Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Back in the Saddle

i returned last night from spending 6 very full days with people i absolutely love. Christmas was wonderful, a special one that will stand out in my memories. some quick peaks of the week:

-2 rounds of golf with the Blair boys (don't worry, we won't be turning pro any time soon).
-half a day in the peaceful setting of my aunt and uncle's ranch.
-not really eating distinct "meals" but instead perusing through the ample selection of holiday food in the kitchen between football games or naps.
-watching my 2-year-old cousin Lily "shake it."
-Christmas morning service at University alongside both my real family and my spiritual family.
-the UYG reunion party--SO much fun.
-spending time with Madison.
-doing a lot of nothing.

hooray for holidays! though it was really hard to leave my family in Abilene yesterday, having a community of people here who love me makes it eaier to make the drive back. i want to expound more on these special people but am pretty tired right now so it will have to wait. take hope, share it, and be blessed today.
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pic of the day, Madison:

Wednesday, December 21, 2005 people

happy birthday mize...i used two of your pictures today...i love this one...
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there is so much that can be said about loving people. more than can be listed or understood. i've heard Jesus' words many times before concerning the greatest commands, to love God and love your neighbor. last month i was reading through the sermon on the mount when i got stuck on the part where Christ talks about murder. in short, Jesus basically said not to hate people and before you offer your gift you should settle matters with your brother (pretty interesting take on murder). a simple message, but one with profound implication.

it was then that something clicked, and i began to really understand and see that Jesus was way more concerned about people than anything else. he was always talking to them, walking with them, eating, fishing, traveling, praying with people. his ministry was people, not planning services or checking off regulations. and his message, his life, was love. and his love for people was specific and beautiful. a kind word to a beggar, or new life for a little girl. truth spoken to a woman caught in sin, or even mud placed gently on blind eyes. words of compassion and hope, an example of selflessness and sacrifice.

i know this isn't anything ground breaking here, but i can't begin to describe all the ways this realization has refreshed my life in the past month. i've felt energized and more committed to love people.

everywhere you look there's people to love. a waitress at chili's, the check-out person at wal-mart, the guy running on the treadmill at the gym, the family in the trailer park down the street. something i've learned is that it's never wrong to love someone. expressing God's love to people is what we were created to do. love changes lives.

Lord, fill me with your love so that i may love people the way Jesus did, constantly and completely.
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i'm going home today to be with my family. merry Christmas...
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pic of the day, little sweeties from Smena:

Monday, December 19, 2005

love God...

happy birthday yesterday to clay, today to zach, and anniversary tomorrow to austin and cass!
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the greatest commandment. number one. top of the totem pole. the all encompassing point of my life. to love God...

as i stated early i am becoming obsessed with the concept of love. but how do i love someone/something that is the living definition of love? someone/thing that is enormously bigger than the love i am expressing? a really smart dude once said that the easiest thing in the world to do is to love God, and i suppose there are times when i agree with this. but on the other hand sometimes i've wondered just how easy it is, because it doesn't always feel super easy.

what i do know is this. i know that i was created with the capacity to love Him, otherwise he wouldn't command it. i know that the only thing i want to do, and do well, is love. i know that the deepest desires of my heart have to do with pleasing my Creator, with passionately and even foolishly loving my Father in heaven.

and when i begin to ponder and dwell in His love; the love that He constantly pours into my life; then my task evolves into something more. the greatest command becomes pure and almost effortless. not some burden but a force pushing my life ahead. but a natural response to the greatest form of love in existence--God's love for me.

and that's why i think the key to loving God is to first accept, truly accept and know, his love for me. for his love compels and empowers me to love him back and to keep loving him regardless of my circumstance.
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pic of the day, work shoes:

Thursday, December 15, 2005

different strokes, for different folks

i had a wonderful pre-holiday vacation. friday night got to see brent, linds, rosalyn, mize and zach graduate. after the ceremony everyone and their parents convened on the perry's house. it was so refreshing to be in the company of people i love and am loved by. i drank 3 cups of wassle...mmm, yummy. oh, and brent and linds got engaged that night too! i am very happy for them and can't wait for the wedding weekend!

