Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Season Of New

Yes. I still think it happened to someone else. No one prepares you for how weird it is to be proposed to. It's great, but it's so odd. That question is so loaded: Will you marry me? Translation: Everyday for the rest of our lives, will you love me even when I'm being a tard? Will you clean on Saturdays and take the carpool on Tuesday and Thursdays? Will you be flexible when my work keeps me late. Will you leave your family on Christmas to be with mine? Will you be on my arm when I need you even when you don't want to go to the company get-together? If something terrible happens, will you not leave? Will you stand strong when the Devil attacks us and trust in my faithfulness even though I am but human? It's easy to say YES to it now. But it's a big deal. Watching my parents and friend's parents from afar, these situations are real. The stress they cause is real and the emotions are real. Marriage is real. It is not an idea that seems cool. I have meditated on these questions for literally hours because it is my nature to be practical and realistic. I can confidently say that I'm honored to be asked to be by Travis's side and serve with him through it all.

A little about the man I get to marry: My fiance is the hottest guy on the face of the planet. I'm serious, I'm not alone in this thought. He legitimately would win a contest. He will tell you that sometimes articulating and/or writing things out do not come easy for him. But he has a strength that most pray for each day: He simply lives it. He walks each day humbly. He is the smartest person I know. I took physics in college and couldn't wrap my mind around it. So he would read my book, teach himself the material and then explain it to me in a way I would understand. I made an A. He has a heart of gold. I know of no one that would contest that. One time in college I was super sick and just could not breathe well because of congestion. Travis came by to check on me. I don't know if it was because I looked like death or if my breathing was irregular, but he slept on the floor of my room and would wake up to check my breathing because he was so worried. He always talks about his brothers because he's so proud of them. He NEVER lets me go to sleep being mad at him, which is so irritating sometimes! He will call and call and call until I answer and we hash it out. I love his persistance. A hobby of ours is making Excel spreadsheets about hypothetical budgets when we're married. He made me the headboard for my bed. He is most alive when hanging with his best friends. He LOVES his Baylor Bears. I love him.

Sidenote: I have grown quite fond of sporting the most beautiful ring everyday and night. It goes with PJs, workout attire, and church clothes. I adore it.

I'm starting a new season of having a fiance, but I have begun a new book which has already began a new spiritual season within my soul. And Travis would agree, that's way more exciting then finding candles on sale for centerpieces.

It's not a new book. It's been published and out in the stores for awhile. My kindred BethAnn read the introduction to me about a year ago and I never got it out of my head. So when mom asked for a Christmas list I asked for this book. I am completely stirred by it's message. It has made an old and redundant word, grace, have it's original intended meaning again. I can't tell you more because I'm only on page 35. I will type out the introduction. The introduction that has stuck with me so long that I hope it sticks with you in a way that encourages you to search for the Lord, because he is too big to ever stop searching for. I leave you with this. Stick with it, it will resonate within you, I promise.

"The Ragamuffin Gospel was written for a specific reading audience in mind. This book is not for the superspiritual. It is not for muscular Christians who have made John Wayne, and not Jesus, their hero. It is not for academics who would imprison Jesus in the ivory tower of exegesis. It is not for noisy, feel-good folks who manipulate Christianity into a naked appeal to emotion. It is not for hooded mystics who want magic in their religion. It is not for Alleluia Christians who live only on the mountaintop and have never visited the valley of desolation. It is not for the fearless and tearless. It is not for red-hot zealots who boast with the rich young ruler of the Gospels, "All of these commandments I have kept from my youth." It is not for the complacent who hoist over their shoulders a tote bag of honors, diplomas, and good works, actually believing they have it made. It is not for legalists who would rather surrender control of their souls to rules than run the risk of living in union with Jesus.

If anyone is still reading along, The Ragamuffin Gospel was written for the bedraggled, beat-up, and burnt-out. It is for the sorely burdened who are still shifting the heavy suitcase from one hand to the other. It is for the wobbly and weak-kneed who know they don't have it all together and are too proud to accept the handout of amazing grace. It is for inconsistent, unsteady disciples whose cheese is falling off their cracker. It is for poor, weak, sinful men and women with hereditary faults and limited talents. It is for earthen vessels who shuffle along on feet of clay. It is for the bent and the bruised who feel that their lives are a grave disappointment to God. It is for smart people who know they are stupid and honest disciples who admit they are scalawags.

