Monday, March 28, 2011

Room

Yesterday I finished this book. It was so interesting! It's a little difficult to describe without giving away too much, but essentially it's written from the perspective of a five-year old boy who has lived his entire life in an 11x11 foot room with just his mom. I can't tell you how they ended up in this room and why, as it means more to learn this along with Jack. I will say it takes some getting used to at first as he is so starved for community (hello, we were created for community!) that he befriends inanimate objects in his surroundings: Table, Rug, Meltedy Spoon. The author most definitely brings you into the mind of children who see the world in a straight-forward yet magical way. Check it out. My next book brings me back to the 70s in Iran, directly before the revolution: Rooftops of Tehran. Yay for historical fiction! Happy reading people!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Princess Golfer


This makes me laugh. A lot. Silly McKenzie.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ecstatic

It hasn't even been 48 hours since I learned I was officially on the Haiti team this summer, and God has already used this impending trip to open a door for a conversation about him. I had a rep lunch today and she asked if I had any trips planned. I got to tell her about Haiti which led to a discussion about my church. She has a friend who also goes to my church and her family visited with them last year when their son was baptized. She had never been to a non-denominational church so we talked a little about that. Somehow the conversation then led to Joel Osteen (random, I know, she brought it up) and I had the opportunity to share where I didn't believe his theology lined-up with Scripture (see, it's good I've listened to his sometimes!).

No, it wasn't a full gospel presentation, but it was a door. And it started because of Haiti.

Praise God! I can't wait to see how many other conversations spur from this trip in my life and those of the other folks going on the trip. Praise God.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Francophone Pour Ce Francophile!

I've always thought it was hilarious that there is a term for lovers of French culture: francophile. I think it's sort of an ugly word, so don't use it to define myself, though it certainly does!

There's also a term for all French-speaking countries that are not France (because that's the all-superior of the French language countries...according to the French :)): francophone.

In high school we had to memorize all of the francophones. I probably couldn't list them all off anymore, but know there are many in Africa, the Caribbean, Canada of course, and some in the Pacific.

I turn 30 this summer and, a few years ago, was shooting for going to France this summer. I'm okay with this knowing France isn't going anywhere.

What on earth does this have to do with the price of tea in China?!?

Although I'm not going to France, I am going to a francophone! One that has been on my heart long before earthquakes struck it. One that was most definitely magnified with the earthquake a little over a year ago.

This summer I get to go to Haiti!

I'll be a leader on the student ministry trip, on which at least four of our girls are going (potentially more, it's a little up-in-the-air)! I can barely believe it and am eternally blessed for this opportunity. Although the primary language of Haitians is Creole, not traditional French, it's based in French, so I'm hoping that helps. :)

More to come when the team is finalized, we know more of what we'll be doing, and know which area I'll be in-charge of. In the meantime, I'm so, so thankful for this opportunity. I can't wait to see how God will work in the coming months as we prepare.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Awake My Soul

I've been a fan of Mumford & Sons for a while and have probably listened to the album...mmm...maybe 1,000 times? Maybe not, but a whole lot. The song that inspired the title of today's post is currently my most repeated song. I think it's because the lyrics align so much with where I am.

I have no idea if the band knows the Lord, but many of their songs have some Scriptural undertone. Regardless, they stir my affections for Him since I do see the Truth behind the lyrics.

Anyway, here's the song in a super fun video...love the Golden with his ball. Enjoy. :)



I also love this video. If it doesn't load it immediately, look for Goodbye India: Awake My Soul. The Indian kiddos singing with the band at the beginning is the best part if you don't want to watch the whole thing.

In case you don't understand the lyrics, they are:

How fickle my heart and how woozy my eyes
I struggle to find any truth in your lies
And now my heart stumbles on things I don't know
This weakness I feel I must finally show

Lend me your hand and we'll conquer them all
But lend me your heart and I'll just let you fall
Lend me your eyes I can change what you see
But your soul you must keep, totally free
Har har, har har, har har, har har

In these bodies we will live, in these bodies we will die
Where you invest your love, you invest your life
In these bodies we will live, in these bodies we will die
Where you invest your love, you invest your life

Awake my soul, awake my soul
Awake my soul
You were made to meet your maker
Awake my soul, awake my soul
Awake my soul
You were made to meet your maker
You were made to meet your maker

Monday, March 14, 2011

La Verite en Francais

I was alone most of this weekend which, although not usually my favorite, ended up being exactly what I needed. (though I did beg my roommate to go to dinner when she got home last night...she was unbelievably sweet to oblige as I was getting nutso...) I'm learning that my extroverted self does need time alone, but that I also do better if that time is purposeful. I tend to fill alone time with projects and errands and media as opposed to resting. I was intentional to limit my television time, limit my errand running, and limit my project-working (though I did all of those things). Instead, I was intentional to have longer periods of time hanging out with the Creator.

