Friday, October 31, 2008

Time for a Halloween poll...

I'm tired. It's been a long week. I went to a party last night, and have plans with people tomorrow night. If I stay in and watch the OC by myself on Halloween, does that make me a total loser?

The Vote
Go to a party
Go to the harvest festival only
Stay home and watch the OC

Ok, give me feedback.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


I am at a point of surrender. My hands are up, my will is laid down. Not my desires, but yours, Lord.

I know God is in control, and it feels so good.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

For His glory alone...

Bring the Rain
I can count a million times
People asking me how I
Can praise You with all that I've gone through.
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You?
Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord,
My only shelter from the storm,
But instead I draw closer through these times.
So I pray

Bring me joy, bring me peace,
Bring the chance to be free,
Bring me anything that brings You glory.
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain,
But if that's what it takes to praise You, Jesus, bring the rain.

I am Yours regardless of
The dark clouds that may loom above
Because You are much greater than my pain.
You who made a way for me
By suffering Your destiny
So tell me what's a little rain?
So I pray

Bring me joy, bring me peace,
Bring the chance to be free,
Bring me anything that brings You glory.
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain,
But if that's what it takes to praise You, Jesus, bring the rain.

Holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
I have been reading in the book of Isaiah lately, and I am amazed every night when I pick it up what new truths the Lord reveals to me. In the midst of what seems to be like a dark time of confusion and searching, God is revealing to me anew what he revealed before time began.

The reality that I am learning is that no matter what circumstances I find myself in, what things I desire, what hopes are dashed, what confusion I feel - they do not change that God is God.

Before I existed, God knew I would be unfaithful to Him, and He loved me anyway. Before I was unfaithful to Him, He chose to accept the wrath that was due to me upon Himself. Before I walked through dark times of loneliness and rejection, Christ was rejected by His creation, so he knows and understands how I feel, although magnified a million times over.

Why? Why would he go to such great lengths to rescue rebellious and unfaithful people such as I? Why would he willingly suffer the punishment that I deserve? Why would he allow himself to be tempted in all things - so that I know he has gone before and knows my plight? Why do I continue to worship anything other than my God, who alone is worthy of my praise? WHY?

Through it all - his suffering, his resurrection, his pursuit of me, my suffering, my repentance, my bumbling attempts at pursuing His righteousness - through it all, HIS NAME BE PRAISED. Whatever God brings me to, whether it be joy or pain, may I never take my eyes off of Him and His unsurpassed glory. All of it is for naught if His name is not glorified.

God, I praise you in the midst of joy and of sadness. I praise you in the depths of my soul, though my flesh may fail me. God, be glorified in my life, whatever it takes.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Two Roads Diverged In a Wood

Just like Robert Frost in his famous poem, "The Road Not Taken," I feel like I am standing at a fork in the road of my life, looking down two paths.

However, I will not choose which path I take, but I surrender to whichever path the Lord has already laid out for me. Although, to me, one looks more pleasant than the other, I have a sense of peace and calm at whatever lies ahead. Whichever road I walk down tomorrow, in the weeks ahead, and in the years to come, I know the Lord has already walked that road ahead of me, and is walking it again with me, and through it all, there will be peace. Whichever side of the path he leads me down, know that there is peace, and for that, praise God.

"And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."

However, of infinitely more value than that poem are the words of the Author of Love and my Sustainer:
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus...I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength."

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Surely God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
I had nearly lost my foothold.
For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
They have no struggles;
their bodies are healthy and strong.
They are free from the burdens common to man;
they are not plagued by human ills...
Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure;
in vain have I washed my hands in innocence.
All day long I have been plagued;
I have been punished every morning.
If I had said, "I will speak thus,"
I would have betrayed your children.
When I tried to understand all this,
it was oppressive to me
till I entered the sanctuary of God;
then I understood their final destiny.
When my heart was grieved
and my spirit embittered,
I was senseless and ignorant;
I was a brute beast before you.
Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.
Those who are far from you will perish;
you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.

~Psalm 74

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Always growing....

A wise friend told me it's better to keep blogs short if you want people to read them. I'm a wordy person, so that's hard for me, but here I go:

This has been a highly unusual, and yet "normal," week for me. Things are changing from what they have been, and I am learning and growing. God is refining me and challenging me and teaching me patience and trust. My limits have been stretched, and I have blessedly been brought back to a place of contentment and peace that I haven't been at in a while. I feel like myself again, but with a hopeful eye toward the future and what else God is going to reveal to me.

