Friday, December 27, 2013

Pet and Pray

Ok so my cat hates people. Like she runs and hides from strangers and she stands so that she is just barely out of reach for you to pet her. Don't even try to pick her up or put her in your lap. 

Get it? 

Well last night she was sleeping in my bed. I figured she'd run once I tried to climb in, but instead, she snuggled up right next to me. I fell asleep with her purring by my side. In the 11 years my family has owned this cat, nothing even close to this has ever happened. 

Anyway, as she was next to me, I was petting her and a familiar song came to mind 

What a friend we have in Jesus
All our sins and griefs to bear
What a privilege to carry 
Everything to God in prayer 

I don't know why petting my one-time only loving cat made it so easy to unload all my burdens, but it did. She was there and it was a reminder that Jesus is on the throne interceding for me. 

Do thy friends despise, forsake thee? 
Take it to The Lord in prayer
In his arms he'll take and shield thee
Thou wilt find a solace there 

Sprizzo found solace by my side, and I found solace in Jesus Christ 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Seize the Day (and the new year, too)


My dad asked me for suggestions for Christmas. I first said I didn't have any. Then I said I would need a journal. This is what he picked. 

I still remember the first time I saw Dead Poet's Society. I was fresh off a year of Ms. Zinos' honors English 10 class, where we studied The Grapes of Wrath and The Crucible and Huckleberry Finn, and of course Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman and Ralph Waldo Emerson. At Blockbuster with my parents, they assured me I would love Dead Poet's Society. 

They were right. It quickly became one of my favorite movies and its use of the phrase Carpe Diem stuck out to me.

I love the journal and I love that it's something special from my dad. 

But I also love that it encourages daily intentional living. 

Seize the day. 

Isn't this the message of the new year? Of a full life? 

Today's seize the day moment: 
New strings, new case to take the violin off of hiatus. 

The violin was played like crazy through high school, although to be fair, I was under contract to practice for my quartet. I played on and off my first two years of college and rarely after that. I got really into guitar and I traveled a lot and the violin took a backseat. 

But this year, I'm going to rekindle that violin fire. 

Carpe Diem

Seize the day 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

How Firm a Foundation

Merry Christmas! 

Right now, look up Jesus, Firm Foundation Mike Donehey on YouTube. Please? For me? 

I had the hardest time coming home for Christmas. I was awake for 40 hours. Crying babies, chatty seat mates, and long long hours of travel. I was dying. 


I memorized Titus 3:3-7, balm for an aching soul. And I sang, if only in my head and with my pen. 

And though even hell should endeavor to shake 
He'll never, no never, no never forsake. 

I wrote, 

"Lord, I surrender to your ultimate goodness. I love you and I will grasp for joy if I have to. Maranatha - come, Lord Jesus" 

Hundreds of moments try to steal my joy but that babe in the manger came that my joy be made full and no powers or principalities or height or depth can separate me from that. 

I prayed last night and watched me need turn to thanks. 

"Lord, may Christmas be Emmanuel - God with us, God with me. No matter what the day brings, You are so good. Things may be bad. But I am resting in your goodness. Your hands fashioned the earth and knit me together. Thank you. You have place me here, and now in a way that ultimately works for my good and your glory. Thank you- great is your name! You came as a baby, helpless and needy. Thank you for reminding me of my need for my Father's care. You does for my sins. Thank you is never enough. You rose me to new life and will usher me into    Your kingdom of forever happiness. Thank you, my Jesus! And Lord thank you for being enough. Thank you for giving and thank you for withholding. Blessed be your name, Lord Jesus. Thank you for being on the throne. You are beautiful my sweet sweet song and I will sing again. Amen." 

What more can he say than to you he has said 
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled 

How firm a foundation 
How sure our salvation 
And we will not be shaken 
Jesus, firm foundation 

Mild he lays his glory by 
Born that man no more may die 

He'll never, no never no never forsake 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace is actually the greatest movie ever. History. Human rights. Justice. Equality. Faith. Freedom. Love. Perseverance. Struggle. Victory. What else do you want? And it's even better if you've read the biography of the same name by Eric Metaxas. And William Wilberforce's book. And if you have his 1789 abolition speech in your car on cd and you may or may not have listened to it 50 or so times the first week you had it...

Ok so I like William Wilberforce a little. 

But the guy was so incredible. He worked tirelessly to end the slave trade in Brittain, when his colleagues mocked him. He never grew weary of doing good (Galations 6:10) and he continued to love God and love people no matter how hard it was. His mentor was John Newton, the slaver-turned-writer of Amazing Grace. When the slave trade was abolished, Wilberforce sat weeping in the House of Commons. Newton heard the news and died shorty after. A frail man, Wilberforce then labored for the restoration of morality to British society. 3 days before he died, he learned that slavery itself had been abolished. What a fully lived life! 

And so few people know his name. When you think political abolitionist supporters, you probably think Abraham Lincoln. But Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation 74 years AFTER Wilberforce have his first speech in the House of Commons. 66 years after Britain ended the slave trade. And 30 years after the British abolition act. Wilberforce was the catalyst (and oh yeah, before he took on the salve trade he also advocated for Britain to give America its independence and withdraw its troops). 

Anyway. 

Quotes from the movie that prove its greatness: 

William Pitt: "You don't believe you and I could change things?" 
Wilberforce: "I would change myself first" 

Butler: "You've found God,sir?" 
Wilberforce: "I think he found me. Do you have any idea how inconvenient that is?" 

Wilberforce: "Billy, no one of our age has ever taken power" 
Pitt: "which is why we're too young to realize that certain things are impossible. So we'll do them anyway" 

Wilberforce: "I'm here to ask your advice" 
John Newton: "When you were a child, you used to ask God for advice" 

Wilberforce: "God has set before me two great objects: the abolition of the slave trade, and the reformation of society" 

Wilberforce: "Barbara and I have discovered that we're both impatient and prone to rash decisions. But she wants to tell you about it yourself" 

John Newton: "Although my memory is fading, I remember two things very clearly: I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior"

Pitt on his death bed: "I'm scared. At this moment, I wish I had your faith" 

Wilberforce's greatest adversary, when abolition of the salve trade passed: "Noblesse oblige...my nobility obliges me to recognize the virtue of an exceptional commoner" This he said as he stood with rest of the House to give Wilberforce a standing ovation. 

And then it ends with Amazing Grace on bagpipes. 















Prophetic Perfection

Today I learned about a new tense: the prophetic perfect. 

What is that, you say? It's when you use the past tense to talk about something that hasn't happened yet. 

Why would anyone do that? 

As Pastor Andrew said today, because "When God says yes, the answer is never no" 

As in, what God says will happen 

As in, he will never be thwarted

As in, he never changes his mind and is never wrong 

As in, even when it doesn't look like Jesus is the king, he is because he has already sat down at the right hand of the Father (Hebrews 1) and he lives ever to make intercession for us (Romans 8) 

Isaiah knew these things. Check your Christmas texts again (and Easter while you're at it - Isaiah 53) Isaiah 9 - "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light" 

Jesus hadn't come yet

But God promised

And God's promises are as good as done. 

Mary knew it too. "He has helped his servant Israel" (Luke 1:54a)

Every promise has its yes in Christ and God's yes is never no and Christ has come and is coming. 

