Friday, December 31, 2010
Auld Lang Syne = "Days gone by" or "Old times"
and that seems a bit fitting for my last post of 2010. What has happened in this year, these days, that have gone by? How has the Lord taken care of me? And what have I learned along the way? (sidebar: not every month will be covered)
February: I moved from Coupeville to Oak Harbor and helped in the blessing of the Sweethearts Banquet at church. The SHB is one of the highlights of the BBC callendar, and in serving those couples that I love I get great joy and satisfaction.
May: My Birthday! Another year older...and hopefully a little wiser. I can be a pretty selfish person at times (it's something that I'm working on), but being 31 has me thinking outside of myself and looking at how I can try to be a blessing to others.
June: I go to Washington D.C. to attend LTIA & give Senator Cantwell a "talking to"...well maybe just a little. June had the SPG's traveling to DC to learn about our country, it's foundation of Biblical values and how to lead effectively (that is it in summary, because really it was so much more). I also got to finally meet Julie!!! My e-Buddy for the past 3...almost 4 years now. You never would have known it was our first time meeting each other.
July: I said so long to one of my SS girls as she moved with her family to the Methow Valley. We miss Lilly, but I know she'll be a blessing to her fathers ministry as she grows up there. I said goodbye to my other friends for the ministry as well. The Lord had me reimursed for a discrepancy that I made in paying back the FAFSA people for my loan, it was a NICE payback. I needed the money right at that time too. Now if I had not have made the oversight I would have kept the money that is true, but I probably would have squandered it, and I know exactly what that money is for and haven't touched it since I got it (trust me it will come in handy in the coming months). And I also started my involvement with the Central Whidbey Republican Women (that's right Nancy), and the campaign for Kelly Emerson as Island County Commissioner. Call it inspiration from the prior months activities. I'll call it the summer of sign waving.
Summer: The summer also had me working with Alyssa on photos for a book that she was contacted about for her vertical garden and taking photos for A Knot in Thyme for the new brochure that they wanted to put together. A busy fun summer of taking photos, but it was satisfying.
September: After a stressful month prior at work I made my way over the mountains to visit Kali & Maggie and our evangelists over in the Methow Valley. I even got an extra day off of work! It was a very restful Labor day weekend and the Lord encouraged me with my visit over there.
October: The Lord spared my job. That's right folks. Just a few months prior Pastor Sargent had preached a message and within it made a point about working and how we should be thankful for the work that he does give us. Well during that message I was going through a time where I was not happy about what I was doing and it was affecting my work ethic & motivation. During that time also though things were changing behind the scenes at work. Well The message that night changed my thoughts and so I changed me actions accordingly and was rewarded with getting to keep my job.
November: I house sat for 2 weeks (during Thanksgiving) only to have the tool shed of my friends house topple over in a huge wind storm, which was followed by snow a few days later. I battled frozen spickets and icy roads. November also brought an old friend to WA from Michigan and it was so great to see her. Her father was the Pastor of the church that I was saved in back in Sicily and the last time I saw Joyce she was 16. Now she's a young woman in her 20's, man time flys! It was great to fellowship with her for a couple days.
December: Brought a new ministry opportunity with the Bible studies with "T" and a trip to go see my family in CA, and the apartment ads in the paper as I look yet again for another place to live. Hopefully one of these days I can make one last move and call it HOME for real.
Through all my travels the Lord kept me safe, and brought me back to home. He provided in some pretty miraculous ways and I look forward to seeing what He sets in motion for me in 2011.
Happy New Years everybody!!!
Saturday, December 25, 2010
A lot of people have seen the digital Nativity (hilarious). And the little girl telling the story of Jonah is really great also. But how many of you have seen "Small One". I'm guessing not many. Produced by Disney (of all companies) it's a fictional, albeit, biblical inspired story of the account of Jesus' birth. It's really good and I bet you can't get through it without getting a little misty, if not outright shedding a tear. I know that I can't.
The first time I saw it I was 2 when it showed as a double feature with Cinderella on one of my first Father daughter dates. I then had it (and still do) on vinal, yes that means a record. You know those things that are about 10x's bigger than a CD. Yes, those. And I would listen to it for hours in my room (along with stories about Annie Oakley, Little Orphan Annie and the Nutcracker Suite). It's about 25 min long in it's entirety. Enjoy!
And thank you to all of you who thought enough to get me a gift for Chrismas....
Dad: Shirts and Jane Austen DVD's
Nancy: gluten free girl and the chef: a love story
Matthew: Little House on the Prarie DVD
Jack: Sound of Music 40th Anniversary Edition
Sam: The Muppets Season 3
Kali: handmade red scarf
Maggie: Slippers & a purse hook
Nicki: a waffle maker
Alyssa: a wall hanging of the Serenity Prayer
Other gifts recieved were: The Flavor Bible (for me mixing flavors together while I cook), The Pricess by Lori Wick, Will Write for Food (about food blogging) and a Barnes & Noble GC.
