Wednesday, December 31, 2008

This is Why...

I don't have a "fish" emblem on my car. :-)

A man was being tailgated by a stressed out woman on a busy boulevard. Suddenly, the light turned yellow, just in front of him. He did the right thing, stopping at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection.

The tailgating woman was furious and honked her horn, screaming in frustration, as she missed her chance to get through the intersection, dropping her cell phone and makeup.

As she was still in mid-rant, she heard a tap on her window and looked up into the face of a very serious police officer. The officer ordered her to exit her car with her hands up.

He took her to the police station where she was searched, fingerprinted, photographed, and placed in a holding cell. After a couple of hours, a policeman approached the cell and opened the door. She was escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer was waiting with her personal effects.

He said ‘I’m very sorry for this mistake.’ You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping off the guy in front of you, and cussing a blue streak at him. I noticed the ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ bumper sticker, the ‘Choose Life!’ license plate holder, the ‘Follow Me to Sunday-School!’ bumper stickers, and the chrome-plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk; so naturally…I assumed you had stolen the car.

Lawsuit Abuse

Here is a lawsuit that screams why we need a "loser pays" system. It seems that Michael Newdow (California athiest) who has sued over this stuff before is at it again. He is suing to have the words "so help me God" removed from the inauguration oath. He along with the other people who are plantiffs in the case are saying they will have to choose between not watching the inauguration or being alienated. Really?! You have nothing else to worry about?? In all honesty, it should be up to Obama to say the words or not say the words. If he doesn't want to, don't. Anyone other than the POTUS-elect should have absolutely no say in the matter. After all, they're not the ones who have to live up to the oath. I have very little patience for people who waste our judicial system's precious time with frivilous lawsuits like this. And to top it off, the Justice Department will have to waste MY tax dollars defending this drivel.

Ultimately, the guy really needs our prayers. I think for him to be such a hard-core athiest, he must have had some sort of really negative interaction with Christians somewhere along the line.

Read more about it here:

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Concert Review, Movie Review and More...

Christmas is winding down and we're preparing to brave the crowd at Macy's tomorrow but before doing that, I thought I'd post a few reviews.

First off, the Trans Siberian Orchestra concert last Saturday night. All I can say is WOW! The show this group puts on is spectacular. The lights and sounds were a sight and sound to behold. I love TSO's music and they did their entire Christmas Eve Sarajevo album which is my favorite so that was an added bonus. I'm also impressed by the stamina this group has. They did the entire first half running around the stage and never took a "real" intermission. During a usual intermission time, they introduced the whole gang. Then it was on to round two where they blew things up. Gotta love that. Pyrotechnics, real fire and lasers. It was amazing. Anyone who loves TSO's music should put this concert at the top of their list next time they are in town.

On to the movie review...Sarah and I saw "Marley and Me" this afternoon as our annual Christmas Day movie. It is a very cute and well done movie but any of my friends who cry easily at movies (you know who you are) should avoid this movie or at least the ending. If you've read the book, you know what I'm talking about. If not, I'm not going to spoil it. It is worth seeing but be prepared and take the Kleenex.

This has been such a nice week off so far and I am looking forward to a few more days off. I don't have to be back at work until Monday afternoon so I have more days to spend with my family. I realized on the way home that this is the first week off I've had where I haven't been jetting off to AZ since the Monday after Easter. While I love those trips, some time off has been welcomed. Okay, back to regularly scheduled web programming.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Parties Galore and Other Randomness

Last night, I finished my 5th party of the season. Most years I'm lucky to have ONE party much less five. But, all of them were fun in their own way and it was so much fun to take time out to visit with friends. They ranged from an office party unlike no other to a party with the seventh grade girls I teach. The office party was a lot of fun and we ended up donating $5,000 dollars to a variety of ministry areas around the world. Sometimes I think I work at the coolest place on the planet.

Random thoughts...why do people insist on adding lights, decorations and all kinds of other ridiculous stuff to their yards every year? What happened to tasteful decorations? Lights on the house, trees and bushes is one thing but lights on every freakin' surface is something else entirely. AL Power people must salivate at the thought. :-)

Have you seen the cars dressed up like reindeer? Seriously?! People buy this crap and then put it on their cars? No one will think your car is a reindeer. You just look stupid. Well, at least they have a sign so you know who to avoid. :-)

I'm off work in a little less than 7 hours for a whole week. Woo-Hoo!! I am seriously looking forward to some time off to visit with family, read, watch football and be generally lazy. But first, I get to go to see the Trans Siberian Orchestra tomorrow with my lovely sister who bought us tickets. Yea Sarah! I absolutely cannot wait. I'll post on the extravaganza next time I post.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tiring Week

This has been an amazingly hectic week and it has nothing to do with the holidays. My mom had a scary episode on Monday that necessitated a hospitalization. Well needless to say, that necessitated a trip to GA on Monday night for me. There was noway on God's green earth that I was staying here while she was hospitalized. Now, that is not an indictment on my dad or sister's ability to deal with medical people but I do have the ability to speak the lingo since I am in the field.

Well, it ended up that it was probably a good thing I went over because her care ended up being monitored by a FIRST-YEAR resident who had a God-complex. Needless to say, I was less than thrilled with this development and managed to completely piss the doctor off with my questions. That wasn't my intention but she couldn't handle being questioned by someone she didn't view as her "equal." Mom's doctor wasn't as concerned about her symptoms as I thought she should be and wants to write everything off as "stress." My mother is not someone who stresses over life, never has been and because of her deep relationship with Christ, never will be. Thousands of women have died over the years because their doctors wrote off their symptoms as "stress" and that is simply unacceptable. There were additional tests that should have been run and weren't. Again, simply unacceptable. Needless to say, mom is looking for a new primary care physician.

Fortunately, God answered all our prayers and mom was released on Tuesday afternoon with no lasting problems (except for annoyance). Hopefully we are on the road to finding out what the problems are and getting them resolved. I have decided that I am too old to miss a night's sleep. I was awake all night Monday night because my chair in mom's room was designed as a torture device. :-) I am feeling the after-effects today. I am tired and can't really focus on any one thing for too long. Hopefully after getting some good rest over the next few nights, I'll be back to my normal self. Or at least what passes for normal. :-)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Lazy Saturday

I like days like today. I slept in, tidied my apartment, read some articles for school (still doing some of that) and have watched football. Add to the fact that AL lost and I'm good. Sometimes not going anywhere is a wonderful thing. I also got my stuff ordered from Samaritan's Purse. They are a really neat organization. I managed to order gifts in honor of my family members and could order things that fit their personalities (well except for Sarah, she wanted chickens). I just think it's a double blessing that my contributions fit my family's personality.

