Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving

Instead of explaining why Operation Cruise Control has been slacking off, why I most likely will not be meeting my 2nd goal in 2 days (3 pounds to go still...), and therefore why I haven't been providing updates, I will instead share one of my favorite Gilmore Girls scenes with you from the episode entitled "A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving". Does this somehow shed insight on the answers to the questions above? ...absolutely not!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Facebook Conviction

Church today was especially moving. We just started a new sermon series on Titus. We call it "BOOM! Ripple, Ripple. - The gospel and godliness in TITUS". Kyle preached on one verse. Titus 1:1. And wow. He preached it! I got a ton out of the message. (I'll make a point to post a link to the audio of the sermon once it's posted) I know that God will be moving in my life as we go through this series. Kyle made some points that I'm sure will be applied to my life, but what God really stirred in me today was only a by-product of the message. It didn't directly relate. It was related, of course. Because something that was said or addressed caused me to go where I went with God. But it's so cool the way that God can use any words, any lyrics, any melody to get to me.

This morning I was convicted. I was convicted of many things. I was convicted that I am not living my life as a servant - a slave - to Christ. I am not relinquishing control in all areas of my life and therefore not letting God get the glory in all things I do. I am not living as if I'm on mission with God. I'm not allowing Him to do the things He is wanting to do through me. But the real, practical conviction that God brought to me today was about Facebook. I actually don't spend that much time on it, which is why this conviction is unique. I think that God knows I need something concrete - a tangible command - to follow. And this is it. I need to fast from Facebook. I need to spend the time that I would be checking up on people, most of whom are not even a real part of my life, instead learning how to serve my God. If I can spend 20 minutes on Facebook in the morning and turn around and say I don't have time to spend time with God before work then something needs to change. How much better would it be if I spent those 20 minutes getting to know the God of the universe? I need to re-FOCUS on Him. I need to focus on my real relationships instead of my cyber ones. I need to communicate with people in more authentic ways - through phone calls, emails, face-to-face conversations instead of merely "liking" their statuses and commenting on their posts. So that's exactly what I'm going to do - through my Facebook fast.

And please don't misunderstand me. Facebook isn't bad. It can be a wonderful, wonderful tool. But for me, at this time in my life, God has called me to focus on other things. And He's given me this specific task to follow in order to test my obedience and teach me about Himself. Could He have used something else in my life to do this? Sure. But this is what He chose, and I'm choosing to obey.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Birthday... week?!

As of last Friday when I woke up (24 hours before my first intermediate goal), I only had 1/2 a pound to lose! I thought to myself, "Okay Lesley, this is totally do-able! Just think of those 15 downloads and you can make it!"

Well, when I first made these intermediate goals I forgot one detail... my birthday (goal #1) falls on a Saturday this year. Had it fallen on a Friday, I would have woken up on the morning of my birthday and "weighed in" before all of the celebrations began. Apparently when your birthday falls on a Saturday and you have amazing coworkers and an awesome husband, Friday is the official beginning of the festivities. Not only did my friends at work bring me DELICIOUS mini cupcakes, Brad decided to surprise me after work by taking me on my birthday date that night. We went to the Alamo Drafthouse to see Where the Wild Things Are and then indulged in chocolate fondue at The Melting Pot for dessert. The food coma that inevitably followed caused me to go straight to bed when I got home. It was a wonderful night, but needless to say, I didn't reach my first goal.
The birthday festivities continued through Saturday (dinner at Tokyo Steakhouse with friends), Sunday (lunch at Macaroni Grill with family), and Monday (breakfast pastries from more coworkers). I feel extremely blessed to have so many people in my life that love me and want to spoil me :) Now that I've reverted back to my *normal* eating pattern and put in some extra workouts, I'm finally recovered from the weight gain over the weekend. I'm back to where I was the day before my birthday. I seem to have been set back about 5 days, which, in my opinion is not too bad considering all of the "presents" I ate!

So below you'll see my *revised* graph. Like I said before, each intermediate goal stands on its own. So I have until Thanksgiving (morning - before all the celebration this time!) to lose 5 pounds from where I was on my birthday. The dotted light gray line in the graph is the path that will get me there. The dotted green line was my original path. Hopefully I'll be able to get back on that track soon!

Next goal: Thanksgiving
Next reward: New outfit for the cruise!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

November - The Month of Motivation!

Well, after a wonderful weekend at home (New Braunfels) visiting with family and participating in the sausage-filled tradition of Wurstfest, I decided to start November off with a new mind-set. I don't know what inspired my new found motivation - it could have been the awesome weekend, "fall back", the beautiful weather, the message at church on Sunday, or a combination of all of these - but I am proud to say that I am 3 for 3 on days I've exercised in November! AND not to mention that I SURVIVED Wurstfest, Halloween, and Terranova's Fall Festival (not the healthiest combination of events in one weekend) without giving into temptations! I didn't deprive myself completely, of course... I had some chocolate. But not near a "normal" Lesley amount! It's nice to see that this self-control is showing up on the scale! I have 4 days left and 1.2 pounds to lose. It's gonna be tight, but that 15 song reward is keeping me from giving up! Now for another dose of motivation... off to watch The Biggest Loser!

