Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Speaking of Waffles

We weren't were we?
No - ok good.
Just felt the need to get some end of the year words on here before December rolls out and 2010 hits.
2010 - How did that happen?
Doesn't it seem like yesterday that everyone was stocking buckets of water and cases of Twinkies in their basement for Y2K? :OP

This year has definitely had its ups and downs. I guess you can say that with any year. Somehow I didn't get all my goals hit. Didn't get as many hours taken as I intended. Just wasn't exactly what I had laid out.

But 2009 goes down as a full year of Gina and Al - good stuff.
2009 saw two good visits with the North Dakota crew - which rarely happens with them in the far, frozen north.
2009 saw lots of laughs with my Van Buren crew and no real scuffles (even with the 4th of July rain out).

All-in-all 2009's joys well outnumbered its sorrows and since I had named it "JOY" in the beginning I call that success!

So welcome 2010!
I vow to laugh more... hug more... smile more... pray more... praise more...
I vow to worry less bout what others think and more about what God thinks.
Really there are a bunch more thoughts in the brain tonight but nothing for y'all yet (all 4 of you) but I will say that suddenly I cannot wait to see what the new year brings.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

There Should Be Warning Signs

You know that comedian who tells people "here's your sign" when people do something stupid?
I totally think that signs could be put to good use in many areas.
Like how often could I use a sign that said "Warning - Hormonal - Approach with caution..."  :O)
I'm not saying today was or wasn't one of those days... I'm just saying... it could be helpful some day.

Today was another tough day as we had our last choir rehearsal with Kim and Suzanne Noblitt. What a blessing those two have been to my life! One of the toughest things about working in ministry is that God shapes His people so often by moving them in seasons. This season has been extraordinary and I hate to see it end. The Noblitt's have such a passion for leading people to know God through worship. Both Kim and Suzanne just OOZE the Holy Spirit and they are a joy to know. I sure will miss them.

Also up today - did I mention the hormonal influx?  I know... TMI right?  I think everyone should be warned though you know... if you see me all weepy... HEY WAIT... I can totally blame it on like a Christmas song or something right? I seriously spent like 10 minutes composing myself at Sam's yesterday thankyouverymuch KLRC Christmas music. It had nothing to do with someone pushing the wrong verbal button... it was the MUSIC... yeah... music....
OY....
OK...

Night everyone.
G

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Christmas Story

My friend Eric is doing Christmas stories on his blog and asked for some submissions. It challenged me to get some of my thoughts together.

It was a few Christmases ago and my entire family was together for Christmas. This happens rarely for us now because my brother is up in the snowy north. But that Christmas his family had traveled down to be with us. We were all together. However as the token single in the family it never felt like the entire family was together for me because I always knew/felt that someone was missing.
That Christmas, maybe because we were all together again after so long apart, the missing person was a painful place in my heart. Now anyone in my family reading this little story will have no idea of that most likely. Because that fact and what happened next weren’t something I have shared until now.
Some point during that night it was time to settle in and I realized that I had left my overnight stuff and pillow out in my car. I needed some outside time anyways so I headed down the hill to my car to get them. Between opening the house door and the car door I started sobbing. It was a pretty good pity cry. It was Christmas. I was surrounded by my family but I felt so alone that it was overwhelming. I don’t remember my exact age at that time (easily 30 or late 20’s) but I had been praying on the way down this hill. Why am I still single God? What exactly IS wrong with me? I cannot go back in there again with everyone and be ok. I cannot do it.
Something caused me to look up in the middle of my little pity party and what I saw stopped me in my tracks.

Christmas night skies are somehow different - more magical. They are radiant. That particular night sky was the clearest sky that I have ever seen, with bright twinkle-stars, and in my view was my own breath in the chilly night air.

Perspective…

It was a moment of perspective for me that came from seeing that perfect moment of night sky.

Rewind 2000 years. Granted I am the first person to say that Jesus was most likely born nowhere near December 25th but He was born. According to Luke there was a night where the sky lit up and a host of God’s angels appeared to frightened shepherds announcing the birth of His Son. There was a night where a virgin gave birth to a Son. The same Son years later lived, endured, died, resurrected and lived again.
It’s not just a story.

Perspective… came from seeing my breath in that perfect night’s chilly air and thinking back to that similar quiet night. What a difference one night can make.
Unto us a child was born who would be the Savior of His people.
Somehow with that realization “alone” just slipped away and “loved beyond reason or deserving” came to replace it.

I stood there for quite a while marveling in God’s creation of the night sky and of my own very blessed life. It’s a vivid moment that I can still slip back to.
Merry Christmas!
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests”

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

If You Lived Here… You’d Be Home by Now

So I haven’t written in a bit. It’s been crazy. We do a LARGE Thanksgiving ministry here which I get the joy of helping coordinate each year. But while I love, love, love it - it kinda sucks the energy and time from my October/November each year.  This year we got to provide Thanksgiving meals for over 3100 families and saw over 5,000 people come through the doors of our two campuses.  Over 1,000 people came to a relationship with Christ with 111 of them following through with baptism. It was a great weekend.

But due to the “hustle and bustle” each year I hit December unprepared for Christmas to BE here already. The panic starts to hit me early and the starts to ebb as I settle into the season. This year things seem to have just been a bit more bustle-y. We got to celebrate my dad’s 70th Birthday with some neat surprises for him. Al’s birthday is coming up. Our Christmas program at church is the 13th. There are concerts and parties and lots of people that need to be seen in this next month.  Add to that the fun of my brother and his family coming in from North Dakota at the end of the month and you see where the craziness is coming from.

It’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle and forget what is important about this time of year. There are a couple of focuses but first… why the weird title?  :O)

I know not everyone who reads this little blog is going to be a Christ-follower. You know me (probably know me at least), then you know that Christ is my center and the definer of who I am and want to be. It’s a relationship that I take seriously. I’m not perfect. I’m definitely a world class screw up. But I am His with all my heart. I do what I do, how I do it because of Him. I write what I write, because of what He has done within me. Because of that I know that this world is temporary and it is not my home. The problems, battles, issues and crud that I face are things I face as I pass through to home. For some reason today as I was thinking through a situation that’s just making me sad right now I had this picture in my head of this sign I used to see all the time in front of an apartment complex: “If you Lived Here - You’d Be Home by Now.” It may seem like a strange comparison but I realized that a lot of the “people” battles I face are because I am a square peg trying to feel at home in the round world. If I “lived” here… I’d feel at home right now.  But I’m still trying to get home!

Meanwhile - back to Christmas.  :O)

Focus # 1 - Christ… for me this is the season when so many people are open to talking about faith. It is a great chance for me to share what I believe. We get to minister to so many people at this time of year. Christmas just opens those doors to share.

Focus # 2 - Family - like em, love em or tolerate em this is the time of year when we all get to be together for lots of extended time between November and December.  I’ve been blessed with family who don’t just like each other, but love each other. This year we will actually all be able to be together around Christmas for the first time in quite a long time.

For me personally Christmas traditions are important for a variety of reasons. I’ve always had in my head those things that I wanted to do when I had a family of my own. There are things that I have seen/heard over the years that have struck me as important, fun and/or meaningful. So here are some of those ideas. I would love to hear yours as well - all 4 of you! :O)

Reading of the Nativity Story - Certainly Christ wasn’t born on 12/25 - probably nowhere close to it. But if we’re picking a day to celebrate Christ birth then I definitely want to take time to remember it.

Watching for Santa - Now… I stopped believing in Santa when I was 3 probably because I have two older brothers with big mouths, but we almost always took a little drive (I know now it was so our Christmas presents could get into the house since we celebrated on the Eve and “Santa” had to come to our house early). We would go out and look at lights and dad would always see him somewhere. That was our cue to head back to the house. “I think he’s headed over that way.” It was a little inside joke after a while but it was fun and a great memory for me still.

Putting up the tree together on the Friday after Thanksgiving - I always did this for my parents before I had a place/tree of my own. I think it would be really fun to make this a family event because you can tell the story of where the ornaments and stockings come from. That is how family history is passed down, in the stories from year to year.

Making Gingerbread Houses - I got to participate in this family tradition with some girlfriends of mine with a lady that was mentoring us at the time. She does it every year with her grandchildren. We were like little kids making our houses. It was fun!!  And yummy. Even with little kiddos if you have pre-made gingerbread this can be a blast - and OH the memories.

Well I’m out… this blog has taken me off and on over a day now so I think I shall post!  :O)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Things Normal People Wouldn't Tell You - The Halloween Story

Not sure if it is wise to write this up while medicated… but since this is a Halloween story - I wanted to get it up in time for the big day.  :O)

This is probably another one of my brother’s favorites. It was also a turning point for me in learning how NOT to behave around boys.

My second year in Dallas for college I decided to tag-along to a haunted warehouse with my roommate and a bunch of other people. Key point - several of these people were boys. What a fun night right?
I love haunted houses, stupid though they may be… I think it’s the adrenaline.
But I usually think it’s a fun thing and a good chance for the girls to grab on to their fella and squeal.  :OP

So we head over to Fort Worth to this deal and stand in line forever. If memory serves it was 3 girls and then 3 guys.