On the SEC Championship, I really would like to have found a way for both teams to lose but it is good to see nice guys like Tebow finish first. He is a guy who is unafraid to share his faith, spent some of his summer on the mission field and just comes across as very impressive. It was nice to see him lead his team to a victory. Hopefully the BCS computers won't figure out a way to keep FL out. The National Championship game should be the FL vs. OK unless OK loses and then it should be FL vs. TX. Anything else and I ain't watching.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas Shopping

I spent my off day sleeping in and then going Christmas shopping. I am happy to report that I am almost finished. Just one more gift and a stocking stuffer and I am officially finished. Yipee! Of course, I still have chickens to buy but that's only a few clicks of the mouse. :-)

I do have a few observations from being out today. One, people are strange. I saw your typical weirdness at the Galleria and nothing in particular stands out but overall, there are some strange people in this world. Two, if you can't park your particular automobile in ONE parking place, please don't get out in public at busy shopping times. I saw more people today who seemed to think their car was so special they needed two or more parking spaces. Three, people seemed to be on their best behavior while I was out today. I didn't see anyone shouting at salespeople, cutting in lines and a few people who stepped in front of me actually apologized. I hope for the sake of those who are still shopping and those who are working retail that this trend continues.

It was a productive day and the best part is that I was home before 3:00!! Gotta love efficiency. :-)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

50,000 in 50 Days

Okay people, here's the challenge. Find $5.00 extra in your Christmas spending and go to this website: and donate to buy two pairs of shoes. The goal is to raise 50,000 pairs of shoes in 50 days. It is sponsored by an agency called Soles 4 Souls that is a charity born out of the Katrina disaster and now serves the poor worldwide with shoe donations. This seems like a really cool way to impact the world for less than the price of a meal out.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Random Coolness

We had staff meeting on Tuesday and David got to share about his time in India. He actually had the opportunity to go into a small village and share the Gospel for the first time. Seriously, the VERY FIRST time the Gospel has ever been shared with these people. Think about that. Let it soak over you. We here in the US, especially in the South, are so spoiled when it comes to the Gospel. We can't grow up without being exposed to some form of the Gospel (sometimes whether we wanted to hear it or not). Can you imagine never having heard? And now they have because our pastor believes in the awesome power of the Gospel and is willing to go to the hard places. I have to think the angels had a major party that day.

Another little tidbit of coolness...find the song "Give Me Your Eyes" by Brandon Heath. It is worth the listen. Heard it on today and can't wait to get home and get it downloaded.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Another stolen item

This was stolen off another blog but I think it so fits the season...

A Stressed Out Christian's Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Help me remember that the jerk who cut me off in traffic last night is a single mother who worked nine hours that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry, and spend a few precious moments with her children.

Help me to remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who can't make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for the next school year.

Remind me, Lord, that the scary looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day (who really ought to get a job) is a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares.

Help me to remember, Father, that the old couple walking annoyingly slow through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are savoring this moment, knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got back last week, this will be the last year that they can go shopping together.

Heavenly Father, remind me each day that, of all the gifts You give us, the greatest gift is love. It is not enough to share that love with those we hold dear. Open my heart, dear Lord, not to just those who are close to me, but to all humanity. Let me be slow to judge, and quick to forgive, show patience, and empathy, and love.


Sunday, November 30, 2008


I stole this from a blog I read regularly. I just thought it was cool. Bolded things are things I've done

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo (so low no one could hear maybe)
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child (I'm counting Compassion here)
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a marathon (Seriously??)
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset (Both actually)
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo's David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa (July is coming)
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the EiffelTower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving (Are you kidding me?)
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone's life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day


I had a most wonderful Thanksgiving with my family. I have been blessed beyond measure to have a family I love dearly and enjoy spending time with. We have a good time together and Thanksgiving was no exception. My mom and I got to spend quality time visiting over coffee and reading or coffee and football games. I love sharing what God is teaching me with her because she can challenge me to continue to grow and learn and share in ways no one else can. I truly hope God blesses me with a daughter so I can be half the mom my mom is.

My dad and I got to have date night too. It was special for both of us because we hadn't seen each other for more than 16 hours since June. He and I went shopping on Friday and then to dinner and Bass Pro Shop. Who knew Bass Pro could be so fun!? In all seriousness, I love my daddy and really enjoy getting to spend time with him. We've grown from spending time in my grandfather's woodshop making all kinds of fun stuff to throwing a softball for hours on end to being in a place where we just visit without any "thing" getting in the way.

I also got to spend Thanksgiving night with my sister in her new apartment. I helped her decorate her new tree (very cool, pre-lit tree!) and put out her nativities. She has a great apartment that I'm jealous of. She's also decorating it so cool as she finds neat pieces. She has the coolest Eiffel Tower that she found at Target of all places. She also managed to score a new KitchenAid mixer at Wal-Mart the day after Thanksgiving. She got up, went to Wally-World, grabbed the last of the nine mixers they had, picked me up some rubbermaid and then headed to the check-out. She was home again by 5:16! Talk about efficiency. :-)

All in all, I had a wonderful Thanksgiving and just had to brag. I know some people dread the holidays and I truly feel sorry for them. I honestly cannot relate and for that, I'm thankful.

I'm off to work tomorrow and then will finish shopping for the cutie in AZ that I "adopted" for Christmas. I only wish I could be there to see everyone open their gifts. I hope JT and Sheryl take LOTS of pictures.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Global Missions Health Conference

Got back from Louisville on Saturday night after spending 2+ days immersed in a conference full of public health professionals who think like I do. What a concept and a blessing! I have been very discouraged lately because most of the professional organizations I have belonged to in the past have had a very, very liberal view of the world and were very humanistic in their approach to problem-solving. Well, God provided a wonderful opportunity for me to go on this trip and I learned so much about medical missions but also about the wonderful professional organizations that are out there for Christian healthcare professional who desire to serve God and the world. Woo-Hoo!!

