Friday, December 29, 2006

Lovely Christ

I was given a rather unexpected invitation to record with a friend last week. He has several songs he has recorded, but he asked that I assist on this one in particular. Listen to the song and you just may hear my voice in the background (it's quite high, especially if you're familiar with my voice)! Andrew has several other songs on his Xanga that you can listen to as well.

~Lovely Christ~
You are the image of the invisible God.
For by You and through You and for You
All things were created.
And You are before all things and in You
All things hold together.

Lovely Christ
Magnificent Son of God.
Lovely Christ
The spotless, sweet Lamb of God.
Lovely Christ
Our righteousness before God.
Lovely Christ
My greatest, fairest, dearest Treasure.

You are the radiance of the glory of God,
And the exact imprint of His
Preeminent nature.
And You uphold all things by the word
Of Your mighty power.

Lovely Christ
Supreme over everything.
Lovely Christ
Let angels bow down and sing.
Lovely Christ
The sovereign ruler and King
Lovely Christ
My greatest, fairest, dearest Treasure.

Let me hear Your voice
For Your voice is sweet, sweeter than honey.
Let me see Your face
For Your face is lovely, lovely, lovely.

Lovely Christ
The Spirit's passion to praise.
Lovely Christ
Unsearchable in Your ways.
Lovely Christ
You never cease to amaze.

Lovely Christ
Transcendent, perfect, and sure.
Lovely Christ
Bridegroom of sinners made pure.
Lovely Christ
Your faithfulness will endure.
Lovely Christ
My true and never-failing Friend.
(Words and Music by Andrew Case)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

New Links!

I have added new links on here that may be of interest. The first two are excellent resources for gaining further knowledge of tuberous sclerosis, as well as the current resources and research available~
The "Currently Reading" list has also been updated. While there are a couple of books I just haven't been able to put down, I figured it was time for a good novel during the holiday season~

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Homeschool-Public School Debate and Beyond

This entry has very little to do with finding a Google image that freakishly resembles pictures of myself from 15 years ago...once a school nerd, always a school nerd!
No, this post has more to do with an individual's blog I came across a few days ago. I left a comment in response to this young man's entry and now, mere days later, the total comments left for this one post on his blog number eleven. My guess is that he will receive a few more comments beyond the current amount. This young man, whom I assume is a fellow seminary student, posted a critique of Tim Challies' decision to send his children to public school. To have an initial idea of Challies' approach, convictions, and decision on the matter (or if you aren't familiar with Challies), you can read his entry "Why I Do Not Homeschool (Part 2)" at: .
There is a "Part 1" from the previous day, but some of the points he highlights are repeated in this particular entry.
It should not take one long to see that the conversation at hand is not merely in regard to homeschool versus public school, but are responses to one person's critique of Tim Challies' decision. I have attempted to be very clear in my response (two comments) to this man's critique, carefully pointing out concerns to be considered when critiquing another's convictions, such concerns beginning even with the title of his entry. The post entitled "2 Lousy Reasons Not to Homeschool by Tim Challies" can be viewed at: .
A dear friend has also taken part in the comments, and I am now posting the links here in order that some of you may hopefully offer your two cents on the matter. Because I have friends on both sides of the issue, the pros and cons to either homeschool or public school, I am interested in your opinions and approaches to the matter. Hopefully, you will catch a glimpse of where I stand currently after reading the comments I have posted on this person's blog thus far.

**UPDATE 12/21/2006**: One of the individuals who commented has offered a link to her own blog where she cites an article written by Voddie Bauchum. Bauchum comes from the perspective of one who has chosen to homeschool his children, but he points out crucial considerations for parents who make either decision in regard to educating their children.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Not My Joy to Give

The two dogs that take up residence in my cozy, little apartment are a precious joy in my life. I am often weary from the days work, whether it be the 8-5 schedule at work during the holidays or wondering how I am going to make it to the end of the day balancing schoolwork on top of everything else. The hectic schedule can quickly take over, and I know myself well enough to know that I need simple reminders here and there of joy and the necessity of quiet rest. Even when I forget it's there, I receive that reminder everyday when I walk in the front door. I'm greeted by a large collie who makes it her responsibility to keep the couch warm and pay attention to the latest Fox News headlines. I then go into my room, open the door of a tiny kennel compared to Nali's, and I'm instantaneously welcomed home by a little bundle of energy just bursting to get all up in my business and knock me over (as if a 20-pound puppy can do such a thing). During those times, even if it is just for a brief moment, I sit on the floor of my bedroom and exhale.
I will forever be able to look back and see when I received both dogs as very significant times in my life. Nali came into the picture just months into my relationship with my boyfriend, during a time when I was first learning how to truly enjoy, rest, breathe, and love. She brought me greater joy than I could have expected, and just days into having her I couldn't imagine life without her. In the past three years, I have developed a unique relationship with her. We've been through several moves together and she is the most sensitive dog I have ever known. I could look at her and see how the Lord has changed my heart over these years, stripping away comfortable walls of selfishness and fear.
Maia is still somewhat new to the scene as I received her a few short months ago, and yet I am beginning to feel like she has always been in the picture. She did rub Nali the wrong way during those first few weeks, and I was beginning to wonder what had happened to my sweet, all-loving dog. Maia came at a much different time, yet the significance of the weeks leading to purchasing her is no less great. This past year has had more highs and lows than I can remember as I was faced with very weighty, sobering medical concerns. My own medical issues were followed by my older brother having cancer mere weeks after my own news. I ended the spring semester of school exhausted and in seemingly desperate need of rest. The Lord was ever-present, leading me through that unexpected valley, and as the summer months came, He was gracious in giving me such rest. Along with the rest came the idea for something new and fresh--enter Maia into the picture. She came to me already having braved the flight from the breeder in Missouri, and literally hit the ground running from day one with me trying to keep up. Ever since, she has brought such laughter and fun to my apartment, all the while giving Nali some sisterly attention (and notice I said sisterly, as friendly would indicate that Nali is ready to be her best buddy all the time...).
I love these girls more than I could have imagined, and there is only One who has imparted such care. The care and nurturing instinct I have for them did not come naturally. I didn't even fully realize it until getting Nali three years ago, but I really had no clue as to what it looked or felt like to care for another. Not only was I learning what love looked like on a daily basis, very practically in word and deed, but I was given this new puppy who was, from that point forward, my sole responsibility. Before I prolong this any further, I must admit that my boyfriend is much more eloquent than I am, and does so in a way that is concise and penetrates straight to the heart. With that said, in closing, I will leave you with a snippet he wrote over a year ago on his former blog. What he says is so incredibly articulate, warms my heart, and reminds me of the overwhelming joy I find in those little things too easily missed in everyday life. Not only am I reminded of the joy I have been given, but I am reminded of the gracious, merciful Giver of such wonderful gifts--
"As a Seminary student, it's easy to get enraveled in the hard 'issues' and doctrinal concepts and forget the sweet and simple measures of grace we are afforded more than occasionally. Dark and uncertain days are certain to come, and we're promised no end to that reality this side of eternity. Where shall we find joy? In Christ, of course! But what do we mean when we say that. One could say much when asked, but for me it's in the small blessings and in the everyday grace we are afforded that the Christian may find the earmarks of the careful and loving leading of the only One who can satisfy our thirsting souls with living water....She brings me joy because she's not the end of the process. It's Who that silly dog makes me turn to and see, thank, and know. If not for that, Nali would be nothing more than yet another distraction (albeit a cute one) in an increasingly crowded life. She would entertain for certain, but not bring joy. Why? Because Joy isn't hers to give. And it's not anyone or anything else's to give either."

