Wednesday, August 28, 2013


For the past two weeks, a single word has appeared over and over again during my quiet time (time spent in the Word and in prayer), in listening to songs on the radio or my iphone, in the scripture on my bathroom mirror, and many other places.


Psalm 38:15- Lord, I wait for you; you will answer, Lord my God.
Psalm 24:14- Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
Psalm 130:5- I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.
Lamentations 3:26- It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord
Psalm 5:3- In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly

Clearly God is trying to teach me something through the repetition of this word in so many aspects of my life. Sadly, I haven't discerned exactly what it is that I'm supposed to be waiting on the Lord for. Often times when I receive a specific word from the Lord, it is because I am going through a trial and He is strengthening and encouraging me, or sometimes He will speak a word to me that is meant for someone else.

Certainly, I am waiting to be in Heaven with Him forever; I'm waiting for the second coming of Christ. No one knows when those things will happen and so scripture tells us that we should wait vigilantly, but somehow this message seems more immediate.

Some of the deepest desires of my heart have yet to be fulfilled, but for the most part I've been strangely at peace about not having those wants met, trusting that God's plan is better even if I don't know what it is; so it seems strange to me that God would call this word to mind so frequently in a season of relative contentedness. Maybe this word isn't for now, but so that I can be strengthened when I start into a season of discontent...

How do I know what to wait for? Does this word apply to big situations as well as everyday mundane ones, like waiting until the weekend to buy a pair of shoes that I've had my eye on for a while? Does this particular word apply to a certain situation in my life or should it be more broadly applied. I've even gone back through my journal to discern if there has been a particular pattern to my prayers or something I've been praying about repeatedly and I can't find anything...Sometimes it is so confusing! There are literally thousands of things that I could wait for. How long do I wait? How will I know when it's time to stop waiting?

Whatever the reason God wants me to wait and for however long, I will strive to follow my confirmation verse, Luke 11:28 "Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it."  Having heard this word, I will try my best to obey. So as I wait for God to make it clear, my prayer will be  from a song by John Waller called "while I'm waiting"

"I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it's not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting"

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Dogs and their Humans

So those of you who know me or who have been reading this blog with any regularity know that I absolutely adore my sweet mutt Riley, who has been bringing sunshine into my life for two and a half years now. He came into my life shortly after the demise of a very serious relationship, and has been my constant companion and therapy dog ever since. Mary's little lamb has nothing on Riley!

This summer I've gotten to spend a lot of quality time with my Roo as I affectionately call him and as I was sitting on the couch this morning, I realized just how similar dogs and their humans are. I really think Riley is the canine version of me, picking up on many of my best (and unfortunately) some of my worst qualities.

1. We are both extremely outgoing and social. Anytime we are out for a walk, or at the dog park, Riley always wants to go and say hello to all the other dogs. When a new dog arrives at the dog park, Riley is right there by the gate, acting as the welcoming committee. It doesn't matter how big or small, how vicious or docile looking the dog is, he is right there, wagging his tail, begging for other dog to play with him! On Riley's pawgress reports from Doggie Day Camp (one of his favorite places), there at always comments like "Riley was the life of the party" or "Riley played with everyone non-stop"

2. We are both motivated by food. Riley will be in the back yard and I will call his name over and over again and tell him to come and he will just look  right at me and wag his tail (I'd say his successful listening rate is about 50% even though he knows the command) but as soon as I ask him if he wants a c-o-o-k-i-e, he comes galloping in the house (he knows how to manipulate his momma for sure)!

3. We both love snuggles (and naps). Even though he's over 40 lbs, my boy thinks that he is a lap dog. He is constantly climbing into my lap while I watch tv or read a book on the couch and lays down to snuggle (even when it is inconvenient or painful). He always  has to be touching me and when we go to sleep at night, he inches his body closer and closer to mine until I am falling off the bed or can't move because he is curled into the crook of my legs

4. We both are attention seeking. When he wants my attention, he will bring a toy and drop it in my lap. If I am perusing social media or email on an electronic device, he will go get a shoe of mine, or get up and walk to the other side of the room with a large sigh.  When I have company over, he will climb on top of my guests until they pet him or play tug of war with his rope.  When I am one the phone, he barks to let me know he is not happy that someone else has my attention.

