Apr 5, 2008


Last night was amazing! Sheri and I drove 2 hours to Dayton, OH to see a dear friend sing in the Barber of Seville. The evening starting with an amazing dinner at J. Alexander's (thanks to a tip from Pastor Ken). The the best part of the evening was watching JR perform. His voice has matured even more and he has really come into his own on the stage. We didn't get to hang out too long afterwards...JR was nursing a cold which is not good for the vocal chords - especially with a performance on Sunday. I only regretted 2 things - not bringing my camera in and not getting to go with Joey and Tony - the night seemed a little empty without them.

But so many of pieces of the evening were special in small ways. It was girl scout evening at Opera. 200 elementary girls were able to get dressed up and come to their first Opera - what an experience for them. 1 of them could be the next great soprano! And, there were 200 students from Cedarville University which is a Christian school. Once again - it was great to hear some of the hallway conversation. For most of those students - it was there first opera. Some liked...some didn't - but what a great experience for them.

Sheri answered the phone singing Figaro...Figaro....Figaro!!!! It too was her first opera and she even got to meet some of the main characters :)

Thanks for great evening JR!! It is one I won't soon forget!

Mar 30, 2008

A Long Winter...

Ok - not really - I have just been really busy - but I am going to try to be better about posting. Over the last 12 weeks I have been leading a Bible study and nutrition class. The class has lost 345.2 lbs - how amazing is that. Went home this weekend to visit the padres. Mom just had her knee replaced...ouch...but she is recovering remarkably and is actually quite mobile already. Thought I would post a new picture. Dad took me shopping on Mom's orders - and this is one of the fabulous outfits I got to buy. Have to go run 9 miles...in the rain - it teaches me what it means to praise the Lord in all circumstances :)

Oct 4, 2007

100 things to celebrate and be thankful for...

Today I succeed in hitting a pretty big milestone - so it is worth celebrating. I haven't said too much along the way but after a while people started noticing. In July of 2006 I started working out and kinda watching what I ate. I lost 30+ lbs but started going back to my bad habits - you can eat what you want when you work out right? Well...not for me. So, in late March I got back on track and here are some of the things I think are now worth celebrating:

1. Understanding that God cares about every detail of your life. 2. The amazing amount of encouragement I have received. 3. Working out 3. Being able to run 4 miles. 4. Seeing my dad follow suit and have his HbA1c down to 5.9 5. Being able to buckle my seat belt on a plane. 6. Crossing my legs. 7. Parents that come in town to buy you new clothes when nothing else fits :) 8. Collar bones 9. Sheri who never complained when I started cooking new food and didn't freak too much when I threw the ice cream away that she bought me 1 day. 10. All my buddies at work who bought me books, listened to my ramblings and now are in the First Place class with me. 11. Prayer 12. First Place 13. Penny - who always pushed me and encouraged me and never gave up on the girl at boot camp that could barely make it through 14. Walks with Gracie 15. New clothes 16. New great foods. 17. Feeling better 18. Being able to do a quad stretch 19. More energy 20. Clearer complexion 21. Ministry opportunities 22. Learning to be obedient in this every of my life. 23. Inspiring others 24. Sleeping better 25. Ankles that don't swell anymore 26. Wearing heels 27. Button down shirts that fit 28. All the people I work out with in the mornings. 28. The stars on Thursday morning runs...

I could go on but I am getting tired. So here is to 101 lbs gone...Cheers!! I never set an end goal - but I know I am not done with this journey yet. I will keep you posted :)



Sep 5, 2007

1 Peter 2:16

" as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God." 1 Peter 2:16

When I think of this, I remember back to high and many times wanting diplomatic immunity. I always thought it would be cool to never be under the law. Looking back, I understand how the law is to our benefit. But I think that is what this verse is getting at.

When we are in Christ, we are set free. (See John 8:32, Luke 4:18, and Romans 6:7). We are freed from bondage of sin and the torment of an eternal separation from God (hell). But with that freedom, we still live in the flesh. In other words, we still sin after we come to know Christ. Now, we know that there is no way to lose our salvation. What Peter is trying to tell us is that we can't use that as an excuse to keep sinning. We can't use our freedom to knowingly be disobedient to our God. The stakes are too high - other people are always watching us and we are called to be God's bondservants here on Earth. Let us use our freedom not to our gain but to the glory of God.

Aug 22, 2007

Project Bathroom - Day 18

Almost done!!! Tonight I grouted the bathroom. It was a lot of prep but the grouting itself was probably the easiest part I have done thus far. There is a haze b/c of the sand since it is still wet - this is supposed to come up with a paper towel when it is dry. Next steps: seal the edges by the tub and vanity, put the trim back on, clean, clean, clean, have Travis put the toilet back, tack down the carpet, and finally one last cleaning...it should be done this weekend - Woo hoo!!!

