Tuesday, December 21

Footprints in the Snow (A Snapshot of My Heart)

Before me lies a dismal scene—
Barren trees,
Muddied fields (with splotched patches of green),
and a cold, gray sky.

Raising my eyes heavenward
I wonder at my ability
To make such a mess of
Your Creation.

With upturned face,
Eyes closed,
and a whispered prayer,
Hope rises.

As light greets my opening eyes
Thick, heavy snowflakes
Fall with grace
To cover over this dead, wintry soul.

Before me lies a new scene—
Elegant, snow-covered trees,
A pure, white blanket,
and a bright, clear sky.

Raising my eyes heavenward
I wonder at Your ability
To make such beauty in
Your Creation.

And with gratitude and love,
I walk forward in grace
Leaving only footprints in the snow.

Friday, December 3

Thanksgiving

(Late, I know...)

A few days before Thanksgiving, I was lying in bed thinking about Thanksgiving. I had been super busy with work and hadn't really had any time at all to realize that Thanksgiving was almost upon me and I hadn't taken much time to enjoy the season of gratitude. This was a tragedy that needed rectifying, and so I lay awake and took a little time for reflection.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Usually it's hard for me to pick a favorite something because there is much weighing of pros and cons and difficulty deciding which pros are actually more weighty and deserve to be considered "best." But really, Thanksgiving is it for me-- my favorite. This is true for several reasons. First, because when I was growing up, Thanksgiving meant family. We always had a giant family reunion at Thanksgiving, and I love and crave time with people I love. Also, Thanksgiving foods are some of my favorite foods, especially pumpkin pie. And there is something so inviting about the colors and scents associated with autumn and Thanksgiving; they seem warm and welcoming at a time when the outside world is dull, chilly, and fast becoming lifeless. (Yes, Margie, I did just refer to autumn as inviting and warm. And I do like it...)

But most of all, I love Thanksgiving because it puts my heart in a spirit of gratitude that I don't have often enough. As I was lying in bed, I began to pray a prayer of thanks to God because I realized how incredibly blessed I am. I have two jobs that I absolutely love in a time when some have difficulty finding one job they may not really like. I have a family by whom I am deeply loved and cherished. God has blessed me with the most phenomenal friends; friends who have supported and encouraged me, drawing me closer to God through their words and the lives they live, and I know I am unworthy of such friends. Fairly recently, God has brought into my life an amazingly talented and considerate boyfriend who desires to live for and serve God. My physical needs have been more than met, and I want for nothing. In the past two years, I have seen God work in my life and the lives of others more times than I can count and in unquantifiable ways. Having my eyes opened in such a way has strengthened my faith and made God more real to me than He has ever been before. I am richly, abundantly blessed beyond what I ever could have asked.

But as I lay awake in bed thinking about all of these blessings in my life, I realized that as happy as each of these blessings have made me, they are not ultimately what I am grateful for. Because as I lay awake in bed reflecting on the physical blessings in my life, my mind was turned to the Source of those blessings. He is what I am most grateful for; not because of the good gifts and blessings He has showered me with, but because He is the Source of goodness, life, abundance, and genuine, deep joy.

May this spirit of gratitude remain in my heart. May my life be one of thanks giving in all seasons.

Saturday, November 20

Don't Forget...

The other day at work I was doing floor checks, which mostly consists of walking room to room, checking IVs to make sure they're still good, and sometimes doing some minor "patient education." I walked into one room where a very elderly lady was sitting up in bed. Her daughter and granddaughter were keeping her company.

After checking her IV, I said, "If your IV ever starts to hurt, just let your nurse know right away."

Her face became quite animated, and she exclaimed to her granddaughter, "You'd better write that down, or else I might forget!"

Doors and Windows

There's a saying-- God never closes a door without opening a window. I was thinking about it the other day, and I've decided that maybe we've got it all wrong. Maybe God closes the windows we've been desperately trying to clamber in so that we can see the open door.

Just a thought on perspective.

Tuesday, September 21

Tennessee

It is finally official. I am... a Tennessean. I have mixed feelings about this. I think I will always remain sentimentally attached to Virginia, and I will more than likely still proudly claim Virginia as my home state.


I must say, there are worse places than Tennessee to belong to, however. And so, thus begins a new chapter.



God alone knows how long I'll be here. And I think I'm glad of that.

Saturday, August 14

Lost Dreams and False Prophecies

You do not exist,
Except as a past memory
Of a future hope.

For presently,
You are not
Who I imagined you to be,
Nor are you
The man you once were.

So I must conclude
That you
Do not exist.

Sunday, July 18

Three in One

So to make up for my lengthy absence from blogger, I am posting three in one night.

Getting back into work has been nice in some ways. I was quite honestly terrified that after being gone for 3 weeks, I might not remember how to stick people. Praise God that turned out not to be the case. Anyway, I've had some really odd, random things happen at work recently, so I thought I'd share. For amusement's sake.

Many of the patients I see are fairly friendly people. The other night topped all though. I had just finished fixing a patient's IV so that I didn't have to stick her again (she had just been stuck a few hours ago). As I was getting ready to walk out the door, one of her family members called me back and started thanking me, and before I knew it had engulfed me in a hug. I stood slightly in shock, and when she let go, she fixed the tag on my scrub shirt. It was a nice gesture for her to thank me in such a way, but I'm afraid I'm not much for hugging complete strangers. The audacity of some people never ceases to amaze me.

Another night, I was walking down the hallway back from the ER or admissions unit when a man asked me how I was doing. "Oh, I'm good," I replied with a smile. "How are you doing?" He paused for a moment to consider my question, then, "I'm tall, dark, and handsome," was his completely serious reply. "Oh...." I stammered, and not knowing what to say in response, I continued on my way. The really funny thing is that he was really only about an inch taller than myself.

The final odd occurrence happened tonight. I was sitting in the office, and the phone rang. "IV office, this is Kristin," I answered. "Is this the morgue?" a voice asked in confusion. "Ummm, no..." She then asked, "Well what is it then?" So I told her again that it was the IV team office at the hospital. She then abruptly hung up, apparently displeased.

