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.

Friday, January 30, 2009

We Recommend: Six Things You Should Do

Because this has been an exhausting week, I just wanted to make a few recommendations tonight.

1. Listen to Brooke Fraser's new CD Albertine

2. Ask a 7th grader for advice. Today Rebeca came to me very distraught at a family situation... but at the end of our conversation she was preaching a sermon she didn't know I needed to hear. Praise God for the way He works through others to encourage and spur us on!

3. Dance. Yes, it's kind of in my contract... but tonight we had an outreach for students and whenever the gospel song "Lord, You Are Good" comes on, my feet just can't help it. Praising God always reminds me to praise God... it's one circular kind of thinking that I don't mind:)

4. Get phone numbers. Today, I felt like I was in high school again - writing numbers on my hands. But, I'm so excited because I am going to be hanging out with students this weekend.

5. Share your pain. These past two days, I have been open about the pain in my family and my students have been so supportive in prayer.

6. PRAY. Scripture tells us to pray continually... and I know that results are only a bi-product. God wants us to pray continually because that means that we are in communion with Him. There is no better place to be.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

words cannot express

Some of you may now know the specifics of my fervent prayer request yesterday. Bethany and Samuel went in for an ultrasound yesterday and there was no heartbeat. The doctors still don't really know what happened, but they'll know more after the autopsy. For now, Samuel and Bethany will be in the hospital until labor can be induced. My parents were able to drive through the night and arrive this morning to support them in whatever way.

Those of you who prayed today... please know that God is blessing Samuel and Bethany and my family through your prayers. I woke up praying throughout the night and often my prayers ended with "I don't know, God, you finish the rest." And every last petition reached His ears.

Yesterday I posted a passage from Romans 8 and I just want to point out these few verses:
Romans 8: 26-27, "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will."
I truly, firmly believe that the Spirit is interceding with groans words cannot express. I believe that God knows more intimately the pain and brokenness in this situation than I will ever be able to comprehend. I also know that, just as God aches for our pain, He is the same today as He was yesterday, "our Rock and our Shelter" as my brother wrote today.

In the midst of all of this, held up by the prayers of the saints, Samuel and Bethany are trusting "God will be glorified" in some way through Isaac Brenton's short life.

Continue to pray that the joy of the Lord would be their strength, for Bethany's health, for the doctors and nurses, for the next decisions that need to be made, and (per Sam's request) "most of all that God would be glorified."

Again, I believe your prayers - the prayers of the community of believers offered up humbly to our Provider, Maker, Redeemer, and Savior - are received by our God who feels the hurt more than we can imagine.

Keep on keeping on.

Honduran Horizon!

Please keep praying today for my brother and sister-in-law.


I know I used to send out my newsletters at the beginning of the month. That was a good system... until Christmas. Now, I'm finally getting out the January newsletter and I've conveniently decided to change from putting out the newsletters at the beginning of the month to the end. Which, of course, means I'm right on time!

So many highlights in the past couple months that it's hard to share without getting wordy. I will say that coming back here has been a wonderful confirmation of God's calling on my life.

If you want to know more, I guess you'll have to read it! Click here or on the image above to go to my newsletter webpage. Then click January 2009 to download the PDF.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Please pray!

Friends, family, and strangers, please lift up my brother and sister-in-law in your prayers tonight and tomorrow morning. Pray that they will be comforted, encouraged, lifted up, and blessed. After some very tragic news today, my prayer is that they would cry out, "Abba, Father" and know that they can rest in a peace that passes understanding.

A friend shared these passages from Romans 8 with me tonight and if you could just pray through them with me for my brother and sister-in-law.

11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. 12 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation–but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.

17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co‑heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope

21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has?

25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

I pray that they will claim this in Jesus' name in the midst of every hurt and pain and brokenness.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

We cry "Abba, Father"

I just want to praise the Lord for today. Here's a link to the John Piper sermon I listened to this morning, which got me thinking about the greatness of our God. Can you imagine the excitement the disciples had when they discovered that Jesus was the Son of God?

Their excitement, though paramount, was understated because they hadn't yet seen the whole work. And now, we stand on the other side with God's greatness beaming from His redemptive work and my heart cries out, "Abba, Father" (Romans 8) for all the times I forget His greatness.

This week will be blessed. In what ways I haven't the slightest ideas, but our God is One of motion and I know this week He will be moving in our midst, softening hearts, guiding footsteps, and directing conversations.

