Monday, January 31, 2011

Mind Dump - Bullet Pointed w/ Pictures

  • My water bottle is in the dishwasher. I am thirsty. I think I forgot how to drink out of cups.

  • Pandora is playing as I type. I really enjoy Joshua Radin.

  • My friend and I are having a long voicemail leaving contest...until I accidentally answered the phone. Oops. Well, I was loosing anyway.

  • I thoroughly enjoy reading the book of Luke.

  • I realized that I don't really know what it means to be created in God's image.

  • This realization lead into a philosophical discussion in which my mind twisted itself in knots and I confused the people I was discussing with.

  • I learned about wading birds in my Wildlife class this morning. Storks don't really bring babies ;)

  • I love naps. Mondays are good days for naps.

PS: Yes, I did take all of these images from Google. No one report me, k?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Doctrine Thursday Week 2

While there are still a few minutes remaining in Thursday:

Week 2:
4. What is God? God is a spirit - infinite, eternal, and unchangeable - in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. (See: John 4:24, Job11:7, Daniel 4:35, Psalm 90:2, and Psalm 102:26-27)

5. Are there more Gods than one? There is but one only, the living and true God. (See: Isaiah 45:5)

6. How many persons are there in the Godhead? There are three persons in the Godhead - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one God, the same in substance, equal and power and glory. (See:  Matthew 28:19 and Deuteronomy 6:4)

This may seem very basic and simple but I would argue that this is, well, essential and very convicting. It's humbling. It's powerful. Mull it over. Comment. Discuss. I'd love to hear your thoughts. I'd elaborate more but 1) there isn't much time left in Thursday and 2) I've had a long day and need some sleep.

Oh the day I've had...

This is a story about how God is good and I am stupid. Actually, it's mostly about how God is good. Me being stupid comes at the end.

6:45am saw me standing in flip flops scraping ice off my car windshield. And you thought the stupid was supposed to come later... Anyway, yes, this cold morning was RUF's ministry team meeting. We meet weekly to go over RUF things and to minister to one another. We're going through the Shorter Catechism. (No, fyi, I am not doing Doctrine Thursday without outside instigation) Today (as you will read about once I post this week's Doctrine Thursday) was all about who God is. It lead to some great discussion and I could really feel God moving. It's amazing to see how even the simplest of statements can imply and mean so much about God and who He is in us and for us.

After that I went home and did some last minute review before my exam at 9:30. Thankfully that went well and I had roughly 2 hours to grab lunch and do a last minute review for my second exam of the day. During that time I met some cool Portuguese girls (which I tweeted about...see left). My second exam also went fairly well.
 Then was my four hour ecology lab which passed uneventfully - unless, of course, you count mixing up the data and having to re-do half of your graphs...

A friend texted me and invited me to coffee to chat, catch up, and discuss the scripture we've been reading (we're both doing the same reading plan). We met up and enjoyed good coffee and good conversation. We were both so exhausted from long days that we couldn't delve into the meat of things but it was great to just discuss how God has been working in our lives, some of the cool points we've noticed from the reading, and just what's going on in our lives. It was refreshing.

On my way home an email pops up on my phone. I quickly check it at a red light and see that my boss has emailed out the February work schedule. Enter stupid me. I was scheduled for every Thursday in February. The Thursday shift has a full ONE HOUR overlap with one of my classes (yes, the four hour lab I mentioned earlier). I completely forgot to bring it up when I emailed her my availability for the month. Doh. I immediately PANICKED to say the least and quickly wrote an extremely apologetic email to my boss for such a huge mistake. I pray it goes over well and the schedule can get changed easily. God can smooth ruffled feathers, right?

So in the throes of a full blown freak out session I get a call from a truly dear friend of mine. We don't get to catch up much since he is getting married in March and is quite busy so I quickly accepted the call. Of course I told him the story and continued to freak out to him. His first response: prayer. DUH! Stupid me was too busy freaking out to even stop and pray over it. (See how small my faith can be?) So he consoled me and pointed me back to Christ and His ultimate plan. Then he shared a funny and similar story to mine. Short version: he forgot to tell his brand new boss (praise God for a new job!) about his wedding and honeymoon - only a month and a half away! Thankfully his boss was entirely accommodating and it all worked out. But anyway, in the midst of my small faith, woes, and worry, God provided. My friend called at just the right time and shared wisdom and guidance. It's no coincidence.

Further, my class tomorrow got cancelled. God really is good! =)

And since it's 11:30 - a full 17 hours since I rolled out of bed at 6:30am (yes, a mere 15 minutes before I was found freezing my toes off outside - I really like to hit the ground running on these long sleepily drag myself to the car...) I should go post this week's Doctrine Thursday and then hit the hay.