Who knows what adventures await me next week...

Shame on Me

I’ve been struggling with God a lot lately. For the two weeks that I just recently spent at Camp Cherokee, I had been wrestling with God. I knew in my head that God is good, that God is love, but my heart was questioning that knowledge. I think that it’s good to question God now and then because God always proves Himself true, and our faith comes out stronger on the other side.

I won’t go into detail about the specifics of why I was questioning God, but some of the questions I was asking involved whether or not God was holding out on me, whether or not He was really mighty to save anyone, whether or not He was putting to use all of His influence, all of His resources, to reach the people I love. I don’t know, maybe that sounds ridiculous to you. But I’ve grown so tired in my heart of watching people I love ruin their lives. I’ve exhausted my emotions agonizing over the emptiness I see in their lives when I know full well why they are so empty. And I’ve grown weary of praying for them and not seeing any results. In my weariness, I began to wonder if maybe God had given up; maybe they were beyond His reach, maybe they had rejected Him to the point that He would no longer spend His Holy Spirit in trying to win their hearts. Was God really love? Were God’s intentions really good? For me? For them?

While at camp, I came to a sort of peace, but I wasn’t truly, deeply at peace. I came to a point where I could see daybreak coming; it wasn’t yet arrived, but this present darkness would come to an end. Part of that peace came from reading Hebrews 10-12 and also 2 Timothy 2:11-13, which says, “Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” God who is love cannot be untrue to His own character.

Then on Sabbath I read something that was even more reassuring. I was reading in the Desire of Ages about the triumphal entry (p. 576). Ellen White talks about how Jesus paused at the crest of the hill above Jerusalem and began to sob bitterly. She says,

The tears of Jesus were not in anticipation of His own suffering. Just before Him was Gethsemane, where soon the horror of a great darkness would overshadow Him. The sheepgate also was in sight, through which for centuries the beasts for sacrificial offerings had been led. This gate was soon to open for Him, the great Antitype, toward whose sacrifice for the sins of the world all these offerings had pointed. Near by was Calvary, the scene of His approaching agony. Yet it was not because of these reminders of His cruel death that the Redeemer wept and groaned in anguish of spirit. His was no selfish sorrow. The thought of His own agony did not intimidate that noble, self-sacrificing soul. It was the sight of Jerusalem that pierced the heart of Jesus—Jerusalem that had rejected the Son of God and scorned His love, that refused to be convinced by His mighty miracles, and was about to take His life. He saw what she was in her guilt of rejecting her Redeemer, and what she might have been had she accepted Him who alone could heal her wound. He had come to save her; how could He give her up?

Shame on me. Shame on me for entertaining the thought that my tears were more than those of Creator God himself, for imagining that my love runs deeper than God’s, who by definition is love.

In the face of separation, divorce, from God the Father—an unfathomable concept for all of heaven—Jesus wept in anguish not for His own pain, but for the loss of His earthly love. Shame on me for doubting. And praise God for His patient love and faithfulness.

Day Five: Sabbath in Berrien Springs

From Holland, Michigan we made our way to Berrien Springs. I’m a little ashamed to admit that I was skeptical that Berrien Springs would be a terribly memorable and exciting experience on our road trip. Thankfully, my skepticism was quickly conquered.

We were planning to stay with Adelina, a friend of Beth-Anne’s brother, Jason, which was slightly unnerving for me because I had never met her, and I tend to be quite shy in situations where I’m not comfortable and don’t know people. That in itself was reason enough to be wary, but what really made me begin to withdraw into self-isolation was the fact that Adelina was hosting a Friday evening vespers for a bunch of her friends, an end of the year gathering for good friends. I felt rather out of place and extremely shy. So I found a good corner, stuck close to Beth-Anne and Emily, and tried to be unnoticeable. In hindsight, it was somewhat ridiculous for me to have imagined that I could go unnoticed as one of three unfamiliar faces in a small group setting of close friends.

Thankfully, everyone who had come to the vespers was extremely friendly and made efforts to talk to the three of us even though we were kind of crashing their party. At one point I had to laugh to myself because I thought of a conversation that my friend Alex and I have had a few times.

On several occasions Alex has teased me about the fact that I ought to move to Berrien Springs and hang out around the Seminary, seeing as I am a nice, Adventist nurse who happens to be single. Whenever Alex makes ridiculous comments along those lines I remind him that I am not qualified to be a pastor’s wife because I don’t play the piano. He then will often laugh and tell me that can be fixed.

Anyway, as I was sitting in my corner, I began to realize that the great majority of the people in the room were Seminary students. Shortly after I had come to the realization that I was a single nurse among many pastors, one of the guys there began talking to me. He asked what I did, and I told him I was a nurse. I kid you not, his very next question was, “Do you play the piano?” I had to hide my amusement as I informed him that I do not play the piano.

The rest of Friday night was really nice. After we ate, we began to sing songs. They even humored Beth-Anne, Emily, and me by singing from the hymnal. Then began the Bible study. I enjoyed a great deal of the conversation, but unfortunately, I was quite exhausted, and I’m afraid I fell asleep at some point. When I woke up there was a heated debate beginning about wealth. The debate became rather intense, too intense for my liking, but thankfully at the end of the study all was well and all were still friends.

Sabbath morning, Adelina set out a small feast for breakfast. After eating we headed off to Pioneer Memorial Church, which was really nice, and much smaller than I remembered. After church we walked around campus just to take a look, took a few pictures, and then made our way to a picnic spot for lunch with some of Adelina’s friends (a few of whom we had met at vespers). After lunch, we decided to go see some dunes, which I was really excited about.

I don’t recall which dunes we went to, but we hiked from the parking lot in over some sand to the shore, and then quickly spotted the highest dune we could find to climb. We left all our sandals at the bottom of the dune and began our ascent. At the time, this seemed an adventurous and brilliant plan—to climb the highest dune in bare feet; however, we grossly underestimated the sizzle factor of hot sun on sand.

