Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last post of 2009

Goodbye 2009.

Hello 2010.

No resolutions.

I went out with my friends last night. Christine, Doug, Rader, and I went out and had pizza then went back to Dougs place and watched Ernest commercials. Dougs grandfather died yesterday.

When it started getting late, Doug went to bed, Rader left and Christine and I drove back to ger place and played Mario on her wii for a few hours. Then we picked Rachel up and went to the Blue Chip Casino Las Vegas Lounge.  Wednesday is karaoke night. I had a blast, and I didn't even drink.  I usually dont drink.  I dont see the point. Most alcohol taste awful to me.

When we left it was snowing outside (still) and I started packing a snowball to throw at Christine and I claimed that I was a good girl.  Three guys were walking past and one of them says "yeah right, you know every girl says that is really a freak in bed." to which I replied, "yeah well, you'll never know."

After we dropped Rachel off at home we went back to Christines place, played mario a little more and went to sleep.

And here I am. Life is grand. I get to hang out with Ruth and Christine tomorrow night and I'm super excited about that. I haven't seen Ruth in forever.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas, Church, and a lonely old man...

You know how I relieve awkward situations?  I state the obvious and draw attention to it.  It actually relieves the tension. There's no point in living with an elephant in the room. You can't confront a problem if you don't face it. Conflict avoidance is a terrible way to work things out.  It's too bad that most of the time my initial desire is to ignore the tension and pretend it doesn't exist. 

That was just on my mind, now for the real post... the cliche Christmas post that everyone is posting around these times.

Christmas was good. I made it home before noon on Christmas Eve, finished my Christmas shopping, and went to the Christmas party at my cousins house. Then Christmas day my family got up, had breakfast, and opened gifts.  Every year I find myself unhappy at that point. My family gets me great gifts, like this year, I got a GPS thing, two new tires for my car, pajamas, and a few other small things. See, really good gifts. But like so many others before me, I sit here and think about what the point of it is.

My parents feels bad when they can't shower us with 15 gifts on Christmas (so they feel bad every Christmas). I find each year that i don't really want anything else. Most of the time I feel like I have everything I am ever going to need.

What I really wanted on Christmas was to see the people I haven't seen in the past five months. I know that they were all busy celebrating with their families, so they couldn't see me... and that's when I started thinking about all this.

Christmas isn't about gifts and parties or even people really.  It's a celebration of the incarnation of our Lord and King, Jesus Christ. Of His birth... In that we celebrate with family and friends, and serve people around us... or we claim that we do it in the Spirit of His name. Do we really though? We includes me. 

I know that I have made a few posts that question and rag on Church and Spiritual matters, but please don't think I am angry or even dis-illusioned with the Church. I have frustration that I experience because of what I see, but I love the Church.

On another note...
A few days ago, my new tour partner, Katey, and I were in South Dakota at a Dairy Queen when we met this older man who gave us Christmas cards. He wanted someone to talk to, so we talked with him for a little while, and learned about him.  I never found out his name, but his birthday was around Dec. 15 and he spent it alone.  He also spent Thanksgiving alone, and he might have spent Christmas alone.  I don't know if he did. I hope not.  He told us that he would spend Christmas alone if his brother and sister in law couldn't come get him.

I felt really bad for him because its awful to feel lonely, to feel like you don't matter to anyone.  What was really sad to me is that this man was not sitting and sulking about his problems and saying "woe is me", nor was he asking for money or food or donations. He was out there at Dairy Queen making an effort, trying to talk to people and handing out Christmas cards.  People simply weren't responding to him. Maybe it was because he was Native American, or perhaps because he was visibly blind in one eye. He might have looked scary to people.  But my heart cried for him because he was lonely.  I ended up giving him a postcard with my address on it so he could write to me if he wanted. I hope he does.  I can't wait to write back to him.

I started thinking about ministry and how a lot of ministry is focused around the poor, needy, hungry... and providing for their physical needs. Give them food, give them lodging, give them money, give them clothes, get them a job, teach them to fish... how many of these people only wanted to feel that they were loved and cared for and not just a charity case for some Christian who hasn't given their tithe yet?  How many of them are lonely and want sometone to sit with them for a while?

Sometimes it's so much easier to just give people things and not try to connect with them on a personal level, but human kind as a whole is deeply and instinctually relational. We need interaction and we need to know that we are more than a number, statistic, or charity case.  My prayer goes out to this man, and to all the lonely people. May you find that you are love.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Church is a Whore

I've been thinking a lot about my experiences in regards to church this semester and what I wrote in my last  entry about visiting churches being only comparable to visiting a prostitute.  It dawned on my that there are several times in Scripture, particularly the Old Testament where the nation of Israel was called a prostitute chasing after her lovers and turning her back on God.
I read through some of those scriptures and I just felt like that was "church", a prostitute, turning her back on God, chasing after her lovers, and failing to point people to God.

As I've travelled and visited many churches I have felt very much like an outsider.  Too many times I was able to slip in unnoticed and leave the same way. I suspect part of the that was my tour partners desire, but it always bothered me. I can only think of two churches during the time that I didn't feel like I was getting a "quickie." One was in the state of Washington and the other was in Wyoming. Don't misunderstand me though, there were a few churches where the message challenged and inspired me.

However, I've also found that it was true that a lot of churches failed to point me to God, or they preached things that I believe are contradictory to Scripture.

The "Health and Wealth" gospel seems to be pretty big in California. If you want to refute that one just read the book of Job.  Jesus also warns those who choose to give their lives to Him in the gospels that in this world there will be troubles and that no servant is greater than his master. If Jesus suffered, we will too. I do believe that God does want to bless us and give us health and riches, but I also believe there is an enemy who uses those things to turn us away from God.

It also seems like money is a huge deal to a lot of churches. I think more than anything, this bother me the most.  Why should it bother me that a church has a Star Bucks in it?  Well, I have yet to see a church with a starbucks, but I do see a lot of churches where they have coffee bars and set ups just like a star bucks and they charge for it. But not only do you get a coffee bar that you have to pay for the items you buy, you are not allowed to take anything into the sanctuary with you.

I walked into a church where my tour partner was told she couldn't bring her coffee in (a coffee that had a lid and was sealed), and I just wanted to say with sarcasm dripping from me: "Gee it's good to know that you are more concerned about the welfare of your carpets than about ministering to people".  While it may be a generally good thing to want to take care of the things God has blessed you with, why does it matter if someone spills coffee and you have a stain on your once pristine and shining carpet or on your new pews?  Who are you trying to impress??? People with money? Where does your heart belong church?

Its odd to me because the church I belong to at home has a coffee bar and it's free (and you can take it into the sanctuary!).  It's contents are provided through donations and volunteers who keep everything filled up. It's the body taking care of the body. But it's also more than that, it's the church saying to the community that we welcome them and love them and want to point them to the Father.

I know that churches are not perfect, nor are the people in them, but some of the things I;ve been seeing just seem ridiculous to me.

Get it together Churches!  Turn your hearts back to God! And for those churches whose hearts belong to God, keep going and dont lose heart!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

It's been an interesting experience, being on the road in the Northwest for the past four months.  My tour ended in November, just before Thanksgiving so I've spent the past few weeks at the home base working on the Local/Northern California tour. I've had the opportunity to work with a few new people, and it's been a lot of fun, but also very challenging. My most recent partner and I have a very different worldview and I find myself holding back from speaking often in order to prevent arguments, especially when it comes to issues of money, hardships, and mercy. I am so ready to go home for break.

As I have been working with different people, I've noticed one thing that they have in common. The idea of sharing what you have and do seems foreign to them.  I never ask for anything from them, I just offer what I have and expect nothing back. Or sometimes I will simply do things for them, like washing their dishes when I wash mine. I explained once that it was for the sake of the Kingdom of God that I consider nothing to be my own.  But I've made people upset. I don't understand why.

Anyway, on Saturday I am flying to South Dakota to finish the week with my partner for next semester. Then home on the 24th.  I am very ready to be home. I miss home.  The closer it gets the more empty being here feels.

Although I know that working for Camfel is ministry. It is ministry to my partner(s), to the schools, to the students, to the hotels, restaurants, stores, people I meet in everyday is living ministry, and I love that... but right now, I really miss being at home. I miss Project Valpo's and Youth Ministry, and children ministry, and Bridge Builders, and Sunday morning worship, and I miss it so incredibly much that being here right now feels empty. I think what I miss is being involved in church more than once a week and more than just for hearing a message.

