Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!!!

Alright, so Halloween isn't my favorite holiday. It isn't so much the dressing up that I don't like, I just don't like an entire day where people go crazy and (sometimes) think that "anything goes." There are other reasons I don't like it, but I won't go into those.

I thought I'd post some of the funnier pictures from college where I dressed up. Not always for Halloween either. The "nunnery" (as we affectionately called the last house I lived in during college) was full of silly girls who loved to play dress-up. :-)

Hope you all enjoy this crazy holiday and these (embarrassing) pictures!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Last week I found out that my grandmother's cancer is back. She was diagnosed about a year ago with lung cancer and emphysema. At that time, she went through chemo and radiation-it went into remission. The doctors told her it would buy her about a year of time. A year later, here we are again with the cancer back in the same place. It hasn't spread (yet). Right now, she's chosen to do nothing. I get that it's her decision and she's lived her life; she'll be 78 later this year. The doctor said that she probably has about six months left if she does nothing.

The family has already started grieving and for me, it's bringing back a lot of memories about my dad's cancer. Planning for the holidays is taking on a whole new meaning this year. Including Thanksgiving, when my mom will be in Ohio with her family while I stay in Colorado (I have schoolwork to complete). That doesn't bother me, she needs to be there. I just need to find ways to spend the holiday in a positive way. I've thought of having my friends over, but many of them are visiting their own families. I guess I'll find out how God wants to use this time.

Next February will be ten years since my dad passed away. I don't know how those years have both flown by and passed achingly slow. I still miss him, almost every day. The hurt is different now than in those early years, but it is still there; I don't really expect it to ever go away. Since he passed away less than a month before my birthday, I haven't really celebrated my birthday since his death. I had a group of friends in college who worked really hard my senior year to give me a great birthday and they succeed. But, when left to my own devices, I just let it pass with little fanfare and still mourning my dad. I'm tired of letting the grief take over my life for upwards of a month. I want to do something fun and celebrate my birthday with friends this year! I also get that the grief this year will probably be bigger than the past couple of years, but I need to celebrate his life and stop focusing so much on my own loss.

Anyway, I was thinking about all this today as I'm struggling with an acquaintance who doesn't respect my boundaries. While absolutely frustrating, I'm thankful that I have this challenge. It means that I'm not living in my shell! I am actually making friends and letting people in, letting God crush some of the walls I have up to protect people from me. I know this situation will work itself out the way it's supposed to as long as I give it to God and stop trying to force a solution I want. Which requires that I be patient-not an easy thing for me. I get too that this is all tied into the study I'm doing and there's a certain level of spiritual warfare going on in me right now. Anytime I start to feel better about things, something like this usually happens and I derail-running back to my shell. I'm still tempted to do that, but I am fighting that urge because I've been there and know it isn't where I'm supposed to be.

The song Blessed Be Your Name was in my head most of yesterday morning and then I heard it on the radio. I almost pulled my car over, I was so overcome with emotion. I love how certain songs will just speak to me. I first heard the song when I was living in Bloomington. At that time, it was more about just trying to survive and thinking about God and my situation in a positive light. However, now the song is more about joy and the absolute peace and forgiveness I'm experiencing in Christ. I am so blessed, and He has blessed me in even in my darkest hours. Through the worst pain I've experienced in my life, I have been blessed! The lyrics are:

Blessed Be Your Name

by Matt Redman

Blessed be Your name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be'
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

(Chorus-repeat twice)

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Girls!

I realized this morning that I haven't really posted about my girls- my two kitties. Their names are Isabelle “Izzy” and Posie “Po”. Izzy is the grey one, Posie is has the black and white stripes.

I got Izzy from a Denver shelter as a little kitten. I took one look at the tiny ball of fluff and had to take her home with me. Her little body was almost too small for all the fur on it, so for months she looked electrocuted because the fur stood on end! The shelter insisted she was 8 weeks, but she was probably no more than 4 or 5. I think she has a couple emotional issues from being taken away from her mom at such a young age. She carries around potholders (or soft fuzzy socks) and cries with them in her mouth. It's the most pitiful scene, but not much different than a kid with a security blanket sucking his or her thumb. Izzy has become a lap cat and is super sweet. She loves meeting new people and being in new places. Once she realizes we're somewhere new permanently, she gets upset, but for the first few days she's a happy little cat exploring away. She's also the princess of the two cats and plays the part for all it's worth to get her way. She'll sit and stare at you for you to play with her until you can't take it anymore. She also chatters at birds and bugs. Very entertaining-you always know when she's found some live creature to chase! Oh yeah, she also loves boxes and small spaces-of all kinds.

Posie is about a year younger than Izzy. I found Po in the newspaper and picked her out of her litter-mates when she was 10 weeks old. She's half Siamese and half Tabby, and built like a Tabby. I got her so she and Izzy would keep each other company while I was at work all day. As a kitten, Posie was a total lap cat and would fall asleep while being held (no longer the case). As she grew older though, she became skittish and solely my cat. She runs for the hills whenever the doorbell rings and won't come out for hours sometimes! I've finally learned to leave the door unlocked when I'm expecting friends and tell them to just come in. Posie is also very vocal-the Siamese in her. She chatters back at me when I tell her to get off the counters or out of drawers. Yes, she opens cabinet drawers and climbs in (usually after she manages to remove the contents). Very frustrating! She has all the rules that she prefers are followed for people to pet and visit with her. This is why we call her the Diva. She enjoys giving her friends head-butts from her throne (the kitty treehouse) when you return from being gone (for any length of time).

