As Secure as a Pair of Skinny Jeans

Today is an interesting day for me. I am used to running around like the metaphorical headless chicken, but the students I tutor are on their junior and senior trips, my accountability partner that I normally meet for lunch is sick (hope you feel better soon, sarah!), and I've finally caught up on most of my schoolwork. I don't quite know what to do with myself. This morning, knowing I had plenty of time in the afternoon to get my couple of assignments completed, I decided to read the last few chapters of So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore. She is an amazing author! Sarah and I have gone through two of her books, and both have been so motivational--they make you feel like taking on your issues and the issues of the world and making a difference!! I highly recommend this book to any girl who is struggling with insecurity of any kind. It is shocking to realize how much we let our fears drive our actions. This book has reminded me that I have God-given (not condition-dependent) security! Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book:
  • When we allow God's truth to eclipse every false positive and let our eyes spring open to the treasure we have, there in His glorious reflection we'll also see the treasure we are (43)
  • God is thoroughly committed to finishing the masterpiece he started in us (Philippians 1:6), and that process means one major thing: change (80)
  • [God] knows we have the capacity to be astoundingly extraordinary, and not just in spite of where we've been, but because of it (143)
  • We can change the way we think, which will change the way we act. And as we change the way we act, the way we feel also begins to change...thank God we don't have to wait until we feel more secure to start acting more secure (241)
  • Call me an optimist, but I have to believe that security could be just as contagious [as its counterpart] (278)
  • Anybody can be like everybody else. Only those who are exceptional choose to believe the possible over the probable. You, beloved, were created to be exceptional (291)
  • We need to be ready to discern the difference between the truth and a lie, especially when the lie is proclaimed at high volume while the truth is only whispered through a still, small voice (297)
  • To find yourself, your true, secure self, you must lose yourself in something larger (310)
  • Believe that [God] loves you and has you covered and takes every one of your hits as if they were aimed at His own skin (320)
  • In order to plant our feet on solid ground, we can drop the conditions off of our trust and determine that God will take care of us no matter what (325)
  • In the light of [God's] presence, I am so glad to be a woman and feel oddly adept at it even in a world gone mad (341)


It's Sunday Again!

When you are short you learn to look at the positive side of things when people offer certain kinds of ambiguous comments, such as "there aren't many people in the world that look up to you."

I Want Something to Live For

Mikey introduced me to Rocket Summer's awesome new CD, and I have been listening to it basically non-stop in my car. A lot of the songs have really deep meaning to me, but lately, I've especially been touched by the song "I want something to live for."
Here are some of the lyrics:

Once I was fearless, going up against the world.
Optimistic, seeing all the reasons for
Good through the darkness.
I could live through anything.
Where did that go?
I wanna feel it like I did back then
But more, I really need it more than I've ever before
I believed in hope, oh.
Where did it go?
Stop fearing death,
I want something to live for.
I've been holding my breath,
I want something to live for.

When I was younger, I felt like I could conquer the world. It seemed like every problem in the world could be solved, or at least made better. Somehow, that optimism and hope faded with time, or perhaps with the growing distractions of adulthood. But I've realized that I don't have to stop wanting to change the world. Growing up does not mean giving in. I am growing into a person who can do things that I never could have done as a child. If I am willing to take hold of my dreams and to stop letting fear of death (physical death, death of my reputation, death of my own ideas) drive me, I can make a change. Another thing I've realized lately is that when we stop focusing inward on all of our own problems and fears and when we start focusing outward on others, we end up feeling so much more fulfilled. I really believe that love is amazingly powerful! The Bible tells us that perfect love drives out all fear. I want to love people with God's love. I want to touch the world as God's hands extended to those in need. I want to make a difference, to leave a legacy. I want something to live for.


Lessons on the Type-A Life

Here's a little lesson about the life of a compulsive type-A individual (namely myself). I thought this might be cathartic for me to explain a little bit of the inner workings of my mind, and I figured it couldn't hurt to get the word out to you laid-back types about what it is like to be us!