May He receive all glory and honor and praise!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Thank Goodness It's Friday

First of all WELCOME BACK Christina - you were greatly missed here at foreignheart (I can tell by the page hits!) and even more so just in conversation. We'll have to change that soon!

Today, parents came to pick up report cards, ask all sorts of questions, and some to seek advice. Though I encouraged and counseled and advised with a clear voice of confidence, inwardly I wondered how the parents were listening to someone who could be their child too. I guess it struck me as more humorous than anything else.

I am exhausted after a full day and a trip into the city to watch the end of the girls' soccer game. After the game, some of the students went out to eat with my roommates and me at TGIFridays (I know - of all places, they choose American!). We had so much fun and I kept thinking of ways I could make this happen more often.

It seems like so many obstacles frustrate plans and then we're convinced the complications aren't worth the trouble. I'm the kind of person who throws out crazy ideas until I find a winner... and I just haven't found one that will solve the problem of seeing my students more. We have SUCH an amazing opportunity to support, challenge, and disciple these young people, and all it takes is a little coordination. Unfortunately, I live on a mountain and a lot of my students live up to an hour away and can not drive (nor do I have a car:).

But, aren't these the kinds of things we believe God for... you know, the little things? I have been so blessed and encouraged this week by the staff community here at ALP. A conversation here and there reminds me that we must be faithful with every blessing we are given and God will bless us beyond our imaginations.

Praise the Lord for His provision. In the midst of whatever you are doing right now - give God praise for who He is and you will be blessed!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A week of tears

Hello long-lost friends! Christina here, your long lost other half of the foreign heart team. At least, I hope Caroline still considers me part of the team. I started a new journey about 4 1/2 months ago (quitting my job and getting a new one in youth ministry- ahh!) and it has changed my whole world. My life has turned upside down, and I wouldn't want it to go back. But I do miss you all, and having time to talk to my dear sister every once and awhile...

Anyway- it's been quite a week... kind of not in a good way. I've cried this week more times than I can count. Big, fat crocodile tears in the shower, in a meeting, and driving down the road. It's just been one of those weeks. Started Sat. with some car troubles, but has continued into something that's taken on a life of its own.

Honestly- I can't remember a time that I have felt like this- so hopeless, so despondent, so free of true joy. I was trying to explain it to Tina on Tues. night and after awhile she just said- Christina, nothing you are saying is making sense. Are you sure you're not being attacked? After trying to talk her out of this insane and frankly, offensive accusation for awhile, I realized she was right.

And why not? Why wouldn't satan attack me with accusations of worthlessness, alone-ness, and sadness? Why wouldn't satan whisper to me lies of discontentment, uneasiness, and distrust? Why wouldn't he try and make me ineffective for God's gospel and glory? When things at Valley Church are MOVING, when things are SHAKING up, when EXCITING things are happening, WHY WOULDN'T HE ATTACK THAT?

So I fight. For joy- for time with the Lord- for unity in our team.

Will you fight with me? Will you pray that God would continue to move mightily in Valley Church Student Ministries? Will you pray that satan's attacks on our team would be useless? Would you pray that our staff retreat this weekend will sustain us and give us communication we desperately need? Would you pray that we would come back ready to fight for his kingdom?

Thank you, friends. I love you all.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What can YOU do to help here?

As many of you know, I am in Tegucigalpa, Honduras working at a Christian school. My heart is constantly growing for the kaleidescope of faces and needs. Before my trip to Iowa in December, I was consumed with how God wanted to use me for this time and place. I realized after giving a presentation in church, having coffee with friends, and just hearing from the hearts of some of my most faithful prayer supporters, that I need to think outside what I can do.

I need to ask God what HIS purposes are for this place. I need to ask God how I might connect servant hearts countries away with the very tangible needs I see every day.

So, here are some ways, folks!

Manos Extendidas
Many of you have seen the pictures of the feeding centers or read the stories. This past Saturday, little 7-year-old Kenya would not let me go. She pressed her nose firmly up under my chin, pleading my affection. Kenya always wears a hat. Sometimes its a matted periwinkle and other times she wears a beat up striped number, but hot or cold Kenya wears a hat to cover her chopped, lice-infested hair. Though she is very defensive and ashamed of her hair, she would not stop touching mine. She even offered to look through my hair for lice!

