Monday, December 04, 2006

Redskins v. Falcons

This weekend the long-awaited Redskins v. Falcons game finally happened! Even though the skins lost (and we got lost about 6 times), it was a fabulous trip... check out some pictures :)

Monday, October 30, 2006

All Saint's Fair

Here are some pictures from our All Saint's Fair at Trinity this weekend!

Mr. Burton and his son Stephen who is in my 2's class. We just found out we are neighbors!

Kaylin and Kendall Verbrugge on the left with little Chloe Doran, Dennis's daughter.

Greg Thompson, our senior pastor, with his youngest daughter Margaret. She was a little overwhelmed by everyone dressed up, but seemed to like getting her nails done.

Sweet little Annabel dressed as Snow White :)

Some little ones trying out the bowling game...

Although tiring, the night was a huge success for the families and for their little ones. I'm learning a lot just by watching the parents around me. I was always amazed at Anna Steltzer's ability to stop everything and listen to two year old Colton stumble through words to tell her a story. I think it can be easy to tune out children as they speak to us because they may not notice as much as an adult might... but on the other hand we have all these teenagers that tell us they dont feel like anyone really listens to them. Maybe it started when they were two and telling a story.

Even this morning as Psalms and I were playing cards on my living room floor before the bus arrived, I was tempted to flip on the Today Show and catch the news while we played. Then I realized that tells her she's just a part of my normal day, that I'm not really being attentive to her. It's a privilege to give her my undivided attention for 20 minutes every morning, even if we only talk about who is winning Crazy 8's.

Children have taught me a lot lately and are redefining how I think about things...

Patience now means watching Psalms try and flip her little stack of playing cards all the right direction and try and hold them in her hands without just straightening the pile for her...

Self control has come in restraining myself from succumbing the the charms of crying 2 year olds and giving them hugs when what they need is to be disciplined...

And Faithfulness has been shaped by the little things in Sunday School preparation like making sure every table has enough crayons... it seems like nothing to me, but to the teachers it is the balance between a smooth-running classroom and a 3 year old meltdown. Making sure there are exactly 8 copies of every activity sheet in the folders seems tedious after counting to 8 about 100 times a day... but to the one child who doesn't get a coloring sheet it makes a big difference.

Who knew you could learn so much from such little people :)

Friday, October 13, 2006


Dad I know you're going to have an opinion about this one :)

"Albert Wolters offers helpful clarification as he differentiates between the 'structure' and 'direction' of culture. Wolters says that 'structure refers to the order of creation, to the constant creational constitution of any thing, what makes it the thing or entity that it is.' The structure of something is positive and good. In its substance, essence and nature it was brought into existence by God at creation and was part of his perfect created order. 'Direction, by contrast, designates the order of sin and redemption, the distortion or perversion of creation through the fall on the one hand and the redemption and restoration of creation in Christ on the other.' In other words, all the ingredients in the cultural soup are either moving in the direction of obedience or disobedience to God's will."
- Walt Mueller Engaging the Soul of Youth Culture

I agree to some extent... but what about things like cocaine? Is that, in its substance, essence, and nature positive and good?


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Monday, September 11, 2006

There goes my hero....

This afternoon while I driving home from work I glanced at my watch. 5:15pm. Dad will be home and hopefully not too fair into his afternoon nap. (Being an introvert and an 8th grade teacher is an exhausting combination). Dialing home, I smiled to hear his surprised, "Hello?" Apparently I didn't interrupt naptime but did disturb him from his crossword puzzle. He'll make a great grandpa one day.

I asked him how school was today and he said it was a little somber since he taught about 9/11 today. His current 8th graders were in 3rd grade when the terrorist attacks occurred, so their memories are scattered at best. Too young to personally connect with the date now pregnant with meaning for older Americans, they listened to Dad explain the heroics of those on board Flight 93. Men risked their lives to bring that plane down in Shanksville, Pennsylvania rather than in a government building in DC or New York. As he held up the Flag of Heroes, an American flag where names of fallen 9/11 rescue workers in red form the flag's stripes, the spoke about what it means to be a hero.

I remembered a conversation in our worldview class last year about heroes as we struggled with an assignment to write a one page paper on our personal hero. Many of us had a hard time identifying "a person who lived their life in a way we'd want to emulate." By the end of the semester most of us had written on a family member or close friend. Few wrote on a nationally recognized public figure. John Cunningham, our teacher, pointed out the shift from public to personal in our generation. It seems Dad has picked up on the trend as well. He quickly distinguished between a celebrity and a hero with his students and explained how a football player's actions on the field are not heroic, although they may be admirable. What he doess off the field may (or may not) make him a hero. Dad and I agreed that kids are less likely to choose a public figure as a hero because the minute after they are exalted by the media for their public actions that benefit the common good, they are likely to be slandered for an element of their private life that is less than heroic.

Or worse, the media continues to exalt a great athlete for his prowess on the field, choosing to ignore or overlook the minefield of a personal life unworthy of exaltation. This disconnect has taught our generation to be cynical towards public figures. Their once "heroes" carry reputations tarnished with allegations of rape, excessive partying, and other evidences of inconsistent lifestyles. So what pictures does that paint of "goodness" for this generation?

I think it's twofold. First, "goodness" is only a shiny door on a closet full of skeletons. No one can possible be really good in this world (which is somewhat true-- Romans 3:23 all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God). So they view people with cynical eyes, always waiting for the other shoes to drop.

The second impact is it teaches that a mess of a private life can be ignored, even excused, if your "greatness" can be exalted publicly. Greatness-- in music, athletics, fashion, even business-- has replaced goodness of character and heart. The modern teen longs for greatness... and why not? If you're "one of the greats" you can get away with anything...

