Thursday, December 31, 2009

Reflecting Back...


There’s only a few minutes before the new year, 2010. To be honest, I can’t wait! Time goes by SO fast, it feels like we should just now be starting 2009! Although I hate how quick this year has gone by, I can’t wait to see what this next year holds. So far 2009 has been the best year of my life. I have so many favorite memories, I can’t even count them all! Trips are always a big highlight. My first trip was with the girls basketball team to Friendship Tournament in Walla Walla. In ten years I probably won’t remember whether we won or lost most of our games, it’ll be those amazing experiences with friends that will always stick with me. Coffee shops, visiting old friends, chasing ducks around a pond, swinging, and hot tubbing are some of the main things to remember. My class trip to Rosario was truly incredible. Luckily this year I didn’t have to have surgery on my toe, but there were so many other vivid memories created instead (that didn’t involve pain!). I love sitting around the fire surrounded by best friends, listening to the waves crash on the beach, and reflecting over the new memories from the day. It’s so close to perfection.
Then there was summer. My sister came back from her long eight month trip to India. That was such a blissful day! I’d missed her more than I thought imaginable. I got my first job working with seriously about $12,000 a day. Pretty cool first job huh? I worked in the Front Gate department at Silverwood, “the largest theme park in the Northwest!” Of course one of the highlights of my summer was a relaxing trip to one of my favorite places on earth. A few good friends and I canoed across Priest Lake to my favorite camping spot. It was really simple, we didn’t do much, but I’ll never forget it.
I began a new adventure in August where I started school at Upper Colombia Academy. It has been crazy fun! I’ve already created more memories there in the first semester than I thought possible for the whole year. I’ve licked the flagpole (even though it was snowy and cold I didn’t get my tongue stuck, thank goodness, since that would probably make this not the happiest memory), sat down with three other friends and consumed a whole cake in less than thirty minutes, ate a huge bowl of macaroni with my best friend after lights went out (with only a battery operated light to see what we were eating as we were listened to “romantic” music), read a story to my best friend as she hid from my R.A. in the closet, witnessed this same friend ruining her roommates brand new laptop by spilling hot wax all over it, sang for Amateur Hour (our school talent show) with another good friend while pretending to be a rock star, and the list goes on! I spoke for a Wednesday afternoon assembly right after my best friend got flown to the hospital for hitting her head in intramural football. That makes for an interesting story right there! To top it all off, I’m on the varsity basketball team. It was a surprise to even make the team, and then I found out I was a starter. How could it get any better?
These are only a FEW amazing memories. Cutting to the chase, this year has been amazing. I’ve learned so much in what seems like such a short amount of time. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for me next year. I know there will be many more memories made on gymnastic tours, week of prayer retreat, and another year of Friendship Tournament. But to those who have contributed to the amazing year I’ve just experienced, thank you. I’ve treasured ever minute of it.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Good Old Times


Today I spent four and a half hours catching up with a good friend of mine that I hadn’t seen for months. We started at Starbucks and sat and talked for a good solid two hours. Then we walked the few shops at Riverstone, just for exercise, I could have stayed in Starbucks all day and been content. Next we moved on to walking the shops down town Coeur d’ Alene. Although we looked like we were shopping, really I was more distracted with our conversations. I guess I can’t multi-task that well because I couldn’t seem to actually look at things while having an exciting conversation full of multiple facial expressions. We talked nonstop. It felt so good to finally catch up and find out all that has been happening in her life. Things that I had been impatiently waiting to tell her in person, I could finally talk about. It was such a relief. No change. Our friendship, after months of not talking, was like the good old times. We could talk about anything again. I’m so thankful for friends like this. They’re the friends you keep for a lifetime. To know that my friend Jesus is exactly like this friend in that way, is a huge relief. He never leaves me. If something were to happen, and we were to some reason grow distant, I know I could always come back to talk. I wouldn’t have to worry. He takes me as I’ am. It would be like the good old times.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Lead

I believe God has chosen me to be a leader.

Along with belief, is action.

A few days ago, I was confronted by a pastor. An opportunity I had never expected had opened up in my life. I had been chosen to be a student week of prayer speaker. When I heard this, I was more than surprised.
It’s only my first year at this new, huge school. I’ve been here less than a semester, I don’t even know all the kids’ names! Out of everyone in this school, me? Are they sure they have the right person?
These were the thoughts rolling through my head. A thrill went through my body, and I became very excited. This pastor asked me if I had prayed about it. I ask God every morning to use me to witness Him in my day, but I never once thought of praying to speak during week of prayer. I avoided the question and started babbling on about something unrelated, because I knew I hadn't specifically prayed for this. The pastor stopped me in mid sentence. “No, have you prayed about it?” He asked sincerely. I looked him in the eye and replied, “Well…no.” He told me to pray about it and get back to him the next day.

