Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Overflow

This was one of the stories on the CNN International Front Page today. The wife of the former Italian Prime Minister published a letter in the newspaper, demanding that her husband issue her a public apology for degrading and flirtatious remarks made publicly.

A lot of people may look on this whole story and think it's quite trivial and immature of the wife, that she is overreacting or seeking attention. Maybe, or maybe he really hurt her.

It sounds like Mr. Burlusconi made it a habit of saying stupid and careless things, as noted by the other examples of his off hand comments. But I think the "apology" is the kicker-- it's really anything but, in my opinion. An apology that is a pardon of the other person's hurt is not an apology at all.

My friend wrote a post about this idea a few weeks ago, and it's true. I think that so many times we get in trouble by speaking without thinking. I think it's especially troublesome because what we say reflects our true beliefs. Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks, right?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Zeros and Ones

The crazy song from Derek Webb's amazing "Mockingbird" CD, Zeros and Ones, comes back to haunt me today as it is more or less the title of his new album. It's not really a new album, it's a re-release of some of his greatest songs in acoustic versions and an itunes album of remixes of the same songs. I love Derek Webb, I love these songs, and I love acoustic music, so I'm a pretty happy chick today. Rock yourself down to your local retailer who is cool enough to sell Derek Webb and pick up your own copy. Or go to itunes and support the Mac-man. ;) I especially love the version of "Better Than Wine" and "Lover." Well, it's all great.

In other happy news, the interview today went really really well I think. They said they'd call me "in a day or two" to let me know if I made it to the second round of interviews. Keep praying! I really think this'd be a great opportunity!

PS-- If anyone out there DOES understand Zeros and Ones, please share with me. I get it, binary numbers, but what does it mean???

Monday, January 29, 2007

My New Hero

This guy has danced around the world.


Oh yeah! I have a job interview tomorrow for a position I really want. I'll tell you more about it if I get it. :) So please be praying at about 10am tomorrow. ;) Thank you all for the encouragement!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Getting alone

I wish I had something clever to post, but I don't. My mood remains mostly melancholy and right now I'm feeling as though I don't have too much to offer.

Job hunting is draining and makes you feel as though your worth is reduced to what you can fit on a piece of paper and what "marketable skills" you possess, and apparently juggling is not as marketable as I would have hoped. :) I feel like the black hole of employment, because it seems as though all things that have potential come within my gravitational pull and shrivel. Ha, maybe it's not that bad. ;) But it is pretty pitiful. I think I've put my resume into at least 8 places and I haven't heard a peep. Not a peep! Humph. Please pray for a peep. :)

Of course this is all built on the foundation of still feeling crummy about the whole not going back to Brazil thing. I was hoping in choosing not to go back, God would reaffirm my decision with all kinds of things falling perfectly into place, but that has not been the case at all. God and I are becoming re-acquainted, when I didn't even realize we'd drifted apart. If nothing else I'm realizing that I need to take some time to refocus and rededicate myself to God and his service.

The spiritual thought wrapping around me lately is that of getting alone with God. I read My Utmost for His Highest every day, and this is something that Chambers writes about fairly often. I'm a strong believer in the importance of community, but there is a time for growing intimacy with the Father. I don't know how to explain it better than Chambers did in the linked devotional, so check it out. That's what I'm seeking right now.

I'm reading two great books-- What's So Amazing About Grace by Yancey and Irresistible Revolution by Claibourne. They are exactly what I need at this moment of my life, and I highly recommend them to everyone.

In musically happy news, American Idol has restarted and Tuesday I was very pleased with our two gems we found in Memphis. Derek Webb comes out with a CD at the end of the month and Elliott Yamin in March. Today I was reunited with my formerly lost U2 "Atomic Bomb" CD. So at least the world is musically right. :)

And because the blog needs some color, here's a nice random picture of some strange pickles from my mom's sandwich a few weeks ago.

They're looking at us!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Living Courageously

Father, hear the prayer we offer.
Not for ease that prayer shall be,
But for strength that we may ever
Live our lives courageously.
--Love M. Willis
Tomorrow I'm going to the funeral of a classmate of mine from OC, Adam Langford. Adam was serving in Uganda when he and another leader of the Jinja church, Moses Kimezi, were killed in a car accident. You can read about the details at the Chronicle or read the beautiful tribute my friend, Ben, wrote.

One of my current favorite songs is "Waiting on the World to Change" by John Mayer. It talks about the frustrations in being an idealistic youth feeling powerless to change anything. That is certainly a temptation, to throw our hands in the air and bemoan the world generations before have left us with, but there are those who will stand up to be the change. I have been incredibly blessed to be in a community that encourages the strength, compassion, and courage to go into the world to make a difference.

