Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Some people watch TV to relax, some read books. I surf the internet. Especially since my parents have no TV, and my mom has so many books. Inevitably, I would revert to my old ways and stay up till 2 or 3am all caught up in the story. I need my beauty sleep, y'all!

I'm sitting in my pjs on my mom's guest bed in Philly. Mom and Dad have no internet service. The best they had to offer was a phone line. Through the miracle of technology, I added internet service to my blackberry, and am now surfing the net (at a surprisingly RAPID pace) by tethering my laptop to my blackberry. Yes, I could simply surf the web on my phone, but the screen is really small, so I tether. I love modern technology.

I am so blessed to be here. Blessed to have been able to attend service at Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia last night. Blessed to be spending Christmas with Cliff, Ellyna, and Sophia, along with Ellyna's family. Blessed to be God's precious child. Blessed to know He has a plan, and I just need to be available to Him. Blessed to be saved out of my sin and depravity into the glorious light of His Gospel. Blessed to know Him, trust Him, and claim Him as my own.

My Christmas present to you: Mercy Me: Emmanuel

I hope you are equally blessed this Christmas!

(((HUGS)))
G

Sunday, December 20, 2009

stats stink sunday

here goes:

1. Favorite Christmas Carol: O Holy Night. Favorite arrangement of this song: Chris Tomlin, Glory in Highest.

2. School is done. Got an A in my lit class. Really enjoyed the course. Signed up for 3 classes next semester. Let the insanity begin.

3. Major product rollouts at work this week. For the most part, things went smoothly. I put in a lot of OT, and I was pretty burnt out by Wednesday.

4. My response to burn out is to shut myself in my room and watch pointless boring movies all night.

5. Going home on Christmas Eve. Can't wait to see my family again. Can't wait for them to see me. I am back to graduation weight (highschool). Haven't been this thin in 12 years.

6. Thanks to a roommate selling Mary Kay, I cannot leave the house without makeup and retain my self-respect. I used to be soooo low maintenance. :(

7. Still on a brownie kick. When I am craving chocolate, it's always brownies, and nothing else will satisfy.

8. My favorite verse of the week (and pretty much always) is Zephaniah 3:17.
"For the LORD your God has arrived to live among you. He is a mighty savior. He will rejoice over you with great gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will exult over you by singing a happy song."
What a beautiful picture of His love for us!


Until next time,
(((((HUGS)))))
G

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Unspeakable Joy... Probably longest post ever

I'm sitting here in my candlelit bedroom listening to Chris Tomlin on iTunes...If you haven't gotten it, I strongly recommend his Glory in The Highest Christmas album. I love his new version of Joy to the World. Maybe its because I've been through so much heartache recently, and now I'm coming out of that heartbreak into a brand new me, and that chorus just expresses it so clearly.

I was pretty shocked when God called me out of First Baptist Lutz. Shocked, heartbroken and just plain flummoxed. I thought that the stability of that church was exactly what I needed, so I didn't understand His plan in having me leave. Here's the sequence of events:
  1. I cleared my schedule to spend as much time as possible with the youth, but I wasn't seeing clearly where I was supposed to be there.
  2. I started looking for a place to live in Lutz, but wasn't feeling it. Something just kept holding me back from committing to an apartment.
  3. I began to clearly see that as much as I loved the youth, I wasn't supposed to be there.
  4. I was told on no uncertain terms to get into Divorce Care. It was the one thing I had been avoiding since Chris left. I don't know why. Possibly because I didn't even want to acknowledge that I was divorced.
  5. Being told I had to go to Divorce Care quite frankly ticked me off. But I respected the person who told me that enough to stop and examine it. I started looking for recovery classes in the area. I was supposed to be in class at USF on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and church Wednesday nights, which left Mondays. I'm not good when I'm running every night. Not having down time stresses me out beyond belief. I fasted and prayed that Saturday. I found a Tuesday Night recovery class at The Crossings. "God," I said, "If I'm supposed to attend THIS divorce care, let me find an online class at USF that I need to take." I found the last seat in an exit course.
  6. That night I texted a friend of mine because I wanted to talk. She was on her way out the door to attend her church. I decided to meet her there.
  7. The pastor changed the sermon. I knew I was in trouble. At first I was thinking about how awesome his vision was, and what a great church. Then I heard these words, like a lightening bolt: "I have this press for PRAYER, and I'm taking YOU ALL WITH ME!!" The one thing I KNOW I've been called to is Prayer. I thought "O NO! But God, if you move me away from Lutz, I'll feel like I'm in exile!" Just then the pastor read Jeremiah 24:6. He said "I will bring you back from exile and your fruit will be TWICE as sweet!" I turned to my friend. "Do you still need a roommate?" I asked. She'd only been asking me to move in for six months. She grabs her journal and shows me where she wrote Psalm 118. Next to it she wrote "NO FEAR". Just then the Pastor reads it over the pulpit. I'm not sure how God could have been any clearer.
  8. I moved in on 10/31/2009. On November 1 I open Oswald Chamber's My Utmost for His Highest and read this:
There is no such thing as a private life -- "a world within a the world" -- for a man or a woman who is brought into fellowship with Jesus Christ's sufferings. God breaks up the private life of His saints, and makes it a thoroughfare for the world on the one hand and for Himself on the other. No human being can stand that unless he is identified with Jesus Christ. We are not sanctified for ourselves, we are called into the fellowship of the gospel, and things happen which have nothing to do with us, God is getting us into fellowship with Himself. Let Him have His way; if you do not, instead of being of the slightest use to God in His Redemptive work in the world, you will be a hindrance and a clog.

The first thing God does with us is to get us based on rugged Reality until we do not care what becomes of us individually as long as He gets His way for the purpose of His Redemption. Why shouldn't we go through heartbreaks? Through those doorways God is opening up ways of fellowship with His Son. Most of us fall and collapse at the first grip of pain; we sit down on the threshold of God's purpose and die away of self-pity, and all so-called Christian sympathy will aid us to our death bed. But God will not. He comes with the grip of the pierced hand of His Son, and says -- "Enter into fellowship with Me; arise and shine." If through a broken heart God can bring His purposes to pass in the world, than thank Him for breaking your heart.

Thank you for breaking my heart, Abba Father. I trust you with my past, present and future. My life is yours. Take it, and do what you will. Your dreams for me are so much better than mine for myself.

Moving was the right decision. I love my home, my church, my new friends and my old friends. I am exactly where I'm supposed to be, doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing. That gives me unspeakable joy!


Next post: Lifegroups


(((((HUGS)))))

G

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Faith of Tim Tebow...

This was forwarded to me via email. I have no way of verifying every fact, and I do not know exactly where it originated from, but I think there are some important truths in what is said here. So without permission or acknowledgement, here is : The Gospel on Offense - The Faith of Tim Tebow

by Mark Earley

America's largest church has a capacity to hold 16,000. But while Tim Tebow may not be a preacher, when he runs into the University of Florida's football Stadium - affectionately known as "The Swamp" - his congregation numbers just over 90,000. And you can bet they're hearing Tim's message.

It's not just that this University of Florida quarterback wears Bible verses etched into his “eye-black” on game days. Tim Tebow hasbeen making headlines for more than simply his Heisman Trophy win as a sophomore and his two national championships. This summer the New York Times, GQ, and Sports Illustrated, all covered the quarterback's strong Christian faith.

Last year, when the Florida Gators won the national championship, the pre-game show followed Tim into a local Florida prison where he can regularly be found sharing his testimony and preaching the Gospel. And this top-notch athlete, who spends his spring breaks and summers ministering to orphans in the Philippines has actually helped change the culture of the University of Florida . According to Sports Illustrated, "Since Tebow's arrival on campus, and in large part because of him, the University has launched a series of community-service initiatives." Even coach Urban Meyer has taken his family on a "Tebow-inspired mission trip to the Dominican Republic ."

The press seems to be fascinated with outspoken Christian quarterbacks like Tim Tebow; Sam Bradford, the 2008 Heisman winner; and now USC's Matt Barkley. Only a few decades ago, it would have been taken for granted that these would be the kinds of fellows any father would want his daughter to marry. Now they are put under the microscope as some kind of curious anomaly-well-known athletes who actually exhibit character.

In our doped-up, mug-shot celebrity culture, sadly these young men do look a little out of step. And that's to our culture's shame. Perhaps that is why last year when the press asked Tim Tebow a rather impertinent question - they were more embarrassed by the response than he was. It was at a Southeastern Conference news media event where one reporter asked in front of the crowded room, "Are you a virgin?" Tim answered with an unequivocal yes and had yet another platform to explain how his faith impacts every area of his life.

That platform for sharing the Gospel is exactly what Tim's parents prayed for before he was born. Tim's father, Bob, a missionary in the Philippines, had been weeping over the millions of babies aborted in America. It was then that he prayed, "God, if you give me a son, if you give me Timmy, I'll raise him to be a preacher." Soon after, when Pam Tebow learned she was expecting, the parents' faith was put to the test. After a series of grave complications, doctors encouraged them to abort the child. They refused. Born small and weak, Timmy struggled from the beginning. But his dad continued to tell him, "God's got a purpose for you, and at some point, He's going to call you to preach."

