Mustard Seeds

Mustard Seeds

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Girls Bible Study

I love my Bible Study. We have been together through a lot. Some of us for three years, some of us for two. And last night was our last Bible Study with our leaders. My lovely discipler, Hannah McKnight, is graduating, going to Sacramento, and becoming Hannah Sherman in less then a month! Mo (Maureen) Malone is graduating and leaving us to join Teach for America in inner city Florida for two years. Two amazing women with two incredible adventures to match. =) They will be very missed.

Last night was bittersweet. I ate too many cake cookies (devil's food and funfetti!) and got high off of permanent markers but those are the not the things I will remember even a week from now. I will remember instead Hannah's adorable face when we handed her the camping cooler (from her registry) and gift card we got her, Mo telling hilarious stories about boys, piling on the couch to take pictures with Hannah and Mo both on my lap, seeing the love in our study and feeling my heart overflow with joy, cuddling with Bailey Caitlin and Laura, knowing all of these girls have had a lasting impact on my life, and knowing Hannah and Mo (and Natalie who is leaving for El Salvador for a year) are in God's hands and are embarking on a wonderful new chapter in their lives! ♥♥♥

Idols

Most Christians know that placing more importance on anything over God makes that thing an Idol, something we worship and treasure more then God. Well God revealed something to me yesterday about the idols in my life. Idols are not just things I am seeking and desire over God. It is everything that leads me to say... "I will spend time with God after..."

I write this blog post
Listen to this song
Read this book
Watch that show
Call these people
Finish that Homework assignment
Etc etc etc...

If I am not willing to give something up when He tugs at my heart I am placing more importance on the thing I am doing then on God and my relationship with Him. I do this often and don't even think twice about ignoring God till it is convenient for me to acknowledge Him. Maybe now I will.


Exodus 20:3-5
"You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me."

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Book Quote: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Another Nugget from...
Chronicles of Narnia:
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
By C.S. Lewis

"'Oh Aslan,' said Lucy. 'Will you tell us how to get into your country from our world?'

'I shall be telling you all the time,' said Aslan. 'But I will not tell you how long or short the way will be; only that it lies across a river. But do not fear that, for I am the great Bridge Builder.'

[Aslan tells Lucy and Edmund they have to go back to our world and will never come back to Narnia again...]

'It isn't Narnia, you know,' sobbed Lucy. 'It's you. We shan't meet you there. And how can we live, never meeting you?'

'But you shall meet me, dear one,' said Aslan.

'Are--are you there too, Sir?' said Edmund.

'I am,' said Aslan. 'But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.'"

Monday, May 24, 2010

Book Quote: The Horse and His Boy

Chronicles of Narnia: 
The Horse and His Boy
By C.S. Lewis
"And of course he knew none of the true stories about Aslan, the great Lion, the son of the Emperor-over-the-sea, the King above all High Kings in Narnia. But after one glance at the Lion's face he slipped out of the saddle and fell at its feet. He couldn't say anything but then he didn't want to say anything, ad he knew he needn't say anything."
I needed some light reading this week. =) So good though! Isn't this how we should be with Jesus (in case you missed the metaphor)? Speechless but content to fall at His feet.

Teeth Whitening Again

This is chance for your minds to fill in the gaps. Last night while whitening my teeth my roommate Laura and I were trying to talk to each other. I was of course mute on account of having a whole heck of a lot of foam (the trays), gel and saliva in my mouth. I could grunt yes, no, good, bad, etc but I had to write some of my responses. The result of typed responses without any context is quite interesting:

I am supposed to
That is how long I have left
It has been 10

family is not like yours
So its harder to get used to?
You said this before

We could use our legs as sandpaper

I shaved this week!
I get another week

Love those flowers
AND JARS!!!

So much better then 1 2 3 4 5churros!
Weird animal print pattern?

I cant smile!? I’ll massively drool

And he is a guy and couldn’t care less

Shortbread and strawberries! =)P licks lips

Metaphorically of course

Ok I will

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Seeds, Buttons, and Calico

I was reflecting back last night and realized that I love lists. Not just making lists of things I have to do. No, it is a love affair far deeper then the necessity to be organized. I have always loved groups of things. Descriptive lists of someone's surroundings, of the contents of a box, of the items someone needs at the grocery store. Think I am weird? Just wait, it gets worse.

Even back in elementary school when my mom and I would read Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder I loved the lists of the foods in the meat shed, items in the town store, and of the types of buttons in Ma's sewing box. Here is an example: "Pa told them all about the seeds. He had got seeds of turnips and carrots and onions and cabbage. He had got peas and beans. And corn and wheat and tobacco and the seed potatoes. And watermelon seeds" (276-272).