My family also enjoyed the homemade presents that I made this year. Here are my borthers wrapped up in their no sew blankets. Really it was the first thing they opened this morning.
Friday, December 24, 2010
-Bible study #2 with "T" went great! #3 is scheduled for the 30th. She's hung up on works though and working for salvation. so that's something that we'll discuss further.
- Left WA yesterday and now in CA. Of course I ended up waking up yesterday sick! 3 outa the last 4 times i've come back here I've gotten sick. This is not cool. Especially with 100 degree temps kicking in. I'm basically doped up on asprin, for the aches and pains, and OJ right now.
Maybe I'll write some more tonight after I'm done wrapping presents if I have the energy.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Last week you may remember that I talked about a Bible study that I was going to hold with "T", a recent visitor to my church. Well that took place last Thursday as planned and although we had a few interruptions, it was a great Bible study! And it all started with the above question...What is grace?
Right as the study was about to begin she posed this question to me. REALLY! (and that's not said sarcastically) See, Bro. Geist just started preaching a series on Grace at church on Wednesday nights and last Wednesday was the first study on it titled Grappling with Grace. Basically he spent the evening defining grace and what it means to the spiritual life of a Christian. Without rehashing his entire lesson the definition of grace can be summed up as unmerited favor and devine influence on a heart (click here to see Webster's full definition). But her question was not something I was expecting and so it was nice to have the previous evenings notes in my Bible cover, which we did.
Then, she wanted to know about her Bible and what was in it. Well, the way it started was she was reading the first paragraph of the e-Life study we were working on and this was the first sentence "Although the whole Bible is the Word of God — all 66 Books — the Gospel according to John and the Epistle to the Romans were given specifically to show how you could receive eternal life." Well "T" read the line about 66 books and wanted to know more about them and so I naturally just did what I know to do and explained that the 66 books combined both the Old and New Testaments. Which led to her next question, What is the difference between the two testaments? WOW, it made me think about how much I take for granted. Of course though it was a great question! And so I broke it down even more, by explaining that the Old Testament talked about everything before the Birth of Christ and that the New Testament included everything about His birth, life and the reason why he came into the world to die for mans sins.
Now the other part that was refreshing/surprising was that these are usually questions that people ask when they want to tear the Bible apart, but this was not "T". She was really asking because she didn't know any of these things. But that's fine because after all that's why I was there.
So we continued and arrived at the portion of the study that talks about the 10 commandments. "T". Again another good question arose. She wondered how it was that God didn't judge sin like we do, you know BIG sins and little sins? Well, when we got to James 2:10 that verse was covered in full "For whosoever shall keep thewhole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." And then I was able to explain to her by this is the fact that a lie that someone tells is just as bad is God's eyes as someone that is in jail for murder. That seemed to be all that she needed, or wanted, to know. If the Bible said it and she had a scripture to back it up then that seemed to be enough of an answer for her to accept. And really that about sums up about how the rest of the evening went with the rest of her questions, God said it and that settled it ofr her.
The 10 Commantments also left "T" thinking though about how fall she's fallen short of them and in "T's" own words "How much she has to work on." The hope is of course that she can see that faith in Jesus is the solution for her sin problem, not works, as the lessons progress. Our next on is this Tursday night. She already texted me this evening letting me know she was looking forward to it, and so am I. I hope she has some more questions.
Now for a little nugget on how small this world is..."T" and I actually used to live in the same apartment complex a year ago, back before we both moved to OH. I'm tellin' you, only God can script this stuff! I can't wait to see what's next.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
One of my ministries at church involves editing video for our Bible Institute. Well can you believe that it wasn't working the way it was supposed to tonight (naturally I'm dripping with sarcasm)?! It's not that I don't like trouble shooting, because truth be known I DO. I enjoy the sense of accomplishment that I feel when my hard work finally pays off. It's just that it was adding more work to my otherwise long day and I really wanted to get home to dinner and more study time for Thursday's Bible study. So first, I had to split up the video into 2 different DVDs, no biggie a little extra work, but nothing big; then it ended up that I was getting an error code when burning the DVD, so I had to create a completely different file...extract it...and reload it for burning, that did take a little bit of time. FINALLY, once it was all finished I headed over to the office to burn the DVD's only to find a scratch on the Part I DVD, which only let the DVD burn 50% of the necessary information that I needed. Seriously at this point I was loosing my sweetness, hey I'm only human. It was a quarter to 9 and I still hadn't had dinner yet. All work and no food make Carolyn a whiny girl. Because lets face it in another life, pre-GF I would have just headed out to BK to curb my appetite but that was not in the picture.