They get along alright, but aren't best friends. However, I know from experience that when I separate them, they get very upset and will meow until they're reunited. I learned this lesson while driving across the country with them in separate carriers. They're sooo much quieter when they're in one together. I have many stories about my cats! They've been with me in my darkest hours and a comfort and joy as life has slowly returned to normal. Oh, Posie also squeaks when held just right! I think that's enough for now-I'm off to get some schoolwork done!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

NOGs and Grey's

I get that you're probably sitting there asking, "What is/are NOGs?" Well, it stands for No Other Gods-an amazing Bible study by Kelly Minter. During last week's study, a lot of time was spent on how what I regularly watch, read, and listen to can (it usually does) counteract the Scriptures. I was immediately convicted of my obsession with everything Grey's Anatomy. I've even been known to schedule Bible study and dinner with friends around it. Perhaps shocking, but very true as those friends can attest. It has been my guilty pleasure since the first season, one I indulge at every possible opportunity.

The next question in the study is, "Without being legalistic, but simply being obedient, ask yourself: are you willing to let it go to pursue the truth?" To be honest, I paused for a minute or two before committing to let it go. But, I see that it has taken up more space in my life than it should and I am willing to back off and spend that time doing whatever God places in my life. A couple days later, a friend invited me to a hang out with people this week (during Grey's).

Last year (probably even last month), I would have just stayed home to watch the show or watched it the next day online. While online is still an option-I think the point God wants me to get is that it's just a show. A show that while I enjoy it, it should not control any aspect of my life. I shouldn't plan my weekly schedule around it, especially not my time with Him. I'm going to try really hard to not watch the episode online this week or read about it in blogs, or anywhere else. To just miss it and be ok with missing an episode.

The last couple of weeks haven't been easy for me. I feel like I just keep messing things up, and the old me would have gotten really down about it. Now, I see that making mistakes and confronting certain things in my life are progress and nothing to be ashamed of. It may take me longer than I would like to figure it out, but God is working and that's all that matters.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Past

My past is something I struggle with almost daily. I will still catch myself getting upset about things and reliving parts of it regularly, things that need to stop. God has healed much of the hurt from those painful experiences and choices I made; however, I don't forgive myself very easily.

I was struck by a passage in God Calling today. "Do not dwell upon the past. You make My Sacrifice of no effect. No! realize that in Me you have all, complete forgiveness, complete companionship, complete healing."

I'm so tired of partially living in my past and letting it negatively affect my present and future.

I was recently (unintentionally) hurt by a close friend. What I'm realizing is that it hurts so much because this thing managed to dig into a deep part of the remaining hurt from my years in the cult. Areas of pain this friend was unaware of. Some of those lies I was told over and over again have remained and stay somewhat hidden. Only when something like this event happens, do I become aware that the lies are still there and I still believe parts of them.

In an attempt to protect others from me (one of the lies was how emotionally dangerous I was), I don't let people get emotionally close to me. I keep them at a distance and then wonder why no one really knows me.

God is definitely at work here, at least I no longer feel like a worn battle ground. Instead, I see life returning and God's healing power. I just need to let Him keep working and stop dwelling on my past. He's forgiven me and is healing me. The present and future are far more important now.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


I can't believe I'm in my sixth week of class! It feels like it just started yesterday and will never end. My classes are: Foundations of library and information science, Organization of information, and Information access and retrieval. They're all required courses and pretty boring. I can't wait until next semester when I get to take courses covering archival topics!

I've been doing pretty well, but many extended family members and friends have been dealing with illness and grief. So, its been a rough month emotionally, but only as it relates to those around me that I love.

So, I have a daily devotional book that I bought on the first anniversary of my dad's death. It's titled God Calling and was written by two women circa World War II and what they felt God communicating to them during their darkest hours and most encouraging days. The thought for today, October 8 is:

The Dark Places
Jesus, the very thought of Thee with Sweetness fills us.

Yes. Love Me until just to think of Me means Joy and rapture. Gladness at the thought of One very near and dear.

It is the balm for all sorrows, the thought of Me. Healing for all physical, mental, and spiritual ills you can always find in thinking of Me, and speaking to Me.

Are doubts and fears in your hearts? Then think of Me, speak to Me. Instead of those fears and doubts there will flow into your hearts and beings such sweet Joy as is beyond any joy of Earth.

This is unfailing. Never doubt it. Courage. Courage. Courage. Fear nothing. Rejoice even in the darkest places. Rejoice.

This thought strikes such a chord with me today and over the last weeks and months. I've been so emotional about all the sadness and illness, and grieving over leaving Fort Collins that I haven't been very joyful lately. I'm thankful that this time when God asked me to leave, my health is present and I can actually grieve over it without getting too wrapped up in the grief. This morning, I awoke feeling a burden lifted and ready to fully embrace being in Aurora and focusing on serving Him here. This passage spoke to me and reminded me that I'm not alone in this and all I have to do is turn to Him. I often forget that and try to do things on my own and be independent. When will I really learn that independence is not what He asks of me?

Russell, A.J. editor. God Calling. Barbour Publishing, Inc. Uhrichsville, Ohio, 1989.