Kenya and the other children in the areas near the feeding centers live in extreme poverty. The feeding center provides very basic education and 2 meals to children sponsored through a special program. In addition, every Saturday the centers invite all the kids in the neighborhood to have a free meal (usually of warm milk and formula mixture), hear a Bible story, sing songs, and play a few games.

How can you support this ministry? Buy coffee! That's right, click HERE to go to the Manos website where you can buy whole bean or ground coffee that directly supports the ministry!

Stewardship of Christian Ministries (Ministerios Cristianos de Mayordomia)
I am working very closely with this organization in the next few months (and hopefully next year). Last November, I attended a conference on social justice and this was one of the sponsoring organizations who work tirelessly to bring the message of the Gospel to the lost and broken while answering Jesus' call to care for orphans, widows, and the distressed. I am going to be working with my friend Sarah (former Pinares teacher and now works for this organization) to coordinate service for my students at this site.

You can support them on their website in many ways, so check it out!

Hogar de Madres Solteras (Refuge for Single Mothers)
This ministry is very dear to my heart. Every Monday, I travel down the road with a group of 11th grade girls to this refuge for single mothers. This past Monday, we were sharing highlights from our Christmas break and one of the mothers (who stands about 6 inches shorter than my 5'1 frame) shared that her daughter Kensi learned how to use the potty! Everything at once seems beautiful and tragic around these young ladies, who need SO much love and guidance as they sort out their lives and care for young ones.

Although I'm not sure if they have a website, these women make jewelry to help support the cost of school, the refuge, and basic supplies. In a recent fundraiser, our school raised money to buy jewelry supplies. If you are interested in buying jewelry, please leave a comment and I will somehow find a way to get their jewelry back to you (it may be as late as July when I go back to the States). They have also made calendars with pictures of the girls and their children. They are around 7 or 8 dollars and the proceeds go to support the refuge.

Okay, so there you have it. There are three ways that you can support some of the things that are pulling on my heart down here.

I know there are more ways, don't worry - this isn't an exhaustive list. I'm still brainstorming about how people can support people directly and how I can make that happen.

Keep on keeping on!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Where does creativity come from?

Today, I stood in front of my class with 12 minutes left in the period and said, "I'm done. You're not interested in this lesson and I'm not going to force you to learn. Here's your homework. It's due tomorrow."

Just as I am feeling the most connected with the students, the most convicted about my call to love them, and the most convinced that the classroom is not a mistake in God's plan for me here.... chaos happens on a Tuesday. So, I'm desperately trying to figure out how to tie this in with one of my posts for this week. Since creative is exactly what I don't feel right now, I thought I would start there.

After my disappointing class and a few other programming glitches, I saw my friend Jose. Jose works on the maintenance crew and is basically an unstoppable bright spot in every day. We always have fun (mostly him teaching me Spanish). But, today as I passed a second time, he stopped me and asked, "Como esta, en serio?" How are you, really? I said a bit sad actually and he said he could tell by the look in my eyes when I said, "Muy bien, y Ud?"

Really, he could tell that I was disappointed with my day? This I'll have to examine! We went on to talk about how God deserves our praise whether rain or sun, good day or bad day. I left that conversation thinking about all the blessings out at the sea I was missing by passing time in my current mud puddle (CS Lewis, anyone?).

So, what does this have to do with creativity? Well, I don't fancy myself an artist, although I try. I paint and dance and sing a little here and there. I believe God gave each of us the desire and passion to create. And, because we are created in the image of God, I also believe that we have an intuitive knack for finding quality creations. I want so badly for things I create to be deemed, "good." Things like lesson plans, poems, dreams of saving the world, adventures, light fixtures, paintings... I want to look at them (and others' to look at them) and say, "Wow. That is good."

Today I realized that if I want to develop my creativity, then I have to focus less on what I consider "good" and more on something entirely different.

Tonight, I asked our Bible study girls this question (in light of our book study on Crazy Love by Francis Chan), "What is the absolute craziest thing you could do to show God you love Him?"

I wonder... if I'm obsessed with showing love to my Creator, would the kind of creativity would develop where I (and others) would look at it and say,

"Wow. God is good."

It's worth a try.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

rumpled blankets, essays, and castles in clouds

I'm swimming in essays, scattered on the rumpled blankets of my bed. We're in the middle of a cloud tonight (when this happens I nearly always think of the Les Miserables song, "Castle on a Cloud") and I'm warming to orange, manzanilla, and green teas as I read through an endless amount of essays. Tomorrow is report card day and I can't begin to express the empathy I now feel for my high school English teacher. The sheer amount of words is enough to scare me off, but throw in another language and I'm wishing the words "This essay is due next week" never left my lips... and I'm a psychology teacher. Imagine doing this every day! Ah!

