It’s almost the end of August. My how time flies … whether you’re having fun or not! So here are a few random thoughts on this Sunday afternoon of August …

1. I’ve had a guitar in my possession for about 2 years. I still don’t know how to play it. A few weeks ago, a friend showed me three chords and told me to practice 15 minutes a day. I eagerly sat down and practiced. And the next day, I practiced again. And the third day … I stopped practicing. No wonder I still haven’t learned how to play!

2. I do not like the heat and have decided once and for all that I’m a wimp. When it’s 100 degrees outside, I have conversations with myself that go like this … “Self, would you like to go on a bike ride right after work during the hottest part of the day when you’re going to be absolutely miserable?” “No, thank you,” I reply.  BUT … I have certainly enjoyed some beautiful Saturday morning rides lately (and even a couple late evening ones)! And I have decided I’d rather face cars than the joggers on the bike trail! Last time I rode the trail on a Saturday morning I almost crashed twice, and I decided that there should be a separate trail for joggers, runners, walkers, daydreamers, moms and their strollers, etc. But until they create another bike trail, just because I want one, I’d much rather face large pieces of machinery and narrow, winding roads! Besides, I’d miss seeing the llamas and horses and goats and cool little spots like this:

Wish I could’ve stopped for a good cup of coffee!

3. Over the last month or so, I began listening to some sermons by a guy named Tim Chaddick. He’s the pastor at Reality LA, and I have been super blessed by his teaching of the Word. This sermon on prayer was so amazing, I think you all should go listen to it right now. Ready? Go! http://realityla.com/teachings/enduring-in-prayer/ (btw, if my pastor had an hour+ to preach, he’d be so stinking excited!)

4. I did something today that I haven’t done in a very, very long time. I went through some Italian vocab!!! And boy am I rusty. It’s amazing how much you can learn and forget … and forget that you learned. The reason I busted out my Italian vocab cards (I feel like I’m back in Greek) and my Italian lesson book (and I just realized I think I let someone borrow one of my Italian books … hmmmm, I should check on that!) … but back to my exciting announcement … Lord willing, I’m going to Italy in October! I’m so excited about this and just praying that it works out. 🙂

5. I am longing for fall to come!! I just want to bake and be warm and cozy and drink hot beverages. I passed a pumpkin patch on my ride yesterday, and it made me even more excited for fall … the fall weather helped too.

6.  “Holiness is beholding and reflecting the character of God.” – Tim Chaddick




By blogging today, I’m doing something I haven’t done in a very … long … time. I’m blogging twice in one month! Woohoo! Gold star for my forehead. So it’s been a pretty good week. And here’s why:

Sunday … Great day fellowshipping at church and being ministered to by the body of Christ. The Church is an amazing thing, for which I’m incredibly thankful. After church, I hit the road and enjoyed a lovely bike ride. Then, I got to go see The Avengers!!! I had been doing my homework the previous week by watching Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, and Thor. The only one I had previously seen was Captain America, which I loved. I loved Thor (what’s not to love … his people originate from Norway. They’re my people!). Thanks to my buddy, Janelle, I was all ready to see The Avengers, and oh boy did I love it!! And I have become somewhat of a Marvel Comic nerd now. But in my defense, I did not download the comic app!

Monday & Tuesday … I was blessed by a sweet friend from church who brought me what might be my new favorite drink at Starbucks (a tall one pump vanilla cappuccino). Tuesday, I found an extra brain on my desk (it’s been a crazy time at work).

Coffee and a brain … a great start to a busy week.

Then on Tuesday night, my mom and I went to one of our favorite restaurants called Lucca (they have pretty blue glasses) and to see a show at The Music Circus (we bought season tickets for the summer and are quite excited!). We had a delicious dinner, a fun show, and then a yummy dessert back at Lucca’s.

Lucca! I just love this place – from the atmosphere to the food to the service! Everything is just great!

Wednesday … I had my first experience with Korean food! Super fun night out with friends and a very fun experience. As she kept putting more and more food on our table, I just stared wide-eyed. I probably sounded like a broken record with how much I said: “What is this?” or “How do I eat this?” Good times!

That would be dinner for 6 girls right there. 😉

Friday … Last night, we had a slumber party! I mean, how can you go wrong with your auntie and cousin and mom, brownies, staying up late talking and laughing, having a leisurely morning, doing a super fun workout, and having lunch with another cousin?? You just can’t go wrong with that combo.

Today … one of my cousins is getting married! So crazy. We’re all about to go to our first family wedding; exciting times! (Maybe I should stop blogging and go get ready??!)

Finally … I’ve been blessed throughout the week by starting to read (again) John Piper’s Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ. If you haven’t read it yet, I totally recommend it. I’ve been meditating on his prayer at the end of chapter 2 …

O to know him [Christ]! Father, we long to know him. Banish from our minds low thoughts of Christ. Saturate our souls with the Spirit of Christ and all his greatness. Enlarge our capacities to be satisfied in all that you are for us in him. Where flesh and blood are impotent, reveal to us the Christ, and rivet our attention and our affections on the truth and beauty of your all-glorious Son. And grant that whether rich or poor, sick or sound, we might be transformed by him and become an echo of his excellence in the world.


