Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Power of Words Part 1

This morning I woke up thinking about the power of the tongue and spoken word. I don’t often wake up with Scripture on my mind, but today was different, and I took note of it.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue and those who love it will eat of its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21.

Happy New Year? 

While I’m not entirely convinced that writing about death the first day of 2012 paves the way for a burgeoning blog readership, I am convinced of the weightiness of the spoken word and it’s worth writing about. 

I was a communication major in school and one of my favorite professors quoted Proverbs 18:21 to us at the beginning of every session. "Death and life are in the power of the tongue and those who love it will eat of its fruit." In that, and his wise instruction, he imparted to me a simple wisdom of using, producing, and sharing words with caution. To use them wisely. He shared with me the weightiness of words-- in all avenues-- and I’m evermore convinced of this truth. Life and death are truly in the power of the tongue and my flesh has the freedom to choose which I impart to others.

Now, before I go on, let me qualify, I fail at this game. Often. I’ve been convicted this morning of the words-- backed by the ill intentions of my heart-- that i have used foolishly and the death caused by them. Call is sarcasm, mask it as "honesty", or justify it as "just a joke", the fruit of using such words is still death whether I intend for them to be or not. 

Death is brought by folly. And on the flip side, the words of a wise man bring life. I’ll talk more about that next time.

The word used for death in this verse is the Hebrew word maveth. It means death. Simple. A physical death. However, if you’re like me, you’ve never actually killed someone with your foolish words. Physically. Which is a good thing for several reasons. But we're not off the hook that easy, my friends. I have, however, killed parts of friends and loved ones that I should have protected.  Be it intentionally or unintentionally, my words have brought hurt.

Earlier in Proverbs 18, Solomon says that a fool, by the fruit of his lips, walk himself into a fight and welcomes the beating that surely follows. (vs. 6) It also says that fool’s mouth is his ruin. His lips are the snare for his soul. (vs. 7). Foolishness equals death and foolish words equal the same. Either you'll  foolishly walk yourself into a gnarly fight and croak, or your more covertly kill parts of  the person your words are directed towards. A deeming comment. A backhanded remark. A sarcastic question. A loose complaint or rebuke. They are hurtful and bring death. In short moments of foolishness, I have called to question my own character, killed and silenced loved ones, and damaged relationships that should have more important than my last word.

The power of death is in my choice to use my words foolishly. It's sin.

So, here is my exhortation. To myself and to all who will read this: repent of the death your words have brought and ask God to fill your mouth with words of wisdom. Words that will bring life. Start 2012 bent to extend life and joy with your words.

We’ll talk about that more next time.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Farewell 2011

Well December is coming to a close my friends... and you know what that means. The New Year, once again, is upon us. How about a photo recap to remember the awesomeness of 2011?

Ok. If you insist...

New Years 2011... Seoul, South Korea

 Spent the evening with some awesome sistas : )

 Before i headed home Monica Ssaim taught me how to make kimchi... and a smattering of other Korean's dishes :)

A feast we made! And what a great nite it was!  

 This was my last day of work...

To celebrate we headed to the north to go sledding on possible the coldest day of the year...

:) and then went to a water park. An indoor water park. It was awesome!

And then i went to Thailand

 where it was beautifully warm and awesome! 

I spent 10 days exploring...

and it was beautiful! 

Josh Koop and i on our last night together...

Need i say more?

With only a few hours back in Korea, i flew home... : ) 
10 hours in a Chinese airport and a 11 hour flight to California... i look happily busted to be back in California. 

Life back in California consisted of a lot of family. And time with my brother who'd grown all up while i was gone. 

Not long after returning my sweet friend Holly invited me to a Friday night Bible study... God knew just what i needed. I love these girls and am so thankful for our studies together.

It wasn't long after i returned home from Korea, within the first week actually, that i "met" and fell in love this with awesome man. And i'm so thankful i did! God knew exactly what he was doing!

Kicked off the summer in Palm Springs with the women in my family. 
Maybe the first vacation we had ever been on all together.

Kelly Guynn got married. Whoa to the whoa! 

Randy and i got together June 4th... and it was only the "start" something really wonderful. :)

Heather and i went to Seattle to visit the Guisti's... and it was AWESOME!

Pike's Place at Pike's Place. Have i mentioned that i love to travel? I do. A lot.

Disneyland was redeemed forevermore... and we'll be enjoying it often for the next year :) 
Thanks baby!

I spent most of the summer planning and preparing for Mountain Child USA's Launch Party

 With the help of many... it was an awesome success!! 

 My formal time with MC ended in October... 
but my heart to CARRY HOPE is still beating strong!