Dad was right. God's message would come through the roar of the crowd, beamed to millions via satellite. But little did they know, Tim would don a jersey, not robes, and use a stadium for his pulpit. Tim's a great example of an opportunity every believer has - to put our faith to work on the field of play where God has gifted us and called us.

"Right is right, even if everyone is against it, and wrong is wrong, even if everyone is for it." William Penn

If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all. Isaiah 7:9 NIV

Sunday, November 29, 2009

stats really do stink on sunday. and other random stuff

1. I had an awesome, relaxing, and completely fun filled Thanksgiving.

2. Going with the flow and being flexible is much more enjoyable then setting a rigid schedule and demanding that other people stick to it.

3. Had breakfast with my bff from Virginia on Saturday. One of the highlights of my week.

4. Dipping my big toe back into the dating pool. Surprisingly enough, not as weird as I feared it would be.

5. Christmas is - and has always been - my favorite holiday. I'm going back to Philly again this year. Can't wait. I even have a new winter coat for which I didn't have to fork over an arm and a leg. (Go Kohl's BF sale!)

6. Hopefully I now have an adequate wardrobe. I think I've replaced it 4 times in the past year. Last thing on the list: boots. Next stop: Payless.

Have a blessed week. (((HUGS)))

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving...

To my hordes of followers:

I hope your Thanksgiving is full of blessing and hope. Mine is.

I'm thankful that I'll have a house full of friends. Its the closest thing to a re-creation of my family holiday experience since I married Chris.

I'm thankful that in about two weeks I will have another semester behind me. One class closer to graduation.

I'm thankful that God cares so much about me that He will not let me stagnate, even though it hurts to move.

I'm thankful that I received a direct answer to prayer and have the open door to go to South Africa next year.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

stats stink sunday

Yeah, the weeks go by soooo fast.

1. Sad I couldn't go to the FBL Church Picnic. Miss my peeps there.
2. On Saturday, I got my haircut, went clothes shopping, car maintenance, and more shopping...then the Divorce Care group had a special session called Surviving the Holidays. So it was a busy, full day and I was exhausted at the end of it.
3. I am writing this to put off actually writing my six page Lit paper, due Wednesday.
4. The sky is black. Has been for a while. Rain already. Sheesh.
5. I have the house to myself this week. Kinda weirdly quiet.
6. I need a new dictionary. The one I have doesn't list the word "bricolage". Don't ask me what it means: I don't know -- it's like my dictionary WANTS me to be illiterate.
7. I am going to South Africa next fall. It's all a God thing. He's awesome.
8. Looking for cheap airfare to go home for Christmas, and yes, I HAVE checked whatever website you're going to suggest.
9. I keep intending on writing a post on something spiritually significant from the beginning of the month, but with school and work and other stuff overshadowing, I haven't put the time in that it deserves. Maybe on Thanksgiving.
10. David Crowder was over the top awesome. Had a great time. :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thats What Faith Can Do: Postive Post Tuesday

This is a new song by Kutless. I love it. The words hit me so strongly tonight after leaving my Divorce Care group. The first verse just stood out: Gotta find the strength to rise from the ashes and make a new beginning..But you are stronger, stronger than you know...

I AM stronger. I am strong because I trust God for everything. I am strong because God has proven Himself trustworthy. I have some exciting things going on in my life. I can't wait to blog about it. Truly, out of the ashes, a new life is emerging.

Today is postive post tuesday. Enjoy it.




What Faith Can Do Lyrics

Everybody falls sometimes
Gotta find the strength to rise
From the ashes and make a new beginning
Anyone can feel the ache
You think it’s more than you can take
But you are stronger, stronger than you know
Don’t you give up now
The sun will soon be shining
You gotta face the clouds
To find the silver lining

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do

It doesn’t matter what you’ve heard
Impossible is not a word
It’s just a reason for someone not to try
Everybody’s scared to death
When they decide to take that step
Out on the water
It’ll be alright
Life is so much more
Than what your eyes are seeing
You will find your way
If you keep believing

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do

Overcome the odds
You don't have a chance
(That’s what faith can do)
When the world says you can’t
It’ll tell you that you can!

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do
That's what faith can do!
Even if you fall sometimes
You will have the strength to rise

Sunday, November 8, 2009

to write love on her arms...

got invited to this by a friend on facebook.

this story is beautifully written, and will move you to tears.

http://www.twloha.com/index.php

Thursday, November 5, 2009

the one after the move...

this is just a quick update to say i'm safely moved in over in riverview. i'm very happy with the decision. we're still working out finer details but everything's awesome.

my life is a three ring cirus: work, school, church. when i'm not at one, i'm at the other. i haven't been home much, but when i have been home, posting here has been pretty low on the priority list.

that being said, some major God stuff has happened in the last week or so. my next post is going to be long, i'm sure, so be prepared. :) i'll probably post sunday, since that is shaping up to be the day when i veg out at home doing homework and other important stuff...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

moving stinks -- sort of

so i'm moving next week. this is a fast update:

Yesterday morning I packed my books (thanks Nicole for the smaller boxes), called the Salvation Army to arrange pickup for the furniture I am donating, and dropped off a box of smaller items at the Goodwill. I have been anxious for the last two months to clear out as much as possible as soon as possible so I will know what size storage unit to get for the stuff I cannot take with me.

I loaded more stuff for the yard sale into my car and hauled them over to Tonya's garage. I then spent the next 5 hours putting together the furniture that was delivered from Ikea. I finished the bed, desk and chair, and most of the dresser. I am still putting together the dresser drawers. YES AS A MATTER OF FACT I AM SORE AS ALL GET OUT. Thanks for asking.

Today I worked on my second essay for my midterm. It's finished except for the citations page. I have to format and cite my first essay as well. I also have approximately 100 pages to read, and a brilliant discussion post to write based on that reading. So no, I don't have to time to stop and play with you. Have fun at the park, movies, pool party, whatever it is you are doing. I will see you next week after I'm all settled in.

As a reward to all this hard work, I will be at Busch Gardens on Monday, November 2nd if you want to join me. I will be riding the outside seat on the front row of Sheik-Ra, barefoot just to terrify myself. Dare you to join me.

UPDATE: Midterm is finished and emailed. Life is good right about now. Except I'm still sore. And still have 40 scholarly pages to read. And a brilliant post to write. Carp. Talk to you next week.

UPDATE #2: Its Monday night. Today was like a day from the area of fire and brimstone. That being said, the not-so- brilliant post is completed and published. I'm wiped. My brain hurtz, but surprisingly enough, my muscles don't anymore. I totally deserve a trip to Busch Gardens. Still haven't found anyone willing to play hookey with me next week. Cowards.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Lesson from the little....

Since I am moving in two weeks, I have had to go carefully through my belongings and decide what is worthy of keeping, storing, and what should be sold or donated. I cannot fit everything I own into one bedroom. While lots of stuff has been a "no brainer", there have been moments where this has become emotionally taxing. I keep going because I keep having this press from God to simplify my life as much as possible. I don't know why, but I think it will be awesome.

During this time I looked at my jewelry box and realized I would have no room for it. That didn't bother me one bit, since it never was on my list of favorite things. I knew I could let it go easily, so I put it in the box for yard sale. I then thought of my friend Danny, and his adorable 8 year old daughter. So I asked Danny if Emily had a jewelry box. He said, "No, but she thinks she needs one." I gave it to him for her.

The next day, I looked expectantly at Danny. Emily is the type of child who goes into raptures over presents. "Her mother wouldn't let me give Emily the jewelry box yesterday," he said. "She was naughty and is being punished." This went on for a couple more days. I thought it was kind of funny, and remembered how I was sassy to my mother at that age too. Danny said his closet shelf is collecting things for Emily that they cannot give to her because she is being so willful. And then the profound truth hit me: How often does God want to give us lovely blessings but cannot because we are too willful? God has called us to obedience, pure and simple. He tells us that He loves us as a father loves his children. Do you hear Him calling your name? Come into obedience with the One who loves you more than you can ever love yourself. Let Him give you the lovely gifts on His closet shelf.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

stats stink sunday

Diving right in...

  1. Weekend was busy. I should have planned better. Saturday I got a haircut, which made me feel good. :) Problem is, it spoiled all other plans that had anything doing with the upcoming move.
  2. Saturday night, the "Follow Me" concert was awesome!! It was so cool seeing Brandon Heath and Leeland up close and personal like that. Francesca Batistelli was awesome too. :)
  3. This morning was church, followed by lunch at the church, followed by a trip to Lowe's for paint and supplies, followed by dropping that stuff at Tonya's, followed by a trip to Ikea.
  4. Ikea was exhausting. I went up to the showroom to get the bin number for the dresser since I decided to get the white instead of the blue one. The I went up to the delivery service desk and found out that yes, I had to pull the stock myself. So I took my paper and went to the floor and pulled the stock. I was about to pull the bed when I realized that I wanted a different bed, and didn't have the stock number. The aisle was crammed with people and carts, so I gave up, and headed for checkout. After checkout, back to the delivery desk, where I found out to my dismay that I DIDN'T need 3 weeks leeway on delivery, and if they hold anything over 3 days, I would need to pay $5 a day for "storage" fees. Let me say, there was a guy who helped me find the right bin number, another guy who pulled the stock out for me, I arranged delivery for Wednesday night, and I was on my way not too long after that. But I was beat. The stuff was heavy, and pushing it around the floor on a cart was quite an exercise. I came home and I want to crash. Only problem with that? I have a midterm Thursday night...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Its a week later and my bum still itches...

