Jul 10, 2004

mini shopping spree...

Well, I went to Target today to get out of the house and to find a water bottle that I like. I had two other necessities on my list, one of which Target did not have. But while there, I managed to spend $60. How does that happen? I don't think it was a waste though. I found a backpack for school, which I had been looking for; I got the water bottle I went for; I got soap, which was on my list; and my "splurge" item was a set of really trendy silverware that was marked down. The backpack is perfect, which is a big deal to me because I'm really picky about backpacks. This one's a black, fairly plain, one-strap Jan Sport. The water bottle is perfect, too. I'm also really picky about those. This one is made by Eddie Bower and it's this cool nearly-unbreakable plastic that's supposed to be better for you, health wise, than other plastics. The silverware were calling my name. I always look at silverware, but could never justify buying them until now. (Yeah, I'm weird. I'd rather shop for housewares than clothes any day.) The mark-down sign in front of them was all the justification I needed. I had one other splurge item the other day. I was at Pac-Sun with Marti looking for a hat for Sam's birthday when the world's most perfect pair of brown Reefs jumped out at me. There was one pair hanging at eye level, which was about 4 rows down from the others like it, and that pair was my size. I tried them on and I fell in love. Yes, they cost way more than I would normally spend on any shoes, much less flops, but they are incredibly comfortable, and I reasonably justified this one by determining that for approximately 75% of the past year all I have worn is my brown flops. So I'm really happy with the stuff I have purchased this week, but I'm not allowed to spend any more money. Hopefully I can stick to that!

Jul 9, 2004

one more thing...

My friend Melissa from high school is getting married at the end of the month! I just found out a few weeks ago, but that's really cool. Wish I could be there, but congratulations anyway.
quote of the day...

"When things don't go right, just build a new door... and then shoot staples through it... character."

HAHA. (That makes no sense to anyone but me... and Marti, because it's her quote, but she's not reading this.)

This will be the condensed version of the Bible study on Ruth 1 that I led last night with the girls.

The story: A man named Elimelech lived in Bethlehem with his wife Naomi and two sons Mahlon and Chilon. Bethlehem was where the people of God lived at the time. A famine came in Bethlehem as punishment for the sinful lifestyle that God's people were participating in. Elimelech decided that another city, Moab, had more to offer, so he took his family there. They probably only planned to stay for a short while, but the two sons wound up marrying Moabite girls named Ruth and Orpah, they stayed for about 10 years, and eventually Elimelech and his two sons died. The three women were left. Naomi was going to return to Bethlehem because she had heard that the famine was over and God was providing food, but she urged the two girls to stay in Moab and return to their homes. The girls said they were going with her. After more urging, Orpah decided to return home, but Ruth stayed with Naomi. Naomi and Ruth returned to Bethlehem, but Naomi was so bitter for the things that had happened to her that she even wanted to change her name signifying her bitterness (Mara).

Important notes: Most of the names in this story have significant meanings. Elimelech: My God is King. Bethlehem: house of bread. Naomi: pleasant. Mahlon: unhealthy, sickly. Chilon: puny, pining. Moab: washpot; "what father?". Orpah: deer; stiffnecked. Ruth: beauty, friendship, mercy.
Elimelech, the one whose name signifies that he believes in God, quit trusting in the providence of God and relied on his own strength. He left the place God had for him and went to live in a sinful nation. Next, his sons married two girls from this pagan nation. All three guys died, leaving three widows (which, at that time, were equivalent to the homeless in our society), so when Naomi heard that God's blessing had returned to Bethlehem, she decided to go back. Even though the Christian family had been living in a pagan nation for a long time, their faith must have still had an impact on the two daughters-in-law because they were both interested in following Naomi back to her homeland and her way of life. Naomi was upfront with the girls and let them know that coming with her would not be an easy thing for them to do. It would be difficult. After considering the cost, Orpah decided it wasn't for her, but Ruth committed to Naomi wholeheartedly. Upon her return to Bethlehem, Naomi complained that the Lord had brought her back empty and she wanted to change her name to Mara to signify her bitterness. The Lord had other plans for her, however. He did not change her name... there was still hope for her. She was not destined to be bitter forever. She would still "experience great joy in her life and in her God. God had not abandoned her."

Characters to which we can relate:
Like Orpah, many people say they want to follow God, but they change their minds when they find out how tough it may be... that it won't be a walk in the park.
Like Elimelech, some Christians who are in a tough place, when given the choice of trusting God or running, choose to run. They doubt the "Fatherhood" of God and that He will take care of them. The step out in willful disobedience and rely on their own strength.
Like Naomi, some Christians who have run away do return, but they want to make sure God knows that they are mad at Him for letting bad things happen. They let bitterness take over and define who they are.
Like Ruth, true Christians consider the cost of following Christ and follow knowing that it might not be easy. They commit to Him through good times and bad.

