Friday, June 29, 2007

The book of James

Our home group is starting to go through the book of James together. Last night we had a great discussion about how we could begin to think about applying these words to our lives. I know I am going to learn a lot and am looking forward to it. I also know that struggling through challenging passages is something that we are going to have to do. I'm glad that we are willing to do this! Its already starting to bring us closer together.

So, this morning I sat down to start reading James. Most of the letters in the bible start with "Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ", or something to that effect, but James doesn't start that way, it says, "Consider it pure joy my brothers when you face trials of many kinds".

I have a couple thoughts on this, most of them probably are not that theologically sound, but when I was thinking about the author, his life, and why he might be towards the "works/trials" end of the spectrum here is what I thought:

(feel free to stop here if you want)

James was Jesus' younger brother. I can't imagine what it would have been like to experience that, but just having a taste of an older brother who was seemingly "perfect" was a challenge for me. I learned last night that James did not become a believer until after the resurrection. I can only imagine some of the feelings that he experienced when he watched his brother die on the cross thinking that Jesus was somehow asking for the pain that he received. I would have been a bit angry with Jesus and hurt that my parents were put through such termoil and pain and my life was turned upside down by older brother...

So, at conversion, when he recognized that his older brother was not crazy, but was really God with skin on... wouldn't that be a shift in attitude and remorse, a "I can't help but want to DO everything I can to act on my faith in him"??? Can you imagine your anguish turning to joy when you realized that watching your brother and family suffer was for the greater good of the entire world... in that context, "consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds" makes a little more sense to me...

I'm sure I'll have a lot more thoughts on this as we go through the book, but I do know that God's word is living and active and asks us to consider if our faith is real and what having genuine faith in Jesus means... Thanks be to God that I have a group of people to struggle with these questions with.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Guess where this is?

Yep, our house!!! This is so exciting to me. We (I) have been doing our laundry at our church buildings for the past two years and we just recently inherited this FABULOUS washer-dryer from my grandma. My ruggedly handsome and handy husband installed it last night. Unfortunatley, our camera was out of batteries for that scene... details in the next paragraph...

So, as you can tell, the space for the unit is a bit small... in order to hook it up not only did Matt have to cut a hole in our wall, but he spent about an hour confined behind the washer dryer to hook up all of the hoses and such. Then, he had to climb back over the top of it. This brought lots of laughter for us. Try to picture Matt squishing through the top of the opening and trying not to fall over onto the tile floor face first... he made it! and now I am on my 3rd load of laundry.

Thank you husband!
Thank you Grandma!
Thank you Kristen and Ross for letting us borrow your suburban to get it up here in the first place!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Picture Fun

Now that I can put pictures on my blog I am VERY excited!!!

We are also looking to get a new digital camera... any recommendations?

Saturday's fun!

Matt and I got the privlidge of hanging out with some energetic kidos on Saturday. All of them did very well in School this year and we celebrated with a tasty cake!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Roanoke Friends

On Sunday I went to Roanoke for a bridal shower. One of my best friends from HS is getting married soon and we were celebrating her! It was great to re-connect with some of my home town friends. My favorite thing was that although we don't see each other that often, we were able to catch up very quickly. I think this has to do with how much we are each seeking Jesus in our lives. Pretty sweet!!

As you can tell, I am the shortest of this bunch too!

Congrats Sarah Joy! and Congrats Mary Beth (expecting)!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Practice Pictures

This is just a test to see if I can upload pictures on the blog.

Thanks for the help Shannon.

Isn't my husband ruggedly handsome?!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Credit Card Woes

I am regrettfully reporting an oversight on my part that has lasted for over 3 years... I have a credit card that I barely use and don't keep to close an eye on, but noticed that I was still getting a bill for it... I wasn't too worried at first. I thought maybe I had purchased something with it and then forgot about it... but, since I don't even have the plastic version of it anymore, when I continued to get a bill on it I was a bit distressed.

So, I did some investigation. I found out that for at least 6 months I had been getting a $9 charge from the same place "WLI*Travelvaluesplus.c" After spending 20 minutes on hold with the credit card company I gave up and decided to wait and ask my husband's advice last night.

He then "googled" the description and the first thing that popped up was a Rip Off Report!! This was a bit disconserting to say the least. So, we finally got a hold of the credit card company and the Travel Reward Program... neither of which were extrememly helpful, but at least we aren't going to be charged any more.

