Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas



Merry Christmas, World.

Luke 2:9-20

And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
“ Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Highlights

Here are some posts that I loved writing, so I hope you will enjoy reading them!

About me and my life:
The Proposal
Honesty
Japan

About God and His Word:
Temperature
The Focus of Strength
A Broken Heart
Peace

Other Favorites:
The Influence of Hope
A Title (My first post!)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Fans

I just found the blog of the author of Love and Respect, and found this little snip-it that made me think. It makes more sense in the context of the whole post here, but even on its own it is impacting. Blue and pink are distictions used to communicate the differeneces between ways guys think and hear thigns (blue) and the way girls think and hear things (pink).

"A little light bulb moment from the above for me: When you're a fan of something - this is pink or blue, I believe - we want to know the whole story. How many of you guys want to hear or watch detail of the game, or the car-rebuilding show, or that "super weapons" technical show on Discovery? How many of you can spout off sports stats or the specs of a fighter jet or a golf course? Our women - wives or girlfiends or daughters - are our fans - or they should be. They want to know everything about us. They want to know the whole story, all the details. When we snub them, we come off like a celebrity sneering at a waiting fan - and they are crushed. If we crush them a few times, they won't be our fans for long...then we wonder why?" (From http://emersonandsarah.blogspot.com/2009/08/brilliant-observations-by-two-men.html)

What do you think?

Friday, December 11, 2009

It's That Time of Year Again...

I just had to revisit this post, because it is that time of year:

The Twelve Days of Finals

On the first day of finals, my professor gave to me one TI-83.

On the second day of finals, my professor gave to me two sharpened pencils and a TI-83.

On the third day of finals, my professor gave to me three (a day) cups of coffee, two sharpened pencils and a TI-83.

On the fourth day of finals, my professor gave to me four papers to rewrite, three (a day) cups of coffee, two sharpened pencils and a TI-83.

On the fifth day of finals, my professor gave to me five special journals, four papers to rewrite, three (a day) cups of coffee, two sharpened pencils and a TI-83.

On the sixth day of finals, my professor gave to me six hours of sleep, five special journals, four papers to rewrite, three (a day) cups of coffee, two sharpened pencils and a TI-83.

On the seventh day of finals, my professor gave to me seven (pages of) accounting transactions, six hours of sleep, five special journals, four papers to rewrite, three (a day) cups of coffee, two sharpened pencils and a TI-83.

On the eighth day of finals, my professor gave to me eight volunteering hours to schedule, seven (pages of) accounting transactions, six hours of sleep, five special journals, four papers to rewrite, three (a day) cups of coffee, two sharpened pencils and a TI-83.

On the ninth day of finals, my professor gave to me nine rows of math problems, eight volunteering hours to schedule, seven (pages of) accounting transactions, six hours of sleep, five special journals, four papers to rewrite, three (a day) cups of coffee, two sharpened pencils and a TI-83.

On the tenth day of finals, my professor gave to me ten nightmares of failing, nine rows of math problems, eight volunteering hours to schedule, seven (pages of) accounting transactions, six hours of sleep, five special journals, four papers to rewrite, three (a day) cups of coffee, two sharpened pencils and a TI-83.

On the eleventh day of finals, my professor gave to me eleven excel spreadsheets, ten nightmares of failing, nine rows of math problems, eight volunteering hours to schedule, seven (pages of) accounting transactions, six hours of sleep, five special journals, four papers to rewrite, three (a day) cups of coffee, two sharpened pencils and a TI-83.

On the twelfth day of finals, my professor gave to me 

twelve stressed out days!! 
eleven excel spreadsheets, 
ten nightmares of failing, 
nine rows of math problems, 
eight volunteering hours to schedule, 
seven (pages of) accounting transactions, 
six hours of sleep, 
five special journals, 
four papers to rewrite, 
three (a day) cups of coffee, 
two sharpened pencils 
and a TI-83.

When finals are over, I'll give to you--a much happier student Tori!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Japan

Japan was amazing.

I think what sums up the whole trip is this: Lives were touched and changed.

From the Sager family (the pastors of our sister church in Japan) to the members of the church,  the people we spoke to on the street to the team members themselves, the impact was evident. Friendships were made and deepened and stories exchanged, but most importantly, hope and encouragement were given. That makes it all worth it.

Each of the ministries we visited in Japan struggles with the daunting statistic that less than 1% of the population is Christian. They are the minority. Their beliefs are the ones that are strange, they are the ones that don't fit in. To have a team come all the way from America even to just pray with them is a huge reminder that what they are doing is noticed and is valuable.

In Japan, the hardest individual to change their beliefs and convert to Christianity is an older Japanese male. They are usually very invested into their Buddhist or Shinto ways, and the traditions of those faiths are deeply tied into their way of life and their identity. They worship shrines to their ancestors and consider this idol worship to be an essential part of honoring their family. Honor is one of the things Japanese value most, so when they are confronted with the idea that idol worship is actually dishonoring to God, they rarely convert. Yet during our trip, one Japanese man prayed the prayer that brought Christ into his life. Though I wasn't there when it happened, the fact is so remarkable and impacting!

Another powerful time was our trip to Mt. Fuji. We were able to pray on the fifth station, the highest place you can drive to, and it was so incredible. Mt. Fuji is worshiped in Japan, it is a spiritual high place, and it is so important to the people that some even call it the soul of Japan. We truly felt the presence of God and He was giving us words of encouragement and specific things to pray into for the nation while we were there. What truly made this experience amazing was this: a Japanese man who was in his early sixties and had been converted just 10 months earlier also prayed with us for his country. Words cannot describe the emotions I felt then... God will continue to move greatly in this nation!

I wish I could share even more of the stories! Maybe I'll write more in the future, but to end this, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for praying and supporting this trip. Everything went smoothly, only one person was sick (yet when he came back he said he wanted to move to Japan!), and God touched so many lives.

THANK YOU!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Dear Blog

Dear Blog,

I'm dreadfully busy, yet I feel like a bad owner for not posting for a week after taking such good care of you during November! I can't wait to use you to communicate some of the adventures from Japan, but my HW list is so long right now and my sunday-wednesday so packed that I probably will have to let you continue to fend for yourself this week.

Don't feel too bad though--I entirely intend to take better care of you...soon. I really felt proud of the first half of November especially, because I had this desire to write more since the semester started and I had finally gotten around to it!

So, take it easy and consider yourself on a little holiday while I'm working my tail off in this snowy land. If you get bored, go listen to Bethel Church's free sermons. They are tackling my opinion and bringing me closer to God! (http://www.ibethel.org/features/sermonoftheweek/)

With love,

Monday, November 30, 2009

Proverbs 17:9

Disregarding another person's faults preserves love;
telling about them separates close friends.
Proverbs 17:9

Wow. That is a challenging verse. I'm sure we all can think of situations where we didn't follow this one... How would you implement this with your significant other? Family? Best friend? Etc?