He is coming. 

I listened to Josh Wilson's "The Saints" on the way home and sang that bridge all day long:

He is coming soon 
He is coming soon 
He will take his bride
He will make her new 
He is coming soon 
He is coming soon 
To carry us home 

Christmas means Christ has come and I am saved and am being saved; Hallelujah to that! 

But it is also a reminder that Christ is coming and I will be brought to completion and taste that full salvation. 

Because in Jesus, God has said yes to me 

And God's yes is never no. 




Saturday, December 21, 2013

Saturday Morning

I thought I'd provide the readers with some entertainment. Elizabeth and I both work at the same time on Saturdays; however it looks very different. Here is a typical day

6:10am Kate's alarm goes off but there is a 65% chance she already woke up 

6:15am Kate turns on light and heat and reads Old Testament and devotion book and journals and gets dressed 

6:45am Kate makes and eats breakfast while reason New Testament. Elizabeth usually goes to the bathroom 

7:00am Kate knows Elizabeth is probably awake but Elizabeth is actually stuck in her bed 

7:10 Kate makes coffee and begins anxiously anticipating the paper 

7:15 Kate drinks coffee and packs bag for work 

7:45 Kate begins to doubt Elizabeth's awakeness

7:58 The paper arrives. Finally 

8:03 Elizabeth comes bursting out and runs to make coffee while looking for missing socks and backpack items

8:08 Kate wants to leave at 8:10 so she begins turning lights off and putting her coat on 

8:09 Elizabeth pours coffee into mug and begins looking for keys

8:09.5 Elizabeth brushes teeth 

8:10 Kate stands by door. 

8:10.5 Elizabeth goes back to room to grab something 

8:11 Elizabeth retrieves water bottle from living room 

8:11.5 Elizabeth decides to change shoes and struggles with boot souls. Kate is internally struggling because being late makes her physically anxious but is laughing at Elizabeth anyway

8:12 We leave, and yes, we do arrive at work on time. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Kiss Lips and More Joy

I love Christmas. I actually don't understand the people who don't. I think of you don't love it then you don't actually understand it. 

Christmas is joy and hope and rich colors of red and gold because the Messiah has come and is coming again to restore the forever happiness and make all the sad things come untrue. This is why we can read Habbakkuk 3 and say even though nothing grows and the stores are empty, a God is oh so very good. The good news of great joy has come; Hallelujah! 

I forget. I forget when dressers won't come together and when traffic is stop and go and when Ella the rebel will not stop. 

And then Ella the rebel, on the last day before the break, beckons me close to her and I bend down and she readies her lips for a kiss and it is one of the sweetest graces I've tasted all week. 

Because the baby Jesus came down not to be kissed and loved but to kiss our very souls with the whispers of his kindness. 

And if Christmas is Christ mas which is more Christ who can complain about that? 

So even though our consumer driven world that says you need more - more food, more stuff, more joy, remember Psalm 4 and then you can say with surety, "Thank you, Lord, for you have put more joy in my heart than they have when their wine and grain abound" 

More joy 

Because Christmas is more Christ and he came that our joy would be full and that means we have more joy. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Such a Time as This

I was reading The Greatest Gift this morning when I saw that time keeper in the corner of my kindle: 20 minutes left in book. 

What? Only 20 minutes left? 

Oh yeah, today is the 18th day of Advent. Only 6 days to go. 

Do you feel the expectancy? 

Today I read about Esther (see Esther 4) and how we are all born for such a time as this. Esther's place inside the gates of the palace wasn't for her own comfort. It was to be given away. 

Writes Ann, 

"And there's One whose home was the original palace, One who is the apex of beauty, One who put Himself in the place of you outside the gate, you in the muck and the mire and the stench of sin. There is One who came to a barn and made Himself a bridge back to the King by laying down His back on the bark of that Tree. He looked at you desperate on the outside of the gate, and His love was instant...
"This is the love story that has been coming for you since the beginning. That Babe in the manger - He is Prince on the Cross who save you with His life, so your identity is no longer wrapped up in being on of the rich ones inside the gate. Your identity is wrapped up in being one of the rich ones inside of Him" 

You were born for such a time as this; He came, and He is coming 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I'm Good

Sunday was a hard day. Clearly. But if your Sabbaths aren't a little hard, maybe you're not doing it right. Because if you come face to face with the Holy of holies and don't at least wonder of your life is in sync with His person you might need to ask a few more questions. 

I hope no one was too worried. I really am doing just wonderfully. Although I would be lying if I said I'm not looking forward to seeing my peeps. For your reassurance, though, here are some tidbits. 

4 year old Grace told me she prayed for me yesterday. I wanted to cry but I just hugged her instead. 

Last night I walked home in the fog and I was talking to God and I had to fight the impulse to yell, "I love the gospel!" to the night. Because only insane people do that...

I sent a friend a letter today and basically gushed about Jesus the whole time. 

I read Small Things with Great Love by Margot Starbuck and wow. I dare you to read that book and not be affected by it. 

I have the super chick water buffalo song stuck in my head because I did it FOUR times today with energetic children. 

I found out I know all the words to every verse of What Child is This. I started singing it and was surprised as the words came to me. This may be aided by the last month of Christmas music in the car and almost 2 months of guitar playing...

Basically, to quote Trip Lee- I'm good. 





Sunday, December 15, 2013

That Time I Looked Around...

I had a bit of a life crisis this afternoon. It probably began brewing last night but it came to fruition today. 

I love Advent. I love the way Anchor church is doing Advent. I love that when I was talking to Jill, Debbie came over and put her hand on my shoulder and asked how I was. I love a lot of things. I am not in anyway unhappy 

That being said, I looked around me at church as we were wrapping up. And looking around can do a lot of things. I sat next to Chris and Jill, who are my age and married 8 weeks ago. Sydney and Ian sat in front of me - also my age, married 4 weeks ago. I saw Aimee and Bryan and Dan and Alyssa and Kathleen and Mike and a ton of kids under the age of 6 and I just cracked. 

There was not a single other person at my place in life there. Victoria hasn't been here in weeks, nor Craig nor Trent; Jenn moved to LA; Gab is with family in Florida. I say in that room as the only single 20 something recent college grad. 

And I like everyone there. It's not a problem necessarily. I just felt so raw and so lonely...in a room full of people...I don't really feel known. 

And yet I felt so known by God. I came right home and poured out my heart to him. I played out my soul. And he met me. But not in a I-prayed-and-read-my-Bible-and-prayed-and-worshiped-so-everything-is-fine-now kind of way but in his way. 

The I-love-his-plan-and-rejoice-in-his-sovereignty-way. 

The I-can't-see-anything-but-I-can-still-see-Jesus-way (the Genesis 16 way). 

The The-Lord-is-all-good-all-the-time-way. 

The O-For-grace-to-trust-him-more-way. 

I looked around my living room and I felt whole and full and known...in a room by myself.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Ella

Ella has been mentioned here before. She is four years old and my constant headache (heartache)? 

At the beginning of the preschool year, she would just scream and cry because mom and dad weren't home. She would talk to herself, trying to calm down. 

She has now graduated to open defiance. First of all, I can never discern whether she is talking to herself or to me. She calls herself honey, but she frequently calls me that as well. Staying in line is a challenge for her, as well as not skipping to the front and keeping her hands to herself. The look on her face she has while hitting or pushing another child is one of malice and spite. She is doing it on purpose. This leads to her frequently sitting with me. 