Lesson 1: Life is like a hyperbola
No-I do not mean that we exaggerate too much (hyperbole), although this can be true in some cases. Instead, I am referring to the fact that the function (the hyperbola) is bound in by some limits: the asymptotes. I am currently a trigonometry and calculus tutor, so this example immediately jumped to mind. The principle of asymptotes is that the line of the function is drawn closer and closer to the asymptote (a straight line border), but it can never reach the asymptote. Its like dividing 1/2 by 2, the distance between the number and zero gets smaller and smaller (1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32, 1/64, 1/128...), but it will never be zero. The goal will never be reached. That is the frustration of being a perfectionist! The goal is absolute. It is perfection. It is the asymptote. But we can only get closer and closer to the goal. We will never reach it. I think that is part of why I think I love God and look forward to heaven so much: both are PERFECT! There is nothing I want to change, nothing I can correct. Everything is as it should be, and because of that, I rejoice!

Lesson 2: We are not all the same!
I think so many people assume that every perfectionist is alike, but this is simply not true. We all have different ideas of perfection, and we have different areas that we deeply desire that perfection in! Even those of you who wouldn't normally be classified as "perfectionists" likely have some area that you desire at least near-perfection in! For my uber laid-back husband it is his music. For me, it might be a wider range of areas, but we all demonstrate some tendency toward wanting things to be perfect. As my dad likes to remind me, however, my idea of perfection is just my idea! It is not the ultimate rule on how things should be. That really helps me to let Mikey off the hook when he doesn't use his mind-reading powers to know exactly how I want things to be done. It is my idea of perfection that drives my actions, but it doesn't need to drive the actions of others. And these ideas of perfection that we Type-A's cannot ignore in our own lives drive us towards different paths: for me, academics and medicine. But there are so many perfectionists out there who channel their energies toward other areas, other accomplishments, other dreams.

Thanks to those of you who read this and gave up a little time. I hope I didn't waste it. I really hope it helped you to understand (and maybe identify a bit more with) those of us individuals who seem a bit out of touch, a bit too demanding. I apologize if that's ever been me to you. The true struggle of a perfectionist is to let go of control in those ares of desired "perfection" and to offer grace! That has been my aim lately. Grace for myself. Grace for my family. Grace for my freinds. Grace for people I don't know. GRACE. It truly is saving...my sanity (and maybe yours) :)

The Gift of Family

Lately, I have been starkly reminded of the great gift that is family. No, many of us don't get to choose our family, and growing up, we may feel that life is unfair to be saddled with such totally embarrassing parents (my dad used to do a Brittany Spears dance in restaurants when we went out as a family :D). But the truth is, family has been to me a truly amazing and wonderful gift. I have two parents who have always been there for me, always tried their hardest to remind me that I am lovable and loved, that there are at least two people in the world who really and truly believe in me! And I have a wonderful sister who has grown into a close friend, someone I know I can depend on, someone I can look up to and be proud to claim as my "big seester!" And now I've started a new family with a wonderful man. Learning how to do life together has been one of the greatest challenges and one of God's most precious gifts to me in the past (almost 2!) years. And beyond these immediate members of my family, there extends a whole network of love and support. Through Mikey, I gained a whole bunch of people living nearby to claim as family. And my own family, also, branches out. Although many members of my extended family do not live close, I have always been so blessed at times when we can gather together, share memories, share jokes, play games, and eat!
This past Thursday evening, my Aunt Julie (my dad's sister) passed away after a massive heart-attack. She was only 39-years-old. At the funeral, my dad spoke and reminded us that the worth of a human life is not measured by how long a person lives, but it is measured in how much the person loved. My aunt gave and received incredible amounts of love throughout her life, and there was evidence in her last few days in the hospital: the battalions of friends, family, and coworkers coming in and out of her room. The masses of people gathered at her funeral to look at the pictures put together by her best friend since 1st grade. They gathered to remember Julie, to laugh at their old jokes, to reminisce about good times. The funeral home was filled with laughter because Julie left so much joy and fun in her wake that even in death, it kept overflowing in those she had loved. We will miss her and mourn our loss, but we all rejoice at the great gift God gave us to have her here for 39 years.