Something else we can learn: "We can never expect to bring back anything productive from our [trip] to Moab! If we are true sons of God then the Lord will bring us back to Himself, but it is not usually pleasant."

Jul 8, 2004


Dallas and DJ got engaged!!! How exciting!

(Yes, Allison, you still need to write me and tell me all about it! Tell me everything you know!)

I forgot to mention, since I was busy ranting, that my book was also delivered. It's called TwentySomeone. Yes, "someone" not "something." That's the whole point. When you say "twenty-something" it's like making people into nothing more than a statistic. (Okay, that's not always how the word is used, but for the example.) This book addresses asking yourself the question "who am I?" which is more useful and fulfilling than "what am I supposed to do with my life?" So far it's been really good. It talks about who God has made us to be and how we have a primary calling of "living out our identity as children of God." Our secondary calling is the part of life that is individual to all of us, such as what job we choose, how we serve in our church, etc. As the book points out, however, sometimes God chooses to wait to reveal this part to us until later on in life. One possibility for this is that He wants us to focus on our primary calling during our younger years (say, our twenties). It gives an acronym (borrowed from another book) on how we begin the process of discovering our secondary purpose. We have to consider our SHAPE: spiritual gifts, heart, abilities, personality, and experience. There is a section about each of these. One quote under "heart" that really stuck out to me was this: "What is it I'm passionate about? ... If we don't pursue the passions contained within our desires (the good ones, that is) because they're impractical or we think they're silly or we're too busy, we run the risk of losing a major part of ourselves. So once you figure out what you're passionate about, cultivate those things. We need to care for our hearts and passions--examine them, write about them, share them, express them--or we will grow cold and disconnected as we pursue things in life we don't really care about." So that's what I'm doing here! Writing about my passions. And hopefully this is just the start. My desire is to go further by actually developing things in my life that I am passionate about. Like the quote says, sometimes I feel like my desires are silly or impractical or I'm too busy, but I really want to do certain things despite those facts. Here's my list, or a shortened version of it for your sake!

1. I want to learn to be a better photographer. (I'm signed up for a class this fall... as long as I get in and I can get a camera, we're on the right track.)
2. I want to learn to play the guitar. (I own one but can't play it.)
3. I want to learn to play the cello. (If I still care to learn a third instrument after the guitar, this will be it. Or if the guitar doesn't work out too well, this is another option.)
4. I want to learn to paint.
5. I want to go to a gym on a regular basis. (During the school year I'm pretty good about going twice a week. When I graduate, however, I need to find one close to wherever I live and make myself go. I enjoy it when I'm there, it's just hard to get myself there at times.)
6. I would love to sing in a really good choir. (This one is dependent upon where I live and whether or not that area has one. I'm open to suggestions about this, if anybody has any info.)
7. I MUST be involved in a good strong group of believers. I CANNOT let this get pushed to the back burner. (While in St. Augustine I am involved. If I move, hovever, I have to make it a priority to find a group.)
8. I want to allow myself time to enjoy things like the scenery, art galleries, the beach, whatever. (This is why I love St. Augustine... it provides all these things as long as I do my part and make time for them.)
9. I want to cook real food on a regular basis instead of relying on the quick-fix meals our society bombards us with.
10. I want to go to good Christian concerts as often as possible. (This is already happening at this point in my life, but I want it to continue as I get older. I don't want to stop taking time to enjoy the music I love just because it's a little less convenient or I'm starting to get out of the average age group or whatever.)

That's my list for now. I wrote about my passions and desires like the book says. (For that matter, writing is one of my passions.) Now I intend to go out and do as many of them as I can.
wishful thinking...