I’m pretty sure that our record for number of steps we managed to take in a row before collapsing in pain on the ground was approximately 13. To say that the sand was hot would be like saying that Antarctica is chilly. I honestly felt like I was stepping on hot stove burners; I’m not exaggerating, really. We probably looked absolutely absurd because we would “run” ten or so steps up this super steep slope, turn around, and promptly sit down while trying to lift our blistering feet off the sand. After regaining our breath and bracing ourselves for the pain, we would repeat the cycle. Many cycles later, we finally made it to the top, from which point we would supposedly be able to see the Chicago shoreline (this turned out not to be the case as it was quite hazy). Thankfully, at the top of the dune there was some shady, cool sand where we gathered and enjoyed each other’s company. We also took some pictures. I must say that Beth-Anne is THE master self-timer picture taker of all time. She managed to hang her camera from a small tree branch, avert the swaying of the wind, and get everyone in the group shot in a mere two takes. She also successfully repeated this process when Jonathan, a latecomer, made it to the top and was saddened to hear that we had already taken the group photo.

Once mostly recovered from our trek up, we did the only thing there is to do once you’ve reached the top of the highest dune: run down with reckless abandon. It was exhilarating, and it lasted all of 45 seconds. Running down made every minute of the grueling hike up worth it. And once to the bottom of the dune, we headed for the ice-cold water to soothe our blistered feet. We walked in the water along the shoreline for a while, and once back to our belongings, we dove in the water. Swimming in Lake Michigan was very fun, but really, really cold. Immanuel decided he did not want to swim in the cold water, so the girls rather cleverly plotted against him. I felt like I was in high school again, helping them throw him in, but in all honesty, it was rather well planned, and he suspected nothing. Adelina asked to borrow his phone, while the rest of us pretended to be done with the cold water. A few of the girls started talking to him, while a few others snuck up behind him, and the rest you can imagine.

We ended our day at the dunes with a classic dune-jumping photo shoot, and then hopped in the car on to our last venture: Chicago.

Berrien Springs surprised me; I really expected it to be low-key and rather mundane, but it ended up being one of my favorite days of our road trip because of the wonderful fellowship we had and the great friends and memories we made.. But the people we met were really incredible people. They were super fun and so warm and welcoming.

Sunday, June 20

Intermission

I interrupt these road trip postings to bring you some amusement. This is mainly for those of you who are not facebook frequenters, and thus, would have missed an entertaining snippet of my life.

This morning at the hospital, I had a patient who was perhaps slightly confused. As I was starting an IV on her, she rather abruptly said, "Did you know it's a sin to cut your hair?"

Slightly surprised, and also quite curious to know what verse she had interpreted to mean that, I asked her where in the Bible that was found.

"Oh, somewhere in First Paul, or... well, if you read through the New Testament, you'll find it there somewhere." She then continued to educate me in spiritual matters, first relating that it's actually a sin for men to have long hair and a sin for women to cut their hair (to clarify). She went on to tell me about her encounters with the Holy Spirit, greeting fellows with a holy kiss (and the opposition she met to that practice), and other such matters. All in approximately 7 minutes.

I laugh at this, and I hope you have too. However, in a way, it's kind of sad to me too. First, it's sad that her mind is no longer as sound as God created it to be. But it's also somewhat of a rebuke to me to think that she has absolutely no inhibitions to sharing her faith and spiritual life with me-- a complete stranger-- and I can't remember the last time I truly shared my faith and spiritual life with a stranger. Not that her way is the way that I ought to go about it, but it made me pause to reflect. What am I so ashamed of? Why can't I seem to let go of my inhibitions and share God with others?

Thursday, June 17

Day Four: Kalamazoo and Holland

Unfortunately, the sights of Kalamazoo are rather few. Our first object was to discover where we could find shirts that said Kalamazoo on them—again, because we thought it sounded so fun.

We asked a few of the people at the hotel for tips on things to see in Kalamazoo and a place to find t-shirts, and the reactions were mostly similar; a small smile would come across their faces, amused that anyone would come to little Kalamazoo for sight seeing. We finally decided we would go to the Kalamazoo College (better known as K-College) to look for t-shirts, and then we would head to the Air Zoo.

The t-shirts available at the college at the start of summer were few, but we managed to find some that we liked, and then we went down to the college sign to take a picture. We attempted some self-taken photos, but they were pretty awful, so when we saw a girl and a guy coming out of the nearby building, we decided to ask for some help. The random girl obliged, took our picture in front of the sign, and then asked, “So what is this for? Memories?”

We laughed. Then we all three attempted to explain our mission.

“Wait, so you all don’t even go here?!” she exclaimed in amazement. She laughed at us, we laughed as well, and then we parted ways. I’m sure we will be a source of amusement for her and her friends when she tells them how she met these strange girls who wanted Kalamazoo College shirts.

On to the Air Zoo. The Air Zoo is still somewhat of an oddity to me. It is home of a small collection of planes from days past. You walk around, look at the planes, attempt to take bad pictures in the dark, and then there are the rides. What kind of plane museum has rides? Well, the Air Zoo in Kalamazoo does. So we tried out some of the rides (which are mostly designed to entertain small children).

We went in this flight simulator game in which you “fly” the plane and can make yourself absolutely sick from twisting every which way. We watched a horribly inappropriate for children, 4-D presentation that was miserably sad in commemoration of those who have fought and died in wars. We also rode a drop out thing that takes you up and drops you a few feet and repeats the cycle. That was kind of fun, but the guy operating the ride was kind of teasing us about being riding on children’s rides. Beth-Anne and I also went on this incredible human gyroscope thing that spins you around every which way rather quickly. That was probably the highlight of the Air Zoo for me.

After amusing ourselves there, and handing out a Steps to Christ to the woman who sold us our admission tickets, we decided to head out to Holland, Michigan to see the windmill and the little Dutch village.