Enter haunted house - now granted - it was a pretty good scare for what it was. There were some unexpected bumps.  But come on right… it’s not real… it’s obviously not dangerous…
ok?
Stage set.

3 Guys - 3 girls

Guy # 2 begins to absolutely FREAK OUT… freak the HECK OUT… ok… screaming like a banshee… and I kid you not actually get behind me grabbing the back of my shirt like a 4 year old in terror.

Well - I got a little bit… um…. annoyed…  :O)
So I end up pulling the entire group - both boys and the other two girls through the entire haunted house.
Now sometimes my mouth kind of does its own thing y’all… it’s a whole lot better than it was 10 years ago believe it or not.  But in the middle of said haunted house… pulling these big brave boys behind me… livid…
All I remember is screaming repeatedly “Be a man… be a real man.” and other such gems - the entire way through… “Be a man”

They never called again… go figure.  :O)

Yeah… My brother almost died laughing when I told him that story and he still sometimes likes to yell “be a man” at me as a reminder.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Why in the WORLD Can't I....

I keep thinking that eventually I will get the hang of things or that things will start to make sense.
It's a weird feeling to feel so much like you have things together one minute and then realize - wow I'm a big ole dork the next.

I guess - such is life. In looking back over things you realize that it is rarely good to look back over things.  :P
Or something like that!

I think my introspective side is part of what gets me into so much trouble. I second and third guess what I should have done/said. I want to do the right thing and say the right thing.

I want to be a good example.

I want to be a person who is constantly pointing others to Christ and not myself. It is so not about me.

But man do I mess things up when I get in charge of my little life! I just can't seem to help myself. I'm sure I know better. I'm certain that my way should be THE way that I charge on.
I'm certain God takes a lot of looks at me and shakes his head like I do when I look at kiddos sometimes.

Last night I helped out in XLR8, our worship and arts deal for kids. I've had my eyes on this one kid for weeks because she is just gloriously different. She just marches to her own drummer you know. I gotta love her because that is SO me. I watched her last night and while the rest of the kiddos were going through their motions she was turned around. She was still doing motions but she was like in her own little deal too - not looking up front at the leader. She was watching the other kids and just smiling. She smiles a lot - not a care in the world for my little friend.

Lesson there... because as adults when we take our eyes off the Leader it rarely finds us smiling. When I'm looking around at the other kiddos in my little dancing world it's usually a comparison of where they are versus where I am.

How the heck did they get married at 18 and I'm flipping 33 still single? Look at him, he has a beautiful house... why don't I have a house? Oh I'd give anything to wear that shirt, tucked in and not be self conscious about it.  All totally RANDOM examples of course my peeps.... I'd never bust myself out in a blog...  :O)

You feeling me here?

Why in the world can't I get my act together? I SO have my eyes on the wrong thing again!

It is so simple. But it is so easy to miss.
FOCUS, focus, FOCUS

I am... where I am... because I am... where He has placed me.
I am... who I am... because I am... who He made me.
I am where I am in life... because I am needed... where I am.
I am not stuck, denied, lost or forgotten. God has not witheld, withdrawn, or forsaken.
I am forgiven, fulfilled, and loved.
God is not behind schedule in my life. He is certainly not early. I can be assured He is right on time.
These things will not change, because He will not change.
I am... where I am... because I am... where He has placed me.
And so are you!
-Gina

Friday, October 09, 2009

I have NO Pictures

But I had a great night last night!  :O)

I got to meet one of my blog stalking people - Kelly from Kelly's Korner!
Al was pretty much poking fun at me from the time I saw her and her family sit down- like four rows in front of us. Because I was talking about how cute Harper looked and then Angie came and joined her and I went a little weird....  :P    And I know he's thinking - who is this girl I am dating... and why does she know so much about these people that she has never met!

I was so excited for Kelly and Angie to be sitting there and talking together!  How fun for two women who have shared some joys and pains to be able to just sit and gab.  :O)  God is so good to us.

Meanwhile - back to my own blog stalking...  After the concert - because I didn't want to interrupt - I went up to Kelly and introduced myself and told her how much I appreciated her encouragement for all the single girls! She was so sweet.

Meanwhile - (why I keep using that word... I do not know) the concert was incredible! I love Selah and have for some time. Seeing them in concert was surreal. They sang almost everything that I would have hoped for. And at least one song that had me just weeping.  If you haven't heard "Unreedemed" go and find it.

In fact I will go and find it and link it at the bottom here.  It is God's promise to me, has been since the second I heard it.  He is faithful to remind me of it at all the right times!


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Of Football and Papers!

I think I can... I think I can...

Well it is Saturday morning and I am going to get back into the swing of things by hitting the paper trail. I have a BIG one due in just a few weeks and TWO due next weekend.

Yeah - I think today would be a good paper writing day!

Today started off at 6 am - snoozed until 8 am. I've not accomplished a lot other than breakfast and dishes so far - oh - and Sports Center.  :O)

Well anyways - I'm off the blog-writing so I can start the paper writing.

Happy Saturday y'all!

G

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I need to update

I need sleep.
I NEED to do homework.
I need to graduate already.

I need about 3 days worth of quality time with my Al.

Time is just flying by way too quickly with no way to hit pause.  :(

Whiny = me tonight

Really things are fine. I'm making some major "lifestyle changes." I'm trying to decide on taking the last half of the semester off to realy dig into implementing them.

I'm thoughtful. I'm confused. I'm pensive. I'm wordy but speechless.  I'm conflicted!

But did I mention sleepy? Yeah - sleepy wins.

Night friends!
G

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Things Normal People Would Never Tell You - I “Run Into” People - Part Two

Not embarassing so much...just falls into the category of people I run into and where I manage to run into them.  :O)

Senior year of high school I had my first job pushing papers in an abstract office in Van Buren. This would end up being possibly the best job ever by the winter because Main Street VB (where our office was located) ended up being used as a movie set for a movie called Frank and Jesse.
Line up for this movie:
Randy Travis
Bill Paxton
Rob Lowe
 
The year - 1994 - January to be precise.

My boss was a huge Bill Paxton fan. But he was a lawyer so he had important lawyer-type things to do.  I was a minimum wage high school student whose school was out for the week due to snow covering the ground. The trailers for the above mentioned men - right behind our office.

This is what we call the perfect storm!

Yep.  I got paid for almost the whole week to stand around and stalk actors until I could get Bill Paxton and then get my boss to come out for a picture. Jeff (my illustrious brother and partner in crime) was there for almost as much of the time to take pictures - I think he snapped most of what you are about to witness. In the meantime I also got to see lots of scenes. I got to talk quite a bit with Randy Travis and get autographs and pictures of almost everyone - almost everyone.

See… this was just a few years after an unfortunate incident for Rob Lowe that happened to involve teenage girls - so you can imagine that he avoided me and the other teenage office assistant like the plague!  :O)

We did get a picture of him on his way to his trailer surrounded by his entourage. I know - you LOVE my cheesy captions right?!

I’d call him a snob but really considering what he was coming off of I guess I don’t really blame him.

Bill was elusive as I mentioned which required a bit of skulking but when we got the pictures - we got them. AND we got them signed. And we got the boss some signed stuff to.  :)  Note the classy, trendy coat I have... oh wait... I SO have to post a picture of the nature scene sweatshirt I have underneath this deal!

Randy signed several pictures... talked to me quite a bit actually and took some time to actually write out a note to me after he found out it was my senior year - nice guy! (It was a pleasure meeting you - God Bless! - Randy Travis)

Gina - who has no clever sign-off for this one... but has one more - really good picture of Bill - in which you can see the magazine he made sure was in every shot.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Things Normal People Wouldn’t Tell You - “They Tip Over”

This goes down as one of my all time most embarrassing moments. Mostly it was embarrassing because it took place surrounded by people who I was only just getting to know and if memory serves one guy that I had a big crush on. Don’t ask me who because I won’t tell you. :O)   Sadly I am realizing at least one of my "best of" stories cannot hit the blogosphere because someone is involved who would "die... she would just die" if she had any clue of her involvement.  And yeah B... I know that just told you what I am referring to!

My brother plays a part in this melodrama because in high school - well pretty much all the way until he abandoned me for college we were together a lot on the weekends.

On this particular night we were at Denny’s and I was showing off/trying to be funny.
The sequence of events changes with the telling but the basic memory is that we were all done paying our checks and heading out the doors.

Now me, being me, was telling a story on the way out the door about something. You know most Denny’s have their handicap ramp as the main entrance (maybe that was just ours). So on our way out the door we were walking… and talking… and laughing. The story somehow involved sobriety checkpoints and tests. Now considering that I have had little to no alcohol in my life and at that point had had absolutely none, we all know that I was stone cold sober for what happened next.

Gina says: “Haha… no officer… I can walk a straight line… look” - then I proceed to walk down the ramp right foot over left. Really I should say that I attempted to walk that way because it really, really didn’t go well for me.

Somehow in the mix (with crush behind me somewhere) I manage to trip over my own feet and tumble full force the rest of the way down the ramp.

My brother and loving, loving friends rush to my side and caringly pick me up run up to me laughing hysterically. I’m not sure how long I lay on the concrete with my bruised elbow and pride before SOMEONE finally thought they maybe should ask “are you ok?”