I do come back with several prayer requests. First and foremost, I will be co-leading a trip to South Africa in July. Yes, for those of you keeping track, that does mean a 22 hour plane ride. Am I nuts? No, I'm obedient. God is calling me to lead this team for some reason I can't really fathom. But, I'm doing it so I'm trusting He will provide both financially and in the unexplainable peace He promises. For those of you who are prayer warriors, maybe we should start praying for the flight now. :-)

The second request is job related. I came across a wonderful organization (Global Refuge International) that has jobs available. They are a Christian non-governmental organization dedicated to stopping human trafficking and violence against women and international disaster relief. They have US-based jobs open and the hiring woman was at this conference and we had a long talk. I am e-mailing her this week to see about more details. I would appreciate prayers for discernment as to what God would have me do. I still have a heart for AZ but I'm not sure a job would make itself available. I will end up where God wants me but I need wisdom to figure out where that is.

All in all, it was a great weekend conference and if anyone wants more details, just ask. All I ask is that you don't complain about anything in front of me. After being surrounded by medical missionaries who are on the front lines in some of the worst places in the world, our problems are so tiny I get frustrated hearing complaints. Just fair warning if I get snippy with you. :-)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Praise the Lord, It's OVER!!!!!

Finally, after almost 2 years of bickering, pandering, lying, baby-kissing, empty promises and more, it's over. We have a president and history was made. Woo-pee! Can you tell I'm slightly underwhelmed by the selection? The solace tonight other than the fact that God is sovereign and knew this outcome long before we were formed is that the Dems did not get a fillibuster proof Senate. Thank the Lord for small favors.

One thing I caution everyone to remember is that there are still people who need to hear the name of Jesus, need help getting out of poverty, need help learning to read, need help finding love and acceptance and that's what we as Christians are called to do. Had McCain won tonight, our mandate as Christians would still be the same: go until He comes, give till we drop, preach till all know, and work till He stops us by returning for His bride. That matters way more than the outcome of an earthly election.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Even though I am sick as a dog, I went out and exercised my right and privilege to vote. The lines weren't that long at my precinct. Remember, if you don't vote, don't let me hear you complain about who was or wasn't elected. There is absolutely NO EXCUSE for not voting. Too many people have died for our right to vote. As of this writing, there are still 6 hours and 52 minutes left in AL to vote. Just do it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Arizona Thoughts

Sorry it's taken me so long to update, I'm still trying to process all that God did and showed on this trip.

First and foremost, this trip was about relationships for me. I didn't hammer a nail or paint a stroke. What I did do was sit and listen, wipe runny noses, hug little children, glue puffy dots on paper and smile at people who couldn't understand a word I was saying.

I think this trip for me emphasized more than any other that God cares about people way more than projects or programs. The TO nation is made up of some wonderful people who need Jesus more than any indoor toilet, five-room house or working pencil. They need someone to listen to their heartache, love them for who they are and share Jesus with them.

I'd like to share about the people. Of course, First Papago wouldn't function as it does without Jay Juan, their local pastor. This is a man who loves the Lord and loves the TO people. He firmly believes spiritual renewal in the Native American population is going to come through the work of the people in his little faith family. Then there's Julie. This woman is simply amazing. When she hears of a need, she doesn't call someone else for help, she gets a prayer team up (sometimes it's just her) and she goes and prays over and with people. She is a spiritual warrior. Cheryl is much the same way. She knows the problems of her people and spends much time in prayer beseeching the Father on their behalf. If only my prayer life was as faithful! Then there's Yolanda. She greeted me on Sunday with the words "what a great surprise! I didn't know you were coming!" Talk about making me feel welcome and wanted. I love this lady. She has such a heart for the children of the nation and will drive an hour on Sundays to bring Sunday School lessons to kids in a village with no indoor plumbing.

Then there are all the other people we spent time ministering to: Frank, Angelita, Martina, Rosita, Del Raya, Alia, Micah, Shorty, Andrew, Pete, Agnes, Mabel, Josephine Y., Josephine M., Priscilla, Elliot, Miah, Mike, Tim and many more. This is why I go and where my passion is.

There are also some special people that my heart hurts for and why my passion is so strong for this area. One such lady is Josie. Josie is a believer but has struggled lately with alcohol abuse. Right now, she has 15 people living in her house. And we're talking 1000 square feet people. Josie also has baby Felicia who rocks my world. If she's around, she's usually in my arms. Anyone who knows me isn't at all surprised. :-) Be in prayer for Josie. She knows the right way but addiction is hard. Pray God works in her life in miraculous ways. K, Nessa and Kayla are another family. K is the leader of the Bloods on the reservation and is struggling to turn his life around. He's so close to taking the final step to trust in Christ as his Lord and Savior. And let me tell you, once he takes that step, watch out! God will use him as a force to be reckoned with on that reservation. Nessa is his girlfriend and Kayla is their adorable 7 month old baby girl. Pray for this sweet family. Pray a hedge of protection around K that his gang activity won't take his life or his freedom.

I hope in this post you can see my heart. This is a group of people that I could talk for ages about. I LOVE these people. I would move tomorrow if I could. In fact, I'm looking at job opportunities out there right now. Jay Juan and First Papago need people to help walk alongside them and spread the love of Jesus to the TO Nation. Who better than me?

P.S. Pictures will come when I'm on my home computer. :-)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Funny picture...

Okay, I understand being a fan and all but shouldn't you be able to spell the cheer correctly??? I took this picture myself last night on the way home from the library. The guy had plenty of room to put an "e" on the end. Who knows, maybe he ran out of tape...

Home From Arizona

I'm home from Arizona, albeit somewhat reluctantly. I have way too much to say in one post so I won't even get started tonight. I do want to say thank you to all those who prayed for the trip. You will never know how much those prayers mean to me and to those who are still working on the ground in AZ. I will have lots of pictures and stories to share once I feel up to it. For those who don't know, I brought a respiratory virus home with me as a souvenier. The baby girl I developed a special bond with last October was sick and I still couldn't resist snuggling with her. Oh well, I'll live and she'll remember the love I gave. Can't beat that. But, after working all day, I come home too tired to put too many coherent sentences together. :-) I promise I will post more when my brain is working on all cylinders.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Two wonderful praises to report on this rainy Wednesday. Yesterday my best friend delivered a healthy baby boy. Alex is just precious and a very cute baby. Then this morning, I got news that a family friend who's been in Iraq for 14 months is home early. Needless to say, I'm pretty psyched this morning!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Changes to the Blog and other random thoughts...

Thanks to my friend Nadia, I found a great site ( that has great backgrounds. I can finally change with the seasons!! Thanks Nadia!! It probably has lots of other benefits that I haven't found yet but I'm still new to this blogging thing. :-)

I will probably continue to blog with my usual randomness. I like the stream of consciousness writing that blogging allows. I can also vent thoughts and frustrations. Sometimes that's the downside to being single and living alone. The cat doesn't talk back and can't affirm my weird thoughts. So, I post them in cyberspace for my readers to comment on.

