Hello. Welcome.

I'm a very determined kind of individual. Sometimes my determination is misplaced and things get very ugly. But, sometimes my determination leads to laughter, deep thoughts, and words on paper.

I write everything. I'm not very good at filtering ... so you will see it all. Maybe there will be a little inspiration for someone else along the way. I hope so. My sister also likes to guest blog and I'm sure you will appreciate her wit and wisdom.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

ohh...sigh, C.S. Lewis and Poland

I'm back at JP's. Kind of ironic... but not really because this is the only place where I can get the internet, unless we can get a signal from our phantom neighbor with wireless. Well, this is the chunk of my day where I break to do something other than plan for Poland. I started to dig into "The Weight of Glory" once again and Lewis has me spinning cobwebs in my brain trying to figure out how he comes up with and accomplishes any argument he attempts. I realize I attribute the highest praise to this man, and that there are undoubtedly arguments where his thinking and philosophy is flawed, as would only be expected. Still, his mind just amazes me.

Okay, I'll just try to flesh out one of the ideas he puts forth, because I should write something down for my own sake of de-briefing. I'll just start with the first page where he makes a comparison. He says that if you ask modern Christians what the highest virtue is they would respond: Unselfishness. Of course, modern is late 1940s when this book was compiled, but I have to admit that I find myself in that camp. When I think of the most desirous of traits I would say to think less of myself...

But, Lewis goes on to say if you would ask Christians of old the same question they would reply with: Love. He explains the significance of going from this, a positive term, to unselfishness, a negative term. Unselfishness suggests that instead of "securing good things for others," we should "go without them ourselves, as if our abstinence and not their happiness was the important point."

This led me to then think how entirely self-defeating this pursuit of unselfishness is, because (if indeed it is my own abstinence of good things I desire) I am more selfish than most in pursuing it, under the guise of Christian servanthood. What a heart check this requires!

How can I possibly recount the pages following? On the glory of God, His reflection in creation, our being purely spiritual or purely secular beings, our role in war and peacetime. I'll have to choose another to expand on, I am currently reading his chapter on "Why I am not a Pacifist." Quite fascinating, once I get past his explanation of the philosophical and rhetorical technique he uses in arguing his case (although this, too is interesting!). The duty of war, ironically, was as imminent and controversial then as it is now. And, with a brother signing on weeks ago to the National Guard, I feel a more pressing need to sort my own feelings on the matter.

As I read the chapter, he laid the foundation for his argument by defining conscience and reason. Conscience, he said, is "in the (a) sense, the thing that moves us to do right, has absolute authority and in the (b) sense, our judgement as to what is right, is a mixture of inarguable intuitions and highly arguable processes of reasoning or of submission to authority." Hmm

And, almost mid-thought I have decided that I should skip the rest of this delightful discussion and give an update on Poland. Hopefully, you (extremely ambiguous and probably better that way) will continue to think on this, while I bring anyone wondering up-to-date on my nearing departure for Cracow, Poland.

I'm leaving on Wednesday, August 2 at night and will fly out of Chicago to Cracow. Just like that - it's still hard for me to believe that I'll get on a flight in comfortable surroundings and get off in a distinctly different continent, culture, and climate. Feel free at any time to throw up prayers as you read this! August 3 will be devoted to getting to know my team, from across the midwest and honing our game plan for the week. We'll start the English camp, which will be held at a retreat facility of sorts. Email me if you want to visit the site, not that you could understand the Polish, but I found the pictures interesting! Once the campers arrive we will be living with the 24/7. We will eat, play, learn/teach, and spend free time with them.

This will be an interesting and exciting change to my somewhat dull social agenda involving 2 other people - at most. We will begin the day with team prayer and worship, breakfast, and then start our English Reading Time, which is a Bible Study we have prepared for our groups. After that, we lead English classes, break for lunch, enjoy a few hours of free time before we have another bible study. We also have a conversation time in the evening, to help their English practicing and then later in the evening we have a time of singing, sharing, and possibly a church gathering of sorts. Apparently, the directors said to plan on a couple hours of sleep all week because Polish people are NIGHT OWLS. Hopefully I can find all those reasons for staying up into the night that most college students rely on... (insert prayer here).

