Monday, September 1, 2008

Love and Conversations

I had the amazing opportunity to volunteer at the Hurricane Gustav shelter today. I walked in the door and saw the 1800 people spread all around this huge building. Some were eating, some were sitting and talking, some were walking around, and some were attempting to rest on their cots. The first hour I was there I walked around and collected trash from people as they finished eating. After that more cots began arriving. I helped unload several cots from the boxes and get them ready to be handed out. The line began to form rather quickly and there were tons of people waiting for their makeshift bed for the next few days. I looked over and saw 2 precious older ladies sitting down looking on as people received their cots. I walked over to them and offered to get their cots for them. They thanked me and I went and got their cots then helped them find a spot and get set up. Once I knew they would be ok I headed back to the cots. The line died down and it seemed as though there was a lull. I walked over in the direction of the cots again and I spotted a precious older couple sitting together behind their cots. I walked over and sat down on the floor in front of them, smiled and said hi. They smiled back and said hi. We started talking and I absolutely fell in love with this couple. They are hands down two of the sweetest people I have ever met. Their names are Rosabelle and Limon and they are from Lafayette and have been married almost 40 years. We had some good talks about life at home, how they met, and their trip to OKC. After a little while I went back and checked on my 2 friends from earlier and picked up some snacks for them. I eventually left for a little while to rest and get some food. I got home and found that I couldn't stay away. I did rest for a little while and ate some dinner but I then headed back, eager to talk to my new friends again. I went back for about an hour and spent just about the entire time sitting with sweet Rosabelle and Limon. My friend Debbi happened to be there this time and saw me talking to Rosabelle and Limon. She came over and joined our conversation for a few minutes and before heading back to her station she asked if she could pray for them. They eagerly agreed and we had the priviledge of praying for this sweet couple. So what was so amazing about today? It wasn't when I was hauling trash and got stopped by a lady who looked me in the eye and said thank you; it wasn't when I struck up a conversation with a man as he ate dinner and he said "we need more people like you"; and it wasn't when Limon told me that he woke up feeling really down this morning but has felt much better because of all the people who have talked to him today. Hearing these things is nice, but it is not why I do the things I do. The amazing thing for me was even having the opportunity to minister to these wonderful people. Watching the footage on TV and hearing of the 2 million people that were displaced was absolutely breaking my heart. To be given the opportunity to be in a building with a handful of these people and have the opportunity to sit down with some of them and hear their stories meant the world to me. I do have to go back to work tomorrow but I have every intention of stopping by again tomorrow evening and you better believe I can be found with Rosabelle and Limon - I want to soak up every story they have to tell me.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Olympic Frenzy

So I am completely addicted to the Olympics. It's funny - when I was younger I would get bored and tired of the Olympics. Now, I can't get enough. I watched all 4.5 hours Monday and Tuesday night THEN stayed up a little later watching the late night stuff. Wow. I cannot get enough of Michael Phelps, Shawn Johnson, and Nastia Liukin (no idea if that is spelled right.) I am enjoying watching people from other countries just as much - that Chinese men's gymnastics team is something else. I'm glad there is still a week left to absorb everything, but it will be nice when it's over because I will get more sleep - haha.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Wounded World

My pastor has been doing this amazing series entitled Hiking the Trail: Matthew Fits Our Feet for Discipleship. His message today was called "The Harvest is Plentiful." He gave us some challenges as to what it means to follow Christ. My favorite one of the morning was "To follow Christ is to recognize and eventually claim his gut-level ache (compassion) for people, especially those in danger." The ache of compassion that God has for his people truly is an ache that comes from deep within. The compassion of God does not say "oh wow that's terrible - let me help you so long as it's convenient for me." It instead says "I not only see and reconize that you are hurting, I feel your pain and am choosing to live life beside you, no matter the cost." God aches deep within for his people and has called us to do the same. "If mercy and compassion aren't a part of your make-up of following Christ, then you haven't been following Christ." To follow Christ is to love. To love as Christ is to live. To live as Christ is to give. We have been singing a song entiteld Wounded World - the lyrics are below:

Wounded world that cries for healing
Here we hold each other’s pain,
Wounded systems, bruised and bleeding
Bear the load, the scars of strain;

Dollars ration our compassion,
Hard decisions rule the day,
Jesus of the healing Spirit,
Free us to another way!

Through our nation’s spent frustration,
Through the corridors of stress
May there move a kindlier wisdom
All may feel, and all may bless;

Tax and tithe are for a purpose
Shared to shield the poor and weak;
Past the symptoms of our sickness
Let the voice of justice speak.