I think that courage is the willingness to sacrifice without thinking of it as such. When I think of my friends who are involved in some of the toughest ministry situations, I know without a doubt that if you thanked them for their sacrifice, they would be quick to say that they don't see it as a sacrifice. It is a joy driven by love and a fulfillment that can only come when living within God's will for your life.

My heart aches for the Langfords, the Kimezis, and the church in Jinja. But already I can see that amidst the weeping there is joy and celebration for these men who lived lives of services and compassion to God's children.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted by not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. -- I Corinthians 4:7-11
For those interested, there is contact information in the Christian Chronicle story on where you can make donations to help the Kimezi and Langford families .

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Five Languages of Worship

My friend Meredith wrote a blog about a lesson she heard from Randy Harris recently. So ok, now I think I've covered all the sourcing and I can't be accused of plagiarism. :) The talk was about the different methods in which people approach worship. As is true with pretty much everything, a lot of people are different from each other in this respect, which leads to division and deeming some methods more "right" or "higher" than others, but the truth is that we must appreciate and respect diversity within the body of Christ.

1) Intellectuals - These are the people who worship God primarily with their minds. They enjoy analyzing the subtleties of Scripture and are usually very familiar with the current canon of Christian literature as well. They feel closest to God during deep, profound conversations or debates. Harris joked that these are the people who "don't want to hear relevant topics addressed at church--they'd just like a real Bible study for once." The biggest danger for an intellectual is that, given the firm grasp of theological concepts that the intellectual usually has, he is prone to wonder why everyone else isn't as "sound" in their doctrine as he is. If they're not careful, intellectuals also tend to be very critical/cynical because they have analyzed every problem there is for everything.

2) Servants - These people worship God primarily by noticing and meeting needs. Servants tend to be very perceptive to how they can help others and are very compassion-motivated. They also tend to be very busy, because there is no shortage of needs out there. Harris jokes that these are the people who are always running around and trying to start up new causes and campaigns at church. Since many of the church's ministries are service-oriented, these people tend to be ministry leaders. The biggest danger to being a servant is the temptation to give into the Elijah complex (which is the "I and I alone am the only one out doing good for you in the world, Lord" syndrome.) They are also often overworked and taken for granted in the church.

3) Relationship-Builders - These people connect best with God by connecting with other people. Relationship-builders usually feel closest to God in a small-group context because that setting allows them to do what that they do best, which is to yack. Relationship-builders are, of course, most skilled at making others feel welcome and pulling people into the group. Relationship-builders are easy to identify because they are the ones who find it quite impossible to walk across the church lobby without carrying on a 45-minute conversation. Many relationship-builders face the challenge of not being good listeners because, as Harris says "they have not been quiet for 5 consecutive minutes in their entire life for fear their head might explode."

4) Contemplatives - These people feel closest to God when they are by themselves, usually in a quiet, meditative setting. The contemplatives lead the church in discipline: they have regular personal prayer time, regularly diagnose their own spiritual health in journals and writing, and thrive in the stillness and quiet. In essence, they are the prayer warriors of the church. They are likely to talk about the ways God has spoken to their heart personally, because they have long practiced the discipline of meditation. They are also the ones who are most likely to talk about how loud and obnoxious church services have gotten these days. The biggest danger they face, of course, is becoming so inwardly-focused that they forget about that whole 'salt and light' thing.

5) Emotives - These are the people who primarily worship God with their emotions. This happens in two main ways: when they feel joy, they worship with their shouts, claps, and dancing; when they are broken, they worship with their tears. They are likely to talk about God "stirring in their hearts." They are more open to the idea of the Spirit working in their lives without having a rational explanation for it. Music is a particularly important element in the worship of the emotives because of the way music speaks to the emotions. Harris joked that, historically, the Church of Christ has done a very good job of scaring off the emotives and being scared of the emotives. The biggest danger the emotives face is assuming that the people who don't jump up and down like like they do must not love Jesus very much.

The important thing to remember is that all of these worship styles are equally scriptural and in fact, are all equally important. A person who is earnestly seeking God will probably find himself connecting to God in all of the above ways at one point or another. If you're having a hard time deciding which category best fits you, maybe you're just a holistic worshipper! Randy encouraged us to identify the 1 or 2 worship styles that come to us most naturally and to focus on developing/cultivating the ones that don't come to us naturally.

Since I'm pretty sure most of my audience is consisted of my loved ones, I'd like to hear which styles you identify with. So comment, people! I mean, please feel free to leave your thoughts. :) I'll even start!

Thursday, January 18, 2007


This old heart's been left out on my sleeve
And I have paid as it's been rent into pieces
Seems everyone I've loved has taken a bit of my insides
I'm scattered as the woman whose body was torn for the twelve tribes

When did my heart get so petrified?
When did it get so hard to feel?
When did my heart get so afraid to love?
When did it get so hard?

