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27 November 2007 @ 09:12 am
"The things that are right, noble, and good from the natural standpoint are the very things that keep us from being God’s best.  Natural, moral excellence opposes or counteracts surrender to God.  Once we understand this, we bring our soul into the center of its greatest battle.  It’s the good that opposes the best."
17 November 2007 @ 07:04 pm

I never really intended this to be a sort of "spiritual reflection" journal, but it seems like that is what it is turning into.  Despite my dozens of journals that are piled up in my room at home, or the ones that I write in now, things always seem to come out easier and clearer on here when I can type it.  I suppose that's fine, but when I think about the journals of my great-grandmothers and my grandma and how beautiful it is to see their handwritten thoughts, I kinda hate that I am better able to articulate things on here, where they will eventually be lost and forgotten, floating around cyberspace.

Nevertheless for now I enjoy it and for as much as I do write in my journal, I might as well post to here every once in a while.  Right now it's Saturday night.  I'm sitting in my empty house at my dining room table with about half a dozen books and research articles laying around me trying to write a paper that is due by the end of the semester (aka in 3 weeks).  Typically this is way early to be starting a paper, but considering weekends are the only time I really get to do homework, and Thanksgiving weekend is full, I really only have a this weekend and the one following Thanksgiving to write this and another paper that I can't start until I do a couple interviews with people this coming week.  So I'm trying to sift through boring material about abstract social work theories and conceptualize it with a "case study" I have not come up with yet because my internship has provided no experience of direct practice.  Needless to say this paper is going to be quite the challenge!!  It's ok though, I was hoping to be challenged at least once this semester.  Clearly, though I am not very motivated as I'm writing on here and keep hoping that someone will call and distract me from all this.

Well to keep with my recent themes, here's what has been going on in my heart recently.

This past week had a few really awful parts to it.  Overall the week was good, but there were a few things that either broke my heart or worried it.  And isn't it like God, who knows everything before it even happens, to prepare me in advance for some of the things I faced this week.  Last weekend Proverbs 3:5-6 came up several times which was really random... yes 'random.'  "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understandings.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight."  How comforting to know that I do not need to 'lean on my own understanding.'  I am offered the opportunity to trust God and for Him to make my paths straight.  But it is up to me to accept that!  How hard it is sometimes to give up my perceptions and my need to control a situation, and submit them to a God who I know will work things out for the best, to His glory.

As a friend and I recently discussed, it's always easier to focus on the negative things in life because you never plan on the bad.  You assume the good so when good things occur they happen unnoticed or without the acknowledgment it deserves because that's what you think should happen anyway.  Often times when I feel compelled to write it is when something not so great happens and I need to think it through.  Well it isn't right to not acknowledge the wonderful blessings that make my life beauitful.  So off the top of my head, here are the top 10 things I am thankful for right now.  In no particular order:

1. family here in Kansas who I am getting the chance to know in a way I never could if I never lived out here.
2. my sisters.  Somehow the older we get and the less we live together the closer we get.  Same goes for my parents.
3.  Matt.  And getting to see him in 20 or 35 days.
4. Fall in Kansas.  Gray skies, cold temps and snow have already hit every other place I've ever lived in my life, but here it is upper 60s, blue skies and GORGEOUS.  I've never seen the sun so often past August.
5. Monday nights on ABC.  Dancing with the Stars and The Bachelor.  And football.  The only things I ever watch here in Kansas.
6.  Tuesday night phone dates with Ashley and Friday morning phone dates with Kelly.  Monthly emails with my Calvin girls... (the months we have time, that is) and other fun phone dates throughout the week.
7. The friends I've made at school, to watch movies with or go to basketball games with.  Thank GOD for a social life every once in a while.  (Not tonight, though, obviously...)
8. Grandpa and Shirley. I know they fit under number one, but they are amazing and deserve a number all of their own.  My aunt Marian should be mentioned separately too.
9. Maurices.  Let's face it I hate to shop, but I love this store.  They really need to move east, which is where I'll be headed after graduation in May!!  Which leads me to...
10.  I am graduating in May, I can move closer to home, do work that I hopefully love and get PAID for (and let's face it, it may pay little but it will be better than the nothing I make now!) and see what's next in this lovely life!

