chose death ultimately.

But the 2nd death is so much worse than the 1st death. The 2nd death being hell...which we inherit, generational sin, unless we get adopted into Jesus' family...and inherit eternal life-the your seed the nations will be blessed, God told Abraham.

Even though our world is so evil...the 2nd death is far worse.
So where does this leave us with the question of suffering. Sometimes I don't think we can get answers to a specific question...but sometime we can get an answer that satisfies our heart.

God came and in all ways experienced our suffering through dying on a cross. He took the sin of the whole world on himself...that includes...all the killing, rape, genocides, holocausts, adultery, abortion, lust, greed, selfishness, lying, disobedience...that as a human race we have taken a part in. He carried it all to the cross.

As the world suffers even now God suffers... as I now sit here silently breathing...I can feel my chest rise and fall with every breath....God's breath rises and falls... and he feels and knows and sees all the suffering, all the individuals right now being beaten and raped, and killed....the blood cries out to him from the ground. He hears it. He feels it. He knows hurts Him. That's why he sent Jesus, to bring us into his kingdom and wipe away every tear....and so that we would know that Jesus was a man of grief and acquainted with sorrow. Deep calls to deep...the suffering of the world echoes inside God's heart....he is the only one that can fully encompass, fully feel it. Will we draw near to God and see where his heart beats and bleeds? It will hurt. Have you ever felt the heart of God? Would you choose to feel at least a part of what God is feeling? His heart...your heart...are they connected?

I know I am selfish. I know I do not fully embrace other people's sufferings.... callousness maybe?... I know i am finite...I know I can't solve all the problems of the world. But I do want to be do what God would have me do.... are you available? Are you willing to be used?

Part of God's heart is justice and healing for the nations... is that your heart?
Freewill you remember....He wants us to get involved...because He gave us freedom.... we can either abuse it or embrace it and choose to bring God into the situation- the situations of a dying, starving, broken, bleeding world.

He wants us to see what He sees...He wants us to be the hands and feet of Jesus and go to a dying and broken world. Jesus was taken from the earth but he left us. His body to go into all the world...and heal the broken hearted (Is. 61) to bind up the wounds. How many of you have taken that literally....I hardly have.

When Jesus walked this earth he went to the diseased...the broken the lame...he healed them. He saw them, he loved them. He came to seek and to save the lost. But now he has us, his Christians, “little Christ's” to do the same. But are we doing that? Are we going? Are we going.....

We're told to love in deed and truth...not just our words.

I know it's overwhelming to look at the world's realize how many many people are killed, are beaten are abused.... but if we do what we can do... we can't change the whole one day... don't focus on the enormity of it...maybe for a little...but listen to God's heartbeat and see where your's lines up with his. Follow it. Go to that place, bring Jesus to that place. And you can and you will change somebodies world.

I know right now I feel overwhelmed by it. But if everyone did their little bit.... we could change the world. If we all realize as we do our little part, we can change the world. The body of Christ must come together and walk in the footprints of Jesus. We are his disciples right...why don't we look like him.

Why doesn't the dust of our Rabbi our teacher cover us? Aren't we suppose to be walking so close to him that the dust of the roads he walks covers us? He left us, His body here to change the world. To go out and do what He did. Just go...the world is waiting. Be the answer.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Marie in Manhattan

Hey guys! Wow! I'm finally updatin' ya'll. Yup I've been living in NYC-Manhattan since Sept. 15th. So that's 2 months and one day exactly that I've been on staff with YWAM.Being staff isn't just a lil' walk in the park. I'm also learning alot from the classes (we have our teachers come in. We get people that are doing what they teach, what they are truly active in, unlike some professors in college that just teach "theory" on something they've never done.)

And I believe being in NYC is also a more pressurized place spiritually so I feel that...especially in my own weaknesses. So pray for me along these lines. That God will really bring me victory in these areas. And too just the dynamics of the school has it's own pressure. I live with 11 girls in a 4 bedroom apartment and if the whole school is there, than we have 16 people hangin' out...there's not alot of personal breathing space.

Let me give you a bit o' info on our students. We have 8 girls, one from England, another from Switzerland and the rest from the US. We have 3 guys; one from Canada, one from Australia and the 3rd from the US. Our leaders are originally from Swedan and Australia. And than me and the other staff girl are American.

The part of the city we live in is more of a spanish speaking part of town. Alot of people from the Dominican Republic. You know those shirts everyone has from NYC, that says "I [heart] NY" they have "I [heart] DR" (Dominican Republic.)I've had some interesting experiences already.

Some old guy told me he loves me, "I love you with my soul. I love you with my mind. I love you with my body." Than I saw him days later and he told me he loved me it's not mutual don't worry.(weirdo):)

One time I helped a bit after a drunk fell down the subway stairs and a lady called 9-11. He was stumbling at first when we saw him, then he just fell head first down the stairs. He was bleeding out of his nose, he probably broke it actually. There was a puddle of blood on the stairway. Then emergency people showed up. It was kinda sad how they reacted because he was "another" drunk to them. I bet they've had alot of calls to help drunks that get hurt cause they're drunk.

We've also been involved in some ministries in the area. We've joined in with an international ministry and a ministry to women and children from a shelter.
One of the ministries to the women we worked with was this big Halloween party. We had over one hundred people there. It was crazy and people every where, and loud too. I did face painting for awhile there, like one or two hours.