Aug 16, 2007

1 Peter 2:13-15

13 Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men—" 1 Peter 2:13-15

As a quick review verse 11 and 12 spell out in general terms the way we should fulfill our calling. We are to abstain from fleshly lusts. We are to conduct ourselves in a godly fashion, so that while men may accuse us falsely for doing good in this life, they will give praise to God for these same deeds when they stand before Him at Christ’s return.

Verses 13-15 continue as examples to verses 11-12. Also remember the context of Peter's letter is all about suffering.

Step 1: Submit to government - even when they are persecuting you!

When Peter is writing the letter, the Romans are becoming more and more displeased with the Jews. And the Jews in return were actively opposing Roman control. In one word they were being rebellious. The Romans even started accusing the Jews of crimes against the state. And since the Christian church was so new - Romans tended to combine the Jews and Christians into one group. Peter’s words in our text are meant to avoid any unnecessary charges against the church and to arm the church with attitudes and actions which would show these charges to be false.

The purpose of government and those who govern is completely consistent with Peter’s call for excellent conduct and submission to civil authorities. While the form of government may differ, the task is the same. Even a corrupt government is better than none at all. As bad as communism may seem to us, the people of Yugoslavia were better off under communism than the people of Bosnia are today.

Today we are asked to do the same. Obey the government laws. There are the extreme examples - Don't bomb an abortion clinic. And the more subtle examples - wear your seat belt. And everything in between.

When we submit, the unbelieving world notices. And just in case it is still hard for to understand why we should submit to the government's authority...God says it is His will. (I know, pretty simple right. Aren't we always saying "I just want to do God's will for my life.)

Today I will start with obey the speed limit...

Aug 4, 2007

Project Bathroom
Day 1: Overall today was a great day. After visiting Marc and Mariah who loaned me practically all the tools I would need and after Larry gave me his lifesaving knee pads...I set out to tile my guest bathroom. I grew up with carpet in bathrooms - but after a few roommates...my guest bath was in no shape for carpet!! So, I was going to hire someone to do it for me but why do that when you can do it yourself, right?? Ask me tomorrow, when I can't move if I still like that decision. Today I removed the carpet, tack board, padding and trim. I put down the underlay material with thin set. And then I started dry setting the tiles (translation: I cut tile then cut some more tile and then cut some more tile). I decided to put the tile on the diagonal - and now I know why Travis laughed at me yesterday. The hardest part was the vent area and toilet area - but those are done. Hopefully tomorrow I can get everything else cut and then thin set the tile next week. The goal is to have it done by when my parents arrive Labor Day weekend. Here are a couple of shots of the progress thus far...

And yes Dad, I will fix the stripes that I couldn't reach behind the toilet when I painted last year :)

Aug 1, 2007

I'm Back!!

Sorry for the short sabbatical on the blog. So much has happened since my last post - where to start??? On a sad note - I lost my grandpa (my dad's dad). It was the 2nd grandpa in 2 months. Then there was Supercamperific followed a week later by VBS at Southside. So many great stories to share - so stayed tuned!!! And of course, we have to get back to 1 Peter. Here are a few pictures from the last month:

Sheri, Nettie, Laura and Jackson at Recharge

4 girls from my cabin chilln' before service

Rally time at VBS

Jun 23, 2007

Introducing Paul Potts...

Ok - Marc and Mariah played this for me tonight and I was blown away! Britian this summer is doing a show called Britian Has Talent. This guy is worth a watch...he is a cell phone salesman that aspires to sing opera. I think he is going to have a chance. You can watch all his videos on youtube.com and I will tell you in advance that he wins the finals (The UK version of the show is only a week long :) And seeing Simon speechless is always nice too.

Jun 19, 2007

1 Peter 2:12

"having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation" 1 Peter 2:12

I am sure that you are like me in the fact that you like to display certain pieces of your life. My refrigerator is a collage of those people that are dearest to me. I have pictures of friends and family around my house. Pictures of past missions trips. My cell phone background is picture of Gracie. They are a display of those things which I cherish and love the most.

Our relationship with God is the same. We are God's vessels that He uses as a display to an unbelieving world. We have been entrusted with the responsibility to let God be seen through us. To do this, we have to get out of the way. Our desires have to become God's desires. Our conduct has to become the conduct of God. When that happens, when people see God in our lives by our outward actions - God does a work in their heart.

Don't get confused by these verses. It is important for us to obey and equally as important for us to have our actions honorable. But our motivation cannot be driven by the response of those around us, good or bad. We must be guided by our desire to praise and honor God.

"You are the light of the world, a city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden." Matt 5:14

Does an unbelieving world see you or Jesus?

Jun 9, 2007

Great Friends + A Great View = A Fabulous Vacation

I just returned from a fabulous 5 days in the Smokey Mountains. The Ellyson's, the Sirkin's and myself set off to Pigeon Forge this week. First - I can't say thank you enough to Heidi and Michael for inviting me...it was much need. And, if anyone is looking for a relaxing vacation - I highly recommend a cabin in mountains! We had a great condo in Pigeon Forge that was just perfect.

