Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sometime's life's best lessons are learned through pain...

Over the past few weeks as I've been processing through the loss of my grandpa, the Lord has been impressing on me the need abide in Him and allow His character and His ways to become my own. I keep thinking through all of the wonderful qualities that my family members shared about my grandpa at his memorial; his selflessness, his humility, his faith in the Lord. He was not one to complain, he was the first to volunteer to come to the aid of someone in need, he was generous in his love, time and support. The things we loved about grandpa were Christ in him. He loved the Lord and it radiated through is actions. My grandpa lived for 82 years and it's remarkable to see the marks of sanctification on his life, to imagine the highs and lows that carved out his incredible character, to ponder the depth of the knowledge of God you would have after so many years of life. There is no doubt in my mind that we were all loved well by Jesus through my grandpa. I am so thankful for his example.

I find myself thinking a lot lately about the testimony that would be shared about me if were to die. Would people remember Christ in me the way the we rembered Christ in my grandpa? More importantly, would I be greeted by the Lord with the sweet words, "Well done, my good and faithful servant"? I hope so with all my heart. I can hardly imagine that moment and the indescribable sense of rest and acceptance one would experience from such an accalade coming from their Savior. It's what I'm striving for and longing for- a life lived out for the Lord, loving Him, serving Him, becoming more like Him with every passing year.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Missing a truly great man

My grandpa, Lewis Reams, went home to be with Jesus on Monday evening. It is such a tough loss for everyone that knew him because he was such an incredible and exemplary husband, father, grandpa and friend.

There are hundreds of little things I love and cherish about my time with my grandpa. I loved playing cards with him, taking family vacations, going out to breakfast, enjoying a cup of coffee. I loved hearing him tell stories about my mom and my aunt and uncle as kids. I loved hearing about how he served in his church. I consider myself so so lucky to have had him around for my 25 years of life. He attended all of my graduations from Kindergarten to Cal Poly, came to countless performances and sporting events and was a part of every family holiday. He was faithful man and everyone who knew him could rely on him for just about anything.

The thing about my grandpa that I am most impacted by is his selflessness. My grandparents were married for 61 years and throughout their marriage my grandpa served my grandma sacrificially. He is a true example of the call in Philippians 2, to consider others better than yourself and look to the interests of others. When I first heard the news that he had passed away I immediately began to think about the passage in 1 Corinthians 13 that describes love and at the end of his life I see how my grandpa has given me such a full example of how to love others in marriage, in family and in friendships. Grandpa was patient and kind, forgiving and courteous, gracious and sacrificial. Over the past few years as both of my grandparents health has declined he has vigilantly looked after my grandma, making sure he did everything to help keep her healthy and happy. To his last day he fulfilled his marriage vows sought to take care of my grandma.

His own health situation was really rough this past year with many trips to the doctor and stays at the hospital but I never heard him complain. Even on the day he passed away and was in so much discomfort, he was more concerned with his wife and his family and how we were doing. He was an eternal optimist, he could always find the silver lining in even the worst of situations. There are not enough words to describe the impact my grandpa has made on me. I love him so much and I am going to miss him terribly. Even now, though I am so heartbroken by this loss, I know that I am so blessed and lucky to have had such an amazing grandpa. He leaves behind an incredible legacy of faith and love for the Lord. I hope that I can live my life like grandpa's: with the strength of character, devotion to my faith and my family and overflowing joy in all circumstances.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

On turning 25...

For a good couple of months I had been dreading turning 25.  16 was cool because you could get your license, 18 was cool because you could vote and and go to Indian casinos, and 21 was novel because you could purchase alcohol.  25 seemed to me to be a big deal in that same sense as the afore mentioned ages,  but the big deal about 25 was that it seemed old.  Not old like being in your 70's is old, but old as in I finally had to come to terms with the fact that I'm an adult.  I am no longer a kid and I'm no longer even college age.  I am grown up.  Maybe finally realizing this now at 25 makes me a late bloomer, but I'm okay with that.  