I wouldn't trade him for the world, but it certainly is interesting to see qualities (for better or worse) of yourself manifested in an animal. Anybody out there have any similar experiences?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Hello 31!

So I'm a week late in getting this post updated, but better late than never, right?

Last Monday, May 6th, I turned 31, how did that happen? I still think of 10 years ago as being the 1990's, not the 2000's ! As I reflect on the last year, I am struck by the amazing amount of change and growth that has happened in only 12 months. Some of it has been incredibly good and some not so good, but through it all, I can confidently say that I'm not the same person I was 372 days ago! So here's some high's and lows of the past year.

The Awesome (an extremely condensed version):
~God has drawn me closer to Him than ever, teaching me to be an obedient follower, even when it's difficult (sometimes I wish He wouldn't give me so many opportunities to practice this obedience amidst difficulty)
~I started leading a Sunday morning Bible study on various topics and attendence is increasing weekly.
~I had (and continue to have) the opportunity to work with talented and dedicated people who minister to me and whom I learn from everyday
~I got to spend a lot of time with friends who become more like family every day
~I met some new people and deepened relationships with neighbors.
~I got to see my family more than usual between my visits, thier visits and trips to random places
~I lost about 30 pounds through diet and exercise

The Awful:
~The AC in my house broke (an unexpected and costly repair, but a necessity in Houston)
~My dad discovered that I had a termite infestation (another unexpected and costly repair- a huge thanks to my parents who footed the bill for both the termites and the AC)
~Two new administrators who know very little about actually running a school...

I also thought it would be fun to update you on the progress of my 30 while 30 goals from a year ago...

1. Walk Riley at least 4 times a week--this one's hit or miss, depending on my schedule

2. Go to a fitness class (like Zumba or belly dancing) at least once/week (I'm so not a gym person)--I love my Zumba class and I go regularly at least twice a week!

3. Finish reading the Bible from Genesis to Revelation--Finished Revelation on Sunday, May 5th despite some major laspes in reading my Bible daily- God is so faithful to provide!

4. Have quiet time at least 4 days a week- see above, but I would say the average was at least 3 times per week.

5. Increase my financial giving to the church- still working on this one. I have definitely increased my giving, but I'm not where I would like to be yet.

6. Read two books/month not related to school- sadly, school won most days/months, but the books for pleasure that I did get to read were incredible!

7. Volunteer my time at Trinity with the youth group and women's ministries- I have been able to give lots of time to various ministries at church, ironically, not so much with these specific ministries

8. Visit Miriam in Boston- check :-) It was an epic weekend!

9. Visit Bethy in Maine :-( adding it to the list of goals for 31

10. Try one new recipe a month thanks to Pinterest, I definitely did this!

11. Write at least two blog posts/month- too much life got in the way... also still on the list for 31

12. Learn to drink/like beer tried to make it work many times, still don't like it!

13. Increase my fruit and vegetable intake- :-)

14. Decrease my fats and oils intake (less desserts after dinner):-( I love dessert, although I have significantly cut down on portion size.

15. write one email/letter or make one phone call to a friend who lives out of state/month (mass emails do not count)I'm not sure if it was once a month, but I did do a reasonable job of this!

16. Take a real vacation (one that involves sitting poolside somewhere in the tropics)sadly, too many unexpected home expenses prevented me from doing this... hopefully in 2013

17. Learn to make macaroons not yet

18. Believe I'm worth it- getting there... some days are better

19. Go talk to friends at school about non-school related items once/week success and fail- I did increase communication significantly with friends at school, but mostly it was school related given the change in admin....

