Thursday, December 30, 2004

Garden State

By the way (yes i just posted 5 seconds ago but this is #2)...

I watched Garden State for the first time last night and loved it. When it was over I craved more of it. Thank God I rented the DVD with the bonus deleted scenes and hour-long "making of" feature.

And you know what I loved? It emphasized the realness of love...made it something tangible rather than something that is just imagined. Love that is conversational. Open. Real. Not just a dream of something far, far away. It was a friendship. A life change.

Or maybe I just get caught up in movies too quickly and live vicariously through the characters... Comments? Did you see it?

Ready or Not...Here Comes 2005!

So here comes NYE...should be one of the most fun nights of the year, but somehow that just doesn't always ring true for me. For some reason usually my NYE just isn't as great as I've hoped it would be. Maybe I should just be okay with a night that is just okay, and not some huge movie-like party. Maybe even though I'm planning for tomorrow night to be loads of fun, with lots of people over my apartment, lots of food that I will have prepared, and some good times, maybe no one will even come and I should be okay with that. I think I can be...but you know it'll feel like another February 14th non-celebration, wondering how much fun everyone else is having without me. I can't wait till I get to have all the fun. Why shouldn't I now? I declare that my NYE will not suck this year (nor will my V-Day), even if it does end up just being me and Traubs eating all the food we've made. At least we'll have fun eating!

I think I'll go home, take a bath, read a book, listen to my new fav song: #5 on the Monk & Neagle CD, and have a glass of wine. My new favorite thing to do. Ah, yes. Goodbye.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Recap 2004

So I was inspired by Brian's blog to reflect upon 2004 and see what God has brought me through and what things--whether big or little-- have shaped me in some way. Overall it has been a year of growth, change, decisions, questions, finding out who I really am, and seeking truth and reality. Here are my memos to the things or people (who will probably never read this) who have somehow affected me:

~to my internship w/ One 5 Oh!~ Thanks for teaching me how to be a leader & how NOT to be a leader. I developed a voice to sing and a heart to worship. You made me endure miserably long trips on good ol' Big Blue--Dolly Parton's old bus--with 5 other guys, me the only girl, but thanks for the temporary brothers that I never had and sometimes never wanted. Thanks for a chance to fall in love with Indianapolis & the people I lived with.

~to God during my internships~Thanks for closing doors in my face, opening more, closing a few more, and holding my hand as I walked into those opened again.

~To LCC~I thought I was finished with you but I guess not. When I started working for you I asked myself, "Is this a good or bad thing? I don't really want to be here forever!" and I have concluded that it is good. After 6 months of Admissions Counseling I've questioned my place here and if I'm even good at what I do. Thanks for those people (Kate, Nathan Davenport, Jennifer Staggs, and others) and things that have affirmed I'm where I should be. I feel at home for now and have no idea where else I'd be.

~to Fuel & house church~I'm different now than I was 5 months ago because of you. Well, because of God. But you've shown me incredible people who have defined real, true community to me.

~to Chris Hornbrook & the other leaders in Fuel~we've all taken action in faith toward rebuilding the Acts 2 church within Fuel and it has been incredible. I've loved joining hands on this journey together.

~to Bethany Dillon~ you get my award for CD of the year. By far. You're amazingly wise. You must be older than 16.

~to Matt Wertz~I love you and I'm still waiting for your proposal. Need my ring size? And I expect a song.

~to Margaret Feinberg~your book "Twentysomething" was my security blanket this summer.

~to Donald Miller~"Blue Like Jazz" and "Searching for God Knows What" are kicking my butt. You've redefined the gospel and the Christian life for me.

~to the people whose blogs I read all the time without them even realizing it (and some don't even know who I am)-- (Cory, Shelly, Doug, Brian L., Brian & Jamie S., Phil, Dustin, Adam, Tyler, Lindy) Thanks for opening up so the world can see a glimpse of who you are. You've made me laugh really hard sometimes and you've inspired me more than you'll know. I want to be more creative, more communicative, more reflective, more open and engaged in culture because of you. Most importantly, you help me to be more real.

~to my seminary class, Shaping the Heart of a Leader~ you've opened all the windows & doors of my heart and started to clean and polish every crevice.

~to my many concerts w/ Shane & Shane, Matt Wertz, Dave Barnes, Bethany Dillon, Shawn McDonald, David Crowder--Thanks for allowing me to worship with you.

~to my married friends--thanks for being great examples of what I can prepare for and look forward to. I cherish our friendships.

~to my single friends--I wouldn't trade our friendships for the world.

~to 2004--Thanks for teaching me.
~to 2005--I can't wait to see what you bring. It better be good!

Monday, December 20, 2004

Can you believe it's only 5 days before Christmas? I can't. It sneaks up on me so fast now that I'm older. When I was little I was counting down all the time and knew exactly how many days away it was. I would wake up in the morning and be so excited to move the little mouse over one day in the green Christmas calendar thing. Mom would put it up each year for me, despite its ugliness. I was never sure whether I should move the mouse to which day in December it was or to move the mouse to how many days left until Christmas. I think I alternated each year. I just always was ready for Christmas, mostly b/c of presents.

Things have changed so much. Now I don't even care about the presents. I'd be fine if my family didn't buy me anything at all. It seems like everywhere people are so worried about who they're obligated to buy gifts for and how much money they need to spend on who still, and so on. It's sad that we've commercialized it so much and forgotten what it really truly means.