Last week I went to First Baptist Lutz for Judgement House. If you know what Judgement House is, skip to the next paragraph. Judgement House, for the uninitiated, is an huge production (like a play) set up in a church. Instead of sitting passively in your seats and watching a play on stage, you walk from room to room where the "scenes" are set up. It's a guided tour, and usually goes in groups of 10 or so people. Because you are walking and the actors are staying in each room, there are ways to identify the different characters as you go through. The Gospel is always presented, and you end with a glimpse of hell and a glimpse of heaven. It's very cool.

So I hooked up with my friend, Danyelle, and we were hanging out at the church prior to Judgement House. Since she teaches 3 and 4 year olds, she wanted to go early and get some things in order in her kids room before the production started. The building was locked and we had to wait for someone with a key. We sat on the little curb outside the church.

Now, those of you who live in Florida know what fireants look like, what their bite feels like, and will pretty much do anything to avoid those horrors. FBL has lots of fireants roaming the grounds. My first indication that something was wrong happened when I felt a tickle at the waistline of my jeans. I reached around and rubbed a little. Next thing I know, I feel a bite right around my tailbone. I jump up, slapping at the back of my jeans a little.

Danyelle wasn't paying much attention to me. I still felt like I could feel the darn ant crawling around. I wriggle accordingly. All the sudden she looks at me and was says something like, whats UP with YOU?? I give her a LOOK and go, I think I have ants in my pants. She laughed hysterically. Told me if that happened to her, she would hide behind the truck and strip off her jeans.

Finally I saw someone pull up and unlock the youth building, so I headed over there to visit the ladies room and check the damage. Yup, I had not one, but TWO fireant bites on my bum. Fortunately, I had benedryl cream with me. Unfortunately, its a week later, and my bum still itches -- although that might just be my imagination.

Judgement House was totally awesome. I was proud of the kids, sad cause I miss hanging with them, and excited for what God is doing in that church.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Advice for all single women....

My very dear friend Evetta sent this to me in an email last year. I published this as a note on my old Facebook account, but I think it bears dusting off and republishing...

Words from Pastor Jamal Harrison-Bryant:
I often warn women who are contemplating marriage to marry someone who can take care of them. When a woman marries, it ought to be to someone who is capable of taking her to the next level. If she comes from poverty, there is no reason for her to get married and still be impoverished. The role of the man is to take her to another place. When she gets married, she ought to dress better, drive better, live better, and eat better, not constantly be in a struggle over where her next meal is coming from. My grandmother used to say, 'I can do bad all by myself'

For a woman desiring a mate, the objective, of course, would be to find a Christian man, who's settled, has goals, accomplishments and a job. But a goal-oriented and focused man can't just be approached any kind of way. So the woman who seeks this type of stability must make sure that she stands out above the crowd:
1. Make sure your relationship with the Lord is strong and growing.
2. Make sure that you are presentable. Working from the inside out, your presentation should be representative of both who you are and whom you seek. Appearance is a reflection of how you see yourself.
3. Have the ability to hold an intelligent conversation.
4. And most importantly, allow the Holy Ghost to take control. You don't need to go after him. He's going to come after you, because after he sees and smells you and knows that you're in his presence, he's going to want to know who you are!
I know there's somebody reading this who has been chasing after the 'man of your dreams,' but God says, 'Just sit still and allow patience to have her perfect work through Me. ' Furthermore, it's never a good idea to be too forward and too aggressive. Attempting to win a man's affection by jumping into bed with him will only backfire and cause him to lose interest in ever developing a lasting relationship.
It causes him to lose respect for you and question your character. However, if he sees that you are dressed with quality, that you smell like you are somebody, that you look like you're doing fine without him, then that will attract the right attention from him. He'll have no choice but to give you his attention. Stop looking so needy, climbing into bed, trying in vain to capture a man's heart.

God woke me up in the middle of the night and said, 'The same thing that Naomi told Ruth to do is the same thing that I want them to do for me.' God is so sick of saints coming to Him trying to get a quickie and never romancing Him for Who he is - going to church screaming, shouting and hollering, but hadn't been intimate with God all week long! Stop trying to treat God like a sugar daddy and start romancing Him with worship and praise: 'I'm yours Lord...everything I've got...everything I'm not!'

The God we serve, which is the God of love, demands and requires of us foreplay before He gives us what we need. In the book of Ruth, the mother-in-law tells Ruth, 'You have to wash.' John 15:3 reminds us, Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. When you sit in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, you are taking a shower. When you hear the unadulterated Word of God, then the dirt and grime that you've accumulated all week long begins to wash off of you. Ask God to 'create in you a clean heart and renew a right spirit.' Stand in the word. Then wait upon the Lord to renew your strength. Pass this on to those who have found or are seeking Mr. Right. This message is not directed at the receiver, it is directed to women I know that touch other young women that can benefit from this information. We are to be Naomi's of the world today.
Our young women need to be informed of how to catch and keep a man that will respect them.

P. S. Pass this on to every woman you know!

If he can't meet you where you are....leave him where he's at!

Monday, September 28, 2009

God's weird sense of humor....

Evidently putting a status on Facebook like: "I'm moving to Riverview. God has a weird sense of humor..." starts controversy. Somewhere, someone believes that using the name of God and the word "weird" in the same sentence, is the height of blasphemy.

Here is the argument (last names blocked out for privacy purposes, of course):



So my question is: Do you think God's will involve humor or not? Leave me comments. :)

(((HUGS)))
G

PS. Don't call me Gill. I hate it.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Stats Stink Sunday...

Seriously, if you don't know the drill, dive into my archives...

1. Still on the emotional rollercoaster. Only thing I can say is I'm taking this one moment at a time. Right now I'm great, but an hour from now, maybe not. So just taking it moment by moment and looking to God, my creator, to help me sort it all out. At this point there are a very large number of things going on that make me feel like I'm getting hit on all sides. I am leaning heavily on the Word and on God's truth. Otherwise, I'd be writing this from a mental institution.

2. On Tuesday, out of crippling depression, came a "modern" story that I needed to write for my lit class. It is one of the best things I have ever written. I wonder if I need to trade in my happy self for some real writing talent. I think I'd rather be happy. There was nothing really encouraging about the story I wrote. (and because of that, no, I WON'T be publishing it here...)

3. My apartment is a mess of empty boxes and stuff sitting in stacks all over. I can't wait to move already. Could have something to do with all the mood swings -- I prefer stability, and right now I feel pretty unstable.

4. Since I have always eaten emotionally, I am speculating that a lot of the depression and mood swings is also coming out of the weight loss. As the layers of fat are coming off, so are the emotions they used to suppress... I really need to start working out again. It will get the endorphins going.

5. God is good, all the time. I posted yesterday about struggling with bitterness. I went to church last night and the pastor was talking about reaping what you sow. I realize that I am an overcomer in Christ, and what I am currently sowing in my walk with God will yield good harvest 10 years from now. If I continue to sow seeds of bitterness and hatred, I will reap a sour harvest at some point in the future. God will not let us wallow in sin and self indulgence. He will intervene for the good of His children. He sent me Ephesians 4:31-32 to highlight an area I need to work on. As I turn this over to Him daily, I can recognize the lies of the enemy much faster, and remove the bad seed.

6. I am totally procrastinating my homework, so I'm closing this NOW. :0) Stay tuned for more "deep thoughts" (not really) later in the week.

(((HUGS)))
G

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Bitterness...

Ok, I'll admit it. Its the area I need to turn over to God. I'm working on it. Ephesians says:

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:31-32


I don't have a problem being tenderhearted. I am that way with my worst enemy. I can't stand to see anyone in pain. But it doesn't stop me from being bitter, hurt and angry when I feel betrayed. I know that God works all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose, so I know that God is working through people to hone me into the woman He wants me to be.

The problem is I have imaginary arguments with these people in my head. Sometimes I am cutting them down with cold hard logic, sometimes I am screaming angrily, berating them and killing them with words. In my head, the people who have "done me wrong" not only hurt me directly, but my lively imagination leads me to believe they are in collusion with others. In my imagination, they have conversations with others where I am the topic of derision. This is a lie of Satan, but it breeds bitterness, hurt and anger.

Some days are better than others. I see these people the way God sees them: as people who are also hurting. But some days the hurt and pain take over and its all I can do to get out of bed. I have a tremendous amount of pride, and I would never want someone to know just how badly I've been hurt by something they said or did. All I can say is God is working on me. I can only continuously turn this over to Him.

Last night in my lifegroup someone made the comment "You never know what is going on in someone's head. They can be all smiles and happiness on the outside, and inside they are a bundle of pain." My head snapped up and I thought, "Man, you just said a MOUTHFUL!"

So when someone does something to you, talks about you, slanders you, or is just plain rude and hurtful, remember my friend Josie's favorite saying: "Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle." Turn it over to God. Remember Ephesians 4:31-32. More than that, remember Jesus went through all of this too.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Stats Stink Sunday...