Since our preschool has a specific structure for discipline, I am expected to follow it. 

When I see her misbehaving, I point it out and let her know her choices. 

"Ella, I see you are having a hard time keeping your hands to your own body. You may choose to set them in your lap or put them on your head. If you choose to keeping touching our friends, you will be sitting with me" 

As the offense continues, I remove her, saying, "I see you chose not to keep your hands to your own body. Come sit with me now". She usually wants to sit on my lap at this point, and as long as she is looking at me, I'm fine with it ( she is an adorable child, really). Now I can tell she hates discipline because she always gets quiet and sometimes starts shaking. 

"Ella, why are you sitting here?" 

"I don't know" 

"Ella, you are sitting here because you are having a hard time keeping your hands to your own body. Why are you sitting here?" 

"I don't know" 

After repeating this 3-4 times, I decided maybe she wasn't getting it, so I did a test. 

"Ella, my favorite color is yellow. What is my favorite color?" 

"Yellow" 

"Ella, we have rules to keep all of our bodies safe. Why so we have rules?" 

"To keep all the bodies safe" 

"Ella, we go to preschool to learn new things and have fun. Why do we go to preschool?" 

"To learn and have fun" 

"Ella, you are sitting here because you are having a hard time keeping your hands to your own body. Why are you sitting here?" 

"I don't know" 

It is now crystal clear she is doing it on purpose. She cannot rejoin the activity until she can tell me why she had to sit out. I continue to offer opportunities to her but she ends up sitting out at least half of gymnastics. 

I tell you this story because Ella is my every day reminder that sin is real. We sin on purpose. We are bad on purpose. We defy God on purpose. 

But when we turn to him instead of from him, he welcomes us. We repent and he receives. We are free to join in and rejoice in him. 

Sin is real

And so is grace. 


Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Magnifcat

Today I learned that my church is going to be breaking down Mary's song until Christmas. Today, we looked at the first four verses: 

And Mary said, My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me and holy is his name.

An unmarried teenager finds out she's pregnant and she rejoices? 

Why is this crazy girl named Mary singing? 

She's singing because she has such faith and confidence in God's redemptive plan and she is overjoyed that she gets to be a part of it. 

And she's on the other side of the cross. The side before the coming. The side before the resurrection. The side before redemption. 

How much more do we have to sing about this Christmas? Because we know the whole story. We know what that baby will grow up to do. We've tasted and seen Christ's work in our lives. 

We sang a song today that I'd never heard before, about Mary's joys, and I LOVED IT. From what I can tell it was originally Catholic or Episcopalian perhaps, but our worship leaders edited it into an evangelical hymn (the differences are minor, but more in line with our theology...I could get into why it's important to bring good theology into worship but that's a whole other story). 

The Seven Joys of Mary

1. The very first joy that Mary had,
It was the joy of one
To see her blessed Jesus
When He was first her Son
When He was first her Son.
ChorusWhen He was Her first Son, Good Lord;
And happy may we be,
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
To all eternity
2. The next good joy that Mary had,
It was the joy of two
To see her own son Jesus,
To make the lame to go.
To make the lame to go. Chorus

3. The next good joy that Mary had,
It was the joy of three
To see her own son Jesus,
To make the blind to see.
To make the blind to see. Chorus

4. The next good joy that Mary had,
It was the joy of four
To see her own son Jesus,
To read the Bible o'er.
To read the Bible o'er. Chorus

5. The next good joy that Mary had,
It was the joy of five
To see her own son Jesus,
To bring the dead alive.
To bring the dead alive. Chorus

6. The next good joy that Mary had,
It was the joy of six
To see her own son Jesus,
Take up the Crucifix.
Take up the Crucifix. Chorus

7. The next good joy that Mary had,
It was the joy of seven
To see her own son Jesus,
Ascended up to heaven Heaven
Ascended up to heaven Heaven Chorus

Friday, December 6, 2013

Good News of Great Joy

The Christmas-gospel story drives me wild. In the best possible way. 

Like when it's the fifth day of Advent and I'm up at 4:30 in the morning to read the Bible and talk to my Jesus before I meet at 6 with my church to study the Bible and talk about Jesus. 

Or when I'm driving home after we ended 45 minutes late because God's goodness for his church can't fit inside and hour and a half box and I have errands to run but I see the sun rising over the mountains and I have tears streaming down my face so I pull over and snap a picture that can't even capture the ten thousand reasons I have to praise The Lord. 

And then I'm at the grocery store buying groceries for one and I pick up hair brushes and shampoo and socks and gloves and glittery hair things and toy cars and chocolates and toothpastes and Chapsticks for people who have nothing because Jesus has given me absolutely everything. I'm sure the checkout lady thought I was nuts. But as Tim Keller says, if you know what Jesus said about the needy and you say you believe he has given you everything but you don't actually give or serve, then you don't actually believe the gospel is true. 

And then there's the moment when my acquaintances update their adoption journey blog and I feel the grace of having been adopted by the Heavenly Father and my bank account says I have more than I need and I give what I can to bring a little girl into a good home. 

And then my dear friend finds out that the baby she carries is a little boy, and she's due 11 months after she married the love of her life. 

This is the scandal of grace. Because over 2,000 years ago a teenager was nine months pregnant with a baby boy - the baby boy - who would turn the world upside down. 

It was Christ. The Christ. 

The one of whom the angels said, "I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people" (Luke 2:10). 

The good news is that Jesus has come and the great joy is that his life and death and life has given us the fullest life we could never dream of. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Beginning

I have a Christmas secret. 

Lean in: 

Start at the beginning. 

And not Gabriel and Mary or even Elizabeth, but the real beginning

In the beginning God created. 

Because the story, our story, the salvation redemption story, the Christmas story, it all starts there. 

Think about John's gospel: In the beginning was the word. 

Jesus was in the beginning and he became in another beginning. 

It's not too late to go back to the beginning this advent. 

Ann Voskamp is turning my Christmas upside down with her book, The Greatest Gift. John Piper starts Good News of Great Joy in Luke. 

But Ann starts where we all start: Genesis. 

Is that crazy? 

Today is day three of Advent, soI read, 

The woman... Saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some of the fruit to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves. When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the LORD God walking about in the garden. So they his from The Lord God among the trees. Then The Lord God called to the man, Where are you? Genesis 3:6-9 (NLT I think) 

Did you see it? 

Right from the start, we have the reason for the one who is coming. 

Writes Ann, "And that moment when your heart turns to His heart - already turned to you? The fall turns into a falling into His  everlasting arms" 

Arms wrapped in swaddling cloths and later, stretched out on the cross. 

We were created for His joy and then Jesus came as man for ours. 

But it all starts in the beginning. Don't miss it this Christmas. 


