Monthly Archives: February 2011

The quality of our hearts can be seen in how we treat people in customer service…

Edit: So, I attempted to post this from my phone on the 8th, only to discover today it never saw the light of…well, live posting.¬† So, here’s a glimps back into my heart/mind on the 8th ūüôā


So, on lunch break at my cool job in West End.¬† I decided to use my awesome wordpress app and update my blog…we’ll see how that goes, since it is on my phone, thus making it like sending a really long text.¬† Thank God for full keyboards!¬†
Anyway, its been fun working…I feel like I am somehow contributing to society…not sure how society feels about that.¬† Being out has opened my eyes to new things.¬† Yesterday was all about the biggest oversights in facilitating¬†civilization.¬† For example, I am just this side of the average hight for women, which is five foot four and a half.¬† So, I don’t understand how being 5’4, I should have to encounter a toilet that requires tip-toe action just to sit on it…especially in a women’s¬†restroom.¬† Secondly, when ever I go the grocery store, I always see substantially more women than men.¬† So, again, my question is why do they bother putting things on shelfs that an average height woman has to channel her inner 6 year old¬†and climb on things moms the world over have told her to stay off just to get a package of cheese or the good coffee creamers.¬† Oversight.¬† Ironically, even inconveniences¬†in modern convienence¬†are still more convienent than many people experience elsewhere, so I will still be thankful.
But that was yesterday.¬† Today, I actually experienced a very sad revelation.¬† Long story short, I had to call Hilton with a question I had on a reservation.¬† In interacting with the gentleman on the phone, he was genuinely¬†surprised when I followed up his question about having a good morning by simply asking it of him as well.¬† He told me I was the first person today to ask him and it sounded like it made his day.¬† Why do we let people who spend their life serving us remain nameless and faceless? Why aren’t we just nice?¬† especially when dealing with those in other countries who are putting up with our crankiness¬†just to make an annual salary¬†that we make in¬†two weeks.¬† They aren’t paid enough to put up with the rudeness we justify.¬† That could be a divine opportunity to show love.¬† Anyway, I have to go back to work now.¬† So, make sure you tip your waiters¬†and waitresses, smile at the checkers and just be polite to those poor outsourced customer serviced reps.¬†



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The Devil Made Me Do it-Mea Culpa

Just got home from a great study.¬† Gateway Life is going through the video curriculum¬†for John Bevere’s¬†Undercover.¬† Now, whether¬†you are a fan or your shoulders just tensed at the mention, let me put you at ease.¬† I am not about to delve into the deep topic of submission.¬† For the time, I will leave that to Mr. Bevere.¬† No, tonight’s¬†musings are spurred by a sub topic of tonight’s message.¬† What is sin and how come I fall for it…way more than I would like to own up to?¬†

First, what sin is not.¬† Many times, when we hear the word sin, we automatically picture acts: adultury…lying…murder…etc.¬† And, at least for me, there was a time when the individual who popped into my head more often than not was not me…but I’m not about to go down the plank in my own eye tangent.¬†

If we really stop and examine it, sin is not an action.  Sin begins in the heart and simply put, is failing to obey God.  

Let’s get one thing straight.¬† God is not some dictator sitting around making decrees with the intention and desire¬†that we fail because it gives him the opportunity to wield the sceptor¬†of judgement.¬†¬†Nope, nope, and nope again.¬† Even in the¬†Garden, he gave more than he restricted.¬† The¬†allowance to eat of any tree was just as much a part of his commission to Adam and Eve as the “except¬†the tree of knowledge of good and evil”.¬† He opens and gives far more than he fences off.¬† Those things that are restricted, even though we may not¬†see it at first glance, are for our benefit; if not now, then somewhere down the line.¬† But¬†we have to trust and know his Character to accept that.¬†¬†

