Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Ready for Spring Anyone?

OK, Christmas is over, time for Spring! Seriously, I am pining for it already. Especially due to the fact that it was 63 degrees here on Christmas Eve! My crocuses are poking their heads up out of the ground already, and I am starting to get the gardening bug!

We had a great candle-light service on Friday night. The choir sang (or at least there were about 20 of us there from the choir), and Brian gave a short message. It was fun. I went to bed early on Friday night and got up early Saturday morning to get some last minute shopping done. The malls weren't too bad, but then again, I was out of there by about 11:00 AM and the parking lot was already starting to fill up. Saturday afternoon about ten of us from the choir participated in the Christmas Eve service that was sponsored by four local churches, including ours. This was the service that we were supposed to join with Church of the Living God for. At the last minute, we found out that we were not going to be joining. The whole service was a little surreal. One of the "performers" yodled and danced around on stage, and was just plain strange. Then, at the very back of the church, the ten of us who were there from our choir got a serious case of the giggles. It started during the singing of "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" when we all realized that NONE of us knew the second verse!! We would start and then stop, and then try to start again, but by then it was too late. I had tears streaming down my face and was laughing so hard that I could not sing the other two verses that I DID know! I was grateful that we were at the very back of the church where we/I could laugh without being a distraction. The whole thing was just weird and strange. No one gave much of a message. It was just some scripture reading, and then some singing. One man, who played the harmonica, was amazing. But between the yodling lady and a man who sang some song about "Richard" (who the heck is Richard, and why are you singing about HIM at a Christmas Eve service?) and the fact that there were only ten of us out of sixty and getting a case of the giggles, by the time we were scheduled to come on, it was just a strange experience. We were supposed to start a recessional off the stage at the very end of our last song, but I forgot, and off walks Aaron up the aisle, and I am looking at him wondering "why is he walking off?" So I turn to Alison next to me and say "Am I supposed to follow him?" And, yep, I was supposed to. It was just a funny, funny time.

Saturday after the service I went out to Puyallup to my parents' house and opened presents. It was a nice and relaxing time. I got some very nice non-stick skillets and "The Chronicals of Narnia" book set.

Sunday, I got to sleep in, and then went pack over to Puyallup for Christmas dinner and then we kept our tradition of seeing a movie on Christmas Day and went to see "King Kong." Not the best movie I've ever seen, but it was fine.

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! I am looking forward to the new year and what it might bring!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Jesus is the Reason for the Season

I just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas! This will be my last post before the day we honor the Messiah's birth! Have a wonderful day celebrating the amazing gift God gave to us in Jesus Christ!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Sing Choirs of Angels

Well, aparently people liked our Christmas program so much, we are singing it two more times. Well, at least part of it. We are singing something on our Friday evening candlelight service as well as a Christmas Eve service that is a combination of four different downtown Tacoma churches. This includes a combined Newsong/Church of the Living God choir. Church of the Living God is an African American church on Tacoma's hilltop and I hear that their choir is amazing. I am excited to see what that will look like....our almost all white choir with an African American choir together. I think it will be a visual representation of reconciliation between the races. The pastor of C.O.T.L.G. came to our program on Sunday night and he is the one who requested that we sing at the Christmas Eve service. And so, the beat goes on.....

I have not posted about Weight Watchers in a couple of weeks because I have been on a major plateau. Prior to last Saturday, I had only lost 3/4 of a pound in three weeks. Yes, plateau-city, people! However, last Saturday, I finally broke through and lost 2.8 pounds in one week! I am now inching tantilizingly close to the 25 lb. total loss. What finally broke me through was that I started exercising. I have been both running, as well as going to the YMCA to work out. It was funny, but when I started my running program, I was fully expecting it to be as difficult as I remembered from the past. However, I was immediately able to run two miles! And, had I been doing any kind of working out before, I probably could have gone further. I was actually pretty stunned at being able to start out at two miles. Then I realized...the last time I tried to go running regularly I was 20 pounds heavier. Imagine trying to run carrying two 10-lb flour sacks with you, and then taking them off. That is what it was like for me. And so I have discovered that running can actually be fun when it is not laborious and painful. When I have tried running before, it has been hard due to my weight. No wonder I have never kept a running program going! I am actually wanting to train for some sort of semi-short race to motivate me to keep up with the program. I never struggled with weight in high school because I was always involved with some sort of sport to keep me in shape. My workouts always had a purpose. I need to give my workouts a purpose to keep me motivated. My roommate Julie has been going with me on occaision, and Sara has gone with me once too. I am a slug in speed, which is fine. I feel like a Chihuahua trying to run like a German Shephard. I am not going to go fast, but at least I complete the distance.

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Answer was Born Today

We had our first-ever Christmas program last night, and I must say, we ROCKED. It is not yet up on the Newsong City Central Church website to listen to, but once it is up, you must go listen to it. I myself am planning on listening to it when I get a chance. We sang all original music except for four songs (Go Tell it on the Mountain, Breath of Heaven, Oh Come All Ye Faithful, and Joy to the World). People were actually weaping, especially during the title song "The Answer Was Born Today." People were getting up out of their seats, clapping and singing along with us. There were at least a dozen salvations. It was incredible. It was electrifying. The glory fell. We rocked!

It was so fun to be involved in the choir. As much as I manifested frustration and anger through the process, and as much time as we gave for practices, it was so worth it in the end. Isn't that always how it is in ministry? It feels like we spiritually gave birth to something. Like having a baby: the labor is hard and painful, but after it is all over, and you can see and hold what you have waited for, and planned for, it is all worth it. And, I would say that for this as well. My parents got to come, which was neat. I'll try to post more later.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Hesitating to post, but the victory

I was hesitant to post today, but out of the misery of yesterday, I have had some victory, so I should probably share that. Here's the story:

I was, as mentioned yesterday, feeling guitly about taking the day off at the last minute from work on Monday. Then, yesterday afternoon I got pulled into my boss' office for a discussion. Basically he had a note put in my personnel file about taking days off without proper notice. Not disciplinary action, just a note that he and I had had a "discussion." If it should happen again, it is documentation that we have already had a "talk" and it will at that time progress to more of a disciplinary status. If I had called in sick, which would have been a lie since I wasn't, that would have been OK. But, because I took a vacation day instead of a sick day, I got a verbal warning about a lack of proper notice. I fully accept responsibility for the fact that out of my rebellion in refusing to pray about whether I should take the day off or not, I took a day off of work that I shouldn't have. I did it, and I fully deserve the consequences to my behavior. I should have listened to that still small voice telling me to buck up and go to work anyway. I was already feeling guilty, and what was a day already starting out bad, continued to get worse as I felt even guiltier. I basically had a "black cloud" of crud following me around all day yesterday. So, what did I do? I ate more than I was planning at our Christmas potluck here at work. And then, feeling guilty about that, went home and ran three miles (which normally would be a big victory that I am up to that far of a distance) and skipped dinner in an effort to stem the tide of food going in the mouth. Not a good idea to skip dinner, since I went from my run straight to a four and a half hour choir practice.

As I lay in bed last night digesting my day, feeling like a failure, beating myself up for all the ways I messed up, recognizing how I was striving my brains out out of my own strength, but at the same time just wanting to give up. I had a revelation. I realized "I am right in the middle of one of my thought patterns! I have the ability to stop this right now!" You see, my day yesterday was a classic case of what my typical sin cycle looks like: believing I am a failure, hating myself for not being perfect, beating myself up over the way(s) I messed up, and feeling ashamed of myself over my mistake(s), doing things to make myself feel better about myself, when doesn't work so turning to things to comfort myself (ususally food, sleep, or entertainment), and then finally giving up in defeat.

Literally, I was at the point of defeat: "I should just look for a new job anyway. Maybe I won't go to choir practice tonight, no one will miss me. I should just eat what I want, one day won't hurt." When I realized where my thoughts were, I was able to recognize this: "it isn't like me to want to give up." Because it really isn't. When I get to the point of wanting to quit, it is like a little white flag waving in the air. Subtle, but it works. And so, last night I rose up in victory of the truth and woke up this morning feeling better and having a much more joyful and victorious day today.

Now, if I could just recognize this pattern BEFORE I get to the end of that cycle.....I am seeing more and more every day how deeply I believe I am a failure, and how that affects my life. But I am in great need of stopping those thought patterns that develop so quickly before they start to spiral. So, I rejoice in victory, but, there is still much work to be done.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

In the Jungle

The mighty jungle, the Lion and the Witch and the Wardrobe sleep tonight!

Still feeling a little melancholy today. Still in the process of figuring out why. I had a good weekend last weekend. I went to my friend Jackie's birthday party at The Ram and then went to see "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" (HIGHLY RECOMMEND) and then Saturday I met with my friend Erika to pray through some stuff about a preschool we are looking into starting. Then, I took the afternoon and evening off from any activity and just had some alone time. I felt fine on Saturday, but had a meeting Sunday morning that I think was the start of the re-emergance of my malaise.