One of the things I like about NYC is traveling everywhere on the subway. Hey I like it. I like seeing and being around all those people. It's definately very different than being at home and having my own car and drivin' everywhere by myself or with only 1-3 more people.

It's almost like living in a bubble, a BIG Manhattan bubble. We're like these little moles that travel every where under ground. Runnin' here and there and back again, stumbling and running over each a frenzied unfocused busyiness. So right now I'm at home for Thanksgiving break. Actually the whole school is here too. We're driving up from a big conference down in North Carolina. We divided the travel time into 2 days.

So my leader gave me permission to stay here and not travel up with every one. I'll be missing 3 days of teaching this next week, but I'll be here with my family! God is teaching me alot and expanding my territory and my soul. It's been good.

Keep me in your prayers. I'll be back in NYC not this Sunday but next. Come visit me!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

country girl merges with inner city life...

Yup I'm here! I was nicely chauffered by my dear brother Adam to Manhattan a week and a half ago... after dropping me off he headed up North to New England.

So I've officially been here for a week plus. I got here not this last Sat. but the Sat. before. I have been here for 10 days:) Wow! I'm still such a Newbie!!! Which is totally evident in my lack of knowledge about the streets and knowing the subways.

It's definately an adjustment. One of the biggest things is adjusting to the size of the apartment, the living quarters. For NYC we have a big apartment but compared to where I've lived all my life it's rather small and will be close to alot of other people...not even outside the apratment. As people students join us there will be alot of people.

This week we have 8 girls and 4 boys joining us as our 1st Dicipleship Training School in Manhattan! Yeah. So we'll get 8 more people living here. There will be 4 girl students per room and than 2 staff girls per room. So twelve of us are fitting into 4 rooms! This is going to totally be COMMUNITY LIVING! Wow! But I do have some parks out there with bigger spaces and grass and trees:)

Hey it'll be like when Jesus lived with his twelve disciples;) THey probably squished sometimes too. I've never really thought about Jesus having living accomadations too. He lived Urban to in Jerusalem...there ain't alot of room there either!!!:) Cool beans:) I'm doing my staffing a DTS like Jesus did...'cept he traveled all over the place too.

Well I have indeedy seen a celebrity. Which was kinda weird and like wow! Really!!? I have officially seen Jonathan Taylor Thomas with my own eyes! I was goin' to an evening service via subway and JTT and his girlfriend got on where we did. I ended up almost across from them...a little diagonally...and I looked at him, and said to Rachel next to me, "Is that Jonathan Taylor Thomas?" and she was like "I think it is." Like she really did...and you tend to question if you really see a celebrity when you's like if Jesus showed up at your front door and he said who he was would you believe him;) well kinda like that:)

JTT is short with tall hair...and still attractive. He was with his girlfriend who had an accent. We could hear her talk but when JTT talked you didn't hear him at all. He probably didn't want people to recognize him! He's going to a university near us. Which is like 4 stops from us. So that was cool.

Made me start thinking about celebrity status... basically it means alot of people know who you are and know your name. Does that really matter? If I didn't know Jontathan Taylor Thomas from a few movies/shows etc....I'd have admired him but not remembered him much. It wouldn't have made such an impact. And if God and you don't know each other, it don't matter much that people know you 'cept if alot of christians know who you are, they can pray for you;)
(my deep thought of the day;)

I talked to Krista this evening. I won't be seeing here until next year:( We are officially best friends! There's been alot of time in life where our hearts weren't in unity like they are now. Which is really awesome. God's done alot in both our hearts. He IS VERY GOOD:)

So the next few months here will be an adventure in learning more about God and hearing more from him and growing and encouraging others to grow and blessing and imparting and listening to others. And it will be awesome to see what God will do. He is doing alot even now and in the past to bring this school together to bring all us staff together, to get us here to this place that HE has called us to for this time!

Pray: for all the students as they arrive. A couple of them have international flights. Pray for the ones that are suppose to be here to be focused on getting her. That people won't be disctracted by things that keep them from coming. That all their finances will come it. Also for Gods peace and unity as 18 people learn to live together in small NYC apartments. (the apartment I'm in though is big for NYC!)

I know God will do some awesome things!

Please drop me some comments! I do miss my family while I'm here....and people. Love to all!

Friday, September 14, 2007

...starts with a single step....

Well this is my last full day at

Adam is driving me up to New York City-Manhattan tomorrow. We're leaving at the bright and early time of 5 am. We'll probably be up before the roosters....

It will take us 6 hours (depending on the traffic...but being that early I don't think the traffic will be that bad, but I think we might hit rush hour traffic somewhere...hmmm, oh well) to get there so we'll get there around lunch 11/12 o'clock.

Yesterday I did most of my packing. I have this huge bag...when it's empty it looks like a body bag....not even quite full yet with tons of clothes. I remember my last time with YWAM I felt I didn't have enough clothes. I'll be home for Thanksgiving so I can adjust if I have WAY TOO MUCH.;)

In my heart I feel ready to go. It feels a little anti-climatic. My parentst left early this morning for a weekend at a friends beach house...and I said bye to Krista Tuesday of this week. So tomorrow I'll only have Adam to say bye too.