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A "Flash"

I have a running list of "natural highs" in life, those little things that make your heart swell--things that may go unnoticed by others. Whether receiving a handwritten letter or beholding the first morning snow of the season, there are very precious moments when time seems to stand still and I can never seem to savor it enough.
Rather than still being overwhelmed by my list of books to read, I decided to dive right in once the school semester had officially ended. I didn't linger on choosing one for long, as I knew that I was in the mood for a novel. I'm about one-third of the way through with Emily of New Moon (L.M. Montgomery). I'm so glad I chose this one to read, one significant reason being that something early on in Montgomery's story resonated with something inside of me. Do you ever get the feeling that you're trying your best to describe something to someone, but feel like you're failing miserably due to not having even close to the right words to describe what you're thinking? I do quite often...


It had always seemed to Emily, ever since she could remember, that she was very, very near to a world of wonderful beauty. Between it and herself hung only a thin curtain; she could never draw the curtain aside --but sometimes, just for a moment, a wind fluttered it and then it was as if she caught a glimpse of the enchanting realm beyond--only a glimpse--and heard a note of unearthly music.
This moment came rarely--went swiftly, leaving her breathless with the inexpressible delight of it. She could never recall it--never summon it--never pretend it' but the wonder of it stayed with her for days. It never came twice with the same thing. To-night the dark boughs against that far-off sky had given it. It had come with a high, wild note of wind in the night, with a shadow wave over a ripe field, with a greybird lighting on her window-sill in a storm, with the singing of "Holy, holy, holy" in church, with a glimpse of the kitchen fire when she had come home on a dark autumn night, with the spirit-like blue of ice palms on a twilit pane, with a felicitous new word when she was writing down a "description" of something. And always when the flash came to her Emily felt that life was a wonderful, mysterious thing of persistent beauty.
She scuttled back to the house in the hollow, through the gathering twilight, all agog to get home and write down her "description" before the memory picture of what she had seen grew a little blurred. She knew just how she would begin it--the sentence seemed to shape itself in her mind: "The hill called to me and something in me called back to it." (Chapter 1, Emily of New Moon, L.M. Montgomery)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