Hope you all have had a less rollercoaster-resembling day...though as equally (or more so) full of God's goodness!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

It has been a while since I've participated in Ten on Tuesday. Figured I'd join in this week. Go here for the original post.
1. Do you decorate for Valentine’s day?
Negatory Ghostrider.
2. Does your desktop have a picture or computer graphic? Is it organized?
Currently my desktop picture is the same as my blog header. I change it once every few months. It's usually a picture of my friends or family. It has to be really awesome to just be a mere computer graphic. As for It's so-so.
3. Do you use a paper planner, electric planner or no planner at all?
I use both paper and electric! I use a paper planner to organize school assignments and things like that. I use Google Calendar for events, work, classes, etc. It syncs to my phone so it's super handy and gives me pop up reminders for things!
4. Do you change purses or bags often or stick with a good thing?
I am either using my backpack (for school/just came from school) or my over the shoulder satchel purse thing for everything else. I transfer my wallet, keys, and phone back and forth sometimes multiple times a day.
5. What’s your favorite YouTube Video?
Definitely Marcel the Shell. Go here to watch

6. Do you use Turbo Tax or a real person to pay your taxes?
Um. I use my mom. She still does my taxes. Yay for being a "dependent"!

7. How many states have you set foot (or tire) in? Which ones?
Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and Washington DC. That's 18 if you include DC.
8. How many countries have you been in? Which ones?
Two - USA and Haiti
9. How many pillows are in your house? (Sleeping or decorative)
Oh wow. In my room and the living room there are 9. I have no clue how many my roommates have.
10. How cold is too cold for flip flops?
Snow. Everything else is fair game for flip flop weather. As a rule of thumb, I do generally put on sneakers or boots below 50 but not always. =)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Night for HOPE

What is the hope we can all cling to?

A little while ago I was invited to an event on Facebook. I had heard about the event last year, I treasure the friend who invited me, and I was semi-interested in going. I clicked "Maybe attending". I didn't write it into my planner. I didn't program it into my phone. I forgot about it. As the date drew near I noticed more and more people I knew planning to attend. I once again checked out the event and daringly changed my RSVP to "attending". But again, I forgot about it.

After class yesterday a new friend of mine, we shall call her Swan, asked if I was going. I stared at her blankly and said " what?" She told me of the event and I hung my head in shame for forgetting...again.

So with new resolve I programmed the event in my phone and told myself I was going. The day went on and I got a little reminder on my phone at 6:30. I sighed, hit snooze on the reminder and continued putsing around on the computer. Finally, at 7pm (the time the event began) I scrambled out the door. I turned in my lamest, least valuable used textbook at the door (the entrance fee was to bring a used textbook) and walked inside. I briefly chatted with my treasured friend who had invited me initially on Facebook. She was very pleased that I was there. I wandered around and found some friends...still shamefully clinging to some skepticism for the whole night. We found our seats and the night got started.

A Night for HOPE is basically a benefit concert for an organization at UF called HOPE. It's a group of students with hearts for those who seemingly have no hope. People living all over the globe in poverty and pain.They are students with passion, love, and a desire to serve. So what is the hope that they share? It's the gospel...the good news...Jesus Christ, our Savior. Real HOPE!

So I sat there listening to the first musician and watching the slideshow of pictures and my heart was being broken over and over again. God wanted me there. He wanted to break me of my selfishness. He wanted to break my heart for what breaks His. He brought me out of myself and into where He wanted me.

The whole night, from then on was just a night of uplifting hope. I'm not one who cries easily but I found myself tearing up. All of the musicians were rock solid and their lyrics were so true and God-oriented. If you want, check out Peter Lebhar on iTunes. All proceeds from his song "Who Will?" go to support HOPE's partnership in Magambua, Tanzania.

I was moved by story after story of God working in far-off places. People getting dirty and getting messy to bring hope to people. To serve people and also to learn. My friend Swan was emceeing and I was laughing so hard and yet so filled with compassion with her stories. Hearing Paul Emory from the US Office for World Missions was growing as he challenged us to "go!" and finish the work placed before us.

Anyway, all this to say, what are YOU placing your hope in? Is your hope in yourself? Is it in your job? Is it in your government? Is it in your ability to please others? Is it in your health? Is it in your financial status? OR...Is it in JESUS CHRIST the one who is HOPE within himself? Are you sharing that hope? Do you sing it from the rooftops and declare it from your soul?

Maybe we should.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

What is the chief end of man?

Some of you are probably reciting the answer in your head...others are probably confused...still more are probably wondering what the heck kind of question is that.