I wonder if this will be my "final leap" from the nest...of if I'll circle back around and stay awhile again. In some ways I hope it is my final leap. I think it hurts my pride some that I'm 25 and still live(d) at home. I live at home for long chunks of time than I live somewhere else than I come home again etc...:)

I wonder if this opportunity will be a giant fork in the road or just a long detour.

I'm excited about going to David Wilkerson's church on Sunday-Times Square Church! My home church is I've wondered if they're casual...but I wouldn't think I've packed some dressy clothes. I'm sure you wanted to know that.

I kinda want to leave today....I'm ready to go!!! Oh's a lil' hard cause I'm a night person and can easily stay up until 2am...but I should go to bed earlier and than get up at 5am! I'll sleep in the car. Adam said, "if you can with my music going."

I believe when I first get there I'll be sharing a room, a room with a bunkbed with Rachel a photographer (she's also on staff). It sounds like the room is small. And that it's a temporary set-up. I sure hope it has windows. And I hope to find a park with trees and grass. I could always grow grass in my room...that'd be weird, never mind. I'm a country girl ya know.

I should write again soon after getting up there. Pray for me!:)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

all I don't want for christmas are my 2 wisdom teeth... i got 2 wisdom teeth pulled. It is not my favorite pastime actually. It was fast but the after effects were not soo good. Argh! But I'm glad I got them out this soon...I had my exam yesterday and they got me in today.

The nurse that helped the doc and me alot was awesome. She's a believer.

So right now I have really low energy...haven't eaten solid food since breakfast. It's like a popsicle, shake and vanilla ice mom asked for my teeth. Now they sit in my room in a little coin envelope. Maybe I save them for when I get dentures or try to put them back in...i thought they were perfectly fine;)

I leave in like 9 days...maybe some less.

Sunday is my last Sunday at my home church:(

God is leading me to a new season. It will be awesome!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

New York, New York

In case you haven't heard. I'm going to New York City!

I'll be on staff with YWAM-Manhattan in NY. YWAM is Youth With a Mission. I went to one of their DTS's in Richmond from 03'-04'. I went as a student. This time around I'm going to staff a DTS. I'm excited.

There's alot about it I don't know. I haven't spent much time in NYC actually.

The focus of my YWAM base is Urban Youth Discipleship, Art Evangelism and International Students.

I'll probably end up posting on here updates about my time there.

I'll be leaving home Sept. 15th to go and live in NY and serve with YWAM-Manhattan until March 16th. Unless God leads me to stay on for a year or longer.

Please pray for me as I prepare and serve God in NY!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

let go and let God

Have you ever wanted something soo bad that you didn't think you could give it up? And you wonder why you don't have it or haven't experienced it yet....
so you ask someone and they say, "have you told God it's ok if it doens't happen?" but we don't want to give it up....right.
But we find our freedom when we cut the lines that hold us down to this earth...and let go and let God. It's getting up into his hands...and not gathering to ourselves what we can't keep anyways. Like pulling gravel to ourselves when we think we got ahold of the rainbow.
Sometimes we want something soo much that when we think about it it may bring some happyness but also there's fear and anxiety...because probably it's not for us-at least we think it's not.
God allows the death of a dream at times so that His DREAM can be manifested in our lives (also taken from a godly man of wisdom.)
Hope deferred makes the heart really can if you want something bad enough.
He who lays down his life will take it up again, and if you keep your life you will loose it. (paraphrased by me;)
God gave me a picture one time....when I hold onto something and want it so much I'm in gray, looking down into my own hands, but if I look around me and see what God has for me it's a huge rainbow, in full color, swirling around me, like giant ribbons, encircling me. That's opening your hands and letting God place in them his dream, his promise, his will. But when we grasp and hold on tight and pull into ourselves and trust our own instinct and self we live in grey, not the rainbow of His promise and future for our lives.
How do we let go and let God. "it get's so hard to know how to trust"-from a song, sung by Sarah Groves, I just heard.
Look our our hands...let Him decide. Stop looking sooo hard for what you want. Look to God for the answers and the WILL he has for you.
Sometimes we think we want the "candy" soo much....because we are hungry...and we want it now, hunger is deceptive... but God wants to give us the wholesome the good, the real food.
Remember your heart is deceptive.
God isn't holding back from you to taunt you....he knows when the "gift" will satisfy you...when you're ready for it...the fullness of time. He also knows if what we think will satisfy what we think the gift should be isn't the best.
Everything in your life has to come into place....everything that God has planned has to happen first sometimes, before the desires of our hearts are realized...Realize that Jesus only came 2,000 years ago...the time of the "Old Testament" had to be fufilled. God got the timing right with sending Jesus to why can't He get the timing right in my life?
Rest in the Lord and wait patiently.
Wait on the Lord you'll gain strength and be lifted up by Eagles wings.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart...and lean not on your own all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your steps.
The question is will I give to God what I have clasped so tightly to my chest, "my precious, it's mine...."(makes me think of Smegol in Lord of the rings...) sometimes that's what happens though...what we hold onto soo tightly, in our grubby filthy hands, becomes an idol....fully filling our vision.
But when we look to God, a wise woman once pointed out, the idol becomes smaller.
Of course we don't have "heart idols" do we? !
I need to do some soul searching and give things to God again. I need to trust God...and not let the fear and anxiety cloud my vision and paralyze me as I look at what I want.
Would I be satisfied in God, in life, can I trust God even if he never gives me what I most desire? Can I not be angry. Will I stamp my feet and cry...and demand what I want. Will I hold onto the gravel of my own dreams or give them to God for his living rainbow of DESTINY?
Or will I take what he has promised me, like Abraham and Sarah with Hagar- and force what He has promised....which actually isn't obedience to trust. Wow...that's scary. My heart is soo decietful that I can warp what I believe God has promised me and try to make things happen. ...and dictate how and through whom it must happen. An Ishmeal will come out of it... sowing to the flesh and reaping corruption...will you wait for the Sun of Promise or try and make you own sun rise?
How do I let go and let God? Sometimes God wants us to wrestle with Him until we get an answer....and sometimes we haveta wrestle with ourselves....maybe we think we have to wrestle with God and than we look and see it was ourself that we wrestled with all along.
Things to ponder and pray over....