So, that's our daily schedule. I am anticipating the trip more than I am scared or nervous, but that's probably because of my ignorance. Trust me - if I knew what to worry about I would be frenzied. Right now, I'm more in need of motivation to start packing. I have to pack for Poland and Chicago, as I will be studying there in the fall and I have a span of 7 days when I get back and I DON'T want to spend it packing.

Well, this is enough from me. And my work is calling. Keep praying - the Lord is good ALL the time.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

holland on a thursday

I'm sitting in a coffeeshop in Main Street Holland, where street performers, walkers, consumers, and just about anyone comes to enjoy the summer night air. I just got back from a stellar weekend with family in Iowa. A little north of my roots, but the weekend on the lake did far more good than I expected. There's something about being around people who love so intensely.

Well, I took it to the max with kayaking, boating, tubing, wakeboarding, waverunning, biking, walking, you NAME IT. I didn't want to stop because it was all my built up hunger for the outdoors at once. Well, it wasn't so cool when I got a cold, bruises, and cramps from my over-exertion but I could tell you it was certainly worth it!:)

I'm chipping away at my English lessons for the upcoming Poland mission trip. Ever so slowly, but my anticipation is building! The closer it gets the stronger my prayer becomes "Lord, whatever brings you glory!"

I'm reading two books right now - Thr3e by Ted Dekker and The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis. Both are hitting me in different ways. I can't get through Dekker's fast enough - you know how novels go. But, that Clive Staples. I wish I could just sit next to him for a bit. I think wisdom would just seep out from his suit with the lingering smell of cigar and paper. I guess I'll have to write about both of those later, because right now what'sw on my mind is 2 Samuel.
I've been working my way through the Old Testament and am unmistakably aware of God's providence in giving us His Word completely - Old and New both.

I was talking to my mom about 2 Samuel 7 and she immediately volunteered me to share it with the fam at our own little church service last Sunday. I told her the day before that I could have a 3 or 5 part sermon on it, but she said 5 minutes, so I know I fell dreadfully short of doing the passage justice. God promised David that He will always be with him and his name will be great. God promised to always have a place for David's people and rest from oppression. He also promised to establish a house for David, raising up his offspring and establishing his kingdom. He promised to never take away his love.... and there's so much more! Read it in vs. 1-16.

The promises are amazing, almost absurd as David's reply shows. God would make such promises to a man?

David says WHO AM I, LORD? and what is my family? He wonders out loud why God would choose him to speak to in such an unusual and intimate way.
The verses that follow show David's gratefulness for these promises and his desire to turn it around So that the Lord would be glorified by blessing David's house.

Isn't that our task? To take these absolutely (absurd, really)amazing blessings and turn them back to God so that His name would be great and praised all over the earth. Bless the Lord! David gives God all the praise in verse 22. To GOD be the glory, for David knows that it is nothing he has done, but out of grace that God has chosen.

David gives us an example of how we are to know and believe God's promises. How are we to live into the promises in the Word if we do not know them? A missionary once said - go ahead and challenge God to fulfill his promises! He wants to bless his children as he promised, but do we not need to know what they are and have bold faith, then that He IS faithful?

Inheritance - oh how great and undeserved David's inheritance. Did he live to see the temple built? No, but his family and offspring lived on and Solomon brought the Lord's promise to light and David basked in the Lord's eternal glory in the most brilliant inheritance of all.

And praise God for his grace to include us, even today in such a bright, undeserved inheritance! We are part of that kingdom that lasts forever!

And who am I? I am a brilliant star glittering only in the reflection of a most brilliant Sun.

Praise the Lord. Bless His Name.

Friday, July 07, 2006


I feel as though my summer has only started, but one look at a calendar says it all - it's over half way done!

I haven't written in awhile, so I'll first write of my mom's visit. It was wonderful - from beginning to end. We read books and sat on the deck, drank summer drinks like lemonade and raspberry tea, went out to eat, my mom and sister-in-law SURPRISED me at Ruby's and were wonderful customers!, we went to the beach for a sunset, went on many walks, and I went through a pile that much needed some mom-attention (it included things like loan consolidation papers, next semester plans, internships, newspapers from the National Arabic Festival...). Of course all these things accompanied an abundance of stories from yours truly - a trait I sometimes regret.