I am now being discipled again. The woman who is discipling me is also discipling a large group of us and we met on Sunday morning. In fact, all of the women at the church who have been in leadership, but have not been discipled are now being discipled again by various women in the church. It isn't that I am being discipled that bugs me, nor is it the woman who is in charge of my group. I think what bothers me is our church's tendancy to categorize women and put them into groups based on opinions of them or where others think they are at in their walk with the Lord/freedom. We talk and talk at our church about the Lord being the one to elevate and promote people and how everyone is important yadda yadda yadda. Yet, if we really look at it, it is the same people who get promoted and elevated in our church time and time again. It really annoys me. Do I have to be in charge of some huge ministry to be considered "important" in our church? That is how it feels. The same women get put together and picked for things. It makes me feel like I have to prove myself, and yet that goes against all biblical teaching, I have to prove myself to no man. Is it those who announce and shout about their accomplishments that get the most notice? Is that really what they expect me to do?

I think what irritates me even more than all of that, is how important it still is to me to BE noticed. It bothers me that I still value the opinions of the leadership in our church more than I value what the Lord sees in all that I do. Otherwise I do what I do for the praise of man instead of the praises from my King. Why should it matter what group I am in? Or whether it is noticed what I do? I think I just get tired of hearing about how I am messing up all the time. That is what it feels like, anyway, about how I am continuing to fall short. Anyone else see some fear of failure/feeling like a failure in here??

Then, yesterday, I felt like I needed a mental health day off from work. And so, I took one. But spent the whole day feeling guilty about not being at work and feeling guilty about all the things I should have been doing with my time. I didn't call anyone, I didn't clean any part of the house, I didn't do any errands that are on my list to do. I just took a day off. And, I felt horrible about my laziness and sloth. I also started feeling guilty for taking time to myself on Saturday, and like I should have gone to at least one of the parties I was invited to. If I am really honest, I am feeling guilty about the time I had on Sunday with one of my small group girls, like I didn't give enough to her too.

And so, I walked into work today feeling like I should have been here yesterday, and feeling guilty because work had to be shifted around to accomodate my day off (though I am the main one affected by this). Feeling guilty and like a failure about most other areas of my life as well.

And so, that is the struggle. Feeling guilty, not convicted, over my failures, whether real or perceived. Honestly there is also anger in there at leadership of church for the small group I am in. I am just full of my sin today.

Friday, December 09, 2005

The Rock

By Me
all Rights Reserved

A heart made of rock
Beats inside me.
And all of my life
It's been made out of stone.
But even a rock
Is made smooth by the rain
Rounding rough edges
Only you can hone

Fall on me Lord
Wash the sharpness away
Soften me Lord
Mold me as clay.
Polish me
Form me in your hand
Only rocks that are broken
Become grains of sand

This hardened earth
Can be soft again
In the care of a master
Who has me in his hand.
Till up this soil
Where seed should grow
Break up this fallow ground
To make fertile this land.


I am just feeling a little, no make that a lot, "off" today. I am not sure what was the exact start of all of this, but it has been a day where things have just been building.

I was up super late last night due to choir practice running long, and was feeling a little patronized by the section leader of my choir section who was saying things like "we are going to havea competition between choir sections to see who can be the quietest when Aaron is talking" and I felt like I was in first grade being scolded by my teacher. I didn't like it in first grade, and I like it even less as a thirty-year-old. I am also struggling to learn the tune of the songs we are singing. It is proving to be a lot harder than I would like. I am feeling like I am failing.

So, I woke up a little on the wrong side of the bed. Then, got to work, and got an email from a friend's boyfriend who would like to propose to her, which would normally be a great cause for celebaration. Except that they have been on a bit of a break because she is still not sure. I have felt very much in the middle of this whole situation for various reasons. The main reason is that she is indecisive and wanting me to either validate her fear or help talk her into this guy when the reality of the situation is that it is her decision, not mine. Do I have concerns? Yes. But my concerns stem from the fact that she still hasn't decided. After a year and a half of dating. Is this her fears and doubts, or is it the Lord's way of subtly trying to get her attention that he is not the one for her? I don't have the answer to this, yet I do know that she needs to decide. Period.

And, then I have her boyfriend rebuking me for not being more excited for her and trying to help her decide in his favor. How can I have an opinion until SHE has an opinion? It isn't my role to help her decide, it is to help her guard her heart and have breakthrough in restoration. Isn't it? And, when I told him that I wasn't release to be excited for her until SHE is excited and decided, he told me I was wrong! I felt manipulated and like I was in the middle of some sort of high school drama. My friend has even said that she thinks he has been telling me things so that I can pass that information on to her. Whether that is true or not, I am not here to play that kind of game! And so, I am feeling caught in the middle. I think he is planning on asking her out of fear or losing her. I think she'd say yes at this point out of obligation while being wracked with fear and hesistation and indecision herself. How do I get myself out of this mess and still be helpful? I can see how my desire to be helpful is leading me to go crazy in my own strongholds. My friend can't decide, and I can't understand that, and so I want to "help" her make the right decision, when it is NOT my decision to make. It is hers to make. Her boyfriend wants me to have an opinion, but his manipulation and game playing are irritating to me. Is he the one for her? When I see his flaws, I am of course going to see them through the eyes of someone who is not meant for him. So, my opinions are not shaped by someone seeing him as a future mate, or as someone who might be his future mate should. I am not the one to offer an opinion on him. It would not be helpful and would only validate my friend's fears.

I called my friend's small group leader to have a discussion with her about the situation and was told "this is not about you." Which, she is right, it is not. But, I AM involved, and that was what I was wanting advice on...how to MAKE IT not about me. How to do the right thing by my friend. Whamo!

Then, I have been feeling instead of conviction, condemnation and feeling like a failure (big surprise eh?) over my time with my small group. I don't have enough hours in the week to fully pour into each of them like I want to. How do I balance a schedule where they are all important to me, they all get my help in restoration, while still being a sane person? I am feeling myself getting overwhelmed with the amount of time that each of them needs from me each week. I want to love them and see them restored, but I can't fit it all in in the way that they would need. Help me Jesus! Then, to top it off, I am feeling like for sure one, if not two, are in the process of avoiding me. How do I pursue them and let them know that they are valued and charished but not at the expense of the other girls who are wanting my help?

This is really just a bigger problem of managing my schedule. I am feeling like I don't have a moment to rest. Even Jesus took time out of his schedule to rest. I am certainly not Jesus, and if He needed it, I certainly do too. Maybe I am just tired and cranky and overwhelmed today.

In addition, I am here at work right now and was sharing something with a co-worker and got my throat jumped down. He has been very busy with a work project and when he has been around, up until this week, he has been terse and taciturn. All I did was mention that he has not been himself lately, and I got figuratively slapped in the face for it.

All I want to do is crawl into a hole and disappear.

See, and now I read that long list, and I can see that I am complaining. I am complaining and whining and feeling sorry for myself. That doesn't help anything. Oh, Lord. I need help! I don't have the answers, and that is hard for me to admit. I like having the answers to life (because failure is less of an option, you see), and it is hard for me to admit that I am struggling with where to go and what to do in these situations. Couple that with being tired and overwhelmed and you have me not watching my tongue or thinking before speaking and acting. People get hurt that way, and then I feel even more like a failure.

Round and round we go, where it stop only Jesus knows!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Anyone else see something ironic about this picture?

This weekend

The "other" Washington

My friend Michelle from the "other" Washington (DC) was in town this weekend and I had a wonderful time with her and my other good friend Chantel on Saturday. We met at Chantel's and went out to Indian food. Can I just say how much I LOVE Indian food? This is a recent discovery for me (i.e. within the last six months). Where have you been all of my life Mutter Paneer? Naan? Korma? :-)

We then went and saw P&P. Yes, this makes my third viewing of this movie. I think I am single-handedly paying Keira Knightly's salary for this movie. Michelle is the one who first introduced me to P&P several years ago. She, being more of a Jane Austen purist, wasn't in love with this new version as I was. Chantel, like me, liked the new one better. We took a picture of ourselves in front of the billboard. Mostly because when we called to see what time the movie was playing, I looked down at my watch and read it wrong and thought the movie was starting in ten minutes. Once we got to the theater as they took our tickets they said they were not seating for it yet. I looked down at my watch again and realized we were there an HOUR early. So, we just killed some time at the theater while we waited.

I also got my Christmas Tree on Saturday, and spent the afternoon decorating it. There is just something special about the fresh smell of fir trees in the house that makes it feel more like Christmas. I have debated about getting a fake tree in the past, but every year I pay an arm and a leg for a fresh-cut one. There is just something about it.

Sunday I had a meeting in the afternoon for small group leaders, and was just convicted about how little of myself I have been giving to my small group. Especially in the area of time. Sunday's sermon contained a lot of the same conviction. If you get a chance, click on the Newsong link to the right and download Sunday's message. It was a round-robin sort of night, where six people got five minutes to speak on the breakthrough they have been having and six more people got two minutes to talk about what it means to have the Lord's heart. I cried off and on throughout the sermon. Very powerful stuff.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Burying my talents

Do you ever think about just how much value Americans put on their time? Or realize just how much we worship having "me" time? For those of you who are Believers, have you ever thought about how those rights we hold onto are in direct opposition the the Lord? That has been what has been on my heart this weekend.

In Matthew there is a parable of a master who gives his money to three of his servants to keep for him while he is away. The three servants take this money and do some very different things with it. Two of the servants invest the money and it is returned back twice as much. The other goes and buries his out of fear. When the master returns the two who have invested are told "Well done, good and faithful servant." The one who has hidden his portion of the money is sent away.