Yah, still the same drill:

1. In the middle of reading Virginia Woolf's Jacob's Room. Very confusing. Reminds me of those pictograms my Dad used to go ape over...You know, the ones where you see these bright, geometrical designs, but a picture is hidden in the background and you have to unfocus your eyes to actually see it?

2. My sinuses are still draining. I'm ready for this to be OVER.

3. I finally hooked up my laptop to my new tv. Now I can use the tv as an external monitor. I can also use my laptop to play dvds on my tv. Hooray for modern technology. I can't believe I put up with that old tube tv for a whole year.

4. I found out that if I unplug the sound connector that hooks my laptop to the tv sound system, I can plug it into my ipod and play my ipod through my tv speakers. Awesome. Welcome to techonology 2009, Gillian.

5. I went to a partylight party Saturday night and won the door prize. Woohoo!! Since I never win ANYTHING, I was quite pleased. It is a silver lamp. Will look v nice in my new room. When I get to the new room, I'll post pics.

6. Went to Ikea today and am going to spring for a new bedframe, dresser, shelving units, desk and chair when I move in with Tonya. Just doing my part to contribute to economic recovery, y'all...

7. Sick of living in apartments. Looking forward to moving in with Tonya and living in a HOUSE!!!

God's Discipline...

Last Saturday was my first official weekend at the Crossings. I was feeling a little stabby and resentful about going, and was having a very passive-aggressive reaction. I told God, "Ok, I'll GO to services, and attend Divorce Care, but I'm NOT getting involved in any other way until after Divorce Care is over!!" Yeah, right.

Last weekend's service was all about getting involved in a "life group". Life groups are small groups that meet in someone's home once a week. The Crossing has hundreds to choose from, depending on the night you prefer meeting, and the area where you want to meet. Pastor Greg was talking about how you need the protection, challenge and accountability of strong fellowships, referencing Ecclesiastes 4:8-12 (among others).

They had a kiosk set up in the lobby with pamphlets for each life group. I grabbed a pamphlet for the only South Tampa meeting on a Friday night, and a few that are meeting down in Riverview. Since I'm not moving until the end of October, I was on the fence about where to go and what to do. On Sunday, I called the couple hosting the South Tampa life group, and had to leave a message. I called again Tuesday night, no answer. I was a little wary at this point, and wasn't sure what to do. Friday morning I finally got a call back: somehow she had missed my message from Sunday and had just listened to it that morning.

I went, and was overwhelmed by how God works in each and every one of our lives. The group varies in age and their stories are soooo powerful. I felt instantly at home with all of these people, and the sense of community is awesome. I can definitely see that I am going to be challenged to grow and develop in this church. God knows what He is doing: I am being ministered to in divorce care on Tuesday nights (and yes, I definitely need this -- I have no idea why I was in denial for so long), and I am going to be challenged to dig deeper into the Word on Friday nights and in Sunday services.

The church has a couple of really cool classes. One is for new believers, called The Journey, which teaches basic Bible facts, and gets them settled on a firm Biblical foundation. The other is for newcomers, called 26.2, which helps them uncover their spiritual gifts and meet the leaders of the different ministries so they can get plugged in to serve. The next 26.2 starts October 11, and I will be going.

I am blessed beyond measure, and I know that God's discipline is painful when it comes, but it is always for our GOOD. I am so excited about the future!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Blessed....

So its been a raw week...lots of ups and downs. It started last Wednesday when I woke up a 4am feeling like I had razor blades in my throat. Turns out it was a sinus infection. Caught it fairly early, so I should be in good shape for not missing work. Plus, found out the official weight loss is up to 72lbs. Not a bad day. I'm contagious, so I get to work from home on Wednesday.

Thursday I woke up feeling like I had been hit by a Mac truck. Called out sick. Slept most of the morning. I ended up going to class Thursday night, only because I was getting a little stir crazy in my apartment. I had a scheduled day off on Friday, so I slept in, took it easy.

Friday night and Saturday morning, FBL had a Women's Conference called: Women who Trust. It was awesome!! For me, it was confirmation that I heard God correctly when I heard Him tell me to change churches and move to Riverview. I am taking a leap of dangerous faith since I love living by myself, and would never have thought that being in a new church would be a good thing for me at this stage in my life.

Saturday night (still feeling pretty yukky) I went to The Crossing for service. Now, I'm a little stubborn, and rather passive-aggressive at times. When I knew God was calling me there, I got an attitude...I was thinking, "Okay, God, I'll go, cause you're telling me. I'll even be happy because I know it's Your will, but I'm NOT jumping right into ANYTHING. I'll get involved after my divorce care class is over." (That will be in December.) The message was all about getting involved in a LifeCare group. NOW. Oy vey, I give up. I'm not going to stubbornly ignore God THIS time -- Life's too painful when I do that.

Sunday I slept in for the first time in almost 5 years...it was lovely.

My emotions really are on a roller coaster at the moment. It's better now than it was a month ago, when I was wallowing in my funk. I think it'll be a couple of more weeks until they stabilize again. I've been badly hurt, and I need to take time to heal. (Divorce care says 1 year for every 4 years of marriage...) One thing I've learned: I can't rush the healing process. (Cue the music: Only LOVE can Break the HEART, only LOVE can MEND it agaaaiiinnnn.) I've been broken, and only God and His love can put me back together, and make me function better than before.

(((HUGS)))
G

Sunday, September 13, 2009

S.S.S.

1. So I was pretty sick this week. Disappointing, since I was off Monday and Friday, and I ended up working from home on Wednesday and calling out sick Thursday. I hate calling out sick. I wanted to go to work because I have some interesting projects going. I was off on Friday anyway, but I spent the majority of the day battling my sinuses.

2. Friday was the 8th anniversary of the infamous 9-11 terrorist attack on the United States. This attack affected our entire country, destroyed our sense of safety, and has forever changed our definition of homeland security.

3. Football started Thursday night. I realized I still love the game, still miss Philly and its CRAZY fans, miss having someone to watch it with me.

4. Was at Westshore Pizza yesterday picking up a slice when a guy walks in with a black shirt printed with a Flyers logo (in black and grey) and a clover in the center. My face lit up and I think I said, FLYERS!! He laughed and said something about an "irish team". I left with my slice, and a longing for the crisp, cool, northern autumn air and all it portends in the sports world.

5. My life took a very drastic turn in the past couple of weeks. I had plans at the beginning of summer -- plans I believed that God was revealing slowly but surely. I have prayed all summer over where to live, how to proceed in ministry and what God wants for me, and from me. Turns out the plan changed. I am moving to Riverview, which is probably a 50 minute drive from Lutz, and I am now in a new church (The Crossing). It is AWESOME, and exactly what I need right now. I will miss my FBCL family, but I have some growing and stretching to do. It's not going to be easy -- I suspect there will be some extremely painful moments -- but I know that God has only the best for me, and I trust Him.

Friday, September 11, 2009

We will never forget...9-11

Many other people will be posting personal accounts, and poignant memories of where they were and how they were affected by the terrorist attacks on 9/11/01. I didn't lose any friends or coworkers that day, but here's some strong memories:

  1. The silence of the skies. There were no more airplanes flying overhead.
  2. The feeling of loneliness. I had just moved to Georgia, I had not made friends yet, had no family there, and Chris was in Connecticut unable to fly home. I wasn't used to being alone during a crisis.
  3. The surge of patriotism that followed. People had the Stars and Stripes flying from their cars, pinned to their clothing and hanging in every window. I remember longing to just take a road trip and photograph it all for posterity.
  4. The surge of revival. Churches got flooded. That tide seems to have ebbed as time and distance work their magic and have dulled our senses.
Where ever you are, whatever you do, always take a moment on 9/11 to stop and remember the lives lost, the hatred that spurred it, and the war that has followed. Never forget.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Microwaves and Cell phones only mix if you're three...

Text messages between me and my friend Sandi:

Sandi: My kids have never put pb sandwich in VCR or toys n toilet, but Hanna did cook Jesse's phone in microwave.

Me: OMG!! Is it totally fried??

Sandi: Yup! It smokes when you try 2 turn it on!
Sandi: Even the microwave is toast

Me: LOLOLOLOL!!!! Sorry. LOLOLOL!! You know I'm totally blogging this.

Sandi: What's a blog?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Stats Stink Sunday

Ok, if you don't know the rules by now, read my archive...I'm too lazy to say this each week...

Welcome to Stats Stink Sundays where everything is random because noone reads it anyways...Just put a bunch of random thoughts in bullet points and you're done.

  1. It was a busy, exhausting week. I was happy when the weekend arrived.
  2. I had to buy a new work wardrobe because I've shrunk out of all my work clothes.
  3. Happy Birthday to my friend Josie. Hope you enjoyed hanging at the Green Iggy. I surely did!
  4. Today drained me out emotionally. Although I know I'm not saying a permanent goodbye to my friends at First Baptist Lutz, I am greatly saddened not to be worshiping and serving alongside them each week.
  5. Looking forward to moving in with Tonya. My new neighbor has a pretty loud stereo at the moment. It will be nice to live in a house again after 7 years of apartment living.
  6. A couple of weeks ago I posted a status on Facebook that started a debate about God's humor and His will. Not really sure why I was accused of being irreverent when I said "God has a weird sense of humor." but there you have it. As I was writing a blog about the ridiculousness of the whole thing, one of the people involved contacted me. I am still not sure why she felt she had to "defend her God and His word" against such an attack. And why, for heaven's sake, she thought it WAS an attack is beyond me. I believe I really will write more on this later in the week. After my homework is completed, of course.
That's it for now. More to come.

