holding fast

Fasting has been the agenda for today and I have honestly not desired food yet.  I have just been stuck in thought.  However, food has not yet really entered my thought.  I find it weird but most of the time that I have fasted in my life, I have not really desired food.  Hopefully, God has gifted me in this area so that I can do it and do it as well as I can. 

But God is revealing a whole lot to me.  I know that God is calling us to magnificent things but they are yet to be revealed to me.  Everything seems to be bottled up in God’s mind right now and I am desperate to find it out which is what fasting should be.  I had a fresh insight about fasting yesterday.  It truly encouraged to continue seeking opportunities to do so.  Fasting is really just holding fast to God.  Really, it is trusting Him to keep you alive. 

Anyways, I found some examples of people who fasted, check them out when you get the chance. 

Three weeks of fasting:  Daniel in Daniel 10:2,3  

Forty days of fasting:  Moses in Exodus 24:18; 34:28; Deut. 9:9,18
                                        Elijah in 1 Kings 19:8
                                        Jesus in Matt. 4:2; Mark 1:12,13; Luke 4:1,2

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Wreck update

I got in a wreck as most of you know.  I am ok.  I hated it by the way.  Don’t ever wish for anyone to get in a wreck.  It hurts. 

So here are some updates:
I am ok, everyone else is ok.
My wallet will not be ok for the next 3 years.  Don’t ask for money until then.
I hate American cars.  They break easy.  The Chevrolet Monte Carlo basically disintegrated when I hit it at 45.  Cheapo.
My Honda Civic is in the shop for the next 2 weeks.  I am getting a new windshield, a new radiator, a new hood, a new front bumper, a new paint job on the front, a new set of airbags (why do airbags cost $1,000 a piece – why did the passenger airbag go off when nobody was in it? was it trying to protect my cds or something?). 
I did not break my wrist.  It felt like it at first, but I am a pansy, whiny baby.  It is ok.  Sore but ok. 
I did hurt my neck however.  Pray for it.  My friend Lindsay had some leftover drugs from her accident a while back that she is going to let me use.  I will be feeling good in a little bit, thank you very much.  I don’t think whiplash occured, except for the pain in my muscles. 
I do accept any donations to the pay-for-Jason’s-insurance-raising fund.  Cash and checks, as well as Visa, accepted.
Meals will also be accepted for the pain and suffering.

I am kidding.  I am ok.  But all those things above are still true. 

Stories from the peninsula pt. 3

Like all good trilogies, this one must come to an end.  I am sorry, but vacation will not be referred to on here again.  Please ask for more information, if need be. 

This one will be the shortest of the three.  It will not be long, because it will be brief.

Insights from trip:
Live life to the full.  Don’t forsake what is in front of you, take a hold of it.  Always be the first to initiate a conversation because you may not get another chance.  Try to learn to break the ice because most people are shy around new people. 

Ok, the main thing I learned was that I love people.  I like rides, but I love people.  If I had to choose, I would rather talk to someone, than just enjoy something else with someone.  This is weird for me, because it used to be, that whenever I had music on, I didn’t want to talk anyone but now I don’t want to have music on because I might hinder a conversation from starting.  What is going on in my life.  It is crazy.  Pray for me. 

Stories from the peninsula pt. 2

Conversations take my soul to a whole new life.  Especially if they involve stories.  I am a lover of stories which is why I think I would have fit in with the Israelites or the early church.  All they did was tell stories, it seems like.  That is what I want my life to be. 

Of course, conversations took place between Tim and I, which brought us to a new level of connection.  Life-changing as those conversations were, this blog will be about the conversations of people whom I met randomly on my trip. 

Steven – husband (#1): Well, the setting is in a Mystery Theater Show, one of those shows that reminds me of Clue.  You watch the action take place and you, at your table, are supposed to guess who did it.  This is a great show, because it is funny, suspenseful (me being the drama queen), and last of all, but best, it contains a meal.  Food and I go together like peanut butter and jelly.  So during the course of the meal, all the people at my table were talking, Tim’s parents, I, Tim, a couple from Tampa, and a couple from Orlando.  We all start chit-chatting and come to find out the man from Orlando is going to seminary and he is a counselor from a correctional facility.  He works with people deeply affected by addictions and drugs.  He was talking about how he desires for people to see Christ in all that they do.  He wants to be an advocate for change in the area of counseling because he felt as if counseling will not do what it was designed to do without an acknowledgement of Christ’s redemptive work.  Pray for Steven as he is studying seminary.  Pray for his wife with her legs, she had some type of leg issue.  Pray for the other couple at the table who was really quiet.  Pray for their faith because they recently became believers. 

Insight during the trip:  Tim and I were sitting in the hot, hot sun at Universal and we were enjoying our fast-melting Dippin’ Dots.  I was just sitting there baking under God’s creation and I remember just thinking that I wanted to have conversation with these people.  I wanted to enjoy others more than just ride a ride.  I wanted to stand in line and wait for God’s heaven to be brought to earth. 