Then after arriving home my Dad called me to ask me a strange, but well meaning question. Wanna take a guess? He asked me if there were any special Christmas cookies that I wanted him to make for me for Christmas. My reaction was pretty dumb struck as one could imagine. Then as I started to give my answer it completely dawned on him that Christmas cookies, at least the regular family Christmas cookies were not to be had by me. Actually last year my mom made GF snowball cookies for me and they turned out good. So instead he asked about what candy I might like...mmm...chocolate covers a multitude of cookies;)
And as for my DVD's I called Sherri to ask her if she would help me out tomorrow. She graciously obliged my request and I don't know what I would do without her sometimes. All she needs to do it copy them and she should be all set.
Hopefully the technical dificulties don't persist...unless there is a lesson that the Lord wants to teach me...in which case I hope I pass.
Monday, December 6, 2010
Something that I like to do is mark down all the promises and commandment that I find when I am reading my Bible. I haven't even scratched the surface, but it sure is a lot of fun. I'm a methodical person at heart and when I first set out to do this exercise that's exactly what it was to me, an exercise. I had devised that I would systematically go through and find all of them and then I would know them all. Well the problem with that is that the Bible was not meant to be a systematic book. It's a book that is alive with truth and meant to meet peoples various needs as they come up. To stifle something like that with my lovely vision would probably not bode well for future spiritual growth. I mean half the fun of a journey is the process in getting there, right? And for me there is no better journey then the one that the Lord leads me on.
So instead of ruining the journey I simply mark a "P" or a "C" in the margin next to it and it usually is something right that I need at the time.
I bring it up because tonight I was reading John 8:32 "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free". What a fabulous promise from God's word. That we can know truth and that it will free us. John 14:6 makes what truth is pretty clear "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me".
I was especially struck by this promise tonight because I was preparing for a Bible study that I will be holding with a lady who was a recent visitor to my church. She's burdend with many troubles, but I know the Great Physician that has the power to heal and I'm hoping that she will want to know him as well. I won't mention her name for her anonymity deserves to remain intact, but for the sake of future updates we'll call her "T". It's really a blessing that the Lord is allowing me this opportunity because for a while now I've been asking the Lord to avail me of the opportunity. Which brings me to another promise, Jeremiah 33:3 "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not".
If you pray I'd ask that you remember "T" and that she would allow the Lord to show her His truth and that it would make her free.
If you're interested in the study that I will be going through with her click here for the e-Life studies and you can work on them as well.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
There is in my repertoire quite a few phrases that I like to utilize. Like ....
- It's not my first Rodeo: Used to express my experience in a certain area, and can be in reverse when something does turn out to be my first "Rodeo".
- Adapt and Overcome: This one I started using when I was in VP-46. Things there weren't always the greatest and with all the changes that were taking place that was just a truth that I adopted in order to get through the day. Meaning that you can never really change anyone and not every situation you find yourself in will be enjoyable, but the best a person can do is adapt to the situation, and overcome the hurdles that hold them back from really succeeding.
- It is what it is: This one I started using just by virtue of the fact that I would hear it all the time in the Navy. It's amazing how things can set in subliminally because though I use this one, I don't really like it. I try to use it cautiously because it's a phrase that sticks in my craw. Why don't I like it? Well because when a person uses it they are saying that change is not possible. That a person cannot rise above their circumstances and that it's better to accept what's in your life then to try and do better. As a person who strives for, but falls terribly short of, perfection you can see where the contradiction would come into play. Yet I still get up every morning looking for ways to improve who I am, where I'm going, and what the Lord wants from me. Basically this phrase kills hope, which the Bible has much to say on the subject. It's appropriate to use when stating an actual fact about something, but not so much when you have a problem to overcome.
This brings up my final phrase, which I actually had to be reminded of tonight by some dear friends.
- You'll be strong: I know I started saying it was when I was in Sicily, and I can only assume that I started saying it as a personal mantra to keep me motivated when I was working in NAS Sigonaella Security. That was definitely a place that I needed to exercise personal motivation in. Whenever someone would complain about something my retort "You'll be strong", another version of "Adapt and Overcome". But as the years have gone on its fell out of my vernacular. However, I have to say that I like this one much better and am thankful to Joyce reminding me about it tonight. Why do I like it better? Because I can actually reference it to scripture, Philippians 4:13 - I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. This was the way I started using it once I got saved, and what my friends remember about it. Something not going right? "You'll be strong", thinking about giving up with that trial that you're facing "You'll be strong". Strong in the Lord that is.
There have many times this year where I have not felt strong, but here is 2 Corinthians 12:9 - And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. When I am weak then the Lord is stronger than I am and more capable of working things out for my improvement. Coming through a challenge? "You'll be strong". Rest in the Lord.
Really I'm a little ashamed that I forgot about such a great saying that I did use to spout off pretty much all the time. But all I can assume is that as with anything time and people change and different phrases arise to deal with different situations. This one though, is making a comeback. Sometimes a person just needs a reminder from some friends. And I write this knowing full well that I may need to come back to it in the future for another reminder.
Think I can't handle it..."I'll be strong".
2 Corinthians 12:10 - Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.