December 31, 2011

2011: A Year in Review

Over the last few days, I have been marveling at the fact that the year is almost over... The phrase "the days are long, but the years are short" is really beginning to apply to my life. Im sitting here trying to think of the events of this year & honestly I cant think of much... So Im going to try to go month by month to chronicle this year.

...2011 Year in Review...
January: Lamar & I built the most awesome snowman ever during our town's "blizzard."
February: I turned 25 this year & had a mild quarter life crisis, lol. It led to a lot of thinking about what Im 'suppose' to be doing. Unfortunately, I havent exactly figured that out yet.
March: My college roommate & I finally moved in together. This was great for me because I could get out of the hood & not go broke. It was great for her because she could save money on rent? Yay for win-wins! We moved into a great apartment in a quiet part of the complex within walking distance of stores & such. It is soo much better than my place in little mexico! Sometimes I stop while walking in & marvel at the fact that I actually live there. lol.
April: Southern Tornado Outbreak: On the 27th numerous tornadoes tore through Alabama & the surrounding states. I was stuck at work bunkered down in a classroom in the call center. I remember thinking, "God, if this is my time to die, please dont let me die here!" Living in northern Alabama has taught me the signs of potential tornadoes or bad thunderstorms, but these came out of the blue, it seemed. Once all the storms passed, we were without power for a week. But the good thing about it was, it brought people back to the simple things. Kids were playing outside & the parents were calling them in at sunset. Hanging out with friends was sitting around candles with a guitar. Church was a meeting at the park. We cooked over tealights or fireplaces & experienced what night really looks like. But when the power came back on, I took the best hot shower ever! lol :)
May: My bestsisterfriend got engaged ^.^ She'll be getting married in May of 2012. Congrats darlin!
June: Lamar & I went to Nashville to visit the Gaylord Opryland hotel. It was quite impressive. We rode the tour boats around the building. If you're ever in Nashville & want to do something really touristy, ride the boats at the Opryland hotel.
July: Lamar's birthday. I made a cake for him & it was delicious!
August: "Devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, & devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose & meaning."(Tuesdays with Morrie) I found this book at my favorite thrift store & decided to read it since it got such great reviews from my bibliophile friends. It was an experience & has earned a place on my list of books I'd re-read, alongside The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin & Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.
September: My roommate & I decided to start an Etsy shop called Pins&Needles. We currently have only one piece for sale, but it really gave us both something creative to do with our spare time. I have really delved back into crochet & enjoy creating all the pieces that Ive done so far. My plan for the new year is to get production going so that we can have stock for the shop. Then maybe my crocheting & her knitting will make us some money. Fingers crossed. :)
October: October was a big crochet month for me. Working at West gave me a pool of people that were very willing to pay for handmade merchandise. I ended up selling 3 scarves. I also began challenging myself with the patterns & stitches. I guess you could call this the month of crochet education... or something.
November: This was a good month. I was blessed to be able to quit my job at West & begin working as a church secretary. That was the highlight. The way everything came together for that change was pure God. That is all that can be said. Im very grateful & appreciative for the new position because it is infinitely better for me personally. :)
December: My "baby" brother was baptized by our dad. It was a beautiful family moment & we took a picture with both of my parents together. This is great especially since theyre divorced. That was one of the best moments of this year.

After going through each month & writing about an event, I see that this was a really good year. Next year, however, Im going to try to keep a better record. ;) Happy New Year, everyone!

December 7, 2011

I came to work this morning & this note was on my desk. :) It’s from the boy I wrote about yesterday.

It all comes down to Love.

Having a daily job in the church is truly giving me a new perspective of church people. Normally, my only contact with other church people is on Sabbath for maybe a couple hours, with the majority of that time being the service. So this is my first time seeing how the people who are so quick to extend a Happy-Sabbath-God-is-so-good-Im-blessed-&-highly-favored greeting act on the other six days of the week. So far, I am not very impressed.

Yesterday was the last day of the Pastoral Evangelism & Leadership Conference held in the church where I work. So, of course, it was packed full of visiting pastors & other leaders. In the midst of all this, one of the visitors loses his phone. He comes into the church office asking if it has been returned. He couldn’t describe the phone or tell me what the model was. All he offered was that it was a Verizon phone… He also couldn’t answer any of the identification questions. So when I asked him for the phone number so I could see if the phone in my drawer was his, he decides to yell at me for ‘going too far’ & being disrespectful & rude. He also says that he is going to tell my manager about ‘my behavior.’ He gives me the number during this fit, & it turned out that the phone that was turned in wasn’t his anyway. So he storms out of the office, telling whoever will listen in the hallway about how rude I was.

I was particularly upset by this exchange because I expected a higher level of behavior from him. But what I got was a very nasty view of church people. I found out later that he was not only a visiting person, but a pastor. The leader of a church. When I learned that, I was taken aback. What does this behavior say about Seventh-day Adventist Christians? When we act like this, we cannot possibly think that God is being represented. Jesus, Himself, put a great deal of weight & importance on how we treat each other. He said loving your neighbor as yourself is the second great commandment, along with loving God with all your heart, soul, & mind. What message would be conveyed if on Sabbath afternoon we are feeding the homeless or doing bible study & come Tuesday our short fuses cause us to act in ways unbecoming of followers of Christ? What evangelism can come of that? What transformation? What vision of love?

There is a line of a song that kept repeating in my head after the above incident. It says, “I wonder what life would be like if we let Jesus live through you & me.” What would it be like? We would be slow(er) to anger… more loving… more understanding… kind… patient… We would be a force of good in a world where genuine goodness is the exception & not the rule. We would be more likely to help another person meet their needs rather than getting lost in the me-first societal view.

This experience has reiterated the fact that every day we are testaments. We are walking comparisons- mirrors of Christ, whether the image is clear or foggy. My parents always told me to remember that I represent them all the time. Just as children represent their parents, we represent Christ. Each day we need to make the conscious decision to make sure our representation is correct. We need to be loving. Like Jesus said in John 13:34-35, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

It all comes down to love.

December 6, 2011

Mustard Seeds & Moves

This morning I met a boy named Marcus & he truly exemplified the statement that faith without works is dead. He is making his way around the Pastoral Evangelism & Leadership Conference trying to get donations for tuition. He wants to go to an Adventist Academy in Mississippi & said that his mother has filled out all of his enrollment paperwork & they are stepping out on faith for the tuition money.

As he was talking to another lady in the office, I couldn't help but marvel at the measure of faith I saw in him. I thought about Jesus telling the disciples that if they had a faith the size of a mustard seed, they could move mountains. I thought of the 'child-like' faith that we are always told to have. That faith that says, "Jesus said He can do it, so that all I need to know." I was really blessed to see that today & as I'm writing this, I keep getting watery-eyed wishing that my faith was as big as his. The last thing he said before leaving the office was, "Well, I can't get tuition sitting down." I smiled, glad that he understood that even though God can & will bless His children- we have to do our part as well. He understood that he can't just say, God will provide & sit waiting. That's definitely a lesson worth learning... not only do we have to have faith in what God can/will do first, we then have to exercise that faith & not sit expecting.

(If you haven't seen a mustard seed, it looks like this)