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Advent: He Came, and He is Coming

Today, during communion time, I felt so overwhelmed with all my sin. Coming to the table before the cross, I see Jesus for who He is and His radiance shows me my filth (see 1 Corinthians 11:17-34). I sat there, head bowed, and then I heard a whisper to my soul, "Give thanks, my daughter, I am coming. I came and I am coming. Come to the table, my loved one". I stood before the cross and dipped the body broken for me into the blood poured out to cover my sin and I tasted it and that the Lord is GOOD (Psalm 34:8). I stood with my church family as we proclaimed,

Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man may no more die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn king

Because today is the first (Sun)day of Advent

And Advent means coming

And the angel Gabriel came to tell Mary that the God-Man would be coming to her body and to the earth (Luke 1:26-38)

And Jesus came that we might see His glory and be rescued from our sin, that one glorious day we would come to the feast of the Lamb

Because He came

And He is coming


Saturday, November 30, 2013

Day Thirty

Well, it's the last day of November. There's still leftover turkey in the refrigerator, but November is closing quickly. I've read the introductions of two Advent books: The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp and Good News of Great Joy by John Piper. I used the Piper last year and really loved it; Voskamp also wrote 1000 Gifts and The Greatest Gift came out this month. I love Advent. 

But oh how I've loved November. I've loved remembering to be grateful and naming my blessings and growing in grace. 

Thankful today for: 

1. Readings for Advent

2. First impressions that come with second chances 

3. Toast with raspberry preserves

4. Sweatshirts without hoods 

5. When objects hold stories in them

Friday, November 29, 2013

Mercy, Grace

Today I celebrated Black Friday in a special kind of way. I went to Guitar Center and learned how to restring my guitar (which sounds so good. I always forget how much I like it when the strings aren't dead) and also got a mini cajon! Woohoo! 

Then I went to see Catching Fire because Jennifer Lawrence is AMAZING. As much as I didn't care for the Hunger Games books, the movies are incredibly well done. For the record, I am #teamgale. 

In the darkness of the theater, I scribbled down a quote as Katniss talks to the family and friends of a fallen tribute who spared her life: 

"He could have killed me but instead he showed me mercy. That's a debt I'll never be able to repay" 

It made me think of Jesus and grace and my life and o, to grace. 

Mercy is when the bad thing that you deserve doesn't happen to you. 

Grace is when the good thing you don't deserve happens to you anyway. 

Mercy is when you're speeding and the cop pulls you over but doesn't give you a ticket. 

Grace is when the cop pulls you over and gives you a brand new car. 

And praise Him in the highest, God is both endlessly merciful and full of grace. 

He is merciful in saving me from my sin and gracious for ushering me into new life. 

Thankful today for 

1. New guitar strings

2. Whispers of grace everywhere I go

3. Fog. It is so pretty

4. Lake Washington 

5. Ugly sweaters. 

I'm late

It's technically tomorrow. I left Kathy and Lenny's at 1:30am. 

I didn't plan it that way

I had a slow, casual morning, filled with Bible and leftover donuts and coffee and the paper. I walked to the store and the sun was warm and I got pretty flowers and I was thankful. So thankful. 

And I made squash and Elizabeth made apple dessert and our house smelled delicious and I was thankful. So thankful. 

And Lenny's daughter came and the son he rarely sees and Kathy and Lenny are ADORABLE and the food was amazing and I was thankful. So thankful. 

Lenny left to drive the son home and Kathy and I talked and talked and I was thankful. So thankful. 

And then Lenny came home and we talked and finally he looked at a clock and said, ladies, it's a quarter to one and we were shocked and I was thankful. So thankful. 

And we all talked about how God has blessed us and how great it is that Jesus is on the throne and wow we are so blessed. We hug and Lenny walks me to my car and I drive home and there's no one on the roads and I am thankful. So thankful. 

Naming just 5 blessings is asking a parent to pick a favorite child. 

Thankful today for 

Phone calls from worried mom 
The mess we make of the newspaper
That Elizabeth would never shop on Thanksgiving no matter how many stores are open 
Apples 
Finally cracking open a squash
Warm sun on a November day
When someone asks if I drink and I say wine would be great and they pick out one I really like
Family, even if it's not mine 
Kathy
Lenny
Chandin
Time to talk
Testimonies
Bacon Brussel sprouts 
Leftover donuts
Late nights with beautiful people
Jesus
Tired eyes but too much love of life to go to bed
Quiet small lap dogs
Walks
Bouquets with sunflowers and roses and wheat 
Cooking 
Laughter
Grace 
Flannel pjs
Thanksgiving leftovers
Nothing to do tomorrow 
Sleep 
Help Me Find It by Sidewalk Prophets, discovered in the radio 
Free street parking on holidays 
Basically every minute of today because it was beautiful 
Well and every minute of every day because God is beautiful

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Portland

Well Elizabeth and I are a little crazy and since we've already driven across the country, driving 3 hours for a day trip isn't that bad. We went to Washington Park and Powell's and a place that serves Crete food and Voodoo donuts and randomly wandered around town. We were surprised at how many things were closed and how quiet it was. Anyway, we had a pretty good time and my car smells like donuts. 




Powell's: home of a million books and the best coconut Americano I have ever had. 




I also found out that I'm the only one who took Kathy and Lenny up on the orphan Thanksgiving. They said they wouldn't be offended if I accepted a different invitation, but it works out really well: I had just been thinking about how I wanted to get to know them better and this should be a great opportunity. 

Today, I'm thankful 

1. That Elizabeth has excellent navigation skills

2. Cereal on donuts

3. That I live in a cool city and really close to another cool city. 

4. A break from coaching 

5. Isaiah. I love so many verses in Isaiah it's ridiculous. 




Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Loving and Living

Today, I had a day off and I had no idea what to do with myself. So last night, I texted Gab, who has taken on a lot of very heavy responsibilities and asked her how I could serve her with my day off - errands, this around the house, an extra hand with children - and it turns out she just really wanted company! So I spent the day with her, watching a movie, talking, drinking smoothies. Then we sang (I'd brought my guitar) and her cousins (whom she cares for) got home. They thought it was really cool and Luca(7) and Ava (5) took turns strumming and dancing along. Mia (3) is allegedly very shy, but she said hello to me and showed me her book and picture and as I was leaving, gave me a big hug and kiss and said she loved me. 

I went right from there - in the worst traffic - to a sushi making lesson! Some Japanese guys one of my pastors knows did it to raise money for medical relief. A bunch of church people were there and it was really fun. I also learned that I have a knack (or beginner's luck) for rolling a slicing sushi. 


Hello, California rolls. Yum. 

Thankful today

1. For sisters in Christ just doing life together 

2.  That I have a car. 

3. That I can use this car to help other people out.

4. For sushi. It's fun to say, fun to make, and fun to eat. What's not to love?! 

5. Flannel PJs. Toasty 

Monday, November 25, 2013

And now it's break

I survived the summer right to fall 20 weeks of coaching showdown. And now it's break time. 

Thankful for

1. Opportunities to serve friends

2. A rewarding, challenging, learning experience

3. That it's almost socially acceptable to enjoy Christmas music

4. Grateful parents

5. Isabella's spunk. I'm not sure I've ever met a 5 year old quite like her. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sleepy

The sleepover went better than the last one, but I was still exhausted. I had to pray with my eyes open during communion time so I wouldn't drift off. I took a nap this afternoon and woke up not sure if it was 7pm or 7am. 