Apparently in March 2004 I did not UNcheck a box when on the site This oversite has added up to over $350 of charges over the past 3 years that I did not even notice coming out of my account.

I feel took
I feel foolish
I feel angry
I feel stupid
I feel much smarter now

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


We just arrived at Western Carolina University for a Service Learning Conference. We got here a bit late and the dorm where we were staying was already locked. So, after driving around and making a few phone calls we found out that our keys were at the campus police station.

After parking at the police station I saw a sign that said, "Univeristy Police and Traffic Office" with an arrow pointing around the corner. We walked around the corner and walked into a dark office maked "Traffic". As soon as we realized no one was there we turned around to find 3 campus police cars pulling up to check on the "situation at hand"...

apparently we were in the wrong place and someone had forgotten to lock their office (oops!)... we were sternly directed around the corner and retrieved our keys. Fun adventures in the beautiful mountains :)

Monday, June 11, 2007

New Neighbors

Matt and I decided to take a walk yesterday evening after finishing our yard work. Both of us were a mess:

Matt: shirtless (trying to tan his white torso)
Me: tank top and paint spattered jeans with mud soaked knees from digging in the dirt
Both: Michelob Light cans in hand

We walked up a different direction than normal and ran into Carl and Jay. They are our new friends. They invited us over for dinner and we said "we would love to, we'll probably come back"... they didn't think we would...

We took showers and changed, then went back over. Its great to have people accept you when you are dirty and when you are clean.

When we showed back up and they invited us to come with them to a dinner party at some other friends house. At first it was a bit ackward, but then we had a great time! Its exciting meeting new neighbors and stepping a bit outside the norm to get to know others. Hopefully we will hang out with them again.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

PHD Thoughts

So, on our way home from Armadillo Grill Matt and I were talking... well, actually I was talking and he was listening (this happens quite frequently in our relationship).

I have been having a lot of questions about why I am getting my PhD and what all this is about and how what I am going to study connects with my passions, dreams, and gifts... so after about 30 mintues of going around in circles I came up with this idea:

Question one: What is the "missional church's" role in social justice in the local community?
Thoughts: Social justice cannot be separated from redeption/ grace/ healing/ the physical and spiritual are both important and need to be addressed.

Question two: Who do we form authentic communities and discipleship relationships within the local church? What does this look like?
Thoughts: This is what I truly am passionate about!

Conclusion: Discipleship that is part of authentic biblical community should increase the churches ability and desire to be affective in contributing to social healing and justice in ways that we are not currently able to imagine. Possibly coming closer to a world that looks like Matthew 5...

These are the ideas that I am going to be looking at with my PhD. I still don't know for sure if this is the way that I want to go to find the answers to these questions, but at least I am starting to put the pieces together a bit.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Social Healing

So, I am thinking about what social justice is all about and what my role in that is as a Christ follower. I have heard a lot of different opinions and what I am currently considering is the following:

What does God's justice look like?
-healing... maybe?
-atonement for our sins required Jesus to die... this probably means that social healing and justice will be messy and require sacrifice...

I say this because if we are trying to live by grace maybe it is asking the question, what does the world need? Is it as simple as Jesus. or is the word Jesus loaded in more ways then we can comprhend??

I am not saying that I have the answer to these questions at all, but I think its more complicated than I would like it to be.
*what is the cutoff between the physical and the spiritual? is there one? how does transformation occur in the big picture of things?

-Do homeless people need homes? Wasn't Jesus homeless? how do cultural norms play into this?
-What does it look like to care for widows and orphans? Does this mean taking them in? Does this mean meeting their physical needs? Where does the healing come in?
-When do we start asking people what they want v. what we want to give them? What is our role in providing services for people that we can't completely identify with? Are we attempting to make people more like us or more like Jesus?
-How did Jesus meet needs?
-Jesus asked people to sell everything they had and give it to the poor. Wouldn't this create more poor people?

My list of questions goes on and on, but I think that justice and healing cannot be separated. The gospel must remain at the heart of social justice/healing or else I beleive we start trying to figure everything out instead of relying on faith.

Thats all for now.