From One Generation to Another

(image courtesy of
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii — This will be their last visit to this watery grave to share stories, exchange smiles, find peace and salute their fallen friends.
This, they say, will be their final farewell. With their number quickly dwindling, survivors of Pearl Harbor will gather Thursday one last time to honor those killed by the Japanese 65 years ago, and to mark a date that lives in infamy. "This will be one to remember," said Mal Middlesworth, president of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association. "It's going to be something that we'll cherish forever." The survivors have met here every five years for four decades, but they're now in their 80s or 90s and are not counting on a 70th reunion. They have made every effort to report for one final roll call. "We're like the dodo bird. We're almost extinct," said Middlesworth, now an 83-year-old retiree from Upland, California, but then — on Dec. 7, 1941 — an 18-year-old Marine on the USS San Francisco. Nearly 500 survivors from across the nation were expected to make the trip to Hawaii, bringing with them 1,300 family members, numerous wheelchairs and too many haunting memories. Memories of a shocking, two-hour aerial raid that destroyed or heavily damaged 21 ships and 320 aircraft, that killed 2,390 people and wounded 1,178 others, that plunged the United States into World War II and set in motion the events that led to atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. "I suspect not many people have thought about this, but we're witnessing history," said Daniel Martinez, chief historian at the USS Arizona Memorial. "We are seeing the passing of a generation."
Former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw, who dubbed Americans who came of age during the Great Depression and World War II "the greatest generation," agreed to be keynote speaker for Thursday's ceremony. A moment of silence at 7:55 a.m. was to mark the time when the attack began. Martinez, the USS Arizona historian, likened it to another reunion 68 years ago — the final gathering of Civil War veterans in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, when aging warriors in blue and gray shook hands and shared war stories. In 1938, as in 2006, the nation faced an uncertain future in a world gripped by conflict. "The passing of that generation had its moment and we're going to have ours," he said.
My grandfather was stationed in Guadalcanal during WWII and wasn't able to see my uncle for the first three years of his life. My sweet grandmother kept in touch with her beloved husband as much as possible, writing love letters back and forth and wondering in anticif she would receive one in return. I remember listening to stories she would tell of the time when he was away, being toosed back and forth between the feelings of pride and fear. Very little was told from his side of the story--of the things he saw, battles he fought, comrades he saw fall. I cannot begin to comprehend what that season in history was like for them, and I am still amazed even though the Lord has called them both home in recent years.
This time in history moves me to reflect in a way much different than others. Because this generation of men is so significant in our nation's history, I begin wondering about other generations that have followed. What were these men who lived through WWII remembered by? What examples did they leave behind for their family and friends? How have other generations compared or contrasted to such sacrifice and bravery?
My other grandfather was overseas during the Korean War and so close to the action that he still gets choked up when attempting to recollect a certain event. His aim with a rifle is unbeatable, his love for country unmatched, and my family knows that comprehending his firsthand experience in Korea is unfathomable. He never talks about things he saw during his service.
When I fastward to today, to the generation by which I am defined in our society, I wonder at how we will be remembered. There are men and women my ages and younger fighting overseas as I type, and I get knots in my stomach whenever I hear of someone denegrating their service. I am not one to wave flags around, wearing shirts that say "God Bless America" or "I'm Proud to Be an American" on them, but I am mindful of the country in which the Lord has called me to live. This country spans the spectrum when it comes to pride versus humility or rights versus rules. I am oftentimes discouraged by the ways in which the media portrays the current war, and I can't help but wonder what it must be like for the individuals over there who here of such opposition. I am slow to being idealistic in thinking this country will ever be truly unified. Maybe that is why I look back at my grandparents' generation with such admiration. Even if there were select groups opposed to WWII during that period of time, individuals who rejected the idea of Americans getting involved in the war, they have largely been long-forgotten. The perseverance of noble, humble men is what remains embedded in our history and memories.
With that said, the question remains open-ended for a young woman in the midst of a postmodern, over-medicated culture: how will we be remembered by the generations to come?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Once Upon a Time...

Several weeks ago, just shortly after Fall Break in October, I found myself in conversation with a girl in one of my classes. We were simply catching up on some different things, especially since classes had just resumed after the break. We talked about our boyfriends and what all we did during Fall Break. I then began telling her of three different girls I had talked to at school, two of which are close friends with each other, who had similar "stories": each had met the young man they were dating during the first week of school this semester, and were already either engaged or at least ring shopping by mid-October. I was telling her how neat it was that they were all in similar seasons of life, and how funny it was to hear of stories that were, yet again, so different from my own. This girl I was talking with then tilted her head slightly and said half-jokingly, "So when are you going to have a story to tell?" I then tilted my head in the same manner and responded, "I do have a story. Mine's just been going on for three years instead of three months."

I wouldn't say that I was offended by the question asked, but I have had a difficult time trying to come up with the appropriate word to articulate my feelings on the matter. I don't know how often it is that I am asked questions about the relationship I am in: when this and that are going to take place, how crazy it is that I've been with the same person for so long and we still haven't even transitioned into engagement yet. I've become rather used to the questions, but this particular conversation was quite different. I find it to be two completely different scenarios for someone to simply say, "Wow, you guys have been together for a long time," rather than imply that we don't have the supposed ideal relationship because of how long we've been together. The attitude and tone behind the question was of such implication. I can't say that I was offended necessarily because I was also saddened. This girl actually asked me when I was going to have a story, not the Lord, the Creator and Sustainer, the very One who ordains and sets such things in place? I cannot read passages such as Psalm 139 and think that He has not already written the story of my life. He is the Author, the One who penned the details, and the more time goes by, the more I am overwhelmed and thankful for how He has and is at work in this relationship. I say to others with great humility that I am not the person I once was. I can look over the past three years and see very specific seasons the Lord has led me through, all part of the sanctification process as I have learned to put one's cares and interests above my own. I have at least started knowing what it looks like to actively love someone, what it means to apply 1 Corinthians 13 and Philippians to everyday occurrences. There are so many memories and significant times of growth packed into these past three years, and would such have been the case in a matter of months? No. This precious story, the one written before time began, is the one for me. This music was not composed for anyone else, and any other music would not be that which the Lord composed for me. This is how He has shown Himself in my life, this is how He has shown me that I truly am His child, and this is how He has so painfully and wonderfully refined me. The gift of grace I did not deserve has been manifested in my relationship to this man in a very unique, matchless way, and I have seen countless glimpses of the Father's love and patience and trust and faithfulness in him. There are women who, years ago, were of encouragement in reminding me that the Lord was already at work on my story. Even before I could comprehend that there was a story set in place, He knew the details because He spoke them into existence.

Such a question seems to cheapen the grace, beauty and handiwork of the story.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Friday, December 01, 2006

Hallelujah, Christ Jesus is Born

Hallelujah, Christ Jesus is born
A Savior a Way for mending hearts that sin has torn
Hallelujah, Christ Jesus is born
A Savior a Way for hearts to be reborn

Hallelujah, dear Lamb crucified
A Savior a Way for cleansing sin and giving life
Hallelujah, dear Lamb crucified
A Savior a Way for giving hearts new life

Glory to God in the highest forever
Sing Hallelujah, He is Lord of everything
Glory to God in the highest forever
Lamb crucified, He is Christ the Risen King

Hallelujah, Christ Jesus is King
A Savior a Way for fallen man to be redeemed
Hallelujah, Christ Jesus is King
A Savior a Way for hearts to be made clean

Glory to God in the highest forever
Sing Hallelujah, He is Lord of everything
Glory to God in the highest forever
Lamb crucified, He is Christ the Risen King

(D. Jernigan)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


I have been particularly mindful in recent days of how the Lord has grown me in the course of this fall semester. As the semester approaches a seemingly abrupt halt, I find myself overwhelmed by the refinement that has taken place in my heart and the renewing of my mind. My boyfriend and I had a conversation about this very this past Sunday over lunch, discussing with one another what the Lord has done in our lives and how we have seen Him growing the other. We both came to the sweet, very humbling, realization of just how thankful we are. How often we take things for granted. I have been more mindful than ever before of how good the Lord is, how undeserving I am, and how so many things have so evidently fit together in this plan He has already set in place for my life. Tonight, we found ourselves talking of such thanks again as we were driving around town in his car and listening to a beloved Caedmon's Call song. So I will leave you on that note as I return to my final research paper of the semester.