We sang a song at church today we hadn't done before, Lily of the Valley, and I really liked it: 

  1. I have found a friend in Jesus, He’s everything to me,
    He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul;
    The Lily of the Valley, in Him alone I see
    All I need to cleanse and make me fully whole.
    In sorrow He’s my comfort, in trouble He’s my stay;
    He tells me every care on Him to roll.
    • Refrain:
      He’s the Lily of the Valley, the Bright and Morning Star,
      He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul.
  2. He all my grief has taken, and all my sorrows borne;
    In temptation He’s my strong and mighty tow’r;
    I have all for Him forsaken, and all my idols torn
    From my heart and now He keeps me by His pow’r.
    Though all the world forsake me, and Satan tempt me sore,
    Through Jesus I shall safely reach the goal.
  3. He will never, never leave me, nor yet forsake me here,
    While I live by faith and do His blessed will;
    A wall of fire about me, I’ve nothing now to fear,
    From His manna He my hungry soul shall fill.
    Then sweeping up to glory to see His blessed face,
    Where rivers of delight shall ever roll.

Thankful today:
1. For Brian. He has a great family and genuinely cares about his church family too

2. For the gospel, and a pastor devoted to preaching it 

3. For leftover frozen fruit

4. For chipotle less than 2 miles away. 

5. For fall vegetables. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Shores

Tonight is another sleepover for all of the Star League girls. Which means a long night for me. I'm definitely more prepared this time. 

I've been listening to the latest from Bryan and Katie Torwalt and being so drawn into worship. It's amazing. 

One of the songs, Shores, has reminded me of a lot of people I know who are struggling to see God's freedom and the full joy Christ promised: 

All depression wash away, 
On the shores of your great love
Let addiction and all shame
Be laid down at your feet
Come awake, awake my soul 
I feel justice rising
Breathe new life into these bones
I can feel your heartbeat

Chorus
Freedom, take hold of my heart
Spirit of God come full this place
Jesus, you're all that I want
Have your way 

Your bring peace in every storm
God, you are my anchor
A hope that's deep within my soul
Oh, the strength of your love
Tears down walls, tears down strongholds
That keep me back from you
Perfect love that's never ending, 
And leads me to all truth 

All creation knows that
You alone are God
As we sing your praises
Let our hearts respond. 

It also reminds me of what Mike Donehey of Tenth Avenue North says, "Thanks to Christ, we're no longer struggling to free. Now we are free to struggle" 

Freedom has been on my mind lately. During this fast, I've felt so free. I think this serves as a testament to how strong a hold the idol had on me: when I stopped giving it power, I was free to love my Savior and enjoy his gifts. 

Thankful today for

1. Espresso for sleepless nights

2. Freedom from sin 

3. Intercession, to pray for those whose needs come to mind with aid from the Holy Spirit

4. A lack of addiction to coffee, I promise

5. Chocolate avocado smoothies. So so so good 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fridays

I like Fridays. Maybe because my personal Friday is the world's Thursday. Today I spent two hours finding a pair of jeans and a new white denim skirt ($3!). I had a staff meeting that our head team coach showed up to - 30 minutes late - and was characteristically disruptive and ridiculous. I tried a new smoothie. Well two smoothies actually (morning and afternoon)

1. Frozen pineapple, frozen raspberries, vanilla almond milk and vanilla protein powder

2. Avocado, frozen mango, vanilla almond milk, vanilla protein powder

I played SO MUCH CHRISTMAS MUSIC on the guitar. I am so sorry all of you people who hate Christmas music or view it as unacceptable until December or whatever. It is straight up worship.

I mean, come on:

Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris'n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"


What's not to love about that?

Thankful today for 

1. Carmel apple spice 

2. Whipped cream 

3. Calls from home 

4. My guitar! I hope I haven't said that yet; I don't think I have, but I'm surprised 

5. Elizabeth's blender. Smoothies are great. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Fasting

Remember when I said I didn't realize I had an idolatry problem until I starting reading the Idleman? 

If you'd asked me at the beginning what my idols were, I would have sheepishly guessed romance or marriage or my students' opinion of me. 

I never would have guess the one that, once mentioned, hit me right in the gut: 

Food. 

Yes, the moderately active, healthy body weight, fairly healthy/regular eater 22 year old discovered she's been bowing down to the god of food. 

Here are the questions asked of me: 

"How often do we try to treat a troubled soul as if it were a growling stomach? 

Have you found that nothing is better at the end of a long day than the Blue Bell Pralines and Cream ice cream? 

Do you eat more for pleasure or for nourishment? 

When and why do you overindulge? 

How often do you buy into the concept of comfort food? 

Do you use food as a salve for daily wounds? 

How much time do you spend thinking about food? 

Would you be willing to try a fast?"

When I answered these questions honestly, I didn't like the answers. 

Writes Kyle about comfort food, "But think about this: Comforter is what God calls himself. He is the God of all comfort and he is ready to talk with you about your day. The Prince of Peace waits to give you his gifts and strengthen you. He wants to be your satisfaction". 

As with all idols, good food is meant to be enjoyed; however when the object replaces the one who provided it, then we have a problem. 

So today, I fasted*. I had more time to rest. More time to read. More time to worship my Jesus on the guitar. More reminders to pray for my kids. 

Tonight at work there was a staff meeting/farewell party still going on as I finished my last class. I was invited by all to come and partake in pizza and cake. Jesus warned against being public about your fasting(I did tell Elizabeth because she is my roommate and she needs to know things like this) so I just said, no thank you. 

But you see, in our world, more people worship food than they'd care to admit. Because my coworkers couldn't understand why I wouldn't want any. I tried to just say I wasn't eating junk, but they wouldn't have it: 

You work hard

A little won't hurt 

You don't need to worry about your weight. 

There's plenty 

We all ate it 

It's a party

You deserve it

It's just fun 

We use food as rewards, as stress relief, as modes of control, as cures for boredom, and you name it. 

At what cost? 

I gained more Christ in exchange for some oatmeal, a salad, an apple, pizza and cake. 

I  thankful today 

1. For the bread of life, Jesus

2. For frost on my car! 

3. For prayer at our small Bible study this morning

4. For the barista at Zoka at 6am on Thursdays. She is seriously great. 

5. For early Christmas gifts. Thanks, mom for the guitar stand. 

Last thoughts from Idleman on food

"Nothing tastes better than the joy of satisfaction of knowing Christ. Nothing nourishes the soul as he does. Nothing feeds and strengthens and renews us like the time we spend with him each day. 

He bids us to take and eat. He bids us to come to the well where he offers living water, so that we never thirst again"

*If you are interested in learning more on biblical fasting, I would recommend John Piper's book, A Hunger for God. It is available as a free PDF on desiringgod.com under "resources". 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Idols

I am reading a BOSS book on idolatry. Gods at War by Kyle Idleman. 

Think you have a tendency to worship something or someone other than God? This book is for you. 

Or maybe you're like me and you don't think you have an idolatry problem. This book is really for you. 

I have been so overwhelmingly convicted by reading this book. It is saturated with Scripture, and through the word, God is revealing how many of my lasting sin problems actually stem from idolatry. 

Thankful for:

1. God's patience with me as he pulls me deeper into himself. 

2. The end of the session! My most challenging classes are officially behind me. 

3. Hugs from the most rebellious children ever. 

4.  Great books full of truth on which to chew. 

5.  Cold weather at last! 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thanks for the Rebels

I've been doing my days on auto pilot this week. My kids make me laugh and we're having fun and learning new things and their parents are contributing to my Starbucks fund but still I feel like I'm just floating along.