We made it in just in time to go catch a tour of the windmill, which was fascinating. A lady dressed in Dutch clothing gave us a thorough tour of De Zwaan Windmill (Dutch for “The Swan”), which is a wooden windmill that they received from Holland back in the 60s or 70s (I think). It is still a working windmill; they actually have a miller who mills wheat. It was so interesting to learn how the windmill works, and we got a few fun pictures there. Unfortunately, the tulip gardens were no longer in bloom, so we didn’t see those, but we did walk around a little bit and look at the shops with wooden shoes and hand-painted porcelains.

Sunday, June 13

Day Three: Kelley's Island to Kalamazoo

When I went to sleep the previous night, I had already decided that I would wake up early and take a walk in hopes that I could find someone to give a Steps to Christ book to, especially since I had to give away two today. After showering and dressing, I headed out, praying that God would help me to forget the discouragement of yesterday and that He would give me a divine appointment. I prayed about which direction to take, then headed right off Huntington Lane, despite the fact that it was a less populated area. As I walked with the shoreline on my left, I saw a woman walking her dog coming from the opposite direction on the sidewalk. She saw me and looked like she was in a hurry, not wanting to make eye contact. I breathed a prayer and said good morning. She responded, and encouraged, I asked about her dog to make conversation. We talked very briefly, and then I tried to give her Steps to Christ. Failure number two. I walked on even more discouraged and began to talk to God. My eyes teared up (silly, I know) as I confessed my frustration with my unsuccessful attempts.

I passed by another woman and decided against trying to give her a Steps to Christ. I couldn’t think of any good way to stop her as she walked the opposite way, and to be quite honest, I wasn’t quite ready for another rejection, so I just smiled and said hello. I walked to the bend in the road, leaned against a wooden pole, and lingered a while in prayer. Then I turned back, trying to cheer myself out of feeling like a failure.

I hadn’t walked very far back in the direction of the bed and breakfast when I saw the second woman walking toward me on the sidewalk a little distance off. I prayed again, convinced that if I was seeing her twice in this morning walk, God must want me to offer her a book. My mind kicked into motion trying to think of a way to talk to her. As she came near, I (likely very awkwardly) said, “Ma’am, do you like to read?” Somewhat surprised, she stopped and said, “Somewhat I guess.” I then told her that I had been trying to find someone to give a book to, and that I had written a little story to go in it. I asked if she would take one, and she said she would. “Should I pass it on?” she asked. I told her she could if she wanted to, and then we parted ways. I couldn’t help smiling as I continued on my way, and I thanked God for working through my inept words and ways.

After breakfast and packing up, we talked with Patty for a while. She had a lot of questions for us about Adventists; she kept comparing us to Mormons because we had told her about each of our student mission years. It was actually the first time I can ever remember really sharing and answering questions for someone about Adventism, although she didn’t ask many questions specifically about our beliefs. Em gave her a Steps to Christ, and we were on our way. We checked in some little shops—a mostly fruitless search, and then read our devotional book Crazy Love while we waited for the ferry.

Once back to the mainland, we headed out—Michigan bound. More specifically, to Kalamazoo. We chose to make Kalamazoo one of the stops on our road trip mainly because it had such a fun sounding name. We arrived several hours later at our hotel without much event. Beth-Anne was brave and handed out her Steps to Christ to the lady who checked us in to our room, and then we quickly headed upstairs to eat and play on the little dumbwaiter. We watched a beautiful sunset from our window, and then headed off to bed with plans to wake early to conquer the sights of Kalamazoo.

Sunday, May 30

Day Two: Driving Lessons and Kelley's Island

Wednesday morning began with devotions and breakfast at Emily’s grandmother’s house. We had a small feast, and after we were completely stuffed, we headed out the door for some driving lessons and practice in Emily’s car, Dory, which is a manual transmission car.

Beth-Anne began. She drove around the small neighborhood, and then ventured out onto a slightly more populated road. She did amazing! This only served to make me more nervous. I had not driven stickshift in several years, nor had I ever been particularly good at it. Thankfully, when it was my turn to practice, I managed to get around without much event. Then Emily decided we needed to practice starting on slight hills so we headed over to a small garden park area she knew. “There are hardly ever any cars,” she assured us.

As I stopped on the slight incline, a car was pulling into the garden behind me. I began to panic a little bit, but managed to get going without terribly much trouble. We looped around the parking lot, headed back toward the incline at the entrance, and then I realized that I was going to have to make a 3-point turn on a bridge to get back to the incline. Have I ever mentioned that I hate reverse? I stalled—twice—while trying to reverse. Finally, slightly flustered, I managed to get turned around and practiced starting on the hill again. I did this a total of three times, and was finally beginning to feel comfortable enough.

Beth-Anne took the driver’s seat and began her session. She did incredibly well, though she rolled a little bit the first time. But as we were doing this loop, we noticed that there were actually quite a few cars coming through, and a park ranger was standing by the side of the road, glancing suspiciously at us each time we came around. We finished up and left the ranger in peace to wonder at our odd behavior, thankful that he hadn’t stopped us to question us.

After getting groceries and a pretty plant for Emily’s grandma, we were off! Emily drove at first to get us out of stressful driving situations, and then I took the wheel. Amazingly enough, we only had one nearly catastrophic event. I was driving behind a super slow tractor and decided to pass him on a one-lane road. As I moved into the lane for oncoming traffic, I began to shift, but realized I had shifted into neutral and didn’t know which gear I should be in. A car was coming from the other direction, and I (thankfully) did not panic and managed to pass the tractor and get back into our lane in time to avoid colliding. Needless to say, I think Em’s and Beth-Anne’s heart rates jumped quite a bit. Other than that, our only real excitement before we reached Kelley’s Island was stopping for an 85-car train (yes, I counted).

We arrived at the ferry to Kelley’s Island at about 3:30 pm and waited for the 4 o’clock ferry. Once across Lake Erie to the island, we headed for The House on Huntington Lane, a bed and breakfast owned by an Irish woman named Patty. She gave us a tour, we put down our stuff, and headed out on the bicycles to explore the island. We biked for about 2 hours and visited the local library, discovered some summer snow (cottonwood seeds), and went to the north coast where we took some pictures. We also saw a water snake that is indigenous only to some of the islands in Lake Erie and took some pictures on the rocks. Then we headed up to see the glacial grooves, and biked on the road next to the shoreline back to our room.