Monday, October 26, 2009

My First Roadblock

Well, within my first week of Operation Cruise Control, I hit my first roadblock... a respiratory tract infection! I could tell I was fighting the on-set of something a couple weeks ago. And with the swine flu and all the other crazy things going around this time of year, I made sure to take my vitamins, drink lots of water, and wash my hands frequently.

But somehow or another my until-then-amazing immune system let something by! I woke up Monday morning unable to breathe, swallow, or get out of bed. I went to the doctor to find out I had a fever and some kind of bronchial infection. Needless to say, I was in bed for two days (while the weather was gorgeous, of course!) and not myself the rest of the week.

I am still not 100% back to normal, but I'm close :) Today was my first day "back to the gym" and I have to say that I'm proud of myself! Despite the freezing, ugly, rainy weather, I got up super early and went down to our apartment complex weight room for 30 minutes of cardio. It felt really nice to be up while everyone continued to sleep knowing that I was doing my body good. Let's hope the motivation doesn't wear off as the week goes on!

While I was sick, I encountered a pretty popular question... is it okay to work out when you're sick? I even had this discussion with some friends. After a little bit of research, I came up with a general rule that most "experts" seem to agree on. I call it the Neck Rule.

Here's the rule: if your symptoms are mostly from the neck up (headache, runny nose, sore throat, etc) then it should be okay to exercise (but make sure to take antibacterial wipes if going to a public place!). It may even be helpful! But if your symptoms are below the neck (aching muscles, vomiting, nausea, chest pain, etc), it's best not to exercise. You definitely shouldn't exercise if you have a fever. And as always, but especially if you're not feeling well, make sure you are hydrated!!! If you're still not sure what to do, I'd say ask your doctor.

Well, here's how I've done so far. That big dip at the beginning was me getting sick (not my favorite way to lose weight!)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Operant Conditioning

Operant Conditioning – the use of consequences to modify the occurrence and form of behavior

Positive Reinforcement – when a behavior (i.e., losing 5lb.) is followed by a favorable stimulus (i.e., a small reward) that increases the frequency of that behavior.

It has been proven that setting small intermediate goals for yourself (no matter what the ultimate goal may be) helps significantly in the success of meeting that goal. I have made the mistake of not doing this in the past, and it made the goal seem daunting and impossible to achieve. So I always gave up early.

This time, not only do I plan on setting small goals for myself, but I am going to use the operant conditioning principles of
B.F. Skinner to help achieve them. I have set concrete goals with definite timelines and specific rewards. I decided that I wanted each goal to stand alone, meaning that if I fail to meet the first one, I don’t have to work twice as hard to reach the second one. Otherwise, I may snowball my way into feeling overwhelmed again, defeating the purpose of these stepping stones completely! So here they are… make sure to hold me to them!

My intermediate goals and their corresponding rewards:

  • Between now and my birthday (November 7th), if I lose 5 lb, I am treating myself to 15 music downloads! I can put them on my mp3 player to work out with and make a new mixed cd too!

  • Between my birthday and Thanksgiving (November 26th), if I succeed in losing 5 lb (regardless of whether or not I met the first goal), I can splurge on a new outfit for the cruise!

  • If I lose 8 lb between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I am allowed to buy some fun new makeup!

  • And finally, if I lose 4 lb between Christmas and our “Sail Date” (January 10th), I can reward myself with a pedicure on the ship!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Operation Cruise Control

Since I got married, started a desk job, and left the collegiate “active” lifestyle behind, I seem to have gained some unwanted pounds. I finally have a long period of time free from studying and a motivating reason to shed these unwanted pounds: a cruise! Granted, I’ve had plenty of reasons to lose the weight over the past year, but between the studying (a.k.a. the stress) and my semi-chronic headaches, I kept allowing myself to justify my complacency.

Of course, several times I tried to jump-start my motivation and get in shape, but every time failed. I found that the main reasons for the failures were (1) I had one big scary goal (with no stepping stones in between), (2) I had no one to keep me accountable or motivate me, and (3) I was WAY too strict about my eating habits. I mean, did I really think I would succeed by depriving myself completely of chocolate? Those of you that know me know that I can’t live long without it! So this time I plan to remedy those mistakes by (1) giving myself small, manageable goals to help get through to the big goal, (2) make sure people know that I’m doing this so-as to keep me accountable and provide encouragement, and (3) allow myself leeway when it comes to the diet, but make sure I am exercising adequately.