I’m a faller - I fall… it’s what I do. I have fallen off of porches, sidewalks, down stairs, upstairs and on flat pavement. If you are walking beside me and I vanish chances are that I am lying beside you somewhere - and yeah - I’m probably ok.

Thus ends the lesson

- Gina Grace

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Things Normal People Would Never Tell You - I “Run Into” People

Some people look for greatness.
Some people have greatness thrust upon them.
Some people run into great people - literally.

I could break this section down into presidential, future presidential and other celebrity sections; but we’re going to skip my brother “almost” hitting future President Clinton with our car (I say if the man touches the car it spells a hit but we argue on this point) love ya B… and go straight to my own stories.  It’s all about me!

I have a knack for finding famous people in unusual places. If you are going on vacation with me you can almost be assured of some sort of unusual occurrence (Christi will vouch I betcha after she almost got hit by a van in NYC… come to think of it I almost got hit by a car in Ukraine too - wait I’m sensing a theme!) and some of them are of the celebrity variety. 

Who could forget former Major Koch almost nailing Christi, Dale and me with his car door in the middle of NYC? We’ll skip the “Mrs. Mayor” female impersonator that was also on that trip.

Then there is the almost insane oddity of being in Israel and having John McCain and Senator Lieberman outside the Holocaust museum. Seriously thought some of us were going to get shot that day screaming “we’re from Arkansas” but I won’t go naming any names on my little blog.

China - I swear I saw Yao Ming in our hotel - really can you mistake an almost 8 ft Chinese man?

Memories…

I digress.

We’ll narrow this story down two my two very literal run-ins with former President George W. Bush.

Run in ONE
I take you to Gina’s first semester in Dallas, Texas. This was well before I became obsessed with politics and definitely before I had any clue who George W. was. I was just getting used to living away from home and fending for myself. I’m pretty plucky though. I’m also well… let’s just say a tad clumsy.  BOTH of these things play a hand in this first scenario. I’m guessing it was summer because the cafeteria was closed. Somehow I had managed my way past security and been utterly oblivious to all the commotion on campus. Stinking Student Union was a bit crowded - but the cafĂ© was nice and empty. So I headed on in to order dinner.
I quickly rounded the corner and SMACKED right into then-Governor Bush.
You know that chuckle - the one he is either famous or infamous for based on your perspective. Well the man was chuckling mighty hard.

Me - I had NO CLUE what I had just done. For all I knew he was just some guy in a nice suit. Even with all the security it just didn’t dawn on me that “hey this guy just might be important.” I’m sure he said something. I’m sure I said something. But it wasn’t like it was noteworthy to me at that moment. I figured I had run into a professor or pastor or something so - whoops - so sorry.  Ha- ha - be careful… ha ha.

It was only later - like that night watching the news that I realized the Governor of Texas was at DBU. Then up comes the picture and enters my mortification!  :O)
Yep - Gina almost ran down the Governor of Texas.  Good times!

Run in TWO
I take you two a non-descript hotel somewhere in North Carolina… I think North Carolina. It was during the presidential debates. I was up in the room when I realized that I forgot my toothbrush. What’s a girl to do? Jeffers was with me (love ya B) and offers to go downstairs with me to buy one at the gift shop. Can’t remember why it was a must have at that exact moment but it was. So we get downstairs and I’ll be darned if the gift shop and half the lobby aren’t blocked off. I can SEE the shop and it is open so I start kinda begging to get over there. Somehow during this process we find out that the candidates for the debates are fixing to come through. So we decide to plant ourselves right there and see what we can see.

Now who should come right in front of us but Future President George W!  If I were stupendously quick-witted I am sure I could have some up with some great line. As it was… I just worked with the woman in front of me. She said something to the effect of “I’m telling all my friends to vote for you” to which his response was a big hug. I believe I said something equally brilliant like “hey - all my friends are already voting for you - or I’ll tell all my friends to vote for you - can I get a hug?”   And he obliged.

Oh yeah - I’m a DORK.

I think I’ll come back tomorrow with a few of my other run-ins which are of the non-presidential variety. Those are a bit more stalkerish and less entertaining… but I have pictures!  :O)

-Perilous Pauline

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Things Normal People Wouldn’t Tell You - Getting Rescued at Camp

In the scheme of things this particular yarn isn’t embarrassing NOW… but when you’re away at band camp and always feel a little bit outta place anyways… it doesn’t take much to push you over that edge

I was spending a lovely quiet evening in my room for some reason. I’m thinking there was a dance or something. Being the always socially awkward gal in junior high and high school - dances were like punishment for me so I steered clear!

I actually had no idea that there was a problem so there is no telling how long I was locked in my room before realizing it. My roommate came back to the room and tried to use her key - didn’t work. She knocked so I popped over to open the door - nope.

Jennifer went to get someone to try and help us out. We’re still figuring it’s no big deal. But “no big deal” turns shortly into an ordeal. No keys work - the lock is “frozen.” It will not even come apart so they can open the door. I am STUCK in my room.

Y’all have been to camp right. It doesn’t take long before word spreads and there is a little crowd down beneath our window. Why?

Because word has spread that “some girl” is locked in her room. Now evidently it is too late at night for a locksmith to come get me out of the room. So the plan becomes get enough stuff for the night for roomie and myself and climb across to the next room.

Yes - I said “CLIMB ACROSS” to the next room…

Yeah - that’s not embarrassing at ALL.




So college student/resident maintenance man at Pomfret comes across with Jennifer into the room. SPIKE (not kidding - actual) - helps us get our stuff together and get out of our window - across to the other window and back inside.

Now folks - did I mention there was a crowd down below? Well there was. The crowd including I think most of our band, the directors… and others that I did not know.
All of whom were shouting up helpful information about not falling - taking care, etc. I do remember Mr. Jones, trying to be helpful yelling something up about taking care of his flute player.

= mortification

Oh… my…

Since that year also included another (yet to be published) incident I got an award that year for “clumsiest girl.” Yep - nothing says love like that right?!

-Lucky Lucy

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Things Normal People Would Never Tell You

So today I decided to start blogging some of my “only Gina” stories. Cause I always think that people know these things then realize that you don’t! :O)

We all know I tattle on myself anyways.

My family calls this particular epic the “Water Bottle Incident”

I was traveling from Colorado Springs back to Fayetteville by myself in February a few years back. The month is only important in that it was cold and I had a heavy winter coat on in addition to a purse and a carry-on bag.
The other important thing to note in this story is that I had bought a large liter water bottle in the airport that I was carrying around with me.

Now we also all know that when you are traveling by yourself you have to keep everything with you at all times. You can’t go leaving your bag somewhere when you need to go grab a magazine or something.

You also cannot leave your bags or say your gigantic water bottle somewhere when you have to go to the restroom.

So when nature called and I answered I had to be a little creative.

I get in the little airport stall with the purse, backpack, heavy coat, and water bottle and proceed to start to find space for everything so I can… ya know… do what needs to be done.

Coat off - backpack on the hook - but what to do with the water bottle? There is no shelf for the water bottle. There is however the handy toilet paper dispenser. Sure it’s round but certainly it’ll balance for a bit right?

Wrong - very, very wrong.

More important things that everyone needs to know.

1. When setting something round on top of something round, chances are that it will not stay put for very long even if it looks well balanced.

2. Bottles of liquid very rarely fall straight down.

3. Bottles of liquid, especially plastic ones, tend to explode when hitting tile.

4. Law of Gina says that when said bottle of liquid hits the floor and explodes it won’t do it in a convenient place… like in its own stall.

5. Law of Gina also says that the person next to you in the stall will in fact have pants down… but this will at least save maintenance from mopping the floor later.


Dear Woman Next to me in the St. Louis Airport Bathroom,
While I do not know you I have felt badly for you for years. No words can express my look and gasp of horror on watching an entire liter of water soak you as you innocently sat doing your… shall we say… business that afternoon in February. Sure I should have said something more than “oooh…oooh… sorry.” Certainly, I might have come out of the bathroom earlier than an hour later, but let’s face it, embarrassed doesn’t really cover a moment like that. I did look for you - the lady with the completely wet pants. Cause yeah - you just pulled up and left - how did you manage that anyways? I didn’t even hear the blower going to dry you off?
Sorry - I got distracted. While I cannot make up for your discomfort, you did give my good friend Crystal the perfect idea for a new line at Hallmark the “Sorry - I wet your pants” line. I think it will take off like gangbusters in airports. Seriously this has to have happened to someone else? Well - me and the lady who dropped her gun in the bathroom and shot the woman next to her.
Come to think of it - waters not all that bad huh?
Again - sorry

Sincerely
Betsy Wetsy

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Whole Lot of Nothing

I have nothing to say
Seriously
I have tried for days to come here and be witty, funny, thoughtful, profound, wordy, or anything.
I am at a loss.

Oooh - but you know what I have had an abundance of this last week or so if we just want to be good and honest about it - is the slightest hint of a pity party.

And in bloggyness - or lack of bloggyness (come on spellchecker - that is too a word!) - that comes off as what I am now going to coin blog-pity or possibly blog-envy.