At one point, we scouted out some of the shops, including the general store. I asked the guy behind the counter a few questions about the postcards and some of the landmarks on the island that we wanted to see in the morning. Then… I tried to give him a Steps to Christ. And failed. Miserably. I was quite discouraged as we left.

Thursday, May 27

Day One: TN to OH

Emily, Beth-Anne, and I have been planning a road trip for the last several months. As it came closer, I got more and more excited, and nervous. I was excited to spend time with them, do really fun things, and see new places. I was nervous because we had decided that we would step out of our comfort zones a little bit. Each of us agreed to hand out one Steps to Christ book to someone each day of our trip. Maybe this sounds trivial to you, but for three introverted girls, it’s huge. No amount of reasoning that I would likely never see these people again has been able to assuage my anxiety.

In any case, Tuesday began with me being late, as usual. But I had baked some cookies for our trip and to leave with Matthew as a thank-you for letting us borrow his wife, and I made it to Matt and Beth-Anne’s home after an uneventful drive.

Beth-Anne and I decided to take my recently repaired car the 7 hours from her house to Columbus, Ohio to meet up with Emily at her grandmother’s home. We made our way through sunshine and indecisive rain that wavered back and forth between a downpour and a sprinkling. Suddenly, Philbert (my car) decided he was done with quality time with Beth-Anne and me. The engine light came on just as a Good Year Tire and Service building came into view. What perfect timing. We coasted in, and after conferencing about our options, we decided to drive the 40 minutes back to Beth-Anne’s to get her car, Ellie.

As we were almost to the church where we were going to meet Matt and trade cars, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that a red SUV had sped up, then slowed down to drive right next to us. Beth-Anne and I looked over to see two young boys grinning widely and waving at us. I turned my head back to the road in front of me real fast as my face began to turn red. Beth-Anne and I laughed so hard. They really looked like they couldn’t be much older than 16, but then again, who am I to talk. Thankfully, they turned off soon afterward, and we were able to avoid eye contact with them again.

The rest of our journey once we exchanged cars was rather uneventful. We made one detour in Ohio to visit with my aunt and cousin for a few minutes, and then made it to Emily’s grandmother’s house by about 10:30 pm.

Friday, May 21

Sabbath Blessings

I bowed my head and began to pray before my devotions one Sabbath morning. I felt myself starting to get more and more tense and anxious as I prayed about the things that had been weighing heavy on my heart. How ridiculous, I thought to myself. I’m presenting my concerns before the Lord of Heaven and Earth, and instead of bringing me peace, it’s causing me to feel more stressed. I realized that I was considering the problems rather than the power of my God to work in each situation. I went through a few cycles of anxiety giving way to trust before I decided that I needed to leave my problems alone for a while and do my devotions.

“God, please give me a Sabbath blessing today,” I finished praying. I was really feeling a desperate need to be truly blessed. My week had been difficult, and not only did I feel a need for rest, but also for a regenerating day.

I opened my Bible to Luke, where I had been reading for devotions each morning. As I found where I had left off, I laughed. It started in Luke 12:22, which has the heading “Do Not Worry.” Point taken.

I went to Village Chapel for church, and when we got to the responsive reading, the man who got up front to lead out announced that the reading had been changed from what was in the bulletin. I turned in the back of the hymnal to the new reading and was astonished to see that the title was “Do Not Worry.” Alright, God. I get it. I smiled and prayed a silent prayer of thanks.

When the pastor got up to preach, he announced that he had decided to change his sermon that morning. His new sermon title was, “He’s Able.” The pastor led us in singing the children’s song, “He’s Able,” and I sat back to listen. I truly believe that God had him change the sermon for me. As he talked more and more about how God is able to guide us, save us, and keep what we have committed to him, I felt more and more at peace. His sermon was a deeper reiteration of my morning devotions, and it was exactly the blessing I needed that morning.

Wednesday, May 12

New Apartment

There is much joy in this apartment...

... and also many K(Ch)risti(e)ns.

video

Tuesday, April 27

Sleep Studying

People poke fun at the idea of sleeping with a book beneath your pillow in the hopes that knowledge will follow the rules of osmosis. But last night really made me wonder if it is possible to learn in your sleep.

I had quite contentedly fallen asleep to the soothing melodies of George Winston. This morning I awoke in some confusion, thinking that all my alarms had gone off, and that I had overslept (which turned out not to be the case). No big deal. No finals today, at least not ones for which I need to study. But as I lay there awake, I began to think about what I had been dreaming about just prior to my awakening.

Someone in my dream had been expounding on Bible verses. I couldn't quite wrap my mind around what he had been saying, though somehow I knew it had been surrounded by some slightly odd circumstances in my dream. It was then that I realized that no longer were the sweet sounds of George Winston reverberating in my ears, but instead the comparatively unmelodious voice of Eugene Prewitt.

Saturday, April 24

A Laodicean Sink

Oh, the virtues of a Laodicean sink. Would that mine were one.

I love washing dishes. No, I'm not just saying that; I really do enjoy washing dishes. There are other chores that I enjoy not so much, but washing dishes is soothing for me. Unfortunately, the sink where I currently reside tends to be either quite cold or scalding hot. This poses a slight problem for rinsing the dishes, and each time, I am faced with a decision-- do I burn my fingers, or do I rinse the dishes in cold water?

I was thinking about this today, and I wondered, am I like my sink? When I speak to people, do the words pouring forth from my lips sear like the Refiner's fire? Do I speak the Truth in boldness that tells of the Source of an unquenchable fire in my soul? Or am I merely spouting the mediocrity of a love growing cold?