In other growing news: I'm going to the fair tomorrow with friends, and plan on gorging myself on deliciously awful fried fair foods. Specifically, I plan on getting some hush-puppies, grilled corn in the husk, and a deep-fried Snickers (which I enjoyed more than last year's deep-fried Twinkie.) The only growing I'll do from that is physically growing side to side and front to back. I can't wait. :)

Thank you, Lord for being near. You are more precious than life, and all the precious things it holds. Keep me close and clean, and centered on You alone.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Three "Funnies" from the Weekend

I don't know if I think life is funnier than the average person, or if I find myself in funnier situations than the average person. Either way, here are three quick snapshots of my weekend at home that I found humorous!

Feisty Grandma
1. I went and saw my grandmother while I was home. She's 92, and although mentally fuzzy at times, has been quite sharp the last few times I've seen her. This time, as one of the male orderly's names was brought up, Grandma said, "I don't care for him at all."
"Why not? He's nice to you, isn't he?"
"Yes, he's nice. I can't really say..."
"Has he done anything to you? I thought he seemed very nice."
"He is nice...TOO nice. Some gentlemen...He's always hovering around waiting to ASSIST me."
Haha, for a 92 year old, you would have thought assistance was a good thing. Maybe she was quite the looker back in her day, and his assistance brings back those uncomfortable feelings!

2. I went to a gun show this weekend, and I'm not talking about the kind I see around Adrian ;) This was a real, live redneck-fest and it was gloriously entertaining. The first conversation I heard went something like, "Yuh, the only thing keepin' her head on wuz a strip o' skin."

I hope they were talking about an animal.

The experience was neat though, as I got an education in guns, camo and exactly how far a 50 caliber rifle with its own collapsible stand will shoot into enemy lines... Oh, the things you learn. After the gun show, my mom wanted to try out her new gun (who am I kidding? I did too). We went to the shooting range and I shot her new little Kel-Tec, but after seeing how scary and how much kick it had, declined to try shooting her (even bigger) Sig Sauer.

Flying Bicycles
3. On the way to M., I was alongside a little pick-up truck that lost one of four chairs that were (evidently) not strapped down very well. I was thankful it didn't hit my little Lily-car, but tried to do my civic duty and alert them that they had lost some cargo. After much honking and waving with no response from the driver, I went on my merry way.

On the way BACK, however, Lily-car was not so fortunate. As we were chugging merrily along at about 65, the car in front of me suddenly lost one of the two bicycles (not) bolted down to the roof rack. It hit the interstate in front of me, broke in half, and then shot towards my car. Luckily, it wasn't the main bicycle part that hit me, but what I think was the handlebars. A piece definitely hit my antenna, hit the plastic windguard on the roof, and bounced off. I stopped to check for damage, and restore Ben's barrier in the back-seat, and all seemed OK except for my antenna. I'm thankful it wasn't worse, but seriously, who gets hit with a flying bicycle on the interstate??? Me.

Welcome to my life :)

Another Anti-Obama Perspective

This was sent to me via e-mail, and I think it's worth a read! It's an opinion piece by Huntley Brown, a Christian concert pianist. I admire and applaud his stance, however unpopular with his peers. Just wanted to pass along another perspective on the damage that could/will be wrought under and Obama presidency. (This is my last political blog for a bit, too :)

Why I Can't Vote For Obama......By Huntley Brown

Dear Friends,

A few months ago I was asked for my perspective on Obama, I sent out an email with a few points. With the election just around the corner I decided to complete my perspective. Those of you on my e-list have seen some of this before but it's worth repeating... First I must say whoever wins the election will have my prayer support. Obama needs to be commended for his accomplishments but I need to explain why I will not be voting for him. Many of my friends process their identity through their blackness. I process my identity through Christ. Being a Christian (a Christ follower) means He leads, I follow. I can't dictate the terms, He does because He is the leader. I can't vote black because I am black; I have to vote Christian because that's who I am. Christian first, black second. Neither should anyone from other ethnic groups vote because of ethnicity. 200 years from now I won't be asked if I was black or white. I will be asked if I knew Jesus and accepted Him as Lord and Savior.

