Friday, October 31, 2008

Don't Panic

Courtesy of Relevant Magazine:

There’s no doubt that the current financial crisis is at the forefront of most people’s minds. Banks are in trouble, homes are being foreclosed on, and the stock market continues to plummet with a savage and single-minded determination. The government has scrambled to stop the bleeding, with both parties tripping over themselves to throw billions of dollars at companies who apparently couldn’t handle their affairs in the first place. Forty-two billion went to investment giant AIG, who promptly and in good faith used some of it to send their executives to a five-star resort. After the press brutally raked them over the coals for their conspicuous consumption, the chastened corporation took their executives on a hunting trip to England.

In the midst of this absolute mess, it’s very easy for the common person to panic. After all, with companies in flames all around us, the corporations that drive our economy grossly mismanaged to the point of catastrophe, can our jobs or livelihoods fall far behind? However, there is a powerful message in all this, if we choose to learn it. Jesus puts it in perspective for us in Matthew 6.

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matthew 6:25-33, TNIV)

Our first reaction to a response like this is to think it trite. After all, we don’t need tired Christian catch-alls right now. We need pragmatism. We need action! I wonder why it is, though, that faith in God’s providence seems impractical to us? In our modern, Western society, it’s easy to look at the words Jesus spoke here and dismiss them as a lot of nice and idealistic talk. Yet, what Jesus is telling us is far more than the necessity of relying on God. He’s pointing out all the things we rely on instead. As Christians, we are supposed to be a set-apart and peculiar people. We seem to have diminished that concept to a list of action-based do’s and don’ts while still accepting part and parcel the world’s attitudes and priorities. How different are we really when it comes to our concerns over money and material desires? Where does our faith run off to when the company we work for starts handing out pink slips? Either the message Jesus spoke here is true both in times of abundance and want, or it is never true at all.

We have a very particular opportunity before us. As the world pulls out its collective hair watching global markets fall farther and farther, we can exhibit a peace and faith that befuddles those around us. We can show the world that we truly believe that God will supply our needs, even when we don’t see it happening. Even when we have misconceptions about what our true needs are. There’s another element to all this. For those of the world who are deeply affected by this economic downturn, we can be a light by helping to supply their needs. Can you imagine the impact it would have on the world if the body of Christ suddenly came to the financial aid of those who have lost their jobs? How many volumes of God’s love could we speak by stepping up to help pay the mortgage of our neighbors facing foreclosure? This global panic could be remembered as a time when Christians put the Gospel in action and reached out to help the downtrodden, or it can be remembered as a time when they panicked along with everyone else. The choice is ours.

Democrat or Republican, we should be able to agree that the answer to our problems is not a government bailout. The answer is a steadfast reliance on God’s provision. Even when everything around us looks grim, and our very livelihoods are threatened, we can rest assured that God is more concerned with our needs than we are. Let us be a people who fundamentally believe the promises Jesus made. Not as a pious platitude, but as a pragmatic reality.

Author: Adam Smith

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

the temps are dropping

YAY! The past few days it has felt more like Virginia than Florida and I, for one, am quite happy about it. I know, I know ... if I like the cold I should move back up north ... or so my friends tell me often. But, I can't. So, I shall enjoy the cold snaps we rarely have and our month of January (also known as winter) where I get to wear all my nice warm coats and boots, etc.

Mom and dad came up this past weekend to help install new track lighting in my kitchen, a new fan in the guest room, and hang a pic on the wall in the dining room. I tell ya ... parents truly come in handy sometimes. ;-)

Lauren moves back home from Arkansas next month (in 10 days to be precise). I couldn't be happier! I can't wait for her to get back into school and get back to focusing on the things she should be concerned about at the age of 20 instead of living the tough life - working all week to barely make ends meet. I'm happy that she's making the smart choice.

Ashley is thoroughly enjoying Los Angeles. She's officially gone to a Hollywood birthday party now and met a few celebs. Too cute! She truly is living the life. Now if only we could figure out how the hell we're going to afford to fly her home for Christmas! $600 is the going rate right now. AHHHHH. I mean, I know it's Christmas and all ... but that is way out of our price range. I think Ashley, Mom, Grandma, Aunt Trish, and Myself are all going to have to go in on this one. Mom is determined to wait it out and fly Ashley in last minute. Which might work. I mean, the last minute fares are quite cheap if you don't care about the times you're flying, etc. Ashley really just wants to come home ... she doesn't care if she has to hop a flight at 4:30 am. It's a good thing because that's just what might happen. ;-)

Well, I'm off to do some reading and head to bed. Didn't win the camera from PioneerWoman. DARN. I have the worst luck. Oh well.