I feel like that is what church has been these past few months... all about hearing a message and going on my way. I don't like it. I would compare it to visiting a prostitute, it's a meaningless fling that makes me feel good for a while, but in the end doesn't really do anything for me.  I want something more intimate. Church isn't about hearing a message. It's not a quicky. Church is a family of believers who care about eachother and are involved in the different growth processes of people in the church and throughout the community... and so much more. I miss that.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The journey of a thousand mile begins with... Camfel Productions!

Okay, the plane ticket has been bought so I guess it's official enough to blog about now. 
I am not coming home early even though my tour is done right now. I am going to stay in Irwindale (probably doing office work and local/Northern Cal shows) until December 19. Then on December 19 I will fly to South Dakota where my tour partner for next semester, Katey, will pick me up from the airport. I guess we will finish up the tour in South Dakota on Dec. 23, then make a 14 hour drive (or split it between the 23rd and 24th) back to my house where my parter will drop me off then drive another four hours to her house to be home on December 24th.
Then on January 24th, she will pick me up at my house and we will start our tour in the MIDWEST!!!! Woohooo!!!! Our first show will be in Illinois. Works for me. :-)

So guess what! Yesterday, I went to a Chinese church. :-) Michelle and I are still in the San Jose/Santa Clara area and so Saturday night I was looking for a church and I found one that sounded cool. It was called River of Life Christian Church. The website had Mandarin Characters on it but it was also in English and had an English service so i thought, "Cool".  Then Michelle and I showed up and all we saw were Chinese people and Michelle mused aloud as to whether we would be the only white people there.  We weren't. There were like... 4 others, but I thought it was an incredibly neat experience to go to this church. I think it had over 1000 people there. I kind of wanted to sit in the service where the preacher was speaking mandarin (I'm kind of afraid i'm saying/spelling that wrong) just to see how different the worship style and service style is.
Anyway, while we were in the English service they asked all the new people to raise their hand, so I did and everyone came and greeted Michelle and I and shook our hands and gave us a welcome packet. I loved how friendly they were, and I wasn't the least bit uncomfortable being one of the few "white" people in the midst of so many Asians. It was AWESOME!

Well, that's all I have for an update today. :-)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunshine makes me happy, but then again, so does snow.

Well, I suppose I am due for an update. Right now I am in Santa Clara, CA (San Jose, too) at the Hilton Inn (ooh la la, God Bless  I saw New Moon tonight, and though I have the regular complaints people who read books before they see the movies have, I thought it was actually pretty decent, which I thought was hilarious considering everyone else I know seemed to hate it. It was okay.  I don't think they will ever capture the true dynamics of Edward and Bella's relationship, but oh well, right?
After I saw it though, I kind of regretted it a little because I remember how I felt after reading the book, and i don't want to open up that can of worms again.  Well, too late.

Anyway. Things have been going well. My tour in the Northwest with Camfel Productions is coming to an end, so my tour partner, Michelle, and I are heading back to the Los Angeles where the office is until the company makes a final decision on what they are going to do with us.  I would love to say what they're considering, but since it's still up in the air, I wont.  I am pretty sure though, that I will tour the midwest next semester, and that my new partner will be Katey. :-)  The tour will start later though, like January 25th or 26th, so i will have an extended break. Yay!

So... November 18 was my older brother's Birthday (Josh). He turned twenty-five. November 18 also happened to be the day my nephew Dominic was born! This is Eric's son. (Paternity test pending?)

In other news I've had another dream about my cat that dissappeared back in July. I dreampt that my mom found her in Iowa and brought her home, but then she got out of the car and disappeared again. It made me sad. I cried and the whole day I felt depressed.

I love moments by myself where I can sit and be quiet. Maybe I'll take some time to be still and know that God is God tomorrow (or today, since it's after 1am here)

That's all for now.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

While I was sleeping...

Okay, so I tried to send a  blog update from my phone and it posted as 12 different blogposts, but I've corrected it.

I am sitting in a mall right now, glad to be out of the hotel and enjoying being by myself. But right now i'm left to my thoughts and they are bothering me.
I found out this morning that an old class mate from Buffalo High School died on Tuesday night.
One of my friends just found out that one of her parents is seriously ill right now.
One of my cousin's is being held on false charges of child abuse until further notice.
My brother's baby might be born at any time or it just might be false labor, we don't know.
And I'm dealing with some pain from a pulled muscle in my back/hip.
All things considered I know that I am blessed beyond measure. There is good and bad in life and i feel removed from all of it, yet very close to it at the same time.
I've been thinking about everything that happens while I'm sleeping and my role as a christian.

While I was sleeping tuesday night and last night a family was watching one of thier own step into eternity.
A friend was struggling with the question of whether she will lose her dad.
A young girl was anticipating the birth of her first child and experiencing possible pains of labor.
And a father is sitting in jail wondering why someone would accuse him of beating a child he loves.
While I was sleeping the world was turning and people's lives went on. I don't want to be removed from peoples lives. I want to enter into their joys and pains even when i'm not present with them. While I was sleeping I could have been praying or encouraging them on the phone or just writing letters. I will get my rest but may the world never find me sleeping again.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

If God is so merciful then why does He allow people to go to Hell?

Early this afternoon I went to Barnes and Noble with my work partner, Michelle. We spent a couple of hours there and during that time I picked up a book from the Christian Inspiration section and read it. (yeah, pretty much the whole thing excluding the authors notes and stuff in the back of the book.) It was called  Nine Days in Heaven. I've read 90 Minutes in Heaven and 23 Minutes in Hell, and though the books were an interesting look at Heaven and Hell neither of them really resonated with me, so when I saw this title it didn't really strike much interest in me, but I did want to see if it was any different from the other two books, so I read the back cover and found myself intensely curious.

This was the descriptions for those who want to know what struck my curiosity: "Marietta Davis fell into a trance at age twenty-five that lasted nine days. She experienced a vision that made her a legend. When she finally regained consciousness she described with extraordinary graphic detail scenes of how angels had conducted her spirit to heaven and hell. Marietta made it clear that her vision was given for her to tell the world so people could prepare for the afterlife."

While I was reading I was given many things to think about, but I think none of them came so strongly as the idea of a merciful God sending people to Hell.  We can give the tired old arguments (though very valid) of sin and holiness and the fact that sin and holiness cannot dwell together, but I'm not sure those answers can really satisfy the question when it's centered around mercy. Anyway, as I was reading it dawned on me that the fact that God does allow people to go to Hell proves His mercy, because perhaps Hell itself, though it is a place of judgement, is God still showing mercy on those who have been judged and found guilty.

I know if anyone is reading this they're probably writing me off as a complete idiot right now, but hear me out.

In this book, Marrietta had visited/seen visions of both Heaven and Hell (and keep in mind that she is not seeing them as a Christian). Whether she really visited or just had a vision, or even a dream doesn't make a difference to me so we're not even going to question it because I don't think it changes what I realized.   Anyway, she see's Heaven and it's wonder's first and then she see's Hell second and the incredible contrast it was to Heaven's glory.

It was very descriptive, it showed hell as a place where people are given over to their evil desires and as they pursue them they ultimately become a slave to their desires and find them unquenchable and thus live in despair. They live with the knowledge that they had turned their backs on God and crumble in the despair that there was no hope of redemption left for them. In seeing Marrietta in Hell and knowing she didn't belong there (yet) because she was not dead but still had a shot at redemption drove them further into the agony and despair they were suffering. They were sinful and suffering, and their sinfulness bred more sin and suffering, like an endless cycle they couldn't escape. And this was only the surface of Hell.

After seeing Hell, she saw Heaven again where she heard the melody and unity of worship to God in love and found it so beautiful she longed to join in but as she tried she found that she could not align herself to the Melody and the more she tried the more she found herself in her own Hell because she realized that she was unfit for Heaven.  The realization drove her mad because she realized that when she tried to join in, she was ruining the song as she did not possess the holiness or the love that caused the angels to sing as one this beautiful song of worship.  Her sinfulness ruined it's purity.

The idea was presented that when people die they are ushered to the place where there are souls like themselves, so an evil soul that resisted God was ushered to Hell, a soul cleansed and redeemed by Christ was ushered to Heaven. I thought this was an interesting idea in light of the things she saw in Heaven and Hell. Even Isaiah, when he was in the midst of perfect holiness and purity could only despair of His sinfulness and how he was unfit to be there.

