Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Birthday Wish

Good morning, friends!

Thank you SOOOO very much for making me feel extra special on my birthday through Facebook, phone calls, texts and cards!

Growing up, my family has never made a big fuss about birthdays. And thankfully as a result, I'm pretty low maintenance. A hug and a happy birthday is enough really. It's always been pretty simple - grill some good food and blow out the candles on a cake. Sometimes, it's the morning wake up call with the traditional Mexican birthday song Las Mañanitas! I love it!

This year though - I do have a wish and it's to go back to Guatemala for 5 weeks this summer. I'm paying for most of the trip, but I need help raising $500.

If you'd like to help me, HERE is the link. Another way to help is honestly to pray! It doesn't sound like much - but praying is a big deal and because of requests made to the Lord much is accomplished!

This orphanage in Guatemala is one place that makes my heart skip a beat! I haven't been able to shut up about it lately - especially since going back is a REALITY! The plane tickets are going to be purchased THIS WEEK!


P.S. I've lost the fear of turning 30 on my 29th birthday!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

For the Love...

...OF LISTS!! Starting April 19, 2011 - my 29th birthday - I will begin checking things off my 30 before 30 list! 30 things to check of a list before the big Thirty, Flirty and Thriving Birthday!! (I can't believe it's a year from now! I hear 30 is the new 20!!)

  1. Prepare a 3 course meal and make it a party!

  2. Read my Bible from cover to cover

  3. Spontaneous Roadtrip

  4. Run a full marathon (please let it be the Houston Chevron Marathon!!)

  5. Write HANDWRITTEN letters to VIP's in my life

  6. Camp out on the beach

  7. Ride a tandem bike

  8. Paint Something(s) with purpose (like something someone would want to hang in their house)

  9. More Picnics Please

  10. Play in the rain

  11. Get a gym membership and use it (complete as of 4.4.11 - a head start)

  12. Get out of debt and stay out FOREVER AND EVER!! soooo close!

  13. Take family pictures

  14. Braces

  15. Submit cards to Hallmark (I've gotta figure out how)

  16. Begin learning about graphic design

  17. Attend a professional football game

  18. FINISH the DANG Christmas QUILT!!

  19. Write and illustrate a kids book - homemade books are so fun!

  20. Lose at least 10 pounds (no, i don't ALWAYS think I'm fat - yes, running is easier when you're lighter)

  21. facebook less - JOURNAL MORE! (not sure how to measure this)

  22. Parasailing! (been skydiving and paragliding...now I need to add water!)

  23. Run the San Antonio Half

  24. BUY A CAMERA AND GO PICTURE CRAZY! (yeah - I don't have one!)

  25. Take a trip to someplace where I can HIKE at an incline rather than flatness (most likely Guate!)

  26. Go to the Texas State Fair

  27. ZIP LINING!! (if I can manage jumping off the platform!)

  28. Plan and execute a FUN 30th Birthday Bash!

Okay - You noticed it's not finished. Maybe I'll do something cool, crazy or meaningful, add it to the list and then check it off! Does that count? Or maybe you could suggest something that is relatively inexpensive. 2 slots.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Ezra 2 - Places and People

I'll be the first to admit that I did not expect to get so much out of a list of names! There was an awesome girl who read through these names in chapter 2 as though she were reading simple names like John, Sam, Phillip, etc. Seriously. I was impressed and tried doing it myself, but - if I'm honest - I need loads more practice.

Anyway - yes, when we get to scripture like Ezra 2, we have a tendency to skip over it...okay, I HAVE THE TENDENCY TO SKIP OVER IT. But as my teacher mentioned - don't neglect their importance.

And seriously - I love this. Yes - after 70 years of captivity, God sent a ton of people to go back home to rebuild the temple. And not just people - He sent individuals and named them one by one to their HOME!! It was a promise kept from long before!!

In class, we discussed how places are where redemption happens. God meets us where we are. That is what distinguishes JESUS from any other god around. When God meets us in a certain place, it becomes sacred. Not for the place itself to become an idol but for it to provide a marker...or a stone.

He also calls us individually to the place where we are!! YOU! ME! My Neighbor!! Examples of that are all over scripture, but we stuck with John 20 when Mary is looking for Jesus at the tomb. She was desperate to find Him... The conversation looks like this:

He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

Jesus said to her, Mary.”

Acts 9 shows how God called Paul (then Saul) by name:

As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

He called Mary and Saul BY NAME! He did the same for every individual going back home to rebuild their place! He has called you and me INDIVIDUALLY! And the question stands - are we listening??

I don't know if it's true for you, but I have a place(s). And if you do PLEASE TELL ME ABOUT IT in the comments!! I love listening to stories like this.

My Places:

  1. Bolivar, MO! Funny how I always say that I don't really want to go back - and maybe it's because it's the people who made it (most of whom I keep in touch with). But it is a very special place. It is where my faith grew exponentially and I saw my God do a great work in the most obvious ways in my life. He hit me with a ton of bricks there! And within Bolivar there are places - like Dunnegan Park, Woody-Gott Hall, Beasley Hall, the cross in the middle of campus, Brenda's Cafe! :O)
  2. Guatemala! Where do I even begin with this one? My heart truly longs for this place. And sometimes aches. (tears...) Here is a place that was introduced to me while I was in college. I've had the privilege of going back since and will hopefully will continue to go as much as I possibly can! My joy in finding hearts EVERYWHERE began in Guatemala, on one of those days that I was desperate for confirmation on something. The confirmation came through a heart shaped leaf flapping in the wind! I still have that leaf! And I've found many more hearts since reminding me of God's faithfulness in the midst of struggle. Within this place are individuals that I love VERY much! I love their hugs, their laughter, their personalities, their struggles, their JOY...Hearing their stories and their strength through Christ alone and their resilience to endure what life has thrown at them...I could go on forever! Driving into the campus makes my heart skip a beat!!
  3. The mountains in Korea! Gyeryongsan
  4. PRISON! They call me "Trouble" there (at least a couple classes did). I haven't been since becoming a teacher... Anyway, there are AMAZING stories of redemption! Even now, that I'm not so involved, I still hear stories of redemption from both the brothers and the leaders and I praise the Lord for using this brokenness to bring this incredible beauty!
  5. And most recently Austin, TX during the LiveSTRONG Half Marathon. Sharing it with Adela Cordova - someone I don't know if I'll ever see again in my life, and the Van Zandt's was truly special! He seriously MET me there on SOOOO many levels. I've been telling my family that I feel like I now have an emotional attachment to that race.
The coolest part about all this is that it really isn't about US!! When we are called to GO to the place where are called we are more than likely to come BACK home. And when we do we tell of the glory of God. The work that He does when He meets us where we are is something to be shouted from roof-tops!!

Even now, I have to remind myself that where I am is where God has me and He longs to bring redemption to individual people there right now! I want it too!!

So it's your turn! Share! Please!