Well, as we always said at MSN, "it's back to the salt mines."  AKA I will be writing my paper from now until.... I get distracted with something else, which can very easily be facebook, the phone, or sleeping.  But I'm crossing my fingers to get a few more pages written tonight.


04 November 2007 @ 10:18 pm

Just breathe.  Remember that line from "Ever After"?  Or the song by Anna Nalick?  I always find it funny what a necessary reminder that is.  Just breathe.  Today was a whirlwind from the start and I haven't had a chance to gather any of my scattered thoughts.  So here is my attempt to make sense of my life in this moment... and bring some peace to my frazzled mind...

At church this morning I had a major headache.  The pastor was talking super fast and was cramming way too much into a short sermon because he was allowing for extra time at the end to do communion.  I tried to keep up with him for a while but it made my head hurt, so I caught ahold of one of the Bible references he mentioned and looked it up and just read it to myself and let the Lord speak to my heart one on one.  It reminded me of going to chapel at Calvin.  Every once in a while I'd feel compelled to go, and most of the time I wouldn't even pay attention the whole time but one thing would jump out at me and I knew that was why God was nudging me to go.  There was always that one thing that I know He was wanting me to hear, that one song, comment,  verse, or prayer to minister to my heart.  As the pastor was giving his Communion 101 speed sermon, I read in Joshua.  Such an awesome book, I had forgotten how much I love it.  In chapter 3 Joshua is leading the Israelites across the Jordan River and it says "Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest.  yet as soon as the priest who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water's edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing...they stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel passed by..."

The things that I love about this story:
The Jordan River was in flood stages- the water was way deep and way over its banks, yet the Israelites knew God was leading them across the river.  Rather than staying back and dwelling on the flooded river they knew they somehow needed to cross, and waiting for a way to cross to be laid out before them,  the went forward in faith and it was not until they stepped into the water, did the river stop and they were able to cross on dry ground.

I like to see things laid out, I want to know the big picture before I move forward and sometimes life just doesn't work that way.  Sometimes it is a step of faith and you have to get your feet wet before you know what God's going to do.  You need to have faith that when you step into the water that God is going to stop the river, or even if He doesn't, He's not going to let you get swept up in the current.  But the point is to step into the water if God is calling you to cross the river.  Do what God is calling and He will take care of the details.  And you will "stand firm on dry ground" when you commit your ways to Him and follow where He leads.

A piece of paper fell out of my Bible that I had written my sophomore year of college.  I knew it was from that year because on one side I had written prayer requests of the girls I did a Bible study with that year, and on the other side I had written "pray for trust, not clarity."  How fitting.  I don't need to see the other side of the river, or even how I'm supposed to get across the river, I just need to trust that when I step into the river God is calling me to cross, He is going to do great and mighty things and take care of all the details I can't see.

There.  Now it's messages from God like that that ease my anxious mind and remind me to breathe.  Just breathe.