(((HUGS)))
G

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

the highlight of my week...

well, there was more than one, so here goes...

Monday: Went out to Zephryhills Correctional Institute with the FBL choir and did our worship musical for the prisoners. They were awesome, and we had an absolute BLAST!! Best experience I've ever had participating as a worship leader.

Wednesday: The Bloggess finally published one of my questions. Just so you know, it was a joke (unless you actually ASK me about my ex -- then I'll get all stabby on you), and her response gave me the BEST belly laugh.

(((HUGS)))
G

Monday, August 31, 2009

SS Sundays....a day late....

Welcome to Stats Stink Sundays where everything is random because noone reads it anyways...Mine is a day late -- so sue me...

1. The Choir did a special worship service Friday night and 2x Sunday. It was AWESOME! Get to do it one more time tonight with the prison ministry.

2. Saturday night my church had a dinner for everyone who went to Tahlequah, OK for the building mission. Food was awesome. They announced they are expanding missions to overseas. I put in my bid for Africa. Just sayin'...

3. Women (and unavailable men) keep complimenting me on how great I look since I've lost all this weight. I joke around a go...yeah, when are the guys going to notice...but secretly I get all warm and fuzzy inside. One of my favorite women at church told me I looked "stunning" on Sat night. Noone has EVER said that to me. Thank you, Jenny. :)

4. I went shopping and spent a whopping amount of money on a new dress because I looked hot wearing it and because it is officially the SMALLEST size I've purchased in something like 14 years. I cried when I put it on and realized how perfectly it fit.
5. Went back to school Thursday night. Taking a lit class called Modern Short Novels. Love it, love the teacher, loved the material. Should be a good semester!!

6. I'm moving to Riverview, which will take me really far away from my current church. I have found another church, but I am going to miss FBL like crazy. Change is good, but I resist it strongly. I'm moving in with a friend of mine, and it will enable both of us to hit some significant financial goals over the next year or so. I'm excited, just sad to be leaving my church. They are like family to me, and have been soooo supportive over the past 5 years.

7. I have something going on every night this week. I think I will keep next weekend free of any plans. After this week things should settle down. Looking forward to it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

the promised weight loss blog...

A lot of people have approached me lately asking how I lost so much weight. Getting the total from the doctor last week was so cool! 64 lbs is a small child.

After my ex moved out, I knew I needed to take time for myself. I desperately needed emotional and mental healing. Living with an alcoholic for 11 years takes its toll on your psyche. I decided to join a Bible study called "Get Thin, Stay Thin". The premise of the study is that we all have a silent hunger that only God can fill, and we try to fill it with other things: Food, alcohol, drugs, shopping, smoking -- you name it. I recognized that in myself, and went to work on three things:
1. Eating only when I was truly hungry. Yes, this meant waiting until my stomach was absolutely growling before I would eat.
2. Stopping when I was comfortable. This meant eating slowly and paying attention to my body.
3. Turning to God and praying through the negative emotions so I would not stuff food in my mouth when I didn't need it.

There were some things that naturally happened as a result in the changes to my lifestyle. For instance: Every weekend we would hit a bar, pig out on fried foods, and drink. We also had deep fried take out at least once or twice during the week. After he left, I stopped doing that. Not that I avoided fried foods completely, but it was a once-in-a-while occurrence, rather than a daily thing. I cut alcohol out of my life completely (it has a high sugar content) which has been a huge help to the weight loss.

A lovely woman at church gave me a book called Fit for Life. I picked it up in January (I was approximately 40 lbs down at this point) and decided it was a bit extreme. I intended on trying it for a while and seeing how it went, but I always seemed too busy to follow the principles. One thing that did catch my eye, though, was the promise that it could alleviate allergy symptoms. On February 27, after being diagnosed with yet another sinus infection, I decided to go for it.

Primarily my diet is now fresh fruit and raw vegetables. I eat very little bread and meat, although pasta is still part of my daily diet (more for convenience than anything else). I have lost approximately 20 more pounds since switching, and I feel a LOT healthier. I have lots more energy.

I threw my bathroom scale in the dumpster when I moved out of my last apartment. I don't want to measure my success in terms of pounds, but am choosing instead to just, well, let it be. I feel good that I am losing weight, especially since I have dropped 5 clothing sizes since last summer. Ultimately, though, I feel a lot better about myself. The weight loss is just a by-product of that. I am in a "safe" environment now, and God is working wonders in my life.

Here are some more pics that represent the journey.


June 2008


January 2009

April 2009

July 2009
Now:

Sunday, August 16, 2009

SS Sundays....

It's stats stink Sunday. The idea is since stats stink for blogging on Sundays, just post a bunch of random thoughts in bullet points...Here's my week in reverse.

  • Set up my "new to me" flat screen hdtv. its SWEET! I've been living with a monolith (11 yr old tube tv) for a year, so purchased a used tv at a good price.
  • finally got home after a day of running. church, lunch, super walmart, etc...it was an emotional day, so i'm tired.
  • Saturday was a Women's prayer ministry meeting, hanging with Nana at micky d's while a friend changed the oil in my car, and church with cheryl and mike.
  • friday i left work, picked up my new to me tv, stopped for oil and a filter, stopped at cheryl and mikes and let the dogs out (woof woof), went to a friends house for game nite. Go word games!! I LOVE WINNING. (hehehe)
  • New tires on my car on thurs. Yay. Car rides much better.
  • Wednes I felt like I was in the middle of a perfect storm. So many things went wrong. Everything seems to have righted itself, thank God. I appreciate good friends who are willing to be a shoulder for me to cry on.
  • I am looking forward to a more integral role in youth ministry. More than anything I want to fulfill God's purpose in my life.
That's it for now. I'll post a more detailed weight loss blog tomorrow night. :)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Ninjas took my wallet...and other items I found this weekend

Friday night I was going out to The Garden for a 40th birthday party. In preparation, I emptied my license, ATM card, credit card, and miscellaneous health care cards out of my ginormous wallet into my tiny purse. I threw some makeup and my blackberry in the bag and took off for the Garden. It was an AWESOME time!!

Saturday, I got up and went to breakfast with Nana. I looked absolutely adorable (smaller clothes -- that's another blog) and I had everything I needed for the morning. When I got home, I changed for tailgating at the Rays game, and went for my wallet, but it was gone. Now, I have an extremely small apartment, and I was secure in the knowledge that I had that wallet in my hand, inside my apartment on Friday night. So I searched methodically, starting with my recliner, because I was pretty sure I put my lazy behind in my comfy recliner while I was going through my wallet. Nothing. Thirty minutes goes by, no wallet.

I texted my friends and let them know my predicament: my ticket to the Rays game was in that wallet. Otherwise, there was no reason I would bother to look for it, or miss it. I checked my car three times. I tilted my recliner up to see if it fell underneath. I searched my laptop bag, unzipping all the front pockets. Nothing. I felt sick. One of my friends texted me back that she had an extra ticket and was leaving for the game, so I jumped in my car and met her there.

I had a great time at the game. When I got home, I looked some more. No wallet. I could only conclude that either I was overlooking something obvious, or ninjas had broken into my apartment and taken my wallet, leaving my laptop, jewelry, and all of my outdated electronic equipment sitting there. They were SO good, they even LOCKED THE DOOR BEHIND THEM, Y'ALL!!

Today I got home from church, reached down next to the sofa and grabbed my laptop bag. It was heavier than it should be. Suspiciously I reached into the pocket that holds my laptop and pulled out the missing money holder. Amazingly enough, the NINJAS had broken back in and REPLACED it...they KNEW I was on to them...

Also recovered today: my missing sleeping bag and tools from my trip to Tahlequah. The story is this as follows:
While in Tahlequah, I gave my sleeping bag and tools to Sam to put in the church van on the return trip so I would not need to carry them on the plane. When the church van returned a week later, Sam told me my stuff was probably in the Student Ministry building. I found Kyle, our youth pastor, and asked him if he had knew where the stuff was, and he denied all knowledge. Sam concluded that my tools and sleeping bag had gotten thrown into the church's trailer, which was now in its "garage". There isn't enough room in the garage to open the trailer, so I was going to have to wait until they pulled the trailer back out to get my stuff. No biggie -- just a minor inconvenience.

Imagine, then, my surprise today when Kyle pulls a box out of his office and announces an "Auction". There, on the top, I recognize my sleeping bag. Sure enough, it was in a box in his office for the last three weeks. The part that remains unclear is who had it from the time it disappeared out of the church van, until the time it appeared in Kyle's office. Since he is the Absent Minded Pastor (or really busy -- depends on who you believe), he left it there until it started bugging him. Thank God he didn't pull that box out last week when I was busy singing with the choir in both services, and wouldn't have been there to lay claim to my stuff.