Jesus is THE WAY....He is MY WAY, he knows my WAY in this life. I need to let go of the controls and stop micro managing and let God, in HIS timing...if it's what HE has for me.
let go of expectations. Let go of everything....but Him and what He wants to give.
It's a struggle isn't it, but we don't haveta do it on our own....He's got it down, He can help...just let Go and let God.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Rebelution

Check out this link! Join The Modesty Survey

Friday, February 02, 2007


I turned 25 successfully! Safe and sound. Wow! 25, as my lil' bro Adam would say 1/3 of the way to 75! Or even half way to 50. It's all a numbers game. Do I feel 25...I think so. In some ways.

Boy I've had alot of experiences in my 25 years. I believe I have a bit of wisdom under my belt too.

Yikes 25...I think about it a little too long and it's kinda scary...makes me go "yikes!"

Is 25 suppose to be any sort of benchmark? To me it seems more officially adult than 24. What do ya think?

This week it's been tryin' to snow. Hasn't exactly done much of that. Some hail today and even rain...and a bit of snow. A "winter" mix.

Tomorrow I'm planning on goin' with a friend to make masks for a play she's in. She'll be in the play "Much Ado about Nothing." Great story...I bet the masks will be pretty good too.

I had a great birthday party...actually had my birthday was Jan.26th a Friday. Friday night 3 girls from church, Jodi, Kaitlynn, and Batina came and so did Christina...another Christian girl I met through workin' at a gourmet shop. The "guests of honor" were Dima and Vica, a couple who were YWAM leaders. They had their 2 babies with them Nica and DJ. It was a treat to have them come up from Richmond. They enjoyed the slower pace of life in the country even though it was for one night.

The weather was beautiful that Saturday. We ended up taking a walk and Friday night the party was fun....we laughed and ate and talked and I got presents:) Yeah.

So as I start my 25th year I do have questions and wonder what to do. I am taking one day at a time. My future is unsure but my Guide is trustworthy and knows everything! I know I'm made for great things and whatever God has for me to do I'll do a great job at it:) I just wonder as I peer around the corner into my 25th year what it will hold. I hope big and exciting things and just good everyday experiences too.

Woot woot for turning 25!!!

Monday, January 22, 2007

It finally snowed...and the number 25!

Greetings friends:) It actually snowed yesterday so school was canceled today. We actually didn't go home cause the road, B______ Road that we take to get home wasn't safe enough. Even my parents didnt' go home they stayed with some friends closer to town:)

I do turn 25 on Friday! Wow!!! I'm a little nervous about it but I am also looking forward to it. Twenty-five is gonna be a cool age. To be able to say wehn I'm asked how old I am "25" will be cool! To me it just seems more adult than 24;)

If you're older than 25 or right at 25 tell me what you did/are doin' in your 25th year. I don't have any big plans of what I'll do.

I do have a desire that I hope is reliezed but it is a God thing...only He can make it happen:).

Any one else turning 25 this year? I know RA is... anyone else?

I started my 2nd drawing class. It's goin' fine. I need to buy some more supplies though. I'm already havin' fun with my assingments.

This is the first snowfall that stuck around. I can look out the windo and see a hill and fields coverend in snow...with black naked trees resting in the cold.

Have a good day:)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

in the meantime....

Ok here's a post to balance out the other one...if you even read the other one. Enjoy...this is also from the Boundless webzine:)

