Monday, November 29, 2010

Cutie Patootie

Dear Cuties,

You are my most favorite Christmastime fruity treat. I love your citrusy sweetness and the ease with which you can be peeled. You are small enough to tuck inside my bag for an afternoon pick-me-up or to fit within the toe of a Christmas stocking hanging on the mantel for a present-opening snack. Thanks for quenching my Monday lunchtime sweet tooth; I look forward to many more days of enjoyment during this most festive season.

Welcome back. I've missed you.

Fondly,
Sarah

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thaaaaanksgiving!!!!!

In 7 minutes I will be leaving the office and making the trek down to good ole San Antone. The weather will be warmer than I'd like, but I'll just pretend there's a nip in the air and dress accordingly. Regardless, I'm super duper excited to see my parents, who I haven't seen since MAY! And the rest of the fam of course.

I'm in charge of the table decorations which, although not on the level of Caryn fabulousness, I think will be festive. I'm also going to try my hand at learning my Mema's famous mashed potatoes and my mom's famous apple pie! Thankfully my mom will also be making a pie, otherwise we'd likely end up with a Friends-like incident. You know the one when Rachel screws up the trifle: "first there's a layer of lady fingers, then there's a layer of jam, then beef sauteed with peas and onions..." Hoping I don't somehow mix something crazy in the mashed potatoes...

So here's hoping you all have a gobbley good turkey day full of scrumptous food, people you love and who love you, and praises to the One who gave it all! I'll be sure to take pictures of my domesticated attempts!

And fingers crossed for no traffic for me...eek! :)

What is Discipleship?

This is a question that has been swirling around in my head these last few weeks. Why, might you ask? Well, I’ve realized that what I once thought it was, I now know it is not; it’s so much more. I used to think it was fairly flat and one dimensional and consisted of the “must dos” of the faith: read your Bible (check), go to church (check), prep and lead small group (check), give some of your money to the poor (check), share the gospel (check), and squeeze in some check-in time with the small group girls (check). Notice how my original thoughts were all centered around a check list of dos? Not that these elements are bad, but somewhere along the way of the past five+ years, God obliterated this view of discipleship and started building a new one. One that consists of pain at times (as shattered dreams and changed hearts sometimes bring pain), but insanely more joy that makes the pain completely worth it and it's so much fun! And one that doesn’t necessarily look a certain way, but is fluid and shifts based on the Lord’s direction.

So here is what I know today about discipleship (from my experience):

1. Discipleship isn’t simply leading a small group, it’s daily spending personal time with the Lord to know and allow him to change you, and then asking him to use you to ignite hearts and souls for him

2. Discipleship isn’t about walking the road alone, it’s about living in community yourself so you in turn can teach and lead others

3. Discipleship isn’t loving or serving with the expectation of a response or even a thank you, it’s knowing that all the time, sweat, and tears is for a greater good and a greater reward

4. Discipleship isn’t putting in an hour a week, it’s investing countless hours with a group of sometimes crazy middle/high school girls with the intention of helping them feel known and loved

5. Discipleship isn’t trying to convince anyone into following a list of dos and don’ts, it’s praying earnestly for God to change hearts and build into each girl a unique heart for only him

6. Discipleship isn’t skirting the hard things and being afraid of how a wavering girl may respond, it’s being committed to Truth and loving a girl in ruins so much that sometimes it leads her to despise you

7. Discipleship isn’t keeping quiet about your deepest, darkest demons out of shame or fear, it’s humbly sharing, praying that the Lord will not return your authenticity void, and reveling in the way that he uses it for his good

8. Discipleship isn’t avoiding the girls who are sometimes hard to love, it’s recognizing each one is precious and worthy of love, and knowing God will work through each one uniquely

9. Discipleship isn’t giving up on a wandering child, it’s praying earnestly for her heart to return to him and celebrating the tiniest step of surrender

10. Discipleship isn’t being serious all of the time, it’s about fun, joy, goofiness, and playing because God created and desires us to have fun, too!

11. Discipleship isn’t being selfish with your time, it’s availing yourself for a girl who needs to share or cry or simply to receive a hug

12. Discipleship isn’t about our comfort, our praise, our glory, it’s about bringing glory to the name of the Lord.

Ultimately, discipleship isn’t about us, it’s solely about God’s purposes. The road isn’t for the weary or the faint hearted, it’s for the one who admits she is weak and requires her Savior’s strength when times get tough and who praises God's name when things are easier and fun.

