There’s No Place like Home…on Whidbey Island.

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So I’m combing though the internet to get ideas for a weekend getaway.  I got inspired.  Because my home sweet home is just as awesome as these places. Now I’m still gonna go on a trip, b/c going somewhere for a weekend is great to change the pace of life.

I love Whidbey Island!   When I talk to my friends in the Midwest I want them to be insanely jealous every time I say “the island.” I try to be sure to say it often just to rub it in that I live on a gorgeous island with views of two mountain ranges and the ocean.

Be jealous at the following

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Deception Pass Bridge at morning break

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View off the island

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I always find the ferry a fun means of travel. No matter which direction I’m going.

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Coupeville. A wonderful stroll through shops and down the dock. And ice cream at Kapaw’s!

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Okay..so technically not on the Island, but the Skagit tulip fields are a yearly afternoon trip.

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Beauty in all directions

Why Les Mis gets me everytime…

Other than the seriously incredible music that conveys the themes and emotions perfectly…
This story runs the gauntlet of human experience.  You can relate to every part.  Desperation, Repentance, Hope, Fighting for a Cause, New Love, Unrequited Love, Forgiveness, Legalism, Redemption, a Father’s Love, the list goes on.

Let me tell you my favorite part.  Okay one of my favorite parts…I have like twenty.

Jean Valjean’s soliloquy “What have I done?” – He transforms in this song.  Seeing his own guilt. The grace shown to him by the Bishop. He repents, turns his life around.

Okay another favorite part…”I dreamed a dream”  Who can’t relate to being at the bottom. Seeing all your dreams having failed you.

Another favorite part…”Finale: Do you hear the people sing?” There’s a line I don’t think many hear.  “We will live again in freedom in the garden of the Lord. We will walk behind the plowshare. We will put away the sword. The chains will be broken and all men will have their reward.”  Hope!  God will make it right in the end!

Okay…so there’s about a billion other favorite parts.

Redemption! Life!

2 years later…

And I really care very little about the elections.  Does that make me a bad American?

Maybe a little.

I care. I do.

It’s just that I really don’t believe that even the best of elected officials is going to make as big of a difference in the world as I can by investing my life into those around me.

And that little speech is what I’m going to leave you with on my journey back into the blogging world.

My favorite mom to encourage and be encouraged by.

My favorite mom to encourage and be encouraged by.

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Glad the elections are over…final thoughts.

I’m so glad that the elections are over.  Political debates on facebook and in person were starting to exhaust me.  And this is coming from someone who actually likes to debate. Come talk with me about controversial issues anytime.  I’ve finally figured out why it’s been so exshausting. 
It’s because people have been so…so..what’s the word?…vehement.  I’m all for passion…but vehemence includes in my mind a certain element of anger and vitriol.  And that I cannot abide. 
Persuade, debate, discuss, be passionate. YES!   But also… listen, try to understand, have diplomacy, be gracious.
 
And now for the awesome quotes that sum up my saddness and response to the election results.  Dad I think you’ll like these.
 

“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years.”
― Alexis de Tocqueville

 

Do not trust in the Donkey or the Elephant….

                  trust in the Lamb.

Some changes are easier than others

* Easy- getting to see my awesome Sara more often now that she’s living in the same house again.

* Super easy- Having a wonderful, Godly man as my boyfriend.

* Not so easy- Balancing all my duties at work and figuring out which ones to make priority.

* Easy- getting sucked into another TV show.  “Dollhouse”

* Not easy at all- Consistently working out and eating healthy.

And such is life 🙂  Praise God from whom all blessings (and disciplines) flow

My Spiritual gift? I so already knew this!

Test from http://www.churchgrowth.org/analysis/intro.php

Pastor/Shepherd

The results of your Spiritual Gifts Inventory indicate that your number one dominant gift is PASTORING/SHEPHERDING! The Greek word “poimen” means pastor. In Paul’s spiritual gifts listing in Ephesians 4:11, this term is translated “pastor.” Although the word “poimen” is translated pastor only one time in Scripture it is used sixteen additional times. The remaining sixteen are all translated “shepherd.” Therefore, we are actually discussing the GIFT of shepherding, not the POSITION of pastor. Though a good pastor must have the gift of shepherding, everyone who has the gift of shepherding is not called to be pastor. The gift can be used in many positions in a church.

