Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Conversation with a 5 year old

There is a very precious and precocious five year old girl in my life, and for privacy purposes I'll call her Connie*. Connie has an equally precious 10 year old brother named Jonathan*. Last night I was with Connie and Jonathan, and the following conversation ensued.

Connie-- How many babies do you have?
Ann-- I don't have any babies. I don't even have a husband yet!
Connie-- Oh really?!? Why???
Ann-- (flustered and laughing) Well I don't know...
Connie-- Is it because you're waiting to find a handsome, wonderful man?
Ann-- Yes! That's exactly right.
Connie-- Well how about Jonathan?!? He's a nice gentleman!

At that point I was about to fall over laughing. Poor Jonathan was probably embarrassed beyond belief. But hey, she's right. Her big brother is a pretty swell guy. Darn that 15 year age difference. :)

Monday, October 29, 2007

My Story

For the past month or so, our small group from church has been using Sunday nights to tell our stories. Those denominationalists might call it giving testimonies. :) Anyway, last night was my turn.

It's kind of a strange thing to have a captive audience listen to you tell about your entire life, birth to present. The only way in which it can work is within a supportive group who truly cares about you. All those who've already told their stories have shown incredible vulnerability and openness, and God has really been glorified through their triumphs and struggles.

So last night was my turn! Even if you've just read the blog over the past few years, you know that my life has had some ups and downs. It was difficult to remember and recount many hard memories, but also very healing and therapeutic to see how God has provided and worked throughout my entire life. The best part of all is that I'm so excited to see what lies ahead. :)

In case I haven't mentioned it, I'm so grateful to be surrounded by such an amazing cloud of witnesses who cheer me on and encourage me to follow the vision and paths God's put before me. Many thanks to all of you who have been part of my story.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Race for the Cure

Team Nickerson! Mr. and Mrs. Nickerson, me, Pete, Amy, Jen

Well we did it! Saturday I got up long before dawn and my buddies and I made our way downtown to Race for the Cure, although I called mine "Walk for the Cure", because I sure wasn't racing anybody. :) I was ok with my time, averaging a little over 15 minutes a mile. I was at about 13 or 14 before I got sick, so I'm alright with that. My friends really rocked it; both Pete and Amy beat their goals. We had fun, and I'm glad I went. I'm hoping I can be much more participatory and competitive the next time I'm in a 5k.

Finish line! (that is not any of our times, by the way)

Then last night was quite a treat. My beloved Bible class from church wanted to go out to dinner to celebrate my new job (oh, I haven't mentioned that yet, have I? heehee...). I got to choose the place, so we went to Cracker Barrel. I have been craving southern cooking!!! I am so blessed by such an amazing Christian community. These guys have cheered for me and encouraged me and believed in me when I didn't believe in myself. And now they're so sweet to celebrate with me. :) God is good!

Sherry and Bob, two of the most servant hearted people you'll ever meet

Me, Auvrey, Kris

Tiffany, Amy, Rebecca

Tara and Ryan (in the baby rocking chair)

My cup is truly overflowing right now. God has been so gracious to me throughout my life, but especially now I feel just overwhelming gratitude. I believe I'm in a "daytime" of life-- when things are good and peaceful. I've been through enough storms to know that life was not meant to stay perpetually in times like this, but I've also learned to praise God and relish them.

Hold on love, don’t give up
Don’t close your eyes
The light is breaking through the night

Step out into the day, all the clouds and all the rain are gone
It’s over now
Step out into the sun, for you have only begun to know
What it’s all about
As the hungering dark gives way to the dawn, my love
It’s over now
--Bebo Norman

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sleep In For the Cure

I mentioned a while back that I signed up to be in the Race for the Cure 5k, which has so stealthly snuck up on me and is this weekend. I know that I'm not going to have the performance I desired, mostly because I have had a nasty chest cold for almost two and a half weeks. I feel much better, but my chest is still congestested and I'm wheezy coughy. So I will be walking rather than jogging. But hey, I'll still be out there. And I won't count this on my list of 101 goals, because I do have the goal to jog a 5k.