15 October 2007 @ 09:01 pm

Today was a typical Monday like none other.  If it wasn't waking up exhausted and feeling that way all day, it was a frustrating phone call, or my gas tank being below E when I'm already late for class, or getting the wrong book in the mail after waiting 2 stinkin weeks for it to get here, or forgetting the main thing I went to the grocerty store for this afternoon.  Nothing went quite right today.  And it was annoying.  Not the biggest deal, but just enough little things that added up to be annoying.  But since my last class of the day was cancelled, I had time to go home, talk to a couple friends who always make me smile, and tonight I went to a girls small group that started last week.  It was so refreshing to put the day behind me and talk with these girls about our spiritual struggles and how God is challenging us to grow and what that looks like.  We are reading a book by Larry Crab called "Inside Out" which is about just that.  I got home about 15 minutes ago and all the anxiety and stress from the day has melted away into a calming peace.  It's wonderful how God can always do that.  Put things back into perspective, my life back into balance.  Now, my annoying day is nothing compared to a lot of real struggles that I know I have gone through and everyone does go through, but it just reminded me of God's goodness and faithfulness to provide during the struggles of life, even the days that are just annoying.  One of my favorite quotes from the chapter we talked about tonight is "the good fight is fought with a sweaty passion that develops only when the evenness of our soul is upset."  God's goodness and faithfulness is always there, and sometimes we notice it regardless of what we are going through, but so often it takes the challenges and struggles, the annoying things of life, to remind us to pay attention to it.  And through it all, God grows us and draws us closer to Him.  That makes the annoyances and down times of life not just bad things, but through God's grace they can transform into opportunities to get closer to Him and to know Him better.

I say this today, let's see if I can really say this again when it's more than just an annoying Monday.  I hope so.  God has seen me through so many miserable and difficult experiences and I hope this repeated lesson, that sticks a little more each and every time I have to learn it, becomes more and more of my first reaction when things turn sour.  We shall see, hopefully no time soon, though. ;-)

04 October 2007 @ 10:47 am

This update comes live from Wichita, Kansas, the next stop on the journey of my life.  Before I started writing this I read through some of my entries from Chicago.  My how I miss that city.  Not just the city, but I miss the life I lived there.  I miss Cook County Hospital and the craziness and unpredictablity of each day.  I miss working with the poor and homeless and sick.  I miss walking down the crowded streets and the strongest sense of "home" I've ever felt anywhere outside Pittsburgh.  I miss the friends I made there and the fun things we did.  How quickly it all happened and ended and how far along we are all into the next phases of our lives.  I have been in Wichita now for two months and while I wouldn't say I love it, I'm happy to be here.  Grad school is so different from college in that it takes up about 10% of my time.  I go to class one day a week for not even a full day and spend the rest of the week at my internship.  My MSW internship is only similiar to my BSW internship in that I am in a hospital, but the two experiences can't be more different!  At Cook County I was on my feet and working with a constant flow on clients from 8am when I got there, straight until 4:30 when I left.  Here at St. Joseph Hospital I sit in our office on the 5th floor, far away from any patients and help with program organizing for the new dometsic violence ER response program.  It is completely different work which has been interesting, but is getting to be a little boring, and I'm starting to miss the human interaction you have with clients when you work on a more clinical level.

It's funny the things I am learning through this process.  Cook County was so exhausting.  When I first started here at St. Joseph I thought I was going to love the more administrative program organizing work.  And I do really enjoy it.  For the past couple months I have been thinking that perhaps administrative work is what I want to do with my social work career.  Now I am swinging back in the direction of wanting to do direct practice.  I wonder if I'll ever figure out what I want to do with my life.  I suppose I don't really need to though.  I can do so much with my MSW degree that if I start doing one thing and get tired of it, I can switch and do something different.  All I know is I want to serve people, and as long as I can do that in some capacity--whether it's helping with direct services for individuals, or helping to organize a new program that will serve a whole group of people in need-- I know I can be happy in my work.

I have been reading a book by CS Lewis in which he talks about "the future" as a Christian's biggest distraction from doing God's will.  Hello that was convicting.  I spend so much time thinking about what I am going to do once this quick year is over with, and I would argue rightfully so.  Once I graduate my student loans will kick in and need to be payed off, I will have to find a job, a place to live... all of which is such a mystery to me.  But I think it's true that all my focus on the future- what do I want to do, where do I want to live, etc- is distracting me from the here and now.  I don't want to spend this year just waiting for it to be over or planning for what I will do once it's over.  I don't want to let it breeze by without getting as much as I can out of it, not just my masters degree and another internship experience to add to my resume.  I want to enjoy it, I want to experience it and to LIVE it while I have it because heaven knows how fast a school year goes by and this will be over.  I believe with all my heart there is no other place in the world I am supposed to be right now other than Wichita, Kansas and that there are things God has for me that can only be here.