I just love the season. I love the excitement. The looking forward to. The smells, the lights, the tastes, the sounds, the warmth. The traditions. Makes me wonder what it was like before the first Christmas--probably somewhat similar, but not in a selfish materialistic sort of way. There had to be so much excitement for the people of Israel to know that a Messiah was coming. The hope of the world was on His way. Their destitution was about to end with the birth of a Savior, Jesus, in the simple form of flesh and blood. Tiny fingers, tiny toes, little eyelashes & fingernails. God, with us. A real person. So fragile and precious, yet so strong, because we know that those little fingers are the ones that created the universe. How incredible. Those hands are the ones that later endured so much pain, and for us! It breaks my heart that a little baby, yet God, would want to go through that for me.

So, Christmas... what does it make you think of? Gifts, of course! I don't think it's wrong to give gifts, b/c they can symbolize something so great, just as long as we don't forget the gift that matters most.

p.s. I wasn't planning to write a "Jesus is the reason for the season" blog, but I suppose that was one. Sorry.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Muslim squirrels?

I thought I'd share this. Lucky you. 2 min. ago I was walking from the Admin. building (after making 1200 copies of something) back to the Admissions office and saw something really funny. There were 2 squirrels on opposite sides of a sidewalk, both about equidistant from the sidewalk, eating and nibbling in the grass. They were both facing the same direction. And then I noticed a third doing the same thing, a little further away. They all seemed to be facing the same way, in the same exact angle, same exact position. It looked like they were facing Mecca.

And then I smiled. Because I knew I would blog about it and you would laugh at how ridiculous I am.
Last night I realized that I just don't like to think too hard about things. That makes it sound like there's a lot on my mind or something, like I'm going through some huge struggle or something, but I'm not. I just analyze way too much- every motive, every thought, every feeling, every word, everything. It wears me out. I'm taking a break from thinking. Can you do that?

Oh! I forgot to add these links to my fav photo sites yesterday:

They're both for the same guy--Marc Stephens--who I actually found b/c he photographed some friends of mine. If you know April Heern, he did her engagement photos & there is one on the site. Same goes for Brandt & Jessica Wilson-- their wedding & engagement photos are on there. pretty cool huh?

enjoy your day. you're alive. the sun is shining. christmas is coming. so is my digital camera.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

My new obsession: looking at wedding photojournalists' websites.

Maybe it's a part of my obsession with weddings and my being "in love with love." I think I really just love photography and it's something I'm discovering a passion for.

Photojournalism is so beautiful. In fact, pictures are beautiful. Not always the posed ones, but REAL, TRUE pictures that capture REAL moments. Even looking at other people's pictures helps me to catch a glimpse of what they're like. They capture life. Posed pictures allow us to freeze for just a moment to stop, breathe, and remember being with friends and family. But I love a good picture that doesn't have to be posed, because it catches us in action--the reality of daily life.

I love to go about my day taking snapshots in my mind...some posed, but most of random observations around me...I can't wait to get my new digi-cam for Christmas. I'm starting a new hobby.

Take a look at these websites I found. Note: they're mostly all wedding photos, but I just think there is so much beauty there. Let yourself get caught up in their moments.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Develop interest in life as you see it; in people, things, literature, music - the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.
Henry Miller (1891 - 1980)

I really like that quote. Puts into words how I see the world. Think about it.

I'm noticing how much lately I'm mesmerized by the idea of love. I can't wait to be in love, and I love to see other people in love. It's so beautiful, and it's so obvious that marriage is a reflection of God's love for us. He shows us how much He loves us through marriage relationships. I look forward to that.

Monday, December 13, 2004

So many things I'd like to blog about today...what will I choose?

Weber Wedding Weekend: went well. (WOW--lots of W's in that.) No seriously, it was so much fun, mostly because I got to see my girls Faith & L.A. from Johnson and Becka and Abbra (and her husband Mike) from CBC (or CCU I suppose). We had such a blast. So refreshing. Isn't it amazing how 6 girls who spent only 6 weeks together can feel like we've been best friends for 6 years? I love it.

Last night I was reminded of how big God is...again. We prayed for God to heal a guy from Fuel, Eric, who just found out that the mass in his stomach is a rare form of pancreatic cancer. We prayed believing that God would heal Him for His glory. I have a hard time with that, but I realized that that's stupid. It's nothing for God to just reach down and heal someone. It's as easy as it is for me to chew a piece of gum. That simple. God is huge.

And then, last night, I found myself disappointed about something really, really stupid. It's personal so I won't share it all here. But what really makes me mad is that I let my wishful thinking about someone that has been haunting me for 4 years--my own fault--change my mood completely. In my effort to avoid sharing too much, this may be incoherent and difficult to understand. But if you know me well enough, you'll know what I'm talking about. If you know the song "You Don't Know Me"--that's what I listened to on my way home to Lincoln. That explains it.

Friday, December 10, 2004

I wanted to write in this today but I have no flow of creative juices at the moment. So, i'll make a list. Because those always work.

Where I want to go on vacation next: California.
After that? Europe again.

What I'm kind of annoyed with hearing about but really just jealous of: honeymoons.
Two weddings in two weeks in one office. When is it my turn?

Worried about: how I'm going to freeze in a sleeveless shirt and skirt at the wedding tmw.
I'll get over it.

Thankful: that my 1:30 appointment to fill out retirement plan papers only took approx. 2 minutes. I didn't really want to have to space out while he repeated information to me that I heard about 2 months ago, didn't understand, don't remember, and feel stupid about for not understanding and having a business degree.

Thinking about: how i'll see my BCG's in a few short hours!!! yay!

Feeling bad: because I just bored any possible blog readers out of ever reading my blog again. Sorry. Please come back again! And leave a comment--even if it is to say that this was the stupidest blog entry you've ever read. (although I've written worse.)