It seems that if sinful people who have not been freed from the bondage of sin were allowed into heaven, they would contaminate heaven, no doubt, but I feel that it might be worse for them than Hell itself. In Hell, they may be recieving the justice due to them, but in Heaven they would be laid bare, exposed, not covered by God's grace as they had never accepted it. They would have a constant reminder that they are unfit for God's Kingdom, that they could never truly be a part of it, that they could never take part in the beauty, lest they ruin it. To me that is far worse than any Hell I can imagine.  It reminds me of 2 Peter 2:21 that says It would be better if they had never known the right way to live than to know it and then reject the holy commandments that were given to them.  (NLT)
Even though I know this verse it talking about people who turn their backs on Salvation, it seems to fit that it would be less despairing for a person to have never seen Heaven and suffer in Hell than it would be for a person to see Heaven and find themselves condemned. That's why I speculate that Hell, though it's purpose remains, could still be an act of mercy on God's part.

I acknowledge that I could be wrong. But it was intersting to think about.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Arg... Brain Mush.

A sense of nostalgia washes over me as I sit here reading through blogs and browse facebook pages of friends. Sometimes it just feels like:
Here I am! Now how did I get here?!

It's not that I am in a bad place now. I generally enjoy where I am, but a sense of panic has overcome me as I think about the fact that life has changed and when I am done here, I'm not going back to what was before. I don't know if I really like that.  People grow up and change. Life happens.

I loved being at Bethel College, at least until last year right before I dropped out.  I am so glad that I did take the time to take that break, because I really needed it. When I left I didn't know if God would ever bring me back to Bethel and have me finish my degree, or if I would move on and do something else with my life. But now I want so much to go back.  I have been working hard to pay off my school bill so I can return. ((*highlight* I made a payment today that dropped my bill to below $2,000!)) I emailed Bethel to inquire about what I need to do to return in August, and I got a reply almost right away letting me know that they are glad that I am seeking to return and are forwarding my email to the person I need to talk to. I'm also trying to save as much money as I can to pay for school since I've reached my limit for loans and have lost $10,000 in Grants and Scholarships because I'm a 5th year student. I've also been on seeking and applying for scholarships.  I've yet to win a scholarship they've told me about, but there's a first time for everything, right?
I pray that if God is leading me to return to Bethel that He will open or close doors, that He would show me which ones to walk through and which ones to stop banging my head against, lol.

I logged on to my student account last week and did a degree audit and I found that Bethel is offering a new minor called Family Studies.  I've decided that I want that minor to compliment my degree in Youth Ministry and Adolescent Studies.

So anyway, that tangent brings me back to my original topic.  When I return, what do I expect? Most of the people I knew won't be there anymore. They've moved on with their lives... married... started careers... left the United States to do Ministry... I feel kind of like I've been left behind. I guess the only thing I can really do is move on with my life too. I don't think I've been sitting stationary. I know that I've been changing too, but perhaps my heart longs for what is familiar, especially since right now, nothing is familiar to me. It longs for the comfort of the way things were. What happened to the heart that longed for an exciting adventure?  I think the heart still wants that, but the heart is fickle. Boo.

But I still wonder... what was it that brought me to this place? How did I move so far away from where I was?  This is not a bad place to be. Infact, this is right where I need to be right now.

I don't know how to explain what I feel. It just feels like it happened so fast and here I am. I feel so blessed to be here, yet I long to go back to Bethel in August, even knowing it won't be the same. Maybe the question is simply 'why?'.  For what reason does God have me here?  For what reason did He have me leave Bethel for the time He did?  And the next question is 'what's next?'.

The plan is to return to Bethel.
For what? 
To complete a degree.
And then what?
I get a job.
And then what?
Maybe God blesses me with a husband and a family.
And then what?
Maybe I'll retire, have grandkids, and live out the rest of my life in peace and harmony.

Unlikely. I'm not sure I even desire that, really.

When I visited Imago Dei a few weeks ago, Rick McKinley spent some time talking about jobs and working and such.  We will never find fulfillment in a job, but we're not supposed to. Fulfillment doesn't come through work, it comes through God.  When we are in a job, we seek to be purposeful. There will always be days when we feel like we hate our job, or want to quit. That's why our job has to have purpose.
So let's ask the questions again?

I return to Bethel.
For what?
For vocational training that leads me to a place of purpose.
And then what?
I seek where God wants me.
And then what?
I go there and live life on purpose glorifying God and advancing His Kingdom until the day I die.
And then what?
"Well done good and faithful servant" It's all up to God.

Well, it's late and I'm not sure that I'm really making any sense anyway, so I'm going to finish up and go to bed.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Once again I saw a homeless person. I see them often, holding signs on the roads, sitting at rest heart cries out to them and i want to do something to help. Sometimes i find myself not knowing what to do when i cant give them anything that will help their present situation. Jesus says to take case of the poor, the needy... How can i sit here in this van and drive by them when they are crying out. How can i leave them so helpless when i am so blessed? even in my own poverty i have more than they do.God show of how i can be your hands and feet to those in need!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Visiting Imago Dei :-)

So, I am getting an awesome opportunity. Tomorrow my work partner, Michelle, and I are going to go to church at the Imago Dei Community in Portland, Oregon. This is the community that Donald Miller (author of Blue Like Jazz, Searching for God Knows What, Through Painted Deserts, etc) wrote about and attends. And it is the same church that Rick McKinley (author of This Beautiful Mess and Jesus in the Margins,) is a pastor for.

I am really excited about this opportunity, especially after reading This Beautiful Mess where Rick McKinley talks about the church body and the Kingdom of God.

I don't want to visit this community for the sake of visiting it. I want it to be a learning process. I want to see how the Kingdom of God is lived out by the people who make up Imago Dei. I want to be challenged, and I want to be inspired.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Every now and then when I get the chance to slow down a bit, I stop and think about all the things I miss back home.

I miss seeing my family every day. I love my family. I miss my parents. I miss my brothers.I'm sad that I'm probably going to miss the birth of Eric's baby. I'm sad that I don't get to help Brandy plan her wedding or be there when it takes place. I'm sad that I won't get to go to Thanksgiving Dinner where half of my family get's together.

I miss going to Life Bridge every Sunday. I love my church family. I miss the Bridge Builders group and the student Ministries. I miss doing Project Valpo. I'm sad that I am missing out on what the church is doing, because I believe so much in the vision of Life Bridge. To empower one more to walk together with Christ.

I miss Bethel College. I miss taking classes and learning. I miss my old classmates. They were some of the most amazing people I knew. I'm sad that I don't have my degree. And it saddens me that God may not have it planned for me to finish my degree.

I don't know where God wants me in this life. I am absolutely clueless as to where He is leading me or what His plans for me are. I don't know if I will ever go back home to Valpo, or if I will ever finish college, or if I will move somewhere else or travel, or if I will marry, or if any of the plans I had before now will ever come to be.

Right now I have no plans. I have no agenda. I don't know where God is taking me. In some ways i'm bothered by the idea that I love and miss might not be a part of my future. I know that whatever God has planned for me, he is wiser than I am and His plans are greater than mine.

I just wish I could get a glimpse of what lies ahead of me.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Happy October. Wow. The new month brings thoughts of a new start, chances to better than i did last month, opportunities to grow as a person spiritually, emotionally, and vocationally. October brings cooler weather. It snowed for about half an hour last night. I don't remember when i last saw snow in October. I've started reading a book called Crazy Love written by Francis Chan and this book, though it's so simple is incredibly profound. He you've ever been a Christian who wanted to live radically for Christ but for what ever reason the ember burning within you got smothered and your life is nothing more than trying to survive from day to day, them this is a book that reignites passion and reminds you that you have a purpose. This book reminds you that God wasn't made for you, but rather you were made for God. It puts life back into perspective. It's not about me or my pleasures. I may never be written about as an example or living radically for Christ and i may never be written about as a hero of the holy life but i can live my life so profoundly for Christ that it is something worth writing about. I don't need to be remembered. i want to live my life in such a way and represent God in such a way that When people leave my presence the only thing they know or remember is that they met with God that day. I don't mean that in a pagan way. I just want it to be about God and not about this really radical girl they met. God is so much cooler than I am.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I know I have not had an update in a little while. I'm in Montana right now, going to be heading to Wyoming tonight. We might get a chance to visit Yellow Stone National Park. Anyway, I have not had cell phone service in most parts of Montana, which hasn't been awful, but at times it has been frustrating.