So my birthday was totally wonderful.  Waking up to a house filled with balloons and decorations reminded me of how blessed I am by my caring, thoughtful housemates.  I felt so loved!  Then it was off for a fun day at the coast with Greg.  We went to Cannon Beach for lunch and adventuring around Ecola State Park.  It was such a beautiful, sunny day, which is sort of rare on the coast!  We also drove up to Astoria which just so happens to be the oldest seaport in the Northwest and also is where the movie "The Goonies" takes place.  We visited the Astoria Column which is this crazy tower at the top of the city that is fully painted in a mural of the city's history.  We climbed the 163-step spiral staircase for an incredible 360 view.  We then drove across the four mile long Astoria-Megler bridge into Washington where we visited Cape Disappointment.  It was true to it's name, so we turned and headed home for Tigard where we enjoyed some tasty Chinese food!  Once home we played darts where I secured a birthday win! Yes!  I did however lose the timed 24-piece puzzle challenge.  You win some, you lose some.  It was a truly amazing day and I am so thankful for my awesome boyfriend who made it happen!  

I have quickly realized how silly it was to be concerned about this birthday.  Life is so good and it could not be this good without 25 years of life behind me.  So bring on the next quarter of a century, life!  

Monday, June 1, 2009

it's been awhile...

I just realized how negligent I've been in my blogging as of late, but the pace of life just keeps picking up more and more!  I have now completed my training and worked a full week at the restaurant and things seem to be going pretty well...of course I've had the occasional mistakes but I figure it's par for the course at a brand new job.  Serving is a pretty fun gig and I enjoy my co-workers and customers quite a bit.  It's been cool to be working with so many people close to my age and I've been able to establish some fun new friendships.  I've also had the opportunity to share about my faith and life and my reason for my move to Oregon a lot during this "getting to know each other" phase we're all in, so that has been a huge blessing.  So far, I have been scheduled only nights, which has been an adjustment for me coming from a 8-5 schedule but most nights I've been home before midnight, so that's good.  It's physically demanding work, and the schedule can be tough, but I am constantly reminded of how blessed I am to have gotten a job up here so quickly!  

Another sweet blessing in my life has been the start of a relationship with Greg!  We have known each other for several years since we went to college together, but over the last several months things have developed and now we're dating, which is awesome and I'm so excited.  I really see how the Lord has orchestrated this relationship and it's exciting to see how Christ is the foundation of it all. We have a lot of fun together, like a ton of the same things and share the same sense of humor, which lends towards lots of laughs. I'm sure I'll have more to say about all of this in the future, but for now I just wanted to share my exciting news!

The community here through the church continues to be such an encouragement.  There seems to be a constant flow of people through my house, which is so much fun.  Someone is always coming over to watch a game on tv, have dinner, use the internet, do laundry, etc.  I really enjoy the opportunities for conversation that this has allowed and I've seen again and again the Lord's purpose in placing me in this living situation.  I am super blessed by what the Lord is teaching me through my roommates and my friends at the church.  

It's crazy to think how much a part of things I feel and I've only been here a little over a month and a half.  I am so humbled by the Lord's goodness to me and the ways that He has provided for me above and beyond my expectations.  In no way do I deserve all the blessings I have, but the Lord, in His goodness, has seen it fit to pour them out on me and for that I am so, so thankful.  The other day during my quiet time I flipped through some journal entries from earlier in the year and I was reminded of how incredibly scared and conflicted I was about making the move up north.  As the entries went on, it was amazing to see just how much the Lord has done in my heart in terms of bringing me healing, giving me clear direction and increasing my faith in Him.  The Lord has offered me so much confirmation in being here in Portland and everyday I am thankful that He has brought me to this place.  

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Birthday Kelly Hogan!

Kelly has been one of my dearest friends over the past several years.  Also, she reads my blog, so I decided to give her a shout out!  I wish that I could be with her today to celebrate the awesome girl she is (I would have said woman, but I know she doesn't care too much for that word, and neither do I). Today is her  24th Birthday, so Happy Birthday Kel!  Love ya!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Hello Job!

That's right, I got a job!  So today I decided that I would stop in to Famous Dave's and fill out an application because I knew they were hiring.  I have never worked in the restaurant business before, so it was a bit of a gamble but I decided to go for it.  I talked to the managers a bit, told them that I have no experience, but told them I was confident that I had the right personality for the job and that I could learn to serve.  Well, the took me at my word and I am pretty excited to share that today I got a serving job at Famous Dave's BBQ!  I am pretty blown away by it considering I have never worked in a restaurant, but I am definitely looking forward to learning the business and think this is going to be a great fit for me.   Also, I can't lie, I really love BBQ, so this is exciting! 