Honor those whose loving spirit
Nurses hope, restores and heals,
Towel and basin used in service
Like the Christ who comes and kneels;

In the tending, in the mending
May we see the right and fair,
In our common quest for wholeness
Heal each other by our care.

This song really speaks to my heart because this topic is so near to my heart. My heart beats for the ministry to the broken. It is my prayer that God will shape and form me into a person who has claimed his gut-level ache and lives life the way He has called me to live. I want to feel the pain of those who are broken and hurting and live life alongside them. To follow Christ is to do just that - follow in his footsteps. I pray that He will give me eyes that see the world as He does, arms to embrace others with His love, and hands to reach out to those in need, but most of all I pray He gives me a heart that beats with the same ache and compassion He has.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Please pray for Carl and Cara - things are pretty rough for them right now. Read about it here.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A letter to Spencer

Congratulations - you earned your degree Saturday! Dr. Gresham presented it to your family - there were so many of them there to see it happen. Your friends in Europe are building coffee shops and naming them after your songs - I know you would love that and you would love to play there. I'm not even gonna lie, I miss you buddy. I miss your smile and your music and your passion for life. You were always an inspiration to me, especially at the end. How you kept that positive attitude and outlook when the rest of us were beginning to lose hope I will never know. Thanks for being you and thanks for touching my life. I love you Spencer.

My favorite Spencer song:

I Trust

This hope that sometimes I don't feel
This hope that sometimes I don't see
I trust will carry me
I trust will carry me
This hope that I don't see

This love that I could never earn
This love that I just don't deserve
I trust will carry me
I trust will carry me
This love that I can't earn

This grace that's somehow kept me here
This grace that's somehow kept me here
I trust will carry me
I trust will carry me
This grace that's kept me here

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Love = Live = Give

I'm fired up, so get ready for this. Last week was Idol Gives Back on American Idol. I taped it and watched it tonight. I watched as images of poverty-stricken people flashed before my eyes and I became angry. There are children who don't know what it means to live in a safe neighborhood. There are children who are raising their brothers and sisters ALONE because all of their family has died. There are children who have a disease that could easily be prevented by a net and pill but don't have that option because their family can't afford it. There are families being torn apart by disease and lack of resources. It makes me absolutely SICK to see these images and hear the stories of these people and know that I live in a country where we pay professional athletes millions and millions of dollars a year to play a sport while there is a mother across the world who sits anxiously next to her malaria-stricken 18 month old baby girl as she fights for her life because the mother cannot afford the $10 net and $2 pill it would take to keep her family safe. There is something EXTREMELY wrong with this picture. The ridiculousness of this situation really hit me tonight. I want to do something. I NEED to do something. I need to get involved and help these people. Nothing gets under my skin more than seeing people in despair. There is so much that can be done to help these people and it goes beyond just loving them. Christ called us to love, but He also called us to live. He called us to live as He lived, and if I recall, that means living life with those on the margins on society. Living is an action. Living involves meeting the needs of those around us and giving of what we have to make sure that happens. I am so tired of those who say they want to see the Kingdom of God being lived out here and now and in the same breath say "oh that's too bad - how horrible" to the images and stories of those who are in desperate need of a dose of life and turn and walk away. I am challenging myself to love, live, and give. I want to love those around me and see them as the people they are, not the problems they have. I want to live life alongside those who are desperately crying out. I want to give of myself and my possessions to help those in need. I challenge you to do the same - I want to see the Kingdom come to life. "Be the change you want to see in the world."

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Life and Church, not to be confused with LifeChurch

Life. Life is full of experiences. These experiences help make us who we are. Today I ate lunch with a couple of older ladies from work. I got to spend 30 minutes listening to them tell stories from their life experiences and I loved it. One of them told me that when she was in about 5th or 6th grade she was eating dinner at a friend's house and Martin Luther King, Jr. came to dinner and ate with them. My mouth hung open when she said that. I cannot even imagine how cool it must be to be able to tell people you ate dinner with MLK as a child. It was that story that made me realize what an awesome thing life is. Every day life is filled with experiences. I want to soak up life in every possible way and experience everything that I can. I want to be able to tell stories one day of the experiences I have had. Life really is short and I want to be able to look back on my life and see that I have soaked up as many experiences as possible.