Overall, Montana has been very frustrating. It seems like ever since we got here we've been having trouble. Some of it has been our own fault, some of it has just been stuff that has been happening.

So far:
1. We were late to one show because we switched time zones and didn't realize it. The show did go on, but it was frustrating.
2. Our DVD starting skipping at one show (awful!!! we corrected it several times then noticed the DVD was actually stalling in the player) We checked the DVD and there was a deep scratch on it.
3.We are having a really hard time finding hotels within our budget (and a few of the ones we have found have been disgusting: sheets stained with spots of yellow, hair all over the pillows, beds and towels ((and we suspect they weren't all hairs from the head either...)), getting stuck in smoking rooms and everything stinks to the high heavens, etc,)
4. I almost ate a fly. Gross.
5. The glands in my neck randomly started swelling up. My airway wasn't blocked off at all, but it hurt to swollow for a few days. My throat was never sore and I never felt sick. I just had swollen, tender glands. Weird.
6. Our DVD started skipping again at another show and I looked at the DVD and it had slight scratches on it, (but the other two were fine) and we are now wondering if the DVD player is scratching the DVD's that are put into it.
7. We got a flat tire and....

I just realized that it's time to check out of my hotel, so I need to go but I'll tell more later, I just want to metion that God is still watching over us despite our troubles.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Who is this God?

Have you ever stopped to consider
Or to stand in childlike wonder
about the composition of the mighty mountains
or the reasons behind them?
Have you ever tried to count the stars
Or contemplated their positions in the sky
and marvelled at their distance?
Have you ever stood on the banks of an ocean
and wondered at it's depths
or of the creatures hidden in its icy blue?
Have you ever noticed the glory of a field of dandelions?
Have you taken in the specks of yellow and gold
Scattered across the purest green of creation
and realized that this simple beauty is considered a weed?
Do you see the hand of your creator
Or feel the stir of the Holy one
When you look around you?
Do you see the image of your God Stamped on creation?

Who is this God who molds the mountains?
Who is this God who breathes the stars?
Who is this God who cried the oceans when we fell from His glory?
Who is this God who makes beauty from the weeds of our lives?
Who is this God?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? NO, IN ALL THERE THINGS WE ARE MORE THAN CONQUERORS! For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35,37-39)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Now I am entering into the time where I begin to feel a little down because I miss home. Michelle and I are in Spokane, Washington where her family lives and her home church is. I have a longing to be at home with my family and to go to church at Life Bridge. I miss all of my friends. I miss the things that are familiar to me. I am so happy to be a part of the Camfel Productions team and I believe this is where God wants me, but I think i'm still holding on to the life I left back in Indiana. I have a hard time saying it, because I think i might be wrong (and who wants to be wrong?) that Valpo may not be a part of my future. I don't even know if returning home for the summer is in my future. I can't naked claim that God is talking to of because I don't know if it's Him or just my imagination making up random feelings. Whatever it is or no matter where I might end up I know God is in control and I choose to trust this leading if it is Him.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Throughout this part month I have been reading though the gospels. I started with the book of John, them Matthew, Luke, and now I'm reading through Luke. One thing that i have noticed quite consistently about Jesus is that He often went to a private place to pray. I was thinking about what it would be like to follow Jesus' example of prayer... Of how that would impact my relationship with God. I feel that I would maintain a much closer relationship with God... But i find my self curious, even baffled... what did Jesus talk with God about? I know Jesus gives us an example of how to pray with the Lords Prayer and we see one of Jesus' own prayer in John 17, but I want to know is what does a man who had an unbroken relationship talk with God about. Maybe someday I will reach that point and then I will know. :-)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Life is a learning Experience

Well, I'm travelling through Oregon today and tomorrow. Oregon is a very pretty state and I've gotten to take some pretty pictures.

I think working with Camfel is one of the greatest things I will experience in life. I've been learning a lot about many different things.

Here are a few of the things I have been learning since I've been with Camfel:

1. On a California freeway, driving 5 miles per hour over the speed limit means you need to drive in the slow lane. Yes, You read that correctly....
2. California Cows are not happy cows (refer to previous blogpost).
3. It rains bugs in Oregon, and using your windshield wipers does not clean the windows, it just smears the bug guts (greatly reducing visibility).
4. Gas stations don't like it if you try to pump your own gas in Oregon.
5. I have some of the greatest friends and family that anyone could ever have.
6. I can do more and I am capable of more than I thought I was.
7. I can read in a car, but if I try to write, I will get car sick.
8. God is still giving me amazing opportunities to shine His light and I desperately want to be used.
9. God always responds to prayers for protection and to be taken deeper with Him, but sometimes the answers to those prayers produce situations that aren't always pleasant.
10. God's love is so much deeper and wider and higher and stronger and so much more profound than I could ever imagine.
11. I feel like I'm living the Barbarian Way (a book by Erwin McManus :-) )
12. I'm spoiled to be a part of Life Bridge Christian Church.

And finally... for the time being (since it's getting late)
13. I have never felt more like I was in God's will than I do at this very moment. I believe very strongly that He has me working here with Camfel for a reason. I don't fully know what that reason is, how long I'm going to stay, or where this experience will take me. But I know this is where I am supposed to be right now.
Anyway, I hope we get to do a show in Portland, Oregon sometime this semester (we're just passing through Oregon right now, no shows) because the Imago Dei Community is in Portland (The church Rick McKinley is pastor for)

Rick McKinley authored a book called This Beautiful Mess, it's a truly beautiful look at God's Kingdom on Earth.

Well, it's late, I'm sleepy.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Happy Cows do NOT come from California

It's true, and this is why:
1. The air is filled with smog. Gross.
2. California has been breaking out with fires because it is so dry, which leads me to the next point.
3. Practically the entire state is on a water freeze.
4. The grass is dry and brittle.
5. It is sooooooooo hot here.
6. They often have to stand on steep hills.
7. I saw one field that the cows were living in their own filth.
8. I have yet to see one cow that is singing.

All jokes aside, my tour with Camfel Productions has pretty much officially started. I will be traveling through Northern California for the next few days and be doing shows, then over the course of the next few weeks I will be in Washington and Montana, I think.

I have been reflecting on what God has been doing in my life since I've been here.

The bus ride up was not pleasant, but I had great opportunities to show God's love. Giving fruitsnacks to a mother whose children are hungry, giving someone who was thirsty a botle of water, letting someone borrow my cell phone because his battery was dead. Multitudes of conversations... I think I may take the bus back home just because of the way I now see that God was moving then.

I also had my parents throw away everything that I didn't take with me on tour. (pretty much everything I own) So I'm finally getting rid of possessions... Like Jesus told the rich young ruler to do.

You know what, I just thought of this.. I remember writing a blog a year or two ago where I expressed a desire to get rid of everything I own and live free and travel for Jesus.... It might have been a person journal entry.... Either way, I want to find it because I find it ironic that I'm doing that now and I want to see exactly what I said. I feel that that journal entry might have been slightly prophetic.

Anyway. It's getting really late and I need to get to some sleep.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

So here I am starting another journey to Northern California before our tour actually begins. I believe we will be in the San Fransisco area. Last time we went North we saw advertisements for the wax museum but we decide to go to mercer caverns instead because we thought maybe we would get an assignment closer to San Fransisco than we were last week. I guess it turns out that we made a good decision. :-) you know what... I still hold a sense of awe and wonder about being a part of the Camfel Productions team. I an excited to think about wher God is leading of and what He has for me while i'm here and where He will lead me after the ten month tour is over.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Update Not from a phone!!!

Okay, so I'm going to try to do this update really quickly before I have to give Katey's computer back to her. I am in California right now. We just ended week two of training. The first week was hard, and this week was much easier. I feel prepared. Camfel has been really great at preparing us for everything we are going to be doing.

I found out that I will be touring in the northwest states. IE Oregon, Washington, Montana, etc. My partner is going to be a girl named Michelle. (The same returner that I went to Northern California with this past week).

On Friday I went to Santa Monica with a few people and I got to see the ocean for the first time in my life. While we were looking at it, I told the people I was with that I wanted to touch it, so we went down to the shore and waded in the water. It was great amazing cool fun.

I am so excited about being where I am right now because i feel like I am right where I am supposed to be. I feel like God has me here for a reason. I don't know what that reason is or where God is going to take me, but I feel so much closer to Him. I feel alive. I'm finally begining to feel like I am where I belong. And ironically, that is in no set place. Haha, travelling jobs....