Here's my single sentence summary (since it is sunday):
Family is an amazing, incredible, frustrating, fortifying, and treasured gift!


Moitle Moitle

This past weekend, Mikey and I went to Myrtle Beach for one night on a last minute getaway. We wanted to take advantage of my looser schedule due to Spring Break, and on Friday night, we got a chance to sneak away for some time for one another. It was such a fun trip! We went to the aquarium (notice the shark swimming towards us in the aquarium picture). We walked around Broadway on the Beach and saw Alice in Wonderland. And we also went to Rioz, a Brazilian steakhouse, which Mikey claims was exactly like the one he's always told me about from his trip to Sao Paulo, Brazil! It was DELICIOUS! :) We slept in on Saturday, walked on the beach for a while, and then went to lunch at a cute little bakery before heading to back to the real world. Even though we were only gone for one night, it was such a refreshing trip! I look forward to finding time to squeeze in one night getaways in the future--it is so worth it!


Is your faith worth catching?

This is a quote from a missionary from Senegal, Africa who spoke at Genesis a couple week ago. It really touched and motivated me to be real in my faith:

Luke-warm Christianity acts as a vaccine to the true Way of Christ.

Most of you probably know what a vaccine is, but I'll explain quickly just to make sure you can fully understand the impact of this statement. A vaccine is the shot you get with a dead version of the bacteria or germ you are hoping to prevent yourself from getting. The dead version doesn't make you sick, but it gives your body a way to identify the real version of the germ if it gets into your system later. Your body can recognize that version based on the dead version it knows, and it works to expel the real version from your system before you can get sick. Now think of faith as the "sickness" and our lives, our versions of Christian living, as the vaccine or the real thing. Which one are you spreading?


In Memory of a Wonderful Lady

Everyone who has ever met Barb Baur could instantly tell what a wonderful and loving person she was. Mikey's grandmother (on his father's side) Barbara Baur graduated, as Pastor Fred says, late Sunday night to be with the Lord. The craziest thing for those of us who were blessed to know, to love, and to be loved by her is the realization that she will no longer be around.
But while we may not hear her laugh or her Pittsburg phrases or see her constant smile or hear her encouraging words, I am certain that she will live on in this world through the legacy she has left behind. In the last days of her life, she was surrounded by family and friends-who-felt-like-family through their experience of her amazing love and acceptance. Her husband of fifty years held her hand and stroked her hair, taking care of her and all of the visitors. Her sons and daughter and daughters-in-law stood by her bed, telling stories of all of the fun times and wonderful memories they have had with her. Her grandchildren remembered her constant presence in their childhoods. Mikey remembered her "way to go!" screams at his baseball games. He recalled his love of music being birthed in her home, playing her piano and giving concerts with his cousins. The youngest grandson, Luke (Mikey's youngest brother at 5 years old), played and slept nearby, reminding us all of the wonderful gift of life that continues on.
And through all of the tears, fear, and sadness, God whispered in all of our hearts the glory of his love and his Way. God used the life and even the death of Barb Baur to remind me of the lasting significance of a life of love. Love for God. Love for family. Love for friends. Even love for strangers. Love is her legacy, and it will live on in our memories of her and in our love for others. And in that sense, Barb Baur will always be with us.

Single Sentence Sunday Dos

Sorry for the late Single Sentence Sunday post, but I was busy with a stomach virus all day yesterday. Here it is:

Being sick for real makes one question the worthiness of the "that's sick!" phrase in describing something fun or good.