by Carolyn MacInnes

Somewhere between the potluck and tales of Grandpa’s childhood antics, your family reunion takes the customary turn for the worse. Stealthily wedging your chair behind the ficus tree was fruitless. They know you’re there. They’ve just been waiting. . . .
“So, you’re out of school now,” Aunt Beulah begins, passing you an unsolicited slice of rhubarb pie. “When are you getting married?”
Everyone’s watching. You shrug and look pleadingly to mom for rescue.
“There were some dates with Chris, from church,” Mom says.
“Well, there you go!” Aunt Pauline says, throwing her hands in the air like she’s just cured cancer.
“It didn’t work out,” you say, too quickly, grimacing as you remember Chris’s frequent racial slurs and obsession with mirrors.
“Kids today want everything to be perfect,” Grandma sighs.
“Maybe you shouldn’t be so picky, dear,” Great Aunt Lois agrees. “You are pushing 25. . . .”
Aunt Pauline pats your leg. “All we’re saying,” she whispers, “is, get yourself someone before you’re old and it’s too late.”
Of course, if not for the gaping wound it’s left, the conversation would be positively laughable. “Get” yourself someone? As in, “Get some milk while you’re out” or “Hey, would you get me the TV remote?” Do they really think it’s so easy? Do they think you planned it this way? Many of us grew up assuming we’d meet our spouse in school. Thus, we weren’t mentally prepared for living in The Meantime (my definition: that period after classmates but before the soul mate).
I’ll be honest – I panicked when I first found myself there. Despite the unprecedented opportunities that lay before me, all I felt was paralysis. From all sides, the world screamed, “human love provides the ultimate fulfillment.” So how could I rest until it was mine?
That’s when the voices began. Always keep your radar on, They warned. Mr. Perfect could come at any moment . . . but blink and you’ll miss him! They further cautioned against growing too comfortable in my singleness. What if you actually let yourself feel at ease? They said, What if your confidence scares him off? What if you start to enjoy being alone and pass up your destiny? Most terrifying: What if God sees your contentment and decides to “bless” you with the gift of lifelong singleness?
Oh yeah. I’d psyched myself out big time. I can just imagine God shaking His head. “Didn’t I promise you good gifts? Didn’t I say hope and a future? Streams in the desert? Why can’t you believe there’s purpose in this time of waiting?”
No one knows how long their Meantime will last. Could be a few months, or a lifetime. But one thing’s always certain: If our priority is finding another person, we’ll never be satisfied. The good news is that we can do more than fight for sanity while waiting on the Lord. Here are eight suggestions for flourishing in The Meantime.
Get to know God. Even the best spouses fail; God never will. Take time to talk – and listen – to Him concerning your future. Meditate on verses about His faithfulness. Discover that human standards of “worthiness” mean nothing to Him; His affection is unconditional. When we make this pivotal truth our own, we can develop a heavenly confidence that permeates all we do.
Build a community. Life is infinitely richer when we generate and nurture friendships. It’s easy to develop tunnel vision and surround ourselves only with those who are “relationship material.” Resist the urge. Dates come and go, but friends are God’s arms, holding us up when romantic ventures let us down.
Do what you love. Have you always been an artist at heart? When you run, do you “feel His pleasure”? The more we develop our talents – particularly if we use our skills to bring glory to God – the more we experience enthusiasm and joy, whatever our circumstances. (There’s also something extremely attractive about a person with a passion for life!)
Discover something new. Is there an instrument or language you want to learn? Have you dreamed of backpacking around Europe? This is your moment. When spouses and kids enter the picture, money will be allocated differently – so if you can afford to follow a dream, make it a priority. If money is tight, opportunities still abound. Increase your knowledge by researching online or at the library, or raise support to take a mission trip.
Help others. A poet once wrote, “I sought my soul, but my soul I could not see. I sought my God, but my God eluded me. I sought my brother, and I found all three.” Volunteer at a nursing home or soup kitchen. Be a mentor. Rake someone’s leaves. When we’re feeling empty, we benefit immeasurably by serving folks in need. As their strength is renewed, our cups overflow.
Buy dishes. For nearly a decade, I kept a hope chest full of brand new household items while I ate off of flimsy silverware and cheap, chipped dishes. I was sitting on a gold mine, but chose to live in poverty. When I finally realized how misplaced my hope really was, I dug out some of those utensils and bought myself a set of funky dishes. It sounds crazy, but it freed me! Of course, this principle extends far beyond kitchen gadgets. It’s not an exhortation to abandon our dreams – simply a reminder to live in the present.
Be reasonable. My friend Danny didn’t date much. Plenty of girls were interested, but he could never find what he was looking for. You know, a rich supermodel whose only dream in life was to serve him? There was no room for distinctiveness; everyone who didn’t fit his mental picture was flawed. It behooves us to ask ourselves, “Am I looking for someone perfect, or for someone who – eccentricities and all – is good for me?”
But don’t compromise. Funny what loneliness can do. People with whom we have nothing in common – and sometimes hardly like – are suddenly attractive. We can even convince ourselves it’s unreasonable for God to make us wait for physical pleasure. But anytime we push ahead of Him, either by trying to force a dubious relationship or misplacing our moral compass, we’re like the Prodigal, sifting through slop when we could revel in riches down the road.
Somewhere in The Meantime, God changed my theme verse from “How long, oh Lord?” to “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:19). And I literally went to the desert of West Texas to find that “new thing.” I attended graduate school to study what I loved, mentored kids, traveled overseas, and overall, developed a fresh vision of God’s plan for my life.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the cute co-ed the Lord kept placing in my path . . . . But before all that, God was showing me that even if no one ever met me at the end of a church aisle, I was of immeasurable value, and He had big plans for me. No formula here for finding a perfect mate – just a reminder that, as Helen Keller said, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” Each of us can choose how we spend our days – but God’s wish for us is clear:
“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10 NASB).
Copyright © 2002 Carolyn MacInnes. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.
Hey folks! I was subbin' today and had a chance to use a computar at the school. I wasn't able to access my e-mail I read from a webzine, called Boundless. It's a Focus on the Family publication...written for Young Adults/Singles.... Here's an article I read that I thought was good:)

I read many other articles that were excellent too... I'd suggest goin' to Focus on the Family and checking it out.... (There is a link at the top of the article that will send you to this article than you can look around at other articles:) Where it looks like you can connect to a link from the article you can't...cause I just copied and pasted...ok:)


