Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas...It's a RAT! Seriously.

So here's the deal.
There is a rat in my apartment. No joke.
Some of you may be thinking...."This sounds she re-telling a story?"
NO. No re-telling of any crazy story that happened way over a year ago (2 years in April).
This is live, real life, happening right now craziness.
If you want in on the situation from last time. The links are below. I blogged about the whole experience and several people thought it was quite hilarious.
You'll probably want to check them out, start from the beginning to get the full experience:

1. A Not So Fun Experience
2. A Not So Fun Experience Part 2
3. It's Not Over...It's SO Not Over...
4. It Keeps Getting Worse...But I'm Trying To Be Thankful
5. Rat #3 and I'm Still Trying To Be Thankful
6. It's Starting to Look A Little Brighter
7. I Don't Want to See Anymore Turds
8. Rat #4, Day 11
9. Rat Update

So here is this story...
(I didn't find it as funny as last I didn't pull out my camera for any pictures.)

It was a lovely evening and I had just gotten home from an appointment and I stopped to get the mail. I love getting mail at this time of year. Christmas cards are my favorite.
I was going through the letters and I received my kid in the mail!
My World Vision kid.
Tsebo is his name and he is cute and black and from Africa. He has the cutest cheeks in the world. I was oooing and ahhing over him and breaking as I read about his life and prayed for him.
I went and finished getting my stuff together to go coffeeshop it up with Jen and I decided that I was going to take my kid with me and I was even going to give Jen a picture of him (they give you extra pictures and she suggested getting one to put on her desk to pray for him...afterall...she did talk me into getting him). So I grabbed my scissors and the thought crossed my mind to bring my other kid from Compassion along and I could pray for both of them.
His name is Mike and he is from Kenya. His picture was on my refrigerator.
So I turn on the light to the kitchen, with scissors still in hand, smiling and thinking about these sweet black babies and maybe even thinking about how I need one.
When ALL OF A SUDDEN a RAT goes running across my kitchen floor.
Ruining all thoughts of sweet black babies.
I screamed. I should have thrown the scissors at it, I'm regretting not doing that. But with my aim I probably would have taken everything else out but the rat.
My roommate, Dana, is at home in Florida. My old roommate Hilary (who was with me the last rat situation) is now married and has her own rat fighting man.
I was by myself. Alone.
Thoughts ran through my mind of calling the fire department. Calling my friend Matt. Or just getting some balls and dealing with it right then and there.
So what do I do?
I leave as fast as I can, all lights left on, and I call my Iowa.
It took me several tries of squealing through what happened before she understood the situation.
Then she laughed.
So I get to Thunderbird and Jen is waiting for me.
Laura says on the phone, "Get Jen to help you she's real scrappy like that."
Let's just say Jen was only semi-appreciative of that statement. But yet...she was very helpful.
We packed up our things right away and headed to Walmart to find some traps.
I'm going to go ahead and confess that at this point I was being a real big poop. I didn't have the best attitude. It was REAL quiet in the car ride.
We get the traps go back to my apartment and Jen being the scrappy brave person that she is...starts moving the oven, getting down on her hands and knees, and let me just say that she is wearing flip flops.
You may be wondering what I am doing during all of this. soon as she started moving things around I hightailed it out of there and on to my dining room chair.
I stayed there for awhile. Just in case.
I did shout out some encouraging, "Jen, you are brave!" comments and offered her close toed shoes.
We looked behind the oven and poop. Lots of poop.
At this point I'm shaking my head saying, "this is not good."
I think I even said, "that little bastard". sorry. it's true.
So "we" set up the traps and I get an overnight bag and we head out to continue our Thunderbird time, then for a sleepover. No way am I staying in my apartment knowing that running around.
My management people know what's up and they are handling it a lot better than my last apartment! thank you!
I promise that I will be better about documenting with pics and video (like last time!) We'll see what I come home to today. ugh.
All in all...I've screamed once and cried twice. Not too bad.
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

You're Here (LISTEN TO THIS NOW!!!)