P.S. I went and saw Steven Levitt last night at the University. He gave a lecture on his book, Freakonomics, and was quite funny and poignant. I was afraid I would be bored to tears but he is in person as he is in his book ... good sense of humor and very interesting stories. I highly recommend his book and if you get a chance to see him lecture ... GO. You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Stuff Christians Like

Today my post is a shout out to my friends Joel and Erin. Today Joel made a post about a blog called Stuff Christians Like. It's a take on the various blogs like, Stuff White People Like, etc. Anyway, it's fantastic! Please read it ... you will laugh until you cry. I loved the comment about naming churches things that sound like clothing stores. LOL.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My new favorite blog ...

SuzInOz is an expat from Texas living in Australia. She's got great stories and clips of shows I've never had the privilege of knowing until now. Start from the beginning if you have time and catch up ... it's well worth it. Plus, I've included the link to her August 1st post about Australian television and most importantly the video on Personal Space Invading and Ghosting. HILARIOUS! I've also included the link to Rove's website. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 18, 2008


I love trees ...

More importantly ...

I love lying underneath trees and taking pictures up through their leaves ...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

More old pics ...

Family trip to Walt Disney World

Just for the heck of it I'm posting more old pics. I'm watching the Skins kick some Rams bootie and feeling nostalgic again today ... so here we go:

Ashley and her bottle

Lauren asleep on the beach

Pet-A-Pet Farm Park

Friday, October 10, 2008

home sick and homesick

Me and my sisters at a pumpkin patch in northern Virginia

I have a freakin cold. It's so annoying ... it's not like the flu or bronchitis or something that makes you really feel awful but it's just enough to completely annoy you. The runny/congested nose, the achy-ness, the fuzzy-headed-ness. Well, when you're sick you get to make up whatever words you'd like ... so there! Speaking of runny/ congested noses ... how the heck is that humanly possible? I'd like someone to please explain to me how you can be so congested that you can barely breathe through your nose yet out of nowhere you can have a stream of ... well you know ... suddenly like a faucet has been turned on? GROSS.

Me and mommy in Hilton Head

And lying in bed all day seems pretty awesome when you're at work but as soon as you're home and you actually have to lie in bed all day ... it's boring as hell. I have a paper for class I could be working on of course. But then of course I'm dealing with the fuzziness of my brain (very scientific terminology here folks). Anyway, to help me cope ... because my family is far away and I really want my mommy ... I'm posting old photos for nostalgia's sake and to brighten my mood. Enjoy!

Me and bunny in the apartment in Fairfax

Me and Great Grandma

baby Ashley Lynn

baby Lauren Kimberly

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Brits take on American politics ...

You may or may not know ... but I love reading what the Brits have to say about American politics. I majored in Political Science and had several courses on world politics including British/Irish politics. It is not necessarily the articles themselves that intrigue me but the comments posted ... on the whole the Brits are way more up on our own politics than our very own people. Sad, but true. Plus, it is interesting to watch them hash it out over something they really have no control over ;-) Take a look ... Plus, several British blogs post some really interesting thoughts on this whole debate. The Waendel Journal is the blog of late that I have found to be most interesting ...

P.S. The Drudge Report usually links to some fantastic stories posted by journalists all around the world ... be sure to check it out.

Have you heard of ACORN?

Hey y'all ...

Have you heard of ACORN? No matter which side of the aisle you are on, this is a serious topic to be discussed. People like myself want to be assured that my vote counts. I want to know that for every legitimate vote there aren't three others from "Mary Poppins" or the like.

My friend over at Cottage on Fox Hollow has posted about this very thing. Please take a moment to see what the deal is and then go out there and search for yourself. It's very real folks. No matter which way you lean, right or left, this is still a serious matter. Please take action. Thank you ...

Monday, October 06, 2008

Trusting God to Provide

I am leading the bible study tomorrow night and for this fall through spring we're studying from the book RememberRepentRestore. This study is a 16 week series focusing on the Old Testament. This should be a good study ... I'm already liking the first chapter, Trusting God to Provide. Life hasn't been easy for me although I know for certain that things could be much worse. I really am blessed and I continually have God's favor though it is so hard to trust that He will provide and that I will be taken care of.

As the description says: "Why is it so easy to turn away from God? After all He’s done, is doing and will continue to do in our lives, we turn our backs on Him every single day! We lie. We cheat. We steal. We think bad thoughts. We’re constantly turning away from what we know is real and just and right, and we follow what’s easy or self-serving or just 'right now.' And no matter how hard we might try to do good, be good and influence other people to do and be the same, there’s just no way to not make mistakes. But here’s the good news: God remains faithful … even when we don’t. He’s the same in the good times and the bad. Despite the divisions, failures, and yearnings that plague our lives today, God never gives up on us."