And the easy-living Gnostic proud use their knowledge
Like a wrecking ball to tear me down
Flooding me with their fallacies
I can't walk on this water
I'm starting to drown

When did my heart get so petrified?
When did it get so hard to feel?
When did my heart get so afraid to love?
When did it get so hard?

Strike this rock with your rod, I'll take the blow
Till your living water begins to flow
As it flowed from the man of sorrow's side
On that day when his body was torn for the twelve tribes

When did my heart get so petrified?
When did it get so hard to feel?
When did my heart get so afraid to love?
When did it get so hard?

--Petrified Heart, Caedmon's Call

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Sharing Joy

It seems like lately I've been focusing on sad things, but today, thanks to blogdom, I was able to share in the joy of several of my friends. So I'm going to pass it along in case you need a little pick me up, too. :)

First is an update on Baby Ben, who was featured in a full spread, 17 picture layout on his daddy's blog. The pictures were beautiful, and when I got to this one, with his eyes open, it literally took my breath away. This little baby is proving to a miracle more each day. Praise God for his immeasurable grace!

Then to continue in the baby theme, I saw today that my sweet little baby friend (who I still haven't gotten to meet outside the womb), Sophie, is starting to walk! Isn't she a beautiful girl??? Congratulations Sophie and Mama Rox!

A blog that made me jealous e ficar com forte saudades, but also gave me a huge grin and a lot of laughs, my friend Pamela the Canadian posted about her recent month long visit from one of our dear friends from Itu. I love this picture of the little Brasilcicle.

And look at this happy reunion. How can you not be happy looking at those faces???

That one definitely puts some pangs in my heart, but also reminds me of the great bonds of friendship that can easily stretch continents. :)

Hope something on here made you happy, too!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Hard decision

This is a letter I sent today to my closest friends in Brazil. It is the hardest thing I've ever written (and I don't mean the Portuguese, although I think it's the first time I've posted in Portugese on the blog).

Ola, meus amados amigos,

Eu espero que esse ano novo seja bom pra vocês, e vai continuar a ser otimo.

Eu falei com vocês sobre a possibilidade de eu poder morar no Brasil. Eu tenho orado muito e tenho pedido conselhos dos meus amigos aqui que me conheçam há muito tempo, e eu acho que é melhor pra mim ficar nos EEUU agora. Com certeza eu vou voltar a visitar o Brasil.

Meu carinho e meu amor para meus amigos e a igreja, e a cultura brasileira não mudavam nem um pouquinho. Isso é a decisão mais difícil que já tomei na minha vida, e foi tomado com muitas lágrimas. E quem sabe a futura. Eu tenho muito tempo ainda pra morar no Brasil. Brasil está no meu sangue agora. :)

Eu acredito que isso é a vontade de Deus pra mim agora. Eu amo vocês com todo meu coração. Eu espero que vocês orem pra mim e me apoiem nesta decisão, e estou orando que todos vcs podem achar a vontade de Deus pra suas vidas, também.

Com todo amor do meu coração,


Basically it says that I've decided that I'm not moving back to Brazil. When I left I believed that's what would happen, but after a lot of praying and seeking advice I've decided it's not what would be best right now. It is without a doubt the hardest decision I've made, and my heart has completely broken since deciding and now having to tell my dear friends there. I'm dreading the next few days as I receive their responses (or lack thereof). Please pray that they know my heart and my love for them and that they can support me in this. I know they will, but I still feel awful.

I'm living in OKC and looking for a job (waiting to hear on one that I really really want). I'm staying with some wonderful friends and am blessed to be with friends who love and support me. Just wanted to let blog-land know what's going on.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Growing Up

Lately I've been thinking about the nature of growing up and getting older, which are usually related but not necessarily.

In my circle of close friends, the past few years have brought us to many unexpected places and forced us to grow. Health crises, deaths of loved ones, beginning families and watching families dissolve, career struggles, looking for meaning in our lives, and seeking to find God have taken us from what I remember as naively happy days to a more hardened, mature view of the world now.

The phrase that keeps floating around in my head is "loss of innocence". I don't mean that we were once pure and perfect creatures and now we've fallen. More along the lines of a "knowledge of good and evil".

Maturity is a painful process. In that annoyingly omniscient way, God seemed to know that and has tried to prepare us for it. James 1 speaks of this, as does Hebrews 12, but I'll be honest and say that right now I can't claim to be really in tune with those truths.

I heard somewhere once upon a time that adulthood brings it's own joys, but also it's own heartaches. To enjoy the prior, we must endure the latter. Knowing the great circle of life, I'm sure they're all intertwined and one couldn't exist without the other.