I am on a serious mission with some serious goals. I am calling this mission Operation Cruise Control. I hope to use this blog to record my progress and keep myself accountable. I have a spreadsheet (of course!) to help me see exactly how I’m doing. Hopefully these things will make this journey enjoyable :)

Here’s the summary:

22 – number of pounds to lose
88 – number of days until we set sail
12 – approx. number of weeks until we set sail
2 – approx. number of pounds to lose per week
4 – number of holidays between now and then
1 – number of people being held accountable to this challenge
1,000,000 – number of encouraging comments needed to achieve the goal

Welcome to Operation Cruise Control [OCC]… I hope you’ll join me on this journey!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

You're Not Shaken

I heard this song on the radio while I was driving to work and it was just such a good reminder that even when it seems like the world and everything around me is crumbling down, God is not shaken one bit. He stands firm and wants us to lean on Him for stability. I love that. What an encouragement it is to have such a strong and steadfast God!

You're Not Shaken
by Phil Stacey

I am sinking in a river that is raging
I am drowning, will I ever rise to breathe again?
I want to know why; I just want to understand
Will I ever know why? How could this be from Your hand?

When every little thing that I have dreamed would be
Just slips away like water through my hand
And when it seems the walls of my belief are crashing down
Like they're all made of sand
I won't let go of You now, because I know You're not shaken

I'm trembling in the darkness of my own fear
All the questions with no answers still grip me while I'm here
And I may never know why; I may not understand
But I will lift up my eyes And trust this is Your plan

When I am in the valley of the shadow of death
You're not shaken, You're not shaken
You're right here beside me and You have never left
You're not shaken, You're not shaken

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lifting My Husband Through Prayer

Lord, I lift my husband to You today and pray, according to Your Word, that:

You give him strength to lead (Joshua 1:7), time to know his family (John 10:14), and a passion to manage his home (1 Timothy 3:4).

You bless his work and show him daily how to honor You in his attitude and spirit; confirm the work of his hands unto Your purpose (Psalm 90:16-17; Daniel 6).

He will be a wise steward of our finances and all we possess, remembering that all things are Yours and entrusted to us for Your purposes (Matthew 6:19-21; Luke 16:10-13).

He will love You with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength and hate evil (Mark 12:30; Psalm 97:10).

He will be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger (James 1:19).

You protect him physically, mentally, and spiritually (Psalm 28:7-9; Psalm 41; John 17:15; 2 Thessalonians 3:3).

You give him the desire to teach and model a godly lifestyle for his {future} children (Deuteronomy 6; Psalm 78:5-7).

You will instruck him and teach him in the way he should go (Psalm 32:8); give him peace in the circumstances and integrity in decisions he must face today (1 Corinthians 14:33; Proverbs 11:3).

He would meditate day and night on Your Word, pray without ceasing (Psalm 1:1-3; Psalm 119:18,73; 1 Thessalonians 5:17), and stay faithful to Christ to the end (Hebrews 12:1-2).

He would develop strong relationships with other godly men (Ephesians 4:24-25; Hebrews 10:24).

Make me my husband's helpmate, companion, champion, friend, and support. Help me to create a peaceful, restful, safe place for him to come home to. Teach me how to take care of myself and stay attractive to him. Grow me into a creative and confident woman who is rich in mind, soul, and spirit. Make me the kind of woman he can be proud to say is his wife.

I lay all my expectations at Your cross. I release my husband from the burden of fulfilling me in areas where I should be looking to You. Help me to accept him the way he is and not try to change him... I leave any changing that needs to be done in Your hands, fully accepting that neither of us is perfect and never will be. Only You, Lord, are perfect and I look to You to perfect us.

Teach me how to pray for my husband and make my prayers a true language of love.

...the power of a praying wife is not a means of gaining control over your husband... in fact, it's quite the opposite. It's laying down all claim to power in and of yourslef, and relying on God's transforming power. This power is not given to wield like a weapon in order to beat down an unruly beast. It's a gentle tool of restoration appropriated through the prayers of a wife who longs to do right more than be right, and to give life more than get even. It's a way to invite God's power into your husband's life for his greatest blessing, which is ultimately yours, too. You have the means to establish a hedge of protection around your marriage...

Be patient to persever and wiat for God to heal. Keep in mind that you are both imperfect people. Look to God as the source of all you want to see in your marriage and don't worry how it will happen... leave it in His hands.

-FAMILY LIFE Publishing

-The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian

Friday, May 29, 2009

Café "Olé"

Though I've watched this episode many times, I still laugh out loud every time I watch this scene! Lorelai just cracks me up... :) Hope you have a Café Au Lait kinda Day!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

re·fresh (ri fres̸h′)


transitive verb

  1. to make fresh by cooling, wetting, etc. rains refreshing parched plants
    like a cool rain shower on a hot texas day... "You gave abundant showers, O God; you refreshed your weary inheritance." -Psalm 68:9- literally, this weekend, God refreshed the land.