I have absolutely no idea why I love this because it is pretty odd. But I like the visual I get of all these seeds. Different sizes, shapes, and colors. So many tangible objects to thinks about. When Wilder would list the foods they had it would sound so wonderful even though I wouldn't eat half the things she was listing. I am sure a psychologist would try to pin point this to a lack of something in my childhood but I think my brain just works in this way. In visuals and lists.

Random fact about me. You're welcome.

Spring Cleaning

I just put whitening trays in my mouth and am now rendered speechless. So I am going to communicate through my blog.

Today I made the trek to Templeton and Paso to get my boxes out of my grandparent's barn. Yes it is that time of year! Packing and pitching time! =) And this year I am really going at it. I have spent the past week organizing my craft supplies. This meant buying new containers, throwing away a lot of unnecessary things I have been collecting, and not being able to see my floor for a week. I have successfully organized all of that and now it is consolidated to two spots instead of four. It looks so pretty! =)

This evening I worked through my books. I strongly strongly dislike getting rid of books even if I will never read them again or didn't like them in the first place. But today I did it! I sucked it up and made a huge stack of books to get rid of alongside my three trash bags of clothes to give away. I feel very accomplished but have to ask, Where do I get all this crap? It is slightly ridiculous that I have so much to get rid of but yet still have an entire room still full of stuff.

Another thing I have been paring down is my paper goods. School supplies, stationary, scrap booking paper, origami paper, wrapping paper, etc. I have so much of this stuff! The recycle bin had a food baby by the time I finished that mess. I now have manageable stacks of all of these things and am glad to be rid of the horribly tacky papers I had taking up space in my room. Makes me want to build a tree out of it. Poor poor trees that made this awful paper. If they had only known they would eventually turn into neon colored, floral print scrapbook paper they would have sprouted legs and ran away.

I highly recommend going through your stuff before packing it up for summer. Throwing away three year old newspaper articles and notebooks is very very refreshing!

Well time to take these crazy trays out of my mouth. I am very excited to get this goo out of my mouth and to have my ability to swallow back. I am getting super thirsty too. =)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Book Quote: The Last of the Mohicans

It is high time I get something else on my blog instead of these pictures of Gollum that pop up first thing when you click on my page. =) Love him but I can see how it could be a little disconcerting to some people.

So I will introduce my newest idea for my blog. I have been wanting to have a series that I do every week to have something consistent in my blog. My friend Christy just started Foreign Fridays (where she watches a Foreign Film every week and reviews it) and some of the other blogs I follow have weekly giveaways or weekly guest bloggers. In light of the fact that I love reading and always find something cool in the books I am reading, I am going to have a "Book Quote of the Week." Catchy title hopefully to come later... <*crosses fingers*>.

This week I am finishing up Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper. If you were wondering, it is nothing like the newest movie. This was a slight disappointment to me when I realized the movie's love story was completely missing about half way through the 400 pages. It is still a good book despite that but not one I strongly recommend. To get on with it....the quote of the week is: 

"Think over your prayers," he whispered, as they approached him; "for He to whom you make them knows all tongues; that of the heart as well as those of the mouth." - Hawkeye

I know. I know. It is so exciting that you could hardly stay in your chair. Don't be too anxious for next week's quote though. I wouldn't want you losing sleep over the suspense. =)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Gollum vs Smeagol

For all the Lord of the Rings fans reading my blog...

Smeagol is my all-time favorite character from Middle Earth. How can you resist that face? (I am being completely serious.) I like him for more then that face though... I also can really relate to him for a couple reasons:
1. He is the underdog. I tend to gravitate towards that and he reminds me of myself. Also, the interactions he has with the other characters is so indicative of how we often treat misunderstood people or people we don't get along with (I have been on the giving and receiving end of this). Frodo only fights against the assumptions that Smeagol is all evil a little bit, but has too many of his own problems to really fight for Smeagol. Gandalf saw what Smeagol had to offer and who he could be if shown love. It is our beloved Sam who is the most guilty of encouraging Gollum though. Sam does not see anything worth caring about in Smeagol and often reinforces Gollum's hold in Smeagol's life. It is interesting that the hero of the tale is a cause of Gollum re-entering the story... but that is a metaphor for another time. In other words, I can relate to the struggle Smeagol has to rid himself of Gollum when so much of what he hears and sees reinforces his ideas that he is worthless. It challenges how I treat others to see if I am seeing them through God's loving eyes of my own eyes.
2. I have lived with my own Gollum before. It is still a daily battle to chose a side too: Self or Christ in myself. Unfortunately Gollum does not have Christ to redeem him. He has to redeem himself and he tries soooo hard!
Do you see how frightened he is to have gotten rid of the evil growing in him? He has lost himself. Everything that has lead his decisions up until this point is gone and he is alone. Smeagol has to balance his new found freedom with the frightening reality that he has to fend for himself now. I've been there. I've lost my comfort blanket of bitterness, selfishness, and bad habits. It is hard to keep them away after shedding them too. When you die to yourself you are in new uncharted territory. 
Once again... Smeagol doesn't have Christ step in and intercede on his behalf. Smeagol does not have a redeemer, a Savior, a friend. I do. Without Christ's intervention into my life and without God's unconditional love I would not be so different from Gollum as I would like. It is Christ in my that gives me a fighting change. It is God working in my heart that makes my life worth living. I am so glad I have Jesus!!! =D