So on and on this life goes and the lessons God teaches me are ever new yet familiar.  The experiences are full and exciting, no mountaintops without some valleys or joys without sorrows; all an incredible mossaic that, in the end, will make up the pieces of a beautiful master piece that only God, the artist of my life, can construct.  And while I don't if anyone even reads this anymore, it's a nice reminder for me to be able to look back and see all the amazing places God has taken me and the things He is teaching me, and how it's all strung together and working together to lead me into the next adventure, which (as I am newly reminded) I don't have to worry about today.  The future will take care of itself, and with God guiding me, I know I have nothing to worry about.

09 May 2007 @ 09:27 pm
It's been a while since I've written.  Here I am at the end of the semester.  Our friends Tiffany and Carmie just packed up a U-haul and moved out of their apartment tonight.  They are headed back to Spring Arbor to graduate.  It's SO.WEIRD.  This has gone so fast.  It was so sad to say goodbye to those girls.  Our friendship just started to form a few weeks ago, and now none of us know when or if we will see eachother again.  We are all from so many different places and headed in so many different directions.  Chicago has been our one common ground for such a brief blink in our lives.  I wish we had more time.  The people I have met here are friends I wish I could get to know better, spend more time with, share more memories with.  But we didn't know how fast it would go, we didn't know how much we'd enjoy eachother once we started hanging out outside of our classes and events.

There is so much going through my mind right now.  I'm sitting in my 14th floor, non-air conditioned sticky downtown Chicago apartment, about to graduate, move somewhere new, go to grad school, watch best friends move on to grad school and get married, yet I sit here tonight with nothing to do but ponder the unknown of the future.  I'm sitting in the corner of the living room with my laptop on our flimspy round card table sitting on one of our folding chairs, our one fan is blowing on high and my eyes getting dried out.  LOST is on and Kate is eating ice cream straight out of the carton.  Kelly is getting her goodbye gifts together for her 4th graders and Christina is sitting across from me writing a thank you note to her internship site supervior.  In 2 days we will follow in Tiffany and Carmie's footsteps and leave this city and branch away in so many different directions.  Kate is getting married, Kelly is going to be a teacher in Chicago Public Schools, Christina's off to start a 3 year masters program in Philadelphia and I'm... just all over the place.  Pittsburgh, Grand Rapids, Wichita, back to PIttsburgh, back to Chicago, Pittsburgh again and then back out to Wichita for a year, not without flying back to Pittsburgh two weekends in a row next fall to stand up in two weddings, then Mozambique next summer.  How simple our lives look in this moment.  How blessed we are to have it.  Or at least the appearance of it.  Inside we are freaking out about jobs, grad programs and final wedding plans, but at least right now we are living in apartment 14K and watching LOST like always.  We are college students, like we have been for the past 4 years, even though today we went to our very last college class.  We are kids a little bit still, even though we are so grown up and have become so independent and mature, not just this semester in Chicago but over the past 4 years.  But no matter how grown up we are right now, it still doesn't stop up from singing kid songs around the dinner table like we did a few hours ago.  I can't belive how close my roommates and I have gotten in such a short time.  Somehow, this semester has been everything I thought it would be.  And my expectations are always higher than realistically possible.