What is it, then, that the Master of the Universe has given to us, His servants, to invest? He has given us so much: the keys to the kingdom, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness and self-control, spiritual gifts such as teaching, healing, and discernment, compassion, salvation, mercy, grace, and on, and on, and on.

How do we invest those things? By ministering to other people 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Seriously. If we have a single minute of our day where we are not seeing with an outward focus the lives of those around us and asking the Lord about how we can help them, then the only other person we our investing in is ourselves. That, plain and simple, means that we are worshiping ourselves.

I don't necessarily know that those of us who don't invest what we've been given in other people will "be sent away." The Bible is clear that our salvation once earned cannot be lost. But, what I do know, is that at the end of my life, when I am standing before the Lord giving an account of my life, I want to come limping into that throne room without an ounce of fuel left in my tank, without a shred of rubber on flat tires, and the life from my battery drained. I don't want an earthly possession left, or a minute of my time as my own. I want to invest so much of what I have been given into others that the return is double what I started with. I want to hear "Well done, good and faithful servant." For me to give away myself in service to others is to gain everything. Life will never be fulfilling and truly full of joy until I realize that life is not worth living, unless it is worth living for other people.

What stands in the way of this is my desperate belief in my right to hold on to my own time. I have had small spurts of breakthrough in this, and yet, I still hold on to my free time with clenched fists. And just like the servant who buries his money, I hold on to what the Lord has given me out of fear. I am afraid of giving up *my* time. Or, more acurately, I am afraid of giving up ALL of my time. I don't think anyone who knows me would say that I don't serve, because I do. But the very real truth is that I give it up on my own agenda and time-frame. I still see my life as my own in this way. I need to understand that my time isn't my time, but the Lord's time. Right now *I* decide when I'll serve. *I* decide when I am done serving. *I* decide what I am going to do on my nights where there is nothing specific scheduled. *I* *I* *I* *I* *I.* Do you see all the "I's" in there? What I need is to realize that when *I* am in charge, the Lord is not. I need less of me and more of the Lord. This is the meaning of the verse about dying to our selves. I need to get out of the way so that the Lord can HAVE His way.

I am greived over my fear. I am greived over my lack of compassion and love for others. I am greived over how much of myself is still inside of me. I am greived today that I am still counting the cost when somuch has been given to me.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Oh The Weather Outside is Frightful...

But the fire is so delightful, and since we've no place to go....let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

I left church last night and this is what greeted me for my drive home! It was quite a fun challenge to drive up the hill from downtown Tacoma in my little VW Jetta. I made it home, and couldn't help taking some pictures of my back yard, out the window, of course! Every school district in Pierce County, with the exception of one, is closed today. I rolled into work about half an hour late because I had to drive so slowly to get in. They expect it to melt during the day today, but it is fun to see.

Choir practice after church last night was amazing. We are sounding so great! Just in time for our Dec. 18th Christmas program. It is an hour and a half program. I am worried about memorizing all of the songs PLUS my part. Please pray that the Lord would supernaturally re-wire my brain to remember the words as well as the tune. It is pretty new for me to remember a part as well as the words. Only two of the songs we sing are familiar to me.

I also had some pretty good breakthrough in my singing lessons this week. Gretchen had me sing "Silent Night" and I was not singing loud enough. So, she had me sing it as loud as I could and as off key as I could. Then, she said, combine the volume and actually try. And! Voila! Out came a nice sound! I am not at the point where I sing and those nice wobbly sounds come out (do you know what I am talking about?). I don't even know how to make my voice do that. But, it is sounding much better.

The house is mostly decorated for Christmas. I spent a good amount of time last weekend getting stuff out for the house. I just need to get a tree and decorate it for the house to be "complete." I just LOVE this time of the year! Add in a dash of snow, and you have perfection!

I am up for a busy weekend. Tonight I am going to a youth outreach event that the church is putting on, then tomorrow, WW meeting, getting a tree, and then an evening with my good friend Michelle who is in town from the "other" Washington (DC). Sunday, a class at church from 1-3 and then church at 5. Looks like another packed weekend! Have a good one yourself.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Snuggly Cat

Since I talk about her so much, here is a picture of my snuggly cat/hot water bottle/lap warmer/book rest/purr machine/meow-meow named Licorice.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Thanksgiving Day @ My Parent's

The top picture is me with my mom and dad at their house for Thanksgiving. The bottom one is me at my house. I might upload some more pictures of my house, on the inside later today.

Thanksgiving day was a riot. Had a good time, ate some good food. Can I just say stuffing made from cornbread, pecans and sausage? It was all I could do not to have seconds. Also, had what I am hereby dubbing mashed "fauxtatoes" which was really mashed cauliflower with some other ingredients. It was actually pretty good. If I was more of a mashed potato lover, I might have missed the real thing, but as it was, the "fauxtatoes" were actually pretty good. The turkey was good as well, and I even had a small piece of pumpkin pie. Then, it was time to face the music, and lo and behold, I managed to lose half a pound last week. Not my best week ever, but all things considered...pretty good.

I went and saw "Walk the Line" this weekend, the biography of Johnny Cash, and it was actually pretty good. I thought Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Whitherspoon did a pretty convincing job.

They are talking snow out here tonight, and if I didn't have to work tomorrow, I might be more excited. However, it is really only nice when you get a day off school because of it. Boy, am I turning into my mother.

No other news here, really. Just had a nice, relaxing weekend.

Update photo

Ok, after popular demand, here is an updated photo of me taken Wed. 11/23/2005. I'll have some more photos on here soon because, as you may have guessed, I finally broke down and bought my own digital camera. So, here you have it....me with 20 lbs. gone.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Gobble, Gobble

There is the funniest Thanksgiving video here: http://www.msn.americangreetings.com/view.pd?i=382219626&m=1652&rr=y&sou I laughed out loud when I watched it. Speaking of Thanksgiving, I am headed over to mom and dad's in Puyallup tomorrow for the big feast. I had someone ask me at work today what I was going to do regarding food for tomorrow and I have a few plans: 1. Eat only those foods that I can't have any time I want them. Like rolls; I can have those any day, so I will skip them tomorrow. 2. Take a loooong walk tomorrow after dinner. 3. Eat only small amounts of the unhealthy stuff. 4. Eat very lightly, but eat, earlier in the day. Hopefully those tips will keep me on track.

I got an email from pastor Brian yesterday. I had emailed him about the possibility of us partnering with YWAM in the UK. It turns out I might be able to make it back there more than one time this upcoming year. In Harpenden, just north of London, YWAM has a Discipleship Training School (one of 40, if I am not mistaken) and they want a group from our church to come for a week in January to teach and pray with their students. That is an option. Then, in May, ChristChurch Fulham (the church I worked with this summer) is putting on a leadership conference and we might work with them then. So, that is an option too. I am not yet sure I can make it to the YWAM base in January, due to lack of vacation. However, if I cut my "just-for-me" trip in February to a week instead of two or go for the week in Jan. instead of Feb., I can swing the May trip. We'll just have to see. I can't buy my ticket to London for a while yet anyway (whether I go in Jan. or Feb.) which gives me enough time to figure out when I should be going, and which trips I should be going on. I would love, love, love to go in January, I just don't know if I'll have the time to do it. Maybe I could go in January briefly, skip the Feb. trip, and then go again in May. So many options. Regardless, I think whatever I end up doing, I will only go for a week this winter instead of two. That way I can save the rest of the vacation to go again later in the year. I just want to do the right thing. If I DO go in January, I would love to add a day or two onto my trip to head down to London to see folks at ChristChurch. We'll just have to see. Please pray that I would hear clearly what the Lord's will for these trips is. Right now I am leaning towards the Jan. trip, skipping the Feb. trip, and then going again in May. If anyone prayes and the Lord shows them anything, please email me and let me know.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, to all of my American friends!

Monday, November 21, 2005


I hit the 20 lb. total loss mark this week at WW. And, for passing my first goal, I got this cool metal keychain. It is shaped like a lock, which I think is supposed to symbolize the fact that I have unlocked the secret to weight loss, or some such thing. It was kind of cool to get. I think I will be happy if I just don't gain any weight this week. I have Thanksgiving coming up this week AND I went to Seattle on Saturday and had Pad Thai PLUS ordered a piece of cheesecake to take home. I have been allowing myself four bites of it per day until it is gone. I am hoping by spreading it out during the week, it won't be so bad. But, I am already planning/dreading the thought of all the food that will be available to eat on Thursday. Yikes. If I make it without gaining, I'll be pleased.

I have not been feeling well, the last week or so though. Tuesday night I got a sore throat and have been sucking on zinc lozenges and spraying ZiCam (kind of like Airborne) to try to fight it. I have been coughing for several days and it has been interrupting my sleep. I am a zombie at work today for that reason. Thankfully, this is a shortened week at work, due to Thanksgiving. I have Thurs and Fri off this week. Hopefully I can make it until then to recover. On Sat. night I was awake coughing until 3:30 AM and then awake again at 8 coughing some more. I spent all day on the couch yesterday, but got to rent a couple of fun movies and watched the Seattle Seahawks barely squeak by in their win over the San Francisco 49ers in football. It has been a strange illness overall. As I have not been too stuffed up, nor have I been sneezing much. It pretty much went right into my lungs. So, I don't sound too bad, but I am coughing a lot and definately tired.