And mediocre living is just not my thing. I went all out on gifts for my star league girls, though, which was fun. 

And then 

I had a moment today when I felt thankful for my openly defiant children, the rebels who say no when I say yes and stop when I say go. 

Am I crazy? 

Or am I just aware of how easily deceived I am? 

Because every one of those little rebels shows me a fraction of an ounce of what it takes God to extend his grace to me - how little I deserve it and yet how freely and joyfully he gives it. 

So today, I'm thankful for 

1. Rebellious children 

2. Tiny tots with their tongues sticking out 

3. High school girls with new skills and new cofidence. 

4. New books! gods at War, How to Have a Quiet Heart and William Wilberforce: a life and excerpts. I AM SUCH A NERD. 

5. That I can enter His gates and tell my Jesus thank you for making me glad. 

Remember who you are and who God is; it softens your heart a whole lot. 

For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Titus 3:3-7

Read that again. Soak it in.

Maybe I'm not so crazy for being thankful for these reminders of grace. 

Remember. 

O to grace! 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Quantity

I'm sorry for November. Turns out posting every day has raised the quantity while decreasing the quality. Just a few more weeks. 

It was a pretty nondescript day. I learned that my preschoolers think wearing pink and a pony tail means dressing up and my 8 year olds think I should have a cat instead of a husband. I also got some pretty sweet hello kitty art. 

Thankful for 
1. Grace, who always sings, "your love never fails it never gives up it never runs out on me" over and over and over again 

2.  Oatmeal. It's so delicious and soothing to an upset stomach 

3. Taking time to make a nice meal for myself. It gets hard to be interesting when it's just me. 

4. William Wilberforce CD for my car! His 1789 abolition speech has such an important place in history and was even cited by Abraham Lincoln when he signed the Emancipation Proclamation decades later. 

5. Double espresso with whip. There is no coffe drink more perfect. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Hanging With the Fam

The church fam, that is. 

So every other members meeting at church I've ever been to has been very boring; handouts and budgets and blah. At anchor, I'm not technically a member (because membership class was while I was working) but I was invited to join because our pastor says I've been acting like a member and also I led worship with Gab today and they wanted someone to lead the singing of Doxology at the end. 

Anyway, this meeting was not boring at all. It was in fact pretty great. It was people telling stories of God's grace in their lives. I was moved by one couple talking about how hard and long they've been trying to have a baby but kept mis carrying and having trouble getting pregnant; they are now 30 weeks pregnant with a little boy! We also talked about the beginning of a process for a new location and talked about opportunities to serve and love each thee and our city. It was all really happy. 

I also feel very loved by my church; I've been invited to 3 Thanksgivings now! 

Thankful for
1. The opportunity to lead beautiful Jesus people in worship 

2. Church that takes being family seriously 

3. Newlyweds! Ian and Sydney looked disgustingly happy as they celebrated one week of married life with us 

4. William Wilberforce. If you don't know who he is, look him up. He labored for 20 years to abolish the slave trade in Britain and died just before slavery itself was abolished. He even profoundly impacted the abolition movement in America. 

5. Random girl who sat at my table at Starbucks with me. She was really nice and it proves that not all of Seattle is as unfriendly as the stereotype would say 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The 11 Hour work day

Todays's schedule:

8:30 Set up
9:00 parent and tot 
9:45 break 
10:15 parent and tot 
11:00 level 3 
12:30 open gym 
2:00 judge star league 
3:30 coach star league
5:00 judge star league 
6:30 clean up 

Long long long day. I am super proud of my girls. I had a frustrating experience trying to find somewhere to print a document but I guess I'll just go to work tomorrow morning before church and do it there 

Thankful for:

1. The opportunity to see my girls improve so much 

2. Liztowne's latte run 

3. Friends who take my book recommendations seriously 

4. Emergency chocolate

5. That God is constant 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Feeling the Thanks

Today was such a happy day. I just felt so very joyful. Thus, there are a million things for which to give thanks, but here are 5:

1. Fresh bread and time to bake it

2. Unbelievable sales on beautiful flowers

3. Gab's beautiful singing voice

4. That God planned everything in my life from eternities past and I just get to walk in it 

5. That Jesus does indeed supply me with the grace to trust him more. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

On the Run

Today, I worked a split shift. I ran to preschool and tied my key to my shoe. When I ran home, it was raining. Then EJ was home and I kicked my shoes off at the door because they were wet. I cooked dinner, started some potpourri and made a sourdough starter, and did some other random tasks. Then I grabbed my car keys and slipped on a pair of fake toms and drove to work part two. 

All was well at work and then, I drove home. I arrived at my front door and went to grab my house key. 

Where was it, guys? 

Anyway, I had to go back to the gym to get Elizabeth's key. 

Look where making healthy choices got me! 

Anyway 

1. Thankful for the postal service

2. Thankful for our collective Bible study group. A few people were very late and we're just better together

3. Thankful for running in the rain 

4. Thankful that Elizabeth had her key and was close by 

5. Thankful for late night urges to clean 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

People

As an introvert, I find my job absolutely exhausting. Not just the spotting and doing gymnastics and rounding up the children, but being interested and enthusiastic and talking to them and all their parents and my coworkers. I love what I do, I just need a lot of reset time every day - time to read, to drink a good cup of coffee

Sometimes, like last week, I manage to go out with my coworkers and I generally enjoy it. But tonight I saw coaches being very rude to another and I just don't need to be around that kind of negativity after hours. So instead I'm hanging at home and hoping to get to bed early tonight. 

1. Thankful that I am small because I make too many mistakes to be big. 

2. Thankful that in reconciling me to God, Christ also reconciles me to other people and is continuously healing my relational sin problems. 

3. Thankful for coworkers who do know how to work together 

4. Thankful for weather that makes it comfortable to sit outside on my break

5. Thankful for tired eyes before long days. Rest. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Dilemmas

I have been so joyful and happy at work this week that people think I'm being sarcastic. No, really my week has just been that good. 

The last 3 weeks now I've stayed for adult gymnastics. Tonight I finally put into words my dilemma with it. First of all, I'm not working out consistently. I'm not running; I walk a lot and do 2 jump rope type circuit workouts a week. Maybe. But I'm active as a coach, and I eat pretty well. I've been weighing myself every so often just to check in and there have been no major changes; my clothes fit about the same and I feel good. However, I do think adult gym is good for me. It's a great total body workout, and it's fun and it's a social thing as well. BUT after a long day sometimes I really just want to go home and read my Bible. But then I think I should workout but then I remember what Paul wrote to the Corinthians about training in godliness being superior to physical training so then I start thinking I should just go home and read my Bible but I also don't want to spend time with Jesus just out of obligation and man I can talk myself in circles. 

Tonight, I went to adult gym. 

I'm thankful tonight 

1. For students I love so so much. Like I started tearing up tonight at how wonderful my kids are

2. That I can still do 5 kips in a row. It is impressive to my coworkers and very hard

3. For snap chat because it is fun and facilitates unique communication 

4. Joy like John the Baptist's, "This joy of mine is now complete" 

5. That I slept until almost 7 today! Quite the achievement for a weekday. 


Veterans, Weddings and Motherhood

First of all, Happy Veteran's Day. I hope you took some time to honor those who have served our country today. All of my children could tell me it was Veteran's Day; however none of them could tell me what we celebrated today. 