Many people who go through this maturation process and come out calloused and bitter. I hope as Christians, my friends and I will hold on to faith in the goodness to be found in our world, to a belief in God's providence , and to each other.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

People I Like

This week I've been very happy to be able to spend time with a lot of people I like.

Sunday I had the huge honor to meet the most handsome boy in the world, Mr. Ben Gatewood. :) Seeing him, Adrienne, and Whit filled my heart with so much love and joy. They are each strong and faithful people that combine to make an amazing family that I know will be such a great force of good in our world.

Adrienne and her baby, Ben (photo from their website)

Then last night I went to see a movie with my long time friend Blake, with whom I have a "love/hate relationship". :) (his words, not mine) We went to see "One Night with the King," a movie somewhat loosely based on the story of Esther in the Bible. I was extremely disappointed, though it was my own fault for expecting anything from it. Try to imagine an ancient, near eastern theological story somehow morphed into something between a Disney movie and a Jane Austen novel. Pretty terrible, but whatever. :) We went to the dollar theater on half price night, so it only cost me 50 cents and two hours of my life. ;)

Then today I got to spend a lovely afternoon with my dear friend Misty. We happened upon a "corral of buffalo", and procured photographic evidence.

George Bush Buffalo

Misty riding a buffalo

Me with the pretty buffalo

Me with the "bling bling" buffalo... and this is my "bling bling" pose... I'm really not very ghetto. :)

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Purge

I've been doing some purging of my life and my stuff, and this has led me to the great clean-out of crap from my school days. I've probably thrown away/recycled a good 50 pounds of papers from high school and college.

I threw away everything that I hadn't thought of since I graduated, which was about 95% of the stuff I had. I kept all my major papers, and everything to do with a few classes and/or projects. I put blood, sweat, and tears into two major projects at OC, one for a linguistics class and one for my senior capstone in the Lang/Lit department. The prior was on words people use to describe ethnicity and the latter was translating the book of Ruth then doing a big paper on the portrayal of Naomi in modern Christianity. I still can't hear the word "Ruth" without getting a little queasy. :) Just kidding.... sort of. ;)

Apparently I tried to write some bad poetry in college, most of which I don't remember at all (probably because I suck as a poet). I believe it was my senior year some was published in our college literary journal, and I was even accepted to read two poems at the national English honors society (Sigma Tau Delta-- STD, heehee) convention (but I declined). Maybe one day I'll post one. The one I still smile about is called "The Curse of Eve". I think I was feeling some bitterness towards men when I wrote that one. :) Hahaha... oh the memories.

I cheerfully threw away a lot of notes I took, but some classes had great notes, and I'd like to give them props now-- Oklahoma History with Prof. Thompson, American History since 1887 with Prof. McCook, Christian Evidences with Prof. Baird, and Women in Missions with Prof. Hartman. There are others I kept, but those especially were thorough and good. So if you need to know anything on any of those subjects, I'm your girl.

It's good to go back and remember that stuff, but it's also good to clean out your life. Starting with your closets. :)


A shout out to Meredith for featuring me in her last two posts. :) Thanks, Mer!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Baby Ben

This is an update on baby Ben, who I wrote about in my last post. Whit has started a blog to update people, so please visit it here at

When I saw Whit and Adrienne at their baby shower a month ago, Whit was talking about how he was nervous that he wouldn't know how to be a good father. I think if you read his words you will know immediately that Ben couldn't ask for better parents who love him more.

Please send them your words and prayers, and keep praying for a miracle.

God, thank you for the miracle of new life. Thank you for families and unbreakable bonds of love. Thank you for strength we don't know we possess. Thank you for hearts to break and tears to cry as we hurt together. Work in a mighty way, God. We believe in your faithfulness, no matter what lies ahead.

Whit and Adrienne

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year

I was very blessed and happy to spend the past few days reuniting with my dear friend Meredith (aka Meriadoc) and her wonderful family (PH, JettyBetty, Aug and Ed) in the metropolis of DFW. Mer and I haven't gotten to hang out face to face since our trip to Honduras in summer of 2004! I was so excited that I was grinning the whole drive down there Saturday! It was a great time of catching up and laughing and ringing in the new year! I love those guys! Thank you so much for your hospitality!!!

Despite all the joy of the weekend, today I got some hard news. My dear friends Adrienne and Whit had a baby boy on the 31st, Benjamin Kent. But he was born with some unanticipated birth defects. I don't know too many details and so I don't want to share in case they're not completely accurate, but he can't breathe on his own and isn't doing well. Please please please pray. Whit and Adrienne are some of the kindest, strongest, most loving people I know. Pray for little Ben's body to have the strength it needs and the ability to rest peacefully. Be with Adrienne and Whit and all the family to have the strength and wisdom to know what to do next.

me and Adrienne (and baby Ben) at her baby shower in December