You know I ran across an old box of letters
While I was bagging up some clothes for Goodwill
But you know I had to laugh at the same old struggles
That plagued me then are plaguing me still
I know the road is long from the ground to glory
But a boy can hope he's getting some place
But you see, I'm running from the very clothes I'm wearing
And dressed like this I'm fit for the chase
'Cause no, there is none righteous
Not one who understands
There is none who seek God
No not one, I said no not one
So I am thankful that I'm incapable
Of doing any good on my own
'Cause we're all stillborn and dead in our transgressions
We're shackled up to the sin we hold so dear
So what part can I play in the work of redemption
I can't refuse, I cannot add a thing
'Cause I am just like Lazarus and I can hear your voice
I stand and rub my eyes and walk to You
Because I have no choice
I am thankful that I'm incapable
Of doing any good on my own
I'm so thankful that I'm incapable
Of doing any good on my own
'Cause by grace I have been saved
Through faith that's not my own
It is a gift of God and not by works
Lest anyone should boast

Saturday, November 11, 2006

What does it mean, then, for a woman to be “kept safe from Satan”? It means, among other things, that she will not yield in her mind to false notions of what it means for her to be a woman and in particular a woman of God. It means that she will respect divinely set boundaries in the exercise of her spiritual gifts and ministry calling in trust and obedience to God’s Word. (A. Kostenberger)

“Someone is teaching women principles of womanhood. Is it the church, or the world?” (J. Ligon Duncan & S. Hunt)

1 Corinthians 10:31

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
May He be glorified in sleep deprivation and in the deep lines that have recently developed under my eyes....

Monday, November 06, 2006

For anyone who wanted me to post a picture...

It's like Pretty in Pink meets Revenge of the Nerds

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

"Lady in the Water" and Bob Dylan

I find myself unable to fully wrap my thoughts around Lady in the Water. There were just enough open-ended aspects that left me wondering at the meaning and turn of events in the film. What I did pick up on, however, were the intricate details that could easily be brushed aside by some. Some critics viewed Signs as a feeble attempt at a film about aliens taking over the world. How can such a line be in a movie and not compel you to consider more:

"People break down into two groups when the experience something lucky. Group number one sees it as more than luck, more than coincidence. They see it as a sign, evidence, that there is someone up there, watching out for them. Group number two sees it as just pure luck. Just a happy turn of chance. . . . But there's a whole lot of people in the Group number one. When they see those fourteen lights, they're looking at a miracle. And deep down, they feel that whatever's going to happen, there will be someone there to help them. And that fills them with hope. See what you have to ask yourself is what kind of person are you? Are you the kind that sees signs, sees miracles? Or do you believe that people just get lucky? Or, look at the question this way: Is it possible that there are no coincidences?"

The Village is full of such lines that cause my heart to stir, such as:
Lucius: Are you not angry you have no sight?
Ivy: I see the world, Lucius Hunt. Just not as you see it.
There are countless aspects of Lady in the Water, as mentioned, that had me pondering whatever underlying purpose was hidden beneath the storyline. It wasn't until listening to the soundtrack that I began seeing the wonderful details come together.
In the time of my confession, in the hour of my deepest need
When the pool of tears beneath my feet flood every newborn seed
There's a dyin' voice within me reaching out somewhere,
Toiling in the danger and in the morals of despair.
Don't have the inclination to look back on any mistake,
Like Cain, I now behold this chain of events that I must break.
In the fury of the moment I can see the Master's hand
In every leaf that trembles, in every grain of sand.
Oh, the flowers of indulgence and the weeds of yesteryear,
Like criminals, they have choked the breath of conscience and good cheer.
The sun beat down upon the steps of time to light the way
To ease the pain of idleness and the memory of decay.
I gaze into the doorway of temptation's angry flame
And every time I pass that way I always hear my name.
Then onward in my journey I come to understand
That every hair is numbered like every grain of sand.
I have gone from rags to riches in the sorrow of the night
In the violence of a summer's dream, in the chill of a wintry light,
In the bitter dance of loneliness fading into space,
In the broken mirror of innocence on each forgotten face.
I hear the ancient footsteps like the motion of the sea
Sometimes I turn, there's someone there, other times it's only me.
I am hanging in the balance of the reality of man
Like every sparrow falling, like every grain of sand.

Not only are illustrations of the Lord's plan seen in this particular film, but this is evidence that such lyrics to a Bob Dylan song move one to seeing and savoring Him for His sovereignty in such unexpected ways. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me--practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. ~Philippians 4:8-9

Thursday, October 26, 2006

When I look at your heavens...

I went to the planetarium at the University of Louisville during Fall Break with my boyfriend. He is continually teaching me new things, in areas in which I have not been familiar with in times past. He is more thoughtful, more creative, than anyone I have come in contact with thus far, and because of that he is always spurring me on to dive deeper into those things I know little about. Astronomy is one such area of interest and honestly, utter fascination, so he was pretty excited about escorting me to the planetarium. The last time I can recall going to one was so long ago, the only vague memory I have is of being in this dark room with the ceiling spinning as the multiple constellations were being pointed out. Such a memory depicts just how little I remember and how disinterested I was at the time. However, this trip was a completely new experience for me. Not only did we sit in a similar room, but we then went outside and were able to look through a telescope at certain things in the night sky. The picture above is of the Andromeda Galaxy, and even though we did view it through the telescope, our limited sight saw what looked like a blurry speck through the lens. Such an experience puts not only our humanity into perspective, but also the very God who called such things into existence when there was nothing.