I am currently on my way home from Japan today! This post is in a series on verses that have impacted me lately. To read the explanation, read 11/21's post, "The Plan")


(P.S. I DID NABLOPOMO!!!!! Congrats to everyone else to stuck it through! It was so fun and worth it. Also, I'm coming home from Japan today, so pray for safe flights and I will be updating you all soon!)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

2 Corinthians 3:17-18

Now the Lord is the Spirit,
and wherever the the Spirit of the Lord is, he gives freedom.
And all of us have had that veil removed
so that we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord.
And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us,
we become more and more like him
and reflect his glory even more.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18

This verse is so impacting when you break it down. What part challenges or encourages you most today?



I am currently in Japan on a missions trip! This post is in a series on verses that have impacted me lately. To read the explanation, read 11/21's post, "The Plan")

Saturday, November 28, 2009

James 1:19

Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.
James 1:19b


How would your day be different if you applied this principle before you speak at any time throughout the day? When you do apply it, what changes? Do you say things differently?



I am currently in Japan on a missions trip! This post is in a series on verses that have impacted me lately. To read the explanation, read 11/21's post, "The Plan")

Friday, November 27, 2009

Psalm 37:5

Commit everything you do to the LORD.
Trust him, and he will help you.
Psalm 37:5

It is such a challenge to do everything "as unto the Lord" but the reward is so great. I encourage you to take a little step today--dedicate one more thing you do to God, and know that He is trustworthy. Can you think of something new you can commit to God today?



I am currently in Japan on a missions trip! This post is in a series on verses that have impacted me lately. To read the explanation, read 11/21's post, "The Plan")


(P.S. Happy Monthaversary, Honey! 2 years and 2 months of being "official" and I love you more than ever!)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Psalm 37:4

Take delight in the LORD,
and he will give you your heart's desires.
Psalm 37:4

I hope this verse encourages you this Thanksgiving Day! How do you take delight in your Lord?



I am currently in Japan on a missions trip! This post is in a series on verses that have impacted me lately. To read the explanation, read 11/21's post, "The Plan")

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Psalm 37:23

The steps of the godly are directed by the LORD.
He delights in every detail of their lives.
Psalm 37:23

How does this change your perspective on today?



I am currently in Japan on a missions trip! This post is in a series on verses that have impacted me lately. To read the explanation, read 11/21's post, "The Plan")

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

John 15:7-8

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. My true disciples produce much fruit. This brings great glory to my Father.
John 15:7-8
(7 from NKJV, 8 from NLT)

So, what are your thoughts?



I am currently in Japan on a missions trip! This post is in a series on verses that have impacted me lately. To read the explanation, read 11/21's post, "The Plan")

Monday, November 23, 2009

Galatians 5:25

If we are living now by the Holy Spirit,
let us follow the Holy Spirit's leading in every part of our lives.
Galatians 5:25

What are your thoughts?



I am currently in Japan on a missions trip! This post is in a series on verses that have impacted me lately. To read the explanation, read 11/21's post, "The Plan")

In Japan!

The flight was long, but we arrived in Japan yesterday evening and have spent the whole day exploring Tokyo!

We prayer walked at a BuddhistTemple today, asking Jesus to come and open the eyes of the people to His Truth. Then we split up and got to explore the city ourselves. Emily, Papa and I stuck with the Sagers, the pastors family of the Chruch we will spend most of our time at. We went to a place they had never been--this huge shinto shrine! It was in the middle of the great big park--it was similar to central park in NY. They had Torii's (sp)--those big arch things you see on tv. They were MASSIVE! Pictures to come on my return. (Sorry for the bad typing, its tricky on Dad's little computer and I don't have much time.) 

We kept seeing little girls all dressed in the traditional japanese dress, and we found out that they celebrate when girls reach thea ges of...5 and 7? The idea is traditionally many children died young, so when they reached these ages it was a big celebration. They were ADORABLE. I wish we did something like that in our culture.

Then we went to this really busy street where all the young people go, and saw a handful of people dressed crazy, like you see in photos about Japan. it was SO packed.

Tonight we will be going to the heart of tokyo, where there are TV screens all over the buildings and lights and HUGE intersections, etc. I can't wait to see what my family has told me so much about!

Please pray that when we are in temple and their spiritual palces that the oppression doesn't affect me. In both temples I felt the weight spiritually, and though I want to stay aware, I noticed I was getting cranky and even dreppressed feeling. Before we came we felt like God wanted JOY to be all over this trip, so pray that we can convey and feel that instead! Thank you for your prayers, they make all the difference!

Also, I'm 14 hours ahead of most of you--the future is pretty good, guys. :)

Hope to update you all again soon!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Galatians 5:1



For freedom Christ has set us free: stand firm therefore,
and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Galatians 5:1

Are you standing firm in your freedom? I like that this makes freedom something worth attaining and standing strong for. Our culture takes our "freedoms" so lightly and as if any and all things are ok--implying freedom is laid back, even lazy. But that is actually submission--to a yoke of slavery. How are you fighting for your freedom? What are you resisting so you can stand strong?





I am currently in Japan on a missions trip! This post is in a series on verses that have impacted me lately. To read the explination, read 11/21's post, "The Plan")

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Plan

My original plan was to write a short little post about what we plan on doing each day in Japan, but because I already posted the itinerary and because plans are pretty flexible, I had another idea for the posts you will get while I'm overseas. (FYI, as of this post's time, I will be in Minneapolis, MN on a layover before our flight leaves for Japan at 1pm MN time. [Shout out to Peter's NCU friends!])

Lately I've been writing about getting into God's word. The Bible has really been influencing me and bringing me further in my relationship with God. (Shocker huh? Not like it was designed to work like that or something!) So what I have done is this: I have nine verses I am reading every day, that I have posted on my wall and carry around with me. Soon I'm going to put them in my car and on my textbooks too. However, I had this great idea--9 verses, and 9 days after this post that I'll be gone. Brilliant! I'm going to be sharing with you all a verse a day! Hopefully I'll have a little bit of my thoughts and reflections as well, but if not, I encourage you to comment on your thoughts relating to the verse!

Also, please be praying for our team in Japan! (Safety, unity, our eyes open to opportunity to bless people and share Jesus, quick recovery from jetlag, HEALTH, etc.)

Hope you have a fabulous day!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Japan Itinerary

So I hope to set up a series of posts to let you know whats going on with me in Japan! Today though, as I am frantically packing and tying up last minute things with homework, I thought I would just share the overall Itinerary, just so you can see at a glance what we will be doing when!