On the other hand (there always seems to be another hand), the reason the process is taking so long is because I feel as if the students are finally personal. Assign an essay on problem solving and you're sure to read some clever, creative, surprising, and endearing stories that open windows into their lives. I am quite enjoying it!

In the rush of the end of the quarter last week, I have not been able to post, so tonight I want to encourage you with the lyrics of two of Brooke Fraser's songs. I have just recently been listening to her new CD, Albertine, inspired by her trips to Rwanda. The first, Hymn, resonates with my heart's desire to dwell, really dwell in Thee; the Truth and the only Life. The second, C.S. Lewis song (how could I not be drawn to such a title!), reminds me of the temporary nature of this life and how we purpose to live in light of a collective groaning for redemption.

If to distant lands I scatter
If I sail to farthest seas
Would you find and firm and gather 'til I only dwell in Thee?
If I flee from greenest pastures
Would you leave to look for me?
Forfeit glory to come after
'Til I only dwell in Thee

If my heart has one ambition
If my soul one goal to seek
This my solitary vision 'til I only dwell in Thee
That I only dwell in Thee
'Til I only dwell in Thee

C.S. Lewis song
If I find in myself desires nothing in this world can satisfy,
I can only conclude that I was not made for here
If the flesh that I fight is at best only light and momentary,
then of course I'll feel nude when to where I'm destined I'm compared

Speak to me in the light of the dawn
Mercy comes with the morning
I will sigh and with all creation groan
as I wait for hope to come for me

Am I lost or just found? On the straight or on the roundabout of the wrong way?
is this a soul that stirs in me, is it breaking free, wanting to come alive?
Cos my comfort would prefer for me to be numb
An avoid the impending birth of who I was born to become

For we, we are not long here
Our time is but a breath, so we better breathe it
And I, I was made to live, I was made to love, I was made to know you
Hope is coming for me
Hope, He's coming

I hope you are blessed tonight (or morning) as you think on what exactly in your life today has eternal significance. I pray you are seeking the Lord, dwelling in Him, and experiencing the abundant life. My hearts overflows in light of His grace upon grace (John 1).

Here's a taste of this week (I HOPE!):
What can YOU do?
I've had SO many people ask me how they can support the ministries here in Honduras and I'm finally going to do my best to tell you. So, listen close!

Adventures of the Life I Wish I Led
Who knows if I'll write this. Pray that I do for accountability's sake. I really do enjoy writing creatively!

Where does creativity come from?
I guess sometimes I just wonder this myself. The short answer is our Creator. What's the long answer... how do we develop our creativity? What forms might it take? This is what I wonder sometimes.

Exciting updates from HONDURAS

I'm hoping this post includes a new newsletter, but we'll see about that. I know, I know, I'm way behind. But, I also know that you are gracious to let me finish well instead of finish quickly! :)

Vaya Pues!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Last Days

If you feel like you are getting a bit out of touch with the urgency of the Gospel, read some of Joel Rosenberg's books. It will remind you how our lives are but a vapor and this world we live in is going to see very terrible times in the end.

"To misunderstand the nature and threat of evil is to risk being blindsided by it."
This quote from Joel Rosenberg's book, "The Last Days," has spurred a series of reflections. Are we ever called to tolerate evil? When God says in Matthew 5:44 to, "love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you," what exactly did He have in mind... tangibly? I know this may seem a world away, but as I read several books at once (of course!), I know that in the spiritual realm, every battle is connected.

How are we misunderstanding evil in our lives? I really believe that a spiritual battle is being waged, but I wonder what evil I look at and underestimate... that will soon blindside the denial right out of me. I don't think Westerners think enough about the power of God over this evil. Instead we think, "Out of sight, out of mind." The only problem is that ignorance is exactly how Satan quietly gains ground.

I don't think ignorance is bliss. I think ignorance is the misguided calm before the casualty.

sidenote: I went over to Joel Rosenberg's website to check out the man behind the stories and was almost as intrigued by all the news this man is getting as I was with his page-turning fiction.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

God Chose You

There's a little book by A.W. Tozer called the Pursuit of God. Just today, one of my dear Austin friends sent this prayer that refreshed and re-focused my day and I thought it might bless you as well,
O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, that I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, "Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away." Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Tonight a few of us from the ALP staff gathered in the youth room for prayer, praise, and worship. This prayer (though more eloquent) sounds so much like our heart's desire to just want more God. As we come before His throne humbled and broken, my tendency is to feel frustrated by my failure... to be ashamed of my sorry attempts at goodness.

