Thursday, September 30, 2010

in just a year...

the together for adoption conference starts today with the pre-conference sessions.  as i was driving home last night i started thinking about last year's conference in nashville. memories started flooding my mind.  my life already looks so different in just a year!

since last october (when i attended the together for adoption conference in nashville, tn) i have moved out of the house i was living in and in with some close friends so that i could pay off debt. my car died, i trusted the lord, sold it and have been borrowing cars ever since (never being without one when i need it). i am over halfway done paying off debt and should be done by the end of january!

where has the year gone?  it seems like yesterday that i read crazy love by francis chan and the lord put this idea in my heart. and then came all the fears and concerns. the selfishness that welled up in me, the fear that people would think i was crazy or foolish or lonely or whatever. but he gave me the strength to trust him. and last october i hopped in a toyota siena with one of my best friends in austin and caravaned with few other (now really close friends) to nashville for a conference where the course of life would be changed forever. where the way i pictured my future would change to something drastically different.

here is the blog post i wrote after the conference last year. who knows what this next year will hold.

i am excited to be a part of this conference again (here in my own city this time)! i am excited to learn more but i am also excited about what the lord is going to do in the hearts of those who come this weekend. i am sure there will be many like me whose hearts will be changed forever. please pray for this conference this weekend, that the lord will use this to rescue his children!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

rambo mom...

so i got this email from my mom this morning. if you know my parents at all then you are going to laugh at out loud at this! before you read the email there might be a few details you need to know.

  • whenever i adopt, i fully plan on having my kid call my mom grambo.  why? because of things like this story.  my mom is the sweetest, most compassionate woman, that is until you mess with one of her kids.  in fact she even says, "hell hath no fury like a mama when you mess with her children." plus gayla has some spunk to her too (where did you think i got it from?) so rather than just calling her something plain like grandma, she will be called grambo! hence the rambo references in the email...
  • dolly is my parents 8 pound miniature dachshund.  she is cute as can be and is treated like a child, no i may say better than a child, at least better than jon or i. perhaps an exaggeration, but hey, i never got to go to day camp twice a week. i am not jealous or anything, even though she has taken over my nicknames (princess and angel).
enjoy this email! and by the way, my mom knows i posted this on here...

So I must confess to being Rambo mama last night.  We have cats in our neighborhood that actually stalk Dolly.  They are mean.  We have to run them off.  Anyway last night she was outside in her yard minding her own business when all of a sudden she began to bark horribly.  I went to the back door and her little hiney was backed up to the door and she was terrified.  I brought her in knowing it was those stupid cats.  Dad said "oh no, we are gonna go get them."  So he and Dolly went out armed with a cup of water.  I heard Dolly go crazy so I went out and they had treed the cats.  Dad had thrown water at them and then threw the cup to me and said get more.  Well at that point I snapped.  Seriously.  I ran, got the water hose and attached the sprayer nozzle I use to power wash the patio (all in my jammies) and I went after those cats.  I mean I was all over that yard spraying them down like a crazy woman.  I showed no mercy.  I hit them pretty hard.  I was so pumped it took hours to calm down.  You know you just don't mess with my babies.  I was ready for the shotgun.  Dad was laughing at me.  So...poor Dolly was so scared this morning that she would not even get off the patio.  I had to go out with her this morning.  I think I was ready for another fight.  Lucky those stupid cats were not out there.  In fact as I am writing this my heart is racing. 

Well, guess I best get back to work. 

Love you my sweet girl!