I did get enough sleep on Friday night that I went up to Seattle on Sat. with roommate Sara and some friends. Yes, I saw "Pride and Prejudice" again. I think I am addicted. Hee! Just kidding! During the previews they showed one for "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" which comes out on Dec. 9. This is one movie I'll probably be seeing on opening day. It just looks fantastic.

I have been wearing my glasses for the last week or so, and it is a great reminder of how thankful I am for contacts. I am wearing them due to an eye appointment I have next week to see if my eyes qualify for LASIK eye corrective surgery. I am looking into having this done in January so I can be free from the need for contacts forever! They make you wear glasses for two weeks before your inital consultation because contacts change the shape of your eye significantly enough that it would interfere with the exam. So, I am wearing glasses for two weeks. If I do qualify, I am getting a pretty hefty discount because of my job. They are offering a discount to those of us who have Regence Blue Shield for health insurance. Plus, my job also has something called a personal choice account. Basically, my job will pay for the surgery and I reimburse the county a small amount out of each paycheck. This way, it is paid for up front, and then I just pay it back over the course of a year. Pretty neat deal.

In other non-Erin news, a close friend, and her boyfriend are on a break right now from each other. They love each other, but they are trying to work out some issues that they have personally before moving forward in their relationship. They have been dating for well over a year, and my friend still does not know for sure whether her boyfriend is the one for her. It is interesting to see what is happening here and all the issues that are coming up for my friend. I am learning a lot through her process in figuring things out.

So, in honor of Thanksgiving, I will write a short list of all the things I am thankful for right at this moment (this is not meant to be the ONLY things I am thankful for, just those that pop into my head right now):
Weight Watchers, Pumpkin Cheesecake, DVD players, electricity to run DVD players, roomates Sara and Julie, proper fitting clothes, going an hour without coughing, zinc throat drops, a fall day without rain, watching the leaves turn red orange and yellow, a shortened work week, that I have a job to pay for shortened work week, diet coke, pad thai leftovers, Jane Austen (hee!), snuggly blankets, snuggly cats, contacts, coffee, flanel sheets, and, of course Jesus!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Great Romance

I have been thinking over the last couple of days why I liked the move "Pride and Prejudice" so darn much. I have come to realize that I *pause for dramatic effect* desire to be romanced. Ding, ding, ding! I mean, I think all girls know this anyway, but I have been making connections between the movie and the book "Captivating." If you have not read the book, I highly recommend it. I mean that...stop what you're doing, go buy the book and THEN come back and read my blog. :-)

I see so clearly why for so many years I was addicted to romance novels.... and why so many women just LOVE chick flicks. We desire to be pursued and romanced. These books and movies capture the essence of that desire in a strong way. I am no different from any other woman in this way.

My life up until this point has contained very little in the way of a grand romance. Not that I am disillusioned to think that the way things are in books and movie is the way it is in "real life." Don't get me wrong, my expectations of what real life is like are not clouded by girlish nonsense any longer. But somewhere in there a gal just longs for someone to say to her "You have captured me, body and soul" the way Mr. Darcy tells that to Lizzie. Isn't that what we want, someone to be captivated by us?

I had a dream once, and the setting was of me on my wedding day standing in front of the altar with my groom and he can't stop talking to me. I am a bit puzzled and maybe slightly embarrassed that he wants to talk to me during the ceremony, but he says to me "I can't get enough of you. I can hardly wait to hear what you are going to say next." When I woke up and the Lord said to me "Erin, your husband will be fascinated by all that you have to say." What an encouragement!

I know that the Lord pursues me and is captivated by me in the way that I long for. The Bible also speaks to an earthly marriage as the closest thing to understanding what being the bride of Christ is about. I don't want to live discontent and disappointed that the Lord is my only husband right now, that is not my heart at all. I just also desire to have someone say to me..."I can't believe you are still available for me to pursue!" That he would see in me all of the things that the Lord already does. Maybe that is my selfish heart, but it is the desire of my heart. Since I am created in the image of God, I also know that it is His heart too.....that He longs for us to pursue Him and revel in who He is.

And so, I am identifying more and more with Christ in this struggle....to love and be loved. As much as I long to be loved by my future husband, the Lord longs to be loved by me in an even greater way. And, he longs to love me back in a way that my husband will never be able to. That is the revelation of today.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Pride and Prejudice

Have you seen the new version of this movie? It came out in limited release this weekend, and I just HAD to see it. First of all, I love, love, love the A&E/BBC miniseries version of this movie. Second, it is my British fix for the week (though I have another update on this in a minute). So, it came out in Seattle, and I spent all day Friday trying to find someone to go up and see it with me. Even though I had the day off, a lot of people still had to work, and so, I had to wait for Saturday. And, I must say that I think I liked this version BETTER than the A&E/BBC one!! It was like a freight train, due to the fact that they were trying to fit a five hour movie into two hours. However, I thought the characters were much more realistic and not as over-the-top as the A&E one. I alos felt like they did a better job showing the attraction that the two characters, Lizzie and Mr. Darcy, had for each other from the beginning. I remember halfway through the A&E version saying, "I don't think I even WANT them to get together!" But with this one, you can see from the beginning that at the very least these two people have some very serious chemistry with each other. And, one scene at the end where Mr. Darcy comes upon Lizzie when neither of them can sleep is just heart pounding. The final scene is the best! I can't wait for this to come out in wide-release on the 23rd of this month. For more information on this movie head to http://www.prideandprejudicemovie.net/splash.html and check it out. Just divine.

So, speaking of all things British, I got a call on Sunday from Julie Walton, who had been on the trip to London this summer with me. She proceeded to tell me that one of the kids from this summer, Danny, had gotten saved!!! This kid is, no joking, the kingpin for that neighborhood. That he got saved is like the first domino in a row to fall....watch for all the others to follow. What the Lord is doing in that part of London is just miraculous. I got to hear the message that Danny and Andrew (the youth pastor) left for Julie and we just both started crying. You should have seen me dancing around my house. I think my roommate Julie Smith must have thought I had gone crackers. Great fun.

I still am looking into taking a trip out to London early next year (Feb. or March), but I am wondering if it is truly wise to use my vacation for a "pleasure" trip. The more Brian talks about how we will be/are being sent around the world, I start to wonder if I should save it for a more strategic trip. I will have to do some serious praying about it. If anyone has some wise advice, I'd love to hear it, as I am not sure what to do. Part of me feels like I should go, but part of me is not sure. It is endlessly frustrating to me, and something I regularly have to pray through, that I can't just go when I want. I know I have to work, that is where the Lord has me right now, but boy do I want to be able to just go!!!

Only lost .4 lbs this week at WW. That's OK though, considering the T.O.M. Now fitting into a size Medium shirt. Pretty cool.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


I have been in what I call "purge mode" the last few days. What I mean by this is I am ruthlessly going through my house and getting rid of all of the extra stuff that I have never used, haven't used in a long time, or will never use again. It has been cathartic. I think as I have been thinking about the ability to be more mobile, or the thought of what I'd get rid of if I was moving has given me new vigor to "clean house." Some of the stuff I have just had to ask myself "Why are you still saving this?" Like half-burned candles. Let's be real, folks, I am not going to keep half-burned candles around. You should see the pile of stuff in the middle of my room waiting to go to charity. And, it keeps growing by the day. One of the fun results of this is that I actually found a couple pairs of pants and a couple of dresses that I had stored away some years ago when they no longer fit. For some reason I kept them....and now, they fit again. It is like going shopping in your own closet. I have some more cleaning out to do, and some things I think I am going to try to sell rather than give away. But, all in all, it feels good to be cleaning stuff out.

I had lunch on Sunday with my good friend Jessica, and we were talking about callings and how much I wanted to go back to London, and how that could work, or what might happen with that. Then, that night, Brian and a bunch of folks who had been leading a freedom conference at Youth With A Mission headquarters this last week were back. Basically, the gist of his message was.....we are being sent out NOW! Prophetic words that our church would be used across the world are happening now. We are offically partnering with YWAM and going to be going to all of their Discipleship Training Schools in 40 different countries to teach restoration and freedom ministry! Brian said, we could, in theory, be sending teams out EVERY WEEK to various places across the world to lead freedom classes etc.! I got home on Sunday night and felt the pull even more....how soon can I do this??!! I think it led me to want to do even more cleaning, because I got home last night and went though another closet, cleaning and getting rid of stuff.

I was down 2.8 lbs. this weekend at weight watchers. And so, to celebrate officially being at college graduation weight, I went to the mall to get a proper fitting pair of trousers and got a haircut too. Since, I needed some new makeup, I went and got a makeover as well. So, on Saturday I emerged wearing new clothes, new haircut, and new makeup. Felt pretty good, and it was fun!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Random Update

Have you ever spent an hour and half by the side of the road waiting for a tow truck? That was my day yesterday. I got in my car to head off to a class I am taking one day a week and as I pulled away, the car was acting funny. I thought it was just cold and needed a little warm-up driving. And so, I drove it to Starbucks with it kicking and sputtering all the way. Then a little light on the dash started blinking at me and telling me "I'm not happy."