Working with Camfel these past two weeks has been amazing for my relationship with God. There has just been so much of Him and so little of me and I feel like our relationship is better and I understand him a little more.

There will always be pain. There will always be suffering. There will always be days when I feel like I've been abandoned by God and that there is no hope in life, I don't doubt that. But I'm seeing myself able to cling to God despite that. I see myself being able to be more honest with myself about who I am and more honest with others. I truly feel like I'm am being transparent and unashamed despite the fact that I am not a perfect person.

God has been working on me while I'm here. Today I know that He loves me and I feel so much in love with Him. He is here and He is present and as I'm walking through the hardest times of life He is calling my name and saying, "Amanda, focus on me"

Well. It's time for me to give the computer back to Katey. I wish I could write more because there is so much more in my heart that I want to say.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Guess what! I an currently on my way to northern California to do a few shows. I got a call from the team manager yesterday and he told me that i've been working really hard and he was going to send me with Michelle to northern California. I will be there until Thursday. I'm missing most of the second week of training which makes me a little nervous because I don't know if I'm ready to do this. I don't know if i'm quick enough or ... I'm just not feeling confident. I will probably be fine. I don't think they would send me out unless they thought i'd be fine. I'm with a returner so it will be all right. :-) i should probably clarify that i am not being sent permanenty yet. There are just a few early shows that i'm going with. I will get some real life experience. It will be fun. We will have a day off on Wednesday so maybe we can go to the beach. thats what i would like to do. I don't know how close to the beach we will be because i don't remember the cities we're going to be in. I think i'm actually not supposed to say what city i will be in on any public forum. I will have to check into that. Until next time take care!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Wow. So i've made it through a week of training. It has been incredibly frustrating, but it's also been rewarding. I caught myself having a bad attitude on Wednesday and on thursday i wanted to give up but they made me continue and i'm so much better today even though i was crying a lot yesterday. i finally passed one of the time time test that i've been having a really hard time with. I was supposed to do the test in three minutes or less and today i finally got it in two minutes and fifty eight seconds. The whole time i was praying saying please God please God! Even though this week was really hard I an so glad that i was pushed like i was. I reached my breaking point probably four times but i know i'm getting stronger. I have expanded my limit. I feel like i can do anything. It's amazing how this line of thing can also stretch your faith. I think my prayer life has increased one hundred percent. Haha! I do feel closer to God and i'm excited for where He is taking me. i should find out who i'm travelling with and where i'm travelling in a few days. right now i am at disney in california. Not in the park, just walking around with the girls in the downtown area. :-) the prices are outrageous. :-( Tomorrow i get to go with to up Nora. :-) Well thats all for tonight.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Wow. Today was really hard. I've been trying to push my self because i want to be a really good employee for Camfel. My goal is excellence not adequacey. Ofcourse they are also giving us the pushes we need as well. it's felt very warm in California and i drank over three litres of water today before dinner. I really wish that i had a scale so i could weigh myself at the end of the two weeks of training. I should alstake my measurements. By the time i visit home again i'm going to look different. I'll be thinner and tanner. I look forward to it. Well we've got another activity so this is all for now.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

I'm here! I made it to LA! More later. I'm letting my phone charge and i'm waiting for a phone call anyway.
61 miles to LA. So many palm trees....
I saw a sign for this highway that said "your tax dollars at work" 500 feet later i say another sign that said "uneven pavement- reduce speed" and i thought: wow, their tax dollars weren't used very wisely.
I'm in California. I'm actually starting to see more green, mostly trees, not much grass though. A few hours left and i'll be in LA.
You know, i just left los vegas under an hour ago and i have to admit... I'm not impressed. The landscape, even in town, is barren. there's not much green. Even the mountains look like they are simply piles of dirt with no life on them at all. When you get closer you can see some of the different layers of rock and small bushes climbing the sides. This is such a contrast to Colorado mountains. In colorado the mountains left of with a sense of beauty, power, and wonder. Here the mountains just leave a feeling of barrenness and desolation. It's not without its beauty it's just really... raw. In other news, this bus is freezing cold, even with a blanket. I'm almost out of food. I have an apple left. It's huge, but i will rate it or when i get really hungry. I'm so ready to be done with the bus trip.
257 miles to go and i am ready for this bus ride to end.

Friday, August 7, 2009

After six hours of waiting in the bus station, we loaded up and left! I'm finally on my way to LA again. When we entered the Colorado mountain range a hush fell over the bus. I don't know if it was because of the beauty that surrounded us or if we all just simply understood that quiet would help our bus driver concentrate on maneuvering through the mountains and valleys. It's really incredible to be driving through the mountains and despite the aggravations with the trip so far, I am really glad i had the opportunity to see this. I just had a thought that struck me as really funny. Last night there was a full moon. We'll just pretend thats the reason for all the issues. Haha
This is one of the most challenging adventures i've ever been on. Because of the delays and everything that has been going on i an now sitting it bus terminal in Denver Colorado for the next five hours. We were told that we had to switch buses, so we did even though a few of us told them we were supposed to be able to do this without switching. we went to the number they told up to stay by and waited in this horribly long line only to be told that thebus was full. But they exchanged our tickets and now have us waiting for the cup that comes at six. A lot of people are very unhappy. I don't blame them. I'm not happy right now either but i'm trying to be positive and in with the flow. i've had the opportunity to talk with a few interesting people. I'm also charging my bell phone and my camera batteries. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
What an adventure! So we left an hour and a half late yesterday and the bus driver skipped the rest stops to help us catch up on time. we switched drivers in St. Louis, and he did the same thing. so there have been some hungry and cranky people on the bus. One lady was thirsty but the vending machinings were out of order so i have her a bottle of water from my lunches. And then I saw a family with small children and the kids were hungry so i have them i bunch of fruit snacks. when we stopped in Kansas to switch drivers (just after 4am)our driver ditched us and we were stuck for another hour and a half until the new driver showed up. We were at a gas station in the middle of nowhere! Other greyhound buses had stopped so some people got off the bus to see if anyone knew what was going on or if anyone could help us and one of the other driver said "You're SOL"our new driver eventually showed up and we finally got moving again at about five thirty. Now i'm in colorado on my way to denver and i learned recently that i an going to have to switch buses when we get to denver. Yep it's been quite an adventure so far...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

And so starts my first grand adventure. As i'm sitting on the bus waiting to leave i have a sense of feeling like i can't believe i'm doing this. Before now it has been fairly interesting, but not much has required both me and my family to put myself completely in God's hands. My friends Christine, Doug, and Rachel accompanied me to the greyhound station in chicago. We got here 2 hours early so we walked around a little and got shakes from Jamba juice. just before we got back to the car to get my luggage i looked down in the parking lot and when i looked up again i smacked my head into some construction equipment that was sticking out the back of a truck. I got a nice little cut between my eyes. Thus my first great story to tell about my adventures. Lol! I'm fine, though. The bus ended up being an hour and a half late so i sat down and started singing disney songs :) i think that embarrassed Rachel a little. and so here i am now. Worst case scenario is that there is a bomb on the bus and we cant go less than 50 miles an hour or we will explode, haha. it's going to be a long trip and i'll update as often as i feel its necessary. I'll also take pictures. I still can't believe i'm doing this.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

I worked at the fair this week. I've recieved minor sunburn three times, and I wore sunscreen. But I guess you should reapply sunscreen every six hours. I usually forget to do that. I may end up with some nice bronze skin, but I can't help but wonder what kind of damage the sun has done this week.

I also have small itchy bumps in a few random spots. I found a spider crawing on me twice today. I hope if they're spider bites, they're not serious.

I was hired by Camfel Productions, and now I'm waiting on a way to get to California for training. I'm really excited about the job, and for the ministry I will be able to do and the places I will go. My parents are excited for me too.

I'll have to write more later.