Monday, April 19

Soccer

Soccer boosts my spirits like nothing else. Adrenaline surging through my veins, making my legs shake if I stand still. The extreme satisfaction of making a superb play. The camaraderie. The severe soreness that results from willing my muscles to work just a little harder. It just... words fail me at the moment to describe how satisfying soccer is for me.

Tonight we played so well. It was probably one of the best games I played this year, though I didn't do as well as I would have liked when I played midfield. There were some truly incredible plays by our goalie, Erin, and several others made epic saves as well. Despite the facts that the referees were making biased calls and the opposition was the number one team in the league, I am extremely pleased at the outcome.

The opposing team's record before our game was 25 season goals and no allowed goals in 5 games. While we didn't score any goals, our goalie only allowed 2, and one of those was a penalty kick, which is nearly impossible to block.

I love the satisfaction of a game well played. I am reminded of Paul's analogy of the race we run in this Great Controversy. I'm no runner, unfortunately. But relating it to soccer helps me see more clearly the point Paul was making. In the game tonight, I made some mistakes, I slipped up. But I also pressed on, pushing myself beyond my limits. I made some good plays, worked with my team, and played hard against the opposition. When all was said and done, after the game I was satisfied with my performance, even though I wasn't on the winning end of the game.

In life, I have made mistakes, I've slipped up. I haven't always represented God the way I should. But God has been helping me to press on; I'm learning to allow God to test me beyond what I thought were my limits. I am learning to play hard against the opposition. And I look forward to the day when I will hear God say, "Well played," and I can have the satisfaction of knowing that "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith" by God's grace. 2 Timothy 4:7

I can't wait for that glorious day, that indescribable feeling.

Sunday, April 18

Foolish Heart

I can't remember a time I've felt so.... confused doesn't even come close to describing it. Honestly, the only thing that comes close to describing how I feel is to say that I feel a bit like I imagine Ophelia did just before she went mad.

Yesterday I went to Oakwood University to hear David Asscherick speak for DEEP Sabbath. I enjoyed the experience overall, but Asscherick's sermon was incredible. I've heard it before, actually. But hearing it again was so powerful, and at the end of his sermon, he made an appeal for surrender. I felt impressed to give something up-- something that's been causing me a lot of confusion and distress. You would imagine something like that would be easy to give up; who wants to hold on to something that's causing distress, right?

Foolish heart that I am, I spent the rest of the day taking it right back off the altar. And I knew it too. I just couldn't let go. And I'm still struggling with it this morning. Then I read this post by Matt, and my heart broke for its own obstinacy.

Oh, God. Please forgive this imprudent heart. Give me grace to let go.

Thursday, April 8

Exposed Soles

Cold, rough concrete. At least it's not gravel. With each step, the contact between my soft sole and the hard pavement holds captive in my consciousness the fact that my feet are without protection. It is not long at all before I notice how tender the bottoms of my feet have gotten.

I move to the side and the texture morphs from solid, harsh pavement to a somewhat slimy mesh of earth and grass. The change in terrain does nothing to relieve me of my awareness; the unfamiliar feel combined with the puddles of rain water is too new to my senses.

I wasn't planning to participate in the event on campus, "One Day Without Shoes." A friend asked if I was going to go barefoot for it, and I said no, but when he asked, "Why not?" I couldn't really think of any good reason. Instead, I began to think of reasons why I really should. So here I am, with exposed soles.

To be honest, it's been somewhat of an inconvenience-- the grass and leaves sticking to my feet because of the cold rain, the rough pavement rubbing my feet, feeling guilty for tracking water and dirt on clean floors, and the stickiness of the not-so-clean tile floors. But the continual awareness of my exposure has been worthwhile, because my inconveniences only further prove my privileges. At least I have pavement to walk on instead of hot sand or rocky paths. At least I am in a place with tiled and carpeted floors in buildings.

The whole experience has made me think that maybe it's not such a bad thing to be inconvenienced. It reminds me of how privileged I am, it helps me better relate to those who aren't as privileged, at least in a small way. Then I think of another person who was inconvenienced for the sake of others.

Jesus inconvenienced himself. He lowered himself to living among men. Jesus exposed his soul-- to the harsh, wounding rejection of those he loves, to the pain of life away from the Presence of God. But the end result of Jesus' choice to inconvenience himself was not merely an awareness of his great privilege, or a means of relating to mankind, but rather an opportunity at freedom and a life of privilege for those who are underprivileged and oppressed by Satan's loveless reign.

Pet Peeve

You know how you can never come up with your pet peeves when people ask you about them? Well, I can't anyway. But I remembered one of them yesterday. Forewarning: please disregard the dishevelment of the following thoughts.

It really irks me when older adults refer to the youth as the future of the church. Truly.

It is my firm belief that youth and young adults are not the future of the church, but rather they are the church, right here, right now. Or at least that's how it ought to be in my opinion. Adults wonder and have tried to determine what exactly it is that makes young people leave the church. I don't profess to know the answer, but I think that at least one portion of the multi-faceted cause is that young people are not given any ownership in the church. They are constantly reminded that they are the future of the church, but when exactly is that? When someone turns 25 do they suddenly become part of the church? Or is it 30?

For a good while now, I have had a strong dislike for the recurring theme in the church that the elder generation will one day, at some undetermined time to come, pass the torch on to the youth. Why is it that the young, middle-aged, and elderly can't all be the church together in unity in the present time?

I don't pretend to ignore the fact that in order for that to become a reality young people will have to prove themselves worthy of the name Christian, but that's the same standard to which the older generation also ought to be held. But I really do believe that continuing to ingrain in the minds of the youth that they are the future of the church is disabling to their spiritual leadership.

Don't let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. ~1 Timothy 4:12, NLT

Tuesday, March 30

Comic Relief

A guidebook on the many expressions of Kristin's face, courtesy of PhotoBooth. Just so you can identify them later.

I-am-so-not-happy-to-be-in-the-hospital-and-I-dislike-IVs look (No worries, I try not to use this expression while at work in the hospital)

I-am-so-tired-I-could-fall-asleep-at-the-keyboard-but-I-have-to-finish-this-paper look.

