Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cowtown Run

This weekend, I headed out to Fort Worth for my first 10K. Around 5:30 in the morning I was up and eating a Cliff bar with little hope of running it in under an hour. For those of you who do not know, a 10K is six miles and as I normal run fairly slow (maybe a 12 minute mile or so) I figured it might take me an hour and a half. Granted, in a race I always run much faster, but I still was not hopeful. This did not depress me of course as I was more than happy to get an 'E' for effort and maybe even enthusiasm, and so I went into the race planning on doing my best and just being glad to finish. By the grace of God I finished in 56 minutes and 2 seconds, just two minutes behind a friend of mine who was running. It was very encouraging and just what I needed to revive my slowly waning running routine.

What was cool was the amount of people of the city who came out to cheer the runners on and it reminded me of a very important Christian truth. One of the reasons why we gather together as Christians, aside from the obvious joy of worshiping together, is so that we can, or at least should, encourage one another. Every time I began to feel as if I could not run much longer, we would pass crowds of cheering people, telling us that we could do it, that there was only a little more to go, and even providing gatorade and water to give us strength. It reminded me that this is what I should be doing for my brothers and sisters in Christ, cheering them on as they press on toward the goal to which God has called them heavenward (Phil 3:14). So I encourage you to encourage others, because we are not in this race alone!

"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." Hebrews 10:24-25

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Night Around the Fire

In the nicer weather we've been having lately, my family has been sitting around our outdoor fireplace to read. The sky was really clear the last time we did this and I practiced a little night photography. Clearly I need to work on it or learn the secrets of the trade or something, but I still think they look pretty cool.

You could see the moon through the trees, but you can't see them in the photos. I'm sure there is some technical way to do it and I'm going to work on figuring it out, but for now I still think it looks pretty neat.
You can kind of see the trees here, but it still doesn't look as cool as it actually was.
A test picture that I thought actually looked interesting.
I love the sunsets out in Fulshear lately, so beautiful.

Food Art

I have never been very visually artistic myself, but I love art in all its forms. Today I went to one of my favorite sushi places and was presented with the coolest shashimi I've personally ever seen. Even the carrots are flowers! They also have the best ginger dressing I've ever tasted, it's even good on the sushi. Shameless plug: Sushi Hana is fabulous.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

God Washes Human's Feet: Reflections on Divine Humility

5Then he [Jesus] poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him..."Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call meTeacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet."
John 13:5 and 12-14

It was because He was assured of his divinity that Christ did not demand His rights and that He was able to wash the dirty, stinky feet of his disciples, including Judas His betrayer. How much more should we, then, wash the feet of those around us? We are assured in scripture of our place as co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17), therefore, let us not demand our rights as such, but consider others better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3).

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine Sunsets

Through the trees in Fulshear

By the garage, still in Fulshear
After dropping off Amy Simon.

"A new commandment I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." John 13:34

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Reflections on Valentines

6For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

I am ashamed to admit that around Valentine's Day I get rather grumpy and bitter. It is a sin that I need to confess and flee from, but a habit that tends to be difficult for me to break. It's a sin because I am grumpy and bitter because I desire to be married and yet it hasn't happened yet. It is a sin because I know that I am loved more deeply than I deserve by the God of the Universe and that He showed me this love by suffering the penalty I incurred with my rebellion against Him. Romans 5 says that scarcely will someone die for a righteous or a good man, yet the Lord Jesus suffered and died for me, the worst of sinners. So going against tradition, I'm making a Valentines resolution. With the help of the Holy Spirit I am going to take captive my thoughts and make them obedient to the Lord (2 Corinthians 10:5) by reminding myself constantly of all He has done for me and in turn show love to the unloved as best I can. So to all my readers, the few and far between, I wish you a Happy Valentines Day. May you be made deeply aware of the love God has for you.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Verse of the Week

"Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love." Lamentations 3:32

God is faithful, good, and sovereign even when things appear black. His plans are not simply good for us, but the best for us. While we all hold responsibility for our actions, He works all things for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). Like Joseph and his brothers and Christ on the cross, great sin can be used for great good by our omnipotent creator. I am thankful that though I am undeserving, He is merciful and gracious enough to love me and work all things for good. Pray that I will have peace and joy during this desert storm.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Sub Days

I am extremely pampered. I have had two sub days this week and they went wonderfully despite my massive anxiety about both. On the first day there was a student teacher who already knew classroom procedures and was a huge help. On the second day, today, there was a tutor working with the class who also was a wonderful help. Needless to say, my expectations were so wrong. The kids were all very sweet (if not a little chatty) and the first teacher mentioned having me back next week. What a huge blessing!