Speaking of children, here is a real life conversation with 5 year old Sofia: 

Sofia: Coach Kate, are you a gymnastics teacher? 

Me: Why yes I am

Sofia: Are you a mom, too? 

Me: I am not, but I think I would like to be one someday 

Sofia: Well if you get married, then you can be a mom

And speaking of marriage, Alissa says she will have enough money to come to my wedding in 9 months, where Betsy says it will take until 2016. By 2016, Alissa will have even more money and we will be 25. I love these gals. 


Today, I am thankful for

1. Veterans, active duty service members, and their families, who also sacrifice so much. 

2. Easy easy days - only half my kids showed up

3. Being Facebook friends with numerous photographers. So many cute wedding/engagement/portraits all the time

4. God's infinite greatness

5. The discipline to finish my paper even when I did not feel like it 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Laughing

Tonight I watched a really bad/good 80s gymnastics movie at my boss's house with some coworkers. We ate wonderful tacos and drank things like caramel apple beer and vanilla vodka with diet coke. It was so much more fun than expected. Our boss is always very matter of fact and official so it was fun to just hang out with her and see her more casually. 

Oh, and that concert last night was crazy. I was very aware of my awkward white girl moments, but I had a blast. Those guys are so so very talented and they really love Jesus. Not one of them talked about how great they were or how they had the best music; it was all about what God has done and how great he is. 

So tonight I'm thankful 

1. That our home was safe when we accidentally left a candle burning unsupervised (Elizabeth was resting; however I accidentally fell asleep) 

2. For Weddings! Especially ones for people who really love Jesus. Congratulations Ian and Sydney! 

3. For the blunder that led Elizabeth to get us a subscription to the Seattle Times. 

4. That I have funny coworkers and our lives are all very different despite the fact we all have the same job. 

5. That tomorrow is Veterans Day so I get to go to work late (no preschool!) 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

So I'm standing at a concert. KB Tedashii Andy Mineo Derek Minor. Aka the guys on Lecrae's label, Reach Records. Unashamed Tour. 

I think it's appropriate, then, for me to say that I'm unashamed to go to a concert I want to go to by myself. I didn't even decide I was going until a couple hours ago. And I am real excited about it 

1. Thankful that I've come to appreciate Seattle's coolness

2. Thankful for best friends with group texting capabilities 

3. Thankful for guys like all the 116ers who rap real life and real truth 

4. Thankful for little girls excited about being a big sister 

5. Thankful for a clean living room. And a roommate who tells me it looks nice even when I didn't vacuum it. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

When you feel like a failure

Yesterday, Starla, today so sick. Raw stinging throat pounding headache. Disrespectful teenagers. I slept after Bible study, and through my lunch break. 

I didn't have my journal on me when I blogged yesterday, but I wanted to share an excerpt from yesterday and then today, because they fit. 

"I feel like I've failed in a million ways. 

But God. 

Those two words are such a tremendous relief for the burdens of my soul. Knowing that The Lord ordained this day, event and time from eternities past reminds me that he makes all things work together for my good and his glory. If I release my control and am satisfied in his wisdom and strength, then he is so glorified in my trials! 

(Right after I wrote that, I read John 11) 

Joy thiefs today: fatigue. SORE throat. Anxiety. Jesus you are bigger...

Hard night. So hard. 

Jesus Jesus how I need you Jesus" 

1. Thankful to serve a King who comes when I call

2. Thankful for Lecrae and all the 1:16 guys for making really cool music. Unashamed of the gospel, unashamed of the glory their talent brings to God

3. Thankful for a really amazing group of people to study the Bible and the church with

4. Thankful for being able to be at Trader Joe's five minutes after opening on a week day 

5. Thankful for Kathy and Lenny inviting me to their home for Thanksgiving! 

I am so blessed. How easily I forget it, how desperately I need to remember. 

Edit: my phone didn't feel like publishing this yesterday so now they're out of rider. Sorry 

Downtown Day

I woke up feeling miserable; I think my throat hurt so badly it prevented me from sleeping. I took cold medicine and tried to go back to sleep, but when it proved unsuccessful I opted for tea and honey and the Bible. I eventually dressed and starting worshiping and began to feel better. I decided to head take a bus and head downtown. 

Ok, so I know I've said downtown freaks me out. But I have now discovered that it is actually only the driving part. When I eliminate that and replace it with taking the bus, I actually really enjoy myself. 

Today I poked around and walked through the famous Pike's Place Market. I got a lot of good Christmas ideas for family and made an early purchase. I gave into temptation to buy flowers (kale) and they are beautiful. So worth $5! 


I made my third visit to we make our own teas and coffee roasting is an art Storyville. I like going there even though it's more expensive. It has a really nice atmosphere and all the staff is great. They always talk to me about what I'm up to while they make my drink and ask me follow up questions. Someone comes after I'm settled in and asks how I'm doing. And then when I'm done with my drink someone comes again, clears it, and offers me a glass of water, inviting me to stay as long as I'd like. 

Now if only it were closer to my house. 

For dinner, I made a garlic sage rosemary burger with red onion and sharp cheddar on a toasted pumpkin bun. So delicious.

1. Thankful that I'm no longer at the mercies of commons and can be as creative as I want 

2. Thankful for personal trials that allow me to better serve, support and encourage in their time of need  

3. Thankful for pretty fall flower arrangements and a nice sunny day on which to enjoy them 

4. Thankful for employees who spread joy by being interested in what they do 

5. Thankful that God remembers us always (Psalm 136:23-24) 





Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Compassion

Today one of my three year olds sprained her ankle. It was traumatic to say the least. My heart broke for the poor little thing. It was the first real injury of her life. 

Right after, I had to teach another class, but on my break I wept a little for her and read John 11. 

But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” (John 11:4 ESV)

What a perfect verse! I journaled about God being glorified in my inadequacies. And then I read that. 

Thankful 

1. That His power is made perfect in my weakness 

2. For nice beer after hard days 

3. For new friends 

4. For old friends 

5. Salads that taste like summer. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

America

Today I was reading an article in the Seattle times about how grossly difficult it is for international visitors to come to the US. One woman flew in from the Philippines for her daughter's wedding and never made it out of the airport! She was sent back, despite proof of the wedding, a home, a job and a husband back in Manila. And there are so many different types of permits and they're expensive and time consuming to acquire!  

But because my passport says United States, I can fly in and not even have my customs form glanced at! 

So with that, the number one thing I'm thankful for is American citizenship. It's crazy how much it does for me that I don't realize. 

2. Children who pretend to be mermaid cats and flamingo possums

3. Parents who make me want to be a parent 

4. Christmas carols! And a chord/lyric book that came in the mail yesterday 

5. The printed newspaper. It may be obsolete before I die. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Heaven: The Only Source

Blogging through the days of thanks, I notice new things in my Bible reading. God is always doing something new, but is the same God as of old. Wow. 

John answered, a man can receive nothing [he can claim nothing, he can take unto himself nothing] except as it has been granted to him from heaven. [A man must be content to receive the gift which is given him from heaven; there is no other source.] John 3:27. 