So after getting a latte (very important business) I pulled out my owners manual and it said to call the service department if the light is flashing. So, as I drove my protesting car away from Starbucks, the guy at the service station on my cell phone is telling me "if you are too far away to drive it in, pull it over now and call a tow truck. You shouldn't be driving it." And so, I called roadside assistance and was assured that my tow truck would be arriving shortly. An hour and a half later, it finally showed up. Now, I wasn't THAT far from my house, and if I'd known it was going to take that long, I would have just crept my way back home and waited for the truck there.

And so, what do you do in a car for an hour and a half. I sang, while practicing opening my mouth wide, returned some phone calls, and just generally sat there. Not so fun. At least the car didn't have a major thing wrong with it and it was still under warranty.

I am also experiencing a strange phenomenon.....getting hit on. This hasn't happened to me a lot, but recently, it's been happening more and more. I just don't really what to do when it happens. Anyone out there with some ideas?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The Sound of Music

Last night I did about the hardest thing I have ever done: I took a singing lesson. Now, for some of you, singing in front of someone is no big deal. And you probably can't fathom why this would strike terror in my heart. I don't think I fully understand it myself, except for the fact that I have been told my whole life I cannot sing ("You should really focus on playing an instrument, Erin"). Most women have a higher voice than me, so, for someone who is probably an alto, trying to match the pitch of a soprano feels like torture, sounds like torture, and probably is torture. The reality of the situation is that I haven't ever been taught how to properly sing. I have NO IDEA what I am doing. And, for someone who fears failure as much as I do, there is a very real possibility of failing here big time.

Gretchen was great in our singing lessons. Very encouraging, as I knew she would be. And, I wasn't half as bad as I thought I would be. My years of playing an instrument have allowed me to hear a note and be able to match it pretty well. I am, however, holding back. I am not opening my mouth enough, or singing loud enough. Gretchen said that there is a voice in there somewhere and it's her job to help get it out. We have something to work with here, people!

Now, you may also be wondering how in the world I came to be taking these voice lessons. Because there's no way this was my idea on my own :-) I have been writing songs for some months now and emailing them to our pastor Brian, and the worship pastor Aaron. They have both been extremely encouraging. Brian to the point where he was ready to have me leading worship with the little kids each week. When he heard that my singing experience was about zero and that the only instrument I play is the violin (awfully hard to lead worship while playing the violin) he suggested I join the choir. And thus, terror struck! "Me, sing?!!" I think were my exact thoughts. Probably followed by maniacal laughter. Then I realized.....this is an area I has been closed off for my whole life. Maybe, just maybe I have been writing these songs for a bigger purpose. In my mind I just thought Aaron would take them and HE would be the one to sing them. I was content with that. It seems the Lord has other purposes and plans. We'll see where He takes me.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Pouring yourself out

This was a ministry weekend. Really, honestly, it has been a ministry month or so. I don't think I posted about it when it happened, but about two weeks after I got back from London this summer, Brian and Christy snagged about eight of us gals from chuch one Tues. night to pray for us all. I guess they had been on vacation in Florida and Brian had a dream about us....and their whole vacation, they could not get us out of their heads. How crazy is that? That our pastor and his wife would be thinking about me while of vacation in Florida?

At any rate, one of the things that came up with us all is that we are not living like we are in our callings. Not that we don't believe it will happen some day, but that we are to start living like we are doing our very calling today. A great example would be Gideon. When the Lord appeared to him, he was called "mighty warrior." Not, "someday you'll be a mighty warrior." Instead, he was told you are this very thing RIGHT NOW! It rocked me to think of all the ways I am still living like my calling is way out there and that I am just marking time until it happens instead of owning it RIGHT NOW. I have always wanted to be a "teacher" in the Biblical sense of the word. Not necessarily in the classroom, but up in front of women teaching them freedom and restoration and practical living skills etc. And, during this prayer time, the Lord said to me: "Erin, you are not just a teacher, you are a PRINCIPAL." It rocked me. If I am called to be a teacher and a pastor's wife, how can I today be living my life like a pastor's wife would?

How it has changed me is that literally every person who walks through the doors of our church is meaningful to me. And, I find myself asking myself how I can serve them. Hurting people are no longer someone else's concern, they are MY concern. People who need prayer are not some other team's, they are MINE. Literally, I have been going, going, going in ministry the last month and a half or so. Who can I meet with? How can I give my time away? Who needs prayer? Who needs a ride to church? You need help with the harvest party? Sign me up to help. And, what I have found, is that I am more invigorated, more energized, and more alive than ever. When I have quit making excuses for all the ways I can't do it, or I am not good enough, or I don't have the time, or blah, blah, blah....I see that I CAN do it. And the Lord has met me there each and every time.

It is so easy to have an inward focus. "I don't want to pray after church....I want to go hang out with friends." "I don't want to meet with my small group, that's the night 'Gilmore Girls' is on." " I don't want to help at the harvest party for the kids, there's another fun party to go to for adults." "I don't want to live with someone new to freedom, I like being able to come home and not have to work." and on and on. But, the Lord has called us to have an OUTWARD focus. My life is not my own, it was bought at a price, and when I count the cost of being poured out as an offering to God, I discount all that the Lord poured out of Himself for me.

On a more silly note, I lost half a pound at WW this week. Pretty good considering I had Italian four times (ate out twice, leftovers twice), two glasses of wine, and stir fry this week.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Been thinking about

London a lot lately. I just had to write some more about this because I just feel so strongly about that city. I had a long conversation with my friend Michelle yesterday and I was telling her of my vacation plans to visit in February and she just pops out with "or, you could just move there for six months." Now, this is from someone who has NO IDEA what has happened the last few weeks with what Brian said to me at church (see previous post). And, I am just thinking to myself more and more...."how can I get myself back there long-term?" The more I talk and think about it, the more the fear of moving there abates. I would have a lot of practical things to work out, how to sell my car that I have owned for barely a year. What to do with my things that I'd have to store. Would I sell my house or rent it? If I sold it, it would answer what to do about my car....just pay it off. A lot of questions about something that is not even happeneng. But, when I think of answering those questions, I just get excited rather than filled with terror as I did before. Thank you Jesus!

Ruth's Song

I had a great time at dinner last night with James and Thomas before they headed back to London. Really, I just love them both.

I have been thinking a lot lately about the Lord as my husband. And in particular about how the story of Ruth really is a symbolic picture of our relationship with the Lord. This song has been stirring in my heart for a while. So here it is:

Ruth's Song
by Me
All rights reserved

I will go whever you go
I will be where you are.
Your people will be mine
No matter how near or how far.
I will take my place beside you
You are all I am
Let nothing separate us
or ever be apart again

I am the bride
It's only you for me
I am the bride
You have redeemed
I am the bride
Robed in white
I am the bride
Pursued by your light
I am the bride

Come quickly my redeemer
Do not delay
I need you more than yesterday
So at your feet I will lay
Spread your arms to cover me
And hold me when I fall
Be nothing more than my everything
And nothing less than my all

Monday, October 24, 2005


I forgot to add that I lost 2.2 more pounds this week, for a grand total of 15! I am three pounds from college graduation weight (I think) and inching closer to high school graduation weight. I have also had some people who didn't know I was dieting start to comment.

I also think I should only permanently wear red. I wore a red shirt to church last night and probably had more compliments than I ever have in an outfit!

"In your anger, do not sin"

Oh, what a lesson this weekend on anger. To make a long story short, I felt forgotten about by a friend this weekend. And, it made me angry. On my way to meet with this friend, I was praying and asking the Lord: "why am I so angry." And I realized that when my feelings are hurt, I react in anger. It is a defense mechanism that I have. And, though the Bible clearly states that "In my anger, do not sin" it doesn't say that anger itself is not sin. In fact, it is a secondary emotion...it arises from something else. Feelings being hurt, feeling mis-understood, having an injustice done to you, etc. And so, I was realizing that while the anger itself is not necessarily sin,....it is always a clear indication that there is something else emotionally going on. And, it almost always causes me to sin. This weekend, my anger was clearly a result of hurt feelings, and led me to think things I shouldn't about my friend. Not the Lord's heart for me. Plus, the whole thing was a mis-communication plain and simple. And, when I saw him, I felt even worse for all the ways I had cursed him in my mind. Lord, forgive me for the ways I have allowed anger to lead me into sin.

Had a great time on Friday night with James and Thomas from London. They brought a video from a lot of the kids we met while there this summer and it just made me yearn to go back. Just seeing James and Thomas themselves was enough to send me right back to London in my head. The group from the summer also sent along a card and I just melted. I am determined to go back there this February and see every one again. I sent a bunch of cards back with James and Thomas to the group back in London, and I wrote for all to see that I was planning a trip in February. I think writing it down makes me want to work even more hard to make it happen.

I just love James and Thomas. They are both such men after the Lord's heart. So teachable, so humble, and just amazing. I could write volumes about how much I adore them both. Maybe I can get a picture up of us. I am headed out to dinner with them again tonight.


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I'm in LOVE

with my small group. Ha, ha, gotcha! I met with them last night to pray through some stuff and I just love them! They are all so young, but wise in the things of the Lord. It is funny, I was listening to one gal talk and I remember thinking, "how does an 18-year-old get so wise in the Lord? Forgive me, Lord, for underestimating her." And, I would say the same thing about all of the gals that were there in my group last night. I was just blown away!