Peace be with you.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

O come, O come Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to Thee, O Israel.
O come, O come, great Lord of might who to Thy tribes on Sinai's height
In ancient times once gave the law, in cloud and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to Thee, O Israel.
O come desire of nations, bind in one the hearts of all mankind.
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease and be Thyself the King of Peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to Thee, O Israel.
...and they will call him "Immanuel"--which means, "God with us."
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Take O take me as I am.
Summon out what I should be.
Set your seal upon my heart
and live in me.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

I could never become a drug addict, that's for sure.

I've been taking this generic cold medicine yesterday and today, and it's starting to scare me. (by the way, i have no idea if i even have a cold, it could have been strep. i'm not real sure, but thought i'd try the cold meds...they've worked!) I remembered taking it last year when I had a cold and it started making me feel dizzy, but I thought i'd try it again. Yesterday I took it twice (normal dosage, don't worry) and it made me feel GREAT, but a little spacy and tipsy. I liked it. This morning I woke up and I'm pretty sure the side effects were still in action many many hours later. So at lunch time today I took more, b/c I didn't want to get a headache and neckache anymore, and now I regret it. Since then I've been panicky and thought I was going to have an anxiety attack in Cracker Barrel. I just had to get out of there! It was almost like there were twice the side effects that I had yesterday. Finally the panic has worn off and now I just feel good and relaxed, and quite spacy still. But I will not be taking anymore unless absolutely necessary. Side effects are so weird and can be scary!

With this being said, I know I could never become addicted to drugs. I'd get too scared!

In other news...
-spa party tonight at krista's to prep. for her wedding in 3 days
-finished my Life Map project for Shaping the Heart of a Leader and really loved seeing how different people, events, and ideas have shaped my life.
-I was really encouraged by people in my class discussion group today. God has totally been reassuring me lately through the affirmations of other people. I love that.
-for some reason, O Come O Come Emmanuel has been my fav song lately... it's resonating with me. listen to bethany dillon's version at her website:

Monday, December 06, 2004

I think I have strep throat. Or at least I'm getting it.

It sucks.

I hate sore throats, and I am a big baby.

The only thing worse than a sore throat is being nauseous or throwing up.

As long as this goes away by Friday for Krista & Josh's wedding weekend, I'll be fine.

Just talked to Faith (from Johnson Bible College), about the wedding, and can't wait to see her and Laura Ashley as well as Becka & Abbra!!! So excited for the Bible College Girls' (BCG's) Reunion!

Friday, December 03, 2004

So I decided to change the name of my blog today... Decided it was time to depart with my beloved quote from Will Ferrell in Anchorman, "I AM A GLASS CASE OF EMOTION!!!" It just stuck with me... Maybe sometime I'll revert back to it.

But for now I felt like my blog is more thought than emotion...maybe a mix of both, but whatever. And for some reason yesterday I realized that my blog is sort of like a trap somewhere my thoughts get a chance to escape to or maybe accidentally fall into. If I don't get them out in real-life conversation then they appear here, because they can't just stay in my head! Did I mention how much I love the blogging world?

It's my Christmas Extravaganza weekend. Last night I saw Christmas in the Chapel and I will again tonight, and tomorrow afternoon I'm catching the matinee of "Our God Has Come" at Eastview. Sure they might have a million cool lights, but I will still hold my cherished Christmas in the Chapel higher in my heart. The storyline this year is incredible...Jeff Colleen is a genius for writing it all each year. This time I'm even more amazed. I miss being a part of it, and of course each year I will continue to join in singing the finale of Good Christian Men, Rejoice! There's a special feeling inside that the song brings, and it could never ever be the same outside of the realm of LCC's Christmas in the Chapel. No other arrangement, accompaniment, director, or chorale would do it justice in my mind. And no matter how many times I've performed it in the show over the past 4 years, the feeling's there every time. Don't know what it is...but I love it.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

I'd like to refer you to read Mike Baker's (as well as Barney Wells') preparation for the Theological Coffeehouse we had today in the LCC warehouse on "where the church is headed culturally." If you get a chance go to:

It's good to read both Dr. Wells' and Baker's sides, but I particularly agree more w/ Baker. Let me know what you think.


Last night I was sitting in Einstein's, drinking my peppermint steamer and attempting to finish Dallas Willard's Renovation of the Heart for my seminary class, when suddenly a large mosquito landed on my cozy fleece shirt. While he sat there for a second I silently said to him, "What on earth are you doing here? It's snowing outside and it's freezing cold. Shouldn't you be gone by now?" And so I shook my arm at that, and he flew away in an instant.

How is it that mosquitoes still exist in the winter? I just don't understand...they better not be carrying some gross disease, that's all I have to say! I even have a bite on my left arm from another mosquito incident. Weird!

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Tea Time

I love it when something warms you from the inside out. A nice hot cup of Earl Grey (British style with milk and honey in it, of course) is doing that right now. I've been cold all day until now.

Other things that warm me on the inside at the moment:
  • other memories of England last year
  • knowing I'll see old friends (the BCG's) in only a week and a half at the Weber wedding
  • the Jon Baker and Chris Plank CD (check out )
  • when the words of a song or a picture or artwork or object says exactly what I'm thinking or feeling

I'd also like to share this quote from William Law:

Would you know who is the greatest saint in the world? It is not he who prays most or fasts most; it is not he who gives most alms or is most eminent for temperance, chastity, or justice; but it is he who is always thankful to God, who wills everything that God wills, who receives everything as an instance of God's goodness and has a heart always ready to praise God for it.

And this, my friends, concludes tea time with Mandy today. Drink up.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Back to eyes are so tired. I can't stop sleeping lately!