However, as I perused the Susan G. Komen website, I noticed there is an option for "Sleeping In For the Cure." Why wasn't I aware of this from the beginning? What a fabulous idea to show support and solidarity! :) Heehee... helping a great cause and sleeping in -- all at the same time! I like it. :)

So, since my wonderful friends are running the race while I wheeze along walking, I am looking for someone to walk with me! Send me an email at my first name (dot) my last name at gmail or leave a message in the comments if you'd like to join. Registration is $25 and can be done online here.

Then, on Sunday, a great medical missions organization called Predisan is hosting a "Walk for Honduras" to help build desperately needed medical facilities in Honduras. It will take place at my dear alma mater, Oklahoma Christian University, and registration includes lunch and a t-shirt. After lunch we'll walk around campus, then it's over! This is a great organizaiton that has done amazing work in the name of Christ, and if you feel called to, go on to the website and register or donate.

So, it'll be a busy weekend. :) Let me know if you want to join me for Race for the Cure!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sunday... hallelujah!

Nothing’s sacred, the days are cheap
Truth is thin on the ground
Still our prophets are crucified
Nobody believes we’re stumbling
It’s Friday, but Sunday is coming

Someone’s saying a prayer tonight
For hungry mouths to be filled
Someone kneels in the dark somewhere
And darkness is already crumbling
It’s Friday, but Sunday comes...

Sunday... Hallelujah!!!
It’s not so far, not so far away

Broken promises, weary hearts
But one promise remains--
Crucified, he will come again
It’s Friday, but Sunday is coming

Sunday... Hallelujah!!!
It’s not so far, not so far away


I love Sundays!!! And although this is not my favorite song, it is still the one that runs through my head as I happily think about Sunday. I know that's not exactly the point of the song (not really at all, actually), but I feel like God has brought me from Friday to Sunday in several areas of life, and as cheesey as it sounds, my heart really does sing that... "Sunday, hallelujah!!!!"

Here is an excerpt from an interview with songwriter John Ellis--

This song was originally titled “Friday (But Sunday Is Coming),” from the title of the well-known sermon and book by Tony Campolo. Its verses deal with the dark realities of our world, where the Friday of Jesus’ crucifixion acts as a metaphor for our experiences of those realities. As the Gospel stories clearly show, Friday happens, but Sunday is inevitable. Sunday is the resurrection, the day when all our meager hopes and wildest dreams come true, the day we as believers look forward to despite our present condition. This is a “hang in there” song; Sunday is not so far away!

If nothing else, I pray God fills you with hope for Sunday, and if you're in a Sunday phase of your heart, that you have a song to glorify Him for His faithfulness.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

I am accomplished!

In case you haven't yet questioned your productivity and/or value to civilization, here's a website that can help-- Things Other People Accomplished When They Were Your Age.

At age 25:

The future mythologist Joseph Campbell decided to move to Woodstock to read the classics for five years, nine hours a day. Living on very little, he would make himself readily available as a dinner guest.

I do live on very little. So maybe I'm close to achieving this.

Orson Welles coscripted, directed, and starred in Citizen Kane.

Hmm... I've kept a blog for three years. I suppose I could turn it into a screenplay then star in it. I'll start on that.

By this age, Charles Chaplin had appeared in 35 films.

I think I'm going to appear in the background footage of a Dennis Jernigan special OETA filmed at the last praise night.

P. T. Barnum bought a "160-year-old" slave woman and began a career in show business.

I have no slave women, but think I do know enough odd people to start a freak show.

Janis Joplin made her first recording, "Cheap Thrills," which grossed over a million dollars within a few months.

Charles Lindbergh became the first person to fly alone across the Atlantic, thus winning a $25,000 prize.