Wanna guess how that showed up? The reason that I have nothing to blog about is because I have (enter melodramatic sigh here) NOTHING… nothing to blog about. Did you hear me?! I’ve been praying God. What is YOUR DEAL?! HA!

Told ya I was having a blog-pity/blog-envy party. I decided when I was driving to work the other morning that the reason I was having such a difficulty coming up with something brilliant to say was because I had no family here in casa de Gina to write about. I have no cute pictures of little toddling ones around my house to post. There is no other person doing something crazy or funny in the next room every day.

Just little ol’ me here and let’s face it - I’m kinda boring! :O)

Oh - so the pinnacle of my newfound blog-pity hit me the other night on the way past my pitiful pile of dishes in the kitchen. (Can’t you keep up with these - it is just YOU living here) I had one of those just lonely single moments. (Would you get a look at yourself in these unmatched pjs)

What’s ironic about this is this perception that I think some people have of the single life. Now other singles may live this super suave-together “drinking coffee in Central Perk” life - this single lives a “so busy I can’t even keep up with where I am much less actually do my dishes” life. Funny no?

Oh - so back to my blog-pity point.

Isn’t it funny how Satan can creep in with disharmony in the family of believers in the lie of “the grass is greener over there trap?” FYI - no idea why I’m using so many quotation marks!

Single people often look to the married side of the fence with envy. Married people (or so I’m told) fondly remember single days or wish this or that was different with the children or spouse. Why couldn’t I just have this God? Isn’t that just the way things work? So many of you desperately want children… and some of you would love to hand your little darling off for a bit.

Yeah - I do have a point! Life is what it is. God has you where He has you. Let’s face it. He has you where He has you for a reason and/or a season. Nothing lasts forever! If you have a kiddo that is making you nuts you have ahead of you the day when you will leave them in a dorm room or walk them down the aisle. Be thankful that you have them where you have them. If you have a silent house now because the kiddos are gone you can look back on memories of laughing kiddos and look forward to visits with them as adults with their kiddos (and sending them home all hyped up on red dye and sugar!).

If you have a silent house now because you’re single remember that God has given you a season where He wants you all to Himself and rejoice because new days are ahead!

Nothing ever lasts forever even if sometimes it feels like it might. Life is all about seasons.

So blog-pity is done now that I have unloaded it. We’ll just see what we can find in this little corner of the web to say about my actual crazy life that doesn’t contain anyone toddling on my floor or snoring in the next room. It does contain plenty of things to be thankful for… plenty of people that I can blog-tattle on (watch-out Al! just kidding)… and plenty of randomness in my brain.

I’ll try to hit this place more than once every other week.

That’s all for now

-Suzy Sunshine. :O)

Monday, August 17, 2009

In Which She Shuts Up a Bit

I’m not a fan of silence.
Have I mentioned that before?
Yes - I am an extrovert. That means in general I like things to be bubbling - preferably bubbling around me. :O) But I don’t just mean silence in that sense. I am not a fan of silence in life either.

This shows up in two ways that are worth noting.

First - I am all about answers. If we’re in Bible Study together you can count on me to be the person who can only stand the awkward pause so long before needing to chime something in to the mix. Silences are excruciating. There is too much that can be said and should be said. However the older I am getting I am also learning that there are lots of things that should not be said. There are lots of pauses that need to be extended. God and I are working on me listening more in those moments and thinking about what I might need to say less.

Second - I’m all about background noise. This is actually where I was tonight that brought my little blogging brain into the mix. I had things to get done tonight. Ok… not really much outside of a bit of tidying up and some cooking. Oh - and maybe some facebooking (c’mon spellchecker - that is so a word!). While I went about my business I hit my favorite source of background noise- HULU! I very rarely just watch anything so I was doing that and 9 other things.

Noise - lots and lots of noise

Then I hit my blog rounds and found something that stunned me into silence on Kelly’s blog.

Unredeemed

Suddenly God had my attention again and I hit silence… actually I hit worship for about 30 minutes in that moment and then have continued in silence. Something about a holy moment that you just don’t want to break you know?

Since you already have a few posts down my conversation about some things in my life that God is working on redeeming. And there is more - there is so much more. I drove home today listening to a song from a new cd that was all about God’s redemption.
Love Story

God’s redemption - stunned into a silent moment.

Why? It is because God doesn’t only speak in screaming moments. He does sometimes. Sometimes He is in the storm speaking. Sometimes He uses calamity. But wouldn’t you much rather hear the whisper? Man I would. It brought to my heart these verses that I have always loved.

1 Kings 19:11-13
The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"
_________________________

God wasn’t in the mighty wind or the earthquake. He was in the gentle whisper. Tonight I so wanted to hear that whisper that I shut everything off. It is still off.

Silence - scary - still - quiet - silence

Why scary? Scary because God has so much work left to do here on me in these quiet moments. Scary because I am remembering a prayer this time last year that required brokenness and finally realizing these thousand shattered pieces and my tears of the last few months are the answer to that specific prayer.

God has done so much with my little that I am stunned into silence.

Actually this night deserves a bit more quiet and a bit less bloggy-ness - night y’all.

God is so good!
Silence. :O)

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

In Which She Writes - Because She Cannot Sleep

I have a goal - rest. I am sure I will get around to it sometime. :) Maybe after graduation....
No I fully intended to hit the sack early tonight but I got caught up talking with some friends. So I got home late, wasn't tired, had to catch up on Facebook, or whatever the excuse is.

So now I have decided to come over and blog a bit. When last we spoke, well next to last, I was headed out of town to pray over some of my future details.
I know everyone is dying to know what I discovered so here you go.

Nothing

Profound isn't it? Really I learned a lot, just not about what I thought I was headed to learn (See previous posting). What I did hear clearly on future wise was that I am where I am right now for a reason. I keep asking a lot of "but what about next year?" questions but we're not getting that far.

Back when I used to write my daily devotionals I had a favorite word picture that I used to use.
It comes from Psalm 119:105
Psalm 119:105 (King James Version)
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Being the detailed person that I am something jumps right out from this to me. The promise is for a lamp at my FEET. God's not promising the whole Coleman camping lighting package. Typically God's guidance doesn't come in the form of a 19 step manual of how to get from point A to point Z. You get the beam - directly on the path in FRONT of you getting you from point A to B.. then C... Then D... sometimes you get D to G. :O)

You're seeing my point right?

My little reminder was that I may not have everything mapped out, a prospect that Gina the controlling, list making freak is not a fan of fyi, but I do have C to D. When D is close to being done (get it... D = Done...) then the beam will head to E. Until then I am going to be content with the Word lighting my feet one shuffle step at a time. One thing is for certain, if I continue to focus on the Word lighting my path and stop trying to see where point "M" fits into the picture then I am a whole lot less likely to stumble.

Here endeth tonight's lesson.

Night all. :O)
-G

Saturday, August 01, 2009

In Which Memory Lane Gets Rocky

Couldn’t wait to share! :O)

As I sit here starting to write this it is 1 am on Saturday morning and I am winding down a pretty incredible weekend. I think when I look back on this weekend one of the words I will use is amusing. Because I came up with a good idea of what I wanted God to speak to… and He had a completely different plan.

Just hours after I started this journey I started out in the car in a pretty down state. Things did not get off to the best of starts (won’t bore you with details but it involved a twisted ankle and a bill I thought was paid that wasn’t). I was determined not to waste a minute though so I started praying and singing as soon as I hit the highway. This would be the moment when I realized God’s plans and mine were about to not “mesh.”

Have you ever had a spot in your heart or memory that is like a nerve? It’s like you can prick it from time and feel that pinch of pain. Every once in a while you do it just to see if it’s still there. But as long as it doesn’t really bother you - you don’t bother it either. On the drive up I had one of those spots lingering in the back of my memory. This is a place down memory lane that I felt was well traveled y’all. Seriously it is a place that I felt like God and I had visited enough that we’ve marked our stone. We came. We saw. He conquered. I had the scars you know… He had the glory. But on the drive up here every time I would touch that memory again the tears would flow.

You know I’d love to tell you I threw the door open right there but I gotta say I was still hoping that we weren’t gonna go there. Oh - how - wrong - I - WAS….

We started off this morning (Friday) dealing through some of my agenda. Check… check… no concrete plans but that gentle guidance that I’ve come to expect. Peace - stillness… wait - there is that whole “not-meshiness” again. Why are we revisiting that God? We’ve been there remember? We did that? Don’t you remember?

I’ll fast forward a bit to let you in on a little secret that I’ve learned… sometimes when you drop things cause you think you and God are done with them… you and God are SO not done with them.

About 15 years ago or so I walked up on a conversation taking place in a Sunday school room. I heard my name being mentioned as I was walking up so I paced up a bit slower and the words that I was about to hear set me up for some major devastation. Since I’m 33… and God and I are just now revisiting and dealing that’ll fill you in on some of the finer points of the conversation. Let’s just say without too many details that people can be seriously cruel to other people. The gist of what I came away with as a mid-teenager was that I was unlovable, that probably no one would ever really love me. Now check that - I filed that away.

