Monday, May 31, 2010

worms squirm, FYI

Brandi thought it would be fun to go fishing tonight and I thought it would be fun to see Brandi fishing. We got some live bait, earthworms to be exact. Neither one of us had ever hooked a live worm before. One of my biggest fears was that worm juice would squirt on me when I punctured the worm. While it didn't happen on the first try, it did on the second. It wasn't so bad and after that the worms became something fun for me to play with.


Here are both of our first successes for your viewing pleasure.

Yes, I wave at the worm. You can also hear our friend Justin in the background.

Sorry, this video is a little long at the end... once the worm is hooked the action is over.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

when the shadows of this life have gone...

I read C.S. Lewis' "The Great Divorce" earlier in the week and I thoroughly enjoyed it! It came recommended from a friend and I am oh so glad that their recommendation gave it a little more priority on my list of books to read!

Three Reasons why I liked it (without spoiling it for my beloved friends who have yet to read it):
-It was interesting... really interesting! I loved the imagery and the descriptions of the people....
-It was made me think about my own sin, but also made me want to desire Christ more. I also appreciated the humility in which the convicting message was delivered.
-It was short and moved along purty quickly (deep, I know).

Following my read of the book, I have been thinking about "the shadows of this life." So much of this life is shadows: shadows of the past -experiences, places, feelings, shadows of the future-our hopes, fears, dreams, and even shadows of the present -all that we cannot fully grasp or understand. The thing about shadows is they get smaller when the light is directly above them, like at high noon. I think with us, we are least shadowed in the presence of God, in Christ. His light is eternal!

"Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and His glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn." -Isaiah 60:1-3

Man, I so look forward to this!!!:

"The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it." -Revelation 21:23-24

"When the shadows of this life have gone, I'll fly away..."

Monday, May 24, 2010

Zebra Mocha Chip

Today I went by the local Starbucks and on the window was their latest frappuccino of the week. It's called zebra mocha chip and was invented by Luke. Luke is my little brother, so I figured I should try it. It was good, but more than anything I was struck by how proud I was of my little brother. I sipped it, enjoying the chocolaty chunks, thinking to myself, "Luke made this."

I'm praying for some sweet times with Luker before Russia.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

brown sugar

Today was a brown sugar kind of day; it was sweet and packed. Whenever you bake with brown sugar you always compress it and pack the measuring cup with every ounce of goodness.

First sweet instance was going to Starbucks to spend time with God. While I was there, a choir from Masters College came through. They saw me reading my Bible and I was instantly popular. The first guy that talked to me was really excited to see someone doing their quiet time and as we talked a bit more he told me that his parents were both saved in Navs in college! This gave me such joy! We didn't talk for long, but his parents have daily time with God and that was passed down to him, and he was excited to see a stranger doing a quiet time too! What a sweet reminder of the why we labor and of what we labor for...the spiritual generations. Sweet blessing number 1.

Followed by that I came home and cleaned the refrigerator. It is so clean. I like to clean, more than most people. Blessing number 2.

Then my parents and I went bowling. My mom's work was having a fundraiser so we met up with about 15 of her coworkers and spent the afternoon bowling. It was funny to sit by my mom and cheer for people; more than once we said the same exact thing encouraging our friends. I bowled my personal best today 137, which was also the high score in our group! What a fun time?! Number 3.

Blessing number 4 was just being with the family, catching up, laughing and getting hugs! Do not underestimate number 4.

The weather in Blythe was surprisingly spectacular. Apparently it is a cool May, it couldn't have been much over 90 degrees today and there was a cool breeze that made it feel in the 80's. It was great! I sat out back and read. Numero cinco.

My sixth and final big blessing of the day... a date with my dear friend Brandi. We saw Robinhood (finally)! I really liked it and am excited that there will be a sequel. It reminded me of Braveheart and while I don't think I will be going as Robinhood for Halloween this fall, I still enjoyed it. The best part was seeing it with Brandi, we laughed, sighed and feared the fate of our hero together. Catching up with her after the movie was also a grand time! Number 6!

Yes, today was a good day to be in Blythe! A day packed with sweet blessings from the Lord! God is so good!

Friday, May 21, 2010

"I've got it! Mud Ditch!?" "Oh yes, that sounds lovely!"

Tonight as I drove to Blythe, I was amused by the fact that the ditches along the interstate are named and labeled with the following names:

Bula Ditch, Taro Ditch, Adair Ditch, Hillhock Ditch, Wide Ditch, Larry Ditch, Desert Center Ditch, Airport Ditch, CDXCom Ditch, Quartz Ditch, Ghost Ditch, Rollie Ditch, Palen Ditch, Meta Ditch, Oban Ditch, Copa Ditch, Esso Ditch, Mud Ditch, Walla Ditch, Arco Ditch, Calada Ditch, Gale Ditch, Teed Ditch, McCoy Ditch, Isora Ditch, and Palowalla Ditch

I think this is the right order?

