THIS WEEK I am taking my first final, finishing up my MCAT preparation course, and moving into a new house! (a.k.a. I'm in desperate need of prayers this week!)
I BELIEVE that God is bigger than these hurtles ahead of me and that I have nothing to fear. My mom, when I was younger, starting referring to every test, even finals, as a "little quiz," and although it sounds like a silly little thing, it always makes me feel a little calmer to realize even things that seem huge at the time are little in comparison to the far greater obstacles in, and the far bigger dreams I have for, this world!
I'M ADDICTED to preparing our new house. I dream about it. I think about it incessantly when I'm awake. On saturday I painted for twelve straight hours with a small break to run to Walmart for a step stool to keeppainting! We finished on Sunday, and now I'm just thinking about getting the bathrooms ready and the curtains hung before our official move-in day!! and PACKING!!! There's so much to do, and I cannot stop thinking about it :)
I WISH that Thursday would be here already so I could start moving in and be done with my first final! But, alas, it is not so...I suppose I'll just have to study and be patient :)
I'M JEALOUS of Mother Teresa's patience! Is it a sin to be jealous of a virtue? :) haha Well, all I know is that every time I hear her story again, I am astounded at her patience, her quiet diligence to her tasks, to people. I wish that I had the patience to methodically and sometimes slowly remain committed to one thing, not pushing it too hard, but trusting in God that things will happen.
MANTRA FOR THIS WEEK:
"I know the Lord is always with me.
I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me"
P.S. Things have been so crazy, I haven't uploaded any picture from the weekend (and I really forgot to take many)! But for those of you who are excited to see how all our hard work painting worked out, I'll try to get them up tomorrow!!!
although I've been swearing up and down to everyone that the carpet in our new house is an unfortunate shade of brown, when Mikey and I went there last night to sign our rental agreement, I made a discovery to the contrary. I am abashed to admit that it is tan.
This weekend, Mikey and I will be there off and on, removing wallpaper, painting, cleaning...I'll update you on our progress at the end of the weekend! I can't wait to show some pictures with our awesome new paint colors!
Lately, I have fallen in love with a few things! Here's a look at a few of them:
1. my new skirt from banana republic!! One of the things I consider when buying pants/shorts/skirts is how short they make my legs look because I have a comparatively long torso, which is why I'm so into this new trend of high-waisted skirts (this is my first one)! The skirt is so cute and comfortable...my favorite combo for any outfit :) I can't wait to tuck in some shirts and show off this cute new piece!
2. reading while exercising.I've been on a bit of a health kick lately, and one of my struggles is finding something to occupy my mind while I'm riding the stationary bike...and lately, I've started READING! There's not too much movement on a stationary bike, so I don't feel sick. I'll read for school, read a book I'm going through with a friend, read a magazine...anything! I get to give my mind a break by doing an activity I love, and it makes the exercise time go by more quickly! Check and Check!
3. PBJ smoothies from Planet Smoothie! They are delicious, somewhat nutritious, and they make me feel hip :) haha. For those of you who haven't been to Planet Smoothie, correct that mistake immediately...you are missing out! They have so many different types, and I hear they're all great...although I've not strayed too far from my go-to PBJ :) de-lish!
So there you have it. A few things that have made me smile lately :) What are some of your favorite things??! I'd love to hear!
Lately, I have been on a Psalms kick, and I am LOVING it!! This morning, I was reading Psalms 9 and 10, and a few verses really stuck out to me. You might notice a bit of a theme here...
"The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you"
"The needy will not be ignored forever; the hopes of the poor will not always be crushed"
"You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed, so mere people can no longer terrify them"
I just started reading a small book by Bill Hybels entitled Holy Discontent, and it is all about finding the one thing that really burns us up inside, that we can't stand so much that we are motivated to positive and world-changing action! One of the greatest burdens on my heart is people with no voice, with no options. I firmly believe that every person has the right to human dignity. Since I was young, I've hated to see those who are weaker or sicker or less socially-developed or whatever get picked on or put down. It breaks my heart. No matter what a person has done, no matter what challenges they face ahead of them, every person is, quite simply, human. And every person should be treated that way.
As a hopefully soon-to-be doctor (soon being a very relative term), one area where the plight of the voiceless really gets me is with regard to medical care. If there are medicines and treatments available in this world, they should be available to the sickest, to the poorest, to the most needy. People are dying right this minute because they are poor, because they were born in the wrong country or at the wrong time. These are people. And they are dying or suffering needlessly...there are solutions out there for them! I want to be a part of that solution! I want to be an advocate for the voiceless suffering, for those oppressed by disease and injury, for those who feel as if they have no hope. God has promised us hope that endures beyond this life, but I cannot believe that he does not intend for us to have hope in this life as well! I am convinced that the suffering of the sick and the poor breaks God's heart even more than it breaks mine, and I'm so excited to see where this partnership in love and in action will lead me in my life!
So here's the plan for right now:
I'm doing my first Give-away!!!
But there's a catch...instead of just twittering about this give-away, I have a different assignment for you. I want you to donate something, whatever you can manage, to Partners in Health.
Partners in Health is an AMAZING organization run by Paul Farmer, who happens to be my absolute hero. He is a wonderful physician who has done so much to better health care in Haiti for a long time now, and he is one of the most influential forces on the front-lines facing the devastation of Haiti's earthquake. So, if you want to participate, go to www.standwithhaiti.org and donate! Then, leave me a comment on this blog (or text me if you have my number already!!) letting me know that you donated (I don't need to know the amount).