So there you have it. Ninjas broke into my apartment TWICE, and they ALSO broke into our Youth building. Go figure.

SS Sundays....

So, it seems like the only posts I do anymore are the bulleted SSS posts...

Busy weekend.

1. Friday night was a birthday party at The Garden in St. Pete. Live jazz, good food, lots of fun.
2. Saturday morning was breakfast with "Nana", looking at apartments, and then the Rays game. Same people who were at The Garden were at the Rays. Some interesting, and enlightening conversations took place. I am still considering whether or not to blog them, and how to do it.
3. Sunday I was up early to prayer walk at the church, stayed after to help one of my kids from youth group babysit while her mom sat through a financial peace class. Then took a tour of a brand new construction site and decided that's where I want to live. A little pricey, but it will be worth it. Florida is so hot, and I felt so sticky and nasty that when I got home into the air conditioning, I decided to stay put.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

SSS and random stuff

Wow. I can't believe it's been almost a month since I last wrote anything. Life is so busy!!

Since this is Stats Stink Sunday, here's the last 4 weeks in bullet points.

1. Left for Tahlequah, OK on June 13th. Went with a huge group of people from my church and we were building a new sanctuary for First Indian Baptist Church. We took a cement slab with nothing and erected walls, put on a roof, ran electric & ac, put on siding and insulation, and installed a Baptistery. I got mortally wounded, but more on that with another post. LOL

2. Because of the mortal wound mentioned above, and because I've been unaccountably exhausted since returning from OK, I haven't been working out in the mornings since I got back. I'm looking forward to returning to the routine.

3. I may have been unaccountably exhausted because I loved being in Tahlequah so much that I wanted to stay for the second week. They put in drywall and painted some rooms in the existing buildings. I think I was kinda depressed that I had to come home.

4. At work, we attempted to close out the books on June 30th but it didn't go well. Let's just say we had load bearing issues on servers while trying to accommodate 30k people submitting final time and expense for the fiscal year and it didn't go well. We extended the deadline by 1 day. It was unprecedented and exhausting.

5. I'm having one of those years when all of my friends are pregnant. I'm genuinely happy for all of them (there's at least 5 here in my home city). Seriously. I love the idea of being able to spoil their kids and give them back. :D

6. Decided I'm still not ready to plunge into the dating scene. I don't know if I'm just being cowardly, or if I'm being smart and giving myself time. There were a few weeks when I really, really, really wanted to jump back into the pool (so to speak), but that seems to have faded and I'm once more focused on the goals I need to accomplish over the next 18 months.

7. I wonder if I can pre-qual for a mortgage? I think I'll call a broker this week...

8. Next up: Daytona with the Highschoolers on July 13th...

((((HUGS)))) G

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Gearing up for Oklahoma...

So I was planning on writing a lengthy blog on Monday night, but I got all caught up in sending a lengthy email to a friend instead. To my friend: I apologize, I know you're busy, and probably had time to do more than skim. Next time I'll do better, and blog what should have been blogged. To everyone else: I'm leaving for Oklahoma at 3:15am Saturday. I suspect I will be very tired, but very happy to be disconnected from this monster called the internet. I need the break from work, and from myself. I have been living all wrapped up in my own head for too many weeks now. Next week is all about service: it's all about being "others" focused. I am soooo stoked to go!!

So I will see you all on the flip side, hopefully with some pics and tons of renewed positive energy.

:)

Meantime, don't forget to have a good night and a pleasant tomorrow! <3

Friday, June 5, 2009

Sick, and other random stuff

Yesterday I left work early because I was sick. I burned a fever that medicine would not reduce. I came home, took a nap, and wound up feeling LOTS better.

This morning I got up and had to evaluate: Am I still sick, or am I being lazy and not wanting to go to work? I opted to go, but was not my usual high-energy, chipper self. Around 11am I went into a meeting and sat for almost 15 minutes in total silence, unable to follow the conversation. I left at noon. I napped off and on all afternoon, and around 4:30 the stomach cramps hit. Let's just say, I'm glad I didn't stay at work.

Moving on:

I had a couple of awesome devotion experiences this week that I wanted to share.

1. REALLY Bad Girls of the Bible. I am reading this book by Liz Curtis Higgs. From the start she slayed me. The first chapter is about mediums, witchcraft and sorcery. Now, I have never practiced any of those things, and I certainly have never endorsed them....or have I?

From the time I was old enough to read, I read my horoscope. There it was, at the bottom of the comics page, and I read the comics every morning. So I would read my horoscope. What kind of day will I have today? This led to something a little less innocent.

After I graduated high school, I picked up a book about the zodiac. I never took it home from the library, but I did read enough to get some ideas. One of the things I picked up on was compatibility. The idea behind this is the love of your life is someone who has a zodiac sign compatible with yours. I remember asking my sister if my fiance and I were compatible. She said "Well, you are an earth sign, and he is a water sign, so together you make mud!" She was joking, but went on to say that the signs were actually compatible.

The fact that the marriage didn't last should be enough to show me that the zodiac is a bunch of hooey. Recently, though, I actually went out to one of the websites to see if my sign was compatible with someone else's sign. OUCH. Deuteronomy 18:10-11 says: Let no one be found among you who...practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.

Liz Curtis Higgs writes: "Horoscopes, palm readers, telephone psychics are worse than hoaxes or pleasant diversions -- they can cost us our souls"(33).

Make no mistake. This is a slippery slope. Consulting the zodiac for your future can lead to seeking more and more answers, and lead one deeper and deeper into the occult. The modern day mediums market their wares as spiritual, god-driven, and use terms like healing, empowering, respected, and wisdom.

Listen up: God is the judge here, and when He says He ABHORS something, we really need to sit up and pay attention. I wish I could wipe my mind clean of what I learned on that website, but I can't. So I ask God to forgive me, and I move forward knowing that He is going to provide me with the person who is perfect for me, and the zodiac can kiss my....well, you get the picture.

2. During my daily reading this week I came across this story of David at the end of his life. The scripture is 2 Samuel 21:15-22.
Israel is at war with the Phillistines (again), and David is again up against a giant. He is weak, frail, and about to be killed when one of his warriors rescues him and slays the giant. Verses 16 - 22 go on to tell us about 3 additional giants that were slain by 3 additional warriors. I started thinking: "What if David hadn't slain Goliath at age 17?" What if he had failed in his faith, and not won that awesome victory? Israel's history would have been much different, and 4 more giants from Gath would not have been taken down.

What giants have you slain in the name of Jesus? Are you sharing these victories with others? What if the reason you are going through a hard time is to give others the courage to get through their own personal Goliath?

3. Since I am reading the One Year Through the Bible, today's scripture was again about David. A little more puzzling to me, and actually gave me more questions than answers. The scripture reference is 2 Samuel 24. The gist of it is this:
a. God was angry at Israel.
b. God caused David to take a census, David tells Joab, and Joab protests, but obeys.
c. After the census, David's conscience begins to burn, and he asks God for forgiveness.
d. God gives three choices: 3 years or famine, 3 months of fleeing, OR 3 days of severe plague.
e. David throws himself on the mercy of God and allows Him to choose the punishment. It is the plague, and in 3 days 70,000 people are killed.

So my questions are: 1. Why was God angry? 2. Why did he "cause" David to sin, and then in turn punish Israel?

Thoughts on this are welcome...leave me a comment.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

My Cup Overfloweth

Last week I received a round trip ticket to fly to Philly and see my family. I went up this weekend, and got to spend some awesome time with my youngest niece, as well as other members of my family.

I have a fairly large family, and I try to get back whenever I can because we are all very bad at communicating, so sometimes the trips back are the only times I get to talk to my older siblings. It seems like every time we see each other we vow to keep in closer contact, only to not do it. This trip had so little advanced notice, and was so short, I decided to simply play the whole weekend by ear. As a result, I got to see 1 brother, 1 sister and 2 cousins.

1 brother: Cliff. He has a wife and baby. The baby will be 1 in two weeks. She is so adorable, and so much fun to be around. I fell in love with her over Christmas holidays, and she just continues to steal my heart every time I'm around her.

1 sister: Judy. She's the oldest girl, and went out of her way to make sure she stopped by to see me. I was thrilled to hang with her and her husband for a little bit. We hardly ever talk, but I think we should more often! :0)

Cousin 1: Michelle. I miss her. She's one of my closest friends, and has been since high school. At the moment, we are both single, so we spent some good 'girly' time talking about guys. :)

Cousin 2: Virginia. God knew she needed me this weekend. I love her dearly, and am closer to her than my sisters. She desperately needed encouragement, and God worked it out that we were able to spend time together -- away from our families -- and just chill out. I hope that I was the vessel God needed me to be today. I am sad that I don't live up there and can't help her in more practical ways but I am - no doubt about it - called to stay in Tampa.

Wednesday night a friend lent me a book called The Names of God to read on the plane. It was supposed to be The Screwtape Letters, but he needed that one, so he impulsively gave me The Names of God instead. I have heard quite a bit of the information in this book before, but it was good to have a refresher. I'm positive it was a God thing, because of the encouragement that book has given me. I am so peaceful right now, so secure in what God will do for me. I want to hold onto this feeling forever. My cup overfloweth.