I prayed, and prayed. I didn’t seem to get a good strong answer. I didn’t literally hear God’s voice. I didn’t get a strong sensation propelling me to believe this was what God wanted. So the next day when a different pastor confronted me with the same question I said yes, I wanted to be a speaker. These pastors must think a like because he asked me the same question the first pastor had asked, “Have you prayed about it?” I told him I had, and I felt that God wouldn’t want me to pass up an opportunity to minister to others. I believe God gave me this opportunity for a reason.

So here I am. I have a God-given answer to my question. Will I Lead or Follow? I intend to follow Him and He has chosen me to lead. And this is my action.

Lead or Follow

I spent the day with my sister. For me, this is a special treat. I rarely get to see her anymore as she’s off at college, hours away, and I’m stuck in a small town going to high school. There was a football tournament at my school and a bunch of her friends came up to play and watch. The day was spent with her and her friends rather than her and my friends. When the time came for her to return home I felt a great loss. I had only spent a few hours with her and it didn’t seem long enough. Her friends are all so nice, I wanted to become better acquainted with them. After saying our goodbyes in the parking lot I wandered to the cafĂ© for dinner. I didn’t have much of an appetite and I grabbed a bowl of cereal that I forced myself to eat. As I sat down to my regular dinner crew I noticed something I had never really noticed before. It seemed like everyone was using four letter words in their regular vocabulary. I wondered how I had missed this before and had just now noticed their speech. The conversation went on and on, and I didn’t add any input. As I listened, questions went running through my head. How can my friends and my sisters friends be so different, and yet I still like them both? Why do my friends all have a negative attitude? Are they pleasing God? Is this who I want to grow to be like? Does their influence on me affect me for the better? Is the person I’m becoming someone God approves of? Will hanging out with them benefit me, and them in their relationship with God? Will God use me to speak to them, or will they change me instead? What does God want of me? What is he calling me to do? Will I Lead or Follow?

Belief

-I believe that snow is cold.
-I believe that storms come and go.
-I believe that the color white has all the colors from the spectrum in it.
-I believe black attracts the sun.
-I believe there’s a universe beyond this earth.
-I believe that the North and South poles are the coldest places on earth.
-I believe humans have the ability to accomplish whatever they’d like.
-I believe anyone with enough determination has the ability to get good grades.
-I believe dating in high school is pointless.
-I believe church is good for us.
-I believe we grow stronger through hard times in life.
-I believe in God.
-I believe God has a plan for my life.
-I believe in love.
-I believe God is love.


What are beliefs if they’re not acted on? Belief is action. YOU don’t truly believe something until YOU do something about it. I’ve learned that I can say I believe a lot of things. The true trial is when I get stuck in a situation that tests my beliefs. Will I stand for them? Do I really believe them? Does my heart long for these beliefs? Am I passionate about them!? Passion and action go along with each other. When you’re passionate about something, you act on it. When we have a strong passion for something, people notice. YOU can believe you’re the coolest person on earth, and as long as YOU believe that, others will start to believe it too… if YOU act on it. When YOU carry a passion about something around with YOU, people will recognize it. They’ll find themselves wanting to be around YOU. YOU seem to know what you’re living for. YOU just might have things figured out. YOU might be the answer to all their questions. Belief is only a statement, until you act on it. Until YOU do something about it. YOU are the change. Live out your belief. Through YOU, people can come to understand beliefs. YOU are the belief.

Love

Love is deep.
If love would make a man swim the English Channel to win his woman, what then, would God do to win you?
Love is change.
What happens when you fully accept God’s love and grace that He extends unconditionally? When you believe in it, it has the power to change. Change thoughts, actions, a whole way of life. You fall just as deeply in love with God as He is with you.
Love is service.
When you are in love, you want to serve to show your love. You don’t serve to give you a better reputation or to influence how someone thinks of you. You do it from the goodness of your heart.
Love is risk.
Maybe you risk your reputation, your job, or your friends, but in the end, love always wins. Love is the key to life. If you gave these few things up for God how would your love built relationship with Him be different? Would you be automatically closer and more deeply in love with the Creator of this universe?
Love is sacrifice.
When you sacrifice something out of love, love is stronger, deeper, more meaningful. Jesus Christ sacrificed his life for us, what are we doing in return for Him?
Love is accepting.
Love pays no attention to the minor details in a person. Looks have no part in love. When you’re in love, physical attraction fades. When in love, flaws become accepted. Love is everything or nothing.
Love is choice.
Marriage takes work, so I’ve heard. Love isn’t always easy. It’s a lot easier when love is mutual. Your love relationship with God then, should be easy. He extends His love unconditionally, you have nothing to worry about. His cup never runs out.
Love is essential.
Without love in your life, where would you be? Maybe some don’t receive love from parents, or family, but what about friends, teachers, pastors, strangers. Love is exchanged on a regular basis. Though it may be hard to believe sometimes, love is in this world.
Love is waiting.
Waiting for you to become apart of sharing it. Waiting to be apart of your heart and soul, your very existence.
God is Love.