20. Curse less thanks to the incidents described above in the awful section, I think I actually increased this :-(

21. Hang curtains in my bedroom they exist, but I need to get some different ones that block out the light better!

22. Grow in my relationship with God (learn to trust Him more and myself less)Only by His grace and faithfulness!

23. Visit a museum in Houston every other month I think I was only at one musuem- sad!

24. Take 4 cooking classes @ Sur La Table Thanks to my good friend Kathy who helped me achieve this

25. Pay off my credit cards- work in progress, almost there!

26. Take more deep breaths-God has certainly given me many chances to practice this...

27. Have friends over for dinner at least once/month Nope...

28. Buy myself fresh cut flowers for no reason I need to do this more often!

29. Visit the farmer's market- still haven't been in Houston, I miss the one in Allentown!

30. Be more spontaneous/open to new experiences- oh, I'm learning this...

Monday, April 15, 2013

Rules and Exceptions

The end of every love affair brings questions, confusion and hurt, especially when everything is going absolutely right (or so you thought) and then the other person quits you cold turkey, without so much as an explanation or even a word of good bye. Even if in your secret heart of hearts you knew when you began this affair that it would leave you irrevocably broken and your heart would be shattered in ways you didn't think possible; there is still the hope that this is the time you will be proved wrong...

In the midst of my sadness about RL on Saturday night, I turned on the tv and found myself watching "He's just not that into you," a movie that I've probably seen at least half a dozen times. I freely and readily identify with one of the main characters, Gigi (played by Ginnfer Goodwin). She is the hopeless romantic who is constantly finding herself in situations where she is over-analyzing every move the guys in her life make, making more of everything than it really means...everything to Gigi is a sign (side note: I apologize to all of my friends who listened to me go on and on about these "signs"). After one totally messed up date, she finds herself at a bar, where she meets Alex (played by Justin Long), a bartender who lays it all out on the table for Gigi about how men work. Now during or after every encounter with the opposite sex, Gigi calls or goes to see Alex to get his perspective. Through this experience, she slowly starts to learn not to read too much into experiences, to not see everything as a sign, and she learns that she is "the rule." Throughout the course of the movie, many of the characters explore the all too common trap that women fall into...believing that we are "the exception;" that somehow we are different and we will be the one to convince a man that he really does want to get married, or he really wants to be in a relationship, or he will stop cheating and be with only us or whatever it is. Part of this comes from our absorption of fairytales, romcoms, and other happily ever afters and part of it comes from actual real life experiences that we hear about (as Drew Berrymore's character in the movie says, "well, my sister has a friend who has a third cousin twice removed who it worked out for."

Whatever the reason, it is all too easy for me to believe that I will be the exception and my actions and words will work their magic, or more recently that God will open the other person's eyes and we will have our own fairytale ending. A while ago, I posted about Eat, Pray, Love and how I identified with Elizabeth Gilbert because she always sees the highest potential of men, instead of who they are at that moment. Yep-still true with RL, even though I was doing a remarkable job (compared to previous boys I dated) of taking his words at face value, not looking for hidden meanings, and being direct in my communication of needs and wants.

The scary part for me is that not only was I desiring to be RL's exception, but he was fast becoming mine. This man is my Kryptonite... I was completely willing to overlook character flaws and habits that have caused me to break up with other guys or not even consider dating them... that is an incredibly dangerous position to be in!

As Gigi says at the end of the movie (where of course she ended up being Alex's exception and living happily ever after)....
"Girls are taught a lot of stuff growing up. If a guy punches you he likes you. Never try to trim your own bangs and someday you will meet a wonderful guy and get your very own happy ending. Every movie we see, Every story we're told implores us to wait for it, the third act twist, the unexpected declaration of love, the exception to the rule. But sometimes we're so focused on finding our happy ending we don't learn how to read the signs. How to tell from the ones who want us and the ones who don't, the ones who will stay and the ones who will leave. And maybe a happy ending doesn't include a guy, maybe... it's you, on your own, picking up the pieces and starting over, freeing yourself up for something better in the future. Maybe the happy ending is... just... moving on. Or maybe the happy ending is this, knowing after all the unreturned phone calls, broken-hearts, through the blunders and misread signals, through all the pain and embarrassment you never gave up hope"
So, even after this debacle with RL, I will not give up, I will continue to have hope and I will trust that God has a better plan than I could ever imagine, even if it doesn't include a happy ending that I want.