Crowd of people (#2):  Well, this group of people were amazing.  A Muslim family from Michigan, who were on vacation celebrating Father’s Day.  A Christian family from Ohio just coming to enjoy the great Florida weather as well as to partake of Disney World.  Both families had 3 girls.  The setting for this group was by the pool at our resort.  It was Wednesday and the Degroots and I had chilled all day because of our long day at Universal the previous day.  We weren’t doing anything but then that night, the resort put on a karoake night, which I don’t like to sing for.  I don’t know why that is, maybe because it reminds me of American Idol, which I think is the demise of Western society.  However, the singers were not that good and the dancing was horrific.  So Tim decides to take it to a whole new level and performs “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee-gees.  Amazing.  Utterly amazing.  Sorry no videos were shot.  But all this led to a great conversation about everything from the giftirngs of Tim’s charsimatic character to the best vacations to take.  It was a montage of laughter and stories that made me yearn for a family of my own.  Pray for the Muslim family, who need to see the way to Jesus.  Pray for them to take what they have learned in their faith and apply it to following Jesus.  Pray for the family from Ohio, blessings of life in Christ to continue.  Pray for their upcoming mission trip. 

John, husband, father of 8, all around hard worker (#3):  Well, setting: in line for Suess’ Trolley Train Ride, at Islands of Adventure.  Tim and I were having our usual banter of non-sense, when all of a sudden, topics changed to meaningful. We started talking about pastors who have worked hard with amazingly long hours and odd jobs on the end to make ends meet while studying for a full-time load of classes as well as a wife and kids.  Then the guy in front of us, a huge guy from Michigan, overheard our conversation and said that he had been doing all those things for a few years now.  He said that he was tired at fast but then started to see the benefits of his sacrifice.  He also told us about his wife, who runs a daycare for 20 kids every week.  Hard working family.  They deserve their vacation.  Wow.  Did I mention they have 8 kids?  They put my laziness to shame.  Wow, I want to work hard like that.  He is also trying to start his own business.  Pray for blessings in John’s life in all that he does.  Pray that his children will be able to be just as hard working as their dad is.  Pray for him to be able to find more room for God in his life. 

Ok, so I am going to spare you the rest of the stories.  But here are the other people we met that you can pray for: 

(#4)Lady in Cat in the Hat ride which we also saw again when she was in front of us with her 8 year old son in Poseidon’s Fury.  Pray for her frustrations with life recently. 

(#5) Lady above’s sister and her two young daughters who work for the U.S. government in Ecuador – amazing stuff there.  Pray for them to catch a glimpse of God. 

(#6) Two girls who sat in front of Tim and I while we were in the Eighth Voyage of Sindbad.  Notice the “d” at the end of Sin (what is up with that).  They were funny.  It seems like God has been preparing Tim for youth ministry a lot because he was able to relate really well.  Interesting stories came from that conversation.  Pray for them to see God in their lives. 

(#7-15) Tim and I were at the pool hanging out again, when we started playing with a kickball that we found.  We kept pegging each other in the head.  Great fun.  Then all these kids started joining us.  It was so much fun.  We didn’t want to throw the kickball at their heads so we took a beach ball and started hitting it in the air.  But all these kids had parents and they started talking to me for some reason.  It was great.  The people from group #2 were back with their kids.  That was great to see them again.  But there was this kid named Zane who was so full of life that it was contagious.  He had many stories to share about his day at the Magic Kingdom.  It was great.  He told us about how he met Jack Sparrow and got to fight with a sword with him in the street in front of all those people.  However, the amazing part came when I got to meet Zane’s grandfather who was from Mississippi.  He is a shipworker named Tom.  Amazing stories came out of this guy.  He told me about how he feels that the church should love more like people have been doing through the efforts to help rebuild what Hurricane Katrina destroyed.  He said that he was frustrated with the way the church was doing things lately.  He wanted to see more lives being changed and wanted to see more homes being shared as well as people helping out and building things for others in need.  He told me about mission trips he had been on to Brazil, Honduras, Guatemala.  Amazing stuff.  Very strong man of God.  Pray that he keeps the faith and finishes strong (that was his prayer for me). 

All these conversations have opened up my eyes.  But one thing I wrote in my journal that is a cry of my heart: 
“I want to be a professional conversationalist, showing people how to share their lives, not just with words but through realness and authenticity that transcends a conversation but leads to changed lives.” 

Stories from the peninsula pt. 1

I haven’t got a chance to write about my vacation so this will be it. Part 1 hopefully. Maybe even a trilogy, I have always wanted to write one of those.

Well I guess I am going to tactfully attack this vacation in word using various topics.
Part 1 will be about roller coasters or rides in general from U.S. (Universal Studios).
Part 2 will be about conversations that changed my life during the trip.
Part 3 will about refreshments and insights that I gained for my life through vacation.

I wish Universal Studios Florida had more roller coasters. It had a couple, the Mummy and the Woody Woodpecker Nuthouse Coaster. Both were good. But I needed more. I needed a lot more.