On May 7th, I'll announce the winner of a $30 gift-card to Starbucks!!! So let the fun begin...
This summer, Mikey and I are going back to Oaxaca, Mexico! We went last summer with a team from our college ministry, Genesis, and we fell in love with the people and the area. I was extremely bummed when a planned medical mission trip scheduled for this March was cancelled, but I have been praying and trusting that everything is in God's hands. And He has blessed us with another opportunity to return to Oaxaca (and the Roca Blanca missions base) in June! We are so pumped :) This past Wednesday night, the missions team had a DELICIOUS pancake dinner to raise some funds, and this coming Saturday we will be having a car wash...it was so fun getting to spend some time with our team, and it was so good to see the generosity and support from the people in our church! My thanks to everyone who participated or attended!! Here are a few pics of the evening...I was at the door taking donations, so I didn't have many opportunities for pictures :)
The Team prepping all the food!
Sarah and Jessie preparing to serve the flapjacks
Maria and I trying to look pancake-dinner-y :) haha
Also, here are some pics from our trip last summer...I can't wait to go back!
O Lord , you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I'm far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord .
You go before me and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too great for me to understand!
-Psalm 139: 1-6
In my quiet time this afternoon, I came across these verses...To be honest, I went to the well-worn and marked page in my Bible on purpose. With the semester coming to a close, finals and my MCAT looming on the horizon, and an upcoming move (just down the road), my mind and my life have been a whirlwind. I was feeling overwhelmed and over-burdened. I went to these verses for a much-need reality check. And the beautiful reality that greeted me was that I don't have to try so hard to conquer everything. God knows me. He made me the way I am. He has a plan for my life. It is so astounding to me to think that the God of all creation knows more about me than my husband or my best friends! He knows me better than I know myself because He sees past what I perceive to what is really there. And the more amazing thing is that He wants to know. How can I possibly merit his consideration, much less his tender love?! I cannot understand it, but I can be comforted by it. My God knows me, and my life is in his hands. My heart can rest easy. Thank you, God!
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.
How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
They cannot be numbered!
Sometimes I am stopped in my tracks by the immense and unimaginable love of my God. Today has been one of those days. And I am left reeling. I pray that I can radiate just a little bit of His perfect love to the world around me. Take a second just to read these verses below. I know most of you have probably heard them a million times, but when I stop and take time to meditate on them, I am blown away again by the greatness that God is and that God is calling us to be.
"Love is patient and kind.
Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.
It does not demand its own way.
It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.
It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
So for my twenty-first birthday, my wonderful parents are offering me a fun trip! My mom and my sister Nina went to LA for Nina's 21st. Now, mine is right around the corner, and my mom brought up my trip the other day. She said we can go anywhere (within reason) for a few days! It will just be me and my mom (Mikey and my dad have already given the loving support to this), and I am trying to figure out where to go. Here are my ideas so far:
The Big Apple I've been here before, but right now it is my first choice because 1)I've been dying to see a broadway show, which I have never done before! 2)there is so much good shopping there! and 3)you just can't go wrong with NYC. I know mom and I would find tons of great places to eat, shop, and entertain ourselves for a few days :)
LA I've never been to the West coast, and I would love to go to California! I'm just not so sold on what we would do here besides the beach and shopping. I'm really into shows and entertainment, so if you've got any great ideas for LA (or somewhere else cool on the West coast), I might be persuaded!
Boston I think I went here with a friend's family when I was younger, but it was too young to really remember. This is one of my mom's favorite places, so I know she'd be a great tour guide. I love the north, and the weather will be really nice since we're going sometime in the summer! I would LOVE to go to a red socks game, but I'm not so sure how plausible that would be, since I hear it's really hard to get tickets.
So what do you think? Vote for one of these or any other place you love, and let me know your reasons why! Especially if that includes fun ideas on things to do wherever I end up :)
I was looking up some new quotes and reviewing some of my old faves for a project my small group is doing for a friend. I just can't resist sharing a few of these gems with you all! They make me want to go out and change the world!!!!
"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail" -Emerson
"Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor souls who neither enjoy much nor suffer much because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat" -Theodore Roosevelt
"We were made to be lovers bold in broken places, pouring ourselves out again and again until we're called home" -To Write Love on Her Arms
"Wherever we are, we are in the very residence of God, and this is sweeter and greater than anywhere without Him" -David Crowder
This question radiates out of the heart of every person in the world, or at least every person I have ever met. It burns in us because we want so desperately to have worth. We want so desperately to be loved, to be worthy of love. In our society, we learn to find our worth through accomplishments: being a good wife, a good student, a good _____. When we feel that maybe we aren't the best or good enough, our worth is challenged. Too often we react by putting others down. We act like animals, picking on those weaker than us, because we know at least we are better than them at something. We want to feel important, powerful, valuable. In the end, we cheapen our own principles in order to feel better in that moment about who we are.
This morning during our Easter service, I was reminded of the freedom we have been given through Christ, freedom over sin and over death...freedom from finding our worth the world's way. We have this freedom because we can choose to look to God, rather than to ourselves or to others first, and when we look at our gracious and beautiful, our righteous and perfect, our holy and loving God, we realize we cannot compare. There is nothing bad about Him that we can point out to build ourselves up. We can only stand in awe, realizing that we are nothing. And then, in God's infinite grace, we are reminded that God has made us something of great value. We are valuable because we are His, because He has chosen to love us when we were unlovable. There is no competition there. Only surrender. There is no pride. Only gratitude. And in this beautiful place, we are free to marvel at His beauty and at the beauty He has assigned to every soul.