On that note, is anybody else as peeved with Congress and the president as I am? I KNEW they couldn't follow through with their earlier vote. The cowards. Whatever happened to statesmen? Do they suck out your brains after you've traveled the underground tram so many times??

I think I'm not voting for a single incumbent this year. I know God is sovereign over the upcoming election and I'm not worried about finances, I'm just mad as hell that my elected representatives have heard what we've said as Americans and completely DISREGRARDED it. What nerve! On some scale, this must be what the colonists felt like when they revolted. Too bad most voters in our country are more concerned with American Idol and Entertainment Tonight than they are with starting a new revolution.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Radical, Part 2

We had a wonderful time in small group last night. I was teaching but that's not what made it wonderful. I had been really troubled the last couple of weeks with our discussions of the Radical series. We were getting caught up in who's more radical than I am, what can I give up, etc. and I was afraid people were going to get so discouraged they would give up. So, we took a giant step back last night and I thought it was wonderful the way the Holy Spirit led us in discussion and brought up around to the idea that being Radical is all about being more like Christ. It's not about what you give up, what you do or who you do or don't impress, it's about dying to self and being more like Christ. That alone will lead us to re-evaluate our "stuff."

That all being said, I'm working through what that looks like in my own life. I don't have lots of stuff. I don't think He's calling me to sell my TV but I do think He's calling me to re-evaluate how I use my stuff. I've been convicted about a certain show that I watch that I will no longer be watching. Grey's Anatomy is one of the worst shows on network TV when it comes to Christian values. I'd been thinking that for a while but last week's presentation of an openly gay relationship was the tipping point for me. So, it's out of my DVR line-up. That frees up an additional 42 minutes per week and I'm praying that I don't find some other mindless drivel to fill those 42 minutes.

One prayer request for my faithful readers...I need a no-cost extension on my grant project to allow us to use the money awarded past the end of the grant period. It should be fairly straight-forward but the "deadline" for applying for this with CDC was April 1, 2008. Um, hello? How was I supposed to know in APRIL that in September the money wouldn't all be spent? Typical government! :-) I do have an e-mail in to the program officer to see if this can be resolved. I know God is bigger than government beaucracies and I need Him to show it. Thanks for the prayers!!

Sunday, September 21, 2008


I think I may be weird. For many, this Radical series David has been preaching is really tough. For me, not so much. While seriously convicting, it is also helping to confirm that God has something really big planned for me in the near future. I make no claims that I know what that is but I feel a real Holy Spirit prompting. I think it probably relates to Arizona but God could have something totally different in mind.

David's sermon tonight really hit home on this front because he talked about God's commission often doesn't make sense, people will hate you, think you're nuts, etc. That is straight from Matthew 10 for those keeping score. What's really weird is that when I think about AZ, it doesn't make sense and some people in my life would think I'm nuts. By the world's standards, giving up "everything" and moving to the desert would be radical. Too bad the world doesn't understand calling or obedience to God's command. I say it doesn't make sense because I like big cities, winter, contemporary worship styles, need I go on? AZ offers NONE of that. What it does offer is a real opportunity to make a Kingdom difference on a daily basis. That should be enough for me to pack my bags and move tomorrow. Unfortunately, God hasn't said "go" permanently yet. I feel it's coming (you've been warned) and I have to be patient to pray through this and listen for God's voice as opposed to my voice wanting it to be God's.

If I can ask one thing through this seemingly wandering post, it's this: pray for me. Pray that I will have the patience to listen for God and no one else. Pray that I will be patient for God's provision if AZ isn't His plan. Pray that I will be willing to be a whenever, wherever, however, whoever follower of Christ.

Thanks in advance for the prayers!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Perfect Lazy Day

Today has been a perfect Saturday. Slept late, tidied the apartment and then have watched football and read all day. Got some meat cooked for the week and just chilled.

After the craziness of this week getting ready for our luncheon tomorrow, I needed a day like today. I am so thankful for all the volunteers God uses to make the Assmilation Ministry run like clockwork but planning for this luncheon has been nuts. Getting the RSVPs, food ordered, centerpieces made, packets made, etc. made for a LONG week. It should be a nice time tomorrow and I know the volunteers who show up will be blessed.

This coming week will be hectic too. We have Starting Point this coming weekend and I'm off on Friday so everything has to be done earlier in the week. Oh well, we did August's preparation in three days so four days is a bonus. :-) I am looking forward to the weekend. Mom and Sarah got tickets for a women of faith event in ATL. It's a chance to spend time with them and hear wonderful Christian speakers and musicians. And it's free for me. That's even nicer. :-) I look forward to the rejuvination the weekend will provide.

OK, UGA seems to be having trouble so I'm off to see what the commentators are fussing about. More next time...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"The Shack"

I finished "The Shack" last night. I don't want to ruin the plot for any of my readers (all five of you) who haven't read it but suffice to say, it's a good book when read in the proper perspective. I read LOTS of comments on it last night from people who loved it and people who hated it. Most of the haters disliked it because of the incorrect theology throughout the book. What I found interesting is some of what they claim as "incorrect theology" is only their interpretation of theology.

Now, I do have to point out that there will be times when you read this book that you will go "hmm, not sure I'm with you there." That's actually a good thing. We as Christians all too often insulate ourselves from things that might cause us to look at our own faith. But, if you don't have to work at it, is it really faith? I know I'm constantly questioning why God is working on something particular in my life. I've never had an experience like what is described in this book but I am 100%certain that my God is big enough and sovereign enough to pull off the encounter described if He saw fit.

In short, this book is recommended with caveats. Remember it is fiction, remember it's an allegory and remember, it's ONE man's opinion. I would also caution that if you are a new believer, read it along with a strong, growing believer so if you have questions, you can ask them of someone who either knows the answer or is willing to search for the Truth with you.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Decided this post will be full of randomness. I'm really too tired to do much else but always seem to feel better after blogging...

Went to the Greek Festival tonight with my best friend. We hadn't seen each other to really visit in weeks and she has a baby coming so we took time tonight. Man, it was crowded but oh so yummy! I love that people who would never, ever support a church come out in droves to support the Greek Orthodox Church during the Greek Festival. Think God gets a chuckle out of that?