We celebrated the coming of sweet Rosie, who arrived healthy and beautiful November 14th. I remember when Heatha and i sat at lunch in high school eating carrot sticks and cookies. Look as us now... mommy and auntie. : )

Stashbash 2011... the culmination of our Family Gift of Time 2011. Each family hosted an awesome themed party... and it was wonderful! 

Nunkins and i 1930's. : )

Finished up the year with my small group. 
A few things i learned this year:
1. God voice is personal, and specific to me. He is moving intentionally and specifically in my life to accomplish his will. His Spirit is alive within me.
2. I am weak and in daily need of the Gospel
3. The love of Jesus is deeper and wider and fuller than i could ever know

And like every year, Christmas came and went as quick as ever. It was SO good to be home! 

In short, 2011 was beautifully full... in activity and awesomeness! 

Tomorrow will kindly wrap up this year, and as i look back i'm particularly thankful for God's hand in my life! He has blessed me this year, in so many ways! : )

So, here's to what will come in 2012... 

: )

On the radar:
- The LA Marathon
- Half Dome
- Turn a quarter of a century
- A wedding? 

Whatever comes, Jesus... may you be pleased! : )

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The most beautiful gift.

Today is Christmas Eve. I sit here a few hours before the family and Turduckin arrives and am just thankful.

Like many of you fellow Christmas lovers, the anticipation for Christmas has been building for quite some time. Check my Facebook countdown.  I just love Christmas. Everything about it!  I love Christmas trees. And Christmas lights.  Christmas music and cookies. I love gingerbread, and wrapping paper.  And this year I have some odd fascination with all things sequins. I've resisted the urge to buy a sequin dress to wear today. You can thank me later.

But aside from all that, I'm thankful for the greatest of this season. I'm thankful for Jesus! So much so! Because let's be honest, without the birth of him, I'd be in a whirl wind of trouble. Last night at church we wonderfully celebrated the birth of Jesus! A birth wonderfully orchestrated and perfectly timed as the onset of God's awesome salvation plan. A salvation plan that somehow included me. A most gracious, gracious plan.

You see, I'm broken. I fail and fall fantastically five thousand freakin' times a day and once more for good measure. I stumble and waiver over things that are far less than worthy and then rationalize the benefits of settling. My pride prevails and my selfishness steals. I'm not exactly the sight of holy God created man to be. And I lack the intimacy with him I was created for.

Like I said, I'm broken. And i gotten really good at masking it.

But this morning, i sit overwhelming thankful for Jesus! For all that He is! And all that He did! He was born Lord as a humble baby, sent commissioned to live a perfect life, so that he could die. And in his death-- a most perfect sacrifice-- he would pay in full the debt of my sin. In his resurrection, he would conquer death and bring salvation! He would save people of their brokenness and instate righteousness. Not a righteousness brought by anything of my own will or manufacturing, but simply and only by the beautiful cloak of Jesus' blood. A righteousness new of his likeness.

So, as awesome -- or tacky to some i guess--  it would be to rock a sequin dress, today I am choosing to remember and wear the beautiful robe of righteousness that's been placed on my shoulders. A robe of scarlet- bought by the precious blood of my King. One too royal and holy for a simple girl like me to wear. And while too beautiful and weighty, I humbly will wrap myself deep in it and be reminded that even while i was still broken, crushed under the weight of my sin, Jesus saved me and called me into his family. He has wrapped me tightly in his grace and love. And the most beautiful thing yet, he is continually saving me and transforming me. Every day. From glory to glory!

For that most beautiful gift, i am SO thankful!

So, Merry Christmas my friends! May the grace of Jesus and the sweet reminder of his beautiful gift fill you with joy!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

MountainChild USA Launch Party

So many of you know that i work for a non-profit organization called MountainChild. We work to CARRY HOPE to impoverished children living in the Himalayas.

(Yes, those are the mountains home to Mt. Everest. ) 

Almost a year ago i found myself trekking in Nepal with MountainChild and got to see first hand some of the great needs in that area of the world. Needs for improved health and access to clean water. Needs for accessible and culturally fitting education. Needs for preventative awareness to protect children and women from the schemes of sex trafficking and restoration programs to rebuild victims. And lastly, needs for improved farming techniques through environmental education and innovation to prevent child labor and to increase efficient crop yield.

These are the 5 Core Issues that the MountainChild agenda is built from. There is much work to be done... but MountainChild is moving deep into those mountains and getting it done.

At the center of it all is a greater Hope. And that is something i can stand behind!

