A moratorium on production

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I just had the sudden feeling that life and time was wooshing by me. Perhaps it is. Perhaps I am doing nothing but languishing in self-centeredness. I've been so caught-up in living day-to-day, that I no longer see anything beyond tomorrow. I am not looking forward to anything. I look forward to indeterminable deadlines- things that I want to do or wish to accomplish, like finding a job or moving out. I search for feelings I want to have, like feeling happy or full of faith or grounded. And so I search, day after day looking for something that I might not accomplish that day or that week. I read, I volunteer, I go to the library, I search for jobs, write letters, occasionally see friends. I feel like I'm always waiting on something. Not that I sit around all of the time, or don't work for what I want. I just do it and keep waiting. If someone asked me what I'm doing with my life, I couldn't answer the question. I have the same feeling that I do when Lent is going on. Are the 40 days over yet?

Jesus answered him, 'It is said, "Do not put the Lord your God to the test."' -Matthew 4:7. God, I am trying, I am really trying hard not to put you to the test. I'm wondering why you are testing me. I guess I have to wait for that answer too.

Baking and happy texts!

Monday, July 26, 2010

I am watching Pollyanna right now. I have forgotten how much I love this movie. It's about the things I love most- being happy and glad. She just has this infectious nature of happiness around her that makes the whole town smile and move around their grumpyness. She plays the glad game- always coming up with things that are good, no matter what the situation.

I've also been baking all weekend. Apple turnovers, baked brie, basic french bread, homemade blueberry muffins and today delightful focaccia! All from scratch. I even kneaded the bread by hand! (Thanks to Benjamin for his help!) I'm simply addicted to making things. Then I just want a little taste and I am content to give the rest away. Which I did- I gave away half to my neighbors right before dinner... he started eating it right out of the bag, so i assume it was pretty good. What should I make next?

And please, that's what the comment box is for!!

Could a calling be clearer?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations. -Charles R. Swindoll

So for the last week I have been at Camp St. Christopher on Seabrook Island. I worked as a staff member there in 2007 and returned this past week as a counselor for the high school session. It was soooo much fun! And intense. There was just so much going on there. It was amazing to see God's presence among the kids (though they're really teenagers). Though the chaplain say when leaving that God doesn't exist solely at camp and that God isn't camp, it really feels so powerful there. The atmosphere is made to foster that feeling, with an abundance of worship and conversation. I knew coming into camp that the campers teach you more about God than you teach them about Him. It was certainly true this week.

I have struggled a lot since I came home with being with, living with, my youngest sister Madison. I'm 21 and she's 12. 9 years is a huuuuuge age gap. I am looking for a job and she's looking forward to 8th grade. Our lives are not on the same page. In the family (or age) book, we're in completely different chapters. The disconnect has been a constant struggle for me. My parents don't seem to understand why we don't get along- but it's clear to me. She hasn't grown up and neither have I. I'm not really supposed to be here, I'm an interloper in this household- staying when I should be visiting. I can't understand why she acts the way she does and then we fight. And then I think "why on earth did I just fight with a 12 year-old?" and then I realize it's because she drives me nuts and the circle continues. But she'll be a teenager in a month and I'm going to have to remember what it was like to be a teenager in order to relate (or at least attempt) to her. Being a counselor helped me realize that I can relate to teenagers, that my stories and problems and relationships with friends (and boys, though I hate to admit it and dread to think that she will ever be interested in them and thank the good Lord that she still thinks they're gross) are applicable to them. I just hope I can help her. I never had an older sister and I just don't want to flunk as one for her. I'm doing the best I can. I'm trying.

You know, dear readers, whoever you are, that I'm struggling in finding a calling, in finding what I want to do with my life. Well, I know what I'm supposed to do. I'm being called to a life of missionary work. I would really like it to be work abroad, and I've had a few doors open to me that might provide a good opportunity. I really and truly have felt this calling. You know when you're thinking about something and someone says something about it and your ears perk up? And you think it's just a coincidence? Well it happened roughly seven or eight times at camp- calling for prayers for would-be missionaries, mentioned in a study group, a couple of times in a worship service, another by a conversation with a person who hardly knows me. I'd have to be a prize idiot to walk away from God's voice. Now, before you get your panties in a bunch, let's go over a few things.