Next up: Tomorrow night I am playing "photographer" for a wing eating competition. Wednesday night starts a new session for the choir. I think I'll keep my mouth shut this time around. Avoid that solo...

May the love of our Lord, Jesus Christ, consume your heart and make you whole.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Stats stink sunday...

Its been a weird couple of weeks....

1. Policy change in expenses at work have left us slammed with calls, resulting in a bit of OT (never a bad thing)...

2. I finished up the spring semester at school on April 29th, and started what felt like a whirlwind social life. This weekend is the first I've been primarily at home all month. I kinda like it.

3. Divorce was finalized on Thursday. I am just happy its behind us, and we can both move forward from here. I was pretty nervous to see him, but once I saw him I didn't really have any reaction other than relief that he showed up. Not that I thought he wouldn't, but still, he was coming to FL from NJ. It is a bit of a hike for for a 10 minute hearing.

4. So just for kicks, because of the ads for "free communication" I opened a profile on eHarmony. Found some interesting people. Not really positive that I'm ready. My ex left for NJ on 8/1 of last year, and I've been on my own, healing and moving forward since then. The thought of being back in the "dating pool" is a little terrifying. I feel kinda sorry for the first few guys I meet, 'cause I'll probably have a lot of dating gaffs while trying to figure out how much to reveal and how much to keep to myself when it comes to my last relationship. I guess if a guy can stomach those kinds of mistakes, he might be the kind of guy with whom I should be involved. hahaha. Meantime, my focus is FORWARD with these goals: finishing school, losing the excess weight, and becoming debt free.

5. I should really have led with this one, cause its GREAT, and I'm all about good stuff...but since there was some not so hot news earlier in the post, I can wrap up with something awesome. :)

Friday afternoon in our team chat my manager mentions he has credits for southwest airlines about to expire. He's willing to negotiate a reasonable price in exchange. I laughed and said I would love to use them, but the only "price" i could afford was free. Long story short, I'm flying home to see my folks this weekend. YAY!! The only thing my manager is asking me to do: Feed my teammates something homemade... I THINK I might be able to handle that...

Down side: I have an appointment for a haircut that will need to be juggled, I'll miss Lindsay's graduation :( and Ashlie's baby shower. :((. Other than that, it'll be good to see my parents again.

6. Up next: Oklahoma on June 13th. Can't wait, but I guess I must!

7. One of my fellow bloggers signs his posts: All the Love in the Universe, ME. I love that. I wish I had thought of it first. O well.

Have a FABULOUS week! :)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

help menus

Tonight I realized I'm not as tech savvy as I used to think. In fact, the longer I work in tech support, the more I realize how little I actually do know. Case and point:

1. Last week my neighbor, Amanda, was trying to show me some photos on her laptop. She was all freaked out because of virus warnings. She looked at me with her big brown eyes and said, "What should I do??!!!" I told her to run her antivirus scan. Advised her to keep her antivirus software current. Don't mess with viruses. Get whatever the latest greatest software is available to protect your computer. I know nothing about viruses, other than they are more often than not, very BAD news. I contracted the Facebook virus back when it was going around. That's when I realized I know nothing about viruses. Fortunately I work with some very talented people who do, but sadly my laptop still needed reimaged.

2. Due to MySpace I had some basic understanding of HTML. That is not to say I know anything about building web pages, because I don't. I learned that during my final project for my Advanced Tech Writing class. We had to put together a website and load sample pages onto it. I ended up paying for a host with a template so I wouldn't have to sit and figure it all out. One of my goals this summer is to learn the basics, so I can get my own site (gilliankilbride.com) up and running.

3. I deal with idiots on the phone all the time. People with CPA licenses asking me questions about why their corporate cards are not balancing. It blows my mind. What I have come to understand from these people is that an application is NOT "user friendly" if they have to read directions to understand how to use it. I'm actually ok with that. It gives tech support job security. So imagine my consternation when I had this thought cross my mind: "I can't understand why my iTunes won't play the whole dang playlist instead of just one song!! I've searched and searched for options but there aren't any! So much for Apple being user friendly!" DO'H!!!!

No, I never read the directions. Guess I should go now and read the help menu. Then I wouldn't be sitting here in silence trying to figure out what I want to blog about next.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The sobering, the good, the funny, and the down right hilarious...

The sobering:
I emptied my mailbox after ignoring it for over a week, which is kinda normal for me. I think my mailman hates me. Anyways, divorce court officially notified me that our final hearing is May 21st. I already knew that. Hubby texted me at work last Friday to tell me. What was sobering is they tell you how much time they set aside for the hearing. Ten minutes. Ten minutes to end 11 years of marriage. How bout that.

The good:
School semester is finally over. I didn't study all weekend even though my facebook friends were lied to misled about that on Sunday. I actually went through the four tests we took during the semester on Monday and Tuesday nights, looked over another on Wednesday during lunch, and then went and took the test. My grade on the final exam was a 90, which pulled my shaky overall "B" up onto more solid ground. You may wonder why this was so important. Here you go:
1. The CLAST exam -- Florida's way of wringing more money out of its adult students is to force them to take a College Level Academic Skills Test. There is a math and an english section. I was already exempt from the English section because of all my English courses that transferred in from Temple University. The Math section is another story. I had not fulfilled my liberal arts requirements in Math, so no exemption there. I have had a CLAST hold put on my registration every semester since I reenrolled in school. I even sat through the CLAST and missed passing by SEVEN lousy points...sheesh. To be exempt, you have to have a 2.5 or better in two math classes. Stats is listed as one of those classes. The letter grade "B" puts me in the category of 3.0, so yay to the "B".
2. Reimbursement -- Work will only reimburse the course if you receive a letter grade of "B" or better.
3. Pride -- Pure and simple, I really didn't want to fail at anything. I have been humbled though, because that grade was made possible only through prayer.

The Funny:
I met Heather and Shayne during my first semester back in school. We used to sit through the boring tech writing class and laugh constantly. Since then, Heather and I have taken every writing class together (5 total), and Shayne has been in a couple of our classes too.

Last night Heather and Shayne had a final in a literature class they were taking together, and I had my Stats final. We hooked up afterwards at my favorite TexMex place, Tia's and hung out for a bit. I had my camera, and we had a blast. Heather took six pictures of me and Shayne together, and not ONE turned out well...They made me laugh the whole night, and I realized that I really am so much happier than I was a year ago.

Anyways, eating after 8pm is normally a huge no-no for me, and I remembered why at 3:30 in the morning when mild indigestion woke me up. After 1/2 an hour of tossing and turning, I got up and did my daily devotion. This morning on facebook, my status read:
NOTE TO SELF: No texmex btwn 8-10pm. It causes indigestion at 3:30am. NOTE TO SELF #2: Buy alka seltzer.

I finished reading and praying by 6am, so I set my alarm to go off in an hour and dosed off. I think what followed was hilarious, but I am giddy from lack of sleep.

The hilarious:
During my dosing time between 6am and 7am, I dreamed that my ex moved into my dining room. All his stuff: Bed (queen sized) book shelves (he doesnt own more than a couple of books) and a couple of chairs. Mind you, I live in a one bedroom apartment with about 800 sq ft. My dining room wouldn't accomodate most table and chairs, let alone a full set of furniture.

I was worried (in my dream) that I had woken him up by getting up at 4:00 with indigestion. He assured me this was not the case. I asked him when he was leaving, and he indicated that he wasn't planning on it. I told him he had to be out by the end of May, and started pointing out all the stuff he had to take with him when he goes. I woke up when my neighbors pounded on the door to ask why I was screaming.

Anyways, thats a REALLY long post. All that to say I'm so blessed to have people in my life who care, who make me laugh out loud, and who smack me around when I'm being stupid. You know who you are, and I love you.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Spiritual Gifts

Last August I somehow became involved in the College Ministry. It's an interesting story of me drifting aimlessly into the youth leadership planning meeting and leaving with the vague idea that I would be co-leading the group. While things didn't exactly work out that way, and the Children's ministry pulled me away for a whole month, I am now spending my time with the college kids, building relationships.

One of the students, still a fairly new christian, wanted to investigate the subject of spiritual gifts, so the teacher collaborated with one of the pastors and we ended up with a packet of information to sift through, and some dvds to watch.

The booklets begin with 129 statements and a rating scale of 1-5. The instructions are to label each statement according to the rating scale: 1 is least like you and 5 is most. Through lots of complicated instructions and processes I won't detail here, you could easily see on a grid all of the spiritual gifts, and which one was strongest for you. Mine was encouragement. But I already knew that. I took a very similar test in Atlanta 7 years ago, and had the exact same gift. What did surprise me was the 2 runners up. In the prior test they were Hospitality and Service. This time it was Faith and Evangelism. I know my faith is very strong, and I know I have come a long way from my upbringing, but I had no idea I would score so highly in the evangelism category. I will address the reasons for surprise in a future blog.