And it is so worth it.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pillows & Mockingjays & Uggs Oh My!


Today, even thought the forecast is in the 60s, I bit the bullet and wore my Uggs! Why? Because I wanted to. Plus, lots of people have busted out boots and such. I did pair them with a half-sleeved dress so as to not look like an eskimo in the 60 degree weather. Regardless, they make me very happy!

Stop the phone and pick up this book! I'm fully hooked to the series. So much so that, even though a friend offered to let be borrow the third and final book, I couldn't wait so ran out to get it yesterday since I had a coupon! I love good books.
I will say, don't judge it by the back description. When the plot is explained, it sounds crazy. But I promise, it's really good.

Woo hoo for learning new sewing skills! Here is my pillow from my CityCraft class. I learned how to make custom bias tape, custom cording (and to attach it!), inserting an invisible zipper, which all let to the above pillow! I have a bunch of old pillow forms at home, so think I'll try my hand at some more pillows for my bedroom once the Christmas crafting is complete. Thinking fun trim and some embroidery next time...
And finally, I'm ALMOST done with Christmas shopping! One present left to get. Now, I still have a few things to finish making, but all-in-all, doing pretty dang well.

Monday, November 15, 2010

My Navigator

A week ago, I picked up this book. I’d never heard of it and yet when browsing the shelves of Barnes & Noble looking for something to study, was drawn to the beauty of the cover (yes, I judge books by their covers). I picked it up and, after reading the back and flipping through, decided it could help. See, it’s a retranslation of the Psalms with the goal to celebrate the beauty and truth of the Bible, creating an experience to recapture and reignite hearts and souls for the Lord. The group has translated multiple books in the New Testament, too, but I only saw the Psalms and also felt like it would be ideal given the nature of that book. Side note: this translation is not intended for deep, inductive study; it’s purely meant as another tool to enhance God’s word. The Ecclesia Bible Society used a combination of scholars, poets, artists, and writers to translate the Psalms.

Anyway, yesterday I was reading Psalm 31 and verse 3 particularly jumped out at me. One of the descriptors used to describe God was navigator. I kept reading and re-reading that verse as it says for the sake of God’s name, he is my guide, comfort, and navigator. For the sake of his name he cannot leave me floundering. And the use of navigator stirs in me many more images, thoughts, and understanding that it probably does the average person. Why? Because my dad is a navigator.
For the better part of my dad’s career in the Air Force, he worked as a navigator in the massive plane, the B-52 (also known as the Buff). So, unlike some who may breeze past the word or just think of the goofy kid in the 80s flick Flight of the Navigator, I have a personal connection to the meaning. A navigator is a crucial member of a flight team. They literally navigate the plane from point A to point B but they are also responsible for navigating the bombs. On top of that, my dad is a kind, gentle, yet incredibly strong man.

So I just sat and stared at that verse for a while as I thought about what it meant in terms of describing an aspect of the Lord’s character. Obviously the Lord navigates the path of our lives. But I thought about the other aspect of a navigators job, using radars and such to find, target, and take down enemies from the sky. God doesn’t simply direct our paths, my path, he fights for me. Sometimes I don’t see it as, like the B-52, it can come stealthily, but he does fight. And, although I don’t completely understand heaven and am struggling with aspects of it right now, I know the ultimate fight has already been done. This life will not have a surprise ending, no matter what I may think or feel.

I won’t say I’m without fear, but I am striving to trust my navigator. To know and trust that he is greater than my earthly dad and continuously fights for me, even when I sleep. So today I’ll end with a few pictures of the lovely B-52 (including one from right after my dad’s last flight; yes he’s wet…it’s tradition) interspersed with reminders of how the Lord fights for me.

Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still. Exodus 14:13

Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you. Deuteronomy 3:22


One of you routs a thousand, because the Lord your God fights for you, just as he promised. Joshua 23:10

You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you. 2 Chronicles 20:17

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hosea

To those who know me well and live in community with me day-to-day, this is no earth-shattering news. I’ve been struggling lately with believing God’s words, promises, everything really. I don’t know exactly where this came from as I was walking closely with him one day and almost the next day nothing made sense. One day I relished the depth of his word that spoke into my heart and the next I felt as though I were reading some distant, complicated novel. I suppose this may be a common occurrence to some, but it was very strange to me as I couldn’t figure out why whereas other times I’ve felt distant from the Lord, I understood where it was coming from. Pretty much since that day I’ve shifted between apathy (or at least wanting to be apathetic) to longing for previous days to feeling like I failed in some way. Last week at community, one of the girls reminded me that although I feel differently about the Lord, he is not any different today than he has been ever. I'm trying to grasp that.