Church. What defines church? Is it a building with a steeple that people enter to attend worship services weekly, monthly, or yearly? Or is it a group of people living out the Kingdom in community? I like to think of it as the latter. I don't think it's up to a building to define a church - it's up to the people. Too often people allow 'church' to be bound to the definition of a building with a steeple used for worship services. To me, 'church' is much more than that. Church happens when the Kingdom is lived out, whether that is through showing love to a deprived child, feeding those who are hungry, or worshipping freely with people who look different than you. The church building may be the place where worship services occur, but 'the church' is the people living out the Kingdom and portraying the Gospel. My heart, passion, and desire is to see more of 'the church' occuring outside of Church.

Friday, March 21, 2008


Grace. defines it as "the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God." Unmerited - it wasn't earned and it isn't deserved, yet it exists - freely. Tonight was our Tenebrae (or Good Friday) service at church. This service never fails to impact me deeply and tonight was no different. We spent an hour in the darkness, the only light being the slight lights on the platform and the candles along the wall. The cross stood before us, draped in black cloth and holding the Christ candle. The choir sang and we sang and the narrators read to us. We were reminded of the beauty of the gift of love and grace of Jesus. We were guided through the Scriptures that narrated Holy Week to us and two things in particular stood out to me tonight. The first was that the Temple was being used for acts other than its purpose. Those acts stood in the way of what Jesus intended for the Temple. Have I allowed myself to be used for purposes other than those He has in mind for me and do I allow myself or those things to stand in the way of His will for me? The second was a statement made in the narration that went something along the lines of "Christians need to live a faith that isn't afraid of the dark - a faith that isn't afraid to doubt and fear." That concept just hit me fast and hard. Is my faith afraid of the dark or does it avoid it? I like to think I live a faith that is afraid of the dark but I know sometimes I don't. Another concept hit me fast and hard this week. When I was a young child, I used to be so upset around Easter and wonder how in the world the people back then could have possibly seen Jesus as someone to be crucified and how they could hurt him. It hit me fast and hard this week that had I been in the crowd when Jesus walked the earth, I too would more than likely screamed "crucify him!" You see, Jesus was different. Jesus brought this whole new concept that people weren't used to - loving those deemed unworthy. Jesus shows up and people begin to see how he lived and they didn't like it. It was different, strange, and to some - wrong. Do I do well with people telling me the way they think I should live? Absolutely not - therefore I have no doubt I too would have been among the mockers. This realization hit me fast and hard again tonight in the service and I cried. It breaks my heart to know that I am just a breath away from being among those who mocked and beat Him. Grace. Do I deserve it? Did I earn it? Absolutely not. Do I still receive it? Somehow, I do. How deep the Father's love for us indeed.

Monday, March 10, 2008

You make me smile

So this post will probably be pretty lame, but work today was crazy (what else is new) and I just need a reminder of the things in life that make me happy, therefore this post is more for myself than anything. Without further ado, my "happy list" (in no particular order).

Babies. Laughter. Football. Fall. Beaches. Guitar Hero. Time spent with friends. Serving others. Conversations. The laughter and silliness of children. Family. Animals. Sunny days. Cool summer night drives with the windows down. Music. People. Sauced. Historic neighborhoods. Discovering new things about the city. Having no agenda. Barnes and Noble/Borders/Library reading time. Paint It Yourself Pottery. Getting palm trees in the mail. (at least one person will get this...)

That should do it for now. Sometimes one just has to de-stress.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Fulfilling the Dream

Sunday is the most segregated day of the week. "You go to your church, I'll go to mine." "You worship with 'your' people, I'll worship with 'mine.'" There is nothing more exciting to me than seeing those walls come down and the lines blurred and people who are different embracing one another and worshipping together. That is just what happened tonight. My church has an ongoing relationship with a predominantly African American congregation here in the city. It all started about 2 years ago with a forum my church hosted on racial relations within the church. It was that forum that opened our eyes to the possibility to bond together under the shadow of the cross and ignore the lines society has placed between us, for it is under the cross that those lines are gone and we are one body. Everytime we worship together I can see and feel the Kingdom of God. It is God's desire that we would learn to love one another as brothers and sisters in Christ and see one another only as He sees us - precious and invaluable. My pastor said it right when he said that it is time to stop saying "I'm a black Christian or I'm a white Christian and start saying I'm a Christian who happens to be black or white." In the eyes of God, "there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:28) The choirs of both churches joined together at the end of the service and sang a GORGEOUS and powerful song entitled "Total Praise" by Richard Smallwood. I had chills - not because the song was gorgeous (which it was), not because the words are powerful (they are), but because I saw a glimpse of the church as it should be - bonded and worshipping openly together. The service ended with everyone joining hands and singing "I Need You, You Need Me" - another powerful song. Last month, my church received the honor of marching in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day parade with Fariview Baptist - an experience I will never forget. I firmly believe it is a glimpse of the Kingdom and life as it should be when our congregations meet together, whether in worship or to bear witness to the steps in fulfilling the dream - the dream of a family and bond which knows no race.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Well training has come and gone and I am now a full fledged Child Welfare Specialist. I have 9 cases, which is a fairly average amount for a new worker. My first three days I got so overwhelmed I was wondering what I had gotten myself into. Today was better. I am actually getting excited to really get into my job and get involved with the families. I know it is going to be hard and there will be times I will get discouraged and overwhelmed, but I have decided to take the good with the bad.

