Monday, February 27, 2012

Spiritual ADD...

  One of my facebook friends today mentioned that they have “spiritual ADD”!  Basically they feel like there is just so much good stuff going on in the world…God honoring stuff that people are doing to change the world for Christ, that they want to be a part of it all!  I feel the exact same way.  Which is probably why I found myself this past weekend living on just water for a day and a half, when my desire to support the cause of World Vision by joining in with the 30 hour famine and bring awareness to world hunger, happened to fall on the first weekend of the 40 days of water campaign that I joined to support blood:water mission in their desire to bring awareness to the issue of clean water while raising money to build a well in Uganda!  Or why I am trying to put together a “shoe cutting” party for this awesome organization called Sole Hope that makes shoes for children in Africa to protect their feet from jiggers, while also trying to prepare myself for a short term missions trip this summer to Ecuador with Visting Orphans, and organization that calls people to simply “Go.  Be. Love”.  Or even why I am reading two different bible study/devotionals by Lisa Harper  while also now committing myself to this God immersion challenge of sorts that my friend Alicia (America’s Next Top Mommy) came up with for lent where you read your bible 1-2 hours a day while submerging yourself in worship and prayer and service.  Yeah it’s quite obvious I have Spiritual ADD,  but the thing is….I am TOTALLY okay with it!  How about you?  Are you ever Spiritually ADD?!?!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ To learn more about any of the ministries/organizations/people mentioned above check out these sites:

Sunday, February 26, 2012

People and their stories....

  I love hearing people’s stories.  I mean, maybe it’s partly because of my love for all things history, but there’s honestly something so special to me about someone opening up to you and sharing their life.  Now unfortunately (or not...hee hee), I am a big talker, so sometimes it’s hard for me to really HEAR what people are trying to say.  Recently though I’ve been trying really hard to make a concerted effort to listen more.  And you know what I’ve learned?!?!  People are SO interesting!
  Now I wouldn’t go and share anyone’s specific business on here (totally not my place)….but some of the stories I’ve heard and the hearts I’ve gotten to see into in just the past week alone, make me feel so privileged to have these people in my life.  My friends, co-workers, even family members can teach me so much…and yet I miss out so often on all their wisdom and experience by not taking a moment just to listen (Hello there is a reason why God gave you two ears and only one mouth Jessica!).  Thank God He’s teaching me to quiet down a bit… is so much more interesting when it’s shared!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Hunger and Privilege...

Did you know that a child dies from hunger-related causes (either through starvation or from complications from malnutrition) every 8 to 12 seconds?!  Or that 925 Million people in this world go hungry every day?!  Or that 2.6 billion people in the world live on less than $2 a day?!  Those are some tough facts….especially for those of us privileged enough to grow up in the united states where food is pretty abundant.  But even in our own country 15% of people live in poverty and more than 1 in 5 children live in households that struggle to put food on the table. (That's 16.2 million children). Gives you a bit of perspective doesn’t it?!!?!  Suddenly…what you have doesn’t seem so bad does it?!?  And what little you can give seems like a whole lot more, huh?!?!
  That’s how I’ve been feeling for the last two days as I joined in with my youth group to raise awareness for world hunger by participating in the 30 hour famine (check out more info at  For 30 hours we fasted and as a group (minus me since I had to work) served the community through activities like collecting non-perishable food items for a local non-profit organization (which luckily I get the privilege of dropping off later this week).  I can’t speak for others, but I love this kind of stuff.  I love to help others, to be their voice, to stand beside them, to shed a little light on issues so much bigger than me.
  This year, as I fasted even through two shifts of work, I found myself so thankful for all the opportunities I have in my life to do just what we did this weekend.  Maybe it’s not fasting, but I can still help, speak for, and stand with so many people as I go through my everyday life. It seems so often I wait for the big moments or for other people to join in with me to make a move.  It’s like I forget that sometimes changing the world means changing just one persons world!  And I know life isn’t about just addressing people’s hurt, but sometimes it takes reaching out to sooth someone’s pain to see God change someone’s heart.  I’m willing to do that….are you?!?!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Fire, Faith and Food....