So I sit here and LOST just ended and we are flipping through a Victoria's Secret Swimsuit magazine that came to our mailbox under someone else's name and  talking about how unrealistic it is for such skinny women to have such big boobs, and we have so much to be to thankful for and so much to look forward to.  Ready or not in two days we are stepping into it- this college graduate life, and even though it's scarry, it's going to be great.
09 April 2007 @ 10:43 pm
This past week my tears outlasted the pack of Kleenex I bought for my purse by a landslide.  My tears accompanied me on the plane ride home to Pittsburgh, and again today flying back to Chicago.  Was I ready to come back?  Was I ready to go back to life as "normal" without my Grandma and without Mrs. Risner?  Ashley put it best when she said the saddness hits you at the most random times.  There were two little babies on the flight and for a moment I envied their freedom to cry so expressively.  This past week was beautiful, and I say that with complete sincerity.  God's hand was all over the place.  Both funerals were so difficult, but each of them were so special.   Mrs. Risner's is not mine to write about, although I will say I have never been to a funeral that was such a testimony to God's goodness and an individual's unswerving faith and strength.  For as sad as it was, there was comfort knowing that everything was exactly the way Barb had planned it, right down to the songs and the message of salvation.  Ashley, her sister Emily and her dad were so strong.  They handled the day with as much grace as their mom handled her whole illness.  Such a beautiful celebration of an amazing woman's life.

My Grandma's funeral was surreal.  Barb's funeral was one I was able to anticipate, especially over the past month when things declined so rapidly.  My Grandma's death was out of nowhere.  When my dad told me through his choked up voice on the phone that day, I couldn't register what he was saying.  Grandma?  That's not the death I was expecting to hear about.  That weekend was such a whirlwind  going from one funeral to another, hosting all the Barry family at my house.  The beauty in that ordeal was how my family came to together.  This was the first time as far as I can remember that every family member was together.  It had been a good 10 years since we've seen one of my uncles and 4 years since we've seen the majority of everyone else-- 4 years ago at my Grandpa's funeral.  Despite the difficulty of the circumstances, everyone genuinely enjoyed eachother and it was the first time we were all together that everyone commented that we need to all get together again sometime, under better circumstances.

Timing is an interesting thing.  Just this semester my Grandma and I started e-mailing eachother.  I had so long wanted to have a relationship with her and I was loving getting to talk to her more, even just through e-mail.  I had been trying to talk my parents into going on vacation to Arizona this summer and finally seeing where she's been living the past several years.  I really wanted to get to know my Grandma.  It was so hard to comprehend that she was gone, just as I was getting to know her, and  when there was so much more I wanted to know.  Even though I didn't get to know her very well, in those last e-mails she sent me I know that she loved me and was proud of me.  That, I will never forget.  And despite the tragedy of her passing, through my family getting together and the conversations that undoubtedly come up during times like these, I feel like I finally got to know my Grandma.  Everyone sat around one night and all worked on the eulogy my aunt was going to say at the funeral.  It was so beautiful to see my dad and his four siblings sit around and talk about their memories of their mom.  I learned things I never knew.  Even though my Grandma hadn't lived in Pittsburgh for several years, there were so many people from home who came to the funeral home and sent letters to my dad and aunts and uncles telling them how sorry they were to hear of her passing and what a special lady she was.

As I landed at Midway this evening, I knew I was ready to be back.  As I write this, I know it's ok to still be sad, but I also know that God is amazing.  There is no way to describe how strongly His presense was felt this week.  It was like blessed sorrow.  If there is every a perfect example of Romans 8:28 it was this past week.  God provided (through SO MANY dear friends), comforted, and healed in a way that only He can do.  My relatives and I all took a lot of pictures all weekend because we never really know when we will all see eachother again.  I've looked at them a lot since everyone left and it's awesome that I smile and occassionally laugh, despite the circumstances that surround the pictures.  God is good, and while things aren't always easy, He's always there to help us through.
01 March 2007 @ 10:06 pm
You know it's going to be an interesting day when you walk off the elevator onto the 8th floor to Med Surg and see a pool of blood, and follow a bloody trail down the hall into the unit waiting room where it tapers off, and then never know how or where it came from.  Just another at County.