In an election there are many issues to consider but when a society gets abortion, same-sex marriage, embryonic stem-cell research, human cloning - to name a few - wrong, then wrong economic concerns will soon not matter. We need to follow Martin Luther King's words, 'don't judge someone by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.' I don't know Obama, so all I can go on is his voting record. His voting record earned him the title of the most liberal senator in the US Senate in 2007. NATIONAL JOURNAL: Obama: Most Liberal Senator in 2007 (01/31/2008) To beat Ted Kennedy and Hilary Clinton as the most liberal senator, takes some doing. Obama accomplished this feat in 2 short years. I wonder what would happen to America if he had four years to work with. There is a reason Planned Parenthood gives him a 100 % rating. There is a reason the homosexual community supports him. There is a reason Ahmadinejad, Chavez, Castro, Hamas etc. love him. There is a reason he said he would nominate liberal judges to the Supreme Court. There is a reason he voted against the infanticide bill. There is a reason he voted 'No' on the constitutional ban of same-sex marriage. There is a reason he voted 'No' on banning partial birth abortion. There is a reason he voted 'No' on confirming Justices Roberts and Alito. These two judges are conservatives and they have since overturned partial birth abortion, the same practice Obama wanted to continue.

Let's take a look at the practice he wanted to continue. The 5 Step Partial Birth Abortion procedures:
A. Guided by ultrasound, the abortionist grabs the baby's leg with forceps. (Remember this is a live baby)
B. The baby's leg is pulled out into the birth canal.
C. The abortionist delivers the baby's entire body, except for the head.
D. The abortionist jams scissors into the baby's skull. The scissors are then opened to enlarge the hole.
E. The scissors are removed and a suction catheter is inserted. The child's brains are sucked out, causing the skull to collapse. The dead baby is then removed. God help him.

There is a reason Obama opposed the parental notification law. Think about this: You cannot give a child an aspirin without parental notification but that same child can have an abortion without parental notification. This is insane.

There is a reason Obama went to Jeremiah Wright's church for 20 years. Obama tells us he has good judgment, but he sat under Jeremiah Wright's teaching for 20 years. Now he is condemning Wright's sermons. I wonder why now? Obama said Jeremiah Wright led him to the Lord and discipled him. A disciple is one in training. Jesus told us in Matthew 28:19 - 20 'Go and make disciples of all nations.' This means reproduce yourself. Teach people to think like you, walk like you; talk like you believe what you believe etc.

The question I have is what did Jeremiah Wright teach him? Would you support a White President who went to a church which has tenets that said they have a:
1. Commitment to the White Community
2. Commitment to the White Family
3. Adherence to the White Work Ethic
4. Pledge to make the fruits of all developing and acquired skills available to the White Community.
5. Pledge to Allocate Regularly, a portion of Personal Resources for Strengthening and Supporting White Institutions
6. Pledge allegiance to all White leadership who espouse and embrace the White Value System
7. Personal commitment to embracement of the White Value System.

Would you support a President who went to a church like that? Just change the word from white to black and you have the tenets of Obama's former church. If President Bush was a member of a church like this, he would be called a racist. Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton would have been marching outside. This kind of church is a racist church. Obama did not wake up after 20 years and just discover he'd been going to a racist church. The TRUE church can't be about race. Jesus did not come for any particular race. He came for the whole world. A church can't have a value system based on race. The church's value system has to be based on biblical mandates. It does not matter if it's a white church or a black church based on racial values, it's still wrong. Anyone from either race that attends a church like this would never get my vote.

Obama's former Pastor Jeremiah Wright is a disciple of liberal theologian James Cone, author of the 1970 book The Goals of the Black Community. "If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him." Cone is the man Obama's mentor looks up to. Does Obama believe this?

So what does all this mean for the nation? In the past when the Lord brought someone with the beliefs of Obama to lead a nation it meant one thing - judgment. Read 1 Samuel 8 when Israel asked for a king. First God says in 1 Samuel 1:9 'Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do.' Then God says in 1 Samuel 1:18 ' When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day. But the people refused to listen to Samuel. 'No!' they said. 'We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.' When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the LORD. The LORD answered, 'Listen to them and give them a king.'