Pressing the pause button here - as I blog this there are a couple of things going through my heart:
ONE - I know that some of you are gonna immediately need to hit reply on this. People, I know I am loved but loved was different from being worthy of love in my mind. As I sit here tonight, er, this morning, I actually know that this little gem is a total lie. But I’ve been living with this track in my brain fighting it for YEARS and now that it is identified and shut down I wanted to shout a bit about it.

Hi, my name is Gina, and I am loveable. :O)

TWO - The church I grew up in is a part of me, but mostly not in a good way. There are some great memories of things that God taught me from my time there. But there are frankly a whole lot of more painful ones that God and I got to work past. But that past holds no regret for me. God is good and His plans are so much better than the ones I would have chosen.

I thought a lot about whether to share this or not. If you’ve read this far, and honestly I know lots of you won’t, :O) then the take away message is that a lot of us fall for early lies that color things for us later on. God’s desire is to set us free from that. May not be easy to find yours… but maybe, just maybe if you’re driving along one day you’ll discover it if you’re asking. My advice for that moment is to RUN to His healing and let it go.

I’m all about sharing lessons learned. Once upon a time, probably because of the environment that I grew up in church-wise, I always hid. Hiding is so much easier. No one can criticize you or make fun of you if you don’t ever poke your head up above the crowd. But God has not called us to easy life. God has called us to abundant life. You can’t live that life when you are hiding.
God has not given us a spirit of hiding and fear. He gave us a spirit of self-confidence and love.
Live it y’all. Worth it!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

OLWA !

Whew - everyone needs a little break. Me I probably need a big break but since I don't have time for one I'm gonna settle for a mini.
Just over a month will begin my final year of seminary - YIKES. I'm doing the marathon year to finish and am planning on going straight through the summer. I start back to class on the 24th of August.
Blessing Baskets planning officially kicked off for me this week... I like to get a nice early run at it. Have to start plotting new areas - doing maps - fixing things from last year - finding new hiding spots. :O)
Things are about to get nice and crazy again.

So before things crank back up I decided to ask for a couple of days away to refocus. Thankfully I had some time coming in the form of a gift trip. Woo!

I'm very excited about being away from my normal routine. Something about being out of my usual surroundings helps me. This time around I have some very specific things that God and I are going to walk through. I am excited about the chance to have some quality time listening. I definitely want His directions before I jump off into the fall crazies!

What this does mean is that after midnight tonight (Wed.) I am going to be offline for a while... no e-mail or facebook. I won't be checking blogs. Nada - zippo - zilch. Yep. I'm actually feeling the withdrawals in advance.

I needed to unplug to give myself some time to really listen without updating my status or worrying about farming my crops (lol!)

Just wanted to pop in here before my little hiatus so nobody would think I was abducted by aliens or anything.

See you in a few
-GB

Oooh - and I would definitely love your prayers for guidance these next few days. I know God has a lot to transfer to this hard head. -G

Friday, July 24, 2009

In Which She Finally Participates

So I've Been a follower of Kelly's Corner for a while. Friday's she often does a tour of different areas in people's homes. Being that I live in a Lindsey Apartment dwelling I have not been able to participate other than to "oooh and aaah" at other folks stuff. However today's tour is of wedding dresses. HEY WAIT! Nope... But Kelly kindly asked for us single gals to post our dream dresses so I figured this was my chance to jump in.
Since I am a your typical stereotypical gal I've only thought about the wedding dress thing 900 times or so since I was 7. :) Therefore it was not a difficult decision for me to narrow down some fun pictures.

I was talking to my friend Tiffany (fellow Kelly follower FYI) and it really amazes me how tastes change over the years but the staples seem to stay the same.

Since I was a little girl I've wanted the beaded dress. I've wanted the traditional veil. I like traditions. I like big poofiness (is poofiness a word - not according to spell checker).

Well without further ado I bring my first contribution to Kelly's "Show Us Your Life"

This one just seemed to hit all of my highlights. :) It has the beading... loving the neckline. I just think it is beautiful. Ok - off to real life now!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

In Which Gina and Denial Come Face to Face

Funny how when you hear something you don’t want to hear you think blocking it out will make it better.. la la la … not listening. Did you ever try to do that when you were a kid? Did your parents try to tell you something and you put your fingers in your ears and sang really loudly and obnoxiously? It always had to be something like “I’m Henry the 8th I am” or “John Jacob Jingleheimerschmidt.” Somehow that kid version of denial never quite did the trick. Eventually you’d have to listen. Eventually you would have to clean your room or do your homework. Eventually even the things you try to avoid seem to come around no matter how many verses you sing.

So when I heard that my boss, Scott, was quitting I did my best to sing 900 verses of “John Jacob” but I guess that can only last up until his actual last day at work - which is tomorrow just in case anyone is counting.
Still it did not dawn on me until sometime tonight that the inevitable was upon me. Specifically it dawned on me in the middle of trying to buy a goodbye card at approximately 6:05 this evening (sorry Family Christian clerk- it wasn’t you I promise).
So in honor of my friend and boss I bring you the official End of Denial blog.
CUE sobbing and melodramatic music here

In all seriousness though…
What a joy to have the Crawfords in my life for the time that God has given them to us here. We’ve laughed and cried… well mostly me cried cause I’m just like that…
God has taught me so much through their example. I’ve been encouraged, challenged, blessed, and taught. From Brundi I’ve learned a lot about being transparent and living life with joy and love. From Scott I’ve learned a lot about faith and what it means to really trust God in the details. So much more really - but seriously can’t put it all out there people I mean really - stop being SO nosy.

In the end the lesson is a blessing of friendships that go on and on. As believers we know that no goodbye is ever permanent. Life is all about seasons.
I have been blessed to have a season with this amazing family in my life.
Love you guys!!!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

In Which She Explains Terms - OLWA

So lately I've realized I spend way to much time online.
Hi... my name is Gina and I'm addicted to Blogs and Facebook. :)

Now I'm able to work my way away from them when other things are involved. I come out to work. I come away for family and friends. But when I am home I have realized that lately the pc is always on. Part of this I blame on my lack of cable. Hulu and I are great friends. Something is typically needing my attention there. But it's summer. Nothing is pressing and still it calls to me.

I do actually accomplish other things at home. Tonight has involved a load of laundry, some cleaning, and some dishes for instance. However the pc is always on as well. It's background noise. Noise being the key word here.

So this summer I am instituting the return of what I like to call OLWA (I'm a geek... I like acronyms!) In Gina-ese it stands for Off Line With Abba. It's my "I gotta get offa here and get some perspective cry. Lately I've pulled the plug for several different reasons. One night it was so many friends that seemed to be hurting and needed prayer. One night it was ME that so needed prayer! I have one prolonged season that is coming up - but I'll save news of that one for a little later on.

How about y'all? How much time do you spend? And maybe it's not time right in front... of the little glowing screen but time spent meandering back and forth to the pc/blackberry/iphone to check up on things.

Need some OLWA time? Take it!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

In Which She Talks To Herself

In one of my ridiculously late moments recently I was thinking of things that I wish I had known earlier in life. I’m still young (what I tell myself all the time) but even at this stage you start thinking man I wish I knew at 18 what I know now.

So my mind, which is always a little twisted, started turning things around and wondering what 50 year old Gina is going to be wishing 33 year old Gina knew. So… for those of my Facebook-Notes readers and my maybe Blog readers who are older I am throwing this open. What do you wish you could tell yourself? This isn’t what would you go back and redo. You can’t go back and redo things. I would never redo the past anyways. There are too many things learned from the dumb things I did. But here is what I mean.

My examples for you “young-ins”
What I do wish is that I had known things like:
Tell the people you care about - how you feel about them you have nothing to lose (I took a while to learn this with my friends when I was younger - regretted it when I lost some of them right out of high school - one the summer right after his graduation)

Never-ever-ever-ever let an argument with someone you care about go on where you leave them angry. Because if something happens and the last word you have is an angry one - not… good!

Don’t be so worried about making a fool out of yourself. It is going to happen. It always manages to happen. I don’t know why that is. But worrying about it won’t change it.

Learn to laugh at yourself. That makes the “fool out of yourself part easier” :O)

Ok - I may add more later but I gotta get work started here!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Randomness - To claim my Spot

8sf9emjq2u

Monday, June 22, 2009

In Which She Tells Embarrassing Stories from Vacation

Well a week off never seems to be enough time to do what you would like to do. Thankfully we headed to ND with little agenda in mind. That really helped when we were so wiped we could barely get off the couch! :O)

Big A and I had a good time traveling with the parents. 17-18 hours together is a long time for anyone but in a car all bets are off. Thankfully we travelled well both coming and going - and I only got really grumpy once… maybe twice? ... Ok maybe three times.

There was fog - lots and lots of fog. There was construction - mile after mile of it.

Mainly we laughed a whole lot (when we weren’t sleeping). One giggling incident at 3 am after getting a little turned around in nowhere, SD stands out. Hey, I get giddy at 3 am.

As for the actual vacation in ND with the family there aren’t enough words. LBB (Little Big Brother) suggested that I do a t-shirt of our favorite vacation sayings. The only problem is that only 6 of us would “get” them.

