Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I know where my summer went! (and other somewhat inspired ramblings)

I made a deal with my sweet sister, that we would blog once a week. We were both seriously lacking in our blogging efforts, and well, we don't like to lack! Colleen is doing a much better job than I am, though. It's July 28th, and I last blogged on July 2nd....yeah...I'm a little behind!

My summer is shutting down pretty soon. Daycation has kept me busy all summer, and I move back in to the dorms in less than two weeks, and school starts back up two weeks after that! In May, I made myself a promise that at the end of the summer, I wouldn't wonder where it went, and I'm not! I know exactly what I've done and I've loved it.

a. Daycation! I loved getting to spend this summer teaching kids about the Word of God! So much of what I know of God, I learned when I was young. So much of what has made my relationship with Him what it is today, comes from the faith that was instilled in me when I was the Daycation age. I was so excited to get to have that same kind of influence. It's been hard. I've been tired. But it's been worth it! Some days I go crazy, but I absolutely love these kids!

b. New friends! I've made new friends this summer and gotten to grow friendships that were barely beginning. It's been so good to see what God can do in the lives of people, through the lives of His people. Whether it's been roommates, accountability partners, coworkers, etc., I've relearned the power in relationships. I've remembered that they're not all bad, all the time. They just take work....LOTS of work.

But honestly (pardon my soapbox), without them wouldn't life just be a waste of time? As Christians we're called to fellowship with other believers and reach out to a world in darkness. So without relationships, we would be missing our purpose completely. This summer I've discovered what it really means to hold a friend accountable, how to be a support to my brothers in Christ, and how to persevere through relationships that I would rather set aside. I'm nowhere near perfectection, but I'd rather be working on my purpose and making somewhat of a mess, than waste my time avoiding the thing I was made to pursue.

c. Practicing His Presence. Wow. That's really the best word to describe the Bible study I was a part of this summer. The author and leader of the study, Tammie Head, was wonderful. Seriously. Sister spoke a WORD! In all the Bible studies, conferences, etc. I've participated in, I've never been so directly ushered straight in to His presence. Every Monday night was amazing! The homework was a load, but a wonderful one! Tonight is our last night together and I SO hate to see it come to a close.

d. Bingo Thursdays! Can I just say....that I love bingo. LOVE it! And I love the old people that go :)

e. Nothing beats the Astros in the summertime.

f. And nothing beats a zero-downtime summer to get a girl ready for a worse-than-zero-downtime school year! I miss HBU!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

book the flight...

I have picked the one place I absolutely MUST go. I don't care when. I don't care how. I'm going to Greece!

Monastery of St. John in Philerimos on the island of Rhodes

A picturesque twilight in Mykonos

The Theater at Epidaurus

in Paros


It's official. I'm going.
I may as well be on my way :)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

funny looking fruit...

I got a completely random, totally unexpected text message last week that absolutely made my day, if not my month!
This precious girl who is without a doubt blessed with the gift of encouragement will never know how much her sweet words meant to me, but they spoke volumes to my heart, my self-esteem, and honestly, my ego (let's admit it. we all need a little pick-me-up once in a while!)
In the following days, I've been so attentive to the bits of encouragement I've received from other people, and been disappointed in how seldom I hand them out.
I'm very good at the girl game. And I mean VERY good! Basically, I'm a pro. You know what I'm talking about...."Oh, I love your dress!" "Thanks, I just threw it on. And by the way I love your purse. It's very unique!"......We all do it. Girl or not. Every time we receive a compliment or bit of encouragement, we're quick to explain it away and give with a (typically) insincere, yet seemingly kind, response.
Why do I need to wait for a compliment in order to give one? Why can't I just say "thank you" in response to the encouragement I receive?
I'm looking closely for opportunities to encourage others, and working alongside great Godly guys and girls this summer is offering countless chances. I want to be an encourager. I don't want to be known because of the compliments I can earn, but by the encouragement I give.

"Therefore, through Him let us continually offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of our lips that confess His name." Hebrews 13:15

The fruit of my lips is my speech, and far too often my fruit only bears resemblance to myself. I want my fruit to show that it comes from a tree that is rooted deeply in the Lord and reaches out to others, continually offering encouragement and always giving praise to the only One who's truly worthy.

Do you have any cool stories about times when encouragement you've received has been a blessing? Or maybe when you've been the encourager and been blessed in return? I'd love to hear!