Here is what we know for sure. God is not schizophrenic. He would not tell one person to vote for Obama and one to vote for McCain. As the Scripture says, a city divided against itself cannot stand, so obviously many people are not hearing from God. Maybe I am the one not hearing but I know God does not change and Obama contradicts many things I read in Scripture so I doubt it. For all my friends who are voting for Obama can you really look God in the face and say, "Father, based on your word, I am voting for Obama even though I know he will continue the genocidal practice of partial birth abortion. He might have to nominate three or four Supreme Court justices, and I am sure he will be nominating liberal judges who will be making laws that are against you. I also know he will continue to push for homosexual rights, even though you destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for this. I know I can look the other way because of the economy."

I could not see Jesus agreeing with many of Obama's positions. Finally I have two questions for all my liberal friends. Since we know someone's value system has to be placed on the nation,
1. Whose value system should be placed on the nation?
2. Who should determine that this is the right value system for the nation?

Huntley Brown

When questioned about the truth of the e-mail, Brown confirmed that he did in fact write it, though it was only intended for friends who had asked him to vote for Barack Obama. He added that although he has problems with both candidates, his differences with McCain "pale in comparison" to those he has with Obama. Brown, who says he is not registered as a Democrat or Republican, said he is looking forward to voting for a black president, however, it will not be Barack Obama because their views are "diametrically opposed." Furthermore, Brown expressed sadness that although "our beautiful black women constitute only 6% of the population, they comprise 36% of the abortion industry's clientele. Obama has done nothing to stop this. Most people don't know that the leading abortion providers have chosen to exploit us blacks by locating 94% of their abortuaries in urban neighborhoods with high black populations. Obama has done nothing to stop this. To be honest, I can't wait to vote for the first black president but it has to be someone who shares the values I read in the Bible."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

3 Weeks Out: Why I'm NOT Voting for Barack Obama

Let's face it: This election is unlike any we've ever seen before. We have new issues to deal with and new fears on the horizon. My greatest fear at the moment is seeing a man who is so frighteningly unknown, with so many dangerous ties running our country. At the beginning of election season, I made the statement that I "was OK if Obama won." Not any more. The more I have looked into his past, the more clear it is to me that he should not be president of the United States. His history speaks louder to me than his smooth-words. Regardless of the fact that McCain isn't perfect, also has weak spots and isn't as good of an orator, he will get my vote on Election Day.

1. Obama's stance on abortion.
This article by Robert P. George of Princeton University is gaining a lot of attention here at Southeastern. While long, it's worth a read. Some of the most startling things to me are:
-"He has promised to seek repeal of the Hyde Amendment, which has for many years protected pro-life citizens from having to pay for abortions that are not necessary to save the life of the mother and are not the result of rape or incest."
-"As an Illinois state senator Obama opposed legislation to protect children who are born alive, either as a result of an abortionist’s unsuccessful effort to kill them in the womb, or by the deliberate delivery of the baby prior to viability...But Barack Obama opposed it and worked to defeat it. For him, a child marked for abortion gets no protection—even ordinary medical or comfort care—even if she is born alive and entirely separated from her mother. So Obama has favored protecting what is literally a form of infanticide."
They tell us not to worry that Obama opposes the Hyde Amendment, the Mexico City Policy (against funding abortion abroad), parental consent and notification laws, conscience protections, and the funding of alternatives to embryo-destructive research. They ask us to look past his support for Roe v. Wade, the Freedom of Choice Act, partial-birth abortion, and human cloning and embryo-killing. An Obama presidency, they insist, means less killing of the unborn. This is delusional."

2. Obama's faith background
-Obama's church, up until spring of 2008 when things got sticky for him, was Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. Looking at the tenets of this church, their focus, and their mission scares me, because ostensisibly, those same ideals are shared by Obama, who was a member there for many years. Maybe I'm more stupid than I thought, but I thought the purpose of church was to meet with other believers, encouraging one another, spurring one another on toward Christ, and living as salt and light in a world of darkness. Somehow, reinventing Africa didn't seem to be on the list of priorities for the early church fathers. As a Christian it appalls me that his "faith" rests on such shaky spiritual soil. If that's what he learned in 20 years of being in that church, it is frightening to think what might come out of him when he's not campaigning.
-"We are a congregation which is Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian... Our roots in the Black religious experience and tradition are deep, lasting and permanent. We are an African people, and remain "true to our native land," the mother continent, the cradle of civilization. God has superintended our pilgrimage through the days of slavery, the days of segregation, and the long night of racism. It is God who gives us the strength and courage to continuously address injustice as a people, and as a congregation. We constantly affirm our trust in God through cultural expression of a Black worship service and ministries which address the Black Community." ~Taken from the church's website
-Jeremiah Wright, former pastor of that church, has been called a "father figure" by Obama and a radical by others. His sermons often attacked the government, America itself, and the actions done by those parties, which, he said, were the justified reasons for the attacks of September 11, and more.
-"Initially Obama argued that Wright's statements were taken out of context and played in a loop for heightened effect. But when it was discovered that there was more, Obama took a different line. He claimed that he had personally never heard Wright speak like this and that he knew nothing of his father figure's virulent anti-Americanism...It is completely unbelievable he would not know about the belief system of the person who was his confidant for nearly 20 years. After all, Wright did not even try to conceal his views, but propounded them openly from the pulpit of his church. Yet Obama wants us to believe that he was the only one in that congregation who knew nothing of Wright's disdain for his country." ~ "Why Islamists Cheer for Obama" by Vasko Kohlmayer
-Do we want our president to be a man who - for 20 years - sat under, honored and regarded highly a man like Jeremiah Wright, who so clearly and unapologetically disdains this very nation?