One of my new roommates shares in her testimony about a time when she was on the other side of the world, in a country resistant (if not hostile) to the Gospel, with a mission team. Somehow she found herself deeply bonding with a native speaker with lots of questions. As my friend looked around, she saw every single person on her team more qualified to be in her place - talking, loving, and answering questions. But, she said, God didn't choose them. He chose me.

That part of her story speaks so powerfully to the ministry God has called me (and you) to live out. Though there are those people absolutely suited for a certain task, though you may feel the least equipped, and though you may doubt God's wisdom in placing you there... He never makes mistakes. For such a time as this, God chooses the weak to show His strength.

I'm reminded of the story of Esther, where God didn't choose the most powerful to save the Jewish nation from ruin at the hands of an ignorant king. God chose Esther.

And may God receive all the glory for the times He chooses the weakest, most feeble and miserable creatures to carry out His kingdom work.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Resolution Schmesolution

I don't have anything against a resolution.

Actually, I remember making all sorts of lists around the New Year (why do we capitalize this, or do we?) as I was growing up. Many of them were ambiguous and general, but every once in a while I would challenge myself with something concrete like, "Read 1 book/month" or "work out every day." One year, I even remember making a chart for myself with three columns - Spiritual, Mental, Physical. I made a list under each column of my version of "healthy," laminated the paper, and quickly became obsessed with my weekly track record.

I guess what I am fighting this new year is the temptation to jump on the merry-go-round once more... to dive into bold declarations of "never agains and alwayses."

It is so very easy for me to make a list. I mean, I grew up in 4-H, folks, where we wrote goals with a specific timeline and object in mind (shout out to 4-H!). But, as I'm considering the next year that lay ahead, I realized that I don't want it to be a list of things I've attempted and failed. I don't want to look back next January and, in a new journal, outline how I can "live my best life now" or something horribly cliche.

I think it comes back to what so much of our conversation has been about around here - the question of eternal significance. If I can just resolve to wake up in the morning, breathe in the cool air, and say, "Lord, whatever you would have me do today, let it echo in eternity." If I can resolve to commune throughout the day with my Savior - to check in with petitions, frustrations, rejoices, and laments. If I can resolve to wear down the edges of my hardcover Bible. If I can be ever so resolute in claiming each moment... then maybe I would be less obsessed with timeframe and completion and more in awe of a divine relationship.

What are your thoughts - resolutions or no?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Weekly Lineup

Back again.

The market's bright produce, fresh flowers, and loud bargains was a welcome rush yesterday morning. I meandered among the plantains, peppers, and papayas breathing in the strong smell of hot pupusas and baleadas. I'm back.

I can't figure it out, surely I've tried. But, I can't figure out why I consistently find 'home' in so many places. I left for two weeks - lunched in smalltown diners, shared in my hometown church service, breakfasted with grandparents, celebrated our Savior's birth with family, opened gifts, Christmas caroled to neighbors, road-tripped to the beautiful mountains of Colorado - and now I feel like I'm back instead of the opposite feeling of being 'away.'

Well, however my intercontinental feeling of 'home' works, I'm grateful. And, now that I'm back I know that the Lord has bold plans in the making.

Here's a look into next week here on the blog:

Resolution Schmesolution
Obviously, I have a bit of a grudge against this time of year and its infamous goal-setting. It's so unfortunate that goals come once a year and are fueled by such things as guilt and personal gain. Could there be another option?

Last Days
"To misunderstand the nature and threat of evil is to risk being blindsided by it." This quote from Joel Rosenberg's book, "The Last Days," has spurred a series of reflections. Are we ever called to tolerate evil? When God says in Matthew 5:44 to, "love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you," what exactly did He have in mind... tangibly? I know this may seem a world away, but as I read several books at once (of course!), I know that in the spiritual realm, every battle is connected.

God Chose You
A friend once said in her testimony, "Sure there are countless more qualified and doubtless more effective for your position. But, God didn't choose them. God chose you."

Adventures of the Life I Wish I Led
Okay, so I've realized that these excepts are neither short stories nor do they necessarily follow sequence or even the same story line. But, I enjoy writing the bits and pieces and so I will continue. I still really haven't received any feedback, so I can't determine if I'm horribly embarrassing myself... and in any case I suppose I don't mind. Read if you want, don't if you don't :).