I-am-bored-out-of-my-mind look

Ugh-do-I-really-have-to-write-this-paper look (This one is coming into more frequent use of late)

Hurray-I-am-so-super-excited-I-can't-contain-myself look (This will become more frequently expressed as the previous look declines in popularity)

Oh-dear-what-am-I-going-to-do-with-this-wild-mop-of-hair look (This look is near daily in its frequency of use, though it is mostly limited to morning hours)

And yes, I ought to be writing a paper instead of posting this. Though, likely, you ought to be writing a paper instead of viewing it.

Monday, March 29

Disorderly Musings on Joy

True, deep, indwelling joy is one of the most overwhelming gifts of God. Recently, I've felt like I might just burst I'm so full of blessings from God.

Several years ago, I remember praying a prayer. I was tired of circumstantial joy. And I was beginning to realize that joy that comes from any source other than God Himself is no more than a counterfeit. I prayed and asked God to help me truly learn to allow Him to be my source of joy-- regardless of circumstance.

I certainly haven't "arrived," but God is good and has brought me so much closer to fulfillment of that prayer. Africa had a lot to do with that. But then, so did other things. Honestly though, I think in the growing process, the thing that has most helped me to this point is a recognition of where my blessings come from. The consciousness that every good thing that comes in my life is a gift straight from my Father above has helped my love for God grow immeasurably. (James 1:17)

I think a great majority of people on Earth are living life half asleep-- unaware of the presence and prominence of God in their lives. And in part, it is this unawareness, unconsciousness that deprives them of the abundant life that God has promised for this life and eternity.

I've always been slightly envious of those with infectious personalities. You know, the people that everyone loves to be around because they are just so full of life. The ones who can make you smile just by being present, the ones that breathe joy.

So I suppose it's time to modify my prayer. I truly hope that God can take this joy He's poured into my heart and let it flow out to others. I hope that He can give me a passion to share my Source of joy that others can have the same indwelling joy that brings life more abundant.

Saturday, March 27

Amazing Quote

God knows just what we need when we need it. Some of my housemates and I are reading through a book together, and I needed to hear the chapter we read tonight. Here's one quote we came across that was absolutely amazing:

"Why should we come to Jesus Christ? Not for our own benefit. We should honor and serve and love and give our lives to Jesus Christ even if we were to go to hell at the end of the road... because He is worthy!" (Paris Reidhead, "Ten Shekels and a Shirt," www.sermonindex.com).

Friday, March 26

It's Official...

God is good. And funny.

Praise the Lord, it is official-- I am graduating in May. By some miracle, I was able to finish my correspondence class today, a mere day before the deadline. And I am thrilled. I learned a lot and enjoyed the material of the class, though not the design.

Last night I left Bible study in exhaustion. I did not want to study, I did not want to do anything. My brain was protesting its cruel treatment of late. I decided it would be beneficial to go straight to bed and wake up super early to study in the morning. Unfortunately, I have recently acquired a bad habit of turning off my alarm without realizing it and sleeping too late. I was slightly terrified of the prospect of this occurring this morning because I had not studied at all for my final. So in preparation, I set my alarm and left it across the room on my desk, prayed, and went to sleep.

This morning, I awoke in panic, vaguely remembering turning off my alarm and falling back asleep. I sprang out of bed, checked the time-- 7:53 AM! My test was scheduled for 8 AM. Oh dear. Then...

I awoke in panic! Wide awake, I jumped out of bed, ran to my desk, and checked the time-- 3:54 AM. I let out a giant sigh of relief. My alarm was set to go off at 4 AM. God knew I needed the time to study, and He kindly woke me at an adequate time. I was able to have worship, eat, study everything thoroughly, and arrive in plenty of time for my test, which I think went well.

God is good. And funny.

Wednesday, March 24

Where's the Lion?

For shame,
Oh, hesitant Spring.

--------------------------------------------

I wrote a poem with these as the ending lines, but I didn't like it. When the door was open this morning for a few minutes, I realized how very chilly it was, and I thought these two lines. I wanted to write a poem to support them, but unfortunately, creativity and time are lacking, which makes for poor poetry. So for now, you can imagine the rest of the poem ;)

Update: I retract. It's gorgeous outside. And quite warm too.

Sunday, March 21

Independence is a Virtue?

I just stumbled across a blog in which a woman wrote a letter to her future husband. The title caught me off guard and piqued my curiosity. It said, "Dear My Future Husband, I am not Waiting for You Anymore."

As I began to read through it, I was taken by surprise at this woman's reasoning. She said she wasn't waiting for her future husband anymore because she didn't need him to be complete. I thought, "How insightful of her. I'm impressed because many girls don't realize that." However, the rest of the post made it quite clear that that was the end of our common reasoning. She went on to say that she was perfectly complete and content without him, that her two dogs, hobbies, interests, and other aspects of her life were enough to fulfill her needs. This was not to say that she didn't look forward to meeting her future husband and sharing her life with him, but rather that he was not necessary because the other things that she had filled her life with were enough.

I find this sad for one main reason. Nowhere in this post was the name of God mentioned. This woman feels completely content because of the things that fill her life, because she herself feels complete. This, to me, is tragic because it is so exemplary of the all-too-common belief in today's society that God is not necessary; God is not the one who is bringing contentment by filling people's lives, but rather things and self are filling that void. Independence is a virtue touted by society, and I'm afraid that it's having a crippling effect on humanity because just like the toddler who proclaims, "I can do it myself!" humans are training themselves to reject the truly necessary helping hand God offers.

Friday, March 12

Art Ministry


This is another idea Christen gave me as a way to keep Sabbath while I'm at work in the hospital. These cards have encouraging Bible verses on them, and I'll be giving them out to patients tonight. Thanks to all of you who were able to come and decorate cards. We'll be doing it again sometime; I'll let you know when. Happy Sabbath!