So, here's why i write all of this. In an effort to raise greater awareness and funds for the work being done out in Nepal, MountainChild is extending its presence into North America. As we are able to share this story with more people, we are hopeful to extend our impact to the kids in Nepal. I have had the privilege of planning and preparing for that official Launch Party... and well, it's right around the corner.

Saturday September 24th, 2011 is MountainChild USA's Launch Party. It will be held in Laguna Beach at the Aliso Creek Inn at 6:00pm. This event will be an evening of great celebration! And also a prime opportunity to learn more about MountainChild, humanitarian work being done in the Himalayas, and how you can get involved-- and quite possibly visit!

I'm giving away a free ticket to this event! Dinner and entertainment in Laguna Beach... for FREE!  Yes. Free. Come on now, you're interested. I know you are!

And winning it will be easy. Here's how it works:
1. Comment on this blog entry or the Facebook post.
2. Tell your friends about MountainChild. Share on your Facebook wall.
3. Find MountainChild's Facebook Page and like it!

Easy schmeasy. I will pick a winner September 16th!

Good luck!

Village Health Clinic


Saturday, September 3, 2011

It's about time.

Hello friends!

I shall no longer call you followers because well, for a unforgivable time, I have left no trace. My bad. I have said it once and will say again... i'm a bad blogger. But you keep coming back for more! What can i say? : )

I would like to blame this most recent laps of activity to my lack of time. I know, I know and easy scapegoat, but it's the truth. The past few months have been quite busy. To say the least. This morning was the first in i can't even remember how long that i've slept past 7am. It's nearing 11am , i'm still in my PJs, and i'm slowing enjoying my third cup of coffee. I've got nothing on my mind but going to feed the ducks with my nieces and writing this blog. Can i get a "PRAISE BE"?

I've needed some good rest and i think this morning was just what the doctor ordered.

So here's a little update on my life. Not that you want, or really need one. But, you are reading my blog, and are rather subject to whatever I choose to write about. So, read it! And enjoy! In my next post, i'm giving away something free. So, come back.

Ok. Onto this update. This summer has been a blur. So much has happened that I can hardly begin to write about it myself. So how do we feel about a few photos to recap? I say, I'll save my words for another more stimulating post, bring on the photos!

Early in July i got to spend 4 days with 30 Chinese students teaching them English. It was awesome! I was a sweetly reminded just of how much i love working with people/youth. I felt so alive afterwards and it was awesome. It also made me miss Asia.

The beginning of August brought me to Seattle with my best friend. We got to spend our time there with some other great friends, Christy and Guilian (who blessed us abundantly with their kindness and hospitality!) and got to see a bit of their life as church planters in downtown Seattle. We spent that time exploring the city, venturing to the countryside, and spending some much needed sista time! My best friend is beautifully pregnant with my sweet niece who we'll welcome to the world in November! This was an awesome last hurrah before she joins us.
Yay for Rosie!
Seattle is an awesome city. I fell in love with it! Truly. I loved everything about it. The low key hum of the city. The art and culture. The city sandwiched by beautiful country. Yea, i'm much a fan and could definitely see myself living there. If only the sun shone as it does in California.

And last, but most certainly not least (and most certainly overdue)... let me introduce Randy!
In rather random, yet wonderfully awesome timing, i reconnected with Randy in a conversation about teaching English in Korea. That was almost 7 months ago.
And well, I'm a fan. A big one! Of him. Of us. Of it all!
Friends, I'm blessed! So so blessed!
: )

Well friends! That's a little update of my life! You made it to the end which means you're either semi interested in my life and what's going on or you think i'm horribly intriguing. If you fall under the latter, I welcome you to revisit this blog! If i'm able to say so humbly, it does get better than this. And well, if you're just interested in my life and what's going on... i say, "Thanks mom!" : )

From this "wanna be a cool but fail at actually" blogger, Happy Saturday!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

She followed me home.

A dog followed me home yesterday. With my ear buds in, hitting close to mile 4 I was in the "holy heck it's hot" zone. It was like 90 degrees. I was thirsty. And I was only a few short minutes from home.

Then she showed up.

She had come around the corner just as I crossed the intersection and she latched on. This furry four legged friend was now following along quite closely, attempting to keep pace. After a while of trying to ignore her, I stopped. I didn't want to detour her too far off her path. My hope was that her owner was within yelling distance. Yea, not so much. I couldn't shake this dog.