You've heard of "Christmas in July" right? Well, I'm starting my Christmas list in July. Top of the list is a bread maker and grinder! I made garlic rolls for dinner tonight and they were sooooo good! Actually, I prefer them without the garlic butter, but garlic is healthy for you, so I ate a little. Tomorrow or Saturday we're making our own pizza crust. And today we discovered how to make really good pasta sauce (not with the bread maker, however). I included it in our turkey lasagna tonight. Very yummy. I'm getting a little nervous about all this healthy food, however, because Marti got the "Eat to Live" book she ordered in the mail yesterday, and it sounds super strict. I'm talkin' like hardly any meat, no pasta, no oil (unless you weigh 99 lbs. and then you're allowed one teaspoon a day! no joke.), no sugar, and the list goes on. Marti is convinced that it's not a "diet" it's a "way of life," which is all true if you stick to it for the rest of your life. But personally, eating such a limited selection of things would get awefully boring very quickly, and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't stick with it for long. My personal approach to food is "anything in moderation," which I know sounds cliche, but that's really how I feel. I'm not going to cut anything completely out of my diet. If I want a slice of chocolate cake once in a while, I'm going to have it. But not three slices, or a slice every day for two weeks. And I'm not going to cut carbs out to the point that I eat a sandwich wrapped in lettuce instead of bread. That's just rediculous. And I'm not cutting meat completely out because my grandmother is 85 and still going strong after eating meat with every meal of her entire life. Besides, I am a firm believer that it is better to enjoy your life and live it to the fullest than to be completely consumed with what it is that you're supposed to or not supposed to eat while hating every minute of it. So what if you weigh 5 pounds over what your ideal weight is, as long as you love life and everything about it. Like I said the other day, I believe eating healthy is honoring to God, but if it becomes your focus, it becomes your idol, and that's definitely not right.

So, that's my little rant for today. I guess that's what has been pinned up in me for the last several hours! Now, I'm looking forward to leading a Bible study on Ruth tonight with the girls... in about 40 minutes. Later.

Jul 7, 2004


An additional benefit to me of staying with the Briants for the summer is that Marti has decided to change the way the family eats. She's going healthy in every possible way. We've started eating lots of fruits and veggies. A few weeks ago we started this grain drink thing... it's not as bad as it sounds! What it is is 14 different kinds of whole grains mixed together, and you take 1-3 tablespoons of the mixture and grind them up (in a little coffee grinder thing) and add them to juice or a fruit smoothie or whatever. Okay, so if you add it to juice you still have to like chew up the grains once you get to the bottom of the glass, but it works a lot better in smoothies. And speaking of fruit smoothies, that has been my breakfast almost every day. I blend frozen strawberries, frozen banana, and organic apple juice together every morning. Sometimes I do other fruits, like right now I'm drinking a strawberry and blueberry one. And the newest thing Marti has done is purchase a bread-maker. The key part of making healthy bread is that you also get a grinder and grind your own flour because white flour that you get from the grocery store is bad for you. So yesterday was the first day of grinding flour and making bread. It's really easy to make and it's really good. There's only like 7 ingredients in it, and all you do is put the ingredients in the machine and it makes the bread for you. We also made some muffins with the "new" flour last night. They are yummy! They're sweetened with honey instead of sugar, so that's an added health benifit. I'm not sure what I'm going to do when I move out in a month and a half. By then I'll know how bad most foods are for you and I won't want to eat them! I can take the smoothie idea back with me, and the fruits and veggies, and maybe even the grains, but I'm a poor college student and can't afford a grinder and a bread maker! So I plan to give the health food store in St. Augustine a visit and see if they sell any healthy bread, among other things that I will be looking for. Anyway, for now I'm glad I've had someone to encourage me to eat healthy. I believe that eating healthy is one way in which I can honor God in my body, so if I keep that in mind I will have more of a reason to stay consistent. That's all for now. I'll write again when I discover something else! Later.

Jul 5, 2004


I had intentions of making this into a well-written piece, but the fact is it's just going to be straightforward instead. I just found out that a friend of mine lost her dad on Friday. She's twenty, like me, and she's already lost her mom... about a year and a half ago, I guess. For any other friend in this situation, I would know how to feel... overwhelmed with sorrow for them. For her, however, I'm almost at a loss of how to feel. She had a distant sort of relationship with her parents. I sure she's sad to have lost them, but ... I don't know. It's just weird. And how do I approach her? I haven't talked to her in months, and we're not super close, but we are a little I guess, so do I call immediately tomorrow, or do I wait a while, or what? [Not really looking for advice, just sorting through my thoughts.]

I don't know how I should feel for her, but I do know that this whole situation has instantly made me grateful for what I have. I have two parents. Two married parents. They raised me in church; they've always been supportive of anything I did; they love me; they've taught me how to be a responsible adult with good moral grounding; and they're still around. And I still have a good chance of my dad walking me down the asile one day, and of my parents seeing my kids, and of us taking trips to "grandma's" house. God has a purpose in everything that happens. Some people lose their parents; some people get to keep them. The former is a lot tougher to deal with, but there's a purpose. I pray that as she and I find ourselves in different situations that I can somehow minister to her, regardless. I praise God for the blessings that He has given me; I pray I use them to do His work.