Lately, I've been learning a lot about living in grace and experiencing freedom from the chains of the Law. It's all still in bits as I do not fully have a grasp on the truth, and likely never will, but it has left an insatiable hunger for God's word. Insatiable in that with every minute I spend with Him, my heart longs for more.

On Saturday, or maybe yesterday, I ran across a verse that, although it was underlined in my Bible, I do not remember reading:

They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator - who is forever praised. Amen. Romans 1:25

It came up via a book I'm going through about change and was unbelievably struck by the weight of it...that I am believing lies instead of Truth. And by believing those lies, I am worshipping and serving things that have been created as opposed to the Creator. Um, wow.

I also finished the second book in a fictional series that my friend, Sarah, recommended yesterday. The second is about an American girl who goes to France to pastry school and to work in a French family bakery. There were a lot of true elements to the French culture woven in the story, which of course made it fun for me. The girl also was reading the Bible in French at times throughout the story.

This morning, for whatever reason, I decided to look-up this verse from Romans in my French Bible. Although you may not know what it says, I'm writing it below. Though I can't figure out how to make the accents show up in blogger, so it'll be a little wrong...

Oui, ils ont deliberement echange la verite concernant Dieu, contre le mensonge, ils ont adore et servi la creature au lieu du Createur, lui qui est loue eternellement. Amen!

Although this is not my native tongue and I am by no means even remotely fluent, I understood this verse (granted memorizing it in English helps :)). But I actually like the French version better based on two words:

Deliberement = deliberately
Adorer = to adore, to worship

As I again allowed the weight of the verse to sweep over me, this time in French, my heart was beating quickly as the adjustment of meaning when looking at the French was so powerful. Here, I'll add in these words to the English version to help you come to the same understanding as I did:

They deliberately exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and adored/worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator - who is forever praised. Amen! (like the exclamation point, too :)).

Our hearts are naturally sinful. They are inclined to sin because of the fall. They can ONLY be made pure and good by the grace of Christ. When we choose to sin or think negative thoughts or what-have-you, we are deliberately choosing to believe lies instead of the Truth of God. We are adoring, worshipping, serving, loving the temporal, created things as opposed to the majestic Creator. It's as if we are saying no to the priceless gift of grace, exchanging it for lesser gifts that, although can be good, are of no value in comparison.

Later last night I found myself battling thoughts that were not of the Lord. I knew these thoughts could be detrimental so I began to meditate on this verse and chose to text a friend, asking her to pray with me. She responded saying she was up and to call if I wanted. A piece of me didn't want to bother her, but I knew that was prideful and believing lies so I did. We didn't talk long, but she prayed over me and it helped immensely. I'm thankful for community. And also thankful that, even if they are not available when thoughts rush over, I'm never alone. I'm thankful for the Holy Spirit.

And I'm thankful for my bizarre love of French and French culture, and God's faithfulness to use it to deepen my affection for him. May we all be cognisant of our tendency to believe lies and be diligent to combat those lies with the Truth of God's word.

Prayerful la Verite en Francais (which means Truth in French) encourages you.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

You Knit Me Together

Last Saturday we threw my sister in-law, Heather, a baby shower for Morgan Elisabeth. The theme was "borrowed" from my friend Caryn: Psalm 139

For your created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

The decorations were all created by my mom and me, a combination of bibs, burb clothes, onesies, and balls of yarn and sewing spools. It was definitely a fun afternoon, and I hope Heather felt encouraged by our family's love.

Here are pictures from the day. I was having blogger issues so they're all mixed up, but whatever. :)

Hard to read, but it's Psalm 139 written to Morgan.

Jody, my mom, Heather, and McKenzie

My two gifts for Morgan. I seriously could have spent billions of dollars buying/making girly cuteness, but my wallet would not have been so happy. And I do have to eat. :)

McKenzie and my cousin Madison

My aunt, Ann, and me...Aunt and my mom could be twins except the different hair color

My aunt Tucean and cousin Kennedy...their facial expressions are making me laugh

Kenz eating a sausage cheese ball before the party starts. She was excited as those are usually only made at Christmas in the Franks family

Ann and Jody looking at the fabulous baby book Heather's mom made

The Buckley girls, plus me...though I guess I'm still a Buckley girl even though my last name is Franks :) Bonnie, Georgia, my mom, Anna, and Ann.