Until a few weeks ago I was definitely in the confused category. A lot of things dealing with doctrine get me. I know it's important, to an extent, but it always just seemed/seems too philosophical for my scientific thinking brain. Give me a study bible and some mellow music and I'm good to go.

Except studying doctrine is important. Can you be know God without studying doctrine*? Yes! Can you believe in Jesus without studying doctrine*? Yes! Can you be saved without studying doctrine*? YES! So why is it so important?
*doctrine here refers to books, studies, and information beyond what is presented in the bible. I do believe that knowing and believing truth, God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit as they are presented scripturally are very much essential to salvation.

(Note: A lot of what I'm writing is pulled from Steve Lammers' [a pastor in the PCA church] sermon which you can listen to here)

  • Is Christianity defined merely by how we live or is there something more? It's something's's truth.
  • Healthy doctrine produces healthy/sound Godly living.
  • Doctrine and truth matters.
  • Truth accords with godliness.
  • "Creeds" were built in the early church to summarize the truth - what we aught to believe.
  • True teaching, as seen in the apostles, matters.
  • How can you love Jesus without loving the truths/doctrines about Jesus.
  • Biblical faith rests on truth.
  • Biblical faith is not opposed to is almost synonymous with truth. It helps us interpret the truth. Biblical faith has to have truth in order to flourish.
  • You don't have to hide from the truth. You don't have to ignore evidence to have faith.
  • Biblical faith is digging into scripture and evidence to seek out what is true. it goes. I'm going to throw off this fear of doctrine and dive in. Why don't you join me? Every Thursday I'm going to post questions and answers from The Shorter Catechism. If you want, buy a copy for yourself. Pray through it. Seek scripture. Post comments and questions. Create discussion. Learn truth. I'll be doing much the same...let's do it together!

Week 1:
1. What is the chief end of man? Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever. (See 1 Corinthians 10:31; Revelation 7:15-17)

2. What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him? The word of God, which is contained in the scriptures of the old and new testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him. (See 2 Timothy 3:16; Ephesians 2:20)

3. What do the scriptures principally teach? The scriptures principally teach what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man. (See John 5:39; Ecclesiastes 12:13)

89. How is the word made effectual to salvation? The spirit of God maketh the reading, but especially the preaching of the word an effectual means of convincing and converting sinners, and of building them up to holiness and comfort, through faith, unto salvation. (See Pslam 19:7; 2 Timothy 3:16)

90. How is the word to be read and heard, that it may become effectual to salvation? That the word may become effectual to salvation, we must attend therunto with diligence, preparation, and prayer, receive it with faith and love, lay it up in our hearts and practice it in our lives. (See  Pslam 119:11 and 18; Hebrews 4:2; John 7:17)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cough, sniffle, sneeze

My body has been invaded with illness after illness. Thankfully it's not been anything particularly dangerous or life threatening. But unfortunately it's enough to wipe me out for a few days again and again. I suppose you could say it's one of the "perks" of working with sick kids on a regular basis. You get over one sickness only to catch another one a few days later. They don't call it "cold and flu season" for nothin'!

You'd think being sick would mean lots of time to lay around and blog. Sadly for me, being sick doesn't always mean a day off. I still have to drag myself to school and work...being careful not to spread my germs, of course. I just do things slower and much less enthusiastically. So in effect, it results in less blogging time. Sorry everyone!

Hope you all haven't been hit as hard as I have this "season"!


Friday, January 14, 2011


Someone or some people are going camping this weekend. I am not one of those people. I will be sleeping inside.
I'm not crazy...the lows have been in the mid-20's here in The Swamp!

But either way, I am going on a "camping" trip this weekend with RUF. Some people will be adventurous (read: crazy) and sleep outside. The rest of us will be sleeping inside the cabin with the heat on. Mind you I am usually a huge fan of tent camping. Love it actually! But, well, I'm not stupid. I know my dinky Florida sleeping bag will do nothing to ward off frost bite compared to those super freeze rated mummy bags. I'm realistic in my weeny-ness.

Our time shall be filled with fun, food, and fellowship. I thoroughly enjoy this trip every year. We do devotionals, pray together, and just enjoy each other's company while spending time in God's creation. At night we usually do a bonfire, s'mores, and games. During the day we (read: boys) play football and frisbee. Some people brave the cold cold river. Others (read: girls) go for walks, chit chat, and play with our campus minister's daughters.

Unfortunately, though, I will be leaving our little weekend getaway early to come back to town and work on Saturday morning. But I am glad to not be missing all of my last RUF camping trip. (Let the nostalgic sentimentality of senior year commence...)