  2. to make (another or oneself) feel cooler, stronger, more energetic, etc. than before, as by food, drink, or sleep
    and during His rain shower, i slept. it was a wonderful nap. and God did miracles through it! i woke up cooler, stronger, and more energetic!
  3. to replenish, as by new supplies; renew
    through this 3 day weekend, i was able to catch up on the things that go un-done throughout the week and the things that i feel are not worthy of my precious 2-day weekend time. somehow, all i needed was that extra day. i guess God's not the only one who needs a day of rest.
  4. to revive or stimulate (the memory, etc.)
    due to various reasons, i have been down over the past few months. God used this weekend to lift me up. to help me refocus my priorities and remember the things He has taught me. He revived my spirit.

Related Forms:

  • refresher re·fresh′er noun God, my refresher

it's funny what God can do when we slow down enough to listen to Him. how does my life become so cluttered with the noise of busyness? how do i allow it to get that way? and how do i KEEP it from getting that way? even with the weekends, sometimes it seems like i have to hurry up and relax before the week starts back up again. well, this weekend i had that extra day... and i'm telling you... it made ALL the difference! when sunday afternoon rolled around (the time i typically, unknowingly, and psychologically end my weekend) i realized i still had an entire day and a half left! though i wish every weekend could be 3 days long, i'm striving to keep my focus on Him so that EVERYDAY will feel refreshing.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do!

I love daisies.

They're so friendly.
Don't you think
are the friendliest

(name that movie!)

But seriously. I love daisies!
They always brighten my day!
... and not just literally!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

the big picture of ME

Though I am at work almost all of my waking hours, my job does not define me. Up until a year ago, the question I was always prepared to answer when I met someone new was "What grade are you in?" or at least something to that effect. I loved being a student. But school didn't define me. In our culture, we tend to define people by what they do. A job is a huge part of your life. It's what you do "for a living". It's one of the first questions that's asked when you're meeting someone new or describing yourself to someone. Though I'm constantly asked, I have yet to find the perfect answer to "You're a what? ...what's an actuary?" But really, I wake up everyday with the same task at hand: going to work and doing my job... then coming home to study. It's a good thing I like what I do. But no matter how much I like it or how much time I spend there, my job does not define me. I am so much more than an actuary.

I have an amazing husband! And though he's one of the hugest parts of my life, my husband does not define me. Though we haven't even been married a year, it feels like Brad's been in my life forever. He is my best friend and it's such a blessing to get to "do life" with him! I love having someone to count on and to take care of! I love coming home to a delicious home-cooked meal (yes, I have my own personal chef!) and I enjoy taking care of my home. We are team. We are the best team! But my husband does not define me. I am so much more than a wife.

I could not live without my friends... but my friends do not define me. I am friends with lots of people, but the people who really come into my life stay in. Looking back, I can't imagine what my life would have looked like without the people in it that have helped me become who I am. The ones that have experienced my highest highs and lowest lows, the ones who taught me how to dance and laugh and LIVE, the ones who watched me make mistakes and then helped me get up and fix them... each of my friendships is precious to me. But my friends do not define me. I am so much more than a friend.

Though I've spent more time at doctor's appointments this year than I EVER have, my health does not define me. Lately it's seemed like my headaches have taken over my life. I can't make it through a conversation without them sneaking their way in and stealing the focus! I literally can't get them out of my head! But I have to remind myself that my headaches do not define me. I am so much more than a diagnosis.

I attend an amazing church, but my church does not define me. I am extremely involved in Terranova. I attend every Sunday, help out in the mornings, meet with my family group every Wednesday, go to fun events, and see people in my church "family" in my everyday life. But my church does not define me. I am so much more than a Terranovan.

I love to scrapbook, paint, create and doodle. I play the bassoon and the piano. I love to smile. I have dealt with depression. I am terrible at sports. I enjoy baking. I live in Georgetown, TX USA. I have a wonderful family. I have green(sometimes blue) eyes. I like to read. And shop. And listen to music. And journal. I want to open my own business someday.

But I am so much more than an artist. I'm more than a bad athlete, a great baker, and a music lover. I'm more than a green-eyed, sometimes depressed, smiling musician. I'm not just an aspiring entrepreneur, a sister, a daughter, a reader, an American.

None of these things define me.

I am who I am. Not like in the Bible or anything (Ex. 3:14). I just mean that I am me. I am who God made me. I'm not sure I like the idea of being "defined", but if anyone could define me, it would be God. He created me and He knows me.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:13-16)
I am many things. And there are so many aspects to my life. But I am ever-changing and ever-growing. I cannot be put into a mold or a box. I won't fit. There are no limits when the limitless Lord is living through me.