Then after visiting with Wen, I went to get gas. Well, I tried to get gas. The first station I stopped at had NO GAS. Really!? Seriously people, the refineries probably won't be damaged but the sheeple in this country panic at anything and put a run on gas. I actually NEEDED gas and ended up paying $4.32 for mid-grade because the cheap stuff was out. So glad my errands tomorrow are within 5 miles of home and work is less than a mile from home. Almost wish I didn't have to guest lecture downtown on Monday. ARGH! Stupid people.

Ever have weeks where you are just tired? I think God knew I didn't need to have John come to town this weekend, that I needed a "down" weekend. I'm looking forward to sleeping in, working on my small group lesson, running a few errands and then settling in with my friend Nicki for spaghetti and a movie. I love my simple life. I am tired from work, tired from school, just tired. Haven't been sleeping really well and that's affected by tiredness. I'm hoping it's a side effect of a med I'm on that will eventually go away. Maybe AZ will cure it. I'm usually so bone tired out there that I could sleep through the start of WWIII. :-)

Okay, enough rambling. I'm going to watch this week's Bones episode then crawl into my bed. One last thought...if you haven't read "The Shack," I seriously recommend it. Remember it's an allegory and you'll be fine. Read it literally and you'll be offended.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

How GREAT is our God!!

Just had to share with my five or so readers. We serve an amazing God! Sunday night, I ended up having to serve at one of our desks (again) and had to miss the service. Now I can hear David's sermon in the lobby but I miss the music. So I was somewhat bummed. But, as God usually does, He had something better in mind. I was having a random conversation with a fellow servant and she was asking about my upcoming AZ trip. She said "you know, I have some money in my global account with Brook Hills for a trip I was planning and since getting pregnant and having the baby, I don't think I'll use it. You can have it." To say the least, I was FLOORED. Once I composed myself, I told her I didn't have the words to express my appreciation. Her generous gift will completely finance the rest of my trip!! The office has already done their part and the check should be to 1Way by the end of the week.

Then, to add to the excitement, last night my mom told me she had been saving money for missions this year and was getting ready to send a separate check to 1Way. It's about the same amount my original deposit check was for. So in other words, my trip (the one that was totally unplanned) has been fully covered financially. Hallelujiah!!! There are not words to say the way my heart is swelling to share God's generous gifting on this trip. Who knew He could top the anonymous donation of my May trip? :-)

Okay, enough of my sharing, I have to get back to work. I'll be back later to update on teaching 7th grade girls.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Life Update

Not that my life is all that interesting but just in case anyone in the blogosphere cares...

I'm headed to AZ again in a little over a month and still need $600 for my trip. I know we serve an awesome God and I'm having to trust BIG-TIME to see this money come through. I did get approval today to use three days of "mission trip" time so I don't have to burn all my vacation and have to take unpaid time at Christmas. That is a huge answer to prayer and proves again that God provides for the little things just like the big things.

In other news, I start teaching 7th grade girls on Sunday. I'll be team teaching with a wonderful woman but this Sunday I'm on my own because she's out of town. EEK, what was I thinking?! :-) In all seriousness, this is a different step for me based out of some serious prayer and a response to a question David posed to us on Staff Retreat. In short, I wasn't being as effective teaching adults as I can be investing in the lives of teenage girls. I feel this is where God is prompting me so I know He'll provide the strength but I'm still a bit nervous. I did get great advice from my friend Nicki tonight so I don't feel as overwhelmed. She's been teaching this age for over a year so she is the veteran in this. It's nice to have friends who are willing to share their wisdom.

I guess that's all or at least all of an update I have for now. I'm off to find something more interesting to do...

Friday, August 29, 2008


Let me clarify something from my last post since I seem to have offended someone I don't even know. The baby wipe warmer may be useful but it cannot be seen as a necessity regardless of what condition your baby may suffer from. Warm water works just as well. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with you if you use one, heck if given one, I might use it too.

My point (that seemed to have been missed) is that we as Westerners waste so much of our resources be that time or money. The baby wipe warmer was just an example. You could insert daily Starbucks visits, spending countless hours watching TV or multiple trips out to eat in a week and get the same point. I am as guilty of this as the next person. I was bothered by it because it convicted me of behaviors in my own life.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Random Thoughts

I just got back from our staff retreat and David challenged us to be Radical in our lives. Radical in many ways: how we act for Christ, how we live our lives, how we worship, how we serve, etc. He also challenged us to think about what of our possessions we could give up. Do we need all the stuff we have? Considering that millions of people live on less than $2 a day, probably not. That's really got me thinking about what I could give up. Can't really get a much smaller place than I have now, I need a car but do I need all my clothes, shoes, stuff? Can I cut stuff out of my life, can I cut back on stuff and not cut things out completely (ie cheaper cable package, fewer cellphone minutes, less eating out)? It really has convicted me about the wastefulness in my own life and in life in the United States.

Then today I went to a baby shower for my best friend. Now Wendy is probably the most low maintenance person on the planet and she only registered for stuff because that's the "thing" to do. But one of the gifts she got was a baby wipe warmer? Seriously, a warmer for baby wipes?! I can't get the image of that out of my head. Why do you need a baby wipe warmer? Does poop come off easier if the wipe is warm, or smell less? I understand clothes and other needed items but that one really got to me. Wendy didn't really see the need for it either. I just think about the women in developing countries who don't have wipes at all much less a warmer and it breaks my heart that we in the Western Church are so caught up in our own selves we waste our resources on stuff like that. What would Jesus say to us if He was walking among us today? Am I the only one this stuff bothers?

Another random (and much lighter thought): why is Ping Pong an Olympic Sport? And why do they try and classy it up by calling it Table Tennis. It's a skilled activity, not a sport. Someone said trampoline is also an Olympic sport. Really?! We dropped softball and added trampoline? Go back to what the Greeks had and dump everything else. Oh wait, then NBC couldn't make millions of dollars showing all-Olympics, all the time.

Okay, enough randomness, I'm going to bed. :-)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Wow, 2 Days in a Row!!

I've had a much more productive day today. Got more accomplished at work and then went to a fan preview night at Samford. Nice job by the athletic department to put more fans in the seats. I really like the new ad campaign using slogans like "Thou shalt not steal but a well-placed interception is always welcome." and "Thou shalt not covet but it's okay to want the championship really, really bad." Look for billboards coming to the side of the road near you soon. :-)

I have about decided that there are people in the so-called Christian community that cause much more harm than good. First there is some idiot in McCain's camp that is relating Obama to the Anti-Christ. Really?! While Obama is not and ideal candidate (not that McCain is either), calling him the Anti-Christ is a bit over the top. Later I heard he was just kidding and relating it more to how the media has annointed him as the "chosen one." But, the whole thing still bothered me. This one comment, flippant or not, really doesn't help the campaign and makes it look like Obama is being picked on. Stick with the issues and leave Biblical comments to those who are smarter about those kinds of things.