Since McKenzie loves French like me, I made big sis - little sis shirts in French!

Kenzie's gets an Eiffel Tower since it's bigger. Plus, we're going to move there and live at the top someday :)

Dress and booties

Collection of gifts. So many homemade...we have a talented family!

Jackson (my three-year old cousin and the only boy allowed), Madison, and Kenz being goofy

Quilt Heather's mom made for the nursery
McKenzie being goofy, holding up the dress my mom made for her that matches one of Morgan's baby dresses

Four darling outfits my mom made! She's the one in black
Chest painted by my aunt, Betty, to match the nursery. You'd never know it wasn't purchased at the same store! Along with a few other things, the chest had a pair of cutie socks from FRANCE! My cousin Libby was there recently and got them for her. Oh jealousy... :)

Beautiful afgan that my aunt, Liz made! It also matches the nursery and is sooooo soft! We missed you, Liz!

Baby blanket I made

Knowing her, McKenzie is telling my aunts Betty and Missy and cousin Kelsey something very funny :)

The yummy cupcakes. I only had a little bite...not a big icing person

Bibs and burp cloth

More bibs and burp cloths...the Texas Tech one doesn't really match the shower colors but my mom felt it was necessary :) Morgan's going home outfit is Texas Tech...man alive my brother is Red Raider crazy :) Good thing Morgan threw a hook 'em horns during one of her ultrasounds


This was a baby blanket of my brother's that my mom saved. She actually got a second that I don't have a picture of. One was made by my grandmother, Mammy and the other by my great-grandmother, Honey

The moms and one sister (me) plus McKenzie. Sadly Heather's sister, Stephani, wasn't able to come

Before the boys left, my brother and me. This is pretty typical...most of our pictures together are somewhat goofy. My dad had just made us both turn around after we tried to skirt it :)



Morgan's name that I made to match her room

Something crazy happened to this picture, but it's my dad, Heather, and brother, A before the boys left
And that's it! In a few short weeks we'll get to meet Miss Morgan Elisabeth. Curious about what she'll look like... :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Social Media Break

In light of my latest revelations as outlined in my previous posting, I decided to fast from social media (aka facebook and twitter) throughout Lent.

I haven't given up anything for Lent in probably 10 years as the Lenten season is not really discussed or a focus within either the Baptist church (which I went to for part of college) or non-denominational churches. I know I didn't fully understand the purpose when I was younger; however, as my relationship with Christ has deepened, the beauty of what the season should represent has intensified.

Fasting from social media has circled around my head a little (along with fasting from alcohol, which I'm also going to do) and, after praying through it, really feel like it is a prime time. The purpose of this fast is not merely to stop, but instead to refocus that time on the Lord. I generally don't spend big hunks of time with social media; however, I do find myself checking the apps throughout the day as I walk between meetings, wait for the elevator, etc. Several months ago I fasted for a week and committed that time to speaking with the Lord and memorizing Scripture. It was SO great. I am confident He will use this time in big ways, too. Even if it's simply to increase my communication with Him throughout the day.

I want to end with saying I in no means am sharing this to seem holy or Pharissee-like; so don't think that if you're tempted to! :) It's purely for accountability and out of a thankful heart for where the Lord is working in my life. Excited for this intentional time of centering my heart around Him, as I study the life of Jesus, and reflect on the beyond-comprehension meaning of the Lenten season.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Comparison Monster

I've known for a long time that I struggle with comparison. I think all people do on some level and, if you say you don't, you probably don't realize that you do. But I won't focus on cyberspace-you and will instead focus on me.

Over the past few years, a time of more heart change than I ever would have dreamed possible, the depth with which I compare myself to others was peeled back. Even so, last week the Lord revealed to me that that comparison is so deep that it defines the way I view myself and my relationship with him. And this comparison practice has pushed me down into striving to live by the law even though I am made free from the law through grace in Christ Jesus. Essentially I was hit by a spiritual 2x4 last week when I stumbled my way into Galatians 3, particularly the first six verses that say:

You foolish Galatians! (aka you foolish Sarah!) Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing in what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? Have you experienced so much in vain - if it really was in vain? So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law or by your believing what you heard? So also Abraham "believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."