I believe that every particle of dust that dances in the sunbeam does not move an atom more or less that God wishes. . . . [the fall of] leaves from a poplar is as fully ordained as the tumbling of an avalanche.
(C.H. Spurgeon)

I often speak of the beauties of creation, pointing out the various, intricate ways in which the Sovereign Lord reveals Himself. Certain scenes take my breath away, and I spend the remainder of the day almost in a daze as I am speechless in my feeble attempt to capture what my eyes have seen. Not only am I often captured by the changing of seasons, the sun setting in the distance, a steady rain saturating the ground beneath my feet, but I am also drawn to music which speaks of such things. And it was through such music that I became aware of something that had not struck me previously when listening to (singing along with) this particular song.

A purple sky to close the day
I wade the surf where dolphins play
The taste of salt, the dance of waves
And my soul wells up with hallelujahs
A lightning flash, my pounding heart
A breaching whale, a shooting star
Give testimony that you are
And my soul wells up with hallelujahs
Oh praise Him all His mighty works
There is no language where you can't be heard
Your song goes out to all the Earth
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!
O cratered moon and sparrow's wings
O thunder's boom and Saturn's rings
Unveil our Father as you sing
And my soul wells up with hallelujahs...
The pulse of life within my wrist
A fallen snow, a rising mist
There is no higher praise than this
And my soul wells up with hallelujahs...

Chris Rice brings into view these magnificent expression of God's glory and concludes the verses with "give testimony that You are..." and "unveil our Father as you sing..." and "there is no higher praise than this..." For the first time (and mind you, I have been loving this song for many years), I realized how incorrect such a perspective on creation is. A lady I know said of a man she met in a grocery store, "He can't truly enjoy life because he doesn't know and enjoy the One who created him." When you look at a passage such as Psalm 8, you see that the display of beauty in His creation does not compare to that which is displayed in those He created in His image.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? (Psalm 8:3-4)

As I mentioned previously, this came as a somewhat shocking realization considering how often I am compelled to sing this particular song. The words shed light on those aspects of the world that leave me in utter awe and inability to speak, but creation is NOT the highest praise... As breathtaking, as awe-inspiring as creation is, there is something more beautiful, more worthy of awe and praise. Isaiah 43 points out that God created man to display His glory in order that His glory might be known and praised. He does not become more glorious in how He creates and calls--no. He, in His grace, called us to be the crowning display of His glory. O, how humbling this truth is, and how abruptly it puts things into perspective. He has given us the very eyes to behold the intricate beauties He has meticulously set in place and in motion. How small we are, and how glorious He is. "The pulse of life within my wrist..." This short phrase in the song should move us to praise more than all of the the praise of His glorious grace.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Words from a Friend

I have hesitated to write on this, partly due to lack of time, but also because I've spent more time mulling over this particular issue. A friend of mine sent me an email not too long ago. This is a girl I met through similar missions experiences in East Asia, and we have tried keeping in touch over the course of these past four years. She spent time in South Asia for two years before working towards a masters degree at Wheaton, which is where she is currently. In this particular email I received from her, she responded to some areas of concern I had mentioned previously. What I cited briefly to her were my concerns regarding the isolation I sense at times when walking around on campus. I don't mean isolation in the way of feeling like some kind of outsider, surrounded by people who all know each other and are in their own social world. What I am talking about is the overall isolation I sense when simply passing by people on the sidewalk. I came from a small university where everyone knew everyone else, you were always being invited to this thing or that, and even if students were involved in primary social circles (i.e. Greek clubs, campus ministries, etc.), a welcoming warmth still infiltrated most aspects of campus life. Things are much different here. I have personally been sweetly blessed by the Lord to meet and get to know some wonderful and encouraging men and women, but in looking at the bigger picture...I see so many people walking around by themselves. I don't see this vibrant rhythm of unique members of the body of Christ continually investing in one another's lives. To be perfectly honest, the majority of students I see walking to classes are walking by themselves. Don't hear me saying that this is a miserable, lonely place... I struggle to accurately describe what I see because it's not always something one can visibly observe. No, it's much deeper than that. I just see many individuals here who are that--individuals. I see more people walking by themselves, eating by themselves. Rarely do I see four tables pushed together in the cafeteria in order to make room for all of the people eager to fellowship with one another.

All that to say that my friend did respond to my concerns in the email I received from her:
"I think the isolated thing you mentioned is really a characteristic of grad school in general. It is similar to your description here at Wheaton too. I think it's family-building, but also just the increased course loads. Suddenly everyone is having to read for hours on end and that just zaps your social-life!"

So what do we do? Leave it at that, and resolve to acknowledge that such isolation is the norm and should be accepted as such?