One thing that marks my family is laughter. Thankfully we can usually only argue until one of us says something funny and then it’s all over. So here are some of my favorite vacation moments. We’ll get to the spiritual highlights later. These are the other memorable ones.


Allie Rose (on seeing a little boy fall off his bike under the bleachers) “Hey buddy… are you ok? HEY… BUDDY… are you ok? I found out later she knew the little boy when he came up to us and said “my name is Mason… remember… Mason.”

Allie Rose as a bride - she has the whole getup. She needed an announcer and we decided that only daddy could announce her wedding. Upon Jeff’s pronouncement of “Let’s get ready to MARRYYYYYYY,” she announced to us all that it was time to leave on her honeymoon - to Texas

Jeremiah decided on the last day that he wasn’t ready for us to leave prompting him to walk into rooms where I was and say things like “I’m going to miss you for my WHOLE life.”

Jonathan is a hoot. You know how parents always wish you will have a child just like yourself? Well my brother has spawned a clone of himself. It is really a challenge to not crack up while listening to him.

T-ball is priceless entertainment. The pictures do not do justice to the duos of kids on each base playing in the dirt, talking and holding hands (these are the opposing teams). Allie skips to each base or runs on tip-toe.

We also got to see Jonathan and Jeremiah get hits and score runs in the pee-wee games. The younger kids were fun to watch (no sitting on the base and playing in the dirt for them.

When running downstairs to proclaim her innocence, a good lesson for my niece to learn will be to not start out like this “Whatever it is he says that I did, I didn’t do it” Every adult in the room had their hands over their faces trying not to die laughing as she proceeded to tell exactly what Jeremiah was going to say she did and recount again that she did not do it. Kinda hard to buy the story, but funny!


Finally no words can describe the sweetness of having almost all of the people I love under one roof finally. We got to hold the kids a lot, which always makes me mindful that they will not always want to sit in Aunt Gina’s lap and just cuddle. How time flies!?!

Friday, June 12, 2009

In Which We Take a Break!

Well friends... I am off to Sunny North Dakota. Unless something really fascinating happens while I am gone I will be taking a blog-break.
Would appreciate prayers for safe travel.

We will be driving straight through the night. SO if you're in Western MO or Iowa or along that path wave all day and I might see you. :O)

Gina

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

In Which One Thing Really Does Lead to Another

Well it's almost midnight. I came home after work exhausted. But I knew I needed some unplugged time. So I got the old journal/Bible and a new book I am trying to read. Book required watching a bit of video - enter laptop.... video will not play.

So I sit in silence for a while writing, praying, thinking and crying.

That seems to be my pattern so far for the last two weeks. I think I have cried more in that time than I have in the last year (and I'm a crier people... no one cries alone in my presence!).

Why the tears? I read somewhere that tears are cleansing. I mean that in literal terms. Tears wash out impurities from your body. Have you ever cried tears that literally burn? That is your body, doing its job.

I also mean it figuratively. Sometimes we just have to let things go emotionally. I'm the queen of trying to hold things in. I guess I've always thought that eventually there would be time for a meltdown. The time just never actually came. I hate crying in front of anyone. It seems weak (yeah I don't know when weak became a bad thing either). It means I am "out of control," not something I am ever fond of fyi!

Back to the tears, because remember - one thing really does lead to another tonight.

I've been in this flaky emotional state for a couple of weeks. Seriously when I came home at lunch today and cried the ENTIRE HOUR - I figured I had used up the reservoir. I was oh... so.. wrong.

At about 6, right before I decided I needed to unplug, I lost it yet again. Yep - good times!

So how does this lead to something else. I hit my moment of clarity about 4 hours later. It was something I started to get earlier and that revelation (if it's not ok, it's not the end) needed to lead to the second verse.

We're not home yet. We're not done yet. You still breathing? Yep, me too. Guess what that means.
We're not done yet because we're not home yet. Which means God's not done yet either! Now how exiting is that?

It ain't over, till it's over. And the fact that you're reading this means it ain't over.

Tomorrow when I wake up and take that first morning breath I will remind myself again that God is still working out His plan. What plan? You got me - that's His business.

My business:
Get up
Get moving
Tell everyone I can what He is doing, has done, can do, wants to do (get the picture)
Come home
Repeat

Monday, June 08, 2009

In Which She Talks to the “In-Betweeners”

I spent a lot of time yesterday thinking about my life. Pastor’s sermon was a challenge to live for eternity. It hit me between the eyes (Pastor does that a LOT and I am so thankful for his diligence to God’s word). I was challenged to make some changes in what I do and what I think/say about what I do.

Then I also started thinking about stages of life. In our connection group my friend Joel mentioned something about God being focused on our journey in life, while we are focused on our destination. God wants to help us “be” where we are and who we need to be. Often we just want to get where we are going already. And could you hurry that up please God?

Am I the only one who keeps falling back into destination thinking?

My mind knows firmly that God is in control. He is working on me, through me, and around me for His glory and purposes. I am looking in me, around me, at me, and wishing He would get on with it already.

Again yesterday and this morning I am struck by the reminder to be the girl who is all about the journey.

We all have destinations in mind. We are all in between stages. Have you ever thought about it that way? All of us are “in-betweeners.” Even if you just had something come to pass you soon realize that it is just that - “past.” Our human minds automatically hit the “next” button and we start waiting again. You graduate from college and you are suddenly in the waiting for something like graduate school, marriage, or a job. You get married and you are in the waiting pool, even if not immediately for kids, a house, or something else. We’re all there!

Recently I was in the middle of a conversation that put a big spotlight right on my “in-betweener” status. My reaction even surprised me. See I actually had been happily a journey girl. I had not been focusing on being an in-betweener. It took all of about 2 seconds for me to snap back! How frustrating is that?! :O)

Since this morning has me back firmly in journey mode (hmmm… I’ve had to create words for this little post haven’t I? Hopefully you’re still with me), I wanted to share a couple of observations.

When you focus on the thing you want more than on the Giver you are always going to be miserable.

Think right now about what you want then give… it… up! See above re: misery.

No matter where you are in life you can help support another in-betweener. As different as we are we need to realize that we are more alike than different. Satan wants to categorize us. Christ wants to break those boundaries so we can learn and journey together.

Now get on out there and start talking! So glad we are on this journey together.

-G

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

In Which She Dwells, but in a good way

So this is an odd blog and a long blog - that’s your warning up front.

It’s been a difficult few weeks for me. I’ve been a long-time on again/off again migraine sufferer. The last month has seen them coming up at least once a week, with the last one hanging in for (current count as of 6/2/09) 8 days! 8 days of dizziness, head pounding, eyes twitching and general grumpy madness. Honestly I don’t say anything to complain… just to explain! If you see me, and I don’t see you, that’s probably why. If you call me on the phone and I seem “not there” there’s a good bet I’m not.

But I digress.

Spiritually this last month has been challenging. It’s hard to read with a pounding head… hard to sing (my favorite “me and God” time)… and hard to focus. To say the last month has been dry for me just doesn’t seem to cut it. I hadn’t even really realized it until I opened my journal this morning and my last entry was 5/13. Almost a month break is practically unheard of for me in journal terms. So why did I wake up this morning and grab the journal? It was a dream.

Before you start rolling your eyes (all three of you who read) let me state for the record that I am not a person who believes every dream means something. Sure some of them do. Sure sometimes your subconscious needs to work things out and chooses your dreaming to do the work. Sometimes I firmly believe that if you aren’t still enough when you are awake, or He just chooses to, God will come in and speak.

That would be what happened to me early this morning. Most of the dream, even the setting, I’ll leave between me and God because I know that is what needs to happen. But part of what I learned I just felt like sharing. I think it is because I know, from your comments, prayer requests, and messages; that many of you are struggling right now.

It was a disturbing dream in many ways. In the midst of it though, God gave me a song and buddy I belted it out right then and there. I don’t remember it, maybe I will later. I don’t even remember more than two words of it. But the two words were worth the distress of the dream.

Wonderful counselor

When I woke up there were a few things clear to me. I hadn’t slept much (getting used to that) but I had to stay up and process. So I grabbed my Bible and journal from beside me and got to work. I think I’m a pretty good listener. I’m a problem solver at heart and a counselor. So I love helping other people work through things. I enjoy God giving me the right word, at the right time to help lift other people. It is a joy to me to do that. However too often I don’t go for that same help. I wall myself off. Where does the “healer” go when they need to be healed? Wonderful Counselor!

The first place I opened my Bible to was Psalm 91. Pastor Floyd did a Sunday night series a while back on that passage and I still had the notes to re-read. FYI - the dwelling in the secret place, and pastor had both been in my dream!?!

Where are you dwelling? Lately I’ve been dwelling in my problem. I’m in pain and that doesn’t seem to be letting up. Who knows, it may not let up for a while. But where do I need to dwell? I need to dwell in the secret place. This morning when I woke up to read, I just kept reading. It was so fresh to me, maybe because things have been so “dry.” But everything jumped off the page and pointed back to the dream. Wild!

Circumstances may not change. But I will dwell and I am determined to let that change me! God gave me a song and remember it or not my heart will be singing it. It’s back to basics for me. It’s all about digging in and not letting go until God breaks my hip and gives me the blessing (see Jacob in the OT if that is gibberish for you). I’ll try to let you in on the journey. If I don’t, feel free to ask.