I heard this song on the way to work today. It is my new FAVORITE Christmas song.
Listen to it NOW! Oh my. It's on repeat.
Here are the lyrics, take in these words:

You're Here by Francesca Battistelli
Hold on now, I gotta take a deep breath
I don't know what to say when I look in your eyes
You made the world before I was born
Here I am holding you in my arms tonight
Noel, Noel, Jesus our Emmanuel

You're here, I'm holding you so near
I'm staring into the face of my savior, king and creator
You could've left us on our own, but You're here

Don't know how long I'm gonna have you for
But I'll be watching when you change the world
I look at your hands, they're still so small
Someday you're going to stretch them out and save us all
Noel, Noel God with us, Emmanuel

You're here, I'm holding you so near
I'm staring into the face of my savior, king and creator
You could've left us on our own, but You're here

Someday I'm gonna look back on this
The night that God became a baby boy
Someday You're gonna go home again
But you leave your spirit and flood the world with joy

You'll be here, I'm holding you so near
I'm staring into the face of my savior, king and creator
You could've left me on my own, but You're here

Hallelujah You're here
Hallelujah You're here

Monday, December 21, 2009

Grace by Saving Jane

Jen told me about this.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Hope In the Lord

From Elisabeth Elliot:
"It is faith He is looking for, a quiet confidence that whatever it is He is up to, it will be a wonderful thing, never mind whether it is what we have been asking for."

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Oh. No.

um. I feel real bad for this guy.
Not sure why these two songs were put together.
Not sure why he didn't think through the fact that he doesn't know the words AT ALL.
There are just so many things about this video that make me laugh. Watch it a few times. It never gets old.

I'm A Dancer. I Swear.

I swear I was meant to be a dancer.
I absolutely LOVE the show So You Think You Can Dance.
I can't help but move my body while I'm watching the show. I don't even realize I'm doing it. My shoulders start going, and sometimes my feet.
I absolutely LOVE this dance. Love it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Comfort Ye

I'm loving this song today by Daniel Renstrom it's called Comfort Ye :

Comfort ye heavy laden, the Son of God has come
His kingdom shines with lavished mercy, for those who's hearts are drawn, are drawn

Those who dwell in darkness see, the light of Christ invades the night
Shining from His cross of anquish, His death brings many life

In Christ we know hope for the hurting
In Christ we know love for the lost
In Christ we know no other one can save, can save

Comfort ye weary Christian, for just as Christ was raised
He will soon return to gather those, who follow Him by faith

Immanuel, God with us
Son of God

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Baby, It's Cold Outside

So this is what happens when you acquire brothers later in life. An innocent little photo opp in the show all my texas peeps. To show how snowy and cold it is here. When out of nowhere...this happens...I have NO idea what is about to happen. just look at my face. NO clue. (great timing Laura!)
This would be a shovel full of snow. Thrown at my head. While I'm trying to take a cute picture.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Program

I made it!
I'm in's snowy and cold. wow!It so warms my heart to be with my family. Love them all.
Laura, Lily and my mom picked me up at the airport and before they got there Lily asked if they were going to my house. She said..."you know...with the escalators."
She totally thought I lived at the airport.
Love her sweet little heart.

Wanted to let you all know about the Christmas program I'm singing at. If you are in Iowa and in the Iowa City area you should come.
Here are the details:

Parkview Church
15 Foster Rd. Iowa City, IA

Saturday 12/12 4:30pm
Sunday 12/13 8:00am, 9:30am and 11:00am

Come and check it out...and come say hi! Would love to meet you!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Broken, Beautiful, Heaven, Yearning

Last night I went to a concert. Bethany Dillon, Phil Wickham and Shane and Shane.
If you have been reading my blog lately you know that I've been in a funk.
I felt God move last night through these musicians and these brothers and sister in Christ. So thankful for God using them and speaking truth to me through their songs.
Here are the songs that I loved and felt God through:
Beth went first. A couple of her songs spoke to me:

So Close:
I'm so close to being so far away from You
I was wrong, but it takes so much to say it to You
Like a broken husband and wife
Who never talk but share their nights
I'm so close to being so far away from You
I have nothing when I'm living apart from You
Outside, creation groans
To lose our darkness and be made whole

For my feet are close to slipping
Speak to my heart in time
You have promised, so I do believe
You won't forget this wandering child

Still, I'm so close to being so far away from You
Though I know no one on their own makes it through
My soul clings to the dust
So in Your life, let it be enough

I'm so foolish to believe that I can escape Your love

For my feet were close to slipping
You spoke to my heart in time
You have promised, so I do believe
You won't forget this wandering child
You're so close when I feel far away from You
You're so close when I feel far away from You

The other song that she did that got me was a song called "Beautiful"
I was so unique
Now I feel skin deep
I count on the make-up to cover it all
Crying myself to sleep cause I cannot keep their attention
I thought I could be strong
But it's killing me

Does someone hear my cry?
I'm dying for new life

I want to be beautiful
Make you stand in awe
Look inside my heart
And be amazed
I want to hear you say
Who I am is quite enough
Just want to be worthy of love
And beautiful

Sometimes I wish I was someone other than me
Fighting to make the mirror happy
Trying to find whatever is missing
Won't you help me back to glory

You make me beautiful
You make me stand in awe
You step inside my heart, and I am amazed
I love to hear you say
Who I am is quite enough
You make me worthy of love and beautiful

She ended this song with "nothing but the blood". um...awesome.

