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Be a sister

Posted on: Saturday, May 25, 2013

Happy Birthday Jack!

Birthday Brother Poem:
You're the pain to my neck
And the cards to my deck
I'm the curl to your hair
And the clothes that you wear

You're the art to my room
And the third one out the womb
I'm the songs to your CD's
And the poles to your skis

You're the scratches to my longboard
And the scarf I couldn't afford 
I'm your transportation to the mall
And encouragement when you fall

You're my only little brother
And the patience to our mother 
I hope you have a bomb birthday
And everything goes your way

Be fervent

Posted on: Thursday, May 23, 2013

"Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." James 5:16 

A righteous person is simply someone who prays in faith anyways, so our prayers will be effective and fervent just by us simply choosing to pray in faith. Not to pray empty words or perfectly sounding sentences, but simply to converse with our Father just as a child would.  We are told over and over in scripture that the Lord desires us to commune with him, to lay before him our thoughts, worries, requests, desires, fears, and thanksgiving and know that he is ALWAYS listening and He ALWAYS wants to hear MORE.  We should be like a child who is eager to tell our father a story about our day at school. Sometimes I often wonder if I should ramble on to the Lord.. when he already knows what's up.  In fact, he knows much MORE than just what's up, but he knows what's up next!  

I think the same can be true of a Father listening to his 6 year old daughter talk about her day at school.  Although the story might be predictable and insignificant, the father always delights in listening to his child.  How much more then will our Heavenly Father delight in listening to us. 

In  Matthew 18:20 is says "Where two or more are gathered in my name, there I am among them." I know I have talked about this before, but I just love the imagery of siblings going to their father together to ask for something.  Although the father is always willing to listen to his child's request, he is more likely to take the kids out for ice cream if all four of them come and ask him together at the same time.  I think the same can be true of our heavenly Father.  I am not saying that  the power of one person's intimate silent prayer is any less than communal prayer.   Rather, I am simply suggesting a balance between the two.  Their is something divine about joining hands with our brothers and sisters in Christ and going to are Father together in prayer.  

The definition of "fervent" is: 
a: having or displaying a passionate intensity
b: extremely hot; glowing

I think that we should be fervent in our prayers by both definitions of the word. Our inward hearts should be set afire by the love of Christ to the point where our outward lives are glowing  with the radiance of His love.  We should not only "have" passionate intensity in our prayers, but we should also "display" it.  I think one way that we can display fervency in our prayers it by praying out-loud together with others. 

Little Papa

Oh Little Papa I always loved getting your letters.  Here is the last one that didn't make it to you in time, but I know you heard me read it today. I love you. 