This life is a journey, and I still don't know much about myself. But I am trying not to live by any definition that others have given me. And I am striving to keep from defining others by what they do, what they like, and what roles they play in life. People are mysteries that can't be solved and I love learning and putting the pieces together.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Valedictory Address

Has it really been a year since I graduated from college??!?! And 5 YEARS since I was in Rory's shoes at my high school graduation? Man, has my life changed! Even in this year! I have received my full welcome into adulthood... bills to pay, a husband to live with, a 401k, and all that comes with a 9 to 5 (plus some!). But still, I think I will always be a student at heart. I wish I could go back to school... and maybe I will someday for some reason or another... or maybe just to do it :) Hope you enjoy this inspirational clip!

Friday, May 1, 2009


This is my poor attempt to post something when I really don't have time to post a "real" post. I hope Rory and Lorelai can hold down the fort while I continue on with my crazy life!

Enjoy the plurs-al!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day 2K9

Happy Earth Day!

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth...Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food." And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. "
- Genesis 1:1,26-31

"The highest heavens belong to the LORD,
but the earth he has given to man."
- Psalm 115:16

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Do Re Me

I realize that the number of words in my posts has dwindled exponentially over the past few months. This could be evidence of the INSANITY that is my life... or perhaps a result of my literary self-confidence... but I have to defend myself by pointing out that I have not completely neglected this site. I like to think of these last few months as practice at creatively expressing myself through media. No, I did not use my own words, but you could say that it took MORE effort to adequately (or inadequately, as the case most likely is) express my thoughts and feelings through the work, music, art, or words of others. I cannot promise that I have made a comeback... I just simply wanted to acknowledge that I am aware of the toll my blog has taken due to the busy-ness of life. I plan on continuing to update it, whether that be through my own words or (more likely) You-Tube videos.

On that note, here is one that completely made my day. It actually made me think of one of my wonderful friends, Jenn (love you, Jenn!). I would not put it past her to participate in something like this! It's proof that people really do break into song and dance in the middle of everyday life! Yay spontaneity... we are on our way! Enjoy!

Two Hands

Thursday, April 9, 2009

You love, You love... a people undeserving

Here are three wonderful songs I wanted to share... have a blessed Easter!

Jesus Messiah - Chris Tomlin

To Know Your Name - Hillsong United

Not Guilty Anymore - Aaron Keyes

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Climb

When I first heard this song come on the radio, I fell in love with it. I don't know if it's because I relate so much to the lyrics (even though there are plenty of other songs out there that say the same kind of thing) or if it was just the tune... perhaps the combination? I don't usually have control of the way music affects me. A song could completely move me one day and then have no effect the next. This one has touched me everytime I've heard it over the past week or two. Perhaps I'm just seeking as much encouragement as possible these days.

The Climb - Miley Cyrus
PS- I didn't know it was by Miley Cyrus until after I fell in love with it. :)

Monday, March 30, 2009

My Hope is in You

Verse of the day:

"Show me your ways, O LORD,
teach me your paths;
guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you ALL DAY LONG."
-Psalm 25:4-5

Lord, it is Monday. Even though I'm not terribly fond of Mondays, thank you for creating them. Thank you for another day that you've blessed me with wonderful life. My hope is in you. Sustain me, Lord, all day long. Thank you for your strength and energy. Without it, I would not survive these Mondays!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

My Best Friend

I'm so incredibly lucky [BLESSED!] to be married to my best friend! There's no bigger blessing in life than to find someone you love, who loves you back, and who wants to "do" life with you! Brad has been my best friend for over 5 years and I'm so lucky to have him by my side, living life with me forever! We both really love this song -- and we both kinda wish it had come out earlier so that we could have danced to it at our wedding!

Lucky - Jason Mraz

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Reigning Lorelai

So... I couldn't find a video clip of this scene, but I did find the script. I just love it and wanted to share!

Lorelai: ...So, apparently, I am now the reigning Lorelai.
Rory: Huh. I guess you are.
Lorelai: It's a lot of responsibility.
Rory: Well, sure.
Lorelai: It's mostly ceremonial stuff nowadays -- declaring knighthoods, opening supermarkets -- but now and then, you get to banish someone or pose for a stamp.
Rory: Neat. And coins.
Lorelai: Yeah and coins. You know, someday you'll be the reigning Lorelai.
Rory: I don't like that idea.
Lorelai: Why not? You get a cape.
Rory: Because if I'm the reigning Lorelai, that means you'll be gone.
Lorelai: Gone? No, not me. I'll step down way before that. I'm not gonna pull a Queen Elizabeth on you, make you wait around forever, force you to develop interests in polo and architecture.
Rory: I am scared of horses.
Lorelai: I know that.
Rory: So, there's a cape, huh?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

All things through God

"Give me the grace to do as you command, and command me to do what you will! ...O holy God... when your commands are obeyed, it is from you that we receive the power to obey them." -St. Augustine

One of the mysteries of the Christian life according to John Piper:

"...we must delight in God. And only God can change our hearts so that we delight in God. We are thrown back on God utterly. The Christian life is all of grace. 'From him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever' (Romans 11:36)"

This seems to be one of the things God is teaching me right now. It has come up over and over in Kyle's sermons and in things I am reading. Intellectually, I understand this concept, but in my heart, it still doesn't quite make sense. I have not yet grasped what God is intending on teaching me through this, but with His grace, I pray He would open my heart to allow me understanding.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Behind the Scenes

This is how I feel today...

