Friday, December 31, 2010

Review of 2010

As I'm sitting here, an hour before the end of 2010, I try to reflect on this past year.
To be completely honest, who I am sitting here is not who I was when I rang in the start of this year.
I've grown in ways that I could not even begin to describe to you.
I know the strains of a 18 credit load in conjunction with a 10-15 hour work week.
I lived in an apartment, buying all my own food, working 40 hours a week over the summer.
I'm a better writer, a better student, a better psychology major than at the start.
I think deeper, love more, fear less.
I've come to the realization that I am beautiful.
I don't have to try to be something else.
I've made new friends, fixed old friendships, let some go.
I hope I can say that I know God better, even though I have such a very long way to go.

After a huge snow storm in February, a bunch of girls on my floor and I ran around like lunatics in the two feet of white fluffy stuff.

We had a silent rave in the library in May.

I fell in love with these girls.
I'm now rooming with the girl on the far right. :)

I worked my butt off this summer painting.

I fell in love with the city of Rochester.
I hope to live here for a while.

Started serving on the worship team at my church back in April.

And my church had a barn dance in October. 
I have to say, barn dancing (or any sort of dancing for that matter) is not one of my strong points!

My pastor's family had a bunch of people over to help decorate their Christmas tree.
His son is also a friend of mine at school. 

It's been quite a year, and I'm hoping for one even better to start in an hour. 
Who knows, maybe there'll be a special guy waiting for me in 2011? *wink*
Anyways, I will leave you with a quote by Jamie Tworkowski (founder of TWLOHA), "Perhaps the fuss about midnight suggests that things can be new. 2011 has never happened before. Here's to the possibilities..."

Sunday, December 26, 2010

More Thoughts on Love

I wrote this back over Thanksgiving break, and came across it in my drafts tonight. I read it, and decided, why not, I'll post it! 

Have you ever noticed that when you start to think on a certain concept, or a set of concepts in my own case, and meditate on the meaning of that thing, how it applies to your life, everything you see or hear seems to give you a greater understanding or even more of a reason to go deeper into that concept?
Did I lose you in that great run-on sentence?
I certainly would have lost myself.
Most people who read my blog know about how I have been thinking a lot on the concepts of love and beauty, and as I meditate on these two ideas, more and more of what I read, see, and hear touches on these topics. It gives me more fuel for my fire so to speak, and I end up ruminating on it more than before.
For example, I log on to twitter this morning and see a couple tweets, one after another, saying something about love:
"Love keeps no record of wrongs, but bitterness keeps detailed accounts."
"Holiness equals love."
This brings up and interesting point in my mind.
What exactly is love?
Is it the warm and fuzzy feeling that you get when you're around those you care about?
Is it being there for someone who needs you?
I guess it's a combination of all of those. Showing people you love them can simply mean being there for them when they need you, texting a friend to say that you care, eating dinner with your family. It's not complicated.
Or is it?
It takes courage to love.
The love of Christ took Him to the cross. To show his love he was beaten bloody, taunted, hung on a cross, killed. That took courage.
If you were commanded to die for those you love, would you prove that you actually love them, or would you live and forsake that claimed love?
If I were to be truthful, I would have to tell you that there are very few that I love to that extent.
And even though we are called to love as Jesus loved, as Jesus loves, I believe that there are very few people who love with the same courage that He calls us with which to love.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays...

'Cause no matter how far away you roam
If you want to be happy in a million ways,
For the holidays you can't beat home, sweet home.

I never truly understood the meaning of this song. 
I thought it was silly.
You shouldn't have to travel to be home, I would think to myself. Or even, Shouldn't home be right where you are?
I did not realize how twisted that thinking was.
Since coming to college, I have debated so many times what the meaning of home was. I scratched and pondered, thinking that home should be where I lived. 
But I've come to realize something.
Home is the place where the people I love are. It's the warm, fuzzy feeling I get when I walk into the house I grew up in and see my parents.
I can call that home. 
And as I am at college, although I am not too far away from where I call home, it is, especially at this time of year, good to come home. 