Over the past few weeks that I've been in Oregon, I have been evaluating my hopes and expectations regarding my employment and what I was realizing was that I held some pretty off ideas.  I had begun to see how much of the reason I was chasing after office jobs was because I wanted a higher pay, just so I could afford to move out on my own, have nice things, maybe buy a new car... and I realized that I was pursuing things that were not going to fulfill me or satisfy was all just stuff.  I also realized that I was trying to get an office admin job not so much because I love that type of work as much as I thought it was the most responsible thing to do.  After realizing these things, I decided to expand my search horizons and that's kind of what led me to apply for a serving position.  I see great potential for meeting some more people near my age and really being able to have an impact and ministry at work and I'm excited by that!

Monday, May 4, 2009

two weeks...time is flying by!

As you can observe from the title, I've now been in Tigard for two weeks which is hard to believe!  On the one hand, time seems to be flying by so quickly I hardly know what day it is, but on the other I already am developing a sense of familiarity and community that seems almost too established for having just been here a couple of weeks. 

I thought I'd share some highlights from the past couple of weeks so you know what I've been up to:

Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm:  A week ago, my friend Greg and I took the drive down to Woodburn to see some spectacular tulip fields.  Even though it was a Monday morning, the place was full of people, mainly the elderly and mother's with small children, but never the less we persevered and saw some of the most beautiful flowers I've ever seen.   They have planted over 40 acres of tulips in so many beautiful colors and varieties.  Row after row of tulips, I continued to be amazed by these just doesn't get old admiring God's handy work in creation!   Here are a few pictures I stole from Greg:

Rebuilding Center / Mississippi St:  Setting off on what was originally intended to be a coffee date, my new friend Amanda and I headed up to North Portland to Mississippi Street, an area that has recently experienced a bit of a rebirth.  One of the highlights of this little district was the Rebuilding Center, a massive warehouse-like store that sells everything from doors, to mantels, old floorboards, shutters, windows, tiles and cabinets...everything including the kitchen sink!  The charming thing about the Rebuiding Center is that everything in the store is donated from people who are gutting, demo-ing or remodeling their homes so the place is a wealth of vintage-y goodness all at really cheap prices.  I adore old things and I appreciate that all of this amazing stuff isn't just discarded to rot in a dump.  I will most definitely be visiting this place again once I get a job and have some more discretionary cash flow!  Amanda and I also perused some cute antique shops and boutiques in the area, ate some delish sushi and had a fantastic time.

Portland Waterfront:  On Thursday I met up with Melissa, an old friend from Cal Poly, and we walked the Portland Waterfront.  It was a beautiful, warm sunny day and we enjoyed the afternoon sitting on the grassy bank, catching up on each others lives and watching the boats drift by.  It was really fun to get to sit down with someone else from SLO and chat about the things we love about Portland but miss about our old college town.

So those are just a few of the highlights from this past week.  I feel like I have been pleasantly surprised by how busy I've been keeping so far.  It's been a tremendous blessing to see how caring, generous and encouraging this body of believers at Colossae is...I have felt so incredibly adopted into the community up here!  While it has certainly been fun to get to explore and hang out a lot, I am looking forward to and praying that I soon land a job and get a bit of a schedule going in my life.  But for now, I am enjoying, trusting, resting in the Lord and soaking this all in.

Until next time, 

Friday, April 24, 2009

Thoughts on reaching the one week mark...

So as of today, I have been in Oregon for one week!  It's a funny thing, but I feel like I have been here a whole lot longer, not in a bad way, like the days have been dragging by, but in a positive way!  I feel very much myself and very much at home here.  Normally, it takes me some time to acclimate, and test the waters before I feel like I can fully be myself, but I'm happy to say that I already feel well on my way.  It has been a pretty great week and I'm really excited to be here.  I have felt so refreshed by the new friendships, the sweet conversations and the extra time that being unemployed affords me to journal, and spend time in the Word and cook...all things that had honestly slipped to the wayside as of late.  All in all, I am so glad to be here...and not just here as in location but here as in my experiences, and my state of mind.  I feel very near to the Lord and I have a satisfaction that is only found in Him.  I feel Him near in this time of transition and I am so comforted by His steadfastness as all else changes.  It's been a good week with Jesus!