Monday, October 16, 2006

~Pray for Lisa~

Lisa never ceases to bring a smile to your face. You can be sure that she will always have a thoughtful, caring word while also being ready for some spontaneous fun. She's one you can sit with over a cup of coffee, or plan on going out to the latest art festival in town (always something to do in Louisville!). I've been encouraged by her not just from attending the same church, but also by having her as one of my downstairs neighbors. I can call ahead of time or just show up randomly at her door, but whatever the case may be, she is always up for a chat.
This coming January will, Lord-willing, mark a new chapter in her life as Lisa will be joining a couple overseas. The family she is going with will be there indefinitely as career missionaries through the International Mission Board, while Lisa will be with them for six months. Her primary tasks will be attending to the family as they are adjusting to the new culture as well as creating even stronger ties there for future opportunities involving our church.
I have been particularly compelled to pray for Lisa during this significant time of transition in her life. Not only have I been moved to pray for her preparations and time spent overseas, but more directly for her preparation inwardly--in her heart. The combination of singleness and being in that uncertain season of life called your 20's can be rather trying. While others around you are getting settled into careers, getting married, beginning families, singleness can bring with it times of doubt as to what the Lord has ordained as the next chapter. The transitional time of post-college and finding your "place" can seem to never end, and every decision you make comes with the knowledge that it will directly effect every step thereafter. So I pray for Lisa, that this is a time in which her eyes are fixed on Him and her faith is increasing daily. I am excited for her during this time of transition, and I pray fervently that this is a time when she is more aware than ever before of her utter dependence and hope in Him.
I know I will miss my neighbor downstairs, whether it be the random invite to discuss new scrapbooking materials, keeping my dog from busting through the window just to say "Hello" to her cat, or having an unexpected, wonderfully candid conversation in passing on the front porch about what the Lord has been doing in recent days or weeks.
If You say 'Go,' we will go
If You say 'Wait,' we will wait
If You say 'Step out on the water,' and they say it can't be done
We'll fix our eyes on You and we will come

Friday, October 13, 2006

A rather kindred spirit...

"Windy Poplars,
"Spook's Lane,
"S'side, P. E. I.,
"Monday, September 12th.

"It's dusk, dearest. (In passing, isn't 'dusk' a lovely word? I like it better than twilight. It sounds so velvety and shadowy and . . . and . . . DUSKY.) In daylight I belong to the world . . . in the night to sleep and eternity. But in the dusk I'm free from both and belong only to myself . . . and YOU. So I'm going to keep this hour sacred to writing to you. Though THIS won't be a love-letter. I have a scratchy pen and I can't write love-letters with a scratchy pen . . . or a sharp pen . . . or a stub pen. So you'll only get THAT kind of letter from me when I have exactly the right kind of pen. Meanwhile, I'll tell you about my new domicile and its
inhabitants. . .”


"Windy Poplars,
"Spook's Lane,
"October 10th.

It's wonderful to think we're young and have our whole lives before us . . . TOGETHER . . . isn't it?"

(Several pages omitted. Anne's pen being evidently neither sharp,stub nor rusty.)

(excerpts from L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Windy Poplars)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Maia Moo and the Nali Collie

--The Girls and their ears--

--Maia's learning just how rough life is when you're an irresistible puppy--

--An evening spent reclining on the couch while listening intently to Glenn Beck--

Nali, the brave hunter, has just spotted a squirrel...
...and has just discovered how stealthy she is not.
Hunting is a tough job, but someone's gotta do it!
Yes, our mom takes lots of pictures of us...

Friday, October 06, 2006

A Very Special Birthday Girl

I will say to the north, "Give up," and to the south, "Do not withhold;
bring My sons from afar and My daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by My name, whom I created for My glory, whom I formed and made."
~Isaiah 43:6-8
I spent the summer of 2002 in China. The Lord ordained my time there not only for working alongside co-laborers, but to also spend time in fervent prayer. My best friend was my email correspondent while over there, and she wrote to me just a few days after arriving in early June to let me know that our youth minister and his wife had officially begun the paperwork to adopt a daughter from China.
We all knew that we wouldn't see this precious girl face to face for at least another year, and that day came in February of 2004. Myself and others greeted them at the airport as Panda Mom and Panda Pop came off the plane in tears and carrying with them their daughter.
Now backtrack to what I was just saying about being over in China during the summer of 2002. PandaGirl was born on October 6, 2002, which means that I was there (not in the same province where her orphanage was located) while she was still in the womb. In between the English training camps, discovering new and unusual food, meeting Chinese students and adults completely infatuated with America, I prayed. Oh, how I prayed. What a time to be in intercession for this child and this family; this child whom God foreknew and ordained to one day be joined with this family.
So this is my simple way of saying 'Happy Birthday' to a little girl who has been diligently prayed for by many since she was in a woman's womb on the other side of the globe from where she is now. PandaGirl isn't special because of anything she has done in her young life, not unique because of any creativity conjured up in her, but because she is a very real, very appropriate representation of the Lord's steadfast love, faithfulness, and undeserved mercy upon those He adopts as sons and daughters. When I think of all the things leading up to her birth, all of the things she has experienced and already been taught thus far about the Lord, my heart swells and I'm moved to praising the Father. He is the Author of our lives, the One who calls His children from afar, and the One who knew us even before conception.
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there were none of them.
Psalm 139:13-16

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Scrapbooking anyone?

How exciting is this??? My downstairs neighbor girls informed me that the latest and greatest of scrapbooking stores has arrived in Louisville. In other words, all of my ladies from Texas should check out the website and seeing what you're missing--heehee. I haven't walked through the doors of the store just yet, but I've already been given some free 12x12 paper and a coupon came in the mail yesterday. I'm torn between utter excitement and knowing that I will need to set a STRICT budget before experiencing such a treasure trove...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A Violation of Trust or a Pastor's Responsibility?

Yes. I am an avid viewer of "The O'Reilly Factor." While I may not always catch the show on weeknights at 8:00pm, I highly respect and admire the man who has been deemed a "culture warrior" (not surprising that such is the title of his latest book).

Last night, one of the segments on the Factor was a discussion regarding a pastor in Fort Worth who has recently been sued by a former member of his congregation for defamation. Why? Pastor Westbrook of CrossLand Community Bible Church has been sued for bringing this woman's infidelity to the attention of the congregation. Not all of the details were discussed on the Factor last night, but there was a guest who appeared to talk with Bill, an attorney representing Pastor Westbrook. When Bill asked him about the situation with the pastor exposing the woman to the congregation, the attorney very simply paraphrased Matthew 18 and the steps to appropriate church discipline. It became clear rather quickly that Bill wasn't following, and he was miffed that the attorney could not quote Matthew 18 verbatim. Keep in mind that Bill is Roman Catholic, and therefore the notion of a confession going beyond the confidentiality of the priest is unheard of. All that to say that when the attorney could not give Bill a word-for-word quote of the text, Bill simply cut in and said, "Well, I think that's bull."