Monday, December 20, 2010


Every moment.
Every second.
Every action.
Every person.
Everything impacts our lives.
Whether we consciously know it our not, it all imprints on us, leaving us battered, bruised, and hopefully stronger. 
Much of what I personally have gone through has not been easy. 
Life has come hard. 
So often the right thing takes time. 
It does not come easy.
Memories of past hurts, past pains, even past joys can get in the way. 
But press on. 
Get stronger. 
This, my friends, is life. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Note Cards

If you choose to go no further, I do not blame you. 
What follows is a view of questions that plagued my mind over Thanksgiving, illustrated on note-cards in some way that I felt represented what that question caused me to feel.
It was interesting to make these note-cards, if nothing else, because it gave me a look into myself that I may not have been willing to experience any other way. 
If you have anything to say about these questions, please let me know. It would be good to get people talking about some of these questions.

There you have it, a look into my mind...
I actually have already been working on a second edition of this, kind of on accident.
Questions on life would randomly pop into my head while studying for finals, and I would write them on post-it notes. Little twist, same concept. Maybe I'll post them while I'm home over break.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I wrote this the other night:

If I were being completely honest with you, completely honest with myself for that matter, I would tell you that I am not as close to God as people think I am. I would tell you that I am not as close to God as I would like to be. I would tell you that I have begun to slip away.
Now, when I say that I have begun to slip away, I do not mean in the sense that I have fallen so far that I have to start anew, but rather I have tasted and I have seen the goodness of God and people like me should not fall away like this.
This summer, when God gave me Matthew 23 and kept drawing me back to it day after day, I knew He was calling me to remind Christians of the message in it. I knew He was solidifying a hatred for hypocrisy and contradiction within the church. What I didn’t know was that I was at such a risk of falling into this myself.
Woe to you teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!
Oh, how that penetrates me to the inmost portion of my soul. I am that Pharisee, I am that hypocrite.
I think the words of Paul in Romans 7 best describe my current state of being. He says, “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.”
I don’t think I could have stated it more eloquently myself.
I guess all I can leave you with is this. I am human. I will fall, I will mess up, and for some reason God loves me. I am His beloved, even though I cannot wrap my feeble mind around why He would desire me. I am a negligent lover, a child who forgets to call, but He loves me. It’s amazing. I just need to be reminded of this incredible fact more often.
God, thank you for Your grace and love. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


When I was in junior high and high school, I would occasionally wear my hair in two matching braids.
I used to get picked on because of it.
People would tell me that I looked like I belonged in middle school or even elementary school.
Being that I didn't have any self-confidence at that point, it crushed me.
I vowed to never go out in public with two braids again.
Yesterday, I was planning on getting up early and showering in the morning.
My sleep schedule, the way it's been lately, did not allot me getting up on time.
So, I decided to do something completely uncalled for with my hair.
I threw it into two braids and tossed a hat over it.
I went out feeling self-conscious, waiting for the ridicule to come.
"You look stupid with those braids."
But I did not receive the negative feedback I was expecting.
Without me asking, people told me my hair was cute, that I looked adorable, that they liked the braids.
It was a pleasantly unexpected surprise.
It's funny how God will sometimes do that with you, I believe in an attempt to heal wounds that you didn't even know about.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Down to the Wire

One week of classes left.
Then finals.
Oh the dreaded marathon. 
12 page paper due tomorrow.
Big project due Wednesday.
First (and hopefully last?) all-nighter tonight.
This week is probably worse than finals.
I can make it.
Taking heart in 2 Timothy 4:7.
Paul states, "I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith."
Now, I'm not dying, but I consider this semester a fight, a race.
I want to say at the end of next week that I have fought the good fight.
That I have finished the race strong.
That all the while I have kept faith. 
That last one has been a stretch for me.
But I made it through harder weeks this semester.
I can survive this week.
I can complete the marathon strong. 
God give me grace.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