I had an awesome last 2 days at the Equip Conference. The preaching was powerful; heard about the Gospel transforming worshipers of self to worshipers of God and how Jesus is the Shepherd and His sheep hear His voice and follow Him. The fellowship was sweet. The music was lovely. Making new friends was encouraging.

Thought for today from Tony Sanelli’s message:

 “Imitation does not make sons; sonship makes imitators.” – Martin Luther

Is anyone still out there checking my blog??! Well, if you’re one of the faithful few, here’s a post for you! 🙂

This is the second time I’m sitting at Starbucks in the last 2 weeks trying to write a blog post. When everything in your life has changed and you haven’t blogged in forever and a year, it’s a daunting task to sit down and write! I mean, where would I begin? What would someone actually find interesting from the past 6 weeks of my life and care about reading? Would you like to hear about my 4th of July and the fun of kayaking, yummy food, a bike ride, fireworks so close debris was falling on us, and homemade cookies and milk? Maybe you’d like to hear about my first few weeks of work – how overwhelmed I have felt, how I made my first bulletin misspelling the week my pastor asked me to add an announcement about my working in the office (including my picture), how the copier and I have not been getting along at all (although, I think we’re starting to make progress, but I could be wrong)? Perhaps you’d rather hear about the chaos of my house – moving things over and over and not being settled, stuff being moved out, new floors going in, my bed being in the middle of my room while waiting for new base boards, purchasing a new oven and dishwasher? I would like to proclaim to the world that as of yesterday, our house is in order (and looking so beautiful!) and I unpacked the last of my boxes! HOORAY! What a relief! Would you find it interesting to read about the copious amounts of Big Spoon Frozen Yogurt that my mom and I have consumed, how many times we’ve eaten homemade popcorn, apples, and cheese slices, and how we can’t wait to start cooking and entertaining now that the house is in order? (I got to cook the last 2 nights – so fun … and yummy! recipes to come!) Or maybe you’d like to jump in on the conversation regarding my decision of purchasing a road bike – tested an amazing Cannondale last week that I really want (oh, and I have the peddles and clips thanks to my friend!!). If you’re into working out, perhaps you’d be interested to know that I miss my membership at LA Fitness like crazy; like I might literally go insane!! I would kill to be in Spin Class with Amy (the best instructor of all times) tonight or Saturday morning!! And if you’re in Southern CA – maybe you’d like to hear about how much I miss you (believe me when I say “I DO!”). And if you’re in Northern CA – maybe you’d prefer to hear me say that I’m so glad to be home and near you again (please know that I am!).

If I had to describe the last month and a half in one word, I’d choose this word: sanctifying.

Don’t you just love it when life goes easily, according to plan, smooth like butter? I LOVE it when life is like that … and that’s not exactly how I’d describe the way things have been. I feel a little like nothing has gone according to my plan lately … and that’s a problem. But the problem is with me. You see, I want to live for my own little kingdom – where I control every little detail and everything goes exactly as I want it to. Circumstances and people all sync with my master plan. But … God’s Kingdom operates quite differently, and He delights to graciously, lovingly, and kindly remind us of this. And thankfully, He’s shown me that I love control and ease way too much. And I’ve had to remind myself that, “… his [God’s] focus isn’t so much on what you will experience and enjoy, but on what you will become. He is committed to using every tool at his disposal to rescue you from yourself and to shape you into the likeness of his Son” (Paul Tripp). So that means moving, being unsettled, starting over, changing churches, remodeling the house, buying appliances, making new friends and rekindling old friendships, being new, living in a mess, not getting to go on vacation to a beautiful island in Florida, and learning a new job are all tools in God’s hand to make me more like Christ. How amazing is that?! God’s love chisels the imperfections out of me and purifies the dross out of my soul. Easy? Painless? Enjoyable? No way! But the end result … wonderful, freeing, God-glorifying, joyful (not to mention so much more pleasant for those around me).

Can I quote Paul Tripp again? His book A Shelter in the Time of Storm (which the above quote was also taken from) has been convicting, encouraging, helpful, refreshing. I highly recommend it! This portion greatly spoke to my heart the other day, so I’ll leave you with his words …

Trust in God isn’t a thin hope in some not very sure outcome. Hope in God is rather a present investment in a future guarantee. What God says will be done. What God has promised will come to pass. His word is reliable because in his grace he wants to bless us, and in his power he has the ability to do anything he has promised to do. When you live with his promises in view, you live with confidence, courage, and unshakable hope. You then become free of anxiety and worry. You become free of vain attempts to manipulate people and situations in order to get what you want. You place yourself in the hands of a sovereign God of grace who knows exactly what you need, when you need it, how you need it, and where you will need it. And because your Father is good, he will never turn a deaf ear to your cries, and he will never abandon you in your hour of need. No, you won’t always understand what he is doing, and you will be tempted to think that he has gotten his timing wrong, but the more you entrust your life to him, the more you will experience his faithful grace again and again.