skiing was fantastic, with our last day (monday) being the best day on the slopes i've ever experienced. cool place to stay (hopefully pics to come soon), the beautiful san jaun mountains, some funny guys, and ample time to relax and reflect--a great escape for me. i've got a couple of good stories and pics that i'll share soon. oh, and i did randomly run into some fellow wildcats at wolf creek--josh lankford (with his family) and alex "axel" rose (scary, i know).
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it was great to be with my kids last night at church. they give me so much energy and i love the relationship we have. hugs, funny stories, random comments, and laughter highlighted the night. several of our former GCOCers were home from college last night which was great. i'm looking forward to spending time with these lovely people over their break.

last night after church Chad and i went to see King Kong. it was super intense and exceeded my expectations--in a word, awesome. warning though, there are some scenes with giant "bugs" that made sink down low in my seat and cover my eyes. i HATE bugs, but props to pete jackson for the chair-gripping special effects, unbelievable.
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pic of the day (i'm so tough):

Friday, December 09, 2005


tonight clay and i will be in Abilene to watch some very special friends (Rosalyn, Mize, Linds, Brent, Zach, Bingo, etc) graduate--hooray!

then tomorrow we're leaving for Wolf Creek with Kyle, Zach, JB, Adam, Alex, and Lucas to ski for a few days!!! i'm SO excited and will share some pics when we return...

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


i have to share this. every week a minister from my home congregation sends out an email of prayer requests. not to make light of any other prayer requests, but these are special. they are special because they come from poor and hurting people in the world. those marginalized by society. people who are homeless, on welfare, have been imprisoned, substance abusers, and so on. they are people, like you and me, who are looking for answers, longing for hope, and desiring love. every week these requests (transcribed as originally written) touch my heart. pause and honor these precious requests:

Valarie - Lord help me with all my needs, and to havemy kids walk in the right path. Also lord give mestreanght. And keep us away from evil.

Laura - Self clean & sober

Marian - Please pray for peace & reconciliationbetween me and my husband. In the precious name ofJesus. This I pray.

Clarence - For a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Sid - for a better world and good will toward all ofmankind and exspieally for children

William - Financial, marriage problems, wife's health.Get a refrigerator

Tammy - To watch over my family & friends and to guideus all to make the right choices.

Jackie - For safety of my family. Help me get my SSI started. (Supplemental Security Income, i.e.disability)

Samantha - Pray for God to help our marriage

Tonya - please pray for my oldes son to come homesafely and quickly (Texas Youth Commission ) andfor the lord to whach over him and the reast of thefamily

Betty - For good healt for all of us in the household.

Maria - Health & needsRamona - I would like to request that my mother beplaced on a prayer list. Her husband died on November18, 2005

Paige - Kids, getting a job, not going back to prison,CPS (Child Protective Services), finances . . .(staying at a halfway house)

Trisha - Family & babys health

Tessa - Please pray for our families and the world andthose in need like us

Jerry - That my kids will have a safe trip to theirmother's & back over Christmas break.

Randy - For the right job best for me, pray that Iwill stay strong in the Lord pray God's protectionover my household. And that I will get married ASAP.Thank you. God bless you.

Jennie - Pray for husband's salvation. His brother waskilled in an accident & he's angry at God. He is verysick physically.

Matilda - My husband tryied to kill me in front of mykids I moved from Amarillo to Abilene. I don't haveany thang. I have four kids and am a single parent. Iam only 23 yrs. Im so confused I really need all theprayer I can get. Thanks

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has annointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor. --Jesus
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pic of the day:

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Love actually, is all around

december is here, hooray!
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lately i have been obsessing over love. and not really any particular part of love, but the entire concept of love. seeking to understand it. striving to share it. looking to receive it. asking God what it looks like and how it feels. where does it come from? how can i give more of it? there are so many layers, so many pieces, so many levels, types, functions, descriptions, avenues of love. love is an emotion. it is a gift. an action. a secret. a mystery. God. it changes lives and transforms our existence. it is more than a word, and no combination of them can possibly encompass all it is. yet i still want to wrap my brain around it; let it fill dwell inside of me; allow it to fill up inch of my being.

for lack of a better word, i l-o-v-e love, even though i feel i know so little of it. i'll probably be writing a great deal about love here in the coming weeks. and not because i'm in love or know all about it (i don't). not because i'm desperate for a signifcant other or because i'm cheezy. but because God is love. because Jesus loved completely. because of men like Paul and John. because people need love, and because i was created to love.

(for the record, i love the movie quoted in the title)
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pic of the day, Mexico: