Thursday, March 29, 2012

What Dreams May Come...

  I have a problem....a sleep related problem....and while you are probably thinking I am referring to one of the more common issues with sleep, like insomnia or apnea, I'm actually talking about my dreams!  Contrary to popular belief that is is impossible to dream as long or as vividly as I do....I do!  My dreams seem so real that often times I will wake up in the middle of the night and have to lay there for a few hours trying to convince myself that it was not real!  Although I must admit, most of my dreams are pretty crazy!
  For example, I few months ago I dreamt that I was hit by a car, driven by a young mom with her three little kids in the back seat that she planned to drown in the river at the bottom of the road we were on, but luckily I ran with super speed (mind you after being hit) 8 blocks to catch up to the speeding car and pull it back from flying over the cliff into the water!  Or there was the time I dreamt that it rained metal Christmas ornaments and my family had to go out and try and collect them without getting hurt so that we could trade them in for money to buy food, but we didn't collect enough and as a punishment from the government, a giant Easter bunny started following me everywhere I went and would give chocolate to people when they were mean to me!  Or there was the time I dreamt about having to move out of one of my friends houses and while I was cleaning out under my bed I found there were catfish the size of seals, as well as alligators the size of a baby's pool, stacked under there, still alive and ready for a fight, and I tried to capture them to weigh them for money!  And then there was the dream I had the other night about how I tried to pull my car further up in the driveway while steering from the back seat and I accidentally hit my father's car, which hit our neighbor's fence, flipped into their yard and began to sink in a pile of muddy snow, and one of my neighbor's and I had to keep trying to drive into the mud to find the car so we could save my father who was still trapped inside!
  So yeah, when I say I have a sleep problem and it's with my dreams....I mean it!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Things that make me go "Huh?"....

  I work in a chain bookstore, and while most of my time is spent in the Children's department... blocking out screams of tiny tots who don't want to leave the train table, while offering my best recommendations to the parents and grandparents of every "really smart for their age" kid in the area... I will at times venture out to help customers and co-workers through the rest of the store.  And while my heart is for all things "kids", I certainly do enjoy a good grown-up conversation on books (granted I'm more of a non-fiction, anti most war and history books, lover of christian inspiration and biography kinda gal...aka it's hard to find people with whom I've covered common ground).  There are however some conversations that take place in the book store that really make me wonder how America hasn't gone completely down the tubes.  I encountered one of those conversations today.
  Surprisingly, this conversation did not surrounding my "favorite" customer question of "I'm looking for a book....I don't know the name, the author, what it's about, or any other information about it except that it's blue and was on a table somewhere in this store like three weeks ago...So do you have it?".  This  conversation was actually between two customers...a husband and wife (I'm assuming), in their mid-forties (I'm assuming again....but they definitely looked middle-aged if I'm allowed to say that), white (not that that really matters), and totally serious (This is the important part).  Their conversation went like this....

Wife:  Hey honey, have you read the new Snooki book?

Husband:  No, not yet.

Wife:  But it's on your list of things to read though, right?

Husband:  yeah, definitely!

  No offense to Snooki (I don't know her and don't pay attention to the show she is on) but SERIOUSLY?!?!  Seriously!  Of the thousand upon thousands of books we sell, THAT's what is going to end up on your reading list?!?!  What is this world coming to?!?!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Freedom of imperfection...

  We've probably all heard it said that mercy is not getting what you do deserve and Grace is getting what you do not deserve.  This has always been a hard concept for me.  Not that I am not completely thankful for both, but they're just such hard concepts for me to wrap my head around.  I am a rules girl.  I get knowing what is expected of me and the consequences of meeting (or not meeting) those expectations.  That's black in white.  That makes sense.
   I guess that's why for so much of my Christian walk I've concentrated on "Doing" and "saying" all the right things.  It's as if I've believed that being perfect would get me into the kingdom....even though I could never live up to the perfect standard.  Lately though, I've noticed a strange shift in how I live my I carry myself.  I feel more free, if that makes sense, and I think it's because I am starting to realise that the world (and the church) is full of messed up people, just trying to figure it out.  We all say stupid things.  We all do stupid things.  NONE of us are perfect.  I know that seems so obvious....kinda like DUH!....but for me, understanding that more and more had started to release me from this gripping fear that I might screw things up beyond repair.
  I'm finding more and more that I serve a God who can do the impossible.  He can talk through donkey's and use the toughest of circumstances for HIS glory.  And thus He most certainly use my screw ups and turn them into something glorious.  I don't have to be perfect cause I serve a God who is!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sometimes A picture is Worth 1000 words...