Look out for surprises and grab bags. I am excited to see what this new year brings and also to hear more from you! I know I write this all the time, but I'm serious! I love to hear what you are up to - suggestions, advice, similar stories, and the like.

What have you resolved to do this year?

Friday, January 09, 2009

what I'm listening to...

These three artists could not be more different, but they have each provided something special to the soundtrack of this week.

The Almost. Rosie Thomas. William Fitzsimmons.

Check them out and let me know what you think!

I'm SO excited for the market tomorrow - the first since I returned!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

getting some perspective

"When asking God for guidance in some individual matters, it is a good thing to have as a background some inkling of the larger picture so that we see our own position in that perspective." Elisabeth Elliot

This quote out of "Slow and Certain Light" is so typical for Elliot and it is some of what makes me love her writing so much. One of my friends here said she actually heard Elisabeth Elliot speak once at her college, but she was surprised that Elliot wasn't the most approachable person. I remember reading in one of her books that her husband had to remind her to be friendly when they would have speaking engagements.

After reading several of her books, I'm not that surprised. She definitely lived no-nonsense... and there's an urgency that rises to the surface when someone is unwilling to fiddle with pleasantries and mindless chatter about the weather. I can just see her thinking, "get to the point - who knows how much time we've got?" Maybe that's a harsh exaggeration, I'm not sure, but I can appreciate and understand her advice to force our temporary, earthly eyes to see a matter in light of the greater, eternal landscape.

"Men are never duly touched and impressed with a conviction of their insignificance, until they have contrasted themselves with the majesty of God." R.C. Sproul
Going back to my literary adventure with one of my favorite novels, The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky, and how it got me thinking about significance. I am such a small, small piece of what God has made. If I always mentally pictured myself in contrast with the majesty of God, I can't imagine how effective I might be as a servant.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

crazy love

This is one picture I can't bear to pass up. I got to spend some sweet time with Myla Paige over break... and also her mom (my best friend from college) and pop. Holding that sweet, darling girl, watching her smile and dance... I wondered how God must feel about His children... how much more passionate and intimate He must know us.

For a variety of reasons, I've been hit with conviction upon conviction coming out of break and back into life here. I have kind of promised myself to get "up and running" on a lot of things, including this blog. I am a bit behind in, well, a lot of things and unfortunately jotting down my thoughts is not at the top of my list.

In the meantime, I want to recommend this sweet book by Francis Chan that has left any trace of New Year's resolutions in a sorry heap at the back of my mind. I have been challenged to think about what exactly in this moment is eternally significant. What am I doing that will effect eternity?

i am a dreamer. a long term visionary.

But where does that leave the souls of the people who are searching for light right now?

I desperately want to live a radical life, but at the same time the devil has been so deceptive in claiming small, rationalized pieces of this little life puzzle.

One of the strongest (and yet simplest) realizations has been that my resolve for discipline has absolutely nothing to do with my being a true disciple. If I purpose to run after God as the Ultimate, Only, and Perfect prize, then discipline will naturally follow.

I forget that my willpower is definitely overrated.

Monday, January 05, 2009

after a long hiatus

Who knows... maybe no one was missing this little blog but me. Either way, I'm glad to sense the start of routine... back in my room in my apartment in Honduras, after almost 24 straight hours of travel (and before that several days traveling from Colorado, Iowa, and Michigan)!

I made it and it feels good to be back. I had some time in my traveling to think about the break, read, and think some more and (thanks largely to Franchis Chan's new book Crazy Love) I've come to some sad, drastic conclusions. Forget New Year's resolutions... I'm humbled by each chapter in Crazy Love as I examine my life and the countless times I've chosen lukewarm.

As I think back on my amazing Christmas break with family and friends... and before that to my first semester here, I know I didn't wake up each day with eternity in mind. I'd like to think I do. I wish I did. But the truth is, I don't.

So, these next couple months, I'm going to be purposeful about living as though I BELIEVE God is who He says He is... and that eternity IS always before me. I'm only on Chapter 5, but I'm praying God sparks revolution in my heart.

If that sounded a bit haphazard, it is. I'm still recuperating.

Here are a few pictures from my break.

I'll write more soon - I can't even stand to think how far behind I will be when I get up tomorrow... but that's the way it goes. LOVE YOU ALL!