Japan Schedule 2009

Saturday, Nov 21st
Everyone is flying from Kalamazoo. Please be at the Kalamazoo airport at the following times:
Group 1 – meet at 6am
Graham and Jill                            Herman                                          Brian & Lacey
Cameron                                     Carrie                                             William
Tori                                             Teresa                                            Heather
Emily                                           Heath

Group 2 – meet at 7am
Adam                                                        Elaine                                                 Josh
Sarah                                                        Jim & Sandy                                      Al            
Bill                                                            Chris

We will all meet in Minneapolis and fly together on the main flight to Tokyo.

FYI, the dates are in Japan time. Meaning when it says Sunday the 22, it actually means Saturday the 21st for you. Crazy eh? I'm going to the future!

Sunday Nov 22nd – Tokyo

 -----------------flying-------------
-------------still flying-------------
Meet at ryokan (thats a hotel) in Ikebukuro

Monday Nov 23rd - Tokyo

Visit Asakusa temple
Undecided (possibly prayer walking or recoup from jetlag)
Free time/ Shibyua

Tuesday Nov 24th – Tokyo & Ohito

Visit EN churches and other ministries
Free time and travel
Travel to Ohito

Wednesday Nov 25th - Ohito

Visit HIF (our sister church) & other local churches
Nursing home possibly and prayer walking
Meeting @ HIF

Thursday Nov 26th - Ohito

Prayer walking in Ohito
Worship team practice while others prayer walk
Thanksgiving meal (Dennis hasn't had one since he moved out there, so we are going to do it right and bless them all!

Friday Nov 27th - Ohito

Fuji (Yes, the MOUNTAIN!)
Fuji (We are praying and bringing God's presence to a place where the PLACE is worshiped, not our God, if that makes sense)
Onsen possibly--a cultural experience

Saturday Nov 28th - Ohito

Shuzenji & prayer walking
Free time &/or prep time for night service
Concert @HIF

Sunday Nov 29th - Ohito

Church (& kids ministry)
BBQ ( & youth meeting???)
Free time/ VB/ Onsen???

Monday Nov 30th – Ohito & Narita
Leave for Narita
Fly to Detroit---------------------
----------just keep flying----------

 Please keep us in your prayers!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

For Old Times Sake

So I made this past last year, but with the New Moon movie coming out, I thought it would be appropriate to repost it! :) (Sappy warning, fyi!)

Edward Cullen wishes he was as amazing as my boyfriend. Okay, so I'll admit straight off that bat that I haven't read the books. (Still true, lol!) For all that my friends talk about them though, I might as well have. I'm fairly sure they've told me every twist. And some of them are really weird.

But, for all means and purposes of this post, I've seen the movie and heard way too many people sigh and wish they had Edward Cullen as their boyfriend. Minus the bloodsucking part. (Some of the sighs actually want that. I'm thinking they forgot about the pain and agony aspect?) And every time they talk about this fictional man's wonderfulness, I can't help but go...wow, deja vu. That man is mine already.

So, to prove my point, I googled "perks of edward cullen." One of the first results was a list titled, "Edward Cullen of Twilight vs. Normal Guys."

A normal guy would say: “I love you Baby!”
Edward Cullen would say: “You are my life now.”

He's said it better. My man's said that we're going to build a life together, and its going to be better than anything we can imagine. (Which it will, cuz our goal is to follow God.)

Normal Guy would say: “I think I am falling for you.”
Edward Cullen would say: “The Lion fell in Love with the Lamb”

Peter makes the best analogies and he doesn't even know it. Considering he doesn't want to eat me, the EC example doesn't really apply. But Peter does give the best compliments, and he's never said "I think I'm falling for you." Instead, he tells me he loves me multiple times every day, and just for the record, he's loved me for 7 1/2 years. And yes, he's almost 18. (8 1/2! And he's almost 19 now, obviously!)

Normal Guy would say: “You hair looks like a haystack; go brush it!”
Edward Cullen would say: "Your hair looks like a haystack but I like it.”

I kid you not--one of us called the other on skype RIGHT after I woke up, and he saw my bed head in all its glory, and said I was straight out beautiful. And he meant it, too.

A normal guy would pick a random song from a random artist and dedicate it to you.
Edward Cullen would sing you a song he wrote for you while playing the piano.

Check. He's done that. On guitar, but he's also composed stuff for me spur of the moment on the piano.

If you died, a normal guy would find another.
If you died, Edward would kill himself cause life without you isn’t worth living.

Because we have faith, thats not something I consider admirable. Right now, we're ultimately living for God, and then for each other and those we love. We've talked about this though, and he said he would keep living, but it would be without the love of another and life would be gray and not the colorful dream we see in our future.

As you leave the house, a normal guy would say: “Bye, see ya!”
As you leave the house Edward Cullen would say: “Come back to me, love.”

Check. Word for word. On the phone though, or when ever he leaves for MN, we say that. (SO glad he doesn't have to go to MN without me now!!)

As you come back to the house, a normal guy would be watching TV and wouldn’t even notice.
As you come back to the house, Edward Cullen would be welcoming you by playing the piano with a song just for you.

I have no doubt when we're married (God willing) our house will be full of Peter's music.

A normal guy would wait for you to make him breakfast.
Edward Cullen would make you breakfast everyday.

Hahaha...well, I know he would. But I like cooking, so we'll work that out.

While you are both out for dinner, a normal guy wouldn’t keep his eyes off the sexy waitress.
Edward Cullen wouldn’t even notice the waitress was a female.

Check. Peter's basically amazing.

A normal guy, while driving, would keep one hand on the wheel and one hand on the radio.
Edward Cullen, while driving, would keep one hand on the wheel and the other attached to yours.

*laughs again* Check!

While far apart in different places, a normal guy would say: “I miss you.”
While far apart in different places, Edward Cullen would say: “It’s like you've taken half myself with you.”

Check....but we say I miss you, as well.

A normal guy wouldn’t care or notice if you had nightmares.
Edward Cullen would sing until your nightmares went away.
"Do you want me to sing to you? I'll sing all night if it will keep the bad dreams away."

Wow. He does pray over me. And I have a CD of his Worship music. I haven't talked about this one with him, but I know he would if I asked. (I did ask him, and he said he would!)

A normal guy does it with everyone.
Edward Cullen only does it with one.

Heck yeah. (And EC's goal was to save it till marriage, if I remember correctly; Exactly what Peter and I are doing!)


So, too bad for you, girls, that guy Ms. Meyers based Edward on is taken. And he's mine.

I love you, Peter Webb.  ♥ ♥


P.S. (And at the risk of losing all creditability with the EC fanactics out there, Peter is a heck of a lot better looking than EC too.)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Filler

It's been a long, but good day.