I wrote a brief email to Bill in regard to last night's segment, keeping in mind that he likes the viewers who write in to "keep it pithy." I am wondering how many others watched the same segment and what the varying reactions have been. It was apparent from the start of the conversation with Pastor Westbrook's attorney that Bill was not familiar with Matthew 18 or the responsibilities of the pastor(s) of local churches to follow through with biblical, necessary church discipline. This is not an issue that seems at the forefront to necessitate legal action, even when some of the details I read in an article elsewhere ( make some of the aspects of this case a little sketchy regarding the woman's position in all of this (i.e. how the woman viewed her standing with the church as a professed former member of the congregation, and trying to give a title to the pastor's role in counseling her that frees her from any form of accountability to him as her pastor/elder).

If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. ~Matthew 18:15-17

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. ~Hebrews 13:17

Just think of the implications of this particular case and how it fits into our ever-changing postmodern culture.

Friday, September 29, 2006

In Celebration of Fall Break

I've definitely been under the weather this week, so I think it's safe to say that Fall Break has come at the perfect time! While I will still be working next week, I have requested a day off, thus making the break from school a little more official. On this Friday before the week of rest from midterms, quizzes, and research papers, I decided to do a little something random during my slow day here at work. It's called "Complete the Thought," and while my answers aren't terribly excited, maybe you'll still find it at least somewhat amusing...

Never again in my life: will I be a Spice Girl.

When I was five: I was still trying to break my thumb-sucking habit, and I met my first best friend, Amber Shae.

High School was: a rollercoaster I'm glad to be done with. Although it was a significant time of growth, it was a chapter I closed with a sigh of relief...

I will never forget: mine and Bob's first date. We went and saw "Finding Nemo" and then I spent the night throwing up in his endearing.

I once met: a few singers you may or may not recognize: David Phelps, Michelle Tumes, Andrew Peterson, and Rhythm.

There’s this girl I know who: is moving to Indonesia for 6 months in December.

By noon I’m usually: antsy, ready to get another caffeine kick and wondering how I'm going to make it through the rest of the afternoon at work. By noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays though, I'm usually meeting my man for lunch at school.

Last night I: watched the season premiere of "Smallville", complained about all of the retarded new CW commercials, and fell asleep at 9:30.

Next time I go to church: will be the Sunday of Fall Break, so I'm guessing a lot of people won't be there.

What worries me most is: my personal finances.

When I turn my head right, I see: my other computer monitor, a picture of Nali, a picture of Bob and I (we're a rather handsome pair!), and my kleenex box.

When I turn my head left, I see: my cup of hot tea, headphones, company phonelist and regional map. Oh, and the evidence that I'm obsessed with cool pens that write pretty...

You know I’m lying when: I won't look you in the eye when I'm explaining myself, or rather trying to justify myself. I get defensive in a rather senseless way, and am quick to get offended when you try and call me out on what I'm saying. (Oh, the joys of questions that make you hold the mirror up to yourself...)

If I was a character written by Shakespeare I'd: be a really silly, aloof character who walks around some enchanted garden singing to herself.

By this time, next year: I'm not gonna say it, I'm not gonna say it! Because what I want by this time next year hasn't been revealed as His will just yet :) But I what I DO know is that, Lord-willing, I will be that much further through my masters degree. Oh, and Nali will be almost 4 years old, and little puppy Maia will be over a year old!

A better name for me would be: Bob likes to call me "Old Man" because that's how I move around when I'm tired...

I have a hard time understanding: 1) myself when I studder, 2) anything related to science

If I ever go back to school I’ll: be calling myself crazy for being in school for so long!

You know I like you if: I make it a point to call or email you, saying how/why I appreciate you (and if I REALLY REALLY like you, you may get a REAL letter in the mail!)

Three people who bore me are: Greta van Susteren (if you're a Fox News fan, you'll hopefully understand), Barefoot Contessa (I don't even know her real name, but she's on Food Network), and the guy who played Napoleon Dynamite (I'm just not amused...)

Take my advice, NEVER: despair. "As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death." *2 Corinthians 7:9-10

My ideal breakfast is: I'm a Southern girl, so take a guess! I looooove breakfast!

A song I love, but do not have is: There are a few: "Arise and Be Comforted" from Watermark's A Grateful People CD, "May it Be" by Enya from The Fellowship of the Ring soundtrack

If you visit my hometown, I suggest: purchasing a map of the Dallas/Fort Worth area...

Why won’t anyone: whisk me away on a vacation, and bring me back to the surprise of someone having painted my apartment for me???

If you spend the night at my house, DO: expect one 65-pound dog and one 20-pound dog to climb up into the bed with you. AND they'll be your best friends for the rest of your life :)

The world could do without: spiders and skeeters (I was tempted to go political on this one, but I refrained)

I’d rather lick the belly of a cockroach than: give blood or take part in any other activity which requires a needle

My favorite blonde is: Jana Cotton and Reese Witherspoon Paperclips are more useful than: staples. You can remove paperclips, but if you remove a staple then the paper is inevitably imperfect. There's no going back...(from the mouth of a school nerd)

San Diego means: the land of the devil? Oh wait, that's "Diablo"...yeah, I didn't do well in Spanish.