I realize that not all of my jobs will be like this. Surely there will be classes that I will want to strangle and bury under the basketball court, but thus far I am extremely thankful for the well behaved classes I've had, and pray that I'll be thankful for the classes of another kind. Tomorrow and Friday I am subbing for a band class. Thus far I've assumed that there won't be much teaching and that things will be fairly easy, but I'm trying to lower my expectations to avoid disappointment. Thanks to every one for their prayers, I continue to covet them.

As for my teaching certificate, I have three content exams coming up and I ask for prayer for those as well. Thankfully, God is both good and sovereign and I will end up where He wants me to be, which will always be the best place.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Friday, February 04, 2011

Happy Feet

For the record, I've never been a frequent nail painter, but on occasion (mostly when I have some sort of gift card) I enjoy getting a pedicure. Last week I went with a friend and her mom and I just have to say, I never thought nail polish would make me this happy. It sort of makes me wish for summer so I could wear flip flops... might just have to find this color and use it again!

Help My Unbelief

"17But they continued to sin against Him, rebelling in the desert against the Most High. 18They willfully put God to the test by demanding the food they craved. 19They spoke against God, saying 'Can God spread a table in the desert? 20When He struck the rock, water gushed out, and streams flowed abundantly. But can He also give us food? Can He supply meat for His people?'" Psalm 78:17-20

For the last year or so I feel as if I've been living in sort of a desert period. God saw fit to take away a wonderful job and send me to live under my parents roof once more. Since that time I've searched for a job in youth ministry but was unable to find one. On top of that, the population of the church I volunteer for consists of married couples and youth. I have felt extremely lonely and have often despaired of finding a friend my age or ever finding a husband. Eventually, I decided to pursue teaching and I pray that this will not only open up job opportunities but also a new field of ministry. Yet anxiety grips me constantly. It was so bad one night last week that I had one of the worst anxiety attacks I've had since college. Worry about exams, substitute teaching, money, ever finding a permanent job, marriage, etc, etc, consumed me so that I was physically affected. It was the first time such an attack had happened so abruptly and violently. By God's grace I was able to calm down and get some sleep, but those thoughts continue to haunt me.

But as I was reading Psalms this morning, this passage all but shouted at me from the page. Each phase of Israel's unfaithful complaining reminded me of something in my own life. As Israel had despaired of finding water in the desert, I despaired of finding a good friend. Yet, just as God brought His beloved people water from a rock, He brought me a friend in one of the young married women of the church. And though I fear the day when she and her husband might leave to join the military, she is an example of God's mercy and faithfulness to me. So rather than say like Israel, "Well, you brought me a friend but I don't trust you to help me find a job or a husband in suburbia where everyone is already married" (verses 19-20) I should be reminding myself that He is not only good but sovereign, that if He was gracious enough to provide a friend for me He can provide all these other things that I need... and that His plans are what's best for me (Romans 8:28).

I guess the hard thing is realizing that what I want may not be God's best for me. That is way my new prayer is for God to help my unbelief. I know that He is good and can do all things, but I need help to believe just like the father of the sick boy (Mark 9:24). And that's one thing I am certain He will give me.

Thursday, February 03, 2011


Can someone help me with my template? I'm attempting to change it and now it doesn't look like I want it to. I know very little about html so any help would be appreciated.

Mad Skill

Did I mention that my mom has mad skills? She made me a pretty apron for Christmas that sort of reminds me of I guess 1960's housewife. All I need are some pearls and a vacuum. Tonight I'm staying warm by making quiche lorraine and wearing my second favorite Christmas present (next to the scarf and bought me... oh and the camera my dad got me, which still needs a memory card). I need to learn how to sew the way she does, it's very impressive.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Guest Photographer

A little known fact is that my dad is an excellent photographer. Here are some lovely pictures of the sky he took for me recently. I believe they are all from Fulshear but I may ask him to bring us some pictures from Algeria when he heads back next month. Thanks Dad!

"This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations; I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh." Genesis 9:12-15

*As always, thanks to Kiki for the idea. Now go visit her blog.