In some fun other news, two guys from London that we met when we were out there in August are in town this week! We are planning on having a "reunion" of sorts with the four of us from Newsong who went out, and the two of them, Thomas and James. They are both such near and dear to my heart. I mean, I just practically burst with it when think about seeing them. I think I should be getting a CD with more pictures from my trip when we have dinner from Nathan and Cailyn, and so I'll put them up on the blog when I get a chance.

It gets me thinking, I really should get a digital camera. I mean, what am I waiting for? It really is the way to go as you can do SO much with the pictures!


Monday, October 17, 2005

The Best Laid Plans....

Well, all my plans for a fun weekend down in P-town never materialized. I ended up coming down with a cold. I probably would have been OK to go, had I not had to work Sat. morning. I got home from teaching my class and just crashed. I mean, I don't think I moved from the couch for a good five hours. Most of that time spent dozing off and on, petting Licorice, my kitty, and watching TV. I did get some things taken care of....small kitchen cart that needed to be put together finally got done, went grocery shopping, did a ton of laundry (missed laundry day last week so I had two week's worth), and "swiffered" the hardwood floors.

Sunday didn't start off much better...out on the couch. However, the day did improve as I got a call from my co-worker, Sally, who had just dug up some Calla Lillies and Crocosmia bulbs and wanted to know if I wanted them. I did, and so I ended up working out in the yard for about an hour planting bulbs. Mistake. By the time I got back inside, I was so wiped out that I crashed again. I ended up missing church last night, but got to bed early. I think I did too much this weekend though, as I am still feeling poorly today. Yet, here I am at work. Que cera!

Had a good weigh-in on Sat. And, as expected, was down some more lbs. I am nearing the 15 pound mark for total weight. I was talking to my friend Tiffani this weekend about it, as she was being so encouraging. And, I realized, how much people withold from each other. I mean, don't get me wrong, people around me are supportive, but it is just nice to hear some REAL encouragement and someone who is REALLY excited for me. Someone who isn't just giving me platitudes, but really and truly is excited for me. And, I think, no, I KNOW I do the same thing. We get so complacent in our encouragement of one another, or when we do encourage, it ends up being lip service. And so, I was convicted too, of how insincere I can be in my blessings of others. I need to say more than just "good job" or "way to go." I need to be specific and direct in what I say to others.

I have also had some more breakthrough in fear. I had my pastor say to me a few weeks ago randomly as I was talking to someone up front: "Do we have plans for you!! And, you can't say 'NO.'" I got home and told my roomie Sara about it and we were speculating what those "plans" are. All of a sudden she sits up and says "He's going to have you go to London for the school!" (Our church and our partner churches in London in conjunction with the YWAM headquarters are setting up a school for people to come and learn about freedom). At the thought of having to up and move and sell everything and leave, I started to freak out. Literally. At the prospect of having to give up my nice, comforatable, quiet little world, I freaked out. I was pretty surprised by my reaction. I mean, hasn't this been the exact thing that I have been praying and secretly desiring to happen: to fully move into my calling as a lifestyle, and not just a week here or a week there? However, the reality of it hit me pretty hard: I like being comfortable and safe. But, the truth is, didn't Jesus ask his disciples (and others) to sell and/or give up everything to follow Him? Isn't that exactly what I might be being asked to do? Give up everything to follow Him? On paper it has always seemed like it would be a no-brainer. But, when reality hit, I was faced with my fears smack in the nose: I am terrified.

Now, the truth of the matter is that I have no idea what Brian meant by those words. It very well could be something much less drastic than moving to London. And, so I think in the Lord's grace, I am able to work through the fear associated with change and such a grand scale, that when it comes time for Brian to share what the heck he meant by that, I'll be ready to say without hesitation, "here I am, send me." I think I would have gotten there anyway, but it is kind of nice to have started to work through some of those fears in a real way ahead of time. Don't get me wrong, the thought of leaving everything still terrifies me, but at least I know that the fear is there. And, it cannot stay.

Fear is such an interesting lie, because it really can creep into just about any area of life. I have even been realizing how afraid of being in a relationship I am. And, what I am afraid of is someone knowing me so intimately, that they see all of my warts. My fear of failure runs so deep, that I don't even want people to know the depths of my sin. I would rather hide when I struggle. I would rather already know what I struggle with, rather than having someone point out to me where I am sinning. But, I know that in a relationship, you cannot hide, and things that were inside of you (both good and bad) have no choice but to surface. And, that terrifies me as well.

Jesus, today I need you to come and break me of this fear. I confess that I am afraid of failing and afraid of giving up my comforts and following You. That is sin, and I see it as such. Please forgive me for my fear. And in the name of Jesus all fear in my life, be gone! Fear is a lie, because Jesus' perfect love drives out fear, and fear has to do with punishment, and you are not a God who punishes but has good things. And so, I chose today to believe those truths and stand firm on the Word of God as the only source of truth. Amen

Friday, October 14, 2005


Ok, you are probably wondering what the heck is an NSV. It is a Non Scale Victory. And, I have had one this week (hopefully in addition to a Scale Victory). Here it is: I bought a pair of jeans one size smaller than I normally wear. Yes, people, I am a size smaller. Or, at least in the jeans I am wearing.

Plans this weekend are to head down to Oregon and listen to Rita Springer sing. Seems to have been a theme lately....heading far and wide to hear people sing. Should be fun, though. I get to hang with some gals I haven't hung with in a while. That's always a treat. I also have to work tomorrow morning, which is a bummer, but will be nice when payday comes around.

Monday, October 10, 2005

what a week!

Yikes, what a busy, busy week I have had. It started last weekend and just carried over into this one.

Most of the busy-ness stemmed from the fact that one of my roommates, Beth, moved out. We had a going away party for her and then my mom and I painted the room (see previous post about hideous shade of red). Then, I took last Monday off to do some desperately needed yard work. That night had a 30th b-day bash for my friend Alison (welcome to the 30s, Al-bal). Worked Tues., but had dinner with friend Kelly, then went to Stadium soccer game. Wed. night went up to Bothell for a David Crowder Band/Shane and Shane concert. WELL worth the hour-plus drive up there, but VERY tired on Thurs. Thurs night church. Saturday, finished painting the room, and worked out in the yard some more (come on Activity Points!). Sunday, touch up painting and church again.

See, that's just one big long list of stuff I did, nothing meaningful there, even though I have had some pretty meaninful conversations that I would like to add in. I would like to be better about updating more often.

On a good note, at the end of the week last week, I got my annual review and found out I am getting a raise. The only bad thing is that I got a note on the review about my use of sick leave this year so far. In my defense, I have missed SIX days due to weird illnesses....strep throat (TWICE), and a staph infection. That is over half of my sick leave right there. So, I put a note in as well about the unusual circumstances of my sick leave, mentioned that I had brought Dr.'s notes, and that I looked forward to building my sick leave balance back up. My boss seemed pretty pleased that I had "stood up" for myself. I understand that he has to make note of stuff that happens, and so I get why he put that in there. But, I didn't want it to seem like I just was taking sick leave for no reason. I have been genuinely sick this year.

Anyway, 1.5 pounds down this week. My TOM is about to start, so I fully expect to be even more down next week. In fact, we are nearing college graduation weight PEOPLE!!! Never thought I would see that number again, much less any lower. It's all good. I am also starting to get used to eating less. I say that because I don't feel ravenously hungry like I was the first five weeks on the program. I am still hungry, but for example yesterday I when I was having a snack and calculating points, I still had five of them left!! I just didn't need to use them like I had before. Anyway, all good stuff. Because my TOM was/is coming, I was craving chocolate all last week. And, I realized how before, I would have used that as an excuse. But then, I told myself, if it isn't TOM, it's halloween, or a birthday, or thanksgiving, or christmas, or a dinner out....etc. etc. etc. I realized that there is NEVER going to be a week where I won't have some reason to eat poorly. And so, I just have to moderate a plan for those things!

Love you all!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Down, down, down

That is the direction the scale is heading! I have realized the last few weeks have basically turned my blog into an online promotion for Weight Watchers, and that is all I have been talking about. But, let me just say, two more off this week! I am now down to a weight where I am now supposed to start eating lower points worth of food than I did before. While that is exciting, it is also a lot harder than it seems. I mean, it's only two points worth of food (between 100-140 calories), but what that means is a smaller snack or eliminating a snack during the day. And, that is the hard part. I was looking online at Basal Metabolic Rate (the amount of calories your body uses just keeping you alive, not counting ANY activity) and the difference between what I weighed before and what I want to weigh is only a couple hundred calories!! Wow, no wonder I never lost weight before. Do you know how easy it is to add just a couple hundred extra calories a day? I mean, we're talking just a scoop of ice cream might do it!

Anyway, enough with the weight stuff. I had another busy weekend. I have a new roommate moving in next week, and with a ten days between the old one moving out and the new one moving in, I took advantage of the situation to paint the room. It had been a hideous shade of red. I mean, the color wasn't hideous, but was such a specific color. How many people do you know who would have bedding that wouldn't clash with a red bedroom?? Now, it is a nice neutral shade I would call a khaki color. Thank you to mom for helping with that one.