Something I have realized about my mom is that try as I might to be drastically different, we think in the same rhymes. The things that frustrate me about myself, well, I can see her getting frustrated over the same. I guess it's good to know that someone can be so understanding - God surely planned that.

Well, on to our next visitors, merely days apart from each other, but just as welcome! My grandparents were here last weekend and over the 4th. I had anticipated their coming for so, so long! Despite my resentment at having to work on Saturday, God proved that He is good and I was blessed in 3 ways that night: 1. a beautiful family with two sons of the best manners I have ever seen - I made sure to compliment them and they just beamed. .. 2. a family who was wonderful and complimented me on my waitressing skills, and then we started talking and their boys actually went to a lacrosse camp at Northwestern in Evanston and my friend Chelsea was their coach! smile and 3. my grandparents came right to the restaurant from Iowa, fresh off the road and walked in to find their granddaughter positively beaming with love!

We had a most delightful time! Sunday morning we got to eat out at the Curragh, the local Irish pub (except for Sundays when Holland doesn't allow them to sell liquor) that puts on a traditional Irish breakfast every Sunday, complete with live music. The music was wonderful and our conversation great. Gramps went right to work with Sam, deconstructing some ill carpentry job in the garage, while Gram and I tended to flowers, took walks and read books. On Monday we decided to go the beach, just here and I, but we happened upon a fireworks show...so the rest of the fam came and we all enjoyed the display, which is by far the closest I've ever been to fireworks. At times I thought they would fall into my lap.

I took Gram to Windmill Island, which came highly recommended by the mum. I felt like less of a tourist, it being my second time in weeks, and wondered if the people recognized me.:) Then on Tuesday afternoon we took a newly acquired canoe and headed to a lake for fishing and relaxing.

I had to work Tuesday night, so I had to fend off the bitter bug that was creeping toward the end of my shift. The day had been so wonderful, and then, 5 minutes before I was supposed to get cut, someone sat a family in my section, which meant another 30-40 minutes. I guess I realized the real point of anger. I tried to keep up my attitude, but inside I was just mad. But what is being mad if no one knows about it? Right, I mean think of a time when you were really mad about something. But if you don't tell anyone then what's the point of being mad - no one can give you a reaction and my silent anger was never going to reach the person who sat me, so I gave up.

I, of course, relayed this to my grandparents who laughed and said much wiser things.

Skipping to the present, last night I had my first wine and cheese. Well, I guess I've had wine before, but it's never been pleasant, or tasty, or anything that I expected it to be when I thought I would someday be "one of those types who just has a glass of wine with dinner." I never thought I wouldn't actually like the taste. And, of course, to acquire the taste, you have to actually drink it often, which doesn't fit into my budget or taste. So, back to last night. I was meeting up with a friend I hadn't seen in awhile and she had wine and cheese set out .. and this was the cheese that comes in the waxy cover. Well, it was Merlot and I didn't enjoy it again, but I pretended and finished the glass she poured me with a slice of cheese.
I'm going to have to work on something that seems just as elegant without tasting so bitter.

just a list of randoms:
-I'm going to start a book list, so I can try to keep track of all the books I've read and how good they've been...don't know how soon this will happen.
-I love biking. love it. I biked about 10 miles a couple days ago and it was so great - especially by the water. but I don't think you get respect as a biker unless you have tight clothes and a helmet. My friend says I need a road bike with special pedals, but I just say it's the attire.
-Family reunion next weekend and I CAN'T HARDLY WAIT!! Of all the memories of my childhood, family reunions hit top and always bring smiles.
-The farmer's market here in Holland rivals one of my favorite things about summer. I go every Saturday and took gram and gramps on Wednesday. All the people, vendors, freshness, and the street performers - I want to see and buy everything every time... especially because blueberries and raspberries are ripe!
-I'm trying to grasp that I am a senior in college. Everyone who's been there says, "It only gets better... " With a sigh that makes me think graduation can stall for awhile.
-POLAND...It's getting closer and I'm starting to work on my English lessons. I will need so much prayer for this trip!

I guess that's all for now.