Only at County will I have my talent and ability as a social worker criticized, and my career plans and faith of all things, be put down.  Just another day at county.

Only at County will I work with a patient who had a total hip replacement due to a gun shot wound, someone so messed by drugs and alcohol that he is diagnosed AMS--altered mental status-- who I, the other social work, OR the doctors were able to communicate with, someone who signs out AMA--agaist medical advice-- with a bleeding amputation and severe heart condition, and someone who "only" dealt drugs for nine years all in one week.  Just another day at county.

Only by God's grace do I have an amazing unit supervisor who encourages my professional abilities and defended my faith to those who put me down and will pray with and for me.  Just another day as a child of the King.

Only by God's grace do I work with three other interns who I can talk to and who will affirm and relate to the frustrations of working at County.  Only by God's grace have I found such a support system in such a huge hospital, and then be able to come home and have three amazing roommates who are amazingly loving and supportive.  Just another day as a child of the King.

Only by God's grace do I feel so blessed to be among the so disfortunate, the homeless, the poor, the extrememly and unnecessarily ill.  Only by God's grace does my heart break everyday for them and through them I learn more and more about the injustices that we endure, and don't endure, who some can't endure.  Only by Him do I learn about His intense love and our complete and utter dependence on Him for the reconcilliation and healing of all that is "sick" in our world.  Only by God's grace do I get to be a teeny part of His plan, a little glimmer of light in someone's day, and a little part of something so much bigger than I even know.

All in all, it's just another day at County.
24 February 2007 @ 01:25 pm
Things that I'm loving:
- After this week I feel like I have the hang of discharge planning.  My case load was up to 5 on Friday which was great.  It's crazy balancing everyone's situations and trying to work stuff out for them.  I've successfully mastered the process of ordering "durable medical equiptment" (DME) for several patients and faxing chart info to other hospitals for rehab transfers and getting in touch with family members and working out insurance (lack thereof) issues.

- I can go behind the desk at the clerk and nurses stations and have access to patient's medical records and computer files.  It feels pretty powerful. ;-)

- I'm learning a ton about different medical conditions and hearing a lot of crazy injury stories.

- I'm reading two books right now:  Grand Central Winter is about homelessness, written by a man telling his story about how he went from having a job and pretty "normal" life to living on the streets.  Uninsured in America: Life and Death in the Land of Opportunity is just a cool dramatic title for a book, but is a book based on interviews of 120 men and women around America who have no health insurance.  I just started it yesterday, but it's kinda like case-studies/ stories about people's lives and how they deal with healthcare and lack of insurance.  It's awesome to read because in my month at the hopsital, I've only come across one patient who had insurance.  And the fact that she had insurance seriously threw us off.  My supervisor even called it a "twist" in the case.  That's how rare it is!

Things that are challenging:
- Dennis is having me organize the social work in-services which I really don't want to do.  Every other Tuesday morning a different vendor comes in and provides breakfast and does a presentation for an hour about an issue pertaining to their agency that will enlighten us hospital social workers to refer our patients to their services.  It's a really good idea, but I've only been there hardly a month and a) I don't know what topics the social work staff wants/needs to hear about and b) don't know where to find these speakers... I have a book of hundreds of agencies in city but don't know how to go about finding someone to come speak.  I made up a "topic idea" form for the social work staff to check next to topic ideas that I came up with that they would like to hear about or fill in ideas of their own,  but seriously the social work staff is so big and there is not one main office they all report to so not only do I not know who all the social workers are, they have no idea I'm alive!  It's just a frustrating sitaution.

- Being knowledgable about resources in this city has been a challenge becauase I have been working with patients on rehab referrals, for example,  and don't know anything about the rehab options to be able to say "this is a good place" or even "this is close to your home so your family can get there easily."

- Learning how to be compassionate but professional at the same time, and listening to people talk about how they are feeling, but also being time efficienct and productive.  I've sometimes had to cut some people off  in order to go get to my other cases.  It's a difficult  balance right now.