Good thanksgiving, but I'm glad it's over--now the Christmas celebration can begin for everyone else as it had already begun for me!

good stuff at Fuel last night. Brandon Grant totally hit it home about taking immediate action and taking steps of faith. It's about time I start to DO something and not sit around and wait for ministry to happen. There's no point in sitting on your faith and doing nothing about it. My struggle is this: I still can't seem to figure out what my gifts or talents are or at least how I could use them. Maybe I should stop trying to "assess" myself and just start DOING...that could be the problem.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

OK so my mood sort of changed about the snow since I had to drive home in it today. The usual 1 hour, 15/20 min. drive took a whopping 3 hours! That snow is scary!

However, I'm still thankful for it, and I still see God's beauty through it nonetheless.
It has officially begun...the snow, that is. Here are the words that come to mind when trying to describe how the snow and this season make me feel:


these are the times i wish i was a photographer or an artist so i could somehow capture the feelings that words can't even begin to do justice.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

I'm not even sure what I want to write in here today b/c I have a lot going through my head at the moment...lots of thoughts from reading other people's blogs that are making me out answers or just more questions.

I am challenged and stretched by reading other people's's like getting into the mind of a person (only if it's someone who writes openly and freely and doesn't hold back). It's like good conversation over a hot cup of tea next to a fireplace...that kind of conversation. about nothing, yet so full of meaning and value.

maybe what i'm writing isn't so much about people's blogs, but rather about conversation in general. I crave those kinds of conversations...that draw me in & entice me. sometimes i don't even speak but I'd rather listen and soak up wisdom that needs to settle and form into thoughts and words in my heart and in my mouth. It's like the words are feathers floating through the air. bits and pieces may just fly here and there without resonating anywhere. oh, but i love when a good feather of truth, or slight possibility of truth, is transformed into a heavier piece of clay that begins to mold into my system of thought.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Classic Christmas CD's to me (laugh all you want at how these all would belong in the Contemporary Adult Christian music genre, but they're the ones who capture Christmas the most for me and they have since I was little):

Amy Grant--
A Christmas Album
Home for Christmas
A Christmas to Remember
Michael W. Smith--
Steven Curtis Chapman--
Music of Christmas
Jim Brickman--
The Gift
Point of Grace--
A Christmas Story

and, I still love a good ol' Mariah Carey Christmas, Harry Connick Jr., Frank Sinatra, Martina McBride, and many more...however, I do not currently have those CD's and wish I did. My sis and I reminisced last night how we used to listen to all of our classic Christmas records while decorating or making cookies and I love those memories so much! I miss those records!

For those of you who know me well...REALLY REALLY well, you know that Gloria first came out while listening to "Sleigh Ride" from Amy Grant's A Christmas Album...that memory will always hold a dear place in my heart. :-)
Ahhh....(sigh of anticipation, relaxation, excitement)

Christmas is coming! I love it!

Here's me right now, sitting in my office:

---drinking some tea from my oversized snowman mug,
---smelling my Gold Canyon Candle Co. candle called "Christmas Presence" (SOOOO yummy),
---listening to the Christmas CD's that are classic to me (currently playing: Amy Grant's "Home for Christmas" CD),
---just finished typing up a letter to all students who have visited LCC this semester, just updating them on Christmas in the Chapel and the excitement of the holiday season on campus.
---(and, to add the fifth, visual, sense that I left out, I'm also looking at the picture of Christmas in the Chapel from last year missing the excitement of singing and being up there on the stage watching people be blessed...or laughing at us! either one!)

Oh how I love this season!

Friday, November 19, 2004

Most adventure all week:

LCC had a bomb threat, yes a bomb threat, yesterday afternoon. We evacuated the campus and cleared everyone out so the campus could be searched thoroughly. It's all safe and clear and we're back in action today. It's interesting to me how many rumors are already being passed around in the dorms about possible names of who it could be or how it came in and whether anything was found...pretty sure all of them remain "rumors" that are purely false. Gosh I love being in the middle of a Christian bubble...the rumor mill, the gossip/angel? factory, etc. Any other fun names you can think of? I just like to laugh at it sometimes! Don't get me wrong, I love this institution VERY much and that's why I recruit students to come here. I just think it's a funny place to be sometimes.

Anyways that's what happened in my life yesterday.
Today==> ICTC in Springfield this afternoon/night==>hanging out w/ my house church peeps in El Paso later (really late actually). That's the day in case you were wondering what I'm up to. T-R-O-U-B-L-E. :-)

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Today, this is what I fear:

-that I will not get to spend time in the beautiful summer sunshine that's dancing across a sky as blue as this shade.
-that I will not get a nap and will continue to be tired forever
-that I have arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome and my hands will continue to hurt daily for some's weird and it's really bothering me...I almost cried today.
-not getting things done that I need to get done (seminary homework, house church retreat planning, making my famous banana bread for women's discipleship tomorrow, etc.)
-that someday as a leader I will breakdown (that's what we talked about in shaping the heart of a leader today so now i'm paranoid)
-that I will not get to marry Matt Wertz (i know, ridiculous)
-that I will forget to do something somewhere
-not spending enough time with the Lord
-focusing too much on being a Martha (see Luke 10:38-42)

I know I have no reason to fear. However, I still do.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


-This color is the exact color of my shirt today.

-I woke up w/ Aerosmith's song "Livin' on the Edge" in my head today...what? I have no idea but it was in my head.

-I really like Jeremy Cowart's photography a lot. Check out and look at their portfolios of the work they've done for artists like Matt Wertz (of course), Bethany Dillon, Dave Barnes, Shawn McDonald, Andy Davis, Ginny Owens, Shaun Groves, etc. Good stuff...creative and raw. I like it.

-I added a counter to my blog so I can see how few people really look at my blog. Just thought it would be fun!

-House church tonight

-Can't wait to put up my Christmas tree...forgot to bring it back from home this weekend!