Monday, July 27, 2009

It's been a while since i've blogged, but blogging from my phone through text messaging is proba how i'm going to be blogging for the next ten months. I recieved a call from Camfel Productions on Friday telling me that their insurance will cover me despite me being a new driver (did I mention I passed my drivers test?) and they said if I want the job it's mine. YAY! :) I have to be there by August 9th because training starts on the 10th. what i'm going to be doing with Camfel is this: I an hired on as technician and will travel to schools through the US (with a partner) showing videos geared toward character development. We will be the ones who bring the equipment in and set it up, introduce the video, and do follow up questions if the schools ask us to. Camfel is also a christian organization so I will be joining God in what He is already doing. :) I will also have the opportunity to go sightseeing as my partner and I travel. It's the phenomenal road trip i've been wanting! It's really interesting but a few months before I knew Camfel existed I realized that I felt very comfortable in a vehicle just driving around, not in a hurry to make it to anywhere. Mom and Dad have both said now that I have gypsy blood in me. I think I just have an insatiable spirit of adventure. Anyway, I an still waiting on God to provide a way for me to get to California for training. I think a few people from church are planning to help me to figure something out. Thank you God for your provision!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


I am feeling rather restless, perhaps even anxious. I'm not one huyndred percent sure why. It kept me up a few nights ago. I guess I've been thinking a lot about taking my driving test, whether Camfel Productions will accept me to be a part of their team (and whether their insurance will accept a new driver), the porter county fair, and a whole bunch of other stuff. Just thinking about it right now is making me feel restless. I'm excited for the future, but sometimes it seems to take so long to get here. I mean, I'm only talking about things going on this month, but wow.

My plants are doing well, I put the peppers in the ground today. one tomato plant has sprouted so as soon as it gets a little bigger I'll put it in the ground too. I've been trying to keep the grape vine well watered so it will produce grapeds, but I wonder if it's going to have to vine out this summer before it will start producing grapes. I'll have to tell Dad not to cut it down this year (like he has for the past 3 years. He originally cut it down because it never produced grapes, but then it just came back again, and it has every year since he planted it, so I told him I would see what I could do with it this year) .

I'm learning how to play In Christ Alone on my guitar. I think I need a guitar with a smaller body. Well, I feel the need to get up and move, so I'm out.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Free Calling Anywhere in the US

So I found this link through the webpage and I thought this was really cool. People with Skype can make phone calls from their computers for a small fee to anywhere in the world, but if you're only planning to call throughout the United States, then this might be the site to visit. All you need is a computer microphone so you can talk, type the number you want to call, and then place the call. It's pretty cool. Advertisements don't interupt your calls. The catch is that calls can only be made for 15 minutes at a time, however you can call an unlimited number of times. Check it out. Free USA Calls !

Monday, June 29, 2009

Pictures as promised

Amy and Adam dancing.

Father daughter dance

Mother Son dance

The pictures are of the dancing because this is the best photo I could get during the ceremony:

I checked my account balance online and it said that i still have over five hundred text messages and my account is renewed on Wednesday and my texts don't roll over. So i figured instead of staying online in the living room i would in ahead and come back to my room and write in my blog using my phone. that way other people get an opportunity to use the computer before they go to bed tonight.

Anyway, Amy got married today. I'll try to post a few pictures tomorrow. Amy is such a beautiful person.I saw so many people that i haven't seen in what seems like forever.

so anyway, i'm watching Fat Albert the movie right now and every time i watch it the Fat Albert character who always wears the pink, Rudy makes i think, my heart flutter every time. It's not that i'm attracted to him but he exudes this old fashion gentleman like quality that seems so rare these days. It's that gentleman quality that makes women feel important and protected. Actually, i think it's more than that, there's a whole different values system where the things that truly matter are the things people care about.And the things that truly matter hold value in ways that they don't now. Thats one of the reasons so many young women fell for Edward Cullen. He was an old fashion gentleman... In the books anyway.

Well thats all for tonight. Bye

Sunday, June 21, 2009

This week I hung out with my Grandma May, Aunt Candace, and cousins' Rachel and Cheyenne. I spent the night with them, went to the beach, a birthday party, beach again, and Baily Homestead.

We had a homeward bound moment when our Chow, Rusty, got out of the yard and was gone for a few hours. He came home to us about 12 hours later.

I spend about half of my day outside doing something, picking berries, watering/weeding my flower garden, walking around mindlessly... and the other half inside on the computer improving my typing skills at, teaching myself spanish at, listening to a Bible podcast on iTunes, and playing around at or on facebook. Not real productive.

I should spend time in purposeful prayer and study of the Bible, practice my guitar, clean the house, excercise, play with the animals, write letters of encouragement to friends, do something to bless the neighbors...

I should be more proactive and less reactive. Instead of sitting around and waiting for someone to respond to my applications I should be making calls and looking for more places to put applications in.

Lot's of shoulds. Overwhelming.

Such is life.

Monday, June 15, 2009


I finished reading the Twilight series and I started reading the Inheritance Cycle's first book Eragon, by Christopher Paolini. I haven't finished reading the book yet, but I'm nearly at the end. I started reading it because I saw the movie Eragon and I loved the idea that Dragons were something to protect rather than slay. As I've been reading, I've been feeling like I had no idea what the story was about or anything that happens even though I saw the movie. I know that movies will leave things out and blend events together, but I started watching the movie online and I got two thirds of the way through it when I realized that the reason I felt like I had no prior knowledge of the book was because in the movie things aren't just left out or blended together, the events of the book have been changed and the changes that were made challenge the explanations given in the book. (Wow, that was quite a run on sentence...) Needless to say I stopped watching the movie because it no longer held any appeal after I started reading the book.

I don't watch the news on television often, but I go online and read things from and the links on the comcast homepage and it seems like everyday I read about a death or a murder or some bad event that happened. It bothers me. What can I do?

Aside from that, I've got a few things that I'm excited about right now:
1. My cousin Brandy moved back to Indiana.
2. My Grandma May, Aunt Candace, and cousin Rachel are coming to Indiana tomorrow because of the family reunion this weekend. And they'll be here until Amy's wedding, I think.
3. My cousin Amy is getting married on June 28 (yes, that's a Sunday).
4. Project Valpo is coming up. :-)
5. I bought a car. It was $550 and half the things we thought were wrong with it aren't actually wrong with it and don't need to be fixed.

My old roommate Amanda is getting married on June 27th. I thought we were still good friends, but I don't know if I was mistaken because I didn't get an invitation to her wedding. Do I have a right to have hurt feelings? Even if I don't, it did hurt my feelings that I didn't get invited. I'm going to try not to dwell on it though. It wouldn't do me any good.

Also, if you read this and get a chance, pray for my dad. He's in a lot of pain. If you're my friend and want to know a few more details, email me.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Oh Saturday....

Well, I went to the Bridge Builders meeting today and taught. I guess I did okay and was prepared enough. I wasn't sure how smoothly it would go but I think started feeling more comfortable as it went on... either that or I was so ready to finish that I was totally oblivious to my screw ups. :-)

Anyway. I spent the next few hours at home. I got on iTunes and found a podcast where I could just sit and listen to Scripture being read so I listened to the entire book of Ecclesiastes. I don't know what translation of Scripture was being used, but it was like I was hearing it for the first time. It was such a neat, fresh perspective to hear Ecclesiastes rather than reading it. I could visualize Solomon standing in his home overlooking the city where he ruled and staring across it while orating to a scribe.

I also think my tongue is too big for my mouth or something because I feel like I'm developing a lisp, and I don't like it.

I went to my cousin Butch's open house tonight. It will probably be the last time I see Him for a few years. Pretty soon he is going to be leaving for training with the army, and then who knows. We took a picture with Grandma and Grandpa. And I will leave you with that so farewell and goodnight, I'm going to go read a few more chapters in my book before I go to bed.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Protect Yourself

I got this in my email and I think it has good information, so pay attention to it.

Please pass it along and share it with your children.
A group of rapists and date rapists in pr ison were interviewed on what they look for in a potential victim and here are some interesting facts:

1) The first thing men look for in a potential victim is hairstyle. They are most likely to go after a woman with a ponytail, bun, braid or other hairstyle that can easily be grabbed . They are also likely to go after a woman with long hair . Women with short hair are not common targets.

2) The second thing men look for is clothing... They will look for women who's clothing is easy to remove quickly. Many of them carry scissors around specifically to cut clothing.

3) They also look for women on their cell phone, searching through their purse, or doing other activities while walking because they are off-guard and can be easily overpowered.

4) Men are most likely to attack & rape in the early morning, between 5:00 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.

5) The number one place women are abducted from/attacked is grocery store parking lots. The number two: office parking lots/garages. Number three: public restrooms.

6) The thing about these men is that they are looking to grab a woman and quickly move her to another location where they don't have to worry about getting caught.

7) Only 2% said they carried weapons because rape carries a 3-5 year sentence but rape with a weapon is 15-20 years.