Hope you all have a fun weekend too!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Linking...Haiti Style

What were you doing on this day last year? I personally was having a normal school day. I had no clue about what was happening in other states let alone other countries. That all changed with a prayer. At the beginning of RUF on Tuesday January 12, 2010 a friend of mine opened the group up in prayer. She prayed for the usual "RUF things" but soon began praying for Haiti. My ears perked and my heart raced - this was unusual! This was the first I had heard of the earthquake. I'm pretty certain my life changed that day.

Please read the following earthquake stories.

Wordless Wednesday - A year ago today

Haiti earthquake  Images

Monday, January 10, 2011


So I'm here watching "That 70s Show" dressed in a bathrobe and laying in bed.


Stomach flu.

I've been benched upon waking yesterday. I'm feeling considerably better than I did yesterday and have successfully eaten 3 pieces of toast. Yesterday nothing really wanted to remain in my body. Even popsicles only "stayed down" for twenty minutes. Hello dehydration.

But beyond being miserable, having sobbing fits (yes, I'm a wimpy sick kid) and generally being completely unproductive I've had plenty of time to think. Lots of big thoughts and prayers about this semester (my last one as an undergraduate), summer, and next year.

I don't know exactly where I'm being lead but God has been stirring in my heart and giving me desires for Him and His will. I'm joyful. I'm nervous. I'm excited. I'm willing...most of the time.

(Recently I've been reading old posts from the Livesay family. I love their honest way of blogging. Tara can be so open, honest, and real. I hope I can be that real and honest. I don't want to sugar coat christianty or my walk with Christ.)

That being said, I must confess that I usually put my best foot forward on this blog. Its easy to say things that should be said instead of what I want to say.

So here are some confessions:
-I haven't had quiet time yet since the semester started.
-Sometimes facebook has more drawing power than my bible.
-Occasionally I only drag my butt out of bed to go to church out of obligation.
-I get caught up in myself way too often.
-My faith is small

So there it is. I struggle. I fumble. I fail. But isn't that why I need God...why we all need God? He conquers all.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Just popping in briefly to say that I'm thinking and praying about something big for next year. I don't have it all worked out yet so I can't share what it is yet. Just please be praying for wisdom, guidance, and peace about where God is leading me.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Prayer for a stranger

I would love to write about the beginning of my spring semester but for now I will live you with a short little story.

Today after class I hopped on the bus to head home. A few stops later an older woman got on, walking with a cane - possibly homeless. It crossed my mind to stand up and give her my seat (there weren't many left) but she found one in the back so I ignored her and continued playing with my phone. We continued on and all of the sudden I hear this horrible hacking noise. The old woman had a terrible, terrible cough. It was just this dry unproductive hack. She would have a coughing fit, take a few breaths, and then go right into another fit. I stared hearing comments of people saying "ew" or "ugh" and I was a little grossed out at first - who knows what she has!

But in the midst of my silent complaint I felt this pull on my heart. I HAD to pray for this woman. While I was too chicken to go sit with her, chat with her, and pray in person with her I was GOING to pray. I sat there on the bus and just prayed for this woman. I prayed for her health, for her cough, for her life. I confessed my unwillingness to get messy and simply talk to her. I prayed that someone out there has or will talk to her and share the gospel with her. I prayed that God might reveal himself to her - that someone in her life might share the Good News and she would come to know Christ (if she doesn't already).

As I was praying her fits of coughing became decreased and she was able to breathe normally for a while. I was thankful for that. I don't know God works but I do pray that He does heal her if it is His will.

I don't know if I will see this woman again - maybe I will, maybe I won't. I don't know if I'll talk to her next time - maybe I will, maybe I won't. But that's ok. God knows. =)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Where are all the christians?

Do you ever wonder where the christians are in this world? They're not visible in day-to-day life. Come out, come out wherever you are!

When there's a little girl at school who is picked on, has a bad family life, and eats lunch alone...where are the christians to invite her to youth group and do homework together?

When a middle class man loses his job and can no longer provide for his family...where are the christians to pray for him, buy him a weeks worth of groceries, and help him job search?

When a young girl in college becomes pregnant, considers an abortion, and cries more days that not...where are the christians to offer her comfort, wisdom, and love her no matter the decision?

Come out, come out wherever you are! It's time we come out of hiding.

Jesus wants to accept, heal, and love these people with open arms. And He wants to use US to do it. He wants His church--the body of Christ to go, see, and reach. But we...I...sit here cowering. What's that saying about me?

My faith is so little. But God is so big.

I am weak. But God is strong.

I can't. But He can.