The kids were fabulous and I greatly enjoyed watching their little minds work. Joshua was fascinated with the "big rocks" and he could have spent hours by the mountain stream throwing rocks in the water.

Lee and Micah take after their dad - they love living a little on the wild side. They would climb rocks, play at the edge of the waterfall and would keep us on our toes the entire time.

We had bought a scavenger hunt book that helped us find items along the trails we hiked. You received 50 points for a black bear. Well, on our hike to Laurel Falls we encountered the favorite part of our whole trip. A black bear and her 2 cubs - a whopping 150 points. We watched for a while from the road watching the cubs play and climb the trees and then we headed for the falls only to encounter them again very close to the trial. It was fascinating and definitely one of the highlights from the trip!

And, on our last night - this was the view from our room.
More on 1 Peter from Florida...

May 28, 2007

1 Peter 2:11

"Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul" 1 Peter 2:11

Beloved = Christian
Sojourner = to stay as a temporary resident
Pilgrim = one who journeys in foreign lands

Peter uses verses 11 and 12 to introduce the idea of being set apart so that those that don't know Christ may see him through our actions. This theme will continue through chapter 4.

It is important to note that Peter address this command to Christians and he refers to his readers as sojourners and pilgrims. Both of these terms set up the fact that we in a temporary home. Our true home is in heaven, we are only temporary residents here on Earth. But our job is no less important than that of a pilgrim - we have been given a very specific task to accomplish - show others Christ.

In the next posts, we will discover several ways to do this - but the first way Peter gives us, is to abstain from fleshy lust that war against our soul. A fleshly lust is any desire that is against God's Word. God calls us to be Holy because He is holy but He also acknowledges that it is extremely hard battle referring to it as a war. What I know is this - all things are possible through Him who gives me strength. We are in the battle - but it is not ours to fight. When we give up and let God do the fighting, we can abstain from evil desires. And because we can't do it on our own - God gets the glory and shows off His power in our lives.

I am very thankful that we serve such a big God.

May 23, 2007

1 Peter 2:9-10

"But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy." 1 Peter 2:9-10

As some of you may know, I started on a journey to memorize the book of 1 Peter. It has been slow at times and a lot of rework other times. So, the reason I started this blog was to hold myself accountable to see this through and share a few of my thoughts on what God is teaching me through this amazing book. Sorry I am starting in the middle of chapter 2. Maybe one day I will go back through those verses that I have skipped.

What is our calling?

I love museums. Last year I had the chance to go to Washington DC with a couple of friends and they quickly learned that I could spend all day at the different Smithsonian museums. One of my favorite exhibits wasn't open due to remodeling - but it is inauguration dresses of the first ladies. They are a symbol of elegance and style of those that wore them. But when you really think about it - it is just some material cotton, polyester, rayon - nothing different than what you could find in your own closet - what made those dresses were the women who wore them.

That story reminds me of this verse. We are CHOSEN, ROYAL, HOLY and SPECIAL. Wow. That feels good...but wait - just like the clothes we are nothing without the Lord. God chose this generation. God ordained us as a royal priesthood. God sets us apart. God by His grace and mercy clothed us through the blood of His Son and calls us special.

When we grasp this concept - the second part of the verse comes easy- proclaim the praises of Him who called Dawn out of darkness into His marvelous light. Proclaim the praises...I don't do that often enough. When I think of proclaim, I think of standing at the top of the mountain and shouting. Sometimes we stay safely tucked inside our comfort zone. But since God made us CHOSEN, ROYAL, HOLY and SPECIAL we are not to be ashamed of one who gives our calling.

We are the people of God. Clothed in His mercy. Asked nothing more than to proclaim His praises.

May 10, 2007

Oh Gracie!!

Although exhausted - I decided to start blogging last night. I set up this great template and had grandiose ideas today of sharing my profound thoughts over 1 Peter 2:10. I had it all my head - but then comes that call that every pet owner fears...

Let me back up a little...Ttoday after work, I had a working dinner with my colleagues in from Mexico. One of those dinners that you really don't want to go to but it is required - so you put on your happy face and go. I had lined up a friend to walk Gracie so all is good right...


Gracie gets all out of whack if you don't follow her routine. If you leave her home alone, not locked in the laundry room - she will find anything and everything to get into. Well, my roomie today couldn't get her in the laundry room and left her out. She shut all the doors and put the trash away. Thinking all would just fine.

But Gracie is just too smart. She managed to get into the pantry and find 2 bags of chocolate chips and the bag of croutons. She didn't leave a morsel to waste.

So now I am babysitting a dog on crack - I don't suggest trying this at home. So instead of my thoughts on what is truly important - My first post will be my ramblings on my sweet little Gracie who I am sure I will love tomorrow - I am just not so sure right now :)