Mom ( aka Rambo)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

window on the world...

i bought this book not too long ago after reading david platt's book, radical.  one of the things he challenges his readers to do is to pray for the world and he lists two resources for this.  one being operation world and the other being window on the world.

operation world is for us adults and so i ordered it, but the copy i ordered will not be published until october 15th. i am sure i will talk more about it after i have received it.

window on the world is the kids version of this.  and i LOVE it!  while i have been waiting for operation world to come out, i have started using window on the world. it is so good and so simple.  each page is a different people group to pray for.  it tells you some of the history about the country, what they believe, what they are know for, etc.  there are pictures of people and children and a map so you can see where each people group lives.  then there are simple (yet powerful) prayer points to pray through for them.  i was moved to tears reading through it in the office the other day.

if you have children, especially kindergarten and older, i would highly recommend this book.  your older elementary school kids could probably even read through it themselves, but it is also a great way for your family to pray together for other people groups.  what a great resource to teach our children about god's heart for the nations!! just go ahead and order it!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

your great name...

aaron first sang introduced this song to us a few weeks ago at church and i loved it!  i came home bought natalie grant's version and have probably listened to it a thousand times.  i belt it out on my little car all the time. it has been in my head and on my heart for weeks now so i just wanted to share. read through the lyrics, give it a listen.

your great name

lost are saved, find their way
at the sound of your great name

all condemned feel no shame
at the sound of your great name

every fear has no place
at the sound of your great name

the enemy, he has to leave
at the sound of your great name

jesus, worthy is the lamb
that was slain for us           
son of god and man
you are high and lifted up
and all the world will praise
your great name

all the weak find their strength
at the sound of your great name

hungry souls receive grace
at the sound of your great name

the fatherless find their place
at the sound of your great name

the sick are healed, the dead are raised
at the sound of your great name

jesus, worthy is the lamb
that was slain for us           
son of god and man
you are high and lifted up
and all the world will praise
your great name
redeemer, my healer, lord almighty
defender, my savior, you are my king

he was strong and did not set his heart to seek the lord...

When the rule of Rehoboam was established and he was strong, he abandoned the law of the LORD, and all Israel with him. And he did evil, for he did not set his heart to seek the LORD.
(2 Chronicles 12:1, 14)

i came across these verses this week and it was big wake up call. when rehoboam was established and strong he abandoned the law of the lord. basically, when he felt comfortable and things were running smoothly, he quit seeking the lord and started coasting.  trusting in himself perhaps or his systems or his plans or his people.  whatever he was trusting in it caused him to abandon the lord. and since he was not setting his heart to seek god, he eventually did evil.  he fell.  he made poor decisions, selfish decisions, cowardly decisions, etc because they were decisions based on his wisdom, wants, and need to keep close what he was relying on for security.  and not only did he fall, but he led his people with him.

sad story, but one that has an all too familiar ring to it as well.  i like reheboam forget my need and complete dependence on the lord when things are going well and succeeding and i feel strong.  so my tendency is to coast and or boast (please forgive the rhyming here). if everything is going well and i am not actively pursuing the lord, i will find some way to boast about all that i have done - but rest assured this boasting will be disguised in a very christian way so i do not look arrogant to you.  my other tendency of things are going well, is to just coast. to not actively pursue the lord but to just enjoy this.  the problem is that i do not see that i need him all the time, even when things are going well. but my wicked prideful heart just doesn't see that. and the worst part about this, is that i have inadvertently led many of those who follow me to do the same. my failure to set my heart to seek the lord has caused countless other to put their trust in something else other than jesus and this has led them to evil.

so this is a good reminder for me to set my heart to seek the lord, no matter how i feel. i believe that if i am not actively doing that, then i am prone to fall prey to the one who is always actively seeking to devour me and lead others to do the same.

Monday, September 20, 2010


it has been awhile since i have blogged.  i have some posts in the works, but just can't find that spare time to finish them out yet.  until then, here is picture of some fun to hold you over.
micah decided that we needed "fiderman" band-aids to fight. so naturally we had to put them like this on our noses. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

a praying life...

i read this book over the summer with a group of women and it has been one of the most practical and impactful books on prayer that i have read. perhaps some of it was the circumstances (learning things through my car and the awesome friends who were reading this book with me) but i am changed because of this book. 

