Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Advance

Wow! This past weekend was amazing!...and exhausting! I won't try to recount it all, but I'll attempt to hit the highlights.

Eli Hooper was awesome. He helped us look into the condemnation, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus and find ourselves in all of the different characters, from Pilate to Mary. The theme being "Where were you when...?", it was really interesting to look at "where I was" during those times in Jesus' life. Was I Pilate, washing my hands of Him because I was accomplishing nothing? Was I the soldiers, distracted and playing games while the Messiah hung on the cross? Was I Mary, full of both fear and joy as I ran to tell others? Where was I and where am I? It was very interesting to think about.

Saturday morning Mom and I left at 7:15 a.m. for the T-ball game. It was early, but it was fun. The boys did great, and this time (thanks to a more aggressive third base coach and some discussion in practice) we didn't end up with more that one boy on second base :-) We actually got three outs within the first six batters or so. Woohoo!

Ok, back to the advance. (We call them "advances" not "retreats" because we don't want to retreat, we want to advance.) We got back by lunch and still had a day's worth of activity before we all went to bet at 1:00 a.m. At each Spring Advance, we have a special thing for the seniors on Saturday night, which has a tendency to be pretty emotional. This year was destined to be really emotional for me, as my two best friends, Jeff and Katy, are seniors this year. Everyone was given a candle, and the seniors candles were lit. Then we all sat around and took turns encouraging the seniors and telling them what they meant to us. I knew I wasn't going to make it through that without crying, and I was so right! :-) I bawled the entire time I talked to both Katy and Jeff. They have both had such wonderful impacts on my life in the last year, and I thank God for bringing them into my life. After that, the seniors went around and lit the rest of our candles. Lots more crying as Jeff came and lit my candle first. Our friendship has been through a lot, but by the grace of God it has endured. That night brought some much needed healing to that friendship, at least for me. Katy and I could not manage to exchange any more than a hug, some tears and an "I love you." We knew we wouldn't be able to get the rest of it out, anyway.

Ok, well hitting the highlights was basically recounting it all, but oh well, you guys wanted to hear it all anyway, didn't you? :-)

All in all, the weekend was absolutely wonderful. Through the short nights and the countless tears, God moved in amazing ways in all of us. He is so good.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Lessons from the Little People

I love to listen to my youngest three siblings sing. It's the cutest thing you've ever heard, even with the occasional note going off-key :-) One of their favorite songs to sing from the back seat of the car is "Blue Skies and Rainbows." They love that song, and they sing it with an incredible enthusiasm.

Blue skies and rainbows and sunbeams from heaven
Are what I can see when my Lord is living in me
I know that...
(Then all at once they will explode and sing the chorus at the top of their lungs, as if it's the only thing in the world that matters.)

As I listened to them belt that out one day, I wondered why I personally, as well as the rest of the Christian community, do not proclaim that with the same enthusiasm and spirit? We know that the only thing that matters is that "Jesus is well and alive today," right? Why, then, do we not shout it from the rooftops? If not literally, at least figuratively? Why do we remain silent, for the most part? Perhaps we do not think about the consequences of our silence. I think it is very possible that we do not even realize how eternity-impacting the truth that Jesus is well and alive today is. Of course, we know that Jesus is the only way to heaven, but do we really think about what that means? Do we think about the fact that every single person that we know or come into contact with that does not have Jesus as their Savior will spend eternity without God? Think about that for a moment. Eternity. Without God. Without Him from whom "every good and perfect gift" comes. If we think this world is rough, with it's finiteness and the presence of God still here, how terrible would eternity be without Him? And how could we, when we know the way to spending eternity with God, remain silent and not share it with those around us who do not know the truth? How??? Why??? I know the reason I do not speak out, and it's not something I'm proud of: I worry about what others will think of me. That looks so lame when I read it. How can I be so concerned about what others will think that I do not share with them the grace that Jesus so freely offers? With all the rejection Jesus suffered for them, am I not willing to suffer possible rejection to tell them about it? "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few." (Matthew 9:37) Could He have meant, not necessarily that the workers are unavailable, but possibly that they are available, but unwilling? Look with me out at the fields, ripe for harvest, in the same way that Jesus did. "He had compassion on them." (Matthew 9:36) Does not compassion require action? Jesus' compassion moved Him to action, selfless and sacrificial action. I pray that ours will do the same.
Father, forgive me for my cowardice and for placing the opinions that others may have of me above Your Will and the spreading of Your Word. Give me boldness to speak Your truth in love. Show me what You see when You look at this hurting world. Make me a vessel that carries Your message to them. Love the people in this world through me.
Truly, unless we become like little children, we (and perhaps others) will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Driving and T-ball, what more could a girl ask for?