-  Busy busy busy!!  My days are so long and draining!  It's been so refreshing to get off work and turn my phone back on and hear voicemails from you or find an email when I get home!  Thanks for being so wonderful!  I miss you girls and hope to see you all out here in the next couple months!! :-)

Love, Jamie

2/14: Joffrey Ballet

            There were lots of things that I loved about the ballets on Wednesday.  It was interesting thinking about the title of the night: Destiny’s Dances.  In Les Presages the Green amphibian-looking man seemed to represent Fate.  Throughout the movements of the ballet, he disrupts what is going on by creating temptation for passion and confusion through movement.  However in the end, fate dies and does not interrupt the courses of other’s destinies.  As was stated in our information, it speaks to the power of good over evil; that we can choose our destinies and not just be pawns of fate.

            Apollo also spoke toward destiny, however the message was not that we choose our own destinies, but that we are bound by our destiny.  When Apollo was born he was destined to be a god.  He had no choice but the fulfill this calling and climb Mount Olympus.  Even though he was destined to do this, he was not left alone to fulfill this difficult task, he was provided with his three muses to support him along the way up to his decent of Mount Olympus, at which time he fulfilled his destiny.

            The third ballet, The Green Table, was my favorite, even though I loved all three.  It asked the question, are we destined to be a world of war?  There was a lot of cool symbolism.  Dance is very powerful and can do so many things.  It can express emotion and create emotion; it can tell a story and in the case of The Green Table, make a powerful statement.  It was interesting how war was personified throughout the ballet.  With the lighting, costume and war paint, war was expressed as savage and uncivilized, and always lurking about.  It was the cause of so much pain that you want to banish war from the scene to bring relief and life again, yet it is always there as our uncontrollable destiny.

10 February 2007 @ 05:10 pm
1. Long Underwear- don't leave home without it.  Seriously.
2. My hat- there are no more good hair days or bad hair days, just hat hair days, but miraculously, those aren't too bad.
3. The transfer at Jackson from the red line to the blue line.  No more 22 Clark bus down the Lake.  Thank goodness.
4. Carrying my heels in my bag when I wear my boots to work.  Ooh yeah dress pants tucked into snow boots.
5. Apartment 14K at 1120 La Salle and the awesome girls who live there.
6. Re-blowing up my air matress every night before going to bed.
7. The view outside our ceiling-to-floor windows.
8. Watching Reba and Scrubs when I get home from work.
9. Icecream banana sundae nights.
10. ALL the amazing things to do here, like today, going to The Chocolate Fest at the conservatory!
10 April 2005 @ 05:44 pm
I died and went to heaven this weekend, and it couldn't have happened at a better time. I house-sat with my friend Lauren at this GORGEOUS huge house on Reeds Lake. I don't know where to begin in describing my weekend-- I went over to this house late Friday night before Lauren, she gave me directions, and the garage door opener, and as soon as I got there and opened the garage door from the street, I could hear this scarry loud barking. Not being much of a dog person I dreaded what I was about to deal with when I walked through the door, but this dog ended up being my best friend this weekend. I'm serious- she was the sweetest thing! She followed me around and would lay outside with me or would follow me around the house. I decided if I ever live on my own, I want to get a big dog like her. Not only was she great company, it just felt safer having a big dog with a big bark around, espcially when I was at the house by myself.

I stayed in this huge room with a big bed and a couch, a couple chairs, a coffee table-- honestly I've never seen so much furniture in one room! I had my own *amazing* bathroom attached right there to the bedroom. The backyard had a gorgeous big porch and inground pool (it wasn't open yet) and the yard went right up the edge of the lake. It was so beautiful! Saturday morning I slept in til about 11:30 and went running in the neighborhood there. It felt so amazing to get my heart and lungs going. I finally felt alive again. I had been so drained and exhausted that "dead" was the only word to describe how I felt. The Lord definiately renewed me. After I went running I took my Bible and journal down to the little dock on the edge of the water and spend some time with God. He spoke so much to me this weekend-- sometimes it just takes getting away from the craziness of life so you can hear His gentle whispers. And it's His gentle whispers that just send a peace to flood over my heart and into my soul.