Another batch of weirdos are those who are quite insistent that worshipping on Sunday is false teaching and worshipping on Sunday affects salvation. Excuse me? I don't remember there being anything in Jesus' teachings about going to church having an impact on salvation. Belief in Jesus as the only way to salvation is the ONLY way to salvation. How much simpler can that be? This has all come about because a friend of a friend has been getting serious pressure from her family because she has joined TCABH. Man I wish they were as concerned about feeding the hungry, nuturing the young and ministering to the sick as they were about what day people decided to grace the inside of a freakin' building. For the love people, it's about a relationship, not a day of the week.

Okay off my soapbox. It just bugs the ever-loving stew out of me when supposed Christians begin attacking other Christians over trivial matters. What a waste.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Ever Have One of Those Days?

Not really a bad day, just one where at the end of it you wonder where the day went? I guess I got stuff accomplished at work today but it sure doesn't seem like it. Everytime I turned around something else had popped up that needed my attention. I have a report that I am trying to finish so I can get back to membership data clean-up but the gremlins seem to be conspiring against me. :-)

I finally joined the party and got Netflix tonight. I'm trying the one movie at a time, unlimited rentals thing. Seems like a good deal and once I get two movies a month, it's cheaper than Blockbuster. I loaded my list with drama, comedy, drama, comedy. That way there's nothing too heavy over and over and I can see movies I've wanted to see but were too cheap to see in the theater (that's most movies produced since 1995).

For those two or three people who actually read this thing, I am trying to be better about posting. I go in spurts where I'm inspired but since God is stirring something new in me in terms of what's next career-wise, I thought having an online outlet for my thoughts and emotions would probably be a good thing.

Until next time...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Got a really neat e-mail yesterday from 1Way telling me that they had received a donation to completely cover my airfare to AZ!! $400 was donated by someone anonymously for me. What?! I can't imagine who would do that for me. Our God is so awesome. He'd already provided the money for my airfare and rental car and now He's allowing for it to be given back to me. How can I possibly thank Him or the donor enough? Words don't even adequately express my gratitude. Now I'm just trying to get my head around it being okay that I don't know who the benefactor is. My OCD self likes knowing the details. :-)

I won't be able to update while I'm in AZ but I'll have detailed reports when I get back. I'm excited about going, can't wait, wish I didn't have to fly, but really looking forward to what God will do.

Specific prayer requests:
- Peace for me while flying (flights leave at 5:30pm the 24th and 8:30am the 31st)
- Comraderie for the team. There are 60+ people on this trip. Pray that God knits us together and we are able to focus on why we're there as opposed to what we are there to do
- Safety - we're in the desert and it will be hot. Pray that we all remember to drink lots of water, stay away from animals and avoid any nasty bugs
- Openess of the people - the TO reservation is ripe for harvest. They crave the Gospel if only people will share it. Please pray for my discernment and boldness to share the Gospel. This is SERIOUSLY outside my comfort zone but so vitally important.
- Endurance - we'll be keeping up with kids in the afternoons and evenings. Pray that we can endure the heat and focus on loving on kids and sharing God's love with them
- First Baptist Papago - this is a wonderful faith family led by Jay Juan. Pray that they continue to be the light in the darkness and a place of refuge for the hurting. Give Jay boldness to continue preaching the Word and reaching the lost

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


If you haven't already seen the Laminin video on YouTube, you MUST go see it. It is the most amazing video this science geek has seen since Indescribable. Being the geek that I am, I actually Googled laminin to make sure this wasn't some manipulation. Not that I don't trust Louie Giglio but I wanted to see for myself. Sure enough, I found enough "scientific" pictures that match what Louie shows that it is the real deal.

If this doesn't blow your mind, you need to have your head examined. :-)

I hope this link works. If not, go to YouTube (or if you're mom, have a student show you how) and put in Laminin. You want the second video posted by some guy named tsunkatsemaster. It's about 9 minutes long and well worth the time.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Our God is an Awesome God!!!

Just had to post and share this. Aside from owing the state of Alabama $114, I had an amazing day! While driving home, I saw my e-mail light was flashing on my phone. When I stopped to use the bathroom and get something to drink, I checked it. (No, not while driving, as addicted as I may be to my crackberry, I draw the line at checking e-mails while driving.) I found an e-mail from Debby Bowers, Brook Hills' Assimilation Minister. It generated a few questions in my mind so I called her to ask my questions. While talking to her she mentioned that her ministry assistant was quitting and would I be willing to be the temporary ministry assistant. Would I?! How was Debby to know that her question was a HUGE answer to prayer? She was even willing to work around my schedule issues when they arise. This is so amazing because I spent much of the weekend focused on monetary issues and was coming back to try and find a part-time job to help pay some bills. Here a job was basically dropped in my lap. How awesome is it that God gives us what we need before we even have a chance to share the request with people asking for prayer?? Needless to say, I will be very busy in the next few weeks trying to balance dissertation data collection and working basically full-time but God has provided and it's my responsibility to follow this through. Praising the Lord tonight for sure!!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Life Update and Concert

I did hear back from IHS that they have my application. Of course, nothing beyond that. Dadgum government beurocrats. I guess it's just another way God is teaching me patience. Or maybe insight into His sense of humor. As most of you know (unless you've been hiding under a rock) Atlanta was hit pretty hard by a tornado Friday night. One of the venues damaged was the Georgia World Congress Center, the scheduled home of the CDC job fair I was planning to attend. Continuing along my patience/God's sense of humor journey, the job fair was cancelled. UGH! Oh well, I got to spend the day working on a paper I'm writing with my advisor and catching up on some Bible reading.

One nice thing from this weekend was I got to attend the Steven Curtis Chapman concert in Macon last night. It was the final night of his "Live in This Moment" tour and they came ready to play. The concert lasted 3 hours! Really unheard of in this day and age. It's kind of neat to see how his music has progressed since I last saw him in concert (15 years ago). His music and the message have matured. He has some beautiful songs that have such a wonderful message behind them. He's also got two of his sons in the band with him now. Both are very talented young men. One of them, Caleb is working on branching out on his own I think.