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I've Got This Under Control

I have pinpointed why it is so hard to give up the things I want when God tells me no. I actually understand now why I have a hard time surrendering my plans to Him and it sounds just as ridiculous as I expected it to sound. Are you ready for this? I have a hard time following God's better plan because.....

I think.

Somehow, I got the crazy idea in my head that if I think hard enough about my plans God can't fully say no to them. With sheer brain power I am going to make that relationship work, go to this place and do that, get my white picket fenced yard, and basically make God change his mind. I think that the second I forget about my ideas, God will too and then they are hopeless. If no one is holding on to them God can't possibly remember what I want. By relinquishing my life to His control I am limiting His options. His options! Like my plans ever had a chance of making me happy anyway! And like He is going to follow my plans (based on my severely limited perspective) even if I remind Him of them! I am brazenly challenging God's omnipotence with my thinking...

Dear God,
You obviously don't know enough to really see what is best for me so I am going to keep holding on to this idea of mine until you catch on that my idea is the option you wanted all along. Silly God. Let me help you figure my life because of course I know what I need and want better then you do. I can see my life from a bird's eye view and I totally know the future. So don't worry God. I have got this covered. You don't really mean to tell me no, or rely on Me, or trust Me because I have everything under control.
Love, Stephanie

I can almost hear the train wreck and feel the tears coming with these thoughts.

So what is the alternative? Acknowledging that my plans are based on temporal feelings and whims. Realizing that what I want shouldn't be based on what my flesh desires but they should be based on what pleases the Lord and what makes Him the center of my life. And seeing that fighting for these earthly things only leads to frustration and heartbreak as I separate myself from God.

I think a lot of things and most of them are based off of false assumptions that I am smarter then God. It's been a convicting but grace-filled week.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I Love Writing

"Writing is a way of seeing that is deeper and sharper than most other ways. We see more when we write than when we just read." 
- John Piper

Haiti Decision

I have officially made a decision and emailed it in... I am not going to Haiti this summer.

In a way I am sad about not going back to a country that I love so much but in so many more ways I am stoked for what my summer is shaping up to look like. I met with my adviser today to make sure I am on track for graduating next winter and not only did he tell me I was golden but he offered me an internship over the summer! Not sure what it entails just yet but it sounds great! This way I can work, live for free with my grandparents, take a summer school class, and have an internship! Not to mention being in SLO, building relationships, having the freedom to go home when I want, and not being a CA anymore. So stoked!!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

His will

I don't often question God's plan in other people's lives. If someone tells me that they made a decision because they know God is leading them in it, then I agree that they should make that choice. When it comes to my own decisions I challenge God's voice a lot more. I don't follow Him unquestioned. Right now the choice I have to make is to go to Haiti or not this summer. And I can't seem to figure out where He wants me to be.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Home

I get to go home this weekend!
And I am really excited to see my family. =D
That is all.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Work

After hours of lost parents, rude adults, and angry students I get really sick of people. So I don't even try to smile or converse with the people who come through my job. It makes work drag by and makes every interruption of my day an annoyance. Notice the horribly bad attitude yet? I did. And I ignored it. It was comfortable to be grouchy and not go out on a limb to engage the people coming through. Well, I have had two breakthroughs this past week! =)

One: A girl that comes through once a week had "Revelation Song" playing in her car a few weeks back and I commented that I loved that song. She asked if I knew the artist who was singing it and I hadn't heard of her. So this week she brings me her CD! A brand new CD that she bought for me and wrote on the front, "to the young lady at the parking permit stop." I was blessed and convicted. I may have told someone I liked their Christian song but I have not been living like Christ in my job. Then a girl who is living like Christ decided to bless me with a present. Music of all things too! God knows me well.

Two: I have been listening to Phil Wickham for the past hour at work and trying to be reminded by that to live missionally at work. Meaning, I am engaging people in conversation, smiling at them, answering their questions cheerfully, laughing at the ridiculous jokes from the parents, etc. And I have loved work! There really is something to living like Christ. This wouldn't be possible with out him. Believe me, my nature is not to be kind to people. It is selfish. So God work through me in my job!!!