  I went for a mini-hike this afternoon after church.  It's been gorgeous here lately and I wanted to be sure to enjoy some time outside while I could.  Plus,  I really just wanted to take a moment to get alone with God and thank Him for all He's doing in my life....and what better place to do it then surrounded by His beautiful creation!
  Well about halfway into my walk/hike I came to this huge pile of rocks (well maybe they would be considered boulders) all piled on top of each other, with the sun perfectly beaming down on them.  Of course I climbed to the top and just stood up there for a moment, basking in the beauty of the moment.  In fact has I was standing there I was thinking of that song "On Christ the Solid Rock I stand", contemplating how truly secure we are when we stand on the firm foundation of Christ, just like I was experiencing on the rock.

  After a bit I climbed down and started on my way somewhere else, but before completely leaving I turned around to take a picture of where I had just been.  I wanted to have that memory of standing on the rock while basking in the sun, to remind myself to stand on MY rock, under THE son.  
  This evening, after an afternoon packed with family celebrating and what not, I finally had a chance to really look at the pictures I took and when I came to the one of the rock I was floored to see clearly visible, right where I had been standing, a beautiful rainbow!!!  It's like God was saying, "I want you to remember this moment too"!  It's obviously no question as to what picture I'll be printing out and hanging on my wall tomorrow!  In the ancient times they built altars to remind them of important God moments....I guess in modern times we just take pictures!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Coming to Terms with Christian Chaos....

One of my favorite songs in life is “Whatever you’re doing” by the band Sanctus Real.  And that’s probably because the lyrics speak so much to what I feel has been happening in my life over the past several years.   I grew up in the church.  I heard all the stories, learned all the correct lingo, and by the time I was in my twenties I had built this grandiose box….a house if you will….that contained God and all I thought He was and should be.  My God was safe.  He stayed within my well formed lines and I knew what to expect from Him.  And yet, over the years….in the midst of building this house… I would hear this voice in the back of my head telling me “Check your foundation”.  I mean as any good builder knows, the foundation is key to anything you build…so you’d think I would of listened to that still small voice as it grew louder and louder and louder!  Yet…I’m stubborn….and prideful….and hate to be wrong….so of course I didn’t listen.  I just continued building….until one day it all came crashing down!
  You see, when my brother-in-law passed away a few years ago, EVERYTHING I thought I knew about God came crashing down.  God was supposed to bless those who did good and lived right!  They were not the type of people who were supposed to suffer and be hurt!   It’s the ones who couldn’t get their act together, who constantly got it wrong, that He was supposed to punish!  How could God not know this about Himself (can you sense my sacrcasm)!  Funny thing was I never quite got that for all my efforts and all my “doings”…I was one of the one’s completely off the mark and getting it wrong!
  For so much of my Christian walk I was held tightly to this belief that I had to say all the right things, do the right things, never make a mistake, never disagree, and never struggle with my theology. It was as if I thought the second I became a Christian I was to know it all and be perfect (Hum…now that I think of it, this kind of reminds me a bit of the story of the garden of Eden when the serpent tells Eve to eat of the tree and thus become like god!)  And yet somehow in the midst of this belief, I knew I would never stack up,  that  I was/am NOT perfect, and that I get it wrong more times than I get it right.  Yet I continued to press on in this act…..trying to fake my way into the kingdom, while walking through life with blinders on to the truth all around me.
  Flash forward three years and I find myself in a completely different place….a somewhat awkward, uncomfortable, out of control, Godly place of freedom, and power, and never ending growth!  Now don’t get me wrong….getting to this place has NOT been easy!  It’s be a process, a long…hard…gut-wrenching process that I’m not done with and I’m sure (and I hope) I will never be done with.  It’s as if God has placed me on a giant operating table….gutted me like a fish…and is slowly but surely filling me back up with HIM! Half the time I don’t know what is going on inside of me!  I feel this pull… this draw inside of me… to something more.  I understand that life is about so much more than me…that there is so much more to it than this!  I ache for the kingdom to come….I long for the prince of peace….I desire my life to be all about Him and not of me.  And yet I struggle to find a way to live that out….to be the hands and feet of God here and now, to constantly lay myself down and take up my cross, to accept that everything I have and am is GOD not me (good or bad)!
  It’s easier to fall back into a life of tradition….to follow some religious code of ethics that says do this and don’t do that!  It’s safer to stay with the crowd….to not get to crazy and fanatical with this Jesus thing….to build God a house, with well formed boundaries for Him to stay within!  But I can’t do that anymore, I can’t Go back…I must keep stumbling forward, because I know “Whatever (He’s) doing inside of me, It feels like chaos but I believe (He’s) up to something bigger than me, Larger than life something heavenly”!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Big Slice of Humble Pie...