(The view from my computer...that dot in the window is a porch light)
  They say that God works in mysterious ways…and judging by the last 24 hours, I don’t think I could agree more!  For instance, last night I was sitting at my computer, when out of the corner of my eye I kept catching the glimpse of an orange flashing light outside my window.  Now you might remember me sharing months ago about my childhood friend who had moved back into the neighborhood and now lives diagonally across the street from our back yard.  Well, I can perfectly see her house from my bedroom window, and that flash of orange light was coming from her front porch.  This flash of light kind of looked like fire to me…and well having had lost my house to a fire as a kid I’m super sensitive to that….so I started investigating.  Sure enough…IT WAS FIRE!!!  Now mind you, even though I had the best intentions of going to visit this said friend since she’s moved in, and even though we’ve gotten to talk here and there, we haven’t really caught up in YEARS!  The sight of a fire on her front porch changed all of that though, and before I knew it I was running to her house in my pajamas and slippers, banging on her door like a mad woman, and inviting myself in as we searched like crazy for her fire extinguisher!  Luckily her fiancĂ© was quick on his feet and put the fire out fast, before it had time to do any real damage (besides setting a shoe on fire)….and well the whole incident led to us sitting down and chatting for like four hours!!!  We talked about everything….it felt like old times…and for the first time in over a week, I felt like I was talking to someone who GOT me!  It was such a great reminder that true friendship can last…..even through years of absence (and luckily now we have each other’s contact info so we can stay in touch….without any emergencies)!!!
  The interesting thing about that interaction though was how often in our conversation we just kept coming back to God.  Now I LOVE to talk about God…I love to share what He’s teaching me and how I feel He’s working in my life,…..but honestly it’s not something I try to force into conversations….if it comes up great!  If not…okay!  Well obviously God was up to something in this meeting because we always kept coming back to Him!  And as I sat there and listened to her talk, I couldn’t help but think….she’s a Christian and she doesn’t even know it (I mean come on….she believes in God and his free gift, tries to follow his ways and teaches it to her kids.  Just because she only sporadically attends a catholic mass doesn’t mean that she can’t consider herself a child of God…although that’s what she’s been told)!  None-the-less, sitting on her couch, in my PJ’s, talking about my favorite subject….it all felt so right….like this is what the kingdom of God is like!
  Well flash to this morning…..Sunday… day.  I woke up and of course found myself wrestling with the internal debate on whether or not I should actually go to church….a debate I seem to have every week with myself.  Now don’t get me wrong….I LOVE God…I mean I really L-O-V-E Him, with every ounce of my being….and yet ….church is a struggle for me!  It’s like for 164 hours a week I am firm, grounded, solidly following my savior…..trying to live like Him, allowing Him to work in and through me….I feel close to Him, like He’s my best friend who I want to turn to in most every moment.  And yet for those 2 hours a week when I sit in service…..I feel uncomfortable, like I somehow don’t belong in God’s kingdom and how at any moment somebody is going to figure out that I snuck in and put me back in my place!  It’s so weird…and I don’t get it.  I feel free to share my thoughts on faith and live out that said faith all week long; surrounded by people who either don’t believe or just don’t care…but when I get around Christians…I struggle.  I feel like I don’t think like they do (well that’s not completely true….I do believe all the same basics), and I feel like I don’t fit into the outline of how they do things, or want things, or believe things should be.  I feel uncomfortable….and I wonder why I even bother!
(Today's sermon notes to help me mediate on the message all week)
  Today was no different…as I eventually did drag myself to church (although I must admit I am so glad I did because that was one powerful sermon).  The only difference with this week was my sister showed up….my sister with whom I have the rockiest relationship ever!  It was weird….on one hand I was glad she was there….I know she needs a relationship with God, and well to be honest it was nice to have someone to connect to.   On the other hand it was  totally an awkward God thing because some of the things God was speaking to me about during the sermon have to do with her and our rocky relationship.  It was like God knew I needed to hear that sermon, with her there, and thus He got me to church (somewhat kicking and screaming….cause if I were honest it was touch and go as to whether or not I would actually pull in the parking lot or continue driving until I got to panera).  But, I’m glad I got there…and that even in the struggle of it all….I found that I can quickly fall back into knowing I am safe and secure in the arms of Christ…..even if He sucker punches me with a hard hitting sermon!
(this weeks selection of healthy goodness on a budget)
  And then finally there is the issue of food!  I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how what I spend my money on really shows what I care about.   I mean, I’d like to think I’m a person who cares for the poor and also want to glorify God by taking care of this body he’s given me but honestly most weeks I spend money on cheap,  unhealthy food, most likely made in warehouses where people are probably getting paid minimum wage to box it up for me, and half the time I don’t even finish it all….what does that say other than I’m cheap, wasteful, and too lazy to make better choices.  So today I decided to take my small weekly grocery budget and head to Whole foods (the only place I could think of to buy “local”, organic food in the dead of winter).  I ended up getting enough food…healthy food… for my week of breakfast and lunches (I eat dinner with the family so I don’t have to worry about that) …and in trying to keep within my budget I ended up only buying what I knew I would eat (without anything going to spoil).  Somehow this makes me feel accomplished… I am being a good steward of all that God has given me….and reminds me that God’s at work in my heart…even in the most unusual, mysterious  ways!
It’s been one of those days though…24 hours of lessons, learning, and leaning on God’s amazing, mysterious grace!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Change in My Routine...