It rained all day on Sunday, but I got a little yard work in. My poor yard has been sorely neglected all summer. I do this every year. I get the gardening bug about mid February and work so hard, and by June I am burned out. Which is probably a good thing because from the end of June on, it is really a bad time to plant or move anything around. So, for the months of July-Sept. I basically do nothing more than set the sprinkler out. But, Fall is a great time to transplant and put in new plants. So, I took yesterday off and worked like a mad man out in the yard for three hours. It was a PERFECT day to be outside. Mid-sixties, big puffy white clouds but otherwise clear. I think it might have rained for about fifteen minutes in the evening. I think the yard will look pretty good next spring....just in time for me to get the gardening bug again.

Life has been good. I am having more breakthrough in areas where I see that I have wanted to give up after a "failure." Remember how I said I was interested in a guy? Well, I was thinking and realizing how the last time I was interested in someone not interested in me just how much of a tailspin it sent me into...."oh, there's something wrong with me...oh, what did I do wrong?...oh, I am NEVER getting married....oh, the Lord hates me....oh, I am being punished for something I did...oh, I hate the Lord...oh,...." You see where I am going with this. And, I was realizing on Sunday, as I was debating whether I wanted to go to church or not (again, that give-up mentality), I realized what I was doing! Literally, right in the middle of the mental conversation I thought "what am I doing? Church has never been about seeing Mr. so-and-so. It is about getting fed spiritually and re-charged." And so I went. And I am so glad that I did. Brian's message was about my exact struggle! Seriously. It was like he took a page from "Erin's Nemesis Issue, Volume 1-1,000" and preached on it. If you have a chance, go to the NewSong website (I have a link on the right) and download the message from the past Sunday. Amazing!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Living in the Extremes

I have realized over the last few days how "extreme" I am. And, I don't mean that I am sky diving, cliff jumping, or anything like that. What I mean is, that I tend to have an "all or nothing" attitude and view on life. I am either succeeding or failing, life is either great or terrible, and on and on. I am, to quote a friend, the "queen of extremes."

This way of thinking for me really hit home for me at the end of the week last week. Someone I have been interested in is not interested in me. I did not lose any weight last week at my Weight Watchers meeting. Those two things, to me, equaled utter and complete failure. Or, at least that's how I saw them.

Now, I know sometimes an all or nothing attitude can be a real strength. I tend to sell out and commit myself whole-heartedly to people and things. When I love, I love deeply. When I care, I care passionately. When I do something, I do it with abandonment. But, when I apply that mentality to evaluating my success or failure at something, that's when it goes all awry. I can see how the enemy would twist a strength of my character and turn it into something ungodly.

After all, God created me to be this way, it is His design that I would be a zealous and determined person. I can also see how a blanket application of that way of thinking is leading me down a road I am not meant to go. After all, when I judge myself as failing, whose standards am I using? Certainly not the Lord's as it is clear in the Word that He uses all things for the good of those called according to His purpose. I am called, and so there is no such thing as failure in the Lord's economy. And, if I succeed, is it by my own strength that I have acheived success? It is not within my own abilities to make anything good happen. Anything within me that is good is only from the Lord.

And so, I have lived for thirty years now going back and forth between despairing over my failure, or pride in my own success. Believing that if I have failed, I have failed the Lord, if I have succeeded, then the Lord is pleased with me. The realization that life is not always black and white has become an even deeper revelation to me. And, if I am honest, I think I actually like black and white! Oh, that old religious Erin creeps in again; the Erin who would rather it be about doing right instead of growing closer to the Lord. In the gray where life really is (or in the middle instead of the extreme ends) I am forced to trust and believe that the Lord IS pleased with me, I AM acceptable to Him, and I can do NOTHING to earn His love nor LOSE His love. Life is not always an all or nothing prospect. What a concept.

Is it any wonder I strive so hard to succeed? Is it any wonder that I don't attempt things that I might fail at? Or give up at the first sign of struggle? Because that is where I was at this weekend. If you could have been a little cell in my brain you would have heard the enemy whispering this: "Why try when you are only going to fail? Just give up, it is easier this way."

But, in Jesus' name I am NOT a failure! I will NOT give up!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

I feel good, so good....

Feeling better today than last week. I seem to be getting over the cold
that has been lingering. Although, I have been really tired the last
few days. Not really sure why that is.

We are having a beautiful fall here this year so far. I know, I know,
fall doesn't offically start until tomorrow. But, just like with a lot
of seasons, things seem to start a few weeks before the "offical"
beginning. For example, in the "spring" I start noticing plants coming
into bloom as early as the end of February. Like the cherry trees and
crocuses. I am particularly enjoying this fall because I planted a
bunch of stuff around my house this spring purposefully for its fall
colors. My Burning Bush is starting to turn orange. My Red Twig
Dogwood is also showing hints of orange, as are my Lilacs. Even some of
the deciduous trees at my house and neighborhood are starting to show
hints and signs of fall. I have abandoned all thoughts of wearing
shorts, have "closed shop" on leaving windows open, and the heater is
starting to kick in most mornings. Fall is definately here!

Had another good weigh-in at WW this week. I am now down 6.5 pounds
after just two weeks. And, if the work scale is correct, I will
probably be down a few more by the time Saturday comes. I am starting
to notice more and more the change based on how clothes are fitting (or
not fitting).

Some "new" lessons learned about weight loss this last week:

1. Being hungry is OK. I will not die if my stomach growls.
2. Going too long between meals can lead to eating too much when it is
time to eat. Eating a healthy snack is a good way to bridge the time
between meals.
3. If I cook enough, a dinner can become tomorrow's lunch, and maybe a
lunch or two after that.
4. The extra points per week are there for a reason. Use them if
needed. Don't feel guilty for using the points I am given.

That's it for today! 33.6 pounds to go!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


I THINK I figured out how to publish via email. This is a test.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Under the Weather

Feeling a little "under the weather" the last few days. I even missed a day of work yesterday. Probably nothing more than a nasty cold, but sill not feeling well today. I wonder where the term "feeling under the weather" comes from? Have you ever thought about random phrases that we use and ever wondered where they come from?

I spent some time a while ago looking for the origins of "got a bead on it." Never did figure out where that one came from. I got an email once that had the origins of the phrases "bottoms up" and "mind your ps and qs." Interestingly, they both have to do with drinking! Kind of funny how we don't think about stuff like that and just say them. Even when I was in London there were some phrases that we used and they used that didn't translate, or were used here. Like "spot on." Such a British phrase! It would be the equivalent to our phrase "right on."

Weigh-in number two tomorrow. We'll see how it goes. I have not worked out as much this week as last (see first paragraph....). But I also haven't eaten as many points worth of food (again, see first paragraph....). So, we'll have to see how it goes.

Also had our first night back of mid-week church last night after a break of over a month. Such fun to get to know my new group of small group gals. Some testimonies of the gals in my group are just amazing. What I am also excited about is that our group will also be doing some work with the high school team. We will not be leading any high schoolers, in a small group sense, but will be helping to build relationships, and attending functions at the high school and just generally assisting with things. Something I am looking forward to. It is interesting because all four of us who went to London are now in one capacity or another working with the high school group at Newsong. None of the four of us worked with the group before, but now we are.

Anyway, off for the day! Have a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Only 36 more to go.....

So, had my first weigh-in at Weight Watchers on Sat. I lost four pounds! Only 14 more to my first goal and 36 more to my final goal. It is funny, though, that while I have lost weight, and continue to do so, I went to church on Sunday and felt bigger than ever. How is that? I think in some ways it has been easy to "forget" how chubby I really am, and then when presented with the facts of it, my eyes have been opened. Kind of strange.

It is getting easier, though, to eat the WW way. I don't have to think so much about it as I did the first week, and some things are starting to become habit. As Martha Stewart would say: that's a good thing.

I am also struggling a little with breakthrough this week on my fear of failure. As I am moving into things that are not as easy for me, I am realizing just how utterly and completely terrified of messing up, failing, not being good at, not being liked, etc. etc. I am. Of course, for you regular readers, you'll know that this is not a new revelation for me. I think as I am pressed into new things, it just continues to come up again and again. I need to just continue to see this as a way to be more victorious over this issue in my life rather than being disappointed that I still struggle with this.

I have such an "all or nothing" mentality about my life. I tend to see things either as a success or a failure. I am either succeeding or failing. And, of course, I see failing as a reflection on who I am.

Just some thoughts and reflections over this past weekend.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Profound thought, not

What I am about to say, for most people, will probably not come as a surprise. But, for me, it is a new concept: losing weight takes work. And, I don't just mean working out, though that is important too. What I have realized in this last week is that I have been looking for the last few years for an easy way to lose weight. There is no such thing. It takes dedication, hard work, and perseverance.

One, to write down EVERYTHING that goes into my mouth so that I can truly see just how much I have been eating.

Two, to recognize that just because I can eat something in one meal does not make that amount a correct portion size.

Three, planning ahead for all meals and snacks makes sticking with things so much easier. "Unintentional" eating happens when I don't plan ahead.

Four, saying no to a piece of cheesecake when it is right in front of you can take a lot of willpower. It helps to remember that cheesecake takes up half my daily points in one sitting and I'll be hungry again in two hours.

Five, I really don't like vegetables that much. I am going to have to learn to like them. They fill me up, are good for me, and help me not to eat so much crap.