Behind The Scenes - Francesca Battistelli

You may think I’m just fine
How could anything ever be out of line?
I take my time to set the stage
To make sure everything is all in place

Even though I’ve got the lines rehearsed
A picture only paints a thousand words

Things aren’t always what they seem - you’re only seeing part of me
There’s more than you could ever know behind the scenes
I’m incomplete and I’m undone, but I suppose like everyone
There’s so much more that’s going on behind the scenes

Sometimes I can’t see anything
Through the dark surrounding me
And at times I’m unsure about the ground
Beneath my feet if it’s safe and sound

When it’s hard to find hope in the unseen
I have peace in knowing it will find me

Things aren’t always what they seem - you’re only seeing part of me
There’s more than you could ever know behind the scenes
I’m incomplete and I’m undone, but I suppose like everyone
There’s so much more that’s going on behind the scenes

You may think I’m just fine
How could anything ever be out of line?

Things aren’t always what they seem - you’re only seeing part of me
There’s more than you could ever know behind the scenes
I’m incomplete and I’m undone, but I suppose like everyone
There’s so much more that’s going on behind the scenes

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ode to the Mountain Laurel

"See! The winter is past;
the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves is heard in our land.

The fig tree forms its early fruit;
the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
Arise, come, my darling;
my beautiful one, come with me."

-Song of Solomon 2:11-13

In the midst of all the hustle bustle busy-ness of life, a wonderfully poignant aroma catches my attention and reminds me to appreciate the gift of spring. How many days have I been down or frustrated or tired and then this amazing little flower has turned my entire day around? I can't tell you how often God uses the Mountain Laurel to get my attention. It never fails to get capture my senses and shift my attention to the beauty of creation. This scent says, "Look how simple and beautiful I am. None of that other stuff matters. You make things too hard. Just come away with me. Follow me and I will show you what it means to live."

Thank you, Lord, for the Mountain Laurel.

Friday, March 13, 2009


What is Pi?
Pi represents the relationship between a circle’s diameter (its width) and its circumference (the distance around the circle).

Some Random Pi Facts:
  • Pi Day is celebrated on March 14th (3.14)
  • Pi occurs in hundreds of equations in many sciences including those describing the DNA double helix, a rainbow, ripples spreading from where a raindrop fell into water, superstrings, general relativity, normal distribution, distribution of primes, geometry problems, waves, navigation....
  • Pi is the 16th letter of the Greek alphabet.
  • If a billion decimals of pi were printed in ordinary type, they would stretch from New York City, to the middle of Kansas.
  • The Bible uses 3 as a value of pi. Here is a verse from I Kings 7:23: And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it about.
  • A palindrome: I prefer pi.
A fun rap:

Happy Pi Day!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Verse of the day:

You will keep in perfect peace
him whose mind is steadfast,
because he trusts in you, Lord.
-Isaiah 26:3

peace (n.)
1. The absence of war or other hostilities.
2. An agreement or a treaty to end hostilities.
3. Freedom from quarrels and disagreement; harmonious relations: roommates living in peace with each other.
4. Public security and order: was arrested for disturbing the peace.
5. Inner contentment; serenity: peace of mind.

steadfast (adj.)
1. Fixed or unchanging; steady.
2. Firmly loyal or constant; unswerving. See Synonyms at

trust (v.tr.)
1. To have or place confidence in; depend on.
2. To expect with assurance; assume: I trust that you will be on time.
3. To believe: I trust what you say.
4. To place in the care of another; entrust.
5. To grant discretion to confidently: Can I trust them with the boat?
6. To extend credit to.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Happy Square Root Day!

Today is March 3, 2009.

3 squared = 9

Today is "I want you to be Happy Day".

I am going to try to purposefully go out of my way to make people happy today. This should be something I strive for everyday.

Today is "What if cats and dogs had opposable thumbs? Day".

This week is "National Sleep Awareness Week".

I think that's as good enough reason as any to get some extra shut-eye tonight!!!

Happy March 3rd to you!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

Dr. Seuss is one of my all-time favorite authors! My most favorite of his books is "Oh, the Places You'll Go!". It continues to inspire and encourage me no matter what path I am on in life! I debated whether or not to include the entire poem, but I finally decided that I couldn't give Dr. Seuss his proper tribute without including it all.

