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 www.jbcpmusic.com )
  • 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 work...my 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 think...investigate...seek out answers or just more questions.

I am challenged and stretched by reading other people's blogs...it'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 reason....it'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 www.pixelgrazer.com 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.