Anyway, that’s a high-level look at where I’ve been, so hopefully it’ll make more sense in where I’m going today.

As I mentioned, one of the albums I’ve been listening to fairly non-stop lately is Jacob and Lily. They’re an obscure Canadian band that I ran across on iTunes several years ago, and I was immediately drawn to the raw, imperfections in the sound combined with descriptively deep lyrics. While literally every song is a favorite, I have a particular affection for Hosea. It’s a song about the book Hosea in the Bible which, although odd, is one of my most favorite books. It’s a little hard to explain why, except I see parallels to my own life (well except the prostitute part...)

So rather than attempt to place words to what I’m thinking/feeling, I’ll simply share to passages; the first from the song and the second from the King James version (random translation, I know, but I liked it best for this) of Hosea. For whatever reason, they gave me a glimmer of hope that I can get back on the road and will again feel connected to the Lord.

But your heart is wild and your eyes they wander, why do I miss you? And it’s a fast steep slope that I’m on, don’t know where this started, what went wrong. it’s a fast steep slope that I’m on. Carry me through the fire into the deepest part of the river.

I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him. I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon. Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found. Hosea 14:4-7

Monday, November 8, 2010

Little of This and That

Confession #2 (and a little more serious, I suppose).
There are days when I want to be a mom so badly it hurts. Interestingly, they aren’t days when I’m around other folks’ kids, it’s typically when an idea pops into my mind related to parenting or fun kid-related things; ideas to bring joy and fun into daily life. Things that, while can be tweaked for kids that aren’t yours, would be more sweet and meaningful if they were. These days I sort of shove the ideas aside as dwelling on them brings forth emotions/thoughts that I just don’t want to deal with. Not in a stuffing manner, simply because dwelling on them would be futile and more damaging than reminding myself I don’t have children. Maybe someday I’ll be able to pull them from the recesses of my mind and put to use. But today, I will refocus my thinking to something relevant for today’s lifestage.

In other news, I’m taking my first ever CityCraft class tonight. Realistically, I’ve sort of figured out how to do the things in the class, but have a feeling I’m either doing them incorrectly or inefficiently so decided to put my birthday gift to use and take a class. I’m excited to have something different to do and possibly meet some new folks, even if it is just for the class this week and next (it’s two weeks long). And at least I’ll have one project started and finished by next Monday as my mind is reeling with Christmas ideas, making me a tad overwhelmed that I'll finish any of them. Thankfully I’ve almost finished all immediate family gifts; just have a few finishing touches for McKenzie’s, one piece left for Heather and Adam, and basically finished with my parents.

And finally, I stumbled across a new artist (at least new to me) last week. Her name is Mindy Gledhill and I’ve fallen in love with her album Anchor. It’s quite different from the typical music I listen to in that it’s a little more soft and airy, but I love her lyrics. There’s something whimsical and magical about them. And it’s happy-sounding. Aside from that, I’ve also been listening to Brooke Fraser’s new album, Jacob and Lilly (betcha never heard of them!), some Damien Rice, my jazz standard friends (Sinatra, Holliday, Fitzgerald, Armstrong, Martin), Shane and Shane’s new one, and a little musical joyousness (Sound of Music, Annie, South Pacific, get the picture). Quite the eclectic mix, eh? Oh well. It’s the sounds of fall 2010.

Oh and in case you’re wildly curious about the challenges. Sorry. I just haven’t felt up to sharing the first week’s with the cyber world; they’ve been much more personally challenging than outwardly interesting. Maybe this week. Today’s is the CityCraft class, even though that may be cheating a little since I signed up for it in October… Eh, whatever.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Undies With Flying Power

Confession: Sometimes I get crazy ideas that really make me laugh. Especially when I let my child-like imagination take over. Maybe someday I won't care what anyone thinks and will write them down as a story. In the meantime, they give me lots of giggles. And I'll leave you with this picture to pontificate and let your inner, imaginative child run rampant. Enjoy!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, November 1, 2010

Taylor Swift...in Lubbock?

Dress made by my Momma. :)