This study "focuses on a dark time in Israel’s relationship with God that was marked by both military and spiritual failure. But even in the dark God reached out with the promise of hope for those who would follow Him. Each week’s study will uncover a genuine understanding of spiritual growth, and reveal an exciting look into how we all fit into God’s masterful plan. By helping us remember our passion for following God and how to effectively repent of life as usual, this study will restore our longing to follow God’s perfect plan for each of our lives."

Our memory verse for this week is 1 Kings 17:16. The NIV states, "For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the LORD spoken by Elijah." To better understand this verse I like to look at The Message. Verses 15 and 16 state, "And she went right off and did it, did just as Elijah asked. And it turned out as he said—daily food for her and her family. The jar of meal didn't run out and the bottle of oil didn't become empty: God's promise fulfilled to the letter, exactly as Elijah had delivered it!"

This verse serves as a reminder that God provides for those whom He calls. The question for this week is: How do difficult circumstances affect my trust in God?

I have been thinking a lot lately about being single and turning 30. I know that God has a plan for me and that my life is destined to be everything I've wanted. What is hard is trusting that God truly will provide for me. I continually struggle with the trust issue. Deep down I know that it will all go according to His plan ... I just don't know what that plan is ... and I can't help but worry that maybe His plan won't be my plan. This, of course, is just what the enemy wishes from us. The enemy wants us to be filled with doubt so we grow ever farther away from Christ. I am renewed by the message from Matthew 6:25-34, especially verse 33, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you." Yes, Lord, I will seek you and trust you to provide.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Dear Abby ...

John Prine is coming in concert and though I am not going ... I have had his songs in my head for the past week.

My mother introduced me to him at an early age and though he is mostly inappropriate and humorous he always has meaning and is ultimately quite talented.

I am posting the lyrics to his song, Dear Abby, because I cannot get the song out of my head and therefore I must subject y'all to it as well ;-)

Dear Abby, Dear Abby ...
My feet are too long
My hair's falling out
and my rights are all wrong
My friends they all tell me
that I've no friends at all
Won't you write me a letter,
Won't you give me a call
Signed Bewildered

Bewildered, Bewildered...
You have no complaint
You are what your are
and you ain't what you ain't
So listen up Buster,
and listen up good
Stop wishing for bad luck
and knocking on wood

Dear Abby, Dear Abby...
My fountain pen leaks
My wife hollers at me
and my kids are all freaks
Every side I get up on
is the wrong side of bed
If it weren't so expensive
I'd wish I were dead
Signed Unhappy

Unhappy, Unhappy...
You have no complaint
You are what your are
and you ain't what you ain't
So listen up Buster,
and listen up good
Stop wishing for bad luck
and knocking on wood

Dear Abby, Dear Abby...
You won't believe this
But my stomach makes noises
whenever I kiss
My girlfriend tells me
It's all in my head
But my stomach tells me
to write you instead
Signed Noise-maker

Noise-maker, Noise-maker ...
You have no complaint
You are what your are
and you ain't what you ain't
So listen up Buster,
and listen up good
Stop wishing for bad luck
and knocking on wood

Dear Abby, Dear Abby...
Well I never thought
That me and my girlfriend
would ever get caught
We were sitting in the back seat
just shooting the breeze
With her hair up in curlers
and her pants to her knees
Signed Just Married

Just Married, Just Married...
You have no complaint
You are what your are
and you ain't what you ain't
So listen up Buster,
and listen up good
Stop wishing for bad luck
and knocking on wood

And for your viewing pleasure ... one of his more recent songs that I'm absolutely in love with ...

more random thoughts

So yesterday evening I went to Rachel's (Ray Ray's Cafe) for dinner and a movie. We had honey mustard baked chicken, mashed potatoes, and mixed veggies. Simple but yummy! We watched Made of Honor ... cute ... but not my fav. This morning I got up and met Becky at the beach to walk and talk and then we had breakfast at Shelby's. It was absolutely beautiful this morning! I love being so close to the ocean ... I know I've mentioned that before ... but it truly helps put things in perspective for me. The ocean is a calming sanctuary for me. Anyway, yesterday was my friend Brandy's birthday so tonight we're having dinner at La Napolera and then going ice skating! Tomorrow morning is church ... Pastor Gee is doing a new series that should be quite interesting. Check out the website for more details. Tomorrow night begins the book club meetings. Not sure I really have time for a book club ... but we'll see. Somehow this weekend in between all the goings on I'm supposed to find time to write a paper. Good times ... pray for me y'all ...

BLESSINGS! Until next time ...