On and up friends!

-Gina

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

In Which She Realizes it is Tuesday... not Monday

Summer is fast approaching, which means lots of work in the mission ministry. It is great. We get to work with new folks (interns which I usually call minions). We get to get out into the community more. Lots of things happen in ministry during the summer.

This year we have a neat opportunity with two adult interns instead of college students. I have loved every summer with our students. This is just a totally new deal. It will be interesting to see what God does.

First up is our big Kidapalooza Festival.

Wait - getting off my topic at hand. Yesterday, aka, Monday passed harmlessly for a Monday. I suppose that should have been my first clue today would be "special."

Today was not a bad day. It was just a weird day complete with a dreaded doctor's appointment that offered me so-so news, kinda cruddy news, and sarcasm. Good times! :OP

Anyhoo - thought I would take this day to update and say howdy. All things good come to those who wait. Those who wait patiently may not get things faster, but they do seem happier in the mean time.

That's my advice for the day.

Oh - that and the fact that it is Tuesday, not Monday. Let that be a lesson for you. Unless it's tomorrow - then it is Wednesday... don't get confused!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Compassion

I've been inspired lately by the Compassion Blogger trip to India.
I have been a compassion sponsor for years. Long enough now that I cannot actually remember when I started.
I do, remember the moment when I first saw Grace. :)

For years I have been saying something to the effect of "God's going to call me to Tanzania." It started when I was 16 and first felt God's call to mission work. I just knew Tanzania was special, way before I had any clue where it was.

So a few years back I was sitting in a Compassion concert locally. Somewhere in the concert they passed out the folios that have compassion kids that needed a sponsor. I raised my hand and was given a "random" child.

Grace - from Tanzania. If I'd had any doubts about sponsoring, it left me that second.

I love Compassion because I get to watch Grace grow. I get letters with drawings, pictures and updates. I have seen her family.

If you have ever thought about this, or maybe haven't thought about it, I encourage you to go for it.

$32 a month makes a huge difference for these children AND their families.

I promise you will not be the same.

Grace and her grandma

Thursday, May 14, 2009

In Which the Clock Stands Still

Yeah... so life right? Crazy...

I think today it's best to just make a list. I'm all about lists. Like many of my borderline OCD friends I love, love, love checking things OFF of lists. I also love things in three's, but that is off topic.

I call myself a frustrated perfectionist. I know that I can't get things where I want them so I give up. :) The end result is a mess.

Lately that seems to be life - messy.

It's ironic to me, because things are pretty good. I finally graduated with my BS in Psychology. I'm about 2/3 of the way through my Master of Divinity. My apartment (other than puddles the wonderdog and the person who always parks inches from my driver's side door) is a cozy little place of happiness.

I'm almost at 9 months of dating a great guy who is Godly, wise, witty, and cute (:OP). <---- should have gone for all "w's" huh?

Things are good. Things are actually really good.

So why in the world would I say things are messy? Cause they are!

I told you that I am a frustrated perfectionist. Life is tough for those of us who need things perfect. I like order. I like knowing that things are happening on schedule, my schedule that is!

Life is just not on my schedule these days.

Over the last year I decided to talk God into my timetable on a few things. I have my list you know, and things are not being checked off of it promptly.

The more list checking (or non-checking off) I did, the more frustrated I became.

Frustration leads to some ugly cycles. The more out of control we feel, the more we try to control. Surely there is something I can take on. God doesn't want it all right? Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Sheesh!

I'd like to proclaim today my official "hands off" day. I want to say that I am throwing my little lists away and letting go... letting God. I just know me a little bit better than that. :O)

What I will say is that I am going to dig in a little harder. Not my heels digging in while I try to get what I want. As much as I know that I cannot control, I also know that I can't even stop trying to control without His help.

So it's me and Him, together, taking on my mess.

Ahh life... crazy right?

-G

Monday, May 11, 2009

In Which She Waxed Poetic on Mother's Day

It's funny how you can be genuinely happy in one sense and sad at the same time about the exact same thing.
Mother's Day is one of those days. Once you start hitting certain numbers birthday wise you get a bit sentimental about milestones. I guess it is partly because we tend to gauge our lives by the people around us.

One couple gets married right out of high school or college; starts having kiddos; buys a house and settles in for life.

One couple gets married quickly after school and tries for ten years to have children. When God provides, it isn't the way they expected. But their little bundle of joy adds something priceless to their lives and his/hers.

A young person hears the call to go into mission for God in a far-off land. He knows this most likely means he will not marry, but goes in obedience.

A older person never hears the call to remain single, but never hears the call to marry. So she waits.

And there are so many stages in between.

As I faced yesterday I could not help measuring life in those around. We're all in stages aren't we?

Some are waiting for their life to begin - graduations are all over the place this month.

Some are waiting on new life to begin - pregnancies and new little ones abound these days.

There are engagements and possible engagements. There are those who are waiting on God with hope and those who wait with no hope. There are regrets over lost moments and moments taken in haste. There is divorce, death, uncertainty, loss... so many stages.

Yep. There are a lot of stages.

When yesterday came it caught me entirely by surprise. I think I am a good "waiter."
32 years old and single you get used to asking, expecting and waiting for God. I know its not a single-only deal. But it seems like that particular pool of people is much larger these days. So it stands to reason that the numbers are not in the favor of the "every pot has a lid" camp.

Not everyone who desires marriage will get it. Not everyone who desires to have children will. Not everyone who prays desperately for their marriage to hold together or their child to live will see the answer as they hoped.

Whew - depressing huh?

Well since we know my word for 2009 is JOY you know I'm not leaving us there right?

Back to yesterday... I couldn't face it. Cause I'm all about gut-wrenching transparency these days I will be the first to stand up and admit that baby dedication was not where I could be yesterday. I did try. I really did.

Honestly I can say that I am THRILLED beyond belief for the answers I see around me. One friend tried for so long to have a baby with miscarriage after miscarriage, but God provided this past year with an adorable little answered prayer. One friend waited for the hubby and the baby and this was her year to.

I see it. It gives me hope. That is true. We're called to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. Each of those times have their easy times and hard times.

I try to never be about feeling sorry for myself. It just does no good. It's time wasted but it's tough to avoid sometimes. Sometimes you are willing to hand things over to God.

Sometimes you grip those dreams hard - death grip hard.

Have you ever held something in your hand, with all your might for a long time?

It doesn't take long when you grip something like that for your hand to start to weaken. So you grip harder and it becomes even harder and harder to hold on to.

If you made it to the end of this post, perhaps it is because you are a gripper. You are desperately holding on to something that you want. While in reality the harder you grip the less of a hold you have.

My suggestion isn't to give up your dream. God is all about dreams. He is all about hope.

Mostly - He is all about you holding on to Him. So is your dream taking His place? Does it have a life of its own? Where are your thoughts? Are they on Him or on the thing/person/place/status that you just have to have?

Just a priority check because when God hits me with a 2 x 4 I like to at least try to spare someone the headache.

Proverbs 13:12
Hope deferred makes the heart sick,but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

-Gina

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Talking on Elevators

I don't know when I started this little habit I am about to confess. If I could trace it back it might make sense.

I talk to myself on elevators. Since I cannot walk stairs much (ouchie knee) and work on the second floor, I talk to myself in our particular elevator several times a day/week. I have come to the recent revelation that you can clearly hear conversations in our elevator while waiting for it to come down/up. Which leaves me wondering which of my self amusing, chuckling, strange-singing moments have been the amusement of others. Would you tell me if you heard me conversing on the way up /down? Just this week I have had:
1. A hysterical bag incident that left me howling in laughter down into someone else's office (that one I HAD to explain).
2. Two incidences of me singing "In a Little While" - remember that Amy Grant song?
3. Pizza/leftover counting on my way down the elevator... Tuesday is Weight Watcher's night at FBCS... chubby people really hate walking past weight watcher's meetings. It's like "yeah - I could be one of you, but I choose not to - I have food in my hands because I didn't eat all of my grande quesadilla from lunch... so THERE" FYI - told you I was strange.

And yep - it's just Tuesday. :O)

Being just a bit off mentally I also had the thought of messing with people using this knowledge, but I think I already have a reputation for odd so I am going to skip it.

Why do I share this with you?

No idea - just amused me tonight.

:O)

Friday, April 10, 2009

A Year or So Ago

A year ago or so I stood and looked at a rock structure. It clearly looked like a skull. It seemed such a far away place until that day - Golgotha, the place of the skull. Our guide explained that crucifixion didn't really take place on a hill. That wasn't the style of the Romans. The people they killed were to be an example so they hung on a roadway. Everyone who passed the skull hill, and the three men hanging in front of it, would have been close to eye level with the condemned. So all those passing by Jesus in the hours He hung dying most likely spit on Him while looking Him right in the eyes. For hours the Son of God hung, dying, bleeding, suffering, and sacrificing.