Thanks, Dr. Seuss, for always encouraging me to stay a kid at heart!

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.
You’ll look up and down streets. Look ‘em over with care.
About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.”
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.
And you may not find any
you’ll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you’ll head straight out of town.
It’s opener there
in the wide open air.
Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen,
don’t worry. Don’t stew.
Just go right along.
You’ll start happening too.
You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.
You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed.
You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.
Except when you don’t
Because, sometimes, you won’t.
I’m sorry to say so
but, sadly, it’s true
and hang-ups
can happen to you.
You can get all hung up
in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on.
You’ll be left in a Lurch.
You’ll come down from the Lurch
with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then,
that you’ll be in a Slump.
And when you’re in a Slump,
you’re not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.
You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked.
A place you could sprain both you elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?
And IF you go in, should you turn left or right…
or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.
You can get so confused
that you’ll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…
…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a sting of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.
That’s not for you!
Somehow you’ll escape
all that waiting and staying.
You’ll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.
With banner flip-flapping,
once more you’ll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!
Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. There are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.
Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be,
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.
Except when they don’t.
Because, sometimes, they won’t.
I’m afraid that some times
you’ll play lonely games too.
Games you can’t win
’cause you’ll play against you.
All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you’ll be quite a lot.
And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.
But on you will go
though the weather be foul
On you will go
though your enemies prowl
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.
On and on you will hike
and I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.
You’ll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life’s
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.
And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)
be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!

Also, I came across this poem this morning... it's pretty cute!

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Pickle Train Conductor

I just really needed something to brighten my mood... and nothing does that like a classic Gilmore Girls conversation! They always make me smile inside :) Take a 2 minute break... it's definitely worth it!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy President's Day!

"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."
-- 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Monday, February 9, 2009

My Prayer for Joy

Lord, what is going on with me? Every day I have to fight for contentment. It’s been much easier to get into Your word (thank You for planting that desire in my heart!), but it’s been much harder to find joy throughout the day. I am worn out and it’s keeping me from recognizing You in my daily life. The repetition of getting up early, driving to work, studying, working, driving home, studying some more, and going to bed knowing I will do it all again tomorrow is wearing me out.

Where does the problem lie?

Is it my job? Am I enjoying what I’m doing? Most of the time, yes… I love getting to do math everyday.

Is it a physical problem? Am I not getting enough rest? I’m getting my 8 hours in every night, yet I am still tired.

Is this an attitude problem? Am I being too pessimistic? Am I not looking to You for strength, patience, and joy?

Lord, help me to discover the secret of being content in any situation. Continue to write on my heart that I can do all things through Christ. Give me a new perspective so that I may see joy through everything I do, no matter how mundane it may seem. Help me to see things the way You see them.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I Smell Snow

This is one of my absolute favorite clips from Gilmore Girls! I only wish it snowed in Texas! I guess it's just one more way that I must live through Lorelai and Rory! Enjoy...

Friday, January 23, 2009

God in me

Verse of the day:
"I pray that out of his glorious riches God may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith." -Ephesians 3:13-17
This is one of my favorite blessings in the Bible! I need to be constantly reminded that it's not up to me to do things. I don't have to (and won't be able to) do everything on my own. If I am willing and humble enough to let God in, He is able to do immesurably more through me than I could ever dream of doing on my own. When I rely on His Spirit within me, everything I do will point to Christ -- it is unquestionable that He get all the glory. And as Pastor Kyle says, "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him."

Monday, January 19, 2009


Verse of the day:
"I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the Lord sustains me."
-Psalm 3:5

That is really the only reason I got out of bed this morning. I'm usually a morning person, but this morning it took everything I had (plus some) to get myself out of bed. I don't know if it's just the Monday morning syndrome or if I just had an exhausting weekend... whatever the reason, I am so grateful that I have the Lord's strength to sustain me today. I can't imagine getting through the day without Him!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Plans (original title, I know...)

This is a hard one for me to write. Not because I don't want to or because it's a tough topic or anything... but just because I don't really know how to appropriately express my thoughts on it. But this has been on my mind for a while now, and tonight I felt that I just needed to finally get it out in words (rather than letting it morph around in my head without the structure of words to help me understand) So if you choose to read this, this is your warning. It may not make sense. On the other hand, it may make perfect sense, making this paragraph the nonsensical one. Or maybe it won't turn out how I'm imagining it to. Okay... enough of an analytical disclaimer...