miller does an excellent job at explaining the childlike qualities that are needed for prayer.  one of the most impactful statements for me was "we don't need self-discipline to pray continuously, we just need to be poor in spirit" (66).  it is not more self-discipline and planning that will make me a better prayer.  no i don't pray not because i don't know how or not because i am not disciplined enough or not because i do not have enough time. no i don't pray simply because i do not think i need him! if was poor in spirit and dependent on him, then i would be praying like crazy.  asking him for help and seeking his strength and wisdom.  but the truth is, i only do that when the big stuff happens or when i have exhausted all of my other tricks or i am at my whit's end.  so my prayer began to be that the lord would make me dependent upon him and less independent.  no lie, that was the day that my car died. :) coincidence, i think not. needless to say the next few month, my prayer life grew to a whole new level!

i cannot recommend this book enough to you.  you need to read it!  miller does a great job of exposing why we don't pray and really getting at the heart as well as laying out simple tools that can help us grow in our prayer life.  buy this book! click to the left and order it right now on amazon!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

the cattle on a thousand hills...

The earth is the LORD's and the fullness thereof,
the world and those who dwell therein.
(Psalm 24:1 ESV)

For every beast of the forest is mine, 
the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know all the birds of the hills,
and all that moves in the field is mine.
(Psalm 50:10-11 ESV)

so i am carless.  after i sold lafonda, i had two cars lined up to borrow so i was set for a little bit.  the last car i was borrowing belonged to a friend of mine who was on a mission trip in the dominican republic.  she was returning saturday night and i was going to give her her car back at church on sunday.  i drove to church not sure how i was going to get home.  i was actually trying to figure out what i was going to when a parent and volunteer in kidstuff walked up to me and asked how i was doing.  he and his family had been out of town for quite some time and he wanted to catch up.  i told him about my car situation.  he then said, "well we have a third car that you can use indefinitely until you decide what you are going to do. after church, let's go by the house and you can pick up the car." i was floored!  WHAT?!?!?  the lord provided again! and just in time not a moment too soon and never leaving me wanting.  so i am scooting around in a honda fit these days and it is a constant reminder to me of the lord's provision.

during this time, i read the verses listed above and was reminded that the lord controls everything and that everything is his and he controls it all.  he is always able to provide what i need. i do not have to stress or worry about tomorrow.  he is already working and already has a plan.  i for sure could not have predicted that this is how it would have happened. i could not see any solution to my problem, but the lord already knew it.  he just wanted me to trust him.

and now, i can say that my trust and faith in him has grown immensely!  i feel like it is at an entirely different level.  i still have lots to learn and the anxiety in my life shows that i still do not trust him fully, but this experience has made me fall more and more in love with him.

i am probably going to need you guys to remind me of this provision again especially as adoption stuff draws closer.  remind me that my god owns the cattle on a thousand hills and will provide exactly what i need!

st. john kidstuff is rocking...

here is a glimpse into our elementary school worship room at st. john!  pretty cool! I cannot believe it's really happening. 

Friday, September 3, 2010

goodbye to lafonda my honda...

lafonda. there she sits. we had to part ways on july 1st when she died in my friend angela's driveway.  she had been giving me trouble, but i was hoping to make her last until next spring without paying for any major repairs.  this was my big prayer request in fact.  but alas, she did not make it and her story has been one that the lord has used to encourage my faith in him.

lafonda died and i had her towed to a mechanic.  he fixed her enough to get her started and then told me that her transmission was worthless.  i knew this was coming.  he said it was going to be about $1700 to fix.  i asked if i could call him back and let him know.  i immediately called my dad and some friends seeking advice.  everyone said, "don't sink any money into it." you see, i am going to need a 4 door more reliable car next summer for the adoption and it just does not make sense to spend money on this car when i will be getting rid of her so soon.  but i do not have the money to buy a new car and do not want to take out a loan since i am trying to get out of debt. so i was torn.

i sat on the couch and thought about it for awhile and decided that i did not have another option, i had to have a car, so i would just fix her up and trust the lord would provide the money i needed later for a car.  i called my mechanic back to tell him to just go ahead and fix it.  when he answered the phone before i could even get a word in, he asked if he could call me back because he had some customers.  i said sure.  well when he called back a few hours later, i missed his call. so it left me with the entire weekend to think about it.