Dear Little Papa,

I wanted to write you this litter on the typewriter you gave me, but I still need to take it in to get it fixed and get a new ribbon for it. Thank you so much for passing it on to me though.  I am so excited to start using it!  Last we talked I was just starting back to school for Spring term, nervous about coming back after having taken the time off in the winter for my health.  By the grace of God I am doing so much better now and I truly believe the Lord has renewed me and is continuing to renew me each day  since I have been back in Corvallis.  The spring has raised up a new and blooming season of abundance and for that I am so thankful.  Thank you for praying for me loving me so well while I was hope last winter.  In the midst of our family’s chaos with driving all over the northwest for ski races and managing “the Stella”  and “ol Roman” (as you call him) it was so nice to have company on the weekends when I was home alone, and someone to go to church with, and of course Elmer’s afterwards so you can have your senior citizen belgium waffle and I can have my omelet with hashbrowns.  
I love going to breakfast with you.  Thanks for always taking me out to breakfast it’s my favorite meal and I love sharing it with you.  Thanks for also always introducing me to the only acceptable fast food chain that is Bugerville.  I always remember you picking me up from middle school and racing me to burgerville for a blackberry milkshake and burger before ballet class.... :) And thanks for always arguing with my dad to pay for our family when we go out to dinner at Outback or Red Robins or Chevy’s.  I hope some day my husband always insists on paying for our grandkids and grandchildren when we take them out to eat.  And I hope he carries a briefcase with him filled with a toothbrush and a crossword puzzle.  I also hope he takes the time to write my granddaughters and grandsons letters when they go off to college, or when they go to camp for the summer. 
I have kept all of your letters that you have written to me since I’ve been  in college.  I reread them all over the weekend.  Each of them staring with some news about whats going on back home, what was said in the sermon in church on sunday, updates on the “stella monster,” inquires about my roommates, and reminders to take my car in to get it washed or kept track of my mileage. You’d be proud of me, for the first time I actually looked at my mileage  on my own and its at 40,687 miles.  Don’t worry I’m still driving 60 in the slow lane;)  It’s week 8 of school this week so classes are getting busy, but don’t worry I’m “taking good notes” as you always say, and as I always do.  That’s one thing you have taught me well.  Thanks for also teaching me how to be a better writer.  My love for writing has grown over the years.  Perhaps some day when I’m older I’ll have time to spend hours working on papers like you do.  For now I’ll stick to a few paragraph long blog posts, and writing out my prayers. 
My prayer for you is that people would feel the welcoming arms of Christ as they interact with you.  You are always so friendly and so excited to strike up a conversation with anyone, anywhere, and I admire that about you.  I think I have learned that from you as well.  One of my friends from church recently found out that you were my grandpa and said “that’s your papa? He always would come sit in the lobby during church and we’d talk when I was sweeping.  Every week.”   I guess the plus side of having “restless leg syndrome” is that you always find yourself meeting new people and striking up interesting conversations when you have to step outside.   I think I have a little bit of that in me as well... especially the restless leg part lately.... I wasn’t able to compete in track all season this spring because my foot is still bothering me.  But I’m hoping and praying that I will be able to come back in the fall for one more year and be healthy and ready to roll!  
Thanks for coming to so many of my races over the years, and dance performances, and swim practices, and every birthday party since I was born, and every holiday, and major life event you are ALWAYS there to bring the wine and bananas;) But even when there is no major event going on you are STILL there.  Most of my friends grandparents are there for the Holiday’s, graduation, and their weddings, but I am so blessed and thankful for the prominent role that both of my grandparents have played in all aspects of my life.  No one ever calls the home phone at our house except for solicitors, so everytime we know its you when we hear the classic “sayyy dan (cendi) its papa... or hello anybody there? followed by the time.. and just checking in to see if “you people” need anything or if anyone wants to go out to eat:)” Thanks for always just showing up unannounced with your briefcase in hand, little Italian hat on your head, and so much love in your heart.  I am so thankful to be able to share so much life with you, and learn so much from you just because you are ALWAYS there.  And I have no doubt in my mind that you always will be, even if your looking down from heaven.  
This weekend I am going to a wedding.  My boyfriend’s best friend is getting married and he is the best man in the wedding.  It’s crazy to think that so many of my friends are getting married.  You know my friend Kelcey? The one you always ask about? She is getting married this summer and so is my friend Thea who you’ve met a few times too! I am in both of the weddings so I am really excited about that.  I know you always tell me to put on my “blinders” when it comes to boys, and focus on school, but I am getting more and more excited about the day when I will put on a different kind of “blinders” and walk down that isle in a white dress.  I’ll have a special spot for you to be able to stand up on the side since you can’t sit for long periods of time.  I know when the day comes that you will be standing their smiling. 
I also want to thank you for always giving me a reason to smile and laugh.  There is always more smiles and laughter when you’re around.  You bring an undeniable joy with you wherever you go, and everyone always wants you to be there because of it.  Thanks for always making me laugh, and bringing laughter to our family.  I also what to thank you for teaching me to listen to my dad and not be so stubborn and argumentative all the time.  Thanks for always trying to build the peace.  I remember even when I was way younger and would yell and get mad at my dad you would always come into my room and calm me down and encourage me to listen to my parents and try to build the peace.  
You have taught me so much over the years, and I have always had a desire to listen to your stories and learn from you.  After all, you were a teacher.  But something that the Lord has been teaching me recently, is that I often learn much more from the dry challenging seasons of life after they have passed.  It is after the fact that the Lord slowly reveals the ways that He has been working.  I think I will ALWAYS be learning from you even after you leave this Earth to be with Jesus.  I think I will always be discovering new ways that you have impacted me in the past, or things that you are teaching me now, or ways that I will learn from you 10 years from now.  I will ALWAYS be learning from you MORE and MORE.  And I will ALWAYS love you MORE and MORE each day.   I wear this gold cross that you gave my sister, and every day I am reminded that there is ALWAYS MORE to the story than the cross.  I am reminded that Christ rose from the dead, and that that same power that conquered the grave lives inside of me.  Everyday I am reminded that with Christ there is ALWAYS MORE to learn, MORE to be thankful for, and MORE to be hopeful for.  Thank you for giving me such a golden reminder of that truth.  I love you so much Little Papa.  Ciao for now.  Arrividerci