That's the profound lessons of this week. I am doing well, and am sticking with the program. I am so thankful to have told so many people about it, though, as it makes the stakes so much higher. I am hoping for a couple of pounds lost at tomorrow's weigh in.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

WW here I come

Had my first Weight Watchers meeting this weekend. I am going to do a plan called flex points. Basically, based on weight you are given a certain number of points each day. Every food you eat has is worth a certain amount of points and your goal is to stay within the points each day. As you lose weight, your total points are adjusted downward. Some foods are worth zero points, and you can eat as much of them as you wish (mostly vegetables). So, for the last three days, I have been munching on more vegetables than I ever thought I would. I feel pretty good. Not too hungry, but hungry enough that I need to eat every few hours. I am just being forced to plan ahead a lot more and think "do I really want to waste X points on THAT?" But, if I did want to waste points on something, I could.

What I like about this plan is that nothing is off limits. You just have to stay within your points limit. They also give you 35 "bonus" points each week. This can be used a couple of ways. On days when you are extra hungry, you can dip into these points if you've already gotten to your points limit. OR, if something special is coming up (a holiday, birthday etc.) you can use the points to splurge on something you wouldn't normally be able to have (piece of cake, cookies, etc). So far, I have been dipping into those points for daily extras like a snack at night. It has been my life saver. If I didn't have those extra points, I would surely not be able to stay on this. I'd be hungry all the time. Or, I'd be starving at night when I'd used up my points. Anyway. Only 39 more pounds to go :0()

Thursday, September 01, 2005

School has Started

Well, School has officially started around here today. I live about a mile from Foss High School in Tacoma and leave for work around the same time school is starting. I was a bit confused at all the traffic at first, and then I remembered....school starts today. Anyway, off to another year.

I also went to TOP foods last night and got a bunch of stuff to try to eat healthier. For example, no more McDonalds for breakfast. I never did this super often anyway, but now, I have to eliminate it. There are two of them on my way to work and on mornings I have been running late, I have been known to swing through the drivethrough to grab an Egg McMuffin. So, I have a plan. It is always best to have a plan. The place Weight Watchers meets at around here is actually just past the grocery store. So, if I go to my meeting on Saturday mornings, I'll stop by TOP foods on my way home. That way I always have time for grocery shopping. My typical excuse for not eating well is always that I don't have time to properly grocery shop. So, if I drag myself out of bed for the meeting, I can just shop when it's over. Anyway, that is the plan.

I LOVE TOP Foods. Anyone else agree? Their produce section ROCKS! Is that even a word anymore? It's filthy good. There, that is my attempt at being hip. They also have four other things I like a lot: Cascade Fresh Yogurt, Powdered Sugar Free Coffee Creamer, Nile Spice Soup, and individually packed meat, for us single peeps. Anyway, more expensive than Fred Meyers, but better. I think I am switching to them.
Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Just Do It

Ok, I am going to just say it to the world (or, as the case may be, the three people who actually read this thing besides me): I want to lose 40 pounds. There! It is out in the open for the whole world to know. Not a secret, but something I need help doing. So, I figure, if I put it out there, I have more incentive to actually DO something about that statement.

Here's the plan. I am going to Weight Watchers. Seems to be the best plan out there, pretty cheap, AND I am still cooking my own meals. Pretty important to me because a lot of diets make you buy their own food. And, in my opinion, that can't be good. How do you learn to cook and eat right after you get off the plans if you have to buy their food? I need to learn to eat healthy within the realms of my local grocery store! I am praying for a WW buddy....someone to commit to coming with me to meetings.

I am also praying for a workout buddy. Not neccesarily the same person as my WW buddy....but someone to go to the YMCA with me three days a week.

Anyway, there it is!

Monday, August 29, 2005

I Am the One

Had a great night last night at NewSong. Brian and Christy were back from their vacation to Florida and Brian was in prime form; talking about how in love with us Jesus is. Specifically talking about how John the disciple had a revelation of the love Jesus had for him. Enough that he referrs to himself as "the one that Jesus loved" throughout the gospel of John. Not that Jesus actually DID love him more than others; John just GOT it in a way that the others didn't.

We are loved the same way. What a mind-blowing concept. This also is the very heart of what I have been learning over the last few years....really the crux of what the Lord has been teaching me.

The One
by Me
All Rights reserved

I am the one You love
I am the one You adore
It is for me alone you sacrificed
I am the one you bled and broke for.
And were the whole world empty
If there were no one else but me
You would still have gladly gone
To die upon that tree.

In my wanderings I have left you
Strayed far away from home.
I have squandered many chances
And run wild on my own.
I have wasted what you've given me
And reaped what I haven't sown.
And still.....CHORUS

In my hatred I have decided
That there is nothing good in what I see.
I have blamed you for withholding all the things
That I thought my life should be.
It seems there's nothing I haven't done
To numb this pain inside of me.
And still....CHORUS

Friday, August 26, 2005

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Breakthrough

I was thinking this morning on my way into work (seems to be a theme with me.....I tend to have nice chats with the Lord on my way into work) just how much breakthrough you can have when things are going well. I realized that I tend to believe that breakthrough only comes through trial and heartache.

Here's my example: I am heading into new territory in my relationships...both with friends and with men. And, as I am having great gains, I am realizing just how fearful I am, and just how many lies about myself I have been believing. I have realized as I am pushing forward into life-giving relationships, that I am having victory in more ways than I realized.

I think in the past I would have thought breakthrough would come after areas of sin start affecting me in negative ways. I have thought that my own repentance comes after negative consequences to my sin. That is, that I am only capable of repentance after my sin starts to visibly hurt me. However, the Lord in His grace and mercy is allowing me to press forward into breakthrough NOT out of negative consequences, but rather He is showing me my sin through a time of great breakthrough and significance.

I am afraid, and I don't fully believe I am a woman worthy to be loved, BUT my eyes are opened to these lies not through a time of breaking, but a time of healing. How merciful and great our God is to allow me to learn these lessons in such a kind way.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The "Disses"

I sometimes wonder why it is so easy for me to fall into the "disses:" Discontentment, Disappointment, and Discouragement. It struck me this morning as I was driving into work that DIS means without. Without contentment, without encouragement, without hope. And so, I know that means that there is a truth deficit there and that I need to be filling up with the truth. My hope is in Jesus. He encourages me. He makes me content. Not in my circumstances, the things I see, the things I think I want that I don't get, but in Him. I sometimes feel so human, like I have to have it in my hand for it to be real. I know I am blessed when I believe what I cannot see, but it seems so hard.

But, a good reminder from my friend Tiffani is this: "Jesus didn't get angry at Thomas for wanting to see his wounds. He simply said, others will believe without seeing and be blessed. He didn't say "you'll see me now but you aren't blessed" - shoot, if you saw Jesus in person after he was murdered, I think you would be pretty blessed!

Don't forget, you ARE human. And Jesus appeared to human Thomas with love and grace. He knew what Thomas thought he needed and he provided it - but at the sight of Jesus and his intimate love Thomas dropped on his knees and said, "My Lord." In reality he didn't need to touch him, he just needed to know Jesus loved him enough to be active in his life, too.

Be at peace dear friend, and fight the disses. Jesus says, "Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged" and he promises that he will be with us. Even when we fall into discouragement, he is still with us. Listen for his voice and you will be healed."

And so, the reality of this all is this: I need to understand and see Jesus' love in a more real and active way today. That is the truth. That I am fully loved, fully pleasing, and fully acceptable to the Lord, no matter what my circumstances say, or how I feel about it. God is good to me at all times and in all ways because He can be nothing else!

Lord, have grace and mercy on me today.

Monday, August 22, 2005

The busiest weekend in history (at least for me)

I have just had quite possibly the busiest weekend in history.....at least the busiest one that did not involve ministry.

Friday night started out with a sailing on a tall ship with a group of folks who have been involved with the children's ministry at NewSong. I didn't take any pictures, but I think I might be able to get copies and try to post them later. It was so relaxing and I got to climb up to the top of the crow's nest. Several people jumped off and into the Sound. I had many nice conversations and got to share some of my trip with others. I also had a loooong conversation with a friend Jamie about his trip to Europe last winter.

Saturday, Michelle's going away party. Fantastic food at Gateway to India, and then fellowship at her place.

Sunday, Wild Waves with Cynthia, Jaime, Bethany, Brian and Sean. Church at night. I got home last night exhausted.

I have also had a some more time to process through my trip and I have come to some conclusions. First, I think what was so life changing for me is how effective and significant I felt. For someone who has struggled to feel as though I am making a difference in ministry, I felt for the first time in a long time so ALIVE in my ministry.....there was such fruit from it. I think I also felt like I was walking fully in my calling while there. The Lord has said that I am a visionary, strategist and foundation layer. And that is exactly what I did there. I helped lay the foundations of a ministry, helped to give it vision and strategy. Those terms can seem so vague and general, but I got to visibly see them come to be. Being at the forefront of the ministry was just so rewarding for me. I think the only thing that would have made it more complete would have been to be there with a husband. But nothing was taken away by the fact that he is not here yet.

I have also realized how much I want to work with the youth here in Tacoma. I don't have to go to London to work with youth. I am not sure how that all works out with the fact that I am discipling a couple of women right now too. The Lord will work it out.

Talk to you all later!