Wow! This day has been so crazy and so awesome, where do I even begin? How about the beginning.

The beginning came at 6:45 a.m., which for some of you doesn't sound that early, but for me, it's early. Mom came in and asked if I knew where the Driver Education affidavit was.

Me (not awake yet)--No.
(waking up)--Actually it should be in the box with the rest of the "Driver's Ed in a Box" stuff. (Duh!)

Mom--That's where I thought it was, but it's not in there.

WHAT!?!? That affidavit was one of the few things I had to have to get my permit today. We looked all over the house for it. (Okay, I'm taking too much credit. She looked all over the house for it, I went back to sleep.) We thought we had to have the original and not a copy, but Mom called the DPS office and found out that a copy would work to. Yea! They faxed it to Keith at work and we went to get it on our way to the community college. Why was I going to the community college? Because in addition to the affidavit, also had to have proof of reading proficiency, so we were going to the college to take the test. It wasn't that hard. I scored 107 out of 120, which is equivalent to a junior in college reading level. Yea, me! Now onto the DPS office to get that permit!

The line wasn't horrendously long like it was the last time I was in there, but their computers were out. So I got to do it the old fashioned way and take the test with...oh my goodness...a pencil and paper! I don't even remember how many questions there were, but I only missed one. The picture on my permit turned out much better than the one on my ID card, in which I had hat-hair and braces. AWESOME!!! I was so excited, but apparently that doesn't reflect everyone else's sentiments. As Stephen told my Nanny on the phone when she said how cool it was that I got my permit, "Yeah, it was fun for her, but not for anyone else." :-)

Now, as most of you know, I'm coaching Jonathan's T-ball team this year. It's tons of fun, if you like trying for an hour and a half (a minimum of twice a week) to capture the attention of 13 six-year old boys who all have attention spans of about 5 minutes. (This is an average. Some last as long as 10 minutes, while others seldom last 30 seconds :-D) I happen to love doing that, though, so it's great for me. Anyway, back to the point. We had our first game tonight, which was quite a sight to behold! I got to drive to the game! Woohoo! And the only complaint I got was from Taylor because I "drove 30 in a 40 mph zone." Not bad, if you ask me :-) The game was absolutely hysterical and wonderful. All the boys did really well, even though the outfield can get boring for those 30 second attention spans. Twice we ended up with two of our boys on second base at the same time. Mom is currently dictating and says, "That was the result of an overly aggressive first base coach combined with a quiet, conservative third base coach." Yep, that pretty much sums up the source of that problem. We actually did get three outs in the last inning. Our David and Jonathan combo worked out really well. The boys were great, from the third baseman who watched the ball that was thrown to him fall at his feet without picking it up, to the third baseman that somehow ended up on second base and facing the outfield. I love those boys. They're hilarious. I drove home from the game, too. (Hey, I have to get those required 55 hours somehow, even if it's only 10 minutes at a time.)

Needless to say, I had a great day. "This is the day that the Lord has made." And I have indeed rejoiced and been glad in it. Just watch out for a black suburban when you're driving down the road...

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Test, 1, 2, 3, test...

Let's see if I've figured out how this works. I am officially "branchin' out" into the blogging world! Woohoo!