I feel like there should be a lot more to say here, but for now this will have to suffice.  Life is good, God is good.

Monday, April 20, 2009

As I type this blog I am sitting on my bed (praise Jesus!) in Tigard, OR!  That's right, I've made here safely and have set up my little room.  I must say, it's good to have a room and a bed again =)  My mom and I left early Thursday morning and made the 1,000 and some odd miles trip to Oregon over two days.  Although the drive was long, it offered some gorgeous sites and good times with my mom.  The last couple of days have been spent setting up my room, running errands, exploring Portland, hiking, walking, eating, shopping, going to church, meeting new's been busy to say the least.  The weather this weekend was absolutely gorgeous; clear blue skies and temperatures in the high 70's to low 80's!  
This morning after dropping my mom off at the airport, I came home and had some time to sit and collect my thoughts and spend time with the Lord and... I am really glad to be here.  I spent some time reading some journal entries from about January onward and it was such a blessing to just see how the Lord slowly, steadily built faith and trust into my heart, how He guided and directed my desires and now how He has led me here.  It was so good to lock myself in my room for a bit and to just let my heart reflect on God's Sovereignty and goodness in my life before running off to apply for jobs, get groceries and get caught up in the minutia of my new life here in Oregon.  

I'll end this post with some encouraging verses I read this morning.  

Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?       Matt 6:26

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.  But even the hairs of your head are numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are more value than many sparrows.        Matt 10:29-31

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Heading North...

This post is basically a letter I wrote to my friends and family about my upcoming move to Portland, OR!

I am writing to you to share some exciting news and to update you on my life. On April 16th I will be moving up to Tigard, OR, a little suburb outside of Portland. This may or may not come as a surprise to you, so I'd like to give you a little bit of the journey the Lord has had me on over the past few months, share with you my excitement and ask you for your much needed prayers during this time of transition.

Late November through about mid January was just a really tough time for me as I wrestled through some challenging things in my life and questioned a lot of things from the direction of my life to God's character and the purpose of these trials I was facing. What I learned in this time and am still learning is that the Lord is completely trustworthy and every blessing and even every suffering has a purpose and intent in our lives which is to bring about Christ-likeness within us. As hard as those couple months were, I am now thankful for them because the Lord really has healed my heart and I feel refocused and realigned to His purposes. It never really feels good to be under the chisel of the Master Artist, but the results are beautiful.

In the midst of all of this, in about mid-December, I got reconnected with Greg, a good friend of mine from college, who had moved up to Tigard to be a part of a church plant called Colossae. ( ) Talking to him about what the Lord was doing through this little church really sparked my interest and I began to look into the church, initially just out of curiosity. I started to recognize not too long after I started checking out the church and listening to some of their sermons, that my heart just felt drawn to this church and to the opportunity for ministry up in Tigard. I was also recognizing that I was not really thriving in Orange County, where I'd been living since August. I was not involved in a church or a ministry, I hadn't met many people and I was feeling pretty disconnected. Something else I realized is that no matter where I headed next, there was going to be a period of building and risk taking necessary for me to make a place feel like home for me.

In late February I took a couple days off and flew up to Portland to check out the area and the church with my friend Kelly and I had an amazing time. I loved the city and the culture and I felt like I could really see myself fitting in there. Visiting the church was really great too. Just being there for one Sunday morning it was so evident that this was a body of believers who love the Lord deeply and care deeply for others. There is just such a welcoming and caring community there. The visit to Portland really served to confirm my desires to head up there to be a part of this church community, so I began praying that the Lord would show me His direction within the month of March...and He certainly did. During the last month the Lord removed a couple of things from my life, my housing situation and my job, that had sort of become "comfort crutches" for me. These were the things that I was holding on to that were keeping me from stepping out in faith and following the Lord. A frequent thought was, "I want to go up to Portland, but I have this great job with good pay, benefits and a team of people I really love." So the Lord removed that obstacle by reducing my hours by 60%, leaving me only working two days a week. My job was no longer holding me back, and I had received the final nudge I needed to take the plunge and head North! So that brings you up to the present. I am currently living with my aunt and uncle, saving as much as I can and preparing to take this big step. The Lord has provided a sweet housing situation for me with some other folks from Colossae which I'm excited about. I don't have a job lined up, but I am trusting the Lord to provide for me every step of the way.