I was recently introduced to this beautiful song – “Blessings” by Laura Story. It may be my new favorite song, as I could listen to its truth over and over and over again. There are a myriad of emotions that arise when I hear it or read the lyrics: I cry. I smile. I rejoice. I am convicted. I am encouraged. I am motivated to persevere. I am reminded of the point of trials. I am reminded that earth is not my home. I am reminded that the uncomfortable and painful trials of life are just as much blessings as the comfortable and happy moments. I hope you are as blessed by this song as I have been. You can hear it here and/or read the lyrics below. I put some of the phrases that I love most in bold.

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

I journal. I write my thoughts, events, Scripture, lessons, quotes, struggles, prayers … the brutally honest truth of my heart. Something I enjoy doing on occasion is taking a look through previous journals. Over the last few days, I’ve been reading through my journey of the past 3 or so years. There are several things I could comment on, many similar themes and lessons I see the Lord has taught me (and is still teaching me), unexpected circumstances and outcomes. Across these pages are scattered evidences of God’s faithfulness and goodness. I look at the confusion I felt during trials – from the pages of my journal, life looked like the messy, unattractive backside of a tapestry. But looking back from this vantage point, I see the  beautifully woven tapestry that God has perfectly put together — and I can rejoice in His amazing power and work in my life. Oh, why do I doubt Him today when I see such faithfulness written on the pages of my life?! I read Psalm 77 today … quite fitting.

I actually didn’t get on to share all that. Rather, I wanted to share some quotes I came across on the pages of May 2009. Reading them the other night blessed my heart. I quoted this book in another post. The book – Passion and Purity. The author – Elizabeth Elliot. If you don’t know the story of Jim and Elizabeth Elliot, well … read the book. To sum it up: they fell in love, he thought he was called to be a single missionary and told her they couldn’t be together, they were apart and in love for several years, they finally got married. OK, now you don’t have to read the book. 🙂 Enjoy.

Today the thought occurred to me, suppose He should ask me to wait five years? It stuns me to think of it. Yet – could I imagine that the mercy of God which has stretched to me from everlasting to everlasting could be exhausted in five years?

On loneliness …

Nevermind if you cannot feel His presence. He is there, never for one moment forgetting you.

It is one stage, and only one stage, on a journey that brings you to God. It will not last.

Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God. – Jim Elliot

The effect of my troubles depends not on the nature of the troubles themselves but on how I receive them. I can receive them with both hands in faith and acceptance, or I can rebel and reject. What they produce if I rebel and reject will be something very different from a mature character, something nobody is going to like. Rebellion – if this is the will of God for me now, He doesn’t love me. Rejection – if this is what God is giving me, I won’t have any part of it. Faith – God knows exactly what He’s doing. Acceptance – He loves me; He plans good things for me; I’ll take it.

Our vision is so limited we can hardly imagine a love that does not show itself in protection from suffering. The love of God is of a different nature altogether. It does not hate tragedy. It never denies reality. It stands in the very teeth of suffering. The love of God did not protect His own Son. That was the proof of His love – that He gave that Son, that He let Him go to Calvary’s cross, though ‘legions of angels’ might have rescued Him. He will not necessarily protect us – not from anything it takes to make us like His Son. A lot of hammering and chiseling and purifying by fire will have to go into the process.

This is from one of the letters Jim wrote Elizabeth when they were away from each other.

Besides this, there is the somewhat philosophical realization that actually I have lost nothing. We may imagine what it would be like to share a given event and feel loss at having to experience it alone. But let us not forget – that loss is imagined, not real. I imagine peaks of enjoyment when I think of doing things together, but let not the hoping for it dull the doing of it alone. What is, is actual – what might be, simply is not, and I must not therefore query God as though He robbed me – of things that are not. Further, the things that are belong to us, and they are good, God given, and enriched. Let not our longing slay the appetite of our living. It is true that our youth is fast fleeing, and I know the rush of wants, the perfect fury of desire which such a thought summons. All that it involves – this getting on to thirty – brings a push of hurry and a surge of ‘possible’ regrets over the soul. And, Betty, this is just exactly what we have bargained for. Obedience involves for us, not physical suffering, perhaps, not social ostracism, as it has for some, but this warring with worries and regrets, this bringing into captivity our thoughts. We have planted (in our integrity) the banner of our trust in God. The consequences are His responsibility.

Listened to a sermon tonight on the unpardonable sin from Mark 3 (yep, trying to figure that out and get down to the bottom of what I believe). This message was recommended to me by a friend/co-worker who attends Grace Baptist Church. Was struck by this from the end of the message …

“God cares about our view of Jesus Christ. He cares deeply that we view Him as Lord and Master, and that the Lordship of Christ that we claim in our lives not be seen just as duty and obligation, but it grows into a position of a great excitement and delight as we come to understand that what Jesus Christ asks of us is always best for us. God cares about how we submit to Him. God cares about the way our lives testify to the fact that Jesus is Lord.”

“We are here for one reason and that is to magnify the glory of the God who has sent Jesus Christ to be our Savior.”

– David Hegg, “The Unpardonable Sin” – 9 May 2010

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