3. Obama's connections with Islam
- Regardless of whether or not you think Barack Obama is truly a believer in Christ (I don't know and it's not my place to decide), his coziness with Islam has many a person in this country worried. Lest we forget, it was Muslim extremists who were responsible for 9/11. Surely I'm not the only one who hesitates to put someone in office who has so many ties to Islam.
-Obama wrote that he attended a Muslim school, where he studies the Quran. His 1/2 brother calls his background Muslim. His college roomies at Occidental were Pakistani. I'm not saying upbringing is everything and that he's "guilty" by association, but the fact remains that he has been more exposed to and raised in Islamic thought processes than the average politician, a fact which makes me uncomfortable about his motives.
- Some of the loudest supporters of Obama's campaign have been radical Muslims. Louis Farrakhan (The Nation of Islam leader) and Ahmed Yousef (a public relations man for the terrorist organization Hamas) have both been vocal in their support of Obama.
- Obama has made several "mistakes" that could easily be explained away, or they could easily be slip-ups that he is covering up a Muslim background. For example, he "misspoke" by saying, "John McCain has not talked about my Muslim faith." Muslim faith?? If, as a true believer in Christ and a worshiper of the Creator God, you "slip up" and mention a contrary faith as your own, you're either a blasphemer, an idiot, or a liar. Maybe all three.
-In his book "Audacity of Hope," (the title of which was taken from one of Jeremiah Wright's sermons) Obama wrote, "I will stand with them (Muslims and other groups) should the political winds shift in an ugly direction."

Although I've touched on a few issues, there are a lot of questions and accusations left out there. Do some research and look some of this stuff up. Look at the historical facts, not at the charismatic talk coming out of his mouth today!
-Muslim Fingerprints in Obama's History
-Obama's ACORN tree
-Why Islamists Cheer for Obama

I realize I am probably going to be absolutely bombarded with crap for writing this, and honestly, that doesn't concern me too much. What DOES concern me is the American people putting a man into office who has so many shady connections, politically and religiously. I believe Americans truly desire positive change. That change will not come from a president or his policies, but only through the transforming power of Christ in people's hearts and lives.

However, it only takes one man in a position of power to effect negative change. Take Lucifer, for example. Not trying to compare the two but....Please, think about the reasons you're considering voting for Barack Obama. There are a whole lot of issues at stake in this election. Please look beyond the hype and the smooth-talking Senator and vote based on character.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Shining Like Stars, Reflecting Like the Moon

The sky can teach us a lot about theology, I think. Granted, I'm no theological expert by any stretch of the imagination, but even in my simplicity, I see valuable things to be learned by observing the celestial bodies.

(Stars) Stars can demonstrate for us what it means to be a light in a dark world. Chad (our minister at BL) spoke last Wednesday on Philippians 2:12-16, which in many translations is sectioned off under the title "Shining like stars."

"Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out (or hold onto) the word of life."

Just like stars, I (and every other person who professes Christ)am called to live my life as a star. What does this mean? Just as the stars, although small, pierce the darkness of night with hope-filled points of light, I am called to be a piercing light in the darkness of this world. Although hard to live like that, it's such an INCREDIBLE privilege to have that calling to shine with the light of the Lord in a world that is black and often seems void of him. Also, just like stars, even when smog or clouds cover the light of the stars, they are still there. When clouds come my way and it is hard to see the light of the Lord in me, know that it is still there, but that I am allowing something temporary to (wrongly) obstruct my light.