The Ragamuffin Gospel is a book I wrote for myself and anyone who has grown weary and discouraged along the Way. "

-author of Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I haven't slept in awhile.

I haven't eaten much.

And I haven't changed my socks in about a week. I find this one okay because they are decorative, festive Christmas socks that warm my soul everytime I sit down, cross one leg over the other and catch a glimpse of their joy.

During this moment in time, I simply hold on to this fact... ONE. MORE. FINAL. And then I will drink to my second semester giving up on trying to drive me to the crazy house. I will count it as a victory. It wasn't pretty nor perfect, but neither was the Longhorn's wins over A&M and Nebraska. Yet, they are the ones going to the BCS National Championship game. As I've recited to myself over and over again through every sports season.. "Those who say it's just a game, probably just lost."

Aw yes. This is what I needed. My thoughts to be typed out onto a page and for somehow the motivation to concentrate, succeed, and persist has come back.

Before I go face-off with my textbook, I must bring a link to this post that has been on my heart all week. It's my pastor, Matt Chandler prior to surgery. I have watched it over and over. It still resonates deep within my tender heart, that He is enough. He is better. And we are here to glorify Him, even when we have a tumor growing on our brain. Even when someone close to us passes on. Even in times of drought.... He is good.

Go down to the post on Decemeber 6 and watch the video. I hope it fills your heart.

16 hours till I'm done. ohhhh what a long 16 hours it will be.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Continually hopeful, praising You more and more

I am overwhelmed. by many things. good and bad. joy and despair. hopeful and empty. For the last 4 days my heart has been heavy. "Why didn't you make our bodies more invincible, Lord?"

As I've studied the human anatomy throughout college and grad... and really my focus leaves out the incredible processes of our extremities...I've thought this simple word so many times..."wow". It just seems to define my awe of the whole thing. I have even found that understanding how the brain works has deepened my faith more than most bible studies. Jesus seems to be elusive to most. They want to see him, feel his touch, watch his miracles with their own eyes. Do they not know that He has given us a guide that is tangible and everlasting in the Word. He came down as man. He died as man. It's amazing to me the argument that people can't believe in Him because they can't see Him. He was here friends, and his footprints are everywhere.

We all walk so non-chalauntly everyday, breathe in and breathe out, talk as if it was simple nature, hear the sounds around us, and see life moving before us. These are his footprints. We are his craftsmanship that proves his Sovereignty. His work that is more intricate than even neurologists understand. And yet, we call them our experts. All of these processes--walking, breathing, talking, hearing, understanding, seeing--all start in the brain. The brain he created. It takes years to study and understand a mere glimpse of it. He did it all. You need proof of a God that is the most intelligent Creator who's work surpasses all? Please look in the mirror, and ask yourself how am I seeing? Breathing? Moving? How does that work? Science can actually be a testimony.

So back to the question: Why aren't our bodies invincible? Why do bad things happen to good people? Why should we come here, bring glory to Him, and say with confidence - "Take away all I have, and I will still praise your name". It seems crazy... until I am reminded of what John Piper wrote (no I did not read this in a philosophical book of his... it was on twitter) in his effort to bring his fellow brothers and sisters to the reality that we are tools for the Lord, not overseers who shall seek entitlement to long life, riches, or fame: "At 83, 63, 33, or 13 we have all lived longer than we deserve. At death therefore be grieved but not embittered."

Which brings me to the grief felt when my precious "Pa" passed away this morning after suffering from a massive stroke on Monday night. One artery had one clot and suddenly the ability to breathe, speak, and live wasn't easy anymore. He was 81. So thankful to be his granddaughter, so blessed to have spent time with him, and I am better because I knew him. He didn't miss one of my volleyball games. He would wear his baseball cap backwards when my brother needed some luck from the stands if bases were loaded. "Fishing" was having Pa doing everything and then letting me take the picture holding the fish. He taught me how to ride, hunt, fish, and hug. Yes, every time he hugged me I would lose my breath due to my lungs being squished. Beth Ann - you would have loved him for this reason. Never side hugs, only front.

So now I hold on to Kyle's Lake's last sermon where he said "Grieve, and grieve well."

But that is not the end. For it is followed by "At the tables with friends and family, LAUGH. If you are eating and laughing at the same time , then might as well laugh until you puke." We honor and remember, and then we eat and laugh. Because we know life is most certainly a gift. So lets celebrate it. I know a man that did. His name was George Washington Foreman. Two famous names in one. Unbelievable. :)

Even in the midst of death, Love wins. Again.