An interesting side note to the concert...I'm always amazed at how God gives you what you need to hear when you need to hear it regardless of the venue. Last night, SCC played a good bit of his old stuff and the format was done through listener requests on his website. Some of the songs played were "Great Expectations" and "God is God (and I am not)." These are not songs he usually sings in concerts so I know it was a divine appointment and God wanted me to hear that message. It just came through a different setting.

I guess that's enough of an update; I'm off to do my Alabama taxes. Done with the feds and getting a refund. :-) Let's see how much I owe Alabama...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Don'tcha Love DVR?

I love watching TV on my DVR. I feel so much more productive. I can skip commercials, boring AI performances and annoying Ryan Secreast babble. How sad is this? But, I can watch shows I enjoy and still have time for other things. God gives us technology for a reason. :-)

On another note: still no word from the IHS. I even e-mailed the contact person to check and though she usually e-mails rather quickly (within 2 hours), this time I haven't heard from her since I sent the e-mail at 8:15 Monday morning. I'm trying to tell myself that she might be on vacation or out sick, I just want to hear something. I feel so strongly that this is where God wants me. Am I projecting what I want? Sometimes I just wish God still spoke through burning bushes. :-)

On yet another note: have you checked out airfare lately? Good Grief! The cheapest ticket to AZ right now is $316 and that one is on tiny planes and leaves at 6:00 on Continental. The Delta flight I took last October is over $450! The big prayer tonight is that flight prices will moderate or God will open the floodgates of financial support for me. I don't really care which. :-)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

How Great is Our God?!

So, I heard from OneWay that the May trip I wanted was getting close to full so I e-mailed practically begging for one spot. I also asked how much I owed. I knew I had a credit I just wasn't sure how much. So, Sheryl e-mailed me back that yes there was a spot and I had a $300 credit. That completely pays for my trip!! Minus airfare of course. Where the awesome God part comes in is that I didn't think I had nearly that large of a credit in my account. It's obvious God wants me in Arizona in May. Now we just have to pray down airline ticket prices. :-)

And pray that the federal government (namely IHS) gets in gear and lets me know something. Even proof they have my application would be nice. I know, I know patience is a virtue.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Irony Anyone?

This is a headline from my hometown newspaper:

Crematorium building burns at Gray funeral home

You just can't make this stuff up. :-)

Changing the World

I added the Margaret Mead quote this evening mainly because I can't get it out of my head. I've been thinking about it for a while in the context of how Christians have changed the world. If you really think about it, Christians have never changed the world using a mass group effort. In fact, mass group efforts usually fail and make Christians look silly (Disney boycott anyone). Getting to the root of the matter, Jesus used small groups (12 and then 3) and then unleashed those 12 to change the world forever. The first church had only 120 people. They rocked the world like never before. Small groups are still making mass change all over the world: feeding the hungry, healing the sick, loving the unloved. That's how the world will be won for Christ, by showing His love and sharing the Gospel. Think about it. Whose life can you change?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

What's Next...

Since coming back from Arizona in October, I've felt a pull to figure out some way to work with Native American populations full time. I was blessed to be introduced to Dr. Judy Thierry, the national Maternal and Child Health director for the Indian Health Service (IHS). While she was a wonderful person to contact and meet in person, she told me there are very few non-clinical jobs available at IHS. So, I came away from that encounter encouraged but discouraged at the same time.

Well, fast-foward a few months and lo and behold, I get an announcement about an Emerging Leaders Program at IHS. They are looking for people interested in public health (hey, that's me), possessing a bachelor's or masters' degree (hey, me again!) to apply for a two-year program in Rockville, MD. Could this possibly be God opening the door for me? Well, I read through the application and it looks doable. So, over the objections of my advisor (he really doesn't understand callings), I have applied. The application went off yesterday (2/27) and I hope to hear something positive back from them. While it won't be Sells, it will get me into the system and who knows what else God might have planned.

Pictures from Arizona

This is the view from a ranch one of the church members owns.

One of the gazillion cacti in the state of Arizona. This one is actually federally protected

This is what Sunday School looks like

This is Elijah, Andrew and Ashley. Three of the kids from the neighborhood surrounding the church.

First Papago Baptist Church

Nursing Home Visit

View from Kitt Peak National Observatory (7500 feet above sea level)

Update Part 5

This should pretty much catch things up from the old blog. Well, except for pictures...

Post from 10/27:

Okay, it's been a few days. Sorry about that. By Wednesday of the trip, we had all gotten into the swing of things and the way life in Arizona works. It was such a God thing to watch how well our team blended together and accomplished what God wanted us to accomplish. There was no "Brook Hills" or "FBC Alpharetta" or "Owensboro", we were all part of God's team there to minister to the lost. So neat to watch God at work.

I think I've mentioned most of the people or events that really impressed me. What I'm left remembering most of all other than the people is the stark beauty of that part of the country. I had such a "Hollywood" view of what Arizona looked like. Part of that was changed when my mom and I drove through AZ in 2003 but Southern Arizona is so different than Northern Arizona so the impressions were changed all over again. The contrast between flatness of desert and mountains rising up out of the desert is amazing to see. Looking down on the valleys from 7,000 feet at the Kitt Peak Observatory was awesome! It was like you could see for miles. Actually, the air is so clear, you could see for miles. Probably the coolest thing was getting to see the Milky Way with my own eyes, no telescope needed! The night we saw that, I felt God's presence in a way I've never felt before. How anyone can look at that and not believe in a divine creator blows my mind.

Since getting back, there have been ups and downs (as expected). But, the ups have far outweighed the downs. I still get so excited about sharing and that just fuels the ups. I did hear from the IHS official and she was very positive about my getting more experience and working to see if life in Indian Health Service is for me. Unfortunately, most of the jobs are clinical in nature (as opposed to public health in nature) so it'll be a God thing if a job develops in Sells. But, I'm continuing my faith journey to see what God has in store for me. I'm working with a discipler to work through what God is teaching me and to help me process the journey. It's always good to have accountability from a sister in Christ.

One huge blessing since of the women from FBC Alpharetta has sent several e-mails detailing her experiences as well as useful teaching she's run across since returning. Those stories have been such an encouragement for me and always seem to say exactly what I need to hear/read at that moment. Ain't it great how God has this whole thing rigged? :-)

Update Part 4

Post from 10/17:

I think one of the biggest blessings on this trip (aside from the people I met) was the amount of sleep JT allowed us to get. His summer trips are notorious for the lack of sleep workers get. We were fortunate to be finished most nights by 10 and able to sleep until 6 or so. For me, that made a huge difference. Thanks JT!!