Defending "The Cost of Delaying Marriage"
by Candice Z. Watters
"I cannot recall a time when an article stirred such anger in me.... I am SHOCKED that Focus on the Family would allow such an article to be placed on its website." " I must say that I can hardly find words to properly express my horror at the bogus expert that was posted on your website."
So began two of many emails we received complaining about "The Cost of Delaying Marriage," an excerpt from Danielle Crittenden's book What Our Mothers Didn't Tell Us. The women who wrote those messages were not alone in their sentiments. More than any other article we've run on Boundless, this one stirred up strong emotions, especially among singles.
I wasn't surprised by the response -- it was very much like what we received the first time we ran this excerpt six years ago. But I was discouraged. Discouraged by the possibility that we haven't made more progress on the issue of singleness in the church. And concerned that many readers seemingly found her article more controversial this time around.
Thankfully the response wasn’t monolithic. After mentioning all the negative responses to readers of our weekly email update, lots more readers wrote in to applaud Danielle's stance. And to all of you, I say thanks. It was heartening to know marriage is still esteemed among many.
And yet I think it's important to answer some of the more troubling, and common complaints we received. For those of you who are still fuming from what we published, this response is for you.
Jesus Is EnoughThe top complaint from singles that want to get married but haven't yet had the opportunity has a spiritual bent. It goes something like this: The single years are more virtuous than the married ones, characterized by more faithful, focused and selfless living for the Kingdom. Christ is the sum total of what fulfills us -- to suggest that marriage can, or should fulfill us, is to devalue the role of Christ in our lives. Simply put: all we need is Jesus.
The response to this could be an article in itself, because this belief seems to be an emerging motto of Christian singles everywhere. There's just one problem: Adam had perfect communion with God in the Garden of Eden and still God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him" (Genesis 2:18) Everything else about Eden was said to be "good" by God. Everything, that is, except a man. Alone.
People who claim that Jesus is enough typically quote 1 Corinthians 7. In it Paul says, "It is good for a man not to marry" and "an unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit." Paul is describing celibate service -- a calling God places on a select few men and women. Though Paul does say, "I wish that all men were as I am," he goes on to say, "But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that." The gift Paul is describing is celibacy -- a gift that equips a person to not "burn with passion" while enabling them to fully expend themselves in God's service without the distractions of spouse and children.
How do you know if you have this gift? Dr. Albert Mohler , president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and member of Focus' board of directors suggests asking yourself, "can I go the rest of my life without sex, without the companionship of marriage, without having children and without being bitter about it?" If you answer yes, it's likely you do.
For everyone else, the call is to marriage. To marry doesn't diminish the need for Christ. In fact, it increases it: The reason Christian marriage requires a vow is that no mere promise is enough to hold two mortals together for life. We're dependent on Christ to help us fulfill it.
It's Not My FaultSome writers -- women especially -- were frustrated by their singleness, admittedly wanting to be married but never having had the opportunity to do so. They were offended by Danielle's assertion that women who are still single in their 30s and beyond must be that way because they disregarded the many proposals they received in their 20s. Though some devoted their 20s primarily to education and career development -- implying that their focus was not on finding a mate -- most in this category were put off by the notion that their singleness was their choice.
One example: "Do I sound bitter? I am really not bitter. I am frustrated, because I see articles that do not seem to present the other side of the story, that despite our best efforts, some of us have just not met someone. That sometimes a person does not have a choice about delaying marriage, because the possibility has never presented itself.
And another: "I don't want to sound like a complainer, but I think that the delayed marriage factor has a lot to do with Christian men as well as women. I find it frustrating to be accused of being very independent when I haven't even had the option of anything else! It's not like I had ten suitors on my doorstep, and I turned down marriage at 20. I didn't have the option of marriage at 20 or even 30. … I need the support of the Christian community. Your Boundless article seems to put us all in the bucket of waiting too long or too late. But what about just waiting, because that's your only choice."
I think this writer is on to something. The problem of delayed marriage has a lot to do with men who won't take initiative. Women want to be pursued and men are charged by God to be the pursuers. Proverbs says, "he who finds a wife, " Finds. That's no passive verb. It's active. It instructs the man who wants God's blessing to get out there and look. And to the men we say, get going. It's time you accept the challenge to pursue marriage.
To the women, I say stop glorifying the single years as a super-holy season of just you and Jesus. Yes, being single does provide the chance to be uniquely intimate with Jesus. Enjoy that. But don't advertise it. Why? Because it gives guys permission to kick back and let you. If they think you're perfectly happy as a single, why wouldn't they let you stay that way? Especially when so many of them are gun shy. Thanks to a 50 percent (give or take a few points) divorce rate and absentee dad problem, many of them grew up without a mentor (their dad) and without a godly model for what marriage should look like. Many of them are scared, and for good reason.
Now to you women, that's not an excuse to bash men. You have an important ability to help them move toward marriage. How? By esteeming it. By not being embarrassed about wanting it. By going after it -- to a point. You can nurture men toward marriage by helping them see that it contains a lot of what they're looking for, even if they don't yet know it. Think of Jimmy Stewart in It's a Wonderful Life. He's depressed that once again, his plans to get out of small town America and see the world have been thwarted and he's left tending the family business with just his mom and alcoholic uncle for companionship. He's questioning his very existence; longing to know his destiny. What's his mom's suggestion? "Why don't you go talk to Mary," she says. "I'll bet she could help you find the answers you're looking for."
Marriage holds the possibility of partnership, adventure, creativity, challenge and many more of the things we long for, but try to obtain with inferior pursuits. As Amy and Leon Kass observed in their roles as professors at the University of Chicago, "…we detect among our students certain (albeit sometimes unarticulated) longings -- for friendship, for wholeness, for a life that is serious and deep, and for associations that are trustworthy and lasting -- longings that they do not realize could be largely satisfied by marrying well." (Wing to Wing, Oar to Oar, p. 2)