As a gifted shepherd, you have the Spirit-given capacity and desire to serve God by overseeing, training, and caring for the needs of a group of Christians. You are usually very patient, people-centered, and willing to spend time in prayer for others. You tend to be a “Jack of All and Master of ONE,” meaning you are usually dominant in one of the speaking gifts (evangelist, prophet, teacher, exhorter) as well. You are often authoritative, more a leader than a follower, and expressive, composed, and sensitive. Your pleasing personality draws people to you.

You have a burden to see others learn and grow and are protective of those under your care. You want to present the whole Word of God and do not like to present the same materials more than once. You are willing to study what is necessary to feed your group and are more relationship oriented than task oriented. You are a peace-maker and diplomat – very tolerant of people’s weaknesses. You tend to remember people’s names and faces. You are more concerned with doing for others than others doing for you. You are faithful and devoted and may become a workaholic. You can become an all-purpose person in order to meet needs.

People with the gift of shepherding make the best Sunday school teachers and group leaders because their desire is to go beyond just teaching or leading, to shepherd and minister to the daily needs of their students. The position of Sunday school teacher or group leader is an extension of the pastoral ministry in the church. These groups should be shepherded on a small scale the same as the pastor shepherds the whole congregation on a large scale.

Be careful to involve other people; don’t try to do it all yourself. Work on making people accountable. Do not be overly protective of your “flock.” Because of these potentially weak areas, other people may think it is your job to do all the work; they rely too heavily on you. You may be expected to be available at all times, know all the answers, and be at every function. Learn when to say no.

Beware of Satan’s attack on your gift. He will cause discouragement when the load gets heavy, and pride because your “sheep” look up to you. You may develop family problems because of too little time and attention. You may become selfish when “sheep” feed in other pastures.

HOW CAN YOU USE YOUR GIFT? This gift is a great help in many areas. You may serve as a Sunday school teacher, small group leader, pastor or assistant pastor, bus captain, special ministry leader (such as youth, children, men, etc.), nursery worker or as a half-way house or other type shelter volunteer. You may consider serving as a dormitory leader in a college, orphanage, children’s home, etc. Scout troops would appreciate your assistance as a den leader.

It’s so simple…when I let it be.

God is good.  And when I’m not so sure I stop and do two things.  

#1 Self-evaluate. A little bit of an honest look at myself does amazing things.

#2 Ask God.  What’s going on? Why? What do you have to say about it?

I’m telling you.  Works every time.  It’s been incredible recently.  God really does speak into every part of my life.

No wonder it was hard to get up!

Yes, I really was in the car down the street before I realized that the clock did not read 8:20 but actually read 7:20.  No wonder it was so hard to get up this morning!!

The clock in my room is an hour off.  I have no idea how this happened.  But I’m amazed that I was able to look at a clock at least 4 other times this morning and not realize the true time.  Crazy.  Tired now.  On the upside.  It could have been wrong the other direction…and that would NOT have gone well. Thank you Lord Jesus.

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Real life like the Olympics?

Everyone loves the Olympics. At least I think they do. Some more than others.  Why is that?  Well I have my theory.  You ready?…Listen and be amazed.

We love the Olympics because it is a taste of fighting for a cause.  A taste of being a part of something that’s bigger and grander than ourselves.

We watch these athletes that have prepared and trained and we are amazed by their dedication.  We watch them compete in the name of their country and we want to be a part of it.  We “fight” for them in our own little way as we cheer them on to victory.

Do you ever find yourself wishing that real life were more like that?  That you were fighting for a cause? That you needed to train and prepare and be a part of something larger than yourself?

What is truly incredible is that I actually DO feel the adventure and sacrifice of being a part of a cause. I’ve come to learn that real life CAN be like that.  I don’t feel like this all the time…the monotony of routine, or the temptation towards mediocrity strikes me just as it does everyone.  But I feel the passion of fighting for a cause!

What is that cause?  I think you might already know.  But if you don’t then I suggest you read some of my other blogs.  Or talk to me.  It’s a purpose for living! And the best, most heartfelt, epic, adventure I’ve ever experienced.

So where will you find me next week?  Praise God! I will be borrowing a friend’s TV and watching the Olympics.

And P.S. Gymnastics is my favorite event.