Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wednesday Afternoon

The sky is cloudy but the sun is shining on the blooming trees. I'm sitting in the Science Center and looking out a big window at this phenomena of brilliant color. The bright green glowing in contrast with the dismal-looking sky gives me a sense of tranquility, and I could stare at this picturesque view for hours.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

2 Corinthians 5:17

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone and the new has come.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Jesus plus Nothing equals Everything

This is the book I've been reading recently, entitled Jesus + Nothing = Everything, by Tullian Tchividjian.

I want to share a few quotes and a few reflections from the book.

"In his grace, he won't play hide-and-seek with you. In your weakness and weariness, cry out to him. he will find you, and He will be your rock."{Paul David Tripp

"If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world." {C.S. Lewis}

"'I'm looking to something or someone smaller than Jesus to be what only Jesus can be for me.'" {Tullian Tchividjian}

"Whatever your heart clings to and confides in, that is really your God." {Martin Luther}

"Our rules become our substitute savior." {Tullian Tchividjian}

"The gospel is...for those who long to be freed from the slavery of believing that all of their significance, meaning, purpose, and security depend on our ability to 'become a better you."

"Is there any meaning in my life that the inevitable death awaiting me does not destroy?" {Leo Tolstoy}

"Only inside clean-up leads to outside clean-up." {Tullian Tchividjian}

I've reflected a lot over the past year on my tendency to want to perfect myself--convincing myself that if I work harder, I can be better, and once I'm better, I'll be happy. What I'm understanding is that the mental list of changes I need to make to myself is useless and unrealistic. It's something that I shouldn't even be expecting myself to consult as a measurement of progress. I've been looking to my own ability to change and be better, pretending that Grace doesn't exist. I'm not sure what to do with that. I don't believe that I should stop trying to overcome the things I want to overcome, but I need to recognize that there is NOT a place in my life for perfection of myself, and the only time I'll ever appear faultless is on judgement day, when God sees Christ instead of me.

After 10 years of "walking the walk", I'm finally understanding what this all means. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

On another note

So I've written quite a bit about the Dominican, but very little about my life. And tonight is one of those nights where it is just plain old necessary to write about my life's goings-on.

I doubt that all of you out there in blogland have heard about my nate-issues, but today I finally confronted them. After nine months of being "maybe yes, maybe no, keep him around just in case", I took a stand against this stagnancy {and against the fool of a heart that I have} and told him that I felt it necessary for us to create a greater amount of distance between us. And by "a greater amount of distance", I mean we aren't talking anymore right now.

And while I feel good about this decision, and I feel like it was the right thing to do, it really does suck. And right now I'm refraining from repeating some of the things he said if only because I think that reiterating them will perpetuate my confusion and my heart-sickness.

How ironic. I initiated the end of the relationship, and I'm the one clinging to what simply isn't there.

But I took care of it, I suppose. Now I have to move on to the next stage of my life, and that is, setting out to start what I intended to start NINE MONTHS AGO. So we're back to square one in regards to spiritual growth, and if any of you feel so inclined, I'd appreciate prayer and any referrals to devotionals, reading plans, any spiritual guidance at all.

Also, I spoke with Chuck. There are no hidden feelings but simply a desire to create distance between him and I so that I'm not relying on him, and he's not relying on me for emotional support, etc.

This has been a week of getting things out in the open. And I must say, it's slowly killing me.

I've accepted the job that I worked at last summer, so I'll spend another unhappy summer at home, simply praying for something else I can do with my time.

So that's where I'm at. A little less than a month until my 20th birthday, which means a little less than a month until I'm done with my sophomore year of college.


I'm growing up. How incredibly horrifying.

That's to be dealt with at a later point.

So here's to saturday--praying for a long weekend.

Dominican Republic {Day 3.2}

I'm a breaker of promises. You have my profuse apologies.

You should also know that the second part of this day probably could have been added to the previous post, if it weren't for the profuse amount of photos that I took.

So monday, after returning from Conacado, we were whisked off to the beach on the church's enormous school bus. It was the 13 members of our team, along with Pastor Tanis, his youngest son, Eliazar, his daughter, Tanya, and his oldest son Elitanis. I believe that we also brought Fortune and possibly Gaby, but I didn't know them very well at this point, so I can't really remember if they were there or not.