i was in turmoil and fighting anxiety over this all weekend. sunday night as i walked into worship i was having trouble focusing and paying attention. so i sat down and just prayed, "lord please make it clear to me what you want for me to do.  i have no idea. i have not heard from you and i need to know soon." then the sermon started. i don't remember all that the sermon was about (i should probably go back and relisten) but i know the lord used it to tell me VERY clearly to not fix my car.  to just go pick her up and try to sell her for parts on craigslist or something.  i immediately started throwing all the questions at him. questions like, "how am i going to do this or get here? etc."

even though i heard very clearly, i still drug my feet and was still thinking about just getting her fixed.  i could not see a solution for a car if i did not fix her.  but then on wednesday, my mechanic called me and asked me what i wanted to do.  i was faced with a choice: obey the lord and trust him with all the unknowns or do what made logical sense to me and was a safer solution. 

i decided to not get her fixed.  as soon as i told my mechanic, he asked what i was going to do with her.  i told him i was going to try and sell her for parts.  "how much?" he asked.  caught off guard, i said, "what?" "how much do you want to sell her for?" i named my price and he told me he wanted to think about it and he would call me back. 

well, long story short, he ended up buy my car from me. i was shocked at how quickly i sold her.  i started thinking, "wow, i guess the lord really is going to take care of this." so i went and cleaned her out and gave up my title and said goodbye. and i am now carless... which is good and humiliating for me as a 29 year old, but i have much to learn about trusting our all powerful god.

chosen marathon for adoption...

so i am running another 1/2 marathon! it has been almost 2 years since my last one, so i was due.  but i am running this race because of the cause that it supports. all the proceeds from this race go to support families who are adopting.  a bunch of people from our church are running it and all of the money we raise go specifically into our church's adoption fund.  this fund is used for either non-interest loans or grants to help families adopt.  it has already been used to help some friends of mine bring home their newest addition, abraham.  so of course, i had to run this.

i do love training for a race. it gives me purpose to running. but this race is in october and this texas heat and humidity is killer!  it has been quite discouraging this time around. in order to avoid the killer heat, i have been getting up early to run before work.  that does not bode well for this night owl, but there is no other choice!

i started using an app on my iphone called micoach.  it helps you track your pace and tell you whether to slow down or speed up.  micoach has been the best motivation for me while i am running!  apparently i stink at keeping a consistent pace, but this has helped me out.  i HIGHLY recommend it!

i know it is a little late to start, but you should consider coming in town to run it too!  what a great cause for a run!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

radical by david platt...

i finished this book a couple of weeks ago and i really liked it!  it is not dense but yet it is still challenging. platt just points out how the church and american christianity has been affected by the american dream.  he challenges us to look at what the bible says faith in christ looks like verses what it looks like in our culture today.  this book it easy to read, but it is challenging for sure.  the lord sure used it to convict me. he used to search my heart and expose some of the things i am not wiling to let go of in order to follow him.  i would highly recommend this book.  i actually listened to it on audiobook, which was great.  i had to listen to the chapter on money a few times to let it sink in.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Someone's been here...

i just walked into my room tonight and found this. i have my suspicions...

It's finally here...

As you may or may not have noticed, there has been a lack of blogging lately. Well that is because we have been getting ready for the launch of our new site. This is something that has been in the works and in our dreams for almost 3 years!!' Our church is opening a second campus officially in 11 days!! This new site is smaller than our Austin High Campus but it will be ours!

Half of the building is our church. The other half is a non-profit center that will house 4 non-profits that we have specifically chosen to help renew and restore the city, specifically the neighborhood we are located in. Our church wants to help the under resourced by providing what they need to grow. For example, there will be GED and parenting classes held by these non-profits in our building. It is all very exciting!

I am blessed to be a part of the core team at this campus. I will get to oversee all of the Children's ministry on Sunday here. You can see our hallway picture below. It's almost completely finished!

 The next few weeks and months will be really exciting and cool to see all that happens. Our prayer is that God uses this building to change, renew, and redeem His city! May You kingdom come!