So that is the snapshot version of what the Lord has been doing in my life. Although I am really very excited about my move, it's obviously a tough and scary thing too. I know I am going to miss my family so much. I know that my faith is going to be stretched a ton. I know that the Lord is going to refine my character a lot, which is always trying. This is certainly one of the biggest steps of faith I've ever taken but I am trusting that with great risk comes great reward.
I hope this email helps you to know what is going on, and hopefully get excited with me about what the Lord is leading me towards. I would ask you to please keep me in your prayers, I need them! If you have any more questions, let me know because I'd love to talk to you more about this whole process. Oh and I am trying to be good about keeping my blog updated so that you all know what I'm up to and what I'm learning. You can check it out at .

Much Love,Kristen (Giesh)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Chalk another one up for God's Sovereignty...

For the past several months I seem to have miraculously evaded the layoffs, pay cuts, and general drudgery that characterizes a nation in recession...until now. My hours were drastically cut and I'm now working two days a week.  Yikes!  Almost more scary to me than the whole finances deal is trying to figure out what the heck I will do with all this free time!?!

Thankfully, the Lord is Sovereign and He is always for His children!  Just a week prior to this reduction, I moved in with my aunt and uncle and am paying zero rent.  Initially I wasn't that stoked about this living situation, because let's face it, crashing on the couch at age 24 doesn't exactly scream success...but the Lord knew just what was around the corner for me, and not being locked into a lease right now is such a relief! Praise the Lord for His control.  

This loss of hours also has brought me perhaps the last nudge I needed to know that the Lord does not have me here in the OC for much longer.  I have been praying that the Lord would clearly lead me during the month of March to whatever is next in my life and this is just one of the ways I've seen Him lead and answer me.

It's honestly been a rough couple of months as the Lord has stripped away a lot of things that I clung to for security...relationships, job, housing.  But now, finally, I am beginning to see that He wants me in a place of total surrender and trust.   He has some plan, that I have yet to fully uncover, that requires me to be freed up from all of these things that I had grown comfortable in.   It's been an immense comfort to rest in and rely upon God's unchanging character.  I don't know quite what is around the corner right now, but I know the One who is holding my hand, and leading me into the unknown.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

a few of my favs...

It was recently brought to my attention that I do not have many pictures posted here on my blog, and so, in an effort to please the readers, here are a few of my favorite pictures.  Most of them are from college as I have sort of fallen off the picture taking bandwagon as of late.  Enjoy!

This is perhaps my favorite picture of my best friend Amanda taken during our last finals week senior year.  Clearly we weren't that concerned about grades at that point!

My dear friend Emily and I bought these amazing 80's hammer pants in Venice Beach one summer...a photo shoot ensued for good reason! 

One of my favorite pictures of me and my roommates. NYE 2006

This picture has always made me laugh...I have a crazy family that I love so much!

I am in love.  This is the first time I met Avery, my precious niece.


Another of my favorite pictures with Amanda. This picture has always been referred to as the "Walk of Shame" because we got locked out of the apartment and ended up sleeping over at the boys house which we were very nervous about!

This is the coolest I have ever been or ever will be.  Chelsea and I downtown in SLO.
A great day at Disneyland with my family.

Just a few weeks before we graduated and moved on, the roomies headed out to Meadow Park in SLO for a photo sesh.  I love this candid moment.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


i am so blessed to get to have such a fun week!  not only do i get to go visit some dear friends in portland i also get to see some dear ones in slo! i can hardly wait. i feel like a kid before christmas!

 look forward to pictures and stories after my return....

until then,

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

"The Spirit does not take his pupils beyond the cross, but ever more deeply into it." 
-J. Knox Chamblin

I finished reading the Cross Centered Life by CJ Mahaney the other night and since that time  I've been reflecting on the journey that the Lord has had me on over the past 8 months.  During this time He has been revealing to me how little I actually knew of the Gospel.  I knew the Gospel at the knowledge level, but I didn't really know it at an experiential level.  