Then came Phil Wickham and all of his songs about heaven. I was like...seriously?!
Here is one:

You wrote a letter and You signed Your name
I read every word every page by page
You said that You'd be coming, coming for me soon
Oh my God I'll be ready for You

I want to run on greener pastures
I want to dance on higher hills
I want to drink from sweeter waters
In the misty morning chill
And my soul is getting restless
For the place where I belong
I can't wait to join the angels and sing my heaven song

I hear Your voice and I catch my breath
"Well done my child, enter in and rest"
Tears of joy roll down my cheek
It's beautiful beyond my wildest dreams

I want to run on greener pastures
I want to dance on higher hills
I want to drink from sweeter waters
In the misty morning chill
And my soul is getting restless
For the place where I belong
I can't wait to join the angels and sing

Here is another: "Cielo"
I'm walking through the bright white gates
Breathing in and out Your grace
All around me melodies rise
That echo with a joy inside
So I start to sing

But I can't sing loud enough
I can't sing loud enough
When I'm singing for You my God

With a thunder roll and a brilliant light
Your glory bursts and the heavens shine
Saints and angels stand in awe
Captured by the beauty of it all
So I fall to my knees

But I can't bow low enough
I can't bow low enough
At the vision of You my God

I can't hold it all inside
I'm reaching for the One who brought me out of death and into life.

Now I can't lift my hands high enough
I can't lift my hands high enough
When I'm reaching for You my God

Oh my heart. It yearns for Heaven.
Shane and Shane did this song: Yearn. (except Bethany Dillon didn't sing with them...I was a little sad.)

Holy design
This place in time
That I might seek and find my God
My God

Lord I want to yearn for You
I want to burn with passion
Over You and only You
Lord I want to yearn

Your joy is mine
Yet why am I fine
With all my singing and bringing grain
In light of Him

Oh You give life and breath
Through Him You give all things
In You we live and move
That's why I sing

Monday, December 07, 2009

Hammock - FAIL

This completely made my day. I've watched it SEVERAL times. Cracks me up every time.
My sister posted this on her blog. My nephew Will was trying to build a hammock.

Beautiful Weepiness

So, as I reflect on my week last week, here is what was going on (sorry it's long):