Monday, November 15, 2004

Weekend Update:

Right now I'm enamored by two things: how great God is and how small I am. That he could hang the stars and call them each by name and still reach down, so far down, to us on earth--I'm stuck without words. His hands have to be so big. All I can even think or pray is this: "Make yourself real to me."
Because it all seems so unreal sometimes.

And because I'm on a Matt Wertz high from his wonderfully, completely acoustic, unplugged, and unbelievable show in St. Louis on Friday, I'll let his words sink in about the splendor of our Maker.

All I Know
I don't know how the stars hang
Or how there's night and there is day
I don't know how you spoke into the black
and made it all be

All I know
is the bleeding in my heart
and the healing in your touch
All I know
is that you gave everything
so let that be enough...
it's all I know, it's all I know

I don't know how your love works
Or how you cover me in grace
I don't know how you swallow all I am
when I can't stand my taste

I can't explain your mystery
but I know the answer

The part I'm stuck on is this: "I don't know how you swallow all I am when I can't stand my taste." That's a gracious God.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Shaping the Heart of a Leader--I'm finding pieces of truth in reflection that fit together like a puzzle...I'm still somewhere on the outside pieces I think.

Today's theme in class: Commonplace.

Basic idea: Nothing is ordinary. Everything is sacred. Simple as that. There is no secular vs. sacred.

Last night: Had to teach myself to suck it up in the battle of selfishness vs. selflessness.

Also last night: Saw David Crowder, Shawn McDonald, and Mutemath in Lisle...yet another example of the beauty and power of music. It is so beautiful. It meets me where I am and fills the empty space between me and heaven... note: emphasis on the MUSIC not on the PEOPLE.

Annoying: Emphasis on the PEOPLE and not the MUSIC. I had to fight the urge to strangle those concertgoers screaming "ohmigosh this is my favorite song!" or waving their cell phones in the air to capture the moment. At one time I was in their shoes, wanting to savor those moments as mountaintop experiences and live in constant concerts of worship, but that's not reality. Reality is worship there and in the valleys and everywhere in between. We don't need a David Crowder or a Chris Tomlin or a Matt Redman or a Shane & Shane (as much as I'd love to sing w/ them every night of my life) in order to worship. They're just ordinary people being faithful to their call. And that brings me to my next soapbox...autographs. I could go on for days...honestly does any good come from having a person's signature? If anyone has input on that I'd love to hear it, b/c I don't see much good in an autograph. Especially w/ musicians...the music itself is the signature.

Signature of Matt Wertz:
Here are words to his song "Yesterday Morning" that I found to be a signature on my heart last night while driving.

Yesterday morning every part of her just shut down
Getting out of bed never felt so difficult before
Every step she took led to the wrong direction
And she never made it out her door
Yesterday morning Jamie yielded to all she hates
But if she despises it so much why did she give in
Seems like this battle just can’t be won
And she’s stuck there alone again.
She said I’m so tired of this stumble that I’ve been calling a walk
And so I’m sick of this mumble that I’ve described as a talk
And now I guess its time I lose myself
To the one who has found me here
Yesterday morning every part of her just shut down
All that she knew or thought she knew flew out that door
Things she loves so easily forgotten
Now Jamie can’t love no more
She said I’m so tired of this stumble that I’ve been calling a walk
And so I’m sick of this mumble that I’ve described as a talk
And now I guess its time I lose myself
To the one who has found me here
What really makes me get out of bed each morning?
In a room so dark I just would rather sleep.
Is it just the November season of life?

Where am I and where am I going?
Am I even good at what I'm doing?
I feel stuck in mid-seasons of life...

Other people--am I like them?
Are they right and I am wrong?
Am I right and they are wrong?
Are we in the same place?
Have I lost the ability to love?

Moving from uncertainty to solidity.
From stumbling to walking, mumbling to talking,
From fear to faith.

Monday, November 08, 2004

I just left a comment on my buddy Phil's blog about how I feel like life is one big question mark right now. I question and second guess everything--from my job & ministries (am i really where i should be?), to my own personality & gifts (who in the heck am i?) to my relationships with family & friends (am i loving enough the people already in my life?). Those are just a few. Of course there are many more that I can't even put into words really...they're just floating around in my world waiting to be formed, asked, and answered.

One of the reasons I'm wondering if I love enough the people already in my life is this-- I think I have ADD now. Seriously. When I am surrounded by lots of new people I have a hard time focusing on one conversation. I'm starting to do the one thing I hate--look around and not pay attention or listen when other people are talking to me b/c i'm too busy looking around or stopping other people to talk to them at the same time. Why in the world do I do that? It's something I do too easily at Fuel b/c there are so many different people there that I want to talk to that I have a hard time focusing on just one at a time. I SO need to work on that.

Furthermore, here's something I read last night in a seminary book that I'd really like to think about:

"There are no small obediences. Every yes further ingrains the heart with the character of Jesus."

I will try my hardest to live with a constant attitude of 'yes' and hopefully my heart will slowly begin to change to become more like Jesus.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Things that have warmed my soul since my bad mood last night:

1. Good friends like Chelsea and Darcie...
2. Good talks with good friends...always involving venting of course.
3. Sleep
4. And finally, the gorgeous, bright, golden sun this morning. Almost blinding, but nevertheless it still warmed my soul.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

I'm in a horrible mood right now. I've decided, 'what better thing to do than to blog?' (apparently when you're quoting your own thought you have to use these: ' and ') I'm ticked that after an entire day of work all I want to do is lay around my apartment and do nothing at all but watch a movie or read or drink peppermint tea and chill...but instead I find myself back in my walk-in-closet-sized-cubicle at work b/c it's the only place I can escape to while I wait to hang out w/ my friend Chels.