8) If you put up any kind of a fight at all, they get discouraged because it only takes a minute or two for them to realize that going after you isn't worth it because it will be time-consuming.

9) These men said they would not pick on women who have umbrellas, or other similar objects that can be used from a distance, in their hands Keys are NOT a deterrent because you have to get really close to the attacker to use them as a weapon. So, the idea is to convince these guys you're not worth it.

10) Several defense mechanisms he taught us are: If someone is following behind you on a street or in a garage or with you in an elevator or stairwell, look the man in the face and ask them a question, like what time is it?, or make general small talk: 'I can't believe it is so cold out here,' 'We're in for a bad winter..' Now you've seen their face and could identify them in a line-up; you lose appeal as a target.

11) If someone is coming toward you, hold out your hands in front of you and yell STOP! or STAY BACK! Most of the rapists this man talked to said they'd leave a woman alone if she yelled or showed that she would not be afraid to fight back. Again, they are looking for an EASY target.

12) If you carry pepper spray (this instructor was a huge advocate of it and carries it with him wherever he goes), yell I HAVE PEPPER SPRAY and holding it out will be a deterrent.

13) If someone grabs you, you can't beat them with strength but you can by outsmarting them. If you are grabbed around the waist from behind, pinch the attacker either under the Arm (between the elbow and armpit) OR in the upper inner thigh VERY VERY HARD. One woman in a class this guy taught told him she used the underarm pinch on a guy who was trying to date rape her and was so upset she broke through the skin and tore out muscle strands - the guy needed stitches. Try pinching yourself in those places as hard as you can stand it - it hurts.

14) After the initial hit, always GO for the GROIN. I know from a particularly unfortunate experience that if you slap a guy's parts it is extremely painful. You might think that you'll anger the guy and make him want to hurt you more, but the thing these rapists told our instructor is that they want a woman who will not cause a lot of trouble. Start causing trouble and he's out of there.

15) When the guy puts his hands up to you, grab his first two fingers and bend them back as far as possible with as much pressure pushing down on them as possible. The instructor did it to me without using much pressure, and I ended up on my knees and both knuckles cracked audibly.

16) Of course the things we always hear still apply. Always be aware of your surroundings, take someone with you if you can and if you see any odd behavior, don't dismiss it, go with your instincts!!! You may feel a little silly at the time, but you'd feel much worse if the guy really was trouble.
1. Tip from Tae Kwon Do: The elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do!

2. Learned this from a tourist guide in New Orleans : If a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse, DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM. Toss it away from you .... chances are that he is more interested in your wallet and/or purse than you, and he will go for the wallet/purse. RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!

3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car, kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy. The driver won't see you, but everybody else will. This has saved lives.

4.. Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc, and just sit (doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc.) DON'T DO T HIS! The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go. AS SOON AS YOU GET INTO YOUR CAR, LOCK THE DOORS AND LEAVE. a. If someone is in the car with a gun to your head DO NOT DRIVE OFF, repeat: DO NOT DRIVE OFF! Instead gun the engine and speed into anything, wrecking the car. Your Air Bag will save you. If the person is in the back seat they will get the worst of it. As soon as the car crashes bail out and run. It is better than having them find your body in a remote location.

5 A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot or parking garage:

A.) Be aware: look around you, look into your car, at the passenger side floor, and in the back seat.

B.) If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars.

C.) Look at the car parked on the driver's side of your vehicle, and the passenger side. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out. IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And better paranoid than dead.)

6. ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs. (Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot. This is especially true at NIGHT!)

7. If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS RUN! The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times. And even then, it most likely WILL NOT be a vital organ. RUN, preferably in a zigzag pattern!

8. As women, we are always trying to be sympathetic: STOP! It may get you raped or killed. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking, well-educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked 'for help' into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim.

9. Another Safety Point: Someone just told me that her friend heard a crying baby on her porch the night before last, and she called the police because it was late and she thought it was weird. The police told her 'Whatever you do, DO NOT open the door.' The lady then said that it sounded like the baby had crawled near a window, and she was worried that it would crawl to the street and get run over. The policeman said, 'We already have a unit on the way, whatever you do, DO NOT open the door. 'He told her that they think a serial killer has a baby's cry recorded and uses it to coax women out of their homes thinking that someone dropped off a baby. He said they have not verified it, but have had several calls by women saying that they hear baby's cries outside their doors when they're home alone at night. Please pass this on and DO NOT open the door for a crying baby --- This should be taken seriously because the Crying Baby theory was mentioned on America's Most Wanted this past Saturday when they profiled the serial killer in Louisiana . I'd like you to forward this to all the women you know. It may save a life. A candle is not dimmed by lighting another candle.. I was going to send this to the ladies only, but guys, if you love your mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, etc., you may want to pass it onto them, as well.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Darn those Twilight books...

I spent a few hours last night and most of the day today losing myself in a world of Vampires, Werewolves, and an unbreakeable bond of love. I was reading Eclipse. I know the strong emotional reaction that came with the first two Twilight books, so I waited purposely for a time when I could read the book and give myself time to recover from whatever reading it would do to... well I guess the most honest answer is what it would do to my emotional state, as weird as that sounds.
Since I couldn't finish the book last night, I dreampt of what was happening in the book all night long, so when I woke and started reading again, it was almost as if I hadn't really taken a break from reading at all. There were times when the book had me laughing at loud, tearing up, sighing, and nearly exploding with within from the different emotions that took me. It was easier, less emotional to read Eclipse than it was to read Twilight and New Moon. I'm not sure why that is. I wonder if it's because I've prepared myself and tried to numb myself from the books, or if maybe the uncertainty that was so prominent in Bella and Edwards relationship was in the first two books was no longer present in this one. was still highly emotional and right now I'm trying to refocus myself, to step out of Bella's world and back into reality before I have to start focusing on returning to work, or to continue preparing for my teaching time with Bridge Builders... to be be back in the world where the impossible is simply what it is, impossible; where I am not loved so flawlessly, nor desired by one who shares my affection; where there's nothing exciting that I'm looking forward to; that same place where I see myself and I don't like what I see... you know, it's no wonder that I have trouble pulling myself out of Bella's world and back into Amanda's world. I don't like Amanda's world right now. I would take the dreadful terror and imperfect complications of Bella's world over mine any day. I think that's because I want what Bella has; not the vampires or the werewolves or anything like that, but the relationship she has with Edward... and I don't see that ever happening in Amanda's world, not back in reality. I'm not even sure if it could happen. Don't laugh at me because of that. I'm just being honest and that desire is a part of my life that I push away and hide from until I read something like Edward and Bella's relationship in Twilight and it suddenly reawakens. I think part of this refocusing myself is silencing that desire again and pretending it doesn't exist. If you just read this, please don't laugh or think of me as nothing more than a silly girl with fairy tales on the brain. I'm really not.

Darn those Twilight books.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Incredible, Beautiful, Art!

I was browsing the traditional art section of and I happened upon this drawing. I only saw it as a thumbnail (probably no bigger than you are seeing it now) and at first I thought it was a photo done in sepia. After clicking the image I brought it to full screen and realized it was a drawing! Simply Beautiful! I would have thought it was beautiful if it had only been a photo, I don't think I have ever seen talent quite like this.
If you want to view the drawing full size or see other works done by the same artist, this is the link:
(once the link opens, click on the picture to see it full size)

Undignified Love

As I was reading the Ragamuffin Gospel, I kept saying "Hey, mom, dad, listen to this...!" There was a lot of really good stuff in it. But this is something that really caught me, the idea of an undignified love.

I wish for you the awakening I experienced many years ago during a spiritual sojourn in the Saragosa Desert in Spain. One night I went to the chapel to pray. The world was asleep but my heart was awake to the Lord and I stood at the crucifix for a long time. Then in faith, I heard Jesus Christ say, "For love of you, I left my Father's side and I came to you, who ran from Me, who fled Me, who did not want to hear My name. For love of you, I was covered with spit and punched and beaten and fixed to the wood of the cross."

I figuratively saw the blood streaming from every wound and pore in Christ's body. And I heard the cry of His blood. "THIS ISN'T A JOKE! It is not a laughing matter to Me that I have loved you." The longer I looked, the more I realized that no man has ever loved me and no woman could ever love me as He does. I went out into the darkness and shouted into the night, "JESUS, ARE YOU CRAZY? ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND TO HAVE LOVED ME SO MUCH?"