I was weepy.
I don't really know what my problem was.
I just felt blah and to be honest there was a feeling of just wanting to give up. I'm tired.
I guess this is part of my high highs and my low lows. I've been told this is part of being an artistic type.
Artsy/creative people have high highs and low lows...any other high/low artsy people out there?!
I know that I have not been in the Word. I need to be.
I have not been praying faithfully...I need to be.
When I look at it all this way, all I see is "I've Failed."
I've failed at all the things I know I should be doing to be a "good christian".
When I'm in this funk...I have to go back to grace and to God's love for me that is NOT dependent on being a "good christian".
If that were the case, we would ALL be void of a GREAT, SATISFYING love.
He gives us His love and it is never ending, it is deep and true, it never leaves.
We had our First Tuesday Prayer meeting last week. It was about suffering. Embracing it, enduring it, praising God in it.
Aaron asked me to sing with him and when he sent me the setlist I immediately thought, "There is no way I'm gonna get through this. I have nothing to give. I will cry through the entire thing."
I just humbly asked the Lord to just give me what I need...if that was to make it through the songs without tears. Awesome.
If it was to lose it through every song. Awesome.
I was choosing to believe that He knew exactly what needed to happen. I asked Him to remind me again and again that this wasn't about me.
It was a powerful night.
It started out by a good friend of mine being in a REALLY crazy goofy mood. He said over and over again, "I don't know why I'm so hyper!" (I know. God was using him!)
During sound check Aaron was playing different funny styles of music on the piano and my friend was interpretive dancing to it.
I laughed so hard.
Not weepy tears, but laughing tears.
I started feeling the weepiness go away.
How could it not when a big black man goes pirouetting across the front of the church. :)
So not only did I make it through the songs without crying...but God gave an amazing strength that took away the weepy feeling completely.
He gave me a joy and a peace that didn't make sense and a love for His people as I saw many who worshiped with tears as they raised their hands in surrender praising God for their suffering.
It was a beautiful night.
As I left to go home that night I started feeling the heaviness come back.
I started thinking about all of the things going on around me. I have been told of so much suffering going on in different friends lives. It just hurts. I hurt for them and I don't know what to do.
I got in bed that night and opened up and read Psalm 121. Here is what it says in the Message translation:
"I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains. He won't let you stumble, your Guardian God won't fall asleep. Not on your life! Israel's Guardian will never doze or sleep. God's your Guardian, right at your side to protect you- Shielding you from sunstroke, sheltering you from moonstroke. God guards you when you leave and when you return, he guards you now, he guards you always."
I went to bed believing that He is my help and all I need.
Wednesday I was still a little sad, but I didn't cry.
I was sad that I was going to miss an opportunity to help a friend of mine who was having a benefit for her non-profit.
She had asked me to play a 45 min. set. But the night ended up falling on Wed. night. Recovery night. I had already committed to leading worship that night @ Recovery and as I prayed about it just felt like I needed to be there. So I declined the opportunity.
As I got ready for worship and as we started Recovery still felt a heaviness that I didn't understand and I remember asking God what it was that He wanted and why did I need to be at Recovery that night.
The teaching was all about letting go of control and admitting that we are completely powerless and that we CAN'T do it. As much as we try and we think we can do certain things in order to have freedom, or to achieve what we want...we CAN'T do it.
We can't faithfully be in God's word.
We can't faithfully pray.
We will fail.
Releasing ourselves to God and admitting HIS power over our powerlessness will give us freedom, HE will give us faithfulness.
I felt myself yearning for that. Realizing how much I try and control, and realizing how much I want freedom.
We get to the open share time (that I usually lead) and another leader ends up leading the discussion. So I sit. Quiet. Still heavy.
Fast the end of the night I was walking out to my car with a friend and another girl from the group. She had been coming the last few weeks and I don't know her other than from our times together in open share.
I tell her goodnight as she heads to her car and my friend and I stand by my car talking for awhile.
Pretty soon this girl comes walking over to us and says "ok. this is random. I don't know you but I feel like God is wanting me to ask you how I can pray for you."
First of all...I noticed this girl hanging around longer afterwards while we were putting chairs away...she walked out to the parking lot with in her car...started it...then turned it off, got out of her car and walked over to us...
"I just couldn't shake it and I was just going to leave...but I just couldn' is there anything I can pray for?!"
whatintheworld. who does that?!
It was awesome.
I don't know this girl. She doesn't know me. But God was up to something.
So I started sharing with her about my week. Completely thinking I was not making any bit of sense.
I get done sharing and was like, "sorry...that probably made no sense at all."
She said, "you have no idea how much this makes sense to me. It's crystal clear."
She went on to say that during our open share time, she noticed my face and how it had looked different than past weeks and that she knew something was up.
She also said that she got the sense that I loved on people well and that maybe I just needed to be loved on.
It was all very interesting...and very cool.
She kept apologizing about how random and weird it probably was.
Random and weird and AWESOME!!!! It completely made my night.
That she got in her car...started it...then turned it off and knew that she couldn't leave without asking to pray for me.
This is completely God. Not me, not this girl. GOD!
Do you see it!?
God continues to show me His love. How I don't deserve it, but how freely He gives it.
The rest of the week was up and down. God really showing up and showing me that He cares, that He loves me, that He never leaves me.
I continue to hear of suffering all around me. People who are hurting and going through really hard stuff.
Friday night I woke up at 3am sobbing uncontrollably.
I had a dream about my dad.
It was the same exact dream that I had a couple of weeks ago that woke me up crying. I could not stop crying. I went to get a drink of water and when I walked into the living room I noticed on the wall a picture that my dad made. It was hanging on the wall.
It wasn't hanging on the wall before.
My roommate hung it up the day before...and somehow didn't see it until that moment.
I lost it again.
God shows His faithfulness. He is good. He is my comforter. He is my Daddy.
Yesterday was a sweet day leading worship with the Andy Melvin band. I am SO thankful for my church. SO thankful. I can't even tell you how blessed and humbled I am to be alongside some pretty amazing people.
It was a beautiful time worshiping Jesus and leading His people to a deeper place with an unspeakable joy. God shows up in power and moves in ways unimaginable.
If you've made it this far. Thanks for reading!
Just wanted to be transparent and real.
I read this, this morning and will end with this, it's from Spurgeon:
Psalm 29:11 "The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace."
David had just heard the voice of the Lord in a thunderstorm and had seen His power in the hurricane whose path he had described; and now, in the cool calm after the storm, that overwhelming power by which heaven and earth are shaken is promised to be the strength of the chosen. He who wings the unerring bolt will give to His redeemed the wings of eagles; He who shakes the earth with His voice will terrify the enemies of His saints and give His children peace. Why are we weak when we have divine strength to flee to? Why are we troubled when the Lord's own peace is ours? Jesus, the mighty God, is our strength; let us put Him on and go forth to our service. Jesus, our blessed Lord, is also our peace; let us repose in Him this day and end our fears. What a blessing to have Him for our strength and peace both now and forever!
The same God who rides upon the storm in days of tempest will also rule the hurricane of our tribulation and send us, before long, days of peace. We shall have strength for storms and songs for fair weather. Let us begin to sing at once unto God, our strength and our peace. Away, dark thoughts! Up, faith and hope!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