Being somewhat "hearted" (I guess the antithesis of half-hearted) i turned around and walked back to our fated corner. She was obviously thirsty and needed to find her family. So I walked around the neighborhood hoping she'd recognize her home. Or someone would recognize their dog now accompanied by a random sweaty runner with an obvious disdain for dogs. Yea, not such much. I asked neighbors. Random passerby's. Tried to get her to "relax" in the shade, while i made a dash for it. I even attempted to give her to two fellows sitting in their garage- in which she kindly roamed about. Again, not so much. This girl liked me.

Which, for so many reason is horribly ironic. The biggest being: i don't like dogs.

So, seeing that it was nearing noon, and I was already an hour ago hot and exhausted, i decided to head home. And well as you've probably already gathered, she followed along. All the way home. The whole time i was laughing. It would be me that a dog would follow home. You see, dogs favor my lap. They beg of me for food. They like to be near me, and lick me, and well, they seem to think I want the same. Besides the licking- that's rather repulsing. But, that's not the case. I don't like animals and I will openly admit that to their furry faces.

I was also a little embarrassed. The looks I got suggesting some disgust for running with a dog-a pit bull- without a leash.

She's not my dog!

By now, we had developed an hour long relationship and again, being somewhat "hearted", I couldn't bare the thought of calling animal control. So I got home. Immediately texted my boyfriend and updated my Facebook with a witty comment about the irony of it all, and tried to think through what the heck I was going to do with her. So, I gave her some water, not wanting to fully commit with a bowl of food, and let her chill. She made her rounds around our neighborhood, but every time I opened the door her two beady eyes looked up begging to come in. Yea, not so much dog. I'm not that "hearted". Plus, my other dog, Dugan, would have probably had his way with her. No baby making on my watch folks. Or puppy making. Whatever.

So, I left for church and returned to find she was gone. Disappointing end to this story? I'm not sure where to- but, i bid her farewell. And I thank her for an afternoon of borderline annoyance and a story worth sharing on my blog.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Guilty As Charged.

I am often accused of optimism. And while at a loss, most of the time, navigating how to respond to such a label, I can’t exactly disagree. I'm guilty. So shoot me. You see, in prime cliche fashion, my glass really is half full. I like it that way! While I acknowledge the pain and evil on this globe we call Earth is vast and deep, my experience proves that fixating on the problems never provided solutions. It doesn't really fix anything! What if we were to take a step back? One step out of the mire and eyes set on something more beautiful. Would that make a difference?

I am convinced that the objects you fix your eyes to, and the direction in which they are moving, makes all the difference. You can’t escape it. For where your eyes are fixed there too your feet will move. The promise of a fantastic view, will keep your feet moving upward-- past the shaky knees and screaming lungs one switchback after another. The promise of prestige will keep ones feet quick up the ladder of success. The intrigue of a connection will move sweaty palms and an awkward pick-up line across a crowded room. It’s simple. The things that captivate our affections and hold our attention will move us to tangible action-- in the direction of that object.

What about the bigger things in life? What about when life seems to be hard? What if we were to fix our eyes on beauty? On things that are most beautiful? Eyes lifted from the bad we find in this world, and fixed on the one thing that is most beautiful. Wouldn’t that change things? I have to argue, yes. Not only does it change things... it makes life just a bit sweeter!

You see, there is a beautiful Creator. One who has fashioned the world in which we live. One I have decided to fix my gaze on. One, who has captured my attention and wooed my affections. It is this Creator who has ordered and orchestrated the natural beauty I find in this world. The same Creator has also fashioned the people who fill it with capabilities and passions that reflect his grand beauty. Human hands, hearts, and minds capable of creating impressive beauty of their own!

Yes. People are hurting. Yes. People are hungry. Yes. People are dying. Starving. Suffering. I get that! I see it, and it settles deep in me. But, I have been created in the beauty of the Beautiful One, and live in a place surrounded by that same beauty. My hands have been empowered and I've been given a new heart motivated to create beauty of my own. So, with one foot in the mire, getting dirty for things that have caught my heart, I am steadfast. I am strengthened and excited! Beauty is present! It is transformative, increasingly so, in the most dire of situations in real, tangible ways. I am an agent of that! In the daily moments Beauty has the power to change things. It is on this I have chosen to set my gaze. As I do, it is changing me. As it does, the more I have to share. The more beauty in this world, the more it is changed for the better. How could it not? That is something worth getting fired up about!

In light of that, optimism is inevitable! Good things are happening and the promise of greater things is real, even when things look bleak! There is hope in that! Optimism, or maybe joy, is the fruit of that promise!

So, let my culprit be momentum, and beauty my charge-- not to positive naivety, but to action! Radical, joyful, awesome, powerful action with eyes set on that which is most beautiful! Life really is good! And Beauty really does change things!