I also hate not being able to vent my feelings w/o the fear of hurting the feelings of others. That's so annoying. I hate being a people-pleaser. Being a "golden retriever" sucks. Sometimes I just wish I could be a tiger or something fierce. Sure, everyone loves a golden retriever, blah blah blah. Whatever. I just want to be a tiger today. So I'm being one in my blog and not in real life.
I have never liked the color purple much. For some reason today it looks pretty!

Here's what I'm learning and what I'm thankful for right now:

-God is so gracious and merciful...why don't I see that enough? His grace is the only thing that can make me clean! Ms. Pearl shared her testimony last night at Focus and really opened my eyes to the power of grace.

-Girl time--what an incredible blessing! It's awesome to see how friendships begin with finding something in common with someone...from that bond a friendship grows and ministry takes place. It happens with my friends--new and old, it's beginning to happen w/ my SFG, it happened this week in my house church, and I love to see the way girls can minister to each other. There's something truly valuable there that just isn't the same with guys.

-The truth really does set you free! Be free!

(note: the following things i've learned are much more shallow than the above)

-Don't ever try to take a cake out of a bundt pan before it's completely cooled or only half of it will come out.

-I'm thankful for my winter coat that I really love...and that I only bought it for a couple dollars at a garage sale last summer!

-I'm also thankful still for Bethany Dillon's songwriting and talent. Saw her saturday night and told her how much I appreciate her. There's something about her that is so impressive.

-I'm thankful that the election is over for the following reasons:
1. I don't have to see all the crap on TV anymore.
2. I don't have to worry about what to do when I vote...(i was a first-time voter this election...wasn't registered yet 4 years ago, so I was a little unsure of what to do...not a big deal)
3. I don't have to listen to the way conservative Christians ignore everything else just because George W. is a Christian.
4. I also don't have to listen to the Christians who try so hard to be culturally relevant that they try to rebel and say they're going to vote for Kerry. (i don't know if this really happened but some people acted like it.)
5. I'm sick of hearing people who don't like Bush say that he isn't a good leader because he may not be as smart. Well, you know what? I'm sure he was quite distracted trying to run a country and still campaign on top of that! Give him some credit people! He's exhausted! If he wants to have long pauses in between words or sentences, who cares!
6. Bush may not be the best president in the world, but there is no one who will be perfect. No one will ever please 100% of Americans, unfortunately, but I do believe Bush will do a heck of a lot better job running this country than Kerry!

That's my 2 cents.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Finally finished Blue Like Jazz last night! WOW. I was so hurrying through it so I can get to Donald Miller's next book, "Searching for God Knows What." Such a great book though. I don't think any writer has ever captured my thoughts and feelings and put them into words as well as he did. And even though a lot of those things were things I maybe thought prior to reading them, I never really made them solid in my head (if that makes sense) or was actually challenged by those thoughts. Incredible communicator? Yes, Donald Miller, that's what you are.

Also had some incredible insights from two guys who are a part of this house church "movement" thing and got the chance to see how they "do church." (please excuse my over-use of quotation marks) I also hate describing it as a movement, because movement just has some culturally relevant negative connotation with it. I don't know, it just seems like calling house churches a "movement" makes them more of something that's hip and cool and fad-ish. I'd rather say that the house church thing is a vision than a movement. I like the terminology there much better.

I realized so much through talking with those guys how much we need to BREAK OUT of the stupid box that we often keep our minds in on what CHURCH really is. It is so not a building, it's so not a service, and it's so not what we really classify under its very title. It's the community that takes place. It's the way that Scripture calls for each person to bring something different to the table. I love how we can tie in the breaking of bread and actually eating a meal with family and with community. When a family eats a meal together, they create community. Someone last night said something about a "potluck dinner, potluck worship" and I think that is so beautiful. Absolutely profound. If you think about it, each person who brings something to a potluck dinner brings something completely different (even if it's called the same thing, you know it tastes different!), and it's the same way with worship. We each contribute in a different way. That's what the church seriously needs to capture, and I think some churches are doing that. The church is defined by those who make up that community--the different personalities, gifts, thoughts, ideas, philosophies, talents, theologies, etc. that are brought to the table. And I mean this not to make it sound like church should be completely relative and unbiblically postmodernist. The church can be this and still be biblical. In fact, that's what the church in the Bible began as! Why have we gone so far astray? How did we get there and how do we find our way back to Acts 2?

Thoughts on this? I'd love to hear comments...

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Behind tired eyes...

Back to Lincoln tomorrow...I've had a nice break away from there, even though I've only been home in Streator for the time away. Well, to Streator, back to Bloomington, back to Streator, to Seneca, Morris, & Joliet today, and back to Streator tonight. I've been living out of my packed bags, and hate that but yet can't get away from it. It will be nice to return, finally, to my apartment tomorrow!

I have the most beautiful & hilarious niece in the world. This morning as I was half asleep and she was getting ready to go to the babysitter's, I heard her say "Mandy" completely for the first time! I have only heard her call me "Manny" before so it was cute. I just love her little conversations with herself and with everyone else...especially the way she ends an incredibly long story of foreign gibberish with "yeah, yeah, yeah" as if she's admonishing the words she's just spoken. She's just so darn cute and innocent...taking after me :-)

Other random stuff---
-I want my hair cut like Meg Ryan's in Kate & Leopold. I think I'll do that this week.
-I'm going to Arizona from Dec. 27-Jan. 2 as of this morning. The house church leaders w/ Fuel are going together to the Indian reservation to meet the couples we're supposed to be supporting.
-I have a serious problem with shopping...or at least I have a serious problem w/ the guilt that follows my shopping.
-My friends Becka & Faith want me to move to Cali next year...tempting...but then there's my ministry w/ Fuel...and my family...things I don't know if I can leave.
-Jobs I'd love to do these days: wedding coordinator, songwriter, music journalist, something in advertising, photography....ok so these are things i'd love to do any day, not just these days. but how in the world do i get there?