  I am a creature of routine.  I set my alarm for 7:25am every day.. then lay in bed for ten extra minutes, through two snoozes, before I actually get up at 7:35am.  Next I run downstairs and start the coffee while making my lunch and breakfast.  Then I spend an hour with my bible and my breakfast, before heading upstairs to get ready for my day.  That's my morning routine...and I like it!
(I was so tired when I took this...thank god for back lighting ;)
  Sadly, my evening routine doesn't always run so smoothly.  I would love it if every night when I got home from work that I could eat dinner, work out, relax a bit, and then head to bed.  Of course that idea of what a perfect night would look like doesn't actually work in the real world where family, friends, and other commitments require my time.  So more times than not what really happens is I  either take care of me and neglect everyone else or neglect myself and take care of everybody else.
  With that in mind, goal #982 I have for myself this year (okay not really but it certain feels like it) is to become more of a morning person...that way I can get my workout in first and take care of myself, while also still having time at night to give to others.  That being said... I've messed with my morning routine!  For the first time all year I actually got up early this morning (okay so "Early" for me is 7am...well 7:05 because let's be honest I still like to hit snooze button a couple of times) and immediately went to work out!  One hour and 870 calories later...I realised that changing up my routine will not kill me....I can get up early...I can find time to take care of myself....and by doing so I can free myself up to give myself to others even more....THIS excites me!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

To See the Face of God...

  Every Thursday I spend my mornings with the Kids of East Granby Congregational Church Nursery School (EGCCNS).  I love the fact that I have the opportunity to do spend my time with such amazing kids and supportive teachers....and I feel so blessed to glean so much from a situation where more times than not I am the one being thanked for giving so much of myself, when I feel like it should almost be the other way around!  But this morning I realized another reason why I love going to EGCCNS so's because when I am there I am constantly reminded to see God in the small things!
  Every week when I walk into the school, I go and place my things down in the "Circle Room" (basically a room shaped like a circle that has all these doors around it that lead to different classrooms).  Decorating the walls of the "Circle Room" are all these banners that people have made....some with scriptures, some with sayings.  There's one banner that always catches my eye though...and maybe it's because I pass it the most (it's on the way to the bathroom...and well, since I drink a lot of water I ended up in that room a lot...)...but it also just resonates with me.  It reads "To see your face is like seeing the face of God ....Genesis 33:10"!  What a perfect sign to have hanging right outside a preschoolers classroom! 
  Now I know...believe me I know....that preschoolers are NOT (I repeat NOT) angels.  Just like everyone else they have their good days and their bad days.  But there's just something about that age....maybe it's that they are always learning or mastering something new...that helps me to find this excitement about life!  I look into their eyes as they joyfully share stories about their family....or I cherish the smiles they flash when they show off a picture they have just colored or painted....and I can't help but see the face of God!
  The bible says in in Matthew 25:40, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me"...and although I am nobody special....each week as I leave preschool I feel like I am one of the most blessed people in the world....for I have been in the presence of God!