This is where the¬†enemy comes in.¬† His goal isn’t to make¬†us do something bad…it’s to get us to¬†question God’s character.¬† Now, I¬†have not had the privilege¬†yet of being a parent, but watching my own mom and dad, I have come to see a few things, one¬†being that¬† my¬†parents weren’t hurt more by me saying a bad word or¬†hitting my brother.¬†¬†The pain I would see in their eyes came from statements like “You don’t love me” or “You¬†just want it for yourself” or “You don’t even care”.¬†¬†My doubting their motives and who¬†they were as parents was far more devastating¬†than the action that landed us in that conversation.¬†¬†God is the ultimate Daddy and the enemy knows if¬†we will take his bait to doubt the character and motives of our Daddy, we’ll drive our own wedge¬†between God and ourselves.¬†

The¬†sad thing is, the tempter¬†comes just before the promise.¬† I encourage you to read the gospel accounts of Jesus in the wilderness.¬† He had been fasting for 40 days.¬†¬†When he was physically at his weakest, the enemy shows up and throws out the bait.¬† God’s not taking care of your needs, make yourself some bread.¬† I mean, if he’ll really catch you, why don’t¬†you just throw yourself off of here?¬† Aren’t you supposed to be the ruler of Earth-you haven’t stepped into your destiny while you’ve been waiting on God…wonder why that is…oh, that’s right, he can’t because it’s mine, bet he didn’t tell you that…check it out,¬†I can actually give it to you.¬†He laid his bait for deception.¬† That’s his M.O.¬† He tries to get us to doubt God¬†and settle for the momentary gratification we can manager for ourselves, while all we are really doing is missing out on true satisfaction that can only come from God.¬†¬† The trick is, he can’t make us decived…we betray ourselves into deception when we begin to question God’s character and motives.¬† Jesus didn’t fall for it and¬†after the temptation was over,¬†BAM!¬† Angles show up to minister to him and he leaves that wilderness FULL fo the Spirit and launches into the Father’s¬†intended end.

Nothing¬†apart from the will of God is good for us.¬†¬†And James 1:16-17¬†(MSG) exhorts us not to be thrown off course, because every desirable¬†and beneficial gift comes out of heaven, because¬†there is nothing deceitful¬†in God and nothing two-faced¬†or fickle comes out of him.¬† (Parphrased…haha, paraphrasing a paraphrase, a little redundant…sorry).¬† In short, God’s will is always the best, because he has the¬†big picture in mind.¬† Anything short of that¬†does not even merit the title second best, because second best¬†is really just first place loser.¬†

To sum it all up, when¬†we are¬†tempted to doubt God’s motives or character,¬†let’s purpose to remember this littler known fact:¬† Satan¬†is merely¬†a catalyst.¬† He has no power unless¬†he finds something¬†in you that reacts to/with what he adds to the mix.¬†¬†Not all combinations will¬†create a reaction…what¬†elemnts have you filled yourself with?¬† Thankfulness¬†and confidence in Truth?¬† Or dis-contentedness¬†and¬†pride?¬† deception is a choice.¬†¬†Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice,¬†Mea culpa.¬†

Maybe we should take responsbility at the “once”.



Ps-for anyone wondering, I got asked to stay on again at my job and they are training me for a position that is¬†soon to vacated.¬† Please pray for God’s will.¬† I have really been believing¬†He would bring me to the job¬†He has purposed for His glory.¬†¬†More on that later ūüôā

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All the single ladies–share the love

So, I am about to get a little vulnerable.  There is a point to this post, however, I feel it will be better communicated if the mental journey I made today is showcased, and for the good of mankind (so noble, I know), I am willing to expose some of the inner workings of my heart.  If you skip the backstory, please read the italicized portion at the end.

As a good percentage of the world gears up for February 14th, the temptation can arise for those lonely ride in bucket 5 individuals (Never Been Kissed reference for the ladies) to view it as the season of our discontent. ¬†Even for those of us who are single by choice, gladly embracing the time we have to pursue those things God has put in our heart, it can be a little discouraging. ¬†I can’t lie, as I see my friends enjoying a season I have yet to know, a little stirring of desire may disturb the quiet waters of my own contented soul. ¬†There was even a time when I readily joined in with my friends in celebrating Happy SAD (Singles Awareness Day) on February 14th (the ironic thing, those who were most gung-ho in celebration are now happily married).