  A few weekends ago, my churches youth group participated in the 30 Hour Famine.  For those of you who don't know what that is, basically it's a time where as a group you fast for 30 hours from food in order to bring awareness to world hunger.  During the time, you also participate in service projects and the weekend affords you the opportunity to raise money for world vision, who then uses it to reach out to said hungry and hurting people all around the world (you can learn more about 30 Hour Famine and/or World Vision by going to and  For me it was such a rich time of remembering how blessed I am, while reminding me that because I am blessed, I should also continue to be a blessing to the wold around me.
  During our 30 hour famine, our group organized a neighborhood food drive for a local non-profit organization called The Village for Children and Families.  I had heard about The Village from work (my job does a book drive for them once a year) and after talking with the vice president I had a basic idea of what they did, and so honestly I was super excited for the opportunity to help them out!  In fact, when we ended up collecting over 8 boxes of food for them, I couldn't wait for the chance to drop it off!
Most of the food we collected all sorted and boxed up
  Well today was that day and with the help of my father, I loaded up my car and headed into Hartford excited to deliver our blessing!  But what I wasn't expecting was to be as blessed and humbled as I was!  I walked into this afternoon feeling so great about what we had done....and I walked away feeling so privileged to have a small supporting role in an organization that does amazing things for our own community!
  You see, heading into this afternoon, I had no idea what to expect.  I thought I had knowledge of what kind of organization we were supporting, but it wasn't until I got there today and got the grand tour and heard the stories that I realized there was something so much bigger going on here!  The Village works with children and families who are "at risk" who've been removed from their families or are orphaned.....families who are struggling to put food on the table....parents who are dealing with very real psychological problems that effect there every day life.  These are issues I experienced when I lived in Oakland....I didn't expect to see it up close and personal in my own community....and it broke my heart! Thank God for people and organizations, like The Village, who are willing to put themselves out there....take the hit...and work to make life better for those around them!
  I have to admit though....the entire time I was hearing about the organization, in my mind I was thinking...."Where is the Church?!?!"  Now don't get me wrong, I know the church isn't a social service agency...BUT  even the bible says in James Chapter 1, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is to look after widows and orphans in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world"!  When it comes to living this some ways I feel like the church is being put to shame!
  Now honestly, I can't really speak about anyone else....there are plenty of people in this world going out there and doing great things in the name of God....but I know for myself I talk a much bigger game then I actually walk out!  Today was an eye opening experience that reminded me that it's much more important to walk the walk then to voice it!  Today I saw the hands and feet of God through the heart of someone whose not even associated with the church....and I was HUMBLED!  God forgive me for seeking my own comfort above the comfort of others and for not reaching out to be your hands and feet in a world that is clearly in need of you.  Amen!