God always shows up.

Are you ready for Him? Are you aware?


Goodness I'm tired. Sorry for the lame post--I'm allowed a few with NaBloPoMo, right?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Living House

My parents' birthdays, homework, preparing for my wedding, and getting ready to go to Japan have all eaten my time up quite nicely. So tonight I will share the writings of someone quite amazing--C.S. Lewis.

"Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself."
— C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity)

Chew on that one for a while. Where do you think you are? Are you limiting Him by continuing to let your house get in disrepair and so every time you let Him back in He has to start over with getting "the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof" etc.? Or are you in the remodeling stage--is He tearing down walls to make your capacity greater? Is there an uncomfortable exposure as He is adding an expansion? Let God work on you--especially when it is uncomfortable and you REALLY don't want the change.

 He will turn your life from average to astounding.

Monday, November 16, 2009

My Personality Type

One of my friends recently took a personality test on facebook, so I decided to take a couple minutes and go to www.personalitytype.com to find out what I am. Some of these questions were tricky to decide on, but this was my first result:


You Are an INFJ (Introvert, Intuitive, Feeler, Judger)


INFJs represent between 1 and 3% of the U.S. Population

INFJs inhabit a world of ideas. They are independent, original thinkers driven by their strong feelings, and personal integrity. Sensitive, committed, hardworking, and perceptive, INFJs are often excellent listeners, skilled at generating enlightened and creative solutions to people’s problems. Thoughtful and careful decision makers, INFJs prefer to have plenty of time to let ideas “percolate” before taking action. Because they value harmony and agreement, INFJs like to persuade others of the validity of their viewpoint. They win the cooperation of others by using approval and praise, rather than argument or intimidation.

INFJs go to great lengths to promote fellowship and avoid conflict. They are also often perfectionists highly focused, and driven to accomplish their goals. Rather formal and reserved, INFJs can be difficult to read, but it is critically important to them that their values, needs and concerns be understood and respected.

It is actually remarkably accurate! And get this--one of my suggested careers is a Business Manager, which needs a Business Administration degree. How awesome is it that I will be graduating with one next semester, God willing!?

 Anyways, I thought it was interesting! The test only took about 5 minutes--You should try it! click here!

So, what is your personality type?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

My Top Stops

I spend a lot of time online, so I just decided to share with you my top 5 visited websites:

1. www.gmail.com
        This is the site I have open the most. I always have at least two tabs open on my browser, and this one the first one. Being connected to my email is superduper important. Plus I think its a habit formed during my excessive gmail chat days (which ended due to a combination of many people staying on AIM and not moving to google, and also when I realized about 75% of the drama in my life was from late night chats. People are much more sane online in the day time, and late night talks are better in person, IMHO.)

2. www.facebook.com
       Need I explain? This window I tend to have open constantly too. I've always loved known what is going on, and this is basically THE way to be a stalker do it without bugging people. I did try farmville and resturantcity, but they take too much time and don't really connect you with people...if I play games its more arcade style, like bejeweled blitz (but thats just for the competition factor, really). Facebook is my way to stay connected with WAY more people than I could otherwise.

3. www.blogger.com
       I follow a few blogs that I actually read consistently, and many I read sporadically, and I'm writing a post every day (plus I keep hoping I get comments...) so, needless to say, this is often open on my browser, too.

4. www.google.com
      The answer to everything. (Well, that and the number 42.) I'll admit, sometimes I get annoyed when people ask questions if a laptop is handy--"Just google it!" I think. Okay, I'm not that harsh, but I do it multiple times every day. I love google.

5. www.blueletterbible.com
     Also my fave. I love the compare verses feature--I can see one verse in a bunch of translations right next to each other. Very very cool. This is my source for finding all things Bible verse related. Love. It.

What are yours?


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Word

Over the past few days I've been noticing a theme of verses I keep re-reading. When I told Peter, my fiancé, about it, and how I kept reading the same two chapters in the Bible over and over again, he said, "Thats meditating on the Word." It challanged me when he said it that way. It is true that I think about God and His word a lot, but to take it the next step and read the same things over and over again? Yes, that is meditating.

There are a few verses that touch on this:

I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.  
Psalm 119:15

My eyes are awake through the night watches, That I may meditate on Your word.
Psalm 119:148 

Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You. 
Psalm 119:11 


This Book...shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night,
that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
Joshua 1:8


And one that has truly been on my mind the most:

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 
John 15:7

Check out the promises tied in with keeping His words in us! " For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success " and "you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. "

Wow. So if I want prosperity, success, and the things I ask of God to be granted, I must be in His word. I must meditate on His word and abide in it.

Why?

Because God takes care of those who are in relationship with Him. The only way to be in relationship with God is to know Him. And the only way to know God is to spend time with Him--to listen to what He says, to read His words.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Brief but Better

So I'm in a rush, but this thought has been on my mind all day:

If you just spend time with God, it truly changes your life. Every day something changes, grows, and gets better. Even if something else in life is rotten, spending time with Him makes something else get better.

If you don't already spend real time with God daily, and you consider yourself His follower, please please please make the baby steps needed to get to the place where you do. It has changed me in the past 3 weeks of doing so more than I knew.

It is worth it.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Whew!

Just barely made it! I had a pretty good day. Sorry this is a lame post, but I'll make up for it with some khuul stuff on the way!

--EDIT--

Thank God for Fiances and their ability to save your skin with posts like that. Today was great, but I'm so tired I need to go to bed, which means you don't get to hear my theological ramblings or my opinions on other aspects of life. Instead, I'd like to leave you with a verse that has been on my mind lately:

"For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1

I might make another post out of this idea, but in essence, you must stand firm in your freedom, because it is easy to slip back into submission to sin. Freedom is rarely easy. But that God, His yoke is light.




Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Temperature

So after spending MUCH of my time this week in deep thoughts, the conclusion I've come to is this:

You've just got to spend more time with Jesus.

Anytime there is a problem, that should be the first thing I think of. Its like when you get the symptoms of a cold or the flu. "Uho, I've got chills, a headache, and I'm freezing--probably should check my temperature." The same applies to life. "Oh man, I don't feel comfortable with this, this is challenging me and making me want to hide, this is making me angry or want to not think about something--maybe I should check my Jesus-time temperature."

And really, if all I'm doing is going to God and praying about one circumstance, that doesn't even count. (Which stinks a LOT because I do this all the time...) If all I do is go to God after I've figured something out on my own and I feel like I'm ready to run with Him, then He really isn't my Lord. (...ouch...) He needs to be first. He needs to be my source. He even needs to lead my prayer time...even if that means I don't get to discuss my thoughts on this circumstance, and He just wants me to read an un-relating (...usually it ends up relating...) chapter of the Bible over and over so I get it. Or something else other than what I had planned.

So if you are seeing fruit in your life that you don't like or that doesn't line up with Godly principles, I challenge you to step back and redose on Jesus. It'll be painful at first, but in the end its SO GOOD.

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
-John 15:7-8

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Great Reminder

Do you ever get the feeling that God works on a scale that is so much bigger than you think?

I've been experiencing this a lot lately, namely through seeing God do something that relates to me and my situation, and the person didn't even know about the connection I saw. He shows one person something that totally applies to their life, and they share it, and then five other people are impacted because of it--sometimes in ways that would not apply or not even make sense to the original receiver! Other times, different messages are given but a common thread is so evident it's crazy.

There have been numerous examples of things like this lately. For example, at my college group, God was using the tool of people's imaginations and giving them pictures to help them understand truths about His character and how he works. Someone got a picture of plants and flowers growing on driftwood (God's life coming in places where you don't expect it), another saw a wooden block being thrust deep in water, but it kept rising to the surface (God wants you to know no matter whats happening or even if you feel like you're sinking, He will never let you settle at rock bottom--He will keep lifting you up from the depths), and another got a picture of wooden beads that had the letters to spell JOY on a bracelet (a reminder to keep Joy right in front of you, to remind you to stay in God's joy and let it be by your hands, which help you do just about everything). Though all these pictures and ideas were different, the common thread was wood, and the common principle is God is our source--of life, hope and joy.

Then I call my friend in Indiana and she too told me what she has been thinking about God's joy and how important it is to have that perspective no matter what circumstance arises. But it doesn't even end there--a friend in South Carolina writes this blog post that totally relates to some drama I've seen in the lives of people I love up here in Michigan...and it helps me remember where I need to keep my focus. No matter the circumstance, if you don't go to God, it won't end the best way it could.

The biggest thing that I have taken away from this however, is even more exciting.

Our God is the same God no matter where you meet Him.

I suppose that sounds really simple...but think about it--He is moving in similar ways here in Michigan, in Indiana, and in South Carolina! What is to stop the other amazing things I hear of Him doing in California or Canada or China from happening here too?

Our God is the same God no matter where He is found...He works the same ways everywhere.

I encourage you to spend some time and meet with Him. Ask him to show you the Big Picture of what He is doing...search deep into His word, and learn His character. Remember:

"If you stay joined to me and my words remain in you, you may ask any request you like, and it will be granted! My true disciples produce much fruit. This brings great glory to my Father."
John 15:7-8

Monday, November 9, 2009

Google Analytics

Ok, so some of you may think this is sorta boring, but I just found out some interesting facts about people (well, technically, computers) who have visited my blog, and I wanted to share them.

In the past month, I had 82 visits to my blog that came from 11 countries. (WHOA!)

Shout outs to Poland, Lithuania, Italy, the UK, the Philippines, New Zealand (come let me visit you...if you had only kept the LOTR sets!! Ahhh...) and Qatar (I'm sorry I didn't know you existed. Thanks for educating me!). Because you are cool countries, and computers/people from you visited my blog. Awesome.

One person who has visited my blog has dial-up Internet. I'm sorry. That really is no fun.

Only one visit to my blog has been from Safari, vs. 31 from Internet Explorer and 23 from firefox and google Chrome. Sorry Peter, Safari isn't as cool as you claim. ;-)

Hope you found that at least a little interesting :-)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Slow Down

Sometimes, you just need to slow down.

I was thinking over my day, trying to come up with something to write about, and I remembered how flustered I get when I get ahead of myself.

When I leave work, I have to go through a series of things to shut down and lock up. Yet so often, I'll get one step ahead of myself, and have to back track and it ends up taking so much longer than if I had just gone slower at the beginning and thought things through.

I have been improving--I remember my first few weeks of work were frustratingly full of reminders to slow down and think; now, I do really well for the most part everywhere except for when its time to leave. (I think there is something about the idea of getting out of work that just makes me rush--and I bet I'm not the only one that feels that way!)

But the principle remains--slow down. So much more can be seen, remembered, and done right the first time if we just take a deep breath and turn the tempo down a few notches.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

80/20

As most of you know, I'm in college. And supposedly, that means I'm learning a lot of new information. However I often feel like I am just "learning" so I can pass a test, and the real knowledge I'm going to receive on the job.

One teacher this semester has actually been a bit different. Amongst the content that is good to know but we all know I won't really remember in 5 years, this teacher has taught his own "Corny Wisdom Principles" that he has learned through his own experience. I have actually found these to be really applicable, but not only that, they seriously stick in your head.

Here's one: the 80/20 Rule or the 80/10/10 Rule. In any situation, but specifically leadership roles, 10% of the people really like you and 10% of the people really don't like you. What you need to do is focus on keeping the other 80% content with you. For example, if you focus your attention on the 10% that hate you, trying to please them or get them to think better of you, you'll tick off at least the other 80%, if not the 90%. If you suck up to the 10% that like you, the 10% that hate you will think even less of you, and you'll frustrate the 80% that were content with you. If you focus on keeping the 80% that are content with you happy, then the 10% that like you will still like you, and the 10% that don't like you won't change either.

Doesn't that just make sense to you? It does to me. Maybe I'll use these for other blog topics, since I can't get them out of my head and wisdom is always good to pass on.

"Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding." Proverbs 2:2

Friday, November 6, 2009

Expectations, Disappointment, and Love (Part Two)



God said, “I love you without expectation, which means I am never disappointed in you.”

Wow. That floored me. God doesn't expect things of me. God is not disappointed in me. At first that seemed really hard to swallow, because doesn't God have all these standards for my life? Doesn't He want me to live a way that is different from the world? Yes He does, but He cleared that up for me. Rather than expectation, God has hopes, dreams, and plans for my life (“'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the LORD. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope'” [Jer. 29:11]). And when I mess up, He is saddened; when bad things happen in my life, His heart breaks for me because He wants the best in my life. But He is not disappointed. This brought so much freedom into my life!

And it also challenged me. If the Creator of the universe does not have ridiculously high expectations for my life, and if He is not disappointed in me, then what right do I have to set myself up for failure with expectations I can't meet? I have no reason to be disappointed in myself if God isn't disappointed in me.

Instead of being focused on me and my faults, I need to continually look to God and the hope I have with Him. I challenge you to do the same today, and the start again tomorrow, and the next day. Take it one day at a time, and know He loves you and loves relationship with you.

“Let heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only about things down here on earth” (Col. 3:2).

“So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today” (Mat. 6:24).

Isaiah 43:4b:
“You are honored, and I love you.”

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Expectations, Disappointment, and Love (Part One)

I truly want to serve God and live my life well. I want to take hold of this promise Jesus gave--"I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10b). I am also quite aware of this: “Be sure to do what you should, for then you will enjoy the personal satisfaction of having done your work well, and you won't need to compare yourself to anyone else” (Gal. 6:4).

Yet so often I feel that I waste my time and make poor time choices. I am one of those people that beats myself up over mistakes to the extent that my natural response is to hide—be it on Facebook, a computer game, a book, or anything other than what I need to get done. Classic procrastination, I know. I hate being disappointed in myself, and I hate that I never meet my own expectations.

Well, one day I was praying about this. I was apologizing and agonizing over my faults (basically beating myself up in a prayer). And God's response blew me away with love and literally reversed some of my ideas.

He said, “I love you without expectation, which means I am never disappointed in you.”

To Be Continued

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Choices and God's Heartbeat

I have been thinking about choices and consequences lately. These thoughts may be a little scattered, but bear with me, because this is all dear to my heart.

How do we live out our lives here on earth? I know that, ultimately, when we die, we will be held accountable by this standard--Did we accept Christ as our Savior and Lord of our life? Did He lead what we did? In the day to day, we choose or loose blessings by the choices we make regarding following God and his standards. When we cross His lines, even if we were doing it with the intention that we were going after what He wanted, a blessing from Him can be lost. He is more concerned with getting us to know Him more, having relationship with us and growing our character, than making us happy.

I need to be focused on hearing God and his direction for my life. But how does that play out in everyday life?

Lets say God's will is for me to receive money for my missions trip to Japan through a fund raising dinner at my church. I am presented with a choice--do I do the prep to work toward the dinner happen, or do I say "God said its going to happen, so I'm going to wait here and let it unfold." Do I take action, or don't I? I think a lot of God's will depends on us first knowing how to hear Him accurately, and then by following through, like that example.
Then there are times when I really think God wants something to happen, I think He told me something, and so I do take action, but it doesn't work. There are so many variables that could make this happen--the most common being I either didn't hear God right or I heard Him but misunderstood what He said. Usually the more specific the thing I heard is, the greater the chance it is wrong, so I take it with a grain of salt and really compare it to scripture and other Christians in authority over me (either like a pastor or someone who I see as a more mature Christian than I). Also, I could have taken the wrong action--say I thought God said Joe was going to give me $100 for my missions trip, so I went up to him and started really encouraging him to give money, but I actually end up bugging him or weirding him out, so it doesn't happen. The wrong action can lead to a loss of blessing.

My life is trying to learn to hear God correctly, and the only way I can do that is through spending time in prayer and His word. Once, a good friend of mine, Stephanie Jones, said the Bible is God's heartbeat, and that as we learn it more and more, we learn to recognize His heartbeat (or lack thereof) in situations around us.

I want to be a woman who knows God intimately and knows His heartbeat.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

From The Father, to His child.

This was inspired by tidbits of many people's stories, and I might try to turn it into a song, but for now, I hope you enjoy this little sketch I wrote. It is very rough and unpolished, but I still wanted to share.

From The Father, to His child.

You've been though so much. You've learned so many lessons in a years time. Joy, despair, apathy, emotion overload, fear, hatred, worry, worthlessness. Each has run through your mind in ways so much more than the world will ever know. You've made a lot of choices, and for a time you couldn't hear hope clearly. Confusion tried to rule your mind, and for a time he was winning the battles. You felt lost. But it didn't end there.

Thank you for reaching out and letting others help bring light back into your life. Thank you for trusting again and opening up your life, even when you felt so ugly. I remember when you started to push the curtains aside and let the light come in. From your perspective you felt like you were revealing the dusty attic that you really didn't want to deal with, didn't want to clean, and especially didn't want to let light expose. Your eyes were crying out—I am ugly. Stop wanting to look at me!!

But you let me in anyways. I'm so glad, because all I have for you is love. From my perspective, you were showing me the rocks that had jewels inside. I couldn't wait to get our my tools and start to work away the exterior. For inside every rock this world threw at you, every bruise your heart has received from them, I am going to chip away the pain and reveal the diamonds, rubies, emeralds and gold of your heart.

My dear, beauty has overcome everything in your life. Hold fast to me, for I will never leave. Thank you for loving me again, and I promise I will never stop loving you.

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Music Blessing

For many months I haven't been "into" listening to music. Actually, I haven't really listened to music since my junior year in highschool, for the most part. I know this is totally abnormal and not like our culture--but honestly I was just too busy and I don't work well when I have extra noise around, so it just didn't happen often.

However, I felt like this past month was a window where I could get back into music again, and thankfully for me, my fiance decided to help me capture this moment and decide to do something totally amazing and not normal--he is lending me his iTouch "until further notice" meaning....I basically have an iTouch!! Which is so stinkin' unbelievably awesome!

Last night I spent the evening getting used to it and now I am happily enjoying listening to Owl City and a mixture of other songs I forgot existed or didn't even know of!

I've learned something through this experience--it rarely hurts to be a little vocal about your desires. Peter would never have thought of lending me the iTouch if he didn't know I had a need for it. God even talks about this whole ask and recieve idea: "If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." (Mat. 21:22)

So, though my example is a bit frivilous, I want you to remember that God provides for us, even to the extent of little things, like music.

Remember what you are believing for today, and know there is hope.



Sunday, November 1, 2009

NaBloPoMo Decision And Whats Up

So I'm going to try it. I am going to try to write a little something every day, and to line up a series of posts for the future. I don't know how it'll work while I'm in Japan, but if I don't succeed I won't be heartbroken--at least I will have been blogging, right?

So, whats up with me?

I'm sick. There is a chance its the flu, but I'm praying hard its not and that I get better asap. Yesterday I had a 102 temp. and was feeling pretty awful. I'm going to stay home from church, which I hate doing, but I can't risk exposing all those people I love so much to yuckiness.

I've got a few good post ideas brewing, so I hope you stick around and let me know what you think when I get around to writing and publishing them!

And to end, here's a little teaser.

"The wrong decision can lead to a loss of blessing."

Friday, October 30, 2009

NaBloPoMo

I'm trying to decide if I should attempt NaBloPoMo--Nation Blog Posting Month. Basically, that means making one post every day in November. Now, that would require a lot of planning ahead, seeing as I'm going to Japan the 21st through the 30th...which would be tricky. I could pre-write posts that would publish while I am gone, but I don't know if that counts for the contests at nablopomo.com.

What do you think? Is this something worth trying to do? To get in the habit of writing enough to get something "published" online every day? Would you read it? Comment and let me know!

Blessings,
Tori

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Month

Has it been a month or what!

School is really filling my time right now. That and work, family/friends, church and being engaged. It takes a lot of time to invest into a relationship--and when your getting ready to get married, just being with each other is so important!

Anyways. The thankfulness thing was great while it lasted. Unfortunately, I haven't been taking the time to blog. However, something else really good has happened!

Since the 18th, I've spent time with God every morning. Thats a big accomplishment for me--I pray everyday, but not like set aside quiet time. I was trying to make sure I met with Him at some point in the day, but that only happened about 50% of the time. SO I felt challenged to do it first thing in the morning--before getting online or any other things like day prep--and its worked! The best part is, my mood has been considerably better, and even though things are still stressful in life, I'm not as stressed. Lots of Philipians 4:6-7 going on, let me tell ya.

Anyways, just thought I'd write something. I'll try to write more little tidbits now and then, but you know how life goes--BUSY!

Blessings,
Tori

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Influence of Hope

Though many people I know are wonderful and inspiring, today I want to share with you about a woman who has truly blessed and influenced my life. Her name is Tami Webb, and though she has so many amazing traits, her compassion, optimism and faith truly stand out.

The Webbs have been friends with my family since they moved here from Ohio 8 ½ years ago. We met though church and homeschooling, and we stayed in touch especially because my siblings and I were close in age to some of their kids.

Something that always stuck out about Tami was her remarkable kindness and compassion. She always includes everyone around her, and she has a very tender heart. I believe this was a huge reason she and her husband decided to become foster parents. Though they had three boys of their own, they opened their loving home to the children in the foster system about five years ago. They first wanted to adopt a girl, because Tami had always wanted a daughter. However, all the girls they fostered they were never able to adopt for one reason or another.

But though this was frustrating, Tami stayed optimistic—the second point I wanted to make about her. Even though her heart broke every time a foster child was moved to a new home, Tami kept smiling and giving love to everyone around her. Pretty soon the Webbs realized there was a huge need for homes for special needs children, and they decided they were meant to help meet that need. Tami's compassion and optimism only grew, despite all the discouraging prospects that come with children with special needs. Two of the little boys she loves have stories that especially illustrate Tami's compassion and optimism.

About three years ago they received Jason, a little red head infant who has the one of the most severe case of down syndrome in Michigan. The doctors did not expect much of him, saying he would never walk and probably would never be able to respond to much, because his mental handicap was so great. However, he has more than thrived under Tami's loving care and continual optimism—he now loves playing games like “the itsy bitsy spider” and “patty cake,” giving kisses and high fives, and in the past month this little 3 ½ year old has accomplished a true miracle—he has begun to walk using a walker!

Another amazing testament to Tami's optimism is the story of another little boy, Aiden. Aiden came to their home about a year ago when he was only a few months old. One day after he had been with them a month or two, he took an unusually long nap. When they went up to check on him, he had turned blue and wasn't breathing! Thankfully they were able to get him to the ER in time, but he has been different ever since. It turns out he has some sort of mitochondrial disease, and now he no longer makes eye contact (sometimes he acts like he is blind) and barely responds to anything. He cannot sit up or talk or do much more than move his arms, and has had a lot of trouble breathing. However, this sad state has only made Tami more compassionate and she has remained optimistic despite his monthly (sometimes weekly) visits to the doctor and ER. In fact, she has such hope for him and his future, and such love for this little boy, that they are currently in the process to adopt Aiden.

However, what really keeps Tami going is her Christian faith, and it is so evident in everything she does. Tami credits all of her optimism and compassion to Christ, the source of her hope and strength to continue on. She is a true example of giving her burdens and worries to God and continuing on with the hope that he will use her to bless the special little children in her life. Her and her husband started a church in Paw Paw last January, and has been a huge support by leading the children's ministry and a women's prayer group, (in addition to caring for and homeschooling all her children!). She inspires me to give my all to Christ, because she has so many more things to worry about than I do and yet she is still so positive in everything she does—from the ready smile she always gives anyone she sees to the little things like a continual flow of optimistic and even joyful status updates on facebook!

Tami is an amazing woman of faith, who shows compassion and optimism in everything she does. She is a huge encouragement to me and I really love her. I am so grateful that I am going to get to know her even more in the future, because she is going to be my mother-in-law!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Thankful Thoughts

Sunday--

I am so crazy thankful that Peter came to my church today. His family started a church in a town nearby, so he's usually really busy there, but they spared him for me and I was SO blessed. I can't wait to be able to go to church with him every week. It felt different, but good, and I can't wait until its normal!

I'm also thankful Hannah let me carpool w/ her to the Iglesia. I really like talking with her on the way there and back--love you girl!

Monday--

Oh Monday. Lets see...I'm thankful my impromtu speech went well. Oh! I'm so happy Peter came to visit me during my break! I love him so much.

I'm also so glad the Castle premire was yesterday. Love these actors: Nathan Fillion, Molly C. Quinn, and Stana Katic! Yay!

Tuesday--

Yesterday I was very thankful for Emily who did a lot of online research for me whenever I called her. It is amazing the connections we have now! I grab my cell phone (and cell phones have only been around publicly for about 25ish years), call Emily, who sits down at the computer and within 30 seconds has googled what I need (thats only been around 12 years), and then I was able to do what I needed to do way faster that finding a phonebook Thank God for amazing sisters and crazy technology!

What are you thankful for this week?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Thankful Things


Guess what? It's Gratitude Time!

I am thankful that this Friday I was able to spend a good amount of time hanging out with my lovely sister Emily! I'm so glad we have been blessed with a good friendship and I love her so much. I am also thankful that Peter texted me a lot today! I love having my new phone and how much easier it is to stay connected now. Praise Jesus for the blessings of technology!

I am also thankful that Hannah Ailes made me a sweet hobo bag. I have used it everyday since she made it! Love it! Find her and buy her stuff, because it (and more importantly, she) is amazing!!

I was so glad I spent much of today with Peter. Though it was a tough decision, I gave up something that I wanted to do to be with him and I think it was the right choice. I am so thankful for his musical talents--the worship time we had together was so good! Thank you for meeting with us, Jesus!

I finished my Bus. Law HW a day early! WOW! Yay! Haven't done that yet this semester! Praise God! (If only org. behavior, history, small business, and public speaking hw was done...lol)

Hope you have been thinking of what you are thankful for, too. :)


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Gratitude Journal

I heard of this a while ago, and the idea hasn't really left my mind. Keeping a Gratitude or Praise Journal--a journal where you write down things you are thankful for, things that blessed you, prayers that were answered, etc. I have been going back and forth on if I should make this be online or in a book at home, but as I was thinking about it, thankfulness spreads joy and can be contagious, so I think I am going to do it here. I am debating about putting real people's names up here for various reasons, but if I do, its not because I want anything more from you or that I am ever coming from a manipulative standpoint, I was simply blessed by you. :) Also, if you and I did something and I don't mention it here, it certainly does not mean you didn't bless me or give me something to be thankful about! The purpose of this is to get me focusing on something I can be thankful for in small steps--this is supposed to be as far from guilt or shame as possible. I want this totally focused on the ways God has blessed me and hopefully that can encourage both of us!

Yesterday I was really blessed by Peter coming and picking me up from school, even though it was late. It was so good to see him and really gave me something to look forward to, It also made me feel so valued that even after a long day he'd literally go the extra mile(s) for me. <3

Yesterday I also ran into Corey at Valley, and we had a great talk. I was totally encouraged by how smoothly it went and how honest we were. It was simple (aka non-complicated and drama free) and blessed.

Today I met Cait for coffee and though we talked about a lot of stuff that could have been stressful, it totally wasn't. I left feeling hopeful about her future and mine and ours as friends. It really had the flavor of "God is Good" no matter what the circumstances are.

Today Lindsay and I had a great little chat on the phone and I was reminded again of how awesome she is and how much I love her. Our friendship is worth soooo much... thank you Jesus!

Just writing out how I was able to see/talk to so many of the people I love was so encouraging right now, especially when I feel somewhat overwhelmed by school and work ie life and responsibilities! Thank you God for good friends!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Schedule


This has the potential to be my life...


I think I'm busy. Yeah...

Prayers are mucho appricatied!

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Proposal



One fine Saturday in May, Peter Webb called me up and asked if I'd like to go get coffee after church the next day. I readily agreed, and he responded that he was going to plan it all and that the plan was to NOT talk about the possibility of getting married or any of those details the whole day. I thought it was a great idea because I had been trying to figure out if it was possible or not--a.k.a. worrying and talking about it pretty much all the time. Excellent, I thought--some time to just be friends who happened to love each other, too.

So the Sunday comes and I didn't dress up too much--a nice shirt and jeans with my new sandals. I'd had a long weekend, so I get home from church and while I am waiting for him to call saying he's on his way, I decided to take a nap. He wakes me up to let me know he'll be there in 20 minutes, and adds that he's dressed up from church still so if I want to dress up too so we're the same that'd be fine, which was unusual, but I didn't notice. Groggily, I let him know that what I was wearing was fine and I'll just sleep an extra 15 minutes.

So Peter arrives and whisks me off to "That Coffee Place" in Paw Paw, because we had never been there. The nap had put me in a good mood, and I was excited about finally getting to see this little shop. I ordered a chai tea latte and he and I sat in there for a while making small talk, when abruptly he said, "Let's go!" It was a bit sudden, but I was up for it. In the car, he said since we had done something new, we would now do something old and visit Maple Island, a beautiful little island in Maple Lake that has a park and a pavilion as well as lots of trees that we had been to a few times before.

When we got out of the car, he mentioned something about maybe having the wedding on the island, but I told him we weren't allowed to talk about it, and he laughed and said he forgot. As we were walking over the bridge to the island the wind caught his shirt and made it REALLY poofy--something that could bug me if I wasn't in a good mood, but because I was feeling so happy it just made me laugh more. We walked over the island and I remember this feeling of it being very peaceful, and being so appreciative of being best friends with Peter. We didn't talk too much, and eventually he led us over to a bench where we sat and looked out over the water. I leaned my head on his shoulder, and thought how perfect this was and how it could totally represent how I wanted my life with Peter to feel--not needing extravagance, peaceful, and an intimacy that grew from and held its foundation in friendship and trust.

The minute I took my last sip of my latte, Peter asked if he could throw the cup away for me. He hadn't really ever done that before, but I let him take it from my left hand, and he bolted to the nearest trash can and right back to me. I leaned my head back on his shoulder, and after a minute I noticed his heart was beating VERY fast, so I asked "Peter, are you ok? Your heart is racing!" He replied that he was fine, and I said, "Hm, must have been that quick sprint." But that didn't make much sense because that would normally not overdo it for him at all.

I went back to gazing at the water, as Peter repositioned himself. He moved towards me to hold my hand and I felt something hard touch my ring finger and stop at the tip, then the words I had been longing to hear came from his lips--"Tori, will you marry me?" I was totally shocked. For a good 30 seconds I didn't say or do anything other than stare gaping at him--and then I exclaimed, "Oh my gosh, YES!!!!" and hugged him and kissed him on the cheek for the first time.

We laughed and I cried and stared at the ring and spent a few moments together as newly engaged couple. I laughed that he had tried to get me to dress up--something he knew I wanted to be when he proposed. Then we realized we had a whole city of people to tell the exciting news to! So the rest of the evening was spent doing what we love--being together and spreading excitement with many of the people who mean so much to us.


May 17th, 2009 was a beautiful beginning to a wonderful new chapter in our lives together--let the adventures continue!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Broken Heart

How can people accept Jesus as their savior, but not their ultimate redeemer? I know I have been blessed with a life that has been protected from a lot of the things that happen to bring impurity and shame. So I know this is supposedly easier for me than others--at least to someone who feels like they can't live like I do or value the same things I do because of circumstances that have happened to them. And yet I see those around me desire purity and the blessings that come with it, but the pain they have gets so overwhelming it seems they can't even see the aspect of redeemer that their Lord is.

I see Christ standing, as if he momentarily stepped down from the Cross, holding out His forgiveness, and I see them looking at the pain in their hand and being sucked into what it feels like so much that they can't let it go and take His forgiveness for them, and for them to use towards others. They are too caught up in the terrible yet twisted-justice feeling of pain that they won't take the exchange before them. It breaks my heart. Because so many thing my life has been "better," and because I am the daughter of a Pastor that my view is somehow less legitimate. Their circumstances validate them, but mine disqualify me. "She hasn't been hurt like me. She can't understand." Sure, I might not understand. I can imagine, but I won't know exactly like you. But what I do know is that HE knows. And he's standing there bloody and bruised right off the cross showing you the way out. He took that exact pain and shame they feel and bore it on the cross combined with every other pain and sin and injustice. It breaks His heart that the people in this world don't run into his arms of forgiveness. Sometimes His tears become mine. They are now.

So when I get insistent and I sound bold or too black and white or like I don't understand...it's because my heart is breaking for you. I see you have the option for a better way and it pains me just as much as it does you how much of a process it can be to exchange your pain for His Forgiveness daily. I have to do it too, with my own burdens. They aren't your hurt. They are mine. You can't understand mine and I can't understand yours completely, but He does. Why don't you choose Him?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...