Singles Have More FunCrittenden's article artificially elevates marriage while underestimating the value of living single, independent and free, said some. What's so bad about choosing to be single? It's a lot more fun, they argued.
Ms. Crittenden's article is critical of single women and suggests that we have somehow missed God's plan for our lives by doing what we want to do. She states that we single 30 year old women have a second-rate life that can only be tolerated. In addition, without men that we will remain unfulfilled and sad.
And another:
"Yes, God makes some of us to be parents and spouses as part of our identy," wrote one. "But he also gives us spiritual gifts that allow us to contribute to our church; he gives us friends to enrich our lives; he gives us talents to praise him; he gives us careers that fulfill our dreams. Being single doesn't cancel out my identity. And to hear that my identity as a child of God is not complete without a spouse is judgmental and disturbing."
It's not about identity. It's about obedience. When it comes to marriage, we don't need a burning bush to know if it's God's will. He's already told us it is. If we're not specially gifted to be celibate, we're called to marriage. There's no third option; no lifestyle choice to remain single because it's more fun or more fulfilling or more spiritual than being married. Yes, if you're gifted with a calling to celibacy, a la Paul, then that is your duty. But if you're not -- and Scripture is clear that most of us aren't -- then our calling is marriage.
For women, that means remaining open to the possibility, praying boldly for the opportunity and living intentionally so as not to undermine your prospects. For men, it means "finding a wife" and "leaving and cleaving;" taking initiative -- looking at the women you know, identifying the ones who would be a godly wife and good mother and pursuing one of them. Be active.
For both men and women it means living purely -- being faithful with your sexuality -- actively participating in Christian community and being a good steward of your time, money and talents. These are all things that protect and prepare you for the commitment of marriage.
Marriageandbabies Isn't One WordNot all women want to raise families others pointed out.
This letter explained, "I have a Christian friend who's married and absolutely loathes small children. The thought of changing a diaper is disgusting to her. She will probably never have children even though she's found the man she wants to spend the rest of her life with."
Now that my two little ones are potty trained I can say with all honesty, changing diapers is a disgusting thing. But's that's no reason not to have children. Especially as believers. It's only since the advent of pharmaceutical birth control that humans even had the option of choosing marriage while remaining closed to the possibility -- and blessing -- of children. And it's only since people started writing their own wedding vows that we stopped including the part about promising to receive children and raise them to know God.
Severing the link between marriage and children is a modern concept, born of material wealth, political freedom and technological advancements. But just because we can do something doesn't mean we should. God has not revoked His charge to the first couple, Adam and Eve, to be fruitful and multiply. (And contrary to public opinion, we're in dire need of more not fewer people on this earth.) When we marry and choose not to have children, we violate our very design and disobey our God. (We've talked at length about this on Boundless, including articles by J. Budziszewski and Matt Kaufman.)
Men are JerksOne writer quoted Crittenden:
The 33-year-old single woman who decides she wants more from life than her career cannot so readily walk into marriage and children; by postponing them, all she has done is to push them ahead to a point in her life when she has less sexual power to attain them.
And had this to say,
"Gee, thanks. So, women over 30 aren't sexy enough to get a man, we better get them while we are young and perky?"
It's amazing how much of the world's mentality we've absorbed as Christians. It's not about "getting a man," it's about being in reality about when a woman is most likely to marry and still be able to have children. Youth is a wonderful thing for meeting eligible mates (thanks in large part to our system of higher education), having the time to date (again, thanks to college) and for pregnancy. The older a woman gets, the harder it is for her to conceive and the more likely she'll have complications if she does.
Still another writer said it's our fault for making men look bad. "Crittenden takes a very critical and unflattering view of men," she wrote. "She appears to assume that the good men only want women while they're still young, sexually attractive and fertile. Crittenden mentions nothing of men who may simply want partners they can love and connect with on a deeper emotional basis, and men who care nothing of age, fertility or looks and instead want intellectual and emotional equals.
Men and women are different. It's well established by Christian and secular researchers alike that men are more sight oriented than women and that looks matter a great deal to men when it comes to issues of attraction. If that's all they care about, we call them shallow. But to suggest that men should forgo externals and focus instead on deep emotional connections is to ask men to think like women.
As a woman, I'll venture to say that we women still hold a lot of sway over men. Next time you're verbalizing your contentment with being single (especially if what you really want is to marry) or going after one more degree or one more promotion, remember, men are watching. In many areas, they still look to us for cues.
Consider what Boundless reader Mark T. had to say:
This is a welcome breath of fresh air for a male in his early 20s with a professional degree, and the beginnings of a career that would love nothing more than to be able to share his life with someone, but only seems to meet young attractive and ambitious women that want to pursue the independent lifestyle for another 10 years all by themselves.
Did We Make a Mistake?
Sometimes we run things on Boundless that we don't completely agree with in order to get readers thinking, or thinking in a different direction. Sometimes we spotlight an article, author or movie to point out where we think they're wrong.
This was not one of those articles.
Danielle's excerpt is one thing we stand behind fully. She's on to something important and even though she doesn't write from an explicitly Christian perspective, the issues she raises are critical to the church. Boundless isn't alone in thinking this. Dr. Dobson interviewed Danielle about her book for a recent Focus on the Family broadcast (incidentally this was a re-air of the show, originally recorded in 1999).
Afterward, Dr. Mohler called this excerpt "a must read" on this blog Saying, "This is an issue I address often, and I appreciate Crittenden's thoughtful analysis -- as well as her perspective as a woman.... The article is really important. Her intelligent celebration of marriage is refreshing."
We're glad to know the article got you thinking -- even if you wrote to say you totally disagree with it. And we hope you'll prayerfully consider the reasons we so thoroughly endorse it. Yes, hoping for and getting married requires some serious risk-taking, especially in this culture. But it's still a divine gift worth pursuing and receiving.
Copyright © 2005 Candice Z. Watters. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.