A. I have no intention of becoming an imperialistic missionary or any type to press my culture upon another, assuming mine is better than theirs. Anyone who knows me knows that I do not run that way.
B. I would love to focus on servant work. I like to share what I believe in discussions and I like to show what I believe through my actions. I don't want to be a hypocritical Christian, I want to be one who lives the faith, because that is just as important as believing it. (This goes right along with my last post about chapter 2 in James.)
C. I accept the fact that I might have to go to some place that is scary or different and that might not involve flowers or puppies or rainbows. I get that. But I also know that it would be stupid to go to a war zone in Afghanistan by myself. Danger does not equal stupidity. I know that it will be uncomfortable.
D. Missions come in all forms. I don't really think my personality jives with that of a soap box preacher. I know several who would, but that's not me. We'll have to see where I am taken.
E. I don't know when I'm going. But I'm not going to wait for opportunity to knock. I'm going to go find it.

I will prepare and someday my chance will come. -Abraham Lincoln

"Now the Lord came to me saying,
'Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.'
Then I said, 'Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy." But the Lord said to me,
'Do not say I am only a boy'; for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.'
then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the Lord said to me, 'Now I have put my words in your mouth.'"
-Jeremiah 1:4-9


Saturday, July 10, 2010

It's camp time!! That's right. For the first time in many moons, I am going back to camp. I'm going to be a counselor this year for senior session out at Camp St. Christopher. I'm lacing up my mudpit shoes and grabbing my sunscreen. I'm washing all of my t-shirts and grabbing all of my waterproof shorts (I highly recommend Patagonia baggies- they hold up well). I've been praying a lot about this, with lots of prayers of joy. But what I learned, even after a short summer when I was just 18, was that camp uses you. God uses you. Even with all of the work you want to do with the campers, ultimately it's not your work or about what you want to do for them, where you want to lead them. It's for God and what HE wants. But yeah, it is FUN. Sailing, games, singing, swimming- God can use fun too. It's easy to see why they keep coming back summer after summer. Exactly why varies from person to person...

Which leads to the eternal question:
What are all these kids doing here?

James 2:14-26

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Faith produces good works

"What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill," and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe - and shudder. Do you want to be shown, you senseless person, that faith apart from works is barren? Was not our ancestor Abraham justified by works when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was brought to completion by the works. Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness," and he was called the friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. Likewise, was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by another road? For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead."

I have had some questions posed to me recently about faith and good works and what's higher than the other. The answer is that they are co-dependent. If you believe everything God says but you don't practice it, what's the good in that? Do you really believe? Or if you do lots of really good things, but you don't really have any faith, than where do you go? You have to have faith. You have to practice your faith. And like Jesus commented on the Pharisees, they did a lot of ritualistic things for pomp and circumstance, but when it came to doing good works for all, that was lost on them. James says, faith without works is dead.

There you have it.

She's a crafty one...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I aspire to be crafty. I want to be handy with things and come up with ideas where people say, "Oh my gosh, look at her, just oozing creativity from the pores"- or something along those lines, maybe or maybe not dealing with my physical biology. People say that I'm really good at art and that I have nice handwriting and wow she can sew but I strive to be more! I want to be one of those people who creates art, not just is able to produce a given answer and result to a project that needs doing. There's a huge difference. I haven't felt creative in a while. I did make a pretty cool looking snake for Evelyn on Monday. I had a great fat quarter that kind of looked like cracked clay (you know, those pictures of the desert when the clay/sand cracks) that was green-I swear, the fabric is a lot cooler than how I just described it. Annnyway, I made a snake! And it was kind of lumpy, but it was cool too. She loved it and to me it felt like it was a success story because she KNEW it was a snake. So that was enough for me. And it was the favorite toy of the day. So I'm constantly trying to come up with cool ideas for her to play with. Any suggestions? I was thinking coloring, finger puppets, maybe those puppets made out of brown paper bags... what do you think? I do think I have to draw the line at a few things: tea cozies, afghans- I don't want to go nuts, I just want to make some useful things to make me happy, keep a 2 year-old occupied and maybe a few useful things. We're supposed to be constantly bettering ourselves, right? I plan to better myself with paper and glue. So long as I don't eat the glue.