I needed a ride that captivated me with fear. One that sent me to the bench to adjust for air. One that brought childhood to the forefront in my sight. One that let me breathe new life. But none came. I enjoy rides and shows but what I really long for is roller coasters. There were some decent ones at Universal Studios as well as Islands of Adventure (Jurassic Park River Adventure – more of a water ride but still good, the Mummy, the Hulk, Dueling Dragons, etc…). I really enjoyed my time there but the aspect of rides left me wanting more. Left me feeling unsatisfied.

What I am learning is that I am not so easy to please. It takes a lot to captivate me. What I was longing for the whole trip was relationships. Adventures through life. Not sitting on a ride that is trying to please me but will always come short. I learned through the let-downs of the rides that I don’t like sitting back and letting life happen. I want to be a part of it.

Even though, I got let-down because I had the expectation that childhood was going to come back to me through this trip, I really am excited that I went with Tim and his family. It truly changed my life. It truly was an excitement.

More to come ….

theme song

Oh man. I have so much to write about. It is amazing to get thoughts out there for people to see. It is sharing stories with people, which is up my alley (this is what I live for). I want to continue to pray that God can let me share my life with others. I have had so many experiences lately that have changed how I view my relationship with people. Utterly astounding.

Well, as always, I need to write about the song of the week for me.

This week is different. Last week, I was in Orlando visiting Universal Studios and my iPod messed up. Nothing could be listened to by me. So I got to hear a sweet sound. Silence. The lack of noise that annoys but when you continue through the silence it turns out to be like Elijah. God will speak to you if you shut up enough to listen.

But every since coming back I have realized what I want to be the greatest hit of the week.

I want a theme song. Have any of you ever wanted to have a theme song? Am I the only one? I once saw an episode of Family Guy, where Peter Griffin had a theme song playing everywhere he went. Wow, that is what I want.

A theme song. It has to be written by John Williams. Who else could do such astounding work? Well, let me tell you. Danny Elfman can do a great job (he wrote the music for all of Tim Burton’s movies and some others including the Simpsons theme song). Beethoven could do it if he was still alive. Tupac could do it (he’s done more since he died – come on, he can do anything). I think there are many choices to chose from.

Ok choosing from John Williams because I heart John Williams. Let’s start with all the obvious (Superman, Jurassic Park, Star Wars, Harry Potter etc…). Let’s see:
Jaws has a nice ring to it. But the whole minor 2nd gets old after a while.
Schindler’s List is always a tear-jerker, but too sad for my life. My life is happy, that won’t work.
Somewhere in my memory (Home Alone) is a favorite of mine but too creepy and too Christmas sounding.
Superman’s theme song would probably be my choice if it wasn’t for the most recent Superman movie. That ruined almost all things Superman for a little bit in my mind.

So here we go, I got it.

Olympic Fanfare and Theme. John Williams wrote this anthem for the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Utterly astounding. I love the trumpet work (I majored in trumpet in college – if a symphony is playing, trumpets have to be good). The string work is captivating. One of my favorite sounds is a snare drum in the Civil War-style (with flams and all). This song features it. Good stuff all around.

Starting at 2’54’, the song takes an amazing turn. It turns into an all-encompassing speaker moment. The low brass takes a new depth of fullness. The high brass ring out with a strange clarity. The snare drum is going at it along with the bass drum. I love it.

For this song to have to be my anthem, I have to cut it down. It would have to be a long moment of exhilaration for the whole song to be played.

If I was in love right now, for my theme song I would have to choose “Across the Stars” (Love theme from Star Wars, Episode 2).

If I wanted to be cliche, I probably would have chosen “Duel of the Fates” from Star Wars Episode 1. Amazing stuff there. However, I don’t go cliche. But I will say that this was my number 2 choice.

God is funny, sometimes.

I am learning that God has an odd sense of humor.  Almost sadistic sometimes.  I know you might think that I am blaspheming but I am just sharing my thoughts.  All glory to Him.

He is just odd and weird.  Somewhat quirky in my opinion.

So my day has been odd.  I had a great time of reading this morning.  I read some of Brian McLaren’s book “The Story we find ourselves in”.  Good book so far.  It is a fiction book that really makes you think.  Look at it and discover some unique perspectives.  One thought that changed my life this morning was when the character was describing how Abraham was told by God that he would be blessed but that he would also be a blessing.  Blessed but to a blessing.  Radical thought.  He was blessed so that he would be a blessing.  This is amazing to me.  This puts everything into perspective for me.

Another thought from book:  Too many times we get caught in the debate of being chosen by God.  Yes, election.  Too many debates have been sparked by the idea of election.  But the character in the book said that that was sad and that we should stop debating and start asking why.  “Why were we chosen” should be our focus.  Amazing.  We are chosen to bless others.

I was chosen to bless others.  This has been my prayer all day.  I want to love my neighbor as myself.  I want to bless others.  That is something that I feel is possible.  Most times I feel as if God calling me is impossible but today I felt a sense of assurance and hope.  Wow.

So how was God funny today?  Well I was praying to be a blessing to my neighbors and not ten minutes later passed before I rammed into the back of the car in front of me.  Ouch.  What a God we serve.

P.S.  I’m ok.  Everyone else was ok.  Ask me about it and you will get a great story.

Pray for my wrist, it might be broken.