Saturday afternoon I sat outside soaking in the sun and getting a lot of studying done. It is so much easier to study away from the dorms. There was no hurry to get through anything, I just took my time going through my notes and book and I feel like I actually learned the stuff. The weather was so amazing yesterday! Perfectly clear and it was warm enough to sit outside in shorts and a tanktop, but not soo hot that you were sweating to death. Around 5:30 Lauren's mom brought Chinese food for dinner which was great. I took a looong shower and Lauren left for the night so I just sat in the huge living room with Annie (the dog) watching Miss Congeniality and The Divine Secrets of the YaYa Siterhood and worked on my English paper on my laptop. The night of solitude was such a blessing. I guess in a way it taught me that I'm ok on my own. I don't NEED to be with other people all the time to enjoy myself. When Lauren and some of her friends came back around midnight to watch a movie, I found myself disappointed that I had company again.

By the time I got up this morning Lauren and her friends who slept over were gone to church so I had the house to myself again. I went outside (with the dog :)) and did my devotions and went for a run again. I didn't plan to but it was so nice outside and it felt so good to run yesterday I just had to. Another mini blessing was I miraculously figured out how to use my mp3 player-- I put a couple cds on there and stumbled across how to switch from folder to folder. So that was fun to listen to a variety of music while I ran. When I got back to the house I just layed on the dock by the water and I was amazed by how refreshed and alive I felt. I really hate that I had to leave. :-P It was like my own personal mini spiritual retreat like what nvw has every year and I couldn't go to this year cuz I don't live there anymore. It made me excited for the summer and hopefully gave me what I need to get through the rest of this year. I learned it's true that I don't understand God's ways, and despite the blind turns, sudden dead ends and rocky roads, things always end up right somehow. He really does know what He's doing and we just have to trust Him even when we don't get it. I also learned that when we hit our wit's end (Psalm 107- look it up its great) God comes to us and calms the storms in our lives. He never leaves us with more than we can handle. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. This weekend away came in God's perfect timing! I'm glad that it happened, but so sad that its over!!
Current Mood: happyhappy
05 April 2005 @ 06:21 pm
These weren't the lyrics I was looking for- when I find them I'll post them, but in the mean time, I love these lyrics- I'm not sure if I've even heard the song, but I couldn't put it any better than the way this song goes. Now I know lryics are never that fun to read, but these are really good- so just give them a glace! :-P
Nicole Nordeman-

Oh, Great God, be small enough to hear me now.
There were times when I was crying from the dark of Daniel's den;
And I have asked you once or twice if You would part the sea again.
But tonight I do not need a fiery pillar in the sky.
Just want to know you're gonna hold me if I start to cry.
Oh great God, be small enough to hear me now.

Oh great God, be close enough to feel You now.
There have been moments when I could not face Goliath on my own.
And how could I forget we've march around our share of Jerichos.
But I will not be setting out a fleece for You tonight.
Just want to know that everything will be alright.
Oh, great God, be close enough to feel You now.

All praise and all the honor be;
To the God of ancient mysteries.
Whose every sign and wonder turn the pages of our history.
But tonight my heart is heavy,
And I cannot keep from whispering this prayer.
Are You there?

And I know You could leave writing on the wall that's just for me.
Or send wisdom while I'm sleeping, like in Solomon's sweet dreams.
But I don't need the strength of Samson or a chariot in the end...
Just Want to know that You still know how many hairs are on my head.
Oh, great God, be small enough to hear me now.
Current Mood: hopefulhopeful