Friday, January 05, 2007

This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine....

Wow! Another post a month later;) My life as a 24 year old is winding down. I'll be turning 25 Jan. 26...almost my silver birthday...isn't that what it's called, when I'll turn 26 on the 26th....?

Right now I'm subbing for, I think a history teacher. She had a personal emergency and needed to get goin'. Right now we're in an AP class (smart kids, that work hard...) after lunch we're goin' upstairs to watch a movie on Tolerance...racial tolerance. "A Time for Justice," about the civil rights movement.

Oh yeah Happy New Year everybody:) Weird isn't it, 2007~!!!

I signed up for my 2nd college level Drawing class. I'm excited about it. I think the first class is this coming up Wednesday. The first drawing class I took was only drawing in black and white. This class, Art 122, will be incorporating color. Yeah! I love color. I'm guessin' we'll be workin' in chalk pastels sometime...I hope oil pastel's too. I love color! I love Art! It's a blessing and a happiness to be able to take another class.

This post will be rather random. Just catchin'you up on some of my life recently.

I got a letter from one of my girls from Thailand, Mercy Htoo. Her family has talked to the UN and the UN is talkin' about them someday moving to the US. That would be awesome. I believe Lord willing if it happens it will be in a few years. Mercy Htoo is a delicate, fairy like young lady, age 14, I believe, with a Melodious voice and a quick smile and laugh. She has an "old soul"-wisdom beyond her years. There's an essence of wisdom and grace about her...and she's really smart because she works hard! and was blessed with a good mind. She has a heart for God. I was able to share with her how to have a more personal relationship with God-which was specail to know I had made a difference that way.

I got the letter from her the same day I traveled all the way to and back, from Richmond, for my YWAM leader's wedding! On the way back, it was late, I got a bad speeding ticket. So I came home and get the letter like around midnight sat on the couch and cried...cause of the differnt emotions...I mostly cried because of my kids in Thailand... I dunno if I'll go back soon. Part of me would like too. God knows.

This last Sat. I went to the wedding...than Sunday was church and in the evening there was a New Year's party at my Youth Leader's house. It was crazy cause her brother invited all these people from PA...and most of the people that came I had worked with at a camp. So this last weekend was reunion weekend from like 3 years ago. It was great and alot of fun.

Seems like I've prayed recently about wanting to be with friends...

A flying squirrel died in my room this last week. I had seen it awhile saw me too! I think it was a baby/young one...finally it died. It was under my chair ( marie scrunches up nose:() ewww....) I felt kinda bad. I coulda put food out for it but I didn't. Are flying squirrels endangered?

I started movin' into a new room. It has my bed and the chair (red fuzzy chair!) I got for Christmas/Birthday in it. The walls are deep red. I hung my big quilt up that I bought in Isreal. Which is a dyed blue with deep red highlights all through it. It looks really cool.

Dana and April are expecting again. They have been for awhile. They know the baby is a boy and will be naming him Lucas David. The David is after Adam and April's father.

Tonight Adam and I are goin' to a Pizza/Movie party. One of my guy friends that's been away at Coast Guard School will be there and also 2 of my girlfriends from college... It will be fun.

God really has blessed me with alot of friends everywhere! Yeah! It's such a blessing. Makes me feel special.

God has blessed me alot. I live in America. My life is easy compared to most people in the world. I can still live at home... with good parents...I have a great family. I have tons of clothes...(many which I've gotten at 2nd hand stores, I've found some good things!) Instead of goin' hungry I actually wanna loose a little weight;) I own a car now. Finally I got one;) (I'm growin' up in those ways slowly and I do have a debit card and a check book:)) We are spoiled Americans...and alot of us act that way!;)

Someday I wanna go to college and study Art. I think I want to be an Art Teacher.
I believe I could make a big differnce in young people's lives. I want to pour into peoples lives. I come home to the US after Thailand and all I do, alot is care for me, for Marie. I buy stuff for me, to wear, to eat...nice things... I can go out with my friends to a movie... I can spend hours on the internet... I don't have much responsibility or a ministry that I pour all of me into.

I do sub. at the public some ways I do look at that as a ministry. I was dreading getting back into it...but I thought of the scripture about laying down your life and it will be given back to you...instead of holding it close and loosing it (that was a pharaphrasing definately:) So I'm back in the hell halls of Warren Co. It's a crazy place. They have left God out and let the devil in in a big way. (