In other news, I moved into my apartment and it is fabulous. :)

That's all.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Today was Ash Wednesday. We had an Ash Wednesday service at church tonight and it was powerful. Ash Wednesday/Lent is a time to take a look inside yourself and realize that you are not perfect. The good news about this is that the Lenten season is also a time of renewal. The Ash Wednesday service is always very powerful for me, but tonight Jon said something in particular that really affected me. He said he wants to get to the point that the line is blurred between where he ends and where Christ begins. Last year Steve Green challenged us to "look at Jesus, look at ourselves, and confess the difference." In the midst of thinking about all this, I listened to my new Casting Crowns CD and this song absolutely struck my heart and soul:

Somewhere between the hot and the cold
Somewhere between the new and the old
Somewhere between who I am and who I used to be
Somewhere in the middle, You'll find me

Somewhere between the wrong and the right
Somewhere between the darkness and the light
Somewhere between who I was and who You're making me
Somewhere in the middle, You'll find me

Just how close can I get, Lord, to my surrender without losing all control

Fearless warriors in a picket fence, reckless abandon wrapped in common sense
Deep water faith in the shallow end and we are caught in the middle
With eyes wide open to the differences, the God we want and the God who is
But will we trade our dreams for His or are we caught in the middle
Are we caught in the middle

Somewhere between my heart and my hands
Somewhere between my faith and my plans
Somewhere between the safety of the boat and the crashing waves

Somewhere between a whisper and a roar
Somewhere between the altar and the door
Somewhere between contented peace and always wanting more
Somewhere in the middle You'll find me

Just how close can I get, Lord, to my surrender without losing all control

Lord, I feel You in this place and I know You're by my side
Loving me even on these nights when I'm caught in the middle

I know that I, for one, have felt the all too familiar feelings this song is expressing pretty frequently lately. Lent. Look inside yourself and allow yourself to crumble and Christ to restore. That's exactly what I plan on doing - no more caught in the middle for me.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

La La Land is Over

I started the hard-core training for my job on Monday. I will be enduring this for a month. I have actually learned a lot in the 2 days I have gone so far, which is a plus. The flip side is today was rather depressing and tomorrow is yet to come. Today we talked about sexual abuse and watched an episode of Oprah where she interviewed 3 mothers who had children who had been sexually abused. Very sad. Tomorrow we will be looking at actual pictures of children who have been abused. I want no part of it, but I know I don't have a choice. What kind of sick and twisted world do we live in? It just makes me sick and sad and wishing I could do something. I often wonder what in the world I am doing in a job that has such crazy hours and expectations and depressing stories, then I see the faces of the children we work with or hear the happiness in the voices of the parents who have really worked hard to get their children back and for a split second everything is better. I often have to remind myself that were it not for people like Cara, Brenda, Jenita, myself, and all the other CW workers who are willing to work this crazy job things could be a lot worse. I promise I am not tooting my own horn or trying to make anyone feel guilty - I realize how that last sentence just sounded. It is merely my way of helping myself remember why I do what I do. I am begging you - if you suspect child abuse or neglect, PLEASE report it - you might just save a child's life. 1-800-522-3511

Saturday, January 5, 2008

I'm a big girl now

I have made 2 "adult decisions" in a week. I bought a car last weekend (it was beyond time - my old one was just about to kick the can) and 3 days later I put a down payment on an apartment. Welcome to the real world. I start the hard-core training for my job on Monday. I am beyond ready for this - I was bored to tears the last 2 or 3 days at work. I am slightly nervous though as going to training means I am one step closer to my own caseload, which scares me silly right now. I have had PLENTY of shadowing experience - I am just nervous about making decisions that will affect so many people's lives. I am thankful for the chance to love on children and make sure someone is watching out for them. It's a brand new year full of opportunites to love, give, and live. Love your neighbors, give of yourself, and live a life of compassion.