Fayette, N.Y. farmhand Joseph Smith founded the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He claimed he translated the Book of Mormon from some golden tablets revealed to him by the angel Moroni.

Hmm... note to self... keep eye open for gold tablets.

Bavarian painter Aloys Senefelder invented the lithograph.

French engineer Benoit Fourneyron invented the first waterwheel turbine.

Activist Mollie Steimer became the first person to be deported from both the United States and the Soviet Union.

Heehee, I have yet to be deported from any country!

Physician Roger Bannister broke the four minute mile. As he collapsed unconscious into the arms of his trainer, the loudspeaker announced, "The time was three..." The uproar of the fans drowned out the rest of the announcement.

I have a feeling that I've missed the boat on cracking any four minute miles.

But I do think I have accomplished quite a bit!

Ann at 25-

I have lived on 3 continents.

I have studied 5 languages.

I have survived 3 major surgeries.

I have translated 2 books of the Bible from Hebrew to English.

I can juggle.

I have stood up for what I believe in.

I have accumulated the best group of friends in the whole wide world.

I'm proud of myself! Orson Wells doesn't have anything on me. ;) What have you accomplished that you're proud of???

Thursday, October 04, 2007

My Chains Are Gone

Lately I have found myself really enamored with Chris Tomlin's music. It's a little strange, because for some reason he doesn't strike me as my "type." But he has some seriously good songs and great praise music. I feel like my theme song these days could very well be "How Can I Keep From Singing", because as I have mentioned, I feel like God has filled my cup to overflowing and I am incredibly grateful. His current single is called "Amazing Grace/My Chains are Gone", and is basically Amazing Grace, but with an extra bridge/chorus thrown in:

My chains are gone; I've been set free.
My God, my Savior has ransomed me.
And like a flood, His mercy reigns--
Unending love, amazing grace.

I think it's beautiful. You know those awful shirts marketed to the true and dedicated Christians committed to evangelizing via over-priced clothing? I saw one that was actually kind of poignant, save for the dangling preposition. It simply said, "I am the wretch the song refers to."* It's true, isn't it? We've all been set free from the chains of sin and death through the amazing grace of Christ.

I love the complexity and depth of Derek Webb, (old school) Chris Rice and others, but I also love a simple and beautiful song of praise, too. I highly suggest Chris Tomlin. To hear the songs I mentioned in this post, you can go to Chris Tomlin's myspace page.

*Or, "I am the wretch to which the song refers" :)

Free Burma

Free Burma!

I've been keeping my eye on the protests in Burma for several weeks now, and actually almost blogged about it earlier this week. But then as providence would have it, today is the international blogging for Burma day. It seems like a very small and trivial thing to do, but it is something, I suppose.

One of my all time favorite U2 songs, Walk On, is actually written and dedicated to Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the democratic movement in Burma who has been under house arrest as a political prisoner for almost 20 years. The song captures the difficulty and power of love and dedication in the face of overwhelming odds. It could speak to many people who press on day to day for the cause of justice. These people inspire me to stand up for what is right, even if you stand alone.
And love is not the easy thing
The only baggage you can bring
Is all that you can't leave behind

And if the darkness is to keep us apart
And if the daylight feels like it's a long way off
And if your glass heart should crack
And for a second you turn back
Oh no, be strong

Walk on, walk on
What you got they can’t steal it
No they can’t even feel it
Walk on, walk on
Stay safe tonight

You're packing a suitcase for a place none of us has been
A place that has to be believed to be seen
You could have flown away
A singing bird in an open cage
Who will only fly, only fly for freedom

Walk on, walk on
What you've got they can't deny it
Can’t sell it, can’t buy it
Walk on, walk on
Stay safe tonight

And I know it aches, and your heart it breaks
And you can only take so much
Walk on
Walk On, from All that You Can't Leave Behind, U2

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?

Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

And if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.

Isaiah 58:6-10