So, as I find myself approaching this annual celebration of Love, I can hear the little niggling voice in the back of my mind.  Initially, I simply thought I would simply post something encouraging about enjoying the season of singleness or some other Joshua Harris approved sentiment.  But, the muse of Divine Inspiration, the Holy Spirit, got a hold of me this morning with a challenge and I decided to pass it on to anyone out there who is tiered of maintaining and would enjoy taking some ground.

So, for 2011, I am issuing a Valentine’s Challenge to myself and who ever else might be game. ¬†This year, I am determined to be an extension of love to someone without looking for love back.

John 15:13 (GOD’S WORD Translation)

13The greatest love you can show is to give your life for your friends.

When we lay down our own gratification and seek to love and serve with our only satisfaction being the fact that we have been an extension to Jesus to someone and he has been made great in their life, we are extending true Love. ¬†It may be inconvenient, it may not be “romantic” but it could mean the world to someone.

John 15:13 (The Message)

11-15“I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.

So, this year, I’m committed to sharing in the mature Joy of Jesus by loving how He loves. ¬†So, think about it and find a way to be an extension. ¬†I’ll be donating blood for example Monday, February 14th. ¬†One time giving can save up to three lives. ¬†Some other options, send random cards to people, buy someones lunch when they aren’t looking, spend your romantic dinner serving food for those who don’t have anything. ¬†I’m still getting my game plan together, and the only reason I post this now is to see if together, we can make a difference and just love.

Whether you are single in facebook status or just single-minded in your pursuit, it’s really not about ring on your finger or candy in your mouth…just love.

Thoughts?  Plans?


PS-I got board and had fun on Joy’s Mac…thought I’d share one just to break up the non-picture posts.

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Today’s conundrum: Where to safely sit my coffee?

This one today goes out to all my friends and¬†family still residing in the great state of California.¬† As many of you know (or many who¬†don’t read this know), I recently relocated to Nashville, TN from the great metropolis of Fresno, CA.¬† It has in fact been 44 days since I traded¬† in my flip-flops¬†and rain for flip-flops¬†and snow; which I will say has earned me quite a bit of ridicule considering my local cohort is less than twenty-five people.¬† The “C” word has even been tossed around, and no, I don’t mean Cool, Compelling or Creative.¬†

But, aside from my sanity being called into question by something as small as foot wear, I am finding the people here are a great lot and I am excited to get to know them better.¬† The general consensis – No¬†one from Nashville is originally so, or at least those true natives are few and far between.¬† However, moving here tends to temper the aggressive¬†gene that is exacerbated¬†in California, and thus, even through people may drive crazy, they are still friendly and don’t hold traffic¬†errors against¬†each other.¬† The weather here is crazy, rain, snow, sun, snow, squirls…I do have to¬†admit, sometimes the flip-flops are a matter of principle rather than practicality.¬† I have learned my feet¬†do still posses nerve endings that Nashville’s¬†cold wind has been able to resurrect.

That should cover the generalities for my California friends.  I miss you all and the lack of temperatures below 20 degrees, but I am glad with the transition so far.  

Oh, and lest I forget (wow, I just used the word lest, and I haven’t even been ready Austen of late…and I’m not going to comment on ‘of late’), I am still job hunting.¬† I have found that retail for some reason doesn’t want me…something about being over qualified I guess.¬† I applied with¬†a temp to hire agency and hope to see some fruit from that seed.¬† We shall see.¬† Temporarily during the search, I get to live my dream as a full-time writer…or at least, I get to write full time…anyway.

I should have expected to be stunned and shocked by what God has in store, but the past month has surpassed my expectations.¬† I¬†hadn’t realized how numb I had become in my duty to serve.¬† I was thankful and committed to follow and¬†obey, but my heart that rejoiced in a God so much beyond what I knew had grown so still, it had atrophied¬†to a greater extent than I knew.¬† If I could sum up this¬†past¬†six weeks, it would be the restoring¬†of my rock solid heart.¬† A reawakening to a God who is so great that nothing else comes close to comparing.¬† It may be common sense to others, but¬†the revelation that God is truly the only thing worth seeking (and I use the term thing not to¬†negate the personhood of God, but to communicate that there is no¬†noun (person, place or thing) that is worth being sought in light of who God is).¬† When Matthew 6:33 commands us to “Seek¬†first the kingdom of God and his righteousness”, I see a whole new side of it.¬†¬†The more I seek God and who He is (His righteousness), the less appealing seeking other things is.¬† Yet, as I seek Him, surprisingly (well, I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise)¬†the promise that then (and only then) will everything be added spreads out before me in greater measure than ever before.¬† Anyway, these are just some of my musings as I have been walking down this road of transition.¬†