Friday, September 22, 2006

So this comes as quite a surprise! I simply responded to the question asked by the ladies at GirlTalk, and they posted what I wrote:

From Modesty to Vanity

I bought new makeup last weekend. Now, I know most ladies would read a statement like that and wonder why in the world I would devote my time and energy to writing something that is pretty standard for a woman's list of necessities. When my mom was visiting this summer, she recommended a line of makeup that I try. This is my mom who used the same brand of makeup for about fifteen years, and even she was convinced to make the switch. So after much debating, I decided to throw my cheap products in the trash and go with something totally new. As I said, this may not be all that intriguing to your average individual, but for me this was a significant move on a number of levels.

I tend to be what some would consider almost too frugal when it comes to buying clothes and makeup for myself. I've just never been a big shopper for such things. You will often find me deciding on new books or scrapbook materials to buy before deciding whether or not to purchase a new shade of eyeshadow. The same makeup has been sitting on my dresser simply because it is inexpensive, not because of it being of significant benefit to the look or health of my face. I go into stores like Ulta and have a feeling comparable to dizziness as I don't even know where to begin looking for specific products. Well, when my mother was in town, we had this discussion about my skincare, and I was convinced by the end of our talk that it was time to invest in skincare and makeup that was really worth my money. I've been using this new makeup now for just over a week and while I am not one to advertise products, I must say that this is one of the greatest purchases I have ever made when it comes to any kind of cosmetics. It is so fresh and illuminating, I oftentimes forget that I am wearing makeup at all.

There is something to be said about products that can give you full coverage, but still let you be comfortable in your own skin. This is particularly significant for me due to the skin problems I have had and will have for my entire life. Due to the nature of my condition (tuberous sclerosis), I have an assortment of issues with my skin. The most noticeable areas to the public eye are those on my face. Rather than being comfortable in my own skin, I have often tried to mask the problems. As an adolescent, even my clothing choices often reflected just how modest I was. I was so concerned with my own opinions of how my skin looked to the outside world that I covered up. I was concerned about how any article of clothing would cover me, from bathing suits to the pants I chose to wear. Looking back now, I think I was defined by how modest I was in my choice of clothing, and I saw it as some great virtue held throughout my adolescence. But when does modesty become vanity? The concern with young girls is often immodesty, but when does the extreme of that become just as great of a concern? I was more than defined by my decision to dress modestly: I was consumed.

When you look at the pattern of idols in our hearts, even modesty can become vain. Something initially desired and viewed as good can quickly turn into a form of self-worship. Modesty becomes vain when I am defined by such while simultaneously shaking my head when another woman tells me the truth that I am a child, a daughter, of the King. "'Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.'" (Matthew 23:25-26, ESV) The Lord was gracious in showing me over time that my heart is what people see. No matter how modest I may appear outwardly, others will know whether or not I truly possess a spirit of gentility and grace. If there are heart issues consuming me, such as constant concerns with my skin problems, no measure of external modesty will mask the real me. This pertains to my face as well. No amount of makeup will cover up the real blemishes--the lies regarding how I look to others, the lies that tell me that how I look outwardly is essential--those idols sitting comfortably on the throne in my heart.

PRAISE HIM that I am wonderfully made, bought with the precious blood of Christ and not based on my own choosing, but according to His glorious grace and sovereign will! Praise Him according to His glorious grace, for we are made new, forgiven, redeemed, and intricately created in His image.

Make me over, make me new ~ Make me a mirror, a reflection of You ~ Take me all apart ~ Take me to Your heart and pull me closer ~ Sweet Savior, make me over ~ I am only made of Your imagining ~ I'm dust and clay on the wind ~ Wash me in the river of Your sacrifice ~ Until I'm changed, purified ~ Take me all apart ~ Take me to Your heart and pull me closer ~ My Jesus, make me over (N.G.)

"Those who look to him are radiant,and their faces shall never be ashamed." (Psalm 34:5)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Daddy's Little Girl

Drift off and dream in your paper-doll world
Play with the presents from the boys and the girls.
Your big day is over. The cake is all gone.
We sang you to sleep with the birthday song.
No, you'll never be one again.
The two's are tumblin' on in.
Daddy's little girl is growing up in the world.
You'll never be one again.
The toy piano is quiet in the hall
as Kermie the frog sits watching it all.
And soon your legs will grow and make the tricycle go
and take you away from us all.
No, you'll never be one again.
The two's are tumblin' on in.
Daddy's little girl is growing up in the world.
You'll never be one again.
(Never Be One - Alabama)

Regardless of the band given due credit for writing this song, I will always hear my dad's voice when these words come to mind. He sang this to me, whether while tucking me in at night or cleaning house together on a Saturday afternoon. His soft, meek voice is the one I will always hear singing this familiar melody, remembering how he used to twirl me around the living room as if such a tune had been written just for me. He had priceless traditions and memories with my brother as well, but this one...this memory is ours.

All of us daughters have memories of our fathers; whether he was present or absent, consoling or cold, interested or preoccupied, we all have distinct associations with our own fathers. One of mine just so happens to be a song that the majority of people I know have never heard. Beyond such memories, though, I have recently begun pondering the lasting impact fathers have on their daughters. There have been numerous resources, particularly in the area of theological education, pertaining to mothers training their daughters, but what has been observed regarding fathers? Here is a rather brief list of considerations for taking a closer look at such a crucial relationship:
  • effects of the father being present and engaged in his daughter's life;
  • effects of the father being distant either due to other priorities or in the event of divorce;
  • how single fathers engage their daughters and create a safe and loving environment in which to raise her;
  • ways in which the father can set a standard for the men his daughter will meet and potentially date in the future;
  • the father protecting his daughter from emotional, physical, sexual harm;
  • the father reflecting the Father's love and discipline for His children;
  • how the father can encourage and train his daughter toward biblical womanhood
I know that the bond between fathers and daughters is crucial, but I also know that I am still young and inexperienced. Looking further into the effects and impact of such a relationship I know will strike a chord with me, and I pray earnestly that whatever I glean will be rewarding both now and in the future.