Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Power of Positive Words

I said a lot of stupid, ridiculous, mean words yesterday. Some were about people I know. Some where simply in judgement of people I don't know. I am mean! And I should know the power of negative words. I used to work at a church where I was told many negative comments, hurtful lies, and downright mean things about me, my staff, and my plans for the ministry I was leading. Mean words hurt yes, but they also have the power to haunt. I'm not being superstitious or weird, just follow me here. When people hear mean words, the means words stick with them whether they like it or not...whether they were intentional or not. Now, when I try to minister, all the mean words I heard at church flood back into my brain. I am on a constant quest to override them with the new, kind words I'm hearing "we're glad you're here!" "thanks for helping!" I've been convicted recently to fill my mind and mouth with positive words, to build people up instead of tear them down. Life is too short to tear people down. Life is not long enough to build people up. But the most important thing to remember about mean words is that they come from mere, fallen human beings. Load your brain with positive words from God. Know that you are loved by Him and nothing you can do can take you from Him. :-) The pastor I grew up listening to says it well: "Make a point to ascribe God's infinite worth to everyone you meet."

Saturday, December 27, 2008


This year Christmas was I would say busy, but it wasn't stressful busy, just active. We started out with our annual ski trip up north (year 8, trip 7) with our family friends. Our family friends are basically like relatives to us since our relatives and their relatives all live out of town. This year we survived winter storm Ernie. They started naming their snow storms up north and we're not sure why, but it keeps life interesting. Up north we skiied, had "Christmas" dinner of steak, ate pizza at Sven and Ole's, watched movies, and played games. My sister-in-law and I also made snow angels! Fun! The snow was very fluffy...kind of hard to ski in a foot of that. We had some great falls. We drove home on Christmas Eve and I went to church to help out with the kids for two services and attend one. Christmas is a fun time to help with children's church because the kids are so excited and in awe of everything. Christmas morning we opened presents (I slept in until 11). My dad (the bestower of terabit hard drives, digital cameras, and anything technical) bought me pink soakers for my ice skates! He had looked at them with me the other week and I was surprised he not only remembered but bought something that doesn't require a battery or wires! Way to go dad! Then my little brother and I went and saw "Valkyrie" with our family friends at the movie theater. I've never been to the movie theater on Christmas and was surprised how busy (ie. sold out) it was! After that, we had ham for dinner and then I made my family play the "Ticket to Ride" game I got for Christmas (which they all loved!!!). I had played it with friends in Ireland...definently a great game! Yesterday was coffee dates with long lost friends and today is a day to finally relax...maybe. :-) I'm so thankful for my family and friends and especially GOD!!!

Playing "Ticket to Ride" in Ireland with Stacey, Jon, and Erin

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Holy Discontent

These lyrics frequently come to my mind:

One Pure and Holy Passion - Passion

Give me one pure and holy passion
Give me one magnificent obsession
Give me one glorious ambition for my life
To know and follow hard after You

To know and follow hard after you
To grow as your dicsiple in your truth
This world is empty, pale, and poor
Compared to knowing you, my Lord
Lead me on and I will run after you
Lead me on and I will run after you

I've been thinking lately about "holy discontent". I heard this phrase at a conference some time ago. A holy discontent is something that you are so passionate about, it almost makes me angry. It is such a strong urge that it drives you to action. You HAVE to do something. You can not sit by and watch any more. This song reminds me to keep that holy discontent God centered. There's no use in having a holy discontent about anything else.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I have always loved the word "Hosanna". For some reason, there is so much power and grace behind it. defines 'hosanna' this way:

 /hoʊˈzænə/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [hoh-zan-uh] Show IPA Pronunciation interjection, noun, plural -nas, verb, -naed, -na⋅ing.
1. (an exclamation, originally an appeal to God for deliverance, used in praise of God or Christ.) -noun
2. a cry of “hosanna.”
3. a shout of praise or adoration; an acclamation.–verb (used with object)
4. to praise, applaud, etc.: The critics hosannaed his new play.
Origin: < LL (h)ōsanna < Gk ōsanná < Heb hōsh(i) ʿāh nnā save, we pray; r. ME, OE osanna < LL, as above

I love that it is a shout of crying out for a savior and also a shout of praise. They go hand in hand and the single word seems to capture it all: joy, elation, despair, panic, rescue, and safe-keeping. I love songs that use the word. Recently, our church has been singing "Hosanna" by Hillsong United. I love the bridge, I think it is a powerful prayer:

Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like You have loved me
Break my heart for what breaks Yours
Everything I am for Your Kingdom's cause
As I walk from earth into eternity
-from Hosanna by Hillsong United

Powerful Parables

Parables are interesting things. Jesus tells many of them in the Bible. These stories can be seen as merely stories, but are meant to be powerful tools Jesus uses to teach us about God. There are messages in these parables. Frequently, scholars agree on one or two messages one should deduce from these stories. Recently, I've been thinking about the ability of Parables to function as a rorschach test of sorts. God does not change. His love for us does not change. But our minds ability to think and comprehend changes, our life circumstances change, and our view of God changes. Some days I read the Parable of the Lost Son and I'm the brother who takes his inheritance and runs. Other days, though, I'm the brother who stays at home, angry when the father throws the disobedient brother a lavish party. Either way, God shows me something I need to learn right now. Parables are powerful because in the same message, they can teach different people different things at different times. Wow...God is so powerful.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Tonight was my first night of ice skating lessons. I'm super excited about the lessons and am enjoying it thoroughly. I joined mostly to get exercise and become a better skater. My teacher helped me learn some new skills to work on and congratulated me for passing a few of them already! (I'm already to a Beta level). After my lessons were over and I was back at home on my couch I realized: My legs are in pain! My fingers are in pain (I scraped some skin off pulling my laces tight)! And it got me to thinking...I'm rather excited about this pain! Yes, it hurts (I hope I can walk tomorrow), but its good. I know I am working my muscles and my body is getting stronger. It hurts, but its worth it.

It a lot like life...there is a lot of pain in life. Most of it is good in the end because it shows that we are "working our muscles", that we are growing (maybe spiritually, emotionally, socially, etc). Where there is physical pain, physical growth or strength often follows. The bad (fat) goes away and reveals a stronger, healthier body. In life, when there is pain, bad stuff is often released to reveal a stronger, healthier life.

Now, sometimes physical pain is due to a poor move...slipping and falling may cause you to break your arm (which is painful) but that pain doesn't help you is due to you doing something wrong. Sometimes pain in our life is because we aren't following God. We have turned away and because of that are experiencing pain. When we turn back to God, our pain may go away or become the first type of pain I talked about.

We have been conditioned to think that pain is bad, but that is not always the case. Pain can be good. Thank you, God, for pain!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Adventures in Ice Skating

Its been a while since I posted, so I thought I'd post SOMETHING. I've started a new skating. I've loved ice skating since I was a little girl and took lessons when I was little. My friend's eight-year-old daughter started taking lessons a few months ago and has quickly excelled at the sport. Inspired, I went to a few open skating sessions with her and loved it. Now, I have my very own pair of ice skates (the hockey guys at Straus helped me find some good used ones and even sharpened them for me :-) ) and start lessons next Tuesday! I am trying to convince my friend Kari to sign up with me. We'll be spinning and skating and triple luting before you know it!!! Olympics here we come :-)

Oh! That reminds me: my friend and I decided we will be attending the 2012 Olympics in London!!!!! I'm so excited!!!!