A year ago or so I walked through a garden.I wasn't really sure how far... but it wasn't far. There was a hole - just barely big enough to get one person through at a time. There was a garden. Then there was a tomb. (Jn 19:41)

A year ago or so I walked into a tomb, an unfinished tomb in a garden. It was just around the corner from the rock hill that looks just like a skull. In that tomb in a garden was the most beautiful nothing I have ever seen. What I looked on that day a year ago or so was the tomb where Jesus laid. I say laid because clearly there was no one there. That tomb really is empty.

A year ago or so I sat in a garden overwhelmed. It wasn't until days later that it hit me. Every time I closed my eyes I saw one thing - white stone - tomb - nothing. Burned onto my memory is that nothing. He is not there. He is not there. It was like I just couldn't stop thinking it. He is not there. He is not there.

A year later I sat and read the accounts of those who were in the garden on the first day of that beautiful sight of nothing. He was not there.

Again in my mind today is that tomb. So I wanted to share it with you.

He is not here - He IS RISEN!



Sunday, April 05, 2009

A Word on Calling

I’ve wondered often and loudly about where God has me heading. I knew that finishing the undergrad was a priority, but I always felt that it was so I could be a Journeyman and head overseas. Then graduation came and it was clear that the timing was off to go overseas. By this time I was working at the church in a great job surrounded by great people. After a lot of prayer I applied to get my Master of Divinity at Liberty Seminary. The questions began immediately. What are you planning on doing when you got out of school?

I have probably another good year of school left and I still don’t have a concrete answer to that question. I’ve learned a lot from both the BS in Psychology and the MDiv courses. But do they qualify me to do anything useful in society? That I cannot answer. Tonight I have some interesting questions rolling around in my head that have no answers. A wise person once told me that sometimes your passion is what God has called you to do. We always look for something hard, like God would only call us to something that we hate. Could it be that He does call us to something that is beyond ourselves, but is something that we also love? I think so.

Prayerfully I begin the process this week of sending out some things to get published. I love writing and in the course of just a week I have had three people tell me how encouraged they are by my writing. I’ve written for a long time. I even used to write a daily e-mail devotional. I always received encouragement. Still so little of what I have written over the years is online. I guess I can’t help but feel the need to get more of it out here and maybe in print somewhere. Could it be that this passion is my calling? I don’t know. But I am going for it.

To those of you who have encouraged me lately I want to let you know that God has used you to be a part of this decision. I may fall absolutely flat! It really scares me. But I am going for it!

Monday, March 30, 2009

So Good

God is so faithful... and for that, and much more, I am thankful.

Anger

If today was summed up in one word… and I was honest about that word… it would be anger. Hi, my name is Gina - I am angry.

Frankly I’m a little angry that I am angry. There are people with serious life-altering horrendous problems that put anything I can even come up with to complain about to shame.

But still my word for today is anger.

Somehow today has me feeling like Shempy’s Freak Circus passed me by - and I so shoulda hopped on board. Cause I just don’t belong here.

Some days I just feel like an imposter. Things should be better than this. I should be past this. I should be able to just put this aside. See the bigger problem is that I am not better than this emotion and I am SO no past it.

So tonight is a struggle. Tonight I think will end with tears. I gotta think that an honest cry out to God is just all a girl has (well that and blogging - how self-absorbed am I?) For some reason I benefit from reading when other people struggle. I guess maybe I think someone can benefit from this - OR that I can benefit from it later.

What led to this? Lots of things - change, no change, crazy people making today their day in my life, answers, no answers, and a lot of little stuff that has me baffled

I want to be able to pinpoint one thing. Because if I could do that, I would stop mentally blaming people who really have NO idea that they are on my list tonight! Maybe if I could check the “you are responsible” box I could let everyone else off the hook. Alas that ain’t happening.

So tonight - on the next to last day of the third month of 2009 - I am angry.

I really only have one place to go… so I go there now… and leave you with this:

Ephesians 6:12 (The Message)

A Fight to the Finish
And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we'll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

For my three loyal readers...

I just felt like there needed to be something new here. So... I ramble on!
Spring seems to be here definitively this time. I am ready I suppose - my allergies are NOT!

Something about spring always sets me in a chipper mood. Today I was almost obnoxiously walking the halls singing Zipadee Doda! :) I think it is the end to the bleakness that always defines winter.

But today it dawned on me that Spring, more than any other season, is about new beginnings. It is new birth from death. How appropriate is that for Easter to fall in Spring?!

Unlike many, many people I am a fan of change. I say that a lot but lately am realizing that I am a fan of MY change, not necessarily other's changes. I love spring because you get to see the old dead trees turn to pretty new buds. It's fresh, new, and alive.

I guess that is how I feel tonight. I feel fresh and new. God is so gracious to work with us through our winters. Some of them are so long that they seem never ending. But spring is always just around the corner. And I am in spring. This year has already seen some incredible changes in my life and in me personally. Change is good! I cannot wait to see what He has planned for this next chapter.

God is good. What a blessing to never be stuck in any one season for more than He has designed - that is in nature and in life!

G

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Reasons I'm thankful to be living in 2009

So lately, with all the doom and gloom stuff we are surrounded with, I've been finding myself wondering what it would have been like to live in the past.

Frankly - LOST's little time traveling antics helped me along on this.

Over my life I've often thought that I should have lived in a different time. I just don't "get" the world we live in in so many different ways. The thought lately has been that we are possibly getting ready to experience a different time due to economic downturn... crazy disaster... mutant ninjas taking over. You know, the usual things!

So here are some things that I am thankful for that I would NOT have had in 1940.

Facebook - WOO!
E-mail
Cell Phone
Hulu
Most likely - not my own apartment
Most likely - not be getting my MDiv
The ability to see my brother in the frozen north in just a few hours travel.
The ability to see my brother and fam digitally on a web cam
The ability to make a quick little drive down the hill to see my other brother, mom/dad, and rest of the fam.
My laptop and the world it brings here to me

Well there is a short and mostly geeky tip of the iceberg.
The talk I keep having is my little Pollyanna "it's going to be ok" speech. I know a lot of people think it's crazy but I am determined to believe it. Even if the world goes to pieces tonight while we sleep I will still love and be loved. I have amazing friends and family. I have Christ! That means that I have everything.

Good thought to leave on!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

I amaze myself

Now I bet you're thinking I'm about to brag on some amazing gift I have right?
Nope

I'm amazed at my inability to follow my own advice! Ever notice how much easier it is to be the sage voice of wisdom than to be the follower of that wisdom?

I'd share - but my first self advice that I am going to take is to make myself go to sleep!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Patience of Job

I find it amazing that no matter where we are in life we are usually looking to the next step with some sort of impatience or another. If you are finally married, even after a long wait, it seems like it doesn’t take long until you are waiting patiently for the first child, perfect job, or new home. Once you get your little angel you tend to wait patiently for the terrible two’s or teething to pass. We do a lot of waiting in this life don’t we?

Pastor has done this great series on dwelling in the secret place (Ps 91). I would never claim to be an expert on this topic and I have definitely learned a lot from this series. But I can say that these past few months I have spent a lot more time in quietness. It started with a challenge from a class in seminary to spend time in complete silence. FYI - This is much easier said than done. If we boil down to my heart and I am totally honest, I’m not a fan of silence. I know you are shocked! I cannot count the nights that I have been drawn to nothingness, my journal, and my Bible lately. I’m not even searching for a specific in most cases. Sure there are requests. I am still waiting patiently on people, things, and situations… and sometime very impatiently! But the silence is almost for the sake of silence alone. It’s Tuesday night - good TV night btw - and I haven’t touched the button yet. Even with the set off I have to struggle to not fill this time with busyness. I journaled… read… prayed…read… then went back to the silence.

I hesitate to share. I almost started this last night. I questioned my motives. This isn’t about me. I think that in going back over all of this tonight I really believe that many of you are seeking to dwell in the secret place. I’m relatively young, 32, so for me to say that our times are the most chaotic and uncertain in memory isn’t a stretch. However I am also hearing that word from people much older and wiser than me. So many things are no longer a given in our cozy little worlds. Life for many is no longer a given in our cozy little worlds.

So how does this tie into patience? I have no solution to just about all of my questions tonight! I’ve journaled, prayed, read and I am getting one verse over and over and over again. It’s not God’s blueprint for Gina’s life, which is SO what I’d rather get from the silence! Since I’m the lay it all out there girl I wanted to share my heart a bit and my verse. God is good. If you’re struggling or if you’re not, He is faithful. He is sovereign. He is waiting with you.

Philippians 4:4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Joy

So since I just realized that the three of you who may actually read this might have been curious. :OP

My word from God for 2009 is JOY!

I think its been a while

Well since the last post we've had a lot going on here in my little corner of the world. Big Ice storm - followed by weeks of ongoing cleanup. Since I have the privilege of working in our missions office I also got to be involved in the disaster relief effort! Wow... I had no idea what all went into the process.

These guys are to be admired for their work. At the end of the next few days this will mostly be behind me, but these guys will move onto the next crisis. Amazing spirits and workers!

School is crazy - life is crazy - I am crazy

I wish I had something more interesting to report. Life goes on, much as it has in the past few months. Things have changed drastically - dating Al - getting close to the end of school - dating Al. :) Things are just good.

God is Faithful to those who wait - even those of ME who wait impatiently!

Off for now