Wednesday, March 10

Misunderstood

You may or may not believe it, but when I was younger, I was intensely shy. Intensely. In fact, I was so shy that I rarely spoke except to my brothers and parents. I remember more than one occasion where my timidity was severely misunderstood. One day in particular when I was about 11 or 12, I will never forget.
My mother came up to my room to talk to me. I can't recall her exact words or how she brought up the topic, but she told me that one of our neighbors, a good friend of the family, thought that I didn't like him and that I was snobby. I burst into tears. It was terribly frustrating to be so severely mistaken. Snobby? I have my character flaws, but snobbiness has never been one of them, and it truly was a deep blow to my sensitive soul.
I very strongly dislike the emotions that misunderstanding brings up for me. In fact, I might argue that for me, being misunderstood is one of the most wounding circumstances. I've tried to figure out why, and I can think of two main reasons. The first is that I care, possibly entirely too much, what others' opinions of me are, and when others misunderstand me, I feel as if I've somehow failed at representing myself. The second is that feeling misunderstood creates a feeling of deep aloneness.
Jesus, better than any man, understands the deep wounds of misunderstanding. I was reminded of that this morning in my devotions. In Desire of Ages, Ellen White says this of Jesus when beginning his ministry:
"Though He was the Prince of Peace, His coming must be as the unsheathing of a sword. The kingdom He had come to establish was the opposite of that which the Jews desired. He who was the foundation of the ritual and economy of Israel would be looked upon as its enemy and destroyer. He who had proclaimed the law upon Sinai would be condemned as a transgressor. He who had come to break the power of Satan would be denounced as Beelzebub. No one upon earth had understood Him, and during His ministry He must still walk alone. Throughout His life His mother and His brothers did not comprehend His mission. Even His disciples did not understand Him. He had dwelt in eternal light, as one with God, but His life on earth must be spent in solitude." (111)
God the Father, too, has long borne with the hurt of misunderstanding. Satan has done everything in his power to create a false picture of God, and the world at large has accepted that image. Everything that God is not-- cruel, unforgiving, heartless-- Satan has widely succeeded in convincing men that He is. I cannot begin to fathom the deep agony that the great deception of men has caused God. And yet He bears it, and bears it long, that one day His character may be revealed in truth and light to all. And one day, all creation will acknowledge the true face of God; His character will be vindicated.
I just pray that until that day God will give me the strength and will to represent His character well before the world that I come into contact with. Because it pains me to think that I am often the cause of some of that pain of misunderstanding to God.

Friday, March 5

Verdict: Not So Brave





Sorry, Alex. No razors, no baldness. I got about 3-4 inches cut off,
and despite appearances in the pictures, I did not dye my hair.








I find it amusing that my hair l
ooks light and blonde in the before picture with the whitish background, and looks somewhat more red and dark next to the brick wall. Perhaps I'm part chameleon...


Thursday, March 4

The Time Has Come...

Time for a haircut? I think so. The question is, how brave and adventurous am I feeling?

Tuesday, March 2

One Snowy Spring Break Morning

It is March. In southeastern Tennessee.

video

My commentary on this next one makes me laugh. This is why I avoid impromptu speaking.

video

*If you want to see these videos slightly larger, click here.

Monday, March 1

Myers-Briggs

According to this site, I am an:
I = 56.67%
N = 53.33%
F = 51.52%
J = 74.19%

The following information was found here.

Extraverted Feeling reaches out to attach and interact with other living things . . . nurturing relationships. It is about validating and valuing others, encouraging, coaching, educating and motivating. It is protecting, helping, and caretaking. The Extraverted Feeling mind organizes action consistent with values, beliefs, spiritual foundations, and sense of humanity - how people (and other living things) ought to be treated. Extraverted Feeling promotes collaboration, a shared sense of community, and harmony in interpersonal relationships.
Extraverted Feeling (Fe) is dominant in ESFJ & ENFJ and supportive in ISFJ & INFJ personality types.

Introverted Intuition reflects on patterns, relationships, symbols, meanings, and perspectives on matters from complex phenomena to magical connections to practical problems. The Introverted Intuitive mind typically creates a unique vision and arrives at unique insights about things, phenomena, or people. It strives to discover the essence of things and fill in the missing pieces of a puzzle. Introverted Intuitive types frequently will have complex visions or perspectives that they are unable to explain with clarity to others.
Introverted Intuition (Ni) is dominant in INFJ & INTJ and supportive in ENFJ & ENTJ personality types.

This is an interesting description of the dominant introverted intuition traits in INFJs and INTJs found here:

Without introverted intuitives, it is said that Israel would have had no prophets. Under deceptively conventional appearances lie perceptive minds that travel the breadth and depth of universal mysteries, contemplating its multilayered complexity, seeking the trends that will define the future. With time, clarity of vision comes. When it comes, they are propelled towards the vision and all their actions lead to it. They are perseverant behind a quiet exterior and will often come back with their vision long after everyone believes they have let it go.

What they see is so clear and obvious to them they are often surprised to find that others cannot see it as well. They may find it difficult to articulate the necessary steps towards implementation or to explain how each goal fits into the larger picture.

Their mind usually travels from the past to the future, seeking to fit a particular situation in a large context. It picks up patterns, symbols and images from different seemingly unrelated fields, identifies similarities and provides meaning. This can help solve problems by juxtaposing ideas, finding analogies or simply by rooting out the quintessential reality, discovering the origin in universal stories and human experiences, culling wisdom from the infinitely small to the infinitely large. Their mind naturally travels from the microcosm to the macrocosm.

They regularly have to face the difficulties of bringing dreams into reality. The time and effort it takes is always more than what their intuition initially suggested. They are determined, perseverant, inspired and often see things just around the corner, into the near or far future.

Tuesday, February 23

This Imprudent Heart

At times I long for
Forbidden fruit untasted,
Rash as that might be.

Sunday, February 21

Sabbath Fun

Hark! 'Tis a Martina!




Christen gloweth


Christen says I look like I'm holding on by my one super strong arm


Erin has an epiphany for a silly pose


Silliness

What fun Poplarites we are


Ironically enough, Martina looks quite natural as the center of attention here.

This is probably my favorite :)