Not sure about blogger etiquette

I'm not quite sure what blogging etiquette is, I mean I don't think I've noticed individual bloggers posting more than once a day, but I don't read that many... so, I am going to set my own standard. I am going to post multiple times somedays and none others... I hope that is okay... I think I just have a lot to say today.

Thoughts about community

One of the things that I am so thankful for is the community that I am a part of. Some people may think this referrs to my church community Visio Dei, but its more than that. Visio Dei is a big part of why I have such a strong community, but then I have other friends that aren't a part of my church whom I love and cherish and with whom I experience deep relationships and life sharing.

Somehow I am thinking that church community is different than social community. There are different expectations and responsibilities.. maybe? I feel fortunate to be one of the ones in the church who has reeped the beneifts of relational support, giving to others, challenging by others, knowing that I can call several people at any time of the day and they will talk with me... but, this has taken time and investment...

So, I guess my question is how do we as a church help others who don't already have these connections to have them? I have several one on one relationships with individuals who feel like outsiders... and see other potential relationships with people that I have yet to get to know very well...

As I just said, I think it takes time, but it also takes willingness to reach out and willingness on many people's parts to be vulnerable, face fears of rejection, put others before ourselves, think outside of the "norm", etc. My prayer is that I would do this more and more and that we as a community would do this more and more... I do think we are, it just takes time and I'm a bit impatient.

any thoughts?

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Crazy Week!

As a community we have been talking about the connection between our hearts for Jesus and our hands and feet for the world. This past week I have actually experienced the intersection of the two first hand in several ways... let me tell you... its a rush!!

I am not trying to brag on my good deeds, but I am trying to explain this phenomenon that occurs when we serve out of grace rather than out of guilt...

First, one of my best friends just moved to Atlanta. I got to be part of throwing her a good bye party. It was hard to say good bye, but it was great to enjoy each other, show love to each other and remeniss about fun times we have had with hopes of more unique ones to come.

Second, Matt and I got to drive to Florida in one day and then back the next to be with two of our best friends who just had their first child. I have to admit getting up early after having a little too much fun at Charlotte's going away party was rather difficult (I did say a few curse words)... but, once we got in the car and once we stepped in to the hospital room (Kim's state at that time is another story)I realized that I wouldn't trade the experience of being in Tallahasee with them for anything.

I love my friends!

Third, I got to meet with some new friends just to get to know each other and ended up sharing my struggle with anorexia and bulemia and how much God has spoken to me and encouraged me over the years and the struggles that I still face and how I seek encouragement and accountability. I think openning up with them was helpful for myself and for my new friends... God's light always shines in the darkness!

I say all of this because sometimes I try to come up with new and profound ways to "bring God's kingdom to earth" and miss the joy in living in the spirit. The above three things forced me to rely on Jesus and my community in new ways and helped me to experience the blessing of overflow.

Let me know if this makes sense to anyone else?

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Success and Thank you!!

I just wanted to say thank you to Jonathan and Daniel for working so hard on Charlotte's video. I greatly appreciate it and she did cry and is happy to have the memories, with sound.

I am actually going to see her in a few minutes before the moving trucks pull away. This will be a difficult time, saying good bye to one of my best friends... I don't like saying good bye. But, I am happy for her and know that good things are to come for both of us. I also know that we will keep in touch for years to come regardless of where we physically are.

Thanks again!! I am grateful for all of my friends.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Too soon!

Well, if you read my previous post I spoke about how I had just finished this DVD for my friend Charlotte... well, I had (on my computer). Today I have been trying to burn it to a DVD. Here is the story:

My first try was a big bust. I got frustrated and went to lunch with a friend (which was a great time!) On the way back from lunch I ran into Matt and Erin Lavin (wonderful people, who read my blog and who are very helpful and knowledgeable). They took some time out of their day to come over and help me out. THANK YOU GUYS!!!!

Our second attempt was a bust... not as bad, but only worked on one program on Matt's laptop, not on our DVD player...

Our third attempt was, well a half bust... doesn't work in our DVD player (this could be becuase we have had it for a long time) or some other reason... so, I tried it on my old lap top after the Lavin's left and ... GOOD NEWS!! It worked, BUT: No sound :(

I'm not sure where to go from here because I don't have any more blank DVD's and I have to go to work in a half an hour: The party is tomorrow... any thoughts? Shannon? Daniel? Jonathan?