Be "willowing"

Posted on: Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Lord is in the business of reconstruction, and he is the world's greatest architect and engineer.  From the beginning of time he has been known for tearing things down and building them up again. In Jeremiah 24:6 he says, "My eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up and not tear them down; I will plant them and not uproot them." This is seen throughout the Old Testament in regards to Israel. This is what the Lord says later in Jeremiah 30:18 "When I bring Israel home again from captivity and restore their fortunes, Jerusalem will be rebuilt on its ruins and the place RECONSTRUCTED as before."  "Again I will build you, and you shall be built, O virgin Israel! Again you shall adorn yourself with tambourines and shall go forth in the dance of the merrymakers" Jeremiah 31:4

From what I have noticed in the scriptures, the Lord either tears things down that are destructive, or in order to rebuild them BETTER than before.  Sometimes it's about the foundation and sometimes its about the design.  The Lord is concerned with both.  He wants us to be founded in Him, but he also wants us to be the best representation of His Character.

The Lord promises that He will restructure many areas of our lives in order to enhance the spiritual aspects of our existence. Sometimes this is against our will, and it becomes a long, slow, costly, and noisy process (I hate the sound of construction waking me up in the morning...) 

Usually when people decide to remodel their homes they hateeeeee the process that you have to go through before they get to the end result... But usually the end result is worth it, but only if you yield in complete obedience during the entire process.  Sometimes this even means leaving the COMFORT of your home for a time.  

I think the Lord often calls us to leave the comfortability of our homes so that he can remodel them and make them better than before.  I think comfortability is what is what makes us resistant to change, in that we are not flexible....  

One way flexibility can be defined as is, "something that is able to bend without breaking."  For example, trees. The trees that are most capable of surviving storms are the ones that can bend...  when a tree is not willing to compromise with the wind, that is when it reaches its breaking point.

Despite their lacking presence in Oregon, willow trees are my favorite.  Their low-hanging branches laced in green flowing wisps are far too inviting. They make me want to climb up into them and hide for a while.  As a kid I always wished I had a tree fort in a Willow tree... I still do. Willow trees are known for their strength, but their kind of strength is contrary to the conventional definition of strength.  Most Americans would define strong as something firm, solid, hard, heavy, or stable.  But these are the trees that actually end up falling or breaking in storms.  Their branches are thin and flexible.  Their leaves are light, and they flow back and forth with the changing direction of the wind, and yet are not damaged during strong winds.   Why?  They are FLEXIBLE. 

“There is far more at stake here than religion. If you had any idea what this Scripture meant—'I prefer a flexible heart to an inflexible ritual'—you wouldn't be nitpicking like this” (The Message, Matt 12:6-7).

Flexibility is difficult to see.  Think of physically flexible people.  You don't know that they are flexible just by looking at them.  Now think of physically "strong" people.  You can tell that they are strong by looking at them, but that does not necessarily mean that they are less likely to break than a person who does not look outwardly strong, but is inwardly flexible.  Such is the case with football players.... Outwardly strong looking... inwardly very inflexible.  Yet most of their injuries result from lack of flexibility, causing muscles to tear, ligaments to rip, and tendons to explode.  Moral of the story, flexibility leverages ones strength.  

Much like trees, we are told in scripture time and time again that we are to be flexible.  In scripture, this is often worded as the Lord asking us to "be willing."  

So I propose to you... let us BE a "WILLOWING" people. Flexible AND strong, willing to submit to the wind and trust that we will not be struck down or broken. 

And once again this brings me to the verse that has moved mountains in my life over the past couple years.  "For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling..." Isaiah 30:15 

Isaiah 1:19 "If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land;"

May we be flexible. May we be willing. May we be willowing. 

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