Overall, although the test was helpful, it served only to confirm to me what the Holy Spirit was already working in me during the past six months. My gifts and personality traits (there was a personality test in the packet also) are uniquely suited to things like choir, prayer, counseling, and discipleship. It struck me today as we were watching one of the dvd lessons that go along with the packet: part of the reason I have a fountain of joy in the middle of pain is because I am following the Spirit's lead. I am actively encouraging people, began prayer walking in January, and am currently building relationships that will hopefully have an influence on others' walks with Christ.

All this is not to toot my own horn, but to encourage you to pray and ask God for direction in where and how you should serve. You should not be feeling frustrated and burnt out over what you are doing for Jesus, but instead feel fulfilled. I know my spiritual journey in the last year has taken me down a very strange path. But now, in the middle of great stress (school, divorce, and other stuff) I have indescribable JOY.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The OTHER 25 things u never wanted to know about me....

1. I try to always put Jesus first.
2. My gift is encouragement and service
3. I love school, although I complain about it a lot. :)
4. My quiet time is my source of strength
5. I collect angel ornaments
6. I miss my family, but love florida too much to move back to philly.
7. I am the youngest of nine kids, and so far I have 28 nieces and nephews
8. I love candles...but due to allergies have to be careful with scents -- no floral
9. I don't like feeling like I have failed at something.
10. I am doing this to avoid my homework.
11. I want to go skydiving
12. I want to learn scuba diving
13. I love socializing, but I value my down time too.
14. Eclectic taste in music -- christian, blues, jazz, rock, pop, and yes, even SOME country.
15. i LOVE to read.
16. i LOVE music.
17. Live concerts are the BOMB!!
18. I have visited every state on the east coast
19. I want to go to Israel and Africa
20. I LOVE my apartment, but I wish that I had moved closer to Lutz.
21. I find I am more on guard with people now than I used to be.
22. I don't know what "Paul is the OG" means
23. If I could live anywhere in the USA i would stay here.
24. I believe that God holds my future securely in His hands.
25. I feel more like a dire warning than a good example.

Top 25...all you never wanted to know about me.

Top 25

1. I eat pasta with butter and Kraft Parmesan. Can't be any other brand, it must be Kraft.
2. I rarely eat pasta anymore because I ALWAYS overeat when I do have it.
3. My mom used to cook spaghetti sauce with onions, which I hate, hence #1
4. I can cook, but I choose not to for just me
5. Since Chris left I have to have the closet door closed, otherwise I can't sleep.
6. 7 months later, I still sleep on the right side of the bed. That’s quite a bit of bed unused since it’s a king.
7. I have no tv in the bedroom, so I have trouble falling asleep. I purchased a nature sounds clock which helped a little, but all the sudden I can't sleep when it's on "sounds of the ocean" (my fav setting). Go figure.
8. I love sports. Football, hockey and even baseball, but never basketball. Although I still root for Philly teams, I find myself slowly shifting allegiances to Tampa teams.
9. That being said, when I attended the Flyers/Lightning game I WAS wearing a Flyers jersey, and I was really happy they won.
10. I have a very acerbic sense of humor, probably why I laugh hysterically every time I read Jenny's blog. http://thebloggess.com/ (not my sister jenny)
11. I am really nice except for certain times of the month, when I become a sarcastic witch.
12. I try really hard to control the sarcastic witch.
13. I believe in personal responsibility. I get really irritated when people try to shift blame to others.
14. Even though Chris chose to leave, and not get counseling, I still sometimes blame myself for the fact that our marriage failed.
15. I am extremely idealistic (could be part of the problem with #14)
16. Before Chris was hospitalized, I was a fairly aggressive driver. Now I'm the person in the far left lane lollygagging at 60mph. Life took on new meaning after he almost died.
17. I'm an incurable romantic. I love Phantom of the Opera, Pretty Woman and Pride and Prejudice, and I still believe in happily ever after.
18. I rarely watch TV anymore. I'm way too busy and never home.
19. I love being around people who challenge me intellectually
20. The people at First Baptist Lutz are a second family to me. I love spending time there because of their warmth and friendship.
21. You can purchase my heart with dark chocolate, and it doesn't need to be godiva. :D
22. I love to read. Sometimes I still carry books into the bathroom with me. My mom used to do this so I come by it honestly. With 9 kids, its probably the only quiet time my mom ever got.
23. I love kids and want my own someday
24. I love being on my own right now, even though it's sometimes scary
25. If something is bothering me, I talk about it nonstop until it's out of my system. I feel sorry for the people around me during this time, but it's almost like an obsessive compulsive disorder. I try really hard to control that too.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Women of Influence

Mother's Day is coming. I have a question: Is there a woman (other than mom) who has had tremendous influence on you? If so, who was it and how?

I wrote in an earlier post about how God was pressing me to prayer. January, I started getting up early on Sunday mornings, riding up to church and doing a prayer walk before services started. This was not my idea. Pure and simple, I would never have thought of it on my own.

Aside from Susie Walther, the woman who has single-handedly had the most influence on my spiritual walk was Karen Shogren. I met Karen when I was living in Georgia, attending Crossroads Community Church. I don't remember exactly HOW we met, but she invited me to join her and a team of people on Saturday nights in praying over the church. Karen described herself as a prayer warrior. It sounded a little strange to me, this praying over the church, but at the same time it made perfect sense. Each Saturday night, the pastor, worship leader, and a small group of people would gather in the sanctuary. We would lay hands on the pastor and worship leader and pray over them. Then everyone would take a section, and every chair in the sanctuary would get prayed over. We would then spread out through the classrooms and pray over those, also.

One Sunday morning I met Karen just before service and she was radiant. I had never seen anyone look so beautiful, and whenever I think of her, this is how I see her. She was glowing. I told her so, and her response was that she had just spent some intense time in prayer meeting with God.

My prayer walk feels very humble at the moment. It is just me and God. But recently, after I completed my weekly walk, and came into the sanctuary for worship/service, someone greeted me and said, "You look RADIANT!" It was the nicest compliment anyone has ever paid to me. I had just had a pretty intense encounter with God. I wouldn't trade my time with Him for all the sleep in the world.

I moved away from Georgia, and lost touch with Karen. It's been 6 years since I've seen her. I am in the process of shutting down my hotmail account, and came across some emails from her. The memory of her example and encouragement came flooding back. I tried to email her, but the address I had was no longer valid.

I just established a new facebook account, and one of the first things I did was look for Karen. I thought it was a long shot, but lo and behold, there she was. The first person to pop up on the search list. I let out a scream and clicked the "add to friends" button as quickly as possible.

Whether Karen and I reestablish relationship or not, I will always remember her example. I am a part of her spiritual fruit, and what I produce is due, in part, to her example. This is my lesson for the week: whether you know a person for a short time or for a lifetime, there's always time to influence him or her for spiritual good.

Thanks, Karen. If I never do get to meet you again here, I will definitely see you in heaven!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Facebook Stinks III

I opened a new account under my maiden name. Gillian Kilbride. Go add me if you haven't already. Guess I'll have to rebuild my apps, profile, pics, and everything else. :(

That'll have to wait until after the semester is over. Meantime, at least I'll feel less disconnected.

Y'all take care and come visit my blogspot anytime!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Facebook update II

No, still can't get in. Facebook stinks.

1. Solo went really well. I left everything I had on the stage, and was almost voiceless when we finished both programs this am. :) I came home and crashed for a couple of hours since I haven't slept well all weekend.

2. Next up: Test 4 on Basic Stats, Wednesday night.

3. After that: Major Project due 4/20

4. I have a brand spanking new addiction: Untold stories of the ER. Its a marathon this weekend. Favorite quote: "If you haven't seen a big carpet of maggots on a live human being, you haven't lived."

Yeah, I know. I have projects to work on and studying to do. See you folks around.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Facebook update

I have been without Facebook since April 3rd. Not be be dramatic, or anything like that, but this is like the Ancient Mariner: Water, water, everywhere yet not a drop to drink!

Last Thursday, Barak Obama added me as a relative on Facebook. That night, I changed my primary email because I am about to disable the one I used to open the account. Friday am (on my morning break, of course!!) I tried to log into Facebook and could not. Thinking I was an idiot and couldn't remember my password, I asked for a reset. Nothing. None of my six email addresses received a password reset from Facebook. So I sent them an email. I received a reply back, which basically asked me to confirm that I was me. Not really sure how that works, but ok. I responded. I waited patiently for them to respond to my response. Finally, I sent them another email. And another... Sad story. If I'm not on by the end of the semester (April 25th) I will open a new account under my maiden name (I'm changing it legally this summer, anyway), and see you all there.

Meantime, the notifications that go out from facebook tells me that MYRELATIVES has found 48 potential new relatives for me. TYVM stupid app, but the fact that they are related to relatives of mine, doesn't mean that they are related to me... And what is with all the distant cousins? I don't even know the proper terms for half of you. But, our moms were 3rd cousins once removed, (or something like that) so we are related. Can't lie to a facebook app, now can we? So how many of you are related to Barak Obama? Does this mean we get invited to the White House for a slammin' 4th of July BBQ??

Also, last night was the first performance. It was fun. I think I'm going to relax and enjoy tomorrow. Don't know if I'll ever want to do this again, though, cause it stretched my nerves to the limit. Rather be safe in the middle of the choir. Your mistakes get covered up there...

O well, back to the monster project due next Monday. Ya'll take care and leave me some love. :)