 I started to realize my "Gospel deficiency" while I was on staff on summer project and we were leading Bible studies on Justification, Sanctification and Glorification.  As I prepared for these, I learned so much and my appreciation and love of the Gospel really began to deepen in a way I had never known. For the first time I began to really understand and be deeply impacted by the truth of justification as a once and for all declaration of my complete righteousness only because of Jesus' abundant grace.  Understanding that has freed me up from a lot of legalistic thinking.  There isn't a thing I can do, good or bad, to change my standing in Christ; I am loved fully by the Lord even in the very midst of my guilt and shame.   I don't earn His favor because I'm a good Christian or because I did ministry full time for awhile.  Everything I have is from Him because it pleases Him for it to be so.   Thankfully, the Lord has brought me through some experiences over the past few months where I have really had to put this intellectual understanding to the test. It has been super challenging at times and I have really wrestled with the Lord and questioned His  ways when they seemed hurtful and difficult.  It didn't make sense to me how things could seem so hard even though I was doing "everything right" as a Christian.  Through all of this, what has become deeply and wonderfully written on my heart is the depth of the Gospel.  When nothing has made sense and everything has hurt, there stood the Gospel, as perfect and as satisfying as ever. It is a deep bottomless well filled with refreshment and nourishment.  I am so thankful! 

I used to think that I could somehow "graduate" from the Gospel and move on to other topics, as though it were something that was only relevant early on in one's conversion.  I am truly grateful for what God has been teaching me lately.

Monday, February 2, 2009

"For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." Hebrews 4:12

Just had one of those "living and active" times in the Word and am feeling challenged and very encouraged.

The Lord is so good to me.

Friday, January 30, 2009

(some of) my favorite words

I once saw a book that I really wish I had just bought.  It was essentially a journal, but each page had a different prompt for a list to write.  I have made it my mission to find that book again, and to list to my heart's content.  I don't know what it is, but there is just something so endearing to me about enumerating my favorite songs, or movies or foods or places....

Tonight, however, I will turn to listing a smattering of my favorite words.  Some are favorites due to their meaning, others because of the way they look or sound.  I have to confess that I did spend more than a few moments drafting this list at work.  I also have to confess that all these wonderful words made me miss the days of studying with flash cards for the SAT...oh to be young again!

Originally, I had hoped to make an A-Z list, but inspiration didn't lead that way after all...enjoy!

cumbersome, opulent, zealot, obtuse, cacophony, soiree, shindig, bludgeon, effervescent, bask, ogle, winsome, squeamish, tourniquet, traverse, grandeur, guts, smorgasbord, incredulous, exacerbate, gregarious, magnanimous, holistic, gander, clad, livid, languish, lackadaisical, perfunctory, pragmatism, dank, doodle, happenstance, jumble, jocular, kindred, coagulate, poppycock, sordid, wrangle, congregate, usurp, malign, benign, serendipitous, squalor, decimate, esoteric, stoic, peon, minion, marzipan, contemplative, sycophant, wasps, colonel, idiosyncrasies, squirrel, swindle, disjointed, impediment, austere, brackish.

Until next time,

Sunday, January 25, 2009

music and memories

I love that particular songs can bring you right back to a place in time.  A song can stir a particular emotion each and every time you hear it's melody dance into your ears.  Tonight as I was revamping my sleepy time playlist I threw on some Sufjan Stevens and instantly my mind was flooded with memories of the summer of 2004 living in a dinky little hotel room at the El Caribe in Daytona Beach, Florida.  I was on summer project and I had just finished my sophomore year at Cal Poly.  To this day it's still somewhat baffling that I signed up for a summer project because I scarcely knew what they were about or what I'd be doing but I am so glad that something did stir in my heart to lead me on that journey there.