Yay America! Happy 234th!

Monday, July 5, 2010

A man who thinks of himself as belonging to a particular national group in America has not yet become an American. -Woodrow Wilson

America is 234 years old, as of yesterday. It has seen four centuries. It's mind-boggling how much has gone on in that time. People think of transportation first: horses to cars and in the middle trains, cable cars, the subway, tractors, planes- all of these things add up to a nation that is constantly on the move, incessantly diving head first into things. And you can come up with a hundred, maybe a thousand, things you don't like about our government. I won't ask you to like the government. That's fine. Sometimes it's hard to like a government that spends more on war than on education and state governments that are willing to behead funding from libraries. And sure, we're a nation that has the luxury of having... luxuries. But aside from all of that, we're pretty darn amazing. You can hate the institution, but I marvel at the people. We have people risking everything they have to come here. I find it interesting how people seem to react fiercely toward the "illegals" here, but there are a few reasons why I raise my eyebrows at those remarks. A. Most of the people in this country immigrated here, and I can promise that over the years, a LOT of them were illegal. I am sure many of us are descended from them. B. "They come into our school without paying." Heavens to Betsy, would you prefer uneducated people in the country or educated children who will probably become naturalized later on and surely help our economy. C. They are doing jobs that need to be done. So I'm happy to have the people who will work, the people who care enough to serve our country in the military, the people who feed us and the ones who build things around us. The people who take care of us when we are physically sick and those when we're hungering spiritually. America sure has an excessive amount of things- great things- but our people are even better. Happy birthday America.

77 to 490 times. Get crackin', that's a lot of forgivin'

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Oh how I love forgiveness. Oh how I hate forgiving.

God says: Hey, y'all [apparently he was born in Mississippi] are sure messing up a lot of things down there. But since I have to get involved, silly people, I'll send Jesus. I know, I know, he's my only son, but I really love you. So he'll redeem you and I forgive you and then through Him, you'll have even more forgiveness.
People say: YAY!! All of our sins forgiven? Heck yes we'll agree to that. Hurrah!! Yay! I love forgiveness!
God says: On one condition- you better forgive others. Clearly y'all are a whole mess of sinners, each and every one of you. So you need to remember that each one of you is as guilty as the next. So look around, and when someone else does something wrong then you have to forgive him, just like I did for you. Got that?
People: Okay, okay. Grumble grumble grumble.

This seems to me the way it works. We never end up doing what we are supposed to and everyone seems to hold a grudge of some sort. I know I am guilty of all of this. Even though everyone seems to call me nice, I don't feel nice all of the time. I get angry and I keep my righteous indignation inside. Sometimes it is well-deserved and well placed. But I am called to forgive. UUGH! I don't wanna! Part of my heart says that's the right thing to do- to go ahead and forgive, take that chance! Part of my brain though, is telling me "are you really sure that's such a good idea? this person hurt you before, something was wrong. why go back to that?" And there that argument lives.

It's hard to hold a grudge. It's harder to forgive. Once it's done then you're golden. So you have the grudge part down pat. I'll start forgiving right now. A careful forgiveness. Pray for me! Sara Paddison once said "sincere forgiveness isn't colored with expectations that the other person apologize or change. Don't worry whether or not they finally understand you. Love them and release them. Life feeds back truth to people in its own way and time."

Matthew 18:21-22: Then Peter came and said to him, "Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy seven [seventy times seven] times."