Saturday, October 23, 2004

I love to be inspired. Tonight I realized that I am extremely inspired by reading other people's blogs. It's like a guilty pleasure. I wonder why the inspiration comes more from reading blogs than actual good conversations with people. Maybe it's because we're more open when writing...unsure of who will ever hear our thoughts, or if anyone will ever even see them. I'll always revert the blogosphere back to Meg Ryan's idea of sending our thoughts "out into the void" as in the good ol' chick flick You've Got Mail. I never quite know whether anyone is going to read these things or not. If no one read this, or even if multitudes and metropoli (?) read my blog, why in the world should I care?

It's like I always hold something back, but not always knowingly. I'm not sure what it is, but I just want my heart to flow freely from my fingertips and from my mouth. It's much easier to find it in my fingertips than from my mouth, but I suppose it will eventually make its way out there. Either way, it's still coming from me.

I think this is a part of my gradual learning about being free. This week as I read to my house church from my journal the previous night, I told them that God has been teaching me about freedom lately. It's like this message that just keeps unraveling further and further. The "theme" this week at Fuel was actually "Conviction in a Tolerant World" but there was much there to be learned about freedom instead. As a part of the 'unraveling' process this week, I realized how little conviction has to do with guilt, shame, sin, judgment, and all other negative connotations that go with it. In reality, conviction is a message of truth and freedom. It's about our faith in general, and about having a conviction for the person of Jesus Christ. Conviction is something that takes place in the heart prior to any future sin; this is contrary to most Christians' belief that conviction is what takes place after you've done something "wrong" and you feel guilty for it. Conviction drives us toward repentance before we even need it. It drives us to the uttermost humility that Jesus was and is.

So where does the freedom message come in? It's just that! I'm not guilty of anything anymore, because Jesus humbly took that on for me! Normally that should drive me to humiliation and embarassment because I'd be completely ashamed of myself for departing my burdens and sins onto someone else, but because Jesus lives for that very purpose, I'm free instead! What an incredible trade!

Don't you love when I flesh out my thoughts onto my blog? I think it's necessary for me to figure out who I am in the long run.

My question is this: Why can I write about all of these things and still it would take all of Home Depot to hammer and nail it to my heart and build it into my life? What in the world am I missing?

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

I'm such a dork...sometimes I like to coordinate my font color w/ the colors I'm wearing or thinking about. I'm wearing some new red pants today so I figured I'd write in this lovely shade of red. Reminds me of the pretty leaves on trees that I get to see so often while driving to all these college fairs lately! I do love driving by myself, I must admit. I have such a great time just blasting my favorite CD's and singing harmonies as loud as I want. I honestly think I have trained myself to sing better & better when I'm driving in the car! It's one of my favorite things to do! I'm realizing lately that singing is seriously one of the things that makes me most happy. I'm so jealous of people who play, sing, & write music, love it, and get paid to do it.

Here's what I listened to yesterday in the car:
*Shawn McDonald "Simply Nothing"
*The Swift
*Bethany Dillon (self-titled)
*old school Plumb CD, "Candycoatedwaterdrops"
*Hillsongs United Live "Best Friend" CD
*Matt Wertz, "23 Places"

I'm pretty sure I'm leaving work early has been so busy lately that I'm just exhausted. Dr. Searby even came in to tell me that I can leave @ 3 if I want to... that was nice of him! (Even though I have lots of extra hours that I could probably have done so w/out permission, it was nice of him to say that as my boss!) I can't wait to go home and put on some comfy clothes! I never thought I'd dream of wearing sweatpants & a hoody, but I sure do on rainy days like today!

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Fall is here!

I hate this in-between weather when I don't know whether I can still wear skirts, capris, flip-flops, and sandals or not. But you know what? I'm going to anyways! As long as I can w/out freezing my bottom off!

Life is so busy! My weeks are flying by! There's something every single night it seems fairs, working late, Fuel house church, Missionary Convention, people coming over, concerts, etc. It's a good busy at least! I got a new car last Saturday! It's a 2003 Ford Focus and it's Sangria Red. I like it a lot.

Last night was a wonderful night...why? Matt Allman, Adam Brucker, & Tony Collins came over to make Chelsea, Tammy, and I dinner and it was so much fun! We had a little 6-person romantic candlelit dinner in our living room on a blanket...hilarious b/c none of us are dating, it was just fun! We talked about Christmas time coming soon and I'm excited for the season to begin! Can't wait to break out my old school Amy Grant, Steven Curtis Chapman, Michael W. Smith, & Avalon Christmas CD's. Those are classic to me. Cheesy or not, they = Christmas music to me. Ahhh....the sweet sounds of the season. I don't look fwd. to the cold but I look forward to the sounds & smells!

Thursday, September 23, 2004

The difference between turning 21 and turning 22: you have to be an adult and actually work like a normal adult. I learned that Tuesday! Oh well.

Life update: learning lots about myself in lots of ways and thinking about that...not in a selfish way but learning about my personality, my DiSC profile, etc. in class is so beneficial! Such a crucial part of shaping my heart!

Looking forward to: Matt Wertz & Dave Barnes...tomorrow night!!!! 8:00!

Looking to buy: a new car...very soon. The old one is only worth twice what it would cost to fix it so i'm speeding up the process.

Excited about: Cory & David moving to Bloomington!

Listening to: Dave Barnes...gotta be prepared for tmw night!

Thinking about: how I shouldn't have stayed out till 2 a.m. w/ Chels, Darcie, Adam, and Greg last night. Way too late for an old lady like me.

Overwhelmed: Lots of visits to schedule & busy work days!!!