(Moon) The moon can also teach us something. It wasn't until high school at some point that I think I became aware of the fact that the moon does not actually shine, it only reflects the light given off by the sun. Did you know that? It's pretty elementary, apparently (I never claimed to be a theologian OR a scientist! ;) However, when you think about it, this is a beautiful analogy of our relationship to the Lord.

For me, who tries to do so much on my own, remembering that I cannot shine on my own, win people on my own, survive on my own, or obtain salvation and the gift of God on my own, is a HUGE struggle! I am a prideful person, and I often try to rationalize attempting things for God on my own as being a "good Christian." There is no such thing. There is no good in me apart from God, and there is only his goodness and glory reflected in my life.

The sun is the source of the light. When the world gets in the way of that light, the moon reflects less than it is fully capable of, as is seen in an eclipse. Likewise, God is the source of light and truth, and when we put the world in front of him, we reflect less of his light than we were designed to. We were intended to fully reflect the radiance of his glory in our lives.

(Sun)Just as hinted at above, the greatest thing in the heavens we can look to is the sun, and the greatest thing of all is God. He is the source of light and warmth. He gives life to all living things on Earth, and he alone is worthy to be worshiped as sustainer of life. God is the one whose light shines, revealing all things that desire to be hidden in darkness.

I believe it was CS Lewis who said love was like a ray of sunshine. He said that love is not meant to be worshiped and exalted as the highest goal, but rather that love was a ray, pointing those who have experienced it back to the source: The sun. God is the sun. His love is a million rays bearing down on us, drawing our faces upward toward him. Through my relationship with Adrian, I see love in that light. Although it could be tempting to worship love as the greatest thing to strive for, I know that love is only a ray, pointing back up to God. Adrian's love for me is only a ray of sunshine, representing the tiniest fraction of the incredible power and love of God himself.

If you're a Sara Groves fan, you'll recognize the song playing on my playlist. It's a personal favorite of mine. She says this in a more eloquent (and succinct!) way. I encourage you to listen to it and the words and be challenged. How do you view yourself in relation to God? Do you reflect his light, or try and fail at creating your own? Do you effectively shine as a star in the darkness of the world? Most of all, are you worshiping God himself? Not his gifts, which reflect him, but HIMSELF? It's not easy, but what an incredible challenge to rise to!

Monday, October 6, 2008

So long, sweet Lucky

I lost a family member today. Our dog of 14 years was put to sleep this afternoon. Lucky was the best dog I could have grown up with - seriously.

There are so many things about him I'll miss: His black fur all over everything, his tail wagging in the morning when I come out into the hall, watching him scrounge the riverbed for rocks to dive for, taking him on long car trips and trying to force him to sit down so we could watch movies without him in the way, feeding him cat food these last couple of years, since he loved it so much, taking him to the Maryville College woods for walks, the way he'd walk expectantly around a room and lean into every person - giving them a "hug - until he found someone to pet him, taking him out to the barn when I would go see my horse Shadow, snuggling up on the floor with him, just because I needed a hug...

I am so thankful for pets. They teach us about how to love without reserve, to be jolly in all circumstances, to always look for the best in people, to ask expectantly, and to find joy in the simple things in life.

It may be simple to love an animal, but it's not easy to lose one. I am so thankful the Lord blessed my family with such an amazing dog for 14 years of my life. His life was truly a gift.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Sad day :(

It's our 2-month anniversary today.

Adrian and I had planned on spending the weekend together, complete with a Martina McBride concert Saturday and big church service on Sunday.

It's not happening now :(

Stupid sickness - destroying plans. Time to make new plans and enjoy this time the Lord has given me to myself, I suppose, right? Right.

Edit: My boyfriend is amazing, and whether he's here or there, I am blessed beyond belief by him. Thank you, God for such a gift.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Tagged: You're It!