Or can you?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Sometimes when I am praying and trying to figure out how to think about God, I ask for a picture... I am a visual person and having some sort of image to guide my thinking or to refocus me is so helpful. This morning I was so thankful for how God speaks to us through what we see everyday-- children laughing (and crying!), the sun rising one more day, rain washing down on everyone without showing favor or restraint... and then through Oswald Chambers I got another picture of how God works.

John 7:37-38 says, "If you are thirsty, come to me! If you believe in me, come and drink! For the Scriptures declare that rivers of living water will flow out from within."

Every river finds has a greater source in the ocean, but the rivers, creeks, and streams touch parts of the land that the ocean itself doesn't reach. They are meant to flow out of the ocean and into the land... it takes time for them to carve their beds around rocks or even underground in order to reach the dry parts of the land, but they find a way.

The church where I work, Trinity Presbyterian, is studying Acts right now in an effort to figure out what it really means to be a church for this city and for the world and the resulting question for me is what does it mean to live a Christian life as part of that church? In his sermon Sunday Greg asked that question... does it mean to be nice to everyone? does it mean that I should just avoid doing bad things and live a good life? Is that all?

This is a big church... but sitting out here at the end of Fontaine Avenue it's not going to reach all the places and people that are thirsty. So what does it mean for me to be a part of this church? I know it means that God has sent me to live in a certain area of Charlottesville... I've been praying about it since early last year and He just opened doors and hearts to allow us to be on Short 18th Street downtown... so now what? I dont know specifically... I (for once) have no plan or timeline laid out... all I can do is ask that I will be like those rivers flowing out of the Source and trying to reach dry land.

Most of the time I just think like an (almost) 23 year old girl going about her business each day... but I'd like to think more about what it means to be a part of His business. What does it mean to be a Christian?

"It's understanding that the Spirit has come to reshape our
understanding of what it means to follow Him in the world, to send us to places
we didn't intend to go, to love people we did not intend to love, to bear sorros
we did not intend to bear. But we do that to honor God and for the good of the
world." -- Greg Thompson "The Spirit of Hope"

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Your Mercies Are New Every Morning...

Sweet clarity
Of mind, heart, and soul
A new morning
And new mercies
Swept away with night's dark blanket
Are my worries, fears, and doubts.
Risen with the warm golden sun
My hopes and dreams come out.
A day that holds
All things new
And unguarded you see my heart.
A brand new day, new chance
New start.
I stand just still enough
In the dawn's cool air
To see Your work begin
In me create a new desire
To delight in my God within.
It's here You dwell,
Lord of my Life
In my morning moments
When my vision's unclouded
My heart-all hopeful
For what is yet to come.
Lord run with me
Through this day,
Draw close and near to me
That I may always remember
This morning
This glimpse of sweet purity.
July 28, 2005
...a camp memory...

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Cast out of the Garden
and walking among thorns
they found themselves alone, from His presence torn
by their own hands' admission
sin laid a guilty claim
upon these two creations
and all who bear their name.

Doubting and unsure of
A promise so unheard of
They laughed at Him.
How could someone of my age

Be the one to bear a son?
But a nation you have promised, with new names you have called us
Your will be done.

A gentle girl and a carpenter
you chose to bring the word
of your Great Love.
And when she held this tiny child
she saw a king to be
But why and when and how
Remained a mystery.

And then upon that cross
It seemed all hope was lost
Proclaimed a criminal, they led him to the Skull
where all could see.
This Savior you have called, now helpless, beaten down
And although he wore a crown
Sin, he bore, 'stead majesty....


Monday, March 13, 2006

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Beauty of Pursuit

Last night when I was cutting out magazine clippings I wasn't sure what I was going to do with them... and then I got really excited about worshipping in a different way, mainly inspired by Kelly and her artistic talents. So this morning I got up and took out my sketchbook and gathered some of the clippings and made a collage about beauty and wrote in verses and prayers around it. It was SO FUN! Its like a different way of journaling, and having images before me helps me to worship and praise God for specific things. and we all know that I can't sit still to save my life, so doing something while praying was helpful (although I acknowledge it is still important for me to be still sometimes). But this is what God showed me...

Because we are created in His image, and He is a creative Creator, we have a desire to create as well... and when we make things beautiful and create new things with our hands we feel His pleasure in creation...
Psalm 139:13 kept coming into my head while I worked...

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb...
So often we look at the huge ocean and see His power or at the little petals on a flower and see His intricacy... but how often do we look at ourselves and see His workmanship, His masterpiece? The psalm continues...
Your works are wonderful, I know that full well...
By His works, David means US! I was so blown away by that realization that I started over at the beginning of the Psalm reading it aloud, and just started to cry realizing the way God pursues us. This Psalm is about the delight of being known, deeply and wholly. I think I have always viewed verses 7-8 as David fleeing God...
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there...
and the first few verses as God being a watchdog of our lives...
O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar...
But no... David is FINDING God in all places, not fleeing Him. And that God knows our every move and every thought is meant to be comforting, not threatening. How our pride and fierce independence and mistrust of being known makes us defensive against being known so intimately. But when I read it aloud this morning I saw how these are not words of complaint, but rather words of praise. The God of the Universe can predict our actions and finish our sentences-- much like a husband can for his life-long wife because he knows her so well.
I heard it said once that we were born gagging on God-- that sin has made us adverse to Him, and that as we are redeemed we become more attracted, more in love, and our desire for Him is restored. It is perplexing that what we want most in the world, to be known, is also what seems the most threatening to us, isn't it?
Nevertheless, regardless of our adversity, stubborness, and resistance... our God chases us.