More and more since last week, I've realized how comparison has bonded me in the chains of the law as I continually try to determine if my life looks like it should. And if it doesn't, how do I force myself to change to make it look like some ambiguous vision of what I think is right. Essentially how do I finish my salvation by means of the flesh!

This morning I was praying as I have no idea how to free myself from these chains. What am I supposed to do Lord? I finished my time without a clear answer and headed into work. About an hour into the day, I found myself comparing as different people talked about how many hours they worked over the weekend, etc. I felt guilty that I didn't crack my computer open except to pull a recipe and instead devoted the weekend to my family (more on the baby shower for Morgan Elisabeth later!). I am thereby a bad worker.

I was then reminded of a sweet girl in our small group who took a moment to thank me last night for consistently coming to shoreline. It was an encouragement, but bits of guilty creeped in as I skipped the month of October as I was just tired from the whirlwind of things in my life. Did that make me an unfaithful leader?

I missed church yesterday due to family time and shoreline, but was just able to catch-up on the sermon as I worked on a project/ate lunch. It was about doubt and I definitely recommend it. (Go here to listen) Doubt was something I battled last fall in a big way, but then also had a realization as it relates to my continuous comparison and living under the law.

I doubt that God will change me, mold me, and direct my steps; therefore, I look for humans to measure myself against.

Wow. Talk about a 2x4 against the head. It is SCARY to let go of the reins of my life. It is SCARY to trust that God will not let me go. That he created me with this personality, set of giftings, set of weaknesses, fears, doubts, etc and that he did so beautifully.

The theme of the shower this weekend was Psalm 139. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am saved by grace alone so that I cannot boast. Walking by the Spirit, knowing that I am already covered by the grace of Jesus and have no need for comparing myself to created beings is SCARY. I don't know why I'm so hard on myself since my heart is continually on-fire for pointing others to grace, but I am desperate to remove the chains of the law.

It is SCARY, but it is sweet. Trusting every moment of the day demands continuous communication with the Spirit, leaning into his urgings when I feel myself looking to another instead of looking to the Cross. I know I'll fail at times and I know I'll need to be reminded of grace. Thankful God doesn't let me go.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

DTown

A few weeks ago, we had our very last DTown with the girls. I still can't believe how quickly these years have past, and I can't believe the little 7th graders I started with are nearing the end of high school. A few tears were definitely shed among the group throughout the weekend, but they were happy tears. Tears of thankfulness for God's faithfulness throughout these years. Amazing.

The weekend was fun as well, and very small group-centric, chill, and full of service. We skipped the Saturday game to serve longer...great decision. Not only were our eyes open to the world of CPS, but we were hopefully able to bless all of the families and social workers who grace its presence daily. Prayerful their hearts were opened to Truth even as they were served.

Rather than ramble on, I'll just share some pictures. They're a mix of iPhone and camera pictures, hence the blurriness of some.

Our perfectionists decorating one of the now-clean CPS rooms

We loved being able to spruce-up the rooms, even in decorating the dull walls!

Cleaning out the nasty books...seriously, there was so much grossness there, and to think kiddos spend lots of time week-in and week-out in this environment! Thankful for all the toy donators.
This outlines a lot of our weekend...enjoying one another. Senior year sure is fun!

Okay, this isn't DTown, but proud of Miss Molly helping to lead worship at shoreline. It's crazy as I remember when she was learning guitar and now she's pretty darn amazing

We only stayed at the Saturday night karaoke/inflatable party for a little while...they're dancing to some random country song. My favorite is Emily in the front (SMU shirt)

Two of my three who were at DTown...Anna was at another event here and we missed Margaret and Lilly all weekend!

The Galvin Jam Band. They've come a long way from the middle school dances, though I sometimes miss those...particularly White and Nerdy

More from CPS post cleaning

Our little perfectionists sorting the gross toys/books...they were later scrubbing the floors

Washing the walls covered with who-knows-what

The gang (sans Emily!) at Friday night club

This is really from a small group dinner, not DTown. Four of my five girls. And don't mind my dopey hat...I think maybe I can't pull it off

Three of my dearies!

Okay, this isn't DTown either, nor is it a picture from the past 15 years. Yep, this is 12-year old Sarah with 5-year old Libby. I ran across this at home and took a picture of the original with my iPhone. It makes me laugh in big ways...1. why on earth am I giving Libby and random child (no idea who that is, it's not another cousin) a concert and 2. why is Libby so entranced? Too funny.