More Thoughts on Homosexuality and Christianity

I may be beating this concept to death, but considering this paper is basically my only homework right now, it has literally been all that is on my mind lately.
The other night I was working on some research on the topic when I came across a passage in Judith K. Balswick and Jack O. Balswick's book "Authentic Human Sexuality: An Integrated Christian Approach," that totally blew my mind. It wasn't so much that I believe what they were saying, but rather it gave me insight into the opposing argument that I did not previously have. I thought I would share with you this section:

Those who accept homosexual behavior between consenting adults generally believe that a person's sexual orientation is determined quite early in life. Thus, sexual expression between same-sex persons is accepted as a normal and essential part of one's life. Since it is "natural" for persons with a homosexual orientation to express themselves sexually with members of the same sex, it would be completely "unnatural" for them to engage in heterosexual union. The scriptural passage in Romans 1 condemning "unnatural" affections between people would therefore not apply to them. They believe this passage condemns persons who are heterosexual by nature but turn against their natural sexual inclinations in sexual behaviors. They further assert that the major thesis in Romans 1 is Paul's declaration that all people have sinned and are in need of salvation, rather than the specific issue of homosexuality. They point to Jesus as one who offers grace and acceptance rather than judgment and condemnation.

For those of you who do not know what passage is being spoken of, Romans 1:26-27 states, "For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error."

Personally, I thought that this passage was perfectly clear. In my mind it simply states that homosexuality is a sin that people have fallen into. But, after reading the discussion of it in "Authentic Human Sexuality," I can understand how people can think this. It's not so much that I now believe that homosexuality is not a sin, I still stand firm on the fact that my God outlines homosexuality as a sin, but at the same time I am now more understanding of the people who believe the opposite.
If nothing else, my mind is constantly being expanded and my opinions are being challenged, making them stronger, or refining them.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Homosexuality and Christianity

This semester I am in a class called Understanding Human Sexuality. Interesting, right? Well, part of the curriculum is to write a 12 page research paper on anything within the realm of sexuality.
I started thinking about what would be a controversial topic, something that you ought to have a well informed view on with facts to back it up, and is relevant to life without getting too close to writing a 12 page paper on the act of sex. Yeah, didn't want to go there.
My first thought was the concept of homosexuals in the Christian faith.
Often times Christians are labeled as homophobic simply because we believe that homosexuality is a sin. We get labeled, judged, and attacked because of this stereotype, when many people do not necessarily have a solid, informed view.
If something is that important to people, it is going to come up at some point or another and you need to have your opinion solidly created if you are to participate in a debate on it.
Simply stated, I do not want to appear uninformed or ignorant when it comes to my opinions.
So, I started researching.
I set clear questions for myself to answer.
What is my view on homosexuality in relation to Christianity?
Why do I believe this?
What is the opposing argument?
So far, I have begun to solidify my own opinion. I believe that people who classify themselves as homosexual are still children of God. He created them and loves them no differently from you or I. As such, I believe that we should not turn them away from the church, but rather welcome them with open arms as we would someone who is dealing with alcoholism or pride. No one sin is greater than any other and therefore we should not judge people. At the same time though, I do not think someone can be walking in sin and still be following after God's heart. If someone is dealing with alcoholism and they become a Christian, it is expected that they begin to weed out the sin from their life in order to become more like Christ. In the mean time, we support and love these people. It's no different for homosexuals.
Now, I'm not saying that I expect them to live a heterosexual lifestyle after they become Christian, but rather I think it most beneficial for their walk in the Lord if they are celibate, just as you would expect an unmarried woman to not lay with a man, even though she may have those desires. The desires themselves are not evil, rather it is acting on them.
As I'm researching this more, it is interesting to see how different people react, and I hope, if nothing else, my opinion has sparked some new ideas in you.
What are your thoughts?