I arrived home and told my parents, they said they had just noticed them on their drive back yesterday; so we're thinking the signs must be new. I don't really know why ditches need to be named and labeled with their said names, but apparently someone important thinks it is worthwhile! On the bright side, if you ever end up in one of these ditches (which I hope you don't), you can tell the emergency dispatcher exactly which ditch to send help to.

It must be really difficult to come up with quality names for ditches. I think "Mud Ditch" takes the cake!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

And for me, some scarlet ribbons

Growing up, my dad always tucked us kids in. In our younger years, he often serenaded us as we fell asleep. He would usually play one song per kid. The two songs he reserved for me were "Scarlet Ribbons" and "Alissa's Song" (it is my very own lullaby).

Tonight I had the joy of meeting up with my parents for dinner in Brea. It was really nice to see them and to watch the Suns game with them, it would have been better if the Suns had won, but alas I will count my blessings. After dinner we went back to their hotel room and I gave my dad my guitar and requested "Scarlet Ribbons."

I peeked in to say goodnight and I heard my child in prayer. "And for me some scarlet ribbons, scarlet ribbons for my hair." All the shops were closed and shuttered, all the streets were dark and bare. In our town no scarlet ribbons, scarlet ribbons for her hair. Through the night, my heart was aching, just before the dawn was breaking. I looked in and on her bed in gay profusion lying there, scarlet ribbons, lovely ribbons, scarlet ribbons for her hair. If I live to be a hundred, I will never know from where came those ribbons, lovely ribbons, scarlet ribbons for her hair.

As the song was being sung, my eyes welled with tears. The little girl's faith hit me. Children aren't afraid to ask God for things, even ribbons for their hair. And God is the God who delights in giving His children good gifts. Yet in my stupidity and pride, I sometimes don't pray for some of the things I want. I think that I lack the faith to pray for them or I'm too afraid that God will say no and don't want to feel disappointed. But God even answers these prayers! (the unprayed ones, if that makes sense? the ones that are just on the edge of being prayed, the ones that slip out of your heart with out mental utterance.)

I see God answering one of these inmost prayers, the Spirit is at work and I am excited.

Lord, thank You for Your grace. Teach me to pray continually and fearlessly, in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Psalm 121

Fifth grade was the first year that I went to school in Blythe and the only year my brothers and I attended a private school. While I didn't like much about that year of school,  I am eternally grateful for my teacher and the way he chose to teach us "Religion." My teacher that year, Mr. Reale, thought it was best for us to memorize chapters of the Bible to fulfill the subject requirements. So that's what we did. He assigned us a chapter each quarter: Psalm 23,Luke 2:1-14, 1 Corinthians 13, and Psalm 121 and a few other key verses like Matthew 28:18-20. (I wish he made us do more!) We were required to memorize them in chunks; punctuation and spelling were to be perfect. Each Friday we were tested, writing out our new verses and our old verses.

I remember that before we began Psalm 121, Mr. Reale introduced it as his favorite Psalm. As I grew up and went through high school, I began to see why. Blythe is in a valley and in almost all directions you can see hills. Driving on the country roads, you're surrounded by them. I was constantly lifting my eyes up to the hills, often struck by the beauty and openness of the clean, country sky, and in awe of the fact that the One who made all that was before me was also my Helper!

Well, it is a little bit harder to see the hills in Long Beach, but I am so often in need of help, especially the Lord's! I find myself praying parts of this Psalm a lot lately and am so thankful for the inner strength it brings.

I lift my eyes up to the hills- where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip- He who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you- the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm- He will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and your going both now and forevermore.

Lord, thank You for being my help, for keeping me from harm and constantly watching over my life. Thank You for the ways that You have shaped my relationship with You and for the blessing that Mr. Reale was as a teacher and man of faith. You're faithful and You will continue to be.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. -Hebrews 13:8

I trust You. Thank You for cornbread and honey butter, too!

Monday, May 3, 2010

mmm whatcha say

Lately I have been thinking a bit about my mouth and the words that I allow to come out of it. Words are powerful. I have often been hurt or encouraged by the words of others.

I think that sometimes I have failed to give thought to my words because of my pride and selfishness, but also because sometimes I don't really put much stock in others' words. What I mean to say is that words of affirmation is not my primary love language and I generally only care about someone's words if I have placed some value on the relationship or have felt genuinely loved by them in the past. All that to say, I can be pretty terse with my words.

I have known this for quite some time. My mom often said to me, "You would be the perfect child, if you couldn't talk," and "Alissa Ruth, don't sass me!" One time she told me that I should pray to God that He would make me sweet; I did and continue to. More than once as a child did I have to write the third chapter of James out when I had spoken disrespectfully to members of my family. While I can see that God has helped me to make progress in this area, I still fall short. I fail to love others with my words and in my heart.

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." -Ephesians 4:29

Lord, I am thankful for the ability to communicate with others. Would You continue to help me to do so in a way that is edifying and encouraging? Help me to love with my words. Thank You for Your Word that is living and active, sharper than a double-edged sword, for its convicting power and the story of grace that it holds.

I am now going to kill that giant mosquito on my wall with my dad's copy of Luther's Three Treatises. I don't think he will mind the bug guts. This mosquito is grossly huge!