 During my first couple of weeks there, I celebrated my 20th birthday there and I recieved a care package with a couple of burned Sufjan cds. I instantly fell in love with his music and it wasn't long after that I was sharing this discovery with my new dear friends, Emily, Hannah, Renee and Katie.  Emily and I were roommates in what was affectionately known as "The Cave."  The room wasn't much, just the one queen sized bed that we shared all summer, a tiny kitchen and a bathroom.  Every night Emily and I would crank up the AC and play the Seven Swans album as we drifted off to sleep.  The cd was not only beautiful music, but was helpful to drown out the sounds  of the busy A1A highway outside of our window and the steady hum of the air conditioner.   The songs from that cd, along with many other songs, have created a soundtrack to my life that summer.  It was a summer where I made some incredible friendships built on Christ, and laughter and sisterly love.  It was a summer where I fell in love with Jesus and the Word in a fresh and life changing way.  Summer 2004 was life-changing for me.  Just sitting here writing about it now makes my eyes well up with tears to think about what an impact that made on my life.  Some of my fondest memories and most beloved friends were made that summer.  
Years later I heard the song "The Dress Looks Nice on You" by Sufjan Stevens played as my dear friend Emily walked down the aisle to be married to a really wonderful man.  It had then, as it does tonight, an emotional effect as I remember and thank the Lord for my life and the cherished memories I have from Daytona Beach.

I feel so blessed to have had that chance to sit and reflect on that summer and those sweet times tonight...and it was all thanks to a song I threw on my sleep playlist!  

So what song or cd does that for you?  I'd love to hear.

Until next time,

Saturday, January 17, 2009

thoughts on the bachelor

Last night, for the very first time, I watched an entire episode of The Bachelor, on ABC.  While this show has been on for years, it has never really caught my attention, and now I know why: watching that show made my heart ache!  And this wasn't a fun, "He's so dreamy, I want that kind of romance!" kind of heart ache. It was pure sadness and compassion for these girls!  I really can't imagine how to create a show where emotions are so jacked with...I mean these girls ship off away from their friends, family, communities and work leaving all of their spheres of life where they are receiving esteem and value to go compete for the affection of one man.  So then they try and make friends with the other girls / contestants, but it's not too long before the jealousy and catty-ness begins.  I seriously just wanted to meet and talk for hours with each of the girls on that show to try to figure out why they were there...these women are beautiful and successful...but they are still so desperately seeking approval and value.  All of it just made me so thankful for Jesus in my life and how He has freed me up from those bonds.

Now let's talk about the Bachelor, Jason.  He is super smooth, tells all the girls they are amazing and beautiful and special and yadda yadda yadda...but at the end of the day how does he show them that he values them?  He kisses and romances nearly ALL of the other girls.  Nice.  Way to be a gentleman, guy.  

Overall, I would give the show two thumbs down.  If I wanted to watch something on TV that makes me feel sad I'll just watch the news...or that Britney Spears documentary.

Until next time,

Sunday, January 11, 2009

the trial run has fun

Yesterday I packed up my car with the essentials for the week and headed Southwest to Dana Point for the trial run living with Sarah.  The only reason it's a trial run and not an official move at this point is due to the fact that I am not so sure about this whole commuting business.  I hope it's manageable because I would really love for it to work out to live with Sarah, she's so much fun and such an encouragement to my soul.

To kick off the week, we got dressed up and went out last night to an incredible little Italian restaurant.  After our delicious meal we went out dancing...which was pretty stinking hilarious.  We were almost instantly befriended by a fairly drunk guy named Sean, who took it upon himself to escort us around, meet everyone he knew, and to protect us from potentially skeezy people.  We had a blast dancing!  This morning we made some chocolate chip pancakes, took a walk to the beach in 75 degree sunny weather, then spent the remainder of the day being lazy on the couch, partly napping and partly watching the Chargers game.  I would say I was mostly napping...Sunday is the day of rest, after all =)  The soundtrack to my lazy day has been Ray La Montagne's new album, "Gossip in the Grain"...check it out it's great songwriting/music.  My favorite is You are the Best Thing, it's a great track.

We are about to head off to check out a new contemporary contemplative service at Sarah's church.  I'm interested to see what the means.

So life is pretty good.  I'm excited to settle into a routine here and really check things out.  It's looking like a short term thing here in DP, but I am definitely welcoming the new scenery and the companionship.  