The day I joined the order, an old Franciscan told me, "once you come to experience the love of Jesus Christ, nothing else in the world will seem beautiful or desirable." That night I learned first hand what he meant.The nature of God's love for us is outrageous. Why doesn't this God of ours display some taste and discretion in dealing with us? Why doesn't He show more restraint? To be blunt about it, couldn't God arrange to have a little more dignity? Wow!

No, the love of our God isn't dignified at all, and apparently that's the way He expects our love to be for others. Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Ragamuffin Gospel; Visual Edition

I started reading the Ragamuffin Gospel; Visual Edition by Brennan Manning and so far I'm struggling with reading the book. I love it when books give visual aid, but honestly, as cool as the graphics are, they are too distracting. Some of the fonts used are hard to read (and in some cases hard to see) and the book reads like a magazine making the writing/concepts seem choppy and disorganized. But the funny thing is that I think this disorganized mess gives a great visual of the heart of who we are next to God. I don't think that was it's intentions, in fact, I'm not sure if anyone else even sees that, but I saw that and I thought it was kind of neat.

I'm only about half way through the book, but beyond the visuals, I have read several things that I believe are profound, or hard for Christians and non-Christians alike to accept.

But one of the things that stirred in me was a part that talked about God being revealed in nature and science pushing God out.
One part says very simply "Our world is saturated with grace and the lurking presence of God is revealed not only spirit but in matter- in a deer leaping across a meadow, in the flight of an eagle, in fire and water, in a rainbow after a summer storm, in a gentle doe streaking though a forest, in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, in a child licking a chocolate ice cream cone, in a women with windblown hair. God intended for us to discover His loving presence in the world around us."

There was something about reading this... It was all so simple. Simple, but beautiful beyond belief, and it is where we can discover God. I've been longing return to simplicity. Instead of the droning of an air conditioner in the morning, I want to hear the songs of the birds. Instead of the the smell of chlorine in the pool down the street, I want to smell the scent of fresh flowers and grass. I want to discover God in the stars and marvel at the depths of the universe.

You know, I don't mind thunderstorms. I fear without being afraid. They make me feel small and insignificant but it makes me think of the passage in the Old Testament where God is going to reveal Himself to Elijah. There is a great wind, and earthquake and a fire and even though those things display the mighty power of God, God was not in them. He was in the gentle whisper. Everytime there is a thunderstorm I am reminded of God revealing Himself to Elijah and I am enveloped in God's loving presense.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Books and Blogposts

I went to the Library today and I picked up four books:

The Ragamuffin Gospel (Visual Edition) by Brennan Manning
Velvet Elvis By Rob Bell
Provocative Faith by Matthew Paul Turner
And Jesus in the Margins by Rick McKinley

I'm reading The Ragamuffin Gospel first, but I'm excited about reading all the books. I would love to make time to write about what I'm reading in the books, a commentary, sort ot. . I actually sat down and had a hard time deciding which to read first, so I read the introductions or authors notes to all of them. Finally I picked the one whose intro related most to what I've been thinking about lately. But how I choose my books isn't interesting, so I'll move on.

I have this thing on my blogs that tells me stats about it, and I find it interesting to see what people are putting into google search. People have found my blog by looking for the names of my friends whose blogs I've linked.

But by far, my blog has shown the most searches for variations of "sumbit to one another".
(this is what is yielded from my blog: )
Do people actually read and take interest in what I have to say?

In some ways I'm concerned that I get a hit on my blog for this topic nearly every day. I wonder what it is they are looking for and why they are looking for something that says to submit to one another. Is it men trying to provide Biblical proof that women are inferior and must submit to mans will? NO! I hope that in reading the blogpost, they understand that submission is mutual and done on the basis of love out of reverence for Christ and not will, power, might, or right.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Part 2: Prayer

When I became a Christian Prayer seemed to come very naturally for me. Not in that I prayed well or anything, but in the fact that I prayed. It wasn't hard for me to remember to pray. I didn't always remember to read my Bible, but I never forgot to pray.
It was the biggest way for me to stay connected to God. I also couldn't sleep at night unless I prayed. I think part of that was because sometimes I would have aweful, haunting nightmares and praying often kept the dreams away.
It's weird, but for a little less than a year, praying became hard, uncomfortable... It was like I just could not find that connection to God through prayer. (Dark night of the soul? Probably not, but not impossible.) It was also at that point that I had started praying less for myself and more for others, but it was hard to know how to pray for others.
Recently I've been taking Prayer Walks. I'm not completely free from distractions, actually, I think I might even be putting more distractions in front of me, but as I walk and pray, I talk to God about Valpo, I pray for Him to reveal to me opportunities to be light, and I believe that He has done that. I have met so many people when I walk. I have prayed with one, I have invited one to church. I feel good to say that for about a 4 block radius, I know who most of my neighbors are.

On Saturday, Lance gave us Scriptures about praying as well. When I sat down and read them by myself, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 was one that I spent some time thinking about. The verse says very simply "pray without ceasing". While I was in college I heard this verse over and over again. I've heard people talk about it and question what it means and offer theories on how that works, but I've never quite heard it put the way I now understand it. When I think about this verse, I think about something I've heard people say several times:
"Prayer is 1/4 talking and 3/4 listening."
When I thought about prayer in this perspective, it answers the question for me about how it is possible to pray without ceasing. We can praise God, we can make our requests known to God, we can talk about our day, we can talk about friends, we ask look for his guidance, but honestly, it is really hard to keep conversations going sometimes. But even in conversations there are natural pauses and moments of silence. It is listening and hearing the other party. God wants to speak to us, so a part of our prayer, a big part, needs to be us listening to God. So how does that work out so that we can pray without ceasing? It is definitely talking to God, it is definitely praising Him, it is definitely bringing our needs and others needs before Him, but moreso, it is having a constant awareness of God in your life, always looking for and expecting Him to speak, to teach, to comfort, to love. Praying without ceasing is to put yourself always in a state of being that you can hear His voice if He chooses to speak.

The Thessalonians verse is the only one I felt like really getting into tonight, but these were the other verses given to us Saturday morning:

Matthew 21:22
Philippians 4:6
Luke 18:1
Luke 18:10-14
1 Peter 4:7
James 4:3

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Part 1:The word of God

I've been wanting to write a blogpost, something deep and meaningful and worth reading, but I'm so overwhelmed by what it will take to put those thoughts down, that I can't find the motivation to write. Then it's another matter than most deep and meaningful things I want to talk about are highly personal and there are instances in which I would prefer to remain a private person. But I guess voicing my thoughts on any given subject will reveal me as well.


Yesterday evening and during the day today was Life Bridges Leadership Conference. I was supposed to co-teach a breakout session, but no one came to the breakout session. I was actually relieved. I spent the 45 minutes praying and reading Scriptures given in the Main session about the Bible and Prayer..

Scripture and Prayer have always been two things I've considered tremendously important in my walk with Christ.

It is one of my goals in life to memorize the entire Bible. A person spoke at Bethel a few years ago relaying how he visisted a university in Jerusalem and when people found out that he did not have the entire old testament memorized a person came up to him and asked "How can you follow your rabbi if you don't know what he said?" That has always stuck with me. If Jewish children can memorize the Old Testament, (or at the very least, the first five books) then certainly I can memorize at the very least the New Testament, and even better, the whole Bible.
I've made very little progress with that, but it still remains my desire, to know God's word, to truly hide it in my heart. I think what I must know of Scripture is nothing; I know so little. I get overwhelmed, and I think my way of dealing with things that overwhelm me is to avoid them.
But I will keep pressing on toward that goal. When I am working on memorizing Scripture I like to say I'm practicing sword fighting. I call it that because of:

Hebrews 4:12 (For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.)


Ephesians 6:10-20 (about our struggle not being against flesh and blood, and the call to put on the full armor of God). Specifically verse 17 (take up... the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.)

I think reading these verses and saying I'm practicing sword fighting gives me that sense of truly being a part of something that's bigger than myself. It gives me the sense that I'm fighting for something, for the greatest thing, God's Kingdom.

Here are some Scripture I read this morning about Scripture:

John 8:31-32 Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."

Psalm 119:11 I treasure your word in my heart, so that I may not sin against you.

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Matthew 7:24-27 Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell?and great was its fall!"

Romans 10:17 So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.

Hebrews 4:12-13 Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And before him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account.

2nd Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.

1st Peter 2:2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation