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Thursday, June 26, 2008

New Post (Kind of)

I was thinking about certain phrases we use a lot and how they water down our conversations. Take the phrase "kind of" for example. What does that mean? Kind of?

I kind of feel like eating Chinese. It's kind of cold in here. That kind of tastes bad. Really? Does it or does it not taste bad? Is it cold or isn't it? Do you want the egg roll or not?

In as fairness, however, kind of can have some weigh behind it. Imagine your boyfriend pulling out that special circle of sparkling magic and whispering, "I love you.....kind of."

Hmm. I kind of wished with all my heart that I sorta knew what else to say......

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

These are a few of my favorite things....

So my friend Emily challenged me to write about the "Top 10 Things I Recommend/Use/Love" and why. Since I love all of these things, there is no particular order here. (If you are reading from Facebook, it might look weird. I have pictures on the original post.)

01. Chi Flatiron: Guys won't understand this, but it is the best straightner you can buy. I have converted many to the ways of the Chi. I creates perfectly flat, shiny hair. (Imagine me tossing my hair back and forth like in a shampoo commercial.) It's worth the large amount of coin.

02. Harry Potter Series: If you haven't read these, you are the one missing out. The writing is smart, funny, inspiring, touching, and just plain amazing! The investment you make into these will be well worth it!! My favorite characters are the Weasley Twins! Their humor and laid-back approach to life makes me smile!

03. Raising Cane's: Unfortunately, this restaurant isn't nationwide yet, but it should be! The menu is simple--Chicken fingers, fries, Texas toast, sweet tea, and that amazing dipping sauce (I get two so everything gets dipped). Even their ice is great (little pellets of cold goodness). I really could eat there weekly and never get burned out. Next time you're in Norman, you've gotta go....and call me, so I can join you!

04. Macs: I admit it, I am a Mac snob. In my defense, I am not new to the bandwagon. My first home computer was a Mac. My computer I took to college was a Mac....and that was a while ago. Macs are amazing for so many reasons. One of my favorite features is the spotlight. I also love how I can view all my files as icons/previews and hit my space bar and they zoom for me---makes searching for files so much easier. There are many, many more reasons--just ask me!!

05. Spreadable Butter: This is random, I know. If you are as in love with bread as I am, this product is a must try. It has an amazingly smooth, rich flavor and just the right amount of sweetness & salt. Since I have found this produce, the bread has taken a back seat and simply become a conduit for the spreadable deliciousness.

06. Sooner Football!!!: I LOVE college football. One of my father's favorite things to brag on me about was the fact he raised a daughter that loved football as much as he did. ESPN's College Gameday starts my Saturdays in the Fall, and I usually write out a watching-game plan to maximize the amount of games I can watch. Of course, Big 12 football is my favorite, but I want to watch all of the important games. I am one girl you can invite to the tailgate party that both knows how to cook some tasty snacks as well as actually watch the game with you. 66 days and counting until kickoff.....

07. Audiobooks: Do you know that listening to a book being read has the same educational benefits as reading a book to a child? Hey, turn off the TV and listen to a great book! I love listening to audiobooks in the car, or as I am doing other projects around the house. They are entertaining, mind stimulating, and with this I-pod generation, really accessable! I use both I-Tunes and as places to get great books! Audible has a lot of variety--including best sellers as well as Christian books and Christian fiction books. It's a way to "read" even when you can't have a book in your hand!

08. Psych: I don't want to beat a dead horse, but this show is worth all of the promotion it can get. I've posted already on the amazingness of this show, but in case you missed it... IT IS AMAZING! Back in the 80's the TV sitcom ruled the roost. Today "reality" shows are enjoying their reign on the nightly line-up. Psych is a fresh, funny breath of fresh air. Who doesn't like to laugh? Really, come on! I've never watched an episode where I didn't laugh out loud. I am so confident that I am willing to loan you my prized first season. Or we can have a watch-a-thon at my house. You're pick. I might even cook for you. The new season begins Friday, July 18, 10/9c on the USA Network. I know what I am doing that weekend.....laughing!

09. Personality Plus/Wired That Way: I have mentioned this before as well, but one of the best investments I have ever made was in understanding my own temperment as well as others. The book "Personality Plus" was the first that really helped me understand that. The author's daughter wrote a new one called "Wired That Way." Both are great. Just the other day a friend was reading a section of the book and had an "ah ha" moment. She realized why she felt out of place in her family as she read about the different temperments behaved as children. She finally realized why she felt her parents didn't value her as much as her siblings. Wow! It is a tool that I have never regretted learning how to use.

10. Quilts: Okay, I realize most people won't care about this one. But this post is about things I love and recommend, and it can't be left out. Quilting is a hobby I've picked up over the past 6 years. It's become an creative outlet as well as a way to show people I love them. One of the easiest ways of starting is using these things called "Jelly Rolls" or "Charm Packs". Basically, it is pre-cut and pre-selected fabric. It cuts down on the cost, the time selecting fabric that matches, and time cutting! There are a lot of great websites out there for quilters. If you want to know more, contact me.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

5 Random Celebrity Crushes

5. Doug Wilson: Best know for "Trading Spaces" but does other TLC shows. He makes the list on his wit and charming smile. His designs are okay too.

4.Anderson Cooper: He makes grey hair look good, and he reports the news with squinty-eyed confidence.

3. Matt Lauer: He may not know the history of psychology (thank you Tom Cruise), but he deals with annoying co-hosts with grace and humor.

2.Chris Harris: He is THE host with the most. He can say, "Bachelor, ladies, the final rose." each time, with a straight face. And he also hosts "The Antique Roadshow" random of a spectrum is that? Diversity counts.

1. Bobby Flay: He makes cooking look good...oh, and I guess the food looks good too!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Old and New Lessons

"Hello, my name is Holly, and I am a thinkaholic." ("Hello, Holly.")

It's true--I think way too much. When I say "think" read "over-think." Look, thinking isn't bad. Like most things, however, taken into excess a good thing will become a negative. So lately God has been re-teaching me a lesson: Think less and pray more.

Praying can be such an abstract concept for a black-and-white girl like myself. As un-spiritual as it sounds, praying is hard for me.

However, God has been reminding me that I need to talk to Him more about what I am thinking about, even though He already knows. I used to do this all the time. I would pray very short, specific prayers.

In the summer of 2000, I was working at Glorieta (High Point) and was having a horrible time. My personality was being attacked by some co-workers, and I was really discouraged.

One morning, with the warm breeze flowing in my widow and the New Mexico sun shining on my back, I sat in my closet of a room and prayed.

"God I am really discouraged. I need You to encourage me through people today. Will you use Robert to encourage me and someone that who I would never, ever expect? Whatever they say about me, I will take it as if it were You speaking. Amen."

A little later, Amy and I went into Santa Fe to see a movie, and I forgot about that small, simple prayer.

That summer two things kept us going on at little island of isolation--mail and "love lines" (what we called the encouragement note wall). When we'd returned, the mail had arrived. I grabbed my stack and went and checked my clip on the Love-Lines board. There was a tiny scrap of paper on there, so I gingerly took it off and headed to my room.

Setting on the exact spot I had before, I opened the little 2x2 scrap of paper. It was so small, it almost looked like trash. On it was a treasure, though. It was from Robert. In about 30-40 words he spoke Truth into my heart. It was one of the sweetest, most plainly simple and sincere encouragement notes I've ever received. I still have it actually.

Then I looked at my mail and there was a card there from an address I didn't recognize. "What? I'm confused," I said to myself as I scanned it for a signature.

It was from this girl that I thought HATED me. Her boyfriend and I were good friends (he went to OU, she didn't). From other friends, I'd heard about some relationship issues that concerned me. After praying, I'd confronted him with what I'd heard. He admitted to it, and I encouraged him to higher standards. He received the correction with thankfulness and brokenness. AND he broke up with her that same night. Oh. So you can imagine how popular I was with her.

A year later, I am in New Mexico and she wrote me a note THANKING me for what I'd done back then and how she now understood why I'd done it. Still to this day I have NO idea how she found out my address in New Mexico.

Then it hit me. He answered.

Still to this day, I am overwhelmed with that memory. How he prompted Robert to write an encouragement note, although he'd previously admitted he didn't do that kind of thing. Then, to prompt this girl to write that note, find my address, and mail it---all so He could answer a prayer I would pray days later and meet a need in my life.

There is a Watermark song that says it well:

Who am I...That You would love me so gently?
Who am I...That You would recognize my name?
Lord, who am I...That You would speak to me so softly?
Conversation with the Love most high,..Who am I?

Who am I, Lord, that YOU would do that for me? But it is not about who I am, but it is about who HE IS. The almighty "I AM" wants to answer. He wants to meet needs. He wants to shower me with goodness and mercy and grace. He loves me.

Those little, SPECIFIC, prayers are life-givers to me. It is when I ask for specific things I can see Him answer. Just this week I have been praying like this again--both for myself and for others. And each time He has answered. Each time, I am overwhelmed.

I want to encourage you to pray specifically today. Pray BIG, but pray specific. See what happens. And I would love to hear the results.

"Hello, my name is Holly. I am a prayaholic." ("Hello, Holly.")

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Wanna hear a secret?

Americans are ridiculous.

A woman from Los Angeles is suing Victoria's Secret, claiming one of their thongs injured her. Ironically, the "part" of her injured is not where you'd expect.

Apparently, Vickey's undies were the “low-rise v-string” variety. We all know how very hard it is to find a good fit on a 3x3 triangle of fabric held together with some string. So, ignoring all hygienic and common-sense rules, the lady tries them on only to have a "piece of decoration" fly off and strike her in the eye!!!

In defense of Victoria, it is very, very difficult to sew decoration on such a small piece of fabric. Maybe industry standards should be changed--only 4x4 triagles can be decorated.

But really, how did this happen?? Look, how much energy was this women exerting to cause the decoration to FLY off hard enough to cause eye damage? Lady,get a bigger size! And why was her face that close to her underwear in the first place?

Her attorney is classifying this incident as a “design error” and says that Victoria’s Secret should compensate her. Really?? If you're going to sue Victoria Secret, sue them for corrupting the eyes of men world-wide. Sue them for setting up ridiculous, unrealistic standards for women to try to live up to. Or sue them for price gouging the string and padding market.....but not this.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Sixth Sense?

So last night my dreams about dad took on a whole new element. (I've mentioned before that I frequently dream of him.)

In this dream, I was back in my home church in Marlow setting with a family friend, Retha. (Side Note: My mom and dad were best friends with Retha and her husband, James. James passed away several years ago from cancer. Since dad was a deacon (but divorced) and Retha was a deacon's wife (w/o a husband), they would go to deacon-and-wives things together. They are very close family friends.)

Anyway, I was with Retha at church and there was some sort of youth musical or something going on that night. But all of a sudden, the dream "me" started seeing, for lack of a better word, ghosts. My dad was there and so was James. Only certain people in the crowd could see them, and I was one of them although Retha, setting next to me, could not.

It was weird because in the dream I knew they were dead and I shouldn't be able to see them. Instead of it being creepy or sad, it was more....more spiritually moving than anything. There were "others"--even children--that I saw.

It was as if they were there to encourage us on. It seems even in the dream I was moved to tears--not of sadness--but of hope and joy. And although Dad looked the same, he was somewhat "younger" at the height of his health and vitality. There was a peace about him, a joyful calm. The feeling this dream left on me it hard to articulate.

I think this dream might have come about because I had just read the end of HP 3 yesterday, in which there is a memorable moment where Harry admits he thought he saw his dad, although he knew he was dead.

Professor Dumledore replies to Harry, "You think the dead we loved ever truly leave us? You think that we don't recall them more clearly than ever in times of great trouble? Your father is alive in you, Harry, and shows himself most plainly when you have need of him."

How profoundly true. My dad hasn't truly left me. His legacy does live on in me, and his faith is there to urge me on to the prize.

Hebrews 12:1-2 has always been a favorite passage. In a small way, I was able to experience the emotion, joy and comfort of that cloud of witnesses last night. It still is so bizarre thinking about that dream and the hope it filled me with.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Monday, June 16, 2008

Being this affirms HIS work as Creator.

Since my junior year of college, God has really used the study of personalities in my life. Understanding why I do what I do, and also why others do what they do, has helped me grow personally in my walk, as well as become a better discipler and friend.

Just yesterday I was talking with a friend about common "lies" that I believe. I even said something like, "That is one thing about my personality I don't like. It is hard for me to really understand and accept God's love and that He would want to give me good things without any strings attached."

You see, I think I need to DO something to deserve those good things. I am action-motivated. SO when I DON'T produce or "DO" something for God, why would He give me good things? That is just how I think.

For years I have thought about the connection of our personalities with our spiritual gifts and especially our view of God. Recently, I found a book that makes those same connections.

I want to go over briefly how each of the four personality types respond to a different aspect of God. Or how we reflect one aspect of God most naturally. (This if from the book, not me necessarily.)

Sanguines: Sanguines naturally feel that everyone likes them and are accustomed to skating through life on their charm. They have no trouble believing that God loves them too. To the Sanguine, grace is a natural extension of that love. Elements of grace are naturally attractive to the Sanguine--"You mean I don't have to do anything to get God to love me? Sign me up!" They know salvation cannot be earned and take God and grace at face value. Spiritual "failure" doesn't keep Sanguines form trying again. For each day is a new, fresh day--full of grace and love from the Father.

Melancholy: The spiritual strength that attracts the Melancholy is knowledge. Melancholy like details, facts, charts, and lists--and enjoying seeing how everything connects and is related. This inherent personality trait carries through to the Christian life as well. While Sanguines who can coast through life feeling loved by God--Melancholy need to know WHY. Melancholy people are drawn to knowledge knowing the WHY or HOWS behind the faith.

Choleric: Choleric people have a "just do it" mentality, so it is no surprise they embody the spiritual strength of justification or works. Cholerics determine value--their's and other's--on the basis on production. Likewise, they show their love for God through their works. The Choleric is justified as s/he acts out their faith--often taking up causes or getting things done. They have deep convictions about right and wrong--often jump into action to right a wrong or stand for a moral principle. Their faith is made real as they work and produce.

While the Choleric wants to be in charge and make decisions, the Phlegmatic is the opposite, preferring to stay in the background, accepting the sovereignty of God. Phlegmatics know that God is in control, so why should they stress or make a decision? They function in the "what will be, will be" camp. They can quietly take what life throws at them with a solid resolve that God know best and is in control.

Grace, knowledge, justification/works, and acceptance of Divine sovereignty are all evidences of our Christian life. All are valid and good. I think it is interesting that we may manifest one of these spiritual strengths more obviously than others.

Maybe it is Mel-Choleric of me to find this interesting and want to blog about it (the knowledge and action merge). But I see how these strengths of my personality has also caused me problems too. Because I value doing, or producing, I come down hard on myself when I am not. I can only see the justification or works, not the grace or sovereignty.

Isn't it so like God though? Yet another area that He shows us we are in NEED of someone outside of ourselves. He wants us to need Him and others to make it in the Christian life!!! I need those Sanguines to tell me how much God loves me and the grace He gives. I need my Phelg friends to remind me God is in control of all. And I hope others need me to sharing knowledge and encourage them into action.

If you made it through this post, thanks. What do you guys think about this? I'd really like to know.

May I introduce you?

Saturday ended up being a great day, which was punctuated by running into a old high school friend. (Actually, we were in kindergarten through high school together.) She ended up in line behind me at Hobby Lobby, and although it had been (yikes!) 12 years since we've seen each other, she recognized me.

As we were giving snapshots of the last 12 years, my friend asked me if I still wrote. "I blog," I replied. I don't know if blogging exactly counts as writing or not.

I was probably best known to my Marlow classmates as a writer. In middle school I wrote a lot--short stories, poems, and even a book! In high school, though, journalism became my thing.

She told me that she found a poem not long ago that I had written to this boy I'd liked. Ha! Figures. There is no telling how many love-sick poems, notes, and mixed tapes that there are out there marking my long line of crushes. That's the bad thing about writing being your "thing"--it leaves evidence.

So, I told her if she would email the poem to me, I would post it here for all to enjoy (and laugh at). Most of you that read this thing don't know my "creative" writing side. Maybe I'll introduce you to each other someday.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Memories, pressed between the pages of my mind....

My beautiful friend, Amy, encouraged me to share some fun or good memories of Dad. So in honor of him on this Father's Day weekend, here are a few:

Loving: I never ever doubted being loved. One of my favorite things in the world would be to sit by my Dad on the couch, his arm around my shoulders and cuddle into his side with my arm around his chest. I cried many tears there too. I'm going to miss that.

Singing: Okay, we Kimbroughs are not known for our singing voices. I actually was complemented my our music minister's wife for my wonderful lip-syncing abilities. No lie. Dad's abilities were about the same. But dad would sing me two songs in particular. One was "I love you a bushel and a peck; a bushel and a peck, and a hug around the neck, and a hug around the neck." He also sang "George of the Jungle" to me a lot (see next).

Nicknames: I have a few nicknames. But my dad has more for me than anyone. Mostly, I was "George Earl Clide Fritz the Third" or "George" for short. (Thus the "George of the Jungle" song mentioned above.) The George part came from a Bugs Bunny cartoon. It was the one where Bugs gets "captured" by the abominable snowman and he says, "Just what I always wanted. My own little bunny rabbit! I will name him George, and I will hug him, and pet him, and squeeze him." The full name--I have no idea. Dad also called me Holly Nick (for my middle name, Nicole), Nikki or Nikki-No.

Calm: No matter what happened to me, or how frantic I called home, Dad was always calm. I'd be in tears over something (usually money related), and he would calmly say something like "We'll figure it out. Don't worry. God provided before, He will again." He always surprised me with that calm.

Self-Sacrificing: Dad would do anything for his kids and friends. He usually would go without and sacrifice to meet the needs of others. He didn't have much money, but it wasn't "his" money, but God's. He taught me from childhood to tithe and give.

Work Ethic: All of us kids learned how to work hard. Dad would work and give 100% each day, but at the same time, he didn't bring work home. He wasn't a workaholic. He just worked at whatever his hand found to do with all his might.

Humor: Dad loved to laugh, and he was a practical joker too. One of my favorite memories was from an ice cream social his Sunday School Class threw. It was suppose to be HOMEMADE ice cream, but Dad decided to go get some Blue Bell. He packed his freezer with the Blue Bell and took it to the social. After rave reviews and several requests for the recipe, he finally announced: "You go to the store and buy Blue Bell, then you pack it in the freezer. That's it!" I'm pretty sure he even crushed up real Oreos in there too to make it more convincing. They never let him forget it. :)

Cooking: Dad could make the best breakfast gravy in the world, and in the winter he would make real hot chocolate (milk, coco, and sugar) because he knew it was my favorite. :) He was also known for his enchiladas with green and black olives in them. But more than anything, Dad was known for his Chicken & Dumplings. His mom, my Granny Kimbrough, was an amazing cook. (I didn't get my waistline by accident!). When she died, several of the family members took on some of her favorite recipes. Dad got dumplings, and he perfected it. As his official dumpling taster, I think that has fallen to me to carry on. I will never made a pot without thinking of him.

I could go on and on. But these are a few of my favorite things. And the void he left will never go away. But I am thankful for the time I did have and for the amazing Dad I was given. He will be missed greatly.

Happy Father's Day, my sweet Daddy.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

In balancing out my previous post, here are five things I am hopefully good at:

Intuition: (I don't know how else to say it.) Spiritually speaking, I think it is the gift of discernment. Harry Potter speaking, I think it would be called the "inner eye." (Hopefully you know that I am not equating the two. It's humor people.) :) Either way, this ability (or gift) I think is a strength.

I'm especially good at organizing other peoples' stuff. My high school youth minister could testify to this.

Answering Questions:
My blog is called "Holly I Have A Question" for a reason.

I put this down with some hesitations. I think my ability to teach is better one-on-one or in small groups....and when I am in practice.

Cooking: I don't confess to be a whiz in the kitchen, but I am comfortable in there. And I enjoy feeding people. :)

If at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.

Five things I am hopelessly bad at:

Sports. If spectating was a sport, I totally could go pro. Unfortunately, it's not yet. Seriously, who else do you know that actually flunked PE but me?

Remembering trivia. I can't quote movies. I forget song lyrics. When I sit down and watch a movie, more times than not, I think, "Have I seen this before?" And although I love history, I can't remember when Columbus sailed the ocean blue. It's a miracle I passed anything in school.

Dancing. It's just best I don't do this ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever. Just thinking of trying to get my limbs to move in rhythm makes me cringe.

Numbers and I are in a permanent fight. I don't even want to enumerate on this one.

Doing one thing at a time. Like now, I am writing a blog, reading emails, playing with my dog, and watching a movie.

I'd marry Shawn Spencer......if he was real.

Today I feel compelled, no, obligated to tell you about the best show on television--Psych. Although I am a fan of "The Office," I think that Psych has officially beaten it out as my favorite comedy.

This USA Network show centers around Shawn Spencer, who was raised by an overly harsh, intense, challenging cop of a father. Because of this, Shawn has a keen sense of observation and deduction skills. Unfortunately, he is a slacker and doesn't like to operate within the rules. (Did I mention he was a really cute, funny slacker?)

The pilot episode begins with Shawn solving a crime by simply watching the local news. But his tip to the police get him into trouble. Here is a little interchange between Lassiter (the lead detective) and Shawn:

Lassiter: Where were you the night of the last robbery?
Shawn: I was robbing a stereo shop. (laughs) I wasn't. I don't know, I guess I was doing the same thing you were doing: not solving crime.
Lassiter: You're not helping your case here.
Shawn: My case? ...Wait, wait, wait. I'm actually a suspect?
Lassiter: Oh, you're our lead suspect.
Shawn: I gave you the guy!
Lassiter: He had a partner.
Shawn: I have to find that guy too? I'm confused. When do you start chipping in?

To get out of trouble, Shawn pretends to be psychic. This ends up landing him a consulting job with the Santa Barbara Police Department. He drags his best friend, Gus, into this new fake psychic detective agency. Gus is not always a willing participant! :)

Gus: You named your fake detective agency Psych? Why didn't you just call it 'Hey, we're fooling you and the police department; hope we don't make a mistake and somebody dies because of it'?
Shawn: First of all, Gus, that name is entirely too long; it would never fit on the window. And secondly the best way you convince people you're not lying to them is to tell them you are!

I LOVE THIS SHOW! I have season one on DVD and am willing to loan them out. You can also catch episodes online. Watch one and I think you'll be hooked. It is witty, funny, and just plan entertaining. AH! Love it.

Just for fun, here are some of my other favorite quotes. I need a good laugh:

Henry: What about your license?
Shawn: Ahem, my pilot's license? It's out back in the Cessna. Or perhaps you're referring to my license to kill. Revoked. Problems at the Kazakhstan border. I could give you the details, but then I'd have to kill you...which I can't do because my license to kill has been revoked.


Shawn: Wow... Dad. Tell me you're wearing that shirt because someone has to spot you from space.
Dad: (Rolls eyes)
Shawn: Sorry Dad, this is like a genocide of color. Somewhere a rainbow is weeping.


Juliet: Shawn, how do you know this?
Shawn: Same way that I know that, as a child, Lassie wanted nothing more than a pony.
Lassiter: Well, come one. Who didn't?
Gus: Anyone who wasn't an eight year old girl.


Shawn: "Chips say your a cheater-cheater pumpkin-eater"
J.P.: "Is that right"
Shawn: "Yeah"
J.P. "And we're suppose to believe your a psychic or something, if you were a psychic I wouldn't be cleaning your clock right now."
Shawn: "Cleaning my clock, what's that suppose to even mean. What you take time out of your day to clean another man's timepiece and if so that be a bad thing? No I'd be gracious, I'd be like, dude, J.P. thanks for spritzing my watch."


Gus: Come on Shawn, let's go. This guy wouldn't know a good deal if it bit him in the seat of his Hans Solo action figure pants.

Monday, June 9, 2008

And the tears, they fall down like rain...washing my eyes to see, Your majesty

A few weeks ago a friend made the comment that crying was not really encouraged in our society, even for women. At first that didn't seem true....I mean women cry all the time. As I thought about it, though, it hit me that she was right. Women do cry....we can't usually help it. However, the act of crying isn't necessarily celebrated or encouraged on the whole for women, and especially not for men.

With new age junk books like "The Secret" or name-it-and-claim-it, positive-thinking-only jargon bombarding us, it is no surprise that tears have lost their place in our emotional repertoire. It's like our culture is shouting, "Express your feelings---but only if they are positive!"

This weekend I have been a mess. I got some time with good friends and talk about my dad in a way that I've not for a while. It opened up a lot of feelings I have simply not allowed myself to feel. I could feel that was close to sobbing at moments, and even today I have cried myself into a headache.

I have always hated to cry in front of people (especially men). There is a vulnerability there that has been deemed "bad" somewhere along the way. I hate not being able to control myself or my emotions. On top of that, you have to cope with other peoples’ judgements, such as, “Isn’t she over that yet? It’s been two months already”; “Why can't she just get back on with life; there is work to do”; or “Feeling bad and crying is such a waste of time”.

I think that this philosophy of no tears, no negative feelings, is one ditch. The other ditch being setting in the house crying for two weeks over a broken teacup while telling the sad story to everyone I knew. There has to be a middle ground.

I think that God wants us to pour out our emotions to Him: "Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge" (Psalm 62:8). And He also directs us to share our emotions with others: "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn" (Romans 12:15).

It's raining today. Pouring, really. And all of the low-lying places of Norman are flooding. However, it reminds me of a song's chorus: "Down in the valley, dying of thirst/Down in the valley, it seems that I'm at my worst/My consolation is that you baptize this earth/When I'm down in the valley, valleys fill first"

O God, I know that You want me to release my emotions to You and to others. Give me the opportunity and the courage to do that.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

17 Places I'd Want to Visit

Here you go Emily:

(17) Hogwarts: Yes, it is fictional, but there are no rules.

(16) New York City--Statue of Liberty, Broadway Plays, Regis and Kelly--I mean, what else do you need? :)

(15) O, Canada. I think Niagara Falls and Novia Scotia are both places I would enjoy.

(14) Greece-Maybe for the beauty more than anything, but also seeing historical places like Athens, Olympia, and Sparta.

(13) Italy...home of the food I love so. :) Rome, Vatican City, and Venice would all be places to see and experience.

(12) England--Stonehenge specifically.

(11) Australia's Great Barrier Reef, kangaroos, and cool accents!

(10) India intrigues me. I think of it as bright, loud, crowded, complicated, and too culturally intriguing to miss out on.

(09) Russia--seeing Moscow's and St Petersburg's architecture would be amazing.

(08) China--The Forbidden City, The Great wall, Terracotta Warriors, etc.

(07) Egypt...who can beat camels and pyramids?

(06) Germany/Poland--I think to understand fully the evil of Concentration Camps I need to see one in person.

(05) Holland--I'd really like to see Corrie Ten Boom's homestead and just imagine what her life was like....

(04) The Holy Land--This may be cheating by lumping several locals into one, but I would love to see as much as possible!!!

(03) Turkey--I'm thinking of all the random poses Tami would make me do! :) Not to mention Zeke and Kiayah!

(02) Cambodia (during the "winter" preferably)....but no tarantulas Deb!

(01) Kazahstan because I miss my Suby Sue! :)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

I know I'm no expert, but....

I am no dating expert by any means, but I've made some observations over the years. And just this past week, I have had about half a dozen discussions about dating or relationships.

I know for you married folks, this topic is mute. Hopefully, however, you can sympathize with the plight of all of us still in the throws of singledom.

So I decided to blog on the topic. I know how very popular and controversial it is, and, let's face it, we all like comments.

Words. They mean a lot, but unfortunately men and women speak two different languages it seems. I know, unbelievable, right?

For example, I have come to notice that Christian guys tend to use the term "sister" or "sis" or "friend" with a girl to signal that they are not interested in them romantically. If a guy uses such term, and you happen to like that said guy, this is the kiss of death for any hope of being asked out. (Guys, if this is not correct, feel free to let me know. However, the research I've done so far confirms this hunch.) AND if you are a guy using these terms with a girl you are interested in, you might want to stop. :)

Now, girls are more complicated. (Of course!) Most Christian girls I know are pretty scared of the whole "taking the lead" issue. So we tend to over-correct and give all kinds of wrong signals.

Take the "friend" word for example. If a lady would say (or write) something like "Hey friend! How are you?" it could mean two things. Friend could mean "friend" or it could mean "I don't want to come on too strong and draw attention to the fact that I like you a whole, whole lot, so I am going to call you 'friend' or 'brother' to cover my real feelings although I desperately hope you ask me out."
Sorry, guys, it is true (and probably in that many words TOO).