Fun at work: last night's college fair @ Parkland! Good times! Met a cute A.C. from Olivet! He was super nice and loves my boys Matt Wertz and Shane & Shane too!

Now: finished w/ this blog. longer than what i thought.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Not myself...

Yesterday I had one of those days where you just don't feel like yourself. I wasn't responding like myself. I didn't feel like I knew quite how to feel. I was tired, but not really. Awake and alive, but not really. I don't know why! I wonder what makes me feel that way! Maybe it was just one of those days... They're kind of nice to have once in awhile...kind of makes me more introspective, reflective, or dependent on God. Sometimes it teaches me to seek only reassurance from God and not people. I think those days are good once in awhile, but boy are they weird!

Today I think I'm back to least I feel like it! It's Friday and finally I feel somewhat rested...good thing, in case I want to have a big shindig of a Friday night! I don't know what the plan is, however. We'll see...One more wedding to attend tomorrow...counting down the people who are engaged and yet to be married, and still counting down the days till I myself am one of them...counting down from what number? Eternity. Don't get me wrong here...I'm not in a big hurry at all, that's for sure! But I definitely look forward to it! I won't pretend that I absolutely love being single...there are days when I do...but then there are days when I'm impatient. For now I'll enjoy getting creative ideas from other people's weddings.

How about this beautiful weather? Nice? I think so. Warm, perfect days...Cool, breezy, chili, football game, and bonfire-kind-of-nights. I like it.

One week from tonight? Dave Barnes & Matt Wertz...Illinois Wesleyan University...8:00 p.m...Doors open @ 7. Be there.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

October 12, 2004 is coming...

What a great day it will be! It's the release date for Shane & Shane's new album, "Clean." Go to and you can listen to 3 of the songs from the new album while their new website is being built.

Also if you're interested in promoting them more and getting some free stuff, click on the thing that says "Help promote S&S" and you can fill out some info to get posters and fun stuff as well as 2 free concert tickets to one of the listed tour dates. Can you tell I'm on the street team? Oh yes. I am. And for my boys Matty Wertz & D. Barnes. 9/24 (concert @ IWU) is coming soon!

Monday, September 13, 2004

On my face: a smile and tired eyes.

In my mind and on my heart: lots of thoughts on leadership, spiritual gifts, etc., & excitement about house churches w/ Fuel--starts tomorrow!!!

On my head: too much curly hair that is annoying me today

On my desk, ready to be read: "Renovation of the Heart" by Dallas Willard

In my ears: Starfield...good stuff...I'll share!

Can I Stay Here Forever? by Starfield...

Through forgotten convictions
Misplaced affections
I'm losing the sound of Your voice
I've been chasing after emptiness
Trying to tidy up this mess
I swear I’ve been down this road before
I want to get back to where it all began
When I would long for only You
Like a child I'll take You at Your word
As these mountains of doubt,
they fade away
I'm longing to trust and love You more
So for me this is beautiful
A brand new thought, and a brand new world
Can I stay here forever here with You?
I've lost sight of what first drew me
To the love that pursued me
The joy that inspired my song
The friendship that was all I knew
The arms that I would fall into
Seem miles and years from where I am today
I got to get back to where it all began
When I would wait for only You
Can I stay here foreverHere with you?
Surrounded by Your mercy
Clothed in Your truth
Always, I'll stay
Always here with You
Can I be here foreverHere with You?
Can I know what it's like
To deeply love You?
Always, Lord, let me stay
Always, here with You

Friday, September 10, 2004

After Focus at LCC on Wednesday night and a lot of thinking later on that night, I had a ton of ideas running through my head. I ran with one of them, and this is what my journal reads from that night:

"...JK spoke about the idea behind the Good Samaritan and left us with this thought--'God uses the helpless to help others. Blessed are those on the campus of LCC who are more helpless than they know...Welcome to ministry.'

The helpless are usually left to remain where they are. Like lepers. Untouchable. Not good enough for society. Unclean. Unwanted. Impure. Unhealed. Full of disease, pain, and loneliness. Why do we continue to leave them where they are? They're the ones who end up teaching us the most in the long run! Actually, haven't we once been helpless ourselves? Helplessness is where faithfulness begins and grows. It's where one realizes there is nowhere else to turn.

I feel helpless sometimes as a single 21 (almost 22)-year-old female, like I did last week when my car broke down. I felt like I could do nothing on my own. I depended on people to help me make decisions, tell me where to go, and give me rides. Sometimes that's all you need when you're helpless--a way to get from here to there. But when you're helpless and on that journey from here to there, you somehow have the opportunity to affect more people than yourself.

Think about it. If you're the opposite of helpless, you've pretty much got it all together right? When you've got it all together you'll never need to interact w/ or rely on a single other person. You can handle everything on your own. How can that be useful in ministry? It can't! Reliance on people and interaction is where ministry happens. So, you see, it's important to become like the helpless.

It seems as though w/out the helpless we'd have much fewer stories to read about Jesus in the gospels. Almost everyone he interacted w/ was helpless and look how much we learn from their lives and stories! It gives us a guide for our own--from both Jesus and the helpless. Jesus took risks. He lived dangerously and took chances on people whom no one else would. He didn't keep to himself b/c he had everything under control, although he could have if he wanted to. Instead he helped the helpless. That's ministry. That's our call.

Take a chance on someone. Someone who might be a loner. Annoying. Frustrating. Too prideful. Too sinful or dirty. Too greedy. Flirty. Too lustful. Too quiet. Too ugly.

Take a risk. Take a chance on the helpless...because either you are one yourself or you were at one time! Maybe you'll find that you're the one who really needed the help more!"

That's the end of my journal entry from Wed. Please note that this was meant to be self-directed and not at you or anyone else. But take encouragement and a challenge from it and see what happens!