I can't even begin to describe how incredible it was to be swimming in Caribbean waters, feeling the warm salt water surrounding me, in the midst of march, and feeling coral under my feet. What was almost more awe-inspiring was the amplitude of wealthy people lounging on the beach, when it had taken us less than half an hour to move from a relatively impoverished village to be here, in the midst of tourism. It was almost appalling. I am, however, thankful to Tanis for giving us this opportunity to get to know a more beautiful side of the Dominican Republic.
Pastor Tanis 

Footprints in the sand {I had to be just that cheesey}

An old fisherman at sunset. He was flattered when I asked if I could take his picture.

Vamos a la playa

Some sort of sea star that scurried every which way. Also, Left to Right: Chuck, Sea Star, Zach.

Tanya and I

Also, to the recipients of my INCREDIBLY TARDY THANK YOU LETTERS, you have my profuse apologies. They've been in the making for weeks now, but due to some extenuating circumstances {classes, exams, work, and lack of a vehicle to pick up the pictures} they've taken some time to get to you. Again, I'm terribly sorry.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Dominican Republic {Day 3.1}

Sorry guys! It's been a while. This week has been absolutely insane, and before that, I was just being lazy. So let's carry on.

Day three of my trip to the dominican began with a gentle wake up around the same time {sevenish}, a quick breakfast, and then we all loaded into a minivan {with the exception of Kristen, who rode in Pastor Tanis' truck} and headed to Conocado, a fair trade cocoa plant. We spent several hours here, learning about the process that a cocoa plant goes through--from the blossom, to the plant, then is peeled, dried, roasted, and processed until it become a very bitter piece of dark chocolate. Then sugar can be added to it, to make it sweet, it can be squeezed and fermented, made into wine or marmalade, or shipped out, where it can become chocolate that we eat in almost all of our deserts. We spent a lot of time with the people who work here. We met with a farmer, who said that he was born and raised under the trees, and worked there his entire life. He said he sacrificed a lot so that his family didn't have to. He praised God that he was able to do this. He had a truly incredible story.

We also were able to talk with a few women about the process of turning the cocoa into wine, marmalade, hot chocolate, and just plain chocolate.

College Bound Wine Tasting {just kidding, don't fire me.}

Making the wine
I ground those beans.

We were able to see the beans being dried and roasted.

After they went through the guillotine

And we ate TONS of fresh fruit.

There was some confusion about how to eat the sugar cane...

And that was only half of monday. After returning from conacado, we spent a few hours at the ocean. I promise to post about that tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Thoughts for a tuesday night

I have to get this off my mind so that I might be able to sleep tonight.
It has been a very... off... week.

Chris came to visit Friday and since he's been here my world has seemed upside down. There's something about being around him that makes me feel so anxious, so apprehensive, so completely inadequate, that I often slip right into this state of totally bummed-out. And I've pinpointed the cause of this anxiety: when he's away I like to have my delusions. I think that we're friends because we talk every now and then, because I ask how he's doing, and because he's been so open and honest with me about so much of his life. Because I believe that we're friends, it makes it hard for him to act otherwise while he's here. In fact, it seems nearly impossible for him to find a spare moment in his day to regard me, even the slightest.
That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but the way that we interact screams something to this effect. It's pretty hurtful, really, and when I hear that he's gone off with some one else, a girl who's prettier, funnier, older, or more competent overall than I consider myself to be, it instills in me this insurmountable feeling of inadequacy which more or less ruins my day.

And today, Chuck has been acting off. I'm less inclined to be angry with him, because I know he's under stress, and he hasn't done anything that I should be angry with, but as a result of the pent up apprehension that I have because of Chris's behavior, I am now keenly aware of the inconsistencies of others' behavior. Thus, I read chuck's distance as something that I'm really praying it isn't. And while I was laying in bed, for the past hour an a half or so, I turned over in my head the thought that I need to guard myself more. I need to be careful how attached I get to these people, because we may not be as close as I perceived. And that perhaps I should come to expect this from the general population at one point or another.

There's also a great likelihood that I'm feeling ignored and am being dramatic. Objectively, Chris and I aren't altogether very close and I'm bummed out because I still have feelings for him and it appears that I am a last priority for him. Because I probably am. Because we are not, in reality, very close at all.
The stress that I have in regards to Chuck are probably stemming from a similar branch, in that because he didn't have much to say during the time we spent together today, I'm assuming that I said something, did something, on and on, that offended him or put him off. This is probably unrealistic. He's probably just stressed out. And I'm probably being dramatic.

In five hours I have to get up for a class. I hope I can sleep. Goodnight.