In our defense, however, I think girls are pretty obvious when they like a guy. Usually, girls can tell just by watching other girls who they like. Over the years, however, it has come to my understanding that guys can't read these signs. We are like an open book that you don't know how to read. I thought about sharing some "reading lessons" with you, but that is for another day.

Back to words. I think there are two short lessons here. Guys: if you want to let a girls know you are not interested you should use often terms like, "friend" "sis" and "sister". Ladies: If you like a boy, never use the term "friend" or "brother" just in case...

Ask For BIG Things

Make your petition deep, O heart of mine,
Your God can do much more
Than you can ask;
Launch out on the Divine,
Draw from His love-filled store.
Trust Him with everything;
Begin today,
And find the joy that comes
When Jesus has His way!

I have been asking some BIG things of God. Most times my faith is weak. I think, "Why would God want to give that to me?" And I do mean for ME. It is much easier to see why He'd answer BIG prayers of my friends. The lens I see others and the lens I use on myself are different. But I know this is wrong and am trying to correct it.

Anyway, I am trying to ask big things form God and even inviting friends to join in with me. You guys know who you are and what "those" requests are! :)

Here is one of my new favorite verses that I am trying to believe and act upon:

"I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills his purposes for me." Psalm 57:2

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Do not lose heart....

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. . . . So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:16, 18).

Thank you, God, that I don't have to strive in my journey, because You have already provided the grace I need to make it. Amen.

Monday, June 2, 2008

'This is the resting place, let the weary rest:'

To say I have been through a blogging dry spell is an understatement. I haven't written because, for over a year now, I've felt there was nothing worth writing about. But writing is an outlet for me. I think better with my keyboard that a journal and pen. SO here it goes....again.

Since my Dad died 41 days ago, God and I have had a lot of conversations that I've been putting off. Taking with a friend, I mentioned that I felt really abandoned by God over the past year. The song, "Blessed Be the Name" has been an a heart song for me. Lately, though, the chorus has seemed more like "He takes and takes away" more than "He GIVES and takes away." I've been talking to Him about this. And it has helped.

Then the next line gets me. My heart will "CHOOSE" to say "Blessed be the Name." I know (in my head) a lot of good, TRUE stuff. But through this crushing time, I am having to choose what to believe in and act upon. A wise professor once said, "It is our choices...that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."

Choices matter. Right now I am trying my best to choose to let these hard times to dare me to HOPE. For me HOPE is a scary thing because it has made me a fool too many times. I have to choose between "Don't wish, don't start. Wishing only wounds the heart." and "trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not on your own understanding."

Hopelessness has constricted and withered my heart over this past year. It's rendered God's blessings and grace mute in my life. My dad's death, strangely, has prompted me from this sleep and forced me to run to God for help.

My earthly father was not perfect, but he was a godly man. He pointed me to Jesus and mirrored the Father more than anyone else in my life. And he loved me so much. At his funeral, the preacher called me his "shining star." The void he has left in my life is sometimes overwhelming.

I hate nights now. I dream about my dad almost every night no matter what I try to think of before sleep. Some nights he is sick in my dreams. Some nights he is gone (even in sleep reality wins out). Many nights he is still alive and healthy in my dreams. Those are the hardest.

Last night I dreamed he was alive, healthy, and I was able to go home and see him. Just thinking of it makes tears stream down my face. Dreams like these make the wound open up fresh all over. I can't picture his face in my's just too hard right now.

A couple weeks ago, one of my best friends gave me a devotional book called "Streams in the Dessert." It's been a life-giver. Today's entry is what I intended to share here.

This is a poem called "Don't be Afraid" b Charles H. Spurgeon based on Matt 14:27:

Tonight, my soul, be still and sleep;
The storms are raging on God's deep--
God's deep not yours; be still and sleep.

Tonight, my soul be still and sleep;
God's hands will still the Tempter's sweep--
God's hands, not yours; be still and sleep.

Tonight, my soul be still aad sleep;
God's love is strong while night hours creep--
God's love, not yours; be still and sleep.

Tonight, my soul be still and sleep;
God's heaven will comfort those who weep--
God's heaven, not yours; be still and sleep.

For those of you who made it through to the end, thanks. If you think of it, you can pray I can take courage and hope again. Pray I will be still and sleep.