undeserving

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I know that no good thing is withheld from one who walks uprightly. I am also reminded that every good and perfect gift is from above.

I’ve discovered that sometimes living by faith becomes a humbling thing. There are times when I wish I didn’t have to rely on other people to supplement my income. There are times when I let pride get in the way. God has been so good to me this past semester—teaching me to trust in Him, to give others the opportunity to minister to me, to consult Him first about my needs, and to take help when it comes.

Going into Christmas break, I had reached the breaking point. I’ve seen God provide in different ways throughout the past semester (gas money from unexpected sources at unexpected times, money to cover new boots I desperately needed for work—to within the dollar), and I knew and still know that He will continue to provide. The Christmas budget I was thinking of had to drop a little bit, which is frustrating to me because of how much my parents do for me. I know they’ve sacrificed a lot in the past and what they do for me now is more than I would like for them to be doing. [And I say that with a lot of gratitude.]

Anyways, my last resort is my mutual fund which hopes to be used in the future for something a little more exciting. I was planning on getting some money out of that in order to help pay off a credit card bill and just get myself back to where I need to be to start the New Year. I was expecting to get a little bit of money for Christmas, as always, but it turned into a lot more than expected. $450 more than expected, actually. That more than covers the credit card. And tonight, my church surprised me by taking up a love offering for me, which ended up being over $200.

Funny thing is, I was thinking about taking $600 out of my mutual fund.
God always provides more abundantly than I ever imagine.
I don’t give Him enough credit.

Yet one more reason I’m undeserving.

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the seaside

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I enjoy sand. Whether it’s in the desert or on the beach. I will always love it.

I like the seaside, too. My gramma lives about 30 minutes from the Pensacola Beach, so on our trip to Florida, we stopped by one day. It was beautiful. The sky was a kind of melancholy blue which changed to gray shortly after our walk. The wind was whipping sand around our ankles and faces—the only skin we chose to bare that day. The smell. [Let me pause a moment to say that only in recent days have I noticed how many outdoor smells I enjoy.] There are few things that compare with the aroma of the sea.

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fulfilled wishes

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I love Christmas. I think it’s the combination of things that I love so much. The cold, the family time, the decorations, the food [oh, yes, so much the food], reading the Christmas story by the fire, glitter, candles, the music, taking pictures, . . . and the sister that sings with every holiday song no matter if she knows the words or not, no matter if it’s the 5th time the song has played in the past 30 minutes, and no matter how long you’ve been driving. All that to say, I honestly think that the gifts are a very little part of the holiday for me. I like giving gifts, and I won’t try to lie and say I don’t like receiving gifts, but most of my Christmas joy comes from the atmosphere and the history of the holiday.

With that being said, I put up my wish list a few posts back, so I have to list what I got.

Ski jacket. I actually jumped around the room when I opened it. Let’s just say I really needed one!
Let Me Be a Woman. A book by Elizabeth Elliot. I love the typeface they used, too. Always makes it easier to read.
Necklace. A cool artsy necklace Amy got me from Blue Skies, one of the coolest stores in downtown Chattanooga.
Hoodies. Much needed. And they’re cool. Both from American Eagle. Mom did a good job.
Hair turban. No, I’m not converting. Mom couldn’t find a hair towel, but the turban works just as well. :)
Track jacket. PUMA. It’s my first PUMA article of clothing. Brown and pink. Can’t go wrong there.
The 10 Most Common Objections to Christianity. A book by Alex McFarland. It will be a very practical read.
Peace on Earth tee. I love the color [fuschia], I love the design. And who doesn’t want peace? ;)
Sweater jacket. I wasn’t sold on it at first, but when I put it on, I liked it. It’s short-sleeved. It’s cool.
Discipline. Another Elizabeth Elliot book. I love her style of writing.
Money. $50 cash from various relatives in Florida.

A couple things that didn’t quite make the cut . . .

Jeans. I think I could find some I like better.
PUMA shirt. I didn’t like the color [BRIGHT PINK] or the fit.
Long-sleeve tee. An oh-so cute red tee with a very wintry design. Just too short.

And now, what I gave to the fam.

Mom: the game Banangrams and the movie Amazing Grace.
Dad: Volume 1 in The Civil War by Shelby Foote.
Amy: A book about the lives of many classical composers and an Audrey original handmade journal [and pretty sweet, if I do say so myself].

I hope your Christmas was as merry as mine.

fall semester

A few pictures from the fall semester of Ministry Bound 07.

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Crunchy sand is one of my favorite things about the desert.

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Arbuckle Mine . . . we hiked up to it on our trip to Afton Canyon.

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I loved the color of this chair.

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Scott’s favorite saying is “Camp is best when camp is running.” I agree.
This was one of our first off-season camps; a spiritual emphasis with junior-highers.

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This is my boss, Scott, with his son Micah and daughter Kezia.
This is from the day we went to Afton.

Here are a few pictures from our camp field trip.
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And last of all, the crew from Ministry Bound.
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my wish list

My Christmas list for the year includes the following . . .

The Chronicles of Narnia boxed set—paperback [Target had it for about $32, or you can order it off of http://www.half.com for $17.00]
• Wacom tablet . . . Graphire 6×8″ [too expensive unless you get a good deal on eBay.]
The 10 Most Common Objections to Christianity by Alex MacFarland
• Hair towel [microfiber]
• I need a coat I could wear to work—I explained this to Amy.
• Hoodies are great . . . I wear them all the time at camp.
• Money for jeans.
• Any Elizabeth Elliot books are completely welcomed . . . I already have Passion and Purity and Quest for Love.
• I need new tennis shoes, but I would probably have to pick those out.
• A boyfriend would be nice, but I won’t hold my breath.

[That is the list I gave my mother. A few other additions follow.]

• Money for a plane ticket to Tweakage [$220]
• A way to fix my car handle.
• An Olympus D-SLR [in my dreams]

mirrored

James 1:23—25
For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.

I tend to think more highly of myself than others think of me. A lot of people would argue with me, I think. “But you know your own faults,” they would say. Right. And somehow I still manage to think I’m a good person. Scary.

It’s funny to me that I spend 20 minutes every morning making myself presentable, generally in front of a mirror. By the time I’m finished, I know exactly how I look. But throughout the day, things change. I eat lunch. I get a little windblown. And every time I look in a mirror, it seems like there’s a little something that could be taken care of.

I don’t live life this way, though.

It’s because I don’t have a constant image in my head of what I really am. I forget . . . and tend to think that I’m doing ok.

Sometimes, I don’t even pay attention to those “mirrors” of life. There have been times when I’ve just ignored them because I feel like there’s too much to correct . . . I don’t have enough time to do it all. So what is this constant mirror that I can have? Well, James says that I need to study the word and do it. Hearing it will produce a life reminiscent of someone who looks in a mirror and sees some stuff that needs to be taken care of, but as soon as he walks away forgets the problem.

Elizabeth Elliot shares a similar thought in her book Trusting God in a Twisted World. She muses on the fact that people passing by store windows are interesting to watch—their posture always changes for the better because they want the image they see to match up to the image they hold in their mind. “What is it that makes us preen, recoil, laugh? It must be the degree of incongruity between what we thought we were and what we actually saw” (p. 34).

Only when I see what I am can I begin to correct it to become what I know I should be. And the only way to do that is through seeing the image of my Savior.