Until next time, 

Friday, January 9, 2009

This week I have carved out a  little routine for myself, which I've really been enjoying.  After work, I have been doing my quiet times at home in my room.  This is pretty out of the norm for me for a couple of reasons, one being that I am typically a morning QT person, and another reason being that I typically like to do my quiet times away from home, even if it's in my car before work, otherwise I get pretty distracted. Part of these quiet times have been going through a sermon series on Tuning Into the Voice of God, which I was initially really drawn to because of my circumstances as of late.  Now, as I think about it more, I am realizing how silly it is to think that because of my present situation and it's hardships I am finding it more appropriate to learn how to tune into the voice of the Lord.  As a person who wants to follow Christ with my life, that question of how I discern God's truth and direction should be constant.  Anyways, I've been learning a lot through this series and thinking through some good, although tough, questions.

The series is primarily taught out of Jeremiah 7:23-26 and the pastor, Chuck Bomar has been focusing the sermons on some of the key phrases out of the text.  Here is the basic gist of what I've been learning.

The overarching truth of this whole series is that as Christians, we have a personal relationship with God, and so it follows that if we have a relationship with a loving God, then he certainly desires to communicate with us and lead us into a life that is honoring and pleasing to Him.  Unfortunately there are so many things in our hearts and in our lives that distract, dilute and distort our ability to hear God's voice.

As I mentioned, the bulk of the series has been spent investigating those things that hinder our ability to hear and follow God's voice.  

1. the first point was that we can't obey when we lack the disciplines in our life to even know what God's ways are.  This was a super good reminder for me about the wealth that we possess in the Word.  So often I am hoping for the Lord to spell out my life's direction in an audible voice or a burning bush, all the while overlooking that fact that I have God's trustworthy written words at my disposal.  Some other points that were made that brought me encouragement and challenge were that as believers, we've been given sound minds by which we can understand God's word; in order to be disciplined we have to work really and literally push every distracting thing aside for the sake of striving to be Christlike in our obedience; and finally we have the responsibility to organize our lives to build in these spiritual disciplines.  Good stuff.  I need to really mull over these truths, especially the point about how the Lord has given us sound minds.  As I am stepping into adulthood more all the time I am recognizing how much of my early life was based on the decisions of others.  Now that's not case anymore, but I honestly miss that sometimes, and want to revert back to a time where it was someone else's decision making process that propelled my life forward.  I really want to be able to be stoked about responsibility to seek and follow the Lord's leading in my life, trusting that He has given me the capability to make wise, God-honoring decisions.  Right now I am certainly in a position to put this into practice as I'm praying about where God is taking me next.

2. The second part of the series looked into the meaning of what it is to walk in our "own counsels".   Chuck explained that these counsels often break down into the wisdom of the world, the advise of the spiritually unwise or immature and our circumstances.  The one that really kicked my butt was circumstances, because I am so prone to look at what is going on in my life and then to attempt to infer God's leading.  I do this all the time questioning if this or that is a sign from God.  And it very well could be, but I again I am realizing that it is far more reliable to seek the Lord in the Word and in prayer rather than to analyze the details of my circumstances to try to discern how the Lord is leading.

Hmmm...well that's a lot of writing already and that is only part one and two of a five part series.  I think for now, I will conclude, hopefully to return at a later date to write some more of my thoughts.  Writing is really good for me because I'm what they call an external processor and I often don't know what I know until I have to communicate it.  

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

this blog is pretty obscure and few people read it, so i decided that in an effort to make you, the few readers, feel quite trusted and welcome here I would divulge a few unknown nuggets about myself:

1. I seldom sing the melody of a song, and almost always sing the harmony.  I do this alone in the car as I sing along with the radio.

2. I find a strange pleasure in being taller than people and being able to see the tops of their heads.

3. I really love perforated paper.

4. I really hate Styrofoam.  It gives me the heebie jeebies.

5. I have a very active imagination life.  If left alone to my thoughts I might be imagining anything from choreographing a dance number, visualizing the opening shot of a film or something more mundane like having a conversation with someone.  I keep myself fairly entertained this way.

6. I love it when things work out perfectly numerically.  For example, I grab a random handful of forks to set the table and voila!  that is the exact number of place settings.  I have a mental celebration on these occurrences.

That's it for now...