John is my favorite gospel. I actually used to think that it was so obviously the best that it truly baffled me when someone said Mark (or any other) was her favorite. It contains some of my favorite accounts and favorite chapters. In this verse John is preaching about heaven as the source of all gifts, all graces, and of course THE grace. The big one. The Jesus grace. I just had to share this as I'm on my mission to joy (which John will talk about later) 

1. I am thankful that I will one day finally be healed of my selfishness and self-centeredness. Jesus is at work and he is coming

2. I am thankful for tiny hands wrapping themselves in mine. 

3. I am thankful for laughter that runs soul deep. 

4. I am thankful for early mornings full of quiet and stillness

5. I am thankful for treats made by my roommate  

Sunday, November 3, 2013

No Turning Back

Today at church we sang I Have Decided to Follow Jesus:


  1. I have decided to follow Jesus;
    I have decided to follow Jesus;
    I have decided to follow Jesus;
    No turning back, no turning back.
  2. The world behind me, the cross before me;
    The world behind me, the cross before me;
    The world behind me, the cross before me;
    No turning back, no turning back.
  3. Though none go with me, still I will follow;
    Though none go with me, still I will follow;
    Though none go with me, still I will follow;
    No turning back, no turning back.
  4. It was written by a man who was threatened with death if he did not recant his profession of faith in Christ. And this was his response. I've been talking with new friends so often lately about how knowing the gospel doesn't suddenly enable you to make changes in your life; it's the gospel that changes you. Dead people can't do anything! But thanks be to God who in Christ makes us alive. And once you're alive in Christ, there's no turning back. 

5 thanks given today (I'm picking a top 5, because oh how the blessings overflow today)

1. Creativity in cross-centered worship. The only guideline for worship at our church is that it be centered on Jesus. So we get to see a lot of different people doing music a lot of different ways. Today was a party! 

2. New friends enjoying a potluck taco bar "better than chipotle" 

3. The gift of being able to make delicious food for others to enjoy 

4. People who understand that Jesus is the point of marriage, and that love for Jesus is the only thing that can teach two sinners to love one another. 

5. Being awake to hear the Sunday paper arrive with a thud and cracking open the door to grab it right away. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Light of the World

There was a big power outage today around my corner of Seattle. But not my house or gym. Driving was hard though, because all the traffic lights were out and there's a lot of sports happening today so traffic is generally bad. I turned off the cd and talked to Jesus and it was oh so sweet.

Anyway, five thanks given today: 

1. I'm thankful for the Purple Confetti Penguins who told me I'm the best coach they've ever had 

2. I'm thankful for sloppy kisses on the cheek from two year old sweeties. 

3. I'm thankful for La Teranga and its beautiful Senagelse people and food. It's not every day a Seattle toubab gets to speak Frolof and eat ceebujen. 

4. I'm thankful for the promise in 2 Timothy 2:13, that He is faithful even in my faithlessness. 

5. I'm thankful for sparkly rainbow leg warmers on ominous fall days. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

66 Love Letters

Skeptic, do you want to know what the Bible is really about? 

Critic, do you want to discover what is really behind all those rules and wars and judgments?

Christian, do you want to hear God's love in all things at all times in every word from the Word? 

66 Love Letters by Dr. Larry Crab is the answer to those questions. 

I found it at the library but quickly ordered my own personal copy. 

Each chapter features one book of the Bible, a one-sentence summary of how God is at work in that book, and a dialogue between the author and God, to discover God's love for us in Christ throughout every one of those 66 glorious books. Reading it has been a refreshment and a journey and an encouragement. I'm exactly halfway right now, but I am still certain that it is a wonderful book.

Here's a little something to whet your whistle 

On Genesis: 

"I never underestimated how thoroughly you'd mess up your life or how painfully you would struggle and suffer, and I don't want you to underestimate your failures or struggles either. They're all part of the story I'm telling. But neither have I underestimated by determination or ability to enter the mess you've made and the pain you feel and turn everything around. I can, and I will, make everything good again"

On Leviticus: 

"You want Me to solve your problems, but you don't know what your worst problem is, the one responsible for all the others. You don't yet realize that distance from Me is the most lethal problem you have"  

On Deuteronomy: 

"If you love Me only when I immediately satisfy your desires, your love is merely one form of self-centeredness. Your love becomes trust only when you choose to believe that I brought you out of something bad to bring you into something good before you experience that something good"

On 2 Chronicles: 

"I owe you nothing. I give you everything" 

On Job:

"When you stand before Me in mystery, you will eventually rest within Me in trust. When you can't figure Me out, you will give up the illusion of predictability and control and discover the joy and freedom of hope" 

On Ezekiel: 

"To know Me in My holiness is to know yourself in your sinfulness" 

On Joel (my favorite chapter so far): 

"A wife should always wear her wedding ring, as should her husband. Wherever she goes, whomever she's with, whatever she's doing, she is to remember her husband and the vows she made to him. In every moment and detail of her life, she is to live as his treasure, valuing his love above all other wonders, never violating her highest calling to further his purposes in all she does. And her husband must never give himself to another. He is to find his richest delight in seeing his wife come fully alive in all her beauty and talents and opportunities, and his purposes must never suppress but always release her to be all that she is and can become. I am that husband. But you are not that wife...Let every difficulty, big or little, reveal whether you are My faithful or My adulterous wife" 

Thanks be to God for revealing himself in his word!


Falling in to Giving Thanks

I challenge you. I challenge you to enjoy the thanks in this post, and then to give thanks on your own. I challenge you to join me in a month of eucharisteo.
Cinnamon chip scones 

Sharp cheddar grilled cheese with apples and arugula, butternut squash soup, and a great cabernet sauvignon 

I love fall. The colors are brilliant, everywhere


This is the park behind the Lake City Seattle Public Library 

Fall is a sweet and savory season of changes but comfort and beauty in the broken and dying. Yesterday was Halloween, but also Reformation Day. It was so wonderful to start the day our church was grounded in salvation by grace with a study on what constitutes a local New Testament church. And now it's November 1st and Starbucks has their red cups and it's only 60 days until I'm in Los Angeles with the girl who keeps me counting thanks day after day.

This morning I read this:

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!

Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!

For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 100

How many reasons to give thanks are in this psalm alone?

1) The Lord is God
2) He made us
3) We belong to him
4) He is our shepherd
5) He gives us our pasture
6) He is good
7) His love endures
8) And so does his faithfulness

And yet, not long after I read that, I read this, that November is traditionally the most depression-laden month of the year.

But what's the opposite of depression?

Hope.

Joy.

Chara.

And where do we find that chara?

Eucharisteo

In the giving of thanks, we find the cure.

Writing down five things a day you're grateful for can make you feel 25% happier.

And who doesn't need a little more happiness?

So here I am, taking the challenge.

1. I'm thankful for the Bible, every Spirit-breathed, God-inspired word of it, speaking life into the darkest corners of my soul.

2. I'm thankful for Martin Luther, and his willingness to become an utter fool for Christ, defending salvation by grace.

3. I'm thankful for leaves that are every shade of orange and red and yellow

4. I'm thankful for free drink coupons that give me venti carmel brulee lattes on the first day they're available.

5. I'm thankful for days off to still and reflect and enjoy.

Join me in finding thanks to give and discovering that deep chara joy found only in gratitude.