REAL Christmas Music

I'm a huge fan of Christmas music. But not a fan of over the top cheezy, Christmasy Christmas music, if that makes sense. Ok...well maybe some cheezy Christmas music.
But I'm more of a fan of Christmas music that is worshipful, that points to the REAL meaning of Christmas. The fact that God chose to come to us as a baby, Jesus. Such a sweet beautiful, powerful TRUE story.
I've been lovin Chris Tomlin's new Christmas album. It's worship. Get it and worship.
One of the songs that I have been loving is called "Born that We May Have Life". Here are the lyrics:
No reputation, no stately bearing
No palace bed for royalty
But a star in the heavens
A sign full of wonder
Announcing the coming of the King of Kings

Rejoice O world
Your Savior has come
Through the love of a virgin's womb
Son of God, Son of man
Born that we may have life
You were born that we may have life

A throne in a manger, the cross in a cradle
The hidden revealing this glorious plan
A child who would suffer
A child who would conquer
The sins of every woman, the sins of every man

December 12 & 13 I have the unique privilege to fly to my home church in Iowa and lead a couple of songs at their Christmas program. One song is called Here With Us by Joy Williams. I sang this song several years back and they wanted me to sing it again! SO honored. Another powerful worshipful are the lyrics & a video:

It's still a mystery to me
That the hands of God could be so small
How tiny fingers reaching in the night
Were the very hands that measured the sky

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Heaven's love reaching down to save the world
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Son of God, Servant King here with us
You're here with us

It's still a mystery to me
How His infant eyes had seen the dawn of time
How His ears had heard an angel symphony
But still Mary had to rock her Savior to sleep

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Heaven's love reaching down to save the world
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Son of God, Servant King here with us
You're here with us

Jesus the Christ
Born in Bethlehem
A baby born to save
To save the souls of men

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Heaven's love reaching down to save the world
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Son of God, Servant King here with us
You're here with us
Another favorite Christmas album is Andrew Peterson's Behold the Lamb of God.
A sweet song that pictures Jesus' birth is Labor of Love. Here is a video and lyrics:

It was not a silent night
There was blood on the ground
You could hear a woman cry
In the alleyway that night
On the streets of David's town

And the stable was not clean
And the cobblestones were cold
And little Mary full of grace
With the tears upon her face
And no mother's hand to hold

It was a labor of pain
It was a cold sky above
But for the girl on the ground in the dark
Every beat of her beautiful heart
It was a labor of love

Noble Joseph by her side
Callused hands and weary eyes
There were no midwives to be found
On the streets of David's town
In the middle of the night

So he held her and he prayed
Shafts of moonlight on his face
But the baby in her womb
He was the Maker of the moon
He was the Author of the faith
That could make the mountains move

It was a labor of pain
It was a cold sky above
But for the girl on the ground in the dark
Every beat of her beautiful heart
It was a labor of love
Little Mary full of grace
With the tears upon her face
It was a labor of love
Ok. I could keep going with all of the amazing Christmas music I love. But I'll stop for now.