"Made Plans"
So I'm a planner. I really enjoy coming up with an idea, whether it be a craft, an activity, a reading plan, or just a general plan for the day. Sometimes I think I end up enjoying the planning better than the actual doing! For instance, one day I'll get an idea for a big project to work on -- perhaps a series of paintings for someone. I'll plan everything exactly as I want it, even down to imagining the reaction on the person's face when I present it to them. I'll go out and buy the materials (the same day I plan it, of course!) Because I know that if I wait a day or two, the excitement may have worn down and it'll take me forever to start the project. I'll begin and inevitably run out of time to finish it in the near future. Somewhere in that break, the project has lost excitement. I still want to do it of course, but it isn't a new idea... it's just an old, half-finished idea. Now of course, if I add something new to it or if I wait so long after starting it that when I begin again it seems like a new idea, then the excitement returns.

"Followed Plans"
Not only do I like making a plan, but I like following a plan. This may sound completely contradicting to what I just explained above, but I don't mean it to be. Whereas my previous example involved making a plan and then doing something once, now I am talking about following a method. For example, part of the career field I'm in involves studying extensively for exams. Part of me really enjoys this process. I love coming up with a lesson plan for myself... a study schedule to follow daily (in Excel, of course!). And then I get pleasure out of following that schedule and watching myself progress through my plan. Because of the structure, I get excited. I know that this may make me a nerd, but it's just one example. There are plenty of other things by which you can follow a method: keeping track of finances, a diet program, an exercise routine, anything that you develop a routine for, really. But for me, I only get excited if I consciously plan that routine. It can't be something that develops on it's own -- like pressing snooze exactly 3 times in the morning or drinking a glass of milk before bed every night -- although I suppose you could plan those. I wouldn't go as far as making a spreadsheet for them, though.

One more comment to touch on before I get to my real point (yes, all of this is just a set up for what I really want to say). These followed plans, like the made plans, can lose their excitement. If I fall away from the plan for awhile, it's very difficult to start again with that same plan. I need something fresh... a new incentive to get me going and keep me motivated. Perhaps I tweak the old plan... or maybe I come up with a new one from scratch. But I cannot return to the same old method that I fell away from in the first place. (again, unless it's been long enough to where it feels like a new plan again)

Now for the real point: I do this with God. And I can't decide to what extent it's a good thing and to what extent it might be a hinderence to our relationship.

I love learning through a method. And it really works for me. I like when Sermon topics follow a theme or a book of the Bible. I like knowing that what's coming next is related to something I just learned. And when it comes to spending time with God, I really enjoy the stability of it -- of knowing that even though I strive to be in constant communication with God, I have a protected time for just the two of us. And during this time, I like to have a plan. Something to follow and to build on - whether it be a devotional or just a plan as to how I make my way through scripture. All of this, I believe, is really healthy (assuming that God is invloved in the planning process!)

(SIDENOTE) I am not making the point that I am limiting God to my plan (at least I don't think I am at the moment) I realize that God is huge and can teach me whatever he wants to teach me whenever he wants - regardless of whether it's in my schedule. Oftentimes the hugest lessons I learn are not learned within my protected "alone time with God". And I shouldn't expect God to stop teaching me the moment I put down my Bible and leave for work. I am in a constant relationship with Him. This is a valid point to make, but not the one I'm aiming at in this entry. (END SIDENOTE)

But what happens, say, when I am drifting from God a little bit and am looking for something to help me get back into my intimate relationship with him? I need a plan to get excited about and that will make me get into a habit of spending time with God. Even if it doesn't come out of desire to begin with, my hope is that if I am pouring the Word into myself, it will eventually allow a spark to form and guide me back to a flaming intimacy with God. Still, I don't think there is anything unhealthy about this on the surface.

So where does planning and methodology become a hinderence to my relationship with God? The answer is instinctive to me. God has been teaching me this over the last few months: the planning becomes an interference when my focus shifts from God to the plan... when I put my faith in the method... when I expect the guide I'm following to bring me back to God. These plans of mine are tools... and they can be very powerful in my spiritual growth. But when they take the place of God - when they steal His thunder - they are no longer good. In fact, they have become sinful.

I can easily recognize when these methods of mine are at one extreme or the other. I know when a "plan" is aiding my growth in Christ and I can recognize when it is keeping me from God. What I'm having trouble seeing is the transition. When does my helpful plan begin to pull be down? How can I tell when that shift is happening? So many times I don't recognize that my focus has shifted -- I suddenly realize I have fallen away from God and wonder how it happened. I have been praying for God to open my eyes to this weakness of mine and reveal to me any sign of my shifting focus.

Lord, thank You for making me the way I am. Thank You for allowing me to get excited about plans. I love that You allow me to love spreasheets and organization and I pray that You would use these things in my life to bring me closer to, not further from, You. Be involved in my plans. Keep me from making them without You. Show me Your glory through my weakness. Open my eyes and my heart, Lord. Allow me to be sensitive to the things around me and the way my plans are impacting my relationship with You. Stop me from letting them take Your place. God, there is nothing like You. All the glory is Yours. Amen.