The mornings of our first three days we went to the local nursing home on the reservation. This was a beautiful facility that had wonderful staff who truly cared for the residents. We as "white people" could take a serious lesson from the way Native Americans treat their elders. Our nicest nursing home facilities don't look like this one. Our elders have given us so much, we should do the same for them in the final years. The residents were wonderful people who loved to visit. Of coure, some only spoke O'Odham, the native language, so communication was left to smiles and miming gestures. One lady I sat with the first day, Rosita, was hard of hearing but was determined to teach me (and those around me) O'Odham. We were playing a version on bingo with English and O'Odham words and she would make me repeat the O'Odham words each time she said one. It was really a cool experience for a few reasons: first of all, I was told Rosita didn't talk to white people because a white person stole something from her shop years ago and she distrusted all of them. Secondly, most elders don't teach the language to white people and she had no reservations about it. We also spent time painting, playing "real" Bingo and wheelchair basketball. These were such sweet people who wanted nothing more than to visit with anyone who was willing to sit and listen.

Most of my afternoons were spent working with the children on their homework and then playing on the playground while the men worked on fence and construction. One sweet child, Ashley, came by everyday and I think she created homework so she could get some specific attention from us. Since they are so far behind academically, any extra work was a blessing for her. The kids are at least 2 years behind other kids off the reservation. They get even further behind because education is not always valued by their parents. If they don't want to go to school, they don't. Plus, their school year is only 145 days compared to 180+ in most areas. Teachers with a love of children are desperately needed at all levels on the reservation.

One afternoon, the girls were given the task of doing some serious demo. There was a ceiling that had to be "de-constructed" so the team this week could rebuild that room. So, we donned masks and begin pulling sheetrock down. Talk about fun! Who knew demo could be so much fun. I now know why the Extreme Home Makeover people enjoy demo day so much. :-) We also carted off old pews, demolished an old, non-functioning organ and anything else we could find. I'd love to see pictures of the "after" process.

Update Part 3

Post from 10/16:

There are way too many highlights to share in one post so I'll probably do two or three to give the full picture of what really went down last week. The first thing I noticed was that I had absolutely no fear flying. Sure the valium helped and I wasn't the best flyer in the world but I know without a shadow of a doubt that I was COVERED in prayer and it made a huge difference.

Coming into the Tuscon airport, the first thing I noticed was how flat everything was. That and we came into Gate 4. Not Gate B4 or A4 or T4, Gate 4. Talk about a small airport. :-) There were also cacti in the parking lot. The drive to Sells was starkly beautiful. I'd been to Northern Arizona before but the landscape here was so different. (As an aside, isn't it neat how God designed His earth; He knew we would bore easily so He gave us lots to appreciate.) There were cactus everywhere. And no, there was no tumbleweed; that's Northern AZ. As we got closer to Sells, you could see very few signs that we were approaching civilization. Sells is a town established by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1909 and it doesn't seem like it's changed too much since then. It is very small and we saw the town in about 10 minutes.

It was amazing how quickly the children appeared once they discovered we were there. The needs were evident the minute they opened their mouths to giggle or ask us to help them across the monkey bars. The black spots on their teeth were evidence of poor dental care and a lack of attention from mom and/or dad. But, the sounds of their giggles melted my heart immediately. These kids couldn't get enough closeness. They didn't want to just sit next to us, they wanted to sit on us. They craved the attention and we craved giving it to them.

I think the first couple of days taught me flexibility. The TO have their own timetable. Church started at 11:00ish. The schedule for us was constantly changing and the answer to "what's next" was usually "I don't know." For control freaks like me, it was a lesson in letting God work and backing off my agenda. I also had to get used to the wild dogs that appeared any time the kids did or it was meal time. I'm used to nice, clean Barney. These dogs were nasty to say the least.

We did see some awesome displays of God's glory. At Brook Hills, we've been praying for things to happen in such a way that only God could get the glory. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to get a handle on what that looks like. Well, God showed me almost immediately. Saturday night, JT had us pray for the men of the nation and for God to send men to church on Sunday even if they didn't know why they were coming. Usually, First Papago Baptist has 2-3 men in attendance. This past Sunday, there were 7! One of whom Jay (the TO pastor) didn't even know. Jay knows EVERYONE so for him not to know this guy just proved God was moving in an awesome way. I was privileged to be a part of that. I guess that should be all for this post since it's already so long.

Update Part 2

Post from 10/15

Man the enemy is swift. We all knew coming back from the trip that the enemy would attack and he didn't wait long. I found out last night that the church isn't hiring a singles' minister any time soon and the explanation isn't really clear. It's an area that I've had to work on for 2.5 years and I thought the church administration knew that this is an important area but I guess not. It's frustrating that we as a group of singles are tithing, serving, missions-minded members and our needs for leadership are continually ignored. Oh well, I'll keep working on what God calls me to do and tell the enemy to stuff it. :-)

The additional frustration came today. None of my research assistants were able to collect data last week and one of them has had to back out to work on her own project. A second one is dealing with some health issues and can't collect data this week either. This dissertation is getting more frustrating by the day, especially since I want to be finished so badly so I can move on to an area where I can actually help people instead of writing over and over. Can I go back to Arizona? Life's much simpler there. :-)

Where the Journey Started

Since I had an old blog, I decided to transfer those posts into this blog so new people could see where I've come from and how this journey all got started...

Post from 10/14:
Wow, how can one week (2% of a year) make SO much difference in my life? I just got back from Southern Arizona and I cannot begin to adequately express all that God did in my life. I feel such a pull to that part of the world and the TO people that my heart actually hurts and longs for them. It's amazing how quickly the sweet women and children can wrap themselves around your heart in a way that probably won't ever come unwrapped.

I saw so many instances this week of things that happened in ways that only God can get the glory. From men coming to church (doesn't happen there often) to women coming in droves for a woman's conference, to seeing the Milky Way with my own eyes, the list could go on for days!

I will be spending the next few weeks processing all that I learned and developing ways that needs can be met. The needs are so many and the workers are so few. I'm obviously praying that God will show me a way to help meet those needs utilizing people here and people on the ground there. I am asking for prayers as I seek to do what God desires for me to do in the timing He desires. Please join me in praying for the TO Nation and for Pastor Jay Juan. The enemy is at work on the reservation and our prayers can help support Jay and his ministry and defeat the enemy!

New Blog Location

I didn't really like the livejournal format so I decided to go with one that many of my friends had used successfully. Hopefully with an easier format, I'll post more often. :-) I really want to keep posting so everyone can follow along with me on this journey God seems to have me on. Keep checking in for posts.