Oh, and in the event that someone has actually read through the entirety of this post and now finds themself pondering any possible correlation between what has passed and todays title, it’s pretty simple.¬† Being as I have just moved, I am typing on my laptop sitting on my air mattress with no convenient place to sit my lovely cup of coffee as I blog and proceed to write for a few hours.¬† Anyone who writes knows it’s easy to hit a flow and if my coffee were in another room or on the floor, the poor cup would go neglected.¬† Thus, the solution:

(Yay for fleece¬†blankets that are able to solve life’s¬†biggest quandaries)


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The Amazing and slightly (extraordinarily) anti-climactic Inside Out Boy

Remember this little guy from years gone by?¬† Legend accompanied this young claymation figure, documenting the following: Inside Out Boy was once a normal, average boy until one day, he was turned inside out by a daring swing over the top of the swing set, thus miraculously inverting his entire molecular structure and transforming him into the good-looking¬†science class phenomenon we see before us.¬† Well, good for him.¬† Until that pushing of¬†the limits, he was just normal, but now, he really knows what he’s made of, what was placed inside of him by his Creator.

Yeah, my guess would be this: If Oprah (since she seems to get all of the exclusives) were to interview this walking miracle today, decades after the incident, his experience may now have cast a shadow over his journey to self discovery.¬† It can’t be healthy, walking around with all your vital organs exposed to who knows what.¬† It must be challenging to constantly see little children point and naughty little boys attempting to poke your liver with a stick, not to mention the paparazzi… And for what?

We can all look at this and chuckle, knowing that the scenario depicted above is one of complete fancy; a creative ploy used to communicate solid truths to children, breaking up their healthy dose of senseless animated violence and sugary cereal commercials.  

So often, as believers, we allow our own journey of self discover to circumvent what has truly been placed inside of us by an Amazing Creator.¬† We desire to know¬†God, but get caught up with finding our ‘part’ in it.¬† Don’t get me¬†wrong.¬† I fully believe that there is a fingerprint of divinity on the inside of every individual, a special something that has been imprinted by God to show his workmanship through a specific person.¬†¬†But all to often,¬†I know my own heart¬†can be distracted in an attempt to serve God¬†by finding what he has¬†purposed and placed on the inside for me.¬† I spend so much time looking inward, searching and digging and moving¬†things around as necessary, that in the end, I look¬†more like our inside out friend than a reflection of¬†Jesus.¬† Sure,¬†many things¬†are now exposed and this can pass for a false¬†vulnerability, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s still me people see in the end.¬†

How much could truly¬†be expressed and exposed by a Creative God if rather than turning my eyes in and exploring the shallow depths of self, I simply pressed¬†deeper and further into Him, pressing into¬†His presence,¬†squeezing into the little nuances of who He is?¬†¬†Like¬†exploring a deep, overgrown, tangled wood.¬† Pressing through brambles, squeezing between rocks, and then when it seems like a dead-end has been hit, diving deep into a pool and finding an underwater cave that allows¬†me still further in.¬† I picture this process and I can see it scraping and scratching, ripping some clothes, smearing some dirt.¬† But when I stand at the very center, it’s only been my flesh that is stripped away, over time revealing what was placed by my Creator deeper inside.¬†¬†

Etherial as it may seem, I picture this journey culminating with climbing out of a pool inside a beautiful valley, surrounded by high peaks sheltering a veritable Shangra-La.  In the middle, there is a mirror.  Approaching it, when I see what is reflected, it is simply what was originally intended, flesh stripped away and a true reflection of an awe-inspiring God.  No me to mar it, but a unique finger print of Divinity.   



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