1. What time did you get up this morning?
7:10 am
2. Diamonds or pearls?
I like both. It depends on the piece of jewelry :)
3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
The Dark Knight and right before that was Mamma Mia!
4. What is your favorite TV show?
Hands down it would be LOST
5. What do you usually have for breakfast?
Cup of coffee with 2 creams and 1 Equal, sometimes oatmeal
6. What is your middle name?
7. What food do you dislike?
Pork and nasty pieces of meat
8. What is your favorite CD at moment?
I have been listening to my “spiritual songs” playlist a lot when I’m at the computer. Does that count?
9. What kind of car do you drive?
Nissan XTerra
10. Favorite sandwich?
Hmm…When at home I make a turkey sandwich on fancy bread with cheese and hummus. At Subway I usually order a tuna sub with cheese and black olives.
11. What characteristic do you despise?
Honestly? It really bothers me when people take themselves too seriously, either in a really self-conscious way or an overly-cocky way.
12. Favorite item of clothing?
A good pair of jeans
13. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go?
I’m really itching to get to Europe right now!
14. Favorite brand of clothing?
I shop at Express a lot….Their clothes tend to fit well, hold up well and I almost always have coupons!
15. Where would you retire to?
Who knows if I’ll retire! That’s a long way off.
16. What was your most recent memorable birthday?
Probably my 21st birthday. I went to Cheesecake Factory with friends and then spent time in the hot tub in the middle of December!
17. Favorite sport to watch?
I like football and basketball mostly, but if I’m rooting for a certain team, any sport can be fun!

18. When is your birthday?
December 16

19. Are you a morning person or a night person?
I’m more of a night owl. Mornings are….difficult.
20. What is your shoe size?
7 ½ - Abnormally small for my height!
21. Pets?

I have a crazy dog named Ben and 2 turtles named Splash and Scooter. I’m weird, I know.
22. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with us?
I am incredibly blessed. The Lord is soooo good to me! This isn’t new, but it’s very exciting!
23. What did you want to be when you were little?
A cheerleader and a waitress. I know, my ambitions were startling! Actually, I can remember “playing vet” as young as 9, and wanted to do the vet school route up until junior year of high school
24. How are you today?
Much better than I have been. Things feel right again, on many levels.
25. What is your favorite candy(lollie/chocolate)?
Peanut butter M&Ms and Reese’s
26. What is your favorite flower?
Lilies – Calla and Easter
27. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to?
November 27 – Thanksgiving with my family and Adrian!
28. What is your full name?
Lauren Ann Crane
29. What are you listening to right now?
The noisy air conditioner….Surprisingly, I’m not hearing Courtney at the moment.
30. What was the last thing you ate?
A rice krispy treat
31. Do you wish on stars?
Nope. I look at them and think about how amazing my God is though!
32. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
Hmm....Maybe chocolate brown. I’m thinking it’s a beautiful, deep, rich color that is natural and goes with everything. Haha, wishful thinking!
33. How is the weather right now?
71 and cloudy. Is it sad I looked it up on because I didn’t feel like standing up and looking out the window?
34. The first person you spoke to on the phone today?
Shae about concert tickets!
35. Favorite soft drink?
Dr. Pepper
36. Favorite restaurant?
I do love Cheesecake Factory. Also, any good Hibachi restaurant is a very close second!
37. Real hair color?
Dark golden blonde.
38. What was your favorite toy as a child?
My stuffed animals and Barbies. They all were “friends” and acted out scenarios I had in my head. I was creative, I suppose.
39. Summer or winter?
How about the wonderful seasons known as fall and spring? I like the lack of extreme temperature during those times :)
40. Hugs or kisses?
I suppose it would depend on who it’s from…. ;)
41. Chocolate or Vanilla?
Chocolate, everytime!
42. Coffee or tea?
Coffee. Tea has yet to impress me in the slightest.
43. When was the last time you cried?

Umm… Last night.
44. What is under your bed?
Toys Ben has knocked under there and I can’t get out.
45. What did you do last night?
Talked on the phone, wrote a reading review, cried, prayed, took a bubble bath and talked more on the phone
46. What are you afraid of?
Not living in the Lord’s will for my life.
47. Salty or sweet?
Usually salty, although I have been gravitating toward brownies a lot lately!
48. How many keys on your key ring?
About 5. 2 of them are old and pointless, but I haven’t tossed ‘em yet.
49. How many years at your current job?
Just over a year now!
50. Favorite day of the week?
Saturday and Sunday, depending on the activities of the day.
51. How many places have you lived in?
4 – Florida, Tennessee, Ecuador (study abroad. It counts!), and North Carolina
52. Do you make friends easily?
I think so. I have been told though that I am intimidating when people first meet me, so maybe I’m not doing as good of a job as I thought!

*I tag Shae, Allison and Adam!