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

Thursday, May 14, 2009

READ THIS BLOG POST!!! The person who posted this blog talks about women in the media who are pegged as being fat, but aren't. The overall blogpost is about the nasty little word fat. I thought it was interesting, so READ IT!

On the other hand, I got a pedometer in the mail today. Random....

Did you know that 3500 calories is the equivalent of one pound and one pound of body fat is about the size of a pea.

If you want to know about how many calories your body burns on a daily basis before physical activity, multiply your bodyweight by 9.5 .... I have no idea how they came up with that number.

My Twilight book, (Eclipse) still has not come in the mail yet, but yet I've already recieved the fourth book (Breaking Dawn) and I ordered them from the same website.

After I finish reading the Twilight series, I'm going to read Eragon... and the rest of it's series. :-)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Witness to a Murder

This morning I went to pick up the check sheets from the Kindergarteners I work with. One particular kindergartener is one that is often in trouble a lot, and I've always attributed that some of his behavior problems stem from the fact that his mother died just less than two years ago. As I was walking to his classroom, he sees me from down the hall and runs back into the classroom, grabs his checksheets and runs back out to me. He was in a good mood today. He handed me his check sheets, then showed me a picture of his mom. Then he began to tell me that she died.
Even though he gave me his checksheets I went into the classroom to let his teacher know I picked them up. While I was in there I told the teacher that he showed me a picture of his mom. Then I found out something that broke my heart.
The kindergartener witnessed his mothers murder. The teacher told me his mom answered the door and her ex- husband stabbed her to death while she was holding my kindergarteners baby sister (but the baby sister is okay, and she's absolutely adorable too).
Poor kid. Thankfully his sister was too little to remember it.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Ruby Gettinger

This woman inspires me! I followed the show about her weight loss and it was incredible to watch her journey. My jaw nearly dropped when I saw her in this video. She is doing so good and losing so much weight!!! I'm happy for her.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Strange Phone Calls, AT&T not helpful...

For the past two days I have been recieving a phone call from this number: 123456789 . Seriously. I am dumbfounded first because there are not enough digits to really be a phone number, and secondly because when I clicked my phone to return the call I get 3 beeps and my phone displays "wrong number". I called AT&T to ask if they had any idea what it was or if they could check into it. They couldn't really help me, the person answering my call looked up my call history and couldn't even find that I had recieved any calls from the strange number. They did, however, note that I had made a call to 911 and was charges 50 cents by the state because of it. I did not make any calls to 911, so they refunded the 50 cents (I didn't even ask them to). SO Basically, I'm not answering my phone if the number comes up again, and if you recieve any calls from that number, don't answer.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Going to graduation at Bethel today. I'm going to watch yet another class graduate without me. :( But it's going to be great to watch more of my friends graduate. :) I sent a text message to a few friends to tell them i was coming and they were really excited so i'm glad to support them. :)